Why reducing CO2 Emissions is like the 'Prisoner's Dilemma'

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

prisoners-dilemmaThe Prisoner’s dilemma is a games theory scenario which explores cooperation in difficult circumstances. The classic description, there are two prisoners accused of a crime. Their options are:

  1. They both keep quiet, and when convicted they both receive moderate sentences.
  2. One prisoner rats on the other prisoner. The prisoner who betrays his fellow villain receives a light sentence, the other prisoner receives a heavy sentence.
  3. Both prisoners rat on each other – they both receive heavy sentences.

So how does the Prisoner’s dilemma apply to carbon dioxide mitigation?

The answer of course if that, if CO2 matters, it is a prisoner’s dilemma on a global scale.

Of course, if CO2 has minimal impact on global climate, then it makes no sense to reduce CO2 because it is a waste of resources. But lets consider the interesting scenario – what if CO2 is every bit as dangerous as the IPCC claims it is?

Consider two countries, country A and country B. Both countries have the following options:

  1. They can both attempt to reduce CO2 – both countries will accept moderate to severe economic damage.
  2. Country A could attempt to reduce CO2, while country B continues full steam ahead, maximising economic growth. Country B gets the advantage of an unencumbered economy, and the full benefits of industrialisation – they can afford to switch on the air conditioning, when the weather is too hot. Country A not only gets slammed with the costs of climate mitigation, and the economic damage of trying to compete with country B from a position of permanent structural disadvantage, but any benefit from reduced CO2 thanks to country A’s sacrifices are mostly enjoyed by country B.
  3. Both countries could ignore the issue of CO2. Both would experience equal pain from climate disruption, but with maximal economic development, both countries would be able to switch on the air conditioning, when the weather outside was too hot.

    Of course, in the real world we’re dealing with more than two countries – there are hundreds of countries. If just a handful of those countries decide to break ranks, to ignore CO2 mitigation, openly or covertly, the countries which betray the effort will receive most of the benefit which accrues from the sacrifices of everyone else.

In the paranoid swamp which is global politics, no serious attempt at altruism could survive the first economic recession it caused. Voters would quickly reject the pain, especially if they saw everyone else was accruing any benefit to be realised from their sacrifices.

So it never, under any circumstances, makes sense to be the sucker. Even if the IPCC is right about CO2, your sacrifices will mainly benefit the people who don’t make an effort.

It makes much more sense to steam full power ahead, maximise economic growth, and use the full resources of your expanded industrial base to mitigate any problems which arise from the consequences of climate change.


254 thoughts on “Why reducing CO2 Emissions is like the 'Prisoner's Dilemma'

  1. And all the time that a country or group is making those sacrificies and watching others do nothing, there will be the nagging doubt that maybe cagw is bs that could have been ignored all along.

    • “Others doing nothing”. Makes me think of Algore. Any one know if he still has those big utility bills?

      • How woud you feel if you wer both a polar bear AND a grandfather
        [You wood feel much better if you were a grandfather OR a polar bear, than if you wore a grandfather polar bare. (obviously, if you only wore a bare polar grandfather, you wood bee very cold.) .mod]

    • Yet, those self-same people think nothing of saddling their grandchildren with crushing debt. Amazing!

  2. Wait a minute Eric.
    Are you trying to inject common sense into the CAGW issue?
    Isn’t it a bit late for that?
    You are probably one of those people who brings up facts and observable data when others tout “climate change” and you make them look silly.
    That would make you a, a, uh, “party pooper”, yeah, that’s it, a PARTY POOPER!

    • Imagine this scenario. Somewhere around the middle of this century it is found that climate sensitivity is known to be low and there will only be mild and net beneficial warming. No worsening extreme weather. The UK, US and Germany had made heavy sacrifices while co2 is at say 450ppm. Imagine how angry voters will feel – pain and no gain.
      A glimpse of this possible scenario is from the date of the setting up of the IPCC and its first surface temperature projections to the present. The writing is on the wall.

      • It has been found already, just not applied.
        Why models run hot: results from an irreducibly simple climate model
        Christopher Monckton • Willie W.-H. Soon • David R. Legates • William M. Briggs
        Received: 27 August 2014 / Accepted: 12 November 2014 / Published online: 8 January 2015
        Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

      • The UK, US and Germany have made heavy sacrificies – and others like China and India have ignored the hoax and taken our places as industrial leaders.

      • Steve
        February 9, 2015 at 2:30 am
        The UK, US and Germany have made heavy sacrificies – and others like China and India have ignored the hoax and taken our places as industrial leaders.

        Good news just in from Germany on wind turbines and solar.

        NTZ – 7 February 2015
        Germany 2014 Report Card Is In! Its 25,000 Wind Turbines Get An “F-“…Averaged Only 14.8% Of Rated Capacity!
        NTZ – 8 February 2015
        Analysis Shows Wind And Solar Power In Europe Is On Average 16 Times More Expensive Than Gas-Fired Power!

        Listen up chaps. I’m not saying that we should not look at alternative energy but this is ridiculous, and it’s making lots of money for a few people until the bubble bursts. It’s a sucker’s game. Good luck India and China, forge ahead with your development and lift your poor out of poverty, just like the USA, UK and Germany did.

  3. This is called “adaptation”, what I’ve been preaching is the ONLY solution whether the IPCC is right or not!

  4. “If just a handful of those countries decide to break ranks, to ignore CO2 mitigation, openly or covertly, the countries which betray the effort will receive most of the benefit which accrues from the sacrifices of everyone else.”
    Not if you are paid by rich nation not to produce or manufacture any goods. Sort of like our government (U.S.) paying farmers not to grow certain foods.

  5. Of course, a warmist would take issue with the three choices. They would portray them instead as:
    1 – They can both attempt to reduce CO2 – this will cause little economic damage and will produce many jobs.
    2 – Country A could attempt to reduce CO2, while country B continues full steam ahead, maximising economic growth. This will result in world disaster, which may be delayed for a while by the efforts of country A. However, if a tipping point is reached, all of country A’s efforts would be futile.
    3 – Both countries could ignore the issue of CO2. Humanity would immediately become extinct.

    It is interesting to consider the implications of this argument. As stated, it is a no-brainer – countries derive maximum benefit from action A, and no benefit at all from any other action. So we need to ask, why don’t countries all take action A, because it is so obviously correct. And the only answers can be:
    1: Countries are too stupid to make correct decisions
    2: There is something fundamentally wrong with the decisions tree.
    Given that all countries have SOME intelligent people in them, I am inclined to the latter view…

    • Countries are too stupid to make correct decisions for themselves. That’s why God gave us environmental activists. (/s)

      • I thought the eco loons, sorry environmental activists, were there to either help countries make stupid decisions or to provide countries with stupid courses of action to choose from.

    • The three options are actually reasonable, but like almost all arguments they are over simplified. Option 1 is actually true, if all countries played by the same rules the net damage in terms of world-wide economic growth would be modest, and jobs in carbon-based energy would be replaced by jobs involving clean energy. But the damage to developing countries, as well as damage to lower income individuals in developed countries would be catastrophic. The short-term impact would be $7 gallon gas, and/or the need to buy a $30K hybird vehicle. Other energy costs, which are a disproportionate part of the lower income budget, would skyrocket. This would bankrupt about 1/3 of the families in the U.S., who depend on cheap fossil based energy just to get by. Of course we could just tell them all that it’s for their own good, I’m sure they would understand.

    • 1 – They can both attempt to reduce CO2 – this will cause little economic damage and will produce many jobs.
      So the left have been screaming from the rooftops for a decade.
      But the western nations have spent close on a trillion dollars on CO2 reduction and the fact is it’s created a miniscule handful of jobs. And almost certainly destroyed a much larger number.

      • Exactly right, Mike. Any jobs created by “clean energy” have to be subsidized to succeed. So only the elites and the politically well-connected benefit from those jobs, and everyone else gets a double whammy. The greens are okay with that because they’re convinced that they are among the elites and the well-connected, so those jobs will go to them. Even in a terribly depressed economy like that of North Korea, the elites are taken care of. And if many of the common people starve, well that’s a win-win to the greens because it reduces the population and helps the environment.

    • DG,
      It is interesting to consider the implications of this argument.
      Consider that we are all already adapted to levels of 5000ppm CO2 in our N2/O2 atmosphere.
      Consider that all plants flourish at higher CO2 levels.
      Consider that cold weather induced hypothermia is a more lethal threat than a barefoot warm day in shorts.
      Consider logic… and reason… and common sense.
      As stated, it is a no-brainer….
      I agree.

  6. @nigelf February 8, 2015 at 6:41 am
    This is called “adaptation”, what I’ve been preaching is the ONLY solution whether the IPCC is right or not!
    Given that no AGW seems to be happening at all, ‘adaptation’ is only the correct solution so long as NO prior actions are taken, and the adaptation is only in response to things that have already happened. My assumption is that there will be no need for adaptation at all, because nothing will happen.
    I should also note that cutting CO2 emissions in response to, say, sea level rise, can’t count as adaptation at all until there is a proven predictable link between the two…

  7. This reminds me of the common sense from Willis a couple posts ago…
    “The biggest threat to the environment is poverty.”
    “Finally, since the biggest threat to the environment is poverty, that means that the biggest friend of the environment is development … strange, but true.”

  8. While this is, indeed, an interesting mental exercise,
    it has no relation to the real, observed, world.
    “3.Both countries could ignore the issue of CO2. Both would experience equal pain from climate disruption,… .”
    — all the evidence about CO2 (human and natural) says that this is false. Further, there is no evidence that it is true.
    Premise 3 is False.
    there is no real dilemma.
    There is NO evidence that CO2 mitigation is anything but worse than useless.

  9. Subsidies received to reduce CO2 will never make up for economic gains in developing countries who ignore CO2 limits. And those subsidies don’t earn themselves in debt-burdened developed nations, either. Finally any perceived benefit from CO2 reductions will not materialize, so the scenario we’re really looking at in the dilemma is that of both parties damaging themselves for no gain.

  10. Countries with scientists not beholden to the tax motivated AGW political system, will quickly see the historical disconnect between CO2 and temperature – a steady 280ppm CO2 during both the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age. Only the recent (likely human influenced) CO2 rise happens to coincide with a Little Ice Age exit. The recent 2 decade “stall” in temperature rise in the face of steadily increasing CO2 is the icing (PI) on the CO2 disconnect cake.
    The wiser nations will leave economic dislocation to those headed by the dimmer bulbs. Unfortunately the United States is being led by one of them.

    • tomwys1 sez in part:

      The wiser nations will leave economic dislocation to those headed by the dimmer bulbs. Unfortunately the United States is being led by one of them.

      Not so! Just look at President Obama’s A+++ grades at Harvard. Didn’t he have a 5.6 GPA on a 4.0 scale?
      Oh wait…..
      Well, maybe after Obama’s grades are unsealed in 2100, we’ll have the definitive proof of his towering intellect, assuming his chooming buddies don’t misplace the records before then.
      (P.S. Who in the sam-#@%!? has their grades sealed anyway?! Even John “Genius” Kerry ponied up during his Presidential run.)
      OT but worth it. My spellchecker just came up with the funniest one ever! When I finished typing John “Genius” Kerry, “Genius” was red-squiggly underlined and the option was Delete Repeated Word. I re-re-rechecked my comment – no previous use – and then near busted a gut laughing. I have absolutely no clue why that happened but perhaps the Heinz fortune can buy more then we ever imagined.

  11. This is interesting, but not what is really happening. The problem with your argument is that the Prisoners, in this case the Citizens are going to get the sentence. Yet for the people pushing this, the Scientists & Politicians, the CO2 reductions will have the opposite effect. They will get more money and use more CO2 because of it. If both the Citizens and Scientist/Politician groups suffered equally this analogy would hold true. The whole point of the CO2 is that the conspirators want more money so they can create more CO2.

    • Yes, the citizen prisoners face the potentially devastating consequences while the decision-making wardens continue to fly in private jets, live in multiple 10,000 square foot homes, and ride in 30 car motorcades … which adds a layer of complexity to the dilemma analysis.

  12. To the extent CO2 is a problem, it is a so called problem of the Commons (the atmosphere, climate). The reason it is insoluble by mutual agreement is the Prisoner’s Dilemma in game theory. And that is why COP will fail although there are leaders like Obama who are apparently willing ro commit the equibalent of suicide.

  13. You left out an important component: the warden of the prison (in this case the IPCC).
    The more prisoners that the warden is responsible for, guilty or innocent, the more assured the warden is of being employed.

  14. Actually, Countries A, B and others need to take a responsible position regarding climate change.
    An appropriate legislative motion would read like this:
    Whereas, Extent of global sea ice is at or above historical averages;
    Whereas, Populations of polar bears are generally growing;
    Whereas, Sea levels have been slowly rising at the same rate since the Little Ice Age ended 150 years ago;
    Whereas, Oceans will not become acidic due to buffering from extensive mineral deposits and marine life is well adapted to pH fluctuations that do occur;
    Whereas, Extreme weather events have not increased in recent decades and such events are more associated to periods of cooling rather than warming;
    Whereas, Cold spells, not heat waves, are the greater threat to human life and prosperity;
    Therefore, This chamber agrees that climate is variable and prudent public officials should plan for future periods both colder and warmer than the present. Two principle objectives will be robust infrastructure and cheap, reliable energy.

  15. Your argument assumes that “business as usual” AGW is something that can be readily mitigated with appropriate application of financial resources, and further that action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be economically disastrous. The first assumption is far from proven, and a great number of scientists would suggest it’s wrong. The second assertion is also dubious, as countries like Norway are managing to reduce emissions while maintaining economic growth. Since your basic premise is flawed, your conclusions must be also.

    • Sir Harry Flashman says “Since your basic premise is flawed, your conclusions must be also.”
      Welcome to the Light, Sir Harry!

      • This quote by SHF is a perfect description for the whole mad CAGW scare-mongering crusade. Funny that he and the complete crowd of warmists are psychological unable to discover their own failure in spite of 18 years warming hiatus along with record high CO2 emissions…

    • I think the climate history of the planet is ample evidence that global warming (anthro or otherwise) will be successfully mitigated. Now how we will mitigate Global Cooling, that’s another and more difficult question…
      And as for Norway, of course we can reduce emissions – the US is flat or down itself. The issue is the proposed draconian reduction scenarios . Minimum impact on climate, maximum (negative) impact on people’s lives.

    • norway manages to reduce emmissions for its own population by shipping fossil fuel other places.
      the same way the US reduces emissions by shipping them to China.
      In the end Norway’s oil creates emissions. a proper accounting of who is responsible would take note of this.

    • Unfortunately there are not many countries like Norway . which has a small population, very well educated and an abundant supply of hydro and hydrocarbon energy – not to mention capital reserves built up by selling gas and energy to the rest of the world to burn – increasing the customer’s CO2 emissions. Thus it enjoys the financial benefit of those emissions without apparently increasing its own.
      You are in danger of arguing from the particular to the general.

    • SHF, you have just described the top right square of the prisoners dilemma.
      Norway is “free” because they have gone full steam ahead, producing hydrocarbons for OTHERS to burn, while reaping the benefits of the economic growth. With their cash reserves, they are also much better prepared than the rest of the world to meet any calamity.

    • Regarding Norway:
      Norway got prosperous and one might even say obscenely rich by exploiting oil and gas reserves in North Atlantic.
      So all their “CO2 reductions” were made possible by fossil fuels being burned somewhere else.

      • That’s fair, Norway has some unique advantages. However, the technology that permits serious greenhouse gas reduction is getting cheaper and better, to the point where it’s likely that developing countries will be better served by building out distributed solar power (for example) rather than expensive fossil fueled infrastructure for electrical generation. Moreover, the price of fossil fuels is rarely calculated to include the enormous (non-AGW) costs borne by larger society, like illness from dirty air and commensurate social unrest in China, or fracking earthquakes in Oklahoma.
        Another consideration is the outcome if the AGW turns out to actually be catastrophic (a possibility I understand is not accepted by anyone at WUWT, although it is by many others) – in that case, the analogy changes, in that if all the “prisoners” choose to do nothing, everybody dies. The stakes are pretty high.

      • Sir Harry Flashman February 8, 2015 at 12:36 pm
        That’s fair, Norway has some unique advantages. However, the technology that permits serious greenhouse gas reduction is getting cheaper and better, to the point where it’s likely that developing countries will be better served by building out distributed solar power (for example) rather than expensive fossil fueled infrastructure for electrical generation. Moreover, the price of fossil fuels is rarely calculated to include the enormous (non-AGW) costs borne by larger society, like illness from dirty air and commensurate social unrest in China, or fracking earthquakes in Oklahoma.
        Pretty sure the cost of earthquakes in Oklahoma is nil.
        If developing countries want to go with solar and wind, good on ’em. I don’t see any that are doing that though. In fact, solar and wind only seem to prevalent in industrialized countries, and only because of significant subsidies.
        Moreover, the benefits to society and the standard of living are rarely calculated into the equation either. How do you quantify these costs and benefits? At most it is a wild guess.
        China’s pollution problems are due to a lack of environmental regulation and enforcement that is standard in Western countries, and on their heavy reliance on burning dirty, brown coal, largely from Australia.

      • “However, the technology that permits serious greenhouse gas reduction is getting cheaper and better,”
        The proponents of that claim typically don’t factor in costs of maintenance (cleaning), degradation of efficiency (often sooner than promised), hazards to fire-fighters, and costs of items other than the panels themselves. The real-world experience of Spain is an object lesson–and Germany and the UK are now discovering that green benefits-calculations have been over-hyped.

    • Norway is an oil-rich country with a small, largely homogenous population and a huge oil trust fund.

      • I think the reason Norway appears green is nothing to do with her oil industry, that is a completely different issue.
        Norway has two natural resources for producing electricity for a small population. Hydro power in abundance and much of it pumped storage and free wind power from Denmark. It also exports electricity back to Denmark when there isn’t enough wind for Danes. Denmark pays for this electricity. For Norway it’s win, win, win, win. What’s not to like for the Norwegians?
        Plus they get to export oil and gas from a holier than thou position.

    • Norway is Europe’s largest oil producing country and the world’s third largest gas exporter. Fossil fuels are approximately a quarter of their GDP and half of the exports.
      The reason Norway can afford to “Go Green”, is due, in a large part, to fossil fuels. A bit hypocritical if you ask me.

    • SHF is wrong.
      The U.S. has been reducing CO2 emissions without any new laws being necessary. Most other countries are increasing emissions. And look at China, the prisoner that is double-crossing everyone else.
      Aside from that, as others have pointed out CO2 is very beneficial to the biosphere. More is better. As usual, governments, controlled by self-serving special interests, are on the wrong track.
      CO2 has been up to twenty times (20X) higher in the past without causing runaway global warming [or any global warming, for that matter]. More is better at both current and projected concentrations, because the biosphere is starved of CO2.
      Finally, CO2 is harmless, in that there has never been demonstrated any global harm due to the rise in CO2 from 0.00003 of the atmosphere, to 0.00004. The whole ‘carbon’ scare is a deliberately fabricated false alarm.

    • You say a great number of scientists suggest that the first assumption is wrong; but a great many other scientists say that it is right.
      So, Sir Harry, which side are we to believe?

    • a great number of scientists would suggest it’s wrong.

      If you are referring to ‘climate scientists’ who are apparently the only people trained in the arcane art of climate prediction, then what makes them also qualified to comment in subjects such as economics, engineering and psychology (amongst others) which are required to convince the populace that mitigation is possible and necessary?

    • …. and a great number of scientists would suggest it’s wrong.
      Ahhhhh, the power of ‘suggestion’, the refuge of cowards and pHr@uds.
      Since they cannot muster a firm conclusion, because the evidence is weak and needs continual ‘adjustment’, their conclusions must be weak and pHr@udulent also.

      • And yet they remain the overwhelming majority, and the :”skeptics” are left grasping at conspiracy theories to explain why they are continually proved wrong.

      • I think the pause is significant.
        It is had to blame a motive or a conspiracy theory ideation on the thermometers. They are inanimate.
        Yet they keep on giving sceptical results when questioned about newsworthy Anthropogenic Global Warming.
        Why trust the opinions of “experts” who can’t read a thermometer?

      • Golly – I don’t feel ‘overwhelmed’ by your ‘suggestions’.
        Eighteen + years of no warming is the elephant in your climate extremest ward that continually proves you continually wrong. It leaves you grasping at straws to suggest otherwise.

  16. Saw this recently and I think it relates to this article by Eric.
    “3 February 2015 – The Top UN Climate Change Official is optimistic that a new international treaty will be adopted at Paris Climate Change conference at the end of the year. However the official, Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, warns that the fight against climate change is a process and that the necessary transformation of the world economy will not be decided at one conference or in one agreement.
    “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history”, Ms Figueres stated at a press conference in Brussels.
    “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution. That will not happen overnight and it will not happen at a single conference on climate change, be it COP 15, 21, 40 – you choose the number. It just does not occur like that. It is a process, because of the depth of the transformation.””

    • So what? The industrial revolution – the last great restructuring – abandoned a paradigm that wasn’t working and brought the human race the greatest wealth and prosperity in history. Why would you be so terrified to do that again?

      • SHF,
        Are you advocating for a particular “restructuring” plan? If so, let’s hear the plan, if not…

        • I’m recommending a non-Luddite response to the benefits of new ways of deriving and using energy. If you’re seriously asking me to propose a global plan for economic restructuring in the comments section of a blog, I’ll have to decline.

    • What game changing new ways of deriving and using energy do you see on the horizon, or already in play? The industrial revolution was brought about largely by access to cheap, reliable energy sources. Where’s our game- changing cheaper, more reliable alternative?
      No one asked you to structure a plan. That’s your strawman. I asked what plan you have in mind, since you were quick to denigrate Nancy’s remarks. If you don’t already have a plan, or agree to someone else’ plan, then you were just sniping without merit, engaged in subtle ad hominem and disruption of the topic.

      • “No one asked you to structure a plan. That’s your strawman. I asked what plan you have in mind,” Sorry, that distinction was a little delicate for me.
        I would suggest using renewable energy technologies like solar, wind, geothermal and tidal in lieu of fossil fuels for electrical generation. I would suggest filling the gaps with nuclear. I would advocate a new emphasis on conservation and efficiency in our use of energy. I would propose measures to reduce deforestation. I would suggest demanding as consumers that companies act sustainably, and as citizens that our governments behave responsibly and stop lining their pockets at the expense of future generations. Why people object to these ideas so strenuously is unclear, but I am always eager to be enlightened.

        • I would suggest using renewable energy technologies like solar, wind, geothermal and tidal in lieu of fossil fuels for electrical generation. I would suggest filling the gaps with nuclear. I would advocate a new emphasis on conservation and efficiency in our use of energy. I would propose measures to reduce deforestation. I would suggest demanding as consumers that companies act sustainably, and as citizens that our governments behave responsibly and stop lining their pockets at the expense of future generations. Why people object to these ideas so strenuously is unclear, but I am always eager to be enlightened.

          Because these ideas will not work. Cannot work in the real world of copper, water, steel, and concrete. Such a world is possible.
          At the levels of life we had in 1750. With lives only 30 years long, in squalid poor and starvation (like 7/8 the world lives now). Now, I grant that nuclear will help . A little. Renewables? Add them and 100% hydro to the mix, and you allow 6/8 of the world to live better. (But the enviro’s oppose dams as well.)

      • SHF:
        I notice there’s no economics in your response. No cost/benefit analysis. And what the hell do you mean by “sustainable”??
        Cost/benefit is central to the whole debate, and it is the reason that alarmists and skeptics are so far apart. Skeptics want to know what these schemes will cost, so we can try to determine whether they are worth doing.
        But alarmists? They want their often pie-in-the-sky ideas implemented now, and damn the expense. Most of them have no skin in the game, meaning they are not paying the freight. A very large percentage are tax collectors [on the take; on the dole], they are not tax payers. And of the ones who are tax payers, many of those are self-serving rent seekers, people like Gavin Schmidt, who would be out of a job if the carbon scare was ever fully debated. See, it’s people like Schmidt who are lining their pockets, and they are doing it with no credible product — unlike fossil fuel companies, which provide necessities.
        So let’s put each proposal in turn in front of the taxpaying public, and each side can argue for or against it. Are you game? If we did that, you know what would happen: about 97% of the eco-proposals would go down in flames.
        That’s a big reason why the alarmist crowd runs and hides out from any fair, moderated debates. What they really want is to back-door these mostly über-stupid ideas, and leave the taxpaying public holding the bag.

      • SHF says:
        If renewables weren’t economically feasible, implementation wouldn’t be growing globally faster…&blah, blah, etc.
        It’s growing for one reason, and for one reason only: because of the massive taxpayer subsidies propping it up. If you had understood my comment above you would have seen that. You have a weird idea of what is “economically feasible”. Plenty of things are economically feasible if you shovel enough 3rd party money into them.
        If you believe that’s “capitalism”, then you know nothing about the subject. Government support of industry is pretty damn close to fascism. That’s what is happening here.
        There is nothing less expensive than fossil fuel power. Nothing. But if you give me enough money, I could hire millions of Chinese peons to peddle bicycles and provide power. Don’t mention the subsidies, and it will look cheap. That’s exactly what is happening here. There is no way in hell that windmills could compete on a level playing field with coal or natgas. Only the gullible and credulous believe that nonsense.

      • SHF:
        Of course there are fossil fuel subsidies. So what? That does nothing to negate the point that on a level playing field, your stupid windmills can’t compete with coal or natgas.
        And you still didn’t explain “sustainable”.

      • “the tax breaks given to fossil fuels, or the damage to human health caused by sourcing, digging up, and burning them.”
        The tax-breaks-for-fossil-fuels argument has been refuted in WUWT in detail many times.
        The damage to human health caused by digging up and fabricating the rare earths and other poisons in whiligiggs and solar panels are worse.

    • Christiana Figueres

      This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model …

      She’s quite wrong. Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot each tried it in the 20th century.

      • Martin,
        Since Christiana Figueres has praised China’s political system for its ability to implement policies without having to undergo legislative process and has also declared that the US Congress is detrimental to the UN’s efforts to “fight” climate change, one could easily conclude that you have drawn up a list of Figueres’ mentors and authors of her business plan to “fundamentally change the world’s economic development model”.

      • LOL, I see that China has just banned the Islamic call to prayers … Man. that’s going to explode a few progressive heads with acute cognitive dissonance.

  17. I don’t think this is a very good example of where we should go. Assuming that the IPCC is right, which we know they are not, then everyone going full steam ahead will bring on the climate disaster that the IPCC has proclaimed. Let’s look at a couple of simpler examples.
    A few liars might get ahead in business deals, but if everyone is a liar society goes downhill.
    A few bums that don’t work (rich and poor included) might get away with bumming society, but if everyone is a bum, who’s going to produce all the things to bum from?
    Machiavellianism is a high point of climate warmists. I would not doubt the book is on everyone of their night stands. It is something that this blog and sceptics have been fighting.

      • Golden,
        Niccolo Machiavelli was right on target. Did you mean Malthus? I could see Malthus being on warmists’ night stands. Lots of them would be very happy to starve people. They come right out and say it.
        Machiavelli wrote, “All men are bad, unless compelled to be good.” Since no one compels the alarmist crowd to do anything, they have become unifomly bad.
        Look at Greenpeace, which is apparently exempt from laws, and from taxes, and from ever being audited. So naturally, they have become thoroughly corrupt. Machiavelli could have predicted that outcome.
        Who compels Greenpeace to have annual audits? No one. What compels them to be good citizens? Nothing. The directors live like kings on the dues of stupid people, who actually believe that by sending Greenpeace their money every month, they are helping to “Save The Planet”™. As if. They are only subsidizing a racket.
        And who compels Obama? Anyone? I can’t think of any person, or any organization. He does whatever he wants, and it matters not what Congress or the courts say. Again, Machiavelli would know exactly what’s going on there, because he understood human nature very well.
        If Obama had moral character, it would be one thing. But the ‘community organizer’ is completely character-free. Everything has been given to him his entire life, and he has failed upward. Now he is in an unassailable position — and the rest of us are the prisoners with the dilemma.

    • You have hit upon exactly the situation in the US. The “bums” are the 47% of wage earners who pay no federal tax, yet enjoy the benefits or living in this country.

      • Those wage earner “bums” are the result of reverse tax bracket creep, designed into the tax system, which is the prime indicator that their wages have not kept pace with inflation. The whole idea of wage taxes is to allow the masses just enough to survive after tax, to keep them from manning the battlements. In other words, wage taxes are designed to keep the little guy, little.

      • dbstealey,
        What Machiavelli is best known for is The Prince where the author “seemed to be endorsing behavior often deemed as evil and immoral. ”
        The term used in this blog is Plato’s noble lie. I doubt warmists know much about Plato, but can probably recite Machiavelli’s political machinations by heart.

  18. Old Construction Worker: “rich counties pay poor countries not to produce…”
    Isn’t that what most NGO’s do already, in their own way, holding down local adaptation/mitigation on a host of topics, not just energy production? Such a shame, look at telephony – emerging nations went straight to wireless celluar, and skipped the copper infrastructure we’re maintaining. What if we helped them get clean(er) coal, gas and new gen nuclear? Instead we smugly suggest we’ll pay them not to get cheap energy, keeping them burning dung – crazy.

  19. This article misses an important elephant-in-the-room. Deploy renewables whilst your economy is stable or booming and reap the benefits of low polluting, cheap energy.
    Acting to reduce CO2 could boost an economy.

    • Just one problem – renewables are not cheap. You end up with expensive renewables and excessive power bills. We are finding this to our cost in Australia, and no doubt in other countries that have gone down the same road. It is alleged that wind power is getting cheaper, and that solar power cells are getting much cheaper. This may well be right, but the electricity produced is still well above the cost of coal.
      Only way to make solar or wind power approach even a reasonable price level is to combine the generation with pumped storage, so that energy can be delivered when it is needed, when demand is high, so the price of energy is high. No good providing the energy outside the peaks, when the price is low.

  20. Eric Worrall,

    They can both attempt to reduce CO2 – both countries will accept moderate to severe economic damage.

    Rests on the assumption that the near term economic damage of mitigation is greater than the long-term damage of not mitigating. I’d like to know how you know this.

    It makes much more sense to steam full power ahead, maximise economic growth, and use the full resources of your expanded industrial base to mitigate any problems which arise from the consequences of climate change.

    Not necessarily because now you’re assuming that the “expanded industrial base” is capable of “mitigating” any future problems which arise. I’d sure like to know what economic model it is that inspires such confidence above and beyond what models of physics are saying.
    Basically your dilemma identifies why doing unified global mitigation now will be difficult because yes, it’s pretty clear that achieving agreement and compliance from all or most parties is going to be difficult. The thing you might want to think about is that rolling back mitigation would probably be a lot easier than implementing it. As well, keep in mind that physical systems do not respond to the writing of policy; they respond to the actions of policy. Perhaps also see: tragedy of the commons, which also ties into game theory but is somewhat more applicable to the problem domain.

    • Pick your game theory – Prisoner or Tragedy of the Commons. It comes out the same:
      The Ministries of Truth and Plenty will take you (oops – take care of you).

      • Not according to the theory of the games. They’re quite similar, but a properly constructed TC problem does not result in defection being the winning move.

    • Gates says:
      I’d like to know how you know this.
      I would like to know how he ‘knows’ that CO2 is any kind of a problem.
      Because based on ALL available evidence, it isn’t.

      • That is an interesting assumption in his essay. Way I’m reading it he’s saying it doesn’t matter because it’s really not a problem to begin with.

      • That is the default assumption, because there is zero evidence to support the belief that CO2 is harmful.
        But if we begin with your assuption: that CO2 is a problem, then we are back in witch doctor territory.

    • Brandon Gates;
      I’d sure like to know what economic model it is that inspires such confidence above and beyond what models of physics are saying.

      Those would be the same models that IPCC AR5 said are over estimating warming?
      Brandon Gates;
      Not necessarily because now you’re assuming that the “expanded industrial base” is capable of “mitigating” any future problems which arise. I’d sure like to know what economic model

      How about the one in IPCC AR5? The one that wants us to spend 3% of GDP to mitigate 2% of negative economic impact? Let’s use that one?
      As for your previous sentence, you don’t seem to understand that an expanded industrial base is the same thing as having money in your pocket. Money can’t solve ALL problems, but it can solve MOST problems. The less industrial base (money) you have, the fewer unforeseen problems you are in a position to solve. If you wish to make the argument that you KNOW what the outcomes of warming are, AND that they cannot be mitigated, you are free to make a fool of yourself.

      • davidmhoffer,

        Those would be the same models that IPCC AR5 said are over estimating warming?

        All models are wrong. Some are more wrong than others. Economic models are notoriously unreliable, if we must think in those terms, because human beings are singularly unpredictable. That’s one reason why there are four RCPs in AR5, not one.

        How about the one in IPCC AR5? The one that wants us to spend 3% of GDP to mitigate 2% of negative economic impact?

        I’m sorry but I don’t have AR5 memorized yet. I’m a bad warmist that way.

        The less industrial base (money) you have, the fewer unforeseen problems you are in a position to solve.

        The market disagrees with you:

        If you wish to make the argument that you KNOW what the outcomes of warming are, AND that they cannot be mitigated, you are free to make a fool of yourself.

        I’ve argued many times here that I do NOT KNOW what the outcomes of warming are which is a risk in and of itself, and about as good an argument I can think of for mitigating emissions. I like building a lot of nuclear plants to replace coal, myself. Which sounds industrial-like to me. Think of the GDP boost from all that construction.

    • It doesn’t matter to my scenario if the ultimate result of not reducing CO2 emissions is human extinction, because the evidence for that outcome is not compelling enough, right now, to drive the required levels of cooperation. The temptation to betray the CO2 reduction efforts of others is overwhelming – that is the point I was making.

      • Eric,
        I agree with you that getting it done cooperatively is going to be difficult. Where we disagree is on the “why”. For starters, the serious thinkers among the impact assessors are not fixated on “human extinction”. Next — this is a nitpick, but it drives me nuts — there is no such thing as “evidence” for a future outcome, there can only ever be estimates. Finally, humans fundamentally do not do well planning ahead in very large groups when there are many conflicting interests at stake. By our nature we think we’re going to beat the competition when push comes to shove, or die trying. See just about every war ever fought … one side tends to end up deeply being wrong about their actual chances.
        So, I argue that the rational thing to do is play the safe route and give all of us a larger margin of error. I totally get it that not everyone reads history the same way that I do.

      • Gates says:
        I argue that the rational thing to do is play the safe route and give all of us a larger margin of error.
        That isn’t rational, because it ignores the critical factor: cost/benefit analysis. Which is really what the entire debate is about. “Safe”? “Margin of error”? What about the cost??
        If taking a particular action costs little or nothing and might avoid problems, sure, why not? But if the action results in deconstructing Western civilization — as many alarmists seriously propose — then they had better have irrefutable evidence that such a course of action is necessary and unavoidable.
        But in almost all cases where the argument is about CO2, there is zero scientific evidence showing that there is, or has been any harm at all from a rise in that beneficial trace gas.
        Try telling that to any of the wild-eyed extremists who populate these threads. They don’t want to hear it. Their attitude is based on Noble Cause corruption: they know they’re right, so anyone arguing must be wrong, and let’s do it — damn the consequences. And if they have to do it by hook or by crook, fire away!
        But if we did as they want, our society would come crashing down, and then they would be nowhere to be found: “Nobody here but us chickens.” They are nuts, that’s all. Disregard them.

      • dbstealey,

        What about the cost??

        The cost of mitigation would be set by policy. The cost of not mitigating will be set by highly uncertain future events. You tell me which we have more control over, and therefore which represents the highest risk.

        But if the action results in deconstructing Western civilization — as many alarmists seriously propose — then they had better have irrefutable evidence that such a course of action is necessary and unavoidable.

        What a thoroughly stupid argument. If there was “irrefutable evidence” that Western civilization would be deconstructing by warming, you’d go along with a plan to deconstruct Western civilization. Fear really does make people stop thinking apparently. How does it feel to be an alarmist, DB? I’ve always been curious about that.

      • Gates, you must be looking in the mirror. The thoroughly stupid argument belongs to you alone. You own that kind of argument.
        The answer for sensible people: we handle problems as they appear. But so far, there are NO problems with CO2 emission. Prove me wrong, and you win the argument. Fail, and you lose.
        So show us those catastrophes, Gates. I’ll wait while you try to think up something scary…

      • dbstealey,

        The answer for sensible people: we handle problems as they appear.

        Another truthy nugget of wisdom which isn’t held by sensible people. I imagine, I hope, that you personally have the good sense to insure your house and automobile against wholly unforeseeable damage or destruction. Liability insurance is required by law for people who don’t have that kind of good sense, the reason being that’s how insurance companies keep the risk pool large enough to keep from getting wiped out by people who think they’re such careful drivers that they’ll never cause an accident they’d be held responsible for.
        To extend that analogy a bit, imagine that you’re driving a car on a dark road in the fog. Every rational person on the planet slows down in such situations in the off chance that there’s some obstruction ahead that they’d rather not collide with. We do the same thing going around a blind turn on a narrow country road. We especially slow down going around blind corners on a foggy evening when the road we’re on is one we’ve never driven on. What’s the cost of that? We add a few minutes to our trip. On balance we might actually lose more time slowing down for poor driving conditions than we save in cost of accidents, but we also know that reckless drivers get into crackups more often and at higher rates of speed which causes more damage.
        Risk management is about playing those kind of odds and balancing the controllable cost of insurance against the potentially uncontrollable cost of loss. I can’t give you “evidence of catastrophe” before it occurs. It’s idiotic to even phrase the question that way. All anyone can provide are estimates of future losses, which need not be catastrophic to warrant action today to mitigate. And for damn sure mitigation itself need not be presently catastrophic — it wouldn’t make any friggin’ sense to do such a nitwitted thing. The nightmares you manufacture about proposals to gently transition out of fossil fuels and into technologies like nuclear, solar and wind power are the alarmism here.
        You demand evidence of things which have not occurred, and reject evidence of things which have. Reasonable thinking people see your panicky rhetoric exactly for what it is: illogical horseshit not to be taken seriously.

      • Gates says:
        I imagine, I hope, that you personally have the good sense to insure your house and automobile against wholly unforeseeable damage or destruction.
        Yes, I do. But I don’t insure my house against an asteroid hit — and that is much more likely than CAGW.
        The rest of your comment, including your analogy, is a bunch of nonsense. There is zero evidence showing that runaway global warming is happening, or ever will occur.
        I’m sure some insurance company would be happy to take your money to insure against that — laughing all the way to the bank, as they recall a famous P.T. Barnum quote. ☺

      • SHF says:
        Here’s one for you DB.
        Then Flash quotes from his link:
        …researchers were able to calculate likely temperatures in a “natural-only” environment — the earth’s climate without the effects of man-made greenhouse gases. They found…&blah, blah, etc.
        How did they ‘find’ these “likely temperatures”? Here’s how:
        Using climate model simulations…
        You left that part out, Flash. I wonder why?

        • I thought it was self-evident. Researchers can’t actually create another Earth, so they use models.

      • Thanks Flashman. Mostly I write such things for me but with some faint hope that more neutral, silent, third parties may find them compelling. DB riffs off me in similar fashion, so as I see it one good turn deserves another.

        • Hey, it’s fun, no? But this is a political website (and a very strange one) dressed up in a rhinestone labcoat to look sciency.

      • Brandon, you and Flash need to get a room, you’re so much in love [not that there’s anything wrong with that☺]. But first, I should remind you that what I wrote was:
        …so far, there are NO problems with CO2 emission. Prove me wrong, and you win the argument. Fail, and you lose.
        I gave you a very fair chance to show me I’m wrong. Instead, you ignored it, and made a lame analogy that I showed did not apply. Insurance is for real threats, not for supremely unlikely events.
        So now you’ve given up entirely on posting any solid evidence supporting your belief in runaway global warming, which, despite zero evidence, you seem to believe is sneaking up on us.
        Once more: post evidence showing that human emitted CO2 is harmful. Or any kind of a problem. You would like to win an argument for once, wouldn’t you? Now is your chance.

  21. And that is why Socialism does not work either.
    Socialism is a prisoner’s dilemma situation.
    The government structures the economy so, Ideally, all groups share burdens and profits — but that never happens. Everybody is soon gaming the system producing the worst possible consequences. Socialism destroys all that it touches because it makes wrong assumptions about basic human nature.
    Capitalism demands that human nature structure the economy, not the government. It is not a prisoner’s dilemma situation.
    Capitalism fails when it entwines itself with government becoming, well, socialism.
    Government needs to regulate Capitalism not control it. Regulation comes after Capitalism acts. Control comes before Capitalism acts. A Socialist government controls while a Capitalist government regulates.
    But regulation can quickly become control and socialism with all its terrible consequences will result. When regulations are used to “direct” Capitalism they have become controls.
    Or so it seems to me.
    This is so off topic that a sensible moderator would eliminate it.
    Eugene WR Gallun
    [But, the policy here is to “expose” it and “expand on it”, rather than “eliminate” such a topic. .mod]

    • I don’t think you are too far off topic Eugene because I think that the real objective of the global warming alarmist is to bring communism to all. Some may think that democratic socialism is what they want but tyrannical communism is what they will get. It is what happened to the Russian sailors in the early 1920s (see Kronstadt rebellian).

    • You’ve brought up the political aspect, not the scientific aspect of AGW. But it is the political aspect that has had a greater negative impact on people than any CO2 Man has ever emitted. That impact is scientifically next to immeasurable.

  22. “Voters would quickly reject the pain ….. .”
    Not much sign of this so far …… .
    (Mainly because the MSM isn’t reporting things properly, of course.)

    • It appears that most people will ignore this entire issue until it affects them personally.
      For example, in Oz at the moment we have a Government keen to reduce our national debt and they were voted in quite strongly with this as their platform. Now that they are attempting to perform (what they consider) the necessary fiscal changes, the polls of the same people that voted them in but are going to have to pay for the changes have them as the bad guys and not as popular as during the elections.
      At the moment, it appears very people who put us in the debt problem in the first place would win an election.

  23. It’s not that complicated….
    Say there’s 300 countries….
    10 countries pay……..290 countries get paid
    …and they vote on it

  24. ‘Voters would quickly reject the pain, especially if they saw everyone else was accruing any benefit to be realised from their sacrifices.’
    Oh, how I wish that were true. Voters didn’t reject the pain in 2012.

    • A vast majority of folks in my “circle of acquaintance” can’t feel where the pain is coming from -yet. They feel the climate change issue is very low on the scale of reasons to vote, just like the poles show. I hang with “middle-of-the-roaders” mostly, who haven’t looked into the science beyond what the media tells, and are largely unaware of resolutions at the international level promoting a global governance.
      Those who have known me all my life know that I have always been a conservationist and steward of the environment, so my questioning the green motives is a change of perspective. Yet some still insist that if anthropological climate change is not real, the people they put in office will figure that out, so why should they have to really educate themselves or even be concerned?
      While there are so many more “fight-or-flight” inducing stimuli in the media to take priority, it is easy to “slip things by the populous” under the rationalization of “erring on the side of caution”

      • “…the people they put in office will figure that out, so why should they have to really educate themselves or even be concerned?”

  25. Could Eric’s point be that the Western leaders, India and China at the urging of the UN have ALREADY agreed to a defect/cooperate strategy, and thus the game is lost from the start? For example, Obama’s agreement with China allows the latter to proceed unrestrained until 2030 and then they will CONSIDER leveling off;while the US starts cutting back on CO2 immediately. (He is so proud of that achievement he’s declared he wants the same agreement with India.)
    Our reductions can’t possibly stay even with China and India’s increases, so the whole exercise is pointless with respect to any attempt to reduce worldwide CO2 levels (regardless of you opinion on the impact of CO2 on warming).
    Of course, if your goal is actually a global redistribution of wealth…….

  26. [after playing out all possible outcomes for Global Thermonuclear War]
    Joshua: Greetings, Professor Falken.
    Stephen Falken: Hello, Joshua.
    Joshua: A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?

  27. Since the increase in atmospheric CO2 has been greatly beneficial to life on this planet, we should add that the crime they are charged with is helping less fortunate people after the government ruled that helping less fortunate people was a crime (akin to EPA’s ruling that CO2=pollution) (-:

  28. On a human timescale, there is no such thing as global warming, or global climate. On a geological timescale; the globe is either in a galcial or interglacial state.
    The fact is that climate is regional (and temperature is only one of many different components that go to make up climate). Some parts of the globe are warming, some are cooling and some are not experiencing any significant chage in temperatures. Every country experiences climate change/changes in temperature differently.
    For some countries a warming climate would be a God send (eg. countries in high northern latitutes such as Canada, the UK, Scandinavian Countries etc). For some sea level rise would be no problem at all, eg Switzerland (in fact there are almost 50 landlocked countries) and countries like Norway that have high rising cliff/mountain coastlines, for other countries sea level rise would be an inconvenience (possibly even a serious one; although sea level rise is gradual).
    The big con in all of this is the globalisation of the scare. It is a political conscript; we are all in it together, we need a global solution. This is wholly untrue. But if the IPCC/UN was honest, then every country would evaluate its own self interest, and would assess whether (so called) Global Warming was a problem for that country, or a benefit and would then act in its own self interest. Some countries would therefore not be concerned about their own (or indeed others) CO2 emissions, and would wish to maximise their own industrial and economic strength.
    There is a global power grab, and this is why cAGW is presented as a global problem requiring global solutions.
    The obvious ‘solution’ would be adaption, and if a country adversely affected by Gloabl Warming cannot afford the expense of adaption and if it is a low CO2 emitter, possibly there is a case that high CO2 emitters who have benefitted economically from not curbing their CO2 emissions should assist the low CO2 emitting country that has been adversely impacted.
    The real application of the precautionary principle points strongly towards adaption; since the real disaster scenario would be that the developed countries bankrupt themselves by curbing CO2 emissions and reducing their energy production/dependence and thereby losing industrially and economically, AND cutting global CO2 has no effect (because CO2 is not the control knob) such that the world continues to warm (because the present warming is of natural origin) AND this warming has negative impacts and the developed world no longer has the financial capacity or industrial resourse to mobilise the adaption work required in the developing world that has suffered the adverse consequences of the naturally warming world, and the developing world does not have the financial or industrial wherewithal to deal with matters because the UN prevented it from industrialising and developing itself because of the fear of CO2 emissions. The upshot is that all countries are too broke, lack the infrasture/industrial capacity to meet the challenges and needs required.

    • When changes occur, the meaningful impacts are always local. Any kind of change, industrial, disease, economic, or climate requires strong leadership. Instead we have corruption, ignorance, and incompetence. A case in point is when foreign competition changed the auto industry, Detroit never adapted and slid into ruin.
      What is bizarre about climate politics, is they are arguing climate is not relevant locally. It is a “global” issue, ignoring that over millenniums changing climate has both enhanced and diminished life depending on what part of the globe it inhabited.
      Adapt or die is the way life on Earth evolved, I didn’t think the UN is changing that. Evolution does not preclude having compassion, it precludes acting stupid and expecting good results.
      If I had to sum it up, climate change is the biggest ego trip since we thought the universe revolved around the earth.

  29. This article points out the third leg of the climate change farce. Below are the three legs.
    1. Data collection has been and still is inconsistently collected and tabulated. Too much data correction, too much massaged data, and too many massaging techniques. Input is unreliable.
    2. In terms of the earths, land, life, air, and water system the models are incomplete, They simplify a much more complex system. Output would remain unreliable even if the input from number 1 above became fully trusted.
    3. Even if 1 or 2 are both proven true, as this post shows there is no politically practical way to reduce CO2. Going further even if by some miracle there was a combined political will, the amount of CO2 reduction required to get back to pre-industrial levels would require civilization regressing to the 17th century.
    Actually, due to natural variation, CO2 could well increase after we shutdown all of the power plants and oil rigs. Boy, wouldn’t that suck. All those environmentalists having to give up their iPhones, Starbucks, and easily available energy for no reason at all.

  30. Further to my comment above the point I was making is that:
    The ultimate disaster is that the world bankrupts itself/fails to develop because it employs an ineffective strategy of mitigation (because it turns out that CO2 is not the control knob and the warming is of natural origin) and is then incapable of adapting because it has run out of cash and/or de-industrialised and/or not developed.
    Further adaption is preferable to mitigation because CO2 brings with it many KNOWN benefits, eg., plant food and the greening of the plant, and also, it may well be the case that a warmer world benefits the majority of countires/the majority of the population (most people prefer to live in warm locations), and is a detriment only to a minority of the world. Historical evidence suggests that a warmer world is a good thing (the advent of civilisations and technology, the move from the bronze to the iron age can be traced in accordance with warm temperatures), and we know that greater bio diversity is to be seen in warm/wet locations and least bio diversity in cold/arid locations; historic, archaeological evidence and commonselnse all tell us that warm is preferable condition, and personally, I consider that this (ie., the fear of warmth) is an area where the ‘warmist’ have very seriously gone off the rails

    • Richard. Your comment reminds me of what I consider wrong actions taken by many countries prior to WW2 to prepare for the approaching storm. I think the whole disaster could have been avoided if different preparations were made. If the US would have had a strong military, if France would have used the money and effort it put into the Maginot lines fixed fortifications (monuments to the stupidity of man- Patton) into mobile systems then Germany probably would have been deterred.
      Wastfull wrong actions were taken then and the results were horrendous. Let us not do the same kind of wrong action again.

  31. My understanding is that in the past C02 levels have been a lot higher than 400ppm (8000ppm is one figure that I heard) and since we are discussing this, after CO2 reached these unprecedented levels, then CAGW is a non-event.
    We need to maintain economic growth to continue to feed, clothe and defend ourselves, eventually replacements for fossil fuels will be discovered so that economic growth can continue (hydrogen fusion springs to mind. Renewable power sources (apart from hydro-electric) are unreliable and will not provide modern computer driven economies with the necessary stability of power.
    To me, this is all reminiscent of the calls by the political left in the 1980’s of unilateral nuclear disarmament in the deluded belief that the USSR would disarm too. I can guarantee that if USA, UK, Australia and EU were to cut back our emissions the rest of the world wouldn’t and we would become the new Third World.

    • Andrew,
      Your understanding is correct. Evidence that CO2 was much higher in the past can be seen everyday in every commercial greenhouse around the world. Growers use various methods to raise CO2 concentrations to 1500 ppm. In doing so, one can practically watch plants grow before his very eyes, so fast is their progress. Why? Plants evolved when CO2 was much higher; now they are starving!
      Indeed, CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Just not in the way cAGW morons think.
      BTW, I wonder if there are any marijuana growers who believe in cAGW. That would be ironic, to say the least. Pot calling the kettle black 😉

      • Ha Ha Max!
        Also my understanding is that if CO2 falls below 170ppm plants will be unable to use it and of course if the plants die off so does every other living thing.

      • Yes, at less than 170 ppm CO2, plants get all yellow and spindly … kind of like warmunists.
        (Perhaps it would have been funnier if I had said, “Pot calling the kettle green.”)

  32. The Prisoner’s Dilemma assumes that both are guilty, or the system will get them no matter what. With CAGW the system is corrupt so everyone gets screwed, NO MATTER WHAT! The only difference is timing and method.

  33. I have long thought about the Prisoner’s Dilemma that is self-evident in the ‘reduce CO2’ construct, so I applaud this article. (Incidentally, the simple graphic is very nicely done.)
    Something to always keep in mind about cAGW — and I know it’s been stated directly and indirectly countless times by others in myriad ways — is that there is nothing rational about cAGW. It’s not intended to be rational. It is meant to be destructive, and to that end it is certainly a success!
    Sure it is meant to have the appearance of great output from great minds, but, much like the idiotic Quantity Theory of Money, it is an emotionally-potent oversimplification — a catchy (infectious?) metaphor.
    — More CO2 = higher temperatures; less CO2 = lower temperatures.
    — More $$$ = higher prices; less $$$ = lower prices.
    Both the Quantity Theory of Money and the Quantity Theory of CO2 are socialist weapons designed for one purpose: to destroy society.
    Go ahead and argue logically against cAGW. We must. But always be aware that doing so is — in part — playing into their hands.

    • Tch. Very poor equivalence, there.
      There is no equivalence between CO2 and temperature (at least at the levels it has taken for most of geologic history). This is due to the inverse logarithmic nature of it’s effect.
      Your second one is a valid criticism, but only when ignoring production. More money, with production held constant = higher prices. Less money, with production held constant = lower prices. And this is a linear relationship. The consistent inflation we suffer under is simply that money is increasing without a corresponding increase in production.
      Which the invention of green scams (along with all of the other scams that have a neutral, or negative effect on production) only exacerbates.

      • You are entitle to your opinion, but QTM is demonstrably false several times over, not the least of which, the money supply cannot even be defined. However this is a not a money-related site, so I will drop the issue.

  34. “It makes much more sense to steam full power ahead, maximize economic growth…”
    Its stories like this that make me think oil and coal companies love the issue of global warming because it distracts from the issue of pollution. Some parts of China are living in a pollution haze that is shortening lives drastically, 25 years shorter by one report in parts of China. Many other parts of the world too are living in air quality that is most likely causing health problems and shortening lives. I live near Los Angeles and I see the smog dome over the area that has existed for decades it has always concerned me. I do not worry about global warming, I think its a non-issue. When I read stories that imply the only reason to cut carbon fuel usage is to curtail global warming I think coal producers and oil companies are smiling ear to ear, thinking “This global warming thing is brilliant! Threaten them with sea level rise rate of half an inch per year and people aren’t even THINKING about us taking 25 years off their lives RIGHT NOW! Simply Brilliant!”

    • Economic growth in all its forms has increased life span greatly. The problems it creates certainly have a minor negative effect on that large lifespan increase. Nothing is perfect.
      The average lifespan of a person living in Los Angelos has gone way up from horse and buggy days. Even in China there has been a huge increase in lifespan in the last fifty years (if you ignore direct government killing of its citizens — Mao undoubtedly had a negative impact on the average Chinese lifespan of his times – but, hey, that communism for you — comes with the territory)..
      The law of diminishing returns implies that as long as we use fossil fuels we are going to have some level of pollution. Any more money spent on eliminating it would have a bigger impact spent somewhere else on some other REAL problem (not global warming).
      Eugene WR Gallun

  35. Come on man. Include reality when creating the scenarios. The silly prisoner dilemma problem ignores the key issues.
    Consider two countries, country A and country B. (Reality is all countries are affected by the choices. Reality is the choices are different than the warmists are telling us.) Both countries have the following options (note physical reality is taken into account when defining the scenarios.
    1. Both developed countries (Reality is the warmists are trying to get all developed countries to spend trillions and trillions of dollars on green scams that do not work and send billions and billions of dollar to developing countries to be spend on climate change).
    Warmists Fiscal Magic Wand:
    Note the warmists assume there is a magic wand in their scenario. There is only so much GDP to spend on everything. Is that or is that not true? Where is the magic wand to create trillions and trillions of dollars to spend on green scams. What are the consequences of spending trillions and trillions of dollars on green scams that do not work and what are the benefits?
    Warmists ignore imported goods
    Roughly 40% of CO2 emission is from consumption. The warmists ignore the CO2 that is produced from goods that are produced in Asia and imported into the developed countries. i.e. Developed country CO2 emission drops as we have lost manufacturing jobs to Asia and South America.
    Consequences of spending money that we do not have on green scams
    Electrical power costs will triple (Germany electrical costs are three times higher than the US, Germany has reached the limit of the green scams (15% reduction, a significant portion of the German CO2 reduction is that they now import goods manufactured in Asia and they purchase high energy bulk products from the US and other countries, that is a fact not a theory) and is now constructing coal plants.
    To truly reduce anthropogenic emissions by let say 70% (note under the IPCC paradigm we must get to zero), airfare must be banned, consumption of all goods must be forced down, and all electrical power must be produced by nuclear. Without converting to nuclear power (i.e. Ignoring engineering reality the green scams are intermittent power sources) there will be brown outs and further loss of jobs to Asia, government expenditures on health care, roads, education, aid to developing countries and so on must be reduced to free up trillions and trillions of dollars of GDP to spend on green scams that do not work.
    Physical reality A:
    There has been no warming for 18 years. There has been no warming of the tropical troposphere at 8km. This fact supports the assertion that the planet resists (negative feedback) rather than amplifies (positive feedback) any forcing change. There is no extreme AGW problem to solve.
    Physical reality B:
    Planet cools due to the solar magnetic cycle interruption. It is a fact, not a theory, that there are cycles of warming and cooling in the paleo climatic record that correlate with solar magnetic cycle changes. Roughly 75% to 90% of the warming in the last 150 years was due to solar magnetic cycle changes which affect planetary cloud cover. If this assertion is correct the planet will significantly cool as the solar magnetic cycle has been interrupted.
    This scenario is lose – lose. Do to physical reality A there is no extreme AGW problem to solve. Regardless, spending money on green scams that do not significantly reduce CO2 emissions is madness – a bad idea not a good idea – as the majority of the warming in the last 70 years was due to solar magnetic cycle changes, warming as opposed to cooling causes the biosphere to expand and thrive, anyway -warming with most of the warming occurring at high latitudes of less than 2C is a good thing not a bad thing. There is no extreme AGW problem to solve.
    An alternative that is less lose for scenario 1 is for the developed countries spend money to convert to nuclear power.
    1A) Alternative to scenario 1. Reality is that Salby’s hypothesis that the majority of the CO2 increase due to natural CO2 emissions rather than anthropogenic CO2 is correct. Planet cools and atmospheric CO2 drops. Changing anthropogenic CO2 emissions will have almost no affect on atmospheric CO2 levels.
    2. Both developed countries (reality is all developed countries can stop this green scam madness) do not spend trillions and trillions of dollars on green scams and instead invest in advanced coal plants and energy efficient products with consideration of cost vs benefits. Electric power costs drop by 30% rather than increase by a factor of three. Trillions and trillions of dollars are freed up to address the developed countries problems (high unemployment and unsustainable spending which we in the US call kicking the can down the road). A portion of the money not spent on green scams that do not work can be used to address developing world problems such population explosion and access to electrical power (solution is to construct advanced coal plants).

  36. Ok, just to point out the obvious here. In your argument CO2 would be a REPEATED prisioner’s dilema. The differnce of course being in the original game if you defect the other guy can’t punish you for doing so, therefore giving all the incentive to defect and no incentive to cooperate.
    In your game if you don’t reduce CO2 then other countries will see this and say, “Hey, they’re not reducing their CO2 so lets stop reducing ours.” Therefore the only way to get the benefits of CO2 reduction is to also do so yourself.
    And of course this is also why CO2 reduction has failed in real life. Because there will always be countries that don’t want to reduce their CO2 – even if everyone else did it, and therefore no country wants to because the other guys aren’t doing it.
    And just to be nitpicky – because, why not – this is really a repeated voting game (sorry, I don’t remember the official name off hand). That’s where you have any number of people and each can vote either ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If you vote ‘no’ nothing happens. If you vote ‘yes’ you lose 2 points but everyone gains 1 point including you. You can make your own conclusions on what will happen…

    • The defection can be moderately subtle, such as the EU problem with carbon permits. In my opinion, all the national governments in the EU turned a blind eye to their own industries inflating the calculation of the number of free permits they were allowed, to give their own national economy a covert boost at the expense of the other EU member states. The problem is all the member nations had the same “clever” idea – the result was a glut of carbon permits, and a farce of a carbon market.

  37. All skepticism aside, the carbon tax scheme can indeed be seen as a form of wealth re-distribution but with the potential to dwarf any other form of financial aid to those countries. If that happens the other forms of funding will dry up and as the developed world reduces their carbon use so will the collection of carbon tax which means that over time there are no funds going to developing nations. The “west” is keen to stop the financial aid to corrupt regimes and this will do so over time but by then they should not need it any longer either.
    To get the developing nations to a better standard of living makes economic sense not only because it increases their demand for the few goods still produced by nations other then China and India but also as it will slow down (stop) the flow of people out of those countries seeking a life in the developed nations which is putting a huge strain on their own infrastructure and economic well being in the short term. A bit of a two edged sword that, these countries need the influx to stop the decline of their own “native” populations in order to maintain growth (tax revenue) but can’t deal with it. Europe in particular.
    Central and South Americans easily crossing into the US and Africans and Asians even more easily crossing into Europe. China and India in particular are already outsourcing production to Africa where possible (making economic sense, i.e. cheaper that is).
    While CO2 is the nonsense argument it has always been it is about a world which was told already in the 70’s that carbon fuels would be running out within our life time. Two oil crisis’s and that prospect together with general pollution, China is still a good example, left a world that needed to change. Not sure which bright marketing consultant suggested to use AGW and CO2 as the enemy needed to unify all peoples, but anyway. It is possible that the chemist prime minister in the UK at the time had something to do with it. The good Lord who writes here from time to time may be able to shed a better light on this, he worked with her at the time.
    Now, 40 years later having used about twice the known reserves of the 70’s, of course we know that we still have at least another 150 odd years of conventional fossil fuel of the various kinds and if the potential of methane hydrates and possibly cold fusion can indeed be unlocked we can look a fairly reliable energy future in the face. But despite all euphoria over the next 10 billion barrel oil find we need to keep in mind that this only delays “world out of oil day (wood)” by 110 days at current consumption. (and not many of those finds around these days, the oil world is now happy to find 4 billion barrel, 43 days consumption, potentials). And oil, coal and gas are by far the cheaper to extract. Cold fusion has been the next big thing in 10 years for the last 60 years so it is possible that it stays that way. Methane hydrates are a long way off from being commercial, Japan does a lot of work on it at the moment.
    Renewable of course makes sense on the face of it, except that it is not really renewable. We have to keep mining the minerals to make the turbine magnets, average lifespan about 12 years at the moment, solar panels etc to get to that point. Processing the rare earth minerals is a messy job with plenty of toxic (radio active) waste. Solar panel production leads to vast increases of SF6 in the atmosphere (talking about man made green house gas pollution, here is one). Best left to China as long as they don’t crank up the price too much and it keeps the environmentalists out of the streets protesting in the west just in case people start to realize that green is actually not green at all. Costs of these technologies is coming down and subsidies in 20 or so years will be a thing of the past, which means that the direct energy cost to the consumer will go up further, unlikely of course that the governments will reduce the tax rates to compensate for the fact that they now no longer pay these huge subsidies.
    In the meantime we have to wish for never running out of carbon based fuels as it would mean a huge change in our industrial production methods as so much is based around carbon. And if we can only get to these carbons by getting it out of the first 30 cm of topsoil to produce these goods we are indeed scraping the barrel. Once that is gone no crop will grow there again unless we put C back in, which defeats the purpose.
    In the end we have to look beyond 150 years from now and through “democratic” processes it will take about that long to change anything of this magnitude.

  38. I long ago concluded from logic like this that the only way we could get the magnitude of CO2 emissions reductions alarmists say we need is to have a unitary global dictatorship. Democracies will vote out leaders who impoverish them; individual nations play prisoner’s dilemma with each other, without much trust.
    Even if the implications of continued high CO2 emissions are as bad as the most alarmed alarmists say it is, it will still be preferable to living under a global dictatorship.

    • Curt said:
      “Democracies will vote out leaders who impoverish them”
      Well, that is not quite true. The eco-brainwashed Germans for instance love their failed “Energie-Wende” still, though they pay the highest electricity-costs of all industry nations, because they believe strongly their noble sacrifice will save the planet from warmageddon…
      Thus we see, many years of brainwashing by the MSM can be stronger than common sense, unfortunately!

  39. when I was 8 or something I saw the the river in my home town in the UK entirely covered in 20-30 feet of soap suds from the textile mills. I thought, “that has got to be a bad thing”. But there also was the feeling “well that is industry, human progress must take precedence, I think that is why they do it “.
    and so I’ve never really understood the decision to close the pits and the coal powered stations. I think, well if there is a problem with something let’s fix it. Not just throw it away.

  40. After reading Joe Bastardi’s post ‘Megabust in UKMO temp forecast ignored’, it make me (again) wonder if the whole CO2 ‘debate’ continues simply because it stops people from thinking to look at the man behind the curtain.
    “a Bust of 1C ( forecasted plus .5 actual -.5). Do you realize the implication of a 1C cooler temp as far as water vapor goes in that area, vs the rise of the same amount in the arctic. It blows it away! It was in effect forecasting the eternal enso, the dream of all AGW pushers.”
    CO2 is pushed time and time again, simply because it’s not the problem; it’s a convenient strawman.

  41. Anyone with even a modicum of business acumen realizes IPCC’s CAGW “solution” of massive economic destruction to keep CO2 induced warming below 2C by 2100 is a deal made of the idiots, by the idiots and for the idiots…
    The physics and empirical evidence indicate ECS will be around 0.5C~1C by 2100, which isn’t even CLOSE to being a problem. Conversely, the positive effects of increasing CO2’s levels (50% increase in crop yields and forest growth, plants’ decreased water requirements from leaf stoma shrinkage, extended growing seasons from slightly warmer global temps, increased arable land in Northern latitudes, etc.,) offset any possible negative effects possible from higher CO2 levels.
    Moreover, China now expects to have commercial Thorium reactors ready by 2024, which makes this entire CAGW scam moot.
    Rather than wasting about $80 TRILLION on insane CO2 sequestration programs (UN’s estimate) it’s far cheaper to do NOTHING and enjoy 0.5C of CO2 induced warming its other benefits.
    China is playing this CAGW farce beautifully. They’ve negotiate a special dispensation to continue business-as-usual CO2 emissions until 2030, so a second wave of industrial production will shift to China as the West wastes $trillions on CO2 programs, then China’s thorium reactors start rolling out from 2025, leading to a 3rd wave of production moving to China to take advantage of the cheapest energy in the world…
    The West has gone temporarily insane…

  42. Hmmm… The situation is far more like the “Gambler’s Dilemma.” If you haven’t heard of that one…
    Several gamblers (of equal ability) are having a game (it needs to be a long one, or several with the same players).
    1) All of the gamblers are honest. Over the long run, nearly all of them leave with no more money than they came with (unless one or more had an especially bad run of luck).
    2) One or more (but not all) gamblers cheat. Over the long run, the cheaters leave with more money (the amount primarily depending on how many cheat); the honest ones need to find a heat vent somewhere.
    3) All of the gamblers cheat. Over the long run, nearly all of them leave with the same money they came with, unless they are especially good at cheating, or especially bad (note – the initial supposition is that they are all equally good gamblers, not equally good cheaters).
    Now, what we have in the world economy is approximately a four or five handed poker game – US, EEU, China, and India. Possibly Russia as the fifth hand. Every other player that can focus on a single economic policy has too small of a “stake” to influence the game in any significant way.
    In this game, we have two players that are probably honest (for certain values of “honest”) – the US and EEU. We have one player that is not real certain, they would like to be honest, but will regretfully cheat to keep themselves from being cleaned out – that player is India. Then we have two players that will cheat in any way they think they can get away with – and some that they really can’t get away with, but the honest players are afraid to call them out on it.
    So – in this game – what should we do?

  43. There is a fifth option. Do nothing and fix the damage as it occurs, if it occurs. Bjorn Lomborg has publish articles that claim that this is a much more effective course of action.

  44. As a Model “Prisoners Dilemma” is too simple, the Economics and Politics involved are nearly as complex as Climate Change itself is and are completely intertwined with it. Two variables my a**, it’s not modelabel.

  45. It most likely works the other way.
    If all countries produce plenty of “the precious air-fertilizer” (as Scientific American accurately called CO2), then all countries will benefit from much improved agricultural productivity.
    If most countries produce plenty of CO2, all countries will benefit from improved agricultural productivity, including the freeloaders who aren’t contributing to global CO2 levels.
    If only a few countries produce plenty of CO2, they’ll experience little of the improvement in agricultural productivity which their CO2 production should gain for them.

  46. Reality is not a game. Real people suffer in poverty and in order to survive destroy the enviroment they live in. Real people and real enviroment suffer abuse at the hands of unrestrained ‘development’. Real profits enable better living. Real profits enable war, gluttony sand debasement of all that make us human.
    In all of this there are real people and a real environment. It is not a game. To reduce it to a game is to render yourself a cipher in a mathematical code. Once you do that, is there any meaning to anything?

    • If you can’t understand the reasons for something, even if attaining that understanding requires a level of abstraction and modelling of the situation, then there is no hope for improvement.

  47. I think “tragedy of the commons” is an easier way to look at this.
    This is exactly why environmentalists feel we need a totalitarian one-world government. Without it, saving the planet is impossible (if one thinks the world actually needs ‘saving’).

    • “This is exactly why environmentalists feel we need a totalitarian one-world government.”
      I have yet to meet an environmentalist who feels that way. That would be as inaccurate as saying that all climate denialists suffer from delusional paranoia and spend their days railing about non-existent green boogeymen.

      • Sir Harry Flashman

        Ian Schumacher
        “This is exactly why environmentalists feel we need a totalitarian one-world government.”

        I have yet to meet an environmentalist who feels that way.

        Odd. I have yet to meet an environmentalist who did not feel that way; who did not want to remove 90% of people (if not all) from their “Gaea” image of a perfect world.

      • RACook is right, as anyone who reads up on this subject knows. How many official quotes have we seen here, from the Rockefellers, to Prince Charles, and many, many others, saying that culling the global population to a half million or so, and having a one-world government is their goal? Agenda 21, anyone?
        The UN is fully prepared to take over, and if they had the divisions they would have already. Since they don’t, they are using the eco crowd’s naive lemmings to do their dirty work. Some of them even post here.
        I wouldn’t even blame the UN for wanting to be King of the World. What I don’t understand are the credulous lemmings who believe the BS they’re being spoon-fed by those charlatans.

      • Try opening your eyes and ears maybe? There are sooo many more quotes, but I got tired of doing your work for you.
        “Effective execution of Agenda 21 will require a profound reorientation of all human society, unlike anything the world has ever experienced a major shift in the priorities of both governments and individuals and an unprecedented redeployment of human and financial resources. This shift will demand that a concern for the environmental consequences of every human action be integrated into individual and collective decision-making at every level.”
        Quote by Maurice Strong, a billionaire elitist, primary power behind UN throne, and large CO2 producer: “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”
        Quote by Gus Hall, former leader of the Communist Party USA: “Human society cannot basically stop the destruction of the environment under capitalism. Socialism is the only structure that makes it possible.”
        Quote by Peter Berle, President of the National Audubon Society: “We reject the idea of private property.”
        Quote by Jack Trevors, Editor-in-Chief of Water, Air, & Soil Pollution: “The capitalistic systems of economy follow the one principal rule: the rule of profit making. All else must bow down to this rule…The current USA is an example of a failed capitalistic state in which essential long-term goals such as prevention of climate change and limitation of human population growth are subjugated to the short-term profit motive and the principle of economic growth.”
        Quote by Judi Bari, an American environmentalist and labor leader, a feminist, and the principal organizer of Earth First!: “I think if we don’t overthrow capitalism, we don’t have a chance of saving the world ecologically,”
        Quote by David Brower, a founder of the Sierra Club: “The goal now is a socialist, redistributionist society, which is nature’s proper steward and society’s only hope.”
        Quote by David Rockefeller, heir to billion dollar fortune: “We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis…”
        Quote by Judi Dench, famous UK actress: “The need for a global structure of control in the form of a world environment court is now more urgent than ever before.”
        Quote by Mikhail Gorbachev, communist and former leader of U.S.S.R.: “The emerging ‘environmentalization’ of our civilization and the need for vigorous action in the interest of the entire global community will inevitably have multiple political consequences. Perhaps the most important of them will be a gradual change in the status of the United Nations. Inevitably, it must assume some aspects of a world government.”
        Quote by Gordon Brown, former British prime minister: “A New World Order is required to deal with the Climate Change crisis.”
        Quote by Lester Brown, founder of the Worldwatch Institute, and founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute: “Nations are in effect ceding portions of their sovereignty to the international community and beginning to create a new system of international environmental governance.”
        Quote by Dixy Lee Ray, former liberal Democrat governor of State of Washington, U.S.: “The objective, clearly enunciated by the leaders of UNCED, is to bring about a change in the present system of independent nations. The future is to be World Government with central planning by the United Nations. Fear of environmental crises – whether real or not – is expected to lead to – compliance”
        Quote by UN’s Commission on Global Governance: “The concept of national sovereignty has been immutable, indeed a sacred principle of international relations. It is a principle which will yield only slowly and reluctantly to the new imperatives of global environmental cooperation.”
        Quote by David Shearman, an IPCC Assessor for 3rd and 4th climate change reports: “Government in the future will be based upon . . . a supreme office of the biosphere. The office will comprise specially trained philosopher/ecologists. These guardians will either rule themselves or advise an authoritarian government of policies based on their ecological training and philosophical sensitivities. These guardians will be specially trained for the task.”

        • No. A bunch of out of context quotes from random people, some entirely harmless, some completely insane, and some undoubtedly made up, don’t say anything about what “Greens” want, let alone form evidence of organized conspiracy. Seriously, bro, this is material for that guy that stands on street corners wearing cardboard signs written entirely in caps and superfluous quotation marks. Down this path lies madness.

      • Sir Harry Flashman,
        Also I want to re-iterate that very very small sample. I’m not going to spend hours comprehensively gathering quotes just so you can dismiss it out of hand anyways with some bogus assertion along the lines of “well these just extremists and don’t represent environmentalist I know!”. Yes of course. And Islam is a religion of peace.

      • “Out of context”???
        Flash, you’ve lost your grip on reality. Those quotes and articles are right on-target.
        That response is the old ‘Say Anything’ ploy. Really. If you believe those quotes are out of context then you have no understanding of anything. We could post a thousand other relevant quotes, and you would say the same thing. But it is nonsense. And I think you know it. If you don’t, we do.
        Alarmists say that sort of thing when they’re out of arguments. They never man-up and admit anything. That’s the big difference between them and skeptics.

  48. First of all, you are right with your example, with the Prisoner’s dilemma applied on reducing the CO2 emissions. Still, I believe that those discussions on reducing the emissions may become steril and lead to other topics. And this is because using less cars, or turning off computers are not solutions to reduce effects of global warming. I guess the causes of global warming should be searched for elsewhere, like the oceans and the sun. So I read on http://www.1ocean-1climate.com and I trust this hypothesis, which is very well analyzed there.

  49. Funny. When I first started reading this I thought the prisoner dilemma was referring to the old TV show “The Prisoner”.
    Perhaps the story would have made more sense if they had stopped with “Secret Agent”?

  50. Another problem is that with multiple variables, it’s not possible to know if the IPCC or the skeptics are right. We’re all a jury with insufficient evidence. Any global warming or cooling we’ve seen the last 65 years is just as likely to be “natural variability” as the GHG forcing. Same for any similar warming or cooling we see in the future. An hypothesis that Thor, Neptune (the planet or the god), or the Easter bunny has caused the warming or cooling is unfortunately no more falsifiable than hypotheses about solar or GHG, ocean oscillations, Milankovitch cycles, and other forcings. There are just too damn many forcings and no footprint by which to separate them.
    Are we entering a period of catastrophic warming from GHG masked by the new ice age we’ve entered? Or is the climate sensitivity so low that the GHG forcing never or seldom rises above the “noise” of natural variability? How would we ever know?
    Yes, specific model projections of warming like the ’88 Hansen or ’90 IPCC might be falsified at the 95% or 99% level using standard statistical practices, but hardly anything in climate science is standard, and such falsification based just on statistics without understanding the power of the forcings and the contribution of unknown unknowns is a unreliable.
    If nations could co-operate enough to hold carbon emissions to a predetermined level, we might have a chance after all the component lags in the system reached equilibrium- god knows how long that would take- we might have some idea of the role of the non-GHG forcings- the climate variability. Guess what! We already have that information. We have 100 years or more of instrumental data and milllennia of anecdotal data about warm periods, little ice ages, growing seasons, etc.
    When I examine the climate data from the pre-GHG-forcing era, which the IPCC says is 1945 or 1950, and when I look at the anecdotal information of earlier times, there’s nothing that suggests to me that fears of CAGW are supported by evidence. So although we can’t falsify hypotheses because of too great complexity, we certainly can infer that nothing catastrophic is happening or looks likely to happen based on the instrumental and anecdotal climate record. There is not enough information to convict any of the prisoners!

  51. We have 100 years or more of instrumental data and milllennia of anecdotal data about warm periods, little ice ages, growing seasons, etc.
    Yes, but the 100 years of data only covers about a quarter of the globe, if that, lacks the precision claimed, and has been heavily modified. In other words, scientifically, it is useless.
    No one has to falsify CAGW. Reality has already done that for over thirty years.
    You are correct though in your overall thought. We simply don’t know enough at this point. The sad thing is, rather than try to invest in equipment that would increase our understanding, the current mob in power is more interested in politics and revisionist history.

    • Thirty years is no where near long enough falsify hypotheses about climate because some of the known oscillations and cycles are a lot longer than 30 years. I truly wish we could use standard scientific method to falsify CAGW/AGW hypotheses, The complexity and the cycle/oscillation lengths make that more than problematic. The Hansen 1988 and IPCC 1990 models lack skill. Only based on the assumption Hansen and the IPCC stated, that natural variability could be treated as noise, can we falsify those hypotheses, but natural variability isn’t noise, so that leaves us with a wicked problem, doesn’t it?

    • German electricity is comparable to US at a wholesale level, although consumers do pay more to build out the new technologies. However, they’re enormously more efficient so the cost per user is similar. The grid itself has about 1/10 the number of breakdowns (in minutes per user) vs the US. The Energiewende is not without hiccups, but that’s inevitable when you’re creating the next generation of infrastructure, and it will pay off in the long run.

      • Region	        Area	   People	Pct Area     Pct Population
        United Kingdom	0.243	   64,100,000	146.91%	       125.77%
        Germany	        0.357	   80,620,000	100.00%	       100.00%
        California	0.423	   38,330,000	84.40%	       210.33%
        France	        0.640	   66,030,000	55.78%	       122.10%
        Texas	        0.696	   26,450,000	51.29%	       304.80%
        India	        3.288	1,252,000,000	10.86%	         6.44%
        Australia       7.692	   23,130,000	4.64%	       348.55%
        China	        9.597	1,357,000,000	3.72%	         5.94%
        United States	9.857	  316,100,000	3.62%	        24.50%
        Canada	        9.985	   35,160,000	3.58%	       229.29%
        South America	17.840	  387,500,000	2.00%	        20.81%
        Russia (USSR)	22.402	  293,000,000	1.59%	        27.52%
        Africa(-Sahara)	23.587	  800,000,000	1.51%	        10.08%

        Odd that. You are assuming that the very energy policies that threaten the very closely controlled, highly socialized but densely populated and very civilized region in a small area of the world’s smallest and most densely civilized continent can be compared to the energy needs in the rest of the world.
        80% of who fight daily problems of NOT being civilized = heat, light, power, electricity, clean water, sewage, commercial and private transportation, refrigeration, clean streets and clean animals and insulated houses and reliable roads, canals, and highways ….
        So, across all of Africa, “you” are going to use Germany’s failing energy policies to supply an area 66 times larger with 10 times the number of people of Germany – NONE of whom have ANYTHING now?
        You’re going to supply South America ( 50 times the area of Germany and 5 times the number of people) without the 120 kilometer cables connecting Sweden and Norway’s vast hydroelectric dams to the Germany’s wind mills? Next, you will claim that can be done by damning the Amazon, right?
        And yet, Germany is your “ideal” …
        But Germany gets 36% of its heat (natural gas and electricity) and 39% of its oil (transportation and shipping, food and farm production!) from the Soviet Union. The rest of the oil comes from the MidEast. Two phone calls and Germany is shutdown. It can run at 1850 levels.

        In a recent meeting with Stephen Harper, Angela Merkel said it was time the EU reformed its energy policy
        A glance at the facts, however, shows that it will be hard for Europe to turn its back on Russian energy – at least in the short term: 30 percent of the EU’s natural gas imports are currently from Russia. When it comes to oil, 35 percent of the European Union’s supplies are of Russian origin. And Germany’s dependence on Moscow is even higher: the country sources 36 percent of its natural gas imports and 39 percent of its oil imports from Russian energy suppliers. Since the biggest transport route for Europe for Russian gas runs through Ukraine, a halt of exports to there would also have consequences for Western Europe. Half of Russian natural gas exports – around 160 Million cubic meters of gas – reach Europe via Ukraine.
        If Russia were to halt imports to Ukraine, the EU could survive for three months on reserves within its borders. There are also other transport routes. One of these is the Nord Stream gas pipeline, through which 55 billion cubic meters of Russian gas reach Germany. Another is the Yamal-Europe pipeline, which brings about 33 billion cubic meters of gas to Germany, the Baltic states and Poland via Belarus. The Blue Stream pipeline transports 16 billion cubic meters of Russian gas into Turkey and to Southern Europe.
        If the conflict between the West and Russia continues to escalate, an oil and gas embargo could be one of the sanctions that is considered against Russia. Especially when it comes to natural gas, however, it will be hard to find alternatives for Russian imports. The Bruegel Institute, a Brussels-based think tank, did rough calculations that show it would be a huge technical and economic endeavor to find an alternative source for the 130 billion cubic meters of natural gas that reach the EU from Russia. Germany alone uses 90 billion cubic meters of the gas.

        • You’re making my point for me. Of course Germany would want to reduce dependency on Russia, hence the Energiewende.

      • German electricity is comparable to US at a wholesale level, although consumers do pay more to build out the new technologies.

        http://www.dw.de/german-electricity-price-is-half-taxes-and-fees/a-17849142 (bold added)

        The burden shouldered by retail electricity consumers in Germany is not shared by the industrial sector. On the contrary – industry is paying less for electricity than it used to, because it pays wholesale prices, and wholesale prices have been pushed sharply down over the last few years thanks to Germany’s growing renewable energy capacity.
        The reason is that whenever a strong wind blows or the sun shines, a large amount of electricity is dumped onto wholesale electricity markets at extremely low prices. Unlike with coal or gas-fired power plants, there is little or no marginal cost involved in generating more or less power from wind turbines or solar PV cells. The production cost of solar and wind power depends largely on the initial equipment and installation costs, not on fuel costs or other running costs. When a windy or sunny day leads to an overabundance of electricity, producers are willing to sell it very cheaply.
        At the same time, the government has almost entirely exempted industry from paying the renewable energy surcharge, in order to make sure that it doesn’t end up with a competitive disadvantage compared to other jurisdictions that lack a feed-in tariff subsidy like Germany’s.

        European Union competition authorities have grumbled over Germany’s implicit subsidy to energy-hungry industries as a result. The upshot, after European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia took on the issue, is that European renewable energy subsidies are supposed to be replaced by more “market-based” systems by 2017.

        Wholesale prices are low, because of dumping of excess “green” electricity at dirt cheap prices, sold way below what it’d be worth if it came from a stable electricity source.
        How can an industry be considered viable, when it survives on subsidies and is continually forced to sell below market rates because it can’t control rate and timing of production?

    • If anyone had asked, how much CO2 is averted by building windfarms, or solar farms, the answer, because of the need for backup produced from fossil fuel generation running at less than optimum efficiency, would have been none, or almost none.
      If anyone had asked, how much temperature increase will be averted by building windfarms or solar farms then (even assuming that CO2 drives temperatures which is looking less and less certain all the time), the answer would have been none, or almost none, because no or almost no CO2 emissions are curbed by the building of windfars/solar farms (because of the need for backup from fossil fuel generation running at less than optimum efficiency).
      That is the problem for politicians; their ‘solution’ has not and cannot result in the meaningful reduction of CO2 emissions, and the politicians have failed to ask tghe basic questions of those pushing the green mantra.

  52. Too bad the “Prisoner’s dilemma” as described is flawed.

    1. They both keep quiet, and when convicted they both receive moderate sentences.

    Nah. They’ll get heavy sentences for refusing to admit guilt, refusing to cooperate with authorities, and lack of remorse.

    3. Both prisoners rat on each other – they both receive heavy sentences.

    Nah. Each are admitting they did it and the other guy did it too. They’re both cooperating, pleading guilty, thus lighter sentences than otherwise, unless what they did was really horrendous and depraved. Also both have to rat out the other at about the same time, ideally a joint confession, otherwise only one gets the points for most cooperative.
    People here are failing to notice the current US Administration has envisioned the benefits of option 2, being first to confess. By taking the high road, on their high horse, they freely admit the failings of the US in stopping the obvious nigh-runaway greenhouse warming that the American people are subsequently primarily responsible for. Thus the US shall lead the way in seeking forgiveness for our carbon sins by reducing emissions and choosing energy austerity as we wait for Green Clean Free energy to undoubtedly fulfill its abundant promise.
    Then the world will see the US as a reformed sinner, now as pure as the few remaining shards of Arctic sea ice, and will flock to the US as a preferred partner in commerce and diplomacy known for honesty and integrity, as opposed to THOSE DIRTY CRIMINALS who refuse to repent. Who’d want to deal with them, even if they are charging only half as much? There are more important things to businesses and governments than money!

  53. A profound thought provoking post by Eric Worrall, wonderful stuff to stimulate us by.
    A dilemma cannot be a false dichotomy. If it is then it isn’t a dilemma.
    Is the Prisoner’s Dilemma a false dichotomy? Yes, there are very plausible other scenarios than those presented like a win at court, etc etc etc.
    If you are looking for a dilemma (containing no false dichotomy) which might be useful to compare to the climate change cause’s view of our situation then I have a couple of suggestions:
    – The Kobayashi Maru Starfleet Test (no win situation) Dilemma
    – The Overcrowded Lifeboat Dilemma (Robert Heinlein’s (1907-1988) version is one of the best)
    They are dilemmas.
    Analysis of them against the climate change cause’s view of our situation reveals that our situation is not a dichotomy and not a dilemma. Our situation is just business as usual for applied reasoning toward normal wealth creating human action.

  54. The benefit of “full steam ahead” is that it maximises the opportunity to innovate with new technology that reduces pollution, and sustains us all in the long run. The whole world and the environment benefits from these innovations.

    • This is one of the greatest fallacies of the debate. When you let the market take its natural course, new technologies emerge and are adopted based on their economic viability. When you pursue a “full steam ahead” aproach, what you are doing is forcing new technologies into the market on the basis of incentives, subsidies, regulations, and so on. This distorts the market and ensures that technologies that are NOT economical and beneficial are adopted in the short term. This in turn squeezes out the R&D in the real long term winners. If there are no artificial “full steam ahead” distortions of the market, innovators continue to research until they have something viable to bring to market. As soon as artificial constructs make a less than viable product profitable, the focus on R&D ceases and attention turns to production instead. The long term solutions that would otherwise have continued to be researched get shelved in favour of profits that can be had right now. When the ability to subsidize these artificial industries comes to an end, the industries collapse and we’re left with a pile of garbage instead of long term solutions based on sound economics. “Full Steam Ahead” is quite possibly the worst possible thing we could do for long term environmental stewardship.

  55. Kadaka, wrong. totally wrong you have no understanding of the “Prisoners Dilemma” Both may be innocent. It is a test in ethics. Is it more natural for a human being to lie and betray the not. To do anything to save one’s own skin. The President of the United States sold out a nation that had the good graces and trust to elect him twice. Just so he could appear popular, Judas at least gone some silver out of his deal.
    Sorry in a foul temper

  56. A few have mentioned it in this thread but none of the “dilemma” scenarios are correct regarding AGW because it’s not about temperature. It’s about wealth redistribution. It’s about punishing the industrialized countries for their sin of success. While we’re hell bent on proving AGW wrong they are continuing as usual. Articles like this….rarely printed but increasing…..are just being ignored by them. I think it’s time to gather our pitchforks and torches and march on the citadel (or something equally dramatic).

  57. To not do what is right because others aren’t is a terrible reason to not do something. If your reason is because you disagree with someone else that is one thing. What do we want to teach our kids? If it’s right to do but painful, don’t do it? It’s too soon to be that negative and no one should assume that not enough people would do the right thing for the environment if the occasion called for it. It is natural for a person to make choices and not everyone would choose to lie and betray others to save their own skin.

    • The problem Victoria is who is right? You believe you are. I believe I am. Both of us will act accordingly

  58. Markl, sorry the Dilemma is about human beings and how we act. Okay lets play the game. First our intrepid prisoners are accused of robbing banks. Now play the game with them being accused of of being members of the French underground 1944. What appears logical and intelligent in one case is monstrous and horrific in the other.
    I dealt with this in College hated it then
    still in a foul temper

  59. Economics! Another worthless science! The real wealth of the world is not measured in money or jobs or growth. It is measured in food, products, energy and standard of living. It really is irrelevant which energy is used to power us all as long as whatever energy we choose is up to the task of providing all the energy we require. Wind and solar don’t appear to be up to the task yet, and that is the only reason why economies will suffer as a result of relying on them too much.

    • wickedwenchfan. Sigh, we call too many things a “Science”.
      Economics is very important. Unfortunately, because it rhymes with comics, people have treated it thus.
      All of the points you made are bedrock to any stable civilization and are the proper realm of Economics. People have to be able to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves, as well as provide a surplus for the common good, to build infrastructure, defenses, and expansions. I sometimes wonder if these people should be asked to play any of the “Civilization” type simulations, just to see how long they would last . I mean it is a Model. And if they would, it would be so much fun to watch a “play back” of the simulation.

      • When the world’s “economists” reject communism, reject Keynesian theory in total, accept capitalism and reject socialism and all of its lies, then they will be more than comics.

  60. The prisoners dilemma tells me that we should use the Chinese as a shining example of what to do about climate change. Pretend to do something by agreeing to do nothing. Obama thought it was a pretty good deal and therefore should be pleased if Australia did the same. In fact every other country should adopt the Chinese approach and remain committed to increasing Co2 for 16 more years. By then the fraud of AGW will be exposed and we can carry on as if nothing happened at least until they roll out the next scare.

  61. If only American policy was decided on the basis of “what’s best for the U.S.”.
    Unfortunately, politics is all about winning elections and being in control of government. Statesmanship is about doing what’s best for the nation. Our Legislative and Administrative branches of government now appear to be inhabited almost exclusively by politicians.
    Some politicians would rather be in control of a poorer and less economically competitive nation than let some other politicians control a richer and more competitive nation. Figuring out who those politicians are and voting them out of office is the citizen’s responsibility.
    Pick your poison, citizens!

  62. Defect is the winning strategy in this game and the CO2 game.
    This game:
    -Defect = 4 years average
    -Cooperate = 10.5 years average
    CO2 game:
    -Defect = remain competitive glabally
    -Cooperate = the opposite

  63. The big IF in this equation is whether carbon dioxide has enough effect on climate that mitigation would be effective. The percentage is so small that any sacrifice would is swallowed up in natural variation. It is very much like spitting into the wind.

  64. The prisoner’s dilemma is not relevant because there is no ‘crime’.
    We don’t need to wait until the average global temperature trend is unequivocally down. Anyone with access to existing CO2 and temperature measurement data-sets can falsify the statement that CO2 causes significant warming.
    If CO2 is a forcing, a scale factor times average CO2 level times the duration divided by the effective thermal capacitance (consistent units) equals the temperature change of the duration. During previous glaciations and interglacials (as so dramatically presented in An Inconvenient Truth) CO2 and temperature went up and down nearly together. This is impossible if CO2 is a significant forcing so this actually proves CO2 change does not cause significant temperature change.
    See more on this and discover the two factors that do cause climate change (95% correlation since before 1900) at http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com . The two factors which explain the last 300+ years of climate change are also identified in a peer reviewed paper published in Energy and Environment, vol. 25, No. 8, 1455-1471.

  65. If CO2 is as dangerous as predicted it should be self regulating on the human infestation of the planet so we don’t have to worry. As the temps rise humans will decline and produce less CO2, thus reaching a livable equilibrium.

  66. The whole plan to reduce carbon emissions stems from the UN/IMF/IPCC fairy-tale of man-made global warming (through carbon dioxide emissions = anthropogenic global warming, AGW for short) which is altering the Earth’s climate, no less, to near extinction if all that hype were true.
    That man-made fairy-tale, however, is nothing but the biggest political and intellectual fraud ever.
    In arriving at this opinion, I rely on two sources, described here: http://tinyurl.com/naexuho

  67. The description of the prisoner’s dilemma problem in outcome 3 is incorrect, it should state that if both prisoners rat out each other, they both receive light sentences.
    [No. Technically, both could only be “promised” lighter sentences. They might actually both be hung, drawn, and quartered, or both be set free, or both be burned alive. .mod]

    • Technically, they aren’t even at any risk since they are simple characters in a thought experiment, not real humans.
      I think now that I’ve looked it back over, that the mistake may have been mine due to the semantic vagueness of the diagram: I mistook the sense of who was co-operating/defecting against whom.
      But once I realized that, the text still appears incorrect: if the three outcomes are light, moderate and heavy, then statement 1 should be ‘light’, statement 2 should be ‘heavy’ and statement 3 should be ‘moderate’ to match the graphic:
      6 months (or less – see below) = light
      8 years = moderate
      20 years = heavy
      Also, the diagram has a fourth outcome, of a single defector going free and not receiving any sentence.

      • Or, the fourth outcome.
        The guards lie. Both prisoners are killed, but only after confessing and informing on 4 other innocents who are then imprisoned and their estates and houses taken by the Government.

  68. “Development Integration Of Renewable Energy: Lessons Learned From Germany” is a White Paper outlining the detrimental effect of Germany’s renewable energy policy on the wholesale electricity markets, and on the Germany’s Economy. The authors of this white paper state that they fully support renewables as a part of the overall power portfolio. All the authors have worked with both electric utilities and purely renewable companies. Some of them have 20+ years of experience in the power sector, and a couple have direct equity interests in renewable projects.
    “Large penetration of renewable energy has not only translated into higher costs for the economy, it is also having profound effects on wholesale electricity markets that could ultimately result in a deterioration of the country’s reliability. Subsidized renewables have dispatch priority over thermal generators and come first in the market’s merit order, thus depressing wholesale prices to levels that are making thermal plants uneconomical. At the same time, increasing amounts of renewables require increasing amounts of back-up and balancing power that only thermal plants can provide. The implications of these developments for reliability are evident.” The problem is that prior to the introduction of utility scale renewables the wholesale market was orderly. The subsidized renewables impact on the wholesale market is destabilizing causing the thermal generators to become unprofitable and no longer viable. Ironically Utility Scale Renewables need the thermal producers to exist due to the intermittency of power production. ”

    • I’m familiar with this narrative and credentials of the report writers notwithstanding, I would argue that there’s more to this story.
      -Are renewables creating an unstable grid?Germany has one of the most stable grids in the world, about 10x more reliable than the US),
      – Are renewables costing money because they require thermal backup? Alll grids require excess capacity, Since they must capable of supplying power at peak load, and during slow periods. Power plants aren’t cheap to build or run, so builders typically want guaranteed contracts to ensure they can always cover their fixed costs. That means that regardless of what type of generation is used, you’re always going to end up paying for more power than you need – it comes with the territory. Personally I’d advocate nuclear for backup, but that’s not the way they’ve decided to go.
      That’s not to suggest the Energiewende doesn’t have problems. Of course it does, but that’s not surprising when you’re working out a new business model to deliver power to 80 million people. However, my money is on the Germans to make it work.

  69. Eric,
    As an Australian, I am very familiar with the Prisoner’s Dilemma through Professor Ross Garnaut’s Report (2008) and Review (2011). Professor Garnaut described the ” diabolical policy challenge ” in his presentations to the Australian Government and people.He dealt with it at some length and told us that the Dilemma was resolved at an international level ! From the Review (2011)-
    ” The 2008 Review argued that only a world bound by agreement on greenhouse gas reduction could avoid great damage from climate change. Acting on this proposition , however , involved resolving a ‘ prisoner’s dilemma’- a situation in which each country pursuing its own narrow self interest would make decisions whose overall effect would be the worst possible outcome for them all . I described this then as a diabolical policy challenge.
    Remarkably the world is resolving the dilemma. This breaks several expectations. From its inception in 1990, the United Nations process that was crystallised in the Kyoto Protocol divided developed from developing countries, and only the developed were bound by a specific emissions target…….
    The thought that only developed countries should have emissions targets was thought to be appropriate for four reasons( then set out) ……
    In making major mitigation efforts, developing economies have overlooked the agreed ethical obligation of developed nations and overturned a decade or more of global diplomacy.”
    Garnaut then looks at the ” Pledge and Review ” ideal arising from the ” strong global agreement at Cancun.”
    He states that ” there would have been advantages in a comprehensive global agreement on emissions entitlements covering developing as well as major developed countries that added up to the global temperature objective and to the emissions budget that was implicit in that objective.We would have arrived at a set of national commitments that would have, if implemented, solve the problem…..
    The negotiated commitments on emissions constraints would have resolved the prisoner’s dilemma problem in one hit, by assuring each country that it could rely on others doing enough to solve the global problem if it took strong action itself.”
    “…….. Such an ( international ) agreement remains the Holy Grail.”
    …. A formal comprehensive global agreement remains beyond reach for the foreseeable future ….”
    So the Prisoner’s dilemma remains diabolical?
    Not according to Garnaut.-
    “…….experience since Copenhagen has demonstrated that Cancun -style agreements , beyond being necessary to secure commitments from some countries that are crucial to a successful global emissions reduction effort , have the large advantage that they encourage greater ambition in each country’s emission reduction effort…..
    ….. This tendency for international commitments to be stronger if they are not legally binding is not confined to climate change negotiations……”
    Thus a ” bottom up ” solution becomes preferable to , or at least as satisfactory as a ” top down ” arrangement.
    And so the Prisoner’s Dilemma has been resolved by the developing countries’ magnanimity !
    On the basis of this reasoning , Australia faced for a time a carbon tax/ ETS which had it continued would have meant the expenditure of A $1 trillion by mid- century.

    • There is no problem!
      It is trivially easy to prove that atmospheric CO2 does not have, has never had, and, at least up to about 8 times the present level (Berner, 2001), will never have a significant effect on average global temperature.

      • Yeah, not. That there have been higher levels of CO2 in the history of the planet tells you nothing, since no one is claiming that CO2 is the sole forcing. During the Phanerozoic, which Berner writes about, solar radiation was about 4% less, which is why we had glaciation. This has been known for years.

      • Look, Flash, CO2 is the issue. Not methane, not water vapor, nor anything else. CO2 is the issue: carbon dioxide. Get it?
        That is where “carbon” credits come from. That is where your “carbon” footprint comes from. And the entire “carbon” scare comes from CO2. Nothing else.
        It is ALL about CO2, and for one reason: CO2 is very easy to tax.
        But as Dan Pangburn says: There is no problem with CO2. It is harmless, and it is very beneficial to the biosphere. CO2 does not cause runaway global warming, or any measurable warming for that matter.
        The whole “carbon” scare is a major HOAX. Once you understand that, everything else falls into place. The curtain is pulled aside — and there’s the wizard.

  70. Sir Harry – Read my Feb 9 post . . . carefully. It’s average CO2 level TIMES DURATION, aka CO2 time-integral. Those high CO2 levels make the time-integral a big number while the temperature does not increase (http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html). The only way that can be true is if the effect of CO2 is negligible. Insolation was also about 4% less when the planet warmed up after the Andean-Saharan glaciation. Yes it “has been known for years” but sometimes not as a complete scenario.

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