The Conversation Unintentionally Makes the Case for Fossil Fuels

Energy use per capita (kilograms of oil equivalent per annum) vs Climate Spend per Capita (GBP)
Energy use per capita (kilograms of oil equivalent per annum) vs Climate Spend per Capita (GBP)

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The Conversation complains that rich cities are spending more money than poor cities on climate adaption. The Conversation wants wealthy countries to provide climate cash transfers to poor countries; instead, they have inadvertently made the case for a very different course of action.

Cities across the world are increasingly at risk from climate change. People living in extreme poverty are especially vulnerable, both because global warming will tend to hit developing countries the hardest, and because they have less money to throw at the problem.

We used newly-available data to investigate how cities are responding to climate change and whether resources are being allocated efficiently or fairly. We expected there to be differences in spending between rich and poor. But we did not expect them to be so vast, with New York for instance spending more than £190 (US$260) per person to protect its people and infrastructure from the impact of climate change, while Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa spends less than £5 ($7).

It seems the amount spent on climate adaptation is driven more by the amount of wealth at risk rather than the number of vulnerable people.

Read more:

The abstract of the study;

Adaptation responses to climate change differ between global megacities

Urban areas are increasingly at risk from climate change, with negative impacts predicted for human health, the economy and ecosystems1, 2. These risks require responses from cities to improve their resilience. Policymakers need to understand current adaptation spend to plan comprehensively and effectively. Through the measurement of spend in the newly defined ‘adaptation economy’, we analyse current climate change adaptation efforts in ten megacities. In all cases, the adaptation economy remains a small part of the overall economy, representing a maximum of 0.33% of a city’s gross domestic product (here referred to as GDPc). Differences in total spend are significant between cities in developed, emerging and developing countries, ranging from £15 million to £1,600 million. Comparing key subsectors, we demonstrate the differences in adaptation profiles. Developing cities have higher proportional spend on health and agriculture, whereas developed cities have higher spend on energy and water. Spend per capita and percentage of GDPc comparisons more clearly show disparities between cities. Developing country cities spend half the proportion of GDPc and significantly less per capita, suggesting that adaptation spend is driven by wealth rather than the number of vulnerable people. This indicates that current adaptation activities are insufficient in major population centres in developing and emerging economies.

Read more:

Sadly the full study is paywalled. But the article in the Conversation provides some of the data used in the study.

The following are the numbers used for the graph at the top of this article, which I created from Excel, to show the correspondence between energy consumption and climate mitigation expenditure.

Note the climate spend per capita was scaled to the US energy usage value, when preparing the graph, to make it easier to visually compare the two sets of data.

Total energy consumption

per capita per annum (2012)

kilogrammes of oil equivalent per year

Annual Climate Spend per capita (GBP)
United States
New York
6815 193.38
United Kingdom
3018 117.73
3844 397.47
2143 40.35
Mexico City
1543 69.72
Sao Paulo
1392 51.66
861 15.33
795 26.35
624 5.52
Addis Ababa
493 4.71

The energy use per capita numbers are from the World Bank (2012 column).

The point is, the ability of countries to spend money on climate mitigation appears to be strongly correlated with their per capita energy usage (0.70 Pearson Correlation).

While not all energy consumed in rich countries is derived from Fossil Fuels (France derives a lot of its electricity from nuclear power), what is clear is that if we want to help vulnerable cities adapt to climate change, or extreme weather, regardless of the cause, the best thing we can do is encourage initiatives, such as ongoing Chinese and Japanese coal investment initiatives, which help poor countries build an energy rich, wealthy, fossil fuel powered economy – just like we have in the West.

The authors of the article in The Conversation praise China’s “strong central government”; as a proportion of per capita GDP, Beijing’s climate spend is higher than average. But a “strong central government” in real terms only produces a few British pounds improved spend, at who knows what cost. Being a rich country, having a high energy consumption per capita, makes a much bigger difference to cash per capita available for flood mitigation and other “climate” measures. In absolute terms, New York spends a lot more money per capita than Beijing.

Obviously the true relationship is likely to be between wealth and spending power, rather than fossil fuel usage and spending power. Greater per capita wealth means more money is available to spend on better flood defences. But the relationship between energy use and wealth is strong. As Willis explained in his excellent post, “The Cost in Human Energy”, it is difficult to be wealthy, if you spend all day performing repetitive manual tasks, tasks which could easily have been automated, with the right fossil fuel powered machine.

Note the authors of the study provide the following explanation for the anomalous French spend on climate mitigation: “Paris is an exception due to narrow definitions of its ‘city proper’”.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
March 3, 2016 12:10 am

Electricity is the greatest environmental tool. Lights at the flick of a switch. Cooking on a stove, not stripping forests for wood. Letting dung degrade into compost instead of burning and smoking. As the forest compost builds, it naturally filters water and stores more water in the soil. It slows the run-off and because of air spaces it allows more rain to penetrate regardless of soil type than bare ground.

Reply to  Jack
March 3, 2016 7:12 am

As always, it’s complicated folks. Cheap electricity isn’t likely to be a panacea. Third world societies have a lot of inertia and can’t be dragged into the twenty-first century overnight. On the other hand the loss of cheap electricity might bang the developed world back into third world conditions.

[Starting after WW2] developed countries embarked on a campaign of massive transfers of capital and technology to developing countries in order to force a rapid industrialization intended to result in an economic “take-off” in the developing countries. wiki

That created more problems than it solved. The Appropriate Technology (link above) movement tried to solve those problems. That didn’t work either and petered out.
The Appropriate Technology movement featured a bunch of technologies that the greenies would have us believe would allow us to sustainably maintain our current standard of living. The failure of the Appropriate Technology movement provides a solid case study proving that the greenies are wrong.

Bryan A
Reply to  commieBob
March 3, 2016 12:37 pm

When China uses “Per Capita” allowances for usage figures, they should be required to Discount the proportion of their “Capita” that have no access to electricity. China may have a billion people but almost 25% (225 million) of them have no access and therefore shouldn’t be counted as “Per Capita” for energy they have no access to.

March 3, 2016 12:13 am

all teh filez all the time

March 3, 2016 12:30 am

or maybe i inspect source and get link:
remember – they get you past the paywall for most papers.

March 3, 2016 1:02 am

Comrade Maslin is at it again.
As is the so-called Conversation, which in its charter claims to be free of political bias.
There’s a good comment from Alistair Morley, about the “breathless virtue signalling”.

RobertBobbert GDQ
Reply to  Paul Matthews
March 3, 2016 2:56 am

Paul ,
Do they mention that this ‘Private’ organisation got $3.5 million dollars granted from the Gillard Government in 2011 and when the LNP cut further funding last year The Andrews State Alp Govt granted a further $3 million.
The funding commitment of $1 million per annum over 3 years will safeguard the jobs of 32 employees – including 26 Melbourne-based staff.
Earlier this year, the website suffered a major setback after the Federal Liberal Government decided to end funding support for the highly regarded platform. (Victorian Labor Online 2015)
So it has got 6.5 million from 2011 to 2017. That is getting on to 20 thousand per week. It has 32 employees.
It is the Grant Privileged Pet of The Establishment Conformist Left.
And its moderation silencing lets everyone know that it is aware of just who provides the butter to spread on the bread.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  RobertBobbert GDQ
March 3, 2016 9:32 am

They must have another source of funding. That’s only $625 per week per employee. Gross. I wouldn’t stay on staff for that kind of pay.

RobertBobbert GDQ
Reply to  RobertBobbert GDQ
March 3, 2016 7:44 pm

Hello DJ Hawkins,(next down)
The operating company The Conversation Media Group is a not-for-profit educational charity owned by The Conversation Trust. The Conversation is funded by the university and research sector, government and business.
Start-up funding was provided by: CSIRO, Monash University, University of Melbourne, UTS and the University of Western Australia. And The Gillard Labor Govt.
Funding and support has been provided by RMIT University, CBA, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, the Commonwealth Government’s Department of Education and the State of Victoria Department of Business and Innovation.
You can bank on it that all employees of this Mob would get, at least, Scale or union negotiated pay rates.
‘Graduate journalists. The average annual salary of a first year journalist working full time is approximately $48,000.( Oz dollar is about 70- 73% US dollar.)’
At least 20 Universities are paid up members.
That 500/600 a week ‘subsidy per employee’ compares to the unemployment benefit. However the dole of 500/600 for an single adult is for a fortnight.
The Conversation is a Taxpayer Funded, Anti Conservative Wolf disguised as a Private, Independant Charity Lamb.

March 3, 2016 1:29 am

So let me get this straight. In order to support the energy needs of poor people in poor countries the less well off people in developed countries, who are struggling to heat and light their homes, will be forced to struggle even harder just so some watermelon numpties who believe in slaying a mythical climate dragon can feel better?
Could this be another reason for ordinary UK folks to vote for Brexit in June and insert climate realism into the political mix?

Warren Latham
Reply to  UK Sceptic
March 3, 2016 1:55 am

+ 1

Dan the Man
Reply to  UK Sceptic
March 3, 2016 9:26 am

No, thats not the point. The point is that the obvious solution is a world wide government more like China’s. Authoritarian, answers to nobody, picks winners and losers, doesn’t need input from the little people. They don’t really care about climate, that’s just a ruse to gain the true objective. Power!

Bloke down the pub
March 3, 2016 2:42 am

‘It seems the amount spent on climate adaptation is driven more by the amount of wealth at risk rather than the number of vulnerable people.’
I’m shocked I tell you, shocked. Who woulda thought it?

Mike O
Reply to  Bloke down the pub
March 3, 2016 5:59 am

That sounds like a universal truth. As my wife says whenever anything happens, “Follow the money”.

Mickey Reno
Reply to  Bloke down the pub
March 3, 2016 8:08 am

New headline: Study finds that rich people spend more than poor people!
This is what’s known as “scooping The Onion.”

Bryan A
Reply to  Mickey Reno
March 3, 2016 12:41 pm

Just so everyone knows (not that they don’t) anyone earning more than US $32,000 per year is a Global

Keith Willshaw
March 3, 2016 2:54 am

This article appears to have little or no dependable information. What precisely is included in the numbers for Annual Climate Spend per capita ?
The quoted figure for London is £117.73 , given that London has a population of 8.5 million this would mean that the city is spending around a billion pounds per annum on climate adaptation. The ENTIRE budget for the GLA fire and emergency planning authority is around £450 million so where is this money going ?
Not on transport systems for sure since that is being spent of new roads and underground railway schemes, Indeed the old flood prevention gates on tube lines under the Thames have been decommissioned.
The largest and most expensive flood protection system is the Thames barrier which costs around £6 million per annum to run. Proposals have been put forward for a new higher barrier but even tis would only cost £1.5 billion spread over the first 25 period (see Thames Estuary 2100 project)

RobertBobbert GDQ
Reply to  Keith Willshaw
March 3, 2016 3:27 am

I hope you are sitting down as you may be staggered by my comment but, I suspect that on this occasion, probably for the very first time Evah in the history of Klymit Scyence Per Excellence, they made it up by pulling these figures out of their Bum.
BTW Paul. Spot on. I went over and Alistair Morley stuck it right up ’em in his reply.

Boulder Skeptic
Reply to  Keith Willshaw
March 3, 2016 9:56 pm

But we did not expect them to be so vast, with New York for instance spending more than £190 (US$260) per person to protect its people and infrastructure from the impact of climate change, while Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa spends less than £5 ($7).

I have not paid to read the study. Does anyone who has read it know if they appropriately adjusted the spending power of the money in different locations. It is entirely possibly that $7 in Ethiopia actually has more spending power than $260 in NYC.
Try getting something built efficiently and on time in NYC with the premium charged by unions and the premiums charged by liberal city and state governments. In Ethiopia a small bribe and some goats probably gets things moving nicely. I suspect that this whole thing is a comparison of the proverbial apples and oranges.
I could be wrong…about the goats.
Yes, I’ve never been accused of being politically correct.

John M. Ware
March 3, 2016 2:56 am

In this article “spend” is used as a noun. It is, in fact, a verb. To avoid at least the appearance of illiteracy, the writer(s) should use “spending” or “expenditure.” I realize, there is a teensy, weensy, infinitesimal amount of space or ink saved by using “spend,” but that surely is nugatory compared to actually writing properly and not having readers distracted by such poor usage.
Anyway, it is an interesting article. I don’t see how it is possible to miss the need for more fossil fuel usage in those places that lack such fuels or facilities for their use. One reason New York shows up as it does is that it is a modern city, with structures and machines for utilizing fossil fuels already in place and of long standing.
One also need not accept the fundamental premise of the article, namely that “climate change” is bad in and of itself and must be thwarted or avoided no matter what it costs. More money, to be taken from those who have it and shoveled toward those who don’t, is not the answer (if answer be needed); that money will surely go to prop up corrupt regimes and enrich crooked officials, with (perhaps) a token amount spent on this or that “alternative-fuels” project to make the regime look good to those who have looted their own countries on their behalf.

Reply to  John M. Ware
March 3, 2016 1:01 pm

“the ​amount of ​money that is spent on something: The ​total spend on the ​project was ​almost a million ​pounds.”

March 3, 2016 3:22 am

Has anyone ever challenged the idea that “global warming” inevitably will hit the poorest countries hardest? Or explained why this is necessarily the case?

Reply to  Newminster
March 3, 2016 5:39 am

“Has anyone ever challenged the idea that “global warming” inevitably will hit the poorest countries hardest? Or explained why this is necessarily the case?”
Not that I have ever seen. I was wondering how that worked myself.

Reply to  TA
March 3, 2016 6:25 am

It doesn’t have to ‘work’, it just has to be emotionally compelling. When they say that the ‘science is settled’, what they really mean is the science is irrelevant and always has been. In general, poorer countries tend to be located at lower latitudes, where the climate is forecast to change the least. The science says the difference in climate would be negligible, but the hype says the opposite.
Climate change propaganda obviously has nothing to do with climate science.

Bryan A
Reply to  TA
March 3, 2016 12:50 pm

I think that the meme “Hitting the poorest countries the hardest” is strictly financially speaking.
If you make $1M per year and a storm does $10K damage to your home, it doesn’t take much of your income to repair (1%)…
If you make $20K per year, that same amount of damage would cost 50% of your yearly wages
So poorer people/Countries do feel the relative bite harder

Reply to  Newminster
March 3, 2016 6:40 am

marxism does not work that way
where would the money come from?

March 3, 2016 3:35 am

It would seen to me that solar would be the most helpful to the poorest cities, where brown outs during the day are a common thing and people are already used to an inconsistent electrical service. Many probably most of these cities are in the tropics having a relatively uniform source of solar year round, and consistant energy for AC during the heat of the day–when the sun is up–would be a great benefit in a warming world.

Reply to  trafamadore
March 3, 2016 8:55 am

Wrong. Solar won’t help brownouts, where the electrical distribution system is a mess and the root cause of the problem, plus the grid-tie inverters are designed to disconnect to protect themselves when the grid power gets wonky. I speak from the experience of having done three solar projects in my life.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Anthony Watts
March 3, 2016 9:39 am

That’s a telling point. Most people don’t realize that a grid-tie system without battery backup doesn’t operate during a power outage. Far from thumbing one’s nose at your less green neighbors (not that you would) you’ll be sitting there wondering why your solar panels aren’t powering up your own Casa del Sol.

Proud Skeptic
March 3, 2016 3:57 am

I’m certainly no expert, but is this entire study as meaningless and it appears? What is “spending on climate mitigation”? More and more, these climate papers seem to be comparing ghosts to phantoms. And, as Keith Willshaw points out, the underlying premises and assumptions behind this paper are unsupported at best and should be challenged at their base before any conclusions are to even be considered.

March 3, 2016 4:23 am

As is common with the phenomenon of an Extraordinary Popular Delusion, they got it all backwards. Much of the crowd has, however, drawn back at the precipice.

March 3, 2016 4:27 am

This is simply retilling of ethics to support the illusory moral high ground that the virtue signallers thought they had with the guilt of man’s use of fossil fuel. The facts on the true ground are that a war on cheap energy is a war on the poor.
Much of the frothy madness of the green conceit is from avoidance of this ground truth. It hits too hard, and benumbs them.

Reply to  kim
March 3, 2016 5:32 am

Intelligent and concise.

March 3, 2016 4:28 am

Never forget, too, that man’s warming is net beneficial, the greening near unto miraculous.

Chris Wright
March 3, 2016 4:33 am

Today the Daily Telegraph printed yet another scare story about climate change. Here’s my response, though the chances of it being printed are pretty well zero. The Telegraph’s coverage of climate is completely biased and one-sided.
We’ve heard a lot about exaggerated fears in the EU in/out debate, but Project Fear is even more dominant in much of climate science. You report that “more than 500,000 extra adult deaths could be caused globally in 2050 due to the impact of climate change on diets”. This is fear-mongering, pure and simple, and it can be very profitable for the scientists concerned.
After 150 years of global warming mankind has never been more well-fed, prosperous and healthy. History shows that mankind has always prospered during the warm periods such as the Medieval period. Because the climate models have spectacularly failed to correctly predict future warming, the underlying theory is clearly wrong, and yet government policy driven by Project Fear has pushed up the price of energy, increased destruction of the rain forests and, courtesy of Volkswagen, actually increased deadly pollution. Of course, carbon dioxide is natural, clean and completely harmless and it is the very thing that makes our planet green.
It is not climate change that will kill millions during this century. It is the climate scientist’s own version of Project Fear that is the true killer.

Don Perry
Reply to  Chris Wright
March 3, 2016 4:48 am

“It is not climate change that will kill millions during this century.”
Climate change may very well kill millions in this century; except that it could be the coming long-term cooling that will be exacerbated by policies that dramatically reduce fossil-fuel created electrical generation.

Reply to  Don Perry
March 3, 2016 4:50 am

Yes, the danger is all to the cold side; adapting to warming is a piece of cake, baked thanks to the wonders of the Human Carbon Cornucopia.

Reply to  Chris Wright
March 3, 2016 4:48 am

Years ago I told my friend Peter Bocking that I hoped this would all end in ridicule and relief, and his reply was that too many had died already.

Tom Halla
March 3, 2016 5:27 am

There is a rude acronym for how the study determined “per capita climate spend”–POOMA.

March 3, 2016 6:08 am

We continue to operate under the implied assumption that Climate Change is bad, a very bad assumption. Even if more CO2 over the arctic produces warming in mid-winter and this results in more open water, the result will be harmless and even beneficial. Wealth transfers from rich (in Western Countries) to rich (in 3rd world countries) who are unequipped and disinclined to use it to benefit anybody but themselves, is foolish. We’ll do nothing but produce a bunch of lavishly domiciled Dictators and wealthy rent-seekers.

Sal Minella
March 3, 2016 6:36 am

Great article. First time I’ve seen “spend” used as a noun.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Sal Minella
March 3, 2016 12:28 pm

You haven’t seen people using “fail” as a noun?

March 3, 2016 6:53 am

I haven’t looked into it, but I’d expect a lot of New York’s spending is to deal with all the flaws, ignored for decades, that Sandy uncovered when it flooded part of New York. Providence RI figured all that out when the Hurricane of ’38 came through there, New Orleans figured that out with Katrina.
Does Addis Ababa have a subway? (Hardly matters, they don’t have hurricanes.)

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Ric Werme
March 3, 2016 6:03 pm

At ~2500m above sea level, I doubt Addis would flood. However, given Addis Ababa sits on top of the faults that run the length of the Rift Valley I would say Ethiopians are not too bothered about floods, right now. When the Rift Valley fully opens, in a good few million years, the Afar region in the north will be the first affected by any ingress of flood waters.

March 3, 2016 7:07 am

I live in the metro NYC area. I would be curious to find out what they consider as NYC Climate Adaptation spending. Because frankly I don’t believe NY is spending on true adaptation. If anything they are probably counting seawall construction post-Sandy.

Gary Pearse
March 3, 2016 8:10 am

The Conversation shows itself to be vacuously insulated from any real topics, any real objects, or palpable issues. Marxbrothers’ platitudinous groupthink tends to do that (think warming is cold, drying is wet kind of thing).
Questions to be asked of this goodly pontifical group need to be more fundamental. How do you make an expenditure to OTHER THAN infrastructure (wealth) for a city’s adaptation. They write it as if they expect adaptation to be bolted on to individuals or something. Shall we all wear airconditioned suits of armor? Shall we all rub on a Swiss anti-wrinkle cream or get daily colon floods?
Defining the objects on which and objectives for which expenditures were made would be a first step one would think. If you live in a mud hut village, the building materials are free – you just patch up after the rainstorm. If you live in New York City, infrastructure can be damaged and needs more permanent repairs and protections. My skin is, fortunately waterproof so I don’t suffer as much in the rain as another might.

March 3, 2016 8:43 am

I don’t think the conversation makes so much of an argument for fossil fuels as it does for raising the prosperity of the poor, worldwide, by investing in electrical and heat energy power plants. For most [i]“poor”[/i], of course the [b]cheapest[/b] will be to use any copiously available indigenous fuel to fire the plants. And plants that are intrinsically low-maintenance, low-overhead and low-financing cost.
Which for many countries and peoples WILL be fossil fuel – especially coal for those who have it locally. But there are also places where abundant solar power could rather handily meet these same criteria: local resource, potent resource, near-lowest-cost kind of energy to generate for the locale.
And though I’ll likely get a host of replies barking about [i]“can’t store it cheaply!”[/i] and so on, I counter: there was an era [i]within my lifetime[/i], when one did [b]not[/b] expect to see strawberries in the market except between May and September. None in December. Zero. Now, we energy-spoiled First Worlders have become so comfortably expectant that strawberries are a 365-day-a-year prospect that we simply would probably lose our shît if they were to become responsibly (energy-wise) seasonal.
Same goes for extra-poor people using whatever energy that is made available to them in creative ways. But even this is a weak argument: for extra-poor peoples, a modest amount of hydroelectric (or if not available, modular nuclear) power would go a LONG way to backfilling the evening-night-and-dawn non-solar load band. And people could be “trained” either through hard brown-outs / black-outs or more equitable time-of-day variable metering (even if it is “one big meter for the village”) to drastically cut or eliminate night-time load.
There’s a saying in farming which I think is appropriate: [i]“Make hay when the sun shines”[/i]. To non-farmers it probably seems like a quaint farmer’s maxim, as obvious as [i]“the sun rises in the morning, and sets in the evening”[/i]. But it is deeper: Haymaking is hard work, repetitively done all thru the growing season. It however [b]depends[/b] on periods of 3–4 days of almost-rainless, sunny, breezy weather to cut (mow), field cure, sun-dry and then bale. This comes [i]completely at the [b]caprice[/b] of the weather itself[/i]. It is a farmer’s inalienable responsibility to be a keen weather watcher. To be cognizant of the opportunities that are nearly certain to unfold.
Same goes for capricious solar and wind power. There are endless ways to [i]“take advantage of the weather”[/i] when high-output solar or wind is available. When (in my house) the refrigerator takes 70% of my total electric power use, if I had spotty power, let me tell you – the freezer wouldn’t have ice cream. It’d be chock-a-block full of 1 gallon plastic milk jugs of water. Making ice when the power is on, keeping things coolwhen it is not. Lots of ice. A hundred pounds worth.
Perhaps with the ubiquity of powerful electric motors and the relative ease of keeping them charged up while the sun shines, perhaps even the brilliant flexibility of diesel will step aside to daylight-charged rural vehicles. I’m also certain that a re-engineered form of lead-acid battery (which cures the problem of capacity-degradation over time) would also go well to letting poor peoples who lack power at night (‘cuz its solar), would still be able to use their hand-me-down (3×) phones, domestic lights, radios and satellite or [i]Google[/i] Blimp internet services. And their refrigerators would have a LOT of ice.
So no. I don’t think that this article makes a particularly strong argument for fossil fuel to raise people out of poverty [b]intrinsically[/b]. I think [b]local generation[/b] is the real pitch. Then, it just comes down to accepting that one [i]“needs to make hay when the sun shines”[/i].

Reply to  GoatGuy
March 3, 2016 11:01 am

This peak-demand issue has worked its way into the U.S. marketplace.
In my region, electric companies have developed a range of “free electricity from 11pm to 5am” plans that encourage you to shift your diurnal consumption.
It makes me consider using a deep-freeze/small fridge combo, and consider doing all laundry overnight, and charging AGM batteries overnight to run the television and lamps.
But, after mulling it over a bit, it is obvious that at 9 cents a kilowatt, and maybe $80 for a 35 AH AGM battery, the long-run cost is not worth it.

Reply to  GoatGuy
March 5, 2016 8:25 pm

Goat Guy, you seem to want to turn the clock back for developed nations, and delay a decent standard of living for people in developing nations. Although farmers today still harvest hay when the sun shines, they can do so rapidly with fossil-fueled machines, because the rain may return soon. ” Abundant solar power ” cannot replace fossil fuels in ANY nation, because it is expensive, intermittent, dilute, unscalable, and difficult to store. Local generation of electricity by “taking advantage of” the weather? “If my house had spotty power I wouldn’t have icecream”? But you dont’ have spotty power do you? You have reliable power, and icecream in your freezer. I suggest you set up an unreliable power system in your house, so you can experience what that is like, before you suggest people “take advantage of the weather”. We have for over 100 years, been using affordable, concentrated, scalable and storable fossil fuels , that provide the energy we need for our households, as well as city infrastructure safely and reliably. Why do you think it is a good idea to use intermittent, dilute, unreliable renewable energy sources in developed or developing nations? Developing nations want the same standard of living developed nations have, and the same reliable energy that brings health, safety, longevity, happiness, and clean air, water, and environment.
You will not help the environment by making people poorer in developed nations ( by raising the cost of energy), or hindering developing nations by expecting them to use unreliable forms of energy. We are not “energy-spoiled first worlders”, and there is NOTHING wrong with using lots of energy and having strawberries all year-round. Unlimited affordable energy is the best thing for people. How hypocritical to expect poor people in developing nations to make do with” what-is at-hand” unreliable energy while YOU live in a developed nation and make no such sacrifices.

A C Osborn
March 3, 2016 8:47 am

Just what has Paris spent so much money on?

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  A C Osborn
March 3, 2016 9:40 am

Besides climate jamborees, you mean?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  A C Osborn
March 3, 2016 6:05 pm

Learning how to be arrogant to the English and speaking with an outrageous accent?

March 3, 2016 10:09 am

As always, the least environmentally damaging option for the world, is cheap, assured, and available energy, especially electricity. It is a no-brainer for most intelligent people, of whom there are fewer and fewer.

John West
March 3, 2016 12:57 pm

Why would a city at some 7000 feet above sea level and at about 9 degrees latitude spend anything on climate change preparations? Comparing NY to Addis Ababa is like comparing Miami to Denver. There’s no rational reason for any comparison with respect to climate change preparation spending. Even if the worst of the worst predictions were right Addis Ababa would be sitting pretty. Only a city of fools would spend money to prepare for something that even if it is a “global” problem isn’t going to affect them much.

Reply to  John West
March 3, 2016 7:09 pm

John West: Well maybe because there is so much smoke in the air that it can be hard to breath? Intermittent power and intermittent water supply, people and animals hauling incredibly huge loads of wood from around the city into the city to turn into charcoal for cooking and heating (it actually gets chilly in the winter). They have big environmental/climate/economic problems. Notice how many Ethiopian and Eritrean “refugees” there are – looking for a better life.

Reply to  Wayne Delbeke
March 3, 2016 7:22 pm

Rulers and governing philosophy plus foreign “aid” are the primary causes of these things. The two countries could be more like Hong Kong, S. Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore at a minimum and thus much better off.

March 3, 2016 4:13 pm

“Annual Climate Spend” = annual redistribution + annual subsidy chase + annual tax skim. GDP is a wonderful measurement. No need to figure out if the stuff gotten, if any, is needed or wanted by anyone on the buy side paying good money.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
March 3, 2016 4:23 pm

“Cities across the world are increasingly at risk from climate change. People living in extreme poverty are especially vulnerable, both because global warming will tend to hit developing countries the hardest, and because they have less money to throw at the problem.” — It is a false alarm.
It is the human greed that is affecting urban areas.
It is due to poor planning and growth contributing to heat island effect and thus to climate change. Global warming is not heat island effect or vice versa.
Last year unprecedented floods in Chennai in Tamil Nadu, India are due to destruction of water storage & water flow and river banks. This affected poor as well rich.
Due to urban heat island effect increases power consumption both at surface level and upper layer. The impact is more on night temperature.
Indian rainfall is known as orographic, when disturbed change the reainfall pattern. This is exactly what has happened in Mumbai. Climate Change has’t changed the rainfall in Mumbai.
Generalization of statements, will lead to misinformation only. This affects the planning.
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

March 4, 2016 8:53 pm

So, to be clear:
– NYC is at sea level, and so exposed to ex tropical hurricane wind, storm surge, and extremes of temperature that can include massive snow. It has extremely valuable infrastructure and property, spends a lot of money on climate mitigation measures – sea walls, snow ploughs etc.
– Addis Ababa is equatorial, at high altitude (9000-10000 ft). It never experiences freezing point or extreme heat, existing year round in 10-23C. Given its position inland with surrounding mountains, it can never experience tropical cyclones, storm surge or other extreme wind related events. It will never experience frost or snow. It therefore spends almost nothing on climate mitigation, seeing as how it has the most perfect climate of anywhere on earth
They PAY people to produce this obvious rubbish?? And then convince the meeja to print it??

%d bloggers like this: