End the phony Social Cost of Carbon

The SCC drives war on fossil fuels but relies on faulty analyses that ignore carbon benefits

Guest essay by Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek

The Social Cost of Carbon is the foundation for numerous Obama-era energy policies, regulations and programs. Under complex SCC metrics, agencies calculate the “hidden costs” of carbon dioxide emissions associated with fossil fuel use, assigning a dollar value to each ton of CO2 emitted by power plants, factories, homes, vehicles and other sources.

Originally, in 2010, every ton of U.S. emissions averted would prevent about $25 in global societal costs allegedly resulting from dangerous manmade climate change: less coastal flooding and tropical disease, fewer droughts and extreme weather events, for example.

Within three years, regulators increased the SCC to around $40 per ton, the better to justify the Clean Power Plan, Paris climate agreement, and countless actions on electricity generation, drilling, fracking, methane, pipelines, vehicle mileage and appliance efficiency standards, livestock operations, carbon taxes, and wind, solar and biofuel mandates and subsidies.

The Trump Administration is challenging this climate cataclysm edifice – prompting activists to launch campaigns asserting that the SCC is so rooted in solid science and economics that any attempted rollback would fail.

In reality, the social cost of carbon is little more than junk science and Garbage In-Garbage Out forecasting. That’s why the House Science Committee’s Environment and Oversight Subcommittees has held an investigative hearing on the subject.

First, the supposed bedrock for the concept is the shifting sands of climate chaos theory. New questions are arising almost daily about data quality and manipulation, the degree to which carbon dioxide affects global temperatures, the complex interplay of solar, cosmic ray, oceanic and other natural forces, and the inability of computer models to predict temperatures, sea level rise or hurricanes.

Meanwhile, as the 2015-16 El Nino dissipated, average global temperatures have fallen back to their 1998-2014 level, according to Britain’s Meteorological Office. That means there has been no measurable planetary warming for 18 years.

The very notion that U.S. emissions impose significant climate costs is increasingly indefensible – and developing nations are burning fossil fuels and emitting CO2 at many times the U.S. rate.

Second, the SCC scheme blames American emissions for supposed costs worldwide. It incorporates almost every conceivable cost of oil, gas and coal use on crops, forests, coastal cities, property, “forced migration,” and human health, nutrition and disease.

However, it utterly fails to mention, much less analyze, tremendous and obvious carbon benefits.

That violates a 1993 Bill Clinton executive order requiring that federal agencies assess both benefits and costs of proposed regulations. It is also irrational, completely contrary to human experience.

Fossil fuels created the modern world and lifted billions out of destitution and disease. They supply over 80% of the energy that powers United States and other modern civilizations, and will continue doing so for decades to come. They generate up to $70 trillion in annual global GDP.

Using readily available data on global living standards, economies, disease, nutrition, life spans and other benefits – and the government’s own SCC cost figures and methodologies – we estimate that carbon benefits exceed costs by orders of magnitude: at least 50 to 1; as much as 500 to 1!

The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that fossil fuels will provide 75-80% of worldwide energy through 2040 – when the total amount of energy consumed will be at least 25% greater than today. That means these notable benefit-cost ratios will continue.

The SCC ignores all of this, too.

Third, SCC schemes likewise impute only costs to carbon dioxide emissions. However, as thousands of scientific studies verify, rising levels of this miracle molecule are “greening” the Earth – reducing deserts, and improving forests, grasslands, drought resistance, crop yields and human nutrition.

No matter which government report or discount rate is used, asserted social costs of CO2 are infinitesimal compared to its estimated benefits.

Fourth, government officials claim they can accurately forecast damages to the world’s climate, civilizations, economies, populations and ecosystems from U.S. carbon dioxide emissions over the next two to three centuries. They say we must base today’s energy policies, laws and regulations on those forecasts.

The notion is indefensible, even delusional and dangerous. The rate of change in energy generation, communication, medical and other technologies has become exponential over the past several decades, with forecasting ability declining at an equal rate. Uncertainties over natural forces and climate change during the coming decades and centuries are equally colossal.

Amid all the other SCC assumptions, methodologies, fabrications and omissions, injecting such predictions into high-speed computer models simply paints scientific varnish over a phony endeavor.

Politicians, bureaucrats, activists and corporate rent-seekers certainly welcome the intellectual special effects and facades. But we taxpayers and consumers should be wary of the power that the SCC gives them over energy, economic growth, livelihoods and living standards.

Eliminating the social cost of carbon and programs implemented under its aegis requires little more than applying the same rules and standards that government regulators have imposed on Volkswagen, Fiat and Wall Street dishonesty.

However, rooting out this government deception is far more important, because the scope, impact and cost of the agenda-driven SCC chicanery are infinitely greater, affecting every aspect of our lives.

Congress, President Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt need to review, rescind and defund the scheme – and replace it with honest, objective cost-benefit analyses.


Roger Bezdek is an internationally recognized energy analyst and president of Management Information Services, Inc. Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of articles and books on energy, climate change, carbon dioxide and economic development.

Published in Washington Times, March 1, 2017

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/feb/28/war-on-fossil-fuels-depends-on-social-cost-of-carb/

The phony social cost of carbon: The war on fossil fuels ignores carbon’s benefits

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137 thoughts on “End the phony Social Cost of Carbon

  1. The Social Cost of Carbon is largely figures pulled from one’s nether regions. Taking indefensible estimates for the actual warming effect of CO2, and then dictating that all the possible effects must be negative, appears to be a bad parody of cost-benefits analysis.

    • Here is how the “cost” of carbon is administered/talked up/manipulated in New Zealand.

      http://www.carbonnews.co.nz/story.asp?storyid=11848

      Yes we do have an ETS but it is old news and the public here don’t seem to be too concerned at the extra premiums on energy, concrete and steel etc.

      What a rip off!

      We need a Donald Trump! We dont even have a conservative party to vote for any more. The previous ” conservative” party has take a step to the left, (a good move politically as it forced the labour party to move further left to a less popular position), but a disastrous move for conservativism and the free market.
      The auditor general reports more than 400 public sector owned entities compared with about 200 on the NZSE. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_sector_organisations_in_New_Zealand
      http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1986/0124/latest/DLM98444.html

      In otherwords we have a progressive left here as well.

      This may give one an incite on how my city was “restored” by creating government entities who basically ripped off the tax payer, ripped of the property owners and caused substatial delays.
      The “restoration” is far from finished because of delays and lack of finance etc.

      But I digress.

      What I am trying to say that we need a Donald Trump here to drain our swamp and at least get rid of our Emission Trading Scheme.

      Cheers

      Roger

      http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

    • 1. Create a “Social Benefit of Carbon” and publish the numbers in learned journals. It is clear from the title that SCC contains only costs. Rather than try and get rid of SCC, create a formal SBC to compete.

      2. Why are US taxpayers on the hook in the SCC calculation to pay for effects outside of the USA? Where did the US citizens sign up and agree to pay damages for their CO2 use to the rest of the world? Is the rest of the world going to pay the US citizens for all the free CO2 fertilization of their crops?

      3. Based on an average 15% greening from CO2, approximately 1 billion people on earth are being fed today because of increased CO2 in the atmosphere. Because of CO2 the earth is supporting 7 billion instead of the 6 billion it could support otherwise (115% of 6 billion is 6.9 billion). That is 0.9 billion food refugees that fossil fuels have prevented.

  2. Been reading up on SCC. It appears that each of the three IAMs is fatally flawed in multiple ways (missing benefits being just one category) before getting into time horizon and discount rate issues. But the fixes are not so obvious given an entrenched ‘deepstate’ warmunist bureaucracy. Perhaps there is a partial legislative solution on things like time horizon (legislate max 100 years), discount rate (legislate OMB circular A-94 nominal), and starting inputs (RCP8.5 is impossible). That is more difficult with the internals of problematic IAMs doing the future cost/benefit estimates. Legislative revision of CAA ‘pollutant’ definitions may be a better path. CPP is stalled on unconstitutional grounds that will likely prevail–per Prof. Tribe himself. So the administration could wait for the 2018 by election, and if that goes well, then pass CAA definition amendments rather than get entangled in the SCC tarpit.

      • Been legislated as a requirement. Need to revise lawsand executive orders. The problem is not the good idea of providing regulatory cost benefit justification. The problem is biased/faulty implementation.

      • Can’t we simply declare the SCC a total fiction?

        Better still, simply change what the letters stand for: … SCC (formerly “Social Cost of Carbon”) now becomes … Seriously Confused Concept

      • We could also provide for the SCA – Social Cost of Antibiotics. Antibiotics are responsible for a population explosion, and thus could be considered the root of all evil. Does the government have nothing more important to do? Why do we need to regulate “carbon”?

      • Here I want to quote Ronald Reagan on a government approach:
        If it moves, tax it.
        If it still moves, regulate it.
        If it stops moving, subsidize it.

      • The problem is biased/faulty implementation.
        ===========
        What happened to Congressional oversight? Why does Congress continue to fund any agency that failed to follow the rules requiring both costs and benefits?

    • I find it incredible that in my country the government requires a 7% discount rate for economic evaluation of the social benefits and costs of coal mines (resulting in a decrease in the benefits in present value terms) but the social cost of “carbon” uses a 1% or 3% discount rate (effectively inflating the costs in present value terms compared to a 7% discount rate). Incredible.

  3. Instead of the recent day without immigrants; try a day without coal and petrochemicals. No electricity generated from coal or natural gas. No transport by anything powered by oil/gasoline/diesel.

    Going without would give people the idea of the benefits from these products. What would be a good estimate of the number of people that would die because of the cuts in electricity?

    • to build on this…. it would be pretty much only transportation via your feet since even the Tesla cars have lubrication and many other parts/items based on or manufactured with petrochemicals! Even though it is in the name lots of folks have no idea “petroleum jelly” comes from petroleum!

      Cheers!

      Joe

    • We have Earth hour every year – so we know perfectly well that we can go without – so there!

      • Sorry Steve but at my house “Earth Hour” means turning on every possible electrical device and every motorized device that I own for at least an hour, but my family is slightly argumentative. :-)

  4. I could never have a career in politics or government for the simple reason that I have absolutely no tolerance for the kind of silliness or the buffoons involved in this kind of nonsense.

  5. Social cost of carbon” conveniently leaves out anything that can actually be measured and then evaluated….without major emotional input.

    “But, Dad! My date ran out of gas! What else was I supposed to do?”

  6. One of the bigger variables is technological progress. It isn’t predictable in that we don’t know exactly what will happen but it is reasonably predictable that there will be some kind of game changing breakthrough.

    We actually have a tiger by the tail. We depend on improving technology. If technology quits getting better, we are up the creek no matter what CO2 does. link

    So, if technology keeps improving it doesn’t matter what CO2 does.
    If technology quits improving it doesn’t matter what CO2 does.

    Trying to calculate the social cost of carbon is a completely pointless exercise.

    • Precisely. Technological advancement is completely ignored by the Malthausians behind the global warming scam.

    • Just bringing the rest of the world up to current western standards would keep us going for at least a century, even if the west didn’t improve in the meantime.

    • For baseline power generation there is already a technology in development. replace traditional steam Rankine cycle engines with supercritical carbon dioxide Brayton cycle engines. higher efficiency, lower capital cost, carbon capture without loss of efficiency. captured CO2 can be sold at a profit for industrial uses.

    • commieBob
      “Trying to calculate the social cost of carbon is a completely pointless exercise.”

      I beg to differ.
      It is not pointless to the folk involved in ‘counting’ that ‘cost’ – or those they involve in regulation, or their hangers-on, not a few of whom can be counted to wave placards about the ‘evils of industry’, whilst fed and watered, dressed in, transported by, and kept in touch by products of the said industries.

      Sad.

      Auto

  7. Fossil fuel use has created an unprecedented golden age in human health, wealth and security.
    One has to be a crazed extremist to see carbon as a net cost on humanity.

  8. My home State of Washington, recently had the State Department of Ecology draft regulations to tax carbon dioxide emissions form high-quantity emitters. I made a comment at the Ecology public comments page regarding my opinion of the proposed tax, excerpted here:

    “Should this rule be enacted: What is the plan, when future, reproduced scientific evidence proves that carbon dioxide is not the driver of catastrophic climate change, as is the premise for this regulatory imposition? The science is not currently settled on this scientific point, and enacting such punitive taxation based upon non-conclusive evidence (in fact there is no evidence of anomalous climate catastrophe in the observable weather record – such catastrophe exists in model projections only) is disingenuous and not in the best service of the constituency of the State of Washington. I challenge all to review the CONS for this action, as well as what is heard without end, the PROS of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. I assure you, that you all will be enlightened that the science is not complete on this point, and any action to combat a “problem” that in all available real-world observations does not in fact exist will be a part of all of your future legacies. Washington’s output of Carbon Dioxide to the overall globe is minuscule, and these rules will merely be punitive to industry therefore passed through to consumers in the State. In my opinion, this is politically motivated rulemaking, and from my viewpoint your “cost/benefit analyses” of enacting this rule are biased, in that not enough “benefit” has been ascribed to additional atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, in regards to greening our biosphere among other positive factors.”

    While I did not directly mention the SCC, I hope I got my point across…even though this is already ‘a done deal’.

    Here is the Department of Ecology website where the “Preliminary Cost-Benefit Analysis” is located:

    https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/SummaryPages/1602008.html

    This incorporates the the Federal SCC.

    And the Rulemaking page:

    http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/air/rules/wac173442/1510docs.html

    Such a taxation model would probably have been used at the Federal level…if not for what happened on 8 NOV 2016.

    For now, this is the future in Washington State.

    Regards,

    MCR

    • Sorry to say you wasted your breath.

      They go through the motions of consultation to make you feel like you got something off your chest and so you accept the (predetermined) outcome.

    • I live on the east side of the mountains in Washington. I got my power bill yesterday along with a breakdown of the sources of electricity purchased by the local system. 89% was from hydro, 10.3% from nuclear, 0.6% from wind and 0.1% from biofuels. So why am I going to pay for a tax on carbon dioxide production? Washington State is already one of the lowest emitters per capita in the US. The only reason for the tax that I can see is that our Governor (I will refrain from name calling) wants so badly to be the next President and he thinks a “carbon” tax will be a big feather in his cap toward that end. I hope that it will become an albatross around his neck for the rest of his political life.

      • EAJohnson – And for this reason, I have given the following nickname to our lisper-in-chief:

        “Jay ‘I’ll Pass A Carbon Tax On My Watch’ Enslee”

        He will not ever give it up on the ‘Carbon Tax’ thing until he is out of office. I won’t refrain from the name-calling (more of a moniker-calling), when it is earned and therefore deserved. Other than that, I’m a pretty nice guy – overall. I am probably on some watch-list or another for my viewpoints here in the State. I’ll throw an acronym at that, if true:

        DILLIGAF

        I must not have had my Wheaties this morning, usually I’m not this terse when posting….but there it is.

        Regards,

        MCR

  9. Let’s stop misinforming the readers of this website:

    “Meanwhile, as the 2015-16 El Nino dissipated, average global temperatures have fallen back to their 1998-2014 level, according to Britain’s Meteorological Office. That means there has been no measurable planetary warming for 18 years.”

    First Error: Current temperature (after the 15/16 El Nino) is 0.1-0.2 K above the average for The Pause (roughly 1998-2013) in all records. Only the peaks of the El Ninos have been above today’s non-El Nino temperature. There is no El Nino right now.

    Second Error: The HadCRUT global trend for 1/1998 to 1/2017 is +0.14 K/decade * 1.9 decades = +0.26 K! The 95% ci for warming is 0.067 to 0.208 K/decade. Every other global, land or ocean record shows unambiguous warming over the same period.

    Comment: UAH and RSS temperatures for the troposphere also show warming: +0.05 K/decade for UAH. In this case the 95% ci (-0.08 to 0.18 K/decade) does include zero. The UAH record doesn’t constitute proof of warming for this period because a null hypothesis of no warming can’t be rejected. Nor can you reject a null hypothesis that the is no warming. Remember, you have affirmatively declared that “there has been no measurable planetary warming”. That means the best estimate for warming and the whole 95% confidence interval must lie BELOW ZERO. The best estimate for that measurement is +0.05 K/decade! Above zero. WARMING has been measured. Absence of statistically significant warming is NOT PROOF OF ABSENCE OF WARMING.

    Real Insanity: Since 1979, UAH has shown a warming trend of 0.12 K/decade over 38 years. For the first 18 years, the trend was 0.08 (-0.03 to +0.19) K/decade. For the next 20 years, the trend was the trend was 0.06 (-0.05 to +0.18) K/decade. The warming for neither sub-period was “statistically significant”, but it is for the whole period. The authors of this post would say that “there has been no measurable planetary warming in either period”, but there would be for the whole period! Insanity. We divide a period with nearly 0.5 K of warming into two halves – and the warming disappears????

    If you look for the trend in any noisy temperature data over too short a time interval, you won’t find a statistically significant trend in the data. That means that you don’t know with traditional level of scientific confidence whether it has been warming or cooling. The absence of one is not proof of the other. It just means we don’t know for sure! Either way! We still have a best estimate for the trend. Contradicting the best estimate is insanity.

    • Absence of statistically significant warming is NOT PROOF OF ABSENCE OF WARMING

      So ….. there may be some warming, but it’s not statistically significant? In other words, there may not be any warming at all….

      I can’t quite see your difficulty in getting the concept.

      • jer0me wrote: “In other words, there may not be any warming at all….”

        Nothing is certain. It may rain tomorrow or it may not. If chance of rain is about 85%, no one in their right mind will use that 15% doubt to unambiguously state that it WON’T rain tomorrow.

        Scientists don’t draw conclusions without strong evidence to support that conclusion. Unfortunately, data contains random errors and noise. Scientists generally require an estimated probability of rain or a probability of warming greater than 95% before concluding that it will rain tomorrow or that it has been warming. This is the case for at least 10 global, land, and surface temperature record. For satellite measurements of the troposphere, the probability of warming over the last 18 years is about 85%, but the probability is well above 95% for the full record. No one in their right mind will use that 15% doubt to unambiguously state that “there has been no measurable planetary warming for 18 years”.

        The authors of this statement are either lying or ignorant. In either case, they have no business ruining the credibility this scientific blog and other skeptics.

      • “Scientists don’t draw conclusions without strong evidence to support that conclusion.”

        Or, those conclusions are a prerequisite of funding… or, they are necessary to gain a seat in faculty lounge… or … etc…. etc.

    • Let’s stop misinforming the readers of this website.

      “Meanwhile, as the 2015-16 El Nino dissipated, average global temperatures have fallen back to their 1998-2014 level, according to Britain’s Meteorological Office. That means there has been no measurable planetary warming for 18 years.”

      By referring to Britain’s Meteorological Office, the author probably is referring to CET which has been showing cooling since 1998, notwithstanding the 2015/16 El Nino spike. I set out below their latest plot:

      I agree that the reference to planetary is an overstatement since save for the satellite data, we have all but no real observational data on the Southern Hemisphere, or the Equatorial regions, or Antarctica, or Arctic.

      The only land based observational data of any reasonable sample that we possess is that of the Northern Hemisphere, and there are multiple lines of evidence that suggest that as far as the Northern Hemisphere is concerned the temperatures observed today are not significantly warmer than those observed in the late 1930s/1940s.

      • Richard: The authors claimed that “average GLOBAL temperatures have fallen back to their 1998-2014 level, according to Britain’s Meteorological Office”. CET is not a global record. An NAS report on NH temperature written in 1975 (based on a 1969 publication) is also totally irrelevant to anything today. Everyone agrees temperature fell modestly (compared with the overall rise since 1880) after WWII. Hypothesized causes include: increasing cooling from increasing aerosols, the AMO, the 1963 Agung volcanic eruption, and unforced variability (chaos). All the adjustments to surface temperature records added only 0.2 K to overall warming, they don’t change the big picture.

        Only the ignorant believe that the limited correlation between rising temperature and rising CO2 proves CO2 must cause warming. Laboratory measurements on the interaction between CO2 and outgoing thermal infrared demonstrate that rising CO2 will slow the rate of radiative cooling to space. The law of conservation of energy demands that the planet warm in response to this slowing. The big questions are how much and how fast? Only the ignorant believe that other factors haven’t been responsible for past warming and cooling. In 1990, the IPCC admitted that natural change and the change expected from rising GHGs were comparable. Unfortunately, temperatures have risen about 0.75 K over land and 0.50 K over the globe since 1990 including the PAUSE. (The Pause, which was never a statistically significant halt, ended several years ago.) Even UAH shows 0.33 K of warming since 1990. Yes, the recent El Nino added about 1/3 of this warming, but most occurred before.

        The constant propaganda interpreting a lack of significant warming as no warming appears to be poisoning your mind. There is no statistically significant evidence that warming has ever stopped – in other words that the 95% confidence interval for any period longer than 5 years lies completely below zero. Yes, the central estimate HadCRUT (global surface) for 11 years (2002-2013) was negative (-0.033 K/decade, a total drop of a trivial -0.036 K), but the confidence interval always easily included zero (-0.13 to +0.06 K/decade). And the central estimate for the trend from 1998-2013 (the period most people call the Pause) was (insignificantly) positive for surface records, but insignificantly negative for UAH (-0.07 K/decade, -0.22 to +0.09 ci, -0.10 K drop).

        Temperature data is noisy. If you misuse or cherry-pick data from relatively short periods, you can be fooled into thinking it isn’t warming. However, the positive trend for the last half-century and for most sub-periods is unambiguous. The important question is: How much less warming has occurred than the IPCC’s models predict?

      • Everyone agrees temperature fell modestly (compared with the overall rise since 1880) after WWII.

        Even Hansen in his 1981 paper (Science volume 213) suggested that Northern Hemisphere temperatures dropped by about 0.5 degC between 1940 and about 1970. Hansen suggested that his assessment was in line with other estimates such as the NAS plot that I referred to above, Hansen also cited Binkman 1976 paper, and the Borzenkova 1978 paper, and the Jones and Wigley 1980 all of which suggested a fall of more than 0.5degC.

        Hansen in his 1981 paper suggested that as at 1980/81 although there had been warming in the 1970s, the Northern Hemisphere was still some 0.3degC below that seen in the late 1930s/early 1940s, if there has been about 0.3 to 0.4degC warming since 1980/81 then that would put current Northern Hemisphere temperatures at about the same level as was observed in the late 1930s/1940s. I emphasise that there are multiple lines of evidence that suggest that Northern Hemisphere temperatures today are broadly similar to that observed in the late 1930s/1940s (and indeed that is one reason why Mann had to drop the tree ring data and splice on the adjusted thermometer record. Incidentally, grape harvest data suggests similar).

        Only the ignorant believe that the limited correlation between rising temperature and rising CO2 proves CO2 must cause warming</blockquote.

        Personally, I see no correlation; at times there appears some similarities, at other times anti correlation, and it appears that temperature change leads changes in CO2, and that CO2 is a response not a driver. Whilst I would tone down your language, I do not disagree with the broad thrust of your comment.

        The constant propaganda interpreting a lack of significant warming as no warming appears to be poisoning your mind.

        My mind is not poisoned by anything. I am simply sceptical, This to me means that I am sceptical of almost every argument in support of AGW, and sceptical of almost every argument against AGW.

        The problem is that none of the data sets, for a variety of different reasons, is fit for scientific purpose. To compound that we neither sufficiently know or understand the carbon cycle, the water cycle, oceanic circulations in 3 dimensions, the atmosphere ocean interface, clouds, the role, if any, played by the sun etc.

      • Richard: You cite Hansen’s statements on cooling in the NH from 1940-1970/80. The rising aerosols of the 1940-1980 period effected mostly land in the NH – which is were most of Hansen’s old data came from. And there was the negative phase of the AMO, which produces cooling centered around the North Atlantic. So it is not surprising to find that modern GLOBAL records now show much less cooling during this period. There have been major adjustment to the US and other records too: TOB (justified in my opinion), other adjustments (more dubious). But all of the adjustments only total 0.2 K for the whole century.

        Then you need to remember that a bunch of skeptics (BEST) created a new composite record (including one without any urban stations). That record indicates that Hansen’s early drop in temperature was exaggerated. And UAH/RSS confirms recent warming. ARGO too. Criticize the current records all you want – but don’t waste time my time with obsolete data almost half a century old.

        I’m skeptical about AOGCMs and other climate change dogma, but I can’t figure out why so many people keep say that it isn’t warming.

    • “Absence of statistically significant warming is NOT PROOF OF ABSENCE OF WARMING.”

      Yes it is.

      • “Absence of statistically significant warming is NOT PROOF OF ABSENCE OF WARMING.”

        Whether it is or isn’t it certainly is proof that there is no C in AGW, which is what matters.

      • It’s only proof that warming is below statistically significant levels. It might have warmed, it might have cooled. We just don’t know because our instruments and measuring system are not sensitive enough to prove it either way.

        So he is correct that it isn’t proof that it hasn’t warmed. However it is proof that no matter what has happened, it isn’t big enough to worry about.

      • No it isn’t. Between statistically significant warming and statistically significant cooling lies a range where there is some ambiguity. Ambiguity about warming is not proof of absence of warming. Ambiguity about cooling is not proof of warming. You need to consider the central estimate for the trend and its confidence interval.

        Finally, you may believe that temperature isn’t warming or cooling; that it is remaining constant. If you want to make a draw a scientific conclusion about constant temperature, you need to define what you mean by constant. Things are rarely exactly equal to zero. You might cal trend between -0.05 K/decade and +0.05 effectively constant. Then you need to show that the 95% confidence interval is between these values.

        It is perfectly possible to be unable to prove (with a normal degree of scientific confidence) that it isn’t warming, cooling OR remaining constant. Ambiguity about one if these conclusion is ambiguity; not proof that the others are correct.

        The way to get rid of ambiguity in noisy data is to look at the change over longer periods. Then warming is unambiguous.

      • Frank March 7, 2017 at 1:57 pm
        ….Between statistically significant warming and statistically significant cooling lies a range where there is some ambiguity. Ambiguity about warming is not proof of absence of warming. Ambiguity about cooling is not proof of warming. ….

        It is perfectly possible to be unable to prove (with a normal degree of scientific confidence) that it isn’t warming, cooling OR remaining constant. Ambiguity about one if these conclusion is ambiguity; not proof that the others are correct.

        The way to get rid of ambiguity in noisy data is to look at the change over longer periods. Then warming is unambiguous.

        Lots of “ambiguity”. Certainly enough that nobody can claim “the science is settled” that Man is causing CAGW or cAGW or AGW or even just aGW with any certainty.

      • Gunga Din: “Lots of “ambiguity”. Certainly enough that nobody can claim “the science is settled” that Man is causing CAGW or cAGW or AGW or even just aGW with any certainty.”

        If I thought the science was settled I wouldn’t be here. Nevertheless, the science that CO2 slows down the rate of radiative cooling to space is settled. So is law of conservation of energy, which ensures that slower radiative cooling to space will cause warming. CAGW, cAGW or AGW – who knows for sure. (When you look at ice cores and other evidence for natural variability in climate (MWP, LIA, RWP etc.), I don’t think the term aGW is appropriate. We are at aGW already.)

        However, much ambiguity is resolved by considering what has been happening over the last 40+ years. Why 40+ years? If you go back too far, CO2 and other GHGs were not rising as fast as they are today. In the 1960’s, CO2 was 330 ppm and rising 1 ppm/yr. Today, we have 400 ppm rising at 2 ppm/yr. And aerosols were rising from 1940-1980. So, if you go back further than 40 years, there are decent reasons to expect the average rate of warming to be less.

        Temperature has been rising about 0.18 K/decade globally for the last 40 years and here the confidence interval is 0.16 to 2.0 K/decade. Unambiguous warming over land has been even larger 0.22-0.29 K/decade with a confidence interval of +/- 0.03 K/decade. I’m skeptical about some aspects of the land record. TOB is a legitimate correction, but I don’t believe in PHA. During most of the 40 years, the AMO has been rising. These are modest corrections that don’t change the overall story. Plus UAH/RSS. There is no ambiguity in the long term record of warming. That is why everyone talks about the last one or two decades: There is ambiguity and there used to be a Pause.

    • Frank, the average temperature of the earth is about 300K. What is the standard deviation of the earth’s temperature?

      This is largely overlooked when people talk about averages. Because if the standard deviation in Earth’s temperature is greater than 0, then it is more likely that earth’s temperature will go up and down than remain the same!

      Say for example, the standard deviation is 3K (could be a whole lot more looking back at the pale record), then 50% of the time you can expect a warming or cooling of more than 2.0 C simply due to chance. Further, there is a much greater chance of a warming or cooling greater than 2.0 C than there is of a warming or cooling less than 1.0 C!

      So forget about forcings and CO2. Statistics tells us unless the standard deviation of earth temperature is zero, then the temperature will go up and down because that is the nature of climate.

      Until and unless you can calculate the standard deviation, average temperature is meaningless.

      • Ferdberple: Your point about standard deviation (natural variability) is perfectly valid. (However the standard deviation will be the same for temperature measured in K (near 300) and degC (near 15).)

        If you go back tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, tens of millions, and hundreds of millions of years, the planet’s temperature has changed a lot. We think we know some of the reasons for these changes: Milankovic cycles (that produce glacials and interglacials), massive lava flows (which release a lot of CO2), changes in solar output, and changes in ocean currents due to plate tectonics. Thousands of sediment cores taken from the oceans and ice cores tell us something about these changes in the distant past. They also tell us that the current period, the Holocene, has been a period of relative stability for the past 10 millennia.

        Putative AGW is interrupting this period of relative stability (the last 10 millennia), so current warming must be compared with the standard deviation of the last 10 millennia. (Milankovic cycles and plate tectonics are too slow to explain recent warming and volcanic activity hasn’t changed.) Yes, that period contains periods of change like the LIA and MWP, but temperature change then was about 1 degC globally (twice as much in polar regions like Greenland due to Arctic amplification). There has also been a long-term cooling trend during the Holocene (potential descent towards another glacial period?) as orbital changes move the time of closest approach from summer in the Northern Hemisphere to the summer to summer in the SH. (Antarctica always reflects a lot of incoming solar radiation, but the surface albedo of the NH varies dramatically with season.)

        So, we should remove (detrend) the slow cooling and look at the standard deviation of that period. Reconstructions such as the hockey stick are too short and untrustworthy. Ice cores provide a homogeneous record (like the one below from Greenland), but temperature swings in polar regions are about twice as big as global swings. Big swings in the past have been about 2 degC in Greenland and therefore about 1 degC globally. Note that this ice core record starts in 1850, and so is missing about 2 degC of warming that would put today’s temperature between the MWP and RWP. So, 20th century warming is nothing unusual for the Holocene. (The very cold period 8200 years ago may have been caused by freshwater from the melting of the last glacier that shut down the MOC, so you may want to discount it.)

        If climate sensitivity is high and we get 3 or 4 degC of AGW, temperature will rise from today’s -30 degC in Greenland by twice as much to -24 or -22 degC – off the top of this graph. If climate sensitivity is low, we might stay within the range we have previously experienced during the Holocene – although distinctly warmer than anything in the last millennium.

    • “Let’s stop misinforming the readers of this website”

      Good idea!

      So why don’t you go away and stop doing it then?

      • catweazle666: I’ll gladly stop misinforming readers of this website. Please explain where I’m wrong. I’ll even admit that I am wrong and APOLOGIZE for misinforming readers. However, I’ll only do so in response to quantitative reliable information. This is supposed to be a science blog – where scientific information is valued over political opinion. You have provided no information. Zero. Zilch. Perhaps you should go away. Or at least wonder why you object to hearing about science at a science blog.

        Fredberple brought up the issue of natural variability (standard deviation) and how it compares to recent warming. I provided some useful information to help put that issue in context. The ice core graph was linked from a WUWT post.

  10. How do you figure this?

    Meanwhile, as the 2015-16 El Nino dissipated, average global temperatures have fallen back to their 1998-2014 level, according to Britain’s Meteorological Office. That means there has been no measurable planetary warming for 18 years.

    According to HadCRUT, the temperature anomaly for the first part of 2017 is 0.741. The period from 1998 to 2014 ran from 0.293 to 0.575. https://crudata.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/HadCRUT4.pdf

    • Have you ever tried to measure the average temperature inside your freezer to 2 decimal places, perchance, lorcanbonda?

      If so, how can you not be filled with contempt for the 3 decimal places of pseudo-precision that you cite as if it served a purpose other than propaganda? Is the pseudo-precision an artifact of the perpetual Orwellian adjustments applied to the records? How do you feel about perpetually revising records to make them fit today’s narrative, btw?
      In case you didn’t know, a system that hasn’t reached thermal equilibrium doesn’t have a meaningful temperature.

      During the so-called “pause,” the “permanent” global warming drought came to an end in south-east Australia, London received it’s earliest snowfall for 70 years, China was belted with record snow, the Alps had the best snowfalls “in a generation,” Niagara falls froze twice, the word “snowmaggedon” entered the U.S. political lexicon, and sea ice continued to grow around Antarctica top record extent.
      The so-called “pause” didn’t stop “climate change.”

      It seem that weather patterns have no relationship whatsoever to the mathematical abstractions of homo simian. So why should we care about a construct that predicts nothing called “global average temperature”?

      • First, as a chemical engineer, I have access to many thermometers which are much accurate to two decimal places. Second, if I had 3000 thermometers strategically placed around my refrigerator, then I would not have trouble with accuracy or repeatability.

        All that being said, you seem to miss the point. The accuracy of the data has no bearing on the claim in this article. The article claimed that the British Meteorological office has reported that temperatures have fallen back to their pre-ENSO norm. Looking at the data from the British Meteorological Office. This statement can be checked for accuracy by checking the data from the BMO (which uses HadCRUT data.) They have not reported that temperatures have dropped to the pre-ENSO norm, so it is a factual error.

      • Khwarizmi: Like many on both sides of the issue, you are confusing weather and climate.

        Khwarizmi wrote: “So why should we care about a construct that predicts nothing called “global average temperature”?

        You should care about global average temperature because it is a reasonable way of quantifying the difference between today’s climate, the more hostile climate of the LIA, and the really hostile climate of the last ice age. A reduction of about 5 degC in mean global temperature put a mile of ice on top of Chicago during the last ice age. The mean annual temperature of Chicago is 49.6 degF (10 degC). The mean low in January is 42.5 degF (6 degC). 1 degC less than the average Chicago winter all year round put a mile of ice on top of the city, but not much further south.

        Over most of the planet except the tropics, moving 100 miles south produces roughly a 1 degC difference in mean annual temperature. (On the graph below, 30 deg of latitude is approximately 20 degC. Every deg of latitude is 67 miles.) So discussing things in terms of a mean global temperature can help you understand what climate change means. The 1 degC of warming in the 20th century is fairly trivial expressed in miles. It means different things to different people. The Iowa corn belt is only about 100 miles from north to south. And one degC is a big difference when it crosses 0 degC and makes the difference between ice/snow and water/rain. That makes a big difference to the snowpack in California.

  11. ‘Fossil fuels created the modern world and lifted billions out of destitution and disease.’
    And will continue to do so.
    AGW is socialism’s last stand. Beyond is democratic liberal (small government) capitalism, and prosperity for the globe.
    The internet, coupled with abundance, enables individuals and communities to pursue their own objectives. Government can be reduced to the roles of defense and justice.

    The Obama legacy is an illness from which we will recover.

    • Unfortunately the socialists have convinced a majority of the people that there is a free lunch. All they have to do is take enough money from the wealthy.
      Socialism will only end with the total collapse of civilization. The survivors will be those who don’t fall for nonsense so easily.

      • “Greed” is talked about a lot in regards economic systems. “Envy” not so much. There are some where it’s been relabeled an “Entitlement” or a “Right” to take what someone else has.

  12. People who buy electricity or fuels are purchasing the benefits they from these fuels. Those benefits have been paid for.* We don’t need to account for those benefits again. None of the three Republican speakers at the recent House hearing said in their written testimony that emission of CO2 from the fuels I use is a net benefit to the rest of society. They simply debated how much it will cost society in the future. Those costs aren’t paid for by the purchaser (me), but they are real.

    The problem is that there is no unambiguous way to calculate what those costs will be. Future warming is uncertain. Future costs and benefits are uncertain. Which costs should be counted? (If idiots build barely above sea level today, should damages to their homes count?) An appropriate discount rate for future costs is uncertain. No group of experts selected by a politically motivated administration is going to be able to produce an answer the public can trust. This is a decision that MUST be made by our elected political leaders, not unaccountable experts behind closed doors. If Congress want to raise revenue through a carbon tax (with or without lowering other taxes), they can legally do so. Congress didn’t grant the EPA the authority to make THIS decision – the costs are far too large and ambiguous.

    Nevertheless, our political leaders have been told by experts chosen by Republicans that there are social costs to CO2 emissions.

    * I used to pay $4+/gallon of gasoline, but now I pay $2+/gallon. Are the benefits of that gas $2/gallon or $4/gallon or perhaps $10/gallon? Clearly I get enough benefits from the gasoline that I can afford to pay $2/gallon for the gas and $2/gallon to a carbon tax. Maybe I could even pay $8 to a carbon tax. In any case, I won’t pay the full price and tax for the gasoline if the benefits aren’t greater than the total price.

      • Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Environment and the Subcommittee on Oversight,
        Committee on Science, Space, & Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, February 28, 2017

        At What Cost? Examining the Social Cost of Carbon, Kevin D. Dayaratna, Ph.D.
        Senior Statistician and Research Programmer – The Heritage Foundation
        1. The Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) is a tool used by policymakers to quantify the
        economic damages associated with carbon dioxide emissions. In my work at The
        Heritage Foundation, we have rigorously examined two of the three models that the
        Obama Administration’s Interagency Working Group (IWG) used to estimate the SCC.
        This work has been published both at The Heritage Foundation as well as the peer
        reviewed literature …

        Testimony of Ted Gayer
        Senior Fellow, Brookings InstitutionOne Page Summary of Ted Gayer’s Testimony
        My testimony addresses whether estimates of the social cost of carbon should consider
        the global or only the domestic costs of greenhouse gas emissions. The key points are:
        A global measure of the social cost of carbon is appropriate if the intent is to use it to
        support the development of a global system of reducing greenhouse gases, in which U.S
        actions are completely reciprocated …

        SUMMARY OF MAJOR POINTS, Patrick J. Michaels, Cato Institute
        1. The equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) in the existing federal determination of the
        social cost of carbon is outdated and does not reflect multiple findings in recent years that
        the mean ECS is significantly lower, by approximately 40%, than the value used by the
        Obama Administration …

        Statement of Michael Greenstone, Milton Friedman Professor in Economics, the College and the Harris School, University of Chicago, Director, Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago…The social cost of carbon is a key metric used to assess the costs and benefits of environmental regulations that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is the monetary cost of the damages caused by the release of an additional ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Simply put, it reflects the cost of climate change—accounting for the destruction of property from storms and floods, declining agricultural and labor productivity, elevated mortality rates, and so forth. It is perhaps the most critical component of regulatory policy in this area because, by calculating the costs of climate change, the social cost of carbon allows for the calculation of the monetary benefits of regulations that reduce greenhouse gases…

        http://docs.house.gov/Committee/Calendar/ByEvent.aspx?EventID=105632

        Unicorns don’t exist. The hand in front of your face does.

    • “The problem is that there is no unambiguous way to calculate what those costs will be.”

      There is an even bigger problem: There is no evidence that the burning of fossil fuels by humans is adding any net heat to the Earth’s atmosphere. Trying to figure costs for something that has not happened, and may not happen, is a fool’s errand. An expensive fool’s errand.

      • TA wrote: “There is an even bigger problem: There is no evidence that the burning of fossil fuels by humans is adding any net heat to the Earth’s atmosphere.”

        There is strong evidence. Laboratory experiments unambiguously show that CO2 absorbs thermal infrared radiation that transfers heat from the Earth to space. The law of conservation of energy demands that the slowdown in radiative cooling to space with increasing GHGs will raise temperature (aka as “internal energy”). “How much?” and “how fast?” are legitimate questions.

        The correlation between rising historic temperature and GHGs isn’t very compelling, especially when you limit your analysis to the past decade or two. Temperature is too noisy for that data to be compelling. The existence of warming over the past 40 years in undeniable – though attributable to natural variability. The case for AGW comes from controlled laboratory experiments, not the behavior of a chaotic planet.

        “Trying to figure out the costs for something that has not happened yet” is very challenging, but it is an important aspect of government. If we double the police force, will the cost of crime go down more than the cost of police, the courts and the jails go up? Will spending more money on schools produce more productive citizens in the next generation? Many purchase insurance against the risk of future catastrophes that they can’t accurately predict. A bigger military will rationally deter aggression (and the possibility of future war) by our enemies, but it makes it easier for our Commander in Chief to unilaterally commit us to foreign adventures. Governing is often about cost-benefit analysis – rational or irrational. I prefer that policymakers obtain information about cost-benefit analysis before making decisions and that the executive branch take cost-benefit analysis into their rule-making (though Congress has delegated far to much authority to make rules.)

        IMO, you should recognize that: 1) There is strong evidence that rising GHGs will cause warming. 2) Observational evidence indicates that we are experiencing some warming. 3) Current warmth is NOT unprecedented or even unusual for the Holocene. 4) If warming continues at the rate experienced over the past 40 years (1.5 to 2 K/century), there will be unprecedented warmth. It could be more. 5) A lot depends on climate sensitivity. It is not ZERO!

        What I object to is the idea that our government knows how to spend money today (or force Americans to spend more money today for fossil fuels or renewable energy) to make the world a better place for our descendants 50 or 100 years from now. That is pure hubris. Long-term planning for governments is 10 or 20 years and they frequently do a lousy job of that. Social Security will be bankrupt in 2030, and Democrats are concerned about climate change? Other unfunded liabilities threaten the stability of many state and local governments. Printing money to meet unfunded Federal obligations will destroy the savings of prudent citizens and perhaps our economy.

    • People who buy electricity or fuels are purchasing the benefits they from these fuels. Those benefits have been paid for.* We don’t need to account for those benefits again.

      Economists make these sorts of statements all of the time. It is more of an economic cliche that a factually accurate statement. In theory, the benefit should be greater than the cost, because we would probably settle for a neutral purchase.

      I don’t agree with these sorts of gross assumptions, because the cost of something does not equal the benefit of it. More accurately, the assumption from Capitalism 101 is that during any transaction, both the buyer and seller benefit from the transaction. In other words, the value is more than the cost.

      “{Adam} Smith asserts that when individuals make a trade they value what they are purchasing more than they value what they are giving in exchange for a commodity. If this were not the case, then they would not make the trade but retain ownership of the more valuable commodity. This notion underlies the concept of mutually-beneficial trade where it is held that both sides tend to benefit by an exchange.” — Wikipedia on Capitalism

      • lorcanbonda: These are all excellent points. On a supply-demand curve, only the marginal purchaser where the line cross pays – in theory – a cost equal to (or slightly less than) the benefit he receives. Gasoline at $2.50/gallon is a bargain for me. Nevertheless, those who claim that the benefits of using fossil fuels have not been considered when calculating a social cost for carbon emissions are wrong. The social cost of carbon is all about the negative AND positive externalities that are NOT included in the price paid by customers. You are right, that price is not an accurate measure of the benefits received.

        So, your real question may be: What happens to the supply-demand curve when we add a carbon tax to the analysis? Users who receive marginal benefit will reduce their demand. Those (like me) will get less of a bargain if gasoline rises by $0.50 or $2.50/gallon. Deeper analysis is beyond my capability. Even if it weren’t, economic analysis has limitations. So does the judgment of policymakers. I’d like to see them exposed to good economic analysis before they make decisions. (The House just heard for three experts who criticized how the social cost of carbon was calculated, not the concept itself.) Therefore I am opposed to the central idea of this post: The social cost of carbon is phony. It is, however, extremely subjective to calculate.

        Respectfully, Frank

      • Frank, it is good to see reasoned and informed discussion here. There are problems with assessing the SCC. It combines climate models with economic models, and there are clearly going to be problems. And deciding a discount rate is philosophy rather than science. However the concept is sound, it is the measurement that is the problem.

      • Seaice1 wrote: it is good to see reasoned and informed discussion here.

        Thank you.

        Seaice1 wrote: “And deciding a discount rate is philosophy rather than science.”

        It is my understanding that the Ramsey equation (proven mathematically) tells us how to pick an optimum discount rate. But the Ramsey equation depends on the future rate of economic growth – which is an unknown we need to choose. The Ramsey equation says that: If there is lots of economic growth, the rich people living a century will be far better equipped to adapt to climate change that we are to mitigate it today. If there is little or no economic growth, we today are better equipped to mitigate than our descendants will be to adapt. This is derived mathematically – though I expressed it philosophically.

        The choice of an economic growth rate isn’t exactly a philosophical, but it does involve uncertainty and arbitraryness.

  13. Sorry folks. The Obama administration from the top down was an ideology driven enterprise. The more they fiddled science and statistics the louder they claimed to be fact based. President Obama was a Chicago political hack first, last, and always. Start with the goal of power and enrichment then find a cause and some suckers to mobilize.

    On leaving office the former first couple went to Richard Bransons private island. Mission accomplished.

    • +1 and the time is right. Arguing about the SCC helps legitimize the AGW narrative and we should be on the offensive, not the defensive.

  14. CO2, the life-giving gas, not “Carbon Pollution”. A Limerick – and explanation.

    What then is this “Carbon Pollution”?
    A sinister, evil collusion?
    CO2, it is clean,
    Makes for growth, makes it green,
    A transfer of wealth, a solution.

    Let me first state I am serious about this Limerick. It is not even tongue in cheek. I am an engineer with a degree in technical physics and look at the earth as a “living” organism that responds to changes in its environment.

    First, the increase in CO2 concentration itself and how nature responds to it.

    Second, the effect it has on the earth’s temperature and all its consequences, and finally

    Third, the acidification of the oceans.

    CO2 concentration has increased from about 280 ppm in pre-industrial times to 400 ppm today, and is increasing at a rate of 2 ppm per year. We are way past the point of no return, 350 ppm which would lead to a temperature catastrophe. (1) But instead, something rather interesting is occurring. The earth is getting greener! (2) This 40 % increase in CO2 the last 250 years has led to a more than 30 % increase in agricultural production all by itself without adding fertilizer or using higher yielding seeds. (3) Thanks to this we can now feed an additional two billion people on earth without starvation. The news are so good, that the per capita food production is increasing, even as the population is increasing. (4)

    Look at it this way. The value of basic agricultural products is more than 1.5 trillion dollars worldwide. 30% of that is due to increased CO2. That means that the CO2 emitted is worth 450 billion dollars, spread out over all farmers and ranchers worldwide. This wealth transfer is occurring right now, and knows no national boundary. It is a gift from the developed countries to the rest of the world. Who could be against that?

    It turns out that this wealth transfer occurs without global governance. The leaders of the world will not have their say in who gets the wealth transfer, the U.N. bureaucrats will not get their cut, and politicians cannot get a campaign issue since it occurs without their involvement.
    more: https://lenbilen.com/2014/02/22/co2-the-life-giving-gas-not-carbon-pollution-a-limerick-and-explanation/

  15. From the work done on climate modeling one has to conclude that the climate change we are experiending today is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. There is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and plenty of scientific rational to support the idea that the climate sensivity of CO2 is zero. So changes of CO2 in our atmosphere have no effect on climate. But even if we could some how hault climate change, extreme weather events and sea level rise woudl continue because they are part of our current climate. We have yet to discover a climate which extreme weather events are not a part of. So stopping climate change will not save any one any money. We must also consider that the additional CO2 that we have been adding to the atmosphere is beneficial to plant growth which increases food production. So the cost of adding CO2 to the atmosphere is slightly negative so if anything we should paying people for the amount of CO2 they have been adding to the atmophsere because it benefits all life on Earth.

  16. Just rely on the SCC but calculate it properly — a large negative number — and reward all carbon “polluters” for benefiting the planet. No need to change the legislation.

  17. The fact that real economic and social benefits of carbon-based fossil fuel are so enormous compared to the potential cost of even 2deg C warming. This is the simple explanation why the Obama EPA fraudsters could only look at costs to arrive at their scam supporting conclusions.

    • In BC Canada, we see Carbon Tax on our gas bill, AND they charge GST (tax) on the Carbon tax. My fear is government is addicted to money. The Carbon Tax will just be renamed to “Take it up the butt tax” which is less dignifying.
      I recall a pamphlet that circulated with our new Electric meters mentioning that it was UN mandated. So we have a Marxist government. Do our leaders just have a propensity to follow UN mandates or does the UN have some particular carrot they are dangling?

  18. I’m looking at the words:
    Carbon – The very stuff of life
    Cost – A price that has to be paid, a liability or burden
    Social – To do with other people

    So it says that other people being alive ‘are a burden on me’ or that me myself I, being alive, am ‘a burden on others’

    It is unspeakably horrible. Period.

    How did such a monstrous idea ever get legs and gain any sort of traction?
    What *has* gone wrong?

    • No, you are misunderstanding the concept. It is trying to capture costs that are borne by those who do not benefit from whatever it is you are doing. You get the benefit of say flying, and so you pay the price of a ticket. But you flying causes others to suffer noise. So the price of a ticket should include the cost to others of that noise. It is a simple economic concept that seeks to capture all the costs that should be paid by the person benefiting from whatever it is they are doing.

      • Let’s try this idea. It took me two minutes of my time-limited life to read your message, Tim Hammond. I want them back. Give them or pay up.

      • “It is a simple economic concept that seeks to capture all the costs that should be paid by the person benefiting from whatever it is they are doing.” — Tim Hammond

        That’s the theory. In practice, it is a simple way to distort economics to drive behavior based on whatever assumptions you can use to justify it.

        That’s the problem with the Social Cost of Carbon — nobody really knows what the cost or benefit is. If there was a net social benefit to carbon, would we get a refund? I doubt it.

      • It is a simple economic concept that seeks to capture all the costs that should be paid by the person benefiting from whatever it is they are doing.

        So…if anybody does anything other than zero gain (worthless), they, if what they’ve done is a gain (of value) have to pay those that have done what is harmful (costly)?!?
        And what is costly, worthless or of value is all determined by the middleman (Government) who has his thumb on the scale?

  19. Actually, whilst I don’t agree with the figures, this article is simply wrong on the basics.

    The point is to try to value externalities, that is, costs borne by others when we use or consume things. It is a serious concept in economics and the vast majority of economists agree with it. The point is simple: think about say noise from an aircraft. I get value from flying in that aircraft and I pay for that value. But the noise the aircraft creates is a cost to people under the flight path. The price of my ticket should include a value for that externality. That might include the cost of double-glazing for example, or the reduction in the value of a house if you have more flights.

    It is not a stupid concept at all. More importantly, you don’t include the value of the original thing that is being used or consumed, but you do include any value for the externality. Thus the value of driving a car is paid for in the price of driving a car (I pay the price of petrol and get the value of using that petrol). But the cost to those not driving the car – “pollution” broadly – should be borne by the driver as well, not by those who get no value from that car being driven. So for CO2, the SCC should include any benefits of that CO2 such as faster plant growth.

    The costs attributed to carbon are currently utterly for many reasons, and the benefits of more C02 are not included as they should be, but the concept is sound.

    • Tim Hammond:

      You say;

      The point is to try to value externalities, that is, costs borne by others when we use or consume things. It is a serious concept in economics and the vast majority of economists agree with it. The point is simple: think about say noise from an aircraft. I get value from flying in that aircraft and I pay for that value. But the noise the aircraft creates is a cost to people under the flight path. The price of my ticket should include a value for that externality. That might include the cost of double-glazing for example, or the reduction in the value of a house if you have more flights.

      Sorry, but that is misguided because it assumes the costs and the benefits of fossil fuel usage are applied to different people when, in reality, those costs and benefits are obtained by everybody although not in the same amounts.

      The use of fossil fuels has done more to benefit humanity than anything else since the invention of agriculture. Almost everybody has net benefit because the use of fossil fuels has increased life expectancy, health and wealth while reducing poverty and starvation. Therefore, almost everybody has a net social benefit from the use of fossil fuels. If there are any people who suffer a net social cost then they need to be identified before any consideration of the social costs is warranted.

      But, as the above article by Driessen and Bezdek explains, calculations of “social costs of carbon” (SCC) ignore the ‘social benefits of carbon’. Such calculations of SCC are pure pseudoscience and are conducted for blatant political reasons.

      Richard

    • There are also the externalities associated with living in a richer society. Lower crime, higher innovation, etc. At the end of the day there are so many tunable parameters that the models will say whatever the modellers want. It would be fairly easy to come up a net external benefit.

    • Tim Hammond

      Since most of the unintended cost of CO2 “pollution” are negative should i then get a rebate from the government whenever I use fossil fuels?

      “It is a serious concept in economics and the vast majority of communist agree with it.”
      There i fixed your misstatement for you as well.

    • Tim Hammond

      “The price of my ticket should include a value for that externality. That might include the cost of double-glazing for example, or the reduction in the value of a house if you have more flights.”

      And of course naturally the way to make this happen is to put a tax on the ticket and have the money go to the government. Because we know that money will end up in glazed windows all over the place. It is a ridiculous concept. Who calculates the costs? Who gets the money? Who administers the process? The answer of course is the government and hence it will all be based on politics and not economics and there for has nothing to do with economics.

  20. The author really should look up what the social cost means before going public with this sort of stuff.
    “However, it utterly fails to mention, much less analyze, tremendous and obvious carbon benefits.”
    The social cost does not ignore social benefits. It does ignore benefits (and costs) that are already included in the price since these are not social benefit by definition.

    If we take something like a hat, the costs and benefits are pretty much included in the price. If hats cost $50 we know that the benefit to the purchaser is more than $50 (or he would not buy) and the cost to the seller is less than $50 (or he would not sell). In the absence of externalities there is no social cost.

    The benefit to the buyer is significant – more than $50 – but there is no social cost. The market will ensure that the efficient number of hats are bought and sold such that any other number would lead to people being worse off.

    Now assume that making hats caused some pollution. This goes downstream from the hat factory and causes $10 worth of damage. In an ideal world the hat factory would compensate the people harmed by the pollution. This would increase the price of hats, which in turn would lower the number of hats sold (and made). Again the market would ensure that the optimum number of hats were made. This number would be less than the number of hats in the world without the pollution. Again there is no social cost because the hat factory compensated the victims.

    However, lets assume that the hat factory cannot compensate the victims because the transactions would be too complicated. We know that there is neither social cost nor social benefit of hats when the price is $50 with no pollution, and no social cost or benefit when the hat factory compensates the pollution victims. But now we have hats at $50 and some people not compensated. We now have a social cost of $10 per hat.

    It is wrong to say “But hats are very useful. The social cost ignores the benefits of hat use”. It does not ignore such benefits. Such benefits are economic benefits not social benefits and are outside the scope of social costs.

    Please try to separate the two when discussing social costs.

    As a solution, a tax of $10 per hat (the social coat) on the factory would restore the optimum level of hat manufacture we had when the factory compensated the victims. Thus production is restored to the efficient levels, although the benefits no longer go directly to the victims.

    • That last bit should read “social cost” not “social coat”. Getting carried away with hats and coats perhaps.

    • seaice1:

      You say

      The author really should look up what the social cost means before going public

      NO!
      You really should read the thread before posting twaddle that has already been refuted in the thread.

      I refer you to my rebuttal above of the post from Tim Hammond which presents the same (deliberate?) error as your post. To make it easy for you to find that rebuttal, this link jumps to it.

      Richard

      • Richard.
        I have read that reply and I don’t think it is a rebuttal. Can we explore this in the spirit of trying to reach understanding? Maybe you can persuade me to your view.

        Are you saying that if you buy fuel for your truck and deliver something to someone using that fuel they have derived a positive social cost (a social benefit) from that fuel? I think this is the crux of the matter.

      • Bob, did you not read what I wrote? The individuals downstream were damaged. I was talking about individuals. What part of that do you not understand? The social cost of the pollution in that example was the damage to those individuals.

      • seaice1:

        You ask me:

        I have read that reply and I don’t think it is a rebuttal. Can we explore this in the spirit of trying to reach understanding?

        OK. The issue is simple and if you can and do state your problem then I will address it.

        Please explain what you do not understand and/or dispute about these clear and undeniably true statements in my rebuttal.

        Your assertion

        is misguided because it assumes the costs and the benefits of fossil fuel usage are applied to different people when, in reality, those costs and benefits are obtained by everybody although not in the same amounts.

        And

        The use of fossil fuels has done more to benefit humanity than anything else since the invention of agriculture.

        And

        Almost everybody has net benefit because the use of fossil fuels has increased life expectancy, health and wealth while reducing poverty and starvation.

        And

        Therefore, almost everybody has a net social benefit from the use of fossil fuels.

        And

        If there are any people who suffer a net social cost then they need to be identified before any consideration of the social costs is warranted.

        But, as the above article by Driessen and Bezdek explains, calculations of “social costs of carbon” (SCC) ignore the ‘social benefits of carbon’.

        Such calculations of SCC are pure pseudoscience and are conducted for blatant political reasons

        Please note that I have quoted each and every sentence in my rebuttal of your idiotic twaddle.
        If you cannot state what you fail to understand and/or dispute about any of my quoted sentences then you will have demonstrated to yourself that you are too stupid to understand why your twaddle is fallacious.

        Richard

      • Richard. I see you have no interest on exploring the issue as all you have done is repeat you previous statements. The reason you are wrong is because all the things you say could be true yet there could still be a social cost to carbon. Those things you describe are economic benefits that are included in the price. We expect development and trade to make us better off.

        Your problem is you do not want to use the term “social cost” in context. There is a difference between “social benefit” in the economic sense and “benefit to society” in the general sense. If you simply conflate the two without consideration it is not surprising you end up with the wrong conclusion.

      • seaice1:

        You really ‘take the biscuit’!

        You have demonstrated that you are either being obtuse or – more likely – you are too stupid to understand my repeated comment that
        “Your assertion is misguided because it assumes the costs and the benefits of fossil fuel usage are applied to different people when, in reality, those costs and benefits are obtained by everybody although not in the same amounts.”

        And you attempt to excuse your (deliberate?) stupidity by saying to me,

        Your problem is you do not want to use the term “social cost” in context. There is a difference between “social benefit” in the economic sense and “benefit to society” in the general sense. If you simply conflate the two without consideration it is not surprising you end up with the wrong conclusion.

        But I did put ” “social cost” in context” and I did differentiate it from “benefit to society” when I repeatedly wrote

        The use of fossil fuels has done more to benefit humanity than anything else since the invention of agriculture. Almost everybody has net benefit because the use of fossil fuels has increased life expectancy, health and wealth while reducing poverty and starvation. Therefore, almost everybody has a net social benefit from the use of fossil fuels.

        Being alive is not an economic benefit to an individual but it is a social benefit that most individuals have from use of fossil fuels, and it outweighs any social cost he or she may have from the use of fossil fuels.

        Furthermore, it is YOU – not me – who is confusing “social benefit” with “benefit to society”: if the provision of fossil fuel usage is taxed then that provides no direct benefits of any kind to any individual although use of the taxes may provide benefit to society as a whole.

        Richard

      • Richard, the concept of social cost is very well accepted by economists. It is very well accepted that it applies to carbon. That does not make them right, but it should give you pause before saying that someone who disagrees with you and agrees with the economists is too stupid to understand your point.

        You did not answer my question. Do you think the person receiving goods delivered by someone using fuel have derived a social benefit from that fuel?

        You say “But I did put ” “social cost” in context” and I did differentiate it from “benefit to society” when I repeatedly wrote

        The use of fossil fuels has done more to benefit humanity than anything else since the invention of agriculture. Almost everybody has net benefit because the use of fossil fuels has increased life expectancy, health and wealth while reducing poverty and starvation. Therefore, almost everybody has a net social benefit from the use of fossil fuels.”

        I will go thorough this.
        “The use of fossil fuels has done more to benefit humanity than anything else since the invention of agriculture.”

        Yes possibly true, yet has nothing to do with social costs. You describe economic benefits. This link will describe how welfare is increased through markets. http://www.economicsonline.co.uk/Competitive_markets/Consumer_and_producer_surplus.html

        In outline, some consumers would be willing to pay more than the price. They get a consumer surplus. Some manufacturers would sell at less than the price. They get a producer surplus. Add up producer and consumer surplus you get total welfare increase. This is economic gain and there is no consideration of externalities in this analysis.

        “Social cost” is private costs plus externalities. In the analysis above we have not considered externalities.

        You say “Almost everybody has net benefit” but I have shown above how this can be the case whilst there only being private benefits, not social benefits. We can all get better off without any social costs or benefits. That is because we can all get better off without externalities, but social cost is private cost (benefits) plus externalities. Your argument here is wrong.

        You could argue that these benefits are externalities but you have not done so.

        “But I did put ” “social cost” in context” and I did differentiate it from “benefit to society” when I repeatedly wrote“. Actually you specifically did not differentiate the two, but you conflated the two. You say “Almost everybody has net benefit because the use of fossil fuels has increased life expectancy, health and wealth while reducing poverty and starvation. Therefore, almost everybody has a net social benefit from the use of fossil fuels”

        Almost everybody has a net benefit therefore almost everybody has a net social benefit. That “therefore” shows that you think the net benefit is the same as the social benefit, but you are wrong. Social benefit is private benefit plus externalities.

      • seaice1:

        Why do you ignore everything I write for you and pretend I say other than I do?

        You say

        Richard, the concept of social cost is very well accepted by economists. It is very well accepted that it applies to carbon.

        YES! I have not and I do not dispute that.

        I point out that the social benefits of fossil fuel usage are so great that they outweigh the social costs. Therefore, it is idiotic to waste time money and effort calculating the social costs unless you can identify any individual who has net social costs (it is hard to imagine how such an individual could exist).

        And you go on

        That does not make them right, but it should give you pause before saying that someone who disagrees with you and agrees with the economists is too stupid to understand your point.

        There are as many economic opinions as there are economists so it gives me no “pause” that you agree with a daft notion of some of them.

        And your refusal to answer anything I have written for you demonstrates as I said

        You have demonstrated that you are either being obtuse or – more likely – you are too stupid to understand my repeated comment that
        “Your assertion is misguided because it assumes the costs and the benefits of fossil fuel usage are applied to different people when, in reality, those costs and benefits are obtained by everybody although not in the same amounts.”

        And you continue that demonstration because you have still not answered that basic point.

        Importantly, I repeat that it is YOU – not me – who confuses social a economic costs and benefits.

        In hope that you will read it this time, I repeat

        Being alive is not an economic benefit to an individual but it is a social benefit that most individuals have from use of fossil fuels, and it outweighs any social cost he or she may have from the use of fossil fuels.

        Furthermore, it is YOU – not me – who is confusing “social benefit” with “benefit to society”: if the provision of fossil fuel usage is taxed then that provides no direct benefits of any kind to any individual although use of the taxes may provide benefit to society as a whole.

        And you pretend that I don’t understand “Social benefit is private benefit plus externalities.”
        Yes, it is and I address externalities but you don’t: as I said, being alive is an externality that is a benefit provided to most people by fossil fuel usage..

        Richard

      • Richard
        “And your refusal to answer anything I have written…” Except for the very detailed answer I just made to one of your points. That you apparently have not read and certainly not understood.

        I have not answered the point you keep banging on about because it is senseless. ““Your assertion is misguided because it assumes the costs and the benefits of fossil fuel usage are applied to different people when, in reality, those costs and benefits are obtained by everybody although not in the same amounts.”

        Applying them in different amounts to different people is exactly what I have assumed. All the costs and benefits are not felt by the people making the purchasing choice. Your so-called point is meaningless.

        If I pollute a stream the people downstream are damaged. They are still damaged even if they buy some of my products.

      • Richard. One more thing. “Yes, it is and I address externalities but you don’t: as I said, being alive is an externality that is a benefit provided to most people by fossil fuel usage.”

        Being alive is not an externality, it is a result f the economic benefits of fossil fuel use. If people were to burn more fuel without any economic activity attached to it, it would not help more people to live. Whereas if they were to burn more fuel with no economic activity it would still produce all the effects of an externality.

        Another good description if all this is here.
        https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_microeconomics-theory-through-applications/s17-02-externalities.html

        One thing I am pretty sure of is that you won’t go and read it.

      • seaice1:

        For the benefit of others, I yet again state my basic point that I have repeatedly put to you and you have studiously avoided.

        Your assertion is misguided because it assumes the costs and the benefits of fossil fuel usage are applied to different people when, in reality, those costs and benefits are obtained by everybody although not in the same amounts.

        I have answered and refuted each and every of the daft points that you have clearly provided as an attempted smokescreen for the simple fact that you know SCC is fallacious pseudoscience presented for blatantly political reasons which you want to promote. And I take umbrage at your pretending I have not refuted each and every of your assertions when – in reality – you have refused to address anything I have written for you. Indeed, in one post to you I listed each of my points and asked you to say which of them you could not understand and/or disputed, but you refused to answer any of them.

        You are a pest whose posts only serve to bother me and to waste electrons. Clear off!

        Richard

      • Richard – I dealt with that comment you keep repeating. You have ignored my response.

        You suggest that there are many opinions aiming economists and you don’t care if I agree with some. In this case it is all economists. You will not be able to find one economist that agrees with your analysis. Go ahead and prove me wrong of you can. I can provide you with a long list.

      • troll posting as seaice1:

        Not content with refusing to address my main point that I have repeatedly put to you, you now have the gall to write this

        Richard – I dealt with that comment you keep repeating. You have ignored my response.

        I HAVE IGNORED NOTHING YOU HAVE WRITTEN IN THIS THREAD!

        If you have “dealt with that comment” on what blog did you write it and what did you say?

        Richard

    • seaice

      I only eat antarctic sea snails, but the CO2 I make when I drive my car is making corn cheaper for you! When are you going to pay me for the benefit?

      The tax going to the government is going to be spent politically not in a response to the cost created so it is not an economic exchange and there for is a political exercise nothing more.
      To achieve your results it would be easier if government just assumes all of the manufacturing responsibilities and all of the cost social or otherwise, this would be much more “fair”. Oh wait that already has been tried and if I am not mistaken the social cost got just a little bit out of hand.

      Just so you know the law that Obama used when crafting his regulations based on SCC requires that the government look at both sides of the ledger so your assertion is flat out wrong anyway.

      • Bob, this comment is incoherent. if you mean that the CO2 you produce when you drive your car is fertilizer for plants then that is included in the social cost of carbon.

        In my example the tax on hats restored the economically efficient level of hat production. Ideally this would be spent on compensating the victims, but it will be spent on something. The point is that the level of hat production is now optimum whatever it is spent on.

        “To achieve your results it would be easier if government just assumes all of the manufacturing responsibilities and all of the cost social or otherwise, this would be much more “fair”. Nothing I said remotely suggests such a thing. All the costs and benefits are included in the price, except the externalities. The market is the best way to sort out all those other costs. Nothing I said suggests otherwise.

        “Just so you know the law that Obama used when crafting his regulations based on SCC requires that the government look at both sides of the ledger so your assertion is flat out wrong anyway” What did I say that makes you think I suggested anything other than this? Social benefits are of course included as well as social costs. What assertion do you imagine your statement makes flat out wrong? Certainly nothing I said.

      • seaice

        “In my example the tax on hats restored the economically efficient level of hat production. Ideally this would be spent on compensating the victims, but it will be spent on something. The point is that the level of hat production is now optimum whatever it is spent on.”

        In your mind maybe, this is a blatant misrepresentation of how economics work.

        “The market is the best way to sort out all those other costs. Nothing I said suggests otherwise.”

        You have no idea how a market economy works, your just spewing socialist drivel.

        “Why would you assume taxing is simpler? I specifically said that direct compensation is ideal. Only in the absence of this does tax become a second best option. I don’t think you have understood anything I have said.”

        Again just drivel the only way to achieve what you suggest is to have a government command economy.

        What you are defending is having a bunch of pin heads sit around and making up imaginary cost and charge for them before any true cost has been created through taxation and regulation with the intent of driving the supposed social cost creating entities out of business with no evidence of harm being done, who is going to pay for the real social cost of all the jobs lost trying to avert social cost that don’t even exist? In your example there is an actual event that causes actual harm to actual individuals.

      • Bob Boder, you have clearly not understood what I said as they are just repetitions of your previous non sequiturs and insults.

    • seaice

      “Now assume that making hats caused some pollution. This goes downstream from the hat factory and causes $10 worth of damage. In an ideal world the hat factory would compensate the people harmed by the pollution. This would increase the price of hats, which in turn would lower the number of hats sold (and made). Again the market would ensure that the optimum number of hats were made. This number would be less than the number of hats in the world without the pollution. Again there is no social cost because the hat factory compensated the victims.”

      And to make everything much simpler let’s tax them before they actually pollute the stream that way we have the money ready to go!

      • Why would you assume taxing is simpler? I specifically said that direct compensation is ideal. Only in the absence of this does tax become a second best option. I don’t think you have understood anything I have said.

      • Seaice

        I don’t understand what you have said? You have ZERO idea of how economics work and what your are advocating for has nothing to do with your example. Show the loss, present an individual that has been harmed, the taxes and regulations are already being paid, is all the tax money being saved to help the individuals that might be harmed? There is no such thing as a social cost, if there is a cost actual people pay it not imaginary groups or organizations.

        You are playing games in your head and have no clue the damage caused by such ridiculous over simplifications of what damage regulation and taxation do. Every action the government takes distorts the economy and causes real people to be hurt, so you better damn well know what your are doing and why you are doing it and you better be able to sleep with the consequence. There is zero evidence that AGW has done or will do any real harm and there is plenty of evidence that it has been a big benefit, yet there are large groups of people who have had the lives turned upside down by the clueless actions taken by people in power on the advice of clueless people that think like you do.

    • The basic concept of social cost does include positive benefits.
      However when making these calculations the CO2 warriors assume that there aren’t any.

    • It does ignore benefits (and costs) that are already included in the price
      ============================
      that is nonsense. the hat manufacturer pays taxes based on those sales. that is a social benefit that neither the buyer or seller have a share in. And it is these taxes that need to be added as a social benefit.

      All of us, businesses and citizens, come with a social cost. It costs real money for society to provide necessities of life. Police, firefighters, judges, armed forces, civil servants, roads, bridges, etc., etc., etc. And we pay these social costs through our taxes.

      As such, the SCC is double taxation. It is nothing more than a money grab on after tax income.

      • OK Ferdberple, you think that introducing tax removes the principles I have demonstrated. That is wrong. I am not denying that tax has a dead weight cost, but that is an entirely separate thing.

        Imagine we had a 10% tax on hats. This increases the cost of hats and we have a new level of hat production based on a cost of $60. This level will be less than the economically optimal level we discussed previously with the cost at $50, but the level of production will be optimal given the 10% tax. Now we introduce an external pollution cost of $10 per hat. We still have exactly the same situation. There is a social cost unless the hat maker compensates the victims or we tax the hats at $10 each. Either way we get back to the optimum level of hat production given the existing tax. The social cost is exactly the same.

      • seaice

        “his level will be less than the economically optimal level we discussed previously with the cost at $50”

        There is no such thing! a company survives either by reducing the cost of producing an item and thus reduces the price to the consumer and increasing sales volume or by innovating and increasing the value of the item and increasing the price to generate revenue, which it then spends on its operations to expand. There is no optimal cost in a market driven economy, this is a fiction in your head, you should actually try running a business some day, trying to balance innovation, profit, the ability to compete with your competition without going out of business those harming all of the people that depend on you to make the right decisions so they can feed their families. You have ZERO!!!!!!! idea of how an economy works.

      • Bob Boder – you are talking about optimum costs, I am talking about optimum levels of production. I did not mention optimum cost. Before accusing me of ignorance it would have been good to check that you were not criticizing something I never said.

        By optimum level of production I mean the economically efficient level of production. If you do not know what economic efficiency is I suggest you look it up, but basically it is that level at which any change will make more people worse off than it makes better off. It is the same mechanism that determines price using supply and demand curves. It is one of the first things you come across in an economics course.

      • Seaice

        “By optimum level of production I mean the economically efficient level of production. If you do not know what economic efficiency is I suggest you look it up, but basically it is that level at which any change will make more people worse off than it makes better off. It is the same mechanism that determines price using supply and demand curves. It is one of the first things you come across in an economics course.”

        Maybe you should get out of the economics class and get into the business world. Again there is no such thing it is socialist none sense. There is no set optimum level of anything in a market economy there is just change and adaptation, it is ridiculous notions like this that are bankrupting the west.

        Just so you know when you tax or regulate something somebody has to pay for it out of their pockets and it ain’t the business your taxing. Business don’t pay taxes the consumer pays the tax in higher prices, so when you are taxing a business for your made up social justus bull shit it is joe schmo that pays for it in higher prices and lower wages.

    • Out of the frying pan and into the fire with the hat analogy because hats can stop melanoma or catching flu which all have social benefits too. Otherwise why would my Gummint spend dough on Slip, Slop, Slap campaigns?-
      http://www.cancer.org.au/preventing-cancer/sun-protection/campaigns-and-events/slip-slop-slap-seek-slide.html
      That’s the argument with even trying to guesstimate any theoretically cute notion of social costs and benefits. We say warmenistas inflate the social costs of a plant food (they call it carbon instead of oxygen for example) and deflate the social benefits and in doing so then foist unreliable electricity on us for starters.

      Don’t tell me otherwise because I live in South Australia where a bunch of oxymorons are trying to disprove a fundamental axiom of engineering that you can build a reliable system from unreliable components and yet these are the same people who in the next breath will support lemon laws for simpler car systematics. Oxymorons is too kind to them.

      • Observa – thank you for providing an example of a positive externality from hats, which demonstrates my point admirably! The Government recognized that hat wearing provided a benefit to the wearer that the wearer may not have considered when he bought the hat. This is a positive externality – that is a benefit that is not included in the price. As a consequence the Government thought that “too few” hats were bought and sold -too few being less that the economically efficient amount. As a consequence they subsidized the hat makers by providing free advertising, which increased the number of hats sold. An excellent example that proves my point very clearly.

        Whether or not they were right, The Australian Government believed that there was an external benefit to hat wearing, and so spent public money to increase hat use. They could have done it by subsidizing hats, but instead they chose to use advertising.

        I can understand people thinking we have calculated the social costs of carbon wrongly. I cannot understand people thinking the whole concept is wrong.

      • seaice1:

        You say

        I can understand people thinking we have calculated the social costs of carbon wrongly. I cannot understand people thinking the whole concept is wrong.

        NO! The notion of net social costs from use of fossil fuels is an expression of insanity, and you are pretending you don’t understand that.

        Your blatant pretense is revealed by our above discussion of your deliberate stupidity.

        Richard

      • Richard, I don’t have a problem with you disagreeing with me. I do have a problem with you repeatedly calling me stupid because I disagree with you. Especially after I have provided several references that would educate you if you bothered to look.

  21. We know that there is neither social cost nor social benefit of hats when the price is $50 with no pollution
    =========
    wrong. pollution is NOT the only social cost. the manufacturer could not do business without all the infrastructure society provides in which to do business. try selling your hats in Syria and making a profit.

    those infrastructure costs are real costs and they are huge. And the manufacturer pays taxes on their profits, which is a huge social benefit. And what about the payroll taxes the employees of the manufacturer pay. Another huge social benefit

    So if you tax the pollution and drive the manufacturer out of business (look at Detroit and much of middle America) then you lose the social benefit of the taxes the company pays and the social benefit of the taxes the employees pay, and the infrastructure you have build at great cost goes to waste because no one can make use of it.

    • ferdberple. Look up marginal analysis. We imagine the hat market consists of a large number of hat firms. Some will be more efficient and make more profit than their less efficient counterparts. There will be some that only just make enough profit to stay in business-these are the marginal suppliers. We introduce a pollution tax resulting in a price rise. These marginal firms will be unable to survive so will go out of business, or quite possibly they will switch their production to something else that they can make a profit on. Either way they will no longer produce hats and those resources that were going into hats now go into something else. This means that hat production will decrease. This will happen if the price rise is due to a tax or any other increase in cost. This is very standard supply and demand.

      This is the key point that you have missed. Those manufacturers that stop producing hats are exactly the same ones that would have stopped producing hats if the compensation were paid directly to the pollution victims. They now switch their production to something else, which is exactly the same result we would get if the pollution victims were compensated. They are now making something socially more useful than the hats they would have made. If we add up the winners and losers, there are more winners with the pollution tax than without the tax.

      There are complications, but you have not raised any.

      • Seaice

        You do realise that when those businesses go out of business there are now less people with incomes to buy the hats right and there is less money to pay the taxes? You also realise that when the taxes go to the government the money does not compensate anything it mostly just turns into political capital?

    • “and the infrastructure you have build at great cost goes to waste because no one can make use of it”

      The infrastructure costs are sunk. There is no suggestion in my analysis that any infrastructure be removed or anyone be prevented from using it. Let the market decide. If it becomes uneconomic that is just the way of the market, as perhaps the infrastructure of stables became uneconomic when cars replaced horses or the infrastructure of hand-loom weavers became uneconomic with industrialization. Nobody mourns the loss of these infrastructures. It is slightly absurd to suggest that we structure our lives around providing a use for infrastructures when it ought to be he other way around.

      I am certainly not against using tax revenue to assist areas blighted by industrial progress. I am against producing stuff uneconomically when resources could be better used.

  22. Social cost of carbon is an oxymoron that does not exist. A social cost can only exist if the substance causing it can harm society. Carbon dioxide or any other form of carbon demonstrably does not do that. Attributing greenhouse warming to carbon dioxide by IPCC is simply false. At no time during the last 500 million years has there been any connection or parallelism between carbon dioxide and global temperature curves. There is none today either as can be verified by plotting the global temperature record and the Keeling curve on the same graph. Global temperature goes up and down and even has some cooling in it but there are no corresponding changes in in the carbon dioxide curve. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is in fact beneficial because it acts as a fertilizer for our food crops. Its association with global warming is based upon false computer predictions. There is no warming where IPCC computers say it should be. The warming they do show is obviously a false attempt to wipe out the alleged hiatus at the beginning of the century. Part of the background they have changed into warming contains an apparent hiatus that goes over into cooling between tears 2002 and 2012 according to the UAH monthly records. After that the temporary warning of the 2016 El Nino controls the record but when it is over we expect additional cooling to follow. When I say prediction, I mean the average of a bundle of illegitimate computer runs that are presented to us as as well as to politicians a “prediction.” It is a false prediction and immediately disqualifies itself Such falsehoods must not be used as part of any scientific observation. It follows that the social cost of carbon is a fantasy lacking any scientific backing. Collectively, all these facts require removal of any reference to carbon as a cause of SCC.

    • Arno, you are simply arguing that the social cost of carbon is zero or negative, not that it cannot exist. The social cost can be negative – that is a social benefit. The same analysis applies. If the social cost is negative we should consider subsidies as less than the economically efficient amount would be produced. We should consider subsidies for things that produce more benefit than the producers of the good receive, just as we should consider taxes for things that produce more costs than the producers of the good bear.

      • seaice1 March 7, 2017 at 4:34 pm — No I am not – it simply does not exist. You have an obnoxious talent for nitpicking but despite your erudite remarks about negative SCC you cannot restore it to life. I guarantee that no one would ever have invented it had they not found it useful for advancing the pseudoscience of AGW. And by the way, I do believe in global warming, Why? Because it is controlled by natural forces and not by the imagination of some warmist hooligans who invent things like the SCC.

      • seaice1:

        As part of your attempt to promote SCC you ask Arno

        Arno, are you saying that social cost cannot exist for anything, or just for carbon?

        Don’t be silly. As I have repeatedly explained to you above (here), the social benefits of fossil fuel usage are so great that fossil fuel usage provides net social benefits and not net social costs.

        Unless and until you can identify anybody who has a net social cost from fossil fuel usage then it would be insane to waste time money and effort on calculating social costs.

        Richard

      • I don’t know why or to where that vanished. I will try again.

        seaice1:

        As part of your attempt to promote SCC you ask Arno Arrak

        Arno, are you saying that social cost cannot exist for anything, or just for carbon?

        As I have repeatedly explained to you above (e.g. here), the social benefits of fossil fuel usage are so great that they outweigh the social costs. Therefore, it is idiotic to waste time money and effort calculating the social costs unless you can identify any individual who has net social costs (it is hard to imagine how such an individual could exist).

        Richard

  23. Lorcanbonda,
    Can you show us a photo of the 2 decimal place thermometers you use in chemical engineering,
    and for comparison, a photo of the thermometers used in weather stations to generate data?

    Also, to measure the temperature of your freezer, you need to put you thermometers INSIDE the freezer, not outside as you suggested. (I can’t believe you didn’t know that) You will find that a thermostatically controlled freezer doesn’t haven’t a stable temperature – it’s always changing.

    Lindzen explains here why the “global average temperature” doesn’t mean much:

    You should listen and learn.
    “Global average temperature” is just a propaganda tool: it has no predictive utility.
    It didn’t predict any of the weather pattern changes I annotated in my 3rd paragraph, all occurring within the the so-called “pause” period. I note that you ignored those climate changes in favor of defending a useless mathematical abstraction.

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