Climate scientists reveal their ignorance about CO2 emissions and mitigation

Guest essay by Alberto Zaragoza Comendador

Climate scientists don’t usually propose anything specific to ‘tackle climate change’ other than, well, doing something. Because according to them nothing is being done, or at least nothing was being done until very recently.

(Apparently, in climate scientists’ minds the $4 trillion invested in renewable electricity between 2000 and 2016, and hundreds of billions invested in non-electric renewable energy, count as nothing).

While some may interpret this lack of detail as a sign that they don’t want to politicize the issue, those of us who follow the debate know many climate scientists don’t exactly make a big effort to stay apolitical. Thus in this article I put forward another hypothesis: climate scientists are clueless about energy and the economy. Knowing little to nothing on what has been and could be done, or even how to measure progress in reducing emissions, their exhortations and pontifications remain as vague as any motivational quote you may find lying around on the interwebz.

The point of climate scientists’ comments is not to spur debate on what should be done to deal with climate change, for such a debate would instantly turn to the colossal failure of climate policies over the last 20 years. The point is to ridicule the ‘skeptic’ side and portray themselves as martyrs.

Climate scientists don’t get that emissions are driven by economic growth

That may sound harsh, but what else could you conclude looking at tweets like these?

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Let’s see, Gavin Schmidt looks at the chart, sees emissions were rising until 2008 or so, then started to decline. On this basis he concludes that pulling out of Kyoto delayed the opportunities for emissions reduction, i.e. that emissions would have started to decline earlier if not for the Kyoto pullout. But he completely ignores the role of GDP.

A decline of emissions does not mean that ‘climate policy is working’: it may simply be that the economy has collapsed (see Syria, Greece). On the other hand, an increase in emissions does not mean that climate policy has failed: it may simply be that the economy is booming. What you have to do is look at the efficiency of GDP per unit of CO2 emitted, and the rate at which this efficiency is increasing – which I call the decarbonization rate.

In fact, as I showed in this article, the US economy’s decarbonization rate did not decline after Bush pulled out of Kyoto. If anything the economy started to decarbonize faster! (The chart shows a trailing 5-year mean).

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Looking at GDP it’s obvious that pulling out of Kyoto was a non-event. Logical, as Kyoto itself was a non-event too. By the way, the US decarbonization rate was a bit faster than the European Union at the same time!

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The mother of all cherrypicks: the last three years prove that climate policies work, but the previous fifty don’t count!

The ‘news’ that CO2 emissions stayed more or less flat in 2016 (actually known since at least four months ago) has provided scientists with a fresh opportunity to retweet each other’s cluelessness.

See Jon Foley:

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Or Scott Denning:

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Or Victor Venema:

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Or Stefan Rahmstorf:

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Again, the scientists completely ignore the role of the economy. Haven’t they heard about the term confounder? Well, it turns out the global economy has grown quite a bit more slowly over the last three years than in most of the historical records, so of course emissions will grow more slowly too.

In this article I showed the decarbonization of global GDP since records start in 1965; I couldn’t be bothered to update the chart so as to include 2016, but the rate was about the same as in 2015, i.e. a bit over 2%.

While the decarbonization rate of the last 3 years is higher than the historical average, it’s not an outlier by any means. With oil and gas up strongly in 2017, and coal up in the main three markets, it’s almost a given that CO2 emissions this year will rise by at least 1% – bringing the decarbonization rate again below 2%.

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Most importantly: the compound rate since climate policies started being implemented (whether one picks 1997, 2000, etc. doesn’t make much difference) is well below the historical average! From 2000 to 2017, it’s 0.7% according to my calculations – about half the pre-2000 level. Put other way: emissions today are higher than they would’ve been if they had simply kept their pre-Kyoto trend.

If the typical decarbonization rate is 1.4%, and you have 17 years averaging 0.5%, then of course you would expect the rate to bounce up again – and maybe overshoot the historical average for a few years. It happens in all kinds of time series data. For instance, after the devastation of World War II European economies grew faster than ever. Fast economic growth rates are not a surprise after a period of awful (in this case negative) rates.

Nobody who has a clue about historical emissions would say that the last three years represent a ‘turning point’, or evidence that climate policies are working. It would take several more years of faster-than-average decarbonization to conclude that policies may be working.

I’ll finish this section with another tweet from Mr Denning:

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No one with any idea of emissions and the economy would use the term ‘decoupling’. The economy nearly always grows faster than CO2 emissions, and if it grows slowly then CO2 emissions may fall. There’s no ‘decoupling’ around that – it’s what has always happened, though usually Western economies grew too fast for emissions to decline.

Let’s say GDP grows 0.1% and emissions decline 0.1%. Would you say these two things have decoupled?

“No meaningful action was taken”

Okay, I mentioned this pet delusion of many scientists and activists at the beginning of the article. But I just couldn’t resist posting this deranged tweetstorm:

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If no meaningful action was taken, well, what was the point of the 22 COP meetings? Are we supposed to believe Fox News and the Koch brothers blocked climate action in Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Bangladesh… ?

Republicans bad, Democrats good

The supposedly apolitical scientists seem to have rather strong political preferences for one particular side. Earlier we saw how the US under Bush actually decarbonized faster than the EU at the same time, yet somehow Bush was always vilified as something of a climate anti-Christ (see the Gavin Schmidt tweets at the beginning). Please notice that I’m not saying anything Bush did caused the decarbonization rate – surely it was just a coincidence. (Though it does speak reflect badly on the sanctimonious EU).

To climate scientists, if a state is run by Democrats and claims to be doing a lot to ‘tackle climate change’, then it must obviously be doing something ‘better for the climate’. This article is getting long so one tweet will suffice.

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Well, most of the cities claiming to ‘lead the fight against climate change’ are lucky in that there are no good data on city-level CO2 emissions. But there are data on state-level emissions. Here’s California, climate leader according to Mr Foley:

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The chart shows a decline in GHG emissions per GDP unit of 26% between 2000 and 2014. that’s the same as 35% increase in GHG efficiency of GDP (1 / 0.74). Over 14 years, that’s a compound decarbonization rate of 2.3%… which is pretty much the same as that of the US as a whole.

So climate leader California was actually doing just as badly (or well) as the rest of the country. Ooops.

‘If only we had listened…’

If one does not know how quickly one may realistically draw down emissions, and instead relies on fantasy scenarios, then one cannot what would have happened if we had listened to climate scientists and started reducing emissions years ago. I can’t remember how many times I’ve heard a version of ‘we should have listened’ or ‘we’re running out of time’. Hell, see the tweets by Jon Foley above: ‘the rest of us will pay the price for this delay’.

But just how expensive has the delay been? One never hears how much warming we could have avoided – surely that data point matters a lot! So I estimated it: if a stronger (higher) decarbonization had started way back in 1979, the difference in current temperatures would be about 0.05ºC – no kidding.

The decarbonization rate historically was about 1.4%, i.e. GDP grew about 1.4% faster than CO2 emissions on average; it’s about 1.1% when including the period after 2000. If we raise the decarbonization rate by another 1% the effect by the end of the century is less than 0.5ºC! Obviously, whether this higher level of decarbonization started in 1979, 2000, or 2030 is nearly irrelevant. The difference is a matter of 0.1 or 0.2ºC at most.

Scientists get to claim that mitigation can have a massive effect in temperatures by:

a) Relying on computer models instead of climate sensitivity calculated from historical temperature data. While equilibrium climate sensitivity remains rather uncertain, there is greater agreement on the transient climate response, which is what matters for warming this century.

b) Including a lot of ‘avoided warming’ from reductions in emissions that don’t come from fossil fuels. This is nonsense, as these emissions are unverifiable – and so are any ‘reductions’. Besides, over 80% of the man-made climate forcing in recent years comes from CO2, and 80-90% of that is from fossil fuels.

c) Assuming an absurdly high ‘baseline’ scenario which they fraudulently call ‘business as usual’. See, under business-as-usual I’d be burning heaps of coal in my backyard; since I don’t actually do that, I must have reduced emissions a lot!

If a knucklehead like me can run the math, surely so can a guy with a Ph D. But first the guy with the Ph D would need to show some curiosity about the issue, download data on economic growth, visit other website to get the data on emissions, etc. And why research an issue when you can tweet nonsense?

In conclusion

Please, notice that in pointing out scientists’ ignorance I’m not claiming to be an expert; the topic of energy, economy and CO2 emissions is massive and my own understanding is rudimentary. But it’s better than that of any scientist I quoted in this article.

Climate scientists, at least many of them, appear to be completely clueless about most climate things that may actually matter to the rest of us. They don’t know how much emissions are increasing or decreasing, the relationship between emissions and the economy, whether different countries and states have had success or not in reducing emissions. They never mention how much money it may cost to prevent the release of one ton of CO2. They hardly ever talk about decarbonization rates. And so on and on.

They’re ignorant. But the world shouldn’t be hostage to their ignorance.

PS: of course, the ‘but you don’t recommend anything’ accusation is often levelled against skeptics as well. So here’s a specific recommendation on tackling climate change: do nothing.

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123 thoughts on “Climate scientists reveal their ignorance about CO2 emissions and mitigation

  1. Well… how’s this for a plan? We take all the climate change promoter’s salaries, since they are so sure of this, and put it in a fund to fight “climate change.” We could use the money to plant trees!

    • They’re ignorant. But the world shouldn’t be hostage to their ignorance.

      PS: of course, the ‘but you don’t recommend anything’ accusation is often levelled against skeptics as well. So here’s a specific recommendation on tackling climate change: do nothing.

      Perhaps Climate Scientists simply follow the Axiom…

      It is better to say nothing and have the people think you’re ignorant than to open your mouth and prove them right

    • The implication is that if we “did something”, the climate would stop changing, which of course, it never will until the Earth itself is consumed in a ball of fire as our star goes through its death throes.

  2. The second and third graphs purport to be the same thing but don’t show the same data. I’m confused.

  3. There has in reality been significantly less US and EU GDP decarbonization than projected here. There is some, mainly thanks to (a) growth in services relative to manufacturing (b) outsourcing CO2 intensive manufacturing to China, and (c) shift from coal to CCGT electricity generation.

      • California also now imports about 25% of its electricity from other States. So they are exporting their electrical production just like they have exported their manufacturing.

      • “Patrick B October 10, 2017 at 1:50 pm
        California also now imports about 25% of its electricity from other States. So they are exporting their electrical production just like they have exported their manufacturing.”

        Thus explaining why neighboring states are involved in “renewables”; so they can sell high priced electricity to CA.

    • I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see decarbonization, even with with economic growth. We have been using material more efficiently without even trying.

      Between 1977 and 2001, the amount of material required to meet all needs of Americans fell from 1.18 trillion pounds to 1.08 trillion pounds, even though the country’s population increased by 55 million people. Al Gore similarly noted in 1999 that since 1949, while the economy tripled, the weight of goods produced did not change. link

      As technology improves, we become adept at doing more with less. As we use less material, the energy used to process that material should also decrease. The Club of Rome was wrong, Buckminster Fuller was right. link

      • Any use of GDP, which I believe is the only Series with more made up numbers than ‘Climate Change’, will never tell the true story.

        Everyone does realize that government spending is added to GDP when spent, no matter the source, so when spending borrowed money, it shows up as current growth in GDP. Yet when it is paid back, it is not considered GDP. So when California state and local governments owe $1.3 trillion as of June 30, 2015. Our analysis is based on a review of federal, state and local financial disclosures. The total includes bonds, loans and other debt instruments as well as unfunded pension and other post-employment benefits promised to public sector employees. Our estimate of California government debt represents about 52% of California’s Gross State Product of $2.48 trillion. And the Federal government between 2011-2015, which I have numbers for, never had GDP greater than the Borrowing Debt Added.
        So your CO2/GDP, with real numbers is dividing by a Negative Number.

        Then there are the little fudge factors added since the early 1990’s, like “imputed services”
        What this means is that the BEA assigns a number to certain economic activities, even though no money actually changes hands. The two most important imputed services are “imputed rental of owner-occupied nonfarm housing” and “financial services furnished without payment”. Respectively, these are the money you supposedly pay yourself to live in your own home, and the money you supposedly pay the bank for such services as free checking (by accepting lower or no interest on your demand deposits).
        This category—worth $1.5 trillion or 11% of GDP

        Are you saying you didn’t know that over 10% of GDP is a rent payment on the portion of your paid for house and free checking? It does.

        Smoky Bear says ‘Don’t Play with Funny Numbers’.

  4. You don’t expect climate scientists to understand statistics, do you?
    After all Mann proved he was clueless with his “Hockey Stick” stats.

  5. CO2 and GDP growth have to a large extent decoupled. Think about it this way – per capita growth in energy use through the 1960’s was largely driven by each household having access to a car. In the 1970’s -2000 it was driven primarily by household motors. We can call it air conditioners, refrigerators, and so on but basically it was electric motors. Since 2000 when basically everyone who wanted an air conditioner and dishwasher had one the growth has been almost entirely electronics. And let’s admit it, you would have to plug in a lot of iPhone’s to match a refrigerator.
    It is unlikely that future economic growth will be tied to higher energy use for the pure fact that we are not gaining access to highly energy intensive abilities. Unless you predict that the average person will be able to perform an activity that requires more energy than transportation, heating water, environmental conditioning, or lighting then it is unlikely that per-capita energy use will ever grow again in advanced environments.
    ** Side note – new electronics cause a net drop in energy use. How many people have a clock radio any more? What do you think the net energy use is for a movie delivered over a phone vs. through a cable box? Feel the heat on your TV, do you think it is warmer or less warm than your last CRT?

    • Valid points, thank you.

      However, you must recall too that we’ve gone from one heat-producing cathode ray tube in the living room to 4-6 computers, large TV screens, games and playboxes, and stations and 4 more iphones and laptops scattered through the house.

      LED lights means a significant reduction in electric power needs three ways:
      – The same (or greater lumens) into each room are created with much less power.
      – The parasitic heat from an incandescent bulb requires more AC power across much of the US and parts of Europe. SO, by replacing incandescents with LEDs, you need less AC power.
      – The parasitic heat (that used to come from incandescent bulbs) in winter that helped heat a house is not being released indoors, and so winter heating bills will be higher. But generally, few people use pure electric resistance heaters for the house, so the more effective whole house heaters make up the difference easily with less overall energy used.

      • Simple response – Per Capita energy use in the US peaked in 1979 at 359 MMBTU/person. In 2016 the energy use was 300 BTU/cap, a 20% decline. Yet standard of living has improved (the modern house you describe). All I am saying is that the gdp growth is no longer closely tied to energy growth since the types of things that drive gdp growth are not tied to higher energy costs.

      • No chadb, it is still tied to GDP despite everything becoming more efficient. It’s pretty simple, if GDP growth is higher, energy use will be higher, if GDP growth is slower or negative, energy use will be slower or decline. It’s not per capita use we’re interested in here, but the overall demand in energy as it relates to GDP.

      • @ RWturner:”It’s not per capita use we’re interested in here, but the overall demand in energy as it relates to GDP”
        The article is primarily about “decarbonization.” That is the ability to make more stuff while producing less CO2. Since the 1980’s in both the US and Western Europe energy use has not been correlated with standard of living improvements (how much does each person have) but it has been correlated with how many people live there. This makes sense. In 1980 pretty much everyone who wanted a car had one. Replacing a 1976 Yugo with a 2017 Mercedes does not require more energy (well, not that much more especially considering power efficiency gains) but nobody would argue that the old Yugo is equivalent in value to a new Benz.
        If you live in an economy where “if I had more money I would buy an air conditioner” then improved standard of living will mean more energy use. If you live in an economy where “if I had more money I would upgrade to a better car” then improved standard of living will not mean more energy use. However, in both cases increased population confounds the issue. Two countries that are both “decarbonizing” at the same rate will have different metrics based on where they are in development and what sort of growth they have (per capita, or population based).
        Consider two countries which each simultaneously move to air conditioners that are 2x the efficiency. You would think the decarbonization is the same in both. However,
        Case 1: Let’s say one is the Netherlands and the other is Kuwait. Now the decarbonization will look dramatically different just because of how prevalent air conditioner use is.
        Case 2: Let’s say one has 2% annual population growth with a constant GDP per capita, the other has no population growth but 2% growth in GDP per capita. In the population growth country you will now have more air conditioners total and so the country will not be decarbonizing as fast as the country with no population growth.
        Case 3: Let’s say both have stagnant populations, and 2% per capita GDP growth, but in one country (USA) everyone already runs air conditioners as much as they want, but in the other (Mexico) they don’t. In Mexico each additional dollar can be used to turn on the AC and so decarbonization is slower than in the US where people buy a nicer car.
        GDP might be correlated to energy use – but only if GDP growth is being driven by population growth or if the things that people want to buy use more energy than the things they replace. I.e. dishwasher vs handwashing, AC vs paper fan, car vs walking. If your population is stagnant and an improvement means less energy (Netflix vs VHS, iTunes vs CD, wattsupwiththat vs Sunday Paper) then an increase in GDP will not be correlated with increase in energy demand.

  6. The only thing that is decoupled is the minds of these people from any intelligent appraisal of reality. Of course CO2 emissions are falling as a result of a downturn in global demand, coupled with improved fuel efficiencies when fracked gas in the USA displaces coal and of course because money has been wasted on a colossal scale on wind energy scams producing little useful return in power or economic benefit terms for the “investment”.
    It would be The Gruaniad that falls for and publishes their drivel.

    • MCoEA

      Sorry mate, hate to break this to you, but this is it from here on in. If the climate gets hotter, CO2 will continue to be the villain. If it gets cooler, the incredible efforts of the climate faithful will be celebrated for halting warming.

      Heads they win, tails we lose.

      • More like King Canute wanna-be’s placing their thrones at the high tide line and demanding the ocean recede.

      • rocketscientist

        A common fallacy.

        Canute employed his tactic to demonstrate the futility of trying to hold back the tide, not to demonstrate his power to do so.

      • “If it gets cooler, the incredible efforts of the climate faithful will be celebrated for halting warming.”

        Some of them will probably make that claim, but it won’t wash, because of all their quotes to date bewailing our inadequate action that our side could quote back to them.

      • They mounted a ridiculous, long running campaign to demonise CO2, and it worked, well, almost. No reason they won’t hijack the media once again with their moronic claims that they solved global warming.

        However, in reality, when the planet begins to cool, which some say will start around 2019, they will simply fizzle out like a damp squib as the general public turn on them.

      • The mere fact that CO2 levels aren’t falling or even continue to rise should show how foolish those who try to take credit for the falling temperatures are.
        But won’t.

  7. …Climate scientists don’t usually propose anything specific to ‘tackle climate change’ other than, well, doing something….

    Actually, they do. They ALWAYS proposed that more money be spent on scientists investigating the problem….

  8. Jon Foley….”We climate scientists have been warning the world for ‘decades’ about the dangers of #climate change.”

    Yes, even the lie of Global Cooling. I’m impressed.

  9. From the article: “Apparently, in climate scientists’ minds the $4 trillion invested in renewable electricity between 2000 and 2016,”

    Four TRILLION dollars! A colossal waste of money! Just think what we could have done for the people of the world with four TRILLION dollars. Instead, our brilliant leaders waste all this money on windmills that blight the landscape, and kill millions of animals, and don’t fix the problem, instead adding to the problems. Fools!

    Michael Mann and the other Climate Change Charlatans, the perpetrators of the CAGW BIG LIE, should be required to repay this huge waste of money, or serve prison time as an alternative.

    • TA

      My enduring objection to these charlatans.

      The world has greened by 14% in 30 years, genuinely unprecedented. How much could man have achieved by exploiting that greening by spending $4 Trillion on it? Doing something positive instead of the lunatics running round with their hair on fire.

      If the planet does begin to cool, I will flagellate them with that irresponsible waste, from the grave.

      Maybe I’ll have it engraved on my tombstone, “Yea! Told You So! Simpletons!”

    • And by chopping down hundred year old oak forest in USA , heating the wood to dry it out quickly, burning fossil fuels to bring it to the UK and burn it in place of coal at Drax, the UKs largest ex-coal power station.

      Now I can recall when ecology was about “saving trees” not destroying millions of hectares of oak and then doing some creative accounting to pretend this is “carbon neutral”.

      Call me old fashioned but I’d rather they burned trees that are 30 million years old that but down centennial. living forest.

      • UK CO2 output has plummeted -through closing coal plants. …. and closing steel works aluminium foundries and just about every other form of industry and outsources “carbon” to China and dead US oak trees.

      • Yes, burning US oak at the Drax subsidy station is the maddest part of the whole crazy mess. God put the trees there to be made into boats and barrels in the fullness of time, not to be burnt in the most wasteful and complicated way imaginable.

      • Oak used for Drax wood chips? That doesn’t sound right. Oak is very expensive. Can you point me to a credible source for that information? My bet is on lower quality trees like poplar, sweet gum, pine, etc.

      • I know too well how the lumber industry operates to believe that 100-year-old oaks are being cut down to make wood chips

        D[rax]B[iomass]I[nc] committed to use southern yellow pine as the primary source material at its pellet manufacturing facilities in Bastrop, Louisiana and Gloster, Mississippi… DBI does not operate its own timberlands. Instead, it sources thinnings and other low-grade wood from landowners within a 70-mile radius of the two plants. The sourced material also includes wood chips and other residuals from local sawmills. The vast majority of DBI’s feedstock will be comprised of southern yellow pine, although some hardwood fiber may occasionally enter the supply chain.

    • Poor griff, Lying to yourself yet again

      Its the contraction of British energy use that has allowed the drop in the use of coal

      Wind and solar had absolutely nothing to do with it.

      Coal, Gas, Oil and Nuclear still make up close to 90% of UK energy use

      • So where did Griff say anything about wind and solar?

        This site is amazing for putting words into other peoples mouths and then declaring the wrong.

        Unreal.

      • Griff is always going on about wind and solar.

        Do you disagree that wind and solar had basically no effect on the UK’s CO2 output, despite the billions spent ??

        That was the aim of wind and solar, wasn’t it ?

        You even agreed that its the contraction of industry that is causing the drop in CO2 output.

        Quite bizarre.!

    • “UK CO2 output has plummeted -through closing coal plants.

      simples!”

      More like ‘Simpleton’

      The Western world outsources heavy production to the East, then declares itself a CO2 free zone.

      Grow up.

      Although this will be the enduring claim by the alarmist simpletons, as the planet gradually descends into a cooling period.

      “We saved the planet because we reduced western emissions”

      Lobbox!

  10. My problem with the article is that CO2 is meaningless in terms of ‘controlling’ anything. So why waste the effort on a subject called decarbonization?
    I wonder if they are allowed to say ‘carbon-based life forms’ in schools these days?

  11. So their next target is methane from cows? Ask one of the “scientists” that believes that is a problem to explain why cows even produce methane. Or even what an ungulate is? Then ask them what existed on the Great Plains of the USA before we turn it into row crops and cattle grazing. Or what were/ are the the dominate species on the African Plains. Suggest that they go and tell a Zulu or Masai that they have to reduce their herds to stop methane production. Should we again wipe out the white tailed deer and elk herds? How about the vast caribou herds of the tundra?

    • Again this is nothing to do with fact, they are just moralising that we all “should” be vegetarians and are trying spin the AGW fantasy into yet another aspect of our lives that they think they can control and dictate.

      • Why, I wonder, do the predominantly vegetarian Indians have about 240 million cattle whist the predominantly meat eating Americans have less than 100 million. Something doesn’t add up with their “We should be vegetarian mantra”.

    • Edwin
      .Unfortunately yes this may be about to happen in New Zealand if the Labour Party are able to form a government with the Greens .They want to tax methane emissions from our farmed livestock and pass the money on to foresters as carbon credits ,
      Methane from farmed livestock is cyclic and the methane has a half life in the atmosphere of 8.4 years and is broken down into CO2 and H2O which is exactly what is required to grow forage for ruminant animals .
      I am not aware that any country in the world is taxing methane from farmed animals .
      I challenge any one to prove that methane from animals can warm the planet .005 degrees Celsius in the next 50 years . Give me real proof and I will get it peer reviewed ,

  12. “climate scientists are clueless about energy and the economy.”

    That is it in a nut shell. Want to have an amusing conversation? Concede climate change is entirely real, and ask someone who thoroughly believes in climate change what they propose to do to fix the problem. Then be prepared for a series of poorly considered, absurd, pig ignorant answers. And these are the people we are supposed to “listen to”, who know better, who are experts. Yet they can’t rouse themselves to learn even the most basic things about how the energy markets work, or how the economy functions. Really they haven’t a clue what to do. At best their ideas would be expensive and entirely ineffectual, at worst they would make the problem worse.

    Anger at pulling out of the Paris accord was never about how climate change would not be “fixed” it was about spoiling the illusion that something was actually going to be accomplished. In all likelihood the U.S. will meet all the requirements of the Paris accord…by simply doing nothing, and allowing the existing trends to continue. But politicians don’t get credit for that. The next president, assuming it is a democrat, will re-institute the Paris accord with great fanfare, then take credit for what would have happened anyway. And the climate change enthusiasts will proclaim how much more could have been accomplished if only blah blah blah Trump. And it is all just blather. Nothing was done, nothing will be done. Nothing can be done. We don’t control the world supply of carbon, or the world demand for carbon.

  13. Climate-change alarmists should stand beside trees or other plants and exhale their carbon directly on the plants. That will make the plants and trees grow bigger, faster, and so the next step will be much more efficient and effective (more oxygen!) .

    Second step, they can inhale the oxygen expelled by the trees or plants.

    To be efficient, they’ll need some hoses, masks, and other apparati, but they’re smart, they can figure it out, no? :-)

  14. While many alarmists may get some kicks out ridiculing skeptics, their real motivations are:

    Academic scientists: Getting the next grant by showing a potential problem to be researched. This requires some alarmism.
    Business: Getting grants and contracts to build the next sustainable thing.
    Politicians: Lots of power and plunder in the crisis that is climate change.
    Media: Sensationalizing the scientist’s research. This sells and makes journalists feel relevant and noble.

    Though they may give lip service, NONE of them are even remotely interested in solving or mitigating the problem when the status quo is so power laden and lucrative, and they certainly can’t allow the idea that there may be no big problem in the first place. Thus, no one gives much thought to practical solutions.

  15. One of the biggest problems about assessing trends in CO2 is the reliability or unreliability of data. If we can’t rely on temperature data because of the manipulation of data by warmists why should we rely on CO2 data. Not that long ago China was accused of understating CO2 data by some ridiculously high amount and except for the odd item in blogs like this no MSM would mention it. The Paris agreement and all previous agreements have created an environment where virtue signalling means that most countries want to be seen to be doing something rather than treated as a pariah by the rest of the world. Basically warmists create whatever data that suits whatever narrative they wish to pursue. It’s like the creation of a fantasy land alternative universe and I think it partly explains why global warming is so popular with participants from Hollywood. It replicates the world they are so familiar with. If one can’t trust China’s CO2 data I can assure you that their GDP data is just as dodgy. Most other countries would have unreliable data as well so that whilst the conclusions in the above article are interesting they are somewhat meaningless.

  16. Most of the US reductions in CO2 emissions are due to:
    1. Reduced economic growth
    2. Moving manufacturing off-shore

    The only good things to come out of our efforts so far are more efficient appliances (washing machines and suchlike) and LED lighting (which has proven hugely more beneficial that the CFL’s the tree huggers were backing).

  17. Are all these ‘ decarbonisation’ figures accurate? Where do they come from? Is anybody lying? It’s CO2 not C
    Isn’t it?

  18. Having spent my working life in manufacturing apart from the last 5 years in logistics all I can say is that these people have never had a job making or moving anything. Throughout manufacturing there is a push to drive costs down, usually by saving energy and material, and reducing the number of people required in any process. Logistics has exactly the same drivers keeping the amount of energy used to move stuff gives you a competitive advantage so when you do millions of haulage miles per year a 1% improvement in fuel consumption is significant.

    Adam Smith knew this 250 years ago, Climate Scientists today do not.

  19. There are many good reasons to be conserving on the use of fossil fuels but climate change is not one of them. In analyzing the paleoclimate record and the work that has been done with models, one can conclude that the climate change we have been experiencing 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 sceintific reasoning to support the idea that the climate sensivity of CO2 is zero. The AGW conjecture is full of flaws. One of its biggest flaws is the the radiant greenhouse effect has not been observed anywhere in the solar system including the Earth. The radiant greenhouse effect is science fiction. Hence the AGW conjecture is science fiction. But even if we could stop the climate from changing, extreme weather events and sea level rise are part of the current climate and would continue unabated.

  20. agw is inherently political. that’s obvious.

    $$ invested doesn’t make the difference — only
    reduced carbon emissions do. they have to go to
    zero. we are
    nowhere
    even close to that, and trump
    is going in the wrong direction.

    • Another religious statement made by today’s chief acolyte.
      More CO2 in the atmosphere is a blessing, and it’s rate of increase needs to be increased.

  21. The whole field long ago fell victim to believing their own advertising: Everything is caused by global-warming so, “If I am an expert in global-warming, I must be an expert in everything”.

    In what is actually a very small and incestuous field, it is easy to see how such circular thinking could gain traction. It was also aided by a sympathetic media who love nothing more than a good disaster meme, and politicians eager to pour money into a ‘science’ which validated their various and nefarious political schemes.

    Under these circumstance one shouldn’t be too surprised that climate scientists so often behave like pets that are not house-trained.

      • After a few minutes thinking, your question becomes a bit clearer to me.

        The science, per se, is easy to criticise: Various claims have been made in past decades, primarily about expected future global temperatures under certain conditions. As of now, those claims have not been matched by observations. That is a simple fail.

        We could discuss the reasons for the scientific failure at much greater length (which happens all the time on this website), but that was not the explicit point of my comment. I was more interested in how the most egregious claims from the most outspoken proponents of the failing claims seem to feed off each other. It appears as an inflationary spiral, fuelled by media and politicians as they respectively encourage, and finance, the scientists to make increasingly unbelievable predictions of doom and despair. All done while simultaneously making increasingly insulting comments about anyone who disagrees with them.

      • cracker345, You do not need an alternative model to criticise a model for not meeting its own predictions. This is how I try to encourage people visiting this site who approach the subject with “I’m not a scientist, but I’d like to ask a question….”

        Once they have asked the question, they have taken the single biggest step any person can take towards being a real scientist. Many such people know that they will not trust a financial salesman who doesn’t produce the returns promised. They just need the confidence to realize that the same principles hold when dealing with scientists.

        That is the primary reason why I comment on the internet. People, pleases don’t be intimidated or frightened to ask questions. Almost every time a student asks what they think is a genuine but stupid question in a public science seminar, there are several people in the audience who are glad you asked that question.

        As to your link, cracker245,….people also don’t trust a salesman who continuously changes his forecasts and measurement methods as time goes by, and as they fail. You judge a forecaster’s skill by the predictions made at the beginning, by the methods and definitions at the beginning. It would be really nice to change your bets half way through a horse race, but the real world doesn’t work that way.

      • hart wrote, “people also don’t trust a salesman who continuously changes his forecasts and measurement methods as time goes by, and as they fail.”

        climate models can’t predict the future.
        they can only post-predict what happened,
        given all the forcings that occurred.
        can _you_ predict the future, all the ghg
        emissions month-by-month, all the aerosols,
        solar changes, volcanic eruptions?

  22. “The chart shows a decline in GHG emissions per GDP unit of 26% between 2000 and 2014. that’s the same as 35% increase in GHG efficiency of GDP (1 / 0.74). Over 14 years, that’s a compound decarbonization rate of 2.3%… which is pretty much the same as that of the US as a whole.

    So climate leader California was actually doing just as badly (or well) as the rest of the country. Ooops.”

    Fact check: False.
    CA has 50% “low carbon” energy compared to the rest of the states, which are on average, 25 to 35%.

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/mapped-how-the-us-generates-electricity

    • California is not a leader. First off the map does not show energy use for transportation.

      Second, no coal plants because it has no coal. You can pretend those coal plants out west do not supply the imported power in California.

    • Fact check: you have no clue.

      First, policies should be evaluated looking at the CHANGES in emissions (or the emissions intensity of GDP), not the absolute emissions. A state may have low absolute emissions but increasing emissions since climate policy started – would you then say that state is a ‘climate leader’? Should climate policy be credited for California’s mild weather, which places little AC and heating demands on residents? Should climate policy be thanked for whatever emissions there weee BEFORE the policy? The question answers itself.

      Second, the percentage of low-carbon electricity tells you bugger all about emissions.

  23. Barbara
    .I knew someone would come up with this .A UN expert spouting rubbish pure BS.
    The facts are that livestock do not add any carbon into the atmosphere .Carbon Dioxide is absorbed by all plants which with sunlight and photosynthesis turns the CO2 into carbohydrate and cellulose .Livestock eat plants to grow and produce milk and wool and meat .The ruminant digestion process involves four stomachs and bacteria in the stomachs break down the carbohydrate and cellulose and the bacteria are absorbed as food into the blood stream . The process is anaerobic in which the bacteria produce methane as they digest the cellulose .
    There is one atom of carbon in every molecule of CO2 and one atom of carbon in each molecule of methane CH4. Now the molecule of carbon has come from the atmosphere and is then returned to the atmosphere as CH4 . Methane has a half life of 8.4 years and it is broken down to CO2 and water in the upper atmosphere .
    And guess what happens then ,TheCO2 is absorbed by plants and the cycle continues as long as there is sun and rain . .It is estimated that there are over 600 million of tonnes of methane emitted every year into the atmosphere .Methane levels are slowly rising to just over 18 parts per million but there are over a million new tonnes emitted from the burning of fuels which are extracted from the earth where they have been for millions of years .

      • Cracker 345
        Tell me why it is not that simple It is estimated that 6oo million tonnes of methane is emitted into the atmosphere each year from all sources naturally and man made .NOAA has released data that methane has increased in the atmosphere by less than 7 million tonnes per year 2003 to 2007 .
        Can you perform a simple mathematical equation
        4 x 600 million = 2400 million tonnes added over 4 years
        4 x 7 million = 28 million tonnes increase over 4 years
        therefore 2472 million tonne of methane was converted back to CO2 and H2O over 4 years
        .What have you to say to that ?

      • gwan, it simply isn’t like that — you don’t
        understand
        the carbon cycle.
        a carbon atom does not leave the
        atmosphere only
        to return in a methane molecule.
        where did you ever get that idea
        anyway?

      • gwan wrote, “NOAA has released data that methane has increased in the atmosphere by less than 7 million tonnes per year 2003 to 2007 .
        Can you perform a simple mathematical equation
        4 x 600 million = 2400 million tonnes added over 4 years
        4 x 7 million = 28 million tonnes increase over 4 years”

        so methane has increased by < 7 Mt/yr,
        but it's increased by 2400 Mt in 4 yrs.

        do you see any problem with
        these respective claims?

  24. “Thus in this article I put forward another hypothesis: climate scientists are clueless about energy and the economy. ”

    Well duh! I am an expert in making electricity which precludes me from being an expert on climate. There are different skill sets.

    Along the way, I have become good at solving problems. The first step is ranking problems and working on them in the order of importance. Rolling blackouts caused by a shortage of generating capacity is a huge problem while climate change is about as insignificant problem as one could find.

    How do you wake up a WWII vet suffering a malaria relapse? Very carefully! How many polio survivors do you know? Many! Who would not allow their baby to be vaccinated for whooping cough? Although our oldest had a serious reaction and could not fully be immunized, all our children were vaccinated for serious problems.

    I am skeptical of climate change because those who express concerns do not change their lifestyles and call for pixie dust solutions.

    Texas Governor Bush and later POTUS Bush focused on a reliable energy supply fist and also was a leader in promoting renewable energy and nuclear power.

      • Unreliable electricity is not a big problem for individuals, but it is for industry (e.g., aluminum smelters and silicon wafer makers), hospitals, fire depts., police depts, traffic lights, airports, broadcasters, etc.

  25. Do less than nothing if you include what climate scientist are doing as doing something. “Don’t just do something, stand there!”

  26. At the risk of being ridiculous, EVs should be replaced by riding milk cow for personal transportation. The ghg is attributed to milk production. The dairy cows could be re-purposed by providing ‘cow pool lanes’, feeding stations, and fertilizer collection stations.

      • Not wrong!

        We ‘need’ food, clean drinking water, and energy to stay alive. Activities to satisfy the needs of a society also have environmental impacts. We ‘attribute’ the impact to the activity. Some of us look at ways to reduce the impact.

        However, we live in a society where few have to think about ‘needs’ anymore. Having a clean environment is something we want.

        One of the reasons air quality was bad where I grew was heating houses with coal. We solved that problem.

        Driving an electric car is a ‘want’. What I am suggesting is that riding a dairy cow would reduce ghg.

        The idea is laughable. In fact my wife and her sister got a good laugh out of it. They grew up on a dairy farm and did ride the cows.

  27. Having a logical argument with linear cretins is wearying, but here goes on the subject of cattle and methane emissions:

    Riddle me this. What is the difference between using biomass for fuel and using cows to “burn” biomass to make food products, leather, etc? The idea that it is okay to cut down hardwood forests in America to burn in UK power stations because the trees grow back, or burn corn and palm oil in cars is no different. They raise the methane non issue because even they can see the illogicality of it. Since every bit of cow flatus released into the air from time immemorial to 2007 has been converted to CO2 molecule for molecule (plus water), it is a non problem. Moreover these animals probably reduce wildfires by chewing up and stomping down grass and shrubbery. Hey, we humans killed off millions of buffalo on the prairies, and earlier finished off mammoth and mastodons so we reduced the methane release of earlier times!!

    • Gosh Gary, I hope you do not think you presented a logical argument and are anything more than a linear cretin.

      Gary used a tactic of asking a ridiculous question.

      Burning wood waste to make electricity is clearly an economical and better than practices of open burning.

      Harvesting wood is a well established occupation. We are not cutting down our forests. Forested land is increasing. As is harvesting corn.

      It has been clearly shown that American foresters and farmers can produce more it there is a market. It can also be shown that harvesting the energy reduces environmental impact.

      Understanding this does require more complex thinking.

      Here a question for Gary. Could it be that we do things a new way because it is better?

  28. This article is empty rhetoric. The climate scientists are quite clear in their recommendations: Emit less carbon. Move from fossil fuels to wind and solar power.

    The move away from coal and towards cleaner-burning natural gas fueled the improvement in the Bush years. A move to electric and hybrid vehicles could do likewise in the future. Trump’s actions in reversing limits imposed by the Obama Administration on coal emissions will reverse the progress.

    The Great Tecession was brought on by Bush and reversed by Obama, but despite that reversal, energy-related carbon emissions declined thanks to less coal-fired energy and more gas and green-generated energy and better automotive fuel efficiency.

    Of course “Democrats good, Republicans bad” on carbon emission issues. Trump has missed no opportunity to reverse restrictions on methane emissions and coal-fired plants, with little to no resistance from GOP-ers, who are owned by the fossil fuel issues and are as incoherent on climate issues as Zaragosa.

  29. This article is empty rhetoric. The climate scientists are quite clear in their recommendations: Emit less carbon. Move from fossil fuels to wind and solar power.

    The move away from coal and towards cleaner-burning natural gas fueled the improvement in the Bush years. A move to electric and hybrid vehicles could do likewise in the future. Trump’s actions in reversing limits imposed by the Obama Administration on coal emissions will reverse the progress.

    The Great Tecession was brought on by Bush and reversed by Obama, but despite that reversal, energy-related carbon emissions declined thanks to less coal-fired energy and more gas and green-generated energy and better automotive fuel efficiency.

    Of course “Democrats good, Republicans bad” on carbon emission issues. Trump has missed no opportunity to reverse restrictions on methane emissions and coal-fired plants, with little to no resistance from GOP-ers, who are owned by the fossil fuel issues and are as incoherent on climate issues as Zaragosa.

  30. There’s no mention of the rise in usage of natural gas during this period.Natural gas probably has as much to do with CO2 leveling off than was a stagnant economy.

  31. Crackers, you are working on the incorrect assumption that because GHGs are rising and temperature is also rising that one has caused the other. For you to be correct you would have to prove that the rise in temperature could not have been caused by natural cycles which you can’t. Remember that there isn’t a shred of proof that GHG increase causes increase in temperature, that any significant warming is happening, that increased GHG’s cause any climate change, that what is happening now wrt temperature is unprecedented, that ice ages occur at maximum CO2 and warm again with minimum CO2 or that CO2 level has ever caused temperature increase. Remember it is you that has to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that increasing GHG’s have, can or will ever produce the effects that you claim. Come on, some science please.

  32. Co2 emmisions have not risen in a few years. That’s great news! Let’s see what happens after Trump is president for a few years. Maybe it will continue to hold steady, mayne it will drop, or maybe it will rise. I don’t have an expert opinion, because I’m not a climate scientist. I see that you, however, are an expert in climate science. When did you receive your phD in the subject, Mr. Ethos?

  33. In reply to Cracker 345
    Look this is so simple even my grand children at primary school can understand this
    .600 million tonnes of methane is emitted into the atmosphere each year.
    Have you got that .Cracker 345
    The amount of methane in the atmosphere only increased per year by 7 million tonnes on average ..
    . Have you got that Cracker .
    What happened to the other 593 million tonnes ?
    It is broken down into CO2 and H2O in the upper atmosphere .The average life of methane in the atmosphere is 8.4 years
    Did you get that Cracker
    The CO2 and the H2O is absorbed by vegetation to grow and the higher the CO2 the better plants grow..
    Did you get that Cracker
    Livestock eat vegetation .
    In the process a small portion of the carbohydrate is converted in the digestive system into methane and is emitted .
    And the carbon cycle continues
    Do you get that Cracker
    I understand the carbon cycle What does cycle mean Cracker? get on your bike ?
    A CO2 molecule contains one atom of carbon and two atoms of oxygen .
    A CH4 molecule contains one atom of carbon and four atoms of hydrogen .
    Do you know what CH4 is Cracker
    In New Zealand we call people like you a Dumb B———-;;

    2

  34. Bad enough climate scientists don’t understand economics but they believe economies are unnecessary to civilization. With out economies we devolve into a state of survival of the fittest. The strong take from the weak until there is nothing left to take.
    Doubt it? look back in history. How about the Danes deciding that they wanted a better place to live so decide to invade the kingdoms of Briton. We don’t Trade in goods and services, we don’t need economy and growth we will just kill you and take what you have. If we spare your life, we will make you our slaves and you can plow the fields and grow food for us.
    The alarmists yearn for a pre industrial society but what they will achieve, if they succeed, is a return to the dark ages.

  35. With regard to Bush pulling out of Kyoto, note that although Clinton signed the Kyoto Protocol, it was not ratified in the US Senate and went down in 1997 by a vote of 95-0. That’s right, VP Al Gore could not get anyone to vote for it. In fact, he and Clinton encouraged votes against it for reasons that sounded very similar to Trump’s case for abandoning the Paris Accord. I suspect that Gore didn’t want to do anything to tank the economy right before his election bid. Also note how Clinton does the politically correct thing by signing the protocol and then encourages the Senate to vote against it so they get the blame.

  36. Dear Mr. Zaragoza Comendador,

    in your article, you mention that you are no „expert“ and that your understanding of the problem here is rudimentary. Nevertheless, you describe the relation between GDP and CO2-emissions absolutely correct. In an enclosed economic area, the correlation between GDP and the used carbon containing primary energy sources is mandatory and thus a solid parameter. Thus, the emitted amount of CO2 for each dollar can be determined directly by every dollar of the GDP. This correlation is irrefutable only if it is unambiguously clear how this GDP developed. Clearing this can be done with the “Cost-Energy Equivalence Law”. The worldwide production of all physical and intellectual values and with it the GDP is possible only with the use of energy, and it is based on a fundamental physical law, the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In a scientific work, I proved this connection and published it 2012 in a trade journal of the sciences of finance and economy. The needed energy’s sources are primary resources like coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear as well as energy from the sun in the form of radiation, wind and hydropower. The amount of coal, oil and natural gas of the used primary energy sources for creating the GDP is well known, and thus the emitted amount of CO2 by this GDP production is known as well. Therefor there is a fixed quotient “kilogram CO2-emission per dollar”. This quotient is valid absolutely in an enclosed economical area. Thus, higher costs of a product are identical with higher CO2-emissions. As all the “renewable energy” is more expensive than its classical competitors it is striking to see that “renewable energy” emits more CO2 than coal-fired power plants. You can find all details on my website http://www.kosten-energie-aequivalenzgesetz.com. As my work apparently is unknown to you I apply to you to mention my work in future publications I wish you much success to, as being a base for your conclusions for bewaring my copyrights concerning this prove of mine.

    • But, if an idea is truly independently developed by outside research separate from a published paper yielding similar conclusions or equations, is the copyright requirement applicable? Independent confirmation, separately derived should be encouraged, should it not?

      • Mr. Comendador has found a correlation between GDP and CO2-Emissions and drew a conclusion out of his observation. His conclusion, however, is tenuous as long as there is no proof that the correlation GDP/CO2 has a fixed value resulting from using exclusively the primary energy sources for producing the GDP, because there are numerous CO2-sources worldwide. In my work (2012) I exactly offered this proof, and without it, the conclusion of Mr. Comendador is worthless. Further future quotations of Mr. Condadors work therefor have no scientific meaning without reference to my work.

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