Reposted from Dr. Judith Curry’s Climate Etc.
Posted on March 17, 2022 by curryja |
by Judith Curry
I have a new article published in the latest issue of International Affairs Forum.
The topic of this issue is Climate Change and Energy. Mine is one of twenty papers. A range of topics are covered. My article is the least alarmed among them. You may recognize several of the authors, which include Don Wuebbles and Bill McKibben.
Here is the text of my article:
A ‘Plan B’ for addressing climate change and the energy transition
Climate change is increasingly being referred to as a crisis, emergency, existential threat and most recently as ‘code red.’ Climate change has become a grand narrative in which manmade global warming is regarded as the dominant cause of societal problems. Everything that goes wrong reinforces the conviction that that there is only one thing we can do prevent societal problems – stop burning fossil fuels. This grand narrative leads us to think that if we urgently stop burning fossil fuels, then these other problems would also be solved. This sense of urgency narrows the viewpoints and policy options that we are willing to consider in dealing not only with our energy and transportation systems, but also regarding complex issues such as public health, water resources, weather disasters and national security.
So, exactly what is wrong with this grand narrative of climate change? In a nutshell, we’ve vastly oversimplified both the problem of climate change and its solutions. The complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity of the existing knowledge about climate change is being kept away from the policy and public debates. The dangers of manmade climate change have been confounded with natural weather and climate variability. The solutions that have been proposed for rapidly eliminating fossil fuels are technologically and politically infeasible on a global scale.
How did we come to the point where we’re alleged to have a future crisis on our hands, but the primary solution of rapid global emissions reductions is deemed to be all but impossible? The source of this conundrum is that we have mischaracterized climate change as a tame problem, with a simple solution. Climate change is better characterized as a wicked mess. A wicked problem is complex with dimensions that are difficult to define and changing with time. A mess is characterized by resistance to change and contradictory and suboptimal solutions that create additional problems. Treating a wicked mess as if it is a tame problem can result in a situation where the cure is not only ineffective, but worse than the alleged disease.
Specifically with regards to climate science, there is some good news. Recent analyses from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) indicate that the extreme tail risks from global warming, associated with very high emissions and high climate sensitivity, have shrunk and are now regarded as unlikely if not implausible.
Further, the IPCC’s climate projections neglect plausible scenarios of natural climate variability, which are acknowledged to dominate regional climate variability on interannual to multidecadal time scales. Apart from the relative importance of natural climate variability, emissions reductions will do little to improve the climate of the 21st century – if you believe the climate models, most of the impacts of emissions reductions will be felt in the 22nd century and beyond.
How urgent is the need for an energy transition?
Under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the world is attempting to reach Netzero in carbon emissions by 2050. I refer to this as Plan A. Using the precautionary principle, Plan A is based on the premise that rapidly reducing CO2 emissions is critical for preventing future dangerous warming of the climate.
In spite of the numerous UN treaties and agreements to reduce emissions over the past two decades, the atmospheric CO2 concentration relentlessly continues to increase. By 2050, global emissions will be dominated by whatever China and India have done, or have failed to do. The IEA Roadmap to Netzero finds that there is a possible but very narrow pathway to Netzero by 2050, provided that there is a huge leap in energy innovation and major efforts to build new infrastructure. Others find reaching Netzero by 2050 to be a social and technological impossibility.
Terms such as ‘climate crisis’ and ‘code red for humanity’ are used by politicians and policy makers to emphasize the urgency of action to stop burning fossil fuels. Note that the IPCC itself does not use the words ‘crisis’, ‘catastrophe’, or even ‘dangerous’; rather it uses the term ‘reasons for concern.’ Apart from the scientific uncertainties, the weakest part of the UN’s argument about manmade global warming is that it is dangerous. The highest profile link to danger relies on linking warming to worsening extreme weather events, which is a tenuous link at best.
Any evaluation of dangerous climate change must confront the Goldilocks principle. Exactly which climate state is too hot versus too cold? Some answer this question by stating that the climate we are adapted to is ‘just right’. However, the IPCC uses a preindustrial baseline, in the late 1700’s. Why anyone thinks that this is an ideal climate is not obvious. This was during the Little Ice Age, the coldest period of the millennia. In the U.S., the states with by far the largest population growth are Florida and Texas, which are warm, southern states. Property along the coast – with its vulnerability to sea level rise and hurricanes – is skyrocketing in value. Personal preference and market value do not yet regard global warming as dangerous. While politicians in developed countries argue that we need to address climate change for the sake developing countries, addressing climate change ranks much lower in these countries than developing access to grid electricity.
The planet has been warming for more than a century. So far, the world has done a decent job at adapting to this change. The yields for many crops have doubled or even quadruped since 1960. Over the past century, the number of deaths per million people from weather and climate catastrophes have dropped by 97%. Losses from global weather disasters as a percent of GDP have declined over the past 30 years.
In addressing the challenges of climate change and the energy transition, we need to remind ourselves that addressing climate change isn’t an end in itself, and that climate change is not the only problem that the world is facing. The objective should be to improve human well-being in the 21st century, while protecting the environment as much as we can.
All other things being equal, everyone would prefer clean over dirty energy. However, all other things are not equal. We need secure, reliable, and economic energy systems for all countries in the world. This includes Africa, which is currently lacking grid electricity in many countries. We need a 21st century infrastructure for our electricity and transportation systems, to support continued and growing prosperity. The urgency of rushing to implement 20th century renewable technologies risks wasting resources on an inadequate energy infrastructure, increasing our vulnerability to weather and climate extremes and harming our environment in new ways.
How the climate of the 21st century will play out is a topic of deep uncertainty. Once natural climate variability is accounted for, it may turn out to be relatively benign. Or we may be faced with unanticipated surprises. We need to increase our resiliency to whatever the future climate presents us with. We are shooting ourselves in the foot if we sacrifice economic prosperity and overall societal resilience on the altar of urgently transitioning to 20th century renewable energy technologies. Alarmism about climate change misleads us and panic makes us less likely to tackle climate change smartly.
Towards a ‘Plan B’
Even without the mandate associated with global warming and other environmental issues, we would expect a natural transition away from fossil fuels over the course of the 21st century, as they become more expensive to extract and continue to contribute to geopolitical instability.
The problem is with the urgency of transitioning away from fossil fuels, driven by fears about global warming. By rapidly transitioning to this so-called clean energy economy driven by renewables, we’re taking a big step backwards in human development and prosperity. Nations are coming to grips with their growing over dependence on wind and solar energy. Concerns about not meeting electricity needs this winter are resulting in a near term reliance on coal in Europe and Asia. And we ignore the environmental impacts of mining and toxic waste from solar panels and batteries, and the destruction of raptors by wind turbines and habitats by large-scale solar farms.
Opponents of Plan A reject the urgency of reducing emissions. They state that we stand to make the overall situation worse with the simplistic solution of urgently replacing fossil fuels with wind and solar, which will have a barely noticeable impact on the climate of the 21st century.
Opponents of Plan A argue that its best to focus on keeping economies strong and making sure that everyone has access to energy. And finally, the argument is made that there are other more pressing problems than climate change that need to be addressed with the available resources.
Does all this mean we should do nothing in the near term about climate change? No. But given the problems with Plan A, we clearly need a Plan B that broadens the climate policy envelope. By considering climate change as a wicked mess, climate change can be reframed as a predicament for actively reimagining human life. Such a narrative can expand our imaginative capacity and animate political action while managing social losses.
We should work to minimize our impact on the planet, which isn’t simple for a planet with 8 billion inhabitants. We should work to minimize air and water pollution. From time immemorial, humans have adapted to climate change. Whether or not we manage to drastically curtail our carbon dioxide emissions in the coming decades, we need to reduce our vulnerability to extreme weather and climate events.
Here’s a framework for how we can get to a Plan B. A more pragmatic approach to dealing with climate change drops the timelines and emissions targets, in favor of accelerating energy innovation. Whether or not we manage to drastically curtail our carbon dioxide emissions in the coming decades, we need to reduce our vulnerability to extreme weather and climate events.
To thrive in the 21st century, the world will need much more energy. Of course we prefer our energy to be clean, as well as cheap. To get there, we need new technologies. The most promising right now is small modular nuclear reactors. But there are also exciting advances in geothermal, hydrogen and others. And the technology landscape will look different ten years from now.
Developing countries don’t just want to survive, they want to thrive. We need much more electricity, not less. Going on an energy diet like we did in the 1970’s is off the table. We need more electricity to support innovation and thrivability in the 21st century. Consumption and growth will continue to increase throughout the 21st century. We need to accept this premise, and then figure out how we can manage this growth while protecting our environment.
In addressing the climate change problem, we need to remind ourselves that climate isn’t an end in itself, and that climate change isn’t the only problem that the world is facing. The objective should be to improve human wellbeing in the 21st century, while protecting the environment as much as we can. Climate-informed decision making that focuses on food, energy, water and ecosystems will support human wellbeing in the coming decades.
So what does a Plan B actually look like? Rather than top-down solutions mandated by the UN, Plan B focuses on local solutions that secure the common interest, thus avoiding political gridlock. In addition to reimagining 21st century electricity and transportation systems, progress can be made on a number of fronts related to land use, forest management, agriculture, water resource management, waste management, among many others. Human wellbeing will be improved as a result of these efforts, whether or not climate change turns out to be a huge problem and whether or not we manage to drastically reduce our emissions. Individual countries and states can serve as laboratories for solutions to their local environmental problems and climate-related risks.
It is an enormous challenge to minimize the environmental impact on the planet of 8 billion people. I have no question that human ingenuity is up to the task of better providing for the needs and wants of Earth’s human inhabitants, while supporting habitats and species diversity. But this issue is the major challenge for the next millennium. It is a complex challenge that extends well beyond understanding the Earth system and developing new technologies – it also includes governance and social values.
To make progress on this, we need to disabuse ourselves of the hubris that we can control the Earth’s climate and prevent extreme weather events. The urgency of transitioning from fossil fuels to wind and solar energy under the auspices of the UN agreements has sucked all the oxygen from the room. There’s no space left for imagining what our 21st century infrastructure could look like, with new technologies and greater resilience to extreme weather events, or even to deal with traditional environmental problems.
Humans do have the ability to solve future crises of this kind. However, they also have the capacity to make things much worse by oversimplifying complex environmental issues and politicizing the science, which can lead to maladaptation and poor policy choices. In 50 years time, we may be looking back on the UN climate policies, and this so-called green economy, as using chemotherapy to try to cure a head cold, all the while ignoring more serious diseases. In other words, the climate crisis narrative gets in the way of real solutions to our societal and environmental problems.
Climate change is just one of many potential threats facing our world today, a point made clear by the Covid-19 pandemic. Why should climate change be prioritized over other threats? There’s a wide range of threats that we could face in the 21st century: solar electromagnetic storms that would take out all space-based electronics including GPS and electricity transmission lines; future pandemics; global financial collapse; a mega volcanic eruption; a cascade of mistakes that triggers a thermonuclear, biochemical or cyber war; the rise of terrorism.
We can expect to be surprised by threats that we haven’t even imagined yet. Vast sums spent on attempting to prevent climate change come from the same funds that effectively hold our insurance against all threats; hence, this focus on climate change could overall increase our vulnerability to other threats. The best insurance against any and all of these threats is to try to understand them, while increasing the overall resilience of our societies. Prosperity is the best the indicator of resilience. Resilient societies that learn from previous threats are best prepared to be anti-fragile and respond to whatever threats the future holds.
So well written that even a politician might be able to grasp it.
Thanks Dr, Curry
Plan B’ for addressing climate change and the energy transition
Not another plan. Yes, obviously the climate continually changes. But I would argue that despite the increased use of fossil fuels a developing economy will, as it develops, clean its act up.
London had the smogs etc and eventually started to pass clean air legislation in 1956. But it wasn’t until 1996 that we banned leaded petrol. Think of all those brain damaged kids… And they would have me believe its never been worse than it is today. We even had lead pipes for water.
There is no climate crisis, what China, India etc need to do is clean up their air
There is no climate crisis …
Yes, obviously the climate continually changes
Yes, it does – and now it is rapidly changing from a new additional climate driver: human CO2.
Oh do give it a rest, griff.
You have no proof whatsoever that human CO2 – as you call it – has made any difference to natural variability.
Of course, if you believe you have it, you could always provide it…
But you won’t
So if this is your hypothesis for AGW, what is the null hypothesis whose observation invalidates your hypothesis?
Could it be –
“historical higher levels of atmospheric CO2 have seen no attributable extraordinary changes in climatic cycles”
Why don’t you provide some evidence that CO2 is a measurable climate driver.
Better men than you have tried and failed.
Sublime.- Curry’s cogent arguments to =Ridiculous – Griff’s vapid maunderings.
Unfortunately Griff is closer to the ear of Policy makers than is Curry That is the inversion of logic that misrules the world.
If all of academia and the Climate Consensus were up to Judith Curry’s standards of scientific integrity there would be no need for skeptics
It has only ever been about climate in the minds of the useful idiots.
More fantasy from griff.
CO2 has absolutely zero effect on climate, and you know that.
And no, climate is not changing rapidly. We are actually in a period of remarkably stable climate.
See, here’s where the Denier narrative falls flat on its face.
We of course know that NASA, NOAA, NSIDC, the Royal Society, the UK Meteorological Office, the American Meteorological Society, and nearly 200 other scientific organizations around the world that concluded that the current spike in global temperatures is a result of human activity.
But, of course, the Denier narrative is obsessed with a sweeping conspiracy theory that claims all these findings are a product of underhanded data manipulation and flawed methods.
Thing is, even Exxon’s own CEOs, scientists, and researchers agree with the overwhelming scientific research consensus involving AGW. That’s where the whole Denier conspiracy theory falls down. But even after the testimony of Exxon’s former CEO and senior scientist along with the availability of their own research on their own website, the Deniers still screech that it’s all fake.
It’s an amazing insight into the depths of confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance.
And…here’s a “hockey stick” from Exxon nearly 20 years before Mann’s research emerged….
In summary, Rex Tillerson himself threw the Denier narrative under the bus. Why on earth are you continuing the pretense?
Exxon agrees that CO2 is a greenhouse gas that has an impact on temperature.
Ho hum. Only a complete science illiterate could spin that into support for a belief that CO2 controls the climate and is going to cause great harm.
Rex Tillerson was WRONG.
CO2 has zero climatic effect
No one has ever proven that increasing levels of CO2 in our atmosphere has caused any additional warming .
Not just that. A paper in, IIRC, Remote Sensing about a decade ago, completely disproved the assumption that anthropogenic CO2 has a positive feedback with stratospheric water vapor (which is the cause of 80% of the warming predicted by the models).
Your own link disproves your claim.
James blew her climate suit.
Healy blew her climate suit.
The real question is how/why alarmists continue their pretense?
Besides UNFCCC and IPCC officials stating that “climate change” is only a method for wealth redistribution.
A redistribution that doesn’t involve redistributing China’s or Russia’s wealth…
In the last 100 years the earth has purportedly warmed by a little over 1°.
The earth’s population has quadrupled to nearly 8 billion.
Climate related deaths have decreased by 97%.
More people have risen out of abject poverty because of an abudance of energy, primarily fossil fuels.
Based on the past it would appear things are getting better for humanity, not worse.
Where is there actual evidence of an emergency?
Next time you are discussing climate change simply ask the question, ” how has “climate change” personally affected you?
Observe the perplexity!
You used lot of references that fall to the logical fallacies of Appeal to Authority (ad verecundiam) and Appeal to Popular Opinion (ad populum). What is missing in your argument is observed data. I’m too old to just cave to arguments without data. I’ve seen too many bad calls in my 68 years.
Lord Kelvin (Royal Society president among many other achievements and honors): “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.” (1897) He truly was a genius, but he missed the mark by a lightyear. To take his word as gospel in all things is to fall victim to the appeal to authority logical fallacy.
Most everyone in the world for a long time KNEW the world was flat. The few that did not were DENIERS! (But they were right!) This is an example of the appeal to popular opinion.
Barry, you need to look at real data, not models, not political/religious oratory.
According to the CAGW religion’s models, there should be a CO2 inspired ‘hot spot’ in the stratosphere, courtesy of water vapour induced run away warming … except that it is not there. Elegant hypothesis but no cigar for you.
Which claim ignores the fact that the models assume positive feedback between anthropogenic CO2 and stratospheric water vapor, an assumption that was conclusively disproven a decade ago.
Please provide a link to the credible, independent, and peer-reviewed research that supports your claim.
One easy proof is that we are all still here.
If H2O was the strong positive feedback that the alarmists want it to be, life would have been wiped out on this planet billions of years ago.
Instead, even though CO2 levels have gone as high as 7000ppm, temperatures have remained in a fairly narrow range.
No-one with half a brain would even bother because it will all be just oil shills this and conspiracy theory and dribble from you. You have been discredited as a nutjob so just give it up.
Pal review con jobs are “credible”!?
What a laugh!
What counts are real observations. Observations have repeatedly proven climate alarmism false, along with their absurd claims.
Typical response from a brain-dead warmunista … show me conclusive evidence that your hypothesis is correct, just one will be fine.
Griff says, Yes, it does – and now it is rapidly changing from a new additional climate driver: human CO2.
Please define “rapidly changing”.
I’m almost 68. There have been winters colder than others. There have been summers hotter than others. We’ve had colder springs recently. All natural variations.
I’ve lived through the uptick in The Hockey Stick and all is still as it always has been.
What “rapid change” are you referring talking about?
” from a new additional climate driver: human CO2.”
If it actually concerns you that much, then I suggest you wear a gas mask that would sequester the CO2 from your own exhalations as you breath and leave the rest of us alone and unharmed by the Green Paranoia.
you are so harmed by propaganda that you blindly follow the trend and bleat about damages brains. You have done no original research into the biochemistry. You are naively unaware that the hypothesis that trace lead ingestion will harm young brains is par from demonstrated. If it had been proven, you would be able to count actual hospital admissions and medical diagnoses. What are the numbers, fretslider? Quote them, if they exist. Geoff S
Geoff, I think you may have failed to detect a few sarc tags in fretslider’s missive. But your point stands. And not just in the context of lead: also of PM2.5 and nitrogen oxides.
Those “brain damaged kids” are sitting in parliament today 🙂
I propose we make “Plan B” “Plan A”.
No chance. Greenies are set to make life miserable for the west.
Repeat of Curry post. Instead of cluttering with rehash copy rehash copy .. .simply give the link and a one line description and opinion such as ‘great post’ not rehash rehash TMI
I am really disappointed, I expected better of this lady.
Anyone who assumes that we can seriously effect the climate of the planet is showing arrogance beyond belief.
Like all animals we as a species are for a fleeting moment in time as a planet measurement, & will leave no more effect on the planet when we are gone than did the dinasores before us.
In 500 years there will be nothing other than a few fossils to show we were ever here. About time we got over ourselves.
Sorry, 5000 years
dinasoresdinosaurs expect an apology too.
Dan, there’s a reason corporations run endless ads on TV, Radio, News Papers, Magazines, Billboards, Junk Phone calls, and…?
Good news needs to be repeated. Nobody buys the better mouse trap if they don’t know about it.
So, Dr. Curry’s well written essay on what’s wrong and what’s right about this issue needs lots of exposure. The entire 2500 words could be parsed out in a campaign much like the Harry and Louise ads that had a well deserved impact on the health care issues of the day. Of course that takes money. Well anyway, it needs exposure, and repeating or rehashing the points is not a negative.
With all due respect, what we need to do about “climate change” is nothing.
The economy is terminally ill, the border is wide open, the country is flooded with illegal drugs, the violent crime rate is skyrocketing, COVId proved the health care system is broken, the teacher unions destroyed the public schools. These are real problems; “climate change” was, is, and always will be a faux problem for virtue signaling elites.
“the teacher unions destroyed the public schools”
I’d say they haven’t finished with that one just yet.
Thomas G.: “[…] “climate change” was, is, and always will be a faux problem for virtue signaling elites.”
It has been a sweet moneymaker for some. No virtue signaling required. Cynicism and hypocrisy are helpful.
Other than geoengineering, which could well have disastrous results, playing around with CO2 isn’t going to change climate.
Just exactly what can we do to get the ideal climate? How do we prevent the next glaciation? And the long asked and unanswered questions; what is the ideal climate and who determines what it is?
Not having the American problems of gun violence and widespread drug issues, the UK can concentrate on climate change…
..and illegal immigration is providing most of your agricultural labour.
“Not having the American problems of gun violence and widespread drug issues, the UK can concentrate on climate change…”
That’s very funny griff. Where did you read that? Your script?
The UK has one choice to make: start fracking and drilling. That’s what is important to the people of the UK. Especially the poor. You do care about the poor, don’t you?
what has happened to Lloydo. Di he have a Damascene conversion or has Griff killed or cancelled him so that his may be the only voice of climate idiocy?
The UK doesn’t have widespread drug problems?
Scotland certainly does.
I’m concentrating on it. Just test ran my first ever chainsaw for the first time. Will be burning wood pellets just like Drax power station, only a bit bigger.
That’s my energy security sorted.
Given that your fellow liberal believers are running the U.S., I think
they will achieve their goals. Defunding the police was a great idea
to get violent crime rates to eventually exceed that of London. You
clever Brits have even discovered it’s okay to bring a knife to a gun
fight. How’s that knife ban working out for you? 😉
Has anyone else noticed that crime and violence seem to concentrate in those areas run by liberal Democrats?
griffter, there is more crime and more violent crime in London than there is in New York. You seem to be equally as ignorant about crime as you are about the climate.
Less than about 40% of violent crime in the U.S. is committed with firearms. Read some stuff from Dr. John Lott.
More daydreams from your depths of delusion?
Murder rate in the UK has not dropped. If not firearms, then knives, clubs, poison, rocks and even cricket bats.
UK Drug problems?
Drug abuse discussion brings up your horrendous memory and delusions, giffie? Cause?
Many researchers studied weather records, many statisticians evaluated many years worth of data, many proxies were developed….to achieve a consensus that “yes the planet has warmed about a degree in the last century”. This research was done because the 4 generations of human beings during that time were unable to use their senses to feel a temperature change but had noted some glacier and sea ice retreat. Anecdotal stories a out how cold or hot it was when grandpa was a kid were questionable.
Now we are pretty sure of the 1 degree number. The question still remains whether a temperature change that is basically unnoticeable, is a problem at all, much less a crisis.
This is Curry attempting to imitate Bjorn Lomborg. And, like Lomborg, the fundamental strawman of her argument doesn’t withstand objective scrutiny. This quote sums up its futility:
This is the Denier DNA talking. This is yet another attempt to ignore the reality that human activity IS controlling the earth’s climate right now. It’s been doing so for over 100 years. And human activity can mitigate this:
1) Stop burning fossil fuels as quickly as possible.
2) Deploy renewable energy and storage as quickly as possible.
3) Electrify everything as quickly as possible.
Will these transitions have zero impact on the earth? Of course not. Every action has a reaction.
Will these transitions have much less adverse impact on the earth than we’re seeing now? Absolutely.
Will these transitions cost us much less in energy costs and “adaptation” than the Lomborg narrative? Without question.
Notice how Barry doesn’t even attempt to refute the argument, he just declares that those who disagree with him are wrong. I guess it’s an improvement from screaming that everyone who disagrees with him is a fossil fuel shill, so we should be glad of small favors.
But like griff and the rest of our trolls, Barry can’t be bothered with actual data and arguments, because they know there aren’t any.
“Deploy renewable energy and storage as quickly as possible.”
And when there is no wind or Sun, what will you do without fossil and nuclear?
Storage? You must mean the Duracell bunny.
4) Stop adopting the rantings and tantrums of naive children as your nation’s energy policies.
How many insults and ad hominem attacks can you make dance on the head of a pin, Barry?
Barry I think you are correct. We burned so much fossil fuel that we had a ten year period with no major hurricanes hitting the US. Now that’s control. We should keep that up.
Barry, let’s say all your mitigation measures are fully implemented. What are you hoping will be the resultant effect upon the Earth’s climate?
Hey Baz “Every action has a reaction”. That is real sciencey. You must have read a science book somewhere, but completely inappropriate to your argument. Instead of “Reaction” I think you meant “Consequence”
“3) Electrify everything as quickly as possible.”
Barry is saying we need more nuclear, coal and gas fired power stations.
That’s the only way to provide a viable increase in available electricity,
Renewable energy is a no show in viable consistent energy, and building enough “storage” would need ginormously huge amounts of coal and gas, as well as other massive raw materials.
Rational thought, is not Barry’s forte. !
Funny word that.
I don’t think you know what it means.
What do people here “deny” that you can provide any actually scientific proof for?
How utterly divorced from reality. A paper in Remote Sensing a decade ago disproved the central conceit of the climate models, that anthropogenic CO2 controls climate through a positive e feedback mechanism with stratospheric water vapor (which causes 80% of the warming predicted by the models). And you plan of killing fossil fuels, switching to wind and solar and electrifying everything, merely ensure that a handful of elites can continue to live First World lives while the rest of us scratch out a subsistence agricultural living (we hope) with no fuel, no farm animals, no fertilizer except human feces, and no protein except the bird and bat carcasses we can scavenge from under the windmills while those species last.
This is the Denier DNA talking. This is yet another attempt to ignore the reality that human activity IS controlling the earth’s climate right now. It’s been doing so for over 100 years. And human activity can mitigate this:
Uh … you assume, with ZERO evidence that “the reality that human activity IS controlling the earth’s climate right now”.
Is your evidence a tree ring? A Climate Model?
1) Stop burning fossil fuels as quickly as possible.
There were just as many extreme weather events before we started burning fossil fuels. What would stopping their use do except prevent us from rebuilding after an extreme weather event?
2) Deploy renewable energy and storage as quickly as possible.
How do you do any of this without fossil fuels?
3) Electrify everything as quickly as possible.
We are already doing this but “quickly as possible” is really, really, slow. Like decades if not centuries. Then there’s the hurdles of physics that keep getting in the way.
But Barry, the western world HAS reduced its Carbon emissions by greater than 20% since the 1992 Kyoto protocol was instituted.
Yet there are no observable changes in the rate of CO2 growth in the atmosphere.
California already reached its 2020 AB32 reductions in CO2 emissions in 2016.
Yet there are no observable changes in the rate of CO2 growth in the atmosphere.
We shutdown the entire world economy for months to “flatten the curve” of covid 19 and instantly reduced CO2 emissions by 25%.
Yet there are no observable changes in the rate of CO2 growth in the atmosphere.
The experiments have already been done. Why do you insist on believing that your solutions are valid when the observed results of your solutions have produced no observable effect?
What is it called when people keep doing the same thing but expect different results?
You do realise don’t you that electricity currently accounts for only 20% of final energy consumption?
You do realise don’t you that there are only 16m EVs in the world compared to over 1.4 billion ICEVs ?
You do realise don’t you that green energy technologies are generally more mineral intensive than conventional options and require more critical minerals than coal and gas plants while using similar ratios of steel, cement, glass,plastics and aluminium?
You do realise don’t you that the additional transmissiion, storage and conversion infrastucture to integrate higher shares of wind and solar also add additional material requirements?
You do realise don’t you that the material needs of these transmission networks and battery storage require a huge scaling of various critical minerals?
You do realise don’t you EVs require six times the mineral inputs than ICEVs and that on average a new mine takes about 16 years to come on stream?
You do realise don;t you that there are billions of people in the world who have much more to gain from rapid economic growth than from repid CO2 emission cuts?
(All information from various IEA reports)
Right now, yes. But more and more EVs are being sold every day, while auto manufacturers are backing away from ICEVs.
Things have to be built. Things will always have to be built. “Free” is never a thing. “Cleaner and cheaper” is a thing.
There’s no way to slither around the simple fact that EVs are cleaner transportation across the full spectrum of metrics from cradle to grave.
It’s always amusing when fossil fuel shills pretend to be humanitarians while overlooking the reality that renewable energy is by far faster and cheaper to build and operate in disadvantaged areas, especially in a decentralized format.
It’s always amusing when renewable energy shills fail to admit that it is fossil fuels that allow renewable energy infrastructure to be built “faster and cheaper”, always in countries that employ slave and child labor and use bunker oil burning ships with no pollution controls to transport the items worldwide.
Barry you’re so intent on ad homs that you don’t take in what people point out to you.
I’ll add one more
You do realise don’t you that the IEA has recently said that the world faces potential shortages of lithium and cobalt as early as 2025 and that
“EVs are set to enter a new phase in which raw material and component supply come to the fore. For the first time supply side bottlenecks are becoming a real challenge to electrification of road transport”
Oh and a study in the Netherlands of the metals required for renewable electricity in the country found that to reach their renewable energy targets the Netherlands requires a significant percentage of the annual production of five specific critical minerals, in some cases as much as 4% of total world production, and warns that future demand for these minerals will exceed expected supply and the energy transition “becomes a vulnerable process.” and “While we are working on reducing our dependence on Arabian and Russian oil we are creating a new dependency at the same time: a dependency on (Chinese) metals”
Excellent post, and very sensible and rational. I agree completely. Well done, Judith Curry.
By coincidence, i am in the midst of writing a screen play about the Earth being hit by a mass coronal ejection, followed a meteor strike the size of NY, and a massive volcano explosion in Yellowstone Park. I think Halle Berry would be just right for the genius scientist and her dog Lassie.
It should be a blockbuster….
thank you Dr. Curry, one of your most evenhanded, thorough, and well-considered efforts to date
which is saying something
a minor pillar of support for the adaptation argument can be found in something as simple as advances in LED lighting efficiency… at any point in history up to about 10 years ago, a volcanic dust event that rapidly lowered crop yields globally to LIA levels or below could have easily ended human civilization, but it’s now at least possible to imagine a massive crash program of indoor LED farming that could stave off near-term population collapse
Do LED lights produce the frequencies of light needed by plants?
As much as Dr. Curry deserves respect for a well-considered and reasonable sense of the climate situation, better yet to have the courage to do nothing in response to the unsound claims of danger and harm. The energy situation will take care of itself if governments will just get out of the way and focus on sensible environmental requirements. No Plan A. No Plan B. Just move on.
Don’t just do something, stand there!
In the 75 years since WW2, grid electricity has not arrived in most of developing Africa.
Why exactly would it arrive if we switch back to fossil fuel?
for millions in Africa lighting is still kerosene lamps – expensive and dangerous.
why not replace those lamps right now with cheap solar LEDs with phone chargers?
Many developing nations don’t have fossil fuel resources: they can’t afford to pay for those fuels.
The can develop locally built ‘trough based’ solar though.
Renewables, especially solar, are clearly providing electricity in Africa the fossil fuel grid still hasn’t delivered – and won’t in any forseeable future.
Let see if I have this right.
The fact that the grid hasn’t reached every portion of the planet is proof that it never will.
Is that really the level of thinking that is being promoted in schools these days?
If people are too poor to afford electricity, obviously the solution is to make them even poorer, and electricity even more expensive. That will show them.
and if they find kerosene lamps are expensive, how t.f. are they going to afford cell phones and call plans?
So having solar phone chargers there would be like fitting ashtrays to their motor cycles.
What is a “fossil fuel grid”? Fossil fuel griff?
“In the 75 years since WW2, grid electricity has not arrived in most of developing Africa.”
Africa is a basket case or hadn’t you noticed?
If we accept the great migrations theories out of Africa one has to wonder why those who stayed behind failed to progress. Maybe the migrations were racist?
Africa is proof that socialism doesn’t work.
And neither do the comprador classes
You put in that qualifier because you know Africans can’t afford them. And it should follow that nobody can. If the various governments stopped subsidizing them, these boondoggles would never be foisted on us.
When George Orwell wrote Animal Farm he used the wind mill to illustrate the boondoggles that governments use to make it look like they are accomplishing something rather than lining their own pockets.
I’m still trying to follow this segue. I don’t get it.
Would you please stop jumping to an immediate solution to the “problem” and spend some time on a true causal analysis, then, if there is a problem there, actually try to solve that one?
“grid electricity has not arrived in most of developing Africa”
The World Bank and others are making darn sure of that…. using “climate” as their argument.
Intermittent energy is useless for actually “living”.
You would certainly never manage it.
“we’re taking a big step backwards in human development and prosperity”
– More and more, I can’t help thinking that this is intentional.
Fantastic take down of the insanity. Some quotes and comments:
The complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity of the existing knowledge about climate change is being kept away from the policy and public debates.
It’s being exaggerated. Methane and Sea Level rise are the poster board examples of that.
The highest profile link to danger relies on linking warming to worsening extreme weather events, which is a tenuous link at best.
Yes the average liberal watching TV News and listening to NPR believes recent hurricanes and tornados are way worse and more frequent than they were in the early 20th century and earlier. There is no link to increasing CO2 and extreme weather.
Alarmism about climate change misleads us and panic makes us less likely to tackle climate change smartly.
CO2 is not a problem. Please stop buying into the bullshit that “Climate Change” needs tackling.
the destruction of raptors by wind turbines and habitats by large-scale solar farms.
Is this really happening on a large scale? I’ve seen the same video of an eagle smacked by a wind mill dozens of times, and not much else. Short search finds conflicting claims. Broadcast & power transmission towers, cars & trucks, windows & kitty cats also take a huge number of birds.
But there are also exciting advances in geothermal, hydrogen and others.
Hydrogen? Pull my other leg.
In addressing the climate change problem,
Dear Dr. Curry, there isn’t a CO2 problem so ipso facto there isn’t an anthropogenic Global Warming Catastrophe. Please stop buying into the bullshit climate change problem.
To make progress on this, we need to disabuse ourselves of the hubris that we can control the Earth’s climate and prevent extreme weather events.
BINGO We will always have floods droughts blizzards hurricanes and tornados.
…this focus on climate change could overall increase our vulnerability to other threats.
Could? It does and has increased our vulnerability to other threats.
Land-use changes can affect the climate. The Urban Heat Island effect is an example. UHI is likely the cause of all of the warming we’ve seen in the last few decades. Adjust for UHI and the warming just goes away.
Said no credible scientist in a long time.
“Overall, the urban heat island effect has not contributed very much to our warming world. Other human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, are the main culprit.” https://climate.nasa.gov/faq/44/can-you-explain-the-urban-heat-island-effect/
Once again, Barry is defining a credible scientist as being one that agrees with him.
That’s all part of the scam, Barry.
Nearly all surface stations are contaminated by urban heat effects.
Those that haven’t been, generally show very little warming.
The surface data takes those sparse urban readings and smears and homogenises it over vast areas, adjusting the past downwards (on purpose) in the process.
Surface data fabrications such as GISS, et al..are meaningless
Fact is that the world is currently only a degree or so warmer than the coldest period in some 10,000 years, far cooler than most of it.
The only “climate emergency” would come from dropping back into a protracted cooling trend. (which may have already started.)
Said every credible scientist who has paid any attention at all to monitoring station siting criteria.
According to Barry, credible scientists don’t sweat the details. They just repeat what they are told to.
From your link “Likewise, researchers have long noticed that the magnitude of heat islands can vary significantly between cities. However, they are able to filter out those effects from the long-term trends.”
Really? How does NASA know that their “adjustments” are correct? Adjusted data is no longer data. Interpolation of temperatures between measured sites in order to fill in the grid on the computer model is not data. NASA and climate modelers make guesses about temperature in huge parts of the world that have very little actual measurements, Africa, and the Arctic for example.
Adjusting for the heat island effect of urban areas means mathematically reducing the actual measured temperatures to some lower value to reflect what the temperature theoretically would have been but for the city. This has the effect of cooling the past on the adjusted temperature charts, and OMG! Global warming is worse than we thought! Tony Heller has excellent YT on this issue.
Left unaddressed on the charts is that by definition adjusted data increases the uncertainty of the values. How is this increase in uncertainty accounted for? No one knows because the increase in uncertainty is never mentioned in the publishing of the temperature charts. It is NASA, it is therefor Science, and Science is not to be questioned by lesser mortals, although extremely well educated lesser mortals.
To quote Richard Feynman:
“I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”
One big takeaway — we don’t know how much climate change is natural and how much is man-made.
Doesn’t that require further research before even contemplating Plan A?
Doesn’t that require further research before even contemplating Plan A?
Implicit in your post is that we only need to do something if “Climate Change” has an anthropogenic source. And you know what? That’s bullshit.
Yes and no.
Remember “The Science is Settled”? That claim is a couple of decades old.
This is all politics, not actual science.
Yes. Continue ACTUAL scientific study of our weather and climate.
NO. Stop funneling tax-payer dollars into political science. That’s “settled”.
Now we need to dump the politicians doing the “funneling”.
Excellent. Yes, we will have to address energy needs somehow. This push that we must do it all right now using unreliables is unwarranted.
We have plenty of time to get it right. Some people are working on it. Judith mentions small modular reactors. And we’re working on Mr. Fusion, which appears to still be only 30 years away. But it’s being worked on.
As far as pollution goes, lifting people out of poverty through sufficient energy supplies does and will work to reduce pollution. People need to have basic needs taken care of before they can begin to address pollution.
The energy part of this article is great. OTOH, the climate will do what it does despite human efforts.
and we get the now obligatory words about ‘covid’
As if it is something entirely separate from climate
Thus is where the Plan S (for soil) or Plan D (dirt) is needed.
Covid and Climate are connected
Exactly as Obesity, Diabetes, Psoriasis, Asthma, Cancer, Heart disease and Dementia are connected
The Thing That Causes all those things is also what’s causing (the so-far observed) Climate Change
A fantastic example came by me just yesterday….
A young female scientist (could easily have been one of my twins) was explaining about signs placed around her part of the world.
Signs that said: “Don’t bust the crust – Its alive”
She hailed from Moab, Utah and the ‘crust’ was/is a layer of life that comes to exist on the surface of the desert/dryland you have in Utah and the Colorado Plateau
(Its a barely inch-thick layer or mosses, lichens and other stuff that clings to the surface of the desert)
It has the mechanical strength of a meringue, is very easily damaged and when it is damaged, takes forever to recover.
Gen. Patton trained his WW2 tanks around there and the tracks they left are clear as day even now.
Problem is that when it is damaged, e.g. by walkers, campers & hikers, ATV and 4WD enthusiasts, the desert sand/soil/dust will blow away in the wind.
And it does, in gobsmacking amounts (hence the warning Don’t Bust The Crust signs) and Sputnik can see the result.
Colorado (Trans: the colour Red) Dust is blown west by prevailing winds onto the Sierra snow pack and melts it. Girl Soil Scientist told it as it is.
Some dust goes right around and all over the world to melt Glacier National Park with the same facility it melts The Arctic.
While the trace elements and micro nutrients the now wrecked/powderised crust had accumulated, sets off Global Greening
Yet warmists assert that the snow and The Arctic are melting because of Climate Change and their version of Kindergarten Science says that CO2 causes greening.
Then, the desert scientist says its melting because of the dust and is “expected” to get worse because of climate change.
Just how do you get the message to either of them that ‘people’ trashing the desert crust created the wasted (now = Dust Bowl) desert AND it is the dust they raised that melted the snow
Climate didn’t destroy the crust and thus create the dust and climate didn’t melt the snow.
People did one and it set off the other.
Just like ‘climate’ didn’t create the Original Dust Bowl of the 1930’s
So – what do you do – when anyone who mentions the possibility is marked down as a misanthropic Malthusian tree-hugging hippy nut-case and forever-more ignored & cancelled.
wrap up warm – that’s what.
Entropy Rules OK
You are fun to read but the prevailing winds in Colorado run west to east, as also in much of temperate northern hemisphere.
This is a serious misapprehension; now I’m apprehensive that I’ll have to watch you like a hawk instead of being amused by your prose.
The IPCC has so much vested in the Climate narrative, that they will never be able to admit they might ever have been even a little bit wrong. Goodbye, Billions of dollars, along with their credibility. The media might never survive the shame either.
As Dr Curry points out, the problem is forcing the bassackward windmills/photocells/batteries milieu on society without the necessary infrastructure in place. And, absent any real necessity.
“Climate change is better characterized as a wicked mess.”
A mess is something humans make. Humans have nothing to do with climate change. The whole discussion is a farce and Judith Curry you should be ashamed of yourself as a scientist for even entertaining the thought that climate is a problem to be solved. Mankind will never harness hurricanes much less stop them. Same goes for tornadoes, volcanoes, earthquakes, droughts, floods and any other severe storm that happens upon us. AGW is a crock of bullshit and anybody that doesn’t recognize that is evil like Michael Mann, or in groupthink or as dumb as a turnip.
I’m surprised that Dr. Curry made these statements in an otherwise superb article:
“The planet has been warming for more than a century. “
It’s actually been warming since the end of the last glacial period, about 10000 years ago. We are due for a new one…
“We should work to minimize our impact on the planet, which isn’t simple for a planet with 8 billion inhabitants.”
It is simple if you have cheap and reliable energy (read Nuclear), then you could easily support at least 16 billion or more on this planet in a very clean and sustainable environment.
That and better educational standards for those inhabitants. Things like Critical Thinking for example…
The planet HAD been warming since the end of the last ice age. That appears to have ended with the start of the Holocene optimum about 10K years ago. For the last 5000 years or so, the Earth has been mostly cooling, with the occasional warm period about every 1000 years or so. With the peak of each warm period a little cooler than the last.
The previous one ending about 1000 years ago, and the current one may or may not be still ongoing.
Thanks for the correction Mark.
The whole basis of “climate change” for the UN is to establish a massive climate ambition bank that they can administer and take their ample cut. UN has been angling for a secure source of income independent of national pledges for decades. This dooms Plan B as described here.
Plan B will be the result of reality. It will come to pass that CO2 has no bearing on Earth’s climate as useful idiots, who are paid to propose such nonsense, retire or die. A lot of money will be spent on green hydrogen and other subsidised technological absurdity like wind turbines, solar farms, batteries and pumped storage until reality eventually prevails.
Energy conservation will become more evident as the competing politics force energy prices up at least until nuclear power of some form is widely adopted.
You are going to make them so mad they will take their ball and go home.
Its a very sane and well balanced piece. I am afraid however that it doesn’t acknowledge the main difficulty.
This is correct. But the problem is the climate alarmist tendency is not in the slightest interested in human well being. Its a genuinely revolutionary movement working within the constraints of liberal democracy, but seeking in the end to overthrow it. Climate and Net Zero are nothing more than means to that end.
I don’t actually think the climate movement is even interested in the centerpiece of the theory, global emissions.
This may seem crazy and conspiratorial, but you can see this if you examine the policies advocated, which are a mixture of the irrelevant, the impossible and the ineffective. Its the essence of the movement that it does not adopt any structured and scientific approach to either human well being or the reduction of global emissions. If it were a priority for it to reduce global emissions it would lay out who is emitting and seek to get a program adopted which will result in their reduction.
What it in fact does is convene conferences which result in an agreement that the largest fastest growing emitters will continue to grow their emissions as much as they want, while the West bankrupts itself by taking actions to reduce local emissions on a scale which will make no impression on the level of the global emissions which are supposed to be the problem.
Sometimes people think the movement is indulging in the politics of gesture. It advocates ‘because climate’ policies which, on its own theories, can have no effect on climate.
This is a mistake. Its not the politics of gesture. Its the politics of internal subversion of liberal democracy in pursuit of a revolutionary agenda. We see this in the repeated claims that its a choice between climate catastrophe and democracy, and that it may be necessary and essential to suspend democracy in order to get the required climate measures through. Measures, note again, none of which will materially effect either global emissions or the global climate, and which will do a lot of damage to human well being and wildlife habitats.
Most of the things Judith advocates in the piece are sensible, balanced, and would be effective in improving human well being. And they would also safeguard the environment. But what dooms Plan B is that the climatarian movement is not interested in any of these things. The approach is a non-starter. Its not interested in human well being or the environment either locally or globally. In fact, despite the rhetoric about global catastrophe, its usually not much interested in any policies outside its own borders.
If you are interested and concerned about where this is all going, stop worrying about the scientific claims. Judith is of course right to say that climate catastrophism is unfounded, but its not the main issue, though its what figures most prominently in the media.
Focus instead on policies advocated. There are a couple of very clear examples, the GND in the US and the Net Zero proposals in the UK. Get into the detail, get into what their implementation would actually require and mean for social and political life in these countries. Not to mention their international position. Then you can see what is going on. The objective is revolutionary local change, by taking actions ‘because climate’ that will have no material effect on global emissions or the global climate.
That is because, despite the rhetoric, the aim of the movement is not global. Its to produce revolutionary social change in the local country.
Track the pea under the thimble. Its the advocated policy. That is the thing to focus on. What it means, and what it achieves in terms of global emissions. This is the only way you will see what this is really about.
“Net Zero” is similar to “To Serve Humans”.
No one stops to think what it is that will actually end up being zero.
The longer you sit at the beach the greater the chance of seeing the biggest wave ever.
Does the observation of the biggest wave mean that ocean waves are changing? That we face an existential threat?
Or does it mean the longer we watch something, the greater the chance we will see something unusual.
Climate science has not considered this. What is changing is not climate. The change is the length of our observations.
We have really only been studying climàte for a relatively short period of time. Every added year of observations increases the odds of seeing an event from 1 in N year to 1 in N + 1 year. When N is small the increase in probability is large.
The Supply Side Carbon Emission Control Plan (SSCECP): a fast track approach for eliminating fossil fuels from America’s economy
How far could Joe Biden go in quickly reducing America’s consumption of fossil fuels using his own authorities as President — authorities already granted to him under current law? This essay uses the conceptual framework of the Supply Side Carbon Emission Control Plan (SSCECP) as a vehicle for examining this question.
March 19th, 2022 Update: The energy policy impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are incorporated into the plan.
President Biden’s policy concerning energy and climate change is to achieve a 50% reduction in America’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. In addition, America’s power generation sector is to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2035. America must be fully net zero by 2050.
Biden’s plan is to quickly replace fossil fuel energy with wind and solar energy backed by grid-scale energy storage and by a greatly expanded power transmission network.
With reference to climate change, as the President’s argument goes, America’s leadership in quickly reducing our own carbon emissions is essential for convincing other nations, especially China and India, to quickly reduce theirs.
With reference to American energy security, Brian Deese, Biden’s chief economic advisor, said this on March 8th, 2022 concerning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and America’s long term energy security: “The only viable path to energy independence for the American economy is to reduce the energy intensity of our economy overall; and ultimately, to get us in a position to where we are no longer reliant on fossil fuels.”
Brian Deese’s recent statement is an acknowledgement of the fact that President Biden’s policy goal of quickly reducing America’s consumption of energy is central to achieving both his climate objectives and his national security objectives.
Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, wind and solar, is claimed to be the best solution, technically and economically. At the time of this writing, funding for renewable energy and for the Green New Deal is stalled in the Congress. Progressive members of Congress have called upon President Biden to declare a climate emergency and to use the full power of his office in quickly reducing America’s production and consumption of fossil fuels.
However, even if the Green New Deal were to be fully funded, it is impossible to install enough wind turbines, enough solar panels, enough energy storage facilities, and enough new transmission lines nearly as quickly as President Biden and progressive members of Congress say it must be done.
President Biden’s policy goals for climate action and for securing American energy independence cannot be met without imposing stringent and far-reaching energy conservation measures on America’s economy.
* Objectives of the Supply Side Carbon Emission Control Plan *
These are the primary objectives of the Supply Side Carbon Emission Control Plan (SSCECP):
Any fast-track approach for quickly reducing America’s consumption of fossil fuels must achieve these additional objectives:
1 — Motivate all energy consumers to quickly reduce their energy consumption.
2 — Be highly effective in quickly reducing America’s greenhouse gas emissions.
3 — Be highly effective in quickly reducing America’s consumption of fossil fuels.
4 — Be conceptually and operationally simple to implement, relatively speaking.
5 — Be in alignment with past regulatory practice and past legal precedent.
6 — Be constitutionally and legally defensible in the courts.
7 — Be formulated and written in a way which discourages lawsuits.
8 — Incentivize the participation of the fifty state governments in controlling carbon emissions.
9 — Incentivize the participation of private sector fossil energy corporations in reducing fossil fuel production.
* The Methods and Means of the Supply Side Carbon Emission Control Plan *
These are the methods and means through which the Supply Side Carbon Emission Control Plan can be implemented without additional legislation from the Congress:
A – Establish a unified energy policy framework for carbon emission reductions and for fossil energy conservation measures which is highly resistant to legal challenges in the courts.
B – Integrate the President’s environmental protection authorities with his national security authorities under the umbrella of an Energy & Climate Crisis Response Plan (ECCRP).
C – Reprioritize those policy goals addressing quick reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions and in our fossil fuel energy consumption, placing them above all other environmental, social, and economic policy goals.
D – Incentivize energy conservation through imposing higher prices for all forms of energy and through imposing direct rationing of fossil fuel energy.
E – Redirect capital investments away from fossil fuels and towards wind and solar energy technologies backed by grid scale energy storage technology.
F – Consolidate all currently existing greenhouse gas reduction plans and agreements into the ECCRP and place these plans and agreements under direct federal control.
G – Identify yearly reductions in America’s carbon emissions as the primary metric for measuring progress in fighting climate change.
H – Identify yearly reductions in America’s consumption of fossil fuels as the primary metric for measuring progress in achieving American energy security and independence.
I – Expand and extend federal regulation of all greenhouse gases by classifying carbon emissions as criteria pollutants under the Clean Air Act.
J – Establish cooperative agreements with the states to enforce the EPA’s anti-carbon regulations.
K – Establish a system of carbon pollution fines which is the functional equivalent of a legislated tax on carbon.
L – Establish a carbon fuel rationing program which directly constrains the production and distribution of all fossil fuels.
M – Establish production control agreements with private sector fossil fuel producers and distributors.
N – Establish a guaranteed profit schedule for the carbon fuels industry in return for production & distribution cutbacks.
O – Indemnify and insulate carbon energy corporations against climate change lawsuits brought in the courts.
P – Ban the export of coal, liquefied natural gas, and crude oil to nations outside the North American continent after December 31st, 2029.
Q – Identify those lands, waters, and properties, either publicly owned or privately owned, which are to be reserved by the federal government for wind, solar, energy storage, and power transmission development.
R – Bypass or remove any and all regulatory review and planning obstacles to the siting and construction of new wind and solar energy facilities.
S – Establish a hard-target schedule for closing the greater portion of America’s legacy fossil fuel energy production and support infrastructure.
T – Continuously monitor and assess America’s progress in achieving President Biden’s climate change and energy security policy goals.
* The Eight Program Elements of the Supply Side Carbon Emission Control Plan *
These are the eight major program elements of the SSCECP:
Element I: Establish the legal basis for regulating all of America’s carbon emissions (1941-2022. Status ‘Complete’)
Element II: Declare a Carbon Pollution Crisis, a Climate Change National Security Crisis, and an Energy Independence National Security Crisis. (2022)
Element III: Expand and extend federal regulation and control of all carbon emissions (2022)
Element IV: Establish an expanded carbon emission regulation program managed by the Environmental Protection Agency (2022)
Element V: Establish a carbon fuel rationing program managed by the Department of Energy (2022)
Element VI: Establish a process for expedited energy project siting, permitting, and approval. (2022)
Element VII: Publish and implement a National Energy Infrastructure Transition Plan (2022)
Element VIII: Perform ongoing monitoring & control activities (2023 through 2050)
These are the lower-level implementation details of the SSCECP, organized by major program element:
SSCECP Element I: Establish the legal basis for regulating all of America’s carbon emissions (1941-2022. Status ‘Complete’)
I-a: Impose government-mandated energy rationing in response to a declared national emergency, World War II. (1941-1945)
I-b: Pass legislation establishing the regulation of harmful atmospheric pollutants under the Clean Air Act. (1970)
I-c: Establish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and further define and implement the process for controlling and reducing pollutants. (1970-2021)
I-d: File and win lawsuits to allow regulation of carbon dioxide and other carbon GHG’s as pollutants under the Clean Air Act. (2007)
I-e: Publish a Clean Air Act Section 202 Endangerment Finding as a prototype test case for regulation of carbon GHG’s. (2009)
I-f: Successfully defend the Clean Air Act Section 202 Endangerment Finding in the courts. (2010-2012)
I-g: Invoke a recent precedent, the War on Terror, for taking strong government action in response to an existential and long-lasting national security threat. (2001-2022)
I-h: Invoke a recent precedent, the COVID-19 pandemic, for taking strong government action in response to a declared national emergency. (2020-2022)
I-i: Invoke a recent precedent, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, for taking strong government action to quickly reduce America’s dependence on fossil fuels. (2022)
SSCECP Element II: Declare a Carbon Pollution Crisis, a Climate Change National Security Crisis, and an Energy Independence National Security Crisis. (2022)
II-a: Issue an Executive Order declaring a Carbon Pollution Crisis under the President’s Clean Air Act (CAA) authorities.
II-b: Issue an Executive Order declaring a Climate Change National Security Crisis under the President’s national security authorities.
II-c: Issue an Executive Order declaring an Energy Independence National Security Crisis under the President’s national security authorities.
II-d: Issue an Executive Order placing all current regional, state, intra-state, and local GHG reduction plans and agreements under direct federal authority and control.
II-e: Issue an Executive Order banning the export of coal, liquefied natural gas, and crude oil to nations outside the North American continent after December 31st, 2029.
II-f: Publish an Energy & Climate Crisis Response Plan (ECCRP) which establishes a defined strategic mix among three major policy directions covering: a) zero-carbon energy production; b) energy conservation technology; and c) mandated energy conservation measures.
II-g: Establish a comprehensive list of carbon emission reduction targets plus a detailed strategy and plan for reducing each category of carbon emissions.
II-h: Establish a comprehensive list of fossil fuel reduction targets plus a detailed strategy and plan for reducing each category of fossil fuel consumption.
II-i: Establish a formal process for coordinating and reconciling America’s carbon emission reduction goals with its environmental justice, climate justice, and social justice goals.
II-j: Assign a Climate Crisis Joint Interagency Task Force (CCJITF) comprised of all cabinet level departments, plus the National Security Agency, to manage the actions taken under the Energy & Climate Crisis Response Plan.
II-k: Create a joint interagency control board to manage a phased systematic reduction in the production and distribution of all carbon fuels.
II-l: Place this control board under the direct supervision of the President and his national security staff.
II-m: Defend the President’s energy & climate crisis actions as needed in response to lawsuits filed in the courts.
SSCECP Element III: Expand and extend federal regulation and control of all carbon emissions (2022)
III-a: Issue an Executive Order further defining the character and scope of the Carbon Pollution Crisis.
III-b: Issue an Executive Order further defining the character and scope of the Climate Change National Security Crisis.
III-c: Issue an Executive Order further defining the character and scope of the Energy Independence National Security Crisis.
III-d: Issue an Executive Order further defining the scope and objectives of the Energy & Climate Crisis Response Plan (ECCRP).
III-e: Issue an Executive Order integrating all current regional, state, intra-state, and local GHG reduction plans and agreements into the ECCRP.
III-f: Issue an Executive Order establishing an expanded carbon emission regulation program to be managed by the Environmental Protection Agency.
III-g: Issue an Executive Order establishing a carbon fuel rationing program to be managed by the Department of Energy.
III-h: Issue an Executive Order establishing an ongoing program for continuous monitoring and control of carbon emission reduction activities.
III-i: Issue an Executive Order establishing an ongoing program for continuous monitoring and control of fossil energy rationing activities.
III-j: Issue an Executive Order suspending the application of anti-trust regulations in the energy marketplace.
III-k: Issue an Executive Order allowing for the suspension of portions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in order to expedite environmental reviews of new-build wind and solar facilities.
III-l: Issue an Executive Order granting authority to the President to reverse the final decisions of federal, state, and local permitting agencies if those decisions are deemed to be ‘not in the national interest’ as that stipulation is defined within the Energy & Climate Crisis Response Plan.
III-m: Issue an Executive Order granting authority to the President to assert federal eminent domain over all lands, waters, and properties, either publicly owned or privately owned, identified as being necessary for the siting of new-build energy facilities.
III-n: Defend the President’s expansion of federal authority as needed in response to lawsuits filed in the courts.
SSCECP Element IV: Establish an expanded carbon emission regulation program managed by the Environmental Protection Agency (2022)
IV-a: Publish a Clean Air Act Section 108 Endangerment Finding which complements 2009’s Section 202 finding.
IV-b: Classify carbon emissions as ‘criteria pollutants’ under the Clean Air Act.
IV-c: Establish a National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for carbon pollution.
IV-d: Declare carbon emissions as Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) under CAA Section 112.
IV-e: Use the NAAQS for carbon pollution as America’s tie-in to international climate change agreements.
IV-f: Defend the Section 108 Endangerment Finding, the NAAQS, and the Section 112 HAP Declaration in the courts.
IV-g: Publish a regulatory framework for carbon pollution under Clean Air Act sections 108, 111, 112, 202, and other CAA sections as applicable.
IV-h: Establish cooperative agreements with the states to enforce the EPA’s anti-carbon regulations.
IV-i: Establish a system of carbon pollution fines which is the functional equivalent of a legislated tax on carbon.
IV-j: Establish the legal basis for sharing the revenues collected from these carbon pollution fines among the federal and state governments.
IV-k: Defend the comprehensive system of carbon pollution regulations in the courts.
SSCECP Element V: Establish a carbon fuel rationing program managed by the Department of Energy (2022)
V-a: Research and publish a system for government-enforced carbon fuel rationing managed by the Department of Energy.
V-b: Establish a time-phased, hard-target schedule for reducing the production and distribution of all carbon fuels.
V-c: Establish cooperative agreements with the state governments to enforce the federal government’s system of carbon fuel rationing.
V-d: Establish production control agreements with private sector fossil fuel producers and distributors.
V-e: Establish a guaranteed profit schedule for the carbon fuels industry in return for production & distribution cutbacks.
V-f: Indemnify and insulate the carbon fuels industry from climate change lawsuits in return for production & distribution cutbacks.
V-g: Defend the government’s system of carbon fuel rationing in the courts.
SSCECP Element VI: Establish a process for expedited energy project siting, permitting, and approval. (2022)
VI-a: Research and publish a system and process for expedited governmental review and permitting for the siting and construction of new-build wind, solar, energy storage, and power transmission facilities.
VI-b: Establish cooperative agreements with federal and state agencies for expedited reviews and approvals of energy infrastructure projects.
VI-c: Establish a register of new-build wind, solar, energy storage, and power transmission projects eligible for an expedited permitting review and approval process.
VI-d: For those projects listed on the expedited review register, establish a process and a procedure to be followed if the President reverses the final decisions of federal, state, and local permitting agencies, if those decisions are deemed ‘not in the national interest’.
VI-e: Establish a register of lands, waters, and properties, both publicly owned and privately owned, which may become the targets of federal reservation actions for the siting of new-build energy infrastructure.
VI-f: For those lands, waters, and properties listed in the reservation action register, establish a process and a procedure to be followed if the President asserts federal eminent domain over those lands, waters, and properties.
VI-g: Defend the government’s expedited siting, permitting, and environmental review processes in the courts.
SSCECP Element VII: Publish and implement a National Energy Infrastructure Transition Plan (2022)
VII-a: Research and publish a National Energy Infrastructure Transition Plan (NEITP) for the siting and construction of new-build wind, solar, energy storage, and power transmission facilities.
VII-b: Publish and implement a hard-target schedule for deployment of new-build wind and solar facilities, new-build grid-scale energy storage facilities, and new-build energy transmission capacity.
VII-c: Publish and implement a technology resource implementation plan which specifically identifies those energy technologies to be prioritized for near term investment, development, production, and deployment.
VII-d: Publish and implement a US Treasury policy plan for redirecting energy market financial investments as needed to support the federal government’s GHG and fossil fuel reduction goals.
VII-e: Publish and implement an Energy Infrastructure Land Use Plan (EILUP) which identifies those lands, waters, and properties, either publicly owned or privately owned, which are to be reserved by the federal government for wind, solar, energy storage, and power transmission development.
VII-f: Publish and implement an Energy Facility Closure Plan (EFCP) which specifically identifies which fossil energy facilities and their supporting infrastructures are to be permanently retired, including a specific target date for each facility and each infrastructure component.
VII-g: Defend the government’s national energy infrastructure transition plan in the courts.
SSCECP Element VIII: Perform ongoing monitoring & control activities (2023 through 2050)
VIII-a: Issue a further series of Executive Orders, as needed, to further define and further implement America’s carbon emissions regulatory framework, America’s carbon fuel rationing program, the federal government’s expedited energy facility permitting process, and the government’s energy infrastructure transition plan.
VIII-b: Identify yearly reductions in America’s carbon emissions as the primary metric for measuring progress in fighting climate change.
VIII-c: Identify yearly reductions in America’s consumption of fossil fuels as the primary metric for measuring progress in achieving American energy security and independence.
VIII-d: Monitor the effectiveness of the EPA’s carbon regulation framework in reducing America’s GHG emissions.
VIII-e: Monitor the effectiveness of renewable energy projects in reducing America’s GHG emissions and its fossil fuel consumption.
VIII-f: Monitor the effectiveness of energy conservation programs in reducing America’s GHG emissions and its fossil fuel consumption.
III-g: Monitor the effectiveness of carbon fuel rationing programs in reducing America’s GHG emissions and its fossil fuel consumption.
VIII-h: Monitor the progress of the National Energy Infrastructure Transition Plan in closing legacy fossil fuel energy facilities.
VIII-i: Adjust the schedule of carbon pollution fines upward if progress in reducing America’s GHG emissions and its consumption of fossil fuels lags.
VIII-j: Adjust the carbon fuel rationing targets upward if progress in reducing America’s dependence on fossil fuel lags.
VIII-k: Continue to defend the comprehensive system of carbon pollution regulations and the government-mandated energy rationing programs in the courts.
VIII-l: Continue to indemnify and insulate carbon energy corporations against climate change lawsuits brought in the courts.
VIII-m: Continue to assess the need for enforcing the government’s GHG reduction and fossil fuel rationing programs beyond the year 2050.
* GENERAL REMARKS *
The plan described above, the SSCECP, is a highly coercive approach for quickly reducing both our greenhouse gas emissions and our consumption of fossil fuels. It is also legal and constitutional under current law, both our national security law and our environmental protection law.
Moreover, the SSCECP is the ultimate expression of how a close alliance among government agencies and private corporations can be employed in promoting their mutual social, environmental, and profit making objectives.
The SSCECP can be implemented unilaterally by the Executive Branch using its existing environmental protection and national security authorities. Not another word of new legislation is needed from Congress either to enable the plan legally or to fund its operation.
Nor does the plan require a separate line of funding in the federal government’s budget. The planning activities and regulation roll-out activities are easily accomplished within the existing spending authorities of the US-EPA, the US-DOE, the US-DOT, the USDT and the US-DHS.
A plan like the SSCECP will generate many lawsuits. But if the plan is applied with equal force against all major sources of America’s carbon emissions, and with equal impact upon all affected economic sectors and demographic groups, those lawsuits will go nowhere. It is specifically designed to survive any lawsuits brought against it.
Even if the House of Representatives and the Senate were both in Republican hands in 2023 and passed legislation forbidding the adoption of a plan like the SSCECP, a Presidential veto can kill that legislation with the stroke of a pen.
And so the big question remains. How far will President Biden go in acting upon his stated convictions? Will he, or won’t he, do all that is in his power as our Chief Executive to reduce America’s carbon emissions and our consumption of fossil fuels just as far and as fast as he himself says is necessary?
Disclosure: I’ve spent thirty-five years in nuclear construction and operations. Because the bulk of my occupational radiation exposure has come from beta-gamma sources, my internet handle is Beta Blocker.