Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Bad Book Reviews Versus Some Actual Science

A fawning book review for Mark Steyn's self-published manuscript by a sycophant named Lynne Cohen says
Several of the hockey stick's most obvious problems are easy to grasp. The 900-year long handle completely ignores two indisputable eras, the Medieval Warm Period, from about 950 to 1250 A.D. and the later Little Ice Age from 1300 to 1850. 
I asked her for the evidence for these "indisputable eras," and she says she's just a book reviewer with no knowledge of what she's writing of:
I want to remind you that I am not a climate scientist, only a lowly book reviewer. I have no first hand knowledge of these well-documented time periods, only a faith in the knowledge and reputations of the climate scientists who write about them. Sort of how I trust my doctor to know the pills he prescribes will heal me without my understanding how or why.  
But it seems she only has "faith" (the opposite of science) in some climate scientists whose studies (she cites zero of them) she happens to like. When I asked her again, she wrote it's all "widely accepted" so she doesn't have to provide any evidence:
Regarding the "Medieval Warm Period" and "Little Ice Age", their existence is widely accepted - I didn't invent the terms after all - within both the lay and scientific communities. I would no more provide evidence of them than I would provide evidence of photosynthesis, but I know they are all real. How? I believe the reputable scientists. 
Clearly Lynne is out of her league here.... Like so many deniers, she thinks the science is all wrong, without actually knowing any of it.... That saves time, that's for sure!

Steyn claims
There are peer-reviewed studies by over 750 scientists from over 450 research institutions in over 40 countries that have found a Medieval Warm Period of between 0.1° and 3.2° Celsius warmer than today in every corner of the globe - from Alaska to South Africa, Morocco to New Zealand, Bolivia to China, Egypt to New Guinea... Everywhere they look for it, they find it. 
while offering no evidence for this in his blog post or whether all these studies lead to a reconstruction of globally noticeable climate eras, as he and Lynne claim. Except for another opinion from the opinionated nonexpert Jonathan Jones.

OK, there was that study by the oil-funded was never published anywhere -- because CO2science wouldn't dare submit their work for peer review anywhere legitimate -- and which was debunked because the period of study of the papers cited differed by up to 500 years, and many were selectively interpreted. The study ignored "very wide" error bars, and one study that only went back to 1500 A.D. was included as evidence for the MWP. In short, that study was both wrong and dishonest.

Meanwhile, all quantative reconstruction studies I know of -- which are the opposite of scattered opinions about scattered studies by scattered nonexperts -- use available proxies to form a global perspective find no evidence for a global MWP or global LIA -- Tingley and Huybers, Marcott et al, PAGES 2k, and more.

Here's the abstract from the PAGES 2k study conducted by over six dozen paleoclimatologists from 24 countries, based on 511 climate archives from around the world and published in Nature Geosciences:

Stefan Rahmstorf, who wasn't part of this study, wrote about it for ThinkProgress, and gave the paper's main result:

Rahmstorf then gives their reconstruction, labeled by "b" below -- which is, not surprisingly, a hockey stick, because a hockey stick is expected from very simply physics:

Who are you going to believe -- the careful work by six dozen experts from around the world, who put all the data together into regional and global reconstructions, or the opinions of some nonexperts who took studies individually without trying to acquire a global perspective? 

Finally, let's note again that even IF there was a global MWP, it says absolutely nothing about the current era, when greenhouse gases dominate and the amount of energy the Sun is delivering to the Earth has been on a declining trend since about 1960.

TIM TSI Reconstruction


Zach said...

"... even IF there was a global MWP, it says absolutely nothing about the current era ... " except that Mann had to exclude any evidence for it for his analysis to work. Seriously, if you don't think there was a MWP, you probably also don't think there was a moon landing. It's cute how for the proxy studies you show, they either have no evidence during the time in question (roughly 900-1300 AD) or have decent evidence for the MWP.

Also cute: "... the period of study of the papers cited differed by up to 500 years, and many were selectively interpreted ..." Which is almost exactly where Mann and friends went wrong. Selective about which proxies to include, huge gaps in data, generally crap science (and let's not forget no understanding of computer modeling or statistics).

Just stop it already. The last people in the cult are always the most die-hard, but it's time to get all de-programmed already. There's a certain type of mind (yours) that must have clear and absolute explanations for things, and someone to tell them clearly what to do. This is probably one reason climate science (and today's science in general) is so wretched: you want to believe SO MUCH that you see certainty where there isn't any, and you don't know how to handle uncertainty. You're just as guilty of what you derisively call "faith", but with much worse evidence.

David Appell said...

Zach: Which proxies did Mann et al leave out of their 1999 paper? There were far fewer available then, especially good proxies.

The PAGES 2k included 511 proxies. No global MWP. How so?

Heaven's Thunder Hammer said...

Dear David,

Here's an excerpt of what wikipedia says about the Medieval warm period.

A 2009 study by Michael Mann et al. examining spatial patterns of surface temperatures shown in multi-proxy reconstructions finds that the MWP shows "warmth that matches or exceeds that of the past decade in some regions, but which falls well below recent levels globally."[4] Their reconstruction of MWP pattern is characterised by warmth over large part of North Atlantic, Southern Greenland, the Eurasian Arctic, and parts of North America which appears to substantially exceed that of the late 20th century (1961–1990) baseline and is comparable or exceeds that of the past one-to-two decades in some regions. Certain regions such as central Eurasia, northwestern North America, and (with less confidence) parts of the South Atlantic, exhibit anomalous coolness.
North Atlantic[edit]

Central Greenland reconstructed temperature.

The last written records of the Norse Greenlanders are from an Icelandic marriage in 1408, though recorded later in Iceland, at the church of Hvalsey — today the best-preserved of the Norse ruins.
Lloyd D. Keigwin's 1996 study of radiocarbon-dated box core data from marine sediments in the Sargasso Sea found that the sea surface temperature there was approximately 1 °C (1.8 °F) cooler approximately 400 years ago (the Little Ice Age) and 1700 years ago, and approximately 1 °C warmer 1000 years ago (the Medieval Warm Period).[16]
Using sediment samples from Puerto Rico, the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Coast from Florida to New England, Mann et al. (2009) found consistent evidence of a peak in North Atlantic tropical cyclone activity during the Medieval Warm Period followed by a subsequent lull in activity.[17]
Through retrieval and isotope analysis of marine cores and examination of mollusc growth patterns from Iceland, Patterson et al were able to reconstruct a mollusc growth record at a decadal resolution from the Roman Warm Period through the Medieval Warm Period and into the Little Ice Age.[18]
North America[edit]

David Appell said...


Again, PAGES 2k finds no evidence for a global MWP. Nor one in North America (see Figure S2 of their Supplementary Material), using a pollen-based reconstruction. (Their tree-ring reconstruction only goes back to 1200 AD.)

For example, this study found that some glaciers were advancing in North America at the time:

Climatic Change
August 2011, Volume 107, Issue 3, pp 593-613
"Extensive glaciers in northwest North America during Medieval time"
Johannes Koch, John J. Clague

Dano said...

Actually, the Baliunas and Soon lit review paper DID show that there was a regional MWP but not a global one, but that's not how the authors or Heritage described the results. They purposely interpreted the results to be favorable for Heritage's message.



Lars Karlsson said...

Funny how both Zach and HTH chooses to ignore the PAGES2K reconstruction.

TheZeitgeist said...

Looks like Dr. Appell is going to cling to Pages 2K computer output like right-wingers cling to their guns.

And still he will not read the actual book this hulaboo is ultimately all about. Strange.

Unknown said...

I think it is generally agreed there was a Medieval Climate Anomaly in the North Atlantic but no evidence has been put together for a global "Medieval Warm Period". The North Atlantic one was from 950AD to about 1200AD, and you will find the "Medieval Warm Period" found by deniers in Asia and America are outside this time period.

Nor was the North Atlantic Climate Anomaly warmer than the present.

Of the Little Ice Age, there is better evidence for a global phenomenon in the 17th century. Global temperatures may have dropped by about 0.5C on average, but it was NOT an "Ice Age", and the use of that descriptive is unfortunately misleading. Mountain glaciers extended enough to threaten villages at high altitudes (like the French Alps), but there was no massive ice sheets like during the real Ice Ages when global average temperatures were up to 10C colder. The last real Ice Age was over 20,000 years ago, when humans were a bunch of scattered (shivering) hunter-gatherer tribes.

JustAnotherWesterner said...

If the drive to destroy cheap energy continues we will all be a bunch of scattered (shivering) hunter-gatherer tribes again.

David Appell said...

Why would anyone want to destroy cheap energy?

Halting climate change is about changing FROM expensive fossil fuel energy TO cheaper renewable energies.

Because fossil fuels are very expensive, unless you make the mistake of thinking their total cost is whatever you pay at the pump or on your heating bill. Because that is far from the total cost.

The report

“Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use”
National Research Council, 2010

found the cost from damages due to fossil fuel use to be $120B for 2005 (in 2007 dollars), a number that *does not* include climate change and that the study’s authors considered a “substantial underestimate.” They found essentially no damage costs from renewables. (Yes, some bird deaths – but fossil fuels kill far more birds than wind turbines.)

And climate change from fossil fuels will be far, far, far more expensive and this.

Fossil fuels are anything BUT cheap.

David Appell said...

Zeitgeist: You're about the only Steyniac to even acknowledge the existence of the PAGES 2k study.

Except that's all you did. Other than that you ignored it. Convenient.

BTW, as I wrote, it isn't only them who found no global MWP. Reread the post more carefully.

David Appell said...

Winefred sent the comment:
"Legally, a piece of mail, whether on paper or electronic, is the property of the recipient to do with as he pleases, without permission, unless he has entered into some contractual agreement of confidentiality."

Actually it's just the opposite -- the writer has the copyright, and retains it unless it is transferred.

Publishing someone else's writing without permission is illegal. That's why newspapers are aways careful to explicitedly say that when you write them a letter you agree that it becomes their property.

Luke Lea said...

Time to embrace climate change. Not that there is much we can do in the short-run to prevent it, but there is a prima facie case that more CO2 in the atmosphere plus several degrees of warming will be good for the planet. The CO2 increases earth's vegetative cover, including agricultural productivity, on the order of 20% to feed a hungry world (see Freeman Dyson on this) while all the climate models predict most of the warming will take place near the poles, at night, during winter. One look at the globe should convince anyone that this implies a larger temperate zone, the preferred habitat of human beings.

These plusses, one might argue, outweigh the negative consequences that are well-supported by science -- sea level rise, changing habitats, changing weather patterns -- while the chances of a tipping point leading to runaway warming and the melting of the ice caps is highly speculative, implying as it does that the earth's climate is fundamentally unstable on a human time-scale, for which there is little evidence.

I put this out there for open discussion.

David Appell said...

Luke: Global warming does not increase agricultural productivity:

“For wheat, maize and barley, there is a clearly negative response of global yields to increased temperatures....."
-- “Global scale climate–crop yield relationships and the impacts of recent warming," David B Lobell and Christopher B Field 2007 Environ. Res. Lett. 2 014002 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/2/1/014002

"Climate trends can explain 10% of the slowdown in wheat and barley yields, with changes in agriculture and environmental policies possibly responsible for the remainder."
-- "The fingerprint of climate trends on European crop yields," Frances C. Moorea and David B. Lobell, PNAS vol. 112 no. 9, 2670–2675 (2015)

“Total protein and nitrogen concentrations in plants generally decline under elevated CO2 atmospheres.... These findings imply that food quality will suffer under the CO2 levels anticipated during this century unless more sophisticated approaches to nitrogen fertilization are employed.”
-- “Nitrate assimilation is inhibited by elevated CO2 in field-grown wheat,” Arnold J. Bloom et al, Nature Climate Change, April 6 2014.

“Higher CO2 tends to inhibit the ability of plants to make protein… And this explains why food quality seems to have been declining and will continue to decline as CO2 rises — because of this inhibition of nitrate conversion into protein…. “It’s going to be fairly universal that we’ll be struggling with trying to sustain food quality and it’s not just protein… it’s also micronutrients such as zinc and iron that suffer as well as protein.”-– University of California at Davis Professor Arnold J. Bloom, on Yale Climate Connections 10/7/14

"Long-term decline in grassland productivity driven by increasing dryness," E. N. J. Brookshire & T. Weaver, Nature Communications 6, Article number: 7148, May 4, 2015.

"We also find that the overall effect of warming on yields is negative, even after accounting for the benefits of reduced exposure to freezing temperatures."
-- "Effect of warming temperatures on US wheat yields," Jesse Tack et al, PNAS 4/20/15

"Increasing CO2 threatens human nutrition," Samuel S. Myers et al, Nature 510, 139–142 (05 June 2014).

"Greater levels of CO2 made no difference one way or the other. At higher temperatures plants open their pores, called stomata, to capture the elevated CO2, which boosts photosynthesis, greening the leaves. But plants also tend to close their stomata in warmer temperatures to prevent water loss. Mora says that on balance the two effects cancel out."
-- "Plants Will Not Flourish as the World Warms: A new study contradicts the notion that higher temperatures will enhance plant growth," Mark Fischetti, Scientific American, June 10, 2015

"Crop Pests Spreading North with Global Warming: Fungi and insects migrate toward the poles at up to 7 kilometers per year,"
-- Eliot Barford and Nature magazine, September 2, 2013

"Suitable Days for Plant Growth Disappear under Projected Climate Change: Potential Human and Biotic Vulnerability,"
-- Camilo Mora et al, PLOS Biology, June 10, 2015

David Appell said...

Luke wrote:
"...while all the climate models predict most of the warming will take place near the poles, at night, during winter. One look at the globe should convince anyone that this implies a larger temperate zone, the preferred habitat of human beings."

No, they don't. They find that MORE warming will occur at the poles, but the rest of the planet warms too. People and plants in the tropics are, in many places already at or near their upper limit for heat tolerance -- look at the ~5000 deaths this summer in India and Pakistan from their heat waves.

Catholicus said...

"Publishing someone else's writing without permission is illegal". Not as simple as that either. There is the defence of "criticism, review and new reporting".

This allows use of relevant sections of copyright material to be reprinted for comment on them.

You may recall former royal butler Paul Burrell publishing extracts of letters from the Princess of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh.

David Appell said...

Yes, you're right, there is fair use. That does not include complete use -- I've seen it said that the limit is about 20% of a piece.

But that's for pieces published to the public, not private emails. Publishing private emails without permission is vile. You'd think so too if any of your private emails were published for all to see.

Unknown said...

Luke has it right. Population growth worldwide will erase any gains in per capita reduction in GWP gases.

The discussion of changing any of this is a circle jerk for the wonks.

David Appell said...

Peter, that's far from clear. China's emissions look to be peaking. 1/3rd of Africans live in a country where rooftop solar is cheaper than grid power, and the WSJ predicts this will go to 55% by 2020.

The discussion of "changing any of this" is a discussion for everyone -- unless you don't have a sense of responsibility, fairness, or morality.

Peter Swinson said...

David, I'm ready to believe. But it doesn't even look close here. Per capita GWP output in US has been declining for decades, probably in most of the West. Population growth is the hockey stick. If annualized reductions of GWP gases on the order of 1-2-3% were maintained in the West, but you maintain the current 1.1% rate of population growth you never get there. And this is optimistic. 2050 world population of 8 to 11 billion people still outstrips reductions of the US to the year 1850 levels of output.

Responsibility and morality guide a reasoned mind to work with available options and preparation for the future. Fairness actually never gets a seat at the table.

David Appell said...

No, I don't think "GWP" means "GDP."

I don't know what "GWP" means.

Peter Swinson said...

GWP - global warming potential. It is the scale gases are rated by in the Montreal Protocol.

David Appell said...

Peter, global warming potentials are fixed numbers, properties of the molecules and the atmosphere, that don't changed with time.

So I assume you mean GHG forcing, or CO2-equivalent.

World CO2 emissions last year were the same as in 2013, despite a population growth of 1.2%. China's CO2 emissions fell last year by 2% while their population increase was about 0.5%. And US emissions are down 11% from their peak, while population is up 6.0% -- and emissions haven't been increasing as the economy improved after the financial crash.

I don't know, but it doesn't look hopeless to winning the per capita loss vs population gain problem.

Peter Swinson said...

All correct. According the the US EIA website most of the recent (10 years) reduction in residential emissions are through reduction in coal (changes in emissions attributed to key drivers graph - This is a result of fracking's effect on natural gas prices.

There is a mention of savings from non-carbon generation which is a sop to solar and wind. This one has me curious as it rivals the impact of fracking, which is a point for your side if true.

I won't tie you up in this discussion longer and I appreciate your responses. I can probably boil my position down to a general distrust of government attempts to regulate emissions. This makes me argue with a bias against the 'greenies' empowerment of govt. Not that you aren't genuine in your intent to improve the planet. I share that intent.

The reductions in per capita output that you recognized here are the result of industry and markets working ahead of government. Fracking was nearly an industry secret 10 years ago. I say nearly because the co-generation plants that use that natural gas started a nation-wide build up starting in the late 1990's.

The future improvements will come from industry through market incentives as they have for the last half century. (See carbon intensity graph So there's that half of the problem to work on.

As far as the other half of the problem, population controls in the hands of governments, no thanks.

As smart as government is, it is forever beholden to lobbyists and worse, lacks the price signals necessary to choose between competing options. Hell, I even though a carbon tax was a good idea until I saw Al Gore elbow his way to the front of the get-rich-off-carbon line. And China's one child policy is the gold standard in bad ideas for free people.

David Appell said...

How would Gore benefit from a carbon tax?

Stern calls climate change "the largest failure of the free market in history." Fossil fuels are not in a free market and are heavily subsidized; in the US they cost about $200 B/yr in damages, and that's before considering climate change. We are not even close to paying the free market price for fossil fuels, and that includes natural gas.

"As far as the other half of the problem, population controls in the hands of governments, no thanks."

I don't see anyone in the US proposing that.

But I have read that China's one-child policy did more to cut emissions than the entire Kyoto Protocol. Each child a women has leads to about 6 times her lifetime emissions, and something like 300 M children were't born as a result of China's policy, so that policy avoided several hundred gigatons of CO2.

By far the best thing anyone can do to prevent climate change is limit the number of children they have, or have none at all.

Catholicus said...

Well David, you just lost about every reasonable middle of the road person with that little defence of China's appalling population control measures including forced abortions. I'd sooner the cities sink into the ocean than support that.

David Appell said...

Catholicus: You're lying. I didn't defend China's policy. I noted one of its repercussions.

Catholicus said...

Touchy aren't you? You couldn't just say I was mistaken or I'd misread you; you had to call me a liar. I think any reasonable person reading your comments would consider that they represent support for the Chinese policy.

David Appell said...

Yes, I get "touchy" when people lie about me.

Isn't it a sin to lie?

My comments expressed no support for China's policies. You need to learn how to read.

Peter Swinson said...

Your statement that a state policy did more to stop global warming is a point for my argument. Whether David Appell likes it or not is irrelevant.

Al Gore positioned himself ahead of the push for carbon credits to set up a profit. Not very Gandhi like.

The knowledge to correct an increase in CO2 doesn't exist yet because the technologies to correct it don't exist. Solutions will come from markets not gov't. But that's not slowing the left's push. Its a vehicle for crony socialism on the pattern of Obamacare.

You must realize that the same demonic oil corporations are responsible for the last decade's drop on carbon output while allowing the US to maintain the western lifestyle.

And let me also point to your mention that the oil markets aren't free and are subsidized. OF COURSE THEY ARE. Clinton and Gore colluded with ADM to push corn to fuels on us. I curse those bastards every time I try to start my mower. E85? 10% ethanol? Know where all that came from? Clinton/Gore.

My health insurance company exits the business in December. My premium will triple. Gov't does a great job of intervening in markets to the benefit of big corporations. And the use the same voters each time to do it.

David Appell said...

Peter: Gore's investment firm deals with carbon credits, not a carbon tax. Proceeds from a carbon tax go to governments, not private individuals.

David Appell said...

Peter wrote:
"My health insurance company exits the business in December. My premium will triple. Gov't does a great job of intervening in markets to the benefit of big corporations."

Before the Affordable Care Act I was unable to buy health insurance at any price because of pre-existing conditions, because in the eyes of the "free market" I wasn't profitable. Government intervention now enables me to get the best health care I've gotten in years....

Free markets have never provided affordable, universal health care, anywhere in the world.

And for good reason: The advantages of a free market system do not apply to health care, because
(1) you cannot predict when you will need care
(2) or what care you will need
(3) you usually can't comparison shop.

Buying health care is not like buying bread. Thus, you need an insurance system. And private insurance systems demand a profit, and a large administrative staff to analyze and deny claims (NOT paying for care is, after all, how they make their money). Private insurers refuse to insure those they think will be too expensive, and drop clients who have become too expensive.

This was pointed out long ago:

"Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care," Kenneth J. Arrow, The American Economic Review, Vol. LIII n 5 (Dec 1963)

For a synopsis you can read:

"Why markets can't cure healthcare," Paul Krugman, New York Times, July 25, 2009.
"Patients are not Consumers," Paul Krugman, New York Times, April 21 2011.

Peter Swinson said...

We are a bit afield here but why not. Let me point out first that healthcare and health insurance or not the same things.

Private insurance involves individuals pooling resources ahead of an event. Health insurance under the affordable care act is insurance in name only. Universal healthcare cannot be provided by insurance. It is a government subsidy. Health care for the poor/universal healthcare in the United States has been subsidized your entire lifetime.

ACA benefits large corporations; is shouldered by the middle class; changes little in healthcare outcomes for the poor.

Healthcare is a finite resource. A healthcare market without price signals will result in shortages. If ACA is not repealed you will see rationing. Rationing will benefit the rich and/or connected. Hope you are rich and/or connected.

In my opinion, a better choice would've been a direct subsidy for those with pre-existing illnesses directly from the government. This would have left the price signals in the healthcare market with the ability of those that wish to, to reduce their usage. By signals are an unbeatable method for the reduction of fraud in healthcare. Fraud accounts for a large portion of Health costs that can be reduced by non medical means.

Every Enterprise requires a profit. Making the computer you type on requires a profit. The computer is inexpensive because it was produced in a competitive market. Competitive markets in healthcare not existed in the United States in your lifetime and Have gotten worse recently from government intervention.

David, you have too much faith in politicians.

Unknown said...

David - I'm sorry, old people shouldn't type on phones. Besides the obvious typos, I meant to say 'price' signals are an unbeatable method, not 'by' signals.

David Appell said...

Peter wrote:
"ACA benefits large corporations; is shouldered by the middle class; changes little in healthcare outcomes for the poor."

Completely false. I just told you my story -- I have had great outcomes with the ACA, quality care I didn't have when I had no insurance and a simple blood test would cost $250. I get to see a physician regularly, and specialists as needed. This has made a real difference in my life, and disproves your claim.

David Appell said...

"Healthcare is a finite resource. A healthcare market without price signals will result in shortages. If ACA is not repealed you will see rationing."

The ACA is REDUCING rationing!!

Want to know what rationing is? Trying getting health care without health insurance. You will learn about rationing real quick.

David Appell said...

Peter wrote:
"In my opinion, a better choice would've been a direct subsidy for those with pre-existing illnesses directly from the government."

This doesn't work for expensive health issues.

If an uninsured person gets expensive health care without being able to pay for it, guess who DOES pay for it? Those who *do* have insurance -- via higher premiums and deductibles.

David Appell said...

Peter wrote:
"The knowledge to correct an increase in CO2 doesn't exist yet because the technologies to correct it don't exist. Solutions will come from markets not gov't."

Then why aren't solutions coming from the so-called free market?

Because there is no free market! Fossil fuels are heavily subsidized, because they keep the profits but socialize their pollution, making the rest of us pay for the necessary cleanup and health costs. What a deal!

"Clinton and Gore colluded with ADM to push corn to fuels on us."

So it's just the Democrats fault.... I see where you're coming on. Have you forgotten Bush's role in all this?

"The President's plan requires production of 35 billion gallons (about 133 billion liters) of ethanol a year by 2017. Congress already mandated with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that corn ethanol for fuel must rise from 4 billion gallons in 2006 to 7.5 billion in 2012. To make certain it will happen, farmers and big agribusiness giants like ADM or David Rockefeller get generous taxpayer subsidies to grow corn for fuel instead of food. Currently ethanol producers get a subsidy in the US of 51 cents per gallon ethanol paid to the blender, usually an oil company that blends it with gasoline for sale." (2007)

David Appell said...

Peter wrote:
"And let me also point to your mention that the oil markets aren't free and are subsidized. OF COURSE THEY ARE. Clinton and Gore colluded with ADM to push corn to fuels on us."

That isn't what I meant.

Fossil fuels companies are heavily subsidized because they don't have to pay for the damage done by their product. That's paid by the rest of us.

Profits are private, but damages are socialized. Costs Americans about $200 B/yr.

Matthew said...

" that policy avoided several hundred gigatons of CO2.

By far the best thing anyone can do to prevent climate change is limit the number of children they have, or have none at all."

Happy to take you at your word that you are not saying the above means you supports China's policy (well that policy has been changed now anyway). But what it does tell me is that you think it is a good thing not to have children to prevent climate change: I find the idea of voluntarily limiting the number of children we have the beginning of the end of humanity. There has never been a society that has managed to maintain or increase their population once they went below 1.5 children per women; in fact their populations always decline.

That worldview I am totally opposed do and I along with billions of others will make sure we have more children than the two of us to ensure population increase.

David Appell said...

I don't support China's policy of forced abortions, but I can understand why they might limit the number of children to one (just raised to two in some cases). They are the ones living amidst such population density; we are not.

I don't see the human population being in *ANY* danger of being anywhere near "the end of humanity." But our footprint on Earth is about twice what the Earth can sustain (I think that's the recent number).

We can either control population smartly, or let nature do it for us. The latter will lead to immense suffering.