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Is the Effort to Combat AGW Making Things Worse?

Jack Hays

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Not really a surprise that AGW activists' solutions will make things worse. Talleyrand once advised: "Above all, not too much zeal." We could use some of that restraint.

Is much of our effort to combat global warming actually making things worse?

Posted on May 23, 2016 | 16 comments
by Judith Curry
Humanity is owed a serious investigation of how we have gone so far with the decarbonization project without a serious challenge in terms of engineering reality. – Michael Kelly
Continue reading →

Humanity is owed a serious investigation of how we have gone so far with the decarbonization project without a serious challenge in terms of engineering reality. – Michael Kelly
Michael Kelly has published an important new paper in MRS Energy & Sustainability: A Review Journal [link to abstract]:
Lessons from technology development for energy and sustainability
There are lessons from recent history of technology introductions which should not be forgotten when considering alternative energy technologies for carbon dioxide emission reductions. The growth of the ecological footprint of a human population about to increase from 7B now to 9B in 2050 raises serious concerns about how to live both more efficiently and with less permanent impacts on the finite world. One present focus is the future of our climate, where the level of concern has prompted actions across the world in mitigation of the emissions of CO2. An examination of successful and failed introductions of technology over the last 200 years generates several lessons that should be kept in mind as we proceed to 80% decarbonize the world economy by 2050. I will argue that all the actions taken together until now to reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide will not achieve a serious reduction, and in some cases, they will actually make matters worse. In practice, the scale and the different specific engineering challenges of the decarbonization project are without precedent in human history. This means that any new technology introductions need to be able to meet the huge implied capabilities. An altogether more sophisticated public debate is urgently needed on appropriate actions that (i) considers the full range of threats to humanity, and (ii) weighs more carefully both the upsides and downsides of taking any action, and of not taking that action. . . .


 

Glen Contrarian

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Not really a surprise that AGW activists' solutions will make things worse. Talleyrand once advised: "Above all, not too much zeal." We could use some of that restraint.

Is much of our effort to combat global warming actually making things worse?

Posted on May 23, 2016 | 16 comments
by Judith Curry
Humanity is owed a serious investigation of how we have gone so far with the decarbonization project without a serious challenge in terms of engineering reality. – Michael Kelly
Continue reading →

Humanity is owed a serious investigation of how we have gone so far with the decarbonization project without a serious challenge in terms of engineering reality. – Michael Kelly
Michael Kelly has published an important new paper in MRS Energy & Sustainability: A Review Journal [link to abstract]:
Lessons from technology development for energy and sustainability
There are lessons from recent history of technology introductions which should not be forgotten when considering alternative energy technologies for carbon dioxide emission reductions. The growth of the ecological footprint of a human population about to increase from 7B now to 9B in 2050 raises serious concerns about how to live both more efficiently and with less permanent impacts on the finite world. One present focus is the future of our climate, where the level of concern has prompted actions across the world in mitigation of the emissions of CO2. An examination of successful and failed introductions of technology over the last 200 years generates several lessons that should be kept in mind as we proceed to 80% decarbonize the world economy by 2050. I will argue that all the actions taken together until now to reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide will not achieve a serious reduction, and in some cases, they will actually make matters worse. In practice, the scale and the different specific engineering challenges of the decarbonization project are without precedent in human history. This means that any new technology introductions need to be able to meet the huge implied capabilities. An altogether more sophisticated public debate is urgently needed on appropriate actions that (i) considers the full range of threats to humanity, and (ii) weighs more carefully both the upsides and downsides of taking any action, and of not taking that action. . . .



Well, why am I not surprised! See, just like pointing out racism makes racism worse, and helping the poor makes poor people even poorer, doing something about AGW makes AGW worse!

I guess we should keep our kids out of school then, because following the same pattern as above, more education must make us have less education!
 

Jack Hays

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Well, why am I not surprised! See, just like pointing out racism makes racism worse, and helping the poor makes poor people even poorer, doing something about AGW makes AGW worse!

I guess we should keep our kids out of school then, because following the same pattern as above, more education must make us have less education!

Try reading the link first.
 

Jack Hays

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Well, why am I not surprised! See, just like pointing out racism makes racism worse, and helping the poor makes poor people even poorer, doing something about AGW makes AGW worse!

I guess we should keep our kids out of school then, because following the same pattern as above, more education must make us have less education!

". . . In his peer-reviewed article, Lessons from technology development for energy and sustainability, Kelly considers the lessons from global decarbonization projects, and concludes that all combined actions to reduce carbon emissions so far will not achieve a serious reduction. In some cases, these efforts will actually make matters worse.

Central to his thesis, which is supported by examples, is that rapid decarbonization will simply not be possible without a significant reduction in standards of living. The growing call to decarbonize the global economy by 80% by 2050 could only foreseeably happen alongside large parts of the population plunging into poverty, destitution or starvation, as low-carbon energy sources do not produce enough energy to sustain society. According to Kelly, “It is clear to me that every further step along the current pathway of deploying first-generation renewable energy is locking in immature and uneconomic systems at net loss to the world standard of living.”
As Kelly notes, it has been 40 years since the modern renewable energy developments began, and yet the fraction of world energy supplied by renewables (wind, solar and cultivated biomass sources combined) has hardly increased. The BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015 reports 3 % for wind, solar and cultivated biomass sources combined, for 2014.
Kelly’s argument is that weaning off fossil fuels will take much longer than postulated by some experts. He suggests that a more viable option is to employ another generation of fossil fuels—during which economic conditions of humankind can be improved and alternate solutions can be explored and developed. As the global population is set to rise from 7 billion to 9 billion in 2050, an altogether more sophisticated debate is needed on appropriate actions that considers the full range of threats to humanity, and carefully weighs the upsides and downsides both of taking action—and refraining from it. . . . "
 

longview

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While I disagree with Michael Kelly on how long it will take to wean us off of fossil fuels.
I agree that the self claimed environmentalist, who drive a Prius, in spite of it costing more,
because "it shows they care, could slow down the transition to man made fuels.
Within a few years, the costs of man made gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, will be lower
than the fossil variety. Wholesale acceptance would simply matter of people selecting the least
cost product. The danger comes in when the environmentalist will be willing to pay premium price
for the carbon neutral fuel, thus delaying the price points crossing.
 

JackA

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The link and tread titles suggest that current efforts to reduce AGW are, present tense, making things worse. Surprising because there aren't any current efforts to speak of. The article, however, is just another prediction.
 

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Earthling

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The link and thread titles suggest that current efforts to reduce AGW are, present tense, making things worse. Surprising because there aren't any current efforts to speak of. The article, however, is just another prediction.
Apart from that, AGW is an imagined problem anyway, because the small amount of warming since 1850 has brought the temperature of the northern hemisphere back to what it was before the LIA.
 

JackA

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Apart from that, AGW is an imagined problem anyway, because the small amount of warming since 1850 has brought the temperature of the northern hemisphere back to what it was before the LIA.

Suggesting global temperatures then are known and that arctic ice was increased during the little ice age and what is happening now is only a return to former levels. If it's that simple why is the science "imagining" something else?
 

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Suggesting global temperatures then are known and that arctic ice was increased during the little ice age and what is happening now is only a return to former levels. If it's that simple why is the science "imagining" something else?
When you find out, let me know, but never forget that the cash cow may be involved.
 

JackA

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When you find out, let me know, but never forget that the cash cow may be involved.

It's your theory, not mine. The cash cow can't compete with the cash herd on the other side of the fence.
 

longview

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It's your theory, not mine. The cash cow can't compete with the cash herd on the other side of the fence.
There is no finical incentive for the oil companies to hold a position on AGW!
When you look at it, calling them oil companies is not even accurate, they do not sell oil,
but use it as a feedstock for their manufacturing of energy and other related products.
Whatever taxes are imposed on products from organic oil, will simply be passed on the consumer,
who has little choice about their purchase.
The Government has a very large incentive for AGW to be both true and catastrophic,
as it is a vehicle for increasing taxes and regulations.
 

JackA

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There is no finical incentive for the oil companies to hold a position on AGW!
When you look at it, calling them oil companies is not even accurate, they do not sell oil,
but use it as a feedstock for their manufacturing of energy and other related products.
Whatever taxes are imposed on products from organic oil, will simply be passed on the consumer,
who has little choice about their purchase.
The Government has a very large incentive for AGW to be both true and catastrophic,
as it is a vehicle for increasing taxes and regulations.

Excellent argument, the first part, second part is nonsense. Kindly explain it to the Koch brothers and the many fossil fuel interests that were all over the Paris climate summit in efforts to limit the future damage, so they believed, to their bottom lines.
 
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longview

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Excellent argument, the first part, second part is nonsense. Kindly explain it to the Koch brothers and the many fossil fuel interests that were all over the Paris climate summit in efforts to limit the future damage, so they believed, to their bottom lines.
Kindly explain how their bottom line would be effected?
Any additional taxes and costs of regulation would be passed on to the consumers who for all practical purposes must buy their product
regardless of it's cost.
Perhaps the oil companies at Paris were encouraging a new tax, the higher fees would allow them to hide higher profits, and blame the government.
I think the oil companies (at least the exploration/extraction legs) are much more worried about the price collapse from the over supply.
The Refining and distribution legs of the oil companies are setting fat and happy, their feedstock price has dropped by half.
 
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