Obama’s Boutique Energy Plan Hurts the Poor

June 26th, 2013 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Since I’m getting asked to comment on the President’s speech, I guess it’s time for a little detour from science into policy. If you don’t like me mixing science and policy, go complain to Al Gore or Joe Romm or Jim Hansen or Gavin Schmidt or Michael Mann or the American Meteorological Society or the American Geophysical Union or the American Physical Society…or the President himself.

Oh, I could go into the President’s appeal in his address today to those who don’t know any better…that severe weather is supposedly worse due to global warming. Sorry, but by almost all objective measures, severe weather hasn’t gotten worse (storm damage costs increase over time, but that increase isn’t due to weather; Sandy-type storms have always occurred, and always will…they just hardly ever hit a major metropolitan area).

Or, I could go into the silliness of his equating carbon dioxide (which is necessary for life on Earth) to poisonous chemicals like arsenic and mercury.

Or maybe his swipe at skeptics as flat-Earthers, even though most, if not all, of us DO believe that humans influence climate to some extent. (I thought he understood “nuance”?) But all of these things have been addressed by me and others before in considerable detail.

Or his cherry-picking of data. Yes, even our satellite measurements of lower atmospheric temperatures over the U.S. registered record warmth in 2012. But John Christy also tells me our measurements for Australia (similar in size to the U.S.) in 2012 were below normal.

And our tropical tropospheric temperatures (where almost 50% of Earth’s sunlight is absorbed) have a 34-year temperature trend which is not statistically different from zero, in stark contrast to 73 state-of-the-art climate models.

Unfortunately, our President reminds me of a Hollywood star who thinks we can wave a magic wand and create abundant renewable energy if we just try a little harder. A few years ago I debated Daryl Hannah on TV down in Cancun during an IPCC climate conference. I was impressed with her knowledge of the pros and cons of various renewable energy strategies.

But after we were done filming, she told me, basically, “we just need to switch over to wind and solar right now”.

Excuse me? I’m sorry, I guess I was assuming too much regarding this Hollywood actress’s knowledge of basic physics.

It doesn’t matter how badly you want renewable energy to replace fossil fuels and nuclear, there are a few obstacles to overcome, akin to “you can’t get something from nothing”.

Wind, solar, and biomass all have very low energy densities compared to fossil fuels or nuclear, which are very dense concentrations of energy. Generating a substantial (i.e. realistic) amount of renewable energy is VERY expensive in materials and land. How many poor kids you want to take food and medical care from to pay for it?

Plus, for wind and solar, it isn’t always there when you need it (at night, when it’s cloudy, when the wind doesn’t blow). So, it has to be backed up with fossil fuels anyway.

Punishing our most cost effective forms of energy (as the President and the EPA want oh-so-badly to do) just further deepens our economic downturn. If the President really is concerned about “the children” maybe he should examine what really hurts the children – poverty.

Affordable, abundant energy is required to generate wealth, and without wealth, you can’t help those who can’t help themselves. I thought that’s what our President wanted to do..help the poor? But how can we do that if we punish the wealth generators at every turn?

In fact, I can’t imagine a better plan for purposely destroying the economy. Strike it at its heart, the availability of abundant low-cost energy.

Until we come up with affordable and widely deployable renewable energy sources, a war on fossil fuels is a war on the poor. Basic Economics 101. Wealth diverted to wasteful projects (or wealth destroyed) is no longer available for more deserving projects.

Yes, we need to continue renewable energy research, since fossil fuels won’t last forever. But you cannot simply legislate (or as Obama wants to do, regulate, without approval from Congress or the electorate) new forms of energy into existence.

The question is, how do we get from here to there? Now that we are finding global warming is, at worst, progressing at only 50% the rate predicted, we have time to be smart about it (assuming it’s entirely our fault and bad for life on Earth, which I’m not convinced of. Carbon dioxide is just as necessary for life as oxygen, yet it is over 500 times less abundant).

This isn’t a science fiction movie we are living in. I’m afraid the low-information voter won’t “get it” until we have brownouts and blackouts. As more coal-fired power plants are shut down, that day is fast approaching.

Or maybe the economy will be so weak we won’t need all that extra energy anyway.


39 Responses to “Obama’s Boutique Energy Plan Hurts the Poor”

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  1. Jim Cripwell says:

    Roy, The one, current, possibility of useful renewable energy is cellulose ethanol. To produce the food we need, we produce a lot of cellulose, much of which is “waste”. If this can be, economically, transformed into ethanol, we have a substantial source of renewable energy. Google POET/DSM and Project Liberty. We should know next year of this idea is financially viable.

  2. Norman says:

    Good post. I am a believer in “peace through prosperity”. I think if people are well fed and have comfortable living conditions they are far less prone to violence (as a group, hot tempered people will still get angry regardless of living conditions).

    I also see strong evidence that prosperity limits population growth naturally (when living conditions improve people seem to have less children) so you get the added benefit as things improve for people the system has to generate less food and use less energy because the population is no longer in a rapid growth phase.

  3. Karl Ayers says:

    I agree with Roy Spencer. If the U.S. proceeds with a forced reduction in fossil fuels, two things will happen: 1) the cost of electrical energy in the U.S. will increase (probably significantly) and 2) the world inventory of carbon dioxide will not be greatly affected–it certainly will not lower the atmospheric concentrations.
    Given that the many models appear to not be able to accurately predict but instead they overpredict whatever the influence of carbon dioxide and other “global climate gases” are causing on global temperatures, the only good policy is to take the time to better understand all this. And the good news is we have the time based on what we see over the last 10 or so years. Then and only then can a rational policy get defined. Today what is planned to be implimented is not rational and to proceed with such an expensive solution in the U.S. is wrong.
    Retired Engineer

  4. We were looking to measure the ability of infrared emission from water vapor and try to eliminate the system liquid water using a lighter flame. We supposed that the vapor reach at a temperature of approximately 200 degrees. But we were surprised by the statement by the thermometer infra-reed temperatures around 90 degrees only.
    Analyzing this situation came to the conclusion that the gas carbon dioxide, water vapor, nitrogen and other gases in the atmosphere do not absorb or radiate electromagnetic waves in the infrared band getting this work restricted to liquid water in the atmosphere. (Cloud invisible).
    If you make this experiment with your IR-thermometer can see veriwell the feomenous.

  5. Mark says:

    This isn’t going to hurt the poor because the government will most likely subsidize (or increase subsidies) for their energy costs.

    Global warming is being used as a way to redistribute wealth, both within and between nations. The government will simply take part of the revenue from the higher costs of energy and use it to help them pay for their energy costs.

    • David L. Hagen says:

      Mark
      You forget the severe harm to the extreme poor overseas who suffer the brunt of Congress/Obama’s forced conversion of more than 40% of US corn into ethanol, driving up US and global prices.
      No redistribution to protect them against this devastation.

  6. Hoyt Connell says:

    Global warming on it’s best day is a theory hijacked by politics. When you simply look at the basics, the notion of mankind having a significant influential impact is seriously questionable.You simply go down an easy list: Man produces 3.2% of co2. Co2 makes up 4 % of GHG’s. Hence man produces 12/100th’s of 1% of GHG’s, and we are influencing climate? Very doubtful. Then Vostok with CO2 trailing temps, Medeival Warming period, and solar minimums/max cycles. And where is CO2’s amplifier as a trace gas and negative feedback.Ultimately, Obama is going to crush the poor with a regressive tax in the form of sky rocketing utility costs, add people to the unemployment line, keep under developed countries undeveloped and be ignored by a majority of major countries, such as China and Russia.The fact that he has to adopt an imperialist strategy and by- pass the legislative process speaks to his credibility on the subject of global warming. Fortunately, nothing the government does is quick, so very few of his actions will have any substantial impact.

  7. Mark says:

    “Or maybe the economy will be so weak we won’t need all that extra energy anyway.”

    Call me a nut if you want but I believe that there is a group of people who are trying to equalize all the economies of the world. And since they say it would take over 5 Earths of natural resources to provide everybody on Earth with the standard of living we enjoy in the US, that means the developed economies would have to be lowered (contracted) until they all converged at some level between developed and undeveloped.

    In order to grow the under-developed economies, they need access to cheap energy and cheap resources. The way to provide this is to lower the demand of them. And they way they are doing it (from what I see) is to restrict our use of them via regulations and higher costs for them.

    So I think your comment that our economy may be weaker is spot on.

    I read a book called “Resources and Man” published in 1969 from the National Academies of Sciences and here are a few excerpts from it that I believe have laid the foundation for climate change solution policies of today:

    ***********************************
    “What can we in North America do to aid our own underprivileged, to meet the population increases that will yet precede real population control, and to help the rest of the world?”

    “Man’s own best interests plead for a more generous attitude toward the rest of nature and for less materialistic measures of well-being and success–especially in the developed countries. Such changes in attitude would make it easier to bring about dynamically balanced relations between the need for materials and the quantity available on the one hand and the quality of life and quantity of consumers on the other.”

    “Man must also look with equal urgency to his nonrenewable resources–to mineral fuels, to metals, to chemicals, and to constructions materials. These are the heritage of all mankind. Their overconsumption or waste for the temporary benefit of the few who currently possess the capability to exploit them cannot be tolerated.
    The nonfuel mineral resources are very unequally distributed, both as to location and as to grade. No nation is self-sufficient in them, even in the short term. ”

    “The inescapable central conclusion is that both population control and better resource management are mandatory and should be effected with as little delay as possible.”

    “The gap between economies characterized by massive consumption and modest population and those characterized by low consumption and massive population is seen by many as a major contributor to world instability. Large-scale efforts have been made and are being made to narrow this gap and to diffuse higher per capita consumption to an ever greater proportion of the world’s population. ”

    ***********************************

    Rockefeller has funded the NAS and a few years before this book came out, they gave the NAS two grants, one for $33,340 and one for a $1,000,000 for “support of its programs” (per the 1967 Rockefeller Presidents review and annual report). I don’t know if any of Rockefeller money was used to fund this book but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. On page 168 of this report, it says in the section labeled “ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES”:

    “A relatively few scientists and conservationists have long warned of the disastrous consequences of rashly exploiting our natural resources, of poisoning air and water, of allowing cities to decay, of tampering with ecological balances we do not fully understand. The dan- ger is now more widely acknowledged, but we confront unfamiliar problems
    with few scientific, technological,or organizational precedents for dealing withthem.New analyticalapproachesareneededtothrowlightonthetotal man-environment relationship as a prerequisite to realistic social,political, and economic attitudes. In order to marshal the resources of different disci- plines—biology, psychology, economics, political science, history—for a con- certed attack on the problem, Williams College in Massachusetts this .year founded a Center for Environmental Studies.”

    Rockefeller is also a big funder of green organizations and according to the following link, Rockefeller, Brookings and other organizations and a number of large companies are trying to control the world:

    http://www.alternet.org/occupy-wall-street/elite-business-and-think-tank-attempts-control-world

  8. jjs says:

    I was in Africa when food prices went up because of the ethanol production a few years ago. The families I spoke with were feeding their kids every other day because food doubled in price. It made me sick and still pisses me off till this day. Then on top of all that, about a year later Hillary came over as sec of state and told them they all needed to plant trees to save the world from global warming. Planting trees is not what they needed….they needed cheap energy, free markets and capital investment to get out of their poverty….not trees. The trees are not even big enough now to chop down and send to Britain to burn. Idiots, all of them.

  9. Norman says:

    A very bad and long lasting approach the President is taking it to bypass Congress and the elected lawmakers.

    All the future projections of disaster are based upon climate models that are not accurately trending the real world. Unless they develop models that trend better, they are flawed and cannot be trusted to predict the future (as shown in Dr. Spencer’s previous threads).

    The President is acting as this is Gospel Truth. It is not the solid science of chemistry or physics that are both based upon years of experimentaton and confirmation. It is at this point more and art than science. By going around Congress, because Republican members are not sold on the “science”, he creates great risk to the concept of a representative government and moves us closer to tyranny (where one individual knows best). Once this practice gets established it is hard to stop (President’s have been sending troops in harm’s way several times without formal Decalaration of War by Congress). Obamba thinks he is the savior of the whole globe, what will the next President think? Bad and dangerous at the same time.

    • B Parsons says:

      First take the temperature data and plot it correctly, not as a (constant) first derivative, which visually looks like there is not change when in fact the temperature is in fact going up. This way of presenting the data is deceptive and obscures the fact the temperature is still going up ( how many layman understand calculus and derivatives?). Second get rid of the comparisons with the models and it becomes much clearer that it is going up. As an experimentalist I am all about the data, and in my 40 years experience all models need improvement. Next then show the divergence between the model predictions for Arctic Sea ice cover. The data shows it is decreasing very fast by geological time scales. But it is also happening faster than the models which might worry a layman . But the data is enough on its own w/o models to make a sensible common sense person, and despite all the noise around this, this is why 98 % of Canadian are convinced this is real, happening now, and our fault, no matter ho you try to bury this in this sort of unnecessary and deceptive data manipulation. The plot presented here looks flat. A plot of temperature however shows increase. Show that one. This sort of manipulation only create a false impression & detracts from the authority of everything else on this site. Show the real unmassaged, undifferentiated data, if you have the stones.

  10. John K says:

    Hi Roy,

    Thank you for an informative post. I agree with most it. However, you claimed:

    “Yes, we need to continue renewable energy research, since fossil fuels won’t last forever. But you cannot simply legislate (or as Obama wants to do, regulate, without approval from Congress or the electorate) new forms of energy into existence.”

    This statement in my view encapsulates everything wrong with the climate/energy debate. First, your statement implies all the earth’s hydrocarbons such as coal, oil and natural gas to be “fossil fuels.” If you do claim this to be true, it runs counter to my understanding of geology and proves empirically false on reflection. Second, it seems unwise and contrary to observed behavior to assume Obama or many Democrats wish to provide new forms of energy or even just additional energy to the public. Third, while energy research, renewable or otherwise, should not be obstructed by the government, the government and the assorted incompetents and often criminal types that so often infest it’s halls display no ability outperform the market in selecting the best investment options (energy or otherwise).

    My first point regarding the earth’s hydrocarbons I’ve addressed in previous posts but allow me to re-state a few observations. In regards to coal, I agree that most if not all coal deposits originate from biomass. Coal deposits often display the shapes and outlines of living forms tree trunks, animal figures etc. and the various coal forms lignite, bituminous and anthracite differ in color and energy density based on their relative positions in coal seams. However, petroleum deposits indicate both biological and geological origins. Surface oil deposits often reveal the signature lack of the carbon 13 isotope that plants do not accept. However, deeper petroleum sources apparently do not. Moreover, methane in natural gas can be derived from iron oxide, calcite and water under extreme heat and pressure. I’ve read that this has been seen in laboratory experiments conducted at Sandia Laboratories.

    If you have any information contradicting what I’ve indicated or otherwise that can inform me, please let me know. Thanks again.

    • John K says:

      Hi Roy,

      Some additional points regarding natural gas. Eighty percent of natural gas contains methane CH4. Methane is a volcanic gas and can be found vented from fractures in the earth all over the planet including deep oceans. Some claim biomass can account for methane hydrates in the ocean, but this seems doubtful since most if not almost all the ocean biomass occurs along the continental shelf (travelling ocean species like Tuna,dolphins, whales etc. being obvious exceptions)and methane hydrates appear throughout the entire ocean bottom from what many have claimed.

  11. RW says:

    Roy,

    “This isn’t a science fiction movie we are living in. I’m afraid the low-information voter won’t “get it” until we have brownouts and blackouts. As more coal-fired power plants are shut down, that day is fast approaching.”

    Yes, most of the people I work with and interact with have absolutely no clue what’s going on. I find it really errie and disturbing.

  12. M. Adeno says:

    Fighting enemies with cherry-picked or false data or wrong world models is well proven behavior of governments. But fights against CO2 or climate are likely to lead to far less casualties than the fights in Iraq or Afgahnistan.

    • Allan Kiik says:

      Don’t know how exactly you have calculated this “likely”, but you should try to compare the number of elderly people who died because of the artificially created fuel poverty to the casualties of the wars.
      http://www.independent.co.uk/money/spend-save/24000-die-in-winter-as-fuel-poverty-climbs-8372461.html

      • John K says:

        Hi Allan,

        Thank you for an excellent link. The seemingly insurmountable level of government intervention in private markets to combat a non-problem global warming truly amazes. Our current administration’s war on hydrocarbons will likely cost many lives, but pretentious self-serving socialist elites will have all the energy they need. The energy confiscated from private individuals by an autocratic state will not disappear it will simply be distributed to an always small but increasing cadre of dubious political intriguers that have nothing to offer in exchange for their loot except more fiction, more regulations, higher costs and ever increasing number of destitute knuckleheads who only know how to vote as their told or loose the benefits they likely sold out their countrymen for.

  13. Chris says:

    Sustainability means many things – but in market economies it includes being profitable. That seems to be lost on many western governments (and voters), where artifically increasing costs doesn’t trouble many people at all.

    The prospect of sending heavy industry overseas even seems to give them satisfaction, even though the result for the planet overall is a more heavily polluted planet.

    I wonder if the development of biofuels and subsequent land clearing hasn’t aleady caused more environmental problems than ‘global warming’ has. Singapore has been suffering from this recently.

    The cure (at least at the moment) seems to be worse than the problem, but the fact that there is a downside to controlling co2 emmissions is always ignored. Risk vs Benefit seems to be ignored.

  14. Suppose, as an engineer, I need to supply 1GW base load power to a new community. Since I am environmentally responsible, I decide to build 500 MW of wind power, and 500 MW of solar. Here is the problem. Right next to those geographically huge plants, I need to build a much smaller 1 GW nuclear or natural gas or coal plant to supply the 1 GW when the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine. QED, the wind and solar plants are 100% redundant. They save zero construction costs. All they save is a little bit of uranium, which is dirt cheap anyhow.

    • B Parsons says:

      Or you cd install a large capacitor to save the energy generated by the wind and sun….or you cd use the power to separate water and hydrogen, store the hydrogen and use the hydrogen in a hydrogen turbine….or you cd pump water uphill as a way to store it. All these have and are being done.

      • Chris says:

        I think you missed the point. Taking your idea, and assuming that we want to provide power all the time (although we could just shut factories down if there is no energy available – that should help the USA economy recover), we need to build (say) 2GW to provide 1GW of continuous power (taking into account efficiencies of storage and reliability it could be more or less), add in the cost of storing the energy and to get 1GW of reliable generation you suddenly need to spend 3 or 4 times that amount. Pumping water means we now need a hydo plant – dams (try getting the environmental permits for that). The costs and land requirements just keep going up. So the original premise is still correct. If you build 1GW of coal power, you get a 1GW power station. If you want 1GW from renewables, you need to build several times that amounmt of generating capacity,some way to store it and there will always be the possibility that the storage runs out, and the factories, offices, schools and home close down. I am quite sure the rest of the world hopes this is exactly what happens in the USA.

  15. Jim Traynor says:

    A deep look into who benefits from this (Kaiser? Soros?) and how much is returned to the DNC during a mid-term election season will get to the core of his policy choices – to fund the DNC with tax payer funds laundered through his largest contributors. Not doubting his kool-aid drinking ways but money trumps all.

  16. bob paglee says:

    Obama worries about the Flat Earth Society. The problem is that his vision is warped by his chairmanship of the Concave Earth Society

  17. Thanks, Dr. Spencer.
    Very good post.
    “I can’t imagine a better plan for purposely destroying the economy.”

    I would like to add:

    “Poverty is the greatest threat to the global environment”

    From “How Environmental Organizations Are Destroying The Environment” (Willis Eschenbach, Watts Up With That?, June 26, 2013), at
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/06/25/how-environmental-organizations-are-destroying-the-environment/

  18. Bill Hunter says:

    Roy its a really interesting design. I have built for clients some rather interesting passive solar air systems for cooling and warming residences. The technology is real and its cost effective in many cases.

    The biggest problem is getting over the hurdles. There is a ton of proven technology available for home building that is affordable (whats the difference of paying for it amortized over a 30 year home purchase mortgage versus an elevated utility bill?) The problem of course is in “group think” that simply does not think about it.

    Mortgage companies, home builders, realty companies, and home buyers do not generally understand the financial and technical issues and give no credit for a more expensive house having future lower utility bills and all three groups need to be educated on the topic.

    I agree with you 100% on this post. Many projects such as this could be great research into more efficient ways of producing energy.

    Efficiency is what drives and elevates the capitalistic system to the top. Unfortunately there is a large component of the population ignorant enough to believe that humans are ignorant as a rule.

    If there ever was a selffulfilling philosophy that has to be it.

    As I see it we should be making all the energy markets as competitive as possible and the only way to do that is by not falling back into myths about what is right and wrong but by doing what is necessary to ensure eduction is good so that the best smartest technology is adopted. Equating CO2 to arsenic and mercury is beyond belief stupid.

    I have not clue if the project above is a boondoggle or not, but it seems worthy of some kind of a trial given no other information (hopefully there have been smaller scale projects that demonstrate efficiency and we are not just funding a mega pipedream here)

    the question I continue to ask is whether the greenhouse effect is 33 degrees (from a reference of 239watts) or its 8 degrees (from a reference 348watts). The confusion arises from Stefan Boltzmann equations on how to deal with equilibrium temperatures and the fact that NASA has stated that the surface of the moon can reach 123C. I would love to see a reconciliation of that data as a starter.

  19. B Parsons says:

    I just have to confront the usual comment about how we need CO2 for plant growth. However it is possible to poison human with CO2 and very quickly at that. recent work on the inside if lifeboats with CO2 sensors discovered that 4 people in enclosed lifeboat designed for 22 were sick in twenty minutes from the elevated CO2. It is probably implicated in the common phenomena of everyone in the lifeboat getting sick even in calm seas. It is not benign. So even tho CO2 is needed for plant growth increased levels are indeed dangerous to humans, quite aside from their involvement in warming. It is not an innocuous gas at all concentrations. And a number of long term experiments have shown that while it sounds good that you might get more plant growth from increased CO2, in reality this doesn’t happen because there is usually increased drought that accompanies this increase, and so no net increase in growth. Of course as we see all over North America now, what also happens is forest and brush fires, which is no one’s idea of how to reduce these emissions. I am also continually amazed that the comparison that seems to be mostly used is that of the measured values vs the model predictions, and it amazes me that while the temperature continues to increase, people say as it is not going up as fast as predicted, there is no problem. But it is still going up, no ambiguity about that at all, none, Zippos squat. It is happening. I am beginning to believe the whole temp issue is a red herring. Assume we have no proxies for past temp at all. But all the other data, disappearing arctic ice, desertification, drought, forest fires, ocean acidification and warming, coral reefs dying and so are pretty clear evidence changes are large and fast. If the arctic sea ice is disappearing faster than the models predicted why does this not get as much traction as warming being apparently slower than predicted? I am an experimentalist and all models need to be continually improved, but the data is the data. And if I hear one more scientist say CO2 is good for plant growth I will lock him a room with two dozen others and see how long it takes for carbon dioxide poisoning to kick in. This is something I have some experience with, try to get ethics approval for such an experiment – medical people know CO2 can be poisonous. So please enough with the idea increased CO2 will help agriculture, it hasn’t yet and it won’t.

    • Norman says:

      B Parsons

      Carbon Dioxide can be dangerous but you have to go well beyond were we are to reach that level.

      Here is data.
      http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/co2-comfort-level-d_1024.html

      “The effects of increased CO2 levels on adults at good health can be summarized:

      normal outdoor level: 350 – 450 ppm
      acceptable levels: < 600 ppm
      complaints of stiffness and odors: 600 – 1000 ppm
      ASHRAE and OSHA standards: 1000 ppm
      general drowsiness: 1000 – 2500 ppm
      adverse health effects expected: 2500 – 5000 ppm
      maximum allowed concentration within a 8 hour working period: 5000 ppm"

    • Chris says:

      None of your observations point in any way to CO2 being the cause of climate change. You rely only on faith – not hard facts. Any one who has done any computer modelling/simulation would know that given the poor quality input datasets and the number of unknowns involved that making policy decisions based on computer simulations is a recipe for disaster.

      If temperatures continue to change as they have over the last 15 years I really doubt any one will notice or even care.

      So far the solutions to “man made” climate change are worse than the symptoms and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if more people have died as a result of the solutions than the problem itself.

      There is a downside to making energy more expensive that seems to be completely ignored. I can only assume that policy makers just don’t care – and not every country has a taxation/welfare system to redistribute income to those that can no longer afford food or energy.

  20. barry says:

    False dichotomy.

    Putting a price on carbon needn’t impact on the poor if wealth is redistributed. It’s not an either/or situation. Governments redistribute money all the time, and the portfolios are many and varied. Whatever crtiticims one can make of them (and there are plenty we can all think of), governments like the US and Australia have long been able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

    Australia has implemented a tax on carbon, and lowered tax for lower income families. CO2 emitters are incentivised to reduce emissions – what company would ignore an opportunity to lower their taxes to government?

    I have not seen an economic argument against pricing carbon, either through government regulation or a market-based system, that is comprehensive and nuanced. It is always the same – more tax = less money for you. That’s a talking point, not reasoned discourse on the realities of fiscal practise or the resilience of the market to change.

    How much would one percent of your county’s annual spending on defense be? Or if you think too much is being spent on X, how about arguing that should be adjusted down to alleviate poverty?

    The conflation of spending on CO2 reduction and foreign aid/programs begs a much broader discussion. If you truly care for the poor, make a broader, stronger case. Otherwise the issue is a political football in a superficial game of points.

    • Otter says:

      I suspect you need to actually TALK to people in Australia, to see how disastrous that carbon tax really is.

      • barry says:

        I do. I’d prefer a robust analysis. I’m in a lower economic bracket, and while I’m glad to pay less tax, it seems to me, a year on from the implementation of the carbon tax, that my incoming and outgoing are still roughly balanced. Nothing much has changed. But a few people (including me) are soundbytes and anecdotes. I’d prefer to see the numbers.

  21. Chillville says:

    Our deepest bore holes (7.1 miles, 7.4 miles) end up with the same result at 568 degrees F.
    Overcoming that obstacle seems critical to developing feo-thermal – steam turbine electrical power.

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  23. Dear Dr. Roy Spencer,

    I largely agree with you on wealth production stuff.

    However, you did catch my eye as saying stuff resembling stuff said by Anthony Watts, who I consider “often biased”.

    Something else I have noticed, in general as opposed to specifically from you, is that many who advocate generation of wealth (that I agree with) are favorable to wealth generation being mainly for and supposedly by the already-wealthy.

    It appears to me that the largely-increasing recent-decades political polarization has resulted in growth of regulations and laws that achieved higher ratios of industry offshored to whales saved. And regulations that got killed included ones targeted as a result of political polarization more than anything else. Such as the one that Congress killed in the 1980s, which while it was alive required used car dealers to disclose known defects.

    I would like to say that political polarization impairs generation of wealth, especially by and for the ones who more badly need it.

  24. gallopi says:

    Energy companies in the USA will go along with every nonsensical idea from the EPA as long as it will enable them to feed at the federal “Corporate Welfare” trough.

    Corporate welfare is one of the worst things that governments do, spreading corruption and havoc far and wide. Fortunately, most of the energy companies in the USA manage to grab the dangled bribes from the federal government without drinking the “Green Energy” Koolaid.

    For example, I got seriously alarmed when my energy company (Florida Power & Light) built a huge CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) installation in Martin county. It turned that they did this to qualify for huge tax breaks amounting to over $2.5 billion or roughly five “Solyndras”.

    In spite of grabbing the immense corporate welfare payoffs, FP&L’s investments in new generating plant will not have any significant contribution from “Green Energy” but the contribution from nuclear power will rise from 15% to 25% thus ensuring that my electricity bill will not sky rocket.

    While idiots are directing electric power generating policies in Germany, Denmark, Japan and the UK, grown ups are still in charge down here where the alligators roam:
    http://diggingintheclay.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/electric-power-in-florida/

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