Tag Archives: climate change

On Externalities, Integrated Assessment Models, and UK climate policies


On Externalities, Integrated Assessment Models, and UK climate policies

By Neil Lock

This is a follow-up to my recent essay, “On Cambridge University, post-modernism, climate change, Oppenheimer’s Razor, and the Re-Enlightenment.” As I said there about the economic impacts of global warming: “I’d expect that some probing by independent experts into the economic calculations, and the assumptions on which they are built, might bear fruit.” But where are these calculations, and who are the unbiased experts who have quality controlled them? I couldn’t find any such calculations, or the names of any such experts. Perhaps, I thought, I’d better take a look at this myself.

So, I set out to learn as much as I could about the economic calculations which – so we’re supposed to believe – justify the extreme measures proposed, all the way up to total de-carbonization of the UK economy, to avoid alleged catastrophic damage from global warming. This essay is the result of that exercise. If it reads like a cross between a layman’s guide to the economics of global warming and a political rant, that’s because it’s both!

Summary

Here are the main points of what I found out:

  1. In 2009, the UK government ceased to value carbon dioxide emissions according to their social cost [1], in favour of using numbers based on political commitments they had previously made. In effect, they abandoned doing cost versus benefit assessments on policies that are expected to increase or decrease CO2 emissions.
  2. Recent empirical estimates of equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS), when run through assessment models like those used by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), suggest a considerably lower social cost of CO2 emissions than earlier estimates, such as the UK government’s Stern Review.
  3. When the beneficial side-effects of CO2 emissions, such as increased plant growth, are taken into account, it’s possible that the social cost of these emissions may even become negative. That is, CO2 emissions become a nett benefit not a nett cost.
  4. Calculations based on a 2017 paper by Dayaratna, McKitrick and Kreutzer suggest a social cost for all UK CO2 emissions as at 2020 of 0.05% of GDP (optimistic) or 0.31% of GDP (pessimistic). Using the social cost numbers for 2050 from the same paper, the figures are 0.08% and 0.52% respectively. All these numbers are substantially lower than the 1-2% of GDP put forward as the cost of “net zero” policies.
  5. There is a need for urgent action to prevent the imposition of costly, draconian and lifestyle-destroying policies on people in the UK in the name of a problem, which is far less serious (if it is a problem at all) than is claimed by the promoters of those policies.

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On Cambridge University, post-modernism, climate change, Oppenheimer’s Razor, and the Re-Enlightenment


On Cambridge University, post-modernism, climate change, Oppenheimer’s Razor, and the Re-Enlightenment

By Neil Lock

In the early 1970s, I studied mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge. I enjoyed it at the time, but was left with a feeling that something wasn’t quite right. Although I scraped a First, and was offered a place on Part III of the Tripos, I decided to go out into the real world instead. Never did I make a better life decision.

Over the intervening decades, I have come more and more to question the value of universities. I would have expected the remit of a university to be (1) to seek, (2) to develop, and (3) to pass on, ideas and practices to improve the human condition, both today and in the future. There should be no dishonesties in their processes, no imposed orthodoxies, and no restrictions on the freedom to seek, or to tell, the truth. Yet, universities – not just at Cambridge, but world-wide – seem to have become bastions of political correctness. Anyone in the faculty, who doesn’t toe the party line and parrot the narrative of the moment, will find difficulties in funding or in getting papers published, or may even be in danger of dismissal. Peter Ridd in Australia and Susan Crockford in Canada are topical examples.
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Eco-Fanaticism


Eco-Fanaticism

By Duncan Whitmore

The pervasive issue of human-induced climate change has been hotting up again lately. The recent birth of “Extinction Rebellion”, which pursues the strategy of civil disobedience and economic disruption in order to force governments to “act” on climate change, as well as the creation of a mascot in the form of teenage activist Greta Thunberg, has helped to drive the once fledgling issue back to the forefront of political attention. A “Global Climate Strike” held on September 20th saw children – many of whom have been terrified into the belief that their world is about incinerate – allowed to take the day off from school in order to participate (an unlikely occurrence had they wished to protest against, say, mass immigration). Although Britain has emerged from what has actually been a fairly standard summer in terms of temperature, a handful of record breaking days helped to push climate fear to a high of 85% of the UK population, according to a recent poll.

Fortunately, the latest antics of “Extinction Rebellion” – which have included targeting ordinary East London commuters on their way to work – betray one of the reasons why Murray Rothbard split from his alliance with the left in the early 1970s: that you don’t win any support by attacking, with violent disruption, the very people whose hearts and minds you are trying to convert.1 The fact that these incidents targeted the London Underground and Docklands Light Railway only added to their irredeemable stupidity given that most people accept electrified public transport as a sufficiently green alternative to cars. Nevertheless, the issue itself is a lingering one and government policies committed to tackling climate change remain prominent. Read more

Donald Trump Gets Something Right


I’ve been critical of Donald Trump in the past. But just recently, he made the best decision he has yet made. Not just for Americans, but for all of us human beings.

I refer, of course, to his decision that the USA will exit the Paris climate “agreement.”

Anyone, who has looked at and understood the facts, knows that the “human emissions of carbon dioxide will cause catastrophic global warming” scare is, and always has been, a scam.

Donald Trump has got this issue right. Probably, he has done so for domestic US political reasons. But his decision has already started to echo around the world. And why? Because, all but uniquely for a politician in the last half century, he has supported truth against lies.

Well done, Donald. And all of us should follow his example.

Some thoughts about the meeting between Anthony Watts and Bill McKibben


Neil Lock
(Context: Anthony Watts, former weatherman and proprietor of wattsupwiththat.com, the biggest climate realist blog on the planet, met for a beer on Friday with Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, and – if one may trust Wikipedia – “the lead environmentalist against the proposed Canadian-U.S. Keystone XL pipeline project.” He reported the meeting at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/06/06/my-one-on-one-meeting-with-bill-mckibben/.

This was my reaction a few hours later).

I find myself worrying that Anthony is being far too kind to Bill McKibben.

It’s all very well for people to make decisions based on feelings and intuitions rather than the facts, if that’s what they want. Even I have done that in the past. And I would never want to stop anyone else doing it, subject to one proviso. That is, that they themselves are the only ones harmed if the decision turns out to have been a bad one.

The issue here is that Bill McKibben is promoting policies that have already harmed many millions of people – including me. And yet, he doesn’t seem to be even interested in examining the possibility that those policies have been based on, at best, misinterpretations of the facts, and at worst, lies.

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Cult of Death: Modern Art and Would-be Tyrants


Mustela nivalis

I won’t get into that fruitless debate about “what art is”. But what we can surely say is that anything that “society” considers to be “art” at any given time is a reflection of the sensitivities and mental state of said “society”. This is especially the case if a particular work of “art” receives a prize.

Take, for example, the fake stone slab called “Lest We Forget Those Who Denied”. It was recently presented to the public at the Anglia Ruskin University, having received that place of education’s “2015 Sustainability Art Prize”. It’s made of plywood, painted all in black, and bears the names of six well known British “climate change sceptics” like Christopher Monckton, James Delingpole and Christopher Booker. A constant stream of engine oil runs over the inscription.

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Concentrating the Mind


David Davis with Michael Winning (beers)

In the last few days, we have had a lot of stuff about volcanoes. Mainly because our old friend, Iceland, has decided to do its normal thing from over the last 40-or-so-million-years, and produce large volumes of asthenosperic materials, for high-level-projection, in short order. Indeed, an even cursory look at geological maps of Iceland will show an even shorter history of eruptions than that.

The Icelanders ought to be our friends. Indeed, those of us who live here in the North West are probably more closely related to them than you can shake a stick at. But today, I thought I would type rapidly, and without too much affore-thought, about modern civilisation, economics, and (you’ve guessed it) climate change. We people of today, in “New Britain, a YOUNG COUNTRY” as the disgusting and over-grasping pig Blair put it, once, have never seen a real volcano. Nor indeed has anyone else alive today, or even whoever has been alive in the last 70,000 years or thereabouts. (We think….)

What would happen to the AGW movement, which sets out to destroy humanity on purpose, and is by way of almost succeeding now, if there was a real volcanic eruption? You knowof what I speak! The kind from a crater the size of Wyoming, and which carries on for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years? If not thousands? They could,and have done in the past. Planets, especially large and massive rocky ones close(ish) to suns, are big objects with a lot of inertia, in respect of the organisms which might cling tenuously to life on their surfaces. It’s fortunate that they’re mostly as big as they are, or we’d have other difficulties too.

Let’s suppose that Yellowstone goes belly-up, tomorrow. The odds are it probably won’t, but it could. Should we apply the “precuationary principles” to such as event, and indeed could we even do so?

Almost immediately, pretty much all the agricultural land of North America will vanish. Along with it, about half the world’s acreage of grain and other plant crops, in productivity terms. Forget the “people” – to GramscoStalinists, people who live in North America are mere dross or statistics. Unless they are Mexicans or “blacks” but that won’t help much as Mexico and New Orleans (where of course Gramscians say all “blacks” live and all are “disadvantaged”) will be under the ash too. The stratospheric dust and ash clouds will persist for years, maybe decades or centuries. No growing-land will be safe anywhere, and billions may die.

At first, GreeNazis will rejoice. Food will still be avilable, at a price, and the metrosexual kinds will eat, for a while. But the planet has about 66 days’ supply of primary foods for humans at any one time. After the “little local shops” have run out first, and the “locavores” have begun to get restive and angry about “failure of government initiatives to ensure supplies for families, workers and young people”, thngs will start to get exciting. People will start to rob for food and to rob food: Police forces, especially in the UK, will start to behave like they have been itching to for years, deploying all the guns they have been hoarding and training with, especially against “terrorists”. The familes of Police will eat tolerably well, for a time….

The sky will be a dark grey colour most of the time, and it will seem very cold, all the time. The sun will not appear to heat the air at all. Yorkshire-sized icebergs, carrying their own microclimates, will travel as far as Tenerife before melting. The Shetlands may have to be abandoned, along with their oil and gas – which will become a prized commodity. No surviving GreeNazis will dare to speak openly of “bio fuels”, for fear of being made to watch their children being lynched and eaten, before they themselves are spitted and roasted over the fire, fed by their children’s uncollected fat. Saudi Arabia might dry up completely and rains there may fail.

A small Ice Age might be triggered. Two or three thousand years, no more than that, if we are lucky: a mere blip on the paleogeological temperature record.

The precautionary Principle suggests to us two here, that we ought to do the following, given the 1,100 trillion tonnes of Oxygen depositied, for our benefit, in today’s atmosphere:-

(1) Burn as much fossil fuels as we can pump, to make concrete and steel to build as many nuclear power stations as we can fill with nuclides, as fast as possible,

(2) Pay the Chindians to mine as much coal as their hearts can spade up, to help same process,

(3) Raise the atmospheric CO2 percentage to about 1% asap (that’s nearly 30 times the present level!), to promote regrowth of plant life as fast as can be managed, given that air temperature /could/ be a limiting factor.

We might, just might, if  we did all this, now, avert a fully-major human disaster, in which billions of people will die. Ought we not to do this for the children? Afeter all, the probability of this is far higher than AGW…

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