Answer man

June 15, 2009

Some recent commenters have suggested that I put up or shut up on this global warming shit. “Give a solution instead of being part of the problem” they say (damn that was hard not to put “problem” in quotes). Maybe you bitches have a point so here we go. Problem: Global Warming. Solution: Warming tax. If temperatures rise as predicted by what the UN climate models and their “consensus” of scientists say are correct then the tax on carbon emissions goes up dramatically. If the temperatures fall, the tax goes down. Surprisingly, this is not my idea but that of economist Ross McKitrick. He points out:

The IPCC predicts a warming rate in the tropical troposphere of about double that at the surface, implying about 0.2C to 1.2C per decade in the tropical troposphere under greenhouse-forcing scenarios. That implies the tax will climb by $4 to $24 per tonne per decade, a much more aggressive schedule of emission fee increases than most current proposals. At the upper end of warming forecasts, the tax could reach $200 per tonne of CO2 by 2100, forcing major carbon-emission reductions and a global shift to non-carbon energy sources.

Global-warming activists would like this. But so would skeptics, because they believe the models are exaggerating the warming forecasts.

Under the T3 tax, the regulator gets to call everyone’s bluff at once, without gambling in advance on who is right. If the tax goes up, it ought to have. If it doesn’t go up, it shouldn’t have. Either way we get a sensible outcome.

That makes sense. Wow. Look at me. Promoting a solution.

I like Ike

May 25, 2009

You might remember the famous warning about “the military industrial complex” that President Eisenhower expressed when leaving office:

But yet this quote from that same speech is largely ignored:

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

Is it just me or does “global warming” research follow this pattern?

Bjorn Lomborg (my favorite Dane) has an excellent piece in the WSJ on the subject. His main point:

We are told that very expensive carbon regulations are the only way to respond to global warming, despite ample evidence that this approach does not pass a basic cost-benefit test. We must ask whether a “climate-industrial complex” is emerging, pressing taxpayers to fork over money to please those who stand to gain.

Is updating a 40 plus year old relic of the Ford administration really “change we can believe in”? It’s a failed policy at that. CAFE standards, when first implemented as a reaction to the Arab oil crises in the early 70s, were supposed to wean us off foreign oil. That worked out so well. Somehow the fact that when driving becomes cheaper people drive more has escaped the grasp of the brain trust that is the Obama administration.

Let’s not forget CO2 emissions. Obama says that CO2 emissions will be reduced by 900 mmt (million metric tons) over the lifetime of this policy. According to this calculator the CO2 emissions saved would reduce the earth’s temperature by .002 C. That’s two thousandths of a degree. I’m sure I’ll notice.

But wait, there’s more. The bankrupt/mostly government owned domestic auto companies will now have to charge $1,300 more for these new cars. At my current driving habits, it would take me over 11 years to make up that difference.

So to recap: if history is any measure, reliance on foreign oil will continue to rise, there will be no noticeable effect on climate and new cars will cost considerably more. What’s not to like?

Climate change comedy

April 14, 2009

I love the title of this global warming article from the AP:

Study: Cuts in greenhouse gas could lessen warming

Shocking! It’s shocking, I say. Now that’s news you can use. Wow, I haven’t heard that before. But wait, it gets better; here’s the opening line:

A new scientific study finds that the absolute worst of global warming can still be avoided if the entire world cuts emission of greenhouse gases the way President Barack Obama and Europe want.

I didn’t know that the president could be in agreement with an entire land mass. Personally, I wouldn’t argue with Europe. Ennui is a bitch (not that I care).

It gets better:

A computer simulation by the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., looked at what would happen by the end of the century if greenhouse gas levels were cut by 70 percent.

Ooh! Computer simulations. They’re always accurate. Just ask Wall Street.

And then there’s this:

But if the United States and Europe cut back on carbon dioxide and China, India and other developing countries do not, then the world is heading toward a harsher hotter future

To me, this seems like the most likely outcome of any climate agreement. We will make ourselves poorer while China and India get richer. We will have little, if any, effect on climate and will be worse off for it. What’s not to like?

UPDATE: The New York Times reports on the same topic but with a different headline: Study: Emissions Cuts Could Lessen Climate Change

The word “warming” is gone, now it is “climate change”.


(h/t Cafe Hayek)


Side effects

February 5, 2009


(h/t Cafe Hayek)