Last Build Date: Fri, 02 Dec 2016 19:42:56 +0000
Fri, 02 Dec 2016 19:42:56 +0000Should we be scared? Should we be worried that what we post here might scare folks? The US just elected a president who does not believe in global warming. Workers in Gatlinburg finished their shifts before walking out to discover it was time to run for their lives. The news media coverage of the deadly TN fires by and large makes no mention of global warming. CO2 sats continue to rise at record rates and our natural carbon sinks are not working like they used to. Some foolish folks are worried that talking about this could scare people. I have to laugh. Get scared, don't get scared, I don't care, but if you are in a forest fire consider taking some personal time and getting away from work early. or don't leave work til the shift ends, then run/drive for your life. either decision is fine with me. I don't want to scare anybody. btw, kinda old news, but the Amazon carbon sink is a good one to watch if you want to know what is happening with large traditional global carbon sinks. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v519/n7543/full/nature14283.html http://phys.org/news/2016-05-carbon-dioxide-amount-due-el.html - a quote from that one: "April's carbon dioxide level of 407.42 was a record 2.59 ppm rise from March... The increase "is the biggest we've ever seen," said NOAA global atmospheric monitoring director Jim Butler . "That's scary but it is amplified by El Nino, there's no question." Butler said scientists need to watch measurements over the next several months or even a year to see how much of this large increase is an El Nino-driven blip that will go away as the weather phenomenon fades and is replaced by its cool flip side, La Nina. It's not just that carbon dioxide levels are growing, but that they've been growing at a record faster pace over the past four years, even without El Nino, Tans said. "The El Nino boost is on top of the large emissions from fossil fuels which continue at a high level," said Ralph Keeling , who directs the carbon dioxide program at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. I have been watching the measurements as discussed in this article. I am not yet seeing the drop that I am watching for that should occur as EN event recedes. It's just numbers. Observational data and data set comparison. You want to get scared by the numbers? Go ahead. Or finish your shift and check the weather on the way out of the building. Folks say and do some foolish things. November average coming any day now, I would like to see 402.9, but I think it's going to be higher than that. I would love to be wrong about that. We live in scary times, but FDR's advice about fear is worth keeping in mind. Warm regards, Mike
Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:51:54 +0000Also for Christopher, see p. 16 for the sea level rise scenarios (plural) for Portland Maine. If your question about sea level change based on the past record is because you don't know about the climate change that has already begun, you probably will find the scenarios hard to believe, but this may lead you to more information: http://cci.siteturbine.com/uploaded_files/climatechange.umaine.edu/files/MainesClimateFuture_2015_Update2.pdf
Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:15:10 +0000Christopher 1: Take a look at this Wikipedia article on future sea level rise (which has links to references) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_sea_level. IPCC (2007) predicts 18-59cm sea level rise by 2100 (59cm is about two feet), but their predictions don't include a component for ice calving. If this missing component is added the projections increase to between 0.8 and 2 metre sea level rise (http://science.sciencemag.org/content/321/5894/1340).
Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:06:46 +00002 MA Rodger says: 1 Dec 2016 at 8:30 PM I assume you give these figures to show that an alarming warming trend has not paused and continues to demonstrate itself Well, comparing the then record year of 1998 to the probable new record year of 2016 and assuming December 2016 will be about 0.200C hotter than 1998 we will find 2016 around 0.040C hotter than 1998 and if this mighty heating trend continues to the end of the century we can expect things to be about 0.200C hotter than now in 2100. Not sure therefore this is the right time yet to plant my palm tree here in the Northern UK!
Fri, 02 Dec 2016 16:43:44 +0000Re: Thomas, 30 Nov 2016 at 5:16 PM , ~# 133 You said: “btw there are no “hidden subsidies to fossil fuels.” They are all as plain as day and very well known.” Could you list these very well-known subsidies? A short paragraph will do. Steve
Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:37:19 +0000Christopher, 1.5 to 2mm per year, 0.7 inches per decade, 7 inches per century is generally accepted as pre AGW background SLR. That's not right. Pre-AGW background SLR is generally accepted as averaging close to 0mm/yr for the past couple of millennia. 1.5mm to 2mm/yr would be typical numbers for 20th Century SLR. Add 1mm per year for recent acceleration caused by human burning of fossil fuels Why 1mm/yr? I generally look at the NOAA sea level data for Portland Maine, closest data for my location, and the rate of sea level rise is almost steady at 1.8mm year for past 100 years. Looking at tide gauge data at a single location is unlikely to give you a good picture of changing global average sea level trends. Variability is too large. Over the past 25 years global average SLR measured by satellites and global tide guage networks is about 3mm/yr, compared to a 20th Century average of about 1.5mm/yr. Articles tend to quote NOAA prediction that sea levels could rise 2 to 6 feet by 2100... The rate of SLR would have to triple immediately to obtain 2 feet of rise by 2100. Rate of SLR would have to increase more than 10 fold immediately to reach 6 feet by 2100. 2 feet is highly plausible. 6 feet would require large contributions from ice sheets, which is possible (worth thinking about and preparing for) but speculative at the moment. Let's focus on 2 feet. Your immediate tripling calculation seems to be based on assuming current rate is 2mm/yr. But it's actually probably >3mm/yr. An immediate doubling would get us near 2 feet by end of century, but what's actually expected to happen is a gradual increase in rate through the century, such that the rate at end of century will be around 8-9mm/yr. You may have spotted one consequence to that - 22nd Century SLR is expected to be even stronger than 21st Century. That's true even if we've stabilised emissions by 2100. Possibly 23rd Century SLR will be stronger still. The reason for all this gradual SLR acceleration is large inertia in pretty much all contributors to SLR, such that their contributions will continue increasing in future. You seem to want to use 20th Century SLR as a guide to the future. It perhaps can be a guide, but it's very much as an extreme lower bound rather than a mid-estimate.
Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:47:04 +0000Mal Adapted #134, "political obstructionism" I think you misunderstood my $2 scenario. I suggest that if petrol is $2 now, and we add a CT that raises it to $4, they can add an additional $2, making it $6/gal, which for the US will create an enormous backlash against the CT. Again, it's about market power. Perhaps you have heard that suddenly, with the election of Trump, OPEC has come to an agreement about curtailing production? Do you think that is coincidence? Now, as to your externality stuff, which is still loaded with the "responsibility" language. My point about Trump voters in California who are acting Green is that they are making rational market decisions. Even if, as the Denialists claim, the only effect of CO2 were to increase plant growth, abandoning FF and adopting new technology would still make economic sense. 1. Electric cars (and electric drivetrains with onboard generators) are simply better than ICE. Not a little better, but at least an order of magnitude better in multiple ways, e.g. maintenance and lifespan/resale value. You want to motivate people to buy electric by raising petrol prices, but if there were an actual free market where EV could compete with ICE and achieve economy of scale, EV would win hands down. There isn't. There is an enormous Auto-Industrial Complex, from the manufacturers and suppliers to the dealers to independent service providers (e.g. Jiffylube, transmission shops, and so on) that would be put out of business or suffer profit reductions. That's the roadblock, not just the FF companies. 2. Well, I could go on about Greener houses being more comfortable, and more capable of getting through power outages, and how LED bulbs give better light, and so on, but the point again is that there are positive and immediate motivators that are politically better than trying to quantify the (entire) externality. Those require addressing the current anti-competitive climate. Deal with that, and FF subsidies, and add a small, slowly increasing CT, and you could make real progress.
Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:03:36 +0000I'll stop for now so Thomas, and possibly others, can tell me how contrived and obsolete all this is and how it's all magic and fantasy with no relation to the real world.
Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:03:00 +00007. Antitrust. If you want free markets in a country, you have to have vigorous antitrust laws. If you don't have them, concentrated or monopolistic industries will extract a huge "monopoly rent" from their customers. The economy will be less efficient--higher prices, less produced, fewer jobs. Production will be below its potential level. It will be bad for everybody but the monopolists. They will make out like bandits. And don't think monopoly tactics are confined to a few huge businesses. Whole professions use them, and even service agencies of the federal, state and local governments. Public transit authorities have "grants of exclusive authority" for their bus and subway lines. In Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, the Port Authority Transit has such a law in effect. If you try to set up a business where you give people rides in your van in return for money, you may well wind up with your van impounded and yourself in prison, having to pay huge fines, or both. The bus company is a legal monopoly. Less bus service, higher prices, fewer bus drivers. Professions set up licensing laws. These are always supposedly "to protect the public," but the main people they protect is the sellers. Some professions can make more of a case for this than others. Should doctors be licensed? You wouldn't want quacks operating on people. On the other hand, the effect of requiring doctors' licenses limits the number of people who can be doctors--thus ensuring more health care income per doctor. Ditto lawyers. Some states license chiropractors and even astrologers (!). "To protect the public." Unions do it, too. It's great when unions protect their members from unfair and unsafe working conditions. But that's not all they do. By requiring laborers in a field to be union members, they ensure there will be fewer people in that field--and all the wage income will come to those fewer people. Their income will be much higher; the income of all the rest of us will be slightly lower. Then there's the matter of increasing demand. A monopoly industry, or even a non-monopoly industry, will want people to buy more of their product. They will advertise, try to convince people that they need more of whatever the seller is selling. They will lobby the federal government for subsidies for their industries, and usually the federal government will come through. All of the following are ways sellers try to manipulate markets: Create "entry barriers" so fewer people can work in the field. Licensing laws are an example. Difficult requirements are another. For example, taxi monopolies in some US cities charge as much as $60,000 for a "taxi medallion" permitting you to drive a taxi. Get federal subsidies so the demand curve shifts to the right. Agriculture, the fossil fuel industry, and many others receive hundreds of billions of dollars per year, altogether, from state, federal and local governments. That's right--hundreds of billions of dollars. Your tax dollars at work, benefiting particular corporations. Set tariffs and quotas on imports to reduce the number of competitors. The steel industry does it, the automobile industry does it, sugar and cloth merchants do it, and unions favor restricting imports so they don't have to face "unjust competition." But the effect is to have fewer companies consumers can buy from. Above all, elect politicians favorable to sellers so the government will help you get away with all this. You can probably think of examples yourself. Note that a "pro-business" candidate is NOT always the same as a "pro-free-market" candidate. The policies favored by the two can be very different.
Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:00:42 +00006. Monopolies (II). Remember from previous chapters how market forces pressure a too-high price back down to equilibrium: "After a while, someone realizes he can sell more of what he brings to market if he just cuts the price a bit... The price falls... demand rises, supply falls, and conditions converge at the equilibrium once again, with supply and demand equal..." For this to work, the seller has to have competitors he can take market share away from by lowering prices. If he has no competitors--if he has a monopoly over the industry--this tactic becomes pointless. He makes more money by charging well above the equilibrium price. And note that, since only 335 apples are produced rather than the 350 at equilibrium, fewer apple workers are required. Less is produced, fewer people have jobs, prices are higher. Everybody gets hurt except the owner(s) of the monopoly. Supply and demand still exist when demand is inelastic, but equilibrium is at a higher price and maximum profit at a higher price still. It's not infinite. If you don't want to work out the price where an apple monopoly would make the highest total profit--and I can tell you right now it involves calculus--here's the answer: The optimal price for the monopoly is $1.44. Supply is 1,055 apples, though in real life the monopoly would not bother producing the surplus, in order to save costs. Demand is 209. 209 apples are sold, the profit per apple is $1.39, and the total industry profit--all going to one company under our monopoly scenario--is $290.51. Compare the two prices in our inelastic-demand market. In a free market, with competitors, equilibrium price is 50 cents ($0.50). In a monopoly, the profit-maximizing price is $1.44--almost three times higher. So in an industry where there is inelastic demand, it pays a company to reduce the number of its competitors as much as it can. If they can, they'll establish a monopoly. If they can't--if they can only reduce it to an "oligopoly" with three or four huge producers--they'll have a tremendous incentive to collude on prices.