Trump’s executive order on climate change

One of the best things about Cass Sunstein as a writer is that his goal is to inform us.  Here is his opening bit:

Contrary to numerous reports, President Donald Trump’s executive order on climate change does not come even close to eliminating President Barack Obama’s legacy with respect to greenhouse-gas reductions. Most of that legacy, involving dramatic emissions cuts in the transportation sector and from household appliances, remains intact.

Nonetheless, the order is massively important and, in some respects, reckless. In addition to mandating reassessment of the Clean Power Plan, which regulates coal companies, Trump jettisoned, all at once, the Obama administration’s “social cost of carbon,” which has been the linchpin of national climate policy since 2009. But he did not say what the Trump administration will replace it with. On that count, he punted — which is not the worst thing, and which leaves some crucial decisions open for his staff.

Here is the full column, and it has much more of interest.  I feel bad about running such “remedial material” on MR, but overall I see reporting on Trump as continuing at very low standards, even in some otherwise very good outlets.


Right. Let's make sure the guy who maintained Obama was not a real citizen for 5 solid years now gets every break in day-to-day news. I think that's called unilateral disarmament, and in strategic circles it's frowned upon. I try not to knowingly spread fake news myself, but I recognize the irony of our situation. Fake news was first caught as a real thing, and then became a slogan to dispel any inconvenient truth. That continues in the President's daily tweets.

But you know, let's make sure all criticisms of the Liar In Chief are scrupulously fair.

Did you read Sunstein's piece?

Just as a guess, that comment was in response to 'but overall I see reporting on Trump as continuing at very low standards, even in some otherwise very good outlets.'

Yesterday, even.

I was responding to Tyler's close, and his angst that Trump isn't being treated fairly.

I think now, more than ever, we need accurate reporting about POTUS, even if it's not necessarily the most energizing or action-inducing.

Did that work in the election? As I say, I can't really bring myself to be a fake new maven, but Tyler's comment here really looks as misguided as his attempts to be "fair" on Hillary's emails. How did that work out for everyone?

I don't know what you mean by "worked." 20% to 25% of the white working-class who voted for Obama flipped to Trump. They didn't seem to be convinced back by people calling them idiots.

I don't trust anything Trump says, and there is a distressingly growing part of the media that I don't trust on anything they say about Trump, because too many members of the media are thinking they are going to be the Woodward or Bernstein who tweets the really dank meme that takes down Trump, instead of doing their god damned job of reporting.

Once you give up truth, even if you give it up because of maximum butthurt, anything you say becomes suspect.

Good point, "shrugger"! Take the exact strategy that resulted in Trump, and DOUBLE DOWN!! I'm sure whatever it is that went wrong was you being insufficiently zealous in whatever strategy you were already pursuing.

I'm sorry Anonymous, did you or anyone here ask Donald to straighten up? Did you ask him to be honest on the uranium? Or do you want unilateral disarmament?

Never mind the bilateral stuff where Donald would lose his advantage with his low information voters.

I think there is good reporting on this administration coming out of various media outlets each day. Rather than simply distrusting all those liberal media types, I suggest finding a handful of good reporters and following them closely. It's less boring than any time in the last couple decades and the stories have real substance.

>But you know, let’s make sure all criticisms of the Liar In Chief are scrupulously fair.

Yeah, let's do that. I don't understand why we wouldn't? Why not portray accurate pictures of reality regardless of the political context? Isn't understanding interactions with reality why we all care so much to read blogs like MR?

Has Tyler ever asked Donald to be better behaved, like he asked The Times?

If not, is it because he has succumbed to a new normal?

Remember a week after the election how people were saying, "Holy crap, the left has zero idea why they lost this election"? Today I'm thinking, Holy crap, five months later this guy still has zero idea why the left lost this election.

Anything left of Fox reads about like this on a daily basis: "Lying Trump Lies About X, Despite All Evidence, And You Should Be Mad About It."

Obama spent eight years lying about police brutality and race relations, and the press didn't seem to mind that one very much. I happen to think Obama was an okay dude, but he also had a lap poodle press.

Do you believe yourself?

Oh hi Nathan. How's it over in brainwave conspiracy tinfoil Nazi mind control land?

Tinfoil hats increase conductivity at the relevant wavelengths.

So says research genius at rockstar world leader MIT, home of the bestest future researchers on the planet.

Do you want a link or can you find it yourself?

receptivity, not conductivity.

That's different!

Obama was lying for a good cause.

I think the last president lied about something. Therefore it is acceptable for the current president to lie literally every single day (also I voted for him).

Yes it is acceptable. Two wrongs will lead to a right. It's called tit for tat, one of the most successful strategies for a iterative cooperative game.

Obama also lied in such smooth dulcet tones, and with such soaring rhetoric -- especially in comparison to Trump's inept and mangled sentences and off-the-cuff tweets -- that his lies were more easily acceptable.

If you think Obama was untruthful like Trump is untruthful, you mark yourself more than him.

Let me guess, you don't like statistical studies in this area? Insert standard excuses?

Politifact: Donald Trump says Clinton "bleached" emails, TOTALLY FALSE! She used software to destroy them!

That was actually the NBC fact checkers.

"Trump said Clinton "acid washed" her private email server. She didn't. She used an app called Bleachbit, not a corrosive chemical."

We live in a world where you can't tell the difference between NBC fact checking and an Onion article.

I think Hillarity wiped her server with a cloth.

I'm sure glad I don't have to defend Hillary - that is a tough job. It gives "defending the Hill" a whole new meaning! :)

You left out the lies Obama used to get us into the current health care mess. Good reporting would be pointing out how many people are not going to the doctor or hospital because the can't afford the deductible or co-pay...
"Covering" people with insurance the can not afford to use is cruel.

Do you treat Trump's promise of cheap insurance for everyone with equal seriousness?

Or again has Trump established a different bar for himself?

Right. Let’s make sure the guy who maintained Obama was not a real citizen for 5 solid years

He maintained no such thing for 'five solid years'.

"Yet it took Mr. Trump five years of dodging, winking and joking to surrender to reality, finally, on Friday..."

I'll take the NY Times word over yours.

You're lying.

No. He's not.

Trump was sending "top people" to Hawaii to look into the matter.

The guy is a total jerk. And Tyler moans about him being treated unfairly? Forget it.

Here's a compilation from the Clinton News Network of twelve statements made between April 2011 and May 2014, five of them over a period of days in April 2011. He makes no declarative statements about BO's place of birth or his citizenship.

"Yeah but the "context" and "nuance" are such that whatever I believe is truth."

If you like your plan you can keep your plan.... What difference does it make?

Having had some time to think about this, here's what I see:

Many just accept that we have an untruthful President. Some would like to "hold the line" by demanding that the press be much more honest than the President.

Where does that leave us in 2020? With a continued expectation that Presidential candidates be no more honest than Donald Trump? That would seem to suggest that Democrats should line up a Trump of their own. I think the press would have a hard time holding the line in that situation.

Much better in my opinion to tackle the biggest liars first, and reset expectations across the board. A broad societal demand for truth and reason is a much better line to demand, and then hold.

Alternative thought: Who cares about Trump? He's most likely gone in 2021.

We're stuck with the media forever.

Was it Erik Erikson who did the long essay on how years of eliminating truth in right wing media culminated with Trump? Someone like that. I guess Glenn Beck has said similar.

I would love it if the Right took the lesson that they should run a virtuous and honest guy next time, but I don't see that shaping up.

As I say, I see acceptance.

Yes, but did eliminating truth in the Left wing media culminate in Hillary Clinton, or is worse to come?

The only way you are going to "tackle" the biggest of liars is with the truth. The problem with the shit reporting on Trump is that its just dishonest enough that people who might change their minds about Trump get burned when they get caught up in the fake outrage. The whole internet privacy thing is a good example. You can make a good case that reversing the not yet implemented law was a bad idea and harms consumers. The press by and large didnt do that, they tried to make it out to look like Trump was destroying some long standing protection and that tomorrow everything would be going to shit. When it gets exposed that this whole thing is a bad, but minor thing, people like me trust the media's reporting that much less and are less likely to move the next time. Congrats, you turned a potentially winning hand into a loser just so you could shit your pants about Trump a bit harder.

Because that was more important than the uranium tweet, or because the more outlandish one, from the most powerful man on earth, gets a pass?

Its not about importance, its about ability to respond. If you lie your ass off, dont expect people to believe you, its just that simple. No one is 'giving Trump a pass', its just that so many waves of outrage have been based on bullshit that the sensible thing is to assume this wave of outrage is bullshit as well. And the next. The only way to counter Trump's lies is with the truth, lying works against you.

Not only do many give Trump a pass, many feel reinforced by his falsehoods.

So it s really more complicated than the truth setting us free.

"Not only do many give Trump a pass, many feel reinforced by his falsehoods."

And why do you think that is? Could it possibly have something to do with his falsehoods being revealed as not entirely falsehoods?

And i cant help but notice that the claims in that Salon article can just as easily be applied to the anti-trump set. The anti-trump faction feels reinforced by the lies of its group members. 'Science' explains why you people cant be expected to tell the truth and pointing out your lies only makes you more insular.

Just stop. Both-side-ism and false equivalence is what made this acceptable:

"How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!"

Yes, you can find something you don't like or something false from someone that you consider "left," but all of that pales with who America put in the highest office in the land.


Obama knowingly lied to the American people to promote what we now know is a bad insurance plan. If SCOTUS was truthful, the the "plan" is a tax on the declining middle class. Government employees, university professors, the managerial class, and the cognitive elite, like high tech employees, still have excellent health insurance.

Hillary told a very public lie about the death of a US smbassador.

So yes, it is a false equivalence.

Now that lying is ok, you can expect more of it. See "the prisoner's delemma". The race to the bottom has begun.

I'm still not a fan but this is the best thing he's done as President by far. There's little reason to think we can predict climate 100 years out as a function of trace gas emissions with any reliability, there's even less reason to think the impacts (or SCC) can be known to be as negative as is often claimed with any reliability, the climate sensitivities in the literature tend to be significantly lower than IPCC estimates, and we are living in a short interglacial in the midst of a long Ice Age the resumption of which will unequivocally destroy human civilization at anything like current technological capabilities-- at the last glacial maxima only 25,000 years ago there were miles of ice over our heads here north of the Ohio River Valley, while even the unglaciated areas experienced higher aridity, dust levels, and CO2 levels that may have fallen too low to support mass farming of some modern agricultural staples.

The article is a great example of the genre though -- it assumes at least 1 meter of sea level rise by 2100, it claims the study is reliable because it can hindcast 1995-2010, and it doesn't tell you CA has been losing coastline at a rate of a foot or two per year for the last 146 years anyway.



Not the same thing.

I didn't imply they were.

LOL Nathan, you really shouldn't comment on anything that has to do with science.

You're out of your element Donnie.

We haven't even gotten to the third of three dimensions and mistakes are already being made.

Like really, maybe go review some grade 5 maths and stuff and come back to join the conversation later.

Again, since you didn't understand the first time, coastal erosion and sea level rise are different (indirectly related) things. Not replying further on this.

Higher sea level means erosion towards equilibrium.

Several variables involved are moving targets, so it's difficult to get the decimal places right.

See also, from the dept of "science vs engineering, where results have real-world consequences":

Coastal planning should be based on proven sea level data, by Parker and Ollier
The network of tide gauges provides the only information of value for costal planning.
The worldwide naïve average of sea level is +0.24 mm/year with no acceleration.
The climate models have crucial flaws making them useless.
Planning schemes must only reflect the proven local and global historical data.

and I plan my future by assuming it will be exactly the same as the past. Especially regarding my needs for healthcare. Prove to me I won't be alive in 2117. Remember Dave, no extrapolation allowed!

The case of New Orleans provides a good basis for debate.

There is a lot of decent quality research from multiple different sources of concern and interest (different funders with different interests and different mandates), all of which can only be assumed to have pretty decent analytical capacity.

How much to spend on coastal defenses of New Orleans, and how soon?

Also, you mention some "flaws". You seem quite concerned about the methodologies related to areas of potential improvement. Do you have any specific suggestion of where the methdological improvements can be made? Or failing that, perhaps can at least identify the locus of methodological challenge which must be addressed?

And please, do not bring out some 50 year old research paper that ended up wrong to try to discredit all research on related questions in the 50 years that followed it.


"Who is we?"

Ed Lorenz? "The Limits of Predictablity"

+50 for TallDave.

The "social cost of carbon" is exactly zero.

The clown who said otherwise is the reckless one.

I would argue we can't know what the SCC is, and should plan accordingly. We can imagine climate solutions that are flexible enough not to require such assumptions.

Human progress is largely the process of bringing the variables that affect humanity under our control.

I'm not particularly ignorant concerning GCC and I have no idea what SCC is supposed to stand for. CC, AGW, sure; SCC not a clue. I find your posts entirely without value. "Human progress is largely blah blah blah..." do you even listen to yourself? Talk about tautological blithering.

My uncertainty regarding the fourth decimal place in the percentage probability of risk that my house will burn down has prevented me from buying fire insurance.

I refuse to insure until the fourth decimal place falls within the 95% confidence interval.

This is a smart way to make decisions.

Similarly, inaction on climate questions is the only way forward. 99% sure? Don't even listen until the fourth decimal place fall in the 95% confidence interval. So ... let's change the units to kilodegrees and get moving!

You can plus people til the cows come home, but I think Tyler will spot this other irony:

He doesn't ask climate deniers (in their current "model doubting" form) to straighten up either.

That's more of the double standard. Anti-intellectualism on the right now is a given. But let's hold the bar at the NYT.

A double standard, a bigotry of reduced expectations.

25,000 years is a long time ago, so whatever happens in the next 100 is confusing.

Man is everywhere, but cannot affect anything.

Reading comprehension is hard.

Especially when someone's trying to convince people that the situation 25,000 years ago makes effects in the next 100 not exist or otherwise be irrelevant.

25,000 years ago, production per capita was under $1 a day (PPP). So therefore dying from waterborne illness is OK.

Your statement is as logical as mine.

No claim like that was made. Goodbye.

Well, you didn't quite say that EXPLICITLY.

But are you aware that such presentations are diffused and promoted so that gullible or poorly educated people will draw precisely the associations that I mentioned?

If you are not intending this, you have been had. It's a sort of either/or situation. I mean, it's a cute claim, and probably make a lot of people feel superior, intelligent and smart and everything, because most people don't have a comeback line that goes much beyond rolling their eyes at the insult of thinking they were such the idiot that would be taken by such associations ...

'There’s little reason to think we can predict climate 100 years out as a function of trace gas emissions with any reliability'

Well, as has been proven, we cannot even do it two decades out - the empirical data from Arctic ice observations make even the most pessimistic forecasts from the past seem hopelessly optimistic at this point. This clearly demonstrates a need to improve our models, as they are currently not providing accurate predictions regarding what is going on around us.

If previous forecasts were hopelessly optimistic, why did the IPCC reduce its estimate of temperature sensitivity to CO2? If empirical data show CO2 is worse than predicted, surely they would increase the estimate of sensitivity.

As for the Arctic, here's wiki on the Holocene (last 10,000 years):

"Of 140 sites across the western Arctic, there is clear evidence for warmer-than-present conditions at 120 sites. At 16 sites where quantitative estimates have been obtained, local HTM temperatures were on average 1.6±0.8 °C higher than present. Northwestern North America had peak warmth first, from 11,000 to 9,000 years ago, while the Laurentide ice sheet still chilled the continent. Northeastern North America experienced peak warming 4,000 years later. Along the Arctic Coastal Plain in Alaska, there are indications of summer temperatures 2–3 °C warmer than present.[5] Research indicates that the Arctic had substantially less sea ice during this period compared to present.[6]"

The Arctic has regularly been ice free long before man was producing CO2.

So, I guess it's extremely plausible that it could go there then, right?

Are we in a rush to get there in 50 years or might a few hundred at least for adjustment be a good idea?

Who knows, maybe in the meantime, we'll find that all the extra air conditioning and agricultural heat stress damage might not balance out. And that's not even to mention distributional impacts which tend to be worst for those in the worst position to face the challenges.

The global correlation between temperature and ag yield has historically been positive. Global deaths are higher in winter. The two largest deserts are at the poles -- and they are bigger than all the others combined.

Increasing average temperature from 15C to 18C is likely to benefit many types of crops.

But if the number of days over 38C at 1pm goes from 2 or 3 to 10, for many crops this will cause huge losses.

I don't see why we have to rush so fast to find how to manage those problems. Another 50 or 100 years would be nice.

Tax the stuff we burn, not innovation and effort. Unless there's a macro argument due to chronic undercapitalization in an economy which requires access to such materials to the extent that economic arguments fall apart.

Why you progressives (and some silly libertarians like Tyler 😁 ) think we can predict "climate" with any certainty 10, 50, 100 years out when the accuracy of weather forecasts drops exponentially after 12 hours has amazed me for years

I cannot predict the next spin of the roulette wheel, but I can predict the next 10,000 (in aggregate).

Climate modeling is vastly more complex than Roulette and predictive accuracy of past climate models has not been stellar.

The predicted direction of effect has been accurate.

You are quibbling about decimal places.

Lonely Libertarian, please read an introductory statistics book about the difference in variance and expectation. The fact that we can't give a point estimate of the effects of GHGs does not imply that the social cost of GHG is zero. Better to be roughly right than precisely wrong.

Let's not forget that these climate studies can't muster the standards of science:

As a scientist, that braitbart article was BS.

The journals aren't perfect, but they are much better than the opinions of ignorant activists. Separating junk science is not easy, but we keep trying but this article got everything wrong.

"the opinions of ignorant activists"

"Professor Armstrong, who co-founded the peer-reviewed Journal of Forecasting in 1982 and the International Journal of Forecasting in 1985..."

I wonder if the anti-AGW activists can muster even one single article that satisfies the stringent standards that Armstrong advocates for.

You see, like the widely known and infamous big tobacco "muddy the waters" kinds of communications from the 1960s (an international embarassment to the world because American scientists knew decades earlier than most of the world and somehow this bastion of free speech saw speech rights mainly used to delude and manipulate for that context) ... Brietbart sows doubt on the entire field by evaluating it using the toughest possible criteria.

However, it is not compared in a way that enables to evaluate whether the one body of research is more credible than the others.

Perhaps they can do more reporting on "good science" that does not have such obviously manipulative aspects?

What is "the scientific method"?

Sunstein's point is that Trump doesn't know where he's going, and doesn't know how to get to where he doesn't know where he is going. Trump is an ignoramus. I'd like to think he would surround himself with knowledgeable people, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Indeed, Trump doesn't seem to value knowledge. Cowen is focusing on the pithy errors in reporting on the Trump administration, when the narrative is far more important, the narrative being that these guys are ignoramuses, or worse. The entire world can see that Trump is an ignoramus, or worse. I'm surprised that our enemies haven't taken advantage. Or have they?

"Cowen is focusing on the pithy errors in reporting on the Trump administration, when the narrative is far more important, the narrative being that these guys are ignoramuses, or worse."

Nice to see it admitted how important maintaining the narrative is. It's just good politics.

The social cost of carbon depends so strongly on the discount rate as to be a meaningless number.

However, we do know that it is positive and we do know that fossil fuels are highly automated industries relative to the overall economy. That means that a general tax reduction, especially in taxes with large negative effects on the economy, like payroll taxes, can be offset with a revenue neutral carbon tax and be a net economic stimulus and the SCC is a side benefit.

"the social cost of carbon" is a meaningless political construct

that Cass Sunstein takes it seriously... indicates he should be ignored

The majority of atmospheric warming is due to water vapor IR absorbtions, not carbon

No, not necessarily. To see why consider the limiting case where the social cost of carbon is zero.

In that case replacing payroll tax with carbon tax would be socially detrimental. Why? Because the elasticity of carbon is significantly higher than the elasticity of labor. Carbon taxes result in substantially higher economic deadweight loss per unit of revenue raised. Before considering externalities, payroll taxes enjoy a significant advantage over carbon taxes.

Now even with externalities, like you say, we don't have a firm estimate of their exact magnitude. On the margin an epsilon shift in payroll taxes to carbon taxes will have two opposing effects. 1) An gain from a reduction in externalities related to climate change. 2) A loss from higher tax-related deadweight loss. Just because 1 exists, does not imply that it's larger than 2. It all comes down to the magnitude of 1. But there are many plausible scenarios where that value is small relative to 2. In that case the optimal level of carbon tax is zero.

...consider the irony of carbon-based life forms guessing at the “social cost of carbon”

and just what is the social cost of iron or granite (or water vapor)

this irrational political exercise known as the "Social Cost of Carbon (SCC)" is a thinly disguised political attempt to somehow justify a big “carbon tax”.

it also cloaks the real political issue which is carbon dioxide, not carbon -- they are really talking about taxing CO2, not carbon

discussion of discount rates on this fake SCC issue is totally absurd
the real controversy is the fake issue of AGW

I'm late to the game here, the social cost of carbon used appears to be a global figure, and my understanding is climate change has greater risk for poorer nations (hence the justification for transferred mitigation). So is it possible that we have a net social revenue from carbon? Is there an equivalent of a Laffer curve for carbon where if we subsidize carbon production we could contribute more to our GDP than it is reduced by? We aren't producing carbon merely for its impact on the environment so what is our benefit per unit of carbon? Who's looking at the other side of the ledger?

"The social cost of carbon depends so strongly on the discount rate as to be a meaningless number."

Personally a discount rate of 3% seems ridiculously low. The Trump rate of 7% seems to be a much more reasonable number. Does anyone have a link to how they justified a rate that's that low?

Watch everyone on both sides suddenly flip their minds on a reasonable discount rate if the subject changes from global warming to state-run pension funds.

Daniel wins the thread, or at least comes close. The hypocrisy is laid bare for all to see, and both sides are guilty, as usual.

If I were to play devils advocate I'd say that discount rate for carbon can be higher since it should be based on global discount rates instead of whatever pension funds invest in.

But really, + 1000

"Watch everyone on both sides suddenly flip their minds on a reasonable discount rate if the subject changes from global warming to state-run pension funds."

Actually, I would expect those to numbers to be roughly the same. 7% is probably a pretty good discount rate and it's probably not to far off a reasonable expectation of return for a pension fund.

7% is very very far above either the average or modal answers in a survey of economists by Martin Weitzman some years back. Possibly, you're just forgetting to subtract inflation from what seems like a reasonable number.

It is generally known that people discount things that will happen soon much more highly than over the long-run. This is a basis for concern that we might deplete everything. We know that we are impatient, but are too focused on the short-run to do what we know must be done. It could happen in a million different ways.

For climate change it seems like world GDP growth rate is a reasonable discount rate? What is that, 3-4%?

Whereas for pension funds, I would use some reasonable investment return like 7%?

"For climate change it seems like world GDP growth rate is a reasonable discount rate? What is that, 3-4%?"

I don't see why you'd set the discount rate a the GDP growth rate? What's the logic behind that?

Coincidence or not, this is not far from the average and mode of a survey of economists. page 263:

"I don’t see why you’d set the discount rate at the GDP growth rate? What’s the logic behind that?"

Imagine the growth rate was zero. If you caused someone 100 years from now damage, they would be no better off than you are, so if you caused them $1000 damage, that's just like $1000 damage to someone in your time.

But suppose the economic growth rate was about 3%, and therefore income would double about every 24 years, and a person 100 years in the future would have 16 times your income. So the $1000 of damage to him is much less impact to him than it would be to someone in your time.

"However, we do know that it is positive"

There is no way to know this with any reliability, and the longer the forecast the greater the uncertainty.

"That means that a general tax reduction, especially in taxes with large negative effects on the economy, like payroll taxes, can be offset with a revenue neutral carbon tax and be a net economic stimulus "

Energy costs are an input to virtually all consumer spending, so increasing them lowers living standards for virtually everyone. Coercing inefficient pricing generally creates deadweight losses proportional to the size of the intervention. TANSTAAFL.

Even if you don't know the social cost with reliability, you still know it is positive. What matters is the expectation, not the confidence of the estimate.

If a carbon price is revenue neutral, then it follows that it will lower prices on anything that is less energy-intensive than average and the overall income effect will be neutral.

You cannot know that the cost is neutral - it is unknowable.

The range of values is wide therefore the relevance is zero? I don't think that adds up.

But even if disagreeing on other points, I think you are otherwise correct, in which case it's not worth disagreeing about those other things. The fact of it being sensible policy probably doesn't even depend much on climate questions.

When the left substituted general but more quantifiable worries about pollution (particulate matter; carcinogens, etc) with the grail of Climate Change that would help overthrow capitalism, it did the world a great disservice.

A lot of high quality economic analysis agrees with prescriptions to "do something" (in the form of a carbon tax, ideally revenue neutral) which is highly consistent with numerous right wing principles.

Individual responsibility. A tax system that actualizes individual responsibility by accounting for externalities.

Establishing a business-friendly environment, with special attention to areas with high growth potential. Which in my mind is more likely to relate to innovate and effort than burning stuff we can get out of the ground.

Considering that carbon taxes are back loaded towards decline as non-renewables become less relevant, it's incredible that an ideologically consistent right winger can digest the related corporate and political propaganda as sources of information or truth. If the right wing looks to its stated ideals rather than the pablum its being fed by various concentrated interests, there would be a revenue neutral carbon tax starting with a massive cut to taxes which impede innovation and effort. This is precisely the plan of the present favourite for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.

But the hedge-fund influenced National Post has picked some reality TV guy. So if they can draw reality TV show guy into the race, that is who they will back.

we know that the Obama administration overestimated the social cost of carbon by a lot. The point of the social cost of carbon is to inform benefit cost analysis. The standard way of doing these forever is only to give the citizens of the country concerned standing. One doesn't consider the costs or benefits that fall outside of the country. However, we used a global cost of carbon estimate. so even if you believe the models behind the social cost of carbon the Obama administration clearly calculated it wrong, and in a way that really should have been pointed out to them.

The only responsible thing to do was to drop the social cost of carbon and rethink it from scratch.

If you want to have coordinated global action, the global cost of carbon is the relevant number.

If every country calculates based on pure self interest and maximal desire to pass of costs onto others, then things will be suboptimal. Tragedy of the commons kind of math.

Also, you speak as though the difference between the global cost of carbon and US-only cost of carbon would then constitute a tax which just completely destroyed an equivalent amount of economic activity in the US or something. But that money is not burned or put in a deep hole. Something is done with it. And very likely, and relevant level of carbon tax would be accompanied by similar reductions in other taxation, after time and the political process are left to run.

A desperate, frightened, angry and demoralized populace can not be expect to sort out the finest points of policy. As the system fails, the brutal fight for survival takes over more and more space at their lives. Brother delivers up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children rises up against their parents. Saving one's skin is the only goal left. This is how civilizations die.

Thanks for the update on the current status of Brazil. I knew the economy was still in decline, but I had no idea it was that bad.

I am talking about the American regime. America's leading intellectuals agree that the state of the country is bad and the system is collapsing too fast for comfort.

And, in fact, the Brazilian economy is in the kiddle of a full recovery. Unemployment has tpretreated, the Real has appreciated, the stock market is at an all-times high. As Minister hpHenrique Meirelles pointed out, GDP is a lagging indicator, so it will take a few months for it to capture the full extent of Brazil's recovery.

Two Americas Enter, One America Leaves!

In fact, this seems to be how Americans live now. Crime is out of control, Mr. David Kupelian, a leding American intellectual, says the country is lawless. Nobel Prize winner (I know, Sveriges Riksbank, memory, Nobel, etc.) Paul Krugman says America may already be a failed state. Many Americans report they fear their colleagues, friends, neighbours, teachers and students if they are not allowed to carry arms with them to their places of work, study or worship. American scientists have proved American men are way weaker than the norm a gemeration ago, they are barely stronger than American womens. Living standards have collapse since the early 70's. An opioids epidemic is destroying American lives. Some experts believe the current president is actualy a Russian mole. Most American young men are not fit to be recruited by the Army. American society is dyimg.

"...GDP is a lagging indicator, so it will take a few months for it to capture the full extent of Brazil’s recovery."

So, exactly how many months would that be? 3, 6, 9, 12??

Probably six months from now, maybe a little longer. The fundamentals are what matters the most, I think, and they are strong, solid.

I only hope a few Americans are left alive to see that.

I hope so, too, but the propects are not good at all. Riots, wars, panics, mutual-recrimination, loss of fredom, falling living standards... We may be watching the end of the American Empire.

Who let this idiot on the site...
MOST Americans enjoy pretty uneventful lives (complacent?). Most have cable, really cool flat screen TV's, smartphones, internet access, one or two cars and over 500 square feet of living space. Thiago- please share the per cent of Brazilians who have each of these?

The American regime has grown decademt and is in the process of falling like an overripe jackfruit.

I am losing patience with all of the impersonations. There will be consequences!

I agree, enough's enough. Also I'm a huge cuck.

As for the kind of lives Americans lead, suffices to say their suicide rate is much higher than Brazil ever was. The opioid epidemic is making the USA look like the Qing dinasty's China. Opioid dens are everywhere, taking years of live from American life expectancy. Anyone can take drugs, entire families have become adicted. The average American leads a life of quite despair.

"America's leading intellectuals", good one! You mean the left's loudest representatives, correct?

I think I will therefore stick to reading one of Britain's leading intellectuals: Matt Ridley. He doesn't think the system is collapsing.

I don't think Mr. David Kupelian is a leftist. There is a consensus of the thinking people, both at the right and at the left, that the American system is in a bad shape and probably collapsing. You can close your eyes and whistle all you want, but I doubt even all wishful whistling in the world can change the fact your beloved American regime is dying.

When the American regime dies, what happens then?

Wait a second, Sunstein says it is "reckless" to abandon the Social Cost of Carbon framework, but it wasn't reckless to base US energy policy on an SCC that counts only the costs of carbon, and not the benefits?

Benefits are apparently irrelevant to economics when it comes to climate change.

Meanwhile, in the real world, studies show the planet greening significantly due to increased CO2, US emissions continue to fall thanks to fracking that most climate activists oppose, global temps are returning to their two-decade pause after the 2016 el Nino and a growing number of studies show that temperature is less sensitive to CO2 than estimated.

Question for Mr Sunstein: when the IPCC lowered its estimate of temperature sensitivity to CO2 in its latest report, did the US then adjust its social cost of carbon?

This isn't a planned economy. (No, really, it isn't.) Whoever is doing the productive economic activity decides what the benefits are.

+1, Daniel Weber is exactly correct.

There are consumers too, and not just producers.

Do you want to pay 20c a litre more for gas and lower income taxes in exchange for an expected 10cm lower coastline in X years time?

You can't promise 10cm of lower coastline in any given X amount of time as a result of lower carbon emissions. You can't do it.

The amount of drivel and nonsense in the comments here is higher than usual, but here in the US we have a whole lot of people who have decided to just ignore science, including those who cite third rate articles in Breitbart to do so. Sure, less than 1% of papers in scientific journals use the scientific method. Sorry, Tall Dave, but you are out of your effing mind.

As for the estimates of the social cost of carbon, I simply note that indeed those are net costs. Those making the estimates, some of whom I know personally, do count the benefits, including such things as the reduced heating costs in winter due to global warming from carbon. So, chip, you are another one here just full of it.

A lot of the rest of you are as well, but Ii am not going to waste my time correcting every yapping fool here.

BTW, Tyler is right that there has been exaggerated anti-Trump reporting, and I fully agree with him that those criticizing him should stick to the facts, as well as they can be known. But it has been the case for some time that most deniers of global warming are way out in la la land. Outside of the US there are two things that for some time have had pretty much anybody I meet just shaking their heads in amazement and frankly disgust: our attitude about guns and the fact that so many people accept all this anti-scientific drivel like the people making fools of them in this comment section. Get real, folks.

You don't think there is uncertainty about the level of sea level rise in 100 years?

Do you include your German friends on the left who have so wisely shut down the nuclear industry there in the name of "science"?

Nuclear is safe, except for Russians, Japanese and Westinghouse. Next accident will be even safer.

Their energy supply is now more secure in longer-run perspective because the grid is less dependent on Russian gas or energy sources which all originate from some handful of physical locations.

Many environmentalists are too dogmatic on nuclear questions. But I do not think the German voter tends to be misled on this question. Many small risks are tidied up at a known cost that brings much potential long-term upside.

The party of science gets all mealy-mouthed when it comes to guns, police violence, price floor effects on wage labor, etc etc.

Say, Barkley, make your scientific case for gun policy please, and kindly don't forget to control for race.

I did not make a projection on sea level rise. See iPCC. There iw a probability distribution.

I happen to support nuclear power and have for decades. Obviously needs proper siting and so on. Should use thorium reactors.

I have been involved with climate research and have published on it for over 40 years.

Oh, thfmr, try not to blow your brains out too soon with your favorite gun. The statement was about what the rest of the world things about our attitudes about guns, and the only other nation with laws as stupid as ours is Honduras, which has an even higher homicide rate than ours while they compete with us for selling guns to Mexican gangs.

"Sure, less than 1% of papers in scientific journals use the scientific method. Sorry, Tall Dave, but you are out of your effing mind."

I didn't make that claim, it was “Professor Armstrong, who co-founded the peer-reviewed Journal of Forecasting in 1982 and the International Journal of Forecasting in 1985…" I didn't even link the article. And what he said was that very few papers follow the eight specific criteria he laid out. I haven't tried to investigate his claim, so I won't vouch for it, but it doesn't seem like his critics even understand it.

As for "The amount of drivel and nonsense in the comments here is higher than usual," you do make a persuasive case there.

people who have decided to just ignore science

From the actual EPA SCC document:

The interagency group developed the SC-CO2 estimates with the acknowledgement of the many uncertainties involved and with a clear understanding that they should be updated over time to reflect increasing knowledge of the science and economics of climate impacts. The group noted a number of limitations to the SC-CO2 analysis, including the incomplete way in which the integrated assessment models capture catastrophic and non-catastrophic impacts, their incomplete treatment of adaptation and technological change, uncertainty in the extrapolation of damages to high temperatures, and assumptions regarding risk aversion. Additional details are discussed in the Technical Support Documents."

It's guesswork built on guesswork built on guesswork. Based on the history of such predictions (Ron Bailey has a book full), they'd be lucky to get the sign right, and to be within an order of magnitude would be nigh-miraculous.

Heating costs will be reduced in some places, and air conditioning costs will rise in others.

Roflmao, Barkley claims to know the undisputed discount rate to rule all decisions for for all time, and everyone else is a "yapping fool."

Great stuff.

I'm surprised by how wrong you got this one, and it makes me question your intellectual honesty. The social cost of carbon was calculated on a global basis, all of us who followed the field closely knew that, and that's clearly not the way the benefit cost analysis have ever been done. Figuring out the social cost of carbon for just the United States is a very hard problem and I haven't seen that done correctly, it would certainly be quite a bit lower.

If I evaluate all other people as literally worth nothing, then the costs they face due to my actions can be ignored.

Hooray for personal responsibility!


I love your posts - you are the perfect bad guy!


Life on earth would vanish without carbon, which would still be generated even if we were all hunter-gatherers walking around naked as baboons, so the "social cost" of carbon is some amount over a threshold. Do we know what that threshold is?

Many scientists suggest that 1.5C increase over some previous period is the goal to avoid getting higher into probabilities of a "catastrophic" scenario.

To be clear, this is not catastrophic in the sense of the sun exploding or anything. An earthquake is a catastrophe, as is a tsunami.

Anyways, for "social cost", if you type **social cost vs private cost** into Google, the first result will give you an idea.

So the answer is, no.

Your question is poorly defined.

Isn't this pure metrics? I thought science was all science-y about pure metrics.

The term being bandied about is "carbon" which, last I checked, was an element in the periodic table as necessary to life as hydrogen.

Tell me, what is this "social cost" of this element without which life on Earth would not even be possible?

I'm not sure what threshold you're talking about. Specifically.

Maybe "At what social cost of carbon do coordination costs start to exceed the benefit of doing something?"

It is not clear to me that the coordination costs are even negative, after accounting for the stimulus to innovation (reduced tax on profits and effort) and the incentive to efficiency (by taxing stuff that you burn). Possibly, carbon taxes are a good idea even if we pretend that we know nothing about climate.

SSC is shorthand for cost of pulling sequestered carbon out of the ground and burning it, not the cost of the existence of a particular mass of carbon. So to use your construct, the threshold is change from status quo of carbon above ground.

Pretty basic stuff.

So we need to maintain an equilibrium of carbon above ground and below ground, which is ... what?

When a tree falls, do we need to promptly pile dirt on top of it lest toxic carbon escape into the atmosphere?

When we till soil to grow bean sprouts to stir-fry over natural gas stovetops to serve Chinese dishes to academic economists, how many trees do we have to plant to counter the carbon release? How many trees for each African elephant born?Cali Or human born? Or Bengal tiger born?

I'm assuming you've got this all figured out.

Do people go out and work for 3.2 minutes when they buy a coffee?

Or do you kind of average things out.

Your strawman argument stands testament to the weakness of the "do nothing" position in this debate.

I am not sure this is an honest question, but the issue is the social cost of an additional unit of carbon emissions.

Your dishonest presentation of the issue failed to mention the existence of wiggle room.

For example, how can we possible interpret 99.4% certainty when we all know that this source of confusion could make it either 99.3% sure or 99.5% sure depending on something that (look over there!)

This is window dressing and virtue signalling. There are two parts to the Obama legacy on climate:

(1) He declined to stomp all over fracking, as many on the fringe of his party were urging him to do. This might have been the smartest thing he did in office.

(2) He maintained the long-term US policy of standing on the neck of the nuclear industry. I'm still surprised by that. It's probably the second the biggest missed opportunity of his presidency after Simpson-Bowles.

Both are intact and unlikely to be changed.

Did he decline to stomp all over fracking, or did he merely fail at it?

A grand total of one thing has actually significantly lowered greenhouse gas emissions in western society, and it was brought to you by the free market fairy whose wings the people who claim to be concerned about greenhouse gasses were desperate to clip.

Nothing in all the world is more inane than the current "discussion" regarding climate change.

"Did he decline to stomp all over fracking, or did he merely fail at it?"

I can't tell; I'm not a mind reader so I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Dear Tyler, of course the order is not going to erase a legacy: it is relevant to the future, not to what has already happened.

Tyler, I wonder what you think of this testimony by Brookings Institute fellow Ted Gayer, presented to congress about a month ago. He contends that, at the very least, there is neither statutory basis nor precedent for including global costs in US domestic climate policy:

I believe that the exclusive focus on a global measure runs counter to standard benefit-cost practice, in which only the benefits within the political jurisdiction bearing the cost of the policy are considered. It also seems at odds with the expressed intent of long-standing executive orders and of authorizing statutes. For example, the main regulatory guidance document that has been in place for over 20 years is Executive Order 12866, which makes clear that the appropriate reference point for analyzing federal regulatory policies is the U.S citizenry, not the world. And a subsequent guidance document by the Office of Management and Budget (known as Circular A-4) maintained an emphasis on domestic benefits. Similarly, when enacting the Clean Air Act, Congress stated that its purpose was to “protect and enhance the quality of the Nation’s air resources so as to promote the public health and welfare and productive capacity of its population,” which again suggests a focus on domestic benefits. Similar language is found in other authorizing statutes for environmental regulations.

The difference between global and domestic benefits of greenhouse gas regulations is significant, as the global measure is 4 to 14 times greater than the estimated domestic measure. For example, for its proposed regulations for existing power plants, the EPA estimated climate benefits amounting to $30 billion in 2030. However, the estimated domestic climate benefits only amount to $2-$7 billion, which is less than EPA’s estimated compliance costs for the rule of $7.3 billion. The use of a global social cost of carbon to estimate benefits means that agencies will adopt regulations that could cost Americans more than they receive in climate-related benefits. This approach could be especially problematic if U.S. actions simply shift emissions overseas.

-- There's more at the link:

Frankly, I think everybody is exaggerating this impact of Trump's executive order and the action Obama did. It appears several realities:

1) Power companies don't like huge coal plants and natural gas gives them lower prices and more flexibility. Several large coals are in the midst of closing down.
2) There are probably more jobs created with solar and wind than coal right now.

If Trump wants to truly improve the customer experience and expand coal, he needs states to deregulate power companies like Texas. Living on the West Coast it doesn't matter how cheap coal and natural gas gets, our rates don't go down and solar panels are being installed like crazy everywhere.

"It appears several realities:..."

Another reality is that solar is getting cheaper all the time:

In that curve, the cost for utility crystalline utility-scale photovoltaics goes from approximately $350/MWh (35 cents/kWh) in 2009, to approximately $50/MWh (5 cents/kWh) in 2016. And the trend continues downward, even in the 2014-2016 period.

There is zero evidence of AGW and with the last 20 years of no increase in temperatures very little evidence of global warming. Of course we did have global warming, it peaked in 1934. It was merely the reoccurring cyclical warming cycle that follows the reoccurring cyclical cooling cycles that the earth has experienced for the last 10,000 years. The AGW scam is the biggest scam in history. We will look back on this one day and wonder how so many people could be so stupid as to believe this.

Do you believe yourself?

Zero evidence. The NOAA and NASA has had to resort to open and gross manipulation of the data in an attempt to keep up the scam. The hockey stick was proved to be a scam. Then there was the East Anglia University email scandal where all of the scientists involved in AGW were shown to have lied and covered up facts. Like I said this will go down in history as the biggest scam ever.

I see.

A single image invalidates an entire field of research.

A single email invalidates an entire field of research.

A single paper with improperly calibrated data standards invalidates an entire field of research.

Veritably, I say, "1 is 100 and 99 is 0". Now roll over.

I'm not sure you are aware of the depth and breadth of the fraud. Not a single email but 1000's of emails exposing fraud by many so-called scientists. The fraud is massive. How is it possible you are so unaware?

Something about tree rings in a single data source. Can you be more specific about the claim?

If I understand the issue correctly, among 20,000+ studies, one of them made an error in labelling a graph which did not sufficiently draw attention to a measurement/adjustment issue.

Can you locate a single study on the other side of the debate where I cannot point out an error or manipulation of greater scientific significance on nearly every graph and table in the paper?

1 is not 20,000

19,999 is not 0.

Pro-tips for anti-brainwashing and eye-wool-pull-over resilience.

Even if you think CO2 is totally harmless, surely we can agree that soot has a cost.

People who live near highways suffer from higher rates of asthma, cancer, etc. because of the damage caused by tailpipe emissions.

Why shouldn't we apply some additional levies on highly polluting fuel sources in order to cover the damages caused by that pollution?

Again, CO2 could be totally harmless and we'd still want to cut back on coal burning to reduce real world health damage.

"Even if you think CO2 is totally harmless, surely we can agree that soot has a cost."

Every time someone, like the folks at the Niskanen Center, say that we should have a carbon dioxide tax, I say, "No, we should tax *real* air pollutants. Tax particulate matter, Tax sulfur dioxide. Tax nitrogen oxides."

If we tax those pollutants that no one doubts are harmful, then the CO2 emissions will go also go down. No one who has advocated for carbon dioxide taxes has *ever* agreed with me. That makes me very puzzled...and more than a little suspicious.

Maybe review the concept of a Pigouvian tax?

It's supposed to be set at a rate that equalizes social cost and benefit. The concept can be adjusted to treat foreigners as worthless in tax and subsidy policy.

"Maybe review the concept of a Pigouvian tax?"

I'm not objecting to Pigouvian taxes. In fact, I'm *advocating* them...but for real air pollutants...e.g., particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, etc. Those real air pollutants have known and relatively-easily-quantified adverse effects that happen contemporaneously with emissions. In contrast, CO2 has hypothesized adverse effects that happen mostly in the distant future (more than 5 decades from now).

Well, good point, but there already are restrictions. We've had the Clean Air Act in place since the 70s. Maybe we need to toughen it...but we're not exactly letting coal slide with a blank check. No sirree.

More broadly? How can you trust the Environmental Justice Warrior crew? I'm against sucking face with a smoke-stack, or dumping untreated sewage into Lake Michigan. Being against nuclear power or DAPL? Huh? How do you reason with that?

The climate ourside my door changes everyday. Sometimes it swings from cold snow to blistering heat. I'm not trolling here - how can the cost of climate change really be measured if we are perfectly capable of living and working in cities that have distinct seasons? Is farming going to get really expensive and we aren't going to invent tech to deal with it? Is it coming from the fact that the sea level will change and we won't be able to deal with it?

I just don't fundamentally understand why, even if the worst case outcome from AGW comes true, why it would matter given that we can build cities in any given environment.

"The climate outside my door changes everyday."

The climate doesn't change. The weather changes.

"I’m not trolling here – how can the cost of climate change really be measured if we are perfectly capable of living and working in cities that have distinct seasons?"

There is an "optimum" temperature for the earth. It's easiest to see that in terms of the last ice age. Imagine we were in an ice age. We'd be toast. (Frozen toast!) But it's also fairly easy to see if the world got really, really hot (say, 10 degrees Celsius warmer than at present) the world would be a worse place. Of course, in between an ice age and say, 10 degrees Celsius warmer than at present, it's harder to say what is the "best" temperature. Especially considering facts like the temperature increases from CO2 additions are likely to be larger at the poles, where it's much colder.

"I just don’t fundamentally understand why, even if the worst case outcome from AGW comes true, why it would matter given that we can build cities in any given environment."

The question is, what is the "optimum" temperature of the planet? Even if cities could be built in a much hotter world (or a much colder world) it would be harder to do. There would be a "cost" relative to an optimum temperature.

The pace of change matters a great deal also. Cities weren't built overnight, nor can they be easily moved.

"The pace of change matters a great deal also. Cities weren’t built overnight, nor can they be easily moved."

I don't see that as a big deal. Take sea level rise, for example. It's currently rising globally at 1 foot per century. Let's say that rate increases to 3 feet per century by the middle of this century. Even considering the fact that many large cities are near the sea, there are many, many other cities that are not near the sea. And the cities that are near the sea aren't entirely at sea level. Here's a website that says a sea level rise of 5 feet would affect 310,000 people in NYC:

That just doesn't seem like a big deal to me, given that it will probably be much more than 100 years before sea level rises that much. I don't see why they can't simply move...or stop building very near the sea as the existing buildings become obsolete.

Good points, but also take a look at the coastlines around the major East Coast cities since they were settled a few hundred years ago. The level has already risen around three feet... but the coastlines have expanded outward anyway, mainly due to human engineering.

A 5 foot seal level rise would still be pretty terrible. We're talking hundreds of billions of dollars, trillions even, in real estate.

Storm surges would be greatly magnified. Some island countries would cease to exist entirely. Bangladesh loses 1/5 of its entire land area if seas rise by as little as one meter. That's tens of millions of refugees.

It's not as simple as "build a better sea wall on Lower Manhattan".

I think the sea level rise in the last 300 years has been more like 9-12 inches:

"A 5 foot seal level rise would still be pretty terrible. We’re talking hundreds of billions of dollars, trillions even, in real estate."

First off, there's not going to be a 5 foot sea level rise for more than 100 years. Let's look at NYC...which will have real estate worth more money...NYC in 2117, even with a sea level rise of 5 feet, or NYC in 2017? It's 2117 even with 5 feet of sea level rise, right? So why should the people of 2017 sacrifice for the much better off people of 2117? Where is the morality in that...that the less-well-off sacrifice for the better-off?

"Storm surges would be greatly magnified."

Give me...oh, somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 billion....and I'll give you a portable system that can reduce storm surge by more than 50 percent anywhere in the world on a few days' notice. In other words, storm surge levels would be *less* in 2117 than in 2017, no matter how much the world warms.

"It’s not as simple as 'build a better sea wall on Lower Manhattan.'"

Yes, sea walls and levees are stupid. A portable storm surge protection system is the solution.

Mark -- maybe the difference is between "ocean volume" or "sea level" vs the actual tide gauge reading? Relative subsidence also becomes a factor over 300 years. I remember hearing three feet for estimates in the Boston or Portland area, but I haven't tried to verify that, and I'm not sure I really trust the estimates anyway -- as Nelson says "records from that era are spotty at best." But we agree the sea rose, and the cities expanded outward anyway.

Talldave - you don't use historical records for that stuff.

That would be dumb, because old methods, for example those in 1973, were inferior and are no longer used.

The procedure is to used accepted paleogeology methods and current observations with current best practices or extensions of methods which are believed to be promising.

Singapore is pretty hot.

Many crops are sensitive in specific kinds of ways.

If you increase temperature from a range of 4C-24C to a range of 6C-26C, lots of surprising things can happen.

In many analyses of plant stuff, you have a statistic called the "number of days above/below X" or "the number of degree days above/below X".

The surprising thing is that many plants are sensitive to threshold in a way that seems accumulative over time (the number of days plus something related to how far over/under that extreme).

Apples need a certain number of days under 5C.

So if temperature rises 2C on average, many present apple growing regions will not be able to grow apples.

So how about lecture the farmer about how that doesn't matter that his apply crop will be 30% less productive because something or other about 25,000 years ago. The opposite will apply too. But there are a hell of a lot of people living in places where the sensitivity is much more related to heat stress.

Just one last thought on the SCC:

Kukla 1972, Quaternary research -- "the prognosis is for a long-lasting global cooling more severe than any experienced hitherto by civilized mankind."
Rasool 1971

Hubert Lamb, Director of CRU, Sep 8 1972: "We are past the best of the inter-glacial period which happened between 7,000 and 3,000 years ago... we are on a definite downhill course for the next 200 years....The last 20 years of this century will be progressively colder.”,2536610

"Nature's reaction could be something drastic... another Ice Age is possible" William Cobb, NOAA scientist, 1973,2814827

hundreds of articles quoting scientists on the danger of global cooling

John Firor, Excecutive Director of NCAR, 1973: "Temperatures have been high and steady, and steady has been more than high. Now it appears we're going into a period where temperature will be low and variable, and variable will be more important than low."

The 46 scientists who gathered at Brown Univeristy, Providence R.I., for a symposium on "The End of the Present Interglacial" agreed that there is evidence of an ominous world-wide cooling of temperatures in the past two decades.
CIA: "Leaders in climatology and economics are in agreement that a climatic change is taking place and that it has already caused economic problems throughout the world."

Assume those predictions had been accurate, and all the same people are involved. Obviously specifics would differ, but how different do policy arguments look generally?

Implementation of carbon subsidies in order to offset global cooling?

I agree fully with Prof. Rosser: the already significant effects of global warming caused by Co2 emissions are just not something people can deny: ceteris paribus, increasing levels of Co2 lead to higher temperatures. Global Co2 levels have increased substantially over the past 60 years from 310 to 406.4. And will certainly surpass 500-550 points over the next decades. That certainly has significant effects on global temperatures. It's not hard to see that increasing global temperatures will cause the sea level to rise. So, it's not actually hard to see how they predict some of the consequences of Co2 emissions, one thing I don't quite see is how extreme weather should become much more common but that's perhaps due to the fact that higher temperatures means higher energy in the system and so more chaotic variation.

But in our warming world, the idea of aerosol subsidies has never been seriously considered, despite their link to cooling. No, read through the rhetoric in the links above and you'll find what is most likely the right answer :)

That certainly has significant effects on global temperatures.

Possibly (remember, any effect is most likely logarithmic), but even if we knew for certain which of the hundreds of different estimates for climate sensitivity to CO2 in the literature was closest to correct, it still probably wouldn't be possible to predict temperatures as a function of CO2 due to all the other factors at play, many of which are chaotic or even stochastic.

It’s not hard to see that increasing global temperatures will cause the sea level to rise.

But the tide gauges see the same trend since the end of the LIA, so it's very difficult to estimate what coastal sea level increases due to CO2 would be over the next 100 years -- again, even if we knew the climate sensitivity or what temperatures were going to do.

Lots of people have discussed geoengineering but the potential for unintended consequences is huge and it can't do anything about increased acidity of the oceans.

Ocean acidity concerns are largely speculative.

Also, people don't seem to realize emissions controls are also geoengeering.

[25 pages of text, 13 pages of references]

From the Conclusions:

In conclusion, based on the many real-world observations and laboratory experiments described above, it is clear that recent theoretical claims of impending marine species extinctions, due to increases in the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration, have no basis in empirical reality. In fact, these unsupportable contentions are typically refuted by demonstrable facts. As such, the NRDC’s portrayal of CO2-induced ocean acidification as a megadisaster-in-the-making is seen, at best, to be a one-sided distortion of the truth or, at worst, a blatant attempt to deceive the public.

See also: study finds that acidification, temperature dominates over atmospheric CO2 concentration.

And of course the effects are marginal relative to seasonal fluctuations anyway, so at worst this is a problem for a few marginal species. More study is warranted, but all in all there doesn't seem to be anything there that should drive policy.

Ocean acidity concerns will not be backed up with high certainty about the decimal places because oceans are different from experimental conditions in a lab.

But the direction of effect is correct.

Not knowing whether the effect is +1 pH or +1.2 pH does not cloud certainty about the direction of effect.

You mine ignorance about statistical statements to plant doubt. Fraudulent scum, to be clear.

You must have taken a course in tobacco conspiracy manipulations or something.

"I don't have enough decimal places within the 95% confidence interval therefore all outputs are USELESS!!!"

Aside from this exceedingly unproductive logic, do you have anything really of substance to say?

I conclude that we are less wrong than in 1973, and attribute higher preductive power to 2017 forecasts than 1973 forecasts.

The main logic underlying my thinking is that we are probably not getting dumber over time. Maybe on average (e.g., people using 50 years old science in a brand new field to sow doubt about what work that field produces 50 years later), but I do believe that scientific knowledge continues to advance.

All else equal, do you suppose that climate science is getting better, worse, or staying the same, in terms of the quality of its estimates?

Going down. There is too much government grant money in the system and it is attracting too much marginal talent. Anyone with a BS on physics can go to grad school and get a silly study funded.

All the funding in the world can't create another Feynmann.

Is Sunstein informing us here, or engaging in special pleading for his style of "nudging" regulations?

The group’s meetings were numerous, lengthy, often boring, painstaking, and dominated by discussions of abstruse issues in science and economics. After many months and extensive public comments, the group produced its technical analysis, which has been periodically updated over the years, ultimately yielding a monetary figure of $36 per ton.

Another way of looking at this: there is no hard and fast definition of the social cost of carbon, which means that groups of this nature are engaged in answering an essentially political question of what is to be done under the guise of economic analysis.

It's complicated, therefore all answers are wrong.

(Bowing to the height of civilizational and technological achievement south of the border, in one of the few remaining vestiges of such independence of thought as to be able to reject nearly complete consensus by the scientific community at times when this is consistent with the profit motive of oil barons ... the land where such propaganda lives on.)

It is instructive that the groups so concerned oppose any effort which isn't also symbolically green or anti-capitalist. No nuclear, no geo-engineering, no US-first policies, D's even oppose decentalizing gov with use of telecomms as DC would be affected. The only acceptable solutions are solar, wind, and shitting on rural people.

The existence of individuals holding such views all at the same time does not mean that any person holding any one of those views necessarily holds all of these views.

This may be difficult for highly tribalist partisans in the USA to understand. Specifically for the fact of being American because it's a two-party system and (head exploding!) a lack of exposure to three positions being discuss all at the same time.

Fallacy. A wide variance does not imply a zero expectation.


How do you say that to someone whose last math class was in high school and got a C or D?

Your house probably won't burn down. That doesn't mean it makes sense to save money by cancelling your fire insurance.

I did not feel informed after reading it. "Abused" would be more apt.

The global warming fanatics refuse to recognize the tremendous improvement in the environment and pollution control over the last 60 years when everyone heated their houses with coal. Thirty years ago the skies were brown with pollution. Now they are largely clear. It is technology not government mandates that has improved things. Yes, we still have auto pollution and other things but technology will eventually take care of that too. The environmental wing nuts want to hit us over the head with demands for a perfect environment in order to seize control of society. Environmentalism is dogma masquerading as science.

S02 is not C02.

And for your information, the advances in S02 technologies were caused by government mandates.

Are you preaching to some brainwashed choir?

Telegovernment and ban travel for non-STEM academic conferences and we can talk about coal.

Just right after every spy service communication is broadcast 24/7 on a globally accessible web service?

Or wait for private sector leadership to demonstrate the value of this approach in high quality management. After all, governments blow and private sector knows best. When the private sector does it, the government will have an opportunity to learn from those who know best.

There certainly are some interesting things going on in these comments.

I just wanted to point out that the major reason for "low standards" on reporting Trump's actions is that the Trump White House is incredibly terrible at explaining its actions. They are still missing all kinds of people and the people they do have are generally not very good. That is how you get fiascos like "Trump is cancelling Meals on Wheels." That was self-inflicted. Mulvaney fumbled a question badly and there was nobody below him to swoop in and issue a clarification before the stories got written about it. This is going to keep happening.

For me the White House press corps reminds me of that village which made the Stone soup crossed with the crowd watching the naked emperor parade by. Hey, speaking of costs, an interesting article (not paper) in Science magazine about the potentially enormously destabilizing effect that a "minor" change to missile (nukes) fusing may have. Seems no one is paying attention to the consequences of a dramatic improvement in our targeting accuracy on the balance of terror...

Everything surrounding Trump has been really confusing and so far the policy hasn’t worked. So it’s hard to say where things are going to work ahead. I always work with careful way and approach, it’s easier with broker like OctaFX since they got daily market updates, it’s provided by highly qualified team of experts and is extremely effective. I can work nicely through it and then they also got 24/5 support available, it really helps a lot especially when it comes to newbies.

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