TCS Daily


The Political Economy of Climate Change

By Robert Haddick - May 1, 2007 12:00 AM

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will soon release its 4th Assessment Report. This report will again warn that atmospheric temperatures are due to rise this century with harmful consequences for the planet's ecosystems. The IPCC will recommend that the world embark on an urgent effort to rein in greenhouse gas emissions to diminish these harmful effects. However, regulatory efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions cannot succeed and governments, especially in the developed world, should not attempt them. Adapting to climate change, should it occur, is the only feasible strategy. Governments in the developed world should focus their efforts on policies that will ease adaptation to higher temperatures rather than waste effort and resources on attempting to prevent climate change from occurring.

Let us assume that the IPCC's predictions are valid. How should governments and societies respond?

Government regulations in the developed world to cap or reduce greenhouse gases are a lost cause and should be abandoned. Unless China, India, and other rapidly expanding economic centers in the developing world fully participate in greenhouse gas reduction efforts, regulatory schemes in the west will simply displace economic activity from the "clean" developed world to the "dirty" developing world, making the global greenhouse gas problem worse, not better.

This recent article from the Washington Post described how Europe's greenhouse gas "cap and trade" scheme shifted production from some of Europe's cleanest factories to far dirtier factories in China and Morocco. And TCS Daily's Nick Schulz told the story about how a German steel mill was disassembled, shipped to China, and reassembled, and now produces steel in China without any greenhouse gas constraints.

Will developing countries ever volunteer to meaningfully cut back their greenhouse gas emissions? Governments in developing countries face publics eager to attain the standards of living they observe in the developed world. Restraining economic growth or imposing additional environmental costs are not likely to be sustainable political positions with populations already aware of their poverty. An indication of this recently arrived from China, soon to be the greatest greenhouse gas emitter. After consulting with local and provincial governments, China's government delayed indefinitely its national action plan on climate change. Political stability seems to trump global warming.

What if, against all indications, the developing world suddenly agreed to restrict, through government action, its greenhouse gas emissions? Enforcement and compliance would then become concerns. Assuming that there is a significant cost attached to greenhouse gas reduction (lower output, or higher capital or operating expenses), there is then a strong incentive to cheat on compliance. The atmosphere is a "commons"; a greenhouse gas cheater would get all of the benefits of lower production costs, while passing on the consequences of cheating to the rest of the world. There would be no incentive for any one actor to fulfill his greenhouse gas reduction promises.

What if cheaters, either countries or localities, could be reliably identified? Could some world body impose punishments on cheaters? What punishments? Trade sanctions? Trade sanctions punish the punisher as much as the punished. With the incentive for cheating so strong and the likelihood of cheating so widespread, a "cheaters' trading bloc" would likely form, reducing or eliminating the pain of any punishment the virtuous non-cheaters might wish to impose.

How about punishing greenhouse gas cheaters with military action? I will wait for someone else to propose war as an answer.

Unless there is a stunning political and cultural transformation in the developing world in the direction of economic self-denial, halting the rise of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere through government action will simply not occur. The solution to greenhouse gas emissions may occur for others reasons such as technology improvements or market action, but these solutions would make the discussion of global warming as a public policy problem moot.

Responsible statesmen should acknowledge the futility of trying to use government action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They should focus their efforts on preparing for climate change rather than attempting to avoid it.

The author was a U.S. Marine Corps infantry company commander and staff officer. He was the global research director for a large private investment firm and is now a private investor. His blog is Westhawk. He is a TCS contributing writer.


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245 Comments

Climate Change
The author is right in saying that it's futile to expect third world countries to comply. If the EU can't even get their own members to comply, how would they be able to bully China and India. Those countris also will not go for the stupid idea of carbon offsets etc. because they're practical minded, they correctly see these as like the 'indulgences' of the medeival church. At least the GW movement is shying away from the red flag term of 'consensus' these days. That's because it is in the realm of politics, not science.

If the world's largest economy refuses to take action, why blame Chad?
This is ridculous. If the US joins the planet in recognizing the threat and taking action for its own economy, then it will have standing to act, in concert wtih others, against third world cutout emitters. As long as it officially denies that the issue has been scientifically estbablished as a problem, obviously there's no standing to do anything. Why in the world is the author fretting about runaway shops in he third world when stay at home shops in the US are pumping C02 full blast, without a peep coming out of the Whie House?

Resistance is futile
If you thought we could keep ourselves from fouling our own nest, better give up any thoughts of perfectibility. Man is fatally flawed.

"...regulatory efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions cannot succeed and governments, especially in the developed world, should not attempt them. Adapting to climate change, should it occur, is the only feasible strategy. Governments in the developed world should focus their efforts on policies that will ease adaptation to higher temperatures rather than waste effort and resources on attempting to prevent climate change from occurring."

Conservation, for instance. Impossible. Don't even try. Learn to embrace the new climate regime, whatever it may be. Just remember, what is strife for some may be opportunity for others. For instance you could sell new beachfront property, inland from the old beaches.

Eventually every one of you will realize the cost of doing nothing is greater than the costs of doing something.

It's really pitifull the way eric tries to change the subject. Replace Chad with China.
The whole topic is of course meaningless. Even the IPCC has acknowledged that if the entire world followed their recommendations, we would avoid only 0.07C of the warming the IPCC predicts.

Of course the real scientists are laughing at the politics that drive the IPCC and their bogus scare tactics.

You assume that there is a cost to doing nothing.
That assumption is far from proven.

Heck, it's as close to be disproven as any theorem in science ever gets.

What we know about CO2 concentrations, may not be true?
http://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2007/2007_10-19/2007-11/pdf/38_711_science.pdf

Curb GH gases with Nuclear Power
The "curb the GH gases" movement ignores the obvious - no country will undertake measures that are guaranteed to destroy their economy. We can't expect Chad to forego development, as one poster correctly asserted, if we're not willing to give up our electrical devices and I think the phrase "from my cold dead hands" applies to taking away my keyboard.

Regulatory schemes won't work. Kyoto didn't fail because the US didn't sign on, it failed because it was bad policy. The carbon offsets crowd is advocating another bad policy which, coincidentally, may enrich some of them. If we've decided that we must move away from fossil fuels then the only viable answer at this point in our technology is nuclear power.

Those that insist on reducing greenhouse gases must come forward with a solution - build nuclear power plants. Replace all gas and coal fired plants in the US and build nuclear plants for the developing world. It will only cost $4 - $5 billion per plant, which I'm sure we all agree is a trivial cost to save the planet.

I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that the majority of the "GH gassers" are virulently opposed to nuclear power which tells me that their program isn't about the Earth, it's about political power. Unfortunately, my PC won't run on political power - it needs electricity.

Assuming that IPCC research
is in fact worth anything at all. Try this link
http://www.anenglishmanscastle.com/180_years_accurate_Co2_Chemical_Methods.pdf

Seems Phill Jones at the Hadley Centre has some 'splainin' to do (namely why ice core data only should be accepted for past temperature records, and only as interpreted by him). Of course Jones is the clod who wants to deny everyone access to his raw data, claiming that "all you want to do is find fault with it".

The raw data for Beck's paper above is stored here:
http://www.biokurs.de/treibhaus/180CO2_supp.htm

Your suggestion
makes far too much sense and has been said many times by a large number of very wise individuals. However, AGW isn't about clean power and zero emission industry. It's about de-industrialization. This is a religious movement, and it's a hysterical one.

Resistance to alarmism is never futile
>"Eventually every one of you will realize the cost of doing nothing is greater than the costs of doing something."

The AGW scare will be put to rest next to the population scare, the global cooling scare, the end of oil scare (which seems to find new wings every decade), massive starvation scare, etc.

Once that is finished Roy, LeMule, and the rest of the AGW alarmists will have to find other things to gnash their teeth over. One wonders what other theories they will attach themselves to in order to counter American economic "imperialism".

The science is building up on the side of naturally occuring climate variations. Only hype and fear seem to be keeping your ships afloat.

The next great scare
Will be global cooling.
Within the next 10 to 20 years the sun is going to have a major downturn in it's output. Back to Maunder Minimum type levels.

Some great quotes that outline what is really driving the AGW alarmists
"...we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public's imagination.... So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts.... Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest." Stanford Professor Stephen Schneider

No matter if the science of global warming is all phony... climate change [provides] the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world." Christine Stewart, then Canadian Minister of the Environment

if kyoto is so great - why don't countries go it alone?
if kyoto is so wonderful and will create great growth, why doesn't Europe and the other signatories go it alone???

if the US does not participate then we miss out. too bad for the US. Europe gets to blaze the new enviromental trail and leave the US behind never to catch up.

why??

because everyone knows Kyoto is economic suicide. if Europe wants to die, then let them.

I'll try to find the quote
some French guy, high up in the UN, admits that the primary purpose of Kyoto is to hamstring the US economically.

thanks MTG - french are weasels
the french trying to undermine the US??

naawww. say it isn't so!

one of these days we will figure out the french aren't worth saving.

Climate Change is a fact, Co2 causing it is a blantant lie.
The simple, undeniable, irrefutable truth is that CO2 has almost no bearing whatsoever on global warming. In fact at our current level of approximately 380 PPM, or about .03% of the total earths atmosphere, we are in a severe CO2 depletion cycle. The most abundant periods of life on our planet have been when CO2 levels were over 1000 PPM. Geologically speaking, we are coming out of a mini-ice age, and are simply in the far end of 10,000 - 20,000 year, (about 18,000 years) TEMPORARY warming period in a major ice age.

Furthermore, CO2 levels lag behind global temperature shifts by about 800 years, so unless your willing to say George W. Bush is at fault for the 4th crusades against Greece in 1200, stop blaming CO2 for global warming.

The primary factor in global temperature is water vapor. Which is increasing due to increased under water oceanic volcanism, and to the celestial solar cycles (read our sun.)

It's no big secret
The European delegations were openly talking about it in COP 3-5. The EU has been concerned for decades that their productivity and GDP growth has been outpaced by both the US and Asia. (If you can find the direct quote from the UN, that would be greatly appreciated, because the UN is supposed to be neutral in all this.)

More recently, at the Davos conference late last year, the EU spent a lot of time talking about AGW, at least as reported in the press. Most of the agenda and time however was actually spent talking about China's economic growth. Now we see the consequences of Davos with the headlines this week over the EU pressuring China to approve the draft IPCC 4th report and China fighting back. Up until now, China has been able to huddle with the G-77, as the only focus was on the Annex 1 countries. Now we're talking post-2012, and China is fighting tooth and nail against any inclusion in carbon caps.

It's all about trade and it's only about trade.

No.
Obesity.

Soon the world will be populated with 2-ton humans in 10 to 50 years. The weight of these Homo Lardassians will exert such pressure on the earth's crust that fissures will rip it apart! Surely we must reduce our cholesterol footprint if we want our grandchildren's children to live!

Why is this even an issue
By it's very name the IPCC is a political, not scientific, group. They have but one mission, to push the AGW agenda. Thus, take what they say with a large grain of salt.

Funny thing, this has been the worst year in the past decade for AGW alarmists. Several studies have come to the fore showing that this present climate change has been, at least for the most part, a natural one. Also, very respectable climate scientists, a large number of them in fact, have become quite vocal recently on the evidence against AGW and the reasons why it is not at all proven and, in fact, may be pure hoax. Also, the scoff at the idea that there is some kind of scientific consensus on this "unproven and largely unfounded" theory.

At the present rate, I give the whole AGW thing another 1 to 3 years before it is killed and burried by the weight of science against it. In fact, within 7 to 12 years, I suspect the global cooling alarm bells will begin ringing again!

"Real scientists laughing at the poltics??"
Please back up this horsepuckey with names beyond the usual half dozen.

Quote, please
with attribution

True...
Interesting. Haddick nails this issue. I had problems with his ideas about how to conduct a war...but he absolutely has this one figured out.

Maybe the author should have gone into politics.

Funny, but just about all scientists in the world disagree with you
But keep copying the same Internet lies and thinking you're a real individualist figuing things out for yourself.

Quote the studies you're talking about
Otherwise this is pure smoke.

Let this be a lesson to all of us...
Next time the sky is falling let's all try to remember this moment.

From the world of science and scientists: "Nowhere to turn for climate change deniers"
A recent editorial in New Scientist:

Wriggle-room shrank this week for those who believe that global warming is not caused by human activity. The latest report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that the world is already changing in line with forecasts from computer models that include greenhouse gases as an integral factor (see As polluters quibble, the poor learn their fate).

Everything from the increasing numbers of glacial lakes to the poleward shifts in the ranges of animals and plants is almost certainly down to global warming. The IPCC also finds that natural variation is "very unlikely" to be the sole cause of such changes. Models that include only natural influences on temperature, such as volcanoes and solar activity, are significantly outperformed by models that also include greenhouse gases.

Why shouldn't we take these results at face value? Assuming there is no global scientific conspiracy, the only other occasionally voiced argument is that IPCC scientists have staked so much on greenhouse gases that they are unwilling to brook any alternative. This notion runs so completely counter to what science is about that it is as likely as a global conspiracy.

Scientific ideas are judged by their ability to explain the natural world, and the best ones win. No amount of polemic or political influence will change that, or make a wrong idea right. Some scientists are challenging our ideas on climate change, which is vital if we are to progress. But to overturn present thinking will need very strong evidence because, as the IPCC states, confidence in the idea that anthropogenic warming is changing our world has never been higher.

From issue 2599 of New Scientist magazine, 12 April 2007, page 5

http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/climate-change/mg19425993.000-editorial-nowhere-to-turn-for-climate-change-deniers.html

real scientists
Aren't you worried that many even of the real scientists are afraid to mention contrary evidence because they will lose their:grants, jobs, prospects for more in the future? Sientists often have to follow the orhodoxy or they will be predjudiced in their carreers. In fact the best scientists in history are the ones that broke with the reigning paradigm or orthodoxy; like Einstein, Heisenburg, Galileo, darwin, etc.

selling beachfront property
What's the problem even if it gets flooded. In such cases then won't FEMA just compensate you? That's what they do now in such cases. Apparently John Stossel got them to pay him twice like that.

What about these disenters?
Amongst them are: Prof. Linzen meteorologist at MIT. John Christy, prof of atmospheric science one of the IPCC panel, who said, "a more modest amospheric warming was more likely than what popular theory would suggest. Then, Prof Paul Reiter , Pasteur institute, also member of the IPCC panel who rubbished the consensus claim saying that they'll never ask the dissenting scientist, because they want to scewer the data. Then, Dr. Willie Soon Wei Hock , astrophysicists, Harvard/smythsonian centre who said, "natural climate fluctuations could be a dominant factor" and maybe most important. Then, Dr S. Baliunas at the same place who says it's probably becaue of energy levels from the sun. What about the DAnish natioanl Space center who thinks it's the sun affecting cosmic rays?
As for me, I still recovering from the phoney scare about the ozone hole that was supposed to destroy us.

Send a note to New Scientist
You have a a few dozen on that side. You have thousands on the other, including all the academies and professional organizations in the disciplines in question.

>As for me, I still recovering from the phoney scare about the ozone hole that was supposed to destroy us.

The ozone hole problem was quite real. It was effectively addressed by finding industrial alternatives for the chemicals that caused it. You can read all about it at a Cambridge University web site
http://www.atm.ch.cam.ac.uk/tour/

If you see a factual error on this site, by all means let the people at Cambridge know.

So D's the expert on real scientists too
and the expert on real commies and every thing else. And it doesn't matter what the scientific bodies say, that's all a conspiracy and only Dietmar can see through it, using the skills he learned fighting for Hitler during WWII.

Is this what you're remembering?
from: "Why President Bush Is Right to Abandon the Kyoto Protocol" (http://www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/BG1437.cfm)

we read:

"To be sure, hurling insults at the U.S. President for his honest approach to the problem conveniently diverts attention away from their inability to meet their own targets. As EU Environment Commissioner Margo Wallstrom noted at a recent press conference, "this is not a marginal issue that can be ignored or played down.... It has to do with international relations, with trade, with economics." 55 The primary objective is to secure job growth and economic expansion, not a reduction in emissions. 56"

references:

55. Agence France-Presse, "EU, Alarmed at US Ditching of Kyoto Protocol, to Lobby Washington," March 29, 2001.

56. Novak, "The Kyoto Protocol: Can Annex B Countries Meet Their Commitments?" p. 7.

Go to the COP conferences
and hear it for yourself.

Except the quote is from Novak, not from the French.
The EU commissioner just said that the issue is important. Novak's the one saying it's about jobs, not the French or the EU

so you don't have a quote. Thanks for your frankness
But I know it won't stop many here from repeating the fictional story.

Just making it up as you go along
I witnessed it, I'm the source. Of course you can continue to bury your head in the sand and deny the facts.

Do you live with your head burried in the sand?
For the first time a few MSM outlets have reported on a study of ice cores that doesn't agree witht he AGW crowd; a published study on the sun's output that the present warming is driven largely (if not entirely) by solar output; etc. There have been at least six (that I know of) which go directly against the grain of the AGW agenda.

Also a list of some 40 high level climate scientists who disagree with AGw has been made public and several of them have also given their views and theories in the MSM on the whole GW phenomen. I saw one of them interviewed on TV and he scoffed with a laugh at the idea there is a scientific consensus on AGW. He said something like "I'm one of the top working scientists in the field of climate and climate change and I can tell you that there are many who believe AGW, the majority are very skeptical of AGW and many of us don't beleive this is man-caused at all; in particular, we are sure it is not CO2 driven."

If you are really interested go back to TCS disscussion forum 9038 ( start with: http://www.tcsdaily.com/discussionForum.aspx?fldIdTopic=9038&fldIdMsg=66108)and check out Allen McRae's posts there; those posts have all the sources you'll ever need. Happy reading!!

Your full of it.
Lemuel your a jackass, I take that back, a forcefully ignorant jackass.

Go back to Fark where trolls like you belong.

Denial and more denail
You have a handful - and considering the total number of environomental scientists working in the wold, 40 is a bare handful - of people with some issues about aspects.

Otherwise - this is no longer a close call, despite Allen McRae (where's his degree from) and his cherry-picking
http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/climate-change/

Witnessed it where, at what time, who said it?
Document your assertion, please.

So you have no sources, no arguments, no facts
Thank you for making this clear & have a great day.

Send a note to AGW alarmists and other idiots
>"You have a a few dozen on that side. You have thousands on the other, including all the academies and professional organizations in the disciplines in question."

A great deal more than a few dozen question AGW. But let us start with a quote from Mr. Hanson himself:

"The forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with an accuracy sufficient to define future climate change." - James Hansen, "Climate forcings in the Industrial era", PNAS, Vol. 95, Issue 22, 12753-12758, October 27, 1998.

And that was from the leading scare-monger himself. Here is what your valuable IPCC says about the models:

"In sum, a strategy must recognize what is possible. In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate state is not possible." - Final chapter, Draft TAR 2000 (Third Assessment Report), IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

Here is another good one:

"Reducing the wide range of uncertainty inherent in current model predictions of global climate change will require major advances in understanding and modeling of both (1) the factors that determine atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols, and (2) the so-called “feedbacks” that determine the sensitivity of the climate system to a prescribed increase in greenhouse gases." -- Climate Change Science - An Analysis Of Some Key Questions, p1 (Committee on the Science of Climate Change, National Research Council) ISBN 0-309-07574-2.

So tell me LeMule, do we now understand the factors that determine atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols?

Likewise, do we now understand the so-called “feedbacks” that determine the sensitivity of the climate system to a prescribed increase in greenhouse gases?

No. We do not and probably won't for a long time.

Now, in real science, one does not proclaim the power of consensus as THE defining factor of scientific truth. One allows, even invites, others to delve into their data to determine what stands up to rigorous scientific debate and analysis and what does not. You are the poster boy for those who have no understanding of this fact.

Now on to your greatest stupidity yet (which is quite an accomplishment BTW):

>"The ozone hole problem was quite real."

And quite natural. But you provide a good example of science falling the wayside to make room for hysteria.

>"It was effectively addressed by finding industrial alternatives for the chemicals that caused it. You can read all about it at a Cambridge University web site
http://www.atm.ch.cam.ac.uk/tour/"

Your source is quite old now. Perhaps you would like to really investigate the seasonal opening/closing of the ozone hole and its connections to bromine and certain arctic/antarctic atmospheric conditions before you more thoroughly shove your foot farther into your mouth?

So blast away Troll. I will no longer engage in an argument with you since you have no real yearning for understanding, merely the childish urge to fight.

Have a good time with yourself.

The news reference would be
a delegate(s) who asked not to be named.

As to where
it was at COP 4 in Buenos Aires. As to whom, it came from the EU delegation (sorry, has to remain anonymous).

Oh no! Not more denail!
Pauled, no matter how many atmospheric scientists you present who question the AGW theory, LeMule will never admit that there is no consensus.

To LeMule, and those like him, science is a game of numbers and media savy. If you have the most disciples screaming your party line and you have your faces pasted on more favorable media then your theory must undoubtedly but true.

One is forced to ask what agendas are being pursued when such scorn and disdain is heaped on respected scientists who dare to question such "truth". I am sure even LeMule can think if a few times in history when the science of one man toppled the entrenched, political views of the consensus.

Perhaps I have overstepped my bounds though. Perhaps I should be silenced with a hearty "NAS!"? Yes, indeed I should be.

They never worked for you before...
why would they now?

And you have nothing to say on topic either
But that's nothing new.

It's okay Dietmar...
LeMule is rather a one-trick pony when it comes to insults. He can now easily dismiss anything and everything you say with a "clever" jab at what must have been a painful chapter of your country's history.

Which is surprising since LeMule's support of those brave Hamas and Hizbollah boys would make me assume that he rather liked the ideas of the *****.

Meanwhile he will conveniently forget his myriad examples of source misuse and abuse, downright lies, and sock puppetry.

LeMule likes to ask for sources and facts but is rarely moved to actually check them out. If one is to believe things that LeMule does one needs a potent shield against reality.

So you think the Nobel prize committee got the science on ozone all wrong. Wow!
This is utterly unbelievable.

>"The ozone hole problem was quite real."
>>And quite natural. But you provide a good example of science falling the wayside to make room for hysteria.

And you really think the ozone hole was not created by human activity?? The reason the cambridge site is old is because this is completely established and accepted science. The man who did the basic research establishing the mechanismm: (chlorofluorocarbon chemistry) Professor Sherwood Rowlands, won the Nobel Prize in 1995 for his work. You thnk the Nobel Prize committee got the wool pulled over its eyes?

Rowlands work led to an international ban on

Again: here's what New Scientist says. You know better than them - why??
A recent editorial in New Scientist:

Wriggle-room shrank this week for those who believe that global warming is not caused by human activity. The latest report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that the world is already changing in line with forecasts from computer models that include greenhouse gases as an integral factor (see As polluters quibble, the poor learn their fate).

Everything from the increasing numbers of glacial lakes to the poleward shifts in the ranges of animals and plants is almost certainly down to global warming. The IPCC also finds that natural variation is "very unlikely" to be the sole cause of such changes. Models that include only natural influences on temperature, such as volcanoes and solar activity, are significantly outperformed by models that also include greenhouse gases.

Why shouldn't we take these results at face value? Assuming there is no global scientific conspiracy, the only other occasionally voiced argument is that IPCC scientists have staked so much on greenhouse gases that they are unwilling to brook any alternative. This notion runs so completely counter to what science is about that it is as likely as a global conspiracy.

Scientific ideas are judged by their ability to explain the natural world, and the best ones win. No amount of polemic or political influence will change that, or make a wrong idea right. Some scientists are challenging our ideas on climate change, which is vital if we are to progress. But to overturn present thinking will need very strong evidence because, as the IPCC states, confidence in the idea that anthropogenic warming is changing our world has never been higher.

From issue 2599 of New Scientist magazine, 12 April 2007, page 5

http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/climate-change/mg19425993.000-editorial-nowhere-to-turn-for-climate-change-deniers.html

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