Carbon trading is not about the climate

carbon trading -- chasing a will-o'-the-wisp

Once upon a time, people thought they would stop global warming, caused by carbon dioxide, by extinguishing their fossil-fuelled fires. But everybody loved their fossil fires and depended on them for every good thing in modern life. So they didn’t want to give them up. What would be the best way to persuade the people to extinguish the lovely fires?

Tax or ETS

The people decided that they just had to make the lovely fires more expensive and invent other ways of providing every good thing in modern life. That gave them two options to choose between: let the government put an extra tax on the fossil fuels, or create licences to emit carbon dioxide and let everybody trade them with each other. That was called an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), sometimes “cap and trade”.

Either scheme would have the effect of making the lovely fires more expensive because the cost of the tax or the emission certificates would be added to the price of the goods and services. Naturally, the people would end up paying more, but that was the whole point. All the good things in modern life were destroying the planet so they had to become too expensive to buy and the leaders said that was a sacrifice they were willing to make. Continue Reading →

What’s the evidence?

Anybody studying global warming comes across a lot of obscure blogs and online magazines which rail at “sceptics” and “deniers” for destroying the earth with their obstructionism and their oil-industry-funded arguments. They seem to think that it’s impossible for intelligent people to have reasonable questions about a complex, controversial topic and that therefore sceptics are being deliberately difficult. So they must be shouted at.

Quite a few of those articles get my careful attention because I’m looking for evidence of dangerous man-made global warming. I reason that when they talk about the overwhelming weight of evidence, they could be about to mention the evidence. But none of them do.

Nobody tells me the evidence

Actually, to be precise, many of them mention the evidence but none of them reveal it. Many of them point to the IPCC’s latest report, AR4, but, though it waffles around a lot, there’s nothing conclusive that links human emissions with damaging climatic effects. If I’m wrong, I challenge anyone to point it out to me.

Some writers give references to this or that piece of the puzzle, which on examination turn out to be full of holes, guesswork or based on modelling.

Others go into admirable detail about what could happen if warming got bad. They cannot be refuted because they’re probably right — it would happen. They don’t show any link between human activities and the warming they describe but they make me feel guilty for disagreeing with them — as if I don’t care what happens to the natural world.

Real Climate (Schmidt), Open Mind (Tamino) have banned me

Evidence does not consist of statements such as “the weight of evidence indicates…” or “there is a mounting body of opinion that…” or “it is highly likely (95% probability) that…”.

This question will probably be ignored. However, I must ask: what is the evidence for dangerous man-made global warming?

What persuaded you that the global climate is being changed to a dangerous degree by human activities? There must have been something that persuaded you!

Real Climate and Tamino have banned me and Hot Topic insult me and tell me I’m not welcome because I don’t believe them. These people are afraid of honest questions. Still nobody tells me the evidence.

I’m really curious to know how the believers keep going.