Minnesota judge allows ‘necessity defense’ in pipeline case

It looks like the last of the four “valve turner” trials will include the necessity defense. It was not allowed in the recent North Dakota case, and the two convicts will be sentenced tomorrow.

Here is the report from Town Hall Minnesota judge allows ‘necessity defense’ in pipeline case with my bolds.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota judge has taken the unusual step of allowing four protesters to use a “necessity defense,” enabling them to present evidence that the threat of climate change from Canadian tar sands crude is so imminent that they were justified in trying to shut down two Enbridge Energy oil pipelines last year.

Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein freely acknowledge they turned the emergency shut-off valves on two pipelines on Oct. 11, 2016, in Clearwater County in northwestern Minnesota. It was part of a coordinated action by Climate Direct Action activists to shut down five pipelines that carry tar sands crude from Canada to the U.S. in Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana and Washington state. A total of 11 activists were charged.

Johnston and Klapstein, who are from the Seattle area, said Tuesday that as far as their legal team knows, this is the first time that a judge has allowed a full necessity defense on a climate change issue. They cited recent hurricanes and Western wildfires as evidence that climate change is making natural disasters worse, and they say tar sands oil contributes disproportionately because it generates much more carbon dioxide than other oil.

“It’s not just a question of a looming threat, it’s a disaster happening right now all over the world,” Johnston said.

Klapstein, a retired lawyer, said they know of one case in which a judge allowed evidence about climate change but then told the jury to disregard it.

“It looks like we’re going to be able to bring in all our experts and present our evidence of how dire climate change is, so we’re pretty excited about that,” she said.

Michael Foster, of Seattle, was convicted Oct. 6 of targeting the Keystone pipeline in North Dakota. His judge barred him from using a necessity defense. He now faces up to 21 years in prison when he’s sentenced Jan. 18. A defendant who filmed him was convicted of conspiracy and faces up to 11 years.

Johnston and Klapstein are due to go on trial Dec. 11 on felony charges of criminal damage to critical public service facilities and other counts. The charges carry maximum terms of over 20 years in prison, though prosecutors have said the most likely penalty is up to a year in jail. Two defendants who filmed them will stand trial together later on lesser charges.

In an order Friday, Clearwater County District Judge Robert Tiffany said the four defendants must clear a high legal bar.

In Minnesota, Tiffany wrote, a defendant asserting a necessity defense “must show that the harm that would have resulted from obeying the law would have significantly exceeded the harm actually caused by breaking the law, there was no legal alternative to breaking the law, the defendant was in danger of imminent physical harm, and there was a direct causal connection between breaking the law and preventing the harm.”

The judge said it applies “only in emergency situations where the peril is instant, overwhelming, and leaves no alternative but the conduct in question.”

The defense will have to persuade a jury in a sparsely populated county where Enbridge is a major employer and the largest property taxpayer.

Enbridge condemned the Minnesota protest as “dangerous and reckless.” The Calgary, Alberta-based company said it temporarily shut down the pipelines itself as a precaution.


A Valve Turner’s Trial: Mostly guilty October 6, 2017


PBS Goes Full Climatist

Last evening I watched a Frontline program on PBS: How the War on EPA was Waged.  Below is the trailer, the full hour program is War on the EPA.

At the PBS website are numerous articles lamenting the change in the EPA under the Trump administration. The Frontline themes were already being aired by Democrat senators in the confirmation hearings.

Supposition: EPA exists as a branch of the Environmental Movement.

As is well documented, the EPA since its formation has many achievements in projects addressing pollution of the air and water in the US. Over decades, the agency staffed up with people dedicated to cleaning up and protecting the environment.

But with most of the successes behind them, environmentalists bought into the global warming notion and anti-fossil fuel activism. EPA personnel were predisposed to join in and help lead the charge.

The Frontline documentary described how the skeptical Trump administration confronted the EPA swamp, densely populated by warmists. Of course, the producers show no awareness that the opinions are relative and not absolute, or that fears concerning CO2 emissions are uncertain and debatable.

The video does show Pruitt exposing the false environmentalist dichotomy: “It is not true that if you are for development, you are against the environment, or that if you are for the environment, you are against development.” Then Frontline extensively quotes journalists and former employees, including Pruitt’s predecessor, all of whom take exactly that antagonistic position.

Supposition: Deniers are paid shills for energy capitalists.

Early on, Gina McCarthy talks about all the pushback from industry when she began work on the Clean Power Plan. To illustrate this, the video includes some totally insipid commercials (parodies really) claimed to be industry-sponsored promotion against the EPA agenda.

The presentation seeks continually to link denial of a climate crisis to funding from businessmen promoting their enterprises. In one telling interview, an industrialist says that Sierra Club is lobbying for their agenda, so we have to do the same. Other than that slip, Frontline ignores how Big Green slush funds and NGOs drove EPA actions in the past, even while showing comments from them, for example NRDC (National Resources Defense Council).

Supposition: EPA now pursues only industrial interests.

Overriding all is the notion that Scott Pruitt has engineered an hostile takeover of the agency, and that only industrial interests matter to him. This provides the explanation why employees and scientific advisors (all committed to “fight climate change”) are not consulted, not appreciated, and uninformed of agency plans. Of course they are unhappy and disgusted, and speak out about the betrayal of their cause.

Tonight’s new FRONTLINE documentary, War on the EPA, tells the inside story of how this and other environmental policy rollbacks happened; how Scott Pruitt went from suing the Environmental Protection Agency 14 times, to now running it; and how the anti-regulatory and anti-climate change science movements in America reached this moment of triumph.

“It was eight years of pure hell under the democrat party and Obama,” Bob Murray, CEO of Murray Energy Corp., tells FRONTLINE in the above excerpt from War on the EPA. “But we won! It’s a wonderful victory.”

So it goes with draining the swamp.

Entitled bureaucrats rise up to defend their nest.

Footnote 1:

In Ottawa, the problem is somewhat different. There we have an infestation of bureaucrabs. The term refers to a creature that appears to be making progress, but on closer inspection is moving sideways.

There is also a rumor that increasingly in Ottawa lawyers are being used for scientific experiments instead of rats.  There appear to be three reasons for this:

  1.  There are more lawyers than rats in Ottawa.
  2. People sometimes get emotionally attached to a rat.
  3. There are some things the rats won’t do.

Footnote 2:

For a scientific analysis of how government works, we have a paper reprinted below:

New chemical Element Discovered

The new element is Governmentium (Gv). It has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312, the heaviest of all. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lefton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons or protons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction normally taking less than a second to take from four days to four years to complete.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 3-6 years. It does not decay but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons. All of the money is consumed in the exchange, and no other byproducts are produced. It tends to concentrate at certain points such as government agencies, large corporations, and universities. Usually it can be found in the newest, best appointed, and best maintained buildings.

Scientists point out that administratium is known to be toxic at any level of concentration and can easily destroy any productive reaction where it is allowed to accumulate. Attempts are being made to determine how administratium can be controlled to prevent irreversible damage, but results to date are not promising.

Credit: William DeBuvitz, http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/administ.htm

Footnote 3:

Many know the Yes Minister classic British tv series, but readers may not be aware that the last season of the show, Yes Prime Minister ended with an hilarious send up of the global warming scare. BBC blocked the video outside of UK, but the link below works internationally. Transcripts can be read at Climate Alarms LOL and Laughing at Climate Change

Blatant Hypocrisy re. Social Cost of Carbon


Update of  post from last December, triggered by Michael Greenstone’s comments on the EPA Proposed Repeal of CO2 emissions regulations.  A Washington Post article today, October 11, 2017, includes this:

“My read is that the political decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan was made and then they did whatever was necessary to make the numbers work,” added Michael Greenstone, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago who worked on climate policy during the Obama years.

Activists are frightened about the Clean Power Plan under serious attack along three lines:
1. No federal law governs CO2 emissions.
2. EPA regulates sites, not the Energy Sector.
3. CPP costs are huge, while benefits are marginal.

Complete discussion at CPP has Three Fatal Flaws.

Read below how Greenstone and a colleague did exactly what he now complains about.

Social Cost of Carbon: Origins and Prospects

The Obama administration has been fighting climate change with a rogue wave of regulations whose legality comes from a very small base: The Social Cost of Carbon.

The purpose of the “social cost of carbon” (SCC) estimates presented here is to allow agencies to incorporate the social benefits of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into cost-benefit analyses of regulatory actions that impact cumulative global emissions. The SCC is an estimate of the monetized damages associated with an incremental increase in carbon emissions in a given year. It is intended to include (but is not limited to) changes in net agricultural productivity, human health, property damages from increased flood risk, and the value of ecosystem services due to climate change. From the Technical Support Document: -Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis -Under Executive Order 12866

A recent Bloomberg article informs on how the SCC notion was invented, its importance and how it might change under the Trump administration.
How Climate Rules Might Fade Away; Obama used an arcane number to craft his regulations. Trump could use it to undo them. (here). Excerpts below with my bolds.


In February 2009, a month after Barack Obama took office, two academics sat across from each other in the White House mess hall. Over a club sandwich, Michael Greenstone, a White House economist, and Cass Sunstein, Obama’s top regulatory officer, decided that the executive branch needed to figure out how to estimate the economic damage from climate change. With the recession in full swing, they were rightly skeptical about the chances that Congress would pass a nationwide cap-and-trade bill. Greenstone and Sunstein knew they needed a Plan B: a way to regulate carbon emissions without going through Congress.

Over the next year, a team of economists, scientists, and lawyers from across the federal government convened to come up with a dollar amount for the economic cost of carbon emissions. Whatever value they hit upon would be used to determine the scope of regulations aimed at reducing the damage from climate change. The bigger the estimate, the more costly the rules meant to address it could be. After a year of modeling different scenarios, the team came up with a central estimate of $21 per metric ton, which is to say that by their calculations, every ton of carbon emitted into the atmosphere imposed $21 of economic cost. It has since been raised to around $40 a ton.

Trump can’t undo the SCC by fiat. There is established case law requiring the government to account for the impact of carbon, and if he just repealed it, environmentalists would almost certainly sue.

There are other ways for Trump to undercut the SCC. By tweaking some of the assumptions and calculations that are baked into its model, the Trump administration could pretty much render it irrelevant, or even skew it to the point that carbon emissions come out as a benefit instead of a cost.

The SCC models rely on a “discount rate” to state the harm from global warming in today’s dollars. The higher the discount rate, the lower the estimate of harm. That’s because the costs incurred by burning carbon lie mostly in the distant future, while the benefits (heat, electricity, etc.) are enjoyed today. A high discount rate shrinks the estimates of future costs but doesn’t affect present-day benefits. The team put together by Greenstone and Sunstein used a discount rate of 3 percent to come up with its central estimate of $21 a ton for damage inflicted by carbon. But changing that discount just slightly produces big swings in the overall cost of carbon, turning a number that’s pushing broad changes in everything from appliances to coal leasing decisions into one that would have little or no impact on policy.

According to a 2013 government update on the SCC, by applying a discount rate of 5 percent, the cost of carbon in 2020 comes out to $12 a ton; using a 2.5 percent rate, it’s $65. A 7 percent discount rate, which has been used by the EPA for other regulatory analysis, could actually lead to a negative carbon cost, which would seem to imply that carbon emissions are beneficial. “Once you start to dig into how the numbers are constructed, I cannot fathom how anyone could think it has any basis in reality,” says Daniel Simmons, vice president for policy at the American Energy Alliance and a member of the Trump transition team focusing on the Energy Department.

David Kreutzer, a senior research fellow in energy economics and climate change at Heritage and a member of Trump’s EPA transition team, laid out one of the primary arguments against the SCC. “Believe it or not, these models look out to the year 2300. That’s like effectively asking, ‘If you turn your light switch on today, how much damage will that do in 2300?’ That’s way beyond when any macroeconomic model can be trusted.”

Another issue for those who question the Obama administration’s SCC: It estimates the global costs and benefits of carbon emissions, rather than just focusing on the impact to the U.S. Critics argue that this pushes the cost of carbon much higher and that the calculation should instead be limited to the U.S.; that would lower the cost by more than 70 percent, says the CEI’s Mario Lewis.

Still, by narrowing the calculation to the U.S., Trump could certainly produce a lower cost of carbon. Asked in an e-mail whether the new administration would raise the discount rate or narrow the scope of the SCC to the U.S., one person shaping Trump energy and environmental policy replied, “What prevents us from doing both?”


CPP has Three Fatal Flaws


Captains of industry contending with a sea of Obama era regulations.

Thanks to Rich Lowry’s article at National Review and some other sources, we can see clearly the three fatal flaws bringing down the Clean Power Plan in its entirety. Lowry wrote The Great Regulatory Rollback. Excerpts below with my bolds and images.

1. No federal law governs CO2 emissions.

Lowry: The Clean Power Plan, which sought to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, was government by the administrative state on a scale that has never been attempted before. The EPA took a dubious reading of a portion of the Clean Air Act (Section 111, which arguably prevented the EPA from taking this action rather than empowered it to do so) and used it to mandate that the states adopt far-reaching plans to reduce carbon emissions, under threat of the loss of federal highway funds.

In an August ruling of the DC Court of Appeals, the justices put it in writing:

However, EPA’s authority to regulate ozone-depleting substances under Section 612 and other statutes does not give EPA authority to order the replacement of substances that are not ozone depleting but that contribute to climate change. Congress has not yet enacted general climate change legislation. Although we understand and respect EPA’s overarching effort to fill that legislative void and regulate HFCs, EPA may act only as authorized by Congress. Here, EPA has tried to jam a square peg (regulating non-ozone depleting substances that may contribute to climate change) into a round hole (the existing statutory landscape).

The Supreme Court cases that have dealt with EPA’s efforts to address climate change have taught us two lessons that are worth repeating here. See, e.g., Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, 134 S. Ct. 2427 (2014). First, EPA’s well intentioned policy objectives with respect to climate change do not on their own authorize the agency to regulate. The agency must have statutory authority for the regulations it wants to issue. Second, Congress’s failure to enact general climate change legislation does not authorize EPA to act. Under the Constitution, congressional inaction does not license an agency to take matters into its own hands, even to solve a pressing policy issue such as climate change.
From the Court Document On Petitions for Review of Final Action by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Additional discussion at DC Appeals Court Denies EPA Climate Rules

2. EPA regulates sites, not the Energy Sector.

Lowry: The presumption of the plan was jaw-dropping. The EPA usually targets pollutants; carbon dioxide isn’t one (although the Supreme Court erroneously said that it meets the definition in the case of Massachusetts v. EPA). The EPA has always regulated specific power plants; in this scheme, it went “outside the fence” to mandate broader actions by the states, e.g., the adoption of quotas for renewable energy. The EPA once considered its mandate to be protecting clear air and water for Americans; with the Clean Power Plan, it sought to adjust the global thermostat for the good of all of humanity.

From the EPA document Repeal of Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines

That the CPP depends on the employment of measures that cannot be applied at and to an individual source is evident from its treatment of coal-fired power plants. The rule established performance standards for coal-fired plants assuming a uniform emissions rate well below that which could be met by existing units through any retrofit technology of reasonable cost available at the time. This means that, in order to comply, many owners or operators of existing coal-fired units were expected to shift generation from such units to gas-fired units or to renewable generation. Similarly, the rule contemplated that gas-fired units would shift generation to renewable generation. The rule therefore is formulated in reliance on and anticipation of actions taken across the electric grid, rather than actions taken at and applied to individual units. Pp 8-9

The EPA is proposing to repeal the CPP in its entirety. The EPA proposes to take this action because it proposes to determine that the rule exceeds its authority under the statute, that those portions of the rule which arguably do not exceed its authority are not severable and separately implementable, and that it is not appropriate for a rule that exceeds statutory authority—especially a rule of this magnitude and with this level of impact on areas of traditional state regulatory authority—to remain in existence pending a potential, successive rulemaking process.Pg 12

After reconsidering the statutory text, context, and legislative history, and in consideration of the EPA’s historical practice under CAA section 111 as reflected in its other existing CAA section 111 regulations, the Agency proposes to return to a reading of CAA section 111(a)(1) (and its constituent term, “best system of emission reduction”) as being limited to emission-reduction measures that can be applied to or at an individual stationary source. That is, such measures must be based on a physical or operational change to a building, structure, facility, or installation at that source, rather than measures that the source’s owner or operator can implement on behalf of the source at another location. The EPA believes that this is the best construction of CAA section 111(a)(1), as explained in detail below, for several reasons.pg 14

Therefore, the EPA proposes that the BSER be limited to measures that physically or operationally can be applied to or at the source itself to reduce its emissions. Generation shifting—which accounts for a significant percentage of the emissions reductions projected in the CPP and without which individual sources could not meet the CPP’s requirements—fails to comply with this limitation. Accordingly, the EPA proposes to repeal the CPP.pg25-26

In addition, while the EPA is authorized to regulate emissions from sources in the power sector and to consider the impact of its standards on the generation mix in setting standards to avoid negative energy impacts, regulation of the nation’s generation mix itself is not within the Agency’s authority. Regulation of the energy sector qua energy sector is generally undertaken by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and States, depending on which markets are being regulated. Pg.27

3. CPP costs are huge, while benefits are marginal.

Lowry: The last gets to the absurdity of the Clean Power Plan on its own terms — it did virtually nothing to affect global warming. As Benjamin Zycher of the American Enterprise Institute points out, the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan (which includes the Clean Power Plan) would reduce the global temperature by 15 one-thousandths of a degree by 2100. The point wasn’t to fight climate change per se, but to signal our climate virtue in the hopes of catalyzing action by other nations and, not incidentally, hobble the U.S. coal industry in favor of more politically palatable sources of energy, namely wind and solar.

An irony emerges on this third point. In order to propose a regulatory change, the EPA must present calculations pertaining to the “Social Cost of Carbon (SCC)”, now renamed “Social Cost of CO2 (SC-CO2)”. In the document released by EPA, this Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA), begins on page 30 with several tables.

Methodology Considerations:

In addition to presenting results from the 2015 CPP RIA, this RIA uses two additional quantitative approaches to analyze the effects of the CPP in order to present information on the potential effects of the proposed repeal of the CPP. The first approach involves a modest reworking of the 2015 CPP RIA to increase transparency and illuminate the uncertainties associated with assessing benefits and costs of the CPP, as reflected in the 2015 analysis, as well as analyzing the potential effects of the CPP repeal. More specifically, this analysis increases transparency of the 2015 CPP analysis by presenting the energy efficiency cost savings as a benefit rather than a cost reduction and provides a bridge to future analyses that the agency is committed to performing. The current analysis also provides alternative approaches for examining the foregone benefits, including more clearly distinguishing the direct benefits from the co-benefits and exploring alternative ways to illustrate the impacts on the total net benefits of the uncertainty in health co-benefits at various PM2.5 cutpoints. This approach shifts the focus to the domestic (rather than global) social cost of carbon, and employs both 3 percent and 7 percent discount rates. Finally, we consider that how changing market conditions and technologies may have affected future actions that may have been undertaken by states to comply with the CPP and how these changes may affect the potential benefits and costs of the CPP repeal. Pg. 30

As the RIA analyzes costs and benefits applying a variety of different methods and discount rates, there is a relatively large number of results. We present the full suite of avoided compliance cost, forgone benefit, and net benefit results discussed in the RIA in Tables 1 through 3. Pg 33

Therefore, in Tables 4 and 5 we offer another perspective on the costs and benefits of this rule by presenting a comparison of the forgone benefits from the targeted pollutant – CO2 – (the costs of this proposed rule) with the avoided compliance cost (the benefits of this proposed rule). Excluded from this comparison are the forgone benefits from the SO2 and NOX emission reductions that were also projected to accompany the CO2 reductions. However, had those SO2 and NOX reductions been achieved through other means, then they would have been represented in the baseline for this proposed repeal (as well as for the 2015 Final CPP), which would have affected the estimated costs and benefits of controlling CO2 emissions alone. Pg.37

Table 5 Gives the Bottom Line (in billions of US$)

Year Discount 
Compliance Costs 
Forgone Domestic 
Climate Benefits
2020 3% ($0.30) $0.10
7% ($0.30) $0.00
2025 3% $14.50 $1.30
7% $14.50 $0.20
2030 3% $14.40 $2.50
7% $14.40 $0.40



There will be lots of pushback on these numbers since they show billions of compliance cost against miniscule benefits.

Lowry: If Congress had authorized the EPA to remake the nation’s energy economy, we would presumably be aware of it and recall an impassioned congressional debate over this radical and costly change. In fact, the opposite is true. Congress has declined to enact laws limiting carbon emissions, including when Democrats held both houses of Congress under President Obama. If the future of the planet is at stake and it requires a generational effort to save it, surely it is not too much to ask that a statute or two be enacted by Congress explicitly committing the country to the task. Yes, this requires winning elections and gaining democratic assent, but such are the challenges of living in a republic and a nation of laws.


For background on SCC, now termed SC-CO2:

Social Cost of Carbon: Origins and Prospects

Six Reasons to Rescind Social Cost of Carbon

SBC: Social Benefits of Carbon


Climate Science: Put Up or Shut Up

That’s the theme of an article by Rowan Dean in The Courier-Mail, Australia:  Time for climate scientists to produce evidence that carbon dioxide emissions affect climate  Full text below with my bolds and images.

IT’S time for so-called climate scientists to either cough up one single, solitary shred of genuine scientific evidence that proves that the climate is being changed by mankind’s carbon dioxide emissions, or ‘fess up and admit that the whole thing is a gigantic hoax.

That’s the bottom line.

Asked at the beginning of this year for one of those “predictions for 2017”, I claimed that this would be the year the Australian public wakes up and realises they are being hoodwinked by the whole climate change/renewables scam.

I told Paul Murray’s lively late night TV show on Sky News that 2017 would be the year the climate con comes to an end. So how is my prediction going?

Well, so far this year two extraordinary books have come out, and one insightful film, that support my argument that the public is indeed waking up to the tricks of the climate change/renewables fraud.

Climate Change: The Facts 2017, a series of essays published by the Institute of Public Affairs, not only debunks the entire scare campaign about the Great Barrier Reef, but in a piece of superb investigative work Dr Jennifer Marohasy exposes the Bureau of Meteorology’s embarrassing manipulation of temperature data.

The book has sold out three print runs and gained serious attention overseas. Then came the surprise hit film Climate Hustle by sceptic Marc Morano, which was, ironically, more popular than the scaremongering Al Gore film it challenged.

And this week a new book is coming out by Australia’s Ian Plimer, one of our greatest geologists.

Called Climate Change Delusion and the Great Electricity Rip-off it’s a must-read for anyone who still believes they’re saving the planet by paying through the nose for electricity.  Because you’re not. The planet is doing just fine with or without your financial impoverishment, and whatever changes may or may not be occurring to our planet’s climate, it almost certainly has nothing to do with your gas bill.

As Plimer points out, Australia is blessed with an abundance of the cheapest and cleanest energy on the planet, yet we are paying the highest electricity prices on earth.

Put simply, that doesn’t add up. And when something smells fishy, it’s because it is.

Australian taxpayers are being ripped off by deluded luvvies (Turnbull is one of the worst) pandering to the voracious leeches of the renewables industry and their greedy investors gorging on a bloated smorgasbord of your cash which they siphon up via subsidies, targets and bills.

Yet, as Plimer points out, it’s all in vain. With rigorous scientific and geological data, Plimer provides evidence that the climate “experts” fail to provide. He shows that Earth has frequently warmed up, cooled down, and warmed up again, but this process has never had anything to do with CO2.

Indeed, the geological evidence is that Earth’s coldest periods often had far higher atmospheric CO2 levels than we do now. What’s more, the mild warming we may currently be experiencing (we are, geologically speaking, still in an Ice Age and moving slowly out of it) has always been associated in human history with increased health, wealth, fertility and prosperity.

Mankind’s most successful times have been in periods such as the Roman era or medieval warming when the Earth was warmer than it is now.

Indeed, we are currently seeing flora around the globe getting greener and more fertile as CO2 levels increase.

Meanwhile, desperately trying to reinvigorate the whole tiresome climate change alarmist nonsense, this year we got Al Gore’s latest horror flick-cum-ad for his own renewables investments An Inconvenient Sequel (what an unoriginal title).

Showing suitably terrifying footage of storms, floods and hurricanes, the film was a box-office flop that received lacklustre reviews at best. Oh, and the other day an ANU “climate scientist” made the hysterical (and unprovable) claim that Sydney and Melbourne “could” roast in 50 degree summers by the end of the century.

Global Mean Temperature from land and ocean expressed in absolute degrees F.

That’s it. And still no proof that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are warming the planet. Still no proof that a warmer planet can be avoided, or would actually be a bad thing. Still no proof that removing civilisation’s reliance on coal is even remotely feasible. Still no proof that even if we did do all the things climate fanatics want us to do and destroy our economies and lifestyles, it would make the slightest difference to global temperatures. And still no proof that we even need to.

The biggest con of all is that Australian voters are denied any political leadership courageous enough to call out this scaremongering for what it is, cancel all our subsidies, targets and the Paris Agreement, which only enrich renewables carpetbaggers, and return us to a land blessed with cheap, abundant energy.



Climate activist Michael Foster is on trial in North Dakota this week. The judge has barred Dr. James Hansen and other climate science experts from testifying. (Photo: Climate Direct Action)

Excerpts (my bolds) from article published in the High Plains Reader, Fargo North Dakota A Valve Turner’s Trial: Mostly Guilty

Friends call Michael Foster the valve turner a hero, the state is trying him as a criminal, and the Keystone Pipeline named him a terrorist for stopping their oil pipeline flow for eight hours in 2016.  After a week of trial and a five-hour deliberation, a jury found Foster guilty on all counts, except reckless endangerment, leaving felony criminal mischief, felony conspiracy to commit criminal mischief, and criminal trespass, a misdemeanor.

Foster’s co-defendant, Sam Jessup, who filmed the action, was convicted of felony conspiracy to commit criminal mischief and misdemeanor conspiracy trespass, both sentences which could carry a maximum of 11 years imprisonment.

Foster’s trial brought activist groups, civil rights advocates, climate change analysts, reporters from Washington D.C. and New York, to the picturesque town of Cavalier, population barely 1,300, the seat of Pembina County.

Lady Justice stands tall above the neoclassical-styled courthouse, but her scales dipped heavily with Foster’s case. On the trial’s third and fourth days, Judge Laurie A. Fontaine denied Foster’s necessity defense, denied the testimonies of four expert witnesses on Climate Change, and denied motions for acquittal by the defense.

“While the proffered experts could testify to the data supporting the existence and severity of climate change, there is no argument that they have the knowledge or expertise to testify on how knowledge of climate change affects an individual defendant’s mental state, intent, or level of culpability,” court documents said.

Foster, 52, stands accused of felonies with a maximum sentence of 22 years in prison, years more than any other activist arrested. His action – considered the biggest coordinated move on U.S. energy infrastructure undertaken by environmental protesters – has been covered by national media, but little has been reported by mainstream media in North Dakota.

Foster helped halt 15 percent of US oil consumption for the day. Jessup, who filmed Foster on October 11, 2016, is being tried as a conspirator.  Kirschner argued for his client, Jessup, that the two did not conspire; Jessup was there to film, and he never entered the manual shut-off valve control area, known as Walhalla 8-2, as it is 8.2 miles from the Canadian border.

“My client was there when a crime was being committed,” Kirschner said. “My client was there to record and live stream. Just being there doesn’t make him a conspirator to criminal trespass. There is no evidence that he said or planned anything beforehand.”

“He bragged ahead of time, he boasted after the fact,” prosecutor Byers said of Foster. “He shut down the Keystone Pipeline, he knew he would cause losses of more than $10,000. Yes, nobody was injured, but an untrained operator not knowing the equipment he’s using – it didn’t go bad, but it certainly could have. There is enough evidence to have a jury possibly convict.”

Climate guru Dr. James Hansen, a former NASA researcher, was one of the expert witnesses planning to testify. “I’m the one who said tar sands are ‘game over’ for climate, and here [is Michael Foster] facing trial for trying to do something about it.”

Sentences will be handed down next week.

Lady Justice stands tall above the neoclassical-styled courthouse, Pembina County, North Dakota


That’s three of four valve turners who failed to get the necessity defense to work.  (Minnesota case TBD)  A previous defendant, who attended this trial, got off with time served, a slap on the wrist.  This no nonsense judge seems determined to apply the law with no allowance for religious beliefs concerning the climate.  I particularly liked the ruling barring experts since it suggested that claiming climate necessity is like pleading insanity.  The sentences should be interesting.

Background on climate criminal cases: https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/jury-hangs-instead-of-climate-activist/


Another Climate Push Poll

University of Chicago News headline says Most Americans want government to combat climate change, poll finds

The report is summarized in this graphic:

It should be obvious that for decades, opinion polls have been deployed as a marketing tool. Information is gathered, but more importantly public awareness and concern is raised according to the interests of the survey sponsors. The industry calls these “push polls” and conduct them annually, or even more frequently, intending to mold public opinion in the direction of climate alarmism, and to claim support for policies favored by sponsors.

Interpreting Poll Results

In order to take meaning from a poll, you have to know the context and specifically what questions were asked, what responses were allowed and in what sequence (i.e. the methodology).

Some contextual facts were suppressed in the above report. To discuss them, let us consider the first question put to participants:

Q31. How important are the following issues to you personally?

The grid shows results from two surveys, the last one 8/17-21/2017, and the previous one 6/8-11/2017. First column includes six issues and the number of participants in the August survey. The June survey only had five issues.  Numbers in the grid are % of responses.

8//2017 8//2017 8//2017 6//2017 6//2017 6//2017
AP-NORC/EPIC 8/17-21/2017 Not at all
Not at all
The economy (n=992) 5 18 77 4 14 81
Immigration (n=1,038) 17 32 50 21 32 47
Health care (n=992) 5 11 84 3 14 82
Climate change (n=1,038) 25 26 48 25 21 53
Terrorism (n=992) 10 22 68 8 14 77
Energy policy (n=1,038) 16 29 54 NA NA NA

Regarding Participation: We have responses from 1038 Americans, which was a completion rate of 27%. Thus these results come from a subset of people who chose to respond, and unsurprisingly they express concerns. Of course, we don’t know about what the others care.

In that context, all the issues rate as important, with climate change coming in last place in August, and next to last in June.

Regarding Survey Frame:

The Survey is entitled Public Opinion on Energy Policy under the Trump Administration, and sure enough, the second question is:
Q32. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president? (with follow ups to get whether strongly or only somewhat).

Since the pollsters know more people disapprove of Trump than approve, putting this question early creates a central tendency to respond in negation to perceived Trump positions. Further, it signals that this is about politics not science.

Regarding the Survey Subject:

Now to the meat (or rather the lack of it). Next Question:
Q33. Do you think climate change is happening, do you think climate change is not happening, or aren’t you sure?

Here people are asked about an undefined buzzword “climate change” and whether it is happening or not, in their opinion. Could any question be more vacuous?
(Synonyms for “Vacuous”: silly, inane, unintelligent, insipid, foolish, stupid, fatuous, idiotic, brainless, witless, vapid, vacant, empty-headed.)

The responses tell us only about badges that people like or dislike. And since “climate change” has been a political football, used by the left as a wedge issue, this will be a positive buzzword for Democrats and a negative one for Republicans. And since the population has more Dems, and since the survey sample is 36% Democrats and 23% Republicans, the desired response is assured.

Survey Says:  Happening 72%, Not Happening 9%, Not sure 19%.

BTW in 2017 Happening is down 5% from 2016, while Not Sure is up 6%, so you can read the tea leaves any way you like.

Then, for those who think climate change is happening (Lord only knows what that actually means for any of the individuals), they then get to tell us about causation:

If climate change is happening in Q33
Q34. Do you think climate change is caused entirely by human activities, caused mostly by human activities, caused about equally by human activities and natural changes in the environment, caused mostly by natural changes in the environment, or caused entirely by natural changes in the environment?

Since this question is only put to the 72%, who said yes in Q33, the responses to Q34 are:
55% out of 774 say Caused entirely/mostly by human activities
32% out ot 774 say Caused equally by human activities and natural changes in the environment
12% out of 774 say Caused mostly/entirely by natural changes in the environment

Pollsters will be tempted to add the 32% to 55%, but that is misleading. The equally caused response is a mixed bag. Some knowledgeable people (like Dr. Curry) know that human and natural factors of global warming (if that is what we are talking about) have not yet been separated, and 50-50 can be an educated guess.

But from experience I can say that the equal causation includes many people who didn’t want to say “Don’t know.” Often these climate push polls ask people: “How much do you feel you know about global warming?” Typically about 25% say they know a lot, 60% say they know a little, and the rest less than a little. As we know from other researchers, more climate knowledge increases skepticism for many, so it is likely the soft number includes many who feel they really don’t know.

The only firm number out of this is that 41% of respondents feel that climate change is happening and that humans are mostly the cause. (426 out of 1038). Not surprisingly that finding does not appear anywhere.

Regarding Polling Bias

The poll was funded by EPIC ( Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago). In presenting their climate research, EPIC says this:

Climate change is considered by many to be the most urgent, global challenge. The impacts of climate change are already emerging in more damaging and frequent storms, extreme temperature changes, agricultural changes, and depleting water supplies. Efforts to address climate change, however, have proceeded slowly.

I think we can guess how EPIC personnel would answer the questionnaire.

There are many additional questions in the poll results (here)

For example, consider several questions raised regarding fracking. Included were these:

Q44B. One recent study found babies in the womb experience negative health effects from close exposure to a hydraulic fracturing site. The effects were strongest within a half mile of the site, with babies 25% more likely to have a low birth weight. Birth weights were not different for pregnant mothers living more than 2 miles from the site. Would you say you favor, oppose, or neither favor nor oppose the use of hydraulic fracturing in the United States?

Q44D. One recent study found that hydraulic fracturing triggered earthquakes in Oklahoma. The study found that the injection of wastewater, part of the hydraulic fracturing process, triggered the earthquakes. Would you say you favor, oppose, or neither favor nor oppose the use of hydraulic fracturing in the United States?

And this one tests how you feel about being an outsider.

Q40. As you may know, nearly 200 countries recently signed an international agreement in Paris to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Do you support, oppose, or neither support nor oppose the United States withdrawing from this international agreement?


Climate change is now totally a socio-political movement in support of a $1.5 trillion industry, and the only thing that matters is winning hearts and minds (well minds maybe not). A similar survey was done in Canada, specifically to claim public support for what Trudeau wanted to do all along: Impose a carbon tax. This was done despite what that survey showed behind the smoke and mirrors.

Note that Canadians may be more picky than Americans, and so they got a question with more substance:
1. “From what you’ve read and heard, is there solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past four decades?”
2. [If yes, solid evidence] “Is the earth getting warmer mostly because of human activity such as burning fossil fuels or mostly because of natural patterns in the earth’s environment?”
For more see Uncensored: Canadians View Global Warming

This blog has as a slogan: Reading between the lines and underneath the hype. It doesn’t look like the job is getting any lighter.  When you see or hear anything climate-related in the media, start by assuming the report is myopic, lop-sided, or both, until proven otherwise.  How to go about proving otherwise is demonstrated with several examples in the post Impaired Climate Vision.

Media Duping Scandal

Being “framed” is slang when someone is blamed for something they did not do, i.e. being set up by means of false evidence and witnesses.  For example, this is current news:

Majority of Americans now say climate change makes hurricanes more intense, poll finds
A majority of Americans say that global climate change contributed to the severity of recent hurricanes in Florida and Texas, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. That marks a significant shift of opinion from a dozen years ago, when a majority of the public dismissed the role of global warming and said such severe weather events just happen from time to time.

In a 2005 Post-ABC poll, taken a month after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast and devastated New Orleans, 39 percent of Americans said they believed climate change helped to fuel the intensity of hurricanes. Today, 55 percent believe that.

Gee, do you think that all the mass media reports connecting the storms with climate change had anything to do with that polling result?  Here is just today’s sample from Google News of mainstream press articles pushing the linkage.

Hurricanes spur Schneider action on climate change Chicago Tribune

Hurricanes: A perfect storm of chance and climate change? BBC News

Like hurricanes, climate change is dangerous, but smart storm fixes won’t help climate USA TODAY

Next-generation models revealing climate change effect on hurricanes Phys.Org

After hurricanes, climate change resurfaces in Washington Houston Chronicle

Scientific models saved lives from Harvey and Irma. They can from climate change too The Guardian

National Guard chief cites ‘bigger, larger, more violent’ hurricanes as possible evidence of climate change Washington Post

Paradise lost? Caribbean leaders want action on climate change and help rebuilding Miami Herald

Yes, climate change made Harvey and Irma worse CNN

In addition, there are dozens of articles from climate advocacy sites like Greenpeace, Huffpost, Insideclimatenews, etc.

An exception to the onslaught appeared to be this one from The Stranger Why Connecting Climate Change with Powerful Hurricanes Is Doing More Damage Than Good

But it turns out to be another extreme hit piece by Sarah Myhre, who is no stranger to alarmism. (Background at Again Falsely Linking Smoking and Climate Science)

This time she attacks the media reporting on hurricanes and climate change, because they seem to allow for doubt (tsk, tsk). (Below her text with my bolds)

We need to poke a hole in this toxic narrative and news cycle around climate attribution. When I say attribution, what I am referring to are the ongoing arguments of attributing specific weather events to climate change: Was Hurricane Harvey caused by climate change? Was the low snow year of 2015, up and down the Cascadian mountains, caused by climate change? These questions—individually—are interesting and important to answer. But the science of Earth system change is not altered by the relative statistical significance of our attribution certainty. Far from it.

What’s more, this framing of attribution uncertainty is continually used to support climate action obstruction and denialist voices in our culture. When you hear pandering equivocation about climate and weather events, alarm bells should start ringing in your head. This news cycle is absolutely toxic and we together need to get our broad cultural conversation off this hamster wheel.

One closing point: When we use uncertainty around attributing individual weather events to climate change to call for “more data” or “better climate science” (think of Cliff Mass) we are driving a wedge between public health and public safety. We mislead the public because the message we send is: We don’t know what’s happening. This simply isn’t true; we do know what is happening. However, in some cases, we lack high-quality time series data to statistically detect the signal of climate from the noise of weather.


The last line in Myhre’s article says it all: We know what’s going on, we just don’t have the facts yet.

Despite all of the levelheaded statements by hurricane experts cautioning against jumping to these conclusions, and despite the IPCC SREX reports saying the linkage is not proven, the media and activists went on a rant proclaiming climate change makes hurricanes worse. They trumpeted these claims, and now take pride in a survey showing they succeeded in duping the public. That is a duping scandal and the mass media is at fault.  Shame on them.

Background from Previous Post:

Climate Thought Control explains the deliberate media strategy to mold public opinion in support of climate change activism.

Jennifer Good is a communications professor explaining how the media is expected to mold public opinion in favor of climate activism. Her article in the Toronto Star Putting hurricanes and climate change into the same frame is revealing, especially the subtitle A study shows network Hurricane coverage this month did not link an increase in extreme weather to global warming. 

The prof is disappointed that climate change was not even more frequently mentioned in stories about the recent hurricanes. She considers it an opportunity missed.  (Update: Since her article was published, the media took up the cause big time.) Some excerpts below with my bolds.

I have analyzed two weeks of broadcast news stories that appeared on America’s seven largest TV networks as well as Canada’s CTV network. In just over 1,500 stories about hurricanes, “Trump” was discussed in 907 of those stories (or about 60 per cent), while “business” was discussed in 572 of those stories (or about 38 per cent).

“Climate change” was discussed in just 79 of the hurricane stories — or about five per cent.

What’s Wrong with Professional, Objective Reporting?

The fundamental answer is that climate change and extreme weather (i.e., hurricanes) need to be framed together more often. As scientists have pointed out, while climate change is not causing the weather, it is definitely exacerbating the weather. But increasingly adding climate change to the extreme weather frame is only the tip of the (yes, melting) iceberg. Alternatives to “business as usual” need to be part of the media’s, and our, extreme weather frames.

Of those 1,500 broadcast news stories involving hurricanes, only four also mentioned “fossil fuels,” and not a single news broadcast discussed “alternative energy.”

Similarly, while “economy” is discussed in 187 of the hurricane news stories, only 18 stories discussed hurricanes, the economy and climate change together; and not one story explored the links between an economic model based on endless growth, and the implications of this endless growth for the planet and climate change.

The Purpose of Media is to Manipulate Public Opinion

In his seminal 2010 paper “Why It Matters How We Frame the Environment,” published in the journal Environmental Communication, the American linguist and philosopher George Lakoff offered that the world is made up of frames. “Framing” is how our neural system defines a concept by grouping together what goes with — or gets framed with — that concept. Our brains are wired this way.

For example, when you read “climate change,” your brain immediately frames the concept of climate change with certain words and concepts. Everyone cognitively frames “climate change” somewhat differently, but there might also be large overlaps. Terms like “fossil fuels” and “human activity” might be in many people’s climate change frames, although frames can differ widely. (Think, for example, of climate change skeptics.)

Not surprisingly, the news media plays a significant role in how our brains frame concepts. The more the media frames a story by associating it with certain words and concepts, the more likely we are to use those same words and concepts in our own framing.

And conversely, if the news media never framed a story using certain concepts, there is “hypocognition,” or as Lakoff proposed, a “lack of ideas we need.”

In times of crisis, there are many immediate and urgent stories that need to be told about lives and loss, bravery and struggle. But crisis also provides an opportunity for change — an opportunity to shift our frames and include the ideas we desperately need.

So far, that opportunity seems to have been missed. Meanwhile, the oceans get warmer.

The Other Side of the Story

While the prof is totally convinced she knows what the public needs to know about weather and climate, actual weather scientists disagree with her.  In fact, the efforts to link storms and fossil fuels were present way too often and hindered the public from understanding these events.

For instance, Hurricane scientist Dr. Ryan Maue ripped climate ‘hype’ on Irma & Harvey in his WSJ article Climate Change Hype Doesn’t Help.

As soon as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma made landfall in the U.S., scientists, politicians and journalists began to discuss the role of climate change in natural disasters. Although a clear scientific consensus has emerged over the past decade that climate change influences hurricanes in the long run, its effect upon any individual storm is unclear. Anyone trying to score political points after a natural disaster should take a deep breath and review the science first.

As a meteorologist with access to the best weather-forecast model data available, I watched each hurricane’s landfall with particular interest. Harvey and Irma broke the record 12-year major hurricane landfall drought on the U.S. coastline. Since Wilma in October 2005, 31 major hurricanes had swirled in the North Atlantic but all failed to reach the U.S. with a Category 3 or higher intensity.

Even as we worked to divine exactly where the hurricanes would land, a media narrative began to form linking the devastating storms to climate change. Some found it ironic that states represented by “climate deniers” were being pummeled by hurricanes. Alarmists reveled in the irony that Houston, home to petrochemical plants, was flooded by Harvey, while others gleefully reported that President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago might be inundated by Irma.

By focusing on whether climate change caused a hurricane, journalists fail to appreciate the complexity of extreme weather events. While most details are still hazy with the best climate modeling tools, the bigger issue than global warming is that more people are choosing to live in coastal areas, where hurricanes certainly will be most destructive.


Actual scientists are calling for less, not more manipulative journalism.

And as for the oceans getting warmer, Prof. Good, that is due to the oceans storing and releasing solar energy, nothing to do with burning fossil fuels.  The oceans heat the atmosphere, and not the other way around.  See Empirical Evidence: Oceans Make Climate

Footnote:  If Framing doesn’t work, what’s next?

Paris is a Parrot

“The Paris Accord is not dead, it is just resting.”

Lawrence Solomon of Energy Probe thinks the Paris Accord is a dead parrot, as he writes in the Financial Post: Paris is dead. The global warming deniers have won. Excerpts below with my bolds.

As Solomon sees it, events are unfolding in a way that proves Trump’s wisdom in withdrawing the US from the failing Paris Accord.

Huge Expansion of Coal-fired Power Plants

The Global Coal Plant Tracker portal confirmed that coal is on a tear, with 1600 plants planned or under construction in 62 countries. The champion of this coal-building binge is China, which boasts 11 of the world’s 20 largest coal-plant developers, and which is building 700 of the 1600 new plants, many in foreign countries, including high-population countries such as Egypt and Pakistan that until now have burned little or no coal.

China builds UHV projects across regions allowing coal-fired power stations to be built near coal reserves, away from population centers

All told, the plants underway represent a phenomenal 43 per cent increase in coal-fired power capacity, making Trump’s case that China and other Third World countries are eating the West’s lunch, using climate change as a club to kneecap us with expensive power while enriching themselves.

Sagging Investment in Renewables

As reported by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, renewables investment fell in 2016 by 18 per cent over the peak year of 2015, and nine per cent over 2014. In the first two quarters of 2017, the trend continued downward, with double-digit year-over-year declines in each of the first two quarters. Even that paints a falsely rosy picture, since the numbers were propped up by vanity projects, such as the showy solar plants built in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. In the U.K., renewable investment declined by 90 per cent.

None of the Bloomberg data represents hard economic data, however, since virtually all renewables facilities are built with funny money — government subsidies of various kinds. As those subsidies come off, a process that has begun, new investment will approach zero per cent, and the renewables industry will collapse. Even with Obama-sized subsidies, the clean-energy industry has seen massive bankruptcies, the largest among them in recent months being Europe’s largest solar panel producer, SolarWorld, in May, and America’s Suniva, in April.

Renewables are Environmental Hazards

As reported in July in Daily Caller, solar panels create 300 times more toxic waste per kilowatt-hour than nuclear reactors — they are laden with lead, chromium, cadmium and other heavy metals damned by environmentalists; employ hazardous materials such as sulfuric acid and phosphine gas in their manufacture; and emit nitrogen trifluoride, a powerful greenhouse gas that is 17,200 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas over a 100-year time period.


Climate Doom and Gloom Predictions Prove Unreliable

One recent admission comes from Oxford’s Myles Allen, an author of a recent study in Nature Geoscience: “We haven’t seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models,” he stated, saying that erroneous models produced results that “were on the hot side,” leading to forecasts of warming and inundations of Pacific islands that aren’t happening. Other eye-openers came in the discovery that the Pacific Ocean is cooling, the Arctic ice is expanding, the polar bears are thriving and temperatures did indeed stop climbing over 15 years.


Public Opinion Manipulated by Fake Evidence

As the Daily Caller and the Wall Street Journal both reported in April, Obama administration officials are admitting they faked scientific evidence to manipulate public opinion. “What you saw coming out of the press releases about climate data, climate analysis, was, I’d say, misleading, sometimes just wrong,” former Energy Department Undersecretary Steven Koonin told the Journal, in explaining how spin was used, for example, to mislead the public into thinking hurricanes have become more frequent.


The evidence against Paris continues to mount. Paris remains dead.  

Beating a dead parrot is no better than beating a dead horse.

Crunching Climate $$$

The Paris agreement involves estimates of future damages because of global warming assumed to be caused by burning of fossil fuels. Looking into the numbers raises a surprising predicament, as explained by Ronald Bailey of Reason Magazine. The title of his article points to the problem:

Climate Change Will Reduce Incomes in 2100 from $97,000 to $95,000

Global per capita income now is $10,000. How much should we spend to prevent climate change losses in 2100?

Set aside the flawed science claiming CO2 is the climate control knob, even the damage estimates pale in comparison with the march of prosperity. Bailey works with the numbers from alarmist economists Nordhaus and Moffatt. Excerpt below with my bolds.

The Yale economist William Nordhaus has spent decades using a combination of econometric and climate models to estimate global warming’s future effects. He isn’t the only researcher who’s been attempting to make such projections, and Nordhaus’ latest study considers a range of different estimates. (Get your salt shaker ready.)

In a new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, Nordhaus and his colleague Andrew Moffatt survey 36 different estimates (derived from 27 studies) of climate change’s impact on gross world product by the year 2100. Nordhaus and Moffatt note that “there are many studies of theoretical temperature increases in the 2 to 4°C range, and that they cluster in the range of a loss of 0 to 4% of global output.” After crunching the numbers, they report:

The estimated impact from the preferred regression is 1.63% of income at 3°C warming and 6.53% of income at a 6°C warming. We make a judgmental adjustment of 25% to cover unquantified sectors….With this adjustment, the estimated impact is -2.04 (+ 2.21)% of income at 3°C warming and -8.16 (+ 2.43)% of income at a 6°C warming.

The authors note that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report declined to make an estimate of future losses, but in the Fourth Report, the panel stated that “Global mean losses could be 1 to 5% of GDP for 4°C of warming.” This means that Nordhaus and Moffatt’s findings are broadly in line with the climate change consensus.

So what do these findings portend for people lucky enough to be alive in 2100? Let’s consider the best-case scenario first. Annual gross world product is currently somewhere around $75 trillion, which without adjustments means that global income stands at around $10,000 per capita. Assume 3 percent economic growth from now until 2100, and a global population that year of 9 billion. Without climate change, world GDP would rise to $872 trillion and income would be $97,000 per capita. Assuming a 3°C increase in average temperature, that would reduce global GDP from $872 trillion to $854 trillion, and income to $95,000 per capita. At 6°C, the figures would be $800 trillion and $89,000 per capita.

In the unlikely event that global economic growth dawdles along at only 2 percent per year for the rest of this century, gross world product would rise to only $388 trillion and income to $43,000 per capita without warming. A 3°C rise in average temperature would reduce global GDP to $380 trillion and income to $42,000 per person; a 6°C increase would cut global GDP to $360 trillion and income to $40,000 per person.

The Nordhaus and Moffatt survey of studies also found “no indication from the damage estimates of a sharp discontinuity or high convexity.” In other words, the studies do not identify threshold effects in which damages from climate change accelerate in the future.

These calculations bring up this question: How much should people living today making an average of $10,000 apiece spend in order to prevent the future incomes from falling from $97,000 to $95,000 per capita?

Now is the time to get out your salt shaker and liberally apply the sodium chloride to these calculations.

See also post Climate Policies Gouge the Masses

Excerpt: David R. Henderson, public policy economist at the Stanford Hoover Institution, puts the issue this way:

Claims that human-caused global warming will raise average temperatures by 2C to 5C over the next 100 years and cause serious harm to society are controversial. However, assuming that global warming will be a big problem, there are two important questions: (1) What should be done about it? and (2) When should it be done?

There is much debate about what discount rate to use when comparing environmental costs and benefits. Generally, the more one values today’s dollars over tomorrow’s, the higher is one’s discount rate. At one extreme, an infinitely high discount rate would imply that we place almost no value on future consumption. Conversely, using a discount rate of zero means that benefits today are no more valuable than benefits 100 years from now..

However, the choice of which discount rate to use is not about the weight given to the well-being of future generations but about opportunity costs. Investments people make today are likely to increase the wealth of their descendants, giving future generations greater resources to exercise their preferences regarding environmental protection.

The higher the rate of return that can be earned by investing a dollar today, the more wealth future generations are deprived of if the money is spent now. Thus, Kevin Murphy of the University of Chicago argues that we should use the market interest rate as the discount rate because that is the opportunity cost of climate mitigation. Interestingly, even Stern’s own model assumes that people 200 years from now will have real incomes that are more than 10 times incomes today. This means that if the government taxes people today explicitly or through regulations to reduce climate change 200 years from now, the government will be taxing the poor to help the rich.