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New emissions target will test government, but it isn’t enough

Yesterday, the Climate Change Authority released its interim report on future emissions targets. The report recommends two options to replace Australia’s short term (2020) mitigation target of 5% below…

We need a new target: is this the right one? Sean Hobson

Yesterday, the Climate Change Authority released its interim report on future emissions targets. The report recommends two options to replace Australia’s short term (2020) mitigation target of 5% below 2000 levels.

The first is to increase that target to, at minimum, 15% reduction by 2020 (with a trajectory range of 35 to 50% reduction by 2030). The second option is for a 25% reduction in emissions by 2020, and a trajectory range of 40 to 50% by 2030.

The CCA prefers a 25% 2020 reduction target, which:

would clearly make a greater short term contribution to emissions reductions, allowing a more consistent pace of emissions reductions in the period to 2050.

These proposed recommendations pose new and thorny problems for the Abbott Government’s approach to climate policy. They will immediately test its resolve to combat global warming. Here’s why.

What Australia has agreed to

In 2009, the Rudd Government announced Australia would unconditionally cut its emissions by 5% below 2000 levels by 2020, and by 60% by 2050 (a figure later amended to 80%).

It also nominated a range of more ambitious targets to which Australia would agree if there were increases in agreed international mitigation effort under the Kyoto Protocol. These conditional targets of 15% below 2000 levels by 2020, or 25%, depended on major emitters signing up and international agreement being reached to reduce emissions to meet a global target of 450ppm CO2 in the atmosphere, or 2C of warming.

This target range, including the commitment to a 5% cut, is Australia’s internationally proclaimed commitment to action under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

National targets are now under review. The UN is trying to secure more ambitious emissions reduction goals, with international agreement by all major emitting countries by 2015. The Climate Change Authority’s first report is developed with these negotiations in mind.

The 5 to 25% emissions reduction target range was accepted by the Coalition in opposition. So was Australia’s formal support of the international goal of keeping global warming below 2C.

The prevailing view remains that there is bipartisan agreement (between the Coalition and Labor) about that target. How then is this report a challenge to the Coalition’s climate plans?

There’s talk, and there’s (direct) action

Alarm bells went off during the election campaign when Tony Abbott announced the Coalition’s $3.2 billion allocation (over four years) to its Emissions Reduction Fund, under the Direct Action Plan, was capped. If that budget wasn’t enough to meet the 5% reduction, too bad. No more money would be allocated.

Critics of the Direct Action Plan and its Emissions Reduction Fund have already argued the proposed funding will prove inadequate to the task, especially if the Clean Energy Finance Corporation is dismantled. For instance, the Climate Institute argues that additional resources – at least another $4 billion by 2020 - will be required to meet the target.

Abbott’s comments indicated that the Coalition’s support for Australia’s existing target is superficial, and that any upward revision of that target would be ruled out by a Coalition Government on budgetary grounds alone.

But tougher targets are precisely what the Climate Change Authority now argues are necessary. Given the Coalition’s opposition to increasing climate action funding, to an emissions trading scheme, and to the use of international carbon credits, such targets are immediately unachievable.

There can be no doubt, then, why the Coalition is eager to terminate the Climate Change Authority, as it has promised to do. Independent scientifically and economically informed advice – no matter how conservative – can only produce great political discomfort under present circumstances. There are grave doubts that a final report will ever be produced.

Audacious targets - but they won’t bridge the gap

Yet, despite their audacity, the Authority’s recommendations are themselves open to challenge. Science says we need to do more, and ethical and economic analysis says we should and can do more.

Australia’s 5% emissions reduction target has long been regarded by its critics as among the weakest proposed by developed, high-emitting nations. It contrasts poorly with the efforts of leading states, such as the United Kingdom, Norway and Germany - their 2020 targets range between 30 and 40%.

The CCA agrees Australia’s current target is an inadequate contribution to holding warming to below 2 degrees. It is insufficient in the face of scientific advice, and on the grounds of equity and economic capacity, given the efforts of comparable developed nations.

A stronger target, the Authority argues, is easily achievable without significant economic burden. Technological advances, changes in projected energy demand, and other sectoral developments will all help us get there.

There is widespread scientific agreement that current national mitigation targets are insufficient to hold average global warming to even 2C, above which dangerous climate change is likely to occur. (Note that 2C is increasingly being criticised as too high a limit, and itself likely to deliver catastrophic climate outcomes.)

A significantly more ambitious aggregate target is required for even a reasonable chance (67% or more) of keeping below that guardrail. The United Nations acknowledges, in its 2012 Emissions Gap report, that aggregate global emissions are projected to be in excess of that target by some 13-14 billion tonnes per annum by 2020.

All major emitting countries will need to increase their mitigation efforts if this gap is to be eliminated.

Australia’s fair share

For Australia to be an equitable contributor to that effort, we must accept responsibility for a proportion of that 14 billion tonnes. What might be an equitable proportion is up for debate. My research suggests that, at minimum, Australia needs to take on an additional burden equivalent to its current contribution to global emissions (1.5% of that 14 billion tonnes global total).

On these grounds alone, Australia would need to adopt a target of around 38% below 2000 levels by 2020. This is well within our economic and technological capabilities.

The Authority also recognises the need to bridge this “ambition gap” in its consideration of a national carbon budget. It has produced goals it believes reflects Australia’s “fair share” of the global emissions budget and mitigation burden.

By scientific, economic and ethical criteria, the CCA’s significantly enhanced 2020 targets represent a major improvement on Australia’s current goal. But at the end of the day, they represent an insufficient response to the global need for urgent emissions cuts to avoid dangerous climate change.

The CCA’s report and recommendations are open for public comment until November 29.

Join the conversation

156 Comments sorted by

  1. Robert McDougall

    Small Business Owner

    so it appears political convenience trumps necessity once again. Anyone still have any confidence in the LNP? give it a week or so.

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  2. Peter Redshaw

    Retired

    Peter, I somehow doubt that this LNP conservative government, or for that matter our now predominantly Liberal/LNP governments, are going to take any notice of what the CCA say. I had to laugh when I saw Tony Abbott as the presenter of the Science Prize last night. Abbott and his government only believe in the value of science when it suits their purpose. Otherwise as far I can remember Abbott said its crap.

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    1. Rick Sullivan

      Vast and Various

      In reply to Georgina Byrne

      Hear, hear, Georgina and Peter. Tony Abbott, The Great Suppository Of All Wisdom presenting science prizes? A sorry joke indeed. It's like Daffy Duck handing out prizes for College Dux (pun intended).

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  3. Ho Trieu Ngoc Luan

    logged in via Facebook

    It's time for the gifted Professor Terry Speed uses his math stat wealth of experience to separate the bad polies from the good ones, the same way he sorted out the cancerous cells from the rest.
    I think shortsightedness on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions remains among polies who are holding the destiny of the environment.

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    1. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Georgina Byrne

      Go Georgina ! Obdurate obfuscationism is alive and well here in Vic with the completely discriminatory planning rules introduced by Baillieu aimed at stopping new windfarms in their tracks and giving credence to the completely unscientific claims of the so-called Waubra Foundation re health impacts of windfarms.

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    2. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to wilma western

      re Waubra, the complaints about health impacts of wind farms seem to only occur in that area.. after the people pushing the anti barrow had been through town as they don't live there themselves.

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    3. peter mackenzie

      Transport Researcher

      In reply to Georgina Byrne

      Good phrase Georgina. I think "utterly obdurate obfuscation" could be applied to many issues across most domains- sadly.

      Perhaps politicians could be renamed "Obdurationists" and the bureaux members "Obfuscationists".

      We would still have to work in dissonance, disconnection, psychopathic and a few other terms to truly describe some of the problem people.

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  4. Felix MacNeill

    Environmental Manager

    What infuriates me is that the actual cost of achieving much bolder targets is very modest and certainly represents an excellent investment in Australia's future...but then, I suppose I am guilty of trusting that famous pinko commie anarchist avowed enemy of Western civilisation and complete economic incompetent Bernie Fraser...

    Hell, he's nearly as bad as his notorious namesake, Malcolm!

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    1. David Bindoff

      manager

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix M , I think a lot more feelings like fury are coming, we have David Murray who is TA's touted banking, finance, super advisor saying on lateline
      "What would it take to convince you of the science?"
      "DAVID MURRAY: When I see some evidence of integrity amongst the scientists themselves."

      http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2013/s3880680.htm

      How would a sane framework of ongoing investment arise with this sort of advice?

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    2. Darren Kay

      Private trader

      In reply to David Bindoff

      I'm suprised David Murray didn't take out the PM's Prize for Science with sagacious commentary like that.

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    3. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Darren Kay

      I saw that interview. What a creep! He will go far with this government if they have room to fit his snout in the trough. After waffling around his climate science denial, he proposed lowering company tax and raising the GST. In other words, taking from the poor and giving to the rich.

      At one point during the interview Emma Alberici paused. I assumed that she was looking for the sick bucket.

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    4. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to David Bindoff

      That has to be the most startling piece of pot calling the kettle black I've ever heard in my life!

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  5. Mike Hansen

    Mr.

    Excellent article.

    "There can be no doubt, then, why the Coalition is eager to terminate the Climate Change Authority ..."

    Absolutely. It explains the hysteria from the Murdoch press and the Australian business establishment over the carbon tax package of legislation while they have been almost mute over "Direct Action" which nominally had the same initial targets.

    It is a combination of specific targets that are regularly reviewed that they hate. A voluntary scheme - no worries - easy to game for companies that have been "greenwashing" for decades.

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  6. John Newlands

    tree changer

    So far I've only read the press release by the CCA. Strangely it calls for submissions... an odd move if they are facing the chop. Perhaps their consultants report will go into the niceties of renewable energy certificates, feed in tariffs, foreign offsets and so on. However we should also think of the Sept 7 election as a partial referendum on energy price rises. At this stage I can't accept that a 15% emissions cut 2000-2020 can be done cheaply i.e without recession. Since the cut was about 1% between 2000 and 2012 we may have left it too late to catch up using any politically palatable approach.

    I also think we should put conditions on the unseen carbon embodied in imports such as manufactured goods and the raw fuels we export coal and LNG. 15% of our year 2000 emissions is about 80 Mt of CO2e yet our annual coal exports generate over 700 Mt of CO2. Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees.

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    1. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to John Newlands

      "... we should also think of the Sept 7 election as a partial referendum on energy price rises ...". Err, perhaps not.

      My view of the Sept 7 election is that it was a partial referendum on style over style, with negligible content of substance.

      How are the boat arrivals going, anyway?

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    2. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      I think we're confusing Tim Flannery's outfit - formerly the Climate Commission and now, as you say, crowdfunded as the Climate Council - with the still-extant-but-threatened Climate Change Authority, headed by the redoubtable Bernie Fraser.

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    3. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      Of course, you may simply have anticipated the imminent moment when we'll ALSO have to find a few spare bucks to keep the excellent Bernie Fraser in business, along with the excellent Tim Flannery!

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    4. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to David Arthur

      People will be very disappointed if they believe any repeal of carbon pricing will bring any dramatic reduction in their power bills.

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  7. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. In reply to Gerard Dean

      Comment removed by moderator.

    2. In reply to Gerard Dean

      Comment removed by moderator.

    3. In reply to Gerard Dean

      Comment removed by moderator.

    4. In reply to Gerard Dean

      Comment removed by moderator.

  8. Paul Felix

    Builder

    Who can disagree, well sadly most Australians do.Gerard Dean says stop flying, I say reduce consumption. Argue it is real, when enough people do Abbott will take action. It is what Howard did, and if Abbott thinks it will get him re elected then he will become a global warming extremist (the opposite end to his present position). Abbott only believes in getting elected, he would not believe in his actions to reduce emissions, but like Howard, he would do something.
    There is a potential advantage in having a PM who believes in nothing other than power.

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    1. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to John Phillip

      Ms Gillard is hardly what I'd consider the epitome of style over substance.

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  9. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    It might as well be a dart board to represent targets on a number of fronts, not least that dart throwers will always have varied skills and the range of scores might as well represent the disparity of targets depending on who has written a report based on some other report.
    As for the CCA, there is no doubt that their future was to be limited and no doubt there will still be plenty of coverage by the climate change clubs of clubs.
    Regardless of whether it be 15% or 25% or even Rudd's 80% what…

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    1. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Greg North

      Correct, Greg. They don't seem real keen on getting past the rhetoric and into the world of actual effects. I think the problem that alarmists (as distinct from scientists) have is that the models failed to predict the shift in warming from the atmosphere into the oceans and there's been a bit of fluffing around after the fact to find out why. People can still see the disconnect between atmospheric temperatures and CO2 emissions over the past 15 or so years and question the accuracy of the models. Explanations have been offered but they have come after the horse has bolted, as it were. This puts their credibility with the general public on shaky ground in terms of pinning down exact targets and their resultant effects on global warming. It's a hard sell to get people to give something up or pay extra when you can't point to definitive outcomes for their pain.

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    2. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to John Phillip

      The models have been over predicting the effects of CO2. And over estimating climate sensitivity. The whole catastrophic AGW thing has been exaggerated by the climate scientists for over 20 years. It really is way past time the CAGW doomsayers got past the exaggeration.

      "A paper published in Science finds reconstructed Pacific Ocean heat content has been significantly higher throughout the vast majority of the past ~10,000 years in comparison to the latter 20th century. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/75831381/Rosenthal%20ocean%20temps%20Supplementary%20Materials.pdf

      “The findings support the view that the Holocene Thermal Maximum, the Medieval Warm Period, and the Little Ice Age were global events, and they provide a long-term perspective for evaluating the role of ocean heat content in various warming scenarios for the future.” "

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    3. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to John Phillip

      @John Phillip

      "alarmists (as distinct from scientists) "

      John claims not to be a climate science denier so he creates some strawmen ("the alarmists") who are the people he opposes as distinct from the "scientists" who he does not oppose because of course he is not a denier. What acrobatics.

      There were 600+ scientist authors who contributed to the latest IPCC AR5 WG1 report.
      Like to nominate who the "alarmists" are and who are the "scientists"?
      Or are you just blowing smoke.

      As to your…

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    4. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Hi mike. I see you've reverted to your default position of defaming respondents. Now if you think that SS is a valid an unbiased source of information, good on you. Thanks for the links. I will check them out. Now, if you are confident that you are correct in all that you believe, please desist from the defamatory stuff. We've had our shot at each other in the past. We can leave it at that if you wish. Mike, I have no hidden agenda. All I am is someone who won't drink the Kool-Aid without some verification…

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    5. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike, it wasn't scientists I was referring to. I thought that was obvious. No hypocrisy here, buddy. Purely an unwillingness to accept the raving of extremists as facts. I haven't reverted to anything. I have simply made a factual observation of your behaviour. The name calling is a bit of a giveaway, no?

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    6. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to John Phillip

      "name calling is a bit of a giveaway"?

      Because I point out that you are a hypocrite?

      Here you are calling another commenter a "simpleton"
      https://theconversation.com/is-the-ocean-broken-19453#comment_243586

      Here you are calling me a " too damn thick" and "ignorant".
      https://theconversation.com/are-the-nsw-bushfires-linked-to-climate-change-19480#comment_245090
      Both instances are gratuitous abuse - not even in the context of making an argument.

      So point out that you are a "hypocrite…

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    7. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      that is right mike.
      I did call you those things because I was sick to death of the defaming and lying about respondents on this site. Additionally, your inability to understand even simple questions that may raise doubts about your faith, identified you as either an obfuscator or a simpleton.
      I thought we had moved past this but clearly you are incapable of doing even that.

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    8. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter,
      The paper also states that "The estimates in Table S3, albeit with large uncertainties, suggest that the modern rate of Pacific OHC change is significantly higher than the absolute rates reconstructed for the past".(p9) confirming that that observation that OHC is rapidly increasing over the past 55 years is correct.
      There is a general acceptance that global; temperatures have been gradually declining since the holocene maximum so those findings are not contentious. No one contends that the world has never been warmer than it is now, what the scientists are telling us is that the current rate of change is exceptional and the cause is CO2. This paper supports that view.

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    9. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to David Rennie

      The rate of change is a different issue.

      However, of you want to discuss rates of change, then you need to show the evidence that the rates of change over recent decades and century is unusual. To do that you need temperature measurement with the same precision and accuracy as we have now and over the same durations. Clearly we don't have that evidence to support your assertion.

      Furthermore, ice core data form Greenland shows abrupt climate changes with higher rates of change over decades than we have seen in the historical temperature records.

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    10. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter,
      I am quoting from the paper you referred to, I am not asserting anything just pointing out what the authors of the paper ACTUALLY said about the rate of warming. THEY said "the modern rate ...of change is significantly higher than the absolute rates reconstructed". I am also pointing out that the same comment has been made by other scientists.
      The absolute OHC is not the issue as it must have been higher at the holocene maximum, the question to be answered by deniers is why the long decline over the past 8000 years has suddenly been reversed.
      The Greenland Ice Core is ONE proxy which does not have the precision of modern data. It is also located in an extreme environment. If the scientists you quote claim that the rate is significantly higher today than in previous centuries I am prepared to believe them, the question is why aren't you?

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    11. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to David Rennie

      David Renne,

      Your comment seems to be jumping all over the place and avoiding the central issue I raised - the Tol (2011) paper suggests global warming would be net beneficial, excluding the cost of energy or if energy becomes cheaper.

      And I'd point out that once you start using terms like "deniers" all rational discussion ends. You might want to ask yourself why you align with the doomsayers?

      Given you've resorted to using "deniers" (typical resort of the Conversations standard trolls…

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    12. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter,
      Tol has about 20 papers listed for 2011 so some clarification of which one you are referring to would be useful. I presume you are referring to the paper you referred above that shows in Fig 3 that the effect of climate change after 2050 is incredibly negative. Going Pear shaped springs to mind. Obviously if you think this is a 'good thing you will be dead by 2050.
      It also makes assumptions about the beneficial effect of climate change on agriculture which are not supported by…

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    13. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to David Rennie

      >"Tol has about 20 papers listed for 2011 so some clarification of which one you are referring to would be useful. "

      Obviously it is the paper we've been discussing.

      And you've lost the plot, so just a waste of time discussing it any further.

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    14. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Peter Lang

      I haven't been discussing a Tol paper with you, however I did take the trouble to identify the one I think you were referring to.
      Assuming you are still referring to the one mentioned above it predicts severe consequences of global warming after 2050. Your decision to ignore the long term consequences is not to your credit.

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    15. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to David Rennie

      You've lost the plot. Go back up thread and background yourself on my comments.

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    16. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to David Rennie

      Here is a repost of the first comment (I am not prepared to go through it all over again, especially since I've dismissed you as anyone with whom it is worth trying to have a rational discussion):

      Tol, R.S.J. (2011) “The Economic Impact of Climate Change in the 20th and 21st Centuries”
      http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf

      Based on this paper I suggest:

      1. The best way to combat the negative impacts of climate change is to assist the poorest countries…

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    17. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to David Rennie

      Here is another of the relevant comments:

      The only significant negative impact of Global Warming is energy cost – see Tol (2011) Figure 3: http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf

      - ‘Agriculture’ and ‘Health’ impacts are both strongly positive to beyond 4 C temp increase above current temperatures.

      - The impact of “Storms’ and “Sea level rise’ are about zero net benefit/cost.

      - ‘Water’ and ‘Ecosystems’ are small negative impacts but the positive benefits of agriculture and health greatly exceed the negative impacts of “Water’ and ‘Ecosystems’.

      Conclusion: allow cheap energy and the impacts of global warming will be positive to at least 4 C increase above today average global surface temperature and to well beyond the end of this century.

      Clearly, policies that add to the cost of energy – like Kyoto Protocol, carbon pricing and mandated renewable energy - are exactly the wrong policies

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    18. David Bindoff

      manager

      In reply to David Rennie

      David R and Peter L, I asked Peter a couple of questions on the Tol paper on another article which has been closed for comments. Perhaps you have been talking at crossed purposes?

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    19. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter,
      We need every technology available to us to reduce CO2 emissions. Nuclear is the clear leader in such technology but is opposed by all those who are not prepared to give up their political shibboleths to promote action on climate change whether they are Liberal , Labor or Green.
      Nuclear energy is not just the best technology available for a rapid response to climate change it is the only realistic and economic technology.
      What the paper shows is that any transient benefits…

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    20. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to David Rennie

      >" What the paper shows is that any transient benefits that are available before 2050 disappear completely after 2050."

      No!. What the papers shows is what I said in the previous comment. If you don't address what I've said and show an error in that, then hand waving doesn't make any progress. If not for the cost of energy, the net positive impacts of global warming would substantially exceed the net negative impacts up to an beyond 4 C temperature increase above today's temperatures. That's…

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    21. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter,
      From a slightly more reputable source;

      " Last year a team at Stanford University in California looked at global production of wheat, maize, rice and soybeans - crops that provide three-quarters of humanity's calories - from 1980 to 2008. Based on what we know about how temperature, rainfall and CO2 levels affect growth, the analysis suggests that average yields are now more than 1 per cent lower than they would have been with no warming. Without the fertilising effect of increased CO2…

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    22. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to David Rennie

      >"Peter, From a slightly more reputable source; "

      On your opinion.

      That statement is a clear sign of intellectual dishonesty:
      [especially sign # 6 (s well as others)]:

      http://judithcurry.com/2013/04/20/10-signs-of-intellectual-honesty/#comment-320223

      1. Arrogance or “I am the messenger of truth”. Look for arguments that send the following messages:

      “What I am telling you ARE the facts and these facts have, and always will, withstand any test.”
      “ Anybody that disagrees with ‘us…

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    23. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter,
      Having referenced this article why did you clutter up the forum with a useless repeat of it.
      I have treated the Tol paper you quoted fairly allowing you to claim that his graph 3 is correct, and pointing out that after 2050 he estimates that CO2 will have a very detrimental effect on the world economy.
      The Idso paper you refer to is simplistic, and deals with only the rise of CO2 as a measure of increased plant growth, ignoring the consequent impact of changes in atmospheric…

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  10. Comment removed by moderator.

  11. Geoff Henley

    Research Associate in Health Statistics at Flinders University

    It should be noted that the CCA is essentially an administrative organisation, not a scientific one. It comprises only two members with scientific qualifications: Ian Chubb whose expertise is in neuroscience and David Karoly, who has a Doctorate in Meteorology.

    Karoly likes to give presentations critical of ‘deniers’ and writes articles for environmental organisations such as WWF. So he’s not exactly what one might call the most objective of scientists. Karoly was also the co-author of a paper…

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    1. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      So, who should government take advice from, Geoff?

      Hang on - here's a thought popping up - what if they listened to independent scientists, based on peer-reviewed work...now, the field is pretty large and complex and the issue goes across national borders, so you might be wise to engage an independent international organisation - gosh, say, the UN? - to in turn engage a panel of the most respected scientists in the relevant fields to review all the published work and produce a useful synthesis…

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    2. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      Oh and Geoff, you forgot to mention that notorious pinko greenie destroyer of Western civilisation, Bernie Fraser, who was appointed to provide expertise on the economic implications of proposed action...economic implications? Now why, when your avowed goal was to destroy the capitalist economy and move us all back into the caves, would you engage someone like Bernie? Must be a subtle ruse to throw the brave band of heroic sceptics off the trail..hang on, didn't I detect a hint of hidden green reptilian skinn last time I saw Bernie scratch his neck on television...it's all starting to make sense!

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    3. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      Geoff's "research" is very limited. Prof Karoly is a distinguished academic. He is Professor of Meteorology, School of Earth Sciences , Melbourne University. He was awarded a Federation Fellowship by the ARC in May 2007. He worked on the fourth Assessment report of the IPCC, 2007, and has held many roles in Australian research on climate change. From 2003 to 2007 he was Professor of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma . From 2001 to 2003 he was Professor of Meteorology and Head of School , Mathematical Sciences , Monash University. In 1993 he received the Mersinger Award from the American Meteorological Society. In !998 he shared the International Award from the World Meteorological Society .In 1999 he became a Fellow of the American meteorological Society for "outstanding contributions". ....I'm just a retired farmer , not a so-called "Research Officer".

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    4. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to wilma western

      That's because it was no more 'research' than the nasty celebrity gossip you can read in No Idea magazine.

      But thanks for pointing out Karoly's very impressive CV - one of many top-drawer climate-related scientists that Australia should be proud of, and should bloody well listen to!

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    5. Geoff Henley

      Research Associate in Health Statistics at Flinders University

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      I'd much rather listen to this guy.

      John Christy

      B.A. in Mathematics from California State University.

      M.S. and Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Illinois in 1984 and 1987.
      His doctoral thesis was titled, An investigation of the general circulation associated with extreme anomalies in hemispheric mean atmospheric mass.

      Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science.

      Director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
      Appointed Alabama's state climatologist in 2000.

      For his development of a global temperature data set from satellites he was awarded NASA's Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, and the American Meteorological Society's "Special Award."

      Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

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    6. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to John Phillip

      In the 1990s Spencer and Christy were fueling the deniers with claims that the satellite data did not show any warming. Their software turned out to be wrong but it took a long time before they eventually conceded that fact.

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/satellite-measurements-warming-troposphere-intermediate.htm
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UAH_satellite_temperature_dataset#Corrections_made

      Ironically the "all climate models are wrong" crowd at WUWT were singing the praises of the lower satellite temp data even though it was/is based on a model which turned out to be incorrect at the time.

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    7. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Thanks Mike, John, the internet is full of John Christy quotes, much of the science now offered by him is not worth much. Utilised by heartland and judith curry, but not well regarded by climate scientists, because of his (on going) false statements . If you have the time you could read these analyses of some statements. http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com.au/search?q=john+christy

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    8. Geoff Henley

      Research Associate in Health Statistics at Flinders University

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      This is nothing but a big beat up by a desperate alarmist crowd. There were early problems with the satellite measuring equipment that were corrected. There was no attempt to cover anything up or conceal anything. This is just the SKS mob being mischevious.

      Who takes notice of anything SKS rambles on about anyway.

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    9. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      All anyone needs to do is look at the headlines of SKS articles to realise they are nothing more than an alarmist advocacy group.

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    10. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Peter Lang

      The website Skeptical Science won the Australian Museum Eureka Prize* for science communication.

      Science based websites like Skeptical Science are like kryptonite to climate science deniers like Lang and Henley.

      * The Eureka Prizes, presented annually since 1990 by the Australian Museum, have been described as Australia’s “Oscars of Science”.

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    11. Geoff Henley

      Research Associate in Health Statistics at Flinders University

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Christy has never been employed by NASA.

      Spencer left NASA in 2001. So what. People change jobs all the time. Maybe he got better offer.

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    12. Ian Rudd
      Ian Rudd is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Retired accountant & unapologetic dissident

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      Felix, what I can't fathom is why these deniers that you battle against put so much effort into trying to convince ordinary people, let alone rational and informed contributors to TC that climate change is nonsense or something to that effect?

      Are these people genuinely concerned about the prospect of "unneeded" mitigation efforts ruining the economy? If so why? Are they concerned that Australia will no longer be able to afford to help out single parents, the disabled or unemployed or provide a decent education or healthcare for all?

      I suspect these are not their motives.

      Rather perhaps the deniers fear that any costs incurred on climate change mitigation will divert moneys that could be better used to incarcerate boat people or to beef up our military to stave off a potential Chinese invasion.

      Who knows what these people believe.

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    13. Geoff Henley

      Research Associate in Health Statistics at Flinders University

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Like the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the IPCC and Al Bore, this award appears to have been made for political purposes and not based on merit.

      SKS devotes itself using any means available to discredit anyone who questions the theory of CAGW. It often resorts to distorting facts and digging up obscure links in an often vain attempt to discredit anyone with whose opinion it disagrees.

      The facts clearly show that SKS is ranked a long way behing WUWT in the popularity stakes even among the australian community.

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    14. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Geoff Henley

      "SKS is ranked a long way behing WUWT in the popularity stakes". That's because SKS is not an entertainment site, but actually examines and discusses the science of climate change. WUWT is more like one of those misnamed 'reality' tv shows: fluff with no substance. Regrettably, science is not popular with the sort of people who are likely to believe the waffle at WUWT.

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  12. Peter Lang

    Retired geologist and engineer

    Peter Christoff,

    You seem to be way out of touch. The CAGW doomsayers' religion is a remnant of its former self. People have cottoned on to the BS.

    There is waning public interest in ‘human caused climate change’ (see chart of "all English-language monitored mainstream and social media coverage worldwide of ‘Climate Change’" over the past 5 years here: http://climatechange.carboncapturereport.org/cgi-bin/topic?#activitytimeline

    There is waning public support for mitigation policies like…

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    1. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Peter Lang

      I forgot to include the link:

      "It is recognised that global warming is net beneficial up to about 2 C increase above today's temperatures. The benefit is estimated to be up to 2.5% of global GDP (see Figure 1 here http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165188913000092). What rational person would advocate policies to prevent the world getting that benefit."

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    2. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Tol, R.S.J. (2011) “The Economic Impact of Climate Change in the 20th and 21st Centuries”
      http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf

      Based on this paper I suggest:

      1. The best way to combat the negative impacts of climate change is to assist the poorest countries to become richer.

      2. By far the greatest negative contributor to impacts is the cost of energy (see Figure 3). I expect this analyses does not properly allow for the great reduction in costs that…

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    3. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Jenny Goldie

      Jenny,

      That's because of nuclear phobia as a result of 50 years of irrational anti-nuclear rhetoric, mostly by the same doomsayers who also want to cut global GHG emissions. Fancy wanting to block an energy source that would avoid about 1 million fatalites per year if it replaced coal fired power.

      Shows the hypocrisy of these greenies ideologues doesn't it?

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    4. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter, I believe your cherry-picking misrepresents the actual conclusions of this Paper you quote, and the papers it quotes. http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf
      eg "Climate change had a negative effect on water resources and (by and large) human health. Most rich and most poor countries benefitted from climate change until 1980, but after that the trend is negative for poor countries and positive for rich countries. In the 21st century, impacts turn negative…

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    5. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      >” Peter, I believe your cherry-picking misrepresents the actual conclusions of this Paper you quote, and the papers it quotes.”

      No. I did not misrepresent the conclusions. I did not discuss the conclusions. I drew my own conclusions from the information provided in the paper. Everyone is free to draw their own conclusions but not to make up their own facts. I recognise that Tol, Nordhaus and others do academic analyses which, given all the assumptions, support carbon pricing. But the assumptions…

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    6. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Peter Lang

      re: "... carbon pricing is highly unlikely to succeed ..." That's been my personal position since before it was implemented in the EU. imho, it is a misguided con by 'free-marketeers' ie ideologues and their political influence over the global debate and upon otherwise 'rational' law makers, about how best to achieve "mitigation" of CO2E. Designed to fail and confuse the public, it has.
      Thanks for the Judith Curry (US Climate Scientist & Academic) link. Her last comments: "JC comments: I found…

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    7. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      A pointless ad hom attack. Typical of the CAGW zealots. All rational debate stops once you avoid the issues, cherry pick and use ad hom instead of debating the issues. People who read only what the alarmist advocates write are ignorant, and I suspect you are one of them. You clearly didn't get the message from this post (or the article from which it was drawn): http://judithcurry.com/2013/10/06/confidence-levels-inside-and-outside-an-argument/

      I've written you off as just another CAGW zealot. Join the many others who frequent 'The Conversation, SkS, etc.

      This shows what is happening to the popularity of your CAGW religion: http://climatechange.carboncapturereport.org/cgi-bin/topic?#activitytimeline. You might conclude that you are stuck inside the tent with mates who share your beliefs and are intent on circling the wagons with guns pointing out. The wise heads have moved on.

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    8. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter, HUH? What ad hom attack? Copy/paste please.
      Unless of course you were referring to your own: " are ignorant, and I suspect you are one of them." and " written you off as just another CAGW zealot " and "your CAGW religion:" and " with guns pointing out." and "The wise heads have moved on."
      Um, pot-kettle-black Peter Lang. Zealot: an immoderate, fanatical, or extremely zealous adherent to a cause especially a religious (belief based) dogmatic one. - a fervent and even militant proponent…

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    9. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      You know full well what ad him attack, so now you have shown you are dishonest as well. You avoided all the substance of the arguments - I refuted your statements in your previous comment - and instead tried to denigrate Professor Judy Curry (clearly just repeating the yap by Michael Mann, John Cook, Stefan Lewandowski and others who have so seriously damaged the reputation of science; ah but you wouldn't know anything about any of that would you?)

      Perhaps you should read this, if you don't know what intellectual honesty and dishonest is: http://judithcurry.com/2013/04/20/10-signs-of-intellectual-honesty/

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    10. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Peter Lang

      RE: "You know full well what ad him attack". No I didn;t that's why I asked. I am not a mind reader Peter. From what you say above, it appears (but I can only guess) that you were referring to my comments made about Judith Curry. ie .. emphasise her standard M.O. (Modus Operandi) = Compelling Sophistry. Look it up. Her lack of logic and rational thinking is emphasised in her words "I found .. substantial insights into reasoning". Her lack of authority and credibility on the subject is noted by her…

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    11. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean,

      Your hypocrisy is breathtaking.

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    12. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Then take a deep breath mate. :) Clearly you and I see things differently, have different Values, Beliefs and Opinions. That doesn't mean that we have to be disrespectful to each other does it? We're still both Aussies are we mate? Or have you already planned to do a Rupert and bugger off to the "land of the free"? <smile> Maybe you'd be more at home @ https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/alt.politics ? I don't know, I try not to make assumptions. Bit hard some days though. For other readers they…

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    13. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean,

      You can't unwind it now, you've said it and done it. It's stuck. Your attack on Judith Curry - someone who is trying to stop the decline in the integrity of science and climate scientists - was disgraceful. You wouldn'[t have a clue about her, yet you believe without even checking the tripe from the likes of pretty dispicable characters like Michael Mann, John Cook and Lewandowski.

      You reverted to the ad homs because I had rebutted all your arguments from the previous comment. you…

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    14. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter, seriously, re "Your attack on Judith Curry - someone who is trying to stop the decline in the integrity of science and climate scientists - was disgraceful." Report me to the Thought Police (thinkpol in Newspeak in 1984) then. <shrug> I am not responsible if Judith Curry has no problem in making herself look foolish. She's playing her audience well like all good Stand Ups can. I give her full credit, as she is successful at what she does. And being well paid for it. What she does NOT DO though…

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    15. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      You avoid the issues and go off on ideological rants. Thought policies are run by your crowd, the so called 'progressives; - i.e. the ones who do all they can to prevent progress. It would be more constructive to report you to your kindegarden teacher.

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    16. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Peter Lang

      That was Thought POLICE Peter. If it matters. :)
      Your "language" and aggressive behaviour indicates to me you may be an American. Is that correct?

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    17. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Your language indicates to me you are a loony-Left zealot. And you provide more evidence that belief in catastrophic climate change is related to ideological beliefs, not rational analysis. In the above, you dodged all the rational part and went straight for the so called 'progressive' ideological clap trap, ad homs, personal attacks, avoidance of the relevant issues and what is important.

      No wonder, people are deserting your greenie religion.

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    18. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Re "you are a loony-Left zealot." and "...ideological clap trap, ad homs, personal attacks, avoidance of the relevant issues and what is important." Well about 5 hours ago now I gave you this link about Fallacies and Illogic. If you had read that page Peter, you might have found this section on Abusive Ad Hominem http://esgs.free.fr/uk/log20.htm
      Quote: Abusive Ad Hominem is a special case of Ad Hominem ("Against the person") in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant…

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  13. trevor prowse

    retired farmer

    Do we make a mistake of assuming that the reduction in co2 will reduce the rate of warming, regardless of the set amount that has been internationally set--- .I say this because , The Journal of Geophysical Research, VOL 109,d 18109---2004 titled," Impact of land cover change on the climate of southwest Western Australia " by A J Pitman, GT Narisma, RA Pielke and NJ Holbrook concluded ---"We find that land cover explains up to 50% of the observed warming". If these scientists are correct , then…

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    1. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to trevor prowse

      Trevor re: "Surely this is an indication that CO2 cannot be relied on to be the only factor to affect global temperatures." No Climate Scientist and no IPCC Report has ever said anything different to your quoted statement. The rest of your comments, imho, indicate your own lack of understanding of the science. Mind you it is difficult to grasp because it is complex and there is a mountain of disinformation that keeps getting in the way. I'd recommend you skip the rest and get it straight from the "horses mouth" and start here: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/#.UnWr3_lmh8F

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    2. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to trevor prowse

      Trevor,
      CO2 reduction is the most significant influence in increased temperature, not the only influence. Improved ground cover will undoubtedly have a beneficial effect on reducing the temperature increase. However even if we improve ground cover to the levels that existed prior to the development of modern western agriculture we would still not have achieved any compensation for the current levels of CO2 emissions.
      With our current need to feed 7-9 billion, people reducing the impact of agriculture to the levels when we were boys and the population was 3 billion is inconceivable.

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  14. Jenny Goldie

    population and climate activist

    38% reduction target seems much closer to the mark but that is based on 1.5% of 14 billion tonnes. Given we export so much coal, should not that figure be even higher? The Coalition's Direct Action Plan will fall woefully short of even delivering 5% reduction but what happens if they adopt Labor's ETS? What guarantee is there that the ETS will deliver the reduction we needed? It will have a cap on emissions but will that cap be set at a level commensurate with the target? The good thing about the Clean Energy legislation that we have is that significant money was directed to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Under an ETS, will there be sufficient money directed to renewables so we can achieve the target, whether it be 15, 25, 38 or more per cent?

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  15. Peter Lang

    Retired geologist and engineer

    Jenny Goldie,

    Since you claim to be an editor, and have just posted a comment citing an anti-nuke activist piece as your source, I thought this excerpt from an article in today's Australian might be relevant and of interest to you (and also to the editors of 'The Conversation')

    "Journalism has succumbed to a culture of dependency and is losing that most basic of skills: the ability to nail the facts.

    Criticism of the government's so-called media-management strategy misses the point; Abbott's…

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    1. Jenny Goldie

      population and climate activist

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter Lang

      Not sure how much of your comment was criticism of me for citing the nuclear piece (which was simply stating the facts about decline in nuclear power in the US). Putting that aside, however, your comments on the decline of journalism were very apt, albeit deeply depressing.

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    2. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Peter Lang

      ROTFLMAO The Australian News Corp paper said that? Unbelievable. Maybe in a world where Up is Down, and Left is Right. George Orwell, author of 1984, has been rolling in his grave for nigh on 20 years now because the modern conservative movements in the US (the Virus having well and truly caught hold Australia) have become so masterful at using “doublespeak“. The day the Murdoch Press do what the above article (with tongue in cheek, no doubt) "the only mission of a reporter" was "supplying his editors with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth". OMG best laugh I have had for years. Latest News regarding a Criminal Conspiracy Court Case here: http://goo.gl/i0veFG

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    3. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      All you are doing by these silly comments is showing that your ideological beliefs govern everything you believe and say.

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    4. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Jenny Goldie

      Jenny Goldie,

      Thank you for your reply and your appreciation for the link about journalism.

      The reason I posted it was because your response to my comment about how to reduce global GHG emissions - i.e. with rollout of nuclear - was the sort of our of context, one liner talking point that the anti nukes have been specialists for 50 years. I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that you were one of the anti nukes and/or not aware of the facts. The fact that journalists and editors are so ignorant of…

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    5. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Peter Lang

      But not yours? :)

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    6. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      It is you who avoid the issues and want to rant about your ideological beliefs.

      Why do you avoid the debating the issues I raised about the ETS? Because you know you haven't a clue what you are talking about, so you rant about you ideological beliefs.

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    7. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter, I personally don't agree with any kind of ETS and other floated ideas. I have said so on TC on numerous occasions recently but it is still a position I have held to for over a decade. No one considers my opinion that important. Why do you? At this point in time, whilst others live in hope that some kind of massive global mitigation strategy for CO2E will be adopted to keep temperatures below +2C to pre-industrial, I have no rational reason to expect this will occur. imho, Copenhagen 2009 was the last chance. Whatever Labor and the Greens carry on with is irrelevant to me. And I suspect CO2E as well. As to your other question, I simply do not want to debate your issues raised about ETS. Nothing personal. But if Bill Shorten rang me I'd tell him straight what's wrong with it. He probably wouldn't agree with me either. <smile>

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    8. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      So why are you trolling and posting your ideological garbage on this thread then? And why did you respond initially to my comments and then start trolling with your ideological drivel?

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    9. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Because ...

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    10. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter,
      You are confusing your arguments.
      Earth First.
      You need to acknowledge unequivocally the AGW is a problem, Then we can discuss the benefits of Nuclear Power as a solution. If you do not acknowledge the problem then why are we debating a solution? Nuclear power has been an environmentally intelligent solution to the pollution caused by fossil fuel users for the past 50 years. Even without climate change Nuclear power is a much better environmental solution than fossil fuel use. You do not promote the benefits of Nuclear Power by arguing for the idiocy of denialism.

      Science denial is just idiocy. Science tells us that AGW is a serious problem. Once you advocate rejection of the science your opinions on the benefits of Nuclear power are just vacuous.

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    11. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Peter Lang

      The fallacy in this paper is simple. You assume that carbon pricing is the ONLY way to reduce CO2 emmissions. There is no necessity for every country to adopt the same strategy to reduce emissions only that every country adopts A strategy.

      Australia needs to adopt a strategy and we have the power to do that. So you have to explain what strategy Australia should adopt that will be better than the carbon tax. Deniers like yourself are constantly trying to bury our strategy in inaction by other countries whether it be the EU, US or China. In all conscience we should be judged on what we do, not on our self justification for inaction.

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    12. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to David Rennie

      Sorry mate. Your comment shows you have clearly not read or not understood the paper. Your assertions are addressed in the paper.

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  16. Peter Lang

    Retired geologist and engineer

    Is it true that Julia Gillard, Greg Combet and Tim Flannery have bought sea side residencies?

    If it is true, it is despicable. They were telling people, who knew no better than to believe their PM, minister for climate change and Climate Commissioner, that their house was threatened. House prices went down. They list a good part of the asset value they'd saved during their lives. They were distraught. And all on the basis of lies and/or incompetence. Either way, these three should be held accountable. They should be prosecuted for negligence, and they should be required to repay the damages or go to jail for life.

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    1. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter
      "They were telling people, who knew no better than to believe their PM, minister for climate change and Climate commissioner, that their house was threatened. House prices went down. They list a good part of the asset value they'd saved during their lives. They were distraught. and all on the basis of lies and /or incompetence."
      -When did Julia Gillard, Greg Combet and Tim flannery tell people their houses were in danger (from sea level rise)?
      -When did house prices go down and people lose…

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    2. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter,
      Anyone with half a brain knows that sea level rise over the next century are in the order of 0.5-2 metres. So when you refer to sea side residences are you referring to properties in this range.
      Furthermore, who are you to determine how people spend their money. In 50 years Julia Gillard will probably be dead, if she choses to waste her money on a sea side residence what relevance does that have to the millions of farmers, poor people in low lying areas, or the environment who will be severely impacted by global warming over the next 200 years.
      Attempting to justify your ignoraqnce based on the short term decisions of others is just absurd self justification.

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    3. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to David Rennie

      The problem is that, like most zealots, you are only interested in material that supports your view. Your mind is closed. Talke this for example:

      >""Peter, Anyone with half a brain knows that sea level rise over the next century are in the order of 0.5-2 metres."

      It's dishonest from the get go. Why don't you just keep going with Al Gores 6 m of seal level rise.

      And any one with half a brain knows that projected seal level rise of about 0.5 m over 100 years is negligible cost ($0.2 billion over 90 years for the whole world): http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11027-010-9220-7

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    4. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter,
      You claim "And any one with half a brain knows that projected seal level rise of about 0.5 m over 100 years is negligible cost ($0.2 billion over 90 years for the whole world)"
      What is dishonest, using anecdotal evidence of house purchases or using the science?
      If you check your reference(section 3.1), it states the cost at $200 billion for a 0.5m rise, $1 trillion for a 1 meter rise and $2 trillion for a 2 mete rise. Again your reference not mine.
      The 2007 IPCC report shows estimates of $50 billion to maintain the UK.s coastal defences, $53 billion in home losses in the US, $110 billion to maintain the functionality of Japanese ports. And these estimates are dealing with just one problem in each country. Again the Tol paper does not appear to be consistent with other research even if you do use the figures in the paper rather than the incorrect one you have quoted.

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    5. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to David Rennie

      Tol is recognised as one of the top world authorities on climate impact studies. This and your previous comments demonstrate you didn't even know that.

      The central estimate in AR4 was less than 50 cm (from memory I think it was about 40 cm). More importantly, A%5 gives the range as 40-63 cm (from memory), so say 50 cm. So your range to 2 m was nothing short of dishonest.

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    6. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter,
      the range quoted is irrelevant and is within the range of estimates made by climate scientists. The point I made was that the fact that a person purchases a house by the seaside is an irrelevant argument.
      All the subsequent discussion in relation to sea level has been based on a rise of 0.5 m which is within the range proposed by the IPCC in 2007 and 2012.
      The costs as estimated by Tol in the paper you quote are 1000 times greater than the figure you used which you dismissed as 'negligible'. The IPCC 2007 report provides figures that suggest that Tol's estimate of $200 Billion for a 0.5m increase in is unreasonably low.
      In the interests of 'honesty' you should at least acknowledge that the Tol paper(section 3.1) puts the cost of 0.5m of sea level rise at $200 billion not the $200 million you quoted.

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    7. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to David Rennie

      OK. I see what you are referring to. I did make typo there. I meant $0.2 trillion, not $0.2 billion. My mistake.

      I meant $0.2 trillion and I meant that is trivial over 90 years. Global GDP would be around $35,000 trillion (in today's US$) over that time, which shows how trivial is $0.2 trillion.

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    8. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Thank you , I think we have said enough on this topic on this thread. I expect we will have more to say to each other in the future.

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    9. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to David Rennie

      I agree, We are going over ground already covered, and not dealing with the core issue - i.e. the ETS.

      From my perspective the ETS is the think we need to reach closure on first.

      Then we can progress to other things such if not the ETS then what? I'm happy to debate that, but not until we've reached closure on the ETS.

      But I agree, there is no point continuing on this thread. I think we've probably both lost for respect for each other, so time to take a break and see if next time we discuss something we can stay focused on the core issue and take it through to closure.

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  17. Peter Lang

    Retired geologist and engineer

    Big picture:

    Air temperatures on Greenland ice sheet over the past 10,000 years: http://www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/global/gisp2-apica.gif

    The current temperature is a lwell below the high temperatures during the period from 10,000 to 3,000 years ago, and below the average for that period.

    The trend of declining temperature over the past 4,000 years is scary.

    What might humans do to arrest the decline, and delay the next sudden cooling?

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    1. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter,
      to arrest the decline how much CO2 do we need to emit. Certainly far less than we are currently emitting.
      If you can quantify the increase required perhaps we can discuss our future strategy however with temperatures currently rapidly increasing it is obvious that our current omissions are excessive.

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    2. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to David Rennie

      Are you suggesting having a rational discussions about future strategy with you?

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    3. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Yes I prefer a rational discussion.,
      The current increase in CO2 levels has almost completely reversed the decline in temperatures since the holocene maximum. The gisp-2 graph you mentioned above ends in 1855 and the temperature in that area of Greenland has increased, according to documented records not proxies, by about 1.4 degrees since 1855. If this increase is included in the graph provided, taking the anomaly to +1.0, the current temperature is hotter than almost all the past 10,000 years.

      With considerable additional warming in the pipeline, when do you propose we stop overheating the planet and what is your strategy for doing it?

      So again can

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  18. Peter Gerard

    Retired medical practitioner

    An excellent article. To scrap the Climate Change Authority and Clean Energy Finance Corporation is a calculated move by the Coalition to remove two bodies, whose activity in educating the public on Climate Change and demonstrating the effectiveness of renewable energy programs to date, it would prefer to do without.
    There must be many in the Coalition who disagree with Tony Abbott's approach to Climate Change but have effectively been gagged. I understand that Greg Hunt, in his thesis on this subject , stated that a price on carbon was "desirable" and " inevitable". This might explain his discomfort when trying to explain the Coalition's Direct Action plan.

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    1. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Peter Gerard

      So, you favour wasting $1,345 billion (cum to 2050) for no benefit, eh? Brilliant, just as irrational as the Labor-Green government we've just dumped in a big way.

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    2. Peter Gerard

      Retired medical practitioner

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter,
      I don't know what the $1,345 billion refers to and not having any special knowledge in earth sciences I rely on what I deem to be reliable sources such as the USA EPA, our Climate Change Authority and so on.
      On the EPA site they say that over the last 800,000 years CO2 levels have varied from 180 to 300ppmv. Since about 1750 they have gradually risen[ especially since 1960] to the present levels of about 390ppmv. This unusual rise is said not to be attributable to natural causes but to human…

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    3. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Peter Gerard

      Peter gerard,

      >"Peter, I don't know what the $1,345 billion refers to"

      First step is to read this link which explains why the ETS will not succceed: http://jennifermarohasy.com/2013/08/why-the-ets-will-not-succeed-peter-lang/ The $1345 is Treasury's figure for the net cost, cumulative to 2050, if all their assumptions are met. They won't be, so the cost would be far higher than they assumed and the benefits would not be delivered. Read the link as a first step. The rest of your comment is irrelevant, because it has nothing to do with the point I make that the ETS will cost a fortune and deliver nothing.

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    4. Peter Gerard

      Retired medical practitioner

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Thanks for the reference. The information was far too complex for me to make a response. Has your assessment, based on the Treasury figures, been subjected to a critique by an expert in these matters? Also, as far as budget matters are concerned over the last few years, Treasury hasn't made a good fist of getting their projections right even in the short term. I'd
      I feel the environmental damage that occurs in Australia [and it can be gross] resulting from coal mining is relevant to this topic…

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    5. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Peter Gerard

      Peter,

      I had a lot of pal-review (economist, climate scientist and engineer), but no formal peer review. The economist, now retired, was once a high level economist and policy adviser to government). However, and errors are entirely mine.

      You may prefer to watch this excellent interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtnUovGY_9Q

      >"Also, as far as budget matters are concerned over the last few years, Treasury hasn't made a good fist of getting their projections right even in the short…

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    6. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Peter Gerard

      The only significant negative impact of Global Warming is energy cost – see Tol (2011) Figure 3: http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf

      ‘Agriculture’ and ‘Health’ impacts are both strongly positive to beyond 4 C temp increase above current temperatures.

      The impact of “Storms’ and “Sea level rise’ are about zero net benefit/cost.

      ‘Water’ and ‘Ecosystems’ are small negative impacts but the positive benefits of agriculture and health greatly exceed the negative impacts of “Water’ and ‘Ecosystems’.

      Conclusion: allow cheap energy and the impacts of global warming will be positive to at least 4 C increase above today average global surface temperature and to well beyond the end of this century.

      Clearly, policies that add to the cost of energy – like Kyoto Protocol, carbon pricing and mandated renewable energy - are exactly the wrong policies

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    7. Peter Christoff

      Associate Professor at University of Melbourne

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Sorry but I have to intervene. It's always best to stick to an accurate reading of projections.

      You have offered a profoundly inaccurate misreading of Tol's material. He writes, in the cited report, 'Other impact categories, such as agriculture, forestry, energy, water, storm damage, and ecosystems, are directly expressed in monetary values without an intermediate layer of impacts measured in their ‘natural’ units '.

      In other words, the value of food supplies may soar as they become limited - and indeed may crash - as global average temperatures move towards 4 degrees.

      There is no credible science to support the suggestion that 4 degrees won't have devastating impacts on biodiversity, food supplies, water, etc.

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    8. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Peter Christoff

      Peter Christoff,

      I don't know how long you have been following the impact studies and economic analyses so I am not sure if you are up on all this or not. But there are very few impact studies that are of any use. And the work by Stern and Garnaut can be dismissed.

      I want to emphasise that I do not wish to verbal or misrepresent Tol. I have great respect for Tol as one of the most honest and unbiased researchers involved in climate science, impact studies and economics. I have drawn my…

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    9. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to Peter Christoff

      Peter Christoff,

      I was wondering why you waited until now to make a comment. And I also wondered why you didn't comment on my main point: the ETS will not work and would cost a fortune (figures in previous comments and in here: http://jennifermarohasy.com/2013/08/why-the-ets-will-not-succeed-peter-lang/ )

      So I looked at your bio and finde your background is as a climate activist, an ACF board member, past vice president of ACF for 8 years and your training was in political science. So now I understand why you had no comment on the economic case.

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    10. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Peter Gerard

      Peter,
      Of course after JH'S speech last week we know he was lying through his teeth in an attempt to win votes.

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    11. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to David Rennie

      It's been clear all the way that everything you say is based on your ideological beliefs. No rational arguments at all.

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    12. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Peter Lang

      Peter Lang,
      and you are a climate denier who posts rubbish on denier websites. Tol makes it quite clear that the economic impact of Climate Change is disastrous in the long term and his views in the short term are disputed by other researchers who have already shown that the agricultural impacts of climate change are ALREADY much worse than Tol predicts.
      The IPCC predicts lower agricultural output in almost every region over the short term, so Tool must be an extreme optimist to advocate his position.

      Do you support Tol because he supports your prejudices, or because his research is supported by other scientists. As his views do not appear to be supported by other researchers it must be bnecause he supports your prejudices.

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    13. Peter Lang

      Retired geologist and engineer

      In reply to David Rennie

      >""Peter Lang, and you are a climate denier who posts rubbish on denier websites." So that's your rational discussion, eh?

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  19. Doug Hutcheson

    Poet

    "Abbott’s comments indicated that the Coalition’s support for Australia’s existing target is superficial". Well, who would have believed it: the COALition intends to NOT meet our (already pitiful) target, through following an inadequate Direct (in)Action policy. Gee, whiz, what a surprise. Not.

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    1. David Rennie

      IT Contractor

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Abbott doesn't support the target sufficiently to fund even his direct action plan to acheive the targets.
      He is full of it. (BS that is)

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