Death of an Onion

deathDie KlimaZweibel pegged out some time in early 2017 (arch from now; it's last post was mostly in German). You'll have to forgive me for not noticing earlier; I'd rather stopped visiting after his hit post on me, which I thought careless. People kinda just got bored or ran out of things to say, which happens.

But I shouldn't allow it to pass un-noticed. Other hits from down the years include Junk from von S (about the Lovelock affair in which von S deletes some of my comments, the cad; but can a squarehead be a cad?) and Werner Krauss is a tosser in which I delicately express my opinions. On a lighter note, there's von S’s testimony.

This may a good place to lament the death of blogs in general. People with short thoughts seem to Tweet them; and those with slightly longer ones, ridiculously, break them into a sequence of Tweets. Young folk nowadays, they have no respect.


Well Done – Entirely, And Totally, Misunderstanding Canada’s Carbon Tax - Timmy
* Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Still Matters; In fact, getting politicians and industry to address climate change may start at home - Slate; the idea that your actions will influence others; ah, yes: that's my Climate chickenhawks.
The crisis as reported is just the crisis of a few.


...and Then There's Physics said...

I didn't pay much attention to Die KlimaZweibel. I commented there a few times, but found most of the posts that I did read somewhat confused.

This may a good place to lament the death of blogs in general.

It does feel as though things have changed quite a lot in the last few years, but part of that is - in my case - a sense that I'm simply repeating myself when I do write stuff and far less interest in reading what's happening on other blogs. I used to think that I knew what to write so as to get some kind of response, but that doesn't really seem to work anymore. People just don't seem to care anymore :-)

Phil Hays said...

Timmy said: "That is, we simply do not know what the correct temperature should be in order to maximise human welfare. Thus we’ve got to use the only tool we have – markets and the entire economy – to do the calculation for us. We don’t know what the societal utility function is – that aggregate of all personal utility functions – and so have to use a different method. The only one we’ve got is markets plus a Pigou Tax. The temperature is an outcome of this process. We’ll find out what the right amount of climate change is once we’ve priced emissions properly."

The problem is that taxing carbon is a lot more uncertain than setting a limit on carbon releases.

Timmy just assumes we can get the correct price for carbon, and then it is all the ideal outcome.

There isn't a single correct price for carbon. Unless you just happen know how much carbon will be released in the future. And a few other unknowable things. Future discount rates.

Carbon price if the total release was 100ppm of CO2 added to the atmosphere would correctly be nearly or even below zero, as this carbon release is about the amount that will prevent the next major glacial advance. Of course, that release is in the past.

Carbon price for the 100 ppm between 1980ppm and 2080ppm would be a lot higher. 2080ppm is 9C to 12C of warming. Charney is about 3C per doubling. Pliocene suggests ESS is more like 4.0C to 4.4C per doubling.


What is the cost of 10C warmer climate?

To set the carbon price, we need to know the total quantity of future carbon that will be released and more. Why not just set the total future quantity of carbon to be released, and let the market set the carbon price?

Ah yes, the two predictable objections.

Someone will point out that any future projection is "science fiction", much as men walking on the Moon was science fiction before July 21, 1969 at 02:56:15 UTC. After that, of course, it was history. Hard science fiction deals with the laws of science and real possibilities.

Oh and someone will pick out an arbitrary cut off date, where we don't care what happens after tomorrow, or next year, or next election, or 2100 or whatever. So we do things that we might not do if we did care.

William Connolley said...

> I'm simply repeating myself

It's easy to do. I do my best to link back to my old words, if I find myself tempted to repeat myself. But it can be frustratingly hard to find the old words. Someday I must write my Great Book which puts everything into a coherent whole.

> What is the cost of 10C warmer climate?

Aha, a chance to put my above words to the test: Should we care about the world after 2100?. You can have Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided (part 2) if you like.

> The problem is that taxing carbon is a lot more uncertain than setting a limit on carbon releases.

No; the problem is that setting a limit on carbon release is a lot more certain than taxing carbon.

"setting a limit" is, I've come to think, a bad idea. Not just because it is not-a-carbon-tax; but because it pushes the problem elsewhere. See Carbon budgets and carbon taxes. So the certainty is fake: you get to set a definite number, but you get no certainty that anyone will do anything about it.

Phil Hays said...

"Should we care about the world after 2100?" is a bad URL. As is "Carbon budgets and carbon taxes".

Just setting a limit isn't useful, agreed. The limit needs to be enforced, either by a carbon tax or a cap and trade market. Both will need to be adjusted in the future, as we learn more. Both set a price for carbon, one by government fiat and the other by a market. Being generally in favor of markets to set prices, I'd choose the market.

The carbon tax is better politics. I have a real carbon tax (legally a fee, but same thing) to vote for, or against. There are reasons why it is clearly not an ideal carbon tax. If this one fails, I'll probably get another in two years. Ballot is setting beside my desk. Politics isn't the art of getting exactly what you want, but rather the art of getting enough of what you want. So how do I vote?

I'm unlikely to get a cap and trade ballot initiative, reasonable or not, there are none that I've heard of in the works. And the legislature isn't likely to pass one anytime soon. So I don't get my preference. Unless I move to someplace with different politics, like China. Eh, no.

William Connolley said...

> bad URL

Thanks for noticing. The correct ones are: Should we care about the world after 2100? and Carbon budgets and carbon taxes.

Phil Hays said...

Washington State news:

I-1631 Carbon Fee is very likely rejected.


As of when I looked, it was doing better than I-732 did in 2016. This was the carbon tax and rebate and tax cuts that was advertised as revenue neutral, but actually seems to have paid much more in rebates and tax cuts than would have been collected by the carbon tax.

I voted for both, but think that both were deeply flawed.

William Connolley said...

I updated Back to the morality wars.

Phil Hays said...

"Back to the morality wars", where I can't seem to comment. A bug of a feature?

So I'll put the comment here.

I voted for both. The first one was deeply flawed, not because of failure of "pet interests bought off", but rather for the additional defunding of the state government, beyond the point of being able to fund State Constitutionally required education funding. Which the "Tea Party" types that mostly all seem to now be fascists would love, as they "love the poorly educated". According to Donald Trump, that is.

If you disagree with the State Constitution requirement to fund education, is the correct way to fix it cutting taxes until the State can't do anything?

William Connolley said...

> A bug of a feature?

AFAIK comments aren't closed. Never mind, here will do.

You have a bind: there are two versions of the "carbon tax initiative": the "pure" one, which can attract thinking Repubs, and ought to have the support of Dems; but which offers no pork-barrelling, which people have come to expect as a right, so struggles to get enough support. As you found, this version doesn't get 100% Dem support, because they want the moon on a stick, so it fails.

The other version is the distinctly impure one, where revenues are used to buy off a pile of special interests. Now you can get all the Dems on board, but you repel a lot of Repubs.

There isn't an easy answer to this, other than to slap the over-fussy Dems around and get them to vote for the "pure" version.

From which you can tell that I don't really buy the defunding stuff; or rather, don't see it as of overriding concern; and neither did you, good.

Phil Hays said...

I might have voted against I-732 if it wasn't clear that both the Republicans were largely opposed, and the Democrats were split. It would have been somewhere between a disaster and at best an amusing political fire drill to watch the State government pass other new taxes, if I-732 passed.

Why do you think I-732 did attract any significant Republican support? It got roughly few Republican votes, very roughly 10%. Look at the vote totals by the counties... I would expect very few Republican votes for any carbon tax for the foreseeable future. If a carbon tax passes in the future, it will be mostly on Democratic votes. Unless something changes.


The de-funding was the real issue with why I-732 failed. Of course, that's just my view from Washington State. You know more... how?

I-1631 also split Democratic votes. It was overly complex and poorly written. Perhaps also because it was too left wing. The massive advertising barrage probably also had some impact. Yet I-1631 seems to be getting a larger fraction of the vote than I-732. And yes, probably got less than 10% of Republican votes, looking at the county totals.