Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Climate Fix by Roger Pielke jnr

Here is my summary of his main points so far:
  1. we will need VASTLY more energy in the future
  2. the amount of CO2 we pump into the atmosphere is a big problem - both AGW and biogeochemical effects
  3. so we have to decarbonise the energy supply, aka reduce carbon intensity C output / energy consumed (see Kaya identity section for more detail here)
  4. decarbonisation makes sense from other perspectives too, eg. energy security for some countries (from a policy perspective it is important that there are some short and intermediate term gains from the pain or costs of policy)
  5. the public will not accept a big C tax designed to change energy consumption behaviour - they will vote out any party that introduces it
  6. small steps are better than grandiose plans that end up being rejected
  7. there is not a linear relationship between climate science and government policy, Scientific findings in complex social issues do not dictate policy. Politics in a democracy requires public support. A non linear or oblique approach might work. The direct approach has failed (Copenhagen)
  8. the public will accept a small dedicated C tax (rising slowly over time) to fund R&D; there is consistent public support for some action on climate change but not dramatic action which will alter standard of living
  9. We need more R&D because present technology is not sufficient to do the CO2 reduction that is required – taking into account future economic growth and removal of CO2 from the ocean to reduce harmful biogeochemical effects, as well as from the atmosphere
  10. Since the above steps do not provide a guarantee for targeted CO2 reductions then a backstop is also required
  11. CO2 air capture and storage (remediation) is a potential backstop, which could reshape the climate debate, one of the targets for further R&D

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

the Nobel family has dissociated itself from the economics prize

One of the most annoying things is to read or hear an economist's views promoted because they have won the Nobel Prize. Hence, it is refreshing to hear that the Nobel family has dissociated itself from the economics prize

There are some good spoofs on this at Improbable Research:

2010 ECONOMICS PRIZE: The executives and directors of Goldman Sachs, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and Magnetar for creating and promoting new ways to invest money — ways that maximize financial gain and minimize financial risk for the world economy, or for a portion thereof

2009 ECONOMICS PRIZE: The directors, executives, and auditors of four Icelandic banks — Kaupthing Bank, Landsbanki, Glitnir Bank, and Central Bank of Iceland — for demonstrating that tiny banks can be rapidly transformed into huge banks, and vice versa — and for demonstrating that similar things can be done to an entire national economy.