Saturday, 8 July 2017

This looks like obvious nonsense to me

At a post by mt at ATTP's a comment (why do I save this here like I used to with some at septic blogs? Because despite reminders some are getting lost there, too):

Your comment is awaiting moderation. 
> Economic, social and environmental losses climb rapidly and nonlinearly with temperature change, and may already overwhelm the short-term benefits of fossil fuels
This looks like obvious nonsense to me. The short-term benefits of fossil fuels include an industrial society that allows 7 billion people to live, many in comfort. Removing those would lead to the society collapsing and billions starving. I can’t really tell what’s gone wrong with your statement: are you massively underestimating the gains, are you somehow saying we could keep those gains, today, without fossil fuels, or is your statement malformed? It claims to be a cost-benefit analysis. I think the present-day costs of GW are “small” when measured against the global economy.
It looks like your PCAGWH similarly fails; again, it’s hard to tell how you’re accounting for the balance.
This is rather disappointing. You’ve been writing and thinking about this stuff for a long time. We’ve been discussing it for ages. How can someone who is essentially “on your side” end up thinking you’re writing nonsense?

1 comment:

  1. mt replies that he is talking about *marginal* increases. It isn't clear to me that he has thought this thought through.

    William Connolley says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    July 8, 2017 at 3:20 pm
    > My point is that the marginal cost of each additional unit of carbon emitted, which takes a very long time to accrue, may already exceed the marginal benefit of that unit, which is immediate. An economist might therefore conclude that I advocate an immediate abrupt cessation of all emissions. I readily stipulate that this is infeasible.

    It still isn’t really clear what you mean. You’re suggesting that current-level emissions aren’t too bad, but the “marginal cost” of extra emissions are more than their gains? In that case, i think you need to complete the thought, because your point 4 has now become about increases above current levels (which the Graun tells me are fairly stable ( though I haven’t checked). But I think you’re arguing for decreases in emission levels a-la Rahmstorf, but as a result of your clarification your point 4 no longer justifies this.

    Hypergeometric> Accordingly, it will crash, and it will start when big banks and bondholders begin asking for high premiums on new debt from the industry because they’ll increase their odds on its inabliity to pay these back.

    Why will that be a crash: if there’s a market-based mechanism for feedback, why is that a problem?

    > why is there not a single working CGCM that produces a respectable climate simulation with such a low sensitivity?

    This is a neat question, if you happen to believe in the science, or are talking to people inclined to. But if you’re talking to “red team” folk, then it is trivially batted away with no need for thought: the models are wrong, the “observationally” based estimates of climate sensitivity are right.