Political Climate
Nov 09, 2007
Survey of IPCC Climate Experts

DemandDebate.com, November 8, 2007

Many claim that there is a consensus among scientists that manmade emissions of greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide (CO2), are harming global climate. To test the nature of this consensus, we surveyed the U.S. contributors to, and reviewers of the most recent scientific assessment by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Survey questions were sent to 345 U.S. contributors and reviewers of the IPCC’s “Climate Change 2007: The Physical Basis.” Respondents were asked to check the box that best represents their view. Fifty-four responses were included in the final results.

The survey results indicate that when asked routine questions about the climatic role of manmade CO2, the IPCC scientists surveyed responded for the most part with the Pavlovian manmade-CO2-is-bad view seemingly demanded of them by the IPCC. But when you ask questions that are off the usual script, the supposed consensus seems to readily fall apart.  See full story and survey results here.

Icecap Note: The response most interesting to me was to the question “Which best describes the reason(s) for climate change?” to which 63% responded that human activity drives climate change, but natural variability is also important. 15% felt natural variability was either primarily or mostly responsible for climate change and 20% felt human factors were the primary drivers.  Also forty-four percent didn’t think that the current global climate was unprecedentedly warm.

Nov 06, 2007
Climate Is a Risky Issue for Democrats

By Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post Staff Writer

All of the leading Democratic contenders for the presidency are committed to a set of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that would change the way Americans light their homes, fuel their automobiles and do their jobs, costing billions of dollars in the short term but potentially, the candidates say, saving even more in the decades to follow.

Former senator John Edwards (N.C.), who from the outset has made global warming one of the three pillars of his campaign, explains his ambitious plan to Democratic primary voters in terms of sacrifice. The strong medicine Edwards and his fellow candidates are selling—an 80 percent cut in greenhouse gases from 1990s levels by 2050—tracks with a plan espoused by scientists. But it is a plan that will require a wholesale transformation of the nation’s economy and society.

Read more here.

Nov 02, 2007
Carbon Trading

Introduction by Dr. Thomas Quirk
“This takes us to the Middle Ages and the sales of Papal Indulgences where the only benefit to the purchaser was a warm inner feeling. The modern Carbon Indulgence may give the purchaser a warm inner feeling but confers no benefit but a wealth transfer to others. At least with Papal Indulgences some of the funds went to Rome and the architectural glories of St Peter’s as a lasting benefit.”

By Bryan Leyland

I first heard about carbon trading at a conference more than ten years ago. I got up and said “if I was the financial adviser to the Mafia, I would advise them to get into carbon trading.” Nothing that has happened since then changes my opinion - rather the reverse.

Is interesting to compare it with electricity trading. In an electricity market, the amount of electricity bought and sold is measured to an accuracy of +/- 0.2% every 30 minutes. On top of that, when you buy electricity, you get an amount of energy of high value which you can use directly for your benefit.
With carbon trading, it is all different. The amount of greenhouse gas emissions from an industrial plant can be measured to an accuracy of, at best, +/-10%. If you are purchasing carbon credits from, for instance, a forest, the accuracy of measurement is probably something between +/-100%. If it is a tropical forest, it could be minus 150% because there is reasonable evidence that some tropical forests are net emitters of greenhouse gases.  But it gets worse. 

In between the buyer and seller is an “auditor” who, in theory, can make an accurate judgment as to the quantity of greenhouse gases being traded. He is the direct equivalent of the old “Inspector of weights and measures” or the person who tests electricity meters. If the reading of an electricity meter is fiddled, one party wins and the other party loses. But if an auditor fraudulently states that a forest is absorbing say 200 tons of carbon dioxide per annum when a more realistic figure might be 100 tons, both parties win. The forest owner wins because he sells more credits. The purchaser of the credits wins because he is out to buy a piece of paper certifying that he purchased credits. If the volume is fiddled upwards, the chances are that the price per tonne will be reduced and, any way, he probably needs to buy more than are available.

So, to my knowledge, carbon trading is the only commodity trading where it is impossible to establish with reasonable accuracy what is being bought and sold, where the commodity that is traded is invisible and can perform no useful purpose to the purchaser, where both parties benefit if the quantities traded have been exaggerated. It is, therefore, and open invitation to fraud and that is exactly what is happening all over the world. 

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