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October 21, 2021

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Hickenlooper and Bennett are a bigpart of the reason I hope the Dems load pressure on the two holdouts (very specific pressure on these two issues) because others are trying to see how much wiggle room they have as well. The answer on these two issues should be, needs to be, “none.”

Among other things, Manchin is a guy who holds some millions of dollars in private shares in a coal brokerage. Which he started, and which is run by his son.

He represents a very rural state whose economy has historically been based on extracting coal from the ground.

He is not going to lead the charge on climate change.

It would be nice if public officials would put their personal interests aside when it comes to matters of public policy, but it should not surprise anyone when they don't.

The problem is not that Joe Manchin is predictably being Joe Manchin. The problem is that the nation is in a position where Joe Manchin has the ability to stonewall (D) policies.

Congress is not an accurate reflection of America. That's partly a structural thing - see also the US Senate - partly a result of gerrymandering, partly a result of efforts on the part of the (R) party to prevent people who don't vote for them from voting at all, partly the fact that Congress is largely made up of lawyers and overwhelmingly of wealthy people.

It also doesn't help that, as a practical matter, most impediments to very wealthy people and organizations simply buying Congressional votes have been eliminated.

Manchin is just being Manchin. Getting angry with him is understandable, but is of little practical value.

We need to get ourselves out of a world where Joe Manchin gets to decide which policies get to see the light of day and which don't.

He's a rich old guy whose wealth is based on coal. He is one of two Senators, and one of five Congresspeople as a whole, of a state with less than 2 million people, in a nation of over 300 million people.

The problem is not Joe Manchin, personally. The problem is that a Joe Manchin is able to have that much power.

It also doesn't help that, as a practical matter, most impediments to very wealthy people and organizations simply buying Congressional votes have been eliminated.

Which, in turn, is a result of a decades-long effort to remodel the Federal judiciary.

As a first step towards correcting that, perhaps something like a (written?) qualification test for would-be Federal judges needs to be put in place. I'm not sure what the ABA uses to rate nominees, but that might be a place to start. (I'm not enthused about outsourcing the testing to the ABA.** But their process might jump-start work on what is needed.)

** Nor, tempting as it might be, to making endorsement by the Federalist society a dis-qualification.

Unfortunately, hardcore ideologue does not automatically mean incompetent. Many GOP appointed judges would have no problem passing a test of qualification. We'd need a reliable honorability/honesty test which does not exist.

- Climate change is the single most important issue

4% of Americans agree!

“Most important” creates ambiguity between “most urgent” and “of gravest consequence” and “today” nudges the answer towards the former. Just one reason why I think governance by poll is a mistake.

Unfortunately, hardcore ideologue does not automatically mean incompetent. Many GOP appointed judges would have no problem passing a test of qualification.

Not a total solution, certainly. But it is in my mind that the previous administration, for the first time in my memory, insisted on appointing a number of judges who the ABA designated "Not qualified." Since they were, routinely, ideologues, fixing that would be a step forward.

Beyond that, perhaps the Democrats/progressives need to develop something similar to the Federalist Society, to nurture judges who are not reactionaries.

“ The problem is not Joe Manchin, personally. The problem is that a Joe Manchin is able to have that much power.”

One could say something similar about Trump.

I think people like Manchin deserve anger. How and to what degree it should be expressed can be debated, but I don’t think corrupt people in power should be given a pass. We are for the foreseeable future going to live under a terrible constitution which gives too much power to an unrepresentative body. We can’t fix that. We are going to have rich people in office. Can’t fix that. Lots of things can’t be fixed in the next ten years when we have to get serious about climate change but here is one thing we can do— we can criticize stupid selfish hacks like Joe Manchin, which may not do anything to him, but establishes a principle that Democratic voters don’t want any more pieces of shit like him in either the Senate or the House. Maybe he can pass as a Democrat in Trumplandia, but not elsewhere.

Climate change is the single most important issue

4% of Americans agree!

I'm on record, and will continue to be, saying that when people (eg, my granddaughters) in 2050 look back on the first half of the 21st century the big question for them will be, "How could so many of our grandparents have been so wrong about the urgency on climate?"

Since it's an open thread, here's a question. What will be the big event in the continental US that wakes people up on climate? I'm inclined to guess that it won't be the "obvious" ones people talk about -- like rising water in Miami -- because those are gradual. I'm guessing it will be some early summer when we lose the Old River Control Structure on the Mississippi River in a catastrophic failure.

I disagree with this giy frequently. But here, he makes some cogent points.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/10/25/liberals-turn-compromise-into-victory/

I don’t think corrupt people in power should be given a pass.

I'm not sure Manchin is corrupt. I'm not sure a Senator from a state whose major industry, historically, has been coal mining, who then resists or slow-walks climate change policies is corrupt. He may just be representing the interests of his constituents, even if that means visiting a living hell on millions or billions of people 50 or 100 years from now.

I'm not even sure a guy whose personal wealth derives from extracting coal doing the same amounts to corrupt. Self-interested, yes, but I'd find it believable that he thinks he's doing the right-ish thing, which just happens to coincide with his own interests.

I'm not sure Manchin is a particularly bad guy. He may be simply mediocre. And that may be bad enough.

4% of Americans agree!

Probably a lot of overlap with the set of Americans who are going to be alive 50 years from now.

"How could so many of our grandparents have been so wrong about the urgency on climate?"

A corollary big question will be which side was so wrong.

Michael,

Why do you think your granddaughters will skip a generation in their question?

I don't mean that as a personal question, of course. Just wondering why the generation comprising our children is not already up in arms against the MAGAt-adjacent pols and their supporters who act and vote as if the climate problem isn't particularly urgent.

--TP

It appear to be untrue that Manchin represents the interests of his constituents, even in a narrow sense, on the issue of climate change.
https://www.dataforprogress.org/memos/wv-voters-support-ces

The canny old grifter represents his own interests.

And is old and selfish enough not to care much about how the world looks in 2050.

But the Democrats still need his vote. So compromise it will be.

Charles,

Which "side" do you think stands a better chance of turning out to have been "so wrong"?

On past form, I suspect you imagine that The Free Market, left alone and un-oppressed by The Government, will do a fine job of solving "the problem". Or maybe there is no "problem" to be solved, in your view. Either way, care to expand on your "corollary big question"?

--TP

But the Democrats still need his vote. So compromise it will be.

Once the bill is passed and signed, the challenge for progressives, and for Democrats generally, will be to focus on all the things that did get done. Rather than the things that should have been included but weren't. Because that's what will be needed to sell a "See, government can work, if we're in charge!" message to 2022 voters.

Not to say y'all shouldn't work on getting more stuff in the 2022 reconciliation bill. Just that ya gotta blow your own horn on all the really big stuff that you have managed to accomplish. Sell the "The glass is half full" version, rather than moaning about the glass being half empty.

What Tony said (6:22).

The IPCC has projected that if nothing is done to address climate change, by the end of the century global GDP will be 10 to 15 percentage points lower than it would otherwise be. That is 435 to 440 instead of 450 percent greater than it is today. If nothing is done global GDP will still be over five times greater than it is today. Since the IPCC is the global face in addressing climate change, perhaps your argument is with them, not me.

Just one reason why I think governance by poll is a mistake.

until we have a steady supply of benevolent dictators, it will have to do.

On past form, I suspect you imagine that The Free Market, left alone and un-oppressed by The Government, will do a fine job of solving "the problem". Or maybe there is no "problem" to be solved, in your view.

In my view, there is a problem but that it is a much smaller problem than is often portrayed. And that the free market will do the least worse job at fixing it.

the free market will do the least worse job at fixing it.

No doubt there is a Reason article somewhere which speaks to all the great steps that the free market has already taken to fix it. Yeah, right

How many people can eat a GDP? Do they float?

If 100000 refugees turn up at your doorstep, how many GDPs will it cost to get them to go next door?

How many GDPs will it take to buy the requisite indulgences to get your soul out of hock?

if i get 10,000,000 new GDPs, does it matter if 10,000 people lose 100 GDPs each?

not to the Global Average!

hooray for math!

the missing factor of ten is in the prescription for the glasses i'm not wearing.

The IPCC has projected that if nothing is done to address climate change, by the end of the century global GDP will be 10 to 15 percentage points lower than it would otherwise be. That is 435 to 440 instead of 450 percent greater than it is today.

That's not what 10% smaller means.

No citation there, but here's the most recent relevant report (from Swiss Re via WEF, not IPPC). It projects a 10% relative loss of GDP by 2050.

That still doesn't sound like much, but most GDP is in services not much affected by climate change, not in the important stuff poor people need.

Here's a group of Stanford scholars' visualization of what GDP looks like under climate change using the IPCC's 2015 report:

https://web.stanford.edu/~mburke/climate/map.php

They seem to be saying something different than what CharlesWT or his source is saying about the effect of temperature on GDP. They seem to be saying percentage change in per capita GDP, not percentage of reduction in growth of GDP.

Their study, BTW, seems to have been published in Nature. You can chase it if you want.

I only dabble in this, but even I know that the mainstream economist estimates of the damage caused by climate change are ludicrously low. One model shows a 10 percent drop if the temperature rose 6 degrees Celsius. In other words, an unimaginable cataclysm which would make much of the earth uninhabitable would be lies serious than the Great Depresssion. It reminds me of people like Herman Kahn who talked about winning a nuclear war.

Here is a three year old link but there are a lot more out there.

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/6/8/17437104/climate-change-global-warming-models-risks

the missing factor of ten is in the prescription for the glasses i'm not wearing.

And here I was thinking typo...
Projection, I suppose.

CharlesWT: The IPCC has projected that if nothing is done to address climate change, by the end of the century global GDP will be 10 to 15 percentage points lower than it would otherwise be.

The IPCC web site is a formidable collection of pages. I confess I have not read through all of them. I have not even been able to search out the projection CharlesWT refers to, my google-fu being not-strong. Perhaps Charles would care to offer a specific link, so anyone who cares to look at the actual source can stand a chance of being persuaded by it. If CharlesWT's "source" is some Reason article, surely it will contain the link I'm looking for.

No offense to Charles, but people with an axe to grind have been known to misrepresent what their claimed source actually says, so it pays to check.

Meanwhile, it's hard to argue about the merits or shortcomings of an uncited projection.

--TP

Here is a very recent study which argues that people have been greatly underestimating the damage per ton of carbon emissions.

https://www.zmescience.com/science/we-have-gravely-underestimated-the-economic-cost-of-climate-change/

I have not even been able to search out the projection CharlesWT refers to, my google-fu being not-strong.

I too have trouble finding links to back my assertions.

This may be the source of the numbers I quoted. But is global human welfare the same as global GDP?

"Climate change is real and its impacts are mostly negative, but common portrayals of devastation are unfounded. Scenarios set out under the UN Climate Panel (IPCC) show human welfare will likely increase to 450% of today's welfare over the 21st century. Climate damages will reduce this welfare increase to 434%."
Welfare in the 21st century: Increasing development, reducing inequality, the impact of climate change, and the cost of climate policies

Pretty sure Manchin is corrupt.

https://theintercept.com/2021/10/23/joe-manchin-federal-investigations/

The NYT reports he found something else he doesn’t like— a provision that would put a fee on methane emissions.

Charles— Bjorn Lomborg? He is your source?

I try not to do what I am doing now and reject something out of hand because of who wrote it, but in a few cases it is probably a useful heuristic. This is like quoting an intelligent design person as an authority on evolutionary theory.

When Bjørn Lomborg claims in his article that inequality is set to plummet in the 21st C. while defining that drop in inequality as the gap between the richest nation and the poorest, and then treats per capita GDP as a measure of how well off every citizen in those countries is, I begin to suspect that he's oversimplifying things.

Look at our current problems with logistics worldwide and imagine those continuing, because they will as we continue to have pandemics due to hyperglobalism and environmental stress.

Try to figure the effect of millions of displaced peoples becoming climate refugees. Look at the strain placed on the EU as it struggles to absorb its massive influx of refugees and integrate them.

All smoothed over in Lomborg's assumptions that GDP becomes individual welfare, and that technological advances will outstrip all the climate related challenges.

I'm skeptical of the skeptic.

Lomborg likes to self-own...
While climate research suggests that fewer but stronger future hurricanes will increase damages, this effect will be countered by richer and more resilient societies.

But is global human welfare the same as global GDP?

No.

The IPCC has projected that if nothing is done to address climate change, by the end of the century global GDP will be 10 to 15 percentage points lower than it would otherwise be

When people consider the risks of climate change, they are mostly talking about stuff other than GDP.

Pretty sure Manchin is corrupt.

This would not surprise me.

Rebuilding expensive waterfront homes contributes to GDP, so we have that going for us. Subsistence farmers can be wiped from the face of the earth with almost no effect on GDP. Sucks for them.

But that's what makes the GDP so great here: it hides all those inconvenient details.

Also, since GDP typically only captures the money economy, subsistance farmers not only have minimal impact, they don't really feature at all. Except for this. Since they are part of the population, if they all starve, the population draps, so the per capita GDP can even go up. And without any awkward genocide accusations, too.

OMG!!!
Astronomers find signs of a planet beyond our galaxy with NASA telescope

28 million light years away. For a planet. OK, it's the size of Saturn, but still.

Rebuilding expensive waterfront homes contributes to GDP

Reproducing the Netherlands' dike system around every coastal US city, same/same. Or, just relocating them.

And not just the US.

There will be work aplenty for all of the refugees.

WOW!

A planet outside of our galaxy has its very own NASA telescope?

Are they looking back at us?

Maybe Musk's lookalike mannequin in the lost in space junk Tesla convertible can be re-directed to take a closer look see.

Gadzooks!

If the vaunted private sector, which created the present conditions for global climate change, are the only entity (government scientists can warn for 30 or 40 years... without even a simple thank you from ingrate conservatives and libertarians ... but we must cool our overheated heels for 40 years while the fucking private sector, which studied its nails on one hand while thwarting all research, let alone possible action, during the same time period) can be permitted to combat that damage, how come they didn't sell that planet a cheaper private label telescope.

On what beach did the private sector make landfall on June 6, 1944?

True, private sectors actors John Wayne and Hollywood (Tom Hanks' ... a child molestor in league with Hillary Clinton, according to subhuman conservative republican vermin .. production, was better) copycatted the successful government version.

Who will play James Hansen in the movie version of Operation It Costs Too Much To Save The Human Race?

Some conservative jagoff like Jon Voight?

How 'bout fuckwad dirtmouth James Woods?

Conservative grifter Caitland Jenner could handle the role if she still has the spare parts.


"Reproducing the Netherlands' dike system ...."

Hold on there one second, partner.

Dikes are infrastructure, which according to subhuman Ted Cruz and a cast of millions of dumbass racist conservatives on the planet, rhymes with dykes, with a Capital T for trouble, and there's no way conservative haters will be permitting Gertrude Stein, RuPaul, four-star General Dr. Rachel Devine, and Kate McKinnon (a motley crew, but conservatives hate dykes; they just don't know what one is, thus the mashup) to construct structures within earshot of our post-fetal offspring on public school grounds to fend off high water.

What's next, conservative whackjob martyrd parents will demand at PTA meetings, while brandishing semi-automatics as they make late night calls to PTA board members and threaten to kill them, per murderous conservative Don Tucker Carlson's hit instructions, Auschwitz ... and forcing Nazis like themselves to be vaccinated and dewormed against the fascist worms that have crawled up their Trump butts?

Joe Manchin will go along with the dike provisions, but only if they are constructed of coal mined in his state and brokered by his son's corporation.

There will be no discounts on the coal on behalf of the common good.

Kyrsten Sinema, when confronted in a bathroom stall about her attitude toward dikes, screamed maniacally something about both sides doing it.

I guess if the accumulation of wealth is the only metric one cares about, reducing the consequences of GCC to its effect on "average" GDP makes sense.

Still, the reductionism is rather astounding. Rather like saying a global thermonuclear war would be a good thing because we might get some urban renewal projects out of it.

It's a working paper, but it is forthcoming in the Economic Journal of the Royal Economic Society, so I believe it is the post-review version as a pre-print.

https://www.lse.ac.uk/granthaminstitute/publication/a-time-for-action-on-climate-change-and-a-time-for-change-in-economics/

To explain my argument concerning the failures of IAMs in relation to these two questions, I will set out, in broad terms, some of the basic structure and specifications in standard IAMs. There is an underlying one-good growth model where emissions depend on output, accumulated emissions cause temperature increase and climate change, and emissions can be reduced by incurring costs. However, much of this literature, which has dominated so much work on the economics of climate change, has been misleading and biased against strong action, because climate damage specifications are implausibly low and costs of action implausibly high, and subject to diminishing returns. For example, a recent version of the DICE model estimates losses of 8.5% of current GDP at a global temperature rise of 6°C (Nordhaus, 2017). If this were plausible, there would be little cause for concern because 6°C of warming will not be reached, even with bad luck, probably for over 100 years, by which point, with a modest 24 amount of economic growth, losing less than ten percentage points of GDP would be of minor significance in relation to GDP which had more than doubled (at say an underlying growth rate of 1% p.a.). But a 6°C temperature rise would likely be deeply dangerous, indeed existential for hundreds of millions, or billions, of people. It could be a world that could support a far lower population, and we could see deaths on a huge scale, migration of billions of people, and severe conflicts around the world, as large areas, many densely populated currently, became more or less uninhabitable as a result of submersion, desertification, storm surge and extreme events, or because the heat was so intense for extended periods that humans could not survive outdoors. It is profoundly implausible that numbers around 10% of GDP offer a sensible description of the kind of disruption and catastrophe that 6°C of warming could cause. We cannot be sure of the probabilities of different scales of catastrophe, but it would seem deeply unwise, indeed reckless, to assume that catastrophe of immense proportions would not be associated with temperature increases of this magnitude.

This strikes me as addressing the imaginative failures of Lomborg's models that never focus in enough detail to actually see the human suffering contained in the graphs where all he ever sees is an increase in GDP.

It's like letting your house burn to the ground because you don't want to incur the cost of the water needed to put the fire out.

fewer people means less demand for resources so prices will necessarily fall for everyone.

why do you love high prices?

It's like letting your house burn to the ground because you don't want to incur the cost of the water needed to put the fire out

Rather, it is like burning down your neighbors houses in order to create a firebreak around your own home. The reduction in your water rates, due to decreased demand, is just a bonus.

Same way that GDP per capita goes up whenever per capita goes down?

Plague? War? Famine? Just necessary downsizing, err...right-sizing.

What nous said.
The climate uncertainties, and the cost in both human and economic concerns are massive. In that context, claiming to model economic growth over the next century is simply absurd.

The costs of limiting CO2 growth now, as a percentage of global GDP, is not massive - and a large proportion of those costs, as investment in renewable energy generation, better insulated homes, zero carbon transport etc, are likely to be economically beneficial in the medium term.

A delay of even five years is potentially very costly indeed:
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/26/world-wasted-chance-build-back-better-covid-un

Char else is proposing a very large gamble with the future of the planet in exchange for a pretty derisory payout.
It’s an attractive gamble only for the old and wealthy. They do, of course, have a disproportionate say in societal decisions.

Char else… Charles.
Apologies (though the typo is almost appropriate).

I read about the Nordhaus 6 degree model last year and it’s so clearly insane you have to wonder what is wrong with any economist who took it seriously. But I probably answered my own question. These are economists we are talking about.

But getting back to the BBB act, I think the Democrats are blowing it, I don’t mean Manchin and Sinema. They are the bad guys here and they are succeeding in what they want to accomplish. It’s the well- intentioned Democrats who are blowing it, by putting together a bunch of half baked means tested temporary programs that won’t be popular, rather than, under the circumstances, trying to do a few things really well. Or anyway, that is my impression from what I have read. Here is another piece claiming this is what is happening and advocating the alternative approach.—

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/26/opinion/build-back-better-democrats.html

So on this point I am with wj, but we can walk and chew gum at the same time. We could, in theory, focus on passing a few solid programs and also heatedly denounce the kind of centrism that Sinema and Manchin represent.

It’s the well- intentioned Democrats who are blowing it, by putting together a bunch of half baked means tested temporary programs that won’t be popular, rather than, under the circumstances, trying to do a few things really well

the only reason things are half baked is because the two clowns have turned half the bakeries ovens into gun safes.

One maddening thing about carbon dioxide emissions is that burning the world's limited supplies of fossil fuels as quickly as possible would be madness even if global warming didn't exist. What does "conservative" mean again?

It's like using your lifetime supply of water to fill your moat to overflowing, flooding your neighbours' houses as you do it.

...the only reason things are half baked is because the two clowns have turned half the bakeries ovens into gun safes.

Well, not only that but the reconciliation rules in the Senate require that the bills can't increase the deficit for more than ten years. Eg, Bush's tax cuts for corporations were permanent, but the cuts for high-income individuals expired after several years in order to meet that requirement. The plan -- which played out -- was that the Democrats would vote to avoid the very large tax "increase" on all but the very highest income folks.

I spent my highest income years during the 1990s writing letters to my Congress critters that said, "You should increase my marginal income taxes moderately."

I spent my highest income years during the 1990s writing letters to my Congress critters that said, "You should increase my marginal income taxes moderately."

So very against the prevailing winds of the TABOR years.

Unfortunately, the limit is mainly on easily and effectively extractable fossil fuels. That leaves HUGE amounts of really dirty stuff that uses up a third to a half of the energy content up in extraction alone. And the more of the 'limited' stuff we burn the more attractive it becomes to go after the bad stuff and the higher the book value of it goes. The owners have actually an interest in the 'era of cheap oil' ending as soon as possible, so they can turn the stuff to profit. Shale oil or, even worse, tar sands extraction is imo the moral equivalent of poison gas development and production.
Btw, the surface of the moon looks more inviting than the landscape where tar sands are exploited.
We will sooner boil alive than run out of carbon to be burned.

Britain's "If we don't drill it, we won't need it," approach isn't working out too well for them at the moment.

Shale oil and gas drilling has a smaller footprint and environmental impact than traditional oil and gas drilling.

Shale oil and gas drilling ...

Oh, wait. I was thinking about fracking, not shale mining.

Fracking is causing huge methane spikes that are more problematic than equivalent spikes of CO2, and most of what they extract goes to use in cheap plastics.

Smile for the day. I'm in a (virtual) technical conference this week. In a coffee break room just now, we got off on vaccines. One guy (I think from Eastern Europe) says
"Given the culture here, if the government would say 'No vaccines' everybody would be scrambling to get them on the black market!"

I wonder if that would work in some of our red states....

Shale oil and gas drilling has a smaller footprint and environmental impact than traditional oil and gas drilling.

At least here in Colorado, not true. They leak a whole lot more methane than the traditional drillers. Which, given the locations and wind patterns, means that rural Colorado with fracked wells is contributing a whole lot more to Denver's ozone violations than they used to with simple vertical wells.

What's really fascinating, at least to me, is that when this comes up in various fora, the local oil and gas companies are in favor of much heavier regulation, and the companies operating out of Houston or the East Coast want the state regulations to go away.

Shale oil and gas drilling has a smaller footprint and environmental impact than traditional oil and gas drilling.

I call bullshit.

Show your work or stand down.

Oh, wait. I was thinking about fracking

The convenient thing about fracking is that you drill here and the environmental impact happens.... over there.

Among other things, fracking has brought us flammable water taps.

We also have no fucking idea whatsoever about what the companies are pumping into the ground. It's proprietary knowledge. Even when it gets into the groundwater.

Your argument here is kind of bullshit. With all due respect.

Your argument here is kind of bullshit. With all due respect.

Fixed that for you.

Really, FFS.

We need to stop pulling coal, oil, and gas out of the ground and burning it. There are other things we could *also* do, but if we don't stop doing those things, we're going to fuck up 10,000 years of stable climate even more than we are already on track to do.

There is no way around it.

All of this was brought to our attention 40 years ago, and we've ignored it for a generation and a half. And now an inescapable level of significant damage is baked in, although most people reading this won't have to deal with it in a significant way.

But the plain inescapable fact is that burning stuff that puts CO2 in the air is making the planet hotter. Hotter planet means climate change. Climate change means 10,000 years of settled patterns of habitation shift. And that means disruption at scale. And disruption at scale means all bets are off. Socially, economically, politically, any way you want to slice it.

And that's just for us humans.

And, pre-emptively, Reason magazine can kiss my @ss.

They leak a whole lot more methane than the traditional drillers.

Pound for pound, the comparative impact of CH4 is 25 times greater than CO2 over a 100-year period.

40 years for the effect of CO2 on climate?

That's an underestimate. The first mention of how increasing CO2 was causing more greenhouse effect was something like 1890, soon after IR absorption measurements were done.

I wonder if there were climate-deniers on Venus.

The first mention of how increasing CO2 was causing more greenhouse effect was something like 1890

But in the early 1970s (when most baby boomers were coming of age and starting to pay attention), there was a lot of worrying about global cooling. Sometimes it was about "nuclear winter", but not always. And that may well be part of the reason so many of my fellow boomers can't wrap their heads around global warming -- because they got cooling locked in long ago.

Seems apropos

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378021001655

Building upon recent work on other major fossil fuel companies, we report new archival research and primary source interviews describing how Total responded to evolving climate science and policy in the last 50 years. We show that Total personnel received warnings of the potential for catastrophic global warming from its products by 1971, became more fully informed of the issue in the 1980s, began promoting doubt regarding the scientific basis for global warming by the late 1980s, and ultimately settled on a position in the late 1990s of publicly accepting climate science while promoting policy delay or policies peripheral to fossil fuel control. Additionally, we find that Exxon, through the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA), coordinated an international campaign to dispute climate science and weaken international climate policy, beginning in the 1980s. This represents one of the first longitudinal studies of a major fossil fuel company’s responses to global warming to the present, describing historical stages of awareness, preparation, denial, and delay.

But in the early 1970s (when most baby boomers were coming of age and starting to pay attention), there was a lot of worrying about global cooling.

That is simply not the case.

One Newsweek cover does not equal "a lot of worrying."

Those whose economic interests favored burning more fossil fuels were already marshalling their efforts to mount a propaganda war against global warming.

The fuel industry's MO reminds me of how intelligent-design theorists/creationists argue for "teaching the controversy" - the controversy that only exists because they created it. You don't have to make a good scientific argument. You just have to create the appearance that a scientific consensus doesn't exist.

"I wonder if there were climate-deniers on Venus."

They moved to Texas, not to escape extinction, but for the tax breaks.

That is simply not the case.

Bobby, were you around back then? (And past childhood.) I was. And, regardless of what you can Google up today, concerns about global cooling were definitely part of the general culture.

They were wrong. And there was, as the various links here note, plenty of science to the contrary. But the concern was, nevertheless. And we saw similar arguments to those we see today about how real the prospect was.

You just have to create the appearance that a scientific consensus doesn't exist.

also: scientists are always part of a giant conspiracy to tell you to not do what you want to do.

except those employed by Exxon, and RJR.

also: scientists are always part of a giant conspiracy to tell you to not do what you want to do.

That's why you need random people with YouTube channels to tell you the Real Truth.

A telling point about the oil & gas companies is that around a quarter of methane emissions could be fixed for relative peanuts.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0301421519303490

And hasn't been.

Until there are adequate substitutes, the world is stuck with fossil fuels.

When governments restrict and prohibit vaping and e-cigarettes, cigarette consumption goes up. When governments and NGOs apply pressure to limit and divest oil and gas development, the consumption of coal goes up.

Energy is going to be expensive in a lot of places this winter. In some places, it may not be available at any price.

World Energy Crisis

About a third of global electricity is produced and consumed in China. About 80% of that is industrial consumption. The U.S. industrial consumption is about 25%. If China tries to bring its usage profile more in line with western countries, it's going to be consuming a lot more coal.

I also recall (vaguely) the issue of "global cooling" back in the 70's, but probably read about it in the pages of Science.

IIRC, the main point was that there could be a quick onset to an ice-age: a couple of summers when the leftover snow doesn't melt.

NOT "oh noes, the world is freezing!"

What popular media did with it is another thing.

I also recall (vaguely) the issue of "global cooling" back in the 70's

After half a century, I expect all of our memories are a bit vague about details. But our overviews are another matter.

It's like my recalling the details of arguments in the late 1950s about our supposed technological lag and what should be done about it. But that there was great concern (panic, even) post Sputnik? That's real clear.

Wiki has a decent overview:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling

I was a geeky kid in the 70's and do remember some speculation about both global warming and global cooling. Isaac Asimov mentioned global warming from burning fossil fuels in one of his science essays--this would have been written back in the late 60's or early 70's. People also speculated about air pollution blocking sunlight as volcanic ejecta in the stratosphere does and causing cooling--plus there was talk about the Milanovich (sp? too lazy to look it up) cycle bringing back the ice age.

As for nuclear war, nuclear winter as such was discussed in the early 80's--the TTAPS paper was partly inspired by Alvarez paper on the asteroid impact. But there was speculation about the cooling effects of a nuclear war in the 60's and 70's, usually comparing it to the effects of a large voclanic eruption. There was a NAS study, I think, in the mid 70's about that, and then another one in the 80's after the nuclear winter papers came out. In the 70's the doomsday effect from nuclear war was supposed to be the weakening of the ozone layer from the oxides of nitrogen produced in the fireballs.

But on climate change from industrial activity it was clear it was speculative. Nobody back then claimed to know for sure what was going to happen--what I picked up as a kid was that people didn't know if the cooling effects of soot would be more than outweighed by the warming effects of carbon dioxide.

My memory of cooling was that it was attached to nuclear arms reduction, popularized by Carl Sagan

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/when-carl-sagan-warned-world-about-nuclear-winter-180967198/

I don't think it was related to climate per se, at least in my memory

Wrt global cooling, I seem to recall that there was also a concern in the 1970s about "missing solar neutrinos." One possible explanation was that the rate of fusion in the solar core had decreased and once the effects of that reached the solar surface, there would be a decrease in radiation and a cooling effect on Earth. Eventually they figured out that the neutrinos weren't actually missing.

In the summers from 1972 through 1974 I worked at an agricultural field lab. One of the big projects was on a federal grant to figure out where the missing CO2 was: based on industrial output, there should have been more CO2 in the atmosphere than was observed, and even more heating. U of Hawaii was also involved, and the eventual conclusion was that the excess CO2 at that time was being absorbed by the oceans.

That global cooling was a real concern in the 1970's is a notion that right-wingers have been cultivating for over a decade. This 2009 potholer54 video lays it out pretty well.

Popular panic about Sputnik, whether or not it was cultivated by the Cold Warriors of the 1950s, was at least partly justified by the fact (remember "facts"? they used to be a thing) that the Soviets really had launched an orbiting satellite. Popular panic about Satanic rituals in day-care centers in the 1990s was a thing, too. Probably more widespread than "global cooling", to boot.

--TP

That global cooling was a real concern in the 1970's is a notion that right-wingers have been cultivating for over a decade.

That there was concern is, quite simply, a fact. It may have been unjustified; in retrospect it was unjustified. But that doesn't change the fact that it was a concern -- and, my original point, that concern may have impacted the ability of those now in their 60s and 70s (and older) to wrap their heads around global warming.

And my point, wj, is that the degree of "concern" among ordinary, disco-dancing Americans in the 70s has been overstated by right-wingers this millennium. And of course the wingnuts just plain lie about what "scientists" had to say back then.

Don't watch the video I linked to. It might make you think less of George Will.

--TP

George Will: really good on baseball. Other stuff? Sometimes....

Global cooling. If our old friend OCSteve is reading, I bet he'd be glad to do a fine rant for us on James Hansen.

And I remember reading about the possibly coming ice age in the Whole Earth magazine (or something related) during the 70s or 80s.

On the other hand, I don't get the sense that this was a widely-known meme at the time, so I don't agree with wj that our generation is skeptical of global warming because we were once worried about global cooling. It just wasn't on the general public's radar, at least as I remember it.

I'm bemused by the idea that pollution thick enough to block that much sunlight is nothing worry about (except for the possibility that it could cause another ice age).

overstated by right-wingers this millennium


but don't call them anti-science.

they hate that.

Science, in the abstract, still is considered "a good thing." It's just when it says something on a particular subject that clashes with ideology that it gets a thumbs down.

LJ--

Yeah, the nuclear winter stuff was a separate issue, except in the sense that throwing dirt or soot or sulfuric acid droplets in the atmosphere can cool things down, whether the stuff is placed there by factories, asteroid impacts, volcanoes, or nuclear wars. Sagan was the final author on the TTAPS paper. That was one of the ones that kicked off interest in nuclear winter, but there were two European scientists (I think) who had written something similar just before. And before all that, back in the 60's and 70's, people did talk about possible cooling from nuclear war, usually comparing it to what Krakatoa and especially Tambora did.

All of this both cooling and warming from various causes, was part of the conversation back then if you followed that stuff. I was a pre-teen and then teenager who followed all this by reading popular science articles and some books in the local library. The rightwingers aren't totally wrong about that. Where they go wrong is in claiming that scientists were certain that we were heading into an Ice Age because of human activity. That's a wild exaggeration of what the conversation was like. Nobody claimed to be certain about anything. Possibly some popular magazine sensationalized some of the speculation, but that can happen at any time with any subject.

It has been noted that the last ice age is uncommonly long ago given the usual patterns. World climate rarely stays that stable as it has until we began to meddle with it. So, from a general climatological POV there was indeed reasonable talk that there could be a new ice age in the not too distant future. But this had little to do with observed cooling trends but was a general warning that we should not simply assume that climate would stay as it is indefinitely.
Plus there was some talk about Europe going ice age again earlier, when there were discussions to widen the Panama canal by means of nukes which revived the older* fear that the isthmus as a whole could become unstable and sink leading to the Gulf Stream escaping into the Pacific instead of going towards Europe.

*it was e.g. a topic in SF novels in the 30ies when nukes did not yet exist but were predicted already.

+1 Donald

It just wasn't on the general public's radar, at least as I remember it.

Yup. I suffered through the onset of adultitus in the late 60's, and all that stuff about global cooling was nothing compared to disco, EST, and 'self-fulfillment' once we got out of the hippie phase. It was a flash in the pan at most, and the idea that this little kerfluffle has any significant influence on aging boomers' attitude toward global warming is simply not an assertion that can be taken seriously.

You want to know what agitates old folks about global warming? The size of their 401k, the value of their house, and taxes.

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