Does a $9 Billion Carbon Tax Get Your Attention?

by Steve Haner

The 2021 General Assembly is now six weeks away, with the holidays in between.  We know no more about the coming Northam Administration proposal to impose a carbon tax and rationing scheme on our motor fuels than we did months ago. Keeping you uninformed may be part of the plan.

All we have is the Transportation and Climate Initiative organization’s own data and modeling, which are quite extensive.

The initial added tax per gallon of gasoline in Virginia could range from 17.5 cents to 28 cents per gallon, depending on which of the 25% reduction scenarios the still-unseen TCI memorandum of understanding uses. By 2032 the tax could range between 36 cents and 57 cents per gallon, TCI projects. 

TCI modelers looked at three possible ten-year CO2 reduction goals (20%, 22% or 25%), and three possible combinations of spending plans for the resulting tens of billions of collected carbon tax dollars. One policy design spends most heavily on electric and low-emission vehicle subsidies, and other plans put more money towards mass transit and bike trails.

Click for larger view.  TCI’s model for a 25% reduction goal under one of the scenario options, showing carbon taxes of $22 up to $46 per ton and revenue of $65 billion over 10 years (2017 $).

You can find the nine variations here under “TCI Policy Cases.” I’ve posted one as an illustration. This Excel page is based on the 25% reduction goal. If you think CO2 is that dangerous a substance, why settle for the lower reduction target?

The different policy cases drive different carbon tax amounts per ton, from $17.90 to $28.49 for 2022. The carbon prices seem to be based on short tons, or 2,000 pounds, of CO2. It takes about 102 gallons of gasoline to emit a short ton of CO2, so the price per ton is merely divided by 102 to get the price per gallon.

The new taxes result in major revenue hauls in the 12 states and the District of Columbia. How much would come to Virginia is also a still unknown, but Virginia represents about 11% of the population within the region. If 11% of the tax hits Virginia, the initial carbon tax on Virginia drivers and businesses ranges from about $500 to $810 million in 2022. By 2032 under the most expensive scenario it may reach $1 billion.

That most expensive scenario, TCI projects, collects about $82 billion in taxes over the first ten years. That could be more than $9 billion from Virginians, close to $1,000 per capita. The middle scenario, the one illustrated above, would cost Virginians $7 billion over ten years. And those are in constant 2017 dollars (noted clearly on the table), meaning the current dollar cost will be far higher.

Again, these are not my numbers. They are their numbers from those case studies. If they have different numbers for their final proposal, they should show them now. At this point the best argument to reject the coming memorandum of understanding is it was held secret too long. But this may be played out just like last year’s Virginia Clean Economy Act, when the real bill didn’t appear until the last minute, and legislators can complain “I didn’t understand it!”

Odds are strong the carbon tax dollars will not be the focus as the Virginia League of Conservation Voters holds a web seminar next week on “Protecting Health Through Transportation” to “discuss the next big climate fight – decarbonizing the transportation sector.” Register for their December 8 program here.

“Panelists will be updating us on the recent findings surrounding the public health burden of pollution and how this disproportionately affects many communities. We’ll also hear about what we need to do in 2021 to address these issues including transitioning to electric vehicles, pushing for better public transportation infrastructure, and Virginia’s potential to switch to California Clean Car Standards.”

In a post a few weeks back it was noted that the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles’ website was not transparent about the current fuel taxes in Virginia. In response, it is clearer now (thank you, DMV). The three elements of state tax you now pay on each gallon are listed together, but not totaled to report their combined cost. The retail tax, wholesale tax and a third tax to cover the tank inspection program add up to 29.4 cents per gallon. It is 28.5 cents per gallon on diesel.

Next July, that will go up to 34.4 cents per gallon on gasoline, as already dictated by the 2020 legislature. How much would membership in the Transportation and Climate Initiative compact add to that starting in January 2022? Nothing, if the General Assembly is wise enough to take a pass on putting that new burden on Virginians.

Regular readers will remember that the Northam Administration’s 2020 transportation tax package did not spark opposition from me or from the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy. I’ve been advocating that “cents-per-gallon” tax approach for decades and have also advocated for regular adjustments to keep up with inflation.

This carbon tax is different and should be rejected.

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109 responses to “Does a $9 Billion Carbon Tax Get Your Attention?

  1. Well, cheat ’em out of it. Don’t drive. Shouldn’t be going out in the Covid environment anyway.

    Oh, and try not to breathe… which, come to think of it, Covid can help with.

    They can use some of that money to buy ambulances. Been a high-mileage year for them.

  2. The current tax (before the regional) is about 21 cents a gallon and that generates about a billion dollars a year (I think).

    Look at page 4 of this to see transportation revenues from different sources and note also that in additon to the fuel tax , two other taxes: 1. sales tax on vehicles and 2. General Sales taxes , EACH also generate about a billion dollars a year.

    https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/webdoc/pdf/tracking_sep20.pdf

    So… twenty cents a gallon will generate about a billion a year?

    What will this billion be spent on?

    • Anything the General Assembly wants, at this stage. Perhaps they will decide how to spend it after passing it. (“We have to pass the bill to read the bill….”)

  3. Well, if they use that money to give a $5000 rebate on a hybrid or EV, guess what happens? 😉

    • Yet another transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich.

    • Well Hybrids like Prius are hated by both parties- Repubs call them tax cheats and Dems call them instruments of mass murder. Detroit hates hybrids them because Japan is so good at making them.

      Hybrids will likely not be favored, rather they will be discouraged.

      All-electric cars are the politically correct favored winners, in America. Maybe plug-in hybrids, but again Detroit would like to see all-electric BEV’s favored, probably that puts them in better competitive advantage over Toyota, Honda.

      • I remember the advent of the CAFE standards and how it was going to ruin cars engine performance and longesvity. Almost as bad as the uproar over taking lead out of gasoline.

        I don’t know about tax cheats but when Prius were allowed on the HOV lanes with single drivers, they were VERY popular with exurban commuters.

        The local Toyota dealer is getting 50-60K for Rav4 and Highlander hybrids… and can’t keep them on their lot…

        Of course all of this is very harmful to “poor folks”.

        • “The local Toyota dealer is getting 50-60K for Rav4..”

          No, you get two RAV4 for that price.

          RAV4 Hybrid LE is $28000…it is my new car.

          P.S.- zero subsidies, and in Red states, tax penalties for the purchase of hybrid

        • Nobody is buying $50-60k cars in Virginia due to out-of-this-world car taxes. We should ask Toyota how many Highlander hybrids they sell in Virginia compared to other areas of similar income…short answer: zilch here, I’ll bet.

        • CAFE standards didn’t come into effect during an economic crash due to a worldwide pandemic. We hear daily about the many people hanging on by their fingernails. And the “progressive” Democrats are raising taxes on everything that moves.

          How much will this initiative lower the expected rise in global temperatures?

          • Climate is not going to be “fix it and you’re done”, no more or less than it was with ozone holes or the pandemic.

            Science can give estimates, just like they can give projections for a hurricane path – but over time, changes will happen but seldom does the hurricane just go away.

            We are never perfect at hurricanes. In fact, we are wrong all of the time. Ditto with weather. But both happen and many lives have been saved even if it is not perfect.

            You can say the same thing about Cancer or Alzheimers or Autism. It just takes time to play out but science is how you do it – not bloggers and partisans in the culure war.

            It’s a longer term continuum where we do what we can when we can and as we learn more we adapt and find better ways.

  4. If someone drives 20,000 miles a year and gets 20 mpg, they use
    1000 gals of fuel. At 21 cents a gallon, thats $210 a year.

    Agree?

    • Yeah, but who does that? Average guy only drives 10 to 12 thousand a year… and only a 1996 F150 gets only 20MPG.

      • A 2010 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon gets 17 mpg – which is one of the reasons I no longer own one.

        In my youth I used to drive 35,000 – 40,000 miles per year in a Saab Turbo that got about 27 mpg. That was a long time ago, though. I’m not sure I could rack up that many miles in a year now if I tried.

  5. Yep, trying to get a handle on the impending tax “apocalypse”. 😉

    The way Haner describes it – people will be headed to the poorhouse.

  6. Baconator with extra cheese

    I can’t wait to see how the equity crowd sees this tax bump. Of course it disproportionately affects poor people and thus usually BIPOCs…. my bet is we will see a push to provide e-Rides to BIPOCs to make up for the Environmental Justice issues of BIPOCs getting asthma from all the Non-POCs driving around…
    So there goes your billion… and some.
    I can’t wait for when they build the offshore windmill assembly area in Portsmouth… those air emissions will disproportionately impact an Environmental Justice community… not sure how they’ll get those permits through if the Sierra Club is really out to protect Environmental Justice communities. “Green Jobs” still have emissions….

    • Not a problem – means-tested and low income get it back as a tax refund.

      Problem solved. 😉

      “emissions” – not about zero emissions – at least not anytime soon – more like cutting back on acid rain and CFCs… or phasing out leaded gas , etc.

      Remember the bowel upgroar when they took lead out of gas… it was going to absoutely ruin engines and make people poor!

      • “Remember the bowel upgroar when they took lead out of gas… it was going to absoutely ruin engines…”

        First, I am not saying the switch to unleaded fuel was a bad thing, but as per usual you have made a comment about something which you know nothing about. The switch to unleaded fuel “ruined” a half-dozen of my engines – or at any rate damaged them enough to require expensive rebuilds to provide harder valve seats, harder valves, cylinder sleeves and new pistons and rings. And I know I’m not the only one who had these problems running old engines on unleaded fuel. Old motorcycle engines used to rely on lead to protect important points of impact and sliding surfaces (I’m sure old car engines did, too, but my experience is with bikes). I wish I still had the photos I took of the valve seats on my 1976 Triumph after 2 years of running with unleaded fuel. I’d show you how damaged they were, but it’d most likely be a waste of since you already know everything.

        • If it was so bad, then why didn’t we switch back?

          I hear nothing today about engines being harmed from unleaded gas.

          The essential point is that we did make changes to reduce harm from lead in gasoline especially to children and the manufacturers did figure out how to make engines that would not be harmed by unleaded gas.

          We have gone through similar controversies over issues like CFCs, acid rain, PCBs, DDT, and dozens of other substances where the claim was they were needed and they were causing harm to people.

          This is not opinion – it’s history that anyone can read about if they really want to know.

          • “If it was so bad, then why didn’t we switch back?”

            What part of “I am not saying the switch to unleaded fuel was a bad thing” did you [intentionally] misinterpret?

            “I hear nothing today about engines being harmed from unleaded gas.”

            Of course not. Modern engines are DESIGNED to run on unleaded gas. Older engines were not – and less wealthy people tend to drive older cars. Your sarcastic implication that no engines were damaged by the unleaded fuel mandate and that no one was harmed financially was both incorrect and disingenuous. People were financially affected by the change. Just because you were not one of them does not make that fact go away. That is my “essential point”.

            Once again, I absolutely, positively did NOT say the switch from leaded fuel to unleaded fuel was a bad thing. That means your arrogant hectoring, your lecturing attitude and your “that is not opinion – it’s history” straw-man argument were completely unnecessary.

          • did you not say this: ” The switch to unleaded fuel “ruined” a half-dozen of my engines – or at any rate damaged them enough to require expensive rebuilds to provide harder valve seats, harder valves, cylinder sleeves and new pistons & rings.”

          • I did indeed. And it’s the truth. That was the “financial impact” I discussed. However, despite your quite frankly ignorant assumption to the contrary, I am capable of separating my own personal situation from that of society as a whole.

            Read my comment gain, Larry. As much as you may WISH that I said the switch to unleaded fuel was a bad thing, I clearly did not state any such thing. I hope this can be the last word on the matter. Somehow I doubt it, though. You are you, after all, and your straw man arguments and petty ignorant assumptions about what other people think appear to be an integral part of you.

        • Besides, nothing prettier than a white tailpipe… and the exhaust smelled so sweet…

          Of course, for a while you had both, and there was always a lead additive from Gunk. Come to think of it, there’s always an additive for something from Gunk.

        • I vaguely recall that lead substitute additives were available for years after leaded gas was (mostly) phased out. (It wasn’t until 1995 or 1996 that it was entirely phased out).

          • I think you are correct about the lead substitute The last time I saw any on the shelf in an auto parts store was in the mid-1990s.

            I think it might still be available in very limited quantities as a specialty item for that hard-core vintage bike collector who doesn’t want to hurt the value of his 1949 Vincent Black Lightning by installing modern engine parts, and for others like him with other precious antiques.

            I have a 1978 BMW R100/7 sidecar rig that’s in need of a rebuild. I intend to install a pair of modern-spec cylinder heads on it. I’ll either sleeve the cylinders or coat them with Nykasil and install new piston rings. I may also have the heads and cylinder blocks cryogenically treated. That tends to make them last a bit longer no matter the fuel being used. I’ve considered simply doing a complete engine swap from a ’92 R100RS, or something but that would be like cheating. None of those things are inexpensive, but it’s just part of the cost of keeping (and running) old vehicles in modern times.

    • Virginia is almost tax free already for lower incomes. So it get’s into we need to cut a big check to send to lower incomes, which has been suggested I think.

  7. Of course, poor folk living in tin houses on leased proprty (which is most of them) pay PPT on their trailers and doublewides while folks what own a “house” pays the much lower RET.

    Now, some localities have sought to make it equitable, but…

    • Depends on the county:

      Mobile Homes
      All single wide mobile homes located within Shenandoah County are assessed based on the square footage. The value is set each year there is a general reassessment. The rate of tax is the same as the Real Estate. Any mobile home that is a double wide is assessed under real estate. Please keep in mind if you sell a mobile home to contact the Commissioner of Revenue with the new owner, address and date sold.

      The tax rate for a single wide mobile home is $.64 per $100.

  8. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    One needs to factor in the side effects. Last year UPS hiked rates 5.4 percent. January 2021 another 5 percent. Everything that needs gas to bring your amazon, groceries, skilled tradesmen, etc is going to cost you more. Lets pay more. Why not? Everyone is doing it.

  9. The real tragedy is the dead silence, leaving most Virginians completely unaware. If they examine this and like it, fine. Most have been told all their lives that CO2 is evil, and few know they’d die without it. It’s plant food. But once again, you watch: This will sneak into the General Assembly unexamined, be buried in some negotiation between the various factions of supporters, and a worse version will emerge in a substitute bill the day of the committee vote. Dominion developed the tactic, the enviros used it last year for the VCEA, and it is the play we’ll see again.

    In order to say “I told you so” later I must take this time to tell you!

    • Uh yep. Can’t live without it; can’t live with too much of it. That sounded familiar…

      Anyway, running out ain’t the issue.

    • I agree that it would be ideal to have more transparency about the potential level of taxation. Also, the GA should declare up front how the tax revenue will be used. It should not be dumped into the general fund, but, rather used for some environmentally-related issue, ideally helping to offset the cost of the development of sustainable energy, such as off-shore wind turbines.

      I disagree that Dominion developed the tactic of introducing a complex bill; negotiation in the General Assembly, generally behind closed doors, among various factions interested in the bill; and a substitute bill emerging on the day of the committee vote. I have been involved in the General Assembly for a long time, as staff, lobbyist, and observer. That type of process has been the norm for a long time.

      • I can see how if Dominion can push through legislations favorable to them without little public understanding that the same fear would apply to other things but I would also point out that the public DOES track some issues when they want to.

        Last year, there was legislation to do away with State inspections – and it got a lot of discussion in the public realm.

        And just mention the idea of gun legislation and see how that plays.

        I think sometimes, it just takes longer for the public to more fully appreciate but they do on some issues.

        On Carbon – even though it is a controversial issue in the Culture War, a significant majority of the public believe we do have a problem and do support taking action – and they know and understand there will be a cost – just as they knew there would be with things like cleaning up coal ash or building more storm water ponds or cleaning up the Bay.

        They’re not going to accept out-of-this-world price increases but they will accept increased costs associated with reducing pollution.

        I would hope the money does NOT go into the General Fund and ideally that it goes to provide rebates for energy efficiency.

  10. None billion?

    I don’t have that much on me. They’re going to have to take a personal check…

  11. Dems believe we are under-paying taxes by far, is why we are failing as a nation. We can easily pay 2-3 times as much taxes, but we are irresponsible and destroying the Country.

    Dems also believe they will get killed if they say out load that we need higher taxes.

    Therefore extreme attempt to put taxes in utility bills etc. anything they can do to hide it is in the best interest of humanity.

  12. Make no mistake. The carbon tax has nothing to do with climate change and everything to do with opposition to the internal combustion engine. The Dominion renewable gift will make a major reduction in CO2 emissions while the carbon tax will mainly punish those who live in rural areas and low income people who drive older cars with higher MPGs.
    Legislatures who want an honest debate should ask proponents of the carbon tax to show the analyses that calculate emission levels before and after the tax and the impact on the climate system.

    • Didn’t we have a similar debate with “California emissions” and unleaded gas? Wasn’t it the same arguments about rural and poor?

      • No it isn’t the same. Taking the lead out of gasoline did raise the cost of gasoline but tailpipe emissions containing lead were not shown to be the main source of lead uptake in blood systems. It was lead in paint and water pipes but it was easier and still is the blame and burden drivers and oil companies. Pollutants from mobile sources have been declining for decades but they are not going to reach zero as long as we have the internal combustion system.

        • ” The use of lead as a petrol additive hasbeen a catastrophe for public health.Leaded petrol has caused more exposureto lead than any other source worldwide.”

          https://www.who.int/bulletin/archives/80(10)768.pdf

          The advent of California Emissions has dramatically improved the air quality of most urban areas and yet they were fought against and still are – Trump tried to weaken them and GM flip-flopped after he lost the election.

          No, we will never get to zero – I agree with that – but if you think we are getting close, I invite you to pipe in your auto exhaust to your HVAC to see how “little” it is.

          • The Landigrin article may be relevant to some comment but not the one that I made. It deals with global emissions of lead, especially in countries like Pakistan that have a large number of 2 cycle high polluting vehicles. My comment dealt with the US experience and the research base dealing with lead.
            The California provision was included in the Clean Air Act because at the time the California standards were more strict than the national standards specified. With each change in CAFE standards, California is required to file a waiver application. All revisions of the Clean Air Act make clear that CAFE applied to conventional air pollutants. In deed CO2 was explicitly excluded from the last revision and only because of a Supreme Court decision that EPA gained the authority to regulate those emissions.

          • As time has gone by, we have tightened air and water emission standards and there has always been opposition usually from industry and those who say such restrictions will cost jobs, hurt the economy, etc, in part the argument that the damage done to health is “worth” the pollution.

            At some point, the EPA was and is doing cost-benefit , i.e. health versus economy and that has guided what restrictions and how tough.

            The industrialized countries typically “lead” in these policies and once we develop anti-pollution technology, it eventually gets adopted by other countries.

            Until we got to things, that affected air and water worldwide, such pollution that continue was regional in it’s impact.

            This is what happend with ocean pollution, ozone and now climate. In all of this until now, science guided the policies.

            For instance, they studied CFCs and determined they were the cause of the Ozone Holes and recommended changes and the same arguments were given – i.e. it would hurt jobs and economy and other countries would not adopt it.

            Despite this, we have made progress on CFCs and Ozone – but it’s on the order of two steps forward, one step back. At the current rate, it will take decades or a generation to get Ozone back to acceptable levels. We do not have precise projections – we are still learning and the science is still evolving.

            But if we stop relying on science, and end up stopped because people cannot agree politically, then Ozone will not be further reduced.

            We will never get back to “purity” on anything in the environment. It’s about how much the environment can safely handle / accommodate

            An example is the TMDLs for the Chesapeake Bay and other water bodies in the US.

            TMDL – stands for Total Maximum Daily Load – it’s predicated on “load”

            here’s a short 3-page discussion of the difference between “load” and “concentration” – A common product, even like salt or many common materials can become harmful at too high concentrations. CFCs is another example:

            http://cemonterey.ucanr.edu/files/171000.pdf

            If we believe that TMDLs and CFCs can have safe concentration levels and unsafe concentration levels why can’t we also accept that for other substances in our air and water? Why do we accept some science but not other science?

    • Reduces their expected rate of warming somewhere between one ten-thousandth and one hundred-thousandth of a degree. But then even the full worldwide Paris Accord, using their models, barely bends the upward curve…UN just came out with a report whining that this recession year had no impact….uh, perhaps CO2 is not actually doing anything either way?

    • I agree liberals want large subsidies for electric cars so they do not have to be forced to drive cars that they hate politically.

      However, like ethanol mandates, there is more to it. Special interests including auto makers. utilities, and investors who see financial gain in mandates for electric cars, are lobbying hard in favor of mandates, and lobbying very hard about why we should all hate fossil fuels. And that could well include bipartisan support from some Repubs.

      All based on one proven “fact”: many Americans would agree anything bad for the fossil fuel industry can be assumed to be a tremendous benefit for the America. Though that thinking may be wrong headed, it sells well in Congress.

      • I agree. If you are not familiar with Bruce Yandle’s book Bootleggers and Baptists, it lays out the public choice theory of how and why this happens.
        We live in a world where there are always trade-offs but the environmental advocates want to make those black and white choices.

  13. You can deny the models all you want, but you cannot deny the measurements.

    • Whether measuring temperature, CO2 levels, sea levels, whatever, the rates of change are fairly constant and consistent with the record of other warming periods in human history (not to mention billions of years before.) Claims of acceleration are not panning out. The Alarmist camp is working hard to deny the early warming and cooling waves before we started burning all that coal. I don’t dispute the measurements. The dispute is over why and can we change anything.

      • I’ll take what 90+% of the scientists say over a blogger any day.

        • Then about a year ago you’d have been comfortable that COVID was no big deal….That is the answer of a very lazy mind. But, we all know and love you anyway….

          • Nothing lazy about it. Science evolves – based on more data just as you’ll see hurricane paths adjusted as more data is gathered.

            I’ll take that for any science any day over bloggers who don’t collect data to start with but manage to pick and choose what they want to believe.

            The same science that dealt with the pandemic also deals with the vaccines.

            There are questions, and changes as time goes by and data is gathered. That’s science.

          • Yeah, they weren’t too freaked out in March. And in the late 70’s they thought there would be a cooling. Things change. Science self-corrects. Denial never will.

          • Say, you should crop that photo and use it for your profile. You look 10 years younger.

        • Uh yep.

  14. According to NOAA (https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/global-warming/temperature-change), there is a strong correlation between CO2 and average earth temperature. The highest earth temperature occurred 120,000 years ago, when it was approximately 3 C hotter than today’s temperature, long before man was adding to atmospheric CO2. The earth temperature changes periodically between -9C and +3C, relative to today’s temperature, with a period of 120,000 years. The CO2 concentration ranges from 180 to 280 ppm. Many times the temperature has been as high as the present temperature. The uncertainty in the predicted temperature is approximately 1 C (https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2943/study-confirms-climate-models-are-getting-future-warming-projections-right/). Since 1970, the predicted and observed temperatures agree within approximately 0.1 C. In 2019 the CO2 concentration was 400 ppm, by far the highest ever — alarmingly high (https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide). Government funding for research into global warming, including funding of government agencies, goes only to those who support the hypothesis that man-made CO2 is causing the present global warming. All of the reports cited above are government reports.
    Dr. Patrick Michaels, famous as a critic of the forecasters, seems to accept the observations of global warming but continues to dispute the projections. (https://www.heartland.org/_template-assets/documents/publications/CEIMichaelsDayaratnaEPAsEndangermentFinding.pdf). The models are continually adjusted to fit past data and then are used to project into the future. Michaels shows that the rate of increase is close to that of the model that predicts the lowest rate of increase in temperature. Michaels also finds, using the same techniques as others have used, that the higher temperatures aid food production. He concludes, using the socio-economic model developed by the government, that there is an economic and social benefit to the rising temperatures. He does imply, in agreement with the foregoing, that switching from coal to natural gas for fuel will help in keeping the rate of temperature increase low. Therefore, he does seem to consider man’s contribution to global warming to be significant.
    My question to the scientists is: what has caused the periodic low and high temperatures over the millions of years? Cloud cover is far more significant than CO2 concentrations (the more clouds, the more cooling), but, if that is the cause, why does cloud cover change periodically over a 120,000 year period? Cloud cover is affected by cosmic radiation. We do know that volcanos have a cooling effect. Do earthquakes have a warming effect? Does man have an effect on cloud cover, volcanos, and earthquakes?

  15. re: ” Government funding for research into global warming, including funding of government agencies, goes only to those who support the hypothesis that man-made CO2 is causing the present global warming. All of the reports cited above are government reports.”

    Are you talking around the world? All governments?

    Singer and Michaels are two prominent skeptics. How many other climate scientists are there in the world and what is their view?

    If we do not know for sure , then what is the “conservative” path forward?

    Do we just reject out of hand the 90%+ consensus of science and instead take the word of the 2% who disagree? Why?

    If 9 doctors told you that smoking cigarettes probably would cause cancer, why would you believe the 1 who said the other 9 were wrong?

    • Larry, you’re wasting your CO2.

      Its consequence will be well beyond us, and it’s either too late, or up to the young uns.

      Convincing a boomer is a goal without reason or merit.

    • The conservative path forward is to continue the rapid retreat from coal, especially where gas and other alternatives are available, and in the advanced economies to build a balanced system of nuclear, natural gas and renewables. The True Believers are wrong that 100% renewables can do the job, but they are relentless morons. Talked to somebody in the fuel business today who said 25 years ago it was all fuel oil and now its mostly propane, far far cleaner and being used more and more as a vehicle fuel (buses, trucks). Again, the GND morons are trying to kill that. For them, the good is the enemy of the perfect. There is a rational path forward but the idiots won’t listen — and you tend to side with them.

      There is no proof, zip, zilch, zero, that this warming trend is different than previous warm periods (Roman, Medieval) and that CO2 is the reason. There is zero proof that CO2 (far less of an issue than water vapor, aka clouds) is some magic thermostat on atmospheric temperature. Proof Larry.

      Nancy is right that 30 years will tell the tale, and all that will matter to me then is the electric bill for the ventilator and wheel chair. I can afford what is coming. Not sure why I actually care what is costs the next generation is lost wealth — many do not.

      • https://skepticalscience.com//empirical-evidence-for-co2-enhanced-greenhouse-effect.htm

        Start there.

        BTW, see comment above. Seriously, 10 years. Maybe more. We could ask for a consensus.

        • Gawd, that horseshit lost me at “man made CO2.” Ain’t no such thing. Perhaps the molecules we exhale are “man made,” but not those in coal or gas. And gee, I wonder why that table filtered out water “vapour,” The reason is because it dwarfs the other greenhouse effects. Nope, even I can see through that one.

          • Touch the intermediate tab, or the advanced. It is, as Larry says, the evidence that fossil fuel is the Earth’s cigarettes.

            Man made is human released. What’s in the ground is best left in the ground… well, except zombies. They’re cool.

      • re: “proof” – there is no “proof ” that cigarettes cause lung cancer, either but do you believe the science?

        If someone can believe that going from coal to gas is good, why can’t they believe that going from gas to solar is likewise not unreasonable at least in moderation?

        Yes, we DO need DIVERSE engergy source but that also means not ruling out renewables.

        When we say “true believers” – I see both the wackadoodles on the left AND the right! The middle is where we ought to be.

        • There is damn hard proof and an excellent genetic and chemical explanation of how cigarette smoke causes cancer, you idiot. Reams and reams of it. Evolution was a theory until the understanding of DNA and RNA came along, and that ended any debate. These guys have theory but no proof.

          • Yes, and you just turned up your nose at the same chemical evidence of CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

          • Pretty sure Patrick Michaels was involved in that issue also, no?

            What was the Tobacco settlement all about?

          • The Tobacco Settlement was all about making government a party to the murder of cigarette users. For a piece of the action, the government let it continue. Hey, on that one, I was there in the AG’s office at the time….

          • The settlement came about when the Cigarette companies admited they were running a disinformation campaign against the science. Correct?

          • And yet cigarettes are still sold. Are you admitting this too is really a shakedown? For kickbacks to the left we can keep our gas furnaces? That’s how I see it. Money.

          • The cigarette companies conducted an anti-science campaign that impugned science – and the scientists … and it worked – for a while until the prosocuters got their hands on the documents that showed their actions and behaviors.

            Is it a “shakedown”? Partly and especially the way the settlment money is being spent. It ought to be used for health care.

      • Larry can’t provide proof that is not debatable. A good reference document that is objective and balanced is a paper by Robert Pindyck, a well respected MIT economist, presented in June at a conference by the National Bureau of Economic Research–WHAT WE KNOW AND DON’T KNOW ABOUT
        CLIMATE CHANGE, AND IMPLICATIONS FOR Policy. The Introduction states “There is a lot we know about climate change, but there is also a lot we don’t know. Even if we knew exactly how much carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) the world will emit over the coming decades, we wouldn’t be able to predict with any reasonable precision how much the global mean temperature will rise as a result. Nor would we be able to predict other aspects of climate change, such as rises in sea levels, and increases in the
        frequency and intensity of storms, hurricanes and droughts. And even if we were able to predict the extent of climate change that will occur over the coming decades, we can say very little about its likely impact which in the end is what matters. …”

        • Bill – we almost NEVER have “proof” ahead of time. What we know is that the vast majority of scientists on the planet agree that we are seeing things that do not portend well and we need to take some level of action now before we get to a point of no return.

          It’s alot like a Doctor telling you that your cigarette smoking will likely not end well even if you do not have lung cancer right now.

          Or that Science looking at the Ozone Holes, can see what happens if they get worse .

          Most “conservatives” don’t want to bet the farm on their health or their wealth. They want to hedge their bets

          And that’s where we are on climate. Why wouldl we just reject all of it and roll the dice?

          Are we THAT “sure” that all of it is wrong and there is no possibility of disaster in the future at all?

          How do we know that?

        • Bill, one clue, given that your economist wasn’t seeking exact predictions, he uses the word “rise”, not change, so intuitively he knows that CO2 will continue to increase as will SST and sea level. He admits that he is climbing in a snake and that will result in bites, he just wants to know how many.

          What we have is a strong correlation. That’s more than enough to behave cautiously.

          • I can see all kinds of variations of what might or might not happen but to take the position that nothing will happen seems not “conservative” at all.

          • Stubborn?

          • Who is saying that nothing will happen?

          • Nancy, you are way over the tips of your skis. Correlation is not causation and anyone who knows anything about the climate system and modeling knows that exact predictions are a fantasy. I suggest that you read some of the writings of Ed Lorenz, the father of Chaos Theory and a world renown meteorologist.

          • I didn’t say causation. But strong correlation is sufficient when it come to an ELE. Extinction Level Event.

            As the great one said, “Predictions are hard to make, especially those about the future.”

          • Re: “nothing will happen”.

            When there is skeptism that anything much different from the past will happen and/or that we cannot do much if anything to change it………

            no?

          • When talking about the idea of “prediction” when it comes to things like weather and the idea that there are so many variables that “predictions” are flawed and not useful – I point out that we get weather forecasts by the week and they are largely accurate. We get hurricane tracks that again are far from “perfect” but “correct” enough that we can plan – not only short term – but longe term – like how high to build a house or how strong the roof, etc.

            We can and do predict floods in the same way. No we cannot get the rainfall to the 8th digit or even the tenth sometimes but that does not change the outcome that much – we still get a flood in the range of what was predicted.

            Yes, there is “chaos” involved but in and of itself – it can be acommodated enough to get useful information.

            If you doubt this – I suggest you take a look at an submarine launched ballistic missile that launches in sea currents, then hits the atmosphere with winds, and other “chaos” then comes down again to more “weather” and still gets close enough to the target to wipe it out.

            We manage these things in the algorithms. A GPS instrument can be in a vehicle going hundreds of miles an hour – and still maintain accuracy.

            Even the cruise control on your car – can react to different wind directions and power, road surface, on-board weight, different fuel quality, etc.

          • You are mixing up more fruit than just apples and oranges. If you read Chaos Theory you will find out that the farther out weather forecasts, the lower the probability of being right. Climate forecasts suffer that in spades.

  16. Nope. If you read about error/uncertainty matrices , you’ll enocunter chaos theory.

    The point is that you CAN quantify things that are not exactly precisely predictable.

    I agree with you about the longer term with climate – but that’s an area where science does deal with it and when a large majority of scientists agree, I’m not going to rely on the one or two who do not.

    The one area I would agree is that if a climate model is supposed to be “good” then in theory , you should be able to “start” it at some point in time and then read the predictions and compare them to what actually happened. They do that right now. That’s how some of the models are actually validated.

    The point is that science and scientists deal with these issues and we no more know the field than we know cancer research or plate tecktonics… if we are not educated and in the field for our careers.

    When a cancer scientists tells you something and 90% of his colleagues agree – going to the two or three that do not – is bad odds.

    • Two points. Apply Richard Feynman’s counsel “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.” Model forecasts do not agree with observed temperature or climate unless there is fudging.
      The notion that 90+% or 97% agree with the hypothesis that human activities are the main climate driver is a fiction as has been demonstrated by several studies.

      • That “notion” is pretty widespread:

        Scientific consensus on climate change

        en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_consensus_on_climate_change

        what “studies” would you cite that say otherwise?

  17. Here are two references for you to read–http://co2coalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Global-Mean-Temperature-Anomaly-Record-12.20.pdf and POPULAR TECHNOLOGY ON DECEMBER 2, 2015. 97 Articles Refuting The “97% Consensus

    • Bill – have you read this:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CO2_Coalition#cite_note-:0-1

      and this:

      climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

      Do you believe NASA and NOAA scientists?

      • Bill, my attitude on Climate is similar to the Ozone holes. I believed the scientists when they said there was a problem and we needed to ban CFCs. I did not have any reason to doubt them or think they were lying.

        It’s the same with Climate. I realize it’s a long term issue but at the same time, I have no reason to doubt the science or think they are lying.

        And my primary attitude is that we certainly don’t know for certain – but why would we just deny it outright? Seems like we’d give it due consideration and ask what are the things we can reasonably do without totally getting rid of fossil fuels all-together – work towards doing that in a way that we can without taking draconian measures that would harm the economy and our standard of living.

        It just doesn’t seem prudent to reject it all out of hand.

        • Larry, what these guys don’t understand is that you NEVER practice something which you can only screw up once. They are practicing parachuting by parachuting.

          • It IS a curious thing. If they are wrong, we are screwed but they seem to not even consider that there is some possibility of being wrong.

            Clearly , there is risk… yet denial is the basic response

          • The cost of doing nothing if they are wrong far outweighs the cost of doing something if they are right.

          • You obviously did not read the Pindyck paper or you wouldn’t make such a false and misleading statement. I think that I asked before, who says do nothing?

          • You and Larry are having a great exchange about things that were never said by anyone engaged in this blog. You have to actually read and understand before making statements that have nothing to do with comments made.

          • I did read what you send links for. One , there was no link.

            In terms of “do nothing” – that’s essentially what is argued by the CO2 Coalition.

            What do you think SHOULD BE DONE – if you say it’s not “nothing”?

            Conversely, I’m NOT from the schools that says we should do EVERYTHING including getting rid of all fossil fuels.

            Are we both somewhere in the middle? I seriously doubt it so where are we?

          • Read the Pindyk paper to see what I believe. Second, the CO2 Coalition paper is not about doing nothing. It makes the point that that the temperature record has been and is being distorted to support an particular narrative.

          • Bill, I’m not at all clear on what you actually think.

            Providing links to clilmate denial groups makes me wonder if you really agree with them or have a separate view.

            My view is simple. I believe the science from the 90%, the NASA, NOAA and other major agencies and organizations.

            I do NOT believe the denial sites.

            I think we must start to take actions including using less fossil fuels when we can by using non-fossil fuels.

            I fully understand and accept that the “science” is not aboslute nor perfect and is evolving but like hurricane predications – there is a hurricane in climate – we just don’t know the exact path yet – as opposed to there is not climate problem (which you say is not your belief).

            Please related your personal views relative to the denial/skeptic sites you are referencing.

            Are you saying those sites DO represent your beliefs?

          • Give me a direct link please to these specific “papers” that you agree with . I’m pretty sure I’ve been over some of them.

            I will go back through the threads here to see if I missed some you gave. At least one of them was not a link but a general reference.

            Same for Co2 coalition – their main thing seems to be that CO2 is necessary for life. That’s their starting premise, no and then they say that the models are wrong – ALL of them – form 90% of scientists from around the world. They do not say which models are better than others or closer to reality – they just dismiss all of them as wrong.

            The irony is that these folks are citing data collected by science and then accusing the folks that collected the data as in error – all of them – around the world.

            Some denial folks say the data itself is wrong – that it is fabricated – by scientists – around the world, like a grand conspriacy.

          • Bill, take a look at this. It’s 5 different models from around the world that agree:

            It’s hard for me to look at these and think all of them are wrong.

  18. So, you are going to accept modeled temperature changes and dismiss a document–CO2 Coalition–that raises questions about the temperature data?
    I’ll stick with the document since it is a forensic detailed examination of the data.

    • If there are six or more different models done by different scientists that produce similar results and one group comes up with a different result, then it needs to be resolved.

      If you looking at 6 different hurricane model tracks, and one says the hurricane will not hit land or will as a cat 1 and the other 5 say it is will hit and be a cat 4 – how would you resolve that?

      When I listen to science, I listen to consensus of the majority of the scientists – I do not dismiss the ones that disagree but at the same time, the onus is on them to convince the others that they have found an error in all the rest.

      That does happen sometimes but you just can’t have one guy claiming all the others are wrong – and believe that one guy.

      At least I do not.

      But the second part is what we would do about it or not and that has been the big rub with the deniers. Right? Don’t they say that we’ll be wasting resources and hurting the economy if we make these changes and there is no need to do it?

      The CO2 Coalition – first sentence says that CO2 is beneficial.

      To me that’s like saying that nitrogen and phosophous are “beneficial” in the Chesapeake Bay – not a problem… and we know that nitrogen and phosophorous ARE beneficial but not in the concentration they are found in the Bay.

      That’s the essential issue with climate , no?

  19. Don’t lose sight of the fact that the government funds only those who support the idea that man can have a significant effect on global warming. Such support results in a vast majority of scientists supporting this theory. The contrarians are staving to death. A UK scientist submitted a paper for publication that was rejected because it did not fit the global-warming script, even though it was measured data. He revised it to fit the popular theory and got it published. (I did not keep the reference, just the information.) I can’t help but wonder if those with theoretical models haven’t had the same experience. Scientists are not necessarily objective when their funding depends on their findings.
    Look at the long-term data. The current rise in temperature is similar to the one that occurred 120,000 years ago (and again 240,000 years ago), long before man-generated CO2 was important.
    Has anyone published the uncertainty in the measured data? I developed design standards on earth temperatures for NASA’s satellite designers, using satellite measurements. I was impressed by the variation in temperatures over time and location. I can’t help but wonder what the uncertainty is in average temperatures.

  20. Here’s a reference to a document by two well regarded meteorologists that does exactly that–CO2Coalition report The Global Mean Temperature Anomaly Record
    How it works and why it is misleading
    by Richard S. Lindzen and John R. Christy

    • These two ARE well-regarded and legitimate climate scientists but they are among a handful compared to the number of climate scientists who hold a different view.

      I’m basically from the safe than sorry school of science for all science including Climate Science. I’ll go with the mainstream consensus in no small part because if the skeptics are wrong , we lose the farm. It would seem to be much smarter to be conservative until we know more and the “more” confirms the skeptics views.

      It makes sense also to use less polluting fuels when we can – just common sense and we’ve been moving this way for decades, long before “climate” became such a controversy.

      Unless you are a scientist and a modeller, all you can do is choose who you’re gonna believe and I believe mainstream science not the minority , and that’s across the board from cancer to genes to tektonics to space.

      If the minority folks are right, science will bend their way over time.

      The one thing the skeptics are also failing at – science COULD BE WRONG – in the opposite way – it could be much worse than they are predicting also.

      • As John Adams said, “facts are stubborn things” so in addition to listening to scientists, look for the facts behind their policy prescriptions and scientific conclusions. Do you know the percentage of peer reviewed papers that are subsequently found to be wanting. What Lindzen and Christy have done is to show what is behind averages and the dispersion around the means.

        • Peer-reviewed papers add to the body of knowledge. It’s how science advances on consensus.

          Here’s the bottom line for me.

          None of them are going to be 100% “right” – it’s going to be a range.

          But what are the consequences of being “wrong” if:

          1. – you do believe there is signficiant global warming and we should be acting?

          2. – you do NOT believe there is significant global warming and actions are not necessary.

          If 1. is wrong – what happens? If 2. is wrong, what happens?

  21. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/12/06/uah-global-temperature-update-for-november-2020-0-53-deg-c/

    Screw models: We now have 40 years of satellite measurements, the gold standard. U of Alabama Huntvsille (Gee, where NASA is….) Not the surface, which IS affected by human activity, but the lower troposphere, where weather and climate actually happen anyway. Trend line is fairly steady, .14 degree centigrade per decade, or 1.4 degree per century. Faster over land, slower over oceans (also where weather and climate actually happen.) Yes there is global warming. No, it is not accelerating and it is not an “extinction level event.” I hereby rename Nancy as Greta…

    Starting to get satellites up to track ocean levels. But the existing measurements there are also showing steady rise and no acceleration. Nothing we cannot adapt to.

    Nobody reads this deep into comment threads, but as you two argue it keeps pinging my phone….

  22. One hundred and six comments. Is that a record?

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