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C'mon people 'lets get together on this carbon tax business. Every province and the feds needs a shitload of new tax money and they can pretend they care to get control of our environment and save us from ourselves.

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That's a ridiculous premise that has brought us to a point where hundreds of thousands of people die prematurely due to atmospheric pollution

CO2 isn't atmospheric pollution. This is irrelevant to the discussion of CO2 mitigation.

where our oceans are polluted with PCB's and flame retardants and plastics, where many of the ocean's top predators are so toxic we can't safely eat them.

None of these are due to CO2.

it's a result of a system of medical science that hasn't learned to treat people as individuals and instead studies populations.

So you are saying we should throw out the scientific method when it comes to developing new medicines?

So, let's agree that before corporations are allowed to sell products that will significantly alter the chemistry of the atmosphere, at a bare minimum, they should be required to perform the same level of testing as the pharmaceutical industry.

Why would I agree to such an absurd claim? The probability of a new drug being harmful has no implications about what makes sense when it comes to policy on climate change.

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There are ways. It's just that uncertainty is large enough that one cannot know with 100% certainty if warming is a net positive. However, it is still possible to make decisions under uncertainty.

Not when the uncertainty is so large we do not even know the direction of the effect, much less the magnitude.

It is analogous to saying that I can still make decisions about a purchase even though I do not know what the item is, how it might help me, how much it costs, what it is for, or where to buy it. Yes, technically I could still make a decision on that. Unlikely to be a good one.

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Can you prove that when you walk outside, a piano will not fall on you? No? Well obviously you should not leave your house.

Oh I like this analogy. Maybe I should use it instead of my flying spaghetti monster analogy when trying to show to people why the strong precautionary principle is dumb.

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Not when the uncertainty is so large we do not even know the direction of the effect, much less the magnitude.

I disagree. I think maximization of expected social welfare is a methodology that can be used to obtain the best decision given all the uncertainty.

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Of course there was an economic impact. The existence of no slowdown doesn't imply no economic impact. If economic growth is reduced from say 2.0% to 1.9%, there is no slowdown, but there is clearly an impact.

Look, you can't just look at BC's economy before the tax, then look at it after the tax and ignore alternate explanations that explain what could have caused changes in BC's economic output over time.

The tax is revenue neutral ad has reduced corporate as well as individual income taxes, which may actually improve economic growth. A win win.

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I disagree. I think maximization of expected social welfare is a methodology that can be used to obtain the best decision given all the uncertainty.

I agree with that principle. Unfortunately we do not know if reducing CO2 has any social welfare benefit, while it definitely has a large social cost.

Nobody said it was the perfect, or only solution, but it's better than burying your head in the sand by pretending there is no solution.

It certainly is better, when the alternative is putting your head into a buzzsaw as 'the solution'. Sure you cut your head off, but at least you 'did something'.

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The tax is revenue neutral ad has reduced corporate as well as individual income taxes, which may actually improve economic growth. A win win.

Revenue neutral is not the same thing as no economic impact. Different kinds of taxes have different economic impact. That's why Harper's decision to cut the GST was dumb.

Unfortunately we do not know if reducing CO2 has any social welfare benefit, while it definitely has a large social cost.

There are ways of estimating that social benefit.

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There are ways of estimating that social cost.

And it has been done, and it is huge. Hence why we should not do it.

Conversely, we have no clue what the costs are to CO2 rising. There may be none, or there may even be benefits.

It is the strangest thing, we are actually proposing to intentionally cause ourselves huge problems, in order to avoid encountering something which may not even be a problem at all.

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Yes, and should you or anyone you know ever suffer from a disease that can only be treated by one of these drugs, you'll be damn thankful that that drug exists. Without an incentive to spend billions of dollars on drug development, no one would do it, and medicine would not progress.

I always ask my doctor about non-pharmaceutical ways to treat health issues. I've turned down more prescriptions than I've filled - because of the uncertainty that the product will do what I want it to and because of the potential for side effects.

And don't give me the same old tired BS that we need to load up pharmaceutical companies with money. While pharmaceutical companies run around looking for new maladies to "cure" (I'd never heard of ADHD when I was young), real diseases killing real people are ignored; either because the sick people are too poor to fill the pockets of the pharma giants or because the diseases lack sufficient victims.

And you don't need to come up with idiotic conspiracy theories to account for why there has been remarkably little progress on cancer and other long term diseases. It's simple economics. Research is directed towards expensive, proprietary treatments because that's where the profit is. It's very simple. You get what you reward. And what our economic system rewards is expensive, long term treatment that can be patented.

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I always ask my doctor about non-pharmaceutical ways to treat health issues. I've turned down more prescriptions than I've filled - because of the uncertainty that the product will do what I want it to and because of the potential for side effects.

And don't give me the same old tired BS that we need to load up pharmaceutical companies with money. While pharmaceutical companies run around looking for new maladies to "cure" (I'd never heard of ADHD when I was young), real diseases killing real people are ignored; either because the sick people are too poor to fill the pockets of the pharma giants or because the diseases lack sufficient victims.

And you don't need to come up with idiotic conspiracy theories to account for why there has been remarkably little progress on cancer and other long term diseases. It's simple economics. Research is directed towards expensive, proprietary treatments because that's where the profit is. It's very simple. You get what you reward. And what our economic system rewards is expensive, long term treatment that can be patented.

I would not contest anything you've said here, but it is not related to the topic.

Edited by hitops
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There are people who work in actual greenhouses for hours at a time - at CO2 levels that are 2 to 4 times (or more) as much as today's atmosphere - and yet no health implications have been reported (and you can bet that the alarmists would be all over that tidbit)....and of course crops have higher yields with increased CO2. So.....no harm for humans, great for food production. Those are facts. So it's not the CO2 itself - it's the still imprecise understanding of what effect CO2 has on Earth's temperature - and whether that increase is, on balance, a good thing or a bad thing.

You're avoiding the issue. Go ahead and demonstrate that the benefits of a fossil fuel existence exceed the costs, including the costs to my grandchildren and their grandchildren. And make sure you include all the costs. And don't hide behind that "can't prove a negative BS" - we all know that's a dodge.

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I'm quite familiar with regression analysis. I have had them performed for papers I was writing. But you get out, whatever you put in. This paper just makes a bunch of assumptions, and then runs regressions. It is the assumptions that we cannot possibly know.

I would be doing the exact same thing, if I posited that aliens will invade. I could put in whatever I want for what would happen (just like they do in the above), run the models, then show how it will be bad. Then explain why we should spend money to stop it.

Assumptions do not become facts just because you plug them into equations.

Edited by hitops
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Of course there was an economic impact. The existence of no slowdown doesn't imply no economic impact. If economic growth is reduced from say 2.0% to 1.9%, there is no slowdown, but there is clearly an impact.

This is the type of BS that needs to be called out for the nonsense it is. You call out climate models because there is uncertainty but then you rely on economics which is mostly claptrap.

The BC carbon tax is largely revenue neutral so the money was returned to the people to be spent again. So, you don't know whether it increased or decreased the GDP. The economists who studied this agreed that there was no evidence that GDP was significantly affected. And that's all we know.

And GDP is very questionable measure. There is no evidence that a small fluctuation in GDP such as the one you've mentioned has any appreciable effect on the quality of life of the inhabitants of a relatively wealthy population. GDP only measures the amount of money a population spends, it says nothing about whether about whether the people who spent that money enjoyed themselves, whether it increased their overall happiness or even if they got anything of value for their money. It's a completely idiotic measure and that fact that it is so widely used as a measure of societal success is only compelling evidence that economics is an endeavor of limited value.

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I'm quite familiar with regression analysis. I have had them performed for papers I was writing. But you get out, whatever you put in. This paper just makes a bunch of assumptions, and then runs regressions. It is the assumptions that we cannot possibly know.

I would be doing the exact same thing, if I posited that aliens will invade. I could put in whatever I want for what would happen (just like they do in the above), run the models, then show how it will be bad. Then explain why we should spend money to stop it.

Assumptions do not become facts just because you plug them into equations.

To be fair...The assumptions they make are that nothing much will change in how the world works compared to how it has worked in the last 50 years. Probably a reasonable assumption. (They do apply their own estimations to other people's assumptions based on their own assumptions.)

Though reading that paper gave me a headache.

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This is the type of BS that needs to be called out for the nonsense it is. You call out climate models because there is uncertainty but then you rely on economics which is mostly claptrap.

You are absolutely correct. The economic models used to predict future harms are complete crap and it would be crazy to assume they have any validity. 10 years ago NA was running out of natural gas and oil was headed to $200. Things changed suddenly and unexpectedly and the only sure thing is the same kind of unexpected change will happen in the future and we have no way to predict it, prepare for it or prevent it. Edited by TimG
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Oh I like this analogy. Maybe I should use it instead of my flying spaghetti monster analogy when trying to show to people why the strong precautionary principle is dumb.

If strong is at the top of the scale of precautionary steps that can be taken and weak is at the bottom I'd say we've barely climbed the first couple of steps.

The story of Galileo and the Catholic Church is a good analog for the resistance against even the mildest precautions.

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I'm quite familiar with regression analysis. I have had them performed for papers I was writing. But you get out, whatever you put in. This paper just makes a bunch of assumptions, and then runs regressions. It is the assumptions that we cannot possibly know.

Are you familiar with a Taylor approximation? Productivity is likely a continuous function of temperature, and we know that if things get too hot or too cold people become less productive. Therefore, a quadratic approximation may be reasonable. Similar, arguments can be made for precipitation and other climate parameters. You might want an interaction term based on knowledge of the Clausius-Clapeyron relation, etc. You can argue for properties that you think a functional form should have and then appeal to Occum's razor to justify using the simplest functional form that satisfies those properties.

This is the type of BS that needs to be called out for the nonsense it is.

Pointing out that lack of a recession doesn't imply no economic costs is nonsense? How?

You call out climate models because there is uncertainty

Where have I done this?

So, you don't know whether it increased or decreased the GDP.

Then why are you trying to use it as proof that there are no negative economic consequences?

There is no evidence that a small fluctuation in GDP such as the one you've mentioned has any appreciable effect on the quality of life of the inhabitants of a relatively wealthy population.

Lies. http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/19745/

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The burden of proof is on the one asserting the affirmative, in this case saying that something harmful will happen. I can no better prove a negative than I can prove that unicorns do not exist.

Oh, Good then. Software developers should just release their code without testing it because they can't prove their are no bugs anyway.

Are you under the impression that the concern over CO2 is in any way related to humans breathing it? Please say no.

CO2 poisoning is a real thing but it can't happen at levels that will reasonably happen in our atmosphere. You completely missed (more like avoided) my point.

What right does the natural environment have to change the atmospheric makeup? It has done so many times before. During the most comparable of those times such as the roman and medieval, things were actually better for humans rather than worse. That is pretty good evidence that we are not doomed from it.

Oh, jeez. Do we have to combat the same ridiculous arguments over and over? We are changing the chemistry of the atmosphere at a rate that is orders of magnitude faster than what happens naturally. And thousands of years ago, the planet didn't support seven billion people. And climate science doesn't agree with what a handful of oil-funded deniers claim about how the world was warmer during medieval times. And if you look at the historical fossil record, dramatic changes are associated with extinction events.

Regarding proposed long term effects, there is simply have no evidence to support them. Not only do we not know the degree of effect, we don't even know if it is positive or negative.

Then it's only reasonable that the burden of evidence (since everyone gets all antsy about "proving a negative") sit with corporations that are making huge profits from polluting the environment. In the 1980's, Exxon's scientists were coming to the conclusion that climate change was a real issue. Then they killed the research and started funding deniers. I'll admit it's a subjective statement, but I think extinction events are a bad thing.

Many problems with this analogy, the most important of which are:

- Your drug was not around a thousand of years ago, demonstrating no negative effect on humanity. CO2 increases were.

- Your drug can be tested in trials, it's claims are falsifiable. The claims regarding increased CO2 are not.

- Nothing gets worse by not using your drug. There is no cost. There is an enormous cost to reducing CO2 in any meaningful way.

A better analogy from the medical world would be cutting off your arm today to prevent the possibility of a cancer growing there one day.

Nobody has demonstrated that CO2 increases occurred within the timescale of human history and certainly not modern human history where we have 7 billion people on the planet. And the cost of reducing CO2 are wildly overstated. It's amazing how climate change deniers call people who accept science to be "alarmist" but then make bizarre "the sky is going to fall" claims about how the only way we can get clean energy is to return to the stone age.

Can you prove that when you walk outside, a piano will not fall on you? No? Well obviously you should not leave your house.

Do you spend your day coming up with idiotic false analogies? Obviously you should find better things to do.

I'm not sure why you are obsessed with fossil fuels. They have no moral quality, they are simply a means to energy production. They happen to be the only viable means we have today to sustain anything close to what we consider a decent standard of living, in particular for the poorest areas of the world.

Do I really have to point out that fossil fuel production, refining and usage is associated with enormous environmental and health issues? Really? How can smart people say such dumb things?

Clearly, fossil fuels are not going to disappear tomorrow. But equally clearly, we should be looking for ways to eliminate them.

Your unsubstantiated statement that fossil fuels have some role in giving the poorest people a decent standard of living is beyond pathetic. Fossil fuels are already expensive, even when most of the costs are externalized and pushed to future generations. Meanwhile, off-the-grid solar is bringing badly needed electricity to the poorest of the poor.

Clean, renewable energy will come. It's just a shame that there are so many people so afraid of change that they will cling to dirty, damaging fossil fuels for as long as possible.

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We are changing the chemistry of the atmosphere at a rate that is orders of magnitude faster than what happens naturally. And thousands of years ago, the planet didn't support seven billion people. And climate science doesn't agree with what a handful of oil-funded deniers claim about how the world was warmer during medieval times. And if you look at the historical fossil record, dramatic changes are associated with extinction events.

Over most of the life of the planet, satellites were not being put into space and humans were not going to the moon. In fact, we are seeing an unprecedented rate of increase in the number of satellites being put into space, which is well outside what we have seen in the past. The number of people sent to the moon is infinity times greater than the number of people for the rest of the past 4.5 billion years!

Drastic changes are associated with extinction events. All this stuff being sent into space is a drastic change! Therefore, we should ban sending stuff into space, be it communication satellites, telescopes to learn about the universe, etc.

See the ridiculousness of your argument?

Edited by -1=e^ipi
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Oh, Good then. Software developers should just release their code without testing it because they can't prove their are no bugs anyway.

Software developers routinely release software with tons of bugs, and fix them on the fly. That's why we get updates for everything.

Oh, jeez. Do we have to combat the same ridiculous arguments over and over? We are changing the chemistry of the atmosphere at a rate that is orders of magnitude faster than what happens naturally.

And thousands of years ago, the planet didn't support seven billion people. And climate science doesn't agree with what a handful of oil-funded deniers claim about how the world was warmer during medieval times. And if you look at the historical fossil record, dramatic changes are associated with extinction events.

Calling an argument ridiculous does not qualify as responding to it.

Then it's only reasonable that the burden of evidence (since everyone gets all antsy about "proving a negative") sit with corporations that are making huge profits from polluting the environment.

Please learn the difference between pollution and C02 emissions.

In the 1980's, Exxon's scientists were coming to the conclusion that climate change was a real issue. Then they killed the research and started funding deniers. I'll admit it's a subjective statement, but I think extinction events are a bad thing.

You'll be therefore be pleased to know that there is no evidence to suggest one will happen.

Nobody has demonstrated that CO2 increases occurred within the timescale of human history and certainly not modern human history where we have 7 billion people on the planet. And the cost of reducing CO2 are wildly overstated. It's amazing how climate change deniers call people who accept science to be "alarmist" but then make bizarre "the sky is going to fall" claims about how the only way we can get clean energy is to return to the stone age.

Even if we accept that CO2 concentrations (those we are able to produce) matter, it certainly makes no difference how fast or slow you get there. What 'matters' (according to alarmists) is the absolute level.

Do you spend your day coming up with idiotic false analogies? Obviously you should find better things to do.

Ad hominem is not an argument. I note you did not say what was wrong with it.

Do I really have to point out that fossil fuel production, refining and usage is associated with enormous environmental and health issues? Really? How can smart people say such dumb things?

Not sure, you are so far the only one who has said it.

Clearly, fossil fuels are not going to disappear tomorrow. But equally clearly, we should be looking for ways to eliminate them.

There may be good reasons to get rid of fossil fuel usage, but reducing CO2 emissions is not one of them.

Your unsubstantiated statement that fossil fuels have some role in giving the poorest people a decent standard of living is beyond pathetic. Fossil fuels are already expensive, even when most of the costs are externalized and pushed to future generations. Meanwhile, off-the-grid solar is bringing badly needed electricity to the poorest of the poor.

Here is a good run down:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/fossil-fuels-will-save-the-world-really-1426282420

There is nothing close to fossil fuels for cost to extract vs energy obtained. With the exception of nuclear and some hydroelectric, everything else required the use of more fossil fuels, not less, because they are subsidized.

There many be good situations for solar, like the remote villages in your link. But worldwide almost nothing is produced by solar, relative to total global energy production. We don't have to promote solar. If it was great, profitable, workable, effective and reliable, people would rush to it. But they don't. There are clear reasons why. This could of course change someday.

Edited by hitops
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