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Alberta's climate change policy announced.


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The oil companies are all applauding the move - what does that tell you?

That the NDP listened to people before choosing a policy. It is not clear why you don't seem to understand that a straight carbon tax on all emissions is the most economically rational to deal with CO2 if one is convinced it is something that needs a policy. If the NDP had choose any other policy it would be nothing but a scam. As it stands the costs are visible and people benefit only by really reducing emissions. Those scams otherwise known as carbon trading only allow people to pretend to reduce emissions. Edited by TimG
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Edit> Seriously though, that was my point about revenue nuetral. They spoke of compensation such as they were passing out in BC but they also spoke of revenue.

They are going to double down hard on the taxpayers asses. The carbon tax on consumer energy of all kinds: natural gas to heat my home, electrcity, vehicle fuel is going to sharply increase the cost of living. I cannot change much about heating my home. When it is -40, the furnace will be running and the lights will be on. Certainly I can redcue emissions, but only so much in a dark and cold place. The government will have to compensate the energy companies for another major cost, by legislating the abandonment of their assets. I'll pay for that too. A little bit of the increased revenue from all this tax will go into subsidizing a switch to very costly alternative energy, which will (like Ontario and other places) result in higher hydro bills for all and sundry. Of copurse, the combo of increased royalties, higher taxes and big hydro costs will mean industry will either move entirely or redcue perations in AB to the miniumum, loss of jobs follows and anybody left here will have to chip in more.

All in all, a cheery picture ahead.

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There are only two actual alternatives to provide BASE LOAD in Alberta. Nuclear. Natural gas. Thats it.

Hydro: nope, the rivers are not right. Wind? AB already has a lot of winf power, but BASE LOAD.

Thank you for your excellent example of 1950-style problem analysis. Unfortunately for you and others like you, it is now the 21st century.

There are plenty of answers to the old "base load" canard.

1. It's not all or nothing. Even if you can't supply 100% of the peak electricity demand with renewables, you can always do more.

2. Smart grid and internet of things. You can have natural gas plants that can start up in response to short term load issues and you can have smart devices that will lower or defer demand in response to lower electricity supply. Think smart refrigerators and freezers that can shut down during peak demand. Or smart dryers that can be programmed to not run during peak times when electricity is more expensive. Or thermostats that can be programmed to heat houses during off peak times. The list goes on.

3. Peak demand pricing. Some jurisdictions have this already but not all.

4. Interconnected grids. Alberta and BC already share electricity grids. Alberta may not have hydro but BC has lots. Alberta wind and solar could be sold back to BC where electricity can be stored in the form of water in the dams.

5. Concentrated solar power. There are solar power systems concentrate the energy to heat water that can be used to provide power after the sun goes down.

6. Other types of energy storage - Still in their infancy, other types of energy storage (compressed air, batteries), are being adopted in other jurisdictions. I've recently read of examples in Australia and Korea where large battery storage systems are being implemented. Today, they are still expensive but as technology improves, they will become more feasible.

Alberta's problem isn't technical, it's economic and political. Alberta isn't ready for the message that fossil fuels need to go away - there are too many Albertans whose big pickup trucks, boats and RV's have been bought with oil wealth. That's why Notley's measures are so timid.

But eventually, either Alberta will get with the program or be left in the dust of history.

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So with India's current plan to use a billion tons of coal/year between now and 2030, how come they aren't using the stuff you quote here? They have a lot of sunshine, for one thing.

Are they going to be left in the dust of history? If they are, it pretty much doesn't matter if Alberta is too.

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1. It's not all or nothing. Even if you can't supply 100% of the peak electricity demand with renewables, you can always do more.

You still need baseload and baseload means fossil fuels or nuclear. If you don't have a plan that includes increasing baseload power to meet the demand, you don't have a plan.

2. Smart grid and internet of things. You can have natural gas plants that can start up in response to short term load issues and you can have smart devices that will lower or defer demand in response to lower electricity supply.

First problem is you still need to build those natural gas plants and provide fuel to them. Using these kinds of plants as short term back up is extremely expensive which is why peak load power is expensive. Making it even more expensive because you want to force renewable power into the grid will only be marginally mitigated by smoothing peak demand.

3. Peak demand pricing. Some jurisdictions have this already but not all.

Peak demand has nothing to with baseload. Baseload is about providing the a constant level of power as cheaply as possible to meet the minimum demand - not the maximum demand. The problem with renewables is the power cuts out and you need to have a backup whenever that supply cuts out - even if it is in the middle of the night. The cost of this only when needed backup is expensive.

4. Interconnected grids. Alberta and BC already share electricity grids. Alberta may not have hydro but BC has lots. Alberta wind and solar could be sold back to BC where electricity can be stored in the form of water in the dams.

Hydro has limited capacity to absorb excess wind production. Once that capacity is reached the wind power needs to be dumped.

5. Concentrated solar power. There are solar power systems concentrate the energy to heat water that can be used to provide power after the sun goes down.

Works ok in deserts closer to the equator. Does not really help in northern latitudes.

Other types of energy storage - Still in their infancy, other types of energy storage (compressed air, batteries), are being adopted in other jurisdictions. I've recently read of examples in Australia and Korea where large battery storage systems are being implemented. Today, they are still expensive but as technology improves, they will become more feasible.

Big assumption. If the price comes down it would completely change the economics of the market and many of my criticisms would go away. But we have to plan based on the technology we have today and such systems are way to expensive for use today or in the foreseeable future.

Alberta's problem isn't technical, it's economic and political.

You cannot separate economics from technology because they are interlinked. Something is not 'technically feasible' unless it can be done economically. Edited by TimG
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You still need baseload and baseload means fossil fuels or nuclear. If you don't have a plan that includes increasing baseload power to meet the demand, you don't have a plan.

Obfuscation from the guy whose job depends on current models of electricity production. You've ignored what I've said and repeated the 1950's logic of the last guy. Base load can be massaged and otherwise managed via the mechanisms I described (e.g. BC's hydro). There are a variety of mechanisms that can be used to match supply and demand. Some natural gas backup may be required for a transitional period but Alberta isn't doing anything close to what it could be doing.

First problem is you still need to build those natural gas plants and provide fuel to them. Using these kinds of plants as short term back up is extremely expensive which is why peak load power is expensive. Making it even more expensive because you want to force renewable power into the grid will only be marginally mitigated by smoothing peak demand.

Yep. Fossil fuels need to be priced according to their real costs. Then the healing will begin. Sorry to all those of you who can't get past your fossilized mindsets.

Peak demand has nothing to with baseload. Baseload is about providing the a constant level of power as cheaply as possible to meet the minimum demand - not the maximum demand. The problem with renewables is the power cuts out and you need to have a backup whenever that supply cuts out - even if it is in the middle of the night. The cost of this only when needed backup is expensive.

Like base load, peak demand can be managed. The trick is to match supply and demand.

Hydro has limited capacity to absorb excess wind production. Once that capacity is reached the wind power needs to be dumped.

That limit is reached when the dams are full. You can store a lot of energy in the dams.

Works ok in deserts closer to the equator. Does not really help in northern latitudes.

Really. When did they move Medicine Hat to the equator?

Big assumption. If the price comes down it would completely change the economics of the market and many of my criticisms would go away. But we have to plan based on the technology we have today and such systems are way to expensive for use today or in the foreseeable future.

You cannot separate economics from technology because they are interlinked. Something is not 'technically feasible' unless it can be done economically.

Did the world stop when the price of oil went over $150 per barrel?

Price fossil fuels appropriately to reflect their true economic and environmental cost. People will change. Even people like you.

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There are solar power systems concentrate the energy to heat water that can be used to provide power after the sun goes down.

Photovoltaic Solar is now cheaper than Thermal Solar, even at heating water. Thermal solar is dead.

Also, the problem isn't so much dealing with diurnal variation in renewable energy production, but annual variation.

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Base load can be massaged and otherwise managed via the mechanisms I described (e.g. BC's hydro). There are a variety of mechanisms that can be used to match supply and demand. Some natural gas backup may be required for a transitional period but Alberta isn't doing anything close to what it could be doing.

You no clue of the complexities of the systems we are talking about. Smoothing out peaks/demand can reduce costs but that does nothing to deal with the need for a minimum level of low cost power. Renewables cannot provide that.

Aside: I find it bizarre that you keep trying to smear me because I actually happen to know something about how the system works. It only demonstrates how desperate you are to hold on to your delusions.

That limit is reached when the dams are full. You can store a lot of energy in the dams.

Not during the wet season - mother nature fills the dams all on its own and there is no room to add more water. More importantly, the amount 'excess capacity' that dams have is tiny compared to the amount of energy that we need.

Really. When did they move Medicine Hat to the equator?

Massively subsidized which means it is cannot be anything more than a 'demonstration project'.

Did the world stop when the price of oil went over $150 per barrel?

It went into the deepest recession in the 1930s.

Price fossil fuels appropriately to reflect their true economic and environmental cost. People will change. Even people like you.

The trouble is you think you should be entitled to decide what that cost is. It is delusional thinking on your part. More rational people than you have estimated the social cost of carbon to be in the 30-40US tonne of CO2. That means the existing taxes on most fossil fuels more than cover their environmental costs.

And if the environmental costs of digging up the rare earths needs for solar and wind were included in their costs they would be much more expensive too.

Edited by TimG
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Photovoltaic Solar is now cheaper than Thermal Solar, even at heating water. Thermal solar is dead.

Also, the problem isn't so much dealing with diurnal variation in renewable energy production, but annual variation.

It's dead and yet it lives again.

From 1991 to 2005 no CSP plants were built anywhere in the world. Global installed CSP-capacity has increased nearly tenfold since 2004 and grew at an average of 50 percent per year during the last five years.[28]:51 In 2013, worldwide installed capacity increased by 36 percent or nearly 0.9 gigawatt (GW) to more than 3.4 GW. Spain and the United States remained the global leaders, while the number of countries with installed CSP were growing. There is a notable trend towards developing countries and regions with high solar radiation.

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You no clue of the complexities of the systems we are talking about. Smoothing out peaks/demand can reduce costs but that does nothing to deal with the need for a minimum level of low cost power. Renewables cannot provide that.

And yet, there are so many studies out there that say exactly the opposite:

I know, I know. Pesky science getting in the way of your 1950's way of thinking.

Plans to meet 100% of energy needs from renewable sources have also been proposed for various other individual countries such as Denmark (Lund and Mathiessen 2009), Germany (Klaus 2010), Portugal (Krajačić et al 2010), Ireland (Connolly et al 2010), Australia (Zero Carbon Australia 2020), and New Zealand (Mason et al. 2010). In another study focusing on Denmark, Mathiesen et al 2010 found that not only could the country meet 85% of its electricity demands with renewable sources by 2030 and 100% by 2050 (63% from wind, 22% from biomass, 9% from solar PV), but the authors also concluded doing so may be economically beneficial:

"implementing energy savings, renewable energy and more efficient conversion technologies can have positive socio-economic effects, create employment and potentially lead to large earnings on exports. If externalities such as health effects are included, even more benefits can be expected. 100% Renewable energy systems will be technically possible in the future, and may even be economically beneficial compared to the business-as-usual energy system."

Aside: I find it bizarre that you keep trying to smear me because I actually happen to know something about how the system works. It only demonstrates how desperate you are to hold on to your delusions.

So fair enough. From now on, I'll lower my level of smearing to be commensurate with your level of knowledge. In other words, zero.

Not during the wet season - mother nature fills the dams all on its own and there is no room to add more water. More importantly, the amount 'excess capacity' that dams have is tiny compared to the amount of energy that we need.

Dams stored a huge amount of energy. And excess can be captured using pumped storage.

The trouble is you think you should be entitled to decide what that cost is. It is delusional thinking on your part. More rational people than you have estimated the social cost of carbon to be in the 30-40US tonne of CO2. That means the existing taxes on most fossil fuels more than cover their environmental costs.

By "more rational" you clearly mean more amenable to supporting your dirty, unsustainable employment and lifestyle.

Still, $40/tonne is not a bad start for CO2. Of course on top of that, we need a "fine air particulate" levy for burning coal and diesel, a toxic chemical surcharge for injecting toxic fracking chemicals into the ground and environmental degradation charges on tar sands companies for the biosystems they ruin. And of course, all of the above must agree to stop dumping heavy metals and other environmental toxins.

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studies out there that say exactly the opposite:

Studies based on delusional assumptions with no connection to reality. See http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/08/12/zca2020-critique/

They assume we will be using less than half the energy by 2020 than we do today without any damage to the economy. This flies in the face of 200 years of history.

They have seriously underestimated the cost and timescale required to implement the plan.

For $8 a week extra on your electricity bill, you will give up all domestic plane travel, all your bus trips and you must all take half your journeys by electrified trains.

They even suggest that all you two car families cut back to just one electric car.

You better stock up on candles because you can certainly expect more blackouts and brownouts.

Addressing these drawbacks could add over $50 a week to your power bill not the $8 promised by BZE. Thats over $2,600 per year for the average household.

So fair enough. From now on, I'll lower my level of smearing to be commensurate with your level of knowledge. In other words, zero.

Still desperate to smear. I will take as evidence that you are threatened by people who actually know something other than what propaganda your favorite alarmist site pushes.

Dams stored a huge amount of energy. And excess can be captured using pumped storage.

Dams are finite. Hydro power provides 16% of global power production today and that will fall as energy needs increase as population grows. The excess capacity is well below that 16% which means it is a tiny fraction of capacity required to back any large scale deployment of renewables. Pumped storage is geographically limited like hydro which limits its usefulness.

By "more rational" you clearly mean more amenable to supporting your dirty, unsustainable employment and lifestyle.

More personal attacks based on zero information about what my life style is like.

Still, $40/tonne is not a bad start for CO2. Of course on top of that...

IOW, you want to pull a number out of a hat and declare it as "environmental costs". Sorry. Arguments driven by an ideological hatred of certain types of power sources will not keep the lights on. In the end that is what people care about and that will ensure a more rational assessment of the costs will be used. Edited by TimG
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What you wrote doesn't dispute the fact that photovoltaic is cheaper. How does increase in solar thermal suggest that photovoltaic isn't cheaper in 2015? Are you dumb?

Still, $40/tonne is not a bad start for CO2.

I don't know. If people like William Nordhaus and Richard Tol are estimating ~$20/ton optimal taxes and that is with overestimates of climate sensitivity, I don't see why $40/ton makes any sense.

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Studies based on delusional assumptions with no connection to reality. See http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/08/12/zca2020-critique/

Still desperate to smear. I will take as evidence that you are threatened by people who actually know something other than what propaganda your favorite alarmist site pushes.

Once I find someone who actually knows something, I'll let you know.

It seems like it strikes a nerve with you that base load can be provided by renewables.

While climate change deniers and their arguments and tactics have come under public scrutiny, renewable energy deniers have so far escaped. Yet the latter and their fallacious arguments are delaying effective climate action. They come mainly from the coal, oil and nuclear industries, electricity generators, other big greenhouse polluters such as the aluminium and cement industries, and the supporters of these industries. With the exception of nuclear power proponents, renewable energy deniers are generally also climate change deniers.

The tactics of renewable energy deniers are almost identical to those of climate change deniers. Unlike genuine sceptics, deniers are not open to rational argument. They repeat claims that have previously been refuted, time and time again, by renewable energy scientists and engineers, as if repetition of a false statement somehow makes it true. They look for molehills in renewable energy systems and blow them up to mountains. If they cannot refute a particular observation byrational argument, they try to cast doubt on the result by introducing irrelevant material that obfuscates the issue

Wow. This guy seems to know you.

The Base-Load Fallacy is the incorrect notion that renewable energy cannot supply base-load (24-hour) electric power. Alternatives to base-load coal power can be provided by efficient energy use, solar hot water, bioenergy, large-scale wind power, solar thermal electricity with thermal storage, and geothermal, with gas power playing a transitional role. In particular, large-scale wind power from geographically distributed sites is partially reliable and can be made more so by installing a little additional low-cost peak -load back-up from gas turbines. Other fallacies are refuted concisely in the appendix.

Hmmm. I'm sure you and your nuclear-pimping Dr Brook hate it when people call out your bullshit.
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While climate change deniers and their arguments and tactics have come under public scrutiny...

Any one who uses the word "denier" is an ideological buffoon and is too biased to have anything useful to add to the discussion. Ironically your buffoon actually agrees with me that base load is essential but he simply claims that "biomass" and "hydro" can provide it.

At this point you need to agree that I am right and baseload is an essential requirement since your own source agrees with me. We can move on to discussing what the practical options for baseload are (hint - its not biomass).

Edited by TimG
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Any one who uses the word "denier" is an ideological buffoon and is too biased to have anything useful to add to the discussion.

I think there is a different between rational positions (that I refer to as 'skeptical') and those that are unsupported by anything but fringe science, or even unsupported by science (that I refer to as 'denier'). The latter group can even drift into conspiracy theories, or worse.

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What you wrote doesn't dispute the fact that photovoltaic is cheaper. How does increase in solar thermal suggest that photovoltaic isn't cheaper in 2015?

Let's recap. First I pointed out that CSP can provide power after the sun went down and then you claimed it wasn't being built anymore. I've proved you wrong and you change the subject to which is cheaper. I said CSP could provide power after the sun went down, I never said it was cheaper.

Are you dumb?

I don't think so. At least I can follow the discussion
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You no clue of the complexities of the systems we are talking about. Smoothing out peaks/demand can reduce costs but that does nothing to deal with the need for a minimum level of low cost power. Renewables cannot provide that.

correct. Base load.

2. Smart grid and internet of things. You can have natural gas plants that can start up in response to short term load issues and you can have smart devices that will lower or defer demand in response to lower electricity supply. Think smart refrigerators and freezers that can shut down during peak demand. Or smart dryers that can be programmed to not run during peak times when electricity is more expensive. Or thermostats that can be programmed to heat houses during off peak times. The list goes on.

Right , so you must OVERBUILD capacity with natural gas to meet the BASE LOAD. That is a massive amount of capital wasted entirely. I pay for that too.

3. Peak demand pricing. Some jurisdictions have this already but not all.

Alberta has had it for industrial and commercial customers- the big users- for decades. I used to manage large facilities and this was a factor to be reckoned with. Yes, I know you want me to get up at 3 AM to make the toast for the kids because the rate is less then.

Interconnected grids. Alberta and BC already share electricity grids. Alberta may not have hydro but BC has lots.

Yes, and haven't we all seen how cooperative provinces can be on energy files and projects? Im sure BC would provide AB with power at very attractive rates. We've also seen how other nations work this- Germany for example shut down many nuclear plants and pretended to replace it with renewable. They did build some renewable but the BASE LOAD was msotly repalced by power from Poland, who generate it in... wait for it..... coal plants. Why would Germany do this? Because coal is cheap and nuclear is not.

Other types of energy storage -

rubbing balloons on our heads? Shuffling feet on carpets? Please tell me more about the advances in static electricity.
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We've also seen how other nations work this- Germany for example shut down many nuclear plants and pretended to replace it with renewable.

What we see in countries like UK and Germany which have got a terminal case of AGW dementia is a completely messed up power grid where no source of power can be built without subsidies - even fossil fuels. The main reason is the renewables are given priority so the fossil fuel planets are left under utilized. This makes it impossible for investors to get their money back from a new fossil fuel plant so they don't build them. The situation has gotten critical in the UK where they are facing massive blackouts if a cold snap hits the country this winter. Germany fairs a little better because it simply dumps its excess renewable power on its neighbors (whether they want it or not) and buys back baseload when it has a deficit. Edited by TimG
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What we see in countries like UK and Germany which have got a terminal case of AGW dementia is a completely messed up power grid where no source of power can be built without subsidies - even fossil fuels. The main reason is the renewables are given priority so the fossil fuel planets are left under utilized. This makes it impossible for investors to get their money back from a new fossil fuel plant so they don't build them. The situation has gotten critical in the UK where they are facing massive blackouts if a cold snap hits the country this winter. Germany fairs a little better because it simply dumps its excess renewable power on its neighbors (whether they want it or not) and buys back baseload when it has a deficit.

hey Tim, why are farmers in Alberta so angry with the NDP? What's going on there?

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I was wondering when Albertas farm safety Bill 6 will come up. Basically the NDP launched this bill intended to bring everyone who works on a farm to be under jurisdiction of OH&S policies as well as requiring WCB coverage. This all sounds ok as it is true Alberta is the only province without such, the difference is how Alberta has written their bill vs other provinces. It is important to look at info produced by the NDP gov a month ago vs the backpedaling they have done in the last week. As the position was that the NDP did extensive consultation with the farm community in writting this bill, their position on key items has changed significantly since the town hall meetings started about 14 days ago - these meeting being part of the NDP consultation even though the bill is to be passed likely monday. A pretty short consulation period - and the Harper gov was called undemocratic?

One key point that has changed

Originally all farm workers were to require WCB coverage whether they received a wage or not. This included family, neighbors or friends helping out. Everyone but a sole proprietor was to have WCB. If no wage was paid the farm owner still needed to report a value representative of the work and pay WCB premiums based on this.

NDP has now said family and neighbours will be exempt and this was a "misunderstanding" though published info including handouts at first town hall meetings says otherwise.

What i have not found at all is to what extent OH&S will play on Albertas farms, the government has released no info at all. Their is mention of a revised OH&S Code for Farm Workers but no draft found. The NDP is saying the bill will bring farms under OH&S rules but does not say how. For instance OH&S does not allow anyone under 18 o a worksite if the Alberta OH&S Code is implemented. Sask does not use the Sask OH&S Regulations for farms, we have a Saskatchewan Employment Act to govern farm safety. The OH&S Act apllies to Sask but not the Regulations - note there is a huge difference in these two.

The NDP has not been clear what it is doing, what is being brought into force, not consulted with those affected and is changing information released as little as a few weeks ago - and this bill is to be in effect in less than 3 weeks. A lot of very unhappy people but they are a minority of the voting public so easy to overlook, such is the case in a true democracy. Perhaps small, special interest groups need better representation.

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Now that you know about Bill 6 you can start a topic on it Waldo. My guess is that something that has an impact on 45,000 Canadians wont gather much attention here and so discussions on it will stay on other forums where people have a greater interest. But if you notice the question was asked and now answered and that is what it has to do with this thread.

Ok, lets talk about farming and bio-fuels in the Alberta NDP plan. I havent found out anything about how bio-fuels (ie a type of bio mass energy) fit Canadian Green Energy plans. Will bio fuels become more expensive as a result of the new Bill 6 as producers pass the cost down the line as do other businesses?

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I think there is a different between rational positions (that I refer to as 'skeptical') and those that are unsupported by anything but fringe science, or even unsupported by science (that I refer to as 'denier'). The latter group can even drift into conspiracy theories, or worse.

You should realize, Mike, that it's all a massive fraud. The goal is to put in place, permanent carbon tax revenue streams that will guarantee a cushy lifestyle for the public sector in western countries. The transfer of wealth to third world countries is what the UN bureaucracy hopes to get as their payoff but these elitists are no fools as they will get the revenues in place then demand verifiable proof of harm as a precondition for that transfer of wealth. They want the wealth to stay here in their pension funds.

They do know the climate is almost locked in now, a mere glance at the HADCRUT-4 graph from 1990 to 2015 would tell even a person as stupid as a climate scientist that the trend is asymptotic rather than exponential. It is slowly but surely grinding to a halt and there's no chance that the increase will reach 1.5 C unless the Sun explodes.

Around 2020 to 2025, guess what, the cabal will report from the lab that, hey believe it or not, the program worked, we saved the world, but let's keep those carbon taxes in place because the revenue stream is very helpful. Con job complete, time to retire.

Now do you get it, Mike?

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