On this week’s show: A recap of climate news that happened during Iregular climate’s summer hiatus including the Russsian fires, and Pakistani floods, the Inter academy report on the IPCC, The Lomborg u-turn, More Monckton madness, Cuccinelli is thrown out of court, and the icy skeptic debunk of the week
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Russian fires and Pakistani floods
The Inter academy report on the IPCC
The Lomborg U-Turn
The notion of an R&D solution is alluring. Who doesn’t want there to be global warming antidotes lurking in garages and labs, waiting for funding to unlock them? But it’s a chimera. Even with unlimited research funding, no technological breakthroughs can dislodge carbon-based fuels from dominion over the world’s energy economy. Fossil fuels’ energy density is too great, and their positional advantages of infrastructure and institutions too powerful.
Yes, subsidies can help push renewables past the “hump” in theS-curve to where scale economies can kick in and take a few bites out of the fossil fuel pie. But as New Republic blogger Brad Plumer pointed out recently, “Government subsidies just don’t pack the same punch as a market price on carbon pollution.” When a commodity or activity causes harm, the surest way to reduce it isn’t to subsidize a thousand and one alternatives but to directly discourage the thing by internalizing the cost of the harm into its price…
A large carbon tax like Rep. Larson’s would create profound incentives: on the demand side to use less energy (via billions of decisions at household and social levels), and on the supply side to shift fuels and power to low- and zero-carbon sources (via thousands of decisions by entrepreneurs, utilities and energy companies). A mere 2% carbon tax, even one with revenues allocated to R&D, would not.
Cuccinelli is thrown out of court
The Skeptic Debunk of the week
Arctic sea ice has been steadily thinning, even in the last few years while the surface ice (eg – sea ice extent) increased slightly. Consequently, the total amount of Arctic sea ice in 2008 and 2009 are the lowest on record.