The science, economics and politics of climate change


Further to last week’s debate on environmental policy and climate change, Stephen Gordon checks Dean Del Mastro’s assertions about carbon pricing, regulation and the costs of both.

It’s very true that oil companies are not charitable organizations–which is why it’s not a good idea to make policy based on the assumption that they will passively absorb the costs of new regulations. It’s not at all obvious why firms would pass along the costs of a carbon price but not the (larger) costs of regulation.

Meanwhile, Ryan Leef is being criticized for the information he has distributed on the polar bear population. And Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver received a rebuke from the scientist—now a Green candidate in British Columbia—he had previously cited. (Andrew Weaver is also a fan of taxing carbon.)

In other news, the NDP motion that initiated last Thursday’s debate was defeated last night and various New Democrats took to Twitter to criticize Elizabeth May for voting against. Ms. May responded with a lengthy explanation of her problems with the motion.

I would have loved to have seen a unified group of MPs from all the Opposition Parties rise on principle and (hoping against hope) some of the Conservatives who understand the need for climate action might have voted with us to give the Parliamentary call for reductions in GHG a chance of passing.  But since tonight’s motion forgot to call for climate action, maybe we could take a run at a properly worded motion another day.

There does exist, it should be noted, a multi-partisan climate change caucus. And Mr. Leef is one Conservative who attended its most recent meeting.


The science, economics and politics of climate change

  1. We need certainty for the ultimate crisis not “maybe”. Help my house is on fire maybe?
    So how close to point of no return from unstoppable warming will they take us before they say a crisis is eventual, inevitable or “WILL” happen like science says asteroid hits are?
    Deny this:
    In 28 years science has never said their crisis “WILL” happen, only “might” happen.
    The consensus is: “Climate change is real and is happening and “could” cause a crisis.” Not one single scientific paper says it is as real as an eventual comet hit. A climate crisis “IS” a comet hit of an emergency?

    Not one IPCC warning says anything more than “maybe” and “could be” etc. So find us one single IPCC warning not smothered in “maybes” and if “maybe” is good enough to condemn your own kids to a climate crisis, you are no planet lover.
    MOVE ON:
    *Occupywallstreet does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded and corporate run carbon trading stock markets ruled by corporations.

    • The only kind of warning that’ll wake you up is, too late now anyway. So, party on eh.

      • The end is near for these end of the world freaks who bully our children to a false war like Bush did.

        • Your comparing Bush/Cheney to the IPCC scientists? Get some perspective please.

    • We need certainty for the ultimate crisis not “maybe”. Help my house is on fire maybe?

      Your position, instead, would be (to use your analogy): “H-mmm…I smell an acrid, pungent smell that is usually interpreted as a sign that something’s burning. But, until I see irrefutable, conclusive evidence, like flames licking at my ass, I’ll just ignore it.”

      • “I see the changes. The change is all around. We cannot deny the changes.”
        “ug ug cave man see strange cave man sacrifice camp fire to please angry weather gods.”
        History will call climate change not just a war crime but Reefer Madness all over again. It made end of the world freaks out of all of us. Thanks!

        • Well, I have to concede you’ve already proven science wrong in another context: it has long assumed Neanderthals were extinct.

          • Science didn’t lie, you remaining believers did because science only said it “could” be a crisis while you fear mongers cried it WILL be a crisis.

          • Sorry to disappoint you but I didn’t say it would be anything. I just believe the forecasts of the scientists who predict potentially cataclysmic climate change over those who dismiss it.

          • And I believe spending money on real life disasters like poverty and disease which are killing tens of thousands of people every single day…right now, numbers which are unassailable by scepticism. How many more deaths will come from climate change? When will they come? What specific dangers will my grandchildren face that will be greater than what children are facing today…dangers which are being ignored?

    • you are a disaster. Brush up on your science and statistics. Things can only be said at (95%) confidence interval/limits…

      wow you are pretty pretty brave going on a public forum and flailing your lack of intelligence. you might as well jump onto a math forum and write 1+1 =5…

  2. Why bother briefing Oliver? David Schindler had him pegged as a donkey at the Derby.[ some kind of mulish 4 legged critter anyway]
    No way you can brief a disingenuous flat earther like Oliver. What were his constituents thinking… Who was running against him… Donald Trump!

    • You so called planet panickers condemning our kids to your exaggerated crisis use climate blame fear as another excuse to hate anyone with an opposing view. You condemn our children and call yourselves Liberals?

      • “Condemn” them to what? A cleaner, less-polluted planet?

        • Climate change was a 28 year old CO2 death threat to my kids, not energy or little kids planting trees for Al Gore and Nuzuki. How dare you! You promise my kids a CO2 hell on earth in a catastropic climate crisis and call it love for the planet?
          Drop the CO2 mistake, blunder and exaggeration so we can all work together in loving stewarship instead of holding the spear of CO2 crisis fear in my kids backs like neocons.

          • You’re totally incoherent. I suggest taking a couple of minutes to review what you’ve written before posting. As it stands, what you’ve written makes little sense.

          • Details give us details instead of how you bow to the word of your saintly scientists. Science gave us pesticides and climate change science was a pure war crime. Why did you want this miseyr real for my kids. It’s SICK!

      • The criticism is coming from scientists. That may have escaped your notice. What I think ( and most likely you) is largely irrelevant. In any case I’m not going to base my opinion on the rhetoric of an ideologue like Oliver. Neither, if you’re wise, should you.

  3. You remaining believers are cornered now in your CO2 exaggeration as you just make it a game of who to believe not what to think and who is saying what and not what is being said. And you accuse us of being bible thumpers?

    Deny this:
    When will science say their crisis is inevitable, not just possible? Before we reach the point of no return maybe?

    You doomers wanted this misery for our children and history will call your 28 years of needless panic a total war crime for condemning billions of helpless children to your exaggerated greenhouse gas ovens. Who’s the neocon again here?

    Climate blame was your Iraq War without a real enemy but Bush at least didn’t’ fear monger my kids with exaggerated CO2 death threats.

    • maybe your kids will be smarter than you and go to university to learn science…

      • I think you are mistaken. His children will jumped over that hurdle once they complete Grade 9 science.

        • We feel your love. Do you like condemning my kids to your exaggerated greenhouse gas ovens of your exaggerated crisis? You remaining believers are worse than the neocons you hate so much.

    • Condemned billions of children to non-existent greenhouse gas ovens? You do a disservice to the argument you are trying to make. Illiterate ramblings don’t lend credibility to your POV.

    • “When will science say their crisis is inevitable, not just possible? Before we reach the point of no return maybe?”

      mememine, your comment here suggests you might not understand a fundamental principle about science. Science is about probability. It does not express itself in certainties. To put it another way, science expresses itself in degrees of certainty. Here is a link you might want to check out–have a read of the first few pages of this classic text in probabilities; it’s quite readable. You might also want to take an introductory course on statistics. Go here: http://www.amazon.ca/Probability-Theory-The-Logic-Science/dp/0521592712#reader_0521592712

      “… the true logic for this world is the calculus of Probabilities, which takes
      account of the magnitude of the probability which is, or ought to be, in a reasonable man’s mind.” — James Clerk Maxwell (1850)

  4. Former Believers Are Better Planet Lovers.
    The rest of you wanted this misery to be real. Why?

    • 400 parts per million…that’s 0.04%…of the entire earth’s atmosphere…that’s 4 one hundredths of one percent. Water vapour, by far the most abundant greenhouse gas, is between 1 and 5% of the content of the atmosphere, depending on season and location.

  5. Science can END the debate by saying it “WILL” happen.
    The ultimate crisis needs certainty not “maybe”.
    A climate crisis is a comet hit of an emergency for the planet yet after 28 years of intensive research the scientists have NEVER said their crisis was as “inevitable” as an asteroid hit, only “possible” and “likely” and “could be” and “maybe” and….. Deny that!
    Find me just one single IPCC warning not smothered in “maybes”.
    HOW CLOSE TO UNSTOPPABLE WARMING will science lead us before they say climate change is as real as an asteroid hit and WILL happen?

    • Hey Guys, just ignore Paul/Meme/DavidNutzuki. He cut’n pastes this same crap over all comment threads on climate change. With very little variation. It’s like he doesn’t know how to think for himself. I find it hilarious. Some of what he types is the funniest stuff out there. And the fact it makes “his side” look batsh*t crazy is also nice.

      • Put your purse down. Its JUST an opposing view so get over it.

        • My Purse?! LOL. Here I am laughing my arse off. Like I said below, I really hope you are just a poe. It would give me hope for the human race.

  6. The only crisis you remaining believers of this Reefer Madness of climate blame have to worry about is how your grandkids will explain why you so easily and with such childish glee threw them under the bus of what we all knew was an exaggerated crisis. Did Bush condemn my kids?
    Climate change wasn’t environmentalism; it was a CO2 death threat to billions of helpless children and thankfully an exaggeration. You don’t have to believe in this misery and history is watching this madness don’t forget. We can’t love a planet with fear.
    Oh and save your little tiny catastrophic climate crisis for a Harry Potter movie.

    • Why not explain to the thousands dying every day, right now, from poverty and disease, why the money, (trillions of dollars), which could easily save them, is being spent on trying to control the weather, the worst estimates of which have sea levels rising by as much as a whole 3 inches over the next century.

      Our grandchildren are not in danger. That hyperbole is why scepticism about climate change is growing, not shrinking.

      If they are in danger, tell me specifically, from what are they in danger? Again, please be specific.

  7. This comment was deleted.

    • And Here You Go Again. The same thread this time? Just constant cut’n paste nonsense. I really hope you are paid to do this, if not, I am really concerned about your sanity. Really. Not Joking. Are you off your meds? Anyone who even REMOTELY believes this stuff comes off completely insane!
      Like I said previously, I find it hilarious, and I hope you are just paid, or even better, a poe! In fact, reading all your comments as a poe really makes more sense. Great Job.

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