Sunday, November 10, 2019

Some notes on Economic Policy Innovations to Combat Climate Change

I attended this a few weeks ago (below is the opening, click here for the whole thing):

My impressions:

Mary Nichols, Cal. Air Resources Board – 
  • Seemed to somewhat deemphasize regulatory approach as opposed to cap and trade
  • CARB future efforts: 
            *Technology to facilitate carbon sequestration (might have been talking about direct capture)
            *Better ag/soils standard to retain/sequester carbon

Larry Goulder –
  • China moving to nationwide cap and trade by end of year, doubling the amount of carbon subject ot market regulation. Doing it as much for local pollution issues as for climate change itself.
  • Both Larry and one other (Christy Goldfuss?) emphasized tradeable performance standards as a bridge to a carbon price. Christy(?) mentioned that in Canada, one option for a performance standard is to pay a tax.
  • Larry also cautioned that tps might lock in and make carbon pricing less likely

Chris Field – 
  • We’re assuming geoengineering is technically simple and cheap, but we don’t really know, and it would be very difficult to uniformly cool things down, let alone not change other weather patterns.
  • Particularly concerned about BECCS and how it would consume as much land area as all of current agriculture

Lucas Davis – 
  • What keeps me up at night is potential air conditioning in low and middle income countries

Roberton Williams – 
  • Remember regulations can also be regressive. Paying rich people to drive Teslas has regressive effects.

My thoughts: what Chris said about BECCS is especially important and depressing. I've been counting on it to save our bacon. Maybe there's still a way to do it that doesn't consume as much land (algae plots floating over the ocean?).

We in California like to think we're ahead of everyone. I wonder if Mary Nichols' comments reflect that - negative emissions is great IMO but we've also got a lot to do just to knock down our emissions.

In case it's not obvious, the forum had something of a free-market slant. Not all the speakers of course, and there's nothing wrong with discussing those solutions, but just acknowledging the slant here.

Lucas' comments on air conditioning is unsettling. Add to that the effect of increased meat consumption as countries develop and then we have a real problem.

See also, this Twitter thread from John Mashey on a recent forum including Chris Field and Katherine Hayhoe.


David B. Benson said...

Carbon dioxide sequestration requires no surface at all. Inject the carbon dioxide into bore holes in basalt along with some water. The carbon dioxide exothermically reacts to form carbonates. See towards the end of

David B. Benson said...

Oh, it's the land to grow trees to capture the carbon. Some can be found by irrigating deserts. See

Might be less expensive just to use air capture.

Tom said...

I laugh when I see Republicans give 'advice' to Democrats, usually to be more 'moderate' and adopt other defeatist strategies.

So I will understand if you treat this advice in the same way. I am a lukewarmer, I don't even like most of you and I don't hope you end up winning the climate debate.

But... tell Mr. Lucas to shut up and never, ever mention air conditioning or meat consumption in the developing world ever again. Just... don't.

Canman said...

My advice to you Californians:

Make Michael Shellenberger your next governor! Put more reactors in Diablo Canyon and reopen San Onofre. If it wasn't for Moonbeam and a bunch of assorted Malthusians, you could'a been there by now!

Also, read Rud Istvan's new series of posts at WUWT. California's plans are worse than we thought. It's time for Greta Thunberg to tell you all to panic!

Old_salt said...

I don't understand why so many are obsessed with nuclear electricity generation. It is expensive:

Furthermore all thermoelectric plants like nuclear have a significant demand for water, and can compete with other water users:

People keep talking about next-gen nuclear and modular plants, but these don't seem to be reaching the actual power production stage.

Canman said...

Old_Salt, compare graphs of electricity mix for Germany and France. Compare their electricity prices. The real question is shy all the anti-nuclear hysteria?

Barton Paul Levenson said...

C: The real question is [w]hy all the anti-nuclear hysteria?

BPL: Brown's Ferry. Three-Mile Island. Chernobyl. Fukushima Daiichi.

Then there's the separate issues that nuclear is the most expensive of all the energy sources, and takes the longest to deploy.

Gingerbaker said...

If you think meat is the problem, you have not been doing your due diligence investigating the issue.

David B. Benson said...

The last sentence is demonstrably false.

Bernard J. said...

"I don't hope you end up winning the climate debate."

No one will "win" this confected "debate." The only alternatives now are bad futures and worse, dependent on how quickly (or not...) humans eventually act to try to salvage something, and scientists will get no joy from being proved right. And make no mistake - on every trajectory for every parameter of global environmental health, the science is proving to be correct.

The frog in its saucepan thinks that it's nicely lukewarm. It does't realise that it's actually cooked until it's too late and its proteins are denatured. You, like that frog, won't realise that you stuffed up until the entire planet is 'de-natured...'

Mark 2030 in your diary. If we're all still talking on fora such as this one there will be a very interesting conversation to be had.