By Tom Henderson • Staff Writer • 

Cap-and-trade bill getting its first hearing

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Comments

Rotwang

"Cap-and-tax." FTFY

Don Dix

From the article -- Noble (Ron) doesn’t deny the existence of climate change.

Is there anyone on the planet that 'denies the existence of climate change'? Since the time of Christ, the climate has performed these 'changes' -- Roman Warm Period (450 yrs.) -- The Dark Ages (350 years. of cold) -- The Medieval Warm Period (450 yrs. [Greenland being farmed]) -- The Little Ice Age (500 yrs. (very cold - in 1816 US and Europe recorded snow every month of the year [year without summer]) -- and presently warming since 1850.

So, with these 'changes' as the backdrop, what did man do to cause these wild swings? Absolutely nothing! 2000 yrs. of up and down temps that was completely natural, nothing else.

But today, we are told that 'money' will 'reverse the change' that humans have caused. Really and why? The warm periods were times of good health and human expansion, while the cold periods were riddled with disease, death, and famine. Money has never 'changed' the climate, but the IPCC's desire is to redistribute wealth through taxation, so climate change isn't the desired result in the first place. Shuttered eyes never see the whole picture!

GRM

People may deny or believe in climate change. But apart from that m y lungs will appreciate a filter on all carbon producing factories. So do your lungs as well a favor and support this idea.

Don Dix

GRM -- Climate has been changing on this Earth since inception --billions of years ago. Not believing that is unthinkable, literally!

The Clean Energy Bill isn't going to do anything positive for anyone but the state treasury -- it will cost everyone more to live the everyday life in Oregon -- best prediction, it will be a screwed-up, over-managed, poorly thought through, expensive experiment in futility (sound familiar?)

But Oregon's leaders have proven many times over they are experts in waste. The BETC was a dream turned into nightmare, and it also touted 'green energy', just as this bill does. Trusting the same mantra from the same pie holes over and over just isn't sane.

Trafik

I can’t tell you, Don Dix, how many times I’ve wanted to weigh in on your posts regarding climate change. Usually I don’t have the energy to commit to the robust debate that might ensue. Tonight, I’ve enjoyed enough Scotch to take the plunge.

I wish to make a number of universal points, some theoretical:

First, Dix is right; climate change has been occurring for far longer than we’ve been keeping weather records. We’ve been recording climate details for roughly 300 years — the most recent 150 of those years were entered accurately enough to use as data and to build models.

Second, the models used to predict future climate behavior are the same as any other digital models: at best, they’re guesses. Educated guesses, to be sure, but guesses — nothing more. We can accept them as likely but we’d be fools to assume they’re absolute truths. In the scope of the age of the Earth, 150 years is not a definitive span of data from which to craft an inerrant model.

Third, at numerous times throughout history, humanity’s greatest minds (at the time) agreed that hopelessly erroneous postulations were correct. This occurred with the shape of the Earth, the composition of the universe, the nature of life, et al, ad infinitum. In hindsight, some of humanity’s gravest postulations were comical in their earnest wrongness. Modernfolk would be fools to accept latter-day postulations as truths without hedging their bets using healthy measures of informed skepticism.

(Continued below...)

Trafik

(...continued from above.)

Fourth, by my estimation, humans have a terribly difficult time divorcing themselves from their human perspectives. Hence, everything is viewed and articulated through the lens of one person, one lifetime. Even highly educated humans experience difficulty putting aside their limited (human) perspectives to view history through the enormously larger perspective of the earth — a body far older than the sagest humans.

Fifth, we humans like to base everything we do on the sum total of human knowledge — perfectly understandable, given we’re human. In my opinion, we need to step back and acknowledge we do not know everything. While even highly educated people will freely admit this, I believe we must go one step further: we must accept that knowledge exists we’re not capable of comprehending. Thus, if there’s stuff out there we’re not able to know, then accepting only that which human science can prove as truth is a profoundly narrow point of view.

Sixth, this doesn’t mean we need to embrace ridiculous absurdities or outlandish theories as truths. C’mon, people. Ditch your human perspective but not your fundamental intellect. Our cleverness must be tempered by reasonable discipline.

Seventh, hugely compelling reasons exist for all of us to take care of our Earth — reasons utterly unrelated to climate change or the shabby politics that’ve come to define it. The vicious polarization marking the edges of this debate is wastefully counterproductive, reducing the conversation to sound bites from smug know-it-alls and obstinate doofuses.

Don Dix

Good morning Trafik -- your submission is interesting and well put forth. I'll attempt to respond to each point using my understanding, research, and education.

1 & 2. 150 yrs. of records -- but somehow when the alarmist models can't replicate observed history, the temp records are 'massaged' to fit (lowering recorded historical temps). But NASA and NOAA have a little problem. The EPA still shows that heatwaves during the 1930s were by far the worst in US temperature record.

3. Exactly why skepticism abounds -- Accepting 30 yrs. of predictions that have been terribly over-estimated without any cogent explanation. The IPCC is on record that the 'climate change' mantra isn't about the environment, but a re-distribution of the world's wealth.

4 & 5. A simple study of any historical climate event (actually occurred) reveals someone is attempting to re-write that history. Greenland was being farmed about 1000 A.D. The Romans grew grapes in Scotland after conquering Britain. 1816 (the year without Summer) actually occurred, not a folk tale. Today's climate science would have one believe these events never occurred.

6. Once again, the makeup of the IPCC is mostly diplomats and appointees. Admittedly (by IPCC members), 80% of members have no educational climate studies in their resume'. The chairman was trained as a railroad engineer. Outlandish hypotheses abound from such a group.

7. Absolutely take care of Earth -- pollution (not CO2), garbage, and the ecosystem are tantamount. Taxing CO2 will not raise or lower the temps. The 4 warming/cooling events the last 2000 years occurred during stable CO2 levels (around 300ppm). If CO2 is the driver of temps, how did the temp fluctuate 4 - 6 degrees during this stability?

I don't profess to have every answer (nobody does), but to ignore the historical facts in order to promote a flawed hypothesis seems a long reach.

Trafik

Don Dix:

Skepticism is good — when healthy doubt disappears, history proves loud voices with skewed arguments are easily heard. Coupled with humanity’s deep desire to believe in something bigger than itself, compelling messages of impending doom seem to resonate with those engaged in the most earnest seeking.

That said, “healthy” is key to skepticism. Doubt for the sake of doubt serves no one except certain fringe political groups where ALL CAPS and MANY EXCLAMATION POINTS are badges of one’s commitment to a cause. While I strongly believe one shouldn’t subscribe to a popular dogma just because it’s a good fit for one’s personal truth, I also believe the opposite is true: one shouldn’t reject a postulation just because it fails to fit one’s preferred narrative. As with everything, critical thinking and legitimate research are key.

Today, activist academic disciplines are increasingly commonplace. Three Portland State University professors recently had great fun getting satiric papers published as real research in academic journals (see links below). The absurd natures of their claims would’ve been laughed out of serious academe not that long ago. But today? Not so much. Any true critical thinker should be gravely alarmed by this inarguable corruption of scholarship.

Meanwhile, those of us who’ve not yet drunk the Kool-Aid must plod on. When a friend tries to shade me with a smug so-you’re-rejecting-the-research-of-the-world’s-leading-scientists, I recognize the populist weakness from which such a question springs. I never said I rejected it — I just don’t accept what I’m told to embrace with no questions asked.


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/04/arts/academic-journals-hoax.html

https://www.wweek.com/news/schools/2018/10/09/a-portland-state-university-professor-made-up-a-study-of-dog-on-dog-sexual-assault-and-got-the-hoax-published/

https://areomagazine.com/2018/10/02/academic-grievance-studies-and-the-corruption-of-scholarship/

Mike

Trafik you lay it out perfectly. We are also inventive and creative creatures. We think we see a problem, we want to have a solution. Sometimes we're incredibly goofy. I know there are many optimists who believe trying to have solutions to the damage the 8 billion of us are doing to the earth is just a tax scheme and a scheme to steal from the rich to give to the poor. And they might be corrected the current solutions are just a scam. I'm a pessimist. It looks like to me the combine efforts of all we humans are doing to the earth will damage it maybe beyond repair. We are living the good life. We are like a volcano of energy. Very successful animals who like our comfort and our wars. Poor Oregon. Do good true believers think our little state can stem the tide. I agree with Don in some ways. It is not just CO2. It is the full scope of our combine billions of human actions which are building to the consequences. Our great great grandchildren will know the truth of our selfishness and folly.

Trafik

I often post in this forum to counter what I see as outrageous hyperbole stated by otherwise-intelligent people. Gross aggrandizement for effect is dangerous: when repeated loud and often, the exaggeration supplants the hyperbolist’s original, more moderate belief. Worse, the slow-witted and the lazy swallow the hyperbolist’s refrain simply because it’s the easiest and most-often-repeated opinion s/he hears.

With the increasing polarity of the world’s peoples becoming the norm, I shouldn’t be surprised most feel the need to select one side or the other and dig their heels in — all very fashionable these days but not terribly productive. When both sides of an issue are utterly convinced they hold the moral high ground, it’s easy for each to dismiss the other as shrill-voiced meddlers or ignorant rubes. No sense in even talking when you’re up against a hysterical alarmist or an oblivious hayseed, right? Personally, I believe the truth of the climate debate lies far closer to the center than either side wishes to acknowledge.

To be clear, I don’t disagree with Don Dix — nor do I firmly embrace his every assertion. I believe climate change is quietly overstated by entities with questionable and conflicting motives — then credibly repeated and heralded by those with purer aims. Clear consequences are being assigned when, at best, murky prognoses should be offered. I’m grateful to Don for being brave enough to make unpopular but articulate statements, backing up his assertions with research and data.

Regardless of politics, I feel strongly we should take care of our Earth far better than we’ve been doing. Unfortunately, the debate has devolved to a level where the choices are to stupidly pretend everything is fine or to mock those not embracing the so-called solution. Both are treacherous options.

But I’m tired and I don’t know if I’m even making sense. :-)

Don Dix

Mike & Trafik -- The NR didn't present the front page article from 2/19 online. ??????. In that article, not only CO2, but also methane was mentioned as targets for the cap and tax bill.

Methane traps up to 100 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide within a 5 year period, and 72 times more within a 20 year period. The human sources for methane include fossil fuel production, distribution, and use: Livestock farming, landfills, biomass burning, rice agriculture, and biofuels (yes, the ethanol Oregon's government believes is clean and necessary).

Natural sources of methane are wetlands, the oceans, and termites. Oregon is bordered by the Pacific and is constantly protecting wetlands. Termites? -- let's just say there are trillions and trillions -- 23 million tonnes of methane produced per year (more than the oceans).

Besides fossil fuels, which of the other sources can Oregon target? Most are either necessary to a certain degree, or cannot be controlled. And certainly, Oregon would never admit a mistake was made when requiring ethanol as a gas additive. So, it's a heavy gas tax, which will cost jobs, raise the cost of living, and otherwise do diddly-squat. Bad idea and a terrible solution, as usual!

John

Interesting conversation. It is routine in science today to use mathematical modeling to unravel the spaghetti that seems to confuse us in a data package. As Don says, the climate has been changing (warming) for thousands of years, but it is interesting that the warming suddenly ramped up at the beginning of the industrial revolution. It is fairly easy to identify various potential causes of this, from cow farts to auto exhaust to coal-fired power plants. A mathematical model can figure out the contribution of each of these and separate these from the background (Don's "normal" background increases). The models can also separate weather (the year-to-year changes) from climate (long-term changes). The result is conclusive that CO2 is the biggest additional contribution and is increasing at a rather alarming rate. We need to reduce this, and cap & trade is one way that seems reasonable. Yes, it will cost money, but we've had a free ride for too long. Gasoline prices are the lowest they've EVER been if you adjust them to cost (in minimum wage hours of work) per mile driven. Increases in wages and fuel economy vastly outweigh increased $/gal. Our gas costs less than half of what most of the world pays. Why is that? We ignore the real costs (environmental, etc.). We've already done unheard of things that were predicted to ruin us, like getting rid of DDT or Agent Orange or going to sustainable forest practices or reducing exhaust emissions or using sewage treatment instead of dumping in the Yamhill River. We need to reduce carbon emissions, too, but it will cost each of us to clean up the mess we've ignored too long. Nobody likes to pay more for anything, but there is no such thing as a free lunch.

John

One additional comment on the negative side of numbers: In the paper edition of the Cap & Trade story there was a statement that the CO2 emissions from the steel mill (65,613 metric tons per year) was equivalent to 26.7 Ford F-150s -- you'd hardly notice those parked in the parking lot of the steel mill if they weren't clean and shiny. That didn't meet my nose test, so I looked up some figures. The average carbon dioxide emissions of 2018 F-150s is 457 grams per mile, or 0.000457 metric tons per mile. In 2018, the average driver drove 13,476 miles, which means said F-150 would emit about 6.1 metric tons of carbon dioxide. It would take 10,654 F-150s to equal the steel mill’s emissions. Oops.
If we were to pay our fair share of CO2 vehicle emissions at a carbon tax of $50/metric ton (a common suggestion), it would increase our driving cost of the F-150 by about $100/year or $0.20/gal -- something most of us would not complain too much about.

Trafik

By its definition, John, mathematical modeling is a guess. All of it — even the best-modeled — is a guess.

Simply put, digital modeling seeks to predict what will occur in the future by averaging data from the past, adding assorted appropriate variables along the way, hence the term “modeling.” While, as you say, the spaghetti of the unmodeled may seem to confuse us in a data package, those of us with engineering degrees are probably somewhat less perplexed than those without. A model which seeks to predict the future of an ancient world using a paltry 150 years of data coupled with a significant amount of estimated data from latter-day sources (like recently acquired core samples, et al) remains a model — and not a particularly reliable one using the scientific method’s own base criteria. To be sure, someone with a profound respect for science is ill-advised to discount the educated opinions of his or her peers. But it’s still a guess at the end of the day. Maybe even a really good guess.

I am neither discounting the models used to collect the data you offer, John, nor the researchers who calculated it. But I am cautioning readers from accepting any model-based data without considering its origin and the models used to create it. Models can collect, separate, calculate, collate, quantify and codify the data until the cows come home. But by their own definitions, they’re still guesses. To accept a guess as fact — even a really good guess — is an outright rejection of the scientific method and science at large.

And I can’t do that. Sorry.

But none of this means we don’t need to profoundly change the way we live. It just means we need to do it for reasons other than that we’re told to do it that way.

Mike

Trafik. I agree scientific guesses are not facts. I'm intrigued by your suggestion we may need to profoundly change the way we live for reasons other than the scientific guessing. Guessing which have some solutions about CO2 limits as one way to change how we live. The country and the civilization I'm familiar with, that I live in, is dedicate to comfort, consumption, and in the case of this country, a moral superiority. Simply saying we must profoundly change the way we live for some mysterious reasons will not move behavior. This civilization will have run its course, then face the consequences.

Don Dix

John -- Interesting submission, but models are only as accurate as the input -- and none have been able to replicate recorded observation from the past (without tweaking history or input).

Your example of gas prices/minimum wage does not include my driving history (I'm a Boomer). When I began driving, minimum wage was $1.25/hr. I was able to fill my tank (full-sized Ford) for about that $1.25. For a full-sized car today, it would take considerably more than the an hour of minimum wage work to fill.

The temp increase coincides with the Industrial Revolution , yes, but not because of CO2. The Sun was in what is named the Maunder Minimum (low Sun activity) beginning about 1650. The Earth had cooled from the Medieval Warm Period, mostly from volcanic activity and the inactive Sun just added more cooling.

Coming from a cold period on Earth has always been followed by warming - always (and vice versa). The Little Ice Age and the rebound are similar to natural swings in the Earth's temp throughout history. And, according to 'the experts', CO2 has been stable for thousands of years, so what caused all the swings?

The largest discrepancy is the fact that in all studies of ice core, tree rings, and ocean sediment, CO2 always follows temp rise -- by 600 - 1000 years. The questions surrounding that phenomena don't fit the narrative of the CAGW, because, you know, the debate is over (what debate?) -- the 'science is settled'. Fact is, true science is never 'settled'. It's hard to believe any hypothesis that doesn't lend itself for test and retest to prove or disprove. And that is exactly where we are today -- expected to follow, not raise questions, when answered truthfully won't support the cause!

Coco

The truth of climate change is inconvenient. People like to feel comfortable all the time. It's easier to deny than have to conform. I feel sad for your generations to come- well, one or 2 generations. I don't see much of a future past 20 years because of denials.

Trafik

Unless you’re hopelessly dense or intentionally unobservant, there’s nothing mysterious about a need for change, even discounting climate-change-specific modeling. If you’ve paid attention since the 1970s, you can’t help notice we’ve made significant mistakes. In the collective consciousness, this far predates talk of global warming or climate change. Nothing shadowy about it. Frankly, a perspective suggesting current climate science is the sole reason to change human behavior is incredibly myopic.

Once again: I’m not speaking out against meaningful action that’s crucial to correct the damage we’ve done and continue to do. But I can’t advocate accepting far-from-settled scientific guesses as facts, just so we can feel good about taking action. The irony is much of the action we’ll be taking — action motivated by the “settled” science of climate change — will be appropriate. Put another way, I firmly support many (maybe even most) of the steps being proposed / taken to correct destructive human behavior.

But I take issue when others expect me to blindly follow a course of action because so-called settled science based upon guesses says I should. Further, codifying steps with massive impacts based on guesses masquerading as facts seems far more a marketing scheme than a dispassionate scientific analysis-based course of action.

Then there’s that delightful shaming tactic many climate change enthusiasts use on anyone who questions. “Oh, you don’t believe in climate change? You don’t believe the scientists? I pity you. So stupid. It’s easier to deny and remain comfortable in your ignorance.”

In short, Mike, my issue lies with the unquestioning obedience demonstrated by lockstep climate change adherents coupled with the haughty disdain they display to anyone who suggests anything other than absolute conformity. I doubt you and I disagree much on the action we must take. But I dislike the motives and methods being used to implement it.

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