Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME ENTER FORUMS OUR BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Sun Apr 23, 2017 2:52 pm





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 25 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page Previous  1, 2
Carbon Mining 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Book Discussion Leader
Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 5175
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1749
Thanked: 1712 times in 1298 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Carbon Mining
DWill wrote:
Robert Tulip wrote:
Trump and Tillerson offer far better prospects of delivering climate results, paradoxically despite their withering scepticism about climate science.
This is your own escape from logic, one that you'd be better off admitting to.
I appreciate why you and the entire climate lobby consider my view to be wrong, but in agreeing with the climate pariah Lomborg on his proposed paradigm shift in climate science, I can only fall back on Einstein’s comment in defence of relativity against the hundred scientists, which is to study the numbers. When a paradigm shifts, the emotional commitment to the old way of thinking prevents adherents from studying the numbers and the theory of change. The scientific paradigm shift in climate science from emission reduction to carbon mining is based on the premise that if we mine twice as much carbon as we emit then we can save the fossil fuel industry. That is something that should be very attractive to the Trump administration. But people have not even studied or discussed it as a real prospect, precisely because it destroys the emission reduction paradigm beloved by the climate lobby.
DWill wrote:
What you've said is equivalent to choosing the politicians who want to build more nuclear weapons as the best path to disarmament.
No, the equivalence is to Trump seeing nuclear weapons as the basis of peace and stability and security through strength. Disarmament is not an end in itself, whereas peace and stability and security are ends. And disarmament is not a means to the end of peace, despite the communist advocacy of that piece of illogic. Weakness leads to war. The good comparison here is how liberal politics confuses emission reduction and climate stability, very similar to how they also confuse nuclear disarmament and world peace. Liberals have convinced themselves of their own delusional moral propaganda and become incapable of discussing facts.
DWill wrote:
If Trump and Tillerson think climate change is bunk, they're not going move toward any means of addressing warming. Why would they?
They don’t have to. It is not up to governments. What is needed is private investment in research and development. Governments should steer not row, so should set a technology-neutral regulatory framework for business investment. My view is that recycling carbon emissions from coal powered energy using ocean based algae factories is going to be the only economic thing that will save the coal industry.
DWill wrote:
Quote:
Solar and wind technology is useless at the only thing needed for climate repair, namely removing carbon from the air. Solar and wind crowd out R&D by soaking up hundreds of billions in annual subsidies.

No one ever said that solar and wind need be seen as "the only thing needed for climate repair."
You have misread my statement. I said “at” not “as”. My point was that solar and wind do nothing to repair the climate. So they could hardly be the only things working to repair the climate. To do that we need carbon mining.
DWill wrote:
Both technologies happen to be means that are currently practical and rapidly expanding. In some areas and countries, they are making a huge difference.
And that is a great thing, a source of clean innovative energy, as long as it does not get politicised through subsidy. I understand that solar has reached the takeoff point where it is economic without subsidy. That Moore’s Law result is a superb thing, but we should not pretend that solar or wind have any prospect of helping stop climate change, given the numbers I have quoted from Lomborg. You may not be familiar with the fiasco in the state of South Australia, where wind subsidies have destroyed energy security and are driving investment away. It is disgusting.
DWill wrote:
To move toward carbon neutrality will take several different technologies. You appear to offer a carbon-mining panacea.
As I said, investment and regulation should proceed on a level playing field. I am an advocate for my own inventions, which is perfectly fair enough. I only criticise other technologies when they make false claims, such as the false idea that a shift to solar and wind power can help with climate stability this century. Over the longer term they are essential, but we have things butt-about, pushing on a string by pretending wind and solar are the main game to address warming. They are not, as the numbers from Lomborg prove.
DWill wrote:
While the technology, unproven though it is, should be pursued, to screen out all other technologies suggests an agenda of a different sort.
I am very glad and appreciative DWill that you say algae technology should be pursued, since (to only mildly exaggerate) that is the opposite of the mad fatwa issued by the United Nations, who seem to class all “marine geoengineering” as a devilish denialist plot, and are actively dissuading investment through their corrupt focus on wind and solar alone. I am looking forward to Ambassador Haley draining that swamp.
DWill wrote:
There is simply no reason to not embrace solar/wind.
”Embrace” is such a romantic word. The only reason that our embrace should be less intense is that there are things we want to do (eg stop global warming) which other commercial technologies may be able to do better than solar and wind.
DWill wrote:
Yes, both have drawbacks, even environmentally, but a totally benign, cost-free source of energy is nowhere in sight. Advocates might claim carbon-mining will provide such a source, but with the technology at such an early stage, that is just a guess.
Sure, it is just a guess. Guesses can be tested. That is all I am suggesting. Industrial algae production is the best way to save biodiversity, and also save the coal industry.
DWill wrote:
Quote:
Instead, climate policy should focus on energy research and development. It is unfortunate that the liberal left claims ownership of climate policy, since the stupidity of the left polarises the debate and makes it harder for carbon mining to be a keystone for Trump’s turn to infrastructure as a growth strategy.

I would think that R & D should heavily invest in nuclear fusion as well. This is a goal Trump could embrace, but he hasn't had the incentive. Where he'd find incentive to do what you want him to is extremely unclear.
The incentive for President Trump to support carbon mining is in its capacity to save the coal industry. Building infrastructure from plastic made from recycled carbon emissions will help to make America great again.


_________________
http://rtulip.net


Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:25 pm
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Pulitzer Prize Finalist


Joined: May 2011
Posts: 497
Thanks: 294
Thanked: 212 times in 173 posts
Gender: None specified

Post Re: Carbon Mining
DWill wrote:
If Trump and Tillerson think climate change is bunk, they're not going move toward any means of addressing warming. Why would they?

Tillerson quite clearly thinks climate change is man-made. The apparent concession by Pruitt that the finding of harm would win in court if he challenged it means that climate change now has U.S. government acceptance (applying the term "think" to Trump is an exercise in futility). The real question becomes how involved the government will be in keeping the U.S. competitive at clean energy technology.
DWill wrote:
Quote:
Solar and wind technology is useless at the only thing needed for climate repair, namely removing carbon from the air. Solar and wind crowd out R&D by soaking up hundreds of billions in annual subsidies.

To move toward carbon neutrality will take several different technologies.

Robert is technically correct that sequestration or carbon mining will be needed to roll back the unsafe levels of carbon already present. A proper incentive based on externalities would, of course, make it much more likely that such a process would be economical. Since such incentives are easily foreseeable, we will not be held back by the reluctance of free-market extremists like Robert to include them in the calculations.

DWill wrote:
I would think that R & D should heavily invest in nuclear fusion as well. This is a goal Trump could embrace, but he hasn't had the incentive.
It appears the French are the only ones with sufficient trust in big, top-down governmental solutions to pursue fusion. So far their trust in fission has been amply rewarded. Maybe they will score big again.



The following user would like to thank Harry Marks for this post:
Robert Tulip
Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:50 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Pulitzer Prize Finalist


Joined: May 2011
Posts: 497
Thanks: 294
Thanked: 212 times in 173 posts
Gender: None specified

Post Re: Carbon Mining
Robert Tulip wrote:
You may not be familiar with the fiasco in the state of South Australia, where wind subsidies have destroyed energy security and are driving investment away. It is disgusting.
My curiousity is piqued. If only because this does not sound plausible. More wind power seems unlikely to destroy energy security, and the investment it might drive away seems likely to be competing sources of energy, which is more or less the point.
Robert Tulip wrote:
As I said, investment and regulation should proceed on a level playing field.
Well, no, actually. Investment with a large uncompensated benefit, or with a large unbilled cost, should have the playing field tilted to make up for these.
Robert Tulip wrote:
DWill wrote:
While the technology, unproven though it is, should be pursued, to screen out all other technologies suggests an agenda of a different sort.
I only criticise other technologies when they make false claims, such as the false idea that a shift to solar and wind power can help with climate stability this century. Over the longer term they are essential,
I have to say it looks like DWill made the more telling point here. You set up some kind of straw man about the need to reduce CO2, which is fair enough on its own, to then argue that renewables are making false claims.

An unnecessarily conflictual approach, whether by environmental alarmists or by advocates of a CO2 reduction approach, will always undermine credibility. Given your position attempting to persuade major power brokers to spend billions and to steer trillions, I would think you would be very sensitive to the need for that credibility. The fact that you are not suggests to me that the ones you see yourself persuading are the free-market extremists, like the Koch brothers, who are not trusted, for good reason, by the rest of us.
Robert Tulip wrote:
I am very glad and appreciative DWill that you say algae technology should be pursued, since (to only mildly exaggerate) that is the opposite of the mad fatwa issued by the United Nations, who seem to class all “marine geoengineering” as a devilish denialist plot, and are actively dissuading investment through their corrupt focus on wind and solar alone.

That's an interesting story, but difficult for us outsiders to assess. In my experience the "environmental lobby" is a little paranoid about any new technology and any acceptance of large-scale, high-affluence solutions. They seem convinced that we should all live like the people of the Victorian age.

On the other hand, their warnings have proved prescient often enough that I have begun to assume that all large-scale, high-affluence solutions will impose major environmental costs, and it is important to anticipate these if we are going to live sustainably affluent lives. So, until I know the nature of the environmental downsides of carbon-mining, and what kinds of regulations and modifications are needed to manage these, it is pretty difficult for me to assess the "fatwa".



Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:56 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Book Discussion Leader
Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 5175
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1749
Thanked: 1712 times in 1298 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Carbon Mining
Harry Marks wrote:
Tillerson quite clearly thinks climate change is man-made.
Tillerson’s former role as ExxonMobil CEO meant he had to have a practical approach to real problems. While EM is notorious for its funding of denialists, I expect their thinking is driven by the need not to follow Kodak into oblivion. Enduring value means working with new technology instead of against it.

Finding ways that fossil fuels can be compatible with CO2 removal is the only thing that will protect shareholder value and profit for oil, coal and gas.

We should think of denialism as a placeholder ideology, an attitude that just rejects the renewable attack on the old economy, not based on facts but based on vested motives. Denialists clutch at the simplest popular traction to protect their investment value, and that political traction has come from denial of reality and distrust of the policy prescriptions of liberals. But such denial is not sustainable, as Tillerson’s evolving views reflect.
Harry Marks wrote:
(applying the term "think" to Trump is an exercise in futility).
Trump operates at a mythic level, engaging with language that delivers base political support. So his concept of cause and effect operates within a political rather than a scientific framework. That is still thinking, even if its consequences are dangerous.
Harry Marks wrote:
The real question becomes how involved the government will be in keeping the U.S. competitive at clean energy technology.
Whilever clean energy uses the language of decarbonisation and emission reduction, it remains on a collision path with the fossil industry. My suggestion is to sidestep that debate by focus on how fossil fuels can become sustainable by using their carbon pollution as a major infrastructure and energy resource, by treating the oceans as the new frontier for pioneers and inventors through industrial algae mining.

Once Moore’s Law kicks in to make carbon mining profitable, coal will be back in a big way.

The involvement of government should not be to subsidise operations but to subsidise research and development. Subsidising the operation of private companies is socialism, and is a path to stagnation, tyranny and corruption.

It is very wrong to consider the whole of neoliberal capitalist economics to be extreme, from Smith, Friedmann and Hayek. Their ideas provide the market dynamism that has built modern wealth and prosperity and innovation.
Harry Marks wrote:
Robert is technically correct that sequestration or carbon mining will be needed to roll back the unsafe levels of carbon already present.
”Technically correct” is one of those faint praise weasel compliments, delivered grudgingly from the attitude of the corrupt UN which sees emission reduction as the holy grail. ‘Technically correct’ means ‘actually correct’ since emission reduction can’t work to deliver climate stability.

The last time we had 400 ppm CO2 was in the Pliocene three million years ago when the sea level was thirty feet higher. It is a simple obvious matter of numbers that we have created the driver to lift sea level by thirty feet, and we have to remove that physical forcing or the world will flood, possibly in a few centuries, possibly tomorrow with a dramatic ice sheet collapse.

Reducing emissions does not remove the driver of climate change but only slows the pace at which it worsens.
Harry Marks wrote:
A proper incentive based on externalities would, of course, make it much more likely that such a process would be economical. Since such incentives are easily foreseeable, we will not be held back by the reluctance of free-market extremists like Robert to include them in the calculations.
Very funny Harry, I am not an extremist. The real extremists in this space are the Canute Chavistoids of the misnamed UN Convention on Biological Diversity who think ideology can defeat markets.

Your phrase “incentive based on externalities” looks like economese for sustainable profit. Incentives are not “based on” externalities but should be regulated by government to take all externalities into account, which are two different things.

The proper role of government is to steer not row, to set regulatory policy with a level playing field without technological bias, and to invest in de-risking innovation within a strategic policy framework focussed on security and stability and prosperity. (I will come back to your latest comment about the meaning of level playing field, which has to be set according to rules of the game).

Only socialists think it is extreme to oppose the model of state owned enterprises, even though SOEs are a recipe for corruption and poverty. That socialist policy is the inevitable path of subsidising unprofitable technology.

At the moment, the externalities of fossil industry are socialised by treating the air as an open sewer. That externality can be removed by carbon mining.


_________________
http://rtulip.net


Last edited by Robert Tulip on Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:32 pm
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Pulitzer Prize Finalist


Joined: May 2011
Posts: 497
Thanks: 294
Thanked: 212 times in 173 posts
Gender: None specified

Post Re: Carbon Mining
Robert Tulip wrote:
Harry Marks wrote:
Tillerson quite clearly thinks climate change is man-made.
Tillerson’s former role as ExxonMobil CEO meant he had to have a practical approach to real problems.... Enduring value means working with new technology instead of against it....Finding ways that fossil fuels can be compatible with CO2 removal is the only thing that will protect shareholder value and profit for oil, coal and gas.
There is no reason the debate needs to happen at a level of "this technology" vs. "that technology." Markets are "technology neutral" and just want to deliver value so as to get paid for it.

I was not contradicting the evidence about E-M funding denialism, but rather observing that at the level of thinking, Tillerson understands reality.

Robert Tulip wrote:
We should think of denialism as a placeholder ideology, an attitude that just rejects the renewable attack on the old economy, not based on facts but based on vested motives. Denialists clutch at the simplest popular traction to protect their investment value, and that political traction has come from denial of reality and distrust of the policy prescriptions of liberals. But such denial is not sustainable, as Tillerson’s evolving views reflect.

Denial is not just unsustainable, it is toxic. It attacks the nervous system of society, degrading the ability to gather information and respond appropriately to it. The best thing to be said for denial is that it sometimes protects against total shutdown, but that only applies when the nervous system is already overwhelmed.
Robert Tulip wrote:
My suggestion is to sidestep that debate by focus on how fossil fuels can become sustainable by using their carbon pollution as a major infrastructure and energy resource, by treating the oceans as the new frontier for pioneers and inventors through industrial algae mining.
Sounds fine, but anyone using garbage as a resource, like recyclers, will be more likely to prosper if the cost savings from not having to haul the garbage to a landfill becomes a financial input to their recycling process. This is the implication of a Pigovian response to externalities.
Robert Tulip wrote:
Once Moore’s Law kicks in to make carbon mining profitable, coal will be back in a big way.

A sort of generalized Moore's Law (the original was about density of switches doubling) would suggest that learning curves in big new technologies are steep for a long time. I think it is fairly likely that this is true for oceanic "farming" of all types, where we do not have the millennia of experience that land-based farming has, and one learning contributes to finding more technical fixes. I frankly do not care one way or another about whether coal comes back, and I find it curious that you do.
Robert Tulip wrote:
The involvement of government should not be to subsidise operations but to subsidise research and development.
There is a strong public goods problem with R&D, leading to market failure. Government has a role to play. That does not negate the role government has to play in addressing externalities.
Robert Tulip wrote:
Subsidising the operation of private companies is socialism, and is a path to stagnation, tyranny and corruption.
It doesn't matter what label you put on it or what path you discern. Public education was a really good idea, and clearly the foundation of modern society and the essential infrastructure of market performance. Whether it was also socialism is quite irrelevant to its rationale and its performance.

Robert Tulip wrote:
It is very wrong to consider the whole of neoliberal capitalist economics to be extreme, from Smith, Friedmann and Hayek.
Milton Friedman was a strong advocate of addressing externalities with incentives. While he also recognized the dangers of government involvement, he could see when those were secondary issues. Adam Smith's insights came before the recognition of externalities (though I am told he has some discussion that essentially responds to the issue). Alfred Marshall, who created the Supply and Demand analysis on which modern economics is based, pointed out the problem of externalities, and his student, Arthur Pigou, recognized that a tax or subsidy could internalize the externality and lead to appropriate behavior by private producers and consumers. Hayek was an extremist, and belongs in the category of political economists, analyzing political processes rather than economic processes.
Robert Tulip wrote:
Their ideas provide the market dynamism that has built modern wealth and prosperity and innovation.
In my view none of Hayek's ideas has proved to be accurate or insightful. In particular, every major intervention by liberal democratic governments has provided for improvement in the economy, even when major mistakes were involved (such as with nationalization of heavy industries). Much more helpful insights have come from analysis of government failure by James Buchanan and company, and of the anti-competitive effects of government interventions by Friedman.
Robert Tulip wrote:
Harry Marks wrote:
Robert is technically correct that sequestration or carbon mining will be needed to roll back the unsafe levels of carbon already present.
”Technically correct” is one of those faint praise weasel compliments, delivered grudgingly from the attitude of the corrupt UN which sees emission reduction as the holy grail. ‘Technically correct’ means ‘actually correct’ since emission reduction can’t work to deliver climate stability.
The backhanded use of "technically correct" was a response to your rhetoric around this point, which mistakenly concludes that an approach which cannot solve the problem is not to be promoted even though it obviously can help a ton to keep the problem from getting even worse.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Reducing emissions does not remove the driver of climate change but only slows the pace at which it worsens.
Well, I expect Rex Tillerson is also very clear that slowing the slide is of value. Reversing it is even better, but reversing it takes time, and we don't have a lot.
Robert Tulip wrote:
Harry Marks wrote:
A proper incentive based on externalities would, of course, make it much more likely that such a process would be economical. Since such incentives are easily foreseeable, we will not be held back by the reluctance of free-market extremists like Robert to include them in the calculations.
Very funny Harry, I am not an extremist. The real extremists in this space are the Canute Chavistoids of the misnamed UN Convention on Biological Diversity who think ideology can defeat markets.
In my view you are an extremist. Externalities are a market failure, demonstrably, and when government addresses them (as for example with the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act in the U.S.) it creates value. Insisting that government cannot improve the situation because gummint is a nefarious force is free market extremism.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Your phrase “incentive based on externalities” looks like economese for sustainable profit. Incentives are not “based on” externalities but should be regulated by government to take all externalities into account, which are two different things.
I don't see the difference. "Regulated by government to take all externalities into account" looks to me like being more detailed and complete about "incentive based on externalities."

Robert Tulip wrote:
That socialist policy {SOEs} is the inevitable path of subsidising unprofitable technology.
Not really. Agriculture is subsidized in nearly every industrialized country. It's basis in the private sector is still very secure. Education is a state-owned enterprise, and competes effectively with private education in places where they co-exist. The Interstate Highway system was governmental, and it sustains an industry with a strong private basis.



Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:06 am
Profile Email
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Platinum Contributor

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 5737
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Thanks: 1447
Thanked: 1502 times in 1172 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Carbon Mining
Is it even conceivable that carbon mining could be employed to remove enough carbon from the atmosphere to to lower the ppm of carbon? I'm just asking. I can see how carbon mining could provide a resource... but a remedy?



Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:26 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Pulitzer Prize Finalist


Joined: May 2011
Posts: 497
Thanks: 294
Thanked: 212 times in 173 posts
Gender: None specified

Post Re: Carbon Mining
DWill wrote:
Is it even conceivable that carbon mining could be employed to remove enough carbon from the atmosphere to to lower the ppm of carbon? I'm just asking. I can see how carbon mining could provide a resource... but a remedy?

I will defer to Robert's expertise, but it is certainly conceivable to me. Tat Tvam Asi (sp?) has some numbers on his Global Greening thread indicating that the increase in land-based plant growth has made a material difference to the accumulation of CO2, so I see no reason why more intensive sea-based cultivation could not also remove substantial amounts of carbon.

The work done on enriching plankton growth with mineral filings has also found reasons for optimism.



Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:03 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Book Discussion Leader
Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 5175
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1749
Thanked: 1712 times in 1298 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Carbon Mining
DWill wrote:
Is it even conceivable that carbon mining could be employed to remove enough carbon from the atmosphere to to lower the ppm of carbon? I'm just asking. I can see how carbon mining could provide a resource... but a remedy?


Here is a comment I just posted at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/geoengineering

Quantification of the world carbon storage need at 800 gigatonnes of carbon has to be annualised to produce a realistic path and to address the problem of the absence of viable technologies for climate stabilisation.

Humans add about ten gigatonnes of carbon to the air every year, in the form of 40 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent. A gigatonne of water is a cubic kilometre. The order of magnitude for a path to climate stability is therefore roughly equivalent to storing about twenty cubic km of algae in geotextile bags at the bottom of the ocean every year.

Such a scale of storage would enable fossil fuel emissions to continue, obviating the need for decarbonisation, while also reducing the amount of carbon in the air. Is such a proposal technically feasible? If carbon in the form of algae (mainly hydrocarbon) could be marketed as a valuable commodity, such a method could pay for itself. My estimate is that the implication of these numbers is that industrial microalgae production on one percent of the world ocean would solve global warming.

Ocean Foresters propose a less intensive strategy, using nine percent of the world ocean for macroalgae, in their article Negative Carbon via Ocean Afforestation published in 2012 in the Process Safety and Environmental Protection journal of the European Federation of Chemical Engineering. Tim Flannery cited this paper in his popular book Atmosphere of Hope as a key climate solution, but Ocean Foresters have not found much traction for research. It looks like the politics of negative emission technology is too difficult for the climate movement to engage on it.


_________________
http://rtulip.net


Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:07 am
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Book Discussion Leader
Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 5175
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1749
Thanked: 1712 times in 1298 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Carbon Mining
Harry Marks wrote:
There is no reason the debate needs to happen at a level of "this technology" vs. "that technology." Markets are "technology neutral" and just want to deliver value so as to get paid for it.
Hi Harry, may I again say how much I appreciate your responses on these issues. You raise some good points on topics where I contest popular assumptions.

On this point about market technology neutrality, the problem is that governments are not technology neutral. When governments provide subsidies and permits, the decision process only involves market forces as a part of an overall ideological and political process. Attitudes about fossil fuels versus renewables are especially ideological. The left is hostile to fossil energy while the right leads the cheers, and vice versa for renewables. In an ideal world governments would regulate to properly cost all externalities, but the reality of political lobbying, lack of data and partisan polarity means we are far from an ideal world.
Harry Marks wrote:
Denial is not just unsustainable, it is toxic. It attacks the nervous system of society, degrading the ability to gather information and respond appropriately to it. The best thing to be said for denial is that it sometimes protects against total shutdown, but that only applies when the nervous system is already overwhelmed.
I agree. Denial of climate change is on an epistemic par with young earth creationism, and perhaps even with belief in genocide, given that climate denial is ecocidal. But the alienation from reality among denialists does not imply - as the climate lobby infers - that climate scientists know how to reverse climate change. They don’t. The fact that climate science is settled does not mean climate policy is settled. That gap between observation and response is where the weed of denial has found its niche to flourish.

I call denial a placeholder ideology because it is an incoherent attitude which serves the temporary social purpose of defending the fossil fuel industry against rationalist attack. Denialists know they like their cars and their coal, and the easiest way to get the greenies off their backs, at least temporarily, is to assert that the greenies are mad because world science is a conspiracy. But your nervous system analogy is very apt here, with denial a form of mass psychosis. The social danger of this rise of fantasy is seen in how media publish denial commentary in ways they would not publish overt racist and sexist comments. The moral turpitude of climate denial is even worse than most social vilification, since climate denial is enabling the planet’s sixth extinction, with potential to take us down too.

What I am trying to do is help the denialists shift from their crazy claim that climate change is not caused by man to a view that by mining carbon we can establish a new profitable industry that allows gas and power guzzling to continue. Trump should love carbon mining.
Harry Marks wrote:
anyone using garbage as a resource, like recyclers, will be more likely to prosper if the cost savings from not having to haul the garbage to a landfill becomes a financial input to their recycling process.
The relevance to carbon mining of your comment about garbage is that CO2 is diffuse, hard to collect at scale, and of negative worth until it is transformed into something else. Finding ways to mine carbon from the air and turn a dime on it is hard. That is why I suggest an evolutionary adaptive path.

The analogy I like is with whales. Ancient hippos living in rivers found that by swimming out further to sea they could prosper. I suggest we start carbon mining with plastic run-of-river 'hippo' bags to produce controlled algae blooms on reaches of polluted rivers like the Mississippi, to convert the nutrient back into fertilizer and stock feed, with the co-benefit of fixing the dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere by removing the runoff phosphates and nitrates that are the cause. That would enable materials and design issues to be sorted for industrial algae production as a basis to replicate in coastal waters, where nutrient level is less but tide and wave power can enable pumping, algae species suitable to high CO2 environments can be bred, and CO2 can be piped from coastal power stations.

Coastal operations would then provide the basis for incremental expansion to the deep blue sea, much as hippos gradually lost their feet and grew flukes and baleen to become the whales that dominated the oceans for fifty million years until yesterday, but algae whales would need to apply technological ingenuity to evolve much faster, in years not decades or centuries.
Harry Marks wrote:
This is the implication of a Pigovian response to externalities.
I sadly confess I have not recently heard mention of the good economist Arthur Pigou or his fair land of Pigovia, where I hope that four legs are always good. A Pigovian tax is set equal to the social cost of negative externalities. I really wonder how social cost is calculated, given it is such a political quantum, subject to ideological distortion.

Such discussion reminds me of the questions posed by the walrus to the carpenter, of why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings.

Could you expand on why garbage recycling is Pigovian? Is it just that converting waste into resource unlocks value which requires initial public subsidy to overcome barriers to entry?
Harry Marks wrote:
A sort of generalized Moore's Law (the original was about density of switches doubling) would suggest that learning curves in big new technologies are steep for a long time. I think it is fairly likely that this is true for oceanic "farming" of all types, where we do not have the millennia of experience that land-based farming has, and one learning contributes to finding more technical fixes. I frankly do not care one way or another about whether coal comes back, and I find it curious that you do.
I like to model the expected path for research and development of algae factories for carbon mining on the history of the aviation industry. Flying was an industry that was at takeoff point a century ago, and which has since grown to a scale completely unimaginable from Kitty Hawk.

There are several reasons why carbon mining can fly even faster than planes, so to speak. Firstly, the fossil fuel industries need ways to sustain their competitiveness against renewables. This is a public good at a time when solar prices are being quoted at three cents a kilowatt hour, but in ways that undermine grid stability.

Until the externalities of climate destruction can be addressed, fossil fuels have a foul odour, but if they can reuse the carbon they emit, then world energy use can rise to a whole new paradigm, with power essentially becoming free. Shifting carbon from the crust to the atmosphere can only work if it ends up in stable form, such as graphite skyscrapers. The reason I like coal is that it is the best potential ally for industrial algae. Coal is a massive industry that needs to shift its paradigm to have a future. The fossil energy industry has the expertise and contacts and need to back carbon mining using industrial algae production.
Harry Marks wrote:
There is a strong public goods problem with R&D, leading to market failure. Government has a role to play. That does not negate the role government has to play in addressing externalities.
I don’t see where I have suggested that negation. Government should regulate the energy industry to achieve public goods, based on sound analysis of externalities in a polluter pays model. That also means co-funding research with the private sector, not providing subsidies to wind farms that are a complete dud as far as fixing the climate goes.
Harry Marks wrote:
Milton Friedman was a strong advocate of addressing externalities with incentives. While he also recognized the dangers of government involvement, he could see when those were secondary issues. Adam Smith's insights came before the recognition of externalities (though I am told he has some discussion that essentially responds to the issue). Alfred Marshall, who created the Supply and Demand analysis on which modern economics is based, pointed out the problem of externalities, and his student, Arthur Pigou, recognized that a tax or subsidy could internalize the externality and lead to appropriate behavior by private producers and consumers. Hayek was an extremist, and belongs in the category of political economists, analyzing political processes rather than economic processes.
Thanks for that summary. I disagree with you on Hayek, based on my reading of The Constitution of Liberty. His Nobel Prize was for “Research on the interrelations between economic, social and political processes.” I admire Margaret Thatcher, possibly Hayek’s best known acolyte for her table thumping remark, but it is worth noting his views on society were not the same as those of the Iron Lady.

Yes, Hayek supported the Austrian School view that small effective government with a focus on policy and security creates growth and builds moral virtue, but he did not accept the idea that regulation is intrinsically wrong, rather seeing providing rule of law as the central function of state to include market regulation to deliver public goods.

Hayek's Nobel citation mentions that he highlighted the problems of central economic planning. His conclusion was that knowledge and information held by various actors can only be utilized fully in a decentralized market system with free competition and pricing. To my view, this insight from Hayek reflects adaptive complexity to provide a decisive evolutionary demolition of the idea that carbon taxation should be central to climate response. The climate model that focusses on reducing emissions alone is a recrudescence of central planning, suffering from ills that Hayek identified so perspicaciously in The Road to Serfdom.

Taxing carbon makes energy more expensive, private industry more difficult, big government more intrusive and powerful, the world hotter, the oceans more acidic, and society more conflictive and poor. I prefer the view that instead of the emission reduction dystopia we should harness the profit motive to remove more carbon from the air than we add, creating a world where high energy use and high biodiversity become synergistic, where increased prosperity enables the state to wither away.
Harry Marks wrote:
your rhetoric mistakenly concludes that an approach which cannot solve the problem is not to be promoted even though it obviously can help a ton to keep the problem from getting even worse.
When helping a ton costs a lot and won’t deliver its stated goals, and also comes at the expense of methods that could help a teraton, we have a clear example of the well known economic problem of crowding out, in this case like a minnow locking the gate to a whale.

Solar and wind cannot solve the problem of having too much carbon in the air, and they do in fact actively displace negative emission technology, which is the only method able to deliver climate stability. This ‘help a ton, ignore a gigaton’ mentality is very bad and dangerous, sending our planet hurtling towards what Marvin called an earth-shattering kaboom. The dominance of emission reduction in the climate debate is evidence of mass stupidity, worthy of those who would remove a mote from their neighbour’s eye while ignoring the log in their own eye.
Harry Marks wrote:
slowing the slide is of value. Reversing it is even better, but reversing it takes time, and we don't have a lot.
Image There are times when slowing the slide is ineffective.
Harry Marks wrote:
Insisting that government cannot improve the situation because gummint is a nefarious force.
With climate policy, your caricature that “gummint is a nefarious force illustrates how the IPCC in its collective multi state foolishness has proposed methods to address the world’s biggest security risk, climate change, but these methods are demonstrably stupid.

The emission reduction theory illustrates the maxim that a camel is a horse designed by a committee, just as the Paris Agreement for ‘reductions in our time’ is a climate strategy designed by governments.

There are subconscious motivations and assumptions at work here, especially the Marxist class idea that only the state can support public goods while capitalism is intrinsically evil. I find that false assumption about state virtue and private vice to be pervasive in the climate lobby. Unfortunately it creates a policy framework that is unworkable, completely failing to respect the lessons of why socialism has always failed to deal with incentives. Sustainability at scale requires the leadership of free enterprise.


_________________
http://rtulip.net


Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:07 am
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Pulitzer Prize Finalist


Joined: May 2011
Posts: 497
Thanks: 294
Thanked: 212 times in 173 posts
Gender: None specified

Post Re: Carbon Mining
Robert Tulip wrote:
Attitudes about fossil fuels versus renewables are especially ideological. The left is hostile to fossil energy while the right leads the cheers, and vice versa for renewables. In an ideal world governments would regulate to properly cost all externalities, but the reality of political lobbying, lack of data and partisan polarity means we are far from an ideal world.

Getting within striking distance of ideal pricing is a neutral goal. Conservatives and liberals used to agree on it, but then the conservative party sold out to special interests. Attributing neutral goals to whatever ideology there may be on the other side is a diversionary tactic, worthy of the Ted Cruz or Donald Trump.

It is possible to support ideologically neutral rules (such as "facts must be recognized, not denied") without taking sides. I knew an economist who saved American consumers billions by scrubbing the facts in trade cases, not because she was a conservative (she was) but because she understood the influence of the special interest effect on trade policy processes. When either side deliberately chooses to obfuscate facts for the sake of their special interests, they forfeit the right to sit at the table where policy is made by the adults.

The adults, including James Baker, George Schultz, Rex Tillerson and Henry Paulson, recognize that pricing needs to be adjusted by government policy to have any chance of coming close to efficient balancing of costs against benefits. Without it, resources are consistently squandered.
Robert Tulip wrote:
The fact that climate science is settled does not mean climate policy is settled. That gap between observation and response is where the weed of denial has found its niche to flourish.
The truth is that the sellout party has not engaged in honest debate about policy in 15 years. I agree that policy is not settled. It may actually be cheaper to move the hundreds of millions from coastal zones to higher ground than to shift production and consumption in a way that limits or reverses carbon buildup. But with the political process strangled by special interests and their denial approach, that assessment won't be made on anything like an honest basis.

Robert Tulip wrote:
I call denial a placeholder ideology because it is an incoherent attitude which serves the temporary social purpose of defending the fossil fuel industry against rationalist attack.

If a group in society was "serving the temporary social purpose" of enabling a country's enemies to steal its income, they would rightly be called traitors. The fossil fuel industry in its role as special interest group holding society hostage has no claim on "social purpose" rhetoric.
Robert Tulip wrote:
But your nervous system analogy is very apt here, with denial a form of mass psychosis. The social danger of this rise of fantasy is seen in how media publish denial commentary in ways they would not publish overt racist and sexist comments.

An interesting comparison. I have noticed before that the press/media are much better at reporting on conflict, where they can report about who is winning, than at reporting on complex issues. Obviously this is more about readers than about reporters, but the reporters bear some blame also.

Robert Tulip wrote:
What I am trying to do is help the denialists shift from their crazy claim that climate change is not caused by man to a view that by mining carbon we can establish a new profitable industry that allows gas and power guzzling to continue. Trump should love carbon mining.

Do we have reason to believe that carbon mining is a more cost effective approach than, say, improved insulation?
Robert Tulip wrote:
I suggest an evolutionary adaptive path.
I suggest we start carbon mining with plastic run-of-river 'hippo' bags to produce controlled algae blooms on reaches of polluted rivers like the Mississippi, to convert the nutrient back into fertilizer and stock feed, with the co-benefit of fixing the dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere by removing the runoff phosphates and nitrates that are the cause.

That sounds like an eminently practical approach, using runoff nutrients as a source of income rather than just a threat to ecology. I hope the proof of concept works out well. But in any policy design process, I would still argue for rewarding the program in part for its reduction of carbon.
Robert Tulip wrote:
That would enable materials and design issues to be sorted for industrial algae production as a basis to replicate in coastal waters, where nutrient level is less but tide and wave power can enable pumping, algae species suitable to high CO2 environments can be bred, and CO2 can be piped from coastal power stations.
As well as assessing the impact on marine ecology and whether further adjustments are needed to avoid unnecessary collateral damage.
Robert Tulip wrote:
but algae whales would need to apply technological ingenuity to evolve much faster
Fortunately human ingenuity can respond much faster than biological adaptation.
Robert Tulip wrote:
A Pigovian tax is set equal to the social cost of negative externalities. I really wonder how social cost is calculated, given it is such a political quantum, subject to ideological distortion.
Such problems are much more tractable than public perceptions. Facts are put on the table by both sides, on an adversary basis, and a compromise between competing goals is hammered out on the basis of fact and relative benefit, instead of being subjected to distortion and ideological prisms. Many fields of civic responsibility have been managed with essential success on that basis.

Such discussion reminds me of the questions posed by the walrus to the carpenter, of why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Could you expand on why garbage recycling is Pigovian? Is it just that converting waste into resource unlocks value which requires initial public subsidy to overcome barriers to entry?
It sounds like I may have been less than clear. Surely not me! Garbage is a "bad" and if people are allowed to, many will leave it wherever they happen to feel like dropping it, thus imposing costs on others. So we charge them money to remove it and concentrate it in landfills, where people know to avoid them and thus escape the costs. The tax to remove it is itself Pigovian, and the regulation of fining people for inappropriate dumping is also.

Recyclers can get their "raw material" cheaper if there is a garbage tax that is proportional to the waste matter sent to the dump. Individuals sort their garbage so that they do not have to pay to have the recycling material removed. That was the reference I intended to underline, and to compare to a tax on CO2 which would help carbon mining to thrive.



There are several reasons why carbon mining can fly even faster than planes, so to speak.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Firstly, the fossil fuel industries need ways to sustain their competitiveness against renewables. This is a public good at a time when solar prices are being quoted at three cents a kilowatt hour, but in ways that undermine grid stability.
Mechanisms such as requiring the grid to buy renewable energy served their purpose to kickoff the learning curve process in renewables. If it turns out that stable sources such as natural gas are the cheapest way to deal with power fluctuations on the grid, then they should be used, but only if "cheapest" takes into account their carbon externalities.

The electric power industry has a good track record of finding technical fixes for their technical problems, in part because they usually have a monopoly with the right to charge a price that covers unit cost. It is only when fixing a technical problem has no compensation that it remains unaddressed. That is the nub of the externality problem.

Robert Tulip wrote:
I don’t see where I have suggested that negation.
Only by implication, when you reject subsidies to reduce the negative externalities of competing industries. Addressing externalities requires government involvement (yes, steering not rowing, as you put it appropriately) and whenever you imply that any government involvement is inherently going to worsen a situation, you oppose proper pricing.
Robert Tulip wrote:
Government should regulate the energy industry to achieve public goods, based on sound analysis of externalities in a polluter pays model. That also means co-funding research with the private sector, not providing subsidies to wind farms that are a complete dud as far as fixing the climate goes.
See, there you go again. Reducing carbon is the goal, but you disparage reduction of carbon additions based only on the fact that they do not reduce the amounts previously emitted. This is fallacious analysis, and I have a strong suspicion you know it.
Robert Tulip wrote:
I disagree with you on Hayek, based on my reading of The Constitution of Liberty.

Hayek's Nobel citation mentions that he highlighted the problems of central economic planning. His conclusion was that knowledge and information held by various actors can only be utilized fully in a decentralized market system with free competition and pricing. To my view, this insight from Hayek reflects adaptive complexity to provide a decisive evolutionary demolition of the idea that carbon taxation should be central to climate response. The climate model that focusses on reducing emissions alone is a recrudescence of central planning, suffering from ills that Hayek identified so perspicaciously in The Road to Serfdom.

I have only read Road to Serfdom and some smatterings of his work on Central Planning. Yes, I believe he did make some important contributions on the benefits of decentralization through pricing, though I never see any discussion of this among economists which actually cites his work. Anyway, I may have been too dismissive. However, there is at least theory suggesting that the problem of appropriate pricing can be solved in a central planning context. IBM is engaged in a kind of experiment to that effect, using internal pricing of corporate resources.
I have not yet seen, from you or Hayek or anyone else, a reason not to use carbon pricing or a resemblance to central planning in the other pricing programs which have been used to combat externalities. I am frankly baffled at the way you support correcting prices in one sentence and then, a few sentences later dismiss it as leftist governmentalism, apparently because you see it as undermining your own approach (when in fact it would only help your approach as I have pointed out).

Robert Tulip wrote:
Taxing carbon makes energy more expensive, private industry more difficult, big government more intrusive and powerful, the world hotter, the oceans more acidic, and society more conflictive and poor.
This ranges from tendentious to lunatic. Recognizing the full cost of carbon emissions does not make energy more expensive, it merely recognizes the true cost by charging it to the buyers and sellers who are in a position to do something about limiting that cost. Some private industry would find things more difficult, others would find it easier. Government would have a larger role, but in preventing the crime of imposing our garbage on everyone else, government pursues a legitimate and constructive role which adds to society's well-being. And quite obviously, carbon taxes do not make the world hotter or the oceans more acidic. I am afraid you will have trouble convincing me that society is more conflictive just because those able to inflict harm on others are restricted from doing so freely. And poor? No. Better off, unquestionably.
Robert Tulip wrote:
I prefer the view that instead of the emission reduction dystopia we should harness the profit motive to remove more carbon from the air than we add, creating a world where high energy use and high biodiversity become synergistic, where increased prosperity enables the state to wither away.
Except for the clause from Marx, you have described the actual effects of a carbon tax.

Robert Tulip wrote:
There are subconscious motivations and assumptions at work here, especially the Marxist class idea that only the state can support public goods while capitalism is intrinsically evil.
Yes, that Friedman was such a Marxist.



The following user would like to thank Harry Marks for this post:
Robert Tulip
Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:05 pm
Profile Email
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 25 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page Previous  1, 2



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:

BookTalk.org Newsletter 



Site Links 
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Info for Authors & Publishers
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!
IDEAS FOR WHAT TO READ:
Bestsellers
Book Awards
• Book Reviews
• Online Books
• Team Picks
Newspaper Book Sections

WHERE TO BUY BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

BEHIND THE BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

Featured Books

Books by New Authors


*

FACTS is a select group of active BookTalk.org members passionate about promoting Freethought, Atheism, Critical Thinking and Science.

Apply to join FACTS
See who else is in FACTS







BookTalk.org is a free book discussion group or online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a group. We host live author chats where booktalk members can interact with and interview authors. We give away free books to our members in book giveaway contests. Our booktalks are open to everybody who enjoys talking about books. Our book forums include book reviews, author interviews and book resources for readers and book lovers. Discussing books is our passion. We're a literature forum, or reading forum. Register a free book club account today! Suggest nonfiction and fiction books. Authors and publishers are welcome to advertise their books or ask for an author chat or author interview.



Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2016. All rights reserved.
Display Pagerank