National’s nine ways to stuff up: Oram on climate policy in NZ

Rod Oram’s column in yesterday’s Sunday Star Times so perfectly captures my own feelings on the government’s proposed watering down of the emissions trading scheme that I asked Rod if he would allow me to post it here as a guest blog. I’m glad to say he agreed…

To understand how the government is destroying the Emissions Trading Scheme, it’s important to remind ourselves why we need an ETS in the first place.

Governments representing a majority of people on the planet believe climate change is happening. So they’re taking steps to reduce their nation’s emissions of greenhouse gases. Some have entered into international commitments to do so. Many more will do so in coming years.

In 1997, New Zealand committed to cut its emissions during 2008-12 to its 1990 levels. However, they are currently 24% above. So the National-led government has upped the ante with two new targets: a 10-20% reduction below 1990 levels by 2020 and a 50% reduction by 2050.

To achieve them, we need to invest heavily in new energy and carbon efficient technology for electricity generation and transport and processes in industry and agriculture. And we need to maximise the potential for our forests to act as profitable carbon sinks.

To do that we need to:

  • Put a price on emissions to incentivise change. We chose an ETS as the most effective price signal, a decision shared by virtually every other price-setting country.
  • Put in place a big set of powerful complementary measures such as financial incentives for households and businesses to adopt new technology, plus standards and other mechanisms to foster the take-up of technology.
  • Persuade other countries in international climate change negotiations to give forestry the regulatory framework it needs.

The three are inextricably linked. A good ETS sets a price signal and generates revenues that government and business can invest in the changes we must make. Those are exciting business opportunities which stand to improve the economy and our environmental performance.

In the meantime, revenues help fund some temporary relief for households from the cost of migrating to energy and carbon efficiency. And an effective ETS increases our international negotiating power in forestry.

If these are the virtues of an ETS, how would you destroy them if you were politicians in the clutch of heavy emitters?

How would you achieve an ETS so bad it sets a weak price signal and delivers little revenue, or better, neither? Then households and businesses would carry on with their old technology and ways. The government (ie, taxpayers) would then have to buy credits to cover emissions above the target volume the country has committed to.

Thus, in a bad ETS, we taxpayers pay to perpetuate our current technology while much of the rest of the world plunges into better technology. We become less competitive and badly damage our international trade and investment accounts, not to mention our reputation. Over time we get poorer.

If this were your political agenda, you’d do nine things:

  1. Place no limits on how much greenhouse gas a company exposed to international competitors can emit for free. To give business such a valuable break, you set a very arbitrary measure. If a company emits no more greenhouse gases than the average for its industry based on tonnes of gas per million dollars of sales revenue, you let it keep growing its emissions without having to pay for them.

    Instead, the government keeps supplying it with free emission credits. But there’s no such thing as a free credit. Under the Kyoto treaty, each country is allowed to emit for free up to its commitment level, in our case 1990 volumes. Above that, somebody has to buy credits to emit more. If business doesn’t, then the government does out of taxes.

    And this concept of intensity-based allocations of credits has other failings. For example, the industry benchmark is local and thus it won’t hold most sectors to international best practice. Again, this locks us into old technology rather than incentivise investment in new.

    This is exactly what National intends to do.

  2. Slavishly follow the ETS in Australia, a small neighbour and international laggard struggling miserably to deliver one.

    Even better, cut our ETS off from America’s. After all, the US is only the biggest market for carbon credits and the biggest source of investment in and markets for clean technology.

    Easy to do. Section 728 of the Waxman-Markey bill on climate change passed by the US House of Representatives explicitly bans the US from linking its ETS with any country that shuns volume caps in favour of intensity-based allocation.

    This is exactly what National intends to do.

  3. Keep giving free allocations as long as possible. This again reduces the incentive on businesses and households to change. For example, phase out allocations at the rate of 1.3% a year, rather than 8% in the ETS approved by parliament last year. That’s nonsense. No technology remains current for 75 years.

    This is exactly what National intends to do.

  4. Place a $25 a tonne cap on the price of carbon until at least the end of 2012. This mutes the price signal and thus the business incentive to change.

    It also creates another big subsidy for business that taxpayers will have to fund when the government goes shopping for credits. The higher the international price, the bigger the subsidy.

    Also, halve emitters’ obligations over the same period. Let them surrender only a credit for one tonne of emissions for every two tonnes of gases.

    This is exactly what National intends to do.

  5. Allow forest owners to sell their carbon credits overseas. It’s absolutely fair they should get the best price they can. But if there’s a price cap here, they will sell lots of our home-grown credits overseas. So when the government has to buy credits to meet New Zealand’s obligations, it will have to buy more overseas.

    This is exactly what National intends to do.

  6. Buy off a minor party to secure the votes to demolish the ETS. Promise to plant some trees together, wave the possibility of increased beneficiary payments and enshrine some other special treatment in legislation.

    The Maori Party is a willing accomplice. For these few favours, the Maori Party has repudiated its sustainability, climate change, economic and social justice principles it articulated in its minority report in the recent select committee report on the ETS.

    Among other things the Maori Party said then: It opposed emissions trading because it…

    …allows sectors to pollute and trade up to the Kyoto target (and) does not include incremental emission reduction targets in its design.

    We are also deeply concerned about protection in the form of intensity-based allocation and subsidies, which distort the market model by allowing protected businesses to increase their emissions without penalty, and to be rewarded for it.

    This is exactly what National intends to do.

  7. Axe complementary measures such as fuel efficiency standards for cars and minimum volumes for biofuels.

    That is exactly what National has done.

  8. Keep households and businesses dependent on taxpayer subsidy. Sow the seeds of dependency now by giving in to special pleading. This will make it even harder to remove price caps and other favours later.

    This is exactly what National intends to do.

  9. Create uncertainty for business. Do so by passing legislation that does not have broad political support. Even better, devise an ETS that will require subsequent governments (even ones led by your own party) to radically overhaul it to stem the ballooning taxpayer subsidies and to impose at last the disciplines and incentives that are needed to drive change.

  10. The government admits these nine actions will cost taxpayers at least $400m by 2013. The NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development, whose 63 member companies’ annual sales of $59 billion equate to about 43% of GDP, says its expects the costs to “run into billions of dollars”.

    There’s no knowing how big the bill will be. But the dynamics are obvious. National’s changes would drive up emissions, perpetuate old technology, necessitate ever-greater subsidies and reduce New Zealand’s international competitiveness and reputation.

    This is exactly what National intends to do.

34 thoughts on “National’s nine ways to stuff up: Oram on climate policy in NZ”

  1. As usual Rod has done some great analysis and thinking.

    If you take the recent developments of the Key Government around the ETS and compare it to what is happening in the rest of the world, e.g. this on Brown in the BBC
    I can only surmise that Key & Co. are on a different planet.

    What an international basket case we are destined to become!
    What a legacy to leave to future NZders – a pimple on the backside of the world!

  2. My take on this is that Key & co have taken a huge bet that the forthcoming climate negotiations end up in a morass with no substantive global action. In that case the expectation would be that NZ won’t be actively penalised for failing to pull its weight. The risk is that if China and India join the CO2 reduction club (as is becoming more likely) then the balance of power wrt free trade/protecting carbon leakage is going to shift firmly into the realm of tightening up trade with ‘CO2 wasters’. In that case we’re likely to find it increasingly difficult to retain free access for our products. Nobody likes a free-loader, especially when everyone else is wearing the costs.

    Maybe they’re hoping that with all the major countries moving to post-FF economies, there’ll be lots of cheap old cars and trucks to import, and enough ‘excess’ oil around to feed them – and that because we’re so insignificant nobody will notice that we’re freeloading off everyone else’s efforts.

  3. Oram starts out well but fails to deliver on his promise. He says that, in order to understand how the government is “destroying the Emissions Trading Scheme”, it’s important to remind ourselves why we need one.

    This is encouraging, yes — let’s remind ourselves. Why do we need an ETS? What purpose will it serve? What problem or problems is it designed to solve? What are the parameters of the problem, what is the evidence for it, where is it, when will we suffer it, how long will it last? Most importantly, what has caused the problem and how, exactly, will the ETS act upon the cause?

    We are pleased he raises the subject and we experience a pleasurable anticipation at learning these things, which Oram agrees are important for us to know so that we might understand how our government is destroying the ETS.

    Then he says: “Governments representing a majority of people on the planet believe climate change is happening.”

    One reads on swiftly, even eagerly, searching for detailed explanations and the answers to our natural questions, but we reach the end and find that there are none. The remainder of the article limits itself to exploring the remedies, to fixing the problem.

    He is well acquainted with that, clearly familiar with the numbers and he provides penetrating insights contributing significantly, we are sure, to the policy discussion. If I had a criticism of that part (which is almost the whole) of the essay, it would be that he evinces a disturbing disconnection from the human costs of the measures he champions so boldly and makes no attempt to describe the societal effects of reducing our energy use by the amounts he recommends.

    But, vitally, he fails to fulfil his promise of establishing the existence of a problem. In the whole climate issue, the tendency among proponents of dangerous AGW to ignore the evidence is the most worrying aspect. Oram omits presenting evidence to support the case for mitigation measures and he ignores the existence of evidence that fails to support such a case. Instead, he observes simply that climate is changing, which is akin to observing that gravity is operating. Since climate has always changed, he is not saying anything meaningful. Such a distinctly pedestrian comment is an extraordinarily weak argument that cannot possibly persuade intelligent people to open their wallets to pay for the measures he advocates.

    The article is inadequate. I wonder if we might ask Mr Oram to have another go, and to describe in his own words, briefly, the reasons we need an ETS? He promised to do so and it is only reasonable for him to keep his word.

    I stress that we’re asking for “a description in his own words”. We’re searching for the understanding he promises, not a paper chase. If he asserts that an ETS is required he must have his reasons so what are they?

    Richard Treadgold,
    Climate Conversation Group.

    1. In the whole climate issue, the tendency among proponents of dangerous AGW to ignore the evidence is the most worrying aspect.

      In the whole climate issue, the most worrying aspect is the ability shown by people like you, Richard, to repeatedly fail to educate yourselves on the issue.

      My patience is greater than Tamino’s, but I can’t resist drawing Hot Topic’s readers attention to his response to an attempted comment by you:

      I enforce a “stupid threshold” for this blog. You didn’t make the cut.

      I prefer to allow you to carry on digging yourself a bigger hole…

  4. Your opinion of my exchange with Tamino could not have been informed by knowledge of my comment to her, because she did not publish it. It is unreasonable to form an opinion without knowing what I actually said. And if you had, you would have discovered more about her than about me.

    Tamino, too, failed to respond to what I actually said.

    Digging a hole? Not at all: I am criticising Oram’s failure to give reasons for an ETS. If that’s not clear, read it again.

    So, Oram’s reasons for an ETS are…?

    1. 1: Tamino is masculine.
      2: Oram feels no need to traverse the reasons why people are acting on emissions because that is a sterile debate.

      The fact of warming is established, the cause is known. How we act to deal with it is — properly — the subject of Oram’s article.

      You want to pretend there’s no problem. To persuade the world to ignore the abundance of evidence, you need to demonstrate that to be the case. In view of the stakes, you will require extraordinary proof. The onus is on you, not Oram.

      Good luck with that.

    2. So, Oram’s reasons for an ETS are…

      I imagine that Oram’s reasons for an ETS (in contrast say to a carbon tax) is that it allows for a market mechanism to set the price of emitting CO2 or equivalently removing it from the atmosphere. The point is to give the economy a strong signal that is meant to tip the balance towards ‘low-carbon’ choices. As Oram points out in his article, the govt. has seemingly gone all out to counteract all these market signals – so the effect is that the NZ economy will not experience any real pricing pressure to migrate to lower emissions, yet the NZ tax payer will end up paying the ‘fine’ for future excess emissions.

      Meanwhile, the rest of the world is investing heavily in ‘post-carbon’ technology…

      1. Yes, well… Billy, there’s a tiny point, in between “climate change” and “save the planet” where we first encounter the class and scale of the problem. That’s what I’m asking about.

        You understand the regulation side of things, but, like many people, you seem to have long since glossed over the real, climatic reasons to make those regulations. You know — the global heating? That’s what I’m asking about, because there are serious, well-founded observations to doubt that the world is heading for disaster. Disaster is a strong word, but that’s what the alarmists are calling it.

        “the rest of the world” is not investing heavily in “post-carbon” technology. Britain can’t get wind farms off the ground for love nor money right now, a big solar power installation in California has been defeated by the eco-mentalists and the so-called carbon price in both Europe and the US has collapsed again. Have another look.

        And, for the record, I’d actually prefer a tax (if we get so far down the road), rather than giving the hucksters and profiteers the chance to make money for – what’s the word – jam. That possibility alone has brought thousands on to the band wagon but it still doesn’t prove the existence of real-world warming, much less that we’re headed to disaster.


  5. You’ve tried misdirection by mentioning Tamino, ad hominem attacks on me, pretending to know my motives and deliberately mistaking the rules of science. Now, what about the topic?

    The fact of warming is established, the cause is known.

    You’re right, this is the essence of what Oram was saying, and it’s the essence of what I criticise. But the proponents of an unproven hypothesis carry the burden of proof, not the sceptical ones — you know that.

    the abundance of evidence

    Now you’re willing to talk about the evidence? That’s what I was asking for! So, what evidence? Not of warming, but causation. Briefly. You should know it by heart, if there is any. Surely after all this practise you can make a positively unassailable case, Gareth?

    Good luck with that.

    1. 1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas, because it absorbs long-wave radiation.

      2. CO2 atmospheric concentration has increased steadily over the last 150 years.

      3. Changes in carbon isotope ratios over the same period show that the additional CO2 is from the burning of fossil fuels.

      What more do you need?

  6. Not of warming, but causation. Briefly.

    So, increased COâ‚‚ traps more heat in higher altitude, acts as driver of warming, planet warms. You did say brief.

    The proponents of an unproven challenge to the consensus carry the burden of proof, not the consensus. Please explain which part of the consensus model you disagree with. Briefly.

    1. Sure, brief it is. But you’re pulling my leg. A gas forming 0.00038 of the atmosphere drives warming? There’s not enough thermal mass to do that. Yes, it adds to the temperature, but it cannot drive it and it’s nowhere near as powerful as water vapour. You know this! Also, carbon dioxide is very dense, so there’s not a lot of it up high, is there? Also, the only part you’re trying to regulate is the anthro part, which is only about 3.4% of 0.00038, or 0.000013 of the atmosphere, so that’s not going to have much impact. Correct my maths as desired.

      I disagree with the positive feedback part of the model. Briefly: if that were true, it would have happened before and we would be dead.

      There is no consensus. There is too much argument to agree on a consensus. The hubbub of dissent is deafening — have you no ears? You have yet to prove your theory.

      1. A gas forming 0.00038 of the atmosphere drives warming? – Dick Treadgold

        Reading these comments, I was waiting for the dressed up version of old denier canards to surface.

        “Co2, is such a tiny amount in the atmosphere!.”

        “That small quantity of cyanide can’t hurt anyone. It’s only a trace amount!”

        Well Dick, I’m waiting too. Please enlighten the world of the evidence which explains the recent warming, other than CO2e.

  7. Well, thanks for addressing the topic, CTG.

    1. Yes, it is a minor GHG, but water vapour dominates. Would you legislate against that?
    2. Yes, most probably from oceanic outgassing following the rise in temperature.
    3. Perhaps. Controversial. I don’t know.

    What more? Try causation. Try predicting the future. You’re the ones trying to destroy our economy. Justify it. Win me over. Melt my heart. So far you’ve just been irritating.

    Temperature rise is given by the IPCC as about 0.7°C over the last century or so. Anthro contribution is some of that. “It’s very likely due to a human influence…” etc. So there are natural forces at work, amount unknown. No justification for ETS.

    Most agree that CO2 forcing alone from doubling will give about another 0.5°C? The AGW proponents argue for another 2–5°C from positive feedback, mostly from water vapour, whose only justification is output from unverified models. Controversial. Recent real-world observations support considerable negative feedback from water vapour. More research required. No justification for ETS.

    It’s not cut-and-dried. What is presented in the article as a given and what Gareth describes, strangely, as a “sterile debate”, yet which he spends his time debating, becomes full of uncertainty when examined. And, of course, there are such numbers discussing this so-called “settled” debate today as never before, giving the lie to claims of settled science. Giving the lie to claims of

    The fact of warming is established, the cause is known.

    Warming, the cause is known, eh? While the mercury moves down, that’s called cooling. Ocean heat content is down, sea level static, storm frequency down. Shall we mention polar ice? Anyway, prove the cause of warming; that’s what we need to hear.

    Good luck with that.


    1. Richard, you are all huff and no puff.

      But you’re pulling my leg. A gas forming 0.00038 of the atmosphere drives warming? There’s not enough thermal mass to do that.

      And thus you prove Tamino’s judgement to be excellent. No doubt tonight you will be snacking happily on your daily 1g of arsenic (after all, it’s only 0.001% of your bodyweight).

      Richard, you have a well-established pattern of behaviour. You turn up here with a long, oleaginous comment, always portraying yourself as a reasonable man. You make arguments that are rebutted. You are pointed to sources you either don’t read or don’t find convincing, and then after some months return with another pompous post and the pattern repeats. (See here and here for examples.)

      You exhibit no willingness to learn, and are therefore a waste of my time and that of my commenters.

      1. Well, Gareth, aren’t you full of hatred! For nothing else could inspire such constant ad hominem barbs. Again: address the topic.

        You finally address one of the issues I mention, but you spoil it by mixing thermal mass with chemistry, which is no rebuttal at all. It’s rather weak for someone of your understanding.

        Thank you for taking the trouble to look up my previous comments but you really ought to concentrate on the topic. Your attempts to hurt/analyse/alienate me succeed only to reveal to everyone your attitude to science and your fellow citizens. It is, I venture to say, dominated by dislike bordering on hatred, poor fellow. No doubt those you honour are blessed indeed. Or they enjoy your fawning. But your ability to engage in robust, respectful debate is poorly developed.

        No matter. My assertions remain unaddressed, never mind refuted. Ignorant as you must be of my willingness to learn, you yet speak confidently against it and wilfully interpret any positive signs or truth from me in a negative vein, for the sole though insufficient reason that I disagree with one or two of your beliefs. Then you castigate me for pomposity.

        You fail to acknowledge the truth in anything I say; what are you afraid of?

        As for my being a waste of time, you’re really admitting that a proper debate is beyond you. Pity. I suggest you keep learning.


        1. You fail to acknowledge the truth in anything I say

          Because there is none. You are wrong in every respect. Every argument. And my time is too valuable to indulge your ignorance.

          By the way: you persist in misunderstanding ad hominen. It’s been pointed out to you before, but if I say “you are wrong, therefore you are stupid”, that is not ad hominem. The converse, “you are stupid, therefore you are wrong” is. In matters related to the science of climate, you demonstrate by your willful ignorance and failure to learn that you are stupid. And that is not ad hominem. No bitterness or hatred involved.

          Now, why not go back to your “conversation group” for a chat? Or is there no-one there to talk to?

          1. you persist in misunderstanding ad hominen

            No. Any attack on the person rather than the issue is ad hominem.

            This is fun, but you’re STILL not addressing any substantive issue.

            You are wrong in every respect.

            Very funny. I quoted the IPCC’s figures and still I’m wrong? Do you want to be taken seriously?

            1. “Any attack on the person rather than the issue is ad hominem.”

              With respect, that is not correct. There is a good discussion of the ad hominem fallacy here.

              Going back to the issue (remember that?), I notice that you did not cite any references in your first response to me. Could you please cite some references to support your assertions? They do not represent anything from mainstream science that I recognise, so I wonder where you found that information.

            2. Thanks for the reference, but what I said is literally correct. The translation of ad hominem is “to the man” or “against the man”. It refers, as I said, to any attack on the person. I did not mention the logical fallacy of argumentum ad hominem. That is different.

              Yes, I remember the issue; in mentioning “ad hominem” I had not forgotten it but was answering Gareth, who had digressed to instructing me in the Latin. But personally insulting remarks are clearly “against the man” and independent of the issue.

              When I first responded to you, I was answering three points you gave without references. Why should I give references? I’m pleased to discuss the issues. If you’re genuine, by all means post something on my blog.

              But I’m still waiting (remember?) for an answer to my original question to Oram about the reasons we need an ETS.

              I still want him to give us what he promised. These are his words: “To understand how the government is destroying the Emissions Trading Scheme, it’s important to remind ourselves why we need an ETS in the first place.”

              If his next sentence is truly his only reason, then he is naive and he knows nothing about global warming.

            3. Haha, more like the description in MJD’s ad hom article fits your whining perfectly, Mr Treadgold. Pulling out a fancy Latin term at the first sign of sarcasm, thereby committing argumentum ad homineum by failing to engage in the argument. Admit it, you’ve been pwned badly.

              You’re arguing yourself into a corner now. Oram didn’t explain the why in the next sentence at all. Talk about missing the point. As he says, it’s because of the international commitments that we need the trading schemes. He builds the argument and finishes that with:

              A good ETS sets a price signal and generates revenues that government and business can invest in the changes we must make.

              There’s your why!

              But I have a hunch you were looking for re-iterating of what are now foregone conclusions – that Anthropomorphic Global Warming is real. You saw the word “why” and then were looking for something to attack. The Zombie march isn’t until 31st Oct you know.

            4. I have given references, and so should you, because that is how science is done. Not by who makes the most convincing argument, but by publishing works in scientific journals.

              All the scientific work I have seen make it plain that anthropogenic release of CO2 is the primary driver of the recent warming. That is why we need an ETS.

              Now, if you have some scientific evidence that contradicts this, please present it, otherwise you do not have a case.

              If you are genuine, you will present a scientific case. It is pointless having a conversation if you are not going to back it up with science. References, please.

            5. In case I’m not making myself clear: I have no intention of addressing anything you raise, because long experience suggests that you simply ignore the facts and return to your original position. Finished the Weart yet? Come back here when you have.

      2. Dear Gareth and all others except RT upon which this will be wasted.

        I to have grappled with the issue of how a small amount of CO2 can have such an effect. I have read the literature but did not have that eureka moment until I read this from Jihong Cole-Dai at the Rabbet Run. I hope it helps you to:

        “Many chemists are skeptical about the science of global warming because it doesn’t fit well with the frame of their chemistry mind-set. An example is the letter by Thomas E. D’Ambra in which he asks, “How many kilocalories of infrared energy can a ton of carbon dioxide absorb?” (C&EN, July 27, page 6). The question implies that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may be insufficient to cause a change in the trapping (the greenhouse effect) of the outgoing energy by Earth’s thermoradiation.

        I encountered questions from professional chemists similar to this while giving presentations on global warming, and I was initially unable to come up with a satisfying answer. The basis of the question is legitimate: CO2 absorption in the infrared region of the spectrum is weak on a per-molecule basis, and CO2 is a minor component of the atmosphere, with a current concentration of 380 ppm (only 380 molecules out of 1 million molecules in air are CO2).

        Any person, particularly a skeptical chemist, would expect that, with the nonstop emission of thermoradiation from Earth’s surface, all CO2 molecules would soon be in the excited vibrational and rotational levels of their molecular energy states, and none would be left to absorb more outgoing energy. Hence, the greenhouse effect would be very limited.

        However, CO2 molecules do not exist alone in the atmosphere. The excited molecules can and do transfer their excess energy to other molecules and return to ground states and are therefore ready to absorb thermoradiation again. The transfer of the initially absorbed energy to other nonabsorbing molecules, called “quenching” in photochemistry, enables a relatively small amount of greenhouse gases such as CO2 to continuously absorb the thermoradiative energy, which otherwise would escape into space, and to convert the radiation back to thermal energy that stays on Earth.

        Therefore, the answer to D’Ambra’s question is that an unlimited amount of infrared radiative energy can be absorbed and returned back to Earth by small quantities of atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases. The greenhouse effect is continuous along with Earth’s thermoradiation.”

        1. The other thing to remember is that about 99.96% of the atmosphere is nitrogen, oxygen and argon, which are all transparent to IR. Saying that CO2 is only 0.00038 of the atmosphere is irrelevant, because the bulk of the atmosphere has no impact on the greenhouse effect. Water vapour is only up to 1% of the atmosphere, and yet the sceptics don’t deny that water vapour can have a greenhouse effect.

          What is important is the relative concentration of CO2 compared to the other greenhouse components – and of course those components that introduce negative forcing, such as sulphates. If the current CO2 concentration accounts for 26% of the greenhouse effect, then it is fairly obvious that doubling CO2 is going to have an impact. Current estimates are about 3°C per doubling of CO2.

    2. “1. Yes, it is a minor GHG, but water vapour dominates. Would you legislate against that?”

      If water vapour was increasing due to some anthropogenic source, then yes I would legislate against it. Water vapour alone accounts for around 66% of the greenhouse effect, whereas CO2 accounts for up to 26% of the effect (it’s not the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere that counts, it’s the proportion of the greenhouse effect that CO2 is responsible for that matters). Clearly, doubling the concentration of CO2 is capable of having a big influence on the greenhouse effect. More information on this here.

      “2. Yes, most probably from oceanic outgassing following the rise in temperature.”

      And what would be causing the rise in temperature, then?

      “3. Perhaps. Controversial. I don’t know.”

      Perhaps some research might be in order, then? For example, this. If the excess CO2 were simply coming from the oceans, we would not see the isotope ratio change, as the CO2 from the oceans is already part of the carbon cycle. The fact that the isotope ratio has changed indicates that an additional source of carbon, specifically a source of plant origins, must be adding CO2 into the carbon cycle. We know that burning fossil fuels would do this. Do you have any evidence of any other possible source for this new carbon?

      This stuff is not actually controversial, Richard, and has been known for several decades. I know it’s not what you want to hear, but I can’t help you with that.

    3. “You’re the ones trying to destroy our economy.”

      Who, exactly, is trying to destroy the economy?

      Oram’s whole point is that, whether or not you believe in AGW, the rest of the world now does, and is doing something about it. Therefore, the biggest threat to our economy would be to do nothing about AGW.

      Implementing an ETS that does not actually reduce emissions certainly has the potential to destroy our economy, once the rest of the world realises that we have done nothing and we get a big bill for our share of the emissions.

      So right now I would say that it is you, and Roger and the rest of the denialists who are trying to destroy our economy.

    4. Ocean heat content is down – Dick Treadgold

      And yet recent records show the oceanic global temp is the warmest ever recorded. This from NOAA:

      “The seasonal (June-August 2009) worldwide ocean surface temperature was also the warmest on record, 0.58°C (1.04°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F).
      In the Southern Hemisphere, both the August 2009 average temperature for land areas, and the Hemisphere as a whole (land and ocean surface combined), represented the warmest August on record.”

      “sea level static” – Dick Treadgold

      Wrong again. Don’t you get tired of being wrong?

      “Shall we mention polar ice” – Dick Treadgold

      Yes, we shall. That’s fast disappearing. 2009 3rd lowest Arctic sea ice extent minima:

      2008 lowest ever Arctic sea ice volume since records began.

      Antarctic ice mass loss:

      Tough being a denier, when the whole physical world disagrees with your faith.

  8. So how is that “conversation” going Richard… (note to self – check dictionary definition of conversation some time).

    Oh..and if the ocean is outgassing CO2 on account of all the heating that is from some other cause (which isn’t happening this century – but the CO2 levels keep going up (unless you are EG Beck)) what is causing the ocean acidification?

    And where is all the fossil fuel CO2 going?

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