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Discussion Starter #381
In 1968, John H. Dales, an obscure Canadian economics professor, was determined to end what he felt was an endless and meaningless drama between environmental groups and industry over the problem of pollution.


After a year of mulling over the skirmish, he produced a 111-page book called "Pollution, Property & Prices."


Dales' idea, popularly known as cap and trade, has spread around the globe over the last four decades.


Thirty-five countries, 13 states and provinces, and seven cities are using it to fight greenhouse gas pollution that causes global warming. Lumped together, they represent almost 40 percent of the world's gross domestic product.


Next year, China, the world's biggest source of man-made carbon dioxide and other climate-changing gases, is preparing to lead this parade by unveiling what may become the most far-reaching national CO2 reduction program of them all, based on cap and trade.


The big difference in Dales' plan was that it used a market-based concept. Under it, the government imposes a declining limit, or "cap," on a family of pollutants, tailored to a plant's history of emissions. Then it leaves it up to the company to find ways to stay under the cap. Dales' idea was to use market forces and private innovation, not government planners, to arrive at the cheapest and most effective way to do it.


The cap is implemented with allowances that amount to a government-issued permit to emit a given amount of a pollutant. At the end of a year, the company must come up with a permit for every ton of CO2 it emits. For example, Company X finds a promising new pollution abatement technology, buys it, implements it, reduces its emissions below its cap and then has unused permits it can sell to the market.


But Company Y decides to ignore the cap. At the end of the year, it needs to buy permits from the market in order to avoid a stiff fine for exceeding the cap. Rather than mandating a specific technology for each industry sector, the government need only distribute the allowances, develop accurate ways to measure pollution levels, and design and police markets to make sure they remain stable and fair. The market would do the rest, because rising prices for permits would stir technological innovations for curbing pollution.


For most of the traditional players, it was to be a slow learning curve, but the general idea about using markets did catch the eye of the Environmental Defense Fund, a relatively new, New York-based environmental group that had attracted bipartisan support to restrict the use of DDT and to get poisonous lead out of gasoline.


Fred Krupp, who was hired to run EDF in October 1984, had become curious about using economic approaches to solve environmental problems in college. One of his professors at Yale once told him that if "people lowered their voices" on environmental problems, "these problems were solvable." But this position wasn't shared by many of his colleagues in EDF's hierarchy. They were lawyers, like Krupp.


"The original informal slogan of the older EDF members was 'sue the bastards,'" he explained.


By the spring of 1985, Krupp had accumulated enough money to hire another economist, a college professor and agriculture specialist named Dan Dudek. Dudek explained that Dales' approach, then coming into vogue with younger academics, was still all theory.


"I wasn't sure if Dan was loony or the greatest visionary I had ever met, but I took a chance and hired him," Krupp later recalled.


Dudek went to work on how to apply cap and trade to air pollution problems and came up with a scheme to apply it to acid rain.


Then Krupp wrote an op-ed piece about the approach for The Wall Street Journal, which was spotted by C. Boyden Gray, the chief counsel for then-Vice President George H.W. Bush, who was running for president.


Acid rain was caused by sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants that were devastating fish and trees in the lakes and forests of the Northeast and in Canada. After Bush was elected, Gray, who headed Bush's transition team, invited Krupp to the White House.


The elder Bush, Gray explained to Krupp, wanted something to support a campaign pledge that he would become the "environmental president." The plan that evolved was to frame emissions reduction in terms that businessmen understood.


Robert Stavins, a Harvard economist, was asked to join the team and help draft amendments to the Clean Air Act that Congress passed in 1990 with big majorities in both houses.


Industry welcomed the idea. Most environmental groups, unfamiliar with cap and trade, remained neutral about it.


The acid rain abatement program started in 1995, and using emissions trading, the U.S. power plant industry came up with new ways to blend different types of coal to cut acidic emissions. This avoided the government's proposed solution, which was to force companies to buy expensive scrubbing technology.


The result was a 25 percent cut in the fossil fuel emissions that caused acid rain at a small fraction of the expected cost. The industry responded to the program with 100 percent compliance.


From:
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CARBON MARKETS: The epic journey of a modest proposal -- Wednesday, May 11, 2016 -- www.eenews.net
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Discussion Starter #382
An interview with an evangelical climate scientist from Texas:
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Katharine Hayhoe: Bridging the climate change divide


June 16, 2016 — Katharine Hayhoe is a leading climate scientist at Texas Tech University and has been featured in documentaries such as “Years of Living Dangerously,” but she’s probably best known for engaging diverse communities — including Evangelicals — in an ongoing discussion about the impacts of climate change. Hayhoe recently stopped by Ensia’s offices to talk about her experiences bridging the climate change divide:


“The spark for me was when I realized that rejection of climate science was an issue for groups that I was actually part of or associated with. I attend an Evangelical church. We’re living in Texas where it isn’t just 20 or 30 percent of the people around me [rejecting climate science]. Depending on where I am and what I’m doing, it could be 99 percent of the people around me who don’t think climate change is real.


So that was the point at which I felt I had not just a collective responsibility as a climate scientist, but I had a personal responsibility because I knew that I would probably be the only scientist many of them would ever meet, and the only one that they would ever listen to. I still take that responsibility very seriously so when I get invitations for speaking engagements, for example, I preferentially accept the ones where I know that if I say no, they’re not going to invite anybody else.


I know why politicians are not being asked about climate change. That is because even among people who accept the science — and we’ve gotten to the point now where the majority of Republican voters do accept the science — the level of concern is abysmal. It is all about jobs and costs and proving everything to the millionth degree. The biggest issue is that people don’t think it’s affecting us now in ways that matter. It’s still about the polar bear. It’s not about us.


If I were speaking to a Republican candidate, I would ask, “What is your free market solution to climate change?” If I were talking to Democrats, though, I would ask, “What is the solution to climate change that you would implement as soon as you were in office?”


We are changing minds, not hearts. Often we think we have to change someone’s heart. We have to change their identity. We have to change who they are. We have to change what they care about. That is not going to work if they’re over the age of 12. So we are changing minds but not hearts.


We’re starting with the assumption that someone’s heart is in a good place. Someone’s heart has good values. We’re just trying to show how the values already in their heart connect with the issue of climate change.


We know about the Six Americas of Global Warming. Even though the alarmed and the dismissive categories at the very end are the smallest categories, they’re the loudest voices. So when people attack me online, when people send nasty hate mail, e-mails, those are not coming from people who are cautious or disengaged. And most of them are not coming from doubtful people. They come from dismissive people. So given that 90 percent of the people that we hear from are dismissive people and they have never moved an inch, then many of us will say, “Well, clearly we can’t change people’s minds.”


What we have to realize is dismissive people only represent 10 percent of the population. There are many more people out there who are doubtful, or maybe even cautious, or maybe just checked out and disengaged. So can we change dismissive people’s minds? I don’t think we can because for a dismissive person to change their mind on climate, it is like asking them to cut off a body part.


That is how much rejection of the sciences is part of their core identity. They would feel like they were a different person if they changed it. The way I think of dismissives is that literally a brand new set of stone tablets from heaven hand-delivered by an angel with “Global warming is real” written on them would still not be enough to change their minds.


But there’s a much larger percentage of the population that ranges from doubtful to concerned. That’s where the bulk of people are, and those are where the minds can be changed.


I’ve talked to people whose minds have changed again and again. And sometimes, they may not be very gracious about it. Sometimes they may be like, “Well, I didn’t think this thing was real, but you addressed all the reasons why and so now I’d have to come up with some new reasons if I’m going to still think that.” You know that they’ve moved.


We’ve actually been running studies at some Christian colleges where [the researchers] show a video that I’ve made, and they do the Six Americas of Global Warming assessment before and after the video to see if there is significant change in attitudes, actions and perspectives. And thank goodness, there is.


The situation we’re in with climate change is a casualty of the polarization of our society. If it were 25 years ago, I don’t think we would be in the situation we are today, politically or culturally. That is why bringing in unusual voices is so important — from the business community, from the national security community, etc. If someone such as a Navy Seal commander [is talking about climate change], you’re not exactly going to tell that person, “You’re involved in a worldwide communist conspiracy.” Bringing in faith leaders is important, but they’re not as important as people thought they were.


Back in the ‘90s and early 2000s, there was this whole movement to find Evangelical leaders, put them on boats, take them to the Arctic … take them to Africa. [Environmental leaders] figured, “If you see it with your own eyes, you’re going to change your mind.” One of two things happened.


Either that person came back with their mind totally changed, made a big statement about it and completely lost all position to influence or they came back and said, “Wow, this really is serious and real,” but then they looked around and realized, what’s going to happen if I start talking about it? Then they said, is it worth it? Is this the hill I want to die on? Probably not. And they just pulled their head back into their shell and went on their way.


Most people in the United States live in places where the climate has been changing in a way that makes it a more favorable place to live based on how people pick where to live. People don’t pick where to live based on flood risk, drought risk or hurricane risk. They pick a place like Phoenix because they want to retire to a pleasant, mild climate. So by saying it’s the warmest March on record, most people in the United States live in a place where a warm March is a good thing.


You have to be pretty unflappable in this field; if you’re not, you shouldn’t be in communication. I want to make this clear: Just because we are climate scientists does not mean that we necessarily have to be communicating about this issue because many of us, personality-wise, are not made to be good communicators. It is not something that comes naturally. Many of us are terrible at it. I worked really hard.


For me the turning point was back when I was involved in writing a report with the Union of Concerned Scientists. It was a scientific report on climate change impacts on the Great Lakes. So we did all of our science-y stuff, and they had a technical editor that just made sure it was grammatical and all that. Then we showed up for our final meeting, and it was a media-training workshop. I went to this workshop, and it was like these scales fell from my eyes. I thought, “Oh my goodness. There’s a science to communication? There are ways to design messages? There are ways to answer questions that actually reflect these messages back?” I felt like there was this alternate universe that had always existed, and I never even knew it was there.


I think it really is important to work with thought leaders and organizations of influence in very different communities, in marginalized communities where they often feel environmental issues are a luxury of the rich. And climate change, of course, really isn’t environmental. I think it’s a human issue.”


From:
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Katharine Hayhoe: Bridging the climate change divide | Ensia
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Discussion Starter #383
Ice cores from Antarctica show that carbon dioxide concentrations in the air are higher today than they have been at any point in at least the last 800,000 years.


Other climate records based on seafloor sediments suggest it's been at least 4 million years since CO2 levels were this high--a time when global temperatures and sea levels were much higher than today.


Scientists said the measurements underscore the urgency of acting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Warming global temperatures caused by increasing CO2 could kick-start climate feedback loops with dangerous consequences.


People are seriously talking about a massive methane release from the seafloor. It might be far-fetched, but it shows there are things we don't know about the carbon cycle. We're getting into uncharted territory.


New monitors worldwide including Antarctica, combined with aerial detection and satellite data, will help monitor and enforce the terms of the Paris climate agreement by helping identify specific new sources of CO2, both manmade and natural.


Jones said CO2 measurements at the station started in 1976 at a level of 328 ppm. Even if all CO2 emissions stopped today, the concentration would keep increasing for a few years before starting to drop.


We can decrease CO2 emissions, and the beautiful thing is we can actually create more jobs to do this.


From:
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Antarctica?s CO2 Level Tops 400 PPM for First Time in Perhaps 4 Million Years | InsideClimate News
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Discussion Starter #384
Some rare positive climate news, for a new way to clean up our dinosaur coal powerplants built in the 1950s:
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Non-thermal plasma field testing by the company Carbon Conversion International (CCI) passes air emissions through the plasma field to extract carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. Another byproduct – oxygen – can be fed right back into the combustion chamber.


Meanwhile the carbon is concentrated into its nearly elemental form, known as “carbon black,” and sold on the market where it is used for tires, rubber, plastics, printing inks and other applications.


Non-thermal plasma has been around a long time. It was observed in a laboratory over a hundred and fifty years ago. The key to CCI’s success is figuring out how to use the plasma at just the right temperature. The technique was invented by Edward O. Taylor, who has studied plasma fields for two decades.


They experimented with temperatures, and found out 160 degrees F is the optimal temperature. It took 20 years to figure that out.


In a pilot at the 87-megawatt Scrubgrass coal burning powerplant, testing by a third party showed CCI’s technology reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 91 percent, nitrogen oxide emissions by 86 percent, sulfur dioxide by 88 percent, and carbon monoxide by 75 percent, and with a parasitic draw of just 3.7 percent.


The Scrubgrass pilot would need to be scaled up five- to ten-fold to be used on a typical coal power plant. You’d need larger pipes and larger non-thermal plasma chambers.
A University of Iowa study showed a positive financial outlook for CCI’s technology, estimating a four-year payback time for investing in it.


CCI’s plan is to license the technology to outfits from power plants to heavy equipment operators.


A previous third-party test in Pennsylvania had shown positive results in reducing emissions and increasing efficiency in a large Caterpillar wheel loader of the type used on construction sites. That test showed the loader had carbon dioxide emissions reductions of 50-100 percent, nitrogen oxide reductions of 79-83 percent and carbon monoxide reductions of 84-92 percent.


Garvin said that along with construction equipment and power plants, the technology can be used at ports, factories and other situations. The technology was also tested at a water treatment facility in Wilmington, Delaware.


This will allow global energy systems to dramatically reduce carbon release, while managing the existing fleet of plants until other cleaner forms of power can be fully developed.


From:
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Researchers: 150-year-old technology could provide ?clean? coal solution | Midwest Energy News
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