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Author: karensie Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 214592  
Subject: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 1/31/2013 1:20 PM
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Know how many dislike Seeking Alpha articles but here Leia Klingel again points out that the companies benefiting most from Keystone rejection are BRK.B and CP.

"How To Prepare Your Portfolio For Obama's Keystone XL Decision"

"Railroad stocks that will transport oil from the oil sands to the U.S. are poised to benefit the most if the pipeline is rejected. Publicly traded companies engaged in the railway transport of crude in North America include Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.B), owner of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, and Canadian Pacific Railway (NYSE:CP)."

http://seekingalpha.com/article/1146871-how-to-prepare-your-...

Tim
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Author: JeanDavid Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198301 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 1/31/2013 3:14 PM
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Know how many dislike Seeking Alpha articles but here Leia Klingel again points out that the companies benefiting most from Keystone rejection are BRK.B and CP.

That is all right as far as it goes, but who are those who will lose the most from Keystone XL Pilelinie?

"And rather than slowing climate change, this pipeline will take us over the tipping point. Environmentalists like Bill McKibbin call it a 'ticking time bomb' for the environment. And NASA scientist James Hansen calls completion of the pipeline 'game over for the planet.'

"So, again, why is construction of this pipeline allowed to continue?

"Why would a foreign corporation push so hard that people like 78-year-old great grandmother Eleanor Fairchild was arrested last October for trespassing on her own property as she tried to stop TransCanada’s bulldozers from ripping a hole through her 300-acre ranch?"

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/14251-the-question-no-one-...

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Author: DrtThrwingMonkey Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198302 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 1/31/2013 3:52 PM
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Just recently, a judge ruled in favor of TransCanada and granted it eminent domain. As Fairchild refused to sell any of her land to TransCanada and did not sign any contracts, the company was able to use eminent domain and legally have her arrested for trespassing on her own land.
The Washington Post described TransCanada’s general attitude towards landowners fighting pipeline by quoting one of the company’s lawyers who said:
We are not going to have one landowner hold up a multibillion-dollar project that is going to be for the benefit of the public.



JD, let me get this straight, you think there should be no expropriation for projects like pipelines? Or do you think that this should only be possible for corporations domiciled in the USA? Or that no pipelines should be built because they offer terrorists " a sweet little thousand-mile-long target they can take out with a bit of dynamite"? Which of these beliefs, if any, do you subscribe to?

DTM
(Defender of Canadian multinationals against great-grandmothers; I worked for TCPL one summer more than 30 years ago but unfortunately bought no shares)

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Author: JeanDavid Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198307 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 1/31/2013 9:01 PM
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JD, let me get this straight, you think there should be no expropriation for projects like pipelines? Or do you think that this should only be possible for corporations domiciled in the USA? Or that no pipelines should be built because they offer terrorists " a sweet little thousand-mile-long target they can take out with a bit of dynamite"? Which of these beliefs, if any, do you subscribe to?

I am uncomfortable with using eminent domain for projects other than for immediate use by the government. That does not mean I am against all such appropriation. But when it is expropriated by the government for the private profit of a corporation, I am against it. I think these things need to be decided on a case-by-case basis, supervised directly by the courts, and I wish I had more confidence in the courts than I actually have. Money talks too loud in the courts.

In the present case, I do not think the pipeline should be built, because even if it never leaks, the extraction of the shale oil it will carry will cause monumental pollution, dwarfed by the pollution caused by refining the stuff, and ultimately burning it.

And NASA scientist James Hansen calls completion of the pipeline 'game over for the planet.' He was not talking about leaks, but about the greenhouse gasses produced by burning the carbon. If we burn all the coal and hydrocarbons already known, we are doomed as a species, as are many other species. We really must stop doing this. Then there would be no need for that pipeline.

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Author: rationalwalk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198308 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 1/31/2013 9:25 PM
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In the present case, I do not think the pipeline should be built, because even if it never leaks, the extraction of the shale oil it will carry will cause monumental pollution, dwarfed by the pollution caused by refining the stuff, and ultimately burning it.

Shale oil is indeed dirty and expensive to produce. But the reality is that this oil will be produced provided that the market price of oil supports production. The only real question is whether the pipeline flows south to the US from Canada or west to the Pacific ports and on to Asia.

Environmentalists hate that type of thinking but it is simply reality. That oil isn't staying in the ground - Keystone XL or not.

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Author: JeanDavid Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198309 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/1/2013 6:10 AM
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Shale oil is indeed dirty and expensive to produce. But the reality is that this oil will be produced provided that the market price of oil supports production. The only real question is whether the pipeline flows south to the US from Canada or west to the Pacific ports and on to Asia.

Environmentalists hate that type of thinking but it is simply reality. That oil isn't staying in the ground - Keystone XL or not.


I agree with you. I regret it greatly, though. The human race is destroying itself. When I was a kid, in the 1950s, I feared the race would destroy itself with nuclear weapons. It has not yet. I then feared it would destroy itself with nuclear waste or nuclear accidents. It has gotten a good start, but now it seems it will destroy itself with climate change and overpopulation. I hope I am wrong, but with so many opportunities like this, I am afraid we will find a way.

I think this is rather a pity.

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Author: karensie Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198312 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/1/2013 10:17 AM
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warning- contains a commercial and a video

"And NASA scientist James Hansen calls completion of the pipeline 'game over for the planet.'"

Listening to Mackey, Whole Foods founder, I hear a more hopeful view of humanity.

Mackey says he lives simply so he can give away more. He drives an ordinary car, he flies commercial. “I prefer that. I have what I need in life and I’m not about impressing people with a display of wealth. That doesn’t do anything for my self-esteem. I live relatively modestly and it gives me more money to give away and help other people with, “he said. In 2006 Mackey announced that he was reducing his salary to $1 a year, and stated that he would donate his stock to charity.

Sounds a little like Warren and Bill?

http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/off-the-cuff/whole-foods-foun...

Tim

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Author: rationalwalk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198317 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/1/2013 11:18 AM
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I agree with you. I regret it greatly, though. The human race is destroying itself. When I was a kid, in the 1950s, I feared the race would destroy itself with nuclear weapons. It has not yet. I then feared it would destroy itself with nuclear waste or nuclear accidents. It has gotten a good start, but now it seems it will destroy itself with climate change and overpopulation. I hope I am wrong, but with so many opportunities like this, I am afraid we will find a way.

I think your post actually lends support to the idea that we will muddle through. At many times in history, the human race seemed doomed. But nuclear Armageddon has not arrived and an array of Malthusian predictions have yet to come true.

Markets can play a role in this of course. As the cost of extracting ever harder to access oil escalates over time, the economics of alternative energy become more compelling even without a carbon tax. But a carbon tax itself is not such a bad idea provided that it is offset by tax reductions elsewhere rather than being a massive new tax increase. In general, I like taxes that correlate with consumption decisions and offset negative externalities. I would much rather have a carbon tax or cap-and-trade in place instead of crony capitalism directing loans and grants to selected "new energy" players. The government is a lousy venture capitalist.

Of course it is impossible for such discussions to even occur in the toxic political environment we have today for which both sides have some responsibility. And we seem to be going backwards in some respects like the nutty idea proposed by the (Republican) governor of Virginia to replace the gasoline tax with a broad based sales tax hike - further separating consumption decisions with externalities from economic decision making.

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Author: DrtThrwingMonkey Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198326 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/1/2013 1:25 PM
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I am uncomfortable with using eminent domain for projects other than for immediate use by the government. That does not mean I am against all such appropriation. But when it is expropriated by the government for the private profit of a corporation, I am against it. I think these things need to be decided on a case-by-case basis, supervised directly by the courts, and I wish I had more confidence in the courts than I actually have. Money talks too loud in the courts.


You can't have things like roads, railroads and pipelines if you have to get 100% approval by landowners. Of course the process should be supervised by government, as it is. That's why grandma is getting arrested. And of course the rules should make sure that Grandma gets to argue her case in courts, and if she loses, she gets fairly compensated. That's what happened, but she still wasn't giving up. The optics of arresting Grandma on her own property aren't great, but really, what's the alternative? Letting her lie down in front of the bulldozer? Or just giving up on a multi-billion dollar project that creates thousands of jobs and transports that oil more economically and more safely than doing it by road or rail?


In the present case, I do not think the pipeline should be built, because even if it never leaks, the extraction of the shale oil it will carry will cause monumental pollution, dwarfed by the pollution caused by refining the stuff, and ultimately burning it.

As someone else mentioned, the oil is coming out of the ground anyways, and will be burned. If you block the sensible way of transporting it (a pipeline), it will be transported by rail, at additional cost to the environment.


And NASA scientist James Hansen calls completion of the pipeline 'game over for the planet.' He was not talking about leaks, but about the greenhouse gasses produced by burning the carbon. If we burn all the coal and hydrocarbons already known, we are doomed as a species, as are many other species. We really must stop doing this. Then there would be no need for that pipeline..

Mr Hansen is exaggerating. The planet will do fine, it's humans that will suffer, if anyone. But I doubt even that. The world's population growth will stop sometime in the next 50-75 years, and the price of fossil fuels will keep going up as we use more and more, as the remaining supplies become more and more expensive to extract. Wind and solar power prices on the other hand are coming down, and will gradually take care of almost all ou power needs over the next century. In the meantime, temperatures may go up by 2-3 degrees, and that will bring advantages and disadvantages. But we will just have to deal with that. It's not as though anyone has proposed any solution to this problem. Even people like Al Gore are not prepared to live in small houses and travel less, so what possible hope is there that others will? (Although few people take things to Gore's extreme, using 10-20 times the electricity of an average US home). And for the majority of the world's population, emerging from extreme poverty, a little global warming is le cadet de leurs soucis. Energy use is going to go up a lot, and we can't prevent that, so why worry about it?

Regards, DTM

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Author: karensie Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198327 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/1/2013 1:25 PM
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"I think your post actually lends support to the idea that we will muddle through."

I know how much some dislike CNBC but here is an article that asks the question:

"Can the Super Bowl Save the Planet?"

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100427313

Intelligent and conservative use of energy can, and will, save the planet. For my part I am replacing my oil heating system with a geothermal heating/cooling system in my upstate NY 1843 farmhouse. Thank you President Obama for partially offsetting my investment with a "green" tax deduction.

Tim

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Author: mungofitch Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198338 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/2/2013 8:41 AM
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Gosh, what a bunch of worrywarts.
Me, I think the world has got better for humans on virtually every deeply
meaningful metric in the last 50 years, and will likely manage that on
almost all of those metrics in the next 50 or 100.
As for global warming, which I very much believe in and am concerned about,
check out chapter 5 of Superfreakonomics before reaching for the antidepressants.
One need not be a nay-sayer to be chipper.

Jim

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Author: Goofyhoofy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198348 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/2/2013 6:15 PM
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I am uncomfortable with using eminent domain for projects other than for immediate use by the government. That does not mean I am against all such appropriation.

You just stopped the Intercontinental Railroad from being built, all airports everywhere from being built or expanded, you left Times Square a stinking drug and porno territory, stopped Faneuil Hall in its tracks before it was built, and consigned Baltimore's Harborside back into slums and rotting piers.

In fact, pretty much you've stopped all urban renewal except for the occasional courthouse or school. Yes there have been abuses and mistakes. No, we wouldn't have anything near the progress we have if we didn't have it. Clearly there has to be a balance, and generally speaking we've done pretty well with it.

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Author: JeanDavid Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198349 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/2/2013 7:37 PM
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You just stopped the Intercontinental Railroad from being built, all airports everywhere from being built or expanded, you left Times Square a stinking drug and porno territory, stopped Faneuil Hall in its tracks before it was built, and consigned Baltimore's Harborside back into slums and rotting piers.

Are you sure. The transcontinental railroad was built without eminent domain procedures: We just used the U.S.Army to steal all the land from the native Americans, and gave some of it to the railroad companies. When the railroad was built, the land held by the government went way up in value. So no "people" were dispossessed. Native Americans were considered sub human and had no rights after we conquored them. What we did would be considered genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity if a small nation (as the US was at the time) did it. Only large nations can do that now with impunity.

Airports existed all over the country without government takeover of land. These were often small airfields run commercially. As aircraft got larger, and the value of real estate increased, many of these small airports went out of business. But they did get built.

I do not know about Times Square. I used to live a short bus or train ride from there in the early 1950s, and again later in the mid 1960s. It has had its ups and downs, but I felt perfectly safe going there in my early teenage years. I could also take the bus to Newark to visit the hands-on science museum there. I was propositioned once by a hooker, but only once, and it was no problem because I was not interested and she was willing to take NO for an answer. I do not characterize that as stinking. I have been in stinking places though. When I was a kid in Providence, R.I., where our back yard stopped the city dump started. There were rats, but I was not (because of ignorance: 4 years old) afraid of them. They never attacked me.

I do not know the history of Faneuil Hall. I did like to eat at Durgin-Park very near there.

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Author: WuLong Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198362 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/3/2013 11:24 AM
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Clearly there has to be a balance, and generally speaking we've done pretty well with it.
Two words: Robert Moses
http://www.amazon.com/Power-Broker-Robert-Moses-Fall/dp/0394...

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Author: RaplhCramden Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198364 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/3/2013 1:21 PM
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I agree with you. I regret it greatly, though. The human race is destroying itself.

When are you predicting this destruction? Is this one of those things where you always think the race will be gone in 50 years, no matter when in your long life we ask you the question?

Does the fact that the human race has done nothing but thrive during the periods you thought it was destroying itself give you pause, make you question whether your gloomy predictions speak more to your own biases than to what is happening in the world?

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Author: EliasFardo Big red star, 1000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198370 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/3/2013 3:33 PM
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Can someone please tell me what the optimal temperature of the planet should be, and at exactly what point in time the earth achieved this happy feat? Was it some afternoon in July of 1968 or one morning in October of 1980? All they tell me is that now is not good and the future is not good, but I never am told what we should be aiming for. If we had a desired optimal temperature when everyone in all geographical areas did sigh with comfort, saying, “yes, this is the perfect climate; I would not change a thing” - when was that?

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Author: WuLong Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198371 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/3/2013 6:19 PM
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at exactly what point in time the earth achieved this happy feat?
...If we had a desired optimal temperature when everyone in all geographical areas did sigh with comfort, saying, “yes, this is the perfect climate; I would not change a thing” - when was that?

Garden of Eden, 9AM, Oct 23, 4004 BC.

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Author: mungofitch Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198374 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 1:09 AM
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Garden of Eden, 9AM, Oct 23, 4004 BC.

Bit of a morning chill with the mist still burning off. I liked it better at noon.
'Course that's when the snakes come out to sun themselves...

Jim

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Author: Umm Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198375 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 1:14 AM
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"Can someone please tell me what the optimal temperature of the planet should be, and at exactly what point in time the earth achieved this happy feat? Was it some afternoon in July of 1968 or one morning in October of 1980? All they tell me is that now is not good and the future is not good, but I never am told what we should be aiming for. If we had a desired optimal temperature when everyone in all geographical areas did sigh with comfort, saying, “yes, this is the perfect climate; I would not change a thing” - when was that?"

Really? You can't really think you are making a serious argument?

In case you are being serious, it just isn't that the earth's temperature should be a specific average, it is that the constantly increasing average temperatures that cause havoc. What was once prime wheat growing land is becomng more desert like. Areas that once got a certain amount of rain are now getting greater or lesser amounts which changes the terrain. Rises in sea level cause all sorts of problems with civilization built around the sea.

There is a huge soceitial cost with constantly having to deal with an ever changing climate.

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Author: rationalwalk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198378 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 7:24 AM
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There is a huge soceitial cost with constantly having to deal with an ever changing climate.

The issue is that any change in the status quo creates winners and losers. It is less about picking an "optimal" worldwide climate (if that were even possible which it is not) than hoping for gradual changes over time rather than abrupt ones. Also, the cost of any effort to combat climate change must be weighed against the costs of not doing so and instead directing those resources toward adaptation. Unfortunately none of this can even be discussed in an atmosphere where the topic is more similar to a religious debate than anything resembling good public policy.

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Author: JeanDavid Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198380 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 8:09 AM
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It is less about picking an "optimal" worldwide climate (if that were even possible which it is not) than hoping for gradual changes over time rather than abrupt ones.

Trouble is that people are used to linear systems where a small change in input results in a small change in output. Linear systems are much easier to understand than non linear systems.

A familiar (to humans) non-linear system is a loaded mousetrap. If you apply a very small force to the trigger, nothing happens. A very slowly increasing force does not change anything. But if you go too far, the thing breaks the neck of a mouse.

It is most likely that the climate of the earth is a non-linear system. For example, when the color of the polar regions change from white to black as the snow and ice melt, they are absorbing more solar heat and reflecting less than formerly. Or when the snow in Siberia melts, releasing the methane gas buried beneath. Methane is 10 to 20 times more dangerous than carbon dioxide in causing global warming. Changes like this require only a one degree change.

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Author: rationalwalk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198381 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 8:59 AM
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It is most likely that the climate of the earth is a non-linear system.

Worldwide climate is definitely a complex system and I don't see any reason to assume linearity in terms of the effect of carbon emissions on temperatures. In my opinion, the realistic goal should be to do what can be done within economic reason to slow down the rate of change in the climate over time which will make adaptation cheaper and less traumatic to accomplish. Incidentally, this is also what we should want as insurance industry investors.

Obviously the devil is in the details and the intentions of various political constituencies are also a factor. I do not think that it is an illegitimate concern of conservatives to suspect that far reaching government attempts to regulate in this area could be motivated just as much by a desire to consolidate power over the economy as to alleviate the impact of changes in the climate. On the other side, conservatives should be less reflexive in their thinking on this subject and be open to consumption based taxes that could provide incentives for lowering emissions consistent with the operation of a free market in other respects. Classic textbook economics would lend support to consumption taxes associated with activity causing clear externalities to society (such as the gasoline tax). In a less politically charged environment, I could see how we could shift from an income tax based revenue model to one taxing consumption (even including a carbon tax or cap-and-trade) if done in a way that is revenue neutral and possibly with some type of refundable credit for the very poor who would otherwise be hit very hard with a shift to taxing consumption more heavily than income.

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Author: DrtThrwingMonkey Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198382 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 9:21 AM
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Also, the cost of any effort to combat climate change must be weighed against the costs of not doing so and instead directing those resources toward adaptation.


The cost of any effort is likely to pale in comparison to the costs imposed by global warming. Thus far, I agree with the worriers. However, I am skeptical that we can really achieve any significant reduction in atmospheric CO2, no matter how much cost we decide we want to bear. By 'we', I mean the developed world. If, for example, we decide to put in place a carbon tax, and drive what is left of our industry into the 3rd world where there is no such carbon tax, then we have (a) spent a lot, and (b) actually increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Our conscience may feel a bit better because of (a), but we will still get all the costs associated with global warming.

So we have a choice between wasting an enormous amount of money, driving jobs overseas, feeling righteous about having attempted to do something but still having just as much global warming, OR just waiting for the problem to solve itself via a combination of technological improvements in renewable energy, the rising cost of carbon-sourced energy, the end of the population boom, and likewise dealing with a few extra degrees over the next 100 years. The latter sounds preferable.

Regards, DTM

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Author: EliasFardo Big red star, 1000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198384 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 10:03 AM
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In case you are being serious, it just isn't that the earth's temperature should be a specific average, it is that the constantly increasing average temperatures that cause havoc.

I guess you are not aware that average temperatures have been flat for the last 15 years. Constantly increasing not.

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Author: JeanDavid Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198385 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 10:26 AM
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So we have a choice between wasting an enormous amount of money, driving jobs overseas, feeling righteous about having attempted to do something but still having just as much global warming, OR just waiting for the problem to solve itself via a combination of technological improvements in renewable energy, the rising cost of carbon-sourced energy, the end of the population boom, and likewise dealing with a few extra degrees over the next 100 years. The latter sounds preferable.

A few extra degrees over the next 100 years? These time estimates have been reduced to 50 years, and 25 years, and to 2025 that is only 13 years from now. As we learn more about the atmosphere, the situation seems to be worse. And as for a few degrees, one or two may already be too much. O may already be too much.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33825.htm

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Author: WuLong Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198390 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 12:04 PM
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Constantly increasing not.
When I look at the NOAA data, I see a step function. The current plateau is not evidence that global warming has stopped.

And the fact is that global warming has generally been a great boon to mankind. For example, we no longer see crop failure and resulting famine to the extent we did in the 19th century.

Fwiw, I am highly curious as to the epigenetic effect of global warming.
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1952313-4,0...

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Author: knighttof3 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198391 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 2:14 PM
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I have followed this thread with ever-increasing confusion.
Do we know any answers at all for these questions -
Is global warming real? If so, is it good or bad? If bad, should we try to stop it or adapt to it (or both, partially)? As for stopping it, can that be done reasonably?
Unless we have some idea of the answers to these, the debate is not going to be settled rationally and intelligently.

1. Is global warming real? i.e.
a. whatever the cause, has the planet's temperature gone up over the last N years?
b. What temperature are we talking about? Average over the whole earth? Average over all land? Over habitable land?

2. Are there scientific reasons to suspect that global warming is bad? Are there scientific reasons to suspect that global warming is good? Which one outweighs the other?

3. If it is bad (whether it is man-made or natural), should we try to stop it or adapt to it or do both tactically? Give reasons for any choice made.

4. If we decide to stop it, how do we go about that?

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Author: WuLong Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198394 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 2:36 PM
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1. Is global warming real?
Yes.
a. whatever the cause, has the planet's temperature gone up over the last N years?
roughly .75C over the last 100 years.
b. What temperature are we talking about? Average over the whole earth? Average over all land? Over habitable land?
That's for Earth as a whole. There are some regional variations.

2. Are there scientific reasons to suspect that global warming is bad?
All change entails risk. Good and bad are relative. In general, and to a point, warmer temperatures are beneficial to Mankind. That said, if melting ice caps result in significant sea level changes, the result would be migration/relocation, which has costs.
The real question is how quickly change occurs and how long people have to adapt.

Your other questions enter the realm of politics. There are other venues for such discussions.

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Author: DrtThrwingMonkey Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198395 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 3:25 PM
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1. Is global warming real? i.e.
a. whatever the cause, has the planet's temperature gone up over the last N years?
b. What temperature are we talking about? Average over the whole earth? Average over all land? Over habitable land?

2. Are there scientific reasons to suspect that global warming is bad? Are there scientific reasons to suspect that global warming is good? Which one outweighs the other?

3. If it is bad (whether it is man-made or natural), should we try to stop it or adapt to it or do both tactically? Give reasons for any choice made.

4. If we decide to stop it, how do we go about that?



All 4 questions are good, although to be fair I think there can be little doubt that temperatures have gone up over the last 50 years, no matter where you're measuring. And you need a 1b. If temperatures are up, was it because of the CO2 we're spewing into the atmosphere, or is this just one of these cycles or subcycles that temperatures typically go through?

But in terms of actually doing something about it, even if you answer questions 1-3 like the GW-worriers want you to, #4 is the deal-breaker. Since even the most ardent worriers don't seem to be able to limit their own CO2 production (except by gimmicky Gore tricks like buying atonement through CO2 offset credits), and the 3rd world is very unlikely to follow suit even if we put in place carbon caps or carbon taxes, is there really anything sensible we can do about this problem?

It's like the mice worrying about whether the cat is real, and if so, whether they should put a bell on its neck.

Regards, DTM

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Author: rationalwalk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198397 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 4:11 PM
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Since even the most ardent worriers don't seem to be able to limit their own CO2 production (except by gimmicky Gore tricks like buying atonement through CO2 offset credits), and the 3rd world is very unlikely to follow suit even if we put in place carbon caps or carbon taxes, is there really anything sensible we can do about this problem?

For me the most interesting question is whether carbon based fuels will become scarce and expensive enough soon enough to encourage a shift to alternative energy sources without the nudge of public policy (putting aside the question of whether such public policy is even possible worldwide given the political systems in place). And if the answer is no, will the changes in the environment occur in a slow predictable pattern or in some cataclysmic series of events?

Given that the political system is hopeless even in individual countries to say nothing of "multi-national" inept bodies like the United Nations, the best hope is likely to rely on market forces raising the price of scarce carbon resources and encouraging the use of alternatives. Dramatic shifts in consumption have taken place in the past such as the shift from wood to coal and from coal to petroleum based fuels and I don't believe we had any sort of government system in place to mandate those switches.

As an aside the only political system where some worldwide "solution" could be imposed is a dictatorship or at the very least a Singapore-like system. That too is not going to happen nor is it a desirable outcome.

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Author: DrtThrwingMonkey Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198398 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 4:18 PM
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A few extra degrees over the next 100 years? These time estimates have been reduced to 50 years, and 25 years, and to 2025 that is only 13 years from now. As we learn more about the atmosphere, the situation seems to be worse. And as for a few degrees, one or two may already be too much. O may already be too much.


Too much for what? I dislike this sort of vague, ominous language, like 'destroying the planet'. What you really mean, I presume, is that one or two degrees may already be enough to cause the extinction of many animals, and perhaps engender large costs to humankind.

As for the number of degrees, the IPCC, which one could, I think, justly accuse of being paranoid, self-serving and consistently guilty of exageration, is unlikely to be lowballing the amount of warming that is expected. So while I don't believe their projections of .15 to 0.3 deg C change per DECADE, and suspect that temperatures will not change that much (in fact, they haven't increased in the last 15 years), even if you accept these people's estimates, that would still only give you 1.5 to 3 deg C in the next 100 years. So I think my mention of 'a few extra degrees' is about right, don't you?

Regards, DTM

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Author: EliasFardo Big red star, 1000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198399 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 5:00 PM
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I have followed this thread with ever-increasing confusion.

You are confused because you are looking for a discussion about science when the subject is more akin to religion.

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Author: DutchMark Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198401 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 5:08 PM
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Can someone please tell me what the optimal temperature of the planet should be, and at exactly what point in time the earth achieved this happy feat? Was it some afternoon in July of 1968 or one morning in October of 1980? All they tell me is that now is not good and the future is not good, but I never am told what we should be aiming for. If we had a desired optimal temperature when everyone in all geographical areas did sigh with comfort, saying, “yes, this is the perfect climate; I would not change a thing” - when was that?

I'm well aware this was posed as a rhetorical question asked tongue in cheek. Global temperatures have always fluctuated and always will. Some temperatures may be more beneficial and to us and our environment than others, but that's not really the point.

Before the industrial revolution, global climate changed at a pace where people could easily adapt to it within a lifetime, usual several lifetimes. Also, there was plenty of space for people to move elsewhere when needed.

As it is, the world's population is very much concentrated on coastal areas. Moving somewhere else will result in moving onto someone else's turf. The Israel-Palestine problem will pale in comparison if all the people who currently live just a few meters above sea-level will have to find a new domicile before 2100 or even before 2050 for some.

So it's not as much a matter of what's the perfect temperature, but what is the time-scale we need to be able to adapt to the changes without major world-wide conflicts flaring up. Even if we can't change the course, if we are able to delay it a generation or two that may very well make all the difference in the world.

Maybe that's a big if. But that doesn't automatically mean it's not worth thinking about or striving for.

Mark

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Author: JasondinAlt1 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool SC1 Red Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198403 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 5:42 PM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_acidification

I hesitate to jump in because this really seems to be a religious argument, even though there is solid science to back up the arguments for anthropogenic global warming. We can argue on and on about what will happen if the air warms up "a little". For some reason, people don't talk much about ocean acidification, which is definitely happening and is potentially far more serious. In layman's terms, many of the little critters at the base of the food chain manufacture their "houses" out of calcium carbonate. As the pH of the ocean drops, it becomes more and more difficult for any organism that depends on calcification to manufacture its shelter. You say there's a tremendous volume of water in the ocean, and it can absorb a lot of CO2 without taking a hit. I say that most of the productivity takes place at depths less than 50 meters, and that (for the most part) the shallow ocean is separate and does not mix with the deep ocean. Approximately 20% of the CO2 we are producing every year is absorbed into the shallow ocean, leading to a measurable drop in pH (or a measurable rise in H+ ions, depending on how you want to look at it) in the surface ocean.

Scientists are already seeing localized areas of upwelling water that is undersaturated in CaCO3 off the Pacific Northwest. Mussels in that area are producing smaller, thinner shells. Coincidence?

Anybody want to hazard a guess as to what will happen if we have a Devonian Extinction type event in the ocean over the next 100 years?

-Rob

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Author: dividends20 Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198404 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 6:16 PM
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We had two storms recently. Andrew and Sandy. New York escaped Andrew as it moved out to the ocean. I was reading some projectetd estimates as high as $500 billion in damages. Sandy was fortunately downgraded as it hit land as well.

If we have a category 3 or higher storm hit New York and vicinity (>5% probability), for better or for worse, right or wrong, all logic would be thrown aside. People will line up behind renewables and as Buffett said - will err on side of caution and assume global warming is the root cause.

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Author: downisland Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198405 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 6:26 PM
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We just need to figure out how to handle nuclear waste, then we will have limitless energy.
http://www.propublica.org/article/while-nuclear-waste-piles-...
While the nuclear crisis in Japan has focused attention on the risks of spent fuel piling up at the U.S.'s reactors, one curious fact has gone largely unnoted: There is $24 billion sitting in a "nuclear waste fund" that can't actually be used to pay for a safer way to store the waste at reactors.

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Author: Umm Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198412 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 11:50 PM
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"As an aside the only political system where some worldwide "solution" could be imposed is a dictatorship or at the very least a Singapore-like system. That too is not going to happen nor is it a desirable outcome."

The US could impliment a Carbon Tax that would be added to the price of gasoline and electricity based upon how much carbon is spewed into the atmosphere. To prevent offshoring (since manufacturing would be more expensive in the US due to higher electricity costs), the tax would also apply to imported goods based upon how much electricity goes into the product and the percentage of carbon based electricity production in the originating country.

This is effectively your consumption tax and would apply on everything sold in the US regardless of location of production. While it wouldn't be a worldwide solution, considering US consumption makes up a large, outsized percentage of worldwide consumption, it would likely be enough to make spur changes worldwide in the way electricity is produced.

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Author: JeanDavid Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198413 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/4/2013 11:53 PM
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1. Is global warming real? i.e.
a. whatever the cause, has the planet's temperature gone up over the last N years?
b. What temperature are we talking about? Average over the whole earth? Average over all land? Over habitable land?

2. Are there scientific reasons to suspect that global warming is bad? Are there scientific reasons to suspect that global warming is good? Which one outweighs the other?

3. If it is bad (whether it is man-made or natural), should we try to stop it or adapt to it or do both tactically? Give reasons for any choice made.

4. If we decide to stop it, how do we go about that?


There is a team at Oxford University (England) that has been working on this for quite some time. I even run their software on my machine to help them with their computation load.

This link goes to a page that is the top of part of their web site that addresses (but does not give the final complete answers) these questions. They continue to work because no one has all the answers, but this project, that is done in association with the British Meteorological Office, is working on this very intensely.

http://www.climateprediction.net/content/climate-science-exp...

Other links on this page even permit you to download their software to work on this project if you wish. They are set up to not annoy you; i.e., in Linux they run at the lowest priority, so they burn up all the unused CPU cycles (these programs are so completely compute limited that they have next to no disk IO, and extremely little IO up and down the Internet), but anything you run has higher priority, so your programs all have preference and run first. A typical homework assignment, as I call them, takes about 600 hours to run on my machine that has a 4-core 1.8 GHz Xeon processor and 8 GBytes of RAM. I run up to four of these at a time. In Windows, it runs differently. They have a screen saver that runs these tasks, so as long as the screen saver is not running, you get your entire computer, but when the screen saver comes up, it runs this stuff instead of your null task (or whatever they call it in Windows). These programs checkpoint themselves from time to time, so if you turn off your machine when you are not using it, it may lose a little computation, but not an entire job.

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Author: knighttof3 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198415 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/5/2013 1:59 AM
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The US could impliment a Carbon Tax that would be added to the price of gasoline and electricity based upon how much carbon is spewed into the atmosphere. To prevent offshoring (since manufacturing would be more expensive in the US due to higher electricity costs), the tax would also apply to imported goods based upon how much electricity goes into the product and the percentage of carbon based electricity production in the originating country.

This is effectively your consumption tax and would apply on everything sold in the US regardless of location of production. While it wouldn't be a worldwide solution, considering US consumption makes up a large, outsized percentage of worldwide consumption, it would likely be enough to make spur changes worldwide in the way electricity is produced.


Assuming carbon emission is bad and to be taxed -

Money is a man-made construction - whether it changes hands does not solve the underlying problem of carbon emissions at all. When has taxation stopped or curbed bad behavior? Look at cigarettes, booze, lottery and gambling winnings, etc.
All carbon tax is, is another source of revenue for the government. The government is like a priest forgiving your sins, or worse yet, permitting you to commit more, for a price. It may make you feel good but won't bring back coral reefs. So I doubt a carbon tax will be truly effective in reducing carbon emissions.

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Author: JeanDavid Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198417 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/5/2013 6:22 AM
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All carbon tax is, is another source of revenue for the government. The government is like a priest forgiving your sins, or worse yet, permitting you to commit more, for a price. It may make you feel good but won't bring back coral reefs. So I doubt a carbon tax will be truly effective in reducing carbon emissions.

I regret that I agree with you on this. If the carbon tax were high enough to pretty much put a stop to carbon burning, those with the most money to lose would be those who are richest, and they would find a way to evade paying it: either bribing the government officials to make loopholes for them, or by leaving the jurisdiction of the law in some way or other.

Those with the most non-money to lose will die of thirst, lack of food, inability to move to places with more liveable climate, the resulting civil wars, etc. I fear that people will be burning carbon until most of it is gone, and by then the resulting climate change will have made things so bad that there will be world-wide civil war over water, food, space to live, and so on. I fear it will get really ugly. I am glad I am 74 and hope I will not live to see it.

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Author: rationalwalk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198420 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/5/2013 8:54 AM
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I fear that people will be burning carbon until most of it is gone, and by then the resulting climate change will have made things so bad that there will be world-wide civil war over water, food, space to live, and so on. I fear it will get really ugly.

This assumes that market forces will not force shifts in behavior long before people resort to war. I don't believe it is possible for the world to burn up nearly all of our carbon based resources and then suddenly people realize that it is almost all gone and go to war over what remains. Instead, we will see a continuation of what we have seen in recent years with prices of commodities like oil rising rapidly in real terms which will shift behavior and encourage alternative energy production.

I am not saying that market forces alone would be capable of achieving the goals of those concerned about climate change. But I am quite confident that market forces will prevent the world from waking up one day and suddenly realizing that we're almost out of carbon based energy. For example, if we wake up tomorrow to $15/gallon gasoline, all hell will break loose but if the real price of gasoline rises by $0.50/gallon per year for the next 22 years and we arrive at $15/gallon gasoline (in 2013 dollars) by 2035, people will have time to adjust.

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Author: JeanDavid Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198428 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/5/2013 10:43 AM
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Instead, we will see a continuation of what we have seen in recent years with prices of commodities like oil rising rapidly in real terms which will shift behavior and encourage alternative energy production.

I do not know how rapidly the climate will shift. I doubt there will be a literally overnight shift, but my guess is that it will be much faster than most people think, and that we will not have time to adjust. We have had several decades to adjust, and some people now use compact fluorescent light bulbs, and those rich enough now drive a Prius, or move to cities with acceptable public transportation. But while this may make some superficial environmentalists feel better, it cannot compete with the fuel demands of electric power plants, heavy chemical industry, the military, and luxury airline travel. Until we are willing to forego these luxuries, I am afraid meaningful change will not occur.

I am not saying that market forces alone would be capable of achieving the goals of those concerned about climate change. But I am quite confident that market forces will prevent the world from waking up one day and suddenly realizing that we're almost out of carbon based energy. For example, if we wake up tomorrow to $15/gallon gasoline, all hell will break loose but if the real price of gasoline rises by $0.50/gallon per year for the next 22 years and we arrive at $15/gallon gasoline (in 2013 dollars) by 2035, people will have time to adjust.

The trouble is not that some day people will wake up and suddenly realize we are out of carbon energy. The trouble is that we will not run out of carbon soon enough, and the destruction of the environment will precede the exhaustion of carbon.

The rich will probably always be able to afford it even if it is $50/gallon. But the poor already have do do without automobiles and greatly restrict their lives. I have a friend who can no longer baby sit for a living because her car is unfixable at today's prices with her low level of income. She heats her house to about 45F to keep the pipes from freezing and is sick most of the time because her house is too cold in the winter even though she wears multiple sweaters, has multiple blankets on her bed, etc. And she cannot afford to go to the doctor. So she is already suffering from high prices of fuel, food (with its embedded fuel costs), medical care, etc. The things that will change is that suffering such as hers is slowly moving up the economic ladder. A revolution will come to the USA last, but it will come.

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Author: RaplhCramden Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198434 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/5/2013 1:18 PM
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Can someone please tell me what the optimal temperature of the planet should be, and at exactly what point in time the earth achieved this happy feat?

Indeed, there will be winners and losers. People whos range land turns in to farm land, people whos farm land turns in to desert, people whos resorts turn into marshes, people whos deserts turn in to resorts...

There will be frictional losses, net losses from having to move the resorts and the farms and so on. These will likely be pretty low since the changes even in the nightmare scenarios are very slow, so stuff gradually moves, perhaps in the case of resorts no faster than fashion would have moved them and a fair amount slower than changing politics moves them.

There may be just plain net losses: a higher amount of storm damage every year net, although I am not sure of this one. Presumably if the "temperate" zones move north the cooler temperatures in the northern temperate zones won't drive storms in the new temparate much harder than they were driven in the old temperate. Other net losses, net reduction in farmland? But I don't know any reason to believe that, that there is a net reduction rather than just a shift.

To paraphrase the old joke, "but dad, can't I keep emitting CO2 until I at least need glasses?"

R:

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Author: Umm Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198445 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/6/2013 3:05 AM
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"Assuming carbon emission is bad"

Why do you think you need to assume that spewing tons of carbon into the atmosphere is bad?

"Money is a man-made construction - whether it changes hands does not solve the underlying problem of carbon emissions at all."

That is a rather strange mischaracterization of the argument you are attacking.

What a carbon tax does do is create a proper pricing mechanism for the market. Currently the costs of burning carbon based fuels for energy are not reflected in the energy marketplace due to externalities. If the costs are more properly reflected at higher costs then the power of markets will naturally shift production to cheaper alternatives (or find a way to cheaply handle carbon emissions).

"When has taxation stopped or curbed bad behavior?"

Taxation does not influence behavior? Is that really the argument you want to make?

"All carbon tax is, is another source of revenue for the government."

Sorry. I forgot about the knee-jerk anti-tax nuts. I should have originally included the qualifier that the carbon tax could replace other taxes in order to be revenue neutral. In fact, it would also reduce expenses because there would be no need for "green" energy subsidies and "investments" such as the Evil Solyendra as the market place would make such subsidies unneeded.

"The government is like a priest forgiving your sins, or worse yet, permitting you to commit more, for a price."

Increasing the price of something creates more demand? That goes against basic economic theory.

"It may make you feel good but won't bring back coral reefs."

That is a rather silly strawman you have created.

"So I doubt a carbon tax will be truly effective in reducing carbon emissions."

A basic Econ 101 class that covers supply and demand curves would show you otherwise.

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Author: JeanDavid Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198446 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/6/2013 7:32 AM
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Increasing the price of something creates more demand? That goes against basic economic theory.

Sometimes (rarely) it does, but it is so rare it does not invalidate your argument.

Just after WW-II, kits of chemicals were sold so women could give themselves "permanent waves." These kits cost only a couple of dollars (the chemicals were actually cheap). They did not sell well. They raised the price to about $25 and they sold better. Women had more confidence in the higher-priced product. Then people went into the business of doing it for you at even higher prices, and that increased sales still further.

Now days, many people assume higher prices mean higher quality. I had a Rolex watch I bought about 40 years ago for about $250. Bottom of the line then. Now their cheapest one is about $4000. People still buy those. I also have a $25 A-Watch that keeps about 10x better time than the Rolex. It is plastic instead of stainless steel, might not survive my wearing it in the shower.

Sometimes people do not obey basic economic theory.

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Author: rationalwalk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198447 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/6/2013 9:10 AM
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Just after WW-II, kits of chemicals were sold so women could give themselves "permanent waves." These kits cost only a couple of dollars (the chemicals were actually cheap). They did not sell well. They raised the price to about $25 and they sold better.

This is a special case which I recall from the economics courses I took long ago. I looked it up and this class of product is known as a "Velben Good" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veblen_good).

I think that there is general agreement in the field of economics that such goods are a very special case. Informally speaking, the preference is usually due to the snob effect where people use high prices as a signal of high value and low prices as a signal of low value. I suspect that few value investors fall into this pattern as consumers since the entire point of value investing is to identify cheap securities trading far below intrinsic value. I pattern my consumption choices in a similar way.

I don't think it is an accident that Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger have legendary reputations for being frugal in consumption choices. The mindset of not wanting to pay more than necessary extends beyond investing. My guess is that there is a strong correlation between high risk investment behavior and consumption driven by snob appeal. Conversely, there seems to be a correlation between value investing and living a modest lifestyle. Just as being a value investor may require some innate psychological profile, being cheap in consumption probably requires a similar profile. Maybe an aspiring behavioral finance PhD could study the subject if it hasn't been done already.

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Author: knighttof3 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 198454 of 214592
Subject: Re: OT-Keystone XL Pipeline Date: 2/6/2013 10:11 PM
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"Assuming carbon emission is bad"

Why do you think you need to assume that spewing tons of carbon into the atmosphere is bad?

...
What a carbon tax does do is create a proper pricing mechanism for the market.


I was not speaking as an anti-tax nut; "Assuming carbon emission is bad" was literally that - an assumption, since I did not want to argue about why it might or might not be bad, but rather take it as a given that it is bad.

I guess the point I was making, badly, is that if something is truly bad, why should there be a market for it at all? It should be banned, period.

Should the government make a market for crimes? Nobody would suggest that. Even the "blood money" paid in Islamic countries is paid to victims or their surviving families, not to the government.

The state of California believes that gas consumption is bad, and levies heavy taxes on it. They are supposed to pay for the transport infrastructure. Bad in theory, worse in reality. If taxes deter people from driving, then (in theory), the infrastructure would fall apart.
(In reality there is no money in the transport fund, the politicians have stolen it for general budget.)

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