Climate change community grants

johnboy 27 June 2011 24

Simon Corbell has announced the lucky winners of his ACT Climate Change Grants which he says “were introduced in response to the continued interest from the community in generating awareness and action on climate change.”

And if some in the community are interested in doing things Simon wants to be seen to be helping then they get the money!

The winners are:

Group

Project

Amount

The Living Green Festival (ACT) Inc

Living Green Festival (ACT)

$19,940

SEE-Change Inc

A festival of young ideas – reducing Canberra‘s Carbon emissions by 40% by 2020

$21,054

Australian Institute of Landscape Architects

Carbon Advantage Landscapes

$25,576

Canberra Electric Vehicle Festival Inc

2011 Canberra International Electric Vehicle Festival

$30,000

ACT Sustainable Systems

Residential Greenhouse Gas Reduction Awards

$46,000

Canberra Environment Centre

Step Outside the Greenhouse – Canberra’s Carbon Challenge

$60,000

SEE-Change Inc

SEE-Change brokered solar community consortium – feasibility and preliminary implementation of Canberra’s first community solar farm

$77,830

Canberra Loves 40%

Champions of the 40% target

$99,600


What's Your Opinion?


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24 Responses to Climate change community grants
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fragge fragge 12:32 pm 01 Jul 11

pajs said :

Fragge, my apologies for not taking your early post seriously and responding as I did. My impression of your post was that it was an example of concern-trolling, which is behaviour that really gets my goat.

That’s quite alright pajs, I’m also sorry for the snarky comments in my response, it was the end of the day and I was quite unimpressed with the reply, but that’s certainly no excuse and I apologise.

Whilst I don’t have time to respond to everything (and in most cases I don’t need to, the facts you state are for the most part accurate), I’ll respond to the only problems I see with a couple of your conclusions:

2. Climate is constantly changing. Climate science does not deny this. There have been warm and cool periods in the past, caused by a variety of factors, including solar activity and variations in the Earth’s orbit. These factors are known to climate science and taken seriously. The directly-observed (ie not model-dependent) warming of recent times cannot be explained by these alternative factors.

I agree that the current variations in temperature cannot be explained by “solar activity and variations in the Earth’s orbit”. But why can the directly-observed warming (0.7-0.8 deg C since 1900) not be explained by anything other than CO2 pollution? This is perhaps linked to the conclusions drawn by the IPCC when their (incomplete) models were unable to predict the kind of warming we are seeing this century – as I have already said, the models used neither fully understand or reliably replicate real-world climate conditions. Furthermore, the data used to generate the results of the models (that were unable to show a warming of this scale using the data available), as I have explained, was and IS incomplete. We have a much more accurate idea of global temperatures in 2011 than we did in 1998 (due to satellites, improved standards and coverage), however our historical records of temperature are very very very incomplete and are generalised from proxies once you get past 200-400 years. Using an incomplete picture of world temperatures to generate results in a model, and then proclaiming those results to be unlike anything we’ve ever seen when you’ve only observed and recorded 100 years of precise and global temperature readings, is extremely short-sighted and a clear example of “jumping the gun”. To say that the current warming cannot be explained by anything other than CO2 pollution is to say that we fully understand the climate (despite any climate scientist telling you otherwise), that we have an accurate, globally covered record of surface and sea temperatures past the 18th century (we don’t) and that the increase of 0.7 degrees is unheard of in recent times (it isn’t). In fact this ties in with another point of yours:

pajs said :

3. There is a long record of past temperature available to science from observations in the field, including the caapcity to use records of air trapped in glacial ice to understand temperatures and the composition of the atmosphere back 800,000 years (eg http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalWarming/page3.php).

I am very well aware of the ice-core temperature record and certainly don’t dispute the science behind proxy temperature readings – in fact, this is how I know that we have indeed had fluctuations of more than 0.7 degrees celcius on the time-scale of hundreds, not thousands of years. As part of their 1990 report, the IPCC included a graph (http://www.john-daly.com/hockey/MWE-LIA.gif – taken from “Climate Change; The IPCC Scientific Assessment”. 1990 . Cambridge University Press, p.202) that illustrates the temperature anomalies that occured between 900 AD and 1850 AD, showing first an excessive warming (Medieval Warm Period) followed by the Little Ice Age. We came out of the Little Ice Age at the end of the 18th century and have been normalising ever since. As you can see, we have had much larger fluctuations in our very recent history. As you can also see, we are about 150 years out of a little ice age – it makes perfect sense to me that the planet would have nowhere to go but up after an atmospheric event such as that. I could agree that this conclusion is conjecture and is probably not reliably testable (linking an observable effect with a probable cause) due to lack of other observable examples (due to our gaps in the temperature record. But for that argument to be true, I would then have to posit that the same is true of anthropogenic climate change – we do not have a clear enough picture of Earth’s long-term climate to claim a VERY short-term (less than 40 years) warming period is caused entirely by man-made pollution.

That’s a view supported by Dr. John R. Christy (a climate scientist of the Department of Atmospheric Science and Earth System Science Laboratory at the University of Alabama) in his 10 July 1997 written response to the Committee on Environmental and Public Works –

The observational evidence for enhanced greenhouse global warming is also less than clearly defined. While all surface-based global temperature data sets indicated warming of 0.3 to 0.6 degrees C since the last century, the complete source of this warming is still unknown. First, the Earth was evidently coming out of a relatively cold period in the 1800’s so that warming in the past century may be part of this natural recovery. Data sparseness and reliability are somewhat suspect in the early years of the thermometer climate record and remain a concern even today when the shrinking network of stations is attempting to capture relatively small variations. Local land use changes may also have added additional warming not connected with greenhouse gases.

With this background, scientists recognized that we did not have an observing system in place with adequate means to truly monitor the health of the planet or to provide the data needed to validate and improve the models of the Earth System. One obvious limitation of information about the atmosphere was the lack of true global coverage.

Your point about NASA saying that temperatures have not risen so rapidly since the Ice Ages is also seemingly contradicted by the IPCC’s own findings, though unlike NASA I will not hazard “guesses” as to short-term temperature variations in the long-term proxy temperature record. Sure they are able to see trends across thousands of years, but this whole climate change debate started over data from a mere HUNDRED years. I can’t say this enough times – global temperature records for a prolonged period of time are required to draw any kind of accurate conclusion about long term climate-variations on this planet. The fact that we have climatic cycles as long as 100,000 years (ice ages) and as short as 15-60 years (oscillation) should be enough to re-assure us that our laughable record of global temperatures is terribly inadequate to project future variation.

The only other point I’d like to address is your assertion that we are “on track to raise global temperatures by between 2 and 6 degrees” – that is complete nonsense. Rather than go through and explain the concept of positive versus negative feedbacks in climate science, as well as the flawed climate sensitivity publicised by the IPCC, I’ll allow Dr Richard Lindzen (Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics at MIT, co-author/editor of Chapter 7 in the 2001 IPCC report) to do it for me – he’s clearly more knowledgable on the subject than I. One of his public presentation slide arrangements can be found here: http://www.lindahall.org/mediafiles/Lindzen.pdf

It outlines his methods for deriving actual climate sensitivity from real-world, recent satellite data – it is a very interesting read.

Chop71 Chop71 8:41 am 30 Jun 11

I remember growing up my grandfather telling me how everyone bought gas masks in 1910 as Halleys Comet was passing close to earth. The scientists of the day were saying that the tail was passing through the earths atmosphere and everyone would die.

Don’t get me wrong I am not bashing scientists, but is it really in their interest to say nothing is wrong. Personally if I was after science funding, I would come up with the world is going to end…..give me money.

shadow boxer shadow boxer 8:35 am 30 Jun 11

@ fragge, yeh sorry I did read that wrong.

doesn’t really change my point about the impacts though, the survey quoted on the radio this morning showed 40% of people don’t want to pay anything to stop climate change.

In my opinion if the Carbon tax supporters are serious about bringing the community along with them on this they need to start focussing on

a.The effects of climate change (at the moment it all seems really trivial to me, it may not be but you need to produce real life scenarios on the impacts of global warming and what effect our minscule effort will have on the 1 degree of warming expected over the next 40 years. If it is a token effort then be honest); and

b.how the compensation for the tax will be fairly distributed and the measures in place to stop it just being raised and raised in the future. (something like the GST needing al states would work, you can’t just compensate some people, it just pisses peoiple off, that said if you compensate everyone you may as well not have bothered). Dont even get me started on linking it to Family tax benefit part a having sneakily capped that for 5 years in the last budget or the profiteering that will go on in industry or the exemptions to “favoured” industries..

Until the real life issues are adressed I think this tax will remain unpopular, no matter how well intentioned.

Diggety Diggety 12:31 am 30 Jun 11

Not even deposed Arab dictators were as blatant in public revenue siphoning as this. And they had the Arab Spring.

What an odd ‘democracy’ we live in.

fragge fragge 11:38 am 29 Jun 11

shadow boxer said :

But your money quote seems to reinforce the position that the sky is not falling, we will replace carbon producing industries in due course (50-80 years) and the world will recover.

Whats the big deal ?

There is an excellent link on this site fron the CSIRO that states that the entire amount of CO2 produced by Australia is absorbed by the vegetation and we are actually already carbon neutral.

Sorry Shadow Boxer, that was directed at p1 to show that CO2 will not just “disappear” into space. You might have misread the quote? It says that only 50% of the INCREASE in carbon (ie: 50 ppm out of 388) will dissipate naturally over 30 years. The rest will take centuries. And that’s just accounting for the excess pollution we put out there, not existing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Perhaps I should’ve included the second quote from that page:

The warming from our CO2 emissions would last effectively forever, too. A recent study by Caldeira and Damon Matthews of Concordia University in Montreal found that regardless of how much fossil fuel we burn, once we stop, within a few decades the planet will settle at a new, higher temperature5. As Caldeira explains, “It just increases for a few decades and then stays there” for at least 500 years — the length of time they ran their model. “That was not at all the result I was expecting,” he says.

But this was not some peculiarity of their model, as the same behaviour shows up in an extremely simplified model of the climate6 — the only difference between the models being the final temperature of the planet. Archer and Victor Brovkin of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany found much the same result from much longer-term simulations6. Their model shows that whether we emit a lot or a little bit of CO2, temperatures will quickly rise and plateau, dropping by only about 1 °C over 12,000 years.

pajs pajs 9:45 am 29 Jun 11

Fragge, my apologies for not taking your early post seriously and responding as I did. My impression of your post was that it was an example of concern-trolling, which is behaviour that really gets my goat.

If I may make a few comments and suggestions:
1. The basic physics and chemistry of anthropogenic climate change are settled. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gases trap energy within the planetary system. Humans are emitting large and increasing quantities of greenhouse gases, adding to those already cycling through the system. This increase in emissions, and atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases, is trapping more energy, causing rises in global temperatures and the other effects of climate change.
2. Climate is constantly changing. Climate science does not deny this. There have been warm and cool periods in the past, caused by a variety of factors, including solar activity and variations in the Earth’s orbit. These factors are known to climate science and taken seriously. The directly-observed (ie not model-dependent) warming of recent times cannot be explained by these alternative factors.
3. There is a long record of past temperature available to science from observations in the field, including the caapcity to use records of air trapped in glacial ice to understand temperatures and the composition of the atmosphere back 800,000 years (eg http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalWarming/page3.php).
4. We are on track to raise global temperatures by between 2 and 6 degrees Celsiuis over the next hundred years (ie the lifetime of the next two generations). This is a very fast rate of change. It is also a rate of change in the averages. For every nudge up you give an average, there’s a corresponding increase in the extremes as well. For Australia’s fragile environment, such as the Murray Darling Basin, there is not much capacity to handle such an increase in temperature and evaporation rates.
5. The speed of the change we have seen and will see is critical. As NASA note “[a]s the Earth moved out of ice ages over the past million years, the global temperature rose a total of 4 to 7 degrees Celsius over about 5,000 years. In the past century alone, the temperature has climbed 0.7 degrees Celsius, roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.” As well as that comparison of actual warming to date, we have a predicted rate of warming over the next 100 years that is at least 20 times faster than anything over the past two million years. This rate of change, for both human and natural systems, will be very difficult and expensive to manage, compared to making sensible efforts on mitigation now.
6. If you are interested in looking at both raw and processed data on aspects of climate change, including those related to global temperatures, one of the best compilations of data is at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/
7. You might also find this page useful http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/ as a jumping off point to see what bodies like the National Academy of Science has to say about the science and the evidence.

shadow boxer shadow boxer 9:45 am 29 Jun 11

But your money quote seems to reinforce the position that the sky is not falling, we will replace carbon producing industries in due course (50-80 years) and the world will recover.

Whats the big deal ?

There is an excellent link on this site fron the CSIRO that states that the entire amount of CO2 produced by Australia is absorbed by the vegetation and we are actually already carbon neutral.

fragge fragge 9:07 am 29 Jun 11

p1 said :

fragge said :

That’s right. Reducing the amount of CO2 you pump into a box doesn’t reduce the amount of CO2 you’ve already pumped into the box. Carbon dioxide doesn’t just magically disappear because you stop creating it.

Mmmm, so in your analogy, the atmosphere is the box? …and carbon dioxide never leaves the atmosphere eh? Or is the planet the box? …and we are pumping the CO2 in from outside? I don’t get it.

The atmosphere is the box – how do you think the atmosphere traps heat? Just because the earth is an open system (receieves radiation, radiates) doesn’t mean it has good transfer. In fact, that trapping effect of Water Vapor/Methane/CO2/greenhouse gases is what keeps us alive. The CO2 doesn’t just fly off into space on its own, similar to how you don’t suddenly beam up 100kms into the sky once you stop concentrating on standing still. Some is absorbed gradually through plant life (plant growth improves DRAMATICALLY with CO2 levels above 400ppm), most of the rest is stored through other natural processes such as heat transfer from the ocean, but is then usually re-released over time.

Here’s an article in Nature Climate Change (science journal, first google attempt) – http://www.nature.com/climate/2008/0812/full/climate.2008.122.html

Money quote: “Instead of pinning an absolute value on the atmospheric lifetime of CO2, the 2007 report describes its gradual dissipation over time, saying, “About 50% of a CO2 increase will be removed from the atmosphere within 30 years, and a further 30% will be removed within a few centuries. The remaining 20% may stay in the atmosphere for many thousands of years.” But if cumulative emissions are high, the portion remaining in the atmosphere could be higher than this, models suggest. Overall, Caldeira argues, “the whole issue of our long-term commitment to climate change has not really ever been adequately addressed by the IPCC.””

breda breda 3:56 am 29 Jun 11

If it is self-evident that the world is going to hell in a handbasket because of human-caused CO2, how come the government has to keep using our taxes to explain why they need to impose more taxes?

Looking down the list of lucky grantees (remember that next time you need a bed in TCH) it bears an uncanny resemblance to Ian Warden’s School of Inconsequential Studies. I must say that it was disappointing that there were no grants for interpretative dance, which is the modern equivalent of street theatre. We all remember how the money granted to street theatre in the 80s and 90s changed our lives and political views.

We are wiser now, and allocate some of our funds to organisations that stand to benefit from hoped for future subsidies.

p1 p1 8:39 pm 28 Jun 11

fragge said :

That’s right. Reducing the amount of CO2 you pump into a box doesn’t reduce the amount of CO2 you’ve already pumped into the box. Carbon dioxide doesn’t just magically disappear because you stop creating it.

Mmmm, so in your analogy, the atmosphere is the box? …and carbon dioxide never leaves the atmosphere eh? Or is the planet the box? …and we are pumping the CO2 in from outside? I don’t get it.

Classified Classified 7:35 pm 28 Jun 11

Thanks to The Loraxes for edumacating me…

shadow boxer shadow boxer 6:25 pm 28 Jun 11

housebound said :

shadow boxer said :

Well if we stop producing it, it seems logical it will go away, or at least stabilise.

Feel free to address my other points…

Well, we’ld all better stop breathing and distribute corks to cow and sheep stations.

Agriculture is exempt from the carbon tax and their emissions are more than absorbed by the trees,

Next….

fragge fragge 6:07 pm 28 Jun 11

pajs said :

Fragge, thanks for the rant. Always good to see people who don’t ‘believe’ in anthropogenic global warming prepared to argue from their evidence base, scanty, absent or wingnutted as that may be.

Oh pajs, your response is almost cut and pasted from every other e-hero I’ve talked to, does that website you linked have a template for arguing with people that strongly disagree with anthropogenic climate change? First of all, I resent your usage of the word ‘believe’ – if you need to ‘believe’ in something, its not worth ‘believing’. Let me go through your counter points and put us both on the same page here so you don’t seem quite so lost.

pajs said :

If I have it right, you argue:
1. Reducing or ‘levelling-out’ emissions won’t make a difference to global temperature.

That’s right. Reducing the amount of CO2 you pump into a box doesn’t reduce the amount of CO2 you’ve already pumped into the box. Carbon dioxide doesn’t just magically disappear because you stop creating it.

pajs said :

2. Because a person does not live for nearly as long as Earth has been a habitable planet, individual (and communal?) actions on emissions and climate change are pointless.

This one you’re way off on – the point I was trying to make is that humans have a psychological tendancy to inflate self-importance (one basic example is Narcissism) and the importance of elements of their life, because its required for us as a species to succeed and survive. I was trying to draw a link as to why this is, and why this shallow view of the Universe (100 years lived out of 16 billion, less than 0.0000001% of the Universe’s matter observed collectively over that time) means that any conclusion we draw about the workings of a machine (Earth, in case you misinterpret that too) that is billions of years old using only accurate data from the past 200 years (and only proper global data from the past 100) is going to be FAR from perfect, nor is it an accurate representation of patterns over long periods of time. Now, if we don’t have an agreeably accurate representation of climate patterns over a long time, how on earth can you say to me that the planet is DEFINATELY warming? You can only claim that, statistically, using a model (based again, on the same data that is being fed into it), you have determined that your model/record shows a warming in itself. Its like tuning a guitar to itself – sure it sounds right, but check it against an accurate reference and it no longer sounds right.

As an aside point (tied to the one above), because humans are biased by their short life-spans as well as the perceived fickleness of our species, they have a tendency to exaggerate in order to provoke change. This is probably why the idea of “Global Warming” took off so rapidly, just as “Global Cooling” did – its like firing a rifle whilst standing in a flock of birds.

pajs said :

3. Something about the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (or changes in that amount) being small means it can’t be significant (or is pointless, or something).

? You mean because I said 400 ppm is laughably small? That’s because IT IS. In the past 600 million years, only the Carboniferous Period and our present age have had atmospheric levels of CO2 less than 400 ppm. Sure, CO2 increases temperature in a system. I don’t dispute that. But my point still stands, if the carbon dioxide concentration of this planet increases, the planet will not die. We might. But the planet’s fine. Don’t act like its anything otherwise.

But I stated that pretty clearly didn’t I pajs? Ohhhhhh pajs, if your understanding of the english in my comment is weak, how can I expect that you understand climate science? Perhaps you simply think you do? Why, because you watched an Inconvenient Truth once? SMH says that 9/10 climate scientists agree that climate change will kill your children?

pajs said :

4. We should not pollute, including polluting the atmosphere (perhaps not following on from #3).

If you disagree, by all means provide a reason why. My reason for why we should not pollute is simple – its good practice not to recklessly spread waste. You don’t throw your cutlery and crockery into the garden when you’re done cooking, you wash them. You don’t let the rubbish build up for the life of your home, you dispose of it properly. Surely the same applies to generating energy.

pajs said :

5. But if we are not to pollute, we should act slowly, even if the need to act is urgent.

You’re assuming the need to act is urgent – its only urgent to an idiot. If we are to provide a realistic, economical and thorough solution to the world’s pollution problem, we must take the time required to nut out all the fine details with all relevant parties – none of this bullshit pressure like Copenhagen, where world leaders are pressured heavily into agreeing with others rather than questioning the benefits of action. Kneejerk reactions are almost always ineffective or at best are not the most desired solution.

pajs said :

6. But CO2 emissions are not linked to warming.

Pajs, again? Read my comment, I said that the increased CO2 emissions of the past 100 years are not linked to the warming we are seeing in the past 20. Heard of a thing called El Nino?

pajs said :

7. And anyway, the planet is cooling.

Hard to know where to start in response to that, really. But how about at the bottom of that list? is it really correct that the planet is cooling or cooling since 1998?

Not really. 2010 is the hottest year on record, tied with 2005. Both of these come after 1998. If you pick a single data set, perhaps one that does not include parts of the Arctic, and then cherrypick a convenient timeseries, it is possible to claim to havefound cooling. But if you remember the ‘global’ part of global climate change (or global warming) and look broadly across the data, including over appropriate timescales, the story is unequivocally one of warming as the planet accumulates more heat.

Try the Intermediate level explanation at http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-cooling-intermediate.htm for a starting point.

Ok, first off, please link me to whatever analysis of raw data shows that 2010 is the hottest year on record, and then show me that the temperature in 2010 is hotter than anything Earth has experienced since life has been present on its surface. Secondly, the link above explicitly states that although the global temperature may appear to cool over short periods, but if you take into account “Earth’s total heat content”, overall the planet is accumulating heat. What isn’t taken into account is that the earlier records in the dataset do NOT include “Earth’s total heat content” – using new information to prove a difference between itself and old information is bad science. This guy is justifying his stance that although the ATMOSPHERE has cooled since 1998, the PLANET has warmed using inconsistent data. Considering the only measurements used for the first half are atmospheric, that kind of defeats the argument doesn’t it?

pajs said :

As for your points about taxation not in and of itself guaranteeing a consumption response (ie reduced emissions), this is the very reason the current proposal is to start with a fixed price (tax) and then move to a floating price under a fixed (reducing) emissions cap – a cap and trade/emissions trading scheme.

What? So it might not work, but lets just permanently tax a COMPOUND just in case, until we work out all the details on how we’ll screw big business over for its money without looking politically unpopular? Good argument.

pajs said :

And as for your last point suggesting that science was predicting global cooling and an impending ice age forty years ago, well, not quite right either. Only a small portion of relevant science at the time suggested cooling – 6 times as many relevant scientists around the time of 1970 predicted warming than cooling. See http://www.skepticalscience.com/ice-age-predictions-in-1970s.htm for more.

So? This was still a serious concern at the time, and the alarmists jumped to the exact same arguments I’m seeing now, the point is valid – humans are fickle, and generally wrong about most things concerning long-term projection. Besides that, you seem to be arguing that the number of scientists that agree on climate change is a measure of whether or not climate change claims are realistic? I’d like to say I expected better of you, but I didn’t.

housebound housebound 5:59 pm 28 Jun 11

shadow boxer said :

Well if we stop producing it, it seems logical it will go away, or at least stabilise.

Feel free to address my other points…

Well, we’ld all better stop breathing and distribute corks to cow and sheep stations.

Anna Key Anna Key 4:55 pm 28 Jun 11

I’m not convinced about this heliocentrism malarkey either.

Anna Key Anna Key 4:40 pm 28 Jun 11

Why didn’t the ACT Libs get a grant?

shadow boxer shadow boxer 3:45 pm 28 Jun 11

Well if we stop producing it, it seems logical it will go away, or at least stabilise.

Feel free to address my other points…

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 3:16 pm 28 Jun 11

shadow boxer said :

and it will all go away

Sigh…

You really need to read a bit more.

shadow boxer shadow boxer 2:59 pm 28 Jun 11

I was at school in the late 70’s early 80’s and I can tell you ice age was the accepted wisdom.

I am happy to take on face value climate change exists and according to the CSIRO we can expect a 1 degree warming over the next 20-30 years. This is the same warming the world has apparently experiencd over the previous 100 years.

The flaw in the carbon tax for Australia arguement that people aren’t buying is we know any Aus reduction will be a miniscule portion of the 1 degree and we aren’t buying the argument that 1 degree will have any significant effect on the way we live.

We will deal with the minor impacts, some land becoming better for farming some worse, higher sea levels etc. and in 50 to 80 years we will have better ways of producing power and powering cars and it will all go away.

The sky is not falling tomorrow and there is no need to put people out of work or punish the middle class.

pajs pajs 2:28 pm 28 Jun 11

Fragge, thanks for the rant. Always good to see people who don’t ‘believe’ in anthropogenic global warming prepared to argue from their evidence base, scanty, absent or wingnutted as that may be.

You’ve managed quite a gallop through some different claims and positions. If I have it right, you argue:
1. Reducing or ‘levelling-out’ emissions won’t make a difference to global temperature.
2. Because a person does not live for nearly as long as Earth has been a habitable planet, individual (and communal?) actions on emissions and climate change are pointless.
3. Something about the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (or changes in that amount) being small means it can’t be significant (or is pointless, or something).
4. We should not pollute, including polluting the atmosphere (perhaps not following on from #3).
5. But if we are not to pollute, we should act slowly, even if the need to act is urgent.
6. But CO2 emissions are not linked to warming.
7. And anyway, the planet is cooling.

Hard to know where to start in response to that, really. But how about at the bottom of that list? is it really correct that the planet is cooling or cooling since 1998?

Not really. 2010 is the hottest year on record, tied with 2005. Both of these come after 1998. If you pick a single data set, perhaps one that does not include parts of the Arctic, and then cherrypick a convenient timeseries, it is possible to claim to havefound cooling. But if you remember the ‘global’ part of global climate change (or global warming) and look broadly across the data, including over appropriate timescales, the story is unequivocally one of warming as the planet accumulates more heat.

Try the Intermediate level explanation at http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-cooling-intermediate.htm for a starting point.

As for your points about taxation not in and of itself guaranteeing a consumption response (ie reduced emissions), this is the very reason the current proposal is to start with a fixed price (tax) and then move to a floating price under a fixed (reducing) emissions cap – a cap and trade/emissions trading scheme.

And as for your last point suggesting that science was predicting global cooling and an impending ice age forty years ago, well, not quite right either. Only a small portion of relevant science at the time suggested cooling – 6 times as many relevant scientists around the time of 1970 predicted warming than cooling. See http://www.skepticalscience.com/ice-age-predictions-in-1970s.htm for more.

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