Report from Warsaw – Who Bears the Cost for Climate Change?

November 28, 2013

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21 Responses to “Report from Warsaw – Who Bears the Cost for Climate Change?”

  1. omnologos Says:

    This is an old issue that I remember discussed some time ago…imagine the enormous problem of adjudicating compensation, maybe through an international court that would decide if a weather event were or were not caused by or even linked to climate change. Imagine also having some system to appeal those decisions, with the possibility of compensations being taken away if the deciding body changes its mind. Etc etc.

    It’d be far fairer to work on an international rapid response programme, specialized in getting disaster areas back to normality as quickly as possible. And in a parallel adaptation fund, protecting people from the storms of today first of all.

  2. The only “just war” is a war of the survival of humanity and Earth’s Life Support systems. Both under threat by our socially enabled capitalistic paradigm and the ability of the few to profit from the pollution and exploitation of the commons. A “We All Win War,” WAWW, can, and in fact, must be fought on all fronts with the mantra of minimal death and maximum good to all life, starting with the poorest of the poor or closest to extinction receiving the most attention. If the military oath to protect the Nation and its people from threats both foreign and domestic then the military ethic must transform itself from a killing machine to a sustainable greening machine. (Who would not want to serve?)

    There is precedence here. One only need go back to the CCC days. Large unemployment. The Nation reeling from the economic disruption of the 20s. Lack of skilled work force in changing economies. Crumbling infrastructure. Concentration of wealth in the hands of the few. Need I go on?
    CCC addressed all that in one “green” effort. The same could address the transformation to the Green Awakening Economy. People can be employed learning and building needed skills. Vast green energy infrastructure could be built using inexpensive labor of the unemployed. Health care and skill base of the population transformed to the Nation’s and World’s advantage.

    We can do that and again become a leader, but more importantly an allies in the “We All Win War” that the rest of the world clearly must address as well if humanity is to stand a chance in hell of long term survival. That must happen PDQ. The door step of doom awaits.

    GO GREEN, resistance is fatal to Earth’s life support systems.

    “War becomes perpetual when used as a rational for peace,” Norman Solomon. “Peace becomes perpetual when used as a rational for survival.” Leif Knutsen

  3. Where’s the money better spent:  paying compensation to third-world countries, or replacing the coal-burners which are causing the problem in the first place?

    • andrewfez Says:

      Indeed so:

      You spend a unit of money that keeps a unit of carbon out of the atmosphere for the first year you invest, but the effect is cumulative over time: at year 1, one unit of carbon is not in the atmosphere; at year 2, two units of carbon are not in the atmosphere; at year 3, 3 units, etc. So your investment has caused a simple straight line of carbon being offset with respect to time. That translates into heat not accumulating (in a logarithmic fashion) and then that translates into damage not occurring (in some exponential fashion, referring to one of those economic cost analyses). So at some point in time, a unit of money spent taking care of the problem equals the amount of money spent on damage. But further out, say at 2 times that given unit of time, because of the cumulative effect and because the damage cost follows some exponential function, the unit of money initially spent saves more than 2 times the cost of damages, and so on.

      So in an example, we could give the Philippines 1 Billion dollars to clean up, or we could spend that money on efficiency or clean energy, and we would effectively offsetting 10 Billion dollars in damages that would have occurred in that country in say the year 2048. Taking care of the problem today is the same thing as giving the Philippines of the future a legal money printing press.

      • Or if you really want to make things right, give the Phillipines $1G of carbon-free generating capacity in return for e.g. a $100/tCO2 tax on imported fuels used for electric generation.

        As little as $40/ton would neutralize the cost advantage that natural gas holds in the USA, and would have stopped at least 2 out of the recent 5 nuclear plant closures.  (It is utterly crazy to have a plant with 20 years to go on its license, and close it because of defects and outright discrimination in the market pricing.  Seriously, Vermont lays out $78 million for fossil-fired generators to keep fuel oil in reserve against gas shortages, while Vermont Yankee is forced to shut down?)

        • redskylite Says:

          “give the Phillipines $1G of carbon-free generating capacity” , is this kind gift from the collective UN international sponsored body that the topic is talking about ?. Here is a statement and vision from an energy concern (Danish) that is starting projects to spread power to 1.3 billion souls who lack any form of reliable power today as a joint (with Masdar in the U.A.E, and Di Frontier a Danish consortium) business venture (not a condescending gift to your perceived third world).

          The compensation is more needed from populations that will lose Islands (and any power generating power facilities they might have) such as in the Pacific. They will lose land in the not so far future, what do you propose we (we being the world by the way) do (if anything for those people). ? Build them man made islands, invite them to you own countries, what ????

          • redskylite Says:

            An article discussing considered artificial island plans for Kiribati (a sea level rise threatened Pacific Island):


          • I suggest we de-carbonize our own energy supplies, and design the processes which replace coal, oil and gas such that they are net carbon-negative.  Extracting 1 ppm of atmospheric CO2 per year should be within our abilities.

          • I finished a post with back-of-the-envelope analyses of various schemes for decarbonization.  The fossil-backed RE either cost too much and didn’t decarbonize enough or cost WAY too much, and the nuclear was the cheapest as well as zero-carbon.


            If you want to examine my math and my assumptions, the post has a link to the spreadsheet I used.

          • redskylite Says:

            “The fossil-backed RE either cost too much and didn’t decarbonize enough or cost WAY too much, and the nuclear was the cheapest as well as zero-carbon.”

            I can accept your conclusions on cost and the Nuclear option may well be the most cost effective way to go for nuclear advanced wealthy countries like the U.S.A to cut down dependency on fossil fuel, which is a no 1 priority in fighting Global Warming/Climate Change . However I applaud and encourage countries like Ethiopia (which you you may perceive as being “third world” – an awful condensing expression left over from the dreaded cold war), who are looking at other ways of weaning off fossil fuels.


          • redskylite Says:

            sorry should read “condescending expression” damn that Dyslexia.

          • I was wondering what was backing up the wind farm, and this piece gave a roundabout answer.  At about 1:06, the Vergnet rep says that the local electricity had been “mainly from this hydro dam, 95 percent”.  So that’s the energy stockpile that the wind farm is helping to conserve, and the rapid-response generation which balances the net demand.  The problem is that conventional hydro is maxed out in most of the developed world.

            Geothermal supplies also feed from an energy stockpile, but they’re even more scarce than hydro resources.  I’m not sure how fast they can be ramped up and down; they have no furnaces, but the turbines may have thermal limits.

        • redskylite Says:

          How did I get here ? – this was an article on who bears the cost for climate change, not “Atomic Insights” and you call me as having an “obsessive phobia”.

          • There’s neither mention of nor link to Rod Adams’ blog anywhere on this page… until this comment makes your oblique reference explicit.  Who has the obsession?

          • redskylite Says:

            OK memory wrong it was induced not obsessive – I find you extremely annoying..take your bars of chocolate and nylon stockings and sexy Southern drawls and leave our birds alone matey goodbye “you have an induced phobia which is not connected to reality. Nuclear power stations cannot explode in fireballs,”

          • And you’re compelled to read this blog by what, exactly?

            Speaking of this blog, it’s written by a Yank.  A Yank who happens to live about two and a half hours’ drive from me, in a city I’ve been to and once applied for a job in.  If you find all of that annoying, I’m sure you can find friendlier chatting in the dot you kay domain.  If creating cognitive dissonance by bringing up facts which call the reigning dogma into question isn’t illegal there yet, I bet it will be soon.

          • fortranprog Says:

            I was so upset I tried to delete my wordpress id, anyway I’ve changed it, just to apologize to any USA citizen if I caused any offence at all with my remark, made in extreme temper (I am approaching 70 with high blood pressure) I actually left the UK in the 1980′s to live and work in an American Corp of Engineers camp near the Iraq/Kuwait border, and feel more at home with Americans than Brits now. All the blogs are mainly denier in the country I now live (not the UK) in so I’ll stick with following the greenman, Anyway Engineer-Poet good luck with the new job.

          • While the title of this post is slightly ironic, I have to recognize that the Monbiot adage is broadly true.  But, as in the climate debate, the energy debate requires that facts be put firmly ahead of dogma.  If that means telling people things they didn’t know (worse, if they would prefer to believe otherwise), the hurt feelings are necessary and unavoidable.

            All these least-bad options.  If this is the best of all possible worlds, the pessimists are right.

  4. redskylite Says:

    Until all major governments, and potential political parties (both left, right and middle) together with the fossil fuel industry take climate change/global warming seriously this question will remain completely unanswered. Any reasonable soul accepts that man is warming the climate by continued use of fossil fuels and our long term future is uncertain. In my country local councils (with various political leanings) are handing out offshore oil exploration permits like candy and big new discoveries are expected – Gulf of Mexico is long forgotten and it is perceived good for our economy. The Arctic is rapidly opening up and being explored and it is calculated there are vast reserves in Antarctica and some countries are eagerly awaiting to pounce there too. Compensation to climate victims will be in the hands of government and charity hand-outs (as they are for non-climate change related disasters) for a long time to come. Collective taxes and compensation is regarded as “socialism” by several world leaders (Mr Abbott of Australia for one) and is strictly off limits. People who lose land/islands because of sea level rise, will be like many native Americans, “the disinherited” by the progress of mankind. Sorry to sound so pessimistic, but that’s the way I read it.

  5. Cy Halothrin Says:

    I don’t think it will be a case of whether or not the developed world will pay compensation to island nations like the Maldives that will disappear beneath the waves. I think the developed world will have its hands full accommodating its own climate refugees from New York, Miami, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Shanghai, Melbourne, etc. By that time, US dollars and Euros will be worth their weight in toilet paper.

  6. so what is the death per ton or emission / death?

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