Climate

Bear with me, readers — it does matter why Pielke, his Nature article, and the Breakthrough Institute are wrong

This is all going some where. It is going to take two more posts to explain why the Nature article and Pielke are wrong, dangerously wrong, I think.

This issue of insisting we must wait for energy technology breakthroughs that rarely come (as explained here) vs. deploying our existing or near-term technology as fast as is humanly possible is perhaps the central climate debate of the day, one we can’t afford to lose. That’s why I blog so much on it.

I also think readers of this blog probably want to use technical terms correctly and perhaps want to understand why some people choose not to.

As for the Breakthrough Institute, that is a more powerful and dangerous entity than Pielke, and it will take some time to debunk them. The thing to ask yourself is — if they are really on the side of solving this problem, why do they keep attacking Al Gore, one of the biggest allies the climate-savers have (see here)? Why do they say things like:

From development to deployment, there are still many hurdles to implementing new clean energy systems, and it is going to take technological breakthroughs to clear those hurdles.

How can breakthroughs overcome the classic hurdles like utility regulations that favor generation over efficiency, or hurdles that favor large central generation over more distributed generation, or that grandfather dirty coal plants or a thousand other well-documented hurdles that can only be fixed by chaning policy?

Why do they keep attacking a straw-man Rush Limbaugh view of environmentalists (and me):

In this debate, the traditional environmental remedies of lifestyle change and pollution regulations will be revealed as so massively inadequate to the climate challenge we face as to be largely irrelevant. Thanks to folks like Joe Romm and the editors at Grist, environmentalists will be the last to know.

Does any reader think that this describes most of the environmentalists pursuing climate action? Of course not. It doesn’t describe a single environmentalist or energy person I know. Does it describe my proposed solutions or those of Dave Roberts at Grist? Of course not. It describes the exact opposite of what I (and Dave) are trying to do.

So why does B.I. keep saying things that are so clearly wrong?

I’m gonna have to deal with that next week, since I have two more Pielke posts, plus the solution to global warming (!) to blog on the rest of this week.

38 Responses to Bear with me, readers — it does matter why Pielke, his Nature article, and the Breakthrough Institute are wrong

  1. Michael Shellenberger says:

    There you go again. Once again misrepresenting our position. You claim our position is that “we must wait for energy technology breakthroughs.” We have never made such a claim. I challenge you to find anything we’ve written that says we must wait. We’ve said the opposite: we must immediately deploy available technologies through a variety of policy mechanisms, from government procurement to regulation.

    So what gives, Joe? Why do you keep making this stuff up?

  2. Dano says:

    So what gives, Joe? Why do you keep making this stuff up?

    He has crafted the perfect policy. You haven’t, yet are getting more publicity. In order to sell the perfect policy, one must have more publicity. Or perhaps there is a mild derangement occurring.

    No one can tell why a potential partner must be made an enemy and delay societal directioning.

    Maybe its a delaying tactic.

    Best,

    D

  3. Michael,
    I do think Joe does go too far in throwing epithets your way but I am having trouble finding anything on your site that suggests that aggressive policy drivers are going to have a serious effect. It’s all about (government I guess) technology investment.

    In the blurbs on the front page of your website, policy drivers and regulation are treated as tiresome old stuff…the problem is that they have never been really tried yet for AGW….so how can they be tiresome and old?

    Maybe they are tiresome and old in terms of the discussion which you and Ted are personally bored with, but not in terms of actual implementation.

  4. Paul K says:

    Joe,
    You are just flat wrong that it is an either/or situation. No one but you reads the Nature article and Pielke et al positions and sees any hindrance or delaying of deployment by development or research as ably defined by Earl Killian and John Mashey.

  5. Ted Nordhaus says:

    Stranger To Himself

    Joe Romm in the post above:

    “Does any reader think that this describes most of the environmentalists pursuing climate action? Of course not. It doesn’t describe a single environmentalist or energy person I know.”

    Joe Romm on Sunday on what will be necessary to stop global warming:

    ” 1. Major political change — to deploy the technologies fast enough. My first take on this is at “Is 450 ppm (or less) politically possible? Part 1.”
    2. Major price change — to add a cost to emitting greenhouse gases that approximates the terrible damage done by them. All the technology advances in renewables (or nuclear or coal with carbon capture) that you can plausibly imagine in the next decade won’t make coal cost-uneffective — this is a critical point to understand.
    3. Major behavior change — Most people need to understand at a visceral level that unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions are the gravest threat to the health and well-being of future generations that we face (by far). If we get the needed political and price change much of the behavior change will follow. But not all. Climate change is probably going to have to get much more visibly worse before we see widespread and significant behavior change — much as few people make a dramatic change in their diet and exercise before the heart trouble occurs.”

    Points 2 and 3 not only sound like a lot of environmentalists I know, Joe, they sound like you.

  6. Paul K says:

    Michael Shellenberger,
    The only way I know to placate the passionate host of this blog is to either make a substantial wager on a climate event or present an outline of a plan to stabilize CO2 concentrations at 450 – 500 ppm by 2040. If you are new to climate progress, I hope you will believe me that the readers here are remarkably polite, honestly curious, knowledgeable and reasonable successful. I’m sure many of us regulars are wondering how in two more possibly excruciating posts Joe will be able to justify his apparent misreading of the Pielke Nature article, his condemnation of Nature and his comments about the Breakthrough Institute, which I had never heard of before seeing it here. They say it doesn’t matter what they print as long as the spell your name right, so I hope you’ll rise above it a little as the dust settles on this.

  7. Teryn Norris says:

    Joe, in your previous post you stated:

    “Obviously carbon per GDP can go in a completely different direction than energy per GDP.”

    This was very misleading within the context of the debate and stands in complete opposition to the long-term historical trend. Why won’t you admit your mistake, present the true graph of carbon per GDP, and leave your readers better informed?

  8. Mark Shapiro says:

    Joe,
    As usual I’m having trouble keeping up with your posts. BUT – you are right that IPCC and Nakicenovic say that decarbonization has been slow but steady for two centuries. (0.3% per year in carbon intensity of energy and 0.9% decline in energy per GDP yields about 1.2% drop in carbon/GDP per year).

    Pielke cites data, from HYDE, that seems to disagree with this IPCC conclusion. I lean toward IPCC, but this could be honest differences in the data that could take years to sort out, while the fossils burn.

    But isn’t he agreeing that we need to decarbonize very quickly, starting this afternoon? I think we all agree there.

  9. Tom says:

    I wonder if to some degree that a post with the heading along the lines of ‘Why Pielke, Nature article and Breakthrough Institute are wrong’ doesn’t breed a lot of confusion.

    Joe doesn’t seem to disagree with what I took away as the overwhelming message from the Nature commentary: the assumptions used by the United Nations climate change panel seem to have been too optimistic. Therefore, the long-term problem of global warming is likely to be worse than feared, and the assumptions about the best solutions and policies may be inadequate.

    The press coverage I saw of the article came to this conclusion. Most blog posts I’ve seen on the article focused on this aspect of it, with a general sense of alarm.

    Saying the Nature commentary was wrong gives the sense that Pielke and his colleagues were mistaken about their dire forecast. That’s the sense I took away from Joe’s first comments on it.

    The differences really seem to be where to focus our energies. Saying Pielke has his misplaced his priorities makes more sense than saying he’s wrong.

    I sense there’s a lot more going on here than I realize.

  10. Ken Levenson says:

    It’s a strange bunch:
    B.I. says they’re for a CO2 concentration goal but don’t actually propose one.
    They say they’re for policy driven answers but aren’t proposing any.
    They say they’re for a broad set of initiatives but appear fixated on technology.
    They say they’re for a new paradigm but are fixated on the term “environmentalists”.

    B.I., anybody can be a critic. It would be a much greater help if you actually propose some answers.

    On the other hand Joe has proposed specific CO2 goals, proposed a broad range of initiatives to get there (and appears to be soon announcing more) and comes to the debate from the energy side of the table while embracing all “factions” of the climate change “movement” including the “environmentalists”.

    Joe has substantive questions about the Nature piece and B.I.’s half-hearted attempt to answer with self-quotation, has fueled a dynamic of discourse best left to the right-wing.

    Rather that go tit-for-tat, it would be good if B.I. merely states unequivocally what the target CO2 concentrations should be and by what date, and by what menu of options do they propose to get there and how do they plan to expend some of their energy to make it happen.

  11. Joe says:

    Bear with me for an hour or two longer, Tom. When I say wrong, I mean they are wrong.

  12. john says:

    One of the great insights in Joe’s book was the explanation for why deniers deny — it’s not the problem they object to, it’s the solution. If global warming is real, then we need government programs, market intervention and regulations and all those things that conservatives love to hate.

    To me, the reason the BI guys are so dangerous is that they are simply mouthing a more sophisticated version of Luntz’s meme — talk up the technology.

    Shellenberger’s protestation seems particularly lame since the whole purpose of their rants seems to be to render regulation as “irrelevant” (their word not mine).

    Well, not the whole point. They also seem to want to lay claim to discovering a new, less interventionist form of achieving environmental results — unfortunately for them, most of what they reveal as startlingly new ideas have been around for nearly 3 decades — EPA under Habicht and Reilly centered environmental policy around prevention, sustainability, the use of information and what we termed back then, soft interventions — approaches that harnessed market forces, and established limits and caps, leaving the exact technologies and strategies to the regulated community.
    Good stuff, but AGW will require a mix of hard regulation; soft interventions; social engineering; and industrial policy.

    And the reason the BI BS matters is that they are trying to discredit the hard solutions by setting up a strawman — a magic technology off in the future that makes all this silly interventionist big gubmin’t stuff unnecessary.

    So, to me, BI is merely advancing a slightly more sophisticated delaying tactic: admit the problem, but decry the solution (the fact that they’re trying to claim ownership of a 3 decade old strategy as the next new, new thing only makes their position that much more egregious).

  13. Paul K says:

    Ken Levenson,
    I also encourage BI to outline a fossil fuel replacement plan. Maybe they think they already have. I haven’t looked much at their website and probably won’t until after Joe puts up his two finishing posts on this topic.

  14. Teryn Norris says:

    Joe, Ken, and John:

    BI helped organize a Congressional sign-on letter of over 30 top energy scientists, including four Nobel Laureates, calling for a minimum of $30 billion annual federal investment to “develop, demonstrate, and stimulate the commercialization of a range of technologies that can provide affordable carbon-neutral energy and use that energy more wisely.”

    That’s because the process of innovation — sometimes vaguely referred to as “breakthroughs” — includes several stages beyond early-stage research and development. And by “breakthroughs” we’ve been consistent in our meaning: advances in the performance and price of current clean energy systems, in addition to brand-new technologies and systems.

    In “Fast, Clean, Cheap” we reiterate this point: “Technological breakthroughs are needed to boost the performance of current clean energy technologies and to decrease the cost of deploying them. Without these breakthroughs, the costs of these technologies are too high, and their performance and return on investment too low, to justify private sector investment in their widespread deployment.”

    We need all of it. The difference is that we believe the explicit goal should be policies aimed at decreasing the price and increasing the performance of these technologies as rapidly as possible to allow for wide-spread commercialization — not vague and indefinite “deployments of existing technology,” as Romm tends to support, and not excluding R&D. And we do not believe a price on carbon can achieve this without massive levels of federal investment in all stages of the innovation chain.

    So why are you making this stuff up? It’s time to drop attacks and support our calls for major federal investments. Who knows — perhaps you’re intentionally trying to delay.

  15. Ted Nordhaus says:

    John, you are just dead wrong that we wish to render regulation irrelevant. Had you bothered to read the post in question, rather than Joe’s very selective rendering of it, you’d find that we said:

    “We strongly support carbon regulation that establishes a modest, sustainable, and consistent price for carbon. We support increasing energy efficiency standards and the establishment of renewable portfolio standards at the national level. But without immediate and exponential increases in direct public investment in the development, demonstration, and deployment of new, nascent, and mature clean energy technologies alike, pricing and regulatory policies alone will have negligible impacts upon the trajectory of global carbon emissions. ”

    This is our position today and has been our position for years. We have stated this explicitly in numerous responses to Romm and other critics who have intentionally and repeatedly misrepresented our position in an effort to discredit us. So ask yourself: why has Joe repeatedly and deliberately misrepresented our position?

    Ken, once again you have misrepresented our position and our work. As the above quote demonstrates, we are advocates of “immediate and exponential increases in direct public investment in the development, demonstration, and deployment of new, nascent, and mature clean energy technologies alike.” This has been the primary focus of our work on climate since we cofounded the Apollo Alliance back in 2003. It is not a non-interventionist strategy. Nor do we propose to “leave the exact technologies to the regulated community.” Quite the opposite.

    We support stabilizing at 450 and would support 350 if anyone could offer a credible path to get there. But all the talk of targets is just talk without the technology to get us there.

    Joe disagrees and claims that he has a plan relying on existing commercial or near commercial technology that can achieve these targets. We welcome a serious debate about these questions here and at the Breakthrough blog. But a serious debate would require one to accurately represent the arguments of ones adversaries and let ones arguments and data speak for itself. Joe to date has shown no inclination to engage in such a debate. Rather he has consistently misrepresented our work and our position and attempted to smear us as right wing deniers.

  16. JMG says:

    Here you have a perfect example of what the “technology” crowd is selling:

    Airbus boss rejects carbon taxes, limitations on flying — says “technology is the solution”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080409/sc_afp/nzealandaerospaceairbusclimatewarming_080409072231;_ylt=AkrlV19qEJ.o..Etll_UcThrAlMA

  17. Lindsay Meisel says:

    John: Breakthrough has never said we want to render regulation “irrelevant.” As I write here:

    “…a price for carbon alone is ecologically irrelevant. We need a policy agenda that includes a government investment commensurate to the monumental size of the challenge.”

    Please stop taking our words out of context. We don’t “want” regulation to be irrelevant; we’re simply observing that it already is. It’s quite clear that what we’re saying is that without fast, cheap, and readily available clean energy technologies, carbon regulation will always be ecologically irrelevant. If we try to implement a price for carbon without also heavily investing in clean technology, we’re wasting our efforts.

  18. Ted Nordhaus says:

    Joe meet JMG. Now you know two environmentalists who focus on pollution regulation and lifestyle change as the primary tools to address climate change, JMG and you.

  19. Paul K says:

    JMG,
    I read the article. What’s your problem with Airbus? They are leaders in implementing available technologies and developing those in the pipeline. Actively pursuing efficiencies cannot in any way be described as delaying.

  20. Ken Levenson says:

    Ted,

    I think you short circuit your plea to change the character of the debate with your return volley. Let’s agree to disagree regarding accusations – the data is another matter – as there is so much talking past each other it’s feeling like middle school.

    In the interest of pushing ahead – are we are saying these general principals are broadly agreed?

    1. decarbonizing energy supplies
    2. radically increasing efficiencies
    3. massive investment in R&D
    4. carbon capping, taxing and trading
    5. sweeping public policies driven by these necessities

    Fair?

    None questions the need for massive investment in R&D, and EVERYONE is fighting for it – the more technological breakthroughs the better.

    Three questions:

    1. Can we also all agree with Jim Hansen and call for a halt to the construction of new CO2 emitting coal power plants?
    2. Then can we agree to actively work to progressively shut down existing coal power plants?
    3. What mechanism can we use to make this happen sooner than later?

    (I’m hoping my first post here will address the last question.)

  21. Joe says:

    TED– WHAT’S YOUR CO2 Price?

    You say I sound like environmentalist because I think we need a “major price change.” Then you say, you support a “modest, sustainable, and consistent price for carbon.”

    Can you ballpark that price for me? Apparently you don’t want the market to set it on the basis of whatever is needed to achieve 450 ppm, as I do, which will certainly be a major price, which I would define as a price roughly equal to or greater than the current European price — $23 Euros a ton of CO2.

    So you would set a “modest” price and hope that works? I can’t go with you there, sorry!

  22. David B. Benson says:

    Ted Nordhaus wrote “We support stabilizing at 450 and would support 350 if anyone could offer a credible path to get there.” It is not difficult. Just takes $$.

    Proodcue carbonaceous materials via pyrolysis, torrification or hydrothermal carbonization.
    Bury carbonaceous materials in abandoned mines or carbon landfills.

    That alone suffices, but could also burn biofuels with CCS. Particularly attractive sounding (so far) is the idea of sequestering the captured CO2 in the carbaonaceous materials buried. The carbon with adsorb quite a bit of CO2, which in tyurn will protect the carbonaceous materials from biological degradation.

  23. Ted Nordhaus says:

    Joe,

    For a guy so ready to take a 2X4 to the head of anybody who you believe has misused or misunderstands technical terminology, you are awfully sloppy yourself. The current EU carbon price is $23E per ton of carbon, not CO2. If you meant to write per ton of carbon, then we are largely in agreement as to what a modest price for carbon would be, if not what it’s effects on carbon emissions and prospects for achieving 450 ppm will likely be.

    If you actually meant $23E per ton of CO2, a price almost four times the current EU price for carbon then we disagree, both as to the price point and it’s likely efficacy.

  24. Ted Nordhaus says:

    David,

    We could potentially do as you say but in the real world cost will always be an issue. That is why we believe so strongly that driving down the real, unsubsidized, deployed costs of clean energy technologies as rapidly as possible is the single most important thing that we need to do. Aggressive deployment of existing technology is appropriate where doing so will rapidly improve cost and deployment curves to the point that those technologies are cost competitive in unsubsidized, deployed terms not only here but in the developing world, where prospects for establishing any price for carbon, and hence driving up the cost of conventional energy sources, most notably coal, are dim.

  25. Ted Nordhaus says:

    Correction. I believe I confused the standard generally used in the EU, carbon not CO2, with the pricing of EUA in the EU ETS which appears to be CO2. Joe’s statement of the carbon price in the EU appears to be correct. One which I believe will primarily drive efficiency and conventional fuel switching, not rapid adoption of alternative technologies.

  26. In response to this debate, I’ve formulated a list of 20 technologies that can mitigate over 90% of our greenhouse gas emissions:

    http://terraverde.wordpress.com/2008/04/09/20technologies/

    or

    http://www.greenthoughts.us

    Hope to shed more light than heat with this contribution.

  27. tidal says:

    So, according to Ted’s points above, Breakthrough Institute “support(s) carbon regulation that establishes a modest, sustainable, and consistent price for carbon”, and, er, that modest, sustainable price should be about 1/4 of the current (and rising…) EU targets… right, got it… thanks… Well, I’d like to stick around, but I really gotta go back to work on my next-gen-nano-solar-nuclear jet… it’s gonna be a real paradigm-shifting technology discontinuity, I tell ya… and super cheap to boot!

  28. The assumption Romm makes is that a price on carbon dioxide can do much of the heavy lifting for deploying clean energy technologies. But the price carbon dioxide would have to reach for technologies like solar to be cost competitive is far higher than voters, far more concerned about higher energy prices than global warming, would ever allow.

    In “Fast, Clean and Cheap,” published in the Harvard Law and Policy Review, we used 2007 U.S. Energy Information Administration numbers to calculate how high a price on carbon dioxide would have to be in order to make existing clean energy technologies cost-competitive with coal.

    For solar PV to be cost-competitive, the price per ton of CO2 would have to be $220. For solar thermal to be cost-competitive, the price per ton of CO2 would have to be $92. Wind does better at $13, but neither the costs for wind nor solar count the cost of storage, which is required for those technologies to compete at base load.

    Thus, for an available technology like solar to become something closer to 20 percent of our electricity mix some day, it will require sustained investments in R&D and deployment to achieve the technological breakthroughs required to bring down its price.

    It’s notable that the recent Scientific American article about solar — “A Grand Plan for Solar” — put the price tag for its grand plan at $420 billion. The authors understood that we can’t wait for a price on carbon dioxide to reach $220 or $92. Whether or not you agree with the grand plan (I’m undecided whether it’s a good investment) what’s clear that we can’t price carbon dioxide high enough for it to make sense for private firms to solar farms to provide 35 percent of America’s energy needs by 2050.

    Like past investments in everything from dam building to microchips, any grand plan to scale up solar enough for it to constitute an emissions stabilization “wedge” will require direct federal investment.

  29. Michael,
    Or private investment directed by market mechanisms like feed in tariffs.

    Eventually this is going to be paid for by taxpayers/consumers in two forms: either payments for services and goods and/or through taxes.

    In the end it will be a mixture of the two sources.

    I think you guys are hung up on government as the only consumer/payer and therefore paying exclusively through tax revenue.

    You also underestimate the importance of paying more for energy and the behavioral and economic effects that will have on people….yes that sounds like “old environmentalism” but there is a sound economic rationale behind it. The Europeans and Japanese pay more for energy and they are much more efficient with it than we are, even us Californians.

  30. David B. Benson says:

    Ted Nordhaus wrote “… cost will always be an issue.” Of course. Could come out of the pockets of taxpayers in developed countries. I estimate about 1–2% of the world’s GDP suffices.

    Alternatively, consider the costs of burning biomass plus CCS. Torrified wood will compete successfully with $(US) 80 per short ton coal for burning in utilities’ coal reactors, the current delivered price for Central Appalachian coal. Add an assumed $(US) 20 per short ton of coal equivalent for the CCS. That’s $(US) 100 per ton Central Appalachian coal equivalent. That is likely to be the actual cost of the coal in 2–3 years. In the meantime, subsidize it.

    Note: The CCS cost might be 2–3 times the stated cost. Subsidize that portion.

  31. Ted Nordhaus says:

    Tidal,

    A carbon price that is not high enough to drive rapid deployment of clean energy technologies but that significantly raises energy prices and risks significant public backlash is the worst of both worlds. That is why we have consistently taken the position that we ought to have a modest price that is consistent, stable and politically sustainable. The price necessary to drive wholesale transition to clean energy technologies is higher than most, if not all democracies are likely to tolerate (and much higher than present or future carbon prices in the EU are likely to rise). So rather than fight a pitched battle to increase carbon prices to levels that become increasingly unsustainable politically even as they do not approach levels that will drive deep reductions in emissions and rapid transition to renewables, we believe we are much better served accepting a lower price paired with very large direct public investments in technology to drive down the price of clean energy alternatives rapidly such that they are cost competitive with a lower carbon price.

    To be sure, the higher we set the carbon price, the less we need to drive down the cost of clean energy technologies before they are cost competitive. But if we are serious about seeing real progress as soon as possible we are better served accepting lower carbon prices paired with higher public investment than holding our breath until we get higher carbon prices which may not be sustainable politically once the American public receives the bill in the form of higher energy prices.

    This is all the more true given that the challenge is not simply to reduce US carbon emissions but to dramatically reduce global carbon emissions. So even if we are able to establish high carbon prices such that clean energy technologies becomes cost competitive at higher prices in the US, we are unlikely to see similarly high carbon prices established in India and China. So the explicit objective of US climate policies must not be simply to reduce our own carbon emissions but to the rapidly drive down the cost of clean energy technologies in real, deployed, unsubsidized terms such that they are cost competitive in developing economies where there will likely be no price for carbon. If we do not accomplish the latter objective very rapidly, we are quite simply sunk.

    All of the above is the reason that we put much more emphasis on making clean energy vastly cheaper than on making dirty energy vastly more expensive and hence are more willing to accept lower carbon prices in exchange for much higher public technology investments.

  32. Geoff Sherrington says:

    Let me sink you all with one short salvo.

    1. The energy density for solar, geothermal and wind is so low that there will always be a need for backup base load systems using concentrated energy. Alt eng has never been seriously considered because the energy balances have been known for decades and they are not able to change much (e.g. incident watt per sq m of sunlight).

    2, You can place as many imposts as you chhose to design on fossil fuel burning, and you can trade in emissions. All plausible outcomes I have seen produce a significant drop in standard of living. Any emission trading scheme that collects money from GHG emitters and gives it to others, is giving it to others who will prodece their own GHG. There is practically no way to spend extra money without ptoducing extra GHG. Name one?

    3. Many bogus forestry schems are already in action. If you do your sums, you will fing that sequestration is significant if (and only if) (a) the mass of carbon per unit area is increased by the forestry and (b) that mass, or near to it, is maintained IN PERPETUITY. FOREVER. Otherwise you just make a little blip on the graph as the land reverts to BAU.

    4. The ONLY technology that satisfies main criteria is nuclear. Show me wrong and I’ll give you a lolly.

  33. Joe says:

    Geoff is gonna give me a lolly!! Oh, boy.

  34. Colin Beavan says:

    Joe, Michael and Ted–
    For what it’s worth, I’m just a schlub who writes and blogs about climate and environmental-related behavior change at the individual (drive less, by way of trivial example) and cultural (land use policies so we all can drive less, for example) levels. I’m not an expert on climate change by any means.

    But you want to know what scares me to death? That people like you, whom people like me turn to for guidance, are wasting time calling each other names and then, even worse, are arguing about whether you’ve called each other names.

    We don’t have time for this! Honest to God, please. And if you are going to have pissing matches. Can you please have them in private where every member of the press can read them? It’s a massive distraction. And besides it’s so boringly stereotypical of progressives to indulge themselves in public infighting.

    You guys should not be fighting a PR battle against each other but against Exxon. Be smarter about this, would you? When exchanging ideas publically do it in respectful ways. You don’t even really disagree that much.

    I don’t want to read in the Times about how people in the climate change camp are arguing with each other. I want to read about how they are working together to come up to integrate a lot of important ideas.

    If you guys can’t stop the name calling in public, then you know what? You are all delayers. You, too, Joe.

    All the best,
    Colin Beavan aka No Impact Man

  35. Joe says:

    Colin — I love ya babe, but if “you don’t want to read in the Times about how people in the climate change camp are arguing with each other” you are posting on the wrong website. The Breakthrough folks began the attack on the entire environmental community a few years ago and never stopped. They started attacking Al Gore AND Rachel Carson of all people and continue to this day. You really need to talk to more folks in the community before you post stuff like this. Plus you should read some of the more recent posts.

  36. Garrett says:

    Ok, I think I’ve read enough here…same ol’ same ol’, nothing but bickering. Why can’t everybody implement trials of currently propossed solutions instead of putting eachother on trial? lol. It makes no sense! I hate to write this, but blogging about change isn’t going to change the world. It’ll change SOME peoples lives in very small ways but wont result in the desired change. Get jobs in said fields where change is required to offset climate change instead of complaining about the current people in charge. Make people aware that you can think of better technologies and policies than they can…That’s all I have to write.

    Pay no attention to me, I’m only the REAL elephant in the room.

  37. Donna says:

    It appears to me that this is pointless bickering, childish “I’m right and you’re wrong”. I do not believe there will magically exist a technology that will enable us to continue the way we have for the past 60 years, and quite honestly I don’t think we should. The only way we have a hope is to change our behaviour, not look for ways to continue it. As long as “we” are content to buy veggies grown 2,000 miles away and commute several hours round trip to work, spend ourselves into debt to get the newest, cheaply made gadget from the other side of the world (because there it doesn’t matter how much poison is released or how little employees are paid), just to toss it out a year later because there is something “newer and better”, and mindlessly burn through all the planets resources, there is nothing that will save us. “We” are all commiting slow suicide, while distracting ourselves with mindless entertainment. This argument is just another such distraction, a reason to “stay put”, instead of doing what needs to be done. But then again, no one really wants to know, no one really wants to change, so perhaps it is serving a purpose. More sedatives anyone?

  38. Eli Rabett says:

    Fast, Clean, Cheap for energy reminds one of NASA’s Better Faster Cheaper, to which the engineer’s retort was pick two. Reality as to the nature of technical development is sadly lacking at the Breakthrough Institute.