Post # 2015. Global heating and economics.

provocation # 167 Global heating and economics.

Is there any realistic hope for dealing with climate? A few interviews show that many people have a very inaccurate understanding of what’s up. For Example, a car with a full tank of gas. What happens to the gas as the tank is used for driving. The question was “How much exhaust does your car produce from a tank of gas. Some answers:

A:(Person with a new Lincoln)I have a good new car and there seem to be no exhausts, not like my old car where you could see them.

A: (Hybrid Prius Owner. )None.

A:(several year old Ford)I don’t know, I guess a cup full. I don’t see any.

The reality is that a tank of gas, let’s say ten gallons, as it burns combines the carbon in the fuel with oxygen and the result is each gallon of gas, which weighs about 6 pounds produces out the tailpipe about 20 pounds of co2, or 200 pounds that will now be suspended in the air along with the exhaust from the two billion vehicles in use, close to a quarter of a ton for each time we fill up the tank.

(The following from

How can 6 pounds of gasoline create 19 pounds of Carbon dioxide? It seems impossible that a gallon of gasoline, which weighs about 6.3 pounds, could produce 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned. However, most of the weight of the CO2 doesn’t come from the gasoline itself, but the oxygen in the air. When gasoline burns, the carbon and hydrogen separate. The hydrogen combines with oxygen to form water (H2O), and carbon combines with oxygen to form carbon dioxide (CO2).

CO2 molecule with one carbon atom (atomic weight 12) and two oxygen atoms (atomic weight of 16 each)A carbon atom has a weight of 12, and each oxygen atom has a weight of 16, giving each single molecule of CO2 an atomic weight of 44 (12 from carbon and 32 from oxygen). Therefore, to calculate the amount of CO2 produced from a gallon of gasoline, the weight of the carbon in the gasoline is multiplied by 44/12 or 3.7. Since gasoline is about 87% carbon and 13% hydrogen by weight, the carbon in a gallon of gasoline weighs 5.5 pounds (6.3 lbs. x .87). We can then multiply the weight of the carbon (5.5 pounds) by 3.7, which equals 20

Everyone on earth should know this.


Global warming and economics. Nordhaus got rave reviews for winning the Nobel. It is always mentioned that he discusses climate, but reading through some of his papers and book, the focus is on carbon tax. And he is honest about how long it will take, but he doesn’t then react with “ok, here is what needs to happen. Most recent interview, from the NYT few days ago.

The New York Times

“One of my very, very few disappointments in Obama when he was president is that he did not come out in favor of carbon tax. I’m sure he did the political calculus on this. He should have come out and talked not just about climate change and its dangers but how to use a carbon tax to fix it. He was a great speaker a great educator but this is one where he let us down, I think.”

The implication that a carbon tax would fix it is confusing people The reality is that if we stopped ALL carbon fuel use tomorrow, Tuesday, ALL, We would still face a devastating future from climate heating and its consequences for agriculture, migrations, and wars, all leading to the dislocation of people from their current circumstances of trying to live.

The interviewer asks: “How do you think a carbon tax could get bipartisan support? Nordhaus responds:

“Things change over the long run. What is toxic or opposed in one generation gradually becomes accepted in the next. Social security took a long time. It was opposed for many, many decades but since Reagan is has been widely accepted.”

Again the interviewer: Do we have enough time to avoid the warming that will bring severe and damaging effects of climate change?

It’s not going to happen in time for 1.5 degrees. It’s very unlikely to happen for 2 degrees. We’d have to be very pessimistic about the economy or optimistic about technology for 2 degrees. If we start moving very swiftly in the next 20 years, we might able to avoid 2 degrees, but if we don’t do that, we’re in for to changes in the Earth’s system that we can’t begin to understand in depth. Warming of 4, 5, 6 degrees will bring changes we don’t understand because it’s outside the range of human experience in the last 100,000 to 200,000 years. We’ve been going backward for the last two years. Maybe we can stop going backward and start going forward.

Can we do better? Chandran Nair’s Sustainable State makes a serious attempt. He lays out the logic for a single state with the authority to make major decisions. But he too does not lay out a political or violent process that could actually create such a state.

`Is there any group of wise people who could call for a global shift to such governance now? The US Declaration of Independence reads:


When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.


Would it be possible to run the process backward? “When in the course of human event it becomes necessary to renew the bonds…”?. Global heating and economics

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