A paradigm shift?

Ronald Bailey is a correspondent for "reasononline". He was filing reports from the "International conference on climate change". On the first three days his reports simply recorded what transpired at the sessions he attended. Ronald Bailey had "recently come out in favor of using a carbon tax as a way to spur the technological innovation toward a low-carbon energy economy (and incidentally as a way to also reduce taxes on labor and capital)."

A couple of things he heard on the fourth day must have challenged his thinking. First, climatologist Roy Spencer had discovered a "cooling mechanism" in the tropics that was not known when the last UN report on climate was released. In Bailey’s words:

Spencer and his colleagues using satellite data noticed big temperature fluctuations in the tropics in which strong warming was followed by rapid cooling. So Spencer looked at 15 strong intraseasonal oscillations in the tropics to see how clouds evolve. What was known is that tropical storms produce high cirrus clouds. Cirrus clouds are global warming culprits that retain heat and warm the planet. In the climate models, cirrus clouds tend to remain aloft for a long time. However, Spencer’s satellite observations found that they in fact dissipate rapidly, allowing heat to escape back into space and thus cooling the planet.

"To give an idea of how strong this enhanced cooling mechanism is, if it was operating on global warming, it would reduce estimates of future warming by over 75 percent," Spencer noted when the study was published in Geophysical Research Letters.

Climate models,assuming that cirrus clouds persisted, found that surface warming produced a positive feedback in the clouds. In fact, direct observations showed the exact opposite occurred. The clouds would dissipate and cooling would ensue. This is very upsetting to the theory of man made global warming and the need for a carbon tax to mitigate the effect of that warming.

A second challenge came from an economist. Not a good day for a carbon tax advocate.

As John Locke Foundation economist Roy Cordato explained: "A higher tax today means lower production and output of goods and services tomorrow, making future generations materially worse off. In setting a carbon tax you must show that future generations would value the problems solved by reduced global warming more than they would value the goods and services that were foregone." He argued it’s not possible to know the preferences of future generations, but providing them with more wealth and better technologies will give them more options to express whatever preferences they have. Source:http://reason.com/news/show/125323.html

Would this be unsettling news for the government of B.C.? Better that the B.C. government had known all the facts before creating North America’s first carbon tax.

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