Victory Gardens Were Not the Solution to Feeding the World

Feeding all the people in the world is a problem with similarities to climate change. Both are world-scale problems. Both are problems where the solution is critical.

Failing to feed the people of the world would result in mass deaths from starvation. This has been a top concern throughout human history. How we solved the problem of feeding the world provides lessons that apply to solving climate change.

Article Highlights

* Victory Gardens were 10% of total US food needs in WW2 and less than 2% of global food requirements
* Victory gardens could never be the solution to feeding the world. Feeding the world took the billions of tons of food per year from a green revolution of industrial farming, irrigation, fertilizer and new seeds
* the climate change equivalent of Victory Gardens is every person reducing their carbon footprint by changing to electric cars, installing solar panels and stop eating beef
* What if you change your car to an electric car? This mitigation is among the most cost-inefficient methods. Electric cars cost $400 per ton of CO2 avoided. This gets better if utilities switch from coal and natural gas to nuclear, solar and wind. However, switching the power grid also has costs and delays.
* Rooftop solar has a cost of about $150 per tons of CO2.
* There are far better-proven solutions with costs that are less than $1 per ton of CO2 range or less.

Ultimately, Victory gardens had some positive benefit. Small personal actions like getting an electric car or installing solar power do have some positive benefit against climate change. However, these small personal actions do not move the needle on the overall problem.

Even if all cars in the world were changed and all houses in the world had solar on the roof, then global emissions might be 5% less. World population and wealth are still increasing. Emissions are currently still increasing by about 1% per year. The cost for switching the 1.5 to 2 billion cars and adding solar to 1-2 billion homes would be $40-60 trillion. If there was 10% government subsidies then the tax burden would be $4-6 trillion.

Actual effective action is large-scale planting of additional trees. The world already spends $50 billion per year planting trees. There is a company called Biocarbon Engineering that is using drones to plants trees 150 times faster and over 10 times cheaper. If all lumber companies switch to drone tree planting with high-growth trees then an additional 250 billion tons of CO2 could be stored in the form of wood over the next 15 years. The CO2 levels would be reduced by 20 parts per million from 410ppm to 390ppm.

There are those in the climate change movement who are against counting on trees. They argue that trees cannot store quite as much carbon and that it will cost more to plant the trees.

These arguments do not look at
* using the fastest growing trees
* harvesting trees, storing or using the wood and replanting with more fast growth trees
* making the tree planting faster and cheaper with drones
* electrifying the lumber industry over 15-40 years.

Reviewing Victory Gardens

During WW2 there were Victory Gardens. People were encouraged to help with the war effort by growing fruits and vegetables so that more agricultural production could be sent to soldiers and allied countries. 20 million Victory Gardens were planted. The US population in 1940 was 132 million. In 1943, the little plots produced 40 percent of all vegetables consumed in the US. It’s estimated that 9-10 million tons of vegetables were grown over three years.

The world eats about 4 billion tons of food every year. 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted. The problem of feeding the world was solved by green revolutions where farming became vastly more productive.

Today, there are various plans against climate change like the UN IPCC plans or the Green New Deal.

580 Billion tons of CO2 Budget left for 1.5°C Warming But Plus or Minus 900 Billion Tons of CO2

In 2019, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report says that cumulative CO2 emissions are kept within a budget by reducing global annual CO2 emissions to net-zero. This assessment suggests a remaining budget of about 420 billion tons of CO2 for a two-thirds chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C, and of about 580 billion tons of CO2 for an even chance (medium confidence). These estimates come with an additional geophysical uncertainty of at least ±400 billion tons of CO2, related to non-CO2 response and TCRE distribution. Uncertainties in the level of historic warming contribute ±250 GtCO2. In addition, these estimates can vary by ±250 GtCO2 depending on non-CO2 mitigation strategies as found in available pathways.

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) says the time limit for the world to get to zero net emission is 30 years but plus or minus 15 to 20 years.

It should be noted that the estimates are that there have already been 9 trillion tons of ice melt and a sea-level rise of 27 millimeters over the last fifty years.

Here is a map with one-meter sea-level rise for Florida. This is ten times more than the 10-centimeter sea-level rise scenario. There might only be 100-300 years for any levees, barrages or new cities to be built to counteract 1-meter sea-level rise if the temperature and global models are correct. This would be somewhere in the range of the ages of the nations of Canada and the United States.

Instead of Victory Gardens Against Food Shortfalls, the Modern Plans Are That We Change Our Car, House and Lives

Many of the new plans are where everyone changes their car, stop using planes, changes their house, installs solar panels, stop eating meat and other life changes. Instead of 20% involvement from a Victory Garden propaganda campaign, there are demands, shaming and potential regulations and laws to try to reach 100% involvement.

The US has 5800 billion tons of CO2 emissions per year. This would be 18 tons of CO2 for every person in the USA. 23 tons of tons of CO2 for every adult in the USA or 47 tons of CO2 for every household.

If you have a 22 mpg car and drive it about 12000 miles then this is 6 tons of CO2. If all vehicles (cars, trucks, planes, ships and trains, motorcycles) were replaced then this would be 17% of global emissions. If this is done in the USA then it is about 26% of US emissions.

You spend $30,000. Instead of generating 6 tons of CO2 each year by driving 12,000 miles you generate 2 tons of CO2 each year. Your car is electric but you are pulling power from the US grid. If you are in China where over half of the electric cars are deployed you end up even. China generates 75% of its power from coal. The battery pack takes an additional 9 tons of CO2 to produce. It takes a minimum of 2-3 years to get more efficiency to payback the CO2 for the battery pack.

If you drive your electric car for 20 years in the USA, then the CO2 cost was $400 per ton. There would be no net gain until about year 5 of car ownership.

There is an online calculator for emissions reduction from different vehicles.

A 10-kilowatt solar PV system installed on your roof will produce about 14 MWh of electricity per year. Coal power stations produce 0.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide per MWh this could save about 12 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. However, most of the USA is not using coal power os it is about 0.5 tons of CO2 per MWh. This is about 7 tons of CO2.

If you are not home during the day from 10AM to 5PM, then your roof solar would not be generating usable power. You would need to have a large battery storage system to hold the power when you are not at home to capture that power.

But the utility runs the electric meter backwards. Does your utility have electrical storage on the grid? PGE is California does not. There is virtually zero battery storage in the world’s power grids. The solar power generated on rooftops burns off as heat at the nearest distribution node.

If you have rooftop solar and a large battery storage then the cost would be about $30,000. This could save 200 tons of CO2 over 30 years. This would against require getting the CO2 savings to offset the battery construction and the solar panels and metal frames. This works out to about $150 per ton of CO2.

There are valid reasons for switching to an electric car or installing solar power on your roof. However, there are actions that are hundreds of times more efficient for offsetting climate change.

The Green Revolution Was the Answer for Feeding the World and There Are Cheap and Scalable Solutions to Offset CO2 Emissions

Farmers make up about 1-2% of the world’s population but they feed the world. We can have our own gardens if we want but our gardens are not the main solution to feeding the world.

Currently, the world spends $50 billion per year to plant 9 billion trees per year and a $200 billion world lumber industry cuts down 15 billion trees each year.

Drone planting could plant 100 billion trees per year for about $6 billion per year. We can scale up tree planting. Trees already remove 30 percent of the CO2 from the atmosphere. It is proven. Planting a lot of trees, cutting them down and using the wood and planting new trees is already a $250 billion global industry. It is called the lumber industry. Making the lumber industry about five times bigger and more efficient would be the farming solution to climate change.

Satellite analysis indicates there is room for another 1 billion hectares of forests in addition to 4 billion hectares of existing forests. There are 3 trillion trees now.

If tree planting were doubled every three years or so then over 11 years we could scale to 100 trillion trees planted each year. Ideally, these would be Emperor Splendor trees that grow faster.

The tree reaches heights of 10 to 20 feet in its first year and more than 50 feet within a decade. The tree can be harvested every 7 to 10 years, providing lumber that WTT describes as “ultra long-grain.

The trees can sequester 250 tons of CO2 for every hectare.

The ramp-up of tree cutting can lag the ramp-up of tree planting by about 7-12 years.

Planting an extra 1 trillion trees on 100 billion hectares would sequester 250 billion tons of CO2 over 15 years. This would be from all of the trees getting planted in available extra areas and for all the trees to mature. The planted trees would need to be fast growth trees to achieve the timely benefits desired. This would offset one-third of the world emissions over the next fifteen years. If this was optimized drone tree planting then the cost would be about $60 billion.

This would be less than 25 cents per ton of CO2.

In the past decade alone, China invested more than US$ 100 billion into six key forestry programs. The aims of these programs are to reduce environmental degradation, to create green spaces, to supply the enormous demand for forest products and to conserve biodiversity. Their scale is globally unique. The ‘Three-North’ Shelterbelt Program alone resulted in the planting of approximately 50 billion trees. Its aim is to build a 4500 km long wall of trees through the Gobi desert by 2050 to reduce sand storms. The Grain for Green Program aims to convert crops to forests on steep slopes to reduce erosion and to increase the provision of forest products. With a total planned investment of US$ 40 billion and 40–60 million target households, it is regarded as the world’s largest payment for ecosystem services scheme. The focus of China is thus on large-scale landscape manipulation and afforestation—often with single and sometimes exotic species, which may not always be adapted to local conditions

Where to plant the trees according to a satellite analysis by Tom Crowther.

Written By Brian Wang,

80 thoughts on “Victory Gardens Were Not the Solution to Feeding the World”

  1. Hiya, Tom. The caprice of my Brainiac CPU is alarming. But, remembering back to 26 September, I think I was making the analogy:

    Smoking cigars = puny self-congratulatory ideation
    Dragon = Massive, immotile self-interest of Capitalism
    Upwind = taunting the D, but with flaccid argument.

    See… kind of makes more sense, right?

    Thanks for the reply.
    -=GoatGuy ✓=-

  2. Polar bear populations expanded a lot (maybe 2x) after hunting them was curtailed back in the late 60’s to 70’s. This is usually what is referenced regarding polar bear populations “exploding”.

    Those who started the “exploding polar bear populations” meme appear to have glossed over that fact to create the impression that climate change has somehow been good for polar bears, or isn’t happening.

  3. Even Google apparently doesn’t recognize the meaning of “smoking cigars upwind of a dragon”…
    Care to explain? Maybe it means “taunting a dragon”, hence maybe “tempting fate”? Or maybe “laughable hubris”, or “risking creating a big problem”?

  4. Businesses will initially pass along the cost of a carbon tax to their customers. If those are business customers, they in turn will pass them along to their customers. In the end it will be the consumer who pays. The more I consume, the more I’ll pay – which is generally appropriate since it is my consumption that drives the business activities that generate the greenhouse gases.

    Yes, businesses who have options to reduce their carbon taxes would probably make use of them, as that lets them get their prices lower, making them more competitive.

    A negative income tax or UBI would approximate ‘revenue neutral’ at the individual level. On the other hand, the end goal could be achieved faster by pumping the tax revenues into (well vetted) projects to displace GHG producing systems, without creating dependence on a NIT or UBI.

  5. The world needs to be concerned with feeding itself, not with feeding strangers thousands of miles away.

    Do-gooders intent on feeding 3rd world populations have resulted in a population boom of people incapable of doing it for themselves.

    If the world was engaged in CSA, then every community would be self-sufficient in food.

    This should be painfully, painfully, PAINFULLY obvious, but evidently not.

  6. Victory gardens in a modern context could easily output 4x what it did during ww2. Clearly you’ve never seen a decent grow op.

  7. Hurricane Dorian had a storm surge of over 20 feet. As the ocean surface temperature goes up, storms will continue to get more intense. And, storms will slow down. The Bahamas had over a day under the hammer.

  8. I doubt that a tree’s seeds are limited to 50-100m dispersion. A bird swallows a seed and poops it out a couple kilometers away, for example. Or a migrating bird swallows a seed and poops it out 100km away. Or a strong storm blows through and carries seeds far. Etc.

    As long as conditions where the seed falls happen to be good – and given the assumption of moving biomes that could be the case – a tree starts growing in an area where such trees didn’t grow before. Maybe it takes decades for the new region to be ‘ripe’ – but shifting biomes aren’t exactly racing along either.

  9. Technically even a slug or snail could move 50 miles in a year. But snails can also float downstream, or be carried by birds that happen to drop them. Their eggs could also be transported by happenstance.

    A toad’s peak speed is around 8km/h, so technically it could get 50 miles in ~10 hours. So if it spent around 0.1% of its time moving in one direction and the rest randomly hopping or sitting still, it could manage it in a year. Give it a decade to cover 50miles and it (or its descendants) would not even notice they were doing it. Same for mice and salamanders.

  10. This- bringing nutrients from the ocean’s depths by pumping cold water to the tropical ocean’s surface was perhaps the best aspect of OTEC. The power-plant design concept using the thermal differential for power generation might better serve as the core of a farming sea-stead.

  11. Animals can can easily move 50 miles in a year ?

    Um, have you ever heard of snails, toads, salamanders, and for that matter mice ? Not everything is the size of a deer.

  12. The polar bear population is exploding ??

    Pardon moi, but that’s the exact opposite of the truth. The wildlife biologists who work for the Canadian government have been saying so for years, so I’m guess you pulled this “fact” from your buttocks.

  13. Actually, the temperatures did rise according to schedule. That’s why approximately one million scientists have endorsed AGW.

  14. <i>Why, one might even suspect the “problem” is primarily an excuse for the “solution”.</i>

    Yes, but if one spoke such suspicions aloud, it would reveal how dumb they were. The problem was stated forty years ago, complete with predictions that have come true.

  15. You apparently didn’t consult the scientific literature.
    Satellite temperature data is concordant with station based temperature data. There is still no evidence that would characterized your beliefs as having any basis in objective reality.

    doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/aafd4e

    The GISTEMP data set, and the totally independent satellite-based AIRS surface skin temperature data set, are very consistent with each over the past 15 years. Both data sets demonstrate that the Earth’s surface has been warming globally over this time period, and that 2016, 2017, and 2015 have been the warmest years in the instrumental record, in that order.

    doi: 10.1029/2009JD013094

    On the reliability of the U.S. surface temperature record

    …In summary, we find no evidence that the CONUS average temperature trends are inflated due to poor station siting…

  16. That’s a fair point. Every time I feel like I need a smile, I just slam down the accelerator on my Tesla…it has never failed to make me grin.

  17. Actually its about acceleration. Friend took me for a spin in his Tesla – that car ROCKS.

    Just making sure people understand and have their priorities straight.

  18. I’ll take the “Angel’s advocate” side on this. Having lived in Peru for two years I saw a great deal of poverty – REAL poverty not the BS poverty people claim here. The reason we want to help those people – Christ like charity aside – is that it is in our own self interest. Raising people out of poverty does many things beneficial for the environment. Less population growth, higher nutrition thus higher IQs, wealthier nations become cleaner nations, and those people can create new wealth themselves – ideas and inventions that benefit all.

    Now to your point. First your family shows a slice of what makes American exceptionalism so, um exceptional. I have similar stories with my ancestors who were chased out of MO by democrat govern Boggs, kicked out of IL by more democrats, then a democrat James Buchanan sent an army after them when they settled in the territory of Deseret… rabbit trail sorry, anyway. The poor in many countries suffer with hyperinflation – something that kills most opportunity as they can save up enough money to go into business. I met many who were trying their hardest to advance, but inflation would eat away at their savings. Many would buy dollars and that was how they protected their assets. Bottom line, at least in Peru, desire was there but the corrupt government destroyed most opportunities in spite of work ethic.

  19. I do see a chronic push by those on the left to grow government at the expense of the people. I do listen to many an the left that people are the main problem and must be protected from their own idiot selves. Only the elites know what is best for the plebs.

    The carbon tax taken alone, ya, valcan’s comment was over the top, but taken with all the other garbage the left keeps spouting – not at all.

  20. Except for those of us in the “know” understand that a carbon tax is nothing more than another means of control – not a solution. The solutions are obvious and have been discussed here many times. I see your post quite often so I am fairly sure you know as well. Why? Why would you push for a carbon tax when nuclear power and ocean fertilization would do far more to solve the CO2 issue? No need for government – actually less government regulation – and a free market solution that grows wealth.

    Carbon tax = more power to the state and more cost to the consumer
    New Gen nukes and ocean fertilization = market solutions that pay for themselves and would get plenty of support from the right.

    So again, why do you lefties LOVE solutions that involve more government power, cost and regulation vs actual solutions that would not grow the government and improve quality of life. This is why I do not trust the left and despise the way they pine for more government power.

  21. Over and over through history and current events, the left claims they are about creating equality and yet they a very racist and focused on class. They want to have the elites who fly around in private jets, eat meat and enjoy their mansions while they lecture the unwashed masses how they are killing the planet and should stop flying, driving, eating meat, cooling/heating their homes, living in private homes, drinking from a straw and all other sorts of great evils.

  22. Everybody has their own fantasy of how the money should be “neutrally” reallocated, that’s true. The truly lowest change/distortion of current spending patterns would be one of a negative rate federal sales tax. I’m for that or also in favor of returning it as a credit for federal payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare). So 6.456 billion tonnes of CO2 at $35 per tonne would be 226 billion per year collected for the USA. $691 per person (includes children).

  23. Do you personally burn a lot of coal? Or build large concrete structures? Probably not. A revenue neutral carbon tax would still help modify those decisions made by businesses. A strength enhancing binder (or high fly ash content) concrete would be used instead of the “old” amount of concrete. Coal use would rapidly disappear. Methane emissions from flatulent ruminants would be remediated by adding a small amount of seaweed to cattle feed, all “behind the scenes” and as inexpensively as possible, through the actions of billions of people in businesses making everyday pricing decisions.
    The main impact to you would be higher electricity wholesale prices and higher gasoline prices (and therefore airplane ticket prices). Indirectly shipment/delivery rates would be impacted. And yes, if you didn’t change your behavior the net effect to you would be not much – but most people do actually change their behavior.
    If fuel goes up by 30 cents per gallon, when they buy a new car or truck they’re more likely to buy the turbocharged I4 or hybrid instead of the V6. When they have a new concrete slab poured by default the contractor will use strength enhancing binders – sure you can specify they “do it the old way” and pay a little more.

  24. A $35 carbon tax worldwide removes 50% of the world’s GHG emissions in pretty short order (15 years or so). That’s a 30 cent per gallon of gasoline tax.

    I’m not getting where your shrill hysteria is coming from.

  25. Oh, for pity’s sake.

    I’ve been watching this for a long time – close to 30 years now. The computer models which the entire theory of CAGW was based on, which we have LITERALLY spent hundreds of billions on in panicked attempts to stave off the problem…

    … have totally FUBARED Germany’s energy economy to the point where they’re now building filthy brown coal power plants because the ever-so-clean solar and wind wasn’t providing enough power to keep industry going and the anti-nuclear folks were able to pressure the German government to shut down their nuclear plants after Fukushima…

    … has rendered Australia’s power grid a LOT more unstable because they decided to go green with Wind Power, which greatly increased the price of electricity and ‘unexpected’ blackouts when heavily loaded…

    … has caused the UK to go to North Sea wind power, which has caused both a massive rise in energy prices and blackouts when it gets really cold because the wind doesn’t blow…

    … long ago stopped matching real world temperatures that didn’t rise according to the computer model’s schedule.

    Do you know what they call models that don’t match the conditions they’re supposed to model?


    You can make a computer program spit out any result you please. If the model doesn’t fit observations, reality wins. EVERY time, reality wins.

    And if you make your plans on BAD models, how likely are they to work?

  26. If we “offer” a nuclear power plant to Togo (just for example), they would have a lot of cheap electricity. The problem is with the number of people in Togo able to run a nuclear power plant (IQ , education & propensity) and the way to pay them enough to continue the job.

    Media IQ is 70. This imply roughly 1/100 have an IQ > 105. 1/1000 have an IQ > 123
    In 8 million people, this imply, 80K and 8K person respectively.

  27. Did you read the scientific literature?
    Did you checked the quality of the surface stations (just in the US)?
    Did you checked the data BEFORE and AFTER homogenization?

  28. OK, like the huge catfish drifting down-stream of the big hydro dam, getting continuously fed without any work whatsoever, I’ll “take the bait”. You’ve presented an unassailable philosophical rebuttal. 

    Why not create the tech that everyone can use, including the outrageously poor, because it is the most cost effective tech to address the problem of “raising oneself up by one’s bootstraps”.

    I applaud the effort. 
    If you can get the top 25 richest people of the world to purchase and tightly hold, but NOT surcharge the patents to absolutely everything that makes this Nirvana possible, well .. then that and Eugenics is the answer to aught-all. 

    Otherwise, we’re just smoking cigars upwind of a dragon. 

    -=GoatGuy ✓=-

  29. That’s with mature rainforest right there shedding seeds on it the entire time.

    You don’t get rainforest growing right up out of bare earth.

    First the grass grows up (6 months)

    Then grassland bushes grow up among the grass (5 years).

    Then the bushes get thick enough to crowd out the grass a bit, and some trees get established among the bushes (another 5 years)

    Then the trees slowly grow big enough to produce shaded areas that are too shaded for the grassland bushes and grass to grow (another 10 years).

    Now it’s shaded and sheltered enough for the normal rainforest plants to start to grow. And now those trees can start spraying seeds onto the next 50-100m of land.

  30. Trees that take a century to reach full size are not going to be able to move 50 miles in a decade.

    You may well have some small, immature trees in the new location, but the ecology that depends on a mature forest can’t move to a forest that will be suitable many decades in the future.

    Now for a personal anecdote: When I was a child, I lived at the base of a mountain range covered with rainforest. When I was about 5-10 years old, the hills were ravaged by a series of fires.

    (The fires started when a particular family with a couple of boys moved into the area, and stopped when they moved out.)

    Now rainforest doesn’t burn. Which is another way of saying that the energy released by burning a sq. metre of rain forest, minus all the losses to the air, radiated to the sky etc. is not enough to heat up the next sq.m to ignition temperature. So the fires would start in the long grass, burn up the hillside to the rain forest, kill, dry out, burn maybe 5 or 10 metres into the rain forest and then die out.

    The burned grassland would quickly recover in about 6 months, the rainforest would not, the grassland now extended a 10 metres further up the hillside.

    After about 5 years, the rainforest had retreated a couple of hundred metres, remaining in those valleys that had actual creeks in them (so even wetter) . Then the fires stopped and the rainforest started to grow back.

    It has taken 40 years for the rainforest to move about 200 m down the hillside.

  31. why exactly is ‘it’ concomitant upon ‘us’ to “offering them as a remedy”, anyway?

    How about we rephrase the whole thing like this?

    If the technically advanced and wealthier nations come up with tech and markets that allow/encourage the 3rd world to reduce global pollution, then the technically advanced and wealthier nations will benefit from the reduced global pollution.

    It has nothing to do with any moral obligation, it’s simple self interest.

    Of course the way it is often presented as a moral obligation both obfuscates the issue and allows those doing the presentation to sneak in stuff that doesn’t help, isn’t cost effective, or is otherwise not a good choice.

  32. Yes if they grow up under a culture and family system that teaches them that. The Modern culture of the west is like a mother caring for here children.

    Mommy makes the decisions and the children follow them….if course mother state tells you to go to bed and everything else…..States make shitty mothers.

  33. What your saying is you’ll make it to expensive to live in the country and make most of us go into your “nice economic and ecologically sound” ghetto’s in the cities where we can be controlled.

    Ah thanks for again reminding me why no one trust you

  34. And yet throughout history those small number of nuts have been very good at making those large masses commit atrocities almost beyond thought.

    Humans are Pack creatures. Modern humans seem to be becoming herd creatures.

  35. To lower sea level 1cm, you’re talking about moving maybe 3 trillion cubic meters. You might be able to do it in a century by moving 1000cu-m per second. It’s “direct” but is it cost effective?

  36. This is something I’ve wondered about…

    What elements of a biome wouldn’t be able to move 50 miles over maybe a decade? Animals can can easily move 50 miles in a year, let alone a decade. Plants can spread seeds via wind and animals. Micro-organisms can get picked up and carried on the wind or on the feet or fur or in the digestive tracts of animals. Lake fish? Most lakes are connected by streams or rivers. Etc.

    What is it that scientists think won’t be able to move fast enough, when they talk about biomes shifting too fast (a few miles a year?) for their organisms to keep up?

  37. One problem with a revenue-neutral carbon tax is how the revenue gets “returned”.

    If I generate 10 tons of CO2 a year and get taxed $1000, do I get back $1000? Or $500 or $2000?

    If my payment is tied to how much CO2 I produced, so I get back exactly what I paid, won’t most people just write it off as foolishness and keep buying fossil fuels? After all, if they reduce their personal CO2 production, they’ll get a smaller payment. So probably that approach won’t be taken.

    I would guess the version most people would support would effectively be a UBI financed by the carbon tax – everyone gets the same amount. But suppose this eventually has the desired impact on CO2 production – and the UBI shrinks. Are the people still happy, or do they demand new and higher taxes to reinflate the UBI?

  38. “Electric cars cost $400 per ton of CO2 avoided”
    This doesn’t mean electric cars are an inefficient CO2 mitigation – because if you didn’t buy an electric car you might be spending the same amount for a CO2 producing car. It’s the marginal cost of an electric car that should be the focus.

    Assuming an electric car buyer would have purchased a new car of similar type but at a cost 10% higher (guess), the corrected statement would be “Electric cars cost $40 extra per ton of CO2 avoided”.

    Assuming 110 gallons of gas per ton of CO2, and $3/gallon of gas versus $1.20 for the electricity to travel the same distance as with a gallon of gas, and that the electricity is produced largely carbon-neutral (solar, wind nuclear) you’d save ($3 – $1.2) * 110gal = ~$200 for every ton of CO2 avoided.

    Of course your electricity may be made using coal, and electric cars do take take more energy to produce. But when all that is factored out, electric cars charged from average electricity sources end up producing about half as much CO2 as gas cars. That reduces your savings to $100 per ton of CO2 avoided.

    So basically you’d be paid $100 – $40 = $60 per ton of CO2 avoided by going to an electric car.

    Sounds pretty efficient to me…

  39. Given the fact the existence of AGW and it effects on the planet depends on evidence -which happens to exists in ample abundance in the scientific literature- and is thoroughly unrelated to anyone’s opinion on what’s the best or cheapest solution, along with the unpleasant reality that considerations such as cost effectiveness, liberty maximization, quality of life etc has never been a factor in problem solving in certain circles, i would assert these beliefs of yours remain thoroughly unsupported.

  40. VGs were something done alongside everything else in the war effort. Urban dwellers didn’t have much land, or many inputs to use. Those living in the country were mostly farmers, and already growing all the food they could. Nitrogen based fertilizer was in short supply, because most ammonia made was used for munitions.
    Now, Lots of suburbs with easily convertible lawns, better varieties of plants to grow, lots of ammonia for ammonium nitrate production. The biggest problem is, nowadays very few people have the skills, and they are not as easy to learn as most people think.

  41. Mowing your yard is great for vegetable gardening. There is no better mulch for tomatoes, and many other plants than green grass clippings. No composting needed, just let the earthworms do their thing.

  42. Polar bears might disagree. And if tundra begins to melt bad things can happen. Or we haven’t ruled out bad things happening like massive methane release. Methane unburned released into the atmosphere is around 400x more potent of a greenhouse gas than CO2.

  43. About a couple of meters of sea rise by 2100 on the high end estimates.

    If my new house is on a bluff 20 feet above sea level, and it will be 13 feet above sea level long after I’m dead… what?

  44. If the temperature rate of change outraces the capability of that biome to move 50 miles north (or there is no way to move 50 miles north due to being occupied by humans or say a body of water) then what happens?

    There’s a world of difference in expecting a biome to move/adapt in 50 years vs. 300 years.

  45. Also electric cars aren’t just about GHG. Improving air quality is arguably more urgent and valuable, especially in densely populated regions.

  46. That’s not really the point – if your goal is to feed the world, your $ and time are better spent elsewhere is the point.

    If your goals are supporting your local community agriculture and being self-sufficient, that’s kind of as far from “feeding the world” as it gets, isn’t it?

  47. There are more direct ways to deal with sea level rise: 1: Pumping desalinated water to the center of Antarctica and just letting it freeze 2: Building islands with ocean dredge, preferably islands that stand at least 50 feet above sea level. Any volume of mass you take out of the ocean and put above sea level increases the amount of water the oceans can hold reducing the level.
    Actually, by damming rivers we have been helping a little, as the “suspended load” is mostly dropped before the water reaches the ocean. But we also work against ocean capacity at a given Earth radii by dumping human waste and such into the rivers or piped out into the ocean.

  48. There are millions more tree seeds than trees. What should that tell you? I’ll tell you what that tells me. It says, if the nutrients, water and light were sufficient there would already be trees there unless they were harvested. Nature is already at some kind of balance.
    Plant too many trees and there won’t be enough water sunlight and nutrients to go around and they will be weakened and die…or be weakened and become very vulnerable to blights and pests.
    We have been flushing the nutrients down our toilets or dragging them from the soil by harvesting and removing the trees along with the minerals they sucked out of the ground that are now part of the trees for millennia.
    The best place to grow plants is the oceans. That is where the minerals have gone…though we need to distribute those minerals better maybe lifting those muds to the surface. Or if it is cheaper just boosting the limiting nutrient in each area that is not growing much phytoplankton.
    If you really want more trees than you need to make fertilizers for forests or deposit/plant something that helps the soil retain water. Trees generally have deep roots that means your fertilizer needs to be soluble to get down deep. All this is going to cost a whale of a lot more than some little seedlings.

  49. On “Sea-ice free arctic” and the movement of biomes, you’re rating that as “worse”, where it’s merely “different”; There’s no particular reason to be upset about a biome moving 50 miles north, or ships occasionally being able to use the North-West passage.

  50. Those expensive properties on the beachfront are still selling. Why would anyone connected, the won with an inside track, do this? Fluff and nonsense…

  51. Brian Wang,

    Please check your numbers, “5800 billion …”, seems off by 1000x.
    Also 1.5C bla bla bla is optimistic and is sure to be wrong given the nonlinearaties.

    All the EV comments in this article are biased and out of date.
    What is the battery production emissions reference. It’s likely already or very soon out of date. Since the battery production is advancing rapidly, the valid question what will it ultimately be in 10 or 20 years, probably 10X less. And the battery life will be even higher than it is now which is more than vehicle life. Probably people riding horses thought the first cars limitations, extreme cost, and unreliability proved that cars will never replace horses.

    Last, all cost arguments are need to be balanced with the cost of possibly failing to address a runaway climate, mass migration, extinction, and the resulting economic collapse.

    I’m all for planting and harvesting trees to suck out lots of CO2 fast, but stop drinking the Koch Koolaid.

  52. At a guess this refers to ocean iron fertilization.

    Though apparently that can’t scale to the whole ocean, because Iron is a limiting factor only in some locations. To really crank up vast areas you need to look at a range of limiting nutrients.

  53. “* There are far better-proven solutions with costs that are less than $1 per ton of CO2 range or less.”

    I’ve been following the economics of GHG pricing, taxes, and mitigation for quite a while now and I’m struggling to think of any? Is this some kind of cheap methane remediation scheme perhaps?

  54. So, don’t try and be self-sufficient, or engage in community supported agriculture, b/c it won’t feed the world?


  55. Since there will be no collective action, individual action is frowned upon, worse case projections here we come. Huzzah!

    There are no facts, no evidence you can present that a disturbingly larger percent of your audience cannot dismiss out of hand with ad hoc contrived justifications.
    When someone’s belief system and identity is predicated on fantasies, when those they choose to associate are of a similar mind, all evidence of reality can be dismissed as fraud and all sources of evidence just part of the conspiracy.

    DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1547

  56. ⊕1, but taking the Devil’s Advocacy position … why exactly is ‘it’ concomitant upon ‘us’ to “offering them as a remedy”, anyway?  

    My Pa grew up in the Dust Bowl years, Kansas. A profoundly lousy time to be a single mom (Gramps died of cancer) of 4 kids. She was a proud Kansan, unwilling to beg for charity. So, the kids worked as they could.  

    Grandma bussed 45 miles every day to Manhattan; worked as a milliner. Her earnest vivaciousness kept her her job. The kids kept a large garden, chickens, dog, and several scrawny pigs. You wouldn’t think you could raise 4 kids on what 2 acres could produce, but they did it. No one was fat, to be sure. No one was fat.

    The moral-of-the-story is no government, no foreign nation was there to cough up ideas for them, to ‘help’. They did it themselves, by the means available. When The War (№ 2) came down, the kids still less than 12 years old, they just bucked up and worked that much harder.  

    On the day of graduation from High School, Dad signed up to the Navy. Deployed, came home 3 years later, paid off his Mom’s and family’s grocery store debt. The 3 un-married kids each flipped a coin on that day. If heads, West Coast, Tails, East.  Dad and Jack got ‘West’ and Kate got East. She went to NYC, Dad to Long Beach. Thus… they went. 

    The government helped by paying for Pa’s college. Became a teacher, a principal, a vice superintendent, then retired.

    Just saying… the poor CAN help themselves.
    GoatGuy ✓

  57. Oh ho hum…. Listen to a real scientist:

    Victory Gardens were about defeating a socialist madman called Adolph Hitler. They had nothing to do with the current hoax of Climate Change, or was it Global Warming, or was it Global Cooling, on and on.

    Top proponents of the so called climate crisis now admit that it’s really about lackluster socialist nations leveling the playing field with highly productive nations such as the United States.

    CO2 is not a pollutant. The Polar Bear populations is exploding. The Caribou love to calve their newborns by the Alaska pipeline (for the warmth) and if you study… ACTUALLY STUDY the real science, you’d run across the VOSTOK ICE CORES when reveal the earth has been through dozens of heating and cooling trends.

    Other ice core samples reveal that the Siberian Traps Eruption expelled enough lava to cover the United States and it still wasn’t enough to cause a mass extinction, so why to these pseudo scientist keep claiming that man’s contribution has anywhere near as much an effect.

    This is all about knocking prosperous nations like the United States off balance while nerdowell’s at the U.N. scheme how to redistribute western wealth to make up for there horrible economic models; corruption; and cultural malfeasance.

    I’m sorry but a coached little girl from Sweden with ten years to go before her brain is fully formed – isn’t going to convince us we owe anyone save for the enormous charity American has already given to the world.

  58. Buying an electric car today isn’t really about the emissions you reduce today. It’s about supporting the industry, so we get to a point where most people buy electric whenever they’re ready for their next car, just because electrics are better and cheaper.

  59. That’s my conclusion: The drastic disconnect between their proposed “solutions” and the problem as stated, and between the problem and their behavior, suggests that what we’re looking at is just an excuse to assume control over western economies, and perhaps reduce us to something like feudalism.

  60. Just understand that for the most part the climate/ecological balderdash being bandied about is actually an attempt to achieve Socialism by Stealth. It is rubbish and that rubbish is invading both the halls of politics and science, corrupting both. This is an attempt to suppress freedom. The myriad studies involved always amount to excuses for a power grab. Real science on climate does exist, but is ignored or suppressed by the establishment.

  61. There’s a set of (to my thinking) rational technological and political responses to reduce CO2 while maintaining civilization as we know it.

    We didn’t manage to populate the globe from the Arctic Circle to the equator by being so sensitive to temperature we perish because there’s a half-degree change in our environment. And when a daily temperature swing anywhere on the planet is 20-50 degrees F, another degree isn’t going to be a problem for any creature that can move.

    The folks pushing the CAGW hype have ignored all that, and many rational solution to the problems they insist we face. Solar and wind is all very, um… nice, but it won’t keep the lights on. The massive amount of battery capacity to cover night and reduced sunlight/wind would be an ecological disaster to make, much less scrap when their useful life is over.

    Natural gas about 10-15 years ago was THE best solution to our CO2 emissions from coal – until fracking came along and the price per therm dropped considerably. Cheap energy is the enemy.

    Nuclear is the best solution, and even the founder of Greenpeace admitted it a while back… before he was kicked out and his ‘contribution’ to the movement was minimised.

    If the CAGW crowd was serious about CO2, they’d be advocating a Manhattan Project style push to research and mass produce reactors. They’re the ONLY carbon-neutral power source that’ll keep the lights on. That they refuse to do so tells you how ‘imminent’ they think the threat actually is.

  62. If the proposed solution is worse than the problem, then the folks advocating for that solution aren’t trying to ‘solve’ the problem – they’re wanting what they can gain from the solution.

  63. Developed nations pollute less, with modern techniques and better methods and exporting polluting industries to less developed nations. Ex: cement, steel, rare earths, recycling etc.

    Sumatra, burned their forests, not for coal or for growing subsistence food, but to make way for oil palm companies. Americans have always sold their souls for money and are the loudest to complain when people in the rest of the work do the same.

    Free trade, democracy and the rule of law, that’s a joke. Free trade to you means freely exporting your goods to other countries, you are incapable of competing with countries freely exporting goods to you. You are a slave in a system controlled by a few others, fantasies that you have a say does not change your situation.

  64. Jean, you are right on the money. Most of the …ism movements are, at their core, power grabs by the anointed who will lead us to utopia, or save us from hell.

  65. Haven’t we seen all this rubbish before? The map of Florida going under is just the updated B.S. they predicted, and it didn’t happen, would happen in 2015. Why do people who promote this C-rap, read Al Gore, buy property in the submersion zones? Why do banks lend on property that will be under water in the near future? Why do insurers insure property that has the flood pending?

  66. People committed to a life-long quest to fighting a problem want less than anything an actual solution to that problem. They want the life long quest and the feel of righteousness it provides.

    Religion was very good supplying that need for a lifelong moral quest to pursue, because there is no end for abstract human evil and sin.

    The vagueness of climate change and the forces of modern life beyond our control make for a nice substitute of the wrongdoings of Satan, until you want to impose your religion beliefs over others.

  67. Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Germany during World War I and World War II. George Washington Carver wrote an agricultural tract and promoted the idea of what he called a “Victory Garden”. They were used along with Rationing Stamps and Cards to reduce pressure on the public food supply. Besides indirectly aiding the war effort, these gardens were also considered a civil “morale booster” in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. This made victory gardens a part of daily life on the home front.

  68. Yes, and my mowing my lawn isn’t “the” key to landscaping my community. But it certainly contributes. Just as the Victory Gardens contributed to feeding America. 43% of all vegetable production was no tiny thing.

    But, OK, I get the point: Assuming, arguendo, that there really IS a problem here in need of solution, efforts on the residential scale in the first world will not provide that solution.

    The catch, however, is that the very people insisting on solving the problem, are also committed to specific ways of solving it. Not the most cost effective solutions, not the most liberty and quality of life solutions. The solutions that most enhance the power of their ideological allies over society.

    Why, one might even suspect the “problem” is primarily an excuse for the “solution”.

  69. Developed nations pollute less, with modern techniques and better methods they grow more food than they consume on less land. Gee, they even start regrowing their green areas and reducing the threats to their native wild species.

    Poor nations on the other hand chop and burn their forests for coal and for growing subsistence food.

    The solution is clearly help the poor nations to develop by allowing them to create an environment that results in economic development. In the West, it was economic liberalism (basically, free trade), democracy and the rule of law.

    But what are we offering them as a remedy?

    Disguised socialism, and self imposed (or forced) impoverishment.

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