Climate fast attack plan

by Judith Curry

The United States and five other countries agreed this week to fund an effort to cut emissions of methane, soot and other pollutants to start to slow the rate of human-induced climate change.

This program was spurred by the recent paper in Science  by Shindell et al. (and  UNEP report authored by Shindell et al):

Simultaneously Mitigating Near-Term Climate Change and Improving Human Health and Food Security

Abstract. Tropospheric ozone and black carbon (BC) contribute to both degraded air quality and global warming. We considered ~400 emission control measures to reduce these pollutants by using current technology and experience. We identified 14 measures targeting methane and BC emissions that reduce projected global mean warming ~0.5°C by 2050. This strategy avoids 0.7 to 4.7 million annual premature deaths from outdoor air pollution and increases annual crop yields by 30 to 135 million metric tons due to ozone reductions in 2030 and beyond. Benefits of methane emissions reductions are valued at $700 to $5000 per metric ton, which is well above typical marginal abatement costs (less than $250). The selected controls target different sources and influence climate on shorter time scales than those of carbon dioxide–reduction measures. Implementing both substantially reduces the risks of crossing the 2°C threshold.

U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton has made the following remarks:

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition will spread practical ideas and practices regarding so-called short-lived pollutants, which remain in the atmosphere only for a short time – pollutants such as methane, black carbon or soot, hydrofluorocarbons. More than one-third of current global warming is caused by short-lived pollutants. They also destroy millions of tons of crops every year and wreak havoc on people’s health. Millions die annually from constantly breathing in black carbon soot that comes from cookstoves in their own homes, from diesel cars and trucks on their roads, from the open burning of agricultural waste in their fields. Furthermore, methane – a greenhouse gas more than 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide –can also be an abundant source of energy if we capture it instead of just venting it into the air or flaring it.

By focusing on these pollutants – how to reduce them and, where possible, use them for energy – we can have local and regional effects that people can see and feel. They can see those effects and become convinced that this commitment is one we all must all undertake. There will be better health, cleaner air, more productive crops, more energy – in addition to less warming. The UN Environment Program has determined that reducing these pollutants can slow global warming by up to a half degree Celsius by 2050. 

Now, exceptional work has already been done to investigate how to reduce these pollutants. For example, UNEP has identified a package of 16 major actions, which include replacing inefficient cookstoves and traditional brick kilns with more efficient ones to cut down on black carbon, stopping the burning of agricultural waste, harvesting coal mine methane, improving wastewater treatment, and adopting emissions standards on vehicles.

Now, every one of the actions has already been applied somewhere, and so we know they work. Every one is based on existing technology, and fully half of them are considered low-cost interventions. So when you put all these factors together, they add up to an important opportunity that we cannot miss.

This coalition – the first international effort of its kind – will conduct a targeted, practical, and highly energetic global campaign to spread solutions to the short-lived pollutants worldwide. 

One of the benefits of focusing on pollutants that are short-lived is, if we can reduce them significantly, we will have a noticeable effect on our climate in relatively short order.

Now, this project holds a lot of promise, especially in the context of our larger battle against climate change. There is no way to effectively address climate change without reducing carbon dioxide, the most dangerous, prevalent, and persistent greenhouse gas.  So this coalition is intended to complement – not supplant – the other actions we are, and must be, taking.

JC comments:  This is interesting on a number of fronts.

First, this is a good example of a no-regrets policy, one that is relatively inexpensive with ancillary benefits for human health and development.  I suspect that political opposition to this should be pretty small, at least relative to political opposition to stabilizing CO2.

Second, walking before you run is a good strategy.  Lets see if we can actually influence the climate in the expected way by reducing the methane and black soot.  Not to mention exercise and test the efficacy of international cooperation and actions to reduce greenhouse gases.

Third, this would provide a very interesting short-term climate experiment to test our models and understanding.

So, does anyone see problems with this plan?  Looks like win-win to me.

299 responses to “Climate fast attack plan

  1. The US is already cooling. Results so soon!!!!

  2. I hope at least one child will NOT die of black carbon in their lungs thanks to the success of this “plan”.

    However IIRC it’s been budgeted at 2 Heartlands, ie 12M$ per year, that might just pay for the photocopies, Hillary’s flights and a janitor. If that’s true it’ll be the first “plan” less valuable than the internet comments about it.

    • Re child not dying from black carbon.
      I strongly support e.g. Stove Project Need

      Smoke from indoor cooking fires kills 1.6 million people per year (nearly one million of those are children). A typical indoor fire creates carbon monoxide and other noxious fumes . . . equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. The World Bank rated indoor air pollution in developing countries as one of the four most critical global environmental problems. . . .Living in a smoke-free environment increases life expectancy by 10 to 15 years. . . .facilitating improved cook stoves for developing countries.

      However, I strongly recommend very careful analyses of the above grandiose multinational and/or UN proposals.
      Compare against Global Humanitarian Projects?
      Re: Shindell et al., Simultaneously Mitigating Near-Term Climate Change and Improving Human Health and Food Security, Science 13 January 2012: Vol. 335 no. 6065 pp. 183-189 DOI: 10.1126/science.1210026
      Why is a primary policy paper behind a paywall? This violates US Federal policy of making tax payer funded research available to the public for free.

      Of the top 30 global humanitarian projects evaluated by the Copenhagen Consensus (2008), Global warming mitigation measures came in dead last on benefits/cost basis. While Shindell et al evaluating “400 emission control measures” is an impressive exercise, they begin by focusing on mitigating global warming – the bottom least beneficial of all global humanitarian projects. They have to show extraordinarily high benefit/cost ratios to begin to dig themselves out from the bottom of the global humanitarian project list.

      Integrated Assessment of Black Carbon and Tropospheric Ozone UNEP/WMO 2011, 285 pp

      In a quick search, I found no mention of the Copenhagen Consensus 2008 ranking of global humanitarian projects. The number of references to the top 15 ranked humanitarian projects ?:

      Micronutrient suppliments 0
      Doha development agenda 0
      Micronutrient fortification 0
      Expanded immunization 0
      Biofortification 0
      Deworming 0
      Lowering price of schooling 0
      Increase/improve girl’s schooling 0
      Community-based nutrition promotion 0
      Support for women’s reproductive role 0
      Heart attack acute management 0 (though mentions higher heart attacks from BC)
      Malaria prevention/treatment 0
      Tuberculosis finding/treatment 0
      R&D low-carbon energy technologies – small discussion on cookstoves

      When centralized global alarmist projects make no mention of the top 14 humanitarian projects with the highest benefit/cost ratio, why should I believe they have any real concern for the poor?

      Improved cook stoves and fuel switching in developing countries
      The primary recommendation to reduce emissions is to switch from biomass to fossil fuel (LPG)!
      p 199-200. For cookstoves:

      Almost 500 000 Oorja stoves have been sold in India and the GERES/Cambodia charcoal stove sales have just reached 1 million units. The HELPS/Guatemala stove has quintupled sales in the last few years to about 50 000 per year and growing.

      While 1.5 million stoves are commendable, about 3 billion people in developing countries living on less than about $2/day. US DOE observes:

      Clean Biomass Cookstove Technologies
      An estimated 2.5 billion people, or about one-third of the world’s population, rely on biomass fuel for cooking. Improved cookstoves can increase access to clean energy, enhance indoor air quality, personal health, livelihoods, and the environment.

      There is nominally need for about 600 million improved stoves. I.e., the programs cited have reached 0.25% of the demand!
      DOE offered grants to:

      Grant applications are sought for the development of innovative affordable biomass cookstoves that reduce emissions by at least 90% and reduce fuel use by at least 50% compared to traditional biomass-fueled cookstoves and open fires used in many areas of developing countries.. . . The Alliance has set a goal of disseminating 100 million clean cookstoves by 2020 that provide significant health, energy, and climate benefits.

      Cookstoves for developing countries
      The report has a small section on “vii Improved cookstoves in developing countries” pp 227-228. It shows 87% reduction in PM coal emissions for a top down combustion with bottom up combustion with one reference to Blackman, A., Newbold, S., Shih, J.-S. and Cook, J. (2000). The Benefits and Costs of Informal Sector Pollution Control: Mexican Brick Kilns; Resources for the Future. Washington, DC, USA, October.
      P 247 notes:

      In fact, biomass cookstoves and open biomass burning can have much larger effects than fossil fuels regionally.

      Contrast the through extensive work by Dr. Tom Reed at the Biomass Energy Foundation.
      They provide an extensive library of biomass cookstoves and information.

      Tom Reed developed a cookstove with 40% efficiency compared to the ~12% efficiency for conventional 3 stone cookstoves. It is further ultra clean.
      What if the international community focused on mass producing 500 million high efficiency ultra clean biomass cookstoves for $15 each ($1.5 billion if donated. Or 99% of the cost could be recovered from lower biomass costs). That would be a commendable achievement with the greatest immediate reduction in deaths of women and children.
      Instead I fear we will have a massive program focused on hypothetical situation decades hence – where most of the funds disappear into the black hole of the UN and “climate change” research – with very little impact to actually help the poor who most need the help. E.g. compare <a href= the $5 billion USD for the FastStart Program (- to what effect besides funding junkets to Bali etc?)

      Warming, ozone and health
      The major focus is to reduce a third of the projected global warming. However see:
      Ch 9 Human Health Effects e.g. 9.1. Temperature-Related Human Mortality p 362: NIPCC 2011 Interim Report

      if no adaptation had taken place, there would have been 1.6 additional deaths per million people per year due to warming in the hottest part of the year over the period 1976–2005, but there would have been 47 fewer deaths per million people per year due to warming in the coldest part of the year, for a lives-saved to life-lost ratio of 29.4. . . .the death rate is about 15% higher on a winter‘s day than on a summer‘s day,. which they describe as ― result often found in previous studies,.

      Why are we in such a great hurry to reduce warming when there is such a substantial benefit from fewer cold induced deaths?

      The camel’s nose

      If the camel once gets his nose in the tent, his body will soon follow.”

      The greatest danger for such projects is the imposition of centralized control at the expense of freedom. During the 20th century, 33 democracies fell into tyranny because they failed to uphold their constitutional protections. Vaclav Klaus exposes these threats in: Blue Planet in Green Shackles: What Is Endangered: Climate or Freedom? Competitive Enterprise Institute, 2nd Ed. 2008 ISBN: 978-1889865096
      Klaus shows that the tactics of global warming alarmists (“hoax promoters”)

      are basically the same tactics of the Communists – lack of debate, suppressing opposing views, and complete state control by a few dictators. When he quotes the architect of the Kyoto Protocol, Maurice Strong, as saying, “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our duty to bring that about?”, you will realize that such a nasty comment could only exist in a climate of fear and oppression.

      Michael Crichton eloquently describes the methods used in his: State of Fear, Harper; Reprint edition (April 28, 2009) ISBN-13: 978-0061782664

      Cf Sec. Clinton:

      “President Obama’s call for a clean energy standard to slash carbon emissions while building domestic and export markets for clean energy technology.”

      While that sounds nice, it demonstrates central control swaying politicians to provide dictatorial coersive powers. The “clean energy standard” is an euphemism for coercive forcing power companies to install renewable power systems that have proved to be much more expensive than conventional power systems. Consequently, taxpayers are forced to spend billions of dollars more.

      The far greater danger to society is the economic harm from high fuel prices and then from shortages of fuels than from minor long term warming. Fareed Zakaria observes:

      “Russia now needs oil at $110 a barrel to manage its finances. For Iraq, the number is $100. Even Saudi Arabia now needs oil to trade around $80 a barrel just to balance its budgets… Only a decade ago Saudi Arabia was able to balance its budget with oil prices averaging around $25 a barrel.”

      Brown and Foucher warn of rapidly declining Available Net Exports.

      The greatest danger from this effort to “mitigate climate change” is that it diverts us from the immediate urgent tasks before us to provide new/alternative fuels.

    • Hisham Zerriffi updates with 2 million dieing each year from energy poverty.
      Energy poverty killing more people than malaria by Will Parker 20 February 2012

      A lack of clean energy for cooking is causing severe respiratory diseases that kill around two million people each year, says a scientist from the University of British Columbia.

      “Energy poverty is one of the biggest human welfare issues of our day,” says Hisham Zerriffi, who is presenting his research at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “We’re talking about more people who die each year from cooking than from malaria.”
      Zerriffi says nearly half the world’s population is reliant on burning wood, animal waste, coal or charcoal to cook. “It is often women and children who suffer the most from indoor air pollution, and who carry the burden of collecting fuel to burn.

      Malaria Deaths Twice As High As Previously Reported

      By MIKAELA CONLEY (@mikaelaconley) Feb. 2, 2012

      Malaria kills 1.2 million people each year, more than twice as many deaths as previously thought, according to new research published in the Lancet.

      However, according to the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, which conducted the new research, efforts to combat the disease, both through drug treatments and prevention, have resulted in a decline in malaria-related deaths.

      Why do we see massive billions of dollars in funds to some time in the future possible problems with negligible funding for today’s urgent needs? Paying the rich and ignoring the poor will be held to account.

  3. One of the best ways to cut back on soot is replacing coal with shale gas. Shale gas, unfortunately, has been demonized by the Joshua-style left.

    • David Springer

      I agree but on the other hand horizontal fracking can be disastrous if not well regulated. Poisoning ground water is very, very bad and it happens through a number of mechanisms some well understood and others not so well understood. Propogation of cracks from fracking is not perfectly predictable and if it extends into a water table it’s really bad news. Another problem is the large number of abandoned undocumented holes in the ground made from exploring for natural resources in the past. Horizontal fracking easily connects up with these which then provide a robust connection from gasquifers to aquifers. According to google I just invented the word “gasquifer” so don’t forget you heard it here first. ;-)

      • David, when as any of the above happened except in fictional documentaries? The anti-shale propaganda is cruelty because it is delaying really cheap clean energy.

      • The natural gas equivalent to aquifer (water-bearing permeable rock) would be gasifer. Retaining the ‘qu’ is illogical. Hopefully, most folks will forget they heard “gasquifer” at all.

      • Harold H Doiron, PhD

        I agree with Bruce. The oil and gas industry has hydraulically fractured wells for decades with no significant issues. Whomever is conjuring up these disaster scenarios needs to be more honest about the available empircal evidence.

        Your disaster scenarious sound plausible, but need to be evaluated more scientifically. When have cracks from fracking ever extended into a water table? Have you really looked at the depths where “fracking” occurs relative to the depth of water tables? How many times farther than expected would the crack have to extend to threaten the water table? Get serious. As I understand the issues, disposal of water and fracking fluids from frack jobs is the real environmental threat and I believe this very responsible industry, completing shale gas wells within many neighborhoods of Ft. Worth TX, is much more on top of these issues than the environmentalists who are always trying to think up ways to scare the US public against the wisdom and “no-brainer” economics of developing our vast USA fossil fuel energy resources.

    • Bruce said, “One of the best ways to cut back on soot is replacing coal with shale gas.” Actually, the best way to reduce soot is to optimize combustion efficiency or use hydrogen. The best way to optimize combustion efficiency is to maintain a constant base load. Cycling nat gas with low demand produces carbon black or soot also.

  4. “Third, this would provide a very interesting short-term climate experiment to test our models and understanding.”

    The models are already being tested, and by just about every measure they’re failing.

    “We identified 14 measures targeting methane and BC emissions that reduce projected global mean warming ~0.5°C by 2050.”

    This seems the very apotheosis of question begging..

  5. “Benefits of methane emissions reductions are valued at $700 to $5000 per metric ton, ”

    And spending 6 trillion dollars will end the recession, and providing every American with health insurance will be revenue neutral. And so on and so on.

  6. Hate to sound like cwon, but this seems like just another “positioning” exercise by the warmist establishment.

    “Now, this project holds a lot of promise, especially in the context of our larger battle against climate change. ”

    “Global Warming” is still a problem, you see, despite the recent exoneration of the culprit “we” thought we had bang to rights for a quarter of a century, a fact “we” prefer to gloss over, lest it cast doubt on our forensic abilities. Since “we” know that GW is a problem, and that mankind is to blame, it follows that there must be other culprits, and that “we” need to continue to be paid to incriminate mankind.

    Come on, folks, this is absolutely pabulous, grant-preserving drivel. The CO2 branch is in the last stage of being sawn through, and these guys are rather belatedly trying to get to the trunk without being shredded by the saw.

    • Tom, you are correct. Which is why you do sound like me.

      Of course it’s self-serving, face saving drivel from people who should have lost their grants and jobs by now. It’s all about preserving the phony high ground of being Green saviors against evil industry destoying the planet.
      If it’s rejected in this form as in the last event it will simply be repackaged again. The skeptic community should dismiss these discredited parties yet again.

      It’s the nature of demagoguery since worthless leadership gathered around the fire to demand followers heed the authorities advice for the “common good”. It’s for cave dwellers.

      Why would you hate to sound like me? I’ve been right all along. The weak kneed are going to give Dr. Curry and faux moderation another heroes
      welcome along with “no regrets” which should be condemned. Despite all failure, gross abuse of authority they still wish to chart our course?? It’s an outrageous presumption from people who should be asking for social forgiveness. They have learned nothing and should be crushed without pity.

      • In the 70s a scientist suggested spreading black carbon over the arctic to prevent the oncoming ice age. We have been spreading it around up there every since. Aren’t you the least bit interested in what would happen should we stop? We can always start spreading it around again should we need to.

      • “The year was 1895, and it was just one of four different time periods in the last 100 years when major print media predicted an impending climate crisis. Each prediction carried its own elements of doom, saying Canada could be “wiped out” or lower crop yields would mean “billions will die.”

        ‘The future of mankind depends upon our space exploration’… NADA circa 69

        If America won’t pay for a bunch of hints and different answers to simple important questions, how will the scientists ever pay off their college degrees?…
        See how this works? The housing prices will be sure to collapse if we don’t support our men and women in white.

        What’s new with the ‘old god particle’, these days… it seems like only yesterday they were all sure to find it were they knew it wasn’t. Just to be safe, for the kids.

        If answers are your product… from what I have been reading you are not very good producers in these fields.
        Sloppy too…

    • TomFP and cwon caught on to this for the detestable political and academic cover it is. Perhaps Judith Curry needs to do a series of posts on what the “leadership” of Rome was doing as their empire was crumbling. No, that would probably be too germane to the real problem(s) of today.

      • Our schools fail when it comes to teaching history (Not the rewritten history in school texts now) and since we ignore our History, we are doomed to repeat it.
        250 years seems to be where the tipping point is reached in a republic. That is the point where the ‘takers’ begin to outnumber the ‘taxpayers’ and take control of the government. From here it is all downhill. The progressives have also forgotten what fates the ‘elites’ come to when it crashes. (Usually not very pretty)
        I just hope this all doesn’t also mean another Dark Ages scenario. Coming in conjunction with a new mini ice age would likely mean it could last several centuries, or in the case of a ‘real’ ice age, a lot longer.

        May the next civilization hold their history dear and learn from our failures.

      • “Perhaps Judith Curry needs to do a series of posts on what the “leadership” of Rome was doing as their empire was crumbling.”

        Well? What were they doing in your point of view?

      • Re: Daniel Suggs | February 19, 2012 at 11:56 am.
        Right! This was remarked by Madison, arguing for a Republic:
        Madison, James. “The Federalist No. 10, The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection.” The Federalist Papers (November 22, 1787).

        “Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

        (The framers of the Constitution were well-versed in history; many in the original languages.)

  7. What if they are wrong?

    • Why in the most remote way should they be assumed “right”???

    • Yeah, what if? Nature has been pumping black carbon into the atmosphere by way of forest fires, grass fires and volcanos for aeons. We can’t stop the volcanos but we are putting out the forest fires and plowing under the grass which was the fuel for grass fires at a great rate. Maybe someone should ask what a “healthy” level of black carbon aerosol is before we set out to eliminate it.

  8. ” Every one is based on existing technology, and fully half of them are considered low-cost interventions. ”

    The other half are expensive interventions which cannot be costed due to unavailabilty of accurate figures as to the number of rent-seeking cronies we will be able to involve.

  9. “Yes I think it can be easily done, just take everything down to Highway 61.”

    Seriously, if those estimates are good ones, it sounds like a worthwhile thing to do. I disagree that we can easily think of it as an experiment: What’s the control…a computer model of what would have happened without it? I feel pedantic saying that, but we need to be realistic about what we can conclude from unique interventions in the only world climate history we’ve got. This is related to many of the more interesting comments made in the “What if they are wrong” thread and elsewhere.

  10. “The United States and five other countries …”
    which 5?
    “More than one-third of current global warming is caused by short-lived pollutants.”
    Doesn’t leave much for CO2

    “They also destroy millions of tons of crops every year and wreak havoc on people’s health. Millions die annually from constantly breathing in black carbon soot that comes from cookstoves in their own homes, from diesel cars and trucks on their roads, from the open burning of agricultural waste in their fields.”
    Do any of the 6 countries have these millions dying allegedly from carbon soot?

    Locally It seems the most amount black smoke comes from buses, maybe some trucks, but buses seem more common. Buses seem to me to be hideously designed. And buses are always taking the same routes- thereby alternative type fuels seem a “nature” for buses. This way that buses are used makes it technological easier for significant improvement. But it seems to me most of differences of new models are “styling” rather than function.
    Maybe if we had competitive bus races [use buses instead of cars] we might get some improvements:)

    • “Maybe if we had competitive bus races [use buses instead of cars] we might get some improvements:)”

    • I’ve heard that the cook stove source is, in fact, the single most important source of soot. I’ve also heard that engineering an alternative that suits the needs of the hundreds of millions of families using them throughout Asia and Africa has turned out to be a trickier feat than first-world do-gooders and entrepreneurs initially thought.

      • How about a crank-to-operate microwave?

      • “I’ve heard that the cook stove source is, in fact, the single most important source of soot. I’ve also heard that engineering an alternative that suits the needs of the hundreds of millions of families using them throughout Asia and Africa has turned out to be a trickier feat than first-world do-gooders and entrepreneurs initially thought.”

        In terms single event, Saddam adventure burning oil fields should be high ranking event in terms making soot. Globally, cook stove soot affects the people inside the hut where the fire is burning but isn’t significant for those not sleepiing in the smoke. Africa’s burning can seen from space, but this isn’t “cook stove” it’s farming and “land management”.
        And as you say this poverty issue and even a lifestyle choice- though this choice is probably mostly due to the lack of choice- so placing it all under category poverty is accurate enough.
        It’s what people do if they not in the modern world- and lack technology of fossil fuels. This world the idiots greens wants us to move towards.
        It’s failing to understand that solar panels and modern windmills [which are inadequate as a general solution] are results/products of society that flourish because of technology which based on having cheap energy- fossil based, hydro, and/or nuclear- these 3 are what the greens oppose the use of.
        The cause of poverty- is not greedy Westerns- as the left myth dictate. One can say there many thing wrong of colonial powers and hopeless idiotic policies, but causing poverty wasn’t the main thing- the main thing is it limitation of liberty. And when colonial power or local government limits liberty, the result is poverty.
        Poverty is a political problem. And it’s fundamentally, the people are denied their nature rights- life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
        These can not be handed out by a government, they must be tolerated
        by a government. The government should not have power to oppress- dictate what is the people’s life, liberty, and their pursuit of happiness means.
        And things like freedom religion, the right to have weapons, the right to free speech are some of the basic needs which follow from these rights.


      • Training is cheap and knowledge spreads. Chimneys can be constructed with Wattle And Daub. It needs some framing. Local materials. Pioneers did it. Fairly durable.

  11. So, does anyone see problems with this plan? Looks like win-win to me.

    Judy – While I don’t know the details of the plan, I’ve read the Shindell article and so I understand the rationale. I expect it will inspire some debate within the climate science community. This is not because there is anything wrong with reducing the chosen emissions, but because it will be seen (by some) as dodging the need to begin to mitigate CO2 emissions now rather than later. The argument will be that excess CO2 added to the atmosphere will exert its warming effects for a very long time, and so any delay in reducing emissions will have consequences that are irrevocable on ordinary human timescales. Conversely, reducing the shorter lived species can be done at any time, because a delay with them will only temporarily raise global temperatures.

    I’m not sure how I feel about it, but my practical instincts tell me to side with Shindell et al. I expect there may be some debate over this on RC, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Ray Pierrehumbert opposes the idea, based on past arguments he’s made. Stay tuned.

    • Fred,

      I don’t think Ray Pierrehumbert has problems with the idea of reducing non-CO2 emissions, just that he recognizes (quite fairly) that the end result is negligible for global temperature over timeframes of more than a couple of decades, and we’re still left with a problem with a significant lifetime if we choose the “quick, now” solution. Ray looks at these problems as a geologist or planetary scientist

      • Chris – I agree that there will be no objection to reducing non-CO2 emissions, and that resistance, if it arises, will be based on the sense that adoption of these measures will be seen as a substitute for reducing CO2 emissions. Shindell et al, and the UNEP report take pains to emphasize the need to reduce both, but there will probably be societal pressures to ignore that imperative and treat the proposed reductions as a means of avoiding CO2 mitigation.

        One small interesting point is that a few of the proposed measures will do both, in that they would reclaim methane that would ordinarily escape to the atmosphere and use it as a fuel, thereby reducing the need to burn coal (and perhaps oil).

      • I think this is a good example of why climate scientists should basically stfu about policy.
        Something is suggested which saves a couple of million lives a year, and objections are that it might be seen as dodging the [alleged] need to do something else. Which hasn’t been happening for 25 years, has no prospect of happening, and is fiercely disputed as necessary in the first place.

        If the reason climate “scientists” offer this kind of claptrap is because they ‘think like geologists’ then thank God they only get one vote.

        They are nothing but odious little vermin.

      • Ant.,

        If you more concerned about the issue than with saying something, anything, negative about climate scientists, you might make more sense.

      • Chris,
        I do note with interest that mitigation is giving way to stabilization to describe what the AGW community wants to do. I suggest that stabilization will be as (un)successful as mitigation has been in managing the climate. CO2 obsession is a waste of time until your community backs nuclear energy whole heartedly. If you want to decrease CO2, go nuke.
        But nuke, like all forms of energy generation, comes at a price. Is your fear of what you predict CO2 is going to do larger than your community’s dislike of nuke power?

      • While I can’t claim to know another’s motives, I’d be more inclined to guess political naivete than “evil” on the part of Pierrehumbert. People get tunnel vision sometimes and fixate on preferred policies rather than possible policies.

        By the same token, I find it funny to see others asking “what if they’re wrong?”. It should be obvious what happens if the measures don’t yield reductions in warming: people still wind up healthier and waste methane emissions (which pose dangers beyond warming) are diverted to use as fuel. Likewise, the talk about the camel’s nose betrays a misunderstanding of that metaphor.

        I’m not a Hilary fan by any means, but this program makes sense.

  12. No objections here. And to think it only took a quarter century to find a small spot of common ground….

  13. Fred: “any delay in reducing emissions will have consequences that are irrevocable on ordinary human timescales. ”

    Yet … nothing has happened. Other than hundreds freezing to death because they paid attention to bozos and thought the earth was warming.

  14. “So, does anyone see problems with this plan? Looks like win-win to me.

    Hmm. In the US, this task would fall to the EPA who are already struggling against a lobby who is trying to protect putting mercury and other health hazards into the atmosphere in the name of profit. This will just be their next battle after mercury. If you notice, the House is passing a series of acts against regulation and pro-pollution that thankfully die in the Senate. Look for complaints in by House Reps as favored (rich) home-state industries say it is too expensive to adjust their practices. Maybe I am being cynical, but I am just living in this country observing how our government operates, or not.

    • Nonsense. The whole point of the current EPA is fabricate evidence against coal plants to Obamas cronies can soak the taxpayers for trillions in subsidies for solar and wind.

      Sure, you don’t care if electricity bills go through the roof. But many do. You and your ilk love to screw the old and poor while subsidizing electric cars for th rich.

  15. Without knowing the full details, I agree it sounds like a laudable suggestion, purely on the grounds that it is premised on tackling genuine problems. About 1000 people an hour, half of them children, die from the utterly preventable causes of malaria, diahorea and lung infections caused by indoor air pollution.

    The statements about the effect on global climate (2 degree threshold etc) are meaningless ….. but if they help make a case for doing something good, so be it.

    • Malaria is caused by indoor air pollution?
      Diarrhoea is caused by indoor air pollution?

      You learn something new every day.

      • I think there are 2 ways my sentence could have been read …
        1) preventable causes of [malaria], [diahorea] and [lung infections caused by indoor air pollution].
        2) preventable causes of [malaria, diahorea and lung infections] caused by indoor air pollution.

        I apologise if you were confused, but it was obviously meant as per the first version. And in the context of this article, it is the lung infections caused by indoor air polution that would seem to be targeted by this initiative. Given that in the time that it has taken me to write this reply, some 50 children have passed away from the afflications I described (including lung infections from indoor air pollution), I support the initiative. I think that is what is important.

      • How many hovels in India are still plastered with water buffalo dung, drying for fuel?

      • Sorry if you didn’t intend it that way, but I think I’m justified in interpreting it within the context in which it was presented.
        A casual reader might come away with the impression that 1000 children die every hour from the effects of air pollution, which is very far from the truth.
        Let’s not employ alarmist tactics, even inadvertently.

      • The sentence was clearly written and “within the context” could only be interpreted the way you chose to if you were deliberately trying to obfuscate yourself.

        Regarding the death statistics, I don’t think I’m being alarmist irrespective of how causal the reader may be. Read the stats and do the maths yourself.

        So let me repeat : if we are just talking about lung diseases from indoor air pollution, about 250 people die EVERY HOUR . If we also include malaria, AIDS and diahorea its about 1000 …. EVERY SINGLE HOUR.

    • Imran neither diahorrea or malaria or even dengue fever have anything to do with indoor pollution.

      In the cases of malaria, dengue fever and similar these are mosquito borne diseases. A victim has to be bitten by a mosquito that is a carrier first!!

      Diahorrea has a lot of causes and most of those causes have to do with hygiene and unsanitary conditions, including the use of rotting food.

      Lung infections have a number of causes, but not all respiratory illnesses are lung infections!!

      Besides, how do we really know that the death rate is in fact that high… I am of the view that these death rate figures are being exaggerated.

  16. Reducing black carbon was proposed years ago. It was the one course of action that made sense to me. Good to see someone trying to be a little bit practical for a change.

    • It has nothing to do with “practical” beyond the political. It reinforces the AGW myth while the broader agenda is tabled. Where is this evidence supporting these claims? Is there now a methane “settled science” consensus to address?? It’s like a broken record.

      This is all smoke to buy this administration time in an election year, save face from the humiliation of failing to stuff cap and trade down the countries throat. It placates the radicals to a degree, it may split some of them and a big ho-ha in that community may restart. Lots of harmful green hairsplitting and false choices like this one will be regenerated.

      Practical is removing these people from office and from any authority. Science is again a tool to the current green authority, it should be rejected and those who want to protect science would do likewise.

      • Country’s

      • you are clueless

      • The goal of reducing BC is a logical step and a no regrets policy. May have argued that it is the nose under the tent, but to hold up logical courses of action based upon fears of what may come next is not going to gain you political power. It is just going to give those that would use it as a nose the ability to point and yell how heartless and anti environment you are. I don’t see how giving your opponents ammunition is a path to making them powerless

      • “It reinforces the AGW myth while the broader agenda is tabled. ”

        What would that broader agenda be?

    • Actually, Jim Hansen might have been the first one to propose it, and he took enormous flak for this since it detracted from the CO2 stabilization mission.

      • As did Canada’s Conservative government in 2006 when they proposed the Clean Air act. They seemingly wanted to focus on pollutants such as black carbon and work on co2 at a more measured pace. For a lot of reasons this strategy made sense, but was immediately attacked (for not concentrating on co2) by all of the usual suspects: Suzuki, the NDP, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, etc.

        Kind of interesting that what seems to you, Anteros and me to be a reasonable approach to a no-regrets policy is assaulted from all sides, regardless of the proposer.

      • kch, it may seem reasonable to you, but the usual suspects have cried wolf too many times.

        Now, if someone said they would take money away from every government project with the words global warming or climate change in them and divert all those billions into this project, I might be interested.

        But the conmen want MORE money.

        Did you know BC has a Crown Corporation call the Pacific Carbon Trust just to manage carbon credits int he province.

        What squandering of money!

      • Actually, Bruce, I agree with you. The proposal seems reasonable, possibly even laudable, but won’t work and is unnecessary. See my comment at

      • “he took enormous flak for this since it detracted from the CO2 stabilization mission.”

        This is a comparative relational value failure. What two factions in a fringe sect might argue about should have nothing to do with rational considerations. Jim Hansen wouldn’t have offered it if not for the cynical political motivations I and others are describing to you. Because of your posture of political silence at key debating moments it’s up to individuals to decide if you are Utopian naive or are just another card dealt from the same Green deck. Because of your historic political stonewalling, I have to lean with the latter.

        You link to a Green operative position, you become a Green operative. All of the nuances inside of Green infighting means nothing.

    • Steven said, “Reducing black carbon was proposed years ago.” I believe it was first proposed by James Hansen to the first Bush administration. The Bush administration agreed that reducing BC was a reasonable decision and was quite comfortable with supporting that legislation. Hansen though freaked out because the Bush administration mentioned scrubbers and particulate arrestors for coal power plants. No coal, remember?

      The new proposal is much the same as the original. You will note though that “biomass” gasification and high efficiency is used not coal gasification and higher efficiency. The same third world biomass stoves work with coal, but without the added energy required to pelletize or produce the charcoal to fuel the “biomass” gasification stoves. That is a reflection of the bias against coal. In general, higher efficiency period would the focus of an unbiased report with proper caveats made concerning other impacts of each source of fuel. Biomass also has negative impacts that are glossed over in the report.

      • I assume the actions recommended in the report will be subjected to a cost benefit analysis since government funds will be requested. That is the time to decide which proposals are appropriate for immediate implementation, which can be done more efficiently, and which require further study before a decision is reached. .I see no reason to believe the process would work differently this time. The goal of reducing BC is logical. It is always best to be on the logical side of an argument.

  17. It’s just addressing the failure of the co2 movement, repackage the fight to old pollution dogma from the 60’s and 70’s and hope some of the bedwetters fall off the anti-agw wagon.

    It’s a good example of how “no-regrets” is the most dangerous idea of all. It’s how radical policy gets started in the first place. Once people buy the myth of AGW in any format the rest of it will be retooled at a later date and the extremist measures will return.

    If you buy any portion of the agw myth you permit those who committed a great evil (CAGW fear mongering for government power and control) to walk free the pattern will be repeated. No regrets is a sham.

    • so you object to nuclear which is a no regrets option.

      • Any attempt to restart nuclear programs will be met by a flurry of propaganda from the AGW promoting multi-billion dollar eco-corporations.

        It will be used raise more billions for them to squander.

        No thanks.

      • “so you object to nuclear which is a no regrets option.

        That’s dense. If a policy reinforces a myth about “climate mitigation” it should be rejected. Feel free to reduce soot or build safe nuclear for their own reasons. It’s only Orwellian propaganda and manipulations through language that should be exposed and rejected. “No Regrets” is warming propaganda.

  18. “So, does anyone see problems with this plan? Looks like win-win to me.”

    Appalling at every level. AGW deserves the death it earned, those who support it without a science proof should be rejected in all forms.

  19. “More than one-third of current global warming is caused by short-lived pollutants.”

    I am assuming she is just talking about anthropogenic substances and that the other 2/3 is our CO2. However she talks about “current global warming”. She did not specify a time, but according to HadCrut3 and RSS, there has been no warming for 15 years. And if the other pollutants are responsible for 1/3 of it, well 1/3 x 0 is still 0. Of course, fighting pollution that hinders health should be done anyway but CO2 does not endanger health.

  20. Does anyone see problems? Yeah, more money down the rat-hole. Completely ineffectual, unsubstantiated claims aimed to scare the population and pretty much what can be expected from those with little practical know-how but a great desire to enrich themselves.

    • This is a party that is still running on 1930’s Fabian socialist values and class warfare. It’s no surprise they are going back to the drawing board of EPA creation and mention real pollution but still they can’t help themselves by adding the climate change fiction.

      The population should be pretty well trained to figure this canard out. I’m always disappointed in SINO’s (Skeptics in name only) that exist here and are ready to throw so many good efforts fighting these people under a bus.

      • “I’m always disappointed in SINO’s (Skeptics in name only) that exist here and are ready to throw so many good efforts fighting these people under a bus.”

        That would be me.

        “This is a party that is still running on 1930′s Fabian socialist values and class warfare.”

        Ah… Now I see. You’re in this because of a political opinion. Well I am not. I first and foremost want to check if we are heading for a disaster or not. With regard to your disappointment in us, there is an internet entire meme specifically directed at your kind: We Are Not Your Personal Army.

    • sustainability = enrich themselves

  21. This could be a good way out of the corner the IPCC process has painted serious efforts to improve the environment.
    The reality is that none of those things will do much for the climate, but it can help the environment. That would be a vast improvement over the utter waste of effort and money the AGW community has achieved.

    • randomengineer

      Yeah, a few totalitarian laws is the best they can muster, but since the advocates are all over totalitarian law to start with, it’s a win for them that only cost the US taxpayer a few hundred billion $.

      • randomengineer,
        But we might even get some benefits from this sort of approach. All we have from the AGW community so far is rent seeking reports, expensive conferences, and windmill/solar that does not work. Think back on eugenics: a good that came from that period, and from some of those who believed, was large scale public health. It was something those who wanted much worse levels of eugenics, and those who opposed eugenics, could agree on. If we can get international commitment to clean up coal, that would be a good thing.
        Someone points out that the ice age promoters of the last big climate scare wanted to spread carbon black on the Arctic and that in fact we have done this by accident. And here we have the reduced ice pack the AGW believers fixate on. Reducing carbon black will help health, and it might even make AGW believers happy. If they are happy, perhaps they will permit us to develop nuke power and that is also something we can agree on. Then maybe we can stop wasting money on large scale windmills and solar power scams.

    • Not just waste of money. Money has been wasted on a far bigger scale before, it will be squandered on entirely different things in the future. But the AGW folks demands for rapid departure from fossil fuels will lead to the only competitive alternative energy source currently available: Hydropower, in all its incarnations. This will effectively mean damming all available rivers if they aren’t dammed yet, on a larger than ever scale. This will additionally mean using estuaries for tidal powers. The environmental damage will be colossal. I read in a reaction thread about the protest against the proposed tidal power central in the Severn estuary that we should stop worrying about a few birds, because the planet was in danger.

  22. Comments made by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, “Honorable Secretary of State, Her Excellency Hillary Rodham Clinton, Honorable Environment Minister of Canada, Honorable Environment Minister of Sweden, Ambassador of Ghana, Honorable Environment Minister of Mexico, Administrator of UNEP Achim Steiner, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen” at “The Climate and Clean Air Coalition To Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants Initiative” seem to be a last-ditch PR attempt to

    a.) Express concern about real pollutants to the public, and
    b.) Divert attention from increasing evidence that CO2 is not one.

  23. randomengineer

    “So, does anyone see problems with this plan? Looks like win-win to me.”

    It’s patently absurd on the face of it. Any plan that spends more than $1 USD and doesn’t include the chinese and indians is a waste. For one thing, it’s not the US that does a lot of particulate producing cooking fires. Of course the nonsensical unsubstantiated claims of millions of premature deaths helps push this image. Oh, the humanity.

    For another, what this amounts to is little more than the legal platform needed to further regulate people using fireplaces. Undoubtedly some pinhead will point out that this isn’t mentioned in the text, to which the reply is “really? no kidding?” You just have to be able to see where seeing fireplace smoke as a dangerous pollutant leads. e.g. we have this

    …from the open burning of agricultural waste in their fields, [H.R. Clinton]

    It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to grasp that the underlying notion here is that burning stuff means pollution which causes global warming. Burn off a corn field, warm the earth.

    Will forest fires also be outlawed by this totalitarian law?

    And then of course is the obligatory attack on diesel.

    I have pretty much stopped reading this site since it’s becoming more difficult to distinguish it from The Onion. I’ll drop by again in a few weeks to see if anything’s changed.

    • Dear randomengineer.

      You and I live open democracies that have quite a number of laws and policies that are useful and make sense to us as well as a number that you, or I, may disagree upon passionately.

      But if you would live under a totalitarian regime you wouldn’t type stuff like this because it would lead to your disappearance, and incarceration in some secret wing of the local prison compound. Calling and considering laws you passionately disagree with “totalitarian law” even if they are implemented by a democratic regime is an deep and gross insult to all the people that suffer REAL totalitarian regimes.

  24. ‘This program was spurred by the recent paper in Science by Shindell et al. (and UNEP report authored by Shindell et al):’
    I clicked on the ‘Science’ link, and received a ‘page not found’.
    nevertheless there were some remarkable items at that site, this one in particular. .
    I would put my eggs in this basket.
    regarding ‘Climate fast attack plan’, my initial reactions are skeptical. I’m ‘sick to death’ of ‘climate plans’, and doubtful about ‘fast attacks’. if you like the fast approach, stop eating for a day ! it won’t kill you, and you’ll save some energy for future generations.
    I notice comments thus far are also skeptical. I would dump all main perpetrators of the global warming scam, and suggest that the ‘Cfap’ is a smoke screen for the real agenda, which is to keep that gravy train a’rollin. ‘Cfap’ is what I’d like to see happen to the cagw zealots !
    to my mind, it’s a matter of priorities. what ‘lack of’ is going to kill you first ? air, water, food, temperature, disease… obviously lack of water can kill you within a week, polluted air might shorten your life span by a number of years.
    yes, reduce or eliminate particulate emissions. yes, drive your car less. yes, use electronic technology more.
    my personal credos derives from a ‘rights’ model of education. a child has the right to go to school, live, and interact with peers, in the local environment. I generalise that model to life. if I can’t walk there, then I’m not going. yes, it’s an ideal to be aimed at, and difficult to achieve.
    I recently watched a TED dissemination, entitled. ‘Bjorn Lomburg: Our priorities for saving the world’. the easiest action was eliminating AIDS, the most difficult, tackling climate change.
    I do question the priorities of zealots, and would suggest that self interest is the prime motivator. as I see it, the agw issue is a precursor to ‘agenda 21’.
    small wonder that de-population and wealth reduction are orders of the day, and working very well via attempts to moderate climate and shut down the coal industry.
    an observation re coal – at this very moment coal is saving the lives of snow bound Russians and Europeans. I would be ensuring that a stockpile of coal exists in every household subject to ice age conditions.
    thanks for your time.

  25. Mr. randomengineer:

    A few hundred billion $? Only the tip of the iceberg – try TEN TRILLION ($10,000,000,000,000) in prospect, when all is said and done.

    These monies sure could fix a lot of problems with the environment. But then the debate isn’t about the environment – it’s about profiteer greed and the leftist totalitarian agenda.

  26. I don’t have any problem in reducing real pollutants like soot.

    But I have problem with the following:

    There is no way to effectively address climate change without reducing carbon dioxide, the most dangerous, prevalent, and persistent greenhouse gas.

    The data does not support the above statement.

    The effect of carbon dioxide on the global mean temperature pattern is NIL =>

    This pattern has not changed in 160 years: An overall warming of 0.5 deg C per century with an oscillation of 0.5 deg C every 30 years.

    Before stating “carbon dioxide, the most dangerous, prevalent, and persistent greenhouse gas”, please first give an observable evidence for it to be the “most dangerous”

  27. Willis Eschenbach

    Well … let me see if the numbers work out. That’s where I always start. Their claims are:

    More than one-third of current global warming is caused by short-lived pollutants.


    We identified 14 measures targeting methane and BC emissions that reduce projected global mean warming ~0.5°C by 2050.

    OK. Their “14 measures” might, and I emphasize might, reduce the methane and BC emissions by half. We don’t know, but it is unlikely to be more than that, particularly since both methane and BC emissions have significant natural sources (wetlands, and coalseam/forest fires).

    So … to the numbers. Cutting the short lived pollutants in half (probably not possible but we’ll use that) will reduce temperatures by half a degree, which means that they are claiming that overall they are likely responsible for a full degree of warming.

    However, they also claim that this is only a third of the “current global warming”, so that means that they are projecting total of 3°C WARMING BY 2050 …

    I must say, I hate it when politicians pull out this BS. And I hate it even more when “scientists” claim that said BS is science.

    And I hate the most to see our good host not even bother to run the numbers, and then to claim that No, Judith, it will be as worthless as a test of the models as has been the recent 15-year hiatus in warming.

    If we institute the program and then the climate gives us another 15-year hiatus in warming … what on earth will that prove, Judith? Will it show that the BC and methane changes did something? Really? How on earth will it do that? That’s just a modeler’s fantasy.


    PS—I agree with reducing BC, but for health reasons. If it helps the climate, fine, but even if we do the experiment we’ll likely be unable to determine the effect. Heck, giant volcanoes go off and we can barely find them in the temperature record … why should a small change in BC make a difference?

    • Willis –

      I think you misinterpreted Judith’s take on this. The win win supposition means it doesn’t matter if the policy has a negligible effect on GC forcing. Which you seem to understand.

      The numbers therefore aren’t important – they are just rhetoric to bolster the case for the ‘win’ policy.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Huh? What other advantage does reducing methane have, if there is no effect on GC forcing? That one seems like lose-lose to me.


      • “If we just give them the Sudetenland we can all live in peace”.

        Just more “win-win”, “no-regrets” policy thinking from the past.

      • It will only be a win win for the climate change community. And they will make sure energy prices are higher and higher until the old and poor all freeze to death.

    • Thanks for the comment Willis, I would hope you support the “no shelter” for junk science policy that I and many call for regarding the camel nose under the tent approach of “no regrets” policy advocacy that Dr. Curry for one is supporting. If we have to be spoon fed climate change hokem mixed in with SO2 or soot reduction for valid health reasons then we just have to accept a higher death rates in the short-term. In the longer run central planning AGW policy will kill far more people than soot.

      Only a fool brings a knife to a gunfight.

      Once again the Greens are indicating how little they really care about about health issues by not casting aside their dogma on warming. You’re being too conciliatory to parties that if the wind were blowing the other way would be seeking to wipe away any individual rights needed to achieve the political purpose that orginated AGW. If there was a settled science methane consensus and you questioned it you be mocked as a heretic.
      It’s offered as moderation but it is nothing of the sort. It’s a political fig leaf of this administration to it’s rabid base of Green supporters.

    • I believe the “one third” figure refers to the contributions of methane and BC from their rise in concentrations over the long term record. However, because they are short lived species, reducing their emission rates will reduce their atmospheric concentrations far faster than a reduction in CO2 emissions, and have a correspondingly greater short term impact. Therefore, the estimated 0.5 C slowing in warming by 2050 can’t simply be multiplied by 3 (or 6) to estimate the future CO2 contribution over that short an interval.

      Regarding methane, it’s a precursor of tropospheric ozone, which is a health and agricultural hazard.

    • “What other effects does reducing methane have”.

      A significant portion of the ‘man caused’ methane is leaky gas pipes. It’ll have the same effect as fixing a dripping faucet. Increase the ‘usable’ supply of a commodity.

      The Hildebeast is just engaging in an age old political ploy…I.E. Find a parade and get in front of it. The natural gas industry has already decided that ‘leaky pipes’ are costing them more then what it would cost to repair them.

    • win-lose

      the health benefits of mitigating any pollutants that cause respiratory ailments are of course favored by all- a win.

      I think we lose on the grounds expressed by Willis – that this “experiment” can never be fully evaluated nor success proven because the numbers are based on model results that have not been verified by empirical data. Any effects will not be measurable over natural variations that may occur. The policy, in this regard, has been formulated on hypothesis rather than sound scientific basis (observations) and we lose there.

      I can provide an example. One claim made in the UNEP Report, Summary for Policy Makers is that:

      “Implementation of the measures would
      substantially slow, but not halt, the current
      rapid pace of temperature rise and other
      changes already occurring at the poles..”

      “…the snow/ice
      darkening effect of BC is substantially greater
      than the cooling effect of reflective particles
      co-emitted with BC…”

      Such a claim is unfounded on the basis of limited but sound empirical evidence that suggest the opposite. As an external reviewer of the Report, I took issue with such claims, providing supporting evidence from the literature. The papers were cited in the final report but without any elaboration.

      My comments pertained to Chapter 3 on the role of Black Carbon.

      In the UNEP report, the radiative effect of aerosols at the surface is largely ignored. While positive forcing occurs at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) over snow, all aerosol co-mixtures have been found to radiatively cool the surface on the basis of empirical studies and radiative transfer theory. On an Arctic-wide scale, associated darkening by deposition of BC onto snow has never been measured at levels to support the claim that “snow/ice darkening effect of BC is substantially greater than the cooling effect of reflective particles co-emitted with BC.”

      I will not elaborate but for those interested cross-reference comments made earlier on the topic; see Santa Fe Conference: Part II
      RSS | November 22, 2011 at 12:43 am

      in which I state:
      BOTTOM LINE: the ‘direct’ radiative effect of aerosols is to cool the surface, indicated by the negative values (slopes) of forcing efficiency. This applies also to aerosol mixtures containing soot over snow/ice. Furthermore, cooling is enhanced as the melt season progresses due to greater solar insolation and decreasing surface albedo.

      no discussion of this appears in the UNEP Report so how would a policy maker know otherwise?

      There is no dispute that depositing soot on snow will cause a decrease in its albedo. The question is, by how much and over what spatial scales does this occur, and does this have a significant impact compared with natural variations in albedo?

      I presented three independent observational records of BC in the Arctic that must be given serious consideration but tend to be overlooked by the modeling community and were by the authors of the UNEP report obviously.

      Distinct data sets, acquired throughout the Arctic, show a significant decrease in BC since the 1980s, and thus darkening by soot deposited in the snow is an unlikely contributor to the recent decline in sea ice.

      I conclude:

      The observational evidence suggests that ‘mitigation’ of anthropogenic BC in the Arctic has already occurred by virtue of clean air policies enacted globbally and the demise of the Soviet Union.

      While a proponent of clean air, I am doubtful further mitigation will achieve the desired result with regard to the Arctic. Arctic BC is already at modest levels and natural sources, such as smoke from boreal wildfires cannot be mitigated. BC is co-mixed with sulfate aerosols that cool the surface very efficiently by backscattering sunlight. Currently, the scattering (cooling) effect of atmopsheric aerosols probably more than offset the warming effect of soot deposited in the snow.

      Thus, a more pristine Arctic may result in warming at the surface, quite the opposite effect expected through enactment of this policy – (not a win).

  28. Willis Eschenbach

    No clue why the formatting went mad …


    • Hey, Willis, don’t worry about the formatting.

      You got my attention.

      (And what you wrote made sense).


  29. Judith Curry

    Afraid I have to agree with many of the denizens who believe this is just another boondoggle.

    Sure, particulate emissions are a bad deal and should be stopped for human health reasons.

    The same goes for NOx, sulfur and toxic metals from coal burning. Smog-producing hydrocarbons should also be controlled.

    Methane I’m not so sure about. This is emitted naturally from several sources and does not remain in the atmosphere very long. I have seen no studies that show that methane is harmful to human health in the ppb range in which we can expect it to stay with or without any restrictions.

    So I’d say this is a substitute process to get the camel’s nose into the tent, along the lines of: “CO2 regulation is not going to happen, so let’s set a little precedent with methane, just to see how it flies”..

    The advantages you cite:

    – “walk before you run” – and (maybe) end up with “up to 0.5 degC reduction in global warming by 2050” – is no real incentive to do anything
    – “capturing methane for use as a fuel” is a good idea, where the heating value of the methane pays for the cost of capturing it, but does not need any international regulation, just plain economic ommon sense
    – “testing the models” is something we can do easily without an international program to reduce methane emissions.(they’re getting a pretty good test already – and don’t look too good)

    So I hope that some member of Congress takes this one up and gets the methane portion squelched – all the rest concerning abatement of truly harmful pollutants can stay in as far as I’m concerned (although even there I fail to see why any international agreement is required).:



  30. Soot/black carbon/brown haze (all much the same material when in suspension in the atmosphere) has been a research topic of the Scripps Institute led by V.Ramanathan. See for instance
    The link shows a map of the opacity of the atmosphere over south and east Asia. There are regional ‘black spots’ over Bengal, Bangla Desh, northern Vietnam and parts of China.
    Ramanathan seems to me to deserve being taken seriously by climate alarmists and climate skeptics alike – unlike rather too many of his younger colleagues in the climate establishment.

  31. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘One of the most important and mysterious events in recent climate history is the climate shift in the mid-1970s [Graham, 1994]. In the northern hemisphere 500-hPa atmospheric flow the shift manifested itself as a collapse of a persistent wave-3 anomaly pattern and the emergence of a strong wave-2 pattern. The shift was accompanied by sea-surface temperature (SST) cooling in the central Pacific and warming off the coast of western North America [Milleret al., 1994]. The shift brought sweeping long-range changes in the climate of northern hemisphere. Incidentally, after ‘‘the dust settled,’’ a new long era of frequent El Niños superimposed on a sharp global temperature increase begun. While several possible triggers for the shift have been suggested and investigated [Graham, 1994; Miller et al.. 1994; Graham et al., 1994], the actual physical mechanism that led to this shift is not known.’ Tsonis et al 2007 ‘A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts’

    There is a suggestion of what can be ‘called equivalently a phase transition, a bifurcation, a catastrophe (in the sense of Rene Thom), or a tipping point’ at the core of global climate shifts rather than any notion of climate cycles or internal variability. A dynamically complex climate has implications for ideas of forcing and sensitivity. The response of the system to poorly understood control variables is in principle non-linear. And of course the potential, therefore, for ultra sensitivity exists. Extreme sensitivity in the region of a climate shift – and not sensitive elsewhere. The latest climate shift occurred in 1998/2001 – that it coincided with the ‘super’ El Niño is no coincidence.

    If I am right – very few people anywhere have much understanding of how climate works. I think that the mechanism for shifts involves anomalous movements of air masses in high latitudes as a result of ozone and UV interactions in the stratosphere – and pushing cold water towards the equator along the north and south American coasts in the Peruvian and Californian Currents. The cold water increases the density of surface water and allows – or not – the upwelling of cold sub-surface water. There are then feedbacks to upwelling in ocean current, biology, wind and cloud changes that influences global climate. Theoretically chaotic but acting through a complex physical global system. This has been described as the new climate paradigm by the NAS committee on abrupt climate change.

    Late to the party as usual – the question is not who got it wrong but who the hell has got it right yet?

    If I am right along a with a few more influential others – there is very little likelihood of any warming in the next decade or three, AGW is a lost cause and this is too little too late. Nothing with greenhouse gases in the rationale will get any traction at all – and I can’t honestly say that I regret that much. The best and only option is to pursue similar outcomes through humanitarian objectives.

    Robert I Ellison
    Chief Hydrologist

    • Chief,

      Try the salinity changes of ocean water…the last 4 decades.

      P.S. Our planet surface and atmosphere do have different densities from each other.

    • “who the hell has got it right yet?”
      I do got it right
      If you disagree, show me data that proves I am wrong.

    • There will be no significant warming for several hundred years. We are near to the conditions on the Earth during the Medieval Warm Period and this will be followed by a cooling that may or may not be as much as the Little Ice Age. We are not as warm as the MWP so we will may not get as cool as the LIA. Earth temperature gets warm, cool, warm, cool ……..
      We are warm now and we will get cool. This always happens.
      We have a stable cycle around a Set Point Established by Arctic Sea Ice.
      LOOK AT THE DATA!!!!!

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Now – did Arctic ice cause the 1976/77 Pacific climate shift? Probably not – it is a different thing entirely and the key process is cold water upwelling.

        Precipitation equals evaporation over a few day on avergage. In the cold there is less evaporation and vice versa. And ice albedo is the major factor in plunging into glacials. Runaway ice and snow feedback.

        ‘Most of the studies and debates on potential climate change have focused on the ongoing buildup of industrial greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and a gradual increase in global temperatures. But recent and rapidly advancing evidence demonstrates that Earth’s climate repeatedly has shifted dramatically and in time spans as short as a decade. And abrupt climate change may be more likely in the future.’

        It all depends on your definition of stable or unstable. There seem definite limits – glacial to interglacial – so you can call that stable but within that there is rapid and unpredictable change.

  32. HELP

    Does any one know a good premier that explains how the global mean temperature is affected by ocean cycles?

    I am not happy with the one available at Wiki.

    Thanks in advance.

  33. Judith –

    I might be even more surprised than you by the violent reaction of the denizens to this sane and pragmatic approach.
    It seems like tribal politics got in the way of common sense.

    And of course, that doesn’t happen very often does it? :)

    • Sane and pragmatic it might be, Anteros, but without a frank and explicit disavowal of the CO2 hokum, it will continue to be seen as ‘more better and different’ of the same rubbish science we’ve been coughing up for these last 25 years. The CO2 nonsense will fade away like Alice’s Cheshire cat, leaving nothing but the smirk of the climate “scientists” who got away with it, and have no better reason than they ever had to practise genuine science.

      If these clowns want to spend their own time and money chasing a will-o-the wisp, that’s their affair – a man needs a hobby, after all – but we need to call a halt to the flow of public money that has seen bad science chase away good, and anywhere we see it being spent is a good enough place to start.

      • “The CO2 nonsense” = phraseology from your tribal leanings.

        You have no actual scientific basis for your dismissal of the CO2 issue.

      • “If these clowns want to spend their own time and money chasing a will-o-the wisp, that’s their affair”
        Eradication of the ‘will-o-the wisp’ of the idea; emissions of methane and phosphine are the cause of the ‘will-o-the wisp’; drain all the bogs and fill in all the paddy-fields.

  34. The key recommendation is to spend lots of money, right now and for as long as the eye can see. They volunteer to co-ordinate and direct the spending, for a suitable cut.

  35. “First, this is a good example of a no-regrets policy, one that is relatively inexpensive with ancillary benefits for human health and development. “

    Nothing done for a false reason is “no regrets”. If you can’t sell it on the basis of the “ancillary” benefits alone, then you’re giving up something for nothing. If you are rational, that is the defintion of regrets.

    “Second, walking before you run is a good strategy. Lets see if we can actually influence the climate in the expected way by reducing the methane and black soot. Not to mention exercise and test the efficacy of international cooperation and actions to reduce greenhouse gases.”

    Not to mention it provides a handy talking point for when the temp trend runs firmly outisde of the ever widening model prediction error bands, or in fact becomes seriously negative. People can say, “well yeah, but that isn’t because we were wrong, it is because we cut methane and soot. It has given us a brief reprieve, a second chance to do whats really needed, proof that it works, if we dont take the next step all will be lost, its worse than ever … yada… yada…yada”

    It will be the new aerosols. Talk about manufacturing uncertainty …

  36. Can someone explain the black carbon vs CO2. I presume if one combusts black carbon efficiently, then one will get more CO2 and more heat.

    Anyone seen a physics experiment on black carbon warming vs CO2 warming???

    • Black carbon affects climate primarily by changing the Earth’s albedo: that is, it changes the amount of incoming shortwave solar energy which is absorbed into the Earth system rather than reflected. Conversely the effect of CO2 is to change the amount of longwave radiation which is escaping to space.

      There are two stages at which black carbon exerts an effect:

      Ground – when the black carbon comes to rest on some surface it has a fairly unambiguous effect. Since it’s nearly black it will absorb more in the visible spectrum than most objects so that surface will receive increasing amounts of energy and warm up. Though really, due to the small quantity of BC particles, this will only be significant in very reflective areas (i.e. high latitudes, glaciers).

      Airborne – Here the overall effect is far less certain, it may even be slightly negative (cooling). Again the black carbon will mean more energy absorbed but, since it is being absorbed in the atmosphere, it means that the surface doesn’t directly receive that energy (the BC provides a shade, directly cooling the local surface). The overall impact, including indirect effects is fairly uncertain. This paper seems to offer a good summary of some of the issues, though its focus is on a particular aspect of the uncertainty:

      Pound for pound BC appears to exert a much greater overall warming effect than CO2 so there shouldn’t be a concern that less BC = more CO2. It may be true but the numbers involved would be inconsequential in relation to the present atmospheric CO2 concentration or even to annual anthropogenic carbon emissions.

      Fred Moolton below posted a link to an excellent piece on this topic, including a brief treatment of BC effects. You might find that interesting. Here’s the link again for speed.

      • Paul S –

        Sound reasoning, well explained.


      • actually black carbon (as opposed to sulfphate particles) absorbs solar radiation, warming the atmosphere, which then emits IR radiation at a higher temperature, this increasing the downwelling IR flux. So the backscattering effect of black carbon is mostly smaller than this indirect IR effect. The quantitative aspects of this are debated, but scientists who study this mostly (but not entirely) think that more black carbon means more surface warming (independently of a surface albedo effect.) Probably worth a technical thread on this at some point, but I have such a backlog of topics.

      • Judith,

        Thanks for that. I didn’t mean to give the impression that BC is likely to be a slight cooling influence in airborne form, though looking back it’s possible I did so.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I find this to be an interesting wrinkle.

        ‘Compiling all the data, we show that solar-absorption efficiency was positively correlated with the ratio of black carbon to sulphate. Furthermore, we show that fossil-fuel-dominated black-carbon plumes were approximately 100% more efficient warming agents than biomass-burning-dominated plumes.We
        suggest that climate-change-mitigation policies should aim at reducing fossil-fuel black-carbon emissions, together with the atmospheric ratio of black carbon to sulphate.’

        ‘Warming influenced by the ratio of black carbon to sulphate and the black-carbon source’ Ramana et al (2010)

      • The Ban-Weiss et al paper is interesting, but all based on a computer simulation. In that respect, the results still need to be validated in the real world.

        It looks like all of the evidence for black carbon effect quoted in the paper is derived from other people’s models.

        So the beauty of a plan to reduce black carbon is that it works as fast as the climate models can be rewritten. Truly brilliant!

  37. Did not they say the globe would warm at the rate of 0.2 deg C per decade in the recent two decades?

    Fortunately, there was slight cooling (

    So nature has given us lack of warming by 0.3 deg C for FREE.

    Let us see another decade whether it will repeat the favor again. We have now the luxury of a decade because the claimed warming did not happen.

    Why do AGW advocates want to pay for something when it COULD be provided by nature for free again?

    My worry is if there was CO2 emission control in the 1990s, I hate to see they claiming the recent global cooling were due to the emission control policy.

    Please let us not waste any money on something nature does itself.

    • Also we must stop believing any one who says this policy will reduce projected global mean warming ~0.5°C by 2050., as they were not able to predict the current cooling.

    • “Why do AGW advocates want to pay for something when it COULD be provided by nature for free again?”

      The decade 1985-1995 was flat too.

      The fact is though that as CO2 and other greenhouse gases continue to rise the world will warm. Nature can’t just shrug it off through magic.

      • lolwot said “The fact is though that as CO2 and other greenhouse gases continue to rise the world will warm. Nature can’t just shrug it off through magic.”

        No, can’t “shrug” it off completely. It really depends on several things.

        1. How saturated are the absorption bands (including side-bands) for CO2 in atmosphere?

        2. What is the actual CO2 sensitivity? Is it 0.5 C for a doubling or 3 C for a doubling of CO2. (What is level of amplification)

        3. Then there is the question of how dangerous a 2 C increase really will be 100 years from now.

        4. And the excellent question as to whether we can save more lives and improve quality of living at a cheaper price by concentrating efforts on other problems.

        5. Do we really have a level of understanding of the climate that will allow some of us to be so smug and self-assured about what we know with a certainty will happen?

        As a scientist myself I understand that science slowly evolves, especially in young and complex fields such as climate science.

        Yet, a few years ago no one was saying the climate could go nearly 20 years without seeing much of a rise. No one was predicting that the heat would “hide” in the oceans. Hansen just recently DOUBLED his estimate of aerosol cooling in order to get the models to match the temperature record. These are 3 different possible explanations as to why it is not warming as fast as the models suggested.
        This shows how little we really did understand even 10 years ago and suggests that the level of certainty and arrogance from ten years ago was unwarranted. It also suggests that there is still a lot we need to understand. We have barely started to understand the sun and cosmic rays and any role they may play. Many of the factors affecting climate (such as clouds) have a low level of understanding. So, there really is no justification for the attitude of many warmists. Just because some skeptics may go overboard and be smug on the other side (sometimes based on ignorance) does not justify acting just as childish as they do.

      • CO2 is picky – it likes some locations better than others:

        Last I checked, Amarillo was part of “the world”.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        No massive volcano in 1992?

      • Reading through your post Bill I find myself nodding all the way especially when it comes to hubris, an attribute which unfortunately, is not the exclusive preserve of mainstream climate scientists.

  38. “Hilary Rodham Clinton has made the following remarks …..More than one-third of current global warming is caused by short-lived pollutants”.

    So essentially because short lived, there is an amount of warming proportional to current energy usage. When did that “more than one-third” become significant?

    So it must have been expressed in the early parts of the temperature record disproportionately highly compared to slowly accumulating CO2 which now seems to be officially responsible for less than 2/3 of current global warming. In the early days of global warming, most of the warming must have been due to these short lived pollutants. How much of a downward affect on the climate sensitivity of CO2 does this fact have?

  39. Richard Black sums it up well:

    Short-term climate fix risks blanking CO2

  40. 1. The Science article isn’t available to many of us …
    The content you requested requires a AAAS member subscription to this site or Science Pay per Article purchase. (…) If you would like to recommend that your institution subscribe to this content, please visit our Recommend a Subscription page.
    2. Searching the UNEP report’s Summary for Decision Makers for the word “cost” turned up no cost numbers. A decision maker’s first or maybe second question should be, “What’s the cost?”
    Given the scientific complexity of the issues, further research is required to optimize near-term strategies in different regions and to evaluate the cost-benefit ratio for individual measures.
    This sounds more like a request to fund “further study” than a call to action.
    3. Does this mean no more wood fired pizza ovens?

  41. I agree with most commenters here, it is an escape route for the failed global warming theory. Save the face, gain some time and implement policies based on it.
    And then yeah, we did it, we kept the world under 2° warming. Maybe we manage even to cool it…
    Eliminate pollutants as much as possible – such as soot? Yes.
    Connection to the grid of Africa’s and Asia’s small towns and villages, cheap energy, build conventional power plants with western technology and most of it would be eliminated.
    Stop wasting methane to the environment? As much as possible yes, but don’t care for cows farting and swamps emissions, that is natural.
    Increasing CO2 is still improving the biosphere at current concentrations. Maybe we should re-analyse this in 50 and again in 100 years then 200, Maybe then it would not add any benefits any more.

  42. Mr. lolwot:

    Uh, yes, there IS TONS of evidence to support dismissing the CO2 bogeyman – starting with simple observation and even simpler math that PROVES human-generated CO2 is an infinitesimal factor in CO2 activity AND CO2 is an infinitesimal factor in climate change, and going on the the honest climate datasthat PROVES there is no connection of human activity to climate change, and going on to the historical record which PROVES there never has been aby correlation between human actoivity and cvlimate change, and going on the the geological record which further PROVES there is no effect of CO2 on climate change.

    AGW is FOUR WATSPROVEB WRONG! How van anyone of any integrity cling to a theory so thoroughly discredited? Oh, but politics, and the leftist totalitarian agenfa, which cares no more for truth than Lysenk, should reassure skepyivd? Balderdash!! Sorry, but I’m going to fight the AGW crowd’s mission to make millions for profiteers, wreck the world economy and destroy our freedoms to my last breath.


    • Markus Fitzhenry

      You’re a good man Chad.

      The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.


  43. Ban barbecues ;-)

  44. At first blush it sounds like a win win, but the numbers pose a problem as Willis pointed out. Most of the developed nations have clean air policies that have already had a major impact on black carbon and most pollutants. The new EPA MACT standards will eliminate around 8% of the aging US coal power plants and a larger percentage of forestry product fed power plants.

    China is realizing the need for clean air policy, so they should play along since they pretty much have to anyway. Russia may play along, but black carbon means shorter winters to them, so that is a weak maybe.

    If they do limit black carbon, will that mean a ban on snow mold graphite blacked fertilizers? You know, the fertilizer applied to stimulate snow melt on millions acres of winter wheat? Will that lead to a strong ban on controlled burning which leads to more and larger wild fires.

    I wonder what the unintended consequences may be?

  45. Besides CO2, the two major ‘GHG’ that are generated in large quantities by human activity are methane (CH4) and nitrus oxide (N2O).
    These levels have risen as human have not only converted woodland to farmland, but have also developed the Haber process to add nitrogen to the soils.
    The only sensible solution is reforestation on a global scales; get rid of all farm land and return Gaia to her natural state.

  46. Willis,

    A win-win is because even if this does nothing for the temperatures, IF it is cheap and saves lives by getting rid of pollution like black soot then it could/should/would be worth it.

    If only these six countries participate, and several have many fewer black soot sources than less developed countries, then it is highly unlikely that there will be this 0.5 C “benefit”.

    At any rate, it will only be a benefit if it keeps us at 1.5 vs. 2.0 or 2.5 vs. 3.0 C increases. If it saves us 0.5 C out of 1.0 C over a century that part may not be a benefit but if it did save a lot of lives from pollution it still may be worth it. Hansen said something like this in a 1998 Science paper. He said do only the things that it makes sense to do anyway and black soot was one of his examples. I’m not sure if he is completely consistent when you look at all of his political activism, but he is probably fairly consistent. For example, he is against the Keystone pipeline, which is consistent with being against black soot, but if it ends up meaning that it goes to China, where they burn it less efficiently than we would, then it makes more pollution/soot/CO2. In either the US or China, if it replaces coal then it will be a net benefit. He used to be for nuclear, not sure about now. I would think he should be for natural gas via fracking if the environmental effects are neglibible.

    I would also be worried that it will be like many of these things once they become gov’t programs. Wasted money, corruption, cronyism and the cost will go way up with little to show for it (see Solyandra). Then if we continue with little warming the next ten years, the “story” will be that some small effort that at most could have prevented 0.02 C warming but in reality with waste could have only stopped 0.01 C warming will be trumpeted by politicians and media as responsible for the lack of significant warming.

    I doubt there is a way to stop this occurring since it is billed as cheap and win-win. So hopefully it will be one of those rare programs that does some good for little cost.

  47. Judith,

    Is not 2012 an election year for the US?
    Have to keep face for the terrible policies currently implemented and in place.

  48. Others have expressed, far better than I can, why this is a stupid, even dangerous idea. Let me just add how deeply disappointed I am that our hostess, at this late stage, thinks it is worthwhile to discuss it. It is not.

  49. David Springer

    The problem with this plan is if the earth starts to cool down. The negative effects of cooling are immediate and dire. Agricultural output falls off quickly as growing seasons shorten and unexpected killer frosts rise in frequency. Heating fuel consumption skyrockets in northern hemisphere winters driving up prices and straining delivery infrastructure.

    If that happens then those who advocated for measures to slow global warming will be pilloried.

    A couple of significant sources of methane are North American and need to be addressed in a comprehensive plan. One of those is leakage of natural gas either from oil wells that are too distant from natural gas pipelines to be economically collected or from leaky natural gas pipelines. This will result in yet higher prices for oil and natural gas as the means and methods of containment, inspection, and additional bureaucracy extort their cost. The second source is the cattle industry. This will raise the price of beef and milk. The diets of the ruminants can be modified to cost more and produce less methane. A third but lesser contributor is landfills but these might border on being economical to harvest the and use the gas. Another source that is probably sacrosanct is natural wetlands. The largest single source in the world however is rice farming which the U.S. does relatively little of but economically deprived and developing countries do a lot of it. There are some modestly cost effective means of reducing methane production at rice farms by altering farming practices but not by a whole lot.

    Black carbon is something North America produces very little of since the Clean Air Act of 1963 and successive addendums have done a great deal to clean up and have been a huge success at it. Soot is a real pollutant in terms of causing health problems and the only one I really approve of reducing although it’s everywhere except North America which needs to do the improving. Europe is a big producer of soot from older diesel engines in the transportation sector and poor countries in general where slash and burn agriculture is practiced and where people harvest wood, peat, and even dung for cooking & heating fuel.

    These have largely been ignored in the past because most of the impetus behind reducing so-called global warming isn’t aimed at reducing warming it’s aimed at reducing the consumption of resources and concommitant growth of wealth & power in North America. The only way to do that is to target CO2 from fossil fuel combustion. North America is the designated scapegoat.

    • Well if this scheme does demonstrate that we can cool off the earth quickly by reducing soot, methane, etc., then in principle we can also heat things up quickly by reversing the strategy. A sort of geoengineering, which shouldn’t be too scary if we keep within the recent historical ranges of these substances.

      • David Springer

        Global average temperature hasn’t statistically risen since 1998. Climate boffins can’t explain it and are struggling to invent reasons like rising particulate emissions from Chinese coal-burning power plants. The same excuse they invented to explain the decline from 1940-1980. It’s like deja vu all over again. Trenberth, in the frankness of private concerns expressed in climategate emails, made the point that if the recent hiatus in global warming cannot be explained then it’s impossible to measure the success or failure of mitigation efforts. He’s quite right and nothing has changed since he wrote it.

        So here’s how I see it. Climate boffins, even the true believers, are now about half expecting the earth is going to be cooling down some in the cyclical fashion we see in the record following AMDO and PDO. Anyone even modestly informed cannot ignore the correlation between solar magnetic field activity and northern hemisphere temperatures either. By now everyone is pretty painfully aware the sun has become very quiet and appears to entering a phase similar to the Dalton minimum at best and Maunder minimum at worst. The modern solar grand maximum appears to have ended and even the solar boffins who have fewer clues about what drives solar climate cycles than climate boffins have about what drives terretrial climate cycles are sticking their necks out far enough to say that it is likely a solar grand minimum is in the making. Svensmark’s work being supported by the CLOUD experiment must be weighing heavily on the backs of their minds too.

        So this to me appears to be a rather transparent way to hedge their bets in case the earth experiences a natural cooling cycle. If they quickly get program going to reduce greenhouse gases (and equivalents i.e. soot) and the earth cools then they get to claim the credit for it. If the earth doesn’t cool down they say well it’s just obvious this wasn’t enough. It’s a win-win situation for them. The last thing they want to do is let nature take its course and prove them wrong because in that case there isn’t enough egg in Tyson Farms to cover all their faces.

      • What’s “scary” is that we go on this adventure to reinforce a failed speculation without real science to back it up.

        It’s obviously a very political piece of sausage making. No PHD required to understand the strings being played. It reinforces AGW mythmaking and should be rejected on the face of it. AGW rationalization/mitigation should not involve tax-payer funding, period. AGW research should be defunded in a massive way based on this sort input. Spilling flower on the floor and saying the cake is almost done just isn’t a logical argument.

        You can’t be for dogma while you say you are against it. “No regrets” asks us to be stupid on the cheap? This makes no sense. Why not reject AGW mitigation speculation in all forms?

      • Judith, reducing soot implies cleaning the air. Cleaner air allows more sunshine and has less particles for cloud formation.

        More sunshine = warmer.

        This is a dangerous plan.

      • David Springer


        I tend to agree that doing nothing with regard to methane and soot is the wisest course of action but part of me knows that agriculture needs to become more efficient to feed a growing number of people and production of beef & milk beyond what can be supported by free range grazing is hideously inefficient. Addressing methane production will include reforms there and bring more awareness to the general population. Further reductions in soot production would be nice but that’s not much of a problem for North America except that where I live in south central Texas fires that are purposely set in Mexico for agricultural reasons create a nasty smog here in Texas for a week or two every year. Otherwise soot tends to be a regional problem as it’s only able to travel a few thousand kilometers from the source before it settles out and tends to travel from lower to higher latitudes. It’s probably helping to warm the earth especially in higher latitudes by making it more difficult for permanent ice and snow to exist which lowers global albedo and amplifies the effect. I’m of the general opinion that global warming is a good thing in the long run so I’m generally against any measures taken to go in the other direction. Interglacial periods are, at best, not optimal conditions for maximizing how much biomass the planet can naturally support and glaciations are far worse. Temperate climate extending all the way to the poles is the optimum and that’s actually the normal state of affairs for the climate in the long view of geologic time. Ice ages are present in less than 10% of the earth’s history which is itself noteworthy for the naturalist who is cognizant of the faint sun paradox. The faint sun paradox leads me to believe it’s not the atmosphere which keeps the earth at a temperature friendly for life (i.e. between the freezing and boiling point of water at 14.7psi) but rather the global ocean which does it. It does it through, first of all, through having a lower alebdo than rocks and secondly by being able to sequester solar energy received in the summer through to the winter which, critically, makes it harder for sea ice to form. It accomplishes the seasonal heat storage by virtue of it being a greenhouse fluid which, like greenhouse gases, means it is transparent to shortwave light and opaque to longwave. Solar energy penetrates to a significant depth (about 100 meters in open ocean) but cannot escape radiatively from deeper than about 1 millimeter. For the solar energy to escape it must be mechanically transported from deeper water to the surface where it leaves mostly by evaporation and secondarily by radiation. This IMO is what does the heavy lifting in raising the average temperature of the earth far above that of a barren rock like the moon. Happily there’s a negative on our water world which limits the maximum temperature in spite of the sun growing hotter and hotter over the eons. That negative feedback is cloud cover which works like an iris opening up to allow more energy to reach the surface when it gets colder and closing up to reflect more energy away when the surface gets hotter. If I were a more religious type I’d say it was designed that way from the gitgo. I have my suspicions about that in any case but it’s just seems far too coincidental for this marvelous thermostatic mechanism to have performed so well for billions of years. That’s a hallmark of engineering. But I digress…

      • David Springer

        If we want to warm the earth in a hurry we’re screwed. We couldn’t possibly produce enough greenhouse gases. However we can cool it in hurry. Catastrophic global warming plus nuclear winter equals global just right. Nuclear winter is fairly well researched. An expanding ring of timed subsurface nuclear bursts in a large desert region would drive enough dust and dirt into the stratosphere to do the job. We already have more than enough hardware already built to do the job. This would have the adverse effect of marginally higher cancer rates across the globe from radioactive fallout. However, if we start throwing the money proposed for climate mitigation instead at finding a cure for cancer then when and if global warming becomes a problem we can fix it without worrying about the rise in incidence of cancer. And if catastrophic global warming doesn’t come to pass then we still have a cure for cancer to show for the money we spent. Where’s the downside in that?

      • David Springer


        re; cleaning soot from air a danger

        Soot may be neutral but I have a hard time believing it’s a net negative forcing. It is known that soot clouds over the ocean does a significant amount of shading and if it falls out over the ocean it doesn’t lay around absorbing extra sunlight to warm the surface. Conversely though when it falls out over sand or snow it can do a lot of surface warming by darkening those surfaces and since it floats it doesn’t tend to be reduced quickly from those surfaces but rather gets concentrated every time there’s a partial melt or non-flooding rain. Its residence time in the atmosphere where it exerts a cooling effect is thus brief compared to residence time on the surface where it warms. The consensus (which admittedly might be worse than worthless) is that the larger effect is warming and I tend to agree with the majority in this case.

      • You are right Judith. If it worked quickly and convincingly and at reasonable cost and at the same time improved some living conditions due to cleaner air it would be a great thing.

      • Judy, do you think that this would be a sufficiently-controlled experiment, in what is a very complex and often misunderstood field, that we could draw any definitive conclusions from it? Prima facie, that seems very unlikely. We can’t hold “other things equal,” and we can’t measure any of the inputs or outputs well. We’ve had stable temperatures for 15 years when increases were predicted, how can we attribute any particular outcomes over the next 15 years to the measures proposed here?

  50. Considerate Thinker

    It is a clever attempt to reframe a failing policy and repackage a catch all expandable batch of new evils that will preserve the regulatory health and EPA legitimacy, with enough wriggle room to include C02 or anything else, and of course re vitalize the Ozone hole “is dangerous” under the guise of saving the world.
    Yes clever, but will it end up as just the same reorganization and redistribution of wealth to a select political group and fail to save anyone other than political face.
    Needs some rigorous examination, sunset clauses, achievement targets, monitored by say sceptical scientists and health review boards to check funding allocations are tightly targeted to health issues, not vague social engineering adventures.

    • David Springer

      I agree it’s an attempt to reframe the debate around a possibly cooling earth but I don’t agree that attempt is very clever. It’s obvious, transparent, and the only reasonable thing to do in order to save face. I’d do it if I were them but I’ve been correct all along so I have no need for any face saving. I’m just sitting by with a pail full of salt to deservedly rub into their wounds. What the bast*rds have done to science by undermining public trust is unforgiveable. There are a plethora of huge problems and potential disasters facing humanity. The least of those is global warming which by any sane metric is a blessing not a curse. In the meantime we are running out of fresh water, fertilizer, and arable land. A CME the size of the Carrington Event in 1859 if it happened today might kill a good fraction of the population of an entire continent. A comet or asteroid strike, ditto. A supervolcano eruption ditto again. Even a cure for cancer or the common cold would be money better spent. Lomberg was right on the money. There are a plethora of better ways to spend precious capital resources to save lives, mitigate against potential natural disasters, and raise living standards with the money climate alarmists want to squander on anthropogenic climate change. Bjorn Lomberg is quite correct in this regard.

      • “In the meantime we are running out of fresh water, fertilizer, and arable land”

        Fresh water? Not if you have cheap energy. The Israelis rely on imported fuel for all their electricity needs and yet for $423 million a new water desalination plant at Ashdod will supply 75% of their freshwater needs.

        Making ammonium nitrate is cheap with cheap electricity. Phosphate will get more expensive, but dumping sewage was never a smart move. However, if you are desalinizing anyway, minerals from saline makes sense.
        Arable land is everywhere if you make marginal land arable land. Kill all the goats and the Middle east will bloom.
        All these problems are only problems if you don’t have cheap electricity. With cheap electricity I can split water, hydrogenate limestone, get calcium and methane. Methane gives me liquid fuels and calcium gives me cement, hence concrete. Hydrogenation of low carbon sources, including biomass, gives methane and more fertilizer.
        All rests on energy input. Give humanity cheap base electrical capacity and almost all problems disappear.

    • Hear, hear!

  51. 1. Is it the cynic in me that finds the timing of a ‘quick fix’ proposal that just happens to coincide with increasing indicators of a decade or two of temperature decline due to natural variations suspicious? Look, we fixed the world!

    2. Are the costs of these measures small enough to be paid for only by those who ‘believe’?

  52. David Springer

    The old saw about CO2 being a “long lived” component of the atmosphere is rearing its stupid head again.

    Here’s the deal. Anthropogenic CO2 production has been rising for a century. With great consistency only half of it remains resident in the atmosphere in the year it was produced. No matter how much more is emitted each year natural sinks suck up half of it. This very strongly suggests that there’s a natural equilibrium point for atmospheric CO2 concentration and the farther anthropogenic sources move the system away from equilibrium the stronger the natural sinks work to restore equilibrium. The result of this is exactly what we observe – regardless of how much anthropogenic CO2 emission increases each year almost exactly half of it is removed in that same year.

    Therefore what can we almost certainly expect if anthropogenic CO2 production where to suddenly stop is that it would be removed by natural sinks working to restore equilibrium at exactly the same rate, year by year, that the excess accumulated. This is simply how equilibrium systems work. The excess would be most quickly removed in the beginning years and taper off. Ten years would reduce it back to 2002 levels. In 40 years back to 1972 level and so forth. I’m utterly amazed at the contorted and long winded explanations offered, none of which agree by the way, about longer residence times for anthropogenic CO2 when it’s so clearly an equilibrium system with nature controlling the set point which for interglacial periods is 280ppm and glacial epics is 200ppm.

    Those levels are dangerously low for life on this planet, by the way. The periods of great fecundity for living things on this third rock from the sun are marked by atmospheric CO2 in the low thousands of parts per million not the low hundreds of parts per million. How is it that climate boffins can so wantonly ignore natural history, and be allowed to get away with it, except for when it suits their agenda?

    • ‘This is simply how equilibrium systems work’
      Atmospheric CO2 is not now, nor has it ever been, in equilibrium. CO2 is a biotic gas and atmospheric levels are a consequence of the influx and efflux of CO2 into reservoirs. Actual sinks exist, mineralization of carbon and its deposition under minerals ad do inputs either burning fossil fuels or from volcanoes.
      One cannot use the term ‘equilibrium’ to describe a steady state, stating that CO2 levels are an ‘equilibrium’ makes as much sense as saying your body temperature is an ‘equilibrium’ or the altitude of a Boeing 747 is at ‘equilibrium’.

      • David Springer

        Just because there’s an equlibrium point doesn’t mean the system will be in equilibrium. It means the system will have a preference and the further out of equilibrium it is driven the more force is applied to restore equilibrium. If you don’t know that then you simply don’t know much about equilibrium systems. I’ve been an engineer, a very successful one, for over 30 years. If I didn’t know how things work in the real world and/or be able to reverse engineer how real world systems work I could not have been so successful.

        This is not to say that the equilibrium point is constant. That can very well be a moving target which I noted when I wrote that the set point appears to be 200ppm for glacial epics and 280ppm for interglacials. Outside of ice ages the set point appears to be at a far higher level. While I suspect biological activity has something to do with the equilibrium point it’s difficult to separate biomass from global average temperature as the two are directly and positively correlated. By the same token the average temperature of the ocean almost certainly has something to do with the equilibrium point and the average temperature of the ocean hasn’t budged an iota in human history as far as anyone knows because 90% of its volume lies below the thermocline at a relatively constant 3C. The first 10,000 years of a glacial epic might be able to move that enough to establish a new set point and after a million years of no ice age conditions raise the average temperature of the global ocean quite a lot. I strongly lean towards average temperature of the global ocean controlling the equilibrium set point for atmospheric CO2.

        If you care to respond as I have with actual scientific explanations where consistentcy and fact are given priority over hand waving and speculation feel free to respond otherwise put a sock in it until you can.

    • David, you are right about the equilibrium point. The “equilibrium” is a dynamic equilibrium, or steady state level, which itself depends of the average global temperature. The CO2/temperature ratio is about 8 ppmv/°C, based on ice cores over the past 800 kyears, here for Vostok over 420 kyears:

      Where your reasoning goes wrong is that half the anthro CO2 production is removed each year. Of the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (about 800 GtC) some 4 GtC/year (~2 ppmv/year) is removed, that is equivalent to half the amount of human induced CO2, but that is not what counts. If we take the “normal” steady state setpoint for CO2 at the current temperature, that would be ~290 ppmv. The measured disequilibrium is about 105 ppmv higher. That is what pushes the extra CO2 in the oceans and plant alveoles… Thus the e-fold removal of CO2 towards equilibrium (if we should stop all CO2 emissions by now), is 105/2 or ~53 years. That is longer than your estimate, but much smaller than what the IPCC says. Thus the half life time of any excess CO2 is ~40 years.

      That the increase in the atmosphere is following the accumulated emissions with an almost exact rate is a result of the slightly exponential increasing emissions rate (sligtly less increasing during economic crisis…). If there were constant emissions, a new steady state would be reached over time, where emissions and sinks were equal again at a higer level than what temperature dictates…

      • Ferdinand – There isn’t any “e-fold removal of CO2”, because the trajectory of CO2 decline from an atmospheric excess isn’t characterized by a single exponential decay curve, but rather by a series of curves with “half-lives” ranging from decades to tens or hundreds of thousands of years. These reflect the multiplicity of processes involved, which include equilibration in the upper ocean,Indeed, extension of that process to the deeper ocean, full buffering by carbonate sediments, and eventual restoration of buffering capacity through weathering of terrestrial silicate rocks. it’s probably true that at current levels, a cessation of any further CO2 emissions would allow the excess (currently about 110 ppm) to be reduced to half that value in one or two centuries, but it would take far longer for half of the remaining excess to disappear. Some of this is discussed by Dave Archer in CO2 Lifetiimes..

      • In my comment, the word “Indeed” was in the wrong place and should have started the sentence following the one in which it appeared.

      • Fred Moolten, I am familiar with the work of Dave Archer and the Bern model. Indeed there are different decay curves for different removal processes in different compartiments. The Ocean surface layer has a very fast sink rate of a few years, but can’t receive more than 10% of the increase in the atmosphere, due to the Suess effect. But the deep oceans is a different point. So is vegetation. There is no sign of reduction in the sink rate over the past decades. And that shouldn’t be expected for the foreseeable future. Only if the total emissions are equivalent to many more than current, the deep oceans would significantly increase in content and re-emit some of it, increasing the basic levels in the atmosphere. Until then, the slower removal rates play only a minor role.

      • Ferdinand – “There is no sign of reduction in the sink rate… and that should not be expected for the foreseeable future”.

        That is a disputed point. Some evidence for an increasing airborne fraction has been presented by Corinne LeQuere, while others have not found it. Whether the airborne fraction increases in the near future will depend on the rate of CO2 emissions – if very rapid, the sinks will not keep up, but if slower, they can accommodate the rise with no change in that fraction.

      • That paper is interesting Fred. The ocean and land sinks will have to increase drastically in near future to match the decreasing atmospheric growth. More epicycles needed!

      • Ferdinand, very nice plot. I have also been analyzing the relationship between CO2 and temperature, from the Antarctic ice core data, which I will soon send in to Judy for part II of a Biologists perspective.
        Thing is Ferdinand, I don’t get the same relationship as you.

        Here is Temperature vs [CO2] for the ice-age-warm-age-ice age transition between -170,000 and -30,000 years before 1950. The CO2 levels have been moved 600 years to account for the ‘lag’.

        As you can see, I have color coded the CO2 levels to reflect a cold steady state, rising temperature, warm steady state, cooling temperature and second cold steady state.

        Now . plot temperature vs. CO2.

        How odd, the relationship between temperature and CO2 is not fixed. The relationship has a cooling/warming vector.
        Moreover, although all the points give a slope of 6 ppm per degree, at temperature above zero this falls to 2.7 ppm per degree.

        Does anyone here feel like some proof reading? I have Part II finished and would like someone with much better English skills to have a look at it. I have 50 nude mice arriving on Monday and they get human tumors on Wednesday and then i will be giving them a new type of chemotherapy. It is taking up all my time at the moment and it is a bit unfair to have Judy go through it.
        Any volunteers?

      • Fred, the paper of Corinne Le Quéré includes land us change, which is very uncertain. If you use the direct emissions from burning fossil fuels and cement manufacturing only, the airborne fraction is about 53%, but doesn’t show any sign of increase. Here the graph (but I need to make an update for the past years):

        The main point of discussion is the fraction which remains in the atmosphere after reaching steady state with the deep oceans and vegetation. According to the models that may be over 50% which needs lots more time to absorb CO2 by different processes. But that doesn’t hold for relative small amounts: The total amount of CO2 emitted by humans since ~1850 is about 350 GtC. The deep oceans contain ~37000 GtC. At steady state that means that if the oceans absorb all extra CO2 over time, that will increase the deep ocean carbon content with less than 1%. That is what returns as extra by upwelling from the deep oceans, Thus at steady state, there is an increase by 1% (3 ppmv!) in the atmosphere from all CO2 emitted since 1850… That changes if you burn all available oil and lots of coal, say a tenfold: then the new steady state will be with 10% more CO2 in the atmosphere.

        There is no reason that the deep oceans should show less absorption: the steady state at the sink places of cold polar water is at ~150 microatm pCO2, only influenced by temperature, independent of air pCO2. The delta pCO2 nowadays at the sink places thus is ~250 microatm. Increased releases of CO2 will only push the delta higher, thus increasing the sink rate down to the deep.

        The same reasoning applies to the biospere, which changed from a net source of CO2 until the 1990’s to a net absorber. There it is the (semi-)permanent storage of carbon in root systems and debris/torf/(brown)coal which is at work. Again no reason why there would be a decrease in uptake over time…

      • Ferdinand – I think your 350 GtC is probably an underestimate, but my earlier point is that an increase in the airborne fraction is dependent on the rate of CO2 emissions. If that rate is slow, the equilibration you refer to would preclude a significant change in the fraction. If the rate is fast, it will be the short-term sinks that are overwhelmed, and the airborne fraction will rise. Under those circumstances, deep ocean equilibration will be too slow to prevent that rise.

      • DocMartyn, nice plot too, which shows the dynamic change of CO2/temperature over time. The problem for the influence at small temperature changes is in the resolution of the CO2 measurements (which are an average of ~600 years) and to a lesser extent of the temperature proxy resolution. Then the lag you used is right for the upgoing temperature, but the lag is much longer for a downgoing temperature, especially in the previous interglacial that is plotted.

        Probably better to compare the average of the “warm” points with the average of the “cold” points, as that givess the largest difference. On first sight that is about 70 ppmv for 10°C change or about 7 ppmv/°C.

        A similar change of ~8 ppmv/°C can be seen in the medium resolution (~40 years) Law Dome DSS ice core for the MWP-LIA transition (with a lag of ~50 years after the temperature drop ~1550): from Etheridge e.a. (1996).

      • The total amount of CO2 emitted by humans since ~1850 is about 350 GtC. The deep oceans contain ~37000 GtC. At steady state that means that if the oceans absorb all extra CO2 over time, that will increase the deep ocean carbon content with less than 1%. That is what returns as extra by upwelling from the deep oceans, Thus at steady state, there is an increase by 1% (3 ppmv!) in the atmosphere from all CO2 emitted since 1850…

        Those numbers are misleading due to the carbonate chemistry and the Revelle factor based on that. The correction is very roughly a factor of 10. That doesn’t, however, change the basic conclusion as the oceans can absorb a lot even with Revelle factor. The time scales involved in the mixing of CO2 to the full ocean volume or even a big part of that are very long, perhaps several thousand years. Thus this mechanism cannot influence very much the development over 100 or 200 years.

      • Fred Moolten

        Ferdinand’s 350 GtC estimate for cumulative human CO2 emissions to date is essentially correct, based on CDIAC estimates.

        CDIAC estimates this at 347 GtC through 2008. If we add 25 GtC for the years 2009-2011, we would arrive at 372 GtC to date.

        Based on WEC estimates of ALL the optimistically inferred possible fossil fuel resources remaining on our planet contain 2,873 GtC.

        This means we have consumed to date 372 / (372 + 2873) = 11.5% of all the fossil fuels that were ever on our planet, leaving 88.5% still in place.

        Surprised? (Most “top of the head” estimates put the remaining fossil fuels much lower, but that is what the WEC has estimated.)

        The total remaining fossil fuels would increase atmospheric levels by a calculated 670 ppmv when they are 100% used up, bringing the maximum ever possible CO2 level to around 1,060 ppmv.

        That’s it Fred. Ain’t no’ mo’.


      • Max – The first time you made that misstatement about a 1060 ppm maximum, I attributed it to your unfamiliarity with how the climate system operates. Now, however, that you continue to make it after being corrected several times, It’s hard not to think that your honesty is in question. In fact, one reason why your statement is wrong can be found in the above exchanges with Ferdinand, but this was already pointed out to you more than once in the past.

      • The various half-life curves is a misread of a diffusive process where the fall-off is 1/sqrt(time). This can be modelled by a sum of damped exponentials. The actual process is diffusion of CO2 to deep sequestering sites. Why they don’t just say this I don’t understand. It is easier to solve the sum of exponentials against a forcing function as that is laplace transform territory.

      • Fred, the total carbon release comes from DOE:
        you need to take into acount the CO2/C factor. The total carbon release until 2006 by humans (excl. land use changes) is 372 GtC, or about 1% of the deep oceans carbon content.

        About the rate of change: assume a doubling of the human releases from 8 GtC/year to 16 GtC/year at once. The current uptake rate (oceans + vegetation) is 4 GtC/year at an average delta pCO2 of 7 microatm between atmosphere and oceans and an unknown delta pCO2 between atmosphere and plant alveoles. See Feely e.a. at:

        Thus theoretically, an increase of 7 ppmv CO2 in the atmosphere would double the uptake of the oceans. Of course it isn’t that simple, as the average difference in delta pCO2 involves mostly the ocean’s surface, which is fast reaching a new equilibrium for only 10% of the increase in total CO2. As the main sink is in the polar waters, one need to know the area x delta pCO2 to know how much the pCO2 (atm) need to increase to cope with the increase in emission rate. And at the warm oceans side, how much the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere reduces the release of upwelling deep ocean CO2, again area x delta pCO2. That thus is somewhere between 7 ppmv and 90 ppmv, probably more to the 90 ppmv side. The overall sink rate initially stays at 4 GtC/year but will increase over time with increasing CO2 in the atmosphere. How much, that depends of what the emission rate and the levels in the atmosphere will do.

        In my opinion, the remarkable fixed historical to current ratio between emissions and airborne fraction is pure coincidence and caused by the slightly exponential increase of the CO2 emissions over time. If the same exponential curve of emissions goes on and on, then the airborne fraction will remain the same.

      • Ferdinand – We don’t disagree completely, but if there is already some evidence for an increasing airborne fraction, then a rising emissions rate would be likely to raise it even more. As I mentioned earlier, that evidence is controversial. I agree with you that as a practical matter, the airborne fraction will probably not change greatly in the next several decades, but it’s harder to predict beyond that. It’s also important to recognize that the capacity of the land sink to take up CO2 is an important factor – sink uptake should not be thought of as synonymous with ocean uptake.

      • Also, when I mentioned that 350 GtC was probably an underestimate, I didn’t mean that it was radically underestimated, but rather that it was based on my recollected impression that the current value was closer to 400 GtC (I wasn’t suggesting that we were discussing CO2 rather than C). Do you have any 2011 data?

      • Pekka Pirilä:
        “Those numbers are misleading due to the carbonate chemistry and the Revelle factor based on that. The correction is very roughly a factor of 10.”

        I do understand the Revelle (sorry, not the Suess) factor for the average ocean surface waters, which are quite fast tracking the atmospheric CO2 levels, but I don’t see the relevance for the deep ocean waters. At the sink places, the surface water has a pCO2 of only 150 microatm, that is far from steady state with the atmosphere, compared to the average surface waters. The deep ocean waters are slightly warmer than the waters at the sink places, but still far from saturated for CO2… In fact, the downwelling waters of the NE Atlantic reduce the DIC (total dissolved inorganic carbon) content of the deep ocean waters, see Fig. 9.3 in:

        “The time scales involved in the mixing of CO2 to the full ocean volume or even a big part of that are very long, perhaps several thousand years.”

        The waters at the sink places need some 800 years to reach the upwelling places. What goes in as extra CO2 doesn’t come out very fast. I have no idea how fast that mixes with the bulk of the oceans, but what is upwelling nowadays is already more in CO2 content than what is downwelling…
        But at least the first 800 years there is no response in the upwelling of the deep oceans on the increased uptake in the downwelling…

      • The data from Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center ( agree well with the given numbers. Summing all years 1751-2010 gives 365 GtC for fossil fuel and cement manufacturing releases. 2011 adds about 9 GtC to that.

      • Fred:

        “Do you have any 2011 data?”

        No, the emission data are nationally collected, by statistics departments of different ministeries (environment, finances – as based on taxes) and always need several years to make the sums and reach the overviews. Even in these times of computers and Internet…

      • Thanks Pekka, CDIAC seems a lot faster than DOE in their update of the emissions figures…

      • Ferdinand,

        There are certainly many complicating factors, but that doesn’t change the general significance of the carbonate/bicarbonate chemistry. Changes in the atmospheric CO2 affect the DIC of the surface water accordingly and that determines the DIC of the sinking water. Consequently no mechanism will lead to an increase proportional to the atmospheric concentration for the deep water, which is bound to follow with delay the changes in the sinking surface water.

        As the paper you linked shows, the relationship may be complex, but I cannot see, how the main trends could deviate essentially from what I wrote.

      • Pekka, you need to make a distinction between the surface waters in general and the deep ocean waters. The average surface waters are in rapid equilibrium with the atmosphere, but even then, the warm surface waters near the equator are oversaturated with a delta pCO2 of about +250 microatm that pushes a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere. Near the poles the opposite happens wit a delta pCO2 of -250 microatm between atmosphere and the cold ocean waters. That pushes a lot of CO2 into the ocean surface and therefore in the deep oceans. The total CO2 flow (my own estimate based on isotope trends in the atmosphere) is about 40 GtC/year from atmosphere to deep ocean and back to atmosphere.

        That all means that any increase of CO2 in the atmosphere gives a linear increase in CO2 uptake in the cold oceans surface waters and thus the deep ocean waters, because the ocean surface is largely undersaturated for CO2 and the Revelle factor doesn’t apply at all. It does only apply if there was a steady state between atmosphere and ocean surface CO2 and a subsequent increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.

        The limiting factor in this case is the speed of exchange between atmosphere and ocean waters for CO2 and other gases, which is mainly wind driven.

        The same is true for the deep oceans, which dissolve dropping chalk skeletons of coccoliths and don’t allow calcite deposits below a certain depth.

      • Ferdinand,

        A very small part of DIC is dissolved CO2. The main part is bicarbonate and it’s concentration is not proportional to the atmospheric CO2 concentration, but certainly follows effectively the Revelle factor. This relationship may be influenced a little by the deviation from saturation, but not very much and it seems to do it in the wrong direction for your argument to be valid.

      • The impulse response of atmospheric CO2 to CO2 emissions is approximately 1/(1+sqrt(t/44)) where 44 years is the median adjustment time of CO2 in the atmosphere. The response to a unit step stimulus is nearly a Fickian growth law that proportionally follows:

        If we have used about 10% of the carbon available and if we maintain the same level of carbon use as we have for the remaining time, which is a unit step, then we will eventually reach 1000 PPM.

        If we burn the fossil fuel much more quickly than we do now, then the peak atmospheric concentration will go higher than 1000 PPM.

        Since the production of conventional crude is on the decline (hidden from view by creative accounting), then the lower grades of oil combined with increasing coal and natural gas use will have to make up for it. Lower grades of oil and coal will have lower energy extraction efficiencies so will generate more carbon per amount produced.

        We are in the midst of both fossil fuel depletion and AGW.
        Whether this combination will have much of a quantitative impact is an interesting question and one that can be predicted using diffusional response models as I have shown. What people don’t realize is that this is easy enough to do because the impulse response is analytically integral for any power-law stimulus function. I showed the power law growth corresponding to the unit step, which accumulates as a first-order power law. Thus there is little need to use the sum of exponentials impulse response function that Fred has referred to.

        The caveat is that this approach does not predict CAGW in that it doesn’t include other GHGs such as methane and ignores the concomitant increase of outgassed CO2 with temperature. And it doesn’t include the possibility of saturation of CO2 sequestering, of which Archer has described.

        Otherwise, there is nothing fancy about this approach in that it uses the IPCC data for adjustment time and the emissions data as reported from reliable government sources, such as they are.

      • “Now . plot temperature vs. CO2.

        Good on you. I also created a similar plot last year.

        More explanation at my blog:

        The top chart shows the direction of the CO2:Temperature movements. Lots of noise but a lagged chart will show hints of lissajous figures, which are somewhat noticeable as CCW rotations for a lag. On temperature increase, more of the CO2 is low than high, as you can see it occupying the bottom half of the top curve.

        The middle chart shows where both CO2 and T are heading in the same direction. The lower half is more sparsely populated because temperature shoots up more sharply than it cools down.

        The bottom chart shows where the CO2 and Temperature are out-of-phase. Again T leads CO2 based on the number you see on the high edge versus the low edge. The lissajous CCW rotations are more obvious as well.

        Bottom line is that Temperature will likely lead CO2 because no one can think of any Paleo events that will spontaneously create 10 to 100 PPM of CO2 quickly, yet Temperature forcings likely occur. The out-of-phase points are indicative of a change in direction, and those are more clear as the the starts of forcing have to be out-of-phase. Once the two start going in the same direction, it is harder to detect the phase differences, which is the middle plot.

        Go check out the video by Alley from Penn State on CO2 paleoclimate studies, where he explains the phased relationships through a feedback analogy.

      • Pekka, I see where the difference between us lies.

        Of course, the equations for the distribution of CO2 to bicarbonate to carbonate and back still hold for any exchange between the atmosphere and the ocean’s waters and holds for any concentrations of CO2 in either medium.

        But for the extra amount that the deep oceans can hold, that is not relevant. Above polar waters, the CO2 levels are slightly lower than average, hardly measurable, because of rapid mixing. That gives that the polar waters go from somewhat below 150 microatm. to a measured 150 microatm at the sink place. For that to happen, the amounts sequestered in the polar waters give a change in partial pressure that is 10 times higher than the change in partial pressure in the atmosphere for the same change in quantity involved in both, based on the Revelle factor.

        If we increase the CO2 levels in the atmosphere from 400 to 800 ppmv, that increases the delta pCO2 from -250 to -650 microatm, minus the increase of pCO2 in the cold ocean surface water as result of the increased uptake. Theoretically, the doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere induces a 2.6 times higher uptake, but because of the higher uptake and the Revelle factor, the pCO2(aq) increases a lot, thus reducing the delta pCO2. Unfortunately there are very few (and very variable) data over a longer time span at the sink places, which make it near impossible to see the impact of the increased CO2 levels over time.

        Thus the Revelle factor is important for the speed of uptake, as it influences the delta pCO2 between atmosphere and ocean surface at the sink place. But it is not important for how much the deep oceans can store. As long as the surface at the sink places (and thus the deep oceans) have a pCO2 below the atmosphere, the uptake will go on, where the Revelle factor only influences the speed of uptake, not the end of the uptake. As the deep oecans are far from saturated, that will go on forever, until the pCO2 of the deep oceans matches that of the atmosphere. That means that the deep oceans can hold about 27% (10% of 400/150) more CO2 than current at a constant current atmospheric CO2 level, including the Revelle factor, or about 9900 GtC. If the atmospheric CO2 levels go down to the “old” equilibrium, the deep oceans still can hold about 19% or over 7000 GtC more than current, Revelle factor included. The net result is that the Revelle factor hardly influences the absorption of CO2 by the deep oceans and the current total CO2 release will go down in the oceans over time, leaving only 1% extra in oceans and atmosphere at overall steady state (including source and sink places).

      • Ferdinand,

        To have much more DIC in the deep water two factors must be true.

        1. The deep waters must be able to hold the increased amount. I’m not arguing on this, because it is irrelevant due to the second factor.

        2. There must be a way of building up the high concentration. My argument is that the increased CO2 of the atmosphere can get to the deep water only through the surface water. If the DIC of surface water is influenced essentially by the Revelle factor, it’s unavoidable that the factor applies also to the deep water irrespectively of the answer to the first question. (In principle sinking nondissolved carbon might do that, but I don’t think that this is a strong enough mechanism.)

        Furthermore from the high concentration in deep waters would follow that upwelling water would release very much CO2 to the atmosphere in accordance with the balance, which involves the Revelle factor.

      • Pekka:

        “My argument is that the increased CO2 of the atmosphere can get to the deep water only through the surface water.”

        That is exactly what I was trying to show. The main source of any increase of CO2 in the deep ocean is the oceans surface waters near the poles. There the partial pressure of CO2 is much lower than in the atmosphere. Thus a lot of CO2 is pushed from the atmosphere into the ocean water. That decreases the local atmospheric CO2 pressure somewhat and increases the pCO2 in the ocean water, a tenfold compared to the drop in the atmosphere, following Revelle’s factor. But nevertheless there is a CO2 flow from the atmosphere to the deep oceans (about 40 GtC/year) at the current difference in pCO2atm vs. pCO2aq, until both are equal, regardless of the Revelle factor. That never will happen, as at the equator a near equal amount is released, the difference is a net sink of about ~2.5 GtC/year that is going partly into the ocean surface waters (~0.4 GtC/yr) and the rest into the deep oceans.

        Thus there is no need for non-dissolved carbon, as even at the “normal” overall steady state level of 290 ppmv, a lot of carbon sinks into the deep at the sink places, without saturating the DIC in solution, thus still the local atmosphere and ocean surface (and therefore the deep oceans) are far from steady state. Even at the other side, deep ocean DIC at the upwelling places is undersaturated, but becomes oversaturated due to the high temperatures at the surface of the upwelling zones. In all cases, the Revelle factor influences the uptake speed, influences the total amount of carbon that can be sequestered by the deep oceans, but the latter is so much more than what is released until now, due to the low temperature in the deep, that its influence is hardly measurable. With 370 GtC, the new steady state will become 293 ppmv in the atmosphere, with 3700 GtC, the new steady state will get 320 ppmv. Thus only with gigantic releases of CO2, an important, but still moderate level of CO2 in the atmosphere will be reached in a reasonable time (if we stop all emissions by then).

      • Ferdinand,

        The Revelle factor does not mean that the partial pressure of CO2 in the ocean increases more than the atmospheric concentration. These changes are equal in the case of saturation and may deviate a little in either direction, if the partial pressure in the surface water is not saturated. This deviation is, however, small, not of the order of the Revelle factor and can indeed go in either direction.

        What the Revelle factor means is that DIC changes much less than the partial pressure of CO2 in the water. Thus a 30% increase in the atmospheric CO2 leads to approximately the same change in the CO2 partial pressure of the surface water, but only a 3% increase in DIC. This 3% increase in DIC is, what will be transported to deep water resulting after a very long delay to a 3% increase there as well.

      • Pekka,

        “What the Revelle factor means is that DIC changes much less than the partial pressure of CO2 in the water.”

        Agreed, no problem with that. A 30% change in the atmosphere gives a 3% change in DIC at the surface, from one steady state to the next.

        For the total ocean surface layer, the uptake for an increase of 4 GtC/year in the atmosphere means an increase of 0.4 GtC/year as DIC, that is also what is measured by a few long term series. With that amount the pCO2 of the ocean surface and the atmosphere are equal.

        But at the poles, the sink rate is 40 GtC/year, all going into the deep oceans, a hundredfold over a much smaller area. The total amount of CO2 involved needs two parts: the amount needed to reach the saturation level at the first steady state (290 ppmv) + the amount needed to go from steady state 1 (290 ppmv) to steady state 2 (400 ppmv). The former is far more important than the latter.

        But I have found some interesting discussion (and ocean carbon cycle graph) here at pages 124/125:
        “The majority of the carbon released ends in the deep sea, but concentrations here increase by only ~1% because this reservoir is so big. Steady state atmospheric concentrations are ~10% higher than previously, and this is because a 1% increase in total carbon in the ocean has a proportionately larger effect on the steady state pCO2 at the ocean surface.”

        Here is some logical fallacy at work: the ocean surface and the deep oceans are largely disconnect and act as different reservoirs with limited exchanges. The “total” carbon increase of 1% is in the deep oceans, not in the ocean surface layers (where it is 0.1%). If there was a huge interaction, then the ocean surface would be quickly depleted of CO2, because the deep oceans are undersaturated compared to the ocean surface…

      • Ferdinand,

        There’s nothing specific in your latest message that I would disagree on. I have still the feeling that we don’t agree on everything though, but it may be time end this exchange of views. After all I told already in my first message that the capacity of the deep ocean to absorb CO2 is in any case very large, so large that all fossil fuel could not cause an excessively large increase in the atmospheric equilibrium concentration of CO2 if total volume of oceans were part of the equilibrium. My estimate for that is likely higher than yours, but still low enough for excluding worries about major warming.

        Thus the issue doesn’t seem to be in the properties of the equilibrium state but rather in the question of delays in approaching that equilibrium. I haven’t been able to understand papers, which discuss the very long term development of the atmospheric CO2 concentration as they seem to be in contradiction with these simple considerations without explicit comments on the issue. If they have valid reasons for a lesser role of the deep ocean they don’t tell those reasons in any of the papers that I have seen.

        Another related question is, whether it would be possible to dump large amounts of CO2 removed from flue gases to the deep ocean without major environmental damage, if that were found to be economically justifiable. This approach was discussed fore a while, but then dropped in favor of underground storage, but it’s not clear to me whether the reasons for this change were strong or whether the deep sea disposal could be used when suitable underground storage space has been exhausted.

  53. I think Gras Albert has an excellent point. If you are unhappy with the weather then it should be YOU that kicks in the money to change it. I don’t recall anything in the US Constitution about funding for changing the weather or climate. Although I think there was a time when Indian rain dances was really in vogue :)

    • Kent,
      Actually I think if someone is going to change the weather they had best file some sort of impact statement that is credible.
      We do not get to select our weather. We all have to deal with it.

  54. incandecentbulb

    This is like throwing three pinches of salt over your Left shoulder to blind the eye of the devil that made you spill the salt. Does anyone want to hear the real truth? If so, here it is: from ivory tower to cellar door America has has become a nation of superstitious idiots.

  55. David, equilibrium has an absolute meaning. Describing a steady state as an equilibrium is not only wrong, but shows that the author does not understand the difference between equilibrium and non-equilibrium thermodynamics.
    If you use the physics of a helium balloon to describe a Helicopter, then you are going to fail.
    We have the language, the physics and the mathematics to describe the behavior of steady state system; control theory. If you don’t understand the concepts of elasticity’ and flux control coefficients, we will get nowhere fast.

    Here is a nice paper on steady state transitions.

    • DocMartyn, many engineers of the old school with a lot of practical experience, like myself, use “equilibrium” as short equivalent for “dynamic equilibrium” or “steady state”. Nobody of us uses that as a finished static equilibrium. But I will use “steady state” anywhere where it fits in the future…

      • Ferdinand, it is not a matter of semantics, you cannot employ equilibrium thermodynamics to steady states.

  56. Come to think of it, I think the Indians had a better track record than the present models at handling the climate :)

    • Kent Draper

      Regarding the Indians’ uncanny ability to forecast the climate, here is a vivid example from the past:

      A new settler to the Oklahoma Territory and his wife have built their cabin and stocked up with plenty of firewood for the winter ahead.

      The wife asks her husband: “Are you sure you have enough firewood in case we have a hard winter?”

      Her husband doesn’t know the answer, so he goes out and chops more firewood, stacking it all around the cabin.

      But the wife is still worried and asks her husband again if he’s sure there’s enough firewood.

      So the settler asks a neighbor who tells him that there is an Indian chief, up on the hill, who might know about the coming winter weather.

      So the settler climbs up the mountain and finds the Indian chief.

      He asks him, “Will it be a cold winter?”

      The Indian chief looks over the edge of the cliff across the plains, sniffs the air, and says, “Winter”.

      The settler goes back down and chops more firewood, but his wife is still nervous, so she sends him back up the mountain.

      This time the Indian chief looks across the plains again, sniffs twice, and says, “Winter. Cold.”

      The settler chops even more firewood, but his wife is still worried and sends him up the mountain a third time.

      This time the Indian chief stares across the plains again, sniffs three times and says, “Winter. Very cold.”

      The settler finally asks the Chief, “How do you know it will be a cold winter?”

      The Indian Chief looks across the plains again and replies, “White man chop lotsa wood. Winter cold.”

  57. Dr. Curry-

    I would certainly agree with you that “…this is a good example of a no-regrets policy.” I also would have thought that there would be little political opposition. Apparently, we would both be wrong: assaulted from the consensus for not following the lodestone of co2 and from the skeptics for accepting direction from the lodestone of AGW. Too bad…

    Walking before running is also a good idea – throwing too many of our resources at uncertain solutions to uncertain problems seems to me to be an almost sure-fire loser of a proposition. Testing them is not a bad idea…


    I don’t think that this initiative – at least as currently proposed – will be any more of a valid climate experiment than , say, Australia’s carbon tax. Both will, at the current scale, provide benefits completely lost in climatic noise. I can’t see any benefit to model understanding.

    I say this because, on digging into the SDM of the report and anything else I could find on the initiative, it is apparent that the money will be spent mostly on setting up a bureaucracy around these goals. Much of the rest seems to be going to projects and groups that already exist. To reach any significant impact, I would bet the farm that suddenly there would be calls for expansion of powers, regulations and money – much, much more money – and that’s not likely to happen any time soon.

    • David Springer

      What’s the economic cost estimated to be for this program whose unintended consequences are just as likely to be bad as they are good? Warmer is better and even the IPCC admits the positive effects of warming are likely to be greater than the negative effects up through 2050. So once again we are spending money that will do no good whatsoever for the next 50 year and will probably be harmful outside of the wasted money. No doubt a lot of people will still object to it. The only possible benefit in the short term is if it STFU the green brigade but I doubt that will happen because few are actually interested in global warming they are interested in reforming civilization into their concept of a perfect world where there’s plenty to go around for everyone and everyone gets an equal share of it. A new world order with far fewer humans in it. These people think everyone not like them is a blight on poor mother earth and she’d be better off without them. They’re probably right in that regard but I have faith that science and technology will continue to find solutions that don’t involve new world orders or mass reduction in the human population. The more sentient beings that can experience life in a universe which could, through technology, bloom across a billion solar systems, is the grander goal than reducing it down to what’s sustainable by chance alone. Maybe I just have a grander vision for my species and more confidence in science and technology to solve problems inherent in limited resources on a single planet. I daily lament the decay of NASA from an institution doing the things we need to do in order to exploit the resources of the solar system into something that spends its time whining about the weather. How the mighty have fallen. NASA used to inspire a nation to adventure and greatness now it just tries to depress us all with visions of doom. I say dismantle it.

    • kch, “it is apparent that the money will be spent mostly on setting up a bureaucracy around these goals.” It is ever such. Some years ago, I examined a great deal of research into Australia’s various industry assistance programs: about 40-50% of the expenditure went on admin costs. For the programs to be worthwhile, they would have had to generate a rate of return about double what was achieved by industries not needing assistance.

      Currently, Australia has a mad scheme under which when analogue tv signals are switched off, the government will provide set-top boxes to those without digital tvs. Currently, the cost per installation is estimated at $A700, mostly admin costs. Set-top boxes are available commercially for $A19, 100cm digital tvs for $A200. I have previously suggested via the media that (for those deemed by govt to be in need of assistance) a subsidy voucher towards a new digital tv would make more sense than providing a set-top box.

      But that would not feed so much growth in the bureaucracy.

  58. As nearly as I can determine, the other five countries are Bangladesh, Canada, Mexico, Sweden, and Ghana. Since the US, Canada, and Sweden already have strong air polution control laws, that leaves Mexico, Bangladesh, and Ghana as the participating non-complying countries.

    It is very hard to take things like this seriously when the US trumps up such “Global” aggreements with countires that have no intent of doing anything and whose environmental influence is trivial. Why do all things climate have to be so overstated?

  59. “Lets see if we can actually influence the climate in the expected way by reducing the methane and black soot.”

    How will we know? We have no idea what the climate would be doing with or without these emissions.

  60. I do have a huge problem with anything that reduces CO2. CO2 makes green things grow better while using less water. Reducing CO2 will reduce the food supply on Earth. That would be a very bad thing.
    It would make no difference that anyone will detect for earth temperature.
    The sun melts ice, ice retreats and earth warms. When the oceans are warm and the Arctic is open, it snows like crazy, ice advances and earth cools.
    Look at the data. It is this simple.
    Anything that reduces CO2 is lose – lose!

  61. Dr. Curry quotes Hilary Rodman Clinton.

    Dr. Curry please turn in your Scientist Card.


  62. Last night, I commented that the proposed BC/methane reduction scenario would likely provoke some debate within climate science. While there would be universal agreement that the reduction would be beneficial, there might also be concern that it would be used to justify inaction on CO2 emissions, despite the strong emphasis in the proposals that CO2 emissions reductions should be part of the overall approach.

    For an interesting perspective on this (shared I’m sure by some but not all within climate science), it’s worth reading Ray Pierrehumbert’s post on Losing Time.

    • The argument would have more validity, if there were effective and reasonably cost-efficient methods for reducing essentially and rapidly CO2 emissions and the issue were only, whether a decision is made to apply them. That’s, however, not at all the case and those who consider warming a serious threat should welcome all ways to combat that.

      Reducing methane and black carbon emissions is not a real alternative, but the more important the more important reducing CO2-emissions is judged to be.

      • Pekka,

        Yes, I think Raypierre’s point is predicated on an assumption that those talking about “buying time” are misunderstanding the science. While it may be the case that some commentators have formed their viewpoint from a misunderstanding, one could take the view that some time can be “bought” through such measures and be fully aware of the various implications.

        Raypierrre offers an example comparing the long-term consequences of immediately cutting methane & BC emissions versus immediately reducing CO2 emissions growth from 3%pa to 2%pa and demonstrates that the former doesn’t do much to change the long-term picture. However, it needs to be considered whether it is politically possible to reduce emissions growth at all, let alone by 1/3, at this point in time. If that isn’t but cutting methane & BC is then the solution does “buy time”, if only very little.

      • I’m sympathetic to the points made by Pekka and Paul S, but still somewhat ambivalent. Those recommending the BC/methane reductions point out that it should be accompanied by a reduction in CO2 emissions. I suspect everyone realizes that the latter faces formidable opposition, particularly during a recession. The question is whether progress toward CO2 mitigation, whatever its pace, would be slowed by adopting the BC/methane proposal. If the incentive to improve energy efficiency and alternative energy resources can be maintained, then adopting the proposed scenario would be the win/win proposition Dr. Curry suggested, but that’s still a big “if”.

  63. “David Springer
    However, if we start throwing the money proposed for climate mitigation instead at finding a cure for cancer then when and if global warming becomes a problem we can fix it without worrying about the rise in incidence of cancer”

    One million people are living with HIV in the USA and half a million have died from AIDS.
    In 2011 the US spent $2.9 billion on HIV/AIDS on research.

    Five million people are living with Alzheimers in the USA and there are 50 million carers..
    In 2011 the USA spent $450 million on the research.into Alzheimer’s disease.

    • David Springer

      AIDS is highly avoidable by changes in lifestyle. Cancer is not. Billions die from cancer while millions die from AIDS. The number dying from AIDS is falling due to both education and, where affordable, a pharmeucopia of drugs that drastically slow its progression. In the U.S. AIDS has become something that people can survive with for decades instead of it typically killing them after 10 or so years. In fact in the U.S. cancer became the #1 cause of death IIRC in the last decade. This is mostly due to great advances in treating coronary disease. Stents alone are a small miracle. So heart disease got demoted as the #1 cause of death and cancer replaced it. I hate cancer. It cuts lives tragically short, particularly heart rending in children, and there’s little anyone can do with regard to lifestyle choices to avoid it. Little kids don’t have time to make the hedonistic lifestyle choices that raise the risk of cancer. There is no comparison whatsoever between AIDS and cancer in terms of avoidance and toll in human life. On an individual basis there’s probably a comparable cost in treating each disease.

      Now you’re likely to bring up the AIDS problem in Africa and say those people aren’t really free to choose less risky lifestyles and you’d be somewhat correct in saying that. Unprotected non-consensual sex is common in Africa. It’s a cultural thing and that isn’t easily contained nor avoided by the non-consenting individual. The answer is to change the culture not cure the disease. AIDs is a symptom of a diseased culture. I’m all for fixing the cultural issues but not particularly enthused about just treating the symptoms.

      • I don’t think I made myself clear.
        If governments have a finite amount of money to spend on improving human life, then one would think that they would prioritize things so as to get the best bang-per-buck. However, some lobbies are much better than others. AIDS/Breast Cancer have enormous sums thrown at them, whereas Alzheimer’s and Prostate/Colon cancer don’t.
        Something are ‘sexy’ for research funding or even for health funding. Routine mammography of older women is probably a waste of resources. Only one woman in 1,000, per decade, will have a beneficial outcome from mammography screening. However, should any (male0 politician suggest money could be better spent on women likely to have low birth weight children (the highest risk group being low income, unmarried, single, very young mothers), then they would be lynched.

    • DocMartyn (2.35 post), it was clear to me what point you were making. Lomborg has made similar points at great length with a lot of evidence on costs and benefits. CAGW proponents seem to have a single-minded “this issue trumps all” attitude, and somehow this has badly distorted the political debate and eroded rational consideration of costs and benefits from alternative uses of resources.

  64. incandecentbulb

    These global warming controversies are nothing more than symptoms of the tension between the growing army of activist Leftist Dictocrats and their goals of liberal utopianism and the requirements of sound science.

  65. incandecentbulb

    The greatest advance in human affairs that is a direct result of the age of communication — and all who have the intellectual honesty can avail themselves of the ‘benefits’ of it as they become painfully aware of this new knowledge — is a realiztion that science cannot rise above man’s superstition and ignorance and that the abandonment of God in government and in the classroom has only made morality in science even more elusive. There is no honor in academia.

  66. How can one do a proper experiment on climate with no chance of a control and a hopeless system of measurement not designed nor fit for purpose.

    The beauty is that any action can be justified after the fact because there are enough poorly understood variables that something measurable will change in a favourable direction.

    Bottom line is that the people with “green” tendencies need to appease their guilt, while they continue the consumptive lifestyle.

  67. Has anyone done the math to see if these five countries have the capacity to reduce the global temperature by any amount at all let alone half a degree? And all the while five or more other countries are increasing their contribution.

    And what happens when:
    * It becomes obvious we will fail
    * It becomes obvious we can’t afford it
    * It becomes obvious this will lead to a change in government for decades

    It will make the money spent on the doomed space shuttle look like a grand investment. It will make the money not spent on health care leave us looking like we’re out of our minds.

    This kind of decision coming in the worst of economies in my 66 years is unbelievable. It is as if the Australian government has moved to Washington DC and taken over our government without firing a shot.

    • incandecentbulb

      Good point. We have the example of dead and dying Europe but we can’t benefit by learning by their example because we’ve already been infected.

    • dp

      You ask

      Has anyone done the math to see if these five countries have the capacity to reduce the global temperature by any amount at all let alone half a degree?

      Let’s do a reality check on the Shindell et al. paper on methane and black carbon.

      The estimated global radiative forcings were:
      From 1750 to 2005 (IPCC AR4 WG1 SPM, Figure SPM.2.)
      Methane: 0.48 W/m^2
      Black carbon: 0.1 W/m^2
      Sub-total: 0.58 W/m^2

      (Half of methane is natural, not anthropogenic, but let’s ignore that.)

      For reference, over the same period CO2 = 1.66 W/m^2

      Let’s assume CH4 and BC increase at same rate as CO2 beyond 2005.

      CO2 in 2005: 379 ppmv
      CO2 in 2100: 584 ppmv (Scenario B1); 800 ppmv (Scenario A2)
      Let’s take average = 692 ppmv = 692/379 = 1.83 times 2005 value

      The estimated 1750 concentration of methane was 715 ppb
      The 2005 concentration was 1774 ppb
      This was an increase of 1774/715 = 2.48

      While the increase from 2005 to 2100 would be:
      1.83 (to 3239 ppb)

      Added methane 2005-2100 would then cause radiative forcing of:
      0.48 * 1.83 / 2,84 = 0.35 W/m^2

      Let’s say BC doubles so added RF equals:
      0.1 W/m^2

      So we have a total added RF from 2005 to 2100 from both CH4 and BC of 0.45 W/m^2

      IPCC tells us that 2xCO2 has a RF = 3.71 W/m^2
      And that this, with all the assumed positive feedback from water vapor and clouds results in a 2xCO2 equilibrium warming of 3.2°C,

      So the estimated temperature increase from the added global BC and CH4 from 2005 to 2100 would be:
      dT = 3.2 * 0.45 / 3.71 = 0.4°C

      With a BIG caveat regarding the IPCC assumption on water vapor and cloud feedbacks.

      If this is off by a factor of 2 (CS = 1.6°C rather than 3.2°C), then the CH4 and BC would only add 0.2°C.

      So the range is probably 0.2 to 0.4°C global temperature increase from all global CH4 and BC increase by year 2100.

      The authors have stated:

      We identified 14 measures targeting methane and BC emissions that reduce projected global mean warming ~0.5°C by 2050.

      And this is supposed to be for “5 nations” only

      This appears grossly exaggerated (0.5°C increase in 38 years for “5 nations”versus 0.2 to 0.4°C increase in 88 years for all nations)

      This is just a rough calculation, of course, but should give an order-of-magnitude estimate that is more realistic than the estimate by the authors IMO.


      • Max,

        The 0.1 RF figure in the AR4 SPM relates only to the surface albedo effect of black carbon on snow. You can find the AR4 estimate for airborne black carbon in chapter 2. Including black carbon from both fossil fuel and biomass burning the estimated forcing is about +0.4W/m^2. This value is included as part of the direct aerosol effect figure in the SPM.

      • Also note that methane influences the concentrations of other important greenhouse gases – tropospheric ozone, stratospheric h2o and co2 – so calculating the RF associated with increasing methane requires more than the direct forcing.

        AR4 provides an estimate of the total here: About 0.8W/m^2. Also note that methane influences the concentrations of other important greenhouse gases – tropospheric ozone, stratospheric h2o and co2 – so calculating the RF associated with increasing methane requires more than the direct forcing.

        AR4 provides an estimate of the total here: The figure also shows the complete black carbon effect mentioned above. The figure also shows the complete black carbon effect mentioned above.

      • No idea why the duplication. Stupid smartphone.

  68. Willis Eschenbach

    Bill | February 19, 2012 at 8:49 am | Reply


    A win-win is because even if this does nothing for the temperatures, IF it is cheap and saves lives by getting rid of pollution like black soot then it could/should/would be worth it.

    Thanks, Bill. I agree with you regarding black carbon, I’ve seen too many cases of trachoma in the third world to sit easy with that stuff.

    My point is that with regards to methane, I don’t think reducing it by 10% (or even 50%) will save even one life. So in best government fashion, they are mixing apples and oranges … and so are you.

    All the best,


    • “No Country for Old Skeptics”

      I hear your rationaization Willis, is it worth endorsing a lie (as big a one in science since Eugenics) in the process? A very big lie that enhances the scale of government authority and places us on the very same track (U.N. authority over emissions)???

      Black carbon is mutually exclusive of climate rhetoric, don’t let them slip this one under the tent. It’s a total and complete political gesture with evil political intent.

    • Bill, if you could get the people of the third world to collect farm waste, including effluent, for biogas production and then use the methane produced in the low-tech, low cost methane stoves, carbon black would fall.
      The Chinese did this in a big way in the 50’s and got a great pay off. However, it would take political will and education. We in the West would have to become cultural Imperialists. Politically this is not on, our betters demand that the Third World be allowed to Cherry Pick Western technology and social structures, rejecting ones they don’t like.

      • I can’t think of anything that is more culturally Imperialist then imposing 60’s USA, academic eco-radicalism on the third world as we have done with AGW. All with wealth redistribution bribes (Kyoto) to back it up. That it often rhymes with anti-capitalist soap box socialism popular in the third world is no excuse. Socialism was another desease spread from largely affluent countries to poorer ones that only made their lot worse in life.

        Willis is going down “compassionate conservatism” road with soot concerns, a road to nowhere. The blood is clearly on warmer hands for never stepping an inch back on AGW dogma and just separating real pollution from made up co2 fear that isn’t at the core about the environment at all.

        AGW is cultural Imperialism.

    • Willis

      You’ve hit the nail on the head.

      Black carbon is a pollutant, which is harmful to human health and (like all pollutants that are harmful to human health) should be controlled (no “international treaty” needed for this).

      Methane is a natural trace constituent of our atmosphere; there are no data showing that it is harmful to human health at the partial ppmv concentration levels we might expect, so there is NO reason for an “international treaty” or even local controls on methane.

      Mixing the two is truly “apples and oranges”.

      US citizens should get their congressman to put this up for a congressional vote to get it squelched. It is a boondoggle intended to “get the camel’s nose under the tent”..


      • Max, it should be “cwon14 you hit the nail” on the head. Willis is suggesting we play this game. You’re supporting my argument not his.

  69. incandecentbulb

    Fear of global warming is a triumpth of emotional rationale over scientific facts and underlying it all is a self-fulfilling prophesy catastrophe stemming from self-defeating ennui.

  70. JC said, “So, does anyone see problems with this plan [5 country+USA plan]? Looks like win-win to me.”



    The premise behind the plan is logically unsupportable. That premise is that there is some significant variable contribution above natural variability which has net risks versus net benefits. There does not appear to be any reasonable level of certainty in the premise to warrant action (let alone ‘fast’ action). If there is a surplus of money that needs spending (which I doubt in these poor economic times) I would think it better to spend the money on getting a lot more critical independent scientific research; by independent I mean outside the current climate science paradigm and outside the UN’s/gov’t’s politically influenced funding mechanisms.


  71. cwon writes: “Black carbon is mutually exclusive of climate rhetoric, don’t let them slip this one under the tent. It’s a total and complete political gesture with evil political intent.”

    Despite my environmental concerns, I essentially agree with this, at least as currently framed.

    Statements like this in the paper Judith cites send me running: “One of the benefits of focusing on pollutants that are short-lived is, if we can reduce them significantly, we will have a noticeable effect on our climate in relatively short order.”

    It’s utter nonsense. Noticeable effect? By what measure? By what empirical proof? More castles in the air.

  72. Could someone tell me how life on earth survived when C02 was many times higher for a very long time?

    • nc writes “Could someone tell me how life on earth survived when C02 was many times higher for a very long time?”

      Easy. Once CO2 gets to about 200ppmv in the atmosphere, adding more CO2 has almost no effect on climate.

    • “Could someone tell me how life on earth survived when C02 was many times higher for a very long time?”

      It’s the rate of increase in CO2 that’s the problem, not the absolute level.

      If CO2 was going to double over one million years the change would be so slow everything, including humans, would have plenty of time to adapt. But it’s being doubled over a few hundred years, or perhaps tripled or more.

      • lolwot,
        Now you are not only an expert in climate science but also evolution and adaptation?

      • David Springer

        Perhaps you could be a little more specific about what actual harm occurs by rapid CO2 increase from 280ppm to 560ppm. Greenhouse operators boost CO2 to 700-1000ppm instantly without harm to anything within the greenhouse including themselves. Each one of us almost instantly turns 390ppm CO2 in the atmosphere to 40,000ppm CO2 in the air we exhale. The safe constant exposure limit to CO2 for people to breathe is in the many thousands of parts per million. I think you’ve been reading too many horror stories about ocean neutralization and the effect on animals which make shells of calcuim. They will adapt. It’s only been a few million years that CO2 level has been so dangerously close to the minimum required by green plants. That’s not enough evolutionary time to lose all the alleles that perform best in more neutral ocean water. Some percentage of the population still carries the recessive alleles needed to adapt. Typically there will be a brief decline in population where those individuals not having the critical alleles die off and those with it take over. Evolutionary adaptation is largely about changing allele frequencies in populations but you already knew that, right?

        At any rate please refer to explicit studies of marine organisms grown in slightly less alkaline water and the adverse effects upon them. Good luck, it’s pretty thin pickings out there w/regard to actual controlled studies of this.

    • David Springer

      It didn’t just survive. It flourished. The earth was green from pole to pole. All the fossil fuels we have today were laid down in better times, times when atmospheric CO2 was in the thousands of parts per million. Times that are normal in fact. The earth is in an ice age. The amount of biomass that the planet can support in an ice age, or even an interglacial, is a pale shadow of what it’s like outside of ice ages. Less than 10% of the earth’s history has taken place during an ice age.

  73. It should amaze me, I suppose, although it does not at all. There are now over 170 comments in this thread and not one, from anywhere, has asked to see or purported to list, the 14 (or 16, or 23.5) *detail* actions to lessen soot, methane etc

    I went looking – page 404 error greeted me (gee …) Politician Clinton’s statement contained some inexplicit comments, including “harvesting CH4 from coal mines” (that statement is vomitously, smarmily ignorant) and nothing else

    Hard applied science/engineering detail is needed here for any credibility, including numbers, not rhetoric. Ho hum …

      • Thanks Freddie, I already have that

        As I’ve noted, the “harvesting CH4 from coal mining” is vomitously short of accurate knowledge (the only mention, two paragraphs on a Chinese project p.209).

        The truth here is that for gassy seams (technical definition CH4 content > 6 m3/tonne) mined underground, these are required for over 20 years now to be degassed ahead of mining – this is a statutory safety requirement, not some greenie initiative. Methane liberated from in-seam drilling of gassy seams is *already* collected and increasingly used for power generation onsite (NOTE: already). Not even UNEP has figured out a method to collect CH4 from open cut mines

        For non-gassy seams (technical definition CH4 content < 5 m3/tonne), the methane may or may not be treated this way, depending on the economics but since the seams now being exploited underground are consistently deeper, such non-gassy seams are decreasing in number and significance (most are already mined out)

        For those who believe in wind power, please read this:

  74. “This strategy avoids 0.7 to 4.7 million annual premature deaths from outdoor air pollution and increases annual crop yields by 30 to 135 million metric tons due to ozone reductions in 2030 and beyond.”

    Messianic complex anyone? You do understand that the other side of this coin is that those of us who refuse to give control over our economy to these enlightened saviors are then responsible for the “.7 to 4.7 million” deaths that will result.

    We should all be lined up against a wall and shot. Or blown up ala 10:10.

  75. “…reduce projected global mean warming ~0.5°C by 2050…avoids 0.7 to 4.7 million annual premature deaths from outdoor air pollution and increases annual crop yields by 30 to 135 million metric tons…”

    The projected results are more dubious than the overstated MW from wind farms (enough to power XX,XXX homes!) when promoted to the local populace.

    How do biologic VOC emissions[1][2] (AKA Reaganenes) figure into the GHG picture? Apparently the output isn’t insignificant. Maybe we need to root out the big polluters.

    [1] Isoprene Emission
    [2] Ecological and evolutionary aspects of isoprene emission from plants

  76. It does sound like a win win and its great to see the pass down of practical information.

    Related to water treatment plants: the plants are currently designed to minimize the capture of methane. Sewage systems are also designed to minimize methane capture. Though bio-gas is usable for the production of electricity (using fuel cells) the best location for methane capture and use is at the source of the waste stream.

    • Just read over the proposed solutions and the waste water treatment appears to apply to methane capture from landfills.

      The ideas are fairly practical with an emphasis on the use of natural gas powered municipal vehicles and trucks and conversion of gas that would have been flared.

      To bad the EPA made car conversion to natural gas so expensive.

      • You cannot really use landfill methane for much beyond local electrical generation. High levels of acidic gasses, mostly H2S and H2Se, along with low molecular weight thiols and nitrogen oxides make it rather nasty. You could scrub it on site, but in the UK at least, the capital costs of a Health and Safety complaint scrubber plant are too high. Initially, ex-submarine diesel engines were used, now ex-military jet engines are used. Military specification engines are far tougher than civilian variants and suffer much less from the acid generated by burning.
        There are very cheap US military engines on the market. The methane is stored on site and the engine run at max when electricity demand is high, and the best spot price is being paid for electrical generation.

      • David Springer

        Thanks for the info on contaminants in landfill methane. I knew the application for it was local electrical power generation and I knew the economics of it was borderline but I didn’t know the gas itself had contaminants that precluded certain uses. That said, I don’t believe those contaminants effect power generation because all you’re doing is burning the methane in a boiler and the turbine which turns the generator runs on steam so there’s no exotic or expensive materials that are exposed to the contaminants in the gas.

        Electricity doesn’t have to sold onto the power grid. As a matter of fact one might not even bother generating electricity as there are plenty of energy intensive industrial processes that use steam that could be situated as a neighbor to the landfill which could directly burn the methane in its own boilers.

  77. This comment is in reference to the above Carbon Cycle sub-comment stream involving Ferdinand Engelbeen [February 19, 2012 at 4:14 pm].

    If the IPCC centric view is correct that variation of CO2 will cause a variation of GMT, then why are those two main proxies of pre-modern (pre-instrumental) period not compatible over +800 yrs of the last +1,000 yrs?

    GMT proxies show clearly visible century scale variation over more than the last +1,000 yrs. But CO2 proxies over the same period show a nearly non-variation except for the last ~100 yrs.

    If GMT varies due to changes in CO2 as current IPCC climate science paradigm requires (ignoring in this discussion for the time being that proxy records show CO2 increase lagging GMT increase by ~500 to 1,000 yrs) then why doesn’t the CO2 proxy at least vary with the centennial variation of the GMT proxy? It implies both GMT and CO2 proxies cannot be right if the IPCC centric paradigm is right about CO2 variation causing GMT variation.

    This question stands out from my reading of “Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate” by Murry L. Salby published Jan 2012 by Cambridge University Press.


  78. The idea of more efficient stoves, with reduced BC/health hazard, for impoverished third-world people, seems like a “no-brainer” good idea to me on both environmental and humanitarian grounds. But what is puzzling is why such an obviously good idea requires for its implementation a taxpayer-funded “coalition” to be run through a thoroughly radicalized, feckless, corrupt UN bureaucracy.

    As this blog’s Heartland post revealed, there are dozens of do-gooder, green/help-the-poor NGO’s funded to the tune of millions and millions of dollars. So why haven’t those NGO’s long ago hustled out some of these eco-/people- friendly stoves to environments/individuals in need? Anyone know? Anyone want to hazard an opinion as to what such a neglectful attitude by NGO’s towards eco-/people-friendly stoves really says about the NGO environmental/help-the-poor racket?

    I don’t think we need any more “plan” by government for the stove idea than to have leading government figures use their bully-pulpit to fire up the appropriate NGO’s and remind them that both their reputation and tax exemptions depend on their demonstrated good work. In other words, all we need from the politicians is hot air–which they provide at no cost all the time. And not one cent of tax-payer monies need be squandered.

    And some of the greenshirt, academic worry-warts on this blog might even want to a devote a portion of the time they spend brainwashing the captive-audience kids in their classrooms heaping ridicule of their own on relevant NGO’s until the NGO’s get off their collective butt and get on with the stoves. And, just maybe, Yoram might even be inspired to create a comedy routine for the occasion on the subject of vastly over-paid, under-worked, publicity-stunt/fund-drive oriented, NGO parasites enjoying the good life while BC wrecks the environment and kills the third-world poor.

    Hilary has a great post–“On hypocrites”–on her “View from Here” blog that reviews the agenda for the upcoming Rio+20 carbon-glutton, pig-out party atrocity. Hilary’s post reveals that “middle-class” consumption is the specter haunting our betters as they travel to/fro fun-in-the-sun Rio in their private jets, zip about their conference duties in limousines, and make do with spartan 5-star accommodations. That’s right!–I mean, the dissonance of the conference agenda with the obscenely conspicuous consumption of its UN eco-hypocrite attendees is beyond disgusting.

    But I have a suggestion to salvage the reputation of the UN and its little Rio+20 conference. One that will even put its carbon-swine, entrenched leeches to good use:

    -Hold the event in an open field. Rent tents from the Brazilian military. Lay a few bucks on a some young Brazilian Marines and soldiers to provide guidance and then have the attendees set up a tent-city for the event (no better bonding experience than erecting a GP tent for the first time).

    -Use only field-deployable, renewable sources of electricity for the event, field-testing proposed designs intended for distribution to the third-world poor.

    -All attendees, in the rack when the sun goes down and up with the dawn and no booze–keep the heads clear for planning the “green economy” (check out the wiki entry for that “green economy” baby).

    -Give all Rio+20 attendees a mess duty assignment and then field-test the latest stove designs and other food-service gadgetry intended to help the poor and the environment. And, of course, those who don’t work don’t eat (you can learn a surprising amount about folks’ character observing how they pitch-in on their mess-duty chores).

    -Attendees dig their own latrines.

    -At the conclusion of the confab, the attendees strike their tents and police up their campsite area or the Brazilian police will arrest the whole lot for despoiling the environment and littering.

    -And the part of the above proposal, if implemented, that I’m sure will most appeal to those attendees devoted to the “green economy” is that they’ll have the satisfaction of participating in a low-carbon, low-consumption affair where they are seen as setting the example. I mean, the conclave’s only CO2/BC emissions would come from burning the sh*tters as our betters depart the area.


    • Mike, do you have a link to the On Hypocrites essay? I can’t find it. Thx

    • +10

    • David Springer

      Great suggestion. Makes me nostalgic. You see when I was a young buck in the early 1970’s I was in the air wing of the US Marine Corps and my job was meteorlogical equipment technician which entailed the calibration, maitenance, and repair of a dozen or so air-transportable electronic systems used in generating weather forecasts, winds aloft, and that kind of stuff for pilots as a well as hardwire video distribution system for weather information into pilot ready rooms (or ready tents in this case). Once a year we’d make a summertime trek out to 29 Palms, California in the Mojave Desert and set up a tent city, lay down a temporary runway in the sand, and go through all the other drills in setting up and operating a forward air base. This did me a lot of good and I’m sure it will do the climate boffins and hanger’s on some serious good too. I suspect it will put a severe restriction on attendance though. ;-)


      A network of farmers, engineers, and supporters.

    • Scott Basinger

      Wow, absolutely classic!

    • Mike, you what puzzles me to no end? WWF has a nice amount of financial resources, if I am correct. Why don’t they buy large plots of Amazonian forest with it? Best way to save it is to own it. No, actually what they themselves say they do to save this old forest is this:

      “WWF has been working in the Amazon for 40 years and is at the forefront of efforts to protect the forests, species and people that call it home. We engage local communities and partner with governments to identify solutions that bridge the needs of economic development and conservation.”

      Yes. Engaging local communities. That’ll work.

      • What a numcluck. Of course these organizations buy land. That is the biggest expense of Conservation International with over 80% expenses on conservation projects. See “protect an acre”.

        I wonder how many David Wojick’s this money would buy if they weren’t so concerned about conservation.

      • web–you call someone a numcluck, and then in the next paragraph write:

        I “wonder how many David Wojick’s this money would buy if they weren’t so concerned about conservation.”
        Isn’t that very over the top given that you have no idea yet as to what specifically David would hope to teach?

      • peeke, “Yes. Engaging local communities. That’ll work.” That does sound warm and fuzzy, but a variety of organizations do have a good deal of success engaging local communities, though they use very different tactics. Ducks Unlimited Inc. has had amazing success in North America working with land owners, hunting organizations and governments to protect and expand wet lands and farm lands. Other hunting organizations have had a large impact world wide using the same formula.

        The problem is, that the wealthy hunters that founded the organizations are demonized because they are hunters. Teddy Roosevelt started the national parks, because he was a hunter. Max Nicholson helped start WWF because he was a bird watcher. Alicia Silverstone opposes anything linked to hunting because she is a air head, cute though, but clueless :)

        Sometimes politically motivated air heads should look at results instead of participants.

      • @WHT,

        WWF owns no forest, at least I can’t find reference to it. I don’t know who David Wojick is. The Conservation International protect an acre thing seems a beginning. Now, if they only started by simply buying with all the funds they have to get a big core of that jungle rather than this:


        Governors Take Big Step on Climate Change

        Three U.S. states: California, Illinois and Wisconsin have joined with sister states in Brazil and Indonesia to create a state to state memoranda of understanding (MOUs). Through this MOU, they aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation as a robust and permanent way to prevent climate change.”

        Memoranda! That has the loggers running.

        @capt. dallas

        In the Netherlands there you cane receive the rights on a duck pond with cage, most of which are held by local conservationist organizations. The duck ponds are known for their rich environment and the right to use them to hunt ducks comnes with the right to enforce absolute silence in the surroundings whenever the right holder pleases. This ensures that these ponds are even more rich.

  79. “David Springer
    Just because there’s an equlibrium point doesn’t mean the system will be in equilibrium. It means the system will have a preference and the further out of equilibrium it is driven the more force is applied to restore equilibrium ”

    O.K. Stop right there. Do something really, really simple, model it.

    Start with a homogeneous, non-rotating sphere that receives a constant level of radiation. Then model the temperature at all points along its surface. Then start spinning the globe and then calculate the temperature at all positions, as a function of rotation rate.

    Where do you get the ‘sweet-spot’ ‘equilibrium’?

    You are making unscientific, unsubstantiated claims about highly complex systems.
    Just because something seems obvious does not make it so. You are engaging in Aristotelianism; no other school of philosophy has held back human progress that the ‘if I think about something really hard I can make a truthful statement’.

    The relationship between CO2 and temperature is different during warming intervals than in cooling intervals. The GHG hypothesis makes no mention of 10,000 years lags between changes in CO2 and Temperature.
    Something is either directly coupled or it isn’t.
    The steady state level of anything is a function of influxes and effluxes, there is no ‘sweet spot’.
    The maximum velocity a body attains when dropped at altitude is not an ‘equilibrium’ state, it is instead the sum of forces. Many things can give the appearance of ‘equilibrium’; traffic velocities, for instance, when plotted show ‘equilibrium’ like states from 7:30 until 9:15 and from 4:30 until 7:00. However, commuters going to and from work are not in any sense at any sort of ‘equilibrium’.
    Can we have mathematical models which show why we have relationships rather than authoritative statements which reflect not either kinetics or thermodynamics?

    • David Springer

      You’re babbling. I described the behavior of simple equilibrium systems and you took off on a so many hand waving tangents I don’t know where to begin addressing them. So I won’t.

  80. The number of lives saved per year is bogus. The number of lives saved per year will depend on what replaces the substances in question. If it becomes harder to cook food, sterilize water, etc – then the lives saved per year could well be negative.

  81. Considerate Thinker

    I also observe there is quite some element of division or splitting the opposition, to the government framework also, propping up the sanctity of the past 20 years of climate science that seems to be failing on so many fronts.

    Count me cynical, have the “Leopards” reformed or just covered up their spots.

    Work with, but watch carefully, and always ensure oversight by non partisan players and rigid audit process.

  82. Jim@7.43
    ‘if it becomes harder to cook food and sterilise water, etc- then the lives saved per year could well be negative.’

    Unintended results…Hmm i guess everyone here visualises big picture, but heaven preserve us from the social engineering of liberal bureaucrats,
    think committee designed elephant, seems to have a missing leg and there’s something wrong with its trunk. I’m with Karl Popper, my hero of the post modern history/science wars, well not ‘hero’, perhaps, let’s not argue from authority, but let’s choose piecemeal reform over grand schemes for overthrowing all existing social conditions. And while I’m about it, falsification may not be a sufficient demarcation for ‘science’ but it sure is a necessary one if ‘truth’ to real world date is the regulatory idea behind critical investigation. I think I’ ll just go and read Popper’s ‘Open Society and It’s Enemies’ again. :-)

    • Chief Hydrologist


      I will see your Karl Popper and raise a Freidrich Heyak – pilgrim. There is an enlightenment heritage that in the true spirit of human freedom a cowboy must defend. These are free markets, democracy and the rule of law. There is a role for society in defending the weak against the poor, in educating the poor, huddled masses, in succouring the downtrodden, in defending the very soil of liberty with our life blood. It is not something to resile from but to be loudly and proudly proclaimed. Like being g.. – hell why not. Even some cowboys are g.. I reckon – although how they ride in them things is an awful mystery. It is all about an individual freedom paid for over centuries by heroes.

      I have no essential objection to putting money into humanitarian goals – 0.7% to the Millennium Development Goals for instance – but unless there are free markets, democracy and the rule of law it all a colossal waste of resources.

      Beth – my love. Mike and me are writing a grant application and – if we get the money – are heading down the Santa fe trail to South America for the Rio climate love in. We will all be living in tents and pitching in on food preparation and digging latrines. It will be just like old times but without the bands – maybe we can organise something. I would like see you there if you can make it – but don’t worry none. I wouldn’t expect you to dig the latrines.

      Yours sincerely
      Robert I Ellison
      Chief Hydrologist

      • Chief Hydrologist

        LOL – I was censored for saying g.. for God’s sake. What is the world coming to?

      • Chief,

        In humanitarian centric circles it is not polite to point out that the supply of wealth for voluntary humanitarian aid depends on the existence of societies that in the most part adopt a mainstream individualist/capitalist/free society centric philosophy.

        Of course any old authoritarian society (claiming to be humanity’s savior against evil capitalism) can extract involuntary wealth from its citizens, but what wealth? They (authoritarians) seem to lack the basic necessary wealth creating skills; they have the skills to force transfer of the meager wealth from their impoverished citizens. Evidence: see failed authoritarian societies of the 20 th century.


  83. Chief,

    ‘Free markets,democracy and the rule of law.’ Yep!
    Good old Scottish Enlightenment. (Come from a family of Scottish engineers, myself.) And I’ll just add one more thing. ‘ Show us your data.’

    You and Mike and Tent City? It’s UNlikely.They’d NEVER give you two grants. You jest don’t qualify. Got a song I posted somewhere re this.

    h/t To G and S:
    ‘We’re clever specializers in the art of climatology,
    We’re very highly specialized in modelling futurology,
    We’re really rather good at, yes we’re good at hindcastology
    And upside down ‘Tiljander,’such a tricky methodology.
    Now you skeptics think our measurements perverse and upside-downery,
    And some among you skeptics say we’re clueless and we’re clownery,
    But we’re very very good at, yes we’re very, very good at,
    Oh we’re really VERY good at, getting money from the guverment’

    But anyway, should a miracle happen and you did get a grant, some of us denizens would probably join you :-)

    • Beth Cooper

      AH Gilbert and Sullivan!. I can just see the full and splendidly dressed chorus singing, now entitled ‘Models for sale-all shiny and new’ which is the showstopping finale from the blockbuster new musical ‘Climate Change-run for the hills’

      • Beth, you are a magnificant Model of a Modern Major-General.

      • tony –

        I have fond memories if sitting in my living room as my parents played The H.M.S. Pinafore in the hi-fi.

        One line stuck out in my mind, and I think of it often when I read the tribal bickering in the climate debate:

        What, never?
        No, never!
        What, never?
        Well, hardly ever!

      • Joshua

        If you ever find yourself in the South West of England I would be pleased to take you to the nearby house of D’oyly Carte who were synonymous with G and S for many decades.

        We can include your ditty as the introduction to the next song in the show
        ‘We will always disagree-but it is me that is always right.”

        Now, I’m looking for some funding for this great new musical… :)

  84. David Springer

    /sarc warning

    I think we should just continue on our path to replace all incandescent light bulbs with compact flourescents. According to my calculations since the CFL first appeared in Walmarts and Home Depots all over the world in the late 1990’s global warming came to a dramatic halt and hasn’t resumed since then. The CFL is a highly successful mitigation measure against global warming. So successful in fact that no more mitigation is needed at this time. In fact we very well might need to fine tune our strategy by bringing some incandescents back on line. I’m sure northern Europeans this winter could have used a few extra high wattage bulbs.

  85. While the idea of reducing black carbon and ozone emissions seems like a generally good idea, I am troubled by the UNEP report on the topic as it is deeply flawed in both its methodology and conclusions.
    The report relies upon two GCMs as input for its conclusions and the models used have been demonstrated to not be reliable. In fact the models used have been shown to be pretty unreliable in matching observed conditions.

    The reports also makes many conclusions regarding radiative forcing that are little more than the authors suppositions, but the report makes multiple claims about the issue none the less. Climate scientists who claim to fully understand the relative impact of the different of the different chemicals on the total radiative forcing are Imo being untruthful.

    I would be interested in what specifically the US and the five other nations will agree to do on a long term basis. The additional $12M is pretty meaningless and if the $60M the EPA is spending internationally helps great.

    I would be much more concerned if the US was to force implementation of something domestically that would dramatically reduce our emissions at great cost. This would be a great concern if it reduced the US ability to compete globally economically, but did VERY little to actually impact the environment.

  86. Which of the following statements is correct? Evidence please….

    Black carbon particles reduce albedo and cause surface warming.
    Black carbon particles block downwelling sunlight and cause surface cooling.
    Black carbon particles absorb downwelling sunlight and cause surface warming.
    Black carbon particles increase low cloud formation and cause surface cooling.
    Black carbon particle increase high cloud formation and cause surface warming.

    Do we really have any idea what the net impact of black carbon particles do in the atmosphere, apart from output from models??

  87. blouis79

    Which of the following statements is correct? Evidence please….
    – Black carbon particles reduce albedo and cause surface warming.

    There are no empirical data based on actual physical measurements to support this claim, although it makes sense theoretically. But the albedo impact of BC is so much smaller than that of changes in cloud cover, that it is of secondary interest.

    IPCC tells us that the total radiative forcing from BC on snow from 1750 to 2005 was +0.1 W/m^2. The RF from low altitude clouds is -48 W/m^2, so a 1% change in low cloud cover would have 5 times the impact of all the BC since 1750. My advice: Fuggidabaoudit.

    – Black carbon particles block downwelling sunlight and cause surface cooling.
    – Black carbon particles absorb downwelling sunlight and cause surface warming.
    – Black carbon particles absorb downwelling sunlight and cause surface warming.

    Unsubstantiated. Peanuts. Fuggidabaoudit.

    – Black carbon particles increase low cloud formation and cause surface cooling.
    Interesting speculation, but where are the observational results?

    – Black carbon particle increase high cloud formation and cause surface warming.
    Duh! This is even more speculative. How would these particles get way up there in the first place?

    – Do we really have any idea what the net impact of black carbon particles do in the atmosphere, apart from output from models??
    I have seen no empirical data on this at all, so –until I do – I’ll assume the answer is “NO”.

    Rather than “let’s assume it could be possible until proven otherwise”, let’s stick with the scientific method: a hypothesis or claim must withstand falsification attempts with empirical evidence, based on actual physical observations or reproducible experimentation (not simply model estimates based on hypothetical deliberations).


  88. Earlier, “curryja | February 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    actually black carbon (as opposed to sulfphate particles) absorbs solar radiation, warming the atmosphere, which then emits IR radiation at a higher temperature, this increasing the downwelling IR flux. So the backscattering effect of black carbon is mostly smaller than this indirect IR effect. ”

    I don’t understand why the black carbon emitting IR in all directions wouldn’t cause as much cooling as warming…..

  89. “Re: Shindell et al., Simultaneously Mitigating Near-Term Climate Change and Improving Human Health and Food Security, Science 13 January 2012: Vol. 335 no. 6065 pp. 183-189 DOI: 10.1126/science.1210026
    Why is a primary policy paper behind a paywall? ”

    Because of price discrimination. I’ll click on the link and the journal will see that my library is a subscriber, and yet another micropayment will flow from my library to the journal publisher without me even thinking about it.

    You will click on the link and say “Blast, a paywall!” And then you will enter the article title into you search-engine of choice and download it from one of the Authors’ institutions directly.

  90. This smacks too much of politics of AGW, for me. Given there have been three separate studies of different solar mechanisms all concluding that the sun is likely to begin moving into a quieter phase, and given that the AGW hypothesis/models/studies have here-to-fore chosen to largely ignore the effects of the sun, I think the politicianss of AGW are now hedging their bets. They are afraid that we may indeed see a temperature decrease, while man-made CO2 continues to rise. They need to get ahead of it and proclaim it was their glorious political policies that caused the decrease, not that giant burning ball in the sky. To keep their religion alive, they have begun to set the groundwork for it’s future. If CO2 falls out of favor, as the culprit, they must find ways to prove it was methane all along – we were right, just had the wrong gas, they will say.

    The experiment is already underway. Man-made CO2 is scheduled to continue it’s increase. Man-made methane is scheduled to continue it’s increase. The sun seems likely on schedule to decrease it’s contribution to the equation. Control of the variables is what the future politics of AGW rely on. Beginning to feel they are losing control of the CO2 variable, it looks like they’re aiming for control of the methane variable, to stay in power.

    • It won’t be that they were wrong or got the wrong gas, it would be that we’ve found something to do to counteract the escalating CO2 warming for a short time.

      If the sun is cooler, that would be another factor that mitigates against the CO2 warming, for a short time, before it gets catastrophic.

      The CO2 warmists will cling to it until a basic physics experiment demonstrates the “greenhouse” IR backradiation/insulation/whatever theory is all wrong.

  91. Now AGW scientists got gas too?

  92. First of all, I am not one of your scientist types (and economists are not scientists!!). That being said, I constantly use anecdotal evidence in my view of these issues. Anything that helps to mitigate deaths through disease has to be good. What needs to be removed from the equation is the reference to global warming.

    Malaria, tuberculosis and dengue fever for example have nothing at all to do with global warming. All of these diseases have been present in periods with global cooling. Malaria and Dengue fever are mosquito borne viruses, as is somethint like Ross River Fever (or whatever regional name is suitable), Lyme Disease is carried by ticks from deer. There are some clues here. Not all mosquitoes are carriers for malaria and dengue fever, it is only certain types. The big thing to remember is that even the correct species will not necessarily cause an outbreak unless it has first bitten someone with the disease!!

    I have not checked on how TB is spread, but I do know that it spreads rapidly in some communities and it is airborne. Also, I know that even where TB has been eradicated it can come back if people are not being screened.

    On top of that the mitigation of these diseases starts with a proper health program which should include providing both the drugs to combat the disease once a human has it, and the drugs required for immunization. Providing these drugs to the African nations where such diseases are still rife should not be a part of any globull warming plan. It should be based upon health reasons alone.

    With regard to the cook stoves, it should also be kept in mind that in some of those African communities in particular the people use animal dung for their cooking rather than using coal, so anything would be better than the present arrangements.

    Over the years we have enjoyed the benefits of reducing pollution. This has meant cleaner cities and yes a decrease in some respiratory illness. However, there is a long way to go because the emissions from cars is not the only reason that people get asthma. I was personally affected by emissions from a factory that made fly spray!!!!!!

  93. I am in agreement with Hilary Clinton’s statement and the objectives of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition.

    I have remarked before in these blogs that pictures of Northern Hemisphere glaciers are more often grey than white and have attributed that to soot from old or overloaded diesel engines. Here is an experiment you can try. Feel with your finger the inside of the tailpipe of your car. If your finger is black that is soot from your engine. My Japanese diesel that meets the latest European standards shows no black on my finger in this test. Don’t try this with a hot tailpipe. I think this test shows that it is possible to build clean diesel enbines.

  94. This proposal is doomed because of an omission. Viz., it does not turn over control of our energy supply to politically-directed bureaucrats.

  95. Red Nek Engineer

    The sad fact is that the more radical environmentalists by fighting the building of power plants in Africa has left millions of families in the dark, breathing soot from burning wood or dung inside their huts to cook food as shown in the documentary Not Evil, Just Wrong. They tell the poor African’s they need to install solar panels on their thatched roofs.