NRC’s artless untruths on climate change and food security

by Rud Istvan

Here is a recent example of artful lack of disclosure in the climate change debate, on the possible negative impacts of climate change on food security.

The following chart is Figure 13 on page 28 of the 2011 NRC booklet, Warming World: Impacts by Degree

The National Research Council is sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, whose motto is ‘where the nation turns for independent, expert advice’. The chart’s message is dire if temperatures do rise by 3 degrees as the 4th IPCC assessment says likely. Such a rise, for example, would mean US corn yields might decline by half. That would massively disrupt US food supplies, and would cause starvation elsewhere since the US produces 40% of the world’s corn.

The NRC’s 2010 website[ii] contained the following version of the same chart, which they credited to the National Science Foundation. It is uncertain whether their misspelling of Africa was also credited to the NSF.

NRC’s 2010 website said the NSF chart’s information comes from table 5-4 of the 3rd IPCC, or more recent studies. Working Group 2 Table 5-4 runs several pages and summarizes many studies modeling both positive and negative crop yield impacts. WG2 ¶ says, “In 2/3 of the cases, temperate crop yields benefit at least some of the time.” That is not shown at all by the NRC chart although US maize is grown in a temperate climate. The NSF chart is labeled as plotting the single worst of all modeled estimates. Not disclosing this information makes the booklet chart extremely misleading.

The 2011 NRC booklet itself is worse than misleading. Text accompanying the chart says, “Solid lines show best estimates”.  That makes it overtly false; the worst modeled outcome is re-characterized as the best consensus estimate. And the single US maize statistical study portrayed by the NSF chart is itself false.

The worst US maize (corn) AGW model is a 2009 PNAS paper. [iii] This massive statistical analysis assessed US heat extremes (defined as continuous 24 hour days at or above some temperature) using US county level crop and reconstructed weather data from 1950-2005 for corn, soybeans, and cotton. It contains 105,981 observations for corn. Using an 8th order polynomial equation, it found a statistical threshold at around 29°C, above which yields were increasingly affected by extreme heat days. The statistical results were graphed to suggest that continuous 24-hour exposure to 40ºC (104ºF) reduces corn yield at least 5%, even though there were zero 40ºC days in the data. In Africa the same effect was later statistically found using detailed CYMMIT field trial data to be only 1% per day, arise above 30°C, and occur during only anthesis. [iv]

The PNAS finding is superficially plausible. All plants become heat stressed above some threshold temperature (growth ceases), and are killed by prolonged exposure to some higher temperature. [v] These thresholds vary by plant and cultivar, and also vary over the plant’s annual growth cycle. Heat stress during anthesis is well known to reduce cereal yields. Physiological responses are similar to those for drought stress, so depend on water availability and transpiration. Hot low humidity days (plus insufficient soil moisture) produce the greatest cereal heat stress. It is therefore usually drought associated.  Plants can develop transient thermotolerance in hours if sufficient water is available. At least partial recovery of lost growth after heat stress is proven in sorghum and tomatoes. As a result, whether heat stress is cumulative is unknown (or perhaps indeterminate, since depending on too many factors like degree of stress, duration of stress, transpiration losses, soil water availability, and post stress recovery).  The maize heat stress threshold (determined experimentally in greenhouses) during the seedling stage is about 35°C, and during anthesis is about 38°C, in both cases with sufficient water available. Values vary by maize cultivar.

Adding the IPCC AR4 global warming estimates to the historical temperature distribution data, the PNAS paper used its statistical 29°C threshold (rather than the experimental >35-38°C) to calculate that by 2100 there would be up to 15% of days above 35ºC, with above a 2.5% negative impact. Assuming a cumulative effect, the paper used its statistics to model that this warming would cause up to 60-70% decline in yield by 2100 under the higher warming scenarios. This is easy to verify. The US maize season is from April-August (hotter southern states) or May-Sept (cooler northern states). That is about (5*30) 150 days. If 15% were above the statistical 29°C threshold averaging a negative 2.5% daily cumulative impact, then the impact would be (150*0.15*-2.5) -56%.

The PNAS maize forecast can be examined for veracity using the previously known experimental maize heat stress details and a revised subset of the paper’s data (averages by state from 1980) placed by its now famous authors into the public domain. (Equivalent data for soybeans and cotton was not provided to the public, so the critique is limited to maize.) This enables visual parametric scrutiny of the paper’s veritas without using any statistics at all. Simply visually compare the data to the paper’s statements.

Regression Models. We assume temperature effects on yields are cumulative over time and that yield is proportional to total exposure.”  That assumption is not supported by prior experimental heat stress facts. More telling, if heat effects were cumulative, Kansas should always have lower yields than Nebraska, and Nebraska should always have lower yields than the other states. That is obviously not true in the paper’s own dataset (just compare the right and left charts), which directly show that maize heat stress cannot be cumulative. This detail was not available to peer reviewers, who only had the statistical results and not the later released graphical dataset. The basic model used to compute the statistics is flawed. So is the yield conclusion.

The PNAS paper’s flaws go much deeper. It found that “Greater precipitation partly mitigates damage from extreme high temperatures”. That is consistent with experimental heat stress details.  But such an interaction term was not included in the model. Even though disclosed as a real co-linearity, the possible rainfall/temperature interaction was expressly omitted for ‘statistical’ reasons:

However, omitting temperature-rainfall interactions will not bias predictions of average effects of temperature and rainfall, as we do not find a significant correlation between temperature outcomes and precipitation outcomes…

There is no reason to think temperature and rain outcomes would ever be covariant. It rains when it is hot, and it rains when it is cold.

But this omission rationale is logically flawed—corn really cares about the coincidence of hot and wet. That is well known experimentally. The information was readily available before the paper’s regression model was formulated. For example, the FAO publishes extensively for farmers around the world. (Maize has become the staple grain in parts of Africa.) According to the FAO, “The crop is very sensitive to frost, particularly in the seedling stage but it tolerates hot and dry atmospheric conditions so long as sufficient water is available to the plant and temperatures are below 45°C.”

The charted data show yield declines for all states in some years with distinctly more > 29ºC days (like 1980, 83, 88, and 2002), but not in others. These particular years are well-known US drought years. The sharp Ohio decline in 2002 compared to neighboring Indiana (both with about the same >29ºC days) is specifically attributable to local Ohio drought. Abnormally hot years without drought such as 1990, 92, 95, 2000, 01, and 06 did not have similar yield declines. (Dry Kansas after 2000 has had to curtail irrigation due to depletion of the Ogallala aquifer.) The negative yield effect occurs mainly in hot + dry years, not in hot + normal rain years, coherent with experimental heat stress.

The published data also show that average yields in recent hot + dry years like 2003 or 2006 were still better than yields in earlier cool + wet years like 1981 or 1990. Even Kansas’ worst recent yield in hot, dry 2006 was about 115 bu/acre, around the national average from 1985-95. The PNAS paper said,

with wide geographic range in average yields, and with a three-fold increase in yields over the sample period (56 years)…[soil quality, technological change, and precipitation]… have strong statistical significance not reported here.

These much more important factors were statistically ‘removed’ to focus just on temperature. Other future developments (new hybrids) may be much more important than climate change to future yields. This possibility was even acknowledged in the PNAS paper:

“greater heat tolerance still may be possible if greater returns for such innovation arise. Recently, a National Science Foundation- funded study completed a draft sequence of the corn genome, which might make it easier to develop new corn varieties with greater heat tolerance”

In fact, by 2010 the USDA ARS had identified at least 4 independent thermotolerant genetic traits for future hybridization. And in December 2011 the FDA and USDA approved Monsanto’s first genetically modified drought resistant corn, MON87460 with 6-10% yield improvement. The PNAS paper’s past data cannot be used for projecting long-term future yields without incorporating the other information ‘not reported’. But that is what NSF did, which NRC concealed.

The NSF chart truthfully reported one portion this paper’s erroneous statistical conclusion. The problem is that the paper’s data do not support it. The key model assumption is not true, a key known heat stress relationship was deliberately excluded, and the future influence of more significant yield factors (hybrid corn improvement) was not considered.

The NSF chart was ‘hearsay’ even before being mischaracterized by the NRC. Harvard President Lawrence Lowell supposedly wrote in 1909 that statistics, “…like veal pies, are good if you know the person that made them, and are sure of the ingredients.” This is still true a century later.

[iii] Schlenker and Roberts, Nonlinear Temperature Effects, PNAS.0906865106

[iv] Lobell et. al., Nonlinear Heat Effects on African Maize, Nature Climate Change 1: 42-45 (2011)

[v] Wahid et. al., Heat Tolerance in Plants: a Review, Environmental and Experimental Botany 61: 199-223 (2007)

Bio notes: Rudyard L. Istvan is Chairman and CEO of Third Stream Bioscience, Inc., commercializing a novel topical antimicrobial licensed from P&G. He is also the inventor behind and principal of NanoCarbons LLC, which has developed the world’s best carbon for capacitive energy storage. It is now licensed to a major European company. He holds a summa cum laude in economics from Harvard College, a JD cum laude from Harvard Law School, and an MBA from Harvard Business School as a Baker Scholar. He has a book Gaia, Musings on Sustainability and another book Arts of Truth in process.

JC comment:  Yesterday Rud Istvan sent me a section from his forthcoming book Arts of Truth, I invited him to do a guest post on this.  I am particularly interested in the general topic of unwarranted alarmism on climate change impacts.  This is a guest post, and the views presented here are those of Rud Istvan, and implies no endorsement by me of any particular statements made in this post.

274 responses to “NRC’s artless untruths on climate change and food security

  1. Harold H Doiron, PhD

    OK. Who loses their job because of this blatant falsification? There should be consequences for this kind of stuff. Is the National Academy of Sciences and its National Research Council corrupt, or just incompetent?

    • No doubt a deeply repellent combination of the two. And there are no consequences. The fraud continues.

    • OK. Who loses their job because of this blatant falsification?

      In the area of regulation, who loses their job for over-regulating and alarmism, thereby pushing up costs? Answer : noone. Under-regulation and complacency, by contrast, will soon get you fired.

      The net result is an inherent bias towards over-regulating and alarmism. Vastly so where the regulating agent is the state.

      • The Federal regulating agents are worse than the state.

      • @ Erica | March 23, 2012 at 1:45 am |

        Erica, phony GLOBAL warmings / coolings never starve anybody. If those bureaucrats and the Red / Greens are worried about; for not having enough food for the people in future – would have being commenting / doing something; the ladies in the overpopulated countries; to keep their legs crossed. Not one of them talks about that. ”Malpractice” should be same law in shonky sciences as in medicine. Intentionally misleading -> should compensate for the damages done.

        Erica, shell we demand: Al Gore, Hansen, Mann; to be attached to a lie detector withe a question: do they believe in GLOBAL warming?! No, not that crap in climate change – climate is in constant change – some places for better, some for worse. Climate Change therm is invented, to recognize the ignorant. But ”do they believe in GLOBAL warming???”

        Researching; if corn will survive in USA, in the pretend GLOBAL warming… Is strictly to insinuate that the phony warming is for real; nothing to do with corn. The best corn grows in Mexico; which is warmer than in USA. It’s same as: researching and ”modeling” how much damages the moon will do, when falls down on Manhattan? 1] ”modeling” how many damages will do if it falls when is half moon / or fool moon – or if it falls down and get stuck on the pointy bit.

        Truth: if the planet warms up by 3C, as the author suggests, troposphere will expand INSTANTLY by 2km, upwards will intercept extra appropriate coldness, to equalize; in 3,5 seconds – then it takes few minutes that EXTRA coldness to come down with the extra expanded / cooled oxygen + nitrogen. All process takes few minutes – it takes much longer than that, for the corn to germinate.

    • Looking at what else they produce..

      One supposes that the answer to that question depends on the error rate one considers serious enough to support job action.

      Dropping the “f” in “Africa” in a graphic in a glossy on a web page looks like at most a six month suspension without pay would be proportionate to the gross.. Oh, wait. Let’s compare error rates for fun, Harold, before we go there.

      What say we compare, line by line, everything you’ve produced since 1979 to the most arduous standards of correctness in front of a hostile crowd, and you lose your PhD if the error rate is higher than that of BASC.

      Sound fair?

      • Let’s not to get too fussed about basic illiteracy, and focus more on the widespread dishonesty and bias in government-funded climate science.

      • Erica | March 23, 2012 at 4:13 am |

        Absolutely, let’s do that, focus more on the widespread dishonesty and bias in government-funding.

        I don’t find anything to object to up to table ES2. Indeed, I find ES2 very interesting.

        Dishonesty and bias in government-funding for 2010 alone:
        Quantified energy-specific subsidies and support by type, FY 2010 and FY 2007 (million 2010 dollars)
        Coal $1,358 (say it after me, running total ~$1.36 BILLION)*
        Natural Gas and Petroleum Liquids: $2,820 (running total over $4 BILLION)
        Biomass: $1,117 (running total in the mid FIVE $BILLIONs)
        Biofuels: $6,644 (running total about TWELVE $BILLION)
        *2010 is significantly different than in FY 2007, reflecting the elimination of subsidies to refined coal.

        As awful as 2010 was, 2007 was much, much worse.

        Biofuels is clearly a scam. I can see the infant-industry argument for wind, maybe. Seems boondoggle to me, but I’m trying to keep focus, and we really don’t have the time or resources to get distracted in the fine-points of the infant-industry argument and do justice to the “get rid of the widespread dishonest and biased government funding of private business”.

        Thanks, Erica, for reminding us all to keep the ends in mind.

      • When comparing apples to oranges are meaningless. Subsidy comparisons should be made on the same base, in this case, MWh produces/$ subsidy. Yes, blinding the gullibles with irrelevant data is the best the warmists can do to stay on the gravy train.

      • Regarding “subsidies” in ES2 cited by Bart R, I’m pretty sure that, being extraction industries (like ore mines), the bulk of the “tax expenditure” treated here as a “subsidy” for fossil fuels (coal, oil & gas) is actually the “depletion allowance”. This is a long-standing, justifiable tax deduction which encourages the industry to “acrue” monies for further/future resource development to remain in business and replace the assets. It is highly analogous, if not vrtually identical, to “depreciation” on capital investment in any industry for the same reasons. Please correct me if I am wrong.
        Tom – BS Chem, MS Chem Eng, MBA

      • Tomazo,
        You hit nail on head. The lie that AGW fanatics have sold- that fossil fuel industries are receiving huge tax subsidies- is one of the most perncious of the many they depend on. As is typical with fanatics and extremnists, they have to dumb down the language, and make words mean what is convenient for their agenda, without regard to honesty or reality.

      • Thanks for the confirmation, HUNTER, that’s been my suspicion for a long time! Still, it is quite clear that the subsidies for “renewables” grossly outweighs the FF’s over the same time period. I suppose now they will have to create an off-setting table that shows these “subsidies” since the Carter Administration created DOE and adjust it for “real” dollars to create the illusion that FF’s have received more than “renewables”? Still too, I’m glad to see the EIA has put hydro back in the latter category again (they took it out for a while), as I have yet to see a power dam shut down due to silt, as claimed by the “Malthusians!”

      • At the risk of repetition, I will post this again:

        See in particular Exhibits 28.6, 28.7 and especially 28.8, though keep in mind that these numbers do not include Accelerated Depreciation Allowances and the Foreign Tax Provisions Credits (the former is probably particularly valuable to oil/gas)…even so, my back-of-the-envelope guess is that this might add $4.5 Billion to oil/gas, and so the total subsidy (if you are of a mind to include those tax expenditures as well) would still be something like 2% of total spending on oil/gas.

      • NW-Thanks for this informative link! Leave it to TX to help the OMB and Congressional Research Service (CRS!) to understand their own estimated numbers and/or lack thereof. Not sure what you mean by “exclusion of Accelerated Depletion Allowances”. Does this mean depletion allowance is not included, or that it is underestimated: 50% of 15% in year 1 vs 1/15 of 15%? If the former, then it is also clear that it is more of a “one-time” “subsidy” versus longer term. Also, is your $4.5B derived from the TX 2006 numbers, or EIA’s 2007 or 2010 numbers?
        What IS clear is that the DA is a direct function of the commodity prices – lately going way up for oil and way down for gas (but perhaps stable for coal)! I note also that In the case of the latter, coal went from ~$3B in 07 to 0 in 2010, being essentially shifted to Biofuels [probably all glycol, the low energy density (due to high relative oxygen content) bio-diesel from soybeans/canola oil & ethanol].
        Amazing that Solar is so heavily subsidized, given the fact that we import half of our PV’s from China, and the economics still remain so poor, which I guess is about 2-3%ROI (largely due to the expensive rare-earth metals in them and the ~30-50% wattage capacity derate (in full sun!) in the first year!)

      • Tomazo,

        If you go down that page to “Detail: Oil and Gas Subsidies” there is a subsection explaining why they haven’t attempted an estimate of the Accelerated Depreciation and Foreign Credits figures. However they do say that there is an estimate that oil and gas account for about 13% of all Accelerated Depreciation. I just applied this to the total figure of $35.5 billion for all industry (also given in that section) for 2006. Very back-of-the-envelope! And I am not a tax accountant so I may be misunderstanding the thing.

      • Tomazo and NW

        Other than to point out, by Tomazo’s definition, Rud Istvan’s is a “Malthusian” argument, I’ll be so brief as I can.

        The Supreme Court (1909) disagreed specifically with Tomazo’s claims re: depletion allowance”; moreover, the Nixon and Reagan administrations supported by a vociferous majority of taxpayers vehemently disagreed with the characterisation of “justifiable” about this scam tax dodge.

        You’ll want to check out the facts with the IRS about what and how things are currently in America under the influence of corrupt and fraudulent loophole lobbying rent-seekers. Here’s a start:

        The more you seek to apologize for these guys with their hands in America’s pockets, the more apparent how huge their pilfering has become.

        Using the pennies spent on infant industries as an excuse for the millions spent on corporate charity is simply bizarre.

      • Bart R- Perhaps you misunderstood me.
        1) I did not claim Mr Istan uses a “Malthusian” argument. He merely points out dishonest omissions in this “mis/disinformation” age.
        2) From your statement here, it appears you do not undersand the principles of depreciation and depletion that I summarized. This requires no apology no is it “corrupt, pilfering fraudulent or criminal or a scam”, it is simple accepted accounting principles (GAP).
        3) If the SC over-rulled the law, it wouldn’t be allowed (perhaps your are referring ot the “minority argument”?). If you want to change the law, please “”lobby” to do so. Also, if one believes “Big Oil” makes “obscene profits,” just buy some stock and get your money back!
        4) Finally, using your own reference, (Table ES2), Total FF “subsidies” (which I still believe includes the depletion allowance) are ~$4.2B versus $14.7B for Renewables – hardly pennies, especially considering non-hydro Renewables is less than 3% of power generation (in net Gigawatts generated), while coal and natural gas are well over 70%. Total US energy consumptoion is about 100 quaddrillion BTUs with about half as transportation (almost all oil-based) and the other half as power/heat generation.

        NW- I calculated the $4.5B the same way as you did. but I’m not sure I would base it on a very generalized 2006 ADA estimate for buildings, machinery & equipment, nor a 1996 private study as well as statistics, when oil was ~$20/bbl and gas~$3/MMBtu. Although the TX reference does state “OMB has not separately estimated the…[ADA]”…it does not specify either inclusion or exclusion in the subisidy.
        Interestingly, the EIA Table ES2 cites the 2007 O&G industry subsidy estimate at $2B, while the TX Exhibit 28-6 2006 TX cites a subsidy estimate of $3.5. Even if you add the $4.5 to get $8B subsidy vs $815B total costs (oil (NYMEX WTI) was $66/bbl in ’06), ~$5.9 B subsidy (ex-hydro) on Renewables vs $81.6B total cost (ex-hydro) constitutes a >7x subsidy as a percentage for Reneweables vs O&G. EIA’s data for 2010 show the subsidy ratio alone to be (14.6/2.8=)>5x, note this ratio not comparable to the >7x above because it excludes total costs (WTI was $79.5/bbl in 2010). Still, it is clear that Renewables are FAR more heavily “subsidised” than O&G, or FFs in general.
        At this point, I close my case and believe Hunter & MW are on the right track.

      • Bart–

        Every year around this time, I send off my forms with the firm conviction that I am likely a felon, because the tax code is so complicated that I can barely understand the bits that do or might apply to me. ;) So, with the caveat “I am not a corporate tax accountant” firmly in mind…

        Reading down that IRS page you linked, that looks like an extremely limited Depletion allowance that wouldn’t apply to almost anyone except very small players. Anyone involved in substantial refining or retailing seem to be ineligible if I read it right.

        As for “apologizing for these guys,” I can’t stop you from reading things as you like. I am trying to understand just how the net tax expenditures and other subsidies tilt incentives in the energy sector. It seems to me that the net tilt is decidely in favor of renewables relative to non-renewables, from the numbers I can lay hands on. I think the absolute size of tax expenditure + subsidy (call this total public spending) doesn’t tell the story of the tilt in an economically sensible way. I think the size of total public spending relative to total public + total private spending tells the story of the tilt more sensibly, since it is the relative private prices of different energy sources that matter behaviorally.

      • Bart R,
        Depreciation and depletion are not tax scams. Foreign tax credits are not tax scams. If taxes on overseas profits are paid overseas, why should they be re-taxed in the US?
        You are severely out of control and using examples that do not support your baisc claims they way you think they do.

      • Tomazo | March 27, 2012 at 1:20 pm |

        I think it likelier you misunderstand you.

        1) I did not claim Mr Istan uses a “Malthusian” argument. He merely points out dishonest omissions in this “mis/disinformation” age.
        Rud Istvan’s topic rests entirely within the domain of Sustainability and the Limits of Growth. His focus is feeding 9.2 billion people by 2050, or rather the disorder that will result from the failure due to famine should we fall short. This is the purest essence of the Malthusian argument you so disparage. I didn’t suggest you recognized what Istvan is talking about; merely that you’re slamming Dr. Curry’s guest with your epithet.
        2) From your statement here, it appears you do not undersand the principles of depreciation and depletion that I summarized. This requires no apology no is it “corrupt, pilfering fraudulent or criminal or a scam”, it is simple accepted accounting principles (GAP).
        It’s “GAAP“. Leastwise, it was when I studied it for three years in a small ivy-covered hall.
        One thing they teach, when they teach GAAP, is the many differences between depreciation (recognizing the loss of value in permanent fixtures) and depletion allowances (a subsidy for reducing an inventory). Another is that GAAP is not a moral judge, but a system of standards of accounting practices to reflect the legal transactions of a business. In 2002, Enron furnished plentiful example that GAAP was no defense against corrupt pilfering fraudulent criminal scam, to name but one of many cases.
        Calling on GAAP, especially by the wrong name, hardly stands to improve your argument.
        3) If the SC over-rulled the law, it wouldn’t be allowed (perhaps your are referring ot the “minority argument”?). If you want to change the law, please “”lobby” to do so. Also, if one believes “Big Oil” makes “obscene profits,” just buy some stock and get your money back!
        The Supreme Court in 1909 — if you read the reference provided, you’d know this — ruled in the majority that the constitutional argument in favor of depletion allowances for business failed; there is no constitutional basis to claim tax on property for mining is expropriation, and no constitutional basis for this class of tax exemption. The existence since 1913 of depletion allowances is solely a measure brought in by the lobbying and backroom dealings of big mineral trusts.
        American taxpayers have never been fooled, and countless campaigns have been waged in the past century to try to dislodge this parasite sucking on the heel of the public purse. Much as any American despises being taxed, it’s worse to be taxed while some special class cheats.
        It’s also one of the ways America’s trading rivals justify dumping their goods on our markets by subsidy — depletion allowance — for their state-supported price manipulations. So it’s not even _good_ for America to sustain the practice; far better to oppose it. We’re never going to out-tax dictatorships, and should be ashamed to be trying on behalf of established businesses that can afford to pay their own way.
        Also, 2007 (original EIA report) and 2010 (latest report — why hasn’t this always been reported every year?!) had substantial differences in, among other things, depletion allowance. That’s right. George W. Bush and Barack Obama, while wrecking the economy, took a moment to _increase_ subsidies from taxpayers to fossil fuels at a time when fossil fuel profits were climbing through the roof.
        4) Finally, using your own reference, (Table ES2), Total FF “subsidies” (which I still believe includes the depletion allowance) are ~$4.2B versus $14.7B for Renewables – hardly pennies, especially considering non-hydro Renewables is less than 3% of power generation (in net Gigawatts generated), while coal and natural gas are well over 70%. Total US energy consumptoion is about 100 quaddrillion BTUs with about half as transportation (almost all oil-based) and the other half as power/heat generation.
        Let’s look at that 14.7b renewables in a bit, after looking at the countercase of infant industry. In 1970, the Internet, mobile phones, portable electronics of all sorts, and computers were infant industry segments. With or without subsidy, such innovators as Motorola created the business that employs and feeds more Americans than the fossil fuel industry by far.
        Without the innovations of the past 40 years, it’s very likely the Malthusian condition you so disparage would have come to pass.
        It’s innovation generated by the Capitalist fair Market mechanism that lets people like you pretend “Malthus” is an insult — which it is, because neither he, nor you, recognize the necessity of invention supplied by Capitalism.
        So anyone can recognize a little leeway for new and overlooked technologies might be allowed in an Economic theory.
        Handing over cash to established industries? That’s just scam.
        Renewables includes biofuel. In fact, it’s almost all biofuel and carbon-based energy relabeled one way or another.
        Biofuel does what, exactly?
        Pours wheelbarrows full of cash every second down the bottomless pit of ONE SINGLE AGRIBUSINESS GIANT’s rent-seeking appetite to make a complementary good — a stretcher — for fossil fuels and increasing the market for gasoline, while making farmland and fertilizer (which also comes from, you got it, fossil fuel) and farming in general more expensive, while reducing the length of time carbon is sequestered in biomass. SCAM!
        Seriously, if you’re going to use documents to support your argument, read them.

      • The Spelling error is bad enough, but the actual science errors are still much worse.

      • You seem to have rather masterfully lost the plot here Bart R.
        The topic here is CLIMATE SCIENCE, which is by and large
        – government-funded
        – rancid with fraud (climategate etc etc)
        all of which is leading the “conclusion” that there is cagw. A “conclusion” which is suspect, to put it mildly, especially as the funder has a vested interest in this “finding”.

        Whatever subsidies there are for petroleum etc have nothing to do with climate science, or science fraud.

      • Erica | March 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm |

        “Whatever subsidies there are for petroleum etc have nothing to do with climate science, or science fraud.”


      • Erica | March 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm |

        The economic scenarios are part of the projections,you cannot decouple the energy sector from either the financial sector or climatology.

        The arguments are that energy and trade subsidies, askew the market and create imbalances .That solutions to both trade imbalances and Govt deficits in the developed economies,are more focused on subsidized internal energy security mostly from FF.

      • Bart
        Challenged to explain how subsidies for eg petroleum have an effect on climate science and the corruption thereof, you simply say rofl. IOW, you have no answer, but won’t admit it.

      • Erica | March 24, 2012 at 4:03 am |

        IOW, I laughed. Not quite to the point of rolling on the floor literally, but much more than mere laughing out loud.

        I didn’t realize you wanted an answer, or even imagine you might be serious.

        Ok, simple answers:
        1. Subsidies for research on climate science often end up in the pockets of people who work on petroleum, etc. Why? Beats me. But they do.
        2. Teleconnections. Let’s look at David Wojick — a poor example, as his connectedness is so remote and innocuous, and I’m not suggesting anything in the least untoward about the connection — who has been kind enough to disclose that sometimes he takes contracts with the government, and sometimes he takes contracts with other interests. His expertise is connected to both.
        3. Love it or hate it, the question of CO2’s role in climate is a big part of spending on climate science. Ergo, all spending related to CO2 by the government is connected more than nontrivially.
        4. There is a limit to the amount of CO2 increase in the atmosphere before some climate effect is inevitable, regardless of what mechanism or level of effect or sensitivity is involved. That entails Risk. Subsidies that increase Risk automatically pertain.
        5. You must know, there are people who believe that by their very nature, all subsidies corrupt, and many of those people are prone to the excited imagining of insidious links between several forms of corruption, as if Evil were a palpable intelligent force, with its own social network. If you don’t buy into their paranoia, that’s nice and all, but it doesn’t mean they at least won’t be comingling the topic in conversation.
        6. Oh. Yeah. Because emissions from fossil fuels directly and significantly affect the climate, as a matter of proven fact, demonstrated in hundreds or thousands of studies in climate science according to scientists, judges who have made findings of fact in law, and accepted by 194 governments and fossil fuel industry reports. Almost forgot that one.

      • Des da Moaner

        Since yet again you flatly you ignore the question, I yet again pose it :

        What do subsidies for eg petroleum have to do with the corruption of government-funded climate science ?

        Try to stick to the question just once, and avoid speechifying your other hobby horses.

      • Good luck with that.

      • Des da Moaner | March 24, 2012 at 5:21 am |

        Answered (
        Read harder.

        Flatly, there is nothing more corrupt in the US government in particular or government in general than any business taking a subsidy.

        If they need the hand out, they’re not a business but a charity. If you don’t understand this about capitalism, read harder.

        If you don’t see the connection between petrochemicals and climate, read harder.

        If you think you can produce something better than capitalism, more efficient than free market capitalism, by tax and spend conservatism and the old “cheap energy” lie, read harder.

        (One of my favorite riddles: what boasts like a libertarian when its got no change of getting into office, campaigns like a fiscally conservative republican while trying to get elected, and spends your money like a drunken sailor on shore leave when in office?)

      • Bart,
        Wind mills and solar exist solely because of direct operating subsidies.
        Oil and coal get to write off their expenses and depletion costs.
        You continue to echo the lie that somehow depletion and expense write-offs are somehow subsidies, when they are not.
        You are not even wrong.

  2. This seems to be grossly simplifying things and then still getting it wrong. Some crops are more heat tolerant than others, as already noted. The entire potato country in Idaho only gets one crop off a year due to the short growing season. With the right climate and crop choice, 2-3 crops can be harvested off the same land each year. Additionally, assuming shortages would increase prices, more costly growing methods become profitable. Greenhouse aquaculture is already profitable in Alaska and other northern areas. Most of the research to date is how to grow crops in cold climates – using row covers to extend the growing season, non-traditional winter crops, etc. As far as I know, there is an awful lot of tillable land north of Ohio. Here in Maine, getting more than one crop off in the regular growing season is tough. Warm it up a little, and it becomes easy.

  3. Warm is good. CO2 is plant food.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Four legs bad.

    • Randomly and ill-distributed warm has no moral quality nor predictable benefit.

      Artificially elevated CO2 is plant steroid.

      You like your plants like you like your athletes, kim?

      • Marvelously integrated by the great analog computer, the heat engine that is the earth, the heat will distribute to good effect, as in a naturally trained athlete, poised. The anthro component of CO2 is the gift of Gaia to her cachectic plant kingdom through the predictably miraculous agency of that oddly advanced featherless biped.

      • Google ‘pronoia’.

      • Bart R,
        When drowning, flailing around only makes it more likely you will drown. You are flailing around a lot.

  4. Craig Loehle

    The cumulative heat stress assumption is key. Plants do not respond that way. On days that are too hot they may run a negative carbon balance (respiration exceeds photosynthesis with stomates closed) to some degree, but then make it up the next day. When too cool or cloudy they don’t accumulate sugars. Most of the action happens on warm days with soil moisture. Only extreme heat that is lethal makes any difference whatever unless water is limiting (ie drought). This spring in Chicago we got sudden 85 degree days (5 in a row) and by day 4 all the flowering trees burst into bloom overnight rather than slowly like in a usual spring. Stressed? Happy as flowering magnolias. The NRC report was written without a single botanist on it I bet.

  5. Craig Loehle

    I would add that greenhouse experiments with corn show that even continuously high temperatures help it grow better–it is a C4 plant. as long as water is adequate. Their conclusions are simply stupid.

    • Craig Loehle | March 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm |

      A greenhouse isn’t a great representation of a farm. You can control for all conditions — great for an experimental simulation, terrible for reflecting actuality. It introduces regularity and moderation, which bias the sample.

      Now, the _field_ tests that show the same results, those are somewhat better.

      Except for the little difficulty of so many of the field tests get no cooperation from the weather, and experimental growers aren’t generally farmers so use different techniques and assumptions.

      But sure, the NAS disagree with your foregone conclusion, so must be simply stupid.

      • Forgoing, forwent.

      • Focus Bart.

        Here is a little more on potential solutions.

        As long as there is land to grow stuff on farmers will grow stuff. Instead of tera preta, think terra forming.


        Interesting link. Worth considering and following up.

        Though there are bound to be jokes about driving around in pee-powered SUVs. ;)

      • Since you’ve got me researching, I might as well share my pain.

      • Craig Loehle

        So, Bart, you think a 1 deg warming will really mean 20% decrease in crop yield? Does yield drop like that when you move from MN to MO? Not really, it goes up. The limiting factor for crops in the South is not temps too high but either water or soils (lousy red soils). And it was not my “foregone conclusion”–I study plants and their growth. Don’t insult people you don’t know.

      • Craig Loehle | March 25, 2012 at 10:38 am |

        I think my feelings about all predictions of crop yield in 2050 are made clear in my citation of Hanlon’s Razor.

        The foregone conclusion I referred to was “continuously high temperatures”; clearly not what the data shows has happened yet. I’d think using experimental data for something that isn’t happening to set policy for something so far in the future is questionable.

        What’s more indicated than the pronoiac ‘continuous’, if anything is varied, shifting, unconstant, unpredictable, faster-than-otherwise, differences including some more frequent extremes in some seasons in some places.

        You know, the conditions that favor pests and vermin, weeds and unfamiliar crops, expensive investments in both flood mitigation and irrigation systems that may be unneeded or insufficient in either or both case.

        I think the chart in Fig. 13 may point in a right direction for a wrong reason, but it’d be pretty incompetent for me to assert this as anything but a cautionary precept. The facts don’t give us near enough help here.

        If you feel insulted, I sincerely regret that. On the other hand, it doesn’t stop me from citing Hanlon’s Razor.

  6. The hotter it is, the better plants do, provided there is sufficient moisture…

  7. David Springer

    Optimum temperature for plant growth tends to rise along with CO2 concentration. Water requirements per unit of plant growth decline with increased CO2. Anthropogenic warming comes mostly at night, in higher latitudes, in colder months. Just what the doctor ordered for giving marginal climates a longer growing season which makes more kinds of crops possible and spells the difference between one and two crop cycles. There is no downside to higher CO2 and higher temperatures that come close to outweighing the upside.

    • There is no downside to higher CO2 and higher temperatures that come close to outweighing the upside.

      Except in the imagination. A negative in the imagined future has two orders of magnitude more power than a positive. Positives don’t even register – they represent an “OK”/ “No Problem”. What imagination can do with a (possible, maybe, slight chance of a) negative is beyond all reason and sense.

      The idea that rising temperatures may lead to reduced yields in some crops in someregions is tantamount [in the minds of the fearfully imaginative] to be three quarters of the way to Armageddon visiting a host of certain catastrophes on the way.

      P.S. +1 to your succinct, rational summation of the reality.

  8. Of course there is no possibilities of farmers using heat appropriate crops, or of plant breeders and gene jockey’s being able to produce heat resistance in existing crops.
    As I understand it, higher temperatures tend to mean that one gets smaller seeds and lower yields in drought-stressed crops, but that they reach harvest maturity three to four weeks earlier than normal. My guess is that would tend to favor a two crop strategy, using summer soy/grains and a winter crop.
    A warm winter could allow crops like beans, rye or barley in places where one was only able to have a single crop in the past.

  9. I think you are all just jealous because they got a gold star at the end of their report. Really, second last page, check it out – “Expert Consensus Report”. Can’t get much better than that.

  10. I wonder how Canada’s growing of food might change. Gee, corn from Canada, oranges from Mississippi, bananas and avocados from Florida — it might be neat.

  11. Dr. Curry

    Do you really want to be associated with the National Academy of Sciences? their products?

    Completely off the rails.

  12. Re JC Comments:
    So this is an example of “unwarranted alarmism”? How civil a disapproval! Not even a “Tut, tut, tut.” The NRC work is rather devoid of honesty and objectivity. The “unwarranted alarmism” isn’t some innocent oversight of uncertainty, but deliberate misrepresentation of the body of work.

    JC comments amount to “Praising with faint damns.”

    • You’re going to get along great with cwon14.

      • raseysm, NW is commenting on my questioning the hosts motives when logic and rhetorical honesty are thrown out the window. It often is here with the assistance of the House Skeptics. Anything that gets close to “why things are the way they are” might trigger the wrist slap you just received.

        Note the huge disclaimer of the host at the bottom of the post. Gaia forbid the consensus observed our host falling out of line and going official by supporting some of these observations. It’s why the boards are full of circles and huge losses of logic are free to rule. “Unwarranted alarmism” is just a standard mislabel for “agenda fraud” but if you really want to rattle the cage start discussing why they go to these lengths and why Dr. Curry offers safe harbor.

  13. Perhaps our host Ms. Curry can comment on the accuracy (and uncertainty) of the section of the report on hurricanes … page 23.

    The bullet points are:
    “• Hurricane intensity increases by 1-4% per 1°C of warming

    • Hurricane destructive power (cube of the wind speed) increases by 3-12% per 1°C of warming

    • Hurricane frequency decreases by 0-10% per 1°C of warming

    • Jet streams and storm tracks generally move toward the poles”

  14. Rud Istvan’s is one of the most highly regarded in American business; indeed in the world. He’s a leader of uncommon insight, character and zeal who has changed the business world.

    It’s a rare treat and extremely interesting to see his mind at work on the problem of a.. Figure 13 on page 28 of a pamphlet about crops and the spelling of a word on a web page from a minor arm of a the US government’s propaganda service?

    What the?

    I look forward to the fulsome and informative commentary from the Denizens, what with the rich store of unbiased data and interpretation of research studies available from the Idsos. I guess.

    • Got anything more than snark, Mr Scrooge?

      • It’s a 40 page booklet based on an almost 300-page book, both so completely obscure until Rud Istvan mentioned them that they’d likely have been read by no more than a handful of specialists and special interests.

        I’ve got the time and patience to do what any diligent skeptic would, and thoroughly check on the facts before I weighed in about them.

        How about you?

      • I understand what you are getting at Bart. Many of us do this as a hobby. I blog and then write on energy and environmental topics in my spare time, even though it wasn’t my original academic field of study. If one has some analytical insight and no one else has applied that to a particular topic, then certainly anyone can find something new and interesting. The key thing to remember is that it takes the same level of effort to find something interesting as it is to debunk an analysis that someone else has spent effort up. I gather the latter is Istvan’s approach in his role as a skeptic.

        Istvan has also written skeptically about energy storage breakthroughs such as the EEStor ultracapacitor technology. Ultracapacitors are interesting in that no doubt that they can store huge amounts of energy but that the dielectric can also punch through due to the thinness of the layers, making them impractical for any industrial use. EEStor has been promising the technology for 5 years now and have not delivered. The fact that Istvan has a competing capacitive storage technology gives his argument at least some weight, and he has some experience in the field to back up his counter-arguments.

        So the underlying question is what are his ulterior motives for practicing skepticism. Is he positioning the argument and writing his books to sell one of his products? Or is he planning on being the next Michael Schermer, holding the title of professional skeptic? If he has money, then he can also hire ghost-writers and researchers.

      • Web

        One of the things that argues somewhat more for paying attention to Rud Istvan’s thinking is that he is on the face of it presenting evidence against his own business interests.

        He’s well-positioned to take advantage of spurious alarm and fake science by selling his own honest goods and ideas dishonestly, and it seems he rises above that temptation here to put forward a position that hurts his business in the short term.

        I applaud that level of integrity.

        It doesn’t mean I’m going to give up the habit of skeptical inquiry and verification of claims we all here at least pay lip service to.

      • It does seem to be against his interests if he is pushing for alternative energy storage schemes and for advances in biotechnology. It appears that he just wants to maintain some scientific objectivity, which is hard to argue against.

      • Bart, some of the points made in the booklet are simply devoid of reasonable logic. The, “all things remaining equal” issue. The yields would drop with the temperature increase as indicated in the booklet if nothing else changed. So it is either a naive study or propaganda.

        This is the issue, overstating negative impacts and understating uncertainty.

      • capt. dallas 0.8 +/-0.2 | March 23, 2012 at 9:48 am |

        You make a good point, though I disagree with your conclusion.

        It may be a naive study; given the huge record of citation and publication of the authorship of the original document (I have no idea who put together the pamphlet or the web page, and so have no comment on these intermediaries; it’s silly to attribute every typesetting error to the authors themselves, or blame the advertising campaign for a product on the research division who developed, tested and released it), “naive” more applies to the system of checks and balances of authors over their work. I believe Steven Mosher and Ross McKitrick both passionately argue this very issue about the IPCC.

        It is clearly propaganda. So what? Almost everything is propaganda; Rud Istvan would be very much poorer if none of his investments ever had the propaganda of advertising, marketing or merchandising departments. If you don’t like the propaganda, shell out $47 and read the original report.

        It’s also quite possible that “all things remaining equal” is an issue that is underexplored. How much does it cost to move all things from the way they are to the way they’ll be under the new climate regime?

        Venice has been measured to be sinking an inch every six years; half of that through natural subsidence that no human action has any influence over, half of that through sea level rise –there is a plausible argument humans are influencing at least half of that half. It costs Venice a huge amount to adjust to sinking. If humans are increasing the rate of sinking by one third (that is, 1″/six years instead of 3/4″), then humans are increasing the cost of mitigation. Would you rather pay $3 million, or $4 million, to keep your feet dry? If someone else is responsible for that last $1 million, wouldn’t you want _them_ to pay for what they cost you?

        It costs a lot every time “all things” are no longer equal. More if the rate of change is faster. Even more, if the rate of change of all things is more uncertain, which also happens when the source of the change is an external perturbation, or a combination of external perturbations. Moreso as we get further from historical levels.

        So it may well be that we can adapt to keep yields equal, or even to raise them, at some unknown level of increase in investment.

        In business, as Rud Istvan has helped us see, sustainability is measured by the Return on Investment formula; investment is the denominator. That means increases in investment have a more powerful than linear negative impact on sustainability.

        See? Simple.

      • Bart, Rud has a comment down below that you should find interesting. One of the issues is due to the simplistic propaganda, bio-fuels. In the US, corn is king of the bio-fuel sources. Because of its increase price, more acreage is planted which put more stress on the available acreage. Not a good thing if you are into sustainability.

        Which brings me back to urea. The ammonia used to mass produce urea is manufacture with a syngas process. Natural gas if available, coal or petroleum coke if it is less expensive. Urea can be used in fuel cells, it is a neat way to store hydrogen. Also, charcoal based nitrogen fertilizers (urea or ammonia) are less likely to leach out of soil, which is a good thing when you have to till more often due to resistant weeds or pest.

        So when it comes down to saving Venice a few bucks, or planning to feed a few extra billion, Venice is on the back burner.

        Integrated coal gasification, which can also be integrated biomass gasification or integrated biowaste gasification, even a mixture of all of them, is a technology that should not be ignored because some propagandist selectively quotes statistics.

        We you have lots of potential problems, you want to plan lots of potential solutions. So stuff your carbon tax.

      • capt. dallas 0.8 +/-0.2 | March 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm |

        Saw it. Read it. Loved it. Commented on it, apparently while you were penning this comment. Gotta love WordPress threading and sharing.

        Tera prieta is a great way to sequester carbon while increasing the nitrogen retention of soils, too. It costs nothing to research, can be done by anoxic carbonifaction of silage and organic waste in situ at low cost, and it leaves petrochemical reserves in the ground for that time decades from now when we’ll need them ten times as much as we need them now.

        What a brutally dishonest carpetbagging approach the biofuel scam and ‘coal research’ have taken to suck tax dollars into their confidence games while despoiling the birthright a savvy nation ought know to preserve for the future.

        Good thing you pointed it out, even though you don’t yet acknowledge the inevitability of privatization of the carbon cycle. Thank you.

      • Bart, once you get more into the things that are not remaining equal, you will drop the carbon tax idea in favor of a BTU consumption tax incentive. One that can actually return on investment with energy efficiency. People want to save money and improve, not be taxed and forced into someone else’s ideal of improvement. Carrots, not sticks

      • capt. dallas 0.8 +/-0.2 | March 23, 2012 at 6:04 pm |

        I don’t have a carbon tax idea.

        If your privatization method is superior to the privatization method promoted by the Citizen’s Climate Lobby, I’m all ears, as I’m sure they would be.

        If you can make British Columbia’s fee and dividend “revenue neutral carbon tax act” more efficient without subsidies that substitute the wisdom of some expert for the democracy of individual choice on a fair market, I’d love to hear the details of your concrete proposal with exact figures and transition steps, and some evidence it will work.

        My privatization method, built by simply extending any fee and dividend system to raise dividends until the point of diminishing returns to shareholders — ie the Law of Supply and Demand — and assign all revenues collected per capita to the shareholders as earned Risk Abatement, is the gold standard I’ll measure your proposal against, so feel free to compare and contrast your proposal to what I’ve set out.

        I’m always looking for better answers.

      • Hey guys, if tera prieta is so great, why isn’t it used in the states? Is there a law against it? (I ask because you never know anymore what might be against the law.)

      • Jim2

        Good question. No clue.

        Maybe these people have some idea:

      • There is no real idea to it Bart. It is just allowing more joint ventures between municipalities and business. Waste energy is not wasted until it gets outside of the process. Businesses need process steam, water and energy. Municipalities dump water and energy all the time for no good reason than regulations. There are lots of folks that would love to make money saving cities money. The biggest problem is fighting the weenies that think they have all the answers.

        One IGCC plant sized for a community can handle most of the waste water and solid waste producing energy, transportation fuels, char based fertilizers, milorganite enrich bio char, etc. the US is the Saudi Arabia of garbage. Set emission standards and get out of the way.

        Jim2, tera preta is just a fancy name for compost. You can kick it up a notch with more nitrogen, phospate and potassium with a little extra water retaining compound and turn any desert green, just add water.

      • Bart R, I would suggest that the cost of Venice sinking is far from linear with the rate, and is probably highly insensitive to the rate.
        Also, in the real world, “all things remaining equal” hardly ever holds true.

      • capt. dallas 0.8 +/-0.2 | March 23, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
        “tera preta is just a fancy name for compost”
        Pretty much, though “tera preta is just a name for fancy compost” is closer.

        Compost doesn’t sequester carbon for very long, and sometimes digests to methane rather than CO2. Tera preta, or ‘biochar’ is carbon-fixed compost, generally ‘cooked compost’, or more simply, ash. No biota that may be harmful, no CO2 emission for potentially hundreds of thousands of years. Benefits soil. Disposes of waste.

        And I can’t disagree with Peter317 | March 23, 2012 at 7:55 pm |’s observations.

    • Craig Loehle

      Bart: If the NAS (NRC) weighs in on something, it is assumed that it is top-notch, professional, and important. If you don’t think forecasts of crop productivity are important, fine, but many people do like to eat.

      • Craig Loehle | March 23, 2012 at 10:53 am |

        If Rud Istvan weighs in on something, ten times as many people listen as have even heard of NAS(NRC), and for good reason.

        If he tacitly agrees with every point in 70% of an NAS(NRC) document only to start with Fig. 13 on page 28 of 40 (akin to me looking at Fig. 13 — tuning your radio — on page 28 of 40 of the owners manual of a car, after skipping over the chapters on engine maintenance, brakes, airbag deployment, seatbelts, windshield washers, fuel mileage, and custom trim) then that implies Rud Istvan, one of the most respected voices in business, has absolutely no argument with the majority of what the NAS (NRC) says.

        Tell me, if you can, do you agree with Rud Istvan on pages 1-27 of the booklet? If not, which points do you disagree with him about?

      • Craig Loehle

        That Rud only picked out a particular figure for criticism means nothing about what he thinks of the rest of the report. That is specious logic. He picked out something he felt was important–that does not mean the rest of the report is right or that Rud thinks it is right. I have published on tree ring reconstructions because one must pick specific things to discuss. That does not mean I approve of senstitivity estimates or anything else.

      • Craig Loehle | March 25, 2012 at 10:43 am |

        Specious logic is the first resort of the reader’s unconscious mind. It’s why when reading flat prose on the internet or in an email we react as if attacked by text entirely unconnected to us.

        The placement without context of that figure first, before any other statement under the banner “Climate Etc.” leads naturally to skepticism.

        A simple phrase, as the author later provided in the comments, to the gist of ‘climate change is not my issue, sustainability is..’ suffices. I’m cool with that, having the context to weigh the argument.

        Sustainability in the business world is expressed as Returns/Investment.

        A barrel of oil in Saudi Arabia has ($55/barrel price)/($5/barrel cost). 11 is pretty sustainabile. In Alberta, it’s $55/barrel/$54/barrel, or 1.02. That’s pretty pitiable compared to 11. Someone making 1.02 is making a mistake, if they’re in it for their own sustainability only.

        Absent tarsands oil, what happens? Saudi Arabia can only produce so much oil at so much rate. Law of Supply and Demand pushes the price of oil in the short run to ridiculous levels. People look for practical alternatives to gasoline for their vehicles. They find carbamide or some electronic solution, both of which are the equivalent of $20/barrel or less, and somewhat incompatible with gasoline.

        Well, that Saudi sustainability of 11 suddenly becomes 4, at $20. Who wants 4, when they have 11, when for the very cheap price of buying politicians and fools with their own money, they can suppress competition?

    • Bart,

      The Idsos are at least plant scientists foremost, or at least Dad Idso.

      That and reading Hector’s (very good )comment below gets me to wondering what conferences of food scientists think about AGW and whether it is different from what NRC and IPCC think.

      • billc

        To quote Erica about the Idsos, they’re the very definiton of “focus more on the widespread dishonesty and bias in government-funded climate science.”

        They’ve raised bias in science to the high form of the art.

        I’m all for hearing more from “food scientists” on this topic. In fact, I plan to head over to McDonalds for lunch. I’ll ask the food scientist behind the counter then. At least it’ll be from someone who works in that field.

      • Bart you don’t need to be a climate or food scientist to be able to identify a corrupt PROCESS of science – hiding data, hiding the decline, sabotaging peer-review, deleting emails to cover tracks, etc etc.

      • Erica


        Hence, vigilance and skepticism is the right approach to all claims, on all sides, isn’t it?

        It’s painful to question the work of one of, I admit, my idols in the business world. I’d rather not have to go through it. But if I don’t, how am I any better than the people who support things just because some authority says so?

        What service to, or respect for, ideas do I demonstrate by blindly accepting them without scrutiny or challenge?

  15. ‘where the nation turns for independent, expert advice’

    Good title for a daytime soap opera.

  16. I’ve just noticed that this article is duplicated at WUWT. In his bio there, Rud Istvan explains his view that although climate change will have little impact on food production during the 21st Century, food scarcity will still be a serious problem.
    He says absolute food scarcity will occur when population reaches about 9 billion and that it will be “very ugly”.

    So, although he has reached a sane conclusion about the relationship between Co2, temperature and crop yields, he is, in fact, still barking mad.

    He should read some of Norman Borlaug’s studies on how food scarcity has been, is, and will be diminishing over time, and that in 50 years time feeding 10 billion people will be easier than feeding 7 billion today.

    • @100 watts per person, primitive living, the energy reaching the earth from the sun is enough to support approximately a million times the present human population, if all that energy were devoted to the support of human life. We are talking quadrillions of human souls. This is a theoretical maximum, practically impossible.

      Not to mention harvesting energy elsewhere from the sun, a topic mentioned in high school debate this year.

      The supply of energy is almost unlimited. We have the imagination to use much more of it than we presently use. Even a tiny increase in the efficiency of our use of the available energy will allow many multiples of Earth’s present population to live in a style to which we would all like to become accustomed.

      We also have the engineers who can’t help but debunk unsound science. Lots more than lives depend upon that.

      So, shall we get on with it?

      • Dang, I meant to say ‘even a tiny increase in the efficiency of our use of the available energy, a la Norman Borlaug, will allow many multiples of Earth’s present population to live in a style to which we would all like to become accusomed.’ But now I get to say it twice.

        Don’t make me say it again, again.

      • “We are talking quadrillions of human souls.”

        Alien 1: So where do you want to eat tonight? Earth?

        Alien 2: No. No one goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.

  17. Stephen Singer

    The second chart, 2010 NRC, says underneath it the temp are relative to pre-1900 temps. The first chart, 2011 NRC, does not give in reference to its baseline temp and neither does the booklet its in. Otherwise they are practically identical.

    Since 1900 we’re already up almost 1dec.

    Did you miss that or did they do that on purpose?

  18. It makes no sense to average crops like temperatures and pontificate about supposed future shortages many years hence based on unverifiable stochastic projetions when the truth of the matter is obvious and undeniable: Greece fiddles as China burns the midnight oil. The GDP of Greece will continue to fall as the GDP of China will continue to rise. Greeks are living off stored fat and borrowed time. The Chinese are making not waiting for their future.

    • Oh, China has borrowed its share of time! Millions of young men with no available young women is a Very Bad Thing for civilization. For one thing, most of the socially constructive things men do, they do for the sake of the women in their lives. Never mind the mischief that millions of young men are liable to get up to when they realize they have no prospect of finding a wife (or at least a steady girlfriend).

      • Not such a good thing for the civilizaton when Italian males must live at home with mama until their they’re 39. Not so good either when Greeks take to the streets and let the garbage pile up because money doesn’t grown on trees, right?

        Capitalism and free markets is key key finance function — the maximizatioin of net present wealth and most efficient allocation of scarce resources — irrespecitive of political ideology. But the liberal utopians don’t just want ot kill the Golden Goose.

        Leftist ideology demands that individual liberty and economic freedom be crushed. That is why Americanism and not market-based Chinese communism is in their crosshairs.

      • “For one thing, most of the socially constructive things men do, they do for the sake of the women in their lives.” All male animals do.

        Some tribe of China has a custom of brothers sharing a wife due to poverty. The custom probably still exist.

        Who knows, prostitution will probably be legalized and many beautiful excess western women will be probably becoming brides heading for China. A unified world? Or a money making business ahead?

    • “The GDP of Greece will continue to fall as the GDP of China will continue to rise.”

      The Chinese economic miracle is a paper tiger. I wonder if I should post the articles about China’s ghost cities and ever increasing civil unrest again?

      It’s not hard to show growth of 6-10 percent in an economy in which about a billion people live on less than a thousand dollars a year.

      “The per-capita disposable income of urban people was 17,175 yuan ($2,514.6) in 2009, up 8.8 percent from a year earlier, said Ma Jiantang, director of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

      Per-capita disposable income of rural residents stood at 5,153 yuan last year, and the growth rate was 0.6 percentage points lower than that of urban residents.”

      Not to mention, the progressive bureaucrats in the US uniformly inflate employment and growth figures, and artificially reduce inflation by leaving out food and energy costs. So what do you really think the chances are the Communist Central Committee in China allows accurate economic figures to be reported. Hack, what’s the chance they even know what the real figures are themselves? Slim to none.

      The climate may get warmer of cooler. The seas may rise of fall. Arctic sea ice may increase or decrease. But the Chinese economy centrally planned “market” economy will end in a train wreck for certain. The only question is when, and at what cost.

      • You are correct, Gary M. I heard on Fast Money that China is spending Yen to prop up its failing businesses. Looks like they don’t really get the creative destruction idea of free markets. Creative destruction is just as necessary to a healthy economy as apoptosis is to the multicellular organism.

  19. From “Socio-economic and climate change impacts on
    agriculture: an integrated assessment, 1990–2080”

    Paper is also quoted in the IPCC TAR4 Africa section but you don’t find these (the study’s main conclusions) from there. Very selective quoting by the IPCC.

    Global cereal-production
    For the baseline decade 1990, BLS computes world
    cereal-production (rice is included as milled equivalent;
    conversion factor is 0.67 from rice paddy) at 1.8
    billion metric tons (G ton), about equally divided
    between developed and developing countries, in good
    agreement with current statistics. Effects of socioeconomic
    scenarios are substantial, and results vary in a
    range with lower and upper values corresponding to
    SRES B1 and A2, respectively. By 2080, BLS projects
    global cereal-production in the range 3.7–4.8 G ton,
    depending on SRES scenario. Production in the
    developed countries ranges 1.4–1.6 G ton; thus BLS
    computes for the developing countries up to threefold
    increases in production from the 1990 baseline levels,
    with fivefold and higher increases projected for Africa
    in all the scenarios, as a consequence of the substantial
    economic development assumed in SRES.

    should be noted here that current opinion considers the
    population component of SRES A2 ‘out of the range’,
    as its associated population growth rates seem now
    too high (e.g.W. Lutz 2004, personal communication).
    We nonetheless chose to include it alongside the other
    SRES scenarios, as the scope of this work was to test the
    sensitivity of the world food system under ‘what-if ’ type
    questions, including the full range of scenarios
    considered by IPCC. The reader is advised to interpret
    results from A2 discussed herein as being representative
    of a worst case scenario.

    BLS baseline results indicated that differences in
    assumed socio-economic development—in this study
    represented by the four IPCC-SRES scenarios—can
    significantly impact global agriculture. Against the
    current backdrop of about 1.8 G metric tons of
    cereal-production worldwide, BLS computed by 2080
    a range between 3.7 and 4.8 G metric tons, with
    scenarios B1 and A2 representing the lower and
    upper prediction limits. These projections represent a
    near doubling of current global production, in response
    to the projected rise in population and incomes. The
    context behind these figures is that globally, land and
    crop resources, together with technological progress,
    appear to be sufficient to feed a world population of
    about 9 billion people (13 billion in A2) in 2080
    (nevertheless with great uncertainty in some developing

    Of particular relevance to
    regional food security is the case of sub-Saharan Africa,
    where a growing share of people considered undernourished
    is located. BLS baseline results indicate a
    significant reduction in both the absolute number and
    percentage (compared to world population) of undernourished
    people, i.e. at risk of hunger, for all SRES
    scenarios by 2080, except for A2, due to significantly
    larger populations and slower per capita income growth
    in that scenario. Under A2, BLS predicts the number of
    undernourished in 2080 to be 768 million, virtually
    equivalent to today’s figures.

  20. “unwarranted alarmism”

    Well, they’re government shills, of course they are going to say whatever it takes to stress a need for more government (and government jobs).

  21. Latimer Alder

    Do tree rings show the same decline with increased temperature….the warmer it gets the less they grow?

    Or do the paleo guys pick ‘special magic trees’ whose temperature response is unlike any other crop?

    Just wondered how they calibrate the treemometers in light of the erudite graphs above.

    • Yes we had better start looking at crop circles – I mean crop rings – too.

      • Latimer Alder

        Its amazing that there is a direct correlation between the number of crop circles found and the amount of Old Futtock’s BlowyerHeadOff Scrumpy Cider consumed in the local taverns.

        Perhaps we can persuade one of the modelling fraternity to help us with finding the common cause. Maybe its CO2!!.

  22. So colder temperature will enhance crop! Twisting natural matters the other way round! NRC is now alarmists propaganda machine? NRC is also on the gravy train, like the academia!

  23. Early impression.

    Have none of you even looked at

    The first objection noted by the esteemed Rud Istvan is Figure 13, 70% of the way through the booklet.

    Applying the criteria of full disclosure to the esteemed (and I am quite serious, I’ve admired Rud Istvan’s work for decades, and see no reason to alter that opinion even a little) commentator might be expected to voice concerns about the contents of pages 1-27 if he had so valid and persuasive a dispute about these quite strongly worded and significant ideas, just as one might expect the authors seeking efficient distribution of their own work to put forward the strongest cases earliest.

    So it is reasonable to ask if there is nothing Rud Istvan finds contentious enough to dispute in 70% of the booklet (and indeed, I think he can afford the $47 to pay for the book it’s based on, instead of arguing against a glossy pamphlet summary), why start with the relatively unimportant thirteenth figure?

    I’m not impressed, at the outset, and my skepticism of this criticism only grows, though I become increasingly grateful for the links — they lead to solid and substantial sources of data and expert commentary that ought be examined by the balanced inquirer.

  24. Surely we can look into previous warm events to see the differences with susequent cold events with regards to storms, crop growing patterns etc?

    “Summers were milder in the 1750-1820 period than in much of the twentieth century, particularly in the 1760’s and 1820’s’
    Phil Jones and Keith Briffa ‘History and climate’ written in 2000.


  25. Adrian Smits

    When I look at a map of the northern hemisphere and how many millions of square miles are currently to cold to be productive agriculturally. Did someone tell them higher C02 levels makes plants more heat and drought tolerant? It’s hard to believe anyone is paying attention to them any more!

  26. Pielke Sr has previously identified the NRC as an advocate of a particular position on climate. For example….

  27. Being an envirocrat means never having to say “I am sorry”.
    And most certainly being an envirocrat means never having to be held accountable for lying.
    Envirocrats are infiltrating science, bureaucracies and academia.

  28. If AGW were true, then we could expect that Canada, Siberia, Northern Russia and Scandinavia would become major crop-producing regions. Even Antarctica might become arable to cold-tolerant crops.

    The result would a very large increase in the arable land area of the plant, perhaps more than 10 million square miles.

  29. Once again, our hostess has shown poor judgement in the selection of the topic for discussion. If you assume CAGW is real, we can have all sorts of irrelevant discussions. If you assume the moon is made of green cheese, or that there are fairies at the bottom of our garden, the number of such discussions could be increased considerably.

    CAGW is wrong, because it is assumed that one can estimate the no-feedback climate sensitivity of CO2 from radiation effects alone, and that any interaction with other ways of energy transfer in the atmosphere causes positive feedbacks.

    a) These assumptions have never been justified, and are almost certainly wrong.

    b) observed data proves that the climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2 from current levels is indistinguishable from zero.

    Just another topic that is not worth the powder to blow it to hell.

  30. The main chart suffers from the same problem as all other pessimistic and simplistic model-base studies in that it implicitly contains the implications either that a cooling world will be better for us or that we are magically at the climatic optimum already. It is no surprise that real data was ignored in favour of model studies; the same dastardly practice is repeated in every CO2 impacts study because real data very rarely suggest any problems with a warming world. Pessimistic speculation of fantasy worst case scenarios intended only for politicking rule the day. And if global cooling comes again they will just use a different and equally baseless assumption to produce exactly the same scary graphs.

  31. The most plants grow in some of the warmest parts of the earth that has enough water.
    The jungles of Asia, Africa, South America and various islands grow more stuff than anywhere else. Most stuff grows during the warmer part of a year if a place has both warm and cold weather.
    The Medieval Warm Period was a time of more stuff being grown in more places by humans for humans and The Little Ice Age was a time of starvation and disease.
    Sick Science lives on.

  32. On second thought, maybe this is not science at all.
    We all know that things grow better in warm than cold.
    We all know that things grow better with Higher CO2 Than Lower CO2.
    We all know that Consensus Climate Science is not Healthy.
    We all know that we will fight this thing until we get the Science Right.
    If you know anyone who is not aware of what is going on with Climate Etc, call them in for the recent Threads. Spread the Word.

    • tip-tock-tip-tock-tip-tock… just look at the clock. See what time it is? Short.

    • ceteris non paribus

      We all know that things grow better in warm than cold.
      We all know that things grow better with Higher CO2 Than Lower CO2.

      Farming on Venus will be so productive it will pay for the shipping.

  33. If his assertions about the errors re: crop yields are balanced and accurate, there isn’t anything surprising here. Alarmists have been making these types of inaccurate claims for quite some time. For example, see malaria, hurricanes, sea level, glaciers et al.

    For the NAS, it’s not a problem. What is important is that claims like this one are simply the outcome of the balance between honesty and effective advocacy. If the needs of effective advocacy require complete dishonesty, that’s just the outcome of the balancing process that scientists engage in.

    You gotta do what you gotta do. The most important thing is to win. Whatever it takes.

  34. I grew up on a farm. I recall summers that were too dry to grow crops. There were no summers that were too hot to grow crops. In places where it is too dry, adding water, if it is available is all that is required. I have seen people heat green houses, I don’t recall seeing a greenhouse with Air Conditioned Cooling. I have seen greenhouses with added CO2, I have never heard of a greenhouse with CO2 Removed other than being part of a science experiment. If the National Research Council and the the National Academy of Sciences are on the Public Payroll, we should be cutting their funding because it is clear that they are not making good use of our tax money.

    • NRC and NAS used our tax money to promote alarmists agenda. Those involved should be removed from their offices for wasting our tax money but unfortunately, they are in power and we tax payers seem can do nothing.

  35. If a warmer climate would keep green things from growing there would be no oasis in the desert.

  36. Without squib charges, Building 7, would never have fallen into it’s own footprint. Strange world we live in today, isn’t it?

  37. Craig Loehle

    I did a systematic study of climate change impact studies:
    Loehle, C. 2011. Criteria for Assessing Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystems. Ecology and Evolution doi: 10.1002/ece3.7
    and found that the more realistic the model of plant response or animal physiology the more positive the response to warming, and that many studies made assumptions (8 deg C warming locally or bats being immobile species) that were simply absurd. I can send a copy to anyone who wants it.

  38. The main methodological objection to the kind of analysis presented in that pamphlet regards the concept of “impact” as is defined and used by the IPCC and other climate studies. Impacts are defined as “potential impacts” when they aim at measuring the effect of climate change in the absence of any adaptation to climate change, and as “residual impacts” when adaptation is taken into account.
    Now, this distinction is useful when one deals with natural environments, such as native forests. A higher (or cooler) temperature or humidity may cause some effects on the biome, in the absence of any human intervention. Humans may intervene in various ways (for instance, moving individuals of endangered species to some other environment in order to keep them thriving).
    But agricultural crops are not natural environments. They are themselves a form of adaptation of human to prevailing climate conditions. The species grown, and the techniques used to grow them, are adapted (perhaps not perfectly, but adapted) to the ongoing conditions; farmers chooses not only the crops, but the varieties of each crop, suitable to the local climate, and also choose planting dates, type of land preparation, amount of fertilizer, water management and whatever else is advisable to get that crop growing in that place. Moreover, they are able to adjust those adaptations from year to year in response to ongoing conditions (more pesticide in the presence of a pest, delaying or advancing planting date according to rainfall, etc.). Farmers in Kenya or Brazil do not plant the same maize varieties grown in Ohio or Argentina, and all their agricultural practices vary a lot.
    For climate change to have any effect on maize on a particular location, one needs not only the presence of climate change, but also the presence of farmers that, at some specified date in the future, decide to plant maize there. They would of course plant the variety of maize they deem more suitable for the local conditions, using the set of farming practices that are available at the time. Farmers in 2080 or 2100 would not keep planting the same variety, or even the same crop, at the same date and with the same farming practices, if environmental conditions have changed along the latest 100 years: even without the intervening invention of any technological improvement (which is extremely unlikely to say the least), i.e. even with today’s crops, varieties and technologies, farms in 2100 would be vastly different from today, especially if the climate at each location has changed. Just as plant physiology changes with climate, so does farmers behavior.
    The bottom line is that “potential impacts” in the case of human driven processes such as agriculture is a concept that does not make much sense. One may still use it to refer to major initiatives that could benefit farmers (such as a major irrigation scheme based on a giant dam), which are normally a matter of public investment and may not be carried out. But one should not think of a potential impact on a crop without admitting that farmers in 2100 would be growing the most suitable variety of the most suitable crop that is economically profitable at the time, with the most suitable agricultural techniques available to them in 2100.

    A second severe mistake in that kind of analysis is forgetting the beneficial effect of atmospheric CO2 on crops. The results highlighted in the post are obtained through growing the crop under different temperatures and humidities, building a crop model, and estimating the yield of the same crop under higher temperatures and (usually) lower humidity, keeping everything constant. All these experiments and models are estimated under today’s CO2 concentrations unless it is an experiment specifically devised to measure CO2 fertilization (which is not the case here).

    C3 crops, such as wheat, significantly increase their yield (under a given climate) if CO2 is more abundant (this effect has been measured in Free Air or FACE experiments to vary between 20% and 50% depending on crop, site, and particular studies). C4 crops such as maize show a lower impact on yield (usually up to 20%) but a large reduction in water requirements (usually between 30% and 50%, and in some cases up to 80%) due to lower stomatal loss of water. Thus areas that are projected (by the IPCC) to become drier in 2100, such as the US Southwest and Northern Mexico, where large areas of maize exist, may do perfectly well –even with today’s varieties and techniques– since the negative impact of lower humidity would be offset by reduced water requirements. Of course, by that time Northern Mexicans may also be growing other things altogether and getting their maize from up North, as discussed before: this would depend on other considerations such as the availability of markets for maize and for other crops, existing seeds and technologies, relative prices, and so on.

    We (my son and I) have discussed this matter extensively, with abundant literature backing, in the theoretical background chapters of our recent book. Reference;
    H. Maletta and E. Maletta, 2011. “Climate change, agriculture and food security in Latin America” (available through Amazon).

    • Nice comment Hector. Thank you. I don’t have the $$ to buy the book at present though.

      Maybe Judith can get you to do a guest post on the book!

    • Hector, if you have any interest in doing a guest post, pls send me an email

    • Thanks Hector, for this important comment. I hope you can take up Dr. Curry’s invitation to present a guest post. In my naïveté I also like to compare the assumption that crop distributions can’t change if climate changes with the notion that Canada and Siberia would be irrelevant to world food supplies if climate did warm a bit. I’m only Joe-public but the hype about imperil led agriculture strikes me as, well, just more CAGWarmist hype.

    • stevefitzpatrick

      Too bad you had not been involved in writing the NRC document. It would have been a lot more technically correct and meaningful. But I rather think technically correct and meaningful were the not the goals.

      • I suspect the Blue Whale in the room is the gene-jockeys.
        Hate them or dislike them, you can’t ignore them. The stage of biotechnology were are at now is about to see a cascade. 1908 was the first heavier than air flight and 1982 the first commercialized genetically modified organism (Insulin-producing bacteria).
        So 2012 for GM is 1938, there are biplanes as front line fighters. Prototypes of heavy bombers. No commercial aviation for any but the richest. No navigation aids. No major airports. No helicopters. No jet engines.
        In the coming two decades they molecular biologists are going to become molecular technologists. They are already quite good at dicing and splicing, very soon, actually now, they will know exactly how to intervene in specific areas.
        As far a crops g the big thing they have been chasing down is saline resistance, which will have a huge impact on the land that can be cultivated as something like one-third of the world’s irrigated land is too saline for most crops.
        Arid resistance is also being done, but last time I checked wine vines were where the money was mostly being spent. Lessons learned will be horizontially transfereable.

      • Yeap.

    • One issue that is often left unsaid is that agricultural production in many developing countries, especially in Africa, is currently underperforming and is way below its potential, due to various reasons. Most of these reasons are the same that hinder economic progress in general: corruption, unstable political conditions, lack of property rights, lack of infrastructure, lack of credit, lack of training and education etc. The Green revolution that took place in Asia is still yet to happen in many African countries.

      Many farms don’t have electricity, mechanization in incredibly low (I think Europe has 20 times more agricultural tractors than the whole of Africa).

  39. Rudyard Istvan

    Interesting comments. I thank Judy for her appropriate comment about unwarranted alarmism. Even if others aren’t, our judgments should be tempered and the words moderate.
    I did not take on the rest of the NRC booklet or the book behind it because climate change is not my agenda. Sustainability is, and the modest amount of climate change that might (probably will) occur won’t affect humans that much in most places.
    The big issues are food and liquid fossil fuels. The UN FAO study on food for 2050 is the triumph of hope over experience. The intro even says, “…continuation of the yield increases of the past 5 decades will not be sufficient” for the UN projected 9.2 billion. That is a problem. Due to slope (mountainsides), general climate (too much (Cerrado region of Brazil, southern edge of the Amazon) or too little rain (West Kansas with the Ogallalla depleting), or soil conditions (too rocky, too sandy,…), or seasonal climate (too short a growing season despite average warming), only about a 5% further increase in arable land is possible (UN FAO estimate).No substantial increase in irrigation is possible, and in some places (southwestern US, US high plains) it is or will decrease. As result, both arable land and irrigated land have been declining per capita for over three decades. (Source: FAO STAT). That leaves intensification. Fertilizer reaches optimums. In fact, in places like India it is already over applied. Borglaug’s green revolution is past; dwarfing (increased grain, reduced leaves, stalks, roots) has been accomplished. Disease/insect resistance has been accomplished (Borlaug wheat stem rust, Bt corn). Many crops (e.g. wheat, sorghum, alfalfa, potatoes in China and India [world’s two largest producers], taro, pulses, best practice rice [China, Korea, Japan] have plateaued since about 1995 (Sources either FAO Stat or respective country’s governments; both sources have data series going back decades). Most worrisome, crop pathogens are evolving around biotech yield enhancements. The pink cotton bollworm in India and the common corn root worm in the US are already resistant to Bt. Over 10 million US acres are infested with glyphosate resistant weeds, which cut yields by over 50% if not otherwise controlled. There goes Roundup Ready corn, soybeans, and cotton. There goes minimum till to prevent erosion.
    Going region by region, crop by major crop, looking at potential future yield enhancement and doing a weighted average, calculates the world cannot produce more food than barely feeds 9.2 billion by 2050, with zero margin for error. And that assumes that average per capita calories are 10% less than 2000, (but still 10% more than 1960). This places a soft limit on population despite things like double cropping on the margin. Details are in my forthcoming book on sustainability.

    • Rud, what do you think of the possibility that economic gains will provide a more cushy landing vis a vis population growth slowing faster than expected? Or to be more specific can you outline a scenario where that happens? What does it look like? And maybe we can assume it’s not oil-limited, just for fun.

    • Rudyard Istvan

      Thank you, sir, for this very clear and well-worded response.

      I apologize in advance for not being a fraction so clear.

      I can say that I have done enough prior research as a layman on virtually every issue your comment covers to be comfortable immediately agreeing substantively with it, where I do not go further in the same direction, without needing to take much time to check these facts.

      “..dwarfing (increased grain, reduced leaves, stalks, roots) has been accomplished. “ It’s worse than you say here, according to some of the work I’ve read on dwarf plant metabolism.

      The dwarf mechanism in crop plants is suppressed by high levels of CO2, resulting in bolting (decreased nutrient quality in seeds, increased but brittler and shorter-lived leaves, stalks and roots). This is an effect on a continuum, and it may well be there will be no time when CO2 levels make a significant difference to dwarf breeds.

      Also, the fuel-fertilizer competition (80% of fertilizer comes from petroleum) problem has illustrated in past data that extreme weather triggers a run on both, as agriculturalists seek to restore flood or drought-damaged soil with fertilizer and more intensive mechanical intervention plus longer shipping runs as wealthier markets import goods that once would have gone to poorer, more local, ones.

      The recent clusters of global crop-reducing effects of weather (whatever the explanation of the weather, if any) preceded dramatic rises in demand for fertilizer and fuel and the run-on effects of these price rises trickling throughout the economy.

      So, while I don’t claim your conclusion about modest climate change is directly in and of itself also a victory of hope over experience.. I’m not discounting the indirect impact of it on the denominator of the return on investment equation that characterizes sustainability.

      • ceteris non paribus

        So, while I don’t claim your conclusion about modest climate change is directly in and of itself also a victory of hope over experience..

        Bart, the modest climate change bit was a premise, and not inferred as a conclusion.

      • ceteris non paribus | March 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm |

        Form. Substance.

        In formation, a premise. In substance, a conclusion. I know not what its basis.

        However, the obvious logical conclusion of the argument itself is that we have ample cause to question this premise.

      • We have ample cause to question all premises that seem too optimistic or pessimistic.This is called skepticism. We have a duty to investigate what in the argument has been overlooked, assumed with no backup data, oversimplified or is just plain wrong.

      • JamesG | March 25, 2012 at 8:25 am |


        *Rud Istvan alluded to my issue below, and spaciously expanded on the basis of his premise.

    • More CO2 improves plant growth with less water. LESS WATER!!!!!!!
      Get rid of ETHANOL and increase CO2!!!!!
      Build WATER PIPELINES and/or canals and move water from wherever there is floods to wherever more water is needed.

      • “Build WATER PIPELINES and/or canals and move water from wherever there is floods to wherever more water is needed.

        This is exactly UN should do rather than wasting money with IPCC and AGW’s meaningless modeling research.

  40. ceteris non paribus

    I did not take on the rest of the NRC booklet or the book behind it because climate change is not my agenda. Sustainability is, and the modest amount of climate change that might (probably will) occur won’t affect humans that much in most places.

    That is a disclaimer that you are not a climate scientist, immediately followed followed by a scientific claim about climate.

    What, then, is a “modest amount”?

    Look, over a billion people rely on seafood as their primary source of animal protein – How much ocean acidification can happen without affecting humans “that much”?

    Sustainability and climate change cannot be disjointed simply because you have limited your rhetorical “agenda”.

    • ocean acidification is not climate change.

      • ceteris non paribus

        Neither is corn.

        If your net keeps coming up empty, do you really think the semantic boundaries matter that much?

    • Latimer Alder

      Please show the actual measurements where the ocean pH has changed.

    • John Carpenter

      In your example, ocean acidification is not the problem. Rather the number of people dipping into the well is the problem. It’s much more of a sustainability issue than a climate change issue.

    • @Ceteris “Sustainability and climate change cannot be disjointed simply because you have limited your rhetorical “agenda”.

      Doesn’t seem to me that he is trying to “disjoint” them. He obviously recognizes that IF climate changes it may well affect sustainability, but isn’t primarily focused on understanding the whys and wherefores of (anthropogenic) climate change.

    • According to the IPCC, 1 degree seems beneficial, 2 degrees near breakeven and beyond 3 degrees is bad. So take up to 2 degrees as “a modest amount” from the IPCC. Everyone is entitled to their own assumpton about what will be more likely since it is pure guesswork in the first place. However a sensible approach would usually be to assume that the larger the value the more unlikely.

  41. In case I haven’t made my opinion clear: read this guy.

    If you read nothing by anyone else ever, read anything by Rud Istvan.

  42. Roddy Campbell

    There are some great quotes in this booklet:

    If mean sea level rises by 0.5 meters (20 inches) relative to a
    1990 baseline …….up to 4 million people could be permanently displaced as erosion could claim more than 250,000 square kilometers of wetland and
    dryland (98,000 square miles, an area the size of Oregon).

    In Africa, another study suggests that civil wars since 1980 have been roughly 50% more likely in years 1°C warmer than average.

    I have to admit to puzzlement as to why NOW is always the time that food shortages are going to occur, when food poverty keeps falling and is now the lowest in % terms ever, and population growth has slowed right down.

    • Roddy Campbell | March 23, 2012 at 2:55 pm |

      Excellent observations.

      We’re in an information age, and it is having positive effects in the most unexpected ways.

      A single well-placed cell tower in the developing world has more positive influence on quality of life than ten experts in development economics. (I cheat here, the observed correlation between development economists entering a region and quality of life is significantly negative.)

      A single schoolteacher working uninterrupted by religious zealots or local despots on the subjects of nutrition, hygiene and business among the boys and especially the girls of a town is worth more than enough cash dropped into the region to buy a palace for every resident. This is true regardless of whether we speak of a developing region or a highly developed one, as we know from the effect of lottery wins on the lives of the unfortunate who picked the winning number.

      There is a limit to the positive benefits of improved logistics.. but it’s a high limit, so some hope is allowed us.

    • Food shortages are always a good pitch. Did you know that 17,000,000 U.S. children went to bed last night hungry? At least that was the latest pitch I heard. They will receive much more funding than the between 16 and 33 percent of US children and adolescents that are obese, since going to bed hungry is might bad. Since there are about 80 million children and adolescents in the US, about 1 in 4 must be going to bed hungry. Since only 3.3% of US children are under weight, most of the children and adolescents going to bed hungry must be obese. So send in your money to feed the obese children :)

      • capt. dallas 0.8 +/-0.2 | March 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm |

        You overlook the ones sent to bed hungry for not eating their broccoli.

        And that malnutrition doesn’t always result in low weight.

        But it’s a blog, there’s a grain of truth to the criticism, and so few of us have seen rickets, it’s ok to make jokes.

      • Only about 1% have chronic malnutrition. The”17 million going to be hungry” is not all that descriptive. It is funny though that the main stream media has picked up the 17 million hungry US kids thing. Al Roker, who has walked both sides of the food issue, is one of the champions for the cause. Now if the cause were 98% of US kids do not have a healthy diet, I would buy that. If it were 98% of kids never get enough to eat, in their opinion, I would buy that too. It is very unlikely though that 17million US kids have serious food issues considering $71 billion in total food stamp benefits were budgeted in 2011.

        Now there are 16 million kids in the US considered to be living in poverty and 18 million receiving SNAP food stamps.

        “Obesity rates increased by 10 percent for all U.S. children 10- to 17-years old between 2003 and 2007, but by 23 percent during the same time period for low-income children (Singh et al., 2010a). This national study of more than 40,000 children also found that in 2007, children from lower income households had more than two times higher odds of being obese than children from higher income households.

        Rates of severe obesity were approximately 1.7 times higher among poor children and adolescents in a nationally representative sample of more than 12,000 children aged 2 to 19 years (Skelton et al., 2009).

        In California, higher community poverty rates were strongly associated with higher childhood overweight rates (Drewnowski et al., 2009).”

        Of course, throwing more money at a problem is much easier than solving it. Eliminating physical education programs because there is the chance that a child might be emotionally traumatized has nothing to to with the situation :) Unintended consequences are a beeyatch!

      • Can’t dispute a single thing you say.

        Would that the world were built for children to make their way to school on foot, on their own, and get play, exercise and physical activity suited to their needs.

        Which I also don’t see being improved any time soon without thoughtful and willing measures.

  43. Roddy Campbell

    re development economics. I just had tea with an old friend who teaches aid and development at a UK university. This is the last line of her magnificent 2011 paper in the Journal of International Development 23 771-781 titled ‘We are not poor! Dominant and subaltern discourses in pastoral development in the Horn of Africa’:

    ‘This demonstrates the contempt and condescension of many in the development and relief sector, at least in the Horn of Africa, if not everywhere.’

      • Roddy Campbell

        Bart, if you want to read the paper I’ll send you a copy, email me at roddycampbell at gmail dot com. She worked in aid in East Africa / Horn for 25 years on front-line, knows her onions. I asked her once for just one unequivocal example of good aid, she said inoculations. They come, they inject, they go.

      • Roddy Campbell | March 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm |

        Far better, were Dr. Curry to post it as a topic, with the author’s consent.

        No offense to Hector M., but his record of citations on published works is a little thin for him to be the only toehold of development economics at Climate Etc.

  44. THe cummulativeness issue is interesting, but isn’t there a more fundamental flaw in the reasoning of these papers. Why wouldn’t farmers simply plant and harvest earlier if the overall climate warmed? Isn’t that why the corn season is earlier in the south than in the Midwest? What am I missing?

    • qbeamus | March 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm |

      One effect is that while the temperature rises, and warmer temperatures generally and on average spread into periods outside the growing season, frost free dates do not move as much, and become more extreme in many areas.

      About 1/3rd of all US farmland doesn’t experience a warming trend, but it does experience much of the measured difference in hostile weather during planting, growing and harvesting lately experienced by the 2/3rds of the USA that has been part of the significant warming trend.

      If you plant earlier, you may get a longer growing season, but you’ll need more fertilizer and more financing to do it, both of which are costly, and if you run into a killer frost or spring flood you’ll either need to work very hard to mitigate or to recondition the soil and replant, also expensive.

      I’m not saying there’s no benefit ever. There’s often measurable benefit. Well, there’s _sometimes_ measurable benefit. It just costs more.

      • Bart R,
        Have you ever been involved with farming?
        i didn’t think so.

      • Well, I noticed Hector’s post, which appears to be making my point (ok, it was his point before it was mine) in much more detailed and technical terms. The bottom line is that human behavior can adapt to the change in temperature in a large variety of ways, including these choice of seeds and the planting and harvesting season.

        Likewise, someone else made the point that large chunks of Canada and Siberia are liable to become much more fertile in the event they warm up. That is another human adaptation to warming, namely the choice of crop lands. That wouldn’t be good for the U.S. (or Austria and New Zealand, which, along with Canada, between them produce 70% of the world’s food exports), but it’s not a problem for mankind.

        The article’s methodology obvious ignores all of these adaptive responses, since it relies entirely upon measurement of the damage to crops from unexpectedly high temperatures given our present agricultural choices, which are designed to optimize yield given our present climate.

      • qbeamus | March 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm |

        My grandparents on both sides were involved in farming, until economics gradually forced them off the land, kicking and fighting with every inch of land surrendered.

        It’s not easy to get land back once you lose it. Harder still to make new land farm land. As the temperate zone inches north a single furrow-width at a time, into scrubland and lackes, forest-land (which you must know is being depleted by beetle pests at a galloping pace).

        There’s a lot of reason no one tells young farmers in Siberia or Canada, “Go North, young man!” except at the point of a gun.

        If we get more than 0.5% new arable land from this dark, difficult, distant muskeg and tundra and melting mucky permafrost, it will be at orders of magnitude greater cost than the lands claimed for farming by pioneers a century ago.

      • Bart R: I live on a farm in Canada (Manitoba), and I have to say you are pretty off target. The land here is extremely fertile, there is lots of water, but pretty much every aspect of farming here is constrained by temperature. Crops are planted with great attention to the local climate and micro climate. Research and breeding is also totally based on this, resulting in crops that are well suited to the area, and Canada in general. Some of the best farmland here required extensive drainage and flood control, that was done mostly by horse. You keep saying ‘expensive’, but in reality it is all highly profitable. If you could double crop or open up new land, the costs would be proportional to the profit as always.

        More warmth here would certainly have a giant (positive) impact on the amount of food grown and exported. I’ll know global warming is a reality there’s a ‘gold rush’ for farmland in the interlake (which there isn’t).

      • robin | March 23, 2012 at 6:15 pm |

        I think what you say is very wise, accurate and true.

        I think also that we have two very different definitions of ‘warming’; one which is the actually happening subtle, slow, shuffled chaotic unreliable shifts that are sometimes just a curtailment of the lowest winter temperatures and sometimes just a spike in night time highs in summer, and seldom terribly useful; the other, a pronoiacly friendly warmth that happens when a farmer would want it in a way a farmer would like it.

        We definitely can show the first one on BEST, to a high degree of confidence, over land. The second one just ain’t happening, as the lack of an interlake gold-rush for farmland shows.

        To tap the first warming pattern for farming would take greenhouses (which have made pretty impressive strides lately, in the form of cunning temporary row tents and the like), and landbreaking, community development and roadbuilding, radically adapted crops and specialized methods.
        Profitable? Mmmmaybe.
        Risky investment? Definitely.
        Going to happen? For sure.
        Farmers don’t let opportunities by, they can’t afford to.
        Going to increase the arable land in Canada as a net? Surely not, considering the good land lost to cities in the south.

      • You need to watch King Corn, Bart. Farmers till every acre they can get their hands on, the seed is GM seed so they can spray Roundup, the corn that grows isn’t exactly edible, and that’s the non-greenhouse farming. They knock down existing houses so they don’t have to waste time turning the tractor around and it’s all pretty radical. And naturally, the government pays them to do it.

  45. No. 943 – WMO annual statement confirms 2011 as 11th warmest on record
    Climate change accelerated in 2001-2010, according to preliminary assessment

    GENEVA, 23 MARCH 2012 (WMO) – The World Meteorological Organization’s Annual Statement on the Status of the Global Climate said that 2011 was the 11th warmest since records began in 1850. It confirmed preliminary findings that 2011 was the warmest year on record with a La Niña, which has a cooling influence. Globally-averaged temperatures in 2011 were estimated to be 0.40° Centigrade above the 1961-1990 annual average of 14°C.

    • vukcevic


      The global temperature increase rate has been “remarkable” during the previous four decades, according to the preliminary summary. The global temperature has increased since 1971 at an average estimated rate of 0.166°C per decade compared to the average rate of 0.06 °C per decade computed over the full period 1881-2010.

      In an oscillating global mean temperature pattern (, isn’t it pseudo science to compare warming rates of 0.166 deg C per decade from valley to peak with that from peak to peak of 0.06 deg C per decade and claim accelerated warming?

      The proper comparison is either from peak to peak or from valley to valley as follows:

      Why do they mislead?

  46. Norm Kalmanovitch

    This is dispicable! There was no crisis from the 0.6 deg C warming of the past century and increased CO2 only adds to crop performance so all aspects of global warming are positive for the food supply.
    Unfortunately the global warming stopped in 1998 and the cooling which started in 2002 will have a negative impact on food supply by shortening growing seasons in the large temperategrowing areas. This has been exaserbated by the ludicrous conversion of food into biofuels because global warming has already ended and biofuels produce as much CO2 as the fuels they replace and in the case of ethanol 10% to 50% more depending on the fuels used in the distillation process.
    Today 6.5% of the world’s grain and 8% of the world’s oil food crops are being wasted on this folley resulting in a global food crisis with millions of the world’s poor facing starvation as a result.
    This is no longer an issue of science but it is a moral issue and likely a criminal issue because of all the damage this climate change fraud has cost the world.

  47. Extreme Heat vs. Corn Yield?

    Extreme Weather vs. Fuel and Fertilizer and Food Prices.

    The cluster of farm-impacting weather extremes in centering on 2006-2007 had predictable results in the spikes in fertilizer and fuel prices in 2008 until the economic collapse.

    After the economic collapse — arguably as much due to the triplepoint fuel/fertilizer/food spikes as inept and corrupt banking and stock market practices — prices plummetted.. of course, the cluster of global weather extremes typical of 2006-2007 also hasn’t repeated.

    Or.. has it?

    Be very interesting to see if we get the same hit in 2013 as 2008.

    • That is one reason not to play favorites with energy. You can let inefficiency have a graceful death by rewarding efficiency to guide a market. There are a lot more entrepreneurs than there are physicists. Level the playing field and watch how well they work.

      • So, in order to level the playing field, you take away all subsidies? That what it means to me.

      • Most of the “Subsidies” are tax deductions for risking investment. It’s called business. Research grants are grants for research. Real subsidies are the guaranteed pricing and guaranteed loans. Losers need grants and subsidies to survive. Let’s see how many of the “Subsidized” alternate energy research projects survive. If you are a fan of any one of them, sink your on money into them, you can write off your investments once your profitable.

      • If investors don’t believe the project is liable to be a winner, they shouldn’t invest their money in it. I am for research grants, just not subsidies directly to the business.

      • I am all for research grant also, with in reason. I would love to require community internships with every grant. Get some of the lard butt kids off the couch and into learning something not on the standardized tests.

      • take away all subsidies?

        Sounds like a better situation than what now we have.

        Sure, there’s infant industry arguments, which should apply to industries with less than about 0.5% market share and less than two generations of trying the market.

        Sure, there’s social welfare arguments to avoid the spectacle of homeless people starving in the streets, but that’s not exacly a business issue, and ought be part of a different debate, so long as business presses for fair, full employment and honest trade.

        How does it make sense for working taxpayers to prop up billionaires who pay a lower tax rate than people who make under $30K a year, for decades, by surrendering their democratic right to negotiate their own price for goods on the open market? That’s just broken.

      • I’m definitely for helping the truly helpless and anyone who ends up poor for whatever reason. Like everything else, the devil is in the details. Welfare should be given based on income and net worth. While I can’t do a detailed design here, a short version.
        1. Retirement accounts would not be counted as net worth.
        2. The amount would be reduced as the recipient earned more money, but would always come out with more money, the more income he made.
        3. At some income level, the person would start paying taxes.
        4. There would be no payment to everyone, like in the fair tax or negative income tax.
        5. To reiterate point 2, there would always be an incentive for people to work and earn as much as possible.
        6. Some one declare disabled would get a more generous subsidy, but there would have to be a strict medical determination that is difficult to game.

      • And this program would encompass social security and the fed medical programs as well as all the other welfare programs.

      • You don’t want to over or under tax the winners. What is the sense in playing if you can’t win? Billionaires have the luxury of paying fair taxes and being generous philanthropists or decadent butt holes. One way or the other, the money will get redistributed :)

      • My scheme would eliminate a big chunk of the Federal government, so there would be considerable savings there.

    • So a fraction of a degree statistical increase in global average temperature – which nobody would know about without being told – suddenly equates to “extreme heat” now, does it?
      It’s also funny that none of the words: ‘extreme’, ‘heat’ or ‘weather’ appear in the article you linked to.

      • Peter317 | March 23, 2012 at 6:36 pm |

        Why is everyone suddenly being bitten with the same Fallacy of Uniform Distribution?

        What’s the difference between fifty nine unchanged days with a one day six degree spike and sixty days with a tenth of a degree increase?

        As averages, none at all.

        As extreme weather? Well, there’s plenty of days that are six degrees above average, over the course of any century, on a big enough map, but it’s still going to get called extreme.

        Maybe there’s only 3% more extreme heat days, and 33 days of temperature undistinguishable from the long term norm. It’s not as if the anomaly graphs we normally see people fretting over present this information particularly well.

        Just because your graphs show averages doesn’t mean your weather behaves that way.

      • Who said anything about uniform distribution?
        What makes you think a small change in average means a large change to the distribution – however uniform, non-uniform, wide or narrow that may be? And by what mechanism?

      • There isn’t supposed to be a uniform change in temperature. The warming is supposed to occur mainly at night and mainly in the winter. How you square that with your earlier comments regarding frost dates and temperature extremes I’m not sure. What you say seems to be the exact opposite of what is expected. Now if you could explain why most days would be the same but there would be more extreme days that kill off all the crops but only budge the average a little, I’m sure the explanation would be quite interesting. Don’t forget your citations.

      • steven

        It was an example. A simplification. Not a claim.

        For the actual figures, one can do little better than recommend people with questions go to the raw data and see what’s actually happening for themselves, perhaps dividing the data by region or by type of geography, lattitude or longitude, with ANOVA, whatever, maybe even checking their work against that of competent statisticians.

        I’m not equating what’s happening to extreme heat.

        I’m glad to let others figure out what, if anything, is or isn’t extreme about the temperatures on data that, so far as I can tell, is barely adequate for such an exercise yet, and to hear out the debate that ensues, and check the published calculations and methods.

        Chaos Theory predicts external perturbations ought cause a chaotic system to find a new level; what that means in weather, other than the general appelative of ‘extreme’, I don’t think anyone’s yet defined with mathematical rigor.

  48. Carbon ‘fee and dividend’ schemes involve raising a tax (fee) by government decree until the point where carbon neutral energy becomes economically feasible. I can only think that it is driven by such a great fear of carbon dioxide in the environment that no consideration of rational economic management has any importance. It has nothing to do with supply and demand.

    Supply and demand is of course, ‘an economic model of price determination in a market. It concludes that in a competitive market, the unit price for a particular good will vary until it settles at a point where the quantity demanded by consumers (at current price) will equal the quantity supplied by producers (at current price), resulting in an economic equilibrium of price and quantity.’

    If demand increases from d1 to d2, price increases from p1 to p2 and supply adjusts to meet the additional demand at a higher price.

    With a fee and dividend system – such as British Columbia fuels tax – the ‘fee’ is raised progressively by government fiat. There is no especial impact on demand as the tax is imposed at the bowser and returned through lower taxes. Certainly people may choose to not buy fuel and save the difference. They certainly can in the longer term buys car that use less fuel – but the soaring costs of fuel supplies has much more impact on that than a minor tax. A real demand and supply issue.

    Fuel demand tends to be inelastic – another simple economic concept. It means that demand is relatively independent of price – people buy fuel regardless. Forgive me if all this is all relatively elementary – but we obviously need to define the essentials. It is inconceivable that fuel demand would be fundamentally altered at any price unless there is some alternative liquid fuel that is not fossil based becomes marginally feasible at some high price. You will note in this case that tax is not applicable to the alternative supply and the tax revenue dries up. That is the first essential problem with fee and dividend – either the dividends disappear and the higher costs remain or a black hole appears in government budgets. Either leading to economic difficulties.

    One would hope that it did not work to mandate higher cost substitution because higher energy costs decrease GDP across the board.

    The ‘gold standard’ has feet of lead especially where, in the remote chance that it were ever implemented globally, it translates into lower economic growth and higher food costs in the developing world.

    • Robert I Ellison | March 23, 2012 at 7:55 pm |

      Some quibbles.

      1. Not all fee and dividend schemes work by government decree, except in the same sense as the printing of a nation’s currency or the enforcement of standards of weights and measures are by ‘government decree’. Not all such schemes have ‘the point of carbon neutral energy’ as their objective, any more than all men drive cars to get to the beach.

      2. The limitations of what you can only think hardly seem worth considering. Perhaps the drive is simple sense of decency, or the desire to obtain wealth by living a less carbon-intensive life than one’s neighbors and earning the rewards of one’s cleverness and work, or perhaps it’s out of some irrational love of some esoteric ideal, or to spend on abatement of risk. Who’s to say? Who’s to judge? Seems to me the private reasons a person buys or sells something is none of my business.

      That’s the beauty of Supply and Demand; what counts is the amount one is willing to pay or accept, not having to justify it to some busybody.

      3. With the British Columbia system, to avoid price shocks, the price of CO2E is held artificially low while the participants in the market gradually adjust to and accept the idea as part of their normal business. While British Columbia has announced no plans to accelerate, or even increase, prices on any particular schedule, given the popularity of the associated 25% personal income tax drop and carbon credit payments, it’s unlikely anything but the political pressure of organized free riders, wastrels and “tax and spend conservatives” will prevent this eventuality for long. Unless the socialists get back into power.

      4. You err trivially about where the tax is applied, and about the effect on demand, inverting the connection. The tax applies where carbon-based products destined for emission go to the consumer, whether at the pumps or in a store or by the truckload or shipload. The wealthier consumer — and they’re all wealthier due the carbon dividend — can easily absorb the price rise due the fee, what with the reduced churn on income tax. The consumer’s freedom to choose what they buy, informed by the privatized price signal of CO2E emission, will affect decisions whether fuel prices rise or not, proportionate with the size of the price signal. At the current time, that price signal is artificially low, due the transition to the new privatized system.

      4. British Columbia doesn’t have a fuel tax, but a broad-based carbon tax intended by statute to capure so much of the emission of CO2E as administratively practical. You can burn all the hydrogen you like, tax free. You can emit CO2E from a process that has nothing to do with the ordinary definition of ‘burning fuel’ and be obliged to pay the carbon tax. Subtle nicety, I know, but different from what you say.

      5. Fuel demand tends toward inelasticity, but it is not perfectly inelastic in the short run, as study after study have shown. You must know this, as we’ve discussed this before, and I’ve cited studies before. As fuel is a co-product of vehicles, home-heating systems and the like, and the situation is not elementary, and requires more than mere casual acquaintance with the bare essentials.

      6. If you _must_ for some reason have a liquid fuel, the price of H2 generated from water by electricity reaches roughly 80% storage efficiency using the latest catalysts. Call that 14 cents/kWh worst case converted at essentially no loss to LNG, a fairly conventional liquid fuel which releases no more CO2E when burned than it sequesters with it’s manufactured. I don’t see why you’d want it, but it’s available. Price of gasoline? Two and a half times as much per mile. What? It’s cheaper _right now_ without a carbon tax to drive by stored electricity in LNG than to use gasoline at the pumps? By two and a half times?! LNG is a pretty feeble fuel, all in all. A hybrid electric/LNG vehicle could be the equivalent of any gas-powered car, at only 40% the cost per mile, but it would cost more than a conventional vehicle up-front. The carbon fee would accelerate the pay-off of that up-front investment.

      7. You describe a “first essential” problem (of self-abnegation) with a Pigouvian tax, not with a fee and dividend system. The two are very different. Your cases don’t apply. The dividend, in the long run, dries up. If any government has been so improper as to keep the dividend itself (a Pigouvian tax), then it deserves the righteous outrage of its people when that happens. If the sellers in a proper fee and dividend (privatized) system, who had presumably someplace to spend the dividend on, such as abatement of Risk or to capitalize their transition to a low-carbon lifestyle which go away when CO2E emissions drop, were spending it on something else, then them’s the breaks. People get what they choose to have. How is this bad again?

      If you can’t keep track of these simple distinctions, after perhaps two dozen iterations on each of a dozen threads of discussing them, perhaps you may wish to simply keep a link back to this comment for next time you repeat exactly the same errors and want to have a conversation about it.

  49. (although) … greater precipitation is perhaps a mitigation.
    Wage, wage war against the lying and the fright.
    That’s how the light gets in.

  50. Here is an interesting map of the changes in plant hardiness zones in Canada from 1967 to 2000. They’ve seem to have moved slightly north overall, and I assume that lines up with the slight warming (about 1/3rd of 1.x degrees/century). You can toggle between the two dates, the main area to look at for food production is about between Edmonton and Winnipeg down to the border.

    Assuming the dramatic affect temperature has on agriculture (as posited by the NRC), here is a graph of agricultural production over the last 100 years. Note this scale is *logarithmic*.

    Wow, a little temperature sure increases food production! Oh, but I hear you cry foul – the increases are surely due to technology rather than temperature.

    Indeed they are, and that’s the point.

  51. dang, first link was wrong. Always love a good map…

    • robin | March 23, 2012 at 8:57 pm |

      Always good to see someone bring data to the table. Thanks for that.

      It looks like the peak food production area actually suffered some zone quality setbacks in the East while increasing much more in the West of the food producing region. That’s hardly a new story for Manitoba, I imagine: what Ontario doesn’t take, Alberta gets, unless it’s flood, cold or mosquitoes.

      The changes don’t distribute evenly, and aren’t easy to anticipate.

      Though the increases (and drops) aren’t entirely due technology. Shifts in incentives like market demand, government policy, and other factors had effects too; clearly it’s not that the land _couldn’t_ produce the yields, it’s that the farms didn’t.

  52. Dear Beth – now you are talking my language. Evaporation = Precipitation globally over a few days on average. See why I love hydrology? The formulas are so simple and my head just fills with diamond bright images. Sunlight of water, especially underwater as light refracts and reflects from the chop on the surface and it is like being inside a blue and green kaleidoscope. Cascades of white light plunging to the depths and exploding upwards in silver mist and droplet. A simple garden hose arcing into the sky and resolving into playful rainbows.

    One would assume that evaporation increases with higher temperature but there is evidence that it doesn’t. Decreasing evporation from evaporation pans around the world for a start – the so-called evaporation paradox. One would assume that it has something the increasing moisture content of warmer air. Then – remembering that evaporation = precipitation – we haven’t actually seen any increased precipitation. But the the little warming we have seen – that between 1976 and 1998 – is all mixed up with oceans and clouds.

    Robert I Ellison
    Chief Hydrologist

  53. ‘Cascades of white light plunging to the depths and exploding upwards in silver mist and droplet.’
    Beautiful image Chief.
    One of the first posts I read when I first visited Judith’s Site was your 9 Feb 2011 ‘Decadal variability a of Clouds,’ and Kim’s response ) and I was hooked. Heck, I even wrote my own take,( also re Willis E’s ‘Floating Islands,’ ) about a canoe without a pilot, drifting in the great North Pacific Current. This bit, without your lyricism, could be a take on what you said:
    ‘But now all is sparkling surface.The dancing sea glitters with broken light.
    Sea and sky merge in a haze of water vapour and scattered photons. As the sun climbs in the sky, in the dugout canoe, a puddle of yesterday’s rain begins to steam. Rising and falling with the seas movement, borne by theNorth Pacific current, the canoe seems a tiny mote, its wake an indiscernible ripple, in the blue expanse of ocean and sky.’

  54. Thank you, Rud Istvan, for posting here.

    I want a copy of your book, “Arts of Truth”, when published.

    I would appreciate your comments on my belated conclusion that FEAR of “nuclear fires” drove the deceit in government science from the time the first man-made “nuclear fire” consumed Hiroshima on 6 Aug 1945 until the Climategate emails and documents were released in 2009.

    The rest of this story is in documents and references posted here and here

    • Rudyard Istvan

      Send me your email, I will send you the current draft for comment. Can always be improved. Judy has a copy for comment. Only the last chapter is climate change. My post used selections from two other chapters.

  55. Wow! Gary Stix’s article in Scientific American, “Effective World Government Will Be Needed to Stave Off Climate Catastrophe” and the responses of readers are enlightening!

    Are public schools no longer teaching about the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights ?

  56. Rudyard Istvan

    More interesting and worthy comments. I was at the Chicago Symphony this evening with my daughter and son in law, so am getting to this rather late. Why? Because I care about their future.
    This post cannot respond to all points, (after all, it is late), but touches on some of the salient observations since my last response. I can do no less, since Judy so kindly put my NRC observation up for you to comment on.
    1. Economics will out? I am a trained econometrician, and that is part of what I am concerned about. Economics establishes a new equilibrium in response to past changes. That could be very bad for humanity. (The issue is the problem of the commons). The UN theory is that increasing per capita GDP will slow population growth. Except (see my forthcoming book Gaia) they do not have data to back up their models (UN ESA, rev. 2008+) for Africa, Asia, or South America. Even if it were true, ESA projects 9.2 billion people by 2050. That may be just food sustainable (previous post). It is not fossil fuel sustainable. The problem is Hubbert’s peaks, first hypothesized in 1956. Read Deffeyes books as a primer. Get LaHerrere’s on line stuff. Liquid fuels support agriculture (tractors, combines), forestry, construction, mining, much of logistics (trucking) and air transport. Those go short, then “virtual water” goes short. If you don’t know what virtual water is, find out and then come back to this thread.
    The food problem is not economics. It is fundamental land, water, and plant physiology. With respect to fossil fuels, folks like Yergin (The Quest, 2011) think oil is an economic issue. It is geophysics, not economics. Means no price fixes to scarcity. Read Hubbert, Deffeyes, Rutledge. Patzek…
    2. Climate. Yup, I am not an expert. I am not an expert at anything except critical thinking; has saved my business skin a few times. But in Arts, (not yet finished) I do a rather detailed dissection of 4th IPCC GCMs. They are provably oversensitive, so overstate warming. Lindzen 2011 is roughly correct, supportable by 4 distinct other lines of evidence not in his paper. Compound that with nonsense about warming/food (like the NRC chart that initiated this posting), altogether shows Alarmists are doubling down on nonsense.
    3. Other food sources. Humans derive about 1% of total food calories from the sea. (One poster said, 1 billion depend on seafood as the major source of protein–possibly true, but fixable with pulses as proven by 1 billion vegetarian Hindu Indians. Just need new favorite dishes–Darwinian adaptation). This may be fortunate, since ocean acidification will continue to increase (equilibrium based on Vostok ice cores takes 800-1200 years). Bad for coral reefs and shellfish. Other than phytoplankton photosynthesis for oxygen (we could go into that, did in the books), means human effects of potential warming are mostly terrestrial.
    4.Ocean pH. Get real. Go to NOAA PML for the year by year change in atmospheric CO2, ocean dissolved CO2, and subsequent change in (carbonic acid) ocean pH off Hawaii–over thirty years. Projection is as bad as 7.8 by 2100. Hope that there are counter forces not yet evident. We don’t depend much on coral reefs.
    5. Sea level. Surprised you all have not focused more on it than Venice, which is sinking. Best estimate is now about 1 meter by 2100. Cannot be stopped. 146 million people live within 1 meter of sea level. I do. Will affect (146/9200) 1.6% of mankind by 2100. I will have to move (but not in my lifetime). Estate plan is to sell to a Snow Bird who doesn’t follow Climate, etc. before the problem becomes obvious (my car parking spot is only about 1 meter above the current high tide line in Fort Lauderdale, so a sale is definitely in my heirs planning. LOL.)
    6. Average versus extremes. Very good points. Even in the Arctic (Arctic amplification, since heat flows from hot to cold), climate change is mainly in the winter. Seasonal variation still overwhelms average warming in temperate climes. Take the most extreme cases, and you can figure out what it means for crop growing seasons–not much. Am doing that for the draft book Arts of Truth. Did not for Gaia, since that focused on bigger, simpler, issues like we run out of food and fuel by 2050.
    6. Agenda. Not disjointed. Sustainability (Gaia) must consider water, food, climate, fossil energy, biofuels, other energy, and GDP energy intensity interchangeably. Systems analysis, but not Club of Rome silliness. Climate, the excellent focus of this wonderful site, is just one of several inter-related issues that need to be considered together for sustainability.

    Much more civil and thoughtful comments than the narrow but difficult argument 2007-2009 over EEStor energy storage (noted by some above), which was scientifically impossible from the beginning but had believers no different than in extreme climate change. Speculating on new physics when EEStor said there wasn’t any! No need to speculate until there is a proof of principal, which EEStor never provided. Oh, my. Full disclosure, I did have a dog in that hunt. Developed a better energy storage material for super caps, now proven (including a major ONR grant) and licensed for production. That is a complete separate physics and materials science discussion inappropriate for Climate, etc. (Except as reduces fossil fuel consumption, mitigates whatever CO2 does, and makes the Consensus even further overstated.)

    Regards to those offering many thoughtful comments. You refine our collective thinking.

    • Rudyard

      You said

      ‘5. Sea level. Surprised you all have not focused more on it than Venice, which is sinking. Best estimate is now about 1 meter by 2100. Cannot be stopped. 146 million people live within 1 meter of sea level. I do. Will affect (146/9200) 1.6% of mankind by 2100. I will have to move (but not in my lifetime). Estate plan is to sell to a Snow Bird who doesn’t follow Climate, etc. before the problem becomes obvious (my car parking spot is only about 1 meter above the current high tide line in Fort Lauderdale, so a sale is definitely in my heirs planning. LOL.)’

      I write and research on sea levels. Credible evidence needed from you please that there will be a increase in sea level rise by many order of magintudes by 2100. Thanks.

    • To Rudyard (above) and Chad (below):

      Thanks for your concern and insight. The sad truth is this: Society is collapsing; We do not know why ! Government deception is part of the problem now.

      FEAR-based self-centeredness caused an unholy alliance of leaders of nations, sciences and the news media to ignore Reality:

      1. Life is part of a natural process in the evolution of the cosmos, expanding and filling interstellar space with H and He – waste products from the cores of ordinary stars like the Sun – as it expands because “free” energy (E = mc^2) is stored as rest mass in the centers of

      a.) Heavy atoms (A > 150 amu)
      b.) Fluid planets like Jupiter
      c.) Ordinary stars (Sun)
      d.) Galaxies

      2. Atoms of elements are produced naturally by the sudden, spontaneous release of this “free energy” in nuclear explosions:

      3. “Rebirth” may be part of the natural process in the next cycle: The universe will collapse – when compressed neutrons have “evaporated” away. Then gravitational forces of attraction will “recharge” the giant cosmic battery by pushing the neutrons back together again.

      4. The current demise of society is traceable to the destruction of Hiroshima on 6 Aug 1945 and Henry Kissinger’s secret, FEAR-driven visit to China in 1971.

      FEAR of the “nuclear fire” that consumed Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 – flamed by the Cuban Missile Crisis in late October 1962 – convinced world leaders to Unite Nations against an imaginary common enemy in 1971 – Global Climate Change !

      World leaders are powerless over the Great Reality to which religious leaders long submitted and encouraged their followers to worship, by thousands of different names !

      World leaders live in fear because they will not admit powerless.
      That is another way of stating the problem.

      A brief summary of the history of these events is available in documents and references posted here: and here:

    • Those capacitor guys sure know how to throw a party.

      The “virtual water” content of oil, too, is increasing, and is a concern to everyone involved in Policy I know.

      That Canada was able to lobby the EU to ignore this problem with tarsands is nothing short of a victory of diplomacy over commonsense. It’s not that tarsand oil is so dirty. It’s that it is so wet.

      China has the same problem with fracking. Everyone who fracks does, and it will come to a head for them, because you can’t cheat at Physics forever.

      The general solution to the problem of the commons is privatization, as a very sage Denizen pointed out in a recent thread. Economics is just a way of wording the problem. Can we learn from the physical world what its limits are, and match the shape of economic incentives to the shape of the underlying world?

      Thank you for the references. My excuses for mental laziness are being removed one by one.

      While Venice is sinking, it’s also well and rigorously studied, with recent and impressively supported data disentangling natural from anthropogenic sources of variability.

      While there are places on coasts in the world rising, I think few of them rise a third so quickly as Venice naturally subsides; half of Venice’s change in depth is sea level rise, not subsidence.

      All of us ought consider the impact on the present value of our long term investments in oceanfront of it turning from a perpetuity to an annuity with a fixed end date. Or find Snow Birds who don’t care or can’t do math.

      The important figure in Sustainability equations is the denominator, the amount we must invest to obtain a return. Increasing the denominator will cost us more than proportionately we obtain.

      A very long time ago, I was invited and prepared, and all arrangements were made, as a system analyst to consult with a farm cooperative in Nicaragua, with the objective of creating a network on the then little-known Internet, so the farmers could leverage their investments and logistics. It could have been a proof-of-concept for independently run mutually beneficial information exchange in agriculture.

      The night before I was to fly out, my hosts took 40 American visitors to their region hostage in some short-term and silly dispute. All the hostages were before long released unharmed, but the network never happened. It took decades for the farmers to catch up with what they could have had, except for the ignorant and misguided disputatiousness of their hotheads.

      Don’t let the core value of the idea be taken hostage by ancient grievance.

  57. Chad Wozniak

    To all the many posters here who get it and see the fraud and waste and tyranny that is AGW – my hat is off to you, especially erica, cwon14, omanuel, but so many others too.

    Now – since this is all about politics, what say we start a new political party, the Sanity Party? Obvioously the criminal reactionary left doesn’t get it, nor does the dullard torpid right. What say?

    Somehow we need to find a way to take that power away from the alarmists AND those who let the alarmists play. Throw the rascals out!

    • I’m with you Chad. I would call it the Pragmatic Party. Put the Constitution back in its rightful place, impeach Supreme Court justices who don’t honor their oath to enforce the Constitution, and treat any other official to the same porridge. Throw off the chains of centralized government. I guess you could call it the TEA Party. :)

  58. “Now – since this is all about politics, what say we start a new political party, the Sanity Party? Obvioously the criminal reactionary left doesn’t get it, nor does the dullard torpid right. What say?”
    So, democrats get non-democratic people
    And Republican- get non-republican people
    And anti-war movement are constantly at war.

    So Sanity will attract the crazies.

    I say it should be called the Masses.

  59. Rudyard Istvan

    Sure. But it is not ‘many orders of magnitude’. Observed rise from 1900 to 2000 is about 20 cm based on tide gauge averages. Current and historic rise rate data are available from NOAA or CSIRO. Rate of rise has increased last two decades to about 3mm/year from previous 2mm/yr. Thinking is that is still accelerating, so linear projection (30cm by 2100) is wrong. Is now measured by satellite altimetry rather than by tide gauges. Supposed to be more accurate. Acceleration could be partly this instrument change, like the debate over upper troposphere relative humidity and radiosonde historic records. Probably not, since the congruence of the two methods is very good, as you know.

    Most recent future projection ‘science’ is
    Rahmstorf, A new view on sea level rise, Nature Reports Climate Change: doi:10.1038/climate.2010.29
    They project about 1 meter, twice 4th IPCC. I cannot find major flaws in the paper. Perhaps as an expert you can.
    ‘Half’ is mostly Greenland Icecap melt. That is measured two ways: directly by satellite on icecap margins, and by land rebound (GPS) as the ice weight diminishes. (You can Google both, and get some good stuff. Use images, and backtrack to the data sites). This has accelerated last 20 years or so, and probably will continue to accelerate. Is not just summer meltwater. Is accelerated ‘sluffing’ of land ice into the fjords as bergs. Thinking is that the meltwater goes down to the ice/land interface, and ‘lubricates’/accelerates gravity induced oceanward creep on the icecap margins. Remember, ice cores show that even 2500 meters down in the center of Greenland, the ice is only 110000 years old. That is, it all accumulated during the last glaciation. No reason to think it won’t all melt again (but this would take much longer than 100 years). Greenland Ice cap has enough water to raise ocean levels by 7 meters if it all ever melted. That would take thousands? of years.
    Other ‘half’ is thermal expansion of the oceans above the thermocline. They are probably not yet in full water column equilibrium with the 0.5C rise since 1960, so expansion ‘accelerates’ also. Antarctica plays a surprisingly small role. Although if the West Shelf were to become ungrounded (WAIS ice/sediment cores) it would be a whole different ball game. That is apparently a million year time frame (from WAIS geological evidence), not a hundred. Some folks are increasingly worried about the West Shelf oceanward creep. I haven’t a clue whether that is a problem this century.

    You have to be careful where measured. Some land is subsiding (New Orleans, Bangkok, Venice). That is not sea level rise. Because of tidal distributions, the actual tide gauge rise in some places could be twice the average, so much less than average in other places. No different than the difference in tidal variation, for partly similar reasons.

  60. Wow – thanks Des, was beginning to think I’d wandered into the nuthouse. That is indeed the point he seems intent on avoiding.

    As regards his “hobby horse” issues:

    Subsidies for research on climate science often end up in the pockets of people who work on petroleum, etc. Why? Beats me. But they do.

    Often eh? What percentage of the money?
    And how exactly does this affect the direction government-funded climate science takes ? (You know, the actual question I asked)

    Teleconnections. Let’s look at David Wojick — a poor example, as his connectedness is so remote and innocuous, and I’m not suggesting anything in the least untoward about the connection — who has been kind enough to disclose that sometimes he takes contracts with the government, and sometimes he takes contracts with other interests. His expertise is connected to both.

    And how exactly does this affect the direction government-funded climate science takes ? (You know, the actual question I asked)

    Love it or hate it, the question of CO2′s role in climate is a big part of spending on climate science. Ergo, all spending related to CO2 by the government is connected more than nontrivially.

    And how exactly does this affect the direction government-funded climate science takes ? (You know, the actual question I asked)

    There is a limit to the amount of CO2 increase in the atmosphere before some climate effect is inevitable, regardless of what mechanism or level of effect or sensitivity is involved. That entails Risk. Subsidies that increase Risk automatically pertain.

    And how exactly does this affect the direction government-funded climate science takes ? (You know, the actual question I asked)

    You must know, there are people who believe that by their very nature, all subsidies corrupt, and many of those people are prone to the excited imagining of insidious links between several forms of corruption, as if Evil were a palpable intelligent force, with its own social network. If you don’t buy into their paranoia, that’s nice and all, but it doesn’t mean they at least won’t be comingling the topic in conversation.

    And how exactly does this affect the direction government-funded climate science takes ? (You know, the actual question I asked)

    Yeah. Because emissions from fossil fuels directly and significantly affect the climate, as a matter of proven fact, demonstrated in hundreds or thousands of studies in climate science according to scientists, judges who have made findings of fact in law, and accepted by 194 governments and fossil fuel industry reports. Almost forgot that one.

    Yes, an advocacy-ridden science dripping with deception and sloppiness at every pore, as Climategate showed. Until there is a major clean-up of government climate science – the likes of Mann, Jones disciplined or expelled – only a moron or far-left activist would begin to believe the “consensus” that rests on this bed of lies.
    And – how exactly does this vaccuous claim of yours affect the direction government-funded climate science takes ? (You know, the actual question I asked)

    • Erica | March 24, 2012 at 5:51 am |

      Let’s try this back to front:

      The ‘actual question’ you asked?

      “how exactly does this vaccuous claim of yours affect the direction government-funded climate science takes ?”

      That’s an actual question?

      Sounds like a speech to me.

      For context, let’s look at where you first asked me it. How strange. I can’t find the word “direction” anywhere in the thread other than used by you claiming to have asked it (but not actually having asked it previously), other than by me in another contect unrelated to you.

      Maybe you used a different word when you ‘actually’ asked the question. So let’s look for ‘government’. 46 matches on the page — it seems everyone talks about government, and no one does anything about it — and not one of them in the form of a question (other than begging the question) by you.

      Did you not just six times lie about asking a question that simply never happened, Erica? Because Des said it did? Is this an argument from Des’ authority, or demanding impossible perfection of telepathically guessing what question you thought you meant? How am I obligated to answer a nonsuch?

      Even so, let’s continue backwards through your screed.

      When I said judges, I meant actual, sitting judges. Many of them. In several countries. The issue has been litigated, and at high levels, both in administrative and civil complaint, as well as in criminal investigation. They’ve absolutely supported Mann some eight times. They’ve largely supported Gore at least twice. They’ve ruled in favor of the EPA repeatedly.

      Have courts and inquiries not at the same time found the fossil industry to have had shoddy, corrupt and false practices? Do you forget the Gulf of Mexico? Do you really deny that biofuels are a scam?

      The finding of facts of a court, any court, mean nothing to a scientist of course, other than how many days he’ll spend in the vatican dungeon for practicing science.. but it does mean you haven’t a leg to stand on when you say “Whatever subsidies there are for petroleum etc have nothing to do with climate science, or science fraud.”

      But you said you asked, “how exactly does this vaccuous claim of yours affect the direction government-funded climate science takes ?”

      How big a pot of money are you calling climate science? Every penny that goes to every university that has an Earth Sciences department? Every cent spent on weather research or forecasting? As some in the military call climate questions defense issues, all military spending? I need a more explicit and precise definition of what in the past has always turned out to be a wildly bloated kitchen-sink paranoid conspiracy category of unrelated dollars, and so such claims never get taken seriously. Outside the nut house, I mean. Come back when you have a way to determine what is and isn’t in the category. Either category, really – spending or nut house.

      You want to know what percentage of R&D tagged as ‘climate science’ goes to the fossil industry? Good luck with that. I suggest Google “Lamar Alexander subsidy” as a starting point, as he’s one of the people who assumed the government spent a whole lot on climate science and wanted to know where the money went. The reports he commissioned are eye-openers.

      Your actual words were “Whatever subsidies there are for petroleum etc have nothing to do with climate science, or science fraud.” and not, “how exactly does this affect the direction government-funded climate science takes ?”

      You’re the one making the absurd claims. Have I asked you to support them with fact? Of course not. I know there are no facts that support you. Your claims are patently false. QED.

  61. That ol’ seesaw of history.
    In Queensland, Australia, just took a sllde to the right. At the ballot box,a
    land slide victory for the LNP
    This could be a victory for co2 sanity

  62. To be completely honest with you, you are not really showing awareness of current USDA climate and agricultural science or knowledge and understanding of what farmers are already quietly dealing with regarding heat stress and reduced winter chilling for a range of production issues, not just corn. A degree from Harvard and a background in pharmaceuticals, biotech and Motorola does not really replace the qualifications of farmers.

    “and would cause starvation elsewhere since the US produces 40% of the world’s corn”

    The U.S. is the biggest producer and also the biggest consumer of corn. It is over-dependent. Yes there are exports (primarily Mexico). The dependency of both the U.S. and some developing countries is has been created by massive and cheap American grain production and trade policies that need to be discussed along with climate change when we are talking about food insecurity. With climate change, the problems with this basic structural situation are highlighted.

    U.S. farmers, USDA and government departments are already responding to climate change but apparently pretending, as are you, that they are not. I don’t know why. Other countries are already developing agricultural and technological strategies so I wouldn’t assume that they will remain dependent on U.S. exports. And by the way, maize/grain is primarily exported out of coastal communities so you might also want to factor in the potential effects of weather extremes on these major ports.

    It’s up to the public and policymakers to decide, but it requires listening to farmers about what is actually happening on the ground, in addition to understanding the most current science.

    If you eat, you need to listen to farmers. The science has defined what could happen to crops and is already happening to crops. Have a realistic discussion about it nor not. Your choice.

    However, farmers do know the difference.

    • Marth – all these allegations, but not a single supporting link. Tsk-tsk.

    • John Carpenter

      “U.S. farmers, USDA and government departments are already responding to climate change but apparently pretending, as are you, that they are not. I don’t know why.”

      Martha, what do you know that tells you this is true? Maybe if you provide an example or a reference we could have a conversation, otherwise your on a soapbox.

      • Gee, oh, gee, Martha. Haw, haw.

      • John Carpenter

        er… otherwise your on a bale of hay.

      • She farms, and we forage.

      • Dear Jim and John,
        Try typing ‘USDA’. Read. Or MAF Smart Farming Bulletin. Read. Or Farming Read. Or ‘ equipment choices, crop selection and species selection’, and read some more.

        Adaptation , market discussions and farm level responses are not exactly a mystery here, or around the world. You could even branch out a little bit. Try ‘Latin American farmer’.

        Etc. ;-)

    • A background in pharmaceuticals comes in handy in most careers.

      Stone fruits are a good indicators of climate change impacts. They are fixed crops that require chill time to bear fruit. They can be sprayed will chill hormones if needed, but that costs money.

      Because of the current prices, corn acreage in the US has gone up quite a bit. The Ukraine is also getting into the action.

      So for the first time in 40 years the US will not out export the world in corn.

      That is with a much larger percentage of corn going into ethanol production.

      Which requires a little clarification, since ethanol by-products are then used for animal feeds.

      Corn does require a range of dew point temperatures during silking. So the variety of corn and planting date are an important decisions for a farmer to make. Harvest date is also important because the price ranges from $4 to $8. So US farmers listen to science.

      And meteorologists.

      I wonder how good the African agricultural extension services and meteorologists are?

      As for corn being exported from coastal cities. Boats float, trains don’t.

    • With due Respekt, I own a Daily Farm in Wisconsin. Produces over 1.5 Million Ponds of milk a Year from 150 milking Holsteins and 300 Head total. On Future crops and calory potential know whereof speak. Post was not even the tip of the iceberg on the Food sustainability research.
      My considered opinion is that Probanden climate change (less than the consensus asserts) is not the food problem. Limits on arable land, irrigation, intensification (fertilizer use, improved genetics, pest control) are. The facts are all there, but take a lot of digging and fitting together.

      • Rud

        As promised, here is a more detailed response to your item on sea levels that I briefly responded to earlier;

        Please read my 20 link post here about sea levels hereunder .

        Plus the addendum at 4.08 on 7th September

        Now please go and look at AR4 chapter 5 which is the one referenced by wiki. Their graph showing historic sea level rise (page 3) is highly misleading as it does not provide any context. Chapter five of the IPCC 4 assessment is the relevant document (link given below)
        This is the entire 800 page IPCC Assessment 4 from which it is taken. This is substantially different in tone and content to the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) used by politicians.
        Figure 5.13 on page 410 is the basis of many graphs used by Government and their agencies to promote scary sea level rises which are then eagerly picked up by the more sensationalist media and Al Gore.

        This paper provides context as it expresses the IPCC’s own caveats (which can be read in Chapter 5 of the link above) It can be seen that much of the historic sea level record is a computer generated model as the actual historic global tidal gauge measurements either simply do not exist, or are based on data gathered from three highly fractured historic tide gauges in Liverpool, Amsterdam and Stockholm. (Referenced in my links)

        In this respect it is useful to look at figure 5A2 (above) which shows tide gauge numbers used. These slowly grew from 3 in the 1700’s until in 1900 they stood at 20 in the Northern Hemisphere and 2 in the Southern Hemisphere.

        There are only 7 gauges that have not moved that are at least 100 years old.
        Here they are under slide 27 of this presentation by The US National Academy of Sciences

        That’s it. A global sea level has been manufactured based on a tiny number of northern hemisphere tide gauges in which much of the information has been made up.

        FAQ5.1 on page 409 ‘global mean sea level deviation’ lies at the heart of much of the sea level rise debate, giving a worrying future prediction through the selection of a particularly pessimistic IPCC ‘scenario.’ In reality the historic global tide gauge data is a totally inadequate representation of the 70% of the globe that is water, and becomes more theoretical the further back in time one goes as has been shown.
        Figure 5.19 in the IPCC TAR Chapter 5 of working Group 1 (Levitus Et al, page 415) shows a graph of sea level change due to thermal expansion.

        The sharp drop (in the rate of increase) shown since 2003 is evident due to cooling oceans and the consequent lack of thermal expansion. Figure 5.1 page 389 in Chapter 5 (to 2005) shows heat content change for the 0 to 700m ocean layer (this to 2005) The drop in temperature can again be seen and has continued ever since, as measured by the Argo project of 3000 sinking buoys.(which of course then needed to be ‘adjusted’)

        If we look at information contained in Chapter five of AR4 the key IPCC error here (in AR4) is its switch from one
        • method of measurement (tide gauges) covering one
        • scope of measurement (several coastal points, where sea level has a significance for us land dwellers) over one
        • time period (prior to 1993)
        to a totally different;
        • method (satellite altimetry),
        • scope (the entire ocean except coastal and polar regions, which cannot be captured by satellite), and
        • time period (1993-2003),
        •and then comparing the two to claim an acceleration between the two time periods.

        They only call attention to this change in a small footnote (Table SPM.1, p.7 of the SPM report):

        “Data prior to 1993 are from tide gauges and after 1993 are from satellite altimetry.”

        Although the graph boldly shows figures back to 1850 it is misleading as they are not comparing like for like in the methodology used, using enough gauges to create a genuinely global picture, nor have enough solid information to be able to claim the high level of accuracy for a global figure..

        Although we have to take into account land height changes we know that sea levels were generally higher in Roman times and the MWP- caused by thermal expansion and glacier melt during times warmer than today. This rise reached a peak around 1300 or so before dropping during the LIA. It started rising again at a modest rate from around 1880 or so as the climate warmed again in one of its regular natural variations.


      • Tony, thanks for this very interesting post and all its links.

      • Rudyard Istvan

        tonyb, you raise many good points. I had not dissected sea level rise the way you have. I have archived my education from you, and am revising Arts in light of your information. Thanks. I did do a deep dissection for upper troposphere relative humidity, and for negative cloud feedback, because pertinent to warming causes per se.
        Your points appear to be:
        1. Tide gauges have some of the same problems as radiosondes. Accepted. But there are corrections that can be applied. To reject the information entirely because not perfect would be to reject the use of Bayesian inference (another theme in Arts). I argue we should correct and use radiosonde data and tide gauge data, subject to Bayesian inference. (Post becomes too long to explain–has to do with probable truth of priors given new information. There is a recent book on that.)
        2. Satellite altimetry isn’t perfect, either. Look at HIRS for UTrH. And, it only exists for at most 2-3 decades, one of which does not show average warming for whatever reasons. And SLR is not uniform across the geosphere, which raises the usual issue of what a global mean means. Less than one might think, given all the uncertainties. Same as temp.
        3. Ocean heat column data is imperfect. Yup. All data is.
        But, we can calculate theoretical thermal expansion from first principals, then multiply by observed thermocline depths. And we can actually measure over the past 20 years what is happening to Greenland’s ice cap. Put those two together, and the result is 30-50 cm by 2100 almost independent of future CO2, since just depends on past change remaining. That is, past half 0.5C does not rise, but the effects continue to be felt. That alone gets to 30-50cm by 2100.
        4. Rahmstorf may overestimate as you point out. I cannot find basic flaws in his logic or data. Tried. I don’t know how to tell whether you made a true statement except by waiting until 2100. Which I cannot.
        If he is the worst plausible case for BAU, the answer I gave far above is ‘so what’. Even one meter (which is unlikely, in my view because we cannot produce and burn that much fossil fuel (peak production hypotheses), simply is not a disaster–except for Venice, South Beach, and Bangkok. We do not have an obligation to drastically upend the world order to ‘save’ Miami Beach. Venice and Bangkok cannot be saved anyway, because they are sinking. Which proves the three rules of real estate: location, location, location. (Attempt at a feeble joke).
        5. As for Hansen’s most recent paper, there is a nice deconstruction on WUWT. No need to repeat here. BTW, Hansen is predicting 5 meters (15 feet), not 15 meters.
        This is still ridiculous nonsense from first principals. All you have to do is calculate the requisite heat input for the phase state change from ice to that much water. Folks, even under the worse imaginable 4th IPCC scenarios, there is not going to be enough heat by 2100. Over three fourths of the remaining Greenland ice sheet melts in 100 years? Wait, Hansen must include Antarctica. Oops, sea ice cover there is not declining, and net ice change is close to zero…There isn’t enough other glacial water in the world to do this. And the glaciers in the Himalayans were recently proven not to be retreating at all. Hansen, father of climate change, reveals himself as an unthinking Alarmist zealot obsessed with models that have little to do with observational reality. He overlooks high school physics and chemistry. A bit harsher judgement than this site recommends, but really…
        My personal stance would not say there has been no sea level rise, and there will be no more. I am not a Denier, I am a Skeptic. (I am not sure, but you seem to be implying denial based on your research). There has been some rise, and there will be some more. we don’t have good metrics on the past, and the future is always uncertain. Let’s focus on how much more, and so what? My answers: some (more than 20th century, less than 1 meter), and that this range matters little in the greater scheme of things. Which is why I sarcastically posted on my own South Florida one meter ‘predicament’.

      • Sorry for the mangled english. iPad was set to German since I was reading some papers in that language, and forgot to switch back. Apple autocorrect does not work cross language. But you get the drift. I own a dairy farm, and spent a lot of time on this withUSDA, FAO, other country, Monsanto, and big university ag departments ( Perdue, U.W., Indiana, and especially U. Nebraska (they tie their meteorology directly to ag)).

      • See my comment to Jim and John above. To those suggested resources, I would suggest you also inform yourself about how the world’s women supply the food change in most developing countries and how they are trying to adapt their farming practices to the realities of AGW, too.

        Climate change and the current human-caused warming trend is obviously part of the food problem. So are the other factors you mention in your comment to me.

        Given the weakness of the rigid, massive agro-system that has emerged in the U.S., combined with the usual challenges of crop farming, and now AGW, it is necessary to assist farmers to hedge their risks.

        Unfortunately, your article is not broadly informed by either the observations of farmers, or a comprehensive understanding of evolving climate science.

        I suggest that truly thoughtful social policy choices to support farmers and the public, impacted now and in future, are not even part of the discussion with such self-indulgent argumentation.

        I think you can do better. :-)

      • Martha,
        You are profoundly ignorant, probably a result of your sexist dogma and embracing the worst extremes of AGW.
        You have no idea what farmers do or how they do it. I wonder at what age you found out that food did come from the grocer. Reading a few links is not the same as knowing stuff.

  63. Hey Charlie, I need to get our budget approved, write some fear mongering drivel so I can show what a good job we are doing.

    • Hey Scott

      How about, “the reds are taking over! It’s a conspiracy! They’re sneaking into the country disguised as trojan watermelons! Scientists are changing their data for pinko money! If we don’t get more cash for our biosynthechem research, we’ll all freeze under a glacier!”

      Best regards


  64. This topic is a bit like Warren Buffett showing up at a mixed martial arts tournament and putting on a slideshow presentation about the value of education.

    Laudatory, unexpected, valuable, and likely to lead to arguments that prove its thesis.

    Normally, I would apply Hanlon’s Razor to Figure 13 on page 28 of the 2011 NRC booklet, Warming World: Impacts by Degree and the spelling mistake on the NRC’s web page. Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.

    Rud Istvan’s point is a little distracted from, and his argument slightly weakened, by this precept. Focus on the perfectly interesting and significant subject is a little hurt by this preconception of mine; I suspect other people with other preconceptions are also more prone to miss the full value of the case presented, too.

    There’s a good thesis here, but because of these distractions it’s possible to say, “The problem is that the paper’s data do not support it.” At least, not enough to make it worth keeping the distractions in the presentation.

  65. A farmer discusses crop impacts:
    sigurdur. “Medieval Warm Period/Little Ice Age.” Solar Message and Discussion Board, September 17, 2011.
    Good to note page 2; sigurdur on crop effects of cooler climate in ND.

  66. “Economics will out? I am a trained econometrician, and that is part of what I am concerned about. Economics establishes a new equilibrium in response to past changes.”

    Economics, like the plan of battle, the New Year’s resolution, weather forecasts and a household budget is always doomed to disappoint; like democracy, it’s the worst possible arrangement, except for any arrangement without it.

    Inverted incentives for behaviors that will make our next equilibrium costlier and more painful due the slothful habit of the past one are a current sin of our economic system.

    Vanity is compiling to support a theory a mountain range of evidence, and then ignoring when it tells us reliably something new and more important instead. I don’t disagree that it amounts to the wrong impression being given by well-meaning advocates, dismay and dispute among those with similar vanity in opposite directions, and poor policy guidance resulting.

    So, what in the upshot is the recommended solution?

    • Bart, do you have an alter ego? Sometimes you actually make sense :)

      • capt. dallas 0.8 +/-0.2 | March 24, 2012 at 11:57 pm |

        The last thing a man needs is for himself to make sense, but for those he’s surrounded by to be innoculated from the contagion of nonsense.

        We’re all of us in the same circumstance. Over our heads in troubled waters with neither land in sight nor rescue apparent. Our choice is whether we drown, or will swim until we sink. That choice makes all the difference.

      • Purple prose indeed. You seem to have sufficient hot air to rise above it all it seems.

      • JamesG


        But that was borrowed from Joseph Conrad.

  67. Tonyb @ 24/3 4.55pm
    re your sea rise record, eg the marker at Port Arthur, Tasmania showing 2.5cm rise since 1841 . Across Bass Strait on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsular, along a road cutting on Port Phillip Bay, my nephew detected the unmistakable remains of an ancient shoreline, sand, smooth pebbles and rocks, several metres above the present tide level. Don’t know that anyone else has noticed it. I’ll ask him if he can post it here as you might be interested in it for your records.

  68. Chad Wozniak

    Yes, gbaikie, you’re probably right – the contrarians would love to join a Sanity Party.

    And jim2 – the whole AGW issue is tied up with the creeping regulatory totalitarianism that is slowly, surely, inexorably invading our lives, and will destroy liberty and prosperity if it isn’t stopped. Let’s keep in mind that this regulatory tyranny is mostly the work of unelected bureaucrats – officials we can’t vote against or hold personally financially liable for the damage they do.

    Who is going to pay for electric reliability if Ontario does shut down all its coal generation? Who is going to pay if the EPA shuts down half the power plants in Texas? It ought to be the perverse morons who want to do these unfathomably stupid things. Let’s redistribute THEIR income first!

  69. In reference to Tonyb @ 24/3 4.55pm

    Geological comments about 2 x shoreline picture links.
    This ancient shoreline sits approximately 10 metres above the current sea level.
    The surrounding granite rise is part of a granite intrusion dates some 360 million years ago. In short granite is embedded deep into the earths crust and never moves once established. Amongst this ancient shoreline are sea wave rounded granite boulders. Indicating the water level was there for some time. underneath this shoreline point – there is no other tidal layers – and indicates that this sea level fell to normal levels very quickly.

  70. Hi Beth
    If you have any sea level rise information I would be glad to see it.

    I don’t know if you saw my article on Sea levels? It was carried here before you started postng I think.

    A few lines in to the article it mentions a link to a ‘longer document’ which, with your appreciation of History, you might want to read in full as it goes into a lot more detail and has snippets of interesting anecdotal information.

  71. Rud

    I am afraid you are wrong with your 5 metre Hansen estimate as I recently pointed out here to another commenter. This is a repeat of that comment;

    ‘Either way, no reference to what Hansen actually said in Reiss’ book, and certainly no mention of a “prediction” of “a 10 foot (3m) sea level rise”. That seems to be a creation by you, and possibly a conclusion of Anthony in the post you reference. ‘

    That is when I joined the discussion.

    “It depends on how fast ice sheets melt, but anything from 16 to 80 feet seems to be the scenario according to Hansen, with a fairly loose time scale which he put at decades. “

    Here again is the article where you say he made no reference to this;

    He cites ’Global mean temperature three million years ago was only 2-3°C warmer than today (Crowley 1996; Dowsett et al 1996), while sea level was 25 ± 10 m higher (Wardlaw

    and Quinn 1991; Barrett et al 1992; Dowsett et al 1994).’

    Hansen believes that if its business as usual it will be 5.5 degrees warmer (presumably Fahrenheit) which is the figure needed, according to his citation, to create sea levels 25 m higher. In fact only 1 degree more is needed if the logic in the article holds. (see ref below for citation of this 5.5 degree figure.)

    Hansen clearly said a 5 metre rise by 2090- that is decades not centuries. It is quoted in the Hansen and Sato 2011 paper I linked to earlier and which interestingly you now seem to be backtracking about by throwing up semantic niceties and wordy smokescreens over the timing of the 80 foot reference.

    Hansen said this in 2007 at a conference ;

    “Since then, Hansen’s prognostications have grown considerably more dire. “In the past five years, it’s become clear to me that the problem is a lot more urgent than we thought,” he (Hansen) said Monday night. Unless major steps are taken to curb the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases within the next 10 years, he is “99 percent certain” that the world as we know it will be forever changed. “If we go down the business-as-usual path, it will be 5.5 degrees warmer by the end of this century, warmer than it’s been in 3 million years,” he warned. “If you go back to that time, the sea levels were 80 feet higher.” Should that happen, he predicted, hundreds of millions of people would be homeless, the world’s weather patterns would be violently scrambled, and about half the planet’s species would become extinct.”

    The Commentator said

    “And once again, Hansen has moved far out ahead of the curve. Fuelling his alarm are two factors. It used to be that paleo-climatologists thought the hottest the world had ever been was 2-3 degrees Celsius warmer than current temperatures. Hansen says new research shows that the hottest temperature was actually 1 degree Celsius warmer than now, or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. And when the world was a single Celsius degree hotter, he said, the geologic records indicate the seas were 85 feet higher than they are today. The record indicates we’re now within just one degree of the warmest period on the planet. In other words, whatever wiggle room we thought we had has just dramatically tightened.”

    We have got ‘business as usual’ so that is presumably why we have two predictions for 5 metres and 80 feet.

    Here is Hansen again writing in the Royal society journal of 2007 which was reported on here by Dave Lindorff

    “Hansen, saying that recent evidence of melting at the poles shows ice melts much differently, and faster, than once assumed, warns that a few degrees’ rise in temperatures in northern regions could produce much worse results. While he says we could see a resulting rise in sea levels over this century of several meters (bad enough), he also warns that with only the widely predicted 5-6 degree Fahrenheit rise in this century that the IPCC has predicted, the earth could see these two huge ice sheets collapse almost entirely over the next century, with a resulting sea rise of some 80 feet or more. “

    Here is the actual article;

    “The imminent peril is initiation of dynamical and thermodynamical processes on the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets that produce a situation out of humanity’s control, such that devastating sea-level rise will inevitably occur. Climate forcing of this century under BAU would dwarf natural forcings of the past million years, indeed it would probably exceed climate forcing of the middle Pliocene, when the planet was not more than 2–3 degrees C warmer and sea level 25m 10 m higher (Dowsett et al. 1994). The climate sensitivities we have inferred from palaeoclimate data ensure that a BAU GHG emission scenario would produce global warming of several degrees Celsius this century, with amplification at high latitudes.’

    Read the Hansen papers-read his references within them. Read the Romm article. Are you still saying that your claim that Hansen made no prediction of a 3 metre sea level rise to be correct or that he has made no references to 80 foot?

    It seems to me that the alarmism is coming from your side with such as Watermark, Joe Romm and Dave Lindorff together with numerous other green campaigning organisations

    Hansen seems quite happy that his ultra alarmist views are peddled around the blogosphere by his own cohorts. If he wants to put over a more measured view perhaps he ought to write an appropriate article ‘clarifying’ his position and ensure this gets the same publicity, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation where you are trying to defend a position that is indefensible.

    if hansen believes in a catastrophic temp rise because of business as usual it follows the sea level rise is equally so

    When I write part three of my sea level rise series I will no doubt refer briefly to Hansen, but I am interested in proper factual information not wild estimates. However if you believe he has been misrepresented in face of all the evidence why don’t you put the record straight by writing an article?

    • tonyb

      Do you think Hansen thinks the glaciers will melt instantaneously, or over some period of time?

      Hansen and Sato ( Fig. 7 seems to be the “5m by 2095” prediction everyone is referring to, and though it discusses pp22-25 the probability of a lag and as little as 80cm rise by that date, doesn’t discuss the lag of the “10’s of meters” between when this rise becomes thermomechanically inevitable and when it actually comes to pass, which seems likely to be millennial.

      So while the alarm-fantacist interpretation of Hansen leans heavily toward 5m by 2100, the data is too young yet to either discount or reliably predict rising. Considering the mechanisms at play and the evidence presented, it’s going to be an interesting time down at the beach between 2065 and 2995.

  72. Tony, 25/3 3.14am.
    Hope link and my nephew’s comment were useful. Thx for sea rise link which I’ll read tonight. Can’t say I know much abouy history records and climate, can’t say I know much about anything, but will make this comment anyway, LOL.
    Long term proxy records show sudden shifts in climate eg Tasmania was separated from mainland Australia by rising seas 20000 years ago,through ice melts in a quickly warming climate … who knows what the future will be?

    Thinking human history, even in 1800, the world was largely an agricultural society with people struggling to produce, scrounge or steal enough food and clothing to stay alive. In the West, the Industrial Revolution changed that, not just improving agricultural yields but lessening our reliance on agriculture.

    Ireland’s Potato Famine of 1846- brought about by wet weather and potato blight resulted in the death of 8% of Irelands population and emmigration of about a million people. Many came to Australia :-) I believe the Potato Famine was the last famine in the west to cause widespread death.
    Through global commerce and trade, people have become more adaptable to the vaguaries of local weather. So if there’s drought or flood over here, crops are usually doing ok over there. Shipping? Not a problem.

    Makes you wonder why the greens, channeling Malthus, want to tax energy and innovation, our means of adapting to the unknowns of future climate.

    • Finland, 20 years later.

      About 10%-15% as many deaths as in Ireland due famine.

      In some nations now counting themselves part of the West, such as the Ukraine and Poland, death tolls due artificial famine likely beggared either Finland or Ireland’s famines more recently.. but the records of the incident have been suppressed or destroyed.

      In Ireland today, by the way, they blame America for the Blight, more than any other single cause.

      A faulty analysis, that. The harvest failed two dozen times in the 9 decades before the Blight, and was generally accepted as an inevitability, until Phytophthora infestans wiped out one or two thirds of the crops for two seasons (not so unusual), and mismanagement ruined the two successive crops (what really did them in). It was bad governance, not even unpredictable bad governance, since the better part of 200 inquiries and special commissions in England had warned of this peril for five decade prior to Gorta Mor, nor was it rain, either.

      Ships sailing to and from Ireland complained in those years of terrible headway against the masses of salmon, which could easily have fed the hungry, but simply did not get put to that use.

      Oh, yes.. I recall, Beth is not reading th

    • Beth and Bart

      I think that what both your accounts highlight is that relying on one type of crop is a dangerous business, as is the assumption that all circumstnces will remain the same.

      Over the last 150 years or so (until the last half century) there were many mixed farms so enabling climate vagaries or blight to be rescued by one or other crop. I am nervous of our over reliance on single crops and especially that there is only a Plan A-to cope wit a slightly warming climate, when history tells us that nature will, sooner or later, decide to hit us with something altogether less mild and benign. A slight decrease in temperatures and subsequent reduction in crop yields and growing period could cause many problems.

      • tonyb

        “I am nervous of our over reliance on single crops and especially that there is only a Plan A-to cope wit a slightly warming climate, when history tells us that nature will, sooner or later, decide to hit us with something altogether less mild and benign. A slight decrease in temperatures and subsequent reduction in crop yields and growing period could cause many problems.”

        Ah, but we’re in the Anthropocene.

        Let me fix your conclusion with that context in mind.

        History tells us Nature and Man will sooner than otherwise decide to hit us with something altogether less mild and benign. A slight increase in frequency of changing weather, or of extreme weather, or of stale weather, does cause many man-made problems.

  73. Guess I wasn’t referring to problems of mono crops Tony, tho’ they were a problem, but to 1800 ‘mono’ agrarian economies. A change in the weather, crops failed, black stalks in the ground, wheat, rice, corn,
    and you
    Couldn’t raise a mortgage on the hovel, couldn’t order produce from across the border, you just….

    Even China’s agrarian economy, though they manufactured paper,silk, fireworks, and the Emperor decreed rice storage silos be maintained; (insurance for His Mandate from Heaven,)
    but corrupt officials……

  74. Inflexibility of agrarian economies. Extreme weather goes on long enough,
    even the soup kitchens run out of soup.

    I’m reminded of a comment by Markus Fitzhenery, a while back.
    Have to say, Markus, I spent a sleepless night thinkin’ about those poor people and that awful offal soup. :-(

  75. The PNAS maize forecast can be examined for veracity using the previously known experimental maize heat stress details and a revised subset of the paper’s data (averages by state from 1980) placed by its now famous authors into the public domain. (Equivalent data for soybeans and cotton was not provided to the public, so the critique is limited to maize.) This enables visual parametric scrutiny of the paper’s veritas without using any statistics at all. Simply visually compare the data to the paper’s statements.

    My vision isn’t what it once was. I see high heat day counts roughly correlating with lower corn yields, and low heat day counts matching high corn yields when I compare the two sets of curves; this relationship is invariate with region.

    ANOVA would certainly produce better results; I’d be surprised if the results changed, but not by much. “By eye” comparisons are notoriously susceptible to suggestibility. Either way, far too poor an argument to support the thesis.

    I don’t deny there’s artless untruth in the world of climate change. Visit WUWT or any Idsos website for wall-to-wall examples. It’s just not clear why the particular examples cited in this posting are used in preference over those clearer cases.

    There’s too much chance simple incompetence explains the few distractions in the cases selected. Spelling on a web page — really?! That’s an artless untruth? A questionable use of a single graph in a complex field identified far and wide as a the subject of a wicked problem?

    Thesis may be good. Paper not so much. If it were academic, I’d recommend rewrite and submit again with more, clearer, and better-balanced, examples.

  76. ceteris non paribus

    Form. Content.

    Rud Istvan lost me right here:
    (I am the poster he refers to)

    3. Other food sources. Humans derive about 1% of total food calories from the sea. (One poster said, 1 billion depend on seafood as the major source of protein–possibly true, but fixable with pulses as proven by 1 billion vegetarian Hindu Indians. Just need new favorite dishes–Darwinian adaptation). This may be fortunate, since ocean acidification will continue to increase (equilibrium based on Vostok ice cores takes 800-1200 years). Bad for coral reefs and shellfish. Other than phytoplankton photosynthesis for oxygen (we could go into that, did in the books), means human effects of potential warming are mostly terrestrial.

    Fixable? With pulses? Proven by the existence of East Indians? Just need some new faves on the menu?

    Yes – and several million acres of arable land conveniently located and currently unoccupied.

    And – other than for oxygen – we don’t really need the oceans?
    Thank goodness for that.

    Sorry – this line of hand-waving leaves me completely underwhelmed.