Conservation in the Anthropocene

by Judith Curry

Conservationists need to work with development, not condemn it as leading to the end of nature. In truth, nature’s resilience has been overlooked, its fragility “grossly overstated.” Areas blasted by nuclear radiation are bio-diverse. Forest cover is rising in the Northern Hemisphere even as it declines globally.

These are ‘heretical words’ from Peter Kareiva, chief scientist of the Nature Conservancy.  Karieva has written a provocative article for the Breakthrough Institute entitled Conservation in the Athropocene, with summary here. From the summary:

“By its own measures, conservation is failing. Biodiversity on Earth continues its rapid decline. We continue to lose forests in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. There are so few wild tigers and apes that they will be lost forever if current trends continue. Simply put, we are losing many more special places and species than we’re saving.”

So begins a searing indictment by the unlikeliest of sources: Peter Kareiva, chief scientist of The Nature Conservancy, the world’s largest conservation organization.

Kareiva is also a giant among conservation biologists. Inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences with Al Gore and Spike Lee, Kareiva is coauthor of the landmark 2010 textbook (with Michelle Marvier), Conservation Science, which begins from the premise that humans are the dominant ecological force on earth — and that the pre-human state of the world should no longer be viewed as the “natural” baseline.

Now, in an article for the Breakthrough Journal, Kareiva, along with Marvier and TNC colleague Robert Lalasz, say that even though conservationists have succeeded in putting ten times more land under protection since the 1950s — bringing the total to roughly “13 percent of the world’s land mass… an area larger than all of South America” — this preservationist model is inadequate given what Fareed Zakaria and others have called “the rise of the Rest.”

Brazil will no more wall off the Amazon than settlers in America walled off its forests. At the same time, Brazil will almost certainly protect more of its forests than either the US or Europe did. But “whether or not the developing world sets aside a large percentage of its landscapes as parks or wilderness over the next hundred years,” Kareiva, Marvier, and Lalasz write, “those protected areas will remain islands of ‘pristine nature’ in a sea of profound human transformations through logging, agriculture, mining, damming, and urbanization.” 

Happily, Kareiva and coauthors are not alone in suggesting humans may find a new kind of power through planetary gardening, not planetary preservation. Nature correspondent Emma Marris offered a philosophical embrace of creating new natures outside of parks in her sharp-minded 2011 book, Rambunctious Garden. Too often, an attempt to protect nature in its pristine state “thwarts bold new plans to save the environment and prevents us from having a fuller relationship with nature,” Marris wrote.

Not everyone is enthusiastic about the implications of living in a human-engineered era. Coincidentally, “Conservation in the Anthropocene” is the title of both the Kareiva et al. essay in the Breakthrough Journal as well as one by five University of California scientists published in Conservation Biology last fall, which made the contrary argument. “If the idea that Earth is already spoiled further permeates the general mindset,” the scientists worried, “monetary contributions to and efforts for conservation may seem futile to the general public, whose support is vital to conservation.”

Failed metaphors and a new environmentalism

Over at dotearth, Andy Revkin has a post ‘Invconvenient Environmentalist‘, including a link to Kareiva’s lecture Failed Metaphors and a New Environmentalism.  Excerpts:

I encourage you to watch the provocative and important lecture above byPeter Kareiva, the much-lauded chief scientist of the world’s biggest environmental group, the Nature Conservancy. The title is “Failed Metaphors and A New Environmentalism for the 21st Century.” It’s a refreshing call for new approaches from a community stuck on what I’ve called a “woe is me, shame on you” tune for far too long 

On and on, he demolishes the mythologies built around the environment as something to be conserved separate from human affairs and the failed tactics and world views of the movement he has been a part of for decades. Kareiva is one of a growing array of leading environmental and ecology scholars and doers who see that new models for thinking and acting are required in this time of the Anthropocene, an era in which Earth is increasingly what humans choose to make it — either through action or inaction. 

JC comment:  I find Kareiva’s perspective to be both refreshing and wise.  I was introduced to these concepts about 8 years ago or so, in the context ecological engineering, ecosystem engineering, human ecology, which seem to be basically of a common theme to ‘planetary gardening.’  These approaches can be used to promote mutual adaptation of humans and ecosystems to climate change.

JC note:  Owing to an insane schedule, I have had very little time to spend on the blog, things should ease up next week.

230 responses to “Conservation in the Anthropocene

  1. Man’s inability to recognize his place in this dynamic universe is the root of most of our problems today.

    • My bet is on bad faith and corruption in MANY areas.

      • If bad faith and corruption need to be walled off and preserved, they could be tourist attractions in MANY areas.

      • Tourist attractions? Already done. Discovered by the GSA.

      • Climategate is collapsing rapidly now, with NASA’s astronauts, engineers and scientists joining the call for NASA to stop promoting questionable science.

        There is probably no better way for mankind to get right-sized than acceptance of Einstein’s 1905 discovery, E = mc^2, and its implications for the limitless supply of energy stored all around us in the centers of:

        a.) Heavy atoms, like Uranium
        b.) Many planets, like Jupiter
        c.) Ordinary stars, like the Sun
        d.) Galaxies like the Milky Way

        Problem: Fear and the instinct of survival persuaded world leaders to hide the source of energy that vaporized Hiroshima in 1945: They thus became rulers rather than servants of the public.

        Solution: Restore integrity to science, rights of citizens and citizen control of government, without reviving racism, the threat of nuclear warfare, and/or retaliation for deception since 1945.

      • Kim,

        When we are educated, we put our faith into the material we are being taught is absolutely correct. We put our trust in the scientists so that we do not have to double check their work. Unfortunately, their dogma became the better of them instead of self correcting and changing as new information became available, they protected their theories and grants or tenure.

    • > Man’s inability to recognize his place in this
      > dynamic universe is the root of most of our
      > problems today.
      I think that that statement may reveal the actual problem.

      Who decides what is mankind’s place in the universe? Mankind can, and will, carve out its own place in the universe. We control our own destiny.

      Though some people wish it, mankind will not choose to return to the stone age, with the associaetd death, disease and suffering of that period. We are concerned with our own health and comfort and it goes against human nature to expect people to choose less comfort and safety than they now have.

      If we wish to establish a sustainable environment, it has to be done in the context of human welfare — maintaining and enhancing our health and comfort.

      Throughout history, species have become extinct. It is unreasonable to expect that we can stop that. That isn’t a license to destroy nature, but it is a warning to be realistic in our goals.

      In the end, we need to apply technology judiciously to maximise human welfare while fostering our environment. That is a big challenge, but it won’t be achieved while we focus on unreasonable goals.

      • Even when we all went, ‘boldly go where no man has gone before’… there was Capt. kirk & Nurse chapel. Don’t leave home without them. Talking about warp factors on the boob-tube from the old days. Wow.

      • We do not control our destiny, emmenjay. Joe’s World is right,

        That is why AGW promoters are Nobel Laureates !

        World leaders tried to control destiny by training scientists with research grants, tenure and awards – as Pavlov trained dogs with dog-biscuits.

        Unfortunately world leaders are afraid of the Reality that Albert Einstein recognized in 1905, E = mc^2, and Kazuo Kuroda saw in the ashes of Hiroshima after 6 Aug 1945 “nuclear fires”.

        Post-1945 Official Responses to Reality:

        1946: Solar interior changed from iron Fe to hydrogen (H)
        1956: Information on “nuclear fires” on Earth was blocked
        1967: The Bilderberg standard solar model is formulated
        1975: Discovery of local element synthesis in Sun hidden
        1977: The scientist that reported the pulsar Sun vanished
        1983: New evidence of iron(Fe)-rich solar interior ignored
        1993: Possibility of nuclear reactor in Earth’s core ignored
        1995: NASA hides Jupiter data confirming 1983 discovery
        2001: NASA/DOE/NAS ignore neutron repulsion discovery
        2001: 178 SNO scientists report solar neutrino oscillations
        2008: Nature misassigns credit for 1993 proposal to others
        2009: Climategate emails and documents reveal deception

        More details:

      • OKM, I think you have it right — the birthright of the Green Movement was put forth in a 1993 book by Larry Abraham and Franklin Sanders: “The Greening” in which they stated the reason for the rise of AGW as the necessary catalyst for world governance. AGW was the common enemy and the world independant governments MUST cede their respective soverignty to the UN to fight back.

        If AGW didn’t do it, another “global problem” must be found – perhaps the global financial interdependance & collapse will fit the bill?

  2. Tourism is the worlds largest industry, outstipping petrochemicals and illegal drugs. If at risk habitats could be coupled to tourism, with local people knowing cash was coming from tourists wanting them not to chop the trees down and not to poach the large mammals, the world would be a much better place.
    On a London-St. Andrews trin journey I talked to a Game Warden from Kruger National Park. He loved charging people to shoot lions. They shoot the old lions anyway (as the old males have no more contribution to the gene pool and compete for the same resources as the young), having modern day Hemingway’s pay thousands to do it paid the salaries of the Park Rangers.

    • John Carpenter

      Doc, there was a good 60 minutes story in January about hunting exotic animals in Texas as a way of conserving rare species. The money generated from hunting the animals funds the ranchers to keep the heard healthy and plentiful. It’s been a successful model since the 1970’s. Texas now has over 120 exotic species, many of which are extinct in their native territory. The US government supports the ranchers and hunters. The problem is with groups like Friends of Animals, headed up by Priscilla Feral. Lara Logan presented the story on 60 minutes, she asked Feral if she would rather see a species go extinct rather than living (and hunted) in Texas. She doesn’t answer the question directly, instead she says she doesn’t want to see the animals in Texas. She can’t answer that question honestly because it would give in to the idea there are other ways to support conservation than simply walling off nature to humans. You can see the story here

      Feral lives in an unrealistic world of black and white… there is no appeasing her type of mentality. She thinks it is cruel and inhumane to raise any animals to kill them… that is her life. She has reduced the necessity for humans to eat certain types of food as unethical. She projects her feelings to situations where animals are killed as all inherently bad. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem to know where she came from or how we evolved as a species.

  3. Craig Loehle

    In every aspect of life, humans learn to do more with less. Agriculture produces multiples of what it used to. For the past 40 years, forestry has increased both efficiency and recycling such that a growing population has been provided with fibre from declining acres (since much forest land has been moved into parks or become urban). This increasing efficiency frees up land for conservation, but extreme greens just want to wall nature off.

  4. See the Cornwall Stewardship Agenda

    . . .environmental policies should harness human creative potential by expanding political and economic freedom, . . .
    Cornwall supporters believe the best way to care for both people AND the planet is through policies that allow increasing numbers of people around the world to fulfill their role as stewards of God’s good creation.

  5. All over Texas there is a thriving business in the preservation of wild game species from around the world. It pays for itself by selling those “Hemingway” experiences Doc mentioned. Populations of the transplanted species have soared in Texas under this way of doing things. But there is a very strong resentment of this model amongst traditional environmentalists, who tend to take a deontic view of the thing (“thou shalt not hunt endangered species”), and they are beginning to have some legal and legislative successes aimed at limiting this business model. Strange days indeed.

    • Look at any of the “nature” magazines that rate national parks and recreation areas. The less accessible an area is to human beings, the higher the rating. The mere presence of humans, let alone hunters, is anathema to progressivesw who style themselves environmentalists.

      They projext their self loathing onto humnaniity as a whole. Therefore nature without man is utopia.

      • “Third World Peasent chappies, ethical humanist here.
        Now the thing is we want you to stop hunting those very large lumps of protein and not cut down all that fire wood. We know you would be able to
        feed your children if you do what our ancestors did, but we know better now.
        Now just leave all that stuff alone and try not to get in the picture”
        As a Brit, whose ancestors killed every predator on the Island large than a badger I find this treating poor people as environmental assassins is more than condescending.
        The Animal Rights groups have the same view towards biomedicals, they hate us for actually trying to do stuff and shattering their view of animals as having as much value as human beings.

      • “The less accessible an area is to human beings, the higher the rating.” Actually I’m down with that. It’s the reason I strongly prefer Big Bend to more highly visited parks. It’s hard to enjoy the Canadian Rockies with ten busloads of tourists behind you.

        But those private ranches in Texas are exactly that–private. You have to pay to go in and have the Hemingway experience. I wouldn’t want to be in Big Bend during a culling time either. In fact if memory serves me correctly, Texas state parks close to the general public during the annual culling times.

        I’ve posted this up here before, but this is a very good book on the philosophy behind the more radical edge of contemporary environmental movements in the West. Well worth reading:

      • FYI:

        “Just as the forum proceedings were about to begin, a lawyer representing an environmentalist group known as Elf Lore issued a subpoena claiming a misuse of the term and word ‘E.L.F’ (Earth Liberation Front). Said a member of the Elf Lore group, while pointing at the spokesperson for E.L.F., ‘you all are not Elves of any kind, but Orcs!’” (qtd in Birzer 127, no cite)

        Birzer, Bradley J. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-Earth. 1st ed. Wilmington, Del.: ISI Books, 2002.

    • NW,
      Those envirocrats have decided to deploy the EPA as a club to make certain that the species flourishing on wild game ranches in Texas are unprofitable to the ranch owners. The reality is that envirocrats would rather a species go extinct than to allow someone to make money off of it.

  6. “If the idea that Earth is already spoiled further permeates the general mindset,” the scientists worried, “monetary contributions to and efforts for conservation may seem futile to the general public, whose support is vital to conservation.”

    Now that sounds like genuine fear. Not sure why we need biologists to instruct us on how people’s framing of an issue can be a danger to its funding levels though. If you are fighting a battle over public perceptions, you probably aren’t doing science.

    • Fly anywhere in the world and you will see that humans are water hugging guardeners. The Floriculture industry in the US employs more than 2 million people and 150 billion in 2005.

      The amount of water you could save in the Southern States by simple changes in species planting would be huge. People will do good, if they have a way to do good.
      Want to keep something pristine? Buy a webcam lease on an airship industries blimp moving along the Antarctic coast, using the Pandora business model. Whale watching in the humpbacks breeding ground would also be nice, though hitting each one with a GPS transponder on a mini-harpoon and having collective sponsorship would be a better earner.
      Again, webcams on seal breeding grounds would sell, especially if you had a limited number of slots and charged more for where the Orca’s like to play and eat.
      People would buy rainforest plots if someone could work out how to have a webcam film it 24/7. Imagine having you own leased part of the Amazon as a screensaver. The locals job would be to fix the link when it went down.
      Getting hunters and fisher(wo)men to take control of huge swathes of government owned land would be the way to go. That is what Theodore Roosevelt had in mind when he preserved some 230 million acres (two California’s plus Ohio) as national parks, national forests, game preserves, national monuments and other federal reservations. He created the Forest Service and appointed renowned conservationist Gifford Pinchot in charge.
      Hunters and fisher(wo)men have a vested interest in both habitat preservation and improvement. They want to bring their grandchildren in 20 years time.

  7. This seems to me an acknowledgement that the conservation business can’t expand it’s fund raising revenue without redefining what conservation is. Redefine the market to be an expanded market, and you can grow your company’s revenue.

    Just like the ASPCA, revenue and public image is foremost for the big conservation groups.

  8. I watched part of the Amazon burn from horizon to horizon not very long ago.

    Governments either willingly supported the slash-and-burn efforts, or were powerless to intervene. This had nothing to do with the nation’s interest, the good of the people, or sound Policy.

    While it was ‘good’ for opportunistic ‘developers’ in that it allowed them to cheaply and quickly turn land to plantation or ranch, it was ultimately not the most beneficial possible use of the resources for the local economy, compared to a well-thought-out state plan.

    If you’ve read my disparagements of the horrible job state plans do of managing wealth, you must realize how little I think of the outcomes in the Amazon.

    It was an uncontrolled human enterprise too large and determined for better reason to overrule it, with inverted incentives dangling in the faces of people who had all the self-control and moral fibre of pirates, and not the Disney kind.

    I don’t speak as a conservationist, though I certainly have some sympathy with the precept of preserving so much for those who come after us to enjoy, harvest and benefit from as we may.

    I’m all about the enjoyment and benefit of the outdoors and ocean, fresh air and harvest, within those terms, and think the Market a great tool to help preserve that enjoyment for future generations, used properly.

    For all the claims of increasing forest cover, they’re not very honest if looked at in detail: new forest cover is often degraded scrub; reclaimed wilderness is generally the cheapest fill thrown on top of the cheapest cap in the shoddiest and quickest way, replacing valuable and diverse wetlands or precious marginland with homogeneous artificial plantations to hide the mess. It’s not legitimate to term this reclamation.

    Forest old and new, killed by the hundreds of thousands of miles by beetles, or host to aggressive fungi that wipe out multiple species across the food chain, or crawling with introduced invertebrates that shift New World bioms to strangely failing and contorted hybrids of indeterminate stability, cannot be equated to thriving natural ecosystems that evolved and succeeded from the time of the last ice age, or even longer ago than that.

    We can’t make the wind blow the way we want. What makes anyone think we’ll be able to get positive outcomes from biology?

    Higher CO2 shifts microbial soil life balance toward nitrogen depletion and more rapid growth of pathogenic myceliae. It takes intensive crop rotation and use of fertilizers to shift the balance back, and in the wilds long term soil death in arid and semiarid regions will in the long run dominate.

    So, sure. Learn from conservation if you like. Look at their photographs of what natural life is like. Read their studies.

    Because 13% of the land conserved might as well be none at all, for all the good it will do; you need 80% or more to hit critical mass, and an atmosphere that isn’t supercharging microscopic species that compete with us for plant nutrients.

    So in time, those photographs and studies will tell our descendents about their past, the same way as painted pottery tell us about life in ancient Rome.

    And just look at how much ancient pottery goes for in auctions.

    • When and if mankind comes to its end or is severely thinned out, new species will arise and the jungle will reclaim the land. It will work itself out, one way or another.

      • Uh.. yeah.

        I’m not sure I look forward to the day currency has a picture of a cockroach on one side, and some lower life form on the other.

        Some long views are sillier than others.

      • “One thing is for certain: there is no stopping them; the ants will soon be here. And I for one welcome our new insect overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.”

      • The inconvenient truth (for Hansen) about sea level rise. (Hint: It ain’t risin’.)

      • You think ants?

        I was thinking this is what Jim2 had in mind:

      • First they say we went to the Moon, and now this…’s-global-warming-endorsement/469366

        what is BartR, going to say next?

      • Problem, we have a Hansen.

      • alt, Houston, we have a Hansen.

        Don’t just do something, stand there.

      • You’re not appealing to the authority of ‘astronauts’ are you??

        ” We believe the claims by NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate changedioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change…”

        Ignoring the catastrophic sentence structure that reduces this statement to near-gibberish, I’d like them to refrain from making unproven public remarks that NASA has said ACO2 “is” having a catastrophic effect.

      • Alberts beaucoup
        Enabled Able’s
        Transmitted wisdom
        Of Ralph Mitchell zoo.

      • Michael | April 11, 2012 at 10:19 am |
        Hansen predicted Manhattan would be partially submerged by now and some bird species would be extinct. It doesn’t matter his comments weren’t’ peer reviewed. He said it and he works for NASA. You can quibble with this, but the blame for this sort of perception lies with activist climate scientists with a penchant for drama, but not for truth.

      • As usual, people conveniently forget the details; Hansen was posed a specific question to answer – if CO2 doubled in the next 40 yrs, what would it look like?

        But please, ignore that and just continue……..

      • Yes, Michael, your statement should be ignored!

        While doing research 12 or 13 years ago, I met Jim Hansen, the scientist who in 1988 predicted the greenhouse effect before Congress. I went over to the window with him and looked out on Broadway in New York City and said, “If what you’re saying about the greenhouse effect is true,is anything going to look different down there in 20 years?” He looked for a while and was quiet and didn’t say anything for a couple seconds. Then he said, “Well, there will be more traffic.” I, of course, didn’t think he heard the question right. Then he explained, “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water. And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change.” Then he said, “There will be more police cars.” Why? “Well, you know what happens to crime when the heat goes up.”

      • Reiss verified this fact to me, but he later sent the message: “I went back to my book and re-read the interview I had with you. I am embarrassed to say that although the book text is correct, in remembering our original conversation, during a casual phone interview with a Salon
        magazine reporter in 2001 I was off in years. What I asked you originally at your office window was for a prediction of what Broadway would look like in 40 years, not 20. But when I spoke to the Salon reporter 10 years later – probably because I’d been watching the predictions come true, I remembered it as a 20 year question.”

      • OK, adamsa99, it appears you are right about the 40 years, but Hansen is still full of it. His prediction still isn’t coming true. He is still a drama queen.

      • Shorter Tom;

        yes, yes, I had it all I wrong, but I’d read something that sounded like what I want to beleive so I did. Anyway, I don’t like Hansen, that still stands.

      • Oops! Wrong place.

        The inconvenient truth (for Hansen) about sea level rise. (Hint: It ain’t risin’.)

      • Tom | April 11, 2012 at 9:54 am |

        49/23,000 = Ratio of retired signatories condemning NASA to total employees and contractors working for NASA today. NASA was founded July 29, 1958.

        <<0.213% speaks for itself.

      • We already know you can’t ignore a consensus, Bart.

      • Still no sign of these “hundreds of scientists’ they mention.

        Hundreds of them…….but they disdain any argument from concensus.

      • Even after the bogus glacial isostatic adjustment, the sea level still won’t cooperate and display a global warming signal. (After all, the chart was intended to plot sea level, not global warming.) Warmists are now having to eat the crow WRT to the predictions of their models. See? It isn’t a communications problem, it’s a problem of nothing to communicate. I would like to see Judith open a topic on the cause and effect relationship between delta-CO2 and delta-H2O vapor.

      • Maybe a folded dipole antenna coupled to a tin foil hat would help the warmists detect the global warming signal.

      • FYI:

        Page 68: Ehrlich, P.R., and A.H. Ehrlich. “The Population Bomb Revisited.” The Electronic Journal of Sustainable Development 1, no. 3 (2009): 63–71.

        “Our group’s analysis of what that optimum population size might be like comes up with 1.5 to 2 billion, less than one third of what it is today. We attempted to find a number that would maximize human options – enough people to have large, exciting cities and still maintain substantial tracts of wilderness for the enjoyment of outdoors enthusiasts and hermits (Daily et al. 1994). Even more important would be the ability to maintain sustainable agricultural systems and the crucial life support services from natural ecosystems that humanity is so dependent upon. But too many people, especially those in positions of power, remain blissfully unaware of that dependence.”

      • As a Maryland grad, I consider Paul Ehrlich to be an embarrasment.

        If he truly believes the optimum population should be 1.5 to 2 billion, why is he still drawing breath? Could it be that he wants to be one of those couple billion and the hell with the rest of us?

      • Ehrlich(s) and Hansen – examples of great scientists. [/sarc]

      • “THIS is the forest primeval.”
        Evangeline – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    • Bart

      I ‘own’ a couple of acres of rainforest in the Amazon to stop the slash and burn, destruction by using this organisation

      It’s a dfficult balancing act to conserve whilst providing homes/jobs for locals. I’m not sure we are anywhere near working out how to square the circle

      • climatereason | April 11, 2012 at 2:29 am |

        Have you been to your acres?

        I imagine the carbon footprint of going there doesn’t really pay off, but I’ve been to your acres. Perhaps not your exact two acres. But the pilot on my last trip waved over at one section and lauded the project. He thought it was noble as all get out, and sincerely I don’t disagree.

        You know, it’s nice and all, but it’s also heavily poached for timber, subject to a rapidly shifting river, erosion, seasonal flooding, and the Amazon, it’s so huge someone could set up a ranch in the wrong part of the rainforest the size of Rhode Island by accident and authorities won’t find out about it until they get a shipment of two-year old beef, or so the pilot said.

        It’s not a difficult balancing act. It’s an impossible imbalancing show.

      • BartR

        No of course I havent been there. Trying to conserve these sort of habitats with all they mean to bio diodiversity is I think important, even if carried out at long distance and the habitats are disappearing at too fast a rate for it to be comfortable. Its spitting in the wind I know but what else can be practically done by the average person?

      • climatereason | April 11, 2012 at 5:04 am |

        ..what else can be practically done by the average person?

        When were you ever an average person, tonyb?


        Rewards are inverted in the Market. There is a specific disease causing specific symptoms. It has a specific treatment.

      • BartR

        Obviously I have the advantage that big oil pays me lots of money for my articles but other than that I’m ordinary. Will read the linked article shortly

      • BartR your 5.10

        Er…Bart, you do know who these people are don’t you? They are not independent analysts at all they are an arm of the UK govt whio have been set up to provide data that supports the UK climate change act

        ‘During the year, the Committee on Climate Change (the Committee) was wholly funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC),
        the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the devolved administrations’

        Having read thier report and their command structure I realise who many of them are. They have as much credibilty (on a report of this nature) with sceptics ,as the GWPF would have with you.

        I wrote an article on this very subject carried here last year;

        The economics are not the warm fuzzy ones depicted by the UK treasury. .As for actual temperature reduction that will be created by severe carbon cuts, I asked twelve of the leading climate scientists what it would be (just the sort of stupid thing I do)

        Even if all those committed to carbon reduction were to carry out their aims the changes would not be noticeable, measuring small fractions of a degree. The UK is carrying out a vast experiment on its citizens that will cause severe economic problems to many and severely restrict our movements and ability to live our lives.(air passenger Duty, Fuel Taxes, subsidies to green energy, regulations on buldings)

        I had been keeping up to date with the figures intending to write a follow up but I have other projects on the go, including a follow up to my article on Historic varations in Arctic ice. So I know you’ll be disappointed but you’ll have to wait for the real figures and not ones invented by the Govt :)


      • ‘The Plan of Progress’…, in the end to have circled all the Squares.)
        By being very circumspect about their true motivations.

      • climatereason | April 11, 2012 at 7:00 am |

        How strangely blinkered the European mentality about individual freedoms.

        When I’m critical of Dr. McKitrick’s statist ideas and methods, it’s not because I’m critical of Dr. McKitrick personally; it’s that he prefers to tax people and put money into general revenues for bureaucrats to spend under the direction of politicians or hand individual Commons over to corporate organizations wholesale for disposal at their leisure, while I prefer to keep money in the pockets of the owners by birthright of resources – people like me – all the people in the nation to decide on one by one under an undistorted system of incentives in the Fair Market.

        If your UK CCL is for distributing decision power to individual buyers, they’re not statists, regardless of who ‘these people’ are.

        There really is too much ad hom going on.

      • Re: climatereason, 4/11/2012 7:00 am.
        A.k.a. John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress. “Slough of Despond”

      • BartR

        i dont think you actually read what I said. I read the article FIRST, realised it was off by 180 degrees THEN looked at the data and the authors to see if I could find out why. Even such as Hansen and Trenberth write very interesting papers so you need to read the content first rather than look at the authors and then dismiss it out of hand.
        Having spent a very considerable time finding out my own facts and figures for two previous broadly related articles AND taken the trouble to ask practising climate scientists the end result of severe carbon reduction I am then entitled to point out the paper is full of flaws, and , as it turns out, is merely supporting the Govts own position on climate change.. Not surprising as they are in essence a govt dept.contracted to support the Govts decisions, which I didn’t know until I got to the end and started checking through the nature of the material.

        I dont know how on earth you ended up saying this;
        “If your UK CCL is for distributing decision power to individual buyers, they’re not statists, regardless of who ‘these people’ are.”

        Our market is hugely distorted by an over riding bureaucracy emanating from the EU and from Westminster. There is no question of the CCL trying to help individual buyers but merely reinforcing the Govt position which is coming under very severe criticism for a number of reasons, economic and environmental.

        Perhaps you might find it uxseful to read the article again with sceptical eyes, rather than taking it at its face value as being an independent report.

      • pooh, Dixie at 12.17

        Nice reference; Just a reminder to everyone about the ‘slough of despond’ courtesy of wiki;

        “‘This miry Slough is such a place as cannot be mended; it is the descent whither the scum and filth that attends conviction for sin doth continually run, and therefore is it called the Slough of Despond: for still as the sinner is awakened about his lost condition, there ariseth in his soul many fears, and doubts, and discouraging apprehensions, which all of them get together, and settle in this place; and this is the reason of the badness of this ground.'[

        Just for Beth-who owes me money for corkage and therefore warrants a high level of literary services- I would mention that there is a place in the UK called ‘Slough’ about which John Betjeman wrote this scathing poem in 1937.

        ” Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
        It isn’t fit for humans now,
        There isn’t grass to graze a cow.
        Swarm over, Death!

        Come, bombs and blow to smithereens
        Those air -conditioned, bright canteens,
        Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,
        Tinned minds, tinned breath.

        Mess up the mess they call a town-
        A house for ninety-seven down
        And once a week a half a crown
        For twenty years.

        And get that man with double chin
        Who’ll always cheat and always win,
        Who washes his repulsive skin
        In women’s tears:

        (remainder here)
        (‘The Office’ was also set in Slough)

      • climatereason | April 11, 2012 at 7:00 am |

        They have as much credibilty (on a report of this nature) with sceptics ,as the GWPF would have with you.

        Fair enough.

        You see, I’m skeptical of their ideas too, and the ideas of the GWPF (though in the case of the GWPF I’m forced to always expect mischief and deception, manipulation and malice in addition to possible incompetence), and, with respect, I’m skeptical too of your ideas.

        If it helps, I try to remain most skeptical of my own ideas also.

        I see you’ve done some work of your own to buttress your opinions; which, while it’s worthy in the practice of collecting ideas seems somewhat lacking in that crucible that burns off self-delusion, self-critical analysis.

        What tests did you do to prove your methods and logic valid? Did you apply them to a range of near parallels to see if any or all led to absurd conclusions? Did you confirm your methodology to past practices that have gained acceptance widely?

        For instance, I recall you using the Tata Steel example, expressing opinions that were popular in the media at the time, but which even a little research proved untrue. If wrong in one simple case, how much faith ought be invested in the complex structure built atop it?

        When I look at the UKCCC case (not the people — I don’t know them, and although their collective credentials appear infinitely better than mine, yours or the GWPF, I’m not really into argument from authority — and test it, I find it passes substantive tests of competency. For one, as I mentioned earlier, its results are stunningly similar to the outcomes of other independent works produced using alternate methods which were validated and verified separately.

        This _does not_ happen in your analysis, tonyb; the range of results in cases that argue great Economic harm, whether yours or G. W. Bush’s or any of the ones I’ve mentioned (except Lamar Alexander’s.. which turned out to disprove his claim of great Economic harm, and also is in broad agreement with the UKCCC results) is alarmingly broad. That outcome tells us the whole category is suspect.

        Only one of them could be right, and none of them validates and verifies independently. Their only argument for credibility is that all the other wrong guesses exist. Which reflects rather lack of rationality than sound logic.

        While a year ago the few people you spoke to weren’t in a position to offer you an answer that satisfied you about the benefits of reducing carbon emissions, I believe the evidence collected and better analyses done since that time may change your mind, if you’re sincere and open about evenhanded skepticism.

        Because I can think of nothing less skeptical than accepting wholesale the argument of known opportunistic profiteers that they ought be allowed to redouble their activities without question.

        If you don’t like your own government (and who does?), one invites you to consider the US CCL instead, or, as you’re European, I know you’ll think the ‘international’ version somehow better ( I’m not affiliated with them, either, so you needn’t worry about offending my feelings if you distrust them too.

      • BartR

        ‘For instance, I recall you using the Tata Steel example, expressing opinions that were popular in the media at the time, but which even a little research proved untrue. If wrong in one simple case, how much faith ought be invested in the complex structure built atop it?’

        I got their accounts and double checked with their corporate plans AND spoke to the Indian embassy. Perhaps things changed later as politics took over. Perhaps you would like to cite your source then I can double check?

      • Bart doesn’t like to provide any support for his ramblings. Obviously, he believes himself to be the end all and be all of climate science and policy.

      • climatereason | April 12, 2012 at 2:45 am |

        Nice deflection.

        We’re talking about how utterly invalid the accounting you rely on is, and you suddenly grasp on one tiny detail cited just as a trivial example of where you’ve had similar issues and start defending it because you talked to somebody at some embassy?!

        I’m afraid even my attention deficit dis.. Oh look, a puppy!

      • Bart R:

        You said “lobby.” And therein is the philosophical difference that divides us. I’ve also bought my little plot of rain forrest to try to conserve it–I put my money where my mouth is. But lobbying is behavior I’m trying to stop. I won’t put other people’s money where my mouth is, at least against their will and at the point of a gun. Today’s left is totalitarian, and that’s far more frightening to me than any threat to the environment.

        P.S. Yes, I know. The left has not cornered the market on coersion. That just makes my priorities even more clear.

      • BartR

        Sorry Bart, but your comment at 10.18 doesnt stack up at all does it?
        You made a lot of vague and non specific criticisms of my work but made only one specific comment that could be used as any sort of gauge to my accuracy. It was as follows;

        ‘For instance, I recall you using the Tata Steel example, expressing opinions that were popular in the media at the time, but which even a little research proved untrue. If wrong in one simple case, how much faith ought be invested in the complex structure built atop it?”

        When I challenge you on that sole specfic ‘fact’ rather than your general unsubstatriated and non specific waffling, you then back away, wave your hands and mutter that its only a tiny detail. Yes I agree, but its the only one we’ve got isn’t it?

        I think that my having tried to triple check that basic small part of the story is more than most people would do, but things move on and stories evolve. As I’m genuinely interested to correct any errors for future articles this is your opportunity to concentrate on the only substantive detail in your comment by providing a link to the facts on Tata as you believe them to be.

        Thank you in advance

      • Bart R

        Re my 12.09 in reply to your comments stating I was wrong about Tata steel-the only substantive comment you made in your waffly post of 12.53

        I said only this in my article of May 26th 2011-that you seized on in your reply to me and in subsequently making dismissive comments about me to Rob Starkey
        It was this;

        “TATA Steel is mothballing a steel mill, citing carbon taxes as one reason.”

        Here is the story from the local paper of 22 May 2011 citing local bosses;

        Here is the original bulletin issued by Tata themselves stating the reasons for the mothballing-dated May 20 2011

        this is a small part of the statement;

        “The continuing weakness in market conditions is one of the main reasons why we are setting out on this difficult course of action. Another is the regulatory outlook. EU carbon legislation threatens to impose huge additional costs on the steel industry. Besides, there remains a great deal of uncertainty about the level of further unilateral carbon cost rises that the UK Government is planning. These measures risk undermining our competitiveness and we must make ourselves stronger in preparation for them.”

        I checked this story at the time with the Indian Embassy and the newspaper and other sources. I was right. You owe me an apology

      • qbeamus | April 12, 2012 at 11:21 am |

        I have some sympathy for your position.

        If you oppose tonyb’s lobbying efforts, then by all means lobby against them.

        While I don’t think much of most lobbying, it’s a reality that those with the means will do it above or under the table. Far better it be done above the table, and far better it be opposed by people of good conscience taking their voices in the open to the arena of ideas by democratic means.

        As Pollyanna as my attitude is, I’m much more proud of it than I’d be of succumbing to apathy.

      • Over 80% of the Amazon basin is still rain forest. Drought has claimed more land in one year than deforestation activities by farmers in the same time frame. People there have a right to eat and make a living. Whatever the solution might be, people and their well being must be considered.

      • jim2

        I’m not disagreeing, which is why i say its difficult to square the circle

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      “Higher CO2 shifts microbial soil life balance toward nitrogen depletion ”

      The plants grow better and and make protein. Wow ! Sounds TERRIBLE. .

      • thisisnotgoodtogo | April 11, 2012 at 3:03 am |

        The plants grow better and and make protein.

        A bogus claim.

        1. The key to intensive agriculture is exploiting the dwarf variant of food crops, which forces most growth into the harvestable portions. The dwarf mechanism in plants is suppressed by increased CO2. They discovered this in greenhouses when they couldn’t figure out why pots containing what should have looked like bonsai contained monstrous giants bolting all over the place. Of course, it’s now a well-studied effect entailing several plant hormones either suppressed, enhanced or altered by the CO2 level.

        2. Study the effects of CO2 on plants — especially immature plants (every plant has to be young sometime) — and you’ll find it acts more like steroids do in athletes preteen athletes. Plants grown in high CO2 tend to be leggier with frankenbranches, more brittle, and though they have greater vigour in forming woody attenuated piths (cellulose, one of the indigestible proteins) also lose their frankenleaves sooner to premature age.

        3. If you have excesses of every other condition and nutrient beneficial to plant you can somewhat offset some of the plant hormone suppressing effects and get some real benefit in some cases. However, you also set up your plants to deplete the soil directly (, and your extensive application of fertilizer will require intense soil conditioning which has a long term effect of soil death. Unless a flood or drought beats you too it. And those are getting more common, too.

        4. But not to worry. Soil is alive. It’s full of microbes, from archaea (well, you prefer not, generally) to bacteria to fungi, microscopic plants and microscopic or tiny animals. Sometimes the soil microsystem acts like a wounded organism to heal itself and recover. And sometimes that healing flushes nitrogen out of the soil so fast that, like a fever does in a human body, the healing process burns out the soil and it dies.

        5. Sometimes — remember that CO2 hormone effect? — some species get overstimulated and run rampant, like weeds. Only they’re archaea (well, you hope not), or bacteria (some of which can be helpful in some concentrations) or fungi (many of which are comutual or saprophytic and generally helpful in moderation) or pathogenic fungi that eat living plant roots like parasites or disease – athlete’s foot for your trees, bushes and crops. Picture a return to the fun and frolic of potato famine.

        Sure, as a tool for greenhouse growers CO2 can be, judiciously applied, advantageous. Like any powerful hormone modifying drug.

        Without control, in the wild? That’d be like a street drug, except plants and soil can’t just say ‘no’.

      • Given all that, it’s amazing the Earth has survived ~ 700 ppm CO2 in the past.

        Using the stomatal index technique, the Campanian (Late Cretaceous) atmospheric carbon dioxide levels
        are estimated based on a sequence of fossil cuticles of Ginkgo adiantoides (Ung.) Heer. Ginkgo cuticles
        were sampled from 11 beds in the Taipinglinchang Formation at Jiayin, Heilongjiang Province, northeast
        China. In general, the regression function based results show a gradual decrease of pCO2 through
        Campanian with a background of w550–590 ppm. The new data of the Campanian pCO2 are more
        compatible with GEOCARB II model than those of GEOCARB III, although the new data have slightly
        higher values (30 ppm on average). A notable short-term carbon dioxide fluctuation (SCDF) is recognized
        in the upper Campanian (up to w690 ppm), and is followed by a rapid return to background values of
        w590 ppm.

      • Jim2,
        What is amazing is how tenacioiusly the AGW true believers cling to their apocalyptic crap.

      • Jim2 | April 11, 2012 at 7:21 am |

        Do you happen to have a map of the distribution of plants at your 700 ppmv era 70-84 MILLION YEARS AGO?

        North America and Eurasia were still one mass, as were Australia and Antarctica;

        Over a scale of millions of years, a whole lot of adaptation to change takes place. Something doesn’t need to be a the Permean Extinction to be a biotic crisis. Your argument is like saying “Meh, if it ain’t the Black Death, why worry?”

        Actually, it isn’t. You acknowledge by your logic nothing to express concern about ever.

        I express that prices in the Market will rise, and there will be economic uncertainty and downturn.

        See, we’re talking about different things. I’m trying to show options for a less miserable existence while maximizing utility; you’re indifferent to all suffering or utility.

      • But unfortunately, Bart, you beg the question. You have yet to prove that CO2 is a serious problem.

      • You think that food crops will suffer from an increase in a primary nutrient?
        You think that plant breeders and gene-jockeys will be powerless in the face of CO2 increases?
        You ever study any biology and ecology?

      • Well, he’ll be a Smokey Bear’s Uncle.

      • You think that food crops will suffer from an increase in a primary nutrient?
        We know food crops will become a) much more expensive to produce and will be b) less productive than otherwise.
        a) Increasingly extreme climate and shifting soil microbiota will require more water control measures and more soil conditioning by intensive working and fertilization — which will drive petrochemical prices increasingly, too in the triple-F syndrom (food-fertilizer-fuel);
        b) conservation agriculture will suffer diminishing returns under CO2 increase and the dwarf mechanism in plants will increasingly fail.

        You think that plant breeders and gene-jockeys will be powerless in the face of CO2 increases?

        Powerless? Well, see, CO2 is pretty fundamental stuff, it mediates most plant hormones at a hard limit. How much power would gene-jockeys have if the pituitary gland were suddenly forty to four hundred percent more active across every species on the planet? At the very least, it’ll be expensive.

        You ever study any biology and ecology?

        The question isn’t have I; it’s can you? I don’t care if you believe _me_; look for yourself and decide.

      • Bart – how about some links to support your case?

      • So, you don’t trust scientists who say we’ve got a problem but you do trust scientists to resolve that problem?

      • Jim2 | April 11, 2012 at 11:09 am |

        Bart – how about some links to support your case?

        If you could give me something more specific about the troubles you’re having confirming simple botanical facts, I’d be pleased to help you out a bit.

        I mean, I’ve provided a link in the body of my case, and from there it should be easy to find more with a little work on your part.

        It’s not like I haven’t posted similar items before, which accumulate several dozen references between them over several months.

        Otherwise, I’d suggest start with google, and ignore any link to WUWT, or CO2Science and the other Idsos sites.

        Jim2 | April 11, 2012 at 11:11 am |

        But unfortunately, Bart, you beg the question. You have yet to prove that CO2 is a serious problem.

        Indeed, no. I began from questions only, with no begging implicit or explicit. I don’t need to prove future CO2 is a serious current problem; I only need do, as anyone managing their affairs, is establish future risk to my interests, and what to do about it.

        Your error is demanding impossible perfection, to demand no one object to the actions you take until after they can establish ironclad proof of harm.

        I don’t put much effort into establishing that if you dress up in dark clothes and go play on an unlit freeway on a dark night you may experience harm, do I? Do you intend to go play in traffic?

      • Bart R

        Not really a “bogus claim”, Bart.

        Higher CO2 levels do result in higher crop yields.

        CO2 is not a “drug” for plants, as you incorrectly surmise – it is a basic plant “food”.

        There is every indication that increased atmospheric CO2 levels will be beneficial for most crops we humans depend on for life.


      • Max

        Where have you been-we were gewting worried…

      • Max

        Where have you been away from the battle?

      • girma and tony b

        I was busy on a project, but am back in action again. Thanks for your concern.



      • manacker | April 11, 2012 at 3:35 pm |

        Higher CO2 levels do result in higher crop yields.

        For some crops, at some controlled CO2 levels, with intensive application of fertilizer, until the soil dies from too much CO2 or is reconditioned at great expense.


        Are all signs that all things are bad? No, however ignoring the risks is simply not good economic sense.


        CO2 is not a “drug” for plants, as you incorrectly surmise – it is a basic plant “food”.

        Not, as you call it a “surmise”, incorrect or otherwise, but straightforward botanical metabolic fact.

        What’s the effective optimal concentration of plant foods, limiting to a range where the dwarf mechanism is not suppressed?

        CO2 ~300 ppmv air; (0.03%) (up to ~1200 ppmv with rampant hormone effects*, or 0.12%)
        Nitrogen ~78% air;
        Oxygen ~ 20% air;
        Nitrate Nitrogen ~200 mg/L water (20%)
        Phosphorous ~ 45 mg/L water (4.5%)
        Potassium ~160 mg/L water (16%)
        Calcium ~ 200 mg/L water (20%)
        Magnessium ~48 mg/L water (5%)

        It would be a surmise perhaps to conclude something about CO2 is remarkably distinct from everything else called plant food, on concentration alone.

        Dwarf plants are dwarf plants because they suppress gibberellins, the plante hormone that makes them elongate.

        All plants respond to higher CO2 levels by producing gibberellin hormones, much like a four-year old child would produce adult characteristics if given steroids.

        If you were planting dwarf crops on purpose, for example to increase produce yield relative to plant mass, well you’ve lost that benefit.

        CO2 is a ‘basic plant food’ at 130-300 ppmv. It starts becoming a plant drug past that level, and 90% of its ‘benefit’ by weight are obtained by 800 ppmv for most species.

        *Hormone effects? Change in plant sexual organs, reproductive success drops, elongated structures become measurable more brittle, leaves age at accelerated rate, eg.


        If you want to get the same benefits as CO2, it’s easy and cheap to apply auxins and gibberellins independently, without killing the soil, and in a way that won’t last hundreds or tens of thousands of years in the ecosystem.

        There is every indication that increased atmospheric CO2 levels will be beneficial for most crops we humans depend on for life.

        Be that as it may, those indications are accompanied by even greater indications that there is a point of diminishing returns in CO2 concentration to plants, and especially to soil, that even the most expensive and intensive agricultural methods will only somewhat blunt in crops where farmers can afford to do so; in the wild, untreated soils are shown to begin depleting in four years or less, and to continue in this trend in arid and semi-arid regions until dustbowl-like soil death.

        Your little cartoon daisy? It’s a drug addict, and it’s polluted.

      • Bart, I read your first citation at which has the conclusion:
        ” Rising CO2 is therefore likely to have complex effects on the growth and composition of natural plant communities”.
        My reading of it led me to conclude that there was a tremendous benefit to plants of all types to the increasing of atmospheric CO2. The author chose the above words out of extreme caution and wishing to further his research.
        I’ve always wondered why more research is not done in controlled spaces. I was very impressed with the Biosphere (in Arizona) and why botanical experiments have not been conducted there. As I recall, the Biosphere was constructed to isolate an environment which could then be used to replicate earth-like conditions that could be applicable to human space exporation. Such an experiment was conducted and ended when CO2 concentrations were deemed too high for human occupation, although the flora in the experiment flourished.

        Do you have any direct access to that multi-year study?

      • tekguyjeff | April 13, 2012 at 6:01 am |

        When you get to define ‘benefit’ however you like, then sure, whatever you want is a benefit, in some abstract sense where words mean nothing because they mean everything.

        If you want a benefit, pay for it.

        If you want to impose a risk on others, pay them for it.

        I think it’s worth reading up on the research that interests you. The one you ask about is one of about fifty reports of various quality exploring in more or less the same type of decadal span high CO2 outdoor experiments such things as soil impact. My recommendation is to contact the author for access, if you do not have full access. Check the citations for further information, and search Google Scholar for papers that have cited this one. The forest of botanical research grows pretty rapidly once you start looking.

      • Bart, I was reponding to your posted link. I confess that I do not have the knowledge you do- I was merely making a comment about your reference. Typically, responses to that sort of thing is ” go do your own research”, which implies that I have both the interest and time to do that research for the benefit of the protagonist.
        I am merely an interested Environmental Engineer (retired) with a curious mind. I do like to stay with technical aspects of things, as I detest “politics”.
        If you have a link to the soil harmful effects, please send it my way.

      • tekguyjeff | April 14, 2012 at 11:07 am |

        Alas; I used those links only as representations of the larger literature; when I do read whole papers, it’s invariably by access through the accounts at a library, and at this point in satisfying my own curiousity, I don’t especially make diligent bibliographic notes or download whole papers.

        I’ve found where access was restricted, that many times authors will not only share papers but also new or extended materials unasked. I know it sounds dismissive to say ‘seek for yourself’, but I’m simply not carrying out practices that make me a great source for whole papers.

      • tekjeffguy – the lack of links means Bart likes to express his opinion – but that’s all it’s worth – and that isn’t much.

      • Care to compare track record of links?

        The lack of supplying full paywalled papers on demand has more to do with the faults in the science publishing system.. which I like to express the opinion about that it is very flawed.

        There’s even some papers to that effect. Behind paywall.

    • If land is burning in a nation isn’t it the responsibility of that nation to react?

      This is your or my concern to deal with why?

      You wish to impose your will on all independent nations over what? Is there a list?

      • Rob Starkey | April 12, 2012 at 9:03 am |

        It’s a dispassionate observation; a collection of facts to support understanding of a more general principle.

        The Amazon burning program was an economic disaster, as has been well documented, as an example of a general precept in Economics. Opportunists by-and-large stripped out the value they could take, and ran with the cash, leaving the regions worse off than before. The rewards to actors in the Market were inverted, and destabilized rather than improved conditions.

        What Brazil did with the situation, I certainly didn’t stick my nose into.

      • Bart

        It was not a dispassionate observation, but quite the opposite.

        You clearly have strong opinions demonstrated by your comment– “it was ultimately not the most beneficial possible use of the resources for the local economy, compared to a well-thought-out state plan.”

        You, who I assume, are not a citizen or resident of Brazil have concluded that the citizens of Brazil have made poor decisions. At the end of the day, the fact is you have no standing in their decision process.

      • Rob Starkey | April 12, 2012 at 11:01 am |

        I also conclude from observation that Mars has two moons.

        Are you saying that gets my blood pumping too?

        They made decisions that were incorrect in a strict econometric sense. Acknowledging this observation does not interpose me into the decision process of that nation, any more than observing that in 2008 Germany lost confidence in its ability to sell steel finished goods, so cancelled orders for UK steel, leading to the Tata Steel issue means I helped tonyb come to his (incorrect) conclusions in May of 2011 about carbon reduction.

      • The perceived “correctness” of an economic decision can only be determined after the establishment of the goals for which the decision(s) were made. Decisions can be better in the short term and worse when evaluated over the longer term. If the decision makers only believed that the goals were to meet the short term objective then the fact that they had a negative longer term impact would not mean that it was a bad decision.
        What makes you believe that the decisions made in Brazil were bad from the perspective of those who made them? What was their goal?

      • Rob – How dare you argue with Bart. He and only he knows how the world should be run. Just ask him.

      • Rob Starkey

        BartR made an incorrect statement about me in his reply to you at 11.11. In case you missed it, here was my reply to him. He was wrong. I am sure he will apologise

        “Bart R

        Re my 12.09 in reply to your comments stating I was wrong about Tata steel-the only substantive comment you made in your waffly post of 12.53

        I said only this in my article of May 26th 2011-that you seized on in your reply to me and in subsequently making dismissive comments about me to Rob Starkey
        It was this;

        “TATA Steel is mothballing a steel mill, citing carbon taxes as one reason.”

        Here is the story from the local paper of 22 May 2011 citing local bosses;

        Here is the original bulletin issued by Tata themselves stating the reasons for the mothballing-dated May 20 2011

        this is a small part of the statement;

        “The continuing weakness in market conditions is one of the main reasons why we are setting out on this difficult course of action. Another is the regulatory outlook. EU carbon legislation threatens to impose huge additional costs on the steel industry. Besides, there remains a great deal of uncertainty about the level of further unilateral carbon cost rises that the UK Government is planning. These measures risk undermining our competitiveness and we must make ourselves stronger in preparation for them.”

        I checked this story at the time with the Indian Embassy and the newspaper and other sources. I was right. You owe me an apology”

      • Rob Starkey | April 12, 2012 at 11:44 am |

        The perceived “correctness” of an economic decision can only be determined after the establishment of the goals for which the decision(s) were made.

        And you read enough Portuguese to establish what goals were made for the decisions? Because the Brazilians who reported the goals to me uniformly agreed they got the opposite of what they sought.

        You’re raising an argument to frame me as some sort of interfering busybody out of pure speculation.

        Flat out, if you want to know what the Brazilians think of the thing, ask the Brazilians. If you want to know what the accounts books say about the thing, go check them out for yourself.

        In a strict econometric sense, turning a hundred thousand square miles of jungle into ranches and plantations that all go out of business less than a decade later and no one seems to be able to say where the money went is pretty much a no-brainer.

        climatereason | April 12, 2012 at 12:56 pm |

        Tata steel is yet another in a long line of examples of the weakness of your method, tonyb.

        Tata steel told a story. You believed it. You verified the story with.. guess who? People whose interests were served by you believing it.

        History, on this basis, is indistinguishable from fiction.

        Independent validation and verification on objective bases is required.

        Tata steel _says_ carbon controls — which their owners and the Indian government violently oppose out of narrow self-interest of parties in control — and the economic ‘unstability’ coming out of carbon controls was part of their considerations.

        Well, that’s pure crap. It’s a good yarn to spin, for a company that wants the narrative to read “government greens hurt business”.

        Looking at the decision without this bluster, Tata would _still_ have made the same choice in a cold second, due the drop in demand from Germany. It’s an inescapable business choice.

        Indeed, claiming _INDA_ is more stable than the UK?! In whose world could that even conceivably be true?

        Tata sold you a bill of goods. You were susceptible, because you wanted to believe it. That’s called a ‘prejudice’. It’s why history isn’t science, and Mosher can maul your conclusions based on history so decisively.

        Sure, history is some good for understanding the context of the observations; however, that presupposes capacity to understand the context. Which on Tata, you clearly failed to demonstrate.

      • Jim2 | April 12, 2012 at 11:49 am |

        Rob – How dare you argue with Bart. He and only he knows how the world should be run. Just ask him.

        If it were a two man race, and my vote were the deciding one, I’d vote for Mosher — with whom I disagree enormously on many points — over me, any day, to run the world.

        Though I could name fifty people ahead of Moster (sorry, Steve) in my preference, if I had to.

        The point is, I prefer if all 7 billion people were responsible for running the world. Or just responsible.

      • BartR your 11.04

        Sometimes a simple apology is the best answer instead of blundering in deeper as you are doing. In this case you were wrong about Tata but instead you are doing what sceptics are often accused of-weaving a conspiracy theory without any substantiation. .

        Within their accounts Tata cite the carbon tax as one of the reasons for their circumspection. The local paper-who had no love at all for Tata also spoke to a variety of sources and realised it was a fact. Instead, you want to believe your own version and cite Germany but don’t bring any evidence to the table. it may be one of the reasons-business is complex- but carbon taxes are a big factor in decisions being made in the UK these days and Tata are not immune from that important local factor.

        We have written into law a climate change act that compels busnesses individuals and govts to reduce emissions. The UK govt is assidously enforcing the law and this combination of a climate change law and its rigorous enforcememt is, i believe,unique by any nation.

        It has cosequences of costs, compulsions and targets and is setting an overall agenda that you have no first hand knowledge of.and which directly affects our economy. There are compelling reasons to change our fuel habits, not the least is that much of our energy supply is controlled by people who dont like us, but the way we are heading at the moment is naive, costly and ultimately will put us at a serious disadvanatage as an economic power.

        The day that Mosh can decisively maul the history I present will be when it fails to provide the overall context that is missing from so much of the climate science narrative.
        all the best

      • climatereason | April 13, 2012 at 5:34 am |

        Sometime look up the definition of “skeptic”, and show me where it says “believes everything said”.

        Maybe with your research skills, you can confirm how much in EU carbon credits Tata abandoned when it closed down its British Steel operations.

        Here’s a hint: mentioned in one of the links I supplied, Tata had enough that it was exempt from carbon controls on those operations. The heavily-subsidized British steel industry was in such rough shape that even the EU ETS scam wasn’t enough incentive to keep producing, in the face of loss of 80% of its contracted Corus steel sales.

        Tata’s ability to spin its carbon poverty resulted in the UK funnelling even more millions into Tata’s pockets this year. Gee, I wonder if your research can tell what possible incentive Tata may have had to lie about their reasons for business decisions? (Another hint. Two word phrase starts with “hand” and ends with “out”.

        The research skill to find only evidence that supports one side’s views is developed in your case to a remarkable degree.

      • Hi Bart your 10.16

        Good grief Bart, you are the master of the red herring aren’t you?

        i don’t know what you think those two links you provided actually prove? The second link in particular was laughably amateurish and festooned with highly intrusive pop ups that were very distracting and Ive no idea who wrote it. I think we can agree that International Business is complex and messy and I don’t doubt that complete books could be written about TATA’s machinations, which is why I said ‘one reason.’

        I note in the replies to the article that you claim some knowledge of Tata, but it was Barry Woods who provided the best comment at the time;

        Your comments gave me the opportunity to reread the article to which I note there was nearly 650 replies. Things have moved on since then, what with the continued downturn in the economy, higher costs, tightening of the carbon screw and our increasingly worrying energy situation. Consequently its probably time to revisit the subject which I would remind you was nothing to do with Tata and everything to do with trying to ascertain what effect we could have on temperatures if there was aggressive carbon cutting, as per this series of questions at the very end of the article. (It seems to be rather even handed and gives the lie to your accusation that ‘The research skill to find only evidence that supports one side’s views is developed in your case to a remarkable degree.’

        Questions; —–
        * Are we being driven by over zealous environmentalists who want to ‘save’ the earth at any cost?
        * Is this vast enterprise being promoted largely by politicians who see this as an excuse to raise taxes and exert more control?
        * Is it being driven by sincere people who have not been apprised of all the facts of the enterprise they are promoting?
        * Are Ed’s figures totally incorrect and we can actually have a much greater impact on temperature mitigation than appears to be the case?

        This is where readers of this blog can help, as the intention is to have a version two of this article that takes into account expert opinion. So I am asking this question of those able to make the calculations;

        Question: Temperatures are expected to rise by 3 degree Centigrade because of actions we have already taken. If the world collectively closed down their carbon economies what temperature reduction could be achieved?

        a) By 2100

        b) By 2200

        (Please describe your calculations together with caveats or provide a reference/link.)”


        I don’t believe I got any answer from you at the time Bart. Care to make the calculation now? The real world impact we can make frankly surprised me, which is why I increasingly object to being treated as a guinea pig by my government who hadn’t done the calculations either.

      • climatereason | April 13, 2012 at 2:40 pm |

        Why is it whenever I read you in this mode all I can think of is the old PR motto, “Act surprised. Express concern. Deny. Deny. Deny. Demand an apology.” It’s endemic to your writing whenever you get pulled off of your narrative, or it’s exposed for the fiction it is.

        Red herring?

        Dude, it’s the topic you not only chose, but insisted on, after being called for going off on this tangent and _remaining steadfast_ it was a key issue in your narrative. Protesting “red herring” now just looks hypocritical, with a hint of attention-deficit disorder. Either is beneath the standards expected, even for fiction.

        “The second link in particular was laughably amateurish”? Well, yes it is. You insisted on links. You insisted you couldn’t find any of your own while researching your story. You begged me for links.

        Beggars can’t be choosers. It took a lot of work to sort through the reams of publicly available steel industry, international business and industrial economics resources on the internet for something dumbed down enough to hit the level of reading comprehension of someone who couldn’t find better, more advanced evidence on his own in about four minutes.

        You don’t like it? Vai victis.

        You claim now, at this late date, ..we can agree that International Business is complex and messy and I don’t doubt that complete books could be written about TATA’s machinations, which is why I said ‘one reason.’

        One reason? You build your entire narrative on Tata’s lies. You said so yourself. Tata lied to spin its PR case. You bought into its lies for your own narrative reasons because the Tata lies leant support to your own fictions. There’s no other reasonable story one can imagine given your current story now for your story then.

        Tata’s only reason in fact for shutting down was it lost 80% of its contracted orders suddenly and without warning, on a plant that was a liability except for the substantial government subsidies and leverage in the marketplace afforded by practical monopoly power. Tata’s testimony to the press that the carbon controls worked against it were clearly ludicrous deceptions on their face.

        Such huge whoppers that not even a child would be fooled when told how much in carbon trading credits Tata walked away from.

        Tata makes two indefensible and easily dismantled claims (the second about the UK’s instability?! and you believed that too!?), which it spins until it obtains millions in government subsidy because of a government that has been convinced by arguments exactly like yours to hand out to Tata, effectively _paying_ it to emit carbon.

        Because some non-critical, unskeptical people will believe anything Tata says; because Tata knows how to play to unskeptical people’s prejudices for money. Because rent-seeking’s what it’s taken to make money for the past 40 years in the steel industry. And Tata’s been the most exceptional rent-seeker in the steel industry.

        Who you threw all your echo chamber weight behind.

        Speaking of red herrings, what does poor Barry’s scribbling have to do with anything? It’s a pretty narrative, utterly disconnected from fact or the topic at hand. Which is a recurrent them with you.

        As to your serial obsession with asking the wrong question in framing your story lines.. I’m glad to address the right question in its place.

        * Are we being driven by over zealous environmentalists who want to ‘save’ the earth at any cost?

        Really? You believe it’s even worth asking? We humans are driven by human nature. Something satisfies each of us. Something makes each of us miserable. What that something is for everyone could be different, and none of us is fit judge over all of humanity. However, the Market allows us to price each utility that addresses satisfaction and misery, so those with fair access can decide for themselves what each trade-off is worth. There’s no way in such a Market of democratic decisions for overzealous anything to drive us all, unless they have usurped the level playing field. Looking at Tata — clearly not an environmentalist of any stripe — and its manipulations of the Market, and you must come to the conclusion the fault is not in the few environmentalists, but in the many gullibly unskeptical storytellers like yourself.

        * Is this vast enterprise being promoted largely by politicians who see this as an excuse to raise taxes and exert more control?

        Oooo. Paranoid much?

        What’s raised more taxes than bailouts and subsidies? Certainly not anything I’ve endorsed. Remember my solution? Privatization, the thing that lowers the share of taxes in the economy?

        * Is it being driven by sincere people who have not been apprised of all the facts of the enterprise they are promoting?

        Wow. Pot-kettle.

        * Are Ed’s figures totally incorrect and we can actually have a much greater impact on temperature mitigation than appears to be the case?

        You keep confusing me for a warmist. I’m far more of a mechanist/bioist/capitalist risk manager. I’m not very impressed by your ability to handle the numbers you’ve been given so far, so without some acknowledgement you understand the Tata case, the difference between saying “80% loss of sales with no prospect for new orders” and saying “carbon taxes are spooky, make your government give us money,” and how wrong you were to confuse the one for the other, I’m really not feeling the mood to chase you down this dead end.

      • BartR

        “You build your entire narrative on Tata’s lies. ”

        Bart, come on, that is just plain silly. Entire narrative? Its a very very small part of the scene setting. The point of the article was clearly stated in the summary I gave to you, it was not remotely about Tata. It was about temperature reduction.

        .It is you who have gone on off will gooose chases trying to prove your point..When you make a claim as you did it is surely customary to cite a credible link to support it. Eventually you came up with something which wasn’t very good. Just look at it.

        You continually battle in an endeavour to prove yourself right when the article itself says that carbon taxes are but one reason for the mothballing. Not the sole reason. A reason. Which it was. Your point, if you ever had one, has long ago been lost.

        Hopefully we can have a more profitable and less acrimonous discussion on another thread.

      • climatereason | April 14, 2012 at 3:01 am |

        I stand corrected.

        One of the narratives you build, which is the same as all your narratives in that it draws to the same foregone conclusion, is built entirely on Tata’s lies.

        Your other fictional constructions are, of course, fabricated by the hard work you do scouring sources for material that supports the bias you bring to your story writing.

        My bad.

        Is such a poor reference?

        That’d be up to readers to decide for themselves, I think. Your focus on the cosmetic flaws of the other link.. also for readers to decide whether what you’re doing here pays attention to facts or to appearances.

        Tata lied. You focused on the lie and built it up. That’s what story tellers — or as you say it, ‘historians’ — do.

        Did you critically examine Tata’s PR statement for probity or motive when you ‘researched’ it? No. You confirmed the wording and that indeed Tata said it. Well, what people say isn’t always true, tonyb.

        I’m not trying to be acrimonious here. I genuinely respect your dedicated labours (see, I even use your spelling, out of regard for you) in looking for historical context and adding historical content to the records available. It’s painstaking work, and your results are often quite brilliant. (Myself, in your position, might focus more on Admiralty and insurance records for maritime weather conditions, but even so.)

        It’s just terribly frustrating to face accusations of wrongdoing and demands for apology as we talk past each other. I don’t deny Tata said what they said. I know what they said. I know a lot of what’s been said in the steel industry for four decades. Which is why I, and everyone else who bothers to acquaint themselves cynically and objectively with the subject, can spot right off where Tata lies.

        When you’re warned you’re dealing with confidence tricksters — which is a great part of success in the oversubscribed steel industry — and you insist on using the press releases of the biggest success in steel (look at the grants, subsidies, gifts and forgiveness, rules changes and favours obtained from government worldwide to Tata in the past 40 years) as gospel, there’s something wrong with your skepticism.

        I get that you don’t want to be fooled by ‘greens’. I’d hope you wouldn’t be so worried about being fooled by imaginary green goblins that you’d run to the welcoming arms of very real cheats and frauds and hand over your precious treasure and democratic free will to them. I’m trying to help you avoid that pitfall.

        But you have to abandon your fairytales if you’re going to be able to tell a ghost from a grifter.

        The question isn’t “will a low carbon economy lower the temperature” or whatnot. True or false, that’s nothing we can really do much about while we lead enchanted-forest politically naive lives.

        First we have to resolve the hard business questions of why would we want the playing field tilted to favour unscrupulous opportunists who take the money and run, leaving us with deception and bluster and empty pockets?

      • Honestly, Bart, I don’t know who you are referring to when you say “First we have to resolve the hard business questions of why would we want the playing field tilted to favour unscrupulous opportunists who take the money and run, leaving us with deception and bluster and empty pockets?”

        The Greens, especially the Green scientists working for the IPCC cabal, fit your remark nicely. Is that the group you reference?

      • Even more…

        “First we have to resolve the hard business questions of why would we want the playing field tilted to favour unscrupulous opportunists who take the money and run, leaving us with deception and bluster and empty pockets?”

        barter tomorrow, for Organic today.

      • BartR said at 9.20

        “The question isn’t “will a low carbon economy lower the temperature” or whatnot.’

        Er, yes it was Bart. That was PRECISELY the question, which you seem to have repeatedly missed. I know because I asked it as I needed the denizens help to check out some figures which seemed unlikely to me.

        The article wasn’t entitled ‘The machinations of Tata’ with reams of facts about them, despite your apparent belief that it was. I mentioned Tata ONCE in a qualified manner in a short sentence within a long article.

        Your apparent belief that the article wasn’t about ‘will a low carbon economy lower the temperature’ but about some other topic you invented, speaks volumes, as it has subsequently caused you to mount your high horse, hurl gratuitous insults at me and go off on your extensive wild goose chase.

        As you are obviously far more interested in Tata than I am can I suggest that you find an angle about them relevant to the readers of this blog and write an article to submit to Judith? I am sure it will be fascinating and perceptive.

        Let’s just hope that people don’t subsequently castigate you after reading things into it that were never there.

        Can we now return to a more civilised and sensible level of discourse?
        Thank you.

      • It’s not a question. It’s a tarbaby. You’ve grabbed hold of it, and now can’t let go even though you ought be able to realize it isn’t real.

        I don’t care what reason any free rider or Economics incompetent has for skewing the Market with inverted incentives. Left, right, anarchist, statist, anarcho-statist, big-government conservative, tax-and-spend libertarian, monarchist, religious zealot or otherwise, they all damage the mechanism of capitalism when they interfere with the individual democratic decisions of buyers and sellers. They all produce the same bad outcomes. The bad outcomes always inevitably outweigh whatever ‘good intentions’ they had.

        You can’t fix something wrong with the world by breaking Capitalism. You can’t fix capitalism by subsidy, command and control measures, favoritism or failing to privatize what ought rationally be private goods.

        Once you get the Market right, then you can begin to examine what else you need to do. Do you honestly think if people had always paid prices for steel, fossil fuels and biofuels actually based on the Law of Supply and Demand — which _would_ generate maximum utility to everyone and through efficiency and innovation be a more powerful and productive system than we have today — that GHE emission would be more than one percent of what it is now?

        And even if it were.. why’d an Economist get involved?

  9. phyllograptus

    The Rideau Canal in Ontario Canada is a world heritage site which is loved and admired for its beauty and “natural environment”. Yet it is a completely man made system. Imagine trying to do the environmental impact assessment to get approval to build the canal now. Wouldn’t happen & the loudest opponents would be some of the same people who are the most vocal supporters of the existing canal Nature is much more resilient than we credit it for. Also the current state of the environmentalists NIMBY attitude and Nothing Anywhere Ever and preference for some kind of frozen status quo are completely unrealistic. Development is necessary and will happen. Let’s just make sure we are reasonable and achieve it with the least impact that we can

    • phyllograptus | April 10, 2012 at 10:31 pm |

      Oh, you heard that CBC Ideas show too? Or was it the Stuart Mclean version of the story? I often listen to the propaganda arm of the Harper government while in Canada to try to hear that guy who skewered Billy Bob Thornton.

      One may think the Rideau Canal is an artificial construct that couldn’t be built now if subject to environmental review, but seeing as the Harper government just announced Canada wasn’t going to be doing any more environmental reviews on anything — in some cases turning over a stooge version of that function to the provinces (which is a lot like turning it over to Enbridge, except taxpayers still pay for the dog & pony show) that the federal level can then overrule ‘in the national interest’, in other cases like sea habitats, Great Lakes monitoring and the like simply shutting off all inspection, monitoring or reporting at all — it’s hard to see the merit of your argument.

      As a development economist, to me development is a necessary and good thing. If you believe Canada’s doing that any more, you’re simply gullible. Your country is run by opportunistic leeches.

      • phyllograptus

        Yes I heard the Stuart McLean story. However if you think the CBC is the propaganda arm of the Conservative Party, my how you do not understand ANYTHING about Canada. Just to hear someone suggest that the CBC and Stephen Harper were on the same side of an issue would cause a widespread group of heart attacks amongst ALL the Staff at the CBC, especially now when they are being laid off due to the Harper Governments funding cuts at the CBC. Harper and the CBC are truly like oil and water!

      • phyllograptus | April 12, 2012 at 12:11 am |

        Uh huh. It’s not Baron Gzowski’s CBC any more, pg.

        Not that I approve of a state-paid-for transcontinental communications monopoly at all, in any event. If the medium can’t survive, the model needs changing.

        But David Suziki’s practically persona non grata there, and has been for well over a decade.

        The CBC have been Harper’s trained lap dogs for so long there’s dog hair on the carpet.

        Did you not see them hatchet that poor centrist party, the Trudeau one, for their masters?

        Long gone is investigative journalism, independence and holding politician’s feet to the fire over notorious abuses and crimes.

        Did you miss Demon Coal?

        Do you not consider Rex Murphy’s pandering to all things Harper to be part of the CBC?

        Harper gives CBC management license to cut those who see things differently from Harper-appointed management, and you somehow think this makes his puppet less a propaganda engine?

        Canadians really are that naive.

      • ceteris non paribus

        Unfortunately, Bart is right.

        Here is the “new” CBC – no Africa bureau, no South American bureau, but this is hip:

  10. All this recent talk about the supposed Anthropocene sounds like a political effort to assign humans a larger effect on earth processes than we currently warrant. The International Commission On Stratigraphy defines geologic periods and there is no Anthropocene . What feature would define the beginning of the period?

    Here is their chart.

    • There are several levels. The Holocene is an epoch, as is the Anthropocene. The next level is the Quaternary Period which is characterized by ice ages. If, as is possible, we have had the last of those, this would also mark the next Period starting. The next level is the Cenozoic Era. If there is a mass extinction, the next Era would start.

      • The Anthropocene is not a epoch. The term hasn’t been accepted by the organization which defines such periods. They don’t willy-nilly give out names without explaining their reasoning. Look at the chart I linked above, there is also a link to a PDF version can be enlarged for better viewing. No Anthropocene to be found. That is why I said it appears to be an effort to assign humans a larger effect on earth processes than we currently warrant.

      • It is predicted to leave a mark in the stratigraphy, if only because the acidification of the ocean will change the character of the future sedimentary layers.

      • “acidification”? Sounds “basic” to me.

      • Jim D

        “It is predicted?”

        Let’s wait until it happens before changing the stratigraphy, Jim.

        And let’s not get overenthusiastic or pompous about man’s importance on our planet’s evolution.


      • Jim D,
        Please show us where the oceans are becoming acidic.
        Does AGW true belief corrleate to devestating brain injuries or what?

      • The anthropecene is a marketing tool to sell AGW and make it sound ‘sciencey’.

  11. peterdavies252

    I enjoy the outdoors and especially appreciate wildernessess that are untouched by human activity but acknowledge that such experiences are selfish in origin and adverse to the idea of sharing it with mobs of people.

    The necessity for wildlife parks to be managed, to the extent of culling in order for such parks to be rendered more sustainable in the longer term, does not sit easily with me because wild life have been managing very well far longer than the anthropocene and it is only because available conservation areas are very much reduced due to land use changes instigated by humans.

    I sense that the issue of conservation will one day replace climate change and AGW as the main topic of controversy between leftist green movements and the liberal progressives who both seem to want more and more government intervention in areas where such intervention may well cause more harm than good.

    • Considerate thinker

      I guess peterdavies252, it’s the amount of taxation that can be creamed off the top of conservation efforts that will be the make and break of government attention and eco tourism might just supply that taxation stream but then that, will only work if you free up the ability for visitors to easily and conveniently visit in gas guzzling planes and automobiles. Or will it be a virtual paid tour via the internet. The Municipal zoo of the future?

      • peterdavies252

        You are probably right Considerate thinker, in that the benefits of eco tourism will ultimately be limited in terms of net aerosol and other pollution effects on the net environmental budget.

        Most countries have unique wildernesses of their own well worth visiting by local populations rather than attempt to attract visitors from afar. The net environmental budget effect would be considerably less and at the same time provide a more edification for local populaces with appropriate encouragement to press for more conservation measures for the benefit of future generations in that country.

        The foreign tourist would not be all that interested in preservation of local environments.

      • peterdavies252

        And, as for internet virtual zoo tours, I equate such concepts on the same plane as pornography, its much better when you can eyeball it, feel it, hear it and smell it :)

      • peterdavies252

        And, even better in their natural environment!

    • thanks, peter, for an intelligent comment.

      i’ll add, one way to ensure a little untrammeled eden in which to hike ourselves around is 1) get rich 2) exercise a little caution in how we do it 3) be ready to pay the full cost, including carbon fee or whatever 4) acknowledge that sometimes local governments or private organizations will do a better job of providing the service than Uncle Sam or Uncle Nancy.

      • I should add that the Nature Conservance (TNC) for which Kareiva works has a history of doing just this, in some cases, and makes Kareiva’s argument for the organization’s benefit (fundraising pitch noted above).

  12. AND SO, it came to pass that trees, as it was discovered, are are a renewable resource and science sprang forth from this new knowledge.

  13. Heh, it’s all an artifact of the last climate regime, and struggles mightily to adapt to the next one.

    • John from CA

      …last climate regime — you mean the last “natural” regime?

      Human activity as the artifact or the religion that governed them prior to Newton and DesCarte?

  14. Michael Hart

    My first experience of shrill environmentalism came at high school in the 1970’s. One of them got themselves invited [how, I do not know] to angrily demonstrate her sub high school-standard science education to us for an hour in the library.

    Ever since that day, the high profile environmental movements have struck me as being dominated by people who have close to no vision about how to make the world a better place by innovation. Their first instincts are to control other humans by new laws and edicts. Their second instincts are to control other humans by new laws and edicts. Their third instincts…? I have yet to see evidence of any.



     Continuing man-made global warming fraud triggers a mass NASA rebellion. Rebels demand U.S. government pulls plug on the climate catastrophe cult. Dozens of top experts including astronauts and engineers trigger meltdown in American space agency.

    • peterdavies252

      While this post seems OT I consider that Judith may wish for this report to be the basis of a new thread. There certainly seems to be a significant list of dissenting scientists behind this.

    • Doug Cotton

      Agree that the “johnosullivan” report on NASA would warrant a separate thread here, provided our host agrees.. Can we get any independent confirmation?


  16. Is it possible that the term “Anthropocene” is one that implies things that just are not so, as well as a hubris that is unwarranted?

    • i think it is useful, but it can be abused, certainly.

      • The Anthropocene was when all the magnetic lines pointed to man being the center of the Universe. You could look it up.

      • abuse. QED

      • John from CA

        Anthropocene by E. Stoner: human activities that have had a significant global impact on the Earth’s ecosystems…

        If one was to make this Male and “magnetic”…. [scratches head]

        Care to list a few examples?

      • all is vanity

  17. I was quite the environmentalist and did really well while I was a Boy Scout. Then, after, I had to make a living and that was when all hell broke loose. I became (aghast) an Environmental Engineer – back in the days when that was not a popular term! Like all things, when there is too much of it, it becomes a polutant. And we measured things. With a new meter we could figure out that we had too much stuff. Too much oxygen in the air. Too much oil was taken from the ground. Too much food was being produced.

    To stop it all, our government stepped in and ruled with an iron fist. Don’t do this or that. And only give out permits when they felt like it.

    Nope, in my view, there are too many people on this earth and that must be stopped. They exhale too much CO2. Besides, what gives them the right to use up all of those resources for food and shelter? Limited growth is the next hurdle. After that, limited life! Let the world heal itself.

    • peterdavies252

      The sarc / tag is missing but the world will surely go on with or without humans as we know them right now! Past civilisations have come and gone and I am inclined to bet that Western civilisation will ultimately follow over the next century or three.

      Damned hubris!

  18. Anybody got ‘Anthro-obscene’ yet? Ignorant little critters fling poo instead of sequestering it safely at the lowest drainage.


    Whatever dangers environmentalists claim to find, their answer is always to denounce progress and to search for “nature-friendly” alternatives. If acid rain is supposedly destroying our lakes, they direct us not to neutralize it easily with some alkaline—but to shut down the factories. If topsoil is supposedly being eroded, they direct us not to invent methods of more efficient farming—but to stop harvesting the crops. If there is too much traffic, they direct us not to build better highways—but to stop making cars. Whatever the alleged problem, their incessant “solution” is: de-industrialize.

    Environmentalists do not want to promote human happiness, or even the “happiness” of other species. Those who are callously indifferent to the millions of people who die annually because DDT has been banned will not be moved to moral outrage at the “injustice” of spotted owl losing its nest. What environmentalists desire is not the welfare of the non-human—but the misery of man.

    There is only one practical way of fighting environmentalism: by morally defending man. What needs to be upheld, proudly and unequivocally, is the principle that there is no value in nature apart from that which is of value to man, which means: there is no “environment”—other than the environment of man.

    The men who live by that premise—the men who make civilization and progress possible—are choking on the philosophic pollution of environmentalism. They need to be freed from the suffocating clutches of the worshippers of a virgin earth. They need to breathe air—the liberating air of industrialization. They need be left free to produce—to continue creating the magnificent abundance that has lifted humanity out of the caves and jungles of the pre-industrial era. And who are the individuals? Everyone who understands, and glories in, the fact that man lives by reshaping nature to serve his values.

  20. The most interesting thing I see in this is the viewpoint attributed to Kareiva’s book –> ‘that the pre-human state of the world should no longer be viewed as the ‘natural’ baseline.’ Anthropologists and ecologists have known this for years but somehow the idea just never makes it past the deeply embedded paradigms of the Victorian Noble Savage, Goddess Earth, and Paradise Nature.

    Anytime Man has occupied a geographical area, he has changed the environment to his use and advantage as much as possible–often with disastrous unintented results, such as the denuding of a vast portion of the Middle East by overgrazing by sheep and goats.

    Evidence points to a Yucatan rainforest that was hugely modified by the Mayans — what we see today is not its ‘natural state’ at all, but a dengenerated planned and farmed forest.

    Hurray for Kareiva and his willingness to state the obvious. Having done so, he has revealed a way forward for sensible conservation.

  21. John from CA

    Very interesting post and potentially beneficial if Boards of the Environmentalist organizations as well as government take the meaning to heart.

    There has always been the potential for insightful solutions. It simply requires open minded leaders and insightful industrial design and engineering. It would also be helpful if the EPA exercised some common sense.

    No one honestly cares if environmentalists wish to set each others hair on fire and spin in circles chanting the sky is falling. Its only when someone takes it seriously and acts on it that the problem begins. Unfortunately, government is fostering the problem.

    California’s AB32 legislation and Cap-and-Trade program are a good example. AB32 is painfully out of date and the Cap-and-Trade program will accomplish next to nothing. CA Cap-and-Trade will spend over $410 Billion to reduce warming by less than one thousandth of a degree F. A complete and tragic waste of resources which could be dedicated to something insightful.

  22. Fred from Canuckistan

    Careful Judy . . the Eco Nutters don’t like people who tell the truth, who break the code, who slag gaia.

    If you are not with them, they’ll be after you for heresy.

  23. Ted Turner
    Daddy Greenbucks
    How green is his wallet? Environmental groups refuse to criticize the ranching and land-management practices of billionaire Ted Turner because his foundation gives millions to their cause

    Billionaire media mogul Ted Turner has pursued his stated goal of saving the environment by purchasing a good portion of it — 1.8 million acres in 10 states, making him the largest private landowner in the United States. His 20 ranches and other properties cover more than 26,000 square miles in Montana, New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas, Florida, South Dakota, South Carolina, Georgia, Colorado and Oklahoma, as well as Argentina.
    But neighbors and other critics say Turner has an odd way of demonstrating his concern for nature on his own land:

    The Green Agenda

    “A total population of 250-300 million people,
    a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.”
    – Ted Turner,
    founder of CNN and major UN donor

  24. Privatizing the “Environment” in order to “Save” it.

    Privatize the Amazon rainforest says UK minister
    October 1, 2006

    At a summit this week in Mexico, David Miliband, Britain’s Environment Secretary, will propose a plan to “privatize” the Amazon to allow the world’s largest rainforest to be bought by individuals and groups, according to a report in The Telegraph newspaper online.

    Amazongate II – Seeing REDD
    The Amazon – a “green gold-rush”
    The WWF and other green campaign groups talking up the destruction of the Amazon rainforests are among those who stand to make billions of dollars from the scare. This “green gold-rush” involves taking control of huge tracts of rainforest supposedly to stop them being chopped down, and selling carbon credits gained from carbon dioxide emissions they claim will be “saved”.
    Backed by a $30 million grant from the World Bank, the WWF has already partnered in a pilot scheme to manage 20 million acres in Brazil. If their plans get the go-ahead in Mexico at the end of the year, the forests will be worth over $60 billion in “carbon credits”, paid for by consumers in “rich” countries through their electricity bills and in increased prices for goods and services.

    The Corporate Capture of the Earth Summit

    The business vision of this “new” path still centers around economic growth, with free trade and open markets as prerequisites. Meanwhile, business leaders envision linking environmental protection to profitability, through a system in which all of nature is priced and patented. This is “sustainable development” according to the global corporations. And in Rio, UNCED – made up of representatives of virtually every government in the world – came close to adopting this vision of free market environmentalism as its own.

    Maurice Strong: businessman as environmentalist

    The choice of Maurice Strong – a multi-millionaire Canadian businessman with interests in oil, real estate, mining and ecotourism – as UNCED Secretary-General was an early sign that the business perspective would have extraordinary clout at UNCED. In his opening speech to an UNCED preparatory conference in New York, Strong laid his philosophy on the table and called on UNCED to be compatible with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), an international trade agreement which emphasizes open markets and is strongly supported by internationally oriented companies. This emphasis on free trade is embodied in Principle 12 of the Rio Declaration and allows GATT to cast its shadow over UNCED. As Kristen Dawkins of the Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy says, “UNCED has bought the TNCs’ plan for free trade to reign supreme over environmental protection in the New World Order. Principle 12 has the power to render environmental agreements moot.”
    Strong never denied close links with business during the UNCED process. At one meeting in Rio, he responded to criticism of this special relationship by saying, “How can we achieve [sustainable development] without the participation of business?”

    The Merchants of UNCED
    “The environment is not going to be saved by environmentalists. Environmentalists do not hold the levers of economic power.”
    -Maurice Strong, UNCED Secretary-General

    “We believe there must be further development in the whole world. We need growth to overcome inefficient behavior. It is an apparent paradox but I think once you understand what it means, you’ll find out that it’s true.”
    -Stephan Schmidheiny, chair of the Business Council for Sustainable Development

    RIO DE JANEIRO – Confronted with the avalanche of green rhetoric that fell upon the Earth Summit, it was easy to lose sight of the fact that United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) Secretary-General Maurice Strong and his leading collaborator, Stephan Schmidheiny, chair of the Business Council for Sustainable Development, are businessmen first, environmentalists second. Their grip on the helm of the UNCED process culminated a decades-long evolution in their careers, a path that led through such grimy industrial landscapes as the oil fields of Canada, chemical waste sites in Nova Scotia and the steel mills of Chile. It included tenure in the executive suites and boardrooms of some of the world’s largest banks and corporations.
    These two merchants have left an unmistakable philosophical mark on the UNCED process, one that transcends both logic and the historical record. Despite its leading role in trashing the natural environment, big business, Strong and Schmidheiny insist, will prove the earth’s salvation. And despite the fact that two of the only hedges against corporate rapaciousness have been national borders and government regulation, they claim it is precisely the elimination of these battered bulwarks that will lead to the garden of Eden. Skepticism, it seems clear, is warranted.

    Sustainability Pioneer Sentenced to Prison Over Asbestos

    Schmidheiny is also the founder of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, which provides a forum for 200 member companies with combined revenue of more than $7 trillion “to develop innovative tools that change the status quo,” according to the website of the Geneva-based group. He founded the council after Maurice Strong, then secretary general of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, appointed Schmidheiny as his principal advisor on business and industry “to represent the voice of business” at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
    The council, which claims to have created the term “eco-efficiency” in 1992, has published a vision for 2050 that urges companies to incorporate the costs of externalities such as carbon and water into the marketplace and to halt deforestation. The group will participate in the Rio+20 sustainable development conference that will be held the third week in June.
    Schmidheiny’s books include Walking the Talk: The Business Case for Sustainable Development, coauthored with former DuPont Co. Chief Executive Officer Charles Holliday and former Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chairman Phil Watts.

    • Brent,

      Doesn’t this work only if nations establish cap & trade laws? You won’t see the US doing so anytime soon. Who cares if WWF or any other group uses private money to buy land for conservation purposes, so long as they have no mechanism to recover money from public sources?
      Actually, I can answer that. Who might care are the people who lose opportunity to to improve their condition by making use of the land. Still, if private capital wants to buy land to to conserve it, I generally have to support it.

      • @timg56

        While Cap and Trade is on the backburner in US, it is not in Europe, and I wouldn’t bet that it is a dead issue over a long term horizon.
        This agenda involves dispossessing small landowners under the guise of biodiversity etc, so land can be snatched up (in US for example) by Ted Turner Foundation or Nature Conservancy under the guise of “conservation”. It’s useful to question on whose behalf exactly, is it purportedly being conserved
        Think how one would feel if one loses use of one own property rights because of a sainted Jefferson Salamander or some such.
        Examine the “concept” of the “willing seller” and consider the tax advantages for the big foundations for example.
        I’m in Eastern Ontario , Canada
        People get upset justifiably as per links below

        And this is why. A2A is the BioRegion where I live

        So the “arbitrary” schemes of the conservation biologists can be achieved, smallholder private property rights must be trampled.

        all the best

  25. Willis Eschenbach

    My favorite line in the article?

    Kareiva is also a giant among conservation biologists. Inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences with Al Gore and Spike Lee …

    Were it not for the fact that it’s posted here, I would have stopped reading right there. But I still wasn’t all that impressed.

    Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s great that someone important like him finally noticed that orangutangs were dying, not because of the loss of the forests, but because they are being hunted for bushmeat. Full points for the conclusion.

    But my goodness, to just notice that in 2012? For shame. Anyone but the leader of a major conservation organization noticed that decades ago.

    I don’t mind some idiot coming late to the party. I do object when he wants to take credit for having invented the party … what he describes as great breakthroughs, like animals being killed for bushmeat, he of all people should have seen decades ago.

    So yeah, it’s good he’s saying it, but its depressing that it has taken so long …


    • Willis

      What do you think of my empirical GMT model =>

      I believe it can be used to predict the GMT band at least for the next couple of decades.

      Do you agree?

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Doubtful. Nature is full of cycles that appear and disappear. That’s what makes predicting the weather so hard, much less the climate. But all of this is way off-topic.

    • Does anyone have the text of this presentation by George Carlin on the Environment?

      If not, I will write the script and distribute it.

      It is such a gem.

    • George Carlin on The Environment

      See, I am not one of these people who is worried about everything. You get people like this around you, countries are full of them now. People walking around all day long, every minute of the day, worried about everything. Worried about the air, worried about the water, worried about the soil, worried about insecticides, pesticides, food additives, carcinogens. Worried about …gas, worried about asbestos. Worried about saving endangered species.

      Let me tell you about endangered species. Saving endangered species is one more arrogant attempt by humans to control nature. It is arrogant meddling. It is what got us in trouble in the first place. Does not anybody understand that interfering with nature?

      Over 90%, way over, 90% of all the species that has ever lived on this planet, ever lived are gone, they are extinct. We did not kill them all. They just disappeared. That is what nature does. They disappear these days at the rate of 25 a day. I mean regardless of our behavior, irrespective of how we act on this planet, 25 species who are here today will be gone tomorrow. Let them go gracefully! Live nature alone! Have not we done enough? We are so self important, so self important. Everybody is going to save something now: save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails.

      And the greatest arrogance of all, “save the planet”! What? Are this f….ing people kidding me? Save the planet? We don’t even know how to care of ourselves yet.

      We haven’t learnt how to care for one another, we are going to save the f…ing planet? I am getting tired of that shit, tired of that shit, tired.

      I am tired of Earth Day, I am tired of this self righteous environmentalists, these white burgoo liberals who think the only thing wrong with country is there are not enough bicycle paths. People who try to make the world safe for their Volvos.

      Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. They don’t care about the planet. Not on the abstract, they don’t. You know what they are interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They are worried someday in the future they might be personally inconvenienced.

      Narrow un enlightened self interest does not impress me. Besides, there is noting wrong with the planet. Noting wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The people are f…ed. Difference. Difference. The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here for 4 and ½ billion years.

      Do you every think of the arithmetic? Planet has been here 4 and ½ billion years. We have been here what? A 100000, may be 200000? And we have only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over 200 years. 200 years versus 4 and ½ billion, and we have the conceit to think that somehow we are a threat? That somehow we are going to put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that is just floating around the sun?

      The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kind of things than worse than us. Been through earth quakes, volcanoes, plate tonics, continental drifts, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles, 100000 years of bombardment by comets, asteroids, meteorites, world wide floods, tidal waves, world wide fires, erosions, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages, and we think some
      plastic bags and Aluminum cans are going to make a difference?

      • This just in…

        Elm says:
        April 12, 2012 at 4:04 am
        This monkey business about anthropogenic (human caused) global warming, from its inception, has been little more than an engineering of scientific pretext for extortion & control. Indeed, as Charles Walters explains in his Foreward to the 1893 Bread From Stones, rising CO2 preceed a cooling, not a warming. Rising CO2 levels are caused by a demineralization & sterility of soils, which leads to higher CO2 levels, also activating the techtonic system which is self-regulating. As would be the case in most Corporate ways of doing things — “strip” mining & “clear” cutting, large scale Corporate farms also “strip” mine soils robbing them of a capacity to support life. Corporate farming practices, if one can even call it farming, are anathema to good agriculture.

        & simple too.

  26. Nature’s Landlord
    The story of the world’s most powerful environmental group, The Nature Conservency. By Tim Findley

    Where The Wildlands Are

    Taking Liberty

    September 19, 2008: 4:57 PM EDT
    All of the world must learn to make do with less, he argues. “There simply are not enough energy resources to allow the world’s entire population, or even the third of it represented by the Chinese, to lead the resource-intensive lifestyle that Americans currently enjoy,” Paulson says.

    Paulson’s an environmentalist – he is the former chair of the Nature Conservancy and the reason why Goldman Sachs, under his watch, became the first investment bank to call for federal regulation of greenhouse gases

  27. In recent weeks WUWT has ramped-up its censorship levels … they now block any substantial reference to the existing scientific literature. Here’s a sample of a recent WUWT deletion:


    Folks here at WUWT (and Willis Eschenbach in particular) seem to be unaware of an article that NASA’s James Hansen wrote titled Enchanted Rendezvous: John C. Houbalt and the Genesis of the Lunar-Orbit Rendezvous Concept (Monographs in Aerospace History, Series 4, December 1995).

    Fans of the history of science and engineering will find plenty of lessons in Hansen’s article that are relevant to climate change. And you can bet too, that present-day NASA’s administrators haven’t forgotten the lesson that Houbalt and Hansen both preach. And even folks who disagree with Hansen’s climate analysis will find that he does a terrific job of analyzing the processes by which NASA (at its best) reliably makes technical choices that lead to success, rather than disaster.

    NASA/Hansen’s Simple Lesson: Nothing good comes of NASA administrators and astronauts over-ruling NASA scientists and engineers.

    Just ask the Challenger astronauts, and the Apollo 1 astronauts, and the NASA administrators overseeing those programs, about the catastrophes that have followed when NASA administrators, and NASA professional discipline, bowed to the pressures of politics, schedule, and budget.

    It’s significant too, that of more than 300 NASA astronauts, only seven signed the letter. The rest of the astronauts used common sense: Muzzle individual scientists? Bad idea. Because very many scientists agree with Hansen. Does NASA want to be in the business of censoring scientists and engineers en masse?. Muzzle selected ideas? That’s a bad idea under all circumstances. And its a *worse* idea when NASA administrators are the ones selecting the ideas to be muzzled.

    Bottom Line: Quite properly, NASA will do nothing to muzzle its scientists and engineers.

    • That would be James R. Hansen, Alumni Associate Professor of History and chair of the Department of History at Auburn University.

      • Jim2, your post is entirely in the right, and I stand corrected … NASA’s James E Hansen and the historian James R Hansen are two different people … who have in common only their shared name, and their shared appreciation that no good comes when administrators and politicians seek to over-rule and muzzle scientists and engineers.

      • Bob,
        Does the historian’s article mean that NASA will stop censoring skeptics?

  28. There’s a lot in nature that has been “overlooked” …

    On Joseph Postma’s thread, Tim Folkerts said (my bold) …

    So if we see a collection of photons with “bites” in the CO2 bands (as is indeed seen from satellites), we can surmise that there is cool CO2 in front of a warmer material.

    He was citing a well known fact in spectroscopy that we only see evidence of absorption when the gas in front is cooler than the source of emission. As soon as the gas is warmed above the temperature of the emitter it ceases to absorb the radiation

    This is just like a region on the Earth’s surface which, if warmer than some region of the atmosphere, will also not absorb radiation from that cooler region. It does not reflect it either. The radiation undergoes what physicists are now starting to call pseudo scattering. It has to do this, because this is the natural process by which nature ensures that the Second Law of Thermodynamics (SLoT) is upheld when radiation goes from cold to hot bodies.

    This pseudo scattering (or what I have previously called resonant scattering) does in fact involve a resonating process and is thus quite different from reflection, even though, energy-wise the end result is the same. During the resonating process the energy from the electromagnetic radiation is used by the target instead of its own thermal energy. But such energy goes straight into new radiation (making up a part of the target’s S-B quota) which is identical to the incident radiation in both frequency and intensity, although scattered in direction. This is why it is called pseudo scattering because it looks just like diffuse reflection.

    The important thing is that the energy at no stage gets converted to thermal energy. If it did, then that thermal energy could transfer to some other body by conduction or other sensible heat transfer mechanisms, rather than only by identical radiation. So no thermal energy is deposited in the target (and the SLoT is not violated) but the target does cool more slowly because it didn’t have to convert some of its own energy in order to produce that portion of its radiation quota.

    There is no indication anywhere that the IPCC are aware of this process of which I’m sure Joseph Postma is, because it has been well explained by Prof Claes Johnson and others in internal correspondence to which I am a party. The IPCC energy diagrams clearly imply that the energy in backradiation is converted to thermal energy in the surface, but, as indeed was originally thought by the early physicists like Boltzmann and Planck, the IPCC think compensating radiation in the other direction somehow has a “net” effect. The only trouble is, the energy may not go the other way by radiation at all, and it doesn’t have to go anywhere immediately. What if it warmed a layer of water just below the surface? Well, it can’t, because no such radiation penetrates even a millimetre into water because it is scattered at the surface.

    The same thing actually happens to the low frequency radiation in your microwave oven. It is not absorbed at the atomic level in any target, even water. Instead is is scattered by the hydrogen and oxygen atoms (unlike sunlight) but it resonates with whole water molecules. This happens only within a certain narrow range of very low frequencies (in which each photon has very low energy) and it causes the water molecules to “snap” through 180 degrees in synch with each half wavelength passing by. This generates thermal energy by friction and so the process is nothing like the warming caused by the Sun. That is why most other matter is not warmed in a MW oven, unless it contains water molecules which can then get warmed themselves and transfer thermal energy by conduction.

    So, both spectroscopy and microwave ovens confirm what I have been saying this last year or so, that radiation from a cooler source (recognised by the shape of its Planck curve) does not transfer thermal energy to a warmer target.

    The effect that such radiation has on the rate of cooling of the warmer target depends on both the temperature of the source and the number of frequency bands within that radiation which can resonate. (This is explained in more detail in my paper.) If it does not have a full distribution under its Planck curve (but just a few spectral lines as for a specific gas) then it is very ineffective in that role of slowing radiative cooling. Of course other sensible heat transfers and evaporative cooling rates are not slowed, and do in fact speed up to compensate, resulting in no net slowing of the overall rate of cooling of the Earth’s surface.

  29. ‘Priscilla Feral of the Desert.’ … Sounds like a good movie.

  30. Tonyb @11/12 2.o1:
    Your poem about slough made me fall into despondency.

    Tony, I do not owe you corkage.
    ( Remember, you lost a colony over a tax. No taxation without representation.)

    • Those American ingrates just didn’t want to pay the price of colonial security.

  31. I’m surprised that people are treating these ideas as new. They were articulated very nicely in 1998 in the sixth chapter (“Creating Nature”) of Virginia Postrel’s The Future and its Enemies. Ecologist/conservationist Daniel Botkin was an early influential proponent as well.

  32. It’s always made me laugh the way environmentalists sob over the Amazon. The people and government of Brazil have done a far better job of preserving this wilderness than any industrialized country has over their own. From memory 40% of the forest is already under some form of protection.

    We need to get a movement together with the slogan of “Hands off the Brazilian Rainforest” Not aimed at the logger but environmentalists.

    Of course 60% remains unprotected, I expect given the direction most are going on conservation that more will get protected in the years to come. I also expect that the growing Brazilian nation will want to exploit some of that valuable natural resourse so large tracts will disappear in the years to come as well. The people of Brazil will hopefully get richer on the back of that. And after all that we’ll likely have a changed but still wonderous rainforest, the earth will still be spinning and the sun will still be rising ever morning.

  33. Kim@11/12 10.38pm:

    The see-saw of history, power versus ingratitude.

  34. Buy reserves. I mean, this is startegy that dutch conservationists did, they pretty much bought the best remaining natural reserves, thus preserving the last bits of wildernis.

    WWF and Greenpeace spend a whole lot of money on.. on what i am not even sure. They should stop that and use that money to buy ecological interesting parts of the world.

    • I’d like to add that nature indeed is resilient, and that is exactly why one should buy land. Old cut-over peat bogs looked like dead plains. But when they were bought, they could be rewetted and lo and behold: The system restarted itself. This is exactly how one should think. On could imagine buying logged rainforest grounds, and let the forest regrow.

    • What a fantastic idea!!!……..oh wait, they already do.

      “The 32.7 hectares of land surrounding Sekania beach was purchased by WWF Greece in 1994 as part of the ACNAT E.U./WWF-Greece Integrated Ionian Project. The 600 million drachmas (approx. 1.5 million euros) for the land purchase came from both this project and funds raised through a three-year Pan-European campaign run by WWF Greece. The aim of the land purchase was to secure the conservation status of the area through the aversion of tourist development and the implementation of management measures…….”

      Try to keep up.

      • Yes, I know. But I mean thousands of hectares rather than 32. WWF shuns owning land, unlike for instance the socalled “landschappen” of the Netherlands. The size of their lands they own is ridiculously small compared to the size of their funds. To compare, Brabants Landschap, an organisation working in an area the size of one sixth of Maryland owns 1500 hectare of land.

        And we all try to keep up. No need for such a remark, sir.

      • I am sorry, that should have said 16500 ha of land.

      • 32 hectares is a wee bit more than 0.1 sq. miles.
        Please tell us more about how WWF is saving the world environment.

      • The point is hunterm they were doing this 20 years ago, as have been a range of other environmental groups.

        You’re very late to the party; a black tie affair……and you’ve come dressed as bozo the clown.

      • Michael,

        Two things. Firstly, how much land does the WWF own now? I mean, in 20 years they must have aquired a huge area of rainforest, considering the funding they have. The point is, they haven’t. (If they do have large
        areas of wildernis they make a very large and successful effort to hide it)

        Next to that I would like to ask to refrain from remarks that are meant belittle others. It serves no purpose whatsoever

      • As i said there are a range of enviro groups.

        I’m a member of one in Oz (AWC) – ‘we’ have purchased 6 million acres of threatened habitat.

        Other groups make progress via different means – political action, public awareness raising which has often led to national govts protecting land areas.

        There’s more than 1 way to skin a cat.

      • Good. Then you must understand my point. The may be more than one way to come to conservation of the wild but I am more and more cautious to consider the strategies of WWF and Greenpeace among them.

      • It’s simple – they have ‘runs on the board’

        Others are more then welcome to try their own strategies – but I’ll judge them by results, not by the amount of blog hand-wringing.

      • Michael,
        For the billions of dollars the big NGO’s have collected over the past many years, you have to go back 20 years to a ~0.1 sq. mile piece of land in Greece for proof they are buying lots of land?
        lol@u, my friend.

      • Yes. Allthough back in the days WWf did useful things. But that is when they strived for the conservation of wildlife, rather then save the planet. They should return to their original goal and mindset.

        And buy forest, off course.

      • What a dill.

        That was just one example…..from 20 years ago, when I doubt any
        notion of such a strategy have ever bothered your pretty little head.

        WWF have been buying high value land areas for the past 40 years.
        2003 – 150,000 acres in Chile, etc etc.


      • Michael

        Are you able to react without calling names? It is a simple gesture of respect to do so. The lack of such a gesture is also telling.

        How much land do they own than? Where can I see their list of their lands?

      • If hunter could comment without reflexive anti-environmental screeching, I might.

        Though I suspect that since his initial comments have been shown to be supremely ignorant, he won’t be back.

      • peeke,

        sorry, didn’t answer the second part;

        The answer is they don’t own much at all – WWFs very successful tactic has been to purchase small but important parts of threatened habitats and then lobby govts to make them into national parks or reserves.They then gift the land back.

        They’ve helped establish hundreds (if not thousands) of parks and reserves this way, protecting tens of millions of acres of important ecosystems.

        If you’re interested, I’ll get a sample list together for you.

  35. peeke,
    You have lifted a rock with an ugly reality under it. The big envirocrat NGOs are not doing squat for the environment. They are poorly veiled political pressure and political shakedown organizations.

    • I actually have quite some sympathy for the idea behind conservation of nature. My life won’t change if the, say, Javanese rhinoceros went extinct. Frankly, I can’t think of anything of real value that animal adds to my life. But
      you know, if life was all about the necessary things and nothing more we would still be living in caves.

      You very well might be right about the big NGO’s being mere pressure groups that play the international game of diplomacy. Not unlike Bono’s efforts in the eighties in Ethiopia, which turned out to have supported a murderous regime. I remember when I found out how that worked out, the ridicule and cynism I felt. Later I found out the simply thinking “low key” is what one should do. Want to save a forest? Buy it.

      Kareiva, whom Judith posts about, seems to have taken a different route, but ends at a similar point.

  36. Got Anthropocene?;

    Of course they are fishing for Romney to say something stupid, which he has been known to do on the topic (ie endorse the consensus). Also firing up the base (Gainist, Aging Hippie Earthday, Communist democrat base that is) when it expects a weak retort from Romney in general.

    For the small percentage who have a science clue Chu has made an idiot of himself and the “cause” again. It should get attention here but alas it will not.

  37. Note to self:
    ignore any conversation involving Bart R.

    I am a hydro engineer with over 45 years experience in far more of the world than most readers here can ever hope to see. (On the ground – not flying over).

    This is the first time I have commented here in a couple of years of “lurking”.

    Also maybe the last, because if I commented everytime I saw something stupid, I would be spending my entire waking life here.

    • Jack Linard | April 12, 2012 at 3:32 pm |

      There you go. Now you can ignore that you came out of lurking.

      Glad to be of service.

      What is it with Australian civil engineers who think they’re hydrologists that they can’t seem to get enough of my scintillating wit and charm?

      It’s like I’ve got some sort of fan club.

      • peterdavies252

        Hmm … not a positive way to join this blog IMO. You handled it well though Bart.

    • G’day Jack,

      Yes best to avoid Bart. I don’t think it’s something confined to Australians or engineers. He is almost universally detested as a serial pest and is most likely hairy and unwashed if the hydrophobia is anything to go by. He has eighteen names for snow – none of them mean what you think you they mean – and lives alone in the Minnesotan wilderness with only cougars for company. He has been driven insane by loneliness and alienation and inflicts this on the rest of us with wild and incoherent manifestos. I can see more than a smidgeon of resemblance to the unabomber.

      If tempted to respond – it is safest simply go off into a totally disconnected rant of your own with no semblance at all to Socratic discousre. Think steam of consciousness rather than Wittgenstein. That way logic and rationality is assumed not to apply from the get go and you are spared the effort of trying to work out what the hell is going on.

      Robert I Ellison

      • “He has eighteen names for snow – none of them mean what you think you they mean – and lives alone in the Minnesotan wilderness with only cougars for company. He has been driven insane by loneliness and alienation and inflicts this on the rest of us with wild and incoherent manifestos. I can see more than a smidgeon of resemblance to the unabomber. “

        Either Cap’n K’s powers of observation are weak, or he has this strange need to make a curcus out of everything.
        I know that Bart is Canadian by remembering what he has said.
        I know that he doesn’t live in the Minnesota wilderness by logic.
        I know that cougars exist in Minnesota, but only in the zoos.
        Urban legend has it that Eskimos have 18 names for snow, but Canadians and Americans refer to it as “snow”.
        Only a clown would bring in the Unabomber and make that association.

        Captain Kangaroo is a clown and he subconsciously wants people to figure that out. It’s pretty obvious with all the hints that he leaves. He chose his alternate sockpuppet name Chief Hydrologist because it represents a fictional character with ties to the Simpson’s evil clown character Sideshow Bob. Captain Kangaroo is the name of a TV kiddie show clown from years ago.

      • ‘Because of their highly secretive nature, an encounter with a cougar is extremely rare in Minnesota. If an encounter should occur:

        ■Face the cougar directly, raise your arms to make yourself appear larger and speak loudly and firmly. This behavior is in direct conflict with a cougar’s tendancy to hunt by stalking and attacking from ambush. Do not run, crouch or lay on the ground.
        ■Do not shoot the animal, even if livestock or pets are threatened. Cougars are a protected species and may only be killed by a licensed peace officer or authorized permit holder.
        ■Report the encounter or sighting to a conservation officer or local law enforcement authorities as soon as possible so evidence such as photographs, tracks, hair and scat can be located, identified, confirmed and documented.’

        This is in fact the exact course of action to take when coming across a Bart or Webby in the blogosphere.

        As I can’t remember which hockey team Bart follows across the border to Canada – and don’t care enough to look it up – Minnesota it is. This fits in with the Gary Edward “Garrison” Keillor theme I have been working on – lonesome is part of of the iconic nature of being a cowboy. It’s quiet in Minnesota in January.

        In fact Eskimos have only a modest amount of names for snow. The European Sami people on the other hand have hundreds. It appears that likewise to the Sami Bart knows snow like snow business you know – but I guess you had to be there.

        Cecil (he spent four years in clown school – i’ll thank you not to refer to Princeton like that) Terwilleger was Sideshow Bob’s brother (sheesh) and Springfields Chief Hydraulical and Hydrological Engineer.

        As for Captain Kangaroo?

        The Barangaroo Kangaroo

        I was awoken by the others,
        who said a lady named Carruthers,
        and her five brothers,
        were heading to Bronte‘s Wuthers,
        and we could go along,
        if we didn’t take too long.

        So I jumped up, leaving twelve intellectual thoughts behind, and taking two nonsense ones along. We ran to the beach, and got picked up soon after by a ferry taxi.

        The captain was a kangaroo
        who said it lived in Barangaroo.
        Down on Darling Harbour,
        south of Goat Island’s ardour.
        Above Sydney aquarium’s
        somewhat fishy delirium.

        I thought, how convenient; and said that it must be nice living just a short hop or two from so many interesting places.

        See we have real kangaroos here and if you want to be taken seriously – Webby – you will take my advice and lighten up. Playfulness is the other face of wisdom.

      • Unabomber?

        It takes a real a-hole to consider that ”playful”..

        I suppose I shouldn’t care what some run-of-the-mill civ has to say about science, or anything in particular.

      • I am more than a little bored with the repeated insults and calumny. You should try to be a little inventive at least. Or try to add some technical content that isn’t insanely misguided. I suppose there is little more I can expect from someone narrowly educated in semiconductor design and with a failed postgrad. career.

      • Bart isn’t the unibomber, he is more like a carpet bomber. I’m still not convinced that he isn’t a paid shill. He almost never supplies links to support his allegations concerning climate science or policy. Even if he uses mobile devices, he is still very prolific and it has to consume a lot of his time.

      • Jim2 | April 13, 2012 at 8:50 am |

        I’ll own to carpet bomber, sure, if that’s how you regard being interested enough in what people say to offer them the courtesy of engaging in discussion and responding to what they say.

        As to what you are or aren’t convinced of.. it’s beyond me to wonder why you’d be convinced anyone else cares. What sort of sponsor would my soothing and seductive posts appeal to enough to pay? And really, who could afford my rates?

        As you’re now arbiter of what level of supporting links qualifies for ‘almost never’, allow me to again repeat the invitation to you: for any particular climate science or policy statement of mine you fail to be able to find support for, let me know and I’ll see what I can do to assist your research skills, that you can learn the skeptic’s skill of discovering information for yourself.

      • No thanks, Bart. I’m not going off on a wild goose chase to find support for your ramblings. That job is yours, not mine.

      • Jim2 | April 13, 2012 at 8:50 am |

        So we come to it. When offered help at lifting his own lack of knowledge and skill, Jim2 prefers to rant in ignorance than grow in character.

      • Gents

        That’d be “civil engineers”, or “civs”, or “cement salesmen”, or “the low rung of the ladder”, in the vernacular of the fellowship of the iron ring. (Yeah, I earned one; no, I didn’t bother to take up the kind offer of the profession to put one on.)

        And Web, you do err. It’s only human.

        For my fan club, the common version of the urban legend has grown to 50 words for snow. I don’t think I’ve used more than thirteen of them. I live and work in Canada often enough, and have studied there.

        I’ve also lived and worked in California, Minnesota, Michigan and New Jersey and points south. I grew up outside Buffalo, so Rocketship Seven is a reference I do understand. I don’t particularly follow hockey teams, but once almost went to a high school Wayne Gretzky also almost went to, so paid some attention to his games. I do know how to respond to cougar encounters, and they’re not unknown in my neighborhood.

        I’ll use Canadian spellings when talking to Canadians, if moved by caprice.

        And I’ve definitely brought up the Unabomber more than once.

        It’s flattering that people care about these things about me, but I’m not here for me. I’m here for ideas. You’ve both got some esoteric and interesting takes on the way the world looks, and to be honest if I were advising others who had a chance at the brains of either of you, I’d recommend accept the crazy as fair trade-off.

        Robert Ellison’s unsuccessful cement salesmanship is no skin off my nose; why does what a low rung engineer write bother you?

      • I’d be a bit miffed at describing my activities as anything but both complex numerical modelling of complex hydrologic, hydraulic and biogeochemical systems and validation using state of the art data acquisition – if I gave a rat’s arse about whatever it was Le Pétomane was suggesting.

        I am in fact an environmental scientist – and I was going to write something serious here but didn’t see the point in raising the level of the discussion from that of repetitive and mundane.

      • Captain Kangaroo | April 13, 2012 at 5:49 am |

        Environmental scientist, unsuccessful cement salesman. Amounts to about the same.

        Fortunately for you, there’s always work in that field. Oh look, if you’re willing to relocate to someplace with a bit of snow, two more positions seem about to become open for a man with your qualifications:

  38. Mankind at this time have at their disposal all the necessary information and equipment to turn the Earth into a garden of Eden.

    The only parts of our planet we can not tame are the cold bits.
    We have enough stored sun light in coal, oil and nuclear[ heavy elements are born inside a sun] to make all parts of our world blossom, except the cold bits. This would create climate change but in a benign sense.
    The CO2 increase would make all of nature better and any increase in temperature would be a plus.

    This is our purpose on this little blue ball to tame it and make it more conducive to our existance, The AGW green stuff is more like an agenda to inhibit humans in their growth and scientific endeavours.

    The conservation movement in all its guises is anti human, I actually believe that given enough time humans may evolve into some thing worth while, stopping our progress now through agenda driven anti science and anti human green stuff is probably not a good outcome.

  39. I’ve been trying to link up isolated areas of native habitat for a few years , my small effort at squaring the circle. I live close to the Yarra River, Melbourne’s main waterway and i got permission from the railways to plant trees in the waste land alongside the train line. I drew up a plan to make a wild life corridor that would link up through two creeks with the river and its bushland. Every year I plant about 30 new trees and undergrowth,
    Most of it local flora, and water through Summer. Guess I’ve planted a small forest along 8 train stations. In the drought I had to water some plants twice a week for 2 consecutive years instead of one year. I love it when it rains :-) This is a La Nina year and it’s easier. Many of my trees a very tall now and the corridor provides food, shelter and breeding places for birds and also pesky possums, (Barry Humphreys joke,) but the possums are really overpopulating…

    • Beth – I think that’s great. I love it when people take personal initiative instead of going hat-in-hand to the government for tax money hand-outs.

      • peterdavies252

        Agreed Jim. Beth is doing great things. So are many others. Unsung heroes are the very stuff of life that makes me very happy to be alive. They exist everywhere, if one cares to look more closely at their surroundings.

  40. Jim 2,
    I am not a fan of bureaucracy and creeping authoritarianism. I think I will call myself a ‘ green libertarian.’

  41. The quasi religious belief in stasis that afflicts radical greenies (I don’t think they merit the term conservationists) produces some very odd results. For example, I live in a planned city of about 350,000 souls which has sprung up on bare, clapped out sheep country in the middle of nowhere over the last 70 odd years. Thanks to a couple of dams, some artificial lakes and millions of trees and shrubs (including many exotics) we now have many more birds of all kinds than this land could ever support before, kangaroos in plague proportions, possums galore, etc etc. In particular, parrots of all kinds adore the fruit and nut-bearing European trees that human settlement has brought, and flock here in big numbers in autumn and winter, when food is scarce in the bush.

    There is still plenty of wild country all around, including very large parks and reserves (millions of hectares of them). But without human works, there would be a lot less native creatures in this region, including endangered ones.

    However, if you tried to build this city here today, there would be strident opposition from you-know-who for all the usual reasons. It never seems to occur to these mad ideologues that human activity can have positive, as well as negative, effects on wildlife. Just ask any crop or fruit farmer who has had hordes of hungry birds or bats descend on their property!

  42. Johanna
    ‘Strident opposition from you know who for all the usual reasons’ LOL
    Are you from Canberra, bureaucratic capital of Australia? When Tony b and his Antipodean sister come to Melbourne, you come too. I’ll buy you all a drink. :-)

  43. Yes Beth, I’m a Canberran, and even more unfashionably, I like it here! One of the main attractions is the amount of wildlife (except when the *#%& possums get in the roof) – the only time I have ever seen platypus outside a zoo is in (artificial) Lake Burley Griffin, where they thrive. Echidnas potter around in the nature reserve near my place, and roos live within the city limits. I have seen roos grazing on the lawns of Parliament House during the drought.

    Thanks for the offer of a drink – you’re my kind of gal!

  44. We get *#%& possums in the roof too LOL

  45. The important thing to note regarding the “Anthropocene” is that it is a contrived term designed to establish legitimacy for AGW extremist claims.

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