State shift (?) in Earth’s biosphere

by Judith Curry

A  new study published study in Nature alerts to impending catastrophic developments – this time not mainly based on climate change impacts but on wider developments caused by resource use. 

Approaching a state shift in the Earth’s biosphere
Barnosky et al.

Abstract. Localized ecological systems are known to shift abruptly and irreversibly from one state to another when they are forced across critical thresholds. Here we review evidence that the global ecosystem as a whole can react in the same way and is approaching a planetary-scale critical transition as a result of human influence. The plausibility of a planetary-scale ‘tipping point’ highlights the need to improve biological forecasting by detecting early warning signs of critical transitions on global as well as local scales, and by detecting feedbacks that promote such transitions. It is also necessary to address root causes of how humans are forcing biological changes.

Nature 486, 52–58 (07 June 2012) doi:10.1038/nature11018  [link] to abstract

[Link] to full paper

The point of the paper seems to be speculation on a possible Dragon King (the paper uses the term tipping point) associated with an ecosystem tipping point.  Here is what I like about the paper:

  • it presents a scenario for a possible tipping  point/Dragon King, and provides reasoning for the plausibility of such a scenario.  This is a difficult thing to do, and arguably an important thing to do.
  • it takes a comprehensive look at ecosystem stresses (climate change plays a relatively minor role)
  • it integrates information from paleontology, macroecology, population biology and ecological network theory.
  • it is honest about the uncertainties in the various aspects of the study

What I don’t like about the paper is that in the final paragraph, it leaps to making sweeping policy recommendations:

Diminishing the range of biological surprises resulting from bottom-up (local-to-global) and top-down (global-to-local) forcings, postponing their effects and, in the optimal case, averting a planetary-scale critical transition demands global cooperation to stem current global-scale anthropogenic forcings. This will require reducing world population growth and per-capita resource use; rapidly increasing the pro- portion of the world’s energy budget that is supplied by sources other than fossil fuels while also becoming more efficient in using fossil fuels when they provide the only option; increasing the efficiency of existing means of food production and distribution instead of converting new areas or relying on wild species to feed people; and enhancing efforts to manage as reservoirs of biodiversity and ecosystem services, both in the terrestrial and marine realms, the parts of Earth’s surface that are not already dominated by humans. These are admittedly huge tasks, but are vital if the goal of science and society is to steer the biosphere towards conditions we desire, rather than those that are thrust upon us unwittingly.

Further, what is possible versus plausible is very fuzzy here.  IMO the proper way to interpret this is as a possibility; further research is needed to establish the plausibility (and likelihood) of such a scenario.

Reaction:  Huffington Post

An article in Huffington Post turns the speculation of a tipping point into a prediction:

Earth is rapidly headed toward a catastrophic breakdown if humans don’t get their act together, according to an international group of scientists.

 Writing Wednesday (June 6) in the journal Nature, the researchers warn that the world is headed toward a tipping point marked by extinctions and unpredictable changes on a scale not seen since the glaciers retreated 12,000 years ago.

 “There is a very high possibility that by the end of the century, the Earth is going to be a very different place,” study researcher Anthony Barnosky told LiveScience. Barnosky, a professor of integrative biology from the University of California, Berkeley, joined a group of 17 other scientists to warn that this new planet might not be a pleasant place to live.

JC question:  How to interpret “very high possibility”?  IMO, “very high possibility” is not defended in the paper.

Reaction:  Forbes

Tim Worstall in Forbes has an interesting article on the paper entitled “Nature on Uncertainty: Climate Change is Less Important Than We Thought.”  Excerpts:

The argument put forward is that there are things other than climate change which might cause the entire breakdown (or less emotionally, substantial and unpredictable change in) the environment and ecosphere that supports us all. 

They specifically point to the cumulative impact of x billions of human beings on the planet. We do each have an impact and more of us can be assumed to have a greater impact certainly. They go further and point to, just as one example of their argument, the way in which population rise could lead to a phase change, a chaotic and of unknown outcome, rapid and irreversible change in our environment.

Which brings us on to thinking about the trade off between economic growth and emissions and climate change.

We know, because we can see it in any and every society anyone has ever studied, that economic growth leads to falling fertility rates. Thus, if we fear being buried under 27 billion other humans we should be arguing for some more economic growth to reduce the likelihood of that happening.

So now we have two things to worry about. Both the emissions which lead to climate change and also low growth which leads to rising population levels. And yes, we really do have a trade off between the two. We know that, absent de-carbonisation of our energy system, greater economic growth leads to higher emissions. Yet higher economic growth leads to lower population growth at the cost of those higher emissions.

Similarly, if we don’t have the economic growth which reduces population then we’re all going to be swamped with 27 billion of our fellows and we lose the environment and the ecosphere anyway. Thus the discovery of this new threat changes the correct balance, the optimal strategy, to deal with matters.

We should now happily move to more economic growth in order to reduce population pressures. That is, as a result of this new threat accept higher climate change in order to beat the population problem.

I’m quite certain that this isn’t the way the authors of the paper expected it to be taken: but it is still true that this is the way it ought to be taken. If population growth is a threat as real and dangerous as climate change then we really should be willing to put up with a bit more of the latter in order to deal with the former.

Reactions:  Keith Kloor on Planetary Boundaries

Keith Kloor has a very good post on planetary tipping points [here], check it out.

JC comments:  IMO, the issue of human impacts on ecosystem services should be the main issue of environmental concern.  As pointed out in the Nature article, these impacts include land use, agricultural pollutants, burning of fossil fuels, all of which are tied to population growth.  The role of AGW in all this is smaller than commonly considered.  The interesting thing to me is whether this broader perspective will influence the forthcoming discussions at Rio +20.

652 responses to “State shift (?) in Earth’s biosphere

  1. Can you foretell the future? I can. And this is what we can expect:

    • Nature will continue to have the last word

    • Climate will continue respond to changes in solar activity and multi-decadal oscillations

    • Assuming Earth is not hit by a meteor or the Land of Fire and Ice doesn’t just Go Off! and the Sun don’t wink out for more than 3 to 7 decades, the long-term predictions by Syun-Ichi Akasofu and many others can be expected to prevail as a constant, clear and honest beacon of rationality for those with a respect and appreciation for reason and logic in their hearts—i.e., a small increase of about half a percent of global warming over the next 100 years.

    Akasoku’s hypothesis describes as the recovery from the Little Ice Age and it is the most global warming as can be expected or be hoped for.

    And, of course, there is the always the possibility of another ice age instead of continued global warming. It’s happened before. But whatever happens there is nothing humans can do about it. Climate happens.

    • Judith:

      There is of course a very strong positive correlation -one could argue a causal relationship- between the appearance of this paper and the advent of RIO+20…

      • …He Yafei, Chinese deputy minister well known for his exceptional command of English and his willingness to use it to advance his country’s worldview—with sometimes provocative arguments. German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy pressed China and India to commit to binding Targets on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. China and India announced they could not support a document that imposed specific numeric targets, even on the Americans and Europeans. Norwegian prime minister Jen Stoltenberg asked Indin officials how they could renounce the very plan they had proposed just a few hours earlier. President Mohamed Nasheed of Maldives, an island chain that lies in the Indian Ocean about seven feet above sea level, demanded that the Chinese delegation explain how it could ask his country to “go extinct.” Sarkozy accused the Chinese of “hypocrisy,” He Yafei lectured the group on environmental damage From the Industrial Revolution, several NGOs accused Western officials of blocking a deal, and a few journalists accused Obama of selling out Europe by letting China off the hook. Not to be ignored, Veneuelan president Hugo Chavez called Obama the devil. A gathering that then-British prime minister Gordon Brown had hyped as “the most important conference since the Second Wor1d War” ended in acrimony and conflicting accounts of what had happened, and with no progress toward any meaningful agreement.

        But here’s the key takeaway: The summit didn’t collapse because China was snubbed, India is irresolute, the Europeans are… (Excerpt from Ian Bremmer’s Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World)

      • Fear mongering is not working now and world leaders are suffering the consequences of having lost contact with reality in 1945.

        The tentative solution for world leaders is no different for world leaders than for others.

        With kind regards,
        Oliver K. Manuel
        Former NASSA Principal
        Investigator for Apollo

      • Observations here and messages that I receive from around the globe indicate deep-seated social unrest worldwide that does not follow old divisions of socialists, capitalists, left-wing, right-wing, etc. and world leaders that are being less than candid with the people.

        I don’t know exactly how we got here, but the solution will probably require conniving, manipulative, intelligent “naked apes” riding on the third ball of dirt orbiting the “fountain of energy that sustains life” to recognize their place in the scheme of things, i.e., to get right-sized.

    • 1. Abraham Maslow describes the current dilemma of world leaders and leaders of the scientific community well:

      “When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail.”

      2. Chuck Chamberlain suggests that the problem is perception and the solution is “A New Pair of Glasses”

      “there is only one problem that includes all problems, and one answer that includes all answers.” . . .

      “the only roadblock between me and you and me and my God is the human ego. The only roadblock there is.” . . .

      “The feeling of conscious separation from. From what? From everything. From God.” . . . (alias, Reality !)

      Chuck C., “A New Pair of Glasses” (New-Look Publishing Co., Irvine, CA, USA, 1984, 201 pages, 11th Printing 2009) pages 9-10.

      3. From my perspective, the current dilemma of world leaders and leaders of the scientific community stems from promoting false information on the fountain of energy that Copernicus discovered at the center of the solar system in 1543, the fountain that created our elements, sustains life, and still controls Earth’s climate.

      Actions intended “to save the world from nuclear destruction”, actually disrupted four centuries of advancements in science (1945-1543) and then compromised astronomy, astrophysics, climatology, cosmology, geology, nuclear, particle, planetary, solar and space sciences over the succeeding sixty-seven years.

      George Orwell forecast the greatest damage to society in a book written in 1948, entitled “1984″, and published in 1949.

    • David L. Hagen

      Re: Syun-Ichi Akasofu
      See: Akasofu, S-I. 2010. On the recovery from the Little Ice Age. Natural Science. 02(11):1211-1224. Abstract;

      . . .the recovery in terms of temperature is about 0.5°C/100 years and thus it has important implications for understanding the present global warming. It is suggested on the basis of a much longer period covering that the Earth is still in the process of recovery from the LIA; there is no sign to indicate the end of the recovery before 1900.. . .The multi-decadal oscillation of a period of 50 to 60 years was superposed on the linear change; it peaked in 1940 and 2000, causing the halting of warming temporarily after 2000.

      • Key Passages Translated:

        What is the source of the rise in atmospheric temperature in the second half of the 20th century?

        by Shunichi Akasofu [Founding Director of the International Arctic Research Center of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF)

        Introductory discussion.

        Point 1.1: Global Warming has halted

        Global mean temperature rose continuously from 1800-1850. The rate of increase was .05 degrees Celsius per 100 years. This was mostly unrelated to CO2 gas (CO2 began to increase suddenly after 1946. Until the sudden increase, the CO2 emissions rate had been almost unchanged for 100 years). However, since 2001, this increase halted. Despite this, CO2 emissions are still increasing.

        According to the IPCC panel, global atmospheric temperatures should continue to rise, so it is very likely that the hypothesis that the majority of global warming can be ascribed to the Greenhouse Effect is mistaken. There is no prediction of this halt in global warming in IPCC simulations. The halt of the increase in temperature, and slight downward trend is “something greater than the Greenhouse Effect,” but it is in effect. What that “something” is, is natural variability…

  2. John Dougan

    Part of the problem here appears to be in the SFU press release which is far less measured than the paper:

    • Unfortunately, science by [hyped] press release has been the norm in “climate science” for several years now. As a rule, MSM journalists are scientifically illiterate [wouldn’t know Popper from a “popper”] and they therefore must rely on the cover press release to do their cut and paste “blood on the wall beats watching paint dry” reporting. The “alarmists” clued in on this quite a while ago and have used it to great effect.

      One of the outstanding examples of this approach was the release of Steig, et. al. [2009] which purported to show warming in Antarctica [even Trenberth conceded that “you can’t make data where there is none”], which was conveniently fed to the media by press release just a few days before Al Gore was scheduled to testify before the US Senate, allowing him to state that this very last hold out had also fallen due to CAGW…

  3. “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed
    (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an
    endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

    – H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) –

    • Speculation taken as prediction is the essence of environmentalsim. Always to be followed by dramatic, punative action.

      • Latimer Alder

        And generous grants for ‘further research’ by the cognoscenti.

        ‘Results’ to be discussed at length with fellow ‘chosen ones’ over cocktails in a glamorous beachside holiday resort. At least twice a year.

      • Andrew R,

    • Pooh, Dixie

      “For every complex problem there is a solution which is simple, neat and wrong”. Or “elegant, easy to understand and wrong”. –H. L. Mencken

  4. It is beginning to look like I picked a bad millennium to quit drinking!

  5. I didn’t quit drinking. Time for a beer and some mood music.

    • steven | June 12, 2012 at 7:02 pm |

      I see here the heart of Alarmism.

      Some read “This will require reducing world population growth..” and hear China’s One-child Policy, enforced sterilization, forced abortion, gender selection and infanticide of girls. And they’re not wrong, that in the past, and indeed in the present, these horrors have happened. But they’re irrelevant to the proposition that the rate of human population growth would be better if lower, in that among other flaws with these horrific measures is that they simply are failures.

      What reduces rate of population growth? Education, especially of girls. Innovation, especially toward more efficient technology. Separation of religious and state power. Full employment, especially of the young. Self-determination through increased personal democratic power, be it voting rights or reduced taxes or reduced regulations. Removal of economics bads from the marketplace (addictive substances). Security of savings and investments. Accessible health care.

      So the alarmists who subscribe to inefficient and horrific measures in response to desiring the benefits of lower population growth, as well as the alarmists who submit to the liabilities of higher population growth because they can only imagine the statist horrors inflicted by misguided committees are both the same to me.

      • Bart, I think it unlikely that the individuals writing the paper had draconian measures in mind to control population growth and it is a leap to assume they did. I suspect something similar to your solution was what they had in mind.

      • Dave Springer

        Yes it would appear the human response to crowding and poor nutrition is more births and shorter lifespans. That’s not intuitive but it makes sense in light of evolution. If times are tough then the species likely needs to be better adapted to the current environment. Adaptation is sped up by more births and deaths which gives natural selection a larger number of candidates to choose between in search of the fittest. So the moral of the story is if you can’t afford dinner and a movie every night of the week then stay home and have sex instead.

      • David L. Hagen

        Dave Springer
        Conversely, under famine conditions, there is a major reduction in marriages and in births, not just in deaths. During China’s great famine (caused by Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” ~ 1959-61), about 30 million died with another 30 million lower births. China’s population growth plummetted from + 20 million/year to -4 million/year.

        This highlights the extreme danger of centralized planning and the critical importance of avoiding UN centrally controlled planning. Lack of fuel to run irrigation is a far greater danger in the immediate future than a few inches rise in the ocean.

      • Dave Springer

        From your wikipedia link.

        “Counting the number of children who both were born and died between the 1953 and 1964 censuses is problematic.[73] During the Cultural Revolution, a great deal of the material in the State Statistical Bureau was burned.[66]”

        Where are you getting the birth data during the Great Leap Forward?

        At any rate the exception proves the rule.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        Bart: It is indeed worse than you thought. Every time you read the world “sustainable”, consider the ~71% depopulation envisaged by

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

        The original website ( ) has expired.

        Page 68: “On the population side, it is clear that avoiding collapse would be a lot easier if humanity could entrain a gradual population decline toward an optimal number. 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.

        I suspect that the change will not be led by “those in positions of power” living in “large, exciting cities”

  6. “A new study published study in Nature alerts to impending catastrophic developments…”



  7. Oh, look! Another “tipping point” paper. Lots of positive feedbacks, no (or minimal) negative feedbacks.

    Just another version of “Limits to Growth” with the serial numbers filed off…

  8. Reality check:

    How bad do things have to get on Earth before the Moon starts looking like a good place to visit? And yet, how much did we spend to do just that? Does anyone in America really want to move to any of all of those other countries of the world who think they’re smarter about how we should live? Should America do as the Left believes and just suck it up and give up on this respect for individual liberty idea that the founders said God gave us?

    • Answer: When the Earth becomes as inhospitable to life as the Moon, but not so inhospitable that we can even manage to get together the resources to send a mission to the moon.

      In terms of Individual Liberty…it has died a silent death in the U.S, as money and the drive to by the rich and powerful to control our election process and hence, our elected officials. “Corporations are people, my friends…” because that’s what the rich and powerful need to maintain complete control of the formerly democratic process. Welcome to the Plutocracy that is the Unitied States, supported quite strongly by both the parties in the corrupt 2-party system.

      • We’re in a tight spot boys! From Oh Brother Where art thou? Kind of a quirky look at the battle for individual freedom. There could be a third party with some power, but it would require a little bit better vision than Ralph Nadar attempting to ban everything, Barack Obama attempting to fix everything or Mitt Romney attempting to compromise everything. What it take would be someone that only guaranteed two things, you have just as much right to fail as you do to succeed.

        Simplify tax codes, simplify regulations and get the hell out of the way. More more complicated the system is the more BIG will be involved.

      • Or, more like the Matrix… the productive are dealing with a virus that demands for its own survival that the HOST fight back the plague of parasites — like mosquitos — that are sucking its blood and injecting its diseases into the body or everything dies.

      • Are you the Wisconsin cry guy?

      • Ann Coulter, Gov. Palin and Michelle Malkin have more balls than Michael Mann and like George Bush — and unlike global warming alarmist government-funded schoolteachers == are not afraid to stand up for America with their whle hearts.

      • R. Gates,
        Wow. This may be your weakest post to date.
        Your first para is incomprehensible and logically impossible.
        What you do sound like is an Obama supporter who just figured out you’ve been had.

      • Hunter,

        You obviously understand less than I thought about our former Democratic Republic now turned Plutocracy. Why is it that we can’t get campaign finance reform legislation passed in Washington? Because no little piggies want to be cut off from their feeding trough! Our supposed leaders spend more time trying to raise funds to run for the next election then they do actually representing the interests of “we the people.”

      • “Why is it that we can’t get campaign finance reform legislation passed in Washington?”

        Well, as you know, we’ve had campaign finance legislation over and over again, for many years. It finally collapsed in the courts under the weight of its own ineffectual contradictions and constitutional absurdities. You’d do better to support the removal of the vestigial campaign finance constraints on the parties: In the wake of Citizens United, those simply make the parties incredibly weak compared to independent groups, corporations, labor unions and every other existing or imaginable free association of people.

        If I were king of the forest I would tax the bejeezus out of all advertising including political advertising, since all advertising is basically a negative sum prisoner’s dilemma. The fact that it is protected speech doesn’t mean that the gubmint can’t make a buck off of it, and if its price were way higher, there would be a lot less of this most annoying of human activities.

        But you know Gates, that’s the way speech is. You can’t ban flag burning and let every other obnoxious and childish form of speech off the hook.

      • Then NW, you would simply turn our democracy over to those with the biggest pocketbook, which is exactly what is happening. The disproportionate control by of a government by the wealthy is called a Plutocracy, which is what we have…but not to worry if you are in favor of it, as the average American seems quite happy with their servitude.

      • R. Gates,
        Give me a free-for-all uncontrolled(censored) by our government over the bogus and anti-liberty bs you are pushing.
        You are only whining because those who control all corporations can now engage in the public square, instead of the previous status quo of unions and media companies.
        I am sorry you have so little regard for liberty and freedom. But not surprised.

      • Citizens United makes the parties incredibly weak compared to independent groups and corporations?

        Do you know what Citizens United did? It allowed the formation of Super PACs, where unlimited, untracable funds could be gathered and applied to support a candidate’s campaign as long as the candidate did not “directly” issue orders to the Super PAC in how those funds could be used.

        Unlimited. Untraceable. Unaccountable.

        Yes, definitely the parties have been weakened now that they can be bought off by anyone (even foreign powers) without oversight or a care in the world. /sarc

        This just supports Gate’s position. Politicians should never be bought with money, that’s called bribery. They should be only contributed by the constituents they support and who support their ideals. And ultimately the power of a politician should be through the votes of the people who want their ideals forwarded; not by what entities can donate the most money to their Super PAC, as it is today.

      • Hunter,

        Spare me your vacuous rationalizations for why it is good to have turned our democratic republic over to a Plutocratic control with fascist leanings.

        For the rest of you, to see why the combination of corporate power tightly aligned with government control is a bad thing. Read about an event that took place in my home state of Colorado. It’s called the Ludlow Massacre. A sad and sorry testimony for the twisted fascism that results from a government controlled by corporations. National Guard troops killed women and children simply because they were part of the families of striking coal miners:

      • Hunter, I believe he’s completely right in this. The “corporations are people” has messed up our republic considerably. Corporations aren’t, and they should have no say in the governmental process that’s for and by the people. Individuals of a corporation can, but actual corporate resources themselves? No individual can match the amount of vote buying power a lobbying corporation can leverage. Because of that, we get ridiculous legislation brought forth, like ACTA or SOPA. Things that specifically harm the people, while lining the pockets of the corporations that lobbied for them.

        There should be a separation of corporation and state, just as there is church and state. None of those can mix, and we all suffer for it. (the flip side is that government meddling in corporations messes up the business sector; and it does, as the housing and financial crash of ’08 vividly demonstrates)

      • Amen to that brother.

      • Dave Springer

        R. Gates | June 12, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Reply

        “In terms of Individual Liberty…it has died a silent death in the U.S, as money and the drive to by the rich and powerful to control our election process and hence, our elected officials.”

        No kidding. Obama outspent McCain 3:1. If they’d each had the same amount to spend we’d still have a moron for a vice president but at least the president would have some actual experience at governing and some time as an officer in the military which a commander-in-chief should probably have. Romney and Obama will be closely matched in funding so we’ll actually have a choice made by voters instead of campaign contributors this time around. I don’t like Romney but at least he’s more than a Hawaiian pothead with a teleprompter and an expensive suit.

      • Being completely unaligned with either party I really don’t see much difference between the two candidates, except at least Romney is honest about his tight affiliations with the those who would like to strengthen the Plutocracy that America has become. But make no mistake, no one can become President without a firm allegiance to monied overlords. The days of service to “we the people” is long gone. A dream of what America once was. Maintaining the corrupt two-party system simply becomes a question of which corporate masters get to control Washington during any given period. The only way to change this would be if the sleeping average American wakes up and demands:

        1) Real Campaign finance reform
        2) Term limits
        3) A complete separation between lobbyists and big money and our elected officials.

        But this is not likely, so enjoy your servitude..

      • Dave Springer

        The U.S. is no more a plutocracy than it ever was. Probably less. The robber baron era is a tough act to follow as far as plutocracy goes. I might agree it’s on the rise but these things are never static. There’s always some ebb and flow. In the nonce what worries me is a nanny state with central planning in Washington. Bust that up and then plutocrat wannabes have to wrest control from 50 individual state governments with the large measure of sovereignty to govern their own affairs that the orginal federation granted them. What liberal dipshits have done is made the country vulnerable to takeover by special interests through concentrating power in one location i.e. take over Washington, D.C. and you take over all 50 states whereas with strong states rights 50 individual state capitals must be won. I’m not saying plutocrats can’t coopt 50 individual state governments because the robber baron era proved they can. The machinery isn’t set up for that right now so changing the power structure means plutocrats have to start over again from scratch purchasing influence.


  9. “We know, because we can see it in any and every society anyone has ever studied, that economic growth leads to falling fertility rates. Thus, if we fear being buried under 27 billion other humans we should be arguing for some more economic growth to reduce the likelihood of that happening.”

    Europe has lousy economy growth and crashing fertility rates [except in the recently immigrated]. So stagnate growth can also give low fertility. Low fertility has to do with one thing, women delaying or choosing not to have children. Women choosing to have children without a husband is one largest causes of crime and poverty [and useless idiots:)].
    Women can change their minds [they famous for it] so wouldn’t count future women making the same mistakes.

    What is missing is that mother earth may once in awhile have
    “planetary-scale critical transitions”, but humans have them far more commonly. A fairly old human “planetary-scale critical transition” was development towns and farming. A recent one is called the computer age.
    We might be in a space age, also.
    So, yes more economic growth is always a good idea, but not for the reason having low fertility rates, and we might discover one day, that 10 billion humans is a shortage of humans.

    • Markus Fitzhenry

      “Women choosing to have children without a husband is one largest causes of crime and poverty [and useless idiots:)].”

      Warning, Warning, Warning, bigot approaching, warning, warning.
      As Robbie would say.

      Matee, any man that lays a seed and doesn’t tend to it, is the cause of the disadvantages a single parent child suffers. Your ideals remind me of the attitude displayed by Taliban.

      “A fairly old human “planetary-scale critical transition” was development towns and farming.”

      Well that ‘critical’ transition happened to take 1,500 years.

      I know what would be a good solution, women can morph into black widows and we will be well on the way to pulling back from a phase change. Would solve the problem of useless idiots as well. Go and look in the mirror gbaikie.

      • “A fairly old human “planetary-scale critical transition” was development towns and farming.”

        Well that ‘critical’ transition happened to take 1,500 years.”

        Corn was domesticated about 9500 years ago. Call it 1500, 5000, 8000 years transition, what do it matter?
        Most of Canada and America has been transformed with farming in less than 200 years, and large parts of land area of earth are still unchanged in regard to farming.
        We might start farming a measurable fraction of world’s ocean within a couple of centuries.

  10. ” Here we review evidence that the global ecosystem as a whole can react in the same way ”

    Or in a different way? What surprises me is that such a group of eminent scientists would miss that possibility. A good example occurred in 1940 when the rapid rise of global temperature suddenly halted and reversed. This happened because CO2 suddenly stopped absorbing more heat, so we had more than 30 years of cooler climate! If that does not qualify as a tipping point I don’t know what does. What happened then was that at the resonant wavelength of about 14 microns, the CO2 absorbed all the energy available, so further heating stopped. This demonstrates that ‘tipping points’ are not necessarily bad for us, but actually could be a benefit.

  11. JC comments

    IMO, the issue of human impacts on ecosystem services should be the main issue of environmental concern. As pointed out in the Nature article, these impacts include land use, agricultural pollutants, burning of fossil fuels, all of which are tied to population growth. The role of AGW in all this is smaller than commonly considered.

    Completely agree.

    Thanks JC.

  12. “We need to get some broad-based support, to capture public imagination.
    That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to
    offer up some scary scenarios, make some simplified dramatic statements
    and little mention of any doubts one might have… Each of us has to
    decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

    – Steven Schneider-

    Everyone by now knows what Schneider and his fellow catastrophe-mongers meant by “balance” and “honest”…

  13. Harold Pierce Jr

    This is all nonsense! Don’t these guys know how to use an atlas?

    The geographical surface area of Canada is about 2.5 trillion acres. The atlas shows that Canada is a vast unpopulated wilderness. Always has been and always will be. Ditto for the western US, Siberia, the Sahara and Gobi desert, the Andes, the jungles in the tropics etc, etc, ect!!!!.

    • blueice2hotsea

      That would be 2.5 billion acres.

      • Harold Pierce Jr

        Area = 3,851,809 sq. mi x 640 acres/sq.mi = 2.4652 x exp 9 acres

        You are right. I screwed up. The late Senator Everett M. Dirksen of Illinois, Old Golden Throat, often said, ” A billion here. A billion there. It all adds up!” However, the enivormental area, which includes the surface area of the waters contigous with the coast out to the 200 mi economic zone is probably ca 4-5 billion acres.

        There is the enviromental volume, which is the volume under the surface of the land and water that contains all living organisms.

        David Z is always claiming that humans are rapidly destroying the enviroment and biodiversity. David should go back to univ and take Geography 101.

        I would like to send him to MacKenzie Delta and make him a deck hand on at nat gas drilling rig. After one winter there, he would be begging for global warming!

  14. Wyoming.

  15. The correct approach to looking at potential “Dragon Kings” or tipping points in the Earth systems is a whole earth-system approach, considering all the interconnected pieces of biosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, etc. Estimating the probability of some kind of a tipping-point event might prove possible if one isn’t specifying exactly what that event might be, but simply, the likelihood of some kind of Dragon King event occurring. This is not unlike estimating the probability of a raindrop falling somewhere on my windshield when looking at all the interconnected pieces that lead to rain falling somewhere nearby (humidity, clouds, where my car is parked etc). I can never tell you exactly where that first raindrop will fall, but with a little research and observation, I can give a pretty good probability of one falling somehwere on my windshield.

    • R. Gates,
      Earth is so much more resilient than what you doom addicts think it is.
      Please: Just go sit in a corner and tell yourself how clever you and all of your fellow Malthusian delusionists are and leave the rest of us alone.

      • Agree. Earth is quite resilient. The vast majority of species that have ever existed have come and gone, but life finds a way in some form or another. Humans will join the ranks of the extinct one day, most likely by some event we will not see coming, and couldn’t prevent even if we had seen it coming. So why worry?

      • Well if (or when) we do join the ranks, then problem solved.

      • R. Gates,
        You used to be able to make more nuanced points. What happened?

      • I’d be glad to make nuanced points when the flow of conversation merits it.

      • He’s right about this. It’s why Elon Musk has the vision to try to push us into an interplanetary species, for these very reasons. It’s the only way to survive over geological scales of time. Eventually Earth will get smashed by a space rock, or a super volcano will go off, and then what?

      • Ged,

        Don’t you watch TV? Those things have already happened and we survived. Well, not all of us. If I remember correctly, Bruce Willis and Woody Harelson didn’t.

  16. Dart-throwing chimps (see Tetlock). And Malthusian at that (the worst kind — while experts have no skill at predicting the future, Malthusians have a track record that’s even worse.)

    • But the Malthisians just have to be right once…and the law of averages in terms of species extinction on this planet pretty much assures that one day they will. But nothing can stop it, so why worry!

      • But the question doesn’t focus on whether they will someday by correct. It focuses on whether society should alter itself permanently every (or any) time they make a prediction when the odds are so low that the particular prediction is correct.

      • So long as the 7+ billion human are consuming or otherwise using up over 100% of the resources that the Earth can replenish each year we’ll have to make some choices, and if we don’t…nature will make them for us.

      • I’m assuming you’re talking about the other 6,999,999,999

      • R. Gates,
        Can you point out the rather large assumptions in your point?

      • R gates,

        exactly which resources are at 100% usage?

        Based simply on the fact that almost 50% of food crop production spoils before reaching the end user indicates that the planet has the capacity to feed another 7 billion people without coming up with any other break throughs thaan better storage and distribution.

      • You all can read the reports for yourself (assuming you actually will). Maybe start here:

        From overfishing the oceans to declining water resources, there are lots of ways humans are using more than can be replenished each year.

      • I’ll agree on over fishing. And while water scarcity is an issue, it is one whose solution may be closely tied to cheap energy.

        PS – linking to a WWF report is a good method to drop one’s level of crediability. Long ago I was a donor, but stopped when I discovered they were selling my information to other parties. And that was when they were still involved with their stated mission of protecting species.

        Now they are an organization that is off the rails.

      • Is it simply a life insurance question to you then?

        Here’s a way to think about the whole AGW issue and the potential risks involved. In our own mind, put a probability on some level of negative result from AGW on a scale from 1 to 4, with each level being more severe, and place a probability at each level, so that it looks something like this: (probabilities are only examples)

        1= “some modesty warmer summers and mild winters”, 50% probability
        2= “increase in extreme weather events, rising oceans, some loss of species”, 25% probability
        3= “real decease in ocean productivity, disruption in agriculture, resource wars, mass migrations of people, population decline.” 24.99% probability
        4=”complete catastrophe, civilization collapse, massive population decline, homo sapiens survival in question.” 0.01% probability

        Now, suppose that you had gun with 10,000 chambers in it, and there was a bullet randomly placed in only chamber of that gun. Place the barrel of that gun against your child’s or grandchild’s head. How much would you pay to make sure that the trigger wasn’t pulled? Suppose there were other less lethal rubber bullets placed in 25% to 50% of the chambers, such that if it struck your child in the head they would not be killed but only severely injured for life. How much would you pay to make sure that the trigger wasn’t pulled?

        This illustration is not unlike the gamble that humans would be taking to “do nothing” about our obvious impacts on the Planet. Adaption after the fact is akin to saying, “no matter what kind of bullet is in the gun, we can adapt to circumstances as they come, we always have.” If it is the wrong bullet, there is no adapting, and if it is even one of the less lethal bullets, adapting may not be a very palatable option, but it is all a bit like buying insurance. How much are you willing to pay (reducing your income now) to insure that even a bigger loss doesn’t happen in the future?

      • But. the gun isn’t loaded, you are just being told it is.

      • Latimer Alder

        @R Gates

        ‘Place the barrel of that gun against your child’s or grandchild’s head.’

        Oh perleeze! Save me the weepies and the wailing. I thought Oprah had retired or been fired or something.

        Your point is indistinguishable from

        ‘Will no one think of the children?’

        which is a surefire indicator that you have lost the intellectual argument and need to try a little tear-jerking instead.

      • Now Latimer – let RG practice his communications skills in peace.

      • Latimer,

        If AGW should turn out to be problem, it is your children and grandchildren who will take the brunt of the effects, so it not for sympathetic reasons they were chosen in this example, but quite logical ones.


        The gun is certainly loaded as anthropogenic CO2 additions to the atmosphere and ocean and other anthropogenic effects represent real forcings on Earth’s systems. Only the exact full nature of the potential effects of these forcings and the probabilities aligned with those effects are really a matter for serious debate and more importantly– scientific research. These exact questions are being discussed by insurance companies all over the world. They take the potential for increasing disasters and even “Dragon Kings” related to climate change and biopshere changes very seriously.

      • R Gates, you just don’t get it.
        Our children, who are just starting out in life, are already suffering from declining living standards, high unemployment, high fuel costs etc – things which can only be exacerbated in the future.
        What makes our children’s futures any less important than that of future generations? In fact, what makes our futures any less important?

      • I meant to add: children are only children for a few years, after which they spend the rest of their lives as adults – who have to eke out a living somehow, just like we do.
        So your ‘think of the children’ gumph doesn’t really cut it.

      • Red Gates,
        I can see you have never been successful selling insurance either.

      • RE the 10,000 chamber gun and Russian Roulette with one’s kid:

        You need to add in that for every time you don’t pull the trigger, your kid has to go a day without eating.

      • Peter317 said:

        “R Gates, you just don’t get it.
        Our children, who are just starting out in life, are already suffering from declining living standards, high unemployment, high fuel costs etc – things which can only be exacerbated in the future.
        What makes our children’s futures any less important than that of future generations? In fact, what makes our futures any less important?”
        Not sure how the notion of providing a sustainable future is incompatible with your concerns. Also, I think any of us with half an ounce of compassion and conscience would do whatever we could to provide the best possible future for our children and grandchilden and great grandchildren etc. and the most important thing in my mind is that it is a sustainable future. Current modes of living (at least in the U.S. and other “developed” nations) are not sustainable. So somethings got to change…

      • R. Gates, so how long do you think it will take for a ‘sustainable future’ to be developed?
        Because, until then, every generation is going to suffer from dwindling resources, just as we are. For example, regardless of how much we cut down on fossil fuel usage, we’re going to run out sooner or later – whether in one or in ten generations – so who (which generation) do you think we’re actually trying to save the stuff for?
        I’m all for trying to ensure the best possible conditions for future generations, but I don’t believe that sacrificing the current generations is the best way to do that.

      • Steven Mosher

        Gates. what makes our childrens future less important is the simple fact that it does not exist. I loan you money today, you pay me back in the future with more dollars. Why? simple. because it causes me pain today that may never be rectified if tommorrow doesnt come. The value of the future is discounted. You might not like that, but we discount the future all the time. My childrens tommorrow is more important than their old age. That’s a fundamental moral perception. Its open to disagreement but not debate

      • R. Gates,
        The only people pushing that AGW policy demands are like insurance do not know insurance.
        Ethical insurance is about real risks with real costs.
        AGW demands are more like a shakedown by bullies.

      • Another thing about discounting the future. It doesn’t depend solely on moral perception or subjective valuation. Uncertainty alone provides a rationale for discounting the future, since a meteor strike or worldwide plague or (name your random calamity) could end the whole dynamic game at any time. Compound a bunch of i.i.d. calamitous events like this, and you can get the rough geometric discounting of the future without any “unethical” or “immoral” attitude toward future generations.

      • Dave Springer


        No one has a crystal ball but history informs us that interglacial periods are finite and the Holocene interglacial is statistically long in tooth right now. Moreover interglacials end in a rush not a gradual decline which hints that some kind of perfect storm comes along as the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Say there’s a one in a thousand year volcano that happens to line up with a grand solar minimum and the cold side of the AMDO, PDO, and ENSO. I consider AGW to be a margin of safety that might possibly postpone or even altogether avoid the ending of the interglacial period. Our descendents will then thank us for it.

        You are of course entitled to your own different fears. May the better fears win.

      • Steven Mosher,

        Based on that logic, farmers ought not plant any seeds as tomorrow does not exist and so that would just be planting for something that is less important than today. Just eat the seed stock and live for today!

        Fortunately, human anticipation and planning for the future allows us to benefit greatly. Learning to live within our means today– to not “eat through our seed stock” means we can increase the odds against Dragon King events happening and hopefully give our children and grandchildren a chance for a better future.

      • “Learning to live within our means today– to not “eat through our seed stock” means we can increase the odds against Dragon King events happening and hopefully give our children and grandchildren a chance for a better future.”

        How is N Korea increasing the odds against Dragon King events?

        Are we a more fragile today than, say 100 years ago?
        It seems many could and have said we are more fragile today as compared a century ago. But is it actually true?

        It is true that some events could say, wipe out all electronics.
        Of course 100 years ago no electronics existed.
        Or one worst things which could happen is all electronic
        device fail- or the worse that happen is we live in a world similar
        to 100 years ago.
        Of course probably many Dragon King events will not involve wiping
        out all or a significant amount electronic- and so we will have this tool
        to use.
        One could make the argument that we have more human populations, and therefore any disruption could put at risk some large number of the 7 billion people. 7 billion people is a liability. But one also say 7 billion is a bigger asset than 4 billion people.
        It seems to me the difference between 7 billion people being asset or liability has to do the issue of political leadership.
        And quite simply this has do with centralize political power- if have wait for FEMA to save you, you are probably not going to be saved.

        So any effort to increase centralize control, will result in a less effective response to dragon King events, and more power locally will have a better response. Now, it’s nice to have military to call on, in such Dragon King event. They are trained and organized and are designed to get people and logistic to anywhere on the planet. So trained military with capablity of fast response to any event, is a good kind of centralize political control. FEMA can be helpful, but are slow, are better in terms “mopping up a fire”, than compared to smoke jumpers, or the fire department that know down a fire and handle immediate threats.
        Or FEMA is mostly like sending in a team of lawyers.

        But rather than have one of nine US Carrier Strike Groups somewhere near a potential large disaster area, it would probably better to have well trained regional military forces who capable of emergency response.

      • Gates, you are exaggerating Mosher’s point. To DISCOUNT the future because tomorrow MAY not come doesn’t read ‘To IGNORE the future because tomorrow WON’T come.” Time discounting is fractional, not total.

        The other problem is that you are leaving out the other side of the equation. Because we have technologies that yield a positive rate of return (in the future) on actions taken now, there is an offsetting opportunity to balance out or even reverse the effects of time discounting in preference. I may value next years’ consumption at ten percent less than current consumption, but if there is a positive return technology for converting today’s consumption into tomorrow’s consumption that has a 1.2 gross return, that 20% gain more than offsets the 10% decline in value, and so I am induced to save, plant, invest, profit. Indeed in the simple theory without risk people would keep investing until the marginal net rate of return on actions now is driven down to exactly offset the rate of time discounting, so that the rate of return on capital would equal the rate of time discount. Uncertainty and risk complicate matters a bit, but the basic idea is the same with a risk premium adjustment.

        At any rate, your conclusion doesn’t follow from what Mosher described.

        You’d do well to read a bit of basic micro.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        R. Gates: Could you do the same numbers for a return of the Little Ice Age?

      • R. Gates,
        So what if they are correct once? The opportunity cost of resources responding to the many times they are wrong is a tremendous price to pay.
        Your assertion is more for a religious discussion like Pascal’s wager.

      • Malthisians will never be right. They’re view of how populations interact with resources is patently false. Any work with microbes will show that well. Populations are always self limiting, and ours is too; we are already seeing that effect by the negative or stagnating growth rates of the developed nations. If our population starts to become resource pinched, no government has to do anything, we will self limit naturally just as any organism does. But technology allows us to expand those limits, and it’s the only reason we even have 7 billion.

        So really, the only way we humans will destroy ourselves is either through war, plague, or some scientific discovery we lose control of. Kinda like some sci-fi stories out there, like the one I’ve heard of about an invention that catalyzes the stabilization water in its ice form, and that invention escaping into the oceans. But, I highly doubt anything like that’ll happen.

      • GED said:

        “But technology allows us to expand those limits, and it’s the only reason we even have 7 billion.”

        Agreed. Technology has allowed us to expand to 7 billion, but that has come at huge price. More specifically, the use of fossil fuels has allowed this expansion.

      • “Agreed. Technology has allowed us to expand to 7 billion, but that has come at huge price. More specifically, the use of fossil fuels has allowed this expansion.”

        Without the technology, the resource of fossil fuel would not be useful.
        Same goes for fissionable elements.

        Other than coal burning from natural causes, or oil seeping into the ocean or trapping and preserving Mammoths.

      • Dave Springer

        Even more importantly fossil consumption underpins an industry which invented the rudiments of alternative energy generation like photovoltaics, nuclear reactors, wind turbines, biofuels, and etcetera. Now libtards want to kill the goose that is laying the golden eggs before it lays the eggs that will hatch into its replacement. How smart is that?

      • “… libtards …”

        Actually, mankind wants to get at the cheapest oil that they can so they can apply it to make money and get rich. Afterwards, the claim is that they will have enough profit left over to start investigating alternate sources of energy. However competition for profit is fierce and the increasing price of oil means that they are not making as much profit as they did before, so they have to apply even more of that oil to make the money that they were counting on to invest in alternative energy.

        And so the cycle goes.

    • Just because some people listen to the Malthusians and solve the problems the Malthusians identify doesn’t mean that the Malthusians are wrong.

      • Doomsayers are wrong by definition.

        (Always have been.)


      • Until the day they are right. Civilizations come and go, and each civilization’s own “Malthusians” will be wrong continuously until the one time they are right.

      • Malthusians aren’t doomsayers by definition. There lies your problems.

  17. Barnosky et al. note:

    Last glacial–interglacial transition18,24. The critical transition was a rapid warm–cold–warm fluctuation in climate between 14,300 and 11,000 yr ago, and the most pronounced biotic changes occurred between 12,900 and 11,300yr ago

    Contrast geologist Don Easterbrook’s evaluation: Lessons from past global climate changes

    The global warming experienced during the past century pales into insignificance when compared to the magnitude of at least ten sudden, profound climate reversals over the past 15,000 years (Fig. 13). In addition, small temperature changes of up to a degree or so, similar to those observed in the 20th century record, occur persistently throughout the ancient climate record.

    What caused these climate reversals – without anthropogenic CO2?
    Descending into another glaciation would be far more catastrophic than a few degrees of interim warming.

    What is the probability of another warm-cold shift back into the next glaciation?

    Until we quantify these natural rapid climate transitions, we will have little understanding of what is to come.

    • David L. Hagen

      See Easterbrook: The looming threat of global cooling

      Numerous, abrupt, short-lived warming and cooling episodes, much more intense than recent warming/cooling, occurred during the last Ice Age, none of which could have been caused by changes in atmospheric CO2.. . .
      Expect global cooling for the next 2-3 decades that will be far more damaging than global warming would have been.

      Note his discussion on Impacts of Global Cooling:

      . . .the bad news is that global cooling is even more harmful tohumans than global warming and a cause for even greater concern . . .

      • Dave Springer

        Much as I like MS ComicSans font it’s not appropriate for a serious scientific paper. You might want to mention that to Easterbrook.

    • David,
      The AGW fanatics cannot deal with the impliciations of the point that we are not living in uniquely dangerous and horrible time.
      The idea that whatever the specific driver(s) of today the climate is not responding in an unusual fashion is one that the AGW faithful are relcutant to consider.

    • Dave Springer


  18. AR @ 112/06 7.47 Steven Schneider quote:
    ‘Each of us has to decide to do whatever the right balance is between being effective and being honest.’

    Fails the ethics test. Think noble cause corruption.
    Fails the science test. Think Richard Feynman, 1974 on scientific integrity.’ Testing a hypothesis requires ‘a kind of utter honesty … reporting everything you think might make it invalid, not only what you think is right about it.’

    • I think that was 1964. At Cornell.

    • Schneider is talking about communicating the science to the public, not the process of science which Feynman is concerned with.

      If you are given 30 seconds in a TV interview there’s not enough time to include all the details and be effective at making your point. So as he says it’s a balance.

      I presume you know what he’s talking about because you omitted the “I hope that means being both.” part from the end of his statement. I guess you decided to balance being effective with being honest too.

      • Schneider was using a dog whistle to tell his pals to lie. Period.

      • That’s what you want to believe and by god you’ll believe it whether you have evidence or not. I assume you are not a mind-reader.

      • lolwot,
        That is what it is, and by golly, you will never admit it no matter how many effin’ lies and bs AGW promoters tel you.

      • Andrew Russell

        Schneider in fact was not “honest” unless you use his definition of “honest”. He was in fact a nasty backstabber who claimed to be a scientist but refused to follow the Scientific Method. He chose instead to be allied with Peter Gleick, Michael Mann, Ben Santer, and the rest of the Hockey Team.

        When the editor of Climate Change, he supported Michael Mann’s refusal to archive data when it was requested by Steven McIntyre, who Schneider had asked to be a reviewer of Mann’s paper there . He was also up to his neck in the Wahl and Ammann scandal.

        “The Hockey Stick Illusion”, Andrew Montford, pages 158,204,212,403, 422-424.

      • Ah you’ve added Peter Gleik as part of the hockey team.

        You guys speak about honesty out of the sides of your mouths.

      • lolwot, This is because you choose to live in your two dimensional world.

      • lolwot,

        I believe if you go back and look, you will find it was Peter Gleick who added himself to the team.

      • Gleick is more of a walk on to the team. His rookey efforts at Heartland, however, make him a standout with great promise.

      • Dave Springer

        No one can read Scheider’s mind now. They may be able to channel it.

        I don’t wish to speak ill of the dead so let me just say Dr. Schneider is in a better place now and without him science is in a better place too.

      • “it’s a balance” between telling the truth and flat-out lying.

        You can’t do “both”.


  19. My quote cited 1974 but it was probally a repeat of 1964, P.E.

  20. This will require reducing world population growth and per-capita resource
    OK whom do we castrate first?

    • Decreasing “the surplus population” results in tyranny as shown in historic examples of Compulsory sterilization – in the name of a noble cause.

      • Dave Springer

        The problem is working itself out, David. Greedy self-absorbed libtards wallowing in consequence-free sexual promiscuity are failing to reproduce in even replacement numbers. They’re a dying breed and it’s entirely voluntary. Knowing this their desperate plan is to take over primary schools and indoctrinate the children produced by the vital, undiseased, moral majority. I home-schooled mine to avoid it. I’ve six living direct descendents and it’s only just begun. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it. :-)

    • Latimer Alder

      Dunno, but upthread R Gates was talking about shooting his children for some unfathomable reason….

      • Incorrect characterization of my statements Mr. Alder. Now readers of this blog should know your assessments are unreliable. When they see your name they should see:

        Latimer Alder: unreliable with a tendency toward gross misstatement of fact.

      • Latimer Alder

        @R. Gates

        ‘Place the barrel of that gun against your child’s or grandchild’s head. How much would you pay to make sure that the trigger wasn’t pulled?’

        Sorry – you are of course right You weren’t talking about shooting your own children…you were talking about shooting mine, in what seems little short of an extortion/blackmail racket. If such threat had been made to a Australian climatologist, they might really have had something to complain about!

        But where I am having difficulty is in treating any of your alarmist scaremongering with anything like the seriousness that you would wish me to.

        Trite remarks like

        ‘Civilizations come and go, and each civilization’s own “Malthusians” will be wrong continuously until the one time they are right’

        may impress the weak-minded, but seem to be a wee bit lacking in evidence or nor have enough substance to produce damp patches in my undergarments.

        When I was growing up in UK a popular TV comedy show ‘Up Pompeii’ was set in Ancient Rome. One of the characters was ‘Senna The Soothsayer’ who went around shrieking ‘Woe, Woe and Thrice Woe, The End is Nigh’ while doing a lot of wailing and rending of her raiment.

        It has been great fun reading this thread and being reminded of those innocent teenage days….and it is good to know that the Spirit of Senna(*) still lives on deep in the bowels of so many alarmists..

        (*) Any confusion with well known laxative preparations is, of course, entirely intended.

      • Latimer,

        It seems your twisting and distorting both the meaning and intent of my comments knows no bounds. Have you considered writing for one of our political candidates? They certainly can use “creative” writers such as yourself…

      • Latimer Alder

        @r gates

        No twisting and distorting involved at all. Just replaying your exact words. For some bizarre reason (supposedly to do with ‘tipping points’ I think), you asked how much I would pay for you not to play a form of Russian Roulette with my children and grandchildren.

        Admittedly the actual argument you were trying to make got a bit lost somewhere along the way but I think it went along the lines of ‘all species die out eventually. Therefore Malthus is right, Ergo (in a circular argument) even thinking of adapting to climate change (if needed) is the wrong approach and the only possible response is to make huge sacrifices to mitigate the risk (if any). In other words paying a very high premium on the idea that the insured risk is both very bad and very likely.

        But = as any insuree will tell you, if the cost of the premium is greater than the value of the risk, you do not insure but take the risk yourself. I;ve seen nothing – beyond unquantified scaremongering – that analyses this eminently sensible proposition.

        Why ensure poverty and hunger for today’s existing people against the unquantified possibility that future generations might suffer the same?

        Whether, in your argument, you actually shot my children and grandchildren still remains unclear. I hope not as I will need somebody to to look after me in my old age, and it is clear that your only welfare concern is for hypothetical risks to unborn people rather than walking talking and occasionally beginning to creak ones.

        So far nobody in the US has offered me a writing job. But I’m open to offers as my pay cheque from Slavering Big Oil Denier Central Command Bite The Heads off Babies (UK branch) has yet again gone astray.

  21. Should we not look at ALL the data and models when evaluating probabilities of climate shifts?
    Don Easterbrook quantifies recent climate shifts ignored by the IPCC. See
    Where are we headed during the coming century?

    Global cooling began in 1999 and should last for several decades because in 1999 the Pacific Ocean switched from its warm mode to its cool and every time that has happened in the past century the climate follows (Fig. 41). The switch to the PDO cool mode to its cool mode virtually assures cooling global climate for several decades.

  22. “The Doomsday Syndrome” describes the descent of science into this sort of apocalyptic clap trap quite well.
    Notice how those addicted to doom shift seamlessly from CO2 catastrophe to a more traditional Malthusian delusion.
    How much longer do these doom-hyping clowns get to dominate the public square?

    • Except the article actually argues CO2 catastrophe is a serious threat and instead of worrying about that we should be doing something about it.

      • Except it is still just catastrophic crap that you seem to have an endless appetite for.

      • The rest of humanity which of course is most of humanity–i.e., those who live in Brazil, Russia, India, and China and in the developing and Third world countries–they do not share these fears and delusions. And all who do in the West are Western Leftists.

        I Am Afraid We Fear Too Much

    • “How much longer do these doom-hyping clowns get to dominate the public square?”

      4 months, 23 days.

      • Gary M,
        Are you hopeful for a change?

      • You betcha! Even if the GOP takes the presidency and both houses of congress, there will still be too many progressive Republicans, including Romney, around for a full conservative agenda. But the thing about “moderates” is that they follow the trend. If there is as big a shift (boy did I catch a typo there before posting) in favor of conservatives as I expect, Romney will govern as a conservative, even though he isn’t one. Kinda like G.W. Bush in his first term.

      • Dave Springer

        On the other hand Romney might decide the federal government is like a business whose parts are worth more than the whole. I wonder how much we can sell the EPA and NASA for? Europe’s broke and China’s too smart. Maybe the Arabs?

      • Dave Springer

        I’m hoping we won’t get another moron for a vice president too. The contender in 2008 made that inevitable no matter who won, Johnny McLame or Barry Oblamo. Jezuz that was a mess. Romney knows he needs a conservative running mate with a head on his shoulders so we can always hope for the possiblity that he gets run over by a bus before inauguration day and the veep is the one sworn in.

      • Sarah Palin, mayor, Alaskan Oil and Gas commissioner, governor (the first female, and youngest ever elected), elected to have and raise a Down’s Syndrome baby, endured the most vulgar, over the top character assassination attempts since Clarence Thomas.

        Oh, and she took on, and defeated, the corrupt Democrat and Republican old boys club in Alaska.

        Then there was 2010 when she actually had a major impact in getting more conservatives elected to the U.S. Congress.

        Now gee, I wonder how the resume of David Springer, who calls her a moron, stacks up?

        When has anyone, ever, entrusted the inimitable Mr. Springer with such authority?

        When has he ever put himself at risk and endured the type of personal attacks from entrenched interests, as Palin did in Alaska, and as the GOP VP nominee? I wonder how well he would stand up? Judging from his reaction to minor flame wars on this blog, I am betting not too well.

        Moron? Watch her debates in the Alaskan primary and general election for governor in Alaska. They’re still available on the internet. Or her debate with Biden.

        David Springer, not a moron, just another pompous, uninformed, male chauvinist. And a sucker for propaganda.

      • Dave Springer

        Ask the McCain campaign if they made a mistake, dopey.

      • Dave Springer

        GaryM | June 15, 2012 at 1:58 am |

        “When has he ever put himself at risk”

        Sergeant, United States Marine Corps, 1974-1978

        One of the first members of the all-volunteer military. Unlike Palin who abandoned her post as governor of Alaska I served the entire four years I’d promised.

        Thanks for asking.

        You may now kiss my hairy white ass.

      • “When it comes to racism, the Democratic credo is “Do as I say, not as I do.”
        See the pattern? AGW and most everything else is reported with the same slant all around the world today. How is this possible; you ask.

        Now let them tell you all about the 394 ppm of CO2 that is going to…

      • David Springer,

        So never. I thought not.

      • Dave Springer


        Why don’t you ask Sarah what she thinks of boys who volunteer to serve in the Marine Corps. Tell her I was 17 when I signed up.

        Oh wait. Her dumb but tight shapely ass is already on record…

        “Happy 236th Birthday, U.S. Marine Corps! Thank you for your service. #SemperFi @USMC”

        You’re welcome, sweety. And thank you for looking like an idiot in Couric interview and helping conservatives lose the 2008 election. You sure made McCain look irresponsible for not vetting you. He’s was a real Maverick then, huh? And thank you for bailing out on the great state of Alaska by not completing your term of service as governor. Can you see Russia from your back yard today? Do you still belong to the nutty Pentacostal church where they talk in tongues?


        Thanks for playing, GaryM, whoever you are.

      • Rob Starkey

        With all due respect, the republican types who post here seem to not read the tracking polls in each state when they are confident of Obama not being reelected. Currently there is a much higher probability of Obama being reelected than not. Almost every “toss-up” state would have to go to Romney for him to win. That may change, but currently Obama is a strong favorite

      • “With all due respect, the republican types who post here seem to not read the tracking polls in each state when they are confident of Obama not being reelected. Currently there is a much higher probability of Obama being reelected than not. Almost every “toss-up” state would have to go to Romney for him to win. That may change, but currently Obama is a strong favorite.”

        How would Obama compare to Carter at the same point of the election cycle?

      • Dave Springer

        Yeah right. Swing states are all Obama. You mean like Wisconsin?

        Name a single recent election in a batteground state that was favorable to libtards. There’s been nothing but bad news for them. The Walker debacle where a Republican governor won by a large margin in a very progressive state is the most recent.

        Rove describes a three, two, one strategy that looks very likely given Obama’s much lower popularity now than in 2008 and the vote no longer being a referendum on George Bush but a referendum on Obama instead…

        Three – Virginia, Indiana, and North Carolina are traditionally Republican but uncharacteristically swung for Obama in 2008. The bloom is off the Obama rose and they aren’t likely to vote against their historical preference again.

        Two – Ohio and Florida were both won by GW Bush in 2004. Obama won them by narrow margins in 2008. The bloom is off the rose again. They are statistical ties with large undecided contingents. Undecided voters five months before an election seldom swing for the incumbent.

        One – Romney need only win one state from among New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico to put him over the edge.

      • Rob Starkey,

        With all due respect, the progressive types who post here seem to not bother to read the internals of the tracking polls in each state when they are confident of Obama being reelected.

        Here’s a little homework for you. Take five minutes and check into the difference between polls of registered voters and likely voters. See which ones better predict election results. Then check to see how the results slant, which type of poll skews more progressive. Then ask yourself, if one type of poll is more accurate, but the other tends to increase the numbers for progressives, why oh why would the progressive news media keep taking and reporting the less accurate polls? It’s a tough one, but I am confident you can figure it out.

        Oh, and if you really want to know why conservatives are encouraged by current poll results (and I know you’re not, you were just making a rhetorical point, but bear with me), check further into the poll internals.

        Notice that most polls now are using a mix of about 40% Democrat voters, 30% Republican, and 30% “independent.” Which is a wider margin that even the 2008 Obama election. And right now, when polling the generic “who do you prefer to run congress” question, the results are coming in around 45% to 40% Republican. Yet the pollsters are still skewing their sampling to include a greater Democrat margin than Democrats have ever actually gotten in a general election in my lifetime.

        Do the research. When you know as much about the polls you are so fond of as the conservatives you condescend to, maybe you will understand the answer to your question without having to ask.

        But I’ll just save you some time. The vast majority of polls are funded, and taken, by progressives. And they are just as creative with their statistics as Michael Mann ever hoped of being.

      • Good summary of the pitfalls of poll-reading.

  23. The opening of the “State Shift Theory” section begins with this declaration:

    “Biological ‘states’ are neither steady nor in equilibrium.”

    Ok, gotcha. So even in the absence of some sort of external forcing, I guess that means that there are no stable biological states, and we should always expect biological states to shift even without external forcing, given enough time. Indeed I have heard lectures by evolutionary theorists about “hanging valleys,” long flat ravines in an evolutionary space where drift and selection are verrrrry slow for long periods of time. Until of course the population finall wanders to the edge of the hanging valley, goes over the waterfall and then evolves extremely rapidly. Got it.

    On the next page it says:

    “One key question is how to recognize a global-scale state shift.”

    Well, if it’s a problem I guess we’ll recognize it, right? But to continue:

    “Another is whether global-scale state shifts are the cumulative result of many smaller-scale events that originate in local systems or instead require global-level forcings that emerge on the planetary scale and then percolate downwards to cause
    changes in local systems.”

    Whether…or instead? But I thought the authors’ very first sentence of the theory section was:

    “Biological ‘states’ are neither steady nor in equilibrium.”

    The normal scientifically literate reader understands this to mean that states can shift for entirely internal reasons having to do with evolutionary dynamics. Why the “or instead?”

    I’m not just nitpicking. Let’s suppose that, over the next century, one of these global state shifts takes place. How would we know whether it was a natural thing or induced by “global-level forcings that emerge on the planetary scale?” If the answer is “I dunno” then what sort of theoretical speculation is this?

    More later. Hope this spurs some interesting conversation. I want to watch the last few minutes of the game.

    • We also have this on p. 54 with no reference: “Rapid climate change shows no signs of slowing.” I don’t have a personal position on this, but it seems to be debated here regularly with no firm conclusion (to put it mildly). When I find things like this in a paper, it makes me wonder about other confident assertions in the paper.

  24. With any control tipping point, if you reach it and oscillate out, there’s no going back unless the feedback changes. If there is a climate tipping point………. then it is WAY out there because CO2 has been much higher in the past without “tipping”……remember, without change in feedback, no come back. These folks are silly :)

    • if you consider the formation of ice sheets and their melting as tipping points, we have seen those happen regularly, and CO2 values are quickly approaching those that existed before Antarctica froze 35 million years ago. That freezing was a tipping point as the earth cooled when the albedo increased, so it is easy to see the reverse as a warming tipping point. Smaller ones before that relate to summer Arctic sea ice going and Greenland melting both causing albedo reductions, as we saw exiting the last ice age which was the last tipping point. This is a long term, but committed set of tipping points already many would say. You right on one thing. Once these ice sheets are gone there is no going back until CO2 gets re-sequestered naturally which has extremely long time scales.

    • Kent,

      You seem to miss the bigger point. One needs to look at the totality of human impact on the biosphere, atmosphere, and oceans, rather than just the obvious increase in CO2. The rapid increase in CO2 (and methane and N2O), combined with all the other ways humans are impacting the planet needs to considered in totality before making some sweeping generalization based on past levels of CO2 alone.

      • R Gates

        I wrote about previous apparent tipping points from history in a recent article;

        “Saint Cyrian was Bishop of Carthage around 250AD.* (see Note 1) He was talking about the huge increase in Rome’s population which had caused wars against Carthage and the building of 500 towns in North Africa to satisfy the eternal city’s ever increasing needs for timber, cereal, and exotic animals for its gladiatorial contests. Here is an account of lack of sustainability and climate change caused by a variety of factors, with the hints of a decline in the warm climate that had sustained Rome now starting to work against them as it intermittently turned cooler

        ‘The world has grown old and does not remain in its former vigour. It bears witness to its own decline. The rainfall and the suns warmth are both diminishing. The metals are nearly exhausted the husbandman is failing in his fields. Springs which once gushed forth liberally now barely give a trickle of water.’

        Around 1560 the Rev Schaller, pastor of Strendal in the Prussian Alps wrote;

        “There is no real constant sunshine neither a steady winter nor summer, the earth’s crops and produce do not ripen, are no longer as healthy as they were in bygone years. The fruitfulness of all creatures and of the world as a whole is receding, fields and grounds have tired from bearing fruits and even become impoverished, thereby giving rise to the increase of prices and famine, as is heard in towns and villages from the whining and lamenting among the farmers.”


      • Good stuff Tony, as always. Somewhat related, around 1000 AD many in Europe were expecting the end of the world (their own little Y1K event).

        Also, one would have to wonder if the Greeks, Romans, Sumerians, Ancient Egyptians, Aztecs, Mayans, etc. etc. etc. had their own brand of Malthusians who correctly (if even only by luck) foresaw the demise of their own respective civilizations, whether of not this doom was by some environmental collapse or other means.

  25. Chad Wozniak

    Since the AGW scaremongers obviouosly want to regulate every detail of our lives, I have a suggestion for them: Why don’t you try to regulate the Sun’s luminosity? After all, if you could do that it would REALLY prove you’re tough.

    • Funny you would say that as that exact proposal is one of the geoengineering concepts, whereby through aerosol injections into the upper atmosphere we’d control the amount of sunlight hitting the Earth.

      I would oppose such actions on many levels, as inevitably such tinkering with a complex and not completely understood system is likely to create unintended consequences in which the cure is worse than the disease.

      • Robin Melville

        Finally we have it. Don’t like geo-engineering because it is “tinkering with a complex and not completely understood system”. However, it *is* ok to crush economic growth and development by the application of grotesque taxation on carbon and to prevent the industrialisation of African nations by using blackmail to stop them using their abundant coal. That’s “tinkering” on a gargantuan scale at an unimaginable cost of human life.

      • Robin Melville | June 17, 2012 at 3:07 am |

        So.. you would be opposed to tinkering with the economy by, for example, politicians giving subsidies?

        Because we know subsidies crush economic growth. And have you spent a lot of time in Africa? Industrialized many nations? Do you speak for the people of that continent? Were you elected by them, or did you take over by force of arms? Because I don’t recall them mentioning your name in any context regarding how they want to develop, or what their hopes and aspirations are.

        Have I mentioned lately how I loathe the practice of abusing those who have nothing to do with an issue because they are perceived to be in some abject state, to win points in an argument?

      • Robin Melville

        That’s rich. You’re accusing me of the very thing the green movement is doing all the time. “Sustainable development”? We’ll keep enriching the corrupt elites of these countries provided they attempt to develop using only the most expensive and unreliable energy sources known to man? That’s the world’s plan for Africa.

        What they need is the cheapest possible energy. That’s what China did. Have you noticed the rise in China’s GDP/head?

        I make no apologies for caring about the abject poverty and horrendous mortality rates suffered by the African peoples. The abuse is not mine, it comes from those who conflate their neo-mediaevelist utopianism with, you know, actual science and progressive policy.

      • “Bart R | June 17, 2012 at 4:23 am | Reply

        Robin Melville | June 17, 2012 at 3:07 am |

        So.. you would be opposed to tinkering with the economy by, for example, politicians giving subsidies?

        Because we know subsidies crush economic growth.”

        I think the plenty of economic growth in Ethanol.
        Subsidies screw with markets. Create monopolies-
        per definition they are a monopoly- they are “licensed”
        to have exclusive market by government selecting them-
        you need that government money, without it are competing against government back competition.
        If government subsidies a
        ferry, and you want to have business to compete against the “govt backed ferry” you are obviously at cost disadvantage unless
        you also get govt money. Which leads to obvious situation,
        govt can decide, we don’t need another ferry.

      • Robin Melville | June 17, 2012 at 4:33 am |

        The green movement? Which one? Last I checked, there was no one single globe-spanning homogenous unified green conspiracy subscribed to by the majority of the planet led by all-knowing diabolical cultists. Certainly, there are loathesome Leftists, too. I don’t hold them in less contempt when they perpetrate scandalous presumptions of the needs and desires of others or make claims of what’s best for those who are not present to speak for themselves, either. Don’t imagine you’re special. I really see little difference between them and you.

        You’ll also notice that China is the home of the One Child Policy. Which of those policies do you suggest is the right way to go?

        Both are failures, and recognized as such. Simply not, it appears, by everyone yet.

        Speaking of, do you know what the top five measures to reduce mortality in Africa are in the past century? How they worked? How about the five major new causes of mortality in the same period?

      • Robin Melville

        That’s a peculiar set of straw men you’ve set yourself up, pilgrim. I don’t recall mentioning a green “conspiracy”. There is, however, a green movement with many players who are broadly anti-industry, pro biodiversity, deeply concerned about (usually pretty) animals, and who generally think that humanity is a blight upon an otherwise pristine planet. The “diabolical cultist” slur is more usually applied by them to people like me who are optimistic about humankind and our stewardship of the world.

        China is a state-capitalist autarchy with a long, long history of disregard of its people. Industrialisation is leading inevitably to greater prosperity (along with horrendous dislocation), and its workforce is discovering trades’ unionism. This is the exact path of Japan and S. Korea before it (to name only two examples from the C20th). Wherever the grind of peasantry and subsistence farming is replaced by industrialisation you get (sometimes eventually) a more prosperous, healthy, and self-confident population. You also get democracy.

        This is all highly preferable to paternalistic “interventions” to attack specific problems while leaving people to live hand to mouth and with the horrors of indoor smoke, deforestation, and prodigious infant mortality. Set the people free — build a few large coal fired power stations so they can kick-start a modern industrialised economy.

  26. To those who may care, Elinor Ostrom, the great political and economic theorist and researcher of The Commons and Public Goods, died today.

  27. Beth Cooper

    The death of Elinor Ostrom is a sad loss. See a talk by Elinor Ostrom at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy posted on the ‘Conservative Perspectives Part 11,’ thread by Chief Hydrologist, 7th June, 5.41 pm.

  28. “What I don’t like about the paper is that in the final paragraph, it leaps to making sweeping policy recommendations.”

    What would be the point of claiming the sky is falling, if you couldn’t use it to push your political agenda? Name a doom and gloom paper that doesn’t call for a massive increase in government.

    • Likewise, what’s the point of denying scientific reality, if you’re not using it to push your political agenda?

      Look at all the ‘skeptics’ bewailing the evil scientists, and in the next breath demanding ‘smaller government’ and/or more free-markets.

      • And then when there are cuts they moan loudly when skeptic “scientists” (well a teacher) is one who gets cut:

        Of course in this case it can’t have anything to do with him peddling rubbish. Ohhh no.

        “Skeptic” acedemics get a free pass by climate deniers: Their work is not scrutinized, climate deniers are fine with their “stars” and “famous skeptics” pushing misinformation.. Their work, lectures and arguments can be complete rubbish and deniers will tolerate it anyway as it’s fit for their agenda.

      • “Look at all the ‘skeptics’ bewailing the evil scientists, and in the next breath demanding ‘smaller government’ and/or more free-markets.”

        Can you say non-sequitor? I knew that you could.

        Most skeptics don’t claim progressive climate scientists are evil, we just say they’re progressive. We do point out the dishonesty of too many “scientists” in climate gate and the various whoppers cited in the AR4 and elsewhere. And then there’s the inimitable Peter Gleick. But that is because that is how progressives pursue their agenda.

        Progressives are progressives first, and everything else (including scientists) second. Mann hides the decline, Gleick manufactures a document and lies to get access to other documents, and Jones et al. participate in climategate, and they are not only not disciplined, they are lionized by their progressive comrades. How dare skeptics question the purity and integrity of these political hacks masquerading as scientists?

        More to the point, only in the fevered brain of a progressive could opposition to the progressive CAGW agenda and support for conservative economic and political principles seem somehow inconsistent, or worse, nefarious.

      • “Can you say non-sequitor?”

        Yep, but do you know what it is? Apparently not, or at least not how it applies.

        “Mann hides the decline”
        Always a good indicator of someone reading from the hymn sheet of ‘skeptic’ talking points without having much of a clue what it’s about.

        And not having much of a clue is what we expect from the hyper-politized climate ‘skeptics’. And naturally they claim that scientists publishing in the literature are the ‘political hacks’.

        Terminal projection.

      • Dave Springer

        GaryM | June 13, 2012 at 9:01 am | Reply

        “Can you say non-sequitor? I knew that you could.”

        Can you spell non sequitur?

        Thought not.

      • Well, you may be absolutely clueless as to history, but you make a great school marm.

  29. Predicting catastrophes is crying wolfs. Some people see wolfs far too easily, but wolfs do exist.

    The Malthusian catastrophe has been predicted far too often and far too early, but even now the humanity continues on a path that’s not sustainable and the escape routes appear more and more clogged.

    It’s a simple fact that the influence of human societies has reached truly global dimensions and that several different limits are not far if the development continues along past lines. The belief in the sufficiency of human ingenuity in solving all essential problems is just naive. Even more naive is the belief that free markets will do that.

    Humans are on similar path with many animals whose populations grow with regular interval over sustainable limits and then collapse. The free competition between individuals does not prevent that. The collapse will not be the end of the humanity and even less the end of the Earth but it’ll be extremely painful in some way, whatever it turns out to be.

    Climate change is just one factor in this. It’s in some ways different from the other main factors. It’s not the most fundamental but it may be a major mechanism in building up the pain of the future.

    • Anthropogenic climate change belief and the incredible waste/bureaucracy associated with it is a factor for sure. It’s a distraction (self-deceit) from real problems.

      • Edim doesn’t even believe that excess atmospheric CO2 is generated by man, so any point he makes beyond this is suspect.

        He is in the same category as this guy Joe’s World.
        I frankly can’t tell them apart. They all read the same to me.

      • Web, it’s you who believe cargo cult stuff, I’m just pointing at the interesting observations. The average annual change in atmospheric CO2 for a period is obviously dependent on the average global temperature indices for the period. Colder the period, lower the cumulative growth over this period and vice versa.

        I see you don’t like to be reminded that you’re a part of (or supporting) the wasteful AGW bureaucratic machine and a suppressor of science. It’s understandable.

      • “Colder the period, lower the cumulative growth over this period and vice versa.”

        Show it. You can’t, because you lack the skills.

    • Pekka Perila,

      People have always said that. Witch doctors and other notables have been saying it for tens of thousands of years or perhaps for as long as humans could communicate. Why is it different this time?

      We are certainly not going to run out of food, not energy (its almost unlimited), nor water (its unlimited with nuclear powered desalination). Yes we are damaging habitats, but that is not due to CO2 emissions. So a price on CO2 is not going to change habitat destruction. If we want to tackle habitat destruction we’d better focus on the issue, not CO2 emissions.

      The belief in the sufficiency of human ingenuity in solving all essential problems is just naive. Even more naive is the belief that free markets will do that.

      Why? What is the evidence to support that statement? We hear it all the time, and have been hearing it for tens of thousands of years. No one has ever been able to imagine what will be done in the future. So I am not persuaded by that assertion.

      Climate change is just one factor in this. It’s in some ways different from the other main factors. It’s not the most fundamental but it may be a major mechanism in building up the pain of the future.

      I am not persuaded the evidence is sufficient to make that statement. I am not persuaded that:

      • we are not overstating the consequences of CO2 emissions

      • we’ll burn too much fossil fuels

      • we won’t adapt quickly enough

      • we wont develop the technologies needed, if needed

      • population growth won’t slow faster and peak population be lower than predicted (if we allow world to develop as fast as it can without shackling it with belief based policies)

      • CO2 emissions will cause as much damage as the alarmists believe (I suspect increasing temperature may be net positive up to a point which is so far off it is pointless speculating about what man and technology will have achieved by then)

      • Peter,

        The difference is that the numbers are different. The most important single number is perhaps the share of the land area that has been taken to intensive use of all land area that’s potentially suitable for such use and at the same time the area that’s most important for natural land-based ecosystems.

        The share is already so large that’s difficult to image, how a population of the present size could reach good living conditions on the available land area. The problems are really severe with the present population, we don’t need any population growth to have a conflict between the available resources and the aspirations of people.

        There will be also shortage of many important raw materials. There will be substitutes but there will also be problems.

        The climate change may develop to an additional severe factor in future problems.

        The total consumption of humans continues to grow at a speed that cannot be continued for long. I cannot tell, how this will stop but it will stop. It’s most likely that the way it stops will not be pleasant.

      • Some of the problem, Pekka, is the old crying wolves story. Granted, there are dangerous beasties out there, but the world’s attention has been distracted from them by the exaggerated scare about carbon dioxide. Besides the manifold and manifest capacity that human culture and politics have for self-destruction, two large destabilizing forces are hunger and cold. To some degree, CO2 battles both these forces. Add the obvious value of cheap energy, and the diversion of the last two decades, demonizing CO2 and humanity, have been a very morbid process.

        Glass half full/half empty. When have techno-optimists ever lost to Malthusians despite the unnecessarily vicious and destructive tactics of the doom mongers?

      • Kim,

        I agree that climate change has taken too large share of the attention. There are huge problems in the developing world that should be given more weight than is given to a potential but in many ways uncertain future problem.

        Finding good solutions to big problems is always difficult. Many people appear to prefer those solutions whose value can be judged only after years or decades over those whose value can be found out soon. For the first set of solutions it’s easy to maintain the illusion that something valuable has been done even when that’s not the case, for the second the failures will be seen much sooner.

        It’s very common to prefer illusions over realities.

      • Joe's World


        Their are MANY good solutions to our problems…
        BUT current society deems a market system that places value above all others.
        Many a good technology crashed and burned by this system that has NEVER come to fruition.

      • Pekka – the developing world is full of problems that are more human in nature, politics being the highest realization of our social intincts. The hardest nut to crack there is dictators and otherwise corrupt governments. Making war on them, then attempting to facilitate changes is vastly expensive, as the US found out in the Middle East. No one can really afford that. The other alternative is to use so much force that the society chooses to change, as Japan did in WWII. Neither of these seems like a good alternative. But still, the governmental problem remains. What can be done about that?

      • Pekka Pirila,

        I am commenting in areas outside my area of expertise (but I was brought up on the land, so not totally ignorant).

        The share is already so large that’s difficult to image, how a population of the present size could reach good living conditions on the available land area.

        I am not persuaded that is correct. I could envisage that the UK could feed the whole world – with chooks (chickens) in chook (chicken) factories and vegetables grown in hydroponic factories. (perhaps a little exaggerated, but you get the picture).

        Africa could feed the whole world of 10 billion people once it gets it governance sorted out and with continuous improvement in productivity. Look what Israel achieves in its desert to recognise what can be achieved on poor land. The productivity of crops around African cities and towns is high. As one moves away from the city or town the productivity decreases rapidly. So the land is not the problem. The problem is infrastructure, governance, knowledge and skills.

        Northern Australia, once developed, will be able to feed much of Asia (she’ll be right mate, just leave it to us :)

        The problems are really severe with the present population, we don’t need any population growth to have a conflict between the available resources and the aspirations of people.

        The problems are severe because of poor governance and the damage the do-gooder greenies, socialists and progressives have done. Decades of favouring international aid over free-trade has been one of the greatest impediments to the development of the poor countries.

        There will be also shortage of many important raw materials.

        I am not sure what you are referring to with this statement. If you mean minerals, then my response is definitely not. There is no shortage of minerals. They are effectively unlimited. If you mean fossil fuels, then yes, they are limited. Fresh water will not be limited because we’ll have nuclear powered desalination.

        The climate change may develop to an additional severe factor in future problems.

        I doubt that. The world will replace most fossil fuel usage with nuclear power over this century. It will probably happen much faster than we expect. The faster we can get the progressives/socialists out of the way, the faster the change will happen.

        The total consumption of humans continues to grow at a speed that cannot be continued for long. I cannot tell, how this will stop but it will stop. It’s most likely that the way it stops will not be pleasant.

        . I am not sure that consumption cannot continue. No doubt we will change our consumption patterns and change what entertains us. However, if we are going to change, it will not be forced by bureaucratic control or by socialist/progressive policies. The more the progressive/socialists manage to get control and force their policies on us the more unpleasant will be the shocks along the way. What is happening in Europe now is a good example of what happens when socialism and progressive policies get too much control – too much bureaucracy, too much regulation, too much taxation.

        I agree that climate change has taken too large share of the attention. There are huge problems in the developing world that should be given more weight than is given to a potential but in many ways uncertain future problem.

        I agree too. However, more bureaucratic intervention, regulations and taxation is most definitely not the solution. Nor is world government.

        Finding good solutions to big problems is always difficult. Many people appear to prefer those solutions whose value can be judged only after years or decades over those whose value can be found out soon. For the first set of solutions it’s easy to maintain the illusion that something valuable has been done even when that’s not the case, for the second the failures will be seen much sooner.

        It’s very common to prefer illusions over realities.

        I totally agree with you on this. Here are some examples:

        • Kyoto Protocol – next to useless, achieved little at enormous cost. CO2 pricing is almost inevitably just as bad a policy, or perhaps much worse

        • Mandating and subsidising renewable energy production

        • Forcing food growing areas to change to producing ethanol

        • Tropical deforestation to grow biodiesel for Europe

        • Banning DDT – resulting in tens of millions of fatalities

        • Banning nuclear power or regulating it to such an extent that it has not been able to compete with fossil fuels

        All of these policies have been forced on us by socialist/progressive politics and the so called ‘environmental NGO’s’.

      • “Northern Australia, once developed, will be able to feed much of Asia (she’ll be right mate, just leave it to us :)”

        No chance – it can’t, and won’t, even manage to feed Australia.

      • Dave Springer

        Who are you to say what living conditions are worse than not having lived at all? Where do you get the right to make that decision for someone else?

        The earth is sustaining 7 billion people now. Few of them feel their life is so bad they end it. Even in dirty crowded conditions where food is scarce and spoiled little Finnish academic weaklings like you can’t imagine enduring.

        The worst conditions that people on this planet are not even caused by shortage of resources but rather by corrupt governments. There’s plenty of food to feed the world. There’s a dearth of governments who serve their citizens’ best interests.

        The planet can demonstrably feed billions more people. Yet King Pekka “The Weasel” Pirila doesn’t think it can feed them well enough so he would decree billions of people never get the chance to experience life.

        F*ck you, Pekka. You’re not the king and you’re not a nice person.

    • It’s worse than we thought.

    • “The Malthusian catastrophe has been predicted far too often and far too early, but….”

      Translation – Yes we progressives have a long history of falsely claiming that the sky is falling to try get our economic policies implement. But THIS TIME it really is. We took a poll of progressive scientists and they said so. So there.

      • +1

      • Dave Springer

        Maybe the progressives can see a global famine from their back yard sort of like Sarah “Big Brain” Palin can see Russia from her back yard.

        You crack me up.

    • Pekka,

      There is a saying: “Life is hard, and then you die.” Pain is a part of life and the possibility of a future collapse being painful is something that will have to be dealt with, if it in fact does occur.

  30. If you were to believe the KT 97 World Energy Budget the Earth does not have a biosphere.
    The values given for Solar Radiation intensities with a maximum incident radiation given as 341W/m2 is well into long wavelength Infra red part of the EM spectrum.
    This radiation is not energetic enough to produce photosynthesis.
    So no photosynthesis, therefor no biosphere, or at least that was what I was taught at school.

    • Everyone is now dumber for having read this. I am happy for madison that Google does not index this site.

      • WebHubTelescope

        I would agree that after reading the KT97 diagram there is a danger of being rendered as you say ‘dumber’.
        Certain practitioners of Climate Science don’t appear to have a clue about the second law of thermodynamics.
        Spreading thinly the available energy over the whole planet might satisfy the first law but not the second.
        341W/m2 will have a peak radiation at around 10μm.
        This is well into the far infra red area of the EM spectrum.
        Photosynthesis requires light wavelengths around 0.45μm and 0.65μm.
        So no biosphere exists if you were to believe KT97.
        If Trenberth were to look in the right place he might find his “missing heat”.

      • Wow, just wow.

        The guy can’t tell incoming radiation from outgoing.

        Grade: F-

      • Telescope your Hub is Wet.
        Incoming radiation from KT97 is 341W/m2
        Outgoing 396W/m2 from KT97.
        You really are as thick as railway sleeper!
        All you have to do is read or get someone to read it for you if you are not up to the task.

      • I am convinced that to become a climate skeptic that you need to have zero understanding of the photonic spectrum and no clue that different wavelengths of light have different energies. Then you start quoting Feynman and you are part of the team.

      • WHT

        I realise you have a tiny attention span.
        Is reading this(posted above) too much for you?

        “341W/m2 will have a peak radiation at around 10μm.
        This is well into the far infra red area of the EM spectrum.
        Photosynthesis requires light wavelengths around 0.45μm and 0.65μm.
        So no biosphere exists if you were to believe KT97.”

      • Rob Starkey


        You repeatedly show how foolish you are with your broad inaccurate generalizations.

        So you see no reason why a person is skeptical about prior claims made by people like Hansen who claimed to know the rate of warming will be as a function of CO2?

        So you see no reason to be skeptical of people who claim to know that the world be dramatically worse off overall as a result of it being warmer? You believe that their conclusions should be accepted although the models used to reach those conclusions have been demonstrated to not be able to accurately forecast the future conditions that lead to the predictions?

        So you believe that there is no basis to be skeptical of proposed actions to mitigate the rise in CO2 because the actions proposed seem to not be cost effective or even likely to impact future weather conditions?

      • “341W/m2 will have a peak radiation at around 10μm.
        This is well into the far infra red area of the EM spectrum.
        Photosynthesis requires light wavelengths around 0.45μm and 0.65μm.
        So no biosphere exists if you were to believe KT97.”

        That is what prospective engineering student bryan says.

        When the photons enter the atmosphere, it is as short-wavelength radiation of higher energy. It is measured as a power density, in watts/m^2.

        As the surface emits, it emits at a similar power density, but now as long-wavelength lower energy infrared photons, because the earth is not a freaking light bulb, dimwit.

        Grade: F-

        And I don’t care what Ringo says.

      • WHT says
        “When the photons enter the atmosphere, it is as short-wavelength radiation of higher energy. It is measured as a power density, in watts/m^2.”
        This is what actually happens and the power density is 1360W/m2

        However even a cretin yourself can read KT97 I hope!!!!
        There KT97 claim solar radiation power density is 341W/m2
        If using this power density value for the Stephan-Boltzmann integration of the Planck blackbody spectrum.

        As I said above
        “341W/m2 will have a peak radiation at around 10μm.
        This is well into the far infra red area of the EM spectrum.”

        I don’t mean to be rude when I call you a ‘tube’.
        Its just the reality that you will have to live with daily.

      • Bryan, like Web says, WOW, just wow.

        Flux density is independent of wavelength.

        Your understanding is so poor and yet you are quick with the insults.

      • bob droege says

        “Flux density is independent of wavelength.”

        However Wiki says
        “In spectroscopy, spectral flux density is the quantity that describes the rate at which energy is transferred by electromagnetic radiation through a real or virtual surface, per unit surface area and per unit wavelength.”

        Did you see that ‘ per unit wavelength’?

        bob droege also says
        ” you are quick with the insults.”
        If you check you will find WetHub started the insults.
        I will reply in kind so don’t get me started!

      • Oh my golly gee willickers, the socialist skeptic bryan is confusing areal flux density with spectral density.

        The latter is a shaped function of wavelength, the former is integrated across all wavelengths.

      • Dave Springer

        Write this down, Web. Pekka “The Weasel” Pirali should make a note of it too.'s_law_of_thermal_radiation

        “Kirchhoff’s Law has another corollary: the emissivity cannot exceed one (because the absorptivity cannot, by conservation of energy), so it is not possible to thermally radiate more energy than a black body, at equilibrium.”

        The earth’s average temperature is limited by the average power it receives from the sun. If the solar constant is 1366W/m2 then it is physically impossible to distribute that over a sphere and have the sphere emit more than 341W/m2 on average because conservation law requires that emission not exceed absorption. The frequency distribution doesn’t matter. This is total power across all frequencies.

      • “Flux density is independent of wavelength.”

        But the problem is 341W/m2 isn’t a flux density.
        Instead it’s the solar flux at earth distance divided by 4.
        Because it’s imagining one can spread the solar flux around
        the sphere of earth.
        Whereas it’s closer to think of it has as twice this amount:
        682 W/m2 as average solar flux for the half lit sphere. Or the sunlit
        hemisphere. Disk area times 2 is the area of the hemisphere. And 4 times disk areas is area of sphere.
        What seems to be avoided for some reason, is that the sunlit side of the earth will emit more energy than the night side hemisphere of earth.

      • WebHub and bob droege

        WetHub introduced a new unit as you can read above.

        ” is measured as a power density, in watts/m^2.”

        Such was his state of confusion I did not think to embarrass him by pointing out the units did not match up as you can see.
        My main point and the point of the thread was the biosphere question.
        Solar radiation is a reasonable approximation to blackbody radiation and so we can use the Stephan Boltzmann to calculate the radiated power per unit area.
        KT97 (linked above) gives a value of 341W/m2.
        This value ( if taken seriously) has a peak value of around 10μm.
        This is well into the far infra red area of the EM spectrum.
        Photosynthesis requires light wavelengths around 0.45μm and 0.65μm.
        So no biosphere exists.(That is if you were to believe KT97).

      • Bryan,

        Look here,

        The flux density varies with the distance from the Sun, which is close to a blackbody, but the spectrum doesn’t change.

        The peak wavelength for a blackbody spectrum varies with the temperature of the source, not with the flux density.

      • Bob, We are battling skeptics with no history or experience with wave and statistical mechanics.

        We all agree that energy has to balance and as Springer says, the energy can’t be greater going out than coming in. That is all perfectly acceptable.

        The thing they don’t understand is that the statistical mechanical sense of temperature is not the same as energy density. The fact that certain photon wavelengths have a hard time exiting means that the temperature has to increase. In one sense temperature is a measure of molecular motion (for example, at 0K all motion stops). So in the case of a GHG, photons trying to escape are deflected back and forth and of course this will create more motion and thus the temperature will rise, perhaps slightly but a definite amount.

        That extra motion caused by the transfer of energy from a photon to its surroundings also leads to a temperature rise. It certainly can’t cause a temperature decrease! And how could the temperature stay the same?

        Since the temperature does increase, the Planck spectrum shifts upward to favor higher frequency (lower wavelength) photons and these then have a greater chance of escaping without colliding with GHG’s. The steady-state gray-body distribution of photons is then achieved, and the system reaches an energy balance with the new higher temperature.

        The atmospheric height at which the photons escape also plays into this because this is really a three-dimensional problem that we are dealing with, and the previous discussion is better intuited if one considers a thin shell instead of a full 3D atmosphere.

      • bob droege says

        “The flux density varies with the distance from the Sun, which is close to a blackbody, but the spectrum doesn’t change”

        Agreed but the KT97.( Earth) is at the same distance from the Sun

        “The peak wavelength for a blackbody spectrum varies with the temperature of the source, not with the flux density.”

        Agreed, the flux density also varies with the distance from the source in this case the Sun
        Again, the KT97.( Earth) is at the same distance from the Sun.
        So claiming a 341W/m2 power per unit area from Stephan Boltzmann Equation takes you back into the error of the implied infra red nature of most of the energy distribution and no biosphere.
        You cant have it both ways except in absurd double think KT Climate Science.

        WebHubTelescope says
        “We all agree that energy has to balance ”

        Agreed but that the first law.

        But if the way you decide to balance the energy contradicts the second law then you end up with the impossible and absurd KT97 diagram.
        4 times a 341W/m2 distribution does not equal one 1364W/m2 distribution.
        The second law is about the ‘quality’ of the radiation as much as its quantity.

      • Bryan,

        I still do not get how you get a 10um peak from 341 W/m2, please show how you calculate that.

        If you don’t get why Trenberth divides the incoming radiation flux by four to get the outgoing radiation flux, I suggest a book on basic geometry.

        How does Trenberth’s energy balance violate the second law of thermodynamics?

      • Dave Springer

        WebHubTelescope | June 17, 2012 at 12:46 am |

        “We all agree that energy has to balance and as Springer says, the energy can’t be greater going out than coming in. That is all perfectly acceptable.”

        Glad you understand conservation.

        “The thing they don’t understand is that the statistical mechanical sense of temperature is not the same as energy density.”

        If you really knew your ass from your elbow you’d simply say power falls off as the inverse square of the distance.

        “The fact that certain photon wavelengths have a hard time exiting means that the temperature has to increase.”

        This is correct but what YOU don’t understand is that it doesn’t have to increase at the surface. Lecture mode on.

        Energy can leave the surface in one of three ways – evaporation, conduction, and radiation. It will distribute itself along all three paths with the easiest path getting the most traffic and the hardest the least. This can be visualized by the lay person as three holes in the bottom of a bucket. Each hole will leak water but a bigger hole will leak more than a smaller hole.

        When there is liquid water present on the surface for evaporation and the air is not saturated this is the easiest path. Globally over 50% of all energy leaves the surface this way. Conduction is the most difficult path and globally accounts for less than 10% of the energy leaving the surface.

        GHG modus operandi is increasing the impedence of the radiative path from surface to space. It does this through a mechanism commonly described as back-radiation a.k.a. downwelling longwave infrared radiation (DWLIR). When DWLIR is absorbed by water it does not raise the temperature of the water but rather increases the evaporation rate. The energy is thus entrained as latent heat of vaporization. This water vapor then convects upward until adiabatic cooling causes it to condense. Normally this is thousands of feet high at the cloud deck but it can be anywhere including right at the surface where it would be called fog instead of a cloud. When condensation happens the energy becomes sensible again and will be registered on a thermometer.

        What happens in this case is that most of the excess DWLIR caused by the increase in GHG goes into decreasing the environmental lapse rate between surface and clouds.

        Climate boffins understand this which is why they look for a GHG fingerprint in the troposphere affectionately called a hot-spot which is described as the temperature rising more in the upper troposphere than it rises at the surface i.e. the lapse rate is lessened.

        I doubt you’ll understand this but this is Atmospheric Physics 101 and if you don’t understand it you understand so little you should probably stick to talking about the politics of global warming and avoid the science.

      • bob droege says
        “Bryan, I still do not get how you get a 10um peak from 341 W/m2, please show how you calculate that.”

        KT97 says the 341W/m2 is black body radiation.
        Therefore we can use the Stephan Boltzman Equation to work out a corresponding temperature for this intensity.

        I = K.T^4
        341 = 5.67 T^4/ 10^8
        Gives T = 278K
        Wein displacement law
        Peak Wavelength x T = 2.9/10^3
        => Peak Wavelength = 10.4 um
        Which would rule out a biosphere if true.
        The fact is that the proposed diagram is impossible and absurd.
        4 times a 341W/m2 black body distribution does not equal one 1364W/m2 black body distribution.

      • David Springer, this is the usual place you go wrong because you assume the extra downward IR just goes into evaporation without raising the surface temperature. Since much of the surface is ocean, its evaporation is constrained by the equilibrium saturation level near the surface, and the saturation level can only be reduced if the temperature increases. So, no there is no freedom to increase the evaporation rate unless you first raise the surface temperature. You have to know what limits the evaporation rate before you can explain how it changes.

      • Bryan is hopeless.
        Springer is much more clever in his arguments. I won’t try to compete with him on his theory that a master synchronization clock rune the universe, but maybe on the basic GHG theory.

        There are three ways for the average temperature to go when extra GHGs are added to the atmosphere.
        1. The average temperature will go down.
        Hard to believe as we have the 33C elevation due to GHGs.
        2. The average temperature will go up.
        That is what the basic GHG theory says
        3. The temperature will stay the same.
        Springer says that convection and latent heating and cooling will perfectly position the GHGs in the atmosphere to exactly compensate for the increase in possible warming. He does realize that energies of evaporation are exactly compensated by energy of condensation, so all that does is shift the temperatures around depending on altitude. Climate scientists such as Lacis work on this in their simulations and find that the compensation is not complete — in other words, it mainly compensates for the increase in the water vapor GHG with warming and not the CO2 (which is non-condensing).

        That is further echoed by what JimD said :

        ” David Springer, this is the usual place you go wrong because you assume the extra downward IR just goes into evaporation without raising the surface temperature. Since much of the surface is ocean, its evaporation is constrained by the equilibrium saturation level near the surface, and the saturation level can only be reduced if the temperature increases. So, no there is no freedom to increase the evaporation rate unless you first raise the surface temperature. You have to know what limits the evaporation rate before you can explain how it changes.”

        Something has to warm before it can compensate. This becomes obvious when JimD states it succinctly, so proves that only scenario 2 is plausible.

        So all that Springer is arguing about is the secondary effects of warming due to water vapor, and not the original CO2, which is what Bryan is hopelessly confused about.

      • WebHubTelescope says “Bryan is hopeless.”
        Yet WHT will not show how a blackbody distribution of 341W/m2 does not have a peak wavelength of around 10.4um.
        He can prattle on all he likes but he will only impress the seriously bewildered.

      • Sorry Bryan, the flux density is found nowhere in the Wien’s displacement law.

        Vmax=alpha/h * kT

        You are using the wrong equation

        alpha , h and k are all constants

        so the frequency fo light emitted from a blackbody increases with temperature.

        Try this

      • bob droege
        I have calculated values using the accepted relevant equations I suggest you try the same.
        1. Is the 341 W/m2 shown in the KT97 black body radiation?
        2. If it is blackbody radiation can we use the Stephan Boltzmann equation for a given intensity to calculate the temperature?
        3. Is the temperature calculated from SB equation 278K?
        4. Given the temperature can we use the Wein displacement law to calculate the peak wavelength?

        If you reply use the bullet points to make clear the points that you agree or disagree with.

        My calculations are given below!
        KT97 says the 341W/m2 is black body radiation.
        Therefore we can use the Stephan Boltzmann Equation to work out a corresponding temperature from this intensity.

        I = K.T^4
        341 = 5.67 T^4/ 10^8
        Gives T = 278K
        Wein displacement law
        Peak Wavelength x T = 2.9/10^3
        => Peak Wavelength = 10.4 um

        4 times a 341W/m2 black body distribution does not equal one 1364W/m2 black body distribution.
        Look at the cubic metre of water example for proof.

    • bob droege says
      “Sorry Bryan, the flux density is found nowhere in the Wien’s displacement law.”

      This is a strange comment since I did not use flux density in my equation!

      My equation comes from page 1257 of University Physics by Young and Freedman 9th Edition.
      In case you do not have access to physics books here is a Wiki link saying much the same thing

      “From this general law, it follows that there is an inverse relationship between the wavelength of the peak of the emission of a black body and its temperature when expressed as a function of wavelength, and this less powerful consequence is often also called Wien’s displacement law in many textbooks.

      λmaxT=b ”

      I hope you don’t get the impression that I think the KT97 solar intensity value is acceptable.
      The division by four method satisfies the first law but violates the second LoT.

      If the way you decide to balance the energy contradicts the second law then you end up with the impossible and absurd KT97 diagram.
      4 times a 341W/m2 bb distribution does not equal one 1364W/m2 bb distribution.
      The second law is about the ‘quality’ of the radiation as much as its quantity.
      Once last try to show the difference.
      Two cubic containers of volume (one cubic metre) each holding a cubic metre of water.
      Water initially at say 20C

      For cube A one face is irradiated by 1364W/m2 of radiation.
      The other faces are totally insulated.
      This cube of water will eventually reach the boiling point of water.
      The maximum temperature attainable is 120C so complications beyond 100C.

      Cube B is irradiated on 4 sides with 341W/m2.
      The other two faces are totally insulated.
      This cube of water will actually drop in temperature down to about 5C as it will radiate out more than it absorbs.

      • Yes, but you keep saying that a blackbody with a 341 W/m2 ha a peak wavelength of 10 um.

        Whay bring the examples with cubes in when Trenberth’s diagram is dealing with a sphere warmed by 1364 W/m2 on one half of the sphere and cooled by irradiating outward from a sphere at 341 W/m2.

        Surface of a sphere = 4 pi r2
        area of a circle = pi r2

        The answer to the problem lies not in comparing how much heating occurs with the two different flux densities, but by calculating the temperature necessary to shed the amount of heat supplied by the sun to the earth in a circle of radius r, by radiating outward from a sphere of radius r.

  31. When I was growing up, a recurring character in the political cartoons of the day was a scruffy individual carrying a placard that said “the world is coming to an end”. This person was a figure of fun.

    Today, he/she is being published in formerly distinguished scientific journals as though their neurotic fantasies are fact. We still laugh at those who say the Rapture will happen on October 22nd next, but if they use the right language and vaguer timelines, some people actually think this is reputable science.

    Go figure.

    • Joe's World


      I think the rapture will be when science has been shown to be a huge fraud which has done more destruction than good for our society.
      Having been kept brainwashed to trust our scientists(even though many, many areas are ignored).
      Our scientists cannot tell what evidence actually is as they are so very used to theories that have evolved even though the technology went and changed on them.
      Planetary mechanics is a huge area that covers motion and all the factors NOT in “observed science” as it is the circulation of basic mechanics of atmospheric gases and water movements.

    • See. Lies are not allowed in the Bible.

      Rev 10:4 And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.

      What are the seven thunders without the light?
      Do you know seven great lies that have been told about God to the whole world?
      We’ll see for sure in His good time.

    • Johanna,
      Our souls are eternal so we don’t need to worry about: The End.
      You know.

      • “Some people say you’re gonna die some day, I got news: “You never got to go” ”

        Even the Gospel According to Ted, aka “Stranglehold” has no relevance in a Scientific argument.

        Even the Catholics, and it is their book, don’t believe the Bible is literally true down to every verse.

        Doomsday Revelations quoters, OMG, run everybody.

      • I’m glad to see that there’s at least one unreformed unreformulated old-school alarmist still with us. At least the old-school alarmists don’t pretend to have science supporting them.

  32. Beth Cooper

    Well.Tony @ 13th June, 5.10am:
    I’d sooner refer to historical records like yours and CET instrumental data than tree ring findings and computer hindcast adjusted models.

    • Beth


      I’m supposed to be going to Exeter Museum today by train to examine some reference books on Exeters underground passages which date to the 14th Century

      Its a follow up to my visit to the Devon archives and Exeter Cathedral library where I’m hoping to fnd references to the weather in the 1340’s when the passages were constructed.
      However my 17 year old dog is still snoozing and I dont like to wake her so might have to delay my trip until tomorrow!


  33. Beth Cooper

    Steven Schneider suggested communication, …’offer up some scary scenarios, make … little mention of doubts one might have.’
    Well lolwot, 4th June, 10.29 pm, in my book that’s dishonourable obfuscation. Re ethics, ‘fail’,re respect for integrity of science research, ‘fail.’

    • Joe's World


      It is far worse than you can imagine for our science knowledge base.
      Too many years of our scientists going unchecked. New technology comes and yet scientists NEVER re-evaluated science. Just kept trudging along and ignored the changes to keep their fields of study alive. This slammed the doors to ANY open mindedness that would understand our planet and the systems that run it.
      Mechanics? Certainly not in any of our current scientists knowledge as they are for cars and not planets….hmmmmmm.

  34. Comrades, look to the past to find your future.
    See yourself in the heart of the Great Peoples.
    We have paved a path for our friends across the seas.
    Beyond the State Shift we have crossed.
    Our rivers turned yellow, our lands did die.
    Millions of our feet crushed our Mothers land.

    Burn your books, cleanse your minds.
    Cast off the wealthy, restrict those yet to be.
    Be all for one and one for all.
    Rebirth comrades, and wear the cloth of revolution.
    You future is there.

  35. Joe's World


    Starvation should be societies concern of our future.
    Just a simple shift of climate can have a catastrophic effect from a warming trend we have been accustomed to to a cold one.
    Currently many warning signs are being shown that the planet is cooling with glacial run off slowing and areas being devastated with frost and unexpected snow.
    We have forgotten that our species used to travel a great deal to survive but creature comforts make it possible to stay in our areas summer and winter.
    Our planet keeps changing and our scientists are idiots to worry what we are doing as it keeps adapting and changing.
    To truly understand the planet is to know that it has adapted far worse than man being on this planet!!!

  36. Beth Cooper

    John Dougan and others re problems of increasing population pressures, there’s surprising and good news from Hans Rosling on population
    stabilization, involving reliable world census data.

  37. How is this possible when carbon & oxygen have stopped glacial/ inter-glacial periods?

    “Prof Steffen said that this period of climate change caused by humans, known as the ‘anthropocene era’, could ultimately cause the whole system of ice ages followed by warm periods, that has allowed life on Earth to flourish, to be over.”

    What a bunch of lying frauds you climate scientists are.

    30 + years of constantly moving your failed tipping points in your latest climate scare campaign.

    Retribution will be harsh for you.

  38. The policy recommendations are the RIO+20 message exactly. Nature has a campaign of articles going on this message. Sad for science.

    • Ironically the IPCC just issued a policy that its authors should not engage in advocacy. Scientific journal articles normally do not make policy recommendations. Nature, the leading journal, is clearly out of control. The standards are changing in favor of activism. Science must suffer accordingly.

      • David, could you please elaborate? What do they mean by ‘advocacy’? What are the sanctions for transgressors? How does that work across many jurisdictions? There are lots more questions, but perhaps you could post a link or explanation to clarify things.

      • Sorry J, but I simply got a green summary report from the just ended IPCC meeting and it mentioned what I reported. I will see what else I can find tomorrow. Could be big or could be nothing.

      • I think it is ironic that the people here have no interest in what is actually happening, like the IPCC meeting. But maybe that is just me, foolishly concerned with political reality.

      • Thanks, look forward to your posting of more info (if any is available). This is the kind of thing that slips under the radar all too often, so kudos for picking it up.

  39. Those concerned about over population will take heart in this link.

    The environmental pogrom has begun:

    Tens of millions of pounds of UK aid money have been spent on a programme that has forcibly sterilised Indian women and men, the Observer has learned. Many have died as a result of botched operations, while others have been left bleeding and in agony.

    (A) working paper published by the UK’s Department for International Development in 2010 cited the need to fight climate change as one of the key reasons for pressing ahead with such programmes.

    The document argued that reducing population numbers would cut greenhouse gases,…

    I can only hope they knock on your door real soon, Pekka Pirilä.

    • Whenever progressives start waxing eloquently about the next Malthusian catastrophe, their long (and ongoing) history of support for eugenics inevitably rears its ugly head.

      The Guardian article is just one in a long series of examples of this phenomenon, and shows that this support is not limited to their past, nor to some leftist lunatic fringe. Eugenics was and is supported by many mainstream progressives.

      Abortion for sex selection and to destroy “diseased” fetuses is “scientific.”

      Australia recently appointed one of Princeton’s brightest stars, rabid eugenics supporter Peter Singer (who supports infanticide as well as abortion to thin the herd to more acceptable human beings), “Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia ‘for eminent service to philosophy and bioethics as a leader of public debate and communicator of ideas in the areas of global poverty, animal welfare and the human condition.’”

      Oh, and remember Margaret Sanger, the sainted creator of Planned Parenthood and avid fan of eugenics to reduce the surplus minority population? Guess where the vast majority of Planned Parenthood abortion mills are located? If you guessed in areas serving African American and Hispanic communities, you’d be right.

      And then there was Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg admitting in a gaffe that she like other progressives is a eugenics supporter (while falsely projecting that belief onto conservatives): “’Frankly I had thought that at the time [Roe v. Wade] was decided,’ Ginsburg told her interviewer, Emily Bazelon, ‘there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.’”

      The fervent belief of elitists in their own superiority over their fellow man often leads to horrific policies.

      • Gary, someone on WUWT posted a comment which you might like to think about. It is along the lines that as long as right-wingers (such as that term has meaning) continue to oppose abortion, they will lose women’s votes.

        Since every poll forever has demonstrated that women (that would be the people who get pregnant) overwhelmingly support, in varying circumstances, legal abortion, has it ever occurred to you that you might be (a) wrong and/or (b) scaring off women who might otherwise support your objectives?

        It’s a serious question, because one of the things that has turned me off voting for conservative candidates in the past is precisely that issue. It has nothing to do with a ‘slippery slope’ at all. I have no truck with the things on the slippery slope, and nor do the vast majority of women. But, I will never, ever, vote for a candidate who wants to force women to bear children against their will.

        In a classic libertarian environment, this would not be an issue. But sections of the American right have foreclosed their options and permanently alienated more than half of the female population with strident anti-abortion rhetoric.

        If you are serious about winning the hearts and minds of the voters, has it ever occurred to you that ceding this territory permanently to the Left is both a tactical and strategic error?

      • johanna,

        First, I don’t base my principles based on what other people think, or how they vote. Second, the polls are not as clear as you believe. I suspect you get your information form various “news” sources that filter what you are allowed to see, such as the New York Times, Huffington Post, all the regular TV networks, all but one of the cable networks…. There is a whole big world out there that does not conform to what you have been reading.

        As for abortion in general, abortion has never been about a woman’s right to choose. It has always been about middle aged progressive men’s right to have sex with younger women without being bothered with child support or marriage.

      • Gary, your response demonstrates exactly the tunnel vision I was citing.

        I am not American, and have never read the Huffington Post or other sources you quote (you just knew that because of what I said, right?).

        Since you say at the outset that you don’t care what people’s opinions are, why bother to try to refute the undeniable fact that women in Western countries at least, are overwhelmingly against making legal abortion impossible? Your point is that you think it is wrong, so no further correspondence will be entered into.

        As for claiming that it is a plot by middle-aged rakes to get sex, truly you are off with the pixies. You demean half the human race by claiming that they are too dumb to know what they want in relation to their own bodies, and instead are being manipulated by a bunch of sleazebags most of them will never have anything to do with. A significant percentage of abortions are chosen by married women whose husband is the father.

        Hunter, the things you mention are a whole separate discussion, and this is probably not the place to have it. My central point is, unequivocal opposition to abortion alienates women across the board, including many who have very conservative social and political views. Ceding this territory to leftists by default is stupid, and insulting to women, as illustrated above.

      • johanna,

        OK, prove how wrong I am. Give me a list of the conservative outlets that you regularly read/watch/listen to. Give me your description, without googling it, of the conservative position on any major political or economic issue of the day.

        For instance, let me have your description of the conservative position on abortion. Because I am sure that before making such a blanket statement, you long ago looked at both sides of the issue, and can fairly articulate the position you try so hard to demean.

        Or as an alternative, how about a list of the articles you have read that contradict your firm belief in “the undeniable fact that women in Western countries at least, are overwhelmingly against making legal abortion impossible.” Because, again, you surely are not so limited in your exposure to conservative media that you have never seen any of them.

        Since you don’t rely on exclusively progressive news sources (no matter where you live) I am sure you will have no trouble sharing the breadth of your exposure to conflicting views.

        I read progressive “news.” articles, editorials etc. all the time. I can write a fair description of the progressive position on pretty much any topic. But I find that progressives, including those who call themselves moderates and independents, are simply incapable of stating conservative positions for the simple fact that they have had no exposure to them.

        Other than that, if you want to argue with what I write, I am more than willing to engage. But please argue with what I actually write, not a distorted version of it. For instance, I did not write that I don’t care what other people think. As a conservative who thinks elections are the proper way we should be governed, of course I do.

        What I wrote was “First, I don’t base my principles based on what other people think, or how they vote.” Surely you can seer the difference?

        As for the institution of abortion, in the U.S. it was not enacted based on votes of women seeking control of their bodies. Here it was foisted on the entire country in one fell swoop by the diktat of aging progressive men on the Supreme Court.

      • Gary, I am not accountable to you for what I read, but suffice it to say that my list of Favourites would meet with your approval :) Iowahawk rools, OK! (I doubt that you have heard of local sites such as Catallaxy Files).

        The ‘conservative position on abortion’ is precisely the strawman I was attacking. I was discussing the gender position on abortion, which transcends party and ideological lines. For example, when men (from both sides of politics) in Australia moved to restrict foreign aid for voluntary family planning, and to ban RU486 – a non-surgical abortion method – all women MPs, from every political party, opposed these measures. Believe me, the conservative women in this group were as far from what you would call ‘bleeding heart liberals’ as is imaginable.

        Once again, you insult me and my gender by saying that we, the affected population, are stupid and deluded. You are entitled to your opinion, but telling us that we don’t want to tote that bale because liberals have turned our brains to mush (even before we knew, if we ever did, what a ‘liberal’ is) says it all.

        As the graffiti rightly says: If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.

      • “Once again, you insult me and my gender by saying that we, the affected population, are stupid and deluded.”

        Once again you are dishonest about what I wrote. So there is no reason to continue discussing the issue with you further. Are you related to Joshua by any chance?

      • Sport, you have just hit the bottom of the barrel. Scraping, scraping.

        The troll called joshua from the US has nothing to do with johanna from australia – she (me) has been around on Bishop Hill and WUWT for quite a while.

        You have completely lost the plot after being called on stupid assertions. Next, you will accuse me (with no evidence whatsoever) of being brainwashed by publications that I have never read. Oh, wait, you already did that!

        Give it a rest.

      • johanna,
        You raise some interesting points.
        Between reasonable regulation of abortion and the imposition of eugenics, which would you choose?

      • johanna, yours is a classical American response to a classical American problem. The problem in the US, with respect to abortion, is this binary:
        You are either pro-Life (antiabortion) or pro-Choice (in favor of abortion).
        In every other civilized society in the Western/Eastern world this debate does not occur.
        Instead there is this question; under what circumstances should an abortion be legal (and in most nations state funded) ?
        What you cannot understand is that the vast majority, >75% would be satisfied with the position arrived at in the UK, via a public consultation and with a free vote*

        Subject to the provisions of this section, a person shall not be guilty of an offence under the law relating to abortion when a pregnancy is terminated by a registered medical practitioner if two registered medical practitioners are of the opinion, formed in good faith –

        (a) that the pregnancy has not exceeded its twenty-fourth week and that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family; or
        (b) that the termination of the pregnancy is necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman; or
        (c) that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated
        (d) that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.

        The interpretation of Lord Justice Laws is:

        There is some evidence that many doctors maintain that the continuance of a pregnancy is always more dangerous to the physical welfare of a woman than having an abortion, a state of affairs which is said to allow a situation of de facto abortion on demand to prevail.

        *In a free vote MP’s do not vote on party lines and indeed the drafting of legislation is not normally performed by the government, it is drafted by MP’s of many parties. In votes were

        The big debate in the UK is the 24 week limit. The largest minority wish for it to be pushed back to 20 weeks, before higher brain function is established (about 21-22 weeks).
        The 2005 YouGov/Daily Telegraph survey, Britons’ feelings toward abortion by gestational age are
        30% would back a measure to reduce the legal limit for abortion to 20 weeks
        25% support maintaining the current limit of 24 weeks
        19% support a limit of 12 weeks
        9% support a limit of fewer than 12 weeks
        6% responded that abortion should never be allowed
        2% said it should be permitted throughout pregnancy

        Different media, different political climate produces as different type of debate.

      • Doc, I am amazed that you wrote such a long response to my post, when you obviously didn’t bother to read it.

        I AM NOT AMERICAN! First Gary, now you, assume this, when I have stated in my post that it is not the case. I am, in fact, Australian, as would be clear from many of my posts on other threads.

        Does discussing abortion negatively affect the comprehension powers of the male gender? It would seem so. Tunnel vision, just like Gary.

  40. Rio+20 is basically a political convertion, so different causes are competing for position on the platform. That the party as a whole is losing ground is irrelevant.

  41. “new study published study in Nature alerts to impending catastrophic developments – this time not mainly based on climate change impacts but on wider developments caused by resource use” Judy Curry (quoting Judy Curry)

    “it takes a comprehensive look at ecosystem stresses (climate change plays a relatively minor role” Judy Curry (quoting Judy Curry)

    These statements are your own spin. Why do you do that, when you can simply report accurately on a study? In this study, the loss of biodiversity and the extinction risks are directly linked to pressures that include human induced climate change. The global-scale forcing mechanisms include “unprecedented rates and magnitudes of human population growth with attendant resource consumption, habitat transformation and fragmentation, energy production and consumption, and climate change.” You are appealing to dummies by interpreting this as a descending list like ingredients on a can of food.

    “Driven by a 35 percent increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide since the start of the Industrial Revolution, global temperatures are rising faster than they did back then [last glacial period]” and humans have transformed 43% of the land surface, since that time.

    The study team draws from over one hundred scientific papers on climate change and ecology and the research spans many disciplines and countries. I wonder if just the idea of such collaborations puts terror into the hearts of conspiracy theorists and skeptics.

    The recommendations are not ‘sweeping’: they are ‘root cause’ level, integrative recommendations, as clearly stated.

    Now let’s discuss this, in context: people live quite unwittingly with policy impacts every day and these policies have typically advantaged a small minority of people and disadvantaged the majority, while creating creating barriers to mutual aid, resilience and community empowerment… and as part of it, typically fail to provide relief from crucial pressure points on the environment. Perhaps a root-cause perspective offers more, not less, of a lens through which to view what kind of society others wish to live in.

  42. I think this may explain a lot of what goes on in climate science and this article also.

    “For more than five decades, Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Laureate and professor of psychology at Princeton, has been asking questions like this and analyzing our answers. His disarmingly simple experiments have profoundly changed the way we think about thinking. While philosophers, economists, and social scientists had assumed for centuries that human beings are rational agents—reason was our Promethean gift—Kahneman and his scientific partner, the late Amos Tversky, demonstrated that we’re not nearly as rational as we like to believe.”

    “The philosopher, it turns out, got it backward. A new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology led by Richard West at James Madison University and Keith Stanovich at the University of Toronto suggests that, in many instances, smarter people are more vulnerable to these thinking errors. Although we assume that intelligence is a buffer against bias—that’s why those with higher S.A.T. scores think they are less prone to these universal thinking mistakes—it can actually be a subtle curse.

    • Speaking as a philosopher, this is psychological nonsense.

      • By the way, I got the first math problem wrong too. Apparently that makes me irrational. Never mind that algebra was only discovered in the 12th century, unlike reasoning. If only we knew what rationality was. But everyone thinks they know, just because they can do it. What a joke!

      • In the 16th century, mathematicians believed negative numbers were ‘unphysical’ and tried to avoid writing equations containing one. They would rearrange the equation to show only positive numbers. Some of these people were geniuses, but they got it wrong.

      • As far as that goes, imaginary numbers don’t exist, but are still useful. the trick is if the physical result still has an imaginary element by the time you’re done, you did something wrong (though they can sometimes be convenient shorthand for something physical, such as phase shift).

        It wasn’t that long ago when everybody believed that the square root of a negative number was a shortcut to the seventh ring of hell.

      • I would contest your assertion that imaginary numbers don’t exist. They are widely used in physics.

  43. Beth Cooper

    Unprecedented rates, magnitude of human population growth? Not so. We may not have reached peak oil but we have reached peak child growth figures. See my posting above of Hans Rosing reliable global census data.
    2010 figures show that 80% of humans live in countries which average 2 children per woman, and family size figures now show no major difference between religions. Check the data.

  44. This is one of my favorite cartoons, and appropriate.

    • Thanks, Doc. That is the way I feel when people claim that it is possible to estimate a change in surface tempearture from a change in forcing.

  45. Latimer Alder


    Yet another study telling me I’m gong to die unless I adopt somebody else’s political prospectus by three weeks next Michaelmas fortnight.

    Since I have survived every health, food, lifestyle and pollution scare we’ve had in the last fifty years, I think I can safely ignore this one too.

    My doctor tells me I am suffering from finimunditis fatigue, and recommends lying down in a darkened room until it goes away.

  46. The publication timing of this study is somewhat suspect….like a presidential October surprise.

    Like much of advocacy science, the study has data, uncertainty, implications, and potential extrapolations but when Conclusions and Recommendations time comes, all scientific caution is thrown to the winds and no holds are barred.

    As external peer review, I would comment: ‘Conclusions and recommendations not based on findings in evidence.’

    • Kip,
      We will be bombarded by stentorian oh-so-seriouis declarations all along the lines of the “science is settled and denialists are scum” until the Rio conference joins the ash heap along with all the other climate conferences.
      Then people will point out that the papers were always bogus and making phony claims and false conclusions. But the AGW faithful will be pleased. And the NGO’s can continue their parasitic existance.

  47. As one scare dies, our political masters prepare the next…

  48. Dave Springer

    There are an estimated 1.5 billion head of domestic cattle on the planet. Average weight per head is about 1500 pounds for total biomass of 2.25 trillion pounds. There are about 7 billion head of humans on the planet with an average weight of 150 pounds for total biomass of 1.05 trillion pounds.

    I never bothered trying to calculate the additional weight of domestic chickens, pigs, turkeys, sheep, goats, and whatever other animals are raised for food as it’s not needed to make the point but you might imagine the human vs. human-associated biomass ratio would be even smaller.

    The fact there is twice the weight of domestic cattle on the planet as there is weight in humans puts into perspective some of the easier things that can be done to free up resources for wild animals. The calorie conversion rate for cattle is about 10:1 which means for every ten calories consumed by cattle we get 1 calorie in meat from it.

    Rather than talk about limiting human population we could instead be talking about limiting the number of animals raised for food and get the same effect of making a smaller human footprint on the planet.

    • Latimer Alder

      That’ll put a steak through the heart of the alarmists…..

    • You eat tofu Dave.

      I’ll stick with beef, pork and chicken.

      I’ll eat tofu as well, but as a side or mixed in with my meat.

    • Which country has the largest number of cattle? Which countries have the largest ratio cow/person? Which countries have the most over grazed pasture land? Which countries can least afford cattle as status or religious symbols? Why would I listen to anyone that uses global averages without considering regional impacts? :)

    • Dave,
      Excellent points irt biomass.
      When I was in my yard last night distributingby way of a hose-end sprayer beneficial nematodes into my lawn, something triggerend a vague memory about how many nematodes there are in world. It seems the humble nematode, micrscopic worm like creatures, inhabit a vast array of ecological niches.
      Some are beneficial to certain plants and creatures, others deadly.
      For the home owner, beneficial nematodes like to munch on insect larvae, like grub worms, ant larvae, as well as chigger and flea larvae.
      It was messy fun (and entertaining to neighbors out late) as I mixed up the nematodes for the hose-end sprayer and placed them in much of my front yard. The little monsters are heat and moisture sensitive and so need to be implanted after dark and preceeded with a watering that is followed up again, apparently to wash the little guys into the soil where they can do their thing before sun rise.
      I recall vaguely that global nematode biomass is actually a significant fraction of the human biomas, if not actually more.
      A quick google does not bring up corroborationg links, but I will keep looking.

      The same seems to be true of the humble termite, which is also a major source of both CO2 and methane in the global carbon cycle.

    • I probably would not object to seeing parents who instill such “fear” in their kids getting caned.

      Assuming this is David Suzuki’s kid, he should be ashamed.

      Who wants to be this kid really isn’t afraid, as she believes deep down she is part of the priviledged class.

      • timg56 | June 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm |

        An odd attitude, considering your own pride in a familiy devoted to international public service (Qualified on the M-16 in high school and the M-14 in the Navy. Was Small Arms Petty Officer about my sub. Having a son who served as a Marine and a nephew about to deploy for the third time to Afghanistan (in command of a airborne infantry company), – timg56) Myself, I count over a dozen servicemen in my family with pride who have engaged internationally.

        As for instilling fear? Well, I’m glad the M-16 in high school was associated with only warm fuzzies and sunshine.

    • Steven Mosher

      Hmm.. what fish cancer?
      what daily extinctions?
      for somebody who chides us to “share” she put more than her share of C02 into the air with two years of travelling

      And we do know how to help salmon recover .. in her own back yard.

      Somebody frightened that child. That is a most hideous version of child abuse.

    • Knowledge brings pain? That’s what the philosophers say. But Leftists have proved it’s ignorance that is most painful… to witness. And for that, we can thank the failed governmental-education industry.

  49. Or is this climate scientists repositioning themselves away from AGW and onto the next research gravy train?

  50. In a bygone era, I was a Scuba diver. Yes I explored shipwrecks, but I was amazed at the vastness of the floor of the waters, its peaks and valleys. I was inspired by the Disney movie Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (1828-1905) who wrote his book by that title in 1870. Part of the story was Verne’s vision of the sea, particularly the bottom of the seas as the land for cultivation and food source. Nuclear powered submarines plying the bottom and the Aquanauts harvesting the bounty.

    I can’t help wonder if Jules Verne’s book wasn’t a response to the Malthusian (1766-1834) predictions found in his In Essay on Population.

    Pekka writes about our running out of land; that is, the strip between the heavens and seas. He also writes about man running out of ingenuity, time or both. I would be surprised at such stoppage as man continues to change and adapt as we speak/write.

    If we step back a moment, and see the world as a totality; heaven, lands and seas, man’s evolution, at least for the next several millennium, man has time and resources to keep the wolves at bay.

    • When you criticize folks like Pekka you marginalize the very schoolteachers the world is depending on to save humanity from rivers running red and the death of all species caused by American business. Are you sure you want to take such a risk?

  51. Latimer Alder


    ‘man has time and resources to keep the wolves at bay.’

    Not f*****g wolves as well!

    Can you all please come up with consistent story of what I am supposed to be terrified witless about? I find mindless fear quite hard when I have just one thing to be frightened about…much harder when there are a dozen or more.

    Anyway the wolves will eat the babies so we get overpopulation out of the way. And the cows, which sorts the meat issue raised earlier….I’m warming to this wolf seems to have a lot of plus points.

    • You will die from one or more of the following if you do not cede your personal liberty to a progressive government:

      CO2; salt; ozone, transfats; acid rain; supersized McDonalds meals; 24 oz Slurpies; second hand smoke; peak oil; an oil glut; black carbon; movie theater popcorn (you can have my coconut oil slathered popcorn when you pry it from my cold, dead, greasy fingers); coal; methane; Rush Limbaugh; the free market; and apparently Toby Keith’s “God Bless the USA,” aka “I’m Proud to be an American.”

      • Latimer Alder

        What is Rush Limbaugh? Is it like Tennis Elbow? Which bit of the body does it afflict? Can I get treated on the NHS?

        And is a ‘movie theater’ a quaint name for a Cinema?

      • Cinema is the quaint term for movie theater Lat.

      • Latimer Alder

        Not over here in London it ain’t, mush.

        And it’s ‘theatre’. Not ‘theater’.

      • I refuse to bandy words with a man from a country that can’t even pronounce “herb” correctly.

      • Rush Limbaugh is more like a hemorrhoid with a big mouth.

      • Yet another demonstration that progressives have no class.

      • GaryM,
        They dream about having a classless society

      • Except for the fact that I’m not a progressive.

      • GaryM,

        Rush does have a big mouth, but then that is how he makes his living.

  52. “reducing world population growth”

    Done. The U.S. (and many other countries) has had a negative growth rate for a while. There already are fewer babies than needed to replace the deaths. The population has been growing only due to immigration. For some reason population alarmists and ecological alarmists don’t mention this.

    • Why should the parasites who make a good living off of fear be hinest? They have no morals to guide them- only their self-declared crusades.

    • A.. Moose,

      Do you make this stuff up or simply believe whatever someone tells you?

      US population growth is a bit above 2.1%, which places it among the highest in the industrialized world. That growth rate is just one of the reasons the US has a future brighter than many other industrialized nations.

  53. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Let’s test our geophysical knowledge and intuition, folks.

    Test Question: If the Earth’s human inhabitants were distributed evenly over the surface of the Earth’s land-area, then the nearest person to you would be about how far away (pick one)?

    • 10 meters (talking distance)
    • 100 meters (shouting distance)
    • 1000 meters (walking distance)
    • 10000 meters (driving distance)

    Remember, that n\otimes n-meter area of the earth has to provide all of your human needs: food, water, energy, minerals. Soberingly, the greater portion of each person’s small share of the Earth is barren mountain, desert, tundra, and ice.

    Bonus Test Question: Is the 2012 Arctic ice melt proceeding at a record setting pace?

    • Keep the BS coming!

    • Why?

    • In answer to the bonus question, I think

      is an interesting source.

    • Fan

      Presumably you mean during the very short satellite era?

      • That would be the period for which we have records, hence the record setting or not pace.

        I wouldn’t bet on the drop from 11,000,000 sq kilometers to 10,000,000 not being the fastest by JAXA in the history of JAXA.

        90K per day through June could be considered a fast melt.

    • fan , or maybe it should be Peter, as in the little boy who cried wolf.

      Humans have done a pretty good job at increasing food supply to match population growth. Contrary to what some would have us believe, the world does not have a shortage of areable land. In some places, such as the US, the amount of acreage under cultivation for food crops is decreasing.

      And even where such land is in short supply, never underestimate people’s ability to adapt. I recently returned from Korea, where something like 70% of the land area is mountainous. Koreans have adapted by making use of land we in the US would never think of using. My in-laws live in a high rise condo complex (as do the majority of Koreans), yet they have a several square yard garden. Even in the cities you will find planters and other containers on the sidewalk outside of storefronts growing produce.

      Move north across the border and you will find famine. Not as a result of lack of land, over population, or climate change. It is due to government policy. Famine is far more likely to be the result of human policy decisions than climate change or over population. War, conversion to plantation agriculture (whether for cash crops or now “renewable” bio energy), forced removal of populations from their land, etc. can be shown as the root cause of much of the famine going on today. And while it is true that the other leading cause is natural disaster, one would have to show there is either an increase in natural disasters or a link between climate change and disasters.

      My recommendation is that rather than waste resources trying to do this, we concentrate instead on the problem of having almost 50% of the food we do produce spoiling before it gets to the end user. Based on that figure alone we can make the claim that the planet can support at least another 7 billion folks.

      • The world can produce food for a population larger than the present one, but can it support a population of the present size at the level of well-being that people wish to have? Most certainly it cannot support even nearly the present population if the average consumption level is in all respects that of the present day US or Western Europe.

        Stating that the world can support a large population means an acceptance of the state of world where most people remain really poor at least when measured as wealth is presently measured.

      • Excellent point. If people would agree to give up their Hummers and live more like Hobbits, we’d all be just fine. :)

      • Latimer Alder

        Hobbits smoked lots of tobacco. Tobacco is very bad for you.
        You may wish to reconsider the phrase

        ‘live more like Hobbits, we’d all be just fine.’

        And given that Lord of the Rings is possibly the worst book ever written in the English language (*), I have absolutely no intention of becoming a Hobbit.

        (*) Best review comment ever to JRRT: ‘Oh no, not more f****g elves!’

      • Hobbits eat an awful lot considering their size, considering their second breakfasts and all

      • Latimer Alder

        @bob droege

        You know a lot more about hobbits than me. I had given up before they got as far as breakfast. Terminal boredom had set in.

        The Eagle and Child, Tolkien’s local boozer is quite a good pub though. There is a plaque to him and CS Lewis and some chums. Rumour has it that Colin Dexter still goes there of an evening to write Inspector Morse.

      • Then how is it that the quality of life of even the poorest is better than what it was 100 years ago?

      • Rob Starkey

        It is only in the western mind/fantasy that most of the world’s population thiinks of cares about the general world welfare a long period into the future. Leaders of nations care about what will happen (probably 1st to themselves) but largely most about what is good for their individual country and not the world as a whole

      • His name’s John, bit I call him Fanny.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Test Question: If the Earth’s human inhabitants were distributed evenly over the surface of the Earth’s land-area, then the nearest person to you would be about how far away (pick one)?

      • 10 meters (talking distance)
      • 100 meters (shouting distance)
      • 1000 meters (walking distance)
      • 10000 meters (driving distance)

      Remember, that n\otimes n-meter area of the earth has to provide all of your human needs: food, water, energy, minerals. And each person’s small share of the Earth is mostly mountain, desert, tundra, swamp, and ice.

      Answer: Readers of Climate Etc. are invided to verify for themselves that the Earth’s averaged person-to-person separation (assuming for definiteness a hexagonal grid) is about 122 meters.

      Folks, 122 meters is not much distance. Our planet Earth is getting pretty nearly full, and so we *DO* have to be mighty careful about (what Judith calls) “adverse state-shifts.”

      • Invided? What’s invided, Fanny?

      • Oh, and Fanny, 122 meters center-to-center is 11163 m^2, is almost 3 acres. Do you live on a 3 acre ranch? I don’t. I don’t know many people who do. And that’s per man, woman, and child. The per household number is closer to 10 acres.

        Nice try.

      • The moral of the story, Fanny, is don’t try your clever college stunts on a blog with people with HP calculators on their desks.

      • PE did you remember to consider how much of your ‘3 acre ranch’ is salt water?

      • …..looks like it is t land surface only?

        3 arces sounds impressive, until you think about being totally self-suficient on it…….and keeping in mind that it’s slowly shrinking.

      • Michael,

        So, Michael, why am I not surprised? Yet, again,MIchael, you’ve made yourself look the complete, ridiculous ass with another one of your delicious, what-an-idiot!, doofus screw-up comments. I mean, like, you are such a doom-butt, Michael.

      • oh, so you don’t know either.

        Hey, just say so.

      • Michael,

        Yr: “…so you don’t know either.”

        True, I don’t know either, Michael, but, then, I’m not the one shooting my mouth off and making a bumptious, doofus fool of myself. See the difference, Michael? I mean, like, is this sort of thing really so very hard that you can’t figure it out for yourself, Michael?

      • Michael,

        Becoming bored with this little “exchange” we’re having, so I’ll hopefully terminate it by just giving away the big “gotcha” I was saving up in response to your anticipated next reply:

        If you travel up-thread, Michael, you’ll see that P. E.’s 3-acre calculation was based on a “crowding” figure provided by fan–122 meters–that was clearly described by fan in terms of land-area (not land and ocean). So, Michael, if you suspected a “salt water” component in P. E.’s 3-acre figure–don’t you think you should take that up with fan, not P. E.? My guess? You didn’t read fan’s comment carefully before you fired off your comment to P. E.

        And, then, Michael, you said of P. E.’s 3-acre figure, “…it looks like it isn’t land surface only?” Oh yeah? Is that right, Michael? And what is that comment based on? Some sort of independent calculation you made? If so, then what, pray tell, was your own independent calculation–however rough–that prompted that latter comment?

        My guess, Michael? After you had rashly fired off your original, doofus, screw-up comment, Michael, you finally got around to reading fan’s comment that clearly stated his 122 meter figure (and, hence, P. E.’s 3-acre, derived figure) was land-based. And, then, to cover up your rather embarrassing lapse–your doofus, screw-up, initial comment, that is–you kinda, sorta, like, portentously “pretended” that you had expertly, in some way, “eye-balled” P. E.’s 3-acre calculation and now somehow vaguely suspected a salt water intrusion, maybe, or, you know, something like that and everything and all . Sure, Michael. We were all fooled.

        Michael, some friendly advice. Your slip-and-slide skills need a lot of work–you might want to get with fan, he’s got a pretty good handle on the slip-and-slide business and can probably show you a thing or two.

      • How many hexagons can you fit into a sphinx? The only interesting thing about this discussion is how many people got sucked into a meaningless math problem posed by a fool.

      • mike,

        to err is human……to ramble on endlessly, saying nothing, I’ll leave that to you.


      • fan,

        In 2010, two empty-nester agoraphobics, Al and Tipper Gore, owned between them, a 10,000 sq ft mansion in Tennessee and a 6,500 sq ft mansion in California (6 fireplaces, 9 bathrooms).

        So in our modern, increasingly claustrophobic world, fan, are the above sort of residences a good thing or a bad thing when it comes to the bare-minimum housing needs of our high-profile, Big-Green, CAGW scare-mongering empty-nesters?

        And, fan, how about the housing needs of us expendable, “little people”, helot-peasant-serf-peon-coolie, morlock, useless-eater, empty-nester, Agenda 21 write-offs? How do you see our bare-minimum housing needs in terms of sq. footage?

        Incidentally, fan, there are “right” and a “wrong” answers to the above questions. The “right” answers will earn you universal admiration and commendation for the truth you so boldly speak to the powerful. The “wrong” answes will, in contrast, mark you as a typical two-faced, flunky-grade, greenshirt, boot-licker hack, who knows his place, and dutifully peddles the party line.

        And, fan, while you’re at it, could you describe your own valuable contribution to our planet’s urgent need for some more elbow-room? I mean, like, you know how much I value leadership from the front and by inspiring, personal example.

      • I nominate Fan for Troll of the Year.
        This meaningless deceptive exercise of is one of the best threadjakcings ever.

      • This has been a great example of the ‘skeptics’ ability to miss the point by endlessly quibbling over trivia – ‘it’s not 122m, it’s 118, …no, .it’s 173 no, it’s….blah blah blah.’

        Fan’s little thought experiment should have been thought-provoking……but the ‘skeptics’ prefer arguing.

      • Robin Melville

        I like Matt Ridley’s answer to this. Singapore has the greatest population density. If you built a city with the same density for the entire world population it would fit comfortably on the island of Cuba. Not a practical proposition, of course, but it puts the scale of “overpopulation” in perspective.

    • Dave Springer

      Each person has about 6 acres. They’d be about 170 meters apart.

      • Dave Springer

        ‘scuse me. I used 6 billion people for my estimate. Using 7 billion people and 36.4 billion acres of land surface that’s 5.2 acres each and they’d be 160 yards or 144 meters apart. I was lazy and calculated yards first time and called them meters because the conversion is pretty close.

        How about you show your work, fang of more discord? How do you get 122 meters?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Test Question: If the Earth’s human inhabitants were distributed evenly over the surface of the Earth’s land-area, then the nearest person to you would be about how far away (pick one)?

        • 10 meters (talking distance)
        • 100 meters (shouting distance)
        • 1000 meters (walking distance)
        • 10000 meters (driving distance)

        Remember, that n\otimes n-meter area of the earth has to provide all of your human needs: food, water, energy, minerals. And each person’s small share of the Earth is mostly mountain, desert, tundra, swamp, and ice.

        Answer: Readers of Climate Etc. are invided to verify for themselves that the Earth’s averaged person-to-person separation (assuming for definiteness a hexagonal grid) is about 122 119 meters.

        Folks, 119 meters is not much distance. Our planet Earth is getting pretty nearly full, and so we *DO* have to be mighty careful about adverse state-shifts.

        In response to David Springer’s question, here are the worked numbers.

        We assume people are spread out in a hexagonal array; we use the land-area and population figures from the CIA Factbook and the US/WORLD census clock; we implement the calculation in Mathematica. Ok, here we go!   :)

        solutionRules = {
        landAreaOfEarth == areaOfHexagon * numberOfHexagons,
        populationOfEarth == numberOfHexagons * peoplePerHexagon,
        peoplePerHexagon == sidesPerHexagon * peoplePerSide,
        sidesPerHexagon == 6,
        peoplePerSide == 1/3,
        areaOfHexagon == 3 * Sqrt[3]/2 * personSpacing^2

        (Print["personSpacing = ",#//InputForm];#)&//
        (* from CIA factbook *)
        landAreaOfEarth -> 148.94*10^6*(10^3 m)^2,
        (* from US Census World Population Clock
        02:25 UTC (EST+5) Jun 14, 2012 *)
        populationOfEarth -> 7019756685
        Print["personSpacing = ",(10*#/m)//Round//(#/10.0)&," meters"]&

        --- Answers ---------------------------------------

        personSpacing = Sqrt[(4/(3^(3/2)))landAreaOfEarth/populationOfEarth]
        personSpacing = 118.9 meters

      • “Answer: Readers of Climate Etc. are invided to verify for themselves that the Earth’s averaged person-to-person separation (assuming for definiteness a hexagonal grid) is about 122 119 meters.”

        That spacing should hold at least 9 billion. Should more than 62 per square kilometer. Or 62 in .9 square kilometer with at least 119 meters
        between any person. One in middle 119 radius and 6 around circumference. And another 119 meter radius. Repeat.
        Of course there is probably better way packing, and coastline of ocean should give more.
        You get quite population if solely had people on the coast and 119 meter apart.
        But of it’s silly because in cities one has hundreds if not thousands of people per square km.
        Here is 48 cities with over 17000 per square km:

        If one could design a city well, it should possible to have more 100K per sq kilometer and have lots of parks and open space, plus low energy uses per capita. This would require intelligence.
        And such intelligence has not so far been demonstrated.

      • Dave Springer

        You’ve got a problem there somewhere, fang. That happens when you overcomplicate things and rely on black boxes to do your thinking for you.

        I did the most conservative calculation using estimates that would produce the highest density. I took 7 billion people (the high side of world population estimate), the number of acres of land surface on the earth (the low side of estimates), and did a single division to obtain number of acres per person. I then converted number of acres to number of square feet. Then I took the square root of the number of square feet to obtain a perfect equal sized square of land for each person on the earth. If each person is in the center of his square his distance from his neighbor is the length of one side of that square.

        You need to show the work that mathematica did for you to find out where you erred. My calculation is perfect and perfectly transparent requiring only two input parameters (population and acres of land on the planet). Moreover my calculation is not optimized because I’m using squares for packing instead of hexagons. Using hexagons will increase the average distance because in my simple as possible packing scheme diagonal separation is greater than vertical/horizontal separation and I gave the smaller distance instead the diagonal. If you use hexagons the answer would be the average of of the diagonal and horizontal separations.

        You’re lazy or stupid or both, fang.

      • Dave Springer

        You’re also a liar, fang. Your original claim was 122 meters separation then when I asked how you obtained it you gave me a calculation that yielded 118 meters. Where did the 122 meter calculation come from?

      • Your numbers are off Springer. It doesn’t matter in the bigger scheme of things.

      • I read the news today oh, boy
        Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire
        And though the holes are rather small
        They had to count them all
        Now they know how many holes
        It takes to fill the Albert Hall
        I’d love to turn…you…on…

      • Dave Springer

        An even more accurate answer to obtain better packing than 144 meter squares of land would be to average the horizontal and diagonal separation to yield a single number. This will give the distance if hexagons are used instead of squares.

        First we need to obtain the diagonal separation d which is 144^2 * 144^2 = d^2 = 203 meters. Then take the average of that (144 + 203) / 2 = 173 meters.

        So with hexagonal packing we’re back to 173 meters.

        Once again the input data is:

        36.4 billion acres of land
        7 billion persons

      • Dave Springer

        Total biomass on the planet is estimated at 560 billion metric tons. Human population masses about 450 million metric tons or less than a tenth of a percent of the earth’s biomass. Woo woo!

    • Fan of more BS … you should note the historical migration of humans to cities. It makes your little exercise look a little like … uhhhh … BS.

  54. This is all (yawn!) rehashes of old doomsday stuff tying crop yield losses to climate change. Nature now calls it “planetary-scale critical transition or ‘tipping point’ as a result of human influences” (This time climate change plays a relatively minor role, however.)

    Huffington Post makes disaster sound a bit more imminent with its “very high probability”, while Forbes downplays the climate part, tying a possible “future breakdown” more to population growth.

    But, hey, let’s look at the facts.

    Global grain production trends are shown here:

    Before moving forward, let us look at what has happened to grain production over the last 40 years. In 1970, the production of corn, milled rice, and wheat was 788 million tonnes. By 2010, the production of those three grains was 1.912 billion tonnes, an increase of 142 percent.

    Looking at the grains individually, corn production increased from 268 million tonnes to 814 million tonnes, an increase of over 200 percent. The production of milled rice increased from 213 million tonnes in 1970 to 452 million tonnes in 2010—an increase of over 110 percent. Wheat production, the largest of the three grains in 1970, was 307 million tonnes. By 2010, wheat production had increased by over 110 percent to 648 million tonnes.

    For all three grains, the 40-year increase was over 140 percent.

    In addition, soybean production was 42 million tonnes in 1970. By 2010, world production of soybeans had increased to 258 million tonnes—that’s a whopping 513 percent increase.

    Citing data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), a separate report on global rice production tells us:

    During this period, global paddy rice production more than doubled from 312 million tons in 1970-71 to 677 million tons in 2010-11.

    This is an increase of 117 percent, similar to that shown in the other report.

    IOW the yields of major crops increased by 2.4 times since 1970.

    Over the same period atmospheric CO2 increased from 324 to 390 ppmv (plus 20%) and “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature (HadCRUT3) increased between 0.4 and 0.5°C.

    (Note that human population increased 1.9 times over the same period – from 3.7 to 7.0 billion – and starvation rates have decreased markedly.)

    So (now that we no longer think that “climate change” is going to be the root cause of disaster) let’s figure out what we did right over the past 40 years of very rapid population growth before we panic about what will happen over the next 100 years or so of significantly reduced population growth


  55. A Physicist,
    Nice number game, but you limit it to land surface only.
    That is deceptive on your part.

  56. “… If you ask the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which represents the current consensus on climate change, the answer is a reassuring “nothing”. But history and recent research suggest that is probably completely wrong. Why? Let’s take a closer look.

    “Solar activity has always varied. Around the year 1000, we had a period of very high solar activity, which coincided with the Medieval Warm Period. It was a time when frosts in May were almost unknown – a matter of great importance for a good harvest. Vikings settled in Greenland and explored the coast of North America. On the whole it was a good time. For example, China’s population doubled in this period.

    “But after about 1300 solar activity declined and the world began to get colder. It was the beginning of the episode we now call the Little Ice Age. In this cold time, all the Viking settlements in Greenland disappeared. Sweden surprised Denmark by marching across the ice, and in London the Thames froze repeatedly. But more serious were the long periods of crop failures, which resulted in poorly nourished populations, reduced in Europe by about 30 per cent because of disease and hunger.

    “It’s important to realise that the Little Ice Age was a global event. It ended in the late 19th Century and was followed by increasing solar activity. Over the past 50 years solar activity has been at its highest since the medieval warmth of 1000 years ago. But now it appears that the Sun has changed again, and is returning towards what solar scientists call a “grand minimum” such as we saw in the Little Ice Age.

    “The match between solar activity and climate through the ages is sometimes explained away as coincidence. Yet it turns out that, almost no matter when you look and not just in the last 1000 years, there is a link. Solar activity has repeatedly fluctuated between high and low during the past 10,000 years. In fact the Sun spent about 17 per cent of those 10,000 years in a sleeping mode, with a cooling Earth the result…

    “That the Sun might now fall asleep in a deep minimum was suggested by solar scientists at a meeting in Kiruna in Sweden two years ago. So when Nigel Calder and I updated our book The Chilling Stars, we wrote a little provocatively that “we are advising our friends to enjoy global warming while it lasts.”

    “In fact global warming has stopped and a cooling is beginning. Mojib Latif from the University of Kiel argued at the recent UN World Climate Conference in Geneva that the cooling may continue through the next 10 to 20 years. His explanation was a natural change in the North Atlantic circulation, not in solar activity. But no matter how you interpret them, natural variations in climate are making a comeback…”

    (While the sun sleeps, Translation approved by Henrik Svensmark)

    • and yet the earth steadfastly refuses to cool as you skeptics keep claiming.

      Ocean heat content -> up
      Sea level -> up
      Surface temperature -> up
      Atmospheric temperature -> up

      • It’s a conspiracy! – even the planet is in on it.

      • What is said IPCC, Hansen, and rest the flock is that earth is increasingly warming, that it’s warming so much that it is dangerous.
        Current average global is not dangerous, there is no reason to spend trillion of dollar drive economy into a sink hole in order to lower or control the current temperatures.

        The global temperatures may cool, and stay around same or may rise as much as it has in the 20th century, none these possibilities should be a reason for draconian measures.

      • The data says something else:

        Year => GMST
        1998 0.528667
        1999 0.303583
        2000 0.278083
        2001 0.40675
        2002 0.4545
        2003 0.46675
        2004 0.443667
        2005 0.474333
        2006 0.425
        2007 0.396833
        2008 0.329167
        2009 0.435917
        2010 0.469917
        2011 0.339417

      • Keep reminding them lolwot. Maybe 1 in 100 will actually pay attention. Maybe.

        Also you forgot to add that already this melt season the Arctic has lost more sea ice area and sea ice extent for the period between March 30 to June 14th than at other time on instrument record. Hardly the sign of a cooling planet, and we’ve not even reached maximum summer insolation quite yet.

      • Skeptics do not need to be reminded that AGW True Believers think the public is too stupid to understand the UHI (Urban Heat Island) effect and that all of the land-based temperature record of the Leftist is similar to the federal government running the printing presess to pay the bills. 15-year old Kristen Byrnes (Ponder the Maunder) was smart enough to understand that years ago.

      • Are you suggesting that UHI is causing the Arctic melt?

      • Do you still claim global warming is killing the polar bears?

      • did i claim that?

      • So, the polar bears do not have to be relocated to Antarctica where the ice has been increasing for years?

      • where’s your cooling wagathon? You’ve had your PDO switch and your quiet sun, but what’s to show for it? Rising temperatures…can’t blame it on the Sun, can’t blame it on the PDO, ready to stop denying the human hand?

      • Dangling official government thermometers in the exhaust of a commercial jets and extrapolating winter airport temperatures (where the snow is cleared from asphalt runways on an hourly basis) to global warming is an example of a charlatan’s hand.

        GIGO–> God’s Truth In Garbage Out. It doesn’t really matter if you believe in Nature or not. The point is, does anyone really believe that fearful Western government-funded schoolteachers are saving humanity from global warming?

        Global Warming? Hell Nyet Not Yet!

      • Dave Springer

        Arctic ice extent is regional, Gates, and it’s not a very good region for judging impact to people because not many people live on the Arctic Ocean.

        Given that there has been no GLOBAL warming in the past 10 years:

        then if it’s getting warmer in the Arctic it must be getting colder somewhere else because there is no net warming.

      • 10 years – is that statisticaly significant?

      • Except of course for the fact that the oceans down to 2000 meters are at their warmest ever recorded, and this energy dwarfs all other non- tectonic energy reserves on earth, and of course, 9 out of 10 of the warmest tropospheric years on record have been since the year 2000 with 2011 as the warmest La Nina year. But other than all those facts….

      • David Springer,

        This is a ridiculous comment. The state of the Arctic environment can dictate weather patterns for the entire northern hemisphere. Altering it is akin to rolling dice and seeing what happens. Also of course, the Arctic is simply warming the fastest of all regions in the N. Hemisphere, but the entire Hemisphere is warming, so your notion that a warming Arctic means cooler temps elsewhere is completely proven false by the facts. It’s all warming, including the oceans, but the Arctic is warming the fastest. Quite in line with forecasts by every global climate model– except the Arctic sea ice seems to be declining even faster than forecast as water temps in the Arctic are rising faster than forecast. Some positive feedbacks not fully accounted for…

      • RE R Gates on “The state of the Arctic environment can dictate weather patterns for the entire northern hemisphere. ”

        OK, there’s a start. Now exactly what about this are we to be worried about? Using your roll the dice argument we could get weather that is an overall improvement, weather that is worse or not much change at all in the weather. The fact Northern Hemishpere weather patterns may change is of itself not something we have to automatically worry about. Unless you are of the opinion that any sort of change is bad.

      • I don’t really care whether the world is warming or cooling. What I do care about are policies that add restrictions to what I can do or increase my cost of living (or taxes) that are based on claims of dire consequences, which to date we have seen none of.

        Arctic sea ice is down? Big deal. When you can ascribe something disasterous to that, then you will get my attention. Sea levels are rising at .3 mm a year? Ok, so what? Exactly how does that threaten humand kind? Seriously guys, you can wail and tear your hair out over all of the dire, doomsday predictions that climate change and over population are going to cause, but until you have some proof, consider yourself to be a part of the lunatic fringe. If you all really believe this stuff, then walk the walk. Go to Africa or Asia and live in a hut with no electricity. Bring your carbon footprint down to the levels you say we all should be at. Otherwise you are a bunch of yapping hyenas who can’t get people to listen to your ideas of what is good for them and have to rely on government to force it down their throats.

      • “Arctic sea ice is down? Big deal. When you can ascribe something disasterous to that, then you will get my attention.”

        By then of course it’ll be too late.

      • Too late for what?

        When you can’t define what the threat is, that is essentially a “Fear the bogyman” argument.

        I quite being afraid of the monster under by bed around the age of 4.

      • You admitted that something disastrous could unfold from arctic sea ice decline. There are all manner of potential disasters I can think of: larger storms? A shift in weather patterns in the northern hemisphere? Ocean current changes?

        My point is that once you see these things unfold and can trace them back to the sea ice decline it’s too late.

        So your strategy of only accepting danger once disaster unfolds is a losing strategy and one which should be ignored by the world.

      • lolwot,
        And none of it is significant, unusual, historical or dangerous.
        The rates of warming, sl, temp, OHC, and temp are not doing anything we should spend this amount of effort on.
        It is you and your fellow AGW fanatics who are making this into a global calamity by way of your faith and obsession.

      • It is significant, unusual, historical and dangerous.

        The warming over the 20th century has been sharp and unusual compared to the last 10,000 years of relative climate stability.

        Another 1C warming, let alone 2C or 3C will make this a singularly sharp and high jump in global temperature.

      • In what way is it dangerous?
        Are crop yields failing? No. Are more people starving? No. Are the UN claims of climate refugees any less false? No. Are cities being inundated? No. Are islands going under a rising sea? No.
        Is the Arctic doing anything that is harming people or wildlife? No.
        Is the ocean pH changing in any way that is measurable or harmful? No.
        It is unusual? Greenland was greener in the historic record.
        Storms, droughts, heat waves, cold snaps are all flat.
        You have no idea if the paleo data supports your claim, and many who have studied the paleo record disagree with your 10,000 year assumption.
        It is notable that you and your fellow alarmists claim things with no evidence and then demand we all pay for your alarm.
        It is ironic to say the least that it takes a true believer like you to find crisis when there is none.
        As to your projections, GCM’s are useless for predictions. They make very expensive video games, however.

      • Pretty good summary of the true situation, hunter.

        But don’t expect lolwot to see it.

        He (she?) is convinced that we are living in an extremely dangerous period of unprecedented warming, which we ourselves are causing as a result of our sinful and extravagant use of fossil fuels, and which will lead to certain catastrophe, unless we change our sinful ways immediately.

        This is a fear-driven religion, hunter. So logical and rational thinking is not part of it.

        Lolwot can mo more accept a rational analysis of the situation than a Bible-thumping fundamentalist can accept that the world is more than 6,000 years old.


      • “Is the ocean pH changing in any way that is measurable…..” – hunter.

        You mean besides, by measuring it??

      • Manacker, 6000 years?

        In the future, people will marvel over the short duration of the oil age.

        In 200 years, humans essentially extracted what took millions of years to create.

      • “In what way is it dangerous?”

        In two ways. First, species and man have to adapt to change which is a challenge that cannot always be accomplished. If change happens too fast then a species can get pushed over the edge and perish. Second, by leaving historical climate norms we leave tried-and-tested conditions and enter a period where we risk triggering hidden tipping points which lead to a large and catastrophic lurch in climate.

        Humans are pushing a lot of very big changes in the system at the moment, the danger is something will go wrong. What we’ve seen over the 20th century is just the beginning. There’s further warming, ocean acidification, etc to come.

        “It is unusual? Greenland was greener in the historic record.”

        The central greenland GISP2 ice core with instrumental data appended suggests the recent warming is unique, not just unusual.

        Of course with another 2C global warming the point will be moot. If that happens we definitely will have broken past the holocene maximum by a longshot.

        Tell me, if the world warms another 1C warming to historic highs and as a result an important ocean currents shifts, or the amazon rainforest dies back, or countless other possible ways the climate could shift, then what will you say in hindsight? I don’t think “we didn’t know that would happen” will be a sufficient excuse. You know these things can happen. You will just have to say “I decided to gamble with our climate”.

      • lolwot, most Greenland stations show cooling since the ~1930s/1940s.

      • lolwot – define “climate norms.” The climate has never been stable and never will be.

      • Michael,
        Show us where ocean pH has been measured from accurate samples to be changing in anyway outside of typical fluctuations. Additionally, show damage from the same.
        No projections. No models. Sampled data from the ocean.
        I take it that you acept the other parts of my list?

      • andrew adams

        Drought –

        All the four forms of the PDSI show widespread drying over Africa, East and
        South Asia, and other areas from 1950 to 2008, and most of this drying is due to recent warming. The global percentage of dry areas has increased by about 1.74% (of global land area) per decade from 1950 to 2008.

      • andrew adams

        Regarding Greenland, I think it’s fair to say that at least the southern tip was particularly warm during medieval times, which doesn’t contradict lolwot’s point above but does tie in with the stories about Vikings growing grapes or whatever. Here’s an excellent paper which supports that claim –

      • Latimer Alder


        Ask yer man to show you any long term time series of measured pH at any location anywhere in the world. Last time I looked there weren’t any, bar less than a hundred measurements in Hawaii.

      • Latimer Alder


        ‘Tell me, if the world warms another 1C warming to historic highs and as a result an important ocean currents shifts, or the amazon rainforest dies back, or countless other possible ways the climate could shift, then what will you say in hindsight? I don’t think “we didn’t know that would happen” will be a sufficient excuse. You know these things can happen. You will just have to say “I decided to gamble with our climate”.

        But the Creature from The Black Lagoon will have eaten us all by then. Or the unknown asteroid will have plonked itself onto New York. Or The BogeyMan will have manifested his ectoplasm in your sleeping quarters and frightened you to death. Assuming that you didn’t just hide under the sheets so you couldn’t see it.

        Part of growing up is to be able to assess risks more rationally than when a child. You sound more like a scared four year old than I imagined you to be.

      • “But the Creature from The Black Lagoon will have eaten us all by then. Or the unknown asteroid will have plonked itself onto New York. Or The BogeyMan will have manifested his ectoplasm in your sleeping quarters and frightened you to death.”

        I don’t think much of your ability to assess risk if you think those things are on equal footing with the danger of human induced climate change.

        What we are doing to climate is a lot like throwing a wrench into a complex machine. It’s inherently dangerous. Hunter asks why. So I point at various parts of the machine and point out “what if they jam up?”. Do you really not understand the danger of artificially perturbing a complex system like the climate outside of it’s normal operational parameters*?

        *Under “normal operational parameters” since the birth of our species and long before CO2 level doesn’t double in a matter of centuries during an interglacial. In fact CO2 level on Earth may not have ever doubled in a matter of centuries until now.

      • Latimer Alder


        On my morning Thameside bike ride this morning I noticed a mysterious dark creature skulking away in some bramble bushes. After much thought I believe that it may be an example of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal come to bring an end to humanity’s brief sojourn on this planet.

        So no need to worry about AGW, the RBBoT will finish us off well beforehand.

      • lolwot,

        See above.

        So what if 20th century warming was sharp and unusual. Unless you can identify specific cases where something disasterous or even bad has occured that can be linked to this rise, all it means is we are warmer. Nothing else.

      • Re: Rapid warming of Arctic

        It is true that no one can be certain what the long-term impacts of a rapidly changing Arctic will be on the global climate. The very best we have to go by are paleoclimate studies and global climate models, and of two I’d probably favor the paleoclimate data, but the models can be useful to a point as well. The two pieces of information combined probably give us the best overall feel for what might happen. But to be sure, CO2 has never risen this steeply over such a short period, so even the paleoclimate data leaves much to be desired.

        But in general, humans have enjoyed a fairly moderate climate during the Holocene and early Anthropocene when compared to what it was like during the highly variable and generally colder Pleistocene. Even with events such as the much cooler 8.2 ky event or even the LIA, these were mild little blips compared to the kinds of changes our ancestors faced during the last glacial period. In short, the Holocene has been good to us…very good.

        But our rapid changes of the Planet as typified by the rapidly changing Arctic certainly are one of the hallmarks of this early Anthropocene period. This rapid and intense alteration of the climate is upsetting a complex system and we might liken it to poking a stick into a hornet’s nest that is near our home and we’d like to get rid of. True, it is possible that the hornets might just fly away and find another home (i.e. the warming will be benign), or it is also possible that weather patterns will (as global climate models tell us) be altered significantly, and one or two, or ten of the hornets will find a way to bite us (a Dragon King kind of event). In looking back to the Pliocene of even Miocene periods, should this kind of warming occur, while we might certainly adapt (at least some of us), it could be difficult for agriculture to grow the large amounts of grain necessary to support the 7+ billion of us based on the kinds of weather patterns and climate that existed during the Pliocene and into the Miocene.

        Generally speaking, it is not a good idea to poke a stick into a hornet’s nest.

      • Latimer Alder

        @R Gates

        ‘This rapid and intense alteration of the climate is upsetting a complex system and we might liken it to poking a stick into a hornet’s nest that is near our home and we’d like to get rid of.’

        Why ‘might we liken it to a hornet’s nest’? What evidence is there for this? Why is all well and dandy at a GAT of (say) 287.1K, but disaster looms at 289.3K? The hornet’s nest image is a powerful one, but apart form your repeated assertions, why should we treat it at all seriously?

        Elsewheer lolwot writes

        ‘What we are doing to climate is a lot like throwing a wrench into a complex machine’

        Similar question..powerful image, but what evidence that it is at all applicable in this case.

        And please – no lengthy lecture on what will occur to my grandchildren if the hornets come along and sting them.

        Just some good old fashioned soundly based evidence that it is anything at all like ‘stirring up a hornet’s nest’. Not analogies or images or kiddie death threats.

      • “Why ‘might we liken it to a hornet’s nest’? What evidence is there for this? Why is all well and dandy at a GAT of (say) 287.1K, but disaster looms at 289.3K?”

        Why are ocean currents positioned as they currently are? Why is the Amazon rainforest not just grassland? Why are there deserts in certain places and not others? Why do different regions get the specific regional climates they do? There are countless things that benefit us that are just-so and if they change it could be disastrous.

        Is this the only possible configuration for Earth? I don’t believe so. I believe the configuration we have is an accident, neither designed or maintained by a god or gaia.

        If the climate sticks to the typical ranges of the last few thousand years then we are guaranteed to keep the same configuration, because that’s what history shows.

        But there are no guarantees what could shift if we go outside those ranges, eg a 2K increase in GAT. The crux of the danger is that disaster could happen if we stray outside those ranges.

        It doesn’t matter that the GAT increase is tiny compared to absolute K. A 2K increase in GAT might only be < 1% increase in absolute temperature, but it can drive state changes like deglaciating antarctica and we already see a state change seems to be approaching with summer arctic ice. Things can be sensitive to GAT. The whole idea of Earth being in some goldilocks zone is that we don't have the full kelvin scale to play with.

      • Latimer Alder


        Seems to me that your view is pretty much that.

        ‘I am so frightened of change that I have lost all my powers of rational analysis. Just don’t change anything just in case. And bring back my comfort blanket you nasty, nasty sceptic!’

        I have long thought that alarmist are deeply conservative…like the old buffers who sit around muttering that things were better in their day before the women and minorities got the vote and when the people knew to defer to their elders and betters and my god – have you seen that dreadful horseless carriage those upstarts down the road have got…soon even the servants will want one…the world is truly coming to an end…..

        and all that crap.

        But now you raise the question that there might be an element of autism involved too. I have a friend who is mildly autistic and he is very very resistant to and upset by any change to his routine. Whether the change is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ is immaterial, it is the change itself that he he finds so difficult to accept.

        I also knew a sufferer from agarophobia. The mere prospect of leaving their house was sufficient to give them sleepless and terror-filled nights. And crossing a road on foot was nearly impossible. They tell me that they sweated and shook and were convinced that they were going to fall and be run over..if the fear had not killed them first. Happily they recovered, and are once more capable of rational assessment of risk. Their feelings were all too real, they really were terrified, but – while so afflicted – they were not the best person to advise us on wilderness policy or outdoor rambling as character building activities for young persons.

        So, please rather than just the generalised…if something changes it might all go wrong, ..which is the preserve of the autist and the agarophobic, engage your left brain, and don’t just indulge in right brain terror.

        Please give some actual reasons why you think catastrophe is just around the corner. ‘Unspeakable nameless dread’ just don’t cut the mustard.

      • Latimer,
        You have gotten lolwot and R. Gates to show the irreducible axioms of doom which so many AGW true believers seem to implicitly believe.
        And of course all they are able to do is to defend their axioms is to repeat them over an over.
        Good job.

      • Latimer Alder


        I would reply to say thank you for your kind words, but having read lolwot’s and R. Gates’ moving testimonies of the Last Days soon to come I will be sending the rest of my life hiding under the bed In Fear of The Nameless Dread.

        Keep up the good fight…if TND doesn’t get you first. Farewell good buddy.!

      • Latimer Alder



        According to the wikipedia the mean annual temperature of Antarctica is 214K (-57C). A 2K change in GAT will have no effect on ‘deglaciating Antarctica’ as you claim. Ice is just as much ice at 216K (-55C) as it is at 214K….or for that matter 264K.

        Please, please, please do some basic mental plausibility tests before frightening yourself witless (and making yourself seem like a hormonal teenager) with unlikely doomsday predictions.

      • andrew adams

        That’s just argument from incredulity.

        Or maybe you can explain what is causing the antarctic ice sheets to lose mass.

      • Latimer Alder

        @andrew adams

        Remind us all, please, of the total estimated mass of the Antarctic Ice Sheets, the rate at which that mass is being lost, and the measured rate of rise of sealevel thereby incurred. Thanks

      • andrew adams


        I don’t have the figures to hand, but IIRC the melting of ice sheets (which included Greenland as well as Antarctica), contributes about half of the current trend of 3mm p.a. so in the short term it’s not going to cause a big problem. But the longer term trend is much harder to predict as the response of the ice sheets is highly unpredctable and not expected to be linear, which is why it is not included in the IPCC projections of sea level rise. Hansen recently published a paper which claimed that based on paleo evidence the ice sheets can be subject to quite sudden and rapid mass loss, which would indeed be a problem.
        But all of that is incedental to my point which was to ask what you think is causing the Antarctic ice sheets to lose mass if you think that rising temperatures can’t do so.

      • lolwot, what happens to the imbalance as the internal heat content changes?

        It is the rates of change and the changes in the rates of change. If the rate of change of OHC is decreasing while the rate of CO2 increase is near constant, the system is approaching a conditional equilibrium. Your observations are about as good as the real estate pros and dot com investment analysts.

      • It won’t ever reach equilibrium if CO2 keeps rising…

    • Perhaps it is too soon to discard your overcoats.

      Cycle 24 Sunspot Number Prediction
      (Note that Dr. Svalgaard observes that low cycles often have large swings in this number.)

      Or this (a different prediction technique)

      Discussion, courtesy of ICECAP:
      NASA MSFC. “NASA June 2012 Solar Cycle 24 Prediction.” Scientific. Icecap, June 8, 2012.

      The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 60 in the Spring of 2013. We are currently over three years into Cycle 24. The current predicted size makes this the smallest sunspot cycle in about 100 years.

      That discussion references a site maintained by Jan Janssens: Evolution of SC24

      • I should have mentioned that Jansenns’ set of graphs appear below the index fetched by the link to “Evolution of SC24”.

      • I hope this will not encourage Canadians to hunt polar bears for their fur.

  57. Beth Cooper

    Tony , 13th June, 4.25 am;
    Underground passages bringing spring water ro the city in lead pipes?

    YR 17 year old dog is an old friend. My 9 year old border collie can understand the Gaelic )

    • Beth

      Well, the dog eventually condescended to wake up at 11am, by which time I’d missed both the trains that would make the day out at the studies centre worthwhile.

      Fortunately she was awake by 7.30 this morning so managed to get there today. Very interesting. I hope to write an article incorporating the various material I have gleaned from various places over the last couple of months which will extend by several hundred years-in a much less structured fashion-the research in ‘The long slow thaw.’

  58. The real question according to Walter Starck is whether Climatism’s AGW True Believers, are destined to be rendered into harmless fools or dangerous fanatics, who have now moved on from destroying the culture to demolishing the economies of the West.

    Strark Realization about Leftists’ Wuthering Economics

    • That’s crazy talk and crazy thinking, Wag. You know, Ted Kaczynski hated “leftists” too.

      • Leftist ideology is a big mistake and for most of us it didn’t take 40 years to understand that simple truth. It’s an unavoidable reality to everyone now–even the Greeks who will nevertheless would drag everyone else down with them if it was in their power to do so. California is going to be a big wake-up call fro America.

        To err is consensus. Individual liberty works—literally; going Greek don’t.

      • R. Gates,
        Are yo now going to deny that some AGW fanatics are promoting destructive means to achieve their ends?

      • No less than I would deny that there a right-wing wack jobs who promote violent means to achieve their ends. Craziness and fanaticism are agnostic.

      • Go reach out to the Taliban, see if they are agnostic.

      • R. Gates,
        The topic is AGW, not right wingers.
        Nice dissembling, but I think I will pass.

      • Hunter,

        I guess in your simpleton perspective you’ve failed to realize the thread of political commentary that have been sprinkled in amongst all the comments on this, and pretty much every other thread. Here’s how it seems to shake out in some people’s minds:

        AGW believers, usually Democrats and “leftists” and “liberals” and “progressives” etc. Will probably tend to vote for Obama this years.

        Skeptics, usually Republicans or Libertarians, and “conservatives”, would like to see the EPA disbanded, and all restraints taken away from businesses, so they can “put America back to work”. Will probably tend to vote for Romney.

        These are of course general comments, but probably true for the average in each category, will outliers or exceptions always of course existing.

        Being neither a Democrat nor a Republican I definitely am an “outlier” Independent, and also being a social liberal but fiscal conservative in the Ron Paul sort of way, and also believing that AGW is happening and we are in the Anthropocene.

      • R. Gates,
        I would observe that you are the simpleton, with your whiney “plutocrat” derivative schtick and obsessive clinging to neo-Malthusian bs.
        Reigning in and reforming the EPA is not ending it.
        No one is seriously proposing ending all regulation of business.
        And anyone supporting Ron Paul is already admitting to an utter lack of seriousness- or iow to being a ‘simpleton’.

      • This is how you can tell R. Gates is a progressive, though he apparently likes to call himself an independent.

        “Skeptics, usually Republicans or Libertarians, and ‘conservatives’, would like to see the EPA disbanded, and all restraints taken away from businesses.”

        Only progressives, including those who call themselves moderates and independents, think and write like this. Ask Ron Paul if the thinks “all restraints [should be] taken away from business.” That is neither conservative nor even libertarian. The absence of all restraints is called anarchy.

        Notice also how he makes no similarly disparaging comments against progressives. Dishonest caricatures of conservatives are catnip to progressives. It’s like an ideological tic, they can’t help themselves.

        The only thing R. Gates is independent of, is even a cursory understanding of conservative economics/ideology. All he knows about conservatism he learned from his fellow progressives.

        And it shows.

      • Gary M,
        I have noted before in AGW true believers a shyness about their political leanings. R. Gates may kid himself that he is an ‘independent’, but it is clear that he has only very dependent thoughts regarding climate and his labels for those who are on his right are much less than respectful. His take on the unabomber is, to say the least, a tortured and unusual one.

  59. Beth Cooper

    Don’t fergit car parks, Fan.
    Mike, as usual, yer hit the target.

  60. Chad Wozniak

    Dave Springer –

    Your numbers for human and total biomass put a very interesting perspective on human activity vs. total CO2 emissions. I thank you for them.

    It can be shown that every human emits approximately 1,500 kg/year through respiration. This is calculated simply be the volume ovf exhalation, the CO2 content of exhaled air, and the number of breaths taken in a given period of time.

    What this adds up to is 3,5 BILLION TONS of CO2 from human breathing.

    Now consider this: Humans are realtively low emitters of CO2 in proportion to body weight. Other endothermic animals, most insects and even many fish emit far more CO2 per pound of body weught that humans. For small mammals like shrews and for birds in general, these can emit up to 10 times as much CO2 per pound of body weight., as humans do

    Now, let’s do the math: 560 billion/450 million = 1,244 which is the minimum multiplier for calculating total animal respiration emissions: 1,244 x 3.5gt =
    4,354 TRILLION tone – and the actual quantity is probably much more as humans are relatively low emitters. That is more than a HUNDRED TIMES the gross amount of CO2 emnitted by industrial activity, and more than 400 times the residual emissions of CO2 from human activity

    And animal respiration is a drop in the bucket compared to toher sources of CO2. Infiniteseimal of infinitesimal again.

    So now we’re going to tax CO2 emissions from people and animals? That would seem to be the logical next step as far as carbon taxes go.

    Thank you again, David, for shining more light on the insanity that is AGW.

    • “What this adds up to is 3,5 BILLION TONS of CO2 from human breathing.”

      Probably closer to 7 billion tons.

      “Now consider this: Humans are realtively low emitters of CO2 in proportion to body weight.”
      The Human brain consumes a large amount of energy.
      Socialists don’t have this problem.

      “Other endothermic animals, most insects and even many fish emit far more CO2 per pound of body weught that humans. For small mammals like shrews and for birds in general, these can emit up to 10 times as much CO2 per pound of body weight., as humans do”

      Reptiles and cold blooded creature use less energy. Birds generally use a lot of energy- but not much of total biomass.
      Plants are large part of biomass, they don’t much energy per mass- stationary fairly slow growing and not much thinking.
      Microbes are capable of hibernating [for thousands of years] indicates lower end in terms of energy- though I don’t know.
      As far animals most going to be in oceans and not be warm blooded.

  61. Now we finally have it. The purest example of the infection of “science” by the progressive lust for power. And in the New York Times no less.

    “We have evolved to need coercion.”

    Thomas Friedman doesn’t lust for the autocracy of communist China because he’s an authoritarian fascist in waiting, but because he is driven by his genes.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

    • Interesting they use the term ‘energy imbalance’ as in sugar causes an energy imbalance leading to obesity, like CO2 causes an energy balance that leads to global warming. There are parallels here. I am waiting for sugar-industry supported skeptics to claim that obesity is a good thing, so Bloomberg’s regulation is not needed.

      • Perhaps instead of energy in they should regulate energy out. I think forced labor for a few hours each week would be a good thing for the health of the population. I also know there are studies that indicate sitting in front of a computer desk for extended periods of time is unhealthy so perhaps each computer should be fitted with a chip that requires the insertion of a ration card to activate it. A combination of the two might be an even better idea. Instead of forced labor make the labor voluntary in order to have time added to your computer ration card. Think of all the fun we can have controlling the day to day behavior of individuals. The possibilities are virtually endless. Telling people they are responsible for their own behavior? Where’s the fun in that?

    • Yep, one way to help with the unemployment rate is to create Food Police jobs.

      I will say that I agreed with his point regarding what gets served in public schools. That is within the purvue of the government.

  62. And for an antidote to this drivel, a cogent articulation of where the left in the U.S. is today, by Thomas Sowell.

    “What socialism, fascism and other ideologies of the left have in common is an assumption that some very wise people — like themselves — need to take decisions out of the hands of lesser people, like the rest of us, and impose those decisions by government fiat.”

  63. Chad Wozniak

    Wagathon –

    Brevo for continuing to hit hard at the criminal reactionary left.

    Let’s not forget that fascism and Nazism re leftist in origin – the Nazis meant seriously the “socialist” in the name of their party, and Mussolini began ilfe as a doctrinaire Marxist. The anti-Semitism of Nazism goes back to one Anton Drexler, the founder of the Nazi Party six months before Hitler joined it. Drexler equated the Jews with the Marxist bourgeois class enemy. And all you have to do is look at the historical record to see how fundamentally racist leftist ideology and socialism are, witness Stalin’s persecution of minorities in the Soviet Union.

    Marxism is inherently racist in any event since social classes in almost every country on the planet correlate at least somewhat to ethnicity. The class struggle posited by Marx is therefore an act of racism.

    Today’s leftists in the US are just as racist as the old-fashioned kind – they stereotype black people, think all black people should think and act alike, which is how they tell them to think and act. A different expression of racism, perhaps, but no less racist for that.

    Any extreme ideology lends itself to race prejudice, and today’s reactionary left is no different.

    Chad Wozniak, Ph.D in History, UC Santa Barbara, 1970

    • Dave Springer

      “Every boy and every girl, That’s born into the world alive, Is either a little Liberal, Or else a little Conservative!”

      ~Gilbert and Sullivan, Iolanthe, 1882

      Quoted in:

      Born That Way: Genes, Behavior, Personality
      By William Wright

      • Dave Springer

        “Our actions should be based on the ever-present awareness that human beings in their thinking, feeling, and acting are not free but are just as causally bound as the stars in their motion.” ~Albert Einstein

        “Everything is determined…by forces over which we have no control.”


      • Heisenberg?

    • Robin Melville

      Hard to know where to start with this. “Marxist bourgeois”? That’s like a vegetarian cannibal, right? You’re confusing a social science definition of “class” with the Marxist one when you insist Marxism is “an act of racism”. Marxism (not Stalinism) has always been about breaking down false divisions between people, whether race, sex, nationality, or parochial.

      I can see where your confusion arises. A chunk of the left — disoriented by the collapse of the USSR — joined up with the reactionary neo-mediaevalist green movement because it was a) oppositional, and b) nominally “anti-capitalist”. Although they maintain this Robin Hood avatar for the consumption of its many earnest supporters the green NGOs have long been feeding from the trough of big government and big business for whom they provide cover.

      FYI Marxists (those few who remain) are against Capitalism but for industrialism. How you got that confused with racist bigotry is harder to understand.

      • Totally agree.
        Elsewhere on this thread I challenged Eli Rabbit about the misappropriation of the prestige of Woodie Guthrie.
        IPCC greenhouse gas theory consensus enthusiasts drape themselves in the mantle of the decidedly non consensus Woodie.
        Implying that the would be writing songs promoting Carbon Trading, dearer petrol and heating fuel and lots of wind- turbines for the masses.
        I think there is much more evidence that Woodie would be writing songs to support;
        The occupy Wall Street movement.
        Support for coal miners,auto and steel workers, the unemployed and sick.
        Support for Cuba and the disposed Palestinians and so on.

        Why don’t the IPCC supporting sites like Skeptical Science, Rabbit Run and Deltoid not celebrate their own heroes?

        How about the Michael Mann award to be passed around?

      • “Hard to know where to start with this. “Marxist bourgeois”? That’s like a vegetarian cannibal, right? You’re confusing a social science definition of “class” with the Marxist one when you insist Marxism is “an act of racism”. Marxism (not Stalinism) has always been about breaking down false divisions between people, whether race, sex, nationality, or parochial.”
        By killing them?
        We know Marxism is about breaking.
        And we have heard the imperialist pigs are BIG problem.

        “I can see where your confusion arises. A chunk of the left — disoriented by the collapse of the USSR — joined up with the reactionary neo-mediaevalist green movement because it was a) oppositional, and b) nominally “anti-capitalist”. Although they maintain this Robin Hood avatar for the consumption of its many earnest supporters the green NGOs have long been feeding from the trough of big government and big business for whom they provide cover.”

        Interesting. But I think the soviet union as countries such France or US
        send or recruit agents in foreign country which they have a interest.
        I seems very unlikely the Soviets were disinterested in the “other world’s superpower”.
        For US to have agents in soviet union it required some work- much harder than having agents in say, the UK. In contrast, any fools can recruit agents in the US. And you won’t have the capitalist pig party in the soviet union.
        So soviet union were interested in any group in opposition- I would not be surprised if they had agents in Republican Party- probably a given.
        But it’s not as if the soviet were competent in terms agents and influence in US. Anyhow, rather then “join up” with the “reactionary neo-mediaevalist green movement” they were already members. It’s not hard to see that the Soviets had an interest, America not having nuclear weapon and not using nuclear energy- that kind thing would magnet for soviet agents and be sometime Soviet would try to assist in any way they could.

        “FYI Marxists (those few who remain) are against Capitalism but for industrialism. How you got that confused with racist bigotry is harder to understand.”
        Yes Soviet definitely pro industry- and they were horrible in terms of “environmental issues”. Plus soviet were pro manned space.
        But missing point that soviets and American Lefties wanted to undermine the US. So something was a good thing to do- they would be against America doing them.

      • Robin Melville

        I think you may be confusing the state-capitalist monstrosity which was the USSR with Marxism. Thankfully, its people, as people will, rose up against it. Of course they now have a kleptocracy to deal with, as have many nascent Capitalist countries before them (think robber barons, the great Whig corruption from our own histories).

      • “I think you may be confusing the state-capitalist monstrosity which was the USSR with Marxism. ”
        I have heard this before.
        Ok, start with a premise: Marxism are smart and capable.
        What States in the world are Marxists

        “Thankfully, its people, as people will, rose up against it. ”
        If by people, you mean the people in Poland.

      • Robin Melville

        None. But then, what states in the world are really democratic — i.e. where the government acts on behalf of the people rather than the wealthy elite? The semblance of democracy is all over the place but has to be kept on track by the resistance of the people. Poland is a good example, by the way.

        Difficult to think of a genuinely “smart and capable” US President or British Prime Minister in recent years :*)

      • Marx and Lenin (founders of Scientific Socialism) were both conscious of the possible falsification of their ideas;

        a/ If the class nature of society changed
        b/ If the dominant classes interests were to lead to economic stagnation.

        The period 1860-1960 saw a global large scale industrialisation.
        Factories employing several thousand people (the proletariat) were increasingly the norm.

        Top down state directed plans like the Soviet Unions were quite successful in their outcomes in that period.
        Even here in Britain we still enjoy the roads,railway systems and power infrastructure which were state directed after WW(II).

        The period 1960- Present saw industry move in another direction, that is to decentralise.
        Top down state control no longer worked well.
        The Soviet Union stagnated while the Capitalist West pulled ahead.

        However the present contradictions in the World Capitalist System may prove Marx and Lenin relevant once more.
        The huge relative increase in wealth of the top 1% at the expense of the 99% is hamstringing the economy.
        Austerity for the 99% is the only way out say representatives of the 1%.
        But that leads to further collapse of the consumer society in a never ending downward spiral.
        How many middle class folk watch their prospective pensions shrink as Bankers pocket ever bigger slices of the available money.
        Of course it can’t last!

  64. Chad Wozniak

    Incidentally, if anyone posting here wonders where I stand on the political scale from left to right – I’m ON TOP.

    • Dave Springer

      Clever. Left/Right is one dimensional. Left/Right/Top/Bottom is 2-dimensional. I’m a 3-d guy. My political affiliation is DEEP. :-)

  65. “Last October, at a conference in Ottawa, systems-management guru Dennis Meadows declared from the podium that it was already “too late for sustainable development.” This would surely be dispiriting news for those who will gather next week at Rio+20 to discuss the nebulous topic. After all, Mr. Meadows is a scientific authority, the lead author of the 1972 book The Limits to Growth, one of the most influential works of modern times.

    However, at the WWF-sponsored book launch, Mr. Randers declared that his own daughter was “dangerous” for having an ecological footprint 10 times that of an Indian girl.”

    Now, I could say to all these idiots, that if “too late for sustainable development” that might consider space beyond the planet earth,
    but I rather these gloomy people stick to their morbid religion.

    • Meadows sounds like a deeply disturbed putz.
      Randers sounds like someone whose family should keep out a close eye for the safety of his daughter.

  66. 10,000 germ species live in and on healthy people
    “Now scientists have mapped just which critters normally live in or on us and where, calculating that healthy people can share their bodies with more than 10,000 species of microbes.”

    “These bacteria are not passengers,” Tarr stressed. “They are metabolically active. As a community, we now have to reckon with them like we have to reckon with the ecosystem in a forest or a body of water.”

    “Scientists have long known that the human body coexists with trillions of individual germs, what they call the microbiome.”
    “All new information in some ways is humbling, because it shows how much more work is needed to understand this world within us, noted infectious disease specialist Dr. David Relman of Stanford University, who wrote a review of the project’s findings for the journal Nature.

    For example, the project included mostly white volunteers who live around Houston and St. Louis. Relman said more work is needed to define a normal microbiome in people with different racial, ethnic and geographic backgrounds.”

    Things change.

    • Dave Springer

      H.pylori has been in rapid decline in humans since the discovery of penicillin. It has recently been found to play a crucial role in regulating appetite. Antibiotics not McDonalds is what’s making us fat. B.fragilis is in a similar state of decline for the same reason. It has recently been found to play a crucial role in down-regulation of the immune system. The rise in auto-immune disease like type-1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, multiple-sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritus are also due to antibiotics.

      Along with daily vitamin supplements (which recent research is showing to be mostly useless) we should be taking a tablet containing important commensal bacteria such as those mentioned above to restore what we f*ck up with antibiotics.

      See Scientific American, June 2012, “The Ultimate Social Network” which explores recent discoveries in regard to commensals and the microbiome.

      • Dave Springer

        In the meantime don’t be afraid to get out to the great outdoors, away from people, get your hands dirty, and put your fingers in your mouth. This is how and where we acquire and keep up our commensal bacterial friends. Hand washing and keeping your fingers out of your mouth is only good advice when you’re somewhere with many other people. You won’t get good commensals in that environment so much as pathogens.

  67. Beth Cooper

    Chad W and gbaickie on emitting CO2:

    ‘Nothing would give up life:
    Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.’


    If I am human, do I not breathe?
    O do not tax me, tax the socialists instead.

  68. Worst. Thread. Ever.

    Not because Dr. Curry posted something dumb, but because no one is actually discussing the damn paper.

    • Latimer Alder

      We’re probably too concerned about real stuff to worry much about yet another ‘The End is Nigh’ paper.

      And I have finimunditis (aka Doomsday Fatigue).

      When the authors tell us exactly which changes to their own lifestyles they have successfully made as a result of their ‘research’, I might take another look.

      But until then a ‘do as we say, not as we do you, evil uneducated peasants waiting only for us cognoscenti to light your way to eternal salvation’ tract sounds just like any other millennial cult since the start of human history. There have been a lot. And so far at least, they have all failed to walk the walk, however appealing their talk.

      Please wake me up when we get something interesting to discuss.

    • Latimer,

      I have no particular quarrel with you, but I’ve heard this trope about 5000 times on Climate Etc. Can we get past “The authors are hypocrites” ad hom? Of course they are. All humans are hypocrites. There, I’ve said it. Utterly true and utterly trite.

      Do you have something to say about the paper?

      Does anyone? Did anyone even look at the paper?

      • Latimer Alder

        I think that you can take the apathetic nature of the reception that this paper has received among the denizens here as evidence of apathy (yawnitis). Certainly from me.

        I just hope that I wasn’t among the poor sap taxpayers who employed the authors to write it.

      • “…is approaching a planetary-scale critical transition as a result of human influence.”

        This gives me yawnitis. Vanity.

      • Latimer Alder

        Amazingly we have survived the night! Plans to cancel my forthcoming holiday may have been premature……

      • British git, the authors are from USA Spain and Chile so get lost with your taxpayer concerns.

      • Latimer Alder


        Fabtastic news.

        You guys paid for it…not me. And with the Spanish economy in terminal meltdown I hope they feel they got their Euros worth from their countryman.

      • We taxpayers need to start raising h*ll over the waste of our money.

    • NW,
      It is because the paper is stupid beyond belief and is no more of a sicence paper than some article discussing UFO’s.

      • andrew adams


      • Because it is all speculation.

        Which is fine if your objective is to sell a script for a Hollywood movie or come up with a topic for a SF novel.

      • andrew adams

        Of course it’s speculation. Any attempt to consider the future outcome of our current actions is necessarily speculative – we don’t have a time machine to travel into the future and see for ourselves. The question is whether they provide sufficient evidence to make their arguments plausible.

    • Whenever I read a synopsis of a paper claiming the world is coming to an end because of evil human behavior (always as a result of the exercise of our free will), I react the same way I would to a prospectus from Bernie Madoff.

      The problem progressives have, and are oblivious to, is that they are not crying wolf. If a wolf is coming, you get the men of the tribe together, kill it, and get on with your lives. Articles like this are instead crying Armageddon. For which they want the town to turn over to them control of the means of production.

      Many of us have caught on the the Madoffization of science. It’s an old game. And we aren’t buying.

      There are and always have been, wolves. The sky, however, has never fallen. Give me a call the next time you want to talk about dealing with a wolf.

      • “…make yourselves sheep and the wolves will eat you.” — Benjamin Franklin

  69. ” ecological systems are known to shift abruptly and irreversibly from one state to another when they are forced across critical thresholds.”
    Oh so they are known to shift abruptly are they? Who says so? I better check with the fairies at the bottom of my garden.
    Climate Scientists corrupt.
    Climate Science corrupts absolutely.
    Looks like the’ve gergised up on this one.

    • That’s great, Stacey. Nice to see a quote from the paper. But… that’s the first sentence of the abstract. Abstracts generally don’t have citations in them. Look in the text, Dr. Curry provided a link. What don’t you like about the arguments?

      I’d sure like to know. Honest. Let’s beat this stuff on points not rhetoric.

  70. Hi Judith et al.,

    Quick plug: I have a new post up at about the Maslin and Austin Nature Comment on climate model limitations. Do come over and let me know your thoughts.


    • Hi Tamsin, nice post, I will ponder and make a comment over at your blog

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Tamsin, please let me agree with Judith that your post is excellent!

      Here is brief comment that relates equally to your weblog’s post “All Models are Wrong: Limitless Possibilities” and to Anthony Watt’s present headline post on WUWT titled “WUWT: Climate Models Outperformed by Random Walks” (and I will post this on your weblog too).

      As a warm-up, let’s consider a non-controversial subject: models of turbulent flow over airframes. As we improve the spatial and temporal resolution of airflow simulations, we find that our ability to predict microscopic details of the flow does *not* improve. The reason is simple: the microscopic dynamics are chaotic, such that no dynamical model (however sophisticated) can predict their future evolution with microscopic accuracy.

      None-the-less, experience shows that fluid dynamical simulations DO successfully predict (typically within errors of order one percent) the flight characteristics that we mainly care about, including (for example) fuel efficiency, stall-speeds, and g-limits.

      How does this happen? It happens because the microscopic dynamics is governed by global conservation laws and thermodynamic constraints, chief among them being strict conservation of mass and energy and global increase in entropy. So instant-by-instant, we don’t know whether a Karman vortex will spin-off an extended wing-flap, and yet minute-by-minute, we can predict the lift, drag, and glide-path of an airliner with considerable accuracy and confidence.

      As with fluid dynamics, so with climate dynamics. Chaotic fluctuations on continental spatial scales and decadal time scales are difficult to predict with confidence. Yet global climate changes are constrained by strict conservation of mass and energy and global increase in entropy, and thus *CAN* be predicted. So year-by-year, we don’t know whether the local weather will be hot or cold, and yet decade-by-decade, we can predict the warming of the earth, and the rise of the sea, with considerable accuracy and confidence.

      Appreciating this, James Hansen and his colleagues have focussed their predictions on the global energy balance, and in particular, upon sea-level rise as an integrative proxy for that global energy balance. In 2011 they confidently predicted an acceleration in sea-level rise for the coming decade. Hansen’s prediction required a certain measure of scientific boldness, since at the time satellites were showing a pronounced decrease</i in the sea-level rise-rate.

      In coming years we will see whether Hansen’s global prediction is correct. Supposing that the global prediction *is* proved correct, then the concerns of rational climate-change skeptics will be largely addressed.

      More broadly, it is global conservation of mass and energy and global increase in entropy that explain why simulations of both airflow and climate can be grossly inaccurate on individual space-time gridpoints, yet highly accurate globally.


      LOL … for fun, I’ll post this essay also to WUWT. It will be fun to see which forums are mainly interested in rational arguments accompanied by scientific links, versus mainly interested in compiling an ideology-first “enemy list.”   :)

      • fan, you write “Yet global climate changes are constrained by strict conservation of mass and energy and global increase in entropy, and thus *CAN* be predicted.”

        Utter garbage. Until there is empirical data to show that models have predicted reliably what will happen in the future, there is absolutely no basis whatsoever to claim that models can predict the future. There needs to be a series of predictions which are shown to be true, and which could not have occurred by chance.

        By all means post of WUWT. I would be delighted to say the same thing over there.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        LOL … Jim Cripwell, see for example James Hansen’s 1981 prediction in his celebrated and free-as-in-freedom article Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide of “the opening of the fabled Northwest Passage.”

        Back in 1981, no one (save Hansen and his colleague) foresaw the Northwest Passage opening. Now the present-day predictive consensus is that this year (2012) will see the Northwest Passage opening earlier and wider — to commercial shipping and even recreational yachting (!) — than in any previous year.

        Jim, can any of today’s climate-change skeptics match Hansen’s 1981 track-record of accurate climatological foresight, founded upon solid mathematical and scientific principles? Cite an example … if you can!  :)

      • A few years ago a noted skeptic made a prediction about the recovery of multi-year ice.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Jim Cripwell, as a follow-up you might want to watch one of the most dramatic high-technology moments in engineering, namely, the test-to-destruction of an airliner wing

        If an airliner wing fails at less than 150% of the design load, the wing fails certification (which is a safety-related disaster). Yet if the wing fails at more than 155% of design load, then the wing is needlessly heavy (which is an economic disaster).

        So engineering tolerances are tight, and accurate simulation codes are absolutely vital. The resulting tests are high-drama epics!   :)

        What James Hansen is pointing out, is that we humans are similarly testing our planet’s climate stability — possibly to the point of inducing the “state-shift” that in aerospace engineering breaks wings, and on our planet Earth, melts ice-caps.

        This planetary climate test too is a high-drama epic. Because the faith that “wings can’t break” is just plain wrong, in both aerospace engineering and climatology.

      • Fan, you write “Jim, can any of today’s climate-change skeptics match Hansen’s 1981 track-record of accurate climatological foresight, founded upon solid mathematical and scientific principles? Cite an example … if you can! ”

        I dont believe in making predictions when there is no basis on which to make a prediciton. You cite just one of Hansen’s predictions. Fair enough.

        Now, please cite all the predictions that Hanen has made; rising sea levels, etc, etc. Then show for each one, whether he was correct or not. The fact that just one of his predictions allegedly turned out to be correct could easily be just sheer luck.

        So, do the analysis properly. List ALL Hansen’s predictions, compare them with what actually happened, and then let us look at how good he is. And dont ask me to do it. I dont like wasting my time

      • Fan, further thoughts. I recently directed you to

        which is people are predicting what the minimum Arctic sea ice extent will be in September, 2012. Last year, Canadian Ice Services made an accurate prediciton. I wrote to NSIDC on this issue, and they sent me a reply, part of which was “Rather they used a combination of other factors that has been found to have reasonably strong correlation with September extent. It is also possible, perhaps likely, that luck played some role.” I could not agree more. Until an organization has consistently shown that they are capable of making correct predicitons, it is never possible to rule out luck.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Jim Cripwell, as a concrete answers to your question, see in particular the recent Think Progress review, “Lessons From Past Predictions: Hansen 1981” … and see in particular Figure 5 of that post.

        The evident fact is, that thirty years after Hansen’s 1981 “Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide”, that article’s AGW-related predictions have held-up pretty well, and equally importantly, so have Hansen’s explanations of the underlying physics of AGW.

        What is your next question, Jim Cripwell?

      • fan, you write “What is your next question, Jim Cripwell?”

        I have no other questions. If you want to believe that one allegedly correct prediciton proves that CAGW is correct, that is your privilege. I am a scientist, a physicist, and I go by proper analysis. You refuse to acknowledge that Hansen has made all sorts of other predicitons, which have turned out to be totally incorrect. How many, I have not counted. But certainly more than one. In the end the observed data will prove that Hansen was completely wrong. The only issue, so far as I am concerned, is whether we can limit the damage which our politicians are doing to the world economy by this totally misplaced belief in CAGW.

      • Knowledgeable, rational, supported by data, relevant, timely and with a halfway decent sense of humor.. I see no cause anyone would have to think you’re connected to me in any way.

        One of the principle applications of sufficiently detailed models is to allow us to understand on what scales chaos begins and ends, and to understand which vectors it does involve. However chaotic an airstream, it will always obey the various conservation laws, e.g.; this tells us among other things how good or bad our data collection is: Santer’s 17 year signal:noise at 95% confidence calculations tell us our global temperature data is poor, if a model predicts decadal confidence is obtainable (though I think the actual limit is likely 14-15 years based on Vaughn Pratt’s comments about an apparent 14.5 year lag mediated by delay in deep ocean heat circulation), which would tell us our global temperature data is still fairly poor.

      • Rob Starkey

        You write- “As with fluid dynamics, so with climate dynamics”
        Unfortunately you completely misunderstand the comparison between the two fields and draw the wrong conclusion. In aero engineering we can accurately predict what will happen to the airflow around the wing at sufficiently detailed level to be able to predict the performance of the aircraft. The mathematical models match observed results over timescales that are important to humans.
        In regards to climate models there is no such confirmation of the model’s performance by their matching observed results. What there IS, is people making ridiculous claims that they really understand all the system variables and weights in relation to one another but that it is only system noise that makes their model not match observed results.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Rob Starkey wants: “Mathematical models [that] match observed results over timescales that are important to humans.”

        Rob, you’ve implicitly asked an important question: over what time-scales is climate-change important to humans?

        Let’s think about median life-spans:

        Rodents  median life-span 3-6 years.

        Politicians  median life-span 3-6 years.

        Legal Corporations  median life-span 3-6 years.

        Human beings  median life-span 80 years.

        We begin to see why rodents, politicians, and corporations focus mainly on decadal fluctuations; human beings not so much.

        That’s why folks who care about their the welfare of their great-grandchildren plan centuries ahead.

        This is plain common-sense, eh Rob?

      • Fan

        Just for fun, several years ago I worked out the average temperature a man (or woman) of 70 would experience during their lifetime. Its here;
        I reproduce it below.

        —— ——- —-
        This shows winter and summer and annual; CET averages

        As I don’t like the concept of ‘global temperatures I tend to use national temperature data sets-the older the better. The Dutch ones go back (sporadically) about as far as CET. (Hubert Lamb –first director of CRU-stated that CET was a very good indicator for ‘global’ temperatures.)

        I thought it would be an interesting exercise to try and smooth out the short term temperature trends that will make someone in their 30’s today say-‘it’s got warmer in my lifetime’- a point which their great grandparents might disagree with, having lived through the 1920’s and 30’s

        Consequently I decided to see what temperature a person living a three score year and ten life span in England would experience (using CET to 1660)

        This table is based on the average annual mean temperature enjoyed by the ‘British Everyman’ through each year of each decade. This assumed he was born at the start of a decade and died the last year of the decade seventy years later. These are the calculations;

        Someone born in Britain in 1660 and living to 70- Average annual temp 8.87c
        Someone born in 1670 and living to 70 Average annual temp 8.98
        1680 9.01
        1690 9.05
        1700 9.19
        1710 9.21
        1720 9.17
        1730 9.14
        1740 9.04
        1750 9.03
        1760 9.08
        1770 9.10
        1780 9.07
        1790 9.12
        1800 9.15
        1810 9.13
        1820 9.14
        1830 9.12
        1840 9.10
        1850 9.14
        1860 9.17
        1870 9.21
        1880 9.30 Official end of the Little Ice Age-Start of GISS
        1890 9.39
        1900 9.40
        1910 9.46
        1920 9.497
        1930 9.60
        1940 9.70 (projected to 2009)
        1950 9.76 Extrapolating current trends
        1960 9.79 Using advanced modelling techniques to create a robust scenario.

        I called the people born in the period from 1660 to 1880 ‘LIA Everyman’ in as much the person lived part or all of their lives during the little ice age. Those born born from 1890 to the present day I have termed ‘UHI Everyman’ for obvious reasons. No adjustments have been made to correct UHI, poor siting, change of instruments etc.

        The depths of the LIA can be clearly seen, but what I find interesting is that temperatures have risen only some 0.6 degree C since the warmest period of the LIA, which does not suggest a runaway climate change scenario to me.
        (The slightly cooler average temperatures in the LIA are primarily due to colder winters – summers were pretty similar)

        Of course, were it possible, it would be most interesting to extrapolate this back to the MWP and Roman optimums, as it would put today’s very modest rises into a proper perspective.

        My main point is whether anyone else living in a country with long records-Holland, Denmark, Sweden etc, would care to compile a similar chart on the same basis, that smooths out the short term noise.

        Incidentally the first year figure in 1660 of 8.98C was exactly the same temperature as the UK experienced in 2011

      • Rob Starkey

        Common sense is to validate that a model makes reliable forecasts at any timescale where it is being consider for use before using that model for much of anything of importance. Only use the model over timescales where it has demonstrated reasonable accuracy in making predictions. Planning centuries ahead based on the outputs of a a bad model would or at least could result in poor decisions being implemented. Seems simple and unargueable doesn’t it?

      • Dave Springer

        If you’re worried about your great-grandchildren, fang, you should worry about them being saddled with $46,000 in debt the moment they are born. Who’s going to fix that? Libtards? I don’t think so.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Dave, you forgot to mention your other favorite non sequitur: restaurant workers with damaged feet. WUWT?

      • Dave Springer

        That’s because you failed to mention your second-hand smoke bogeyman. Duh. I bet you sleep with the lights on.

      • Johnny, how is a median “3-6 years”? The median is a single number. It might be 3, 4, 4.6, 5.2 or pi. It isn’t “3-6”.

      • Legal Corporations median life-span 3-6 years.

        climatereason | June 14, 2012 at 1:52 pm |

        Ah yes. It’s hard to worry about the consequences of actions not due to have their peak effects for five hundred years or more. Why get worked up about making the world just a little bit worst for your having been in it?

        It’s not like having been a net burden on the world matters to you after you’re dead.

    • It’s a pleasure to read your post, though with some slight criticism.

      “Assuming X” is a frequent first step in rational arguments that lead us further than questions of X. In reductio ad absurdum it is necessary to begin with a proposition of this sort to defeat it. (While failure to defeat a proposition by finding no absurd outcomes — or better, finding absurd outcomes that actually resulted in the real world, like fan’s example of the Northwest Passage becoming navigable — doesn’t prove any proposition, it’s an indication of an interesting premise.)

      Similarly, assuming the US currency were the berliner (or in the case of Ron Paul, the gold standard) allows one to construct interesting Economics cases.

      I wouldn’t rest an argument on the assumption of correctness alone, and where the mindset it reflects (a potential danger) is apparent, it of course ought be challenged to confirm if indeed the mistake of reliance on a faulty premise has occured.

      Btw, SUPRAnet looks extraordinarily interesting, and I hope Dr. Curry features her comments about this network for us, too.

  71. Students of biological and geological history will already know that human habitation causes state shifts in regional biospheres. Greece, Lebanon, Turkey, Palestine, the Yucatan, the American Northeast forests and the Central Plains, all of the United Kingdom: all have been found to have been massively altered by long-term human habitation.

    To predict that this will continue is the ‘no change–business as usual’ hypothesis.

    • Dave Springer

      Students of biological and geographic history know that many species cause state changes. Look at what the first photosynthetic organisms (blue-green algae) did. Then terrestrial plants. Then terrestrial animals. Humans are just another step in an ongoing process of state changes. What’s going to eventually happen to earth-life absent a technologic species such as ourselves who can build telescopes to locate habitable planets and vessels to transport earth’s biota there is that all this will be lost in a few billion more years when sol becomes a red giant and incinerates the earth. Think of us as the fruiting body of a planet-spanning organism. Without us the planet will die without reproducing itself. Life’s goal is to reproduce and it makes any sacrifice necessary to acheive it for if it fails the future is lost. The earth, as long as it manages to reproduce, can expend every last resource the planet has to offer. This is simply how life works. All life. It does whatever it takes to reproduce before it dies. Step back and look at big picture.

      • This is something I’ve thought about myself, especially in my younger days when looking for some sort of all encompassing “philosophy of life.” One could argue that evolution, in its blind wisdom, has at last created the only organism capable of “saving life,” a thinking, self-conscious, self-improving, technology building animal that can if all goes right, come up with a plan to relocate and thus ensure that life goes on when our planet is but a burnt out cinder. Of course, I do not subscribe to intelligent design, but I sometimes I can’t help wondering about whether there’s some force behind all of this. It’s all so magnificent, so profoundly beautiful.

        I’m a iittle less terra-parochial in my thinking nowadays though. It seems a sure bet there’s plenty of life out there, and that we’re only one of uncountable universes. I suspect that with us or without us, life will go on for all eternity.

      • Poker-guy,

        Oh, go ahead, hedge your bets and just subscribe to it — that ‘there’s some force behind all of this.’ It is so obvious….. but mankind, in its current state of hubris, is simply too full of himself to see it.

      • But in doing so, what am I accomplishing? Whatever’s behind the multiverse, it has to be well beyond anything we can conceive or appreciate. I’d rather take my awe straight up. As soon as you try to figure it out, you’re diluting it.

      • Never hurts, in serious investigation, to allow in other possibilities to consider. Acknowledging the possibility allows for a much greater potential understanding as to ‘what-the-heck-is-going-on-around-here-anyway?’ Rather than dilute, it might concentrate your awe.

        I’ll admit, my Windows screensaver/desktop image is the latest deep deep space image — galaxy after galaxy after galaxy as far as one can see. Now that is awe inspiring!

      • Dave Springer


        Don’t blindly subscribe. Start with those books I recommended. There’s an incredible amount of science in the area of microbiology and genetics you need to consider so if nothing else, if you love science and learning, there’s a lot you’ll learn in the process. There are two principle areas of intelligent design – biological and cosmological. I didn’t recommend anything specifically on the cosmological side but, unaware to most people, the most well known living theoretical physicists admit among themselves and in obscure papers and interviews that intelligent design is one of four possible explanations for the fine tuning problem and none of the other three are any more or less satisfactory in explaining what’s called the fine tuning problem. I reviewed a review written by physicist Carl Frederick of the physics connundrum several years ago here:

        Lee Smolin, in anyone’s list of the top ten theoretical physicists alive today, summed it up thusly:

        Which Way Out?

        Lee Smolin considers that there are four solutions to the problem, schemas if you will.

        [below are truncated for brevity -ds]

        1) God tuned the parameters for our benefit.
        2) There are a very large number of universes each of which has random parameters.
        3) There is a “unique mathematically consistent theory of the whole universe”.
        4) The parameters evolve in time – in the Darwinian sense.

        [end truncation -ds]

        A good number of very intelligent people have argued for schemas two, three, and four above. At the moment there is nothing resembling a consensus among physicists.

        Smolin failed to mention that an incredible number of exceedingly intelligent people all through recorded history have argued for schema one including probably the most famous theoretical physicist of all time, Albert Einstein. Einstein believed in the God of Spinoza, an impersonal God who created a clockwork universe and who doesn’t intervene in the affairs of men. Spinoza’s God is perfectly acceptable in Intelligent Design which, contrary to urban legend, only concerns itself with discriminating between purpose and accident which has many antecedents in the forensic sciences.

      • Pokerguy,

        Here’s mine :

        The devil’s in the detail.
        The maintenance will get you.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Dave Springer

        Why “of course” when it comes to intelligent design? The alternative is every bit as much a narrative. As a coder I can’t really accept an abstract code that invents itself. Of all the abstract codes found in nature where the origin is known they are human inventions. All known abstract codes are the product of a mind except for one and we don’t know how that one exception came to exist. The accidental universe religionists acknowledge what they call an illusion of design but the thing about illusions is that they disappear upon closer examination. As we examine the universe on ever larger and smaller scales the so-called illusion of design doesn’t away but rather becomes stronger. I recommend at least these three books to get a good idea of the arguments before deciding to eschew them:

        “The Edge of Evolution” ~Mike Behe, Biochemistry Professor, Lehigh
        “The Design Matrix” ~Mike Gene (pen name, engineer)
        “Genetic Entropy” ~John Sanford, Genetics Professor, Cornell

        Each offers unique perspectives and together make an excellent survey. If I were teaching a course on the subject those three books would be the curriculum.

      • Dave Springer

        pokerguy | June 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Reply

        “This is something I’ve thought about myself, especially in my younger days when looking for some sort of all encompassing “philosophy of life.” One could argue that evolution, in its blind wisdom, has at last created the only organism capable of “saving life,” a thinking, self-conscious, self-improving, technology building animal that can if all goes right, come up with a plan to relocate and thus ensure that life goes on when our planet is but a burnt out cinder.”

        At last? That’s hubris talking. More likely we’re just another link in a chain that’s got a long history of planets behind it and a long future in front of it. The whole plan was written in the genetic code pool of the earth’s first inhabitants who suddenly appeared almost as soon as the planet cooled enough to allow liquid water to exist. The sudden appearance of fully developed DNA-based machinery of life is one of the biggest problems for blind watchmaker faithful. There’s no “evolution” without some exceedingly intricate machinery that supports metabolism and reproduction and the appearance of that machinery was sudden and saltational in nature. In fact all significant transitions in the history of life were saltational which is tough to explain from a gradualist viewpoint, Stephen J. Gould’s “Punctuated Equilibrium” hypothesis notwithstanding.. Those first inhabitants slowly but surely led a chain of events that shaped and prepared the planet for the emergence of an industrial species. You really think the vast but finite reserves of fossil fuels are conveniently laying around by accident? Maybe not. There appear to be just enough of them to get the tool building species to a point where it can directly harness a greater supply of energy – the sun. The limited supply of fossil fuel puts pressure on the tool builders to find something else before it runs out. Once the power of the sun is directly harnessed the tool builders will have enough energy to boost large masses to near relativistic speeds and spread through the local region of the galaxy like dandelion seeds in the wind.

        On the other hand Rob Sheldon, a UAH astro-physicist colleague of Roy Spencer and John Christy (both intelligent design proponents by the way) has a unique hypotheses where stellar systems exchange merge and exchange genetic material (or infect if one is sterile) when they come within about a light year of each other and their Oort clouds mingle and get disturbed such that they rain down cometary material on the inner planets.

        See papers 37, 38, 46, and especially 47:

        R. B. Sheldon and R. B. Hoover, “Cosmological Evolution: Spatial Relativity and the Speed of Life” in Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XI, Hoover, Levin, Rosanov eds. Proc. of SPIE Vol. 7097 (Bellingham, WA) pp 7097-41, 2008.

        There’s a lot of speculation out there. Panspermia and directed panspermia have a lot going for them in explaining problems associated with abiogenesis.

      • Latimer Alder

        @dave springer

        ‘The sudden appearance of fully developed DNA-based machinery of life is one of the biggest problems for blind watchmaker faithful’

        How ‘sudden’ are you suggesting?

      • Dave,
        I commend to you Greg Bear’s excellent “Forge of God” SF novel that discusses the idea of life being a way for a “Planetism” to propagate itself in the universe. It is also one of the better end-of-the-world apocalypse stories out there, which is of course appropriate when dealing with AGW true believers.

      • Dave Springer

        I read everything Greg Bear has ever written along with the other two B’s of hard science fiction Benford and Brin.

      • Dave Springer

        I believe my favorite book of Bear’s was Darwin’s Radio. He researched it for years and got a glowing review by a top shelf geneticist published in Nature for the hard science and plausibility of the hypothetical. There’s a sequel Darwin’s Children that wasn’t as good (the sciency part) IMO but if you liked the characters he developed in the first book you might enjoy the sequel. You’ll learn a whole lot of bleeding edge stuff about endogenous retroviruses in the course of reading it that’s for sure.

    • Thank you to all of you who joined in on the impromptu discussion on Intelligent Design and/or the concept that ‘there’s some force behind all of this.’

      It was a joy to see your various takes on this — and a surprise that such a sensible, calm, and collegial discussion could take place here — a science blog – without all the usual name-calling and ad homs.

      It is a credit to the type of people Dr. Judith Curry has attracted to her site through attention to openness and good science.

      • I agree completely, take those evolutionists, they believe that natural selection determines the ultimate destiny of a species and at the same time support policy that aids the weaklings in the gene pool.

    • Unbelievable. It just goes to show how arrogant UCLA’s ideologues have become, when they sack a professor of 35 years’ good standing and merely suspend the guy who falsely claimed to have a PhD that the professor exposed. I hope UCLA gets taken to the cleaners over this.

  72. Chad Wozniak

    David Springer –

    Your position on the left-right scale – DEEP – actually expresses my own position better than ON TOP. I like it,

    I’m guessing we wopld agree that the terms “left” and “right” have become so confounded as to be useless. By the usual definition of rightwing, with his insistence that the hoi polloi bow and scrape before him, his old money, his making rules for others that don’t apply to himself, and his clinging to inhumane ideas long since discredited, define that ultimate leftist, Al Gore, as rightwing.

  73. Chad Wozniak

    As many posters here have observed, the real question regarding the AGW tyrannists is LIBERTY, and whether we who seek honesty in science and politics are willing to do what it takes to defend LIBERTY.

    The destruction of LIBERTY is the AGW scaremongers’ real agenda – forget the environment or even climate change. Those are only the devices they use to persuade uninformed people of their “need to be coerced,” as that bastion of ignorance, the New York Times, put it.

    • Chad Wozniak | June 14, 2012 at 1:15 pm |

      More alarmist bloviating. Everything you disagree with is an attack on your liberty by tyrannists. Puhleeze.

      You see tyranny under your bed. It’s your bogeyman.

      You’re tyrannized by your own terror.

      A real American stands up to those of any stripe who threaten tyranny under the cold hard light of truth.

      And the truth is, you’re afraid of shadows, and willing to be ruled by that fear.

      AGW is a real, rationally-founded, risk factor to be taken into account in decision-making.

      So, if you’re not paralyzed by panic, get on with rational decisions for yourself, and let the rest of us get on with rational decisions for ourselves, without your frothy imaginings.

      Let’s face it, to have designs on your liberty, someone would have to believe you had any in the first place. A man ruled by fear has no liberty to lose.

  74. Petition for open research results!!

  75. “Peter317 | June 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm |

    R. Gates, so how long do you think it will take for a ‘sustainable future’ to be developed?”

    It is rather strange. We have people who do not think we have a ‘sustainable future’ . The main message being, we must stop. And other [twits] saying even if we stopped [even though they concluded that the message we must stop has failed for decades] there is not a ‘sustainable future’.

    The only thing obviously not sustainable is the pattern ever increasing government growth. But that too has said for decades.

    It seems to me there is a ‘sustainable future’ even for a bloated government- if a government was vaguely intelligent [which it has never been].

    Anyhow, apparently one is to believe there isn’t a ‘sustainable future’- there is a dozen biscuits, and we suppose to eat less biscuits.
    It seems if we were actually in such as state there would some willingness to try something different.

    It seems the best description of the situation is we have a bunch overgrown children who are aware of situation in which they lack tools of understanding it.

    Was looking a quote, but this will have to do.
    Regarding the book “Steps to Ecology of the Mind” , by Bateson.

    “Bateson was haunted in his last years by a sense of urgency, a sense that the narrow definition of human purposes, reinforced by technology, would lead to irreversible disasters, and that only a better epistemology could save us. Certainly irreversibilities lie all around us, many, like global warming, the decay of the ozone layer, and the movement of poisons through global food chains, set on courses it is too late to change although we have yet to suffer their full effect. Still, the situation has not worsened as rapidly as he predicted and perhaps he sometimes succumbed to the lure of dramatizing a message in order to get it across in ways that later undermine that message. But the habits of mind that he described can be seen in every newspaper or newscast: the search for short term solutions that worsen the problem over time (often by mirroring it, such as violence used to oppose violence); the focus on individual persons or organisms or even species, seen in isolation; the tendency to let technological possibility or economic indicators replace reflection; the effort to maximize single variables (like profit) rather than optimizing the relationship among a complex set of variables.

    The essays in this volume and in the publications that followed it suggest a trajectory. What is important is to begin to move with that trajectory, to empathize with it, in order to move beyond it, so the next step becomes obvious. Scholarly analysis of the work of Gregory Bateson is only a fraction of the task, for analysis has always been a means of control. It is more important now to respond. Following Gregory in his development is probably the best way to prepare for the steps that still need to be taken, the moments of imaginative recognition that lie ahead.”

    At least Bateson offered something worth considering and arguing about.

  76. Fearful Western schoolteachers will rescue humanity from Global Warming, True or False?

  77. I sincerely doubt if anyone realized the damages society would suffer from the 1946 decision to misrepresent the fountain of energy that Copernicus discovered at the center of the solar system in 1543:

    Deceit has place in science, even for the most noble of reasons.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  78. It wouldn’t be so bad if schoolteachers had decided to take a break from babysitting children in the dropout factories to try thier hand at ruling the world but all they really want to do is be paid for being gadflies.

  79. Dr Curry,

    Bishop Hill has a post on a WSJ article by Erik Assadourian of the Worldwatch Insitute that is sort of related to this post.

    Mr. Assadourian is proposing:

    •Tax the rich. A lot. Mr. Hollande should follow through on his campaign promise to increase tax rates to 75% on those earning more than €1 million. This will curb the market for unsustainable luxury goods while providing revenue to fund France’s transition to a sustainable society.

    • Tax social ills. Fossil fuels, carbon emissions, junk food, automobiles, advertising—these are all ripe for additional taxes to curb their abundance, while generating further state revenue.

    • Invest in renewables to improve France’s path to energy security. At the same time, Mr. Hollande must help normalize much lower rates of electricity usage, such as through tiered electricity pricing, which would charge users progressively for higher levels of use.

    • Make French cities nearly car-free by 2022. Invest heavily in mass transit, bicycle lanes and pedestrian-friendly development so that the only urban vehicles 10 years from now will be shared and rented cars, taxis, delivery trucks and ambulances. This one measure would save billions of euros in traffic fatalities and air pollution-related illnesses, reduce CO2 emissions, and create far more local jobs in bicycle maintenance and sales than those lost in the French auto industry.

    •Follow the Netherlands’ lead and create a 200-year plan to address climate change. The Dutch are investing a billion dollars a year preparing their coastlines, infrastructure and agriculture for climate change. That’s a step in the right direction, though the standard assumption of an increase of only two degrees Celsius over the next two centuries is probably optimistic at this point.

    • Facilitate a return to traditional living arrangements. Although youth unemployment is a challenge, multigenerational housing can help address it, creating new ways to share costs among family members. Increasing the desirability of multigenerational housing could be done through tax incentives, social marketing and stimulating new local economic opportunities—such as small-scale farming and animal husbandry, artisanal crafts and repair.

    NOt sure whether to laugh or go on line and order another couple of cases of 5.56.

    • Erik Assadourian of the Worldwatch Insitute must be nuts.

      I pity the poor Europeans.

      I pity German and the Scandinavians who seem to be the ones who will have to bail the rest of Europe as it sinks

      And I pity Australia as our soclialsit/progressive government trys to emulate all the worst policies of the soclialsit/progressive Europeans.

      • If that idiot Krugman has his way, the US will follow every other country right down the drain. We already have a good start in that direction.

      • I would go so far to say that if that idiot Obama has his way we will follow the other countries right down the drain.

    • Dave Springer

      7.62 is a better choice for a number of reasons including barter.

    • For those who don’t follow the jargon, 5.56 and 7.62 are not slang terms for Australian beer. They’re the handle for rifle ammunition among survivalists.

      At least, one hopes tim56 (see the connection? tim56=5.56) merely implies he is alarmed that some French socialist (ohnoes, there’s a socialist in France, how will America survive?!) is going to bring about the apocalypse, while Dave Springer seems to assert that it will be a really terrible apocalypse, what with the need to barter cartridges with Russian weapon owners in Australia. Because a Frenchman wants to have more buses and try to create a multidecadal economic plan.

      Would that the US gridlock allowed planning past the next soundbyte, and right-wing Big Government tax-and-spend fossil-subsidizing Statists be flushed out for the fauxpublicans they really are.

      The “give up now, there’s a Red menacing us” crowd have zero to offer any debate.

      • BartR, Americans prefer .223 and .308, but timg56 is more likely tim g. born in 1956. Nice to see that you have gotten over that paranoia issue :)

      • capt. dallas 0.8 +/-0.2 | June 15, 2012 at 10:49 am |

        Everyday civilians have a marked preference for .223 and .308; when you hear 5.56 and 7.62 outside military discussions, you’re likely hearing from something more eccentric, or a foreigner.

      • How many times do harebrained schemes actually have to be tried (and be seen to fail miserably) before people finally realise that they just don’t work?
        If you think you know how to make those things work, then why don’t you share with us all your detailed logistical analyses?

      • Peter317 | June 15, 2012 at 11:03 am |

        What an excellent suggestion. Let’s see a detailed logistical criticism of how Assadourian’s generic/vague schemes fail, in your eyes. With specific examples germaine to each particular proposal.

        Once you’ve provided your analyses, we could have a lengthy discussion blowing holes in variations and alternatives, like a politburo committee seeking to rule by expert opinion.

        Or, we could let the Market find the way, by privatizing scarce resources and removing subsidies, and save ourselves the long digression into useless chatter.

      • No, you started it – don’t try turn it back on me now.

      • Just a single example for you to get started with – how do you think mass transit is going to work?
        Why don’t you come to London some time and see some of your ideas at work – an underground railway which is packed like sardines every morning and evening, often total gridlock consisting entirely of buses, long queues at bus stops where people often have to wait for the third or fourth full bus to pass before one comes along that they can actually get on to, buses which drive around virtually empty during off-peak hours, congestion charging which only serves to push the worst congestion away from the centre, hordes of militant, kamikaze cyclists etc etc, and all that has barely made a dent in traffic volumes.
        Julius Caesar bemoaned the fact that one could barely move in Rome for chariots – and that was 2000 tears ago. What makes you think you have the answers?

      • Latimer Alder


        I think your categorisation of buses – and cyclists – in London is rather unfair and wrong-headed. And I work on one and use the other so I can speak from direct personal experience.

        In Central London, bus frequencies are high.. every 3 minutes on a busy route is not uncommon, and for busy journeys, along Oxford Street for example, you have a choice of maybe a dozen routes. So waiting for the next bus with room involves a wait of only a few seconds or so. Outside the centre, I have only twice been refused entry to a bus because it is full in over a thousand journeys on various routes and at various times of day..including peaks. It is sufficiently uncommon to be noteworthy and memorable.

        To criticise off-peak services as ‘buses which drive around virtually empty during off-peak hours’ in the same paragraph as criticising the peak hour ones for being full is odd in the extreme. Which do you want….empty buses or full buses? Or do you just like criticising the bsu service anyway?

        London is – by US standards – a very small city in geography, but big in population. it has a huge commuter population who need to work in and about the centre. Without the railways and the tubes and the bsuses it just could not survive in its current form and private cars are no solution…if nothing else for the reason of parking. We have a medieval street plan designed for 200,000 people with occasional horses and carts..and try to make it work for 8,000,000. Just one mainline station shifts more than the entire population of London used to be every day.

        There is no easy answer to Lonodn’s traffic a complete relocation to another place with a different geography. But that ain’t going to happen either.

        Meanwhile, here’s a nice video of some buses in Oxford Street and a few cyclists…who don’t appear to be particularly kamikaze or militant

      • Latimer, I also speak from personal experience.
        But, contrary to what you think, I’m not criticising the bus service, merely trying to make the point that the idea of making cities car-free is a pipe dream, and, even if it were possible, you’d really just be swapping one set of problems for another. London needs all the transport it can get – and that includes cars.
        My point about empty off-peak buses is that a large number of buses is required for peak periods, all of which have to be somewhere during off-peak periods, either parked up or under-utilised. As the drivers still need to be paid, parking them up is probably not the preferred option.

      • Latimer Alder


        Go and stand outside a Lonodn bus garage between 10:00 and 10:30. You will see quite a number of buses returning to the depot as Out of Service.

        On some, (not all) routes, the off=peak service frequency is reduced a bit to account for the reduced demand. So a peak frequency of say ‘every 5-7 mins’ can be reduced to 8-11 and vehicles laid up till the afternoon peak. Drivers shift patterns are adjusted accordingly.

        Also worth noting that the afternoon peak has different characteristics from the morning is longer but flatter, and heavily influenced by school holidays..which is why you still see a lot of school bus only routes, especially out of the centre

        And finally, one of the characteristics that makes any cities public transport syste work well is frequent service whatever the time of day. Tubes, railways, buses riverbuses always attract the most passengers if the punter doesn’t have to think about it ..just turn up and go. So obtaining the most efficient vehicle/driver utilisation is not an overrriding priority for the planners.

        And, after a few years working with buses, it is apparent that there are no ‘right answers’ to the vexed question of bus scheduling, Just a selection of ‘least worst’ ones.

      • Latimer, that wasn’t meant as a criticism of the bus service, but rather to illustrate the impracticability, if not impossibility, of making a city car-free – without either killing the city or creating a whole raft of other major problems.
        If you think it can be done then you’re welcome to present your ideas.

      • Peter317 | June 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm |

        No, you started it – don’t try turn it back on me now.

        Come, come. Who started which?

        I was pointing out the paranoid survivalist mentality implicit in the alarmist 5.56/7.62 set response to irrelevant politics in France. You’re the one wanting to descend into the trivialities of bus drivers getting paid for downtime. What’s your point? That some jobs have peaks and lows?

        That you don’t like seeing wages paid because customers (who are always right, if I recall correctly) want to be served on demand instead of told when to line up and do as they’re told by the bus scheduling politburo? That’s your end-of-civilized-live catastrophe? Bus drivers are paid to wait for passengers? That’s your detailed logistical analyses?

        Ohnoes! Bus drivers get paid for waiting on customers.

        To my mind, a bus token and a car differ in no significant way for the Economy. Both are passes to highly subsidized modes of transit. Both leave many servicepeople sitting idle — or have you never driven by a gas station with no customers at the pumps at that moment, never seen a service department with mechanics waiting to do oil changes, never seen tires piled up in inventory waiting for cars to need a tire change, never driven past a full parking lot? There’s five orders of magnitude more such idle time in personal cars than in bus drivers’ schedules; if anything yours is an argument against the abject waste of the personal vehicle.

        Ohnoes! A bus driver is filling out a crossword puzzle on company time because no one wants to travel between Hyde Park and King’s Cross at 2:34 PM! Grab your M-19 and head for the bomb shelter! The French Reds will take us over!

        So if you think you’ve got more, better ‘logistical analyses’ to criticize French socialists with, you might want to keep it to yourself. You’re scoring massive own goals without even taking your feet out of your mouth.

      • Point missed by miles, so focus on irrelevance instead.

      • Bart,

        I wouldn’t know anything about survivalists, other than watching shows on tv. My familiarization with 5.56 and 7.62 comes from my service days. Qualified on the M-16 in high school and the M-14 in the Navy. Was Small Arms Petty Officer about my sub. Having a son who served as a Marine and a nephew about to deploy for the third time to Afghanistan (in command of a airborne infantry company), I haven’t had reason to forget the terminology.

      • timg56 | June 15, 2012 at 11:33 am |

        “I haven’t had reason to forget the terminology..”

        But some French bloviator with zero intention to see through most of what he promises — like any politician — is reason to stockpile a few extra cases of cartridges for civilian use?

        You want to do something useful about socialists, outcompete them in business and outrun them in technology innovation. America proves its greatness generation by generation not in the quagmires we get bogged down in, but in the advancement we achieve.

        And the USA hasn’t kept the forefront in the small arms race terribly well, either (nice progress in snipers and drones, though). We might see better results from concentrating on high mpg low emission cars.

      • Bart,

        I believe Eric is a good old American. And the cartridges are for shooting at the range. I’ve found few things more relaxing than busting caps, with the added benefit of keeping my marksmanship up.

        I bet Eric is a very nice, personable young man. I do not doubt his ernestness. He’s developed an add on to the game Settlers of Catalan (which I’ve enjoyed playing a few times) to “teach gamers about the limits to growth”.

        I am completely with you with regard to out performing people. Where I start to have a problem is when someone else comes along and tells me what area I have to perform in or how to do it. Eric doesn’t strike me as someone who believes we should allow people to perform in a manner they see fit. Rather, he seems to be advocating the formulation of governmental policies that will direct people in a manner he thinks is in their best interest.

        An example of that is playing out in the PNW. DOE Sec Chu declared that BPA must focus on building new transmission lines and on renewable generation. Senators and Congressman from the area all got on board – regardless of their party affiliations or positions on climate change and renewable energy and basically told him to back the f off. We enjoy some of the lowest rates in the country and BPA’s model works just fine. No one up here – except for through and through greenies – wants to see the Washington DC come in to tell BPA what to do in order to promote their theories and pet projects. Nor do we like it when Washington DC thinks they can make BPA into their own cash cow.

        RE small arms – truth is that even a 100+ year old design like the Springfield 1903 and its cartridge are still an effective infantry weapon. Being at the cutting edge doesn’t get you much.

      • timg56 | June 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm |

        You’re losing the program. If the topic is France, it’s French bloviating. And if cartridges existed only for shooting at ranges they’d be no more interesting than tiles from some European tabletop Monopoly-nouveau. You can’t make a crack about stockpiling cases of M-16 and M-19 ammunition in reference to anyone’s political propositions and play all innocent with any plausibility.

        Come right out and say what you mean. You need your security blanket of a well-stocked basement bomb shelter because at some point in your childhood you were Mosheresquely frightened out of your life about the Red Scare, and now your first response to socialist arguments is to reach for your gun and cower in the dark. That’s what you meant. That’s what you said. You can’t meet invalid socialist proposals intellectually because you’re so intellectually paralyzed by childhood 1950’s McCarthyist phantasms, and you long for a simpler world where you could just bust some caps into commies.

        “Being at the cutting edge doesn’t get you much.”

        The thinking that made America great, isn’t it?

      • Dave Springer

        Yeah those were the good old days when the other side had enough going for it that Mutually Assured Destruction made sense. Now with all these pissant suicidal Arab sh*tholes getting WMDs fighting the commies is little more than a fond memory. Keep your duct tape and plastic sheets handy, y’all.

      • Bart,

        Not sure what set you off, but perhaps it is pointing our you are in error.

        For me to be upset about a “French bloviator”, Eric would have to be French, otherwise he is not a “French bloviator “. Now he could be simply a bloviator, in which case you comment may have some point to it.

        And I never said that cartridges were only for shooting at ranges. I said that is what I use them for. I hate to disappoint you but I don’t have a basement bomb shelter. I don’t have a basement at all. I do have what is called a “daylight basement”, a downstairs family room and spare bedroom. The only thing stockpiled there are my books and my wine. Well, I used to have wine stockpiled, until my wife insisted on drastic cuts to my wine budget.

        Regarding my childhood – I did grow up during the Cold War. Even served during it. And growing up right outside Washington DC, I was, by the age of 12 or so, very much aware of being in a very target rich environment, should the cold war ever turn hot. Fortunately for my brothers and I, our parents were not the sort to create fear in their children. And none of us were dumb enough or neurotic enough to give much thought to something we had no control over.

        And as for my “first response to socialist arguments is to reach for your gun and cower in the dark.” You have that one wrong as well. My response is to let people know that I disagree with what they want to force upon me and if they believe that they can do so simply by harnessing the force of government they may discover the hard way why our founders made the right to arms the second amendment to the Constitution.

        Remember, it was George Washington who said that government is not reason, it is force. Nothing in the last 230+ years has changed that fact.

      • Oh, and for those who need a timg56-to-English translation:

        But note also

        Note the BPA’s been pro-renewables for over three years. And energy efficiency? Who can be against more efficiency in what after all is a heavily government-favored sector?

        The cyber-security this united front of Pacific Northwest politicians is opposing is to fight Flame-like attacks a pernicious form of malicious software out in the wild and capable of shutting down any power infrastructure, making the PNW vulnerable to blackmail by hackers. It’s a legitimate, bona fide, if anything understated threat every American who isn’t off-grid (so I guess that makes timg56 and his Montana Freemen buddies feel a bit smug) can be affected by.

        This is another case where the politicians have it wrong, and are pretending to be backed by principle, when what’s really going on is something else entirely. One might almost *cough* smell the trough running dry for them.

      • Bart,

        How about trying a link to the topic I mentioned, rather than doing a switch.

        I never mentioned anything about cyber sercuity an.

      • Dave Springer

        I was referring to 7.62 Soviet not NATO round. Archeologists a thousand years from now will still be digging up serviceable AK47’s.

      • Interesting quibbles.

        You and I link to the same article. The article, which you cherry-pick out of context a small portion of to support your claim indeed can be shown when revealed to the light of day allowing readers to decide for themselves what it means actually causes your point to crumble.

        Just as you cherry pick the interpretation of “French bloviator” to mean ‘bloviator from France’ as opposed to the contextually correct ‘bloviator about France’.

        And really, no one expects you to tell the whole Internet where your bomb shelter really is hidden. What M-19-toting Montana Freeman would?

      • Dave Springer

        7.62 is a far superior round for hunting large game. If you plan on fighting a million other people in a city somewhere over what’s left of the food & water supply then 5.56 is probably a better choice. The weapon won’t need to last very long in that case because you won’t last very long either.

        Just sayin’.