Ehrlich & Ehrlich: Can a global collapse of civilization be avoided?

by Judith Curry

Earlier dire predictions have been made in the same mode by Malthus  on food security, Jevons on coal exhaustion, King  & Murray on peak oil, and by many others. They have all been overcome by the exercise of human ingenuity just as the doom was being prophesied. – Michael Kelly

Last January, the Proceedings of the Royal Society published this paper by Ehrlich & Ehrlich:  Perspective: Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?   My main rationale for a post on this is the rebuttal by Mike Kelly (see below).

From the news release by the Royal Society:

Throughout our history environmental problems have contributed to collapses of civilizations. A new paper published yesterday inProceedings of the Royal Society B addresses the likelihood that we are facing a global collapse now. The paper concludes that global society can avoid this and recommends that social and natural scientists collaborate on research to develop ways to stimulate a significant increase in popular support for decisive and immediate action on our predicament. 

Paul and Anne Ehrlich’s paper provides a comprehensive description of the damaging effects of escalating climate disruption, overpopulation, overconsumption, pole-to-pole distribution of dangerous toxic chemicals, poor technology choices, depletion of resources including water, soils, and biodiversity essential to food production, and other problems currently threatening global environment and society. The problems are not separate, but are complex, interact, and feed on each other. 

The authors sayserious environmental problems can only be solved and a collapse avoided with unprecedented levels of international cooperation through multiple civil and political organizations. They conclude that if that does not happen, nature will restructure civilization for us. 

An article in the Huffington Post provides further information on the paper:

[E]minent Stanford University scientists Paul and Anne Ehrlich have issued a report, revealing that “global collapse appears likely.” The reason? “Overpopulation, overconsumption by the rich, and poor choices of technologies are the major drivers.” 

The Ehrlich report stresses “the need for rapid social/political change” and explores some of the psychological and social barriers to swift cultural transition.

Our ancestors apparently “had no reason to respond genetically or culturally to long-term issues,” the Ehrlichs claim. So as a species we suffer from what we might call the “next tiger syndrome” (or the “next quarter” or “next election” syndrome). If something is right on top of us, we can rouse ourselves to deal with it. If the threat seems far off, we start to snooze…

But snoozing as the oncoming train barrels towards us just won’t cut it in present circumstances. And sadly, “There is not much evidence of societies mobilizing and making sacrifices to meet gradually worsening conditions that threaten real disaster for future generations. Yet that is exactly the sort of mobilization that we believe is required to avoid a collapse.”

Without significant pressure from the public demanding action, we fear there is little chance of changing course fast enough to forestall disaster. The needed pressure, however, might be generated by a popular movement based in academia and civil society to help guide humanity towards developing a new multiple intelligence, “foresight intelligence,” to provide the long-term analysis and planning that markets cannot supply.

Academics and nonprofits at the forefront of a revolution? The Ehrlichs claim that “helping develop such a movement and foresight intelligence are major challenges facing scientists today.” The problem is, of course, that most scientists have absolutely no training or aptitude for effective communication, marketing or political activism.

“Do we think global society can avoid a collapse in this century?” The Ehrlichs are cautiously optimistic while also admitting that the odds are against us.

Modern society has shown some capacity to deal with long-term threats, at least if they are obvious or continuously brought to attention (think of the risks of nuclear conflict). Humanity has the assets to get the job done, but the odds of avoiding collapse seem small because the risks are clearly not obvious to most people and the classic signs of impending collapse, especially diminishing returns to complexity, are everywhere.

A sobering analysis, but one we need to take seriously as it comes from distinguished scientists with a deep understanding of our collective situation.

 Michael Kelly responds

Michael Kelly from Cambridge (of Oxburgh panel fame) responds [link]. Excerpts:

What is missing from the well-referenced perspective of the potential downsides for the future of humanity is any balancing assessment of the progress being made on these three challenges that suggests that the problems are being dealt with in a way that will not require a major disruption to the human condition or society. Earlier dire predictions have been made in the same mode by Malthus  on food security, Jevons on coal exhaustion, King  & Murray on peak oil, and by many others. They have all been overcome by the exercise of human ingenuity just as the doom was being prophesied. It is incumbent on those who would continue to predict gloom to learn from history and make a comprehensive review of human progress before coming to their conclusions. The problems as perceived today by Ehrlich and Ehrlich will be similarly seen off by work in progress by scientists and engineers. My comment is intended to summarize and reference the potential upsides being produced by today’s human ingenuity, and I leave the reader to weigh the balance for the future, taking into account the lessons of recent history.

The population explosion (and its Malthusian societal disruptions) that Ehrlich predicted for the 1990s has not come about, and the concerns in this present Ehrlich paper are not tempered by the mounting evidence of the demographic transition that occurs when the majority of people live in cities and have access to education. In Japan, Europe and North America the population, excluding immigration, is in decline. Some studies indicate that a peak of 9 billion people in 2050 will be followed by a decline to a population of approximately 6 billion in 2100—less than that in 2000  and bringing new problems of unwanted infrastructure assets! The UN is revising its future population estimates downward. If we look at the waste in the contemporary food chain, at the point of growth, in transit to the market and into the homes of consumers, and compound that loss by the amount of food thrown out rather than consumed, we generate the quantity of food to feed the 9 billion today with the systems in place if we were less wasteful and could distribute it.

The starkest example in the consideration of material overconsumption is the smart phone. This was developed within the paradigm of business as usual to improve the way in which we communicate. Two points are relevant. First, the small piece of metal, plastic and semiconductor that fits in the palm of a hand contains the functions of a camera, radio, telephone, answering machine, photo album, dictaphone, music centre, satellite navigation system, video camera and player, compass, stop-watch, Filofax, diary and more, which were all separate and bulky items only 20 years ago. This represents the great dematerialization of modern civilization, well ahead of any imminent collapse of natural resources. The shape of high streets and retail centres are changing to reflect this evolution. Indeed, the recycling of electronic systems will enhance further this capability of doing more with less material, and the market for extended time between recharging has driven extraordinary improvements in energy efficiency. It is these new low-resource technologies with ever-increasing recycled materials that will drive the world in future. Second, the mobile phone is being used in rural Africa and India to inform farmers of optimal times for taking their products to market, thus reducing greatly the loss of product and/or income, and reducing the stress on land from the need to overproduce to compensate for such losses. Peak planet is now the new research topic.

Communications, new materials and health systems all present humanity with clear opportunities to avoid future problems with tools not available to earlier generations. The Internet, and its implication of all information available everywhere, instantaneously for everyone, will ensure that technical, medical and societal advances will proceed and propagate very rapidly. An advance in one corner of the world will almost instantaneously be accessible and adaptable anywhere. Human travel will change from becoming a necessity to an option, freeing up time, reducing emissions and enhancing business between continents. New ‘designer’ materials and three-dimensional printing technology for manufacture are likely to massively reduce our reliance on depleting natural resources, providing for a far more adaptive approach to materials in applications. The incredible waste we currently produce is likely to reduce very significantly, making for greater resilience against resource depletion. Ehrlich & Ehrlich  are concerned about future pandemics in a closely interconnected world. However, advances in medicine and diagnostics will result in significant economic gains in terms of treatment efficacy, in days lost from the workplace and in the ability of mankind to respond to a future pandemic. 

The mainstream scientific and engineering community can see nothing that suggests an imminent collapse of civilization, and it is well on track to deal with new problems as they emerge, in continuity with the history of the last 200 years. Neo-Malthusians have proved comprehensively wrong so far, and this comment argues that this is set to continue into the foreseeable future. This comment is not denying challenges, but is really questioning defeatism. Weigh the evidence.

Finally, it is only civilizations backed by strong economies that are in a position to do the research and make the necessary scientific, engineering and technological advances to offset environmental threats. Scientific views that undermine economic progress are a threat in themselves, and need a careful and robust justification before they are widely propagated.

Ehrlich & Ehrlich respond to Kelly

 Ehrlich & Ehrlich respond to Kelly [link].  Excerpts:

Prof. Kelly  is optimistic about the chances of avoiding a collapse, but sadly we find his arguments entirely unpersuasive. For example, have Malthus (or we) really been wrong about food security? Roughly 850 million people are seriously undernourished (lacking sufficient calories) today, and perhaps 2 billion are malnourished (lacking one or more essential nutrients).  The concern is that climate disruption combined with other problems with the agricultural system will make it impossible to feed an ever larger future population, even if equal distribution were achieved. That concern is reinforced by the recent observation that, even before the likely heavy impacts of climate disruption on agriculture appear, production is failing to keep pace with projected needs.

There has been an important decline in birth rates in much of the world, but the median projections still foresee an increase of approximately 2.5 billion people by 2050, and recently there have been worrying signs of ‘a fundamental change in the well-established negative relationship between fertility and development’. Most recently, the UN has revised its projections of future population sizes upward, projecting a 2100 population of roughly 11 billion. On the brighter side, there is certainly good reason to think that, with modern contraception and communications, the population trajectory could be changed, leading to reduced fertility in rapidly growing populations if a significant international effort to promote women’s rights and family planning in every nation were mounted.

Much of Prof. Kelly’s criticism of our article is that our treatment of climate disruption, which we discussed first in 1968 and many times subsequently without significant dispute, is mistaken. This is critical, since, for example, the ability to feed people has been dependent on a stable climate, and most other elements of the human predicament have a climate component. We are not climate scientists, but follow the technical literature closely. So we chose to use the consensus view of the climate situation, which is accepted by more than 95% of those scientists, and the best and most experienced of them on the whole.

Those who would like a point-by-point scientific refutation of the positions cited by Kelly can consult the electronic supplementary material, which refers people to the SkepticalScience website (http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php). The website deals with each of the ‘myths’ from the standard ‘denier’ literature, which Kelly promotes. The site gives several levels of detail, provides references to the refereed scientific literature and has a well-moderated discussion of each view.

Of course, science never ‘proves’ anything, and consensus does not guarantee correctness. Despite the gigantic effort that has gone into studying the Earth’s atmosphere, the entire climate science community could be mistaken. In this case, we hope Kelly has seen through evidence that has confused that community and so alarmed it, and if he is correct we certainly would have a brighter view of the future. But we saw no choice when commenting outside of our own areas of expertise but to give the climate scientists’ near-unanimous view.

We think mobile phone technology does not speak well to the basic issues of overconsumption, especially since its environmental and socio-political consequences are hardly established. Pole-to-pole pollution with toxic chemicals (many of which are endocrine-disrupting compounds), destruction of biodiversity and decay of ecosystem services (none addressed by Kelly) are critical parts of the consumption problem and may be even more serious than climate disruption. We will stick with the references we cited, plus more recently the key point about resource depletion made by Davidson & Andrews.

Much of the rest of Kelly’s criticism strikes us as proof by vigorous assertion, but we will leave that for others to decide. It seems to us that this is the wrong time in history for unsubstantiated optimism.

Finally, Kelly states, ‘The mainstream scientific and engineering community can see nothing that suggests an imminent collapse of civilization … ’. That’s one phrase in Kelly’s article with which we heartily agree, assuming that he does not consider diverse scientific signatories of earlier warning statements, climate scientists or ecologists ‘mainstream’, since they have spoken out clearly on the issue, most recently in very large numbers. The lack of foresight Prof. Kelly notes in the engineering community is one of the main reasons we see the odds of collapse as greater than he does. We hope the complacency of that community is justified and the future is bright, but fear that it and Kelly are dead wrong.

JC comment:  This debate between Kelley and the Ehrlichs has many interesting dimensions.

In light of the recent threads on expertise and the role of scientists’ advice in the policy process, there are several interesting examples in the above material.  First, consider the final statement in the Huffington Post article:  “A sobering analysis, but one we need to take seriously as it comes from distinguished scientists with a deep understanding of our collective situation.”   Paul Ehrlich is Bing Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University and president of Stanford’s Center for Conservation Biology.  Michael Kelly is Prince Philip Professor of Technology, Department of Engineering, Cambridge University.  These two experts obviously disagree; which expert is most distinguished? Its a tough one to call.  The point should be the arguments, not who is making them.

The second interesting point related to expertise is in context of the discussions on climate change.  Ehrlich & Ehrlich acknowledge “We are not climate scientists, but follow the technical literature closely. So we chose to use the consensus view of the climate situation.”  And then they cite the Skeptical Science website as an authoritative source!  On the other hand, Kelly presents his own assessment of climate science, which does not seem inconsistent with my own assessment.  Kelly, while not a climate scientist, is perfectly capable of assessing climate science and in fact was asked by the University of East Anglia to participate in the Oxburgh Panel on the assessment of CRU’s controversial climate science.

Back to the main topic of debate:  Ehrlichs and Kelly present very different views of the problems and solutions, which have foundations in two fundamentally different world views.  Kelly’s view is more consistent with my own world view, and E&E do a pretty poor job on the rebuttal IMO.  Kelly’s view brings to mind the book Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet, by Ramez Naam.   While Naam argues that mankind is on a perilous path, the book is exhilarating in understanding the role that human ingenuity can play in meeting societal and technological challenges if cultures are conducive to innovation.

315 responses to “Ehrlich & Ehrlich: Can a global collapse of civilization be avoided?

  1. What is there to worry about, get uplifted…

  2. Why does anyone still bother with Paul Ehrlich? He has been predicting world wide famine and catastrophe for decades now. Does anyone remember the bet that Julian Simon the economist made with him? Ehrlich lost and had to pay Simon. Simon then challenged him to another bet but Ehrlich refused to put his money where his mouth is. Ehrlich is a modern day version of chicken little who now is using “climate change” to justify his predictions of doom and gloom.

    • Quite. I cannot for the life of me understand how anyone can take any notice of this fanatic. I think he has a personality disorder – along with Mann, Hansen and Lewandowsky. How else can one explain how they behave?

    • The only area Ehrlich is expert in is failure. Is there anyone out there with a longer track record of being wrong?

      If the Ehrlichs are not on drugs, they should be. And how does anyone have respect for people who constantly harp on overpopulation and depletion of resources while living the lifestyle of a privileged western academic? When is Paul Ehrlich going to us he can stand up for his convictions?

  3. Doomsayers like Ehrlich and Ehrlich play a useful role in pointing out potential problems for more productive people to solve. The fact that they’re almost always wrong doesn’t detract from their usefulness.

    • Yeah broken clock etc etc

      • They only have to be right once and in fact they won’t expect to be right more often than that. Human civilization can fly through time with it’s eyes closed hundreds of times, but it only has to hit a brick wall once for civilization to collapse. Lucking it out to date does not mean we will always be so lucky. Whether Ehrlich’s warnings come true in the 1980s or the 2080s would be acedemic if they did come true.

        It’s like being at the height of the Cold War and saying because predictions of WWIII haven’t come true, therefore there’s little chance of WWIII happening.

      • lolwot

        They only have to be right once and in fact they won’t expect to be right more often than that.

        But (like all doomsday predictions before) they can consistently be wrong hundreds or thousands of times.

        Max

        “Ehrlich” means “honest” in German. What a monumental misnomer!

      • Lolwot,

        Don’t wander off into areas you know nothing about.

        Unlike the esteemed Dr Mann, who only thinks he’s been on the front line, I did serve time on one of the Cold War’s front lines and later did graduate work in Military Sociology.

        And contrary to the idiotic Union of Concerned Scientists (who like Ehrlich have never been right), the odds of WWIII were never that high and have been getting smaller with time. The strategy of MAD works. Rational actors recognize the destruction which can result if they allow themselves to act without complete assurance of the need for doing so.

        Let’s all give a small prayer for Paul Ehrlich choosing to go into biology and academia and not political science or one if the armed services. He’s the type who would push the button the first time a commercial airliner flew over head.

      • There was always Able Archer in 1983, perhaps a mixed verdict but scary enough

  4. This used to be a serious place.

    • Discussing a paper published by the Royal Society and the rebuttals isn’t serious?

      • Judith, you write “Discussing a paper published by the Royal Society and the rebuttals isn’t serious?”

        But earlier, you wrote “The point should be the arguments, not who is making them.”

        Let me rewrite your earlier quote “The point should be the content of the article, not the journal in which it is published.”

      • Ah, there is a difference between the ‘seriousness’ of the argument (big shots, big journals) versus whether the argument should be believed. Seriousness in this context relates to expertise and authority, and the fact that numerous other news sources have been discussing it; this makes something worth discussing but does not in itself confer authority in the actual argument.

        From the dictionary, ‘serious’ means solemn or thoughtful character or manner; demanding careful consideration

      • So Dr. C since Royal Society gave the perennially wrong people a platform, so should you? I do not have any qualms about your focus, it’s your blog, and you can write about how getting tattles is changing the climate; but your post facto rationale is a bit thin.

      • The debate between E&E and Kelly raises some fundamental issues that I thought would be interesting fodder for conversation.

      • David Springer

        Talking about a Nobel prize these days isn’t necessarily serious to say nothing of every snippet from the Royal Society.

      • This so reminds me of the eugenics movement.
        I give the thanks to the deity of Atheists for my studying scientific ethics and morality as an undergraduate.

        Have a read of this review of things people would rather like to forget;

        http://www.newstatesman.com/society/2010/12/british-eugenics-disabled

      • Jim –

        Let me rewrite your earlier quote “The point should be the content of the article, not the journal in which it is published.”

        I’m afraid that if you expect Judith to be non-selective about objecting to “appeal to authority,” you will be disappointed.

      • Currya:

        Erlich and his fellow neo-Malthusians have been wrong on every single forecast/prognosis they have made. Just like the previous generations of Malthusians -including Malthus himself- before them. The “peak oil” mouthpiece the Oil Drum has just shut down because the reality is that the world is awash in hydrocarbon energy sources [not even mentioning methane hydrates at this point] and we learned last week that the globe is producing by far more food than ever before.

        To give the Erlichs of this world the opportunity to continue their astrology/homeopathy-like pseudo scientific prognostications is a waste of space and everyone’s time. And does the quality of your blog no good.

        That the Royal Society decided to publish this GIGO junk is not all too astonishing given what has been shown at e.g Bishop Hill about the rabid and openly pro CAGW/CACC stance adopted by that once august institution [against the express wishes of a large portion of its members, N.B.].

      • This is a serious posting. Seriously humorous. E&E are seriously following the science at Skeptical Science. Seriously?

      • Dr Curry,

        I find in difficult to put Paul Ehrlich and serious into the same sentence. And the Royal Society giving him space doesn’t say much for their standards.

        But I think it good that you provide the opportunity for us to see the other side of the coin. Plus it should be entertaining to watch people try to defend Ehrlich.

    • Scott Scarborough

      Civilization has run into many brick walls. None that were predicted or avoidable at the time: Black Plague, Small pox epidemics, etc. I personally guarantee that the next brick wall we run into will not be predicted in any way by the likes of Ehrlich.

  5. Judith Curry,

    Not all is lost. (reposted from WUWT 8/1/13) I didn’t realize you were going to do an Ehrlich piece otherwise I would have waited.

    There is an up side to it being Too Darn Hot

    “According to the Kinsey Report
    Ev’ry average man you know
    Much prefers to play his favorite sport
    When the temperature is low,
    But when the thermometer goes ‘way up
    And the weather is sizzling hot,
    Mister Adam
    For his madam.
    Is not,
    ‘Cause it’s too, too
    Too darn hot,
    It’s too darn hot,
    It’s too darn hot.”

    I am sure that interventionist environmentalists and Paul Ehrlich will see their population control theme fulfilled.

    Credit Cole Porter and “Kiss Me, Kate.” (1948).

  6. Sorry, I hear the name Paul Ehrlich and I keep thinking of a huge tsunami caused by a chunk of Antarctic ice breaking off, or my children not being born because of unwanted sterilization.
    However, the world’s population has gone from two to seven billion in less than a hundred years due to the confluence of several factors, not the least of which is available energy.
    We have used solar energy which has been stored over eons of time. What is considered renewable is mostly current solar energy, Arguably the lowest hanging fruit of the stored energy has been picked. I would argue that rather than worrying about the effects of our energy usage, we should quantitatively determine how we will eventually fill future needs.
    Becoming more efficient is very important.
    However, I really do not see how we can continue without considering the energy stored within the atom as our primary source.

  7. David Wojick

    In related news Science magazine has today published a special eco-scare climate science issue, plus an on-line study predicting endless global warfare due to climate change.

    For the twin introductions to a cornucopia of CAGW science on the coming destruction of nature see: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/341/6145/435.full and
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/341/6145/472.full

    For the war warning see http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/aug/02/climate-change-endless-war-violence-conflict and http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2013/07/31/science.1235367 Ironically this hummer upstaged the special issue on eco-scares. See for example http://news.google.com/news/section?pz=1&cf=all&q=Climate%20change&siidp=3be7c058125671e3c06cb9e1d1f02f3d6278&ict=ln Too much of a bad thing?

    Science gone nuts.

    • This is a very entertaining survey, I encourage all to participate :)

      • Alright, this is a sneaky survey.
        I would think Judith Curry is friendly because of her tolerance for –well you know who..

        I Happen to be skeptical of significant ACC, and I don’t agree with the politics of John Kerry, However, I think he was swift boated and it was nasty – so Marc Marano

        I have learned a lot from Steve M., I think he is a superior statistician; and he might have the bland emotion of a statistician.

        So are attributing are likes and dislikes to our beliefs?

      • Tol also includes a question at the end where respondents self-categorize as to whether they are more worried about climate change impacts or the impacts of climate change policy (a useful way to categorize people). It will be interesting to see what the survey turns up.

      • David Springer

        There should be a ‘don’t know’ option. A few of the names I recognized but have no inkling whether they are naughty or nice. I answered (3) neutral for those but I also answered neutral for some I did know who are nasty and friendly in equal proportion.

        Among those names I felt I knew well enough to cast a vote I hit in the majority or next highest bracket each time which likely means the majority of the votes are not from climate change cheerleaders. At least not when I voted.

        An alarmist might be more afraid of climate policy (specifically policy that has no effect) than climate change so I’m not sure how much you can read from the answers to that. For instance I don’t think Paul Pukite cares about climage change as much as he cares about policies that don’t address peak oil. I think a great many warmists aren’t concerned about climate change but rather see it as a means to ends the Ehrlich and his ilk have been on about for many decades.

      • Seeing the results of over 2,000 so far; I must be a square peg in a world of round holes!

      • David Springer

        It’s been gamed. No way it went from 200 votes to 10,000 votes in 12 hours with votes from 10,000 different people.

      • How you only rated a 3 is beyond me.

        You should have had your own rating of 6.

      • I agree with Springer on a don’t know selection. I also ranked those whom I was not well familiar with as a 3. My responses also followed Springers in being either the most selected category or off by just one spot. The exception was in the last question, where I was a 3.

        I was a bit surprised by how dominate #1 was. It sort of invalidates the poll, as it appears to represent the views of just a certain subset.

    • According to WUWT the Tol poll was hacked. It is mindless, asking people to rate names from very friendly to very nasty. Quite pointless. Hope it wasn’t Tol, otherwise he has gone over the edge.

      • I guess the poll was serious, but they say the result was hacked because all the deniers and Judith got about 10000 very friendly ratings, probably beyond what they expected. I still don’t see the purpose of a popularity contest.

    • Another, poll/survey is sponsored by NASA:

      “Researchers from George Mason University seek to survey people who visit NASA’s Global Climate Change website. The survey will take about 12 minutes. Everyone who participates – and only people who participate — will be invited to an exclusive live online “backstage tour” of NASA’s data visualization lab. For anyone interested in NASA, and in the wonders of Planet Earth, this is certain to be an exciting tour!”

      http://climate.nasa.gov/

  8. It would be expected that Paul Ehrlich would quote Skeptical Science as evidence to support his conjecture.

    • I always thought that Cook, was only responsible for cooking opinions about science. Eh rich is just goddamn wrong and that too in too many words.

  9. Paul Ehrlich (and his protege John Holdren) have quite a track record of exaggeration and falsity (http://www.masterresource.org/category/ehrlich-paul/)

    And the way Ehrlich treated Julian Simon …. Ehrlich was sort of the Joe Romm of his day.

    • And quite a list of prestigious awards too. Like Hansen, Emmanuel and indeed anyone who has ever been overly-pessimistic about man’s effect on the planet. It amazes me that in these soft sciences you don’t ever have to get anything correct in order to be called an expert.

  10. I was in Adelaide AU this spring, while sitting in the Central Bus Station reading an already been read “Australian” newspaper there was an article regarding Paul Ehrlich, coming to Adelaide having been invited to speak on Australian over population.

    From the article, there seemed to be two issues: 1) who was paying for his trip to speak to this environmental group? using Federal or State moony and how much the environmental group was kicking in? (turns out not much); 2) From the current 18 + million Australians, how many would have to go (deported or worse) for a sustainable ecosystem? Dr. Ehrlich’s calculation? 8 + million. Australia’s land mass (roughly the size of continental USA) can only sustainably support 10 million people.

    I would really be interested in learning two things: 1) how many Americans need to be deported or worse to have a sustainable ecosystem here? 2) where are the 8 + million Australians going to go and where are the (?) excess Americans going to go? or does this just an imply…implementing the worse case scenario?

    Curious minds want to know.

    • Mayor of Venus

      The astronomer royal Fred Hoyle once estimated the “ideal” population of the earth as between 5 and 10 million, only about 0.1% of the current population. He defined ideal from the point of view of the individual—-plenty of people for the individual to find like-minded companions, etc. But I doubt there could be a world-wide economic infrastructure to build huge telescopes on mountaintops and in space that astronomers find very important. Probably many other aspects of modern civilization could not be supported by such a low population.
      As for where the excess American and Australian population could go, I previously commented that the one-child Chinese policy will reduce China’s population from 1.3 billion now to somewhat over 200 million by the end of this century. With a very aged population, China will need guest workers to staff retirement and nursing homes, just as Japan and some other countries do now. A more local relocation for Australians could be New Zealand, which is about the same size as the UK, which has a population over 60 million, and more people still moving there from India and other former colonies.

      • Fred Hoyle also believe that different varieties of flu virus came from panspermia,

        http://www.panspermia.org/panfluenza.htm

      • David Springer

        DocMartyn

        http://www.rbsp.info/rbs/RbS/cv.html

        Huntsville/NASA physicist. Literal rocket scientist.

        Head down toward the bottom of the list of publications. Lot of chemistry on comets and there’s an unbelievably large number of them. When two stars get within about a light year of each other they exchange material in their Oort clouds.

        I haven’t read any of Rob’s papers since

        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

        but it looks like he’s been busy the last 5 years. He also writes for Town Hall and, last I knew, works down the hall from John Christy and Roy Spencer at University of Alabama, Huntsville.

        Don’t discount panspermia out of hand. There’s more to heaven and earth, Horatio…

  11. I wondered how long it would take me to reach the first error in E&Es reply to Kelly, and I hardly got past the first sentence. Roger Pielke Jr demonstrates what Ehrlich has got wrong about the food supply here a year back:

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/closer-look-at-gobal-food-supply.html

    The problem is not agriculture, as E&E suggest, but politics.

    • A major error in Ehrlich’s analysis is that he has not made major errors in the past.

      • Cees de Valk

        ??

      • Cees

        Bill is saying that where Ehrlich goes off the track is in not recognizing he has consistently gotten it wrong over the past 40 years. A rational person would come to the conclusion that perhaps he should rethink his approach and/or conclusions.

        Ehrlich ‘s error is he hasn’t.

  12. Chicken Little is Alive and Well and still promising that if the sky is not falling, it surely will fall next year, or the year after that or maybe in ten or twenty or fifty or a hundred years, but it will surely fall.
    Every now it does. We had WWI and WWII. The sky fell for a lot of people. A lot of people came out better. The Little Ice Age followed the Medieval Warm Period and the sky fell for a lot of people in that time period.
    The current warm period will be followed by a Little Ice Age and the sky will fall for a lot of people again.
    Warm times and high CO2 times are the really good times.
    Enjoy while we have it.

  13. David Springer

    “Throughout our history environmental problems have contributed to collapses of civilizations.”

    Today we have a global civilization with such rapid and large response capacity for regional problems it’s not the same ballgame. If we don’t count Greece collapsing recenty from misgovernance when’s the actual last collapse of a civilization and what was its proximate cause?

    Individual civilizations collapse from many causes. Nothing has ever taken them all out at once so far as I know so civilization marches on. Today with modern transportation and medicine and a single super power (God Bless the US) droughts and plagues and other natural disasters that effect large regions can be dealt without the collapse of a civilization.

  14. “Ehrlichs and Kelly present very different views of the problems and solutions, which have foundations in two fundamentally different world views.” – Judith Curry

    Different Scientists with differing views. What do the public and policy makers make of that? They look for some solutions. They want in their own minds at least, to resolve the conflicting arguments. (Granted to resolve here means, in the short term, as more information will be known in the future.) If a Scientist has a bias to stay out of the public arena to the extent possible, they are less likely to affect the resolution of the conflicting arguments.

    “The problem is, of course, that most scientists have absolutely no training or aptitude for effective communication, marketing or political activism.” – from the article

    Everyone is in Sales. The secretary, the delivery person, the bookkeeper. More accurately, everyone who interacts with the public is. And good way to look at Sales is providing the customer with what they need. Don’t sell them what you Have, sell them what they Need, and you’ll likely get back from them a long term relationship and their trust.

    It looks like we are asking even more from Climate Scientists.

  15. “If something is right on top of us, we can rouse ourselves to deal with it. If the threat seems far off, we start to snooze…” I suppose one may think that way if they believe we are not doing enough to combat whatever threat they perceive at the moment of their article. It doesn’t make it true and I don’t believe it.

  16. Michael Kelly writes:

    “The mainstream scientific and engineering community can see nothing that suggests an imminent collapse of civilization, and it is well on track to deal with new problems as they emerge, in continuity with the history of the last 200 years.”

    That is odd for someone to think that professional engineers work on problems related to the world civilization. They usually work for companies or for countries, and are paid to develop products and infrastructure by those companies or countries. Very few engineers work for “The World”, unless it is the United Nations, I suppose.

    It’s really about everyone being aware of the environment and our natural resources. Scientists and non-profits are likely at the forefront of understanding the limits of our natural resource supply and of projecting how much can be recycled if possible.

    As an example of a resource that we will have to deal with carefully, consider helium. It is in a sense non-renewable since once it escapes into the air, it is hard to recover. Who thinks of helium reserves?

    • Web, We know we hit peak whale by the fifties…

      http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/whale-oil-as-space-lubricant-better-than-anything-we-can-create.html

      NOW the UN are talking about a Whole World Whale Oil Reserve by set up by the Stakeholders to help nasa, get back to the MOon before China sells it to Russia.

    • k scott denison

      Yeah, all those water purification plants, oil refineries that provide transportation fuel, dams, power plants, mechanical harvesters, etc. have nothing to do with helping the world. Those damn engineers never work on anything related to civilization!

      /sarc off (just in case)

      • Yes, well, really clever people look down on people who are good with their hands.

      • really clever people look down on people who are good with their hands.

        Not at all.Dyson for example suggests that two of the most significant technologies of the medieval period were hay making and knitting.The former increasing the expansion of population into less temperate areas.the latter decreasing infant mortality,and increasing the supply of linen and hide for writing etc.

      • So the engineers who helped design a water purifiction palnt – did they look at the overall population needs, the future of water availibilty and then decide that a plant was needed, or did a government do the long term analysis and planning, make the decision then asked someone to design and build it?

      • Michael, Since it took place about six thousand years ago, scientists won’t say for sure.

        http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1112870231/sea-of-galilee-mysterious-cone-monument-061113/

        What is your guess?

      • What Michael said is what I intended, as I said “world civilization”.

        Engineers work for a country or a company, not for the world.

      • k scott denison

        Michael and Web, guess its just pure dumb luck that we’ve made it this far. All those wonderful government policy makers take such good care of us. Nothing that has helped civilization ever came out of the private sector, it’s all been done by those brilliant policy makers and their uncanny ability to predict the future. So glas they thought of the automobile. And the computer. And the phone. Because none of these needs were obvious to anyone but those amazing policy makers.

        You seriously underestimate the power of non-governmental forces, both in history and currently.

    • Web,

      Thinking environmental non-profits are at the leading edge of anything, with the possible exception of expanding their income, it to admit gross bias or complete ignorance.

      Environmental NGO’s are among the worst at doing science. As an example of how bad they are, we had to scrub all references to environmental from our program material. One could not be considered as involved in serious science while tainted by the term.

      • The point was about engineers and whether engineers are tasked to solve the world’s problems.

      • You mentioned NGO’s as being at the forefront.

        And whom else is tasked with taking scientific understanding and applying it to solve problems?

        (Not to say engineers are the only ones who do this.)

  17. “….The needed pressure, however, might be generated by a popular movement based in academia and civil society to help guide humanity towards developing a new multiple intelligence, “foresight intelligence,” to provide the long-term analysis and planning that markets cannot supply…..”

    In answer:

    I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.

    William F. Buckley, Jr.

  18. “Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?”

    Yes, . . . if integrity is restored to science so human ingenuity can meet the challenge.

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10640850/Creator_Destroyer_Sustainer_of_Life.pdf

  19. The invention, daughter of human ingenuity is under development, in canada, italy, greece, usa, switzerland… it is no more research but industrial developement, and like the critics of official AGW theories, it is forbidden to talk of it…

    the malthusians have succeeded to delay the solution with science planning. Like USSR have suicided itself, planned science will collapse as a monolith of dogmatism and rigidity.

    and by the way, CO2, soot, and pollution will disappear, with cost reduction, localization of energy source. and unlike the lobbyist of climate keep it a unded, AGW will be buried soon.

    My job is to make people aware of it few month earlier.
    not sure I can , because the monolith is rock-solid…

    not even talking of AGW (problem solved, next question), the malthusianism is so much based on stupidities, know as stupid since long.

    they ignore water recyclable nature, human ingenuity, demographic transition, agrarian efficiency, our capacity to adapt to changes, ecosystems capacity to adapt to change, and even to enjoy them…

    they are a consensus monolith of dogmatism, delusion, organized ignorance and hate of humanity. depressive bourgeoisie in fact, afraid of ex-poor asian invading their garden (malthusian movement came from bourgeoisie afraid of enriched poor invasion).

    I’m fed up to see the media filled with thing I know since long as stupidities, for old reasons… it is exhausting… every week, and new doom prediction…
    and when you claim opposing view, based on evidences, experiments, but not consensual, people look at you as fringe…

    so unfair…

    AlainCo
    the techwatcher of lenr-forum. (see the lenr executive summary by alainco)

  20. While Naam argues that mankind is on a perilous path …

    At a meeting I went to at the British Library in February James Smith, doctor and founder of the Aegis Trust in the UK, made the claim that genocide is the biggest killer in the world, ahead of malaria and all the rest. For whatever reason this came back to me as I read Dr Curry on Naam. Do we blank out such terrible numbers in our own day in the hope of apparently heroic – but far less personally costly – fights against imagined future disasters? I wonder how Smith would get on with the Ehrlichs. This post is a reminder to myself that I must email him about the stats.

  21. Wrote a whole book about this. The Ehrichs have been and continue to be wrong. Like the CAGW crowd, they continue to shift out the timing of their prognostications. Kelly is equally wrong. The ‘dematerialisation’ of GDP is because of services growth, not because we consume less food, water, energy, or other natural resources per capita. Historically, it has been more. Kellys statements about UN population projections are misleading. Current forecast is for about 9.2 billion by 2050, up from 7 billion today, with only unsubstantiated scenarios thereafter. Jevons was essentially right about UK coal production (his only thesis) just like Hubbert was right about US oil production even with new fracking of tight oil. As previously posted, fossil fuels, especially liquids, are analyzable, and the analysis leads to absolute decline in annual liquid fossil fuel production beginning within a decade or two. That is far from exhaustion, but a huge disruptive problem for agriculture, forestry, and transportation.
    Gaia’s Limits does the calculations based on best current data, including for liquefaction of gas and coal, and for biofuels assuming further genetic improvement in productivity not yet accomplished. Global human carrying capacity at roughly present GDP plus small annual growth is about 7 billion. Both food and energy constraints are reached around 2050 ( give or take a decade or so) and there are no foreseeable potential technology revolutions (GMO crops, better food distribution, shale gas and oil,…) that solve the specifically identifiable constraints.
    The subject of Earths human carrying capacity is far too complex (requiring exhaustive data analysis) for either the article or Kelly’s reply to have done it justice. Both perspectives are those of experts who opine far outside their areas of formal expertise, requiring a critical, sceptical, observationally fact based assessment–just like CAGW.

    • Hi Rud, thanks very much for this comment

      • I am pretty sure that István Rúd is Hungarian and István is his first name.

        Balázs (another Hungarian)

      • Dr. Curry, my pleasure. Your blog is one of the few lighthouses in a sea of general darkness on such matters. My views may not be right, but they will always be falsifiable, so scientific in Popper’s sense. Facts and logic.

    • This is where Ehrlich and the Malthausian croud bears some responsibility. I can’t stop thinking that if in the last 40 years more effort was devoted to lift the poor and consequently reduce fertility rates, global population could have peaked at 7 billion or less. Liberal scientist typically won’t accept wealth as viable means of population control.

      • You are absolutely right; the problem is that the way to lift the third world poor out of poverty is to allow them to have democratic government, the rule of law and capitalism.

      • David Springer

        Population control, or not, will happen one way or another regardless of planned intervention. In the meantime technology continues to outpace population growth. Nattering nabobs of negativity bore me.

    • Jevons was essentially right about UK coal production (his only thesis)

      I disagree. Firstly, Jevons made many valuable contributions, for example his observation that increasing energy efficiency results in an increase of energy usage (Jevons’ paradox), arguably a far more valuable observation than his “Coal Question”.

      With reference to the coal question, although he got the timing right of peak coal, his prediction of the reasons and consequences were completely backwards, rendering his prediction of exactly zero worth to policy.

      Jevons argued that other countries would keep their coal for their own use, and the UK would run out of cheap energy and the economy would “retrograde”. The prediction of the “retrograde” economy is of course wrong for many reasons; UK coal peaked because it was cheaper (or politically expedient) to buy from abroad, or use other sources; nuclear, north sea oil and gas, and so on. Jevons insisted that, to prevent economic collapse, the UK needed to moderate its use of coal to prevent economic collapse.

      Evidentally, there has been no economic collapse, and even though larger countries have matched or exceeded the success of the UK, the UK is still far more prosperous than it was in Jevons’ times. His predictions for the effect on the UK economy and recommended policies were demonstrably wrong.

      • It was politically safer to be in a position to be dependent on foreign supplies of coal, than it was to rely on domestic production. Such was the power of the miners union, that they could halt deliveries to power stations and coking works. Jevons never saw the politicization/internationalization of workers unions.

    • David Springer

      You say Erlich is and was wrong but as far as I can determine from your view of the limits to planetary primary productivity I infer that Ehrlich was correct in principle and only wrong on timing and absolute number of maximum sustainable human population.

      I believe you err in the same way as Ehrlich; discounting the capacity of technology to extend and enhance primary productivity. Natural primary production converts such a small fraction of sunlight to life energy it approaches 0%. We can do better. Far, far better. And that’s staying within the confines of the earth. The exploitable resources in the inner solar system are many orders of maganitude greater than what’s on the earth alone. We shall not drown in our own excement. The future is as vast and bright as the Milky Way itself.

      • Ted Carmichael

        +1

      • Would you chimpanzee on a star, or would you rather breed a pig?
        =================

      • Read the book then reply with counterfacts, not mere beliefs.
        The arguments about Jebons go far beyond his or my simple observations, and segue into the gap Dr. Curry has identified between science and policy advocacy.
        If you (Mr. Springer) have a credible means of exploiting the resources of the inner solar system beyond Earth’s bounds (I am quoting you directly out of rhetorical fairness) then I would invest. But you don’t. And that becomes a real problem given everything known about carrying capacity on this planet, since Mars and Venus don’t much help Bagladeshis with water, food, energy.

  22. E&E’s recyled warmed over (and escalated) we’re doomed screed is not in the least surprising. He was instrumental in “percolating” what I called Crisis of the week which Nature had obligingly publicized.

    As I had noted in an update to that post:

    OMG! It’s worse than I thought! This “consensus” isn’t “overwhelming” (yet), but they do claim that it’s “scientific”. The list of 500+ signatories includes many of the usual suspects: Mann, Gleick, Weaver, Hansen, Karoly, Ehrlich, and Suzuki.

    I don’t know how many of these signatories actually read this “Statement” before they signed. […]

    Their (red letter) “ESSENTIAL POINTS FOR POLICY MAKERS” begins:

    Earth is rapidly approaching a tipping point. Human impacts are causing alarming levels of harm to our planet. As scientists who study the interaction of people with the rest of the biosphere using a wide range of approaches, we agree that the evidence that humans are damaging their ecological life-support systems is overwhelming.

    [more red letters:]
    We further agree that, based on the best scientific information available, human quality of life will suffer substantial degradation by the year 2050 if we continue on our current path. [end red letters]

    Science unequivocally demonstrates the human impacts of key concern:

    Are you sufficiently scared, yet?! Needless to say, these “essential points for policy makers” go downhill from there!

    But you can rest assured that the Ehrlichs (and their 520+ followers who may or may not know what they have actually endorsed) are far from being “voices in wilderness”. The UNEP is off to races with yet another acronymic offspring: 10YFP and no evidentiary horses in sight! Not to worry, though, they’ve got it covered with word salad dressings galore.

    Beginning with what may be somewhat alarming – if not indicative of impending usurping of the IPCC/UNFCCC’s primacy of place in Achim Steiner’s ever-growing empire – to the dedicated climactivist™ crowd:

    As stated in Agenda 21, adopted in Rio de Janeiro in 1992: “The major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment are the unsustainable patterns of consumption and production …” (emphasis added -hro)

    Followed by much bureaucratic bafflegab, including:

    At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the Heads of State reaffirmed that promoting sustainable patterns of consumption and production is one of the three overarching objectives of, and essential requirements for sustainable development. As a response, Heads of State adopted “the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP) as contained in the A/CONF.216/5 document… “ (paragraph 226, “The Future we Want”; Rio+20 Outcome Document) The 10YFP is a very concrete and operational outcome of Rio+20.

    Wow … another “Framework”! What a concept, eh?!

    Needless to say the groundwork has already been laid for a “Trust Fund to support SCP implementation in developing countries” the coffers of which will no doubt need to be filled – probably using “innovative” financial mechanisms!

    This is not a “sudden” shift, by any means. Beginning in October 2010 there were signals of a potential change in emphasis (and preferred jargon and mantras). In the intervening years, the plethora of papers that have emanated from the UNEP (and other UN orgs) have decreased their “climate [whatever]” word count while increasing their “sustainable/sustainability” count.

    Perhaps the most telling signal is to be found in the Rio+20 “outcome document” Pls. see Rio – the final score: climate change 22, sustainable 400

    The Royal Society’s continuing descent – and leap onto this bandwagon -first became quite prominent with their involvement (and papers, natch!) in the pre-Rio+20 warm-up exercise, “Planet Under Pressure”.

    So taking Ehrlich under their wings of fellowship (and publication) is not particularly surprising, either.

    Thank Gaia for Mike Kelly’s voice of reality and reason, though!

  23. Crying wolf too eagerly is counterproductive.

    In the old tale the wolf did, however, come. Looking superficially at the E&E contribution leads me to thing that this is again one of the false warnings, but I’m not at all convinced that we are safe of a development that leads to unnecessarily much suffering when no effective response can be found to exhaustion of resources and negative changes of the environment.

    Human ingenuity has found solutions to local problems, and has made the world in many ways a much better place to live. That’s, however, not at all a guarantee for the ability to find healthy pathways to a sustainable future. The problems may well build up much faster than solutions can be deployed.

    If the development follows the path I consider most likely, people of some parts of the world will suffer while some other parts may see worsening economic conditions but nothing really serious. Due to this nonuniformity a global collapse seems very unlikely, almost impossible.

    To the extent we really care of those worst off we should put most emphasis on helping those who suffer right now or are going to suffer in near future. No good solutions are known for that, solving the unknown big problems of the future is still much more difficult.

    • “That’s, however, not at all a guarantee for the ability to find healthy pathways to a sustainable future. The problems may well build up much faster than solutions can be deployed.”

      That’s a good way of putting it

    • “Human ingenuity has found solutions to local problems”

      The City of Ubar was the center of the Frankincense trade. It was supported by a cistern that supplied the cities drinking water for centuries.
      The city was a stop on the caravan routes across the desert and became both richer and bigger.
      One day, the cistern collapsed, and the city and its inhabitants fell into a huge hole in the ground, which filled with sand.

      http://www.islamicity.com/Science/ubar/?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

      Now the past was the past, no modern people would be so foolish as to empty an aquifer under their own city, would they?

      Sana’a, the capital city of Yemen, with be the first capital city to have to be abandoned due to an environmental crisis; lack of water.
      The population of Sana’a have taken and continue to take out more water than is replaced, Most of the water is used to grow Qat, and it takes more than 1,000 litres of water to produce 1 Kg of Qat.

      http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/resourcesquality/wpccasestudy13.pdf

      http://www.american.edu/cas/economics/ejournal/upload/Global_Majority_e_Journal_1-1_Glass.pdf

      http://www.yementimes.com/en/1663/health/2162/Awareness-campaigns-insufficient-to-address-Yemen%E2%80%99s-water-problem.htm

      • Right. There have also been innumerable failures in reaching solutions to problems of various magnitude.

        I tried to find a way of expressing the idea that human ingenuity has lead to great progress and solved many problems, but only gradually are some of the problems starting to be due to truly global constraints. History tells little on our ability to solve such problems.

    • Sure, in the tale I heard, the wolf came. Had the villagers not been dazed by false alarmist cries, they’d have prepared and anticipated wolves and ice bears, and the flock would have been unharmed. Sorry you get such a twisted message from a children’s morality tale.

      I said years ago that if we are false-footed into mitigating a warming that isn’t happening instead of adapting to a cooling that is happening, then there will be Hell to pay. The Four Horses of the Apocalypse draw the carriage of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming, which just turned into a pumpkin.
      ===========

  24. “Can a global collapse of civilization be avoided?”

    No, can’t avoid collapse any better than we can predict its particulars.

  25. John Carpenter

    Basically it’s whether you see the glass half empty or glass half full. Which would you choose? Face mother natures potential ravages or face our own species bent on deciding who the winners and losers are going to be on an organized international scale for the sake of saving the planet? From my biased way of thinking, I see glass half full folks as those ready to take on the challenges of living free in a finite resourced world rather than glass half empty folks who appear to want to limit human freedoms in order to fix the world to what they think is right. I’m sure all do not agree with this perspective.

    • Well personally, I am with the people who turn sand into glass and into grapes and also the people who turn glass into drinking glasses and grapes into wine.

  26. Matthew R Marler

    Prof. Kelly is optimistic about the chances of avoiding a collapse, but sadly we find his arguments entirely unpersuasive. For example, have Malthus (or we) really been wrong about food security? Roughly 850 million people are seriously undernourished (lacking sufficient calories) today, and perhaps 2 billion are malnourished (lacking one or more essential nutrients). The concern is that climate disruption combined with other problems with the agricultural system will make it impossible to feed an ever larger future population, even if equal distribution were achieved. That concern is reinforced by the recent observation that, even before the likely heavy impacts of climate disruption on agriculture appear, production is failing to keep pace with projected needs.

    It is a long way from that concern to a global collapse of civilization.

    Some of the problems of food scarcity, e.g. in Zimbabwe, are entirely the result of government intrusion into the economy. If the USSR and Communist China are relevant examples, the most likely result of an attempt by a global government to enforce redistribution of food would be a dramatic reduction of agricultural productivity.

  27. Prof. Curry,
    I thought you might find this interesting.
    http://www.plos.org/plos-research-and-blog-series-help-refocus-the-climate-change-conversation-on-science/

    PLOS is pleased to announce the upcoming release of “The Ecological Impact of Climate Change,” a curated collection of 16 research articles, accompanied by a related series of blog posts on our PLOS BLOGS Network, titled “The Science of Extinction and Survival, A PLOS BLOGS Conversation on Climate Change,” occurring over a two-week period, July 29-August 9, 2013.

    A quote from one blog author:
    “Typically in the megafauna extinction debate we talk about a binary cause of extinction: climate change or humans? In this day and age, it isn’t so clear. We have caused an accelerated shift in the carefully orchestrated conditions that allow us to have such a great diversity of life on Earth. In the future, we cannot really think of extinction debates in the same binary fashion—as almost all extinction can now be traced back to humans.”

    Sparrow

  28. I really like this graph; US and Saudi oil production 2001 to present.

    Now, just why do you think US production has increased?

  29. Matthew R Marler

    Human ingenuity has found solutions to local problems, and has made the world in many ways a much better place to live. That’s, however, not at all a guarantee for the ability to find healthy pathways to a sustainable future. The problems may well build up much faster than solutions can be deployed.

    If the development follows the path I consider most likely, people of some parts of the world will suffer while some other parts may see worsening economic conditions but nothing really serious. Due to this nonuniformity a global collapse seems very unlikely, almost impossible.

    I agree with you that there is no guarantee. That applies to any proposed solutions — especially some kind of global government with the power to confiscate and redistribute food and other material wealth. A global approach that ignores local pathologies like N. Korea and Zimbabwe is not likely to achieve much. I think that the nonuniformity that you describe should be given a lot of credibility as the least bad likely outcome of diffuse policies.

    • Why, installing a N. Korea style regime (or USSR style) in the whole world will surely eliminate “over-consumption”.

      But, then, if installing such a regime is Ehrlich’s preferred “solution” (as he implies), then, remind me, what was the problem ?

  30. Very glad you enjoyed the book, Judith!

  31. Stephen Wilde

    I agree with Kelly and have been making similar comments on various blogs for the past 6 years.

    The Ehrlich view is counterproductive and potentially fatal for planet and humanity.

    • “The Ehrlich view is counterproductive and potentially fatal for planet and humanity.”

      Exactly.

    • You have it backwards.

      A blind free-for-all is potentially fatal for the planet and humanity. Strategic planning and sustainability is the cure.

      • k scott denison

        “Sustainability”. You know, the best form of sustainability involves using resources to create energy which can be used to build shelters against the elements and grow and supply food even in inhospitable regions. Over the course of history the types of resources have changed and will continue to do so. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

      • “A blind free-for-all is potentially fatal for the planet and humanity”

        I have a stake in the future in the form of my two children and 10 nephews and nieces. I want them, and their descendants to have long, healthy and wealthy lives. However, the most cut-throat, blind free-for-all nations are not English speaking democracies. We could invade the cut-throat, blind free-for-all nations and impose freedom, democracy, law and capitalism on them, but that is not in vogue at the moment.

        “Strategic planning and sustainability is the cure”

        Of course this has always worked out hasn’t it? The planned economies of the world have all completely out competed the ‘West’ haven’t they. Moreover, the planned economies of China and North Korea are real ecological success stories are they not.

  32. “A sobering analysis, but one we need to take seriously as it comes from distinguished scientists with a deep understanding of our collective situation.”

    Let’s rephrase that: “An analysis by a pair of nutters which no one should take seriously, the support for which condemns The Royal Society as foolish and deluded scaremongerers.”

    Kelly’s point that “Finally, it is only civilizations backed by strong economies that are in a position to do the research and make the necessary scientific, engineering and technological advances to offset environmental threats. Scientific views that undermine economic progress are a threat in themselves, and need a careful and robust justification before they are widely propagated” should be taken aboard by all who advise or pontificate on policies to reduce emissions.

    • And how many times has Paul Erlich been
      wrong …wrong …wrong? He was wrong about
      global starvation, he was wrong about nuclear
      annihilation, and wrong about pesticide riots.
      Has he forgotten his poor record of prediction?
      Is he suffering from amnesia?
      Bts

    • Well, we could take a look at Ehrlich’s response to Kelly, which continues in the Ehrlich tradition of doom-mongering.

      Yes, there are 850 million seriously malnourished people on the planet today and that is a tragedy. It is also the lowest percentage of the population so afflicted in history–and probably prehistory as well. A recent article by the Economist charted a very logical and possible path to the end of hunger well within the lifetimes of some readers here.

      As for food production, with a bumper–even record–harvest predicted for 2013, it’s easy to make light of Ehrlich’s claims. But it is probably enough to just quote the FAO saying that food production rises by 1.5% each year and is increasing its rate of growth, while population rises by 1.1% per year and that rate is decreasing.

      The UN did increase its high-case population rise, but I thought it was to 10 billion, not eleven. I don’t have time to check right now, but their medium case projection is still 9.5 billion.

      The pole-to-pole pollution they refer to starts to diminish as soon as a nation’s GDP reaches $4,000 per capita. We live in a cleaner world.

      It’s also getting greener–literally. Perhaps due to increased CO2, almost certainly because more people are moving to the cities, our impact on the planet is decreasing even as our numbers are growing.

      We all should chuckle at Ehrlich’s hurried salute to resource depletion–perhaps he’d like to place a small wager…

      And his referral to ‘unsubstantiated optimism’ is truly bizarre. Matt Ridley explained why quite succinctly in his book The Rational Optimist, as did Bjorn Lomborg before him and Julian Simon before him. It is the pessimist point of view that truly needs to pass the evidential barrier. On almost every point that can be measured, life is getting better for all–even the Bottom Billion.

      Far better he should make the very correct point that the job isn’t done. That the Bottom Billion still have real needs to be met and that the 80% of the population making less than $10 a day have needs–and expectations. But his Malthusian rant is more dispiriting than invigorating. He is working against the common good and what should be a shared goal of making the rest of the world as rich as Norway, healthy as Sweden, educated as Finland and entreprenurial as the USA.

      Ehrlich is not a force for good.

    • Helps to be mindful that no one much likes bad news.

      Don’t shoot the messanger.

      • Steven Mosher

        Well, drudgereport headlines are on average 83% bad news. Looking at his rank, it would not be wise to conclude that people dont like bad news.
        Now, to be sure, folks dont like pessimistic visions of the future, but thats not news. That’s FUD.

      • They shoot horses, don’t they?

        You should hope that doesn’t apply to donkeys.

      • Category error Mosh -people like reading about others misfortune.

        Being caught up in it, or potentially sharing it, not so much.

        You’re a bit off your game at the moment.

      • People that believe that the past was better seems to get satisfaction from bad news. Lunz had a slide on something like this in that talk:

  33. Of course the so-called modern civilization will end. As does everything. And, indeed, climate might bear on this (a simple glaciation would do it). However, in regards to anthropogenic climate change, our collective delusion is a more likely contributor to our doom than any effect on the weather.

  34. :O Erlich? He was saying these exact same things when I was a kid, for goodness sake. Has he ever been right about one thing? When I was a kid, pollution in the developed world was far worse than it is now. Nutrition has much improved in most of the developing world, including the poorest places. Population growth has turned around, since the days when a somber college professor told my class that “he doesn’t know whether we’re going to make it.” (Gosh, the same thing Erlich is saying now, with just the right touch of urgency.) There is quite a ways yet to go, but it’s as if he stopped paying attention in the sixties. Why would anyone pay attention to him?

    As for climate science, there is a definitely a considerable majority of scientists who consider it a serious problem, whatever I think. Is there such a majority that say that it’s a threat to civilization? I doubt it; in any event, I don’t know of any real data on the subject.

    • We were told in class that the oil would run out in the mid-90’s. Which would have been a real bummer as that was when the glaciers would be forming on the Scottish mountains.

    • Miker613 brilliantly observed:

      “When I was a kid, pollution in the developed world was far worse than it is now. ”

      Jeez, I wonder how it got better? Wasn’t it due to increasing awareness in the 1960’s and 1970’s, culminating in the creation of regulating agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency?

      The 3% are somewhat ignorant.

      • I complain on your reading comprehension. Why does it matter why it got better? Isn’t the fact itself enough to show that Ehrlich is wrong? He is trying to give an impression of a planet falling apart, and it’s getting better by almost any measure.

  35. Stephen Wilde

    Balazs Fekete said:

    “Liberal scientist typically won’t accept wealth as viable means of population control”

    Absolutely right. Spot on.

    So called ‘Liberals’ are actually authoritarians in deceptive nomenclature and cannot abide freedom and prosperity for all under a light handed rule of law.

    • “and cannot abide freedom and prosperity for all under a light handed rule of law”

      The difference is that we “authoritarians” recognize that strategic planning is a strong component of human ingenuity and therefore it’s ludicrous not to use it to plan civilization at both the level of the state and the globe.

      We note that the military and businesses operate on authoritative top-down hierarchies too, not “freedom and light handed rule of law”. They are successful because they impose and enforce rules from the top which they have intelligently designed for the purposes of navigating the path ahead. The military does not tell the soldiers do what they want under the delusion that by the time the enemy arrives “human ingenuity” will have produced a solution. No, from the top they say “figure out the threats, figure out the solutions”.

      I think the only reason this debate exists at all is that many Americans still have political baggage left over from the cold war. They’ve been programmed by the anti-soviet propaganda of old to automatically reject any amount of authoritative top-down planning at the state level and so cannot look at the subject objectively.

      • Yes, you do make the trains run on time. Pity the destination ultimately ends up at gates that have the sign “Arbeit macht frei”.

        The problem for people like you is that to get power, you have to take it from people, and people like me will fight back.
        So you either kill me, and people like me, or give up on the whole centralized, planned, rationed, authoritarian state.

      • People aren’t born with power. There’s no need to take what people aren’t even born with.

        How did the current government get power over you? Did they have to kill people like you? No.

        Your overreaction speaks to what I said about cold war programming.

      • “How did the current government get power over you?”

        That came from the democracy. A series of votes.

      • “They are successful because they impose and enforce rules from the top which they have intelligently designed for the purposes of navigating the path ahead.”
        This actually very wrong. Any business with that structure would fail and the military never has followed it. Hell, the Marines’ unofficial motto is adapt, improvise, overcome. Historians will tell you that the reason the allies won D-day is because they granted flexibility to local leaders to adapt plans to the situation while the Germans were prohibited from moving until told to through the strict chain of command. Any military historian will tell you no plan survives contact with the enemy.
        This is one of the biggest problems with liberalism- an unwillingness to not only prepare for unintended consequences of their central planning, but to reject that they are possible and deny them when they happen.

      • Doug Badgero

        “People aren’t born with power. There’s no need to take what people aren’t even born with.

        How did the current government get power over you? Did they have to kill people like you? No.

        Your overreaction speaks to what I said about cold war programming.”

        The idea that power flows from the people to the government does not come from the cold war. It comes from John Locke in the 17th century. His 2nd treatise on government is the source of a lot of the words in the US Declaration of Independence.

      • from Algernon Sydney, his ‘Discourses’:

        ‘When nations fall under such princes as are either incapable of making a right use of their power or do maliciously abuse that authority with which they are entrusted, those nations stand obliged by the duty they owe themselves and their posterity to use the best of their endeavours to remove the evil, whatever danger or difficulties they may meet in their performance.’
        ======================

      • “They’ve been programmed by the anti-soviet propaganda of old to automatically reject any amount of authoritative top-down planning at the state level and so cannot look at the subject objectively.”

        Anti-soviet propaganda of old, like the purges, the Ukranian famine, forced industrialization. You know, the natural effect of centralizing power in the government, and the government in the hands of one party.

        Ironic that it was a progressive who brought this up in the context of Ehrlich’s incessant calls for redistribution of income and population control on a global scale.

        Bear in mind that CAGWers like lolwot are not just calling for “any amount of authoritative top-down planning at the state level,” but for the complete control of the energy economy by the state, also on a global level.

      • The soviet union is a strawman. It’s like pointing at Hitler who was democratically elected and saying “look what happens if you allow the people to vote”.

        The fact is that, despite Dougs weak attempt to claim otherwise, top down strategic planning is used in all walks of life and is even accepted as such by the same brainwashed cold war oldies who think states should never plan.

      • The Soviet Union, the Chinese, the North Koreans, the Vietnamese, the Cubans, the Nicaraguans, the Venezualans, and every tin pot dictatorship in Africa.

        A virtual straw man army.

        Centralization of control leads inexorably to more centralization of control. Centralized power draws those who lust for power. Those who lust for power use that power to acquire more power.

        This process has been known for centuries. It is why the founders of the United States wrote a constitution designed specifically to prevent centralization of too much power in any on government, group of people or person. That is also why progressives who lust for power seek to undermine the Constitution at every chance.

        The old saw that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it is true. But there are all too many who know the history of centralized power all too well, and want to repeat it, with that power in their own hands.

      • Lolwot,

        You should have listened. You look foolish when trying to discuss topics you know little or nothing about.

        Jeff has already torn your military analogy apart. On the business side, ever hear of a guy named Demming? He argued – and history has shown him to be correct – that a business wants to push decision making as far done the organization as possible. Try looking up the concept of the 6 Whys.

      • “Jeff has already torn your military analogy apart.”

        Oh come on. The military is one of the most authoritarian organizations known to man.

        Jeff pointed out that there is human initiative and ingenuity at all levels of the hierarchy and this is best encouraged. What he didn’t address was the fact that ultimately each level is given *orders* which they must obey. That’s how the machine runs. The orders come from the top and they are part of a plan devised to fulfill a higher level strategy.

        Businesses also plan and devise strategy at the top level. They execute their plans by passing orders down to those below who must abide by them.

        If it works for running armies and running businesses it can work for running countries. In fact it already does.

      • “They execute their plans by passing orders down to those below who must abide by them.

        If it works for running armies and running businesses it can work for running countries. In fact it already does.”

        This is stupid on too many levels.

        A chief of staff of a military branch can be fired by the president. The CEO of a corporation can be fired by the board of directors.

        Once a government attains the complete control a Chief of Staff or CEO has, there is no one who can fire him.

        This longing for benign dictatorship on behalf of so many progressives just shows why they make such good sheep.

      • Lolwot,

        What qualifies you as being knowledgeable about the military?

      • Doug Badgero

        “The soviet union is a strawman.”

        Correct, is was your strawman. I was merely knocking it down.

    • I too tire of the misuse of the word liberal.

  36. Any objective observer would realize that Ehrlich has what’s known as an idee fixe, which loosely defined is just what it sounds like, an idea which is fixed, i.e. not amenable to change.

    Which is why I laughed out loud at his response to Kelly’s eminently sane rebuttal. “Prof. Kelly is optimistic about the chances of avoiding a collapse, but sadly we find his arguments entirely unpersuasive.”

    No kidding. Idee fixe. Look it up Professor. Just because you’re smart doesn’t mean you can’t be a nut ball.

  37. The Ehrlich and Kelly worls views have at least one thing in common. They are both tackling a massive dynamic problem of large systems of linear and non-linear differential equations in their respective heads. Neither or both has much hope of successfully predicting the future as the problem is beyond human ability. Yes, both project possible futures, but my own experience with large and properly validated models puts me on Kelly’s side. World experience suggests that well educated females can solve the over-population issue, but religeon remains its greatest threat. That is because all religeons deal with the hereafter and so inspire suicide bombers and the like.Yes, I have some experience with that too.

    • Neither or both has much hope of successfully predicting the future as the problem is beyond human ability.

      The past ten thousand years has repeated the same climate cycles, over and over and over and over.

      The future is going to feature those same climate cycles, over and over and over and over.

      We can understand or we can not understand, but the climate cycles will repeat.

      We can look at the past and know what is next or we can select any time frame we choose and extrapolate the data out of the bounds of the past ten thousand years and be wrong almost every time.

  38. “These two experts obviously disagree; which expert is most distinguished? Its a tough one to call. The point should be the arguments, not who is making them.”

    Hmm, eugenicist v stooge to clear CRU of science fraud, a tough one to call…

    This is definitely a case where who is making the arguments should be taken into consideration, this is not an argument about science, but opinion. It appears to me, at first glance, controlled opposition – the usual apparent voice of reason against the confirmed nutcase – aha, here it is:

    “We can be a much more resilient race in future than we could be in the past. Similarly, with the advances in understanding the brain and President Obama’s recent commitment to mapping the brain, we will enhance our cognitive and processing capability so as to further our ingenuity and resilience in response to future threats.”

    Philip by the way, wants to be re-incarnated as a virus to further play his part in destroying the excess billions surplus to the requirements of elite..

    The elite really are rather pathetic – the great advances we have made in science and technology is because the doors to education have been thrown open to everyone and from that communication speeded up and more inovations flowed. It is truly the deranged who think they have some special insight in who will be brilliant and who not and they can somehow breed this being, gosh, to what? Their own psychopathic image and likeness?

  39. Much talk of uncertainty and communication lately. What if one were to open up a discussion on ignorance. That’s right. What you just don’t know. Nothing to be quantified, or given a percentage. Just: “I dunno”. No blaming a failure to communicate, because there is nothing to communicate. Two examples:

    What will climate be like in fifty years time? I dunno.
    What will be the nature and state of exploitable resources in fifty years time? I dunno.
    Practise it: I dunno.

    Is this a good thing? In fact, it’s a necessary thing, a scientific thing. Because you do not, in fact, know. Like surgeons before Semmelweis thought they knew…but they did not know. Like the twelfth century thought it was an age of science and reason, with rock star intellectuals like Abelard. But they did not know.

    People thought my part of the world might be good for providing mast-timbers, flax…all those essential things which have peaked and which we lack today! They certainly never accounted for the grand impulsiveness of John Macarthur and the sticking power of his missus. How could they? A massive wool industry at “Botany Bay”, all within a few years of settlement? Nobody knew!

    This is the great argument for ingenuity and against intellectualism. Humans are meant to be ingenious and active, to know a bit and do a lot with that bit they know. Intellectuals claim to know much, pretend to sophistication while making juvenile extrapolations, destroy confidence…and leave us oscillatiing between paralysis and rashness.

    Ignore an intellectual today! (Especially Ehrlich.)

    • What will happen in the Third Test tonight? I dunno, but I think that England have done a great job in lulling Australia into a false state of security.

      (Typed with fingers crossed. Amazing that there weren’t more typos.)

    • Mosomoso,

      I have discovered that answering I don’t know to a question you don’t have an answer to, followed up with But I’ll find out, is not career limiting and often is preferable to blowing smoke and faking it.

  40. Heh.

    And then they cite the Skeptical Science website as an authoritative source!

    Not “authoritative” enough for you, Judith? How ’bout if someone cites WUWT as a source?

    So much for evaluating arguments on their merits, eh? Why bother when you can simply criticize the source as a shortcut?

    • JOshua, Whenever I read your posts, which is generally by accident these days. I have an overwhelming need to take a shower.

      I don’t know how Judith can stand you. That she continues to tolerate your arrogant, sneering, disrespectful posts is admirable.

      Why can’t you just make the same point in a civil manner? Why do you feel compelled to be so loathsome?

      • which is generally by accident these days.

        Right. You “accidentally” read my comments.

        Ya’ just gotta love climate “skeptics.”

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Wang et al used detrended data – using a linear least squares methods. To show the dependence of CO2 on rainfall and temperature. The details were examined using vegetation models a NASA supercomputer.

        They used actual data.

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Wangetal2013tropicalvegandCO2_zpsdeb0f214.png.html?sort=3&o=0

        Now let’s look at this integration again. Webby estimate is 1 ppm per degree C. Now apparently a 1 degree rise over a century is 50ppm. Think about – and assume it is linear and not temperature dependent as he dies. Each year the temperature rises 0.01 degrees and 0.01 ppm CO2 is added to the environment. The total over 100 years has to be 1 ppm and not 50. This is not a problem where you want the area under the curve but the difference between two points. I can’t believe I am even discussing at such length such trivial nonsense. It fails any sanity test.

        But the actual temperature depends on TOA radiant flux which also fluctuates wildly – especially with ENSO.

        ‘The top-of-atmosphere (TOA) Earth radiation budget (ERB) is determined from the difference between how much energy is absorbed and emitted by the planet. Climate forcing results in an imbalance in the TOA radiation budget that has direct implications for global climate, but the large natural variability in the Earth’s radiation budget due to fluctuations in atmospheric and ocean dynamics complicates this picture.’ http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/Loeb_et_al_ISSI_Surv_Geophys_2012.pdf

        Let’s look at actual annual growth rates of CO2.

        http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/webdata/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo_anngr.pdf

        The difference between 1998 and 1999 is exactly 2 ppm for about a 0.25 degree C difference. This is a fast process because it is ENSO related.

        So I get about 8 ppm/degree as a starting point from actual data. The actual ocean temperature rise – opposed to the short term swings – was about 0.03 degrees C last decade. Ocean CO2 outgassing is a minor process when compared to tropical vegetation and soil respiration that together increase CO2 flux to the atmosphere by about half the anthropogenic total. As most warming last century was quite natural – this might in fact slow the increase in due course. As human emissions are relatively minor – there are obvious opportunities to modify the large natural fluxes through landscape management to compensate for anthropogenic emissions.

        It points to a carbon dynamic that is vastly different to what has been assumed. This is emerging in stomata records as opposed to ice cores. It may be – for instance – that carbon levels were as high at the last glacial transition.

        http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/Loeb_et_al_ISSI_Surv_Geophys_2012.pdf

    • Uh, most scientists publishing in the primary literature would cite the primary literature.

      • Uh, most scientists publishing in the primary literature would cite the primary literature.

        hmmm.

        On the other hand, Kelly presents his own assessment of climate science, ….

        Oh – and so that PG doesn’t have to shower yet again (although I might guess that the wife and kids would be grateful) – you seem like a very nice person, Judith.

      • Kelly reads the primary literature, and Ehrlich tends toward Skeptical Science. That is, Kelly makes his own assessment, whereas Ehrlich adopts the assessment of the consensus (second-order belief).

      • You criticized the Ehrlichs for not citing primary literature yet lifted that critical criterion for Kelly because his own analysis agrees with yours. Perhaps you’re reverse engineering from whether you agree with the analysis to decide when you will and won’t apply specific criteria as criticism?

        cites…reads…tends toward…

        Bit of a moving target, there.

        Have you spoken to the Ehrlich’s to find out what they read?

        And what if the Ehrlich’s cite SkS which then cites primary literature? Is there then a substantive difference from the argument compared to when the primary source is directly cited?

        Seems to me that there’s plenty to the Ehrlich’s specific arguments to sink your teeth into if you’re so inclined. I really don’t get why being “incredulous” about their sourcing rises to a level of significance here. Wouldn’t you agree that the rhetoric of attacking sources as opposed to directly focusing on deconstructing actual arguments is part of what degrades the climate debate?

      • Ehrlich’s argument is an explicit appeal to authority (never a strong argument, especially for an academic); he chooses SkS as his authority (bad choice).

      • Sorry – I forgot to add that you run a nice blog, Judith.

        (I added that for my buddy, PG. I wouldn’t want him to get a skin disease from so much exposure to water).

      • He chooses SkS as an authority since so many of the contrarian theories have not been published and only exist on blogs and web sites, so he has no other choice but to rely on dedicated volunteers willing to stoop to that level.

        For example, how else would you be able to cite debunkings of Murry Salby’s latest theories, but by referencing SkS or a similar site. You certainly wouldn’t find the debunking in a journal, since Salby himself hasn’t published his stuff yet.

        It would be a topsy-turvy research world if journals were the preferred place to debunk theories presented on the Coast2Coast AM radio show. Yet, that is apparently the expectation for silly ideas such as Salby’s suggestion that excess atmospheric CO2 is the result of the warming of the oceans (and not the burning of fossil fuels).

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘The study provides support for the “carbon-climate feedback” hypothesis proposed by many scientists. This hypothesis asserts a warming climate will lead to accelerated carbon dioxide growth in the atmosphere from vegetation and soils. Multiple Earth system processes, such as droughts and floods, also contribute to changes in the atmospheric carbon dioxide growth rate. The new finding demonstrates observed temperature changes are a more important factor than rainfall changes in the tropics.’

        http://climate.nasa.gov/news/957

        CO2 varies with temperature – and varies much more than thought until now.

        http://www.academia.edu/2949675/Stomatal_proxy_record_of_CO2_concentrations_from_the_last_termination_suggests_an_important_role_for_CO2_at_climate_change_transitions

        I know very little about Murry Salby – except that he is an atmospheric physicist. This seems to bode ill for webby’s incessant complaints. Besides which – I have seen webby’s 2 compartment (oceans and atmosphere) carbon model travesty with a single pulse of CO2 mysteriously entering the atmosphere. I can assure you it looks nothing like this.

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/carbonflowchart-ucla_zps640921ed.png.html?sort=3&o=10

        Somehow I think webby might have missed one or two processes. The big thing however is the incessant, annoying and utterly empty whining.

        There are many sources of reputable science information on the web – such as NASA above on all sorts of subjects. SkS is not one of them.

      • > It would be a topsy-turvy research world if journals were the preferred place to debunk theories presented on the Coast2Coast AM radio show.

        An alternative:

        Pick an article A with the name N.
        Open WP account “auditing-N”.
        Buy domain name “auditing-N.org”.
        Find people to dedicate their lives to A.

        You have a choice here:
        Either you pick scientists, in which case no op-eds, ever.
        (Clones of T would be a good choice then.)
        Or you pick non-scientists, in which case op-eds recurse furiously.
        You can call that a blog if you will, where notes get gathered.

        In either case, you now have a resource on A.
        From any website, anyone could link to A.
        A would finally be A.

        Imagine paper B, C, D, E, F, …
        It never ends.
        But at least something gets started.

        AUDIT ALL THE PAPERS!

      • Isn’t it odd that no one cares about debunking The Chief Hydrologist? In historical internet practice, one does not debunk the trolls that inhabit the recesses.

        Concerning what Willard said, there is something in the works for auditing, called
        http://PubPeer.com/

        I have an account and see that it is mainly biomedical research, but the initiative is started to branch it out to all physical sciences.

      • I have been collecting materials on this topic for awhile, will get to a post on it at some point

      • In this link
        http://climate.nasa.gov/news/957
        They say:
        “The study really highlights the importance of long-term Earth observations for improving our understanding of the Earth system,” said Rama Nemani, principal scientist at Ames for the NEX project.” Conclusions drawn from analysis of shorter records could be misleading.”
        Yet, they base everything on extrapolating 130 years of thermometer data.

      • Uh, most scientists publishing in the primary literature would cite the primary literature.
        The problem with primary literature in Climate Science is that anything outside the 97% don’t get included.
        Primary literature is only useful in a Skeptical Science debate.
        With 97%, if any part of it is wrong, it can’t get fixed.

      • Ehrlich says that he accepts the consensus as opposed to being part of the community that comprises it. He was explicit. If he considers the consensus best expressed via Skeptical Science it’s easy to understand why a) he did not contribute to the formation of the consensus and b) why he is able to ignore reality while writing his diatribes.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘Uh, most scientists publishing in the primary literature would cite the primary literature.’

        I reference two studies – one from the past week or so.

        ‘Previous studies have highlighted the occurrence and intensity of El Niño–Southern Oscillation as important drivers of the interannual variability of the atmospheric CO2 growth rate, but the underlying biogeophysical mechanisms governing such connections remain unclear. Here we show a strong and persistent coupling (r2 ≈ 0.50) between interannual variations of the CO2 growth rate and tropical land–surface air temperature during 1959 to 2011, with a 1 °C tropical temperature anomaly leading to a 3.5 ± 0.6 Petagrams of carbon per year (PgC/y) CO2 growth-rate anomaly on average. Analysis of simulation results from Dynamic Global Vegetation Models suggests that this temperature–CO2 coupling is contributed mainly by the additive responses of heterotrophic respiration (Rh) and net primary production (NPP) to temperature variations in tropical ecosystems. However, we find a weaker and less consistent (r2 ≈ 0.25) interannual coupling between CO2 growth rate and tropical land precipitation than diagnosed from the Dynamic Global Vegetation Models, likely resulting from the subtractive responses of tropical Rh and NPP to precipitation anomalies that partly offset each other in the net ecosystem exchange (i.e., net ecosystem exchange ≈ Rh − NPP). Variations in other climate variables (e.g., large-scale cloudiness) and natural disturbances (e.g., volcanic eruptions) may induce transient reductions in the temperature–CO2 coupling, but the relationship is robust during the past 50 y and shows full recovery within a few years after any such major variability event. Therefore, it provides an important diagnostic tool for improved understanding of the contemporary and future global carbon cycle.’

        webby is less about science than fighting a delusional battle against the forces of darkness. I can’t help seeing him on his carbon fiber bike, cape trailing, underpants on the outside. It is a little disconcerting and I wish he would go back to his mother’s basement and let the adults discuss science.

      • Little baby chief can’t seem to understand that they are looking at minor variations of CO2 about the monotonic upward trend.

        The residual is subtle and at most +/- 1 PPM amidst a noisy year to year value.

        This is further documented at the end of this post:
        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2012/03/co2-outgassing-model.html

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Refer to some actual science for a change Webster – not something pulled out of your arse – and I will be less scathing of your inadequacies.

        ‘The study provides support for the “carbon-climate feedback” hypothesis proposed by many scientists. This hypothesis asserts a warming climate will lead to accelerated carbon dioxide growth in the atmosphere from vegetation and soils.’

      • Chief, all you did was quote the entire abstract. Do you have the complete paper?

        They try to correlate volcanic disturbances with the residual change of atmospheric CO2.

        Note the inset shows the impact of the disturbances. They could align with the small +/- 1 PPM average changes in yearly CO2.

        Tough to extract this info when the overall change is driven by fossil fuel combustion leading to accumulating levels of aCO2.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘The researchers discovered a temperature increase of just 1 degree Celsius in near-surface air temperatures in the tropics leads to an average annual growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide equivalent to one-third of the annual global emissions from combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation combined. In tropical ecosystems carbon uptake is reduced at higher temperatures. This finding provides scientists with a key diagnostic tool to better understand the global carbon cycle.’

        http://climate.nasa.gov/news/957

        I asked for real peer reviewed science. I am certainly not interested in your one dimensional carbon graphs that exclude the majority of the carbon cycle. Better understanding the global carbon cycle is not anything like your anti-science agenda.

      • “‘The researchers discovered a temperature increase of just 1 degree Celsius in near-surface air temperatures in the tropics leads to an average annual growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide equivalent to one-third of the annual global emissions from combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation combined.”

        That is indeed a significant finding that throws a loop in some of our understanding. If the hypothesis is true, this is a pretty severe thermally-related positive feedback that is not good news for future warming. If the amount of increase we have had so far is 120 PPM of CO2 (400-280), then 1/3 of the fraction is 30 PPM of additional CO2 .
        120 = A + 1/3*A = 4/3*A
        A = 90 PPM due to fossil fuels
        B = 30 PPM due to positive feedback

        I had evaluated adding more significant positive feedback due to warming in a post called Temperature induced CO2 adds to the problem. In this case, the positive feedback added about 20 PPM, which is 1/5 of the total change, not 1/3. So the positive feedback effect is more severe than anyone probably anticipated.

        The fear is that these kinds of thermally-activated things can spiral out-of-control if they are too sensitive to temperature. Rate laws use activation energies and if an activation energy is too large, like it looks in this case, any further warming will only further exaggerate the production of CO2, leading to a much stronger thermally-activated positive feedback situation. This could generate a larger ECS in the long term, more in line with Hansen’s estimates. Someone will have to go through the numbers though to check this though.

      • To add to the W.Wang paper, someone added an interesting comment to the NASA press release


        http://climate.nasa.gov/news/957
        Rowan Rowntree:
        Please explain more about the gas exchange and the mechanism for generating more atmospheric carbon dioxide. We know that forests “inhale” and sequester carbon (and “exhale” oxygen). Then, how can increased temperatures (with resulting increases in growth) produce more atmospheric carbon dioxide?”

        It sounds more like a thermally-activated outgassing effect. This is similar to the hypothesized methane releases.

      • Erlich & Erlich have the right conclusion. But the reason for collapse will probably be deceit.

        See message sent to the Space Science & Technology Committee of the House of Representatives on 17 July 2013:

        https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10640850/Creator_Destroyer_Sustainer_of_Life.pdf

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

        Sent from my iPhone

      • Chief Hydrologist

        This is a finding that is more than apparent. As in my post on soil carbon some time ago.

        ‘ Soil respiration, RS, the flux of microbially and plant-respired carbon dioxide (CO2) from the soil surface to the atmosphere, is the second-largest terrestrial carbon flux. However, the dynamics of RS are not well understood and the global flux remains poorly constrained. Ecosystem warming experiments, modelling analyses and fundamental biokinetics all suggest that RS should change with climate.’

        As this is what I understand Murry Salby to be saying – he appears to be far more correct than you. With both soils and tropical vegetation the increase is some 50% of human emissions. The biggest soil carbon stores are in high northern climes and we know there is regime like changes in northern temperatures.

        The 2013 study I linked to suggests a very much larger variability in atmospheric carbon than suggested by ice core records. Again – this is far from a new finding. Although it is not something I have followed – I have noted that Salby was recalculating gas diffusion in ice cores.

        Simple and quite nonsensical calculations notwithstanding – the larger components of the carbon cycle of not known to within 20%. As these components are an order of magnitude greater than anthropogenic emissions the unknowns are potentially very significant.

        It is safe to assume that the early warming last century was mostly natural and the later warming at least 50% natural. The satellite data of course suggests it was overwhelmingly natural. Regime cooling should stem the increase in carbon in the atmosphere at a minimum.

        The process btw is biological in respiration and photosynthesis as was discussed in the paper – exhale and inhale – net primary production -not ‘outgassing’. Please don’t apply yet another misconception to the climate discourse.

        Here’s a cartoon version of the carbon cycle. Get cracking on solving it why don’t you?

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/carbonflowchart-ucla_zps640921ed.png.html?sort=3&o=10

      • Chef, Like I said, I already did a fit similar to what these guys did, but assumed that 20 PPM of the 120 PPM instead of 30 PPM was the rise in atmospheric CO2 due to outgassing (i.e. warming and rotting).

        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2011/10/temperature-induced-co2-release-adds-to.html

        You can bluster and lie all you want but I did do the analysis and you didn’t.

        Murry Salby claims that all of the rise was due to natural causes. Whereas W.Wang still claims that 75% is due to fossil fuel emissions, according to http://climate.nasa.gov/news/957

        Plus Salby has got loads of other ethical problems to face besides his preposterous hypothesis.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Your so called analysis includes ‘diffusion’ of a slug of CO2 in the atmosphere to the oceans along with some delusional physics about solubility of CO2. That’s it. Your analysis is nothing like what anyone with understanding or knowledge would do at all.

        You have no idea of the biological pump, the solubility pump, the changes in terrestrial environments or to freshwater environments and go all postal if anyone has the temerity to suggest additions to the carbon cycle from natural causes. You finally partially catchup and suggest that your ocean outgassing nonsense is similar to the tropical changes in net productivity.

        Show me where Salby claimed that all the increase was all due to natural causes. It is another lie. You are an utter tool with zilch credibility.

      • “You finally partially catchup and suggest that your ocean outgassing nonsense is similar to the tropical changes in net productivity.”

        How could I be ‘catching up’ when I wrote that post on my blog in 2011?
        I try to work out the consensus view of things and in this case configured the model with a significant outgassing term. The W.Wang paper indicates photosynthesis decreases with increasing tropical temperature; if photosynthesis goes down then the vegetation is “failing to thrive”, aka dieing and rotting, and therefore will release its stored CO2. That is called outgassing, just as a pile of cut grass will outgas as it decomposes.


        http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20132307-24607.html
        “For example, a rise in temperature over the tropical regions results in a decline in photosynthesis as well as an increase in carbon losses through respiration, amplifying the temperature effect on carbon cycling” says Rama Nemani, Principal scientist for the NEX project.

        Salby is ethically-challenged, and he is trying to go out with a bang. It is quite obvious that he is trying to tie all the excess CO2 to temperature increases


        Show me where Salby claimed that all the increase was all due to natural causes. It is another lie. You are an utter tool with zilch credibility.

        Salby has become a laughing-stock; unfortunately he carried his reputation over to Australia and dumped it all over you guys.

        My own professional reputation is intact.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘Chef, Like I said, I already did a fit similar to what these guys did, but assumed that 20 PPM of the 120 PPM instead of 30 PPM was the rise in atmospheric CO2 due to outgassing (i.e. warming and rotting).’

        ‘The sanity check on this is if you consider that a temperature anomaly of 1 degree change held over 100 years would release 100 PPM into the atmosphere. This is simply a result of Henry’s Law applied to the ocean.’

        You change your story mid stream.

        A one degree change is unlikely.

        And I suggest you work out again the outgassing. Here’s a calculator to help. It actually uses the right physics unlike you.

        http://www.microcosmofscience.com/CO2%20and%20TIC%20calculator.html#dco2

        I get a fraction of 100ppm. I think you are pretty pathetic all round.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Actually it is called respiration – and plants are doing pretty well.

        http://www.csiro.au/Portals/Media/Deserts-greening-from-rising-CO2.aspx

        You are the biggest loser imaginable.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Seriously webby – you get caught blatantly in another lie and insist that your reputation is intact? Contemptible is the word for it.

        We can contrast this with my behaviour where I freely admitted an error.

        0.03 W/m2/yr – instead of 0.03 W/m2 – although I was in my defense comparing this with the increase in forcing from greenhouse gases of about 0.04 W/m2/yr.

        Mote and log comes to mind.

      • Chef, Every time you write an equal sign you make an error.

        As of now, you are just contributing to the FUD, bringing in other references which contradict the W.Wang paper, or at least what the press releases say about the paper.

        Look, it is clear that neither of us have read the full paper yet, and we are trying to read between the lines of what others have written about it. The blog post that I wrote back in 2011 did make an assumption of an _integrated_ outgassing, based on the premise that the CO2 accumulates and is not easily sequestered out of the carbon cycle system once it enters the system. This is similar to what I would imagine happens if total photosynthesis starts to decrease and the built-up carbon gets released as excess CO2.
        Remember that the quoted story said:


        http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20132307-24607.html
        “For example, a rise in temperature over the tropical regions results in a decline in photosynthesis as well as an increase in carbon losses through respiration, amplifying the temperature effect on carbon cycling” says Rama Nemani, Principal scientist for the NEX project. “

        This means that since average photosynthesis is declining, the emitted CO2 is not going to be easily added back in to the bioto, as the engine for incorporation (converted sunlight) is declining.

        How W.Wang ascertained this increase of 30 PPM due to the mechanism he proposes is buried in the paper, which neither of us has access to at the moment.

        Chef, you really have a bad habit of quote-mining from abstracts and then making it fit your slanted POV.

      • WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) | August 4, 2013 at 10:51 pm said: ”outgassing, based on the premise that the CO2 accumulates and is not easily sequestered out of the carbon cycle system once it enters the system.”

        Webby boy; the more CO2 get into the atmosphere -> the more rain washes it down into the soil and into the sea = ”self adjusting mechanism”. The sooner you comprehend the truth – the sooner you will be less paranoid and less insomnia Sleep well…

      • Chief Hydrologist | August 4, 2013 at 8:50 pm said: ”Actually it is called respiration – and plants are doing pretty well.”

        Mr. Telescope, yes the plants are doing very well

        before the industrial revolution, CO2 was depleted to critically low level to sustain prosperous trees &crops – now is better amount, BUT you are trying to deny them the most essential molecule. Who is the clown to guarantee that 150y ago was the best amount of CO2 in the atmosphere? if you don’t know the truth, ask the trees; they depend on CO2 for its survival and prosperity

      • Stef and the Chef, the dynamic Aussie duo of FUD : Mad Max and the Feral Kid.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I wish stefan would go away as well. He is as big a maniac as you and simply distracts from your dissimulation.

        The study used vegetation models on the NASA NEX supercomputer. So what. The paper is available for $10 at PNAS. I take their results with a grain of salt – I totally discount yours.

        ‘The study provides support for the “carbon-climate feedback” hypothesis proposed by many scientists. This hypothesis asserts a warming climate will lead to accelerated carbon dioxide growth in the atmosphere from vegetation and soils.’

        This is the critical statement which you have been not understanding for ever so long and whining bitterly when people like Murry Salby discuss it.

        You belatedly say that your ‘outgassing’ applies to vegetation rather than ocean solubility – and pretend it was so all the time. But I quoted the unambiguous statement from your site.

        ‘The sanity check on this is if you consider that a temperature anomaly of 1 degree change held over 100 years would release 100 PPM into the atmosphere. This is simply a result of Henry’s Law applied to the ocean.’

        100ppm btw from solubility changes is utterly absurd. It is a fail in any sort of physics credibility or sanity checks as usual.

        So you are incompetent, a liar, a fraud and far from broadly knowledgeable on the subject. You then impugn someones professional reputation in veiled terms anonymously on a blog. There is really little more contemptible behaviour possible on a blog. .

      • The Chief said:

        “The paper is available for $10 at PNAS”

        The paper is available for free if you have access to a decent library and not some outback hillbilly separated from civilization.

        You also have seemingly never published any peer review material yourself or have never publicly developed a comprehensive analysis of anything and so are free from being held to anything you have ever said. How very quaint and so very convenient! Some “peer” you are.

        “You belatedly say that your ‘outgassing’ applies to vegetation rather than ocean solubility – and pretend it was so all the time. “

        Well, I did say this:

        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2011/10/temperature-induced-co2-release-adds-to.html

        The slow diffusion into the deep sequestering stores is just too gradual while the biotic carbon cycle is doing just that, cycling the carbon back and forth.”

        I know that you are not a real scientist and also are not capable of logical discussion, but the point of the W.Wang paper that seems to have escaped you is the assertion that increasing temperatures are releasing loads of CO2 into the atmosphere due to tropical vegetation. Many people have been assuming that the increasing levels of CO2 would be a bonanza for the vegetation and they would start sucking up more of the stuff. Instead, the W.Wang paper says that photosynthesis is DECREASING, which can only mean that the tropical vegetation is not thriving and likely dieing off. If it was actually thriving, one would imagine that the CO2 uptake would be INCREASING as the tropical biomass increases with more photosynthesis.

        http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20132307-24607.html
        “For example, a rise in temperature over the tropical regions results in a decline in photosynthesis as well as an increase in carbon losses through respiration, amplifying the temperature effect on carbon cycling” says Rama Nemani, Principal scientist for the NEX project.

        That’s what one of the co-authors said, and until we read the full paper, and verify that this wasn’t mistranslated, this is not a good trend.

        Who predicted that the tropical vegetation would die off with that sensitivity to globally averaged temperature? Not me. (It does every winter in higher latitudes but that is seasonally expected, and stuff decomposes faster with warmer temperatures, but that stuff is already dead. This is photosynthesis we are talking about.)

        Is this substantiation of the desertification due to AGW that some have predicted?

        Don’t know, as you or I do not have access to the paper yet. That will change as all I have to do is retrieve a copy.

      • David Springer

        Speaking of blog publishing Webby (Dr. Paul Pukite) does a bit of it himself. This is a fitting place to debunk it.

        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2011/10/temperature-induced-co2-release-adds-to.html

        Pukite’s self published article suggests 1ppm/year increase from outgassing per degree of sustained temperature anomaly. A number of sanity checks arrive inside the ballpark. Excellent. I’ll accept that for now.

        The last cold episode of the little ice age ended in 1850. That’s 160 years where the ocean has been ostensibly warming up with some positive anomaly. According to this:

        the anomaly in 1850 was -0.6C and by 1900 was -0.2C and by 2000 was 0.2C. That seems adequate per your 1ppm/year/degree to outgas about two thirds of the 120ppm increase since 1850.

        The major flaw is that Pukite starts the impulse function in the year 1900 which ignores the -0.4C sustained anomally built up between 1850 and 1900 and continued for the next 110 years. That works out to about half a degree C anomaly sustained over 120 years or 60ppm outgassing by the 1ppm/year/degree rule.

        Nice try at hiding 170 years of sustained temperature anomaly in the ocean but global warming began in 1850 with the end of the LIA not in 1900. Nineteen hundred appears to be an arbitrary baseline you pulled out of your ass to get the result you wanted.

        Thanks for playing but this bit of deceptive analysis from Dr. Paul Pukite I hereby sentence to remain forever plus one day to the blogosphere bush leagues.

      • As Tobis said recently “incoherent (wrong) science is not formally disproven in practice. It is more commonly simply ignored by practitioners.”

        The importance of SkS is that they actually go after and challenge the incoherent science. They feel they have to do this because it gets picked up by the propaganda press and the talk shows who actually believe that incoherent science is coherent.

        Thus, Ehrlich must also do the same thing and refers to SkS who has done the heavy lifting.

      • David Springer

        So you’re basically saying that Ehrlich too is in the blogosphere bush leagues. A fitting place. Maybe still too professional for him though given he’s such a monumental, stupendous failure as a theorist his name is trite. SkS is Australian, webby, and both it and Ehrlich fit in really well by that general standard. You know what I’m talking about.

      • Webtel wept at heavyweight lifting,
        Fool knew not ’twas straw man gilting.
        ===================

      • If Erhlich was forced to deal with Intelligent Design advocates he would have to get down to their level as well. He would toss it over to Pharyngula, I would imagine. Long time since I visited that site.

        The kranks in ID circles are similar to the kranks in climate change circles. Peer reviewed journals won’t deal with them, but social media is quite happy to do battle.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        $10 means you don’t have to get up from the couch in your mother’s basement webby. Surely that is not going to break you. I have published in Environmental Science – admittedly that’s a different kind of science. I have published in widely read journals on Pacific wide patterns influencing global hydrology and surface temperature and on chaos and climate computing. I have even done a couple of posts here on clouds and soil carbon.

        You have written in a specialist area and certainly have almost no education or interest outside of the narrow speciality.

        OIther than that it is a load of disingenuous nonsense. Webby’s one dimensional carbon travesty of a model has a CO2 slug and diffusion to the oceans. It is utterly idiotic as is Jabberwocky for entirely different reasons.

        The outgassing from the oceans is incorrectly calculated. Diffusion doesn’t even seem to be based on experimental solubility curves from memory. It is as usual spectacularly idiotic. It is all utterly simplistic and misleading blog science with nothing to recommend it.

        The pretense now is that outgassing from the ocean due to solubility is equivalent to tropical changes in the CO2 cycle. He has spent months and disparaging Salby for saying something that is widely understood.

        ‘The study provides support for the “carbon-climate feedback” hypothesis proposed by many scientists. This hypothesis asserts a warming climate will lead to accelerated carbon dioxide growth in the atmosphere from vegetation and soils.’

        And from a different study.

        ‘ Soil respiration, RS, the flux of microbially and plant-respired carbon dioxide (CO2) from the soil surface to the atmosphere, is the second-largest terrestrial carbon flux. However, the dynamics of RS are not well understood and the global flux remains poorly constrained. Ecosystem warming experiments, modelling analyses and fundamental biokinetics all suggest that RS should change with climate.’

        Are we adding to outgassing from oceans and release of carbon from vegetation and soils? Obviously so as Salby says. The question is – as most of the warming last century was entirely natural – how much has this added to the concentration in the atmosphere?

        How much does CO2 change naturally – http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Steinthorsdottir_CO2_stomata_2013_zps0180f088.png.html?sort=3&o=2

        I have as well linked to a discussion of CO2 and greening of arid environments. http://www.csiro.au/Portals/Media/Deserts-greening-from-rising-CO2.aspx These issues are ultimately complex and interrelated. Understanding requires building a picture from a broad base.

        The technical issues are one thing but the lies and anonymous blog insinuations of professional wrongdoing by Murry Salby are another and very different kettle of fish.

        So I stick by my assertion – incompetent, a liar, a fraud and ethically compromised.

      • Chief Baby, I picked up the W.Wang article today and it is pretty clear what they are doing in fitting to residual CO2. The premise is that the integral of the tropical temperature residual maps to the CO2 residual. This is equivalent to taking the derivative of CO2 (i.e. the growth rate) and mapping this to the tropical temperature residual.

        Since I have the CO2 data from earlier work, this was easy enough for me to formulate a fit to their model over a range of years. I took the integral of T route in fitting this range:

        Try to attack me if that is your ploy, I am simply reproducing what W.Wang et al did in their paper. I have no argument with their model since it obviously fits the data fairly well; I also understand their premise, which is that excess tropical temperatures cause an outgassing of CO2 that continues until the temperature drops below the historical mean, whereby the CO2 is recovered. This leads to a lag in the CO2 temperature with respect to temperature.

        The key to their fit is to look at tropical temperatures and not the mid-to-high latitude temperatures that previously was thought to be the key to understanding.

        All your caterwauling is simply amusing. I can find one published article under your name and that is in the joke journal Energy & Environment.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘In summary, the strong and robust coupling between interannual variations of the atmospheric CO2 growth rate and concurrent
        tropical temperature during the past 50 y provides a key diagnostic for our understanding of the global carbon cycle. This coupling cannot be justified by the delayed responses of mid- to high-latitude ecosystems to global temperature variations, nor may it be interpreted as an indirect reflection of the coupling between the CO2 growth rate and tropical precipitation anomalies, which indeed is found to be weaker and less consistent. Instead, analyses of process-based global vegetation models indicate that this strong temperature CO2 coupling is best explained by the additive responses of tropical terrestrial respiration and
        primary production to temperature variations, which reinforce each other in enhancing temperature control on tropical NEE. Although this explanation inherits the uncertainties associated with the current estimates of global carbon fluxes and needs to be further verified, we emphasize that the coupling itself, along with other observational constraints, must be reproduced by vegetation (or other related) models to realistically simulate the current status of the global carbon cycle and project its future changes.’

        http://cybele.bu.edu/download/manuscripts/weile-wang-cgr-temp-pnas-2013.pdf

        Detrended anomalies for CO2 growth rate, tropical land temperature temperature and tropical precipitation are mapped – and then compared to vegetation models to tease out causes.

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Wangetal2013tropicalvegandCO2_zpsdeb0f214.png.html

        JC SNIP

      • Chief Baby doesn’t even try to understand what this means.

        With a predictable seasonal cycle, the CO2 is held in an oscillatory steady state.

        When the average temperature increases in a region, plants do not uptake CO2 as rapidly as rotting vegetation outgasses CO2. With cooler than average temperatures, this process is reversed. Moreover, the rotting vegetation is an integral or lagged process as the outgassing does not occur immediately with increasing temperatures. This is a positive feedback effect that can occur with land vegetation or with aquatic vegetation.

        The W. Wang paper is bringing always welcome clarity to the data and models. It clearly does not challenge fossil fuel as the origin of the majority of excess atmospheric CO2, but it adds an important positive feedback GHG mechanism.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Seriously – a snip? For this person? He pretends that Henry’s Law is equivalent to a carbon feedback from vegetation and soils. Bad faith at a minimum. He makes unsubstantiated allegations in an anonymous blog about the professional ethics of Marry Salby. Ethically challenged. Incompetence speaks for itself.

      • ethically challenged, incompetence are acceptable in some contexts. Fraud etc are not.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        It means that you are utterly wrong webby and Salby is right. How that must rankle – so much that you deny it. Do you deny it to yourself as well?

        Warming as Salby said – amongst many others on theoretical grounds of biokinetics – increases the flux of CO2 to the atmosphere. You don’t to keep repeating what you have finally come to understand in some limited fashion. How much of the warming was natural? Most it seems. So how much is the accumulation in CO2 in the atmosphere quite natural? How much does CO2 vary quite naturally? These are again quite natural questions to ask and leaping to simplistic conclusions is your hallmark not mine.

        As I keep saying your one dimensional travesty of a carbon model is ridiculous. You really need something with terms for all these.

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/carbonflowchart-ucla_zps640921ed.png.html?sort=3&o=11

        It looks a bit like a flows and stores model – as I remember saying years ago it seems.

      • If you happened to watch his video, I hope that you noticed that Salby is insane.

        From one of his unpublished talks, this abstract:

        “The strong dependence on internal properties indicates that emission of CO2 from natural sources, which accounts for 96 per cent of its overall emission, plays a major role in observed changes of CO2. Independent of human emission, this contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide is only marginally predictable and not controllable.”

        W.Wang’s paper does not come remotely close to 96% attribution. It’s at most 25% net. The apologists for Salby may say that the 96% was not meant as a net flux, but without a full paper, which has not been published and may never be, this excuse holds no water.

        Right now Salby ranks as a footnote. Because of his soap opera, he may eventually get a Wikipedia entry.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        “Despite adverse circumstances, the wider study was recently completed. It indicates:

        (i) Modern changes of atmospheric CO2 and methane are (contrary to popular belief) not unprecedented.

        (ii) The same physical law that governs ancient changes of atmospheric CO2 and methane also governs modern changes.”

        http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/climate-chair-left-high-and-dry-by-uni/story-e6frgcjx-1226677907258

        Far from not unprecedented they appear to have been higher at the last glacial transition.

        The 96% is the starting of his Sydney presentation – where 96% natural flux gives scope for natural changes to be significant effect. It comes in at about mid point of the newer presentation. Which I am now listening to while typing. Did you not even get that right? I am such a modern type that I also have X Files on the big screen and have just finished cooking dinner – whoops – vegies.

        We have 1/3 of anthropogenic emissions from Wang, 1/4 from soils and an amount I am not going to nominate for solubility effects – the calculation is in principle simple but the assumptions are gross. You should try it some time. I might note there are still no ways to verify flux directly – as Salby and the IPCC say – it is all a bit fuzzy.

        I have now seen the Salby presentation. It all makes solid sense. ‘If the global energy budget is wrong – it is all window dressing’. Salby seems a lot more credible, credentialed, sophisticated and sane than you webby.

      • “I might note there are still no ways to verify flux directly – as Salby and the IPCC say – it is all a bit fuzzy. “

        The W.Wang paper does correlate the inter-annual variability to tropical temperature. I see no reference to Salby in the citations, so he is a non-entity.

        This figure that I made to reproduce W.Wang’s findings features about a 4PPM/degree gain factor

        Since warming is about 0.12C/decade in the tropics or 0.012C/year, then the overall contribution to growth is about 4*0.012 PPM per year or 0.048 PPM, whereas total CO2 accumulation is about 2 PPM per year. That puts the tropical temperature growth rate factor at 25% of the total, in line with what the press release said:
        “‘The researchers discovered a temperature increase of just 1 degree Celsius in near-surface air temperatures in the tropics leads to an average annual growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide equivalent to one-third of the annual global emissions from combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation combined.”
        For a 120 PPM overall change, 25% of 120PPM puts it at 30PPM of the total. Since the overall tropical temperature change is 0.8C, pro-rating 1/3 makes it 0.8*1/3 = 0.27. In that case 21% of 120PPM is 25 PPM.

        I was also experimenting with this in 2011, and found that ~20PPM of additional CO2 induced from thermal temperature rise was not incompatible with the anthropogenic origin. Since it is a positive feedback, it rides along nicely with the sequestering response to the emissions curve.
        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2011/10/temperature-induced-co2-release-adds-to.html

        There is a lot of math in there that I don’t see you lifting a pencil and attempting to explore, Chief. Are you not up to it?
        It must be so easy for you to just shoot your mouth from down under, isn’t it?

        BTW, here is a debunking of Salby:
        http://www.skepticalscience.com/salby_correlation_conundrum.html

        One should realize that in practice, we don’t spend time debunking articles by other scientists that are promised but which remain vaporware. Fortunately, a site like SkS never tires of doing the dirty work.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You don’t give up do you. Your carbon travesty consists of a slug of CO2 and ocean two compartments consisting of ocean and atmosphere without even any of the biological processes involved. The biological pump. Even the solubility pump is – simple in principle – confounded by gross assumptions. Your ‘math’ involves curve fitting without physical basis and utter physics fantasies. Debunk it? It has no physical reality. You don’t even use Henry’s Law but supposedly the Fokker-Planck equation which may in principle be extended to observables. But you have no observables but only curve fitting to functions that at least have some physical basis. It is all just such utter nonsense.

        This is not about Salby. Salby I said I had not followed at all closely. But having now seen the presentation it is not inconsistent with the considerations of biokinetics advanced by many scientists. The allegations of professional wrongdoing you advance from blog anonymity is pretty pathetic.

        The ongoing insistence that solubility is the equivalent of these vegetation processes that you totally ignored until yesterday is also pretty pathetic.

        You have moved on from peak oil because people weren’t paying enough attention to you. Your blog science fantasy – super webby coming to impress the world, cape flying, underpants on the outside – Is hugely pathetic. You are incapable of making any impact on climate science because really you don’t have a clue about anything very much. You are a blog scientist on your loser blog with simplistic and incompetent physics. Pretty much on a par with Stefan I would think.

      • Feel better after that temper tantrum, Chief Baby?

        Nothing wrong with keeping things simple. It makes it easier for people to follow the work and to gain valuable intuition into how math describes nature.

        The W.Wang paper is revealing in that it describes how outgassing of CO2 is a tropical effect. For the measurements around Mauna Loa, the seasonal component is likely outgassing from the tropical pacific warm pool http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2012/03/co2-outgassing-model.html

        See this figure where I mapped the Mauna Loa CO2 against the tropical SST in particular:

        This direct periodic SST component removes the seasonal CO2 after applying a slight lag and a 3 PPM/degree gain.

        What is left as a residual is the longer term interannual CO2 variations. This also appears to be caused by tropical surface temperatures but this time the effect is not directly proportional but is an integral effect, having to do with a more gradual outgassing process. This is likely caused by decomposing of vegetative remains and also by a slower warming of sea waters (perhaps a fat-tail effect on top of the immediate delta response) that extends to interannual years. This effect is inertial as it can persist for several years and will only reverse when the residual goes negative and the CO2 is reabsorbed as the outgassing is slowed and the vegetation and water uptake switches direction.

        The fit that I did here, takes the tropical surface temperatures between 30N and 30S latitude, ocean and land inclusive:

        It is not that hard a concept to understand, and the model fit to the data as W.Wang demonstrate is pretty striking. I can only confirm what they are doing by simplifying the model.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You mistake an objective analysis of your ‘blog science’ for a tempter tantrum. Just as you mistake your mathturbation for actual science.

        You can’t use a conceptual model of the atmosphere and ocean with a CO2 and fit it to a curve and extract any physical meaning at all.

        Here it is – http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com.au/2011/10/temperature-induced-co2-release-adds-to.html

        I invite anyone to try to make sense of the ‘simple integral’. It is made up without any depth of thought to give a preordained answer. The essence of mathturbation.

        We have a linear function apparently – one degree C is one ppm extra CO2 in the atmosphere. It’s not true – the CO2 solubility curve is a curve.

        You need to work out an average change in temperature for a depth, calculate the solubility difference, and translate the solubility reduction in grams/100mL into ppm in the atmosphere. Simple enough to do but the assumptions are extreme. The difference is the solubility at T1 and T2. Differentiation and integration are just irrelevant.

        Most places in the oceans are net sinks and some places around the tropics especially the eastern Pacific are sources. So you would need to do it on a grid and ideally know the temperature to depth.

        http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/pi/CO2/carbondioxide/pages/air_sea_flux_2009.html

        It is modified as well by shifts in biological activities – strong in cool Pacific conditions and weak in warm conditions. The is the major process of carbon sequestration in the deep oceans. There are processes that are barely known and others that are poorly constrained.

        But Wang focused on tropical vegetation – net production – Ben-Bond Lamberty and Allison Thomson focused on soil carbon. The CSIRO link focused desert greening. The youtube video discusses the biological pump. These are all things that bring us closer to understanding the global carbon cycle. As you most emphatically do not.

      • Now the Chef is just regurgitating what I have already stated.

        Most of the upward-trending CO2 profile is fossil-fuel originating and is well understood. A fraction is due to outgassing of CO2 due to warming.

        1) Part of the CO2 response to a temperature change is fast. That is activated by a SST that changes seasonally (with a lag of one or two months). Got that covered with a detailed analysis here (scroll to the bottom half):
        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2012/03/co2-outgassing-model.html

        2) Part of the CO2 response is interannually lagged, this shows up as longer term interactions that mathematically are modeled as an integral accumulation of the temperature residual, with the seasonal signal removed. Got that covered with a rough analysis here:
        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2011/10/temperature-induced-co2-release-adds-to.html

        Even though I had these separate posts, I did not put them together as concisely as I could have and probably should have. But now with the W.Wang paper, the idea is laid out cleanly, and that’s why I was able to come up with a sanity check to what they modeled here:

        I did the integral of temperature approach whereas Wang et al did the derivative of CO2. These approaches are based on the same underlying behavior, so they should map to the data equally well.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Wrong place.

        Wang et al used detrended data – using a linear least squares methods. To show the dependence of CO2 on rainfall and temperature. The details were examined using vegetation models a NASA supercomputer.

        They used actual data.

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Wangetal2013tropicalvegandCO2_zpsdeb0f214.png.html?sort=3&o=0

        Now let’s look at this integration again. Webby estimate is 1 ppm per degree C. Now apparently a 1 degree rise over a century is 50ppm. Think about – and assume it is linear and not temperature dependent as he dies. Each year the temperature rises 0.01 degrees and 0.01 ppm CO2 is added to the environment. The total over 100 years has to be 1 ppm and not 50. This is not a problem where you want the area under the curve but the difference between two points. I can’t believe I am even discussing at such length such trivial nonsense. It fails any sanity test.

        But the actual temperature depends on TOA radiant flux which also fluctuates wildly – especially with ENSO.

        ‘The top-of-atmosphere (TOA) Earth radiation budget (ERB) is determined from the difference between how much energy is absorbed and emitted by the planet. Climate forcing results in an imbalance in the TOA radiation budget that has direct implications for global climate, but the large natural variability in the Earth’s radiation budget due to fluctuations in atmospheric and ocean dynamics complicates this picture.’ http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/Loeb_et_al_ISSI_Surv_Geophys_2012.pdf

        Let’s look at actual annual growth rates of CO2.

        http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/webdata/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo_anngr.pdf

        The difference between 1998 and 1999 is exactly 2 ppm for about a 0.25 degree C difference. This is a fast process because it is ENSO related.

        So I get about 8 ppm/degree as a starting point from actual data. The actual ocean temperature rise – opposed to the short term swings – was about 0.03 degrees C last decade. Ocean CO2 outgassing is a minor process when compared to tropical vegetation and soil respiration that together increase CO2 flux to the atmosphere by about half the anthropogenic total. As most warming last century was quite natural – this might in fact slow the increase in due course. As human emissions are relatively minor – there are obvious opportunities to modify the large natural fluxes through landscape management to compensate for anthropogenic emissions.

        It points to a carbon dynamic that is vastly different to what has been assumed. This is emerging in stomata records as opposed to ice cores. It may be – for instance – that carbon levels were as high at the last glacial transition.

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/Steinthorsdottir_CO2_stomata_2013_zps0180f088.png.html?sort=3&o=3

      • Chief Incompetent please do not attempt math that you have no business doing. You are a complete poseur when it comes to that.

        There are a few other denialists besides yourself that will eventually chime in, such as Bartemis and Greg Goodman. I am curious to see those guys go ballistic over the W.Wang paper as well.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I am sure no one is interested anymore. I am equally sure that no one is interested in your gross and misguided simplifications or your exercises in pulling numbers out of your arse.

      • Somebody will google it. For example, if you google “co2 outgassing”, you will get my blog site as a top hit.

        Ouch! That’s gotta hurt.

      • Webster, “Somebody will google it. For example, if you google “co2 outgassing”, you will get my blog site as a top hit.”

        If YOU Google “co2 outgassing” YOU will get YOUR blog site as a top hit. The rest of the world doesn’t. :)

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Sure you don’t have Google custom search? I certainly don’t get it and it would be the least interesting result.

        Volcanic outgassing is first and this is second.

        http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Scientific/CO2-flux.htm

        Try Googling – ocean outgassing of co2

        Try turning off web history.

        I notice you have 6 comments on the CO2 outgassing page – 3 of them from you and 2 from sceptics. Why don’t you publish some stats on your loser blog?

      • Google is a verb in this case.

        Of course, to verify that I have a top site, use a search engine like http://duckduckgo.com which uses no personal info
        Then search this:
        ocean outgassing of co2
        and you will see that
        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2012/03/co2-outgassing-model.html
        is number 5 on the list.

        Right below my entry is a garbage explanation from hockeyschtick.blogspot.com who like Salby claims that temperature is the PRIMARY cause of rising CO2 levels

        “The data demonstrates temperature drives CO2 levels due to ocean outgassing, man-made CO2 does not drive temperature, and that man is not the primary cause of the rise in CO2 levels.”

        Part of the reason I do this is to counter the krank assertions that float around the net. Only diligent and objective analysis will cure that problem. The correct science always floats to the surface.

    • Joshua, have you been taking rhetoric lessons from Keith Kloor?!

      Back in the day when his blog was sometimes worth reading, one of Kloor’s many rhetorical quirks was that he could never bring himself to criticize Romm without a knee-jerk invocation of his clumsily constructed false equivalence to WUWT.

      Kloor’s kloorishness has always said far more about his failure to examine the variety of content one can find at WUWT (compared to the daily dose of hype one finds in Romm the tragic dragon’s random generated insult landscape) than it does about either site.

      By the same token, your rhetorical false equivalence (and this is certainly not the first!) serves no purpose – except perhaps to add a few more pixels to an inadvertent portrait of a dedicated acolyte’s attempt to elevate (in this instance) Cook et al‘s SkS propaganda popper-outer way beyond any level of deserved credibility.

      Every popular blog needs a resident bandwidth-waster. The modern day/digital equivalent of a medieval court jester, so to speak.

      I could be mistaken, but I do believe that your virtually countless convolutions, circumlocutions and conflations of convenience – not to mention your arrogance and rudeness – may well have placed you on the short-list for such a position..

      • The short-list, yes. But lolwot and webby work hard to see that he is not without adequate competition.

    • Steven Mosher

      Joshua.

      Imagine you are grading student papers in the field of “motivated reasoning” a topic where you think you have some command of the underlying research.

      Student A cites a web site that is secondary literature compiled by an individual who has less understanding of the underlying research that you do. An individual who is a cartoonist.

      Student B cites primary literature that is largely in line with your understanding of the latest breaking science in the field. The literature cited by student B is written by the top scientists in the field.

      Your job is to grade their papers. What would you say?

      ###############################

      Second point: E& E get it wrong.

      Here is what they claim

      “Those who would like a point-by-point scientific refutation of the positions cited by Kelly can consult the electronic supplementary material, which refers people to the SkepticalScience website (http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php). The website deals with each of the ‘myths’ from the standard ‘denier’ literature, which Kelly promotes. The site gives several levels of detail, provides references to the refereed scientific literature and has a well-moderated discussion of each view.”

      Ready? ok mr evidence,

      Let’s list these claims 1 by 1

      1 SkS provides a point by point refutation of the of the positions cited by Kelly
      2. Kelly promotes denier myths.
      3. The web site has a well moderated discussion.

      Well, #3 is false, as you should well know. But lets look at the other two

      What are the positions cited by Kelly I will call them A B and C

      A)########################
      “Modern climate scientists seem to be fixated on human-produced CO2, and have missed what the Sun [17] and the biosphere [18] have been doing for the last 30 years. If the history of solar behaviour repeats itself and we were to enter another little ice age.

      De Jager C, Duhau S. 2012 Sudden transitions and grand variations in the solar dynamo, past and future. J. Space Weather Space Climate 2, A07.
      Boisvenue C, Running SW. 2006 Impacts of climate change on natural forest productivity—evidence since the middle of the 20th

      Sks discuss neither of the papers nor do they directly discuss the issues these papers raise. One might argue that they tangentially address the first paper when they discuss the possible effects of entering another LIA. More importantly neither of these points are denier myths.

      Lets go on

      B###############################################
      ” The present temperature stasis since 1998, if extended by another 5 years, as now suggested [19] at a time of ever-increasing CO2 emissions, implies that both the coupling between CO2 and globally averaged surface temperatures has been exaggerated in the climate models and natural variability has been underestimated.”

      ” UK Met Office. 2013 Decadal forecast. See http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/seasonal-to-decadal/long-range/decadal-fc.”

      Well, you wont find Sks challenging this cite. and the cite isnt denialist literature. How about the argument.
      Is the argument a denier MYTH? err no.

      Roll tape to Real climate: here is an example

      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/04/verification-of-regional-model-trends/#more-15152

      ‘First, the models may underestimate low-frequency natural variability. Knutson et al show that natural variability in the warm pool around the Maritime Continent is indeed underestimated up to time scales of >10 years, contributing to the discrepancy there in Fig.1e. In most other regions the models have the correct or too large variability.

      Another cause may be the incorrect specification of local forcings such as aerosols or land use. As an example, visibility observations suggest that aerosol loadings in Europe where higher in winter in the 1950s than assumed in CMIP5. This influences temperature via mist and fog (Vautard et al, 2009) and other mechanisms.

      Finally, the model response to the changes in greenhouse gases, aerosols and other forcings may be incorrect. The trend differences in Asia and Canada are mainly in winter and could be due to problems in simulating the stable boundary layers there.

      To conclude, climate models can and have been verified against observations in a property that is most important for many users: the regional trends. This verification shows that many large-scale features of climate change are being simulated correctly, but smaller-scale observed trends are in the tails of the ensemble more often than predicted by chance fluctuations. The CMIP5 multi-model ensemble can therefore not be used as a probability forecast for future climate. We have to present the useful climate information in climate model ensembles in other ways until these problems have been resolved.”

      So, E&E claim that Kelly cites denier literature and denier myths. He doesnt.
      The arguments he is making are mainstream arguments. You’ll find them cited at real climate

      And lastly

      C)#####################################

      “Indeed, Otto et al. [20] have just revised down their estimate of climate sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 to a value that is now half that cited in earlier IPCC reports. ”

      ↵ Otto F, et al. 2013 Energy budget constraints on climate response. Nat. Geosci. 6, 415–416. (doi:10.1039/ngeo1836) CrossRef

      Well, ottos paper is not a denialist myth. Lets look at the authors. You probably dont recognize the names, can you say lead authors for the IPCC?
      oh wait one of them is a critic of Judith’s. lets put it this way, if you wanted to assemble a top notch team on sensitivity you could not beat this one.

      Alexander Otto, Friederike E. L. Otto, Olivier Boucher, John Church, Gabi Hegerl, Piers M. Forster, Nathan P. Gillett, Jonathan Gregory, Gregory C. Johnson, Reto Knutti, Nicholas Lewis, Ulrike Lohmann, Jochem Marotzke, Gunnar Myhre, Drew Shindell, Bjorn Stevens, and Myles R. Allen. I am writing this article in my personal capacity, not as a representative of the author team.

      This paper is not denialist myth IT IS WRITTEN BY LEAD IPPC AUTHORS!

      • Ted Carmichael

        Well done, Mosh. +1

      • Well, sure, but the IPCC lead authors are adopting a denialist myth. What do you expect them to do when the facts change, er when the myths evolve?
        ===========

    • lurker passing through, laughing

      Joshua is still stuck on “idiot”, apparently, but with his snark diluting the formerly fairly intelligent glimmers he once held.

  41. michael hart

    The unbearable boring-ness of Malthusians.

  42. We jest can’t predict. See me 2nd edition of Serf Underground Journal
    on Food and Famine.
    Beth the serf,

    http://beththeserf.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/second-edition-serf-underground-journal-food-and-famine/

  43. engineers should take charge of climatology – they know physics – everything is controlled by the laws of physics: http://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/climate/

  44. What is left out of this discussion is the fact that, in order for man’s ingenuity to function to it’s maximun, all men must be free to not only think up new ways and products, they must be free to keep and enjoy the products of their ingenuity. If they are hobbled with government regulations and/or have their wealth confiscated by governments, which is prevelent throughout undeveloped countries and is becomming more and more prevelent in developed countries, then the ability to provide for increased populations will indeed be compromised. What the Erlich’s choose to ignore is that the main reason 25% of the world’s population live in abject poverty and go hungry is because they have no access to cheap affordable energy. The reason there is no cheap affordable energy in the underdevelpoed countries is because these countries are not freedom/individual rights protecters, but are freedom/individual rights violators. As counterintuitive as it may seem, the burning of more fossil fuels will actually make the planet cleaner. Which society has a cleaner environment, the US or Sudan? Without cheap affordable energy the economies of the undeveloped countries will not grow and their residents will not be able to have jobs or accumulate wealth and therefore will not be able to devote any time or money to improving their environment. People who have to burn wood and/or dung in order to just survive until tomorrow have no incentive to give any attention to their environment. These people are dominated by their environment while people in more free countries with developed economies dominate their environment and then can afford to work to make and keep their environment cleaner.
    So the bottom line is: support freedom, oppose government intrusion into our economies and support the increased use of fossil fuels.

    • Plus one. Ken.

      A medieval pessimist predicting the fuchur could
      not have foreseen the Industrial Revolution and the
      development of steam power of the 19th century that
      was a game changer fer the west.

      The reverend Mr Pessimist, Thomas Malthus, in the late
      18th century, Sir William Crooks, President of the British
      Association for the Advancement of Science in the 19th
      century, Paul Erlich and the Club of Rome in the 20th,
      failed to account for human ingenuity, largely based on
      fossil fuels, that put an end ter famine in the western world.

      Bts

  45. old slogan about ”distribution of food equally” who is going to pay the producers of that food? If they don’t get paid – they get bankrupt and cannot function / produce…

  46. When I was first exposed to the shambles which is Erlich’s thought, I calculated the maximum number of humans who would be sustained if all the Sun’s energy that reaches Earth were dedicated only to the sustenance of humans, at 100 watts/human. The number is in the low quadrillions, almost a million times as many humans as are presently sustained on Earth. Granted, this is a theoretical maximum, practically impossible, but it illustrates that a tiny increase in the efficiency of our use of the available energy would easily sustain many times the Earth’s population of humans, and in a style to which we would all like to become accustomed.

    Then there is the importation of energy from extra-terrestrially.

    What the Malthusian Doomsayers primarlly lack is imagination, well, hope, too. I’ve said for years that Techno-Optimists vs Malthusian Doomsayers is not even a sporting contest.
    ===============

  47. While Kelly’s view of a recycling, rechargeable, telecommuting, miniaturized, energy efficient world is often laughed at by conservatives when put forward by liberals, they seem to welcome it here as an antidote to any call for action that would provide for the actual growing global basic needs that are complicated under climate change, and a real look at just leaving fossil fuels in the ground.

    • May I interest you in a subscription to the first volume of ‘Equatorial Cities’?

      The currently favored design is modeled after the jellyfish.
      =========================

  48. Collapse, catastrophe, conflagration don’t worry me. This isn’t because Unnatural Climate Kinetics due Forcing can’t end up there. It isn’t because the risk due Unnatural Normalized Trends in Climate from the fossil industries is not amplified greatly over what a more moderate emission level would lead to. It’s because even if no extinction event happens, and we largely lead non-Malthusian futures, our lives are still more expensive due the lesser evils.

    When I say more expensive, I mean at the expense of most of us, for the sole benefit of the owners of fossil industries, without compensation to us or consent from us.

    Some Australians complain their coal will cost more and some Texans whinge about how much it will cost them to gas up their oversized trucks and drive around their country roads drinking Pabst and shooting at mailboxes out the window, but the rest of us will be paying more for produce because of more drought and flood and depleted soils and sicker cattle and pricier air conditioning for factory farms.

    The rest of us will pay more for Internet to defray the cost of cooling server farms.

    The rest of us will pay more for medicine to combat tropical diseases in what once were temperate climes that would kill off their vectors on chilly nights.

    The rest of us will keep paying subsidies to make their untenable fossil fed businesses survive where they ought be overcome by honest, hard-working providers of alternatives like clean nuclear, healthy wind, and reliable solar.

    Sure, collapse is possible, but the same cause of the risk of collapse increasing — however remote — is the cause of the certainty of money being stolen from your wallets and mine.

    • Bart R

      The largest root cause for a more expensive life for “most of us” would be a tax on energy.

      All the other fears of higher costs, which you list, are insignificant in comparison.

      Max

      • manacker | August 4, 2013 at 4:20 pm |

        You say this, but the experience of 77% of BC citizens and 85% of BC businesses under their revenue neutral carbon tax is the opposite of what you claim.

        What to believe, the data, or your unsubstantiated opinion?

  49. The Ehrlichs phrase the problem as just a communication problem. If only people would listen to the scientists, and the scientists could express themselves better. Unfortunately that is not how public perception and policy are made. These are ‘pulled’ rather than ‘pushed’, by which I mean politicians know exactly who to invite to their panels to get the view they want expressed, and journalists know exactly who to interview to get their views expressed, and the public therefore is insulated from the actual science by these barriers, because the can’t read the papers for themselves. What we need is the so-called ‘well informed citizenry’ in Jefferson’s words about the necessity of education. This rings even more true with proper public understanding of today’s scientific issues needed for policy decisions.

    • > politicians know exactly who to invite to their panels to get the view they want expressed, and journalists know exactly who to interview to get their views expressed

      Suppose every scientist were a clone of Tamsin.

      Imagine the empty op-eds and the empty panels.

      A would finally be A.

      • May I ask, what is this ‘A’?

      • I would hope people like Tamsin would go to panels if just invited to talk about science, not go beyond. It is made difficult because of the leading questions, however, and outright being called liars by others on the panel, if it gets nasty.

      • Ayn Rand was fond of saying that “A is A”, Ragnaar.
        This was supposed to make her on par with Aristotle.
        Just below Chuck Norris.

      • I think Tamsin simply forgot about leading questions, Jim D.

        ***

        Perhaps there might be a scientific way to solve this:

        Scientists get selected randomly, or in double blind.
        Politicians do not know whom they try to lead.
        There are three panels, two are control panels.
        One control panel has fake politicians, if that makes sense.
        One control panel has fake scientists, and is outsourced to think tanks.

        Nobody knows anyone’s authority, anyone’s role.
        Telling about oneself is forbidden.
        Even the population participates in the experiment.
        The diffusion of each panels’ proceedings is randomized.

        True light might only come from true darkness.

        ***

        Next time someone tells you how bad is ad hominem, think about this experiment.

        ***

        H/T Jorge Luis Borges

      • A is A. A thing is what it is. The Law of Identity. Thank you.

      • willard, I think the panels should be the other way around. Teams of a few politicians should be put in front of a board of scientists and asked to explain how they view climate change. Then they can be politely corrected for any misconceptions they may have, although there may be some giggling from the scientist audience in some cases which may be the kind of feedback they need.

      • I would heart that, Jim D.

        Perhaps a way to make sure the role are completely blind would be for every members to prepare a number of questions.

        Politicians’ responses to politicians’ scientific questions might provide good tells, though.

      • Heh, you need to take that up with staff.
        ==============

    • And I meant to say in addition, that some might say fine, you get both sides of an issue depending which politicians or journalists you are dealing with. But the problem is that the views are represented in proportion to the politics rather than in proportion to the scientists. The proportion is distorted by this lens.

    • Got to love the regular referral to communication problem. It most certainly can’t be the message itself.

  50. i remember seeing an interview with a twelve year old girl from Santa Cruz who was receiving an award for her efforts in recycling table scraps or reducing her carbon footprint,adopting a polar bear, something like that. She was very proud and her mother, beaming for the camera was even prouder.

    Then the girl said that sometimes she thought it would have been better if she had never been born. Her mom looked even more proud.

    E&E do great harm. How can it be lost on a reasonably intelligent child that when it gets right down to it is their presence on the Earth that is the heart of the problem the way these people describe it.

    I think it is Matt Ridley who said, OK, halve the Earth’s population; who do you leave off the team, Edison or Pasteur? Oh hell, I guess we can keep both and just give up one of those stinking beggars in India like the ones that so disgusted E all those years ago in India. Or the girl in Santa Cruz.

    I wish E&E the courage of their convictions.

    • Check out Erlich’s reaction to the teeming Indian subcontinent’s masses.
      =====================

    • Meh, you had it already. For some reason, I thought your ‘E’ referenced Edison, and was wondering what he thought of India.
      ==============

  51. I love the “They only need to be right once” line. It’s a variation on the phrase used to describe terrorists. They only need to succeed once. I’ll leave the remaining parallels to others to discuss.

    But remember, they only need to be wrong once too.

    Imagine a world in which the CAGWers got their way. Governments around the world decarbonize the global economy by taking full control of the world energy economy through taxation and regulation.

    Development in Russia, China and India comes to a grinding halt. The tax base in western countries deteriorates rapidly, leaving no money to waste on green energy research, let alone subsidizing the boondoggles currently all the rage – wind and solar. Energy use, not just CO2 emissions, plummet world wide.

    Food production drops as energy costs (necessarily) skyrocket. That 1 billion of people living in hunger becomes 4 billion starving within a couple years. The masses in China, finally realizing that the the communists’ promises of prosperity right around the corner are dead without cheap energy, revolt.

    Famine refugees flood the already taxed western countries. Food riots result as progressives around the western world limit access to food stuffs to party members, After all, the state is all that is left to protect people, so the members who make up the state have to be fed first.

    Countries with massive poor populations, and nuclear weapons, realizing that they have zero chance of emerging from the poverty forced on them by western countries, demand massive food aid under threat of nuclear retaliation.

    Someone somewhere fires off the first nuke, and, well, we’ve all seen Dr. Strangelove.

    Meanwhile Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid take a vacation to the Hamptons. After all, at this point, what difference does it make?

    Hey, this chicken little stuff is fun.

  52. Fruitcake science.

  53. Here’s a problem that has already raised its ugly head. Economic stagnation due to socialism in the US:

    “When the payroll report was released last month, the world finally noticed what we had been saying for nearly three years: that the US was slowly being converted to a part-time worker society. This slow conversion accelerated drastically in the last few months, and especially in June, when part time jobs exploded higher by 360K while full time jobs dropped by 240K. In July we are sad to report that America’s conversation to a part-time worker society is not “tapering”: according to the Household Survey, of the 266K jobs created (note this number differs from the establishment survey), only 35% of jobs, or 92K, were full time. The rest were… not.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-02/obamacare-full-frontal-953000-jobs-created-2013-77-or-731000-are-part-time

    • Job One is jobbing the American people, and the means employed to do so were better off unemployed.
      ====================

  54. Pingback: Pondering the Permian | Skeptical Swedish Scientists

  55. I would be curious to have heard this couples vows,

    “Do you take this man, through peak oil, and agricultural collapse. Through catastrophic global warming and roaming packs of cannibals”

    I do.

  56. In a warmer world with more CO2, we are seeing more plant growth, in particular near deserts. In such places, the increased efficiency in water use by a plant, caused by increased CO2 (plant stomata don’t have to be open as much, hence less water loss), is most important.

    But we have seen increased CO2 causing increased growth of many plants, increased production per acre of many crops, both in experiments, and in real world assessments And in a warmer world, more land will be warm long enough to have a crop.

    If the Ehrlichs were right — and Kelly offers many reasons why they are not, as did Julian Simon the last time we were subjected to the Ehrlichs, 30 years or more ago — then we would need a lot more food, no? Rising CO2 levels — whatever the adverse effects, and I’m not being cavalier about them — would seem to be the salvation of the starving masses the Ehrlichs fear.

  57. I’m surprised to see this nonsense being discussed here. Ehrlich has no place on a serious discussion blog on science. He’s just an old fool who’s predictions have been wrong on every single occasion, and definitely not worthy of space.

    • John B, perhaps you missed this part of Judith’s intro:

      My main rationale for a post on this is the rebuttal by Mike Kelly (see below).

      From the news release by the Royal Society:

      Furthermore, IMHO, if there’s any place Ehrlich’s recycled warmed over hyper-alarmism does not belong it is in the annals of the (once upon a time, but alas no more) respected and prestigious U.K. Royal Society. This organization’s descent (e.g. here and here) from objective purveyor of respectable and respected science to promoter of dark-green-tinted advocacy propaganda (of the alarmist and “sustainable development” kind) is a disgrace – and a disservice to the Fellows whose voices it purportedly represents.

      • Agree completely with your comments about the Royal Society, I just find it rather depressing that Ehrlich’s alarmist nonsense even finds its way into serious discussion on one of the reliable science blogs. It’s giving it a credibility it doesn’t deserve even if it has been comprehensively rebutted by both Mike Kelly and the vast majority of commenters.

  58. “Malthusians say that governments must control reproductive habits of the poor because changes in childbearing practices have resulted in rapid population growth in developing nations. Not true: the average family size in Third World countries is virtually unchanged. World population is increasing because of lower death rates due to better nutrition and disease control. Another popular but misguided argument is that high population density adversely affects the ability of a nation to develop. But the data shows that densely populated nations, such as Taiwan and Japan, can be very prosperous. Conversely, some sparsely populated countries are among the world’s poorest.

    The evidence is clear. The surest way for a nation to defuse its population bomb is to create a fertile environment for economic growth. Why, then, does the official Cairo plan ignore development issues while advocating government spending of $17 billion annually on programs such as healthcare, family planning, and gender equality? First, many bureaucrats who attended the meeting do not believe that free choices made by millions of free people can possibly have beneficial social results. Only the prescriptions of an informed few—paid for and sometimes brutally applied by a central authority—can cope with the “population juggernaut.” Second, many intellectuals who were in Cairo make a comfortable living from government subsidies that fund their policy proposals. Third, free economic development poses a threat to the raw political power exercised by the world’s petty tyrants. An effective way to spread the suffocating blanket of control over a nation’s citizens is to declare an emergency, which can be relieved only by enacting legislation to regiment and control people. The so-called crisis ends, but the new laws and institutions remain. Government expands; freedom contracts. The only antidote to arbitrary political power is the freedom which is built into the private property order.”

    http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/the-population-bomb-exploding-the-myth#axzz2awK7VV6W

  59. Dear Dr. Curry,
    You stated once that you don’t have time for unplausible types like the sky dragons.

    Now, suddenly, you have time for the crazy cult of doom, for speculations devoid of any factual base, for the religion of Malthus.

    Odd, very odd.

    The Royal Society is a poor fig leaf.

    • On the word of no one, but we like to except the depraved imaginings of Paul Ehrlich. Honest! Take our royal word for it.
      ==============

  60. Kelly answers his own question: They have all been overcome by the exercise of human ingenuity just as the doom was being prophesied.

    Which means people DID something to meet the threat. The fact that this worked in the past (see, for example Y2K) does not mean that denial or even wait and see is a useful strategy.

    • “Which means people DID something to meet the threat.”

      Sheer and utter nonsense.

      Mankind has not advanced technologically because it was responding to chicken little warnings from progressives desperate for power. We have done so because millions of entrepreneurs operating in free markets in democratic societies seek to better themselves, and thus their fellow man, because it is in their own self interest.

      Food production methods for instance, including genetic modification, were not accomplished because Ehrlich was preaching the end of the world was nigh. But because there was a profit to be made.

      If you “elites” would shut up, get out of the way, and stop distorting the market incentives, similar advances will come as well, and faster.

      • Right, the free market fairies provide just in time service. What a nasty way of demeaning those who saw the emerging problems and took action to deal with them. And, oh yes, in many of those cases it was the elites (like the Ford and Rockerfeller Foundations) who provided the necessaries

      • We have done so because millions of entrepreneurs operating in free markets in democratic societies seek to better themselves, and thus their fellow man, because it is in their own self interest.

        The same self interest that creates the self destruction of wealth (the endogenous factor) when expectations of the technological “breakthroughs” are less in reality eg Kondratiev Schumpeter, the latter suggesting Pop is the expectation.

        US genetically modified food yields are less then Mendelian food yields.US food producers require heavy subsidies and countervailing tariff protection from unsubsidized food imports such as Aus /NZ

      • lurker passing through, laughing

        GaryM,
        Notice that rabbits sponging off the public have no respect for those who create, and the Malthusians remain stuck on apocalypse.

      • The only one sponging off the public in the market commodities is the high risk gamblers such as GS and JPM eg Mccain.

        Let me be clear. JPMorgan completely disregarded risk limits and stonewalled federal regulators. It is unsettling that a group of traders made reckless decisions with federally insured money, and that all of this was done with the full awareness of top officials at JPMorgan. This bank appears to have entertained—indeed, embraced—the idea that it was quote “too big to fail”. In fact, with regard to how it managed the derivatives that are the subject of today’s hearing, it seems to have developed a business model based on that notion.
        It is our duty to the American public to remind the financial industry that high-stakes gambling with federally insured deposits will not be tolerated. In 2012, the “London Whale” trades resulted in a $6 billion loss. What if it was $60 billion? Or, $100 billion? Does JP Morgan operate under the assumption that the taxpayer will bail them out again? What place does taxpayers’ underwriting of the big banks’ disregard for “moral hazard” have in the proper operation of a truly free market?

        invoking imaginary deities such as “the free market” are fictions.

      • Farm Subsidies at the Fedeal level: Around $15 billion per year.
        Total Federal spending: Around $3.6 trillion per year.
        Rough estimate of Farm and Ranch output: $380 billion per year.
        My apologies to any country we restrict imports from.

      • Point taken. But that was a failure of the government. There wasn’t enough will to let the market have its way. There was at least some expectation that, they’d be protected by the government for their failing. And they were right.

      • What I have read is JP Morgan, should it get into bad financial trouble again, would be unwound and sold off. Its shareholders would lose everything; its management would be fired.

      • “Right, the free market fairies provide just in time service.”

        As it turns out, the hydrofracking success, flash-in-the-pan though it may be, was successful due to persistent funding by the USA government and dogged determination by some public employees.

        http://thebreakthrough.org/blog/Where_the_Shale_Gas_Revolution_Came_From.pdf

        “Alex Crawley, one of the leading engineers working on shale gas for the Department of Energy, recalls his efforts derided as “Crawley’s folly.” Mitchell Energy engineers encountered numerous obstacles to successful shale plays before partnering with federal agencies, which bore some of the costs for novel horizontal drilling techniques and hand-delivered crucial three-dimensional mapping technologies developed at Sandia National Laboratories. Even with this partnership, Mitchell Energy endured years of experimentation and dozens of failed test wells before producing shale gas for a profit.”

        http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/31/the-silent-partner-behind-the-shale-energy-boom-taxpayers/?_r=0

        Gov’t support for one player? It would get heavily criticized today.

      • A private company manages to overcome massive government bureaucracy, and the anti-carbon dementia of the EPA, in part because one bureaucrat tried to get government partially out of the way. Therefore government is to be credited with the anti-CAGW phenomenon of commercially viable frakking.

        Genius.

        This is like crediting the limited progress of China in coming out of the economic stone age, not to the limited free market reforms they have instituted, but to the remaining massive command and control mechanism of the communist party.

        You can’t fix stupid.

      • Gary, rent a clue, it wasn’t just George Mitchell, but a number of government labs that worked on the project, including NETL which has always been a research lab from the Bureau of Mines days concentrating on coal and related fossil resources.

      • Gary, do you consider India the ideal country?
        The world’s largest democracy: does it need fixing, the Gary way?
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/india-worlds-largest-democracy/10104.html

  61. “Questions Remain

    According to Adrienne Sutton, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental laboratory, “there is not a scientific consensus on how climate change and ocean acidification will impact phytoplankton. There have been studies that show phytoplankton abundance may decrease with climate change and ocean acidification and there have been studies that show the opposite.”

    Until we can confidently project how phytoplankton will respond to climate change, we cannot predict how future oxygen concentrations will change. This makes phytoplankton a wild card in the debate over whether or not atmospheric oxygen levels will experience a significant decline. Given that phytoplankton make up the base of the marine food chain as well as produce oxygen, this is an important subject that deserves more research.”

    http://www.worldgreen.org/home/wg-feature-articles/8472-atmospheric-oxygen-depletion-should-we-be-worried.html

    • The nature of the feedback that phytoplankton gives to rising CO2 is also very poorly known, but is likely to be large, negative, and growing.
      ===================

    • Ocean “acidification” is a base misnomer. ;-D

  62. the Royal Society published this paper by Ehrlich & Ehrlich: Perspective: Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?

    Another government-funded exercise calling for more government.
    Goodness, what a surprise.

  63. Can a collapse of sensible government be avoided? I fear we have long passed the tipping point.

  64. The Rudd guvuhmint in Oz has announced a September
    Election date. Here’s the published costs of some of Labor’s
    ‘policies:’

    ETS = $1,345 billion reduced GDP to 2050
    Ref Henry Ergas , Gary Johns, “The Australian, ” Newspaper,
    Ergas’ figs derived from Treasury Chart 5:13,
    Renewable Energy Targer= 430 billion to 2020
    Robert Gottliebsen Business Spectator 2013/7/24
    The NBN -$60-70 billion latest estimate but probably more if
    completed.=, (it is 0.5% physically complete now.)
    Ref “The Australian.”

    A serf.

  65. Ehrlich has a valid point.
    Mankind sure has the capability and porpensity to self destruction. The history of the first half of the 20th century proves that.
    If we’re going to heed the receipes of doom mongers like Ehrlich, we’re going to inflict on ourselves great damage.

    It is already happening right now! Many governments have adopted crazy policies of spending tons of money on useles things, .like windmills.
    The threat of self destruction is real, spurred by such preachings as Ehrlich’s

    • Don’t forget that Nazi was based on a soup og malthusianist ideology (lebesn raum), pseudo-darwinism, and romantic ecologism…
      In Russia it was based on the idea to rationalize the distrubution of wealth and fight against opposition.

      I feel that Malthusianism is THE big risk for the planet. It have prevented us to develop many technologies which could have reduced impact on ecosystems, either by forbiding research of usage, but also by diverting fund from useful domain.

      Always be alerted when somone talk of the planet and not the humans.

  66. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

  67. It is well know among food producers that there is no shortage of food, only the shortage of money to buy it. The solution to that problem also seems to solve the population problem. The trouble with academics using simple logic is that mother nature doesn’t.

  68. As for survival feel free to study sources from Prof James McCanney to the biblical witness of Ephraim.(IQ 200 + ( name witheld) From Col Tom Beardon & David Sereda, to Dr Nick Begich & Cliff Carnicom, or Stephen Quayle & Lyndon LaRouche. I have been to Tromso and the underground. Ten yrs in uniform trained in intel & thirteen yrs in energy. Geoenergetics, bioenergetics, psycoenergetics. A physics lesson is needed of tier 1 science. See http://www.authorthat.wordpress.com The Blogathon Philabuster

  69. Early Ehrlich. (I don’t have a copy of the 1968 book.)
    Ehrlich, P.R., and A.H. Ehrlich. “The Population Bomb Revisited.” The Electronic Journal of Sustainable Development 1, no. 3 (2009): 63–71. http://dea.org.au/news/article/the_population_bomb_revisited_by_paul_r._ehrlich_and_anne_h._ehrlich

    The original website http://www.ejsd.org/docs/The_Population_Bomb_Revisited.pdf 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.

    Ehrlich, Paul. “The Population Bomb (1968).” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, April 11, 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Population_Bomb&oldid=549373269

    The Population Bomb is a best-selling book written by Stanford University Professor Paul R. Ehrlich and his wife, Anne Ehrlich (who was uncredited), in 1968.[1][2] It warned of the mass starvation of humans in the 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation, as well as other major societal upheavals, and advocated immediate action to limit population growth. Fears of a “population explosion” were widespread in the 1950s and 60s, but the book and its author brought the idea to an even wider audience.[3][4] The book has been criticized in recent decades for its alarmist tone and inaccurate predictions. The Ehrlichs stand by the basic ideas in the book, stating in 2009 that “perhaps the most serious flaw in The Bomb was that it was much too optimistic about the future” and believe that it achieved their goals because “it alerted people to the importance of environmental issues and brought human numbers into the debate on the human future.”[2]

  70. Ehrlich, king of the idée fixe. How to stretch one idea into a 54 year long career at Stanford. The human population has increased; most might see that as a measure of success, with longer, more healthy lives. Living conditions have improved. Most of us no longer have the need for twelve children, but we still have the desire for a few. Not many countries have been able to reduce that desire. China tried laws; Communists tried repression. Few environmentalists dare bring this topic up. The Erlichs have one child. How many grandchildren? If Erlich or Malthus said that infinite population growth is impossible, that would get a “well, duh” response. If they said there might be a limit out there somewhere, then we could discuss what those limits might be. But when he declares near immediate and dire catastrophes, he just shows how little he has learned over the years.
    There won’t be any big collapse, just the normal series of little ones. Things come, things go, life goes on. “It’s a miracle” (Shakespeare in Love)

  71. Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Scientists warn of a rapid collapse of the Earth’s ecosystem.
    The ecological balance is under threat: climate change, population growth and environmental degradation could lead even in this century an irreversible collapse of the global ecosystem.

    –> http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2012/06/06/scientists-uncover-evidence-of-impending-tipping-point-for-earth/

    The cardinal reason is the sudden development of human population that threatens to devour all our resources.

    Since 21 August there is therefore a petition at change.org for the introduction of global birth-controls, also in HINDI!

    If you want to support this or publish it on your website, here is the link:
    http://www.change.org/de/Petitionen/weltweite-geburtenregelungen-verbindlich-einf%C3%BChren-introduce-obligatory-worldwide-birth-controls

    Please continue to spread the link or the petition as possible to all interested people, organisations etc.

    Thank you and best regards
    Achim Wolf, Germany

  72. I live in Brazil and we suffered a strong heat wave never seen before. Now the water resevoir are empty and people may have energy and water shortage. I have no doubt that big changes are coming and it will come very soon.

  73. It was said: “Paul Ehrlich is Bing Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University and president of Stanford’s Center for Conservation Biology. Michael Kelly is Prince Philip Professor of Technology, Department of Engineering, Cambridge University. These two experts obviously disagree; which expert is most distinguished? Its a tough one to call. ”

    I can’t agree. It’s not a tough one to call, at all. Because biology, being a science about living automats (that’s what any lifeform is – an automatic unit built of organic matter), – biology studies both mechanics of living system, and also general principles of mechanics as well (otherwise, it couldn’t study any mechanics at all). Engineering, on the other hand, only studies general principles of mechanics, and applies them to non-living matter (which is many times easier to do than to build any equivalent mechanism or unit using organic matter, for sure).

    In other words, in my book, biologists beat engineers any day. Simply because of that huge difference of complexity engineers and biologists are divided by.

    Note, i do not imply that Ehrlich is in this PARTICULAR case is right or “more correct” than Kelly; whether he is, is a different subject. Here, i just make a little point commenting this “tough one to call” bit quoted above. Nothing else, nothing more.