Can cows help save the planet?

by Judith Curry

Some interesting new ideas about the role of soils, farming and livestock in fighting global warming.

For context, here are some previous posts on this topic:

Summary of the problem

From an article We can reverse climate change by the way we grow food:

The overall global food system — including land-use changes, feed, fertilizer, transportation, refrigeration, processing and waste — is estimated to be responsible for 30 to 50 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Over the last decade, agricultural emissions have increased by approximately 1 percent per year.

Researchers at the World Bank Group estimated intensive livestock production alone is the largest single contributing factor to climate change. Industrial animal agriculture is also one of the largest polluter of air, water and land, and the largest consumers of fossil fuels and water and yet feed only a relatively small percentage of the world’s population, compared with those fed by small-scale farmers who continue to be the major producers of the world.

Healthy soils store vast quantities of atmospheric carbon. Improving soil health is therefore an integral part of reversing CO2 levels.

Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change

From the same article:

According to cutting edge agricultural research, including that outlined in the Rodale Institute’s white paper, Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change, “recent data from farming systems and pasture trials around the globe show that we could sequester more than 100 percent of current annual CO2 emissions with a switch to widely available and inexpensive organic management practices, which we term “regenerative organic agriculture.”

As well as sequestering carbon, regenerative organic and agro-ecological systems can mitigate the chaotic effects brought about by climate change, such as flooding. Healthy soils have structure that allows them to retain large quantities of water. This structure not only holds soil in place preventing erosion, it also allows plants to be more tolerant of weather extremes. Regenerative systems increase the amount of carbon in soil while maintaining yields. In fact, research shows that yields under organic systems are more resilient to the extreme weather which accompanies climate change.

Conventional agricultural practices have resulted in a loss of 30-75 percent of original organic soil carbon, as well as being heavily reliant upon synthetic fossil fuel-based nitrogen fertilizer, mono cropping and toxic pesticides. Regenerative, organic agriculture on the other hand refrains from using fossil-fuel based inputs and instead utilizes cover crops, integrated pest management systems, residue mulching, composting, and crop rotation, and conservation tillage. Organic agriculture also uses 30-50 percent less fossil fuel energy than industrial farms.

Growing wheat might help fight climate change

Civil Eats has an article If grown right, wheat might help fight climate change.  Excerpts:

Conventional farming usually gets a bad climate rap. But a new paper, published today in the journal Nature Communications, offers a slice of good news. The study found that a combination of a few basic farming practices boosted wheat production and put heaps of carbon back into the soil–more than enough to compensate for the GHGs emitted in the process of growing it.

Roots and stems left in the ground at the end of the growing season return carbon to the soil, offsetting emissions. That means reducing the climate impact of wheat hinges on maximizing soil carbon storage and minimizing inputs, all while growing as much grain as possible.

As it turns out, keeping crops in the ground as much as possible, rather than letting fields lay fallow, played an important role in decreasing wheat’s carbon footprint. Fallowing leads to the loss of carbon-rich organic matter–bad for soil and for climate–and produces less food.

On the other hand, planting fields continuously requires more carbon-intensive inputs, like fertilizers and pesticides. That’s where the lentils come in. Lentils belong to a class of plants called legumes that can convert useless atmospheric nitrogen into plant food, some of which remains in the soil through the next year. On average, fields planted with lentils required 30 percent less fertilizer than fields planted continuously with wheat, and produced just as much grain.

In effect, the lentil rotation works like cover cropping, another similar approach, which involves planting (often inedible) legumes in the off-season. Cover cropping is common on organic farms, which forgo synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, and must devise other ways of adding nitrogen to the soil. It has also been making headway as a sustainable option within in conventional systems.

The researchers found that, in the fields where all these practices were applied together, carbon built up in the soil at staggering rates. Overall, the scientists estimated that for each kilogram of wheat they harvested, the soil removed up to a third of a kilogram of CO2 from the atmosphere.

Although Gan is cautious about generalizing his results beyond wheat, he said the techniques recommended in the study may hold promise for other crops. Prime candidates are those grown in degraded soils that have lost carbon due to poor management, and corn and oilseeds, which require large amounts of nitrogen.

 Virgin Earth

The Virgin Earth Challenge is about removing CO2 from the atmosphere.  As far as I can tell, this is part of Richard Branson’s Virgin brand.  Two article are of particular relevance

Can cows help save the planet? is a post written by Judith Schwartz, author of the book Cows Save The Planet and other improbable ways of restoring soil to heal the Earth.  Excerpts:

Few people realize that there is more carbon in the world’s soil than in the atmosphere and all plant life put together and that cultivated soils are estimated to have lost 50 to 70 percent of their carbon. Or that some scientists say regenerative agricultural practices that return carbon to the soil could bring atmospheric carbon concentrations back to 350 ppm.

Enter Holistic Management, developed over several decades by Zimbabwean wildlife biologist Allan Savory. The core of HM is Holistic Planned Grazing, in which livestock are used as a tool for large-scale land restoration. Savory’s insight was that grasslands and grazing animals evolved together—that the land needs the animals in the same way that the animals need the land. Specifically, the land needs animal impact: herbivores act so as to kickstart biological processes that would otherwise stall. Just as land might suffer from being overgrazed, it can also be undergrazed.

A quick snapshot of how it works: animals nibble grasses in a way that stimulates plant growth; their waste adds fertility to the soil; and as herds in the wild bunch up and flee en masse to avoid predators, their trampling breaks capped earth, pushes down dead plant matter so it’s in contact with microorganisms and other soil-dwellers that will break it down, and presses in seeds so that a diversity of species can germinate. The perennial grasses, plant residues and animal waste build carbon, which makes soil less prone to dry out and the rain that falls is more effective. In practice, the rancher takes on the role that the predator does in nature, keeping animals on the move so that land is neither under- nor overgrazed.

 The point is that Holistic Planned Grazing has reinvigorated the land, and functioning land is potentially storing a lot of carbon (bolstering soil fertility), moderating against temperature extremes (thanks to plant cover and transpiration), holding water (enhancing resilience to floods and droughts) and supporting life (above and below ground).

Reviving land ecosystems, in which the hydrological, carbon and nitrogen cycles are restored, belong in our discussions of climate. The upside here is that we can make this happen. And by working holistically, the benefits, which include the potential to sustainably draw down a significant amount of atmospheric CO2, could greatly exceed the sum of all the parts.

A second post critically evaluates Savory’s claims.  Excerpts:

For events like this conference to translate into wider adoption for Savory’s techniques, the Savory Institute will need to start targeting a new, more mainstream “customer.” Scientific data will need to start replacing the anecdotes as the primary substance of the event, and the circle of partners for the Savory Institute will need to widen considerably to include more investors, ag tech companies, large established companies and financiers, and regulators and policy makers. Most importantly, it will be critical for the Savory Institute to further integrate with the other communities seeking to advance systemic approaches to managing land with the goal of regenerating depleted ecosystems (e.g. no-till, bio-dynamic, etc.) in order to build the most effective coalition of organizations seeking similar end goals.

In conclusion, the Savory Conference demonstrated the positive progress that holistic land management is making towards unlocking its potentially vast CDR potential, but also showed that the road to achieving this potential remains long and fraught with obstacles.

JC reflections

The ideas presented here are particularly appealing since they seem to have little downside, and potentially have ancillary favorable impacts on the environment and food production.

Assessing the effect of agricultural practices on  soil carbon requires that we have a better understanding of the relevant processes, see e.g. this recent press release As Temperatures Rise, Soil Will Relinquish Less Carbon to the Atmosphere Than Currently Predicted.

Seems like working to understand/address the soil carbon issue would be much less contentious than international energy policy treaties.  The idea of exploiting  natural carbon sequestration (what VirginEarth is promoting) seems to me like it has received far too little attention.

 

 

 

 

 

513 responses to “Can cows help save the planet?

  1. why is it those people never seem to realise that more CO2 means more plant growth? green house growers in America can even buy methane burners, to produce CO2 for their green houses!!

    • Mayor of Venus

      Or they could just spend some time inside their green-houses breathing.

      • yes Roger, thanks, CO2 is best ever fertilizer.

        Dear Judith, for your own information PLS read the following :
        STOP believing anything about cows and how to save the planet. Come back to science (and Earth) instead.

        As a matter of fact, consider your job is made of science and should be far from beliefs. It is not because 99% of climatologists believe humans are responsible for warming that it is true. Some time ago 100% of people believed the sun rotated around the earth.

        Here is a sample extract of Science :
        Wikipedia : Greenhouse effect is mainly made of water vapor (55%) and clouds (17%) which makes a total of 72%, the rest being mostly due to CO2 (28%). Considering there would be no greenhouse gases, the Earth would be at -18°C, and is today +15°C, which makes a total of 33°C
        IPCC : pretends Global Warming is 1.6°C over 100 years (time of re-absorption of the CO2 by the system) which makes ~4.8%, and CO2 plays for 28% in that, so influence of CO2 supposedly accounts for 1.36% in GW.
        Pretends also that humans are responsible for ~4% in the CO2 exchanges.

        Consequence : humans (cows included) are responsible of 0.05% (maximum !) in Global Warming.

        Do you think this is worth speaking of – or even worse, simply mentioning – it ?!…

        Moreover, you should get your inspiration from Ross McKitrick, who used to work for IPCC, and summarize the situation as follows :
        “SPM in a nutshell: Since we started in 1990 we were :
        right about the Arctic,
        wrong about the Antarctic,
        wrong about the tropical troposphere,
        wrong about the surface,
        wrong about hurricanes,
        wrong about the Himalayas,
        wrong about sensitivity,
        clueless on clouds and
        useless on regional trends.
        And on that basis we’re 95% confident we’re right.”
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/09/27/reactions-to-ipcc-ar5-summary-for-policy-makers/#comment-1428281

        Truly yours
        (you should also read the excellent book “Antifragile” of Nassim Talleb, so that you come back with us and our cows : on the earth)

  2. When you are fighting an imaginary battle, do you pretend you are winning or losing? I don’t know because I’ve never done it before.

    Andrew

    • Apropos article to follow Nate Silver on humanity’s herding tendency.

    • It would seem that since imaginary battle requires less effort, one can pretend you are the hero and also pretend you are the victim.
      You also watch the the battle and pretend you never saw it.

    • ”Can cows save the planet?’ you ask.
      But … er … is the planet in need
      of saving? Is there a giant
      meteorite, perhaps,
      that NASA has
      detected
      and
      it’s
      on
      its
      way
      to
      Earth?

    • Compelling story. I wonder if it is true… Unfortunately I think my main take away was at the story of murdering all the elephants and the insanity of scientific ‘wisdom’…. But… interesting…

    • Like this absolutely- caveats apply I did college assignment and check it Sue and Bill Marriott are

      Australia’s champions. Working on site Sue made a point that 40% tree coverage on dry land farms is optimal for grazing animals.
      Now you may know permaculture’s Bill Mollison here tune into ‘whole farm planning’ Google away
      P I had six weeks to learn of everything with how there farms changed. W f p was is now a government funded programe free coures’s offered.
      Australian ex prime ministers brother in law – No Names- is one crazy 4wde driver- airborn
      A student review.

  3. “we can reverse climate change…”
    Right, just like we can part the oceans and stop the passage of time.

    • And I can’t resist asking, “reverse” it to what?

      • LOL–if it is put into reverse it is still changing.

        What everyone cares about is whether it is change for the better or for the worse–and where and when.

        Unfortunately, nobody really knows the answer to that question at any level of reasonable detail.

        Unfortunately- many are still confident idiots

      • if it is put into reverse it is still changing.

        What everyone cares about is whether it is change for the better or for the worse–and where and when.

        Unfortunately, nobody really knows the answer to that question at any level of reasonable detail.

        Unfortunately- many are still confident that they know the future

      • The 1st message got sent to moderation.

    • ““we can reverse climate change…”

      We can no more significantly affect the climate than we can change the time the sun rises and sets.

    • It is of course a euphemism for slowing anthropogenic changes to the Earth system – and not a reason for a silly quibble.

    • Maybe we cannot “reverse climate change” (whatever that may mean) but we can at least remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in a commercially feasible way. All that is needed is to mix the oceans (particularly the North Pacific and South Atlantic) where sufficient nutrient resides at ~1000m depth to fuel major carbon consuming ecosystems if the nutrient can be brought into the mixed layer near the surface. This would result in a massive increase in ocean productivity as well, so that commercial fish production would pay for the set-up costs. We entered this idea to the Virgin Earth Challenge (after spending $30,000 in patent costs) but apparently there were “too many ocean mixing schemes”. According to IPCC author Richard Matear: “The available excess nutrient in the ocean is huge (equivalent to a storage of about 20,000 Gt C)”. We proposed using the energy from hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor to power the mixing process (2 – 4 terawatts available). .

      The message: no-one really wants to solve the “climate problem”. It is all about sin and guilt and redemption; nothing to do with science or engineering. It was just a PR exercise for Branson. Good on him, it worked and he didn’t have to fork out $25 million as promised.

      More details at http://www.ecofluidics.com

      • Well, bringing up nutrients from the bottom sort of makes sense. It is hard to see any harm in feeding the little fishies.

        You probably are going to have some casualties among the current bottom dwellers.

        There is the issue of repairing the equipment when it attacked by Leviathans or rammed by Sperm whales…

      • According to World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) sections, the nutrients, nitrate and phosphate, do not lie near the bottom; they occur at intermediate depths between 1000m and 2000m. Most of the mid-ocean ridges lie outside any country’s territorial waters so how do you deal with poaching? Also high nutrient regions like the North Pacific seem to have very few active vent sites and powerful vent fields (such as the TAG field at 26 N in the Atlantic) are not associated with much nutrient which suggests that this process may have been occurring naturally for quite some time. The hard part is raising capital – this lies way outside the ambit of most venture capital companies. It really needs commitment on the part of a national government. All the same it could cost a lot less than US currently spends on NASA (~$14 billion per annum). New Zealand would be the best place to start – they have active vents well inside territorial waters and long experience in harnessing geothermal energy.

  4. These people just discovered crop rotation, legumes and no-till farming. US farmers have been doing this for decades because it works and makes money.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No-till_farming
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crop_rotation

    A farmer’s biggest asset is his/her productive land. It is not something he/she treats casually. A few days on a working farm would be a real education for the people referenced in this post.

    • I agree to a point, but do we know what percentage of all US farms apply these techniques and would it even be beneficial to consider these methods for none human food production? I’m thinking of using these techniques along flyways for migrating birds in lieu of (or at least fewer) “carbon scrubbers” on smokestacks? Kind of like a “geoengineered mutually beneficial system for birds, the fuel industry, farmers and AGW’ers” all at once?

      It would also be interesting to compare No till/crop rotation practices world wide to know what percentage of other than US ag land is in these practices.

      This might be a policy area I could get behind as I can see some win-win potential that could address some of the vitriol.

      • Approximately 35.5 percent of U.S. cropland (88 million acres) planted to eight major crops had no tillage (“no till”) operations in 2009, according to ERS researchers who analyzed 2000-07 data from USDA’s Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS). The crops-barley, corn, cotton, oats, rice, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat-constituted 94 percent of total planted U.S. acreage in 2009. In addition:

        • No-till increased for corn, cotton, soybeans, and rice (four crops for which ARMS data are sufficient for researchers to calculate a trend) at a median rate of roughly 1.5 percentage points per year. Although no-till is generally increasing, it did not increase in all States for all crops in the study period (2000-07).

        • Soybean [ a legume ] farmers had the highest percentage of planted acres with no-till (45.3 percent in 2006; projected at almost 50 percent in 2009).

        http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib-economic-information-bulletin/eib70/report-summary-(1).aspx
        More at the link.

        Agriculture has some of the richest and most interesting publically available data of all industries. The US is historically an agricultural nation with research conducted at land grant colleges and universities — research freely and aggressively shared with producers.

      • Thank you for the source. 35% is substantial enough to provide reliable data and convincing evidence to farmers of the reasonable potential.

        I wonder if the change (or lack of) in tillage is due to generational practices? I’d also wonder if corporate ag treats methodology differently than familial farming?

      • Strolling around my favorite search engine I’ve noticed that the USDA, in addition to land grant universities, has lots of information about conservation practices.
        http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detailfull/national/technical/references/?cid=nrcs143_026849

        Also interesting is this …

        USDA recognizes that conservation by farmers, ranchers and forest owners today means thriving and sustainable agriculture for our future. Seventy percent of the nation’s land is privately owned and conservation of our nation’s private lands not only results in healthy soil, water, air, plants, animals and ecosystems, it also provides productive and sustainable working lands.

        USDA provides voluntary, incentive-based conservation to landowners through local field offices in nearly every county of the nation. USDA helped landowners develop conservation plans and enrolled a record number of acres of private working lands in conservation programs, working with more than 500,000 farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices that clean the air we breathe, conserve and clean the water we drink, prevent soil erosion and create and protect wildlife habitat. USDA support – leveraged with historic outside investments – helped support producer incomes and reward them for their good work.
        My bold.
        http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=conservation

        Nothing like the EPA’s Fine ’em, Sue ’em and Jail ’em attitude.

      • Picked this out of your second link: “Working with the Environmental Protection Agency, USDA is supporting States and others in efforts to establish water quality trading markets. This demonstrates the potential for farmers and ranchers to receive new revenue streams while delivering cost effective results for industries regulated under the Clean Water Act. New greenhouse gas estimation guidelines and tools that assess greenhouse gas reductions and carbon sequestration resulting conservation, land management activities, and tree planting will also help farmers earn revenue for their work as they protect the environment.”

      • “Seventy percent of the nation’s land is privately owned……”

        Meaning that the government owns the other thirty percent. And, given the governmental hoops you have to jump through to do ANYTHING with your private land and the fact that if you don’t pay the rent on your ‘privately owned land’ to the government they will evict you in a heartbeat, they effectively own the 70 percent that they don’t officially claim title to.

      • Hi Bob,

        Not quite clear on your point other than maybe a bad taste in your mouth regarding government and/or property tax.

        My experience has been that private property owners (especially of large tracts) can take advantage of government partnerships for conservation easements for property they don’t use for production anyhow. Since the government doesn’t have ownership, the owner chooses how to restrict the use and the government assists with management advise for habitats. This is a private property right. I can see how the programs offered in Dr. C’s links could be applied under this type of program relatively easily.

        Speed, I think it was, provided this link: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=conservation. It shows cooperative voluntary interaction between farmers/ranchers and the USDA. Voluntary is the key word.

        Since there are programs where farmers are paid to leave land fallow, and studies in Dr.C’s links indicate fallow may not be best practice, then why couldn’t we taxpayers get some supplemental benefit from tax dollars we’re already spending as part of farm bills?

        Gov’t does own some 30% from what I understand. Much is in Alaska and BLM lands predominately in the West. Plus National Forest, Parks, Wildlife Refuges, and the like.

        Did I miss what you were intending to offer?

      • Danny,
        If you were to do a little research on farm ownership and farm practices, you would soon discover that farm practice has little to do with farm ownership and more to do with location and generational issues.

        One of the ongoing myths in the agriculture industry in the US and Canada is the concept of corporate agriculture and family farms. Most family farms are incorporated, this is usually done for tax reasons as well as the ability to do succession planning. In reality, most agriculture in these jurisdictions is some form of family incorporated venture.

      • Hi Brian,

        We’ve had land in our family (owned by my first cousin) since around 1900 so I have some familiarity. This has been passed down for 3 generations (so far).

        When I posted: “I wonder if the change (or lack of) in tillage is due to generational practices? I’d also wonder if corporate ag treats methodology differently than familial farming?”

        I was wondering if the large corporate entities used different tillage methods due to cost issues as opposed to a family owned (if incorporated or not) farm that may have methods passed down from generation to generation. Do you know? I’m not familiar with large corporate farms. Sorry if I was unclear.

    • Speed – I totally agree. There’s everything to like about good farming practices that both improve the soil and increase food production. If everyone could just get away from CO2 obsession and think rationally, the world would be a better place.

      The Australian government’s “direct action” plan (which is driven by the fact that they are still forced by regressives to say they are cutting CO2) has a lot in it that enriches the soil and improves farming practices – but whether it comes at a reasonable price is another matter. In the circumstances, ie. until they can get to say global warming is bunkum and get away with it politically, it’s just about the best policy they could possibly have. [It’s still not very good, and I’ve written to my MP urging that they abandon it, together with the RET (Renewable Energy Target]. It’s amazing how much damage the regressives have done, and how hard it is to even begin sorting it out.

    • Interested Bystander

      There was a lot of research on no-till production at US Land Grant universities in the 1970s and 1980s. It is a well-researched topic with lots of available advice for farmers on production techniques. Of course, the research back then was because of high energy costs. CO2 emissions were not a concern.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Speed: These people just discovered crop rotation, legumes and no-till farming. US farmers have been doing this for decades because it works and makes money.

      I think that “no till” is rare, but “low till” and “minimum till” have growing in popularity since I first started reading about them. I have not read a really good review lately.

    • Many of these ideas have have been around a long time (> 60 years). They work.

      Sykes, Frank. Humus and the Farmer. London: Faber and Faber limited, 1946.
      Subjects:
      Agriculture.
      Agriculture –Great Britain.
      Soils.
      Manures.
      Humus.
      xix, 288 p. plates, group port., 2 fold. maps, diagrs. 23 cm

  5. Another Green fantasy for the eco-left having a had time facing the new reality. Dr. C seems to be throwing bones to the vanquished as to not rub it in. Also clinging to the meme of “middle ground” in the absurd climate agenda politics. As Mr. Wonka put it near the end of the first film version; “YOU LOSE, YOU GET NOTHING!”

    Greens should skip all the junky science claims, condemn capitalism and endorse a Socialist state. Far more honest then the Grubering Climate meme.

    “No downside” to the meme presented? Anything that reinforces a hostile, unquantifiable “science” agenda that masks a totalitarian end does harm. CO2 isn’t “pollution” and we should get science back to basic reality ASAP.

  6. Planning Engineer

    I saw this Ted talk a while ago and have read some critiques as well. I’m not sure what to make of the debate. But it seems at least there is some basis to believe it will work in some cases and may not work in others. Seems like all involved should be calling for further trials and studies to better define.

    I may be wrong, but it does not seem like the critics I’ve read are calling for more studies-but rather just trying to discredit the approach. Can anyone offer some guidance and understanding here?

    • Planning engineer, “But it seems at least there is some basis to believe it will work in some cases and may not work in others. ”

      I doubt anything would work all the time. It does tend to work were overgrazing was the initial cause of the soil problems. In Yellowstone, reintroducing wolves did the same basic thing with the wolves forcing the deer and elk to move around more.

    • Agriculture depends on the soil and practices have evolve to conserve the soil.

      Orchard farmers used to disk and drag the orchards so there was nothing but dirt between the trees. Nowadays they just mow the sod between the trees which significantly reduces erosion.

      The practices that conserve the land and are cheap and practical will get adopted. Farmers are very focused on cost/benefit.

  7. I always wondered why I heard so little about the NASA GSFC published study from 2002. “Top Story – LANDCOVER CHANGES MAY RIVAL GREENHOUSE GASES AS CAUSE OF CLIMATE CHANGE – October 01, 2002”. It never seemed to lead to any further reports. In fact it has now been removed from their web site, though it can be found other places on the web.

  8. From this post …
    The overall global food system — including land-use changes, feed, fertilizer, transportation, refrigeration, processing and waste — is estimated to be responsible for 30 to 50 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Over the last decade, agricultural emissions have increased by approximately 1 percent per year.

    However …
    In the US, agriculture accounts for 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions. (US EPA)
    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/sources/agriculture.html

    In the United States overall, since 1990 land use, land-use change, and forestry activities have resulted in more removal of CO2 from the atmosphere than emissions. Because of this, the Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry (LULUCF) sector in the United States is considered a net sink, rather than a source, of CO2 over this period.
    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/sources/lulucf.html

    Agriculture (14% of 2004 GHG emissions) – global greenhouse gas emissions) – Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture mostly come from the management of agricultural soils, livestock, rice production, and biomass burning.
    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/global.html

    In addition to questioning the 30% to 50% claim, the above suggests that if the world’s food production systems looked more like the US food production system, there would be a reduction in greenhouse gas. Many in the CO2 is bad camp would prefer that US agricultural step back a century or two to third world status.

  9. I would like to see a practicing farmer weigh in on how this would affect his suitability. Does anyone know any farmers running a large farm?

    • http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/135329/eib70.pdf
      “Approximately 35.5 percent of U.S. cropland (88 million acres) planted
      to eight major crops had no tillage operations in 2009, according to ERS
      researchers who analyzed 2000-07 data from USDA’s Agricultural Resource
      Management Survey (ARMS). The crops—barley, corn, cotton, oats, rice,
      sorghum, soybeans, and wheat—constituted 94 percent of total planted U.S.
      acreage in 2009.

      I’m not a practicing farmer (my youngest brother runs the family farm) but no-till has been getting buzz for over 30 years and according to the USDA in 2010 no-till was practiced on 35.5 of cropland planted to 8 major crops and growing around 1.5 % a year.

  10. suitability should be survivability.

    • jim2

      Alas, of my few skills, another skill I lack is farming. Fortunately for you, I do know a family who farms, dairy farmers who currently milk 230 of their 300 cows. They sell the milk to a Cooperative, which turns the milk into powdered mild and butter, and, if you like certain brands of ice cream, you may have had a smidgeon of milk from their farm.

      Their farm is 1200 acres and they acquired their acreage by purchasing contiguous land that had been rental land that eventually was significantly depleted of all sorts of nutrients.

      Over a two year period of time, I watched as this family purchased 62 acres, put in field drainage, had the field assessed for nutrients by an Agricultural Extension Specialist, restored nutrients to the soil and grew corn the next year. Field drainage to remove the wet spots that drowned local plantings, developed boundaries on the land to prohibit any excess nutrients added to the field from running off into local drains, and then adding liquid manure from their dairy herd. 15,000 gallons per acre were needed initially and then 5,000 gallons an acre were all carefully knifed into the soil according to continuous monitoring.

      Corn was planted the next year. Stalks 8 feet in height were uniformly reached except were the manuring was absent because the field was too close to a county drain. The corn had been over planted on this area where the manuring was scant to absent and… the stalks were <4 feet tall and many had no ears of corn.

      In two years, the field was restored having been over-farmed by renters, who presumably had no interest in keeping the land fertile. My take-away message: using the right techniques with the right science by owner/operators can restore depleted land.

      Pasturing the cows would not obtain the milk yields (current 89 pounds a day) because each cow would no longer be individually fed the precise feed to maintains that cows productivity. One needs to restore to the cow each day what that particular cow is giving out as milk. This family dairy farm keeps 30 head of steer, which is pastured, for the meat the family needs as well as supplies the meat for the farm hands' families. This year's rich and abundant grass/alfalfa from a wet Spring to late Fall, produced a wonderfully tender and flavorful steak, to which I and my family can attest.

      • Thanks for that. Nothing like science to make a good farm :)

      • jim2 wrote, “Nothing like science to make a good farm.”

        Science and a head for business a tolerance for risk and a little luck.

        By the way, when people talk about “family farms” they envision 30 head of cattle, a hundred acres and mom in the kitchen making pies and putting up preserves. In fact, on farms that size, both mom and dad have full time jobs in town to support their farming habit.

        What RiH008 describes is a Real Family Farm. At $8,000 an acre (average for Iowa) they have just short of $10 million tied up in land.
        http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/money/agriculture/green-fields/2014/11/14/midwest-farmland-values-fed/19044725/

      • Anyone who can make a buck farming in the U.S. has my respect. We have less than 1% of the population farming where at some point it was over 50%. Agricultural productivity has gone up so much over the years that almost all the many, many former inefficient producers have been driven out; it’s down to the really tough players. Practically an Olympic sport now, with highly technical methods and refinements squeezing out small gains each year while going up against the age-old exigencies of weather, pests, weeds, and market shocks. In global markets there are potent,, sophisticated competitors all over the world. Of course lots of crops are subsidized in various ways, but so are one’s competitors and global acreage planted is not subject to any international controls, so the subsidies don’t make competing that much easier even though they expand the size of the industry.

  11. Coming from a small town ranch/farming background I fear global warming scientists telling farmers how to operate might be the start of the revolution…gonna be a hard sell, probably impossible, even if it works, even if its needed…. academically interesting tho

    • sorry, not to nuke the idea….. but messing with the food supply spooks the daylights out me…. I have little trust for scientists and their little test tube worlds…. there are always so many unintended consequences…

      • On the other hand one must wonder the sequestration effect of ammendment 64 here in colorado :p

      • If they leave the stalks in the ground and don’t take it all up for making rope, who knows. Should work just like corn. Plus, I’d be a lot more fun if they burned the fields instead of plowing them in. :)

      • Uh…we’ve been “messing with the food supply” for thousands of years. And it is the boom in fossil fuel based fertilizers that has allowed the population to swell to 7+ Billion. If pumping fossil fuels out of the ground to grow crops is not “messing with the food supply” I don’t know what is.

      • Good luck using that as your selling point Mr. Gates. I’d personally buy you the ticket to Idaho if I wasn’t such a cheap b*ard.

      • It’s a mindset. Monsanto and others have farmers hooked on their evil chemicals and gmo perscribed crops just like the local drug dealer and the mexican mafia. I don’t think changing would be easy, I agree with you on that. Producing locally grown crops with shorter tranport and implementing organic sustainable practices would be healthier for people and the planet. The greens should concentrate on that first. If people were demanding more organic and farming became a real enterprise again and got away from big corporate mentality we’d all be better off. I’m pretty cynical about that actually happening though.

      • Yep, farmers are addicted to fossil fuels as the civilization they support. It’s one big happy FFA meeting.

      • @ordvic More than just a mindset I think. I mean here are people who are far removed from those actually wasting the planet (whatever that means for a rock that love to boil as much as flourish) who are making a living applying the techniques that are cost efficient, efficable and lead to profit. Now the bozos wasting the planet come driving in in there big fancy cadillacs and start telling the farmers how they should be doing things. Silent glances go between farmers and the city slicker drives off. Next thing laws are passed and livelihoods become harder.
        Its the arrogance of the educated to think that the only kind of knowledge is gained in school.

      • Matthew R Marler

        nickels: I have little trust for scientists and their little test tube worlds…. there are always so many unintended consequences…

        Agricultural scientists get out in the fields a lot. Please don’t knock them as a class.

      • @ Ordvic

        “Producing locally grown crops with shorter tranport and implementing organic sustainable practices would be healthier for people and the planet.”

        I’ll think of you this winter as I wander the produce section, selecting fruits and vegetables transported to my grocery from south of the equator, transported thousands of miles using fossil fuels that are causing the temperature of the earth to skyrocket by as much as half to three quarters of a degree over the last century alone. Just think how much healthier I would be if I weren’t hooked on these abominations and instead supported my neighbors by purchasing their snow peas, snow carrots, snow potatoes, snow oranges, snow grapes, snow plums, snow peaches, etc. And I would be saving the planet, too,

        What I’ll be thinking is how thankful I am that (so far) you and those with similar views are only able to wish, rather than command.

      • Gates/Ordvic,
        So agriculture is an industry that shouldn’t use technology? Every other industry is allowed to but agriculture should stay bound in the 1930/1940’s?
        Doesn’t sound reasonable to me. But I guess coming from several generations of farmers and 40 plus years in the industry doesn’t count for much with people like you.

      • Oh, yes, we got snow bananas.
        ===================

      • Gates/Ordvic,
        So agriculture is an industry that shouldn’t use technology?
        —–
        Say what?

        You got lots of hungry mouths to feed. Need to get ‘er dun best way you can and still make a buck without too many government subsidies, eh?

      • @Matthew
        “Agricultural scientists get out in the fields a lot. Please don’t knock them as a class.”

        I hear you and I don’t doubt they learn a ton. All I’m saying is that if I wanted to start a farm I would not go talk to an academic. I would find a farmer whose been at it for 50 years….

      • You would be okay, but mostly because most farmers who have succeeded at farming for 50 years are pretty plugged into agricultural science. My Dad’s best ranching client was Hank. Hank was brilliant at grazing management, and essentially controlled the gazing land in an entire county, and it’s a big one. He learned it from his Dad, who homesteaded the land. Hank used to get drunk and ride his horse into the local bars. He and his horse would stand at the bar and order drinks for the house. A freakin’ real cowboy living in the wrong century. His son got some sort of agricultural PhD from the University of Oklahoma. He took over the ranch in the 1970’s. It was very common back then for sons to go and get educated at an Ag school. Those families, by and large, kept up. The ones who did not were weeded out decades ago.

      • (oops wrong thread)
        @JCH good points

    • Let’s don’t mess with the food supply except to expand it.

      Okay, admittedly a lot of ifs. But from my understanding using corn as an example, farmers have found leaving the stalks in place post harvest retains soil in place. Prior to the next planting, stalks are tilled in to soil after partial composting therby providing nutrients. Next planting occurs. Crop rotation is already common in the US as a preferred practice to enhance the micronutrients. Speed provide a couple of wikis above.

      So more land could be put in to ag production but so as not to negatively affect prices these could be left in an unharvested state for wildlife habitat and nutrition. We already pay farmers to fallow land so instead of this (as it’s shown in the links provided by JC as actually being detrimental), we could continue to pay them under the auspices of “combating climate change” even without solving the argument of if “combating climate change” is necessary.

      Politically, the right loves farmers, the left loves wildlife, and this land could quickly (by just deciding to go ahead an harvest) be turned in to production.

      Viola`. Win win. This comes across to me as the first so oriented apolitical “solution” policy wise that I’ve heard. Plus, we could export the concept world wide to the benefit of food production/habitat in lieu of requiring “carbon scrubbers” and the vitriol which that entails.

      Might have legs? Worth considering? What are the negatives?

    • Shoot. Forgot to add that the USFWS (Fish and Wildlife) service already does this as part of nutritional support on refuges across the country in food plots.

      Might be an easier sell that you might think.

      • Good thoughts @DT, who knows….
        Farmers would probably appcept the cash, but from my personal random sample they are gonna give a shucks about Global warming.
        I personally have the same issue with this that I have with all the mitigation stuff… I’m just not a believer… but that doesn’t make for much discussion, so…

      • I’m with ya Nickels. I here because I’m not convinced. This just make too much sense and a really big plus is the word “Organic” is used so how can anyone on the left argue against it, and farmers getting paid keeps the right happy. I’m enthused!

        One really, really big risk, if this works. What do we do with all these blogs? (see, we can stir up a controversy there and have some fun with that—-just don’t tell Dr.C or A. Watts, et al).

      • aren’t gonna

    • ordvic wrote, “Producing locally grown crops with shorter transport [ sic ] and implementing organic sustainable practices would be healthier for people and the planet.”

      How short would transport need to be to be short enough for you? Does that mean that New Yorkers would give up lettuce, tomatoes and celery during the winter? Will there be pastures and dairy farms in Silver Spring and Bethesda to supply Washington DC with fresh milk? And will there be amber waves of grain in Los Angeles County so Angelinos can have fresh baked bread and donuts? Soybeans in Dade County to supply oil to Miami fry cooks? Probably no orange juice in Chicago or Wichita. And pineapples … forget it anywhere but Hawaii.

      • When we were obligate locavores, malnutrition was the norm by Spring.
        ===========================

      • Winning the war on famine in the west. Coal, transport
        innovation and other developments, expanded markets.
        GDP in Western nations post the Industrial Revolution
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Divergence#mediaviewer/File:Biaroch_European_GDP_per_capita_1830-1890.svg

      • the locavore movement seems to be popular in atypical and confined temperate geographic patches where obtaining a ‘local’ and wide fresh food variety year round isn’t a dream. like, oh I don’t know, the SF bay area.

        whenever I hear people nattering re locavore issues, if I were king I’d have them forcibly relocated to a small town 40 minutes from Fargo for 5 years to illustrate the actual problem (one that I am convinced they simply have no concept of.) at the end of that time I’d be happy to hear what they think would work for that town. until then, not so much.

      • Human ingenuity
        driven by necessity,
        as history’s shown,
        has transformed scarcity
        into a previously unknown,
        unparalleled prosperity.

        Since the 29th century, famine in the western world resulting
        from climate variabilitry has become a thing of the past. The
        West’s development of the steam engine as well as other
        revolutions in technology and crop varieties and the ingenuity
        applied to daily work on the farm has enabled food production
        to keep pace with population growth. The last European famine
        due to climate was in 1866-68 in Finland and Northern Sweden.

      • Locavores have much in common with alt energy luvvies. No expense, destruction or waste is excessive in view of their Noble Cause.

        But the big problem with locavores is that, when they have had a win against Big Ag and Big Transport, they will want to toast with champagne from France or a nice organic Fair Trade coffee from a different continent.

        The locavore movement is essentially Big Posh: the bourgeoisie inspired by a particularly pleasant if expensive weekend market and feeling that need to “empower” the rest of us. You need not ask if the rules are for them. The “essential spirit” is for them, the rules are for us common mangiafagioli.

      • ‘mangiiiafagioli, moso?? So kim-like. LOL.

      • This all reminds me of one of my father’s best friends. He wanted to meet farmers and ranchers so he could learn how to improve their lot. Dad knew every farmer and rancher in all directions, so the guy would ride with Dad on his calls. They organized meetings at township halls. The guy came up with the idea of farm-to-market roads, and reasons to expand agricultural exports. He talked a lot about free trade. Like Dad, he was a hero of WW2, and he had political ambitions. His name was George McGovern. Lol.

      • Yep, the Dimowits have lurched to the left of Marx.

    • @JCH good points

  12. Last year Rob Ellison wrote a piece on soil carbon linked to in the head post. It came about partly as a result of my commenting on soil sequestration after reading a rather complex book that illustrated just how much carbon is locked up in the soil

    IF co2 is causing warming I suspect that the prime culprit is changing land use and how crops and cattle are raised rather than burning fossil fuel

    Its worth reading Robs article in order to provide more context.

    Whether trying to keep more carbon locked up in the soil is practical bearing in mind the burgeoning world population and their increasing taste for more and different food as people become richer is another matter

    tonyb

    • Something to keep in mind:

      Yes, there is some low hanging fruit to reduce our GH gas emissions (energy efficiency being among the lowest) and changes to land use and agricultural practices are down there as well, but a shift away from fossil fuels will be required one way or another.

      • Doggone it Gates. Take what you can get until the rest is settled wouldya? There’s no net negative in this thread that I can see (so far). This is win/win and ya gotta bring back in a tussle.

      • Rgates

        Have you got one of those charts that show the globe by country rather than energy hungry America? It distorts the wider picture to look at your emissions as they aren’t typical

        tonyb

      • That’s my nature Danny boy. Keep it real…look at the big perspective. Kill Pollyanna type thinking. Yep, organic farming is good and maybe easy, but ain’t gonna solve the issue that the HCV needs to be turned off.

      • LOL. Same as my CAGW buddy. Won’t take what he can get, but has to “win” it all no matter how much evidence I provide that he may not be right.

        But I appreciate your passion!

        Did ya read this part:”The researchers found that, in the fields where all these practices were applied together, carbon built up in the soil at staggering rates. Overall, the scientists estimated that for each kilogram of wheat they harvested, the soil removed up to a third of a kilogram of CO2 from the atmosphere. – See more at: http://civileats.com/2014/11/18/if-grown-right-wheat-might-help-fight-climate-change/#sthash.km6ZLOGW.dpuf

        More food, more habitat, more mitigation of CO2 that you perceive must happen but even the National Academy and American Physical Society state is only “likely” to be a cause of warming?

        Baby steps?

      • @DT Like your style :)

      • R. Gates wrote, ” Yep, organic farming is good and maybe easy, but ain’t gonna solve the issue that the HCV needs to be turned off.”

        First, organic farming isn’t easy.

        Second, we’re not (or at least I’m not) talking about “organic farming” here. We’re talking about no till farming which increases productivity while (by the way) reducing release of carbon from the soil and adding carbon to the soil. Just … Good … Business.

        And another by-the-way from one of my comments, if we export US farming methods to second and third world agriculture they’ll increase productivity (more output with proportionately less input) while reducing carbon release from the soil.

      • All well and good Rovingbroker, but they need to make a significant reversal in these trends:

        https://www.niwa.co.nz/sites/niwa.co.nz/files/styles/large/public/sites/default/files/images/imported/0007/73384/GH_gases_growth_450_0.jpg?itok=yxRfPcAr

        To be more than just another “look squirrel” moment.

      • Rgates

        Here you go. It’s a chart showing global emissions by sector.

        Agriculture and forestry leap up the charts and create nearly a third of global emissions

        http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/global.html

        Not only is it low hanging fruit it’s a whole juicy basket of them

        Tonyb

      • Thanks for that Tony. I’ll have a look.

        BTW, did you see this?

        http://phys.org/news/2014-11-green-revolution-biosphere.html

      • Yes I did Danny. And so noted this:

        “Taken together, the two studies suggest that “we’re likely to see more carbon dioxide released from thawing permafrost than people had previously believed,” Cory said.

      • Now if we could definitively tie man’s CO2 emissions to causing the warming in the first place vs. is it nature. The never ending dilemma.

      • Rgates

        Thanks for that. Land use changes are important. Mind you being a vegetarian means I can feel a little smugger than meat eaters. Are you an evil, planet destromg carnivore?

        Tonyb

      • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/10176217/The-underground-forests-that-are-bringing-deserts-to-life.html

        Major progress can be made with land use, tropospheric ozone, nitrous oxide, methane and black carbon in particular. Together much more than half the problem.

        Progress on energy is most likely something like this.

        http://www.ga.com/energy-multiplier-module

      • Rob,

        Picked this out of your first link:”Besides increasing harvests and reducing poverty, all this helps combat climate change. The Sahel’s regenerated trees can take 30 tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere per hectare, while Savory believes that such intensive grazing on just half the world’s available land could return concentrations to pre-industrial levels.”

        Found the Savory website (http://www.savoryinstitute.com/about-us/our-team/allan-savory/) but not the study (if there was one). Any ideas?

      • Tony

        You could claim to be the most smug if you also had no children who will contribute to using resources

      • Tony, I very likely eat less meat than the average American, after all, I live in Colorado which is among the fittest states in the nation, but I must confess that sometimes I just gotta have a nice steak:

      • Rob

        A childless vegetarian? That would be pretty smug. But a childless warmist vegetarian would be insufferably smug. I only fit one of the three criteria.

        Tonyb

      • Rgates

        It’s ok, you can have venison at our meal but strictly no sprouts for you

        Tonyb

      • Curious George

        Almost 6 billion energy-related tons of CO2 in 2006. One reason for current record harvests.

      • R. Gates wrote, “but they need to make a significant reversal in these trends:”
        Isn’t that why it would be good to put carbon into the soil while reducing carbon release from the soil? Or was that comment just another reason to link to that chart for, what, the third time?

      • but a shift away from fossil fuels will be required one way or another.

        I think we can get there, if China can live up to its commitments and we get a global commitment to reduce carbon emissions.

        See:

        China To Cap Coal Use By 2020 To Meet Game-Changing Climate, Air Pollution Targets
        http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/11/19/3593567/china-climate-target-peak-coal-2020/

      • tonyb –

        Thinking that 2004 numbers might not be accurate today, I went looking for other information. Looks like there is quite a range in estimates. Here’s one from 2013.

      • sorry – the data were from 2010…

      • Joshua

        Thanks for your chart where you said without a hint of irony;

        ‘Looks like there is quite a range in estimates. Here’s one from 2013.(2010)’

        Yes, we really seem to know exactly what goes in and what goes out and what effect the wide range of estimates might have.

        it would be good if we could all agree on the figures so we could work out if there is a problem or not. Mind you, perhaps not, as the estimates we get supposedly accurate to tents of a degree for such as SST’s from 150 years ago makes me sigh already.

        tonyb

      • tonyb –

        Not sure why you’d be expecting some irony, unless you misunderstand my perspective on the precision of vastly complex estimations.

        That said, if you use many instruments calibrated to very precise metrics and then average them out, your resulting number will likewise be given in very precise increments. Or, even when you average out many cruder measurements, you will get results that are quantified into smaller increments than your original measurements. That doesn’t mean that anyone thinks that estimates of global SST averages from recent measurements, let alone those from 150 years ago, are accurate to the tenths of a degree.

        I’m somewhat surprised to see you arguing such a vapid “skeptic” talking point.

      • Joshua

        You said;

        ‘That doesn’t mean that anyone thinks that estimates of global SST averages from recent measurements, let alone those from 150 years ago, are accurate to the tenths of a degree.’

        Having spent time at the Met office with their scientists, having discussed such things with them by email, having talked personally to politicians, I do assure you that fractions of a degree are considered significant in many climate related fields and much time and money is expended in trying to nail them down to fractions

        I refer you to the papers on CET by David Parker, the 1730’s warm decade by Phil Jones, SST’s by John Kennedy, accuracy of buckets in SST’s, and a variety of other papers determined to provide the maximum (unlikely) accuracy possible.

        As you know I go by the maxim of Hubert Lambs that as far as historic temperatures (and much other historic data) ‘We can understand the tendency but not the precision.’

        tonyb

      • Organic: in the words of my farming brother (also world class pilot), “Organic means ‘with diseases'”

      • tonyb –

        I must admit – I find it very hard to believe that scientists think that they can determine what SST’s accurate were in the 1750s within a tenth of a degree. Now I certainly don’t question your familiarity with the relevant literature, but I have to wonder if you’re stretching things a bit.

        Now maybe I doubt the veracity of your claim because of my own motivated reasoning; I don’t believe it is realistically possible to determine what SSTs were in the 1750s within a tenth of a degree, and so I find it hard to believe that a working scientist would make such a claim.

        So what to do? Since you’re so intimately familiar with the literature, it shouldn’t be difficult for you to pull up some statement by a working scientist where they say that they can tell us, within a tenth of a degree, precisely what SSTs were in 1750. Alternatively, you could dig into that encyclopedic familiarity of yours with the literature to give me an excerpt where it is unequivocally clear that a working scientist’s findings are predicated upon a precise determination of SSTs in the 1750s within a tenth of a degree?

        It would be an interesting illustration of my motivated reasoning – and pending evidence from you, I could enable mosher to enjoy a moment of ecstasy by acknowledging that my mistaken belief about the work of that particular scientist was biased by my motivated reasoning.

      • Joshua

        I did not say anything about sst’s back to 1750 . The record commenced in 1850 and I wrote an article carried here about it. You must be aware of the interminable agonising about the difference in water temperature collected in insulated and insulated buckets and that going through the engine manifold? They were looking for differences of fractions of a degree.

        I have linked to an interesting study by Phil jones, a much maligned researcher, concerning the warm 1730’s? Look at the last para of the conclusion in particular where he admits to greater natural variability than he had expected.

        http://www.researchgate.net/publication/226043410_Unusual_Climate_in_Northwest_Europe_During_the_Period_1730_to_1745_Based_on_Instrumental_and_Documentary_Data

        In essence he calculated The 1730 decade it was cooler by only 0.3 degrees than the warmest decade of 1995 to 2004

        If you google ‘improve project camuffo’ you will come across a project funded by the EU to the tune of 7 million euros looking at a set of 7 historic records and in the resultant book camuffo was again looking for fractions of a degree.

        Now, this is science and I have no problem with the research but the degree of accuracy claimed/sought, bearing in mind the original data and how it was collected is unlikely.

        Tonyb

      • Rgates, you are associating meat with fat. Though true in large part (meat= too much fat) there is much meat that has little to no fat. Many diets (and people) incorrectly eliminate all meat from diets. Excercise is the other component -often missing- of a healthy existence.

      • I fit none of the categories Tony B. I’m going to hell.

      • Joshua

        I guess your 1.42 is your post that went into moderation?. I had replied to your one confirming this moderation in which you gave some details of it.

        My reply to this is here and as far as I can see it answers your one that went into moderation.

        https://judithcurry.com/2014/11/19/can-cows-help-save-the-planet/#comment-649293

        Lots of other examples if you want them of this parsing, but those quoted should keep you busy for now. In particular Camuffo’s 700 page book detailing his attempts to precisely identify temperatures to fractions of a degree ( I never said one tenth) is a heavy read but worth doing.

        tonyb

      • tonyb –

        Geebus – another comment stuck in moderation!!

        Since it didn’t work last time anyway, I’m not going to bother with my moderation bubble sort game to try to find it. Hopefully, Judith will get around to clearing it out of the moderation bin (is the moderation filter here perhaps the worst one in the blogosphere?)

      • Not even close to the worst. Every comment of mine went to mod and they processed when they got around to it as they have “lives” and are purportedly all volunteer at RealClimate. Killed anything like conversation.

      • OK – I’ll try once to find the offending term:

        tonyb –

        I’m not inclined to go fishing through long papers in hopes of culling out quotes…especially if those quotes would verify that I’m biased!

        Just giving me evidence that estimations were made to tenths of a degree won’t get it done, the reasons for which I explained above. Since you’re so familiar with the literature, I’m sure that off the top of your head you could provide me with a couple of quotes where a climate scientist states that the CI/error bars on estimates of global SST temps from 1850, or 1750, are within a few tenths of a degree. Or perhaps a graph with such an error rage specified?

        I don’t really need to track down a reference. I trust you. Just give me a quote or link to a chart. And if you don’t have something, just make something up. I’ll never know the better and it would make Mosher’s day ’cause I’ll acknowledge my bias (and perhaps then he’ll be able to relax his compulsion to st*lk me?)

      • Danny –

        If that’s because you, as a commenter, were put into moderation it’s a different situation.

        I’m talking about a filter flagging innocuous words.

        The best example here is that Climate Etc. filters out the word id*ot, even though Judith used the term in one of her headlines.

      • LOL. I got a kick outta the “confident idi*t” topic. Way too many times I forgot and got modded.

        Over there, every one of my comments including my first and last went to mod. I was treated like a pariah and not as one of the pack so I chose not to stay. Not worth the effort. So don’t know if one gains acceptance there once one “passes the test” or not.

        I did get modded here responding to R.Gates’ Russ*an R*ulette comment, but that was kinda understandable I guess. I was actually curious if he did to.

      • Tony

        Read yesterday that Prince Charles plans, when he becomes king, to speak out about policy, unlike his mother. It has been my impression, don’t remember where I got it, that the British people rather ignore him, don’t think he’s the brightest lightbulb. Is that right?

        Cheers. Come on over for Thanksgiving turkey, in the pilgrim tradition.

        Richard

  13. Concerning this statement: “Researchers at the World Bank Group estimated intensive livestock production alone is the largest single contributing factor to climate change. Industrial animal agriculture is also one of the largest polluter of air, water and land, and the largest consumers of fossil fuels and water and yet feed only a relatively small percentage of the world’s population, compared with those fed by small-scale farmers who continue to be the major producers of the world.”

    The USDA shows that as of 2013 there were 89.3 million head of calves and cattle in the US Commercial cattle inventories and current theory is that in 1492 there were approximately 60 million head of bison in the US. How did less than 30 million large ruminants make such a huge jump in their carbon foot print?

    • Part of the answer may lie in grazing habits. Cattle tend to be retained in smaller areas and graze down to the soil. Bison didn’t. They ranged free, ate down to a few inches above soil and moved on.

      I don’t know if this is the answer, but it’s the first place I’d begin looking.

      • You can adjust the number of cows per acre, take how the grass is growing into consideration and keep the grass just right. Cows don’t seek the short grass to shorten it even more. Cows seek the best grass and shorten it until it is not the best. Much like the bison.

    • In modern agriculture, cows don’t graze. They eat grain produced on farms that practice crop rotation and no till farming.

      • Define: Modern Agriculture, please.

        Are you referring to feedlots? Everywhere I’ve been they graze. Then sometimes some are sent to feedlots.

        I think I missed something here.

      • Modern agriculture:

      • Danny Thomas asked about feedlots vs. grazing …

        From an industry publication …
        Raising Cattle
        The Stages of Beef Production
        http://www.explorebeef.org/raisingbeef.aspx

        Many of the cows you see grazing are … cows. Their jobs are to produce milk and calves.
        http://extension.missouri.edu/p/G3053

        The guys that spend time in the feedlots are … guys and are destined to become steaks, roasts and burgers. Lots of feed in a little time. There are exceptions.

        Possibly the most interesting part of the beef/dairy business is the development and supply of herd improvement genetics and AI services. It gets little press but is key to higher and more efficient production of milk and beef.
        http://genex.crinet.com/page49/LearningCenter

      • Guess I lived in Texas too long in the day. Lot’s of land, lots of cattle. Bulls set off to play with the ladies, lots of calves, lots of land (and time) and off to the processor. That’s why I asked. Thought it might have been done differently in areas with less open range.

        I did think the feedlots were a fattening stop over on the way, but that was my impression from those in Kansas.

        Thank you.

      • R Gates, I like the pictures that have the V shaped array of planters following right behind the V shaped array of combines.

    • Too long to copy here but too interesting to ignore …
      Beef Cattle and Greenhouse Gas Production
      A new United Nations Report Reduces Bovine Contribution by 22%.

      Important to the conversation here …

      The FAO report found that even within a region and production system, there is wide variation in the intensity of emissions – so a lot of improvement can be made within systems rather than by changing systems. In fact, the variation within a production system was almost as great as that among systems. There was an approximately 4-fold difference in emission intensity between the top 10% of producers and the bottom 10% of producers within a system.

      The report used this information to predict that if all producers within a specific location/system adopted the best practises of the top 25%, GHG intensity could be reduced by 18%. And if all adopted the practices of the top 10%, GHG intensity could be reduced by 30%.

      http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/beef/news/info_vbn1013a4.htm

      I am now going to make dinner. All beef kielbasa, cabbage likely from a farm many miles away and baked beans from a can. There may be a potent green house gas coming from our house tonight.

    • Calves graze. Cows graze. Bulls graze. Heifers graze. Steers graze. There is a whole lotta grazin’ goin’ on. They are usually finished on grain. Used to be exclusively on grain, but now every supermarket in the country has a selection of grass-fed beef for sale.

      The grain thing came on big after WW2. Prior to grain-fed, pork was America’s favorite meat.

      And we eats almost all of ’em. Old cows and bulls do not go to Hoof Hill Cemetery.

      As for rah’s question, in 1492 nobody was producing grain to feed to the buffalo. On the other hand, a purely natural diet would produce a lot more methane. And don’t forget, buffalo were not wild America’s only ruminants.

  14. It sounds so good. All upside. Save planet. Cutting edge agricultural research. World Bank. Regenerative organic and agro-ecological systems. Now how can any of that go wrong? They have recent data, maybe even “studies”. And lentils!

    It’s like all that good stuff about the future in 1950s Superman comics is actually coming to pass. What next? Billion dollar solar generating systems in the Mojave Desert? Enough solar in Northern Europe to tan thousands of Christine Lagardes well before ski season? A Geothermia in the Australian outback? The hills alive with the sound of Vestas?

    No, really, I haven’t been this excited since I walked out of that weekend market in inner Sydney clutching my very first essential oil burner and a copy of Silent Spring.

    • Matthew R Marler

      mosomoso: It’s like all that good stuff about the future in 1950s Superman comics is actually coming to pass. What next? Billion dollar solar generating systems in the Mojave Desert? Enough solar in Northern Europe to tan thousands of Christine Lagardes well before ski season? A Geothermia in the Australian outback? The hills alive with the sound of Vestas?

      the “low till” and “minimum till” practices have been under development in the US for decades, and they are gradually being adopted by more and more farmers. Not to be confused with “organic farming”, though that also has its boosters.

      Some things actually work: consider the subsequent history of transistors since you were reading Superman. Low till agriculture works, saves energy, and increases yields. To promote it as a cure for CO2 pollution tarnishes its reputation, but it has sound basic and applied science supporting it.

      • Yep, low till here in Oz too. Legumes no secret, either.

        Our agriculture is a history of innovation, starting with an amazing chick called Elizabeth, who walked off the Second Fleet into complete wilderness.

        Then there was Farrer, and Kidman. Agriculture has never stopped evolving here, and radically.

        It’s just our urban commentariat who are stuck in the 1960s. Whew, that’s been a long decade for some.

      • What would we do without Nicole?

      • Rob Ellison

        Embracing the Aboriginal child.
        Watching the grass grow under the Sydney Harbour Bridge after rainfall.
        Driving through the vastness of a territory and its wildlife.
        The smell of the sea kayaking to the Great Barrier Reef
        Plenty of material for making a movie.
        Sex with Kidman is just part of the trailer.

  15. Smart land use, organic farming, grazing techniques, etc., are all low hanging fruit that seem no-brainers to try. Certainly the carbon and nitrogen cycles have been highly perturbed by human activities, and this kind of geologically rapid disruption to these cycles will end, either by our intentional Anthropocene management, or complete system collapse:

    • Absurd disaster scenarios – on the other hand – are of no use at all.

    • Anyone who thinks those kinds of growth rates can continue without serious disruptions to the life support systems of planet earth probably is lying to themselves or living in pseudoscience nirvana with their TV locked on Faux-News.

      • I love either/or’s. It’s either CO2 or it’s not. CO2 is good till it’s bad.

        Just so ya know, I pretty much only watch football on Fox. But I’m still not buying in on CO2. I’m open to futher evidence, but not from models that have a less that stellar record.

        Just discovered today that on a certain other blog they actually have a counter now standing at 53 plausible alternatives. I find that interesting.

      • Good on you for stayin away from Faux-news. Staying away is like organic fertilizer for your mind.

      • Gates

        In your mind is Fox News any more biased than say MSNBC? Strange that you only cite bias on one side as being bad. Please consider it may be an example of your bias.

      • Post counts getting up there on this one.

        Full disclosure. I don’t do MSNBC either.

      • As opposed to Randy the video guy’s source of mental ‘organic fertiliser’?

        You know the old saw – ‘organic fertiliser’ in – ‘organic fertiliser’ out.

      • i pick on Faux News because, like organic farming and rotational grazing, they are losing hanging fruit. They are sort of pseudo-news, aka Mudock-speak.

      • Gates

        And how is that worse or even different than MSNBC being Soros speak. Todays news is almost all biased. Your being so concerned and commenting exclusively about FOX might be something for you to consider about yourself

      • “Your being so concerned and commenting exclusively about FOX might be something for you to consider about yourself.”
        —-
        That is a fair point. Like coffee, which I am addicted to, and Brussels sprouts, which I gag on, I am quite aware of that which attracts me and repulses me. I simply am repulsed by Rupert Murdock, so a pick on his beloved Faux-News.

      • I take it Gates believes Chicken Little is a much better role model than Pollyanna.

      • Neither Chicken Little nor Pollyanna are being rationally skeptical enough for me. One sees the world going to hell and the other see all rainbows and unicorns, and lions and lambs playing together. I am skeptical of both, but know that lions like to rip lambs throats out, and that helps both species in the long run.

      • Matthew R Marler

        R. Gates: Good on you for stayin away from Faux-news. Staying away is like organic fertilizer for your mind.

        I don’t get any news from Fox, or tv generally excepting occasionally I watch Washington Week with Gwen Ifil and her panels. I have a colleague who gets all of her news from NPR, so sometimes I have to alert her that she isn’t getting all the most important facts and ideas.

        As far as I can tell from reading about them, Fox isn’t worse than the others: CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS/NPR all take their blinkered missteps more or less regularly.

      • Curious George

        Watching Fox News interferes with a digestion of science, politics, and facts. Avoid it if you want to KNOW IT ALL.

      • Curious George

        R. Gates: “Staying away [from Faux-News] is like organic fertilizer for your mind.” Absolutely frightening.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        Gates
        FYI
        I may be amongst the denyingist, denialistic, deniers on this blog
        I never see Fox
        dropping the Fox News card, typical progressive Bravo Sierra
        progressives claim to be socially inclusive, then imply that folk who disagree with their views can’t think for themselves

        for heaven’s sake man, ALL the commercial news outlets are weak

      • “For heaven’s sake man, ALL the commercial news outlets are weak…”
        ——
        100 to 1.

        That’s the ratio of how much time you should spend reading something scientific or educational versus watching any news program.

      • Nice confirm Gates.

        To you a chicken little is simply someone who sees the world going to hell.

        Add fairy tales to ecology and population growth as areas you have limited understanding of.

      • “Nice confirm Gates.

        To you a chicken little is simply someone who sees the world going to hell.”
        —–
        Nope…someone who incorrectly surmised the world was going to hell.

        1. The world may be going to hell, but chicken little thinks so for the wrong reason.
        2. The world may be going to hell for multiple reasons, and chicken little only knows one of them., and maybe not the most important.
        3. The world may not be going to hell, in which case chicken little is just a dumb paranoid little clucker.

      • I watch BBC news. What does that make me, I wonder?

      • Not listed in the latest Pew poll, so cannot answer: http://www.journalism.org/2014/10/21/political-polarization-media-habits/

        Do you have as much fun with your media consuming research as we?

      • Danny, going by what that article says, I must be a liberal conservative – or maybe a conservative liberal ;-)

      • That describes me perfectly! Thanks for that! I’m finally in a box with my own label. Wish I’d have met you sooner. :)

      • Danny –

        Interesting article – thanks for the link.

        One aspect of the trust/distrust in media data that I think is missing. The data show that libz express trust in a larger # or sources than conz, but I would guess that conz’s trust in Fox News is higher than libz trust in any single source. That would be reflected, I think, in the data that show that conz are more likely to depend on a single source (i.e. Fox).

      • Joshua & CaptDallas,

        Stumbled across this one a while back and figured you guys might be interested. It’s a study on Cable media from 2011 on : The Nature and Impact of Global Warming Coverage on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. http://climateshiftproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/FeldmanStudy.pdf

        It discusses tone only on this topic. Still haven’t found one on tone in general.

      • Joshua, “That would be reflected, I think, in the data that show that conz are more likely to depend on a single source (i.e. Fox).”

        I think more conservative folks find Fox news more entertaining mainly because it is generally more upbeat.

      • CaptDallas and Joshua,

        Both interesting perspectives. I’ve not seen one, but it would be interesting to find a survey based on “tone”. It seems that negative (violence/injury/accidents/dire) sells as much mass media (TeeVee at least) seem to lead news with negatives. Have ya’ll seen anything on this?

      • Cap’n –

        ==> “I think more conservative folks find Fox news more entertaining mainly because it is generally more upbeat.

        Good point. What could be more upbeat than the constant bleating about the imminent collapse of our economy due to an anti-Christ president and godless libz who want to install a tyrannical one-world government that ignores the threat of Ebola and Sharia law and appeases terrorists?

      • Joshua, I guess it helps to have a sense of humor to begin with :)

      • Come on! What’s not to like :)

    • R. Gates, You don’t find terms like “organic” and “holistic” a bit less than “scientific”? Conservation farming is considered by many to be a better term since it can include no-till, limit-till, strip-till, livestock integration, green mature, just about anything that conserves soil, water and other resources.

  16. We need a worldwide EPA to administer this. Where’s the pen?
    =================

    • Ah. Ya just had to bring that up didn’t ya? There’s a controversy we can sink our teeth in to. You go first Kim. How much money ya need?

  17. My understanding of carbon accounting is that the suite – there are a large number of techniques – of newer agricultural methods are regarded as business as usual and so don’t count as carbon offsets.

    Intensive rotational grazing offers the biggest bang for the buck – from the huge areas involved and the relative cheapness and simplicity of the techniques. We can convert grass to protein – increase unit production substantially – conserve water – reduce erosion and runoff and build soil carbon.

    In a perverse way – the lack of availability of carbon offsets is probably a good thing. These agricultural techniques work in as far as they make sense on a farm level. And the numbers of farmers involved is growing exponentially – it is the new green revolution that will deliver the huge increase in food production – on the same land area – needed this century.

    One of the great US projects – however – goes beyond growing food and water and soil conservation to restoring ecosystems in the Great Plains.

    http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/native-tribes-from-canada-u-s-sign-treaty-to-restore-bison-to-great-plains-1.2021030

    Restoration of degraded ecosystems is the other huge opportunity for progress to be made on a number of fronts.

    • Chief, I sped read through your post, I’ll read more later, very good! I used to be really into Rhodale and even had a garden, but the modern world got the best of me. I think it will take a wholesale change in attitude to get people into a more localized monotrophic (healthy) diet and away from refined carbohydrates, big chain fast food eating, and organic local farming. That we’re not more pollyannaish and alas instead jaded like Gate’s and myself is probably the reason the climate change movement is so popular. High ideals and posturing with hypocritical selfish lifestyles that we all escape to like so many drug addicts.

      • Very wise post there ordvic. The general human trait to fool yourself with easy choices to prevent the hard ones. Land use chages might indeed be part of the solution, but simply far from the tougher choices still needed. Can we be unselfish enough?

      • …and local organic farming should read big corporate chemical control of food supply.

      • @Gates

        > Can we be unselfish enough?

        Can I watch while you change the human genome ? Survival of the dumbest should do what you wish for

    • Rob Ellison

      This Fall, travels through Yellowstone National Park. Instead of a plethora of begging bears, North American Bison; large hoofed creatures, grazing in herds, then en masse migrating and tumbling down river embankments to swiftly flowing water as the sun is setting. A recapitulation of a by-gone era.
      There are still barbed wire fences. The cattle still graze the range until only sage brush grows replacing the grassland. Merging the cattle and Bison requires thoughtful engineering, not of the climate kind, only balancing trade-off’s: maybe, simultaneous harvesting cattle and Bison in some proportion would restore a Plains, so vast, even today, that rainbows are seen, even though one is present in a cloudless sky.

  18. Added plus. Policy oriented towards this kind of methodology can be tied back to the land under all those already existing wind turbines across the plains states and high on the hill tops. If yer taking the tax benefit from the renewable, ya gotta implement the methodology. (There’s some controversy we can toss around, huh?)

  19. In much of Minnesota, there’s a simple every other year corn and soybean rotation. The soybeans fix nitrogen to the soil for next years corn and control rootworms. I’d say the current economics are a large part of the rotations we see. There are other save the planet reasons as well as mentioned here:
    http://cornandsoybeandigest.com/soybeans/including-soybeans-crop-rotation-provides-advantages?page=1
    They mention spreading out field work which is nice. Corn will have the relatively longer growing season required with the soybeans maturing first so you can get going earlier combining the soybeans. Harvest is often a time constrained situation with the chance of cold and precipitation looming in the future.
    “Roots and stems left in the ground at the end of the growing season return carbon to the soil, offsetting emissions.”
    A common practice for corn is to harvest it, then stalk chop the trash which pulverizes the stalks into small bits which lay on the surface. I can see where the stalk fragments are decomposing on the surface and not in it.

  20. “That’s where the lentils come in. Lentils belong to a class of plants called legumes that can convert useless atmospheric nitrogen into plant food…”
    Useless??
    If it can be used, how can it be useless?

  21. Can cows help save the planet?

    What is the evidence that the planet, presumingly the entire Earth, is in serious and immediate danger of any kind?

    • If you don’t do what I tell you today, then billions of people will die horrible deaths in the future…..trust me I am an expert…..send me more money so that I can refine my analysis. I have models that prove my point…beyond question

    • There is a lot of evidence for declining biodiversity, high rates of soil erosion and degradation, habitat loss, increased runoff etc. There is a need to increase food production dramatically this century on the same land area.

      The bottom line is economic growth through higher agricultural productivity initially and free trade.

    • Even a basic knowledge of exponential growth and systems theory tells you this kind of growth can’t continue with serious consequences:

      The disruption of the nitrogen cycle might be more serious than the carbon cycle disruption humans have caused.

      • Oh for God’s sake – Randy the video guy has just said this He should give it a break if he has nothing to offer. The again if he did we would never hear from him again.

      • RG,

        Even the most basic level student of population knows that exponential growth is not in the cards. Unless you keep the world’s undeveloped nations poor and uneducated. Which is effectively what policy and action based on alarmist predictions will do.

        Claims like this takes you from rational discussion of science to religious preaching. Only your religion offers no promise of a better life, either now or in the here after.

      • “Even the most basic level student of population knows that exponential growth is not in the cards.”

        —–
        Indeed. That much is obvious. What is not obvious is whether it will be a spike-collapse or logarithmic flattening. Stay tuned…

      • Even a basic knowledge of exponential growth and control theory tells you this kind of growth can’t continue, due to the nature of steady states.

      • “Curious George | November 19, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
        This is a 1972 thinking, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Limits_to_Growth.”
        —–
        The only thing that tries to grow forever is cancer. Healthy systems seek balance, not eternal growth. This will be the basis for future Anthropocene management.

      • There is a lot of energy in the universe and my prediction is that man will not ultimately use all of it.
        ================

      • Curious George

        R. Gates: Please don’t contradict yourself. You brought in your basic knowledge of exponential growth and systems theory. And organic fertilizer.

      • Re RG’s “healthy systems seek balance, not eternal growth.”

        You flunk Ecology. Or have been brainwashed by New Age mushy thinking.

        Most organisms grow until they run into some limiting factor. Ever heard of competition? For natural systems it is generally cut throat.

      • @timg56
        Yes, basic ecology. Equilibrium theory is naive and more part of the Gaian religion than ecological science.

      • A narrow view sees competition when really it is all about symbiotic ecosystem balance:

      • It is not lion and gazelle, but lion-gazelle. A symbiotic system. A deep understanding of this will be required for successful Anthropocene management.

      • Tell that to the gazelles, gatesy. They’ll trample you.

        Now let’s talk about the human-coal symbiosis.

      • “Despite being discredited among ecologists, the theory is widely held to be true in the wider population: a report written by psychologist Corinne Zimmerman of Illinois State University and ecologist Kim Cuddington of Ohio University demonstrated that at least in Midwestern America, the “balance of nature” idea is widely held among both science majors and the general student population”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balance_of_nature

      • Symbiotic balance is nature’s way to prevent this:

        If you look at the GH gas chart growth you can see that such growth rate trends will end– one way or another.

      • How many parts per freaking billion will it take for CO2 to result in catastrophic collapse, gatesy?

        He won’t answer.

      • Gates: growth and collapse IS balance.

        we had a great run.

      • I corrected your graph.

        It doesn’t look as catastrophic.

      • “Gates: growth and collapse IS balance.

        we had a great run.”
        —–
        Certainly one way to be sure no species dominates for too long. There is deep resentment among some that this must eventually be the case. It may have something to do with creation of the concept of eternal life in heaven.

      • “How many parts per freaking billion will it take for CO2 to result in catastrophic collapse, gatesy?

        He won’t answer.”
        —-
        I take it you mean parts per million. How many parts per million would CO2 have to go to before it would bring about catastrophic collapse? Of both the biosphere and human civilization? Probably need to bring methane and N2O into the discussion to really drill down to find an answer, for they are sharing an ever increasing part of the forcing as they are also rising very rapidly. I would guess we could be anywhere between 25% and 100% there. “Alarmists” think it is closer to 100% or maybe 110%

      • R. Gates | November 21, 2014 at 12:10 am |
        “How many parts per freaking billion will it take for CO2 to result in catastrophic collapse, gatesy?

        He won’t answer.”
        —-
        I take it you mean parts per million. How many parts per million would CO2 have to go to before it would bring about catastrophic collapse? Of both the biosphere and human civilization? Probably need to bring methane and N2O into the discussion to really drill down to find an answer, for they are sharing an ever increasing part of the forcing as they are also rising very rapidly. I would guess we could be anywhere between 25% and 100% there. “Alarmists” think it is closer to 100% or maybe 110%

        Well, it probably takes more than the 4000 ppm present during the first ice age because that didn’t work.

        When the hiatus shows less than the claimed CO2 only forcing and none of the positive water vapor feedback, to drag in other GHG boogie men seems counterproductive. That would mean CO2 has even less effect and reducing it has even less benefit.

        The 4000 PPM level would only change the current temperature about 12.3 watts or about 2.2°C according to the IPCC CO2 alone forcing with no feedback equation 5.35ln(C/C0).

      • “The 4000 PPM level would only change the current temperature about 12.3 watts or about 2.2°C according to the IPCC CO2 alone forcing with no feedback equation 5.35ln(C/C0).”
        —–
        Given the current solar output, the current astronomical forcing, the current biosphere, the current atmospshere, and then all likely related feedbacks, the probability is quite high that taking CO2 to 4000ppm would easily mean the complete collapse of human civilization if not the extinction of both humans but the majority of all current species.

      • R. Gates,

        How long will it take to reach that 2000ppm or 4000ppm?

        By my admittedly elementary analysis. I came up with about 240 years to reach 800ppm based on the average annual contribution (appox. 1.65ppm) from Mauma Loa (55 years of data). When I looked at the yearly numbers I noticed that there was an increasing rate of increase in the last decade so using just that decade (appox. 2.05ppm) I came up with about 190 years. Did I miss something?

        My expectation is that via further determinant study we’ll get a better handle on this. That, plus implementation of what seems to me mutually beneficial common sense programs such as “Cows saving the planet” NOW as a form of insurance against the risk of CO2 being causative of warming (which I get the impression more folks than not here, perceive) lets me sleep well.

        This is in part why I’m not fearful at this point, as the CO2 conversation as the predominant cause of GW is still in question. Keep in mind that I’m subject to change my mind.

        I just don’t see where the fire is.

      • R. Gates | November 21, 2014 at 8:53 am |
        Given the current solar output, the current astronomical forcing, the current biosphere, the current atmospshere, and then all likely related feedbacks, the probability is quite high that taking CO2 to 4000ppm would easily mean the complete collapse of human civilization if not the extinction of both humans but the majority of all current species.

        Yup. The precautionary principle says we should limit CO2 to 2000 PPM or about 1.4°C (8.6 W of forcing) just to be safe.

      • “By my admittedly elementary analysis. I came up with about 240 years to reach 800ppm based on the average annual contribution (appox. 1.65ppm) from Mauma Loa (55 years of data). When I looked at the yearly numbers I noticed that there was an increasing rate of increase in the last decade so using just that decade (appox. 2.05ppm) I came up with about 190 years. Did I miss something?”
        _______
        We are more like approaching 2.5-3 ppm per year in growth rate Short of some serious action on CO2 emissions, that rate is likely to go higher. Additionally, methane and N2O must be included in all considerations. I have a high degree of confidence (never completely certain of course) that 700 ppm by 2100 would have significantly negative consequences. Catastrophic? That’s debatable.

      • R. Gates,

        Thanks for that. How did my math go wrong on Mauna Loa when I average the last 10 years? Or are you referring to a one year count or a different time frame in seeing 2.5-3 range?

        I’m working on the CO2 portion independently as my learning curve is growing but does not yet expand in to the other (potential) GHG’s and physical mechanisms much. But I appreciate the expanded thought.

      • “Yup. The precautionary principle says we should limit CO2 to 2000 PPM or about 1.4°C (8.6 W of forcing) just to be safe.”
        ____
        An absurd and pseudoscientific statement. 2000 ppm takes us easily over 5C or more of warming when all feedbacks are considered. Think Miocene.

      • R. Gates | November 21, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        “Yup. The precautionary principle says we should limit CO2 to 2000 PPM or about 1.4°C (8.6 W of forcing) just to be safe.”
        ____
        An absurd and pseudoscientific statement. 2000 ppm takes us easily over 5C or more of warming when all feedbacks are considered. Think Miocene.

        Think Ordovician or Carboniferous. In the Carboniferous the CO2 level was around todays level for 10s of millions of years with absolutely no change. Ice ages happen when land moves to the poles. Ice ages correlate well with geography.

        It is pretty obvious that historically there isn’t good correlation between CO2 and temperature. CO2 isn’t a driver – it is a passenger on the bus.

        Most people in the CONUS aren’t seeing your feedbacks right now. Since 1998 feedbacks are looking either nonexistent or negative…

        We’ll see. Warming by 2020 will pull some of the CAGW fat out of the fire. If is cooler by 2020 congress should take action to get reparations from CAGW activists and/or criminalize their activities.

      • Danny Thomas | November 21, 2014 at 11:13 am |
        R. Gates,

        How long will it take to reach that 2000ppm or 4000ppm?

        The NOAA Mauna Loa site
        http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

        Well, the truth is we can’t ever raise the CO2 level to 2000 PPM with fossil fuels. And your math seems to be correct.

        Half the released CO2 is absorbed by the environment.

        It isn’t clear that we can push the CO2 level over 600 PPM. There is enough fossil fuel to raise the CO2 level to 800 PPM if we burn all of it and it all went into the atmosphere. But it isn’t all recoverable and half will be absorbed by the environment so 600 PPM is probably the practical limit. CO2 fuels plant growth and is absorbed by the ocean so half of it goes bye bye..

        The IPCC 940 PPM scenario does not seem to be a rational construct.

      • Fine. Do it the easy way! :) I actually when through the log and did it manually for 55 years and did it again to confirm. Then did the same for the last decade as my “lying eyes” told me that there seemed to be an increase in the increase.

        Guess I can sleep now not worrying about mass extinction and 4000ppm that R.Gates offered.

        I’m perceiving that the black horizontal lines are decal averages. So wondering why the emissions seemed to be reduced 1990-2000? What’d we do differently that I’m unaware of?

        I’ve gotta learn how to find and use all these toys.

        Thanks for that link.

      • Two points DT.

        The emissions are diverging from the amount retained in the atmosphere. Studies say the Revelle factor (the resistance to the ocean absorbing CO2) is increasing. However the environment is absorbing more CO2.

        Funny no?

        As to why emissions flatlined:

        It looks like the pieces of the USSR significantly cut emissions because their economies tanked. The US had peaked and the China increase basically kept things flat for a couple of years.

      • R Gates

        ‘Certainly one way to be sure no species dominates for too long. There is deep resentment among some that this must eventually be the case. It may have something to do with creation of the concept of eternal life in heaven.”

        i used to teach two poems: Ulysses and Tithonus.

    • Dan,

      Politics! (sorry, couldn’t resist) :)

  22. AS a horticulturist and Erosion control specialist, I have spent my life trying to make people understand that AGW is a distraction to the real issues that we face, i.e. degradation of our soils. Loss of soils due to poor practices, soil loss due to erosion and salinity are problems that impact on what we eat, how much we have to eat and our ability to avoid mass starvation into the future. Whether it’s one degree hotter or not is irrelevant to a starving kid.
    Smart farmers have been using green manure crops to revive depleted soils for eons, no till cropping is the norm now and so it the recognition that land use practices that minimise erosion are imperative. Over cropping, cloven hooved stock and removal of trees are root causes of farmland degradation. Little known fact: a healthy grass sward produces more O2 per Ha than forest, absorbs more CO2 and has a greater fauna count.
    Focus on protecting our valuable soils and forget about the King Canute syndrome of climate.

    • Nitrogen cycle disruption might indeed be more serious than the carbon cycle.

      http://lira.pro.br/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/canfield-et-al-2010.pdf

      • “However, because of the projected increase in human population through at least 2050, there will be demand for a con- comitant increase in fixed nitrogen for crops to feed this population. One potential consequence of increased fixed nitrogen use will be increased fluxes of riverine nitrogen to coastal zones (57), leading in turn to enhanced biological productiv- ity, increased coastal anoxia, detrimental impacts on water quality, and increased fluxes of N2O to the atmosphere.”

      • Looks like a great argument for doing exactly what the articles Dr. C offered for our consumption. In fact it states many of the same recommendations.

      • That’s three times you’ve written it in this thread. Give it a rest.

      • Ahhh … another catastrophe in the offing, eh Gates? There’s no end to the hysteria.

      • http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2014/04/20/its-final-corn-ethanol-is-of-no-use/
        In 2000, over 90% of the U.S. corn crop went to feed people and livestock, many in undeveloped countries, with less than 5% used to produce ethanol. In 2013, however, 40% went to produce ethanol, 45% was used to feed livestock, and only 15% was used for food and beverage

        The greens claim to take the soil and food problem seriously

        On the other they push for burning food as fuel.

        http://www.bigpictureagriculture.com/2013/03/weve-lost-9-7-million-acres-of-crp-land-in-five-years-334.html
        In 5 years (as of 2012) the Conservation Reserve Program lost 26% of enrolled land, 9.7 million acres. Corn acreage increased 13 million acres in the same period. It doesn’t take a rocket or climate scientist to figure out where the lost banked land went.

        Burning food for fuel raised on marginal land increases erosion, nutrient run off, etc. the opposite of all the good things conservation is supposed to achieve.

        Burning 40% of the corn crop is difficult to defend.

        The greens use soil and food as talking points, but advocate counterproductive policies. The hypocrisy makes it hard to take them seriously.

    • John,

      As an Australian hydrologist and environmental scientist specialising in biogeochemical cycling – more practically management of sediment and nutrient exports – I agree wholeheartedly. Carbon dioxide is a distraction from the substantive and pressing issues of soil erosion and degradation and all of the attendant problems that result.

      ‘Atmospheric reactions and slow geolo
      gical processes controlled Earth

      s earliest nitrogen cycle, and by
      ~2.7 billion years ago, a linked suite of microbial processes evolved to form the modern nitrogen cycle with robust natural feedbacks and controls. Over the past century, however, the development of new agricultural practices to satisfy a growing global demand for food has drastically disrupted the nitrogen cycle. This has led to extensive eutrophication of fresh waters and coastal zones as well as increased inventories of the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O). Microbial processes will ultimately restore balance to the nitrogen cycle,but the damage done by humans to the nitrogen economy of the planet will persist for decades, possibly centuries, if active intervention
      and careful management strategies are not initiated.’

      So another ‘catastrophic’ problem to wave his hands about? I got as far as this in Randy the video guy’s link. In reality microbial processes in anoxic sediment will very quickly convert soluble nitrogen to gaseous N2.

      Eutrophic waterways have been a prime concern for decades – and the solutions are fairly obvious. They include improved soil management.

    • +100 woody.

    • TTL, nice to hear a voice of sanity.

    • “I have spent my life trying to make people understand that AGW is a distraction to the real issues that we face.” As have many others in many fields, it is perplexing how CAGW promoters have had so much sway for over 30 years.

    • Through the Lens (@woodyjohn1) | November 19, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
      “AS a horticulturist and Erosion control specialist, I have spent my life trying to make people understand that AGW is a distraction to the real issues that we face, i.e. degradation of our soils”

      How old are you?

      “soil loss due to erosion and salinity are problems that impact on what we eat, how much we have to eat and our ability to avoid mass starvation into the future. ”

      Forget all this alarmism about AGW……we’re all going to starve to death because soil degradation.

  23. After the first few paragraphs I skipped through the rest of the post. Reason, I didn’t see anything new from when I studied soils 20 years ago. Legumes? Seriously? Are these people just finding out about the role of nitrogen fixers?

    It is times like this I suspect your average scientist would starve if given the task of running a farm.

    • timg56,

      You wrote –

      “It is times like this I suspect your average scientist would starve if given the task of running a farm.”

      Depending on the scientist, not only the scientist, but millions of others would also starve. Ah, the wonders of science!

      But seriously, by all means let us pass laws halting climate change, and reversing it to as it was on 16th August 1922. Or maybe the fourth day after the first full moon after the flooding of the Nile, 2842 BCE. Or maybe after about 7 billion people have agreed on an appropriate date, we could set up an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and call for submissions from interested scientists possessing the finest minds.

      I suggest this should occur after World Peace has been declared.

      Silly, silly, silly!

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

      • Mike, not 1922, please. You’ll have that melting permafrost thing again. Also, 1922-3 was a real mess in eastern Oz. One of those future drought thingies Obama warned us about last week. Only it wasn’t future, if you know what I mean.

        Pick the 1970s. Lots of ice for nervous warmies and plenty of rain on my bamboo. Not a good decade for Africa that one, so maybe just reverse the climate locally. Handle that okay, climate reversers?

  24. More good evidence for planting more and more bluebonnets surrounding our nations highways!

  25. I believe Freeman Dyson once noted that if atmospheric CO2 was really a problem – the best way to fix it would be to genetically engineer plant life to grow everywhere and sequester it.
    The above examples are just the above statement combined with some existing commercial utility – although if CO2 is truly a problem, the sequestration itself has utility.
    Super-super-super-duper kudzu, anyone?

    • Here’s Freeman Dyson’s heretical thoughts on growing top soil.

      ‘ I will discuss the global warming problem in detail because it is interesting,even though its importance is exaggerated. One of the main causes of warming is the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere resulting from our burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal and natural gas. To understand the movement of carbon through the atmosphere and biosphere, we need to measure a lot of numbers. I do not want to confuse you with a lot of numbers, so I will ask you to remember just one number. The number that I ask you to remember is one hundredth of an inch per year. Now I will explain what this number means. Consider the half of the land area of the earth that is not desert or ice-cap or city or road or parking-lot. This is the half of the land that is covered with soil and supports vegetation of one kind or another. Every year, it absorbs and converts into biomass a certain fraction of the carbon dioxide that we emit into the atmosphere. Biomass means living creatures, plants and microbes and animals, and the organic materials that are left behind when the creatures die and decay. We don’t know how big a fraction of our emissions is absorbed by the land, since we have not measured the increase or decrease of the biomass. The number that I ask you to remember is the increase in thickness, averaged over one half of the land area of the planet, of the biomass that would result if all the carbon that we are emitting by burning fossil fuels were absorbed. The average increase in thickness is one hundredth of an inch per year.

      The point of this calculation is the very favorable rate of exchange between carbon in the atmosphere and carbon in the soil. To stop the carbon in the atmosphere from increasing, we only need to grow the biomass in the soil by a hundredth of an inch per year. Good topsoil contains about ten percent biomass, [Schlesinger, 1977], so a hundredth of an inch of biomass growth means about a tenth of an inch of topsoil. Changes in farming practices such as no-till farming, avoiding the use of the plow, cause biomass to grow at least as fast as this. If we plant crops without plowing the soil, more of the biomass goes into roots which stay in the soil, and less returns to the atmosphere. If we use genetic engineering to put more biomass into roots, we can probably achieve much more rapid growth of topsoil. I conclude from this calculation that the problem of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a problem of land management, not a problem of meteorology. No computer model of atmosphere and ocean can hope to predict the way we shall manage our land.

      • + :)

      • And another thing …
        ‘The fundamental reason why carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is critically important to biology is that there is so little of it. A field of corn growing in full sunlight in the middle of the day uses up all the carbon dioxide within a meter of the ground in about five minutes.’

        Like FD’s comment above, the Chiefio on his blog has similar
        comments on pond scum stripping the air above it of CO2 on
        a sunny afternoon.

      • Well, duh. What you think moso bamboo is for? What else grows from the ground to a hundred feet in seven weeks? (Though we let our serfs nibble on the odd shoot. They stay vaguely alive that way.)

        Moso is biomass on roller skates. (Mm, maybe not this year.)

    • Although Freeman Dyson is careful not to characterize himself as an expert on climate change, his comments quoted here and continued elsewhere are appropriate and should be considered carefully.

      It is interesting that instead of fossil fuels being the big villain of climate change, the World Bank places the blame elsewhere. With one-third of the planet under cultivation, and with heavy energy inputs required for modern agriculture (esp. fertilizer), and with the rapid growth in the maintenance of large herds of animals for consumption, the idea does not seem absurd.

      I doubt if the Greens will let Exxon off the hook, however. But for the rest of us, it could be seen as more vindication for Roger Pielke Sr. He deserves it.

  26. This public TV video has a good background on small town rural farmers in Minnesota. Bill Holm, Not Quite American:
    http://www.mnvideovault.org/mvvPlayer/customPlaylist2.php?id=16651&select_index=0&popup=yes#3
    He compares China’s culture to ours. He talks about the richness of prairie land and that it is not our virtues that brought us to this land, but our good luck, and that we have some of the most valuable land in the world. He also talks about the growth industry in small rural towns being nursing homes, and the possible future of these towns.

  27. Deforestation and other land-use changes no doubt exert a measurable effect upon terrestrial temperatures. As for the notion that similar effects are produced by cows (whose flatulence has been analyzed ad nauseum in recent decades), I say: what a hoot!

  28. Aren’t we getting just a little tired of polished educated folks giving talks giving Douglas Adams answers to the mystery of the universe and referring to people “…who know a lot more about carbon than I…”

  29. OT, but good read ahead of open thread

    Earth’s Climate Sensitivity: Apparent Inconsistencies in Recent
    Assessments
    Stephen E. Schwartz, Robert J. Charlson, Ralph Kahn and Henning Rodhe

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014EF000273/pdf

    an ECS of 1.7 to 1.8 looks good

    • DocMartyn, it is still dropping though. Once you reconsider the assumption that the LIA recovery magically ended circa 1900 and allow for heat recovery to a reason steady state condition, “sensitivity” should drop to 0.8C +/- 0.2. Not knowing what “normal” should be has a bit larger impact that some might believe.

      So far, I haven’t had any reason to change my estimate and with land use/soil depletion impacts finally getting a bit more consideration I “project” the next few rounds of guestimates to be in the 1.2 to 1.4 range thanks to good old scientific inertia.

  30. Of course we could rid ourselves of the urge to cover the earth
    with wind farms and solar complexes. A wind farm in Texas with
    a capacity of 781.5 megawatts requires about 154 square miles
    of land. For California to produce 8500 megawatts would need
    land equivalent to more than 70 Manhattans.To generate the
    equivalent amount of solar energy, California would need at
    least 23 projects the size of Ivanpah, about 127 square miles
    of land that might be used for other things like producing food.

    H/t Robert Bryce. 07/06/2011

  31. About 7 years ago, Freeman Dyso, suggested that land management could solve CO2 problems. He stated:

    “The number that I ask you to remember is the increase in thickness, averaged over one half of the land area of the planet, of the biomass that would result if all the carbon that we are emitting by burning fossil fuels were absorbed. The average increase in thickness is one hundredth of an inch per year.
    The point of this calculation is the very favorable rate of exchange between carbon in the atmosphere and carbon in the soil. To stop the carbon in the atmosphere from increasing, we only need to grow the biomass in the soil by a hundredth of an inch per year. …. If we use genetic engineering to put more biomass into roots, we can probably achieve much more rapid growth of topsoil. I conclude from this calculation that the problem of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a problem of land management, not a problem of meteorology.”

    See http://edge.org/conversation/heretical-thoughts-about-science-and-society

  32. Geoff Sherrington

    Please allow a comment from a scientist who spent many years researching soil science, fertilizers and crop nutrition.
    Soils left to themselves tend to accumulate a level of carbon, often measured chemically as Total Organic Carbon or TOC. This is generally a percentage or two of total dry weight. If measures are taken to increase this level, for the purposes of carbon sequestration, the attempts are likely to be temporary because the soils will tend to revert to their natural state when management ceases. Also, as more and more carbon accumulates it will become harder to keep it there, as there is competition for it from higher yields of crops and the eventual reaction of conversion, for some at least, to carbon dioxide gas. I do not think we know how to manufacture soils resembling coal seams, with very high carbon, on industrial scales as yet.
    The urge to increase TOC by management is understandable and the methods are reasonably well known. Unfortunately, we are in the domain of another cult war as the “organic” farmers drift in and out of fantasy land with unsupported claims. The best management will almost inexorably require fertilizers such as potash and phosphate, to replace the weight taken away with each harvest. Organic farming stories that involve cow horns filled with excrement and buried on a full moon do not sound terribly supported by science, nor do claims using sources of P and K that are less easily managed than mined/manufactured fertilizers. (Think transport costs, also mixing in optimum proportions, for example).
    While carbon sequestration in soil is part of the Australian Government plan to reduce GHG, I do not consider it well researched or very logical. It could well produce some results in the short term, but in the longer term I suspect that Nature will dominate and re-release much of it. I would be happy to be shown to be wrong, so I can make corrections.

    • There are two separate aspects. The first is the run down in soil carbon with traditional agriculture.

      This is reversible – at least in part – with specific techniques including no till.

      The second is with the encouragement of deeper rooting perennials on grazing lands. There are ancillary benefits – water conservation, healthier and more active microbial assemblage, access to deeper nutrients and quicker mobilisation of nutrients from rock breakdown.

      • Here’s a link discussing what I’d honestly call, profit maximization farming:
        http://www.watersheddistrict.org/big_crops.html
        I know some farmers in Renville County, and the article seems accurate with how they describe the situation including what’s happening to their towns and way of life. The machinery keeps getting bigger and more expensive as do the farms while some people cannot afford to go down that path. A square mile of land would probably be a minimum size for farmer to make a go of it. That might go for $400,000. Working 3 to 4 square mills to spread around machinery costs is not unusual. As the article says, the same 3 crops, fence row to fence row with some huge drainage ditches as tiling is quite common. It is some of the best farmland in the country. How do we keep it that way, while keeping family farmers going, clean up the rivers, and get low cost food?

      • No till is good. Back in the day, we experimented with permaculture, then defined as a mix of no-till, perennials, fruiting shrubs, fruit and nut orchards, aquaculture, and silvaculture. Unfortunately, that has morphed into a fuzzywuzzy, politically correct, social justice thingy.

    • Geoff, I believe the majority of the longer term impact would be in the severely degraded acreage. There would be a need at some point to consider crop uses that would produce longer term sequestration like construction material etc., but by that time some of the energy issues should be somewhat resolved.

      There are plenty of other benefits than TOC including reducing average soil temperatures by about a degree and improving water retention plus feeding a few extra folks might be nice :)

    • Curious George

      Geoff, thank you for an expert introduction. I have two things that don’t fit in your image (I presume that what you say is limited to fields and pastures): peat and coal. I think that they are both carbon sinks, and probably have nothing to do with cows, so are they outside your bounds?

  33. Can cows save the planet?

    If we accept tha carbon dioxide can destroy it, why not accept that cows can save it? After all, cows have been known to jump over the moon.

  34. While I reject “healthy eating” (which is when people eat with their heads instead of their tummies and which is consequently unhealthy) I shovel legumes almost every day. When I’m with friends and family in the city and forced to eat a lot of restaurant and deluxo food I find myself missing my daily mess of lentils, split peas, chick peas, beans of all shapes and colours.

    I have friends with a big irrigation farm out west and they bet huge each year on weather and water allocations. It’s amazing how much chickpea can be grown out there and how cheaply it can come to table. For my friends it’s just stock feed to be grown by the ton, yet the things Indians and Italians can do with the very same chickpeas or their flour are prodigious.

    The problem is in the way people immediately associate such things with “health” and treat them as penitential exercises. Or they fret over the Fair Trade or Organic status. Or they’re worried about aluminium in the pressure cookers which are the great tool for unleashing the benefits of legumes on humanity. They miss the twin advantages of thrift and deliciousness.

    As with so many things – like cheap electricity – we need to stop fretting over and start appreciating the bounties of modern production.

    Legumes make great food, they’re for shovelling into hungry humans daily, preferably dressed with lashings of cruchy salt, strong cheese and oil. And while I prefer ordinary brown mushies grown in vast Australian paddocks, the lentils of Le Puy are a good example of the traditional and “sustainable” (ew, I can’t believe I just wrote that word) being more than just a middle class fetish. I love Le Puy, and this is low-impact agriculture which makes sense in its place:
    http://www.lalentillevertedupuy.com/the-land-c42.html

    Mind you, I still prefer cheap, brown, starchy lentils grown in massive irrigated paddocks out west. Love Le Puy…but I also love Western NSW and its big ag-industries.

    If you don’t like feed-lots eat the bloody feed yourself. But best to eat the legumes AND the cows. Enjoy your friendly Holocene and the efficiencies of food miles and Big Ag while you have them.

  35. Freeman Dyson was writing about these matters a few years ago
    http://edge.org/documents/archive/edge219.html

  36. You ‘gotta love that Google article about, “Why google stopped R&D in renewable energy.”

    How will we remove CO2 from the air?

    We’ve just got to remove every black spec from the sand on America’s beaches or remaining at >350ppm of CO2 means disaster and we can’t do it so, lets party –e.g., dire consequences: shifting climatic zones, freshwater shortages, eroding coasts, and ocean acidification, among others.

    It’s that, “among others,” that’s really fearsome. Maybe… Ebola! Is it any wonder the fall of Western Civilization that we’re witnessing in our lifetime seems nigh irreversible? The information age has given birth to Moby Nihilism. It’s like we need 40 years of wandering in the desert waiting for everyone now living to die before humanity has a chance at moving forward again.

    • That is a good article. I especially liked seeing this said, ” Small operators, with far less infrastructure than a utility company and far more derring-do, might experiment more freely and come up with valuable innovations more quickly.” Let’s see some alarmists with “derring-do” focus on solving problems instead of creating them.

      • Let’s mobilize the children to their contribute pennies — to be matched by Google and Apple and Tesla and GM and Ben and Jerry — and with that, we can reverse, eroding coasts, and ocean acidification, and save a world chokablock with the looming disaster that capitalism and respect for individual liberty hath wrought. Fighting global warming is the Left’s WWIII and America is the enemy.

    • ==> “Is it any wonder the fall of Western Civilization that we’re witnessing in our lifetime seems nigh irreversible? ”

      But thanks god, we have some “skeptics” around to perhaps save us from the “alarmists.”

      • We must hope to be saved by our enemies?

      • Thank God we have Joshua around to make fun of.

        Andrew

      • But thanks god, we have wagathon around to perhaps save us from the “alarmists

        See how easy to avoid misrepresentative sampling

      • When it comes to global warming alarmism, reality is the final check on the science. The reality is, the rise in average global temperatures is not alarming. That’s the facts.

      • Steven –

        I think you misunderstand my perspective. I don’t think that all “skeptics” adopt a logically incoherent attitude w/r/t “alarmism.” I don’t think that all “skeptics” twist error range and probability statements of climate scientists to assert that those said scientists are “catastrophists.”

        I do, however, think that it is a fairly common pattern of reasoning among “skeptics.”

        And that’s because I think it’s a fairly common pattern of reasoning among most people when they become identified with groups engaged in polarized debates that overlap with cultural and ideological and political differences.

        So no, I don’t think that Wags’ selective attitude towards “alarmism” is characteristic of all “skeptics.” I have run across a few who adopt a different approach. Like John Carpenter and…..um…..well…..er….ah….eh……mmmm…well, I’m sure that I’ve run across a few others also.

        The kinds of identity-aggressive behaviors that we see so frequently from “skeptics” – where they hide their arguments behind denigrating labels such as “alarmist” – are a dime-a-dozen in these types of circumstances.

        But I do think that his selective attitude towards “alarmism” is characteristic of “skeptics” as a group – because as a group they share attributes with other groups that are heavily identified in polarized and politicized controversies.

        Hope that helps you out. Feel free to use that information to start stalking me less, if you’d like.

      • ‘We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination… So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”
        Stephen Schneider

        The reality is that there are people using scary climate scenarios to attempt to affect societal and economic transformation. They might even believe their own stories.

      • Joshua
        In order to advocate for incurring costs today to implement many activities to reduce CO2 emissions, isn’t it necessarily true that a person must point out the potential future risks associated with more CO2? Isn’t that alarmist by definition? Sounding the alarm isn’t necessarily bad.

        It seems the question is whether a person accepts that the available information justifies sounding the alarm today and then what should be done. It seems that people fit into 3 categories.

        1. Some believe they are so sure that more CO2 will lead to future disasters (or at least problem greater than the benefits) that they think it is appropriate that steps be taken immediately that would negatively impact the lives of many others. They believe this is appropriate because it will reduce the harms placed on “future people”.

        2. Some think there is a potential of future harms but that there is not enough reliable information to justify taking such actions.

        3. Some think that more CO2 can’t possibly be a problem.

        People in categories 2 & 3 will very frequently be frustrated with that in category 1, but for somewhat different reasons. The opposite is also true. As more reliable information becomes available the number of people in each group will change over time. It may also be true that as more information becomes available that the membership in each group will change based on geographic location.

      • Rob –

        I read as far as your first paragraph, and it seems to me that in order to proceed any further with an aim towards a productive discussion, we’re going to have to start at the beginning with agreeing on a definition of the term “alarmist.” Last time we tried a discussion, after an exchange of a few comments, it became apparent that there were foundational, definitional differences in our perspectives that precluded subsequent, meaningful discussion.

        As I define it,”alamist” is meant to characterize someone who is exaggerating a danger – and in the context of the climate wars, it is used as a pejorative label. So, to go back to that first paragraph:

        ==> “In order to advocate for incurring costs today to implement many activities to reduce CO2 emissions, isn’t it necessarily true that a person must point out the potential future risks associated with more CO2? Isn’t that alarmist by definition? Sounding the alarm isn’t necessarily bad.”

        No, I don’t think that it is “necessarily true” that someone who points out potential future risks associated with ACO2 is an “alarmist by definition.”

        Maybe if we can get past that definitional disagreement, then I will take the time to read and respond to the rest of what you wrote.

      • “When it comes to global warming alarmism, reality is the final check on the science.”
        —–
        Load a single bullet into a gun a play Russioan Roulette for a few minutes. You’ll find (or at least someone will) that reality, science, and the laws of statistics can have an immediate convergence. Human alteration of the atmosphere is no different then this game.

      • R. Gates,

        What if the bullet is a blank? That means a lot of noise if it goes off, but no actual death huh? This would be versus loading the gun, and not pulling the trigger just yet until we know if the bullet is real or a blank.

        This, is my perspective.

      • Joshua

        “I do, however, think that it is a fairly common pattern of reasoning among “skeptics.”

        1. you havent established that the pattern is common. You havent
        defined the patterns. You have no measure of the pattern.
        you have no definition of what common means. You have
        your impressions which are mediated by your motivated
        reasoning.
        2. your own motivated reasoning, your need to identify them as a group distinct from yourself, will prevent you from judging this fairly. In short,
        even if you were to attempt to study this problem objectively you could
        not. Or rather, no one should trust you.
        3. Even if there were such a thing as a “group”, that doesnt help you
        have a constructive dialog. You persist in behavior that doesnt work.

        Like Wagothon you cannot escape the categories of thought you approach this problem with. You can’t have a real dialog until you
        drop the labelling and grouping. I know it makes it easier for you to just attack a whole group. But, you do have the ability to engage people as individuals. You do it with Judith. You do it with me. you are clearly CAPABLE of doing it. Choose to do it more often.

      • Joshua

        Lets be clear

        “I think you misunderstand my perspective. I don’t think that all “skeptics” adopt a logically incoherent attitude w/r/t “alarmism.” I don’t think that all “skeptics” twist error range and probability statements of climate scientists to assert that those said scientists are “catastrophists.”

        1. I dont think you think ALL skeptics. you said SOME.
        2. Most people will miss that word SOME.
        3. using SOME allows you to avoid the tough work of actually addressing
        the fact of the person you are addressing.
        4. Using SOME allows others to play the game of “Im not in that group”

        You have a problem with Wagathons argument? Take him on. 1 v 1.

        you want the lazy way out. you want the broad appeal. but every time you group people understand that your motivated reasoning is working overtime to ignore differences between individuals.

        So, read what I write. I never said all. I know you said some. that doesnt help your position.

      • Steven –

        ==> “1. you havent established that the pattern is common. You havent
        defined the patterns. You have no measure of the pattern.
        you have no definition of what common means. You have
        your impressions which are mediated by your motivated
        reasoning.”

        This is all true – no doubt. The observations I’m offering are anecdotal – based on interactions with a group of outliers and an understanding that generalizing from that group is likely not valid. Most of what I write here should be viewed with that framework. Sometimes I forget that generalizing from this group of outliers is not valid – even as I remind others of that very same reality. When I forget, just remind me.

        ==> “2. your own motivated reasoning, your need to identify them as a group distinct from yourself,”

        I’m identifying similarities between them and myself, not distinctions.

        ==> “Or rather, no one should trust you.”

        I’m not asking anyone to “trust” me.

        ==> “that doesnt help you have a constructive dialog.”

        ==> “You can’t have a real dialog until you drop the labelling and grouping. ”

        I agree and I don’t agree. I’m not here to have constructive dialog with most of the people I’m interacting with because I don’t think constructive dialog would be possible until they show an openness to engage in good faith (with an understanding that they most likely feel similarly). With those folks, I’m here to explore my own thinking by testing it against alternative perspectives.”

        There are some folks (a tiny minority) that show an openness to engaging in good faith, and as such, we’re (sometimes) able to explore to what extent labels might be valid and to what extent they are inherently counterproductive. In some cases, the use of labels does not preclude constructive dialog.

        However, I would agree that more generally, the very act of labeling is an indication of a lack of good faith intent.

      • The high extraction and shipping cost of fossil fuel sets a fairly low bar for clean technologies.

        The obvious solution is to use existing technologies until cheaper cleaner technologies supplant them.

        Deploying more expensive non-dispatchable technologies now is difficult to justify. Make the technologies cheaper and dispatchable THEN deploy them. No one would have an argument with this approach.

      • Joshua

        What term do you prefer for those in what I described as category 1? I don’t really care what they are described as. I care if there is reliable evidence to support their conclusions. I accept that there are risks, but that does not mean you must take immediate actions to implement CO2 mitigation actions.
        You seem to focus your comments mostly on people in category 3. I am mostly interested in people in category 1 explaining what evidence they have relied upon to reach their conclusion and if their rationale seems valid.

        I am skeptical that warmer = worse conditions overall (or for the US) is true or at least sufficiently true to justify taking expensive actions today. Imo it is dependent upon the rate of change and what other conditions change as a result of any warming that does occur. I am generally skeptical of all model outputs until I have validated that they perform as expected. GCM’s are no exception.
        I have tried many times to get you to be specific about what specific data has led you to your conclusions, but you have not been forthcoming. It seems to be more basic philosophy to you. What reliable information would change your perspective?

      • Rob, your category 1 is
        “1. Some believe they are so sure that more CO2 will lead to future disasters (or at least problem greater than the benefits) that they think it is appropriate that steps be taken immediately that would negatively impact the lives of many others. They believe this is appropriate because it will reduce the harms placed on “future people”.”
        How about
        1. Some agree with the majority of climate scientists that have stated that the projected CO2 levels of 600-800 ppm, if not more, by 2100, being unprecedented in human history, are harmful (sea levels, significant warming and ecosystems), and something should be done to mitigate emissions to prevent reaching those levels. (Note that this isn’t a statement of what should be done, which is policy, just that there is a need for an agreement in that direction).
        Not everyone has the solution, but they do at least see the problem, which those in categories 2 and 3 don’t.

      • John Carpenter

        “Not everyone has the solution, but they do at least see the problem, which those in categories 2 and 3 don’t.”

        “2. Some think there is a potential of future harms but that there is not enough reliable information to justify taking such action”

        Jim D. Clearly category 2 see’s there is a problem. They understand that the conditions are there for a problem. It comes down to what evidence is there to corroborate it is an urgent, immediate dangerous problem. I see many in category 2 agreeable to implementing mitigating ideas, voluntarily and/or through local democratically held political initiatives as ‘no regrets’ actions. IMO, those in category 2 may be the most open minded of the three. IMO, those In the center tend to consider all sides more objectively, with less bias, than those on the ends. Category 2 has not determined how big the problem is yet.

      • John Carpenter, the distinction is that the people in category 2 think we can quite happily continue on a path towards 700 ppm without doing anything to slow down even as a precaution. They say wait for more science, but don’t do anything in the meantime, which is just a delaying tactic for something they don’t want to happen anyway. It means we’ll just blow through 450 ppm and 500 ppm while they are still dithering.

      • Jim D and John C,
        I’d say it’s less than accurate to say that we’re wanting to “just stand by” but instead are looking for reasonable approaches practically and politically. Just did a little “napkin” calculation. My CAGW buddy, when I presented this Ag. based discussion, tells me that it’s effectiveness will be “only” about 10% (CO2 mitigation) of what we need.

        I found that it takes about $37.50/ac to plant annual rye. Based on 400M acres in production (http://www.epa.gov/oecaagct/ag101/landuse.html) in the U.S. we could pay for that for about $1.5B. Our current farm bill is $956B. Deducting the approx. $756B oriented towards food stamps and nutrition (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/01/28/the-950-billion-farm-bill-in-one-chart/) leaves appox. $200B. Adding $1.5B to that is “relatively” minor.

        So for a 10% reduction (and please provide analysis if your conclusion differs) for a cost of $1.5B with the supplemental benefits of soil retention and supplemental forage, would this be something you could get behind?

        I’d say this is as close to a win/win as anything I’ve seen. Thoughts?

      • Shoot. Think I missed a zero. I believe that’s $15B. I don’t use that many numbers in my check book. :) But still would like your thoughts.

      • John Carpenter

        Well Jim, we have a difference in opinion. I would say category 2 may be more resigned to the idea there is little we can do to prevent 450 to 500 ppm, that it is to say it is likely to happen. I’m not sure they would be happy to go to 700. The answers to the uncertainties should be much better resolved way before that point one way or the other. Regardless, rapid mitigation now will have no beneficial effects on the climate of today or really the next several generations. So the urgency factor gets a bit lost as it won’t be beneficial, whatever that means, for a very long time on the scale of human current lifetimes. I would bet most people will judge the urgency of this problem based on how it will affect themselves during their lifespan. I would further guess that if people realize it will take timescales much longer than their own to fix, then they will become resigned to view it as less than urgent. It has taken several generations to get to 400 ppm. It will likely take many many many more to revert back to 350. Nobody alive today will see that, or their children, or their children’s children or their children’s children’s children etc… Based on the timescales involved relative to human lifespans, it is not practical or necessary to try to fully mitigate within one generation. And moreover it seems just as likely as not possible. This is a slow moving long range problem. The current three generations do not have to be the only ones to find the right solutions and, by the very science that supports AGW, will not be the only generations to have to deal with it.

      • John C, there may be some in category 2 who are worried by high CO2 levels, but think we can’t do anything, so let’s not even try. This may be a sub-category. These are the ones who should at least side with the category 1 people that look for ways to do it, and don’t just say stop trying. So let’s say category 2a is “worried about the way things are going, but we can’t do anything anyway” and 2b is “we don’t know, so don’t do anything”. Most of the outlines being put forward are multi-decadal efforts with targets to reach in various decades. I would not call these rapid, but without targets we won’t do anything, so the idea of setting targets should be supported by the 2a people, if not individual national or local policies.

      • Rob –

        ==> “What term do you prefer for those in what I described as category 1? I don’t really care what they are described as.”

        I think that your use of the term reflects a fundamental point of disagreement. I recently tried to build a discussion with you by skirting past basic points of disagreement and found it to be futile. I’m not inclined to do it again, at least for now.

        IMO – to go anywhere with this discussion, the starting point needs to be this comment of yours:

        In order to advocate for incurring costs today to implement many activities to reduce CO2 emissions, isn’t it necessarily true that a person must point out the potential future risks associated with more CO2? Isn’t that alarmist by definition? Sounding the alarm isn’t necessarily bad.

        I think that the argument that someone who is pointing out potential risks of ACO2 emissions is necessarily therefore an “alarmist” (i.e., someone who exaggerates risk) is a fundamentally flawed argument. First, because it ignores the underlying sub-text of the discussion: Identity-aggression and identity-defense. Second, because the rest of your arguments are based upon such a fundamentally faulty reasoning. No, pointing out risks does not = someone exaggerating risk. We need to deal with that fundamental problem in your argument in order to move forward.

      • John Carpenter

        Jim D, herein lies the problem with categorizing people or thier beliefs. You can always parse the category into smaller subgroups. Regardless, what you suggest is a better representation of the truth. The range of beliefs is really a spectrum. Where one lies on that spectrum is really very hard to categorize. I have mixed feelings about the usefulness of doing so.

      • John C, I believe it comes down to attitudes about whether recklessly blowing through 450 ppm and 500 ppm without any slowing down is something you accept for the future or not. We can attempt to bend the emission curve down, but it requires a deliberate effort in policy, and won’t just happen.

    • Planning Engineer

      Google spent a lot of time and a lot of money but they are starting to grasp some of the difficulties inherent with today’s renewable technologies.

      “Trying to combat climate change exclusively with today’s renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.”

      Here’s a link to the original article.

      http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/what-it-would-really-take-to-reverse-climate-change

      • Unfortunately, Google’s gross exaggerations are the real problem — they’ve become the dying England America left behind and they’re blaming us for their success by taking government subsidies to help take away our CO2. I can’t wait to ditch the stupid Android in my pocket for something else made in China.

      • Well, it would be nice to reduce fossil fuel use through a cheaper technology.

        It is estimated that regulations have quadrupled nuclear energy cost.

        Perhaps if we back down the regulations to “as clean as necessary” instead of “as clean as possible” and roll back regulations that don’t apply to the current passive safe reactors, nuclear would be the cheapest form of energy.

      • Planning Engineer

        Wagathon – I guess I’m at the point where a glass that is half (or maybe just a tenth) full is good news for me. Thinking back 5 or six years ago Google, Germany and Spain were beacons for those optimistic about cutting carbon through renewables. Many of my “eco-minded” friends were amazed and appalled that anyone could harbor doubts around the wisdom of such endeavors. Now the results are coming in and perhaps the doubters among us were not pessimistic enough.

      • Curious George

        Financially, Google is doing just fine. They are a part owner of an underperforming Ivanpah solar plant, built with a $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee. They just applied for a federal $500 million grant towards loan payments – all perfectly legal. I would love to have their difficulties – instead of having to buy Ivanpah’s “renewable” energy for an undisclosed price.

      • PE, if you’re really an engineer, like me, then you see the glass as being neither half-full nor half-empty, but rather twice as big as it need be ;-)

      • Planning Engineer

        You got me phatboy! I even used joke that in a presentation not that long ago. I was in philosopher mode.

      • The glass is over-designed.

      • Underutilized?

      • It is called a safety factor in some applications. The glass is 1.67 times bigger than it need be – quite deliberately.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        PE
        don’t forget
        priest, rabbi, engineer facing guillotine
        machine fails first two times, men of God pardoned
        engineer solves problem
        :)

      • There is no glass in liberal Utopia, just bota bags made from the skins of skeptics.

      • New Google motto: Don’t be eagle.

      • Planning Engineer

        As we’re discussing “enginerisms”:

        In light of Google’s long costly journey that lead them to abandon R&D for renewables, I was struck by the aptness of this old saying, “An Engineer is a man who can do for a dime what any fool can do for a dollar” .

        I’m thinking that by asking the right people, they could have gotten greater enlightenment for hundreds of dollars then they did with their millions.

  37. Speaking of the people that I thanks god for,here are some combating librul “alarmists” and their tyrannical statist ideology:

    http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/dvppp6/difference-makers—the-free-keene-squad

    Thanks god.

    • Well, the narcissistic fat-cat NIMBY billionaires behind the climate/environmental movements who want to move industry and jobs overseas so their playground is pristine, have little or no concern for the American middle class.

      It is a hopeful sign that there is some resistance, to the destruction of the American economy.

    • Curious George

      Is that how you spend your time?

  38. An example of alarmism….

    I heard this guy on youtube when I was in South Dakota recently, so I hopped in the car and fled South Dakota and drove all night, with the help of green and white and red tea, to the safety of Texas.

  39. Great post! I also love the 2013 post by Rob Ellison.

    The combination of bison and deep-rooted perennial grasses in the Iowa tall grass prairie has created some of the deepest, most fertile soils in the world.

    How much carbon is sequestered in the soil of a tall grass prairie?

    What are the external costs of tilling that soil?

    Iowa bison and prairie @ Neal Smith NWR

  40. If cows were going to kill humanity, as claimed by the UN-IPCC,

    http://helenair.com/news/state-and-regional/prof-debunks-flatulence-as-major-cause-of-global-warming/article_1c6c9c5e-2dbb-11e2-9e51-0019bb2963f4.html

    they have had many opportunities:

    New insight into Neolithic Europe cattle domestication
    http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/07/2014/new-insight-into-neolithic-europe-cattle-domestication

    Analysis confirms dairy farming in prehistoric Finland

    http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/07/2014/analysis-confirms-dairy-farming-in-prehistoric-finland

    I, for one, welcome our new planet saving bovine overlords.

  41. So much we DON’T know: http://www.utahpeoplespost.com/2014/11/carbon-dioxide-swings-crops-productivity-boost/

    Would not growing winter crops then help in lieu of leaving fields fallow. Even if annual rye grasses? Quick growing, dormant under snow, and then an (sorry folks) organic fertilizer for the next crop season.

    • To stop the carbon in the atmosphere from increasing, we only need to grow the biomass in the soil by a hundredth of an inch per year. Good topsoil contains about ten percent biomass, [Schlesinger, 1977], so a hundredth of an inch of biomass growth means about a tenth of an inch of topsoil. Changes in farming practices such as no-till farming, avoiding the use of the plow, cause biomass to grow at least as fast as this. If we plant crops without plowing the soil, more of the biomass goes into roots which stay in the soil, and less returns to the atmosphere. If we use genetic engineering to put more biomass into roots, we can probably achieve much more rapid growth of topsoil. I conclude from this calculation that the problem of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a problem of land management, not a problem of meteorology. No computer model of atmosphere and ocean can hope to predict the way we shall manage our land. ~Freeman Dyson

    • Curious George

      Danny – thanks. You have made my day.

    • Let polar bears graze on the rye and I think we got a winner–maybe drop a few ice blocks here and there…

  42. I don’t know if this is news but, bears are moving south to get out of the cold.

    • Wagathon | November 20, 2014 at 7:24 pm | Reply
      I don’t know if this is news but, bears are moving south to get out of the cold.

      I would too.

      According to Dr. Crockford the 2004-2006 polar bear decline was due to thick spring ice (the polar bears starve).

      A recent study showed no correlation with polar bear population and declining summer ice.

  43. Bill Nye is on Bloomberg saying that people who don’t “believe” in climate change also don’t “believe” in evolution. Now he’s saying those who highlight the uncertainty in climate science also don’t believe tobacco causes cancer. What a lying fraud he is.

    • Now Bloomberg have the NASA CO2 simulation up. All the red is in the northern hemisphere. They aren’t showing the color legend. The higher CO2 levels are darker colors, so the chart is deceiving.

    • Of course, Nye is hyping his book to make money for himself.

    • Bloomberg is just letting Nye blather on with no counterpoint. It’s disgusting.

    • Now they are conflating the conversation with vaccination. He and they are lumping “anti science” with climate skeptics. This is unforgivable. Bloomboob is a fount of disinformation.

      • jim2 | November 21, 2014 at 7:37 am | Reply
        Now they are conflating the conversation with vaccination. He and they are lumping “anti science” with climate skeptics. This is unforgivable. Bloomboob is a fount of disinformation.

        The vaccine issue is kind of interesting. Wakefield was viciously attacked for his anti-vaccine studies that blamed thimerosal. He was taken off the medical register for research dishonesty and abuse of children.

        They removed the thimerosal anyway (other than the flu shot) so children get less than 1/200th the thimerosal that they used to. Not much if any change in autism. So much for the precautionary principle.

        Now they are trying to demonize other things in vaccines. We’ll see…

      • I’m am skeptical that ACO2 will cause a catastrophe, and yet I get a flu shot every year. I wonder how Nye would explain that?

      • With vaccines it appears if you read the science you are anti-science. There was a recent study on flu vaccines that actually address the issues with previous flu vaccine studies, like testing for flu strains instead of lumping in a lot of things not due to flu and not having a reasonable survey sample, people with similar insurance coverage for example. Now “flu” vaccines are estimated to be 28% to 58% effective for the 60 and older group with the higher efficacy related to actual flu strains matching more probably exposure strains. So the “flu” vaccine is now a “good bet”.

        Early studies “advertised” efficacy of 60% to 90% meaning it was a slam dunk which of course results proved to be wrong, but people that compare results, observations, to projections, were called among other things “anti-vaxxers”. Remind you of something?

        So I guess according to Nye, if you don’t “accept” initial scientific results you are anti-science. It gotta be all or nothing?

    • Now he’s dragging libertarians into the conceptual mashup.

      • Well…

        Libertarians are the old fashioned (classical) liberals that believe in freedom and individual rights. To modern liberals (who are mostly various varieties of socialist) they are the enemy.

    • Now they have a financial guy on saying financial models aren’t very good. Bill Nye says climate models are good because they are based on physics. Right, Bill. More BS from Bill Nye.

      • So you are not anti-science, but you don’t like ideas based on physics. I see. You know what that looks like, right?

      • Jim D. I guess you just don’t pay attention.

      • OK, maybe you are anti-science, or anti-some-science. I don’t know.

      • Jim D. I have a degree in chemistry. I love science. That in no way implies climate models work as advertised. In fact, we know they don’t work.

      • Maybe some chemists are anti-physics. What are your thoughts on radiative transfer and the global energy budget and its forcing terms? Have you dismissed these areas, or do you have own own way of explaining current climate that doesn’t require knowing the CO2 level?

      • Jim D claims to understand how the climate works when everyone knows that no one can prove CO2 will cause catastrophic warming. We don’t have good enough data to conclude anything about the effect of the small amount of CO2 man adds to the atmosphere. The difference between you and me is that I’m honest when I say I don’t understand in detail how climate works. You want us to believe you have God-like powers. You don’t.

      • Scientists understand why the earth is the temperature it is, and what part CO2 and GHGs play in that balance. It is just physics with validation of the details by global measurements.

      • Right, Jim D. Keep on fooling yourself. You don’t fool me.

      • You haven’t read much about atmospheric physics, have you? I can tell. Judith might be able to suggest a couple of textbooks.

      • Show me where Judith claims ACO2 will cause a catastrophe. You can’t because she hasn’t.

      • jim2, “Jim D claims to understand how the climate works when everyone knows that no one can prove CO2 will cause catastrophic warming.”

        When I first started digging into the GHG effect it was initially estimated that ~4.0 Wm-2 of forcing, a doubling, would cause 1.5 C of temperature increase, “all things remaining equal”. That was pretty obviously an over estimate with the real question being how much of an over estimate. Now the “generally” accepted estimate is about 1 C per doubling which while likely be more like 3.7 Wm-2. That by itself is a 33% reduction in potential impact. So if initial worst case was 4.5, the more realistic estimate would be 3.0 C. Pretty simple and straight forward, there was the typical initial over-estimate and the typical revision to a more reasonable value. Since then the argument should be how close to 3.0 C, but the “sciency” talking heads can never accept that “science” tends toward the truth, never really reaching the truth.

      • jim2, you show the anti-science viewpoint that you don’t believe the scientists when they claim to understand how CO2 affects global temperature. Anti-science is when you start to dispute the textbook stuff, such as the understanding of the greenhouse effect in a quantitative way with radiative transfer based on the atmospheric composition. It is just physics whether you like it or not.

      • “That was pretty obviously an over estimate with the real question being how much of an over estimate.”
        ——
        Now really Cap’n. There is nothing obvious about it, and the estimate of 3C per doubling is still very much in the window of possibility. We’ve only now just started seeing the postive feedback effects with the mass decreases of ice in Greenland and Antarctica. Your extreme bias is showing again.

      • “Jim D | November 21, 2014 at 8:18 am |
        OK, maybe you are anti-science, or anti-some-science. I don’t know.”
        —–
        Not so much anti-science as promoting pseudoscience akin to what Heartland Institute hack scientists promote.

      • R. Gates, I haven’t seen jim2 promoting any kind of science, just being negative on the science (anti-, if you like).

      • R. Gates, “Now really Cap’n. There is nothing obvious about it, and the estimate of 3C per doubling is still very much in the window of possibility.”

        It is, but as a likely upper limit. Now you get into the nuts and bolts dirty work.,

        You have seen this right”

        Mosher and a few others like to say that there is absolutely zero evidence of a long term persistent trend. That would obviously be a faith based statement since the ocean response is perfectly consistent with a long term persistent trend. Until that faith based reasoning is changed, there will be no progress.

      • Captn,

        It becomes difficult to separate out LIA “recovery” from anthropogenic forcing around the 1900 timeframe. The HCV began to erupt about the same time as the recovery from the LIA was occurring, with 1750 being the bottom of the LIA and the HCV just starting to come on line. By 1960, anthropogenic forcing really begins to dominate all other long-term forcings, and that’s about the time of peaking of TSI.

      • R. Gates, “It becomes difficult to separate out LIA “recovery” from anthropogenic forcing around the 1900 timeframe.”

        Right, so by assuming that 1900 was the cutoff, you have another higher end estimate. When you keep combining higher end estimates you have “sensitivity” of guestimation. It is not really sensitivity of error, that would be a scientific thing, sensitivity of guestimate is more an ideological or political thing.

      • Jim D finally shows his true colors – the logical fallacy of Appeal to Authority. Like I said, I’m honest when I say I don’t understand in detail how climate works. I’m not seeing much honesty in you.

        I do believe, and it is just a belief since there is still a lot of uncertainty as pointed out by real climate scientists, that ACO2 will warm some. It is a huge stretch to then say it will mean catastrophe for mankind or the environment. In fact, based on what the data indicate, a little more CO2 will be a good thing.

        If you believe the chart showing a rise in CO2 and a rise in temperature, you also have to believe the one showing a rise in CO2 and a rise in harvest.

        You’ve got nothing of substance Jim D, just spouting BS.

      • gates, let’s go back to this one.

        It becomes difficult to separate out LIA “recovery” from anthropogenic forcing around the 1900 timeframe.

        That gives you a range of possible “normal” conditions. Removing the ideological guestimates, you have today is “normal” or perhaps a degree above “normal” depending on what may possibly the “normal” trend for this stretch of the Holocene. You get about 50/50 or as Judith would like to say 50/50 +/- 30%. Absolutely nothing wrong with her logic.

      • oops, didn’t clear my clipboard.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Jim D: What are your thoughts on radiative transfer and the global energy budget and its forcing terms? Have you dismissed these areas, or do you have own own way of explaining current climate that doesn’t require knowing the CO2 level?

        You did not ask me, but I’ll answer anyway.

        First question: answer, the radiative transfer model, energy budget and forcing terms are incomplete, and the calculations based on them are not sufficiently accurate. As shown by the Romps et al study, scientists are only just now beginning to direct attention to non radiative transfer of heat, including latent heat, from the surface to the upper troposphere.

        Second question: Answer I have not dismissed those “areas”, they provide an incomplete description and insufficiently accurate calculations.

        Third question: Yes I can explain current climate without reference to the CO2 level, but these explanations are incomplete and inaccurate as well.

        The science is incomplete and not sufficiently accurate. It is not “anti-science” to say so, especially not when directing attention to what isn’t known and to the known inaccuracies of present knowledge. The activities of science take place on the boundaries between knowledge and ignorance; identifying and characterizing a boundary is the fundamental act of inquiry.

      • ” You get about 50/50 or as Judith would like to say 50/50 +/- 30%. Absolutely nothing wrong with her logic.”
        _____
        We might have been around 50/50 in 1960, but more like 80/20 now (80% anthropogenic, 20% natural variability/natural external forcing). This may be generous to natural variability and external forcing. GH gases are just increasing too fast that no natural forcing or natural variability is as strong over the long-term. Really, only a large volcano can counter the warming over any period.

        The undue focus on the tropospheric “hiatus” has been a great distraction for the pseudoscientists, but those who actually follow the physics of energy flow in the climate system recognize the system very likely continued to accumulate energy quite robustly during the “hiatus”. GH gases never sleep.

      • Need help here to: “We might have been around 50/50 in 1960, but more like 80/20 now (80% anthropogenic, 20% natural variability/natural external forcing).”

        This is the first specified attribution I’ve seen so PLEASE offer an analysis. I’ve not found this anywhere.
        Thanks,

      • Notice the scientific rigor as R. Gates pulls numbers from its arse.

      • R. Gates, you seem to miss the point of using frames of reference.

        That 1.1 TCR using the bulk of the world, has a -0.25 mean value.

        Extending back with Oppo 2009, that estimated TCR “defines” normal.

        Going even furthure back, that means “normal” for TCR1.1 is a little below normal for pre-mega volcanic forcing.

        So you can hand wave a date in order to decree “normal”, but there is evidence that should be considered. You get a range of roughly 50/50 with around 30% uncertainty. Now I would love to say it is 40/60, but what evidence I have indicates 50/50. Judith seems to have similar evidence and less ideological conviction.

      • Danny T:

        Probably need a course in how to weed out science from pseudoscience:

        http://phys.org/news/2014-11-scientists-distinguishes-science-pseudoscience.html

      • So where does that chart on forcing address the 2.5-3 ppm of CO2 emissions vs. my math at 2.05 in the last decade?

        I’ll take a look at the link you provided. Thanks.

      • Forgot to follow up on asking again about the 80/20 composition of Anthro vs. natural in the warming, if you can provide a reference. I’ve been looking for that data.

        Thanks again.

      • Captn,

        Should probably really look at the Holocene to get a feel for what is “normal” during this interglacial, and then look at the mid-Pliocene for what is normal the last time CO2 reached these levels:

      • Gates, I have looked at the whole Holocene and noted the hemispheric “seesaw” and the impact is has on attempting to make a reliable reconstruction. I even turn you on to this.

        http://www.moyhu.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/an-active-viewer-for-marcott-et-al.html

        If you smooth the Oppo 2009 with a greater than 120 year average and then smooth instrumental to the same 120 average, there isn’t enough information available to estimate sensitivity,

        You are comparing apples with petrified horse apples.

      • Matthew R Marler

        R. Gates: The undue focus on the tropospheric “hiatus” has been a great distraction for the pseudoscientists,

        You write that again and again, but it was scientists who warned us of the negative consequences of tropospheric warming in the first place. It is hardly “pseudoscience” to repeat what scientists have warned us of, and to point where and when they have been incorrect. If the goal of fossil fuel restrictions is to prevent the deep oceans from warming, independent of effects in the troposphere, why did no one of the scientists explain that clearly before the hiatus began?

        The hiatus is evidence that they were overconfident in their partial knowledge; they are still overconfident as they come up with post-hoc (testable but not yet tested) explanations for it.

      • Ummmm… calling climate models bogus is not anti science. It is just an acknowledgement that however well (or not) we may understand physics, radiative transfer, cloud dynamics, etc…. etc…., the whole is more than just a simple sum of its parts. The system we do not understand. At least not well enough to explain and predict. $0.02

      • Or, further, if we understood the system perfectly (had a perfect model) we would be unable to predict due to the chaotic nature and impossible computational demands required as a result.

      • Danny Thomas, for attribution you can look at the IPCC’s summary of the components since 1950. As Gavin responded to Judith, this has over 100% as the mean anthropogenic contribution to the temperature rise and it is only anthropogenic aerosols that prevent it from being higher.

      • Thank you. Do you have a link or search suggestion so I can find the Gavin discussion? I’ll look for the IPCC summary.

      • Thank you!

        I had to be rude and not acknowledge, but seems like I’m overposting. If so, my apologies

      • JimD, Since Gavin is a GISS guy, let’s look at GISS stuff

        That is 60s to 60n GISS LOTI versus two GISSE model runs off Climate Explorer. Since I am showing what appears to be delayed volcanic response notice the models around 1885 and 1900 versus LOTI which has a lagged response bottoming out in ~1918. That should be a pretty good indication to most normal folks that the models don’t get the ocean dynamics down very well.

        Now I think it is just marvelous that the models can be tweaked to match a fairly short time frame, but if they don’t get the oceans they ain’t gonna get climate.

        As a devoted minion of the great and powerful carbon, I don’t really expect you to get that or that lagged recovery would produce an effective forcing very similar to what one might expect from CO2 since water vapor responds to SST without caring what caused the change.

        50/50 +/- 30 is the ticket.

      • captd, you look at that and it doesn’t strike you that something different is happening after 1950? A period in which 75% of the CO2 emissions to date have taken place. It is not just a coincidence.

      • …and I refer to your first graph, since I don’t know where you get OHC’s back to 1750 for the Indian Ocean in your second one, so I won’t comment on that.

      • JimD, The 0-700 OHC which is actually only the 0-700 meter vertical temperature anomaly is from NODC and it is compare to the IPWP recon by Oppo et al. As I have said a number of times, the IPWP correlates extremely well with surface temperature and global OHC. Based on the recovery curve of the Oppo IPWP, no, after 1950 doesn’t particularly stand out as anything other than a continuation of that weakly damped recovery curve, since you want to move the pea there. CO2 influence doesn’t appear to sow until later.

        The whole focus of my string of comments has been the evidence of a continuing recovery from ~1700 AD and the impact it would have on sensitivity calculations.

      • The higher the sensitivity the colder we would now be without man’s input. Apparently that input is faible, and we’ve recovered naturally from the coldest depths of the Holocene.
        ======================

      • captd, so we have already had as much warming in the last 30 years as in the 200 years before that, and added on top of it. What point do you want to make? Do you think it is going to stop now or continue on towards 2-3 C more, which would certainly be an uptick to look at if you imagine what that is like on your scale.

      • JimD, “captd, so we have already had as much warming in the last 30 years as in the 200 years before that, and added on top of it. What point do you want to make? Do you think it is going to stop now or continue on towards 2-3 C more, which would certainly be an uptick to look at if you imagine what that is like on your scale.”

        First comparing the last 30 with the the past 200 which has an increasing uncertainty as you go back in time is not easy. A good way is to plot the upper and lower temperature bounds instead of just the mean. Then you can see the range that is possible.

        Second, approximately half of the warming could easily be due to continued recovery and the other half anthropogenic. When you combine the two you would get a larger uptick. Basically compare 1920 to 1940 to 1976 with 1980 to 2000 to present. The 2000 to present doesn’t have a pronounced downslope likely due to a combination of anthro increasing and natural decreasing near the end of the recovery. All that implies is that anthro is closer to the lower end estimates, like energy balance models are indicating and recovery aka natural was underestimated, also consistent with current energy balance estimates. From now on, any increase would be most likely anthro. In fact you can shift the RCP2.6 model results forward by ~15 years and get a better overall fit as that allows for most of the ocean delay of atmospheric forcing. That was something that Vaughan Pratt noted in his model fit.

        Nothing particularly earth shattering. The end of the LIA was a SWAG and was off a bit, life goes on.

      • All fine, Cap’n, except for the suggestion that any further rise is likely anthropogenic. We don’t know that until we know the reason for the rise from the LIA.

        I have long suspected that the cause of that rise has exhausted itself. If so, any further rise is likely anthropogenic, and life-saving.
        ==================

      • kim, “All fine, Cap’n, except for the suggestion that any further rise is likely anthropogenic. We don’t know that until we know the reason for the rise from the LIA.”

        It think it would be more why the LIA didn’t continue into a glacial period. If just increased volcanic and possibly reduced solar started the LIA, something must have limited the amount of Ice that could accumulate. My first guess would be agriculture. It isn’t that hard to spread manure and peat on fields to melt snow. Fairly common practice in fact. Plus burning to clear land would produce ash that would promote snow melt. So as far as that goes, there is likely a land use factor involved which is why I use CO2 forcing as a reference for atmospheric forcing not “all” forcing.

        Not being in a LIA, because there is close to a minimal glacial extent/maximum land use impact, the oceans would be the primary driver so actual CO2 equivalent forcing would have a slowly increasing impact on OHC, “all things remaining equal”. Of course improved “global” land use practice and reduce black carbon/snow removal would tend to reduce atmospheric forcing impact and even “inhale” more CO2.

        Everything is based on “all other things remaining equal” and you can’t have an ice age without ice.

      • Gates and Kim, just for grins I estimated what a moderate little ice age would do to average DWLR. If just 50N had an average year ’round snow cover (about 6% of the global surface area), the average land temperature would drop by about 1.5 degrees which would be the equivalent of a negative 0.86 Wm-2 of “global” forcing. Not a huge change, but enough to start a long term downward trend. Get rid of that extra snow cover and it would be equivalent to a positive 0.86 “forcing” globally.

        Now of course 50N would not be perfectly snow covered, the snow would be more at higher elevation plains/steepes which extend below 50N, plus the usual higher latitude areas which would impact the estimated forcing, but a rough estimate, that is about what you get, a long slow freeze and a long slow thaw. So the land based CO2 impact should lag temperature by about 200 to 600 years, pretty much the way it does in most glacial/interglacial transitions.

        So the take aways would be 1, We live on a water world, get the oceans right first and 2. Ice ages require ice, get the glacial extent changes right. Then have a ball playing with CO2 forcing. Finally, don’t start F’ing with the economy until your models start to explain problems instead of creating problems.

    • Now Bill’s fantasizing about batteries and how the ability to store energy would be a game changer. What a genius. Tell us something we don’t know already. Oh, and something that is true for a change.

      • I think the whole solar/wind fiasco can be summed up in three little words: BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED.

      • jim2

        Talking about batteries two points:

        1) The lead-acid battery was developed @ 1859 by a Frenchman. Today we still use the lead-acid battery because nothing better has come along.

        2) To land on a comet, the Europeans spent $ 1.75 Billion, it took 10 years traveling 3.5 billion miles and the battery lasted… 40 hours. Kerplop. Dead was a door-nail. That was the best battery technology available.

        Does anyone really think that another battery will be developed in the next dozen years or so that will be substantively better than the current lead-acid battery? Look at the milage a $100,000 Tesla gets with the very latest battery technology. Its not lead-acid I know.

        Just saying that the so called renewable energy story, at least the intermittent kind, is but a pipe dream until energy storage technology catches up.

      • The EU should have chosen a radioisotope generator instead of any kind of chemical battery. All that money down the drain.

      • “jim2 | November 21, 2014 at 11:32 am |
        The EU should have chosen a radioisotope generator instead of any kind of chemical battery”
        A radioisotope thermoelectric generator really needs 238Pu, much purer than weapons grade plutonium. The Continental Europeans don’t have the reactors to make it. The British could have made some at the last Magnox Reactor at Wylfa, but that closes next year.

    • and it is an undignified summation fit for simpeton politics and soundbites. No wonder people can’t come to an agreement these days.

  44. The Republicans are finally acting rather than talking. This is a great day, hopefully this heralds the downfall of Barry and the Dimowit socialists. (OMG, I forgot to consult Fox News on this. Shame on me!)
    From the article:
    House Republicans filed a long-threatened lawsuit Friday against the Obama administration over unilateral actions on the health care law that they say are abuses of the president’s executive authority.

    The lawsuit — filed against the secretaries of the Health and Human Services and Treasury Departments — focuses on two crucial aspects of the way the administration has put the Affordable Care Act into effect.

    The suit accuses the Obama administration of unlawfully postponing a requirement that larger employers offer health coverage to their full-time employees or pay penalties. (Larger companies are defined as those with 50 or more employees.)


    http://www.cnbc.com/id/102183378

    • jim2, never underestimate the ability of any American political party to screw up a wet dream. Now that ACA has been enacted and some of the legislators have actually read some of the act, it will take some time to make it actually make it workable.

    • They need to replace all “temporary” welfare with a negative income tax and lump disability, obamacare, and social security into one program that is means tested and scrupulously monitored for fraud and offenders prosecuted to the max.

      • “scrupulously monitored for fraud and offenders prosecuted to the max.”

        That can cost more than it is worth. There are ways to set of benefits as a loan program, basically borrowing mainly off your own account, to reduce administrative cost. Then add some mandatory community service to get people out and about with of course job fairs and technical education programs. There are plenty of the unemployed and physically limited that can serve their own “community” while earning “benefits”.

      • CaptD,

        Man, we align well on thoughts on these social issues. Sounds like you’ve found some resources on the benefits side in an individualized program. Would appreciate if you’d share those with me. I support “lift up” programs, but effort and payback are a strong aspect of my thinking.

      • Only the disability, medicare, and social security lumped-part would have to be monitored closely. That’s where the big bucks go.

      • BTW – companies are audited continually for cheating on employment status of workers to avoid UI tax. It can be done.

      • jim2, monitoring is not the same a “scrupulously monitoring with intent to prosecute”. A large portion of the medicare/cade and unemployment/disability expense is in the legal side. Simplify the system enough that lawyers cannot make enough money and they will find somewhere else to play.

      • Danny, “Man, we align well on thoughts on these social issues. Sounds like you’ve found some resources on the benefits side in an individualized program.”

        Since I got a DVT while between health insurance plans I have pretty much lived in the system, which is if you have something it gets taken.

        There are a lot of resources with just enough strings attached to keep you hopping. Being a vet and having paid into “health” insurance plans most of my life, it isn’t really a comfort finding out that none of of that really counts. Oddly when I was a VP of a small company I tried to set up a health insurance annuity which would take care of coverage lapses and take the sting out of copay. That got nixed by the company accountant that didn’t “see” a large enough tax deduction and an owner that was stoked on tech stocks.

        So having been on both sides, less is definitely more.

      • Ah. The resources of “life experience”. Nothing quite like it. Was hoping it was a more “academic paper” reference than that. Maybe you cut put one together? From your summary, I was liking what I was reading.

        Thank you for your service! Hope all is well now.

      • Danny, I don’t think there really needs to be a paper. G. W. Bush basically wanted an individualized social security/medicare system where accounts could earn interest. Of course, you couldn’t have wild and crazy speculative investing, but treating accounts as actual investments in US government instruments and allowing loans toward first homes, medical etc. combined with a more self directed/less penalized ira/401K with maximum initial loan values, like an annuity, is a better overall system.

        On the benefits side, recipients need more financial advice and less financial restrictions. The way things are now there are hard limits that make it less than easy to get back into the normal working system. You basically have to have lost everything before you have access to assistance to avoid losing everything. That drives a large cash economy where income revenues are lost. I don’t blame anyone for doing it since it is about the only way to survive the system at lower income levels.

        That is were a general sales or VAT tax plus no income tax period to 1.5 or 2 times poverty level would beat the hell out of the various temporary “credits” that are used now. Limit VAT exemptions to the first 25K to 30K of home purchase, the first 3K of auto purchases and food. Forbes went a little beyond practical, a 5% VAT with a modified Income tax system would be easier to swallow.

        Another thing to consider is “mandatory” enforcement of laws/regulations without the option of inexpensive arbitration. People do good things and people screw up, that is never going to change. Having over 30% of your population being charged with some violation of something is more a reflection on the system than the population. As it is, a simple mistake by law enforcement, people too, can result in forfeiture and bankruptcy. The old justice of the peace system at least allowed people to have their say without it costing them most of a years wage.

      • Very concise. Thanks for that. I’d forgotten about the SS savings of the previous admin. I remember resistance to stock market investing, but many of us are there anyway with retirement accounts plus I don’t recall a requirement to do this. I’ll print this out for my “communicate with my representatives” file.

        So Capt. is military rank? Can you help on the 0.8 +/- 0.2? I could guess but don’t want to assume.

      • Danny, Spec 5 would be my former rank and captain is my current job title, I am a boat driver and fishing consultant. Not great pay but the office is hard to beat.

      • Somehow I had “boat captain/fisherman” in mind. Think I may be recalling the fishing joke lubricating fishermen with beverage? I posted the “first liar doesn’t stand a chance” comment as I’m also a (bad) fisherman, but it gets me outside.

      • the 0.8 +/- 0.2 deserves a separate comment.

        Based on the average temperature/energy of the world’s oceans ~4C and 334.5 Wm-2, adding 3.7Wm-2 of additional atmospheric forcing would produce ~0.8C +/- 0.2 of temperature increase which would be the “sensitivity” to a doubling of CO2 equivalent gases.

        Actual “Global” sensitivity depends entirely on land based snow/ice extent. Larger extent, higher “sensitivity” and vice versa.

        There are probably a dozen other frames of reference that would produce about the same results. If you use the others, you have to consider the possibility of longer term persistent warming of the oceans.

        Do that, same numbers.

      • I’ve so much to learn. I’ll try to) absorb what you sent and it will be reinforced each time I see your name.

      • Danny, one of the unfortunate realities of a “national” SS saving plan is that it cannot be expected to grow faster than GDP. So eventually it would have a shortfall. That is why a VAT with lower income allowance would be needed to provide an additional hedge against inflation.

  45. David Springer

    “Can cows help save the planet?”

    No. The planet must first need “saving” and it does not.

  46. Jim2

    The following reply from Jim D to you made my jaw drop:

    “jim2, you show the anti-science viewpoint that you don’t believe the scientists when they claim to understand how CO2 affects global temperature. Anti-science is when you start to dispute the textbook stuff, such as the understanding of the greenhouse effect in a quantitative way with radiative transfer based on the atmospheric composition. It is just physics whether you like it or not.”

    From the preface of the textbook Atmosphere, Ocean, and Climate Dynamics: An Introductory Text:

    “So the background may be ordinary physics…but the study of the whole process has its own unique flavor. The approach is HOLISTIC rather than reductionist, because there is never a single cause.”

    Also Steve Koonin in his WSJ article stated that feedbacks are uncertain and cannot be determined from basic laws of physics and chemistry.

    Appears that Jim D has read the wrong textbooks or reads only the talking points. Probably makes no difference though, the truth will prevail.

    Keep warm,

    Richard

    • rls – right. You know, I wasted too much time replying to Jim D’s Dimowit talking points. I need to let it go.

    • If you don’t want to understand the physics you can also look at measurements for the evidence of a strong positive feedback.
      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1950/mean:12/offset:0.05/plot/gistemp/from:1950/mean:12/offset:-0.05/plot/esrl-co2/offset:-330/scale:0.01
      The simplest metric of them all says 1 C per 100 ppm provides a linear fit over the last 60 years, which translates to 2 C per doubling as an effective transient response, a strong positive feedback.

      • Jim D

        The textbook doesn’t say to ignore the physics it says that basic physics and basic chemistry gives an incomplete picture. And picking correlations is inadequate. There is a chorus of reputable scientists saying that we don’t enough and calling for improved research and observational capability. How can anybody be against it unless they’re afraid of the results.

      • JD has greater problems.

        His own temperature graphs show a mild temperature decrease from 1936 to 1978, a temperature increase from 1978 to 1997/1998, and then no warming from 1997/1998 to today.

        So 40 years slight cooling, 20 years warming.

        That says that we will have warming from 2040-2060 and the rest of the time it will be slightly cooling or in hiatus (there was warming from 1916 to 1936 – about 20 years).

      • The greater problem is slight cooling from “1936 to 1978”.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Jim D: The simplest metric of them all says 1 C per 100 ppm provides a linear fit over the last 60 years, which translates to 2 C per doubling as an effective transient response, a strong positive feedback.

        There you go again, selecting a short interval that supports your claim. Over the last few thousand years, the evidence for “strong positive” feedback is nil — else the Earth would be much warmer than it is from its previous warming episodes. As for “the physics”, what part of the physics of the supralinear effect of temperature on water vapor pressure, hence evaporative rate and cloud formation, do you not understand or do you choose to neglect altogether?

        Have you given any more thought to the energy change dynamics that underlie the Romps et al calulcation that warming increases the lightning strike rate by 12% +/- 5% per 1C increase in temperature? It’s published in the peer-reviewed literature, even in Science Magazine itself!

  47. Gates,

    I know you don’t think you much about the IPCC process. Where then do you get confidence in its predictions.

    Have a great Thanksgiving.

    Richard

    • Gates

      What do you think of Koonin’s statement that feedbacks are uncertain and cannot be determined from basic laws of physics and chemistry.

      Richard

      • “Gates

        What do you think of Koonin’s statement that feedbacks are uncertain and cannot be determined from basic laws of physics and chemistry.”
        ——
        This idea is essentially correct and follows from the basic concepts of Chaos theory. The most powerful computer in the world cannot accurately predict the exact path of a single actual real particle of dust in your room. That particle will follow basic laws of physics and chemistry. Very simple. Yet the models of particles of dust accurately can tell you that your furniture will get dusty and even tell you very accurately the rate of accumulation of dust. Climate models and the actual real climate is similar.

      • The motion of a dust particle is a random walk and not chaotic in the sense of deterministic chaos. Deterministic chaos is an aspect of systems theory.

        The US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) defined abrupt climate change as a new climate paradigm as long ago as 2002. A paradigm in the scientific sense is a theory that explains observations. A new science paradigm is one that better explains data – in this case climate data – than the old theory. The new theory says that climate change occurs as discrete jumps in the system. Climate is more like a kaleidoscope – shake it up and a new pattern emerges – than a control knob with a linear gain.

        The theory of abrupt climate change is the most modern – and powerful – in climate science and has profound implications for the evolution of climate this century and beyond. Climate is pushed past a threshold. The climate response is internally generated – with changes in cloud, ice, dust and biology – and proceeds at a pace determined by the system itself. The old theory of climate suggests that warming is inevitable. The new theory suggests that global warming is not guaranteed and that climate surprises are inevitable.

        This is not remotely Randy the video guy’s dust theory of climate.

      • “The motion of a dust particle is a random walk and not chaotic in the sense of deterministic chaos. ”
        —-
        Nope. If the motion was a random walk, then an equal amount of dust would accumulate on all surfaces– walls, ceiling, and table. It only appears random over short durations and taken as single particles. A single particle might actually be going up over some short-period, and no super computer could tell you the exact path, yet in agreggate we see that in fact the paths are not random walks, and a computer can model dust accumulation quite accurately from a few basic parameters. You could not do this if random walks were involved.

      • “Climate is more like a kaleidoscope – shake it up and a new pattern emerges – than a control knob with a linear gain.”

        Neither of these metaphors comes close to what the climate system is like and fortunately no actual climate scientist ascribes to either, but I supoose some pseudo scientist might.

      • Matthew R Marler

        R.Gates: If the motion was a random walk, then an equal amount of dust would accumulate on all surfaces– walls, ceiling, and table.

        Why? Consider a Markov chain with absorbing barriers — would you not call that a random walk?

      • Apparently random motion.

        Judy Curry quite liked the kaleidoscope analogy for deterministic chaotic behaviour in dynamic and complex system. Shake it up – push it past a threshold – and a new pattern emerges in a spontaneous internal re-organization.

        Both of which seem to be physics on which Randy the video guy has not the slightest clue.

      • “Judy Curry quite liked the kaleidoscope analogy for deterministic chaotic behaviour in dynamic and complex system. Shake it up – push it past a threshold – and a new pattern emerges in a spontaneous internal re-organization.”
        ——
        The climate responds to specfic forcings applied over time. Internal variability represents noise in the system, no different than the “apparently” random noise in the path of a dust particle. Apparent is the operative word as it reaches the limit of our ability to compute and track all the forces involved for any given particle, yet, when treated as an aggregate we can created accurate predictions. The random shaking of a kaleidoscope is not a good analogy to the specfic forcings applied to a climate system, but it may be a good analogy for the reorganization, or Drogon King events that occur. Overall though, the climate is not a random walk like the “shaking” of a kaleidoscope .

      • ‘The climate system has jumped from one mode of operation to another in the past. We are trying to understand how the earth’s climate system is engineered, so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do, we cannot make good predictions about future climate change… Over the last several hundred thousand years, climate change has come mainly in discrete jumps that appear to be related to changes in the mode of thermohaline circulation.’ Wally Broecker

        Randy the video guy has not the slightest clue.

    • Richard

      Happy thanksgiving.

      No use to me as I don’t eat Turkey (I am a vegetarian.)

      On our local news yesterday was an item about Plymouth (the one in Devon) preparing the celebrations ready for the 400th anniversary in 2020 of the Mayflower Pilgrims leaving for the New World.

      http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Illumination-marks-year-countdown-Mayflower-400/story-24577932-detail/story.html

      Looks like they will be making quite a big thing about it

      tonyb

      • Tony,

        Thank you. I’ll be celebrating with my son and his wife. He’s a cross country truck (lorry) driver and they’re coming home for Thanksgiving.

        That is amazing about the Plymouth celebration; that the planning has started now and the event (400th year anniversary) will be in 2020. Made me start thinking; my ancestor, Tomas Swartwout and his family sailed from Amsterdam to New Amsterdam (now New York City) in March 1652.

        Tend to feel sorry that your a vegetarian, but perhaps it pleases you. Coincidently, I was just reading one of Beth’s posts where you mentioned that being a vegetarian came in handy, when you were in Baghdad.

        Richard

      • rls

        Yes, my wife and I were totally bemused when the item came on our local tv news and we both had to check they didn’t mean THIS year! Seems excessive to be planning that far ahead so can only assume the celebrations will be major.

        Interesting to hear of your heritage

        Being a vegetarian has enabled me to avoid eating lots of nasty things from sewage laden fish to sheeps eyes.

        tonyb

      • Tony

        Brings to mind an experience I had when stationed at RAF Wethersfield. We went into Braintree to get spare ribs for a squadron barbecue and found there weren’t any available; the British in those days didn’t consider them proper meat. However, the butcher in Braintree had a slaughtered steer in the back room and cut us some racks; he did both slaughtering and butchering.

        Richard

    • rls – Gates uses the scientific method. First, in order to be scientific, he selects a control. Typically, this would be a AGW skeptic who smokes, shuns vaccinations, believes evolution is of the Devil, and watches Fox News. The skeptic pulls some attribution numbers from his arse. This would be the control.

      Then Gates pull numbers for attribution from his arse.

      Being scientific and all, Gates then determines if there is a statistical difference between the controls and his numbers.

      Viola! Science done right and done well!!

      • Jim2

        I see.. Burger King Science, Done Your Way.

        Richard

      • “Gates uses the scientific method. First, in order to be scientific, he selects a control. Typically, this would be a AGW skeptic who smokes, shuns vaccinations, believes evolution is of the Devil, and watches Fox News. The skeptic pulls some attribution numbers from his arse. This would be the control.”
        ——
        An unsuitable “control” but great fun for having an argument at a bar with after the requisite number of beers. Please send them my way…and the first beer is on me!

      • Gates

        Like the idea. 2nd and 3rd on me.

        Richard

  48. Sorry if this is a little offtopic, I was unable to post to the Lewis/Curry thread.

    Dr Phil Jones is often quoted in regard to statistical significance in relation to warming periods:

    [Q] BBC – “Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were identical?”

    [A] Phil Jones, University of East Anglia – ”Temperature data for the period 1860-1880 are more uncertain, because of sparser coverage, than for later periods in the 20th Century. The 1860-1880 period is also only 21 years in length. As for the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different. I have also included the trend over the period 1975 to 2009, which has a very similar trend to the period 1975-1998. So, in answer to the question, the warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other.”

    Since there is no statistically significant difference between the warming rates of these four periods, where then is the “signature” for CO2 forcing?

    • Thebackslider

      Phil jones is a much maligned researcher.

      See my comment here where I pointed out that in 2005 he realised that natural variability was greater than he had hitherto realised citing the very warm decade of the 1730’s as the example

      https://judithcurry.com/2014/11/19/can-cows-help-save-the-planet/#comment-649293

      Tonyb

      • “Phil jones is a much maligned researcher.”

        Well, I have not heard anything about that. I am happy to accept his evaluation in the comment I posted above.

        So, it sounds like the warming rate of the 1730’s also was not statistically significantly different from the others I quote :-)

        My question remains unanswered. I am trying to understand where/how a “signature” for anthropogenic warming can be found.

      • Thebackslider

        The greatest hockey stick in the worlds longest instrumental record CET was that from 1690 to 1740 not the modern period

        I can’t answer your question as looking in the historic Record back to 1100AD i cant see the anthropogenic signature either

        Tonyb

      • Tonyb,

        Was there a major volcanic event around 1560 and again 1660 that you know of? Wondering about those two substantial dips.

        Thanks

      • Is that why we haven’t heard much from him lately?

      • Sorry, I mis-posted, see below.

      • Danny

        There is an un cited explosion in 1660 but if it happened it was relatively small

        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_large_volcanic_eruptions

        I don’t think there was anything major in 1550 . That data is part of my own reconstruction from my article ‘ The long slow Thaw’

        Tonyb

      • Tonyb,

        Adding that to my reading list now. Thanks for that.

      • It was Roger Harriban asking Phil Jones about this which showed me that there are three temperature rises in the last century and a half which show the same rate of rise, and only in the last of these was Carbon Dioxide rising significantly. Again, where’s man’s footprint?

        I consider the courses that Roger Harrabin and Phil Jones have set themselves since. Phil, I’ll try Professor Jones, seems capable of shame, and may yet redeem himself.
        =============

      • The timing of the question was just post ClimateGate.
        =============

      • There for which he needs to redeem himself.

      • Sorry, there is nothing for which he needs to redeem himself.

      • “only in the last of these was Carbon Dioxide rising significantly”.

        CO2 was also rising significantly in the cooling period between 1940 and 1975. So again, why no warming if CO2, which only makes up 0.04% of the atmosphere, is so powerful?

      • Sorry, JCH, I’ve seen him, in the first glare of publicity, shaking like an aspen.
        ============

      • Sorry kim, you’re off your rails ===============. You saw what you imagine you saw.

      • He was just old-fashioned enough to consider an honourable exit.
        ====================

  49. “i cant see the anthropogenic signature either”

    I would expect to see a spike in the rate of warming, but I don’t. I often see alarmist exclamations that “warming is accelerating!”, however I cannot find this in the data.

    Considering that anthropogenic CO2 emissions have been increasing exponentially, against “the pause”, I find it hard to believe that higher CO2 levels in fact do anything “extra”.

    • I like to say that CO2 warming increase for the last 14 years has been accelerating. It has just been accelerating in reverse (also known as a “deceleration”)..

      • Whenever I note to an alarmist Hansen’s 2013 paper in which he notes that “The 5-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade” (he could have easily said 15) I am immediately branded as a “global warming denier” (no matter how much I have spoken about the global warming, a “troll” and a “sockpuppet” who copy and pastes from WUWT.

        They insist that global warming is happening big time. Some will fall back on Kevin Trenberth’s “missing heat” in the deep dark oceans, however when I note that (a) this has never been detected by 3000 argo buoys and (b) NASA’s latest study shows that it’s definitely not in the abyss below 2000 meters and (c) Trenberth has not proposed a mechanism as to how it got down there. One of them even suggested that it got down there by “giant whirlpools”.

      • Comment in moderation. Interesting, I wonder what the evil word was.

    • It can be seen in the temperature record. There is something very different going on from 1940 to 1975.

    • backslider

      Just hang in there. You are asking the right questions. Keep digging with your own independent research and try to find as many sources as possible. Many in here are one trick ponies. And they wear blinders to boot. If climate science had been populated with true inquiring minds for the last 25 years and research had been going in the right direction, we may have had many more answers than exist today. Go back to the first IPCC report of 1990 and look at the sea level projections for 2030 and then compare to where we are now. That will give you a clue to how far off they were then from the observational data of today. That is just one example that has to raise questions about how much confidence you should have in their dire predictions about global warming.

  50. Dumb question. This planet is beyond salvation. It got that way partly because there are places where they burn cow dung to cook food. The technique involves first plastering it on the wall where it dries in a day or two. Then it is peeled off the wall and burned in an open fire surrounded by three stones. That’s what they call renewable carbon. Its easy. Plants eat the carbon from the fireplace, grass grows, cows graze it, spread their dung on the lawn, you collect it, plaster the inside of your house with dung and there you are – totally green living. Its great unless you don’t like the black soot from burning dung, that is. You know that there are city folks that use electricity but you are told that they make it in a non-renewable way by burning those fossil fuels. But you have been practicing renewable cooking for ages, why should you change now? Coal which is burned to make electric is the real enemy of the planet and you are doing your part to save the planet from burning coal. Saving the planet would be real easy if we all decided to keep coal in the ground, its natural place of repose. Just turn off your electric, plaster your walls with cow dung, start an open fire in the kitchen, and you have become a green savior of the world.

  51. Pretty funny… I followed the link to the nature article above. There were no comments. So, my comment was the first. My comment I thought sort of agreed with the article about the seriousness. I said some believe AGW theory was fomented by evil business to take attention of the real problem of pollution. A few hours later I see that my comment had been erased. The article is back to zero comments which probably is where it will remain if you do not buy into the fiction that CO2 is a pollutant.

  52. The beginning of the US soil conservation movement.

    I calculated here – https://judithcurry.com/2013/06/07/soil-carbon-permanent-pasture-as-an-approach-to-co2-sequestration/ – that some 67Gt of carbon sequestration in agricultural soils was feasible. It is perhaps the least important reason for improving soils fertility. Similarly with black carbon, sulphides, tropospheric ozone and methane. There are good reasons for reducing emissions that have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with climate change. Solving most of this so called issue.

  53. OT, but interesting. A comment from Dr. Curry would be welcomed.
    From the article:

    It may be the timeliest — and most troubling — idea in climate science.

    Back in 2012, two researchers with a particular interest in the Arctic, Rutgers’ Jennifer Francis and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Stephen Vavrus, published a paper called “Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudes.” In it, they suggested that the fact that the Arctic is warming so rapidly is leading to an unexpected but profound effect on the weather where the vast majority of us live — a change that, if their theory is correct, may have something to do with the extreme winter weather the U.S. has seen lately.

    In their paper, Francis and Vavrus suggested that a rapidly warming Arctic should interfere with the jet stream, the river of air high above us that flows eastward around the northern hemisphere and brings with it our weather. Sometimes, the jet stream flows relatively directly from west to east; but other times, it takes long, wavy loops, as in the image above. And according to Francis and Vavrus, Arctic warming should make the jet stream more wavy and loopy on average – some have called it “drunk” — with dramatic weather consequences.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/11/20/theres-growing-evidence-that-global-warming-is-driving-crazy-winters/

    • ‘One effect is a reduced poleward gradient in 1000-500 hPa thicknesses, which weakens the zonal upper-level flow. According to Rossby wave theory, a weaker flow slows the eastward wave progression and tends to follow a higher amplitude trajectory, resulting in slower moving circulation systems. More prolonged weather conditions enhance the probability for extreme weather due to drought, flooding, cold spells, and heat waves. The second
      effect is a northward elongation of ridge peaks in 500 hPa waves, which amplifies the flow trajectory and further
      exacerbates the increased probability of slow-moving weather patterns. While Arctic amplification during autumn and winter is largely driven by sea-ice loss and the subsequent transfer of additional energy from the ocean into the high-latitude atmosphere, the increasing tendency for high amplitude patterns in summer is consistent with enhanced warming over high-latitude land caused by earlier snow melt and drying of the soil.’ http://marine.rutgers.edu/~francis/pres/Francis_Vavrus_2012GL051000_pub.pdf

      What seems problematic is the one dimensional narrative. Arctic warming in the last few decades is by no means entirely or even mostly anthropogenic – nor it seems are ice changes entirely unprecedented – and the system of lower and higher pressures at the poles has a natural origin and seems very variable. It is in short far from from a complete theory.

    • Tony B might help here. But I did find this list of historic snow storms.
      A sampling from the article:

      1. THE GREAT BLIZZARD OF 1888
      In 1888, “the Great Blizzard” dumped 40 to 50 inches of snow in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, completely burying houses and trains. More than 400 people died, which is the worst death toll from a winter storm in United States history.
      2. THE GREAT BLIZZARD OF 1899
      Man, the late 1800s just weren’t a good time for weather, huh? Just a decade or so after the worst blizzard in U.S. history, another massive snowstorm rocked the East Coast. The storm actually started in Florida this time, then made it’s way north up the coast. Washington, D.C. was treated to 20 inches of snowfall in a single day, while New Jersey got a whopping 34 inches.
      3. THE STORM OF THE CENTURY

      http://www.bustle.com/articles/13146-6-historic-snowstorms-that-make-the-polar-vortex-look-like-no-big-thing

  54. Rob Ellison,

    Can you tell me of a source for “the new theory”?
    From your earlier post.
    “The theory of abrupt climate change is the most modern – and powerful – in climate science and has profound implications for the evolution of climate this century and beyond. Climate is pushed past a threshold. The climate response is internally generated – with changes in cloud, ice, dust and biology – and proceeds at a pace determined by the system itself. The old theory of climate suggests that warming is inevitable. The new theory suggests that global warming is not guaranteed and that climate surprises are inevitable.”

    Thanks!

  55. 3 high-schoolers won the Google Science Fair competition for soil remediation through diaztroph bactera (they generally work with the legumes)
    https://www.googlesciencefair.com/projects/en/2014/b69203da66c44d96e4fb3d6fd88d47a6eb3c927805255d7f4c7c439fddd9c256

    On a seperate note about N2 fixation I was wondering what the climate communities opinion is of the following narrative about the “Azolla Event” taking CO2 from 3,500 to 650 50Mya ago? And is this mainly attributable to Azolla as a N2 fixer?

  56. So they’ve discovered crop rotation. What next I wonder. Will someone invent the wheel?

  57. Carbon in the soil used to be called humus. Its benefits are not new but known since the dust bowl which was the origin of much of the research now put out as something new.

  58. A good primer on the role of livestock and forage based agriculture is Louis Bromfield’s “The Farm.” Bromfield was one of the first agriculturalists to write about and practice the art of carbon storage in the soil, building humus each year as contrasted to conventional farming that oxidizes carbon carbon out of the soil at a greater or lesser degree. Malabar Farm, now an Ohio State Park north of Columbus, still practices his early techniques of sustainability. The farm is also the home of the National Sustainable Agriculture Library. http://science.kqed.org/quest/2014/02/04/from-screenwriter-to-soil-saver-the-double-legacy-of-louis-bromfield/