by Judith Curry
A few things that caught my eye this past week.
Palestine finds energy security through solar, but lacks voice at the UN [link] …
Road to Paris: Japan to leave the hard work to others [link]
“[COP21] is not about environment. It is about economics,” says Brazil: [link] …
Arctic nations to fight climate change despite Russia tensions [link]
Building #Climate Resilience in Conflict-Affected States:the interlinked challenges of climate change, poverty and conflict[link]
#G7 report argues for new role for foreign policy community on #climatechange & fragility: [link]
The Breakthrough Institute: The Year of Our High-Energy Planet: [link]
Lomborg & Ridley – power to the people [link]
Tamsin Edwards on lukewarmers [link]
Cut pesticides to boost yields? It’s worked for millions of farmers in Asia and Africa [link]
Terrific story: Indigenous seed bank vital to recovery of Indian flood victims. [link] …
Urban agriculture may not feed the world but here’s why its still important [link]
Raising Chicago – how the City of Chicago defeated flooding in the 1850s [link]
We know how to reduce earthquake deaths. So why aren’t we doing it? [link]
Chicago jacked itself up to build a gravity based sewer system (put it in the river). Many cities did likewise, such a Pittsburgh. It was called the sanitary reform movement, which had nothing to do with flooding.
Lomborg, CC and Nicholas Stern may give credence to the idea that put estimates of, “the cost of dealing with climate change at between 1% and 5% of GDP”; but, what we should all appreciate is that based on what we’ve learned so far, it’s already costing that much, all without effecting the temperature of the globe by even a 1,000th of a degree. Additionally, as time goes by and the opportunity cost of sacrificing a free market economy on the alter of climate change continues to rise, we have more evidence than ever — despite the global-warming-is-real establishment — that all climate change is mostly natural, unpredictable and unstoppable.
I really don’t go for the proposition that voting for mensheviks will stop the bolshies taking over. Till somebody distinguishes this unremarkable bump in the holocene from those preceding I’ll ignore the lukewarmers and the Guardian in Kumbaya mode. In fact, I prefer it when the Guardian is its usual smug, bigoted self.
I don’t want smaller, more affordable monorails right here in River City. I want no monorails.
Cut pesticides to boost yields discusses an interesting two edged sword. Much of what is discussed is insecticides, not herbicides. Biological insect control is not new. milky spore was used in the US to control japanese beetles. Lady bugs are used to control aphids. But pherome traps are not something subsistence farmers have easy access to.
And multicropping/cover cropping to control insects has same issue as weeds. The additional plants use nutrients and water that becomes unavailable to the main food crop, reducing yield. Especially a problem in Africa, where rainfall is marginal or deficient except for millet.
Insecticides and herbicides can be and are overused. But they are inexpensive, yield enhancing solutions to major agriculteral pests. If farmers had less expensive/more effective solutions, they would use them. That is why Bt corn (a gmo crop) is so popular in US, and Bt cotton in India.
Unlike you, I am not a farmer, for whom I have the utmost respect. I grow, as a hobby, plants that attract “beneficial” insects – pollinators and predators. Predatory insects do a great job keeping pest populations in equilibrium – observe any natural preserve such as a forest or grassland. Devastating outbreaks are rare. However, predators require prey, so in a garden or farm you have to allow a small outbreak to attract the predators. I think this is a problem for large scale monocultures – the pests can do great damage before the predators arrive. If there are no attractive plants nearby, or if they have been poisoned by non-selective pesticides, they may never arrive. Whole crops can be destroyed. One way to attract predators is to provide them habitat and and food, in the form of plants, for their various life stages. Plants can be interspersed among crops but that reduces land dedicated to crops and can interfere with farm machinery. Some predators also require water and nesting habitat. It can be done, but it is not cheap.
I would love to hear from the farmers.
Great observations. We have fewer problems because we must contour farm in the Wisconsin Uplands, and are on a 2-3 (corn or soy-oat cover over alfalfa first year, alfalfa secomd 2, three cuttings per year) rotation. It is a dairy farm. The larger the monoculture fields (for efficiency) the greater the problems and the more pesticides are essential. No matter whether vegetables, fruits, or grains, potatoes, cotton… And no till to prevent erosion is impossible without herbicide weed control. In Asia, high yielding dwarf rice (like IR8 strains) cannot be grown without herbicides for weed control plus synthetic fertilizer for yield. See the food chapter of Gaia’s Limits. Which is why, after 30 years, it still has very low penetration except in China, Japan, and the US.
Thanks Rud, interesting rotation. Weeds are a big problem here also.
“Do lukewarmers believe ECS is low because they trust the instrumental studies more, or do they trust those studies because they give answers they want to believe? ”
Are there no other options? Such as the models being demonstrably wrong based on the consensus’ own reported temperature average? Such as understanding from the consensus’ own acknowledgements that there are vast areas of ignorance about the climate (eg. clouds, water vapor, various oscillations)? Or my personal favorite, an understanding of the tendency of humans toward vanity and the resulting belief that they know things, and know them with a certainty, that they just do not know?
The other option is paleoclimate. When properly done (no tree rings) they tend to produce an ECS 2.0 – 2.4 but with a lot of uncertainty.
I doubt that paleo indicators are accurate to two significant digits. Nor to one. How about order of magnitude? Maybe, maybe not.
Not even sure the signs are always right
I’m not a expert at sciency things, but if you get the sign wrong, isn’t the accuracy sort of a moot point?
There are paleo estimates nearer 4 C because of the long-term positive feedbacks on albedo of continental ice loss and greening of the Arctic.
Paleo climate, for temperature trends in the tenths of a degree per decade, to give us ECS? I find that option more laughable than the GCMs.
For all the assumptions that go into the GCMs and temperature reports, the assumptions that have to be made to create a temperature record are even worse. Determining GAT (shudder) to tenths of a degree from tree rings, ice cores and tea leaves? ‘Climate science’ at its very worst.
1. Paleoclimate is a joke. The PETM warming happened before the CO2 rise by 3K-5K years yet it is held up as a “global warming” example.
2. The only actual measurement is 1/3 IPCC forcings.
3. The models have about 3 times to much CO2 forcing just judging from their skyward zoom relative to real temperatures.
There is a pretty consistent case that the IPCC average is 3 times to high.
But let’s force the models to model the hiatus or lose their funding – with aerosol forcing only 1/2 what the IPCC assumes (per recent study).
Then we will know. If they can’t model the hiatus with only a limited amount of aerosol cooling then the assumption that CO2 forcing is high is simply wrong.
The lukewarmers I know had pretty much adopted that position prior to recent work on sensitivity by Lewis, Curry et al and other observation based estimates of sensitivity.
Tamsin asks a good question–are we lukewarmers adopting these lower estimates because we like the results?
I like the results, no question. I hope I’m made of stern enough stuff not to take them on board solely for that reason.
Time will tell.
“It ain’t ignorance causes so much trouble; it’s folks knowing so much that ain’t so.” – humorist Josh Billings
Tamsin Edwards considers lukewarmers motivation in her thoughtful article, but there are two sides to everything.
TE “Do lukewarmers believe ECS is low because they trust the instrumental studies more, or do they trust those studies because they give answers they want to believe? In other words, is this just the same wolf – political and cultural opposition to mitigation – now dressed in sheep’s clothing?”
This is only half the story. The flip side of the question would be:
Does the climate establishment tend to disregard evidence that ECS might be less than 2C due to a political and cultural commitment to mitigation?
How else to explain why the ECS uncertainty range hasn’t been narrowed over the last 30 years?
And perhaps Ms. Edwards should herself consider: How many computer simulation based climate studies would become rubbish if ECS turned out to be only 1.3?
Ms. Edwards’ statement demonstrates that the entire realm of climate science is in fact permeated by political and cultural motivations pertaining to the issue of mitigation.
Hilarious but spot on: Tony Thomas on John Cook’s denial course
Over at WUWT Bob Tisdale points out that although Cook claims over 13000 are enrolled, only about 700 watched the week one Santer Youtube lecture. Looks like misleading course hype by Cook/UQ.
Not worth , either, judging from its astoundingly misleading contents. Santer’s ‘atmospheric fingerprints’ of AGW assertion is directly contradicted by John Christy’s APS testimony last year. Santer has to know that. Exposes his scientific ‘integrity’. There he is on Youtube for all time, saying thiings that are provably false as archived at APS.
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From the article:
A new crypto war is underway.
At a hearing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, the FBI endured outright hostility as both technical experts and members of Congress from both parties roundly criticized the law enforcement agency’s desire to place so-called backdoors into encryption technology.
Amy Hess, the FBI’s executive assistant director for science and technology, reiterated to the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform the bureau’s decades-old fear of “going dark” because encryption will make criminal investigations more difficult.
On a related note:
I think you meant on a totally unrelated note. Well, perhaps not in your particular head, I’m guessing.
Tom Fuller’s comments in the Lomborg/Ridley post are spot on:
“At some point, future generations will have a different color code–and they will say that Greens have no right to advocate policies that trap Black and Brown people in poverty. They may use a different ‘G’ word to describe the net effects of what Greens are doing today.
Update: No, I’d better be explicit, rather than dropping coy hints. As a D level blogger what I write won’t make any difference, but to be agonizingly clear, there is a case to be made for saying the aggregate effect of Green policy in the developing world is perilously close to being complicit in genocide. At the very least they are showing an appalling indifference to the plight of people in the developing world. I wonder if the skeptics will mention that while they’re touring the Vatican?
China is doing more for the world’s poor than Greenpeace. Go figure.”
When lukewarmers say they are opposed to “strong mitigation”, does that include efforts like Paris where countries are presenting goals on what they think they can achieve practically? Or are lukewarmers vehemently opposed to the major emitters coming together and planning things like this? In a question: do they support or oppose INDCs and Paris? What would they do instead? Just adapt to what happens when you burn everything, find more, and burn that too? Or is there a middle road?
I can’t speak for all lukewarmers, jimmy. But about 97% of us are opposed to Paris, because it is full of Parisians.
Is that a xenophobic thing?
Now I’m really conflicted. I’m a lukewarmer. My wife is Parisian. Whatever shall I do?
I lived and worked in Paris for 3 years. Only met a few a..holes, most people were ok. They’re just a little different! Not much worse than NYC or LA I suppose.
Ah but the food and the wine………..oooh la la.
As for the upcoming COP, maybe Francis will save their bacon.
We are not afraid of xenos, jimmy. Where you get that from? We just don’t like 97% of Parisians, for obvious reasons. Tom’s wife, is OK.
Strong mitigation is in the eye of the beholder, yimmy. You ask a silly question. Ask cookie and lewandumpsky et al. to fake a survey for you. Hey, willy is good at finding phony statistics. Maybe huffpo has got something on lukewarmers and strong mitigation in their file of silly strawman BS.
I don’t know any lukewarmers who say they are opposed to strong mitigation. Perhaps you can provide some cites?
I personally advocate a carbon tax (although starting at a low level), technology transfer to the developing world (although it’s starting to look like that will take the form of scrubbers for coal plants rather than modular nukes or utility level solar, sadly), regulations on coal plants in the developed world that make them either cleaner than clean or out of business….
Of course, if the only thing that counts as strong mitigation is a global agreement to drastically lower emissions, then probably your statement is correct.
That was what Tamsin Edwards said (I forgot to mention) in the main post link.
Really? What’s “strong mitigation”? I don’t mean to pick nits, but this is where the discussion usually goes off the rails. I’m all for cleaning up coal plants and assuring that we frack safely, but “strong mitigation” implies something else to me.
How is a low carbon tax going to mitigate ACO2 to any noticeable degree, anywhere?
I understand that progressives favor taxes as a matter of course. But how is that ‘mitigation’ in any real sense? Or are you just redefining terms to fit your position?
I’m a denier. For me, coolings, warmings and pauses are entirely typical of climate for the last few thousand years and any present warming or pause is a yawn. Moreover, only an absence of extreme events might be freakish, and possibly not even that. I also think that this position would not have been controversial until very recent times, which is why I don’t feel obliged to prove it. But that’s just me and my denial.
However there is something lukewarmers might achieve. They might advocate for new and efficient electricity grids in the third world so all those billions of people stop burning stuff. Consensus folk might not believe a hard-liner like me if I suggested that billions of people stripping the earth and incinerating what they can might be a bit too carbon intensive – even for me. Hell, you can even park your wind and solar there, since crummy power is better than nothing at all.
No sense having vast reforestation and land stabilisation programs etc if desperate people are going to hack it all up because they can’t boil the soup. And then breed because there’s nothing new on the mud wall tonight.
I live in the middle of an enormous forest region which is re-growing like crazy because nobody needs to strip the land any more. Even with modern tech, nobody could afford to strip the land because there is seldom profit in doing so.
Want to mitigate? Stop being organic like locusts and advance like evolved humans are supposed to do. Stop sustaining…you’re meant to change and change fast. You are people.
Jim, I have no objections to meetings to discuss climate change. In fact I wish I had been invited.
As for the second part of your comment, I think you don’t have a very clear understanding of what lukewarmers tend to advocate.
I was trying to get clarification of what is meant by “strong mitigation”. UN efforts at agreement?
“I don’t know any lukewarmers who say they are opposed to strong mitigation.”
If the consensus is right, anything less than global decarbonzation will do nothing to prevent thermageddon. If they are wrong, ‘strong mitigation’ will just cause useless damage.
Sounds about right for those who define their policy by trying to straddle the middle of the road, with traffic coming at them from both directions.
I’m a lukewarmer who is opposed to “strong mitigation”. I oppose any mitigation and believe we should investigate ways to emit more CO2 – the fossil fuels won’t last long enough.
“thermageddon” is a sousaphone dream (a overenlarged pipe dream) of the environmental scaremongerers. The CO2 level isn’t going to exceed 500 PPM. This takes CAGW off the table and throws it into the trash can.
I am not opposed to countries getting together and making goals to reduce CO2 emissions…. but I think it is a waste of time. It is highly unlikely a grand worldwide CO2 reduction goal will be achieved that will look anything like “strong mitigation”. I’m not sure what ‘strong mitigation’ means, maybe it is like having aggressive mitigation targets with penalties to those who do not meet them. Maybe aggressive means reducing CO2 emmisions by 50% – 75% within 30 to 50 years. With current alternative energy (except nuclear) options, it seems unlikely that those targets could be achieved even with willing participants. Lukewarmers may be a bit more pragmatic in their approach to reducing CO2 emissions than draconian, but I dont think they would aspire to burn everything. I personally beleive that if there is a demand for alternative energy, there will be entrepreneurs who will try to capitalize on that demand and offer alternatives. There needs to be enough early adopters willing to spend the money to create a sustainable market. If the market grows large enough, the alternative products will improve and become cheaper which would further attract more adopters. I would prefer the people having a choice in deciding locally what makes sense for their community rather than top down directives ordering communities to make changes. If “strong mitigation” means circumventing democratic ideals to get accomplished, I would be against it. As a lukewarmer, I do not see a need for strong mitigation as the climate response appears slow and low. In addition, there is not much to be done today about the heat already in the pipeline…. so to me, there is time yet for alternative sources to evolve and make gradual impacts. Over time, mitigation takes care of itself.
“The interlinked challenges of climate change, poverty, and conflict legacies are recognized by academic and practitioner communities.”
Not enough on their plate. What about soda drinking, drug use, e-cigarettes, and the heart break of psoriasis. This kind of stuff, however well-intended, is simply not connected to reality. The idea that helping the poor is somehow consistent with mitigating “climate change” is laughable.
It’s not likely we’ll get much material advancement or hard conservation if the solution to flooding/erosion in tropical zones is a money fiddle in Switzerland or rusting wave generator off the NSW coast.
Contouring, dams, revegetation, land resumption etc etc all come at a high cost, but these things have to get done. The dollars (and all the fossil fuel power) tossed down Big Green’s big black hole could be directed toward conservation.
But conservation is a word used less and less these days. The wasters and wreckers of Big Green go by the philosophy that you can’t burn an omelet without breaking all the eggs.
There three kinds of people:
1. Agenda driven people who say things like: “The interlinked challenges of climate change, poverty, and conflict legacies are recognized by academic and practitioner communities.”
2. Thinking people. Thinking people show signs of logic and reason.
3. Innocent Bystanders. “How do you spell IPCC?”
“the heart break of psoriasis” Hey, that’s a bit strong, having widespread psoriasis from age 16 was not good, but (later), I never met a girl put off by it. It’s mostly been an inconvenience, something which needed regular treatment. And, 57 years later, it’s had a restrained few years, almost in remission recently. Everything changes.
Brandon S. has an interesting/entertaining post on Cook’s denial course
On either extreme of the climate debate the “few cards short of a full deck”/”elevator doesn’t run to the top” phenomenon is apparent.
Cook’s course will attract leftish version of the breed..
It was definitely an interesting experience. I have to say though, I don’t know what this has to do with it:
Was that maybe meant for a different comment?
oops cut/paste error
Hey Judith, you might be interested to know I’ve been told it was against the rules for me to show you guys what was said in their forums. I kid you not. They have a rule which says you can’t quote anything from their class forum!
Even stranger, the site that hosts the course explicitly grants users the right to reproduce contents from the forums. That means I might get banned from the class for doing something the site hosting the class says I can do, all because John Cook and pals say I can’t do it.
This would be funny if it weren’t so . . . whatever. Maybe wait until the course is over, then do an expose!
So, in the ToS it says for your “own personal purposes”. Does your “own personal purposes” include making it public? That is the question.
You’ve gotten a mention in the forums too. I didn’t think anything of it at first, but then a few minutes ago Chris Colose commented:
See, this is what I mean. How can you insist people not show others what is said in the forum if you’re going to allow this sort of thing? Colose’s comment is nothing new, but do they really think students shouldn’t be allowed to tell people when they’re being talked about?
Anyway, there’s a lot I could say about these forums, but most of it is just more of the same. I’ll definitely be curious to see what all gets said over the next few weeks. And even if they ban me from commenting there, they can’t stop anyone from reading the forum.
Unfortunately, The experience described in Brandon’s post is not in any anyway atypical of the type exchanges that you will find yourself in if you discuss climate with many of the followers of Nye or Tyson (self identified defenders of science and reason). They tend to find the IPCC overly cautious and their certainty is often inversely proportional to the amount of information they know beyond the 97%. A large portion of what is known as the skeptic movement has devolved into a support group for parroting “science” talking points in select areas.
“We know how to reduce earthquake deaths. So why aren’t we doing it?”
Academic nonsense again.
No concept of the real world.
We live in the present, not the future.We are prescient but not psychic.
We have to plan how best to live with limited resources and money and we “have” to live in Earthquake prone areas.
As Tony Abbott said it is a “lifestyle choice”.
Mind you this is not to say that there are real options.
A bit like a Tutsi living in Rwanda or an Indonesian on an active volcanic island.
(Reuters) – “The eight Arctic Council nations pledged on Friday to do more to combat climate change that is shrinking the vast frigid region..”
It cannot be done as the warming of the AMO and Arctic is forced by negative NAO, due to weaker solar wind forcing of the polar region. Increased forcing of the climate increases positive NAO/AO, which will cool the AMO and Arctic.
The area north of 66°33′45.7″ has not changed in size to about 4 digits relative to the rest of the planet in the age of man.
“the vast frigid region” has not changed in size to within the error range of our ability to measure. If anything because it is getting warmer it should be getting larger.
Low AMOC events occur during negative NAO episodes, and that is when the warming pulses happen in the AMO and Arctic.
(click on graph):
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On the eve of the Uk election, the Telegraph looks at the cost of Labour’s decarbonisation policy:
Ed Miliband’s commitment to eliminate the vast majority of carbon from the UK power sector by 2030 could cost Britain more than £200bn, according to analysis conducted by The Telegraph.
The Labour Party’s manifesto promise to set “a legal target to remove carbon from our electricity supply by 2030” – referred to repeatedly by the Labour leader in speeches since September 2013 and during the election campaign – could result in a huge increase in energy costs for households and businesses. The findings also raise questions about Mr Miliband’s promises to tackle what he calls Britain’s “cost-of-living crisis” and freeze energy prices for two years.
The Telegraph’s figures have been reviewed by three energy experts on condition of anonymity as they wanted to remain politically impartial. Two described them as “conservative”. A utilities analyst at a US investment bank said they almost exactly married with his own estimates for the cost of decarbonising the UK power sector.
All political parties (apart from Ukip) support the 2008 Climate Change Act which commits Britain to reduce emissions by at least 80pc from 1990 levels by 2050. Analysis by the Department of Energy and Climate Change has shown that, to hit those targets, there must be significant decarbonisation of the power sector by 2030. The Committee on Climate Change has set a target of reducing carbon intensity from 450g of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour to 50g by 2030.
But only Labour wants to make this a statutory target, committing Britain to a huge overhaul of the power sector and reducing room for manoeuvre if environmental breakthroughs are achieved in other corners of the economy. Labour is also the only party to commit to an energy price freeze until 2017. One energy expert said: “It is hard to see how a statutory commitment to decarbonise the power sector can be squared with an energy price freeze.”
Coal, oil and gas are all relatively cheap sources of energy compared with renewable energy – in the form of onshore wind, offshore wind and solar – and nuclear power, the only zero-carbon technologies that can be applied at scale and at a realistic cost. The government must therefore directly or indirectly subsidise the providers of renewable energy and nuclear power to encourage them to make the necessary investments.
Based on current strike prices (the difference between the price that the Government agrees to pay for electricity from a given source and the wholesale price), the cost of producing 50pc of the UK’s energy from renewable sources would be £97bn. The cost of building enough nuclear power stations to provide the other 50pc would be £114bn. This gives a combined total of £211bn (see the calculations and assumptions used below).
The actual bill is likely to be much higher. The Telegraph’s analysis ignores inflation (the figures are mostly based on 2012 prices – the most recently available), cost overruns (European Union officials have recently said that Hinkley Point C could, in fact, cost £24.5bn to build rather than £16bn – the figure used in these calculations), and the cost of developing backup energy sources (likely to be gas-fired plants) to help nuclear power stations meet winter peak demand and manage the inconsistent output from solar and wind energy.
Nor does it take into account the subsidies for all existing renewable schemes, the costs of installing new lines to transfer renewable power generated in remote locations to customers, or the cost of updating the grid to cope with unpredictable renewable output.
The analysis assumes that the UK’s energy requirements remain flat. It is possible that greater efficiencies in usage could reduce the amount of energy consumed. Equally, one would expect a growing economy to use more energy.
From the article:
Each spring, Labor starts adding phantom jobs to its count — jobs they guess have been created but can’t prove have been created.
Some of that phantom spirit is tied to the weather. No, really. At Labor, good weather = the birth of companies = more jobs.
And even in this day and age of instantaneous knowledge of everything, Labor still guesses at how many jobs these newly born companies are generating.
When it reports April employment numbers this Friday at 8:30 a.m., Labor will include about 263,000 phantom jobs.
At least, that is how many phantom jobs it factored in last May.
This May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will add around 204,000 phantom jobs. In June through August, that number falls to 129,000 and then to 122,000 and then 104,000.
And there is no telling if any of those jobs actually exist. In fact, what if companies were quietly dying this spring instead of sprouting up like so many daffodils? Well, Labor would worry about that later on.
Of the 263,000 or so phantom jobs that will be added through guesstimates in April, probably 50,000 or so will — thanks to seasonal adjustments — be added to the “realer” number to produce the total Labor will announce.
Here’s an example of the irrational distortions that are blocking nuclear power:
Dr Staffan Qvist from Uppsala University:
“To their credit, the greens of the current government have come up with a quite clever way to phase out nuclear. The law allowing new-build still stands but has been rendered moot due to the implementation and subsequent increases in a nuclear-specific tax called the “effect tax” (separate from the tax paid to finance the repository). It’s a tax of about $25000/MW-thermal of installed power per year, to be paid monthly, even if the plant is not in operation. It is thus completely disconnected from electricity production, and is only levied on nuclear. The extra tax of $100m/year per large reactor, on top of all other taxes, plus the heavy subsidy of construction of large amounts of un-needed wind and solar and the dumping of cheap coal on the European market means that at current electricity prices some of the nuclear plants are “economically uncompetitive”. The government then claims that nuclear “can’t compete in the market”, nuclear proceeds to decommission itself, without any law imposed for this and any settlement payments.”
Capitulation by the UWA. CON -sens-US rules.
Geez. That’s absolutely unbelievable.
Beth, This should not be posted on the “Policy and Politics Edition”. It belongs under “Religion”
Deer Peter :(
Yes Faustino, a serf is likewise sickened by the gate-
keeping- machinations of the enemies of open society.
Close debate … Oh Socrates!