Week in review – Paris edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

The battle to save the planet may come down to nuclear advocates vs environmentalists [link]

Explainer on options for long-term goal in Paris #climate deal, incl role of negative emissions’ [link]

Shipping is a big contributor to climate change. So why is it being left out of the Paris deal? [link]

African energy: This may be the biggest news yet to come out of the Paris climate meeting. [link]

Aid for climate change damage a ‘red line issue’ for developing countries [link] …

The climate war is over: The new energy innovation paradigm fuels cooperation says @MichaelBTI [link]

Matt Ridley: The green blob: who will protect the victims of environmentalism? [link]

Funding row ‘threatens Paris climate deal’, India and China warn – Telegraph  [link]

The Paris climate talks won’t solve global warming. Here’s what they’ll do instead. [link] …

Obama leaves climate summit in a whirlwind of global warming puffery [link] …

OPEC & Paris climate talks [link]

Politico: Why the Paris climate deal is meaningless [link] …

How we got to Paris: The road from Rio, via Berlin Kyoto Bali & Copenhagen [link]

“Climate change will probably have limited impact on the economy and
human welfare in 21st century” @RichardTol [link] …

Long in the Background, Population Becoming a Bigger Issue at Climate Change Discussions  [link]

Economist Magazine special report on climate, available for free as pdf download: [link]

113 responses to “Week in review – Paris edition

  1. Pingback: Week in review – Paris edition | Enjeux énergies et environnement

    • this is an interesting article, thx for the link

      • Curious George

        What a high standard these people have! And their lofty ideals! And all the deep secret knowledge. A must-read, indeed.

    • That’s a great article Michael. It covers a lot of truth about “climate change” doesn’t it?

    • My favorite part:

      12) Policy makers & mainstream media have been deceived into thinking there is only one side

      Remarkable, given that basically every argument they list presents arguments as if there’s “only one side.” No respect, whatsoever, I mean nada, zilch, niente, bubkis, for uncertainty (I’m sure that Judith will jump on that momentarily)

      The only way this will be brought to a resolution is through an independent judicial inquiry. (Someone proposed that they specifically say this should happen in the Hague, and Monckton said that “the other side would be extremely reluctant” to be cross-examined).

      I would guess that not a single participant has not, at some point in the past, hand-wrung and self-victimized from their fainting couches about their “concerns” about judicial nquiry of “skeptics.” Reminds me of Judith’s selectivity on the subject of the politicization of climate change (i.e., her support of Lamar Smith’s inquiry).

      • The independent judicial inquiry they have in mind would examine both sides of the issue and hear from proponents on both sides. As opposed to an inquisition designed to shut up the dissenters/climate deniers. See the diff, putz?

        You should stop stalking, Judith. You are not doing the cause any good. Of course, your serial same ole same ole annoyances here are only for your perverse self-gratification.

      • Yes, there seems to be exaggeration, both on the effects of CO2 and the costs of alternatives.

        One reason US emissions are declining is using more natural gas for electricity, but nat gas is the cheapest fuel now.

        India, being a neighbor of Iran, might be persuaded to build more nat gas infrastructure than coal to help electrify, with the possible benefit of the cheapest energy.

      • ==> “The independent judicial inquiry they have in mind would examine both sides of the issue and hear from proponents on both sides.”

        My mistake. And there I thought it was a politically motivated effort, on the part of a politician not-expert who has made a determination that one view of the evidence is correct and the other corrupt, for the purpose of political and policy-oriented expediency.

        Thanks for clarifying, Don.

        Too funny.

      • My favorite part of the article was the disclosure that all the deniers were middle aged white men except one female. Is that a meme in the UK too? I always considered that a U.S. PCism. Are we now to believe if you’re a middle aged white climate denier guy that makes you a racist too, or that only racists are deniers? What’s the relevancy of the race makeup of the deniers? I had a good chuckle over that.

      • You are entitled to your little bogus opinion, unmensch. Come back when you have more time. Just try to stop silly stalking Judith. It’s foolish, unseemly and counterproductive for your cause.

    • Unpaid shills for the pro-pollution lobby: More Coal!

    • Michael sees deniers. I see realist adults. The comments section was as revealing as the article. The same kind of revelations that one can enjoy reading the comments on Huffington Post. The universe of economic and scientific illiterates.

    • Michael sees deniers. I see realist adults. The comments section was as revealing as the article. The same kind of revelations that one can enjoy reading the comments on Huffington Post. The universe of economic and scientific illiterates.

    • Interesting for providing another example of the typical hatchet job delivered by the typical lame left-loon alleged “journalist”. Thanks, mikey.

    • It is surprising that the political spin-masters invited journalists to their sausage-making. Not clear if any scientists were there to maintain the sanity. At least the greenhouse effect had a sufficient majority to win out in the end, but it sounds close.

  2. COP 21 is on the standard COP track except this time they got the leaders out of the way at the beginning, so as to avoid another Copenhagen debacle.

    • No fair. You can’t compare the predictions of left-wing scientists to reality. Talk about micro-aggressions! Now their feelings will be hurt, their chances of raking in more millions in corrupt funding limited, and their shot at magazine covers reduced.

      That’s just cruelty to dumb animals.

  3. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    I enjoy sentences like the one of Thomas Richard: “United States would continue to lead the world in carbon dioxide reductions (take that, ISIS!)”.
    These talks in Paris are a nonesense: after ISIS had terrified the enlighted city, the UN (created to avoid wars) is focused in climate (as if CO2 reductions could control Earth’s temperatures).
    Nowadays, people demand a total war against ISIS: if muslims do not join western civilization to fight against ISIS, what do we need UN for?, is UN only useful for the usual scheduled climatic propaganda?.

  4. RE: The battle to save the planet may come down to nuclear advocates vs environmentalists

    Not only are the enviro-notsees against nuclear power, but it would “solve” “climate change.” This would put an end to the gravy train for a lot of prominent scientists and world-level grifters (aka UN politicians).

    The UN is just one more force arrayed against the Constitutional principles of our Republic here in the US.

    • enviro-notsees against nuclear power, but it would “solve” “climate change.” This would put an end to the gravy train for a lot of prominent scientists and world-level grifters (aka UN politicians).

      Sounds like the making of a conspiracy theory to me, Jim.
      Wouldn’t other scientists who aren’t in it for the “gravy train” be in a better position to detect shoddy work on the part of these “prominent” scientists. After all even if they are in it for money or fame or both, they can also still produce quality work, right?

  5. Another example of how prescient Ike was. He proposed a nuclear merchant ship in 1955. It was launched in 1955 but decommissioned in 1971 and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. So 60 years later we seem to have gone backwards. There is only 1 cargo ship in service now and none on the drawing board.
    Many challenges face having a large merchant fleet of nuclear powered ships, including cost, infrastructure for docking and fuel disposal. Most likely, however, any proposals will face its stiffest opposition from the zero risk crowd, the same ones who have opposed nuclear for the last 60 years. The risk tradeoff calculations are going to hit them in the face soon.

  6. From the article:

    “Government in the future will be based upon (or incorporate, depending on the level of breakdown of civilisation) a supreme office of the biosphere. The office will comprise specially trained philosopher/ecologists.”

    “These guardians will either rule themselves or advise an authoritarian government of policies based on their ecological training and philosophical sensitivities. These guardians will be specially trained for the task.”
    Professor David Shearman, an Assessor for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 3rd and 4th Assessment Reports -The Climate change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy. David Shearman & Joseph Wayne Smith (Praeger Publishing: Wesport, 2007). p134


    • Jim, I did a double take on the excerpts you posted. I found a direct link to the thoughts expressed here: https://hauntingthelibrary.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/ipcc-green-doctor-prescribes-end-to-democracy-to-solve-global-warming/

      I recently posted the genesis of the environmental movement that evolved in Germany prior to WWII, but which evolved into a religion under National Socialism. To hear a contemporary academic, especially one involved directly with the IPCC advocate for an end of democracy and a call for authoritarianism sent chills down my spine.

      From the blog post: …”we argue that authoritarianism is the natural state of humanity’. They propose the formation of an ‘elite warrior leadership’ to ‘battle for the future of the earth” [p.xvi].

      • Persactly.

      • Sorry, that should have been prexactly. Or excisely. I’m confused.

      • Fifteen years ago, Bill Joy (then Chief Scientist at Sun Microsystems) wrote an article “Why The Future Doesn’t Need Us” in the April 2000 issue of Wired magazine.


        His main concern is that powerful 21st-century technologies – robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotech – are threatening to make humans an endangered species. If you couple this concern with the worries of global warming and all of its modeled baggage, peak oil and other predictions of depleted resources, all leveraged by so called environmentalists on our 7 billion and counting population, it’s logical to conclude that the operating premise is “The Future Doesn’t Need Most of Us”. The January 26, 2012 edition of The Onion, “America’s Finest News Source” ®, nailed it a few years ago:

        Scientists: ‘Look, One-Third Of The Human Race Has To Die For Civilization To Be Sustainable, So How Do We Want To Do This?’


        One has to laugh and cry at the same time.

      • Pete Bonk,

        Don’t worry, we are going to have children because we love them. The human brain has unique capabilities.

      • PeteBonk, ‘the future doesn’t need most of us”, unfortunately this line of thinking is taken seriously by an increasing number among the environmental hard core, their religion is immersed with a political viewpoint and agenda. David Shearman’s belief system can’t be ignored. One of my concerns with his ilk is the culural dangers on the backside of a global black swan event.

        According to the late Cambridge scholar, linguist, translator, historian, and writer, George Watson; “…In the European century that began in the 1840s from Engels’s article of 1849 down to the death of Hitler, everyone who advocated genocide called himself a socialist, and no exception has been found… The Marxist theory of history required and demanded genocide for reasons implicit in its claim that feudalism was already giving place to capitalism, which must in its turn be superseded by socialism. Entire races would be left behind after a workers’ revolution, feudal remnants in a socialist age; and since they could not advance two steps at a time, they would have to be killed.”

  7. If anyone here is actually interested in following the COP 21 negotiations (instead of simply flaming) here is the place to do it: http://www.iisd.ca/vol12/enb12658e.html.
    The sideshow is here: http://www.iisd.ca/climate/cop21/enbots/5dec.html

    • One’s perception of a comment as “flame” or not “flame” is determined by one’s tribal membership.

      • Nonsense, Jim2. Comments to the effect that the UN should not exist, or that COP21 should not exist, or that warmers are all crooks, etc., are simply flames. They have no substance related to the topic, which is the Paris negotiations. The concept of flaming is pretty straightforward, though there will obviously be gray areas. Merely proclaiming that you despise something is the essence of flaming.

        I am following the COP21 negotiations closely, as I have since they began in 1995. Negative comments which have nothing to do with what is actually going on, most of which have no topical content at all, are mere flames. That is what flaming means. I scrolled through the comments this morning and could find very little that suggested that the commenter had any idea what was actually going on in Paris. That is why I posted the links I did.

      • Well, sorry David, but I do believe the UN shouldn’t exist. Or at a very minimum, re-constrict its focus to conflict resolution. COPXX shouldn’t exist for sure. I’ll revisit COP21 once they have actually decided something because it can have (a probably adverse) effect on my life as a US citizen.

      • David, if we note that the UN is the most corrupt institution in the world (obviously true), is that flaming? And if a corrupt institution hosts an event that is just a corrupt, is it permissible to note said corruption in assessing what goes on there? When dishonest and corrupt people engage in dishonest and corrupt negotiations one of whose purposes is to be used by a dishonest and corrupt president to bypass Congress and the will of the American people in gross violation of the Constitution, can we say that without ‘flaming’? Or are certain truths flames?

  8. Tol’s analysis “Economic impacts of climate change” is interesting, but he doesn’t explain why anyone would make public policy decisions based on economic models of long-term climate impacts.

    These models — and the underlying economic theory — are at a far earlier state of development than GCMs and climate science. It’s impossible to accurately compare the two fields, but I believe it would be like making public policy based on GCMs used in 1960.

    But we are, imo, in the last days of this public policy debate about climate change. Activists and polemicists dominate both sides, deploying evidence based on the “whatever sounds good” standard.

    These public policy issues will not go away. Eventually the debate will restart. Hopefully by then we’ll have learned from this debacle and conduct it better.

  9. “For a sense of the project’s ambitious scale, consider that China, the world’s leader in renewables, has a generating capacity of about 380 gigawatts, mostly from wind farms and hydropower. African nations would seek to build nearly as much capacity in less than two decades.”

    Er, actually that should just read “mostly from hydropower”. But if you put “wind farms” first and show a pic of some wind turbines at the head of the article…weeeeell, since China is in the business of selling renewables (not its rivers!) a few wind turbines across the landscape can do no harm. And it’s not like a few hundred new coal plants will leave them short of power to manufacture lots more solar panels for export.

    As the proverb goes, in the age of spin the one-eyed activist is king. Just ask the Washington Post!

  10. Based on Tol’s findings, it’s difficult to support policies that cause short term economic harm to most people, in particular the poorest amongst us, on the basis of the current science and economics.

    Matt Ridley does another great job of debunking the “we owe it to our grandchildren” meme:

    “The next generation is watching, Barack Obama told the Paris climate conference this week: ‘Our grandchildren, when they look back and see what we did in Paris, they can take pride in what we did.’ And that, surely, is the trouble with the entire climate-change agenda: putting the interests of rich people’s grandchildren ahead of those of poor people today.”

    The green blob, aka the climatariat need to be defeated before they cause even more harm.

    • Do I look back on conferences held in my grandparents’ days and just swell with pride? What I try to do is not be their Monday morning quarterback.

      Our grandchildren won’t actually hate us for tipping trillions into Green Blob. I mean, I don’t blame grandpa Reuben or grandpa David for the Treaty of Versailles. I just think it was colossally dumb, that’s all. (Thanks for nothing, Clemenceau.) My guess is that our grandchildren will live with our waste and mistakes and get on with their own waste and mistakes.

      That’s if we hurry up and squash Green Blob, of course. Loading up future generations with a white-elephant worshipping religion could make for a nasty century.

  11. African energy: This may be the biggest news yet to come out of the Paris climate meeting. [link]

    Before another penny is pledged to Africa’s energy system, a considerable need is to clean up the corruption that has devastated Africa’s reach for economic and social betterment.

    Africa is a continent wracked with tribal allegiances that rob the monies that have been and continue to be invested into this Continent. The steep vertical nature of tribal authority, no matter how large the tribe may be, “tithes” money from contracts, to import goods to services that bleeds funds from worthwhile enterprises. The Ebola contagion illustrates how even “free” goods and services are corrupted and retarded because one bureaucrat or another has their hand out and no import/transport/delivery will happen until the required tithing all the way up the tribal chain.

    A while back, there was the notion that harnessing hydroelectric electricity would result in a “lighting” of central Africa beginning with the City of Kinshasa in the DRC. The necessary hydro-electric system was financed and built, and then…well, and then the revenue stream began to be pilfered by the same tribal system that had allowed colonialization centuries earlier. Maintenance money was skimmed until only 10% of potential electric energy can be produced.

    “The two hydroelectric dams, Inga I and Inga II, currently operate at a low output.”

    The potential hydroelectric power in central Africa is huge and could light all of Africa. But, once financed and built, what would keep the revenue stream from being pilfered?

    Unfortunately, it seems that keeping control of the whole project and revenue generated would have to be in hands external to national and tribal reaches. Fears of another colonialism that external control represents would have to be addressed as well.

    My recommendation is locally controlled fossil fueled energy generation would address the largest needs and then add whatever else that would make economic sense. Fossil fuels, particularly coal which is available already are being used, including diesel generators to overcome the unreliability of the current system.

    No “Grand Schemes.” Just smaller projects under local control.

    • RiH008,

      You are absolutely correct in identifying endemic corruption in Africa as a devastating problem.

      In addition to the tribal and power elites that scam the system, there are a number of environmental NGO’s present that seek to thwart development.

      While this Wikipedia writeup is a bit out of date, it describes some of the challenges associated with large development projects in Africa undertaken by the international community.


      Exxon spent almost 30 years trying to develop the Chad oil resource. It was finally built, but not without it’s problems.

      Just throwing money and people at the problem doesn’t work.

      • Mark

        Thank you for your response.

        Further: “The pipeline project has been affected by persistent charges and fears about corruption and the diversion of revenues—ostensibly intended for poverty reduction—towards arms purchases…”

        The doubling of the arms budget from those funds set aside to provide humanitarian service did not mean that those arms funds were going to the purchase of weapons or weapon systems, rather, to pay the wages of soldiers so they won’t mutiny. Sophisticated weaponry require people who can use it. During the cold war, one of the reasons why there were Cuban “volunteers” in Africa was to operate the Soviet equipment.

        African leadership issues are more about acquiring and maintaining power requiring the tribal members of the military stay loyal to the regime. Leaders are more worried about the sergeant brother-in-law 3rd removed confiscating the soldiers wages and buying himself a Mercedes than providing clean water for villages. After all, villages have survived without clean water for thousands of years, and, more likely than not, they will continue to survive into the future without clean water.

        Clean water and all sorts of humanitarian ideology is useful to sell outside sources to develop and fund another revenue stream to be pilfered.

      • Jane Jacobs in ‘Cities and The Wealth of Nations ‘
        describes a funeral in Pickens Co. Georgia, illustrating
        the circumstances of a passive economic region. In
        comparison to city developments like Venice, Tokyo,
        or Singapore, despite available resources it makes

        ‘The grave was dug through solid marble, but the marble
        headstone came from Vermont. It was in a pine wilderness
        but the pine coffin came from Cincinnati. An iron mountain over-shadowed it but the coffin nails and the screws and
        the shovel came from Pittsburgh. With hard wood and
        metal abounding, the corpse was hauled on a wagon from
        South Bend, Indiana. A hickory grove grew near by, but
        the pick and shovel handles came from New York. The
        cotton shirt on the dead man came from Cincinnati, the
        coat and breeches from Chicago, the shoes from Boston;
        the folded hands were encased in white gloves from New
        York… That country, so rich in undeveloped resources,
        furnished nothing for the funeral except the corpse and
        the hole in the ground and would probably have imported
        both of those if it could have done so. ‘ ( Ch 2.)

    • Unfortunately all too true.
      No doubt the African Union efforts will be patterned on the EU’s

      Emission impossible as EU fails to police main anti-pollution scheme
      Attempts to stamp out endemic fraud in the EU’s flagship Emissions Trading Scheme are “not adequate”, say auditors

  12. So, 400 million in India lack electricity and some 500 million in Africa?

    add another 100 million elsewhere and that’s about 1 billion?

    So, only roughly 15% of the world remains to be additional emitters?

    We are getting close to peak CO2.

  13. The Politico article on Paris is surprising apt. Its only flaw is lamenting that the well depicted Paris failure is an environmental/climate problem. Nope.

  14. David L. Hagen

    Energy RD&D: Breakthrough Energy Coalition
    After Committing $1 billion himself, Bill Gates leads 29 investment groups with a combined worth of $350 billion to launch the Breakthrough Energy Coalition to invest in sustainable energy RD&D. See Gates’ paper: Energy Innovation Why We Need It and How to Get It. The Atlantic interviewed Gates who argues that We Need An Energy Miracle. The Copenhagen Consensus has been documenting how strategic research into energy is the most cost effective long term investment to reach sustainable energy. http://www.gatesnotes.com/Energy/In
    Conversely, just subsidizing expensive “green” energy ends if failure, such as Abengoa’s bankruptcy after subsidies fall.
    Plan wisely. Elect wise stewards.

  15. Politico (actually Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute) on why Paris is meaningless:

    …the talks are rigged to ensure an agreement is reached regardless of how little action countries plan to take.

  16. Read the paper by Tol.

    Why the sudden choice to go for a piecewise discontinuous linear model for damages? Why would climate impacts be discontinuous? A parabolic model makes more sense. I detect confirmation bias to obtain the same conclusion as Tol (2009).

    Anyway, the results of Nordhaus, Tol and Weitzman all seem to suggest that climate change reduces global GDP by approximately 0.2%*(deltaT)^2, where deltaT is the temperature minus pre-industrial temperatures in celcius.

    Also found 2 typos:
    Page 7: ‘but not in hot ones’ should read ‘but not in rich ones’
    Page 8: ‘these assumptions is realistic’ should read ‘these assumptions are realistic’

    • Curious George

      In a situation where uncertainty rules, there is no reason to go for parablic approximations. Keep it simple, -1.

      • A parabolic model has 3 parameters. The piecewise linear model has 4. The parabolic model is simpler.

        Also, if we are somewhat close to the optimal global temperature and the damage function is analytical then the second order taylor approximation gives a parabolic approximation.

      • Curious George

        Almost true. With an implied condition that the curve must go through the point [0,0], the parabolic approximation has two parameters, and the piecewise linear has three. If you happen to know what the optimal global temperature is, please share it with us.

    • Oh yeah, I forgot the (0,0) condition. Thanks for pointing that out.

      With respect to optimal temperature, the parabolic fit in Tol 2015 suggests optimal is roughly pre-industrial temperatures.

      Although the studies used for Tol’s metastudy may have biases.

    • The confirmation bias is trying to bend the past at all. Clearly warming and higher CO2 concentrations have been beneficial so far. Why won’t that trend continue? After all, we know life thrives when the planet is warmer than now and richer in CO2 – that’s been demonstrated by half a billion years of thriving life in times much warmer than now. I suggest the for the bend in the graph at current time is confirmation bias to align with the consensus of alarmists. Looking at it rationally, it strains credulity to believe that warming will suddenly become net detrimental just at the time we happen to be living. It’s cult beliefs, not science.

      • “Why won’t that trend continue?”
        Because the trend isn’t necessarily a non-decreasing function. It might be a parabolic trend with a negative second derivative, for example.

        “I suggest the for the bend in the graph at current time is confirmation bias to align with the consensus of alarmists.”
        I suspect that this is likely. Metastudies are susceptible to publication bias.

      • And the trend might follow the Unicorn trail as they make their final journey. Works for me.

  17. From the Esquire piece:

    “I have friends who have talked to McKibben privately about this, and he knows that nuclear has to be part of the solution,” Stone says. “But he can’t say it publicly. He says it will split the movement.”

    Bill McKibben puts his own megalomania above actual solutions.

    • The attitude of McKibben, and those that categorically rule out the use of nuclear power to reduce CO2 emissions for power generation, suggest to me that these are not serious people. To them, an ideology is more important than the lives of their fellow citizens. Another, darker agenda is their motivation, and the world’s population is what is really being targeted.

    • Heh, the movement splits of its own brittleness, nor all the hypocrisy, nor all the megalomania of the McKibbens can hold the broken together.

  18. Long in the Background, Population Becoming a Bigger Issue at Climate Change Discussions [link]

    The doomsayers in every generation have told that we have reached a population tipping point, yet the next generation always has more people with a higher standard of living. There may be a limit, but the data indicates we are still rising toward an always increasing upper bound. We used to talk about all those poor people in China, now we go admire their new cities, better transportation, more energy for everyone, more and more coal fired power plants, etc. The standard of living in China is rising with the use of more fossil fuels. The standard of living in Germany is dropping with the use of less fossil fuels.

    • Yes, there is an overall carrying capacity limit. Given by the natural limits on arable land and the ag sciences/techniques behind crop intensification (usable food calories per unit arable land). By analogy, trees do not grow to the sky.
      Depending on average caloric intake (assume a bit less than now to eliminate western obesity) and meat protein (assume about the same, but differently distributed, scewed toward more efficient caloric conversion of farmed fish and poultry) the math works out to something between 9.1 and 9.3 billion people max Earth carrying capacity. That means about 2050 per UNEP. A long slog calculation requiring crop by crop analyses including crop/ dietary habit substitutions where climate feasible, and acceptance of all the future GMO that science can muster. Chapter 3 of Gaia’s Limits.
      Is the most optimistic case. Borlaug’s green revolution (e.g. wheat dwarfing, rust resistance) can happen only once, not twice. The only major crop with intensification continuing to match population globally is GMO maize (corn). And this still assumes science will somehow keep ahead of the re-emergence of rust fungus, Bt resistant insects, and glyphosate resistant weeds. All three have already evolved in places around the world. UG 99 is a huge problem. CIMMYT was able to do a crash breeding program to develop UG99 resistant wheat strains in just 10 years, before UG99 reached the Punjab. The problem is those cultivars are not yet adapted to maximize yields in all the various wheat regional climates, just those of central and northeastern Africa (Uganda, Kenya, Somalia) where UG99 first emerged .
      And the UN FAO 40 page policy document on this is basically ‘hope and pray’, while 40000 people are wasting time in Paris on a UNFCCC illusion.

      • If all the sun’s energy which reaches the Earth were dedicated to the sustenance of humans, at 100 Watts/human, then the maximum theoretical carrying capacity of the Earth would be in the quadrillions, approximately a million times as many humans as are now sustained.

        Obviously, this is practically impossible, but it illustrates that a relatively tiny increase of humans’ share of that sun energy, a la Norman Borlaug, would sustain a far larger population than at present, and in a manner to which we would all like to be accustomed.

        I first made this calculation when Erlich was first on the loose. Such fools so many have been.

      • If we just stop putting Ethanol in gas tanks, we can already feed many more with ease. If we help the poor in the world have low cost abundant energy from fossil fuel, they will be able to feed themselves and have plenty to share.

  19. ” If for any 20 years, temperatures do not increase by more than 0.5 degrees the whole apparatus will be wrapped up.”
    If the temp does not increase by more than 0.5 in the next 20 years it will be proof that Climate Change conferences work.

  20. retiredphysicseducator


    Here are calculations using the (incorrect) IPCC net flux of 390W/m^2 into the surface where we assume that there is really variable flux that contributes to the 390 figure and it applies to five equal zones that receive 20%, 60%, 100%, 140% and 180% of the mean of 390W/m^2. This is far more realistic than using 390 for the whole globe including the dark side. Now, using the on-line Stefan-Boltzmann calculator at tutorvista.com (and all the flux, because the reflected component has been deducted) we get blackbody temperatures as shown below.

    20% zone (78W/m^2) – 192.6K
    60% zone (234W/m^2) – 253.5K
    100% zone (390W/m^2) – 288.0K
    140% zone (546W/m^2) – 313.5K
    180% zone (702W/m^2) – 333.6K

    Mean temperature 276.2K (less than 3°C)

    Firstly, the IPCC et al incorrectly assumed they could include the back radiation and so their energy diagrams show a net of 390W/m^2 into the surface, a slightly fudged figure I would suggest anyway, and one which ignores the outward radiation. But, note the temperature for 100% is 288K (they fluked it right with 390 – or did they?) – just what they wanted for the mean temperature.

    But, even when they incorrectly added back radiation (which does not penetrate the ocean surface and so cannot warm it) they still “forgot” the T^4 relationship in S-B, effectively treating the Earth as a flat disc receiving uniform flux day and night. Pierrehumbert made the same mistake.

    When we insert realistic variation into the flux (as above) we get a far colder (and unrealistic) mean temperature, and we always will – that’s a mathematical fact. And we should not have added the back radiation anyway.

    Do you now see how gullible you have all been to accept the whole incorrect paradigm that radiation to a planet’s surface explains the temperature? It doesn’t, and that’s blatantly obvious on Venus, because how could the atmosphere deliver the required 20,000W/m^2 or more to explain the Venus surface temperature when the incident solar radiation even at TOA is only about an eighth of that? Because radiation does not determine the temperature, radiation from CO2 is irrelevant.

    • The following paper also concludes that the paradigm is wrong.
      I am not able to understand this paper – maybe you are. I just wonder – does it make any sense to you?

      • They are onto a few definite errors in the AGW hypothesis about which I have been aware. To their credit they recognize and cite the need for consideration of maximum entropy production, as is also referred to at http://entropylaw.com but they don’t take that line far enough, still being influenced by the radiation paradigm which, as you can see from my comment above, just simply does not, and cannot ever explain surface temperatures. And, because it is not the mechanism by which surface temperatures are supported, radiation from carbon dioxide is irrelevant. It is the process of maximum entropy production (which the Second Law of Thermodynamics is all about) which causes the necessary heat transfers in a planet’s troposphere and such heat transfers support the surface temperature. I guess this will be common knowledge in another 15 to 20 years or so from now.

  21. David L. Hagen

    What’s the bigger risk: Using nuclear energy or turning away from it?

    “It’s expensive,” said Kelly Sims Gallagher, director of the Center for International Environment & Resource Policy at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. “If you’re an independent power producer and you’re trying to decide what kind of power plant should I build, nuclear simply isn’t competitive.” . . .
    “Something like 3 million people a year die prematurely from inhalation of fine particulates. Nothing like that number of people have died from nuclear accidents and radiation. So if you sort of compare those numbers, you think, well of course, why wouldn’t you want more nuclear?”

  22. Article: Funding row ‘threatens Paris climate deal’, India and China warn

    Of course, they can’t wait to get their hands on that money!

  23. When science can’t convince climate change deniers, some activists turn to God
    “They know they will be measured against the encyclical,” Schellnhuber, a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, said Saturday at a Catholic Church event. Ever the scientist, Schellnhuber said on Saturday he hadn’t seen any evidence yet during the first week of negotiations that this will happen, but he has faith it will

  24. interesting article by Joel Kotkin today.


    The punch line:

    “Normally, we are told that politics are bad, but sometimes they can provide the road to reason. The kind of politics that seeks to ban cheap energy in developing countries or asks the Western middle classes to become downwardly mobile proletarians can only advance so far without eliciting resistance. Hopefully, politics will tilt us to more sensible and affordable approaches – like more-efficient cars, conservation and gradually substituting natural gas for coal – instead of lurching toward a ruinous economic agenda. Rather than push for some radical transformation of society that relatively few desire, it’s time to forge policies that create both a more prosperous and cleaner world.”

    Worth reading the entire article as well as Kotkin’s latest book, “The New Class Conflict”

    • Mark,

      JK is spot on. I liked his book “The City: A Global History”.

      • Justin,

        Kotkin gets a lot right. He specifically addresses the conflicts between alarmist climate ideology and the needs of the American middle class in his latest book.

        Kotkin is considered to be a conservative democrat (if such a thing still exists) but I wouldn’t expect to see him in a Democratic administration any time soon.

    • The Kotkin article is full of gems, but this one is chilling:

      “In a similar vein, the Atlantic recently rejected relying on markets or technology for solutions in favor of creating a ruling “technocracy.” These worthies then could impose energy austerity that would limit many middle-class pleasures like cheap air travel, cars, freeways, suburbs and single-family housing. Like it or not, we are to be crammed into the dense, urban living favored only by a small, if increasingly influential, section of the population.”

      • > These worthies then could impose energy austerity that would limit many middle-class pleasures like cheap air travel, cars, freeways, suburbs and single-family housing

        That wipes me out, but why is satellite TV and always-available internet not included in the “delete” column ?

        As someone recently pointed out (and I’m sorry, I really cannot remember who):

        “It is not that these people want your bank account for themselves. It is just that they want you to lose it”

  25. The original source of the carbon we are emitting by burning oil, natural gas, and coal is, as best I understand it, the biosphere. We are therefore changing the surface/subsurface balance of organic carbon, but by how much? I have attempted to calculate this in several different ways, but always come out with a small number — about 100 PPM. I am having a hard time believing that such a deviation in the surface/subsurface balance of organic carbon could result in global environmental catastrophe and would guess that the natural variation in this balance has been much greater over the past 500 million years than any effect we will have. I also suspect that this balance is not in equilibrium, but rather that since the time of the Cambrian explosion 540 MYA the net capture of carbon in the subsurface has been positive. Does that possibly explain a very long-term trend of planetary cooling?

  26. Will the Senate cancel tomorrow’s hearing on AGW: Data or Dogma?

    The EPA Chief, Gina McCarthy, told Congress today that the decision had already been made and was beyond the control of Congress:


  27. OK, the debate is now officially over. Katy Perry says decarbonization is for the children. Everybody turn over your keys, turn off your lights, and shut down your computers.


    I suspect she hasn’t really thought this through. It’s hard to watch pop tarts sing without electricity.

  28. CNBC is going crazy on global warming … someone needs to go over there and straighten them out :) From the aritlcle:

    A new global agreement on climate change could be completed later this month in Paris.

    It’s a good thing, because epic droughts, record-breaking heat and cold waves, and killer storms have become the new normal, validating scientists’ long-time predictions. But pledges from national governments alone will not be sufficient to solve this global existential challenge — they must be backed up by action.

    Commentary by Terry Tamminen, Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency in the Schwarzenegger administration. He has authored numerous books on sustainability, and is a co-founder of the R20 Regions of Climate Action.


    And then there’s BS …

    The urgency and eloquence of his appeals, and the brutal reality they describe, have won him an outsize presence on the international stage. Tong has become a fixture at the UN, a figurehead for a number of ocean-conservation causes, and a powerful climate-change spokesperson. Last year, during an appearance on CNN, when asked by Fareed Zakaria about his people’s future, he replied bluntly: “It’s too late for us.”

    Kiribati’s fate provides a rare glimpse of the future world under climate change. The tiny island nation is the canary in our global coal mine, and it will bear the brunt of climate change more intensely and much sooner than nearly anywhere else.


  29. It is crunch time in Paris. After ten days of friendly negotiations, all that remain are the irreconcilable issues, like “finance” and “loss and damage.” I can hardly wait to see how this ends.