Dealing with climate change in the context of other, more urgent threats to human and environmental well-being

Guest post by: Indur M. Goklany

In a series of posts (collected here) we saw that no matter how significant climate change may seem when viewed in isolation, it pales in significance when compared with other global problems, at least through the foreseeable future.   This is hardly surprising: in the absence of context even the smallest molehill may be mistaken for a Mount Everest.

So how should we deal with climate change in the context of other more significant threats to human and environmental well-being?

The following figure, reproduced from the earlier set of posts, shows the maximum contribution of climate change to global mortality from hunger, malaria and coastal flooding in the year 2085 under various IPCC emissions scenarios.  Specifically, it shows that climate change would contribute no more than 4%-10% to global mortality from these factors.  The highest such contribution occurs under the warmest-but-richest (A1FI) scenario. [Under this scenario, the average global temperature is projected to increase by 4°C between 1990 and 2085.]

followup_table0

Therefore if we could roll climate back to its 1990 level —which means reducing CO2 concentrations to below that magic 350 ppm number — then the mortality in 2085 from hunger, malaria and coastal flooding would, at most, be reduced by 4%-10% through “mitigation”. [In climate change parlance, “mitigation” means reducing greenhouse gas emissions or concentrations, whereas “adaptation” would reduce damages (or negative impacts) from climate change.]

But what about the remaining 90%-96% of the mortality problem?  Annual mortality would still be between 2 million and 6 million, depending on the IPCC scenario employed. The Kyoto Protocol, on the other hand, would reduce climate change by less than 10%. Hence, as a first approximation, the Protocol would, had the US participated and if all nations meet their obligations fully, reduce mortality by less than 1% (= 10% of 10%) in 2085.

By contrast, if we focus on reducing societies’ vulnerabilities to hunger, malaria and coastal flooding through measures that would work regardless of climate change (see bullets below), we would be able to address 100% of the future mortality problem in 2085. Such an approach, which I call “focused adaptation,” could, moreover, bring larger benefits — and bring them quicker, because any significant benefits from emission reductions, regardless of their stringency, will be delayed by decades (due to the inertia of the climate system).

Focused adaptation can be generalized beyond hunger, malaria and coastal flooding if we focus on reducing vulnerability or increasing resiliency to any climate-sensitive problem that could be exacerbated by climate change (see here.]

Another critical advantage of adaptation is that it can capture the benefits of climate change while reducing its costs, whereas mitigation would indiscriminately reduce both the positive and the negative impacts of climate change. That is, mitigation is a double-edged sword, whereas adaptation is a scalpel.

Thus, we saw previously (here) that climate change would reduce both the net population at risk of water stress, and habitat converted to cropland.  Both these benefits of climate change would be lost under mitigation.  On the other hand, adaptation would more selectively capitalize on these positive impacts.

In addition, focused adaptation would be more economic than emission reduction. The Kyoto Protocol, despite its minimal effectiveness, is estimated to cost around $165 billion annually.  [See here.] Although the cost of rolling the climate back to its 1990 level has never been estimated, suffice it to say that it should cost orders of magnitude more.  For the purposes of this exercise, in the following I will assume a lower bound of $165 billion annually.

However, results from the UN Millennium Project and the IPCC’s latest assessment indicate that, via focused adaptation, we could:

  • Reduce malaria by 75% at a cost of $3 billion/yr. Specific measures include improving antenatal care for expectant mothers in vulnerable areas, developing a malaria vaccine, indoor residual spraying with DDT, and insecticide treated bed nets.
  • Reduce hunger by 50% at a cost of $12-15 billion/yr (see here, p. 18, and here) Specific measures could include the development of crops that would do better in poor climatic or soil conditions (namely, drought, water-logging, high salinity or acidity) that could be exacerbated by climate change, and under the higher CO2 and temperature conditions that are likely to prevail in the future.
  • Reduce vulnerability to coastal flooding at a cost of $2-10 billion/yr. e.g., through building and strengthening coastal defenses, insurance reform, and improving early warning systems.

In addition to mitigation and focused adaptation, there is another approach to dealing with climate change.

Developing countries are generally deemed to be most vulnerable to climate change, not necessarily because they will experience greater climate change, but because they lack adaptive capacity (that is, financial and human capital) to acquire and use the technologies necessary to cope with its impacts. Hence, another approach to addressing climate change would be to enhance the adaptive capacity of developing countries by promoting broad development, i.e., economic development and human capital formation, which, of course, is the point of sustainable economic development.

Advancing economic development and human capital formation would also advance society’s ability to cope with all manner of threats, whether climate related or not (see here and here). The costs and benefits of sustainable economic development can be garnished from literature on the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were devised to promote sustainable development in developing countries. The benefits associated with these goals — halving global poverty; halving hunger, halving the lack of access to safe water and sanitation; reducing child and maternal mortality by 66 percent or more; providing universal primary education; and reversing growth in malaria, AIDS/HIV, and other major diseases — would exceed the benefits flowing from the deepest mitigation. Yet the additional annual cost to the richest countries of attaining the MDGs by 2015 is estimated at 0.5 percent of their GDP, approximately the same as that of the ineffectual Kyoto Protocol.

Hence, we have a choice.  We could over the foreseeable future:

  • Spend $165 billion annually on the Kyoto Protocol to reduce mortality from hunger, malaria and coastal flooding by less than 0.4%-1%, while marginally increasing the population at risk of water stress, and reducing habitat available for the rest of nature.
  • Spend much more than $165 billion annually to roll back climate to 1990 levels and reduce mortality from hunger, malaria and coastal flooding by less than 4%-10%, while substantially increasing the population at risk of water stress, and reducing the amount of habitat available for the rest of nature.
  • Spend about $34 billion annually on focused adaptation to reduce mortality by 50%-75% from the three above-mentioned risk factors without increasing either the population at risk of water stress or the habitat lost to cropland.  [Details can be found here.]
  • Spend $165 billion annually on broad economic development to garnish benefits greater than what can be obtained through rolling climate back to 1990 levels, or even focused adaptation.
  1. It shows that through the foreseeable future, adaptation — whether it is focused or based on broad development — is far superior to mitigation. Either adaptation approach will provide far greater benefits than even the deepest mitigation, and at a lower cost.  And these conclusions hold regardless of the choice of discount rate, or fanciful scenarios beyond the foreseeable future.

This, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no role for mitigation, particularly in the long term.  But in the short- to medium-term, that role shouldn’t include heroic emission reduction measures (see here).

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Table 1: Costs and benefits of various mitigation and adaptation approaches. Note that figures in red indicate that the policies in question would make matters worse. Source: Goklany (2009).

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58 thoughts on “Dealing with climate change in the context of other, more urgent threats to human and environmental well-being

  1. This is similar to the argument that Bjorn Lomborg has advanced for several years, and it makes a lot of sense.

    And if we are really in for global cooling, putting our money into solving truly solvable problems will be money much better spent.

  2. What if the “Climate Change” is a Maunder or Dalton type Solar Minimum? We are fools if we do not look at that scenario…

  3. Indur,
    Focused adaptation absolutely does the most good for the most people, but how does Al Gore make money from this plan?
    Mike

  4. A warm planet doesn’t seem so bad considering these figures, assuming we’ll even see an end to the current downtrend of temperatures since 2003.

    More CO2 is good for the planet as well and coal is not evil, in fact my state is going to have a new coal plant built to provide power and the greenies in return get 2 oil plants decommisioned and big wind farms built because of the power infrastructure that will be built because of the ‘Coal’ plant.

  5. You are assuming (mistakenly I believe) that dealing with threats to human and environmental well-being is the goal of the alarmists.

  6. I like the idea of “focused adaptation” because that works on a known problem in a straightforward manner. I fail to see how controlling emissions will, say, produce clean drinking water, in any meaningful way – if at all.

    Such issues as you highlight were not being very well attended to in the past. So how is it that if we spend $$$B to

    “… roll climate back to its 1990 level ”

    …and damage the economies of those nations that have the wherewithal to help (including private and corporate), anyone expects things to improve?

    And is the 1990 goal not difficult enough? Consider in Canada the NDP wants to “…reduce Canadian greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.” The details of that plan must include some science and engineering I’ve yet to hear about. Unless their plan is to turn everything off and move everyone but the natives and the polar bears to Zimbabwe.

    Who is thinking about these issues, other than Dr. Goklany?

  7. Since logic and reason play no part in government decisions, we will probably spend the $165 bil/yr on carbon mitigation. How many deaths will result from what we don’t have money to spend on? The world could be much worse off.

    Lost opportunity is a big factor, rather hard to quantify.

  8. Always left out is the FACT that IF we could reduce the CO2 level (which likely would have no distinquishable effect on “climate,) then more people would die due to decreased crop performance than would be saved by any conceivable cooler climate response.

    Won’t it be funny if Al Gore, in the middle of a Dalton Minimum, calls for all stops to be pulled to increase CO2 to prevent glaciers from forming in Tenneseee!

  9. This is a very good article, but it understates the costs of CO2 reduction. Assuming that the rise in CO2 levels is the product of industrial activity, which is not certain, to reduce CO2 to 1990 levels, or lower, we must convince China, India and other developing countries to forgo industrialization, which just ain’t never, never, never going to happen. Even if they would, to get back below 300 ppm, the whole world would have to virtually de-industrialize. Rational adults realize what the goo goo greens refuse to acknowledge, that there is no alternative to fossil fuels for the foreseeable future, other than nuclear power. If the world does de-industrialize, a couple of billion people are going to die. It is just that simple.

    No only does adaptation make more sense, there is no alternative, regardless of what climate does.

  10. Climate was not invented by man, therefore the children should not be playing with the Swiss Watch of Climate. The children should adapt to the changing time of the Swiss Climate Watch.
    Nicht fur Gefingerpoken oder Monkeywrenchen.

  11. The point is that the actions of governments re climate change have already caused deaths, The use of food for biofuel for one. That has resulted in the deaths of 29,000 people a year times 73 counties. I believe that total is 2,117,000 a year. Then we have the number of people a year who die becuase they are driving small cars to get better fuel mileage. That figure is around somewhere. Then the number of people who die every winter from fuel poverty. It astonishes me that the government has the gall to talk about this when they are killing their citizens because they make energy to expensive.

  12. The left has become far too invested in AGW to abandon it without very clear evidence that the science is wrong. An what I mean here is evidence from people they trust on the left.

    Some are beginning to look for the evidence, but as we can see from the daily barrage of stories from the media, most are a long way from being convinced.

    It remains possible that a critical mass of converts can be reached before they fully commit to wrecking the western economy, but I am not entirely hopeful.

    I keep thinking about Lindzen’s talk in March. He also seems somewhat skeptical that its not too late to stop the AGW train.

  13. OT….but now even Glenn Beck is talking about Anthony.
    How reliable are our temperature measurements? Meteorologist Anthony Watts started looking into the quality of the temperature measuring stations across America and couldn’t believe what he found. His report finds that “nearly 9 of every 10 – fail to meet the National Weather Service’s own siting requirements.” Read the entire report
    http://www.heartland.org/books/PDFs/SurfaceStations.pdf—and see pictures of some of the worst offenders.

  14. As the article says, context is everything. 2085 is 76 years away. Go back 76 years and we find 1933. Who in 1933 had any comprehension of the comfort in which the western world lives today?

    Electricity and indoor lavatorial facilities were features of relatively few homes back then and many of the medicines and medical procedures that contribute to current rates of longevity were the stuff of science fiction. Most modern farming methods were unheard of, modern heating and A/C systems a pure dream only the most starry-eyed could have hoped for and current ability to help those affected by catastrophic natural events would have been laughed out of court.

    I have never understood the sense of taking a single backward step in industrialisation in order to ward-off a threat made by computer projections about a time none of us will live to see. The effect on human life of the climate in 2085 will be determined not by the ability to adapt using current knowledge and technology, nor even to adapt in 2085 using the knowledge and technology of that age, but by the ability to adapt as determined by the accumulation and refinement of knowledge and technology as it develops every day, week, month and year between now and then.

    We can have no idea at all how people will be living in 2085, but we can be absolutely certain that people will do what they have done throughout time – develop new ways to make life more comfortable in all possible climatic conditions.

    Taking any step towards de-industrialisation will, as night follows day, hamper our ability to cope with troublesome future climatic conditions. More worryingly, it will hamper the ability of the developing world more than the developed nations.

    All political leaders should have branded into the surface of their desk “your grandiose plan will hit the weakest hardest”. That is an immutable law of political reality and it comes from real life experience not a computer model or a long equation on a piece of paper.

  15. These posts all assume (a) that ‘climate change’ means ‘global warming'; (b) that ‘warming’ has untoward and fatal effects; and (c) as noted above,

    reid simpson (19:15:53) :
    . . . that dealing with threats to human and environmental well-being is the goal of the alarmists.

    Now there are doubtless didactic reasons for meeting the alarmists on their own turf, using their public positions as assumptions. And it is certainly true (bordering on the obvious) that ‘adaptation’ to whatever Mother Nature throws at us in the future makes more sense than (1) trying to predict it and (2) attempting to prevent it (whatever ‘it’ is). But that all assumes that any of the alarmists and their political devotees are listening.

    They aren’t listening. Because the ideologues are running the show, the ‘true believers’ who have abandoned all pretense of scientific inquiry (which means, above all, scientific doubt), and while some of their camp followers profess an emotional zeal to ‘saving the planet’, the politicians and bureaucrats who are busy attempting to create tyrannical structures of command-and-control are basically ‘useful idiots’ who see a chance to aggrandize for themselves.

    We on the realist side are not going to get anywhere kowtowing to the ideologues and their false assumptions. We have to make it clear to the politicians and bureaucrats that we are not going to give in to the cockamamie schemes which they are proposing to combat ‘climate change’, by stifling economic development with taxes, regulations, and new bureaucracies spreading their tentacles into every aspect of life and business.

    We don’t need to adapt, because there is nothing to adapt to—nothing, that is, that we can confidently predict will happen in the next few decades. It would certainly be prudent to work on contingency plans for untoward events: earthquakes, volcanos (especially ones that might affect the growing season), an extended period of cooling—even warming, though most of warming’s effects would be salutary.

    There is a vast difference between alarmism and prudence, that cannot be bridged by pretending that the alarmists are right. One is based on ideology and emotion; the other on a calm assessment of the facts, on rationality.

    /Mr Lynn

  16. Thanks Mr. Goklany for your points. Let’s all remember it’s not about cost-benefit to the AGW crowd.

    Make no mistake, the AGW religion is inherently anti-human. Do a search on GW and population control – like this recent article about a UK “policy” maker:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article5950442.ece

    When the elites start talking about population we don’t want/need or is “not sustainable”, and you put that together with the irrationality of their treatment of evidence, facts, data…you get the true biggest threat to humanity – “population control.”

    Remember, WE’RE the threat in this religion.

  17. The money spent on Kyoto is sufficent to bring clean water and sanititation to every person on earth (so I heard), these two factors alone would massively extend the lives of those in the third world and considerably reduce deaths, particuarly infant.

    Sanitation alone is responsible for the greatest increase in a humans life expectancy!

    That demonstrates the madness of spending billions of $ on delaying something that “may” be an issue in the distant future by a few years!

    There are plenty of real problems on earth that need dealing with right now, lets aim for the easy wins, reduce deaths, increase living standards and deal with “global warming” only if it happens and only if it creates a problem.

  18. Question: is it possible to prove that reducing CO2 output or temperature would harm an endangered species or habitat and, having done so, tie the EPA and any carbon legislation up in the courts for years or decades? Whenever environmentalists don’t get their way they turn to lawsuits and tie the issue up in court forever. Why can’t AGW skeptics do the same?

    There has to be some species or habitat to latch onto and use to legally block carbon regulation efforts. It seems to me that if there’s any chance that carbon cap and trade will harm a species then we need years, perhaps decades, of environmental impact studies, do we not?

    Where are the lawyers for our side?

  19. “Ric Werme (20:52:36) :
    OT (sort of) Ads by Google?
    About time, I guess!
    I clicked on the http://www.WeCanSolveIt.org it link, does that mean Al Gore sends
    money to Anthony?”

    That’s a great question. I wonder if Anthony gets paid by the click. I am really good at clicking.

  20. Schemes (dreams?) to roll back the climate include “low-carbon” biofuel.
    I’ve just looked at an article in Business Week (April 27, pp. 39-42) by John Carey titled The Biofuel Bubble. The theme is whether or not the many startup companies can compete with large companies, and that many will not survive. Thus the term “bubble” in the title.
    While interesting in the sense of providing perspective on scaling up biofuel operations – “We’re talking about a fairly substantial transformation of the rural economic landscape…” (Jack Hunter of DuPont), two things struck me. First, the notion that they are going to create low-carbon fuels; and second, that this is going to “be important in the fight against global warming.”

    I found this statement on a biodiesel web site.
    “A 1998 biodiesel lifecycle study, jointly sponsored by the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Agriculture, concluded biodiesel reduces net CO² emissions by 78 percent compared to petroleum diesel. This is due to biodiesel’s closed carbon cycle. The CO² released into the atmosphere when biodiesel is burned is recycled by growing plants, which are later processed into fuel.” http://www.biodiesel.org/resources/faqs/

    This seems problematic to me because presumably the land used to grow switch grass or whatever is already growing something, and that something is currently holding carbon out of the cycle for several or more years as plant litter and organic matter in the soil. Using industrial strength agribusiness to convert to a high yielding yearly turnover of carbon (and CO2) and calling the result “low carbon” fuel seems disingenuous.

    Some reports suggest that in general these fuels have a lower energy density (~10%) than current fuel and so more has to be used to get a similar result. All things considered, I’m not convinced there is much to be gained going this route to reduce CO2 emissions (aka fight global warming). Color me skeptical.

    There is the possibility that these new biofuels could reduce the USA’s need to import oil and oil products from unfriendly countries. To a point this broadening of the sources of supply seems worthwhile and a plus for our security (or any country’s security). Are these attempts necessary? Not when we have gas, coal, oil, and nuclear options we are not using.

  21. Rachel Carson and her DDT ban killed millions. Using DDT can prevent millions of malaria deaths.

    CO2 is plant food, and well fed plants produce more food. Anybody have figures for the “ideal” level of CO2 as a plant food? What if 800ppm CO2 produces 20% more plant growth and thus more food? We know it works in the enclosed greenhouse. What is optimal CO2 for field crops? And how can we get there?

    Missing from the chart is the number of deaths from cold. This number will grow as heat becomes more expensive.

    If catastrophic heating and cooling a both possible, are we equally prepared to shut down all carbon sources or inject massive amounts of CO2 and soot into the atmosphere?

  22. Hunger? Disease? Inadequate medicine? No, no, no. You can’t control or tax the means of production with those. Find me something to replace AGW that will compell the masses to completely give themselves over to us and deliver an excuse for us to enforce our mandate.

    Sheesh!

  23. Eve, you wrote:

    That has resulted in the deaths of 29,000 people a year times 73 counties. I believe that total is 2,117,000 a year.

    If you can give just One example of someone who died because of biofuels I’ll never post a pro-biofuel comment on this site, again.

  24. Focussed adaption – some more thoughts

    In their alarmist scenarios upon which they argue for vast sums to be spent on reducing CO 2 emissions, the IPCC and the likes of Gore and Stern take no account the past record of such types of expenditure. Namely, corruption as in the UN oil for food programme, inefficency – all such public spending tends to reward producer and not consumer interests, and diversion as in the latest story to emerge from Italy of the mafia joining the wind farm gravy train.

    Secondly, the IPCC never takes into account a real positive feedback – more CO2 = more abundant plant growth=more food.

    Regards

    Paul

  25. And now that birds, rats, mice, flies and cockroaches are potential mechanical vectors of swine influenza, they will blame AGW on this epidemic. That’s the opportunity they were looking for, I think…

    Daniel L. Taylor (21:27:41):

    Question: is it possible to prove that reducing CO2 output or temperature would harm an endangered species or habitat and, having done so, tie the EPA and any carbon legislation up in the courts for years or decades? Whenever environmentalists don’t get their way they turn to lawsuits and tie the issue up in court forever. Why can’t AGW skeptics do the same?

    No, it’s not possible because AGW doesn’t say a word on natural succession and evolution and they know the reasons by which they are dismissing both bioprocesses. We do consider those natural bioprocesses because they are unpredictable and it could be that species will adapt to scarcity of carbon dioxide. Indeed, photosynthetic species have done it already many times as CO2 concentration in the atmosphere have increased and decreased many times as consequence of fluctuations of temperature (changes of temperature are followed by changes of concentrations of CO2, not the opposite).

    Terry Jackson (22:12:11):

    If catastrophic heating and cooling are both possible, are we equally prepared to shut down all carbon sources or inject massive amounts of CO2 and soot into the atmosphere?

    The current increase of the concentration of atmospheric CO2 obeys to natural cycles, as it has been analytically demonstrated; if we by chance were capable of reducing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, the results upon nature would be catastrophic. Anyway, those AGW people are doing nothing on decreasing the anthropogenic production of CO2 because they know for sure the carbon dioxide is not a pollutant (neither a “toxic pollutant hazardous for health”). Their goal is not helping the environment, that’s green hypocrisy, but pushing for air green taxes. Nobody had attempted before to price the air we breathe; they are doing it now and you and I will pay the costs because the industries will be forced to buy carbon bills and we will be forced to pay them through buying daily products.

  26. Eve (20:28:06):

    The point is that the actions of governments re climate change have already caused deaths, The use of food for biofuel for one. That has resulted in the deaths of 29,000 people a year times 73 counties. I believe that total is 2,117,000 a year.

    Is it a joke? 0.035%, which corresponds to the last number you’ve written, is into the normal world mortality rate with or without climate change. World mortality rate is 8.23 deaths/1000 per year.

  27. Eve… I think we cannot calculate yet how many deaths the use of biofuels could cause in the world. We preview the danger of those governmental actions; food prices risings, for example; but we could blame also to local governments on hunger, poverty, illiteracy, etc. :)

  28. I’d be curious to see in that chart a stat of death by government. You know, wars, genocide, denial of life-saving drugs by the FDA, etc.. etc…

    Since the AGW crowd is constantly pushing for more and more government to save people, it only makes sense to factor in those that would NOT be saved – all those extra people that would perish at the hands of the new, bigger government killing machine. When tallied, would there really be more people saved in the end?

    For more info, see “Death by Government” by R. J. Rummel: http://www.amazon.com/Death-Government-R-J-Rummel/dp/1560009276

  29. * Reduce malaria by 75% at a cost of $3 billion/yr.
    DDT reduces malaria. Nothing to do with temperature.

    * Reduce hunger by 50% at a cost of $12-15 billion/yr
    The current increase in CO2 has crop productivity up 15% . We can get another 20% if we can boost CO2 up to 900 ppm.

    * Reduce vulnerability to coastal flooding at a cost of $2-10 billion/yr.
    Current sea level rise (3.2mm/yr) is consistent with the tapering off of rise since the end of the last ice age (around 10mm/yr overall). 1000 years would give up 3.2 meters of rise, but that just means your great grandchildren wouldn’t inherit your beach condo. Here’s an alarmist map of Florida. It looks scary, but that’s all in the color choice. I’ve highlighted the map areas that fell under the 3.2 meter coastline per the chart –

  30. Kum Dollison (23:24:12) :
    Eve, you wrote: That has resulted in the deaths of 29,000 people a year times 73 counties. I believe that total is 2,117,000 a year.

    If you can give just One example of someone who died because of biofuels I’ll never post a pro-biofuel comment on this site, again.

    The people who die of starvation because biofuels divert corn out of the food supply don’t have names.

    Just numbers.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/food-price-crisis/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501825&objectid=10552232

    http://www.newser.com/archive-world-news/1G1-186975839/900-million-in-third-world-face-starvation-as-food-prices-soar-internationalnews.html

    http://www.openmarket.org/2008/04/15/as-food-riots-continue-finance-ministers-criticize-ethanol-subsidies/

  31. stumpy (21:27:41) :

    The money spent on Kyoto IN A SINGLE YEAR is sufficient to bring clean water and sanitation to every person on earth AND OPERATE THESE SYSTEMS FOREVER; these two factors alone would massively extend the lives of those in the third world and considerably reduce deaths, particularly infant.

    ***********************************************

    If i recall correctly, the source for this statement was Bjorn Lomborg, several years ago, at the time of his first Copenhagen Consensus.

    I’ve added significant corrections in CAPS.

    Good comments Stumpy – thank you.

    ***********************************************

    To put this issue into perspective, in the decades that we have been obsessed with the false crisis of Global Warming, as many as 50 million children below the age of five have died worldwide from contaminated water – equal to ALL the people who died in the Second World War.

    Catastrophic Humanmade Global Warming is the BIG LIE of our time, and speaking the truth on this issue is an ethical and professional obligation.

    I think we know enough from the satellite and surface data to state that Earth’s climate is insensitive to recent increases in atmospheric CO2. There has been no net global warming since 1940 – a full PDO cycle – in spite of an 800% increase in humanmade CO2 emissions.

    We do not even know for certain that humanmade emissions are the cause of increased atmospheric CO2. We do know that at time scales ranging from years to hundreds of thousands of years, CO2 trends LAG, do NOT lead, temperature.

    We also know that the only significant measured impact of increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations is increased plant growth and drought resistance.

    Furthermore, in all probability a slightly warmer world would reduce human mortality, not increase it.

    These are my honest opinions, based on several decades of study.

    Regards to all, Allan

  32. Yes, I (almost) fully subscribe to what you write. But this?

    Developing countries are generally deemed to be most vulnerable to climate change, not necessarily because they will experience greater climate change, but because they lack adaptive capacity.

    Katrina anybody? Even Cuba handles hurricanes better…

    Yes, that is the going to be the question for the world: Everybody for themselves or we all together? We could easily stop most of the suffering in the world, just like that, if we just WANT to stop it.

  33. FatBigot (21:04:25) :
    As the article says, context is everything. 2085 is 76 years away. Go back 76 years and we find 1933. Who in 1933 had any comprehension of the comfort in which the western world lives today? . . .

    I have never understood the sense of taking a single backward step in industrialisation in order to ward-off a threat made by computer projections about a time none of us will live to see. The effect on human life of the climate in 2085 will be determined not by the ability to adapt using current knowledge and technology, nor even to adapt in 2085 using the knowledge and technology of that age, but by the ability to adapt as determined by the accumulation and refinement of knowledge and technology as it develops every day, week, month and year between now and then.

    We can have no idea at all how people will be living in 2085, but we can be absolutely certain that people will do what they have done throughout time – develop new ways to make life more comfortable in all possible climatic conditions.

    Taking any step towards de-industrialisation will, as night follows day, hamper our ability to cope with troublesome future climatic conditions. More worryingly, it will hamper the ability of the developing world more than the developed nations. . .

    FatBigot’s point is an extremely good one. Unfortunately, de-industrialization is the implicit (and often explicit) goal of the radical neo-Luddites who are leading the political elite of the West into surrendering its technological leadership, and with that the economic and military leadership of the globe.

    You can bet the Chinese are laughing up their sleeves at the armchair idiocy of Americans obsessed with ‘carbon’ and rapidly retreating on the world stage, while the Chinese work at exploiting oil, coal, and mineral resources from every corner of the Earth, and at building a space-age military.

    The future does not belong to the timid and the fearful. I cannot say it any better than Allan MacRae did:

    Allan M R MacRae (02:32:38) :

    To put this issue into perspective, in the decades that we have been obsessed with the false crisis of Global Warming, as many as 50 million children below the age of five have died worldwide from contaminated water – equal to ALL the people who died in the Second World War.

    Catastrophic Humanmade Global Warming is the BIG LIE of our time, and speaking the truth on this issue is an ethical and professional obligation. . .

    To which I would add that temporizing and equivocating about ‘adaptation’ versus ‘mitigation’ makes no sense when both are attempts to solve a ‘problem’ that simply does not exist.

    Allan is right: We have to stand up and say to the AGW alarmists: “No! It’s not true! There is no man-made global warming. It’s a lie promulgated by fools and ideologues who want to return humanity to the Stone Age. And if we fall for it, we will become a third-world backwater ourselves, rather than leading the third world into a rich future of health, prosperity, and abundance.”

    /Mr Lynn

  34. Hebbard and Dollison: to go some way to answer your questions about an attempt to quantify human deaths from actions: Ralph Keeney – an economist I believe – noted that when society spends about $5 million (more or less) on some ill-justified action, such as regulations, one premature and needless death will result by removing that money from more sensible and justified use.

    In addition, Tengs et al. in their paper on 500 life saving interventions and relative cost-effectiveness noted that too many regulatory and political actions cost far more lives than they might ever save. One cynical observer of government noted that to save the most lives, all one had to do was to disband the EPA.

    Along the same lines, I often ask my classes to identify the biggest threat to humanity and the environment. No-one has got it right so far. By the end of my presentation on social risks, they do. It has nothing to do with climate, pesticides, nuclear power, coal, or any of the usual suspects. It is ignorance and its bedfellow – poverty. Countered of course by education. Stay in school – forget about planting trees as one idiot suggests in an influential little book.

  35. Mike McMillan,

    3 articles. Some generalized exhortations. A lot of arm-waving. No numbers. Nothing specific. Some poor countries, with backward failed governments are mired in poverty. Read closely. The children in Yemem were malnourished in 2006. They were malnourished 5 1/2 years, ago.

    In Egypt the bakers went on strike. There were demonstrations. Rice got expensive. Rice is not raised on corn land. Corn is not raised in rice paddies.

    Comeon, out of two million, Someone must have had a name, or address, or something. Corn Never got over $0.14/lb.

  36. This excellent article illustrates the political madness of the AGW policies in hard cash figures. Even without discussing the basic science if AGW is true or not, the immense budget clearly indicates that other objectives are in play.

    The entire policy is aimed to reduce our economic basis, our prosperity and our civil rights. The fundamental objective is world wide control over our resources and population control.

    The biggest threat is that this process is currently executed by the current US administration.

    It’s time to beat the drums in protest.

  37. Adaptation is truly the best strategy. The climate has always changed and will always change, with or without any human contribution.

    Adaptation costs money and mitigation costs more. We need wealth to do either and all the mitigation schemes I’ve ever seen will inhibit our ability to pay for it (they lower economic output).

    Helping people out of poverty will allow them to adapt better to whatever the future brings. Birth rates stabilize as infant mortality decreases and wealth increases. This is win-win.

  38. I hate to bring up this topic, since it is so politically incorrect — Since the thread is about the human condition —- Do you know that about 1.5 million people worldwide die of malaria each year? And most of those deaths are African children under the age of 5. And how may a lot of these be prevented, simple spraying DDT.

    I bet you didn’t know that after 35 years of trying to prove the Rachael Carson pseudo science, which has been proved bogus, WHO in 2006 approved the use of DDT once again.

    So if we are trying to improve the human condition, wouldn’t it be the best thing to do to just produce and use DDT? Since DDT was banned by the EPA, they overruled the science that said it was safe, about 50 million have died of malaria. Big bang for the buck.

    Just saying …

  39. John Galt (06:41:39) :

    Adaptation is truly the best strategy. The climate has always changed and will always change, with or without any human contribution.

    Adaptation costs money and mitigation costs more. We need wealth to do either and all the mitigation schemes I’ve ever seen will inhibit our ability to pay for it (they lower economic output).

    Helping people out of poverty will allow them to adapt better to whatever the future brings. Birth rates stabilize as infant mortality decreases and wealth increases. This is win-win.

    John, adaption to what?
    Do you mean the rising sea levels that are not happening or the rising temperatures that are not happening?

    There is noting to adapt to.

  40. No, it’s not possible because AGW doesn’t say a word on natural succession and evolution and they know the reasons by which they are dismissing both bioprocesses. We do consider those natural bioprocesses because they are unpredictable and it could be that species will adapt to scarcity of carbon dioxide.

    Well in that case it could be that the polar bear will adapt to a CO2 increase and a warmer climate. That didn’t stop environmentalists from pushing the EPA to use the polar bear as a catalyst for carbon regulation.

    I’m telling you, as a last line of defense against this nonsense we need attorneys who are prepared to sue the government and the EPA for species endangerment under a carbon regulation scheme. Force years of environmental impact studies before any cap and trade can begin and buy time.

  41. John F. Hultquist (21:42:03) :

    Schemes (dreams?) to roll back the climate include “low-carbon” biofuel.
    I’ve just looked at an article in Business Week (April 27, pp. 39-42) by John Carey titled The Biofuel Bubble. The theme is whether or not the many startup companies can compete with large companies, and that many will not survive. Thus the term “bubble” in the title.
    While interesting in the sense of providing perspective on scaling up biofuel operations – “We’re talking about a fairly substantial transformation of the rural economic landscape…” (Jack Hunter of DuPont), two things struck me. First, the notion that they are going to create low-carbon fuels; and second, that this is going to “be important in the fight against global warming.”

    I found this statement on a biodiesel web site.
    “A 1998 biodiesel lifecycle study, jointly sponsored by the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Agriculture, concluded biodiesel reduces net CO² emissions by 78 percent compared to petroleum diesel. This is due to biodiesel’s closed carbon cycle. The CO² released into the atmosphere when biodiesel is burned is recycled by growing plants, which are later processed into fuel.” http://www.biodiesel.org/resources/faqs/

    This seems problematic to me because presumably the land used to grow switch grass or whatever is already growing something, and that something is currently holding carbon out of the cycle for several or more years as plant litter and organic matter in the soil. Using industrial strength agribusiness to convert to a high yielding yearly turnover of carbon (and CO2) and calling the result “low carbon” fuel seems disingenuous.

    Some reports suggest that in general these fuels have a lower energy density (~10%) than current fuel and so more has to be used to get a similar result. All things considered, I’m not convinced there is much to be gained going this route to reduce CO2 emissions (aka fight global warming). Color me skeptical.

    There is the possibility that these new biofuels could reduce the USA’s need to import oil and oil products from unfriendly countries. To a point this broadening of the sources of supply seems worthwhile and a plus for our security (or any country’s security). Are these attempts necessary? Not when we have gas, coal, oil, and nuclear options we are not using.

    John,

    It’s all Green Dreams that last as long as the oil price is sky high and the people in the street start using their brains.

    To grow so called bio crops they need fertilizer from the petrol chemical industry,
    they need to spray the crops against parasites, bugs and fungus infections made by the petrol chemical industry and most important they need lot’s of land and lot’s of water (estimates state between 800 and 2000 liters of water to produce a single gallon of bio fuel.

    One bad harvest and we are all standing in line at the fuel pump.

    The same fantasies have occured in Europe where they are dreaming of a grid where windmills generate energy which is used to pump up water in mountain lakes in Norway. The produced hydro electricity is delivered back to the net.

    This can be done until the lakes are frozen and the water intake of the turbine is blocked by ice, as happened last winter.

    I don’t want to be sarcastic but the lack of reality and insight among our leaders and policy makers is astonishing.

  42. Generally a very well done article. Bravo!

    One Nit:

    “The Kyoto Protocol, on the other hand, would reduce climate change by less than 10%. ”

    This presumes that Kyoto would have lead to some CO2 reduction, which it would not, since China, India et. al. get a free pass and are growing emissions at an astounding rate. It further implicitly assumes that CO2 actually does cause climate change; and unproven thesis with significant problems… But I understand the need to use “AGW Rules” for the AGW scenario: It just would have been a bit nicer to state that, rather than implicitly endorse the broken AGW thesis…

    Scenarios

    I wish that more attention were paid to the different “scenarios” of response. The default case has generally been left at a false dichotomy of “continue as now doing nothing” vs. “return to a perfect past”; when in fact neither of those is possible. Things ALWAYS change, so we will not continue as now, we will continue into the future with different technologies and different behaviours. And there was not perfect past to which to return. We can not “go back to 1990″ because there are more of us and the planet has changed. The reality must be a third path, but the nature of that third path is rarely mentioned. I think that is what the “adaptive” path is all about…

    Malaria

    BTW, I’ve mentioned it before, but malaria levels are far more about what people do to control it than about the temperature. In the malaria zone where I grew up (and where our host still lives ;-) two of the most important mitigation measures were “mosquito fish” and draining the swamp-letts. Those were not mentioned in the article (probably because they rarely get attention since not much money is tied up in them, so the folks who push for funding don’t mention them much… i.e. W.H.O. is not going to ask for a billion bucks to teach people to empty their buckets because it will sound silly compared to distributing DDT nets …)

    Mosquitoes need water. The AGW Doomsday Scenarios typically claim that drought is coming (I think they are wrong, cold brings drought, but it’s their climate tinker toy…). Drought means fewer mosquitos, not more. So the whole AGW thesis that more warmth will lead to more Malaria is fundamentally broken based on their claims. Want less Malaria? Plant mosquito fish in those small ponds that can’t be drained. Drain the ones that can. And teach folks to empty any small standing water catchments (buckets, pans, troughs) that can’t have mosquito fish put into them. THEN you can move on to DDT et. al. Oh, and if the local ecology will support them, encourage small insectivorous bats. Those guys can consume astounding numbers of mosquitos in a night…

    http://www.batcon.org/bhresearcher/bv8n2-4.html

    In my backyard, I’ve got a pan that the free range bunnies drink from. I tip and fill it once per week. If I skip or if I’m too late, there will be “wigglers” in it (mosquito larvae) fairly quickly. It is far more important that the several thousand mosquitos that single pan could produce are prevented by pan tipping than to have the temperature here be 72F vs 74F (since they are happy to breed in both…).

    Energy & CO2 Mitigation

    George Bruce (20:12:33) : This is a very good article, but it understates the costs of CO2 reduction. Assuming that the rise in CO2 levels is the product of industrial activity, which is not certain, to reduce CO2 to 1990 levels, or lower, we must convince China, India and other developing countries to forgo industrialization, which just ain’t never, never, never going to happen. Even if they would, to get back below 300 ppm, the whole world would have to virtually de-industrialize.

    While I generally agree with the sentiment, it’s more an economic issue than a technical one. You are correct, China is building a coal plant a week or so and is going to run them for 50 years. Period. But in fact if we wanted to we could easily remove CO2 from the air. It would be silly, IMHO, be we can.

    I have a “timber bamboo” in my back yard. In less than 5 years it has grown 50 FEET tall. Each stem weighs many pounds. (FEELS like about 15 to 20 when I cut them down… but I’m not calibrated ;-) Algae are even faster. Poplar and Cottonwood that grow in colder areas and Eucalyptus that grow in warm and dry can pull down 50 TONS of growth / acre / year (I’ll leave the conversion to CO2 and C for others to work out… it’s a lot…)

    So if we really ever needed to deplete the CO2 from the air, we could do so in short order with a focused effort to grow fast species and then sequester their remains. IMHO, this was already done by nature which is why we hit the lower bounds of plant tolerance for CO2 depletion and why CO2 enrichment leads to better plant growth (about 20% more, easily) up to about 1000 ppm in greenhouses. There are folks who have algae systems that bolt onto coal fired power plants and absorb the CO2 (and warmth and nitrates and sulphates and …) to make algae based fuels. That could just as easily sequester the carbon. (It would just be a stupid thing to do with a valuable commodity…)

    So we could suck the CO2 from the air rapidly and efficiently. That this is rarely mentioned by the AGW folks speaks volumes to me about their goals.

    Rational adults realize what the goo goo greens refuse to acknowledge, that there is no alternative to fossil fuels for the foreseeable future, other than nuclear power. If the world does de-industrialize, a couple of billion people are going to die. It is just that simple.

    It all depends on how long that “foreseeable future” is taken to be… In a 10 year future, you are right. We can’t replace the world vehicle fleet in less than 15 years (and that would be pushing it, hard) so we need liquid fuels. We can’t replace the worlds coal fired plant in less than 20 years, so we need coal (though some biomass could substitute in small amounts). But if you let the time frame run out to 40 or 50 years, there is no shortage of alternatives that could be used and stay an industrial world.

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/there-is-no-energy-shortage/

    I think it would be silly to stop using oil and coal; but in a 40 to 50 year horizon it’s easy. At 20 years it’s doable. At 10 years you can get a partial, maybe 1/4 reduction? Does it make sense? I’d let price decide…

    But you are absolutely correct that the Green Dream of Gaia free of human industrial parasites means about 5 Billion dead people… We thrive because of industry. It’s really that simple. (AND we have a smaller impact on the land… If we were all doing the hunter gatherer thing there would be no edible animal left on the planet in a matter of weeks…)

    No only does adaptation make more sense, there is no alternative, regardless of what climate does.

    Exactly.

    Raising the Bottom

    stumpy (21:27:41) : The money spent on Kyoto is sufficent to bring clean water and sanititation to every person on earth (so I heard), these two factors alone would massively extend the lives of those in the third world and considerably reduce deaths, particuarly infant.

    I don’t have a reference, but I do have a few decades of experience at doing budgets as a manager and seeing what’s a fabrication vs fact on first glance… (I was the finance guy on a board of directors of a while too.)

    IMHO, the ‘back of the envelope” says that you could deliver clean water, food, fuel, sanitation, the works to everyone on the planet for about 1/10th to 1/100th of what CO2 “mitigation” would cost the economy.

    Now I’m not talking about doing via the U.N. where 90% of the money gets sucked off to political leaches… I’m talking about things like the Rocket Stove:

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

    that dramatically reduces the fuel used (thus forest cut) for 3 rd world folks and at the same time gives the women enough free time to start an education or even just a home made cheese or soap business. (This has been done, there are existence proofs – plural…)

    There was a guy in India who developed an agronomy system using “bean trees” that restore the soil, and penning the goats. The people cut the leaves to feed the goats (so they could not denude the land). Goat dung was then fermented to make “gobar gas” and cooking done on that. The effluent was used to fertilize the gardens. The net result was a thriving growing village where before had been poverty and desertification. Stunning. Just promoting this to folks who don’t know would change the 3rd world.

    And micro loans, and biodiesel run generators, and digging wells, and simple filtration, and …

    These things cost in the $thousands to $ Millions range (sometimes even less…) not in the $ Billions or $ Trillions that the AGW Uber Alles would require.

    Sanitation alone is responsible for the greatest increase in a humans life expectancy!

    That demonstrates the madness of spending billions of $ on delaying something that “may” be an issue in the distant future by a few years!

    Spot On!

    We ought to be putting in place simple water purification and sanitation systems. It doesn’t cost much for a shovel, some cement, and a pile of sand. (The first step of sanitation is mechanical filtration. Cement ‘bucket’ full of sand, the water runs through it slowly and most stuff is removed. Algae and bacteria on the sand remove a lot of ‘stuff’ too…) Sewage treatment is basically the same thing with more aeration (a simple pond with various aquatic plants in it works well or coarse gravel instead of sand).

    IFF you wanted to add to this some advanced stuff, like ozone or UV treatment, you could. Though in many hot places letting the filtered water sit in a shallow pan in full sun will kill off many things…

    Basically, you can work wonders by teaching folks to run a woodlot or coppice system rather than cutting the forest; by piping in some water with cheap PVC rather than walking back and forth with pans; by simple filtration with natural methods; and by sewage biological treatment. And it takes darned near no money…

    A small change of farming practices (pen the goats, grow ‘bean trees’ and cut the fodder for the goats, use gobar gas to cook, fertilize the garden with goat poo) can feed more than Oxfam ever can. And introducing a new food species to an area can work wonders too (like “bean trees” or millet for dry areas). And of course, teaching them to make stoves from tin can garbage that cuts their fuel wood usage by 90% helps a bit too…

    Even just giving a poor person a goat, with the requirement that they give one kid to someone else, can change things dramatically:

    http://www.heifer.org/

    Agronomy system are more important than CO2 mitigation will ever be:

    http://www.cgfi.org/

    AFTER all that, you can look at things like reverse osmosis filters and desalinizers, advanced genetics plant varieties, new industrial developments, western industrial medicines … you know, all the stuff we spend the money on now …

    Sometime after all that you can think about CO2 …

    There are plenty of real problems on earth that need dealing with right now, lets aim for the easy wins, reduce deaths, increase living standards and deal with “global warming” only if it happens and only if it creates a problem.

    This is far to logical and honest an approach to ever be adopted… How will the government agency rats get their graft? How will the “leaders” get their power and money? /sarcoff>

    Have I mentioned lately that Economics is called “The Dismal Science” for a reason…

    For the rounding error in the money that is being squandered on AGW we could end world hunger, thirst, poverty, and provide a good education to every 3rd world person on the planet. (And yes, I know it will never happen. Politics being what it is…)

  43. Daniel L. Taylor (21:27:41) : Question: is it possible to prove that reducing CO2 output or temperature would harm an endangered species or habitat

    You don’t need to prove it, it only needs to be plausible to file the suit. If your goal is to gum up the works, proof is last on the list of needs…

    See AGW playbook for examples and models…

  44. Kum Dollison (05:52:30) :
    You say: “Comeon, out of two million, Someone must have had a name, or address, or something. Corn Never got over $0.14/lb.”

    Ethanol raises the price of corn and by displacing other crops the price of other grains.
    Relief agencies such as USAID spend almost all of their money on grain.
    With higher grain prices fewer people can be fed for the same money.
    There is no more money.
    Some people have to die.

    If those people don’t count unless they have names and addresses then we have a problem bigger than AGW.

  45. Ron de Haan (10:32:10) :
    . . . The same fantasies have occured in Europe where they are dreaming of a grid where windmills generate energy which is used to pump up water in mountain lakes in Norway. The produced hydro electricity is delivered back to the net.

    This can be done until the lakes are frozen and the water intake of the turbine is blocked by ice, as happened last winter.

    I don’t want to be sarcastic but the lack of reality and insight among our leaders and policy makers is astonishing.

    Any time you let politicians and bureaucrats make decisions about technology, rather than people who actually build and maintain things—and who run businesses that depend on things—you’ll get a deficit of reality and insight.

    We are now on the verge of turning the entire energy economy (not to mention the auto industry) over to Henry Waxman and Barack Obama.

    Expect five-year plans from these Commissars any day now.

    /Mr Lynn

  46. Mr Lynn, commenting upon Allan M R MacRae, said the following wise words. Please permit the addition of one word:

    Allan is right: We have to stand up and say to the AGW alarmists: “No! It’s not true! There is no man-made global warming. It’s a lie promulgated by fools, GRIFTERS and ideologues who want to return humanity to the Stone Age. And if we fall for it, we will become a third-world backwater ourselves, rather than leading the third world into a rich future of health, prosperity, and abundance.”

    There is no way global warming would have gotten any traction unless highly-connected people were going to become extremely wealthy thereby. They see the prize, and see that by admitting the truth they would lose the prize (at least until the next grift opportunity came along). The other advocates are useful idiots. [Some of those will not be satisfied with any result less than the death of many millions “to reduce the carrying load on the planet.” Oh? I’ll believe you when you go first and take your entire family with you. Some people fantasize of mass murder.]

    I believe the bogus science will collapse soon. What I want to know is, what do we do then?

  47. John F. Hultquist (21:42:03) : Schemes (dreams?) to roll back the climate include “low-carbon” biofuel. I’ve just looked at an article in Business Week (April 27, pp. 39-42) by John Carey titled The Biofuel Bubble. The theme is whether or not the many startup companies can compete with large companies, and that many will not survive.

    In most industries the majority of participants cease to exist. Fundamental law of economics… There is a minimum economic scale and a maximum economic scale for every industry. When it’s just starting up, everybody hops in trying to reach MinES. After full development, the industry consolidates until there are just a few left, all bumping up against MaxES.

    The auto industry in the U.S.A. started with a couple of thousand. We’re now at the Big One and 2/3rds headed for the Big One … Same story for PC makers. Same story for …

    At “hotdog stands” the MinES is one guy and a cart and some survive, but they are competing with Der Weinersnitzel, McDonalds, etc… and who gets the most of the money?…

    For the bioDiesel folks, they are doomed. Since any oil company can just dump the fat / plant oil through their hydrotreater and get real #1 or #2 Diesel with no added capital cost and no added variable cost to speak of other than the cost of the raw fat. Soon as I saw that I dumped my bioDiesel stocks even though I’m a political advocate of the fuel.

    (Jack Hunter of DuPont),

    IIRC, DuPont DD is in bed with BP to make Butanol (a superior drop in replacement for gasoline, IMHO) from cellulosic stuff. A generally good idea that works well with the existing vehicle fleet.

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

    http://www.bp.com/genericarticle.do?categoryId=4705&contentId=7041073

    I found this statement on a biodiesel web site.

    Not all bioFuels are fungible… bioDiesel depends on plant oils. bioButanol depends on cellulosic, starchy, and to some small extent sugary stuff. Very different fuels and very different processes.

    “A 1998 biodiesel lifecycle study, jointly sponsored by the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Agriculture, concluded biodiesel reduces net CO² emissions by 78 percent compared to petroleum diesel. This is due to biodiesel’s closed carbon cycle. The CO² released into the atmosphere when biodiesel is burned is recycled by growing plants, which are later processed into fuel.”

    Note that this is largely talking about bioDiesel of the Fatty Acid Methyl Ester, or FAME, type. The hydrotreater produced Diesel is just a hydrocarbon like all other Diesel and has the same combustion chemistry. It also does not have the low temperature gelling issue of FAME…

    Burning FAME makes less smog (the real stuff, not CO2) because of the oxygen in the middle of the molecule. This is also why it has less fuel value per pound.

    This seems problematic to me because presumably the land used to grow switch grass or whatever is already growing something, and that something is currently holding carbon out of the cycle for several or more years

    Nope. That land is almost certainly growing some lower value crop. Darned near every scrap of land, that can be used, is used for something. The non-used land (the stuff with standing plants with litter et.al. as you described) is largely limited to nature preserves and in the small single digits of percent… (excluding national forests that are, well, forests).

    The fuel is ‘low carbon’ because we run the CH2O in the plant through the fuel rather than just letting the wheat straw or rice hulls rot directly to CO2. Ask Anthony about rice hulls near Chico… When I lived there we had the annual burning of the rice fields. LOTS of smoke. Then the EPA got grumpy and we had propane powered burners pulled over the stubble to reduce smoke. Don’t know what they do now… but running it through butanol and my engine on the way back to the air has got to be better.

    These guys are selling into the Central Valley with a Cal CARB approved solution:

    http://www.globalgreensolutionsinc.com/s/Greensteam.asp

    Some reports suggest that in general these fuels have a lower energy density (~10%) than current fuel and so more has to be used to get a similar result.

    FAME is lower, the hydrotreated stuff is not, but in my experience the FAME seems to be roughly the same MPG. Don’t know why. Better combustion? It runs smoother than the new EPA mandated stuff (and about the same as the older high sulphur Diesel). FWIW, adding about 5 to 10% gasoline to the new Diesel gives me more MPG in the Benz. I think it makes up for the removal of the ‘light ends’ in the new stuff and that the gasoline causes the fuel drop to atomize better on compression heating for a more efficient burn. (And my owners manual says I can use up to 25% gasoline to winterize my fuel, so please, don’t nag me about how evil or dangerous it is… part of why I love the old Merc non-turbo…)

    At any rate, the 10% figure comes from theoretical calculations and every Diesel is very idiosyncratic about things like fuel viscosity et. al. so no generalization is valid in the real world. For example, the Merc 240D (4 piston no turbo) runs great on 25% gasoline while the Merc 300D turbo (5 pistons with a turbo charger) where you would expect the turbo boost to make it more forgiving of lower cetane (higher octane) fuel has an owners manual stating to winterize with up to 50% Kerosene and my experiments with gasoline shows it to be less tolerant of it… (hard to start cold, rough idle, tendency to die out at idle). And don’t even think of putting any gasoline into a new modern Common Rail Direct Injection engine. On many of them the viscosity sensor will just shut down your engine, like it or not.

    All things considered, I’m not convinced there is much to be gained going this route to reduce CO2 emissions (aka fight global warming). Color me skeptical.

    The major benefits are farm support and reduced foreign exchange (i.e. dollars) going to OPEC. As to reductions in CO2 and any theoretical impact that might have on climate, those are not so much… Yeah, it reduces CO2, but who cares. bioButanol will have a larger CO2 impact, since the whole plant is used, not just the seed oil, for making the fuels.

    There is the possibility that these new biofuels could reduce the USA’s need to import oil and oil products from unfriendly countries. To a point this broadening of the sources of supply seems worthwhile and a plus for our security (or any country’s security).

    THAT is the real reason for doing it. Well, just after supporting the farm belt voters and agribusiness PACs…

    Are these attempts necessary? Not when we have gas, coal, oil, and nuclear options we are not using.

    BINGO! Give that man a rubber ducky!

    The fact is that we have more coal than Saudi has oil and that it can easily be turned into motor fuels (Diesel, Kerosene and to a less easy extent gasoline) via any of a dozen well proven processes at prices about the same as or less than we spend at the pump today.

    In my more cynical moments I think that the whole AGW mantra is just an extension of the hundred years war between oil barons and coal and that this is just a way to keep King Coal from going into our gas tanks so that Saudi, and all the other oil leaches can keep on sucking… Then I remember to “Never attribute to Malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”… then again, Elk Hills Naval Petroleum Reserve was sold by the government to Oxy Pet. when the Gore family would benefit from it greatly… and that isn’t adequately explained..

    SYNM Syntroleum, RTK Rentech, SYMX Synthesis Energy, SSL Sasol South African Synthetic Oil Company and a few dozen others all have variations on FT technology to turn coal (and darned near any other carbon source including trash) into kerosene, Diesel, et. al. At any one time I own some or all of these. At the moment it’s SYNM and RTK (waiting for the chart for SYMX to show some life and nervous about the socialist leanings of the government in S.A. or I’d own SSL right now…)

    http://www.syntroleum.com/main.aspx

    http://www.rentechinc.com/

    That we are choosing to not use our coal is intensely stupid. That we are selling it to China at dirt cheap prices rather than using it ourselves verges on the criminal. That this is in the name of AGW is insane..

    http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/1996/of96-092/map.htm

    That this is not adequately explained by stupidity is enlightening…

  48. Ric Werme (20:52:36) : OT (sort of) Ads by Google?
    I clicked on the http://www.WeCanSolveIt.org it link, does that mean Al Gore sends money to Anthony?

    I don’t now if Anthony gets a cut ( I hope so ) but I do know that the Google advertising model is built on “paid clicks” so the folks who’s link you click upon will get a bill for a tiny amount… so you should always click on the google links for AGW sites… Often and regularly…

  49. Basically, this is an argument from the assumption of a tolerable outcome. There might have been a time for analyses like this, and Bjorn Lomborg’s. Back when the AGW projected consequencees were small, and in the distant future. But not now.
    These analyses are for skeptics who are “delayers”. They accept that AGW exists, but argue that it is happening slowly. So, there are no arguments here for skeptics who are “deniers”. For example: sea level rise is already assumed. So, “that won’t happen” doesn’t address the issue.

    The graph is based on papers from 2004, 2004, 2002, and 1999. Knowledge and computer models have improved a lot since then. And today’s projections are more pessimistic than even those of the more recent IPCC(2007). If this same analysis were done on current data, it would inevitably produce much higher AGW mortality.

    “This, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no role for mitigation, particularly in the long term.”
    These studies would have used the old 100 year life for CO2 staying in the atmosphere.. But the more recent estimate is 1,000 years.
    “…any stringent benefits from emissions reductions ((now)), regardless of their stringency, will be delayed by decades (due to the inertia of the climate system).”
    Omitted from this argument is the eventual much greater “inertia” from existing and to be built coal plants, etc. Since emissions will eventually have to be reduced.

    It is assumed that farmland (and water) will be available. Even as growing areas move northward (in the northern hemisphere). For US, its into Canada, until eventually stopped by poor soils.

    This type of analysis that reduces consequences to fatalities is, of course, necessary for this comparative study. But the added level of analysis doesn’t help in evaluating AGW. Dust bowls from Kansas to California, and Spain to Greece. The consequences themselves are descriptive enough.

    No allowance is made for the limited time available to solve the problem. A one meter sea level rise will produce 100,000,000 refugees. Many existing governments won’t be able to survive the trauma. Resulting dictatorships will be preoccupied with external military solutions; while fighting internal terrorists. The same climate changes will hit the United States and Europe…while they are paying mitigation costs, to prevent further sea level rises. So they won’t be able to help the less developed world.
    I’ll accept all those adjectives, dear reader. But please help me out here. Where do all the refugees go?
    Will the Hindu majority in India build a wall to keep out, say, 30,000,000 Moslems from Bangladesh. India will have its own problems; i.e., river water shortages, as the mountain glaciers retreat. So, do we just watch, as the Bangladeshi population dies back to a population that the remaining land area can support. Or, how many Bangladeshi refugees does the U.S. accept?
    Presumably the United States and the European Union can take care of their own. But who feeds the rest of the refugees? In a future with more people, but less farmland.

    The Kyoto Protocol (originally negotiated in 1997) was always a starter agreement. It was not meant to have the teeth of the final plan. And it follows that the actual costs will be much higher than the given $165 billion annually.

    The Adaptation option has a consequence of its own, that is not related to the climate issue. When CO2 in the air dissolves in water it forms carbonic acid. The strength of the acid will be in proportion to the concentration in thse air. And, it will prevent the formation of shell material, which is made of CaCO3. And the effects will include some of the smallest creatures, at the very base of the food chain.

  50. Basically, this is an argument from the assumption of a tolerable outcome. There might have been a time for analyses like this, and Bjorn Lomborg’s. Back when the AGW projected consequences were small, and in the distant future. But not now.
    These analyses are for skeptics who are “delayers”. They accept that AGW exists, but argue that it is happening slowly. So, there are no arguments here for skeptics who are “deniers”. For example, sea level rise is already assumed. So, “that won’t happen” doesn’t address the issues.

    The graph is based on papers from 2004, 2004, 20002, & 1999. Knowledge and computer models have improved a lot since then. And today’s projections are more pessimistic than even those of the more recent IPCC(2007). If the same analysis were done on current data it would inevitably produce much higher AGW mortality.

    “This, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no role for mitigation, particularly in the long term”.
    These studies would have used the old 100 year life for CO2 staying in the atmosphere. But the more recent estimate is 1,000 years.

    “…any stringent benefits from emissions reductions ((now)), regardless of their stringency, will be delayed by decades (due to the inertia of the climate system).” Omitted from this argument is the much greater future “inertia” from existing and to be built coal plants, etc. Since emissions will eventually have to be reduced.

    It is assumed that farmland (and water) will be available. Even as growing areas move northward (in this hemisphere). For US, its into Canada, until eventually stopped by poor soils.

    This type of analysis that reduces consequences to fatalities is of course necessary for this comparative study. But the added level of analysis doesn’t help in evaluating AGW. Dust bowls from Kansas to California, and Spain to Greece. The consequences themselves are descriptive enough.

    No allowance is made for the limited time available to solve the problem. A one meter sea level rise will produce 100,000,000 refugees. Many existing governments won’t be able to survive the trauma. Resulting dictatorshlips will be preoccupied with external military solutions, while fighting internal terrorists. The same climate changes will hit the United States and Europe. And they’ll still be paying mitigation costs, to prevent further sea level rises. So they won’t be able to help the less developed world.
    I’ll accept all those adjectives, dear reader. But please help me out here. Where do the refugees go?
    Will the Hindu majority in India build a wall to keep out, say, 30,000,000 Bangladeshi refugees? India will eventually have its own problems; i.e., river water shortages, as the mountain glaciers retreat. So, do we just watch as the Bangladeshi population dies back to a population that the remaining land area can support? Or, how many Bangladeshi refugees does the U.S.
    accept?
    Presumably the United States and European Union can take care of their own. But who feeds the rest of the refugees? In a future with more people, but less farmland.

    The Kyoto Protocol (originally negotiated in 1997) was always a starter agreement. It was not meant to have the teeth of a final plan. And it follows, that the actual costs will be much higher than the given $165 billion annually.

    The Adaptation option has a consequence of its own, that is not related to the climate issue. When CO2 in the air dissolves in water, it forms carbonic acid. The strenth of the acid will be in proportion to the concentration in the air. And, it will prevent the formation of shell material, which is made of CaCO3. Affected will be some of the smallest creatures; at the very base of the food chain.

  51. Francis said;

    ” The graph is based on papers from 2004, 2004, 20002, & 1999. Knowledge and computer models have improved a lot since then. And today’s projections are more pessimistic than even those of the more recent IPCC(2007). If the same analysis were done on current data it would inevitably produce much higher AGW mortality.

    “This, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no role for mitigation, particularly in the long term.

    These studies would have used the old 100 year life for CO2 staying in the atmosphere. But the more recent estimate is 1,000 years.”

    In that one short statement the belief that the science is settled is confounded several times. So the previous estimate of co2 life is out by a factor of 10? After $70 Billion spent on research we should be able to do better than that.

    Tonyb

  52. Tonyb (16:02:38)

    I think the IPCC says it more carefully, when they say something like “AGW has about a 95% certainty”.
    They don’t make any such claims for any of the details.

    …..HINT…..The cosmic ray theory had one thing right, in that it was a greenhouse gas (water vapor) theory. Like CO2. So, it also fit the smaller characteristics: cooling stratosphere, and greatest warming found in night time minimum temperatures. So, look to the clouds.

  53. Oh, Bother (13:21:02) :
    Mr Lynn, commenting upon Allan M R MacRae, said the following wise words. Please permit the addition of one word:

    “Allan is right: We have to stand up and say to the AGW alarmists: ‘No! It’s not true! There is no man-made global warming. It’s a lie promulgated by fools, GRIFTERS and ideologues who want to return humanity to the Stone Age. . .’”

    Permission granted! Exhibit number one: Algore, who is increasing his wealth by an order of magnitude every few years.

    /Mr Lynn

  54. Douglas DC: What if the “Climate Change” is a Maunder or Dalton type Solar Minimum?

    RESPONSE: That is why increasing the level of economic development and human capital are critical. That increases adaptability, regardless of the direction of climate change. It also increases adaptatbility to any problem, whether it’s climate change or something else.

    John F. Hultquist: Who is thinking about these issues, other than Dr. Goklany?

    RESPONSE: AFAIK the only other person is Bjorn Lomborg, although the egotist in me insists I have been at this longer. See e.g., http://goklany.org/library/ADAPTV5_original_with_ExSum_no_figs.pdf. There is also some work by Tol and Dowlatabadi which is useful.
    Eve, Kum Dollisson: [who argued about the effect of biofuels on mortality] Kum later on asks for “just One example of someone who died because of biofuels … 3 articles. Some generalized exhortations. A lot of arm-waving. No numbers. Nothing specific….”

    RESPONSE: (1) Although I’m not sure where Eve got her figures from, note that the WHO attributed 3.7 million deaths to underweight (or hunger) in 2000 (see this post and references therein).

    (2) While one cannot identify a real person who might have died from biofuel production, note that the table in the above post also claims deaths due to low intake of fruits and vegetables, air pollution, etc. I doubt that one can actually identify a real death with either of these. Deaths are attributed on the basis of statistics and inference. In fact, the deaths attributed to climate change included deaths actually due to malaria, malnutrition and diarrhea.

    (3) It is quite likely that biofuel production increased the level of hunger, which would have increased the likelihood of some deaths due to malnutrition. Although by the end of 2008, commodity prices had declined more than 50 percent since the middle of 2008, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization’s Food Price Index was 28 percent higher in October 2008 than two years previously (FAO 2008a). This increase in prices, fueled in part by the general diversion of cropland to produce energy rather than food (and feed) fueled by energy subsidies and mandates in the US and the EU, reduced the availability of food for millions in the developing world (FAO 2008b, pp. 9-11). As a result, the FAO estimates that 963 million people worldwide were suffering from chronic hunger in 2008, an increase of 115 million compared to the 2003-2005 period (FAO 2000a; FAO 2008b, p. 2). This marks a reversal of one of mankind’s signal achievements of the 20th century — the reduction of hunger in developing countries. The proportion of the developing world’s population suffering from chronic hunger, which had declined from around 30-35 percent in 1969-1971 to 16 percent in 2003-2005, has now increased to about 18 percent (Goklany 2007; FAO 2008b).
    As the FAO’s latest State of Food and Agriculture report notes, biofuel production would have a significant negative impact on hunger globally but provide relatively modest energy gains (FAO 2008b).

    REFERENCES:
    Food and Agricultural Organization [FAO]. (2008a). High-level conference on world food security: The challenges of climate change and bioenergy. FAO, Rome.
    Food and Agricultural Organization [FAO]. (2008b). State of Food Insecurity 2008. FAO, Rome.
    Food and Agricultural Organization [FAO]. (2008c). The State of Food and Agriculture 2008. FAO, Rome.
    Goklany (2007), The Improving State of the World (Cato Institute, Washington, DC).

    paul maynard : …the IPCC never takes into account a real positive feedback – more CO2 = more abundant plant growth=more food…

    RESPONSE: Actually the analysis that my mortality estimates are based on did, in fact, consider increased yields from greater CO2 fertilization.

    Daniel L. Taylor : Question: is it possible to prove that reducing CO2 output or temperature would harm an endangered species or habitat and, having done so, tie the EPA and any carbon legislation up in the courts for years or decades?

    RESPONSE: Actually one can make a plausible argument that greater CO2 leads to more vegetation which should lead to more biomass which means it ought to be able to support more critters. Therefore less CO2 should mean that food for critters would be reduced, thereby increasing stress on them (and potentally endangering them).

    John K. Sutherland : … the biggest threat to humanity and the environment… [is not] climate, pesticides, nuclear power, coal, or any of the usual suspects [but] ignorance and its bedfellow – poverty. Countered of course by education.

    RESPONSE: I would recommend my book, The Improving State of the World, but you seem to have gotten its most important message.

    E.M.Smith :

    One Nit: “The Kyoto Protocol, on the other hand, would reduce climate change by less than 10%. ”This presumes that Kyoto would have lead to some CO2 reduction, which it would not, since China, India et. al. get a free pass and are growing emissions at an astounding rate.

    RESPONSE: Actually I say “less than 10%” and it is estimated relative tio the situation in the absence of any Kyoto Protocol.

    Francis :

    (1) Basically, this is an argument from the assumption of a tolerable outcome.

    RESPONSE: No it is not. It is based on an analysis of the cost-effectiveness of adaptation vs mitigation.

    (2) There might have been a time for analyses like this, and Bjorn Lomborg’s. Back when the AGW projected consequencees were small, and in the distant future. But not now. …These analyses are for skeptics who are “delayers”. They accept that AGW exists, but argue that it is happening slowly. So, there are no arguments here for skeptics who are “deniers”. For example: sea level rise is already assumed. So, “that won’t happen” doesn’t address the issue. The graph is based on papers from 2004, 2004, 2002, and 1999. Knowledge and computer models have improved a lot since then. And today’s projections are more pessimistic than even those of the more recent IPCC(2007). If this same analysis were done on current data, it would inevitably produce much higher AGW mortality.

    RESPONSE: (1) Francis, you made the same claim in previous threads. I asked for references backing your claims. You haven’t yet furnished any. But when I get them, I’ll be happy to look at them. I would also recommend that you do a critical analysis of the papers, their methodologies and assumptions, because unless you do that how do you know these analyses are credible?

    (2) I note that IPCC (2007) also uses the same studies as the ones I used – not that this a particularly persuasive argument.

  55. Francis (15:08:22) :

    The Adaptation option has a consequence of its own, that is not related to the climate issue. When CO2 in the air dissolves in water, it forms carbonic acid. The strenth of the acid will be in proportion to the concentration in the air. And, it will prevent the formation of shell material, which is made of CaCO3. Affected will be some of the smallest creatures; at the very base of the food chain.

    Francis,

    I don’t understand that you come up with the dead old cow of ocean acidification.
    It’s studied, it’s commented and it’s a HOAX.

    Take a look at the Monckton Papers (just for a fast check).

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