The Amazing Decline in Deaths from Extreme Weather in an Era of Global Warming, 1900–2010

Guest post by Indur M. Goklany

Summary

Proponents of drastic curbs on greenhouse gas emissions claim that such emissions cause global warming and that this exacerbates the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including extreme heat, droughts, floods and storms such as hurricanes and cyclones. But what matters is not the incidence of extreme weather events per se but the impact of such events—especially the human impact. To that end, it is instructive to examine trends in global mortality (i.e. the number of people killed) and mortality rates (i.e. the proportion of people killed) associated with extreme weather events for the 111-year period from 1900 to 2010.

extreme_wx_deaths

Aggregate mortality attributed to all extreme weather events globally has declined by more than 90% since the 1920s, in spite of a four-fold rise in population and much more complete reporting of such events. The aggregate mortality rate declined by 98%, largely due to decreased mortality in three main areas:

  • Deaths and death rates from droughts, which were responsible for approximately 60% of cumulative deaths due to extreme weather events from 1900–2010, are more than 99.9% lower than in the 1920s.
  • Deaths and death rates for floods, responsible for over 30% of cumulative extreme weather deaths, have declined by over 98% since the 1930s.
  • Deaths and death rates for storms (i.e. hurricanes, cyclones, tornados, typhoons), responsible for around 7% of extreme weather deaths from 1900–2008, declined by more than 55% since the 1970s.

To put the public health impact of extreme weather events into context, cumulatively they now contribute only 0.07% to global mortality. Mortality from extreme weather events has declined even as all-cause mortality has increased, indicating that humanity is coping better with extreme weather events than it is with far more important health and safety problems.

The decreases in the numbers of deaths and death rates reflect a remarkable improvement in society’s adaptive capacity, likely due to greater wealth and better technology, enabled in part by use of hydrocarbon fuels. Imposing additional restrictions on the use of hydrocarbon fuels may slow the rate of improvement of this adaptive capacity and thereby worsen any negative impact of climate change. At the very least, the potential for such an adverse outcome should be weighed against any putative benefit arising from such restrictions.

The full study with diagrams is here, courtesy of the Reason Foundation. The press release, Extreme Weather Events Are Killing Fewer People Than Ever Before,

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84 Responses to The Amazing Decline in Deaths from Extreme Weather in an Era of Global Warming, 1900–2010

  1. RoHa says:

    Global Warming causes overpopulation.

    We’re doomed.

  2. Robb876 says:

    The era of global warming is going to be the next 100 years… Global warming hasnt been around long enough ( or severe enough) to claim anything of consequence… Post this again in 2100 please…

  3. criminogenic says:

    Deaths are not a very good index due to large improvements in Health care, rescue, transport, building standards and Weather warning systems over the Century.

  4. David Gould says:

    Wouldn’t this decline in disaster related deaths be due to things like our improved ability to deal with things like infection, injury and disease, improved advanced warning systems, better managed responses to disasters, better building codes, better transportation systems and the like? In other words, it would be difficult to conclude that there has been a decline in the severity of disasters from these numbers. There may have been, but there are too many other factors.

  5. sunsettommy says:

    I find it interesting that ONE person (Indur M. Goklany) can write up a factual presentation about the effects of extreme weather on peoples lives.But most of the Media with their staffs can not.

  6. John M says:

    To those of you attributing this decline to all the good things of modern civilization…that’s the point.

    The increased wealth of the 20th century that allowed all these things to happen was largely a result of a fossil fuel economy.

    We mess with it at our peril.

  7. Dave Worley says:

    Pesky humans….like cockroaches…..can’t get rid of them. Must destroy the economy.

  8. rob m says:

    @Robb876: Global warming has been around for approx the last 11,000 years.

  9. Doug in Seattle says:

    Robb876 says:
    September 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    The era of global warming is going to be the next 100 years… Global warming hasnt been around long enough ( or severe enough) to claim anything of consequence… Post this again in 2100 please…

    Robb, Global warming has been occurring for the last 300 years. I think that is plenty long enough to gauge how well humanity and other species are able to cope with it.

  10. Streetcred says:

    criminogenic says:
    September 25, 2011 at 6:20 pm
    =========================
    This is specific as to what segment has been researched …
    “Mortality from extreme weather events … “

  11. J. Felton says:

    Thanks you Mr. Goklany, for a thorough and impressive paper.

    I believe not only is the reduced mortality rate due to the lesser amount of “extreme” weather events, ( as readers of WUWT know,) but due to the advance of technology in not only warning and preparing people for these events, but the technology used to help those after the fact. ( Medical, etc.)

    I also read that deaths from extreme heat pale in comparison to those from extreme cold, which is just common sense. I’ll try and find the graph.

  12. Streetcred says:

    Sorry, my bad.

  13. How is it possible that so many people still have such an abiding and solid faith in the trustworthiness of the global warming disaster scenarios? This still amazes me. Since when has any predicted long term disaster scenario based on a statistical/economic model ever come even close to being true? Not only have they been wrong but usually the condition predicted has moved in the opposite direction. The Simon–Ehrlich wager of 1980 comes to mind as a well-known example of someone challenging these silly doomsday predictions.

  14. Leon Brozyna says:

    From the full study, Figure 1, showing extreme weather events. Another factor that might come into play during the first half of the tentieth century would be a couple of world wars. When societies become accustomed to deaths in the millions, a handful of deaths from an innocent flood would seem almost trivial and might never even hit the record books.

  15. Greg Cavanagh says:

    Humans are adaptable, so adaptable in fact that when all these dooms fall upon us we quickly fix the problem (or relocate) and keep on living.

    Surprising how few people can see the obvious. Government control over fiscal decisions for the long term viability of a people, always leads to corruption and downright foolishness.

  16. Anthony — Thanks for posting this.

    J. Felton — I don’t know if in the long term (e.g., over the 110-yr period this study examined) that weather has become more or less extreme. The important thing is that whether it has become more extreme or otherwise, we are–as shown by declining deaths and death rates–coping with it much better than ever before, thanks to economic development (AKA wealth) and technologies (both of which depend directly or indirectly in large part on fossil fuel energy).
    And these improvements have come despite the rapid increase in population.

  17. Mike says:

    Water quality has improved and TV shows are much better now so we don’t need to worry about anything.

  18. Dave Springer says:

    Indur,

    Any way to figure out death rate due to economic disruption?

    Note that the peak in your figure 2 occured during the decade of The Great Depression. It went up like a rocket right after the end of World War I by more than an order of magnitude.

    I would put forward that economic hard times drastically raise the death rate from extreme weather events by drastic reduction in proactive preparedness and reactive responses to such events.

    This then raises the question of how many additional deaths there would be if arbitrarily large economic resources are diverted to reducing CO2 emissions.

  19. Jim Butts says:

    What am I missing? Why the big increase from 1910 – 1919 to 1920 -1929?

  20. Matt says:

    Prof Muller, in one of his presentations “Physics for Future Presidents” (not the lecture series), also shows that damages in the US due to hurricanes did not increase over the decades, if you account for inflation.

  21. Theo Goodwin says:

    Has anyone published an annotated list of the predictions (so-called) of catastrophe that have come from the American and EU Left in the last fifty years?

  22. J. Felton says:

    Indur Goklany said

    “J. Felton — I don’t know if in the long term (e.g., over the 110-yr period this study examined) that weather has become more or less extreme. The important thing is that whether it has become more extreme or otherwise, we are–as shown by declining deaths and death rates–coping with it much better than ever before, thanks to economic development (AKA wealth) and technologies (both of which depend directly or indirectly in large part on fossil fuel energy).”

    * * *

    Thank you for your response, sir. ( Or is it Dr.? If it is, my apologies on the misuse of the title.)
    Your use of statistics and graphs makes for an effective and easily understandable read.
    I much agree with you, I believe that increased development and wealth have contributed to the lower mortality rate. To put it simply, it means we are able to better prepare ourselves, (and by proxy, increase our chances of survival during said weather event.)
    Einstein said that ” those most likely to survive are the ones most able to adapt.” I think he was spot on.

    As for the extreme weather argument, Mr. Watts has an excellent post on it,

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/15/24-hours-of-climate-reality-gore-a-thon-hour-13/

    detailing numerous events over a long term period. Anthony or others, if you have another link you feel would help, then this would be much appreciated, this link being the only one I remembered to bookmark regarding extreme weather. ( My memory, like my hair, seems fleeting these days ;) )

  23. J. Felton says:

    Dave Springer said

    “Note that the peak in your figure 2 occured during the decade of The Great Depression. It went up like a rocket right after the end of World War I by more than an order of magnitude.
    I would put forward that economic hard times drastically raise the death rate from extreme weather events by drastic reduction in proactive preparedness and reactive responses to such events.”

    * * *

    Excellent idea, I hadn’t thought of that. It also makes you wonder during times like that if deaths due to extreme events were recorded correctly, and vice-versa.
    In WWII, for example, there was a massive loss of life in the Soviet Union when the Germans invaded, ( Operation Barbarossa.) due to troops and civilians being unprepared for the harsh winter conditions of the USSR.
    It’s debatable that a large number of the mortality rate during this period due to freezing temperatures and so forth were recorded simply as ” Killied in Action ” deaths. (KIA). Similarly, I’m sure in other times of strife gave way to imperfections in the recording system.

    But that’s a whole other post….

  24. rbateman says:

    Energy is where it’s at.
    If everyone had all the energy they needed, the world wouldn’t suffer as much.
    We would still be stuck with ingrates, alas.

  25. David Gould says:

    John M,

    The fact that a fossil fuel economy created and sustained our prosperity does not as a matter of course lead to the conclusion that only a fossil fuel economy can create and sustain prosperity into the future. We tend to forget that we have been a fossil fuel economy for only a very short period of time – around 200 years or so. Thus, while it may seem normal to those of us who live in it, in 200 years it is highly doubtful that our economy will be based on fossil fuels.

  26. re post by: David Gould says: September 25, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    John M,

    The fact that a fossil fuel economy created and sustained our prosperity does not as a matter of course lead to the conclusion that only a fossil fuel economy can create and sustain prosperity into the future.

    It doesn’t appear to me that John M. said anything of the sort. He made a factual statement about our history, with a warning that there is large risk if we meddle with the very thing that caused vast improvement in life span, quality of life, and so on. This doesn’t mean that once we develop other energy sources which are as good or better that it would be a big problem to move to those if we desire at the time. Currently we’ve got nothing of the sort, and so to dismantle or limit cheap abundant energy from fossil fuels begs for some very negative consequences – some of which we are already seeing (e.g., food poverty because of biofuels, Ugandan’s burned out of house and home for CO2 credits, multibillion dollar losses to carbon trading frauds, etc).

  27. Werner Brozek says:

    Excellent comments already!

    Since 1920, death rates due to extreme weather events have gone way DOWN, but CO2 has gone UP by 30% and temperatures have gone UP by 0.9 C. So why is CO2 being blamed for anything? Spending millions on a global scale to help seniors keep warm in winter will save far more deaths than spending trillions to prevent CO2 from rising quite as fast. And I am not sure if the latter will save any deaths.

  28. David Gould says:

    Rational Debate,

    I interpreted the large risk that John Ms was referring to to be the notion that if we move away from fossil fuels we would endanger our prosperity. There is nothing that axiomatically links fossil fuels to prosperity, as you have implied – other energy systems that were as efficient would sustain prosperity just as well as fossil fuels. [As an global warming alarmist, I would also argue that there are other risks to our prosperity than just increasing energy prices, but that is not the point that I am attempting to make here.]

  29. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    I’m not worried….the Bird Flu will kill us all anyway. Or, so I’m told….(no sarc intended)

  30. David Gould says:

    Rational Debate,

    There is the possibility for misinterpretation of my previous post: I did not mean to suggest that you had implied that fossil fuels are axiomatically linked to our prosperity; you had in fact implied that there were not axiomotically linked to our prosperity. I worded that sentence badly.

  31. dp says:

    I can’t help but think it would be interesting to look at the rate of growth of levies, dams, storm shelters, weather stations, radio emergency broadcast, mobile radios, storm and tsunami warning systems, building code changes, and thousands of aircraft watching every mile of sky from coast to coast and border to border. My inner voices tell me that time line will look like the inverse of the chart at the top of this article.

    Increased awareness and a plethora of safe havens have to play a role in reducing the number of potential victims even as the population has grown dramatically. I’m just not willing to blame our good fortunes on a change in the weather or change in CO2 density.

  32. jonjermey says:

    Let’s not overlook the importance of better communications. TV, radio, the Internet, mobile phones, all improve the chances of people getting the message that there is something bad about to happen and they need to get out of the way.

  33. Will says:

    The anomaly in the above chart appears to be between 1920 and 1960. Do you happen to have data for the period 1800 to 1900 Mr Goklany?

  34. I got acid in my rain
    Mad cows are in my brain
    There’s 15 per cent of green
    That’s flooding my planet

    The birds wil give me flu
    The pigs will too
    But’s 24 hours of Reality that
    nearly killed me

  35. John Brookes says:

    The decrease from the 1920’s to now is amazing. The increase from the 1910’s to the 1920’s is kind of weird.

  36. Dodgy Geezer says:

    @David Gould
    “… There is nothing that axiomatically links fossil fuels to prosperity, as you have implied – other energy systems that were as efficient would sustain prosperity just as well as fossil fuels….”

    You are quite right – there is certainly no requirement to keep burning coal/oil in order to maintain prosperity per se. The actual requirement is a more subtle one – as evidenced by your use of the word ‘efficient’.

    It is that we need to operate our society in the most cost-efficient way (including, but not limited to energy generation). This allows the ‘most perfect market’ for human development to take place. Any variation from this condition degrades the ability of humans to develop.

    The classic response to this from the ‘Alarmist’ camp (though I would not like to use the emotional word ‘Alarmist’ in discussions with someone who speaks cogently and accurately – perhaps ‘Concerned’ might be better?) is to reply:

    “Yes, but the market is NOT perfect. It does not factor in the cost of the environmental damage that is being done. All that we are asking is that this cost be accepted and adjusted with subsidies, and when it is, ‘green’ energy generation schemes will be found to be just as competitive. After all, other generation processes are provided with subsidies to ‘level a notional playing field’ – nuclear, for instance…”

    My problem with that approach is that ALL subsidy and regulation degrades the perfect market. Nuclear power, for instance, should not have been subsidised – we should have waited until the technology was capable of being built cost-effectively. It was subsidised by governments in order to develop the technology required for nuclear weapons, and gave us a number of unsafe power stations as a result – a good example of the baleful effect of bucking the market place. If you subsidise ‘green’ power you will get similar problems – most likely corruption and fraud on a wide scale, as we are already seeing.

    I have no difficulty with supporting ‘clean’ power of all kinds. The main problem I have with the current attack on coal is that it is claiming that CO2 is a pollutant, and using, in my view, fraudulent science to do so. Though the fact that the global average temperature is dropping while CO2 concentrations are rising indicates that the claimed heating effect is untrue, the claim is still being made that CO2 is in some way dangerous. It is not. It is an essential requirement for life on earth, at rather lowish levels at the moment, and we could do with doubling its concentration if we knew how….

  37. Ian W says:

    Michael Babbitt says:
    September 25, 2011 at 7:11 pm
    How is it possible that so many people still have such an abiding and solid faith in the trustworthiness of the global warming disaster scenarios? This still amazes me. Since when has any predicted long term disaster scenario based on a statistical/economic model ever come even close to being true? Not only have they been wrong but usually the condition predicted has moved in the opposite direction. The Simon–Ehrlich wager of 1980 comes to mind as a well-known example of someone challenging these silly doomsday predictions.

    There have been lots of films showing huge loss of life from weather disasters. It is part of the alarmist repertoire (and the reason for their name). These films resonate in the consciousness.

    Now name a film that has similar resonance about a climate that remains warm and benign. I cannot think of one,

    The conditioning to expect disaster from greedy uncaring capitalism has struck a chord with some that will be extremely difficult to deprogram

  38. earthling12E says:

    Not bad at all, especially when one considers the vast increase in the number of people available to be killed since 1900, when only 1.650 billion inhabited planet Earth.
    1920 – 29 was apparently the most dangerous period to have lived in.

    World population 6,964,500,644
    09:50 UTC (EST+5) Sep 26, 2011

  39. Charles says:

    There were 300,000 fatalities in Bangladesh due to storm surge flooding of the Ganges Delta in 1970. There were another up to 230,000 killed in China when the Banqiao dam broke in 1975 during a freak storm event. Mr Goklany’s figures are not reliable.

  40. David says:

    How very DARE they..!
    ‘Everyone’ knows that there has only been ‘climate’ for the last thirty years – how could they possibly produce such figures..?

  41. John Whitman says:

    Indur M. Goklany,

    Thank you for your informative article.

    Below is my conclusion based on your article and your book “The Improving State of the World: Why We’re Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet” and also based on the work of Julian Simon.

    I conclude that the material resources of the earth are not limitations on mankind’s increased health, wealth, environment and expansion. The source of mankind’s success is his rational capability if a culture allows freedom to pursue it and implement it.

    John

  42. izen says:

    @- John M says:
    September 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm
    “The increased wealth of the 20th century that allowed all these things to happen was largely a result of a fossil fuel economy.
    We mess with it at our peril.”

    We continue unchanged at our peril.
    Peak oil was reached around 2007, production has varied by less than 3% since then.
    Fossil fuels MAY influence the climate to the detriment of our agricultural systems. (I know a lot of people at this site dispute this, but that is a minority view with very little scientific support.)
    France shows how we CAN ‘mess’ with our use of fossil fuels, replacing baseload electrical generation with nuclear so that the cost of energy is stabilised – at an increasingly competitive level with oil, coal or gas generation. France is now the global leader in EXPORTING electrical energy. It is clear that a wholesale reliance on fossil fuels in NOT required to reduce the death rates from environmental disaster. The death rate in France did not jump in the 1980s as a result of abandoning fossil fuel energy generation.

    Most of the reduction in disaster death rates is the result of increased collectivist provision of goverment help. Whether preventative in the form of drainage and water management to prevent flooding, or emergency responses to floods and storm damage by FEMA, etc.

  43. Pamela Gray says:

    The framed climate degree earned by globalonyologists is looking like a slice of swiss cheese.

  44. Gail Combs says:

    Ian W says: @ September 26, 2011 at 2:52 am
    “…..There have been lots of films showing huge loss of life from weather disasters. It is part of the alarmist repertoire (and the reason for their name). These films resonate in the consciousness.

    Now name a film that has similar resonance about a climate that remains warm and benign. I cannot think of one….”

    ERR – How about the TV show “Gilligan’s Island”??? Amazing how the nice lush tropics easily feeding people is completely forgotten thanks to “Alarmism”

    “Alarmism” SELLS of course, think of all the Horror films such as “Halloween” “Psycho” and others.

  45. Frank K. says:

    Ian W says:
    September 26, 2011 at 2:52 am

    “There have been lots of films showing huge loss of life from weather disasters. It is part of the alarmist repertoire (and the reason for their name). These films resonate in the consciousness. ”

    This illustrates one of the principal beliefs of the CAGW alarmists, namely:

    Weather ISN’T climate if the weather is uninteresting (or cold) – Weather IS climate when the weather is extreme (or hot). And regardless of which kind of weather we’re experiencing, it is ALWAYS consistent with “the models”.

  46. Hoi Polloi says:

    No, No, No, y’all haven’t read (ex Greenpolice director) Gildings latest Prophecy of Doom: The Great Disruption” where he claims that billions of people will perish in the irreversible decline of the Earth…

  47. Smokey says:

    izen says:

    “Fossil fuels MAY influence the climate to the detriment of our agricultural systems. (I know a lot of people at this site dispute this, but that is a minority view with very little scientific support.)”

    Wrong as usual, Izen. There is NO evidence that the increase in CO2 – a tiny trace gas – has resulted in any “detriment” to agriculture. But there is ample evidence that the rise in harmless, beneficial CO2 has increased agricultural productivity. And that is the majority view, as stated in the OISM Petition.

    I’ve provided numerous links proving that CO2 is beneficial to agriculture, but it gets tedious trying to convince someone afflicted with incurable cognitive dissonance that CO2, a trace gas essential to all life on earth, is beneficial. I will post more links on request. Rather than re-posting lots of confirming evidence, here is just one real-world university experiment that shows the benefits of more CO2. If your mind is so made up that you can’t be bothered to read the whole thing, then just read the “Key Findings”.

    Spreading your lies and disinformation may work on other blogs, but you run up against the truth on the internet’s “Best Science” site. The truth wins, and your lies lose.

  48. David S says:

    Guess the spike in the 1920s was exacerbated if not caused by Stalin’s attempt to collectivise the entire Soviet agricultural sector. Likewise Mao can take credit for quite a few of the deaths in the 1950s and 1960s.
    There is another moral here: centrally imposed and enforced “solutions” are almost always violently counterproductive. Perhaps someone could tell Richard Curtis and Chris Huhne, not to mention “watermelon and proud of it” Caroline Lucas.

  49. Tom Davidson says:

    I’m guessing that the dip in pre-WWI deaths and death rates may be connected with the high rates of non-climate related deaths in that period – Spanish flu, typhoid, cholera, food poisoning, etc. – that killed people faster than the weather events could.
    Refrigeration of food sure has saved a LOT of lives.

  50. Pull My Finger says:

    All these wonderful advances brought to you by…. cheap, portable, enegry… coal, oil, gas. The car and truck and bus to get out of harms way, electricity for hospitals, research labs, heat, air conditioning, refrigeration not just for food, but medical supplies, all those huge construction vehicles to make roads, safe buildings, and planes to transport modern goods to the remotest regions of the world.

    Fossil Fuels, it’s what’s built our modern world.

    Wouldn’t this decline in disaster related deaths be due to things like our improved ability to deal with things like infection, injury and disease, improved advanced warning systems, better managed responses to disasters, better building codes, better transportation systems and the like? In other words, it would be difficult to conclude that there has been a decline in the severity of disasters from these numbers. There may have been, but there are too many other factors.

  51. Pull My Finger says:

    Another reason for the trend… the fact that we can remotely detect extreme weather events these days. Every typhoon spinning about in the South Pacific, every tornado wiping prairie dogs in the middle of nowhere, every lighting induced brush fire burning in the remotest Siberia. 80 years ago if you knew about a weather induced disaster it was most likley because it killed a bunch a people.

    Oh yea, weather sattelites, radars, TVs, radios,all brought to you by fossil fuels. Without fossil fuels we never would have had the resources to invent nuclear power. Heck, we probably wouldn’t even have been able to prodice a radio with which to listen to NPR!

  52. Pull My Finger says:

    Got the new National Geograhic a couple days ago, an article attempting to cast the great warming of the Paleocene/Eocene (I think) an as analogue to AGW. Unwitting the artile makes me want to shout, full steam ahead.

    The main thrust is that climate models (of course, and of course the “most conservative we have) theorize that 4 billion cubic tons of CO2 caused the earth 50 odd million years ago to raise 9 degrees celcius over tens of thousands to millions years. We’ve used 300 million cubic tons in human’s history, and the author speculates we have another 3.7 BILLION cubic tons of fossil fuels still in the earth. (NOTE: I assume these numbers are run using the complicated model called PANOYA – pick a number out of your a**).

    Sooooo… we have 90% of the fossil fuels on earth still in the ground, and burning them up over say the next 500 years will result in a 9 degree temprature rise in, worst case scenario, 13,000 to 14,000 AD? Really. Why am I not shuddering?

    Don’t these guys realize that these “massive” climate shifts occur over a breif peroid in geologic time, not human time? This article talks about 75 degree water at the poles and 60 degree water at the bottom of the ocean. This would take tens of thousands of years at the absolute worst possible scenario. Given 1000s of years prep time I’m pretty sure we can handle it.

  53. Pull My Finger says:

    Oh yea, the NG article goes on to claim that parts of the middle lats, including the souther US will be experiencing 100+ degree average tempratures, night and day, summer and winter. I would like to know exactly what situation this might occur under short of the sun deciding to wander a couple million miles closer to us and the earth atmosphere changing composition miraculously.

  54. Pull My Finger says:

    Please excuse my horrendous spelling today. Brian moves faster than digits.

  55. Pull My Finger says:

    Yes, that’s right, Brian. *sigh*

  56. Tom_R says:

    >> izen says:
    September 26, 2011 at 6:45 am

    Peak oil was reached around 2007, production has varied by less than 3% since then. <<

    You don't think that might have just had a little to do with a worldwide recession starting in 2008?

  57. izen says:

    @- Smokey says: September 26, 2011 at 8:30 am
    “Wrong as usual, Izen. There is NO evidence that the increase in CO2 – a tiny trace gas – has resulted in any “detriment” to agriculture. ”

    I did not claim that CO2 was directly detrimental to agricultural systems, but that the changes it may cause to the climate could be. Most of our agricultural methods are based on an assumption that temperature/rainfall conditions are relatively stable. This is why a flood or drought, any extreme away from the median tends to drastically reduce crop yields.

    “Rather than re-posting lots of confirming evidence, here[-link-] is just one real-world university experiment that shows the benefits of more CO2. If your mind is so made up that you can’t be bothered to read the whole thing, then just read the “Key Findings”.”

    I always read evidence presented by others that they claim refutes my POV. Thats why I come to a site that differs from my understanding of the subject – I am looking to test that understanding.
    That is an interesting piece of research, especially as it is using FACE technology – (Free Air Concentration Enrichment). It is certainly a positive result, and may well be a factor in increasing crop yields. It may even offset some of the negative effects of reduced rainfall that has been projected for some areas that are at present important agricultural regions. However, no amount of CO2 enhancement is going to offset the sort of intense and persistent drought that was predicted, and is now being seen in Texas and other areas of the American SW.
    As Chinese studies have indicated, the quality of the crops may deteriorate as yields increase, carbohydrate tends to increase at the expense of protein content.
    There is also the adaption required as growing regions move pole-ward that the associated agricultural infrastructure has to be moved to follow.

    “Spreading your lies and disinformation may work on other blogs, but you run up against the truth on the internet’s “Best Science” site. The truth wins, and your lies lose.”

    I think you might find it hard to find a validating example to support your contention I spread ‘lies’. I would suggest even an example of ‘disinformation’ would be hard to establish…
    The ‘TRUTH’ you have presented here rather obviously does NOT respond or engage with the point I made that it is changes in CLIMATE that might affect agricultural systems. That crop yields may be improved by higher atmospheric CO2 does nothing to address the issue of the climate effects of increased GHGs.

    However the main point I was making in my post was that the finite nature of fossil fuel, and general agreement that burning it causes climate change, contradict the claim that we must persist with business as usual because it is fossil fuel use that has reduced the disaster mortality rate. Modern, technological rich societies are possible with much lower levels of fossil fuel use as France shows.
    And as other posters have indicated the death rate has as much to do with the type of government and the policies it pursues when faced with famine, flood and pestilence.

    You response highlighting the experiments on enhanced CO2 agricultural effects in an environment with near optimal temperatures and rainfall are interesting… but they don’t really engage with the subject of the thread or my post do they?

  58. izen says:

    @- Tom_R says: September 26, 2011 at 11:30 am
    Re:-“”Peak oil was reached around 2007″”
    “You don’t think that might have just had a little to do with a worldwide recession starting in 2008?”

    Do you mean as cause… or effect ?
    Actually I got the year wrong, most authorities identify 2006 as the peak year –

    http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2010-11-11/iea-acknowledges-peak-oil

    And as cause, (no increase in oil production+rising prices) precedes effect (worldwide recession)….?

  59. manicbeancounter says:

    The major conclusion is that human beings not only have adapted to their conditions, but have turned it to their greater advantage. Look deeper into the extreme weather events (or earthquakes for that matter) Usually the worst death tolls are in the poorer countries. (Not withstanding hurricane Katrina and the Japenese Tsunami). This is also true of deaths from disease (especially malaria) or deaths from famine.
    The conclusion is that even if it can be demonstrated that climate disruption is destabilising the climate (that is a big IF), policies that slow down economic growth are likely to cause far greater deaths and human suffering than the all the extreme weather. It is truly a case of the the “cure being worse than the disease”.

  60. Smokey says:

    Izen:

    I apologize for calling you a liar, that was wrong. I’ll stick with disinformation. You may truly believe that CO2 will cause runaway global warming, but there is no evidence it’s happening despite a ≈45% rise. All the predictions have been wrong, so to conclude that the next prediction is right avoids reality. You say:

    “Most of our agricultural methods are based on an assumption that temperature/rainfall conditions are relatively stable. This is why a flood or drought, any extreme away from the median tends to drastically reduce crop yields.”

    If anyone constantly adapts to change, it is farmers. And to assign blame to CO2 for every change in local climates is the argumentum ad ignorantium fallacy: “Since we can’t think of another reason for these events, then they must be due to CO2.” Six thousand years ago the Sahara was verdant. Now it’s a desert. Did CO2 cause that? No. And CO2 is not causing the current, entirely routine storms and droughts. It is completely unscientific to make that conjecture without testable real world evidence. You also say:

    “…no amount of CO2 enhancement is going to offset the sort of intense and persistent drought that was predicted, and is now being seen in Texas and other areas of the American SW.
    As Chinese studies have indicated, the quality of the crops may deteriorate as yields increase…” &etc.

    There is zero evidence that CO2 caused the Texas drought. Texas has had worse droughts in living memory – when CO2 levels were a lot lower. And the Gobi desert has been expanding toward Beijing for hundreds of years. It is now only about sixty miles away. CO2 didn’t start that process, either. I think it is dishonest disinformation to claim that human CO2 emissions cause droughts, without verifiable proof. And BTW, the FACE study shows that there is no loss of nutrition from more CO2. That directly contradicts the [unnamed] Chinese study you referenced. And which one would you believe, anyway?

    I’ll wrap up with a comment from gene watson on another thread:

    “What direct factual evidence is there that human activity has had or is having any detectable impact on global climate? The Scientific Method requires that any such hypothesis must be supported by direct fact-based evidence if it is to gain credibility. With the continuing absence of such evidence, the AGW hypothetical remains mere conjecture. That no such evidence exists is established by analogy to Sherlock Holmes’ “the dog that didn’t bark” proof. If such evidence existed, the alarmist community along with their supporters in the main-stream media would be shouting (barking) it from every podium.”

  61. izen says:

    @- manicbeancounter says: September 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm
    “The conclusion is that even if it can be demonstrated that climate disruption is destabilising the climate (that is a big IF), policies that slow down economic growth are likely to cause far greater deaths and human suffering than the all the extreme weather. It is truly a case of the the “cure being worse than the disease”.”

    The hypothesis advanced –
    -‘policies that slow down economic growth are likely to cause far greater deaths and human suffering than the all the extreme weather’-
    Is obviously true unless weather becomes so extreme that it exceeds the resilience that wealth confers to societies.

    But it is unclear that reducing fossil fuel use IS a policy that would slow down economic growth.
    Either peak oil and the rise in energy prices has had little effect on the economic growth rate – in which case alternatives comparable with ‘expensive’ oil would have little effect on economic growth.
    Or peak oil, the search for alternatives to supply the economic growth to the majority of the poorer global population IS a factor in the recessions and depressions that have had the major impact on economic growth rates; in which case the search for viable alternatives looks even more urgent….

  62. izen says:

    @- Smokey says: September 26, 2011 at 2:23 pm
    “If anyone constantly adapts to change, it is farmers. And to assign blame to CO2 for every change in local climates is the argumentum ad ignorantium fallacy:”

    I certainly would not argue that CO2 is to blame for every problem that farmers face, or that it is of no benefit. The link you provided about the yield gains in soya and corn was interesting…, like a bikini, but the actual papers the researchers have published reveal more. –

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-3040.2006.01581.x/full

    Hourly and seasonal variation in photosynthesis and stomatal conductance of soybean grown at future CO2 and ozone concentrations for 3 years under fully open-air field conditions

    for instance –
    “Additionally, the crop experienced a hailstorm that destroyed > 50% of the plant canopy on 14 July 2003 (Morgan et al. 2005). ”
    Clearly CO2 isn’t the only influence on crop yields!

    “There is zero evidence that CO2 caused the Texas drought. Texas has had worse droughts in living memory – when CO2 levels were a lot lower. ”

    What year ?
    Actually the best estimate gives CO2 a role in making the present conditions about 30% worse than they would otherwise be. This is a nice analysis by John N-G, the Texas meteorologist –

    http://blog.chron.com/climateabyss/2011/08/texas-drought-spot-the-outlier/

    “I’ll wrap up with a comment from gene watson on another thread:
    “What direct factual evidence is there that human activity has had or is having any detectable impact on global climate? “….

    Yes, you have asked this before, as have others, and I have replied before with the energy imbalance measured from DWLR and TOA emissions and SST. –

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009JD012105.shtml

    An observationally based energy balance for the Earth since 1950
    We examine the Earth’s energy balance since 1950, identifying results that can be obtained without using global climate models.

    The measured energy changes exist. Calling them ‘natural variation’ or ‘entierly routine’ is not an explanation for the MEASURED accumulation of energy.
    I have a coherent scientific explanation that goes back through a century of testing and counter-argument. The spectral changes in the energy flows identify CO2 as a key component of the measured changes.
    You have…. handwaving about clouds and cosmic rays with no solid supporting data.
    Or at best, exhortations that climate sensitivity may not be as high as most scientists think… which leaves you with the problem of explaining what source of change even greater than the CO2 energy flux is driving the observed changes in SSTs. (ice, land temps, humidity, spring snow cover, growing seasons and regions, ocean pH changes….)

  63. izen says:

    @- Smokey
    A postscript – from the same research group you originally linked too….

    http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/140/2/779.full.pdf

    Photosynthesis, Productivity, and Yield of Maize Are Not
    Affected by Open-Air Elevation of CO2 Concentration in
    the Absence of Drought

    While increasing temperatures and altered soil moisture arising from climate change in the next 50 years are projected to decrease yield of food crops, elevated CO2 concentration CO2 is predicted to enhance yield and offset these detrimental factors. ….
    The 2004 season had ideal growing conditions in which the crop did not experience water stress. In the absence of water stress, growth at elevated CO2 did not stimulate photosynthesis, biomass, or yield. ….
    The results provide unique field evidence that photosynthesis and production of maize may be unaffected by rising CO2 in the absence of drought. This suggests that rising CO2 may not provide the full dividend to North American maize production anticipated in projections of future global food supply.

  64. David Gould says:

    Dodgy Geezer,

    Thanks for the reply. I have no problem with the term ‘alarmist'; I am alarmed, so it suits me. :)

    I agree that subsidies distort the market. I would like all subsidies removed. However, that still does not solve the issue of environmental damage that is not factored into the costs of various products. This either has to be addressed by regulation, as in the case of it being illegal – for example – to dump mercury into rivers, forcing producers [and then consumers] to pay for its safe disposal. Or it has to be addressed by imposing a cost – allowing people to damage the environment provided that they pay to fix it up.

    Both of these approaches have their difficulties. For the second one, the issue is: how do we measure in dollars the cost to the environment, particularly if the damage is not immediate but will occur gradually over time? And what if people disagree on the amount of damage (for example, you believe more CO2 provides a benefit; I believe that more CO2 will be not good). For the first one, making something illegal may have obvious and immediate negative consequences – in the case of CO2, rapid deindustrialisation.

    I favour the first solution. Disagreement over the costs can be resolved via the political process, with that being informed by the science. If, for example, more evidence emerged of the damage, the price would shift upwards as more people came to accept that. And if evidence emerged to the contrary, the price would shift downwards likewise.

  65. Smokey says:

    Izen says:

    “…projected to decrease… predicted to enhance…” Thanx for the models and predictions. You do know that they’re almost always completely wrong, don’t you?

    Unfortunately for your arguments, the planet does not agree with the models or with your putative “evidence” [which is not evidence at all of global harm from CO2].

    Since you’re obviously trying to pick apart the FACE study, here are some simpler links and graphics that debunk the notion that more CO2 is somehow bad [despite the absence of ANY global harm as a result of enhanced CO2]:

    click1
    click2
    click3
    click4
    click5

    Got more if you want ‘em.

    Nitpick away!☺

  66. David Gould says:

    I meant to say: I favour the second solution, not the first solution. Oops …

  67. Dave Springer says:

    izen says:
    September 26, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    re; Texas drought

    You don’t understand statistics. If our annual rainfall record goes back 100 years then there will be a 1% chance the current year will be the driest year and a 1% chance it will be the wettest year.

    There’s a trite expression for this: “records are made to be broken”

    The current drought in Texas (I live on the shore of Lake Travis, right in the heart of the drought) has yet to exceed what’s called the “drought of record” which was in the 1950’s. There were three near-record low rainfall years in 1952, 1954, and 1956.

    Interestingly, we get droughts and hot weather when the Pacific ocean surface is abnormally cold. It’s sort a yin-yang thing. More northerly areas of the US get the rainfall we would normally be getting. The cold Pacific shifts the jet stream northward and creates a high pressure region in Texas which pushes storm systems around or away from it so we don’t get moisture from either the Pacific ocean or the Gulf of Mexico.

    More interestingly there’s a rather well known 60-year oscillation in ocean surface temperature that is reflected in global average temperature which is easily seen by just glancing at the surface temperature record since 1880. Add 60 years to 1950 and you get 2010. History repeats itself.

    I might also point out that 2007 was the wettest summer on record.

    Records are made to be broken. Write that down.

  68. Dave Springer says:

    izen says:
    September 26, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    re; maize and elevated CO2

    There are two primary photosynthetic pathways called C3 and C4. One benefits much more than the other from higher CO2 level. For most of the earth’s history, while terrestrial plants were evolving, CO2 levels were much much higher than today. C3 plants are optimized for those higher levels. In the natural world as CO2 level changes so too does the relative abundance of C3/C4 type plants. Nature is very well prepared for a warmer climate with higher CO2. Humans can easily adapt as well by shifting agricultural production more in favor of C3 pathway plants by artificial selection even as mother nature will be shifting the same way through natural selection.

    Write that down!

  69. Dave Springer says:

    @izen

    When someone asked you for factual evidence of climate effects caused by rise in CO2 your answer was a TOA energy imbalance.

    Let’s say the satellites are good enough to actually make that measurement accurately on a global average basis.

    This still says nothing of effect this will have on the earth’s climate. Trenberth et al famously can’t find where the excess energy is hiding. In a moment of self-deprecating honesty in a private email with his peers he called it a travesty that they can’t explain where the additional energy is entrained.

    The average temperature of the global ocean 3.9C. This is a reflection of the average surface temperature of the global ocean over the past 120,000 years.

    The earth is in an ice age for the past several million years. I need you to write that down as many times as it takes so you don’t forget it. We’re living in a thin layer of temporary warmth on top of a bucket of ice water.

    Here’s a very important question I’d like the climate science community to answer for me. How much anthropogenic CO2 do we need to produce in order to end the modern ice age so that th earth may once again become green from pole to pole instead of being covered for 100,000 years at a time in a mile-thick layer of ice over much of the norhern hemisphere land masses.

    Maize doesn’t grow well on glaciers, Izen. Write that down too.

  70. izen says:

    @- Smokey says: September 26, 2011 at 7:09 pm
    “Since you’re obviously trying to pick apart the FACE study, here are some simpler links and graphics that debunk the notion that more CO2 is somehow bad ”

    I am NOT trying to pick apart the FACE study or claim that CO2 is bad for plant growth.
    But the link you gave was to a 2 page ‘poster’ presentation that but the best gloss on the results. Looking at the actual published papers from the Illinois group reveals that the picture is not as clear-cut as the poster presentation might imply.

    I don’t think you are intentionaly advancing disinformation, I suspect you got tyhe link originally from a site that selected it for its positive take on CO2 effects without delving into the detail.

  71. izen says:

    @- Dave Springer says:
    “The current drought in Texas (I live on the shore of Lake Travis, right in the heart of the drought) has yet to exceed what’s called the “drought of record” which was in the 1950′s. There were three near-record low rainfall years in 1952, 1954, and 1956. ”

    Take it up with John N-G, the Texas meteorologist who claims from presumably the official records that 2011 has been hotter and dryer than any of the years in the 50s -link in post above –
    “Can you spot the outlier? The year 2011 continues the recent trend of being much warmer than the historical precipitation-temperature relationship would indicate, although with no previous points so dry it’s hard to say exactly what history would say about a summer such as this one. Except that this summer is way beyond the previous envelope of summer temperature and precipitation.”

    -“More interestingly there’s a rather well known 60-year oscillation in ocean surface temperature that is reflected in global average temperature which is easily seen by just glancing at the surface temperature record since 1880. Add 60 years to 1950 and you get 2010. History repeats itself.”-

    I am always impressed by the ability of armchair analysists to spot a periodic pattern from data that shows less that two full cycles of the period…
    Or is this another one of these periodic cycles with a period and magnitude that vary by over 20% between cycles… and on which a clear linear trend is superimposed…

    -“re; maize and elevated CO2
    There are two primary photosynthetic pathways called C3 and C4. One benefits much more than the other from higher CO2 level.”-

    Yes, and Maize/corn is a C4 plant and as the research shows is unaffected by increased CO2 except in drought conditions when it may sustain yields above the reduction that might be expected from a drought. So C4 plants probably only benefit during insuficient water conditions. Most weeds are C3 and will gain more than the corn….

    -“Let’s say the satellites are good enough to actually make that measurement accurately on a global average basis.
    This still says nothing of effect this will have on the earth’s climate. Trenberth et al famously can’t find where the excess energy is hiding. “-

    The satellite data may be increased in accuracy in the future, but the present measurements are highly unlikely to have an error margin of more than 10%.
    The effect on the Earths climate is the MEASURED one from sea surface temperatures. Again this has a sizable error range connected with uncertainty over the depth and rate at which energy is distributed into the oceans. The paper I quoted/linked specifically excludes climate models and the results are based purely on observations.

    I wondered if the Trenberth trope of “missing heat” would appear, you are aware that the amount of missing heat is a small proportion of the total detected energy in both the ocean heat content and the TOA imbalance? The measured imbalance matches reasonably well (with some missing heat which is within the error margins) with the measured TOA energy fluxes.

    So the effect of the changed energy flux from rising CO2 is directly correllated with the climate effect of a rise in ocean heat content.
    No other explanations for the rising heat content have been succesfully proposed. To refute the link you would need both a mechanism that negated the CO2 energy flux changes AND a source of energy to account for the inceased OHC.

    -“Here’s a very important question I’d like the climate science community to answer for me. How much anthropogenic CO2 do we need to produce in order to end the modern ice age so that th earth may once again become green from pole to pole instead of being covered for 100,000 years at a time in a mile-thick layer of ice over much of the norhern hemisphere land masses. “-

    Model analysis (yes I know, models!) indicates that by the time the next glacial maximum approaches in 30Kyrs the effect of present CO2 rises will have gone as sinks restore the ~290ppm level so the present emissions of ALL the foissil fuels would have little effect – unless there are tipping points and a climate with a bi-stable state.
    We would need to save fossilfuels and release the CO2 in the ~5kyrs before the next glacial extreme to have a hope of preventing it.
    Buit as that is FIVE times the period which humans have had an agriculturally based civilization I suspect that things may have moved on by then… -grin-

  72. Dave Springer says:

    @izen

    As I knew, you can’t produce any actual evidence of how higher CO2 level is affecting the climate.

    Thanks for playing.

  73. Dave Springer says:

    @izen

    I didn’t ask for your silly opinion on how much anthropogenic CO2 it would take to end the ice age. I at least want some published studies with methods and data that may be reviewed by qualified others. You may have heard of things being done this way before. It’s the scientific method.

  74. izen says:

    @- Dave Springer says: September 27, 2011 at 4:19 am
    “As I knew, you can’t produce any actual evidence of how higher CO2 level is affecting the climate.”

    You will have to explain to me why you do not regard the measured spectral changes in the TOA and DWLR fingering CO2 for the energy imbalance, and the measured accumulation of energy in the oceans are somehow NOT ‘actual evidence’.

    Perhaps it would be easier if you could provide your critereon for what you WOULD regard as ‘actual’ evidence of effects on the climate from ANY cause. For instance, do you accept the causal connection between big volcanic eruptions causing cooling because of the measured changes in TOA and DWLR energy ?
    If so, why dismiss similar processes detected for CO2?

  75. Dave Springer says:

    @izen

    http://www.lcra.org/water/drought/index.html

    Not the worst drought yet but it might exceed the 1950’s drought sometime next year. We need an El Nino to break it. The funny thing is that a cold Pacific ocean is causing this. It’s back-to-back La Nina’s. Perhaps you could explain why all the anthropogenic CO2 is making the Pacific ocean colder than normal, eh? LOL

    You appear to be in denial of the 60-year ocean cycle.

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

    You mentioned that two and a half cycles since 1860 isn’t really strong statistical evidence that it isn’t just noise. I tend to agree with you.

    But then you come along and tell me about a TOA energy imbalance on the order of 3W/m2 more energy entering the system than leaving the system and you must know, as do I, that we only have 10 years of decent data on that from CERES.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too, Izen. I won’t let you employ double standards. If 150 years of ocean surface temperatures isn’t good enough to establish any trends then 10 years of TOA energy budget isn’t enough either.

    Can you spell “intellectually dishonest”, Izen?

  76. Gail Combs says:

    Dave Springer says: @ September 27, 2011 at 4:19 am

    “@izen

    As I knew, you can’t produce any actual evidence of how higher CO2 level is affecting the climate…”

    Dave, It has never been about science. Instead it is has always been about a political “Hammer” used to give the United Nations more Clout and shepherd us into a world government and universal poverty aka Agenda 21. We could have the temperature plummet and glaciers threatening London and Washington DC and the Watermelons will STILL claim it was mankind/CO2 that was to blame and only if we worship at their GREEN/RED altar with self sacrifice will the world be saved.

    The underlying drive of course is GREED. A small number of people want control of all the resources and they also want a large number of humans gone because they see them as parasites on THEIR beautiful earth.

    REFERENCES:

    The Wildland Project almost became law. Listing/links of bills, laws and treaties including Explanation of the UN Biodiversity Treaty and the Wildlands Project

    Predicted Wildlands Map (Green is where humans are allowed to live)

    Current:
    Restoring America’s Big, Wild Animals and The Rewilding Institute: Rewilding North America

    The above information dovetails very nicely with Anthony’s thread They had to burn the village to save it from global warming It is just one of many many piece of information about the calculated demise of humans by these people. How Goldman Sachs Caused a ‘Silent Mass Murder,’ Gambling on Starvation in the Developing World and same story different source all show the utter contempt for the lives of ordinary humans.

  77. mhjhnsnmhjhnsn says:

    As Lomborg and others have pointed out, ad nauseum not that anyone cares, cold weather kills far more people than warm weather, and moderate warming would save far more lives than it might cost.

  78. This says nothing about frequency. It’s all about deaths. My reasoning is that we’re better at handling extreme situations. Property damage would be something to check out. Though that would reasonably be higher in this age. Since most of our stuff is much much more expensive.

    Please don’t try to make everything connected to global warming. It’s silly.

  79. izen says:

    @- Dave Springer
    “I at least want some published studies with methods and data that may be reviewed by qualified others. You may have heard of things being done this way before. It’s the scientific method.”

    Hmmm…. strikes a vauge chord… -grin-
    I had a better study than these with more detail, but try –

    http://geosci-webdev.uchicago.edu/~archer/reprints/archer.2005.trigger.pdf

    Or-

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/n127u1p15421k4t3/

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X03002358

    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=15129660

    -“”Not the worst drought yet but it might exceed the 1950′s drought sometime next year.”-

    Your link says that, but then says –
    “The 11 months from October 2010 through August 2011 have been the driest for that 11-month period in Texas since 1895, when the state began keeping rainfall records. This summer in Texas has been the hottest in the country’s history, according to the National Weather Service….Inflows for June, July and August are less than one percent of average, making that three-month period the lowest for inflows of any three months in recorded history. September is on track to be the lowest single month for inflows on record, and 2011 is on pace to have the lowest inflows of any year in history.”

    So its the driest and hottest in recorded history…. but not the worst drought?!!!

    -“You can’t have your cake and eat it too, Izen. I won’t let you employ double standards. If 150 years of ocean surface temperatures isn’t good enough to establish any trends then 10 years of TOA energy budget isn’t enough either.
    Can you spell “intellectually dishonest”, Izen?”-

    Dyslexic as I am, no I can’t spell interlectualy disshonest; but I do know the difference in statistical difficulty in detecting a trend and a noisy ‘cycle’.
    You can CERTAINLY establish a trend in 150 years of SSTs, but not any cycles with sigma certainty.

  80. Celebrim says:

    “We tend to forget that we have been a fossil fuel economy for only a very short period of time – around 200 years or so. Thus, while it may seem normal to those of us who live in it, in 200 years it is highly doubtful that our economy will be based on fossil fuels.”

    While this is certainly true, it’s also certainly true whether or not man made global warming will have a significant impact on the climate or significant negative impact on the global economy during that period. It is further more almost certainly true whether we decide to spend a signficant portion of our present economy on disaster preparation and emergency efforts to produce new energy sources, or if we simply continue to advance our technology and adopt new energy sources as they become cost effective and robust options. After all, cheap energy sources will always be attractive both to industry and to the idealist.

    I think the debate over global warming is a distraction that prevents us, well most of us anyway, from agreeing over the things that we can agree on. Most conservatives would readily embrace _conserv_ation; most progressives would readily embrace _progress_. The problem is that we’ve allow the debate over how to utilize the planet to be hijacked by a combination of Marxists, pseudo-scientists, luddites, and new age religious (but I repeat myself). What we need is not to focus so much on whether the Earth is getting warmer (it is), or one whether using fuels at their harvest cost rather than their replacement cost is unsustainable (it is), but on the engineering of the future that we want. It would be perfectly easy to get conservatives behind energy policy as a matter of national security and improved industrial activity. But the problem is that we don’t have the engineers actually in charge – we are letting energy policy be set by C students who believe in UFOs, Crop Circles, and the healing power of crystals.

  81. Dave Springer says:

    @Izen

    “So its the driest and hottest in recorded history…. but not the worst drought?!!!”

    It’s the driest and hottest 11-month period , Izen. This is classic cherry picking. Since when is 11-months an interval of interest to which we apply comparative metrics?

    The drought of record was the hottest, driest decade and the Highland Lakes reservoirs (Lakes Travis and Buchannan) reached their lowest combined storage level during that decade. The total rainfall deficit in the current decade may indeed exceed the 1950’s but it still has a ways to go to get there as 2007 was the wettest year on record and that was only 4 years ago so must be included in any running decade window.

    You’re a very poor loser, son.

    The drought of record was the driest and hottest decade and took place in the 1950s. What part of that don’t you understand?

  82. ferd berple says:

    criminogenic says:
    September 25, 2011 at 6:20 pm
    Deaths are not a very good index due to large improvements in Health care, rescue, transport, building standards and Weather warning systems over the Century.

    Especially rescue and transport made possible by fossil fuel based cars, planes, boats.

    How many times have you heard of people rescued by public transport systems? Trains and buses? Horse and buggy? Windmills? How about folks that saved themselves because they had technology and resources at hand to do so?

  83. ferd berple says:

    “We tend to forget that we have been a fossil fuel economy for only a very short period of time – around 200 years or so.”

    We have a fossil fuel economy because almost all the trees in Europe and North America had been burned for fuel. Coal saved what forests remained. A fact easily confirmed by looking at history books. Look at the third world today, where forests have been cut down to make charcoal, leading to desertification. That is the real climate change. Except for fossil fuel most of us would never have been born. There simply was not enough energy available before fossil fuels to support large cities like we have today. Without fossil fuels there would be a lot less people, and most of them would be living as peasants farming the land at the mercy of the elements and the feudal lords.

  84. SteveSadlov says:

    Deaths from cold will probably go up throughout the century (and perhaps beyond). On that note, here in Nor Cal, we appear to have a better than even chance of the exact sort of early onset of Winter that hit the Donner Party. Winter storm conditions may be manifest in the high country by this time next week or even a bit earlier.

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