NRC’s 2011 ‘Climategate’

Guest post by Rud Istvan

Excerpted from book in progress Arts of Truth

Based on the forthcoming Gaia, Musings on Sustainability

© 2012 Rud Istvan


There is a recent example of artful lack of disclosure in the climate change debate. It concerns not warming itself, but rather the possible negative impacts. The following chart is Figure 13 on page 28 of the 2011 NRC booklet, Warming World (available free online)i.


The National Research Council is sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, whose motto is ‘where the nation turns for independent, expert advice’. The chart’s message is dire if temperatures do rise by 3 degrees as the 4th IPCC assessment says likely. Such a rise, for example, would mean US corn yields might decline by half. That would massively disrupt US food supplies, and would cause starvation elsewhere since the US produces 40% of the world’s corn.

The NRC’s 2010 websiteii contained the following version of the same chart, which they credited to the National Science Foundation. It is uncertain whether their misspelling of Africa was also credited to the NSF.


NRC’s 2010 website said the NSF chart’s information comes from table 5-4 of the 3rd IPCC, or more recent studies. Working Group 2 Table 5-4 runs several pages and summarizes many studies modeling both positive and negative crop yield impacts. WG2 ¶ says, “In 2/3 of the cases, temperate crop yields benefit at least some of the time.” That is not shown at all by the NRC chart although US maize is grown in a temperate climate. The NSF chart is labeled as plotting the single worst of all modeled estimates. Not disclosing this information makes the booklet chart extremely misleading.

The 2011 NRC booklet itself is worse than misleading. Text accompanying the chart says, “Solid lines show best estimates”. That makes it overtly false; the worst modeled outcome is re-characterized as the best consensus estimate. And the single US maize statistical study portrayed by the NSF chart is itself false.

The worst US maize (corn) AGW model is a 2009 PNAS paper.iii This massive statistical analysis assessed US heat extremes (defined as continuous 24 hour days at or above some temperature) using US county level crop and reconstructed weather data from 1950-2005 for corn, soybeans, and cotton. It contains 105,981 observations for corn. Using an 8th order polynomial equation, it found a statistical threshold at around 29°C, above which yields were increasingly affected by extreme heat days. The statistical results were graphed to suggest that continuous 24-hour exposure to 40ºC (104ºF) reduces corn yield at least 5%, even though there were zero 40ºC days in the data. In Africa the same effect was later statistically found using detailed CYMMIT field trial data to be only 1% per day, arise above 30°C, and occur during only anthesis.iv

The PNAS finding is superficially plausible. The obvious (but possibly deceptive) facts are that all plants become heat stressed above some threshold temperature (growth ceases), and are killed by prolonged exposure to some higher temperature.v These thresholds vary by plant and cultivar, and also vary over the plant’s annual growth cycle. For example, spinach likes cool weather and does not do well above 80°F. Heat stress during anthesis is well known to reduce cereal yields. Physiological responses are similar to those for drought stress, so depend on water availability and transpiration. Hot low humidity days (plus insufficient soil moisture) produce the greatest cereal heat stress. It is therefore usually drought associated. Plants can develop transient thermotolerance in just hours if sufficient water is available. At least partial recovery of lost growth after heat stress is proven in sorghum and tomatoes. As a result, whether heat stress is cumulative is unknown (or perhaps indeterminate, since depending on too many factors like degree of stress, duration of stress, transpiration losses, soil water availability, and post stress recovery). The maize heat stress threshold (determined experimentally in greenhouses) during the seedling stage is about 35°C, and during anthesis is about 38°C, in both cases with sufficient water available. The values vary significantly by maize cultivar.

Adding 4th IPCC global warming estimates to the historical temperature distribution data, the PNAS paper used its statistical 29°C threshold (rather than the experimental >35-38°C) to calculate that by 2100 there would be up to 15% of days above 35ºC, with above a 2.5% negative impact. Assuming a cumulative effect, the paper used its statistics to model that this warming would cause up to 60-70% decline in yield by 2100 under the higher warming scenarios. This is easy to verify. The US maize season is from April-August (hotter southern states) or May-Sept (cooler northern states). That is about (5*30) 150 days. If 15% were above the statistical 29°C threshold averaging a negative 2.5% daily cumulative impact, then the impact would be (150*0.15*-2.5) -56%.

The PNAS maize forecast can be examined for veracity using the previously known experimental maize heat stress details and a revised subset of the paper’s data (averages by state from 1980) placed by its now famous authors into the public domain. (Equivalent data for soybeans and cotton was not provided to the public). This enables visual parametric scrutiny of the paper’s veritas without using any statistics at all. Simply visually compare the data to the paper’s statements.


Regression Models. We assume temperature effects on yields are cumulative over time and that yield is proportional to total exposure.” That assumption is not supported by prior experimental heat stress facts. More telling, if heat effects were cumulative, Kansas should always have lower yields than Nebraska, and Nebraska should always have lower yields than the other states. That is obviously not true in the paper’s own dataset (just compare the right and left charts), which directly show that maize heat stress cannot be cumulative. This detail was not available to peer reviewers, who only had the statistical results and not the later released graphical dataset. The basic model used to compute the statistics is flawed. So is the yield conclusion.

The PNAS paper’s flaws go much deeper. it found that “Greater precipitation partly mitigates damage from extreme high temperatures”. That is consistent with experimental heat stress details. But such an interaction term was not included in the model. Even though disclosed as a real co-linearity, possible rainfall/temperature interactions were expressly omitted for ‘statistical’ reasons:

However, omitting temperature-rainfall interactions will not bias predictions of average effects of temperature and rainfall, as we do not find a significant correlation between temperature outcomes and precipitation outcomes…

There is no reason to think temperature and rain outcomes would ever be covariant. It rains when it is hot, and it rains when it is cold.

But this omission rationale is logically flawed concerning the paper’s purpose—corn really cares about the coincidence of hot and wet. That is well known experimentally. Maize is very well studied because of its agricultural importance. The information was readily available before the paper’s regression model was formulated. For example, the FAO publishes extensively for farmers around the world. (Maize has become the staple grain in parts of Africa.) According to the FAO, “The crop is very sensitive to frost, particularly in the seedling stage but it tolerates hot and dry atmospheric conditions so long as sufficient water is available to the plant and temperatures are below 45°C.”

The charted data show yield declines for all states in some years with distinctly more > 29ºC days (like 1980, 83, 88, and 2002), but not in others. These particular years are well-known US drought years. The sharp Ohio decline in 2002 compared to neighboring Indiana (both with about the same >29ºC days) is specifically attributable to local Ohio drought. Abnormally hot years without drought such as 1990, 92, 95, 2000, 01, and 06 did not have similar yield declines. (Dry Kansas after 2000 has had to curtail irrigation due to depletion of the Ogallala aquifer.) The negative yield effect occurs mainly in hot + dry years, not in hot + normal rain years, coherent with experimental heat stress.

The published data also show that average yields in recent hot + dry years like 2003 or 2006 were still better than yields in earlier cool + wet years like 1981 or 1990. Even Kansas’ worst recent yield in hot, dry 2006 was about 115 bu/acre, around the national average from 1985-95. The PNAS paper said,

“with wide geographic range in average yields, and with a three-fold increase in yields over the sample period (56 years)…[soil quality, technological change, and precipitation]… have strong statistical significance not reported here.”

These much more important factors were statistically ‘removed’ to focus just on temperature, since climate change is about AGW. Other future developments (new hybrids) may be much more important than climate change to future yields. This possibility was even acknowledged in the PNAS paper:

“greater heat tolerance still may be possible if greater returns for such innovation arise. Recently, a National Science Foundation- funded study completed a draft sequence of the corn genome, which might make it easier to develop new corn varieties with greater heat tolerance”

In fact, by 2010 the USDA ARS had identified at least 4 independent thermotolerant genetic traits for future hybridization. And in December 2011 the FDA and USDA approved Monsanto’s first genetically modified drought resistant corn, MON87460 with 6-10% yield improvement. The PNAS paper’s past data cannot be used for projecting long-term future yields without incorporating the other information ‘not reported’. But that is what NSF did, which NRC concealed.

The NSF chart truthfully reported one portion this paper’s erroneous statistical conclusion. The problem is that the paper’s data do not support it. The key model assumption is not true, a key known heat stress relationship was deliberately excluded, and the future influence of more significant yield factors (hybrid corn improvement) was not considered.

The NSF chart was ‘hearsay’ even before mischaracterized by the NRC. Harvard President Lawrence Lowell supposedly wrote in 1909 that statistics, “…like veal pies, are good if you know the person that made them, and are sure of the ingredients.” It is still true a century later.

i National Academies/Earth & Life Studies/BASC


iii Schlenker and Roberts, Nonlinear Temperature Effects, PNAS.0906865106

iv Lobell et. al., Nonlinear Heat Effects on African Maize, Nature Climate Change 1: 42-45 (2011)

v Wahid et. al., Heat Tolerance in Plants: a Review, Environmental and Experimental Botany 61: 199-223 (2007)


I am a Harvard JD/MBA. Former senior exec at Motorola and senior partner at
Boston Consulting Group. Now an entrepreneur involved in two companies. Licensed
one to Europe, trying to sell the other and retire. The books are sort of a
hobby turning into a potential retirement career.

In 2005, began work on an energy storage material for super caps, now licensed
to a large European materials company. Supercaps aka EDLC (Maxwell Technologies
class of device) are used in smart grid and hybrid vehicle applications.They are
already a $half billion (device level) market, with potential for more than 7
billion by 2020. In 2009 I was doing intensive market research on potential
applications, which led to and oil costs and hybrid vehicle economics, and
eventually to the peak oil problem. That led to the Gaia book in press on
sustainability. It shows rather conclusively that food and fuel will be big
problems by 2050. In the course of researching food, looked at the climate
impacts and stumbled upon the NRC BS. In fact, climate is not the issue for food
production. Absolute food scarcity hits about 2050 at a population about 9.2
billion. Could be earlier, cannot be later.

IPCC has it wrong that fossil fuels will not have peaked by 2050, at least
petroleum including tar sands, and probably coal. Maybe even natural gas
production. So none of the carbon emission scenarios can become true by 2100.
That is one of the findings in the book Gaia. The bigger problem is that even
intensive biofuels cannot save the situation unless population is under 6.5
billion, and it will be about 9.2 by 2050. Very ugly.

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58 thoughts on “NRC’s 2011 ‘Climategate’

  1. Heh.So what is the problem???? Doesn’t this fit in perfectly with the EPA trying to convert most corn into fuel,thus starving a lot of people,and complying with the Useles nation’s Agenda #21??
    Oh. I see. The NRC is supposed to be using FACTS! Silly me.
    I don’t know about you’alls oen south,but my taters and tomatoes LOVE warmtemps.(my corn too)

  2. I assume the booklet also neglects the possibility of growth season shifting. We do hear a lot about spring starting weeks sooner than it used to as a symptom of global warming, so with the lack of danger of frost shifting the growth season forward, exposure to summer heat would also shift or growth season could be lengthened in case that was beneficial to yields (as it would still probably not support an additional crop).

  3. Don’t worry about “peak oil”. Peak “cold fusion” will be the energy source of the future. And that future is closer than you think.

  4. Nice debunking, but the population conclusions etc. are horse feathers. The only accurate UN Population Survey figures are the “Low Band” of its projections. (Low band tab at bottom of spreadsheet.)

    This shows a peak by 2035-2045 at <8 bn, and decline thereafter. More detailed breakout showing the lower edge of that band (the most accurate historically) indicates a date of 2030.

    As for food shortages, the only plausible reason to expect a pause in the per capita increase in food production is global cooling. Every desert near seawater, meantime, can use these: .

    But the super caps may have a far larger future than you think. If the project at succeeds, the build-out of a million+ of its generators will have begun by 2020. In the linked photo here, the large blue structures around the experimental core are heavy duty capacitor banks ….

  5. The robustness of the climate models is reaffirmed by the conclusions of this crop model. (sarc)

  6. Hmm, what’s with the background section? Seems to contain rather a lot of assumptions WRT commodity peaks & food / population for my liking…

  7. Same as yesterday, only yesterday it was seals. If there is significant climate change (which there isn’t), there may be an effect on crop growth – or not.

  8. These people need a few archeologists on the crew. Consider the Anasazi people of the Colorado plateau along the Mancos River. During the Medieval Warm Period, the population flourished. The occupation of the region was dense with a large farming communities. It was warmer then than now. However, during the Pueblo III period (AD1100 – 1300) the climate changed, cooling abruptly in what was called the “great drought.” In the early decades of the change (early Pueblo III, 1100 – 1150) in the Mancos Canyon, crop failures led to cannibalism. By AD 1250, world climate was about where it is now (as measured by global sea level, from Rhodes Fairbridge, 1976, in Science).

    My point is this: right now, the Mancos Canyon is dry and desolate, like it was in AD1250. In warmer decades prior to that (during the MWP) is was more wet and agriculturally abundant with — maize. The known history of maize-growing areas in North America refutes the computer models in the study cited in this blog post. Warmer – wetter – more corn.

    I know from my own garden, corn likes it warmer.

  9. ummm. Just a suggestion. Let’s be trying to develop cold tolerant spring wheat. If corn yeilds go down, no one really is out too much. If wheat yeilds plummet, people starve. And wheat is far more susceptable to cold than it is to heat. Heat reduces yield if drought comes along for the ride. Cold flat out kills the entire field in one night.

  10. Why are they worried about rising temperatures when they have been telling us for the last two US winters that warming causes cold.

  11. No one ever mentions opening up vast areas of Canada and Russia to growing more cereal crops while the more southern parts of the USA grow more tropical veggies. As I recall California and Florida are BIG producers of veggies.

    Wet/warm beats the heck out of Cool/dry. Ask any farmer.

    Bureaucrats are a heck of a lot more threat to world food production than a couple of degrees of temperature BTW. You can see that in the following stories.
    California’s Man-Made Drought ~ The green war against San Joaquin Valley farmers:

    HR 2749: Food Safety’s Scorched Earth Policy (A version of the bill is now law)

    LET THEM EAT GRASS! (A farmer’s reaction ^ )

    As of this year I will no longer sell any farm products BTW It is not worth possibly tangling with the USDA. Here is why:
    Family Facing $4 Million in Fines for Selling Bunnies:

    This is not only going on in the USA (we are the last) but in many other countries as well.
    Fight NAIS down to the last cowboy: Australia Beef Association’s advice to American cattlemen:

    The Battle to Save the Polish Countryside: Julian Rose exposes the scandal of EU’s deliberate policy to get rid of family farms:
    This taste of the EUropean Union may be why “Poland blocks EU efforts on carbon limits”

  12. This isn’t going to be a problem; The cereal grains will just shift to the North, into Canada. If the IPCC were correct (they aren’t), we will be growing bananas and pinapple and coconuts. Pina Coladas anyone?

  13. This is ridiculous. Corn and rice grow just fine in warm areas. Now drought is another matter. But now that warmists tell us AGW beings more rain (something those unre-educated weatherman have been saying for years), we can expect bumper crops.
    Now if that graph represented apples, nectarines or pears, it might have some validity.

  14. The disturbing thing is that the USDA has data for doubled CO2 that says the average yield increase is 50% (cotton has 87% more plant mass and 200% higher yield).

    What is not clear to me is how we are going to get to 500 ppm with all the increased photosynthesis that supports this growth?

    The burning of fossils fuels generates only about 1/16 the CO2 consumed by the current level of global photosynthesis. At some point the increase in photosynthesis will balance the extra CO2 from fossil fuels. There will be increased growth in desert areas because higher CO2 means less water loss from transpiration. It doesn’t appear that the CO2 level can increase indefinitely.

  15. “Absolute food scarcity hits about 2050 at a population about 9.2 billion. Could be earlier, cannot be later.”

    Another bit of falsity.

    The present population is 7 Billion. The growth rate peaked at 2.2% in 1963, and had declined. UN population projections for 2050 ranged from about 8 billion to 10.5 billion.

    As this article points out growing food is not the problem. GETTING it to the consumer is.

    …How come we hardly see op-eds on what paved roads, improved sanitation, more efficient distribution networks, soil conservation and a reduction in food waste might do for world hunger? Fifteen percent of the grain harvest is wasted in poorer countries, according to a researcher quoted in this report. Even cutting that in half would amount to an enormous yield gain….

    In the USA farmers are paid not to grow crops

    In 1983, the sharp decline in cropland harvested was the result of “PIK” (payment-in-kind), a USDA land retirement program that paid for the land retirement with surplus commodities. The idle acreage in 1983 included nearly 49 million acres in the PIK program and more than 29 million acres in the Acreage Reduction Programs and Paid Land Diversion programs.

    We have the knowledge to grow plenty of food if we wanted to but that is not a good “Money-maker” famine is. That is why we ended up with biofuels.
    How Goldman Sachs Created the Food Crisis:
    Giant agribusinesses make billions in profit out of growing global food crisis:

  16. Remember this guy is a Harvard MBA.
    That means just like the FedEX commercial, someone is going to have to show him how to do it.
    He seems to not be fully acquainted with the cause and effect relationships.

    If he wants to reduce population, then he needs to start a war. Works every time.

  17. I like Ruds debunking but he omits at least two factors. Firstly warmer temperatures for temperate crops means that a much larger growing area becomes available. Secondly, technical change impacting plant yields and performance.

    From experience, I am working with two fundamental organic technologies that have the proven potential to increase yields by up to 50%, ignoring quality increases. Those figure also ignore demonstrated soil results that vastly increase growing areas or fertile areas to be farmed. These are cutting edge and a government sponsored pilot project is already underway. An example of the latter is using plants to manufacture top soil to specification

    So it seem clear that many other efforts and breakthroughs are in the pipeline as well, GMO can be dropped, it is unnecessary, does not work and has to many drawbacks.

  18. Maybe this has not been raised before. When food is grown to feed warm blooded creatures, a part of the energy in the food is used to keep the body in a narrow temperature range. If the ambient temperature at a place was to change by 1 deg C, then a creature living there would presumably need to eat a different amount of food to maintain optimum body temperature. I don’t have a ready reckoner to calculate the balance, but is this a significant part of the equation?

  19. So I can dismiss these clowns with one waive the hand. Thank you. Saves me a lot of time!

  20. “The bigger problem is that even intensive biofuels cannot save the situation unless population is under 6.5 billion, and it will be about 9.2 by 2050. Very ugly.”

    Sort of like saying even windmills and solar energy can’t save the situation. Biofuels are not the answer in any way.
    Though I suppose if plan was growing biofuels in the ocean, it might be useful.
    But growing biofuels on arable land, is simply a public scam. The only importance it has is government money spent on it and this money buys support for politicians.

    Why base energy policy on mindless political corruption?

    The main issue is cheap source of electrical energy.
    And the problem with oil [which biofuel does not address] is economic and security related- US public uses a lot of gasoline, we import more than 1/2 of it, the US has trade deficit over 1/2 trillion for over decade and oil imports is slightly less than half of this total [250 billion dollars].
    You can’t expect to combine, huge government spending, huge trade deficits, and government choking off any activity in the private sector and expect this to have much future. At least pick two- not all three.

  21. The graph is crap. IPCC TAR4 had sources like Fischer et al. (2005) which used different population, warming and economic development scenarios to predict food production up to 2080. Even in th worst case scenario (slow growth, 13 billion people, max, warming) they said we could feed the planet. African food production would increase 5-fold. FAO has similar studies.

    The IPCC, being what they are, did not of course quote these findings of the study, only that rain-fed wheat production might disappear from Africa….. where most wheat production is irrigated already.

  22. pat says:
    March 22, 2012 at 6:29 pm
    Now if that graph represented apples, nectarines or pears, it might have some validity.

    Based on the reviews Mikey Mann’s new book has been getting, might it represent sour grapes?

  23. That would massively disrupt US food supplies, and would cause starvation elsewhere since the US produces 40% of the world’s corn.
    The graph kind of supports my own provisional conclusions: Americans will get skinnier and learn to love rice and soy. In other words a more Asian style diet.

    You guys when you run out of arguments, talk about adaptation (like Ian Plimer) and how you are gonna love it. Well this is what it means.

    I think the criticisms are plausible, but too harsh. The reason is that when it comes to public policy, planning has to allow for a range of scenarios, including the worst case.

  24. “The 2011 NRC booklet itself is worse than misleading. Text accompanying the chart says, ‘Solid lines show best estimates’.”

    Actually, from the perspective of the Hockey team and their groupies, if corn harvests fail by 50% that is exactly what they want. Rather than be wrong, they’d rather see the world not adapt and for people starve.

    Steve Garcia

  25. Drought stress can be greatly relieved by Sonic Bloom (R). One of my favorite websites is which is always changing. The webmaster has a lot of fun with that site because farmers getting the crop of their lives when the neighbors’ plants withered makes wonderful reading.

    Here in the Western United States, this breakthrough is especially important, as we are violating treaties with Mexico on the Colorado River water, and Sonic Bloom is really the only way we could possibly keep those treaties.

  26. Does anyone who says this stuff have any flipping idea how huge Canada is??? Not to mention (ok I’ll mention it) Siberia???

    There may be some shifts in crop patterns if the worst “speculations” are borne out, but would the world suddenly be in agricultural collapse?? Not based upon any remotely plausible scenario.

    This is just more PAul Ehrlich style hysteria. I was in college in the late 70s being told by some of my learned profs that the world was facing imminent Malthusian catastrophe in the 1980s and 90s.

  27. We must warn farmers to stop using greenhouses, especially those pumping in CO2 as well as warming their plants.

  28. Lady, thank you for the Sonc Bloom, just one of the powerful new technologies that I referred too.

    The watermelons always overlook the technical innovation on top of all the other things they overlook.

    Dont forget due to fake market mechanisms, the oil price is stupidly high If you compare its real price, knock out the real negative subsidies (taxation), wind and solar just cannot compete.

    Plus dont forget, biofuels can be grown n non arable land and supplement food crops. Case in point being say, hemp. Also provides employment, reduces imports and adds to planted productive acreage.

    I just cannot comprehend how Lazy whatsit just cannot read the simple report and see what total horse manure they are spreading. Its like his mental capacity is hovering close to zero. His lack of any form of response seems to confirm this. Sorry about that, but just as the person that wrote to Anthony and suggested that he use his garage, I am at a total loss as to how to get these people to think. I dont really want to do that but they are the ones that allow all the total nonsense that we are having to endure.

  29. What really gets me about these “studies” is that non of them ever seem to have grown anything in their lives. They have no idea how plants react to conditions.

    And they never consider how new growing terrains opening up would affect yields.

    And what further annoys me, is they seem to think humans can’t adapt. Guys, one of the reasons we are so successful is that we are good at adapting … we survived an ice age! They think we can’t survive a bit of warmth? You think we can’t find a maize variety that likes things a little warmer?

  30. Goldie says:
    March 22, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Same as yesterday, only yesterday it was seals.
    Baby seals are proxies for grain crops, or perhaps vice versa, both of which are either proxies or markers of climate change. Or something.

    I ran the head post past a friend who grows broadacre wheat on a very large property in Western Australia. His reply is unprintable on this website. He did add later that these people must never have gone through the tedious business of actually talking to people who grow cereal crops.

  31. As the level of Dire Prediction of Impending Apocalypse has gotten more shrill, and ever less has actually happened, it looks to me like Joe and Jane Sixpack have just tuned it all out.

    I’d a devotee of the news on all things catastrophic, and even I’m tuning out the “models say we’re all gonna die!!!” stuff.

    I think the world is getting panic fatigue and just doesn’t buy it any more…

  32. Tim Minchin says:

    March 22, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    The veal pie reference recalls a certain Cut-me-own-throat dibbler…

    Throat’s sausages would definitely contain wobbly bits, so just like NRC statistics.

  33. As an aside to the C.m.o.t. Dibbler references, I’d love to see Terry Pratchett’s take on the CAGW boondoggle. If anyone can destroy the last vestiges of credibility of Mann & co, he can.

  34. I was listening to a farmer on the radio last year. He commented that when the temperature got close to 100F, you could practically hear the corn growing at night.
    100F is relatively rare in most of Iowa.

  35. LazyTeenager says:
    March 22, 2012 at 10:25 pm
    The graph kind of supports my own provisional conclusions: Americans will get skinnier and learn to love rice and soy. In other words a more Asian style diet.

    Eating less and exercising more will accomplish the same thing, and without courting malnutrition.

    Feed an Asian (any Asian) a healthy diet, and they’ll not only put on weight, each succeeding generation will be taller.

  36. Models equals crap. Again, the tail wagged the dog. My experience with this ilk tells me the required outcome was known and the model designed to fit. If the story says models were used, I disregard it entirely. These Modelers have cried wolf too many times. Mann’s Hockey Schtick model will produce the same outcome when just noise is input. Models equals crap!

  37. With ethanol production mandates in the US, the Greenies have already thrown the poorer people under the bus. People are already hungry. These models should be “forecasting” the price of ethanol.

  38. Warm weather and CO2 make plants LESS productive. Who knew? I guess the ideal growing environment is not a greenhouse after all. Then it must be an igloo with less than 280 ppm CO2.
    (This report absolutely defies common sense, yet there it is.)

  39. All of this noise, when warming probably involves longer, not hotter summers and shorter, slightly less cold winters. This means a longer growing season, a longer growing day, and faster growth due to higher CO2. It’s a win-win from the food point of view.

    There is no reason to expect very hot days beyond what we see already. Their assumptions, per usual, are suspect in a big way.

  40. Robroy, I couldnt agree more. I cannot believe we are paying for studies and reports that dont have 2 cents of common sense in them. How can this be happening? Who is reviewing and approving these expenditures and “scientists”? I use the word scientist in only the loosest possible sense because to me this is so obviously a political document.

  41. If grain crops can be grown in the US from Texas to the Dakotas where the summer temperature difference is greater than ten degrees F, I think a couple degrees won’t hurt a bit.
    Just need to keep up the water…

  42. LazyTeenager says:
    March 22, 2012 at 10:25 pm
    “I think the criticisms are plausible, but too harsh. The reason is that when it comes to public policy, planning has to allow for a range of scenarios, including the worst case.”

    Did you mean to say:
    I think the criticisms are plausible, but too harsh. The reason is that when it comes to public policy, planning has to allow for a range of scenarios, including the false ones.

    They didn’t compute a worst case – they computed a false case because their model was flawed.

  43. LazyTeenager says:
    March 22, 2012 at 10:25 pm
    “The graph kind of supports my own provisional conclusions: Americans will get skinnier and learn to love rice and soy. In other words a more Asian style diet.”

    Some day you should learn about that Asian delicacy called ghee. The leanness of lots of Indians and Pakistanis is mostly owed to the fact that they just don’t have as much ghee as they’d like to.

  44. “The negative yield effect occurs mainly in hot + dry years, not in hot + normal rain years, coherent with experimental heat stress.”

    I didn’t study Climate but I knew this just as a gardener would. But I suppose you can’t ask a gardener as they are not scientists. And if heat is such a problem then we need to get all the stuff we grow in Greenhouses out before they all die!

  45. So then we could grow corn in Montana, ND, etc and in Iowa we could plant in February or March. Gee and I’m only a geologist/engineer.

  46. “The negative yield effect occurs mainly in hot + dry years, not in hot + normal rain years, coherent with experimental heat stress.”

    Using Algebra rules ‘hot’ cancels out of both sides of this equation and you are left with dry or wet. So it’s dry years that will affect yield negatively, which you get more of when the world is cooler?

  47. With his hockey stick graph, derived from tree ring data, Michael Mann tried to convince us that trees grow faster when the weather is warmer. Now they want to convince us of the opposite with food crops?

    Plants love heat. They feed on CO2. Burning fossil fuel provides them with both and, ultimately, provides us with more food, not less.

  48. EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board is saying we need to slash corn production to save the Gulf of Mexico from hypoxia ( a 45% nitrogen reduction is being demanded for the entire Mississippi River Basin!). Their goal is to have us stop eating meat as well as fruits, grains and vegetables that require large N inputs. ( I wish this were hyperbole) In EPAs new world we stop corn production and replace it with alfalfa. Yummm.
    Who needs global warming to destroy our corn crop when we have EPA. Nitrogen is the new CO2. Just think about what a 45% Nitrogen reduction will entail for every decision we make.

    EPA is trotting out these new Nitrogen mandates using the TMDL enforcement process given it under the Clean Water Act 303(d). See the recent Chesapeake and Florida Nitrogen TMDLs as an example. Nitrogen is essential for life and cycles the environment in complex and poorly understood ways- Sound familiar? Because of the new Nitrogen crisis we must follow all the edicts we needed to follow for CO2: no fossil fuels, low impact living, mass transit or walking, simplified food choices etc and we know we must do these things why? Because the models say so.

  49. So we live on the bubble edge of a perfect growing climate everywhere, and the slightest increase in average temperatures will cause widespread declines in agricultural yields……

    ….. and no sufficient substitutable land or crop varieties exist (or can exist) to cope with any slight change in climate…….

    Sure, and I will sell you the Brooklyn Bridge and call that “science”……

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