The Royal Society Disaster Movie: starring the Ehrlichs and The Prince of Wales

disaster_movie06[1]This is funny and sad at the same time. The funny part is the fact that none of Paul Erhlich’s doom and gloom predictions about the human condition from the 70’s on have even come remotely close to true, the sad part is that the Royal Society, whose motto is Nullius in verba, Latin for “Take nobody’s word for it”, is taking the word of this doomer that can’t predict his way out of a paper bag. The focus now? You guessed it: global warming causing “escalating climate disruption”, which is unsupportable when you look at the data. Even the IPCC in their SREX report doesn’t agree with claims of  “escalating climate disruption” as Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. pointed out. Plus, Nature recently went on record with an editorial saying Better models are needed before exceptional events can be reliably linked to global warming.

These facts seem to make no dent in the doomers thinking, which seems to believe we are as ill equipped as the Mayans to manage ourselves, our resources, and our environment. One wonders about their sanity.

(h/t to Dr. Leif Svalgaard).

Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?

10 January 2013
Title:Perspective: Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?
Authors:Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich
Journal:Proceedings of the Royal Society B

Throughout our history environmental problems have contributed to collapses of civilizations. A new paper published yesterday in Proceedings of the Royal Society B addresses the likelihood that we are facing a global collapse now. The paper concludes that global society can avoid this and recommends that social and natural scientists collaborate on research to develop ways to stimulate a significant increase in popular support for decisive and immediate action on our predicament.

Paul and Anne Ehrlich’s paper provides a comprehensive description of the damaging effects of escalating climate disruption, overpopulation, overconsumption, pole-to-pole distribution of dangerous toxic chemicals, poor technology choices, depletion of resources including water, soils, and biodiversity essential to food production, and other problems currently threatening global environment and society. The problems are not separate, but are complex, interact, and feed on each other.

The authors say serious environmental problems can only be solved and a collapse avoided with unprecedented levels of international cooperation through multiple civil and political organizations. They conclude that if that does not happen, nature will restructure civilization for us.

In a statement on his website, HRH The Prince of Wales has reacted to the paper, agreeing, “We do, in fact, have all the tools, assets and knowledge to avoid the collapse of which this report warns, but only if we act decisively now. If, though, in our evermore interconnected and complex world, we are to succeed, real leadership and vision is required. It is just possible that we can rise to this challenge, but to do so we will need to adjust our world view in a profound and comprehensive way. We have to see ourselves as utterly embedded in Nature and not somehow separate from those precious systems that sustain all life. I have said it before, and I will say it again – our grandchildren’s future depends entirely on whether we seize the initiative and prevaricate no further.”

156 thoughts on “The Royal Society Disaster Movie: starring the Ehrlichs and The Prince of Wales

  1. “bring out the clowns” Paul Erlich is an proven idiot period. I’m happy to see this jackwagon is still at it since refuting him is like shooting fish in a glass barrel. As for HRH his every utterance makes the case for a skip in generations. De-funding the organizations they write of is a high priority.

  2. Unfortunately, there has only been a collapse in the careful science that the Royal Society is famed for.

  3. Theyt are pushing so hard for a one world government, and a mark bywhich nobody may buy or sell without the mark. Dangerous times are comming.

  4. Nullius in verba eh …I’ll go along with that. The esteemed Charles really ought to get back to what he is good at, eg raising contented herds of cattle and growing rhubarb.

  5. Prevaricate:
    Speak or act in an evasive way: “he prevaricated when journalists asked questions”.
    So he advises Hisself to seize the initiative provided by The Erlichs Chorus and stop being evasive.about intentions

  6. Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided? Don’t be such a dunderhead, Paul Erhlich. China will not collapse. India will not collapse. It is WESTERN civilization that is likely to fall apart.

    As for Prince Charles….he and his mother have overseen the collapse of a great world power. In our lifetimes we may see England basically vanish from the map, leaving only the legacy of its language (and its thought), and the mystery of how such a great nation could have fallen so far so swiftly.

    And Charles wants to advise others????? Ha!!!!!

  7. How is it that an entomologist losing his mind to a Malthusian nightmare becomes, remains, or can possibly be an esteemed scientist with an attic full of awards? Had he been born just a little earlier his life would have ended swimming in the surf on a Brazilian beach under an assumed name. But here he is. Decked out like a adle-minded Russian Count buckling under the wieght of international fame and money. These are indeed interesting times.

  8. Martin Clark says on January 11, 2013 at 4:26 pm:

    “The esteemed Charles really ought to get back to what he is good at, eg raising contented herds of cattle and growing rhubarb.”

    = = = = = =

    He can talk to the trees too you know – and they are good listeners as they keep stum when he speaks. – Shame he now wants to restrict their CO2 intake —-.

  9. One world government movements out of Britain:
    Cecil Rhodes (Last will, search for “secret society”:)

    http://archive.org/stream/lastwilltestamen00rhodiala#page/196/mode/2up/search/secret+society

    Later: The Fabians
    Shaw , revealed that their goal was to be achieved by “stealth, intrigue, subversion, and the deception of never calling Socialism by its right name.

    http://modernhistoryproject.org/mhp?Article=FinalWarning&C=5.1

    including H G Welles as their propaganda chief, later quit and wrote “The Open Conspiracy”

    Both Rhodes’ and The Fabians megalomaniac fantasies trace back to Ruskin, a pedophile professor of Fine Arts.
    “The aims of the Fabian Society were developed by Webb from what Englishman John Ruskin (1819-1900) taught at Oxford University. Ruskin, a teacher at the Working Men’s College (founded in 1854 by Christian-Socialist philosopher J. F. D. Maurice), a professor of Fine Arts at Oxford, an artist and writer, based his views on those of Socialist Robert Owen. He advocated a utopian society, and espoused theories developed from the teachings of Plato (428-347 BC), who had studied under Socrates, and became the greatest philosopher in history.
    Plato established an academy which operated for 800 years, producing many great men, including Aristotle. In his work, The Republic, he outlined his ideal society, which was an aristocratic society ruled by the elite. It included the elimination of marriage and the family, and introduced selective breeding by the government which would destroy all inferior offspring. In Plato’s utopia, sexual equality dictated that women would fight alongside the men in times of war.”

    It is IMHO likely that Prince Charles was and is influenced by this highly mad “intellectual” UK movement, as it is active to this day (the Fabians still run the Labour party).

  10. Caleb says:
    January 11, 2013 at 4:35 pm
    “In our lifetimes we may see England basically vanish from the map, leaving only the legacy of its language (and its thought), and the mystery of how such a great nation could have fallen so far so swiftly.”

    Not a mistery. A planned transformation; planned by the Fabians. It’s documented.

  11. We do, in fact, have all the tools, assets and knowledge to avoid the collapse of drone, drone, drone…

    WE have the knowledge, Charlie-boy, but you clearly don’t. WE are the assets, and WE no longer regard ouselves as your tool-kit. YOU are the tool. A complete and utter tool. A tool amongst tools. A tool for all seasons.

    And, by-the-way, you don’t even have any grandchildren yet, unless there’s some Fitz-Tool you haven’t yet owned up to.

  12. What bothers me is if we are going into a cooling period, the Ehrlichs will just go back to where they left off with their global cooling into an imminent ice age in the 1970s and death of most of the world by starvation. I wish some knowledgeable sceptics would take the initiative and predict the changes we can expect from global cooling (essentially an increase in extreme weather- looking back 60 years or so for guidance). If not, it will be welcomed by the doomsters tying it all to CO2 as they have recently begun to do and this time they will get the predictions right for the wrong reasons – there’s a nightmare for sceptics.

  13. Well, now they come out and tell us what they wish to do to us, I predict their civilization will end, why not they have done everything they can think of to destroy our communities and society.
    Parasites do tend to wither and starve, when their hosts cast them off. These regulator and administrator classes are parasites, have shown how dangerous and unnecessary they are to civilization as I know it.

  14. Oh were it so easy but alas not so. Our most pressing societal problems have nothing to do with climate and everything to do with greed, avers, True Belief and our willingness to listen to all these demigods.

  15. Seems full of contradictory rhetoric:

    “If, … we are to succeed, real leadership and vision is required.” = One world dictator, i.e. top-down control.
    “We have to see ourselves as utterly embedded in Nature and not somehow separate from those precious systems that sustain all life.” = Let man in this world be subject to bottom-up contraints.

    Now which is it?

  16. There are only two possible conclusions that can be drawn about people like the leaders of the Royal Society:

    – either they are frauds, posing as scientists, lacking any knowledge or training in the scientific method, otherwise they would relent on their belief and accede that their position is unsustainable

    – or this is not about science for them, and they are cynically using their position to argue from authority, in order to sell their world view and politics

    In both cases – they abandon the title of scientist and take on new titles: activist and ignoramus.

  17. Thanks, Anthony. I was going to write up the latest adventures of the famous failed serial doomcasters, Anne and Paul Ehrlich … but my stomach wouldn’t take it, even the Dramamine didn’t help. So I’m glad you did it.

    As for Prince Charles, he’s about as good a climate scientist as he is an artist. He had a showing of his paintings here in San Francisco. A local art critic wrote it up under the title “The Artist Currently Known As Prince” … the critic tried to be kind.

    w.

  18. Unfortunately the most learned Royal Society has form in the field of concentrated pompous arrogance at its most senior levels having had the honour to have as one of its Presidents, one of the greatest of scientists, Lord Kelvin, President of the Society in 1895 who is reported to have declared “Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.” Why ? – presumably for no other reason than because he said so!.

    Where did his ignorance lie – firstly he was totally ignorant of ‘aerodynamics of the wing'; but even worse, he was blind to the possibility of there being a field of physical science of which he was not aware!

    The honourable Lord followed up that gem with this one to an assemblage of physicists at the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1900 in which he stated, “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.

    Oh, and as to the Royal Society’s Motto –
    “Nullius in verba” – (“Take no one’s word for it”.)
    Which claims the Society – “ is an expression of the determination of Fellows to withstand the domination of authority and to verify all statements by an appeal to facts determined by experiment”.
    Yes, quite so. Time for a new motto?- perhaps ‘Incumbo inflatus superbia’

    As to his Royal Highness – I do hope we do not skip a generation; it’s just the succession Australia needs to go Republic!

  19. “…our grandchildren’s future depends entirely on whether we seize the initiative and prevaricate no further.”
    ——-
    Why do I doubt that Prince Charles cares much for our grandchildren? Maybe it’s because the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree, and his father is reported to have said, “In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation.”

    The best way to slow population growth is to reduce the use of fossil fuels and turn food into energy. No wonder Prince Charles and the Ehrlichs want to double-down on such foolishness. They are the biggest threat to our grandchildren, not global warming.

  20. troe says:
    January 11, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    “bring out the clowns” Paul Erlich is an proven idiot period. I’m happy to see this jackwagon is still at it since refuting him is like shooting fish in a glass barrel. As for HRH his every utterance makes the case for a skip in generations. De-funding the organizations they write of is a high priority.

    =============================================

    The UN and the IPCC have been corrupt forever… they both need to go.. pronto

    they most certainly need to be defunded and disbanded.

  21. Martin Clark, Charlie Boy, heir to the throne, is not good at anything. He is an idiot and a dimwit. I hope his mother outlives him.

  22. Gary Pearse says January 11, 2013 at 4:58 pm
    I wish some knowledgeable sceptics would take the initiative and predict the changes we can expect ..

    Why, thank you Gary, allow me to oblige:

    It will get hotter and colder, wetter and drier, in the future; but the planet will continue to spin out of control.

  23. all the CAGW zealots are out in force at the moment, including Australia’s Minister for Trade & Competitiveness(?), Craig Emerson:

    12 Jan: Australian: Craig Emerson: Let’s do the right thing by our kids and our planet
    ATTEMPTS to link the frequency of extreme weather events such as this week’s catastrophic bushfire conditions with climate change are usually greeted with derision. But this time it’s highly reputable scientists who are making the link. We should take notice…
    Armed with its alarming report, the World Bank embraces the principle of intergenerational equity in calling on the world “to assume the moral responsibility to take action on behalf of future generations, especially the poorest”.
    As to the precautionary principle, despite the CSIRO concluding that the projections of climate scientists “have been accurate”, there remains a substantial body of opinion – outside the Australian parliament and within it – that the science is not settled and that Australia should not act on climate change until it is.
    On the conservative side of politics, every Liberal leader, including Tony Abbott, has supported putting a price on carbon…
    It’s not as if carbon pricing has wrecked the economy or wiped out entire communities. And it’s not as if the climate-change science is highly contested by actual climate scientists. Surely, based on the precautionary principle and intergenerational equity, putting a price on carbon is the least we can do for future generations…
    Let’s do the right thing by our children and the planet.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/lets-do-the-right-thing-by-our-kids-and-our-planet/story-e6frgd0x-1226551494224

  24. some possible reasons for the panic!

    11 Jan: ICIS: Vote to ban Russian carbon emission reduction units from EU ETS set for 23 January
    The EU’s Climate Change Committee is set to vote on 23 January on the European Commission’s proposal to restrict rules regarding the use of emission reduction units (ERUs) in Phase III (2013-2020) of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS)…

    http://www.icis.com/heren/articles/2013/01/11/9631170/vote-to-ban-russian-carbon-emission-reduction-units-from-eu-ets-set-for-23.html

    11 Jan: Reuters Point Carbon: ERUs plummet 61 pct on commission ban plans
    LONDON, Jan 11 (Reuters Point Carbon) – Emission Reduction Units (ERUs) plummeted as much as 60 percent on Friday on news the EU had watered down its proposal to restrict the use of some types of U.N. carbon credits from the bloc’s emissions trading scheme, traders said…

    http://www.pointcarbon.com/news/1.2134315?&ref=searchlist

    10 Jan: Reuters Point Carbon: California to net less than planned from carbon market
    SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 10 (Reuters Point Carbon) – Weaker-than-anticipated demand for permits at California’s inaugural carbon auction has caused the state to lower its forecast for expected cap-and-trade revenue from $1 billion to $200 million for the year, dealing a blow to the governor’s plans to use the money to fund a costly high-speed rail project…

    http://www.pointcarbon.com/news/1.2132722?&ref=searchlist

  25. re:
    Title: Perspective: Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?
    Authors:Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich

    What a great gig.
    One can be dead wrong about the future for decades and still be considered insightful.

    Am I in the wrong business . . .

  26. I think HRH means “procrastinate” not “prevaricate” – someone needs to remind HRH of the Queens English. HRH would make Mrs. Malaprop proud.

    As for the Ehrlich’s they are simply “pawns” in the political game to reduce freedoms, enslave the people and grab more and more power for the elite (bankers/politicians and aristocracy). A pity that the Ehrlich’s egos are so big that they cannot see how they are being used.

  27. Stupidity annoys me. Unfortunately scientists are not immune to it as James Watson points out in the Double Helix: “One could not be a successful scientist without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of scientists, a goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid.” Fifty years on we see the Royal Society boosting the Ehrlich’s stupidity, evidently approved by its president, Sir Paul Nurse.

  28. In the light of the Royal Society position, a collapse of the no-more-so-global British civilization seems unavoidable.

  29. The Future King of Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Great Britain, would-be Defender of the Faith & Commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces is determined to seize the initiative and prevaricate no further. Am I surprised?

  30. “…our grandchildren’s future depends entirely on whether we seize the initiative and prevaricate no further.” Surely he meant “procrastinate” not “prevaricate”?

  31. We know that David Cameron’s father-in-law makes £1,000 per day from his small wind farm.
    Prince Chuckles (and the’family’) owns vast swathes of the UK, including (through the Crown Estates) the Rights to the entire coast below low tide. Much of the Royal land holdings include areas that are being developed by BigWind. Chuckles must be trousering Millions per day from the wind scam.
    Is this a clue as to why he is so keen on cAGW lies? I doubt that any individual in the UK has abigger direct financial interest in this scam.
    Bad King John was a philanthropist compared with this guy.

  32. I disagree, Global Warming is very likely to create a collapse of civilization, not because it is true, but because it is false (and proven false by more than 15 years of no warming).
    It goes like this:
    The warmistas gain control, and bring about their agenda.
    Result, a collapse of the global economy, a complete loss of all freedoms and associated government corruption, etc.
    (Absolute power corrupting absolutly).
    Starvation, plague, people freezing to death in the dark, etc.
    Desperate people revolt, or are close to doing so.
    The ‘great leaders’ take the traditional remedy, find someone else to blame.
    (Blame the Jews, that always works).
    Result, war, probably a world war, now in a world with nuclear weapons.

    You will know it is about to happen when universal prosperity and peace is declared.

    The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling (excerpt)

    When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
    They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
    But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

    In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
    By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
    But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

    Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
    And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
    That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

    As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
    There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
    That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
    And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

    And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
    When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
    As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

  33. I’ve just looking at a program on National Geographic about the greatest threat against Britain during the 17th century, witchcraft and the increasing influence of the devil, which greatly worried the royals at the time!
    Nothing really changes. Human nature stays the same.

  34. “We have to see ourselves as utterly embedded in Nature and not somehow separate from those precious systems that sustain all life.”

    Screw that. Being utterly embedded in nature was really unpleasant before we had mosquito repellant, soap instead of natural filth, chlorinated water, and air conditioning instead of disgusting sweatiness. We need to advance further. Once mankind used just natural enclosures (caves); now we make our own (buildings). Once mankind depended on natural aeration of soil alone; now we have plows (and optionally soil-free hydroponics). Once mankind depended on natural nitrogen fixation alone; now we don’t. Once and presently mankind depends on one planet with pre-existing life; if advancing properly, in time we (or cool cybernetic descendants) won’t. Et cetera. That doesn’t mean to destroy nature but to expand capabilities, include natural beauty (houseplants, gardens, etc.) when appropriate, and eventually spread life to other worlds.

  35. Paul and Anne Ehrlich’s paper provides a comprehensive description of the damaging effects of escalating climate disruption,

    CAGW falsehoods.

    overpopulation

    The world population growth rate as an annual percentage rate has halved in the past several decades and continues to decline due to the demographic transition, projected to drop to 0% and negative later this century. Some countries like Japan have already started declining.

    “overconsumption,”

    From human energy usage of 2 terawatts electrical power plus several terawatts other, tiny compared to 200000 terawatts of sunlight hitting Earth, tiny compared to the energy reserves in billions of tons of uranium in seawater and thorium on land (quite affordably extractable especially if breeder reactors were used)?

    From human material usage of the equivalent of several cubic kilometers or less of material per year on a planet where the crust is hundreds of millions of cubic kilometers?

    There isn’t a single element which is the grand disaster of running out that activists claim. Aluminum, iron, and a number of others are high percentages of the crust with quadrillions of tons available. Elements which are less common are needed in around proportionately lesser quantities anyway; for instance, while phosphorus is only 0.1% or so (IIRC) of the average rock by mass, it is also a comparably low percentage of vegetation by mass, and mankind will never run out of phosphorus affordable to extract relative to the amount needed for fertilizer. Hydrocarbons, including plastics as well as fuels, can be synthesized by Fischer-Tropsch methods using any hydrogen source, any carbon source, and any energy source (though the amount of fossil fuels is vastly more than common false claims imply anyway).

    Sometimes there can be trouble like too many people littering in a locale, but there is no intrinsic problem with current and future consumption, rather great benefits compared to how much life sucked for the average peasant or slave of past ages. In fact, increasing consumption, production, and industrial & economic capabilities is the proper destiny of mankind. Although obviously not done overnight, there is enough material in the solar system for millions of times Earth’s surface area in artificial worlds, space habitats (with pseudogravity by rotation, radiation shielding from local extraterrestrial material or magnetic shields, and original launch of immigrants by options including http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/StarTram where each $70 billion generation 2 installation could send up 4 million people per decade).

    “pole-to-pole distribution of dangerous toxic chemicals”

    Predominately vastly overrated.

    On the whole, people are living longer and healthier than ever before. With something like 99% of cancer mortality occuring to people over age 50, cancer is primarily a subdisease of aging (senescence) effectively. While cancer existed eons before technological civilization (as can be seen in old fossils), more people are living long enough to encounter cancer now, but that is better than how in the old days people died of other causes at earlier ages.

    “poor technology choices,”

    Economics is a valid consideration. Poverty sucks (and statistically kills).

    “depletion of resources including water”

    Mankind couldn’t use up the oceans if we tried; desalination is quite affordable now if needed, only a few hundred dollars per acre-foot; and water goes in a cycle. There are some local cases of underground fresh water which can be depleted, leading to a need to switch to other sources, but no show-stopper for mankind as a whole.

    “soils”

    More mathematical illiteracy on the whole.

    “biodiversity essential to food production,”

    There are only a moderate number of thousands of vertebrate species. Saving them (and bringing back some cool extinct species like mammoths by cloning) is desirable but does not require the demands of Ehrlich-type people. Most total biodiversity, as in figures like millions of species in press releases, consists of the number of invertebrates (such as insects). Such as the number of different types of bugs in a jungle in South America has little to do with such as the yield of growing corn in Iowa. Increasing CO2 greatly aids food production, though.

    ————————————

    The BSing debunked above is among the real roots of the CAGW movement, part of why it is an excuse for the cuts to mankind’s consumption, production, and capabilities that they want anyway. Rarely does direct argument on CAGW touch on these, but that is partially why such argument is so rarely effective, because someone believing the quotes above tends to want CAGW to be believed by others (regardless of the actual facts of climate and not really caring that much about them).

  36. As an English friend now -deceased used to say: “I think Elizabeth is hoping the Winsor male genes kick in and Charles is found face down in his wheatabix..” “I know she is hoping to out live him..”

  37. The Alarmists seem incapable of facing the major contradiction in their position.

    On the one hand, they see mankind as so powerful as to be radically changing the planet and its climate, and on the other hand, so puny that it cannot successfully adapt to changes like it has always done in the past.

    This is why they are always wrong.

  38. The Royal Society, I expect no standards from, given that they are siding with 1950’s science fiction (apocalypse movies) and asking questions from them as though they wre not fantasy, though I wouldn’t expect a Prince to be down at the level of the schoolboy fantasy

  39. Perhaps i’m wrong then – Per Strandberg, and have it in reverse. A Prince might be worried about schoolroom fantasy, but a Scientific academy ought to have better standards

  40. Based on the Nov 2012 US elections, I would say that the collapse of global civilisation has already occurred.

  41. “””””…..Vinceo says:

    January 11, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    “…our grandchildren’s future depends entirely on whether we seize the initiative and prevaricate no further.” Surely he meant “procrastinate” not “prevaricate”? “””””

    No you have it completely wrong; he said prevaricate, and that is what he means. This prevarification has gone on long enough; time for some truth to shine through.

  42. “Typhoon says:
    January 11, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    re:
    Title: Perspective: Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?
    Authors:Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich

    What a great gig.
    One can be dead wrong about the future for decades and still be considered insightful.

    Am I in the wrong business . . .”

    Seems so. What you need is an impressive name and titles, like maybe 10. So
    L. Typhoon BSc, MBA, PhD (atmospherics), PhD(environment), F.A.R.T

  43. RE: DirkH says:
    January 11, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    OK DirkH, you have me curious, and I’ll look into the “Fabians” a bit. However if it turns out that some group of people have once again decided they ought to be the “elite,” and rule over the “masses,” it is just the same old mistake: Absolute power never works.

    What made England great was not its royalty hoarding power, but rather the fact they had the brains to share power. (Or maybe they had their arms twisted, but in any case the Magna Carta did share power in a way the Czar of Russia didn’t share power.)

    In England a person such as Francis Drake could hope to rise from humble beginnings and be Knighted. Such a society is able to use “lower class” genius which more rigid societies prevent from rising into prominence.

    Of course, it is not always the cream that rises to the top. When refining gold, it is the crud and slag that rises to the top. Perhaps we are living in a time when a lot of slag is rising to the top, where it will eventually be skimmed off.

  44. At what point does someone become notorious (in that notoriety is bad) and is shunned? How many times does one get to be wrong?

    Just askin…..

  45. “””””…..Caleb says:

    January 11, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided? Don’t be such a dunderhead, Paul Erhlich. China will not collapse. India will not collapse. It is WESTERN civilization that is likely to fall apart.

    As for Prince Charles….he and his mother have overseen the collapse of a great world power. In our lifetimes we may see England basically vanish from the map, leaving only the legacy of its language (and its thought), and the mystery of how such a great nation could have fallen so far so swiftly……”””””

    Perhaps you don’t understand the role (actually lack of a role) of the British Monarchy.

    The people and the governments they elected are entirely responsible for the “collapse of a great world power.” QE II had nowt to do with it.

    What was it Sir Winston Churchill said: “I am not come to power to preside over the dissolution of the British Empire.” or words to that effect.

    Then of course he did just that. The Royal Family simply looks on; they play no part in the politics of the country.

  46. What an idiot, more a leech. I think the prince needs to labor for a day, no, a year. That poor fellow couldn’t last month as a laborer espousing his views. I contend he would need counseling after the experience if he couldn’t fly away.

    Boys will be boys ya know.

  47. I think Ehrlich’s name would make a good synonym for wrong.

    Ehrlich (ar’likh)
    -n. A spectacularly wrong prediction. (e.g. The tabloid’s year end psychic predictions all turned out to be Ehrlichs.)
    -v. To not pan out. (e.g. The ponzi scheme started out fine, but then it Ehrliched.)
    -adj. Wrong, incorrect. (e.g. The Mayan Calendar end of the world prediction turned out to be Ehrlich.)

  48. I don’t believe Ehrlich has ever acknowledged he was wrong about anything. The timing just required adjusting. In the same sense, I suppose, that Harold Camping’s predictions about the end of the world weren’t wrong per se, just the timing was an issue…

  49. tgmccoy says:
    January 11, 2013 at 6:27 pm
    ______________________________________

    It’s one of the greatest ironies of all time – that the ignoramus, first in line to the monarchy has to join with the neomonarchists as his only chance.

    God save the Queen.

  50. Every evening the Queen prays, dear lord, please one more day, to keep that …… of mine off of the throne.
    But the Brits still have one claim to fame, the Royal Family is the longest ongoing soap-opera in the english speaking world,the above; its the Arslick episode.

  51. Prince Charles’s grandchildren will be supported by the English taxpayers just like their twit of a grandfather. No one needs to worry about their future unless the stupid Prince gets us to go along with this insanity, then there will be no British economy to support the future royal grand-twits.

  52. Oh great, now we have to wait a whole month for the next issue.

    Will Big Marriage and proCREATIONIST Lovemaking interests deploy well-funded bloggers and scientists to cleverly re-frame the incontrovertible science of human overpopulation as merely a theory?! Will scientists successfully model how females choose males based on traits that indicate the male’s genetic quality in terms of disease resistance thus verifying through “experiment” immunocompetence in female mate choice?! What a cliff hanger.

  53. “””””……Let me, however, make this clear, in case there should be any mistake about it in any quarter: we mean to hold our own. I have not become the King’s First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire. For that task, if ever it were prescribed, some one else would have to be found, and under a democracy I suppose the nation would have to be consulted……””””””

    This appears to be the exact wording; in a speech given in London, Nov 10 1942. One of the best known speeches, it is generally known as “The end of the beginning speech” given after the battle of El Alemain; the defeat of Erwin Rommel.

    You wouldn’t believe the crap versions of this statement; even referring to him becoming “her” majesty’s first minister. Obviously, King George VI was the monarch in 1942. QE II and Charlie had nothing to do with the demise of the British Nation; the people brought it on themselves.

    The speech is often quite erroneously attributed to the Churchill Ghandi clash over India; which was many years later. And the word “liquidation” is often misquoted as “dissol;ution” as I did above.

    You wouldn’t believe the crap that is erroneously attributed to Churchill. A dire warning of the complete garbage available on the web in the guise of fact.

    We should heed the Churchill quote phenomenon, as infecting the whole web, and surely alive and well in the field of climate “science”.

  54. I saw this post over at AmericanDigest a few days ago and, after reading this post about the Ehrlichs and the Prince, I thought it might provide some needed perspective to all those folks who are so confident in and attached to, their own prognostications.

    http://americandigest.org/mt-archives/american_studies/1910.php

    JANUARY 8, 2013

    1910: Car and Nation

    [Note: Item received in email this morning.]

    This car was assembled on November 11th of 1910. Normally, 1909/1910 style bodies were wooden, but this 1910 style body is partially steel, the only one known; presumably a transition to the use of all steel bodies in 1911. It was originally delivered to R.E. Lawrence in Astoria, IL. Vernon Jarvis of Decatur, IL, purchased the car in 1951 and later displayed it in his Early American Museum at Silver Springs, FL, until in 1967, when the current owner bought it. After 30 years in storage, restoration was completed in March, 2007.

    The year is 1910, over one hundred years ago.

    The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.

    Fuel for this car was sold in drug stores only.

    Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.

    Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.

    There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads.

    The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

    The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!

    The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour.

    The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.

    A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

    More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME.

    Ninety percent of all Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION!

    Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND the government as ‘substandard.’

    Sugar cost four cents a pound.

    Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.

    Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

    Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

    Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.

    The five leading causes of death were:
    1. Pneumonia and influenza
    2, Tuberculosis
    3. Diarrhea
    4. Heart disease
    5. Stroke

    The American flag had 45 stars.

    The population of Las Vegas Nevada was only 30!

    Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn’t been invented yet.

    There was no Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.

    Two out of every 10 adults couldn’t read or write and only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

    Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.

    There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A.!

    I am now going to forward this to someone else without typing it myself.

    From there, it will be sent to others all over the WORLD… all in a matter of seconds!

    Posted by gerardvanderleun at January 8, 2013 11:00 PM

    Does anyone really suspect that the changes the world will experience between now and the end of this century will actually be less dramatic than those that have occurred over the last hundred years? I have no idea what the world of 2100 will look like and, since I won’t be here to see it, I can’t say that I am much bothered by that. What does bother me is the growing flock of morons who, having firmly established that they are entirely oblivious to what is actually going on in the present moment, nevertheless cling like barnacles to the notion that they can know the limitless future with such rock solid certainty that anyone who challenges their Malthusian visions is committing a crime against humanity which merits a capital sentence.

  55. Max Hugoson: – Good point (in general), but must say that “some of my best friends”, quite intelligent, have been hypnotized by the relentless fact-free barrage of emotional appeals our G-d Given sense of responsibility to others, and to more than our narrow self-interests. I do my best to suggest to them they check the data and sources, and develop discernment in regards what they take as “truth”.

    Further, I think CAWG is certainly a central battleground for hearts and minds, and in the spirit of ‘follow-the-money’ it always seems to lead to vast corporate empires, and beyond to “elites” in the Maurice Strong model, making plans for us and our nations and families. It is really the ‘perfect excuse’ for policing the world’s economies, and thus control of our communities, inspiration and aspirations, and creativity to respond to challenges with our own resources (and His Mercy).

    I really ought to tender an apology to all for posting that vile bit of, likely, agiprop (is that the term?). Yet behind the twisted anti-Jew pseudo-history, and feverish and internally contradictory ramblings, there’s enough bits of information to give one pause. I guess what I take away from stuff like this (after a shower and eye-wash) is how important it is to really do the work, study and research, and never let anyone do the thinking for you. At the same time, it brings home to me that there are, in a world as vast and varied as ours, groups and individuals whose grasp of what most of us take from our fore-bearers as a hard-fought but now basic morality, is damaged to non-existent, and that unfortunately many of these have money far beyond their personal needs, “desiring only power”, to paraphrase LOTR (Lord of the Rings).

    A far more interesting and somewhat more intellectual defensible version of how we’ve arrived where we are, leastways in the latter half of 20th Century till now, dealing with computer models, objectivism, and the like, can be found in this shorter documentary “All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace”, by Adam Curtis, out of the BBC: –

    http://thoughtmaybe.com/all-watched-over-by-machines-of-loving-grace/

    It’s easy to see how the hubris of the technological elite can lead us, all by itself, to where we are now with ‘climate change’ politics, without positing a ‘hidden hand’.

  56. RE: george e. smith says:
    January 11, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    “……The Royal Family simply looks on; they play no part in the politics of the country.”

    In which case Charles would have no more influence, when he shares his ideas, than you and I have, when we share ours.

    When I attended school in Scotland in the early 1970’s I learned, as an American teenager, that it wasn’t entirely wise to refer to the English queen as “Queenie Baby.” The power royalty had over the English psyche, at that time, was much like power a Hollywood star has over some Americans, only greater. Very smart people were reduced to gibbering idiots, if the royalty walked into the room. It didn’t seem to matter if the royalty had an IQ of 79, the very smart person abruptly behaved as if they had an IQ of 60.

    That is (or was) power. However that was over 40 years ago. (There were still some older teachers back then who had a world view that saw the English as world leaders, and taught an attitude that now seems forgotten. They most especially hadn’t forgotten the terrible sacrifices of two horrible World Wars.)

  57. Heh. The Mayans must have been a canny bunch. They closed their calendar at (almost) the end of last year and are now out of it. The rest of us have to continue to suffer the nonsense …
    perhaps, they saw AR5 coming! …

  58. Perhaps the Royal Society has a point. What they have gotten wrong is the cause of the collapse for those which did fail and dis: the return of the cold.

    Selection of completely inappropriate tools will just make an even bigger mess.

  59. I have one book in my collection which I especially treasure, a signed copy of “How to Know the Butterflies”, authored by Paul and Anne Ehrlich which was published in 1961. At that time Paul was curator of the Entomological Collections at Stanford and shortly thereafter began to study populations of the Bay Checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha) in the Jasper Ridge Preserve of the campus. It must have been there, as he tracked and counted these butterflies amidst the oak studded hills and dales, that he eventually considered the fate of the human population, and, as they say, the rest is history.

  60. Here is something I posted on tips and notes but seems more appropriate here.

    “A somewhat more arcane milestone, meanwhile, generated no media coverage at all: It took humankind 13 years to add its 7 billionth. That’s longer than the 12 years it took to add the 6 billionth—the first time in human history that interval had grown. (The 2 billionth, 3 billionth, 4 billionth, and 5 billionth took 123, 33, 14, and 13 years, respectively.) In other words, the rate of global population growth has slowed. And it’s expected to keep slowing. Indeed, according to experts’ best estimates, the total population of Earth will stop growing within the lifespan of people alive today. And then it will fall……………………

    From 1960 to 2009, Mexico’s fertility rate tumbled from 7.3 live births per woman to 2.4, India’s dropped from six to 2.5, and Brazil’s fell from 6.15 to 1.9. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, where the average birthrate remains a relatively blistering 4.66, fertility is projected to fall below replacement level by the 2070s…………

    And in the long term—on the order of centuries—we could be looking at the literal extinction of humanity.”

    http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2013/01/world_population_may_actually_start_declining_not_exploding.single.html

    Counter argument with a response from the author of the above.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/01/11/why_the_world_population_will_not_decline.html

    The graph Ehrlich probably doesn’t want you to see.

    http://www.census.gov/population/international/data/idb/worldgrgraph.php

  61. “If the world goes green, then organic farmers will do well.

    I run a big organic farming business, so I’ll be all right Jack.”

    That would sum up the economics of it.

    I don’t doubt that HRH fervently believes what he believes though.

  62. Caleb, Richard K et al,

    A nit-pick I know, but as an independent country England did in fact disappear from the map in 1707 when it joined with Scotland to form a new country, Great Britain. England now is one of four “states” which make up the country of GB.

    And while I hold no brief to defend Prince Charles, I would point out that for a time as a regular Officer in the Royal Navy, he commanded a warship, and my understanding is that he did it very well.

  63. In a statement on his website, HRH The Prince of Wales has reacted to the paper, agreeing, “We do, in fact, have all the tools, assets and knowledge to avoid the collapse of which this report warns, but only if we act decisively now.

    And in an earlier speech we have the following:

    “Furthermore, because climate change is intimately connected with our systemic, unsustainable consumption of natural resources, any decline in the ecological resilience of one resource base or ecosystem increases the fragility of the whole.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/15/prince-charles-speech-copenhagen-climate

    You first your highness. ;-)

  64. If Prince Charles was concerned about the environment he wouldn’t insist on being driven everywhere in his Bentley that does an environment saving 18 mpg. Not that that kind of hypocricy will come as a surprise to readers here.
    He is a deluded fool.

  65. oldseadog says:
    January 12, 2013 at 1:34 am

    If I could be permitted a nit-pick. The four countries of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales make up the UK = The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Also, I have been in the UK military for a few decades and my Royal Navy colleagues who are in the know would argue with our assessment of his seamanship. He meant well though and tried his best.

  66. Martin Clark says on January 11, 2013 at 4:26 pm:
    “The esteemed Charles really ought to get back to what he is good at, eg raising contented herds of cattle and growing rhubarb.”

    Prince Charles? Be informed, people, we are dealing with someone who’s stated ambition in life is to become a tampon.

    Says it all, really.

  67. george e smith says: January 11, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    ‘Churchill Ghandi (sic) clash over India; which was many years later. ‘

    Churchill / Gandhi was many years earlier not later, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated on 30th January,1948.

    “It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr. Gandhi, a seditious middle temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half-naked up the steps of the viceregal palace, while he is still organizing and conducting a defiant campaign of civil disobedience, to parley on equal terms with the representative of the king-emperor.”

    – Winston Churchill, 1930

  68. Steve Jones says:
    January 12, 2013 at 1:56 am

    He is a deluded fool.

    Steve, that’s quite an insulting statement. Many deluded fools of my acquaintance would be most upset that you’re comparing them to Loonie Prince Charlie.

    :-D

  69. There is a generalized push to take over the world (“global governance”) and a particular push at the moment into agriculture. One of the best ways to control folks is food. How many times have you heard them yell and shout that food was threatened or scarce?

    One Small Problem. It isn’t.

    I did a little posting yesterday that was just looking at grains. (I’m going to also look at some others, like beans, but that will be later). One of my ‘rules of thumb’ for stored food for disasters is 1 pound of dry food per person per day. (Hey, I live on top of an earthquake fault, have been through a 7.x, and used the food storage system several times… it isn’t a theoretical to me.) So I thought I’d look at what it takes to get that much food for a planet of 10 Billion people.

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/grains-and-why-food-will-stay-plentiful/

    First off, it looks at the major grains and finds you can just shift what grain grows where if the climate moves warmer OR colder. Second, there are some grains suited to ‘variable’ rains and droughts. All bases covered.

    Then there’s systems already being used that can double, yes, double grain production.

    But the killer, for me, was just calculating how much land it would take to give 1 lb grain per person per day for a year for the planet. IF grown at USA corn tons / acre rate (that can be done with sorghum and rice too using the System of Rice Intensification) it comes out an area 800 miles on a side. Texas is 900 edge to edge.

    So a square as wide as Texas and the same amount up north (what’s that? About Kansas?) can grow enough grain that every person on the planet is full.

    There is no food shortage. There is no impending doom.
    We choose to feed a lot of grain to cars ( 40% of US corn), cows, pigs, chickens, etc
    We choose to have white fluffy bread and ice cream instead of rice, oats, and beans. In any kind of ‘food emergency’ we can change what we choose and feed the entire world from Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

    Tell the Malthusians that the end of the world has been called off… and they don’t need to take over world farming.

    BTW, found data for India. Their millet production is way up… but they are eating much less of it. Why? It is now being fed to animals…. Even India isn’t hungry… They have surplus grain so the traditional ‘poverty foods’ are being fed to chickens…

    Oh, and for the Bonny Prince who-ha and the M’s Ehrlichs: Texas doesn’t need the rest of the world. It isn’t dependent on the rest of the world. It is not in danger of collapse, nor does it even have much in the way of problems worth notice. It doesn’t need you, or anyone else, to “save it”. If you try, you will regret it. “Don’t mess with Texas”.

    ( I say that as a Californian who married into a Texas family and visited a few times. My first introduction to my “Texas Uncle” in the receiving line with my ‘spouse to be’ was him telling me “Hello, son. Nice to meet you. Let me tell you something; if you evah do anythang to hurt that little girl, I’m gonna hunt you down and kill you. Welcome to the family, son.” And he meant every word of it. That’s just how folks in Texas are. Friendly. Polite. Direct. And honest. He’s a great guy, btw. We’ve shared many a beer and bbq.)

    Just sayin’…

    Might want to try that ‘world domination’ thing somewhere else first…

  70. Charles will come to be known as Charles the Halfwit. His plants will bear that out as they are forced to listen to his unhinged ravings.

    He is a rather nasty piece of work who constantly interferes in the democratic process*. No wonder his mother refuses to take her leave.

    * http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/25/prince-charles-chelsea-barracks-planning

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/dec/16/prince-charles-letters-to-ministers

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/theroyalfamily/6123976/Prince-Charles-has-abused-his-position-to-influence-planning-process-architect-claims.html

    “Much is being made of (Attorney General) Dominic Grieve’s decision to ban publication of Prince Charles’ correspondence with ministers. Republic, a group which campaigns for the abolition of the monarchy, has been pressing for their release through freedom of information requests over the last seven years. Having successfully convinced three judges of the public interest in seeing the Prince of Wales’ letters, Grieve has taken the unusual step of vetoing their decision.”

  71. Jimbo, from your quote:

    And in the long term—on the order of centuries—we could be looking at the literal extinction of humanity.

    This is truly awe inspiring – both that someone would take it seriously and that someone would write it in the first place.

    This is exactly the same kind of woolly-headed thinking that the whole AGW thing is based on. See a trend? Draw a straight line, extend to infinity (or catastrophe, whichever comes first).

    Honestly, if the world population gets low enough that humanity is facing extinction, I have to say that if people don’t do something about it they would then DESERVE that extinction. How could any sane, rational person actually extend that “trend” to zero? While there probably is a population optimum, that number is firmly rooted in culture, not resources. From what I’ve seen, people used to high density populations like India or China immigrate to new, open spaces and immediately long for the comfort of people. The wide-open spaces that many North Americans take for granted (and consider desirable) are perceived as lonely and unwanted. Personally, if I could afford it, I would be HAPPY to have a ranch somewhere 1/2 hour or so out of town… close enough to get supplies, far enough to be isolated. With enough property to wander around without encountering neighbors.

    When I was a kid we went to World’s Fair 74, in Spokane, Washington. I clearly remember the giant population clock, dinging each birth, counting upwards at an alarming rate. I figured it was horrible, because I had no frame of reference. It seemed like a “population bomb” at the time, but mostly because we were being told it was. Never mind that most of that “explosion” was happening in countries that were experiencing incredible advances in food production and medical care, that even the poorest person in almost every First World nation has a better life than Royalty even just decades ago.

    It’s pretty much a given that as prosperity and quality of life improves, fertility decreases. Most First-World nations are below replacement numbers, thus essentially forcing governments to open the doors to immigration just to ensure a healthy tax base. Population worriers need to consider that the only answer to overpopulation is to increase the standard of living, which is ironic given that they want to decrease living standards as a sacrifice to the AGW god.

    Fertility Rates: (2.00 = minimal replacement)
    Canada: 1.59
    US: 2.06
    Australia: 1.77
    UK: 1.91
    Russia: 1.61
    (from http://www.indexmundi.com/g/r.aspx?t=0&v=31&l=en )

    As for Prince Charles, we can try, but the only combinations of words that would accurately describe him would certainly not get past moderation.

  72. “The Artist Currently Known As Prince”
    Priceless!
    Willis, you just have to let Josh know about this!

  73. .
    The signs of economic decline and social collapse are normally first visible in civil strife and civil wars. If you look around the world today, all of the world’s civil strife and wars are being caused by a religion, and not through food shortages, climate disruption or environmental issues.

    If we wish to prevent the collapse of Western civilisation, I would suggest that all fundamentalist creeds are put through a rigorous Reformation and Enlightenment movement, where all of their more bizarre, elitest and agressive tennets are debated, dissected and destroyed one by one. Only then will we stabilise world society.

    .

  74. The Duchy of Cornwall was given to Charles on his 21st birthday and is worth at least £700 million.

    However, though the Prince likes to preach he doesn’t want to contribute financially to “seizing the initiative”. The Prince’s Duchy has always avoided paying corporation tax despite being a huge commercial operation which includes agriculture, land, property development and food.

    A judge recently ruled that the Duchy should pay 24% corporation tax like any normal business. The Prince disagrees and the Duchy’s tax arrangements are now being investigated.

    “As well as duchy income, last year Charles received £2.2m in grants from the taxpayer to pay for his travel by private jet, helicopter and train and the upkeep of Clarence House….

    “The duchy owns 53,000 hectares of land in 23 counties, including Prince Charles’s Gloucestershire home of Highgrove. It has provided incomes to successive Princes of Wales since the 14th century. The assertion that the estate is inseparable from Charles has allowed him to use its gross profits to fund private and official spending including 26 valets, gardeners and farm staff. In the past five years he has received more than £86m from the arrangement.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/dec/14/prince-charles-estate-tax-avoidance

  75. “Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?”

    Only if we can manage to shake off the leaches, parasites, sociopaths and meglomaniacs that are he!!bent on killing it.

    “Frankly, we may get to the point where the only way of saving the world will be for industrial civilization to collapse.” ~ Maurice Strong, September 1, 1997 edition of National Review magazine. Strong was the Chair at the First Earth Summit in 1972 at about the same time the Erhlichs and Obama’s Science Czar, John Holdren were writing about Forced abortions. Mass sterilization. A “Planetary Regime” should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans’ lives — using an armed international police force.

    Sure sounds like they are intent on becoming Global Dictators doesn’t it? And not just dictators but dictators who will treat humans as chattel (aka cattle)

    A primary weapon is the World Wild Life fund
    The WWF’s Vast Pool of Oil Money

    World Wildlife Fund ~ 20% of its revenue from government tax money, 10% from industry, and half from prescriptive foundations.

    The WWF and the 1001 Club

    Prince Bernhard and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) ~ The White Man’s Game

    As we have seen as skeptics the greatest tool the elite have is condemning those who look behind the curtain as ‘Conspiracy theorists’

    Seems Bill Clinton believes in ‘Conspiracies’ too. (Search Clinton and the London School of economics) When Bill Clinton delivered his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention on July 16, 1992…[he] paid tribute to the memory of his Georgetown professor…Carroll Quigley Here are excerpts from the book – Tragedy and Hope – A History of the World in Our Time, by Carroll Quigley, 1966

    And the connection of Carroll Quigley to the UN Millennium Summit

    Remember bill Clinton and Hillary were really pushing two pieces of legislation. The Food Safety Act that placed US agriculture under the control of the World Trade Organization and a health care bill.

    If you want a way out conspiracy theory. Think of the Erhlichs and Holdren’s desire for “mass sterilization” and a “Planetary Regime” The World Trade organization’s demand for livestock Traceability and then read these articles and connect the dots.

    RFID tags for Hospital Application

    There’s not a lot of middle ground on the subject of implanting electronic identification chips in humans. Advocates of technologies like radio frequency identification tags say their potentially life-saving benefits far outweigh any Orwellian concerns about privacy…

    [Florida] Senate Sneaks RFID Drivers License, Internet ID into Transportation Bill… this database already includes biometrics in the form of computer facial recognition data..

    [UK] Every newborn baby could undergo DNA testing and have their genetic code stored in a nationwide data bank…[is] being considered by ministers, who said yesterday that genetic technology could bring about a huge change in healthcare.

    If you’re a fortune teller, cheat on your spouse, or are loud in church, in New York State, the government will soon legally have the right to retrieve your DNA and put it in a DNA Databank

    [Holland] Hospital dna samples may be used to help solve crimes

    Laws in all 50 states require hospitals to collect a sample of every newborn baby’s blood… Some states (California and North Carolina, among others) retain the DNA samples collected from newborns indefinitely, and other states keep them for up to 23 years.
    The stakes in this data war are high, as researchers and government agencies are realizing the value of such a databank of DNA and other genetic information. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has at least since 2002 been advocating for a national databank, calling such “leftover dried blood spot specimens” a “valuable . . . source for public health surveillance and . . . population-based data on prevalence of genetic variations.” The National Institutes of Health is using $13.5 million in taxpayer dollars to create a national blood sample repository.

    These efforts are being aided by federal legislation signed into law by President George W. Bush last year that allows the federal government to screen the DNA of all newborns in the country. The purported justification for this far-reaching, privacy invasive law was the need to have a “national contingency plan” to meet “public health emergencies.”

    State governments are moving quickly also to develop regimens for retaining and accessing what Sharon Terry of the Genetic Alliance calls a “national treasure” of data. Michigan, for example, reportedly has set up state-run freezer facilities at a “neonatal biobank” in Detroit….

    The Drugging of Our Children – All of a sudden, it seems, millions of American children are said to be afflicted with mental illnesses. And they’re being put on strong medications—over periods of years—as treatment. Isn’t it time we stopped and looked at what the mental health establishment is getting us to do to our children?

    How Public Schools Coerce Parents Into Giving Mind-Altering Drugs To Their Children

    Freedom? Liberity? Our great-grandchildren won’t know what those word’s mean, if they are still capable of think that is.

  76. LearDog says:
    January 11, 2013 at 6:49 pm
    At what point does someone become notorious (in that notoriety is bad) and is shunned? How many times does one get to be wrong?

    Just askin…..
    ——————————————————-
    Don’t ask me……………..ask Obama
    cn

  77. It just could be that the Prince of Wales has put all of the Royal Chips on the marker, by precipitating the House of Winsdor into the climate debates. He is an utterly foolish fellow.

  78. Friends:

    I write to ask a genuine and serious question; viz.
    Can anybody please tell me why any person or organisation (e.g. the RS) takes seriously the disproved Malthusian fears such as Peak Oil and the various assertions of Ehrlich?

    Please note that my question does not apply to individual persons (such as HRH Prince Charles) who seek personal comfort from finding a missing purpose in life.

    Richard

  79. CodeTech says:
    January 12, 2013 at 4:05 am

    Jimbo, from your quote:

    And in the long term—on the order of centuries—we could be looking at the literal extinction of humanity.

    This is truly awe inspiring – both that someone would take it seriously and that someone would write it in the first place….
    …..Personally, if I could afford it, I would be HAPPY to have a ranch somewhere 1/2 hour or so out of town… close enough to get supplies, far enough to be isolated. With enough property to wander around without encountering neighbors.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    (We bought 100 ac, 1/2 hour from any town, on a dirt road and built the house 1/4 mile from the road. After being in apartments most of my adult life – I LOVE IT!)

    As to population shrinkage, if you want an increase in population you come up with a job catagory of “professional mother” (instead of welfare mother) and pay the mom to stay home and take care of her kids for the first two or three kids. Instead the culture has been changed via the mass media propaganda machine and various laws to encourage women to be workers not moms. I watched it happen.

    My mother worked till her first kid and when we were old enough she hired someone to come into our home and act as housekeeper, take care of my grandmother and the kids, and answer the phone since she was a real estate broker. (Tax laws now make that impossible for mid-income families)

    Growing up I NEVER expected to work my entire life and do all the housekeeping too. Add kids on top of it and you can understand why women opt for only a couple of children. With the divorce rate a woman is going to make darn sure the marriage is stable before she has that first kid. With birth control and abortion a woman now has the option of making those decisions.

  80. Jimbo says:
    January 12, 2013 at 5:00 am

    Will we have enough food to feed 9 billion people? I don’t know but it seems that as much as 50% of the world’s food output goes in the garbage. The potential is their.

    http://www.imeche.org/knowledge/themes/environment/global-food

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    You can blame the US government here in the USA. Thirty to forty years or more ago pig farmers had ‘garbage’ (food waste) routes and would pick up the town’s garbage, cook it to kill bacteria and feed it to the pigs. USDA regulations and USDA corn subsidies made garbage as pig food too costly and too much hassle so farmers now feed cheap corn or distillers grains (left overs from ethanol manufacture) instead. Farmers now work a full time job as well as farm so a garbage route is a time waster too.

    ….Beginning in 1973, policy changes promoted by Nixon Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz deregulated the corn market. He dismantled supply management policies, selling off government storage bins used as food security reserves and implemented “fencerow to fencerow” planting. Butz believed any overproduction should then be dealt with thru exports and “free trade.” The Russian Wheat Deal and the World Food Crisis of the early 1970s gave Butz the chance to promote the false notion that free markets would be good for farmers. Butz and agribusiness giant, Cargill, along with the Farm Bureau argued that farm prices crashing would be a positive because they would be remedied by more exports and new uses such as ethanol and corn sweeteners. The 1996 Freedom to Farm Act represented the culmination of this “free market” ideology by calling for the elimination, over 7 years, of all price floors and grain reserves. Instead, the “free market” would determine prices. This would “get government out of agriculture.” What actually happened was that prices collapsed by 1998 and the government had to bail out farmers with millions in emergency subsidy payments.

    The Facts Behind King Corn

  81. Gail Combs says:
    January 12, 2013 at 6:33 am
    “Seems Bill Clinton believes in ‘Conspiracies’ too.”

    Of course. Bill Clinton is a Rhodes Scholar; Rhodes scholarships are paid for by the Rhodes Foundation that runs on the fortune that Cecil Rhodes left behind. Cecil Rhodes last will (and the versions before that) contains references to a secret society to be founded to expand the dominion of the British Empire around the globe. Of course this got all mixed up with the socialist aims of the Fabians; but as Monopoly Capitalists are very comfortable indeed with socialism, no real conflict.

  82. h/t to Dr. Leif Svalgaard

    – – – – – – – – –

    Leif,

    I see the paper had an in depth peer review (sarcasm):

    Received November 28, 2012.
    Accepted December 7, 2012.

    Congratulations to your fellow Stanford associate.

    An Aside not specifically to Leif: why do I find the admirable concept ‘Nullius in verba’ inconsistent with the very concept of ‘Royalty’ as in the Royal Society and Royal Prince Charles? Something privileged?

    John

  83. The case of Jimmy Saville should tell you all you need to know. If you have wealth and connections, you can get away with anything. Even the most base of acts. As a species, we have NOT evolved. Climate realists it seems have no hope. Tragic.

  84. Notice the small print: the paper was invited to commemorate the election of the author P.R.E. to a R.S. Fellowship (Foreign Member). Therefore one should question whether the paper has been peer reviewed.
    Notice the submission date:28 November 2012, with an acceptance 10 days later on 7 December 2012. This looks to be a fast process with little time for careful refereeing.
    Notice: the grey literature in reference 4 to a speech by H.R.H The Prince of Wales 5 days before submission of the paper.

  85. I don’t wish to speak ill of the recently departed but when I was in college (’75 B.S. Environmental Science) Barry Commoner and Paul Ehrlich were THE oracles of our time. Now I’m reminded of the often misquoted George Santayana, who, in his Reason in Common Sense, The Life of Reason, Vol.1, wrote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Nothing these two self-aggrandizing characters predicted has come to fruition. If Santayana is just too cerebral for this generation maybe Yogi Berra’s “It’s like deja vu all over again!” says it better.

  86. richardscourtney says: January 12, 2013 at 8:30 am.
    Can anybody please tell me why any person or organisation (e.g. the RS) takes seriously the disproved Malthusian fears such as Peak Oil and the various assertions of Ehrlich?
    ________________________________

    So tell me, Rich, if there was only 1 million people on this earth, running a technological society, do you think they would have shortages of any materials or foods?? Do you think any species would be under threat from man’s intake and output, in these circumstances??

    You think that by adding a name or a tag to an idea, you can demonise it. But you cannot demonise common sense.

    .

  87. O H Dahlsveen says:
    January 11, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Martin Clark says on January 11, 2013 at 4:26 pm:

    “The esteemed Charles really ought to get back to what he is good at, eg raising contented herds of cattle and growing rhubarb.”

    = = = = = =

    He can talk to the trees too you know – and they are good listeners as they keep stum when he speaks. – Shame he now wants to restrict their CO2 intake —-.

    —————————————————————————————————————
    Actually Charlie dear chap has reportedly been heard singing as he wanders aimlessly through the forest:

    I talk to the trees but they don’t listen to me
    I talk to the stars but they never hear me
    The breeze hasn’t time to stop and hear what I say
    I talk to them all — in vain.


    Apologies Charlie – couldn’t resist.

  88. I hesitate to enter a posting that appears to parallel the Ehrlichs, or worst of all HRH, but there are a couple of limitations that I see real trouble getting around; notwithstanding the apparent removal of limitations through ingenuity.

    The first is sunlight, which is truly a finite resource. There is sunlight enough to support a population of perhaps eight billion–maybe genetic engineering will get us around this one, but I think not.

    The second is even more fundamental. The second law of thermodynamics requires a “reservoir” to dump waste energy, chemical wastes, and so forth, unless we somehow figure out a way to do everything in a reversible manner. A colleague of mine calculates that a sustainable reservoir that can accommodate a modern lifestyle can handle a population of only a few hundred million. Frankly I hope it is ten times that or we will have trouble providing a lot of modern technology.

    Finally, there is the statement attributed to Leewenhoek that he couldn’t imagine a comfortable world having a population density greater than that of the Netherlands. It may only be my perspective as a westerner, but a crowded world doesn’t seem ideal.

  89. Silver Ralph says:
    January 12, 2013 at 5:59 am
    “The signs of economic decline and social collapse are normally first visible in civil strife and civil wars. If you look around the world today, all of the world’s civil strife and wars are being caused by a religion, and not through food shortages, climate disruption or environmental issues.

    If we wish to prevent the collapse of Western civilisation, I would suggest that all fundamentalist creeds are put through a rigorous Reformation and Enlightenment movement, where all of their more bizarre, elitest and agressive tennets are debated, dissected and destroyed one by one. Only then will we stabilise world society.”
    ==========================================================================
    Get a grip SR. Which religion formed the government of Greece? Which religion has caused the civil strife, bordering on, dare we say it, civil war within Greece? Which religion has bankrupted the country and seems to be destroying the very underpinnings of Greek culture? Oh, that would be socialism. The socialism that has bankrupted Greece, and Portugal and Spain and threatens to drag down the rest of the European Union.

    And now that we have destroyed your assertion that ALL the world’s civil strife is caused by religion, let’s move on to your solution. Or would that be ‘final solution’? Just who died and made you dictator of the world. Deciding who should believe what? Deciding who has the proper thoughts and who does not? Enlightening people with your own benighted view of the world.

    How arrogant of you. To think that your view, and your beliefs, and your rather narrow view of the world and what constitutes enlightened thinking should be forced down the throats of those who would disagree. Because those creeds and tenets that you think need to be changed are held by people. People that, in your world, don’t seem to deserve the right to think, and believe and live as they desire. But, after all, it is you who are enlightened and so we must bow down to you and accept our re-education, because I live in such a destabilized world — of my own making, of course.

  90. Kevin Kilty says:

    January 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm
    Finally, there is the statement attributed to Leewenhoek that he couldn’t imagine a comfortable world having a population density greater than that of the Netherlands. It may only be my perspective as a westerner, but a crowded world doesn’t seem ideal

    Hi Kevin, Indeed Leeuwenhoek stated that he could not imagine the whole planet being as densely peopled as Holland, which seemed crowded to him even at that time. He calculated that the maximum carrying capacity of the earth was 13.385 billion people. That was in the 18th century when there were an estimated 500 million peole in the world.

    You may be surprised that an updated calculation was made in the 20th century based on improved farming and technology. Roger Revelle (Al Gore’s professor) estimated in 1974 the carrying capacity of the earth was 40-50 billion people.

    Here’s a fun calculculation you can do yourself. If you added the current population of China, plus the current population of India, and put them in the contiguous US (not including Alaska and Hawaii) in addition to the current population, the population density would be lower than The Netherlands is today. If you’ve been to The Netherlands you will know there is considerable open space.

    I cannot understand why anyone would pay any serious attention to Ehrlich.

  91. Thank you Anthony. Ehrlich and his desire to use education for Newmindedness and his friend and acolyte John Holdren ‘s power to gain implementation in education and science funding have been on my radar screen.

    http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/learning-to-learn-or-how-to-replace-old-minds-with-sustainable-new-ones/ is the story I wrote on how Julian Simon won the bet but Ehrlich’s desire to shut down human ingenuity via education and political regulation seems to be prevailing.

    If your readers are unfamiliar with his 1989 book New World New Mind: Moving Towards Conscious Evolution, it will certainly make what is going on in CAGW modelling and education far clearer. Of course it may also keep you awake at night.

    Off to read the full essay.

  92. Kevin Kilty says:
    January 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm
    “I hesitate to enter a posting that appears to parallel the Ehrlichs, or worst of all HRH, but there are a couple of limitations that I see real trouble getting around; notwithstanding the apparent removal of limitations through ingenuity.

    The first is sunlight, which is truly a finite resource. There is sunlight enough to support a population of perhaps eight billion–maybe genetic engineering will get us around this one, but I think not.”

    Chuckles. You think the amount of sunlight limits the world population to 8 billion? Let’s run some numbers.
    8 billion people times 2300 calories per day gives 1.84e+013 calories a day. That’s our collective caloric needs.
    That’s 6.716e+015 calories a year.
    Japanese rice yields are 6 tonnes/hectare and you can harvest 4 times a year, that’s 24 tonnes a hectare (other high productivity countries like South Korea achieve the same).
    Some experimental plots have achieved 22 tonnes in one harvest.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rice

    But let’s stick with easily achievable 6 tonnes per harvest.
    100g of Basmati Rice contain 262 calories.
    So we need 2.56335877863e+012 kg of rice a year to satisfy collective caloric needs. Or
    2.56335877863e+09 kg metric tons. Given 4 harvests and 6 tonnes/hectare we would then need
    1.06806615776e+08 hectares or
    1.06806615776e+06 km^2 of area planted.

    So that’s a million square kilometers, about twice the size of Germany. Sufficient to produce enough calories for 8 billion people without using new experimental rice breeds. Or other higher yielding plants.

    I think sunlight is not what limits us.

  93. Kevin Kilty says:
    January 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm
    “The second is even more fundamental. The second law of thermodynamics requires a “reservoir” to dump waste energy, chemical wastes, and so forth, unless we somehow figure out a way to do everything in a reversible manner. A colleague of mine calculates that a sustainable reservoir that can accommodate a modern lifestyle can handle a population of only a few hundred million. Frankly I hope it is ten times that or we will have trouble providing a lot of modern technology.”

    I have heard this silliness that we are “dumping entropy” into the system before and it’s complete bonkers. Your colleague says 100 million people with a modern lifestyle are unsustainable? Through exactly what? A different word for entropy, as you’re throwing around the 2nd law of thermodynamics, is heat. Now where does the heat go? Hmmm…. Radiative cooling to space maybe?

    Before you come to me with “yeah, we’re heating up the planet too much and there’s an energetic imbalance of 0.6 W/m^2″ or anything like that please consider that the planet could easily compensate that by warming up a little, see the Stefan-Boltzmann Law, but quite frankly, our energy expenditure again pales completely against the amount of…

    …sunlight that constantly heats the planet.

    There’s a different usage of “entropy” and that’s in information theory and I think the green jackasses confuse the two or use confusion to plant their idiotic memes. If you have ANY logical reason to assume that the “entropy we dump” is an “environmental problem” I’d like to hear of which exact ill effects you or your colleague speak, because muddled thinking doesn’t get you very far here.

  94. Silver Ralph:

    At January 12, 2013 at 8:30 am I asked a question; viz.

    Can anybody please tell me why any person or organisation (e.g. the RS) takes seriously the disproved Malthusian fears such as Peak Oil and the various assertions of Ehrlich?

    At January 12, 2013 at 10:57 am you have responded saying in total

    So tell me, Rich, if there was only 1 million people on this earth, running a technological society, do you think they would have shortages of any materials or foods?? Do you think any species would be under threat from man’s intake and output, in these circumstances??

    You think that by adding a name or a tag to an idea, you can demonise it. But you cannot demonise common sense.

    So tarnished Ral, you cannot answer my question so you ask me a daft question instead.

    I will answer it.
    If there were only 1 million people on this earth they could not run a modern technological society because they would be too few to provide sufficient materials and food.

    This is a matter of economics and NOT “common sense”.

    Richard

  95. Dirk H.

    What other inputs are needed for the yields of which you speak? Yes, the Netherlands has substantial open space. Many cities. Still not open enough for my perspective. Fourty to fifty billion is something to contemplate.

    Entropy involves more than just heat. If heat were the only issue we could probably radiate to space quite easily. Chemical processes can’t be done reversibly. It is largely chemical processes my colleague worries about, and his calculation involves the control volume needed to mitigate the long-term problems from current technologies. For example, the minimum energy input needed for recycling comes straight from the second law. I don’t necessarily agree with his numbers, but still it is an interesting perspective.

  96. Unfortunately, the whole argument is proceeding from a false assumption ….that “civilsation” is present …To describe what is occurring on the planet at present as “civilisation” is no where near the truth ….fear, hate, greed and violence are present daily in the life of many populations on this planet and in many of our own daily lives.

    The question isn’t whether we are in danger of losing civilisation ….it’s are we in danger of not ever reaching it.

  97. Finished the essay. Wow. I encourage everyone to crosscheck the footnotes to appreciate the extent to which they are citing unsupported sources. Paper seems to be following education’s definition of “research”–anything published by someone with the relevant credential.

  98. As some other poster/s alluded to, how many here see that behind the AGW global fear campaign, there is not so much a mixed bag of deluded scientists and their deceived adherents, but a knowing cabal whose real agenda is nefariously related to domination of the planet’s human species, and who play the tune to which most of the western world governments and their institutions dance to?.

  99. Kevin Kilty says:
    January 12, 2013 at 2:18 pm
    “What other inputs are needed for the yields of which you speak?”

    Well what does a rice farmer do, plant rice and wait. You can probably find out how much soil and this and that you need but obviously nothing of it is scarce.

    “Entropy involves more than just heat. If heat were the only issue we could probably radiate to space quite easily. Chemical processes can’t be done reversibly.”

    What gives you that idea? It might be DIFFICULT to undo a certain reaction but consider catalysts and enzymes.

    ” It is largely chemical processes my colleague worries about, and his calculation involves the control volume needed to mitigate the long-term problems from current technologies. For example, the minimum energy input needed for recycling comes straight from the second law. I don’t necessarily agree with his numbers, but still it is an interesting perspective.”

    Well of course, if you want to reverse a process that increased the entropy in an information theoretic sense, in other words, mixed some materials better than they were before, and you want to undo that mixing and re-concentrate the materials you need the amount of energy at least that you got from the mixing put back in.

    There is a ubiquitious process that does this all the time on Earth BTW, and that process is called life. Life forms build up higher order structures (decreasing the entropy within themselves) while increasing entropy around them.

    By your logic, life itself “dumps entropy into the environment”. So maybe your colleague should worry about all those lowly critters with a much higher material turnaround than our tiny civilisation.

    Somehow, though, life is actually doing fine…

  100. Dirk H.

    As you asked for a specific example,my colleague uses carbon dioxide, which you and I would place much higher limits than he. Here is one of my own. To support a modern technological life-style we all need helium. Presently most of the world’s supply comes from two gas fields in Wyoming. These are such concentrated supplies that very little energy is needed to purify the helium; and the gas fields cover such a small region that they contributes very little to the control volume each person requires. However, once this concentrated supply is exhausted, if there are no replacements, then we will begin using the atmosphere as our supply of helium. This is such a dilute source that the second law will demand a much, much larger energy input to purify it, and the control volume per person will expand. The same is true of every process we require for our life-style. The more technological is our life-style the larger the control volume needed to supply raw materials and energy, and to dump the increased entropy; i.e. chemical wastes, diluted chemicals, mixtures and so forth.

  101. You cannot get away from this:
    1) Pollution of water, air, and soil
    2) Exploitation of non-renewable resources
    3) Extinction of flora and fauna
    4) Population growth. In the 1920s there were fewer than two billion human beings in the word. Now more than 7 billion.
    These are real problems, and religions and politicians do nothing about them. Man-made climate change is BS and serves only as a red herring to divert us from the real problems.

  102. Kevin Kilty says:
    January 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm
    “The first is sunlight, which is truly a finite resource. There is sunlight enough to support a population of perhaps eight billion–maybe genetic engineering will get us around this one, but I think not.”

    About 170000 trillion watts of sunlight hits earth.

    There is 1360 watts per square meter of sunlight in space. After averaging day and night and angles of incidence (as related to a sphere’s surface area being 4 pi r^2 and thus 4 times its cross-section), except for what is reflected by clouds or otherwise lost in the atmosphere, sunlight averages 340 W/m^2 over Earth’s surface (which is 500 million square kilometers, 500 trillion square meters).

    Human electrical power generation is about 2 trillion watts on average (and total human power usage, including non-electrical thermal power, just a few terawatts), tiny in comparison. Primarily it is not solar-powered, nor does it necessarily need to be (especially with billions of tons of extractable uranium in seawater, thorium on land, etc., as well as fossil fuels far beyond common false claims). But running out of sunlight is not happening.

    When the world’s average cloud cover changes by 0.5%, a small portion of how much it has gone up and down over the decades in http://s7.postimage.org/69qd0llcr/intermediate.gif , even that nominally small variation is an albedo change impacting Earth’s solar energy balance more than the waste heat from every manmade generator on Earth. Yet that magnitude of change is not even very directly noticeable, with different datasets disagreeing on average cloud cover by more than that (for example, http://calderup.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/further-attempt-to-falsify-the-svensmark-hypothesis/ ).

    Any hypothetical civilization actually consuming a high fraction of sunlight received by Earth would be vastly beyond today’s capabilities and quite capable of expansion into space, where the sun puts out in total literally trillions of times more power (4E26 W) than is utilized by current civilization. (And any civilization reaching a full Dyson Swarm, in terms of starting to consume a large fraction of that, would be interstellar-capable, and there are billions of stars in the galaxy).

    The second is even more fundamental. The second law of thermodynamics requires a “reservoir” to dump waste energy, chemical wastes, and so forth, unless we somehow figure out a way to do everything in a reversible manner.

    Waste heat from the few terawatts of human power usage is tiny compared to sunlight received by Earth, as previously illustrated. One of the reasons you don’t see new continents or mountain ranges made from the waste of civilization is that its volume and mass is limited in context compared to the hundreds of millions of cubic kilometers of rock in Earth’s crust. As a thought experiment regarding volumes, while I’m not literally implying that people should or would do this, technically setting off some nukes in a desert somewhere would produce enough cubic kilometers of craters to hold human waste, though it is cheaper to utilize more local landfills.

    “Finally, there is the statement attributed to Leewenhoek that he couldn’t imagine a comfortable world having a population density greater than that of the Netherlands. It may only be my perspective as a westerner, but a crowded world doesn’t seem ideal.”

    The population density of the Netherlands is 405 people per square kilometer. The population density of the world today is 47 people per square kilometer of land area, about 12% as much on average.

    Perhaps you’ve lived in cities all of your life, so the world seems crowded to you, but that is a matter of most people choosing to concentrate themselves into the 1.5% or so of land area that is urban.

    “Fourty to fifty billion is something to contemplate.”

    If you meant forty to fifty billion people, the world’s population is projected to peak at such as around 10 billion later in this century. The exact figure depends on the projection, but the observed demographic transition applies. The world’s population growth rate was once more than 2% per year in the 1960s; in decline downwards since then, it has already dropped below 1.2%.

    If you thought population was headed for forty to fifty billion, that could speak for the frequency of propaganda not showing the real picture. What will break the ability of media outlets to mislead there is how eventually results of the demographic transition become increasingly blatant. While the drop in fertility rates (average children born per woman) foretells the future without being initially seen by most people, after a lag period median age substantially goes up (the E.U. for instance), and then finally a country starts declining in population (Japan for example).

    “What other inputs are needed for the yields of which you speak?”

    Among the top inputs for agriculture:

    Water: Natural fresh water is enough in most places, but desalinating seawater only costs a few hundred dollars per acre-foot extra now.

    Carbon: The atmosphere is kept rich enough in carbon dioxide.

    Hydrocarbon fuels for convenient running of farm equipment: Gasoline, diesel fuel, plastics, etc. can be made with the Fischer-Tropsch process from any carbon source (natural gas, biomass, garbage, atmospheric CO2, etc), a hydrogen source, and about any energy source. In practice, fossil fuels are abundant enough to be generally a bit cheaper so far, mostly keeping synthetic fuel displaced out of the market (with a few major exceptions like WWII Germany and Sasol in South Africa today), but either way fuel is produced and available.

    Nitrogen for fertilizer, such as via NH3: The Haber process works with about any energy source and about any hydrogen source (albeit mostly using natural gas due to it being cheapest in most regions), while there is practically unlimited nitrogen in the atmosphere. Energy requirements for fertilizer production are actually small in overall context, as only like 5% or so of global natural gas production is used for making fertilizer.

    Phosphorus for fertilizer: The amount of phosphorus in and needed by plants is a small fraction of 1% of their mass. Even the average rock (amongst quadrillions of tons in Earth’s crust) is 0.1% phosphorus. It is cheaper to mine higher-grade ores (which are available in lesser but still plentifully huge enough amounts), but the net result is mankind is not running out of phosphorus.

  103. Essentially a typo fix:

    I earlier wrote:

    “When the world’s average cloud cover changes by 0.5%, a small portion of how much it has gone up and down over the decades in http://s7.postimage.org/69qd0llcr/intermediate.gif , even that nominally small variation is an albedo change impacting Earth’s solar energy balance more than the waste heat from every manmade generator on Earth.”

    That’s true, but I meant to write “far more” rather than just “more” as else the sentence effectively understates matters. What I meant to point out was that even such as a 1% cloud cover change impacts Earth’s energy balance by a couple orders of magnitude more than civilization’s waste heat.

    For instance, human electrical power generation is only around 1/100000th as much as the 170000 terawatts of sunlight which hits Earth.

    The planet as a whole is mainly not the cities most people spend most of their time in: It is the other vast expanses which are below one’s sight around 99% of the time on an intercontinental airline flight.

  104. These facts seem to make no dent in the doomers thinking, which seems to believe we are as ill equipped as the Mayans to manage ourselves, our resources, and our environment. One wonders about their sanity.
    ———-
    That’s an odd thing to say because I have gained the impression that the WUWT audience is against any attempt to manage ourselves, our resources or our environment.

    And that includes both government regulation or by externalising costs so implicit costs can produce pricing signals in the free enterprise system.

    In fact the whole WUWT message is short termism and my selfish hip pocket nerve is sacred.

  105. Lazy T,

    Better to be thought a fool, than to say something that proves it.

    Most readers of WUWT care for the environment much more than the money hungry enviro crowd, whose primary concerns are political power and grant payola. We see that; fools don’t.

  106. “””””…..LazyTeenager says:

    January 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    These facts seem to make no dent in the doomers thinking, which seems to believe we are as ill equipped as the Mayans to manage ourselves, our resources, and our environment. One wonders about their sanity.
    ———-
    That’s an odd thing to say because I have gained the impression that the WUWT audience is against any attempt to manage ourselves, our resources or our environment……”””””

    Well Lazy, I think you would find a plurality of WUWT audience are not “against any attempt to manage ourselves, our resources or our environment.”

    But that is NOT what the AGWMMGWCC crowd is interested in.

    They want to manage OTHERS and OTHER’s resources, and OTHER’S environment.

    We’re not interested in slavery by a self appointed elite.

  107. “””””…..Nigel S says:

    January 12, 2013 at 2:18 am

    george e smith says: January 11, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    ‘Churchill Ghandi (sic) clash over India; which was many years later. ‘

    Churchill / Gandhi was many years earlier not later, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated on 30th January,1948……..”””””
    I’ll take your version Nigel.

    I wasn’t aware Churchill was Prime Minister in 1930.

  108. “””””…..george e. smith says:

    January 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    “””””…..Nigel S says:

    January 12, 2013 at 2:18 am

    george e smith says: January 11, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    ‘Churchill Ghandi (sic) clash over India; which was many years later. ‘…..”””””

    I went back and listened to the Churchill “End of the beginning” speech again; and he made no comment relating to India, or Gandhi; his comment re “liquidation” related to the possibility that the allies might lose the war.

  109. Henry Clark says:
    January 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    The sunlight converted to biomass is the limiting value. The number “About 170000 trillion watts of sunlight hits earth” is immaterial as a very large portion of this gets degraded to heat at 288K or colder, and can’t be used for anything–it’s radiated back out to space as longwave IR. How much is convertible to biomass? That’s the important question.

    “Fourty to fifty billion is something to contemplate.”

    If you meant forty to fifty billion people, the world’s population is projected to peak at such as around 10 billion later in this century.

    I realize that, but Dirk H. was telling me that the Netherlands wasn’t very crowed and if their population density were applied to the Earth it would amount to forty or fifty billion people. I think that seems like a lot…apparently others do not. Moreover, the ten billion limit is if present trends hold up. I hope they do.

    Dirk H.
    …Well of course, if you want to reverse a process that increased the entropy in an information theoretic sense, in other words, mixed some materials better than they were before, and you want to undo that mixing and re-concentrate the materials you need the amount of energy at least that you got from the mixing put back in.

    No. To undo mixing requires that you put in what the second law demands as a minimum of energy or more–T(Delta S). This will easily exceed what energy you got from the mixing process in the first place because you probably mixed in a non-reversible way, and didn’t bother to harvest the energy gained in the first place. This is the issue that my friend frets about, and that I think is worth a detailed, thoughtful examination.

    To you both…I farmed for 14 years, so I know something about inputs. You cannot take six tons of biomass per acre, per year, without replenishing raw materials. I was always adding sulfur, nitrogen, organic material, and phosphorus back to the soil. If you are going to do that in a sustainable way, then you are going to need some additional land that can take care of run-off, wastes, provide nutrients back to the farm ground, and so forth. Sustainable is not well defined, however neither is it silliness. Perhaps you can meet the caloric needs of the present population with an area twice the size of Germany, but that does not necessarily mean the nutritional needs, nor does it count the needs of the region that supplies sustainable inputs of raw materials, and waste processing for your two times Germany. My point is that we also need to include industrial processes into this thinking, not just agriculture.

  110. HRH Charles said: “I have said it before, and I will say it again – our grandchildren’s future depends entirely on whether we seize the initiative and prevaricate no further.”

    Jeremy wrote (here) January 11, 2013 at 5:53 pm: “I think HRH means “procrastinate” not “prevaricate” – someone needs to remind HRH of the Queens English. HRH would make Mrs. Malaprop proud.

    I found that British and Australian publications regularly misused “prevaricate”. I have written to The Economist on more than one occasion pointing out that they had (again) misused the word. I asked them what dictionary I could look at to find this definition, but they sent nothing back to me. It’s more than just the Queen’s English…..

    IanM

  111. “Throughout our history environmental problems have contributed to collapses of civilizations. A new paper published yesterday in Proceedings of the Royal Society B addresses the likelihood that we are facing a global collapse now.”

    The collapse that we face is of bloated graduate programs, bloated government programs, unneeded government agencies, and a bunch of socialist organizations that call themselves NGOs.

  112. Kevin Kilty says:
    January 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    The second is even more fundamental. The second law of thermodynamics requires a “reservoir” to dump waste energy, chemical wastes, and so forth, unless we somehow figure out a way to do everything in a reversible manner. A colleague of mine calculates that a sustainable reservoir that can accommodate a modern lifestyle can handle a population of only a few hundred million. Frankly I hope it is ten times that or we will have trouble providing a lot of modern technology.
    ………………..
    Chemical processes can’t be done reversibly. It is largely chemical processes my colleague worries about, and his calculation involves the control volume needed to mitigate the long-term problems from current technologies. For example, the minimum energy input needed for recycling comes straight from the second law. I don’t necessarily agree with his numbers, but still it is an interesting perspective.

    Chemicals can be unwound using a fusion torch (30,000 degrees F), which cause the molecules to split into their elements w/o combusting. Vietnam has bought such a torch from the leading (US) supplier to destroy left-over stocks of Agent Orange. You can read about them in a book called “Prescription for the Planet: The Painless Remedy for Our Energy & Environmental Crises,” whose details are outlined in the first Amazon reader-review, by G. Meyerson:

    This book is a must read for people who want to be informed about our worsening energy and ecology crisis. Before I read this book, I was opposed to nuclear power for the usual reasons: weapons proliferation and the waste problem. But also because I had read that in fact nuclear power was not as clean as advertised nor as cost competitive as advertised and was, moreover, not a renewable form of energy, as it depends upon depleting stocks of uranium, which would become an especially acute problem in the event of “a nuclear renaissance.” Before I read this book, I was also of the opinion that growth economies (meaning for now global capitalism) were in the process of becoming unsustainable, that, as a consequence, our global economy would itself unravel due to increasing energy costs and the inability of renewable technologies genuinely and humanely to solve the global transport problem of finding real replacements for the billions of gallons of gasoline consumed by the global economy, and the billions more gallons required to fuel the growth imperative. I was thus attracted to the most egalitarian versions of Richard Heinberg’s power down/relocalization thesis.

    Blees’ book has turned many of my assumptions upside down and so anyone who shares these assumptions needs to read this book and come to terms with the implications of Blees’ excellent arguments. To wit: the nuclear power provided by Integral Fast Reactors (IFR) can provide clean, safe and for all practical purposes renewable power for a growing economy provided this power is properly regulated (I’ll return to this issue below). The transportation problems can be solved by burning boron as fuel (a 100% recyclable resource) and the waste problem inevitably caused by exponential growth can be at least partially solved by fully recycling all waste in plasma converters, which themselves can provide both significant power (the heat from these converters can turn a turbine to generate electricity) and important products: non toxic vitrified slag (which Blees notes can be used to refurbish ocean reefs), rock wool (to be used to insulate our houses–it is superior to fiber glass or cellulose) and clean syngas, which can assume the role played by petroleum in the production of products beyond fuel itself. Blees’s discussion of how these three elements of a new energy economy can be introduced and integrated is detailed and convincing. Other forms of renewable energy can play a significant role also, though it is his argument that only IFRs can deal with the awesome scale problems of powering a global economy which would still need to grow. Tom’s critique of biofuels is devastating and in line with the excellent critiques proferred by both the powerdown people and the red greens (John Bellamy Foster, Fred Magdoff); his critique of the “hydrogen economy” is also devastating (similar to critiques by Joseph Romm or David Strahan); his critique of a solar grand plan must be paid heed by solar enthusiasts of various political stripes.

    The heart of this book, though, really resides with the plausibility of the IFR. His central argument is that these reactors can solve the principal problems plaguing other forms of nuclear power. It handles the nuclear waste problem by eating it to produce power: The nuclear waste would fire up the IFRs and our stocks of depleted uranium alone would keep the reactors going for a couple hundred years (factoring in substantial economic growth) due to the stunning efficiency of these reactors, an efficiency enabled by the fact that “a fast reactor can burn up virtually all of the uranium in the ore,” not just one percent of the ore as in thermal reactors. This means no uranium mining and milling for hundreds of years.

    The plutonium bred by the reactor will be fed back into it to produce more energy and cannot be weaponized due to the different pyroprocessing that occurs in the IFR reactor. In this process, plutonium is not isolated, a prerequisite to its weaponization. The IFR breeders can produce enough nonweaponizable plutonium to start up another IFR in seven years. Moreover, these reactors can be produced quickly (100 per year starting in 2015, with the goal of building 3500 by 2050)), according to Blees, with improvements in modular design, which would facilitate standardization, thus bringing down cost and construction lead time.

    Importantly, nuclear accidents would be made virtually impossible due to the integration of “passive” safety features in the reactors, which rely on “the inherent physical properties of the reactor’s components to shut it down.” (129)
    ………………..
    Still, if such a new energy regime as Blees proposes can solve the climate crisis, this is not to say, in my opinion, that a growth regime is fully compatible with a healthy planet and thus a healthy humanity. There are other resources crucial to us–the world’s soils, forests and oceans come to mind–that a constantly expanding global economy can destroy even if we recycle all the world’s garbage and stop global warming.“

    Here’s the Amazon link:

  113. Kevin Kilty says:
    January 12, 2013 at 6:15 pm
    The sunlight converted to biomass is the limiting value. The number “About 170000 trillion watts of sunlight hits earth” is immaterial as a very large portion of this gets degraded to heat at 288K or colder, and can’t be used for anything–it’s radiated back out to space as longwave IR. How much is convertible to biomass?

    DirkH’s post illustrated food. To further illustrate:

    In between areas of non-modern agriculture with low yields (such as under 1 to 2 tons/hectare of grain annually in in typical African farms compared to 7 tons/hectare average in U.S. farms), and, most of all, how the amount farmed is quite a minority of total area, world annual production of grains and rice (2.4 billion tons, 2010 example) is an overall average of 0.16 tons/hectare relative to Earth’s land area.

    While some areas are less convenient than others (like farming a desert Israeli-style requires irrigation first) and nobody plans to farm the bulk of total area, there is nothing preventing that figure from being such as 0.25 tons/hectare as would more than exceed the population between current population and the world’s peak population under demographic trends of an eventual 10 billion people or so.

    For instance, average yields on U.S. corn farms have gone from around 1.6 tons / hectare prior to the 1940s, to exceed 4.5 tons/hectare in the 1960s, then to reach 8 tons/hectare in the 1990s, and 9 tons/hectare now. Current biotech test plots have a yield of around 19 tons/hectare, illustrating the potential for further growth.*

    Example figures for many years ago include 5 – 11 tons / hectare tomato yields in ordinary conventional agriculture but a vastly higher 180 tons/hectare of tomatoes in a greenhouse ( http://img72.imageshack.us/img72/9849/hydroponics.jpg ).

    * (The corn yield figures are from converting to metric tons / hectare from the bushels / acre illustrations in http://www.synthesis.cc/assets_c/2010/10/Biodesic_US_corn_yield-thumb-450×337.png ).

    For a really extreme example:

    Thus the farmer in a typical American Midwestern farm who produces 100 bushels of corn per acre in a single season year [1970s figures] would look with astonishment on the space colony farmer who produces 4164 bushels of corn from a single acre in his 4-season year. [260 tons / hectare] While this factor of 40 is substantial, it is believed to be credible since a portion of it is derived from year-round growing.

    http://settlement.arc.nasa.gov/75SummerStudy/5appendC.html

    While the preceding 260 tons/hectare example is extreme and contributed to by higher sunlight, there is nothing in the second law of thermodynamics that implies world average grain production can not exceed 0.16 tons/hectare as an overall global land average. Such does not prevent it going to the likes of 0.25 tons/hectare instead (which is still far from a very high figure in context). In that example, the system is enclosed without runoff.

    Abundant available amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer were discussed earlier in my last comment; potassium and so on is likewise.

    Even CO2 increase has a major effect. Plant ancestors evolved during far higher CO2 levels than the atmospheric ambient now.

    For instance, with illustrations from http://www.co2science.org/data/plant_growth/dry/dry_subject.php

    Properly grown wheat has much extra growth, around a 50% increase in biomass, for a 600 ppm increase of CO2. Meanwhile, corn for the same CO2 increase can have around a 33% increase. The C3 plant (wheat) has a bit more benefit than the C4 plant (corn), but both greatly benefit. Water usage efficiency can even more than double, due to plants adjusting their stomatal conductance when they don’t need as much air flow (more CO2 per unit of air) and thus can reduce water losses, as illustrated for corn and soybeans in http://buythetruth.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/wateruseefficiency1.jpg?w=500

    600 ppm rise in CO2 isn’t incoming for the global atmosphere in the foreseeable near-term future if ever, but less than such can provide major benefits to plant growth (while some greenhouses enrich CO2, doing so by more than 600 ppm).

  114. Typo fix:

    The relevant part of a sentence should read:

    0.25 tons/hectare [instead of 0.16 tons/hectare] as would more than exceed the relative difference between current population and the world’s peak population under demographic trends of an eventual 10 billion people or so

  115. Kevin Kilty says:
    January 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm
    “Dirk H.
    As you asked for a specific example,my colleague uses carbon dioxide, which you and I would place much higher limits than he.”

    When you said “chemical reactions can’t be reversed” I thought, what does he mean, something complicated like polymerization – and then you come up with one of the chemical reactions that is reversed all the time, with billion year old technology, a problem that has been solved long before the first brain thought its first thought, and only the fact that it has been solved, not by us, but by the first photosynthetic plant, gave us the oxygen atmosphere we breathe today.

    “Here is one of my own. To support a modern technological life-style we all need helium. Presently most of the world’s supply comes from two gas fields in Wyoming. These are such concentrated supplies that very little energy is needed to purify the helium; and the gas fields cover such a small region that they contributes very little to the control volume each person requires. However, once this concentrated supply is exhausted, if there are no replacements, then we will begin using the atmosphere as our supply of helium. This is such a dilute source that the second law will demand a much, much larger energy input to purify it, and the control volume per person will expand.”

    Well, we will gain Helium from the atmosphere if and only if
    a) that’s cheaper than using alternative sources
    b) and cheaper than replacing Helium with a different suitable material
    c) and cheaper than going completely without Helium or replacement

    A radioactive alpha decay gives you a Helium core, that’s the alpha particle. That’s why all the gas and oil wells in the world have some Helium in them. We separate the Helium from the gas only in a few wells in the world because that covers the market.

    you and your colleague are thinking about how you could undo certain things with conventional chemical and mechanical technology.

    You’re trying to solve non-problems with unsuitable means and come to the conclusion that you can only support 100 million people.

    I have shown you several much simpler solutions. I can support 50 billion people. My solutions are at least 500 times more efficient.

    In a one world socialist government, there will be no development of solutions anymore – this is not DESIRED – and we will use your approach. And billions of people will, very unfortunately indeed, have to make room, and our wise masters will then shed a tear for all of them.

  116. @Silver Ralph:

    Malthus was wrong. Get over it. “Limits to Growth” by Meadows et. al. was a propaganda piece by the Club Of Rome (nothing they said in the ’70s has happened). You are being herded by an irrational fear promoted by those folks and their ‘friends’ for the purpose of extinction of your kind leaving the world to them (as “they know better”) We are not any where near “running out” and will not “run out”.

    As just ONE example of the stupidity: Running out of water.

    Tell, just were is the ‘away’ when the water goes away? Clue: It’s cycle. The water never goes “away” and you can not use it all up.

    Now, generalize. Where does the copper go when it goes “away”?
    Tin? Zink? Iron? (That one is a real hoot as the majority of the planet is iron…)
    Phosphorus? Nitrogen? Hmmm?

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/there-is-no-shortage-of-stuff/

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

    We can feed 10 BILLION people easily from the USA alone (though we choose steak and fired chicken and fancy cheese instead, and that’s OK).

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/grains-and-why-food-will-stay-plentiful/

    If the Maltusians don’t manage to “destroy the planet in order to save it”, we’ll be moving off this rock and into space long before global population comes even close to filling it up or running out of room.

    BTW, I’ve “done the math”. You can put everyone on the planet inside Texas and Oklahoma on standard American suburban lots with standard American houses. Everyone. All of them. The rest of the planet EMPTY of people. If everyone is instead put in a Florida Condo like affair, they can ALL have an ocean view and you don’t even need “high rise”. We’re talking low single digit floors. Oh, and that is ONE condo deep. Nobody has a “partially obscured view”.

    (We don’t do those things as it is easier and more convenient to have houses spread around the planet.)

    If covered with city at the density of London (that folks seem to like OK) it would take 6 “islands” the size of the UK to hold everyone on the planet. One for each continent. UK, New Zealand, Japan, Florida (hey, it’s almost an island ;-) Madagascar, and some place in South America.

    We don’t cover those large size chunks with ONE megacity simply because it isn’t as economical as spreading them around, nor as pleasant, and some folks like living in farm country, shipping ports, snowy mountains, and deserts.

    But the notion that the world is “full” or that we are “running out” is just patently absurd once you start putting sizes on things.

    @Kevin Kilty:

    Then there are the folks that so the sums wrong… I suggest your friend is making irrational assumptions. We have an existence proof that he is wrong as we’ve had more than a Billion population for a very long time. USA / EU / Russia combined.

    As per running out of sunlight: What has who been smoking? My God Man, visit a desert in summer some time. Go to the beach. Visit a ski resort in spring season (hint: Take sun block and really good eye-shades).

    Most of the world is EMPTY of people. On a drive from San Francisco to New York City most of your time is spent in “the middle of nowhere”. Yes, The Elite call it “Fly over country” and seem to imagine it doesn’t exist and then think Los Angeles blends seamlessly with NYC (as there is always a crowd at each airport… and nothing in between them…) but reality isn’t like that at all.

    Try this, head from L.A. to Phoenix. About 1/2 there, you will have not seen anything but mountains and desert for a few hours (modulo the occasional gas station, fast food place, and the cars on that narrow strip of humanity call a freeway). Now, it may take 1/2 hour more, but what ever is the next road / exit. Take it. Inside 1/2 hour down that road, you are going to be so far from anywhere you are at risk of dying if you walk an hour from the road and never being found. (Alternatively, take hwy 395 north and turn off ‘middle of nowhere’ from it somewhere. Do this at midnight. Turn off your headlights and engine and get out of the car. Pray that it starts again, because if it doesn’t, you are buzzard food.)

    Or get off the interstate as it enters Kansas. Drive E / W on the rural roads. Plan carefully, as you can find that it’s more than a tank of gas between signs of civilization and gasoline at some places / times.

    Per “being too crowded” being bad: People preferentially crowd up in cities. Most of the planet is empty. They then complain that the planet is too crowded, having never bothered to go look at it… We choose to live in crowded cities. Even out in ‘the boonies’. My home town was only 3,000 people. All of 2 miles across. Then it was about 14 miles in most directions (though 30 in a couple) before you hit anything bigger. Almost all of it dead empty but for the sporadic farm house (often a few miles between them, too). Realize THAT is in California where we are “Packed full” of 34 Million people or some such. (Almost all in the L.A. Basin or the S.Franciso Bay Area).

    People LIKE living in the crowded places. I can’t get my Wife to even consider moving away from it, nor my Daughter. My Son just moved to Chicago. Going from suburbs here to big-city there.

    “Chemical processes can’t be done reversibly.”

    Kevin, in all honesty, if your ‘friend’ believes this they are a technological idiot. (Who may well hold a degree in it but is an idiot all the same).

    Substantially every chemical reaction is written as a bi-directional equation. Things are always seeking a balance between the two sides and shifting back and forth “in equilibrium” between the forward and backward reactions. Some go much more to one side than the others, and some have useful dependency so that you can push them one way or the other (with temperature, or other salts, or evaporation, or precipitation). Darned near all the stuff Chemical Engineers do (including catalysts) is done using that bi-directional nature of chemistry. To think reactions only go one way is daft.

    LIFE depends on the bidirectional nature. Oxygen is chemically bound in the lungs, then reversed at the tissues where CO2 is chemically bound, and reversed at the lungs. The Krebs Cycle turns AMP (M for Mono) into ATP (three / Tri) which acts as fuel for the cells, reversing it back to ADP (Di) and then to AMP. Endlessly reversing back and forth. One of hundreds such that keep you alive and working.

    CEMENT is a reversing reaction. Cook limestone to drive out CO2. Mix with water, the cement sets and then slowly sucks CO2 out of the air to reform. Plaster of Paris too (though it involves water of hydration, another highly reversing chemical reaction).

    ALL Metal smelting depends on reversibility of the oxidation reactions of the ores.

    Those are just a few examples of it. It dominants chemistry and biochemistry.

    Per Helium:

    Well, 3 major problems with your ‘running out’ thesis (and many more minor ones).

    1) There are other sources we just don’t use because we have the ‘cheap stuff’. A limit on the ‘reserves’ is a monetary measure, not a technical one. the “ultimate resource” is what limits. So take Uranium. At $40 kg (what it was some years back) we have a 30 year supply or so. At $100 / kg (about now) we have about 200 years supply. At $150 / kg we have a functionally infinite supply as we can extract it from seawater. That means unlimited electricity at prices below what you pay now (as what you pay now has a lot of green-waste stupid in the price).

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/ulum-ultra-large-uranium-miner-ship/

    2) We can do “resource substitution”. As something becomes a bit more expensive, we shift to something else to do the job. Your ‘friend’ is basically saying that no engineer will ever find a way to do the same job with a different material. Recently a big price bubble happened in Silver. The Story (“There is always a Story. -E.M.Smith”) was that the demand for RFID tags was going to push prices through the roof. The result was the further development of the copper RFID tag…

    3) Technology change. (Not just resource substitution). My old TV had about 18 to 20 pounds of lead in the glass of the Cathode Ray Tube (picture tube). The new one has a plastic LED screen. What happened to my need for lead? How about the lead in ‘leaded gasoline’? Lead pipes? Heck, copper pipes are not needed either (You may not remember it, but in the 1970s or so there was a ‘copper scare’ as we were building a lot of pipes… the result was plastic pipes…) How about all the demand for Vacuum Tubes for TV and Radios? Takes a lot of glass and exotic metals! Even the whole panic over Rare Earths (that are not at all rare). It has a load of Thorium as a byproduct. In “the old days” we used Thorium in lantern mantels as it gives a nice white light. Someone got their panties in a bunch over a trivial level of radiation, so now we substitute a different metal.

    Which comes back to Helium. All that “waste” Thorium (about 5 tons a year in China; enough to power the planet) can go into nuclear reactors as fuel (just like all that Uranium). Know what one of the waste products is from nuclear reactions? Yup. Helium. And with all that loverly cheap power, you can refine any old Helium source more cheaply. “Win-win”. Fusion reactions (that we can make happen in the lab) makes even more helium, and with less radiation issues to deal with. Oh, and there’s a load of it out in space we could go get.

    The Malthusian Fantasy is that we have hard limits every direction you turn.
    The Reality is that no limit is hard. All are soft. Technological change, resource substitution, economical conversion of resources to reserves, finding new reserves. It’s all changing limits. There simply are NO hard limits. Only soft ones that we can adjust when we find one.

    There are presently about a dozen “sea water green houses” in production and planned around the world. Growing fruits and vegetables in hard deserts near the sea. (The solar distill the water) And at economical prices / costs. POOF! that was the sound of “limited water” and “limited land” going up in a puff of smoke. Fracking. POOF! That was the sound of North American Peak Oil going up in smoke (well, no smoke here, the EPA has banned it ;-) We now have a Trillion (with a T ) or TWO (we don’t know how many Trillion but more than one for sure) Barrels of NEW OIL moving from “resource” to “reserves”. Note: That was OIL. Fracking isn’t just for natural gas. We also got about 80 years of it, too. So much for “running out”…

    Technology trumps Malthus every time.

    There is no such thing as a “control volume”. It is a made up fantasy. Not real.

    BTW, on CO2: A corn field or a forest or a bamboo patch sucks 100% of the CO2 out of the air above it in the process of growing. Do the math. I have.

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/got-wood/

    OK, got down to the ‘sunlight to biomass’ is limiting. Well, it isn’t. First off, we can grow about 50 wet tons / acre of biomass today. (that’s about 125 tons / hectare). Think about that just a minute. As the entire human population in suburbs of 1/8 acre lots fits in a small part of the USA midwest, at about 4 per home, that’s 32 people / acre. More than One Ton Wet. OK, we need to dry it out, so that’s about 25 tons dry (close to the record rice yields referenced above too). 2000 lbs per ton. 32 people. 50000 lbs / acre is 1500 and change lbs / person dry weight. A person needs about 1 lb / day of dry food. So we have 4 x as much food as needed for each and every person if all we did was use their lot to grow food for them. (Or put another way, 3/4 of the lot can be house and not bother using the roof for garden).

    Now, those are “pushing it” numbers. The 25 ton / year dry is for special fast growth trees (though we can turn cellulose into sugar) and the 20 tons for rice is in very highly tuned farms (you would need to double it again to match trees as it is /ha). You will not get that on a back yard toy farm. This is just to illustrate the sillyness of the sun as limit argument. The SUN isn’t the limit here. BTW, algae yields can be 5 x to 10x that and we can eat algae. Health food nuts do it all the time.

    I really really do recommend learning to test the wild claims of your ‘friend’ with some simple math challenges (and some challenges to the assumptions).

    Per the “you can’t unmix” energetically argument. That, too, is just wrong. I can dissolve salt into water. Now you could argue I have a devil of a time picking up each atom and fishing it out, but I don’t need to. Dump it, and the water evaporates. I provide nothing. Similarly, the global geology has not stopped. Volcanoes are busy sorting out copper and gold as we speak. A nice steel with iron and cobalt and vanadium in it will rust and return those to the earth, to be resorted by nature. But better still, I can just drop it into the next ‘melt’ and make new steel. THE biggest growth in US steel making was in just that kind of operation. The don’t NEED to ‘un mix’, just adjust the mix at the end.

    A solution can be caused to precipitate, flocculate, float separate, etc. etc. This is the whole nature of minerals refining. Does “your friend” think we find Vanadium sitting on the ground in ingots? Our “waste” is already the result of a great ‘un-mixing’ process.

    And again, LIFE is a great un-mixer. The “old way” of getting cheap fertilzer was to haul seaweed from the ocean and use it. It “un-mixed” all the needed elements from the sea. Seaweed is an algae. We can grow huge quantities with little cost, materials, energy, or effort for that matter. That we choose to use a more profitable reserve before using that much larger resource is just basic resource economics.

    You have simply been fed a bunch of imaginary concepts ( ‘control volume’) and broken ideas about chemistry , physics, engineering, and thermodynamics. If those were true, there would already be no life on earth.

    So, take the national sewage, run it through an algae pond. Spread the result as fertilizer on the land. Congratulations, you have just ‘un-mixed’ all the food poo. (Size of algae ponds roughly equal to the size of extant sewage plants. Very reasonable size.) BTW, know what happens to all the “poo” from Los Angeles? It has the ‘sewage solids’ trucked to a large field in the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley where it is spread out as fertilizer. (Don’t worry, only ‘non-food” crops grown on it. So things like hay for cattle. No poo on your lettuce…)

    We already do the ‘un-mixing’…

    And none of that involves even the lowest run of the kinds of things we could do if needed (that we already know how to do and are only not-done due to present low prices). So take marijuana, for example…

    In California, every so often they find a suburban home with 2 foot of bagged soil on the floor and the walls covered with metal foil. These are “grow houses”. Many tons each of “high grade bud” are produced selling for $Millions / house. Not a single photon of sunshine comes in the space. (Windows blacked out). All done with chemical fertilizers (mostly / all synthetic) and artificial lights.

    Sun? SUN? We don’t need no steeenking SUN! (With apologies to old movie buffs ;-)

    MOST of the tomatoes, cucumbers, and fancy lettuces out here are grown in greenhouses with artificial lighting. Dead of winter kind of stuff. It’s not just theoretical. With 6 hours of poor light, it’s not the sun making those December tomatoes happy.

    Examples of such greenhouse and hydroponic growing are all over. But some are in the ‘not running out of stuff’ link above. Including the one at Disneyworld that produces food for the restaurants on campus. They grow cotton and even some palm trees inside it. It’s not just for show. It produces.

    Or just look at this one:

    http://www.seawatergreenhouse.com/australia.html

    It has all the sunshine it needs so really illustrates the other side. Notice it is sitting in a desert in Australia… I don’t think we are running short on desert or sea water.

    Food is just not the limiting factor for population. Neither is space. Neither is water. Neither is “stuff”. Neither is energy.

    Malthus was simply wrong. Population is limited because people who are well educated, well fed, and secure choose to have fewer children. Present demographic numbers show that in no uncertain terms. About 10 Billion and we stabilize. (Unless, of course, the Malthusians manage to make folks feel insecure, reduce wealth, and through more poverty reduce the average education available. Then we go back to population explosions…)

  117. There is common misrepresentation by doomsayers of what reserve figures mean.

    The “amount of proved reserves inventoried at a time may be considered “a poor indicator of the total future supply of a mineral resource.”[58] As some illustrations, tin, copper, iron, lead, and zinc all had both production from 1950 to 2000 and reserves in 2000 much exceed world reserves in 1950, which would be impossible except for how “proved reserves are like an inventory of cars to an auto dealer” at a time, having little relationship to the actual total affordable to extract in the future.[58]

    In the example of “peak phosphorus,” additional concentrations exist intermediate between 71,000 MT of identified reserves (USGS)[59] and the approximately 30,000,000,000 MT of other phosphorus in Earth’s crust, with the average rock being 0.1% phosphorus, so showing decline in human phosphorus production will occur soon would require far more than comparing the former figure to the 190 MT/yr of phosphorus extracted in mines (2011 figure).[58][59][60][61]” [wiki]

    When, for instance, activists claim that mankind will run out of phosphorus, iron, etc. in a few decades (in example: “Earth’s phosphorus reserves are expected to be completely depleted in 50–100 years” in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_phosphorus although other writers added some non-BS real facts), they are being as dishonest as usual.

    Economical extraction of shale gas due to the fracking revolution has doubled natural gas reserves as counted.

    Helium is typically extracted from natural gas.

    Not isolated on Earth by humans until 1895, helium’s applications are a lifting gas such as for party balloons (without the flammability of hydrogen, though actually the Hindenburg burned not so much because of the hydrogen as because of cotton skin coated with a substance resembling smokeless gunpowder as discussed at http://www.seas.ucla.edu/hsseas/releases/blimp.htm ), some welding gas mixtures (just some though and not intrinsically required for welding), a coolant for some particularly low temperature superconductors although others can use liquid nitrogen (or, provided extra safety precautions, optionally liquid hydrogen), and a few other niche uses.

    The total market value of U.S. helium production is around 1 / 20000th of U.S. GDP, a very small portion of the overall economy ($808 million in 2011; http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/helium/mcs-2012-heliu.pdf ). The worst-case imaginary scenario of a couple order of magnitude rise in helium cost for extraction from air (compared to how presently it tends to be extracted from natural gas when such is 0.3% to several percent helium), would still be tiny in the overall economy. In reality, though, total helium available in natural gas is far greater than the several-decade nominal “proved reserve” / production figure, as in the first quote in this comment.

  118. Global warming is probably a non-probem but excessive population growth is creating major problems throughout the world right now. I feel some of the remarks directed at Paul Ehrich are unfair.
    “All the world’s environmental problems have the common factor of too many people.” – (British) test pilot the late Harald Penrose.
    Can anyone name an exception?

  119. Ian Wilson says:
    January 13, 2013 at 4:25 am

    Global warming is probably a non-probem but excessive population growth is creating major problems throughout the world right now. I feel some of the remarks directed at Paul Ehrich are unfair … Can anyone name an exception?

    I’m sorry you feel that way Ian. Are YOU going to do something about it?

    That is, are YOU going to immediately castrate and sterilize yourself, every living relative of yourself and your in-laws, your sons and daughters, your parents and their parents?

    Are YOU going to immediately cut off YOUR electricity go live in squalor, laying naked in the dark and the cold, dying of internal parasites, malnutrition, and blood-born diseases?

  120. @Ian Wilson:

    BPA. In plastics it is an environmental problem for consumers of things packaged in plastic. That is an environmental issue, not driven by population.

    Lead in soils. It is universally a problem of inner cities from decades of lead in automotive gasoline. It is a function of population density as more cars were there, but not absolute population numbers

    GMO contamination. GMO weeds have appeared in the environment and GMO contamination of “founder stock” rice by Bayer Corp at a test plot in the southern USA caused a global rice shortage a few years back. The first case is a direct result of plants being, um, un-careful with their genes. “It isn’t a species barrier, it is a species strong suggestion. -E.M.Smith” The second a result of a careless company and a poor grasp of the likely result.

    Fukushima. The rector had a bad design for the waste storage pool and stupid people left rods in it for way too long. Then a quake happened. Not much to do with the population density. If Japan had been 90% empty and that plant were still there for the last 10%, same result.

    Hanford Pu contamination. Result of sloppy practices during war. Not population dependent.

    Anthrax on the island near UK. War stupidity testing.

    Pu near “Rocky Flats”. War stupidity in production.

    All three of those ‘war’ issues a direct result of Communism and it’s Socialist Evil Twin Fascism pushing the West into drastic self preservation. Not a size or scale issue.

    Cadmium contamination of a river in Japan, 100s killed or serious damaged. Folks didn’t know how toxic cadmium was. Unrelated to size of population. Corporate sloppiness didn’t help.

    I could go on for several more pages…

  121. Ian Wilson says:
    January 13, 2013 at 4:25 am
    “Global warming is probably a non-probem but excessive population growth is creating major problems throughout the world right now. I feel some of the remarks directed at Paul Ehrich are unfair.
    “All the world’s environmental problems have the common factor of too many people.” – (British) test pilot the late Harald Penrose.
    Can anyone name an exception?”

    An exception insofar as there are people who are not completely deluded lunatics like Ehrlich? Well, Julian Simon comes to mind. (Well actually the Ehrlichs have made a very nice career out of The Population Bomb; in reality they are probably as down to Earth as ultrarich resource squanderer Al Gore and just very good and successful liars.)

    As for the excessive population growth you might want to look at gapminders’ statistics.
    http://www.gapminder.org

    How many people fit into Kasakhstan? Landmass as big as the EU, EU has a population of 500 million, Kazakhstan has a population of 15 million.

    Why is Kazakhstan not overcrowded?

  122. Somehow I get the feeling that, if there was a perceived toilet paper shortage, the response of some groups would be let’s have most of the population die so that we don’t have to spend a fraction of 1% of GDP on making more toilet paper.

    Dodo birds didn’t die out fundamentally because X hundred million people refused to sacrifice their lives or that of their descendants to save the birds. They died out because not even 1 person out of millions bothered to save them by breeding a population of the birds, because not one millionth of GDP was spent trying. Having X billion fewer people than now is not necessary to save the polar bears or any other significant species. (Polar bears are actually doing fairly well, even with the Canadians shooting hundreds a year IIRC, but that’s another topic). There are only some thousands of vertebrate species (as opposed to invertebrates such as bugs), and only a small fraction of those are in much danger of extinction. Pretty much all of relevance could be saved from extinction for mere billions of dollars all combined, not much on the scale of global GDP which is many trillions of $ a year.

    As someone who values human life, as well as the benefits of the size and scale of modern industrial civilization in countless ways down to how many movies can be produced today, I don’t share an ideology of wanting mass human dieoffs as the first and preferred solution. As noted before in this thread, world population is projected to max at around 10 billion (a result of the demographic transition as in http://www.census.gov/population/international/data/idb/images/worldgr.png ).

    Most matters blamed on overpopulation are rather due to poverty, often poverty partially caused or perpetuated by lousy governments. Japan, for instance, has higher population density by far than any area traditionally called overpopulated, but the difference is that they had sufficient development of industry and hence economic prosperity.

  123. E.M.Smith says:
    January 13, 2013 at 4:02 am

    …As per running out of sunlight: What has who been smoking? My God Man, visit a desert in summer some time. Go to the beach. Visit a ski resort in spring season (hint: Take sun block and really good eye-shades).

    How much food is being grown in those environments? Yes, there is a lot of sunlight falling on the planet, and relatively very little is being converted into biomass–my point is that it is not a very efficient process, and the sunlight available is limited. Moreover, there are other inputs required to meet the sort of production that you, Dirk H., and Henry Clarke keep talking about–land for producing phosphorus, natural gas for making ammonia, and more environment for taking care of wastes, cleaning waste water etc., etc. It is no use just talking in the abstract about laboratory scale production of 22 tonnes per hectare. What is needed for industrial scale production? That is the question to answer.

    Moreover, your quip about the “control volume” being “…no such thing as a “control volume”. It is a made up fantasy. Not real.” is misguided. the control volume is a basic and very fruitful concept in power and chemical engineering. We begin teaching it to sophomore engineers. It applies to all systems in which there are flows of mass, energy and entropy.

    …Substantially every chemical reaction is written as a bi-directional equation. LIFE depends on the bidirectional nature….
    …CEMENT is a reversing reaction. Cook limestone to drive out CO2….

    …ALL Metal smelting depends on reversibility of the oxidation reactions of the ores….

    Though you think otherwise, chemical processes can’t be done reversibly — because practical processes involve such hings as mixing, heat transfer, finite rates of production and so forth. You are confusing the idea of reversing the reactants and products in the equilibrium equation with a formal definition of reversible/irreversible. Reversible means done without increase in entropy.

    Kevin, in all honesty, if your ‘friend’ believes this they are a technological idiot. (Who may well hold a degree in it but is an idiot all the same).

    Only one of the best mechanical/chemical design engineers I know, with four decades of industry experience–not just an academician. You know nothing of my friend or me so calling us misguided idiots isn’t exactly a good path to persuasion.

    DirkH says:
    January 13, 2013 at 2:29 am
    Kevin Kilty says:
    January 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm
    “Dirk H.
    As you asked for a specific example,my colleague uses carbon dioxide, which you and I would place much higher limits than he.”

    When you said “chemical reactions can’t be reversed” I thought, what does he mean, something complicated like polymerization…

    When I use the phrase “not reversible”, I do not mean the reaction cannot be undone. I am not referring to the direction of the reaction in the reaction equation. I mean it cannot be undone without a positive change in entropy–I am using the formal engineering definition of reversible/irreversible. This is the nub of the problem of sustainability.

    And there was no reason to sneer at my example of Helium. It was meant to illustrate my point. Apply it to more important instances of technological materials if you like, it applies to everything, eventually anyone ought to see implications to the long term problem of sustainability.

    You’re trying to solve non-problems with unsuitable means and come to the conclusion that you can only support 100 million people.

    I have shown you several much simpler solutions. I can support 50 billion people. My solutions are at least 500 times more efficient.

    You haven’t shown any such thing.

    However, you and I agree that socialism and other non-market solutions to problems will never work–even when socialists are right about a problem and its solution, they are authoritarian and use the wrong means. I’m not advocating people dying by the billions, nor do I hope for world government, no other prospect is as horrifying in my mind than world government. While the Ehrlich’s are perpetually wrong about many things, though, they do make good points that require careful thought.

  124. Kevin Kilty says:
    January 13, 2013 at 9:06 am
    “Moreover, there are other inputs required to meet the sort of production that you, Dirk H., and Henry Clarke keep talking about–land for producing phosphorus, natural gas for making ammonia, and more environment for taking care of wastes, cleaning waste water etc., etc. It is no use just talking in the abstract about laboratory scale production of 22 tonnes per hectare. What is needed for industrial scale production? That is the question to answer.”

    The bulk of industry is concentrated into and around the mere 1.5% of Earth’s land area that is urban areas, plus a small amount of mines and installations elsewhere. Industry is compact relative to farms. A fertilizer plant supporting a vast number of farms has a tiny fraction of their area.

    Affordable natural gas reserves have surged and been booming. Ammonia can also be produced with no natural gas, as I noted before, being just NH3 (as in N from air, H from H2O). Actually http://energyfromthorium.com/2011/10/29/nuclear-ammonia/ estimates that appropriate nuclear power could produce ammonia for merely $200 per ton and much cheaper than current natural gas production, but, even if the exact estimate was off, the important thing is that it isn’t a figure orders of magnitude higher but quite reasonable. The U.S. Army in the Cold War considered having portable nuclear reactors produce ammonia for ammonia-fueled vehicles without a conventional logistics train. Phosphorus, again, I discussed before.

    There’s no grand problem with current wastewater treatment plants and the area required for them (small in the big picture), nor would there be if the world’s population eventually reached 10 billion instead of 7 billion — aside from problems which, as now, are created primarily by poverty. Nothing solves most problems so much as economic growth and prosperity, for which it is best to not let Club of Rome types gain power; Ehrlich opposed the Green Revolution, for instance.

    “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” he [Ehrlich] confidently declared in an interview with then-radical journalist Peter Collier in the April 1970 Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

    “Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”

    Ehrlich and others were openly contemptuous of the “Green Revolution,” underway in countries such as India and Pakistan, that had already nearly doubled crop yields in developing nations between 1965 and 1970. Ehrlich sniffed that such developments meant nothing, going so far as to predict that “the Green Revolution…is going to turn brown.”

    http://reason.com/archives/2000/05/01/earth-day-then-and-now

    Kevin Kilty says:
    January 13, 2013 at 9:06 am
    “When I use the phrase “not reversible”, I do not mean the reaction cannot be undone. I am not referring to the direction of the reaction in the reaction equation. I mean it cannot be undone without a positive change in entropy–I am using the formal engineering definition of reversible/irreversible. This is the nub of the problem of sustainability.”

    Not really a problem. Stars produce entropy, and many last for billions of years. So did life and Earth even before humans. Despite constantly having non-reversible reactions in that sense, some types of stars would last for up to trillions of years nominally, in other words as long as the universe itself under many scenarios (although whether the universe will end sooner is a matter of scientific and religious debate). Anything lasting as long as the universe itself is as sustainable as anything can be in total duration.

    About everything under the sun results in some waste energy, some waste heat, radiating out into space in the end, and that’s normal.

    Whether intelligent life consisted of a few apes in jungles and caves, or a Kardashev level 3 civilization with Dyson Swarms, it’d produce entropy.

    References to the second law are a tactic often attempted by some environmentalists to try to impress people with the words and phrases used; the second law actually implies nothing like that human civilization must be so-and-so environmentalist’s random figure of 0.Y billion instead of X billion people that they pulled out of their rear end for their sake of their own biases.

    Kevin Kilty says:
    January 13, 2013 at 9:06 am
    “And there was no reason to sneer at my example of Helium. It was meant to illustrate my point. Apply it to more important instances of technological materials if you like, it applies to everything, eventually anyone ought to see implications to the long term problem of sustainability.”

    The most important elements are present in far greater quantities and abundances on Earth than helium. For instance, aluminum, iron, magnesium, and titanium comprise 16% of the average rock by mass (amongst quadrillions of tons of such in the crust). There are quadrillions of tons of hydrogen and oxygen in the oceans. What is needed for concrete, steel, and plastics (if need be even hydrogen from water and carbon from anywhere) are all present in astronomical amounts. There is an economic argument for developing asteroid mining, but even on Earth there isn’t a single element that is a show-stopper. Even such as gallium and indium exist in quantities which are large relative to the amounts needed.

    If using the term sustainability, the best attitude and understanding is that expressed in http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/

    But elsewhere “sustainability” is usually poorly defined anyway, so, rather than “the long term problem of sustainability,” the “long term problem of survival” is more apt. For that, it is best not to be limited to this planet, to expand into space, to have a positive vision of the future, of seeking increase and not decrease in mankind’s industrial and economic capabilities. (Low expectations are indirectly much of the real problem there; for instance, popular misconceptions have grown of assuming current space launch prices are unavoidable rather than actually around a thousand times the cost of propellant used, mostly liquid oxygen of cents per pound, and, without such public misconceptions, there would be more funded efforts to change the situation).

    And part of what maximizes the odds of positive advancement and expansion of capabilities is stopping ideology like the following:

    “The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States: We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization, we have in the U.S.” — Michael Oppenheimer, Environmental Defense Fund

    “Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.” – Ehrlich

    “We’ve already had too much economic growth in the United States. Economic growth in rich countries like ours is the disease, not the cure.” – Ehrlich

    Ehrlich was a co-author of a book with Holdren. Holdren has said things like that 210 million was too many people for the United States (quoted in 1970s) and advocated adding sterilants to drinking water to prevent such as the 300 million people in the U.S. today. Now Holdren is the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Holdren ).

    Being surrounded by people like that is why, for instance, when the President of the United States said “under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket”, he didn’t see that as an utter problem with it. (Quote source: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/01/13/we-have-met-the-1-and-he-is-us/ ). Many, under messed-up ideology, would consider that a bonus. Allied groups also led to the President closing Yucca Mountain after billions had already been spent.*

    * For some basic perspective on nuclear waste:

    “Since the fraction of a radioisotope’s atoms decaying per unit of time is inversely proportional to its half-life, the relative radioactivity of a quantity of buried human radioactive waste would diminish over time compared to natural radioisotopes (such as the decay chains of 120 trillion tons of thorium and 40 trillion tons of uranium which are at relatively trace concentrations of parts per million each over the crust’s 3 * 10^19 ton mass).[93][94][95]

    For instance, over a timeframe of thousands of years, after the most active short half-life radioisotopes decayed, burying U.S. nuclear waste would increase the radioactivity in the top 2000 feet of rock and soil in the United States (10 million km^2) by ≈ 1 part in 10 million over the cumulative amount of natural radioisotopes in such a volume, although the vicinity of the site would have a far higher concentration of artificial radioisotopes underground than such an average.[96]”

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

    Extremely messed up views are not just in small non-influential niches of society but are why, for instance, the CAGW movement’s BSing has spread as far as it has. Although the term cult doesn’t really apply to anything so widespread, Dr. Zubrin, a famous proponent of space colonization (a bit overbiased towards Mars over space habitats but with many good writings in general), has written a book on Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism; http://antigreen.blogspot.com/2012/06/people-matter-robert-zubrins-powerful.html

    I’m not advocating people dying by the billions, nor do I hope for world government, no other prospect is as horrifying in my mind than world government.

    The tendency over time has been for larger and larger scales of organization. For instance, over the centuries, Europe went from having many small chiefs, to larger holdings of nobles, to the strengthening of the power of nationwide monarchs, and so on, until finally the E.U. Such gradually approaches closer and closer to being like a single nation. The European Community came about essentially as a successor to stacking more and more international agreements on top of each other. More and more global environmental treaties, international taxation, and so on as advocated by Club of Rome types are exactly how a de facto world government would start to form over the decades, of a type subsequently crippling mankind’s future.

    Someone in Europe in the 19th century would not likely have guessed the E.U. of today would exist, and likewise many today assume differences between nations today are a bulwark against the formation of a world government. Yet that bulwark is disturbingly weak in the long term actually. I greatly oppose world government, at least in any form like that which the world is presently headed towards, one in which its top advocates are often the worst kind of ideologues (like the CAGW movement type), who would execute policies bordering on anti-human, founded on their typical mathematical illiteracy, extreme dishonesty, and refusal to constructively listen to skeptics — quite conceivably enforcing stagnation and decline from which nobody could escape.

    For a real positive future of mankind, to stop that (or at least delay it hopefully long enough for some to have escaped into deep space first), impeding them is critical.

    I don’t fear, for instance, one day mankind discovering that the 30,000,000,000 megatons of phosphorus in the crust suddenly magically became below 200 megatons/year usage. Mankind has always done well versus natural challenges. I do fear, though, what mankind’s own governments can do, a lesson the past hundred years teaches very strongly. If civilization dies out, never leaving this planet, it won’t be from lack of materials, nor from advancing too fast, nor from too high industrial capabilities and prosperity, but from applied stupidity / misanthropism / corruption / twisted ideology.

  125. @Kevin Kilty:

    Your use of words and definitions is, um, “odd”. I give a half dozen examples of reversible (and constantly reversing) chemical reactions and your response is that you didn’t really mean it can not be undone but rather that there will an increase in entropy. Well guess what, there will be an increase in entropy in any case. The universe is running downhill into an entropy well with us or without us.

    In the real word I can repeatedly turn cement into rock hard concrete, then back into cement dust then back into concrete then… In the real world I can repeatedly turn rust into iron into rust into iron into rust. In the real world I can repeatedly turn “poo” into plants into “poo” into plants into fried chicken (my favorite) into “poo” into… The only limit is “energy input” and we are a few orders of magnitude away from any of concern.

    On food you say sunlight is limiting, when shown it isn’t (as we get 50 tons / acre of SOME plant, so that much is available in sunlight and we just need to adapt the food plants, or eat algae that are edible already) you resort to ‘but we can’t do that today in the desert’ and it would take more other inputs (that isn’t relevant to the sunshine point being illustrated). Well, OK, we’ll play “deflect the question and redefine” (That IMHO concedes that sunshine was NOT a limit after all).

    1) Other inputs: I gave you one solution. Seaweed harvesting. Others? Sewage recycle. Others? Rock breakdown and mineral extraction. Others? “Muck harvesting” (Lots of muck on the ocean bottoms).

    2) Deserts: Did you even LOOK at the links? Food. From the desert. SEAWATER input:

    http://www.seawatergreenhouse.com/

    Now this isn’t seawater as the only input, but if desired we can make facilities to grow food with only sea water (things DO live in it at present…)

    The problem isn’t how to get things to grow with poor soils or low inputs, it is how to STOP things from growing. Moss is growing on my car on the door / window join. Not a scrap of anything in the way of soil. Same thing on the shaded side of my house roof. LIFE gathers the materials it needs, with or without your concerns about “inputs”. We can then use those natural collectors to give those inputs to less competent species if we so desire it.

    Or just make more competent species… In the US Desert Southwest there is a kind of buckwheat that grows on bare rocky bad “soil”. It is one of many such. It can be used to reclaim “mine tailing”. That’s growing food plants on a pile of crushed rocks. NO “inputs” from people and no “soil” in the usual sense. The “pioneer species” then build up the soil and later are replaced with plants that expect all the work to be done for them. We can replicate that process or we can move those pioneer genes into other food crops if desired. We don’t because it is easier to do what we do. Not because the other paths don’t work.

    There is also a bean “Tepary Bean” and a nice grain “Golden Chia”. The first is from the Sonoran desert. The second from “Desert California”. (We were a desert prior to irrigation). The local natives used them for food. We are just starting to. There IS food in those harsh climates if you learn to look.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eriogonum_niveum

    Native American groups had several medicinal uses for this plant. It was used as a remedy for colds and cuts. The roots of this plant and Eriogonum heracleoides were brewed into a tea which was taken to treat diarrhea. This plant grows on grassy plains, sagebrush deserts, and ponderosa pine forests mainly east of the Cascade Range. It is a pioneer species, taking hold in thin, dry soils where other plants have not yet established. Other plants in the habitat may include Artemisia tridentata, Purshia tridentata, Juniperus occidentalis, Pseudoroegneria spicata, Sporobolus airoides, Elymus wawawaiensis, Poa secunda, Achnatherum hymenoides, and Nassella comata.

    This plant can be cultivated. It can be planted in areas that have little soil, such as mine spoils. It can be used in xeriscaping. The cultivar ‘Umatilla’ is used for rangeland restoration and soil stabilization.

    In the wild this plant provides food for mule deer and bighorn sheep.

    http://www.seedsofchange.com/enewsletter/issue_56/tepary_beans.aspx

    Tepary beans, once a staple in the Sonoran Desert and cultivated throughout Mesoamerica, are one of North America’s most illustrious native crops. After being largely forgotten and nearly lost, these delicious, nutty-tasting beans are currently enjoying a renaissance, owing to their superior flavor, nutrition, and extreme drought tolerance.
    […]
    In fact, tepary cultivation is now taking place in dry areas of Africa and is being revived in southern Arizona where it was quite common as recently as seventy years ago.

    Traditionally, in the Sonoran Desert, two crops of tepary beans were grown a year, one in the spring using winter moisture stored in the ground and one in the late summer, planted at the time of the monsoons. Gardeners in the Southwest are advised to follow similar practices. Researchers in Virginia have demonstrated that teparies can produce well in the East if planted later, in late May to early July, when moisture is lower than in early spring and temperatures are high

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvia_columbariae

    Salvia columbariae is an annual plant that is commonly called chia, golden chia, and desert chia because its seeds are used in the same manner as Salvia hispanica (chia). It grows in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora, and Baja California and was an important food for Native Americans. Some native words include pashí from Tongva and ‘it’epeš from Ventureño.

    That we choose to grow water demanding temperate climate apex species for food does not mean all food requires that. There are pioneer species with low inputs requirements for drought environments. (And tasty too!)

    The way you are using “control volume” makes it sound unrelated to the term as used in modeling. In modeling it isn’t a “limit”, it is a “sample area” for making your model.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_volume

    In fluid mechanics and thermodynamics, a control volume is a mathematical abstraction employed in the process of creating mathematical models of physical processes. In an inertial frame of reference, it is a volume fixed in space or moving with constant velocity through which the fluid (gas or liquid) flows. The surface enclosing the control volume is referred to as the control surface.

    At steady state, a control volume can be thought of as an arbitrary volume in which the mass of the fluid remains constant. As fluid moves through the control volume, the mass entering the control volume is equal to the mass leaving the control volume. At steady state, and in the absence of work and heat transfer, the energy within the control volume remains constant. It is analogous to the classical mechanics concept of the free body diagram.

    If THAT is what you meant, it simply does not apply. The earth is not at steady state and never has been. Further, we are not talking about mass flow through a volume.

    Typically, to understand how a given physical law applies to the system under consideration, one first begins by considering how it applies to a small, control volume, or “representative volume”. There is nothing special about a particular control volume, it simply represents a small part of the system to which physical laws can be easily applied. This gives rise to what is termed a volumetric, or volume-wise formulation of the mathematical model.

    One can then argue that since the physical laws behave in a certain way on a particular control volume, they behave the same way on all such volumes, since that particular control volume was not special in any way. In this way, the corresponding point-wise formulation of the mathematical model can be developed so it can describe the physical behaviour of an entire (and maybe more complex) system.

    Basically you are talking about a ‘toy system’ for the purposes of coming up with models. It doesn’t in any way limit anything. It doesn’t in any way say your models will be right.

    The way you were using the term did not seem to match this definition at all; but I’ll go back and re-read it with this in mind. Don’t see how saying “our toy test space for model making” will limit (whatever) is going to change things. It doesn’t limit anything and the toy model is still wrong.

    OK, so the way I thought you were using the term “doesn’t exist” and “is not real”, but the way you claim to be using it is “not applicable”. Don’t see how that makes your case any stronger.

    Frankly, all I see in your case is a mind firmly clamped shut, certain that if all things are held as they are in a steady state toy system, then one variable is raised (population) the others are no longer balanced. So? It’s not a steady state system and never has been. Things are not held constant. It isn’t a toy system anyway.

    Theoretical “angels and pins” arguments are just not useful. People are really good at getting one thing off by a decimal point or two and then panic sets in over nothing. We CAN and we DO grow 25 tons of dry biomass / acre. Therefore sunshine and inputs are not limiting. Only the genetics of what we put there, and we can now change genetics. (We can also make more “there” in which to put the present genetics if we wish. From solar powered sea water greenhouses in production now to nuclear powered fully waste recycling fully enclosed greenhouses later. (As in those California marijuana grow houses if recycled “potting soil” were used. It’s common in the shops here to find potting soil from recycled ‘yard waste’)

    I’d also suggest looking a bit more closely at the way your definitions seem to wander from common use (in just such a way as to imply issues where there are none…)

  126. Oh, and as per natural gas for ammonia:

    Another false limit. We can use any energy source and any hydrogen source (and the hydrogen does not ‘go away’ so it never runs out… unless in a billion years the sun cooks the planet…)

    This isn’t just a theoretical. Prior to natural gas as chemical feedstock we used coal. Price drives which one is used. There is a company in production now that has a fertilizer plant. It was designed from the beginning to use any carbon source. Mostly “trash”. I think, due to fracking, it is presently using natural gas, but they started as a coal and trash source. Rentech.

    http://www.rentechinc.com/fertilizer.php

    Rentech Nitrogen Partners, L.P. is a pure-play nitrogen fertilizer company formed by Rentech, Inc. as a publicly traded master limited partnership. Rentech Nitrogen’s primary products are ammonium sulfate, anhydrous ammonia, and UAN. Ammonia and UAN, produced at our East Dubuque facility, are applied mostly to corn and sold to customers within the Mid Corn Belt region of the United States. Ammonium sulfate, produced at our Pasadena facility, is applied to a variety of crops including soybeans, wheat, corn, potatoes, cotton, canola and alfalfa. We sell ammonium sulfate across the U.S. and South America. Rentech Nitrogen’s other products include ammonium thiosulfate fertilizer, sulfuric and nitric acid and carbon dioxide.

    They also made some Diesel for the use of LAX (Los Angeles airport) with municipal trash as the feed stock.

    I don’t think we are in danger of running out of trash any time soon.

    Note that the synthesis gas step means they can also make any other plastics and “petro”chemicals desired. The limit on fuels, plastics, fertilizers, food crops now lifted by how much trash do we have (now, new, or in old landfills).

    And the really wild thing is that these guys are not even using nuclear power. Use nuclear power for process heat and electricity and synthetic gasoline from trash drops to about $2.50 / gallon for all foreseeable time and food production per unit area is limited by how many floors you can build in a skyscraper…

    Did I mention we know how to make nuclear reactors and can fuel them economically for as long as the earth has an ocean?

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/ulum-ultra-large-uranium-miner-ship/

    Malthus was, is, and will be wrong. The only risk is stupidity causing a “Malthusian crisis” by stopping industry and progress. Then again, we are ruled by folks who think one ought never let a crisis “go to waste”…

  127. E.M. Smith

    I’m glad to see that Wikipedia thinks the control volume is an abstraction. In the future, when I analyze an engine or pump or chemical reactor, I shall keep in mind that the solid, impermeable surfaces that define the control volume are simply abstractions and that the fluid remains confined by magic, I guess. At any rate even the Wikipedia definition says the method is useful as

    …Typically, to understand how a given physical law applies to the system under consideration, one first begins by considering how it applies to a small, control volume, or “representative volume”…

    So I suggest applying a control volume to resource use on a per capita basis, and you will have none of it; absolute hogwash as far as you see. OK, I will make it simple. I will grant you a control volume. You take care of all your resource demands and waste disposal in that volume because I don’t want you encroaching on mine. So, do you know how large your control volume is?

    There is nothing “odd” about my use of the term “reversible/irreversible”. I note that you didn’t dig up the Wiki on that and quote it, because if you had you might be in danger of understanding what I am speaking of. To undo chemical processes that increase entropy (irreversible) you need a minimum of energy equal to environmental temperature times entropy increase. This will impose limits on your ability to make ammonia from just any old source of hydrogen–natural gas is one of the best that I know about, but there is also the water-gas reaction that you refer to in the municipal waste examples.

    The only risk is stupidity causing a “Malthusian crisis” by stopping industry and progress.

    I have no idea why you throw this at me as I am not Malthusian, or even Ehrlichian/Holdrenian. However, there is a risk in thinking that we can obtain resources from increasingly dilute sources without impacts to energy usage — the second law controls the issue.

    Frankly, all I see in your case is a mind firmly clamped shut, …

    Thanks for the ad hominem.

  128. Henry Clark

    I am solidly in agreement with you about Oppenheimer, Erhlichs and Holdren…and a million others like them–oh, Prince Charles too. But I’m not in agreement with statements like this one tossed at me earlier today

    Food is just not the limiting factor for population. Neither is space. Neither is water. Neither is “stuff”. Neither is energy.

    It is simply not so. Energy is probably the most important in here because with enough energy we can recycle anything we need. However, the second law limits the minimum amount of energy required to do anything, including recycling.

    I don’t know if you have ever seen or read Holdren’s book from 1970 or so, entitled “Energy: a crisis in power.” Odd title for someone with a Ph.D. in physics, but it is pretty full of very wrong predictions. It is interesting to read, just as the ideas expressed by the Erhlichs are interesting to contemplate–wrong but interesting.

  129. rogerknights says:
    January 12, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Thanks. Yes, a plasma torch can dissociate any compound, but what I was referring to is the minimum amount of energy required to undo chemical reactions and other things like mixing. The second law is firmly in control here. A reversible process is one that requires a minimum of energy to undo.

  130. LazyTeenager says:
    January 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm
    And that includes both government regulation or by externalising costs so implicit costs can produce pricing signals in the free enterprise system.
    ———————————————————–
    You’ve got the rap down pat. I’m curious. Where else has such a system been utilized other than the wildest dreams of eco-scocialists? From my observation government artificially introduced cost on such a scale is anethema to the free enterprise system. Of course, I’m no climate scientist.

  131. Kevin Kilty says:
    January 13, 2013 at 6:42 pm
    I am solidly in agreement with you about Oppenheimer, Erhlichs and Holdren…and a million others like them–oh, Prince Charles too.

    Okay.

    Kevin Kilty says:
    January 13, 2013 at 6:42 pm
    Energy is probably the most important in here because with enough energy we can recycle anything we need. However, the second law limits the minimum amount of energy required to do anything, including recycling.

    That is addressed, including a quantitative second law illustration, within http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/

    To quote some sections from it:

    Q. Will we run out of minerals?

    A. No. There is plenty of every element in major use. It is a question of the economic concepts of reserves and resources. Iron ore and aluminum ore are presently obtained from very rich ores available in a few places in the world. These ores can be shipped long distances by water at small cost. They are oxides rather than the silicates which present refining procedures don’t handle. The earth’s crust is 5 percent iron and 7 percent aluminum, but most of it as silicates. Refining silicates will require more energy. However, the extractive industries only account for four percent of the American GDP, so we can afford more expensive extraction processes when they become necessary.

    Indeed once we can extract minerals from random rock, the only way of running out of an element is to eject it from the planet or to let it subduct under a continent. This is because using quantities of elements doesn’t destroy them. Therefore, the scrap piles will eventually be ores. This won’t happen for a long time, because more concentrated ores will remain available for a long time.

    In fact metal ores have become more inexpensive recently as is illustrated by the famous bet between the environmentalist Paul Ehrlich and the economist Julian Simon. In 1980 Simon sold Ehrlich (on credit) ten year futures on five metals of Ehrlich’s choosing. The total price was $1,000. In 1990 Ehrlich had to pay Simon $600, because the metals had gone down in price.

    Copper is presently being mined in the U.S. at a concentration only ten times its concentration in the earth’s crust.

    Q. Doesn’t the second law of thermodynamics tell us that the lower the concentration of the ore, the more energy it takes to extract it?

    A. It does indeed, but the energy required goes up very slowly as the concentration goes down. To separate one mole of a substance from n moles of a substrate requires an energy RT ln n according to the second law. According to this formula, it would pay to extract one atom of uranium from the entire earth. Of course, mineral extraction is more expensive than that, but the second law of thermodynamics isn’t the reason. Detailed calculations of the energy costs dictated by the Second Law of Thermodynamics and a comparison with current prices is given.

    http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/

    Regarding the last sentences in the quote above, such goes to http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/thermo.html which notes:

    Various pessimists have cited the Second Law of Thermodynamics as a reason why civilization is doomed. The general idea is that the law shows that the system must run down. This is true of the universe as a whole, so far as we know, but the time-scale is billions of years. The earth is an open system, because it receives energy from the sun. Moreover, the uranium and thorium in the earth’s crust can also supply us with energy for billions of years.

    One of the particular claims is that the Second Law of Thermodynamics precludes the use of very low grade ores, because the Law imposes energy costs in connection with any separation.

    Barry Commoner is sometimes credited with this idea. The idea is wrong, because the energy costs imposed by the Second Law of Thermodynamics grow only as the negative logarithm of the concentration and are quite small for the processes of interest.

    ECONOMICS OF SUSTAINABILITY: NEO-CLASSICAL VIEWPOINT by Jyrki Salmi quotes and cites some of these arguments.

    Other costs, such as material handling and the energy associated with breaking chemical bonds are much larger.

    If you accept this, you can stop reading here. However, the Second Law costs are computed directly in the following pages.

    And that in turn links to

    http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/thermo/node1.html

    and

    http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/thermo/node2.html

    I won’t quote such here since the formulas are easier to read in their original form anyway, but the links illustrate.

    The whole site by that professor, http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/ , is the best I’ve seen for topics like this.

    Kevin Kilty says:
    January 13, 2013 at 6:49 pm
    “Yes, a plasma torch can dissociate any compound, but what I was referring to is the minimum amount of energy required to undo chemical reactions and other things like mixing.”

    Speaking in general, not about plasma torches exactly, there is no (exothermic) chemical reaction in existence which releases more than tens of thousands of joules per gram, even if talking about the particularly energetic reaction of aluminum and oxygen, or hydrogen and fluorine, or hydrogen and oxygen, or anything else (where the preceding examples have been considered for or used in rocket propellants), let alone reactions of lesser J/gram like oxidizing carbon or iron.

    Likewise, there is no (endothermic) chemical reaction in existence which takes or absorbs more than tens of thousand of joules per gram. (If there was, we’d use it in some types of heat sinks). Short of unusually high inefficiencies in processing, there is no chemical compound that can not be broken down for either tens of thousands of joules per gram or less.

    The preceding wouldn’t be universal knowledge automatically, but I’m used to looking up enthalpies of formation.

    Anyway, accordingly, the basic picture is about whatever one does will take either a few kilowatt-hours per kilogram net or less, where each kilowatt-hour is 3.6 million joules. (I note the “less” there since some reactions, of course, release net energy; it depends what exactly one is doing with what inputs for whether more exothermic or endothermic reactions are involved).

    Presently a kilowatt-hour of electricity costs several cents, while a kilowatt-hour-thermal of high temperature heat is somewhat cheaper. Even aside from plasma converters (though they may be the best method perhaps), a lot more could be done with garbage if people really wanted, in terms of if spending hundreds of dollars per ton in processing as opposed to now often not bothering with more than tens of dollars a ton on disposal. Or innovation could lead to waste processing that was more often economically competitive with landfill disposal, maybe even as cheap in net cost after paybacks, or even making net money per ton of typical waste processed. (Imagine if one got paid for one’s garbage by weight rather than paying for the service of pickup! — though that’d be easier to have for a large business than an individual).

    Kevin Kilty says:
    January 13, 2013 at 6:42 pm
    I don’t know if you have ever seen or read Holdren’s book from 1970 or so, entitled “Energy: a crisis in power.” Odd title for someone with a Ph.D. in physics, but it is pretty full of very wrong predictions. It is interesting to read, just as the ideas expressed by the Erhlichs are interesting to contemplate–wrong but interesting.”

    I have not, though I read Limits to Growth a long time ago. Indirectly, what particularly led to the expansion of related assumptions and ideologies is that space colonization fell behind, with activities treating launch costs on the order of 1000 times propellant costs as acceptable and unfortunately not focusing in funded efforts on step #1: to change that. Much like I don’t actually expect the CAGW movement to be truly stopped by anyone’s attempts at education and argument (though sites like WUWT help partially counter and slow it) but rather by a downturn in global temperature probable in the near future, likewise I don’t actually think Malthusian ideology amongst huge sections of the public can be fully stopped by education and argument alone either (but rather by more blatant demonstrations). But space colonization is a lengthy other topic.

    Aside from that, little would help more than cheap energy (via more inexpensive reactors or otherwise) and large-scale demonstrations of a form of partial universal recycler (for which such as the plasma converters in Rogerknights’ http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/01/11/the-royal-society-disaster-movie-starring-the-ehrlichs-and-the-prince-of-wales/#comment-1196724 would be one example).

  132. Henry Clark

    The calculations your reference are interesting, but they presume a reversible process. I’ve said that the reversible process is the one needing the least amount of energy input, and it is the process one should strive to emulate as nearly as possible. Unfortunately we don’t have reversible processes to do anything–I stated this early before this argument went in lots of unproductive directions– among other reasons a reversible process is infinitely slow and wouldn’t accomplish anything useful. The idea of it being economical to concentrate a single uranium atom from the Earth’s mass is amusing–once again cheap done only using a reversible process, and it would take forever, and then the entire earth has become the control volume I’ve been speaking about. A real process running in a usefully short time is irreversible and the Delta S is potentially a lot larger than R x Ln(x).

    The idea that using more and more dilute sources of raw materials costs more and more in terms of energy is hardly controversial (for helium as an example again see this example from the American Chemical Society. I mean, if the calculations your citation shows were sensible people wouldn’t bother to spend millions exploring for a copper deposit, they’d just dig up the most convenient pile of rock, wouldn’t they?

    We will have to agree to disagree here, but the nub of sustainability is figuring out how to use reasonable amounts resources, energy mainly, to concentrate highly valuable specific resources from material to be recycled. Cheap energy as you say is very important. Making energy artificially expensive does not only hurt the chances of the 75% of the planet with meager livings (as per Willis’ essay), it makes sustainability more difficult to achieve as well.

  133. Kevin Kilty:

    At January 14, 2013 at 3:37 pm you say to Henry Clark

    We will have to agree to disagree here, but the nub of sustainability is figuring out how to use reasonable amounts resources, energy mainly, to concentrate highly valuable specific resources from material to be recycled

    You have to disagree with every rational person because your comments are pure, unadulterated bollocks.

    “Sustainability” is determined by growth or decline. If an activity is growing then it is being sustained.

    Modern civilisation is sustainable because it is growing in population and GDP. If it stops growing then sustainability may be worthy of consideration: but, until then, such considerations are an irrelevant waste of time and effort.

    And whether or not recycling is desirable is determined by cost. For example, recycling metals is sensible but recycling glass is a ridiculous waste. This is because simplistically,
    energy is ability to do work
    and
    money is payment for work done.
    So, if it is cheaper to obtain and process a raw material than to recycle a used material then it is preferable to obtain the raw material.

    All your comments in this thread are irrational and ideological nonsense.

    Richard

  134. Kevin Kilty:

    You are making implied claims without quantification. What Dr. McCarthy noted is that the reference to the Second Law is irrelevant because “the energy costs imposed by the Second Law of Thermodynamics grow only as the negative logarithm of the concentration and are quite small for the processes of interest” whereas “other costs, such as material handling and the energy associated with breaking chemical bonds are much larger.” If you want to claim otherwise, show or link a quantitative demonstration.

    Aside from prior discussion on helium, helium is literally the single most atypical example imaginable, where the difference between helium concentration in natural gas and the atmosphere is totally unlike the situation with every non-gaseous element and also every higher molecular weight element (which is all of them aside from abundant hydrogen). Helium escaped from the atmosphere into space over time, something not a single other element on Earth to such a degree. (Hydrogen would come closest but got chemically bonded often, being not a noble gas; some non-helium noble gases are rare but never were obtained by mankind starting from much above atmospheric concentration ever anyway). That you must repeatedly resort to presenting helium as typical speaks volumes. Try for a single other element.

    Copper is an example of abundant resources. As previously noted in a prior quote from http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/sustainability-faq.html , “copper is presently being mined in the U.S. at a concentration only ten times its concentration in the earth’s crust.” For conventionally counted resources at about present mining concentrations, http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/copper/mcs-2012-coppe.pdf notes such exceed 3 billion tons on land. While the preceding is “just” 200+ times world annual copper mine production of 16 million tons, that’s only the start of the picture.

    When Earth’s 3E19 ton crust contains around 2E15 tons of copper or thus around 2000 trillion tons of copper, mining would not have to jump from 3 billion tons available at current mining concentrations to 2000000 billion tons at an order of magnitude lesser concentration with nothing in between. Rather, for instance, allowing a mere factor of 2 change in concentration would make the 3 billion ton figure become much more than 3 billion tons. Copper prices now are no more than they were a century ago, if expressed in constant-year dollars to adjust for inflation.

  135. @Henry Clark:

    I see you are indulging the Kevin Kilty show. Since he couldn’t even be bothered to look at facts and links presented, I’d not come back till now. Perhaps you will find them more useful. From:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/there-is-no-shortage-of-stuff/

    The same Minerals Institute folks put land copper at 1.6 Billion tons. That’s only about 1/4 ton per person. Somehow I still don’t feel deprived. But each year more things that were made from copper are made from plastic, aluminum, or other materials. And copper is highly recycled. But there is the question of what to do if you need more than a few hundred pounds per person.

    Copper is present in polymetallic and manganese nodules on the ocean floor. We don’t harvest them because there is not enough demand for the stuff we can already mine on land. There is also the small matter of a U.N. desire to “spread the wealth” by putting high taxes on any attempt by a private company to mine the stuff; but that doesn’t reduce the quantity that exists. From the wiki page:
    […]
    There are about 500 BILLION tons of nodules and the harvest techniques are already developed (that’s about 100 TONS per person on the planet…)
    but the land resources are so cheap that it’s hard to compete on the economics today. (Especially if the World Government wants to tax you to death.)
    From:

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

    “The chemical composition of nodules varies according to the kind of manganese minerals and the size and characteristics of the core. Those of greatest economic interest contain manganese (27-30 %), nickel (1.25-1.5 %), copper (1-1.4 %) and cobalt (0.2-0.25 %). Other constituents include iron (6 %), silicon (5%) and aluminium (3%), with lesser amounts of calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium, titanium and barium, along with hydrogen and oxygen.”

    That’s about another ton per person of copper. But it also ignores the fact that more nodules are forming all the time, so eventually there would be even more deposited. The true upper bound is limited by erosion from the earth’s crust and the quantity dissolved in the oceans. However much it is, it’s vastly more than we need.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure I can’t use my several tons of available copper.

    For pretty much any material on the planet, there is a similar chain that leads to a similar conclusion. For what we can’t get more of, there are substitutes.

    “Running out of stuff” is just a broken “scare story” from The Club Of Rome and Malthusian Addicts.

  136. E.M.Smith:

    That’s a good example indeed.

    Actually I’ve visited your site before from time to time, enjoying a number of articles.

    Some points I was going to make in this thread at some time:

    Often, large segments of the population expecting decline for civilization turns into them making such feel not cognitively unpleasant to themselves by rationalizing it as for the best anyway under environmental claims. Once fully believed, that can turn to actively discouraging real material advancement in the scale of material and energy capabilities (such as massive nuclear power expansion or fracking or really anything not particularly small scale, expensive, and limiting). Other large portions of the population start more the other way around: starting with a desire to have mankind be particularly limited under their form of environmental beliefs, then either going from that to believing industrial inputs are headed for decline or simply wanting everyone else to believe so.

    There are other factors too, such as how nothing is historically more effective at getting people to voluntarily give up freedoms and accept higher taxes or the like than creating the perception of need, a crisis. That is quite understood by many seeking the expansion of government anyway. Besides, in general, bad news usually sells more than good news, which is rather important for groups which have their income and success dependent on being meme sellers. For instance, an utility operating nuclear power plants has most of its success from selling a physical product, from selling electricity, not propaganda, but an anti-nuclear group has no product of intrinsic material value and depends 100% on selling claims to the public. Despite how most people falsely assume activist organizations have less tendency and reason to be biased than businesses, it is non-producers in the physical sense who specialize most in the war of words, and anti-producers most often put out dishonest propaganda, more so than producers.

    An individual lawyer or an individual engineer can be either honest or dishonest. Yet on average (with no insult meant to some good lawyers), it is essentially only natural that lawyers more often lie and have mathematical illiteracy than engineers, as is so on average for politicians and activists versus engineers and businessmen, as is so for those specialized in meme conflicts versus those most grounded in the real world other than popularity contests.

    All of the preceding factors unfortunately synergize with each other and combine, while there would also be more factors not listed here.

    Prior to the 20th century, there was particularly feel of a frontier existing (as in such as the “here there be dragons” on old maps). Then the late 19th century through the 1940s were a time of rapid advancement in the sense of particularly physical mechanical engineering technology. The 1950s had a particularly optimistic attitude as I’m familiar with from reading many books published during that era. But advancement in electronics did not prevent such starting to diminish, like by now the magazine Popular Science (and many others) mixes some remaining pro-technology attitudes with much pessimistic ideology like CAGW propaganda. (Now, for example, someone is extra unlikely to try to envision ways to make aesthetic houses technologically made in a day, more likely even in science fiction to assume equally primitive construction in future centuries, and to assume the foundation of a strong economy is seeking to have the labor-equivalent price of the main living expense continuously rapidly go up).

    The fizzling of perceptions of the space age by the 1970s and beyond was indirectly one major part of what allowed and contributed to the rise of pessimistic ideology then, along with other influences like the 1973 oil crisis.

    For psychological and general societal reasons almost as much as other reasons, I hope to see a start of serious expansion into outer space, as an ultimate blatant counter to those ideologies. Reduced feel of a frontier has become increasingly unhealthy for western civilization.

    The delay so far to a real space age is not having step #1 completed yet: to get beyond rockets costing on the order of thousand times basic propellant costs (with propellant mostly liquid oxygen costing cents per kilogram but thrown-away expendable hardware costing hundreds to thousands of dollars per kilogram). The problem is amortizing multi-billion dollar programs over launch goals of a handful of tons, with millions of dollars a ton cost impractical for most potential applications, essentially infinite cost per pound for all but limited niche purposes like commsats (with the 200 tons/year total sent to orbit now by the entire world less than one guy with a truck can tow back and forth across the U.S. per year, not industrial scale).

    Ironically, the 30 megajoules/kilogram kinetic energy requirement of 8 km/s LEO orbital velocity (“halfway to anywhere in the solar system” in delta v terms, to borrow a phrase from Heinlein), from KE = 0.5 mv^2 before inefficiencies, is not that much different than a transoceanic airline flight’s energy usage. Jet fuel gives around 130 MJ/gallon in a more terrestrial application not counting ambient oxygen mass. However, rockets carry their own oxidizer, burn propellant in minutes instead of hours in a flashier high power-to-mass-ratio manner, have more inefficiencies, and, most of all, so far lack rapid-turnaround reusability like airline aircraft. If such as a 747 was expended on a single flight without reuse or was technically reusable but had a particular design of thousands of ceramic heat shield tiles taking months between flights to refurbish (Space Shuttle analogy), airline travel would be hyper-expensive too.

    Fortunately, there are alternatives for orders of magnitude improvement in launch costs (although requiring briefly some extra upfront capital investment), several actually but a particularly good one being http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/StarTram . If nothing like the Startram is funded, the best hope is for suborbital tourism startups to potentially approach airline-like reusability and economics over time, especially under economy of number, not because suborbital flights are much of orbital velocity in themselves but because very similar technology from rocket engines to launch operations could lead to rapid-turnaround orbital launch vehicles later.

    From asteroids to inactive comets to moons and beyond, there is orders of magnitude more than enough material even in this star system alone to make thousands of times Earth’s land area in artificial worlds, in space habitats ( http://space.mike-combs.com/ et cetera), obviously not overnight but with room for growth even in total effective land area for up to eons upon eons to come. The economics of making space habitats may superficially seem implausible, but vapor deposition of metal possible in the vacuum can allow vast voluminous structures to be made with a relatively small number of personnel, alien to terrestrial experience. Once a starting industrial base with some thousands of personnel is obtained, one NASA estimate is:

    “If automation permits a moderate increase of productivity to a value of 100 t/person-year, which is twice the value now appropriate for processing and heavy industries on Earth, the large Bernal sphere could be built for an investment of 50,000 man-years of labor. That is equivalent to the statement that 12 percent of the maximum population of one such sphere, working for 3 yr could duplicate the habitat. Automation is much better suited to the large scale, repetitious production operations needed for the habitat shell than to the details of interior architecture and landscape design. It seems quite likely, therefore, that the construction of new habitats will become an activity for specialists who supply closed shells, ready for interior finishing, to groups of prospective colonists.”

    http://settlement.arc.nasa.gov/75SummerStudy/Chapt7.html

    Bone loss in astronauts experiencing continuous weightlessness for months occurs from not enough periodic stress, as also seen with people who have months straight of hospital bedrest without being able to get up and walk periodically. However, in both cases, part-time exposure to walking around in 1g gravity (or rotational pseudogravity) eliminates the problem without having to be done 100% of the time.

    Done right, it would be fun, for those taking part and for their future descendants. For instance, as a thought experiment, pretend one could fly. I don’t mean fly as in own a private airplane, file a flight plan, run through a half hour of preflight checks and preparation, go up in a glass cockpit to thousands of feet of altitude, circle around the terrain around the airport for a hour, and then land, to maybe repeat once or twice a week if an avid recreational pilot. I have nothing against such recreation. But that is not remotely the same as if someone could fly like this, indoors, anytime, at a moment’s whim, to the ceiling, to a treetop, almost anywhere, in fact relatively starting to live in 3D instead of 2D thanks to varying levels of pseudogravity:

    For a huge psychological effect on society, so much as a serious start would be enough to impact perceptions of the future and to greatly matter. For instance, while billions of people in space would be great and should eventually come, so much as the first 10000 people (as in http://settlement.arc.nasa.gov/75SummerStudy/Table_of_Contents1.html or similar), if actively engaged in further construction and expansion, would start to make a major difference.

    However, in the meantime, pointing out the still enormous amount of resources available on Earth also helps counter the rise of harmful decline-assuming and decline-promoting ideologies.

  137. @Henry Clark:

    Gerard K. O’Neill worked out a lot of how to do space colonies. As there is a lot of raw metal in asteroid orbits, largely you just need a solar furnace to melt and form it. Rocks / soils too.

    I’m hoping Rutan and space tourism get things started (at last…)

  138. Indeed and agreed. Some types of asteroids are almost like giant chunks of non-oxidized, non-rusted stainless steel, alien to what is encountered on Earth. Other objects are rich in oil shale kerogen and ice ( http://neofuel.com ). Etc.

  139. Robert of Ottawa says:
    January 11, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Martin Clark, Charlie Boy, heir to the throne, is not good at anything. He is an idiot and a dimwit. I hope his mother outlives him.

    She’s doing her damnedest!

  140. Henry Clark says:
    January 16, 2013 at 3:28 am
    Kevin Kilty:

    You are making implied claims without quantification. What Dr. McCarthy noted is that the reference to the Second Law is irrelevant…

    I am not arguing with his calculations, but Dr. McCarthy’s calculations are “equilibrium thermodynamics” or in other words “reversible” calculations. But there is no reversible process for doing what he claims to be calculating.

    because “the energy costs imposed by the Second Law of Thermodynamics grow only as the negative logarithm of the concentration and are quite small for the processes of interest” whereas “other costs, such as material handling and the energy associated with breaking chemical bonds are much larger.” If you want to claim otherwise, show or link a quantitative demonstration.

    And what you and McCarthy claim is that energy involved in “breaking chemical bonds” or “material handling” has nothing to do with the second law? Ponder this, then. To make elemental iron/steel from iron ore is to make ordered material from disordered. That is a second law issue; and the minimum of 6MJ per kilogram of iron needed to do this in a reversible manner is a consequence of the second law. The best steel mills manage to do this expending about 3 times as much energy as the minimum because their process involves “irreversible” effects.

    I am amazed that what I am claiming here causes so much rancor.

  141. Kevin Kilty:

    For iron oxide to reduced elemental iron and gaseous oxygen, 2Fe2O3 -> 2Fe + 3O2, the sum of the enthalpy of formation values on each side of the equation can be added up and the net change calculated, the same as any other chemical reaction. Fe2O3 has a standard enthalpy of formation of about -824 kJ/mol (countless references with one example being http://s-owl.cengage.com/ebooks/vining_owlbook_prototype/ebook/ch5/Sect5-6-a.html ), whereas elemental iron and O2 are their base states in terms of about zero aside from any adjustment for exact temperature. That means the required energy input to break down two moles of iron oxide is roughly around 1650 kJ. Two moles of iron oxide contain four moles of iron. Iron’s atomic weight is 55.85 g/mol. In other words, going from iron oxide to iron has an energy requirement of about 7400 joules per gram of iron plus inefficiencies.

    Inefficiencies depend somewhat on, for instance, how insulated the reaction chamber is for how much it approaches being an adiabatic process. A container approaching perfect insulation would approach being a completely adiabatic process. In practice, there is no need for perfect insulation as just getting heat loss within an acceptable range is fine. Non-zero heat is conducted through the chamber walls, resulting in non-zero entropy gain from such, resulting in not being an isentropic process, resulting in not being a reversible process in that sense, but none of that is a problem. The priority to a designer is not absolutely maximizing energy efficiency but just making it good enough while minimizing overall monetary cost (which is not identical to energy cost).

    That’s how reactions are actually calculated, where the energy investment comes largely from the energy associated with breaking the chemical bonds (contained in the enthalpy of formation difference) as Dr. McCarthy implied, and such is as I noted before:

    Short of unusually high inefficiencies in processing, there is no chemical compound that can not be broken down for either tens of thousands of joules per gram or less.

    The preceding wouldn’t be universal knowledge automatically, but I’m used to looking up enthalpies of formation.

    Accordingly, the basic picture is about whatever one does will take either a few kilowatt-hours per kilogram net or less, where each kilowatt-hour is 3.6 million joules. (I note the “less” there since some reactions, of course, release net energy; it depends what exactly one is doing with what inputs for whether more exothermic or endothermic reactions are involved).

    Presently a kilowatt-hour of electricity costs several cents, while a kilowatt-hour-thermal of high temperature heat is somewhat cheaper.

    For instance, if one has a nuclear power plant which produces 2 gigawatt high temperature heat becoming in part 1 gigawatt of electricity at near a 100% capacity factor, it produces nearly 8.76 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, about 31.5 quadrillion joules, about 31.5 billion MJ. For that 31.5 billion MJ of electricity (and if approaching 50% thermal->electrical efficiency a similar figure in waste heat at the power plant), nuclear fission releases around 17 to 18 kilotons-TNT equivalent per kilogram fissioned, which, for instance, for the 17.8 kt/kg or 74.6 TJ/kg of uranium-233 bred from thorium-232, means the hypothetical nuclear power plant fissions about 0.8 tons of uranium (thorium) per year.

    In return for fissioning that 0.8 tons of thorium (after Th-232 -> U-233), that hypothetical nuclear power plant’s 31.5 billion MJ per year electricity generation is plenty enough, even if one was using 10 to 20 MJ per kg of iron produced, to refine around 1.6 to 3.2 billion kilograms of iron per year. A more optimized process could be designed to also use high-temperature waste heat at the power plant instead of starting solely from the electricity which can be sent long-distance. (Or of course fossil fuels can be used too).

    However, either way, for the nuclear example, the net result is that each ton of thorium fissioned produces more than enough energy, even after inefficiencies, to refine well above a million times its mass in iron. Around 100+ trillion tons of thorium exist in Earth’s crust. Even common granite rock with 13 ppm thorium concentration (just twice the crustal average, along with 4 ppm uranium) contains potential nuclear energy equivalent to 50 times the entire rock’s mass in coal, although there is no incentive to resort to such very low-grade deposits when other sources are available (like loads of Conway granite with 56 ppm thorium, of which most is readily leachable, and other sources higher still).

  142. One typo:

    2Fe2O3 -> 2Fe + 3O2 was meant to be 2Fe2O3 -> 4Fe + 3O2

    But the calculations illustrated subsequently are already correct and unaffected by the typo, including where I already referenced 4 moles of iron several sentences later.

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