There must be a Paul Ehrlich week in climate science

indicator3_2013_ProductionGrain[1]Yesterday, in Climactic headline shifts the hype factor between two headlines on crop production and climate was pointed out, noting that there was just a small increase in risk. Today we have another similar press release, claiming that climate change (plus ozone air pollution) will cause crop production to slow down. So far, there is no indication of such a thing happening, even though Paul Ehrlich claimed for years that massive famines would happen as food production slowed.

From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Study: Climate change and air pollution will combine to curb food supplies

Ozone and higher temperatures can combine to reduce crop yields, but effects will vary by region

Many studies have shown the potential for global climate change to cut food supplies. But these studies have, for the most part, ignored the interactions between increasing temperature and air pollution — specifically ozone pollution, which is known to damage crops.

A new study involving researchers at MIT shows that these interactions can be quite significant, suggesting that policymakers need to take both warming and air pollution into account in addressing food security.

The study looked in detail at global production of four leading food crops — rice, wheat, corn, and soy — that account for more than half the calories humans consume worldwide. It predicts that effects will vary considerably from region to region, and that some of the crops are much more strongly affected by one or the other of the factors: For example, wheat is very sensitive to ozone exposure, while corn is much more adversely affected by heat.

The research was carried out by Colette Heald, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering (CEE) at MIT, former CEE postdoc Amos Tai, and Maria van Martin at Colorado State University. Their work is described this week in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Heald explains that while it’s known that both higher temperatures and ozone pollution can damage plants and reduce crop yields, “nobody has looked at these together.” And while rising temperatures are widely discussed, the impact of air quality on crops is less recognized.

The effects are likely to vary widely by region, the study predicts. In the United States, tougher air-quality regulations are expected to lead to a sharp decline in ozone pollution, mitigating its impact on crops. But in other regions, the outcome “will depend on domestic air-pollution policies,” Heald says. “An air-quality cleanup would improve crop yields.”

Overall, with all other factors being equal, warming may reduce crop yields globally by about 10 percent by 2050, the study found. But the effects of ozone pollution are more complex — some crops are more strongly affected by it than others — which suggests that pollution-control measures could play a major role in determining outcomes.

Ozone pollution can also be tricky to identify, Heald says, because its damage can resemble other plant illnesses, producing flecks on leaves and discoloration.

Potential reductions in crop yields are worrisome: The world is expected to need about 50 percent more food by 2050, the authors say, due to population growth and changing dietary trends in the developing world. So any yield reductions come against a backdrop of an overall need to increase production significantly through improved crop selections and farming methods, as well as expansion of farmland.

While heat and ozone can each damage plants independently, the factors also interact. For example, warmer temperatures significantly increase production of ozone from the reactions, in sunlight, of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides. Because of these interactions, the team found that 46 percent of damage to soybean crops that had previously been attributed to heat is actually caused by increased ozone.

Under some scenarios, the researchers found that pollution-control measures could make a major dent in the expected crop reductions following climate change. For example, while global food production was projected to fall by 15 percent under one scenario, larger emissions decreases projected in an alternate scenario reduce that drop to 9 percent.

Air pollution is even more decisive in shaping undernourishment in the developing world, the researchers found: Under the more pessimistic air-quality scenario, rates of malnourishment might increase from 18 to 27 percent by 2050 — about a 50 percent jump; under the more optimistic scenario, the rate would still increase, but that increase would almost be cut in half, they found.

Agricultural production is “very sensitive to ozone pollution,” Heald says, adding that these findings “show how important it is to think about the agricultural implications of air-quality regulations. Ozone is something that we understand the causes of, and the steps that need to be taken to improve air quality.”

###

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Park Service, and the Croucher Foundation.

Written by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office

About these ads

48 thoughts on “There must be a Paul Ehrlich week in climate science

  1. So some folks at MIT have significant comprehension issues and as their list of conjectured points, points out they dont have a clue about what they are writing on. And interestingly its is exactly the same “were gonna starve” BS we got earlier From Stanford and Boulder Co folks that is totally unsubstantiated and infact fly’s in the face of empirical data.

    Don’t you just love contrived fear-mongering from the far left control wackos?

    This confirms my belief that this is nothing more than a fear campaign to get CAGW back on the tracks of endless funding and political agenda pushing. Come on, what are the odds of two different Universities doing the exact same mumbojumbo?

  2. We know MIT is delibertely cloistered; but even they must be awre that there has been no global warming or .’climate change’ for 17 years – even the IPCC has accepted that. So why are they spending so much effort on (and no doubt awardiing themselves PhD’s for) such hypotheticals?

  3. “The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Park Service, and the Croucher Foundation.”

    Two far left science foundations and the NPS? What is the National Parks Service doing in this? This is not even in their preview to fund. I guess these folks will get their CAGW funding from all government sources they can find..

  4. In ten years, much food will be produced in tanks by algae (as Solazyme is starting to do) and most of the algae’s feedstock will be sugar produced by a special bacteria using water and CO2 as its feedstock (as Proterro is starting to do).

  5. We are putting 280 billion (280,000,000,000) pounds of corn down in our gas tanks every year, while 1.5 children and 6 million children are dying of starvation each year and another 800 million people suffer from hunger and malnutrition.

    The use of ethanol in our gas tanks does nothing to reduce our CO2 emissions, but it does raise the price of corn and all other staple crops.

    The EPA has the authority to stop this useless waste of the world’s food supply, but they have more important things to do, such as destroying our energy supply and wrecking our economy.

  6. A thought just crossed my mind, what about the 1970-1990’s? We had high SO2, low ozone, and basically all the things they are fear mongering about now. They ended up being a non-issue. Yet as of today, we have two papers, the government stamp of approval on those two papers, about something that has already occurred and was shown irrelevant in real life…?

    Can someone pinch me to wake me up? Please…. I am a firm believer in the saying ‘Stupidity should be painful.’ but I am tired of the one dealing with the pain dealt us by others in their quest for power.

  7. There should be some kind of one liner joke – how many times does someone have to be wrong, before the faithful stop listening? Paul Ehrlich is is a bit of a testament to the durability of prophets who say what the listeners want to hear, even if it bears no resemblance to reality.

  8. Eric Worrall says:
    July 27, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    There should be some kind of one liner joke – how many times does someone have to be wrong, before the faithful stop listening? Paul Ehrlich is is a bit of a testament to the durability of prophets who say what the listeners want to hear, even if it bears no resemblance to reality.

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

    They are going for the Goebbels effect.. They must repeat it many times and it will make it true in the eyes of the low information voter.. If they can get 51% to believe it then they can take all freedoms without ever firing a shot.. Or Obama writes another executive order…

  9. It was only 50 years ago that plate tectonics was figured out. Maybe by 2050 they’ll get a GCM that works. But maybe not. I bet they still have trouble with figuring out the weather and crop production. Too many variables.

  10. Sooooo, can I have my Dichlorodifluoromethane
    back now?

    Yeah, that was the original Freon 12 that was banned globally to help the Ozone issue and really has had no effect on the hole……. Next up CO2?

    The Montreal Protocol was the original thing that set the opportunity for the current global initiative on CO2.

    Just example of how little we know, even if it is wrong!

    THINK ABOUT IT….

  11. Flawed at edso many levels. The FAO says the world needs 70% more by 2050. Existing levels of starvation say the world could get by with 45% if meat consumption is not increased. hello China pork and poultry? See first book calculations.

    There are no green house studies to my knowledge that add in ozone/UV concerning major crop plants. And certainly ozone holes over the poles ( growing, shrinking because of the Montreal protocol, whatever) have zip to do with temperate/tropical crops. You see, food crops do not grow at all in the polar regions that maybe or maybe not are affected by future ozone/UV. And as the central valley of California has proven experimentally, smog and ozone does not matter at all for fruit, vegetable, and alfalfa (hence milk) production in temperate regions. You do need sufficient water…
    MIT has sadly now lost it completely. Maybe because MIT never was an ag science school…

  12. The “Policymakers” couldnt tell the proverbial from a hole in the ground. So we would have a utopian society if we handed over food production to “policymakers”? Have we tried that anywhere at any time and it worked? Nice outcome was it?

    If we did not have policy makers that wanted to be informed then we would not need this stupid “research”. Maybe then there would not be so many crisis (plural).

    It is “policy” that gets societies into trouble and having more “policy” wont get us out.

  13. Wow, they are really grasping at straws. They’re digging up increasingly unlikely scenarios just to have a scary headline.

    Big Warming = Crop Failure

    What? It is only warming a little or maybe not at all? OK then:

    Little Warming + Air Pollution = Crop Failure

    What? It is not warming much and air pollution is in decline and crop yields are increasing? OK then:

    Little Warming + No Increased Air Pollution + Asteroid Strike = Crop Failure

    See what CO2 can do?

  14. To paraphrase Winston Churchill;

    “Never have so many been so hoaxed by so few”

    Jeeze, Paul Ehrlich probably could not even figure out how to buy some seeds, hoe some ground, water his plants and harvest them when they were ready. Without a supermarket (or fancy restaurant) nearby he would probably starve.

    But, he sure knows just how stupid all the farmers (and associated skilled professionals) are.

    Haven’t we all been on the precipice of “worldwide famine” for all of poor misguided Paul’s entire life ?

    Cheers, Kevin.

  15. heavyweight Rubin claims CC is a “present danger”. some might say Rubin has been a constant danger to the US & world economies:

    25 July: Miami Herald: Robert E. Rubin: Ignoring climate change could sink the US economy
    (Robert Rubin, chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, was U.S. treasury secretary from 1995 to 1999)
    (Special To The Washington Post)
    The scientific community is all but unanimous in its agreement that climate change is a serious threat. According to Gallup, nearly 60 percent of Americans believe that global warming is caused by human activity…
    But climate change is a present danger…
    What we already know is frightening, but what we don’t know is more frightening still…
    I recently participated in a bipartisan effort to measure the economic risks of unchecked climate change in the United States. We commissioned an independent analysis, led by a highly respected group of economists and climate scientists, and our inaugural report, “Risky Business,” was released in June…
    Second, investors should demand that companies disclose their exposure to climate risks, including the impact that climate change could have on their businesses and assets, the value of their assets that could be stranded by climate change, and the costs they may someday incur to address their carbon emissions. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was a co-chair of the “Risky Business” report, and former Securities and Exchange Commission chairwoman Mary Schapiro are leading an effort to encourage businesses to incorporate such reporting into their quarterly disclosures, but such reporting is still considered optional by the SEC. I believe that such disclosures should be considered material and mandated by the SEC, not just requested by investors…

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/25/4255303/ignoring-climate-change-could.html

    re Risky Business Bloomberg partner, Steyer, in case u missed it:

    16 July: Politico: Tom Steyer struggles to find big-money donors
    By ANDREW RESTUCCIA and KENNETH P. VOGEL
    His super PAC, NextGen Climate Action, has raised just $1.2 million from other donors toward that goal, according to still-unreleased figures that his aides shared with POLITICO…
    The numbers show just how hard it may be for Steyer to persuade rich liberals to spend their millions on climate change while voters focus on the economy, immigration and Obamacare. They also call into question whether Steyer can really become the big-money titan in Democratic politics — a counterweight to the dominance that deep-pocketed donors like the Koch brothers have achieved in conservative circles…
    In its most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission, NextGen Climate Action reported raising $7.3 million from Jan. 1 through June 4, with almost all of that money coming from Steyer. Only $210,000 in major contributions came from outside donors, including Berger’s money — and $100,000 apiece from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and former Goldman Sachs executive Larry Linden…
    But some potential contributors questioned Steyer’s motives in seeking so much outside money. “He would be taking/getting 100 percent credit for the outcome while using other people’s resources for 50 percent of the spending,” one Democratic donor, who requested anonymity to discuss Steyer, said in an email…

    http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/tom-steyer-donor-struggle-109016.html

  16. Chris Marlowe says:
    July 27, 2014 at 9:13 pm
    Well what a surprise. And here I was thinking that the promotion of bio-fuels posed a greater risk to food production.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Isn’t that the saddest part of this whole thing? Concerned that global warming could cause crop failure and mass starvation, the policy makers have decided to fight it…. by burning the food.

  17. “The must be Paul Ehrlich week in climate science”

    Was the headline suppose to say, “This must be Paul Ehrlich week in climate science”?
    —-
    (To calm down a Grammar Nazi, put your arm around them and whisper the following 3 words in their ear: “There. Their. They’re.”)

    [There. They're all better bitter butter now? 8<) .mod]

  18. I thought, this graph reminds me something…

    oh, yes! It reminds me this:

    I believe, there is a good correlation.
    Is the one the cause for the another?
    Which one?

  19. pat says:
    July 27, 2014 at 9:20 pm
    heavyweight Rubin claims CC is a “present danger”. some might say Rubin has been a constant danger to the US & world economies:

    25 July: Miami Herald: Robert E. Rubin: Ignoring climate change could sink the US economy
    (Robert Rubin, chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, was U.S. treasury secretary from 1995 to 1999)
    (Special To The Washington Post)
    The scientific community is all but unanimous in its agreement that climate change is a serious threat.

    The only survey of the scientific community was the one done of members of the AGU and AMS seven years ago by George Mason U. It found that the majority was NOT alarmed. The alarmed percentage would probably be lower now, after seven more flat years.

    What survey is Rubin relying on? None, I bet. He’s just spouting off what he’s been pumped full of by his handlers–like Obama.

  20. rogerknights says — The only survey of the scientific community was the one done of members of the AGU and AMS seven years ago by George Mason U.
    ME—Do you know a link to the AGU survey? (I have the AMS survey – it found only 24% of its members agreed with the UN conclusion that man was mostly responsible for warming (or something like that ).

    Thanks
    JK

  21. Jim:
    This George Mason Univ. poll [run for them by the Harris polling organization in 2007] http://stats.org/stories/2008/global_warming_survey_apr23_08.html surveyed 489 randomly selected members of either the American Meteorological Society or the American Geophysical Union. It did not cherry pick the respondants who gave them the answer they wanted, and it asked more sophisticated questions [than the Doran and Anderegg surveys], below:

    Under its “Major Findings” are these paragraphs:

    “Ninety-seven percent of the climate scientists surveyed believe “global average temperatures have increased” during the past century.
    “Eighty-four percent say they personally believe human-induced warming is occurring, and 74% agree that “currently available scientific evidence” substantiates its occurrence. Only 5% believe that that human activity does not contribute to greenhouse warming; the rest [11%] are unsure.
    “Scientists still debate the dangers. A slight majority (54%) believe the warming measured over the last 100 years is NOT “within the range of natural temperature fluctuation.”
    “A slight majority (56%) see at least a 50-50 chance that global temperatures will rise two degrees Celsius or more during the next 50 to 100 years. (The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cites this increase as the point beyond which additional warming would produce major environmental disruptions.)

    “Based on current trends, 41% of scientists believe global climate change will pose a very great danger to the earth in the next 50 to 100 years, compared to 13% who see relatively little danger. Another 44% rate climate change as moderately dangerous.”

    IOW, 59% doubt the “catastrophic” potential of AGW. I suspect that number would be higher now, after six more flat years.

  22. If a linear and second order polynominal regression curves are fitted to data for the actual tonnage of world grain production curve depicted in the picture included in this post the are visually indistinguishable from each order and the r-squared coefficient is ~ 0.985 for both regressions indicating that there is a very slight improvement achived using higher order polynoms to tell the story of past production , but the coefficient of the second order term in the quadratic curve is negative, so that regression curve is concave and that means there is a small ( possibly significant or not significant) decrease of the productinn growth rate detectable in the data. However interpreting this fact as an effect of a decelerating growth rate due to global warming and project a future trend on that is basis , is likely the most ( wilfully or not ) stupid result achievable, F.X just “adjusting” only for the sharp few years temporary drop of world wheat production that follwed the demise of the Soviet Union in the last decade of the previous century , turns the negative second order term sign to a positive one , etc. But being stupid by ignoring or omitting non-global-warming related causes has most certainly become the hallmark of CAGW crowd , so no surprise here, it just fits the now expected MO.

  23. Good news about the latest overpopulation and falling crop yields scare story

    Hopefully should get the proposed remake of Logan’s Run back on track.

    Ryan Gosling the director and screen writer have all pulled out the project so far.

  24. They are getting smarter.

    The effects are likely to vary widely by region,

    So any problems with food production ANYWHERE will be due to AGW. But anywhere that production does not decrease is explained away. Another “God” thesis where everything is explained by their supposition.

  25. “Studies” like this are simply stupid. “Crops” don’t plant themselves. Farmers do. Farmers are anything but stupid. They’ll simply adjust what they plant, if there truly is a “change in climate”. It’s why a “study” like this will never pan out in the real world, because while people don’t control the climate, we DO control what we plant. Even if these ivory tower types can’t figure that out. and did they take into account the huge swaths of newly arable land that would be available if the climate does warm? There are vast areas of Canada and Russia that would be perfect cropland with several degrees increase in average temps. It’s like they think farmers are stupid…

  26. Good grief –

    how many times does it take,

    when reality doesn’t match prediction,

    for us to realize it is the prediction that is wrong,

    not the reality?

  27. I was purging some old magazines a few months ago and came across one of those now quaint one-offs concerning the Millennium. Tons of predictions, etc.

    Want to guess how many of them have even come close to coming true, 15 years now into the 21st century?

  28. Another civil engineer (recall the recent Stanford “risk” to grain crops)! I’ve noticed that the recent alarm papers are from a different crowd (certainly civil engineers waxing strongly on climate and plant growth, and psychologists and historians authoring clisci stuff is weird) and mostly women. Am I wrong here? Gender isn’t an issue with me but I’ve noticed for some time now the changeover from the Boulder, NOAA, NCAR, UEA, etc climate gentlemen’s club of yesteryear. Are Trenberth, Mann, Jones, Briffa….on sabbatical or retired?

  29. I’ll see your Paul Ehrlich failed predictions and raise you Norman Borlaug real science.

    These predictions always seem to overlook that Borlaug adapted plants to climates to which they were not native. Of course, if they considered that they wouldn’t have much of a prediction.

  30. rogerknights says:
    July 27, 2014 at 7:38 pm
    In ten years, much food will be produced in tanks by algae (as Solazyme is starting to do) and most of the algae’s feedstock will be sugar produced by a special bacteria using water and CO2 as its feedstock (as Proterro is starting to do).

    That’s where soylent green comes from, isn’t it?

  31. Air pollution is even more decisive in shaping undernourishment in the developing world, the researchers found: Under the more pessimistic air-quality scenario, rates of malnourishment might increase from 18 to 27 percent by 2050 — about a 50 percent jump; under the more optimistic scenario, the rate would still increase, but that increase would almost be cut in half, they found.
    ———————————————————————————————————————————-

    First hand observation in China: The air is so bad in many places that bus drivers are literally instrument rated to get around, but the Chinese diet seems to be extraordinarily rich and plentiful and making the Chinese taller and weightier. Could cheap energy have something to do with that?

  32. They should do one on the effects of an alien invasion plus air pollution. Or better yet; aliens plus air pollution plus sharknadoes. The possibilities are endless.

  33. Banning fungicides, fumigants, herbicides, fertilizers, and pesticides can and will disrupt agriculture and greatly lessen yield.

    As usual, it is the environmental policies themselves which can fulfill the disasters prophesied by environmentalists.

    Remember that organic agriculture only provides 1% of the food grown in the US. It is very similar to the “renewable” energy whirligigs, which provide 1% of the energy needed. Organic agriculture and worthless wind turbines cannot supply people with electricity and food, and both are unsustainable, in the genuine sense and meaning of the word. Both provide far, far less at far, far greater costs, and with no real reliability.

  34. Extra CO2 will mitigate and minimize the stress of excess (!?!?!) warmth and of O3, amongst others.

  35. CO2 is the gas that drives climate change alarmism. But it hasn’t got the job done. So ozone is being added as an STP-type additive to give CO2 a performance boost.

  36. It’s always doom tomorrow. I want my global mass starvation today. Paul Ehrlich is not driving with his headlights on. India would not exist. Now they export rice. I can go on and on.

  37. ” BallBounces says:
    July 28, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    CO2 is the gas that drives climate change alarmism. But it hasn’t got the job done. So ozone is being added as an STP-type additive to give CO2 a performance boost.”

    That’s being recycled?

    Wasn’t it shot down during the great Ozone Hole nonsense years ago? Ozone wasn’t a climate changer…it was either going to rot out our and all animals lungs when it was too high at ground level and give us all cancer when it wasn’t high up in the atmosphere.

  38. more soylent green! says:
    July 28, 2014 at 9:59 am

    rogerknights says:
    July 27, 2014 at 7:38 pm
    In ten years, much food will be produced in tanks by algae (as Solazyme is starting to do) and most of the algae’s feedstock will be sugar produced by a special bacteria using water and CO2 as its feedstock (as Proterro is starting to do).

    That’s where soylent green comes from, isn’t it?

    Shh! Shh!

Comments are closed.