4000-Year O18 Histories of New Zealand's North and South Islands

This is a review from CO2Science.com of an interesting paper looking at Oxygen 18 records in water driven cave  formations (stalactite, stalagmite or flowstone) than span a 4000 year period. Here is a basic description from the NZ Climate Centre:

“These deposits occur within karst terranes in subterranean caverns mainly as calcite (CaCO3) precipitated from groundwater that percolated through overlying limestone or marble rock.  Interior cave climates and environments are generally stable; temperatures have little annual variation and are usually close to the external local mean annual air temperature.  Oxygen and carbon stable isotope values (18O/16O and 13C/12C) obtained from speleothem calcite have been employed at many locations in the world to determine past climate conditions and can be used to interpret environmental changes.”

– Anthony


Reference

Lorrey, A., Williams, P., Salinger, J., Martin, T., Palmer, J., Fowler, A., Zhao, J.-X. and Neil, H. 2008. Speleothem stable isotope records interpreted within a multi-proxy framework and implications for New Zealand palaeoclimate reconstruction. Quaternary International 187: 52-75.

What was done

Two master speleothem (stalactite, stalagmite or flowstone cave deposit) δ18O records were developed for New Zealand’s eastern North Island (ENI) and western South Island (WSI) for the period 2000 BC to about AD 1660 and 1825, respectively. The WSI record is a composite chronology composed of data derived from four speleothems from Aurora, Calcite, Doubtful Xanadu and Waiau caves, while the ENI record is a composite history derived from three speleothems from Disbelief and Te Reinga caves.

What was learned

For both the ENI and WSI δ18O records master speleothem histories, their warmest periods fall within the AD 900-1100 time interval, which is also where the peak warmth of a large portion of the temperature records found in our Medieval Warm Period Project fall (see our Interactive Map and Time Domain Plot).

What it means

Not wanting to acknowledge that the earth was likely as warm as, or even warmer than, it is currently a thousand or so years ago (when the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration was much lower than it is today), the world’s climate alarmists have been loath to admit there was an MWP or Medieval Warm Period anywhere other than in countries surrounding the North Atlantic Ocean. Consequently, the seven independent speleothem records that produced the results reported by Lorrey et al. are of great importance to the ongoing global warming debate, as they greatly advance the thesis that the MWP was indeed a global phenomenon, and that there is thus nothing unusual, unnatural or unprecedented about earth’s current warmth, and that it therefore need not be attributed to the historical increase in the air’s CO2 content.

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116 thoughts on “4000-Year O18 Histories of New Zealand's North and South Islands

  1. YES! Finally, the kinds of proof of the global aspect of The Medieval Warm Period. Wonder how the AGW crowd will spin this. Probably claim its even more proof of AGW since mankind used to keep warm by burning wood.

  2. To purchase the article on-line costs $31,45. The free abstract unfortunately doesn’t say anything about the medieval warm period. So I have to rely on CO2science.org that indeed the warmest period fell within the AD 900-1100 time interval. Why such a relevant and important conclusion does not appear in the abstract may well be explained by the fact that such a conclusion would be politically incorrect.
    Read for yourself:
    Abstract
    A primary step in the interpretation of speleothem stable isotope records (18O/16O and 13C/12C) is to conduct a comparison with other local palaeoclimate proxies. Here, two new master speleothem δ18O and δ13C records (one from eastern North Island, and the other from western/southern South Island, New Zealand) are evaluated against independent precipitation and temperature proxy information to assess their palaeoclimate reconstruction potential. This comparison also resulted in a serendipitous opportunity to reconstruct past circulation using climate regime classification [Lorrey, A.M., Fowler, A.M., Salinger, J., 2007a. Regional climate regime classification as a qualitative tool for interpreting multi-proxy palaeoclimate data spatial patterns: a New Zealand case study. Palaeo-3, in press], specifically because these two regional climate districts are hyper-sensitive to westerly circulation changes, and in many cases, exhibit contrasting climate character in response to circulation anomalies.
    For both the western South Island and the eastern North Island master speleothem δ13C records, variations tracked changes in relative regional precipitation. The δ18O master speleothem record for both regions varied with temperature change. Both records contain strong regional climate signals that suggest they have good value for palaeoclimate reconstruction. The ensuing attempt at a multi-proxy reconstruction of regional climate regimes from the compiled proxies indicates past circulation in the New Zealand sector has varied considerably during the past four millennia. Centennial-scale circulation changes for the past 4000 years are evident, and are analogous to modern Blocking, Zonal and Trough regime types [Kidson J. W., 2000. An analysis of New Zealand synoptic types and their use in defining weather regimes. International Journal of Climatology 20, 299–316] that characterise changes in present-day (prevailing) westerly circulation. This palaeoclimate reconstruction indicates modern regional climate regime classification can be extended at least as far back as the temporal coverage of the records presented here, and it can likely be improved on with better dating control and the addition of new records with higher resolution. It is also anticipated that future work will expand to include more proxy data from across New Zealand to improve the clarity of past climate regime occurrence for the Late Holocene.

  3. This must be a fluke. There must be at least 7 or 8 hundred more studies to even come close to being robust. This is the comment that the alarmist will have for this paper. You have to understand the need for greater study only if it confirms the “consensus”. This will not be recognized for what it means and the authors will be roundly criticized for their “inept attempt at science”. I do so fear for our world that we are being duped by and unlearned populace willing to be sheep. The main stream media will not give this the attention that it deserves.
    What a great study and from such a far far away place. Please that the media will wake up and report the news and not their opinion.
    Bill Derryberry

  4. The links to the Medieval Warm Period Project don’t go anywhere (404 Not Found, “Sorry, but you are looking for something that is not here”).
    Too bad. I’d like to have something like that bookmarked. The claim that the MWP was an effect confined to the North Atlantic littoral has always boggled me. Almost all of the “lost cities” of the world have their peak periods at either that time or the Roman Warm; for instance, the Puebloans of the American Southwest occupied Chaco Canyon between AD 850 and 1250, and disappeared when the cold, dry conditions following destroyed their resource base. Angkor Wat was built near the end of the MWP; Teotihuacan was abandoned at about the beginning of it, about the only example of a bad effect.
    Regards,
    Ric

  5. An excellent article. We need to get this out. How can this information survive the common political media drownout.
    Steve

  6. Links to MWP, etc. broken -404 error.
    Onteresting to see another confirmation of the often ‘overlooked’ MWP, anathema and inexplicable to AGW orthodoxy.

  7. What beauties.
    What’s significant about the MWP is serious claims that it was WARMER than today – eg a Greenland burial ground in a place that today is permafrosted. The warmists grudgingly allow a little MWP – so long as it stays less than today. Do these speleo records trump today’s temperatures?
    Anthony, the links under “What Was Learned” don’t seem to be working.

  8. A titch off topic, Anthony – but it all comes together at the source of AGW whackoism.
    I read Hansen’s letter to Michelle and Barack.
    “A carbon tax is honest, clear and effective. It will increase energy prices, but low and middle income people, especially, will find ways to reduce carbon emissions so as to come out ahead.”
    My friends.
    The elitism embodied in that statement takes my breath away.
    As we possibly enter a deep solar minimum and a cooling planet –
    Al Gore gets a pass as he jets his carbon-spewing, pocket-book padding ego around the planet while the little guy is exhorted to turn down his thermostat and cut back on his trips to the grocery store to (ahem) ‘come out ahead’.
    “Come out ahead! ?”
    Really. I keep thinking I’ve seen and heard the worst of the hypocrisy.
    Over the holidays, Ebenezzer Scrooge’s remark regarding the poor who would rather die than go to the poor house –
    ” . . they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population . . ”
    resonates eerily with Hansen’s crusade.
    Why doesn’t Hansen just tell the modest income polluters to stop breathing.
    Creepy.

  9. Well its obvious isn’t it. They produced 2 master records so one of them needs to be inverted and then the 2 averaged. That way they will get the correct “no temperature change” in thousand(s) of years graph.

  10. Warmer in the Pacific region 1000 years ago eh? That would make sense as the ancestors of the Maori were voyaging about then.
    “New Zealand was originally settled by Polynesians from Eastern Polynesia, with DNA evidence suggesting a small Melanesian component. It is generally believed that settlement occurred some time between 1000 and 1300 CE, although some evidence suggests first settlement dates back to 2000 years ago.[1] The descendants of these settlers became known as the Māori, forming a distinct culture of their own. Separate settlement of the tiny Chatham Islands in the east of New Zealand about 1500 CE produced the Moriori people; linguistic evidence indicates that the Moriori were mainland Māori who ventured eastward.[2]”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_New_Zealand

  11. Anthony,
    2 of the links above return the following: Error 404 – Sorry, but you are looking for something that is not here
    Specifically:
    Medieval Warm Period Project (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/data/mwp/mwpp.php)
    Interactive Map and Time Domain Plot (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/data/timemap/mwpmap.html)
    I believe they should be:
    Medieval Warm Period Project (http://co2science.org/data/mwp/mwpp.php)
    and Interactive Map and Time Domain Plot (http://co2science.org/data/timemap/mwpmap.html)
    REPLY: Fixed, thanks…this happens when WordPress tries to resolve partial URL’s that are local to the server referenced. – Anthony

  12. Wow! Real science This seems to be something that could be replicated in other parts of the world. I wonder if Obama would fund such a study?

  13. Very interesting. Glad to see more confirmation of the medieval warm period being worldwide.
    Also interesting is how incredibly stupid posts show up under possibly related posts (automatically generated). Somebody needs to reset that automatic generator with a sledgehammer.

  14. To follow up on Lucy’s statement. If the global warming hysterics cannot eradicate the MWP, and CO2Science.org does a great job covering all the work that shows it, then they have to adopt the following, more tenuous position:
    “OK, so there was a little MWP, possibly global but we’re not admitting that, but it was due to natural phenomena. Today’s GW is due to man-made CO2”.
    You can see the fallacies here easily enough:
    1. If it was natural then, why is it not natural now?
    2. If it is not natural now, why have these natural processes stopped?
    3. If the was a MWP, then there was a Little Ice Age as well and obviously it has warmed up since then; so why should MMCO2 be the cause?
    4. If natural processes can warm and cool the planet over such periods of time with such magnitude, then this should be subtracted from current warming, and then the left-over warming could, perhaps, be attributed to CO2; but even then, more likely land-use change.
    The only way out for them is to deny the MWP and LIA. And this is where the dishonesty steps in.

  15. AGW, It’s all about man and his opportunity of Government power and control, nothing less, nothing more.

  16. The “scientists” have reached another consinsus. A tacit admission that atmospheric CO2 is not a problem.
    ————————————————————-
    Climate scientists: it’s time for ‘Plan B’
    Poll of international experts by The Independent reveals consensus that CO2 cuts have failed – and their growing support for technological intervention
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/climate-scientists-its-time-for-plan-b-1221092.html
    Injecting the air with particles to reflect sunlight
    The Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen suggested in 2006 that it may be possible to inject artificial sulphate particles into the upper atmosphere – the stratosphere.
    “Relying on geoengineering schemes such as sulphate aerosols would be analogous to putting the planet on life support. If future humanity failed to pay its ‘climate bill’ – a bill that we left them, thank you very much – they would bear the full brunt of climate change within a very short time.”
    Injecting the air with particles to reflect sunlight
    Creating low clouds over the oceans
    John Latham of the United States National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado is working with Stephen Salter of Edinburgh University and Mike Smith at Leeds to atomise seawater to produce tiny droplets to form low-level maritime clouds that cover part of the oceanic surface.
    Fertilising the sea with iron filings
    This idea arises from the fact that the limiting factor in the multiplication of phytoplankton – tiny marine plants – is the lack of iron salts in the sea.
    Mixing the deep water of the ocean
    The Earth scientist James Lovelock, working with Chris Rapley of the Science Museum in London, devised a plan to put giant tubes into the seas to take surface water rich in dissolved CO2 to lower depths where it will not surface.
    Giant mirrors in space
    Some scientists suggest it would be possible to deflect sunlight with a giant mirror or a fleet of small mirrors between the Earth and the Sun.

  17. Good selection from the extensive resources at http://www.co2science.org. Many more available.
    The media filter and established AGW narrative is a tough one to overcome, but there will be considerable reluctance to create economic problems under current conditions. There is a policy split in the new administration, according to the NYT.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/03/washington/03enviro.html?ref=us
    There will be a big debate in congress this year, and it is still too early for Nature to supply a strong rebuttal in a new Dalton (or Maunder) minimum. However, it is easy to add your voice to the public input. Contact information is available at http://www.congress.org, for example, or
    http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
    R.E. Hotz, science writer at the Wall Street Journal, has a column on global temps right now. He did answer an email I sent suggesting more balance, and remarked that he shares skepticism about model outputs. I suggest that the 31,000 signers of the Petition Project can supply at least some counterweight to the hysterics. If you read some of the public comments on CO2-as-pollution at the EPA website, for example, you will find that doomsday psychology motivates most of the messages. We may have to wait for cooling that exceeds Hansen’s adjustment skills.

  18. “A carbon tax is honest, clear and effective. It will increase energy prices, but low and middle income people, especially, will find ways to reduce carbon emissions so as to come out ahead.”
    Everytime my small business is hit with another tax I raise my prices. How is this scheme supposed to do anything at all?

  19. GeoEngineering? Another way to collect taxes and work on Government programs. Once again, some (wo)men think they know everything about the planet and climate and they can’t even predict the weather 10 days out.

  20. The significance of the MWP is that if the MWP were significantly warmer than currently, then no climate ‘tipping point’ exists until we get very substantially warmer than currently, and consequently far in the future (hundreds of years at least).
    In fact, because the MWP and the Roman Warm Period both peaked at about the same level, any tipping point is probably a cooling one. That is, as warming occurs, medium and longer term (negative) feedbacks are triggered and we are tipped back into a cooling phase.
    FYI, info on the MWP in China.
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/gh98230822m7g01l/

  21. The most recent global warming of the late 20th century was almost entirely in the high northern latitutudes. The obvious question is, how is the recent warming different than the MWP? Could our proxy methods alone detect any recent warming in the lower northern and southern latitudes? Extremely doubtful. Proxy methods are just to crude for measuring such subtle temperature fluctuations.
    The main difference between the MWP and the current warm period is that the MWP appears to be greater than the current warming. The spatial distribution of the warming appears to be nearly identical. When AGW catastrophists proclaim that the MWP was a regional event, I simply say “So is the current warming! What’s your point?”

  22. Brooklyn Red Leg (06:54:45), MattN (09:05:25), Dennis Sharp (09:12:17):
    MattN (09:05:25) :
    “At least as accurate as bristlecone tree rings…”
    You guys must have access to the full paper to make these comments. Is there anyone else here who has read the paper? I didn’t want to pay the $31 to download the full article.

  23. Puebloans of the American Southwest occupied Chaco Canyon between AD 850 and 1250, and disappeared when the cold, dry conditions following destroyed their resource base.

    Off-topic, but does anyone remember the Mongol Empire? Link. That got pretty big for a while until the late 13th Century.
    It is ironic that these horseman preferred to go to war in winter as competition for scare resources may have contributed to the Empire’s disintegration!

  24. I have heard tales of plans to light off volcaones with nukes to cool the Earth.
    Diversions of weather patterns by cloud seeding.
    All Frankenstein Monster stuff.
    What could possibly go wrong?
    Everything, that’s what could go wrong.

  25. Hoskald, a few years a go I wrote a piece about Kyoto in which I concluded,
    Kyoto isn’t a real solution, but then it doesn’t matter, because global warming isn’t a real problem.’
    All the climate ‘mitigation’ activities being pushed on us, are incredibly costly, but otherwise harmless, because they have no material effect on the Earth’s climate.
    Undertaking the kinds of geo-engineering activities described takes into areas where the consequences are not harmless, and could well be harmful or even catastrophic for the Earth.
    BTW, the piece from the Independant you reference is the kind of psuedoscience that is designed to impress the Kyoto/IPCC crowd, who, while forever going on about the ‘science’, wouldn’t recognize real science if it was wrapped around a brick and dropped on their collective heads.

  26. I can not get through on the co2science.org link and when I try the address myself. Same in the past.
    REPLY; Well thats not an issue I can solve. Links wrok just fine, problem on your end somehow with routing or paranoiaware installed on your PC – Anthony

  27. Interestingly, one of the authors of this study is Salinger, J. That would be Jim Salinger from NIWA (which includes our Met office), whom we have become accustomed to seeing on NZ television breathlessly announcing yet another ‘warmest year/ month/day on record’. But not lately…

  28. Great article. The Multi proxy framework used to back up the cave results provides for a robust comparison between diverse data sets. In regard to the MWP comments in Table 5 note the warmest period (“very warm”) occurred between 950-1050AD, with the period 1050 -1200AD also warmer than present. The little ice age is also well represented in the O18 data.
    Readers may also be interested in this earlier (2002) paper from Geophysical Research Letters that confirms a MWP in NZ and the southern hemisphere. This is cited in the current study.
    Evidence for a ‘Medieval Warm Period’ in a 1,100 year tree-ring reconstruction of past austral summer temperatures in New Zealand. Edward R. Cook, Jonathan G. Palmer, Rosanne D. D’Arrigo. Geophys. Res. Lett., 29(14), 1667, doi:10.1029/2001GL014580.
    Abstract
    The occurrence of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) in the Southern Hemisphere is uncertain because of the paucity of well-dated, high-resolution paleo-temperature records covering the past 1,000 years. We describe a new tree-ring reconstruction of Austral summer temperatures from the South Island of New Zealand, covering the past 1,100 years. This record is the longest yet produced for New Zealand and shows clear evidence for persistent above-average temperatures within the interval commonly assigned to the MWP. Comparisons with selected temperature proxies from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres confirm that the MWP was highly variable in time and space. Regardless, the New Zealand temperature reconstruction supports the global occurrence of the MWP.

  29. The authors of the paper do not attribute warmer temperatures around 1000 AD to global conditions but to local changes in circulation patterns. They also report the C and O isotope ratio’s not temperatures but indicate that less negative numbers result from warmer temperatures and more negative temperatures from cooler temperatures.

  30. Purakanui,
    The answer is yes. Also the same Jim Salinger who was mildly disparaging on the TV1 television news when sceptical meteorologist Prof Augie Auer passed away a year or so back. More specifically with resect to Augie’s views on AGW.
    So it should be no surprise when the abstract to the speleothem article omits comment on the implications of the work regarding a global MPW and what it means in terms of comparison with modern wartming.
    But note also that Salinger is a great scientist who has been researching Holocene climate for decades and has published temperature curves for New Zealand that demonstrate multiple warming and cooling phases, and notably a very strong early Holocene climatic maximum/optimum. I suspect he might be a closet climate realist who hasn’t “come out” via any form of public statement.

  31. CO2 Science is a great web site for imformation
    http://co2science.org/index.php
    ‘Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week
    Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 650 individual scientists from 380 separate research institutions in 40 different countries … and counting! This issue’s Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Southern California, USA. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project’s database,’
    As I understand it and I don’t know the full story, their web site got shut down. But they are back better than ever.

  32. The words ‘Medieval warm period’ are not in the body of the paper but do occur in the references.

  33. Ed Scott (10:55:53) :
    . . . Giant mirrors in space
    Some scientists suggest it would be possible to deflect sunlight with a giant mirror or a fleet of small mirrors between the Earth and the Sun.

    This is honestly a good idea for sometime in the (we hope) far future. Thousands of square miles of aluminized mylar, like the old Echo 1 satellite. Once they get them up there, they’ll be able to move them to the L4 and L5 Lagrange points where they can reflect extra sunlight to counter the coming ice age.

  34. Mark (11:13:41) : On a related note, realclimate.org has an issue with geologists:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/08/are-geologists-different/#more-590
    It’s obvious to me why geologists are different… Their findings disagree with what the AGW crowd says happened.

    Checking in with RC, I found this: Svensmark [said] that the 90% confidence in the human influence on recent trends is derived only from models (not true).
    I had to laugh at the implications of these scantily-clad nubile female models being the human influence on certain trends which RC maintain is not true. Good luck, geologists!

  35. Mike McMillan
    Alas, the solar wind would blow those Mylar reflectors out of the solar system, with far more force than the weak gravitational effect of the LaGrange points. Anything light enough to launch and big enough to reflect a decent amount of light will sail quite well.

  36. Al Gore has really stepped in it this time. He could have spent the rest of his global warming career collecting money by spreading fear over events that were a centure or at least half century in the future. Oh, but that wasn’t good enough for Big Al. He’s now told the biggest global warming whopper of his alarmist career:
    AL GORE HAS GUARANTEED THAT THE NORTHERN POLAR ICE CAP WILL BE COMPLETELY GONE IN FIVE YEARS!!!
    When I heard this I assumed it was a rumor started by skeptics to make Gore look bad. It wasn’t until I viewed the video that I realized what Gore had done. Gore has started a five year credibility countdown timer ticking and it’s up to all of us to make sure that he is held accountable and proven to be a fraud when his dire prediction aimed at drumming up support doesn’t come close to comming true.
    The mainstream media isn’t going to let this video see the light of day because they, unlike Al, understand the precarious position in which he has placed himself.
    It is therefore up to us to spread the word about Big Al’s prediction. He must be exposed for the fearmongering opportunist that he has become.
    To view the video, please visit the following site and click on the picture of Big Al holding up five fingers.
    http://www.hootervillegazette.com
    While visiting this site, you might want to watch a preview of the film “Not Evil, Just wrong” or watch “The Great Global Warming Swindle” which is found in the video section. Happy Viewing!!!

  37. Mike Bryant (11:02:51) : wrote
    ” “A carbon tax is honest, clear and effective. It will increase energy prices, but low and middle income people, especially, will find ways to reduce carbon emissions so as to come out ahead.”
    Everytime my small business is hit with another tax I raise my prices. How is this scheme supposed to do anything at all?”
    In the California version of the Carbon Control Plan, (AB 32 and the Climate Change Initiative), what is supposed to happen is this: Power prices do indeed go up as carbon-based power plants are shut and renewable plants are started; the Scoping Plan states power prices will increase around 12 percent.
    Then, energy-hogs are encouraged (or forced, it is not clear yet which) to replace low-efficiency motors with high-efficiency ones — such as for air conditioners. The economic analysis stated that the net reduction in the power bill is sufficient to pay off the loan for the new high-efficiency motors. The investment parameters used were a 20 year loan at 5 percent interest. The economic analysis indicated that power consumption is reduced around 30 to 50 percent, while the power price increases only 12 percent. So, in the Plan, this is a win-win.
    This is merely a part of the plan. Obama has publicly stated he favors a federal plan that accomplishes the identical goals as California’s AB 32 — although he has not yet said how it is to be accomplished. Senators Boxer, Warner, and Lieberman are allegedly working on the senate version of a bill for Obama’s signature in 2009.
    It should be noted that the California economic analysis was blasted as hopelessly wrong by independent analysts.
    The California AB 32 and Scoping Plan can be found here:
    http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/cc.htm
    Comments on the Scoping Plan can be found here:
    http://www.arb.ca.gov/lispub/comm/bccommlog.php?listname=scopingpln08
    My own comment is number 390, the Legislative Analysts Office’s comment is 462.
    Roger E. Sowell
    Marina del Rey, California

  38. Retired Engineer (16:49:06) :
    Mike McMillan
    Alas, the solar wind would blow those Mylar reflectors out of the solar system, with far more force than the weak gravitational effect of the LaGrange points. Anything light enough to launch and big enough to reflect a decent amount of light will sail quite well.

    Darn! We’ll just have to put them at L3.
    🙂

  39. Mike McMillan:
    But….but….but! WAIT!!! They CAN’T blow away in the solar wind….Kim Stanley Robinson wrote about this in his Mars trilogy…and it warmed up Mars just fine!
    {sarcasm off}
    Roger E. Sowell
    Marina del Rey, California

  40. another interesting article at CO2 Science
    An Eighteen-Hundred-Year Climate Record from China
    Volume 11, Number 53: 31 December 2008
    ‘And when one compares the peak warmth thus implied by their data for the Current and Medieval Warm Periods, it is readily seen that the Medieval Warm Period comes out on top as having been the warmer of the two.’
    http://co2science.org/articles/V11/N53/EDIT.php

  41. Even *if* the MWP were global… so what?
    That hardly means that what is driving today’s climate is the same thing that drove that climate, or that the potentials of today’s forcings are anything compared to those forcings.
    Suppose the MWP was a global phenomenon. What drove it? Solar fluctuations.
    But we know that solar fluctuations are not the prime drivers of today’s climate — anthropogenic GHGs and aerosols are. Both are far stronger, and, more importantly, manmade (i.e unnatural).
    So even if there was a global MWP… what does that imply about today’s climate?

  42. If WUWT is one of the Best Science Blogs wouldn’t we expect more scientific comments and discourse. In this particular case- the paper by Lorrey et al. – the comments are purely based on what CO2science.org has quoted, which is very selective.
    This lack of more information as to what the paper actually is saying makes a good scientific debate on this blog impossible. Judging from their comments only F Rasmin (14:45:41), MarcH (12:10:24) and Wally (13:52:05) appear to have had access to the full paper. It is a pity that the they are not more forthcoming in quoting more significant findings from the paper. The abstract which I posted above fails to make any reference to the MWP. I find that odd.

  43. David Appell (00:39:35)
    ‘But we know that solar fluctuations are not the prime drivers of today’s climate — anthropogenic GHGs and aerosols are. Both are far stronger, and, more importantly, manmade (i.e unnatural).’
    How interesting. Man made aerosols (assumed negative feedback) as posed to natural aerosols (assumed positive feedback) over rides the primary climate driver (CO2), cold phase PDO, La Nina, caused the troposphere hot spot to run off with the oceans hot spots and cooled down the stratosphere have been the reason why temperatures have been flat or declining over the last few years. All I can say is WOW! Hay, do you have a bridge for sale? I know someone in DC looking for one.

  44. David Appell (00:39:35) :
    But we know that solar fluctuations are not the prime drivers of today’s climate — anthropogenic GHGs and aerosols are. Both are far stronger, and, more importantly, manmade (i.e unnatural).

    We do? There are four hypotheses buried in your assertion. Please provide links to comprehensive raw data so that it can be independently analyzed.
    So even if there was a global MWP… what does that imply about today’s climate?
    Referring back to your earlier agreement that the MWP was likely caused by solar fluctuations , the implication is that “today’s climate” was in a warming period due to solar activity, and it is transitioning to a cooling period due to lack of same.

  45. David Appell,
    since the modellers don’t trust the observations enough to verify their lack of a hot spot, please explain to us why we should trust the observations to verify dangerous warming??
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    There is NO evidence that there is ANYTHING happening that hasn’t happened many times in history. Arm waving to the contrary, AGW is bankrupt and trying to take us with it.
    Please spend some time on Dr. Roy Spencer’s site to try and understand where they are going wrong!!
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/

  46. KuhnKat: “There is NO evidence that there is ANYTHING happening that hasn’t happened many times in history.”
    There is convincing evidence that the 35 percent increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide over the past 200 years is mostly due to human activity. As far as we know, this has never happened before and is therefore a unique occurrence both within human history and geological time.
    The unique nature of this occurrence, its source and its possible consequences makes it worthy of study, and, I would argue, imposes a responsibility on human beings to take it seriously. We only have one atmosphere and our wellbeing depends on its stability.
    I would also argue that you don’t have to agree with AGW to appreciate the value of taking a risk-management approach to our actions that may impact on the climate system.

  47. David Appell (00:39:35) :
    Even *if* the MWP were global… so what?
    That hardly means that what is driving today’s climate is the same thing that drove that climate, or that the potentials of today’s forcings are anything compared to those forcings.
    Suppose the MWP was a global phenomenon. What drove it? Solar fluctuations.
    But we know that solar fluctuations are not the prime drivers of today’s climate — anthropogenic GHGs and aerosols are. Both are far stronger, and, more importantly, manmade (i.e unnatural).
    So even if there was a global MWP… what does that imply about today’s climate?
    Where do I start?
    1) Global warming is NOT unprecedented is a good start.
    2) we don’t really know what drove the MWP warming so we don’t know what’s driving this one either.
    3) Why didn’t the tipping point of H2O feedback kick in then? Is it selective & only kicks in for CO2 warming?
    DaveE.

  48. Suppose the MWP was a global phenomenon. What drove it? Solar fluctuations.

    More likely ocean oscillations “drove” the MWP, if it even needs a “driver”. Bigger questions are, what pulled us out of the last ice age and when does it stop keeping us warm and cozy? We’re quibbling about a few tenths of a degree heating here a few tenths cooling there, which are pretty much meaningless in light of the inevitable ice age which WILL come.

  49. Ed Scott
    “Giant mirrors in space.”
    If an asteroid hits one and it breaks, will the earth have seven epochs of bad luck? ;o)
    What caused “Snowball Earth”? What caused it to thaw? Let’s say mirrors are easy to implement just for fun. What do we do with them when the earth cools too much? What do we do with them when the earth warms too much? Are these mirrors adjustable?
    I say we just launch a giant window shade and open and close it as needed ;o)

  50. Brendan H (13:23:43)
    ‘I would also argue that you don’t have to agree with AGW to appreciate the value of taking a risk-management approach to our actions that may impact on the climate system.’
    A friend of mine has to have flood insurance (government mandated) with her mortgage loan. She lives in a small town in which is located at one of the highest elevations in Ohio. Her home is on a hill, one of the highest points in town, some 300ft above and 2.5 miles away from a small stream. It would cost her about $5000.00 and a real pain in the rear to drop the flood insurance just to save $150.00 / year. And this is good mandate by the government? It’s nothing more than a scam.
    When the army corps of engineers redrew their flood plan back in the late 90’s it included this town even though the town has never been flooded. I know why the government did. So tell me why it’s good for this town?

  51. Ed Scott
    “Giant mirrors in space.”
    If an asteroid hits one and it breaks, will the earth have seven epochs of bad luck? ;o)

    No, breaking an asteroid will lessen the impact if it were headed for earth, thus saving civilization.
    Roger Sowell (18:43:22) :
    Mike McMillan:
    But….but….but! WAIT!!! They CAN’T blow away in the solar wind….Kim Stanley Robinson wrote about this in his Mars trilogy…and it warmed up Mars just fine!

    Dontcha just hate explaining jokes? L3 instead of L4 and L5 to get the mirrors out of the solar wind?
    Solar sails come to mind here, not that I know of any way to tack upwind without a keel. Curved mirrors, maybe, “Objects in mirror are closer than they look.” Maybe an L1 mirror bouncing off L4 and L5 mirrors to change the angle. When it gets chilly enough, someone will figure it out. Then Greenpease will picket it.

  52. Old Construction Worker: “I know why the government did. So tell me why it’s good for this town?”
    Pass. On the face of it the insurance appears to be unnecessary, but I don’t know enough to make any definitive comment.
    I’m not entirely clear why you bring up this example. Sure, governments can get things wrong, as can anybody, but the fact that human beings can make mistakes doesn’t strike me as a good reason for inaction in the face of risk.

  53. Brendan H,
    What you are claiming is that virtually the total increase in CO2 in the last 200 years is completely due to humans. To be blunt, this is total bull. You need to go back to where you got this information and get your money back.
    280ppm is what the IPCC claim the CO2 level was pre-industrialisation. This is another unsubstantiated claim, BUT, I will humor you.
    (280x.35)+280=378 approximately the current level
    Now, since the oceans have been warming, and we KNOW that warming water releases CO2 (something that HAS been experimentally verified), what happened to all that NATURAL CO2, including other natural sources, which, by the way, DWARFS the human contribution?????
    Of course, if the oceans haven’t warmed…….
    Please show us links to one of your excellent peer reviewed papers that shows this 35% being anthropogenic!!! I think a better estimate wouldn’t even be one tenth of that.
    While you are at it, please show us how this increase in CO2 would actually DO something, other than increase the growth of a lot of plant life. I would point out that the modellers and the IPCC have steadily backed off on their claims of direct CO2 effect to the point where they are now claiming that the heavy lifting will be done by water vapor.
    And now we are back to Dr. Roy Spencer’s work. The water vapor can not do the heavy lifting because it is mostly a NEGATIVE feedback.
    I would point out that the modellers claim that in the stratosphere this increase in CO2 is actually causing COOLING!!! Think about that for a while and get back to us.
    And let us not forget that we are still looking for the rest of the GreenhouseGas warming fingerprint. Actually, we don’t have ANY of it as the stratosphere has been pretty much FLAT for the last 15 years, according to RSS data, instead of cooling. So, the modellers have claimed the extra CO2 will cause warming in the tropical upper troposphere and cooling in the stratosphere and we can’t see either in the last 15 years!!!! it doesn’t cool, it doesn’t heat, it just grows more biomass!!!
    Sorry, I think you just struck out!!!!

  54. Mike McMillan,
    depending on the vector of the mirror, doing things like darkening part of it would definitely change the direction. Having the surface movable like slatted blinds would allow the surface area to be reduced to reduce thrust and change vector also.
    Maybe a long cable dropped into the moon or earths gravity well could counter balance the thrust?? Don’t know if the orbits would even allow it though.
    I guess I am thinking of it kinda like a kite!!
    I like the idea of mounting politicians as thrusters!!! Not very powerful, but, they seem to last for a LOOOOONG time and would actually be useful!!

  55. Brendan H (13:23:43) :

    There is convincing evidence that the 35 percent increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide over the past 200 years is mostly due to human activity. As far as we know, this has never happened before and is therefore a unique occurrence both within human history and geological time.

    I would also argue that you don’t have to agree with AGW to appreciate the value of taking a risk-management approach to our actions that may impact on the climate system.
    Why don’t you point us to the raw data that provides the “convincing evidence” for AGW? Then we can evaluate it and become “convinced.”
    As to the second (quoted) assertion, please provide a cost – benefit analysis of the economic, social and political disruption caused by all the policies to be introduced in order to combat imaginary AGW.
    Incidentally, while you’re at it, pleaase explain to all of us where these blasts of record setting cold air are coming from, since the poles are “warming.”

  56. Brendan H (13:23:43) :

    There is convincing evidence that the 35 percent increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide over the past 200 years is mostly due to human activity. As far as we know, this has never happened before and is therefore a unique occurrence both within human history and geological time.

    I would also argue that you don’t have to agree with AGW to appreciate the value of taking a risk-management approach to our actions that may impact on the climate system.

    Why don’t you point us to the raw data that provides the “convincing evidence” for AGW? Then we can evaluate it and become “convinced.”
    As to the second (quoted) assertion, please provide a cost – benefit analysis of the economic, social and political disruption caused by all the policies to be introduced in order to combat imaginary AGW.
    Incidentally, while you’re at it, pleaase explain to all of us where these blasts of record setting cold air are coming from, since the poles are “warming.”

  57. I’m not entirely clear why you bring up this example. Sure, governments can get things wrong, as can anybody, but the fact that human beings can make mistakes doesn’t strike me as a good reason for inaction in the face of risk.

    You take more of a risk just getting up in the morning than any phantom menace proposed by AGW. Yet you still do it…

  58. KuhnKat: “Please show us links to one of your excellent peer reviewed papers that shows this 35% being anthropogenic!!!”
    The letter at the link below explains the isotopic signature that provides the evidence that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is due mainly to human activities.
    http://scitation.aip.org/journals/doc/PHTOAD-ft/vol_58/iss_5/16_1.shtml
    A more technical explanation can be found here (this article also provides references to a couple of papers):
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=81
    “While you are at it, please show us how this increase in CO2 would actually DO something…”
    According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change: “…most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations”.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr_spm.pdf
    The paper below shows a climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 at around 3 deg C.
    http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d5/jdannan/GRL_sensitivity.pdf
    “I would point out that the modellers claim that in the stratosphere this increase in CO2 is actually causing COOLING!!!”
    Climate models predicted a cooling stratosphere/warming troposphere, and this has been observed. In fact, this phenomenon is regarded as a signature of CO2-induced warming, since solar warming would result in a more uniform spread of warming.

  59. John W: “Why don’t you point us to the raw data that provides the “convincing evidence” for AGW?”
    The “convincing evidence” I referred to was for the 35 percent increase in atmospheric CO2 from human activity. See this article for an explanation.
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=160
    “As to the second (quoted) assertion, please provide a cost – benefit analysis of the economic, social and political disruption caused by all the policies to be introduced in order to combat imaginary AGW.”
    That might be difficult, since as far as I know there are no such studies relating to “imaginary AGW”. However, there is a well-known study relating to real AGW, and I can provide a link to that if you wish.
    “Incidentally, while you’re at it, pleaase explain to all of us where these blasts of record setting cold air are coming from, since the poles are “warming.”
    What “blasts of record setting cold air”? The sun is shining bright, temperatures are balmy and I’m off to the beach.
    “Warming” is a relative term. What may be warm at the poles will be cold closer to the equator. The short-term perturbations you describe are called weather, and these should not be confused with the longer-term set of atmospheric conditions, which is climate.

  60. Jeff Alberts: “You take more of a risk just getting up in the morning than any phantom menace proposed by AGW. Yet you still do it…”
    But I look both ways when crossing the street. Just part of my daily risk-management strategy.

  61. Brendan H (14:36:38) :
    But I look both ways when crossing the street. Just part of my daily risk-management strategy.

    Which doesn’t requirte any sacrifice. I noticed you’re still using a computer, and relying on the huge fossil-fuel infrastructure it requires. So apparently you’re not willing to make the big sacrifices for the sake of saving the planet.

  62. Jeff Alberts: “I noticed you’re still using a computer, and relying on the huge fossil-fuel infrastructure it requires.”
    Well, from my end around 70 percent of electricity is generated from renewable sources, so on that factor at least I’m probably doing better than average. From a wider perspective, individual efforts may be laudable but a much greater effect can be achieved through structural and collective efforts.
    “So apparently you’re not willing to make the big sacrifices for the sake of saving the planet.”
    I’m not interested in making sacrifices to “save the planet”. I’m interested in keeping the planet habitable for humans.
    According to the Stern Review, the cost of combating climate change to 2050 would be around 1 percent of world GDP. That doesn’t strike me as a call to major sacrifice, although if a greater sacrifice were required then of course I would be obliged to accept it.

  63. He’s not talking 1% of GWP. he’s talking 1% of GWP PER YEAR.
    You are pretty darn cavalier about ditching a third to half of world economic growth. Do you have any idea what that adds up to in lost wealth when you compound it?

  64. Furthermore, anyone with the force of law backed by guns can “oblige you to accept” just about any sacrifice he chooses you to make.

  65. Evan,
    Brendan is obviously a saint. Can’t you see how much he cares? No sacrifice is too much as long as the earth remains habitable. This man will have his name chiseled alongside so many others who gave their lives to create a paradise earth! An earth which will only grudgingly support about 5% of today’s runaway population.
    Those will be glorious days indeed!
    Mike Bryant

  66. Brendan H (18:54:07) :
    Well, from my end around 70 percent of electricity is generated from renewable sources, so on that factor at least I’m probably doing better than average. From a wider perspective, individual efforts may be laudable but a much greater effect can be achieved through structural and collective efforts.

    Or so they tell you, anyway. You fail to realize it’s not just your use of electricity at your single endpoint that’s the issue.

    I’m not interested in making sacrifices to “save the planet”. I’m interested in keeping the planet habitable for humans.

    What’s the difference?

    According to the Stern Review, the cost of combating climate change to 2050 would be around 1 percent of world GDP. That doesn’t strike me as a call to major sacrifice, although if a greater sacrifice were required then of course I would be obliged to accept it.

    Too bad the Stern Review makes no sense.

  67. OT, I think. More on how the City of Berkeley, California (a notoriously leftist city in a land noted for its fruits and nuts on two legs) is advancing the fight against AGW.
    This link shows their Nov, 2008, government-sponsored finance program for renewable and solar projects on citizens’ homes, also on commercial properties, I think.
    http://www.cityofberkeley.info/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=26580
    Roger E. Sowell
    Marina del Rey, California

  68. Evanjones: “He’s not talking 1% of GWP. he’s talking 1% of GWP PER YEAR. You are pretty darn cavalier about ditching a third to half of world economic growth.”
    You are confusing total GDP with GDP growth. The two are not the same. From the Stern Review: “Estimates based on the likely costs of these methods of emissions reduction show that the annual costs of stabilising at around 550ppm CO2e are likely to be around 1% of global GDP by 2050, with a range from –1% (net gains) to +3.5% of GDP.”
    There is no mention here of a 1 percent annual reduction in world GDP growth, rather a cost of 1 percent of world GDP per annum. This is a lot of money for sure, but it compares to an estimated best-scenario cost of around 3 percent for doing nothing.

  69. Jeff Alberts: “Or so they tell you, anyway.”
    Do you know of any reason why I should disbelieve the figure?
    “You fail to realize it’s not just your use of electricity at your single endpoint that’s the issue.”
    Not at all. As I said: “…on that factor…I’m probably doing better than average”. I’m one individual. I am not responsible for the entire infrastructure of the internet.
    “What’s the difference?”
    Mainly a matter of emphasis, but in my view an important emphasis on human life and wellbeing.

  70. Brendan H (14:35:47) :
    John W: “Why don’t you point us to the raw data that provides the “convincing evidence” for AGW?”
    The “convincing evidence” I referred to was for the 35 percent increase in atmospheric CO2 from human activity. See this article for an explanation. [Link omitted]

    Thanks for the link. However, while it presented the assertion that the increase was due to human activity, it didn’t provide the evidence. Did you provide the wrong link by mistake? Incidentally, there are some serious errors in reasoning contained in the article. For example, “The oceans cannot be a source of carbon to the atmosphere, because we observe them to be a sink of carbon from the atmosphere.” Yes, sometimes a sink, other times a source.
    That might be difficult, since as far as I know there are no such studies relating to “imaginary AGW”. However, there is a well-known study relating to real AGW, and I can provide a link to that if you wish.
    I understand your objection, so let me rephrase: Please provide a cost analysis of the economic, social and political disruption caused by all the policies to be introduced in order to combat AGW. Preferably other than the Stern Report.
    What may be warm at the poles will be cold closer to the equator. The short-term perturbations you describe are called weather, and these should not be confused with the longer-term set of atmospheric conditions, which is climate.
    Thank you for clearing that up. Maybe you could help with a couple of other points:
    Why are short-term cool perturbations called weather, but short-term warm perturbations called climate change? Shouldn’t they both be called the same thing?
    Why is a decade long period of warming temperatures called climate change, but a decade long period of stable or cooling temperatures called called weather? Shouldn’t they both be called the same thing?

  71. Brendan H wrote:
    I’m not interested in making sacrifices to “save the planet”. I’m interested in keeping the planet habitable for humans.
    If you want to keep the planet habitable for humans, don’t support carbon sequestration measures that will deprive plants of much needed CO2. More CO2 is good for the environment.

    Growth at the doubled [CO2] resulted in an ≈40-fold increase in aboveground biomass and a 20-fold increase in plant cover of Artemisia frigida Willd, a common subshrub of some North American and Asian grasslands. This CO2-induced enhancement of plant growth, among the highest yet reported, provides evidence from a native grassland suggesting that rising atmospheric [CO2] may be contributing to the shrubland expansions of the past 200 years.

    Effects of atmospheric CO2 enrichment on plant growth: the interactive role of air temperature
    Comprehensive reviews of the plant science literature indicate that a 300 part per million (ppm) increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration generally increases plant growth by approximately 30%. … As a result, predicting the ultimate biospheric consequences of a doubling of the Earth’s atmospheric CO2 concentration may prove to be much more complex than originally anticipated.
    Effects of season-long CO2 enrichment on cereals. I. Growth performance and yield
    Total above-ground biomass increased mainly in the CO2 concentration range between 400–550 p.p.m. for wheat, and between 400–700 p.p.m. for barley…. At the highest CO2 concentration yield increase amounted to 19% and 27% for the two wheat cultivars, and 52% and 89% for the two barley cultivars in comparison with the ambient CO2 level.
    Carbon Dioxide Depletion Effects in Energy Efficient Greenhouses
    A primary concern in energy conserving greenhouses is carbon dioxide (CO2), which, if permitted to deplete in the greenhouse atmosphere, causes decreases in net photosynthesis rate (NPR), as well as increases in leaf transpiration in tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce. Decreasing the NPR will result in lower yields and quality as well as other plant responses. Increasing the transpiration can lead to expensive relative humidity (RH) control considerations within energy conserving greenhouses.
    Carbon Dioxide and Environmental Stress
    In 18 studies of the effect of low CO2 on crops, native shrubs, wild annuals, and herbaceous perennials, reducing CO2 from 350 ± 10 µmol m-2 s-1 to 180 µmol m-2 s-1 reduced both photosynthesis and yield by approximately 50 % (Fig. 3; Sage, 1995). These studies were conducted under favorable thermal, light, and nutrient conditions, and not under conditions of drought, thermal extremes, low humidity, or nutrient deficiency, which can alter the relationship between photosynthesis, productivity, and atmospheric CO2.
    Warmer is better. Higher CO2 is better.

  72. That last link doesn’t look right. Trying again. It’s a Google book link; the quoted bit is on p.292.
    Carbon Dioxide and Environmental Stress
    In 18 studies of the effect of low CO2 on crops, native shrubs, wild annuals, and herbaceous perennials, reducing CO2 from 350 ± 10 µmol m-2 s-1 to 180 µmol m-2 s-1 reduced both photosynthesis and yield by approximately 50 % (Fig. 3; Sage, 1995). These studies were conducted under favorable thermal, light, and nutrient conditions, and not under conditions of drought, thermal extremes, low humidity, or nutrient deficiency, which can alter the relationship between photosynthesis, productivity, and atmospheric CO2.

  73. Brendan H (02:00:44) :
    Do you know of any reason why I should disbelieve the figure?

    Yes, because people will tell you want you want to hear. You didn’t specify which “renewable” sources.

    Not at all. As I said: “…on that factor…I’m probably doing better than average”. I’m one individual. I am not responsible for the entire infrastructure of the internet.

    So we don’t all need to switch to mercury-tainted CFLs, or use one piece of toilet paper when doing #2? Whew, that’s a relief.

    Mainly a matter of emphasis, but in my view an important emphasis on human life and wellbeing.

    Well then, it’s been proven time and time again that technology and wealth generation are better for human life and wellbeing than carbon credits and silly notions about being able to control the global thermostat to some preconceived “optimum”. Warmer is better. And there’s no evidence that “tipping points” are even possible, therefore there is no catastrophe and nothing to see here.

  74. John W: “However, while it presented the assertion that the increase was due to human activity, it didn’t provide the evidence.”
    The evidence was in the references to the studies. Admittedly, this evidence is somewhat indirect. An article that references more direct studies of CO2 composition in the atmosphere can be found here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=87
    “Incidentally, there are some serious errors in reasoning contained in the article. For example, “The oceans cannot be a source of carbon to the atmosphere, because we observe them to be a sink of carbon from the atmosphere.” Yes, sometimes a sink, other times a source.”
    The preceding sentence in the article refers to “‘the last 200 years” and “the direction of the change”, so the writer is presumably referring to net result over that period.
    “Please provide a cost analysis of the economic, social and political disruption caused by all the policies to be introduced in order to combat AGW. Preferably other than the Stern Report.”
    If you want views on possible “disruption” you would be best to check out some of the opposition commentary. However, if you want analysis of the possible economic, social and political effects of AGW mitigation, the Stern Review is the most accessible on offer, although there are spin-off commentaries such as this report from the UK’s Tyndall Centre:
    “In terms of GDP output lost, this represents a maximum cost of a loss of
    one year’s growth in 2050, i.e.the modelled output in 2050 would not be reached until 2051, in a context in which GDP is likely to have risen by two to three hundred percent in most economies by this date.”
    http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/publications/stern_review.pdf
    “Why is a decade long period of warming temperatures called climate change, but a decade long period of stable or cooling temperatures called…weather?”
    Decade-long periods are difficult to classify as either weather or climate. In any case, these periods should be viewed within the context of the long-term trend, and that trend is warming.

  75. Katherine: “If you want to keep the planet habitable for humans, don’t support carbon sequestration measures that will deprive plants of much needed CO2. More CO2 is good for the environment.”
    Thanks for the links. Our response to climate change is a matter of weighing the likely advantages against the likely disadvantages, so it’s not just a matter of more CO2 good, less CO2 bad.

  76. Jeff Alberts: “Yes, because people will tell you want you want to hear. You didn’t specify which “renewable” sources.”
    Hydro and geothermal:
    http://www.stats.govt.nz/products-and-services/hot-off-the-press/nz-energy-statistics/new-zealand-energy+-statistics-sep07qtr-revised-hotp.htm
    Eyeballing, the latest figures looks more like 64 percent. It was getting towards 70 percent a few years ago.
    “…use one piece of toilet paper when doing #2? Whew, that’s a relief.”
    Well, it’s a load off my mind too. Entirely OT, but I’ve often thought that #2 was a fundamental argument against the existence of God. Call that design?

    • Haven’t you heard Brendan H? Environmentalists do not consider hydro to be “green” or “renewable”.

  77. Very interesting articles, jeez. There was an article in this week’s San Jose Mercury-News that warned of massive flooding if a local dam suddenly collapsed. Complete with a scary map of who would be drowned. Interesting that numerous attacks on hydro power are coming from so many different directions, huh?
    I get the feeling that the UN/IPCC has an agenda that wants to take our society back to eating grubs in mud huts. Anyone proposing that hydroelectric power is bad either has a screw loose, or is deliberately conniving to hobble Western civilization. I suspect the latter.

  78. Jeez: “It appears you are trying to have your cake and eat it too.”
    That’s the magic of renewable energy. Seriously, the study referenced in the New Scientist article is for a specific environment, and not all dams are built in those sorts of environments. It’s a case of horses for courses. (Or perhaps dams for dams.)
    I have not claimed that hydro is emission-free, and my claim as to my own record is merely “better than average”. That said, not everyone is happy with hydro:
    http://rivers.org.nz/article/submission-climate-change-emissions-trading-and-renewable-preference-bill
    As with any other resource, water is subject to competing uses, so there will always be dissension and tradeoffs over priorities. I don’t see that as a valid argument against taking action to mitigate climate change.

    • Brenda H.
      It was simply a rebuttal to your claim of using 70% renewable energy. I’m a big fan of hydro and feel we need many more damns in most parts of the world. However, the same environmentalists you side with on “mitigate climate change” explicitly disqualify your primary source of electricity as a “renewable” solution. So your contention about how much you are already doing to fight the good fight is nullified.
      Also, you don’t really get credit for just having been born in or living in an area which just happens to use hydro and geothermal. You need to sacrifice or you can stop telling others what a great job you are doing. Personally I suggest doing without electricity, any form of heating, or mechanized transportation, unless you explicitly own the windmills or solar unit producing the power. As long as you are on the grid your claims of doing well, ie better than others, are nothing but hypocrisy. So I look forward to your next post made without the use of electricity from the grid.

  79. Don’t worry Jeez, Brendan will do the right thing. Our masters decree that hydro is a killer of fish, however mostly it is just unnatural. How anyone could believe that these monstrous dams are AOK is beyond me. Have you ever seen the gigantic dynamos within the dams? Truly they are not conducive to a gentle walk with our sweet habitable earth.
    And wind… don’t get me started… killing birds and bats and… well you know…
    Yes the sweet neanderthal had the right idea. No one really needs to live past 20 or 25 years anyway.
    How I look forward to living in complete harmony with nature!

  80. I don’t see that as a valid argument against taking action to mitigate climate change.

    No amount of carbon this or CO2 that will “mitigate climate change” The best we can do is adapt to the changing climate, which is what we’ve always had to do. Trying to change the global climate to suit us is doomed to failure. I thought you might be intelligent enough to see that…

  81. Brendan H wrote:
    Thanks for the links. Our response to climate change is a matter of weighing the likely advantages against the likely disadvantages, so it’s not just a matter of more CO2 good, less CO2 bad.
    Then you know that colder temperatures lead to increased mortality as compared with warmer temperatures.
    95,000 Excess U.S. Deaths during the Cold Months Each Year
    Heat related mortality in warm and cold regions of Europe: observational study
    Populations in Europe have adjusted successfully to mean summer temperatures ranging from 13.5°C to 24.1°C, and can be expected to adjust to global warming predicted for the next half century with little sustained increase in heat related mortality. Active measures to accelerate adjustment to hot weather could minimise temporary rises in heat related mortality, and measures to maintain protection against cold in winter could permit substantial reductions in overall mortality as temperatures rise.
    The Impact of Global Warming on Health and Mortality
    Meanwhile, it must not be forgotten that cold weather in winter causes many more deaths than heat in summer, even in most subtropical regions, and measures to control cold-related deaths need to continue.

  82. Jeez: “However, the same environmentalists you side with on “mitigate climate change” explicitly disqualify your primary source of electricity as a “renewable” solution.”
    I don’t “side with” environmentalists. Otherwise, the fact that some or even all environmentalists may oppose hydro is not a claim on my allegiance. People who agree on a particular matter can also have differences on other matters.
    Earlier I provided a link to a recreational group that opposed what it saw as preferential treatment for hydro under a proposed emissions trading scheme. Should I check their credentials before taking a position? I don’t think so. Each issue must be argued on its own merits.
    “You need to sacrifice or you can stop telling others what a great job you are doing.”
    I don’t claim to be doing a great job. I was responding to another challenge that also demanded sacrifice. As I pointed out, making sacrifices is not a major focus for me, and while you may think that major sacrifices are necessary to combat climate change, the Stern Review claims otherwise, and that strikes me as a reasonable position.
    Tackling climate change requires a collective effort. Individual actions may make some people feel good, but feeling good about ‘doing something’ about climate change is not my goal.

    • Brendan H
      You said:

      Well, from my end around 70 percent of electricity is generated from renewable sources, so on that factor at least I’m probably doing better than average.

      and while you did, sort of but not really, qualify it with:

      From a wider perspective, individual efforts may be laudable but a much greater effect can be achieved through structural and collective efforts.

      In fact, if you accept the fact that I am average in my carbon footprint or worse than average because I live in San Francisco, California, USA, you have specifically said you are doing more in your great fight than I am, simply because you happened to have been born in or are living in New Zealand. In fact you are doing nothing except pontificating. Seriously, what is laudable about having a mother who gave birth to you in New Zealand when it comes to saving the world for humanity?

  83. Brendan H wrote:
    Tackling climate change requires a collective effort. Individual actions may make some people feel good, but feeling good about ‘doing something’ about climate change is not my goal.
    Why should we tackle climate change in the first place? Climate changes. All we can do is adapt to it. One can hope it becomes warmer, but we should be prepared if it becomes colder.

  84. Jeez: “In fact, if you accept the fact that I am average in my carbon footprint or worse than average because I live in San Francisco, California, USA, you have specifically said you are doing more in your great fight than I am, simply because you happened to have been born in or are living in New Zealand.”
    We’re talking about a specific claim: one’s personal responsibility in “using a computer, and relying on the huge fossil-fuel infrastructure it requires”.
    I was challenged about my apparent unwillingness to make “big sacrifices” to “sav[e] the planet”. Therefore, the context of personal responsibility, ie ethics, was introduced by another person.
    I rejected both the notions of sacrifice and saving the planet, but pointed out that in my situation – where a majority of electricity generation comes from renewable sources — I was probably doing better than average.
    In other words, I do not need to make the sort of sacrifices the person had in mind. You have chosen to interpret “better than average” to mean that I am acting more morally than others, such as yourself, which you know must be nonsense because I don’t know other people’s carbon footprint.
    What I know is that within the context of emissions from electricity generation I am probably doing better than average, since few other countries can match mine in the percentage of electrical power generated from renewable sources.

  85. Katherine (03:05:18) :
    Why should we tackle climate change in the first place? Climate changes. All we can do is adapt to it. One can hope it becomes warmer, but we should be prepared if it becomes colder.

    He’s not talking about climate change, he’s talking about Climate Change(tm).

  86. “You have chosen to interpret “better than average” to mean that I am acting more morally than others, such as yourself, which you know must be nonsense because I don’t know other people’s carbon footprint.”
    This is not a dig, only a question. Is a person’s or, for that matter, an organization’s carbon footprint a metric for their morality?

  87. Mike Bryant: “This is not a dig, only a question. Is a person’s or, for that matter, an organization’s carbon footprint a metric for their morality?”
    Interesting question. If you mean can we judge someone’s moral standing according to their carbon footprint, I think this would depend on such factors as the degree of knowledge/certainty about AGW, its causes and likely consequences.
    From what I have seen, there is a spectrum of understanding, ranging from those who profess great certainty that AGW is occurring and that the effects will catastrophic, through to more cautious and pragmatic types, and the various forms and degrees of scepticism.
    There is also the matter of a personal commitment to a moral ideal that involves some form of “saving the planet” and similar sentiments, while ability to act would be another factor.
    I would say that the more certainty one has about AGW and the greater the degree of presumed catastrophe, and the more one is committed to the ‘cause’, the more culpable one becomes for one’s carbon footprint. At the other end, a wilful refusal to consider the possibility of AGW due to ideological or other reasons carries its own culpability.
    In some ways it would be better not to bring morality into AGW, but human beings are moral creatures so it’s inevitable that this will happen.

  88. David Appell (00:39:35) :
    But we know that solar fluctuations are not the prime drivers of today’s climate — anthropogenic GHGs and aerosols are. Both are far stronger, and, more importantly, manmade (i.e unnatural).

    No, we don’t know that solar is not the prime driver. The assertion that it’s CO2 is an assumption unsupported by fact. Aerosols could be cooling more than any CO2 impact. We can’t even know the net human contribution to warming or cooling nor even if the sign is positive or negative since the error band on aerosol effect is so large.
    see: http://www.sciencebits.com/CO2orSolar
    So even if there was a global MWP… what does that imply about today’s climate?
    It implies that what is happening now is normal and has happened before. Which it is, and has.
    FWIW, it looks to me like the solar UV variation drives an O3 variation that can account for why such a small TSI variation can move the climate do much. Add in magnetosphere modulation of clouds and you have all you need.

  89. Brendan H (14:27:50) :
    The letter at the link below explains the isotopic signature that provides the evidence that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is due mainly to human activities.
    Using CO2 isotopic ratios is not going to work. It is based on the assumptions that 1) There is a known single ratio for fossil fuel derived isotopes and 2) that humans put any fossil derived CO2 into the air and 3) Only fossil fuel sources could bias the isotope ratio. All of these are false.
    I posted this before, but it is worth repeating:
    How do we tell ancient carbon from fossil fuels from ancient carbon from smokers at the bottom of the ocean? Do we know the isotope ratio of CO2 from mid-ocean ridges vs land volcanoes? (Land volcanoes are from subduction zones so I’d expect more rapid recycle of C from ocean sediment to yield a different isotopic ratio…)
    I wandering off to learn more about C12 / C13 origins and ratios I ran into this gem. It does raise the interesting question: If MMCO2 dropped dramatically during the great depression, where is the signature in the record?
    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070611/cockburn
    I should acknowledge one imprecision in my description of Dr. Martin Hertzberg’s graph in my first column–“the smoothly rising curve of CO2”–which prompted several intemperate responses, charging that I couldn’t possibly expect CO2 or carbon levels to drop just because of a one-third cut in manmade CO2. Indeed, I should have written, “One could not even see a 1 part per million bump in the smoothly rising curve.” Even though such transitory influences as day and night or seasonal variations in photosynthesis cause clearly visible swings in the curve, the 30 percent drop between 1929 and 1932 caused not a ripple: empirical scientific evidence that the human contribution is in fact less than a fart in a hurricane, as Dr. Hertzberg says.
    From the same article by ALEXANDER COCKBURN, with questions…
    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070611/cockburn
    As for the alleged irrefutable evidence that people caused the last century’s CO2 increase, the “smoking gun” invoked by one of my critics, Dr. Michael Mann, and his fellow fearmongers at realclimate.com, the claim is based on the idea that the normal ratio of heavy to light carbon–that is, the carbon-13 isotope to the lighter carbon-12 isotope, is roughly 1 to 90 in the atmosphere, but in plants there’s a 2 percent lower C13/C12 ratio. So, observing that C13 in the atmosphere has been declining steadily though very slightly since 1850, they claim that this is due to man’s burning of fossil fuels, which are generally believed to be derived from fossilized plant matter.
    OK, so both C12 and C13 are stable and they are looking for a ‘plant’ signature in burned fuel, not a decay signature. One Small Problem… C4 metabolism plants absorb more C13 than do C3 metabolism plants. Over the last 100 years we’ve planted one heck of a lot more grasses world wide than ever before. Grasses are C4 metabolism…
    Have they allowed for this? If so, how? I’m not sure how one would figure out the C4 vs C3 plant population ratio of the world, and certainly don’t see how you would figure out what it was 10,000,000 years ago.
    On the naïve and scientifically silly assumption that the only way that plant-based carbon can get into the atmosphere is by people burning fuels, they exult that here indeed is the smoking gun: Decreases of C13 in the atmosphere mean that our sinful combustions are clearly identifiable as major contributors to the 100 ppm increase in CO2 since 1850.
    This is misguided, simply because less than a thousandth of the plant-based carbon on earth is bound up in fossil fuel. The rest of the huge remaining tonnages of plant-based carbon are diffused through the oceans, the forests, the grasslands and the soil. In other words, everywhere. Obviously, lots of this C13-deficient carbon has the chance to oxidize into CO2 by paths other than people burning fuel, i.e., the huge amount of plant material that’s naturally eaten or decayed by the biosphere.

    And as C4 plants have been sought out (they are more efficient, so more food per growth unit) we get more C13 in the plants. There are even efforts to transplant the C4 genes into C3 plants to get better yield. This would argue for more C13 being sequestered in soils over time as C4 plants have expanded. Have they examined the C12 vs C13 ratio changes in soils over time?
    Perhaps even more significant, cold ocean waters absorb lightweight C12 preferentially, resulting in lots of C13-deficient carbon in the oceans. This low-C13 carbon most certainly would have been released massively into the atmosphere over the course of the world’s warming trend since 1850, when the Little Ice Age ended.
    And would also argue that volcanic emissions from subduction zone volcanoes ought to be C13 deficient to the degree that ocean bottom ooze is being recycled. Has this been considered?
    All of these larger natural pathways for emitting low-C13 carbon into the atmosphere have been considerably accelerated by this same warming trend. So once again, the greenhousers have got it ass-backward. The 100 ppm increase in CO2 can’t be uniquely attributed to humans because at least as plausibly it could be the effect, not the cause, of the warming that started after the Little Ice Age denied by Dr. Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann.
    It looks to me like there are very significant issues in trying to assert that C13:C12 ratio changes in the air can tell you anything about CO2 origin in fuel burning…
    From: http://www.springerlink.com/content/f5272856220314nk/
    We get that the C12:C13 ratio is different in oils than in coals and varies in the source lipids from which oil is made.
    Lipid fractions of organisms have consistently lower C13/C12 ratios than do the whole organisms. The average difference between nonlipid and lipid materials for all organisms studied is about 0.5% and ranges in individual species from as little as several hundredths to more than 1.5%. This suggests that petroleums and other noncoaly organic matter in ancient sediments are derived from lipids, or at least from certain components of the lipid fraction. In contrast, coal deposits apparently are derived from whole plants or from the cellulosic fraction of land plants, which is the major nonlipid constituent, of plant tissues.
    Has the petroleum from around the world been tested for differences in C12:C13 ratio? I’d expect significant variation based on the above. Is this allowed for in the attribution of atmospheric CO2 to fuel burning?
    From:
    http://www.isgs.illinois.edu/pttc/Illinois%20petroleum/IP111%20Isotopic%20Identification%20of%20Leakage%20Gas%20from%20Underground%20Storage%20Reservoirs–A%20Progress%20Report.pdf
    Bacteriogenic methane from Illinois generally has a C13 values in the range of -64 to -90% relative to the Peedee Belemnite ( PDB ) standard. The 11 samples from pipelines and storage reservoirs that have been analyzed have all had C13 values in the range of -40 to -46%.
    Which seems to show that biological source methane can vary widely in C13 content and that pipeline gas is not the same signature as biological, coal, or petroleum. Has this be allowed for? If so, how? (Frankly, given the biological origin variance I don’t see how it’s possible…)
    (I hand typed the above quote and there was what looked like maybe a sigma in front of the C13’s… could not get a cut/paste to work fast…)
    It looks to me like there are more holes here than bucket… I don’t see how C12:C13 ratio can be reasonably used to make any clear assertion about where the CO2 in the air comes from. How much Clathrate out gasses each year on the ocean bottoms? With what C12:C13 ratio? How much natural gas leaks from the ground? What are the ratios for bacteria produced methane from various ecosystems including ocean bottom? Are they all the same? How do you know? Since bacteria have been shown to eat oil and natural gas, how do you distinguish their CO2 from those eating wood?

  90. Brendan H (18:54:07) :
    Well, from my end around 70 percent of electricity is generated from renewable sources,

    Which renewables? The wind turbines that kill endangered birds or the solar panels that contain toxic metals? Or is it the hydroelectric that destroys valleys and rivers? (FWIW, I’m actually in favor of wind, solar, etc. but the idea that it is pristine and pure is, well, broken.)
    collective efforts.
    sounds rather like something from a little red book I read once …
    According to the Stern Review, the cost of combating climate change to 2050 would be around 1 percent of world GDP. That doesn’t strike me as a call to major sacrifice,
    It is major. First off, it’s wrong. To eliminate all that nasty human CO2, you need to change the transportation fleet of the planet AND you need to replace about 1/2 or more of the global electrical generation plant (it’s coal). The numbers are staggering.
    World GDP growth is normally about 2 to 3 percent. Right now it’s negative (recession). Suck 1 percent out of that 3 and you cut world GDP growth by 1/3 and that is compounded. You will condemn future generations to poverty that could be kept out of it.
    For cars alone it will take about $10,000 per vehicle minimum (and more likely closer to $20,000). The alternative is to assume what is not true – that folks can replace their car when they would normally do so at about the same cost. The fleet turns over in about 12 years (last time I looked, and getting longer). We are not presently building the alternative fuel cars. It takes several years to get a new design ramped up and into production but lets assume it could be done in 3… So you either accept that it’s about 15 to 20 years to change the fleet over to non-petrol or you add a large chunk of money to make it happen faster.
    And do you have any idea how long a major ship, train engine, or airplane lasts in service? How much they cost?
    What’s worse, many far better things could be done with that money. Like what? Like making efficient little tin stoves for a few bucks each for every 3rd world woman who is going blind from dung smoke or breaking her back hunting down cooking wood each day (and destroying forests in the process). This is a real project that can do more to save the world environment and use less money in the process than anything else. It desperately needs funding. Cuts fuel wood usage by a large percentage. I think it was something like 70% reduction.
    Another? Give those same women a decent education. The thing that correlates most with reduced child bearing is a woman’s education. Educate and reduce population growth. (And I don’t mean indoctrinate or planned parenthood – I mean a BA or BS in a real academic field.)
    If you really want to save the planet, these actions will do far more with far less than stealing the future GDP growth of the planet. Add in some micro loans and you will even get growing GDP and reduced poverty… Toss in some bare foot agronomists teaching French Intensive Gardening and how to pen the goats and feed them legume tree branches and cure world hunger too… Or toss it all away tilting with windmills. Your choice.
    I am a relatively hard core advocate for biodiesel, wind turbines, solar, et. al. and have been for a few decades (before it was trendy). I own stock in companies in the many alternative energy fields. I believe that algae derived oils is the best way to go for future fuel production (and also lets us keep using our present Diesel fleet – avoiding fleet change).
    So why am I throwing rocks at the idea? Because it is naive to think that that big a change can happen at low cost and fast. It also does truly distress me that so many bird strikes happen on wind farms, especially to endangered raptors. This really does need to be solved, somehow.
    We need to head down that alternative energy path at a goodly clip (IMHO) but not by throwing out trillions of dollars of capital invested in coal and oil systems. We need to use that capital for all it’s worth while we build the alternatives at a sustainable rate. It takes one heck of a lot of energy to refine silicon, best not to shut down the coal plant until after you’ve made the solar cells… yet the expressed goal of the AGW advocates is to shut down oil and coal. It’s a bad idea to promote poverty and waste in that way.

  91. Brendan H (14:35:47) :
    What “blasts of record setting cold air”? The sun is shining bright, temperatures are balmy and I’m off to the beach.

    The ones dumping snow on Milan (enough to close the airports, per Bloomberg this morning) and across much of the U.S. The ones making Alaska run about 10 degrees below average. The ones that had snow in Southern Brazil. The ones giving record snow at ski resorts from New Zealand, to Europe to the Western U.S. the list goes on and on… it’s global.
    The short-term perturbations you describe are called weather, and these should not be confused with the longer-term set of atmospheric conditions, which is climate.
    Long term, like the 10 year cooling period we’ve been in and the 20 to 30 year cooling yet to come from the PDO flip…
    We are now in a race condition between a very rapidly cooling world and the rate at which the AGW agenda can be shoved through before folks start to notice that it’s getting colder. I see two possible outcomes:
    1) AGW fades from view as the world says “Nahhh, I’m Freezing!” or
    2) The agenda gets implemented fast just in time for the Big Freeze and the subsequent law suits for “causing too much snow & cold”…
    I’m quietly hoping for #2 even though I know that #1 is best for the planet. I would personally love to see the class action suit aimed at the IPCC members and Al Gore for ‘over correcting’. If you claim to have control of something you also get the liability for it…

  92. Katherine (08:09:57) :
    If you want to keep the planet habitable for humans, don’t support carbon sequestration measures that will deprive plants of much needed CO2. More CO2 is good for the environment.

    Thanks for the list of links. Nice. BTW, that plants collectively show this response to CO2 says that for all of them CO2 is a rate limiting nutrient and that says that they have not had time to adapt to the abnormally low CO2 levels we have now (on an evolutionary time scale).
    That speaks volumes. These things evolved under much higher CO2 levels (or they would not be rate limited – they would have more stoma and better absorption) and are struggling. And THAT puts the lie to the idea that CO2 can cause a runaway greenhouse since it didn’t back then…
    I would even go so far as to assert that one could use the point at which CO2 enrichment no longer adds growth to determine the ideal CO2 level for the planet… somewhere around 1000 ppm?

  93. jeez (02:41:27) :
    In fact, if you accept the fact that I am average in my carbon footprint or worse than average because I live in San Francisco, California, USA, you have specifically said you are doing more in your great fight than I am, simply because you happened to have been born in or are living in New Zealand.

    Um, being in S.F. you get a significant part of your electricity from the Hydro, Geothermal, and Nuclear that is used in California. We don’t do coal & oil in Northern Cal… What with Nuclear being part of the new green, you could even claim to be leading the charge!! Even the natural gas turbines we have can be considered lower carbon compared to base load coal… And there are all those wind turbines in Altamont and…
    Jeez, I think you may actually be MORE green and renewable than Brendon!
    Brendon, get with it lad, you are being left behind!

  94. Brendan H (23:51:27) :
    At the other end, a wilful refusal to consider the possibility of AGW due to ideological or other reasons carries its own culpability.

    How about a person who begins as believing that AGW is probably real and the more they look into it the more they find that it’s bunk? I have not had a ‘willful refusal to consider’ but rather a strong willed and excessive effort to become well educated on the science of it; and found it lacking to the point of “broken as a theory”. IMHO, I have no ‘culpability’ for anything. How can one be culpable when the thesis is broken…

  95. EM Smith: “Which renewables? The wind turbines that kill endangered birds or the solar panels that contain toxic metals? Or is it the hydroelectric that destroys valleys and rivers?”
    As I mentioned, hydro and geothermal. All energy sources have drawbacks of one sort or another. Maybe if and when we’ve got nuclear fusion sorted we will have reached El Dorado, but we ain’t there yet.
    “It looks to me like there are more holes here than bucket… “
    You ask many questions about CO2, most of which are beyond my knowledge. Better to point you to the experts here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=87
    Quote: “Sequences of annual tree rings going back thousands of years have now been analyzed for their 13C/12C ratios. Because the age of each ring is precisely known** we can make a graph of the atmospheric 13C/12C ratio vs. time. What is found is at no time in the last 10,000 years are the 13C/12C ratios in the atmosphere as low as they are today. Furthermore, the 13C/12C ratios begin to decline dramatically just as the CO2 starts to increase — around 1850 AD.”
    The article goes on to mention supporting evidence from coral and sponges, and from ice cores. The article also has links to other explanatory articles and refers to several studies. You could also run your questions past the author of the article, who seems knowledgeable enough.
    “Suck 1 percent out of that 3…”
    As I mentioned to a previous poster, quoting from an analysis of the Stern Review by the UK’s Tyndall Centre: “In terms of GDP output lost, this represents a maximum cost of a loss of one year’s growth in 2050, i.e.the modelled output in 2050 would not be reached until 2051, in a context in which GDP is likely to have risen by two to three hundred percent in most economies by this date.”
    http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/publications/stern_review.pdf
    “So you either accept that it’s about 15 to 20 years to change the fleet over to non-petrol or you add a large chunk of money to make it happen faster.”
    The Stern Review deals in a 40-year timeframe to 2050, and any mitigation actions will necessarily require a phase-in period, most likely lasting at least a decade and probably more. So in practical terms I doubt that any major changes to the national fleet can take place faster than 15-20 years.
    “What’s worse, many far better things could be done with that money.”
    Everyone has different priorities for preferred actions. One of the most effective ways to benefit third world countries would be for the West to reduce its agriculture protection. Third world economies are heavily slanted towards agriculture, and reducing first world protection would enable third world countries to concentrate on trade rather than aid.
    Otherwise, your comments about small-scale technology and sociological improvements are well-thought and could well form part of an integrated approach to climate change in relation to third world countries.
    “Long term, like the 10 year cooling period we’ve been in and the 20 to 30 year cooling yet to come from the PDO flip…”
    Not according to the UK Met Office”:
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climatechange/guide/bigpicture/fact2.html
    Quote: “A simple mathematical calculation of the temperature change over the latest decade (1998-2007) alone shows a continued warming of 0.1 °C per decade.”
    As for the PDO flip, you would need to show that this flip will decrease the total amount of heat energy within the ocean/atmosphere system rather than just redistribute it.
    “How about a person who begins as believing that AGW is probably real and the more they look into it the more they find that it’s bunk?”
    Good question. In the context of ethics would you be morally obliged to broadcast your findings wherever possible? I guess that takes us back to the certainty issue: if you have a high degree of certainty that our current path towards mitigating the effects of climate change is the route to disaster, then one could argue that you have a moral obligation to sound a warning.
    Luckily, ethics is not a science, so any decision is between your and your conscience (or Mr Big upstairs if you’re so inclined).

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