Hansen on "death trains" and coal and CO2

hansen_coal_death_train1

NASA’s Dr. James Hansen once again goes over the top. See his most recent article in the UK Guardian. Some excerpts:

“The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death.”

And this:

Clearly, if we burn all fossil fuels, we will destroy the planet we know. Carbon dioxide would increase to 500 ppm or more.

Only one problem there Jimbo, CO2 has been a lot higher in the past. Like 10 times higher.

From JS on June 21, 2005:

https://i0.wp.com/www.junkscience.com/images/paleocarbon.gif?resize=524%2C331

One point apparently causing confusion among our readers is the relative abundance of CO2 in the atmosphere today as compared with Earth’s historical levels. Most people seem surprised when we say current levels are relatively low, at least from a long-term perspective – understandable considering the constant media/activist bleat about current levels being allegedly “catastrophically high.” Even more express surprise that Earth is currently suffering one of its chilliest episodes in about six hundred million (600,000,000) years.

Given that the late Ordovician suffered an ice age (with associated mass extinction) while atmospheric CO2 levels were more than 4,000ppm higher than those of today (yes, that’s a full order of magnitude higher), levels at which current ‘guesstimations’ of climate sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 suggest every last skerrick of ice should have been melted off the planet, we admit significant scepticism over simplistic claims of small increment in atmospheric CO2 equating to toasted planet. Granted, continental configuration now is nothing like it was then, Sol’s irradiance differs, as do orbits, obliquity, etc., etc. but there is no obvious correlation between atmospheric CO2 and planetary temperature over the last 600 million years, so why would such relatively tiny amounts suddenly become a critical factor now?

Adjacent graphic ‘Global Temperature and Atmospheric CO2 over Geologic Time’ from Climate and the Carboniferous Period (Monte Hieb, with paleomaps by Christopher R. Scotese). Why not drop by and have a look around?

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February 15, 2009 11:32 am

It is absolutely impossible to burn all the fossil fuels.
Most of the oil will stay in the ground: from a typical oilfield only 40% of the oil in place is recovered.
Same is true for coal. Some of the coal is buried to deep to recover, some of the coal has to little carbon to be used as fuel.
This year the wordl will use 2 – 6 % less oil than in 2008: that means a reduction in CO2-production. Nature will continue at the same pace to assimilate carbondioxide, not bothered by the creditcrunch.

Phillip Bratby
February 15, 2009 11:40 am

If there were no coal trains and no coal-fired power stations, millions of people would have died this winter. Seems more like life trains than death trains.

Sekerob
February 15, 2009 11:44 am

Considering the lives lost during mining, burning and chemicals and poisons emitted into the environment equated to many tens if not hundreds of thousands of death annually, worldwide, yes they are death trains.
You might want to check out what little flicks Dubaya left in last minute paybacks to the lobbyists of the mining industry. Check up on the sludge how it pollutes ground water, streams, rivers, lakes and sea. Of course it’s not happening IYBY, you’d think.

Neo
February 15, 2009 11:49 am

Given that a majority of electricity in the US is generated from coal, are electric powered cars … “death cars” as well ?

February 15, 2009 11:50 am

How come Hansen is still allowed to speak in public? His comments are so far outside the bounds of reality. Even assuming we project the slight very short term downtrend in ice area out two hundred years there’s no way the earth is going to be ice free in any near timeframe.
Half the things in his letter have no attachment to science or reality for that matter.
I’m tired of paying his salary.

Mike Bryant
February 15, 2009 11:51 am

“… Every basket (of coal) is power and civilization. For coal is a portable climate… It carries the heat of the tropics to Labrador and the polar circle; and it is the means of transporting itself whithersoever it is wanted. Watt and Stephenson whispered in the ear of mankind their secret, that a half-ounce of coal will draw two tons a mile, and coal carries coal, by rail and by boat, to make Canada as warm as Calcutta, and with its comfort brings its industrial power.”
ATTRIBUTION: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Rachel
February 15, 2009 11:57 am

Apart from that graph being pure fiction, you’re missing the point, spectacularly. Sure, CO2 was higher, millions of years ago. Millions of years ago, Earth was not “the planet we know”. Human beings have never experienced an atmosphere with CO2 levels significantly above what they are today.

ew-3
February 15, 2009 11:57 am

jeff – he seems more at home out of the US. If more people in the US heard his remarks, we would not be paying his salary much longer. And that would take Al Gore down as well.

TomT
February 15, 2009 12:14 pm

So I take it this means that Hansen is proposing everyone switch to Nuclear energy as a cleaner better alternative?

Bill D
February 15, 2009 12:14 pm

Clearly, we can’t immediately shut down the coal generated electricity. But a good starting point would be to stop building coal-fired plants and to accelerate the production of energy from non-fossil fuel sources. It seems that a lot of coal plants are being canceled in the US.

anna v
February 15, 2009 12:27 pm

Sekerob (11:44:43) :
Considering the lives lost during mining, burning and chemicals and poisons emitted into the environment equated to many tens if not hundreds of thousands of death annually, worldwide, yes they are death trains.
What exaggeration.
Are you not riding a death car? Considering the tens of thousands of people dying from car accidents?
What is your ideal world?
Back to the stone age to die before you turn 30 years old from tuberculosis or typhus?

February 15, 2009 12:28 pm

I see that Mr. Hansen remains as just as stifled & muzzled under President Obama as he was under the Bush administration.
I suppose I should be ashamed of my father and all of the guys I’ve known over the years who worked in these “death factories”. Who knew that one day they’d be put on a par with the infamous death trains and factories operated by a certain group of National Socialists?
Orwell was more right than even he could have imagined…

Neil Crafter
February 15, 2009 12:33 pm

Sekerob (11:44:43) :
“Considering the lives lost during mining, burning and chemicals and poisons emitted into the environment equated to many tens if not hundreds of thousands of death annually, worldwide, yes they are death trains.”
This is perhaps your most heinous post ever – how do you generate your own electricity Mr Rob? Hamsters on little wheels? What about where you work? If these are your actual views and not just ones made up to be anti the subject matter of each and every thread, then I’d suggest you find some sort of hate blog where you will feel much more settled. Perhaps you can get a job at NASA as Hansen’s media adviser. You’ll definitely feel right at home there.

Robert in Calgary
February 15, 2009 12:35 pm

It’s safe to say then, that Mr. Hansen wouldn’t object to terrorist acts against the power stations and the trains.

E.M.Smith
Editor
February 15, 2009 12:39 pm

Sekerob (11:44:43) : Check up on the sludge how it pollutes ground water, streams, rivers, lakes and sea.
Oh yes, that terrible terrible fly ash…
Have you thought that maybe it isn’t the ‘stuff’ but what you do with it that matters? That everything is a useful resource if you let the engineers make the decisions rather than the politicians?
For example, how about LEED buildings? Platinum level of environmental stewardship? Is that good enough for you? John Deere facilities in Greensburg were destroyed in a tornado, they rebuilt very very ‘green’.
From:
http://www.rentalmanagementmag.com/newsart.asp?ARTID=3549
As the city of Greensburg made its recovery, local leaders also decided they needed to build more efficient, sustainable facilities. “There was a ground swell of interest for the town to come back and everyone agreed that to do so, we would need to build green,” Estes says. After the towns leaders decided that all city-run facilities would be built to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum standard [see story on page 31], Estes decided that the new BTI Greensburg would follow suit.
[…]
“A shop is not typically thought of as being green because of the nature of what we do and the materials we are dealing with,” he says. “This might be the first shop environment in the country to be given a LEED Platinum designation.”
[…]
As part of the green building plan, recycled, local and renewable materials were used in construction. Cement foundations from buildings destroyed by the tornado were scrapped and much of the new parking lot at BTI Greensburg will be made from recycled cement.
Concrete inside the building includes fly ash, a fine, glass-like powder that is a byproduct of burning pulverized coal. U.S. power plants produce millions of tons of fly ash annually, which is usually dumped in landfills. Fly ash can be an inexpensive replacement for Portland cement used in concrete and is believed to improve strength, segregation and ease of pumping of the concrete. Also, the concrete floors are diamond polished, which Estes says makes them easier to clean and maintain.

From:
http://www.ageng.ndsu.nodak.edu/newsltr00.html
Scott is investigating the use of coal combustion byproducts (fly ash, bottom ash) for providing a more durable feedlot surface. Using a coal ash stabilized surface is expected to improve animal welfare and performance, as well as provide opportunities for reducing some of the environmental impacts from feeding areas.
From:
http://features.csmonitor.com/environment/topics/?topic=38&offset=4
Worldwide, manufacturers are experimenting with using organic waste materials as a substitute for some of the cement used in concrete. These materials can replace up to 25 percent of the cement in the mix. Less cement means less greenhouse gas produced.
A few coal-rich nations use fly ash, a residue created when coal is burned, as a supplementary cementing material.
Brazil’s excess of bagasse, the dry pulpy residue left after the extraction of juice from sugar cane, has proved a reliable composite in concrete. Likewise, the fine gray-white ash of rice husks, chemically similar to cement, is increasingly used as a substitute ingredient in Asia.

I’m not a ‘green’ I’m an ‘olive’. I don’t mind making things better using technology, land, farming and construction. And I don’t panic because someone hands me a lemon, I just make lemonade (and a nice olive lemon marinade for the trout dinner… ceviche anyone?) and would love to have that dinner on a fly ash containing “green” patio…

Stefan
February 15, 2009 12:43 pm

Rachel (11:57:02) :
Apart from that graph being pure fiction, you’re missing the point, spectacularly. Sure, CO2 was higher, millions of years ago. Millions of years ago, Earth was not “the planet we know”. Human beings have never experienced an atmosphere with CO2 levels significantly above what they are today.

I thought the Cambrian Explosion was when all the complex animals suddenly appeared? Does that suggest CO2 was good or bad for life?

David Ball
February 15, 2009 12:45 pm

Apart from the people who enjoy this blog and others like it, the general public has very little understanding of any of this. Hansen currently has the advantage in this regard, and the manipulation of the MSM under the guise of “saving the planet”. I would love to see a cleaner energy source, but in order to achieve that, we need technology. To remove our energy sources would cripple our ability to attain an new, cleaner, power source. These guys have it backwards. Imagine living in the middle ages or the dark ages? We have come a long way. We all want to reduce pollution, but to go backwards in our living standard is NOT the answer. Mother Nature ( or God if that is your preference) has brought humanity into existence. All life forms will maximize their potential in their habitats. We are no different. We are designed this way. Our herd will be culled if that is what is required, but it is beyond arrogance to think that culling is our job. We have been given the skills to rise above and perpetuate our existence. Humanity was not given the choice of civilization or no civilization, we are programmed to maximize our potential, as any ant colony would, or school of fish. We are no different. I would like to “save the planet” as much as anyone, but we need technology to do it. Backwards is not the answer. MHO !!!

Robert Bateman
February 15, 2009 12:46 pm

Interesting graph. I took the average global temp to be 13C, which works out to 55.4F, which is exactly the temp commonly found about 50 feet into the ground (whether shaft or adit) from my years working as an underground miner.
Have Hansen write us when the CO2 reaches 3000 ppm, 60% of our working limit, and when the 50 foot underground temp rises to 76F.
That should keep him busy for the next 30 million years.

Joe Black
February 15, 2009 12:46 pm

CO2 is a fertilizer given that most plant life developed during periods of higher CO2 atmospheric concentrations. I can see the Hg issue with burning coal.
The CO2 issue could be cured with those who believe that exhaling CO2 is a crime against Mother Earth giving it up along with their progeny to save Gaia.
Doesn’t Hanson commute ~ 90 mi. each way to work? WUWT? This guy should set an example by at least retiring to his compound and minimizing his breathing.
REPLY: He has a small apartment in NYC near Columbia, where he lives during the week, commuting on weekends. – Anthony

Joseph
February 15, 2009 12:51 pm

James Hansen truly has become the “Apocalyptic Prophet”.
http://icecap.us/index.php/go/political-climate/P3/
Hansen seems to be suffering from some form of intellectual insanity where a fear of the falsification of his belief would result in a falsification of his “self”. Our planet has been cooling as of late, and may continue to do so for some time, escalating Hansen’s fears even more. As much as we may disagree with him, this is really just a sad, sad situation. Someone at NASA needs to wake up and remove Hansen from his position and the spotlight.

Robert Bateman
February 15, 2009 12:55 pm

Actually, the simplest solution seems to elude the experts:
Just take the massive waste of power that is common worldwide (commercial lighting left on 24/7, streetlights 12/7, transporting whole commodities as far as you can to jack up the price) and use it to scrub the bad stuff out of the emissions, and all you have left is harmless CO2.
Wonder what will happen if SC24 & 25 fail totally and the place freezes?
Think they will stop wasting all that energy and keep greenhouses and houses warm?
Or will they declare home heating and growing food to be acts of terrorism?

February 15, 2009 12:56 pm

Human beings have never experienced an atmosphere with CO2 levels significantly above what they are today.
No, but we have experienced global temperatures plus or minus 5 degrees C compared to now. When it was colder (Wisconsin Glaciation) the human species nearly went extinct. Other hominids did; we were lucky. When it was warmer (various climatic optimums in the Holocene) humanity flourished, as did most other life forms.
When it was 15 to 25 degrees C warmer (during the Eocene), life also flourished. Flowering plant species proliferated. Tropical, paratropical, and boreal temperate forests reached their greatest extent in planetary history. Fauna flourished and biodiversity in all animal phyla and orders was enormous. Since the Eocene, global temperatures have plummeted into Ice Age conditions and at least 60% (probably more) of all species have gone extinct.
Warmer is Better.
The “coal trains of death”, like the term “denier”, are thinly veiled references to the Holocaust. As such they are pure Alarmism with a capital “A” and hugely objectionable. Stalin murdered 3 or 4 times as many people as did Hitler, and Mao murdered twice that. Stalinism and Maoism are not “solutions” to mass murder.
The blanket authoritarian collectivist approach that underlies the Alarmist agenda is the most horrific death train in history, as proved by the bloody inhumanity of the 20th Century. If there ever has been a time when we need to learn from history, this is it. And the history we need to learn from is the worldwide slaughter that took place in and around WWII. It is not climate change that threatens humanity; it is unbridled authoritarianism.

February 15, 2009 12:56 pm

How deadly is CO2?, supossing it really has a detectable “greenhouse effect”, so increasing temperature, is there a physical limit for this increment?, how many degrees of temperature would it have our planet if it had, say, 1000 ppm of CO2?
Could we melt iron using CO2 green house effect?

Harry
February 15, 2009 12:57 pm

Choo–Choo!!
People of the world, join in.
Board the death train, death train.
People of the world, join in.
Board the death train, death train.
The end of the world will be soon.
Tell all the folks in India and China too
If you don’t heed the word about carbon…
then this train will keep driving, driving towards you.
Well, well well…

philincalifornia
February 15, 2009 12:58 pm

Robert in Calgary (12:35:03) : wrote:
It’s safe to say then, that Mr. Hansen wouldn’t object to terrorist acts against the power stations and the trains.
—————————–
Cognitive dissonance mutates to cognitive disobedience ??
Is this guy really the gatekeeper and messenger of global temperature measurements from GISS ?? Quite possibly the most unbelievable scenario ever in the history of science …. and pseudoscience.

February 15, 2009 1:00 pm

Rachel (11:57:02) :
“Apart from that graph being pure fiction, you’re missing the point, spectacularly. Sure, CO2 was higher, millions of years ago. Millions of years ago, Earth was not “the planet we know”. Human beings have never experienced an atmosphere with CO2 levels significantly above what they are today.”

And this would bother you on a personal level, an average of 300-400 ppmv is not a hazard to anyone, CO2 is toxic at higher levels, at around 1% (that’s 10,000 ppmv) you might notice something and at 5-10% (yes, 50.000 to a 100.000 ppmv) it starts to get dangerous.
But there is no way that we are ever going to achieve those levels, its even very dubious if we are going to experience a doubling of CO2 (that is 560 ppmv) in this century, a second doubling to 1120 ppmv is not going to happen anyway.

February 15, 2009 1:07 pm

I can’t help but think the rising inanity of the GW crowd (i.e., this post, the BBC post) means that we are getting close to Victory. The kamikaze attacks at the end of WWII are the closest analogy I can think of.

Robert Bateman
February 15, 2009 1:08 pm

Human beings have never experienced an atmosphere with CO2 levels significantly above what they are today.
Oh yes they have. I worked in atmospheres with CO2 levels twice or greater that which you commonly breathe.
I would like to make a living proving people who spout such CO2 level nonsense by making them put their money where their mouths are.
Let’s see who the men and who the sissies are, at present and elevated CO2
levels.
Bet me. I’d like to clean what’s in your wallet out.

Ron de Haan
February 15, 2009 1:09 pm

Sekerob (11:44:43) :
Considering the lives lost during mining, burning and chemicals and poisons emitted into the environment equated to many tens if not hundreds of thousands of death annually, worldwide, yes they are death trains.
You might want to check out what little flicks Dubaya left in last minute paybacks to the lobbyists of the mining industry. Check up on the sludge how it pollutes ground water, streams, rivers, lakes and sea. Of course it’s not happening IYBY, you’d think.
Skerob,
Just to bring some perspective in your statement.
Every human activity comes with a risk.
Mining is a risky business but becomes safer with modern technology applied.
If we compare the loss of life caused by the use of the car the mining casualties are irrelevant.
If we look at the benefits of the power generated by coal it’s a life saver and a valuable contributor to a healthy economy. Until we invent something better.
I agree that we should exploit coal in way that causes minimum damage to the environment but if you might think Nature itself does not pollute the environment, have a look at these links:
Natural Oil Spills: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=36873
Hydrogen Sulfite Eruption: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=18791
Chaitén Volcanic Eruption: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=36725
And thousands of other Natural Events, causing massive human casualties, polluting the air, oceans, rivers, land.
As I said, just to bring matters into perspective.

Frank K.
February 15, 2009 1:12 pm

This is not the first time Hansen has done this this. Recall from 2007 his comparison of coal fired power plants to the Nazi holocaust:
http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/26/holocausts/
Jim’s money quote:
“If we cannot stop the building of more coal-fired power plants, those coal trains will be death trains – no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species.”
When he was called on this, part of his reply was:
“There is nothing scientifically invalid about the above paragraph. If this paragraph makes you uncomfortable, well, perhaps it should.”
This is the reason I no longer have ANY respect for Jim Hansen – as a scientist or a citizen. He is clearly out of control, and the sad thing is that none of his colleagues at GISS (or NASA in general) appear to care a whit about his declining mental state.

February 15, 2009 1:15 pm

The common measure of CO2 is the sampling conducted on quite high volcanoes in Hawaii. Does anyone know of any regular monitoring reported at lower altitudes? Presumably CO2 levels at Sea level are higher given it’s heavier than many other gases in the atmosphere. I imagine CO2 levels in Los Angeles and other super-cities already exceed Hansen’s critical level.

Ron de Haan
February 15, 2009 1:16 pm

The analogy of the “death trains” and “death factories” with the “Holocaust”….
I have no words for it, absolutely tasteless.
We have found ourselves a Dr. Menken of climatology.

TonyS
February 15, 2009 1:18 pm

I think we need to start a campaign…
There’s probably no AGW. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.

February 15, 2009 1:18 pm

Just when you think the alarmist claims cannot get any more bizarre. Would Hansen prefer that people froze to death because there was insufficient generation capacity? ‘Death trains’ indeed.
As has been pointed out by so many other commenters, there are viable and mature engineering solutions to the pollution related problems of coal and oil fired power generation.

E.M.Smith
Editor
February 15, 2009 1:18 pm

Bill D (12:14:47) : It seems that a lot of coal plants are being canceled in the US.
Yes. Major world class power plant construction companies are running nearly full-out. We also know that for the next 4 years minimum the US will be terribly hostile to business. Simple conclusion? Move your capital to China and put your company to work building the backlog of coal plants there since the demand can not be met. AND you don’t have to put on all the environmental equipment! Much better profit. Gotta love Kyoto!
So exactly how is it making things better to:
1) Assure the U.S. will have power shortages in the future.
2) Build most new power plants without environmental controls.
3) Move industry to China.
4) Assure the U.S. will stay in recession for the foreseeable future.
5) Accelerate Chinese dominance of the world economy, and as a necessary consequence, the world militarily.
6) Put A LOT more soot on the Arctic.
7) Put A LOT more CO2 into the air.
8) Put A LOT more mercury into the ocean.
etc. etc. etc.
Cause, meet effect.

Ron de Haan
February 15, 2009 1:22 pm

Rachel (11:57:02) :
“Apart from that graph being pure fiction, you’re missing the point, spectacularly. Sure, CO2 was higher, millions of years ago. Millions of years ago, Earth was not “the planet we know”. Human beings have never experienced an atmosphere with CO2 levels significantly above what they are today”.
I do not exactly know what which point you want to make but human can cope with much higher amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere they breath.
When you sit inside your house with the doors and windows closed CO2 levels quickly rise from atmospheric levels to 6-8000 ppm.
People working in the mines and submarines experience levels above 10.000 ppm.
CO2 is not harmful at those levels.

Eve
February 15, 2009 1:23 pm

The planet has still not reached C02 levels for optimum plant growth. That level is 800 to 1,000 ppm. With the declining temperatures we need all the plant growth we can get. The cooling oceans will be taking taking that C02 out of the atmosphere soon if not already.

Rachel
February 15, 2009 1:28 pm

Stefan – yeah, the conditions at the Cambrian explosion must have been great for primitive life forms, so surely they would also be great for us today.
Mike D – “Warmer is Better” is just banal nonsense. Tell that to the families of the 35,000 who died in the European heatwave of 2003. And please look at this graph:
http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Image:Ice_Age_Temperature_Rev_png
and point out which periods with temperatures 5° higher than today saw human civilisation flourish.
REPLY: Which would you prefer?
1. Wheat and corn growing in Canada and the northern plains of the USA
2. An ice sheet in the same places as we had 20ky ago?
-Anthony

Leon Brozyna
February 15, 2009 1:29 pm

Perhaps Dr. Hansen should consider a new day job and enter politics since he’s practically there already with his advocacy approach as a science administrator.

Ron de Haan
February 15, 2009 1:30 pm

E.M.Smith (13:18:23) :
“Cause meet effect”
I agree for 100% with your remark.
The G20 will close down their economy and before we know it we all have to learn
Arab, Russian or Chinese.
In my days any action that would put “The Strategic Interests of a Nation” at stake would be called “Treason and they would shoot you for it”.
Now they call it “Green Policy”.
Look at http://green-agenda.com for more!

AKD
February 15, 2009 1:31 pm

It’s safe to say then, that Mr. Hansen wouldn’t object to terrorist acts against the power stations and the trains.

Of course not. He’ll be in court testifying for the defense.

Robert Bateman
February 15, 2009 1:31 pm

MarcH:
Probably. You can check for yourself.
It’s called a CO2 Draeger tube. You bust off both ends of the glass tube, insert it into the Draeger pump, squeeze it 10 times waiting for the bulb to refill, then read the scale. You just sucked a sample of the air around you and made a measurement via a chemical process.
The tubes are somewhat expensive, but you can test for CO, CO2, NO2, H2S and lots of other stuff. Any good mining supply outfit can get you what you need. I’d guess about $1,000 or more to get started.
I’m willing to bet there are plenty of folks working, breathing and flourishing in lots of places that exceed Mr. Hansen’s Freddy Krueger CO2 boogeyman hiding under the bed.

TomT
February 15, 2009 1:37 pm

One more thought on this. If he is truly this concerned about CO2 from burning coal why isn’t he making the case to fight coal fires. Yes coal fires. They are one of the more massive sources of CO2 and could be fought if it was an issue. Instead he advocates attacking businesses. Why not deal with the greater problem first and then move on to things like this?
Unless his goal isn’t truly to stop global warming.

John McDonald
February 15, 2009 1:39 pm

It couldn’t cost that much for Union Pacific to paint their coal cars green and write in white lettering on the side “Saving the American Economy, and the World’s Ecosystem one car load at a time”. Or “100% organic fuel”. A few nice drawing of leaves, etc. It would be real hard to protest next to that.
The Hanson stack in the UK should be painted green to and some slogan painted on it too.
With Enviro-wacko’s it is not the facts that matter it is how much one cares.

Robert Bateman
February 15, 2009 1:41 pm

People working in the mines and submarines experience levels above 10.000 ppm.
CO2 is not harmful at those levels.

Just don’t get caught doing that by the OSHA or MSHA inspector. The fines are bad and they can order your workforce withdrawn.
Running a fan to clear the air underground or using & cleaning the scrubber on a submarine is far cheaper and you get more work done.
There is a reason why 5000ppm is an 8 hour/5 day limit.
Just don’t listen to weirdos like Hansen who never picked up anything heavier than a pencil or a hamburger in their life, and are deathly afraid of a world in which they are too wimpy to survive in.
The man might have a pretty bad complex he never got over, and is seeking to exact revenge on mankind for rejecting him.

coaldust
February 15, 2009 1:41 pm

Phillip Bratby (11:40:31) :
I used to work on communications for locomotives (one thing I did was failure analysis for roof top units- that’s where I got the nickname coaldust because I would get dirty hands from the coal dust that accumulated on the units).
The coal transported by the trains provides reliable life giving energy at a cost that currently cannot be matched by the so call “green” technologies. It also releases life giving CO2 — through photosynthesis, plants throughout the world fix the CO2 released and provide food for others. Surely increased CO2 in the atmosphere must be considered a great gift the industralized countries are giving to the world because is allows plants to grow with less water. So, yes, they are life trains, in more than one sense.
Lyman Horne

Dave Andrews
February 15, 2009 1:43 pm

Rachel,
The 2003 heatwave was an unusual event and so the media paid a lot of attention to it and the deaths it caused. But every winter thousands of people across Europe die because of the cold. This happens regularly year after year, it is ‘normal’ and therefore not particularly media’exciting’.
On any measure cold weather is a far greater killer than hot weather, and extreme cold even more so. We have experienced the worst winter for around 30 years here in the UK and I can guarantee that when the statistics are done the death rate will have increased.

February 15, 2009 1:46 pm

I believe CO², despite its high molecular weight (44, compared to air at 29), is considered well-mixed in the atmosphere, that is, its concentration doesn’t vary with height or between global measurement stations. There may be local variations downstream of volcanoes and power plants.
You generally would want to measure at a location that is free of such upsets. The Mauna Loa measurements are discarded whenever concentration spikes appear, a sign of unfavorable wind currents. Ernst-Georg Beck’s data is criticized for possibly including many down-wind samples. For more information on E-G Beck’s data and writings, see:
http://www.biokurs.de/treibhaus/180CO2_supp.htm

February 15, 2009 1:47 pm

Rachel (11:57:02) :

Apart from that graph being pure fiction, you’re missing the point, spectacularly. Sure, CO2 was higher, millions of years ago. Millions of years ago, Earth was not “the planet we know”. Human beings have never experienced an atmosphere with CO2 levels significantly above what they are today.

But, what if it was higher?
Many indoor work environments have a CO2 level of 1,500 to 2,500 ppm. Some industrial environments almost double that. The US Navy permits up to 1,000 ppm CO2 in compressed air scuba tanks and 3,000 ppm in submarines.
So, regardless of what the atmospheric level is, humans actually live a great deal of the time in an environment of much higher concentrations. Fears about elevated levels of CO2 in regards to humans are unwarrented.

hunter
February 15, 2009 1:48 pm

The more Hansen speaks and writes and reveals himself, the more he looks exactly like a seriously disturbed kook.

Joe Black
February 15, 2009 1:49 pm

Doesn’t Hanson commute ~ 90 mi. each way to work? WUWT? This guy should set an example by at least retiring to his compound and minimizing his breathing.
REPLY: He has a small apartment in NYC near Columbia, where he lives during the week, commuting on weekends. – Anthony
Shouldn’t a CO2 alarmist sum all of the CO2 emissions associated with all of his abodes and work areas to determine if he is consuming above the norm given that we are experiencing a CO2/climate emergency?

Robert Bateman
February 15, 2009 1:50 pm

TomT (13:37:37) :
One more thought on this. If he is truly this concerned about CO2 from burning coal why isn’t he making the case to fight coal fires.

When I think of all the coal burning underground going to waste….
hey, we are going to need that stuff. It’s getting colder, don’tcha know.
The mighty Sun has thrown a rod.

Stefan
February 15, 2009 1:52 pm

Rachel (13:28:14) :
Stefan – yeah, the conditions at the Cambrian explosion must have been great for primitive life forms, so surely they would also be great for us today.

Rachel, if you feel that is far too long ago to compare, then pick an age that is ok to compare. Which age do you take as a normal level, and why?

Joe Black
February 15, 2009 1:53 pm

“It’s called a CO2 Draeger tube”
I’ve used Draeger tubes in real life Industrial hygiene situations in the past. They are awesome and cost effective and quick as an initial trouble shooting tool.

foinavon
February 15, 2009 1:53 pm

It’s worth pointing out (again) that as Rachel has mentioned above, the graph in the top post is fallacious as a representation of the relationship between atmospheric CO2 levels and global temperature in the deep past.
Perhaps those that present this graph might address the following:
(i) There is zero paleoCO2 data in the graph. The CO2 representation is a calculation of the broad evolution of CO2 modelled according to the evolving positions of the continents, weathering rates and so on. Although a scientist would wish to see the data points, there aren’t any. The model output is calculated every 10 million years, interpolated every million years and the points joined up. It’s a very nice model. But paleoCO2 data it ain’t!
(ii) where has the temperature data come from? Anyone care to hazard a guess or enlighten us? It’s from Scotese’s website, but where’s the primary data? Does anyone care that it bears little relationship to the known paleotemp data?
(iii) It’s stated in the top post:

”Given that the late Ordovician suffered an ice age (with associated mass extinction) while atmospheric CO2 levels were more than 4,000ppm higher than those of today (yes, that’s a full order of magnitude higher), levels at which current ‘guesstimations’ of climate sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 suggest every last skerrick of ice should have been melted off the planet, we admit significant scepticism over simplistic claims of small increment in atmospheric CO2 equating to toasted planet.”

However that’s a statement unsupported by evidence. The late Ordivician glaciation is dataed to 445.6-443.7 MYA (million years ago). It would be nice if we knew what the atmospheric CO2 levels were at that time. Unfortunately we don’t. There is no contemporaneous proxyCO2 data for this period. What one assuredly cannot do is to take proxy records preceding and following the period and just join them up with a straight line! It can’t be emphasised more strongly that one can only assess the relationship between greenhouse gas levels and global temperature in the deep past, under the specific circumstance that one has contemporaneous paleoCO2 and paleotemp proxies. Likewise one can’t use the CO2 value predicted from a model!
(iv) Notice that since the solar constant was well below the value existing today (by around 4%), the greenhouse gas concentration threshold for glaciation ws much higher then, than now. CO2 concentrations likely need to be less than around 500 pm for significant glaciations on Earth at present and at equilibrium. During the late Ordovician nearly ½ a billion years ago, simple analysis of radiative forcings indicate that greenhouse gas levels 2200-3900 were required to maintain the Earth in an ice-free state[***]. Things were very different then, and one can’t compare then with now, without considering the very large changes in the properties of the sun amongst other things.
(v) This assertion is also in contradiction to the scientific evidence:

“….there is no obvious correlation between atmospheric CO2 and planetary temperature over the last 600 million years, so why would such relatively tiny amounts suddenly become a critical factor now?”

In fact a fairly dispassionate perusal of the science indicates a rather strong relationship between the Earth’s global temperature and CO2 concentrations right throughout the Phanerozoic (last ~600 million years):
D. L. Royer (2006) CO2-forced climate thresholds during the Phanerozoic Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 70, 5665-5675.
[***]e.g. A.D. Herrmann, M.E. Patzkowsky and D. Pollard (2004) The impact of paleogeography, pCO2, poleward ocean heat transport and sea level change on global cooling during the Late Ordovician Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol. 206, 59–74.

Roger H
February 15, 2009 1:54 pm

Rachel, the following is a quote from the site you just referred us to. What is your point?
The Antarctic temperature records indicate that the present interglacial is relatively cool compared to previous interglacials, at least at these sites. It is believed that the interglacials themselves are triggered by changes in Earth’s orbit known as Milankovitch cycles and that the variations in individual interglacials can be partially explained by differences within this process.

John McDonald
February 15, 2009 2:06 pm

This post has got me thinking …
Jim appears to have joined Gore on the long road to Fanaticism. This comment about death trains is akin to the worst mass murdering regime in history is not a sign of good mental health. Gore too has showed a lot of signs of poor mental health from the yo-yo weight issues, crazier statements, unkempt look, etc. At some point our human compassion needs to override our righteous attitudes we need to hope and pray that good friends of these two will be able to offer them the advice and get them some help.
I’ve never doubted the sincerity of Jim H or Albert G. And so it must be crushing to see your reputation and complete body of work slowly get dismantled as each new month of temperature data comes out. Well — sort of like a slow death train wreak.

Jerry Lee Davis
February 15, 2009 2:07 pm

As an American taxpayer I too am sick and tired of my employee James Hansen. America will be a better place after he retires, or just gets too old to write or give talks.
Probably by now he has injured GISS beyond repair, and in an ideal world that organization would be considered for D&D (defund and disband).

Ron de Haan
February 15, 2009 2:11 pm

Rachel (13:28:14) :
“Mike D – “Warmer is Better” is just banal nonsense. Tell that to the families of the 35,000 who died in the European heatwave of 2003. And please look at this graph:
http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Image:Ice_Age_Temperature_Rev_png
and point out which periods with temperatures 5° higher than today saw human civilisation flourish”.
Rachel,
1. The European Heatwave was a natural phenominan which had nothing to do with CO2
2. Most of the people did not die from the heat but because they did not drink enough.
The current response of the social institutions during warm periods now is to check on the elderly if they drink enough.
The casualties in Australia were caused because of power failure that shut off the air conditioners.
3. The subject of warm versus cold conditions has been a topic at WUWT and the fact is that cold conditions result in a higher mortality rate.
4. There were higher temperatures during the Roman Empire.
The empire collapsed when the climate turned cold.
The French Revolution was also caused by cold conditions as was the defeat of Napoleon in Russia.
Anyhow, cheap energy is of the essence for any modern civilization to survive and prosper if weather conditions get cold or warm.

james griffin
February 15, 2009 2:12 pm

I am fed up with hearing about this guy Hansen…if he has a point to prove then DEBATE it with you peers…and not your sychphants.

tty
February 15, 2009 2:13 pm

Rachel
Wikipedia is extravagantly unreliable on anything to do with climate change.
In Europe where I live it was about 3-4 degrees warmer during the “climate optimum” (that was the standard term when I studied Quaternary Geology, it’s taboo now). That was 5-10,000 years ago, when human civilization evolved. Historically warm times have always been good times for humanity.

idlex
February 15, 2009 2:16 pm

What’s the usual retirement age at NASA? Jim Hansen was born March 29th 1941, which means he’s now pushing 68. How much longer can he go on? Maybe that’s why he’s screaming blue murder? He knows he can’t go on much longer.
Or can he?

Peter
February 15, 2009 2:21 pm

Rachel:

Tell that to the families of the 35,000 who died in the European heatwave of 2003.

You have no idea what you’re talking about.
20,000 people die of the cold in Britain alone every winter.

Bucky C.
February 15, 2009 2:27 pm

I would like to know where all the individuals live who are against coal? Do they have a family that they provide for or are they on the government dime? I’m assuming these are the same people that want population control, or are they ignorant in the fact that heat and electricity provides life to individuals who live in the Northern climates and without it life could not exist! I would also say it’s a safe bet that cold weather kills more people every year then does heat!

Benjamin P.
February 15, 2009 2:30 pm

Indeed Rachel, it’s all about rates.
I am sure you are just an “enviro-whacko” like me.

Edward Morgan
February 15, 2009 2:45 pm

Can people really imagine co2 being good for plants and not being good for people. It would be some clash between two interdependant parts of the same system. “That mango looks so juicy and huge but I feel so ill?” If co2 got really high we would just hold in less. Our lungs build up our levels and most people don’t breathe well. It is co2 that releases the oxygen from our red blood cells. This is why we have that warm feeling after exercise its partly the co2 produced from burning the fuel helping us oxygenate. So sure co2 is good for us and good for life, within reason.

E.M.Smith
Editor
February 15, 2009 2:46 pm

Rachel (11:57:02) : Apart from that graph being pure fiction,
Um, the testimony of plants confirms the chart (in broad terms) from the paleozoic until now. Most plants degree days testify to a desire for 20 C range temperatures and CO2 enrichment testifies in the 1000 to 2000 ppm.
Unless evolution selects for unadapted species, the graph is not fiction.
Human beings have never experienced an atmosphere with CO2 levels significantly above what they are today.
Given that they have to go 3000 miles into the middle of the Pacific to get the CO2 levels down from the urban impacts, I think that statement is demonstrably wrong. The historic measurements show great variability to the upside on a location specific bases.
Now, I never measured it, but I grew up in a home with an open fire natural gas stove and an oven that vented into the kitchen. I have to think that when we spent a couple of hours running it all full on there was an elevation of CO2 in the house. And when I held my breath for 2 1/2 minutes (training for deep surface dives) I’m quite certain I experienced more than 400 ppm CO2.
I think I smell hyperbole…

Paul Shanahan
February 15, 2009 2:49 pm

foinavon (13:53:58) :
It’s worth pointing out (again) that as Rachel has mentioned above, the graph in the top post is fallacious as a representation of the relationship between atmospheric CO2 levels and global temperature in the deep past.

Care to post up a graph with what you believe is the real levels of CO2 throughout geological history? I’m sure it would be appreciated.

Tom Mills
February 15, 2009 2:53 pm

Surely burning coal & oil is returning CO2 to the atmosphere that the fossilised plants removed many years ago. The carbon did not come from anywhere else.

Robert Bateman
February 15, 2009 2:56 pm

foinavon (13:53:58) :
I suppose all the Carbon locked up in the coal, oil, natural gas, and oil shales came from C02 asteroids. It couldn’t have been in an atmosphere anywhere within 5% of CO2 levels that are currently found on the 2 planets nearest us, now could it?
Venus & Mars?
You can rewrite all the geologic and evolutionary science while you are at it, and confiscate all the fossil records, destroy all the paleo exhibits in the world that get in the way of your anti Carbon-based lifeform science.
I’d be shocked but not surprised to see Hansen & others pop out of thier human disguises and reveal themselves as Methane based lifeforms from Triton on an agenda to rid Earth of Carbon so that they can take over.

swampie
February 15, 2009 2:57 pm

Rachel said:
Mike D – “Warmer is Better” is just banal nonsense. Tell that to the families of the 35,000 who died in the European heatwave of 2003. And please look at this graph:
Many of us live and work in areas where summertime temperatures ordinarily exceed the 2003 European “heat wave”. I’ve worked outdoors in temps of 120 degrees and it isn’t the heat that will get you but the dehydration.
I admit I was very astonished reading about the selfishness of the families that took off on vacation leaving the older family members cooped up in tiny, airless apartments during a heat wave. I suppose it’s one of those “cultural” things.

Editor
February 15, 2009 2:57 pm

That’s a wonderful photograph, I might be able to use it in a couple weeks.
That shadow is in the wrong direction, but it’s a minor defect.
REPLY: The shadow of death comes not from the sun. – Anthony

tarpon
February 15, 2009 3:01 pm

Well, can you say “gone around the bend on the coal train”.
His statements are just loony-toons absurd. But when you consider that the politics of today are based on people not knowing the truth, the media behaving like PRAVDA of old, nor people knowing anything about science, or how to apply science — such nutty statements must seem quite reasonable to them. And isn’t that the goal of the hysterics?
My favorite test when I come across a hysteric is to ask what photosynthesis is, and then follow with asking what cellular respiration is. So far nine times out of ten they could not answer neither. I then cap it off by asking them what are carbon life forms.
It’s time for science to step forward and put an end to this asinine hysteria.

Robert Bateman
February 15, 2009 3:06 pm

Human beings have never experienced an atmosphere with CO2 levels significantly above what they are today.
I think I am in love with the above statement. It’s the lamest thing I have ever heard, and I don’t mind launching salvos at it.
I, being an underground miner for 19 yrs, and a half million of my brothers, will tell you that you wouldn’t make a pimple on a miner’s behind.
Hey, it’s the nicest thing you are likely to hear from your average miner who have spent their adult lives working in atmospheres far above what you call ‘safe’. Don’t take it personal, pard., but you don’t work on this planet like we do.
Get back in your spaceship, go home, and tell your fearless leaders that we’ll whip your kind with one hand tied behind our backs.

February 15, 2009 3:07 pm

Rachel, re Wiki graph of Holocene temperatures:
The first leap in temps out of the Wisconsin Glaciation circa 14 kya saw the expansion of humanity into the Western Hemisphere. The Climatic Optimum of ~6 to 8 kya was the the Bronze Age and saw the first human civilizations ever. The Sumerians domesticated wheat and founded Babylon. Civilizations arose in Egypt and Crete. Writing was invented, metals were smelted, and ships plied the Mediterranean.
The Little Climatic Optimum of ~3.5 to 5 kya saw the rise of the Pharaoic dynasties in Egypt, the Sage Kings of China, the height of Danubian culture, the Ur city states in Mesopotamia, glass making, cotton weaving, systematic astronomy, the calendar, the wheel, iron making, barley cultivation, beer making (for gosh sakes, beer!!!), the rise of the great religions, Indus civilization, paper making, shipping, bow-and-arrow use, mummification, domestication of dogs, cattle, horses, and chickens, the Minoan civilization, the beginnings of the Persian empire, the invention of the decimal system, the Code of Hammurabi, Stonehenge, early Andean civilization, and etc.
The Roman Climatic Optimum of ~2.5 to 1.5 kya saw the rise of civilizations across Eurasia, Africa, and Central and South America. Carthaginians farmed areas that are today Saharan desert. Greeks perfected marble sculpture. Alcohol distillation was invented by those beer-swilling Persians. Lots of other good stuff happened.
Then temperatures plunged into the Dark Age minimum from ~300AD to ~900AD. Crops failed, civilizations fell, barbarians invaded. The Black Death became epidemic for the first time.
Then the Medieval Warm Period of ~800-1300 AD saw the return and rebuilding of civilizations worldwide along with the revival of agriculture.
Then the Little Ice Age hit from ~1315 to 1815. The Black Death killed a third of the population of Europe. Civilizations fell in Central America, and then smallpox and diseases killed ~90% of the population of the Western Hemisphere.
Since then it’s been getting slightly warmer, but not enough for my taste. Humanity is still prone to mass suicidal slaughter. Post-modernism has undermined common sense and trashed basic ethical and philosophical structures. Apocalyptic paranoia straight out of the Dark Ages frequently grips the masses. Mad schemes of anti-humanist, pan-ethnic cleansing fueled by quasi-religious fanaticism about the End of the World infect otherwise sensible people. Warfare, hatred, economic dissolution, and self-inflicted mass suffering still abound.
I prefer a warmer world climate. I think people are saner when it’s warmer, as well as wealthier due to productive agriculture. Maybe that’s banal of me, but not as banal as hysterical polemics about coal trains of death.

Just want truth...
February 15, 2009 3:13 pm

“The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death.”
James Hansen goes farther out on a limb. He’s using more Nazi Holocaust vocabulary. Doesn’t he have any shame?
I’m beginning to wonder if he is a bit mad.

Robert Bateman
February 15, 2009 3:14 pm

Oh, and btw… we have sisters working underground in CO2 atmospheres of far greater than 500 ppm. They get the powder loading and other duties, and they work just as hard as us guys. Anybody who can’t handle working at 1,000 to 2,000 ppm CO2 can’t handle working in the first place.

Robert Bateman
February 15, 2009 3:18 pm

I prefer warmer climate too, but that’s not our problem.
People like Hansen and Gore have it upside down & backwards.
We need to prepare for much colder times ahead.
Let Hansen & Gore run somebody else off a cliff or pick on another planet.

Ed Scott
February 15, 2009 3:21 pm

MarcH (13:15:45)
There is a CO2 monitoring facility near Mt. Etna at an elevation of 45 meters that was reporting an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 381 ppm while Mauna Loa was reporting an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 385 ppm.
My conclusion is that volcanoes attract CO2 monitoring stations. (:-)

Logan
February 15, 2009 3:31 pm

Ron de Haan: Thanks for the link to green-agenda.com, which everyone here should study. In effect, the rational remarks found here are considered irrelevant by the church of Gaia, as represented by the Club of Rome, the UN, Agenda 21, etc. A new pseudo-religion has been invented, and the effects will be grim. The agenda is transparent and available to anyone who spends a little time reading the remarks of the high priests.

foinavon
February 15, 2009 3:32 pm

Paul Shanahan (14:49:59) :

foinavon (13:53:58) : It’s worth pointing out (again) that as Rachel has mentioned above, the graph in the top post is fallacious as a representation of the relationship between atmospheric CO2 levels and global temperature in the deep past.
Care to post up a graph with what you believe is the real levels of CO2 throughout geological history? I’m sure it would be appreciated.

Berner’s Geocarb model (a crude representation of which is presented in the sketch in the top post) is just that a model. It’s a very nice one, but it doesn’t claim to represent the true atmospheric CO2 levels existing at specified periods in Earth’s history, and certainly can’t be used for assessing the discrete relationships between atmospheric CO2 and temperature in the past. Obviously, since atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations can vary on the 10,000,000 year timescale, one can’t just predict from a model, interpolate over 10 mllion year intervals, and assume that one has defined the [CO2] existing at some specified time in the past (e.g. at the time of the Late-Ordovician glaciation)!
Nor can one take sparse paleoCO2 proxy data and just “join the points”. So I don’t think there is a “scientific”graph of continuous CO2 levels from proxies in the deep past. It wouldn’t make much sense, since interpolating over millions of years of proxy-free time is unjustifiable without independent evidence that CO2 levels evolved “continuously” according to the interpolation. On the other hand there is a wealth of data in which contemporaneous paleoCO2 data and paleotemp data are compared. These indicate a rather strong link between temperature and greenhouse gas (CO2) concentrations through the last 600 million years. The review by Royer [***] compiles the data up to around 2006. Some of the more recent data is cited below[*****].
Incidentally, like much of the data that bears on this subject, the evidence supports the Late Ordovician glaciation as resulting from a drop of greenhouse gas levels to below the then threshold for glaciation, in this case via rather long-term alterations in the carbon cycle. However in the specific case of the Late-Ordovician, the data aren’t yet sufficiently strong to pin down this event and its causes (e.g. see abstract of Saltzman and Young below [*******])
[***]D.L. Royer (2006) “CO2-forced climate thresholds during the Phanerozoic” Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 70, 5665-5675.
[*****]R.E. Came, J.M. Eiler, J. Veizer et al (2007) “Coupling of surface temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations during the Palaeozoic era” Nature 449, 198-202
Doney SC et al (2007) “Carbon and climate system coupling on timescales from the Precambrian to the Anthropocene” Ann. Rev. Environ. Resources 32, 31-66.
W. M. Kurschner et al (2008) “The impact of Miocene atmospheric carbon dioxide fluctuations on climate and the evolution of the terrestrial ecosystem” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105, 499-453.
D. L. Royer (2008) “Linkages between CO2, climate, and evolution in deep time” Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 105, 407-408
Zachos JC (2008) “An early Cenozoic perspective on greenhouse warming and carbon-cycle dynamics” Nature 451, 279-283.
Horton DE et al (2007) “Orbital and CO2 forcing of late Paleozoic continental ice sheets” Geophys. Res. Lett. L19708 (Oct. 11 2007).
B. J. Fletcher et al. (2008) “Atmospheric carbon dioxide linked with Mesozoic and early Cenozoic climate change” Nature Geoscience 1, 43-48.

And so on….. there’s a large amount of data on this now…
———————————————-
[*******]Saltzman MR, Young SA (2005) Long-lived glaciation in the Late Ordovician? Isotopic and sequence-stratigraphic evidence from western Laurentia. Geology 33, 109-112.
Abstract: The timing and causes of the transition to an icehouse climate in the Late Ordovician are controversial. Results of an integrated delta(13)C and sequence stratigraphic analysis in Nevada show that in the Late Ordovician Chatfieldian Stage (mid-Caradoc) a positive delta(13)C excursion in the upper part of the Copenhagen Formation was closely followed by a regressive event evidenced within the prominent Eureka Quartzite. The Chatfieldian delta(13)C excursion is known globally and interpreted to record enhanced organic carbon burial, which lowered atmospheric pCO(2) to levels near the threshold for ice buildup in the Ordovician greenhouse climate. The subsequent regressive event in central Nevada, previously interpreted as part of a regional tectonic adjustment, is here attributed in part to sea-level drawdown from the initiation of continental glaciation on Gondwana. This drop in sea level-which may have contributed to further cooling through a reduction in poleward heat transport and a lowering of pCO(2) by suppressing shelf-carbonate production-signals the transition to a Late Ordovician icehouse climate similar to10 m.y. before the widespread Hirnantian glacial maximum at the end of the Ordovician.

Rachel
February 15, 2009 3:32 pm

Come on people, grow up a bit. You know that I was talking about global average concentrations of CO2, not the concentration in your kitchen when you’ve got the stove lit and you’re holding your breath and burning coal. This kind of wilful misunderstanding is all too common among deniers. It’s infantile.
Mike D – what a wonderful fantasy, in which any time it’s hot, wonderful things happen. Shame that the real world doesn’t remotely work like that.
Peter: “20,000 people die of the cold in Britain alone every winter” – not really. If it’s the cold that kills them, why is it observed that colder countries have lower winter excess mortality?

February 15, 2009 3:35 pm

“Warmer is Better” is just banal nonsense. Tell that to the families of the 35,000 who died in the European heatwave of 2003.
This has been discussed in great detail, there are far more deaths each year from COLD than HEAT. Picking an anolomous year as proof of something has also been beaten to death.
Next Hansen, Hansenites, et al. you need to wake up to a simple fact, we are going to burn coal for the next 20 – 30 years, so get over it. Even if we start today building windfarms using all the resources of the USA’s unlimited treasury, the additional production required, mining, creation of factories, resource refining, transportation, power lines, sub stations, smart grid development, production of insulators, transformers, convertors to replace coal for electrical generation would shoot us past the 550ppm in less than a quarter decade just on the CO2 emissions from production of the alternative energy products and we we not even be at the halfway mark to our goal due to growing baseload demand.
Perhaps the DUH factor due to little or no understanding of industrial economics and innovation to production cycles and the reality of current technology and resource capacities is so bewildering to some because they are too busy trying to get the Nobel for Over-Dramatic Apocalyptic Prediction based on Models to take five minutes and get a clue! Hansen should concentrate on climate science and leave the commentary to the media who do just fine on their own.

E.M.Smith
Editor
February 15, 2009 3:38 pm

More numerology: I’ve noticed a tendency for far more of the AGW supporters to have names of 5 or 6 characters (with the occasional 4, especially in the context of a 6) and a big shortage of longer names. Why does this matter? When people make up names, they tend not to choose long ones like Goldendigavitch and do tend toward short familiar easy to type ones… But not clearly hiding, like “DJ”. Trying to ‘blend in’ while hiding.
(I know, this is a ‘bit paranoid’; but I spent a fair length of time in security and ‘population count’ is built into the Cray as a primitive function for a reason… it’s stuff like this that turns up many security issues…)
My conclusion from this is that either we have a statistical anomaly; or some part of: Rachel, Mary Hinge, John Philip, Joel Shore et. al. are fictional for the purpose of trolling. Some will be real, but the distribution is wrong.
An analysis of ip numbers and a statistical analysis of spelling and diction choices would be enlightening. (People have favored words… a decent ‘finger print’ they have trouble hiding. For example, I like to spell behavior “behaviour” even though most of my ‘style’ is American.) Further, an analysis of ‘time stamps’ would tend to show if folks were ‘working shifts’.
This is a statistical thing, so just because my last name is “Smith” doesn’t make is suspicious; but too many “Mary Smith” and “Tommy Jones” vs the norm is suspicious…
My conclusion? Either we have AGW trolls, or they are just not willing to use their real names. (Why? Don’t ask why…)
(No, I can’t help noticing this stuff. My brain keeps track of the distribution of trends in data, like it or not, want it or not, best I can do is point it in one direction or another… It’s an Aspe thing… )
One trend? More coal means more people living. Less coal, more people die. Just turn off the electricity in Chicago in January for a graphic demonstration… And since 1/2 the electricity comes from coal, that is a reasonable example. Another? To make steel, you need coal. How many people would die if we take away the steel skyscrapers from Chicago? The cars, trucks, ships, trains delivering food and fuel? (And clothes and coats and snow shovels and medicines and…)
If you remove coal from the American economy you kill America. Maybe with a 1/2 century effort you could convert away; but anything short of that is just killing people.
Warm is good, cold is bad.
Coal is good, death is bad.
Honest is good, trolls bad.

Neil Crafter
February 15, 2009 3:41 pm

Rachel
If you read a book such as Richard Dawkins excellent book “The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution” you will be able to trace the ancestors of man all the way back in time. These ancestors all survived whatever planetary conditions they encountered along the way, both hot, cold and in-between, with many varying rates of CO2, eventually evolving into anatomically modern humans around 100,000 years ago. Man (and our ancestors) is far more resilient that you give credit for.
Adaptation is the most important word for you to reflect upon. Adaptation. This is why man can live from the cold of Siberia to the heat of the deserts and the tropics. Adaptation. This what will enable us to survive the future changes in our climate in the coming years, be they a little bit warmer, or a lot colder (read ice age).

Bill Illis
February 15, 2009 3:42 pm

Although I am no follower of Hansen’s neverending “dangerous climate change” prophesies, I think we really should start capturing the CO2 emissions from coal plants and cement plants at least and we should sequester that underground or use it in agriculture/(real) greenhouses.
The technology is close to being used on a large-scale coal plant and there is at least one sequestration project which is sinking 3.5 Megatonnes per year. The technology is probably 5 to 10 years away from being proven.
The next problems are that electricity costs have to basically double to make this work and we would need to invest $500 billion or more in 1,000 different coal plants/cement plants around the world to put even a dent in the CO2 emission numbers.
Forget about cars, CFL light bulbs, solar or wind. Compared to stopping emissions from coal plants and cement plants, this is just a waste of scarce resources.

Robert Bateman
February 15, 2009 3:45 pm

http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/activity/methods/gas.php
A primary objective in gas monitoring is to determine changes in the release of certain gases from a volcano, chiefly carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide. Such changes can be used with other monitoring information to provide eruption warnings and to improve our understanding of how volcanoes work.

thefordprefect
February 15, 2009 3:48 pm

You cannot seriously compare climate and CO2 for much more than 50My in past. Your plot, for which there is no reference data and is just about the only one I have ever seen on the web, is irrelivant to the current situation.
look here for land positions at the time of high CO2. How configurations of land mass affected the climate cannot be guessed.
http://www.scotese.com/earth.htm
Mike

Robert Bateman
February 15, 2009 3:48 pm

Bill Illis:
I believe that CO2 sequestered underground has so far proven to be futile, as it eventually bubbles right back up.
Now, putting CO2 to work in greenhouses, coupled with the heat from the exhaust anyways, is a great idea. Produce electricity, produce food.
Waste not, want not.
Life is good.

Ed Scott
February 15, 2009 3:52 pm

Bill Illis (15:42:18) :
“I think we really should start capturing the CO2 emissions from coal plants and cement plants at least and we should sequester that underground or use it in agriculture/(real) greenhouses.”
———————————————-
What is the scientific reason for your belief?

Paul Shanahan
February 15, 2009 3:54 pm

foinavon (15:32:49) :
Thank you for the information. I think what you are essentially saying is that the graph posted at the top of the page cannot be dis-proved, nor can it be proven as accurate. On that basis, I am happy to accept it as a reasonable re-creation of historical levels until something better comes forward.

foinavon
February 15, 2009 3:54 pm

Robert Bateman (14:56:57) :

foinavon (13:53:58) :
I suppose all the Carbon locked up in the coal, oil, natural gas, and oil shales came from C02 asteroids. It couldn’t have been in an atmosphere anywhere within 5% of CO2 levels that are currently found on the 2 planets nearest us, now could it?

I think you’re misunderstanding my post. Of course atmospheric CO2 concentrations were very high in the deep past (but nowhere near 5% at least in the last 600 million years where we have reasonably good data on the relationships between CO2 levels and temperature!). There’s no real doubt about that. In the early-Ordovician CO2 levels were very high and the Earth was a lot warmer than now. The evidence indicates that alterations in the carbon cycle resulted in cooling during the mid-Ordovician and the late Ordovician is associated with a drop in greenhouse gas levels, likely below the then threshold for glaciation (see citations in my post [foinavon (15:32:49)]).
Obviously if one goes way way further back in time (to the Archaeon, for example) methane was the dominant greenhouse gas that kept the Earth warm in the face of a very puny solar output. In fact the first glaciations on Earth 2.5 billion years or more ago were probabaly the result of the evolution of the first photosynthetic organisms that produced oxygen which (once the iron ions in the oceans were oxidised to “rust”) leaked into the atmosphere and oxidised the methane.
One can’t assess Hansen’s (or science’s, in general!) understanding of the relationship between the Earth’s greenhouse gas concentrations and global temperature without recognising the obvious fact that during periods in the past when the solar output was a lot weaker than now, greater greenhouse gas concentrations were required to maintain the Earth in an ice-free state. The evidence indicates that we’re likely to (eventually!) lose much of the ice on Earth once CO2 levels rise above around 5-600 ppm. In the late Ordovician, CO2 levels had to be higher than 2-3000 ppm to maintain the Earth in an ice-free state..

Ron de Haan
February 15, 2009 3:55 pm

Bill Illis (15:42:18) :
Although I am no follower of Hansen’s neverending “dangerous climate change” prophesies, I think we really should start capturing the CO2 emissions from coal plants and cement plants at least and we should sequester that underground or use it in agriculture/(real) greenhouses.
The technology is close to being used on a large-scale coal plant and there is at least one sequestration project which is sinking 3.5 Megatonnes per year. The technology is probably 5 to 10 years away from being proven.
The next problems are that electricity costs have to basically double to make this work and we would need to invest $500 billion or more in 1,000 different coal plants/cement plants around the world to put even a dent in the CO2 emission numbers.
Forget about cars, CFL light bulbs, solar or wind. Compared to stopping emissions from coal plants and cement plants, this is just a waste of scarce resources.
Bill,
You agree on a 100% rise in electricity costs and building material to solve a non existing problem?

Paddy
February 15, 2009 4:06 pm

Rachel and like minded people:
If we assume that the AGW hypothesis is correct, then Mars with its atmosphere of 90% CO2, should be a tropical paradise. Why is that not the case?

Robert Bateman
February 15, 2009 4:09 pm

I can’t think of a scientific reason for using CO2 emission & heat from Coal-fired plants, but I can think of an economical and energetic one:
Conservation of resources.
Agriculture today is petroleum intensive. Why burn it twice when you can get two for the price of one?
Forget about the C02 and get the truly toxic stuff. Let the plants eat the C02.
Maybe we can find plants that will biologically consume the mercury and the sulfur. Bury the mercury.

tetris
February 15, 2009 4:12 pm

Anthony,
As I wrote to Benny Peiser [CCNet] a few weeks ago, the warmist/alarmist obsession with increasing CO2 levels misses out on a key observation. The only time in the geological record that the earth has had CO2 levels as low as today [Rachel’s and foinavon’s protestations notwithstanding] around 380 ppmv, was during the Carboniferous Period, some 175 million years ago.
There are now those who are proposing not just carbon sequestration but CO2 scrubbing from the atmosphere as well. PR maestro Richard Branson of Virgin fame has a multi-million dollar prize for doing just that.
What gets lost in all of this is that CO2 levels at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, at approx 260 ppmv, were amongst the lowest on record ever. The very serious part about this is that at CO2 levels below 220ppmv plants start to suffer and one of the fundamental consequences of which is that they have a hard time producing oxygen. Very low CO2 > less or no plants > less oxygen > no Homo Sapiens. Not very complicated, and something we might want to keep in mind.

Ron de Haan
February 15, 2009 4:13 pm
Robert Bateman
February 15, 2009 4:13 pm

Hansen & Gore want cap & trade to make us poor slobs pay like serfs for the right to eat and stay warm.
Green to them is the color of mind-numbing profits (aka Greedy Green).
Green to me means using nature to solve the problem, as it was nature that gave us the oil, coal & gas in the 1st place.
Science is supposed to be making our lives better, not scaring us into crowning a new line of kings.

Roger H
February 15, 2009 4:14 pm

Peter: “20,000 people die of the cold in Britain alone every winter” – not really. If it’s the cold that kills them, why is it observed that colder countries have lower winter excess mortality?
What exactly does that mean? Lower than normal or lower than other countries not known as being colder suffering increased mortality when confronted with a sudden, extreme, unexpected cold spells. Sort of like a normally cooler country suffering a hot spell. We see that here in the U.S.- excess deaths in New York when the heat rises above 100f When that happens, we Texans just shake our heads. We are adapted to that and don’t consider it extreme On the other hand , let it drop to 0 to 10f here in portions of Texas, and we have a rise in deaths.
Simply put, extremes are dangerous to the unprepared.

foinavon
February 15, 2009 4:17 pm

E.M.Smith (15:38:14)
That is a rather paranoid post, if I may say so! John Philip and Joel Shore may or may not be real names, but what difference does it make? They write well-informed, well-reasoned and atriculate posts. One shouldn’t attempt to wash ones hands of good arguments by dismissing these as “trolling”!
I don’t use my real name on the Internet. I did a few years ago and had an unpleasant experience where someone chose to hunt down my work address and engage in harrassment that required me to reconfigure my security profiles, disappear from the web for a spell, and change my email and web addresses. I’m not anyone in particular…however I can be found on the web. So I prefer not to use my real name. I certainly have no interest in “trolling”. Whether or not someone uses their real name makes no difference to me. As with science in general it’s all about the evidence and the arguments!

Ed Scott
February 15, 2009 4:18 pm

Center for Biological Diversity Declares Legal War on Global Warming
http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/feb2009/2009-02-13-091.asp
SAN FRANCISCO, California, February 13, 2009 (ENS) – To fight climate change, the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity Thursday opened a new law institute in San Francisco and announced the dedication of an initial $17 million to the project.
The Climate Law Institute will use existing laws and work to establish new state and federal laws that will eliminate energy generation by the burning of fossil fuels – particularly coal and oil shale.
Burning these materials emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that have already raised the planetary temperature, threatening the widespread extinction of species, sea level rise and ocean acidity, food and water scarcity, heatwaves, wildfires and floods.
“Global warming is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. It is the defining issue of our time,” said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center.
“To meet the challenge, the Center for Biological Diversity has created the Climate Law Institute to extend the reach of current environmental and human health laws to encompass global warming, pass new climate legislation, and reinvent America’s approach to protecting endangered species and public lands,” he said.
“The planet can not afford a single new coal-fired power plant,” said Suckling. “It can’t even afford existing coal plants. Working with partners in government and the environmental movement, the Center for Biological Diversity will ensure America moves beyond coal energy as rapidly as possible. Our lives depend on it.”
————————————————————-
A man with the appropriate name to feed at the public trough.

Bill Illis
February 15, 2009 4:20 pm

Robert Bateman,
If oil, natural gas and even light Helium can remain buried for hundreds of millions of years, then CO2 can as well. Natural gas is routinely pumped underground for storage. The right geology is all that is required.
This is a link to the project I was talking about. It is being carefully studied with papers published in Nature etc. to ensure the CO2 is, in fact, being sequestered. Enhanced oil recovery is the place to start since these projects more than pay for themselves (155 million barrels of oil pays for a lot of CO2).
http://www.ptrc.ca/weyburn_statistics.php

Ron de Haan
February 15, 2009 4:23 pm

Logan (15:31:49) :
“Ron de Haan: Thanks for the link to green-agenda.com, which everyone here should study. In effect, the rational remarks found here are considered irrelevant by the church of Gaia, as represented by the Club of Rome, the UN, Agenda 21, etc. A new pseudo-religion has been invented, and the effects will be grim. The agenda is transparent and available to anyone who spends a little time reading the remarks of the high priests.”
Logan,
You are welcome.
I have taken notice of the content of the Green Agenda but I kept my reservations until the financial crises started.
The Green Agenda mentioned an economic crises as the starting point of the First Global Revolution.
As this crises coincides with the new Obama Government (strong ties with the UN and the IPCC Climate Agenda and the World Bank) the message became a lot more convincing.
We do not have to wait very long for real evidence for the Green Agenda scenario to be true or not.

Steven Goddard
February 15, 2009 4:34 pm

Hansen is a bit confused about coal in Britain. It was the only thing keeping millions alive through the recent cold snaps with little wind or sun.
Had the coal trains stopped running, then many people would have died. The lack of common sense displayed is – remarkable.

Ron de Haan
February 15, 2009 4:35 pm

Climate Heretic (15:35:50) :
“Warmer is Better” is just banal nonsense. Tell that to the families of the 35,000 who died in the European heatwave of 2003.
This has been discussed in great detail, there are far more deaths each year from COLD than HEAT. Picking an anolomous year as proof of something has also been beaten to death”.
Climate Heretic,
Although I agree with your posting a small detail is important to mention:
People do not die from heat.
People die because of dehydration, they don’t drink enough.
Especially elderly people.
After the 2003 Heatwave in Europe a social network was setup to check up on elderly during warm days to see that they take sufficient fluids to prevent dehydration.
Cold however is a “direct” killer.
Hypothermia and freezing simply happen if you are not able to heat your house.

Ross
February 15, 2009 4:39 pm

Robert Bateman (15:18:40) :

People like Hansen and Gore have it upside down & backwards.

Agree with your post but for a wry chuckle, I suggest changing that to bass ackwards.

Christian Bultmann
February 15, 2009 4:44 pm

My respect for Dr. Patrick J. Michaels as the only scientist testifying that the science isn’t settled and disputing the ability of the IPCC models to accurately predict the climate in the future.
http://energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1494&Itemid=1
I would recommend to watch the video recording where it is quit clear at the 2.05 hour mark how hostile those testimonies can get.

E.M.Smith
Editor
February 15, 2009 4:45 pm

Paul Shanahan (14:49:59) :

foinavon (13:53:58) : It’s worth pointing out (again) that as Rachel has mentioned above, the graph in the top post is fallacious as a representation of the relationship between atmospheric CO2 levels and global temperature in the deep past.

Care to post up a graph with what you believe is the real levels of CO2 throughout geological history? I’m sure it would be appreciated.
(Hmmm “foinavon” 8 count (2 x 4) in the 8-10 sweet spot for total length… “Benjamin P.” 10 count (with space) in the 8-10… Rachel trolls bait, picks up nibble, sets stage for foinavon? Or maybe not. Wonder if their IP numbers are ‘near’… )
At any rate, don’t we have an IPCC approved CO2 series from ice cores or some other “must have it for IPCC” graph with higher CO2 in the past?
I don’t suppose it is worth pointing out that all the CO2 in coal folks are stressing about came from the air in the Carboniferous so you get to pick one: 1) CO2 was much higher then. or 2) Burning the coal will not make CO2 “high”.
If there is no IPCC graph with higher CO2, then there is no coal or IPCC are terribly wrong. If there is such a graph, then there was more CO2 in the past, proportional to coal.
No, that would be logical and self consistent…
Also note that the removal of the CO2 ended in an ice age… I’m not keen on having another ice age.

TerryS
February 15, 2009 4:52 pm

Rachel:

If it’s the cold that kills them, why is it observed that colder countries have lower winter excess mortality?

Its a combination of genetics and your bodies adaptation to its environment. People who have lived in cold climates for generations have changed genetically to handle the cold. There was a series of programs on a few years ago in the UK by a scientist, whose name escapes me now, that showed how humans had adapted genetically to different environments.
If you want some figures then, in Canada, for every 1oC drop in temperature hospitalizations due to heart failure increase by between 0.15 and 0.81% and deaths increase by between 0.56% and 1.08%

Graeme Rodaughan
February 15, 2009 4:57 pm

David Ball (12:45:12) :
Apart from the people who enjoy this blog and others like it, the general public has very little understanding of any of this. Hansen currently has the advantage in this regard, and the manipulation of the MSM under the guise of “saving the planet”. I would love to see a cleaner energy source, but in order to achieve that, we need technology. To remove our energy sources would cripple our ability to attain an new, cleaner, power source. These guys have it backwards. Imagine living in the middle ages or the dark ages? We have come a long way. We all want to reduce pollution, but to go backwards in our living standard is NOT the answer. Mother Nature ( or God if that is your preference) has brought humanity into existence. All life forms will maximize their potential in their habitats. We are no different. We are designed this way. Our herd will be culled if that is what is required, but it is beyond arrogance to think that culling is our job. We have been given the skills to rise above and perpetuate our existence. Humanity was not given the choice of civilization or no civilization, we are programmed to maximize our potential, as any ant colony would, or school of fish. We are no different. I would like to “save the planet” as much as anyone, but we need technology to do it. Backwards is not the answer. MHO !!!

The thing is — 2.4 Billion Humans living in India, China and (possibly) Brasil will step forward on the back of fossil fuel powered electricity and transport regardless of what the US and the rest of Western Civilisation decide to do.
If we cut our own economic throats, the international movement of Capital in search of an investment return will ensure the pre-eminence of these nations for the rest of this century.
If you notice, these countries have not backed off fossil fuels one iota. they are happy to take green funds from the west for Hydro plants – who wouldn’t, as they are not run by people captured by a “craze”.
The whole anti-CO2 movement reminds me strongly of the witch craze of the 1600s amplified by a modern mass media system.

Bill Illis
February 15, 2009 5:00 pm

For those who are saying we shouldn’t sequester CO2 or what is the scientific basis,
My answer is we should just in case.
Temps have increased by 0.7C over the last 150 years (0.4C if you take out the artificial inflation of the numbers by Hansen and Jones and the like.)
It seems GHGs are the most likely reason for that increase. If the increase continues, we are looking at temperatures increasing by 1.0C to 1.5C by 2100. Probably not a disaster and probably not a reason to increase electricity by 100%.
But Hansen could be less than 50% wrong (as the numbers to date show). He could be 75% right.
Or Hansen may be more than 50% right in the extended future, beyond 2100. He could be right that the deep oceans are absorbing some of the increased temperature right now and once they catch up, the warming will be higher than the current trends indicate (might take another 1,000 years for the rest of the temp increase to appear).
(Credit to Lucia for this analogy) If you set your oven temp to 400F to cook a turkey, the temperature in the oven will only be 390F while the cold turkey cooks and absorbs some of the heat energy. When the turkey eventually reaches 395F (which would be a very burnt turkey), then the oven temp will continue rising until it reaches 400F.
So, just in case, Hansen is less than 50% wrong or more than 50% right in the very long-term (over 1,000 years), we should err on the side of caution where it makes the most sense. And the only place it makes sense right now is for the biggest emitters, which are the coal-fired electricity plants.

Robert Bateman
February 15, 2009 5:01 pm

Bill Illis:
I’m sure we can do it either way, and the only criteria we need be concerned about is getting the most out of our finite energy supplies while at the same time avoiding the bad toxins.
I have just heard that the early experiments for pumping CO2 below ground failed and set the projects back. There was also some experimentation with Calcium Hydroxide (or something like it) trees for placing in winds streams.

Mike C
February 15, 2009 5:02 pm

Hansen forgets that his suggested policies will cause people to freeze to death and starve to death

Robert Bateman
February 15, 2009 5:16 pm

I seriously contemplated it, Ross.
But I am really worried about supposed top scientists & politicians who propose taking away the coal that keeps whole populations from freezing to death.
Such stances sound remarkably exterminationist and inhuman.
Who’s going to need scientists or politicians when civilization has returned to the Stone Age?

Ross
February 15, 2009 5:30 pm

foinavon (15:32:49) :
“…
one can’t just predict from a model
…”

Never expected to hear this from you.
Now don’t get in a twist; at least it shows I read some of your posts even though I usually disagree.

E.M.Smith (15:38:14) :
My conclusion? Either we have AGW trolls, or they are just not willing to use their real names. (Why? Don’t ask why…)

An alternative interpretation might be that “they” are alarmist AI’s trying to pass the Turing test. Perhaps you have caught them out?

E.M.Smith (15:38:14) :
If you remove coal from the American economy you kill America.

How right you are, and I suspect that is the true intent of the alarmists.
It is time for us to be alarmed to this threat.

Robert Bateman
February 15, 2009 5:30 pm

“The planet can not afford a single new coal-fired power plant,” said Suckling. “It can’t even afford existing coal plants. Our lives depend on it.”
Well, yes, our lives do depend on coal-fired plants. What are they going to do, remove all of them and build nuclear plants? There isn’t enough bio-mass, solar, wind or hydro power to meet America’s needs.
It will take 10 years to bring new nuke power online, and accidents at the
scale they are thinking of will surely happen.
Plus you have a really bad storage, security and proliferation risk.
What happens to solar if the climate turns really cold and cloudy?
I don’t rightly believe that these jokers have a clue as to what reality looks like. They surely don’t talk like it.

Phil Nizialek
February 15, 2009 5:34 pm

We in the 21st century live the most comfortable lives ever experienced in human history because of electricity generation, and our ability to use electricty to heat and cool our environment and power our lives. If you want to see human misery on a scale unprecedented in human history, stop Dr. Hansen’s “death trains.” The result will be apocylyptic. But then, maybe that’s what Hansen and Rachel want–a world with no human influence. I think I’ll object to that nonsense.

Gary P
February 15, 2009 5:40 pm

Hansen uses the term “death train” to bring up an obvious analogy with the Holocaust. WWII was not the worst holocaust in the last century in terms of avoidable human deaths. That would go to those who banned DDT. About 100 million people have died of Malaria and 80% of those could have been prevented by DDT.
Those deaths were due to “environmentalists.”
Now due to fears about global warming, we are desperately seeking alternatives and burning food for fuel. In February 2007 the World Food Program Director James T. Morris reported that 18,000 children are now dying every day from hunger and malnutrition.
I wonder who at the end will be the biggest mass killer, Rachel Carson or James Hansen? If half the deaths due to malnutrition could be prevented by cheaper food, the Hansen has about 18 years to go. Of course, if it gets colder and crop yields drop……

AllenCic
February 15, 2009 5:47 pm

Back in the seventies one of my son’s (he’s now a PhD geology professor) favorite books was by Richard Scarry and the title was something like, “What Do People Do All Day”, or as we called it when we read it before bed, “The How People Do Book”. Among the occupations featured in the book were coal miners. I distinctly remember coal being described as “BURIED SUNLIGHT”. When you take the series of steps that include photosynthesis, plants, burial and conversion to coal, the buried sunlight seems right on the mark. So it seems obvious to me that we simply rename all the coal fired power plants as producing energy using solar power. The greenies should be thrilled to find out that their energy is clean, green and solar.

Douglas DC
February 15, 2009 5:50 pm

I have family-running those trains and mining that coal-my late father in law helped liberate Dachau.Now if Hansen want s to compare death.If Carl was alive today he’d love to escort him on a little tour of the Garden spots of Europe and Dachau and i have a feeeling he’d wear his Army boots to kick Hansen’s butt from Bastonge to Remagen.
This is an insult to humanity and America what arrogance!!!!
BTW Carl’s family are coal miners in Kentucky…..

H.R.
February 15, 2009 5:51 pm

@foinavon (16:17:58) :
“[…] I don’t use my real name on the Internet. I did a few years ago and had an unpleasant experience where someone chose to hunt down my work address and engage in harrassment that required me to reconfigure my security profiles, disappear from the web for a spell, and change my email and web addresses. I’m not anyone in particular…however I can be found on the web. So I prefer not to use my real name. […]”
I can relate to that. I (and several others on another internet forum) had a similar scary experience a few years ago. The stalker/madman actually tried to get several of us fired and twice made false complaints to the police that brought the authorities to one fellow’s house.
Fortunately, Anthony allows those who choose not to reveal their identities to post here on WUWT. I sincerely appreciate that I’m allowed to participate on a blog with a world-wide audience. I accept that my posts will be considered a notch below those posts made by clearly identifiable individuals.
As for the C02 vs Temp graph above. I have a lot of respect for geologists and geological science. I take the graph as generally accurate in the relationship between the variables but only somewhat accurate in the actual values of the variables. You can put some honkin’ error bars on the variables in that graph and the relationship would still tell the same tale, eh?
H.R.
P.S. I do give a valid e-mail address to Anthony and the moderators in case the wish to question me. I’m not into salty language or ad homs on individuals so I really haven’t given Anthony and the WUWT mod team any reason to contact me. They have enough on their plates as it is.

E.M.Smith
Editor
February 15, 2009 5:56 pm

foinavon (16:17:58) :
E.M.Smith (15:38:14)
That is a rather paranoid post, if I may say so! John Philip and Joel Shore may or may not be real names, but what difference does it make?

The difference depends on who is really whom and what their motives are…
I said it was somewhat paranoid. No argument. I spent a lot of years hanging out in law enforcement. A few decades dealing with being under constant attack by hackers (and not getting hacked…). I’ve worked in the computer security department of a stock broker (with requisite FBI checks). It’s part of the ‘turf’. Never heard of ‘human factors’ attacks?
You learn to look at the paranoid as ‘the canary in the coal mine’ (Knew I could work coal in to keep it on topic 😉 and use what it tells you to inform your ignorance. It gives you ‘first clue’ and that is vital in a dogfight… It helps you find the truth more often than it misleads. It’s all in how you filter the false alarms…
Now, I have no issue with hiding who you are (I am blessed with a name that is functionally ‘anonymous anonymous’ but still take care about degree of personal pointers left about…).
That said, I do like to know when I’m being “double teamed” or when one person is doing ‘their own set ups’ or when I’m dealing with a financed organization wolf pack. (Russian government attacks are always ‘by the book’ down to coffee breaks!) It would be naive to assume that everyone always is working solo from their living room. (Though that is more common among skeptics than AGWers … something about the relative propensity to ‘rugged independence’ vs ‘socialism’ IMHO).
And this isn’t about “attempt to wash ones hands of good arguments by dismissing these as “trolling”!” it’s about knowing who’s who (even if pseudonyms) and how they work.
Now I prefer to play all the cards ‘face up’. The game is faster and more fun. But other folks like ‘bridge’. You don’t even get to the cards for half an hour! It’s all about knowing what motivates the other party and how they will behave.
“trolling”. Whether or not someone uses their real name makes no difference to me. As with science in general it’s all about the evidence and the arguments!
And about when someone does their own ‘set up’ under a pseudonym to put a predetermined bit of propaganda into a thread to hijack it… or posts self confirmatory followups under a second name to give the appearance of a social agreement on direction when there is none, and … are they someone who likes bridge more than 21. But you already know these things.
The bottom line is that yes, it’s only the truth from science that matters; though getting to that truth involves running the gamut of trolls and wolf packs with agendas and, unfortunately, folks like Soros tossing lots of money at influence and folks like AlGore using influence to get money.
So my ‘false alarm’ filter says there isn’t any ‘corrective action’ for the observation; but I’m still going to observe. And observing is not paranoid.
Back on coal: By definition it is just returning to the biosphere that which was in the biosphere before. This is bad because the biosphere was bad before?

tokyoboy
February 15, 2009 6:01 pm

“Human beings have never experienced an atmosphere with CO2 levels significantly above what they are today.”
For vegetable culture in an “actual greenhouse,” It’s usual to raise the CO2 concentration up to 1000 ppm or more.

Trevor
February 15, 2009 6:06 pm

Rachel (13:28:14) :
Methinks Rachel that you are confusing overall avarage temps with “weather”. Not being from the USA I would presume that Texas and Florida have average temperatures that are more than 5 deg higher than Minnesota or Maine. Yet from what I understand there are a few more people retiring in Florida than compared to Maine. Gee maybe the warmer climate has something to do with it.
Sure people die in heatwaves, lot’s more die when it’s cold and freezing. Food grows pretty well in the tropics but not so well in Siberia or greenland. Same old, Same old, weather events of hot weather prove CO2 causes GW but cold weather proves nothing. It’s the non-falsifiability of all the AGW rhetoric that is the issue.

AnonyMoose
February 15, 2009 6:15 pm

Maybe Hansen should stop killing people by sucking all that coal-generated electricity into his GISS computer simulator. Let people with functional computers do good with it.

Robert Austin
February 15, 2009 6:17 pm

foinavon:
Thank you for your contributions. I for one appreciate your efforts.
I have am dubious of the ability of proxies to give us good data about the temperatures and atmospheric conditions of the very distant past. On the other hand, if one really is able to show correlation between CO2 and temperature, one has not proved cause and effect. Your expectation that 500ppm to 600ppm CO2 would lead to loss of most of earth’s ice would appear to depend on substantial positive feedback in the GCM’s. I do not think the science to date justifies assigning any particular feedback number. Without positive feedback, CO2 is a spent force beyond present concentrations due to the logarithmic absorption relation.

WestHoustonGeo
February 15, 2009 6:20 pm

Sekerob said
“You might want to check out what little flicks Dubaya left in last minute paybacks to the lobbyists of the mining industry. Check up on the sludge how it pollutes ground water, streams, rivers, lakes and sea. Of course it’s not happening IYBY, you’d think.”
Well Sekerob, you might like to check out the real danger to marine life. It’s farm run-off of fertilier that poisons the area areond river mouths. Oil seeps naturally out of the seafloor everywhere around the world, but chemical fertilizer does not. Your green fuel ethanol is now creating a massive new flood of death for our oceans.
But you don’t seem to think it important enough to mention it when you speak of the lesser threat of oil.

Ron de Haan
February 15, 2009 6:21 pm

Another response the the Guardian Publication of Hanson can be found here:
According the author, Hanson suffers from authoritarianism and megalomania
http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/the-political-philosophy-of-james-hansen-4961

DaveE
February 15, 2009 6:31 pm

foinavon
“(i) There is zero paleoCO2 data in the graph. The CO2 representation is a calculation of the broad evolution of CO2 modelled according to the evolving positions of the continents, weathering rates and so on. Although a scientist would wish to see the data points, there aren’t any. The model output is calculated every 10 million years, interpolated every million years and the points joined up. It’s a very nice model. But paleoCO2 data it ain’t!”
So models using data are unacceptable but models projecting future based on no data ARE acceptable?
As for Rachel: Heat kills the dying, cold just kills!
DaveE

February 15, 2009 6:33 pm

Rachel (13:28:14) said:
Mike D – “Warmer is Better” is just banal nonsense. Tell that to the families of the 35,000 who died in the European heatwave of 2003. And please look at this graph:
I’ve found that many, if not most, of those who believe that GW is inevitably catastrophic have a vast gap in their knowledge of history and, in particular, archeology. I’d strongly suggest that you should fill that gap with some university level ancient history, archeology and geology courses. And a LOT of reading.
This is not my quote, but taken from a recent email exchange with a metorologist – it’s historically true whether you believe it or not:
my motto is Celebrate warming, do not curse it because it is better than the alternative and throughout History we can see how civilizations advance when they are warm and can grow food; and how they collapse when it turns cold and food supplies are difficult.
BTW – if memory serves, “excess deaths” due to cold average 7500 per month in the US. And a recent UK Met Office release claimed 35,000 per year in Britain.
Ignorance is a terrible way to spend ones life. It puts one at such a great disadvantage in so many situations.

February 15, 2009 6:37 pm

A question was asked up post about when Dr. Hansen has to retire or can retire. I would assume at his age he has the minimum 10 years of service to retire at 60 so could retire at anytime. There is no maximum age in the US government at which you have to retire except for a couple of special positions. So as long as he is in good health and likes working and does not fall below minimum performance standards, or his position is eliminated he can stay as long as he wants. Even in case of position elimination he has a lot of options to bump someone else out of their job to stay employed.

DaveE
February 15, 2009 6:39 pm

Forgot to mention.
Has anyone else noticed that 1934 is no longer the hottest year in the US recorded history?
Last time I looked it was tying with 1998 but I wouldn’t be surprised if it had become cooler.
DaveE.

DaveE
February 15, 2009 6:47 pm

I fear that ‘forcing’ (Dr.) Hansen to retire would just give him a bigger ‘I was muzzled’ platform to stand on 🙁
DaveE.

February 15, 2009 6:47 pm

Rachel:

“Warmer is better” is just banal nonsense.

Rachel isn’t up to speed. Maybe this will help: click
Human civilization always does better when it’s warmer.

A.Syme
February 15, 2009 6:49 pm

30 coal trains a day go through Denver every day. I work on a light rail line that parallels the main line.
Never occurred to me that they are death trains!

Jack
February 15, 2009 6:51 pm

Rachael:
“Come on people, grow up a bit. You know that I was talking about global average concentrations of CO2, not the concentration in your kitchen when you’ve got the stove lit and you’re holding your breath and burning coal. This kind of wilful misunderstanding is all too common among deniers. It’s infantile.”
Anyone else notice the irony? We “deniers” are “infantile” and must cease from our “wilful misunderstanding” immediately. The beatings will continue until morale improves! Cognitive disonance perhaps?
I do concede nevertheless, that if we had no Rachaels, it would be neccessary to invent some. Nature abhors a vacuum.

hotrod
February 15, 2009 6:58 pm

Fortunately, Anthony allows those who choose not to reveal their identities to post here on WUWT. I sincerely appreciate that I’m allowed to participate on a blog with a world-wide audience. I accept that my posts will be considered a notch below those posts made by clearly identifiable individuals.

Now, I have no issue with hiding who you are (I am blessed with a name that is functionally ‘anonymous anonymous’ but still take care about degree of personal pointers left about…).

I for common sense security reasons, do not use my full name on the internet except for rare exceptions. I am “blessed” with a name sufficiently unique that a google search will turn up less that 35 people with the same last name, and no living person with the same first and last name.
Part of my choice to use a handle is bred from many years working in environments that required security clearances, and 20 odd years in the computer industry and fully understanding the power of data mining. You can get a lesson on that, on any large forum where certain members go on a mission to run down all the public record information on an individual. It is quite scary how much information is able to be gathered by those means, even by those using unsophisticated methods.
I likewise appreciate that Anthony allows “handle” identification. My full name is readily available to those who have an need to know it, but I would no more post under my full name on the internet, than I would run bill boards in every major city in the world with my name, picture, address, phone number and SSN on them.
Letter frequency for name selection could also be a function of the human tendency to have a limited ability to remember long complex strings of letters. That is why phone numbers in the U.S. are limited to 7 digits, and computer passwords are rarely required to be more than 8 characters, as most people have difficulty with short term memory of longer strings. If you look at letter counts of dictionary words you will also see a very strong tendency for words to cluster in the range of 50% of U.S. electrical production is coal based generation, as is the case with many countries.
Any diligent 8th grader given an assignment to find 10 bad things that would happen if coal was suddenly eliminated would have little difficulty working up a report on the subject. The fact that the MSM does not do so indicates a willful lack of curiosity, an intentional effort to mislead the public, or gross incompetence for their chosen line of work, (or at best a poor understanding of ethics in journalism).
Larry

Frank K.
February 15, 2009 7:00 pm

I wonder if the American Meteorological Society is embarrassed enough to rescind Hansen’s award:
http://www.ametsoc.org/awards/2009awardrecipients.pdf
“For outstanding contributions to climate modeling, understanding climate change forcings and sensitivity, and for clear communication of climate science in the public arena.”
Yep – “clear communication of climate science in the public arena.” = comparing coal fired power plant to Nazi crematoria…way to go AMS!

hotrod
February 15, 2009 7:02 pm

correction:
If you look at letter counts of dictionary words you will also see a very strong tendency for words to cluster in the range of 50% of U.S. electrical production is coal based generation, as is the case with many countries.
Should read:
If you look at letter counts of dictionary words you will also see a very strong tendency for words to cluster in the same range.
In the case of Hansen’s comments I find it astounding that the MSM does not note that about 50% of U.S. electrical production is coal based generation, as is the case with many countries.
Some how I manged mangle that section on edit and did not catch it.
Larry

Just want truth...
February 15, 2009 7:09 pm

“Wally (18:37:49) : So as long as he is in good health and likes working and does not fall below minimum performance standards, or his position is eliminated he can stay as long as he wants.”
Maybe you haven’t been paying much attention to James Hansen’s department output the past few years. Maybe you’re not aware of data corrections it has had to make. But as DaveE points out above one of them is mysteriously disappearing, like it never happened, all gone now, i.e., 1934/1998. So maybe his other instances of poor performance, October 2008 being the most recent, (that is if you don’t want to count the entire 2008 data set) will be disappearing soon too.
It looks like there is no “minimum performance standards” for him. I can only think that there are political strings to Washington that preserve his job.
Maybe one way to put a stop to Hansen’s testimonies in court and his hysteria in interviews, conferences, and articles is to always have John Christy present. It seems James Hansen is allergic to him. 😉

Roddy Baird
February 15, 2009 7:23 pm

“The blanket authoritarian collectivist approach that underlies the Alarmist agenda is the most horrific death train in history, as proved by the bloody inhumanity of the 20th Century. If there ever has been a time when we need to learn from history, this is it.”
Post of the millenia! (And bear in mind that I never, ever exaggerate.)

February 15, 2009 7:40 pm

Just for the record, my name is Mike Dubrasich. I am a private, practicing, professional forester and forest biometrician in Oregon. I am also Exec Dir of the Western Institute for Study of the Environment.
http://westinstenv.org
Sometimes I use my full name, sometimes not. If I don’t, it’s generally because I don’t wish to appear to be fishing for web visitors on someone else’s site.
Mr. Watts is a friend of a dear friend of mine. I was aware and supportive of his weather station audit project long before Watts Up With That. His achievements in both endeavors are remarkable and admirable. I am very grateful that he allows me an occasional comment here, and try not to wear out that welcome.

Robert Bateman
February 15, 2009 7:53 pm

They have not gotten to my climate zone, which has persisted for 21,000 of the last 22,000 years. For 2 stations going back to the 1890’s, 1920’s to 1930′ still rule the roost hand down for unbroken strings of 105 degree + max temps. Pretty much the whole year, 1933 being king. 1933-1934 brought 6-7 foot of snow, and 1933 had many days of 110+ temps. As for 1988 and 2003, they are but a few lines in late Aug & Sep.
Only the Younger Dryas saw climate change here.
Yes, the 1920’s & 30’s were both sizzling hot in the summer and buried in heavy rain & snow in the winter.
Lotsa water, abundance.

layne
February 15, 2009 7:59 pm

I saw a very interesting observation in another post I can’t recall at the moment….but it’s simple enough that it doesn’t need vetting. Humans today live (quite successfully, I might add) in environments with temperatures spanning more than 175 degrees F in North America alone.
(e.g. Fairbanks/Phoenix)
Now that the IPCC has admitted only minor ocean rise as a result, how is it that a few degrees change then brings man’s obliteration?
I suspect there’s a continuous hot gas microburst exceeding all AGW estimates in the vicinity of Gore’s breath at any given moment. But, alas, no deaths there…

Mike Bryant
February 15, 2009 7:59 pm

An Ode to Coal
I celebrate Coal, and sing of Coal,
And what I assure, you shall know,
For every atom belonging to coal is good and belongs to you.
I warm myself by coal,
I lean and loaf at my ease observing an indoor spear of grass.
Coal, every atom of it, formed on this planet, in this air,
Born here of life, and the lives of millions which lived and bred and took in the unceasing energy of Sol,
And the life and the energy of our sun waited below.
Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what it is, but found anew by man,
Coal harbors only good, it brings back only what it took away,
Nature without check with original energy.

Jeff L
February 15, 2009 8:07 pm

For those concerned about fly ash, here’s a link you might find interesting – a company trying to do something useful with it & make a buck a long the way (nothing wrong with that, right?):
http://www.icastmarketplace.com/ccbi.html
As for the overview of this post, the real theme here is “geology has something to offer to this debate”. If we can’t understand the past, what the climate was & what caused it to be that way, it is hard to image we can realistically predict what it will be in the future. As a geologist, this is what attracted me to this debate initially (that & having a minor in meteorology). As a geologist, you understand that over geologic time, climate variation has been the norm. Why is that? What forcing mechanisms drive these changes? Is there any reason to believe those forcing mechanisms aren’t still at work? Unfortunately, probably the only one of these questions we can answer is the last one – we have no reason to believe that what forced the climate in the past still isn’t at work today. So, why would we assume that CO2 is the only forcing mechanism? From a geologic perspective, it is hard to see that this hypothesis is supported from the data.
Another unfortunate situation is that a large % of geo-scientists are employed by energy companies – energy deposits are found through an understanding of geology. But, the irony of this situation, is that the group of professionals which probably have the best scientific, historical perspective of climate are deemed to have a conflict of interest & thus are written off as “tools of big oil”. At the same time, characters like Hansen are given a free pass , never considered to have a conflict of interest or labeled “tools of big green”. It is really a unfortunate situation that doesn’t do any one any good. I guess it is human nature, but separating cold, dispassionate science from politics seems to be a very difficult thing to achieve in this area of study. When politics & science have mixed historically, the result always seems to be bad – regardless of which side of the political spectrum you are on (anyone care to add a list of political-scientific disasters?). Those who dont learn history are doomed to repeat it. Why would AGW political-scientific mix be any different? We should all strive to be as scientific (ie what does the data say) & dispassionate as possible – & get the best possible answer we can – for the best results for all.
The flip side of this is that people are not as stupid as Hansen & Big Green think. The more outrageous statements that are made, the easier it is for the average Joe to see that something is running amok. Ultimately, I think this will drive the conversation back to the rational middle position – which is – we don’t have all the answers, we need to keep looking for the answers, we need to consider both a sustainable environment & the needs of people & work to optimize both.
Of course, if one’s agenda is purely political, doing what’s best isn’t really a concern – only doing what fits your political agenda matters.

February 15, 2009 8:20 pm

Ah yes, the 2003 heatwave killing lots of people.
“The heat wave occurred in August, a month in which many people, including government ministers and physicians, are on holiday. Many bodies were not claimed for many weeks because relatives were on holiday. A refrigerated warehouse outside Paris was used by undertakers as they did not have enough space in their own facilities. On 3 September 2003, fifty-seven bodies still left unclaimed in the Paris area were buried.”
Ooops, perhaps social factors did something for this high deathtoll? Anyway, 3 years later France (like much of Europe) experienced a similar heat wave like that of 2003, yet i never hear anyone say “the heatwaves of 2003 and 2006 killed a lot of people”
I wonder why?

The Skeptic
February 15, 2009 8:22 pm

No one seems to have made a simple clear statement about how harmless C02 is in the overall scheme of things to humans. (Some of this below borrowed from Lubos Motl):
1. CO2 is a critical trace molecule in the nature, which all plants need to survive.
2. There is no ‘ideal’ level, and current levels (about 380ppm) are historically low.
3. Most modern buildings have a C02 level of about 600 to 700ppm, which is a healthier level for vegetation & perfectly safe for humans.
4. It would take hundreds of years to reach this level in the atmosphere (on current emmission rates).
5. We would need levels of 10,000ppm before it began to adversely affect humans.
6. It would take 5,000+ years (on current emission rates) to reach that level, assuming natural sinks and sources don’t adjust in some way.
7. Therefore to class C02 as a ‘pollutant’ or dangerous to humans, or to claim that we must do something urgently purely on the basis that C02 concentration itself represents a problem to humans is wrong and it’s a lie.
End of Story.

Robert Bateman
February 15, 2009 8:47 pm

CO2, as miners are taught, simply displaces oxygen.
It’s the CO, NO2, S02, H2S that are the deadly ones we need concern ourselves with. As long as you have ventilation, CO2 is never a problem to displace O2.
It just is not toxic.

Paul Schnurr
February 15, 2009 8:54 pm

Isn’t the positive feedback of increased co2 levels dependent on heat generated by the increase? If so, then wouldn’t the feedback decrease as the co2 became saturated at some point? Could the leveling of temperatures over the last decade be a sign of co2 reaching a saturation point?

Don Shaw
February 15, 2009 8:58 pm

In the Uk Guardian article, Hanson referrs to the the pollution caused by coal powered generation specificaly in the form of Mercury, Arsnic, sulfur, etc. Others have mentioned the handling of the ash from the coal powered power plants.
I wonder how many realize that the same “bad actors” are also pollutants that have to be dealt with for many of the so called “clean green” renewable energy sources. Anyone who works around the cellulosic fuel sources knows that collection of the very same pollutants is a challenge. Scrubbers are required in many instances as least from my experience. Think about all the ash you have left when your burn a log in your fireplace. If you are going to process wood, grass, etc many of the very same elements and compounds are present as with coal. Simarily think of the challenge when municipal solid waste is the feedstock with all the “cats and dogs” in your trash.
It’s time to end the myth of “clean green” fuels.

mr.artday
February 15, 2009 9:01 pm

I notice that the chart linked to Smokey’s 18:47:47 post shows the cold periods getting colder from the past to the LIA. Sure hope that pattern gets broken.

Edward
February 15, 2009 9:23 pm

Bill Illis 17:00:22
You state: “He (Hansen) could be right that the deep oceans are absorbing some of the increased temperature right now and once they catch up, the warming will be higher than the current trends indicate”
Please find the link below. A very well distributed set of ocean temp monitoring devices indicates that there has been no increase in ocean temperatures over the last 5-1/2 years. This during a period when 21st century is purportedly setting record high temperatures every year. Where’s the heat? Probably being measured as the effect of UHI.
http://climatesci.org/2009/02/13/article-by-josh-willis-is-it-me-or-did-the-oceans-cool-a-lesson-on-global-warming-from-my-favorite-denier/

philincalifornia
February 15, 2009 9:44 pm

Smokey (18:47:47) :
Rachel:
“Warmer is better” is just banal nonsense.
Rachel isn’t up to speed. Maybe this will help: click
Human civilization always does better when it’s warmer.
– –
….. and, therefore, if you are atoning for the sin of being born a civilized human, “Warmer is better” is just banal nonsense.
Jeeez Smokey, get with the program.
Thanks for the figure by the way – very informative. The guy who was looking for good graphics yesterday or the day before (Ben?) should add that one into his presentation if he didn’t already. I now have it in my ammo belt.

Glenn
February 15, 2009 9:58 pm

For all the oltimers of my age in NorCal…
I think it’s time we stop, children.
whats that sound,
everybody look whats goin down.

anna v
February 15, 2009 10:25 pm

I remember reading that the CO2 concentration necessary in our alveoli in order to be able to have an oxygen exchange in the lungs is enormous, in the thousands of ppm.
Unfortunately I did not bookmark the link. Here is what I found in a yahoo search:
Human respiration and CO2
http://people.eku.edu/ritchisong/301notes6.htm
except the numbers are in partial pressures . Nevertheless , when we see that
CO2 is on par with oxygen we can guess the ballpark,
Partial Pressures of O2 and CO2 in the body (normal, resting conditions):
* Alveoli
o PO2 = 100 mm Hg
o PCO2 = 40 mm Hg
* Alveolar capillaries
o Entering the alveolar capillaries
+ PO2 = 40 mm Hg (relatively low because this blood has just returned from the systemic circulation & has lost much of its oxygen)
+ PCO2 = 45 mm Hg (relatively high because the blood returning from the systemic circulation has picked up carbon dioxide)

So, much higher concentrations of CO2 than the ones found now or projected in the sci fi future are needed for humans ( and animals) to breath.
If we trust evolutionary theory, what better proxy to tell us that life evolved when CO2 was much higher than any imaginable future projection, human induced or not?
How can any educated person believe in the bogeyman ?

Rachel
February 15, 2009 10:30 pm

“If we assume that the AGW hypothesis is correct, then Mars with its atmosphere of 90% CO2, should be a tropical paradise. Why is that not the case?”
That’s pretty funny. None of the deniers helped this poor soul out. Perhaps they don’t understand why he is so wrong. Perhaps they were embarrassed by him and preferred to just ignore him.
To all the people talking as if direct toxicity of CO2 had ever been a concern in this context – by affecting to misunderstand, you make yourself look very stupid. Why are you doing this?

REPLY:
Please don’t use the terms “deniers”. You are painting a broad brush based on your own biases. Why is it that labels must be hurled at people you disagree with? – Anthony

Flanagan
February 15, 2009 10:34 pm

Robert: there was no such heat wave in 2006, which had only a few hot days (believe me, I’m not far).
Concerning the CO2 thing: yeah, right, it was 2 times higher 50 millions years ago, and contrary to what the author seems to insinuate, every (paleo)geologist knows that. The question is: how many human beings were on earth at that time?

Ron de Haan
February 15, 2009 10:34 pm

Roddy Baird (19:23:46) :
“The blanket authoritarian collectivist approach that underlies the Alarmist agenda is the most horrific death train in history, as proved by the bloody inhumanity of the 20th Century. If there ever has been a time when we need to learn from history, this is it.”
Post of the millenia! (And bear in mind that I never, ever exaggerate.)
Roddy Baird,
I get the shivers when people start talking of a “Movement” and propose the introduction of a “Civil Army” with the same equipment as the regular army.
If such intentions coincide with a call for “Change”, death trains, death factories and
plans of Greening the Society based on quick decissions, I feel trouble is ahead.
Now this all coincides with a huge Global Economic Crises, calls for control and rumors of a World Government, I know trouble is ahead.
Capitalism and the free market has encountered a set back because greedy an irresponsible people drained the system.
But it was tested as the most effective and liberal system of all.
The Communist System has killed millions of people in the former USSR under Lenin and Stalin, in China under Mao, in Cambodja, under Pol-Pot and still in North Korea.
Many of us will remember the satellite image of North and South Korea by night.
South Korea was lit in a flood of light. North Korea was dark, people still with fear and hungry.
The National Socialists, during the “Depression”, started as a “Movement” in Germany and resulted in WWII and the Holocaust.
People should know that Naturalism, the forebare of Environmentalism has it’s roots
within the National Socialist Ideology.
Modern environmentalists put Nature before Human interests and civilization.
This is an unacceptable development especially because “Green Parties” all over the world have gained political power and access to massive financial resources.
We now see prominent people like Al Gore and James Hanson bombarding the people with scary stories and publicly promoting the possibility of terrorist attacks on our Carbon Fuel infrastructure.
Hansen even flew to London to testify in favor of extreme environmentalists who made an attack on a Coal Plant.
Not so long ago any attempt to damage or attack the energy infra structure of the USA or Great Britain would have been considered an “Act of Treason against the State” and now these guys get away with it.
This is not a fantasy, this is fact.
People have forgotten about history in times where knowledge of our past is crucial to our future.
Authoritarian Collectivism is nothing more but an ideology comparable to the well tested but flunked Communist and Socialist Systems and it is now upon us.
Our Democratic System are used to provide Environmentalists with political power and almost unlimited access to funding.
The repressive system that follows has to be fought in order to regain our freedom once again.
I really hope we are still in a position to make choices without losing our freedom and independence but looking at current developments I have the idea we have already lost it.
And if you ask why I think we have lost it…
because sensible arguments do not count anymore.

evanjones
Editor
February 15, 2009 10:37 pm

Apart from that graph being pure fiction, you’re missing the point, spectacularly.
No, no, let’s get back to that “pure fiction” bit. What part of it is pure fiction? What part is incorrect?

J.Peden
February 15, 2009 10:50 pm

layne:
“Now that the IPCC has admitted only minor ocean rise as a result, how is it that a few degrees change then brings man’s obliteration?”
A sacred AGW Commandment answers:
Because, Infidel, regardless of its cause, GW always and only produces various kinds of net disasters, including increases in colder weather events. GW is baaad. [What’s the matter with you, don’t you ever read the ipcc, enc.’s, Peer Reviewed articles?]
And after a few more simple postulates from AGW Apostles, it also results that, “Humans must work diligently toward their own extinction, or else go extinct!”
“Yea, verily, It is Written.”

Tom
February 15, 2009 10:51 pm

The argument whether our CO2 was higher in the geological past, or not, can be settled by a very simple argument. All the fossil fuel that we are burning was derived by photosynthesis of atmospheric CO2. By burning fossil fuel, we are merely returning a small fraction of sequestered atmospheric CO2 to its original location. CO2 released by volcanic and tectonic activity is merely releasing CO2 sequestered by carbonate formation, so it is again a return of atmospheric CO2 to its original location. Obviously finding and extracting fossil fuel is an inefficient process, so we can only return a relatively small fraction of the captured CO2 to the atmosphere.

Corrinne Novak
February 15, 2009 10:59 pm

Robert Bateman
I too have used Draeger tubes. Great invention.
On CO2, if I recall my human biology correctly, CO2 is not only NOT dangerous (at reasonable levels) but is actually required. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is the body’s regulator of the breathing function. Hyperventilation or deep breathing,, may actually leave you feeling breathless.
When you breathe, you inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Excessive breathing may lead to low levels of carbon dioxide in your blood, which causes many symptoms including dizziness or lightheadedness, shortness of breath, belching, bloating, dry mouth, weakness, confusion, sleep disturbances, numbness and tingling in your arms or around your mouth, muscle spasms in hands and feet, chest pain, and palpitations.
My Mom had this condition and her doctor had her breathing using a paper bag to increase the CO2 she was breathing. (Neat trick)
Interesting that information on breathing and CO2 is pretty sparse on the internet. Of course it is pretty hard to make a bad guy out of a chemical required for plant AND animal life if the sheeple have access to the info.

David L. Hagen
February 15, 2009 11:13 pm

Consider the actual data on CO2:

OSHA comments from the January 19, 1989 Final Rule on Air Contaminants Project extracted from 54FR2332 et. seq. This rule was remanded by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the limits are not currently in force.
CARBON DIOXIDE
CAS: 124-38-9; Chemical Formula: CO2
OSHA’s former limit for carbon dioxide was 5000 ppm as an 8-hour TWA. The ACGIH has a 5000-ppm TLV-TWA with a 30,000-ppm TLV-STEL, and these were the limits proposed. NIOSH has a TWA REL of 10,000 ppm with a 10-minute 30,000-ppm ceiling limit; however, NIOSH (Ex. 8-47, Table N1) concurred that the proposed limits were appropriate. After carefully reviewing the record evidence submitted in response to OSHA’s proposal for carbon dioxide, the Agency has determined that exposure limits of 10,000 ppm (8-hour TWA) and 30,000 ppm (15-minute STEL) are appropriate. Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless, noncombustible gas.
Both the ACGIH (1986/Ex. 1-3) and NIOSH (1976a, as cited in ACGIH 1986/Ex. 1-3, p. 102) cite studies indicating that continuous exposure to between 1.5 and 3 percent carbon dioxide (15,000 to 30,000 ppm) results in few, if any, adverse effects. However, electrolyte imbalances and other metabolic changes have been associated with prolonged exposures to 10,000 to 20,000 ppm CO(2) (Schulte 1964/Ex. 1-366; Gray 1950, as cited in ACGIH 1986/Ex. 1-3, p. 102). Increases in the rate of respiration have been observed among resting subjects exposed to 39,500 ppm for periods shorter than a day and among exercising subjects exposed to airborne concentrations below 30,000 for the same period (Sinclair et al. 1969, as cited in ACGIH 1986/Ex. 1-3, p. 102).
. . .
After reviewing this evidence, OSHA is persuaded that a 10,000-ppm 8-hour TWA limit, combined with a 30,000-ppm STEL, will protect employees from the adverse effects associated with excessive exposures to CO(2). OSHA bases this conclusion on the fact that, while the evidence has not shown that prolonged exposures to 10,000 ppm are harmful, acute exposures to CO(2) concentrations in excess of 30,000 ppm have been demonstrated to cause changes in respiration rates in humans.
In the final rule, OSHA is establishing a 10,000-ppm PEL as an 8-hour TWA and a 30,000-ppm STEL to protect employees from experiencing the metabolic and respiratory changes, which constitute material health impairments, that are associated with elevated short-term CO(2) exposures. The Agency concludes that adding this limit will substantially reduce the risk associated with the high short-term exposures to CO(2) that are possible in the absence of a STEL. The former 8-hour TWA of 5000 ppm is retained.

Compare 39,500 ppm (3.95%) with monthly mean carbon dioxide measured at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii of 386 ppm.
i.e. if atmospheric CO2 increased by 10200% (102 times) we might notice some metabolic effects – as in a slight lowering of available O2 and need to breath a little faster.

Robert
February 15, 2009 11:29 pm

@Flanagan (22:34:01) :
Oh yes there was, France, Sweden, Belgium (2x), The Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark and the UK had official heatwaves as defined by the meteorological institutes like the KNMI in the Netherlands.
2006 was the only that the “four day marches of Nijmegen” where cancelled because of the heat, 2 people died of a heat-stroke and hundreds more where taken to hospital.

February 15, 2009 11:31 pm

Rachel,
Anyone who has lived in the deserts of the southwest U.S. knows that high temperatures won’t kill you, provided you pay attention to hydration. I lived and worked in 100F+ temps each summer for 12 years, and I’m still here to tell about it some 20 years later. It’s even possible to perform hard physical labor in higher temps than that, and people who worked around the furnace we pelletized iron ore with (120F+ temps) for 8 hour and longer workshifts can attest to it.
Sudden extreme temperature changes (hotter or colder) that we are unprepared for, and unacclimated to, can kill, however.

John Silver
February 15, 2009 11:35 pm

Now I get it, James Hansen is the George Carling of AGW.
What a jester!

Neil Crafter
February 15, 2009 11:41 pm

Flanagan (22:34:01) :
Robert: there was no such heat wave in 2006, which had only a few hot days (believe me, I’m not far).
Concerning the CO2 thing: yeah, right, it was 2 times higher 50 millions years ago, and contrary to what the author seems to insinuate, every (paleo)geologist knows that. The question is: how many human beings were on earth at that time?”
Flanagan
I think we all know there were no human beings on this planet 50 million years ago, despite your rhetorical question. However, our direct ancestors, small mammals, certainly were alive then and these animals were adapted to whatever CO2 conditions were like at that time, assuming twice as high is in the ballpark. These animals had lungs and breathed similarly to us. So what’s your point? My point is that our ancestors were alive then and survived and thrived. Do you think anatomically modern humans would shrivel up and die in 2 x current CO2 levels? I seriously doubt it and there is plenty of evidence man can survive much higher levels than these without ill effects. Sorry, I’m not buying your brand of alarmism.

Eve
February 15, 2009 11:52 pm

Regarding deaths from cold, Portugal suffers from the highest rates of excess winter mortality (28%) followed jointly by Spain (21%), and Ireland (21%). The colder countries such as Germany, Sweden, Finland, etc have lower percentages because their housing and heating systems are built for the cold climate. However the difference between heat and cold related deaths is 15 times for cold related deaths. The last yearly figure I saw for cold related excess deaths in Euope was 1.5 million.
What is frightening is the the UK saw a 7% increase in winter deaths last year. I wonder what it will be this year? Why? Because of the 51% increase in th price of heating oil, gas and electricity since 2005. Why? Increased prices to combat global warming.
The huge death toll from the heatwave in Europe occured for a number of reasons but lack of air conditioning was a big one. These people were ederly and not able to afford the electricity, again because of the increased price to combat global warming. During the recent heat wave in Australia, smart meters turned off power for air conditioning, again to combat global warming. Lets not forget that the people who died were prevented from clearing trees around their houses by the greens.
When we put all these numbers together, the death roll from the environmental moverment is 200 Million and rising.

Ron de Haan
February 16, 2009 12:19 am

If you want to bring some perspective in the discussion of CO2, have a look at this short youtube presentation:
It states that a car driving at a speed of 30 mph produces the same amount of CO2 as a cyclist at full speed.
It also states that the population of Great Britain is producing much more CO2 by breathing as all powerplants, traffic and aircraft put together.
Who is going to verify the figures?

Purakanui
February 16, 2009 12:24 am

Hansen complains that the public cannot tell the difference between top-notch science and pseudo-science. We can though, Jimbo; its just that we see pseudo-science where you claim top-notch. And vice versa.

Barry Foster
February 16, 2009 12:27 am

It annoys me that people don’t know how long we’ve been here. Should we blame ‘The Flintstones’? For the record then, we’ve been here about 1.8 million years (yes, that’s all!). Of course, it all depends on what you name “we” but it’s still around that figure dependent on what you class as human.
To grasp:
Imagine the history of the Earth is a line 450 kilometres long, then your lifetime would be 8mm, and humans would have got here just less than 200 metres away.
Kind of puts us in persepective, doesn’t it? I’ve found religious people don’t like this fact.

DJ
February 16, 2009 12:33 am

I notice Anthony is in the business of gagging posts he finds inconvenient – after all pointing out that a poster is misleading people on this blog with the omission of numerous facts is unhelpful to “sceptic” discussion.
The solar constant has increased dramatically over the period of the graph which in combination with changes in CO2 explains most of the evolution of temperature.
Once again, a simple example of inconvenient facts getting in the way of a “good sceptic story”.

February 16, 2009 12:37 am

Since the subject came up, and it is something we should never forget:
Source List and Detailed Death Tolls for the Twentieth Century Hemoclysm
http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat1.htm#Second

Daniel Lee Taylor
February 16, 2009 12:37 am

The planet has still not reached C02 levels for optimum plant growth. That level is 800 to 1,000 ppm.
I’ve often wondered if there’s not a solution to the AGW nonsense in this little fact. If Congress and Obama propose regulations for CO2, can’t critics force an environmental impact review of those regulations? And if the regulations can be shown to be threatening or harmful to plant life, can’t they be stalled through lawsuits?
Environmentalists have perfected the art of using environmental impact studies and lawsuits to stall changes they do not like. Why can’t we turn the tables and surprise them with a forced environmental impact study of carbon regulation, followed by lawsuits to “save the plants”? If they’re able to tie things up in court a decade or more, why can’t we? And if we’re able to tie it up for a decade, by the time it’s resolved our current cooling cycle may have forced everyone to wake up and realize that AGW theory is nonsense.
I wish I had the legal expertise to evaluate this strategy…

lulo
February 16, 2009 12:40 am

I would be much more concerned with the pollutants emitted during combustion than with CO2. Increasing CO2 concentrations directly affect the photosynthesis process, resulting in increased water-use efficiency and, in some cases, increased nitrogen-use efficiency. The radiative forcing of CO2 is positive (absorbs infrared radiation), but past climate variability is much more in line with cycles of solar activity if you apply the right temporal scale. I’m worried about the integrity of this planet’s ecosystems, but my concern is based primarily on land-use changes imposed by the increasing population of our species (the cause of the sixth mass global extinction event). If the climate forcing effect of CO2 turns out to have been overestimated (modellers exclusively use high end estimates for forcing parameters in the derivatives of the Arrhenius equation – eg. alpha), the net effect of increasing CO2 may actually turn out to be one of the only beneficial environmental impacts of humanity. The products of photosynthesis (hydrocarbons) have been excessively trapped for millions of years and are finally being re-released to the biosphere [though, rather unfortunately, with many pollutants – which, for the record, do NOT include CO2].

Manfred
February 16, 2009 12:42 am

“Only in the past few years did the science crystallise…”
… and it crystallized actually already in the 1980’s in the brain of a remarkable human being, who’s duty since then was to lead the leaders of the world and tell them kindly what they have to do.

lulo
February 16, 2009 12:48 am

Neil Crafter:
When sold-out, I have heard that the CO2 concentration in certain facilities during sporting events can exceed 10 000 ppm. I have not verified this, but I have measured concentrations over 1400 ppm in my classrooms. The crowd (at the sporting event) does tend to get a bit sleepy, but they’re all fine – 2xCO2 is about 5.6 % of the closed stadium levels. The students in my lecture halls get sleepy too, but I blame that more on myself than CO2.

Eve
February 16, 2009 1:03 am

Interesting paper on Co2 levels in the 19th and 20th century.
http://www.anenglishmanscastle.com/180_years_accurate_Co2_Chemical_Methods.pdf

E.M.Smith
Editor
February 16, 2009 1:33 am

Rachel (15:32:50) : Come on people, grow up a bit. You know that I was talking about global average concentrations of CO2,
No, I don’t know that. All I can know are the words you posted. They were ambiguous enough to allow other interpretations. I would have had to ‘interpret’ your posting and add to it ‘global average’; and we all now that changing or adding to the data are wrong behaviours…
Peter: “20,000 people die of the cold in Britain alone every winter” – not really. If it’s the cold that kills them, why is it observed that colder countries have lower winter excess mortality?
The key here is ‘excess’. That just means that cold places are better prepared to deal with cold than hot places. No surprise. But the cold still kills in both places.
In cold places, folks know how to deal with cold better. So the degree to which folks in cold places die faster in the cold is lower than in hot places having a cold spell. No big surprise. (If I own skis and a parka I’m probably not as cold sensitive or unprepared as someone who owns a single linen wrap.) But more people still die in cold and cold snaps than die in heat or heat waves. It’s just a fact. Cold kills, heat makes you lazy & thirsty.
And in hot places they know how to deal with hot. I grew up in “110 in the shade and thar aint no shade!”. I find it positively funny when people complain about the heat and it’s only in the 90’s. I’ve worked (on a farm, bucking hay and fruit picking) in full sun at noon in 105F (drink lots of water…) and don’t really get bothered until it’s 120F+. (When the tarmac was melting in Phoenix, well, that was a bit much… the radio was reporting 128F at the airport, but I don’t think that was official..)
Heck, one of the ‘good jobs’ when I was a kid was working the fruit dryer. You worked inside the oven at about 160F I think it was. Why was it a good job? You worked 20 minutes then got to lay around in the ‘cool’ of 90F, doing nothing, to cool off for 30 or so minutes! Move racks of fruit for 20 minutes then flake out with a coke? What could be better! (Heck, people PAY to do that in saunas…)
Compare that with 0 to 40 below where you lose noses, ears & fingers in minutes if you are not very prepared; and you die in a few hours if you are only “mostly prepared”… Now I’m not a wimp in cold (I’m OK in sport shirt, T shirt, slacks, shoes – no coat, no gloves, no hat – at 10F for about 1/2 hour and I’ve often walked barefoot in the snow because I didn’t feel like bothering to put shoes on) but I’ve been in -4F to -10F and decided that I don’t do below if I can avoid it.
So yes, cold kills. And cold kill more than heat kills. The adaptive behaviour needed for heat is ‘overdrink’ (i.e. drink lots of water) which works for soldiers in 60+ pounds of gear in 120F+ deserts doing intense physical activity. It’s a lot harder and takes far more ‘gear’ to survive in extreme cold… Ask an Alaskan how fast you die if you screw up in the extreme cold. (For example, whatever you don’t, don’t work up a sweat or you die…and don’t breath in too fast or you freeze your lungs.)

Graeme Rodaughan
February 16, 2009 1:36 am

@Ron de Haan,
(previously posted – I’ll trott this out once again)
When Green Chickens Come Home To Roost.
Somewhere in the USA, Sometime in 2018…
FADE IN.
OUTSIDE: EARLY EVENING – NOVEMBER.
– A weary group of men and women, chained into a gang, trudge along a city road. Their guards carry rifles, and short whips. A light dusting of snow is falling.
– They pass a Primary (Elementary) school where the teachers and students have assembled to watch them pass. The Principle of the school turns and faces the assembled children and staff and raises her arms.
Principle: (Stern Encouragement) “Now children all as one – Sceptics are Septics”.
Assembled Children and Staff: (Chanting) “Sceptics are Septics… Sceptics are Septics… Sceptics are Septics…”
– Some of the chained people steal glances at the children.
Guard: “Eyes Front!”
– The guard smashes his whip across the face of one of the chained men and bright blood splashes onto the snow.
– One of the schoolchildren breaks ranks and staggers forward through the snow.
Schoolboy: (Falteringly Disbelief) “That’s my Dad!?”
– The principle turns abruptly towards the boy and signals to green frocked School Proctors, who leap forward and grab the boy before he can reach the road.
– The struck man slumps to the ground, barely conscious, the man chained next to him takes his arm and drags him to his feet.
Principle: (Outraged) “Shocking behaviour. Samuel Taylor – A months detention. Proctors remove him to the holding room.”
– The proctors drag the boy away.
Assembled Children and Staff: (Continue Chanting) “Sceptics are Septics… Sceptics are Septics… Sceptics are Septics…”
– Two school cleaners stand quietly to the side of the assembly, not being teaching staff or students they are not required to join in. They talk quietly together.
Cleaner One: “So the Higgs Boson has been found at CERN?”
Cleaner Two: “Yes, the Paper by Peebles gives an excellent demonstration of the existence of the Higgs Boson.”
Cleaner One: “Do you miss the research at MIT?”
Cleaner Two: “Of course – but at least I’m able to feed my little girl. – and what choice did I have, Particle Physics isn’t Environmental Science is it.”
Cleaner One: “Same with Nuclear Engineering – now that all the reactors have been shut down – there’s just no more work for a PHD in Engineering in my field.”
– Cleaner Two nods towards the steadily moving chain gang.
Cleaner Two: “Still it’s better than what that lot are facing.”
Cleaner One: “Which is?”
Cleaner Two: “5 Years Hard Labour in the Pig Methane Plant.”
Cleaner One: “Shovel Pig manure for 18 hours a day and get fed…”
Cleaner Two: “Which would you prefer – that – or the alternative?”
– Cleaner one shivered from more than the cold, and drew his coat more tightly around his thin frame.
Cleaner One: “The fertiliser plant – but that’s just for capital crimes isn’t it?”
Cleaner Two: “Apparently “Carbon Denial” is set to become a capital crime – rumour has it, that it’s to be the next Presidential Emergency Directive.”
Cleaner One: (Quietly) “Oh my god… what have we become?”
– Cleaner Two nods silently in agreement.
– The Principle signals a halt to her students and staff.
Principle: (Smug) “Now everyone – we have todays new mantra, lets chant it together for the benefit of these poor deluded people.”
All: (Chanting in practised unison) “Man Made CO2 Causes Global Cooling… Man Made CO2 Causes Global Cooling… Man Made CO2 Causes Global Cooling…”
FADE OUT.

Adam Gallon
February 16, 2009 1:37 am

My dear Rachel, you don’t reference your quotes.
According to Nottingham University, the 2003 heatwave caused 15,000 excess deaths in France and 2,000 in the UK.
https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/iss/research/Current-Research-Projects/Staff_projects/DingwallHeatwave.php
The French figure is attributed to the large number of French who take their holidays during August, leaving the major cities & heading for the coast, leaving behind their elderly relatives.
It does quite dramatically demonstrate the Human Island Effect, cities heating up greatly more than the countryside.
Cold weather kills far more elderly.
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=574
The mild 2007/8 winter in the UK lead to an estimated 23,500 excess deaths, the colder 98-99, 99-00 winters had double that level.
And the rest of Europe?
http://www.nea.org.uk/excess-winter-mortality/
A mean 16% increase in mortality during winter months.
Dr Alan Maryon-Davis, president of the UK Facility of Public Health, said there was a known correlation between the weather and mortality rates. For every 1C the temperature falls below the winter average, there are some 8,000 extra deaths in Britain
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/jan/11/elderly-death-rates-winter
It’s cold that kills.
Other animals suffering in winter? Camels in Mongolia http://www.edgeofexistence.org/edgeblog/?m=200901
80% of Mongolia is snow-covered currently, so they can’t get down to grass to feed.

Malcolm
February 16, 2009 1:38 am

The UK has an extra 25,000 deaths every winter.
Globally winter is the killer season.
Without King Coal there would many more deaths in the past.
Without a suitable, sustainable, replacement to coal there will many deaths in the future.
Coal is a life saver, a life giver.
James Hansen has crossed a line in this debate, he is to be pitied more than harangued.

Flanagan
February 16, 2009 1:58 am

Robert, I don’t quite get it. You first state the heat wave in 2006 made no lproblem and than this:
“2006 was the only that the “four day marches of Nijmegen” where cancelled because of the heat, 2 people died of a heat-stroke and hundreds more where taken to hospital.”
The heat wave in France was far less terrible than in 2003, as I said. Moreover, you can expect people to be more prepared. Anyway, what’s the connection with CO2?
Hi Neil. You said:
“I think we all know there were no human beings on this planet 50 million years ago. However, our direct ancestors, small mammals, certainly were alive then and these animals were adapted to whatever CO2 conditions were like at that time, These animals had lungs and breathed similarly to us. So what’s your point? My point is that our ancestors were alive then and survived and thrived.”
My point is that there is nothing in this fact that shows that everything will be all right for us, in the sense that we have no idea of how man will adapt to such conditions. Anyway, I’m by no means stating that humans will “die” because the inhale too much CO2!

Paul Shanahan
February 16, 2009 1:59 am

Ron de Haan (18:21:14) :
Another response the the Guardian Publication of Hanson can be found here:
According the author, Hanson suffers from authoritarianism and megalomania
http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/the-political-philosophy-of-james-hansen-4961
Ron,
Usually your links provide good reading. This one I’m a little dubious about. The author states “Hansen is not even a citizen of Germany, Britain, or the United Kingdom”
I would like to point out that Britain and the UK are one and the same. I would hope the Author would have that one correct!
But keep up the good work, I always enjoy reading your info.

Ian Walsh
February 16, 2009 2:06 am

Hansen has to go. How can NASA be made to sack him ?
I have always been a ‘space buff’, but Hansen is a discredit to NASA and is bringing them into ‘disrepute’. Tjis cant go on !

Ian Walsh
February 16, 2009 2:07 am

Hansen has to go. How can NASA be made to sack him ?
I have always been a ‘space buff’, but Hansen is a discredit to NASA and is bringing them into ‘disrepute’. This cant go on !

Perry Debell
February 16, 2009 2:09 am

If America’s infrastructure is to be improved via the new president’s weird ideas, then all that fly ash will be necessary to improve the concrete.
http://www.flyash.com/
http://www.coventry.ac.uk/researchnet/d/674/a/4460
As it happens, the German U-boat pens in L’Orient, France were constructed using fly ash. The Keroman Submarine Base is still there!!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorient

NS
February 16, 2009 2:09 am

Posted this on a couple of other sites.
The man (Hansen) is clearly deranged.

Law of Nature
February 16, 2009 2:18 am

Dear Antony,
your 2nd figure seems to imply, that the long past high CO2-levels would contradict the assumed AGW-forcing. foinavon has a point when he points out, that at that times the solar constant (and the earth distance from the sun) was differnet. Probably I missunderstood, but could you or anyone clarify that?
Well, my real concern is the nazi comparison, where I strongly recommend to read a little bit about the not to recent past before anyone makes any funny comment or comparisnons!
The transportation of coal has nothing whatsoever to do with the crimes done by the nazis and I cannot understand how a sensitive being can make such a comment like Hansen or some of the posters here!
I almost fully agree with:
Ron de Haan (13:16:26) :
“The analogy of the “death trains” and “death factories” with the “Holocaust”….
I have no words for it, absolutely tasteless.
We have found ourselves a Dr. Menken of climatology.”,
beside the name you are looking for was Mengele and I recommend to read about him and the like before writing about coal and Death trains in the same sentence.

E.M.Smith
Editor
February 16, 2009 2:21 am

Robert Bateman (16:09:06) : I can’t think of a scientific reason for using CO2 emission & heat from Coal-fired plants, but I can think of an economical and energetic one:
Conservation of resources.
Agriculture today is petroleum intensive. Why burn it twice when you can get two for the price of one? Forget about the C02 and get the truly toxic stuff. Let the plants eat the C02. Maybe we can find plants that will biologically consume the mercury and the sulfur. Bury the mercury.

Couple of things:
Not all agriculture is petroleum intensive, and it certainly does not need to be. “Petro”chemicals can be made from any carbon source, including plants. (I own Braskem stock, BAK ticker, in Brazil. They make plastics and such from plants, among other things). We use oil when it’s cheap, natural gas when it’s not, and can use coal or plants when we want too. Eastman Chemical EMN uses coal today.) Fertilizer energy is mostly the NH3/NO3 production, and that can run off of any energy supply. The tractors and equipment runs fine on biodiesel. You can eliminate all petroleum in farming fairly quickly by substituting coal or even plants; though costs would go up a little.
Sulphur is a common component of fertilizers. Several key proteins depend on sulphur. Sulphur is good and needed for life. Don’t scrub the sulphur out in an agricultural feed system! I don’t endorse the following page, but it was much more readable than the .edu pages as a general idea where sulphur goes in living things:
http://www.supplementswizard.yourpower2be.com/sulphurcontainingaminoacids.html
Notice how essential sulphur is to proteins?
Murcury. Yeah, it’s a problem. Best to trap it and use it for something industrial (or even ‘sequester’ it.) But the reality is that life absorbs mercury. The plants that turned into coal absorbed the mercury in the first place, and other plants would absorb it again. But I wouldn’t want to recycle it in this way. It really does screw up enzyme systems…
Sidebar: “The Curve of Binding Energy” by McPhee
In this book about Taylor, our best boutique nuclear bomb designer. Taylor, toward the end, discusses one of his later ideas. Powering the country via sugarcane grown in greenhouses in the Arizona desert.
Now this guy is is no lightweight on math, so I’m sure his numbers are right. What he proposed was to load a greenhouse once with soil, water, CO2, etc. then close it up and grow cane that would be burned to power generators in a close system with the nitrate, water and CO2 rich exhaust sent back to the greenhouses. Basically, it’s a big solar collector. Plants love engine exhaust as it is typically rich in the water, CO2, nitrates, sulphates, warmth, etc. that plants want and need. IIRC he proposed using Diesel engines to burn the fuel so as to get extra nitrates (though that might be another plan I remember using dried algae in the air intakes and hot exhaust to dry the algae…)
The point? You could do the same thing with coal or natural gas power plant exhaust on an open loop basis.
We have so much excess production from land and farms that this sort of thing has not been of much interest, but in fact we could combine our power generation with greenhouses and get hugh increases in produce along with ‘pollution’ capture and recycle. There are a couple of companies looking to do this with algae for motor fuel production (capturing CO2 from coal plants.)
This is one of those technologies that I love the most; that never gets done. Oh Well. That’s the dismal science of Economics for you…

Paul Shanahan
February 16, 2009 2:26 am

Flanagan (22:34:01) :
Concerning the CO2 thing: yeah, right, it was 2 times higher 50 millions years ago, and contrary to what the author seems to insinuate, every (paleo)geologist knows that. The question is: how many human beings were on earth at that time?

This clearly means that CO2 is not dangerous for the planet by your own admission.

February 16, 2009 2:27 am

Ron de Haan (18:21:14) :
Another response the the Guardian Publication of Hanson can be found here:
According the author, Hanson suffers from authoritarianism and megalomania

He has so much influence on world temperature (well, the GISS record anyway) that he thinks he is semi-divine.
Suffers from authoritarianism: Well yes! he’s been ‘muzzled’ dontcha know! 😉

Paul Shanahan
February 16, 2009 2:27 am

Sorry, try that again with closing tags…
Flanagan (22:34:01) :
Concerning the CO2 thing: yeah, right, it was 2 times higher 50 millions years ago, and contrary to what the author seems to insinuate, every (paleo)geologist knows that. The question is: how many human beings were on earth at that time?

This clearly means that CO2 is not dangerous for the planet by your own admission.

February 16, 2009 2:34 am

Flanagan (22:34:01) :
Concerning the CO2 thing: yeah, right, it was 2 times higher 50 millions years ago, and contrary to what the author seems to insinuate, every (paleo)geologist knows that. The question is: how many human beings were on earth at that time?

You’re right! It must have been the dinosaurs holding BBQ’s and riding round in SUV’s!
It was 20 times higher 500 million years ago, around 8000ppm. Just when the ‘explosion of life’ happened.

Mary Hinge
February 16, 2009 2:55 am

Animals, plants and bacteria alive today are adapted to the current conditions of their individual niches. It does not matter one iota that their ancestors were used to more/less amounts of CO2 or Oxygen millions of years ago. Move any organism out of its optimum conditions and it will weaken, it may ot kill it directly but it will be prone to diseases or may be outcompeted by more adaptable species. This will result in a reduction of biodiversity.
A point above and often mooted is that plants and animals do better at higher CO2 levels. If that were the case how come there is greater biodiversity now (or at least just prior to the movements of Homo sapiens out of Africa) than there has ever been?
It is well known that sea levels have been higher in the past, however in the past there weren’t metropolis’ inhabited by millions of people. Sea levels are rising, fact http://sealevel.colorado.edu/current/sl_noib_global_sm.jpg , and as this continues storm surges become more dangerous and people will be displaced.
Climate shifts are becoming more rapid, these will/are changing jet streams/ocean currents etc resulting in changes to precipitation patterns. Rains may come later/sooner in tropical/sub tropical areas, not at all or in huge floods. I know you will say ‘Always has, always will’ and you would be right, it is the frequency of these events that is changing and will change. The benefits to agricultural crops (as discussed above ‘wild’ plant diversity will suffer from small changes in atmospheric composition) will be more than negated by changes in precipitation and/or temperatures.
As regards the above graph, there are issues with it, not least the absense of error bars. From the GEOCARB III analysyis I understand there is great uncertainty of CO2 levels in pre-Permian atmospheres and also during the Jurassic and Cretaceous.
As for the temperatures on the graph they seem to be very much over-simplified. The chart here using changes in δ18O would give a clearer picture http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9c/Phanerozoic_Climate_Change.png
Before the usual comments about proxy measurements bear in mind that every time you read your mercury thermometer your are taking a proxy measurement.

February 16, 2009 3:01 am

Rachel (11:57:02) wrote: Apart from that graph being pure fiction, …
Aside from your comment being capriciously aggressive, miss Rachel, and discourteous to our host, it certainly generated some fascinating information on CO2 and “levels” … which almost, just almost, redeems it.
Perhaps you could assist me from your knowledge as a G.P. in Western Australia on the role of CO2 as a trigger for human breathing? A link to this knowledge would be fine.

R Stevenson
February 16, 2009 3:08 am

It is impossible for CO2 to cause global warming. The laws of physics preventit. CO2 absorbs IR in only three narrow spectral bands absorbing only a small %. The remainder upto 90% disappears through an open window into space. Also radiation is completely filtered out from those wave bands in a short distance through the atmosphere. Doubling CO2 to 700ppm would only shorten the distance and not absorb any more radiant heat.

foinavon
February 16, 2009 3:42 am

Paul Shanahan (15:54:00) :

foinavon (15:32:49) :
Thank you for the information. I think what you are essentially saying is that the graph posted at the top of the page cannot be dis-proved, nor can it be proven as accurate. On that basis, I am happy to accept it as a reasonable re-creation of historical levels until something better comes forward.

Not really Paul. The graph is inaccurate as a means of assessing the relationship between atmospheric CO2 levels and global temperature in the deep past. Onviously if one is interested in assessing this relationship properly one needs to have discrete sets of data where both proxy CO2 and proxy temperature covering the same period (i.e. contemporaneous). Otherwise one is going to be horribly mislead. An example descibed on this thread is the Late-Ordovician glacial period that appears (if one were to use the sketch in the top article) to coincide with high CO2. However the CO2 data in the sketch is from a very broad brush model with 10 million year temporal “resolution”, and can’t be used to assess true CO2 levels associated with discrete time periods. There isn’t a proxy CO2 data set that directly coincides with the Late-Ordovician glaciation, and so drawing a conclusion from the sketch is spurious. In fact what data there is indicates a steady drop in atmospheric CO2 throughout the middle towards the late Ordovician due to changes in the carbon cycle, and so it is quite reasonable that atmospheric CO2 levels dropped below the thresholds (much higher then!) for glaciation. However until we get a truly contemporaneous set of proxy CO2 data for this discrete period we won’t know…
Where one does have discrete sets of contemporaneous paleoproxy CO2 and paleoproxy temp data, there is a rather strong relationship between the two. In other words where paleoCO2 levels are high, so is the paleotemperature and vice versa. There’s a lot of data on this as indicated by the summary of papers cited in my post [foinavon (15:32:49)].
One has to be careful not to rely on material that is knowingly incorrect! One could for example get a much better idea of the broad evolution of temperature in the past from a much more up to date compilation such as the one on Wikipedia, which is properly sourced and so on:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:All_palaeotemps.png

Flanagan
February 16, 2009 3:47 am

Stevenson: you should seriously reconsider your knowledge of physics… CO2 is responsible for several percents of the greenhouse effect

Pierre Gosselin
February 16, 2009 4:01 am

He’s lost it!

Pierre Gosselin
February 16, 2009 4:01 am

And this Holdren kook is not any saner.

Pierre Gosselin
February 16, 2009 4:08 am

Mary Hinge
Species have adapted for eons. The negligible changes we’ve had in climate over the last 10 years are the least of their worries. Animals have far worse to contend with then climate. Animals are far more threatened by predators, natural disasters like forest fires, diseases and parasites.
Most wild animals die before the age of 10 years. In 10 years the weather has far greater extremes then does the comparatively very slow climate change.
You really ought to try to get a perspective on nature.

Pierre Gosselin
February 16, 2009 4:10 am

Nature will claim at least 10 billion lives by 2100!
Yes, we are all going to die – no matter what we do.

Pierre Gosselin
February 16, 2009 4:13 am

Chime in one more time:
“Animals, plants and bacteria alive today are adapted to the current conditions of their individual niches.”
You try to give the misleading impression that the conditions are static. THEY ARE NOT! And they never have been.

Alan the Brit
February 16, 2009 4:18 am

I fully agree with most of the comments here. It truly is a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad, mad, world. My father suffered from dementia & passed away some years ago as a result. My mother is now in a home in a sadly similar condition. I do hope Dr Hansen will be given the appropriate treatment & care he needs as his condition deteriorates in the coming years. The advocation of acts of violence to his fellow man by his fellow man is surely the rantings of a disturbed mind? I suspect Gorey Al is of a similar disposition by advocating acts of civil disobedience in the name of Global Warming. I thought we were seeking a peaceful world in which to dwell not one of anarchy.
So Dr Hansen, Dr Pope, Gorey Al, et al, if the science really is settled as they claim, end of storey, & all you publicly funded (taxpayer) AGW believers & alarmist scientists & activists out there, won’t have the slightest objection to governments devastating your budgets, & making a fair few redundancies & early retirements on reduced pensions, in an effort to help the public purse in these financially strained times? Clearly they’re are all surplus to requirements if the science is settled?

Robert
February 16, 2009 4:38 am

Flanagan (01:58:58) :
4 consecutive days marching 40 or 50 km in temperatures reaching 36 degreees celcius without proper training and preperation, enough to drink and protection from the sun is a sure way to get into trouble.
The organisation decided to pull the plug on this event after a bunch of untrained people got into problems, 2 of them died later in hospital. Its the heat (or cold) that kills the unprepared, the untrained and the weak.
But perhaps you should read this
http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2008/02/14/few-french-fried-in-2006/
Adaptation is the keyword

GP
February 16, 2009 4:48 am

I am coming to the conclusion that we might actually benefit from encouraging Hansen and a few others to really speak their minds and make the political agenda more transparent.
Here in the UK we have many ‘distinguished’ people (and not a few organisations) proposing ideas that would seem to make it inevitable that our ‘grandchildren’ will not have much to look forward to. Jonathon Porrit for example, an upper class greenie from way back, seems convinced, according to his public utterances (that the population of the planet needs to be drastically reduced for humanity and, by inference, biodiversity) to survive. There are many like him. A quick review of the information available on the Optimum Population Trust web site (last time I looked) offers some insight.
Given that natural population replacement levels (absent population redistribution via what we refer to socially as emigration/immigration) is pretty much flat lined or going negative in the ‘industrialised’ world one wonders who the targets of Porrit’s statements – and by inference the others including Hansen – might be.
Add in the proposed urgency that Hansen ascribes to the problem and one has to assume that what is proposes would require some draconian decisions whichever way one cuts it.
In the UK we have a relatively benign climate and historically always have had in the last 10,000 years or so but with a few cold blips now and again. Survival even in the cold time is probably not too difficult compared to, say, Canada. Or Texas. Or even places like Chicago with huge temperature extremes to deal with.
Take away the coal (or possibly a nuclear replacement) from the immediate future and you are going to kill people by proxy on a scale not previously experienced in human interactions. It could easily make the early 20th century flu epidemics look like a benign experience. There are times, and I hesitate to write this, when I wonder if the DDT banning exercise in Africa (notably) has been perpetuated as an experiment to see what effects the act of NOT saving lives might have on population growth, displacement and social changes. Presumably it also keeps the global population a little lower than it would have been. Could coal be the industrialised world’s DDT experiment?
So the choice seems to be, absent any time for breeding re-education along Chinese lines, business as usual and watch humanity struggle a few decades from now, maybe, or more direct action and enforce the struggle now.
Quite how one would persuade people not to dig up coal that would help them to survive I am not sure. I guess one would work that out in the process of persuading China. India, Brazil, et al. that they should abandon coal for their energy purposes. That’s not a snide remark but a simple application of logic based on Hansen like arguments about urgency.
Porrit seems to be suggesting that massive population reduction is required in the next 30 years or so. About one generation period in the ‘third world’, two lifetimes in the ‘developed’ world.
So the third world would be achievable simply by mass sterilisation. Perhaps it could be made selective as well to improve the prospects for any future progeny produced from the survivors. Given the continuing early death rates from disease, conflict and all that we claim to want to eliminate from the harsh lives of the third world yet seem unable to achieve, simple sterilisation and abandoning any attempts to improve health and conditions should work just fine and fit into the 30 year project cycle rather neatly.
The developed world is a bit more of a problem. People obviously live too long for any ‘natural’ cycle to work effectively and the problem is that much greater, apparently, due to our rates of energy and materials consumption.
We might take a few steps that would fit with the easiest path for the third world. As a start our focus on health and keeping people alive at any cost, whether in terms of medical support or health and safety in the workplace, seem to be at odds with a population reduction policy. In any case the potential disruption of energy supplies might make the provision of medical support very challenging and must surely conflict with current health and safety policies. With the proviso that immigration is curtailed and breeding is discouraged (one might assume that such change would be natural for a society in reduced circumstances but that would seem to be too risky to let it go unmanaged) it should be possible to reduce life expectancy by a suitable amount and ensure that replacement levels are held within targets.
However I am not sure that those steps would provide the level and speed of reduction that the OPT and the Hansen’s see as necessary. So the fallback plan, perhaps to be activated after 10 years if the population models suggest that the rate of change is not fast enough, would be to eliminate parts of the population. This is perhaps a concept we should discuss to be prepared for when the time comes.
To put it into a current context (removing any variables about what the prior steps may deliver since they cannot be known and may not work anyway), consider your immediate family and assume a requirement for a 50% cull. Who gets to go?
I am, of course, assuming that such a decision would be offered in democratic form, unlike the original death train concept. This may not be the case – it would be more likely some form of draft. People NEED to have control.
Now, if one accepts that the level of population may indeed become unsupportable (and the natural world experiences such things all the time does it not?) humanity could well be forced to adapt and reduce numbers in time. But there is a huge difference between natural (though not necessarily pain free) adaptation that becomes inevitable and something that is forced upon people based on minority social philosophies and unprovable predictions.
In order to deliver a Hansen/Porrit ‘solution’ in the time scales they seem to think are required I am reasonably sure that widespread human pain and suffering will be the order of the day. In fact it is pretty much guaranteed since without it there will be no progress towards the objective.
The ‘business as usual’ alternative, with the ‘as usual’ component modifying and adapting as science, technology, health and social attitudes change (Why DOES it seem that prosperous, developed countries end up with a flat or declining population whereas undeveloped experience large population growth …. rhetorical question.) would seem to be a far more moral position to adopt. Where is my logic lacking?
Of course I recognise that at my age I might not live to see the results well developed by either scenario should either be adopted. Hansen has a few years on me so I guess he would not expect to see them either, whether or not they occur as quickly as he seems to think necessary.
It might just workout for Porrit though.
Surely this whole debate will not reduce to a case of salving egos will it?
It seems clear that some of the conditions that led to the deployment of the original death trains and the like around the world – groupthink, a critical mass of herd mentality – pre-exist today with different targets in sight.
There have been a number of experiments in the last few decades that seem to show how relatively easy it is to convince people to act in ways that one might not expect them to before conditioning. (Yes this might be called ‘training’ and one clear example would be in the military. But the point here is that people will, in many circumstances, follow a ‘leader’s’ suggestions willingly without having to be hard trained. Gentle preparation is enough.)
So, since I think most people will agree, some grudgingly, that we cannot know the future climate or predict what its effects will be with any real skill, we are left with the choice of pretty much guaranteed pain in the near term (one might actually conclude right now) or some possible discomfort leading, perhaps, to greater disruption in the longer term.
To put it another way – will the grandchildren exist at all or might we expect them to exist but maybe need to be adaptable?
Choices, choices.
Or not, it would seem, if some people have their message accepted as policy.

Nick
February 16, 2009 4:53 am

When I can no longer get oil to burn in my furnace, coal or other fuel to keep me warm in the winter here in New England I suspect I will cut down all the trees in my yard to burn in the fireplace. I guess my neighbors will do the same. If the electric company cannot sell me power to run my stove and hot water heater I will ise my ;pcal firewood. I will not freeze and eat raw food just to keep Mr Hansen happy. The PM10 and other poplutants will make the local air quality suffer. I suspect that Boston will be wrapped in smog.

Bill Illis
February 16, 2009 4:57 am

foinavon,
The Late-Ordovician glaciation 440 million years ago occurred when CO2 levels were 3,500 to 5,000 ppm.
The most likely cause is that the super-continent of Gondwanaland moved across the South Pole. Think Antarctica times 10.
Where were half of the continents 300 million years ago during the next major glaciation event. South Pole again not surprisingly.
Whenever a continent is over one of the poles, there is glaciation. When more than half of them are locked together over one of the poles, there is an extended cold climate on Earth.
Right now, there is one continent over the south pole which has been glaciated for 35 million years, one big island close enough to a pole to have been glaciated over for the last 15 million years and we have two big continents which are close enough to the poles so that they are half frozen over about 90% of the time over the last 2.5 million years.
The climatologists need to take some geology classes.

February 16, 2009 5:02 am

Alan the Brit
I have suggested in the past that we should concede that the ‘science is settled’ and consequently all climate research should cease and the money go to other causes. I suspect that we will suddenly find that there are numerous aspects of the science that is not as settled as is claimed, as the Met office/Hadley et al run around finding vast areas of research that need ‘clarifying’.
We could call it our trojan horse strategy, so if Anthony and Steve M could just shut their sites for a week we can make a start…
TonyB

Mary Hinge
February 16, 2009 5:11 am

Pierre Gosselin (04:13:32) :
You try to give the misleading impression that the conditions are static. THEY ARE NOT! And they never have been.

Please don’t put words into my mouth, I have never said conditions are static, of course they change through time. The point here is the rate of change and an organisms ability to respond to rapid changes. Past history shows us that extinctions occur when rapid change happens and organisms do not have the
time needed for evolutionary change.

tallbloke (02:34:25) :
You’re right! It must have been the dinosaurs holding BBQ’s and riding round in SUV’s!

More accurate to say it was a combination of asteroid strike and the lav outflows from the Deccan Flats. With you it seems impossible to distinguish what are flights of fantasy and your own beliefs, just though I’d clear this up in cas anyone was confused.

It was 20 times higher 500 million years ago, around 8000ppm. Just when the ‘explosion of life’ happened.

So you don’t think it has anything to do with increased free oxygen levels? How much of the life from 500,000,000 YA is stiill around?
This goes back to what should be an undisputable fact, an organism is adapted to the current conditions of its niche. An organism can adapt to changes to conditions of its niche as long as it has the time to do so. For bacteria this can be weeks or days, for larger more complex animals the necessary adaptation may take tens or hundreds of thousands of years (barring the usual few biological exception of course!). Sudden changes to an organisms environment can make it more prone to disease. The more specialised organisms are those more at risk, those able to cope with changes by having a more varied diet for instance, or adapting their environment have the greater chances of survival initially. The loss of the more specialised organisms could be devastating to food chains. An example would be the loss of one species of orchid could wipe out the Brazil Nut. (There is only one bee species able to pollinate the Brazil Nut flower, this bee is dependant on one species of orchid to obtain the pheremone the male needs to court the female. You lose the orchid you lose the nuts. This example shows how everything is connected.

February 16, 2009 5:21 am

Manfred (00:42:28) :
“Only in the past few years did the science crystallise…”
… and it crystallized actually already in the 1980’s in the brain of a remarkable human being, who’s duty since then was to lead the leaders of the world and tell them kindly what they have to do.

He certainly behaves like he has been at the crystals, but the stuff in his brain isn’t pearls of wisdom.

Richard111
February 16, 2009 5:39 am

Ron de Haan (00:19:41) :
Regarding your link to the youtube presentation and your query:
Who is going to verify the figures?
Some time ago I came across a small document by one David Cotton (DPhil in Chemistry from Oxford and has worked in data analysis for the last thirty years) entitled:
Comparison of the CO2 exhaled from our lungs with the carbon dioxide released from burning coal, oil and gas in the UK
He calculates, based on an average daily intake of 2,500 kCals per day, that each human being breathes out 894 grams of CO2 per day.
My link to the document no longer works but I guess that figure is a reasonable starting point. Mr. Cotton is far more qualified than I am. It would be interesting to find other calculations.

Editor
February 16, 2009 5:42 am

Not a good fit for this thread, but it’ll have to do:
It looks like the AAAS membership is finally hearing some old news about biofuels. See
http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/40924/title/The_hidden_costs_of_better_fuels
Various other coverage, including the the cover story on “escape plans” for the Maldives and Kiribati are at
http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/40878/title/Science_News_at_AAAS_2009

foinavon
February 16, 2009 5:44 am

Robert Austin (18:17:03) :

foinavon:
Thank you for your contributions. I for one appreciate your efforts.
I have am dubious of the ability of proxies to give us good data about the temperatures and atmospheric conditions of the very distant past. On the other hand, if one really is able to show correlation between CO2 and temperature, one has not proved cause and effect. Your expectation that 500ppm to 600ppm CO2 would lead to loss of most of earth’s ice would appear to depend on substantial positive feedback in the GCM’s. I do not think the science to date justifies assigning any particular feedback number. Without positive feedback, CO2 is a spent force beyond present concentrations due to the logarithmic absorption relation.

I would say that there’s a substantial amount of empirical data that supports a climate sensitivity near 3 oC (plus/minus a bit) per doubling of atmospheric CO2.
The expectation that relatively low CO2 levels (5-600 ppm and higher) will result in very substantial ice sheet melt, comes also from analysis of the relationship between atmospheric CO2 levels, Earth temperature and onset of glaciation throughout the Eocene-Oligocene transition (Oligocene covers the period 33.5-23.5 MYA the early stages of which saw the first substantial build up of ice sheets in the “modern” era). So the evidence indicates that the Eocene atmospheric CO2 levels were relatively high (>1000 ppm) but drifted downwards towards modern levels by the end of the Eocene, with ice sheets starting to build up a little over 30 MYA when atmospheric CO2 levels dropped below around 5-600 ppm.
So one can just play these scenarios in reverse. Very substantial ice sheet formation was associated with atmospheric CO2 levels dropping below around 5-600 ppm. Going in the other direction (increasing atmospheric CO2 levels above these values) is likely to put us back towards a low ice Earth. Of course these phenomena take a long time to accrue. Likewise there is a bit of hysteresis in the comparison of forward (lowering greenhouse gas concentrations below the threshold for major glaciation) and reverse (raising greenhouse gas levels above the threshold for major deglaciation), since albedo effects “resist” the phenomena in both directions. But we’re very likely setting ourselves up for a long, slow (hopefully!) melt.
see for example:
M. Pagani et al (2005) Marked Decline in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentrations During the Paleogene Science 309, 600 – 603.
The relation between the partial pressure of atmospheric carbon dioxide (pCO2) and Paleogene climate is poorly resolved. We used stable carbon isotopic values of di-unsaturated alkenones extracted from deep sea cores to reconstruct pCO2 fromthe middle Eocene to the late Oligocene (45 to 25 million years ago). Our results demonstrate that pCO2 ranged between 1000 to 1500 parts per million by volume in the middle to late Eocene, then decreased in several steps during the Oligocene, and reached modern levels by the latest Oligocene. The fall in pCO2 likely allowed for a critical expansion of ice sheets on Antarctica and promoted conditions that forced the onset of terrestrial C4 photosynthesis.

and there’s quite a lot of recent analysis of the greenhouse gas “thresholds” for the onset of glaciations during many periods:
DeConto RM et al. (2008) Thresholds for Cenozoic bipolar glaciation Nature 455 652-654.
Author(s): Fletcher BJ et al (2008) Atmospheric carbon dioxide linked with Mesozoic and early Cenozoic climate change . Nature 1, 43-48.
Abstract: The relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and climate in the Quaternary period has been extensively investigated, but the role of CO2 in temperature changes during the rest of Earth’s history is less clear(1). The range of geological evidence for cool periods during the high CO2 Mesozoic ‘greenhouse world'(2,3) of high atmospheric CO2 concentrations, indicated by models(4) and fossil soils(5), has been particularly difficult to interpret. Here, we present high-resolution records of Mesozoic and early Cenozoic atmospheric CO2 concentrations from a combination of carbon-isotope analyses of non-vascular plant (bryophyte) fossils and theoretical modelling(6,7). These records indicate that atmospheric CO2 rose from similar to 420 p.p.m.v. in the Triassic period (about 200 million years ago) to a peak of similar to 1,130 p. p. m. v. in the Middle Cretaceous (about 100 million years ago). Atmospheric CO2 levels then declined to similar to 680 p.p.m.v. by 60 million years ago. Time-series comparisons show that these variations coincide with large Mesozoic climate shifts(8-10), in contrast to earlier suggestions of climate CO2 decoupling during this interval(1). These reconstructed atmospheric CO2 concentrations drop below the simulated threshold for the initiation of glaciations(11) on several occasions and therefore help explain the occurrence of cold intervals in a ‘greenhouse world'(3).

February 16, 2009 5:44 am

In the Guardian article, Hansen asks
“How can people distinguish between top-notch science and pseudo-science?”
Easy, top-notch scientists don’t shoot their mouth’s off about “death trains” in the media.

February 16, 2009 5:46 am

Ye gods, how did that apostrophe catastrophe occur? :o)
It’s my birthday, gimme some slack.

Alan the Brit
February 16, 2009 5:51 am

Tony B/GP:-) Re Optimum Population & its Control.
Might I politely suggest that Messrs Hansen & Porrit lead by shining example, & do away with themselves & their families for the sake of the planet? I’ll follow suit straight away, Dr Hansen, I really promise Mr Porrit, honest!
AtB

Operating Engineer
February 16, 2009 5:58 am

The Outside Air CO2 Level (Right Now) In Downtown Washington D.C. Is 391.56 PPM (Pennsylvania Avenue).
The Indoor Level Of CO2 (Highest Reading) Is 655.03 PPM.
We Won’t Start Introducing Any Larger Quantities Of Outside Air Until The Indoor Level Reaches 400 PPM Over The Outdoor Level (Current Setpoint Is 791.56 PPM).
No One Has Dropped Dead Yet From The CO2 Levels (As Far As I Know) And We’ve Been Operating This Way For Many Years.
Postscript: The Indoor Plants Are Very Healthy. Wouldn’t Want To Practice Species Discrimination You Know!

foinavon
February 16, 2009 6:09 am

Bill Illis (04:57:59) :

foinavon,
The Late-Ordovician glaciation 440 million years ago occurred when CO2 levels were 3,500 to 5,000 ppm.
The most likely cause is that the super-continent of Gondwanaland moved across the South Pole. Think Antarctica times 10….

No Bill, we don’t know what the atmospheric CO2 concentrations were during the Late-Ordovician. If we had a contemporaneous CO2 proxy or two for that period we would know. But we don’t unfortunately.
Notice that Berner’s Geocarb model predicts a high CO2 concentration. But that’s not data. That’s a broadbrush model sampled at 10 million year intervals. It’s a very nice model but we know that it doesn’t capture details of contingent atmospheric CO2 variations on the multi-million year time scale and less.
There are some considerations that help us to understand the origins of this glaciation. As you saw Gondwana was localised near the South Pole. There is also evidence of declining atmospheric CO2 levels through changes in the carbon cycle during the middle to late Ordovician consistent with the drop of greenhouse gas concentrations below the threshold for glaciation (see e.g. Saltzman and Young, abstract below).
And of course we know that the solar constant was very much weaker then than now (by around 4%). So the greenhouse gas threshold below which significant glaciation could be inititiated was far higher than present day levels. So where the threshold for glaciation is of the order of 500 ppm CO2 equivalents today it was likely in the range 2240-3920 [***], 450 million years ago.
[***] This is discussed in Royers recent review (see page 5669):
D.L. Royer (2006) “CO2-forced climate thresholds during the Phanerozoic” Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 70, 5665-5675.

The climatologists need to take some geology classes.

It’s fun to attempt to disparage scientists…..! But in the real world, the scientists who work in these areas as pretty well-informed and knowledgeable about their subjects and the work from other fields that impact this! For example, I don’t think you’d get many scientists addressing Earth’s temperature in the deep past, that didn’t take into account the hugely obvious nature of the evolution of the solar constant through time.
Saltzman MR, Young SA (2005) Long-lived glaciation in the Late Ordovician? Isotopic and sequence-stratigraphic evidence from western Laurentia. Geology 33, 109-112.
Abstract: The timing and causes of the transition to an icehouse climate in the Late Ordovician are controversial. Results of an integrated delta(13)C and sequence stratigraphic analysis in Nevada show that in the Late Ordovician Chatfieldian Stage (mid-Caradoc) a positive delta(13)C excursion in the upper part of the Copenhagen Formation was closely followed by a regressive event evidenced within the prominent Eureka Quartzite. The Chatfieldian delta(13)C excursion is known globally and interpreted to record enhanced organic carbon burial, which lowered atmospheric pCO(2) to levels near the threshold for ice buildup in the Ordovician greenhouse climate. The subsequent regressive event in central Nevada, previously interpreted as part of a regional tectonic adjustment, is here attributed in part to sea-level drawdown from the initiation of continental glaciation on Gondwana. This drop in sea level-which may have contributed to further cooling through a reduction in poleward heat transport and a lowering of pCO(2) by suppressing shelf-carbonate production-signals the transition to a Late Ordovician icehouse climate similar to10 m.y. before the widespread Hirnantian glacial maximum at the end of the Ordovician.

Operating Engineer
February 16, 2009 6:15 am

Addendum: I Failed To Mention That The Above Conditions Are For A Commercial Office Building.

foinavon
February 16, 2009 6:15 am

oops.
A slight mistake in foinavon (05:44:01). This paragraph should read:
“The expectation that relatively low CO2 levels (5-600 ppm and higher) will result in very substantial ice sheet melt, comes also from analysis of the relationship between atmospheric CO2 levels, Earth temperature and onset of glaciation throughout the Eocene-Oligocene transition (Oligocene covers the period 33.5-23.5 MYA the early stages of which saw the first substantial build up of ice sheets in the “modern” era). So the evidence indicates that the Eocene atmospheric CO2 levels were relatively high (>1000 ppm) but drifted downwards towards modern levels by the end of the Oligocene, with ice sheets starting to build up a little over 30 MYA when atmospheric CO2 levels dropped below around 5-600 ppm.”

Jeff L
February 16, 2009 6:23 am

Bill Illis (04:57:59) :
“The climatologists need to take some geology classes.”
Which was exactly the point of my previous post. Geologists are the most qualified professional group to comment on climate history and probably the least heard in the debate. And if you don’t understand what drove climate in the past, then how can you expect to predict what it will do in the future.
Note that glaciation is independent of CO2 concentration. This is strong evidence that CO2 has not historically been the primary driver of climate.
Here’s some graphics for those who want more :
Permian paleogeography :
http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~rcb7/Perm.jpg
Note the collection of land masses & glaciation at south pole.
Ordovician paleogeography :
http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~rcb7/Ord.jpg
Note the collection of land masses & glaciation at the south pole again.
Bill Illis forgot to mention Devonian glaciation as well (which leads into the Permo-Penn glaciations) :
http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~rcb7/Dev.jpg
Paleogeography map – again note collection of land masses at poles
More on Devonian glaciation:
http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2003AM/finalprogram/abstract_63281.htm
Again, Bill Illis correctly points out the position of the land masses relative to the poles today. This setting the backdrop for our long term climate – a glacially dominated system. This isn’t to say there aren’t other forcing mechanisms (the correlation isn’t one to one) , but this does set the background and this background is independent of CO2. The inter-glacial we are in is a blip in time. It isn’t a question of if but when will be the next glaciation.
As far as general validity of the CO2 curve vs time, I have posted this before, but I will post again. Note that the 1st order trend is decreasing CO2 with time. If we look in the geologic record of the volume of carbonate rocks versus time, the 1st order relationship would also be decreasing carbonate rocks vs time. This is an important relationship because carbonate rocks are the largest sink of CO2. These two relationships show that with time, CO2 has been gradually sequestered in carbonate rocks. As more & more is sequestered, 2 things happen. 1) the overall concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere goes down 2) With less CO2 in the atmosphere with time, there is less “raw material” to build carbonate rocks & less are found with time. So from a mass balance standpoint, the presented graph of CO2 is generally supported by the geologic record.
The ironic part of this observation is that going forward, the long term geologic threat to mankind (not for millions of years though) could be a lack of CO2 ==> No CO2 = no plant life = no animal life.

Brian Johnson
February 16, 2009 6:31 am

Mary Hinge, or is it Unhinged?
Quote
“An example would be the loss of one species of orchid could wipe out the Brazil Nut. (There is only one bee species able to pollinate the Brazil Nut flower, this bee is dependant on one species of orchid to obtain the pheremone the male needs to court the female. You lose the orchid you lose the nuts.”
BJ wonders……
Not so sure you have the correct data Mary Hinge……More than one type of Bee I think….
Bees of the genera Bombus, Centris, Epicharis, Eulaema, and Xylocopa have been captured visiting Brazil nut trees (Moritz, 1984; Müller et al., 1980; Nelson et al., 1985).
Brazil nut trees grow in Ceylon, Kuala Lumpur and Ghana btw. The orchid doesn’t however.
For the most part, cross-pollination is needed for seed set in Neotropical Lecythidaceae. Therefore, the bees, and to a lesser extent bats, are essential for the pollination and subsequent fruit and seed development of Lecythidaceae. Although a low level of in-breeding may occur in Bertholletia excelsa, most seed set in this species is the result of cross-pollination (Mori and Prance, 1990b).
Anyway Nature abhors a vacuum so no doubt the Brazil nut tree will find a suitable alternative pollinator.

David Holliday
February 16, 2009 6:37 am

To all of you arguing that increased levels of CO2 in the geologic record correlated to increased global temperatures your argument is moot. Over the last 30 years CO2 has been continuosly rising and global temperature has not. Until you can prove the correlation holds true today you have nothing to stand on.

foinavon
February 16, 2009 6:44 am

E.M.Smith (16:45:32) :

(Hmmm “foinavon” 8 count (2 x 4) in the 8-10 sweet spot for total length… “Benjamin P.” 10 count (with space) in the 8-10… Rachel trolls bait, picks up nibble, sets stage for foinavon? Or maybe not. Wonder if their IP numbers are ‘near’… )

Oh well. Never mind the science let’s play at conspiracy theory…!

At any rate, don’t we have an IPCC approved CO2 series from ice cores or some other “must have it for IPCC” graph with higher CO2 in the past?

Yes the ice core data has relatively high temporal resolution and one can present this as a temporal evolution of atmospheric CO2 during the past ~700,000 years. There are compilations of paleoCO2 data in which the proxy points are “joined up” covering periods further back in time:
e.g. P N Pearson and M R Palmer (2000) Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations over the past 60 million years. Nature 406, 695-699
But one has to be careful to address this data properly in the context of the question at hand. If one wishes to assess the relationship between CO2 levels and Earth temperature for example, then one can only be confident that the sampling is adequate under the circumstance that one has contemporaneous paleoCO2 and paleotemperature data. In other words, one can’t take extremely sparse data and “join the dots” and assume that the interpolated values are “true”. A pertinent example is the Late Ordovician. There is a paleoCO2 proxy dated at around 450 MYA and the next most recent proxies are at around 415 MYA. Would you say that drawing a straight line between these proxies gives you the atmospheric CO2 values for all the time periods in between? Obviously not. However if one were to use the sketch in the top post to address these issues one would be mislead. That’s obvious I would have thought….yes?

I don’t suppose it is worth pointing out that all the CO2 in coal folks are stressing about came from the air in the Carboniferous so you get to pick one: 1) CO2 was much higher then. or 2) Burning the coal will not make CO2 “high”.
If there is no IPCC graph with higher CO2, then there is no coal or IPCC are terribly wrong. If there is such a graph, then there was more CO2 in the past, proportional to coal

Yes there was much higher CO2 in the past. That’s obvious too. However one also cannot address these issues without recognising that the solar constant was considerably lower in the past (by 4% during the late Ordovician and by around 3% during the Carboniferous). So the greenhouse gas thresholds for the different climate regimes (e.g. warm, cool, glacial and so on) were very different from today. In fact the radiative forcing resulting from 1500-2000 ppm of atmospheric CO2 100 million years ago (MYA) was considerably larger than the forcing from 5000-6000 ppm 500 MYA. Likewise the radiative forcing from 1500 ppm now would be larger than that from 1500 ppm of CO2 100 MYA.
So to address your question explicitly CO2 was much higher then, and burning the coal will make CO2 “high”. However the third element that you are missing is that “high” CO2 has a much stronger warming effect now than during the Carboniferous….

Pamela Gray
February 16, 2009 6:47 am

I think we need to figure out why temps and CO2 are not connected today before we say that they were or were not connected 1 zillion years ago. Why spend time discussing what happened back then?
I want the low down from warmers about today, and 10 years from today. If I can’t use your assumptions —that it is getting warmer— to go ahead and make an investment to plant a vineyard in NE Oregon (because you say it will be warmer and by extrapolation it will be wetter when it is warmer), I just can’t bring myself to spend time reading what you say happened 1 zillion years ago.
Had I jumped on the bandwagon of “CO2 caused warming is upon us folks” and changed my agricultural practices to this long term warm season production, I would be in the poor house right now. So why would I listen to you about what happened 1 zillion years ago? If you don’t have it right, right now, and you have to adjust the models (or even re-write them) to explain why they are off by a bushel and a peck, you don’t have it right back then either.

Robert Wood
February 16, 2009 6:50 am

Most of the atmos[pheric CO2 is now locked up in the rocks in limestone, etc.

Edward
February 16, 2009 6:59 am

Mary Hinge
Please define what the optimum CO2 level is for all the species of the earth that you are referring to or point us to some literature upon which you base your claim. Please also define what rate of change in CO2 levels these species can tolerate. Until then your argument seems more like an assertion than fact.
Thanks
Ed

February 16, 2009 7:00 am

OT… My apologies.
Given the negative PDO and the La Nina winter much of this temp trend across the nation does not surprise me. I was, however, surprised by the temps in the extreme southeast. Perhaps Anthony or someone could elaborate on the meteorologic patterns that produced them. Or am I missing something about the general La Nina winter pattern?
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/2009/jan/02_01_2009_DvTempRank_pg.gif

February 16, 2009 7:09 am

Daniel Lee Taylor: re lawsuits to block AGW
There are a few lawsuits to stop some of this. As many of Anthony’s readers may know, California has the first U.S. Global Warming law, aka AB 32. Some provisions of AB 32 have been challenged in court. One that I admire is Tesoro Refining and Marketing Company v. California Air Resources Board, filed in California state court (Sacramento).
Tesoro claims that forcing refiners to produce transportation fuel (gasoline) with 10 percent renewables (e.g. ethanol) is inconsistent with the mandate to reduce GHGs because converting bio-mass to ethanol consumes essentially the same amount of energy as the energy contained in the ethanol produced. Stated another way, there is no GHG reduction, as GHGs are just shifted around. The argument is substantiated by studies that considered the agricultural energy requirements to plow, plant, fertilize, water, cultivate, harvest, transport, convert to ethanol, then transport the ethanol (by truck or rail) to gasoline blending locations.
That is a heck of an argument, and it will be quite interesting to watch this one play out.
Some car dealerships also sued the Air Resources Board over the proposed car mileage standards (Pavley standards), claiming the state cannot make rules where the federal EPA has set mileage standards (the pre-emption argument). That argument looked good under President Bush, but President Obama has ordered his EPA to effectively grant California’s request. Those lawsuits will be moot in short order.

hunter
February 16, 2009 7:11 am

foinavon,
Do you understand the difference between logarithmic and linear functions?
Do you also understand that CO2 has lagged in every proxy-based study of CO2 and temperature?

TerryS
February 16, 2009 7:19 am

foinavon (05:44:01) :
M. Pagani et al (2005) Marked Decline in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentrations During the Paleogene Science 309, 600 – 603.
The time resolution of this study isn’t high enough to determine whether temperature rises/falls lead or follow CO2 changes. They use geomagnetic reversal to determine the dating of the samples.
DeConto RM et al. (2008) Thresholds for Cenozoic bipolar glaciation Nature 455 652-654.
Is in fact about a climate model.
Fletcher BJ et al (2008) Atmospheric carbon dioxide linked with Mesozoic and early Cenozoic climate change . Nature 1, 43-48.
Like the first one doesn’t have enough resolution to determine which comes first, the CO2 or the temperature rise.
The only long record with a hight enough resolution is the ice core samples and these all show the temperature leads CO2 and not the other way around.

February 16, 2009 7:30 am

Mary Hinge (05:11:30) :
tallbloke (02:34:25) :
You’re right! It must have been the dinosaurs holding BBQ’s and riding round in SUV’s!
More accurate to say it was a combination of asteroid strike and the lav outflows from the Deccan Flats. With you it seems impossible to distinguish what are flights of fantasy and your own beliefs, just though I’d clear this up in cas anyone was confused.

It’s my birthday, I’m in a playful mood. Anyway, as the well informed and intelligent readership of this blog is well aware, dinosaurs prefer sushi and drive Toyota Priuses.

Pamela Gray
February 16, 2009 7:34 am

I am predicting Arctic ice recovery for the next week. The jet stream, Arctic oceanic currents and temperatures, and wind patterns all point towards ice extent increase in the next week. The ice extent area in the southeast part of Greenland will shove its boundary further away from the Arctic as it continues its fight along a boarder of colder than normal SStemps working its way South along the coast with warmer than normal SStemps within the incoming Arctic current that sources from the Atlantic East of Greenland. I will go out on a limb and predict we will end up with average ice extent and, more importantly I think, fairly thick summer melt resistant ice edges.

Bill Illis
February 16, 2009 7:37 am

To foinavon,
Pangani’s actual data set regarding temperature and CO2 over the last 45 million years is here.
ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/climate_forcing/trace_gases/pagani2005co2.txt
It does not show what you claim it shows.
Here is the chart.
http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/9681/panganice0.png
Once again, we find temperature leading CO2. Interesting.
I think one should look into the actual data rather than reading the abstracts.

Steve Keohane
February 16, 2009 7:38 am

thefordprefect (15:48:01), Mike you said “Your plot, for which there is no reference data and is just about the only one I have ever seen on the web, is irrelivant to the current situation.” That plot is from the same source as the link you provided re: continental drift.
Many fine assessments made above. For those of you who recognise our mind’s inherent pattern recognition system, I have had one pattern return over and over again like some bit of a jingle that is persistant. I made a representaion of the image here. http://i43.tinypic.com/somq83.jpg
Mary H. is 12″ of sea level rise per century really that catastrophic? That is only 30% of the average rate since the last ice age. Does it occur to you that cities cause the land to sink? People have always been displaced, but more by cold than heat. Think ice sheets on the NH.

February 16, 2009 7:46 am

Jeff L (06:23:34) :
These two relationships show that with time, CO2 has been gradually sequestered in carbonate rocks. As more & more is sequestered, 2 things happen. 1) the overall concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere goes down 2) With less CO2 in the atmosphere with time, there is less “raw material” to build carbonate rocks & less are found with time. So from a mass balance standpoint, the presented graph of CO2 is generally supported by the geologic record.
The ironic part of this observation is that going forward, the long term geologic threat to mankind (not for millions of years though) could be a lack of CO2 ==> No CO2 = no plant life = no animal life.

This from Top Physicist Freeman Dyson:
http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/dysonf07/dysonf07_index.html
“First, if the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is allowed to continue, shall we arrive at a climate similar to the climate of six thousand years ago when the Sahara was wet? Second, if we could choose between the climate of today with a dry Sahara and the climate of six thousand years ago with a wet Sahara, should we prefer the climate of today? My second heresy answers yes to the first question and no to the second. It says that the warm climate of six thousand years ago with the wet Sahara is to be preferred, and that increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may help to bring it back. I am not saying that this heresy is true. I am only saying that it will not do us any harm to think about it.”

February 16, 2009 7:49 am

Operating Engineer: I’m curious about the source of your CO2 figures. I’m not questioning them. Are your CO2 readings from a local study or are they from the Energy Management System of the building you operate? If they’re from the Energy Management System, whose CO2 sensor are you using?

Mike Bryant
February 16, 2009 7:50 am

“You lose the orchid you lose the nuts.”
That sounds like a punch line.
Anyway, there is nothing unnatural about coal. Since coal plants have been cleaned up decades ago, they have been an important and clean part of our energy mix.
Why should coal have a black eye? I think our black coal is beautiful. Many would have died in the cold without it.

Corrinne Novak
February 16, 2009 7:53 am

“The point here is the rate of change and an organisms ability to respond to rapid changes. Past history shows us that extinctions occur when rapid change happens and organisms do not have the time needed for evolutionary change.”
Equine Feces. Anyone who has moved livestock to another climate knows animals adapt quite well. example of adaption across the equator: click
While on that site look how much CO2 the greenies are resposible for puting in the air ALL at once. THE WALL OF death: click
PICTURE: click page down a couple of times
STORY: click

Mike Bryant
February 16, 2009 7:55 am

Operating Engineer,
I wonder what type of instruments you use to check the CO2 levels in the building. Also, would those same instruments, if used at Mauna Loa, give the same results as the Mauna Loa instruments?
Mike Bryant

Paul Shanahan
February 16, 2009 8:03 am


Paul Shanahan (15:54:00) :
Thank you for the information. I think what you are essentially saying is that the graph posted at the top of the page cannot be dis-proved, nor can it be proven as accurate. On that basis, I am happy to accept it as a reasonable re-creation of historical levels until something better comes forward.
foinavon (03:42:59) :
Not really Paul. The graph is inaccurate as a means of assessing the relationship between atmospheric CO2 levels and global temperature in the deep past.

Erm, that’s what I said! You said the graph is inaccurate I said what you are saying is that the graph cannot be proven or dis-proven as accurate.
Come on my friend, stop arguing for arguments sake.
We can see in a number of recent studies that it appears that CO2 lags temperature changes. Granted, there is some debate as to time period of lag. I’ve seen quotes of 5 months, 800 years and (i think) 2 thousand years. If we take this as real (I’m not saying you should) then this is the basis for which we have to work with the paleoclimate reconstructions. It’s just basic logic, IMO.

Corrinne Novak
February 16, 2009 8:04 am

“An example would be the loss of one species of orchid could wipe out the Brazil Nut. (There is only one bee species able to pollinate the Brazil Nut flower, this bee is dependant on one species of orchid to obtain the pheremone the male needs to court the female. You lose the orchid you lose the nuts. This example shows how everything is connected.”
This is an excellent example of an evolutionary dead-end. Perhaps Monsanto would be kind enough to insert Surviability Genes in the bee, or Brazil nut. Another problem solved through technology.
PS I hate Monsanto.

Paul Shanahan
February 16, 2009 8:07 am

Bill Illis (07:37:02) :
Once again, we find temperature leading CO2. Interesting.

Are you sure that is the correct way round? Looks to me like CO2 leads temperature.

Ron de Haan
February 16, 2009 8:10 am

Paul Shanahan (01:59:53) :
“Ron de Haan (18:21:14) :
Another response the the Guardian Publication of Hanson can be found here:
According the author, Hanson suffers from authoritarianism and megalomania
http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/the-political-philosophy-of-james-hansen-4961
Ron,
Usually your links provide good reading. This one I’m a little dubious about. The author states “Hansen is not even a citizen of Germany, Britain, or the United Kingdom”
I would like to point out that Britain and the UK are one and the same. I would hope the Author would have that one correct!
But keep up the good work, I always enjoy reading your info”.
Paul,
Thanks for your kind remark.
I have noticed this mistake which could have been resolved by a quick check at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom
However, people often make this mistake.
They mix up England with Britain.
Great Britain or the United Kingdom = England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Sometimes simple things can be a bit of confusing.
If this mistake should disqualify the entire article? I don’t think so.
It is not a scientific report.

Vichris
February 16, 2009 8:16 am

Most coal fired power plants sell the waste product “flyash” to asphalt companies. Most oil refinerys do the same with their waste product which is “tar bottoms”. Tar bottoms and fly ash are mixed along with sand and gravel to make asphalt which we use to pave and repave out highways.
The good that both coal fired power plants and oil refineries do far and away outweight the the supposed bad.
Mr Hansen is the ultimate hypocrite by useing ANY electronic device, anything gas or electic powered, or by taking advantage of any heating or cooling device.

Edward
February 16, 2009 8:28 am

Corinne
Based on what has already been presented on this thread, organisms on this planet have evolved with an innate ability to handle CO2 levels many times greater than the status quo. Any statement to the contrary would require some type of documention as support. Certainly plants thrive at today’s CO2 levels. I have not heard anything that indicates that squirrels, ants or fish are struggling with the current CO2 content.

Pierre Gosselin
February 16, 2009 8:29 am

Ric Werme,
Yes, it takes them a awhile to find out that their brilliant ideas are either wrong, or simply just don’t work.
Mary Hinge,
There is no data showing that climate change is proceeding at a rapid pace (temps have dropped) and that life forms are unable to adapt. This rapid climate change claim is a load of BS. Other than a cartoon of a drowning polar bear, show us a single study.

Carlo
February 16, 2009 8:30 am

The real story is this..
They want to build nuclear power stations and they sell every story to build the nuclear power stations.

DaveE
February 16, 2009 8:31 am

foinavon (06:44:26) :
“So to address your question explicitly CO2 was much higher then, and burning the coal will make CO2 “high”. However the third element that you are missing is that “high” CO2 has a much stronger warming effect now than during the Carboniferous….”
Thank you for making that clear. Now I understand that not only do flora & fauna mutate & adapt to their environment but so does physics.
DaveE.

Jeff Alberts
February 16, 2009 8:42 am

hunter (07:11:17) :
foinavon,
Do you understand the difference between logarithmic and linear functions?
Do you also understand that CO2 has lagged in every proxy-based study of CO2 and temperature?

I think he/she/it understands it. But the argument from climate scientists (if I understand it correctly) is that the lag is irrelevant, and that once CO2 “catches up it increases the warming which has already occurred. I don’t believe this is borne out by the best evidence we have, though, and is really complete speculation.

Pierre Gosselin
February 16, 2009 8:42 am

Pam Gray,
I’ve been keeping an eye on this too.
There aren’t very many places left for ice growth – East Siberia and the Barents Sea. I very much doubt we’ll reach 15 million sq. km…probably top out at 14.3 or 14.4 million sq. km meaning more or less a normal year. The projected temperature map supports your Greenland prediction:
http://www.wetter24.de/de/home/wetter/profikarten/gfs_popup/archiv/Europe/t2m/2009021612/nothumb/on/0/ch/9bc371061b.html
And it doesn’t matter if it’s baby ice or not!
(For the embiciles who are planning to kayak to the north pole in Sept.)

Antonio San
February 16, 2009 8:46 am

Is this the level of discourse we should expect from a NASA Director, employee? This individual is out of control and his case seems more relevant to the medical field than the climatological one…

AKD
February 16, 2009 8:52 am

Ron de Haan (08:10:17) :
Given the context, one of those was clearly meant to be Australia. Brown, Merkel, Rudd. UK, Germany, Australia.

atmoaggie
February 16, 2009 8:56 am

Bill D (12:14:47) :
Clearly, we can’t immediately shut down the coal generated electricity. But a good starting point would be to stop building coal-fired plants and to accelerate the production of energy from non-fossil fuel sources. It seems that a lot of coal plants are being canceled in the US.
Starting point realized very soon. Any average heatwave will likely give California some lovely blackouts this summer thanks to this very thing. Enjoy.
I sincerely hope that everyone checks on and helps out the frail and/or elderly when that happens. Would certainly be a travesty for deaths to occur from refusing to allow building of power plants, yet it happens and will likely happen more and more.
Ahhh, the irony of real cause and effect given Hansen’s dribble.

Ron de Haan
February 16, 2009 9:06 am

Law of Nature (02:18:02) :
“I almost fully agree with:
Ron de Haan (13:16:26) :
“The analogy of the “death trains” and “death factories” with the “Holocaust”….
I have no words for it, absolutely tasteless.
We have found ourselves a Dr. Menken of climatology.”,
beside the name you are looking for was Mengele and I recommend to read about him and the like before writing about coal and Death trains in the same sentence.
Law of Nature,
Your are correct.
It is very sad to make any reference to the Nazi Regime in order to win an argument.
Global Warming Holocaust: 1,870,000 Google Hits
Global Warming Mengele: 24,200 Google Hits
The major objective was to disqualify the so called “deniers” (who are denying the concept of Global Warming caused by CO2 emissions) stating that their denial was comparable to the denial of the “Holocaust”;
This link provides us with an objective insight how the “Holocast”, “Death Train” Neurenberg Trial (to trial the “deniers) got into the discussion and who is responsible:
http://thebreakthrough.org/blog/2007/11/hansens_holocaust_global_warmi.shtml
To be honest with you, I am rather worried because Hansen and Gore both publicly
call for terrorist like attacks on our Carbon Fuel infra structure. As I have stated in an earlier posting, not so long ago such a public call would have been considered an Act of Treason against the State. Now they are getting away with it.
How is that possible?

foinavon
February 16, 2009 9:28 am

Bill Illis (07:37:02) :

To foinavon,
Pangani’s actual data set regarding temperature and CO2 over the last 45 million years is here.
ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/climate_forcing/trace_gases/pagani2005co2.txt
It does not show what you claim it shows.
Here is the chart.
http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/9681/panganice0.png
Once again, we find temperature leading CO2. Interesting.

Careful Bill. You’ve been misled by the data. You’ve plotted an inappropriate data set that isn’t what you consider it to be at all. You haven’t plotted CO2 vs a global temperature proxy, and your statement about the temporal relationship of temperature and CO2 is meaningless.
Have a think about what Pangani et al have done (a read of their paper would help). They have used a proxy for atmospheric CO2 that involves analysis of stable isotopes in molecules called alkenones produced by algae in the oceans. Analysis of sedimentary alkenones allows a reconstruction of atmospheric CO2 at the time that the algae were photosynthesising.
However please note: …in order to properly determine the relationship between stable isotope composition and atmospheric CO2 the data need to be normalized with respect to the local temperature at which the organisms grew. Since data were collected from 8 different sites in various oceans around the world, at different latitudes with different sea temperatures, a proxy for the local temperature was determined from stable isotope values in co-sedimenting planktonic foraminifera. It is this “internal control for the effects of local temperature” that is tabulated in the pages you’ve accessed to draw your graph.
That’s why the temperature data look so odd when plotted with respect to time. It doesn’t really have a meaningful temporal relationship. It’s a hodge-podge of the local temperature proxy in relation to the core-site and the depth a which the algae grew…

MarkW
February 16, 2009 9:31 am

REPLY: He has a small apartment in NYC near Columbia, where he lives during the week, commuting on weekends. – Anthony
————-
Maintaining two residences is only marginally better.
There’s the material that went into building the second residence. And the energy required to heat two residences.

February 16, 2009 9:40 am

The deaths that are attributed to short extreme weather events are deaths that would have occurred sooner or later that particular year or the next year anyway. It’s not the young and fit individuals that die, but the frail and sick who are kept alive thanks to modern medication and care, a practice that interferes with the normal course of nature. I bet that there are less deaths in the months after a weather extreme because of this unfortunate “cleansing” effect. I am not advocating to lower the standard of care for the elderly but only suspect that what I describe is the dominant factor. I doubt whether the death totals for the whole of 2003 in France were significantly higher than those in other years.

February 16, 2009 9:44 am

Paul Shanahan (08:07:49) :
Bill Illis (07:37:02) :
Once again, we find temperature leading CO2. Interesting.
Are you sure that is the correct way round? Looks to me like CO2 leads temperature.

Recheck the temporal scale. Recent on the left, ancient on the right.

AndrewWH
February 16, 2009 9:45 am

Wouldn’t it be nice if the power station managers all decided to support him for a day and disconnected their stations from the power grid (I know you can’t just turn a power station on and off). Possibly the rail hauliers could support the Hansen Green drive by refusing to deliver “deadly coal” for a week, forcing power stations to shut down.
Even a couple of stations dropping off the network could overload it and cause widespread blackouts, similar to the blackout in thre New York area in 2003. Think how much carbon dioxide emissions that would cut especially at this time of year.
Trouble is, people would die, and it would not be Mr Hansen getting the blame, however, they can always call Mr Hansen as a witness to their saving the planet.
All in jest. I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone. Even those delightful Green activists who say things like De***rs should be fed into wood shredding machines feet first.

foinavon
February 16, 2009 9:45 am

DaveE (08:31:22) :

foinavon (06:44:26) : “So to address your question explicitly CO2 was much higher then, and burning the coal will make CO2 “high”. However the third element that you are missing is that “high” CO2 has a much stronger warming effect now than during the Carboniferous….”
Thank you for making that clear. Now I understand that not only do flora & fauna mutate & adapt to their environment but so does physics.

Perhaps I could have stated this very obvious point more clearly. Let’s try again:
Two major contributions to the Earth’s global temperature are the solar irradiance and the greenhouse effect (obviously!). During the Carboniferous the solar constant was around 3% lower than now, and as a result higher greenhouse gas concentrations were required to maintain the the Earth near any given temperature, than would be required now with a “hotter” sun.
Or one could describe the analyses of radiative forcings resulting from greenhouse gas oncentrations during the Phanerozoic in relation to the thresholds for broad climate regimes (e.g. a significant glaciation). Such an analysis [see for example Royer (2006)], indicates that during the Ordovician the threshold for glaciation was as high as 2-3000 ppm (i.e. drop below these values and build up of ice sheets is possible). Nowadays the threshold for glaciation is considered to be near 500 ppm.
Or one could simply say that for a given greenhouse gas concentration the Earth now will be warmer than it was in the past at that particular greenhouse gas concentration (to a first approximation)…
D.L. Royer (2006) “CO2-forced climate thresholds during the Phanerozoic” Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 70, 5665-5675.

Richard M
February 16, 2009 9:45 am

foinavon (06:44:26) : “So to address your question explicitly CO2 was much higher then, and burning the coal will make CO2 “high”. However the third element that you are missing is that “high” CO2 has a much stronger warming effect now than during the Carboniferous….”
Is that right? Could you tell us the Earth’s albedo at these times? How can you assess warming effects without understanding albedo.
You also did not mention the total land surface vs. ocean surface. Seems that might be helpful in your calcuations. I won’t even go into bio-sphere and volcanic issues.
Finally, your statement that CO2 will have more of an effect now is an ASSUMPTION since the actual effect is still an open discussion, as are the positive forcings required for it to have any substantial impact whatsoever.
You seem to be good at regurgitating data that you think supports your position without doing any critical thinking. In earlier posts you have discounted data from models that went against your position and used model output that supports your position. You don’t even seem to understand this disconnect.
If you really want to find the truth I suggest you become MORE skeptical of everything you read.

MarkW
February 16, 2009 9:50 am

Now, putting CO2 to work in greenhouses, coupled with the heat from the exhaust anyways, is a great idea. Produce electricity, produce food.
Waste not, want not.
Life is good.
———–
I saw a story a few years ago, where these guys made a deal with the local power plant. They diverted a small amount of the waste water going into the cooling pond, and used that warm water to grow tropical fish.
They got free hot water, and the power company was able to skip an expansion of their cooling ponds.