Chinese Climate Wisdom

The Chinese civilization has existed survived intact far longer than any other in human history, and they have records of that civilization that span 2-3 thousand years BC. They’ve seen more climate change than any other civilization.

Xiao Ziniu

The Guardian recently interviewed Xiao Ziniu, the director general of the Beijing Climate Center.

Excerpts:

A 2C rise in global temperatures will not necessarily result in the calamity predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), China’s most senior climatologist has told the Guardian.

He had this bit of wisdom to pass along:

“There is no agreed conclusion about how much change is dangerous,” Xiao said. “Whether the climate turns warmer or cooler, there are both positive and negative effects. We are not focusing on what will happen with a one degree or two degree increase, we are looking at what level will be a danger to the environment. In Chinese history, there have been many periods warmer than today.”

He added:

“Climate prediction has only come into operation in recent years. The accuracy of the prediction is very low because the climate is affected by many mechanisms we do not fully understand.”

We would do well to listen.

More important, we should take note of the fact that China laughs in the face of the west when it comes to regulating their own economy through self imposed emissions goals, while the west cuts back its manufacturing capability, China surges forward.

Nixon awakened a sleeping giant. They’ll squish us like a bug economically and in many other areas. For example China just this week broke ground on a fourth space launch complex.

China will likely go to the moon before the US returns there, perhaps as early as 2014. Meanwhile they aren’t worried about anything, whether it be the atmospheric or the political climate.

In looking at this map from the Beijing Climate Center, it is notable how they see things differently.

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142 thoughts on “Chinese Climate Wisdom

  1. Sounds rational. The map data visualization looks interesting. How are they getting their data and is it open and available?
    Maybe in our lifetimes we’ll all have a little red book.
    “Climate prediction has only come into operation in recent years. The accuracy of the prediction is very low because the climate is affected by many mechanisms we do not fully understand.”
    Yes, that’s interesting … however the inherent process of weather and climate generate randomness within itself thus it will never be predictable, you must let the weather and climate processes ‘compute’ their solution in real time to know what the weather will be any given day or place and what the climate will be any given decade or place.
    Inherent randomness within a system is a NEW basic scientific fact proven by Stephen Wolfram in A New Kind of Science. It’s likely that climate scientists are not aware of it yet.

  2. I would quibble over the hubris of “longer than any other civilization”. That hangs on the belief that changes from, for example, the Chin to Mao are not a change of civilization and the implied assertion that changes from the Pharaoh to Muhammad make a new civilization in Egypt (despite the number of Coptic texts and other texts in Hieratic and Demotic still kicking around Egypt).
    OK, with that out of my system: Yes, China has a long preserved history and a view of history that spans longer than than the “schedule menu” on the satellite TV system. That is a major advantage to seeing climate patterns.
    I would trust their temperature series long before anything from GISS.
    They are spot on about “it was warmer before” and it not being a problem.
    And they WILL be on the moon before anyone else, including us, can get there again. They know that “the High Frontier” is the future and strategic high ground. Nothing will stop that. NASA, eat your heart out. You are yesterdays news. (Anyone have some fish & chips to wrap?)
    It is a study in beauty so see how strategically China is positioning itself in both the economic and the military competitive arenas. Not just 5 year plans, but 50 year plans. Exquisite.
    If you are young enough, I suggest learning Chinese. You will need it.
    And it isn’t just me who says this.
    FWIW, one of the very best commodity traders in the world, Jim Rogers, has packed up and moved to Singapore so his kids will grow up speaking chinese and be prepared for the future…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Rogers
    http://www.allthingsjimrogers.com/2009/07/30/jim-rogers-continues-to-be-bullish-on-commodities-and-china/
    http://www.commodityonline.com/news/Invest-in-commodities-in-China-Jim-Rogers-19914-3-1.html
    http://jimrogers-investments.blogspot.com/2009/02/jim-rogers-live-interview-from.html
    http://seekingalpha.com/article/113105-expert-commodity-picks-for-2009-jim-rogers-and-marc-faber
    REPLY: China has some apparent issues with records continuity in th 20th century as well as issues with UHI due to rapid industrialization. – Anthony

  3. Quoting:
    “Nixon awakened a sleeping giant.”
    Commenting:
    A romantic and somewhat naive thought, I opine. I believe it was the re-integration of Hong Kong that changed China forever. I admit that I had thought Hong Kong would wither under Chineese rule – but the opposite happened. Hong Kong taught the Chinese how to be prosperous. The freedom did not take root, but Tiennemen showed the promise and freedom may yet take hold.

  4. Re: E.M.Smith (19:45:06)
    I noticed the statement as well about the antiquity of the Chinese. It is old, but as far as recorded secular history goes the Sumerians of the Middle East have them all beat by quite a bit (unless I really don’t remember my world history right). Anyway, even if we needed to, it is futile to talk of carbon caps when the Chinese are not on board.

  5. You could argue that China is the oldest surviving civilization.
    (Or you can take it back to the Yellow Emperor . . .)
    You might have an argument from Egypt (but they were under occupation for a lot longer than China under the Mongols and setting aside various/sundry Times of Troubles).

    REPLY:
    Yes Evan, you said it better than I. I considered Egypt, but the Chinese continuity is what I was really speaking to. – Anthony

  6. A 2C rise in global temperatures will not necessarily result in the calamity predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),

    There’s no evidence that we’ll experience any calamity at all, apart from economic collapse due to stupidity.

  7. Yeah, the eastern hemisphere great river valleys all have ancient cultures.
    ============================================

  8. It is interesting to compare western and China’s dynamic approach to life and industry to ours these days. I am not sure I object to relinquishing the world stage to them.

  9. “FWIW, one of the very best commodity traders in the world, Jim Rogers, has packed up and moved to Singapore so his kids will grow up speaking chinese and be prepared for the future…”
    I too packed up and moved to Singapore, where my kids are learning Chinese because I also think the West is facing enormous challenges in the near future: intellectual and physical sloth, a horrendous demographic profile and a general flight from reality.
    Much of Asia is currently where we were up to several decades ago: hard working, ambitious and rooted in common sense.
    It’s no surprise to me that today, the top climate scientist in a recently communist basketcase sounds a lot more reasonable than his counterpart at Nasa.
    Maybe the West will wake up when the Chinese flag is on the moon, or maybe we’ll twitch in our sleep and just turn over.

  10. The Chinese being on the moon with a permanent military base will bring new meaning to the term “overlords”. Who needs to invade when you control the purse strings, the technology manufacturing and dominate the military spacial volume from the high ground surrounding the Earth. Easy to defend and easy to attack from, the moon is.

  11. They’ve seen more climate change than any other civilization.
    While I normally agree wholeheartedly with your premises, this one is quite faulty. You are clearly implying that chinese people have more knowledge on the subject of climate change, since they’ve been around for thousands of years. Have they been able to predict future climates in those thousands of years? Clearly, their history of famines suggests that they couldn’t.
    The man may have some interesting things to say, but you do him a disservice by suggesting that he knows more than others because he comes from a country that is part of a dozen countries that sooner or later became china. Heck, you might as well say that Italians know more than the rest of us because they were once Rome, or Egyptians know everything about climate change since Egyptians have been around since xxxx BC.

  12. Native Americans – 20,000 years
    REPLY: Good point, but do they have any written records of what weather and climate were like? – Anthony

  13. “Meanwhile they aren’t worried about anything, whether it be the atmospheric or the political climate.”
    Which are their specific words to us:
    “What you worried about?”.
    Let me answer that: Greed & Stupidity – the perfect formula for shortsightedness.
    China’s leadership is interested only in China.
    This forum would not be allowed there.
    However, we have much to learn from them…but not their way of government.

  14. C’mon Anthony, do another posting on the AMSR-E Sea Ice Extent chart. You know you want to. We want you to, too.

  15. REPLY: Good point, but do they have any written records of what weather and climate were like? – Anthony
    No, they have legends. One of which was recently brought to light, as being a true account, when a researcher discovered a 10-year drought in the Columbia River Basin.

  16. In all this talk of bringing up their children “to speak Chinese”; exactly which dialect did they have in mind (I would guess Mandarin)? As I understand it, great portions of the Chinese population cannot even speak to one another and communicate via a hieroglyphic written form that is unrelated to spoken sounds. It might be better to learn to read and write Chinese (Got a couple of lifetimes to spare?).
    If you’re going to lose your bowels and run away, why not to Russia? The language is easier and they’re well on their way to domination of the Europeans with their lock on natural resources and a U.S. President they’ve measured and found wanting. As an added bonus, they have no more use for AGW than do the Chinese. Make sure you can afford to hire some local muscle if you intend to be a “serious player” there.

  17. On reflection the real record of the Native American is that they are still here – despite some dramatic climate shifts over the period.

  18. pwl (19:44:51) :
    Inherent randomness within a system is a NEW basic scientific fact proven by Stephen Wolfram in A New Kind of Science. It’s likely that climate scientists are not aware of it yet.
    Seems to be true for the Sun as well.

  19. From the article;
    “In Chinese history, there have been many periods warmer than today.”
    How can he make a statement like that? After all, they didin’t have Al Gore nor computer models to simulate and predict climate therefore their obsevations cannot be right.

  20. I think the Chinese perspective on history can provide some insight into why they responded the way they did to Tienanmen in the early 1990’s.
    Given the amount of time they have recorded their affairs, and their ability to compare periods of peace and prosperity with those of chaos and deprivation, the Chinese authoritarian streak is understandable.
    I don’t say their way right, just that it is easier to understand their reasoning.

  21. I am not entirely with Mr Geo (19:48:39). I am aware of substantial detailed talks between Hong Kong businessmen (and some, but few, women) prior to the handover in 1997 and none of them feared the handover because of what they had learned of Chinese intentions. For some years before 1997 China had moved towards a more market-orientated economy, although it seems likely that the full scale of what they might achieve was not recognised by their leaders until they had sight of the full glory of Hong Kong’s success.
    As to the observations of Xiao Ziniu, what is so important is the difference between his position and that adopted by political leaders in the west. He says, in effect, everything is far too uncertain and subject to far too many unknown factors that no one can say what will happen in 50 years’ time let alone 100 years.
    Is there a single person on this planet who does not believe that to be the case?
    Well, OK, there are many who say it is not the case, but do they really believe what they say?
    Is it not patently obvious that there are so many uncertainties that only those who (i) believe those uncertainties to be irrelevant to the overriding power of carbon dioxide and/or (ii) have a political agenda to fulfill, could support basing economic policy on the prognostications of a few of Dr Hansen’s computers?
    The Chinese are far too sensible to do any such thing. They have mouths to feed. Even if the doom-mongers are correct, they will still have mouths to feed. And they know the only way to feed them is to do what their previous ideology spurned while the West got warm and cozy.

  22. Civilization as we know it ceased to exist in China during the Cultural Revolution, 1966-1976, a period in which political doctrine was elevated to an infallible State religion. [SARCON] Can’t happen here, though, right? [SARCOFF]

  23. Run away?
    Does one run away into a better opportunity?
    As for Russia, their demographic profile is among the world’s worst. They are imploding. Soon they will have an empty land rich in resources right next door to the world’s biggest population. Good luck with that.
    And finally, Mandarin is the lingua franca of business here.
    Thank you for illustrating my point about intellectual sloth.

  24. Kevin (20:52:55) : They’ve seen more climate change than any other civilization…. this one [premise] is quite faulty. You are clearly implying that chinese people have more knowledge on the subject of climate change, since they’ve been around for thousands of years. Have they been able to predict future climates in those thousands of years?
    I think you are missing the point. The civilisation has been around during warmer and cooler periods and they have recorded history whether these periods were good or bad, calamitous or not.
    From this knowledge they are not buying NASA’s GISS story which has been around with its radical theories for just a few decades. While the Chinese and their space programs surge ahead, NASA struggles just to replace its aging Shuttles and advocates programs that would send the US backwards into developing world status.

  25. evanmjones (20:17:41) :
    You could argue that China is the oldest surviving civilization.
    (Or you can take it back to the Yellow Emperor . . .)
    You might have an argument from Egypt (but they were under occupation for a lot longer than China under the Mongols and setting aside various/sundry Times of Troubles).
    REPLY: Yes Evan, you said it better than I. I considered Egypt, but the Chinese continuity is what I was really speaking to. – Anthony
    —————-
    Well, to the both of you, wouldn’t that really frame the argument for what kind of climate is best for human survival?

  26. Honestly, the Greco-Roman Mediterranean societies can be included if it weren’t for those pesky barbarians being frozen out of their homes…

  27. Slightly OT –
    @Claude Harvey (21:15:35) :
    Of course Chinese can communicate with each other throughout the country.
    Chinese from all over China and the world use Manadarin (Putonghua) as a lingua franca. Most people speak their own local languages as well as Mandarin.
    The written language is what has unified China over centuries. Characters can be learned with application and since most Chinese can do it in a small part of a lifetime, I’m not sure why you think it should take anyone 2.

  28. The Chinese are going to eat our lunch. While we are sitting around arguing about political correctness, reducing GHGs, white guilt, racism, single payer health care etc. the Chinese are going ahead full blast. They are building nuclear power plants, coal fired plants, drilling for oil every place they can and what ever else it takes to advance their economy.
    The first time I went to Beijing in 2001 I couldn’t believe what I saw. Beijing was overwhelming. Even back then it made downtown L.A. look like a wide spot in the road. Later on I made several trips down south to Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Same story, even these second tier cities were incredible. They were all new and modern. Huge skyscrapers and apartments everywhere, great freeways and infrastructure etc. I was awed and scared, how could we in America not know what the hell was going on. I believe we are incredibly naive about China and Asia in general. We better wake up soon and throw off all the shackles that are being placed on our economy by the greenie zealots and lefty politicos. We are well on our way to being a second rate power and economy.
    Beijing is a great party town. Had some of the best times of my life there 😉

  29. The BCC left me with the impression that temperatures are going to increase by 2 degrees over the next 30 years. Are they also misguided by fancy models or just calculating?

  30. Interesting point made earlier about China being on the moon before NASA . The US in the 1960’s regarded the USSR as a scientific and political competitor and this produced spirited innovation. I do not see the US as regarding anyone as a competitor now. China is viewed as a trading partner rather than a scientific competitor. Will it take a Chinese landing on the moon for the US to wake up?,or has it given up on the spirit of competition?

  31. Re: chip (21:40:34) :
    “Run away? Does one run away into a better opportunity?”
    Every guy who ever ran from a fight told himself he was actually “pursuing a better opportunity”. It appears we’ll just have to muddle along here without your brilliant company; a stupefying loss, I’m sure.
    Incidentally, the Russian recommendation was a joke. “Speaking Chinese” was not.

  32. “FWIW, one of the very best commodity traders in the world, Jim Rogers, has packed up and moved to Singapore so his kids will grow up speaking chinese and be prepared for the future…”
    if i were 30 years younger, I would be doing the same.

  33. How refreshing to see a sensible view about climate and how a few degrees change in temperature either way is not a major problem. Both have pros and cons associated with them and we have survived many major climate variations before.
    People have adapted to change in the past and will adapt again in the future. Providing we have good supplies of energy which we are willing to share the human race will be fine.
    This is a lesson the rest of the world needs to learn fast.

  34. Their map of anomalies looks far more believable than anything generated in the West. It clearly reflects the actual temeprature variations experienced by humans. We all know August was colder than people are used to in most of the US and warmer than people are used to in Australia. I have never ‘bought’ the idea that the anomalies felt by people end up being reflected at a +0.4 deg c anomaly on a GISS or HadCRUT map. They always seemed too low.

  35. Having just read the Guardian article, following the refreshing honesty from this guy (who effectively represents 25% of the people of the planet – at least on climate issues) ….. was the total and utter garbage from the World Meteorological Organisation report stating that climate change is already wreaking havoc in China
    A 2 millisecond Google search on “natural disasters in China” brings up Wikipedia and the first sentence is :
    “China is one of the countries most affected by natural disasters. It had 6 of the world’s top 10 deadliest natural disasters; the top 3 occurred in China: the 1931 China floods, death toll 2 million to 4 million, the 1887 Yellow River flood, death toll 0.9 million to 2 million, and the 1556 Shaanxi earthquake, death toll 0.83 million”
    You just have to laugh … .so the biggest natural disasters were floods in 1931 and 1887.
    Copenhagen is toast .. thank god !

  36. Phil’s Dad (20:56:34) :
    Native Americans – 20,000 years
    REPLY: Good point, but do they have any written records of what weather and climate were like? – Anthony
    ———————————-
    Perhaps not as long as you think – this quote from wikipedia (not the best source I know, but easily accessible)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_peoples_of_the_Americas
    “According to the still-debated New World migration model, a migration of humans from Eurasia to the Americas took place via Beringia, a land bridge which connected the two continents across what is now the Bering Strait. The most recent point at which this migration could have taken place is c. 12,000 years ago, with the earliest period remaining a matter of some unresolved contention.”

  37. Joss had the chinese influence in “Firefly” about right, I reckon. They’ll be a dominant force in the 21st C, and the sooner we all learn to swear in Mandarin, the hipper we’ll all be. Oh, and alive and calm, because it’s difficult to argue with the calm of an ancient culture …

  38. The presentation style speaks volumes about openness and transparency… and by that I really mean honesty.
    First we see the actual global temperature measurements graphic…
    Everyone can validate the integrity of this map based upon their own knowledge of where they live on the planet.
    Everyone can see the areas of the globe where they don’t have any data measurements.
    Secondly we see their anomaly analysis based upon this data….
    The Beijing Climate Center web site if very interesting because of the focus upon real world issues: temperature and precipitation.
    I did a search for “CO2” and came up with zero entries… and clicking around seems to confirm that this is not just a language quirk…
    Thank you Anthony.
    Thank you Beijing.

  39. Note: ‘temperature variations of greater than two degrees are present in China’s history’.
    Two questions:
    1. How many people died as a result of that?
    2. If any, how did they die?
    You would think that such information might be of crucial interest to genuine politicians.
    I would wager that it would scare the pants off them……..

  40. Kevin (20:52:55) :
    “They’ve seen more climate change than any other civilization…. this one [premise] is quite faulty. You are clearly implying that chinese people have more knowledge on the subject of climate change, since they’ve been around for thousands of years. Have they been able to predict future climates in those thousands of years?”
    What the hell. We certainly can’t! Not even 5 days of weather reliably.

  41. BTW, ‘DMT in Arctic below mean for 5 days and dropping precipitously’ – why haven’t I seen this headline this week?
    What’s wrong with all these journos??
    Can’t they see a SCOOP in front of their eyes?
    That story can be run with ‘the following politicians are ignorant assholes who peddle lies to steal your money’….
    Bernstein, where are you when the world needs you, eh?

  42. My fave Chinese story, as related by Simon Winchester (The River at the Center of the World) is of one Ma Shumou, ‘The Barbarous One’, who, when overseer of the construction of the Grand Canal, was reputed to have eaten a steamed two-year-old child each day. His name, according to Winchester, is still invoked by mothers keen to keep their children on the straight and narrow. That was, of course, back in the day.
    These guys have seen, lived through, recorded and thought through a lot of stuff. Not to be taken lightly….

  43. rob uk (03:11:52) : Where`s Flanagan. A little subdued now a days. Was very active on the sea ice blog on Climate Audit. But ever since the ice has started going up complete silence.
    On China he would be completely out of his depth.

  44. I think the prediction that the Chinese will be on the moon before anyone else even gets out of bed is correct. They and the Indians can boast the longest contiguous civilisations anywhere on the globe even though they have had their ups and downs, they have tended to bounce back faster than the west. Even Iran, dismissed by most Western politicians as a “rogue” state boasts of being the continuation of the ancient Babylonian and Persian (Parthian) Empire. Alexander came and went, so have others including the Mongols, but they still value and keep the traditions and some of the records of civilisation stretching back to possibly before the Egyptians. We would do well to look carefullky at what the Chinese are doing and saying – they are probably a lot further ahead than we think. They are also embedded in every country in the world, look about you, everywhere has a “China Town” and Mandarin, Cantonese or Chouchow is spoken there and in their homes. Being Chinese is far more than a nationality or even a race, it is a part of their very being. Wherever they are is China.

  45. Records from the Forbidden Palace royal gardens on the opening times of various flowers back to the late 1500’s have been useful in helping to reconstruct solar cycle lengths. This is not all that much earlier historically than Galileo’s sunspot counts. I don’t know what other records the Chinese have from earlier epochs describing temperature related phenomena, but it sounds like a book to be written someday.
    As someone said ^upthere:
    Copenhagen is toast.

  46. If we want to talk about longevity of cultures let’s set the benchmark with indigenous Australians at approximately 40,000 years. I’d like to hear from their elders as to what changes they have observed ( although I presume they would be regionally based)
    I am reminded of a book I loved as I adolescent titled ‘The Voyage of the Great Southern Ark’ by Reg Morrison (a man who’s politics I probably disagree with) which told an amazing compressed 24hr story of this continent’s travels around the globe and through many different climatic conditions. To think that the climate was ever unchanging is ignorant or deceptive.
    Cheers
    Michael

  47. It is insensitive to discuss the Mao period because it is recent enough for people to have personal memories. It was an excursion that runs counter to the experiences of people like self who have visited China many times and conducted business.
    Also done the same in Nth America, and comparitively speaking, the clarity of thought and the openness of expression is quite a few points higher in China than in USA. Spin and posturing is not so widely used. The older people who have retained their facilities are teated with much more respect and it shows, for they have much to contribute. Education of children is more intensive, first because family size is usually 1 child and because school is on 6 days a week.
    The chance to progress rapidly through the professional system by professional fraud is much more limited because it is not a way of life and because peers do tend to review. One of my friends, though I met him only occasionally, was a Director of the Chinese Academy of Science and he took his responsibility most carefully.
    Let’s just say that there is a different approach to ethics, but of course there are always vagabonds who are exceptions as in any community. In China, they seem not to rise very far. We have a lot to learn. One lesson is not to posture with smug superiority.
    The first Chinese cars might not compare well with a Ferrari of the same vintage. Later ones will be most competitive. This analogy can probably be extended to many fields of thought, manufacturing, commerce and academia.

  48. From http://www.aboriginalculture.com.au/introduction.shtml
    Australia’s Aboriginal culture probably represents the oldest surviving culture in the world, with the use of stone tool technology and painting with red ochre pigment dating back over 60,000 years. Australians never developed an “iron age”, “bronze age”, or pottery, and the terms “palaeolithic” (old stone age) and “neolithic” (new stone age) are not used in Australia, because stone technology did not progress in the same way as the rest of the world.
    Be interesting to explore their verbal histories for accounts of climate change.

  49. There are regions which inevitable suffer great natural climate or weather disasters. The south edge of the Sahara has periods of drought followed by periods of more rain. During the rainy periods pastures improve and people move in from the south. Then the drought comes and masses inevitably die. The delta of the Ganges is another such place. Low-lying land is constantly being created. It is constantly being populated despite prohibition, and just as constantly, great weather disasters wash over the people as typhoons. The great river valleys of China are another such example with the epic floods.
    In all three of these examples the impetus is the same, and the results are similarly predictable, and nearly inevitable. The impetus is the urge of the people to the productivity of the land. Who can resist for very long settling and working rich river bottom land, or fragrant pastures? Even if the memories of the previous disasters lurks, the calculation of short term odds for the weather disasters will mean choosing to inhabit the dangerous terrain. Memory may fade for the climate disasters, such as in Africa, and myth may lose its power to deter. Such is the fate of people.
    ===========================================

  50. Flanagan has become a tad bit more reasonable about this whole ice story see CA postings not so extreme anymore with admissions that he just guesses too LOL

  51. Notice Mr. Ziniu doesn’t address the issue of AGW at all, but simply assumes it to be true.
    “I think it is the responsibility of scientists to have a sense of crisis. We should study whether climate change threatens human survival,” says Xiao.
    It is the responsibility of scientists to have a sense of crisis? No, it is the responsibility of scientists to be scientists, which he obviously isn’t. He’s simply a bureaucrat who knows which side his bread is buttered on, and how to toe the line.
    “But I believe humans are wise creatures. With wisdom and effort, we will prevent disaster. There is always hope.”
    Humans are wise? I see, so “wisdom” to you is taking a completely benign, and even beneficial gas, and demonizing it, and running around screaming that the world is going to end if we don’t stop producing it?
    OK, Mr. Ziniu, so you think “disaster” is coming, but only from warming in excess of 2C, and you think WE will prevent it, obviously because WE are causing it?
    The guy is an idiot.

  52. Chinese wisdom:
    “Whether the climate turns warmer or cooler, there are both positive and negative effects”
    Western “wisdom”:
    Change=Bad
    You can have endless discussion, which civilization is “better”, but concerning the pursuit of personal happiness, the asian civilisation is superior.
    The western civilisation has completed the art of living in fear and guilt to perfection.

  53. “In Chinese history, there have been many periods warmer than today.”
    How can he make a statement like that?

    Same basis as Jim Hansen says the MWP didn’t exist – paleo reconstructions. Although with the added evidence of historical records of things like rice harvests, which Hansen doesn’t have for his Bristlecone pines.

  54. “Boudu (04:24:10) :
    From http://www.aboriginalculture.com.au/introduction.shtml
    Australia’s Aboriginal culture probably represents the oldest surviving culture in the world, with the use of stone tool technology and painting with red ochre pigment dating back over 60,000 years. Australians never developed an “iron age”, “bronze age”, or pottery, and the terms “palaeolithic” (old stone age) and “neolithic” (new stone age) are not used in Australia, because stone technology did not progress in the same way as the rest of the world.
    Be interesting to explore their verbal histories for accounts of climate change.”
    This is just my rather limited opinion on this subject. I believe there are many many more immediate issues facing the indigenous peoples of Australia than that of AGW and how their anecdotal accounts of “change in weather” over 10’s of thousands of years might play a role the current “debate” in the climate change space.
    What is true is that the “white” man, the British (The Dutch just didn’t bother with what they mapped which now the east coast of Australia, but they did note it) invaders, noted this land as pretty much empty (I forget the Lattin name). And they were very wrong. There has been so much damage done to these people that I very much doubt there will be any “record” still preserved.

  55. Rick Sharp (22:39:06) : “The first time I went to Beijing in 2001 I couldn’t believe what I saw. Beijing was overwhelming. Even back then it made downtown L.A. look like a wide spot in the road. Later on I made several trips down south to Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Same story, even these second tier cities were incredible. They were all new and modern. Huge skyscrapers and apartments everywhere, great freeways and infrastructure etc. ”
    So the stories of air pollution in Beijing are just that, stories?
    Perhaps the Chinese emperor has new clothes.
    E.M.Smith (19:45:06) : “FWIW, one of the very best commodity traders in the world, Jim Rogers, has packed up and moved to Singapore so his kids will grow up speaking chinese and be prepared for the future…”
    Your linked article, http://www.commodityonline.com/news/Invest-in-commodities-in-China-Jim-Rogers-19914-3-1.html, says:
    ” Rogers, who shifted his home from the United States last year to invest wisely in the Asian countries with his main focus on China …”
    I suspect it was also a good move for tax purposes.

  56. Those worrying that the newfound economic might will allow China to build a military base on the moon and dominate us can relax. It won’t happen because they won’t have to, they are simply and methodically buying the USA and have no need for military conquest because war is messy and destroys infrastructure. As we self limit our economic growth due to cap and trade, nationalized healthcare, and redistributuion of wealth, the Chinese have correctly gauged the situation and will continue to explode economically with a refusal to take part in Western Civilizations economic suicide attempt.

  57. Interesting reading the posts on this thread. I do notice that in the discussions of “civilizations”, that there seems to be some tendency to confuse “civilization” with a particular political system/ideology. They are not the same thing.

  58. @ Patrick Davis
    ‘There has been so much damage done to these people that I very much doubt there will be any “record” still preserved.’
    Should residual guilt about what was undoubtedly a bad thing preclude us from asking ? And why does “debate” deserve inverted commas ?

  59. @ el gordo
    ‘It has been suggested that up to 80% of the Australian population may have perished during the last glacial maximum, ie 20,000 – 14,000 bp.’
    The fact that a stone-age culture / civilisation survived continuously for perhaps 60,000 years should give us hope that we, with all our modern technology and innovation can ride out a few degrees of warming.

  60. Keith Minto, It will take a significant change in our political leadership for the U. S. to become competitive again on the scale of the ’60’s. Competition is what has given us higher quality products and services as driven by a private sector, capitalist economy. (Requires regulation of course.) Alas, the current government does not see a robust, competitive capitalist system as the best way to achieve the greatest good for the greatest percentage of our population. This will stifle incentive and energy needed to make life better for more of us in the long run. Welcome to mediocrity in America.

  61. In the US we have a guy selling ‘intergenerational justice’
    http://www.progressiveforumhouston.org/index.htm
    And calling for war crimes trials against climate skeptics.
    And people are still buying what he is selling.
    In China, they have people in charge who actually look at history and understand that we are not really facing much of anything unusual.
    And they want to focus on actual pollution and environmental issues.
    We are in deep trouble.

  62. As far as China going to the moon by 2020, this is only 11 years away. You might say that they are at the Gemini stage of development. They haven’t made that many maned space flights. Even with the amount of general maned spaceflight knowledge available, they have a ways to go. Also they don’t have a really large booster rocket under development.

  63. Imran (01:01:13) :
    Having just read the Guardian article, following the refreshing honesty from this guy (who effectively represents 25% of the people of the planet – at least on climate issues) ….. was the total and utter garbage from the World Meteorological Organisation report stating that climate change is already wreaking havoc in China
    A 2 millisecond Google search on “natural disasters in China” brings up Wikipedia and the first sentence is :
    “China is one of the countries most affected by natural disasters. It had 6 of the world’s top 10 deadliest natural disasters; the top 3 occurred in China: the 1931 China floods, death toll 2 million to 4 million, the 1887 Yellow River flood, death toll 0.9 million to 2 million, and the 1556 Shaanxi earthquake, death toll 0.83 million”
    You just have to laugh … .so the biggest natural disasters were floods in 1931 and 1887.
    Copenhagen is toast .. thank god !”
    Imran,
    Copenhagen is toast, if only th political establishment is willing to admit they are wrong.
    This could be the most dificult part of stopping this madness.
    Our stupid politicians believe that admitting that you are wrong equals stupidity.
    Do you see the problem?
    That’s why the only effective solution is to vote them out of Office.
    At this moment in time the propaganda mills are in full swing.
    All over the media today a combined message from scientists and Greenpeace:
    The Arctic ice cap is melting fast.
    The winter freezing is not sufficient to compensate for the summer loss.
    Europe has turned into the USSR of modern times.
    It won’t take long before their citizens find themselves staying in lines for the most basic products as the political establishment is killing the economy.
    Currently under attack the agricultural infra structure.
    Milk is sold for 1.05 Euro per liter.
    Farmers are paid 0.20 Euro per liter.
    They need 0.40 Euro per liter in order to survive.
    So we currently see the biggest wave of bankruptcies in the history.
    The original concept of the EU was to guarentee sufficient food and energy for it’s population.
    We now see that the entire system has turned against the interests of it’s people.
    Lunatic regulations to promote the use of bio fuels, raising taxes and renewable energy projects that drive up energy prices ruin the very basic of a thriving economy which is the abundant availability of affordable energy.
    Copenhagen is key to provide a legal basis to turn Europe into a corporatist/fascist entity worse than the former USSR.
    They won’t let go until they have finalized their strive for “total control”.
    The original plan of the UN foresees China to be the “factory of the world” and in that regard their plans are developing faster than predicted.
    The current financial and economic crises is accelerating the process.
    It won’t be long and the biggest centers of democracies in the world cease to exist.
    The only wild card able and willing to stop the current process is the American People, the US Senate, the critical blogs on the internet and an extremely harsh winter hitting the US and Europe in 2009-2010.

  64. Great website and blog, so nice to get real scientific analysis as opposed to “Oh yeah, whatever happens its cos of AGW and anyone who say otherwise is a corrupt bastard” you get in most ‘reputable’ media outlets.
    As to China, I think at some point in the next century or so their female shortage is going to cause a rather nasty and abrupt end to their rise to dominance. I’ve seen some models (ha!) predicting that by 2100 the Chinese population may be half its present levels.
    Now I may be misinformed, but lets not go burying Western civilization just yet.

  65. Johnny Honda (05:13:39) :
    Chinese wisdom:
    “Whether the climate turns warmer or cooler, there are both positive and negative effects”
    Western “wisdom”:
    Change=Bad
    You can have endless discussion, which civilization is “better”, but concerning the pursuit of personal happiness, the asian civilisation is superior.
    The western civilisation has completed the art of living in fear and guilt to perfection.
    Well said- Here is one of my favorite quotes:
    “A Puritan is someone who goes to bed at night with the gnawing fear that someone,somewhere, is happy.”-HL Menken.
    Not a big fan of his but this is accurate.The Warmists are the New Puritans…

  66. Whether you believe in AGW or not, walk outside in Beijing right now and you will not be able to see the sky. Remember the Olympics shutdown? Better yet, I dare anybody reading this to go swimming in the Yellow river. China is definitely an economic powerhouse but you can’t walk outside without a mask to filter out the pollution. But hey, altleast you’ll be rich inside your bubble right?

  67. Patrick Davis (01:26:27)
    Re: Youth Decide
    I heard of a father who was told in no uncertain terms that his lifestyle and attitudes were responsible for global warming and all the environmental ills and destruction that would be inherited by the next generation. This from his 14 year old son, who had been indoctrinated at school.
    The father agreed with his son, and suggested a plan for living more greenly.
    1) Get rid of the TV
    2) Get rid of the computer, and all games played therewith.
    3) Get rid of his mobile phone, ipod, mp3, blackberry etc.
    4) Get rid of the car, so, sorry son, no more lifts anywhere and a 2 mile walk to school.
    5) No more holidays abroad.
    6) All clothing to be bought from charity shops.
    7) No more meat or fast food.
    I believe the son never mentioned the subject again………

  68. Wisdom indeed. And it’s even easier to appreciate when one realizes that this wisdom is not totaly lacking in western culture (as this blog, among so many others, prove).
    And so, in kind, I’m going to provide a bit of my own wisdom, for those so ready to trash western culture in the times of the Chinese Bull.
    Anyone recall when Japan was going to be the next Greatest Thing That Ever Happened? Yeah, people were told to learn Japanese, to teach their kids Japanese, to “get used to the fact” that Japan was so going to dominate all aspects of life not only in the future, but WELL into the future. But then in 1990, boom finally went bust. Flat, stagnate, broke, and now all everyone can talk about is China.
    So there’s been a shift in the marketplace. China has gained some much needed prosperity. But does that mean China is going to dominate? Perhaps, perhaps not, for the trend has at best a lukewarm friendship with the prediction. So I fail to see why anyone should move to China, learn the language, and “get used to the fact”… especially when the fact ain’t even proven yet. (I will learn Chinese if it ever becomes important to my benefit/survival, but not before, thank you very much!).
    The irony being that the point of this article is that wisdom is not supposed to be about the short-sighted worship of the trend. Those who moved to China *last year* (I could rest my case right here, on that alone) to “ensure their future” have done no such thing, to not even their own knowledge (no matter how well they trade commodities). After all, who can really say what will happen even five years, ten years, twenty years… into the future? Who knows which policies will be abandoned, and what the new ones to replace them will be?
    So I wouldn’t be so quick to bury the west and praise the east. Granted, we can make the prediction and be guaranteed accuracy if the west continues in its anti-carbon crusade (which, btw, many more than not are skeptical of) that the west will fail, but just because China won’t be going green doesn’t mean anything for them, one way or the other. Industrial/market economies have had their troubles, after all, so nothing is ever guaranteed.

  69. ” Richard (03:28:15) :
    rob uk (03:11:52) : Where`s Flanagan.
    On China he would be completely out of his depth.”
    Not necessarily. Belgians learn early about China from Rémy Georges, and nowadays China is almost as easy to reach from Europe as the USA.

  70. Like most centrally controlled economies, great errors in the farming industry have been made (think about the soviet experiment to use the rivers Syr Darya and Amu in Uzbekistan for cotton plantations causing the Aral sea to dry up and the desertification of the area). As in Russia – the Chinese authorities record is not great.
    Deforestation in the coastal areas of the south east, mean more flooding and less evapo-transpiration. This has a knock effect which leads to the drying up of the interior lands, once fed rainfall from the clouds formed over the forests and blown inland to dryer areas from the south east coast now the winds blow dry. In addition, deforestation leads to large scale erosion of the upland areas, rapid run-off, river silting, thereby causing consequent flooding. An ecological disaster and growing worse.
    In the North West, on the Quinghai-Tibet Plateau, the grasslands have been ploughed up and desertification now is rampant, acquifiers have dried up because ground water has been pumped and used for irrigation.
    When the northern (Siberian) wind blows the dust clouds swirl down towards the big cities on the coast and north east, the problems grow ever worse.
    http://www.grist.org/article/grossman-bites/
    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/03/from-china-with/
    China does not believe in AGW, but it is convenient for the government to blame the nebulous vagueness of AGW for the failures of the central government agronomic policies – and consequently, the ecological disasters which are becoming ever more catastrophic. At the same time say to the world,’ we will not be deflected from our industrial growth and anyway some warming may be beneficial!’ -very pragmatic, at Copenhagen they will make noises about this and that but nothing will accrue and the alarmists will proclaim that ‘China is on their side’. The only side that China bats for is…… well, China.
    The Chinese refer to their country as the ‘Middle Kingdom” and its true that they’ve bestowed to the world many wonders, and are doing so now, the country is now an economic power-house. They regard Indo-China as their ‘fiefdom’, if one visits Bangkok, the sky train is being built by Chinese engineers and Chinese money and the Chinese influence pervades the City. There is now talk of a ‘trans’ highway from the south of China through to Bangkok. The upper Mekong has been dammed at the Xiaowan dam project, the mighty Mekong is no longer the river it once was.
    http://e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2162
    The Chinese are in Burma and damn near run the country, (but their influence is not as great in Vietnam, they have been enemies for millennia).
    China’s rapacious desire for raw materials to feed their great industrial drive, they need to grow at 8% to ‘keep still’ means they have allied themselves with some very unsavourary governments, of which Sudan is a good example
    Zimbabwe is another.
    They are very coy about what they are doing in Africa, but some refer to it as ‘rape’, an emotive ‘uncivilised’ term.
    http://www.bignewsnetwork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=34992
    That China is the new super-power is undisputed, but they should be observed very closely. Russia should beware, there are eyes watching the great open spaces in the bordering states of China. They almost exclusively trade now with the Chinese, and the Sino influence will be dominate, and lead to ‘annexation’.
    I admire all Eastern Civilations, I like the people, I travel there, but China is coming to us.

  71. skb (01:09:40) :
    Phil’s Dad (20:56:34) :
    Do a Google search on “Who Were The First Americans?”
    Many of the articles, especially from the populat press, will contain the usual array of “could”, “may”, “perhaps” weasel words as well as huge time frames “…lived between 12,000 to 50,000 years ago…” but in the Anthropological world there is some serious discussion that the Americas could have been inhabited as far back as 50,000 years ago and that the Asians who crossed the Bering Land Bridge 12,000 years ago did not find an empty continent but were only the latest of immigrants.
    Politically, a lot of the moral force of Native American claims get lost when they cannot claim to be totally innocent victims of European aggression when in fact an even earlier native people (possibly the same stock as the Australian Aborigines) were overwhelmed by them. Native American groups are very aggressive about claiming ancient remains as their own ancestors and usually try to block the “desecration” of scientific analysis on those remains. The political ramifications of a 20,000 year old caucasoid or negroid skeleton in the Americas would be immense.
    Political posturing aside, the Indian was in possession when the Europeans arrived and was dispossessed. It is almost impossible to imagine that the outcome of the contact between two such vastly different cultures could have turned out any way other than it did. It is a cruel tragedy nonetheless and continues to be perpetrated on the reservations to this day with their grotesque rates of unemployment, poverty, alcoholism, crime and suicide.

  72. Phil’s Dad (21:17:48) :

    On reflection the real record of the Native American is that they are still here – despite some dramatic climate shifts over the period.

    And despite that little episode of Europeans showing up with smallpox, horses, and steel.

  73. I can say that I worked a site for a couple of years in the first half of the ’60’s that intercepted weather from the southern half of China.
    We were always impressed that their observations were very clean and without any obvious errors. Were the accurate? I suspect they were quite good, but I can’t confirm that.
    You could almost set your watch by their CW transmissions — they usually started within 2-3 seconds of scheduled time.

  74. I live in Austin, Texas, where it is safe to exercise vigorously outdoors about 330 days a year. On the other days, if you exercise in the morning or after sunset, you will generally be fine as well.
    If I lived in Beijing or any number of Chinese megalopolises, the same would not be true.
    I side with John Christy and others who maintain that poverty is the single most likely factor to increase environmental degradation. I thus support, without reservation, the full economic development of China, India, and the entire Third World — not with windmills and solar but the same way we did. Anything less would is unjust, and foolhardy.
    What will the result be of India’s and China’s development environmentally? Almost certainly, it will be the improvement of the two countries’ air and water quality, as has largely taken place in the west over the course of the last century. In the short term, though, things are likely to get worse, maybe significantly so. But as people become wealthier they will demand, and eventually receive, an improved environment.
    Keep in mind that it wasn’t all that long ago that American lakes and rivers were literally ablaze. When they weren’t on fire, our waterways were choked with fish kills and toxins so thick that swimming in them was essentially unthinkable. As individual and government resources increased, demands were made for the air and water quality to be improved. To a remarkable extent, this has already happened.
    As Americans living in the early 21st century, my family has basically won the world geographic lottery, in terms of the quality of life that a decent environment affords. My daughter can run around on the soccer field, swim, and play at the park — without nose bleeds, running eyes, instant asthma, and such. How many Chinese can say the same about opportunities for athletics and general outdoor play for their children?
    While China is likely to out-compete us industrially, I cannot agree that it is a certainty that it will also do so technologically. I don’t think that American can-doism is as fragile as that.
    As these competitions unfold, I will continue to feel grateful to live someplace as safe and clean, relatively speaking, as the U.S.
    ————————————————-
    The Zhang article linked above is excellent. Irony of ironies: It was edited by Paul Ehrlich. That Paul Ehrlich. The overall message: warmth is always better than cold for humanity.

  75. re: age of the Chinese vs the Sumerians
    Although recorded history in China goes back about 3,000 years, the earliest records contain tantalizing references to kingdoms and cultures that were still remembered and which far pre-dated the time of the writers of these records. They seem to be referring to a purely stone-age civilisation which may in fact have predated Sumerian civilisations. That can’t be proved, since there are no written records from that time, but in oral tradition the memory of these societies persisted for a very long time.
    Remember that the only reason we credit the Sumerians as first was because they were the ones who came up with the idea of baking their records into hard clay tablets which would last thousands of years without decaying. They may not actually have been first, just the first to find out how to preserver written records for posterity.
    And I think that rather than thinking of the modern Chinese through the “communist” prism, it is much more useful to view them as having a reformed and much more efficient version of the same government they’ve had for 2000 years now. This doesn’t make them less intimidating; in fact, I think it makes them more.

  76. China is totally screwed. Peak oil is going to seriously wound the West. It’s going to danged near “kill” China.
    It’s a Totalitarian State, dependent on exports. They will be able to “bid” with us for a while for the remaining oil (especially, Russian oil,) but that will throw their “customers” into severe, and prolonged recession. So much for the “export” economy.
    By the time the “free” economies have suffered, and adapted, the Chinese economy will be back where it was in the 80’s.
    They got started “too late,” and they still have an, eventually suffocating, Command Economy.

  77. Ron de Haan (19:47:38) :
    More Chinese, this is a must read:
    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=4044&linkbox=true

    Great article! Thanks!
    Emission rights are development rights
    All developed countries, without exception, became developed through high-speed industrial growth, and that growth inevitably resulted in intense utilization of fossil energy and massive CO2 emissions.

    BINGO! Smart cookies these Chinese…
    Therefore, emission rates correlate with development rates and emission rights are development rights.
    Currently the need for fossil energy in China is enormous. China can use the “cumulative emission quota per capita” strategy to gain favorable status.
    In other words, they are not going to roll over and play dead and they are not going to give up their development strategy based on fossil fuels.
    China is not going to cut their fossil fuel use and The West can go play with itself. Now THAT is going to put a dent in Copenhagen…
    He concluded that although China is in the group that needs to reduce the emission increase rate, China can strive for more emission rights since China could get over 30 percent of the global emissions quota
    And they expect a minimum of about 1/3 of the GLOBAL energy (and thus economic) budget. For now…
    1/6 the people, 1/3 the wealth. Yeah, that’s about right…

  78. E.M.Smith (19:45:06) : “FWIW, one of the very best commodity traders in the world, Jim Rogers, has packed up and moved to Singapore so his kids will grow up speaking chinese and be prepared for the future…”
    BTW, Singapore is in Malaysia. But perhaps they require all there to learn “chinese” in order to be prepared for the future.

  79. pwl (20:47:31) : The Chinese being on the moon with a permanent military base will bring new meaning to the term “overlords”. Who needs to invade when you control the purse strings, the technology manufacturing and dominate the military spacial volume from the high ground surrounding the Earth. Easy to defend and easy to attack from, the moon is.
    Figure out the energy needed to nudge a modest sized asteroid into an impact trajectory for N. America or Europe. Then figure out the size crater made by the 1000 Megaton impact at the end of the gravity well…
    Can you say “Bang for the Yuan?” … I knew you could.
    Extra Credit: Figure out the energy at impact of a 10 ton rock launched via rail gun from the moon. Now figure out the cost to send a reply missile. Now figure out the odds you can get a missile to the moon with a rail gun sitting on the moon that can launch a “rock a minute” at your missile…
    Yes, it is an old Heinlein story. But he knew his physics:
    http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/nonfiction/moonisharsh.htm

  80. Oh, and I once saw a report of a Japanese study that said, basically, one large “nickel iron” asteroid properly shaped for aerodynamics and de-orbited (i.e. make a shuttle shape out of it and send it at the ocean on a glide path) would provide total global stainless steel demand for one year. They decided not to pursue it at that time since it would collapse the global stainless steel market…
    Lets see, China is growing like a weed. China needs resources, especially metals. China doesn’t give a hoot about global stainless steel providers since it doesn’t own that market (yet). … And once you can shape multi-ton bit of steel for reentry and land it, well …

  81. Tom in Florida (09:48:08) :
    Sorry, but Singapore is in fact an independent state at the tip of the Malay peninsula and has a population that is more than three-quarters Chinese. More than 50% of the population speaks “Chinese” as a first language: Mandarin 35%, Cantonese almost 6% and Hokkien (a version of the Fujian dialect which is also spoken in Taiwan) at more than 11%. Only 14% of the population there is ethnic Malay.

  82. China has taken on a new definition of “Communism”. To have the looks of “Free Enterprise” but under a communistic system has a lot to be caucious! We have borrow from them a number of times. This is scary becasuse the “Dollar” has little value to them…They loaned Us the money so they can have control of the U.S. for the first time in their history.
    What if they call on these loans? Why are they buying so much Gold? It is in order to protect themselves when this country collaspes. I say this because of Our present government has done in its past decisions after the Financial collaspe last fall and since then. Bills that this Country cannot afford and increase in taxes the American People cannot afford neither.
    It’s good to see China cannot be fooled by AGW. Check out this article!
    http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2009/09/17/17climatewire-climate-bill-drifts-into-a-potomac-fog-96749.html?pagewanted=all
    Sounds like us “Realists” will have time to gather more scientific infomation on Climate Change and against this fiasco about CO2.
    Maybe, just maybe put this all behind us!

  83. China is certainly in the process of transforming itself and there is a lot to like and admire about the Chinese as well as things that should cause us in the West grave concern, but it would be a mistake to conclude that their development will necessarily repeat or mirror ours. At the risk of being lumped in with Paul Ehrlich, let’s look at the demographics.
    The industrialization of the U.S. occurred when it was a much younger country. The imminent collapse of Social Security because of our aging population and comparatively fewer workers paying into the fund has been a concern for nearly a generation now. The Chinese are rapidly approaching a similar demographic difficulty: The US has 20% of its population under the age 15. For China, that figure is 19.8%, India: 31%, Russia: 14.8%, Mexico: 29.1%, Nigeria 41.5%. The Median Age in the U.S. is 36.7 and the life expectancy 78.1 The figures for China are 36.7 and 73.4, respectively, while India has 25.3 and 69.9, Russia 38.4 and 66.03, Mexico 26.3 and 76.6 and Nigeria 19 and 47.
    A fertility rate of 2.1 (i.e. an average of 2.1 children for every female) is generally considered the “replacement rate” or zero population growth rate. In the U.S. that figure is 2.05 (we continue to have population growth because of immigration) and Russia is even worse, with a fertility rate of 1.41. The figure for China is 1.79 while India is 2.72. Mexico has a fertility rate of 2.34 and Nigeria 4.91 (that’s right, an average of almost five children per female!).
    There are offsets, however. The U.S. has only .6% of its population engaged in agriculture, while the Chinese have 40%. India has 60% of its population in farming. If China can mechanize its agriculture to release a large percentage of those farmers for industrial work during this generation, they may well make it to the moon. The middle of this century will belong to the Indians. If the West buys into Copenhagen, Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa will be doomed. I’m not saying demography is destiny, but it would not be smart to ignore it either….
    The figures cited above are from the CIA’s World Fact Book…. A nifty reference:
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html

  84. Annette Huang (22:24:40) : The written language is what has unified China over centuries. Characters can be learned with application and since most Chinese can do it in a small part of a lifetime, I’m not sure why you think it should take anyone 2.
    IIRC there are 9 dominant dialects of Chinese, but all use the same character set. This allows mutual written intelligibility.
    FWIW, while in Japan using “just enough tourist Japanese” to get fed and to the hotel, I leaned 3 or 4 “Chinese” characters simply by observation. (One looks like a couple of doors like for an old west saloon. Guess what that means…) Yes, there are about 10,000+ of them. But the typical westerner has about a 3,000 word vocabulary and you can be happy with 1000. And in a pinch, a few hundred can work for a ‘tourist’… They are relatively well thought out pictograms and have a systematic nested character. (i.e. you can take the character for land or farm and add the one for person to make a compound).
    Why was I learning Chinese characters in Japan? Because Japan uses them as one of their FOUR writing methods… Chinese by meaning, Chinese by sound value, Syllabic, Roman. Romaji is only used for foreign words, by convention, but… (if you see OL in the middle of a bunch of Japanese it means Office Lady – the woman who handles typical secretarial and office chores. Talk about a hard language to learn to read…)
    Romaji is self explanatory.
    Syllabic comes in a couple of different forms. From the wiki:
    There are three kana scripts: modern cursive hiragana (ひらがな), modern angular katakana (カタカナ), and the old syllabic use of kanji known as man’yōgana that was ancestral to both.
    And Kana
    Kana are the syllabic Japanese scripts, as opposed to the logographic Chinese characters known in Japan as kanji (Japanese: 漢字)
    The Kana can mean what the picture shows or can stand for the sound value of the symbol. You get to figure out which.
    By comparison, leaning what a Kana means in the original Chinese is easy…
    (If both gate doors are closed, it means one thing, if one is open… Yes, it can be that easy).

  85. rob uk (03:11:52) :
    Richard (03:28:15) :
    A subdued Flanagan? Maybe he put his money where his mouth is and shorted home heating oil futures….

  86. Robert E. Phelan (10:10:02) : “Sorry, but Singapore is in fact an independent state at the tip of the Malay peninsula and has a population that is more than three-quarters Chinese. More than 50% of the population speaks “Chinese” as a first language: Mandarin 35%, Cantonese almost 6% and Hokkien (a version of the Fujian dialect which is also spoken in Taiwan) at more than 11%. Only 14% of the population there is ethnic Malay.”
    Thanks for the correction. Once again, WUWT proves a great source for information.

  87. Kevin (20:52:55) :
    They’ve seen more climate change than any other civilization.
    While I normally agree wholeheartedly with your premises, this one is quite faulty. You are clearly implying that chinese people have more knowledge on the subject of climate change, since they’ve been around for thousands of years. Have they been able to predict future climates in those thousands of years? Clearly, their history of famines suggests that they couldn’t.
    =============================
    =============================
    That’s telling em! What would the Chinese know about climate change? They merely invented the thermometer. And we all know that centuries of taking daily tempuratures is just weather.

  88. Tom in Florida (11:15:14) :
    Thank you. I may sometimes come across as curmudgeonly, but I don’t really mean to be. The East was my stomping ground for 14 years and I get a little passionate about it. When I was dragged back from Taiwan, kicking and screaming the whole way, people would remark: “All that time in Taiwan? Goodness! Can you speak Japanese? and did you hear the results of the World Series?…” Talk about making grown men cry….

  89. Navigator (10:57:28) :
    Chinas “most senior” meteorologist looks young for his age.
    Asians age gracefully.

  90. Western educated people will still be the brains behind innovation for a long time no matter how much economic growth China and India see. All this hyperbole about Chiba becoming the world power fails to take note we are becoming one open world with no need for a super power, only centers of education and innovation. It’s nice to talk about learning Mandarin too but forget about it being a new lingua franca. English is here to stay as the world’s language of commerce, though as usual it will always be a changing language and borrow extensively from other languages and new English dialects will spring up in many places as it does in India already.

  91. “China will squash us like a bug economically.”
    Correct!
    I wonder why our government–of BOTH parties–wants to throw us under the Chinese bus.
    Oh yeah, money.

  92. Phil’s Dad (20:56:34) : said
    Native Americans – 20,000 years
    REPLY: Good point, but do they have any written records of what weather and climate were like? – Anthony
    **
    What about the Romans? Intermittent records from 780Bc from the western empire then good climate references from the Byzantine empire from 380AD to 1453AD.(the fall of Constatinople)
    We also have records of the irrigation systems used when there was severe droughts. This from their records from around 755AD
    “Some 2,000 kilometers to the southeast, a well-informed observer at Constantinople recorded that great and extremely bitter cold settled on the Byzantine Empire and the lands to the north, west (confirming the Chronicon Moissiacense’s statement concerning Illyricum and Thrace), and east. The north coast of the Black Sea froze solid 100 Byzantine miles out from shore (157.4 km). The ice was reported to be 30 Byzantine “cubits” deep, and people and animals could walk on it as on dry land.
    Drawing on the same written source, another contemporary, the patriarch of Constantinople, Nicephorus I, emphasized that it particularly affected the “hyperborean and northerly regions,” as well as the many great rivers that lay north of the Black Sea. Twenty cubits of snow accumulated on top of the ice, making it very difficult to discern where land stopped and sea began, and the Black Sea became unnavigable. In February the ice began to break up and
    flow into the Bosporus, entirely blocking it.
    Theophanes’ account recalls how, as a child, the author (or his source’s author) went out on the ice with thirty other children and played on it and that some of his pets and other animals died. It was possible to walk all over the Bosporus around Constantinople and even cross to Asia on the ice.
    One huge iceberg crushed the wharf at the Acropolis, close to the tip of Constantinople’s peninsula, and another extremely large one hit the city wall, shaking it and the houses on the other side, before breaking into three large pieces; it was higher than the city walls. The terrified Constantinopolitans wondered what it could possibly portend.”
    At 66 ppb, the spike in the GISP2 sulfate deposit on Greenland dated 767 is
    the highest recorded for the eighth century (see Fig. 5) and shows that this terrible winter in Europe and western Asia was connected with a volcanic aerosol that left marked traces on Greenland.
    http://www.medievalacademy.org/pdf/Volcanoes.pdf
    tonyb

  93. Regarding the contribution from various cultures to human progress, I remind you of the enormous contribution from Irish monks. It is well documented that Irish monks preserved much of the collective knowledge from Egypt, Greece and the Roman Empire. See “How the Irish Saved Civilization,” Cahill, Thomas (Doubleday, 1995).
    What is less well known is the Irish contribution to oceanography and the discovery of North America. St Brendan the Navigator, an Irish monk, has been chronicled to have sailed from Ireland to Newfoundland early in the 6th Century in lateen rigged leather currach. See: “Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis” and the somewhat incredulous references in Wikipedia per “Brendan Navigator.” For example, I surmise that the sea monsters Brendan encountered were whales. Sadly the Wikipedia authors suffer from chronic lack of imagination.
    To this day many Scandinavians deny that St Brendan, after discovering North America, sailed to Dane Land and shared his navigation discoveries with Vikings. This led an extended migration of Viking explorers who rowed their boats to Ireland in order to take sailing lessons from St Brendan and his followers.
    Brendan’s voyage was replicated by Tim Severin, renowned historian, explorer and writer in 1978 in a leather currach. A documentary of the expedition was filmed and distributed commercially. The background music for this film was a symphonic suite, “Brendan’s Voyage,” composed by Sean Davey.
    The contribution of Irish monks cannot be ignored. Without them the advancement of science and discoveries would have been delayed for the centuries it would take to reinvent them.

  94. My wife is Chinese and her pragmatic view of the world and all things is reflected in the statements by Xiao Ziniu. When one removes the emotional element from alarmism there is little left in the breadbasket. The Green foray by left wing politicians across the globe was always fraught with peril. The value of carbon offsets is indicative of the esteem in which green politics is held today. Copenhagen looks increasingly like a looming reality check for alarmists and those who would profit from the climate change hoax.

  95. Navigator (10:57:28) :
    Chinas “most senior” meteorologist looks young for his age

    They drink tea instead of milk…perhaps he is a 70 years old “youngster”.
    Thanks a lot Anthony for these refreshing maps of temperatures and anomalies, we were in need of a different source. From now on we´ll visit:
    http://bcc.cma.gov.cn/en/

  96. Anonymous (12:28:48) :
    “China will squash us like a bug economically.”
    Correct!
    I wonder why our government–of BOTH parties–wants to throw us under the Chinese bus.
    Oh yeah, money.”
    Sorry to butt in, but that makes me laugh. Hard. So hard in fact, that I laughed my soda out through my nose (and I wasn’t even drinking any). To be fair, though, I can only laugh at half of what you wrote (which refelects the general views in the world today, so its not like I’m laughing at YOU specifically).
    Yes, governments will do absolutely anything for the monetary systems they create and manage. Til the very end, they will push them into the mania phase, where they finally collapse, exhausted and broken. But no, China isn’t going to squash anyone except for China, the same the U.S., Japan, Russia, Germany, England, Spain…
    Take your pick of empires that were destined to rule the world and make everyone else speak their language, but humans have this unbeatable (and most ANNOYING) tendency to run their empires into the ground while creating and sustaining delusions in all along the way, be they of great fear or great praise. But if history is any guide, we’re doing it much faster than our ancient ancestors did. Empires used to rise and fall over centuries, but in more recent times it happens in decades. In some parts of the world, powershift take place over a matter of years.
    Anyway…
    http://mises.org/story/3573
    Sure, China has lots of tall buildings and lots of pretty lights, fed by lots of pretty hydrocarbons but they can’t populate them enough to turn more farmers into factory workers so that they can burn even more pretty hydrocarbons. Sure, they’re buying resources like mad, but no small amount of it is for speculative purposes. This should sound familiar if it does, but that is what the great depression was all about: Bubble-mania. It should also sound familiar because time and again centrally planned “economies” fail. Nothing has changed in this regard. Even if everyone in the world were praising and bowing to China (and presumably not able to even add two and two, since only China has any intelligence, so the hyperbole goes), the outcomes of those two principles never change. Only the name of overly feared/respected empire changes, folks.
    And their gold and silver story isn’t as grand as many commentators make it out to be. Between mining and buying the stuff over the past 30 years, they haven’t even 10% of the world’s gold of some 160,000 tonnes. And over some 80 years of aggresive buying of silver between the late 19th century and the mid 20th… well, however much silver they have is anyone’s guess but most of the silver tonneage mined in human history was not done during that time, nor was much of it done by China. And neither metal can work on its own. Silver is a dual metal, industrial and monetary, and gold has a great tendency to hoard (not save, but hoard, as in disappear from circulation unless a commodity with a greaty declining marginal utility entices it out of hoarding mode). They would need both to ween themselves off of paper and credit, and they don’t have enough of either.
    So there ain’t no way China is not going to deflate. They’re a centrally planned “economy” based entirely in the “capitalism” of credit and debt creation. Even if they were to triple their holdings of gold and silver by tomorrow (in the literal sense), their population is too big to allow that increase a significant impact on their paper dependence. The population needs to spread out, with the government maintaining a non-expanding border (world domination kills all empires, for reasons I can’t get into here).
    I know that I said earlier in another post that we can never be certain of anything, and I stand by that because what I meant was that we don’t know when people will learn their lesson, and stop relying on “capitalism” and bubble mania. Until then, things are quite predictable: People will continue to create and believe delusions until reality shows them otherwise.

  97. “He had this bit of wisdom to pass along:”
    So a Chinese government scientist offers “wisdom” while Western government scientists are immersed in lies and corruption? It seems there’s a double-standard operating here, coupled with a marked lack of scepticism and critical thinking.
    Keep in mind that the Chinese government has a major stake in playing down the possible effects of climate change, and that its chief climate scientist will be adhering to the government line. This should induce some scepticism over the reason for this scientist’s claims.
    For the sake of clarity: I am not arguing that Xiao Ziniu’s views are wrong because his government has a stake in playing down the possible effects of climate change.
    I am pointing out that WUWT’s scepticism tends to go one way, and that the views of the likes of Xiao are more readily accepted than statements that are more pro-AGW.
    But if Western climate scientists are to be distrusted due to their links with government, the same should apply – and perhaps even more so – to scientists from countries less committed to free speech.

  98. In regard to some comments made in this forum concerning China, I believe China’s threat to the West, like that of Japan thirty years ago, is being overrated. China is still a nation with massive poverty, social injustice, and official corruption. Unless the Chinese somehow turn these endemic, man-made plagues of the Chinese history around, the nation—to employ a phrase from the China’s most famous politician, Mao—will be a paper tiger that eventually deflates from within.
    The true task of China is not as much to do in catching up with the West as in overcoming the three historic specters of the long Chinese history–poverty, injustice, and corruption. When the Chinese has achieved that task, there will be nothing to fear of them, for they will have gained the moral credibility worthy to lead the world.
    The fear and concern being expressed about China, however, is not completely spurious, for if the Chinese were to fail in their historic task yet muscle their way into the leadership position in the world through raw economic and military power, then the world would reflect their failure, as it would be poorer, more unjust, corrupt, and dangerous place. What needs to be watched more carefully is the development of China’s social ethics espoused by its government more than its material prowess.

  99. Brendan H (18:29:03) :
    “So a Chinese government scientist offers “wisdom” while Western government scientists are immersed in lies and corruption?”
    He (Xiao) clearly said that shifts in climate and temperature bring good and bad effects, either way. No honest or competent scientist would argue otherwise, nor have they this whole time. They object to the alarmism and all the measures that may very well be a waste of time and valuable resources, which some in fact have already proven to be wasteful spending and even negatively impacting quality of life and/or the environment in the implementing of them. And given that a very large body evidence from the past, along with the present, shows that we’re not likely in the midst of catastrohpic climate change (just change as usual), it is perfectly acceptable to show support for China’s assessment, as stated by Xiao Ziniu.
    But I wouldn’t say Western government scientists are immersed in lies and corruption. There’s two words there, and one of them, in a certain context, is at odds with the right to speak freely; politics is not always synonymous with government, but is usually in support of ideology, rather than gaining understanding and shaping policy through healthy, open debate.

  100. Robert E. Phelan (08:36:47) :
    skb (01:09:40)
    TonyB (12:31:30) :
    (and Anthony of course)
    Thank you all. I come here for an education and you have not let me down.
    I think though that we are trumped by Boudu (04:24:10) ‘s original Australians.

  101. Benjamin: “But I wouldn’t say Western government scientists are immersed in lies and corruption.”
    No, but many sceptics would claim that they are, and subject their claims to intense scrutiny, yet give a free pass to non-Western scientists who are climate sceptics but also government-funded.
    It seems to me that there is a double standard at play here, in that the two groups are treated differently according to their views on climate.
    REPLY: Much like AGW’s Alarmists being treated as “heroes” and skeptics being treated like holocaust deniers. Brendan you aren’t going to win this one, bugger off. – Anthony

  102. Boundu (04:24:10).
    “Be interesting to explore their verbal histories for accounts of climate change.” (referring to Australian Aborigines).
    My understanding is that the story of the ‘Rainbow Serpent’ originated from the melt following the Younger Dryas. Sea levels rose by 120metres and flooded many river ‘exits’ around the world giving rise the ‘drowned river valleys’ form that we see around the world. Sydney harbour and Kakadu National park are examples of this, being passed into legend as part of the Rainbow Serpent story. This flooding also produced the current river ‘Delta’ formation as we see the the Amazon, Nile and Mekong rivers pushed back inland due to rising sea levels over the past 10kyrs. Rivers do not normally form a Delta, only if they are pushed into it by rising sea levels and gentle landform slopes.
    This interesting sea level rise effect, that makes me look at every river exit with new eyes, was discussed in Stephen Oppenheimer’s book ‘Eden in the East, The Drowned Continent of South East Asia”.

  103. Phil’s dad,
    Unfortunately, much of what is presented as Australian aboriginal culture and history is little more than fiction crafted for our politically correct times.
    I recommend the following first hand account of a woman who lived 30 years with the last aboriginals of southwest and south Australia.
    The Passing of the Aborigines (1938)
    A Lifetime spent among the Natives of Australia
    Author: Daisy Bates, C.B.E. (1859?-1951)
    Link to ebook
    http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks04/0400661.txt

  104. Philip_B (00:46:34) : said
    “Phil’s dad,
    Unfortunately, much of what is presented as Australian aboriginal culture and history is little more than fiction crafted for our politically correct times.”
    That leaves me the winner then, where do I go to collect my very big prize? Anthony can have 25%.
    tonyb

  105. Anthony: “Brendan you aren’t going to win this one, bugger off. – Anthony”
    This is not about winning. It’s about a lack of critical thinking in favouring the views of a climate scientist because his opinions are congenial to you.

  106. Brendan H (00:45:51) :
    This is not about winning. It’s about a lack of critical thinking in favouring the views of a climate scientist because his opinions are congenial to you.
    Great. Another DBT. You’ve obviously not been reading this thread or you’d know that most of us recognize the Chinese conflict of interest. If you were knowledgeable about China at all you would recognize that Dr. Xiao was, in a sense, speaking out of class. The official Chinese position is that GHG are a serious threat to the environment but since they were emitted by Western nations it is up to the West to clean them up. They are arguing that their contribution to the problem is minor and that the West merely wants to hold their progress and development back. The Chinese will be cheering us on at Copenhagen to commit economic suicide while they plot to take over the world.
    Develop a little critical thinking of your own, boyo.

  107. Now the UN’s “climate chief” says that China is “poised” to lead the world on the issue – the article is about China and India “announcing plans” rather than anything actually done yet, but it’s relevant.

  108. Brendan H (21:30:22) :
    “It seems to me that there is a double standard at play here, in that the two groups are treated differently according to their views on climate.”
    Brendan, you’re mistaken about a double standard. A scientist is praised when they respect the evidence. Likewise, sceptics must change their view when/if the evidence no longer supports their scepticism. Until then, there is by necessity going to be a growing divide between the warmists and the sceptics. Such is the nature of conflict, of life and progress. Accept it, then make a decision whether you take it or leave it, because by the nature of conflict, conflict can’t be what anyone wants it to be, therefore will not adhere to anyone’s demands that it behave otherwise.

  109. Robert E Whelan: “You’ve obviously not been reading this thread or you’d know that most of us recognize the Chinese conflict of interest.”
    A handful of posters have referred to a conflict of interest. But that’s not my point. Rather, it’s the double standard in applying “wisdom” to the views of one particular scientist while others are branded as immersed in lies and corruption.
    Xiao Ziniu is no doubt a career scientist, funded by his government to research climate. But we hear no accusations of funding corruption, lust for power and control, careerism, peer pressure, hidden agendas, cooked data, cultism, and fraud.
    There’s a marked dearth of scepticism when a climate scientist expresses views that are congenial to scepticism. That’s what I call a double standard.

  110. Gee, I am really shocked that people here know so little about China. The Chinese are nice people, but they really have no idea about their own history, much less to be concerned about records from Old China. Every generation seems to destroy the past generations knowledge. It’s a kind of self-hatred that is sometimes expressed in extreme nationalism.
    China may someday lead the world, but not in the backwards way some of you tend to think it will.

  111. Ron de Haan (19:41:06) :
    “Hopefully Xiao Ziniu has some political contacts”.
    After hearing the Speech of HU Jintao adressing the UN Climate Week today the answer
    must be “NO”.
    The Chinese Government has obviously bought the hoax and prepares to “jump” too.

  112. Benjamin: “Brendan, you’re mistaken about a double standard.”
    I don’t think so. There is a general view among climate sceptics that government scientists are corrupted because they are funded from the public purse. The Beijing Climate Center is a government-funded body. Interestingly, its parent body, the National Climate Center, is described as an “indendendent entity”, although one of its management bodies is the Office of the Chinese Communist Party Committee.
    Don’t get me wrong. I am not claiming that Xiao Ziniu is a corrupt scientist because he heads a government-funded scientific body. However, we have seen plenty of allegations of lies and corruption from climate skeptics who seem convinced that government-funded science is the sure road to perdition.
    And yet, this government-funded scientist is praised for his “wisdom”. Sounds like a double standard to me.

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