Socioeconomic Impacts of Global Warming are Systematically Overestimated

Socioeconomic Impacts of Global Warming are Systematically Overestimated

Part I: Why are Impacts Overestimated?

Indur M. Goklany

[Note to the Reader: For the sake of argument, in this post I will accept the IPCC’s estimates of global warming. I will show that even if one takes those estimates for granted, the impacts of global warming are, nevertheless, overestimated.]

Most of the scientific debate on global warming has focused on “climatological” issues that have been the province of IPCC Work Group I’s Science Assessment. However, there are even greater grounds for skepticism when it comes to estimates of the impacts of climate change, which is the monopoly of IPCC’s Work Group II, not least because these estimates are based on a chain of linked models with the uncertain output of each unvalidated model serving as the input for the next unvalidated model. [Yes, it’s that bad!].

The first link in this chain are emission models which use socioeconomic assumptions extending 100 or more years into the future to generate emission scenarios, which strains credulity. As Lorenzoni and Adger (2006: 74) noted in a paper commissioned for the Stern Review, socioeconomic scenarios “cannot be projected semi-realistically for more than 5–10 years at a time.”

The results of these emissions models are fed into coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs) to estimate spatial and temporal changes in climatic variables (such as temperature and precipitation) which are, then, used as inputs to simplified and incomplete biophysical models that project location-specific changes in biophysical factors (e.g., available habitat, or crop or timber yields). Notably, the uncertainty of estimates of climatic changes increases as the scale at which they have to be specified becomes finer. This is particularly true for precipitation, which is a — if not the — critical determinant of natural resources (e.g., water and vegetation) that human beings and all other living species depend on either directly or indirectly. As the US Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) review, Climate Models: An Assessment of Strengths and Limitations, notes:

“Climate model simulation of precipitation has improved over time but is still problematic. Correlation between models and observations is 50 to 60% for seasonal means on scales of a few hundred kilometers.” (CCSP 2008, p. 3).

“In summary, modern AOGCMs generally simulate continental and larger-scale mean surface temperature and precipitation with considerable accuracy, but the models often are not reliable for smaller regions, particularly for precipitation.” (CCSP 2008, p. 52).  [Emphasis added.]

In colloquial English this means that the AOGCMs have not been validated for less-than-continental or less-than-regional scales because they are unable to reproduce historical temperatures and precipitation simultaneously (and, moreover, cannot endogenously reproduce major climatic features such as the ENSO, PDO, etc.).  But the real world distribution of climate-sensitive resources and climate itself is heterogeneous and varies considerably on “scales of a few hundred kilometers.” Therefore, we necessarily should be using finer scale models to estimate impacts on these resources.

No matter, depending on the human or natural system under consideration, the outputs of the biophysical models (which also are not generally validated; see Nogues-Bravo 2009) may have to be fed into additional models to calculate the social, economic, and environmental impacts on those systems.  Ideally, the outputs from this set of models should be fed back into the emissions models, thereby closing an iterative loop of models. But models have, so far, not yet incorporated this feature.

Notably, I have never seen an end-to-end analysis of the uncertainties/confidence limits associated with impacts estimates derived from the entire chain of models at relevant scales (including uncertainties associated with the basic assumptions feeding the emissions models). I have often wondered why such a step, that should be fundamental to any scientific analysis, is ignored.

In any case, this post will not deal with the level of confidence or uncertainty attached to impacts estimates but with reasons why impacts estimates are systematically overestimated.  Also, this post will not address potential “catastrophes,” i.e., low-probability but potentially high-consequence outcomes such as a shut down of the thermohaline circulation or the melting of the Greenland and Antarctica Ice Sheets. These are deemed unlikely to occur during this century, and are grist for other post(s).

The major reason for systematic overestimation is that the magnitude of future damages depends critically on society’s future “adaptive capacity” — a fancy word for “adaptability.”  But the methodologies used to estimate impacts underestimate individuals’ and society’s future capacity to make self-directed (or autonomous) adaptations to global warming.  [Adaptations should include measures to either reduce any adverse effect of global warming or take advantage of any of its positive impacts.]

Figures 1 and 2, based on cross-country data, show how two climate-sensitive indicators of human well-being — cereal yield and available food supplies per capita — have improved with wealth and time (a surrogate for technology). This makes perfect sense since wealthier societies ought to be better able to afford technologies that can enhance crop productivity (Figure 1). And if that is insufficient to meet food demand, wealthier societies also ought to be able to purchase the food supplies they need (Figure 2) via internal or external trade.  Not surprisingly, hunger and malnutrition are lower in wealthier societies.

Figure 1: Cereal yields vs. GDP per capita, 1975-2003. Source: Goklany (2007).

Figure 2: Average daily food supplies per capita vs. GDP per capita, 1975-2002. Source: Goklany (2007).

Figures 1 and 2 also show that the crop yield and food supply curves shift upward with time, that is,  for any given level of GDP per capita, crop yield and food supplies increase as time marches on. This can be attributed to the secular change in technology which accretes over time, and is defined broadly to include both hardware (e.g., catalytic convertors and carbon adsorption systems) and software technologies (e.g., knowledge, policies and institutions that govern or modulate human actions and behavior, culture, management techniques, computer programs to track or model environmental quality, trading).

The patterns indicated in Figures 1 and 2 hold for virtually all objective determinants of human well-being — hunger, malnutrition, mortality rates, life expectancy, the level of education, greater access to safe water and sanitation.  See here and here.  All improve along with the level of economic development and time/technology, at least until they approach “saturation” (which helps accounts for the shape of Figure 2).  Similarly, spending on health care and research and development tends to go up with GDP per capita. Notably each of these determinants helps boost economic and technological development, and human and social capital (see, e.g., here and here), which themselves boost adaptive capacity. Therefore, in the future, as time marches on — and if societies become wealthier — as is assumed under all IPCC emission and climate scenarios, their adaptive capacity ought to be higher, and the net damages from global warming should be correspondingly lower.

Adaptive Capacity in Global Impacts Assessments in the IPCC’s Latest Assessment

To date, however, no impact study has fully accounted for both increasing wealth and secular technological change, as will be discussed in greater detail below. Consequently, they all overestimate the negative impacts and underestimate the positive impacts. Consider, for example, the suite of studies of the global impacts of climate change sponsored by the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and undertaken by a host of authors intimately involved in the IPCC’s various assessment reports (Parry 2004Global Environmental Change, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp. 1-99; IPCC WGII, AR$, Ch. 2). These studies were state-of-the-art at the time the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report was compiled. However:

  • The water resources study (Arnell 2004) totally ignores adaptation, despite the fact that many adaptations to water related problems, e.g., building dams, reservoirs, and canals, are among mankind’s oldest adaptations, and do not depend on the development of any new technologies (see here, pp. 1034–35). While, arguably, this may be acceptable methodology for an academic paper, it is simply inadequate to use “as is” to inform policymakers.
  • The study of agricultural productivity and hunger (Parry et al. 2004) allows for increases in crop yield with economic growth due to greater usage of fertilizer and irrigation in richer countries, decreases in hunger due to economic growth, some secular (time-dependent) increase in agricultural productivity, as well as some farm level adaptations to deal with climate change. But these adaptations are based on currently available technologies, rather than technologies that would be available in the future or any technologies developed to specifically cope with the negative impacts of global warming or take advantage of any positive outcomes (Parry et al., 2004, p. 57; and here, pp. 1032–33).  However, the potential for future technologies to cope with climate change is large, especially if one considers bioengineered crops and precision agriculture (see here, chapter 9; and here, pp. 292-93).
  • Nicholls (2004) study on coastal flooding from sea level rise takes some pains to incorporate improvements in adaptive capacity due to increasing wealth. But it makes some questionable assumptions. First, it allows societies to implement measures to reduce the risk of coastal flooding in response to 1990 surge conditions, but not to subsequent sea level rise (Nicholls, 2004, p. 74). But this is illogical. One should expect that any measures that are implemented would consider the latest available data and information on the surge situation at the time the measures are initiated. That is, if the measure is initiated in, say, 2050, the measure’s design would at least consider sea level and sea level trends as of 2050, rather than merely the 1990 level. By that time, we should know the rate of sea level rise with much greater confidence. Second, Nicholls (2004) also allows for a constant lag time between initiating protection and sea level rise. But one should expect that if sea level continues to rise, the lag between upgrading protection standards and higher GDP per capita will be reduced over time, and may even turn negative, if that seems warranted.  That is, adaptations would be anticipatory rather than reactive, particularly, for a richer society. Fourth, Nicholls (2004) does not allow for any deceleration in the preferential migration of the population to coastal areas, as might be likely if coastal flooding becomes more frequent and costly (see here, pp. 1036–37). [FWIW, New Orleans population continues to be below pre-Katrina levels, and Florida has been losing population in recent years – of course the risk of floods and hurricanes are hardly the only determinants of migration.]
  • The analysis for malaria undertaken by van Lieshout et al. (2004) includes adaptive capacity as it existed in 1990, but does not adjust it to account for any subsequent advances in economic and technological development. There is simply no justification for such an assumption, particularly since there were older papers in the open literature that had pointed that adaptive capacity was a critical element in determining impacts (see here, here, here). Yet this study passed peer review!!!

In my next post, I will look at what can be said about future adaptive capacity, and show that it has been grossly underestimated in impacts studies.



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73 thoughts on “Socioeconomic Impacts of Global Warming are Systematically Overestimated

  1. Regrettably, even in this sort of an argument that presents a clearly winning conclusion, we (any skeptic) has to begin with “Let us assume that the UN’s IPCC Global Warming Predictions are correct …”

    Wouldn’t it be nice to just once be able to be able to say “The UN IPCC’s conclusions are politically motivated and dead wrong?”

  2. “The study of agricultural productivity and hunger (Parry et al. 2004) allows for increases in crop yield with economic growth due to greater usage of fertilizer and irrigation in richer countries, decreases in hunger due to economic growth, some secular (time-dependent) increase in agricultural productivity, as well as some farm level adaptations to deal with climate change.”

    —…—

    But does the “study” even dare acknowledge that ALL plants all over the world (land, sea, swamp, forest, plain, and valley are growing 7% to 27% faster, stronger, and producing more food, fodder, fuel, and foliage than ever before? Since this 27% increase in plant growth increase yields and reduce damage, then we can feed more people faster in more areas with the warmer climates and longer growing seasons of any AGW scenario.

  3. Oh dang it it’s the Club Of Rome all over again! (That’s what they did in The Limits To Growth )

    Some people never learn.

  4. Author’s info from World Economics Journal

    Indur M. Goklany is a science and technology policy analyst at the US Department of the Interior. In 30-plus years in government, think tanks, and the private sector, he has written three books and over a hundred monographs, book chapters and papers on topics ranging from climate change, human well-being, and technological change to biotechnology, sustainable development and adaptation. He represented the US at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and at the negotiations leading to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. He was the principal author of the Resource Use and Management Subgroup report in the IPCC’s First Assessment. In the 1980s, he managed EPA’s fledgling emission trading program before that became popular. His degrees are in Electrical Engineering (B.Tech, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay; M.S., Ph.D., Michigan State University).

  5. Love that phrase “Adaptive Capacity” because that’s exactly how the BBC are spinning the Harsh and Unusual Winter in the Uk just now!
    Your use of the term is spot on, theirs is less honest.
    Dear old Auntie is now giving centre stage to the worldwide cold weather for once. From Poland to Korea, china to Mongolia, Mongolia to Manchester!
    No mention of GW, of course, that would be clearly risible.
    The spin that they’ve chosen is to marginalise this negative anomaly as an extreme of Climate that, by exception, will become another poster child that proves the case for AGW or rather its love child ACC.
    Doesn’t matter how many will die of cold or how many will starve. As long as their belief survives, they will happily accept the martydom of others.
    Now, that is true adaptation and the capacity to continue is limitless!

  6. It’s all about keeping people in Fear 24/7/365. Cowards are more easily handled and are more willing to give up their Constitutional rights than the fearless.

  7. WEll I’ll believe the climate models, when they can reproduce the GISStemp anomaly for the last 110 years; starting from the models that is; no input data.

  8. Speaking of overestimating the impacts and ignoring human adaptability…

    Read this, laugh. See second page, where they know what will happen 10,000 years in the future!

  9. “Adaptive Capacity in Global Impacts Assessments in the IPCC’s Latest Assessment”

    It’s words like “Adaptive Capacity”, “Visioning”, and “Sustainable Development” from the UN you have to be aware of. It’s all Agenda 21 BS. Those words are code words used as a cover for taking everything you have for the benefit of the collective.
    I think we should relocate the UN Headquarters in NY to the Embassy we built in Iraq. The embassy is the size of Vatican City, there’s plenty of room for them there.

    Agenda 21 For Dummies

  10. “Notably, I have never seen an end-to-end analysis of the uncertainties/confidence limits associated with impacts estimates derived from the entire chain of models at relevant scales (including uncertainties associated with the basic assumptions feeding the emissions models). I have often wondered why such a step, that should be fundamental to any scientific analysis, is ignored.”

    The first thing that struck me when I read the IPCC reports was minimal discussion of statistical analysis of the data. To me, their conclusions are meaningless without a discussion of statistical analysis and resulting confidence intervals with associated confidence levels. That and the fact that there is no demonstration of cause and effect of CO2 and temeratures. They say it is because there are no other factors that could cause the observed increased global temperatures. They are arrogantly assuming they know all possible drivers of global temperature changes. Also, as most on this blog know, the observed increase in global temperatures is itself highly suspect.

  11. I forgot to say:

    Great article, Mr. Goklany! As an electrical engineer, you probably know way more about feedbacks and nonlinearity than all the IPCC modelers together.

    One says that one should never assume malice when one can assume incompetence, but after the mistakes the Club Of Rome made in their “Limits To Growth” projections and the obvious repetition of the mistakes (namely, underestimating or completely “forgetting” adaptive capability and development of new solutions) it becomes hard to believe that they are incompetent but benign.

    For youngsters: In about 1972 the Club Of Rome shocked the world with a computer-modeled horror scenario. Google for “Limits To Growth” and “World3”, that was their computer model. Well, the model was largely wrong. Don’t trust the wikipedia too much, they’re far too apologetic – no surprise there. If you’re interested, there is a book “Models of Doom: A Critique of the Limits to Growth” that presents a countermodel. Not surprisingly, the wikipedia will tell you nothing about that. I can recommend the book, it fascinated me as a kid – i accidentally found it in a library and didn’t even know the Club Of Rome.

  12. Thank you Indur for your cool and clear analysis.
    Logic and pragmatism still has a part to play. Thank you sir.
    You have given me hope that, one day, for as much as the scaled and rotting head of our political masters may have soured the gills of government that the body and tail will reject the smell of corruption and lay bare the sins of their superiors!
    It only takes one more brave individual to gird the loins enough to do what the ClimateGate Hero did and lay this deceit to rest.
    Salute!

  13. I am reminded of the famous apocryphal New York Times headline:

    WORLD ENDS – WOMEN, MINORITIES HARDEST HIT

  14. Interesting, “last year in New Zealand conditions were cooler than normal”
    James Renwick, a climate scientist with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, says there are plenty of causes.

    “Natural variations, such as El Nino and volcanic eruptions, play quite a role,” he said. “That’s what made the 1990s cool in a lot of places, especially New Zealand.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/01/06/2786460.htm?section=justin

    But don’t worry it had the hottest decade on record and there is no question as to what caused that.

    Meanwhile the Australian ABC is media punking every story they can find on bush fires, floods and famine and giving Tony Abbott hell that he dared to question the faith after the BOM recorded the second highest average annual temperature:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/01/05/2785897.htm

  15. Talking about or referring to global warming demonstrates profound ignorance.

    There is none, including the mythical anthropogenic global warming.

  16. Good posting. I’ve often wondered about predictions of catastrophe associated with AGW. It is almost as if the experts believe we will, in the face of rising seas, simply stand in the rising tide, gnashing our teeth as the waves wash over us, over a period of decades if not centuries until we eventually drown. Would no leader step up and suggest we move back up the beach? If it grows too hot to grow lettuce, will we not grow wheat? Too dry for corn, will we not develop drought resistant varieties? Or perhaps switch the regional economy from agriculture to manufacturing and buy food from another region. Has the movie “Idiocracy” turned out to be true? Is there no Secretary Not Sure to save us?
    There was an old joke I heard at my job, told among us EE’s, about the dumb mechanical engineer that stood screaming in an electrical lab, holding a hot soldering iron by the wrong end, simply too stupid to let go. This seems to be on par with the expectations of those forecasting the impacts of gobal warming.
    Are we, as a species, that stupid? If we are then we deserve to go dodo.

  17. As Lorenzoni and Adger (2006: 74) noted in a paper commissioned for the Stern Review, socioeconomic scenarios “cannot be projected semi-realistically for more than 5–10 years at a time.”

    Somebody needs to give Paul Ehrlich a heads up. He still thinks the world died in 1980.

  18. Repeated surveys tell us that over half the population do not believe their choice of lifestyle dooms us all to a climate driven catastrophic future. I have to say I have some considerable sympathy with anyone who comes to such a view.

    1/ Even if you accept that a world temperature is a useful number; we do not know what the world’s temperature is today with any useful degree of accuracy. Satellite, ocean going and surface station measurements have all been shown to have a bigger error margin in their raw data than the subtle changes they are supposed to be tracking.

    2/ Even if you accept the raw data; there is considerable evidence that the way it has been manipulated, for example to compensate for the effect of nearby human activity, has not always been defensible. There are even cases of temperatures being adjusted upwards to compensate for localised artificial heat when the intuitive reaction would be to lower them.

    3/ Even if you accept the adjusted data; we have not collected it for long enough to draw any meaningful conclusions from it. Satellite measurement has only been available since 1979. Accurate and widespread deep ocean measurement for very much less time. Surface station measurements are actually less readily available today than in the recent past. Most of the stations no longer available were in the coldest parts of the Northern Hemisphere. It is impossible to construct useful predictions about the future behaviour of the climate from the pitifully short record of modern measurements.

    4/ Even if you accept that a trend can be seen in so little data; we do not have a sufficiently reliable long term history to know whether this is an unusual occurrence or part of a bigger ongoing pattern. Paloeclimatology has presented us with conflicting results even for periods as relatively recent as the past thousand years. Regrettably there is even some evidence of manipulation of those results for unscientific reasons. A number of longer term reconstructions seem to indicate nothing unusual in the present situation unless it be that we are past due for the next severe downturn.

    5/ Even if you accept that there is currently unusual warming; we do not have a sufficiently robust case for man made CO2 being the culprit. Although the simple physics of back radiation is not disputed the climate is not, by a wide margin, a simple piece of physics. Many top scientists have shown why this simple explanation falls down under real world conditions. The case for CO2 causing the reported trend is regrettably too often based on the weak argument that “as we can not see any other explanation it has to be the CO2” This has in turn been used as an excuse for avoiding any other explanation. It is to the shame of science as a whole and a handful of scientist in particular that other explanations have been systemically avoided.

    6/ Even if you accept that there is currently unusual CO2 based warming; it is well known that CO2 by itself can not produce more than a modest increase in world temperatures even at much higher concentrations than today. The case for strong man made warming relies on entirely natural feedback mechanisms. For decades there have been competing theories which dispute even the sign of the feedback, let alone the extent of it. Neither paleoclimatology nor the modern empirical record (see 1 to 4 above) support strong positive feedback.

    7/ Even if you accept (the IPCC case of ) man made CO2 based climate change with strong natural positive feedback; well that’s Mr Goklany’s starting point…

    If you accept all of the above it still won’t be beyond the wit of man to deal with the consequences. Yet on this basis we are asked to throw away a thousand years of progress and take a new path. I for one would want a better reason. I am not alone.

  19. RACookPE1978 (15:56:55) :

    “Regrettably, even in this sort of an argument that presents a clearly winning conclusion, we (any skeptic) has to begin with “Let us assume that the UN’s IPCC Global Warming Predictions are correct …”

    Well, as Lord Monckton has so ably demonstrated, if your start with their argument/data and then tear the whole thing to sheds it’s a lot more damaging than if you don’t. It makes them look even more incompetent (or agenda driven) than otherwise.

  20. “SO MUCH for all of that guff about global warming! Are world leaders having the wrong debate? We are experiencing the most prolonged period of icy weather in 40 years and feeling every bit of it. The harsh conditions are expected to continue into early next week. It is a time for taking particular care while driving, cycling or walking and for making sure that elderly neighbours are looked after in these difficult circumstances.”

    Global Cooling
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/0106/1224261728451.html

  21. what i do know is kyoto has caused grief for many australian farmers and it has taken the UK’s Financial Times to state this farmer’s case in some detail, as australian media have tried to ignore him for weeks:

    Financial Times: Australian hunger striker fights farming ban
    The clearing ban, which covers 109m ha of private property across the country, has allowed the developed world’s heaviest carbon emitter on a per capita basis to meet its climate change goals, despite a sharp rise in emissions from the country’s energy and industrial sectors. It has provided Australia with 87.5m tonnes of carbon abatements.
    Charles Armstrong, president of the New South Wales Farmers’ Association, said Australia’s ability to meet its targets under the Kyoto protocol was a “smoke and mirrors exercise”. He warned the ban could threaten Australia’s food supply, farmers’ livelihoods and an agricultural sector that contributes A$32bn ($29bn, €20bn, £18bn) a year in exports…

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e19c7c64-fa1b-11de-beed-00144feab49a.html

    the following video is badly put together by an individual, with extremely low sound until the individual who made the video comes in with his comment. however, it shows the weather channel explaining the freeze in north america by saying in greenland it is 50 degrees fahrenheit. the weather presenter even writes ’50’ on the map of greenland. of course, if u check, it is NOT anything like 50 up there, but hey so what???

    The Weather Channel Lies about Global Warming ……..again!

  22. RACookPE1978 (16:01:03) :

    ” … does the “study” even dare acknowledge that ALL plants all over the world (land, sea, swamp, forest, plain, and valley are growing 7% to 27% faster, stronger, and producing more food, fodder, fuel, and foliage than ever before?”

    RESPONSE: Actually it does the analysis two ways: one assuming increased rate of photosynthesis due to CO2 fertilization, and the other assuming that there is no CO2 fertilization. I suspect that the “truth” lies more toward the CO2 fertilization case because there is plenty of empirical data (extending back for decades) that indicates that the CO2 fertilizer effects is real (see http://www.CO2Science.org or the IPCC WGII’s Third Assessment Report, pp. 254–256).

    Also, the suite of studies alluded to above includes one by Levy, P.E., et al., titled, “Modelling the impact of future changes in climate, CO2 concentration and land use on natural ecosystems and the terrestrial carbon sink,” Global Environmental Change 14 (1): 21–30 (2004). This study indicates that under the warmest scenario (which gives a global temp increase of 4ºC between 1990 and 2085 according to the Hadley HadCM3 model), global cropland in 2100 would/could be halved (compared to today) mainly because of CO2 fertilization (and, presumably, a more favorable growing climate in the higher latitudes). This should reduce pressure on habitat and, with apologies to Willis (smile), species/ecosystems. Also, the warmest scenario would have the strongest carbon sink (at least through 2100). See Table 8 at http://goklany.org/library/Richer-but-warmer%20RV.pdf, and accompanying text.

  23. should have added that the guy put up the youtube weather channel video on 2nd jan, so it appears the weather report was for last weekend.

  24. December (month end averages) NSIDC (sea ice extent)

    30 yrs ago
    1980 Southern Hemisphere = 11.1 million sq km
    1980 Northern Hemisphere = 13.7 million sq km
    Total = 24.8 million sq km

    Recorded Arctic min yr.
    2007 Southern Hemisphere = 12.7 million sq km
    2007 Northern Hemisphere = 12.4 million sq km
    Total = 25.1 million sq km

    Last yr.
    2008 Southern Hemisphere = 12.2 million sq km
    2008 Northern Hemisphere = 12.5 million sq km
    Total = 24.7 million sq km

    This yr.
    2009 Southern Hemisphere = 11.4 million sq km
    2009 Northern Hemisphere = 12.5 million sq km
    Total = 23.9 million sq km

    1979-2000 Southern Hemisphere Dec. mean = 11.1 million sq km
    1979-2000 Northern Hemisphere Dec. mean = 13.4 million sq km
    Total mean = 24.5 million sq km
    GK

  25. “Build me a airport suitable for the latest in military aircraft; here are the spec’s you will need.”

    1908 version: One each 200 foot long flat field, about 2 acres total.
    No taxiway or aprons or hangers needed.
    Fences each end optional. (To keep stray cows off of runway.)
    One gas can.
    Tent.
    No power, no radio, no lights, nor control tower.
    No crash truck or fire station.
    Parking lot: optional (The horses can grave on the pasture between plane flights.)
    Dirt lane approach, ruts adequate but not required.

    1958 version.
    Two runways: each 11,000 feet long, on a 14,300 acre site.
    300 feet wide,
    9 foot thick in landing area, suitable for 311000 pound maximum takeoff weight of a bomber capable of flying 8800 miles unrefueled.
    Fuel capacity = 9.2 million gallons
    Weapons capacity = 10.2 million lbs of conventional weapons, plus a separate nuclear storage facility.)
    Facilities and manning = 5,000 (total supported)

    Gee.

    And the UN claims there will no technical advances in 50 years in energy or efficiency or power production?

  26. “Intriguingly, the company has also revealed that it has put together a heavy-hitting board of directors, including Siebel himself, former Siebel and Oracle executives Patricia House and Edward Abbo, Jay Dweck, a managing director at Morgan Stanley, Condoleezza Rice and Spencer Abraham, a former Republican senator and secretary of energy.”

    Secretive carbon startup brings Condoleezza Rice and $26m on Board
    http://www.businessgreen.com/business-green/news/2255650/secretive-carbon-start-brings

  27. … for any given level of GDP per capita, crop yield and food supplies increase as time marches on. This can be attributed to the secular change in technology which accretes over time, and is defined broadly to include both hardware (e.g., catalytic converters and carbon adsorption systems) and software technologies …

    The increase in crop yields is attributable to the one logical, statistically provable, experimentally demonstrable, and completely ignored (by all sides) effect of CO2 increase, enhanced plant growth. Crop yields started improving when CO2 started increasing, and have kept pace. It’s that simple.

  28. Once the models can explain the cooling that happened during the LIA, then I will be inclined to pay attention to their predictions of warming due to CO2 alone. I have seen no evidence that any warming due to CO2 emissions is so significant as to stand out from the noise of natural climate variability. Until the models can explain the natural variability, they can then begin to explain the deviations from that natural variability and tell what is natural and what is unnatural. To the best of my knowledge today, the models can’t explain the changes that occur naturally so they can not distinguish natural from unnatural warming.

  29. Indur M. Goklany (18:51:31) :

    RESPONSE: Actually it does the analysis two ways: one assuming increased rate of photosynthesis due to CO2 fertilization, and the other assuming that there is no CO2 fertilization. I suspect that the “truth” lies more toward the CO2 fertilization case because there is plenty of empirical data (extending back for decades) that indicates that the CO2 fertilizer effects is real (see http://www.CO2Science.org

    —…—…

    Thank you for responding – I appreciate your time and experience. I have long been a supporter (and donor) to CO2Science, and hope others can donate as well.

    Although cited by the UN, are their efforts actually “listened to” by the UN’s IPCC?

    CO2Science makes the CO2 fertilization case very, very strongly after examining several hundred different studies on various plants, and leave little doubt that the UN’s second case (that of no growth) as “proven false” by the large of studies showing very real positive growths at even CO2 levels up to 1000 ppm.

    Robert

  30. John Phillips (17:05:43) :

    “The first thing that struck me when I read the IPCC reports was minimal discussion of statistical analysis of the data. To me, their conclusions are meaningless without a discussion of statistical analysis and resulting confidence intervals with associated confidence levels. That and the fact that there is no demonstration of cause and effect of CO2 and temeratures. They say it is because there are no other factors that could cause the observed increased global temperatures. They are arrogantly assuming they know all possible drivers of global temperature changes. Also, as most on this blog know, the observed increase in global temperatures is itself highly suspect.”

    RESPONSE: I totally agree with you. I would also add that the climatic changes we have seen so far are within the bounds of natural variability, and there has been no analysis indicating that the null hypothesis — that the observed changes are not due to natural variability — has been rejected at the 90% level (the one the IPCC uses for “very likely”).

    Second, not only does the IPCC attribution methodology assume that we “know all possible drivers of global temperature changes”, but that we know strengths of all these drivers spot on. But only after all these strengths (as well as all the other parameters and coefficients used in the AOGCMs) are derived from first principles — AND the models validated using out-of-sample data — can one be arrogant enough to make such a claim. It’s embarrassingly faulty logic.

    Regarding The Club of Rome/Limits to Growth, some of you have anticipated at least a portion of the second part of this post.

    SteveSadlov
    Sadly, after over 40 years my recall of Laplace and Fourier transforms is not just rusty, but virtually non-existent!

  31. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,581994,00.html

    South Chilled by Arctic Winds, Record Snow in East
    Tuesday, January 05, 2010
    Associated Press

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — Subfreezing temperatures across the South have Florida farmers worried that strawberry, tomato and other crops could be destroyed, with temperatures in even usually balmy Miami only in the 50s on Tuesday.

    Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed an executive order that gives the state’s Division of Emergency Management and other agencies the authority to provide growers with assistance. Throughout central and south Florida, farmers are trying to salvage millions of dollars worth of citrus and vegetable crops, spraying them in protective layers of ice and covering them in plastic.

    Charlie would be most pleased to have some of that “Global Warming while it lasts” stuff. If the least of us could see what was coming for this winter 6 mos. ago, so could Big Climate.
    The MSM doesn’t have to say anything about Global Warming not happening now, that problem has solved itself.

    The Weather made me do it.

  32. “Wouldn’t it be nice to just once be able to be able to say “The UN IPCC’s conclusions are politically motivated and dead wrong?”

    Yes, that would be nice. We can do one better than that. There’s enough evidence to prove it’s all a fraud in a court of law. I’ve wondered why it hasn’t happened yet. I know it would cost a bit but it certainly would be worth it.

  33. greg2213 (18:08:51) :

    Well, as Lord Monckton has so ably demonstrated, if your start with their argument/data and then tear the whole thing to sheds it’s a lot more damaging than if you don’t. It makes them look even more incompetent (or agenda driven) than otherwise.

    Yes, it’s very effective. That’s why I keep harping on the fact that the ipcc, after positing a catastrophic disease, a disease agent and a cure, excludes countries containing about 5 billion of the Earth’s ~6.5 billion people from having to follow its Kyoto Protocols “cure”: the ipcc doesn’t even believe its own “scientific” claims. That fact alone should have ended the ipcc’s credibility. And the U.S. Senate used this item in particular to pass its Resolution in 1997 to the effect that it would not ratify any Treaty that did not include the whole World in the ipcc’s restrictions.

    In general, all you have to do is look at what the ipcc does. It takes itself down quite effectively.

  34. Thank you, Indur, for showing once again what the ipcc does and doesn’t do, and for providing a much more serious analysis of our situation here on Earth.

    One has to wonder why Indur’s way of doing things does not convey real “meaning” to so many AGWers who instead prefer their subrational “thinking” and tactics.

  35. “Michael (19:12:41) :

    EU Carbon Dioxide Permits Fall After German Sale Boosts Supply
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601100&sid=a2gwR6Y9dPRk

    As a german taxpayer, i’m not sure whether i should laugh or cry. I did expect them to use it as second currency, but thought it would take longer.

    Expect the price for permits to grow over time. The system introduces artificial scarcity. The government will be able to squeeze more and more money out of fewer and fewer permits.

    Biofuel stocks in Germany have exploded in the run-up to COP15, maybe they’re exempt.

  36. Yes, it’s so easy to tear down the global warming alarmists. In fact, there’s so much evidence now available that it can easily be proven in a court of law that it’s all a hoax. I wondered why it hasn’t happened yet.

  37. As Lorenzoni and Adger (2006: 74) noted in a paper commissioned for the Stern Review, socioeconomic scenarios “cannot be projected semi-realistically for more than 5–10 years at a time.”

    Look at France as an example. Who in the year 1900 could have predicted that by the year 2000, France would be generating 80%+(?) of it’s electricity from an an, as yet, undiscovered (Nuclear) energy source.

    Such a huge change in only a century.

  38. Peter of Sydney (20:13:40) :

    Yes, it’s so easy to tear down the global warming alarmists. In fact, there’s so much evidence now available that it can easily be proven in a court of law that it’s all a hoax. I wondered why it hasn’t happened yet.

    Peter – they avoid the courts as assiduously as they avoid public debate with sceptics – they know that they will be caned.

  39. A very interesting post. I was 12 when the Club of Rome published its criminally scary forecasts – as an avid reader of Time Magazine and budding biologist, I believed every word. While I wish this organization could be sued for the pain I put my parents and family through by haranguing them at dinner time about the coming apocalypse (not to mention the extremely pessimistic world outlook that I acquired, and the guilt for existence fostered by these posers) I did gain in cynicism and ultimately my current natural skepticism as their predictions (eg famine in North America by the 1980s) were not borne out. An excellent book for the background of this organization and the continuing mischief by the likes of Paul Ehrlich is Ronald Bailey’s “Ecoscam”, which also details the history of the global warming scam. I’ve tried using this book as a source on certain essay topics with students, but find that most have drunk the kool-aid to the point that they have zero trust in anyone peddling a different (skeptical) version of what is going on. FWIW I do not hide my skepticism from my students, and hope that a few of them have picked up on the evidence that the IPCC is peddling nonsense.

  40. The author states that “the AOGCMs have not been validated “…for less-than-continental or less-than-regional scales…” However, according to the climatologist Kevin Trenberth ( http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/recent_contributors/kevin_trenberth/ ), the AOGCMs have not been validated at all. In fact, as they make no predictions ( according to Trenberth ), the AOGCMs are not susceptible to validation. It follows that the AOGCMs are not scientific models.

    The argument for anthropogenic global warming rests upon the legitimacy of the AOGCMs. This, however, is not an argument from science. Rather, it is an appeal to illegitimate authority.

  41. The Right Neo-conservative wingers have their ideas for achieving their Goals that the left wingers adopt in secret such as PNAC and the Patriot Act. The Left Neo-Liberal wingers have their ideas for achieving their Goals the the Right wingers adopt in secret such as Cap-and-Trade and Agenda 21. They work together to give each other cover so as not to appear to be working together. Nothing can be further from the truth. Many other examples can be found as well.

    The Project for the New American Century

  42. Thanks, Indur, for this report showing that the IPCC has skillfully overestimated:

    a.) The social impact of global warming, as well as
    b.) The scientific evidence of global warming.

    The question:

    Why are public funds spent on salaries of IPCC members and scientists who fabricate and distribute such nonsense?

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  43. “Panic buying at supermarkets as Britain braces itself for the big Freeze”

    I thought Peter Garrett just said the world is suffering a global warming crisis. Does he have any credibility left at all now with the Japanese whaling issue running hot at the moment? His government has effectively aided and abetted the spying of the protest ships and the sinking of one of them by a Japanese ship. Good work Peter! You are a start NOT! I hope you hang your head in shame. Better still you should resign for spreading such nonsense about global warming and taking the side of the Japanese whaling. Otherwise, you are proving ot be the biggest ALP hypocrite of all.

  44. I have always wondered why the AGW bunch think that people living at the coast aren’t able to outrun rising sea levels. I mean , even my gran could get away from a rise of a mm a year or so.

  45. “The world overall is growing warmer largely in the falsified computer imagery of the new global theorists, who have taken over from where the communists left off. Instead of the deluded and fanciful statistics of the Five Year Plan, or the Great Leap Forward, we are fed the dogmatic mumbo jumbo of weather ideology.”

    “The sun disposes: it gives, and it takes away. And we are behaving like demented Aztecs when we try to change the future of the entire world to our own design.”

    Biggest threat to man is probably less from ‘global warming’ than from the Hysterical Myths About It
    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/biggest-threat-to-man-is-probably-less-from-global-warming-than-from-the-hysterical-myths-about-it-2000579.html

  46. “If you had a hard time getting your noggin around Copenhagen, don’t worry. It is just the latest anti-capitalist thrust from liberal intellectuals. The next opportunity will come around soon enough. Their cavalcade of causes revolves like a carousel — the Green Movement, the living wage, animal rights — virtually every one an attempt to deny individuals’ right to determine outcomes through free choice. The quarry never changes, only the backdrop to the chase. ”

    Leftist Intelligentsia Dementia
    http://spectator.org/archives/2010/01/05/leftist-intelligentsia-dementi

  47. Michael (18:16:25) :
    “SO MUCH for all of that guff about global warming! Are world leaders having the wrong debate? We are experiencing the most prolonged period of icy weather in 40 years and feeling every bit of it. The harsh conditions are expected to continue into early next week. It is a time for taking particular care while driving, cycling or walking and for making sure that elderly neighbours are looked after in these difficult circumstances.”

    Global Cooling
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/0106/1224261728451.html

    Reply: Thanks for posting this Michael.

    Sudden warming/cooling events, which have lasted for several years, have been a feature of Earth’s climate for the past several hundred years, and this has happened with a periodicy of around 200. For the Maunder Minimum and Dalton Minimum these events seem to have coincided with a quiet sun, although the mechanism for why this happens has still not been found.

    So nothing new is happening and panic/over-reaction/taxation/world government are not required. Mankind and most species have survived these events in the past and will survive this next event, should it come to pass.

    Climate is the result of a number of processes which are driven by deterministic chaos. This means that trends provide no information about what the future will bring, and the only real information available is that from looking at the broad impact of climate quasi-cycles.

    1410-1500 cold (Sporer minimum) – Low Solar Activity(LSA?)
    1510-1600 warm – High Solar Activity(HSA?)
    1610-1700 cold (Maunder minimum) – (LSA)
    1710-1800 warm – (HSA)
    1810-1900 cold (Dalton minimum) – (LSA)
    1910-2000 warm – (HSA)
    2010-2100 (cold???) – (LSA???)

    It is interesting to note that within these cooler or warmer centuries, there are further periods of warmer and cooler climate happening on the decadal scale, and still more surprising perhaps, within each decade the same variance can be seen. Climate is unpredictable at all time-scales.

  48. Hmm. “Correlation between models and observations is 50 to 60%..” Do they flip coins? Or what is it about? I need some help I guess.

  49. Having recognized the fallacy of the concept of “Greenhouse Gases” based on the physics long ago, I’m by no means a supporter of the AGWers, but I think this author fails to realize that the predictions of the IPCC are simply outright prevarications and not false conclusions based on failure recognize Man’s ability to adapt.

    The graphs in the article could (and should) be labeled “productivity vs. population density,” GDP being indirectly related to the latter. The author gives the impression that he thinks technology will always rise to the occassion to save Mankind from its population problem.

    But, like population itself, all growth phenomenon, including growth of knowledge & technology, must follow a general logistic curve. Nothing can grow forever. The limits of the carrying capacity must always be dealt with.

    We will reach a crisis in the developed world when food production falls precipitiously as oil is depleted sometime in this century. Modern agriculture is the process of turning oil into food. Those underdeveloped countries may already be adapted to such a world.

  50. Surely with the panic buying and schools closed due to harsh weather even Britains will finally realize that the officially sanctioned global warming story is absurd? Surely?

    But then again, Australian government ministers are daring the new opposition leader, Tony Abbott, to stand by his claim that global warming is “crap” seeing as the Bureau of Meteorology has declared the last year and decade as the warmest on record. Sadly, Abbott is hedging his bets knowing that the majority of the population have been thoroughly brainwashed that global warming – oops climate change – oops ocean acidification – is true and due to human CO2 emissions.

    If only Abbott came out fighting for what he believes in the world might change overnight, after all the political fight has to start somewhere. We here know the scientific fight has been won. Now it’s just a wearysome matter of slinging shots accurately and often enough to force our political representatives to actually listen to us instead of Condoleeza Rice, Malcolm Turnbull and all the other sleazes who stand to make millions from carbon trading. [MT was Australia’s so-called opposition leader who was prepared to pass PM Rudd’s carbon emissions trading sceme. For his support he got toppled.]

    Don’t you all just love it how in the southern hemisphere Australia’s heatwaves have been attributed to AGW – i.e. climate change – but in the northern hemisphere the record-breaking freezes are just due to weather.

  51. Another brilliant and clear post – WUWT is pure gold for non-scientists such as me. The entire farrago postulated by the IPCC reminds me that as literacy rises the ability of the general public to discern the difference between BS and fact falls.
    What has happenned to the Western tradition of crusading investigative journalists in MSM?

  52. Socio/economic impacts and consequences are always associated with litigation. For those interested here’s a place to get some information. http://law.lexisnexis.com/practiceareas/….tigation-Ch art
    Contains a link to the chart, but I’ll dupe it here: http://www.climatecasechart.com/

    One of the more interesting parts of this concerns the SEC and corporate reporting requirements relative to climate change, which you will find reference and links to on page 10 of the above chart. This has been ongoing for about 3 years. Such reporting requirements (as always ) increase the cost of doing business for no discernible gain, even though some investors will and do base their decisions on such things. I expect that there will be increasing litigation in the near future as a result of Climategate, since the basis for much of this rulemaking is traceable to the IPCC, et al.

  53. But consider the socioeconomic impact of millions of little Barrie Harrops running around hawking windmills.

  54. I think this is laughable. Any temperature change that causes more ice to turn to water (i.e. causing sea levels to rise) must 1] cause more areas that are currently permafrost to become fertile 2] cause more of the liquid water to become water vapour that will subsequently turn into clouds and thus greater precipitation. Thus any productive land lost to rising sea levels are very likely to be replaced by new productive land gained from retreating permafrost and higher levels of precipitation. It should be a much simpler matter to predict the retreat in permafrost and the increase in precipitation than to predict the level of ice melt, but thanks to the “confirmational bias” all science can do is look for the bad news and never the good.

  55. “Alexander (03:48:48) :
    […]
    The entire farrago postulated by the IPCC reminds me that as literacy rises the ability of the general public to discern the difference between BS and fact falls.”

    Do not overestimate the according capabilities of our ancestors. I’m german, i should know.

  56. If we use the IPCC models and calculate the amount of reduction we will get if things like cap and trade implemented, it’s easy to see those measures will have almost no effect and are much pain for little gain.

    But the IPCC models are flawed anyway. The belief that civilization and nature will not adapt are also flawed. The belief that only central planning and control can affect the claimed necessary changes is also flawed.

  57. “guidoLaMoto (01:50:35) :

    […]
    The graphs in the article could (and should) be labeled “productivity vs. population density,” GDP being indirectly related to the latter. The author gives the impression that he thinks technology will always rise to the occassion to save Mankind from its population problem. ”

    Guido, it is GDP per capita that is important, not the absolute GDP. As GDP per capita rises, a nation or the world becomes wealthier. What does this mean? It means that a population has surplus that it can invest into research and development. The wealthier your nation, the more research you can do. This explains why over time, new technologies are developed and used, and that’s why today the productivity for the same wealth can be higher than in the past. Even poor nations can harvest benefits from these new technologies developed in wealthier nations. An example? Tractors. A developed nation develops newer and better tractors. Poorer nations might not have the capabilities to develop the technology but can simply buy them. If they don’t have enough wealth to buy new tractors, they can buy used ones.

    “But, like population itself, all growth phenomenon, including growth of knowledge & technology, must follow a general logistic curve. Nothing can grow forever. The limits of the carrying capacity must always be dealt with. ”

    Read Julian Simon and Björn Lomborg about how limits of carrying capacity are sidestepped by changing to new raw materials.

    “We will reach a crisis in the developed world when food production falls precipitiously as oil is depleted sometime in this century. Modern agriculture is the process of turning oil into food. Those underdeveloped countries may already be adapted to such a world.”

    Even if it were true that we turn oil into food and absolutely need oil for that this would not be a problem. At the moment, extracting gas in situ from shale is becoming economically viable. Numerous other new mining technologies are being developed.

    You bring the old Malthusian arguments. If Malthus had been right, we all would never have been born because the population would have collapsed long ago.

  58. “Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a (psuedo)scientific-technological elite.”

    Well, I often wondered what their basis for making the gloom and doom predictions was. This makes it clear that there is no basis.

  59. Dirk: Logically, there is an end to oil. New discoveries & technologies may extend its availability beyond our current estimates, but there will still be an end to it someday.
    Buying tractors won’t help if there’s no oil. A man can only harvest 100 bu of corn in 8 hrs by hand. A combine does 800 bu per hour. That diffferential will have a big impact on food production & lifestyle when th oil runs out.
    It takes the energy of one gal of oil to pump 100 gal of liquid petroleum. It takes 1 gal to produce 4 gal from oil shale. Th low hanging fruit is almost gone now.
    You repeat the folly of thinking new technology will always necessarily materialize to rescue us from the limits of the carrying capacity. As the brochures say, “Past performance is no guarantee of future earnings.”

  60. And BTW, Dirk. Malthus thought growth was logarithmic. He didn’t realize it was logistic. Now we know better, but not all of us see the implications of it.

  61. Diehard Malthusians here.

    To each his own, kids, i give it up. I showed you my arguments and you keep on saying: “But the stream of human ingenuity will end RSN.”

    Which i can’t disprove because it’s in the future. I have no more time for this debate; you can happily discuss the details of the coming inevitable collapse and – my advice – stock up on rock salt while civilization has some for you. Also, there’s always the helpful people at http://www.peakoil.com/ for survival tips.

    Good Riddance,

    Dirk

  62. “I was posting on the Weather Channel FaceBook Page, nothing obscene or anything like that, just information about the solar minimum and global cooling, and I just got banned by Facebook. I’ve only been posting since yesterday. The thought police got me”…

    Facebook is largely a social engineering (and spying) tool. It is largely a waste of time. I don’t use it and my undergrad degree is in CIS. I have no problem with trashing any idea/invention/belief when I find something that contradicts my current belief system. With that said, it is NOT easy to do, but it should, imo, be done. So many of ‘our’ beliefs AREN’T ours at all; but another’s.

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