Quote of the Week #37 – Amazongate detractors pwned

While the trolls rage on about The Sunday Times “retraction” related to “Amazongate”, Science moves forward with field experiments that take the alarm out of Amazon alarmism.


From the Max Planck Institute via this press release:  A new balance for the global carbon balance

Press Release from the Max Planck Institute

“We were surprised to find that the primary production in the tropics is not so strongly dependent on the amount of rain,” says Markus Reichstein. “Here, too, we therefore need to critically scrutinize the forecasts of some climate models which predict the Amazon will die as the world gets drier.”

Read all about it here:

CO2 field experiment likely to cause “do-over” for climate models

This bodes well for what North, Booker, and Willis have been saying. It appears the Sunday Times bowed to troll pressure, while the grey literature citations in question go missing and the real science says there’s no cause for alarm.

Further reading:

Booker, North, and Willis on the IPCC Amazongate affair

Flaming the Amazon

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Charles Higley
July 6, 2010 11:37 am

A warmer planet will probably have more water vapor than less. So, where do they get a drier planet from warming?
By the way, more Co2 means that plants are more efficient with the water and nutrients that they do have – they do better.

Julian in Wales
July 6, 2010 11:47 am

Richard North has really made his mark on the AGW debate, firstly by exposing Pachauri and his connections with the green industries through TERI and secondly by exposing the pseudoscience that underlies the Amazon scare stories. His blog/forum work as a team to seek out the weaknesses and contradictions of the cases on hand, it is work that always needs more minds to contribute to the success of the work.

Dave Springer
July 6, 2010 11:48 am

I’ve mentioned here several times (at least) that plants use water more efficiently in higher CO2 concentration. When plants exchange gases through stomata which are pores in the leaf surface. The opening to the stomata is an iris which opens and closes to a greater or lesser extent as required to regulate the exchange. When there is more CO2 in the atmosphere the stomata aren’t open as much for the same amount of gas exchange. Water is lost through the stomata when it is open. Not open as much not as much water is lost. Given that adequate supply of fresh water for agriculture is a growing problem this is another important benefit of higher atmospheric CO2. More CO2 is a huge boon to agriculture. Lowers irrigation requirements, plants grow faster, and what little greenhouse warming it generates is concentrated in higher northern latitudes right where it does the most good by lengthening growing seasons and decreasing the temperature difference between night and day. It’s important that CO2 increases night time temperatures instead of daytime temperatures as that’s what extends the growing seasons the most – early and late season frosts primarily strike at night.

CRS, Dr.P.H.
July 6, 2010 11:55 am

The main threat to the Amazon remains large-scale cutting and burning for development of soybean and cattle agriculture. Not sure how we can influence that from the outside, but there are some interesting things being tried to curb illegal lumbering etc.
Threat from global warming? Not so much….

July 6, 2010 11:58 am

REDDi, get set, go.

July 6, 2010 11:59 am

Leave it to the Warmers to hit us right in the “bread basket”. But then, their’s was never a beneficient approach to mankind. Nope, just the opposite (regardless of what message their hysteria might contain); they’re self-serving and power/money hungry. Can’t think of a worse cult.

July 6, 2010 12:02 pm

And of late, slash and burn for production of crops to be used to process into ethanol. How foolish.

pablo an ex pat
July 6, 2010 12:09 pm

I have always believed that the AGW scam would fall apart all on its own due to the massive overhyping that its adherents have taken part in.
The efforts of WUWT, Christopher Booker, Richard North and many many others have been instrumental in casting light into the dark areas that AGW hypers would prefer not to talk about.
There is no area that you look at where you can’t see people looking to justify their research grant income by overhyping.
e.g. In recent weeks we have “learned” that emissions from Mammoth herds were a primary cause of Global Warming and also that the loss of the Mammoth by being hunted to extinction by people was also a cause of Global Warming. I don’t know about you but if one of these theories has any merit then surely the other has a huge hole in it but whatever both sets of researchers got paid and that’s all that matters isn’t it ?
To quote recent poster frank_fisher on James Delingpoles blog,
“In order to mistrust a liar, you don’t need to know what the truth is – only that they are lying to you… ”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.

July 6, 2010 12:26 pm

LarryOldtimer: July 6, 2010 at 12:02 pm
And of late, slash and burn for production of crops to be used to process into ethanol. How foolish.
Hey, it’s worth it to Save The Planet!

July 6, 2010 12:47 pm

On the comment that “The main threat to the Amazon remains large-scale cutting and burning for development of soybean and cattle agriculture. Not sure how we can influence that from the outside, but there are some interesting things being tried to curb illegal lumbering etc. ” Ah my MEMORY! Alas my MEMORY…I wish I could remember the NAME of the German woman working in the Amazon to develop Iquana harvesting for meat production. (In the “rain forest”.)
A National Public Radio interviewer, over 10 years ago, had her on LIVE from her foundation location in the Amazon. He said that “if” she could shift people from beef to Iquanas, this would “save the rainforest”.
She responded, “Well, if you want to ‘save the rainforrest’ immediately, you simply kill all the peasants!”
There was a LONG pause. “I don’t quite understand…”
Then, this truely studied, thoughtful, worker in REAL ‘environmentalism’ went on to explain what SLASH AND BURN agriculture was all about. She noted that the “Rancheros” don’t remove the rain forest, the peasants do…as the most recent land, becomes depleted, and they need new “aerable” land. Then they “slash and burn” (up against the edge of the “rainforest/jungle”). Turning over in a natural progress the “depleted” land to the Rancheros, as all it is good for is growing grass.
Her hope was that buy giving the peasants an alternative “crop” she could slow down the erosion of the “rain forest”. Warning to NPR: Live interviews can be DEADLY to your agenda, you may not be able to “control” your source…

July 6, 2010 12:48 pm

Re. Amazon and any other forests, of course climate parameters are not the only limiting factors on vegetation. Physiographic factors like soil nutrient levels can be more important. This is a common finding in the fields of palynology and phyto-ecology (best to avoid a total climate-fixation, and a acse of AGW myopia certainly does not help to understand what is actually happening in natural history).
Soils in rainforest regions tend to be very poor in this respect, being heavily leached of various minerals (ions), although I do not know rainforest ecology very closely (work in temperate, sub-humid, and semi-arid zones in my work). Fire history might be important here (in Amazonia?) like it is in other places. Hypothetically, perhaps as it gets drier and there are more fires, more nutrients are cycled through these tropical soils, plant water-use efficiency may be less of a limiting factor than base levels in the upper soil horizons. The guys and gals at Max Planck could use a little Biology 301.

July 6, 2010 1:55 pm

So from ‘it’s worse than we thought!”, it goes round to “it’s better than we thought!”
Perhaps no surprise, because the Amazon rain forest has survived for thousands of years.

July 6, 2010 2:32 pm

Broadly speaking I agree with you, but – iguana meat? Are you sure? You really would have to be starving to consider that a food source, in most people’s eyes. Anything’s possible, but I have heard previously of similar projects involving things like Agouti, Capybara, etc. rather than lizards.

July 6, 2010 2:35 pm

Something you don’t know: International Green NGO’s defend indian rights to own their lands but not under the principles of occident property’s rights but comunal property, and in so doing, perpetuate illegal lumbering as there are no private owners to defend their lands everyone depredates the forest at their own accord, and this is what really happends.
This system has been enforced by an international binding agreement under the UN’s International Labour Organization (Why this organization? nobody knows it).
Really THEY do not want any private owners of THEIR carbon ASSETS.

Been there done that
July 6, 2010 4:13 pm

What’s this? Watts now backing – choke – “models”. Gee !
Anthony did you read the actual paper?

July 6, 2010 4:54 pm

I fear that we will continue to hear such remarks but that they will become fewer and farther between. The chaos that has engulfed the world since the end of the Cold War –which I only us as an historic marker–does not appear to be diminishing. Indeed, the noise we hear about the current economic and social welfare delemias, suggest that nothing is improving and that more problems are likely to surface in future. When people panic, for fear of the basics, all is chaos and -as always- those with money only want more no matter what is happening to everyone else on the planet.

Tom in South Jersey
July 6, 2010 5:10 pm

Aren’t the driest deserts in the world also some of the coldest?

July 6, 2010 5:11 pm

I think the expression is “pwnt”, isn’t it?
Either way, we are leet!

July 6, 2010 6:39 pm

Dave says:
July 6, 2010 at 2:32 pm
> but – iguana meat? …. lizards.
lobster meat …. crustaceans.
Pilgrims detested them, but I figure they didn’t have enough butter.
When my daughter was young she wouldn’t eat a lobster unless we made small sunglasses to cover its eyes.

July 6, 2010 11:21 pm

@Dave Springer
I say something recently from CSIRO regarding the impact of elevated CO2 on protein levels in edible foods. I think it was with respect to cereals. As CO2 levels increased and the plants received all the CO2 they required, protein produciton shut down. Something like that. The conclusion was elevated CO2 was bad for us because of the reduction in protein. Of course it is quitre likely the levels of CO2 being applied to the plants is (much) higher than expected levels due to “natural” increases.
This link to a paper http://www.springerlink.com/content/k81533177x6x3169/ suggests increased levels of toxicity with increased CO2.
“We grew T. repens communities at ambient and approximately twice-ambient CO2 in a controlled environment greenhouse experiment. We found that the ratio of total cyanogenic glycosides to total protein ratio was nearly two times higher in leaves of T. repens grown at elevated CO2.”
Again the applied levels were “approximately twice-ambient CO2”, so the results are going to be significant in the real world – well not for a long time, anyway.

Bob from the UK
July 7, 2010 3:24 am

…and if they’d fed the stuff to some animals after they’d grown it, I’ve no doubt they would be perfectly alright.
You probably find something you describe as toxic in most foodstuffs, even water is toxic if you drink enough of it. There was a time I used to believe this sort of rubbish. But I well remember the doomsday scenarios of the 1980’s when they predicted the forests in the Alps would all die, and that the Alps would then start to crumble and it would become uninhabitable by 2020. I actually believed the scientists then, but as 20 years elapsed and none of these doomsday scenarios proved to be true, including the less doomy by 2010, skiing in the alps wouldn’t be possible, I now treat these publications with a great deal of scepticism.

July 7, 2010 6:18 am

“We were surprised to find that the primary production in the tropics is not so strongly dependent on the amount of rain,” says Markus Reichstein.
I don’t know why they’re surprised. The rain forests already have an overabundance of water. Adding or subtracting some rain isn’t going to make much difference.
They also say other obvious things like: “The savannahs owe their comparatively important role to the huge area which they cover. The rain forests, in contrast, take up particularly large amounts of carbon dioxide over relatively small areas in order to produce biomass. ”
Quick summary: Savannahs have less leaf area than rain forests.
Another thing to note is this study will have almost no effect on the AGW hypothesis, which is concerned with the CO2 already in the atmosphere, not the CO2 exchange rate for plants.
I don’t mean to disparage the study or support the AGW movement, but I think the authors are overstating the importance of their work.

Ed Caryl
July 7, 2010 9:18 am

Iguana tastes like chicken. They eat a lot of it in Mexico, then blame the Iguana population decline on AGW.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
July 7, 2010 9:47 am

The Carbon Offsetting Dogma, which of course is tied to the Amazonian rain forest, has reached an interesting low. This may be old news to some, but a new surprise to me.
I was checking on sending something UPS, noticed the one option:

UPS carbon neutral shipping
For as little as five cents more per package, gain more control over your climate impact with UPS carbon neutral shipping, a UPS shipping service that offsets the carbon dioxide (CO2) associated with the packages it transports.

Which lead to:

CarbonNeutral® shipment
CarbonNeutral® shipment is a proprietary trademark of The CarbonNeutral Company and is a world-leading brand mark which guarantees the quality and credibility of the UPS carbon neutral shipment program. Permission to display the CarbonNeutral® mark is given to clients when CO2 emissions have been measured and reduced to net zero through a program implemented in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol. The Protocol assures the integrity of the carbon footprint assessments, the quality of the offsets purchased and the guarantee that the program has reduced emissions to net zero. The CarbonNeutral Protocol is overseen by a board of independent advisors to The CarbonNeutral Company. By using the CarbonNeutral® shipment accreditation, UPS is sending a powerful message about its commitment to taking responsible action to reduce its climate impact.

Note the two links in the text both go to “About Us: Quality Assurance.”

The CarbonNeutral Protocol is the market leading global standard, developed by The CarbonNeutral Company, to guarantee the integrity and credibility of clients’ carbon neutral certification and enable them to be certified CarbonNeutral®.
The CarbonNeutral Protocol is developed in consultation with The CarbonNeutral Company’s Independent Advisory Group (IAG), a team of independent experts who ensure quality and integrity in The CarbonNeutral Company programmes. The CarbonNeutral Protocol describes the requirements for achieving CarbonNeutral® certification and controls employed by The CarbonNeutral Company to ensure the correct use of CarbonNeutral® logos.

Yup, a self-certified company using their self-created protocol is helping companies help their customers feel all warm and fuzzy and green by selling self-issued certifications. Note the lack of a space in their Registered Trademark name, and how their official seal uses the words separately, with a very tiny “®” so what you really notice is “CARBON NEUTRAL!!
But hey, their service has A Guarantee:

The CarbonNeutral Company guarantees that for every tonne of carbon we sell, a tonne of high quality carbon offset will be delivered. In the unlikely event that a project does not deliver, we replace it with credits from another project.

Note the lack of the words “Money Back.” I wonder what sort of “carbon deficit” they can run up on behalf of a company waiting for enough projects to deliver enough offsets. Nah, never mind, they may be using that funky offsetting math where existing rain forest just sitting there as a stable amount of biomass is an offset for generated CO2 emissions.
I wonder… If someone buys land with coal deposits under it, or otherwise claims the mining rights, and promises to never dig up the coal, do they get to sell carbon offsets based on how much coal could possibly have been dug up and burned?

July 7, 2010 1:50 pm

Dave> iguanas – Matter of fact, it’s good food. But most people here mainly seem to enjoy the double penis – gives the Great Power. Maybe a marketing idea?

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