We Talk About Politics Because The Science Is Uncertain

The Uncertain Inn, Uncertain TX. Image from Travelpod - click

Guest Post by Thomas Fuller

You readers here at Watts Up With That have been very kind to me during my guest-blogging stint here, and I’d like to express my thanks for the cordial reception I have found, especially since I’m well aware that my views are not really congruent with those of many viewers. You all are certainly more open-minded and accommodating than the audience at many other internet locations. (Okay, enough sucking up–get on with it!)

However, one commenter on my last post had the audacity–the sheer audacity–to criticize my writing because this is a science blog after all, and my guest posts have not been about the science. Well, touche and all that, my dear sir, but well, I’m not a scientist.

We are not really at the point where only scientists can say intelligent things about climate change.

Two reasons: First, the basics are pretty well understood. CO2 should cause about a 1.5 to 2.1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures if we double its concentration in our atmosphere. (If it doesn’t, it’s because other forces are counteracting it, not that it doesn’t exist.) This really is not very controversial at all.

Second, the controversial part of the discussion is not going to be settled any time soon. We really do not know the sensitivity of the atmosphere to a doubling of CO2 concentrations. We are not likely to know for at least 30 years–and that’s if we’re lucky, according to Judith Curry.

To offer the extreme and absurdist example, as Roger Pielke Jr. points out on his weblog, we could achieve our emission reduction goals overnight, by switching from BP’s estimate of our 2009 emissions of CO2 to the IEA’S estimates of the same. There’s quite a bit of uncertainty out there.

So, despite their protestations, climate scientists at this point have about as much ‘clout’ in deciding what we should do as anybody else. So your comments and my guest posts here are not automatically dismissable as coming from the rabble. What we write on this weblog and others should be evaluated on the merits of what we say. Of course, people who have been studying the biology, chemistry, geology and ecological interactions of this planet should be treated with quite a bit more respect, and many climate scientists got their start in one of those fields–by no means am I trying to exclude them from the conversation, just because they can’t point at a red dot on a thermometer and say ‘that’s where we’ll be in 90 years.’

It is my own belief that other things we do here on this Earth have an impact on this planet, and that we should be aware of the impacts and in some cases work to lessen them. It is a happy coincidence that lessening these other impacts may also serve to reduce the impacts of whatever climate change we may be causing with CO2.

In the past century we have gone from cultivating about 3% of the world’s land for agriculture to about 33%. And of course this has had an effect on the planet, and of course that includes this planet’s climate. It has changed the albedo of the land and it has changed the level and movement of moisture over (and around) the cultivated areas. The vertical columns of air that shape what we perceive as weather are hugely affected by this. As they are by creation of manmade reservoirs behind the 850,000 dams we have built.

We have cut down forests, and not only for agriculture. They’re recovering in the developed world, but not in the emerging nations that still need the wood for fuel and the land for space. And again, this has affected the entire ecology and that does include climate.

(Digression–with the increasing urbanisation of this planet, some of these effects will lessen. More of us will live in cities, occupying a smaller space. Technology will reduce the amount of land needed for agriculture, despite our growing population. Some things will get better–maybe a lot of things, if we work for them.)

I could go on, but the point is clear enough for you to either agree or disagree. We are changing our planet, and one poorly understood change is the composition of the atmosphere.

Had the IPCC and others been savvy enough to look at all the changes we are making instead of just focusing on the ‘flavor of the month,’ I think the science–and our options–would have been more clearly expressed and more believable.

Instead, they focused on CO2 and treated all who disagreed as the rabble I mentioned before. What they wanted was a rabble alarmed. What they got was a rabble in arms.

Thomas Fuller  http://www.redbubble.com/people/hfuller

We Talk About Politics Because The Science Is Uncertain
You readers here at Watt’s Up With That have been very kind to me during my guest-blogging stint here, and I’d like to express my thanks for the cordial reception I have found, especially since I’m well aware that my views are not really congruent with those of many viewers. You all are certainly more open-minded and accommodating than the audience at many other internet locations. (Okay, enough sucking up–get on with it!)
However, one commenter on my last post had the audacity–the sheer audacity–to criticize my writing because this is a science blog after all, and my guest posts have not been about the science. Well, touche and all that, my dear sir, but well, I’m not a scientist.
We are not really at the point where only scientists can say intelligent things about climate change.
Two reasons: First, the basics are pretty well understood. CO2 should cause about a 1.5 to 2.1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures if we double its concentration in our atmosphere. (If it doesn’t, it’s because other forces are counteracting it, not that it doesn’t exist.) This really is not very controversial at all.
Second, the controversial part of the discussion is not going to be settled any time soon. We really do not know the sensitivity of the atmosphere to a doubling of CO2 concentrations. We are not likely to know for at least 30 years–and that’s if we’re lucky, according to Judith Curry.
To offer the extreme and absurdist example, as Roger Pielke Jr. points out on his weblog, we could achieve our emission reduction goals overnight, by switching from BP’s estimate of our 2009 emissions of CO2 to the IEA’S estimates of the same. There’s quite a bit of uncertainty out there.
So, despite their protestations, climate scientists at this point have about as much ‘clout’ in deciding what we should do as anybody else. So your comments and my guest posts here are not automatically dismissable as coming from the rabble. What we write on this weblog and others should be evaluated on the merits of what we say. Of course, people who have been studying the biology, chemistry, geology and ecological interactions of this planet should be treated with quite a bit more respect, and many climate scientists got their start in one of those fields–by no means am I trying to exclude them from the conversation, just because they can’t point at a red dot on a thermometer and say ‘that’s where we’ll be in 90 years.’
It is my own belief that other things we do here on this Earth have an impact on this planet, and that we should be aware of the impacts and in some cases work to lessen them. It is a happy coincidence that lessening these other impacts may also serve to reduce the impacts of whatever climate change we may be causing with CO2.
In the past century we have gone from cultivating about 3% of the world’s land for agriculture to about 33%. And of course this has had an effect on the planet, and of course that includes this planet’s climate. It has changed the albedo of the land and it has changed the level and movement of moisture over (and around) the cultivated areas. The vertical columns of air that shape what we perceive as weather are hugely affected by this. As they are by creation of manmade reservoirs behind the 850,000 dams we have built.
We have cut down forests, and not only for agriculture. They’re recovering in the developed world, but not in the emerging nations that still need the wood for fuel and the land for space. And again, this has affected the entire ecology and that does include climate.
(Digression–with the increasing urbanisation of this planet, some of these effects will lessen. More of us will live in cities, occupying a smaller space. Technology will reduce the amount of land needed for agriculture, despite our growing population. Some things will get better–maybe a lot of things, if we work for them.)
I could go on, but the point is clear enough for you to either agree or disagree. We are changing our planet, and one poorly understood change is the composition of the atmosphere.
Had the IPCC and others been savvy enough to look at all the changes we are making instead of just focusing on the ‘flavor of the month,’ I think the science–and our options–would have been more clearly expressed and more believable.
Instead, they focused on CO2 and treated all who disagreed as the rabble I mentioned before. What they wanted was a rabble alarmed. What they got was a rabble in arms.

Thomas Fuller href=”http://www.redbubble.com/people/hfulleWe Talk About Politics Because The Science Is Uncertain   You readers here at Watt’s Up With That have been very kind to me during my guest-blogging stint here, and I’d like to express my thanks for the cordial reception I have found, especially since I’m well aware that my views are not really congruent with those of many viewers. You all are certainly more open-minded and accommodating than the audience at many other internet locations. (Okay, enough sucking up–get on with it!)   However, one commenter on my last post had the audacity–the sheer audacity–to criticize my writing because this is a science blog after all, and my guest posts have not been about the science. Well, touche and all that, my dear sir, but well, I’m not a scientist.   We are not really at the point where only scientists can say intelligent things about climate change.   Two reasons: First, the basics are pretty well understood. CO2 should cause about a 1.5 to 2.1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures if we double its concentration in our atmosphere. (If it doesn’t, it’s because other forces are counteracting it, not that it doesn’t exist.) This really is not very controversial at all.   Second, the controversial part of the discussion is not going to be settled any time soon. We really do not know the sensitivity of the atmosphere to a doubling of CO2 concentrations. We are not likely to know for at least 30 years–and that’s if we’re lucky, according to Judith Curry.   To offer the extreme and absurdist example, as Roger Pielke Jr. points out on his weblog, we could achieve our emission reduction goals overnight, by switching from BP’s estimate of our 2009 emissions of CO2 to the IEA’S estimates of the same. There’s quite a bit of uncertainty out there.   So, despite their protestations, climate scientists at this point have about as much ‘clout’ in deciding what we should do as anybody else. So your comments and my guest posts here are not automatically dismissable as coming from the rabble. What we write on this weblog and others should be evaluated on the merits of what we say. Of course, people who have been studying the biology, chemistry, geology and ecological interactions of this planet should be treated with quite a bit more respect, and many climate scientists got their start in one of those fields–by no means am I trying to exclude them from the conversation, just because they can’t point at a red dot on a thermometer and say ‘that’s where we’ll be in 90 years.’   It is my own belief that other things we do here on this Earth have an impact on this planet, and that we should be aware of the impacts and in some cases work to lessen them. It is a happy coincidence that lessening these other impacts may also serve to reduce the impacts of whatever climate change we may be causing with CO2.   In the past century we have gone from cultivating about 3% of the world’s land for agriculture to about 33%. And of course this has had an effect on the planet, and of course that includes this planet’s climate. It has changed the albedo of the land and it has changed the level and movement of moisture over (and around) the cultivated areas. The vertical columns of air that shape what we perceive as weather are hugely affected by this. As they are by creation of manmade reservoirs behind the 850,000 dams we have built.   We have cut down forests, and not only for agriculture. They’re recovering in the developed world, but not in the emerging nations that still need the wood for fuel and the land for space. And again, this has affected the entire ecology and that does include climate.   (Digression–with the increasing urbanisation of this planet, some of these effects will lessen. More of us will live in cities, occupying a smaller space. Technology will reduce the amount of land needed for agriculture, despite our growing population. Some things will get better–maybe a lot of things, if we work for them.)   I could go on, but the point is clear enough for you to either agree or disagree. We are changing our planet, and one poorly understood change is the composition of the atmosphere.   Had the IPCC and others been savvy enough to look at all the changes we are making instead of just focusing on the ‘flavor of the month,’ I think the science–and our options–would have been more clearly expressed and more believable.   Instead, they focused on CO2 and treated all who disagreed as the rabble I mentioned before. What they wanted was a rabble alarmed. What they got was a rabble in arms.

Thomas Fuller href=”http://www.redbubble.com/people/hfuller

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211 thoughts on “We Talk About Politics Because The Science Is Uncertain

  1. “CO2 should cause about a 1.5 to 2.1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures if we double its concentration in our atmosphere…. This really is not very controversial at all.”
    Well, I’m not a scientist either but I have read several posts here and elsewhere that the effect of CO2 upon the atmosphere rises logarithmically and that we’re not too far from the point where more of it will cease to have much more effect. So, unless I have misunderstood the things I have read, (always a distinct possibility) then your statement is still controversial.

  2. You make some interesting points but I am struggling to grasp if they are really significant.
    “In the past century we have gone from cultivating about 3% of the world’s land for agriculture to about 33%”
    Sounds very dramatic but assuming 70% is sea then your statement is that we have gone from cultivating 1% to 9% of the world’s surface for agriculture. Likewise you mention 850,000 reservoirs which sounds a lot and may be significant but I cannot tell.
    I am always a little wary of arguments that insist “man is so important and so powerful he must be changing the planet” when in truth it might be better described as two fleas arguing which made the dog fart.

  3. “It is my own belief that other things we do here on this Earth have an impact on this planet, and that we should be aware of the impacts and in some cases work to lessen them. It is a happy coincidence that lessening these other impacts may also serve to reduce the impacts of whatever climate change we may be causing with CO2.”
    Yes, but any of those impacts, if deemed important enough to try to ameliorate should be able to stand on their own merits without piggybacking onto the C02 mythology. And aye, there’s the rub. To the Warmistas, any so-called chance that C02 maybe, might possibly, could cause a “tipping point” is enough. They go into their little “risk analysis” routine, saying something like, “you don’t expect your house to burn down either, but you still (if you’re smart, anyway) buy fire insurance. Then it’s “do we dare gamble with our childrens’ and grandchildrens’ future?

  4. I don’t believe they wanted to examine the big picture regarding all the changes we are making to the planet; I think they were looking instead for something identifyable, tradeable and taxable.

  5. I agree with the general thrust of this. As a starting point in any debate, any poster should be treated with respect (irrespective of the views expressed) unless they have done something substantive to disentitle them to respect. Again, comments should be judged on the contents of what is said. It is then for other commentators to explain (with civility) what is wrong with the comment, explain why a comment may have no relevance or significance, put forward an alternative proposition etc.
    I also consider to a significant extent, non scientists can rightly comment on climate science since to a large extent it is a matter of commonsense and we all recognise GIGO. For example, one does not have to be a scientific genius to review temperature logs, see trends and question the need/relevance of any adjustment to the raw data. Likewise, any one can comment upon siting issues. They same applies to general observations about proxy evidence and the efficacy of so called peer review.
    Of course climate science is very wide. Scientists operating in other areas/disciplines can rightly comment upon the extent to which the ordinary rigours of scientific principle are being applied to climate science. Even those from the quasi arts (eg., classics, classics and archaeology) can comment upon the past and how man was affected/benefitted.
    If most people accept as a general premise that the climate is changing but the issue is whether this be natural or anthropogenic, then one does not need to be a scientist to add to the debate on what if any action should be taken to address the change. My own view is that we have gone totally off the rails in seeking to halt the change rather than to concentrate on reacting to the change if and only if the change has demonstratable adverse consequences. My own view is that for the main part a warmer climate will be a good thing but for a few local areas it may have a negative impact which negative effect should be addressed if it truly proves to cause problem In other words I do not accept the catastrophic scenarios and I would like to see much more evidence showing the realistic consequence of climate change.
    In fact any one with a forensic mind can usefully add to the debate and it is conceivable that such persons may be better able to see the wood for the trees.

  6. Thomas Fuller, you don’t get it.
    The UN IPCC is pushing policies not climate science.
    They are pushing policies to give the strong hand to a political elite providing them absolute power to regulate every detailed aspect of our world.
    It doesn’t matter to me if such an organizations crooks up climate science or any other human related impact on this world.
    I simply reject the entire initiative and the organization involved.
    And if you intend to live your future life in freedom, I advise you to do the same.

  7. The one disagreement I would make with your statement is:
    “First, the basics are pretty well understood. CO2 should cause about a 1.5 to 2.1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures if we double its concentration in our atmosphere. ”
    The “scientific” evidence behind this relies on massive climate forcings to cause 1.5 to 2.1 degrees. CO2 alone will cause less then a tenth of one degree, because of the fact that CO2 to Temperature is a logarithmic relationship, and we are right now well beyond the saturation point. The first 20-40 ppm contribute over half of CO2’s warming effect.
    Evidence for my statement: http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/heating_effect_of_co2.png
    This among other “scientific facts” That are always assumed at the beginning of an argument are the greatest reason that there is so much belief in a theory that has little empirical evidence to support. In fact, virtually all of the empirical evidence points to some outside source forcing climate change and CO2 merely reacting as the oceans warm or cool.
    SO until and unless scientists can use empirical evidence to prove that climate forcings will increase the effect CO2 has by roughly 2000%, the idea that CO2 is the cause is not even close to being proven. Anyone can prove anything given a computer and allowed to generate code with your desired result in mind.

  8. Anybody with the power of conscious cerebration knows there must be huge uncertainties associated with such a vast and complex system as the earth’s climate on land, sea and in the atmosphere.
    Thus, we are angered to be told ‘the debate is over’, especially as that statement appears to us to be made usually by people who lack the critical abilities referred to above, and who are either mindlessly following or malevolently driving an illogical and emotional crusade to an alarmism-ruined future.

  9. This statistic sort of jumps off the page and begins to move the WUWT “Funny Number” meter:
    “In the past century we have gone from cultivating about 3% of the world’s land for agriculture to about 33%.”
    Do you have a reference for this? I do a fair amount of travel, and I can’t even begin to reconcile that with what seems to be reality.
    JimB

  10. If you want proper feedback for your writings (you are not a scientist as you mention), you should write somewhere else.
    [snip]
    There is not much critical thinking going on here. Critical commenters gave up.
    [snip]
    Your post is a scatter gun of issues that is too much of a task to start dealing with.
    [Advertising blogs that incessantly badmouth WUWT is getting out of hand. ~dbs, mod.]

  11. Well, the author is just giving all the ingredients of “post normal science” .
    <>
    First you use the term “climate change” ; well, the only certain and stable thing about climate is “change”, congratulations, you got a point here !
    Then you talk about agriculture and change of the albedo, since you do not give any analyse of the effect of such change you are just “making noise” .
    You are not a scientist, you do not have to tell it, it’s obvious!
    The only interesting point of your article is that it shows the new way “governementalitists” are going to follow : more post normal science, more fear without any proof and their will to make people believe in some “normality” about climate !
    To sum up, without any scientific base, diagnosis and cure will be at their own absolute disposal while people will have to pay for.
    Lucien d’Athenes

  12. (Digression–with the increasing urbanisation of this planet, some of these effects will lessen. More of us will live in cities, occupying a smaller space. Technology will reduce the amount of land needed for agriculture, despite our growing population. Some things will get better–maybe a lot of things, if we work for them.)

    Ah, yes, of course, we’ve gone from 3% land use to 33% land use, but increased urbanization will take care of the problem because, of course, the physical footprint of a human being is the same as its ecological footprint, and both of those decrease with urbanization. Absolutely makes sense.
    And of course, technology will make tons of corn grow on square centimeters of land. Because, of course, photosynthesis uses cold fusion to generate biomass and it is not at all dependent on such things as energy flow from the sun, water, nutrient availability, and its own efficiency at converting sunlight to chemical energy. So we can increase yields indefinitely…
    You have to love these people, they seem to be having so much fun… Only problem is [snip]

  13. In the past century we have gone from cultivating about 3% of the world’s land for agriculture to about 33%.
    Seems a strange ratio of increase. The population for 1850 was around 1.5 billion, soon, 2011, to be 7 billion, a 5 fold increase.
    Agriculture has changed from horse-animal powered which required growing the animal feeds for horse power production. The widespread use of commercial fertilizers as well as the “green revolution” have greatly increased agriculture production per acre and efficency.
    How does a 5 fold increase in population require a 10 fold increase in agricultural land?

  14. The major impact on climate will come from increasing the amount of the land surface used for agriculture (as you state 3% – 33%) and especially ‘turning deserts green’. Plants survive by using a kind of ‘total loss’ circulation system. They take water in through their roots and transpire that water out through the stomata in their leaves. This transpiration can be at a surprisingly significant rate with mature trees transpiring more than 100 litres of water an hour in summer. All those desert areas in Libya, the Negev going green are doing so by using cubic kilometers of ‘fossil water’ (Google it).
    Water is only normally required for irrigation where the surface is dry (rather obviously) and so in these dry areas the relative humidity is raised by adding water vapor transpired by plants. Water vapor accounts for ~70% of the ‘green house effect’ yet for some reason the cubic kilometers of additional water being continually added to the atmosphere by agricultural irrigation in just the right hot dry places to have the maximum effect on global heat retention, is not even seen as an ‘anthropogenic’ effect.
    The insistence that water vapor is ‘only a feedback’ is one of the major faults in the IPCC reports.

  15. Tom I believe you will find that for a doubling of CO2 you will get no more then 1.2° C of temperature rise. Even the Connolley approved Wiki says 1° C:

    “Without any feedbacks, a doubling of CO2 (which amounts to a forcing of 3.7 W/m2) would result in 1°C global warming, which is easy to calculate and is undisputed. The remaining uncertainty is due entirely to feedbacks in the system, namely, the water vapor feedback, the ice-albedo feedback, the cloud feedback, and the lapse rate feedback” [6]; addition of these feedbacks leads to a value of approximately 3 °C.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_sensitivity
    However that is not the most important part, it is your second point. Land use change effecting weather and climate used to be taught in basic 3rd grade science when I went to school. Back then everyone was taught about how if you change how much water was available, you changed how much evaporated, you changed how many clouds are formed, you changed….. I’m pretty sure you get my drift. That is why when I read Dr. Pielke Sr. position and some of his papers dealing with Land use change to explain changes in climate, it was something you could easily wrap your mind around because it was built up from basic, sound science. Which in turn led to the inevitable question of “Why doesn’t the IPCC address this?” and the only answer I could find was because there really is no easy political power to be had in that position.
    What are they going to say to the third world “Sorry we had to shut off the irrigation and let the land to turn back into desert so the planet stays cool?”. Or how about here in the US are you going to tell that to the farmers in he Midwest and the Central Valley of California? What about the people now so used to getting basically fresh “off season” vegetables at the supermarket? What are they going to do put a irrigation tax on those vegetables, causing prices to rise? So no they can’t acknowledge land use change because there is little they can advocate for politically, only CO2 gives them that.

  16. DaveF says:
    September 4, 2010 at 4:23 am

    “CO2 should cause about a 1.5 to 2.1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures if we double its concentration in our atmosphere…. This really is not very controversial at all.”
    Well, I’m not a scientist either but I have read several posts here and elsewhere that the effect of CO2 upon the atmosphere rises logarithmically and that we’re not too far from the point where more of it will cease to have much more effect. So, unless I have misunderstood the things I have read, (always a distinct possibility) then your statement is still controversial.

    The logrithmic curve fit holds – the next doubling will increase temperatures another 1.5 to 2.1 °C, not 3.0 to 4.2.
    Unless confounding things like convection, clouds, etc are confounding things, of course.
    Note that if CO₂ were rising exponentially, then that negates the logrithmic fit and we’d into a steady temperature rise over time.

  17. Agreed that the CO2 driven CAGW and AGW science isn’t settled.
    I’ve not seen enough evidence – models aren’t evidence – that CO2 is a primary, secondary, or tertiary driver of temperature or climate. I’d say that portion of the science isn’t settled and the returns coming in don’t look promising to confirm CO2 driven global climate. I’ve seen far more evidence for water vapor, airborne particulates, geography, and ocean circulation as the key ingredients that determine what the climate will be at anyones particular address, with local conditions being tempered by land use.
    The earth has never experienced runaway global warming, though it certainly will when the sun expands and engulfs the earth. We’re wasting and will waste enormous wealth studying and mitigating what I see is a non-problem. I’d be very happy to have climate science fully explain and predict the glaciations and interglacials.
    All of the ballyhoo about CAGW is political and should be treated as such, and when politics are involved, keep a sharp eye on your wallet. Politics are strictly about OPM.

  18. Sorry Tom, DaveF [first post] is correct.
    Mr Fuller writes: “We really do not know the sensitivity of the atmosphere to a doubling of CO2 concentrations. ”
    No, but we know that the IPCC has grossly overestimated the effect of CO2. That is because most of the effect has already occurred. And that is using total CO2 as measured at MLO. The human contribution is under 3%.
    The biosphere is starved of CO2, and that’s a fact. Even when CO2 was at thousands of ppmv, it had no discernible effect on temperature. Why should it be any different now? Have the laws of physics changed?
    Land use and other factors have a much bigger effect than a tiny trace gas. But the government and the IPCC have put all their eggs in the CO2 basket, and now they’re stumbling around, trying to convince a skeptical public that the rise in CO2 matters. But the evidence and physical observations show that CO2 does not matter.
    Still, governments are forced to continue with the CO2 charade, because taxing water vapor is next to impossible. And tax money is the driver for the entire “carbon” scare.
    Tom needs to got out more, and listen to other people who base their conclusions on facts, not on vaguely understood speculation that the real world does not validate.

  19. It would be helpful to not get your basic facts wrong to start with. The theoretical effect of doubling CO2 from the value of 290 ppm in 1850, to 580 ppm (expected value by 2100?) would add about 1.2 C (not 1.5 to 2.1 C), and the increase from 1850 to the present (we are presently at 390 ppm CO2) has already seen 0.8 C rise, at least half of which was agreed by both sides to have been probably caused by natural variation.
    Since additional increase to 580 is only 1.5 times the present value (not double), and the effect of CO2 is a logarithmic effect, it thus seems very unlikely that even an additional gain of 0.5 C is possible from present levels, absent positive feedback. Since no positive feedback effects have been shown to be present, and in fact it required negative feedback to explain present levels, you have little science support.

  20. From where I sit on the bell curve, let me say this about the “rabble”:
    — There are an awful lot of ’em.
    — Never underestimate the power of the “rabble” to surprise; they’re a lot more intelligent than they may appear at first blush.
    — I never met any of the “rabble” I didn’t like. But then, I’ve never met the likes of Messrs. Mann, Hansen, Gore, et al.

  21. First, the basics are pretty well understood. CO2 should cause about a 1.5 to 2.1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures if we double its concentration in our atmosphere. (If it doesn’t, it’s because other forces are counteracting it, not that it doesn’t exist.) This really is not very controversial at all.
    ===================================================
    Hold on to your seat Tom, you’re about to get an edjumacation…..

  22. Read this article twice just to make sure that there was nothing that i could take issue with and failed to find anything other than commonsense. This article gives the subject of climate change the kind of perspective, sadly lacking in much of the drbate.
    Refreshing, easy to comprehend and well written in my opinion.
    Thankyou

  23. Hi Tom,
    Thanks for your reasoned discourse on this issue. As for your claim: “CO2 should cause about a 1.5 to 2.1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures if we double its concentration in our atmosphere. (If it doesn’t, it’s because other forces are counteracting it, not that it doesn’t exist.) This really is not very controversial at all.”
    Uh, yes, that is THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL THING THAT YOU WROTE! Scientists are surprised to find similar temps to today with up to 20 times level of Co2! The “not very controversial” claim of temp impact of doubling Co2 is starting to sound like a “crystal ball” prediction.
    New studies are showing the atmosphere less sensitive to Co2 than previously thought. See: Climate CO2 Sensitivity Overestimated making simplifying assumptions about nature has led to an over estimation of carbon dioxide’s impact on temperature. — http://www.theresilientearth.com/?q=content/climate-co2-sensitivity-overestimated
    Peer-Reviewed Study finds ‘ancient’ Earth’s climate similar to present day — despite CO2 levels 5 to over 20 times higher than today! — Geologists reconstructed Earth’s climate belts between 460 and 445 million years ago and found ‘ancient climate belts were surprisingly like those of the present’ — Also included ‘a brief, intense glaciation’
    http://www.climatedepot.com/a/7649/PeerReviewed-Study-finds-ancient-Earths-climate-similar-to-present-day–despite-CO2-levels-5-to-over-20-times-higher-than-today
    Continued…

  24. It is interesting that few link the IPCC CO2 initiative to the larger UN Agenda 21 initiative.
    CO2 is, after all, the vehicle that is intended to leverage and force implementation of the underlying sustainable development plan. Quite the scary plan if you read up on it, and very real.
    http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/

  25. ‘thats where we’ll be in 90 years’
    And thats effectively the claim thats being made, so we must have policy solution xyz now. Except the claim just refuses to stand up to scrutiny, notwithstanding the tactics of Leninst advocates to close debate down.

  26. Tom – please can you provide the source references that supports these claims:
    “First, the basics are pretty well understood. CO2 should cause about a 1.5 to 2.1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures if we double its concentration in our atmosphere. (If it doesn’t, it’s because other forces are counteracting it, not that it doesn’t exist.) This really is not very controversial at all.”
    Thanks

  27. Thomas, I think that the issue is more nuanced.
    The most frequent reason for veering from science to politics that I’ve seen here looks to me more like a general avoidance of scientific investigation because it’s too much work. Much easier to make pronouncements on people, or general handwaving remarks. Easier to simply believe others (as at RC), or blame others for failing to produce a science that is clear enough – when perhaps we all need to do our bit in clarifying the science.
    Crucially, skeptics have not been given space for their main concern: to re-examine the root science, in any of the recent reports, to say nothing of IPCC itself. Here, politicking has not happened because the science is uncertain but because discussion of the science has been drowned out with alarmist bullying. And this bullying has helped to keep the science uncertain. Or at least, that portion of the science which reaches Joe Public has been often utterly confusing.
    That was why I taught myself the science – and arrived at the conclusion that there was a lot better understanding of climate around than first meets the eye – click my name, I collected together what I found – and none of the better understanding supports CAGW, and a lot does not even support a measurable AGW. Now if we were not so distracted by political takes, all this material would have been processed, checked, tested, and distilled according to the real precepts of Scientific Method, and Climate Science would have developed a lot further.
    Stand your title on its head: “The science is uncertain because we talk about politics”.

  28. Hear, hear! Very well said. I live “green”, beyond any greenie who doesn’t live in a tree.
    (how that will save the planet with an increasing population is plain stupid)
    We need to get our erstwhile leaders to see the obvious. No hope there I guess.

  29. Part 2: Rising CO2 a Boon for Biosphere – Earth in ‘CO2 Famine’ – Cutting CO2 ‘a profoundly evil act’ — http://www.climatedepot.com/a/2355/Rising-CO2-a-Boon-for-Biosphere-ndash-Earth-in-CO2-Famine-ndash-Cutting-CO2-a-profoundly-evil-act–Climate-Depot-Fact-Sheet-on-CO2
    Tom,
    Here is the bottom line when it comes to Co2:
    UK Professor Emeritus of Biogeography Philip Stott of the University of London decried the notion that CO2 is the main climate driver. “As I have said, over and over again, the fundamental point has always been this: climate change is governed by hundreds of factors, or variables, and the very idea that we can manage climate change predictably by understanding and manipulating at the margins one politically-selected factor is as misguided as it gets,” Stott wrote in 2008.
    Even the climate activists at RealClimate.org let this point slip out in a September 20, 2008 article. “The actual temperature rise is an emergent property resulting from interactions among hundreds of factors,” RealClimate.org admitted in a rare moment of candor.
    http://www.climatedepot.com/a/2597/Exposed-Climate-Fear-Promoters-Greatest-Fear–A-Public-Trial-of-the-Evidence-of-Global-Warming-Fears-Inconvenient-Developments-Continue-To-Mount
    ##
    Here is some more “controversy.”
    “Even doubling or tripling the amount of carbon dioxide will virtually have little impact,
    as water vapour and water condensed on particles as clouds dominate the worldwide
    scene and always will.” – . Geoffrey G. Duffy, a professor in the Department of Chemical
    and Materials Engineering of the University of Auckland, NZ.
    “CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another….Every scientist
    knows this, but it doesn’t pay to say so…Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps
    Europeans in the driver’s seat and developing nations walking barefoot.” – Dr. Takeda
    Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu
    University in Japan.
    “I have yet to see credible proof of carbon dioxide driving climate change, yet alone
    man-made CO2 driving it. The atmospheric hot-spot is missing and the ice core data
    refute this. When will we collectively awake from this deceptive delusion?” – Dr. G
    LeBlanc Smith, a retired Principal Research Scientist with Australia’s CSIRO. (The full
    quotes of the scientists are later in this report)
    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=83947f5d-d84a-4a84-ad5d-6e2d71db52d9
    #
    Not to mention that there is a contingent of scientists now challenging key points of the long “accepted” notions of the Earth’s greenhouse effect. Please do not murder the English language by using the phrase “not very controversial.”
    Thanks
    Marc Morano
    ClimateDepot.com

  30. Thomas Fuller,
    ….[edit] . . . the basics are pretty well understood. CO2 should cause about a 1.5 to 2.1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures if we double its concentration in our atmosphere. (If it doesn’t, it’s because other forces are counteracting it, not that it doesn’t exist.) This really is not very controversial at all.

    ——————–
    Thomas Fuller,
    Keep on posting, you do tee up the key points. Thank you.
    Step back and think. Why do you say that, again? It is exactly what needs to be more widely discussed in a non-authoritarian scientific venue. If it clears that hurdle successfully, then say it.
    Anthony, you do know how to keep us blogging. : )
    John

  31. I would like to see someone, anyone point to this thing called climate and say ” See there, it changed. That is the because this thing over here did this.” In more than 50 years of observing climate with my eyes open most of that time I have never seen the climate change in much of any direction and never for long when it does change. Much like the ocean where waves come in and waves go out. Tide comes up and tide goes down. Storms blow up and pass by, but in the end the weather is quite similar to what it was like 50 years ago. If anyone disagrees with this prove me wrong. Point to the change, and prove out the worldwide implications. Until then I remain sceptical.

  32. It was good to see the IPCC get a head slap.
    Thomas Fuller, you did good, even if you are wrong about humans’ role in increases in CO2 and global warming. Humans should improve their stewardship of our small planet.

  33. CO2 should cause about a 1.5 to 2.1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures if we double its concentration in our atmosphere. (If it doesn’t, it’s because other forces are counteracting it, not that it doesn’t exist.)

    The number from CO2 is about 1.1 C, isn’t it?
    More than half of the modeled scenario temperature rise is attributable to
    positive water vapor feedback. This means that ‘global warming’ theory
    is depending on positive feedback.
    That is evident in the IPCC predictions.
    The LOWEST possible trend they invoke is 1.1C, meaning net zero feedback.
    Given that there are positive AND negative feedback mechanisms, though
    uncertain, and the most likely outcome would be the 1.1C rate and not
    the higher rates bandied about.

  34. “Instead, they focused on CO2 and treated all who disagreed as the rabble I mentioned before. What they wanted was a rabble alarmed. What they got was a rabble in arms.”
    In arms about what? The extreme AGW warming hypothesis is not correct.
    The Greenland and Antarctic Ice are not melting and will not melt. The planet is not going to warm 2C to 3C for a doubling of CO2. The planet’s response to a change in forcing is net negative (planetary cloud cover increases or decreases over the ocean to regulate the temperature of the planet.) A significant portion of the 20th century warming was due to process called electroscavenging where solar wind bursts create a space charge in the ionosphere which removes cloud forming ions. Planetary cloud cover closely tracks galactic cosmic rays which are modulated by the solar magnetic cycle up until 1994 at which time planetary cloud cover is reduced. The sun is in Dalton like minimum. Based on what has happened before the planet is going to cool.
    There are cycles of warming and cooling in paleoclimatic record. To stoke the panic Mann cherry picked tree ring data to create the hockey stick to remove the cyclic temperature pattern in the paleoclimatic record. There is obvious indication of temperature data manipulation (current and past) to stoke the panic.
    There are scientific papers and observational data that supports what is stated above.
    Policy decisions need to be based on truth not propaganda.
    Plants eat CO2. Greenhouses inject CO2 into the greenhouse to increase yield. As CO2 increases plants make more affective use of water. Shrubs and grasses have moved into desert regions due to the increased CO2. One of the few positive impacts humans have had on the ecosystem has been to increase atmosphere CO2.
    Government funds are finite not infinite. Governments must tax people to raise funds to avoid third world super inflation. The idea that the public (US or any other Western country) will support a $100 billion/year program that is run by an inept EU like bureaucracy to fiance corrupt third world governments is absurd.
    Come back with a specific plan that addresses real problems.

  35. “First, the basics are pretty well understood. CO2 should cause about a 1.5 to 2.1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures if we double its concentration in our atmosphere. …. This really is not very controversial at all.”
    This estimate comes from the global climate models. The whole CO2 hypothesis relies on the absorption of IR by CO2. The Earth emits the most IR from the tropics where it is the warmest. If the CO2 absorption of IR is going to warm the atmosphere it is going to warm the atmosphere the most over the tropics. All of the models predict a warming of the atmosphere at mid altitudes over the tropics. This predicted warming of the atmosphere by the models is not controversial. The fact that the measured temperatures over the tropics shows no warming is not controversial.
    Yet somehow the proven fact that the models are wrong is controversial.
    The modelers have managed to get results that up till the last decade matched the surface temperatures. (Hansen’s homogenized, bent, twisted, spindled and mutilated temperatures more than the satellites.) The only way that they could have done this was to tweak other parameters in the model to force fit the results. They managed to get the elephant to wiggle his trunk. http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_von_Neumann

  36. Smokey, 5:16am:
    “….because taxing water vapor is next to impossible.”
    Don’t give them ideas, Smokey!

  37. Tom,
    I always enjoy your writing, but there is a problem in the science which bugs me. People often make this claim.
    “CO2 should cause about a 1.5 to 2.1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures if we double its concentration in our atmosphere. ”
    This is simply not known. Roy Spencer just demonstrated a negative feedback to temperature detected in the satellite data, even if the Planck calculations that generate the number you expressed were true, it’s quite possible that we would see half or less of the warming above.
    We simply do not know.
    It’s not uncertainty, it is unknowanty.

  38. The AGW scam always was a political animal. To justify it the use of a higher authority was required. Hence the use of Political Activists Masquerading As Scientists. PAMAS
    What generated the political heat was, I believe , a double headed Hydra. The oil shock of the 70’s and the dawning realisation by the US that their corporations no longer had the upper hand. 95% of the worlds oil is now controlled by Sovereign departments. Aramco etc. This threatened the largest user of oil in the world, the US military. The emergent Empire ran on the stuff.
    Then in 1979 something else happened. Something big. ???
    regards

  39. Dear Mr Fuller,
    I am not a scientist either, but when the recently-deposed British Prime Minister announced during the last Copenhagen conference that the science is settled, and anyone who doubted that he branded a ‘flat-earther’ was a step too far in the direction of villification of the citizenry for me to swallow. At that point I began to read copiously on the subject of climate and I now understand that the alleged villain of the global warming cause, CO2, is plant food whose measurable ppm in the atmosphere FOLLOWS the temperature curve and does not precede that curve.
    I also understand that Mann’s ‘hockey stick’, the principal evidence against the MWP and other warm periods of the earth’s history, has been thoroughly discredited and that there is considerable validated evidence that the MWP and other warmings were indeed global.
    I have also read enough to know that the IPCC is agenda-driven, not science-driven and its work has been an exercise in the advocacy of a spurious cause.
    Your understandings of ‘the basics’ are rather different from mine and I therefore see no point in the taking of extreme precautions to the point where the economies of developed nations will be made to fail,’ just in case’.

  40. DaveF says:

    Well, I’m not a scientist either but I have read several posts here and elsewhere that the effect of CO2 upon the atmosphere rises logarithmically and that we’re not too far from the point where more of it will cease to have much more effect. So, unless I have misunderstood the things I have read, (always a distinct possibility) then your statement is still controversial.

    Anthony says:

    CO2 alone will cause less then a tenth of one degree, because of the fact that CO2 to Temperature is a logarithmic relationship, and we are right now well beyond the saturation point. The first 20-40 ppm contribute over half of CO2′s warming effect.

    Both of you misunderstand how a logarithmic function works. The function y = a log(x) + b has the property that a given FRACTIONAL increase in x produces the same increase in y no matter what the initial value of x is. In particular, if you double x, you always get the same increase in y no matter where you start from. [This is opposed to a linear function like y = a x + b where it is a fixed additive increase in x that produces the same increase in y.]
    So, in other words, scientists talk about the effect of doubling CO2 levels exactly because the relationship between temperature rise and CO2 levels is expected to be logarithmic. So, when you talk about effects of doubling saturating, you are trying to claim that the dependence of temperature on CO2 decreases with CO2 concentration significantly more than a logarithmic function does…and I don’t think there is any evidence for that.

  41. I agree. Our future is in the hands of politicians who believe that they are able to control it. What we are able to do in the future depends on the resources we have to adjust to regional changes in climate and the effects of those changes. IPCC was established to find tools politicians could use to possibly change regional climates on a global scale. Politicians know that controlling the use of resources is key. So the IPCC gives them what they want in the form of CAGW and carbon trading and offsets. Unfortunately, the tool was poorly designed, will never work as intended, and it’s use will be detrimental to our future.

  42. paulw says:
    September 4, 2010 at 4:54 am
    If you want proper feedback for your writings … you should write somewhere else.
    There is not much critical thinking going on here.

    Translation: Come on over to the Church of Warmology – we would accept you with open arms there. After all, we are on a roll now, with the recent conversion of Bjorn Lomborg. You will even be given a free IPCC bible.

  43. You are still thinking and behaving like a politician. You quote statements as facts for which science has no proof. You assume a human influence because you can’t imagine that we are insignificant. You simply miss the point of what a huge system this planet actually is. I am all for treating our environment sympathetically. I’m am all for distributed power where possible. I’m all for recycling, saving the forests, the whales etc but I am not for the lying and cheating, sorry, misrepresentation of science per se. I am totally against a governmentally biased media. I am totally against the use of serious sums of money by large investors in distorting the truth for their own gain and I am entirely against a world government run by a bunch of idiots who want to take my money and my freedom based on incomplete and unproven science.
    No-one has yet proven decisively the effect of CO² on the planet. We know that plants grow better when there is more of it, we know that above 20000 ppm or so humans will find it difficult to breath, we know that the planet warms and coole periodically and we know that there have been about 10 ice ages and 10 warm ages. What we don’t know precisely is the exact level of cold and warm of the past whether that be the 20th century(thanks to GISS manipulations) or the – 20century. So please, keep your politics to yourself and work only with the known truth. Not your known truth.
    Having said all that we do welcome your input. It is much more useful than the likes of gates et al.

  44. One thing that we can agree on is that what some people call “conventional wisdom” turns out to be “conventional stupidity”.
    I have been burned a lot by not checking the source of what I “know”. I went to public schools and I listed to the “main stream media” for so many years that I no longer trust anything that I “believe”.
    Your comment about clearing the forests may be true. But…..Massachusetts had been nearly clear cut by about 1900. Most all those trees that you see today are relatively new growth. The reason that those trees came back is that there was a switch to coal for fuel. Also, we can thank Norman Borlaug for creating new strains of wheat and rice that have increased food production per acre by two or three times and thereby removed much of the need of additional acreage. It is just as likely that there is as much forest now as there was 100 years ago. I don’t know and until I see a source that can be trusted I will not say either way.
    Another Great Cause is “Save the Whales”. I suspect that the whale population is better off today than 100 years ago. You can thank “Big Oil” for saving the whale. John D. Rockefeller made kerosene so cheap, people stopped using whale oil for lighting and the economic reason for harvesting whales disappeared.
    And the deer population.
    And the coyote population.
    Yours in skepticism,
    Regards,
    Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)

  45. My independent thinker “spidey sense” detects, in these recent posts by Tom Fuller and some associated comments by Steve Mosher, a developing theme for the middle-of-the-road. This is a political concept, not a scientific concept.
    This middle-of-the-road theme seems to make an assumption that you can arbitrate scientific truth independent of the scientists and scientific process. Forget that.
    I encourage the scientists, in an open public non-authoritarian venue (finally), to get on with what they do best. Scientists, please blog with us while you do your science thing, it will benefit society . . . . . . and we really love it!
    John

  46. “In the past century we have gone from cultivating about 3% of the world’s land for agriculture to about 33%.”
    Good grief Tom, where did you come up with this BS? Only 10.57% of the land area of the world is arable, with another 1.04% in permanent crops. This amounts to 3.4% of the planets surface. Not to mention that “arable” only means that it could be farmed, not all of it is.
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/xx.html
    Registration is now open for the fall semester of Remedial Fact-checking 101. You need to get signed up Tom.

  47. I suppose we skeptics/realists/dissidents have to keep beating the CO2 climate horse to death until those “climate scientists” that continue to ride it finally realize they’re not getting anywhere. Take your blinders off, “climate scientists” (and their acolytes).
    Have you noticed that anybody that doesn’t agree with the “climate scientist’s” CO2 agenda isn’t considered a “climate scientist”? No, he’s branded something else and expelled–showing exactly how the cult of “climate science” polices itself. It does, however, expunge the notion that “science” has any part of their definition; they should be called “climatists” instead.

  48. *****
    Ian W says:
    September 4, 2010 at 5:00 am
    The major impact on climate will come from increasing the amount of the land surface used for agriculture (as you state 3% – 33%) and especially ‘turning deserts green’. Plants survive by using a kind of ‘total loss’ circulation system. They take water in through their roots and transpire that water out through the stomata in their leaves. This transpiration can be at a surprisingly significant rate with mature trees transpiring more than 100 litres of water an hour in summer. All those desert areas in Libya, the Negev going green are doing so by using cubic kilometers of ‘fossil water’ (Google it).
    *****
    You are making the unstated assumption that in the future, more land will be required for food. You obviously haven’t considered the implications of, via genetic engineering, crossing corn with bull kelp. 😉

  49. “In the past century we have gone from cultivating about 3% of the world’s land for agriculture to about 33%.”
    This is clearly wrong. Perhaps the statement is intended to refer to “33% of potentially arable land”.
    Antarctica, Greenland, 2/3 of Canada and Australia , much of central Asia, the Sahara, the Himalayas and other mountain ranges are not cultivated and never will be.

  50. Mr. Fuller, your sapience and humanity exudes through your words, I always read your posts on SF Examiner and have much time for your clearly reasoned points of view.
    Mr. Fuller here, we must agree to differ.
    My word! I have read many learned papers, opinions and much scientific literature on the effects of MM CO2e on likely effects on the earth’s atmosphere.
    It all adds up to squat, and no man on this earth can stand up and hold his hand on his heart and espouse, “we are certain, man’s activities which produce emissions of CO2 do and will cause warming of the atmosphere.”
    If we knew a little more about cloud physics and the thermodynamics thereof we would be a bit further down the line of understanding but we do not and we ain’t!
    OK so geology is my thing, what do I know of climatology?
    Palaeoclimatology, stratigraphy, the fossil record, petrology -that’s what, the long view, that’s what.
    – We must put a lid on the hype, hysteria and governmental interference in something they know less about than the political sphere they profess that they do know about.
    Let us not, mix our ‘spheres’ up, governments and politically motivated shills and failed politicians should not trespass into the [atmo]sphere of earth sciences and climatology.
    But they do, that is where I have a problem with politicians, one of their great cries is; “save the planet, a warming of 1.5/2 degree C, is imminent!”
    No it isn’t.

  51. JimB: September 4, 2010 at 4:50 am
    “In the past century we have gone from cultivating about 3% of the world’s land for agriculture to about 33%.”
    Do you have a reference for this? I do a fair amount of travel, and I can’t even begin to reconcile that with what seems to be reality.

    I’m in the same boat with Jim, and for the same reason. We don’t even have one-third of any *continent* devoted solely to agriculture.

  52. Gary P says:

    This estimate comes from the global climate models. The whole CO2 hypothesis relies on the absorption of IR by CO2. The Earth emits the most IR from the tropics where it is the warmest. If the CO2 absorption of IR is going to warm the atmosphere it is going to warm the atmosphere the most over the tropics. All of the models predict a warming of the atmosphere at mid altitudes over the tropics. This predicted warming of the atmosphere by the models is not controversial. The fact that the measured temperatures over the tropics shows no warming is not controversial.
    Yet somehow the proven fact that the models are wrong is controversial.

    You have a large number of confusions here. The troposphere has more than radiative effects going on and the pattern of the warming is not simply determined by what you seem to think it is. In fact, the largest warming at the surface is expected to be in the arctic region (and the antarctic region too eventually…although there is a lag time on that because of the thermal inertia of the southern oceans).
    The tropical tropospheric amplification that you speak of (whereby the higher altitudes of the tropical troposphere warm more than the surface) has nothing to do with the warming being due to increased CO2…It is simply due to the fact that the temperature structure there is expected to closely follow the moist adiabatic lapse rate. And, the difficulties in observing if such amplification of the long term (multidecadal) temperature trends is occurring is complicated by the fact that the satellite and radiosonde data both have problems that can contaminate those long term trends. In fact, there are significant differences between different empirical data sets and even different analyses of the same data sets. Interestingly, the amplification is predicted by the models and seen in the empirical data for short term fluctuations in temperature (such as that due to ENSO), so the data and models are in good agreement over the timescales where the data is known to be reliable. (And, at any rate, this whole issue has nothing to do with the mechanism causing the warming.)
    By the way, one structural aspect of the warming that is predicted to be different for the mechanism of greenhouse gases than other warming mechanisms like solar is that greenhouse gas warming is predicted to cause cooling of the stratosphere while the the troposphere warms…and that is indeed what is seen. (To be fair, some of the cooling of the stratosphere is understood to be due to stratospheric ozone depletion.)

    The modelers have managed to get results that up till the last decade matched the surface temperatures. (Hansen’s homogenized, bent, twisted, spindled and mutilated temperatures more than the satellites.) The only way that they could have done this was to tweak other parameters in the model to force fit the results. They managed to get the elephant to wiggle his trunk. http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_von_Neumann

    These are not empirical models…They are mechanistic and there is way more data to compare to than there are “free parameters”. These parameters are generally adjusted to get good agreement with more specific data (e.g., cloud parameters to get aspects of clouds right). Neumann’s quote only applies to a well-chosen model. It is true that I could come up with a four-parameter empirical model that does a good job fitting the historical global temperature record. However, it is also true that I could present you with a million-parameter model that you could not fit the record with no matter how hard you tried.
    If it was merely a matter of fitting, then one would expect that the parameters could be adjusted in a way that fits the historical temperature record (and agrees as well with other climate data) but does not predict significant future warming in response to greenhouse gases. Even if you believe that there is a vast conspiracy among the nearly 20 groups that have developed these models that has hidden this fact, you could still have expected one of the skeptics to have used one of the publicly-available models like NASA GISS Model E to demonstrate this. And yet, this hasn’t happened.

  53. Alexander K says:
    September 4, 2010 at 6:20 am
    I am not a scientist either, but when the recently-deposed British Prime Minister announced during the last Copenhagen conference that the science is settled, and anyone who doubted that he branded a ‘flat-earther’ was a step too far in the direction of villification of the citizenry for me to swallow.

    Unfortunately, the inescapable conclusion is that there isn’t much difference between the motivations and intelligence level of flat-earthers on one side and the majority of the crowd around here on the other

  54. Thomas Fuller: You wrote, “Two reasons: First, the basics are pretty well understood. CO2 should cause about a 1.5 to 2.1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures if we double its concentration in our atmosphere. (If it doesn’t, it’s because other forces are counteracting it, not that it doesn’t exist.) This really is not very controversial at all.”
    Actually, it is controversial. The basics are understood for a world without oceans. But the oceans have their own “greenhouse effect”. They are warmed by Downward Shortwave Radiation (Visible Sunlight) to depths of about 100 meters, but they are only capable of releasing heat at the surface. John Daly discussed this in his post “The Deep Blue Sea”.
    http://www.john-daly.com/deepsea.htm
    Under the heading of “Which ‘Earth’ would be warmer?” he discusses the difference in global temperature between an earth comprised only of land and one that was only ocean. He writes, “It is difficult to estimate how much warmer the ocean planet would be, but comparisons of data between the larger absorbed radiation and the much smaller re- emitted infra-red from the oceans, suggest that the ocean planet could be about 8 to 10 degrees warmer than the land planet. The key would be the ocean planets’ inability to radiate as much heat from the ocean surface at night as it collected to 100 metres depth in the daytime.” And he continues, “In reality of course, the real earth is a mixture of the two, with oceans being predominant covering over 70% of the planet and with a complex atmosphere of many gases. This being the case, we can estimate that the Earth is about +6 deg warmer, simply due to the radiative imbalance in the ocean. Fortunately, the real oceans can also cool themselves by evaporation and direct heat exchange with the atmosphere.”

  55. >> In the past century we have gone from cultivating about 3% of the world’s land for agriculture to about 33%. <<
    I find that number hard to believe. I find it hard to believe that 33% of the land area is even arable. Much is covered in ice, desert, or mountains.
    Your statement about temperature increase with CO2 doubling is correct in general, but not in detail, as others have pointed out that a doubling of CO2 (ignoring all other factors) would cause a temperature increase of about 1.1 C. That means that going from the 390 ppm now to 780 ppm would cause the planet to be 1.1 C warmer. Going to 1760 ppp would cause the planet to be 2.2 C warmer. 2.2 C is far from a problem, and getting to 1760 ppm is so far in the future that we can't predict what technological breakthroughs will arise in the meantime. There is no justification for using the guns of government to force people to live a lesser lifestyle just to prevent 2.2 C increase in the far future.

  56. You say: by no means am I trying to exclude them from the conversation, just because they can’t point at a red dot on a thermometer and say ‘that’s where we’ll be in 90 years.’
    The problem is that ARE trying to tell us the what the temperature will be in 90 years time. Whist down-playing uncertainties.

  57. Mr Fuller, you state:
    ”Had the IPCC and others been savvy enough to look at all the changes we are making instead of just focusing on the ‘flavor of the month,’ I think the science–and our options–would have been more clearly expressed and more believable…”
    There is a very big problem with the CO2 blinders of the IPCC and most climate scientists. Their vision is so narrow they never really consider the other option – a cooling planet.
    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution expressed it better than I in Abrupt Climate Change: Should We Be Worried?
    “Most of the studies and debates on potential climate change, along with its ecological and economic impacts, have focused on the ongoing buildup of industrial greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and a gradual increase in global temperatures. This line of thinking, however, fails to consider another potentially disruptive climate scenario. It ignores recent and rapidly advancing evidence that Earth’s climate repeatedly has shifted abruptly and dramatically in the past, and is capable of doing so in the future.
    Fossil evidence clearly demonstrates that Earthvs climate can shift gears within a decade….
    But the concept remains little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of scientists, economists, policy makers, and world political and business leaders. Thus, world leaders may be planning for climate scenarios of global warming that are opposite to what might actually occur…

    This blindness can be seen in this peer reviewed paper
    “Because the intensities of the 397 ka BP and present insolation minima are very similar, we conclude that under natural boundary conditions the present insolation minimum holds the potential to terminate the Holocene interglacial. Our findings support the Ruddiman hypothesis [Ruddiman, W., 2003. The Anthropogenic Greenhouse Era began thousands of years ago. Climate Change 61, 261–293], which proposes that early anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission prevented the inception of a glacial that would otherwise already have started….”
    Orthodox climate scientists assume “early anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission prevented the inception of a glacial that would otherwise already have started… The biggest problem with CAGW theory, is it assumes no changes in the energy from the sun as received by the earth. However during the 20th century the sun has been very active according to this paper and NASA This is no longer true as we enter the new century according to the Solar Dynamics Observatory Mission News
    ”A method for predicting the next Grand Episode…One of the results was the recognition of a transition from the Grand Maximum of the 20th century to another Grand Episode… Based on the above mentioned methodology and by using new data for the geomagnetic aa index we foresee that a Grand Minimum is immanent. Thus, a prolonged period of relative global cooling is forecasted. The relevant mechanisms are described….” The Forthcoming Grand Minimum of Solar Activity
    Another peer reviewed paper, Temperature and precipitation history of the Arctic, states:
    “..Solar energy reached a summer maximum (9% higher than at present) ca 11 ka ago and has been decreasing since then, primarily in response to the precession of the equinoxes. The extra energy elevated early Holocene summer temperatures throughout the Arctic 1-3° C above 20th century averages,…”
    Are we headed into a period of cooling? Probably. Are we seeing the start of the end of the Holocene interglacial? Who knows, but given the length of the Holocene, that possibility should not be ignored as it has been due to the CO2 hysteria.

  58. “In the past century we have gone from cultivating about 3% of the world’s land for agriculture to about 33%. ”
    33% is correct only for highly developed nations with little space, like Germany.
    I checked the CIA world factbook, entry for “World”.
    Land use:
    arable land: 10.57%
    permanent crops: 1.04%
    other: 88.39% (2005)
    Source:
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/xx.html
    (Nice to see that GM has now lost the rest of his brains and doesn’t even try to argue with facts. Hi, GM!)

  59. Scientists are looking at all aspects of man’s influence on this planet but so far they are still looking. They are also checking out the sun the earth and beyond.
    The idea that CO2 being out of control as a result of the activities of man causing a dooms day climate around the world demands proof. The whole science of global warming becomes suspect when grants are awarded on the basis of a pro warming belief. And when there is an attempt to silence those who have doubts based on their own research there is real cause for concern for the reputation of science in general. When emails are exposed and we find out some scientists are rigging their claims there is reason for more than doubt. And when the Discovery and History Channels put a global warming disaster warning in their shows 24/7 and the US Congress wants to pass a disaster of a cap and trade bill and Al Gore expects to become a billionaire trading in carbon credits on the Chicago exchange in what would become a trillion dollar business trading on something naturally in the air then I think there is a good reason to doubt the whole thing.
    The global warming crowd wants us to completely change our lives and our society based on their changing claims of sudden disaster. And they want us to do it based on their unproven claim. Does that not look suspicious and demand proof.

  60. I have been in the science community for over five decades, and I can’t imagine any environment which is more political – outside of Washington. Science and politics are inseparable, and always have been through recorded history.

  61. JimB says:
    September 4, 2010 at 4:50 am
    “…
    ‘In the past century we have gone from cultivating about 3% of the world’s land for agriculture to about 33%.’
    Do you have a reference for this? I do a fair amount of travel, and I can’t even begin to reconcile that with what seems to be reality.”
    —-
    I totally missed that so thanks for highlighting this assertion and asking the question. I did a little checking myself.
    First I found an XLS spread sheet at USDA for the US (but nothing for World) which provides total cropland 1910 to 2006:
    http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/majorlanduses/spreadsheets/croplandusedforcrops.xls
    Total in 1910 was 330M. Total in 2000 was 344M. Total in 2006 was 330M.
    Then, I found this table at the FOA (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN) for 1990 to 2000:
    http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/005/AC832E/ac832e03.htm#bm03.2
    Bottom line for world for both 1990 and 2000 is 11.2%.
    Now I’m sure there are qualifications to the data. US data includes all crops. I’m not sure what FOA includes as crops. US covers all cultivated land, not all cropland (such as idle, and cultivated for improvement but not harvested.) FOA’s has some cropland qualifications at the base of the table.
    I’d like to see the source, too.

  62. OT
    Uncertain Climate – Episode 1
    ___________________________________________
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00tj525/Uncertain_Climate_Episode_1/
    ___________________________________________
    In a special Radio 4 series the BBC’s Environmental Analyst Roger Harrabin questions whether his own reporting – and that of others – has adequately told the whole story about global warming.
    Roger Harrabin has reported on the climate for almost thirty years off and on, but last November while working on the “Climategate” emails story, he was prompted to look again at the basics of climate science.
    He finds that the public under-estimate the degree of consensus among scientists that humans have already contributed towards the heating of the climate , and will almost certainly heat the climate more.
    But he also finds that politicians and the media often fail to convey the huge uncertainty over the extent of future climate change. Whilst the great majority of scientists fear that computer models suggest we are facing potentially catastrophic warming, some climate scientists think the warming will be restricted to a tolerable 1C or 1.5C.
    At this crucial moment in global climate policy making, Harrabin talks to seminal characters in the climate change debate including Tony Blair, Lord Lawson, Professor Bob Watson, former diplomat Sir Crispin Tickell and the influential blogger Steve McIntyre.
    And he asks how political leaders make decisions on the basis of uncertain science.

  63. Unfortunately, the actions “environmentalists” take to improve situations often make them worse. Many areas in my state were required to stop drilling for coal bed methane during Sage Grouse nesting. Sage Grouse were doing fine nesting near drilling rigs and not the least discouraged from their activities until drilling ceased at which point the raptors, which are much more circumspect of human activities and protected by the federal government, swooped in and ate the Sage Grouse. Protecting the environment many times has “unintended consequences”.

  64. In the past century we have gone from cultivating about 3% of the world’s land for agriculture to about 33%.

    Tom, perhaps you meant to write “arable” land rather than an implied total land surface area. Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arable_land#cite_note-4 ) cites an FAO report ( ftp://ftp.fao.org/agl/agll/docs/wsr.pdf ) with 1994 data indicating that about 14.6 million km2 of the 41.4 million km2 of gross potentially arable land is actually utilized (approximately one third) . Total land surface is abut 149 million km2. 50 million km2 under agricultural production just don’t sound right.

  65. I have nothing against Tom’s rantings, even if they are sometimes wrong (mostly they are right).
    I come to this blog to learn new FACTS, facts mean to me mostly numbers – about climate.
    Tom’s rantings don’t contribute towards this end.

  66. The AGW alarmists/politicians are magicians. As everyone knows the secret to being a good magician is the ability to distract your attention and CO2 is their chosen distraction vehicle. Though I have great differences with Tom on political philosophy, I am very much in agreement with him on the need to recognize that mankind does have a huge impact on the environment. I take seriously the biblical injunction for us to be good stewards of God’s creation. If we can’t impact the environment there would be no need for such a directive. How “we the people” can be good stewards and not turn the problem over to the “ruling class” is our biggest challenge.

  67. Jim says:
    September 4, 2010 at 6:51 am
    *****
    Ian W says:
    September 4, 2010 at 5:00 am
    The major impact on climate will come from increasing the amount of the land surface used for agriculture (as you state 3% – 33%) and especially ‘turning deserts green’. Plants survive by using a kind of ‘total loss’ circulation system. They take water in through their roots and transpire that water out through the stomata in their leaves. This transpiration can be at a surprisingly significant rate with mature trees transpiring more than 100 litres of water an hour in summer. All those desert areas in Libya, the Negev going green are doing so by using cubic kilometers of ‘fossil water’ (Google it).
    *****
    You are making the unstated assumption that in the future, more land will be required for food. You obviously haven’t considered the implications of, via genetic engineering, crossing corn with bull kelp. 😉

    No assumptions are being made at all.
    Since the time of Paul Ehrlich’s ‘Population Bomb’ there has been a huge increase in irrigation creating areas for crops that otherwise would be arid. (Google turning desert green) Similarly in existing areas such as California and the mid-west, there has been increase in irrigation.
    In many areas huge amounts of ‘fossil water’ that has been absent from the hydrologic cycle for millenia has been piped to the surface and evaporated into the atmosphere by plant transpiration. The amounts are high enough to be measured in cubic kilometers and start causing concern near coasts on salinization of the aquifers from the ocean.
    This extra humidity from transpired water vapor is NOT a feedback to increased atmospheric temperature – it is a direct cause of it.
    You have a touching faith in genetic engineering. Monsanto won’t tell you this but genetically engineered crops are not the reason for the global increase in crop yield – but they are the reason for increasing natural resistance to Monsanto herbicides. See http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20675 and read about the “fields overrun with giant pigweed plants that can withstand as much glyphosate as farmers are able to spray. They interviewed one farmer who spent almost €400000 in only three months in a failed attempt to kill the new super-weeds..

  68. Mr Fuller said: “CO2 should cause about a 1.5 to 2.1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures if we double its concentration in our atmosphere”
    Actually, the effect is probably about an order of magnitude or more less than you mention. It is a little known fact that the IPCC scientists bumped an important thermodynamic factor up by 12-fold to change CO2’s effect from 0.1 to 1.2 deg C, while covering this slight of hand with a statement applauding how constant this factor had been historically (when they had just changed it themselves!).
    Thus, the effect of CO2 is not settled as far as the knowledge of many people. Yes, CO2 contributes to keeping our atmosphere warmer than it would be without it and water vapor, but its effect has been artificially augmented.
    Then they assume water vapor to be positive forcing (positive feedback) factor, making the effect of CO2 much greater, by about 20-fold.
    In reality, water vapor is part of a huge global heat engine (in grade school we call it the water cycle) which carries heat to the upper troposphere where it is lost to space. This heat engine is a large negative forcing factor (negative feedback) such that warming ramps up the engine which works to bring the temperature down, at which time the engine slows down again. This modulation is basically what keeps our climate so steady, leaving the longer term changes to changes in orbit, solar factors, and natural cycles of the ocean.

  69. What we know about climate, you can write a nice IPCC report, if you leave some stuff out. What we don’t know about climate, you can fill a library of gigantic size, but we really don’t know how big.
    BTW, isn’t the heat trapping ability of CO2 logarithmic? And somewhere around 400 ppm we reach the point where CO2 has absorbed all the suns energy it can absorb, since there really no more sunlight available in the CO2 absorption bands? The old painting a window with successive coats of white paint to make the room darker experiment.

  70. Mr. Fuller:
    “In the past century we have gone from cultivating about 3% of the world’s land for agriculture to about 33%.”
    Please, wehere do you get this figure from?
    “And of course this has had an effect on the planet, and of course that includes this planet’s climate.”
    Hard to get. Suppose your figure is correct, in what amount can this affect the world climate that is dominated IMHO by the atmosphere, the oceans, the clouds, the 24 hour rotation (12 hours night, 12 hours day) and the inclination of the its axis (seasons)?
    “It has changed the albedo of the land and it has changed the level and movement of moisture over (and around) the cultivated areas. The vertical columns of air that shape what we perceive as weather are hugely affected by this.”
    Again how “hugely” is the world climate affected by this?.
    “As they are by creation of manmade reservoirs behind the 850,000 dams we have built.”
    When they are full what is their water surface compered to the world oceans, seas and lakes?. Reservoirs are, among many others, ones of man greatest achievements.
    Thanks.

  71. Tom, your error on CO2 doubling has been well addressed. However there are several other key bits. Chiefio has illustrated claerly that the apparent warming since ca 1975 is mainly an artifact of data collection and manipulation. McKittrick has estimated that the warming that has been measured as raw data is probably 50% due to UHI and other land use change. Other evidence points strongly to a solar warming influence. What we have then since ca 1975 is a reported 0.7 degrees C warming that is probably >70% due to land use change and artifacts. Of the remaining 0.2 degrees, maybe 30% is due to CO2. So CO2 going up from 320 to 380 ppm gives <0.1 degrees C warming. On a logarithmic scale doubling from 280 (so called preindustrial level) to 560 ppm might give 0.4 degrees warming. However, with CO2 continuing to increase we have no warming for the last 13 years since late 1997. Given the rate of ocean/land takeup, there is unlikely to be enough fossil fuel available to raise atmospheric concentration above 560 ppm. The IPCC gets their high warming from claimed and modelled positive feedback due mainly to water vapor. However there is no evidence for positive feedback from water vapor, and some evidence plus simple logic for negative feedback. I'm not a scientist either, just a fairly numerate engineer who likes to try to look at things holistically. It is really hard to be even a "lukewarmer" when you look at the whole picture dispassionately.

  72. Most people that believe humans are destroying the planet tend to disregard (or are uneducated about) historical evidence of natural disasters, sudden blooms in flora and fauna, and equally sudden extinctions, all without significant input from humans. If you think forest land is being cleared now, you should have been around when fires roared across the face of the Earth unimpeded by human attempts to suppress.
    One example, the numbers of cows currently grazing in the US equals the number of buffalo that once did the same thing. Now if the buffalo were still around in previous numbers, and we ADDED cows to grazing, we would surely be seeing land stress.
    I always wonder why folks want buffalo back and for cows to go away. It wouldn’t make a tinker’s dam bit of difference in grazing affects.

  73. Tom, at least you’re getting an education here. Hopefully, you will use the facts presented to help understand the truth about climate. I believe as you increase your understanding you will be less and less middle of the road and much more skeptical.
    BTW, the even 1C/doubling number is completely questionable based on Miskolczi’s work (unless you want to call that a feedback).

  74. Very well stated. The public policy aspect, as Monckton so cleverly realized is as fundamental the science aspect, so he gives us Science and Public Policy. Many articles cited here are news stories, sometimes even opinion pieces, such as Terry Corcoran’s completely dismantling of Jonathon Kay at the National Post. The reason the discussion extends beyond the science is that the policies promoted by the climate scientists interact with many different aspects of everyday life. So, relevant points can be recognized by not only scientists, but lay people and people in fields related to politics, economics, commerce, statistics and many more areas. For example, it doesn’t take a Ph. D. in a recognized climate science to realize 2+2 doesn’t equal 5, nor even Mathematics for that matter. The dissenting opinion is valid regardless of the source as long as it’s clearly demonstrated.
    We are an interested and discriminating readership, but we’re also a very understanding one. From what I can tell the majority of the reader’s on WUWT don’t discount information out of hand, anymore than the embrace it as fact, based on someone’s CV.
    Thank you Anthony and all of WUWT for bringing us so many diverse points of view on science, the problems and benefits, as well as discussion on their implications in our lives.

  75. GM says:
    September 4, 2010 at 7:25 am
    “Unfortunately, the inescapable conclusion is that there isn’t much difference between the motivations and intelligence level of flat-earthers on one side and the majority of the crowd around here on the other.”
    Peer reviewed cite, please? Data, plots, and references? ;o)
    None? Well then ext time that, as an anonymous poster (arf! woof! woof! arf! for all we know), you state your opinions of the intelligence of a host of unknown (arf! woof! woof! arf! for all you know) posters would you mind prefacing your remarks with an “IMO”? That said, let’s you and me meet by the water bowl this evening and discuss CAGW over some kibbles and bits or the roadkill of the day.
    Sweeping ad hom generalizations, presumably presented as an argument in support of your position, aren’t cutting it with this dawg.

  76. The IPCC was never about science. It was about manipulating naive people into bringing political pressure to force governments to do the IPCC’s bidding.
    The IPCC has dragged both science and the UN through the mud. Is it any wonder that there are people calling for its abandonment.

  77. Energy use and distribution affects us ALL. It is inherently political in the sense that we (in a democratic society) have the right to express our opinion on this subject. It is a part of the interface between science and politics. Unfortunately due to the vast holes in our knowledge of the climate, what we should do becomes very vague. Opinions are all over the map as to best practices. I have maintained that to prepare only for warming is a dangerous thing to do. As a person who lives in an area of weather extremes, cold is the most deadly to deal with if unprepared. The arrogance of some posters “certainty” of what is going to happen is laughable. The funniest part to me was when they tell us that “hurricanes will increase exponentially” and then there is a 5 year lull (so far) in hurricane numbers and intensity. Almost as if the statement nullified the outcome. She is a sly one that ol’ mother nature.

  78. Mr. Fuller:
    Granted that humans likely have some effect on planetary processes, but with few exceptions studies of such impacts are focused almost entirely on CO2. Pielke, Sr. is a notable exception, but, if you read the CRU emails, he has been marginalized as a crank by the “mainstream” climate science establishment. This same marginalization has been applied to Hans Storch, Willie Soon, Richard Lindzen, and many other fine scientist who written and spoken the truth.
    I have not seen or heard anything from the AGW luminaries that suggests this state of affairs is changing. The white washes from the three panels investigating the CRU leaks and at Pen State ignored the problem. Our National Academy even allowed the publication of a black list of skeptics this spring.
    Until I see and hear something of substance from the science establishment that this type of behavior is wrong, science in general, and climate science in particular, will continue to be no better than dirty politics in my estimation – and I am a practicing scientist.

  79. Tom,
    One of my favorite quotes is from renowned Climatologist Dr. Reid Bryson. (who died in 2008)
    Bryson said. “You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide.”

  80. About the statement:
    In the past century we have gone from cultivating about 3% of the world’s land for agriculture to about 33%.
    Ed MacAulay says:
    September 4, 2010 at 4:58 am
    ,,,Seems a strange ratio of increase. The population for 1850 was around 1.5 billion, soon, 2011, to be 7 billion, a 5 fold increase….
    ________________________________________________
    A bit of information on agriculture.
    “1850 – About 75-90 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels of corn (2-1/2 acres) with walking plow, harrow, and hand planting
    1987 – 2-3/4 labor-hours required to produce 100 bushels (1-1/8 acres) of corn with tractor”

    From: http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blfarm1.htm
    Seems the 3% to 33% increase is a bit off. It looks like someone multiplied by 2 instead of dividing when doing the back of the envelope calculation.

  81. One of our current problems is that some of the ideas being applied to “fix”global warming are themselves doing real, current damage.
    The biofuels industry is just plain wrong. It is clear that it does not work and represents a net loss of money and energy by the time the fuel is produced.
    What the industry has done, which is just what the ecofreaks want, is to drive up the cost of food such that there are food shortages in poor countries and the resulting starvation and unrest. This goes directly to their agenda for slowing down or decreasing world population growth as well as to create the unrest that can lead to a call for a world government.
    Subsidies for biofuels should be terminated and the programs cancelled. It is simply stupid to commandeer food to make fuel or to displace food crops for “fuel” crops.
    We cannot assume that the programs created to fight “climate change” do not have ulterior motives in line with a political agenda.

  82. I’m still hung up on that 1.5-2.1 deg C increase due to a doubling of CO2. I guess I’ll have to go back and recheck my references, but I seem to recall Singer, Michaels, Spencer and Lindzen all quoting a theoretical increase of 1 deg C (+/- 0.2 deg C). I believe Michaels even described the math in detail and suggested it can be simulated in the laboratory. No one knows if it holds true in the open atmosphere, but in theory each doubling should yield about 1 deg C of warming. So once we hit 550 ppm we would have to increase to 1,100 ppm to squeeze out another degree of warming from CO2.
    Recently Sprencer has predicted only 0.6 deg C from a doubling of CO2 by the year 2100. I suspect heretofore uncharacterized feedback systems may negate most of this or natural variability will utterly eclipse the signal.
    So…as long as we’re raising a herd of unicorns with the wonders of modern urbanization and growing limitless crops on a sand lot, why should we presume that mankind will be producing and using energy the same way as we do today 90 years from now? We had airplanes in 1920 but I’m pretty sure no one at that time worried about airport congestion in the year 2010. If you want a cleaner planet provide electricity to the 1/3 of the population who has no access.

  83. I am of the opinion that man is able to alter the climate, but only the aspect of where it vents itself, not how much.
    Man does not build immovable objects, for the very ground built upon is subject to mass-alteration by the climate, and therefore man is not capable of opposing the irresistable force of climate.
    For that reason alone, talk of permanent change in climate due to man is a reality measured only in a few lifetimes.
    500 to 1,000 yrs after collapse of civilization, the climate will have managed to obliterate most change man has imposed.
    So, if man makes too much alteration in one place, natural climate will eventually cauterize the wound by means of brute force.
    The Planet will save itself. Not so mankind.

  84. My new JW self-imposed policy statement: I will no longer use the trite stereotyped fashionable empty-content terms:
    Luke-warmer
    Warmist
    Warmista
    Skeptic (sceptic for you British)
    Denier
    Consensus
    The list goes on ad museum.
    If you see me using any of them, please call me on it.
    John

  85. Thomas Fuller says:- “Instead, they focused on CO2 and treated all who disagreed as the rabble I mentioned before. What they wanted was a rabble alarmed. What they got was a rabble in arms.”
    Yes, the plan was that everyone in the world would agree that the coming apocalypse could only be solved by controlling global CO2, which would require a world government – see UN Agenda21 which puts in place the first steps – http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/
    However, few people believed in the alarmist scare of CAGW, and as time goes on the proportion of non-believers grews bigger and bigger – fuelled by the hockey stick lies, the Climategate revelations and the IPCC misleadingAR4. What was planned to unite us has now become divisive, with a few believers and a large group who smell a scam!
    Time for the global governance brigade to go into damage limitation mode. It’s difficult as most people no longer believe the propaganda served up by the MSM. Science itself can no longer be trusted, rather it is seen by many as some strange cargo cult religion, where belief comes before facts, unfalsifiable theories are seen as consensus gospel and computer models are given more credence than observation.
    It will be interesting to see what those seeking global power will throw at us next. I’m sure the plan is in place, so we all need to be alert and ready to nip it in the bud. Pareto analysis tells us they have to have 80% acceptance from the people of the globe for a world government to have a chance of long term success. Without this high level of support human conflict will continue and they are very aware that we are many, but they are few. Apply critical thinking to everything you read, and shout loud and long if you smell a rat!

  86. I’m about sick of the CO2 fetishism. I’m truly sick of the fetishists.
    By Avogadro, the ideal gas constant has the same value for all gases, so PVT = PVT regardless of the molecule.
    1 mole of gas molecules, any kind = 24.45 litres at 298K ( 24.85C, 76.7F) and 101.325 kPa (14.696 psi, 1 atm)
    In 1000 liters of air, at STP there are 1000/24.45 = 40.9 moles. As in a previous illustration, let the water component be 1% = 10 liters = 4.09 moles. It doesn’t matter what the other gases are for this.
    At the critical temperature of water vapor, this 10 liters condenses and occupies 4.09 * 18g * 1g/cc = 736.20 cc.
    So the 1000 liters of air would now be 990.74 liters.
    Insofar as PVT = PVT for gases, if the pressure alone changes, it means (using 24.85C and 1 atm)
    PVT start is 14.696 psi*1000*(24.85C+273.15K)
    final P is
    14.696 psi*0.990.74, or 1% pressure drop
    To get a 1% pressure drop by changing the temperature alone you need to do from 298 to 292.04 = 5.96 degrees.
    http://img534.imageshack.us/img534/4959/hadleypump.jpg
    http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/spesific-heat-capacity-gases-d_159.html
    Gas or Vapor kJ/kg
    Air 0.287
    Carbon dioxide 0.189
    Water Vapor 0.462
    Steam 1 psia.
    120 – 600 oF
    That’s what it takes to change the temperature 1 degree K.
    When CO2 changes from 1 to -1 C, a change of 2 degrees C, it radiates 2(0.189 kJ/kg) = 0.378 .
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enthalpy_of_vaporization
    When water vapor changes from 1 to -1 (and condenses) it radiates 2257 kj/kg + 2(0.462 kJ/kg) = 2257.853776 kJ/kg.
    It does this every single time you see a cloud.
    But CO2 has no phase change so it carries no heat – the numbers:
    All gases at the same temperature have the same number of molecules per unit volume. (Avogadro)
    Water, being light, masses 18g/mole and CO2 masses 44 g/mole
    Using 1 mole of air, just to make math easy:
    We lowball the water in the atmosphere at 1% of the molecules
    So, in a mole of atmosphere, we have 0.01 moles of water = 0.18g
    now we highball the CO2 at 500ppm which is 0.0005, or 1/2000 of a mole of CO2.
    1/2000 * 44g/mole = 0.000484 moles of CO2 = 0.021296g
    So in our mole of air with but 1% H2O and a generous 500ppm CO2-
    the water condensing radiates 0.18g * 2257.853776 kJ/kg = 406.41367968 J
    while the CO2 radiates 0.021296g * 0.378 kJ/kg = 0.008049888 J
    the ratio of 0.008049888/406.41367968 = .00001980712855516645290496438242332
    or as much to say that water vapor in the example carries 50486.873814890343815963650674393 times more heat than the CO2 does.
    And that’s just rain. If it turns to snow- multiply by 5-6.
    Meanwhile, Venus is a ball of active volcanoes with a dry heat pump to radiate it poorly.
    That is why Earth’s climate doesn’t resemble that of Venus.
    Forget about CO2.
    All things radiate as blackbodies (or maybe a bit grayish) and noting that while water does not change temperature as it changes phase, it radiates many hundreds of times more energy in the process than any other gas.
    Therefore, the blackbody spectrum may not change a whit, but –
    There are a number of things that water gas does which are scarcely mentioned. It seems to be considered nothing but a personal assistant to CO2.
    However there are many things that water does which define the atmosphere, the lapse rate and the thermal equilibrium.
    In the first place, it evaporates. When it does, 3.7 teaspoons of liquid becomes one liter of gas. This happens without temperature change. No change occurs in the black body spectrum.
    The expansion increases the local pressure above what a dry gas can under the same conditions.
    At the same time, water is much lighter than any other gas in our atmosphere (except the traces of He and H), , massing a measly 18g/mole – so it rises straight up, shifted by coriolis effect as it billows wider and wider.
    When it finally condenses, at the same temperature as the surrounding gas, it radiates the one spectrum throughout its phase change, indicating no higher temperature while it radiates 406.41367968 J and changes back to 3.7 teaspoons from (a bit less than, now) a liter of gas, producing a local low pressure drop of 1% that draws the atmosphere below up to fill it. (To get a 1% pressure drop by changing the temperature in a dry gas you need to do from 298 to 292.04 = 5.96 degrees.)
    If water is but one percent of the volume, (using a sample volume of 100 liters that started at STP) the constituents would radiate their share as well, depending on the specific heat-
    um… well, the other gases don’t radiate any more than they gain from below or sideways, or the temperature would actually drop- but for a one degree drop:
    N2 (89.3g = 78%) 1.039 kJ/kg = 92.J
    O2 (13.1g= 20%) 0.915 kJ/kg = 12.0J
    CO2 (0.02g = 500ppm) 0.189 = 0.008J
    H2O (18g = 1%) 0.462 kJ/kg = 406.41367968J
    Water does more work than everything else combined – without changing its blackbody spectrum.
    (Compared to the CO2, water moves 50,000 times more energy from surface to space but CO2 does its tiny part to cool the planet, too.)

  87. Gail Combs says:

    Orthodox climate scientists assume “early anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission prevented the inception of a glacial that would otherwise already have started…

    No…Ruddiman’s view is only a hypothesis. Climate scientists have found it interesting but I don’t think most of them have yet been convinced by it. For one thing, it would tend to imply a climate sensitivity at the high end of the IPCC estimates or higher. For another, there are other perfectly valid reasons for expecting that this interglacial would be longer-lived than the average interglacial (I believe the main reason being the small eccentricity of the earth’s orbit around the sun at this point…and analogies to the last interglacial ~400k years ago when this was similarly the case).

    The biggest problem with CAGW theory, is it assumes no changes in the energy from the sun as received by the earth.

    No. It doesn’t assume that. In fact, solar effects are believed to be responsible for some of the early 20th century warming…although there is still disagreement about exactly how much. A problem is that the changes in solar output are just too small to explain the warming that we’ve seen (in the absence of some positive feedback that selectively enhances only the solar forcing), and this is becoming only truer still as the estimates of the magnitude in 20th century variation in solar output are now lower than they were no too long ago (as Leif has talked about). Another problem is that the warming that we have seen does not show the right pattern either in space or time to be explained by solar variation. (I.e., the warming that has occurred over the last ~35 years has come at a time when solar has not increased and the warming has been accompanied by a significant cooling of the stratosphere, which is not what would be expected for the solar forcing but is expected for a greenhouse gas forcing.)
    Those who advocate solar forcing as explaining the warming are in the double bind of having to explain both why the solar forcing ends up being selectively enhanced by positive feedbacks and why the known greenhouse gas forcing ends up being suppressed by negative feedbacks.

  88. I am confused. First, the world’s temperature changes due to unpredictable chaotic climate change. Then, after an appreciable time lag (500 to 800 years), the atmospheric CO2 starts to fluctuate up or down to follow the climatic temperature change. CO2 causes increased growth in plants when it goes up. Doing all we can to reduce CO2 serves what positive purpose?

  89. In general quite a useful post there are many aspects to how humans have influenced our climate certainly soot, fly ash, land use change has had an effect. The urban heat island has effected the statistics more than the actual temperature. I agree with others the 3% to 33% statistic is a bit misleading especially since the land is only 29% of the earth’s surface and is that the percentage of the total possible arable land or the entire 29%?. Because by the time you consider the Antarctic continent, northern Canada, Siberia, the Australian outback, the Sahara etc it seems a little high.
    I must take issue with the assumption of the increase in temperature with a doubling of CO2. This prediction is based on empirical data and includes related effects such as increased forcing by increased water vapour in the atmosphere so it is virtually impossible to separate out just the CO2 effect, this is the sort of misinformation which the IPCC are very prone to.
    Many papers have been written by eminent Physicists mathematically analyzing the effect of CO2 in strict accordance with the laws of physics. All reach the conclusion that the effect of CO2 is saturated and no longer has any impact on temperatures. The IPCC have produced 4 reports and have not included a single paper by a physicist proving the greenhouse gas effect as described by the IPCC.
    I believe that if such a paper existed it would be trumpeted front and center by the IPCC, their deafening silence on this issue speaks for itself.

  90. OssQss says:
    September 4, 2010 at 5:34 am
    It is interesting that few link the IPCC CO2 initiative to the larger UN Agenda 21 initiative….
    ____________________________________________________
    Several of us have.
    Start at comment
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/06/sustainability-teaching-lack-of-ethical-dimension/#comment-424114
    and skip to comment
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/06/sustainability-teaching-lack-of-ethical-dimension/#comment-424598
    and read from there. Actually read the whole article plus comments.

  91. Joel Shore says:
    Even if you believe that there is a vast conspiracy among the nearly 20 groups that have developed these models that has hidden this fact, you could still have expected one of the skeptics to have used one of the publicly-available models like NASA GISS Model E to demonstrate this. And yet, this hasn’t happened.
    ______________
    Joel,
    Thanks for this interesting defence of the climate models. How do the models deal with C02? I seem to recall an article by Lintzen or someone that showed the models introducing a significant positive effect of increasing C02. Every model used a slightly different figure for it… I think that was one of his complaints, but they all ratcheted up the future temperature by that process. Isn’t that all it takes to effect a “conspiracy” or at least a consensus?

  92. David Ball says:

    The funniest part to me was when they tell us that “hurricanes will increase exponentially” and then there is a 5 year lull (so far) in hurricane numbers and intensity.

    Could you familiarize me with where that statement “hurricanes will increase exponentially” comes from? Because all of what I heard were predictions that the intensity is likely to increase somewhat but that it is unclear what would happen to total numbers. (I could quote the relevant statements from IPCC AR4 but it is easy enough for you to look them up yourself.)
    Furthermore, nobody ever said that this change would be so dramatic that it would swamp the significant variability that occurs year-to-year or even decade-to-decade. So basically, you have just knocked down a total strawman. Yesterday, I could just as easily said, “The weather service claims that because of the seasonal cycle, temperatures should be dropping significantly over the next few months…and yet it has been warmer in Rochester this week than it was for most of the last few months.” (I say “yesterday” because today we have finally gotten a break in our late summer heat wave.)

  93. tarpon says:

    BTW, isn’t the heat trapping ability of CO2 logarithmic? And somewhere around 400 ppm we reach the point where CO2 has absorbed all the suns energy it can absorb, since there really no more sunlight available in the CO2 absorption bands? The old painting a window with successive coats of white paint to make the room darker experiment.

    See my post above http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/04/we-talk-about-politics-because-the-science-is-uncertain/#comment-474959 about what logarithmic means. As for your saturation argument, you are showing that you are up to the point where the understanding of the scientific community was about 50 years ago or so. You may want to read here to understand how to advance beyond that: http://www.aip.org/history/climate/simple.htm#theory (read both above and below this).

    What we don’t know about climate, you can fill a library of gigantic sic, but we really don’t know how big.

    I think that statement is true if by “we”, you mean yourself…which means it is worth learning about climate science of the last 50 years rather than repeating discredited arguments. Not to say that there are not legitimate sources of uncertainty, but that does not mean that there are lots of things that are known and quite settled science.

  94. To the author: My beef would be that a resort to politics is unjustified precisely because the science is uncertain. (I basically agree with your point.)
    A question for GM, Joel and others:
    There’s a bottom-line problem going on that you need to address. I shall lay it out.
    — CO2 has increased by 40% in the last century.
    — CO2 creates a raw increase of c. 1.2C per doubling. (I think the author has this a bit too high. But using his 1.5C to 2C figure would strengthen my argument, as you will see.)
    — The IPCC says positive feedback loops will make this +3.2C in its mainstream scenario.
    — GISS and HadCRUt show a rise of c. 0.7C. There’s a lot of argument that this is exaggerated by around a factor of two. But we’ll stipulate it for argument’s sake.
    — There are other positive forcing than CO2, including but not restricted to land use, “dirty snow”, some natural warming post-LIA (obviously).
    — Glaciers, etc. have been receding for far longer than the last century: therefore feedbacks from this (such as methane, etc.), are not a novel factor.
    That is the bottom line. Can you explain why temperature increase could be as low as 0.7C if the forcing equation is correct and positive feedback is an issue? It simply does not add up.
    A PhD in climatology may not shed much light on all this. 4th-grade arithmetic skills, however, are required. (Maybe 8th-grade if one wants to do the doubling log. But that is not really necessary.)

  95. gm
    “Unfortunately, the inescapable conclusion is that there isn’t much difference between the motivations and intelligence level of flat-earthers on one side and the majority of the crowd around here on the other.”
    Whats the matter GM – been looking in the mirror again?

  96. Mike Patrick says:
    September 4, 2010 at 9:40 am
    I am confused. First, the world’s temperature changes due to unpredictable chaotic climate change. Then, after an appreciable time lag (500 to 800 years), the atmospheric CO2 starts to fluctuate up or down to follow the climatic temperature change. CO2 causes increased growth in plants when it goes up. Doing all we can to reduce CO2 serves what positive purpose?
    =========================================
    Mike, it gives some glorified weathermen the opportunity to call themselves climate scientists, the illusion that their work is more important and credible because of the name change, and, of course, the opportunity to make more money.
    JMHO

  97. To add to Dirk H’s comments about arable land. The land mass of the world is near 150 million sq kilo’s. When you consider that half of this land is either too cold ( tundra / Antarctica) or two dry (desert) than you are left with a lot of tropical forest, Boreal forest and Savanna.
    http://classic.globe.gov/fsl/html/templ.cgi?biome_desc
    Modern societies could easily convert whatever swath of the above 3 to arable land. Should they: NO! Do they need to? NOT EVEN CLOSE!
    When you hear stats about Arable land from environmentalist you can always safely assume that they are using an outdated and perverted statistics. We learn from the IPCC, the belief comes first and statistics, facts, and science are secondary.
    From the same world CIA Fact Book:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2097.html
    In a recent discussion with an environmentalist with a masters degree is was common knowledge the world was at a agriculture breaking point citing food riots in Haiti etc. Yet Haiti only uses half it’s arable land for permanent crops
    Haiti
    arable land: 28.11%
    permanent crops: 11.53%
    other: 60.36% (2005)
    Why?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture_in_Haiti
    What about those poorest of all poster children of poverty, Ethiopia?
    Ethiopia
    arable land: 10.01%
    permanent crops: 0.65%
    other: 89.34% (2005)
    What about India, surely with a billion people they are all starving to death?
    India
    arable land: 48.83%
    permanent crops: 2.8%
    other: 48.37% (2005)
    In fact Agriculture Exports from India nearly double imports. (398 billion Rupees vs 220 billion Rupees source: http://india.gov.in/outerwin.php?id=http://www.iasri.res.in/agridata/06data/chapter8/db2006tb8_1.htm) i.e. They are a huge food exporter despite not always using the cutting edge agricultural techniques and using a fraction of arable land.
    To be clear for the population-bombers, if the population grows to 10 billion before leveling off then there is already so much food availability that the only epidemic one needs worry about is an epidemic of obesity.
    Sadly, talking about food and starvation with regard to climate change is as scientifically rigorous as Malari and Climate Change. If you want to talk about or effectively tackle either than you need to discuss poverty, access to helathcare, human rights, property rights, civil strive, etc.etc.
    Considering how many people are sick and starving, it is shameful that environmentalist push this meme.

  98. One other item I would like to address. I have been accused of wanting to maintain the “status quo” with regards to fossil fuels . In fact the opposite is true. We need energy (abundant and reliable energy) to develop new and more efficient ways to produce cleaner less polluting energy. This is not “maintaining the status quo”. It is moving forward.

  99. I submit that the idea that mankind should live on the planet in such a way as to not change it at all is just plain stupid.

  100. Tom Fuller,
    Perhaps following will help you with historical background on your next middle-of-the-road climate post.
    JW’s History of the Study of Climate Science In-One-Lesson:

    Period ~renaisance to ~1970 was the period dominated by the science of NatCycloClimology
    Period ~1970 to ~1980 was the period dominated by the science of neoLIAology
    Period ~1980 to ~2009 was predominately focused on the study of etamilcology (backwards climate)
    Current Period – transition period from etamilcology to a period of using established physical sciences to just do openly shared studies of the earth system w/o any political/environmental pressure group influences.


    : )
    John

  101. People! I sure hope we are headed to warmer weather. My own short life experience tells me it is the opposite. Very accurate temperatures have been recorded since 1940 and they are going down by -0.03 deg F per year since then. Check this out: http://www.wolframalpha.com
    Type in search box: Average Temp Marion Ohio
    click current week and click all. A chart from 1940 to 2010 shows a falling temp of -0.03 deg. F per year. The same is true for Kenton and Lima and a lot of other towns that did not put there thermometer on the cement in a parking lot, or on the roof like Columbus.(I guess that makes it man made.) I’m an old fart that remembers orange groves at the Florida, Georgia border. They were started in St. Augustine.
    If we were in global warming all temperatures would be going up. This sample is every where.

  102. paulw says (on another thread):
    September 3, 2010 at 5:34 pm
    …Apparently, this figure is not ’0.4%’ (who first said that?) but 20%.
    Source: http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi?id=sc05400j
    If you have a comment on this, please substantiate it. I really do not want to hear comments such as rejecting the author for some conspiracy theory. If you do that, I’ll leave this website.

    I did reject the author and you’re still here.
    Empty threats?

  103. R. de Haan says:
    September 4, 2010 at 4:47 am

    I think R. de Haan has touched on the root of the issue. This fight is about freedom. Freedom for individuals to live their lives free of oppressive taxes imposed by an over zealous world government. All people of good conscience who want to weigh in can contribute in meaningful ways. In fact, the scientific aspects of the discussion are less important to me than the social and political analysis.
    Can you imagine, after all the sacrifices that free men and women have made in the fight to be free from an elite ruling class, that we would now surrender to the likes of Al Gore and the clowns at the UN. A surrender that would enable the elites to become rich by trading carbon credits and subjecting the working class to higher and higher taxes? Not possible.

  104. While nobody could argue that humanity does not have a negative impact on the environment but by blatantly overstating their case all of the organisations that you would normally rely on have lost credibility. Somehow there has to be a purge of advocates and a replacement with rational people, and some form of oversight. I am sure I am not alone in having got involved in this argument because of the bizarre claims being made and the vast finance being moved on the back of it. A decade ago I would have naturally supported protecting the environments – assuming it was done by people able to appropriately balance the requirements of humanity and the environment – but by default now would question the motives of those advancing either the problem or the solution. That credibility and trust will be very difficult to reclaim, and the longer this continues the more people will have a similar viewpoint.

  105. Joel Shore says:
    September 4, 2010 at 9:59 am
    “[…]As for your saturation argument, you are showing that you are up to the point where the understanding of the scientific community was about 50 years ago or so. ”
    You can’t make a fog brighter by making it thicker.

  106. #
    #
    DaveF says:
    September 4, 2010 at 6:13 am
    Smokey, 5:16am:
    “….because taxing water vapor is next to impossible.”
    Don’t give them ideas, Smokey!
    ________________________________________
    Yes, do not give them ideas. There are towns in Massachusetts that are putting water meters on privately owned wells and making the owners pay for their water. I also so a town water meter on a private well in Orange county NC.

  107. evanmjones says:

    That is the bottom line. Can you explain why temperature increase could be as low as 0.7C if the forcing equation is correct and positive feedback is an issue? It simply does not add up.

    One thing you are neglecting is the difference between equilibrium climate sensitivity and transient climate response. The oceans create a large lag time in the climate system so that the system has not yet equilibrated with the current greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.
    For this and other reasons, the unfortunate fact is that the 20th century climate record does not provide a very tight constraint on climate sensitivity. Within the errors that we know the total forcings, with the intrinsic climate variability, and with the lag time for the climate system to equilibrate, the empirical data for the 20th century is compatible with quite a broad range of climate sensitivities that includes the IPCC range and then some on either side. Better constraints are obtained by combining this with other empirical data. Perhaps the best constraints are from the ice age – interglacial cycles, for which the forcings and temperature change are reasonably well-understood and the time scales are long enough that you see the “equilibrium” change. Others data is provided,for example, by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. All these data taken together agree well with the likely range for climate sensitivity given by the IPCC.
    Coalsoffire says:

    Thanks for this interesting defence of the climate models. How do the models deal with C02? I seem to recall an article by Lintzen or someone that showed the models introducing a significant positive effect of increasing C02. Every model used a slightly different figure for it… I think that was one of his complaints, but they all ratcheted up the future temperature by that process. Isn’t that all it takes to effect a “conspiracy” or at least a consensus?

    You are touching on a real issue here, which is that the effect of aerosols still has considerable uncertainty. So, within the uncertainties of the temperature data, it is possible for two different climate models to get similar good agreement over the 20th century but with different climate sensitivities and different estimates of the aerosol forcing that partly cancel out.
    Since this thread is all about coming together and finding a middle ground, I’ll admit that this is a legitimate source of uncertainty. However, it is also one that is already taken into account in the range of climate sensitivity given by the IPCC. It is just an explanation of why there is still a considerable spread in the model projections for the 21st century (even if you restrict yourself to just one emissions scenario…since some of the spread is due to uncertainty in future emissions). And, it does not nullify the fact that nobody has shown that they can use a climate model and reproduce the temperature record without including the forcing due to greenhouse gases.

  108. Dennis Cooper says:
    September 4, 2010 at 10:29 am
    ================================
    Dennis, do the same thing and enter “center of the state of Florida”
    Since 1995 the temps have dropped a lot.
    According to this, temperatures in central Florida are going down, and down fast.

  109. jmbnf says:
    September 4, 2010 at 10:22 am
    “[…]Yet Haiti only uses half it’s arable land for permanent crops
    Haiti
    arable land: 28.11%
    permanent crops: 11.53%”
    Please don’t misunderstand arable land vs. permanent crops; here’s the definition the World Factbook uses:
    “Land use
    This entry contains the percentage shares of total land area for three different types of land use: arable land – land cultivated for crops like wheat, maize, and rice that are replanted after each harvest; permanent crops – land cultivated for crops like citrus, coffee, and rubber that are not replanted after each harvest; includes land under flowering shrubs, fruit trees, nut trees, and vines, but excludes land under trees grown for wood or timber; other – any land not arable or under permanent crops; includes permanent meadows and pastures, forests and woodlands, built-on areas, roads, barren land, etc.

    from
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/docs/notesanddefs.html?countryName=World&countryCode=xx&regionCode=oc#L
    “Arable” doesn’t mean unused. That being said, you’re right; we’re not short of land. We could, if the need arises, stop feeding pigs and cattle with grain and eat it ourselves. Why don’t we do that already? Market mechanisms. If the demand for simple foods rises astronomically the price will go up and producers won’t be interested in feeding it to animals anymore.
    Why is there still hunger? It’s not a shortage of food but poverty and impossibility of distribution under conditions of civil war that causes hunger these days.

  110. GM, a verbal attack is not a substitute for laying out a reasoned and carefully-constructed statement that is pertinent to the thread. Nasty, derogatory one-liners belong on other, less sensibly-moderated blogs.

  111. Charles Higley says:
    September 4, 2010 at 9:30 am
    …The biofuels industry is just plain wrong. It is clear that it does not work and represents a net loss of money and energy by the time the fuel is produced….
    _______________________________________
    You forgot the record profits of Monsanto and Cargill in 2008. (Jim you go look up the references this time.)

  112. Mr. Fuller writes: “However, one commenter on my last post had the audacity–the sheer audacity–to criticize my writing because this is a science blog after all, and my guest posts have not been about the science.”
    Say, WUWT?
    Mr. Watts has written (at the very top of every page, no less) this: “Commentary on puzzling things in life, . . . ”
    You write well of interesting things and spell the words correctly, so what’s to complain about? I agree with Jeff Id @ 6:15 am.
    Others also comment on the CO2 effect. But my question is “Could humans double the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere if they tried?”
    Maybe someone can explain how that will be done. Maybe we can double or triple the amount of fossil fuels we are using and double or triple all other contributions we make. When? Next year? By 2025? Beats me? Is all we put there going to stay there? Always? As more is added will the processes of its removal speed up, slow down, stay the same?
    Puzzling questions, I think. Keep the information flowing.

  113. To Anthony and Thomas Fuller: Respectfully, Thomas Fuller does not deserve a guest post on WUWT, not because he is not a scientist, but because a non-scientist should be responsible to a field within which he is not an expert such that he reads (and understands) the variety of views and proofs given. The result: way too many unsubstantiated statements and “way too many” comments by responsible and respectful WUWT-regulars to right the misperceptions and errors. In my personal opinion, a frustrating waste of time. I am trying to be respectful; Thomas Fuller, research more fully before you write. Read the respectful comments here and you will know where to look.
    Unfortunately, the politics is not uncertain. Look who is behind the Chicago Climate Index and the one-world, we-know-best totalitarians who are trying to snuff out CO2 — or rather the developed world so they can control the rest of it. I think we might as well go back to James Bond for a primer.

  114. Mr. Fuller,
    Looking at the theme of your writing rather than the details, great post. There should be no derision of those who question, but only exclusion of those who insult and troll.

  115. The sad thing is, that the “you understand the climate from 50 years ago” comment might actually be relevant. If we lose all of the bad science that is “buddy” reviewed over the last 30 years which is bound to happen, everyone is going to be transported to virtually the same state of understanding on the climate that we were 50 years ago. Its a sad fact when the scientific process is hijacked by politics and philosophy that the eventual progression is that we have to go backwards.
    We take 1 step forward, but 3 steps back. All that wasted money…and what to show of it? Statistics 101 examples of how NOT to model, that is what….
    Now don’t get me wrong, there are things we have learned in the last 30 years that are not shams, but overall our progress is like I said, we took 1 step forward on some things, but the overall picture is 2 steps back.

  116. Gnomish
    September 4, 2010 at 9:37 am
    I’m pleased that you used some basic classical thermo to demonstrate that the global phase changes of our vast amount of water is our thermostat that controls climate within a range that sustains life. CO2 is a minor constituant that is going along with these changes. Because it is now being accurately measured and is globally consistant, it’s natural background levels are probably our best “lagging” indicator of global climate change. I think we are measuring atmospheric CO2 in a rising portion of a 308 year cycle that will max out at around 500 ppmv some where between 2080 and 2100. Few of us will be around to see it, but we can watch the slope decrease while the slope for emissions continues to increase. Then watch for short sales in carbon trading.

  117. Joel Shore says:
    September 4, 2010 at 9:38 am
    Gail Combs says:
    Orthodox climate scientists assume “early anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission prevented the inception of a glacial that would otherwise already have started…
    That was a quote from the peer reviewed paper not me.
    The biggest problem with CAGW theory, is it assumes no changes in the energy from the sun as received by the earth.
    Joel Shore says:
    No. It doesn’t assume that….
    _____________________________________________________________
    The assumption per Lief and the IPCC was the sun’s variability is tiny. However that is not what others have said.
    “Geophysicists in Finland and Germany have calculated that the Sun is more magnetically active now than it has been for over a 1000 years…. – is the first direct quantitative reconstruction of solar activity based on physical, rather than statistical, models …
    Sunspots are produced by magnetic activity inside the Sun. The more active the Sun is, the more spots are produced….
    Now, Usoskin and co-workers have used the concentration of beryllium-10 in polar ice as a proxy for historic levels of solar activity. Beryllium-10 is produced when cosmic rays interact with particles in the Earth’s atmosphere. The radioisotope then falls to the ground where it is stored in layers of ice. The Sun’s magnetic field can deflect cosmic rays away from the Earth, so a stronger field should lead to less beryllium-10 being produced, and vice versa.
    Using modelling techniques, the Finnish team was able to extend data on solar activity back to 850 AD. The researchers found that there has been a sharp increase in the number of sunspots since the beginning of the 20th century. They calculated that the average number was about 30 per year between 850 and 1900, and then increased to 60 between 1900 and 1944, and is now at its highest ever value of 76.
    “We need to understand this unprecedented level of activity,” Usoskin told PhysicsWeb. “Is it is a rare event that happens once a millennium – which means that the Sun will return to normal – or is it a new dynamic state that will keep solar activity levels high?” The Finnish-German team also speculates that increased solar activity may be having an effect on the Earth’s climate, but more work is needed to clarify this.”

    Solar activity reaches new high, December 2003
    As far as a mechanism goes, I agree with several others here that the oceans are a big player and act as a capacitor with the energy, especially the high energy wavelengths being absorbed down to 100meters in depth.
    You can couple this with what NASA found.
    “”The problem is, human eyes are tuned to the wrong wavelength,” explains Tom Woods, a solar physicist at the University of Colorado in Boulder. “If you want to get a good look at solar activity, you need to look in the EUV.”
    When the sun is active, solar EUV emissions can rise and fall by factors of hundreds to thousands in just a matter of minutes. These surges heat Earth’s upper atmosphere, puffing it up and increasing the air friction, or “drag,” on satellites. EUV photons also break apart atoms and molecules, creating a layer of ions in the upper atmosphere that can severely disturb radio signals.
    … “All stars are variable at some level, and the sun is no exception. We want to compare the sun’s brightness now to its brightness during previous minima and ask: is the sun getting brighter or dimmer?”
    The answer seems to be dimmer. Measurements by a variety of spacecraft indicate a 12-year lessening of the sun’s “irradiance” by about 0.02% at visible wavelengths and 6% at EUV wavelengths. “
    Measuring the Sun’s Hidden Variability September 2009
    That is just the ocean/sun there is also the Sun/Cosmic ray/ cloud hypothesis:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/13/spencer-clouds-dominate-co2-as-a-climate-driver-since-2000/
    Automated Observations of the Earthshine
    “…..The earthshine observations reveal a large decadal variability in the Earth’s reflectance [7], which is yet not fully understood, but which is in line with other satellite and ground-based global radiation data…”
    HMMmmm Sunspots/cosmic rays vary on a decadal (9-11 yr) cycle too.
    A question
    What happens to the climate if there is no sun?
    What happens to the climate if there are no oceans/water vapor?
    And then what happens if you remove CO2 from the atmosphere?
    Sorry the sun/water combo are the ones who have a whopping big effect on climate compared to CO2.

  118. All sciences are now under the obligation to prepare the ground for the future task of the philosopher, which is to solve the problem of value, to determine the true hierarchy of values.
    Friedrich Nietzsche

  119. Tom, sorry for piling on, but I’m a late riser.
    The 3%=>33% land use pegged my BS meter. Here common sense suffices, no Almanac, no Wiki, just simple geographic reasoning.
    By 1910 (a hundred years ago) most of the land area of the World presently devoted to food production was already under cultivation. Virtually all arable land in Europe, East and South Asia and North America were already in use. Ditto Mexico, Argentina, Egypt, South Africa, Australia, etc.
    The only obvious increases were in Central Asia (cotton, wheat), Brazil (sugar). The simple fact is that by 1910 there wasn’t enough arable land left out of cultivation to have permitted even a doubling, much less an 11-fold increase. We may well have seen an 11-fold increase in production, but it wasn’t due to increased land area usage. While irrigation often results in huge productivity gains, it usually doesn’t involve huge areas (think Central California, the Coachella Valley). Without that large area increase, the rest of the alternate theory of warming perishes for lack of evidence.
    Finally, during the past Century, large areas of North America and Europe have been removed from production in favor of urbanization (think Southern California, Phoenix, Florida) and it seems far more likely the questionably reported temperature increase is a direct effect of UHI.

  120. Two reasons: First, the basics are pretty well understood. CO2 should cause about a 1.5 to 2.1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures if we double its concentration in our atmosphere. (If it doesn’t, it’s because other forces are counteracting it, not that it doesn’t exist.) This really is not very controversial at all.
    It is controversial. So let’s try the basics. A 1.5 to 2.1 C rise where?
    Artic? Antartic? New York? Sydney? Equador? Mount Everest? Mariana Trench? Where?

  121. Gnomish says:
    September 4, 2010 at 9:37 am
    Great work! Thanks for remembering us some of the many fantastic (almost magical) properties of water.

  122. Alexander K: September 4, 2010 at 11:15 am
    GM, a verbal attack is not a substitute for laying out a reasoned and carefully-constructed statement that is pertinent to the thread. Nasty, derogatory one-liners belong on other, less sensibly-moderated blogs.
    It’s all he’s capable of, Alexander. Think of him as a pause punctuated by a fart in a serious conversation…

  123. jmbnf says:
    September 4, 2010 at 10:22 am
    ….In a recent discussion with an environmentalist with a masters degree is was common knowledge the world was at a agriculture breaking point citing food riots in Haiti etc. Yet Haiti only uses half it’s arable land for permanent crops
    Haiti
    arable land: 28.11%
    permanent crops: 11.53%
    other: 60.36% (2005)
    Why?
    Here is the answer to that question
    Structural Adjustment Policies are economic policies which countries must follow in order to qualify for new World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans and help them make debt repayments on the older debts owed to commercial banks, governments and the World Bank…
    SAPs generally require countries to devalue their currencies against the dollar; lift import and export restrictions; balance their budgets and not overspend; and remove price controls and state subsidies.
    …As a result, SAPs often result in deep cuts in programmes like education, health and social care, and the removal of subsidies designed to control the price of basics such as food and milk. So SAPs hurt the poor most, because they depend heavily on these services and subsidies.
    SAPs encourage countries to focus on the production and export of primary commodities such as cocoa and coffee to earn foreign exchange. But these commodities have notoriously erratic prices subject to the whims of global markets which can depress prices just when countries have invested in these so-called ‘cash crops’.
    By devaluing the currency and simultaneously removing price controls, the immediate effect of a SAP is generally to hike prices up three or four times, increasing poverty to such an extent that riots are a frequent result.”
    http://www.whirledbank.org/development/sap.html
    The net effect is to bankrupt indigenous farmers so large factory farms run by transnational corporations can move in. The Smithfield farm of “swine flu fame” in Mexico is an example.

  124. Tom Fuller
    “Some things will get better–maybe a lot of things, if we work for them.”
    Better by what standard? Is there some standard planet with a perfect Utopian society that you have in mind. As wealth is created, it does not occur naturally, and markets are freed up, humans try to no longer live in their own filth. The moral choice you have is whether to use rational persuasion or advocate the arming of some in order to get others to accept your view of a better Earth.

  125. Mr. Fuller,
    Nice article. Perhaps I could offer some philosophical sound bites in connection with this at some later date.
    Probabilist motto: I used to be certain, but now I’m not so sure.
    And;
    In the absence of Reality, Probability rules. Which relates to a quote attributed to Bruno De Finetti: “Probabilities do not exist”. http://www.brunodefinetti.it/Bibliografia/definettiwasright.pdf . And if I may expand on that a bit: Else they would be Reality. Conceptually, P=1 is the Realization of a Probability (an Event ), and all other probable outcomes (given the known and unknown conditions) go to zero.

  126. As many of you have pointed out and others inferred, I should have written 33% of arable land is now under the plough, not total. Thanks to all who have noted this.

  127. Doug S says:
    September 4, 2010 at 10:34 am
    R. de Haan says:
    September 4, 2010 at 4:47 am
    I think R. de Haan has touched on the root of the issue….
    Can you imagine, after all the sacrifices that free men and women have made in the fight to be free from an elite ruling class, that we would now surrender to the likes of Al Gore and the clowns at the UN. A surrender that would enable the elites to become rich by trading carbon credits and subjecting the working class to higher and higher taxes? Not possible.
    _____________________________
    Oh but Mr deHaan and Mr Doug S.
    David Rockefeller has assured us “..the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government which will never again know war, but only peace and prosperity for the whole of humanity. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in the past centuries.” . 
    How could you possibly think freedom of the individual is better than Mr. Rockefeller’s benign guidance?

  128. Gail Combs September 4, 2010 at 10:47 am
    Yes, do not give them ideas. There are towns in Massachusetts that are putting water meters on privately owned wells and making the owners pay for their water.

    Oh brother; here we go again … an attempt to manage a natural resource during times where there may be droughts is demonized …
    Gail apparently is unaware of the term “the commons” – a term referring to resources that are collectively owned or shared between or among the population e.g. ground water.
    BTW, a search for something to support her contentions comes up zilch:
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=opera&rls=en&q=massachusetts+%22private+water+wells%22+meters&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=
    Another ‘old wives tale’ debunked?
    .

  129. We mustn’t forget that the IPCC was set up to to do what it does, acting on the assumption that manmade CO2 is the only cause of climate change. It can (and should therefore) just ignore any evidence to the contrary. It cannot, by its terms of reference, be an unbiased authority on climate change.

  130. Gail Combs September 4, 2010 at 11:22 am
    Re: “The biofuels industry is just plain wrong. It is clear that it does not work and represents a net loss of money and energy”
    You forgot the record profits of Monsanto and Cargill in 2008. (Jim you go look up the references this time.)

    It’s now 2010 Gail, and we’re almost 3/4 through that … have you kept up with where biofuels/ethanol are regarding costs and subsidies? Have you seen the recent financials on those companies you mention – or might you be stuck in 2008?
    .

  131. Dear Mr Fuller, Thank you for your thoughts, but I read a comment by Lucy Skywalker above to the effect that she has a site. I looked it up and have just read it all. It is really excellent, and explains everything very clearly. I never knew that it existed. Thank you Lucy Skywalker, I will recommend your site to everyone I meet. We can only hope that eventually people will learn, and governments will stop wasting time and money on reducing CO2, and be grateful that CO2 is indeed increasing because if it had fallen instead of rising since 1850 plants would by now be finding it hard to grow, and that really would be a disaster.

  132. Tom Fuller wrote: “Two reasons: First, the basics are pretty well understood. CO2 should cause about a 1.5 to 2.1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures if we double its concentration in our atmosphere. (If it doesn’t, it’s because other forces are counteracting it, not that it doesn’t exist.) This really is not very controversial at all.
    This estimate only works for a dry atmosphere. You keep missing the point, Tom. Earth climate is not a dry atmosphere. Claiming “other forces” makes it seem like something from the outside must intervene to prevent the 1.5 to 2.1 C increase from happening.
    The “other forces,” however, is the climate of Earth itself, with its clouds, its evaporation, its currents, and its condensations. Your “not very controversial at all,” is in fact exactly what is controverted.
    The temperature increase you suppose is not at all ‘a foregone conclusion unless something intervenes.’ Any temperature change may be more than that, it may be less. It may be nothing detectable, and it may be negative.
    Figure it out, finally: no one understands the climate, or how it will respond. There is no complete theory of climate able to provide any fundamental global conclusions.
    How about this: Interview Dick Lindzen. No one’s a better climate physicist than he. Ask him if anyone understands what effect added CO2 will have on climate. Then tell him it’s not controversial that 300 ppmv of extra CO2 will certainly increase global air temperature by 1.5-2.1 C unless an “other forces” miracle happens. See what he says about that.
    Then, if you really want good copy, ask him if he has any thoughts on why Kevin Trenberth is so adamant a believer in AGW.

  133. See my previous comment about Probability to Mr. Fuller, in particular the pdf I linked to.
    From Pachauri’s lips to our ears: ” They have talked about quantifying uncertainties. To some extent, we are doing that, though not perfectly. But the issue is that in some cases, you really don’t have a quantitative base by which you can attach a probability or a level of uncertainty that defines things in quantitative terms. And there, let’s not take away the importance of expert judgment. And that is something the report has missed or at least not pointed out.”
    So if you can’t quantify uncertainties (like is climate sensitivity say 0.5 degrees or 6.5 degrees, and with what probabilities) just go with your best guess, call it expert opinion (especially if you only pick and pay the “right” experts) and say that there is a 90% certainty, even if there are no numbers you can add up to get that.
    http://joannenova.com.au/2010/09/pachauri-admits-the-ipcc-just-guesses-the-numbers/

  134. *****
    _Jim says:
    September 4, 2010 at 1:07 pm
    Gail apparently is unaware of the term “the commons” – a term referring to resources that are collectively owned or shared between or among the population e.g. ground water.
    ****
    Apparently you, Jim, are unfamiliar with the term “water rights.” It’ s a big deal. That means the person who owns them owns the water under the land. I’m not too hot on this idea of “commons.” Sounds a bit too socialistic to me.

  135. _Jim says:
    September 4, 2010 at 1:07 pm
    “Gail apparently is unaware of the term “the commons” – a term referring to resources that are collectively owned or shared between or among the population e.g. ground water.”
    Yes, and living on the water planet, if we only knew how to desalinate.
    We could co-locate nuclear power plants and desalinization plants on
    the coast. And if there were only ancient civilizations, from which we
    could have learned how this new clean water could be shifted around,
    we’d be set. But alas, we’re stuck with “the commons”, and no water.
    http://tinyurl.com/237ass8

  136. _Jim says:
    September 4, 2010 at 1:07 pm
    “Another ‘old wives tale’ debunked?”
    The issue of water rights vary widely across the country. In much of the midwest if you own the property you own everything beneath it. This is not the case in many western states. Where I live in NM a lot of the property is sold in pieces (i.e. land use rights, water rights and mineral rights). The original owner can essentially sell the same property several times. Often ranchers buy up land just for grazing cattle. The water rights and mineral rights are not included so you see cattle grazing among pump jacks.
    I live in a development of about 2,700 homes. The older homes (built in the early 70s) usually have their own well. The rest of us are served by a privately owned “water district” that depends on a couple dozen wells. A few years back we had a couple of years of drought. Water rates went up significantly to encourage conservation (I pay a little over $0.01 per gallon). Since then the mountains have had good snow pack and we have enjoyed generous monsoon seasons. The wells recharged to capacity in under a year. The rates never went down. Because rain has been plentiful folks are using less municipal water and many more are employing rainwater harvesting for landscaping. So the water company keeps the rates high because they’re selling less water (and making as much, or more money).
    Theoretically I could drill my own well on my own property. These days that’s a pretty expensive venture (like electricity, it’s more cost-effective to buy it than pump or generate my own). Further, because of where I live and the availability of municipal water service, the county would probably never issue me a permit to dig a well. This is not because my well for my home would significantly deplete ground water but because I would be competing against the best interests of “the collective”.
    I could easily envision the tyrannical socialist eco-geeks that run local government placing a water meter on the old widow’s well next door and make her pay for what she pumps from her own well on her own land. Just substitute the word “collective” for “commons” and you’ll be well on your way to understanding. Governments are clamoring to “control” water even when it’s not scarce or threatened. The EPA lusts for federal jurisdiction over ALL surface water instead of just navigable waterways and they want jurisdiction over ground water, too. It’s just too convenient…control food, control water and control energy…control people.
    I used to have a big house and about 7 acres of property outside Amarillo in a canyon community of several hundred homes. Every house had its own well (best water I’ve ever tasted, 350′ down to the Ogallalla aquifer). A creek flowed through the canyon. Some years the creek would flood, some years it would completely dry up in summer. It made for a great hiking path. But NOBODY ever had a lack of well water. Metering private wells is not protecting the “commons”, it’s extorting money from private owners.

  137. Gnomish says:
    September 4, 2010 at 9:37 am
    Thank you! And Amen.
    AND in that complexity rest the reason why and how, “scientists” were able to “make” CO2 into a criminal that might cause a catastrophic problem if left uncheck. Of course, that problem at first was that it was going to bring on a new ice age, but when the cooling of the late 60’s and early 70’s stopped, they had to “adjust” their models. Once other scientists realized (nobody ever said they were stupid) how massively complicated the weather system of the planet is and how much taxpayer money could be gleaned from government coffers for “research” into what to do about this horrible CO2 and it’s effect on the even more complicated and almost mystical thing called – CLIMATE, it was clear they could put bread & butter on the table (and who can find fault with that?) and keep pre-docs and post-docs flowing through their departments (and who can’t find fault with that?) on infinitum. “They” have just had to fudge a few things (about weather) along the way. Of course the “corrupt” politicians of the world also quickly caught-on to the whole ruse. “Never let a crises go to waste.” Billions, and billions, and billions of dollars later, that could have been spent on saving millions, and millions, and millions of lives – NOT ONE THING HAS CHANGED, NOT ONE SUPPOSED PROBLEM HAS BEEN FIXED. Thousands of studies and we’re still disagreeing about the basics AND still studying. And still adjusting the models pretending we can “model” what the entire global system will look like 50 years from now, when we can’t even accurately model what it will look like outside my window 48 hrs from now.

  138. There is no doubt that man has had a devastating effect on the earth. However most of the effects you describe, as well as species loss and deforestation, are either just “too hard” or politically unacceptable. For example, try telling the Japanese they can no longer cut down our Ozzie native hardwoods for tissue paper …
    CO2 is perfect for politicians … just add another tax and the masses will be happy.
    CO2 is perfect for corporates … for companies like GE it is great for their nuclear power and windmill businesses, while for others placing value on emissions adds to their asset registers.

  139. LOL! Love that pick! My sis-in-law has a lakehouse about 5 miles from the Uncertain Inn. (Caddo Lake is a cool place, btw)
    And actually the politics ARE certain now – a wave is coming that is going to wipe out the congressional dems in 60 days. There will now be no cap and trace, no climate bill, no carbon cap of any time. Also, Kyoto is going to expire and nothing is going to replace it – there will be no international regime, no new treaties. Politically speaking, you can chisel that in stone.
    So whatever is going to happen as a consequence of that inaction is going to happen. You really should hope (as I happen to believe) that nothing at all of note is going to happen and life will go on as always, proving that this was never anything but a manmade scare. Because it’s too late for any political fix to come along now.

  140. Tom Fuller says:
    September 4, 2010 at 1:03 pm
    As many of you have pointed out and others inferred, I should have written 33% of arable land is now under the plough, not total. Thanks to all who have noted this.
    —-
    I’m not so sure about that either. As I noted earlier:
    “Then, I found this table at the FOA (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN) for 1990 to 2000:
    http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/005/AC832E/ac832e03.htm#bm03.2
    Bottom line for world for both 1990 and 2000 is 11.2%.”
    There is also this pdf from FAO — Food and Agriculture Statistics Global Outlook (2006):
    http://faostat.fao.org/Portals/_Faostat/documents/pdf/world.pdf
    In it, under “Resources” it lists Arable Land at 1,402,317* and Permanent Crop Land at 138,255* yielding a usage of 9.86% (if A is inclusive of PCL) or 8.97% (if A does not include PC). There is reason to think it’s the latter.
    In the first link, the total for A+PCL is 1,497,365* This differs from the second, if added — 1,540,572*. Not a lot, but different. But so does (Permanent) Pasture — 3,459, 836* vs 3,432,834*. If the numbers for each are added from each link it results in 4,957,201* vs 4,973,406*, which is a 16,205* difference and close enough, when considering the dates for the data, to say we’re talking about the same numbers for the purpose of deciding whether the 33% Arable land usage is still questionable.
    Now the UN data used might have an error, making the above work useless. I’d be happy to have someone check my work to make sure I didn’t screw up. But if neither of those are possibilities, then the 33% Arable land usage is wrong.
    In the meantime, what was your source for the 33%?

  141. Darn it. The * was meant to carry over the *= 1000HA in the two reports which I neglected to include, above.

  142. One of the problems I see with arguments which say “we can’t take the chance, we need to act now” is that they are sometimes double edged swords as I believe is the case here. It can be reframed as “if we do reduce carbon, the next ice age, that hasn’t come yet because of our CO2, will start” Since we don’t know enough about the atmosphere to know how to predict what will happen in 100 years, anything we do or not do may have serious adverse consequences. Yes, that is scary, but there are no guarantees in life.
    Now, I’d like to show you a little chart put out on the NOAA site.
    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/f10.gif
    This cute chart shows the NOAA’s prediction for solar cycle 24. It isn’t really a prediction though. It is some kind of normalized curve that they always put where the current data ends. When I started paying attention to this stuff, this curve was shifted two or more years to the left. We’d be at the maximum now by their lights. Governments all over the world would love to tell us what will be a hundred years from now and they can’t even get the present right.
    Then we all found out, just as we expected, the science was not settled, but rather fudged to the end of trying to convince us to cut back our energy use. When an international body has to use non-peer reviewed material and hearsay to pursue a single aspect of global climate and exclude all the others, we have a right to be disgruntled. I’m old enough to remember all the scare stories in the 70s about the coming ice age and that we’d need to be considering ways to stop it.
    So to sum up, I’d like to be an AGC (cooling) fan and suggest we DO need to do something and that something is to put MORE CO2 into the atmosphere to cushion against a potential ice age. The only problem is that I don’t think CO2 was the problem in the first place, and it follows that it wouldn’t be too effective if the world started going cooler. If we react one way and we’re wrong, we could be really, really sorry. So I’d favor learning more about the system that we live in before taking catastrophic economic steps. I’d really favor doing things we know can help like pumping up the volume on nuclear energy worldwide rather than killing carbon use before we have something to replace it. So if the AGW crowd really were serious, they’d be pushing nuclear and fusion research to get there. But they aren’t, so we suspect agendas for which their current direction would help. With nuclear or any other replacement energy source, the oil and coal will fall by the wayside without having to be forced. So just because we’re paranoid doesn’t mean somebody isn’t out to get us….
    Jeff

  143. Joel Shore:
    “Since this thread is all about coming together and finding a middle ground…”
    Depends what “middle ground” means. This thread, and very many others at WUWT, are about trying to get to the truth, which has nothing to do with “middle ground” in the sense of making a compromise.
    Having said that, I have no objection to your posting here and what you write seems level-toned and respectful. If by “middle ground” you mean meeting and sharing/debating ideas with all parties being open to persuasion – in an attempt to get closer to the truth – then I’m all for that.
    There may also be some points which are not in dispute by most on both sides, however…
    Tom Fuller:
    As you’ve probably realised, you made assumptions about what it was easy for all to agree on, and have now discovered that many reject those assumptions.
    To me, this is a key issue. We all tend to have pet assumptions, and maybe we project those onto others. Scepticism, in my book, is what happens when people cultivate the habit of a) identifying the things they take for granted (often through uncritical acceptance of received opinion), and b) checking whether they are justified.
    The more we are acquainted with a subject, the better we’ll be able to understand it, but I think most, if not all, of us, also know that that leads to the realisation of how much we still have left to learn.
    All teachers (I am one) realise early in their careers that trying to teach something very rapidly reveals how ignorant one actually is. But teachers have no choice but to deal with the awkward, “simple” questions that students ask that they haven’t previously though to ask themselves. They have to try to learn more about their subject, maybe beginning to understand it in depth for the first time.
    Unfortunately, the “teachers” on the subject of CAGW have for too long isolated themselves from the obligation to deal with the “simple” questions, and seen no necessity to identify and challenge their own assumptions. I think they are becoming increasingly discomfited now that they are having to address issues they have blocked out for years.
    Some folk (to be fair, on both sides) really only *want* certain things to be true, and seek out authoritative sources to back them up. They’re abrogating their responsibility to try to understand for themselves, which, in the end, is the only way to truly understand *anything*.
    Without scepticism, one can’t learn. Without learning, there can be no true knowledge. Without knowledge, the best we can manage is to parrot assumptions, our own or borrowed. For my money, the smartest people here, however great or small their expertise, are those who know and admit how little they really know.
    Do you know how little you know? I’m not having a dig at you. I’m just encouraging you to be smarter than you currently are, and hopefully I try to be just as tough on myself about this.

  144. _Jim,
    OK…so let’s discuss biofuels. Their only redeeming attribute that I can figure is that they are “renewable” sources of energy. They’re just hydrocarbon fuels and like all other hydrocarbon fuels emit CO2 upon combustion so there’s no advantage there. Prior to the great ethanol boondoggle most corn grown in the US was used to feed livestock. Now a whole bunch of it is used to make ethanol for fuel (which seems a shameless waste of ethanol to me). This increases feed prices and increases the cost of meat.
    From a 42 gallon barrel of crude oil a refinery can usually get about 11 gallons of refined gasoline (and a bunch of other products like diesel, Jet A, fuel oil, heavy oils, lubricants, etc.). Just like a slaughterhouse, there’s very little waste.
    So what does it take to produce a gallon of ethanol? First you have to grow corn and that takes land, machinery to till and plant, fuel, seed, fertilizer, water, pesticides and herbicides, labor, time and favorable weather. Then you have to harvest it and transport the harvest for processing. Then it has to be processed and this product combined with more water and allowed to ferment. Once fermented the mash has to be distilled and this requires no small amount of energy. Eventually you’re left with pure ethanol (which must then be denatured according to federal law).
    The economies of scale have been maxed out in this process and yet still, analysis after analysis have shown that you actually put more energy into producing a gallon of ethanol than you can get out of a gallon of ethanol. Not only does it take hundreds of gallons of water to produce a gallon of ethanol, it ties up arable land and removes food crops from human and animal consumption. This produces scarcity and drives up food costs all along the consumer food chain. And what do we do with it? We add it to gasoline which results in lower gas mileage. A harsh reality of physics and chemistry is that a gallon of ethanol contains less energy than a gallon of gasoline. Worse still, we’re subsidizing this waste with taxpayer dollars. Without subsidies and government mandates ethanol fuel would quite literally evaporate away.
    Biodiesel is just as great a waste for many of the same reasons except it removes even more important crops like soybeans from the human consumption food chain.
    _Jim, please explain to me how these technologies are viable. We can’t possibly grow enough food to convert to fuel and still have enough to eat so how can this possibly be a “good idea”? Biofuels are every bit as wasteful and inefficient as wind or solar power.

  145. Dr. Dave says:
    September 4, 2010 at 2:34 pm
    _Jim says:
    September 4, 2010 at 1:07 pm
    “Another ‘old wives tale’ debunked?”
    The issue of water rights vary widely across the country. In much of the midwest if you own the property you own everything beneath it.,,,,
    _____________________________________________
    Dr. Dave thankyou, I am get rather sick of defending any statement I make from attacks by Jim calling me an out right liar. He usually never even bothers to cite a reference during his attacks although I normally do if possible. And yes I own my mineral/water rights per my deed but that has never stopped a money hungry politician.
    The towns I was talking about were Mebane NC and a well owned by Alton and the other town was Ashburnham MA and a well owned by Larry and Sue. So no Jim googling is not going to find the information about the complaints by my personal friends. Do you want me to ask for a copy of their water bills, a copy of their deeds and a photo of their wells all notarized so you will believe me???

  146. Gail Combs says:

    Orthodox climate scientists assume “early anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission prevented the inception of a glacial that would otherwise already have started…
    That was a quote from the peer reviewed paper not me.

    “The orthodox climate scientists assume” part was not from the paper. You took one quote from one peer-reviewed paper on climate science amongst the thousands published each year and used it to imply that this hypothesis has been embraced by the climate science community. I am just telling you that it hasn’t. It has attracted interest in the community, but a fair bit of skepticism too, for the reason that I stated and for other reasons. To claim it is an assumption of the climate science community is ridiculous.
    As for the rest of your post, yes I know that there are people who are making claims about the sun but this stuff is all pretty vague and unconvincing…Even Leif, who is a skeptic on climate change (or at best a lukewarmer) hates when people try to claim that the sun is the cause. I also find it interesting that many of the same people who rail against scientists invoking the notion of positive feedbacks which apply to any warming mechanism about equally (and for which there is considerable evidence for) are so quick to embrace some vague notions about positive feedbacks that are specific to one particular mechanism (i.e., the solar mechanism). Where is their skepticism?
    Jim Barker says:

    Mr. Fuller, please take a look at this pdf. It may cool your lukewarmishness.
    http://rps3.com/Files/AGW/EngrCritique.AGW-Science.v4.pdf

    Hmmm…Strange that you would find such a presentation so convincing.

  147. Barry Moore says:

    Many papers have been written by eminent Physicists mathematically analyzing the effect of CO2 in strict accordance with the laws of physics. All reach the conclusion that the effect of CO2 is saturated and no longer has any impact on temperatures.

    As a physicist, I’ll take the bait: Which papers are you referring to? And, please, don’t tell me Gerlich and Tscheuschner!

  148. Gail Combs says:
    September 4, 2010 at 4:16 pm
    “Dr. Dave thankyou, I am get rather sick of defending any statement I make from attacks…”
    No problem, Gail. Yours are always some of my favorite comments on these threads. Besides…_Jim hit a couple of my buttons. I don’t get it. Your comments are always quite erudite and well-referenced. The issues of water rights and biofuels are guaranteed to make me see red. I still mourn the loss of my sweet well in Texas (part of the post-nuptial agreement) and the local eco-nazis have ridden roughshod over the water supply here ever since they had the water facility legally condemned so they could buy it from the Dutch company that owned it. They wanted “local control”. This really just meant that a cabal of local enviro-zealots got to run it and double the rates.
    Biofuel debates nearly send me into a rant. This is the dumbest “good idea” I’ve ever heard. Just do the math! Consider the variables. One bad season could wipe out most of a year’s fuel production…if you weren’t already starving. I grocery shop frequently and I casually watch the prices of beef, pork and chicken. I wonder if anybody ever taught these geniuses about the “corn-hog cycle” in introductory economics.

  149. One thing you are neglecting is the difference between equilibrium climate sensitivity and transient climate response. The oceans create a large lag time in the climate system so that the system has not yet equilibrated with the current greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.
    How big a lag? A big enough lag so as not to show up during the 20th Century — yet small enough to create a 3.2C rise in the next 90 years?
    For this and other reasons, the unfortunate fact is that the 20th century climate record does not provide a very tight constraint on climate sensitivity.
    Or the sensitivity/feedbacks are not as expected.
    Within the errors that we know the total forcings, with the intrinsic climate variability, and with the lag time for the climate system to equilibrate, the empirical data for the 20th century is compatible with quite a broad range of climate sensitivities that includes the IPCC range and then some on either side. Better constraints are obtained by combining this with other empirical data. Perhaps the best constraints are from the ice age – interglacial cycles, for which the forcings and temperature change are reasonably well-understood and the time scales are long enough that you see the “equilibrium” change. Others data is provided,for example, by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. All these data taken together agree well with the likely range for climate sensitivity given by the IPCC.
    Assuming that the “empirical data” by which you mean adjusted data is correct. The average USHCN station warmed 0.14C over the 20th century. USHCN has adjusted this to +0.72C for no good reason I can tell. Only TOBS ought to be a positive adjustment. The rest should be neutral (e.g., FILNET) or negative (SHAP). All are positive. And certainly the onset and disappearance of the Younger Dryas shows no such gradualism.
    Besides, IPCC stakes its lot on positive feedback loops which don’t have anything to do with the ocean “catching up”, so far as I can tell. Those feedbacks are not and have not been in evidence.
    I have trouble buying (at huge expense) any theory which has constant pressures that bring about a slow response up to now but will surely be a Real Big Response in the Real Near Future (pay the man at the door). Especially since the man at the door is the same dude who rooked me three times before on similar issues.

  150. Dr. Dave says:
    September 4, 2010 at 5:20 pm
    “[…]
    Biofuel debates nearly send me into a rant. This is the dumbest “good idea” I’ve ever heard. Just do the math! Consider the variables. One bad season could wipe out most of a year’s fuel production… […]”

    Now that’s the first mention of that point I’ve seen and it’s a doozy! Good one, Dr. Dave.
    Our congresscritters can legislate the use of biofuels but they can’t legislate the corn to grow.

  151. evanmjones says:

    How big a lag? A big enough lag so as not to show up during the 20th Century — yet small enough to create a 3.2C rise in the next 90 years?

    Most of the forcing has occurred near the end of the century. The estimate is there is about another 0.5 C in the pipeline, the majority of which I believe we would see over the next 20 or 30 years. The IPCC makes two different sorts of estimates, one of equilibrium climate sensitivity upon doubling CO2 and another of what the temperature would be in 2100 under various emissions scenarios (and using the transient climate response, so that temperatures would continue to rise after 2100 even if greenhouse gas levels didn’t). I have no clue which of these your 3.2 C number actually refers to, since there are a range of estimates for both climate sensitivity and the temperature rise by 2100 and the latter, of course, depends on the emissions scenario as well as the climate sensitivity.

    Or the sensitivity/feedbacks are not as expected.

    No…Saying that the data does not constrain something means that the data do not constrain it. It means that the sensitivity and feedbacks are consistent with the data; on the other hand, the data do not demonstrate that the sensitivity and feedbacks are in the IPCC range either since the data are consistent with a broader range than the IPCC estimates of the likely sensitivity.

    Assuming that the “empirical data” by which you mean adjusted data is correct. The average USHCN station warmed 0.14C over the 20th century. USHCN has adjusted this to +0.72C for no good reason I can tell.

    So, now all of a sudden you don’t believe the data that a moment ago you were claiming showed that the climate sensitivity is not what the IPCC predicted. And, I have no idea why you are even talking about the 20th century data when I just got through explaining that better constraints are provided by the empirical paleoclimate data (e.g., the ice age — interglacial) and the Mt. Pinatubo eruption (which is a short-term event in the 20th century…not a long-term trend issue).

    Besides, IPCC stakes its lot on positive feedback loops which don’t have anything to do with the ocean “catching up”, so far as I can tell. Those feedbacks are not and have not been in evidence.

    Here is a paper that will give you a good lead into understanding the increasing amount of evidence for a water vapor feedback that is closely matching the expectations of the models: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/sci;323/5917/1020

    I have trouble buying (at huge expense) any theory which has constant pressures that bring about a slow response up to now but will surely be a Real Big Response in the Real Near Future (pay the man at the door).

    You can believe what you want to believe but it might behoove you to understand why the scientific community as a whole has indeed bought the theory and why people like Tom Fuller are struggling (what seems to be a losing battle) trying to make the “skeptic community” at least marginally relevant to the discussion.

  152. Smokey says: (September 4, 2010 at 5:16 am) Still, governments are forced to continue with the CO2 charade, because taxing water vapor is next to impossible.
    You underestimate “government”, Smokey. Give them a little time… or rope…

  153. I came across a blog a couple of years ago that pointed out that the emissivity of GH gases increase with temperature resulting in an increase in radiation for a fixed temperature of the atmosphere, unlike other power absorption changes.
    To quote the last two paragraphs:-
    “Again, calculating the epsilon (emissivity) for the atmosphere for an old and new value using atmospheric absorption from the Hitran database results in a negative result when the new emissivity is applied. That means the temperature drops because the radiation output of the atmosphere becomes more efficient with the new increased emissivity.
    That brings to question, what does cause the earth to be warmer if ghgs don’t have much of anything to do with it. It would appear that cloud cover might be the actual reason – that combined with albedo – as well as being the dominant reasons for variations.”
    http://www.physicsforums.com/archive/index.php/t-174215.html
    Has anyone any explanation to refute this? It does seem very important in that arguments about the effects of GHG’s in raising temperatures at all become irrelevant.

  154. Isn’t this just the soft approach to reinforcing the old CO2 ‘science’ being settled premise
    “Two reasons: First, the basics are pretty well understood. CO2 should cause about a 1.5 to 2.1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures if we double its concentration in our atmosphere. (If it doesn’t, it’s because other forces are counteracting it, not that it doesn’t exist.) This really is not very controversial at all.”
    He massages our egos then suggests that we are all in acceptance of the CO2 ‘science’.
    Classic trick. Lets not give this guest any more time.

  155. Joel Shore [September 4, 2010 at 6:24 am] says:
    Joel Shore [September 4, 2010 at 7:22 am] says:
    Joel Shore [September 4, 2010 at 9:38 am] says:
    Joel Shore [September 4, 2010 at 9:49 am] says:
    Joel Shore [September 4, 2010 at 9:59 am] says:
    Joel Shore [September 4, 2010 at 10:52 am] says:

    Never has anyone said so little with so many words! With the exception of your mega-FAIL condescending pseudo-lecture on Exponential/Logarithmic functions (you really think people here do not understand this?) you appear to have no focus. Well here is your chance, and we get to stay right on topic (paragraph 4 of the top post) …
    Question to Joel Shore: if the CO2 concentration doubles from the current 390 ppm to 780 ppm, what will happen to the temperature?
    This is the heart of the matter and now you can set us all straight! Although it will take decades if ever for this experiment to play out, it is time to take a stand. No ducking. And I suggest you show your work, people here are merciless 😉

  156. It seems a good place for a discussion on CO2, whether it has any effect on climate in the real world, as correlation does not seem to point that way, and to bring forward ideas that do explain climate variations.
    Here is one for discussion,
    http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/FunctionOfMass.pdf
    in which the author thinks that greenhouse gases are only relevant as contributing to the total mass of the atmosphere. I think we had a discussion here on pressure and temperature on Venus which also pointed that out, with much opposition!
    Then there is Miscolski’s latest paper,
    http://www.suite101.com/content/no-greenhouse-effect-in-semi-transparent-atmospheres-a243477
    Which does away with any need to invoke CO2 as a warming agent.
    Together with several other posters above they seem to dispel the ‘Evil CO2’ myth, but as the initial posit by the IPCC was not scientifically motivated, and was purely political, it will take more than science to refute it.
    As for variation in climate, how about the thinning of the atmospere recently that took many by surprise but is explained by a quiet Sun emitting less Extreme UV in a long Solar Cycle, lowering the thermosphere temperature by 41°K.
    This may allow the polar jet streams to move equatorwards, giving rise to more extreme weather events, especially when blocked.
    Think of say a heatwave in Russia,together with low temperatures in Siberia, and blocking of the monsoon in Pakistan giving flooding. Plus, say a cold jet stream reaching up to the Amazon, killing millions of aquatic animals and fish, 400 people dying of cold in Peru, and temperatures lower in Argentina than Antarctic stations, and a cold wet winter in S.E. Australia with more rain than we have had for 20 years, at least where I live.
    That was this year, Mongolia suffered the coldest winter for decades last winter and lost over half their stock. You don’t even need an average temperature drop, just a change in circulation patterns to create catastrophic extremes, 540 A.D. saw the Seine and Rhine dry up, and that was a ‘cold’ period.
    Just ideas, let the scientists work it out to their satisfaction, it won’t change the climate.

  157. Michael Wassil says:
    September 4, 2010 at 10:55 pm
    “I must have missed something. What exactly is the point of this article?”
    CAGW brigade damage limitation – “now we’re losing the war, let’s regroup and rethink so we can get at least some of the sceptics to believe that some of our cargo cult climate ‘science’ is right.”

  158. @Fuller
    “CO2 should cause about a 1.5 to 2.1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures if we double its concentration in our atmosphere.”
    That would be Fahrenheit not Celsius. IPPC figure is 1.1 Celsius for CO2 forcing without feedbacks.

  159. In 1900 my farm had 15 cows, 10 sows, some geese and hens, in 2000 the same land supports 80 cows with 10% of their diet imported. Better grass varieties, better management, granular fertiliser, etc, are the diference. We also have 80 acres of trees where 100 yrs ago was cutaway bog. One tractor has replaced 3 horses. The % of land used for agriculture in 100 yrs has decreased across the developed world, who has reliable stats on other areas.

  160. @Fuller
    “In the past century we have gone from cultivating about 3% of the world’s land for agriculture to about 33%. And of course this has had an effect on the planet, and of course that includes this planet’s climate.”
    That effect is debatable. First of all the climate is controlled by the ocean not the land and the ocean is 70% of the surface. So in effect what you wrote (and I’m not sure of the accuracy of 33%) is that humans have gone from using less than 1% of the earth’s land surface for agriculture to more than 9%.
    Given that the land used for agriculture was not barren beforehand then it becomes a matter of the effect of changing over from wild plants to domestic plants on that land surface. While there is a large effect on local biota and some small effect on local weather there shouldn’t be much if any effect at all on global climate – the tail does not wag the dog. That’s the problem with most of the anthropogenic climate change mythology – it’s largely based on the false premise that the tail wags the dog. Except for the effect of continental land masses forcing ocean currents to take detours around them then you can essentially discount the land from having any large effect on global climate. And one thing is for sure, there is nothing anthropogenic about the configuration and movement of tectonic plates.

  161. Joel Shore says:
    “You can believe what you want to believe but it might behoove you to understand why the scientific community as a whole has indeed bought the theory and why people like Tom Fuller are struggling (what seems to be a losing battle) trying to make the “skeptic community” at least marginally relevant to the discussion.”
    Wrong as usual. It is the cognitive dissonance-afflicted true believers like Joel Shore who project their strange and scientifically unsupportable world view onto everyone else.
    A large part of the scientific community mouths the words that they know will take the heat off them. Words like “AGW,” “”robust,” etc. But even though the people being paid off, like Mann and Schmidt, are currently the source of a large part of the noise coming from that quarter, they are in the minority. The OISM Petition proves that conclusively; no alarmist petition has been able to round up more than a small fraction of the OISM’s numbers.
    Money has corrupted science. Scientists have been trained with grant funds the way Pavlov’s dogs were trained with dog biscuits. That part is understandable. What is harder to understand are the useful fools who, without grants or other payola, try to make a case that CO2 will drive the climate into runaway global warming. Joel Shore falls into that category — to the point that he has stated: "…the problems lie not with the models but with the observational data itself." Of course, that is completely backward. The problems lie with the models, not with the reality they are failing to emulate.
    And regarding the fact that human CO2 emissions constitute less than 3% of total CO2 emissions, Joel has said: "if you don’t want to be taken seriously by any real scientist, I strongly suggest that you continue to repeat the 3% nonsense." But that 'nonsense' comes out of the UN/IPCC that Joel worships.
    An interesting facet of human nature is the fact that some folks who get no monetary reward for spouting pseudo-science still do it. I can understand payola, even though I don’t condone it. But True Believers are another matter. They have a martyr complex, and they will go up in flames before they admit to being in error. They are a perfect example of Leon Festinger’s cognitive dissonance: if the flying saucers don’t arrive on schedule, that doesn’t mean there are no flying saucers, it just means they will arrive later.
    Gaia herself must be laughing at the hubris of the CAGW believers; as the harmless and beneficial trace gas CO2 becomes a tiny bit less of a minor trace gas, the planet is not behaving correctly in the eyes of the true believers. Temperatures are normal, nothing is running away or tipping, there is no tropospheric hot spot, global ice cover is completely normal, hurricane activity is less than usual, glaciers have been receding since the Holocene began, and the current climate is right in the middle of its past parameters of natural variability. Nothing extraordinary is occurring. CAGW is a figment of the fevered imaginations of the true believer — as opposed to corrupt scientists taking payola; they are merely dishonest, having sold their professional ethics for what amounts to bribes.
    We would do well to keep in mind President Eisenhower’s prescient warning in his farewell address on January 17, 1961:

    Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
    In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
    Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
    The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.
    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 scientific-technological elite.

    We as a society can heed Eisenhower’s wise counsel — or we can listen to the bedlam of the true believers shouting about imminent climate catastrophe, disregarding the common sense advice of the Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius:

    The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

  162. Gnomish (Sept. 4 2010 937 am )
    Water, Water, everywhere and not a drop to drink,
    Water, Water, everywhere and all the boards did shrink,
    Water, Water, everywhere and Joel Shore is away out of his depth !

  163. Smokey,
    Joel reminds me of the computer geek in the world trade tower on 9/11. They were trying to evacuate the building but he kept saying not now, now now as he furiously kept pounding away at his keyboard. His computer world was much more important to him than the imminent reality of certain death. The news bite showing that was almost as shocking as the whole 9/11 incident. (I think it may have been part of a reenactment but I can not remember)
    Joel Shore’s statement: “…the problems lie not with the models but with the observational data itself.” As you pointed out this shows he has his “realities” switched.
    You say “For me, an interesting facet of human nature is the fact that some folks who get no monetary reward for spouting pseudo-science still do it. I can understand payola, even though I don’t condone it. But True Believers are another matter…..”
    I am not sure if the “True Believers” actually believe in CAGW or if they see their version of utopia, that the low CO2 age was supposed to usher in, slipping away and therefore feel obligated to defend it.
    Lenin once said, “Promises are like pie-crusts–made to be broken.” If a lie is in the best interests of Communism, then it would be morally right to lie.” This philosophy, that lies to advance “the greater good” are morally correct, places those who hold truth and honesty supreme at a great disadvantage. This is especially true if you are not aware that the other person’s basic philosophy condones dishonesty.
    It was the same point I tried to make on the other thread about the Israeli-Palestinian talks. If you do not understand the basic philosophy the other person is bringing to the table you are at a great disadvantage. I did the digging in self-defense after every single one of my business contracts with Muslims was broken, yet I never had the problem with anyone else in 21 years in business.
    Both sets of people consider it morally ethical to “lie to the enemy” if it advances their cause. Our only defense is to keep uncovering the lies and bring them to the light of day.

  164. Blade says:

    Never has anyone said so little with so many words! With the exception of your mega-FAIL condescending pseudo-lecture on Exponential/Logarithmic functions (you really think people here do not understand this?) you appear to have no focus.

    My focus has been responding to some of the incorrect things that people have posted here in the comments. If you feel the topics were off-track, then you ought to blame them for raising them. As for the logarithmic function explanation, it was clear that the two commenters who I quoted indeed did not understand this.

    Question to Joel Shore: if the CO2 concentration doubles from the current 390 ppm to 780 ppm, what will happen to the temperature?

    I don’t claim to have any special knowledge above and beyond that of the climate science community who estimate the likely range of equilibrium climate sensitivity to by 2 to 4.5 C. Higher or lower values than this cannot be ruled out but they do not appear to be consistent with our current understanding of most of the empirical data.

  165. Dave Springer says:
    September 5, 2010 at 4:29 am
    @Fuller
    “In the past century we have gone from cultivating about 3% of the world’s land for agriculture to about 33%. And of course this has had an effect on the planet, and of course that includes this planet’s climate.”
    That effect is debatable. First of all the climate is controlled by the ocean not the land and the ocean is 70% of the surface. So in effect what you wrote (and I’m not sure of the accuracy of 33%) is that humans have gone from using less than 1% of the earth’s land surface for agriculture to more than 9%.
    —–
    It’s not 33% of all land. That was corrected as a misstatement. And it’s not 33% of arable land as he corrected it to in the comments. According to the UN FOA:
    http://faostat.fao.org/Portals/_Faostat/documents/pdf/world.pdf
    the percent of arable land that used is just under 9%, as of 2006.
    Mr Fuller hasn’t provided any source for his revised assertion that 33% of Arable Land is used as Permanent Cropland.

  166. Smokey says:

    The OISM Petition proves that conclusively; no alarmist petition has been able to round up more than a small fraction of the OISM’s numbers.

    Almost nobody in the scientific community takes such a petition seriously and I am surprised that you do. It is strange that someone of your political persuasion endorses a petition run like an old Soviet style election: bombard people with propaganda and then only allow them to vote YES.
    Of the signers, how many of those have any sort of real qualifications in the field? Polls of scientists, taken using serious statistical polling methods, show something entirely different than the self-selected petition that you site.

    Joel Shore falls into that category — to the point that he has stated: “…the problems lie not with the models but with the observational data itself.” Of course, that is completely backward. The problems lie with the models, not with the reality they are failing to emulate.

    It is a bad habit to quote people out of context. If you look at the full context, you will see strong reasons to believe that in this particular case that there are serious problems with the data analysis…not the least being that different analyses of the same data set get very different results. And, it is never smart to abandon your model when it works well with the data that you know to be reliable and only works less well with the data that you know to suffer from artifacts.

    And regarding the fact that human CO2 emissions constitute less than 3% of total CO2 emissions, Joel has said: “if you don’t want to be taken seriously by any real scientist, I strongly suggest that you continue to repeat the 3% nonsense.” But that ‘nonsense’ comes out of the UN/IPCC that Joel worships.

    You really ought to look at the larger context from which you cherry-pick what you link to. Here is the full report that you grabbed that table out of: http://books.google.com/books?id=fsgyFcihB8AC&printsec=frontcover&dq=emissions+of+greenhouse+gases+in+the+united+states+2003&hl=en&ei=KKKDTOLkC4T7lwfVn9ChDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false On p. 5, they say:

    Most greenhouse gases have both natural and human-made emission sources. There are, however, significant natural mechanisms (land-based or ocean-based sinks) for removing them from the atmosphere. However, increased levels of anthropogenic emissions have pushed the total level of greenhouse gas emissions (both natural and anthropogenic) above natural absorption rates for these gases. This positive imbalance between emissions and absorption has resulted in the continuing growth in atmospheric concentrations of these gases.

    And, on p. 7 they say:

    Natural processes — primarily, uptake by the ocean and photosynthesis — absorb substantially all the naturally produced carbon dioxide and some of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide, leading to an annual net increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of 11.4 to 12.2 billion metric tons.

    In other words, there are large exchanges back-and-forth between the atmosphere, land biosphere, and mixed layer of the oceans, but the anthropogenic emissions are taken stores of carbon long locked away from these reservoirs and adding it to the system. The emissions that we add to the atmosphere rapidly partition between the atmosphere, land biosphere, and ocean mixed layer because of the fast exchanges. However, the CO2 concentration in all of these reservoirs rises as a result. The notion that our additions to the atmosphere are an insignificant contribution to the rise in CO2 is wrong, wrong, wrong. They are in fact responsible for essentially all of the rise…and, in fact, the rise in atmospheric CO2 would be about twice as large if not for the biosphere and ocean mixed layer’s ability to absorb some of what we have emitted.

  167. Joel Shore, September 4, 2010 at 7:22 am: These are not empirical models…They are mechanistic and there is way more data to compare to than there are “free parameters”.
    I do not have the models in front of me and would not understand the code anyway. However, many have noted how the models do not do clouds properly and their effect is estimated by “parameters”. (personal observation: cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds have a strong net cooling effect.) There are ongoing discussions about CO2 feedback and I believe the models include positive feedback as another parameter. The IPCC uses a long atmospheric lifetime for CO2. This is contrary to all other estimates. http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c0120a5e507c9970c-pi Is this not another parameter in the models?
    You may be right about the radiosonde data for the tropical atmosphere being questioned. The data became controversial as soon as people noted that it was contrary to the models. Kind of like how the Argo data had to be corrected as soon as it showed a cooling of of the oceans. I also believe the sun has been set as a constant with no variability. Why is NASA wasting all this money for satellites to investigate something that is just a constant?

  168. My favorite line in Joel’s last comment was 0.5 deg C of temp increase “in the pipeline”. Yeah, that’s the ticket…hidden heat lurking somewhere we can’t see. Of course the “models are right, the observational data are wrong” argument should get honorable mention.
    Last week I submitted an article to another site where I argue that no conspiracy is required for the AGW fraud. All that is required is human nature. The AGW activists always point out how many “climate researchers” agree with the AGW meme. Well, duh… Climate researchers are funded by governments (who want to tax CO2) to study the “problem” of AGW. No problem, no funding. If the problem goes away, so does their job. Human nature trumps scientific objectivity, enlightened self-interest kicks in. This isn’t a process of absolutely corrupting each individual researcher. It’s an atmosphere that promotes less than objective results. In virtually every field of science the author(s) of the paper conclude with “more research is necessary…” This keeps the grant spigot open.
    I don’t think the climate scientists are necessarily practicing their craft solely for money. I think the system has been rigged in such a way that they will naturally do so. Again, no “problem”, no funding. Hell, the folks who fund them (governments) WANT there to be a “problem”. You don’t need to be a rocket surgeon to figure this out.
    In fact, I think surprisingly few of the power players on the AGW activist side actually believe this crap. They see the payoff. Politicians lust for tax revenue and political control. Bankers and traders are drooling over the prospect of a commodities market that consists of nothing but “good ideas and thin air”. The “scientists” are just protecting their turf. The saddest cases are the “true believers”. These are the folks who are so personally, emotionally or professionally invested in the concept of AGW that any facts or reasoning to the contrary are anathema.

  169. Gary P says:

    There are ongoing discussions about CO2 feedback and I believe the models include positive feedback as another parameter.

    The feedback is not a parameter. It is an emergent property from the physics that goes into the models. Of course, some feedbacks are better understood than others…and it is the uncertainty in the cloud feedback that is responsible for most of the range of climate sensitivities among the different models.

    The IPCC uses a long atmospheric lifetime for CO2. This is contrary to all other estimates. http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c0120a5e507c9970c-pi

    As Willis Eschenbach (a skeptic who has written many posts here) would tell you, you are confused on this point…Perhaps you have been misled by people who want to confuse you. The lifetime of an individual CO2 molecule in the atmosphere is not the same as the lifetime for a perturbation of CO2 level of the atmosphere. The former is controlled by the fast transfers back-and-forth between the atmosphere, land biosphere, and ocean mixed layer while the latter is controlled by the slow transfer of CO2 from the mixed layer to the deep oceans (after the additional CO2 has rapidly partitioned itself between the atmosphere, land biosphere, and ocean mixed layer reservoirs). You might ask yourself why some people who really do (or should) know better are purposely trying to mislead you on this point!

    You may be right about the radiosonde data for the tropical atmosphere being questioned. The data became controversial as soon as people noted that it was contrary to the models. Kind of like how the Argo data had to be corrected as soon as it showed a cooling of of the oceans.

    That is how science works…Data analysis is done and then the data is compared to theory. There are often discrepancies and scientists work to resolve them. Sometimes that involves modifying or discarding the theory but, more often, especially once a theory is well-established, problems are found with the data or the analysis of the data.

    I also believe the sun has been set as a constant with no variability. Why is NASA wasting all this money for satellites to investigate something that is just a constant?

    To the extent it is known, the forcing due to the historical variability of the sun is included in the climate models. However, the future variability of the sun is not very easy to predict and hence it is indeed ignored (although some models may try to put in an 11 year solar cycle; I don’t know). Since the observed solar variability and hence forcing are quite small, there is not a big error introduced in doing this, at least over the period of a few decades or longer.

  170. Joel Shore
    September 5, 2010 at 7:14 am
    If this were a court of law and Iwas called to testify as to relative guilt of anthropogenic emissions in increasing CO2 levels , I would have to say that the lab screwed up the analysis with some poorly founded assumptions. The earth has never been in some kind of dynamic equilibrium that could be upset with the addition of a relatively small amount. My analysis of the CO2 data indicates that about two thirds comes from inorganic sources such as carbonacous rocks on the bottom of the oceans and about one third from organic sources such as decaying plant material as well as anthropogenic emissions. The atmospheric amounts of both have been increasing at about the same rate. The rate of increase for the inorganic carbon is the results of natural changes in source and sink rates. So you, Willis, and the IPPC are wrong, wrong, wrong. http://www.kidswincom.net/climate.pdf.

  171. Sheesh, lots of comments, and someone else has probably already pointed this out, but 33% of the land for agriculture? That’s not even in the realm of reality. Maybe in Iowa, but Russia, Canada, Brazil? There is no way we are even close to having put 1/3 of the earth’s land to agricultural use.

  172. Fred,
    I am sure you are a very smart fellow but usually claims of “I’m right and the entire scientific community in this field is wrong” require a significant standard of evidence. Does the possibility occur to you that they might be correct and you might be wrong in your analysis?
    By the way, what does it mean to have a cycle of period 308 years in data that only goes back a little over 50 years?

  173. SKEPTICISM OF MAN MADE GLOBAL WARMING BY THE CLIMATE SCIENCE COMMUNITY IN PRIVATE
    When the climate science community is skeptical about catastrophic global warming in PRIVATE, why not everyone?
    Here is what they say in private:
    1) “Be awkward if we went through a early 1940s type swing!”
    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=927&filename=1225026120.txt
    2) “I think we have been too readily explaining the slow changes over past decade as a result of variability–that explanation is wearing thin.”
    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=947&filename=1231166089.txt
    3) “The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. OK it has but it is only 7 years of data and it isn’t statistically significant.” [This statement was made 5-years ago and the global warming rate still is zero]
    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=544&filename=1120593115.txt
    4) “I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data’ but in reality the situation is not quite so simple.”
    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=138&filename=938031546.txt
    5) “IPCC is not any more an assessment of published science (which is its proclaimed goal) but production of results”
    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=186&filename=968705882.txt
    If the climate science community itself is allowed to be skeptical about man made global warming in private, why can not everyone in PUBLIC?
    With all this skepticism about the theory of man made global warming by skeptics and by the climate science community, in private, a trillion dollar policy is not justified until this theory is validated.
    Here is how we validate:
    Year=> IPCC Global Mean Temperature Anomaly (deg C)
    2005=>0.5
    2010=>0.6
    2015=>0.7
    2020=>0.8
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/orssengo1.jpg
    Year=>Global Mean Temperature Anomaly based on natural patterns (deg C)
    2005=>0.5
    2010=>0.4
    2015=>0.3
    2020=>0.2
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/orssengo3.png
    If the observation matches the IPCC projections then we may have man made global warming and we may need to do something. However, if the observed temperatures match the natural pattern, then we must reject the theory of man made global warming.
    We only need ten more years for the validation.
    Validation of theory is the kernel of science!

  174. Over on my blog, Joel Shore has been nominated for a medal for his patience and diligence on this thread. I’m here to second the nomination.
    The smugly confident confusion that everybody else here happily exudes would be funny were it not for the consequences.
    To Tom Fuller’s question, the reason we find ourselves arguing about well-constrained science is to avoid the abyss of reconsidering our confused and dangerous policies. In other words, his argument is completely backwards. Climate science is the best understood part of the puzzle, and we should really be hashing out policies to support sufficient mitigation and adaptation to minimize the chances that civilization will be overwhelmed by environmental stresses.
    But we need people who are less quick to latch on to half-baked ideas than most who hang around here, and who are more willing (and dare I say, better able) to test their own beliefs against evidence.
    REPLY: Stay tuned for Fuller’s reply, and open a can of half baked beans for yourself too. 😉 Anthony

  175. Joel Shore [September 5, 2010 at 6:47 am] says:
    “I don’t claim to have any special knowledge above and beyond that of the climate science community who estimate the likely range of equilibrium climate sensitivity to by 2 to 4.5 C. Higher or lower values than this cannot be ruled out but they do not appear to be consistent with our current understanding of most of the empirical data.”

    My emphasis there in your quote I will infer as your knowledge being less than or equal to the knowledge of the climate science community, so for the sake of argument let’s assume your knowledge is equal. Now having said that, why can’t you (climate science) answer that simple question? The taxpaying public wants to know! You give us literally a +/- of 250% in units of degrees, and then you take this and wrap undefined error bars around it: “Higher or lower values than this cannot be ruled out …”.
    You must have pressed the big red climate alarm button for some reason, and I want to know what it is. After spending millions of our dollars climate scientists must expect something to happen during the next doubling of CO2? Anyway, that leads me to another question which should be simpler to answer.
    Question to Joel Shore: during the last doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration from 195 ppm to 390 ppm (currently), what did happen to the temperature?

  176. Michael Tobis [September 5, 2010 at 9:07 pm] says:
    “… The smugly confident confusion that everybody else here happily exudes would be funny were it not for the consequences.”

    Finally someone smart enough to set us straight! Joel Shore wouldn’t. So PLEASE Michael, do clear up the confusion:
    Question to Michael Tobis: if the CO2 concentration doubles from the current 390 ppm to 780 ppm, what will happen to the temperature?

  177. I think the title would be more accurate if it said:
    We talk about the science because we dislike the policy implications.
    Because indeed, as Michael Tobis said, “the reason we find ourselves arguing about well-constrained science is to avoid the abyss of reconsidering our confused and dangerous policies.”
    I had an interesting conversation with Tom Fuller on this before (which he kindly cross posted on his examiner site):
    ( http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2009/08/19/my-next-generation-questions-on-climate-change/ )
    Let’s distinguish the following main issues:
    – To what extent is climate change occurring, and to what extent is it man-made?
    – To what extent is that (going to be) a problem?
    – What can or should we do about it?
    The first questions are strictly scientific; the middle has a judgment value to it, and the latter is primarily a political/moral judgement (and has more to do with technology than with climate science).
    (As a tangent, it is therefore also logical that scientists have the lead in answering the first question, and that the resulting knowledge is ideally used as a basis for society to answer the third question, on which scientists have no special standing (except perhaps their safeguarding of the scientific knowledge as one input variable for tackling that question)
    Science has made much more progress in addressing the first question than society has in addressing the last one.
    As Herman Daly noted: “If you jump out of an airplane you need a crude parachute more than an accurate altimeter.”
    Blade: Check out http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2006/03/climate-sensitivity-is-3c.html

  178. Joel Shore has been unable to offer empirical evidence in answer to the following questions, which are vital to the integrity of the concept of AGW and have been asked of Joel by others on this blog.
    1/does increasing ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere precede an increase in atmospheric temperatures?
    2/ does an increase in ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere follow an increase in atmospheric temperatures?
    3/, if ppm of CO2 in the last 15 years has increased, why has there been no significant rise in atmpospheric temperatures during that period?
    Only proper, peer-reviewed references, please. No ‘Most Climate Scientists say…’ types of answers will suffice.
    Thanks, Joel, in anticipation,
    Alexander K

  179. Joel Shore
    September 5, 2010 at 5:35 pm
    I’m not alone in questioning the scientific objectivity and truthfullness of a group of subjectively motivated “what if” modellers. The IPCC was set up to do subjective research. The data reveals the truth if analyzed objectively. A big mistake the team has made is to just look for data and statistical techniques that support their beliefs and reject any probility that does not. A prime example is the belief that atmospheric CO2 levels will continue to rise following the exponential rise in anthropogenic emissions leading to an unstable global environment. The earth is not Venus. The ice core data clearly shows that climate change as defined by changes in average global temperature goes in a combination of cycles of many wave lengths. These cycles are expected to continue into the future. The question should be “Do anthropogenic emissions change the parameters of those natural cycles?”
    This is where the unbiased use of statistical techiques is a valuable tool. Least squares curve fitting of accurate data is a good tool. The amount of data and it’s accuracy as well as the shape of the assumed curve affect the goodness of fit. In the case of fitting a segment of a 308 year cycle defined by three parameters versus an exponential curve defined by two pararameters to over 20,000 relatively accurate points of data, the cycle segment is a statistically better fit. Time will tell which is a better predictor. If the slope of the CO2-time curve does not continue to increase, the curve is not exponential.

  180. I would like someone with two or more greenhouses growing the same crop under the same conditions of humidity etc. to do me a favor. I suggest greenhouses because it is a large but simple enough environment to control the parameters.
    In one greenhouse keep the atmosphere “natural” and have a continuous temperature record kept over , say, a growing season.
    In a second greenhouse keep the atmosphere topped up with CO2 to , say, double our current standard. Keep a continuous temperature record over the same growing season.
    Then get back to us here at WUWT with your results. This isn’t high tech or difficult to do. I would do it myself but I don’t have greenhouses and I don’t know folk out here who do. This CO2 meme is so central to this whole debate that it must surely be possible to carry out such a simple experiment.
    To my engineering brain this would really settle this whole “CO2 drives the temperature” thing once and for all. Once we have done this we can get along to figuring out the “forcings” if it is shown to be necessary.

  181. Joel Shore says
    September 5, 2010 at 7:14 am
    re; your response to 3% fossil CO2 and other stuff
    Below comes latest IPCC 4. I don’t bicker with these. In the interest of brevity do you accept these or not?
    The evidence accepted by IPCC is 97% natural CO2, 3% anthropogenic, and 1.5% actual annual rise.
    Per doubling of CO2 absent feedbacks global average 1.1C temp rise.
    Feedback is where I start having a major problem.
    There has never been a runaway greenhouse episode in earth’s history. The best evidence from the geologic column shows temperature maxes out about 6-8C warmer than today while CO2 has been at 10-15 times higher concentration. These periods lasted for millions of years without end and the earth was green from pole to pole.
    Historically we are in a rather unproductive epic for the biosphere. Speaking in geologic time frames CO2 concentration is (still) very low and so is global average temperature. That’s because we are in a brief (10-20ky) interglacial period in the midst of an ice age.
    The average temperature of the global ocean is 4C which is rather chilly and to get that cold it seems reasonable to assume that is the average temperature of the ice age epic over the glacial and interglacial cycle – 100,000 years seems like enough time for deep water to take on the average surface temperature does it not?
    I can only conclude that anthropogenic CO2 is largely beneficial and, moreover, there isn’t enough fossil fuel available for anthropogenic emissions to ever make it a problem. There is a lot to be said for using fossil fuels more efficiently and even more to be said for finding an even more economical alternative.
    In the meantime energy consumption goes hand in hand with economic growth. Economic growth is needed to fund research, development, and production of new and improved technologies of all kinds. As far as I’m concerned the CAGW crowd wants, unwittingly or otherwise, to kill the goose that’s been laying the golden eggs.
    There is indeed a tipping point but the tipping point going from interglacial back to ice age conditions. I’m pretty sure we all agree that the cold side of ice age conditions would not be good for civilization and it would drastically reduce the productivity of the biosphere.
    There is no historical case for positive feedbacks.

  182. Dave Springer got it backwards: Big changes in the past climate can only be explained if positive feedbacks dominate (unless you invoke some magical extra forcing that magically played a similar role in all of the large climate shifts – not likely).

  183. Bart Verheggen [September 6, 2010 at 12:13 pm] says:
    Dave Springer got it backwards: Big changes in the past climate can only be explained if positive feedbacks dominate (unless you invoke some magical extra forcing that magically played a similar role in all of the large climate shifts – not likely).

    Has AGW dogma mutated so far that anything other than model input parameters is now considered magic?
    On one side of a room we have mathematical models attempting integrate countless variables representing the locally visible features of a dynamic and chaotic climate system. On the other side is an 800 pound gorilla comprised of all the long known large scale macro forces: the sun, its output and cycles, the earth’s tilt, orbital eccentricity, precession, perhaps the moon and yet unknown astronomical conditions. Yet this quote tells me to ignore the 800 pound gorilla: “Big changes in the past climate can only be explained if positive feedbacks dominate“. This quote also implies that an asteroid 65 MYA (a real climate changer!) should also be considered magic?
    I also fail to see what Dave Springer literally got backwards. I re-read his post (the one immediately before yours?) and IMHO it is 100% dead-on target. Even climate scientists have to admit we are in a brief interglacial and are very lucky to be alive now. I never thought I’d say this, but the ‘ice-age is coming‘ late-70’s pop-scientists are looking far more rational than the current PoliSci AGW climate cult.
    P.S. I too followed the epic VS thread. So I have to ask you Bart: Did you attempt to get a VS vs. Tamino only thread started? Someone came here (maybe you?) and said it was in the works. Did you ever ask Tamino and what did he say? Did he chicken out (ala James Cameron)? [snip] I would love to hear the truth of this from someone who actually knows, and that would be you.

  184. DaveF says:
    September 4, 2010 at 4:23 am (Edit)
    “Well, I’m not a scientist either but I have read several posts here and elsewhere that the effect of CO2 upon the atmosphere rises logarithmically and that we’re not too far from the point where more of it will cease to have much more effect. ”
    It is following a diminishing returns log curve that is consistent with a fixed rise in warming for each doubling, so a rise from 250ppm to 500ppm would cause the same amount of warming as a rise from 500 ppm to 1000 ppm. That it would take us a lot more work to get from 500 to 1000 ppm than from 250 to 500 is where the diminishing returns kicks in. We burned, some experts claim, half our oil reserves and about 10% of our coal reserves to achieve a mere 50% increase from 265ppm to 390 ppm in the last few centuries. This tells sane individuals that, following the power law, we’ll be able to extract another 30% of historically proven reserves. The last 20% will cost as much to extract as the first 80%, which will put a serious crimp on the utility of those reserves when a significant fraction of the energy we extract from the ground is consumed in delivering the rest of it to the consumer. So we won’t achieve a full doubling of CO2 merely on exhausting our oil. We can consume coal at the same rate we’ve consumed it over the same past century and still be within that doubling trajectory.
    Both of these projections are based on a rather baseless assumption that we will develop zero new energy sources over the coming century. Much like the Club of Rome’s absurd projections in the 70’s that even Ehrlich admitted were bunk, the IPCC fails to consider the impact of technological advancements, either in efficiency improvements in consumption, in distribution or utilization, or in terms of energy sources.
    While Joe Romm and his paymaster, George Soros, would like folks to believe that we in the skeptic camp are riding the Koch Industries gravy train (none of us have seen a dime from the Koch brothers, though frankly, when you get accused of sins such as these, you start to wonder, why not enjoy the benefits of the sins they claim you are already committing?), I think it’s been fully documented in Climategate that it is in fact folks like CRU that are in the pay of BP and Shell, sources of funding who are manipulating the climate change debate not in conflict with their own interests, but to enhance their own interests, by promoting the shuttering of coal based energy production in favor of their replacement with natural gas fired electric plants (in line with T Boone Pickens’ Plan, which I suggest you research if you haven’t already). That is the real political game being played in the AGW arena. Hansen calls coal trains “death trains” because he is in the pay of the natural gas money interests.
    Yet natural gas is also a fossil fuel that puts CO2 into the atmosphere, just less per BTU than coal does. This also explains why the AGW crowd tends to also continue to be anti-nuke, despite nuclear power being the real non-carbon energy source, and which produces significantly less toxic waste than solar power panel production does per watt-hour.
    Beyond ignoring nuclear power, the AGW crowd also fails to consider the maturation of fusion power in the coming few decades. While big government programs like ITER, NIF, etc continue to falter and fail to advance fusion toward net-power production, there are a number of more or less independent programs that are making far better progress on far smaller budgets. Both Focus Fusion and Polywell Fusion are making advancements. Polywell fusion, Dr. Robert Bussards project, is currently on its final stage of testing with its WB-8 fusion reactor (on an $8 million research contract with the Navy) and should be reporting some time this winter to the US Navy whether a 100 MW net power reactor will work (for about $200 million, far less than major government fusion programs have consumed). If the scaling math works out, then it will be possible to build 4 meter diameter polywell fusors into shuttered coal plants to produce 2 GW or thereabouts per fusor, at a price not much more than the $200 per fusor that the net power reactor is projected to cost.
    This is not pie in the sky technology, we will know within 6-8 months whether the US can go ahead with a program to convert a sizable portion of our grid to fusion power over a 5-10 year period. Fusion is no longer perpetually 30 years away.

  185. Fred H. Haynie says:

    This is where the unbiased use of statistical techiques is a valuable tool. Least squares curve fitting of accurate data is a good tool. The amount of data and it’s accuracy as well as the shape of the assumed curve affect the goodness of fit. In the case of fitting a segment of a 308 year cycle defined by three parameters versus an exponential curve defined by two pararameters to over 20,000 relatively accurate points of data, the cycle segment is a statistically better fit. Time will tell which is a better predictor. If the slope of the CO2-time curve does not continue to increase, the curve is not exponential.

    Time has already told…Your curve-fitting model fails completely when one looks back at data from ice cores. Heck…I bet it wouldn’t even do a good job with Beck’s alternative CO2 history (which most of us know to be garbage anyway). And, it is not surprising since fitting data to empirical models is generally inferior to actually studying the process to the degree that you have a real physical understanding of what is going on. So, even if I accept that your model does produce a better fit than an exponential model over the limited range of data that you used (and, I have my doubts about that…particularly once you account for the additional parameters in your model…but, hey, maybe it does), that doesn’t mean it has any predictive validity.
    Oh, and nobody says that CO2 will increase exactly exponentially…Emissions are increasing approximately exponentially but it is more of a rough empirical fact any deep physical law.

  186. Dave Springer says:

    The evidence accepted by IPCC is 97% natural CO2, 3% anthropogenic, and 1.5% actual annual rise.

    Not really. The 97% vs. 3% is apples-vs-oranges. It is mixing up fast exchanges (which go in both directions) of carbon between the subsystem consisting of the reservoirs of the atmosphere, biosphere, and ocean mixed layer with additions of carbon from outside of this subsystem. That is two quite different things.

    There is no historical case for positive feedbacks.

    Well, the scientists who actually study paleoclimate seem to feel otherwise: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/sci;306/5697/821

    There has never been a runaway greenhouse episode in earth’s history. The best evidence from the geologic column shows temperature maxes out about 6-8C warmer than today while CO2 has been at 10-15 times higher concentration. These periods lasted for millions of years without end and the earth was green from pole to pole.

    Even given your numbers (which I think might be low for the temperatures … and maybe okay as estimates for the CO2, but with large error bars), we’d get 1.5-2.4 C rise per CO2 doubling using the expected logarithmic dependence of CO2 levels on temp.

    In the meantime energy consumption goes hand in hand with economic growth. Economic growth is needed to fund research, development, and production of new and improved technologies of all kinds. As far as I’m concerned the CAGW crowd wants, unwittingly or otherwise, to kill the goose that’s been laying the golden eggs.

    Just because the two tend to grow together does not mean that economic growth has to make so intensive use of (certain types of) energy sources. The energy intensity per unit of GDP has actually been declining significantly in the U.S. (and presumably most Western countries).
    Surely, if it just happened that we had less fossil fuels than we do, you economic doomsayers would not be forecasting economic ruin because of such scarcity. You’d be talking about how wonderful human ingenuity and the market is at dealing with such things. What is being proposed is essentially to raise prices for carbon in a way that creates some artificial scarcity (except with even more flexibility, since sequestration is an option too). Why will human ingenuity and the market be crippled in the face of such action?

  187. Blade says:

    You give us literally a +/- of 250% in units of degrees, and then you take this and wrap undefined error bars around it: “Higher or lower values than this cannot be ruled out …”.
    You must have pressed the big red climate alarm button for some reason, and I want to know what it is. After spending millions of our dollars climate scientists must expect something to happen during the next doubling of CO2?

    First of all, you have misstated uncertainty. I gave you a range with a central value of 3.25 C per doubling, with +/- 1.25 C error bars. In my book, that translates to about 3.25 C +/-38%.
    Second of all, there is always uncertainty in science…and policy decisions are always made in the context of uncertainties. So are everyday life choices. In fact, in the case of things like fire insurance, people pay money for protection against quite unlikely events. And, everyday we make countless decisions in an uncertain world. This notion that one has to be certain before taking any action is just nonsense. One takes action based on the risks present both in the action and the inaction. In fact, it fascinates me that many of the same people (not sure if you were one) who think uncertainty should stop us from doing anything about climate change didn’t think that uncertainty should stop us from taking rather dramatic action about WMDs in Iraq; It makes me think that the argument is less about whether to act in the face of uncertainty than whether one puts greater faith in science or in political propaganda.

    On the other side is an 800 pound gorilla comprised of all the long known large scale macro forces: the sun, its output and cycles, the earth’s tilt, orbital eccentricity, precession, perhaps the moon and yet unknown astronomical conditions.

    Just saying these things exist is not the same as calculating the effects. Most scientists agree that the ice age – interglacial cycles are triggered by the cycles in the earth’s tilt, orbital eccentricity, and precession. However, these are things that can be calculated backwards with time with very good accuracy. What can also be calculated is the effect they have on insolation and the effect, while pretty dramatic on latitudinal and seasonal variations in insolation, is almost zilch on the global annually-averaged insolation. Hence, it is widely accepted that, while triggering these events, the variations do not contribute a very large direct forcing…What they do is cause the growth or decay of ice sheets (because of the more significant seasonal and latitudinal variations) and hence changes in albedo which, along with the changes in atmospheric greenhouse gases that occur, are responsible for most of the significant forcing.
    What is your opposing picture to this?

  188. Joel Shore
    September 7, 2010 at 2:51 pm
    How strong is your faith in the IPCC bible? I call you to prove that faith and pick a month in the future, using an exponential curve regressed on all the Mauna Loa monthly data and predict an expected mean value with confidence limits for the data points and confidence limits on the true mean. I will do the same using my curve fit model for your chosen month. Let’s see who comes closest. If you don’t feel qualified to do the math, see if you can get Tamino or some other CAGWr to accept the challange. I’ve been nice in hopes that you could learn something. Now put up or shut up.

  189. Joel Shore
    September 7, 2010 at 4:11 pm
    The phase changes of water is the 800 pounder that is controlling our weather and climate on any time scale, and it will continue to do it unphased by the flee, CO2. If you know enough classical thermo and quantum mechanics you can calculate their relative weights in energy exchange. Use the rigid rotator harmonic oscilator approximation to calculate the thermodynamic functions of atmospheric gases as a function of temperature and throw in the heats of vaporization/condensation and freezing with observed concentrations. This will give you an idea of direction processes will go and which constituents are doing the forcing. The rates for those processes depends on factors like convection, diffusion, and conductivity. I used a simpler approach by analyzing observed data. http://www.kidswincom.net/CO2OLR.pdf.

  190. Joel Shore [September 7, 2010 at 4:11 pm] says:
    First of all, you have misstated uncertainty. I gave you a range with a central value of 3.25 C per doubling, with +/- 1.25 C error bars. In my book, that translates to about 3.25 C +/-38%.

    Wrong. That is what you say now. What you actually said before was:

    … climate sensitivity to by 2 to 4.5 C. Higher or lower values than this cannot be ruled out …

    That would be 3.25 C +/- 1.25 C PLUS further undefined (possibly gigantic) error bars. Yeah I shouldn’t have said +/- 250%. But you give such a wide range in units of whole degrees (with error bars layed on top of that) which is hardly an answer, expecially considering the tendency of your AGW comrades to commonly use anomaly graphs purporting to be accurate to half degree C. The original question was this (do we have an answer yet?):
    If the CO2 concentration doubles from the current 390 ppm to 780 ppm, what will happen to the temperature?
    I am looking for a clear answer to this question. I would also like to know the timeframe. Is this too much to ask of the AGW science community? I helped pay for the computers and offices they use (and probably the jets, limos and junkets as well). Taxpayers like myself are running out of patience.

    So are everyday life choices. In fact, in the case of things like fire insurance, people pay money for protection against quite unlikely events.

    Oh puhlease! Pardon the pun but this really burns me up. Fire is quite probably the longest running and most dangerous hazard to civilization (and earlier). It has wiped out entire cities, taken away countless lives and destroyed vast accumulated knowledge. It is real and is here now. There is hardly a virgin firefighter anywhere. Your FAILED analogy wants us to purchase insurance against something that has never happened, and if the Thermostat Earth hypothesis is correct – can never happen.
    This analogy would make sense to me if it addressed asteroid insurance however, because this too has actually happened (with an actual climate change as well). Anyone who can see the surface of the moon (or who remembers Jupiter 1994) should realize we dwell in a cosmic shooting gallery (note, see Colombia today, somewhere else tomorrow). If it were up to me we would defund every political science especially all AGW related nonsense and pour that money into the highly underfunded sky mapping operations. Let them have your supercomputers too.
    Mitigating risks is none of your business anyway. The large majority of risks are self-mitigated by individuals at low cost. Chasing down that last few percent of risk (or worse, an imagined risk) is where it gets real expensive. A rough analogy is cleaning a room. Start with a broom, clean it well. Bring in hired help and sanitize it better. Contract some company to make it a class 100 clean room. Contract with IBM or Intel to get it to Class 10. Then spend a fortune to get Class 1 or better. Most people won’t go chasing those micron sized particles (analogy to small risk) because they are not insane. They will settle for clean enough.
    Besides, none of the AGW scenarios acknowleges the possible consequences of mitigating their imaginary risk, that would be promoting or accelerating global cooling and shortening or ending our nice cozy interglacial. If there were a possible tipping point to runaway warming, the inverse is worse, and real because it has already happened. I just want to hear somebody actually say what they clearly are alleging: Hey! This interglacial is too darn warm!

    … and hence changes in albedo which, along with the changes in atmospheric greenhouse gases that occur, are responsible for most of the significant forcing. … What is your opposing picture to this?

    That ties right into my second question which you ignored:
    During the last doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration from 195 ppm to 390 ppm (currently), what did happen to the temperature?

  191. Blade says:

    I am looking for a clear answer to this question. I would also like to know the timeframe. Is this too much to ask of the AGW science community? I helped pay for the computers and offices they use (and probably the jets, limos and junkets as well). Taxpayers like myself are running out of patience.

    Well, sorry that you are so impatient. I guess it is your lack of understanding of science (and how it can be used to inform policy) that is coming into play here. Science never deals in complete certainty. All estimates have error bars…and there is no guarantee that the answer lies within the error bars (e.g., for 1-sigma error bars, it will ~2/3 of the time, for 2-sigma, about 95% of the time). The earth’s climate system is complicated, making this a challenging scientific question. Someone like yourself who seems so strongly philosophically opposed to the sort of actions that most think need to be taken can…and likely will…always demand greater certainty. Whereas, more level-headed people will understand the need to make decisions in the face of uncertainty that always exists.

    Oh puhlease! Pardon the pun but this really burns me up. Fire is quite probably the longest running and most dangerous hazard to civilization (and earlier). It has wiped out entire cities, taken away countless lives and destroyed vast accumulated knowledge. It is real and is here now. There is hardly a virgin firefighter anywhere. Your FAILED analogy wants us to purchase insurance against something that has never happened, and if the Thermostat Earth hypothesis is correct – can never happen.

    First of all, by their very nature, analogies are just analogies. One can always play the game of nitpicking irrelevant differences. However, in this case, you fail because in fact climate change has also happened in the past…and there have been dramatic rises and falls in sea levels and dramatic extinctions as a result of such change. It is clear that the thermostat earth hypothesis is not in fact correct.

    This analogy would make sense to me if it addressed asteroid insurance however, because this too has actually happened (with an actual climate change as well). Anyone who can see the surface of the moon (or who remembers Jupiter 1994) should realize we dwell in a cosmic shooting gallery (note, see Colombia today, somewhere else tomorrow). If it were up to me we would defund every political science especially all AGW related nonsense and pour that money into the highly underfunded sky mapping operations. Let them have your supercomputers too.

    It is strange that you are advocating defunding science for something that most scientists say is a serious threat in the next century in favor of something that most scientists believe to actually be a fairly small threat over the time period of the next century. I guess that is what one gets if one bases one makes decisions on the bases of one’s ideology rather than science.

    During the last doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration from 195 ppm to 390 ppm (currently), what did happen to the temperature?

    The rise from ~180ppm to 280ppm was accompanied by a rise in global temperature of ~6 C, rises in sea level measured in tens of meters, and the melting of vast ice sheets. Of course, the CO2 rise was both an effect and a cause in this case…It is understood to have contributed about 1/3 of the forcing and thus ~1/3 of the temperature change (although it is also believed to have played a vital role in synchronizing the climate change in the two hemispheres).

  192. I now understand what everyone else has stated about Joel Shore. Obtuse and purposefully slippery just about covers it.

    …who seems so strongly philosophically opposed to the sort of actions that most think need to be taken can…and likely will

    Now who is in [self-snip D-word]!

    Your FAILED analogy wants us to purchase insurance against something that has never happened, and if the Thermostat Earth hypothesis is correct – can never happen.

    First of all, by their very nature, analogies are just analogies. One can always play the game of nitpicking irrelevant differences. However, in this case, you fail because in fact climate change has also happened in the past…and there have been dramatic rises and falls in sea levels and dramatic extinctions as a result of such change. It is clear that the thermostat earth hypothesis is not in fact correct.

    You know full well that when I said Your FAILED analogy wants us to purchase insurance against something that has never happened, that was not about Climate Change, it was about Catastrophic AGW / Global Warming / Tipping Point. Either you are tired or drinking or purposefully deceitful, but you are not getting away with comparing Fire Insurance with sacking the economy for trillions of dollars to mitigate a fantasy.
    Friendly tip: folks like you should be careful when slinging careless analogies, you just may come across someone who lost his house or even a family member to a blaze. You might even try it on a firefighter who steps into actual flames for a living. In a situation like this no amount of pontificating will spare you from a well-deserved lesson. That is just human to human friendly advice.
    O/T (please don’t snip!), I once had a guy in his 20’s working for me that learned everything he knew about Vietnam from Oliver Stone movies. He would refer to a Vietnamese co-worker as Viet-Cong in jest. I took him aside and explained to him that guy was like 12 years old when the NVA killed his father, and he later bought his way out and made his way here with his mother while dodging pirates on the high seas. It was friendly advice that mitigated the catastrophic beat-down he was headed for. Years later I saw him and he reminded me of that and thanked me. Thing is, I did it less for him (20’s spoiled brat) than the Vietnamese who already suffered enough crap for one life. The comparison to you Joel for example, is that someone who’s elderly mother perished in a blaze does not need to hear from you that they need to ante up more money as insurance to stave off your academic fantasies.
    Having said that, the less friendly side of me would encourage to disregard this friendly advice and continue making obviously deperate analogies. People are waking up, taxpayers are revolting, and your so-called consensus is crumbling. Whether this has penetrated your thought process is another question.

    It is strange that you are advocating defunding science for something that most scientists say is a serious threat in the next century in favor of something that most scientists believe to actually be a fairly small threat over the time period of the next century.

    Negative. I said defund the political sciences. Please don’t confuse yourself with science. And don’t hide behind the word: science. If you’re a scientist then so is Al Gore.
    The thing about impacts is that they are not on a schedule. From our frame of reference they are chaotic, perhaps they may be considered cyclic on geologic timeframes. But you already know this. The people that quantitize impacts into 1-in-xxxx centuries are the same type that enlist into the AGW cult. An impact can and has caused mass extinctions. No amount of warming ever will. Even if both poles melted and we had palm trees in Canada and Scotland we would thrive. Mile-high glaciers across NY and Iowa would be more painful. Come back to reality sir.

    The rise from ~180ppm to 280ppm …

    That was not the question. Nor did you give a timeframe. Next time answer both simple questions back to back.

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