"The main problem is that the earth is hot, flat and crowded"

That headline is a newspaper article quote from NASA JPL’s resident climatologist Bill Patzert.

However, given how badly writer “Beige Luciano-Adams” has botched the rest of the article Patzert is featured in, I suspect it is a misquote. Patzert can’t really be claiming the Earth is flat.

From San Gabriel Valley News, more channeling of Krugman’s nonsense:

Here’s the relevant quotes from Patzert:

“I’m a big global warming person, and I think climate change in the next century will be the largest determinant of human civilization,” he said.

“(But) this is not global warming, not yet. It definitely will be in the next century. The change in global temperatures has been about one degree over the last century,” he said, adding, “We’ve had some pretty extreme weather here, but not unprecedented droughts and floods.”

While Patzert acknowledges floods and fires in Australia, droughts in China and Russia’s droughts and heat wave precipitated the recent wheat crisis, he calls them “definitely extreme, but not record-breaking or unprecedented.”

“Krugman had some good points…The only thing I would say is it’s a preview of coming attractions not a first taste yet,” he said.

Patzert blames overpopulation and supply and demand in a flat economy for interfering with our capacity to cope with “not unprecedented” extreme weather. The main problem, he said, is that the earth is “hot, flat and crowded.”

h/t to WUWT reader and surfacestations volunteer Juan Slayton

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Davesix

He’s quoting Tom Friedman, of course.
Friedman is another clear thinker, an enthusiast for the Chinese command economy and the Chinese government’s flakey investments in “green” energy.
Many of the Chinese wind farms are not even connected to the grid, since they are too far removed geographically to make that economically feasible.

jeanparisot

How did we end up with Malthus polluting what should be a physics discussion ?

John F. Hultquist

. . . flat economy. . . ?

simonared

As we edge slowly but surely to Soylent Green Tuesdays!!

juanslayton

John Hultquist: …flat economy…?
I dunno, John. Speculation here (per Nancy) is that he actually said ‘finite.’ But the suggestion that JPL harbors a flat-earther is hard to resist. : > )

higley7

They should not blame food prices on global warming. Blame it on the idiots who think converting food into fuel is a good idea. Biofuels offer not net gain in anything except in wasting resources in terms of crops and cropland, decreasing milage, and destroying engines. Oh, and a few people make fortunes having been graced with huge funding to build biofuel factories and continuing subsidies to keep them afloat.
The 15% ethanol/gasoline was dictated to give those poor ethanol makers a boost in business, as those poor guys have suffered a decrease in demand with the recession. Heaven for bid that they should suffer like everybody else; the government is helping them out specifically over everybody else. How nice.
As the extreme environmentalists basically do not like people and also think that starvation and disease are acceptable means of decreasing population, they are fine with biofuels raising food prices.

HK

Flat in the Friedman “The World is Flat” sense, meaning a leveling playing field. To quote a book review from http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/bookshelf/the-world-is-flat:
“For Friedman, cheap, ubiquitous telecommunications have finally obliterated all impediments to international competition, and the dawning ‘flat world’ is a jungle pitting ‘lions’ and ‘gazelles,’ where ‘economic stability is not going to be a feature’ and ‘the weak will fall farther behind.’ Rugged, adaptable entrepreneurs, by contrast, will be empowered.”
And to quote from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_Is_Flat):
“…the title also alludes to the perceptual shift required for countries, companies and individuals to remain competitive in a global market where historical and geographical divisions are becoming increasingly irrelevant.”

HankHenry

“hot, flat, and crowded” is figurative. Flat is meant to refer to globalization.

John F. Hultquist

juanslayton says:
February 13, 2011 at 9:40 pm
John Hultquist: …flat economy…?
I dunno, John. Speculation here (per Nancy) . . .

Hi there J, Well my Nancy thinks – just kidding. But the following link says Bill Patzert has a degree in oceanography. Still, could be a flat-earther. Climate science spawns strange things. Cheers.
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hurricanes/bios/patzert_bio.html
He is a graduate of Purdue University and went on to earn a Ph.D. in oceanography at the University of Hawaii.

JJ

US corn reserves are at their lowest in 15 years, due to mandated conversion to ethanol for ‘biofuel’.
http://m.columbiatribune.com/news/2011/feb/09/us-corn-reserves-fall-to-15-year-low/

Graeme

The specific problem is that the price of food is rising.
Causes include the following, in no particular order.
[1] Actual shortages caused by loss of crops due to recent unfavourable weather.
[2] Actual shortages caused by diversion of food into fuel.
[3] Actual shortages caused by increased demand
[4] Price inflation due to massive creation of fiat currencies by central banks, of which the Federal Reserve and the Peoples Bank of China are primary contributors. Hot Money, especially $USD are flooding the futures markets and driving up prices of food and other commodities.
The impact of subsequent massive inflation, corporate margin loss and consequent economic/financial destruction will (on the bright side) most likely kill the whole AGW gravy train… along with (on the dark side) the productive economy.
I’m not suggesting catastrophy (i.e. a new darkage lasting centuries…) just a very nasty crisis (GFC Mk II) that could be short lived (approx <2 years) or longer if massively mishandled.

I dunno, I am from the Netherlands, one of the smallest countries in the world and we are still a net exporter of agricultural products, and on that market we are not even a small player.
And a few weeks ago the KNMI released a press statement that due to warming the growing season in Netherlands is now 4 weeks longer than 15 years ago.
But off course, its al global warming, and that is bad, it has nothing to do with corrupt regimes, corrupt heads of state, repression and so on. Hosni is just a victim of the global economy going through the roof, he can’t help it that a large part of the Egyptian population has to live of 2 dollars or less a day.
No honest, its all warming, global warming.

ferdberple

Over-population is the excuse the rich and powerful use for the failings of their own policies. They would have us believe that the worlds problems are caused by poor people and the way to solve the problems is to eliminate the poor. The stench of eugenics still runs strong in the USA.

Kath

I find it sad to see Westerners use their biases, like climate change, to try to explain from afar what is happening in the Middle East. All I have to say is this: Live in these countries, with the people, then you will begin to truly understand what drives them. Been there, done that.

Amino Acids in Meteorites

The earth is not flat. It is not crowded either.
New Delhi is crowded. Mexico City is Crowded. New York is crowded. Tokyo is really crowded. But the earth is not crowded. If you don’t think so take a drive through most of the world. Or look down from a plane window at night.
While I’m at it, how hot is the earth, really, at this time? It’s been hotter than now many times over the last 10,000 years. Hotter times are associated with adventure and prosperity.
I can forgive this fellow from NASA for not being as smart as a rocket scientist.

I heard he said, “the Earth was flat, hot, and created in 6 24 hour days…”

Mike McMillan

Patzert can’t really be claiming the Earth is flat.
Well, I dunno. The world seems pretty flat here in Houston.
Graeme at 10:03 pm has it right. The external forcings gumming up our economic model are all governmental in origin. Not even the CO2-induced 20+% increase in crop productivity can overcome the market distortions caused by uninformed bureaucrats and politicians.

UK Sceptic

Isn’t it about time NASA got itself some real scientists? The kind that can perform feats of joined up reasoning and old fashioned experimentation. The same kind that, when presented with a piece of string of unknown length, will actually take the time to meaure said string and record the findings without fudging the raw data.
How hard can that be?

Geoff Sherrington

For those who could use a summary of more objectionable sentences uttered by prominent figures, here is a collection from Viv Forbes.
http://www.geoffstuff.com/They%20said.doc
Viv asked me to broadcast the longer paper, about 2 MB of .pdf
Anthony, I hope you do not mind the cross posting.
http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/why-wind-wont-work.pdf

Mooloo

Why would anyone think the current trend of the world’s economy is to disadvantage the poor?
Half the US is going into headless chicken mode about China taking over! We have also seen the rise of Taiwan, South Korea etc from poor to rich in two generations. The obvious conclusion is that the current economic trends are particularly effective in reducing poverty.
What will reverse that trend is limiting the Third World’s access to cheap power.

Baa Humbug

Yes biofuels and extreme weather events contribute to food prices, but the single most important contributor to food prices is the fact that in the west, a farmer can’t fire up his tractor without filling out half a dozen forms in triplicate imposed by governments and beurocracies over-run by green zealots.
He can’t clear a corner of his property without an endless study to see if a particular worm will be disadvantaged.
Just ask the Thompson family of western Australia for but one recent example.
We used to value farmers. No farmers, no food, no life. Kids today think milk comes from a factory for crissake.

Brian H

Baa;
yeah, “reality disconnect” hardly begins to describe it.
The bureaucrats [note sp.] always take over (Pournelle’s Iron Law) and their goal is expansion and immortality of their personal paper empires. No outrage is too extreme to contemplate in that effort.

When they say that there is “overpopulation”, they are actually referring more to China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Philippines, etc. They hate to see more people from those countries “stealing jobs” in rich countries, or those countries with cities having more skyscrapers than cities in rich economies. “Endangered planet” is a convenient excuse to penalize and prohibit those countries from developing further through cheap energy sources and more economic growth.

Gordon

I agree with “overcrowded”; 6.9 Billion and counting.
They count very quietly these days just in case we start thinking.

Jimbo

Food shortages caused by global warming???? Me thinks food turned into biofuels.

Dan Lee

@Kath
“Live in these countries, with the people, then you will begin to truly understand what drives them.”
Amen, from a part-time resident of Colombia.
The warming of the past 30 years has been a boon to mankind, especially w/respect to food production. With the earth apparently cooling off now, growing seasons will begin to shrink and higher latitudes will become less crop-friendly, and the food crisis will worsen.
Artificially raising energy prices to make the world even cooler (by their logic) will multiply the misery for those parts of the world who already have to hoard pennies to buy next week’s cooking fuel or staple stocks like corn and rice.
And people in that state know exactly who to blame for it.

Rhys Jaggar

The first reason for food shortages is conversion of food fields into biofuels fields. Change that if necessary……
The second reason is a series of crop-unfriendly weather events. In Russia, Ukraine, Canada, Australia and probably other places too.
These are due to one season, not due to twenty years.
So they have nothing to do with global warming and everything to do with one year’s climate.
As always, people plug their mantras instead of looking at better inter-seasonal water management plans, better management of interseasonal surpluses to cover the inevitable poorer years and better attention to human population growth, which no-one, but no-one can claim has occurred due to global warming (unless female fertility is affected by a 1 degree rise in temperature, which I guarantee will be shown not to be the case).

DEEBEE

This guy is wrong on all three counts. Earth is not hot, not flat and not crowded.

Brian H

Gordon;
overbogosity, not overpopulation.
http://overpopulationisamyth.com/overpopulation-the-making-of-a-myth#FAQ1
The UN’s own population projections have a good track record: the bottom of the lowest band is always right. That sez: <8bn by 2030, then slow decline.
BTW, the entire population of the planet could be housed in Texas in 4-person bungalows on ~4300 sq' lots.

R. de Haan

Geoff Sherrington says:
February 14, 2011 at 12:32 am
“For those who could use a summary of more objectionable sentences uttered by prominent figures, here is a collection from Viv Forbes.
http://www.geoffstuff.com/They%20said.doc
Viv asked me to broadcast the longer paper, about 2 MB of .pdf
Anthony, I hope you do not mind the cross posting.
http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/why-wind-wont-work.pdf
Thanks for the links Geoff.
Eye balling the mandated green policies and the current developments in the world
I say we’re heading for another chapter in our history where genocide is written with a capital G.
This time the perpetrators hide behind economic schemes, mass propaganda and the legal shield of total immunity which is granted to all officials working for the UN and the EU.
That doesn’t mean they can’t be shot.

David

We are having no increase in extreme weather events. Cold is worse then hot for crops. A 300 ppm increase in ambient CO2 provides the following real world results for wheat…
Triticum aestivum L. [Common Wheat]
300 ppm Increase from ambient
Number of Results 235
Arithmetic Mean 32.1% Increase in bio-mass
Standard Error 1.8%
Corn, soy and rice all have similar results in hundreds of studies.

rbateman

“definitely extreme, but not record-breaking or unprecedented.”
No evidence yet of global warming. Just an inexhaustable supply of bureaucratic-driven nightmares and globalized gambling masquerading as trade exerting unbearable pressure on currencies and supplies. I predict a food fight.

Alex the skeptic

R. de Haan says:
February 14, 2011 at 4:30 am
Eye balling the mandated green policies and the current developments in the world
I say we’re heading for another chapter in our history where genocide is written with a capital G.
This time the perpetrators hide behind economic schemes, mass propaganda and the legal shield of total immunity which is granted to all officials working for the UN and the EU.
That doesn’t mean they can’t be shot.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Great observation. My opinion too. The UN et al orgs, who supposedly have the responsibility of eliminating poverty from the face of the earth, are actually doing it in a more ‘practical’ sort of way; instead of giving a fishing rod to the poor, or at least providing them with a fish to ease their hunger, they are making sure, by increasing the price of energy through carbon taxes and other tactics, that food prices go through the roof, thus making the very poor die of hunger, thus reducing the global population by so much. Then, the next train to the new Auschwitz will be loaded with the previously-less poor who have become very poor and so on and so forth…..
Thus, their aim of reducing the planet’s human population will be achieved by Machiavellian/PolPotic means.
But there is another way to reduce the global human population and that is by providing cheap energy, thus making the poor countries rich. Birth rates in rich countries have always crashed, so much so that birth rates are now critically and dangerously too low for our countries’ future.
So we have two choices, either reduce the planet’s population by letting the poor die of hunger, or making them rich and ‘forcing’ their birth rate to crash.

BE

I’ve been an indirect recipient of the politically motivated email rants Patzert periodically passes around to his collegues for a few years now. There no doubt in my mind that he was using flat in the same sense as Tom Friedman. Patzert is not an idiot. Quite the opposite. But politics are very much at the forefront of his mind and his science does seem to follow his politics rather than the other way around.

Pull My Finger

I love “intellectuals” like Frieman, they assume their utopian, oligarch governments will be run by the Intelligensia like himself (Hansen, Gore, Krugman, whoever) when in reality the Intellectuals are usually the first to meet blade, bullet or dungeon whenever autocracy is established.

Davesix says:
February 13, 2011 at 9:07 pm
He’s quoting Tom Friedman, of course.
Friedman is another clear thinker, an enthusiast for the Chinese command economy and the Chinese government’s flakey investments in “green” energy.

Amino Acids in Meteorites

Gordon says:
February 14, 2011 at 2:34 am
I agree with “overcrowded
………………………………………………………………………………………………………
You haven’t been to Nebraska.

Jeff

The author looks at rising prices and blames supply and demand, but then complains that this is a market “failure.” Wrong. Rising prices simply reflect a change in the balance between supply and demand, or in the value of currency. Rising prices also occur in growing economies, so the “flat economy” comment is irrelevant. Even if one accepts the proposition about over-population, one must look further into problems on the supply-side. Countries like Zimbabwe and Venezuela encourage squatters to take over productive farmland, taking them out of the food-chain. Industrialized countries increasingly devote crop and water resources to the production of ethanol. Subsidies interfere with true market reactions to demand. These must be taken into account before AGW claims should even be considered.

dp

Based on all this global response to global warming I guess it is a fiction then the story that most of the warming is in the polar regions and after the sun goes down.

George

I sure he meant flat economy but what I find telling is the headline “Food shortages caused by global warming may be cause of world-wide unrest”. Seeing that shortages are, more often than not, a product of price than scarcity is Beige trying to tell us that the policies of governments based on their belief in global warming are causing food shortages? 😉

Ryan

Britain is one of the most overpopulated countries in the planet. Still produces 60% of its own food. Also has plenty of natural life with some very large natural parks.

Ulric Lyons

“the price of oil drives the movement of the index funds and pushes up the prices of agricultural commodities, no matter what is happening to the fundamentals of supply and demand for soybeans or corn.”
http://triplecrisis.com/food-price-volatility/
http://www.wdm.org.uk/food-speculation

Tim Clark

Ulric Lyons says:
February 14, 2011 at 8:49 am
“the price of oil drives the movement of the index funds and pushes up the prices of agricultural commodities, no matter what is happening to the fundamentals of supply and demand for soybeans or corn.”

Couldn’t agree more, Ulric.
People go out and buy a $20,000 car that cost $5,000 in 1974 and don’t bitch a bit. I bought a brand new Ford Courier in 1976 that cost $4,000.00. I just bought a used 1997 Mazda B2300 (same truck) with 125k for $ 3750.00 and thought it was a steal. Well, corn was $2.50/bu in 197o when fuel was $0.25, so anything less than $10 is cheap. It’s called inflation. Get familiar with the concept because you’re about to see the hyper, supersized version.

MattN

Here’s the global trend on cereal grain production: http://www.pnas.org/content/96/11/5929/F3.large.jpg
I fail to see any indication global warming is having a negative effoct on food production…

M White

Written in 1974
http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/1974-global-cooling-causes-food-shortages/
“The devastating food shortage that has millions of the worlds poor is directly related to what climatologists increasingly suspect is a gradual cooling process that is causing erratic weather changes from one year to the next.”

DirkH

FAO food prize index:
http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/FoodPricesIndex/en/
One should note that the index is not adjusted for inflation, as it is used as one indicator for inflation, as far as i understand (this doesn’t mean that the FPI is proportional to inflation or something like that, as food is only one component). So when running it through the GDP deflator we are nowhere near an all time high, that being said, we do have a spike similar to 2008.

DirkH

Tim Clark says:
February 14, 2011 at 9:24 am
“Couldn’t agree more, Ulric.
People go out and buy a $20,000 car that cost $5,000 in 1974 and don’t bitch a bit.”
The GDP of the USA and Germany are about 20 times higher now than in 1970 (not adjusted for inflation); so the 20000$ car now is a fantastic deal compared to the 5000$ deal in 1974 – and that is to be expected; as more automation drives the man-hours down needed to build a car.

Richard

Of course the Earth is Flat. If you can believe in the AGW scam then the Earth being flat is tame by comparison.
And sure there will be world-wide food shortages due to Global Warming. All our resources will be going into fixing this mythical problem and we wont have any money left over to grow food.

Richard

Where did my post go?

DirkH

DirkH says:
February 14, 2011 at 12:28 pm
“FAO food prize index:
http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/FoodPricesIndex/en/
One should note that the index is not adjusted for inflation, ”
Correction – they do show it in nominal values (not adjusted), and adjusted using the World Bank MUV. I didn’t know the MUV before; it’s a price index for manufactures only. Here is a paper that contains a table relating the MUV to several GDP deflators. They’re not that different.
http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/18778/1/dp980002.pdf
So even the MUV-adjusted FAO food price index shows a 20 year high. Sorry for any confusion caused (the all time high should be in the 70ies during the oil price shocks, though).