# Lord Stern’s Mathematical Malapropisms

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I see the good Lord Stern is back in the news. Lord Stern famously produced an eponymous report a few years ago about how much it would cost to cut down carbon dioxide to try to cool down the planetary temperature. He said it would be dirt cheap, a percent or two of GDP would do it quite nicely … riiiight …

The amazing part of the Stern Report was his choice for the future value of money. Here’s the deal with the future value of money, which you already know, perhaps even without knowing you know it. If I said to you, “Which would you prefer, a thousand dollars now, or a thousand dollars next year”, I doubt you’d have much trouble noticing that money next year is not worth the same as money today. How about a thousand dollars either next year or in ten years? You’d greatly prefer next year. That is the future value of money. It is always worth less than money today. It gets discounted a bit, a few percent, for each year into the future. An iron-clad guarantee of a thousand dollars in a hundred years is worth almost nothing today.

Lord Stern’s brilliant contribution to the rapidly emerging field of Paleocarbophobic Economics was to do his entire study of CO2 reduction as if the presumed benefits of reduced temperatures in fifty years have the same value as if we got the putative future benefits today. His discount rate for the future monies was zero, which is the same as saying that future money paid to you fifty years from now is worth exactly the same as money paid to you today … you don’t have to be an accountant to know that’s bogus, you know a thousand bucks in fifty years is worth a whole lot less than a thousand bucks today, but that was Stern’s claim. Mindboggling.

Figure 1. Total cumulative carbon emissions (blue), cumulative carbon sequestered (absorbed) by the planet (green), and cumulative carbon remaining in the atmosphere (red). The purple line shows the “airborne fraction”, which is the amount of carbon remaining in the atmosphere as a percentage of the amount emitted. Note the underlying relationship, that the total emitted is the sum of the amount sequestered plus the amount remaining in the atmosphere, or Emitted = Airborne + Sequestered. Data Sources: Fossil fuel CO2 emissions – Land use CO2 emissions –  Airborne CO2 levels The conversion factor of 2.13 gigatonnes of carbon equal 1 ppmv of atmospheric CO2 was used to convert between units.

Of course, Lord Stern had to make the ridiculous claim that the future benefits had huge value today in order to make the CO2 reduction scam appear to make any economic sense. As an accountant, I would have recommended un-Lording his noble keister for that particularly egregious economics transgression, but unfortunately the Queen of England doesn’t pay much attention to me. I know because I wrote to her Majesty once. Her private secretary replied.

He sent a lovely letter on a piece of paper that was so thick it looked like it would crack if it were folded, a gorgeous cream-colored slab of royal stationery, posted to me in an envelope the size of a small valise … unfortunately, if her Majesty’s secretary’s answer were translated into the dialect of the native tribes of the island of New Amsterdam, it could be best rendered as “Her Majesty has ordered me to tell you to fuggeddaboutit” … but I digress.

So what is Lord Stern’s latest claim? I’m sure you will be shocked and surprised to find out that he now says It’s Worse Than We Thought!™

The UK’s Guardian newspaper, that most British bastion of blatant bloviation, has the story here. I was most interested in the reasons why Lord Stern thinks that It’s Worse Than We Thought!™ This turns out to be the following, in Lord Stern’s own words:

“Looking back, I underestimated the risks. The planet and the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected, and emissions are rising pretty strongly. Some of the effects are coming through more quickly than we thought then.”

You can tell he’s a pro because of the number of errors he has managed to shoehorn into three short sentences. It takes true nobility to do that, a common man like myself couldn’t stand the pressure. Let me start with his most ridiculous statement, that “the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected”. Really? How much CO2 were we expecting the atmosphere to “absorb”? And what does it mean for the atmosphere to “absorb” CO2? There’s no meaning in that statement.

But let’s assume that “the atmosphere absorbs” means the atmosphere has taken up less carbon than we expected. I’m not sure how much he expected it to take up, so there’s no way to judge that … but it doesn’t matter because there’s another, larger problem. Since Emitted = Airborne + Sequestered, the only way for the airborne amount to be less than expected (as he claims) is for the sequestered amount to be greater than expected. The problem with that is that he has said that the planet is sequestering less CO2, not more.

But those are just the inherent internal contradictions in Lord Stern’s strange statement. More important are the actual mis-statements of fact. He claims that a reason that he underestimated the risks is that “emissions are rising pretty strongly”. But in fact there is little change from the emissions trend in 2006 when he wrote his infamous report.

And his claim that less and less is being sequestered by the planet? Absolute fantasy. The airborne fraction is the amount of CO2 remaining in the atmosphere.  As shown by Figure 1, it has not changed significantly in the last fifty years, nor has the sequestration rate. What is he imagining is new since 2006? Lest you think I am making up my claim about the carbon sinks not changing, here’s a report of NOAA’s take on the question:

Natural sinks still sopping up carbon
Ecosystems haven’t maxed out ability to absorb fossil fuel emissions
May 15, 2012

BOULDER, Colo. — Earth’s ecosystems keep soaking up more carbon as greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere, new measurements find.

The research contradicts several recent studies suggesting that “carbon sinks” have reached or passed their capacity. By looking at global measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the new work calculates instead that total sinks have increased roughly in line with rising emissions.

“The sinks have been more than able to keep up with emissions,” said Pieter Tans, an atmospheric scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. Tans presented the findings May 15 at an annual conference on global monitoring hosted by the lab.

(In passing, I just noticed that NOAA appears to have used the same method I used to determine the airborne fraction, by looking at global measurements of atmospheric CO2. Curious if true, but again I digress. Onwards to the finale …)

SUMMARY OF STERN’S STATEMENTS:

Every single claim that Lord Stern made about how things are getting worse is untrue.

•  There have been no surprises on the emissions front. The average annual increases in the CO2 emissions are basically unchanged since he wrote his report in 2006. In fact, despite his claim of rising emissions, the increases are somewhat smaller than expected in 2006, due to the drop in emissions from the global financial crisis.

• The amount of CO2 sequestered by the planet has stayed quite constant at about 55% of the total emissions. There has been no decrease in sequestration as he claims, and there is no evidence that the carbon sinks are losing their ability to sequester CO2.

• Finally, although he says “the effects are coming through more quickly than we thought”, the earth placidly continues along with no statistically significant warming or cooling over the last 15 years, and there is no sign of any increase in extreme events … so exactly which effects of CO2 are “coming through”, quickly or not?

Not one true statement in the bunch … oh, my good Lord!

Three seventeen am, I guess that’s bedtime for me. Starlight and high night cirrus to y’all, with the full moon steaming majestically through the clouds in the middle of a ring of light, remember that the loup garou needs your prayers, I’m off to sleep …

w.

## 95 thoughts on “Lord Stern’s Mathematical Malapropisms”

1. The warmists continue to make it up as they go along!
The atmosphere absorb CO2! My mind is boggling at the concept, presumably it would disappear by some sort of quantum jump.
Alice in Wonderland concepts for Alice in Wonderland “science”

2. Most of the global warming is in the higher latitudes of the N. Hemisphere, the Arctic ice reduction is hailed as a primary example. Comparing the CO2 emissions and the Arctic temperature since 1800 to the present time tells different story to the one told by lord Stern :
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CO2-Arc.htm

3. Richard M says:

Lord Stern is just another high priest preaching to the flock. He will never debate his claims with anyone. I suspect he is doing what Obama just did … trying to keep the flock in line while the scammers cash out. They will then claim it is all the fault of the scientists (with a few of those scientists getting canned) and then move on to the next scam.

4. Bill H says:

ITS WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT……

LOL…

But the admission that airborne CO2 change being insignificant is great…

5. Gail Combs says:

Starlight and high night cirrus to y’all, with the full moon steaming majestically through the clouds in the middle of a ring of light, remember that the loup garou needs your prayers…
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Just as long as it is not my blood… Or were you talking about Stern and his buddies? They are definitely interested in bleeding us dry.

6. The mass balance approach upon which Figure 1 is based; is based on some bad assumptions like natural emission and sink rates have remained constant.

7. I used a different approach to mass balance that indicates the natural change rates are more significant. Click on my name.

8. john robertson says:

Lord Iraq Oil to cash in pocket, sorry Stern is an old time Canadian liberal, whatever lies are necessary to further the party line, while profiting from the taxpayers trust.
Notice his new home, same as his old master’s.
This guy and Soros, we need a new punishment for people who desire to destroy civilization while making a profit from the misery of others.
Madoff is a patriot in comparison.
Air dropped into remote uninhabited arctic islands, works for me.
There are far too many hungry bears and wolves in the arctic, let us make PETA proud.

9. When I pointed out to Sir Nick (as he was then) that the “optimum” in the Stern Review violated its first-order conditions, he replied that Leibnitz was overrated.

10. Not addressed by Lore Stern was the “What can we do about it?” question.

DOE and IPCC agree that the human contribution to CO2 is 2.9% of the total, with oceanic outgassing (as the oceans slowly warm) being the major contributor. Repeat: 2.9% of the total!!!

The most ambitious sequestration project was the extraction of CO2 from the air and sequestration “under ground” somewhere, at a cost of 3 Billion dollars – funding going to the University of Chicago for this project. Thats \$10.00 from every American (yes, kids too)!

Impact? 0.000001% CO2 reduction of the 2.9% that is traceable to humankind.

Good grief!!!

11. jorgekafkazar says:

Lord Stern and his ilk obviously dance to the beat of a different kazoo player.

12. Very well put. Thanks, Willis, that was an enjoyable read.

13. William H says:

Stern’s “true nobility”? Nope. He was knighted in 2004, and received a life peerage in 2007. No true blue-blood there. Unlike Chris Monckton.

Nick Stern does have some highly-placed family members, though. Perhaps that is the answer to **how do I get them to listen to me, and pay me vast amounts of cash?**

14. jorgekafkazar says:

vukcevic says: “…Comparing the CO2 emissions and the Arctic temperature since 1800 to the present time tells different story to the one told by lord Stern :
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CO2-Arc.htm

True, Vuk, the T vs CO2 curve falsifies Stern’s position, though there are wind and current and other influences on ice melt, The magnetic part is wiggle matching, Still, it’s fun to consider, like most of your comments. Keep ’em coming. They drive Leif nuts.

15. Great as always Willis!! I remember years ago if I bought an item
that cost 50 cents,I would pay with a piece of paper. But in return I got
Plata [;{)
Alfred

16. His discount rate for the future monies was zero, which is the same as saying that future money paid to you fifty years from now is worth exactly the same as money paid to you today … you don’t have to be an accountant to know that’s bogus

This is a bit confusing. It suggests that you are talking about inflation. And then if we presume ‘discounting’ with the broadest meaning, my understanding is that Stern’s overall discount rate was low but not zero (1.4%). I presume you are meaning that his pure rate of time-preference discounting is negligible. And, indeed, that is…bizarre.

The reason money now is worth more than (the promise) of money later, especially much much later, involves many things, but overwhelming are the uncertainties. Uncertainties about the benefits to future generations of us attempting now to avert their climate damage include uncertainty about the monetary value of these damages, but also about whether they will happen, uncertainties about whether they will get the benefit (uncertainties about knowledge) and whether they will want it (as we decline into an ice age) and more…

The hubris of inter-generational discounting is that we know the far distant future and that we have the power to influence it. What is particularly distasteful for critics of this fantastic accounting is the way supporters of low discounting take the high moral ground. Cline and Stern are in a loop with Hansen etc. in saying that it is all about them (and not us greedy short term thinkers) caring for our (great, great, great) grand children.

17. cui bono says:

To be ennobled in Medieval times, you had to be a liar and a rogue, but useful to the Monarch.

Nowadays it’s completely different. Oh wait….

18. Oscar Bajner says:

Li’l Lord Nicci is a joy, the root of my skepticism of “anthropogenic global warming”.
Li’l Nik, you adorable likkle GOSPLANNER you, you’re so cute you even believe
central planning can be done optimally (location, location, location).

Finally reaching his ultimate level of incompetence, El Prezidente del British Academy.

Sweet irony, Li’l apparatch Nik sez, Climate change is the greatest market failure evah, and
he may just be right, the market failed to notice a problem with the climate, until it was told.

19. John says:

I concur with another commenter. I love the way you un shuffle then reshuffle the deck to expose their obfuscation. It always seems they really have said nothing. Sarc/on

Do they get paid for quantity rather than quality? Sarc/off

20. Mike McMillan says:

If the atmosphere and the planet are absorbing less CO2 than we thought, that means CO2 pressure is building up. Indeed, that pressure might be what’s been holding down the temperature.for a decade and a half.

We must invoke the precautionary principle.

21. The atmosphere has to absorb CO2 in order to form the blanket which insulates the planet, allowing it to warm. At least that’s what it sounds like. (synical view)

22. Snotrocket says:

Oh…so good to have you back Willis! Such a a joy to read – and “Paleocarbophobic”: Inspired!!! Loved it.
Stern is a gold-digger, in it for his own benefit.

23. Gunga Din says:

Two thoughts.
The cost of reducing CO2 is measured in more than dollars and cents. (Or whatever currency your nation uses.)
Why bother reducing CO2 at all? What harm has it been proven to cause? (A computer model is not proof.)

24. Bob Scott says:

Why is it that everyone (in the warmist camp) will hang upon every word that his lordship comes out with, despite the fact that he’s not a “real scientist”, yet debunk every contribution made by a sceptic because he or she isn’t, guess what, a “real scientist”?

25. Stephen Richards says:

the loup garou. Is this the french canadian singer. My wife adores him.

26. Figure 1 shows the cumulative Airborne Fraction, rather than the annual or running average airborne fraction, so it is difficult to see how this is changing with time. The link to “Land use CO2 emissions” doesn’t work, so I don’t know how significant that is.

Using the global emission of fossil fuels and cement for total global emissions, I graphed the 5-year running average CO2 Sink Efficiency, defined as the fraction of emissions that are sequestered.

The graph below shows that the fraction of emissions that is sequestered in sinks has increased at 0.94%/decade.

Most of the climate models forecast the sink efficiency will decline so that the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere will rise by an additional 50 to 100 ppm by 2100 compared to a constant sink efficiency. But the actual sink efficiency change is in the opposite direction of the climate models so it is likely the CO2 content will rise slower that climate model predictions.

See http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/Climate_Change_Science.html#Models_fail
(bottom of essay section) for further info.

27. Austin says:

I seem to remember another Lord, Lord Cardigan, who also epitomized the arrogant, incompentent English Aristocracy, who led his men into death and ruin. I think we should dub Lord Stern, First Lord Paleocarbophobic, the Cardigan of our Age.

28. Chris says:

Someone should comment on the catastrophic man-made global warming hit piece in the SF Chronicle by Carolyn Lochhead. Oh my, it’s as if the non-warming of the past 16 years didn’t exist. Filled with artic and methane tipping points, etc. Lots of other alarmism as well. Seems like a recycled article from 10 years ago that was dusted off with the hot 2012 year thrown in (US only even though it is less than 2% of the globe). Best part was the contention that the Vikings wouldn’t recognize Greenland in 100 years, which in fact, would look look pretty familiar to the early Viking settlers if CAGW was true (hence, the name Greenland and the farming settlements there of the Viking days). She is now worse than the worst (Seth Borenstein). Seth, you better watch your back, someone is coming after you for the title as the worst offender of climate truth.

29. Simon says:

The statement “The sinks have been more than able to keep up with emissions,” suggests that a principal sink, vegetation, has significantly more potential that we give it credit for, which is not surprising as CO2 is plant food. Give it more, and it’ll grow more. It even suggests that CO2 levels are too LOW for healthy vegetation, so as scary as it might be to the alarmist bunch, burning more fuels to emit more CO2 is the KINDEST and MOST BENEFICIAL thing we can do for the planet. Just don’t tell Bill McKibben though, he’ll have a fit :)

30. john robertson says:

@Austin, I can’t see any light coming from the catastrophist, so comparing them to the brigade isn’t fair.
Cardigan was a patriot and genius in comparison.

31. Jimbo says:

Nicholas Stern: ‘I got it wrong on climate change – it’s far, far worse’

Author of 2006 review speaks out on danger to economies as planet absorbs less carbon and is ‘on track’ for 4C rise
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jan/27/nicholas-stern-climate-change-davos/print

Mmmmmmm! How can it be “far, far worse” when we have had a temperature standstill of 16 years? Sometimes I just wonder whether he hasn’t put heavy investments in carbon schemes and is very worried. Just like the parts of BBC Pension scheme.

BBC News – Climate model forecast is revised
The UK Met Office has revised one of its forecasts for how much the world may warm in the next few years.

It says the average temperature is likely to be 0.43 C above the long-term average by 2017, as opposed to an earlier forecast suggesting a difference of 0.54C.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20947224

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/14/the-real-ipcc-ar5-draft-bombshell-plus-a-poll/

32. wsbriggs says:

OMG, I’m being forced to nit-pick.

Willis you stated in your summary, “In fact, despite his claim of rising emissions, the increases are somewhat smaller than expected in 2006, due to the drop in emissions from the global financial crisis.”

I believe you should have written, “due to the drop in CO2 emissions which resulted from the global financial crisis and it’s resulting production curtailment.”

I believe there was a drop in CO2, however I’m not sure there was a drop in emissions, there was certainly a run on underwear in better mens clothing stores in London, New York, and Washington D.C.

33. In the old days Lord Stern may have ended in the tower. First duty of any Englishman is to be of a beneficial service to his country, not to its determent.
For 350 years the average Central England summer temperatures were showing no increase whatsoever oscillating between 14 and 16.5 degrees C, with a zero trend.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MidSummer-MidWinter.htm
Why would he want to make the English farmers suffer even more then they already do?
During the same 350 year period the winters have warmed up by a meagre 1 degree C. It is beyond me why he would suggest that colder winters would bring any advantage to the country.

34. Steve Oregon says:

If Stern, et al, were to be more transparent wouldn’t they be saying,
“It’s Worse Than We Had Hoped”
Or
“We Hope It’s Worse Than We Claim”

I’m still stuck on what all these bureaucrat and academia clowns mean by “preparing” for the coming changes they imagine are inevitable.
All they seem to offer is their perpetual call for endless and broadening planning to prepare. Not actually doing anything to truly prepare. .

So they’ll watch the coast line, measure the snow packs, imagine scenarios, provide reactions, rinse and repeat while insisting more stuff must be done to avert disaster.

The big problem is nothing they provide can ever be used to apply to anything happening because whatever is happening is occurring too slow to either recognize it or treat it.

So what use are all the brochures, papers, plans and advise they produce? When and how does all that stuff become something usable like a “tool” or instructions for something?
Never IMO.

35. DirkH says:

Scute says:
January 27, 2013 at 12:12 pm
“Stern was relying on the counterveiling effect of future growth productivity and technical innovation. Whether this growth would outstrip inflation is open to debate but that is what he was banking on. ”

You mean because it would be far easier and cheaper (measured in a non inflating base like Gold; or “in real terms”(which is, well, undefined, as the CPI has been meddled with, and has therefore no meaning anymore)) to do something in the future than now he decided that we need to do something now?

At least that’s how I understand growth of productivity…

36. Robin Guenier says:

I see that Stern is reported as saying that “some countries, including China, had now started to grasp the seriousness of the risks” of a four or five degree temperature rise as a result of “carbon” emissions. I wonder if that’s the same China as the one that’s expected to add another 700 million tons to its demand for coal over the next four years – adding the equivalent of 160 new coal-fired power plants to the 620 it operates now:

37. Ian W says:

Richard M says:
January 27, 2013 at 10:01 am

Lord Stern is just another high priest preaching to the flock. He will never debate his claims with anyone. I suspect he is doing what Obama just did … trying to keep the flock in line while the scammers cash out. They will then claim it is all the fault of the scientists (with a few of those scientists getting canned) and then move on to the next scam.

If only they were ‘cashing out’. The second wave is now starting where the various UN treaties and mandates and regulations on industry are coming into force. AGW was just a suitable pretext for what is now happening. FOIA throwing grit in the gears with the climategate emails may be the only thing that has saved the world from some kind of hegemony as countries started backing out as the science was shown to be not-valid and apparently fraudulent. But the scam is not over – even if Al Gore appears to be cashing out.

38. Bart says:

fhhaynie says:
January 27, 2013 at 10:16 am

“I used a different approach to mass balance that indicates the natural change rates are more significant.”

This is correct. It is readily apparent that temperature is the overriding driver in CO2 concentration. The rate of change of CO2 has leveled off at precisely the time temperatures have done so. This is a smoking gun.

Amazing that so many people ignore it. It must be akin to all the time wasted while experimenters came to grips with the fact that Millikan’s value for the charge of an electron was wrong.

39. John Hewitt says:

Berniel is right, the discount rate assumed by Stern [and presumably his team] was according to one economist 1.4%. Lawson is his book “An Appeal to Reason” says that in the whole 692 page report there is no clear statement about what discount rate was used. He thinks it may have been 2.1% for the first hundred years. [I cannot claim to have read the whole Stern report myself]

Whatever the real figure is, it’s much too low – Lawson says that during his time at the UK Treasury the minimum figure used was 6%. My own experience in industry was that 10% was the standard used.

The difference is huge. After 10 years the 2% gives 82% value and the 10% gives 38%. If you were to invest in a project with some risk but projected even annual cash returns what sounds more plausible 10 years on 82% of todays value or 38%? Not too difficult is it?

As Lawson says no economist would support a rate as low as 2% for any evaluation. But Stern needed to, because otherwise he got the “wrong” answer and the discount rate was chosen to provide the “right” answer.

40. MattS says:

“You can tell he’s a pro because of the number of errors he has managed to shoehorn into three short sentences. ”

He’s a rank amateur. The average US politician can manage as many errors in a single sentence.

41. james griffin says:

It’s quite simple really Stern old chap….when your mates at the IPCC gave you the alarmist report they had made a glaring error.
You were told that the relationship between CO2 and it’s ability to create heat was linear…in other words if you double the CO2 you get double the heat. Unfortunately this was not correct….scientists’ from the real world have now kindly informed us that the relationship is in fact LOGARITHMIC…Which means as you stack it up CO2 produces heat in diminishing amounts.
And I am reliably informed that we have had 75% of all the heat we will ever get from Carbon Dioxide and a doubling will only yield around 1C…a further doubling will create even less.
So now that I have cleared up what must be a huge embarrassment to you please arranage to pay back the climate taxes taken from us due to this administrative error.
You will also be pleased to know that satellite photos show the planet is greening up but you will need to mow your lawn more often.

42. MinB says:

NOAA: ” The research contradicts several recent studies suggesting that “carbon sinks” have reached or passed their capacity.”

How does a carbon sink “pass” its capacity? To reach or be at capacity, yes. To underestimate capacity, yes. But pass?

43. DirkH says:
January 27, 2013 at 10:32 am
Roger Pielke:
The online edition of the Stern report was a little error corrected (fixing a factor of 10 error – but not the follow up computations…)
http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/01/what-tangled-web-we-weave.html
=====
the above post by Roger Pielke is well worth a read: quote:

The issue is much deeper than a typo — you can seen in my excerpt from my paper above that I had already assumed that it was a typo. The problem is that once the typo is corrected it then reveals that the numbers presented by Stern just do not add up.

Posted by Roger Pielke, Jr. at 1/24/2010 11:28:00 AM

44. David Jones says:

William H says:
January 27, 2013 at 10:36 am
Stern’s “true nobility”? Nope. He was knighted in 2004, and received a life peerage in 2007. No true blue-blood there. Unlike Chris Monckton.
Nick Stern does have some highly-placed family members, though. Perhaps that is the answer to **how do I get them to listen to me, and pay me vast amounts of cash?**

No, IMHO, he’s an LSE socialist, promised a Lordship if he wrote a report which said what Blair, Brown, Balls and Miiliband wanted. They were than able to refer to his report whilst writing the Climate Change Act of 2008 (whilst it was snowing heavily on Parliament Square in October). That is, IMHO, nothing less than a poisoned pill for the incoming government in 2010.

Time to repeal that Act, do away with the so-called “renewables obligations” and all the “green energy” subsidies.

Oh, and also cancel the Lordship!!

45. Crispin in Waterloo says:

Willis, i think you are relying on the continuation of inflation without giving much credence to the notion that the ‘managed inflation’ of the past 70 years might be coming to an end. There are some really interesting books by Harry S Dent on the subject, an older one being “The death of inflation” which predicted accurately the Malaysian collapes and the ‘Asian Contagion’ in 1995.

The current generation of economists, he Harry says, has no experience of inflation save the Japanese (since 1990). At the moment it appears the USG is printing enough money to off-set what would otherwise be a severe contraction (deflation). It is an interesting act of economic management.

However it may be that Harry D is correct – he often is – and that the printing of money is just kicking the can down the road because the underlying problem is a change in demographics, not something ‘inflationary’.

The discount rate might be negative, not positive relative to the present. We cannot rely on a projection of what has happened before to ‘know’ the future – that is the Big Mistake the CO2 alarmists like Lord Stern made.

46. Lance Wallace says:

Robert in Calgary–thanks for the link.
At least the Lochhead story includes the following:
“McKibbon and Hansen propose a tax on fossil fuels at their source, to be reimbursed to all U.S. residents. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., plans to propose that in a “fee and dividend” scheme modeled on Alaska’s oil royalty rebates to state residents.

Asked about the Sanders bill Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said, “We have not proposed and have no intention of proposing a carbon tax.””

47. RoyFOMR says:

Stern got one thing right.
He used to be a Mister but now he;s a Lord.
Someone liked what he said!

48. David Jones:

At January 27, 2013 at 3:09 pm you say of Lord Stern and his Report

No, IMHO, he’s an LSE socialist, promised a Lordship if he wrote a report which said what Blair, Brown, Balls and Miiliband wanted. They were than able to refer to his report whilst writing the Climate Change Act of 2008 (whilst it was snowing heavily on Parliament Square in October). That is, IMHO, nothing less than a poisoned pill for the incoming government in 2010.

It is much, much worse than that!

On 6 July 2005 the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs published its Report on ‘The Economics of Climate Change’. It can be read at
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200506/ldselect/ldeconaf/12/12i.pdf
That Report was damning of government climate policy. It found that adaptation policies would be much more cost effective than mitigation policies. And, therefore, it called for the UK Government to adopt adaptation policies instead of mitigation policies (e.g. subsidising windfarms) and rejected activities such as the Kyoto Protocol.

The UK government has a Constitutional Duty to respond to a Select Committee Report so the then Blair Government had to respond to the Report from the Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs.

This was a problem for the Government because the Report recommended a complete reversal of Government climate policy.

The Government solved the problem by calling upon Sir Nicholas Stern (now Lord Stern) to conduct another Report which would assess the maximum possible costs if all worse-case scenarios for global warming were to come true. Stern fulfilled that duty and produced his now infamous Report which was published on 30 October 2006.

The Blair Government – and successive UK Governments – then hid behind the Stern Report whenever the Lords Select Committee Report was mentioned. Simply, the Stern Report was and is a ‘fig leaf’ to hide the findings in the Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs Report on ‘The Economics of Climate Change’.

Several leading economists from around the world have published analyses which conclude the methods used in the Stern Report are very flawed.

However, Green organisations still pretend the Stern Report was a serious analysis although it was commissioned and produced as pure political propaganda and has been refuted by leading economists.

As a footnote
Lord (Nigel) Lawson of Blaby chaired the Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs when it produced its Report on ‘The Economics of Climate Change’. He subsequently was a founder member of the Global Warming Policy Foundation which lobbies to correct UK Climate Policy.

Richard

49. Crispin in Waterloo says:

The Death of Inflation was written by Bootle, not Dent. Sorry for not making that clear.

50. Why… pray to a werewolf? pray for a werewolf?

I am missing something on that one.

51. johanna says:

For a brief history of the Stern Report and the critiques of it (pioneered by the late, great former Australian Statistician Ian Castles and his colleague David Henderson, see this:

http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2012/11/29/henderson-on-castles.html

Interestingly, Castles first became concerned about the dodgy economics and statistics underpinning the climate scares in 2002, when he looked upon the IPCC work in that field and found it abysmally bad. He and Henderson both regarded the economic projections as not only methodologically dreadful, but based on a degree of certainty about the science previously unheard of in forecasting.

As a former top public servant who won international awards for his knowledge and professionalism in statistics and government, Castles was baffled that the UK government would embark on far-reaching economic changes without involving – oh, I don’t know – the Treasury and impartial statisticians.

Amazingly, the discount rate issue (and previous posters are correct to say that it’s not about inflation, but about uncertainty) was an absolute rookie mistake, or the introduction of a whole new concept in economics – that of almost perfect prediction of the future. And yes, Stern did use 1.4% here and 2.4% there (but hey, what’s a percentage point between friends?), and yes, any business or government which did that would go broke in short order. It’s way too low. Oh, wait …

52. @berniel:

There are two “time value of money” aspects. One is inflation (that is, the tendency of a currency to debase over time). The other is more important. That is the intrinsic high value of a hamburger today over one next Tuesday. I might die before next Tuesday. I might find I developed a beef allergy. YOU might die and the promise of a hamburger next Tuesday be lost. On it goes…

So there are both aspects tied up in a ‘discount rate’. The actual “time value of money” and an inflation adjustment term.

@Rob Scott:

Frankly, as one on The Other Side Of The Pond, I think it’s kind of fun that “we have” our own Lord. Yes, I know, on the other side they take Lord titles seriously and all. “Our” Lord shows a certain sense of awareness of the semi-silly aspect of the fuss over his being an Hereditary Lord, but not a seated Lord in government.

As per “real scientist”: Those who follow the scientific method are real scientists. Climate alarmists on the public grant-dole are not following the scientific method.

53. johanna says:

E. M. Smith, inflation (or deflation, which also happens) are a subset of uncertainty.

54. Tom J says:

Is it Lord Stern or Howard Stern? I must admit to being not smart enough to notice subtle differences.

55. Willis Eschenbach says:

Ken Gregory says:
January 27, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Figure 1 shows the cumulative Airborne Fraction, rather than the annual or running average airborne fraction, so it is difficult to see how this is changing with time. The link to “Land use CO2 emissions” doesn’t work, so I don’t know how significant that is.

Fixed, thanks.

w.

56. Willis Eschenbach says:

Crispin in Waterloo says:
January 27, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Willis, i think you are relying on the continuation of inflation without giving much credence to the notion that the ‘managed inflation’ of the past 70 years might be coming to an end.

Thanks, Crispin. I was talking about the future value of money, not about inflation. Someone else above said that the future value of money was about insecurity about the future. I’m not talking about that either.

Suppose there were no inflation at all. Suppose there were no uncertainty.

Would you rather have a 100%-guaranteed thousand dollars now or in ten years?

See what I mean? No inflation, no insecurity, and still the thousand bucks is worth more today than in ten years …

w.

57. Willis Eschenbach says:

duncanmackenzie says:
January 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Why… pray to a werewolf? pray for a werewolf?

I am missing something on that one.

Thanks, Duncan. On my planet, all of the strange and wonderful creatures, real or inorganic, that are shunned and hated by man for any one of a thousand reasons need all of our prayers … our only salvation lies in taking the wildering path, the one that does not lead to our destination.

YPMV

w.

58. Willis Eschenbach says:

To clarify why the future value of money is not just about inflation or uncertainty, replace it with something that you like. Say a new car. If there were no inflation and no uncertainty, would you rather have a new car now or next year? Obviously, the answer is “now”, because you get an extra year of use. The same is true of money. If I have it now instead of in ten years, I get to enjoy its use for an extra ten years … and that is valuable without reference to inflation or uncertainty.

w.

59. Willis: “That is the future value of money. It is always worth less than money today.”

Not ALWAYS, Willis. After the 1929 crash, the economic downturn caused the supply of money to drop, causing deflation instead of inflation, and on a pretty significant scale. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ CPI calculator says \$1,000 in 1929 was equal to \$812.87 as late as 1939 (the Depression did last on into the war a bit).

Steve Garcia

60. Colin says:

A minor correction, Willis. There’s no such office as “the Queen of England” and hasn’t been for several hundred years. She’s queen of lots of places (realms) including Queen of Australia for us Aussies, but perhaps you were referring to her title at home which I’ll abbreviate to Queen of the United Kingdom … which goes on to specify “Great Britain” but no mention of any place called “England”. Do try to keep up with the times.

Otherwise, great stuff!

61. D.J. Hawkins says:

duncanmackenzie says:
January 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm
Why… pray to a werewolf? pray for a werewolf?

I am missing something on that one.

Possibley from the Lon Chaney Jr. movie The Wolfman (1941):

“Even a man who is pure in heart,
And says his prayers by night,
May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms,
And the Autumn moon is bright.”

62. Willis Eschenbach says:

feet2thefire says:
January 27, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Willis:

“That is the future value of money. It is always worth less than money today.”

Not ALWAYS, Willis. After the 1929 crash, the economic downturn caused the supply of money to drop, causing deflation instead of inflation, and on a pretty significant scale. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ CPI calculator says \$1,000 in 1929 was equal to \$812.87 as late as 1939 (the Depression did last on into the war a bit).

Steve Garcia

Thanks, Steve. Yes, ALWAYS. You are talking about something other than what I’m discussing. You are referring to what the money actually turned out to be worth, which as you point out may be either more or less than the present value before the fact.

I’m talking about something else, the future value of money. This is NOT what the money actually turns out to be worth in the future. It is the value that we place today on money that we will receive in the future.

All the best,

w.

63. Willis Eschenbach says:

Colin says:
January 27, 2013 at 9:22 pm

A minor correction, Willis. There’s no such office as “the Queen of England” and hasn’t been for several hundred years. She’s queen of lots of places (realms) including Queen of Australia for us Aussies, but perhaps you were referring to her title at home which I’ll abbreviate to Queen of the United Kingdom … which goes on to specify “Great Britain” but no mention of any place called “England”. Do try to keep up with the times.

Otherwise, great stuff!

Thanks, Colin. Indeed, you are quite correct. This being the age of the internet, I can easily determine that her Majesty’s official “style” is

By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith

with no England in sight, as you point out.

Because I wrote to her in 1987, well before the internet, and from the Solomon Islands, at the time I hadn’t a clue what to call her.

So I just apologized in advance, and told her that I was was an unlettered colonial and asked her to forgive me if I did not know the proper forms. It didn’t seem to bother her, which is to say she didn’t bust me for calling her the Queen of England …

w.

64. “…emissions…somewhat smaller than expected in 2006, due to the drop in emissions from the global financial crisis.”

And the widespread adoption of fracking and the subsequent drop in the price of Natural Gas.

65. Les Johnson says:

The future value of money can, as Willis said, simply mean you get more use from a product.

I look at future value as related to how much that money would be worth if invested.

If you invested 1000 dollars today, at 5% (long term stock returns are near 10%), it would be worth \$1551 in ten years, neglecting inflation.

Do you want \$1551 in ten years, or \$1000?

As Willis noted, Stern used a very low discount rate, of close to zero. The “consensus” of economists, is that Stern’s discount rate is a fantasy.

On top of this, Stern used Market Exchange Rate (MER) to calculate future value. The standard used by most economists is Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). Note that every body of the UN uses PPP, except the IPCC.

As an example, the IPCC projections using MER, for per capita GDP for North Korea, will be twice that of the USA by 2100.

“Some of the effects are coming through more quickly than we thought then”. I think he has confused the response of the faithful and gullible, with the response of the climate. The gullible will always ‘come through more quickly’, the climate may/may not.

67. Bob Scott says:

E M Smith says at 6.06 to Rob Scott (which must mean me)

Frankly, as one on The Other Side Of The Pond, I think it’s kind of fun that “we have” our own Lord. Yes, I know, on the other side they take Lord titles seriously and all. “Our” Lord shows a certain sense of awareness of the semi-silly aspect of the fuss over his being an Hereditary Lord, but not a seated Lord in government.

I think we’re on the same side of the pond, Old Boy (clue – my spelling of sceptic). Are you getting your underwear knotted by mixing up “our” life peer, Lord Stern, with “our” truly noble peer, Lord Monkton? As this thread’s about the former, did I need to name my lord?

There, tin ear fixed.

Oh, BTW, did you actually read my contribution?

68. Stern’s maths are similar to those used by climatologists who are sure that insolation reaching the surface is 240W/m2 when measured zenith insolation is 960W/m2. This figure is the same as that calculated taking into account albedo and what the atmosphere adsorbs.

69. Bill Illis says:

CO2 numbers grew at a higher rate in 2012. Mauna Loa was up +2.56 ppm and global CO2 is trending toward +2.77 ppm.

Up to the end of 2011, the numbers were starting to look like the CO2 growth rate had moved back to a linear (rather than a slightly exponential) rate. With the current 2012 numbers, it looks like we are back on the slightly exponential trend again.

ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/

I like to watch the Barrow Alaska numbers because it is a high quality station like Mauna Loa and its numbers are a leading indicator of the global trends and Mauna Loa.

Barrow’s CO2 growth looks to have slowed down in the most recent numbers.

More importantly, is the Methane measurements from Barrow which are the highest in the world, have the highest seasonal variation and would be the indicator for Methane release from Arctic warming for example. In the last few years, Methane had started increasing again after it looked like it had stabilized by around the year 2008.

Now it looks like Methane growth has stalled again with Barrow just reaching the peak of its seasonal cycle right now and at the same level as it has been in the last two years. No Methane apocalypse according to the Barrow station.

70. richard verney says:

richardscourtney says:
January 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm
/////////////////////////////////////////////////
Further to the valid observation made by Richard, the preparation and adoption of UK Climate Change Act is the most extreme example of gross dereliction in public office imaginable, and demonstates clearly why we desperately need proper accountability for decisions taken by public officials discharging their futies in public office. All those involved in the passing of that Act potentially havce a case to answer with regard to recompensing the UK tax payer.

The UK Climate Change Act is the second mostly costly piece of peace time legislation (only the welfare reforms and setting up of the NHS after WW2 have involved greater amounts of public finance) and not only did Blair and his labour pals engage in the shenanigans described by Richard to get the Act on the statute book, only a handful of MPs could be bothered to debate the whys and wherefores behind the second most costly piece of peace time legislation. Simply incredible! You can’t imagine that happening in private practice; when would you ever see a company not even debating the second most costly expenditure that it will ever face to bear.

It is simply amazing that there are not more calls for proper recompense from those responsible for this fiasco. And the reason for that, of course, lies at the door of MSM and those that control it.

71. Willis:

The ridiculous Stern Report only exists because of the nature of the unwritten UK Constitution and it was and is a necessary political and propaganda tool for UK Government because of the Constitution (see my explanation at January 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm).

I don’t intend to distract the important subject of this thread with a side-track, but you raise another important UK Constitutional issue when you discuss the official titles of HM Queen Elizabeth II. This is pertinent to the present discussion because it goes to the heart of every UK Constitutional issue including the UK Government’s need for the Stern Report as a ‘fig leaf’.

The countries of the British Isles had been warring for centuries. There seemed to be no possibility of ever achieving an end to the strife (indeed, the end of war in Ireland was not obtained until this century). England was always more powerful than Scotland, so the only method to obtain peace between England and Scotland was for England to accept a Scottish King as being the King of England. Accident of history made this possible because the two countries shared a monarch from 1603 when King James VI of Scotland inherited the English throne from his double first cousin twice removed, Queen Elizabeth I. But the two countries remained separate kingdoms with separate Crowns.

Having the same monarch enabled the two countries to share the same Crown and this was achieved by the Treaty of Union which was adopted by the Acts of Union; i.e. the Union with Scotland Act (1706) of the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act (1707) of the Parliament of Scotland.

The Treaty of Union created the new nation of Great Britain answerable to one Crown worn by the one monarch. But the countries of England and Scotland remained with their own Parliaments and laws.

It is important to note that this also expanded the United Kingdom (UK) which included Wales because the English Crown also applied to Wales. Great Britain claimed the UK also included Ireland, and this claim was not resolved until the twentieth century.

The difference between Great Britain and the UK is important because neither includes all of the British Isles. This is why the “Other Realms” of the Crown are important. For example, Cornwall is part of the British mainland and it is debateable as to whether it is part of Great Britain and the United Kingdom. And the Isle of Mann is not included in the UK or Great Britain but has a unique position with the British monarch as its Head Of State whose personal representative on the Island is appointed by the Crown for a five-year term as Lieutenant Governor.

The Isle Of Mann is a tax haven in the middle of the British Isles (it seems that money is always important to how Mann functions).

The individual countries which answer to the British Crown can only change their laws if the Crown agrees. The monarch wears the Crown and – with the assistance of Her advisors – decides what approval to provide. In the context of the present discussion, this has two important effects.

Prior to each Session of the Westminster Parliament, HM Government provides the monarch with a draft of the Queen’s Speech. This Speech states the Acts which the Government intends to undertake in Parliament during the coming Session. The monarch decides which of those Government Acts will be given the Royal Assent and thus become Law. At the State Opening of Parliament the monarch reads the parts of the Speech She is willing to approve to become Law. In practice, there is little possibility that the Government would provide the monarch with a draft which she would modify. The monarch has a weekly meeting with the Prime Minister and Her Advisors regularly meet with other Government Ministers. A Government would not waste Parliamentary time on business which would not obtain Royal Assent so could not be enacted. And the people would side with the Crown if a Government were to create a Constitutional crisis by doing that.

The people would side with the monarch because – in effect – the monarch is the country and people side with their country. (This is also why a fascist monarch was forced to abdicate – with a ridiculous excuse about a love affair – in the 1930s: the people would not support a fascist monarch at a time when a war with fascism seemed inevitable.)

In summation, the monarch has an effective veto of discussion of a possible law before the discussion starts.

Importantly, Government is answerable to Parliament and to the Crown. In the event that a Government were to ignore Parliament or the Crown then the Crown can dissolve Parliament with a view to forming a new Government. Any new Government has to be agreed by the monarch who wears the Crown.

Thus, in 2005 the then Government had to respond to the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs publishing its Report on ‘The Economics of Climate Change’. The Government would have ignored Parliament if it had failed to respond to that Report. And this would threaten a Constitutional Crisis. The Government would fall whatever the outcome of that unwanted crisis,

Hence, as I explained in my post at January 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm, the Government commissioned the blatantly and deliberately flawed Stern Report as its response to the Select Committee Report.

Richard

72. Les Johnson says:

Bill Illis: Do you have the original sites for the Barrow data? Postimage is blocked on the company network.

Chris said:
“Someone should comment on the catastrophic man-made global warming hit piece in the SF Chronicle by Carolyn Lochhead. Oh my, it’s as if the non-warming of the past 16 years didn’t exist. Filled with arctic and methane tipping points […]”

Complete with a photo of tons of steam coming from the cooling towers…

74. TANSTAAFL says:

\$100 placed at 7 percent interest compounded quarterly for 200 years will increase to more than \$100,000,000, by which time it will be worth nothing.
– Robert A. Heinlein

75. Jimbo says:

Whenever I read silly statements like it’s much, much

“the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected”

and

‘I got it wrong on climate change – it’s far, far worse’
Guardian

I think to myself this guy either does not know what he is talking about or he does and is making sh!t up because he’s following the money. This I did and discovered a possible reason for him talking utter bollocks (testicles for US folks).

Lord Stern of Brentford
Register of Interests
………
2: Remunerated employment, office, profession etc.

IG Patel Professor of Economics & Government, London School of Economics (includes LSE academic posts: Director, India Observatory; Chairman, Asia Research Centre; Chairman, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment; Chairman, Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy)

Member, International Advisory Board, Akbank NV (Turkey)

Member, International Advisory Panel, Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute (Australia)
http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/lords/nicholas-stern/16807

It really is much, much worse than I thought.

76. Jimbo says:

Lord Stern is attempting to deceive. A 16 year temperature standstill and he says:

‘I got it wrong on climate change – it’s far, far worse’

Lord Stern, I do believe, has been off his medication……………..or smoking something funny.

77. G. E. Pease says:

vukcevic says:
January 27, 2013 at 9:54 am
Most of the global warming is in the higher latitudes of the N. Hemisphere, the Arctic ice reduction is hailed as a primary example. Comparing the CO2 emissions and the Arctic temperature since 1800 to the present time tells different story to the one told by lord Stern :
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CO2-Arc.htm
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Vuk,
Re the correlation with geomagnetic strength, I think you are really onto something here. Do you have an update of this chart to 2010 or 2011?
-Gerry Pease

78. G. E. Pease says:

Vuk,
Thanks. I notice that the magnetic field strength in the Arctic is about an order of magnitude greater than the interplanetary magnetic field strength. I am not aware that Svensmark has been able to incorporate this in his theory, however.

79. Crispin in Waterloo says:

@Bill Illis

Thanks for the Point Barrow CO2 link. The (recently) late Reginald Barrow (same family) was a close friend of mine and my biz advisor for years. I want you and Willis to notice something. The CO2 rise and fall in your area matches, by dates, the melting and accumulating of snow and ice in the Arctic. There is no way this is a coincidence. Freezing water expels CO2 and it is as clear as the Point Barrow air that this is happening on a large scale. The CO2 chart for Hawaii is more smeared and the summer melt is not as sharp (the CO2 drops as ice melts).

There is a characteristic drop in the concentration in mid-winter which should have an explicable cause. Winter winds pushing in diluting air from the southern latitudes perhaps? Perhaps t has to do with the sea expelling CO2 after it first gets into the water from sea ice formation. Dunno.

The mass of snow and ice should correlate closely with the pulsing of the CO2 level, factored for regional inflow and outflow. Not so? The local concentration in Antarctica should have a similar cycle. Or do plants in the Southern Ocean overwhelm its signal? Seems unlikely.

• Crispin,
The frigid waters in both the Arctic and the Antarctic are the big sinks for CO2, but there is a major difference in their ability to take it up. In the Arctic, the ocean is covered with ice much of the year while in the Antarctic the sink area just moves north during the SH winter. Add in the timing for phytoplankton blumes and you may be able to develop a model for annual sink rate changes based on the different annual CO2 cycles.

80. Willis Eschenbach says:

Crispin in Waterloo says:
January 31, 2013 at 12:46 am

… The CO2 rise and fall in your area matches, by dates, the melting and accumulating of snow and ice in the Arctic. There is no way this is a coincidence.

Man, I hates it when people do dat. I go off to see this phenomenon you talk about with such surety, and here’s what I find … nothing of the sort.

No, the dates don’t match, either for Barrow or for MLO.

Freezing water expels CO2 and it is as clear as the Point Barrow air that this is happening on a large scale.

Since the CO2 starts to rise one month before the ice melt starts, this seems unlikely. And since the CO2 rise continues for two month after the ice starts to freeze, your theory is totally untenable …

It is widely thought that CO2 rises and falls on an annual cycle due to the activity of the biosphere, with the plants respiring CO2 in the spring and exhaling it in the fall.

I’ve also never heard anyone claim that “freezing water expels CO2”, and I see no reason why it should. If any air is expelled during the freezing process, why would it be just CO2 and not the usual atmospheric mix? Do you have a cite for the claim that freezing expels co2?

w.

81. Crispin in Waterloo says:

@Willis
Unless you have mislabeled your graph I think you have proven my point very well. First remove the Mauna Loa CO2 as irrelevant. That is the delayed response to Arctic conditions. The point I was making is that the Point Barrow CO2 chart matches the (sea?) ice area extremely well. Did you not notice?

Ice contains no CO2. If this requires explanation so be it: Liquid water has CO2 absorbed in it. Water does not absorb much “air”. Freezing the water kicks out basically all gases because there is no place for it in the crystal structure. One author as we discussed in a previous thread makes mention of tiny cracks holding brine but this a tiny fraction of ice mass.

Your chart shows the drop in CO2 as the snow melts (snow also contains no absorbed CO2). If your “ice” curve was instead “frozen water” including snow, ice, sea ice, frozen muskeg etc it would more closely match the CO2 line. Why? Because melting crystal ice becomes a liquid water CO2 sink.

@fhhayni
Thanks, but you also seem to have missed the point that water has CO2 in it and ice does not. This is well established as a physical property. Check the solubility of CO2 in water and ice.

When the snow and ice melts on the Great Plains and sub-Arctic it draws down the CO2 before the sea ice melts. The graph shows it.

Sea water has a strong influence in summer as it is uncovered and warms. That is why the concentration rises after the ice limit is reached. Also remember that land ice including ground water melts throughout the summer and there is a lot of land water in the equation.

The idea that biomass is the cause of this massive seasonal fluctuation is speculative at best. If biomass draws it down in summer why doesn’t it stay down? I have see it claimed that the source of the winter increase is “fossil fuel burning in the Northern Hemisphere”. Do the math. It is 6 times humanity’s annual output, is it not? In 5 months? I don’t think so.

Willis, my citation is any table of water soluble gases. I have checked this in detail with Philip Lloyd, if you find that supportive. The effect is also visible in the ice age ice cores which Philip was kind enough to send me in high resolution though it is a more complicated story.

Almost freeze a can of Coke until it is slushy. Drink it. It is fizzier than no-slush Coke because the CO2 in the slush has been expelled into the surrounding liquid even though the pressure rises when that happens. CO2 is not soluble in ice.

82. Willis Eschenbach says:

Crispin in Waterloo says:
February 1, 2013 at 9:54 pm

@Willis
Unless you have mislabeled your graph I think you have proven my point very well. First remove the Mauna Loa CO2 as irrelevant. That is the delayed response to Arctic conditions. The point I was making is that the Point Barrow CO2 chart matches the (sea?) ice area extremely well. Did you not notice?

The peak time for CO2 is 2 months AFTER peak ice.

The minimum time for CO2 is 1 month BEFORE peak ice.

The CO2 rise and fall in your area matches, by dates, the melting and accumulating of snow and ice in the Arctic.

So no, it doesn’t match by dates the melting and accumulating of ice. It doesn’t “match the ice area” in anything more than a vague and general way. Not only that, but Barrow CO2 continues to rise for two full months after the sea ice area is falling … how does your theory explain that?

I agree that the rejection of CO2 during the freezing of sea ice is important … but studies have shown that much of it, while rejected from the ice, leaves the ice not as a gas but still dissolved in a cold, salty, CO2 rich brine that sinks to the sea floor … so your theory that it goes into the air doesn’t work. See e.g. Sea ice contribution to the air–sea CO2 exchange in the Arctic and Southern Oceans (paywalled, sorry) for a bit of discussion of the various factors.

Best regards,

w.

83. Crispin in Waterloo says:

@Willis

We are partly on the same page now – at least we are using the same terms. This is not excusively an “ice” issue, it is a water cycle issue. I understand what you mean by the CO2 continuing after the sea ice freezes. And where does that CO2 come from?

As long as ice continued to form whether it is frozen ground, accumulated snow (new ‘ice’) or anything else that turns H2O into crystal form the CO2 will rise.

Other words i am saying that the discussion has to get past a simple analysis. I ran the numbers and put them in earlier comments and noted, twice i think, that the missing metric is the total mass of water that freezes and thaws. Does there remain in your mind any doubt that melting ice absorbs CO2? I have been making calculations on the basis that it will absorb 420 ppm like sea water. The numbers are huge. Sea water will take some of it because it is dropping in temperature, but remember that the sea water is what is freezing and if off-gases quite well when saturated (all that about warming seas etc). It is in balance near the surface.

Re the ‘two months’….are you still looking at the Hawaii peak? Please look closer to the ‘causal area’. As the ice seals over the seal, there is a noticeable inflection in the CO2 rise. There’s your sea water absorption. But the snow accumulation and ground freeze continues. As sea ice is not a perfect proxy for water-to-ice we can’t expect the lines to match on the first look-see. Thank you for agreeing that this is an important issue. I am pretty sure the modes don’t discuss it or dismiss it (though I can’t prove it has been taken seriously).

• Chrispin and Willis,
Your discussion on the relationship between sea ice and CO2 concentrations in the Arctic interests me because I have been studying it for while. Here is my take on it. First, freezing water does not outgass to any significant degree, otherwise all sea ice would be clear rather than “white”. Second, the freezing of sea water reduces the area available to uptake air containing CO2 but has little effect on the input of CO2 into the air above the Arctic ocean. That CO2 is being delivered from the south in the upper atmosphere. I believe it was “pumped” into the stratosphere by thunder clouds in the tropics and delivered to the Arctic in jet streams. That would explain the continuing rise in the CO2 concentration after the sea ice has started to melt. Input – output = accumulation. The measured CO2 concentration is the accumulation and in the Artic it changes greatly on an annual basis. The rate of change in the input depends on the rate of delivery from the south while the rate of output is closely associated with the rate of change in the amout of exposed sea water surface area. A note to consider, sea ice extent is not the same as sea ice area and expose water area is not total ocean area – extent.

84. Willis Eschenbach says:

@Willis

We are partly on the same page now – at least we are using the same terms. This is not excusively an “ice” issue, it is a water cycle issue. I understand what you mean by the CO2 continuing after the sea ice freezes. And where does that CO2 come from?

As long as ice continued to form whether it is frozen ground, accumulated snow (new ‘ice’) or anything else that turns H2O into crystal form the CO2 will rise.

Look, Crispin, you can claim any damn thing you like, it means NOTHING. You need to come up with fact. You know, citations. Evidence. Observations.

Other words i am saying that the discussion has to get past a simple analysis. I ran the numbers and put them in earlier comments and noted, twice i think, that the missing metric is the total mass of water that freezes and thaws. Does there remain in your mind any doubt that melting ice absorbs CO2?

Does melting ice “absorb CO2”? Your statement is totally unclear and completely vague. How much CO2? At what point in the cycle? Is it a significant amount?

I have been making calculations on the basis that it will absorb 420 ppm like sea water.

It will “absorb 420 ppm”? Really? What “it” are you talking about? The ice-cold melt water that immediately goes to the bottom of the ocean?

The numbers are huge.

You are not grasping the problem. So far, the numbers are not huge, we haven’t seen any numbers. The only thing that is “huge” is the number of your unsupported claims.

Sea water will take some of it because it is dropping in temperature, but remember that the sea water is what is freezing and if off-gases quite well when saturated (all that about warming seas etc). It is in balance near the surface.

Whoa there, we’ve been merrily talking about what the ice does when it thaws, and suddenly, you seem to think the discussion has been about freezing.

Re the ‘two months’….are you still looking at the Hawaii peak?

No, why would I be doing that?

Please look closer to the ‘causal area’. As the ice seals over the seal, there is a noticeable inflection in the CO2 rise. There’s your sea water absorption.

That makes no sense, what “sea water absorption” is happening as the ice freezes? You’ve been saying the CO2 goes UP when the ice freezes, now you are claiming extra ABSORPTION of CO2 when the ice freezes.

But the snow accumulation and ground freeze continues.

You have no evidence for the claim that somehow the ice stops freezing first, but the snow accumulation and the ground freeze is continuing. Might be the case, I doubt it, but just waving your hands and wishing it were true doesn’t work.

As sea ice is not a perfect proxy for water-to-ice we can’t expect the lines to match on the first look-see. Thank you for agreeing that this is an important issue. I am pretty sure the modes don’t discuss it or dismiss it (though I can’t prove it has been taken seriously).

Thanks, Crispin. I don’t think it is an “important issue” in the slightest. The CO2 goes up and down on an annual cycle. We are quite sure that most of that annual cycle is from the annual cycle of plants, as you would expect. We know this from measurements of plant respiration during the annual growth cycle.

Now is it possible that some of the CO2, instead of cycling into and out of plants, is cycling into and out of ice? Sure.

Is it important whether it does so? Not in the slightest. Whether it is going into and out of ice or plants is pretty immaterial in the larger scheme of things ..

Now, if you do think it is a major issue, fine. Get the paywalled article and read it, so there is greater than a 50/50 chance your claims are right, and come back with something more to rest your case than just your inflated claims … because waving your hands and mumbling about what you believe the snow is doing in relation to the ice is meaningless. Hang on, let me look, the data is here … OK, in fact, total snow area peaks in January, two months before the ice peak, and is at its lowest in August, a month before the ice peak. Took me all of five minutes to find out.

So your claim, that increasing CO2 in February and March after the ice peak is due to still-freezing snow, is contradicted by the facts about the snow, as you would have known had you done five minutes of homework instead of wasting our time with your unexamined, uncited, and unlikely claims.

Citations. Don’t come back without ’em.

w.

85. Crispin in Waterloo says:

@fhhanyie

I will try to come back with my math intact and the gas interactions. If I can reach you at your linked site Climate Change we can cooperate there or in one of the backrooms at S4Group.org which has private spaces for working on papers with non-members. I can also invite some others who do not contribute here with whom I have discussed this.

It is important to set the question down clearly so we don’t try to answer everything at once. I suggest the question:

“What is the contribution to the annual change in atmospheric CO2 concentration in the Arctic made by the feezing and melting of water in the biosphere?”

Why should we ask the question? Because melting glacial and continental ice packs will absorb quantites of CO2 that are large relative to net human emissions of it (from all sources). There are about 30m cubic km of ice on Earth at present, representing a potential to absorb 3.75*10^13 tons of CO2 at 1280 ppm(m) were it all to melt. That is an amount >100% of the CO2 presently in the whole atmosphere. In fact it is nearly double. There is a widely reported claim that human emissions of CO2 will raise the atmospheric level to the point that all the ice will melt. To date, I have not seen this claim backed by any calculation that considers the absorption of CO2 by melting ice, ice which is not able to retain absorbed CO2.

There are several good points made at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/22/a-look-at-human-co2-emissions-vs-ocean-absorption/

– Annual Arctic ice volume varies from 20bn tons to 4.5 bn tons
– NH Lake ice is a second factor, most melting completely each year.
– NH land ice is another factor that has an accumulation-melting cycle (glaciers for example)
– Water in the ground that freezes and melts each year, muskeg and tundra-over-permafrost is involved in the cycle
– Snow mass (not snow area) is involved. Snow on the ground represents moisture frozen out of the atmosphere, that moisture arriving from the South liberates CO2 (if it arrives in droplet form but not that portion of it contributing to snow formation arriving in vapour form).
– Covering the Arctic sea with ice in winter could account for a reducting in absorption of CO2 from the South but the reduction is only (at most) <1/10th of the change in CO2 concentration so even if it contributes, the variation has other more significant cause(s).
– The solubility of CO2 in water is 90 cc per 100ml (CL/CG = 0.8) which is 0.9 m^3 per ton of fresh water. http://www.thuisexperimenteren.nl/science/carbonaatkinetiek/Carbondioxide%20in%20water%20equilibrium.doc
– At 20 C the CO2 content of water is 0.029 mol/litre (1.28 g/litre) (ibid)
– About 1% of the dissolved carbon dioxide turns into carbonic acid. http://www.solarnavigator.net/solar_cola/carbon_dioxide.htm
– The reaction of CO2 being absorbed into water is governed by Henry's Law:
P(CO2) = Kh * C(CO2)
where P(CO2) is the partial pressure of CO2 in the ambient air, Kh is Henry's Law constant,
and C(CO2) is the concentration of dissolved CO2 in the water.

The CO2 reaction with water is:
(CO2)aq + H2O == H2CO3 == H(+1) + HCO3(-1)

"…but is quite weak and only accounts for 0.2 to 1% of the dissolved CO2. The rest remains as solvated molecular CO2."
http://www.thuisexperimenteren.nl/science/carbonaatkinetiek/Carbondioxide%20in%20water%20equilibrium.doc
– Meltwater will absorb about 1.28 kg of CO2 per ton or 1.28 ppm(m) shortly after melting.

+++++++++

Is there a word 'hydrosphere'? Yes, but unfortunately it has several different meanings. This one is relevant:
hydrosphere [ˈhaɪdrəˌsfɪə] n, (Earth Sciences / Physical Geography) the watery part of the earth's surface, including oceans, lakes, water vapour in the atmosphere, etc.; hydrospheric adj

That definition does not include the water in the ground that freezes and melts each year . If we can accept the term in the meantime to include all water that has access to the atmosphere and a changing temperature it will do for a brief investigation into the phenomenon.

I would put at a 'significant' effect one that is 5% of the total annual variation because above that, it would be incorrect to omit it in modeling and still claim to have shown the origin of 95% of the variation.

I have posted on WUWT several sets of calculations in the contributors sections (here being one) but the search engine above does not find them – just articles. As it is not difficult to reproduce I will do them again.

If I go to your blog we can take it up there and report to the bottom of this thread. Agreed? Another contributor has written to me off list and we have made contact directly some weeks ago, interested in getting a handle on the same subject.

• Crispin,
I welcome continuing discussion on my http://www.retiredresearcher.wordpress.com. Just click on my name above and make a comment. I have had email discussions with others. The advantage is it is easier to share spreadsheet files and plots.

As for the ability of the frigid Arctic sea water to take up CO2, the solubility in water containing a lot of basic ions as well as CO2 hungry phytoplankton will never become saturated. The rate of uptake is being controlled by the rate of delivery to the open water surface, not solubility.
Equilibrium and solubility do have effects in CO2-cloud dynamics. Clean rain has a pH that approaches equilibrium with atmospheric concentrations. So where should we expect CO2 in cloud droplets to go that end up in the anvil of a thunder cloud?

86. Crispin in Waterloo says:

Correction to above:

“- Meltwater will absorb about 1.28 kg of CO2 per ton or 1.28 ppm(m) shortly after melting.”