Tastes Great, Less Incinerating!

fire_burgerGuest post by Kevin D. Knoebel

How much stupidity is needed to win a Pulitzer? The competition is fierce, apparently certain writers are piling it on high and deep in the attempt.

For example, there is a sterling example of post-modern post-journalistic brilliance that just popped up at Salon by David Sirota, Would we give up burgers to stop climate change? As will be seen, the heaping begins with the subtitle: “A new report suggests that adjusting our diet can slow global warming. Now let’s see if our politics will let us”

The first paragraph is quite revealing:

In case you missed the news, humanity spent the Earth Day week reaching another sad milestone in the history of catastrophic climate change: For the first time, measurements of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million, aka way above what our current ecosystem can handle.

On the NOAA/ESRL Mauna Loa Observatory CO₂ measurements page, currently the last released monthly atmospheric concentration mean was March 2013, 397.34 ppm. Where the “surpassed 400” came from is quite unknown, not revealed. And overall not that important, as about now is when the annual cycle is peaking. The annual mean is far more scientifically relevant, and was 393.82ppm in 2012. The 2013 mean will not be breaking 400ppm. There may indeed have been a recent daily measurement above 400ppm, which shows why they use monthly means due to the range of daily variations. It will be quite surprising if the final April mean breaks 400ppm.

And how has the ecosystem responded to the “earth-shattering” increase? Crop yields up, the Sahel is greening, etc. Perhaps the ecosystem is having the equivalent of a surge of manic behavior right before a nervous breakdown. Sure, it looks great now, but soon it’ll all come crashing down. Yup, any decade now. No longer away than the next century, certainly.

BUT, there is hope! A new report, just as it says, done by Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang, former advisers to the World Bank, shows us the way. All we have to do, is give up meat. Bold added:

If you find it demoralizing that we are incinerating the planet and dooming future generations simply because too many of us like to eat cheeseburgers, here’s that good news I promised: In their report, Goodland and Anhang found that most of what we need to do to mitigate the climate crisis can be achieved “by replacing just one quarter of today’s least eco-friendly food products” — read: animal products — “with better alternatives.”

Does this sound like something you’ve heard before? Guess what, it is! The World Watch institute has the report (pdf). It was published at the end of 2009. For 3 ½ years now, this report has been chewed up, digested, rendered into the appropriate final form. Even a major vegan site found their numbers way too high.

Now, suddenly, Mr. Sirota has become aware of this amazing new report which, in the shadow of a nigh-impossible atmospheric CO₂ measurement of currently unknown origin which clearly shows the ecosystem has been broken, gives us the hope of avoiding planetary incineration by switching to great-tasting better-for-us non-animal foods. Which we would gladly do IF we could only overcome the politics!

Forget the Pulitzer, this stuff is GOLD. This is worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize of Journalism. Please, feel free to send your recommendations in to Al Gore, I hear he has some pull with the Nobel Committee.

Also notify the publishers of Roget’s Thesaurus, as Mr. Sirota has revealed two previously unknown synonyms for politics, which is that which must be overcome to avert planetary incineration: physiology and instincts.

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Barbara Skolaut

*snork*
Sarcasm does become you, Mr. Knoebel. 😀

I like my hamburger with lettuce, tomato, ketchup, lots of mustard, dill pickles, and a thick slice of cheddar cheese. Cheddar is better I always say. And since I was freezing today, I want two hamburgers today to make my area warmer. And to make sure the planet gets warmer, I will wash it all down with a big glass of fresh milk.

ed mister jones

I asked Mr. Sirota why The Planet wasn’t incinerated when the North American Bison covered the Continent.
When I hear Crickets, I’ll know it is his response.

Crispin in Waterloo

Anyone who bothers to look up the local CO2 levels around the planet will notice that the 400 ppm level was reached years ago, at least briefly and at least locally. The only meaningful number after that would be a global average value which as we all know, has not risen above 400 in several centuries at least, depending on who’s proxies you believe.
Aren’t there several thousand chemical test measurements made over the course of a century showing that 400 ppm was routinely exceeded in times past? Ah…the past isn’t what it used to be, even if you were there to measure it. (Kinda like the temperatures in the 1930’s.)

Dave

Twelve degrees below normal here In Virginia today. For dinner tomorrow night, I think I’ll get me a nice thick Delmonico, just dripping with blood!!

400 parts per million simply isn’t enough. It’s basic science that plants grow better and need less water with higher co2. Everyone needs to do their part to increase their carbon footprint for the good of the planet and the people on it.

Rud Istvan

/ You just don’t get it. Ruminants emit methane, much worse than CO2. What the post did not analyze was the deadly AGW effect of more cow farts!/
Sarc off. How on Gods green earth can anyone take this sort of stuff seriously?

I’m aghast. Somebody named Sirota wrote that drivel and not Seth Boringstern.

The air you exhale is about 43,000 PPM CO2, so you should stand well back from your sampling device, with no other animal life or industry upwind for a long distance. That is why Mauna Loa is such a good site.

Chuck L

Would I give up hamburgers to prevent climate change? NO. Actually I plan to increase my consumption of hamburgers to save the world from global cooling and I’m doing it willingly with pure and unselfish motives because I want to “save the planet.”

Crispin in Waterloo

“The air you exhale is about 43,000 PPM CO2”
Actually people exhale quite a bit of CO. The CO/CO2 ratio of a person is about 1.6%. As we all know, CO is quite poisonous and a GHG so I think the EPA should get in there are regulate breathing, especially the heavy kind.

Jimmy Haigh.

Melody Harpole says:
May 5, 2013 at 6:35 pm
I totally agree. We should all try to emulate Al Gore.

Master_Of_Puppets

Spring fever. 😉

David L.

“…aka way above what our current ecosystem can handle.”
And how, pray tell, does he know what the current ecosystem can handle, not to mention a different, much better ecosystems that can handle it if this one can’t.
These brainiacs trip overthemselves a salivate evolution anytime the word creationism isn’t tested. Well, welcome to evolution. The climate changes and species adapt or perish.
Or maybe they actually like the concept of creationism better with the nice in changing Garden of Eden?

philincalifornia

“Would we give up burgers to stop climate change? ”
Presumably, to get to this headline, one has to believe a chain that approximates the following:
Climate change doesn’t occur naturally.
Humans cause climate change.
They do this by putting CO2 into the atmosphere.
We can stop climate change by putting less CO2 into the atmosphere.
We can do this be eating less meat.
.
How sad for the writer …
( … and, by the way, the US bioethanol industry makes enough distillers grain feed to make 33 pounds of burgers per year for every American – more if you remove the vegetarians [not literally, of course])

michael hart

“Actually people exhale quite a bit of CO. The CO/CO2 ratio of a person is about 1.6%.”
I find that difficult to believe, Crispin. Do you have a reference for it?

philincalifornia

“Would we give up burgers to stop climate change? ”
Presumably, to get to this headline, one has to believe a chain that approximates the following (alternative ending):
There are enough dumb f**ks who will somehow put money in my personal coffers by reading this crap … so, as long as that’s the case, I’m going to write it.

“post-modern post-journalistic brilliance” = great phrase

wouldrathernotsay

Sirota was on talk radio here in Denver for a while. Can’t stand him… If he leaned any more left he’d be touching the ground.

R. Shearer

Crispin, no way do people exhale 1.6% of CO2 as CO. That would be over 600-700 ppm. I could believe 1 ppm.

dp

I encourage everyone to roll back on their consumption of meat. Especially baby back pork loin ribs and boneless rib-eye steaks. Special thanks for abandoning lamb chops, and to carry it over to the other white meat, lobster, thank you, thank you for just saying no. I’d also like to see a lot of you cutting back on halibut steaks and fresh cod. I’m on a fixed income and could use all the help possible to reduce demand for this junk food. I can barely afford lump charcoal and the meat as it is.

Re CO2 at 400 ppm – what about greenhouses with 1,000, even 1,500 ppm pumped in to make the veggies grow faster? Why aren’t they burning up? What keeps them warm is not the CO2 in them – it’s the glass that is a far better heat radiation blocker than CO2 ever could be – and heating, if needed in colder weather. And it’s ridiculous to claim that they get catastrophically hot – one would think they wouldn’t be able to grow those veggies in them if they did.

Steve B

Exhalation & Gas Exchange
The main reason for exhalation is to rid the body of carbon dioxide, which is the waste product of gas exchange in humans. Air is brought in the body through inhalation. During this process air is taken in through the lungs. Diffusion in the alveoli allows for the exchange of O2 into the pulmonary capillaries and the removal of CO2 and other gases from the pulmonary capillaries to be exhaled. In order for the lungs to expel air the diaphragm relaxes, which pushes up on the lungs. The air then flows through the trachea then through the larynx and pharynx to the nasal cavity and oral cavity where it is expelled out of the body.[1] Exhalation takes longer than inhalation since it is believed to facilitate better exchange of gases. Parts of the nervous system help to regulate respiration in humans. The exhaled air isn’t just carbon dioxide; it contains a mixture of other gases. Human breath contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These compounds consist of methanol, isoprene, acetone, ethanol and other alcohols. The exhaled mixture also contains ketones, water and other hydrocarbons.[2][3]
It is during exhalation that the olfaction contribution to flavor occurs in contrast to that of ordinary smell which occurs during the inhalation phase.[4]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exhalation
No mention of CO there at all.

Byron

michael hart says:
May 5, 2013 at 7:20 pm
I find that difficult to believe, Crispin. Do you have a reference for it?
———————————————————————————————-
according to “Biology” by Claude A. Villee (Third Edition, W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia and London, copyright 1957 it works out to about 3.7% by volume , 5.7% by weight , for the average adult , this seems to be somewhere in the ball park as I`ve seen more modern analysis put it at up to 40000 ppm (4%)

Byron

oops , that`s co2 content not , co

RACookPE1978

R. Shearer says:
May 5, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Crispin, no way do people exhale 1.6% of CO2 as CO. That would be over 600-700 ppm. I could believe 1 ppm.

Easy to believe: When we “test” a continuous atmosphere monitor for alarm function, easiest way is to simply hold your breath, then blow into the receiver: O2 levels drop from 20+% percent immediately to below 15%, CO goes off on high alarm levels, CO2 goes high levels way above 1 ppm…. I won’t go into the rude ways “some” guys try to “simulate” the explosive gasses ….)

Byron

R. Shearer says:
May 5, 2013 at 7:55 pm
Crispin, no way do people exhale 1.6% of CO2 as CO. That would be over 600-700 ppm. I could believe 1 ppm.
————————————————————————————————-
Pretty damn close for a guess , from an article on US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health database:
Smokers had a mean breath carbon monoxide concentration of 16.4 ppm and non-smokers had a mean of 1.26 ppm

John F. Hultquist

Some of you that have just made comments on this topic might find this interesting:
http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/church-of-the-sacred-carbon/
This is from last July when a number of us with the urging of E. M. Smith (aka Chiefio) became members of the Church of The Sacred Carbon. Go to the link above and follow the directions for the sacred  “Liberation Of The Carbon” ritual.
I think comments are still accepted on that post. Are you, Chiefio, available to accept new members?
Cheers!

Willis Eschenbach

Animals on the farm are used for their meat, milk, bone meal, down, eggs, blood, hides, feathers, horns, hooves, and hair. For most people on the planet except us privileged 1% of the globe, those items are irreplaceable in the local economy. Try running a farm in the middle of nowhere without leather. Very hard.
In addition, animals turn things we don’t or can’t eat into meat and milk and eggs. For a poor peasant woman, her chickens may be the main source of protein for her children.
As a result, any attempt to take that woman’s chickens from her should be met with the utmost contempt. They are proposing impoverishing the already poor.
See my posts here and here for a discussion of these issues.
w.

coalsoffire

Sirota apparently writes serial imbecilic comments for Salon. He’s the same guy that wrote that he hoped the Boston bombers would be found to white males. He was wrong about that too. Finding errors in his analyses is too easy to be any fun.

Hemp seed burgers anyone?

Jimbo

For the first time, measurements of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million, aka way above what our current ecosystem can handle.

Measurements in future will show over 400ppm but paleo records show well over 5,000ppm in the past. As far as I know animals and plants thrived in the Jurassic when co2 was 1,800ppm. During the Ordovician ice age co2 was sometimes 10 times higher than today’s values.Greenhouse growers regularly pump in 1,000ppm to encourage plant growth.
Here is the past response of a neotropical rain forest to high temperatures and high co2. It thrived.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1193833
http://youtu.be/P2qVNK6zFgE

dudleyhorscroft

Professor Sirota stated: “Add to this the fact that producing animal protein involves up to eight times more fossil fuel than what’s needed to produce an equivalent amount of non-animal protein, and you see that climate change isn’t intensified only by necessities like transportation and electricity.”
Now I cannot remember ever having heard that cows, chickens and ducks eat fossil fuel, but surely he must be right in this assertion. The question is, where does the statement come from, and is it true?
Note that based on his article I consider him entitled to the dignitary of “Professor” just as is “Professor Flannery” our highly esteemed Climate Commissioner.

dudleyhorscroft

I viewed the video re the Cow-Pea, and noted that while many increases were given for various aspects of the plant under higher CO2 concentrations, there was no indication of any increase in mass of edible seed or increased protein content. However, the plant is a nitrogen fixer, which means it could be a desirable crop on that ground alone, and has a high protein content in its leaves. Suggest view the Wikipaedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowpea.

Jimbo
jc

The name of this “journal” says it all. Salon.
Karl Marx had some things right. In this case his contempt for the petit bourgeoisie who spend their lives attempting to imitate the mannerisms of their social superiors.
This is the class that inhabits AGW – and associated issues – and who think the finest of attainments is to be considered suitable for admission to the “conversation” and the social grooming they take to be the sign of a “superior” status.
They are of course inherently precarious in their status and so must spend their time constantly updating the nuances of etiquette and gaining feedback from others that they are in fact considered acceptable.
Thus The Salon. A frisson of excitement that they could actually be associated with something as “classy” and “refined” as a 19th Century – French! – social construction that they have read about in books or have at least seen in a film!
Since that is all that matters, they exist in a closed loop, feeding off each others desperation to conform, with no proposition too absurd if dressed as a social nicety, no behavior too outlandish if required as fashion, and reliant on directions they can vaguely and incompletely discern coming from the world of their betters.
This is now taking them over the edge.
They are on the verge of being objects of mockery and contempt. Not just from those they desperately seek to distinguish themselves from, but also from their superiors who do not have the same compulsions based on fears of exclusion, and can detach themselves from such things much more easily.
Every step, such as this one, carries them closer to oblivion.
Their superiors have no intention whatsoever of giving up meat.

mwhite

“He found the pre-industrial level little different from the current level, and the variability from year to year was much wider than the ice core and Mauna Loa record showed. He put all the data together in Figure 2.”
http://drtimball.com/2011/ernst-georg-beck-a-major-contributor-to-climate-science-effectively-sidelined-by-climate-deceivers/
Graph titled CO2 Measurements 1812-2004 (Chemical: raw data)

DonV

Can someone answer me a few simple questions:
Why are the “official” measurements of land surface temperature, sea surface temperature, and ocean temperature taken all over the globe, averaged (homogenized, pulverized and reduced to a meaningless value called temperature “anomaly”), while the only “official” measurement that is used to assess the global change in CO2 is from one site only, measured on top of a volcano in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? What does the temperature record look like at that site? Does it track with the changing CO2 concentration and has it been rising? Or has it flattened out as well?
If CO2 is suspected of causing global warming, why aren’t local temperature variations paired with local CO2 concentrations to prove or disprove this? And if the argument is that the CO2 concentration that is important is that of the atmosphere over the local temperature measurement, then why hasn’t someone chosen at least a few representative sites where both temp and CO2 are measured from that site at elevation straight up to as high as a weather balloon can carry the measurement equipment?
I’m also curious if anyone has ever looked into the relationship between the change in land mass to the big island of Hawaii caused by lava flows from Mauna Kea (and/or any of the other active volcanos in that area) vs the change in CO2 concentration in that region as measured on Mauna Loa? If the tons of lava flowing into the ocean are somehow boiling off CO2 from the ocean or changing the ocean pH, or even directly contributin tons of CO2 to the atmosphere from the gases eminating from the volcanic vents and the lava itself, wouldn’t there be an obvious relationship between the change in land mass vs local CO2 concentration since 1970 to today?

DonV asks (May 6, 2013 at 1:28 am): If CO2 is suspected of causing global warming, why aren’t local temperature variations paired with local CO2 concentrations to prove or disprove this?
Don, the CO2 at any location causes no detectable warming that can be separated from short and long term trends in temperature from other causes. The only way a temperature rise from CO2 can be detected, in theory, is from the global average temperature. But even that is difficult in reality since the global average temperature is also affected in the short and long term by other factors.
“…or even directly contributin tons of CO2 to the atmosphere from the gases eminating from the volcanic vents and the lava itself…”
You put your finger on another problem, the CO2 varies by site according to seasonal vegistation, ocean upwelling, agriculture, and other natural and man-controlled factors. Then the CO2 blows away with the wind, while the same wind brings an air mass with a different temperature. So there would be very little correlation between CO2 and temperature at any site as long as there is wind.

DirkH

Somebody call Bloomberg.

“measurements of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million, aka way above what our current ecosystem can handle.”
Who is this idiot?

mwhite

DonV says:
May 6, 2013 at 1:28 am
http://www.clim-past.net/7/975/2011/cp-7-975-2011.pdf
Best I’ve found

Jimbo

Co2 is a well mixed heat trapping gas. AGW tells us that most of the warming will be felt towards the poles and in winter.

NOAA – May 31, 2012
“The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Barrow, Alaska, reached 400 parts per million (ppm) this spring, according to NOAA measurements, the first time a monthly average measurement for the greenhouse gas attained the 400 ppm mark in a remote location. “

WUWT – January 30, 2012
Bitter cold records broken in Alaska – all time coldest record nearly broken, but Murphy’s Law intervenes
Barrow Wso Ap … New Record -45F…..Previous Record -45 1879

Bill Illis

Cattle actually have a positive impact on global warming.
First of all, Methane in the atmosphere is flatlining. Cows are contributing nothing really to the near-Zero increase in Methane. Nobody seems to know this.
Secondly, the pastures that Cows feed on are one of the best Carbon sinks there is. On net, grasslands absorb about 2 Gigatons of Carbon (4.2 Gigatons of CO2) out of the atmosphere each year.
The idea is not based on factual scientific information.

Bruce Cobb

I gave up burgers many, many years ago, becoming a seafood-only vegetarian, later allowing some poultry back into my diet. I had already dabbled in macrobiotics and vegetarianism. The thing that kicked it off for me, though, was the Great Meat Boycott, I believe it was in ’73. I forget why, but the price of meat suddenly shot up, and a boycott got started. Saving money was a very good motivator, but I was already familiar with the vegetarian lifestyle, and the reasons for it (which, of course, had nothing to do with “carbon”).
I do wish the Carbon Cultists could shut up about carbon, and how “bad” it is for the planet. But, I guess they just aren’t happy unless they are making people feel guilty. It would help if they weren’t such hypocrites.

Jimbo

Here is an earlier post examining past levels of co2

Guest Post by David Middleton – December 7, 2012
….2) From 1750 to 1875, atmospheric CO2 rose at ten times the rate of the cumulative anthropogenic emissions…
3) Cumulative anthropogenic emissions didn’t “catch up” to the rise in atmospheric CO2 until 1960…
The rise in CO2 from 1842-1945 looks a heck of a lot like the rise in temperature from 1750-1852…
Conclusions
Atmospheric CO2 concentration records were being broken long before anthropogenic emissions became significant.
Atmospheric CO2 levels were rising much faster than anthropogenic emissions from 1750-1875.
Anthropogenic emissions did not “catch up” to atmospheric CO2 until 1960.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/07/a-brief-history-of-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide-record-breaking/

michael hart

RACookPE1978,
Breathing heavily on your carbon monoxide sensor may prove that the alarm works, but that doesn’t mean it is being tripped by carbon monoxide. All sensors are susceptible to interference from other compounds outside of a certain tolerance range.

DonV:
In your post at May 6, 2013 at 1:28 am you say

I’m also curious if anyone has ever looked into the relationship between the change in land mass to the big island of Hawaii caused by lava flows from Mauna Kea (and/or any of the other active volcanos in that area) vs the change in CO2 concentration in that region as measured on Mauna Loa? If the tons of lava flowing into the ocean are somehow boiling off CO2 from the ocean or changing the ocean pH, or even directly contributin tons of CO2 to the atmosphere from the gases eminating from the volcanic vents and the lava itself, wouldn’t there be an obvious relationship between the change in land mass vs local CO2 concentration since 1970 to today?

Oh dear, you have referred to one of the ‘unmentionables’ concerning atmospheric CO2 concentration; viz. effect of changed ocean surface layer pH provided by sulphur emitted from undersea volcanoes centuries ago.
The anthropogenic emission of CO2 may be the cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration, but there are other possibilities and sulphur from undersea volcanoes is one of them.
Dissolved sulphur from undersea volcanoes would travel with the thermohaline circulation until rising to the ocean surface layer centuries later. This would reduce the pH of the surface layer to alter the equilibrium of CO2 between air and ocean. The effect would be a change to the pH which is independent of the carbonate buffer which sustains CO2 equilbrium between air and ocean surface layer (just as temperature change affects the equilibrium).
A reduction of only 0.1 in the average pH of the ocean surface layer would be sufficient to have resulted in all the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration recorded at Mauna Loa since 1958. The change in pH, and the required change in ocean surface layer sulphur to provide it, would both be far too small for them to be detected. But it would have induced the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration whether or not the anthropogenic emission existed; n.b. the rise in atmospheric CO2 would be THE SAME whether or not the anthropogenic emission existed.
The change to atmospheric CO2 would be the same because
(a)
with the anthropogenic emission to the air there would be a net flux of CO2
air –> ocean surface layer –> deep ocean
but
(b)
with no anthropogenic emission there would be a net flux of CO2
air <– ocean surface layer <– deep ocean
Almost all CO2 is in the deep ocean.
Nobody can know if this change to undersea volcanism happened centuries ago, so nobody can know if it is the cause of the rise in atmospheric CO2 (I doubt it).
But this possibility alone is sufficient to refute the claim that "The rise can only be caused by the anthropogenic emission?" and it is immune to use of the spurious 'mass balance argument' to support that claim.
Is the rise in atmospheric CO2 anthropogenic or natural in part or in whole?
I don't know, nobody does. But some people think they know.
Richard

Merrick

OK. Sirota’s an idiot. But I think the author is being purposefully obtuse here. What Sirota very simply said, which is vertainly true and which the author gets a little over-exercised about, is that measurements have passed 400ppm. In defference to the author, yes, we’re at the annual peak, the monthly average and the annual average are the truly important numbers and both will be below 400ppm, but measurements have peaked above 400ppm in order for the monthly average to be close to 400ppm.
There is far more disbturbing material here that deserves more attention than a number.

G P Hanner

Taking air samples around Mauna Loa, an active volcano. Getting some pretty high carbon dioxide readings. Imagine that.