Climate and Popular Revolution

Guest opinion: Dr. Tim Ball

Journées Révolutionnaires à Paris : Louis XVI se réfugie à l'Assemblée - June 1792
Journées Révolutionnaires à Paris : Louis XVI se réfugie à l’Assemblée – June 1792

My major research interest in climatology is historical climate, but particularly the impact of climate and climate change on human history and the human condition. Climatology was always part of geography because it studies the climate of a region and the change over time. This was subsumed by the growth of climate science in which specialists studied individual pieces of the complex puzzle that are climate, usually without knowing where the piece fit. Geography and Climatology are integrative disciplines that are defined as chorology,

“the study of the causal relations between geographical phenomena occurring within a region.”

You can study history and geography independently, but they [make] better sense when studied together. It is more informative to consider geography as the stage and history the play on that stage. This led to my researching and teaching political geography for 25 years.

Over those 25 years, I took seniors on 20 tours of Europe including visits to Pompeii. One involved focussing on the extensive signage and graffiti throughout the city, putting my Latin to use. It is where you see famous couplets like Carpe diem and Tempus fugit. A piece of graffiti caught our attention because it referenced an election. It essentially said if we get rid of this bunch of scoundrels we just get another bunch of scoundrels. This implies that people simply tolerate leadership and don’t see any difference between them, so they don’t participate in elections. Some countries such as Australia confront this problem with legislated mandatory voting. It is understandable but somehow seems undemocratic because the right not to do something is as important as the right to do it.

The question that interested me was at what point do the people rebel and get rid of the scoundrels. I asked this question not from a revolutionary perspective but from a desire of the majority to restore what they see as the status quo. With those assumptions and extensive research into the rise and fall of civilizations by people like Arnold Toynbee, Fernand Braudel, and Will and Ariel Durant I distilled the reasons down to two.

The first was a failure of the food supply. Hubert Lamb, in Volume 2 of Climate: Present, Past, and Future, identified one of the first written historical records of weather and climate, the life achievements of each Pharaoh inscribed in their tombs. A common theme was their ability to carry their people through periods of diminished food supply because of droughts. The two consecutive years of harvest failure in 1787 and 1788, which caused the basic price of bread to soar to a reported 85 percent of a peasant’s total income, became the catalyst for people getting rid of the scoundrels. The hostility between the peasants and the aristocrats always existed, as it still does in France today, but after a hard winter, they stormed the Bastille in 1789. The riots in Egypt in 2008 and again in 2011 were presented as riots for democracy that President Obama identified as “Arab Spring.” In fact, they were both food riots partly exacerbated by the diversion of US corn for ethanol that put price pressure on basic foodstuffs globally. More recently we have the food riots in Venezuela as the collapse of the socialist regime of Hugo Chavez, and his successors take its toll. Written reports by the CIA during the global cooling from 1940 to 1980 identified failure of the food supply as the greatest threat. A 1974 report said the question of projected cooling identified two key questions,

· Can the agency depend on climatology as a science to accurately project the future?

· What knowledge and understanding is available about world food production and can the consequences of a large climatic change be assessed?

They focused on food supply because of the inevitable social and political unrest that would follow.

The second reason people chose to get rid of the scoundrels was subtle but equally as predictable. It is why I predicted a Trump victory from the beginning. It had nothing to do with politics. When the people sense that the scoundrels think they are in power and control because of who they are and what they believe, not at the pleasure of the people, they will react. When James I claimed he was King because of the Divine Right of Kings they cut his head off. When George III said he didn’t need the approval of the American people (taxation without representation) they defeated his occupying army and created their own government.

Of course, it is not all the people who decide to throw out the scoundrels, just the majority within one standard deviation of the norm. The political elitists occupy the left and the right and generally occupy the urban centers.

Urban areas or cities are manifestations of civilization. They develop as a society forms around an increase in the food supply that creates surplus time. As I explained to farmers alienated by the lack of concern or awareness of them or their problems, urban isolation quickly develops. It reaches a point where they forget as I explained years ago that there are no farms in the cities, but there are no cities without farms. As I explained to a western Canadian farm audience, a majority of people living in Toronto were not even born in Canada, and they outnumbered the farm population of most of western Canada. They offer more votes for the prospective politician.

Another phenomenon that is occurring is the distinctive geography and history of regions creating alienation among people who are suddenly pushed together for political control. Federalism is supposedly a political system that allows for diverse regions to work together. It is failing because as Thomas Jefferson said,

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”

“When all government … shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another.”

In some parts of the world, people are dealing with the problem of taking control of their lives by forming groups outside the traditional parties that use political nomenclature like, Liberal, Conservative, and Socialist. Instead, they are taking on regional geographic names like the One Nation Party in Australia.

Civilizations usually emerge as climate conditions, particularly increased and more reliable precipitation, allow increased food production. This creates surplus food and surplus time in which the civilization creates its form of socio-economic structure each with a hierarchy that exists at the will of the people. A fundamental change to this pattern and therefore a significant change in human evolution occurred in Britain. Climate conditions of the Medieval Warm Period were more conducive to food production than the Little Ice Age that followed. The difference was the technological innovation that provided control over production equal to the switch from hunter/gatherer to sedentary agriculture 9000 years earlier. The agricultural revolution preceded the industrial revolution in Britain. Food production and availability is still a factor in many regions, but that puts more focus on the political and hierarchical structure.

Those at the top of the hierarchy will remain unchallenged, despite incompetence, because the citizens understand they are all incompetent to a degree. However, when the two fundamental tenets of the society, a reliable food supply and the ultimate control of the people are jeopardized, the citizens will reassert themselves.

Geography and Climatology are the original integrative disciplines that create patterns from data and then work to understand the causal relationships of those patterns. The human condition is effectively determined by the food supply and the social hierarchical structure that exists at the will of the people to manage it. Disrupt or ignore those and the people will rebel and get rid of the scoundrels who gravitate to power and control.

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Tom Halla
November 22, 2016 2:53 pm

Good post! Where I developed an interest in the field was “Plagues and Peoples” by William McNeill. Climate changes seem associated with famine, and famine with disease, and both with political upheavals. So, when I heard of Mann trying to do away with the Little Ice Age, I got into climate change.

Curious George
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 22, 2016 4:28 pm

That’s a fresh interpretation of World War I and WWII.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Curious George
November 22, 2016 4:35 pm

I didn’t write that at all! I am old enough to have a very dim view of any model trying to find a single cause for almost everything, whether Marxism and economics, or climate change and CO2.

Reply to  Tom Halla
November 22, 2016 5:25 pm

The price of food no longer controls a centralist mantra. It can be imported from elsewhere. The price of energy now controls central government outcomes.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 22, 2016 5:43 pm

If you liked Plagues and Peoples, Tom, you’ll love the earlier (1934) “Rats, Lice, and History,” by Hans Zinsser. The language is a bit formal and old fashioned, but the story is terrific. Zinsser was a biologist, and he essentially invented the field of bio-history.

Reply to  Tom Halla
November 22, 2016 5:55 pm

… when I heard of Mann trying to do away with the Little Ice Age, I got into climate change.

Me too.
My interest was the Viking settlement of Greenland. The warmists argued that was a local phenomenon and didn’t happen elsewhere in the world. A quick google shows that it also happened in China.

November 22, 2016 2:58 pm

Error – Charles the first was beheaded, not James the First.

Reply to  arthur4563
November 22, 2016 3:17 pm

I was a bit concerned about that one, coming from someone who claims to be a respectable interpreter of history.

Roy Jones
Reply to  gnome
November 22, 2016 4:33 pm

James and Charles were father and son. James pushed the idea of the Divine Right of Kings because as a Scot he didn’t realise English thinking had moved on. Charles was the one who paid for the error. If you’re writing about something else (climate and revolution) and referencing James’ idea it’s an easy mistake to have him pay rather than his son.

Reply to  arthur4563
November 22, 2016 5:38 pm

Re: James 1 – it’s kind of surprising that he managed to have any children, given that he appears to have been one of the most notoriously gay men to ever wear the British Crown. (Edward II was another)
“Jamesʼs sexual orientation was so widely known that Sir Walter Raleigh joked about it in public saying “King Elizabeth” had been succeeded by “Queen James.””

M E Emberson
Reply to  wws
November 23, 2016 10:40 am

Somewhat Irrelevant since it was Charles who had his head cut off. The fact that James First was also James Sixth of Scotland was the reason for his unpopularity and that of his courtiers who flocked to England to take over. Most likely the comments were in response to that invasion.

November 22, 2016 3:00 pm

In fact, they were both food riots partly exacerbated by the diversion of US corn for ethanol that put price pressure on basic foodstuffs globally.
See?! I told you climate change causes death suffering and revolution!
Without climate change there would be no diversion of US corn for ethanol !

Reply to  Leo Smith
November 22, 2016 5:20 pm

“US corn for ethanol !”
What genius thought this would be a good idea?

November 22, 2016 3:00 pm

Wow. A meaningful education on a website. History major with geography minor although I could not have explained why as well as you have.
The anti GOM movement, anti energy explotation, anti technology folks understand all of this perfectly. Creating artificial shortage gives them appearance of control. In fact it will likely lead to their downfall. As it should.

November 22, 2016 3:18 pm

Looks like Trump was walking backwards and fell into the swamp.
Trump softens stance on Paris climate pact

Reply to  Rob
November 22, 2016 3:49 pm

“if we get rid of this bunch of scoundrels we just get another bunch of scoundrels.”
& it just happened again
The Americans were given a choice between two scoundrels… a scoundrel wins…as always.
If you keep doing the same thing, DON’T expect a different outcome.
To find out what probably happens next –
Read ‘The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’
amazing parallels to our current position.

Reply to  1saveenergy
November 22, 2016 5:08 pm

The female scoundrel walked away from politics with over $250 million of income in the past 15 years, mainly from charity fraud.
It would be horrible to reward a politician for selling access and influence, and taking in a fortune.
I imagine Bill Clintons’s future speeches will soon be $20,000 each, plus a free lunch, not $200,000 to $750,000!

Reply to  1saveenergy
November 23, 2016 11:18 am

Well, at least this scoundrel isn’t a career politician.

Reply to  Rob
November 22, 2016 4:40 pm

I read that this morning. I felt a bit uneasy hearing that after all the recent hope that a new way forward was finally at hand, but then the thought came that Trump will still have to push this onto the Senate. The Senate will make the decision, and undoubtedly reject the PA. That will be the end of it.

Reply to  goldminor
November 22, 2016 5:40 pm

You can’t depend on the Leftwing Media to report accurately on what Trumps says. The only way to be sure of what Trump is going to do is to hear it from his own mouth, or see the action he takes. Ignore everything else.

Reply to  goldminor
November 22, 2016 5:40 pm

Even though I’m relieved Trump beat the she-demon, I have never had too high an opinion of him, or his ability to stick to any one position on anything for very long. My only hope is that he’s able to hire good people and stay out of their way for the most part. He can have twitter wars about Broadway plays all he likes then.

Reply to  Rob
November 22, 2016 5:11 pm

according to “Times reporter Mike Grynbaum, who was in the room.”
The “Times reporter” pretty much says it all about the credibility of the statement which requires immediate dismissal until Trump says otherwise.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Rob
November 22, 2016 8:18 pm

I don’t have any doubt that he will keep an open mind…on the best way to axe the thing. Trump will never show you the last card in his hand until he is ready to call.

John M. Ware
Reply to  Rob
November 24, 2016 12:57 pm

What Trump said, in response to repeated probing and pressuring questions from the far-Left New York Times staff, was “I’m thinking about it.” They tried to pin him down, to get him to say something they could agree with, and he would not. He talked about golf courses and other, more important, topics than climate change, and when forced back onto that topic, said–repeatedly–“I’m thinking about it.” At no point did he soften his stance or change it in any way. He merely temporized (delayed things) so he could get to more important topics. The NYT, of course, took “I’m thinking about it” to mean “Yes, I was too hasty during the campaign, and I’m re-thinking my position to come more into conformity with what you want.” That’s what they reported, but that’s NOT what Trump said. He said, “I’m thinking about it.” That’s all, and all the NYT’s paraphrases and hopeful glosses could not change it–nor did they change his mind. Be comforted!

patrick bols
Reply to  Rob
November 26, 2016 3:42 pm

Mr. Trump made it clear that SCIENCE and NOT POLITICS will guide his policy. Since we are all so convinced that we would win the scientific debate, do not fear.

November 22, 2016 3:21 pm

My distant ancestors somewhere at the end of 7th century AD decided that climate on the shores of Baltic Sea was getting to harsh and moved southwards, initiating great medieval migration due to climate change. About a century later they reached Balkans. Fighting the Germanic tribes, Pannonian Avars, Ilirians and finally Byzantines, all the way to the shores of the warm Adriatic, apparently was worth the effort.
(graph is from
I would think that the drop in the temperatures between Roman and Medieval warm periods was probably underestimated at least for these parts of the north and central Europe.

Santa Baby
Reply to  vukcevic
November 23, 2016 3:24 am

As hunters and gartheres we follow the food and climate. The kingdom of burgundy was established by a tribe that originally came from Scandinavia. Climate refugees?

Mario Lento
November 22, 2016 3:22 pm

Good article:
In fact, warmth brings wealth and good times. A slight shift downward in temperature brings chaos and suffering.

November 22, 2016 3:41 pm

This is an excellent summary. Thanks you for such a clear-headed analysis. I see many signs of the people exerting their prerogative yet again to pull the leash on those in power. It seems the collective wisdom of people acting for their own benefit and that of their families is always greater than that of the ruling elite. Fortunately we have elections to correct bad behavior and may not need to resort to revolution which is a very messy thing.

November 22, 2016 3:42 pm

Where I write at this moment was under hundreds if not thousands of feet of glacial ice less than 25,000 years ago. So, the climate is *always* changing. There is far greater downside for human welfare should the climate grow sharply colder no matter what the reason. This has happened before and it is only a matter of time before it happens again.

The Old Man
November 22, 2016 3:47 pm

And in the current Social Digital Epoch, scoundrel removal gets facilitated on near frictionless roller bearings. The current Climate Rule Enforcers are finding that it cuts both ways, and the prehistoric mainstream media is just distant dinosaur noise in the modern, fast moving broad spectrum social machine.
When the mainstream medias tried to direct and enforce the official traffic meme in the last election either by skewing the story, cutting off / refusing comments on articles or positions that attracted negative feedback and so on, the masses simply went around it to the many alternate inputs. Make no mistake about it, Global Climate-Gate and it’s nefarious economic genocide modelled for the far future influenced the voting away from that policy enforcement plan. They helped a lot.

November 22, 2016 3:49 pm

Australians are not forced by law to vote, just to attend. We can choose not to vote, just not by laziness, which is the typical route to non-voting.

Reply to  Jer0me
November 22, 2016 4:31 pm

Yes, but it should be my democratic right to laze on my couch on election day.

Keith Minto
Reply to  Stan
November 22, 2016 5:17 pm

True, this topic gets debated occasionally, but the leftish parties know very well that their followers would “laze on my couch on election day” and fight like hell to keep the status quo.
Good commentary, Dr Ball.

John in Oz
Reply to  Jer0me
November 22, 2016 7:22 pm

We also have the opportunity to vote in as many polling booths that are available in our voting area as we do not have to show ID, just know our name and address.
It is also possible to vote as another person for the same reason. Of course, this would NEVER happen, would it?

Steve Case
Reply to  John in Oz
November 23, 2016 4:51 am

John in Oz – at 7:22 pm
We also have the opportunity to vote in as many polling booths that are available in our voting area as we do not have to show ID, just know our name and address.
It is also possible to vote as another person for the same reason. Of course, this would NEVER happen, would it?

Trump won Wisconsin by 27,000 votes or about 7.5 votes per precinct. First time Republicans won the state since 1988. Also voter turnout this year was low. Hmmmm, What changed? Hey boys and girls, can you say Voter ID? I knew you could. How easy do you think it is to manufacture 7 or 8 bogus votes per precinct? A lot harder if you have to manufacture a fake ID to do it.

Reply to  Jer0me
November 22, 2016 7:31 pm

But the result of compulsory voting in Australia is that Australian politicians are sensible, intelligent, well informed, honest, and sagacious statesmen/women. They are the very epitome of decency and intellectual integrity, and their only concern is the well-being of the Australian people.
You ask anyone in Australia. They’ll tell you.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  RoHa
November 23, 2016 10:21 pm

You forgot the tag!

Gerard Flood
Reply to  Jer0me
November 23, 2016 12:45 am

“… Australia confront this problem with legislated mandatory voting…”. Not only that, but also we use a “preferential” electoral process which militates against less “democratic” legislative and executive government. On “compulsion”, we are also privileged with a right and a duty to serve on juries, and to defend the nation in times of peril. Why shouldn’t active participation in the nation’s government be a duty of citizenship? Are there any legitimate limits on my “personal autonomy” at all? Or is my citizenship all “take” and no “give”?

Reply to  Gerard Flood
November 23, 2016 3:17 am

Citizens have duties as well as rights? In return for the benefits of society they should contribute to society? What quaint, almost socialist, ideas! I’m sure the libertarians will tell you that these are unconscionable infringements of personal freedom.

November 22, 2016 3:57 pm

Viking colonists of America were repulsed during the MWP when the Indian population was high. The pilgrims succeeded during the LIA when the Indian population was low.

Reply to  tabnumlock
November 22, 2016 5:35 pm

The pilgrims succeeded because of the Native American genocide caused by Columbus’ arrival
leading to the enslavement of the Native Americans plus the effects of disease. The Indian population
was low for well known reasons none of which have anything to do with climate. Low is also a very
inaccurate word for a 90 to 99% reduction in population from pre-colombian times.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Geronimo
November 22, 2016 5:51 pm

It’s generally recognized that the arrival of old world diseases wiped out about 90% of the native american population in a very short time. The Pilgrims and other later arrivals found an almost empty land. There certainly were genocidal elements later, but Columbus was not guilty of them.

Reply to  Geronimo
November 22, 2016 9:23 pm

have you read what Columbus did to the Taino indians he enslaved? Have a look at wikipedia – he
personally enslaved more people than anyone else, he cut the hands of Indians who did not deliver enough
gold and as a result the remaining Taino indians fled captivity to commit suicide. He started the systematic enslavement and destruction of the Indians that was the method followed by almost all subsequent European settlers in the New World.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Geronimo
November 23, 2016 10:24 pm

Why didn’t the Native Americans succumb to diseases from the Vikings?

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 22, 2016 4:13 pm

The historical aspects of climate change have always seemed to me to form the most compelling evidence against the current CO2 hysteria, but as someone who took a history degree that particular interest is not surprising.
Nevertheless, I recommend to readers a particular book which catalogues in great detail just how natural swings in weather and climate have caused enormous harm to humanity. In particular it examines in detail the violent effects in the nineteenth century of a succession on El Ninos which caused millions of deaths, monsoon failures, worldwide droughts and general abject misery.
The book in question “Late Victorian Holocausts – El Niño famines and the making of the third world” by Mike Davis is a remarkable work and anyone foolish enough to claim we are experiencing extreme climate conditions today should read it and learn.
After reading this book I really find myself wondering how reliable the modern earmarking of the 1998 El Niño as the most severe on record really is, especially given that the 1876 to 1897 event killed perhaps 50 million people (aided by some crass colonial policies). Unless I missed something, we haven’t had a two/three year drought throughout the tropical/mid latitudes felt worldwide in the last fifty years. Nor indeed the several other extreme events detailed in this terrific work which fully justify the title Victorian holocausts.
If you haven’t come across this book I urge anyone interested in the current climate debate to get a copy, it is magisterial.
This issue of how severe weather events ,or climate fluctuation, was prior to our allegedly “unique” present seems to me to cut to the heart of the claims of the alarmist lobby – they would probably wish they could make the past disappear entirely if only they could.
On an entirely local level, I live in a small Essex coastal town with a medieval church on the hill as you come into what was a fishing community. In the nineteenth century the fishing community took to putting small ceramic tiles recording the loss of fishing and other boats and the names of the people from the town drowned in the church. The tiles now run around virtually all of the church nave forming a remarkable record. What particularly strikes me is the succession of severe gales in the late nineteenth leading to the losses of life recorded. It seems to me to indicate that far from seeing more extreme weather events in modern times, our recent “climate” really is much more benign, exactly the opposite of what is being claimed. I hasten to add I make no scientific claim in my reading of the church tiles.
But run to your bookstall to order a copy of “Late Victorian Holocausts”……

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 22, 2016 4:54 pm


Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 22, 2016 5:39 pm

Firstly “late victorian holocausts” is truly an eye opening book and I would strongly recommend it. However
the main message is how the British made matters so much worse by their misguided polices. For example
India was still forced to export crops to Britain while Indians were dying of famine. And the British “work camps” set up for relief forced the Indians to work while feeding them fewer calories than the Nazis gave the
Jews in the concentration camps. The Holocausts were caused by British policies which is all laid out in the books. And the worse thing is as usual the biggest disasters were caused by misguided polices that were meant to help.

Reply to  Geronimo
November 22, 2016 9:55 pm

That sounds a lot like how they treated the Irish.

Rhoda R
Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 22, 2016 6:27 pm

Thanks for the heads up. I am interested in how climate affected history and I haven’t come across that reference before. Ordered through Amazon.

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 23, 2016 12:00 pm

Other good historical reviews showing the strong influence of climate on civilizations can be found by archaeologist Brian Fagan; The Little Ice age, How Climate Made History; The Long Summer; How Climate Changed Civilization; The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall Of Civilizations; Flood, Famines, and Emperors: El Nino and the Fate of Civilizations, among others. Fagan pays “lip-service” to AGW but even the cursory read shows that nature not man is the driver. See Amazon or your local library.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 22, 2016 4:17 pm

Oops … a couple of literals, I didn’t mean to say the people were drowned in the church…

Wim Röst
November 22, 2016 4:21 pm

Geography and Climatology (….) “the study of the causal relations between geographical phenomena occurring within a region.”
Nice definition. As I have ever learned in geography, the central questions are:
– WHAT do I find
– WHERE do I find it
– And WHY do I find it THERE
Those questions made geography interesting for me and climatology as well. So far, both in geography and climatology I have found more questions than answers. Everything is changing and nothing is settled. Which makes developments in the World and developments on Earth very interesting puzzles.
Thinking that we already understand: “Science is settled”, is the biggest mistake that has been made. Now we know: a lot has been misunderstood. And that misunderstanding is finally having it’s consequences.
Let’s stay awake.

Johna Till Johnson
Reply to  Wim Röst
November 22, 2016 7:41 pm

+1 Love the “central questions”. Very pithy.

November 22, 2016 4:23 pm

Speaking of geography and the political elites, the electoral college safeguards the interests of those living outside the handful of metropolitan areas which would otherwise routinely impose their will on the rest of the country. Any political party is deluded if it thinks eliminating electoral voting will do nothing but further alienate middle America.

John M. Ware
Reply to  Maxbert
November 24, 2016 1:48 pm

I could easily see a second civil war if somehow the Electoral College does not do its duty on Dec 19. If somehow, by cheat and chicanery, Hillary is given the presidency, I can’t see Middle American standing still for it.

November 22, 2016 4:34 pm

The proximate cause of the French Revolution was the famines caused by bad weather coupled with the effective bankruptcy of the government who could not bring themselves to tax the nobility.
The storming the Bastille is the symbolic beginning of the Revolution, but the hatred of the Bastille came from half-truths and non-truths printed in the very popular newsletters of the day. They were sort of the cable news networks of Revolutionary France.

Reply to  lorcanbonda
November 23, 2016 4:24 am

No tax was ever a relief for anyone. Aristocracy wasn’t taxed, true enough … but if it had been, it would had just pass along the burden to its dependents, for zero change. Most french neighbors suffered same trouble as France (for instance Britain was even more financially crippled than France : not only it had wage a very costly war against USA, it had lost it, and with it quite some revenues).
The sole “proximate cause” of French Revolution is the political stupidity of its ruler, enable to quench or even hang a few agitators, or let his guards fight back unrest (resulting on them being horribly slaughtered, and later millions of victims in Europe)… so much for wanting to be a “good man” instead of a wise ruler. Who wants to play the angel plays the beast

Reply to  paqyfelyc
November 24, 2016 8:00 am

Wow, supply side economics won’t die, will it? The nobility could not just pass taxes onto the poor. That’s not how economics works. However, when the crown decided it was better to tax imports on salt rather than tax the nobility, that was a direct tax on everyone other than the nobility.
The king was weak and out of touch. However, it hardly mattered because newsletters printed whatever lies they wanted. The goal was to print the most outrageous stories that people could believe rather than the truth. The Bastille was classic. It was a symbol for non-judicial political imprisonment, but it was practically empty. Newsletters kept the “lie” alive.

November 22, 2016 4:51 pm

The next revolution will likely be triggered by limited availability of life extension technology. Imagine the situation in a decade or two from now, where the mega-rich can afford to live forever, but poor people if they’re lucky get a few extra years. People will really question the parasites who are holding them back – especially if the bureaucrats and politicians start helping themselves to eternal youth, at the taxpayer’s expense.

November 22, 2016 5:04 pm

“My major research interest in climatology is historical climate,”
What other climate is there?
(1) Historical climate = Real Climate
(2) Today’s climate = Real Climate
(3) Hysterical (future) climate = Fantasy Climate
Only warmunists live in the Fantasy Climate Land.
According to them the future climate is known with great certainly … while the historical climate keeps changing from their repeated “adjustments” to the data.
The result is the warmunists claim to know all about the climate that has not happened yet,
even as they “have to” keep adjusting the historical climate data to get it “right”.
Wild guesses about the future climate are not science.
They are non-science … and nonsense.

November 22, 2016 5:05 pm

The Indian mega-famines are events which are worse than the Europe-orientated climate change cultural disruptions described above.
This is because of the sheer number of people and wide geographic area involved. They are truly horrible disasters.
With India currently seething politically, a mega-famine in the next few years may cause a massive political and humanity crisis.
This is not a true black swan event, Ian Wilson has predicted a 25% probability of a mega-famine in the period 2018-20, and I suggest this is a risk which needs to be carefully considered.

NW sage
Reply to  Poly
November 22, 2016 7:20 pm

Consider also the current state of much of Africa. The concept of famine caused overpopulation certainly applies here and has for a long period of time.

H. D. Hoese
November 22, 2016 5:10 pm

Interesting and important. I would add an amendment about the history of cartography, not just ancient, but as in WWII, old British maps still the best available in some Pacific areas. Jack Jackson (1995) in his Flags along the Coast, Charting the Gulf of Mexico, 1519-1759: A Reappraisal, while leaving a lot of questions, suggested perhaps that we needed an institute devoted to cartography with its importance to history. The Gulf is full of climate related shipwrecks.

John M. Ware
Reply to  H. D. Hoese
November 24, 2016 1:51 pm

I fully agree! For some historical figures, such as Beaufort, their map-drawing and diagramming of ports and shorelines is extremely valuable, if for nothing else showing changes from that time to now.

November 22, 2016 5:23 pm

An interesting article Dr Ball…thanks.
We enjoyed seeing you in Melbourne recently. I hope you found some spare time to see a little of this large continent!

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 22, 2016 5:37 pm

Drat …this is what comes of posting late at night. My earlier reference to the extreme El Niño was incorrectly dated. It should have have said 1876 to 1879, not 1897. Now that really would be a bit scary.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
November 22, 2016 8:51 pm

Soils distribution, vegetation distribution, climate distribution, etc relate to geography. Koppen’s Classification is a classical example of integrated index of geography. This is now termed it as climate system – the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere (ice and snow), the land surface, the biosphere (plants and animal), the pedosphere (Soil) and the lithosphere (rocks).
I developed methods to estimate global solar radiation, net radiation and evaporation in early 70s and using these models estimated these at monthly, seasonal and annual interval. I presented these in an article “Radiation and evaporation distribution over India” published in “The National Geographical Journal of India”, Vol. XXII, Parts 1 & 2, March-June, 1976, pp.154-63 – I.G.U. Special Number, on the occasion of XXIII International Geographical Congress, Moscow, 1976. I did my Ph.D. in the Geography Department of The Australian National University, Canberra titled “An agro-climatic classification of the semi-arid tropics: An agro-climatic approach for the transfer of dry-land agricultural technology”, 1985. In this climate is used to refer agriculture system.
Crop development and growth are related to weather. In the case of development meteorological parameters such as temperature and relative humidity plays main role along with soil moisture. In the case of growth, crop-soil-water plays the vital role. Here also weather is the primary component. When we integrate them over years gives the climate. Thus climatology plays the primarily role in the adaptation. This is dealt in a book of mine “Agro-climatic/Agro-meteorological Techniques: As applicable to dry-land agriculture in developing countries”, 2003, 205p – book review appeared in Agric. For. Meteorol., 67:325-327 (1994).
Weather refers to a point while climate refers to a point, region, nation and globe and thus a geographic condition.
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Reply to  Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
November 23, 2016 2:22 am

Interesting work Dr.
I am in tropical north Queensland and a professional grass grower. (farmer)
You are the first person I have read of to state the obvious known to all farmers. All things are relitive to vegetation growth but humidity and soil moisture are the true bedfellows. Warm low humidity days give you little growth add a wind and you can watch it die. Warm humid days and you can watch it grow, throw in moisture and the cattle get fat fast. The hockey stick assumes temperature only drives tree growth, temperature only stops tree growth.
Orchards run misting sprays for that very reason, so on warm dry days they can add humidity.
I will try and find your paper, or if you have a link?
Best definition of climate/weather I’ve read.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
Reply to  Itsweather
November 23, 2016 9:21 pm

Itsweather — Please refer the book of mine: Agroclimate/Agrometeorological Techniques: As applicable to dry-land agriculture in developing countries, 1993, by S. Jeevananda Reddy,, Google Books — it is free only.
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Alan Ranger
November 22, 2016 11:25 pm

“Some countries such as Australia confront this problem with legislated mandatory voting. It is understandable but somehow seems undemocratic because the right not to do something is as important as the right to do it.”
The left, mainly the ALP but also the Greens, are terrified at the prospect of Australia catching up with the rest of the civilized western world, and getting rid of compulsory voting. The average ill-informed dumb voter will inevitably end up voting Labor, coz they reckon that’s the mob who look after us ordinary people. The other mob just look after their rich mates. These are the same people who wouldn’t bother interrupting their Saturday to go out and vote.
It’s incredible that this perception has persisted form the days even before federation, but the ALP pretend that this still differentiates them today, and so many people actually believe it. They are accountable to the unions, which now constitute less than 17% of the workforce. “Power to the people” actually means power to an elite of corrupt union officials. Go figure.

Reply to  Alan Ranger
November 23, 2016 8:25 am

Voting is not a right, it is a duty, stemming from the duty to serve in the army and to speak one’s voice for what one thinks worthwhile to fight for. That’s why it makes sense to make it mandatory ; same as conscription. Of course, if there is no conscription, it makes little sense to have mandatory voting. People that don’t even care about voting have little military value anyway, which is why it also does make sense to NOT have conscription nor mandatory voting.

John M. Ware
Reply to  paqyfelyc
November 24, 2016 1:57 pm

Voting is a right. If everyone were fully informed, intelligent, patriotic (with the country’s best interests at heart), and a legal citizen, I could see strongly urging (but not requiring) everyone to vote. However, many (most?) eligible voters are poorly informed, of median or less intelligence, and couldn’t care less if the country prospered, as long as they (eligible voters) get what they want. I am perfectly willing for unintelligent and uninformed people to skip voting. I would, of course, be willing to teach them what they need to know . . .

Reply to  Alan Ranger
November 24, 2016 3:32 am

I oppose mandatory voting – see my last paragraph for an alternative proposal.
Regards, Allan 🙂
Hi John MacDonald,
My serious comments in the above post were these, and they were very serious:
“A USA election is imminent. For most countries, I suggest that the question of a Hillary vs a Donald would come down to “who gets energy right (Donald), and who gets it utterly wrong (Hillary).”
Cheap, reliable abundant energy is the lifeblood of society, and our very cheap fossil fuel energy should provide our two countries with an overwhelming economic advantage, IF the greens would stop sabotaging our economies to advance their far-left political objectives.
Since the USA is a global power, there are more issues than just the domestic economy.”
I tend to agree with your comments John, regarding the risks to “liberty and freedom, the rule of law and the survival of the Constitution”. However, as a Canadian I do not think I should comment on these matters. The American people have a critically important choice to make, and you should understand these issues far better than I do.
I hope your voters do not get dragged down by the mud-slinging that is going on, and focus on the facts that matter. For the Clintons to focus on Trump’s alleged sexual misconduct, given Bill’s sordid history, is a remarkably bold attempt to influence the stupidest voters in America.
I have never liked campaigns to “get out the vote”. I would be much happier if there was a campaign to urge really stupid voters to stay home – something like a skill-testing question on a billboard, with the caption:
“If you are too stupid to answer this question, STAY HOME – you’re way too stupid to vote!” 🙂
Regards, Allan

November 22, 2016 11:52 pm

It was the very cold climate during the Wolf Grand Solar Minimum event (1280~1350), which caused major famines that killed 25% of Europe’s population and led to the demise of feudal system.
Huge areas of Europe were significantly depopulated, however, the strict feudal system prevented serfs from moving to other Lord’s lands. Eventually, exceptions and special contracts were organized between the Lord’s and barons, which lead to the collapse of the feudal system.
The Black Death (1352~55), which occurred just after the end of the Wolf GSM, wiped out the remaining 50% of Europe’s population, which simply sped up the disintegration of the oppressive feudal system. Tyrannical government control over the economy and people never ends well.
We’re quickly approaching another Grand Solar Minimum event from 2032, and the next solar cycle starting from 2021 is expected to be the weakest since 1790.. Hopefully, the CAGW ho-x will be dead and buried before 2021 to enable the free-market to naturally adjust to the climate changes ahead.
The Mother of All Ironies is that CO2’s tiny forcing effect and its fertilization effect will help ameliorate some of the negative impacts of a cooling earth.

Reply to  SAMURAI
November 24, 2016 3:27 am

Hello Samurai.
I just read you post and agree in general – see my post below – November 23, 2016 at 3:47 am.
Time for reality to set it – enough, with the warmist falsehoods.
Best, Allan

November 23, 2016 2:43 am

Very interesting presentation. Thank you. A colleague is writing a draft which attempts to explain the rise of trump on climate change (oh the irony). I will post again if he submits it.

November 23, 2016 3:44 am

“When people have nothing left to lose, they lose it”
Gerald Celente
Whatever the reasons.
Great work you did in Australia together with Tony Heller.

Reply to  Robertvd
November 23, 2016 3:51 am
A way to control the population by the Elite. Divide and conquer.

Reply to  Robertvd
November 23, 2016 10:48 am

Hi Robert,
Thank you for this video by Sallie.
Sallie was pushed out of Harvard-Smithsonian, reportedly by Obama’s Chief Scientific Advisor John Holdren. This was a great loss for science and humanity – Sallie is one of the best and smartest people I know.
The same people have now attacked Sallie’s colleague Willie Soon, but Willie has managed to hang on.
You may find this paper we co-authored with Sallie in 2002 of interest.
Best, Allan
Here is our predictive track record, from an article that Dr. Sallie Baliunas, Dr. Tim Patterson and I published in 2002 in our debate with the Pembina Institute on the now-defunct Kyoto Accord.
Our eight-point Rebuttal includes predictions that have all materialized in those countries in Western Europe that have adopted the full measure of global warming mania. My country, Canada, was foolish enough to sign the Kyoto Protocol, but then was (mostly) wise enough to ignore it.
[Our 2002 article is in “quotation marks”, followed by current commentary.]
1. “Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist.”
NO net global warming has occurred for more than 18 years despite increasing atmospheric CO2.
2. “Kyoto focuses primarily on reducing CO2, a relatively harmless gas, and does nothing to control real air pollution like NOx, SOx, and particulates, or serious pollutants in water and soil.”
Note the extreme pollution of air, water and soil that still occurs in China and the Former Soviet Union.
3. “Kyoto wastes enormous resources that are urgently needed to solve real environmental and social problems that exist today. For example, the money spent on Kyoto in one year would provide clean drinking water and sanitation for all the people of the developing world in perpetuity.”
Since the start of global warming mania, about 50 million children below the age of five have died from contaminated water, and trillions of dollars have been squandered on global warming nonsense.
4. “Kyoto will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs and damage the Canadian economy – the U.S., Canada’s biggest trading partner, will not ratify Kyoto, and developing countries are exempt.”
Canada signed Kyoto but then most provinces wisely ignored it – the exception being now-depressed Ontario, where government adopted ineffective “green energy” schemes, drove up energy costs, and drove out manufacturing jobs.
5. “Kyoto will actually hurt the global environment – it will cause energy-intensive industries to move to exempted developing countries that do not control even the worst forms of pollution.”
Note the huge manufacturing growth and extremely polluted air in industrial regions of China.
6. “Kyoto’s CO2 credit trading scheme punishes the most energy efficient countries and rewards the most wasteful. Due to the strange rules of Kyoto, Canada will pay the Former Soviet Union billions of dollars per year for CO2 credits.”
Our government did not pay the FSU, but other governments did, bribing them to sign Kyoto.
7. “Kyoto will be ineffective – even assuming the overstated pro-Kyoto science is correct, Kyoto will reduce projected warming insignificantly, and it would take as many as 40 such treaties to stop alleged global warming.”
If one believed the false climate models, one would conclude that we must cease using fossil fuels.
8. “The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.”
Governments that adopted “green energy” schemes such as wind and solar power are finding these schemes are not green and produce little useful energy. Their energy costs are soaring and many of these governments are in retreat, dropping their green energy subsidies as fast as they politically can.
All the above predictions that we made in 2002 have proven correct in those states that fully adopted the Kyoto Accord, whereas none of the global warming alarmists’ scary warming projections have materialized.

Reply to  Robertvd
November 23, 2016 3:55 pm

It is all about how a small group has been able to control the rest of the population, by creating a not existing problem, but in a way that we gave up our rights voluntary. They did a brilliant job but of course had unlimited resources. They made us believe that WE THE PEOPLE are the problem. But then gave us the solution BURN THE WITCHES. Divide and conquer. The only way a small group can have so much power. And you’d better listen because if not you go to hell. Politicians in this game are just tools to achieve this goal and can be eliminated whenever they step out of line.

Reply to  Robertvd
November 23, 2016 7:34 pm

In reality, the truly diabolical forces were the scoundrels who promoted global warming hysteria, and the many imbeciles who followed them.
These warmist scam artists have:
– created mass hysteria among their under-educated minions
– driven up the cost of energy and the cost of food
– increased poverty, hunger and winter mortality
– increased human suffering especially among the elderly and the poor.
– squandered many trillions of dollars of scarce global resources that could have been devoted to solving real humanitarian and environmental problems.
For far less money, we could have installed clean water and sanitation systems in every village on Earth. In the decades that the world has obsessed over global warming, over 50 million children below the age of five have died from contaminated drinking water. Yes, really!
That is the about same number of people who died in WW2, and about the same number killed by Stalin. Only Mao killed more, during his Great Leap Backward. That is the warmists’ legacy. Only their fellow-travelers who opposed the use of DDT to fight malaria can compete with their death toll – another group of green fanatics.
None of this was ever justified. It was a classic case of “extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds”.
We need a return to common decency and common sense, and we need it now.
Regards, Allan

November 23, 2016 3:47 am

Thank you Tim for this enlightening essay.
I have written since about 2002 that foolish green energy policies (grid-connected wind and solar power) would drive up energy costs and destabilize electrical grids – this has now happened in several large areas of the world.
I have also written that foolish green energy policies have resulted in about 40% of the USA corn crop being devoted to corn ethanol, and huge areas of tropical rainforest being cut down to produce sugar cane and palm oil for biofuels.
The huge US corn-for-ethanol crop is also accelerating the serious depletion of the great High Plains Aquifer.
I also wrote in 2002 that natural global cooling would start by 2020-2030 – I am now leaning towards sooner, perhaps by as early as 2017. I have no opinion on a possible mega-drought because I have not studied it.
However, let’s just ask the question: What do we do if some combinations of factors, such as global cooling, drought, loss of a major aquifer for crop irrigation, misallocation of crops for biofuels, and/or the foolish green increases in energy costs causes a humanitarian crisis in the next few decades?
That crisis would look something like this: Food and/or energy shortages would result in increasing scarcities and rising costs. The elderly and the poor would suffer the most as the crisis accelerated.
How would we cope? I think we would have to quickly reverse all the green energy nonsense that has been foisted upon society in recent decades: get rid of biofuels and replant food crops, get rid of all subsidies for wind and solar power, restart mothballed coal-fired power plants, find some alternative source of irrigation water for the Midwest USA, and hope that this could all be done quickly enough to prevent a disaster.
I wonder if any organization is seriously looking at this sort of scenario. It seems that almost all our efforts are being devoted to assessing the nonexistent global warming crisis. We know climate is always changing – not because of increasing CO2 but through natural causes, which we only partly understand.
I suggest the above doomsday scenario is more likely to occur in the next few decades than any global warming crisis, and it appears we have not even bothered to consider it, let alone start contingency planning should it occur.
What are the odds of this scenario occurring in the next decades? I do not know, as to probability of occurrence or degree of severity – I will say the odds of occurrence are far greater than any disasters caused by increasing atmospheric CO2, a fictional crisis that society has spent many trillions trying to prevent.
I suggest it is time to get our feet back on the ground, and start planning for real-world scenarios that could actually occur. The increase in atmospheric CO2, from whatever cause, is entirely beneficial to humankind and the environment, and will not lead to dangerous global warming. That much we know. What we do not know and have not studied, is almost everything else.
Regards, Allan

Reply to  Allan M.R. MacRae
November 23, 2016 7:06 am

+ 1

Warren Latham
Reply to  Allan M.R. MacRae
November 23, 2016 9:13 am

+ 1 and very well said indeed.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 23, 2016 9:20 am

Geronimo is absolutely correct to castigate the dreadful policy carried out by the British authorities in India at the time of the catastrophic El Niño of 1876-79, but it certainly is not the central message of the book. While British policies made the death toll much worse than it need have been in India, you have to take on board the equally horrific death tolls in China (especially) and the rest of Asia.
The same drought killed the poor throughout the tropics, including a notable resulting famine in NE Brazil and across the Mediterranean world.
It is precisely the detailed, evidence based, linking of El Ninos to global calamities on a huge scale unheard of in modern times that makes “Victorian Holocausts” such an important book, since the events described fall before any reasonable case can be made for human emissions influencing the disasterous weather/climate fluctuations. And please note that the appalling death tolls were at a time when the global population was far smaller and most of the dead were living exactly the “sustainable” hand to mouth existence so beloved of the green buffoons who wish to make us all follow a similar lifestyle today (read abject poverty and ill health).

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 23, 2016 10:58 am

Well-written, “Moderately Cross, of East Anglia”. Thank you.
Best regards, Allan – aka “Totally P-O’d with Warmist Scoundrels, of Calgary”

Brett Keane
Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 24, 2016 3:45 pm

@ Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 23, 2016 at 9:20 am: The hidden factor, we eventually learned, was the buying up of every available grain by the(native Indian) merchant families. It was hoarded speculatively in every worsening drought to make a ‘killing’, never mind the death toll. An ancient practise, worldwide. Artificial scarcity.

Clyde Spencer
November 23, 2016 9:58 pm

Third paragraph: ” but they [make] better sense when studied…”
[fixed, thanks, Anthony]

November 25, 2016 3:50 pm

It makes perfectly understandable sense that the French support IPCC’s conclusions and recommendations .. after all, the last time we had a Global Warming event, the English vineyards got warm enough to produce grapes at wine production levels and French Wine was relegated to ‘Table Wine’ status. 😉

November 26, 2016 12:48 pm

Okay this is a plug for a new book of mine on this subject:
Historical Evidence Concerning Climate Change: Archaeological and Historical Evidence That Man Is Not the Cause

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