Stream: The Climate Surprise: Why CO2 is Good for the Earth

christy

Today’s post is at The Stream: The Climate Surprise: Why CO2 is Good for the Earth.

Prostitution will increase because of global warming, a stern warning Mark Steyn passed on to his audience at the Princeton Club in midtown Manhattan on Tuesday in a talk sponsored by Roger Kimball’s The New Criterion (what? you don’t yet subscribe?) and the newly formed CO2 Coalition founded by Princeton physicist Will Happer and others.

In addition to this horrific “settled” science, Steyn reminded us that global warming was also going to cause impotence in Italian men.

This is multiplicative tragedy, because, of course, all those newly formed prostitutes won’t be able to find customers—at least, not in Italy…

Not only are things not as bad as we thought, they are much, much better. And they’re improving. Crop output is up, the world is greener, storms are down in frequency and number, life spans rise, and on and on in contradistinction to the forecasts of doom foisted on the public by politicians and the media.

But why are things better? Because of the beneficial effects of releasing carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere. Craig Idso, a bona fide scientist who also spoke at the event, cataloged the good CO2 does. Plants grow not just a little better when CO2 is increased, but they are vastly improved.

They have greater mass, more roots, better leafs, they use water more efficiently and, the biggest surprise, they react to warmer temperatures more robustly. These entirely salutary effects are so well known (to scientists) that commercial greenhouses artificially boost CO2 to levels about three times higher than are found in the atmosphere.

In times past, atmospheric CO2 levels were up to 30 times higher—pause and reflect on the number—than they are now; and indeed we are now in a historic, almost dangerous, low period. Yet even though CO2 was then so much higher than mankind can ever hope now to achieve even if we burn every drop of oil that exists, there was no runaway global warming. Why should we expect it now?…

But shouldn’t we “do something” anyway, just in case? After all, animals might suffer! Probably not, said Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace who has since come to see the light. Moore stressed that animals have much greater phenotypic plasticity than has been acknowledged. This means that animals can survive much better than previously thought, even when the environment around them changes dramatically. (Besides, the environment isn’t changing that much.)

Moore said that far from being humans being a blight on the environment, “We are the salvation of life, because we reintroduced CO2 to the atmosphere that was taken out by oceanic” life that sucked it up. Without CO2, plants die. And without plants, we die…

Go there and read the scintillating rest

WMBriggs.com Podcast, 30 Mar 16 — No Deal In Georgia, New Criterion Climate Conference

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Subscribe to the podcast feed (paste this into iTunes or elsewhere): http://wmbriggs.com/feed/?category=podcasts

Use Player.fm to find the podcasts.

Live! 10 AM Eastern every Wednesday. Listen to the archived show above.

Update YouTube is telling me the video is “blocked in some countries” because the snippet from the 70-year-old song belongs to some copyright holder. (I purchased the CD years ago.) I can’t see which countries might be blocked. I’ll search for new opening music.

No Deal.

Read “Christians: Boycott Disney, Marvel, The NFL” for background.

Georgia Governor Deal, like the Legislature before him, surrender to Mammon, all the while swearing they weren’t backing down. Deal did this, not only to “protect” Georgian money flow, but to avoid “discrimination.”

What’s needed is more, not less, discrimination.

Religions—including Islam, which Governor Deal swatted away—are by definition discriminatory. To ask them not to be is to ask them to adopt the State’s official religion, a move which is—surprise—discriminatory.

It isn’t just Georgia, but North Carolina, too. And the NCAA.

Big businesses, the kinds of which we can all do well without, are engaging in holiness signalling. They don’t really give a damn whether the pastor of some small church turns away same-sex couples.

New Criterion Climate Conference

I’ll have a Stream piece up tomorrow with all the details. Today, some name dropping and scene setting.

I can’t find a way to permanently link to the event, but it’s still here on Page one of their listings.

Who came? Roger Kimball, who publishes the New Criterion (the reincarnation of TS Eliot’s Criterion) and is chief at Encounter Books (which puts out tons of must-read stuff). NC had material on the culture wars in science before, but this is their largest public foray into the dismal field of global warming.

Speakers: Will Happer, Princeton physicist, who co-founded the new CO2 Coalition, the group which co-sponsored the conference; plant scientist Craig Idso, who proved CO2 is good; the well-bearded (and therefore most distinguished looking) Ross McKitrick, who proved models don’t match reality (and who had the best line of the morning about the politicization of science, quipping, after being asked about an article which appeared is a supposedly renowned journal, “Just because it’s in Science doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong”); Dick Lindzen, who needs no introduction, and who proved most haven’t a clue about physics, and that, sadly, most don’t care.

Patrick Moore, co-founder of GreenPeace (yes), who proved how robust animals really are to changes in environmental conditions; economist Bruce Everett, who showed that Germany is all talk and no show when it comes to using “alternative” fuels.

Finally, after a lunch which included wine (very civilized), Mark Steyn, who had the audience rolling.

The gathering was intimate and concentrated and focused on the one solid scientific fact oft forgotten: that CO2 is good, not evil.

Again, more details tomorrow.

A Return To Podcasts—Live! Starting Tomorrow. Here Are The Details.

This stream will NOT go live until tomorrow. This is only an example.

The readers at WMBriggs.com are incredibly generous. I receive many emails daily alerting me to stories and articles which are of interest to all of us. There is no way I can get to them all. Indeed, I have a years-long pileup of hundreds (maybe more?).

Some matters are delicate or difficult and require writing to explain, but many can be handled with a few spoken words, which, to me, come easier than written ones. Writing is brutal. It eats time faster than the rate at which government consumes money.

So, at least for the purposes of experimentation, I’m returning to the podcast format. Let’s try once a week at first, perhaps increasing this later. When?

Wednesdays at 10 AM Eastern time, running 30 minutes.

Why then and why that long? Why not? If you have other ideas, put them in the comments and I’ll consider them. The length is not guaranteed, of course, since I might even put myself to sleep before the half hour is up. Why live and not recorded? Because trying to make perfect recordings was keeping me from doing anything.

These broadcasts will work like regular posts, except for the timing. Podcast posts will go out at 9:59 AM Eastern with the link to the podcast at the top, as in this post. The podcasts themselves won’t start until 10 AM (or thereabouts, factoring in my fumble-fingeredness).

There will be “show notes” with links and so forth. I might edit the posts after I’m finished if something comes up during the stream. This will only really affect those who receive posts by email, as they won’t get the updates unless they come to the site. But those who get posts by email will be able to listen to the live stream, as will everybody.

After the live stream ends, and after the stream is processed, it becomes permanent but with a different URL than the live stream. So that permanent URL will also be updated on the website, maybe 20 to 30 minutes after the stream ends. Once I have it, I’ll swap it with the live URL on the site. Those who receive emails won’t know of this unless they check with the site.

This all sounds much worse than it is. In reality, those coming to the site (or YouTube) on time will be able to listen live, others can listed to the archived version (or any archived version) by going to YouTube or my site. No big deal.

Note that at the bottom of the page, under the Categories drop down menu, there is already a “podcast” tag, which can be used to find old broadcasts.

I’ve decided to use live YouTube streaming. Everybody not behind a firewall can access YouTube, and it’s on all the “devices.” Plus, the live streams automatically archives once finished, so people don’t have to be listening during the broadcast. Nobody needs to have an Apple account (say, for iTunes), or any account of any kind, even YouTube. I want to make this as much like a real radio broadcast as I can Just click and listen.

I’ll be using the Open Broadcaster Streaming platform on a Linux machine. I’ve practiced with this. It is a memory hog and is slightly crash prone, so if I drop off midstream, this will be why. Plus, all the controls are on screen, meaning when I amp up one mic (internal monitor), I have to next ramp down the other (external). So there will be amateurish delays until I get the swing of it.

One thing that slowed me down was the lack of a traveling microphone, since I’m on the road too much. I finally have one, the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone (say that thrice fast), which has excellent reviews. It’s dynamic, so it doesn’t need a mixer.

It will be your ears, dear readers, that will be the final judges. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that my audience is not shy. If there are irregularities, we’ll all know soon.

Answering A Global Warming True Believer

Global warming is causing an increase in pleasant afternoons.
Global warming is causing an increase in pleasant afternoons.

A reader receive a plaintive email from an associate who had converted to a global warming True Believer. The reader asked if I would answer the associate. I do so below. In order to protect the anonymity of the associate, I slightly edited his email (which I answer in chunks). I have not changed the tone, nor left anything important out.

*Tipping Point — Are We Too Late?*

How imminent is the tipping point when global warming is unstoppable and temperatures well beyond 2 degrees C are reached? Has it already happened or could it be within a few years, a few decades or do we have to 2100, which is the date climate scientists continually refer to? The movie Home stated that the tipping point could be reached within 10 years if the planet continues to warm at its current rate. The movie was made in 2009, we know since then that the rate of global warming has increased. Will the tipping point be reached by 2019?

There is no evidence that there was ever any “tipping point”, a point of no return, in the earth’s climate—excepting, of course, shocks drive by large rocks from space and tumultuous, concerted volcanic eruptions. These dramatic events caused, over a period of years to decades, noticeable changes in the climate. Yet even these gigantic disruptions pale next to the effects due to orbital mechanics.

The shocks caused by rocks and ash were nothing compared to the ice ages, glacial and inter-glacial periods (we are in one of these latter now, and we are expected to return to a glacial period soon, geologically speaking) caused by the earth shifting its position around the sun. No matter how you look at the physics, the sun and the earth’s position relative to it far, far outweigh any other influence. If you don’t believe this, try moving to Mars and releasing a little bit of carbon dioxide and see where that gets you.

There is no reason to believe the trace amounts of gases added to the atmosphere by humans will produce any “tipping point”. “Tipping points” are pure science fiction. The number of times we have, so far, passed a predicted end-of-the-world tipping point is already large, and growing larger, yet some never tire of saying “Wait until next year!

How do we know there is no such thing as a tipping point? We already have the evidence of other catastrophic events, as mentioned, from which the earth “bounced back.” But we also have the overwhelming evidence of failed predictions.

For some 20 to 30 years, the predictions of global climate models, built with the theory of greenhouse gas (GHG) positive-feedback, have predicted temperatures HIGHER than were observed. And not just by a little bit, but by a lot. The discrepancy between the predictions and reality is growing wider and wider and wider over time. Yet this reality is ignored and the predictions are embraced. Why? Why do people love so much what these failed predictions are telling them?

If we really understood how the atmosphere worked at a level sufficient to make economic decisions, including knowing how trace amounts of GHGs influenced things, then our predictions would be good. The predictions are not good, they are lousy. Therefore, something is wrong with our understanding. The most likely suspect is the positive feedback of GHGs. In any case, whatever is wrong, there is zero warrant for declaring there will be a “tipping point” when we can’t even predict with any skill next year’s temperature.

*Record Temperatures — 2016*

Average global temperatures last month [February 2016] were 1.35 degrees Celsius (2.4 Fahrenheit) above normal for February, the biggest temperature excess recorded for any month against a baseline of 1951-80, according to NASA data released on the weekend. The previous record was set in January, stoked by factors including a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the strong El Nino event, which releases heat from the Pacific.

There is no such thing as “global average temperature” (GAT); there are only functions of measurements taken at varying and fluctuating locations which are declared (operationally) the global average temperature. There is no one way to measure GAT, and this is for several reasons.

The GAT the public hears about is the result of a statistical algorithm. It is not the direct averaging of surface stations temperatures. It can’t be. Stations come and go, the method of measuring temperatures also changes at stations. Any and every change means a model has to be used to massage the numbers. The alternative is satellite-based (or balloon) measurements, and even these are not direct but mathematically adjusted. Surface stations cover a tiny fraction of the earth’s surface; the ocean is barely sampled. Satellites can only give a rough guess, since these effectively treats large swaths of the earth as one.

The satellite and surface stations statistical algorithm outputs often disagree. Which is right? It is far better to look at individual station data and see how and why these change. This is often revealing, because changes in individual station data often do not follow changes in the algorithm-produced GAT.

In other words, there is uncertainty in the GAT. So much so that, often, the GAT is “adjusted” statistically. Two funny things about these adjustments. One, the uncertainty is never mentioned. When is the last time you saw a graph of GAT with plus-or-minus bounds? I’ll tell you when: never. It’s almost as if everybody wants to forget the uncertainty, which is substantial and far above the claimed increases of the past few years (the uncertainty grows wider in history). Two, why is it that in the adjustments the historical data is lowered and more recent data upped. In other words, the manipulations always show additional warming, which is why we hear It’s worse than we thought.

In any case, it’s somewhat clear, even if there is uncertainty in exact rates, that GAT was slightly decreasing from the 1940s to the 1970s. This decrease, as climatologists then said, was caused by too much pollution, which itself was caused by a “population bomb”. This pollution, the theory said, was knocking back the sun’s rays, an effect which was about to cause us to hit our next glaciation ahead of schedule. Perhaps you recall that that didn’t happen. This was the consensus at the time. Many books and articles were written about it. But as Orwell says, it went down the memory hole.

Anyway, GAT was flat-ish from the late 1970s into the 1980s. This non-drama did not excite the imaginations of scientists, so it was said not to be caused by humans. Then starting in the 1980s until the late 1990s or so, GAT increased. This can’t have been caused by pollution, yet scientists were unable to imagine any other cause but mankind. If not pollution, then what? How about CO2, which does act like a sort of blanket? Great idea! And we were off to the races.

Only we weren’t. From about 2000 or so until now, GAT has been flat-ish again. Some scientists took to causing this discrepancy between predictions and reality a “pause.” But it can’t be a “pause” until we can prove we can make good forecasts, which we can’t. And anyway, what’s caused the pause? Dozens and dozens of theories were given, not all of which can be true. But notice the desperation to avoid admitting our fundamental ignorance.

But forget all this. Accept whatever manipulations of the GAT you like. It really is, then, the “hottest on record” (ignore also that the record is only a blink of the eye, and so “records” are yawn-inducing). What caused the increase? Why say it was mankind? If it was, then again—this cannot be over-stressed—the models would have made skillful predictions. The models made lousy predictions. Therefore, we do not know all the causes of GAT change. It’s as simple as that.

To say, then, in our ignorance, we must accept the theory we have because it is “best” is a terrible logical fallacy. We don’t need to accept anything. We can simple admit the truth: We do not know enough.

*The Arctic — March 2016*

With the winter season ending, scientists are warning that this year could see the lowest Arctic sea ice maximum ever breaking the record lows set last year. Arctic sea ice is a crucial part of the northern ecosystem, relied on by organisms from algae to polar bears…

But it’s also a significant factor on weather for the rest of the planet. An ice-free Arctic has already been linked by some studies to multi-day rains or storms in more southerly latitudes. Arctic sea ice has been declining at the rate of about 12 per cent per decade since satellite monitoring began in the late 1970s. The Arctic has been warming at about twice the rate of the rest of the globe and is now about four degrees warmer than it was before climate change.

The latest US Navy survey suggests there will be no sea ice left in the Arctic summer by 2016. This has been unprecedented within the entire record of human species. This contributes significantly to global warming as the water absorbs the sun’s heat rather than reflecting it off the ice.

Take an ice cube out of the freezer on a summer’s morning. Take it and also a thermometer outside to track the day’s course. What happens? The thermometer increases, yes? And the ice cube melts, right?

The thermometer will indicate a rising temperature. What happens to the ice cube? Would you say that the ice cube melting is extra evidence that it got hot outside? Of course not: ice melting is what happens what it gets hot out. People are always mixing up the effects of temperature with temperature itself. We don’t need to look at the effects of temperature to say whether temperature has changed. This is what thermometers are for.

In the same way that ice cubes melt on hot days, it is not news that some glaciers lost mass when the temperature was increasing in the 80s through the 90s, and that some still do when GAT remained flat-ish during the last two decades. Of course, some glaciers and areas of the Arctic have INCREASED in mass—directly against the predictions that by this time the Arctic would be ice free.

Ice comes and ice goes. Recall Greenland was called that for a reason. Ice mass changes not just because of temperature changes, but also because of adjustments in atmospheric water vapor. And these physical things are in turn caused to change by other mechanisms. Which?

Well, that is the big question. We can’t just say that global-warming-of-doom is true because it got hot (and because it got hot some ice melted). We have to show that we understand all the causes of change. Again, we do not. We can predict well enough at large time scales, at centuries or more, because these time scales directly relate to orbital mechanics. We know, with certainty, that we do not know what is causing all the changes on smaller time scales because, again, out models stink.

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