William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

The Moral Case For Fossil Fuels Reviewed

His fig.

His fig.

People first

Just in time for the Federally-Recognized-Holiday-Of-25-December-That-Shall-Go-Unnamed we have a suitable gift for science deniers everywhere. Alex Epstein’s The Moral Case For Fossil Fuels

Science deniers? Yes, sir. Those who deny the science that failed forecasts imply failed theories, and those that claim fossil fuels have been more harmful than good to the human race. Invariably and amusingly, these deniers use fossil fuel-derived technologies, like computers, to make their claims. But we don’t expect rationality from deniers, do we?

Deniers is as stupid a word as it sounds, folks. Be embarrassed for whomever uses it. To the book!

Here is a scientific near certainty: if we were to curtail dramatically the use of fossil fuels, the world would be destroyed. Here is a scientific probability: that if we do not dramatically curtail the use of fossil fuels, the world might be inconvenienced by global warming.

The chance of heat doom is exceedingly small both because the models which predict this devastation have proved themselves incapable of making skillful forecasts, thus there is little evidence of such a calamity, and because humans are clever at adapting to changes in the environment, proved by you sitting at your computer reading this. But the chance that we fall into chaos and death by the removal of oil is so certain as to be almost a truism.

Incidentally, when Epstein uses world he means human beings, their livelihoods and culture and not anything else. Aren’t these the most important things on the planet? Doesn’t the welfare of human beings trump every other consideration?

If you say “yes”, you are sane. If not, not—and probably even a little dangerous. If you would choose the life of a tree or snail over a person, then you are fundamentally broken. Many are. And it is this divide—people versus everything else—which most interests Epstein. This is why he says correctly things like “the 50-95 percent bans [of fossil fuels] over the next several decades that have been proposed, is a guaranteed death sentence for billions—we would be willing to accept ten times more hurricanes if we had to.” And “The less [oil] we produce, the more preventable suffering and death will exist. To not use fossil fuels, therefore, is beyond a risk—it is certain moral peril for mankind.”

Wait. Who endorses 95-percent bans? Bill McKibben, for one. And don’t forget John Holdren, President Obama’s science adviser, called McKibben “the nation’s leading environmentalist.”

I was thrilled to read that Epstein understood “hindcasting” is not a measure of future forecast skill. He knows “a model is not valid until it makes real, forward predictions“, a once prominent scientific precept now abandoned for obvious political reasons. Epstein also knows that “every prediction of drastic future consequences is based on speculative models that have failed to predict the climate trend so far and that speculate a radically different trend than what has actually happened in the last thirty to eights years of emitting substantial amounts of CO2.” I wept when I read that.

Here’s more science Epstein knows: “What’s most striking is that these extremely positive plant effects of CO2 are scientifically uncontroversial yet practically never mentioned, even by the climate science community. This is a dereliction of duty.” I once mentioned this to a prominent scientist during a television interview at the Madrid Royal Science Academy. The scientist went apoplectic, said it wasn’t, couldn’t be true! Yeesh. Try taking carbon dioxide from plants and see how many bowls of Corn Flakes you can fill.

A thousand words

The book is filled with wisdom, but my favorite story is the (admittedly cartoon-like) graph which appears at the top of this post. Unquestionably, CO2 output from humans is on the increase. But look at what tremendous benefits that arise from this! Life expectancy is soaring, and so is our ability to create things. Population is also increasing.

“Briggs, you fool! Population increase is a bad thing!”

Why? Don’t you like people? Are you a hater? Those who misunderstand Malthus never get this right. It is increasing food supplies and other creature comforts provided by oil that caused the population increase (and now decrease in birth rates in Western nations). “To put it bluntly, in our ‘natural climate,’ absent technology, human beings are as sick as dogs and drop like flies.” If there wasn’t enough food, then there wouldn’t be new people. That’s that. That people can’t see this seems to be one of those uncorrectable errors, an error which is a central tenet of enviro-religion.

A gas fire would warm them nicely.

A natural gas fire would warm them nicely.

Resources

Epstein emphasizes that resources are made, not discovered. Gaseous and liquid pockets of stuff underground amount to nothing until we turn them into useful things. “Oil is the most coveted (and controversial) fuel in the world because it is almost eerily engineered by natural processes, not just for cheapness, not just for reliability, not just for scalability, but also for another characteristic crucial to a functional civilization: portability.” And “It’s true that once we burn a barrel of oil, it’s gone. But it’s also true that human ingenuity can dramatically increase the amount of coal, oil, or gas that is available.” Like by the new f-word, fracking.

“For something to be cheap and plentiful, every part of the process to produce it, including every input that goes into it, must be cheap and plentiful.” This is not so for wind and solar energy, nor biofuels. The first two are not reliable, are expensive, variable and unpredictable. The last sacrifices food for expensive feel-good car fuel. How about hydropower, then? Why not! It’s clean, sure, and efficient? Oops. No. “Environmental activists have spent decades shutting down as many hydroelectric dams as possible…despite hydro’s proven track record as a cheap, reliable source of CO2-free power, in the name of protecting species of fish, free-flowing rivers, and other justifications that focus on nonhuman nature.”

People are well down the list of things to protect for environmentalists.

Example? Epstein writes of a lake in China, a “vast, hissing cauldron of chemicals…seven million tons a year of mined rare earth after it has been doused in acid and chemicals…Dalahai villagers say their teeth began to fall our, their hair turned white…severe skin and respiratory disease..cancer rates rocketed.” Etc. He puts this story to college students who then call for whatever it is that caused this lake to be “banned”.

Until they learn this waste is the result of processing for solar energy materiel. Then students have appointments they suddenly remember.

Environmental “Impact”

Environmentalists want to “minimize” our “impact” on the environment. But to minimize is to eliminate, for if any man lives, even for a moment, he must necessarily “impact” the environment. Even dying “impacts”. Thus the only way to minimize is for everybody to commit suicide instantly.

Skip it. Logical arguments won’t get you far when dealing with enviro-religion, nor with the mostly well-to-do Westerners who pray at the temple of Gaia. Quoting Milton Friedman: “The rich in ancient Greece would have benefited hardly at all from modern plumbing—running servants replaced running water. Television and radio—the patricians of Rome could enjoy the leading musicians and actors in their home, could have the leads artists as domestic retainers] ” The wealthy environmentalists have their comforts, but what they can’t abide is anybody else joining their club.

“There are 7 billion people in the world, but 1.3 billion have no electricity” and another 3 billion have very little. If by allowing these people to use oil, we ever-so-slightly, and probably not at all, increase the chance of a wee increase in the temperature, one which we could well adapt to, then it’s worth it. Unless you care more about yourself than others.

Ah, but everybody already knows environmentalists love The People and hate people. Example. “Prince Philip, former head of the World Wildlife Fun, has said, ‘In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation.'” Charming.

We need to say “loudly and proudly” that “human life is our one and only standard of value.” Yet what do oil companies do? Epstein discovered Exxon Mobil, Shell, and Chevron won’t even use the word oil on their home pages. They instead focus on “charitable contributions”, they praise their enemies as “idealistic”, they apologize for their “environmental footprint.” They play only defense. “The industry’s position amounts to this: ‘Our product isn’t moral, but it’s something that we will need for some time as we transition to the ideal fossil-free future.'”

Appeasement never works: it only exacerbates.

Four fallacies

Epstein outlines four common bad arguments (there are more). (1) “Abuse-use”: “It is irrational to say that because a technology or practice can be abused, it ought not be used.” If we followed this reasoning, we’d have to eliminate all government. Right? (2) “False-Attribution”: As in showing your water can catch fire and blaming fracking. “A more sophisticated version of false attribution uses prestigious studies based on speculative models.” Amen. (3) “No-threshold”: “A poison or pollutant is always a combination of substance and dose….People said we should have zero tolerance for radiation—not knowing, apparently, that the potassium in their bone tissue emits radiation, enough so that sleeping with a spouse gives you almost as much radiation as standing right outside a nuclear power plant.” (4) “Artificial” “Man-made.” All we need say here is Boo!

What about fusion, the epitome of clean, renewable, potentially unlimited energy? “Leading environmentalist Jeremy Rifkin: ‘It’s the worst thing that could happen to our planet.'” “Paul Erhlich: Developing fusion for human beings would be ‘like giving a machine gun to an idiot child.'” And that’s only a small sample of the appeals to emotion progressives use. Radiation! Boo!

Faults

Epstein wanders into strange territory when he says curious and false things about religions (“many religious people think that it is wrong to eat certain foods or to engage in certain sexual acts, not because there is any evidence that these foods or acts are unhealthy or otherwise harmful to human beings but simply because they believe God forbids them”), and he uses too many stacked bar and line charts, which are always a sin. But nobody bats 1.000. Buy the book.

—————————————————————————–

Mr Epstein graciously provided me with my draft copy of his book. All emphasis marks above original.

111 Comments

  1. Ye Olde Statisician

    December 3, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Your enemies have turned much of the first portion of this post into a vast hyperlink.

  2. Regarding: …this waste is the result of processing for solar energy materiel. …

    I don’t believe solar energy is as dependent on rare earth as much as large wind turbines. (I’ve heard less than 5% of PV utilize rare earth)

    Whereas most (if not all) 1 MW and higher wind turbines use rare earth for permanent magnets.

    Most handheld device screens utilize a trace of rare earth, and Prius’s and such use a few dozen pounds of it

  3. John B: I believe you are correct. There are toxic elements in solar manufacturing, but the rare earths are used in mostly in wind turbines.

    General comments:
    Oil companies are not really “appeasing”. They know full well nothing will replace oil in the near future. What they are doing is lapping up subsidies from renewables, just like all the other huge corporations are. While it may look like appeasement, it’s more of a “smoke and mirrors” type move, allowing the oil companies to make billions off the environmentalist’s fantasies, while still making billions off oil. Some would call it a clever marketing strategy.

    I often note that those who are the most rabid environmentalists made millions and billions off oil. What they are doing is not atoning for “sin”—they are making absolutely sure no one else gets as wealthy as they are. If they were atoning for “sin”, they’d get rid of the blood money. They don’t. Instead, they run charities using clever names and claiming to care about people having a better existance, yet it’s all about their lives and standing, not yours. They have huge ranches, multiple houses, etc, and then condemn anyone who tries to do the same. It is so selfish it makes me want to throw up. These people are incredibly immoral.

    Wondering into religion is often a bad thing for non-believers. They often have no idea what they are speaking of. Plus, they often deny science because it intersects with religion and it therefor “tainted” and will never be science for real. It’s an odd mentality.

  4. Rare earths are predominantly mined for wind turbine technology.
    Wind turbines need very strong permanent magnets for which the rare earth metal Neodymium is a mandatory component.

  5. John you beat me to it.

  6. Briggs, I take exception to use of the term “probable” in describing the advent of global warming. “probable” implies I believe a probability >50%. Would not “possible” be more apt?
    On another issue. Why is global warming such a bad thing? The Medieval Warming Period was a time of rising civilization and prosperity. Let’s have the Yukon bloom and flower, and the eastern US seaboard be awash.
    Seriously, the Danish economist/statistician Bjorn Lomberg believes that global warming is inevitable, but that funds spent to delay it would be better used to improve Third World conditions–water supplies and disease control in Africa, for example.

  7. Is economically feasible fusion probable in the near future? See the announcement by Lockheed Martin of the development of a small fusion reactor (portable in a truck):
    http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/compact-fusion.html

    Note that this announcement caused a small upward blip in LMT stock prices, but not a big move in the market–lots of skepticism as to its feasibility.

  8. It wasn’t CO2 that gave the benefits in your graphs; it was energy.

  9. All is Right!

    David wants to discuss Correlation Vs Causation

    Briggs should be proud

  10. David, it was the environmentalists that blocked nuclear, remember? And they still are, so who is to thank for the current rise in co2.

  11. “Here’s more science Epstein knows: “What’s most striking is that these extremely positive plant effects of CO2 are scientifically uncontroversial yet practically never mentioned, even by the climate science community. This is a dereliction of duty.”’

    Epstein is wrong.

    1) It’s now known that elevated-CO2 decreases the nutritive value of crops like wheat, rice, barley and potatoes, which are major food sources for the world. Even with CO2 fertilization, wheat protein concentrations decrease by 3% at CO2=559 ppm.
    http://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2014/10/crop-nutrition/
    http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2014/04/wheats-nutritive-value-decreases-under.html
    http://news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=10886

    2) A CO2-greener world also means more weeds, which compete with crops.

    3) A greener world is a warmer world, because besides the CO2-created warming, it lowers the planet’s albedo. Less sunlight is reflected; more is absorbed — a positive feedback on warming.

    4) More CO2 alters the planet’s hydrological cycle. That means more heavy rains and more droughts, neither good for crops.

    5) In the tropics, many plants are already at their limits of heat stress.

    6) Crop models predict that recent and future climate change may have adverse effects on crop yields
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v2/n2/abs/nclimate1373.html

    7) Just for fun: there are no plants on Venus, which has CO2 in abundance. So at some point between Earth’s CO2 and Venus’s CO2, after adjusting for their different solar constants, plants die.

  12. Hans Erren wrote:
    “David, it was the environmentalists that blocked nuclear, remember? And they still are, so who is to thank for the current rise in co2.”

    Get real.

  13. Bob Kurland,

    “Briggs, I take exception to use of the term “probable” in describing the advent of global warming. “probable” implies I believe a probability >50%. Would not “possible” be more apt?”

    “Highly unlikely” would be better.

  14. David Appell,

    Modern civilization requires mass quantities of energy. The only viable alternative to fossil fuels for supplying that energy is nuclear. Hans Erren is correct. You are the one who needs to get real.

  15. ““Highly unlikely” would be better.”

    The scientifically correct description is “already happening.”

  16. David Appell,

    “Just for fun: there are no plants on Venus, which has CO2 in abundance. So at some point between Earth’s CO2 and Venus’s CO2, after adjusting for their different solar constants, plants die.”

    The mass of just the CO2 in Venus’s atmosphere is 95 times greater than the total mass of earth’s atmosphere. I would be willing to bet that the increase in atmospheric pressure would be fatal to earth type plant life long before the warming affects.

  17. Heh. Reminds me of a quote in a computer game I played as a kid – Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri – “Fossil fuels in the last century reached their extreme prices because of their inherent utility: they pack a great deal of potential energy into an extremely efficient package. ”

    There’s a fundamental truth about oil – I can use a gallon of Gasoline or even more efficient Kerosene to generate more than 100k BTU’s of energy. Even compressed liquid natural gas only gets to about 5 1/2 gallons to 1 gallon of gasoline equivalent, though we can burn it more efficiently. Compressed hydrogen is even worse in terms of storage capacity even if it burns even more efficiently. Batteries are really far down the list, even Li-ion fails miserably compared to hydrocarbon fuels.

    Some simple charts:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasoline_gallon_equivalent
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density

    Seems to me that we ought to be figuring out better ways of manufacturing hydrocarbons – I’m thinking nuclear reactors that use their immense energy to convert CO2, H2O, and bio waste into fuels. There has been some interest in this, but to a true believer, it’s not really the CO2 that you release that is the problem – it’s you yourself.

  18. MattS

    Yes David and James Hansen are worried that we’re on our way to a Venus atmosphere

  19. Matt Briggs wrote:
    “Modern civilization requires mass quantities of energy. The only viable alternative to fossil fuels for supplying that energy is nuclear. Hans Erren is correct. You are the one who needs to get real.”

    I’m not opposed to nuclear power.

    But I am opposed to using the atmosphere & ocean as a sewer for fossil fuels. We’re a rich country now — we can easily afford to pay for cleaner energy.

  20. Matt Briggs wrote:
    “The mass of just the CO2 in Venus’s atmosphere is 95 times greater than the total mass of earth’s atmosphere….”

    Yes, it is. Why?

  21. Nate wrote:
    “There has been some interest in this, but to a true believer, it’s not really the CO2 that you release that is the problem – it’s you yourself.”

    Red herring. I don’t know a single scientist who thinks the world doesn’t need ample energy to thrive. It’s time for fossil fuel users to clean up their act and stop polluting the atmosphere and ocean, to stop ruining the Commons because they are too cheap to pay for clean energy.

  22. John wrote:
    “Yes David and James Hansen are worried that we’re on our way to a Venus atmosphere”

    It funny how you think you can read my mind. Your comment demonstrates you can’t.

  23. Apologies David, I must have misconstrued your comment from last week:

    David Appell

    29 November 2014 at 12:45 pm

    John: I don’t know what your point is, but how do you think Venus’s atmosphere got so thick?

    I thought you meant then that we were headed in the same direction – otherwise, why do you continually bring up Venus

  24. John, so how DO you think Venus’s atmosphere got so thick?

    Venus has a huge greenhouse effect. So it is a great place to apply and test the same physical principles that climate scientists do with Earth.

  25. Appell,

    I’m going with the data that shows that the atmosphere hasn’t warmed as much the admittedly incomplete general circulation models forecast (or predict, or project). If atmospheric temperature was increasing as much as the GCMs predict then I would say we truly do have a problem. But until that day I’m duly skeptical.

  26. My point exactly – I have NO idea how Venus’ atmosphere became dominated by CO2 – Do you? I’m guessing because there were no plants in the first place – ever. But I don’t know. Do you?

    Venus/Earth – Just HOW do you control for all of the individual factors that comprise each climate system.

    There isn’t enough known about all of the Earth’s climate system to begin to consider Venus.

    This should give you a laugh, I know “Steve Goddard” doesn’t get a lot of respect from most skeptics, however, for what it’s worth (it discusses Venus’ unusual rotation …):

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/dumb-and-dumberer-on-venus/

    It came out two days before your original Venus comment (I almost went there then but figured I’d forget it). Let’s agree not to go to Venus.

  27. David Appell,

    “Venus has a huge greenhouse effect. So it is a great place to apply and test the same physical principles that climate scientists do with Earth.”

    No, it doesn’t. I ran some calculations on this, and the difference between the average surface temperatures of Earth and Venus is only 2 to 3 times higher than what would be expected just from the differences in their distances from the sun.

    Given that Venus has an atmosphere more than 95 times as massive as Earth’s I would hardly call this a huge greenhouse effect.

  28. John wrote:
    “My point exactly – I have NO idea how Venus’ atmosphere became dominated by CO2 – Do you?”

    Scientists think it was most likely a runaway greenhouse effect. The canonical theory is that Venus started out much like Earth, with an oceans. But its distance to the Sun is significantly smaller than the Earth. As the Sun because brighter, more water vapor from ocean evaporation went into the atmosphere. That increases the temperature, which creates more water vapor, and so on and so on, until Venus’s oceans boiled away and evaporated and all its water was in its atmosphere and eventually escaped to space. At that point there’s no way for volcanic CO2 to wash out of the atmosphere via weathering (as it does here), so it piles up, the atmosphere keeps gettng thicker with CO2, and the tempertature runs away.

    Some people who study exoplanets and habitability think the Earth is a just a few million kilometers outside the sphere within which a runaway GHE can occur.

    I’m guessing because there were no plants in the first place – ever. But I don’t know. Do you?

    Venus/Earth – Just HOW do you control for all of the individual factors that comprise each climate system.

  29. John wrote:
    “There isn’t enough known about all of the Earth’s climate system to begin to consider Venus.”

    Says what? Venus is a pretty simple planet — no ocean, no ice, no vegetation, no people — not of the things that complicate climate prediction on Earth. It’s probably the best laboratory we have for testing canonical planetary science.

  30. “Says what? Venus is a pretty simple planet — no ocean, no ice, no vegetation, no people — not of the things that complicate climate prediction on Earth. It’s probably the best laboratory we have for testing canonical planetary science.”

    It’s also closer to the Sun, has an atmosphere that is nearly two orders of magnitude thicker/denser than the Earth’s, and it’s atmosphere is also optically more opaque than Earth’s. These factors prevent any useful comparisons between the climates of Earth and Venus.

  31. @David – If Venus’ climate system is so simple, why are we struggling to understand the winds? Venus Express, if anything, raised more questions than it answered. One cannot just casually dismiss it as “simple”.

    Also, what direct evidence of a runaway greenhouse effect do you have? Surface cross sections? Computer modeling is not evidence. Maybe if Zeyphr gets built and sent we can learn more. Right now I would say we know a heck of a lot more about Mars than Venus.

  32. No where in the review is Venus mentioned. We are off topic again. Could we just ignore those who are incapable of staying on topic? Said topic would be, I believe, whether or not fossil fuels have made our lives better or worse and is it immoral to want to stop using them?

  33. Cranks only have a few a tricks in their toolkit. Appell and other cranks of that sort use them repetitively. They talk a good talk, much like the greenhouse effect theory deniers talk a good talk.

    The most popular trick is to cite a number of obscure and dubious papers that go against the vast majority of the published science. It’s not a hard trick to play. Hundreds of thousands of scientific papers get published annually. You’ll find whatever junk science you wish to advocate in that haystack. That’s why the benefits of CO2 for plant life – papers on increased greening of the planet, improvements in crop production, studies on plant growth in high CO2 environments – CO2 is even pumped commercially into greenhouses to enhance high value food stuffs… All this overwhelming evidence is ignored because these nitwits manage to dig out a few outlier studies that are likely wrong, or involve confounding factors.

    (The other popular trick in this game, is what I call ‘pea under the thimble’. Confuse 300+ years of warming with man made warming. Slip in the word ‘dangerous’ when talking about warming. Point to any warming as proof of model accuracy while ignoring predicted warming trends, etc.)

    Nonetheless, the science denier repertoire is limited. Once you read this nonsense long enough, you’re able to nail all the rhetorical shiftiness right away.

  34. Mark A. Bullock and David H. Grinspoon, The Recent Evolution of Climate on Venus, Icarus 150, 19–37 (2001)
    doi:10.1006/icar.2000.6570

    http://funkyscience.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Bullock-and-Grinspoon-2001.pdf

    it’s the formation of high clouds that did it.

  35. David, tell your activist friends that if they really want to save the earth from global warming then they must stop their activism against nuclear.
    Solar or wind or burning food and forests is not going to bring prosperity to India and China.

  36. Pretty incredible that one could convince themselves that CO2 causes absolutely everything to go in the worse for humanity direction. I suppose if we reduced the CO2 by a huge amount then everything would actually get better. Cooling is better. Falling sea levels are better. Increasing Arctic sea ice is better. Less CO2 causes more plant growth. Less CO2 causes less extreme weather. Less CO2 causes less human conflict. Less CO2 will cause less humans to migrate. Etc.

    Those ice ages were some pretty good times.

    Now what would be hilarious is if we could construct an alternate universe in which fossil fuels extracted CO2 from the atmosphere, and watch environmentalists makes the exact same claims. Less CO2 makes everything worse.

    The point being is that it is impossible to remove the flaming hatred of oil companies out of the environmentalists viewpoints. They can’t bring themselves to state that there are any benefits to society. Any at all. After this diatribe, they will drive their SUV’s and minivans to pick up their school children from the bus-stop which is a 5 minute walk from the house. The hypocrisy is self evident.

  37. @David Appell

    “Matt Briggs wrote:”

    “We’re a rich country now — we can easily afford to pay for cleaner energy.
    David Appell”

    I am not Mr Briggs.

    Nuclear is the only existing technology that could even make a dent in fossil fuel usage. If you want what you claim, it is not enough not not oppose nuclear power, you need to become an active supporter.

    3 December 2014 at 1:09 pm

    “Matt Briggs wrote:
    “The mass of just the CO2 in Venus’s atmosphere is 95 times greater than the total mass of earth’s atmosphere….”

    Yes, it is. Why?”

    I have no idea, but I am willing to bet it has nothing to do with either global warming or fossil fuels.

  38. Tom Scharf,

    Just last week you said your position wasn’t based on the science. Has that changed?
    http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2014/11/its-never-been-about-science.html

  39. Hans Erren wrote:
    “David, tell your activist friends that if they really want to save the earth from global warming then they must stop their activism against nuclear.”

    I don’t have any “activist” friends.

    “Solar or wind or burning food and forests is not going to bring prosperity to India and China.”

    Unlike half of the US, China doesn’t deny climate change, and they’re well aware it will affect them too. Nor are they denying the need for renewable energy — they know pollution from burning coal is getting bad — a recent study found is “causing the 500 million residents of Northern China to lose more than 2.5 billion life years of life expectancy.” Is that the “moral case” Briggs is talking about?

    http://www.pnas.org/content/110/32/12936.abstract

  40. Hans Erren commented:
    “http://funkyscience.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Bullock-and-Grinspoon-2001.pdf
    it’s the formation of high clouds that did it.”

    Here are the first two sentences of that paper:

    “At present the globally averaged surface temperature of Venus
    is 735 K, with a 92-bar carbon dioxide–nitrogen atmosphere. An
    efficient greenhouse effect prevails, sustained by an atmosphere
    whose major constituent is a powerful infrared absorber.”

  41. Ye Olde Statisician

    December 3, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Crop models predict…

    Models…. Oh, yeah…

    “The mass of just the CO2 in Venus’s atmosphere is 95 times greater than the total mass of earth’s atmosphere….”

    Yes, it is. Why?

    Ooh! Ooh! Man-made emissions?

    Venus has a huge greenhouse effect.

    The atmosphere of Mars is 96% CO2, yet it has no runaway greenhouse or crushing atmosphere. In fact, its atmosphere is rather thin. As far as that goes, Olde Earth started out with a similar CO2-heavy atmosphere.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/17/Atmosphere_composition.gif/450px-Atmosphere_composition.gif

  42. Will, when are you ever going to produce any evidence? Or are all chat?

    “That’s why the benefits of CO2 for plant life – papers on increased greening of the planet, improvements in crop production, studies on plant growth in high CO2 environments – CO2 is even pumped commercially into greenhouses to enhance high value food stuffs.”

    Any evidence? Any papers? Any refutation of the Bloom et al finding that grain’s (which can’t be grown in a greenhouse) nutritional value drops at elevated CO2?

    Here is some actual science from experts like David Lobell:

    “Without adaptation, losses in aggregate production are expected for wheat, rice and maize in both temperate and tropical regions by 2 °C of local warming. Crop-level adaptations increase simulated yields by an average of 7–15%, with adaptations more effective for wheat and rice than maize. Yield losses are greater in magnitude for the second half of the century than for the first. Consensus on yield decreases in the second half of the century is stronger in tropical than temperate regions, yet even moderate warming may reduce temperate crop yields in many locations. ”

    “A meta-analysis of crop yield under climate change and adaptation,” A. J. Challinor, et al, Nature Climate Change 4, 287–291 (2014)
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n4/full/nclimate2153.html

    That study comes to the opposite conclusion than your claims.

  43. Sheri commented:
    “Could we just ignore those who are incapable of staying on topic?”

    Topics drift in comment sections. Can you stop trying to control the conversation and expecting it all to be of interest to you? Or at least stop whining about it? Learn to click “delete.”

  44. Nate commented on The Moral Case For Fossil Fuels Reviewed.

    in response to mattstat:

    People first Just in time for the Federally-Recognized-Holiday-Of-25-December-That-Shall-Go-Unnamed we have a suitable gift for science deniers everywhere. Alex Epstein’s The Moral Case For Fossil Fuels Science deniers? Yes, sir. Those who deny the science that failed forecasts imply failed theories, and those that claim fossil fuels have been more harmful than good to the human […]

    Nate wrote:
    “f Venus’ climate system is so simple, why are we struggling to understand the winds?”

    It’s atmosphere is relatively simple compared to Earth’s, as far as radiative transfer goes. I didn’t say everything about Venus was known. It’s climate isn’t affected by an ocean, or by ice, or by vegetation.

    “Also, what direct evidence of a runaway greenhouse effect do you have?”

    The very high deuterium/hydrogen ratio in Venus’s atmosphere — about 150 times that of Earth.

    “Right now I would say we know a heck of a lot more about Mars than Venus.”

    Sure, because we’re there crawling around. One way in which Mars’s climate is more complicated is that it has seasons, and an strong Milankovitch cycle.

  45. MattS:
    “It’s also closer to the Sun, has an atmosphere that is nearly two orders of magnitude thicker/denser than the Earth’s, and it’s atmosphere is also optically more opaque than Earth’s. These factors prevent any useful comparisons between the climates of Earth and Venus.”

    Not at all. Read any textbook on planetary climatology — they make a lot of hay by comparing Earth, Venus, and Mars. especially the orbital factors and how radiative transfer operates on each.

  46. Matts wrote:
    “I ran some calculations on this, and the difference between the average surface temperatures of Earth and Venus is only 2 to 3 times higher than what would be expected just from the differences in their distances from the sun…. Given that Venus has an atmosphere more than 95 times as massive as Earth’s I would hardly call this a huge greenhouse effect.”

    On Earth, the greenhouse effect is 33 K — the difference between its observed surface temperature and its “brightness temperature,” which is the temperature the Sun would create given the planet’s albedo and distance from the Sun.

    On Venus the brightness temperature is about 184 K (taking albedo=0.9), and its surface temperature is 735 K. So on Venus the greenhouse effect is about 550 K.

    Venus’s atmosphere is so thick BECAUSE of its greenhouse effect.

  47. Ye Olde Statisician commented:
    “Models…. Oh, yeah…”

    So how would you do it, without a model?

    “The atmosphere of Mars is 96% CO2, yet it has no runaway greenhouse or crushing atmosphere. In fact, its atmosphere is rather thin. As far as that goes, Olde Earth started out with a similar CO2-heavy atmosphere. ”

    Mars is further away from the Sun than Venus or Earth — its solar constant is only 589 W/m2; Earth’s is 1367 W/m2, and Venus has 2614 W/m2. Even with all its CO2, Mars has a greenhouse effect of only 8 K (see: broadening, pressure).

    Yes, Earth probably did have an early carbon-dominated atmosphere. But it wasn’t close enough to the brightening Sun to cause runaway warming.

  48. There is a guy who hangs around a lot of forums, by the name of Doug Cotton. He is obsessed with “proving” that the greenhouse gas theory is wrong. All of the world’s physicists are idots and only he “gets it”. He has been banned nearly everywhere. Then there are guys like Appell, opposite end of the spectrum. Same sort of nuts though. Endless spam trying to convince everyone on the internet that the end of the world is nigh.

  49. Still no evidence, Will.

  50. David, there are no serious climate skeptics (or do you prefer the term “deniers”) who disagree with the greenhouse effect, so why do you keep pounding on it.

    We know that the basic greenhouse physics is sound – the one dimensional radiative balance model is proven. We also know that it predicts less warming than any of the climate models. We also know something ignored by the alarmists: that the direct warming from CO2 is proportional to the logarithm of the concentration increase, not the absolute magnitude. That means that the more CO2 we put into the atmosphere, the smaller the effect of each additional increment of CO2.

    All of this is settled science. The real deal – shown by solid physics and demonstrated by experiment.

    And… none of this supports the apocalyptic predictions.

    ” Nor are they denying the need for renewable energy — they know pollution from burning coal is getting bad — a recent study found is “causing the 500 million residents of Northern China to lose more than 2.5 billion life years of life expectancy.”

    Ah yes, China. China does indeed know that coal produced pollution is a problem. Duh. Is anyone here denying that? What China has not demonstrated is a belief that “renewable energy” is the appropriate replacement. They want oil and natural gas to replace the coal. That is why they have been working so hard on delivery mechanisms for Persian Gulf energy that bypass the Straits of Malacca. That is why they had so many citizens that had to be evacuated from Libya.

    But, in the meantime, these clean Chinese are building about one coal fired power plant per week.

  51. John,

    You’re missing the point with cranks like Appell. They already know everything you’ve explained to them. It’s been explained to them a thousand times in the past. It’s not about evidence. It’s a moral issue to them. That’s why articles like that of Epstein, which attacks the moral underpinnings of their position, are so threatening to their end of the world idealogy. In the public sphere this is also more effective than trying to explain the science. The public’s view is that maybe the science is right, maybe the science is wrong, but even if so, it’s still the *morally right* thing to do. What makes a difference is that if the public comes to appreciate that restricting fossil fuel energy usage is the morally *wrong* thing to do, then eventually, political polices will also change.

  52. John Moore commented:
    “We also know something ignored by the alarmists: that the direct warming from CO2 is proportional to the logarithm of the concentration increase, not the absolute magnitude.”

    Everybody knows this. Except our emissions are increasing exponentially, so the temperature increase at this point should be approximately linear. That’s the 1.5 C/trillion tonnes carbon I mentioned earlier.

    “And… none of this supports the apocalyptic predictions.”

    That’s a pretty big statement. You’re just going to state it as fact, with no discussion or evidence at all??

    “”What China has not demonstrated is a belief that “renewable energy” is the appropriate replacement.”

    “Renewable and nuclear energy accounted for 9.8% of China’s energy mix in 2013.” In the US it was 9.5%. China says they’re going to double their by 2030, and with a state economy they’ll probably have an easier time doing in than the US.
    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/11/12/3591433/china-renewable-energy-commitment/

    “But, in the meantime, these clean Chinese are building about one coal fired power plant per week.”

    They’ve also closed some near big cities. But you write this like it’s proof that AGW isn’t real. Chinese coal consumption is a very big problem (though the US has put much more CO2 into the atmosphere and ocean than China).

  53. Will: Still no evidence. That’s the 4th time now, at least.

    “It’s not about evidence.”

    That’s hilarious, seeing as I’m the only one presenting evidence here, and you avoid it completely.

    “It’s a moral issue to them.”

    Yes, it also IS a moral problem. Why do you (apparently) think it’s not?

    “That’s why articles like that of Epstein, which attacks the moral underpinnings of their position, are so threatening to their end of the world idealogy.”

    As I demonstrated, Epstein is wrong on the facts, and no one here has offered evidence the contrary. Are you just going to ignore that and still pretend Epstein is right, because you’ve already made your little coccoon and have your fingers in your ears? Evidence is the LAST think you want.

  54. And the best counter to Epstein I know is

    “A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change,” Stephen M Gardiner, 2011.
    http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Moral-Storm-Ethical-Environmental/dp/0199985146

  55. Epstein arguments are straightforward and largely incontrovertible. Primarily because he coming out and stating what is, or should be, pretty much the obvious. Of course, he will be fanatically attacked by the end of the world brigade, but that’s a good thing. At the end of the day, clear, direct arguments work better than whinny and convoluted arguments from authority, and other such nonsense.

  56. JK Galbraith’s assessment remains truer than ever… “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

    JMJ

  57. David, the dilemma is cheap energy for our generation or possible adverse effects from warming for the rich people of 2100.
    See? It isn’t even a dilemma.

  58. This world is a very finely constructed piece of work. It depends on many elements of balance and consistency. It is also a very fragile construct. I have read that if the world was set on a table, it would collapse and run off the table onto the floor.
    As intelligent people who have developed many methods of doing things; we have become a threat to earth survival. We will not survive long enough to reach anther planet if we do not do what we have done in the past and work together to save earth and its people. (i,e. rebuilding after World War II with the Marshall Plan).
    It is essential that we control our technology so that profits do not override good judgment, human health and damage to the environment.
    Our economics must also be controlled and changed to provide the funds to have a quality nation based on human needs and people’s survival.
    Economics is all about the numbers needed to support all of people’s needs not gold or anything else physical. Funds must be seeded by national government to assure that priority tasks are funded.

  59. David Eddy describes every fascist’s utopian dream, starting from Plato’s Republic and on to thousand year Reich’s. A society where everything is perfectly controlled, apportioned, regulated.

  60. Epstein was interviewed on The Tom Woods show recently:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yhc292eIyIM

  61. RE: “Epstein wanders into strange territory when he says curious and false things about religions (“many religious people think that it is wrong to eat certain foods or to engage in certain sexual acts, not because there is any evidence that these foods or acts are unhealthy or otherwise harmful to human beings but simply because they believe God forbids them”),”

    False like:

    Prohibition on eating pork or breaking the Sabbath (ref: Lev 11:7-8, Deut 14:8, Ex 31:45, Num 15:32-36). Any of us “Christians” who think nothing of eating a ham sandwich or doing something on Sunday like mowing the lawn are a) condemned, b) selectively picking & rejecting what applied from the asserted inspired word of god.

    EVEN MORE INTERESTING: Epstein’s entire “moral” argument & rationale is founded on the premise that what’s life-saving for people is good — and as such is pretty much devoid of ANY religiously-based foundation (and where he mentions some religious themes in general — and does so correctly — Briggs & others reject such statements)!

    In this regard Epstein’s presentation is indistinguishable from an atheist’s assertion that morality can be, and is, derived from wholly non-religious premises — what & how Epstein presents is indistinguishable from what an atheist could have (and many have) said.

    As Briggs & others have gone on record asserting that morality is necessarily derived from deity, this presents quite a conundrum given his endorsement of this non-religiously-based morality.

  62. Briggs

    December 4, 2014 at 8:11 am

    JMJ,

    JK Galbraith’s assessment remains truer than ever…if we swap one word for another. “The modern progressive is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

    Boulder progressives have theirs and are smug about it. And they don’t want anybody else to have it.

    Progressive greed kills.

    Ken,

    I see your knowledge of the Bible remains at its past level.

    (It’s on-line, incidentally.)

  63. David Eddy: You mean we should control everyone except in the case your life. If the government determines you should live in a cave in the woods and eat berries, are you really saying you’d gladly go skipping off to the woods? Interesting that you are using the internet, something you should be eschewing due to it’s reliance on fossil fuels. And, if we are to control our technology so profits do not override good judgement, whose “good judgement” do we use? Ah, yes, the world government. Those altruistic individuals who have taken a vow of poverty and only want to serve humanity? In your dreams. Your position appears to be quite flawed when viewed in the light of reality.

    Ken: I am curious. Do you require that all rules remain the same for eternity or do you just apply that conveniently to teachings in the Bible that allow you to ridicule Christians? Rather rigid thinking, but since you, as an enlightened individual, could never be rigid like Christians, I must be misinterpreting.
    Since I have never gone on record as saying morality is derived necessarily from deity (though there are problems with asserting it is not), am I allowed to celebrate the fact that someone has clearly indicated that a “moral position” can be defended without introducing religion and that this is how it should be? Humans were created as rational beings. Reason and logic are not opposite religion, they are part of it. Rules should be able to explained without invoking God.

  64. Sheri commented:
    “David Eddy: You mean we should control everyone except in the case your life. If the government determines you should live in a cave in the woods and eat berries, are you really saying you’d gladly go skipping off to the woods? ”

    Couldn’t you have constructed an even bigger straw man? Maybe the government would also decide we should be naked and be required to end our lives at 30?

    So here’s a simplier question: should the government restrict where you can dispose of your trash? Dumping it over the hill at the end of the road is cheaper for you; should they instead require you pay for garbage pickup? If so, why or why not?

    Interesting that you are using the internet, something you should be eschewing due to it’s reliance on fossil fuels. And, if we are to control our technology so profits do not override good judgement, whose “good judgement” do we use? Ah, yes, the world government. Those altruistic individuals who have taken a vow of poverty and only want to serve humanity? In your dreams. Your position appears to be quite flawed when viewed in the light of reality.

    Ken: I am curious. Do you require that all rules remain the same for eternity or do you just apply that conveniently to teachings in the Bible that allow you to ridicule Christians? Rather rigid thinking, but since you, as an enlightened individual, could never be rigid like Christians, I must be misinterpreting.
    Since I have never gone on record as saying morality is derived necessarily from deity (though there are problems with asserting it is not), am I allowed to celebrate the fact that someone has clearly indicated that a “moral position” can be defended without introducing religion and that this is how it should be? Humans were created as rational beings. Reason and logic are not opposite religion, they are part of it. Rules should be able to explained without invoking God.

  65. Hans Erren wrote:
    “David, the dilemma is cheap energy for our generation or possible adverse effects from warming for the rich people of 2100.”

    How will the future rich deacidify the ocean? Stop the sea level rise we’ve already committed to, which by 2100 will be much more? Bring back species that went extinct in the 21st century?

    Why won’t the “rich” of 2100 also say they need cheap energy for their generation? We’re saying it now, yet (in the US) our real per capita GDP in the year 2000 was about 7 times what it was in 1900.

    If a factor of 7 isn’t enough, what is? 10? 30? 50? Give us a number. Because I would guess the people of 1900 would have said, with 7 times more income, the year 2000 would easily afford clean energy.

    India’s per capita GDP is now $1500/yr. Assuming a factor of 7 this century, it would be $11,000/yr in 2100 — which was the US real per capita GDP in 1959, a time you would say we definitely couldn’t have afforded clean energy.

    Climate change is already having happening. What says we can/will weather the impacts until 2100? By then a lot of things could happen, especially threats to food production. Suddenly the people of 2100 are going to snap their fingers and it all goes away and the world is back to baseline again?

    I don’t think you’ve thought this through.

    economic data:
    http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.com/2012/09/us-real-per-capita-gdp-from-18702001.html

    and FRED:
    https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/

  66. David Appell asks: “So here’s a simplier question: should the government restrict where you can dispose of your trash?”

    But David, your question is not as simple as it looks: co2 (the “trash” I assume you are referring to) is actually beneficial for our generation. Mild warming is beneficial, and more co2 is good for crops while the observed neutralisation of tbe ocean (“acidification”) is way overhyped.

    The questio to you is: Should we restrict goods that are good for the poor but are bad for the rich?

  67. Hans: 7 times China’s 2011 real per capita GDP is $38,000 — the level of US real per capita GDP in 1995.

    So, according to you, China also won’t be able to afford clean energy in 2100. Unless you’re expecting technological miracles to lower the cost of in energy production by then. (If so, remember Jevon’s Paradox.)

  68. Hans Erren wrote:
    “co2 (the “trash” I assume you are referring to) is actually beneficial for our generation. Mild warming is beneficial, and more co2 is good for crops”

    Neither is true. CO2 *lowers* the nutritional value of grains, which is where we get most of our calories.

    “…while the observed neutralisation of tbe ocean (“acidification”) is way overhyped.”

    No it isn’t. (If you can solve arguments by proclaimation, so can I.)

    “The questio to you is: Should we restrict goods that are good for the poor but are bad for the rich?”

    The question to you is: Should the rich not pay for clean energy just because the poor can’t?

  69. Hans: And I was really hoping you would give the number of how much more real per capita GDP we need before we can afford clean energy….

  70. Briggs

    December 4, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Look here, Appell. Constrain yourself. There’s no need for multiple comments, all in a row. Compose your responses more carefully. Your behavior is boorish and your writing dull.

  71. Mr Briggs,

    Putting aside the observation that the favoured quote from a progressive intellectual giant (Galbraith) is little more than a snide insult (of the bumper sticker variety) I would modify your version of the quote slightly –

    “The modern progressive is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for envy.”

  72. Briggs wrote:
    “Look here, Appell. Constrain yourself. There’s no need for multiple comments, all in a row.”

    I’ll try, but I prefer to make only one point in each comment. People don’t read long comments. Or don’t you want actual evidence presented here?

    “Your behavior is boorish and your writing dull.”

    And yours is arrogant and your writing pretentious. (Ironic considering you don’t seem to know much science.)

  73. “Hans: And I was really hoping you would give the number of how much more real per capita GDP we need before we can afford clean energy….”

    Again, wind turbines is not clean, I notice that Greenpeace never calls for a boycott of Neodymium mining, And it really does not matter what *we* do, if you take a careful look at the rcp8.5 scenario. It’s what India and China do, and they choose for wealth increase.

    No energy is clean, the cheapest are nuclear, gas and scrubbed coal, it’s the smog and poor mining methods that is killing chinese, not CO2. They can afford nuclear and mining safety.

    And please: go tell the climate activists that they should stop their protersts against nuclear. And educate girls that is really a win-win. Clever girls have less children.

  74. Briggs

    December 4, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Appell,

    Your insults need work. But if you find the writing here lacking, then go away. You’re just wasting your time.

  75. Hans, I told you, I don’t know any activists. I personally am not opposed to nuclear (as long as we can store the waste in someone’s back yard (not mine!!)).

    So you’re not going to give a number for how much real per capita GDP we need?Kind of a cop-out. Try this: US real per capita GDP has doubled since 1975. Why wouldn’t people then have said, “We can’t afford clean energy, but the rich people in 2014 will be able to, with twice as much income.”

    “Again, wind turbines is not clean.”

    No energy source is strictly “clean.” But wind is certainly cleaner than fossil fuels, especially coal, which ought to have gone away even before consideration of climate change.

    “if you take a careful look at the rcp8.5 scenario. It’s what India and China do, and they choose for wealth increase.”

    Except the US and UK (& Europe) are the ones who have polluted the atmosphere so far. The US is already responsible for about 29% of the extra carbon in today’s atmosphere and ocean. China: 10%. India: 3%. Someone I read said the UK has the most per capita emissions since the 1850s, but I don’t have numbers for that. Their cumulative emissions are 5% of world total.

    So you can see why China and India expect the US to lead the way on emissions cuts. Can’t blame them.

  76. Briggs wrote:
    “But if you find the writing here lacking, then go away. You’re just wasting your time.”

    First you need to be shown that there are very good reasons why scientists know AGW is happening and where it may go in the future. So far you have plenty of opinions about it, but have presented almost no facts or evidence to back them up. (I suspect you don’t know many.) So do most readers here — yet everyone is CERTAIN all the scientists are wrong and have been for 100 years, all the science academies around the world are wrong, the Nobel Laureautes and the National Academy of Science and NASA and the Pentagon and all the professional scientific societies (except that of the Petroleum Engineers!) I really don’t understand how that’s humanly possible.

  77. David
    Europe and the us have not “polluted” the atmosphere, because the result is net beneficial. The wickedness is that if china and india don’t opt for nuclear *they* are going to fry the west. Sure we can afford nuclear already, but those green activists are blocking it. So I se a solution, only the greens are not buying it. See I am a luke-warmer… And I also hate sloppy scientists who don’t share their data.

  78. You are not going to SHOW anyone anything, except that you are completely arrogant and lack any manners whatsoever. No one cares a wit about what you say—we’ve heard it all a dozen times or more. If we really wanted to know, you have a blog. Perhaps we all need to come over and carpet bomb your blog. Oh, that would get you traffic. Never mind. You can go on and on and on and on and on…….
    I really don’t understand how it’s humanly possible to think that insulting, antagonizing and being a complete jerk is going to get people to listen to you. Yet you seem to labor under that false pretense. Actually, it is pretty easy to understand. It’s just not curable…….

  79. Briggs

    December 4, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Appell,

    I have been extremely generous as a host allowing you to ramble on. But your behavior is rude, abusive, and ungentlemanly. Act like a proper guest or go away.

  80. Hans Erren wrote:
    “Europe and the us have not “polluted” the atmosphere, because the result is net beneficial. ”

    Prove this.

  81. Hans Erren wrote:
    “And I also hate sloppy scientists who don’t share their data.”

    Sloppy how?

    Bradley, Hughes and Mann’s 1998 & 1999 papers were published at a time when it was not common to post data & methods to the Web, whether on a site of the publisher or of the scientists. Like the 400 years before, it was assumed big boys could find it or ask for about it for themselves.

    Nevertheless, their data and methods have been available for a decade — so why are you still complaining?
    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/holocene/public_html/Mann/tools/tools.php

  82. David a pole your grasp of science seems to be zilch, other than links you post. Tell us what you understand from those links so we can judge. Otherwise how can one tell you are not just reading the titles

  83. Deebee wrote:
    “David a pole your grasp of science seems to be zilch, other than links you post. Tell us what you understand from those links so we can judge.”

    Why do you suppose I am posting them?

  84. Briggs wrote:
    “I have been extremely generous as a host allowing you to ramble on. But your behavior is rude, abusive, and ungentlemanly. Act like a proper guest or go away.”

    I have been proper, not more “rude, abrasive, and ungentlemanly” than other commenters here (they know who they are).

    It certainly looks like you are find with comments you ideologically agree with, and only complain about those you don’t.

  85. Sheri commented:
    “You are not going to SHOW anyone anything, except that you are completely arrogant and lack any manners whatsoever.”

    This is just your latest excuse for not discussing the facts and evidence. (You do the same on you blog.) Might that ever end?

  86. Will Nitschke commented:
    “Epstein arguments are straightforward and largely incontrovertible.”

    This is why you are called a “denier.” You simply will not consider evidence that doesn’t align with your worldview. You repeat the same old mantras regardless of the evidence, regardless of the truth.

    I am glad my views aren’t opposed to the truth.

  87. David, may I refer to Richard Tol’s estimates of economic impacts to global warming, impacts are positive below 2 degrees. Do you only read things you like in the IPCC reports? The glass is not only half full: the cup overflows!

  88. Hans: Richard Tol?? LOL… Didn’t “gremlins” take over his analysis?

    Yes, I think they did. You know Tol’s rep as well as I do. He’s ruined it in the last few years.

    PS: When are you going to answer the question of how much more real per capita GDP we need to start paying for clean energy?

  89. Hans: I challenge you to read “The Climate Casino” by William Nordhaus — an environmental economist who was once a favorite of the right, back when they preferred market-driven solutions like cap-and-trade….

  90. As usual, when Appell arrives, insults ensue and the conversation trails off down a rabbit hole. We should thank him for showing just how off putting people like him become when challenged in any way. I would presume that David Appell and Doug Cotton are one in the same. If not physically, surely in mind.

  91. Appell,
    For future reference, model predictions are not evidence, although I would classify it as science in most cases, with model validation being an important and vital step. The future estimations of crop losses stand in stark contrast to the impressive crop yield increases that have occurred in the past century with enormous CO2 emissions and a 1C temperature increase. Most studies talk about potential decreases to the increasing trend in crop yield (while still maintaining an upward trend), which amusingly gets translated to decreased yield and decreased food supply in the media. We shall see how accurate these predictions are, but so far it is speculation and not supported by current observations.

  92. @Tom

    You’re not telling him anything he doesn’t already know and understand in some little corner of his brain. So you’re sort of wasting your time. If you want to argue, say, that CO2 is good for the environment you can google scholar a half dozen papers on CO2 fertilization literally within seconds. If Appell wants to argue that CO2 is a toxic pollution, he’ll produce a media report on the opinion of a judge in a court ruling. Then he’ll scream that everyone are science deniers if they disagree with him. With a brain like that, you’re not going to get very far debating him are you?

  93. Will N wrote:
    “If you want to argue, say, that CO2 is good for the environment you can google scholar a half dozen papers on CO2 fertilization literally within seconds.”

    Perhaps your Google search will lead you to this interesting paper:

    “Nitrate assimilation is inhibited by elevated CO2 in field-grown wheat,” Arnold J. Bloom et al, Nature Climate Change, April 6 2014.
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2183.html

    and you can discuss its science and implications Though I doubt you will — you’ve avoided all the science so far, snide remarks being so much easier.

  94. “Agriculture feeds the world. Since plants use carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, it was previously believed that higher levels of atmospheric CO2 from human emissions might stimulate plant growth and actually produce more food.

    BLOOM: “But it doesn’t seem to work out as simply as that. Higher CO2 tends to inhibit the ability of plants to make protein… And this explains why food quality seems to have been declining and will continue to decline as CO2 rises — because of this inhibition of nitrate conversion into protein.”

    “That’s University of California Davis Professor Arnold J. Bloom. Atmospheric CO2 levels have increased about forty percent since the Industrial Revolution and are continuing to rise. During the same time period, however, the nutrient levels in plants have decreased.

    BLOOM: “It’s going to be fairly universal that we’ll be struggling with trying to sustain food quality and it’s not just protein… it’s also micronutrients such as zinc and iron that suffer as well as protein.”

    “Some plants benefit from more CO2, while others suffer. Scientists are now trying to cultivate crops that maintain their nutritional value despite increasing CO2, but there is much work still to be done.

    http://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2014/10/crop-nutrition/ , 10/7/14

  95. “Increasing CO2 threatens human nutrition,” Samuel S. Myers et al, Nature 510, 139–142 (05 June 2014)
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v510/n7503/full/nature13179.html

    Abstract: “Dietary deficiencies of zinc and iron are a substantial global public health problem. An estimated two billion people suffer these deficiencies1, causing a loss of 63 million life-years annually2, 3. Most of these people depend on C3 grains and legumes as their primary dietary source of zinc and iron. Here we report that C3 grains and legumes have lower concentrations of zinc and iron when grown under field conditions at the elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration predicted for the middle of this century. C3 crops other than legumes also have lower concentrations of protein, whereas C4 crops seem to be less affected. Differences between cultivars of a single crop suggest that breeding for decreased sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 concentration could partly address these new challenges to global health.”

    (Emphasis mine.)

  96. Tom Scharf commented:
    “The future estimations of crop losses stand in stark contrast to the impressive crop yield increases that have occurred in the past century with enormous CO2 emissions and a 1C temperature increase.”

    Of course, there were many changes to agricultural practices in the 20th Century. What evidence is there that the gains were due to CO2 and warming, and not due to changes like the Green Revolution, GMOs, etc? Once you start separating out the variables, things aren’t looking you’ve claimed:

    “For wheat, maize and barley, there is a clearly negative response of global yields to increased temperatures. Based on these sensitivities and observed climate trends, we estimate that warming since 1981 has resulted in annual combined losses of these three crops representing roughly 40 Mt or $5 billion per year, as of 2002.”
    “Global scale climate–crop yield relationships and the impacts of recent warming,” David B Lobell and Christopher B Field (2007)
    Environmental Research Letters, Volume 2 Number 1 (2007)
    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/2/1/014002

  97. Tom Scharf commented:
    “For future reference, model predictions are not evidence, although I would classify it as science in most cases, with model validation being an important and vital step. ”

    The Bloom et al study in Nature that found decreased nutritive value under elevated CO2 wasn’t a model, it was a field experiment.

  98. David Appell wrote:
    “PS: When are you going to answer the question of how much more real per capita GDP we need to start paying for clean energy?”

    The per capita GDP of France in the 1950’s, when they started using full scale nuclear energy. As you are not opposed to nuclear you must agree with me that nuclear is the best bang for the buck when you want carbon- free energy.

  99. Hans, I already said I wasn’t opposed to nuclear energy. As long as we can store the waste in your backyard, not mine.

  100. Appell,
    You can’t unscramble the eggs of crop yields. You also can’t unscramble the effect of CO2 on crop yields. What you can easily do is measure crop yields. They go up. Whatever is responsible for yield increases, it is clearing outpacing an alleged and clearly questionable downside effect due to a CO2 increase. Big Ag > AGW by a huge factor even with your wishful doom mongering.

    Thus selling AGW as leading to future crop declines in face of this actual data is just propaganda masquerading as science. If you wish to assume that Big Ag will totally fail to keep making big jumps in production, please state that as part of your estimate so we can all see through the charade that it is.

  101. Tom Scharf commented:
    “You can’t unscramble the eggs of crop yields. You also can’t unscramble the effect of CO2 on crop yields. They go up. Whatever is responsible for yield increases, it is clearing outpacing an alleged and clearly questionable downside effect due to a CO2 increase.”

    Your last sentence directly contradicts your first. You claimed no one can “unscramble” the effect of CO2 on crop yields, then you said that crop yields are growing due to a “CO2 increase.”

    These both can’t be true at the same time. So which is it?

  102. Scharf:

    You also seemed to have missed that the two Nature papers I cited — Bloom et al and Myers et al — aren’t about crop yields under elevated CO2, they are about crop nutritional values under elevated CO2.

  103. David, yes you are opposed to nuclear energy.

  104. Hans Erren wrote:
    “David, yes you are opposed to nuclear energy.”

    Sure, Hans, sure — even though I just said the opposite.

  105. David Appell wrote:
    “Hans, I already said I wasn’t opposed to nuclear energy. As long as we can store the waste in your backyard, not mine.”

    Duh, Following this reasoning, you are also not opposed to fossil fuel energy.
    Welcome to the climate skeptics, David!

  106. Hans Erren wrote;
    “Duh, Following this reasoning, you are also not opposed to fossil fuel energy.”

    Hans: As long as you can suck the waste product of fossil fuels, CO2, out of the atmosphere and ocean and store it somewhere else, then, yes, you can use your fossil fuels. (Except coal, which is too filthy even before considerations of global warming).

    Let me know when you have this CO2 sewage plant up and running.

  107. David Appell, as you are clearly opposed to nuclear and fossil use, may I hear from you, how you do heat your home in winter in Oregon?

  108. Appell,
    Let me explain it to you like a 5 year old. “CO2 increase” means increase in CO2 emissions, not “increase in crop yields due to CO2”. This could have been easily inferred, but ankle biters rarely try very hard.

  109. Hans, I said twice now that I’m not opposed to nuclear energy. If you want this conversation to continue, you’ll have to stop misrepresenting my views.

  110. Scharf:

    You’re right, I misinterpreted your earlier comment. My bad.

    You wrote: “Whatever is responsible for yield increases, it is clearing outpacing an alleged and clearly questionable downside effect due to a CO2 increase.”

    You aren’t qualified to judge the papers I cited. You’ve offered no reasons why their results are “alleged” and “questionable.”

    A Pollyanna worldview that assumes agricultural yields will magically be whatever is needed is throwing dice with the future of the world. World agricultural yields per capita have been increasing; on the other hand, cereal production per capita peaked around 1980 and is decreasing, including in parts of the world than can least tolerate it, and tolerate climate change on top of that.

    CO2 fertilization is not the unalloyed good this post (and you) tries to make it. Many factors determine crop yields, not simply CO2, and it’s utterly simplistic to suggest that CO2’s only effect is fertlization and that’s a positive thing. When you look a little closer you see that the details don’t warrant that simple conclusion. And the CO2 doesn’t come without changes in temperature and precipitation that have big impacts on crops.

  111. PS: And “unscrambling the egg” is something researchers in many fields work on.

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