Cornucopians vs. Malthusians
Back in 1980, Paul Ehrlich and Julian Simon made their famous bet, recounted by John Tierney at its culmination 10 years later:
In 1980 an ecologist and an economist chose a refreshingly unacademic way to resolve their differences. They bet $1,000. Specifically, the bet was over the future price of five metals, but at stake was much more — a view of the planet’s ultimate limits, a vision of humanity’s destiny. It was a bet between the Cassandra and the Dr. Pangloss of our era.
They lead two intellectual schools — sometimes called the Malthusians and the Cornucopians, sometimes simply the doomsters and the boomsters — that use the latest in computer-generated graphs and foundation-generated funds to debate whether the world is getting better or going to the dogs. The argument has generally been as fruitless as it is old, since the two sides never seem to be looking at the same part of the world at the same time. Dr. Pangloss sees farm silos brimming with record harvests; Cassandra sees topsoil eroding and pesticide seeping into ground water. Dr. Pangloss sees people living longer; Cassandra sees rain forests being decimated. But in 1980 these opponents managed to agree on one way to chart and test the global future. They promised to abide by the results exactly 10 years later — in October 1990 — and to pay up out of their own pockets.
What was the result? Simon won handily.
But recent goings on with commodity prices have some people asking whether Simon’s timing was just lucky and perhaps Ehrlich views will ultimately triumph. In August, The Economist reported that had the famous bet extended to 2011, Ehrich would have won, as shown in the graph below. (Roger Pielke Jr.)
Al Gore is doing a disservice to science by overplaying the link between climate change and weather
To claim that we are causing meteorological events that would not have occurred without human influence is just plain wrong
When Al Gore said last week that scientists now have “clear proof that climate change is directly responsible for the extreme and devastating floods, storms and droughts that displaced millions of people this year,” my heart sank. Having suggested the idea of “event attribution” back in 2003, and co-authored a study published earlier this year on the origins of the UK floods in autumn 2000, I suspect I may be one of the scientists being talked about. (The Guardian)
Australian Government doesn’t give a toss what you think
The Australian government asks for submissions, gets around 4500, mostly against the tax, then ignores almost all of them. It’s just another form of suppression and censorship, a sign that the elites don’t give a fig what we think.
Menzies House is calling it an utter disgrace.
“In a shocking and historically unprecedented suppression of political expression, a staggering four thousand five hundred Australians have had their voices silenced by Australia’s political elite in the Labor-dominated Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Clean Energy Future Legislation.”
It shows what we all knew all along: the submission process was a merely legal formality, a scent of democracy.
This is a new low, and based on current performance, is just what we’d expect. They can’t justify this tax, they can’t debate the science, but they can ram it through. The only way “forward” is with whitewash, erasers, and the all-purpose delete key. (Jo Nova)
The following articles claim UVB (ultraviolet radiation in the 270-320 nanometer [nm] band) had been the only/main suspect in causing skin cancer but that is really quite wrong. This assertion appeared in 2004 and represented a paradigm change. (links in our ozone page)
UVA (320-400nm) is and has always been the prime suspect in deep tissue penetration and genetic damage leading to melanoma while UVB, which can cause sunburns, has always been (and still is) otherwise considered benign/beneficial. UVC (<270nm), which would cause severe burns with short exposure but does not penetrate the atmosphere, blocked completely by atmospheric oxygen (O2) in addition to ozone (O3).
The only reason we can find for the reversal of paradigm and “villain switch” is that UVA is not blocked by stratospheric ozone at all and made a lie of claims that alleged stratospheric “ozone depletion” would lead to an increase in skin cancers. UVB is blocked to some extent by ozone (and thick cloud) and thus had to be made the villain of the narrative.
The claim that stratospheric ozone creates some sort of “life shield” around planet earth is and always has been utter twaddle – simply an excuse for the Montreal Protocol and the assassination of useful chemical compounds.
Study shines new light on damaging UV rays
The Poverty of Diagrams
Ben Pile on October 7, 2011
Pop wisdom has it that ‘a picture paints a thousand words’. Here’s a picture that tries to paint so many words, but says more about its painters than the subjects they intended to portray. (Climate Resistance)
Map: The Climate Change Scare Machine — the perpetual self-feeding cycle of alarm
Two professors of sociology think they can explain why “Climate Deniers” are winning. But Riley E. Dunlap and Aaron M. McCright start from the wrong assumption and miss the bleeding obvious: the theory was wrong, the evidence has changed, and thousands of volunteers have exposed it.
The real question sociologists will be studying for years to come is: how was an exaggerated scare, based on so little evidence, poor reasoning and petty namecalling, kept alive for two whole decades? (Jo Nova)
The South Pacific’s water crisis
And not a drop to drink
ONE canary in the climate-change coalmine may have just quietly fallen from her perch. The tiny Pacific island nation of Tuvalu has declared a state of emergency after a fresh water shortage forced it to shutter its schools and hospitals and begin water rationing across the country. Observers blame the shortage on the changing weather patterns and rising sea levels associated with climate change—and warn they could be a sign of things to come for the whole region. (Economist)
What utter rubbish! Tide gauge data shows no particular trend for sea levels at Tuvalu but does register the state of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
Due to regional atmospheric pressure changes deforming the sea surface lens sea levels fall around Tuvalu during the warmer El Niño phase and rise during the earth-cooling La Niña phase.
We are currently entering what appears to be a second La Niña peak and sea levels have been above “normal” around Tuvalu for more than a year.
Moreover, La Niña phases cause a southerly shift in local wind and rainfall patterns, always leading to drought in the region.
Tuvalu suffers drought when earth is coolest and above-normal rainfall when earth is at its warmest during El Niño events. And so it has always been.
At least, I assume they are hitching as there are no reports of north-bound magnolias towing U-haul trailers…
As the Climate Warms, Magnolias Move North
Scarlett O’Hara herself would likely be scandalized by what researchers found when scouring a plot of central North Carolina forest outside Chapel Hill. Jennifer Gruhn was looking for Southern magnolias, one of the most enduring symbols of the American South (besides Scarlett herself, of course), and the state flower of both Mississippi and Louisiana.
The scandal was that she found them — no fewer than 500 of the magnificent trees, with their dark green leaves and spectacularly fragrant blossoms — in an abundance unexpected for a location so far north. And as with so many changes in the natural world lately, Gruhn, a biology graduate student at Washington University in St. Louis, thinks climate change may be at least partly responsible.
Writing in the June issue of Southeastern Naturalist, Gruhn and her co-author Peter White, of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, point to average temperatures some 2.7°F higher, and a growing season several weeks longer, than it was a few decades ago. (Climate Central)
Keystone XL: The wrong question
The Keystone XL pipeline from Canada’s tar sands would have pros and cons, but foes would do better to shift their focus to the larger environmental issues.
The question of whether to build an oil pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Texas is turning out to be one of the most important political decisions of the year for the Obama administration. It’s an agonizing choice because the costs and benefits of building it are so closely balanced; opponents have overstated the environmental risks, and proponents seem oblivious to the consequences of continuing to feed our nation’s oil addiction.
The Keystone XL pipeline would run 1,700 miles and cost $7 billion, generating thousands of construction jobs. It would increase oil imports from a stable, friendly neighbor while decreasing U.S. reliance on more volatile (and sometimes hostile) OPEC regimes. What’s more, pipelines are the safest way to transport oil. (LA Times)
American burying beetle becomes player in Keystone pipeline drama
Cleaning clothes dirties oceans
You can’t see it, but plastic pollution mixes with the sand on coasts around the world. The tiny, human-made threads come from polyester clothing that’s been through the wash. Credit: Bryan Bell, National Park Service
It’s easy to pollute coastal areas, even for people who live far from the beach. All it takes are a washing machine and polyester clothes.
Polyester is everywhere: The plastic fabric can be used to make fleeces, shirts, pants, furniture and blankets. It’s synthetic, which means it’s created from chemicals in a lab to resemble something natural. Scientists recently found that polyester clothes shed plastic fibers while in the washing machine. During the rinse cycle, these microscopic threads wash down the drain, zip through water treatment plants and end up on the coasts. (SNfK)
But now they are the World Whacko Fund and they produce absurd misanthropic propaganda:
Hot to be the new normal as species struggle
Soaring temperatures last century may have been hard work for many species across the planet but, by the end of this century, those temperatures, once considered extreme, will become the norm for many of the world’s most delicate ecosystems.
Research suggests that, over the coming decades, increased temperatures and rainfall will put increased stain on the survival of the Global 200 ecoregions, threatening both plant and animal life.
The Global 200 is a set of ecoregions that the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has classified as having exceptional biodiversity. They contain a high concentration of the earth’s species. (Sydney Morning Herald)
Change the world anyway
If you’ve switched on the air con today or driven your car, did you think at all about the carbon emissions and how that is affecting the planet? Or do you think it’s a whole lotta hogwash?
Climate change sceptics say that yes the climate is changing but that’s just the normal weather cycle. Some go so far as to say that the carbon tax should not be introduced because humans are not contributing to global warming.
Today, this cartoon popped into my inbox and as i’m still thinking about the conversation with Professor Bob Carter, i thought i’d share this cartoon with you after having a conversation earlier this week with one of the worlds leading climate change sceptics.
Take a listen to Professor Carter, Emeritus Fellow of the Institute of Public Affairs, and consider the cartoon. Let me know what you think. (link to radio interview embedded in original) (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)
Utopian reality check
Time and Cultish Environmentalism
It’s not as if one expects actual journalism from the left-wing propagandists at Time magazine anymore, but today’s article entitled “Who’s Bankrolling the Climate-Change Deniers?” is particularly egregious.
Almost everything that columnist Bryan Walsh writes in his cult-like piece is wrong, but a few areas stand out in particular. (American Spectator)
Settled science update: In the aftermath of Snowball Earth, CO2 levels were 90,000 ppm; or maybe they were 3,200 ppm, or maybe 400 ppm; maybe there wasn’t a Snowball Earth
Cold Water Tossed on ‘Snowball Earth’ Theory | LiveScience
…So by comparing the ratios from the two sources, the scientists could get an idea of what the concentration of carbon dioxide was in the ocean, and hence the atmosphere, at the time.
They found it was much lower than expected. While previous estimates had put the carbon dioxide concentration at as much as 90,000 parts per million, this new analysis put it lower than 3,200 ppm, possibly as low as it is today, about 400 ppm.
“Since we record a very low carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere it seems to be there was never a high concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which means it cannot have been a Snowball Earth, otherwise it would still be frozen,” said Magali Ader, a study researcher and assistant professor at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris,.
The times, they are a-changing: Now Nature publishes a well-written piece attacking the idea of “consensus” reports
The voice of science: let’s agree to disagree : Daniel Sarewitz – Nature News
Turncoat really is in the wrong party (he was apparently turned down when he approached Labor and ended up becoming a candidate for Australia’s center-right Liberal Party, unfortunately). He is still trying to boost his banker buddies’ carbon trading scam and telling bizarre porkies about China’s “low carbon” development. His treasonous collusion with K.Rudd (then Australian Prime Minister and Labor Party leader) attempting to sabotage Australia’s economy with punitive energy taxation sparked a grassroots revolt among Australia’s normally quiescent center-right voters, resulting in the Member for Goldman Sachs being dumped in favor of current Opposition Leader and Prime Minister-in-waiting, Tony Abbott. Turncoat will never lead Australia.
Turnbull calls for leadership on climate
October 6, 2011
MALCOLM TURNBULL has issued a fresh call for leadership on climate change only a week before the Parliament is due to vote on the Gillard government’s controversial carbon tax.
In a speech in London overnight the opposition spokesman on communications urged “long-term thinking and leadership” to compete with China in fields such as climate change.
“While politicians in the West argue about whether or not climate change is real, in China, the world’s largest emitter, billions are being invested in wind, solar and electric vehicles,” he said in a speech at the London School of Economics. (Sydney Morning Herald)
Erroneous Information In The Report “Procedural Review of EPA’s Greenhouse Gases Endangerment Finding Data Quality Processes”
The EPA Office of the Inspector General published the report
“Procedural Review of EPA’s Greenhouse Gases Endangerment Finding Data Quality Processes,” dated September 26, 2011.
There has been discussion of this Report in the media, e.g. see and see, but I want to report here on a specific significant error that continually is told to policymakers. (Roger Pielke Sr.)