Climate clippings 12

These posts include a brief mention of a number of news items relating to climate change. They don’t preclude treating any of these topics at more length in a separate post.

They can also serve as an open thread so that we can keep each other informed on important climate news.

Temperature increases to 2100 could be double what the models predict

That is indeed so, (see Climate Progress).

Other scientists are catching up with what James Hansen told us in 2007, namely, that according to the paleoclimate data ‘long-term’ climate sensitivity is 6°C for doubled CO2, not 3°C as assumed.

Coral reefs may survive global warming

…but will be very different, according to new research. This is not a good news story.

“It’s like having an oak tree forest replaced by a forest of scrubby young plants,” says [Professor Peter] Mumby [of QU].

For one thing they support less fish. Also please note that this research is based on a 10-year study in the Caribbean and may not apply to other areas.

India wades into tidal power

India’s first tidal power plant gets the go ahead.

Even with its potential for providing predictable and sustainable electricity generation with no visual impact, tidal power still accounts for only a fraction of a percent of the world’s total electricity generation. That is slowly changing though, with numerous tidal power plants being constructed or planned for coastlines around the world. India is the latest country to wade into the tidal power waters with the announcement of its first commercial scale tidal current power plant to be constructed in the Indian State of Gujarat.

And guess what, China and South Korea won’t be far behind.

“China’s the next big market for tidal energy,” [Atlantis CEO Timothy] Cornelius said. “It has the most natural tidal resources in the world and can be home to more than 1,000 megawatts of tidal energy.”

“Scientists: Climate Change No Longer a Theory, It’s Happening”

The raging waters In Australia and Brazil are product of global warming.

That’s according to a US ABC story via Climate progress

The pictures today from around the world of dramatic rooftop rescues from raging waters, makes it seem as though natural disasters are becoming an everyday occurrence. But they’re not all that natural; climate scientists say man-made global warming is the sudden force behind the forces of nature.

He [Derek Arndt, chief of NOAA’s Climate Monitoring Branch in the National Climate Data Center] said NOAA is tracking disasters like the floods in Brazil and Australia. “We are measuring certain types of extreme events that we would expect to see more often in a warming world, and these are indeed increasing.”

‘By 2020, world to be 2.4C warmer, India to be hardest hit’

That report sounded too bad to be true. Luckily it was. More like 0.2°C, in fact.

A pity the author, who was told about the error prior to publication, didn’t pull the copy. The goons will have a field day. But for blunders it’s hard to beat Imre Salusinszky, proving once again that on climate science The Australian has no standards.

How Fast is Earth Warming?

A good question, after that last one. Tamino answers it.

Here are the graphs for five data sources:

Adjusted temperature rise - five sources

That’s with the estimated impact of el Nino, volcanic eruptions, solar variation, and the residual annual cycle removed, leaving only the global warming trend and any remaining natural variation.

Something less than 0.2°C per decade, but significant nevertheless.

When will the record for annual warmth be broken?

With the next El Nino event in all probability. And just remember, they haven’t been cancelled.

Most of the extra energy goes into the ocean, so:

…a record depends on the behavior of the oceans, typically an El Nino or La Nina event.

Anti-science committee to oversee science

I sometimes think the American people really shot themselves in the foot at the last elections. Look who they are putting on the HOR Committee on Science and Technology. Among those featured is Paul Broun as chair of the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee, a medical doctor who thinks that global warming is a hoax and that a cap and trade system is gonna kill people.

The Committee has a fine pedigree:

it’s a historic fixture of postwar, science-centered America—a committee originally formed after the Soviet launch of Sputnik, and one that today oversees the major research agencies: NASA, NOAA, NSF, and numerous others. For much of its history, whichever party controlled Congress, the committee was therefore run by a legislator with a sympathetic understanding of the scientific community—leaders like George Brown on the Democratic side, and Sherwood Boehlert for the Republicans.

The Chinese must be pissing themselves.

The discourse on peak oil has changed

Until recently officials and experts either remained silent or were equivocal. Now:

Increasingly, those experts and officials are saying that peak oil is near, that it is a serious danger, and that we are unprepared for it.

The IEA has switched its position since conducting a field by field survey in 2008:

This year the agency explicitly discussed peak oil for the first time and proclaimed that conventional crude most likely peaked in 2006. It continues to believe unconventional oil from the tar sands, the Arctic and deepwater fields along with natural gas liquids can make up for declining conventional oil and lead to increases in world oil production for two more decades. But it warns that this is no longer a foregone conclusion without the necessary and rather large investment required.

Two more decades of that caper and we’ll be on the road to perdition.

Jesus wept.

48 thoughts on “Climate clippings 12”

  1. The missing link in getting Governments to genuinely commit to climate change policy is China. Until China commits to emmissions reduction along with an accountability mechanism, there will be no meaningful action by any other of the major developed economies, including the United States that has a government committed to reducing carbon emmissions but can’t afford to disadvantage it’s domestic economy.

  2. The destruction of scientific research and its replacement by political ideology is heartbreaking. I blame the proliferation of FUD from vested interests, as well as those crap ads which claim scientific backing for cosmetic products/fitness/weight loss regimes. Unfortunately these sorts of deception ride on the back of the legitimacy of science but devalue that legitimacy in the eyes of the average Joe when they’re proven to be wrong. Simply saying “Sorry, but that wasn’t science” doesn’t cut it. It’s a sort of misplaced “once bitten” syndrome.

    Also, this is a slightly O/T rant, but I’m not sure what a medical doctor is doing claiming oversight of ‘science’. Sorry, med-sci students and professionals, but science is more than just memorising lots of facts and applying them when you need them (one of the reasons I got out of health sci and into science early). It actually involves a lot of creativity and hard work. People who think that they’ll do well in science because they ace their exams are in for a big surprise.

  3. WTF @3?

    At least the government of China accepts the reality of AGW and the need to do something about it. The freshly elected GOP-majority US Congress just put a denialist in charge of their climate committee.

    Jamo, ever since Kyoto (remember that?) the USA has done more to obstruct international progress on climate policy than the rest of the world put together. Haven’t you been paying attention?

  4. Jammo,

    China is the most committed government on the planet after the Maldives and Sweden. It is completely false to think that China does not take climate change seriously.

    Their reality though is that they have a huge industrial catchup process to complete in order to be able to address the problem. Along the way they are employing every green technology that the Chinese people can afford. Go to China and have a look. Every building has solar water heating, right down to tin sheds. The 3 Gorges Dam puts out 20 gigwatts of electricity continuously and for the Chinese peoples personal energy use as a ratio to ours this would represent something like 150 gigawatts here.

    The Chinese are now the biggest builders of wind turbines (I think I read that recently) and are eagerly taking up every other solar technology that they can get their hands on. They have been the main reason for the dramatic reduction in solar panel prices and are supplying solar panels into under developed countries such as Africa.

    Get over this “China is the environmental blockage” thing. It is not true.

    Australia…..is the worlds most backward country on Global Warming Action, and you can thank John Howard for that along with his shadowy followers.

    The last thing that we need is for Labour to fall into line, which sadly they seem most determined to do.

  5. Also, I thought the Australian article by Imre Salusinszky was satire. Surely this line gives it away…

    This victory happened because individuals pulled together, within nations, and then the nations of the world themselves pulled together. Meetings were held in places such Kyoto. Rousing speeches were made by world leaders. People clapped and felt good about themselves. Documents were signed.

    Clearly, with each meeting, each speech, each inked treaty, global warming was pushed back.

    The funny bit is all the commenters agreeing with it! 🙂

  6. Doesn’t stop the friggin’ ABC in its breathtaking stupidity giving over the majority of its report on this subject to climate crank Bob Carter. Unbelievable:

    MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Geologist Bob Carter from James Cook University says Mr Jerraud has no evidence for that.

    BOB CARTER: Lots of scientists have been looking for that evidence but to date there is nothing in the scientific literature which says we have more climatic emergency events at the moment than in the past or that these are more frequent or more dangerous. There is no scientific evidence for that.

    MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Professor Carter says it’s not surprising that last year was one of the warmest, but says that doesn’t mean greenhouse gases are the blame.

    BOB CARTER: The question is not whether it causes warming, the question is how much warming? Since 1998 we’ve had three warm years – 1998, 2005 and 2010 – and each of those years is associated with an El Nino event which causes or is related to the warming. Okay, but there’s no trend, 2010 is not significantly warmer in any way than 1998.

    So we have a warm period over a period of 12 years. Over those same 12 years we have a five per cent increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide is supposed to cause more warming. Well this data that we’ve just discussed tells you that human carbon dioxide emissions are not causing dangerous global warming, indeed they’re not causing any warming at all at the moment.

    MEREDITH GRIFFITHS: Professor Carter says the last 150 years have been among the coolest in the past 10,000 years of the Earth’s history.

    TONY EASTLEY: Meredith Griffiths reporting.

    Unbelievable!!

  7. Also, on the topic of scientific understanding, an interesting article in the New Yorker on perception bias and the effects that it can have on scientific analysis.

    Pretty standard really, seems to be restating Imre Lakatos’ philosophy on core vs non-core scientific fact. The real problem is the insinuation that all science is crap: see the last line of the article.

    We like to pretend that our experiments define the truth for us. But that?s often not the case. Just because an idea is true doesn?t mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn?t mean it?s true. When the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to believe.

    How many people would take this as gospel about things like gravity?

  8. Mercurius @5 –

    At least the government of China accepts the reality of AGW and the need to do something about it.

    OK, if that is true then what are they doing about it? Do you remember Copenhagen?

    Bilb @6 – If China is the Eco-power you suggest then what the hell do they do with all that coal that we send over to them?

  9. Jamo,

    China is taking one third of its people from being peasant farmers to being a modern industrial force.

    It would be interesting to see how the CO2 balance would work if the CO2 responsibility for the goods that China manufactures for the developed world’s economies was exported to the destination countries along with the goods that they export. Suddenly I would expect the US, Europe, and Australia would look far shabier from a Global Climate Action point of view, and China would be a glowing light of environmental conservatism.

    Put the blame where it belongs.

  10. Sorry Brian, not sure whether to post here or over at the open flood thread.

    In view of the recent extreme weather events globally, I did a bit digging in relation to risk management and insurance. Amongst other interesting bits I came across Improving Community Resilience to Extreme Weather Events published by the Insurance Council of Australia, wherein is the following statement:

    “Climate change commentary and litigation has already commenced a similar trajectory to the history of liability
    presented by dust diseases and tobacco smoking in the 50’s and 60’s. It is conceivable that the restriction, intentional or otherwise, of risk information from an individual concerning known or predicted climate change risks, that could influence a purchase, development or lifestyle choice could open further issues of liability on behalf of the authority responsible for the information.”

    Now I have zilch legal knowledge and would be interested where this opinion stands and implications thereof.

  11. That is huge, Ootz. That could put the Australian government, coutesy of the JWH mob thinking, in a very expensive restitution position in some areas. This is similar to the Haneef issue where a positon was taken for political reasons ultimately unravelling in the face of undeniable facts.

    Think back to the many “environmental” reports released with their political and ideological biases. At the end of the day, or decade, the reality is the fact.

  12. However, BilB, they could say, we also have published this this, where it states clearly:

    “Australia is likely to become warmer, with less rainfall and more droughts in the south, uncertain rainfall changes in the north, more heatwaves, less snow, more fires, more heavy rainfall events and more intense cyclones.”

  13. Jamo @ 11

    Harry Clarke reported while he was in China that the government is committed to reduce CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 40% to 45% in 2020 compared to 2005.

    It needs to be realised that the only globally acceptable outcome of greenhouse gas reduction negotiations will be a uniform annual per capita ration of emissions across nations.

    Latest figures, from 2005 from World Resources Institute, annual per capita emissions of CO2 equivalent are:

    Australia 27.3 metric tonnes
    United States 23.4
    France 9.0
    China 5.5
    India 1.7

    It is pretty bloody rich telling India and China to cut their emissions before Australia and the US are prepared to lift a finger.

    On top of Australia’s total annual emission of 558 million tonnes, in 2008-9 the country exported 234 million tonnes of coal which, when burned, would turn into close to 900 million tonnes of CO2 worth nearly $60 billion. What’s the plan to replace this export revenue stream by something cleaner?

  14. @BilB, I don’t think the australian government will be directly liable here. I suspect that the local councils, who have direct control over planning permissions, will be the first in the firing line.

    There have already been people attempting to take local councils to court in NZ (particularly on the Coromandel) because they won’t allow them to build seawalls where the beach is washing away. This is despite the fact that they were warned that the spit they’ve built their multi-million dollar ‘bach’ on is highly active and mobile. People can’t have it both ways, but councils need to stick to their guns over planning to prevent these types of disasters in the future.

  15. Further to my earlier post: here’s a link to the NZ Herald story about sinking millions into coastal protection rather than just moving houses.

    Specifically:

    “At the time of subdivision in the late 1940s-early 1950s there was a 56m esplanade reserve including a high frontal dune – which some property owners lowered by bulldozer to get a better sea view – between the property boundaries and the mean high water mark along Shaw Rd,” he says. “Now the boundary is the sea wall.”

    But developers and homeowners are not happy about it:

    That is a prospect which Robyn Ross and partner Dave Ingle, whose spacious house sits directly above the Waihi Beach seawall, do not accept. Ms Ross […] and Mr Ingle […] are fully aware of the risk they run in living by the sea. “In an ideal world you wouldn’t permit houses to be this close,” Ms Ross says. “But we are here. We say we’ll maintain the seawall. What’s your problem?”

    The problem is who will bear the cost when these houses disappear into the sea? And who will be taken to court over planning permission?

    (Actually, there’s a whole series of articles on erosion in NZ, otheres here and here – well worth a read if you want to move to the NZ coastline!)

  16. And one might add, if one is importing large quantities of Co2-intensive products, (i.e the emissions are generated in a producer jurisdiction, such as China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam etc.) then this tends to understate the imbalance in emissions in favour of the wealthier countries. After all, these emissions are really done on behalf of the importers, who presumably, can’t produce them as cost-efficiently or at the same quality and so export their emissions.

    Bear in mind also that the dominant producers of emissions per capita have largely been doing it for 150 years and so that group (including of course, Australia) is far more responsible for the existing atmospheric inventory of Co2/CH4 and other GHGs and the saturation of CO2 sinks than are the newly industrialising jurisdictions.

  17. Adrian @9: Bob Carter would be right to say, on the basis of the graph above that there has been negligible increase in world temperature since 1998 and a drop since 2005. Of course, you have to take the lowest temp for 2010 and the highest for the other years – perfectly acceptable if you have an argument to win?
    I have noticed on other occasions that Carter has trouble with graphs. I remember one of his paleo graphs showing the world temp had stayed at, from memory 23 deg C for a large slab of the worlds history. A dumb process eng would have seen this as suggesting that the measurement criteria had rteached the top of its range at 23 deg.

  18. Jamo: The last time I looked at emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels, 96% of world emissions came from countries with a lower per capita emission rate than Australia. 30% came from countries with lower emissions than Australia. It is a moral scandal that Australia looks like doing nothing of any consequence to reduce emissions before the next elections.
    Then we will be asked to vote for Labor and the Greens because “they will do more on climate action you know”.
    I have included the Greens because it is the mistaken idea that a carbon price is necessary before serious action can be started that will be the cause of this failure.
    As mentioned http://pragmatusj.blogspot.com/2011/01/we-need-to-put-carbon-price-to-one-side.html“>here, the carbon price approach is definitely not he best approach for driving investment in cleaner electricity, reducing car related emissions or, for that matter anything else I have looked at.anything

  19. MikeM @16
    in 2008-9 the country exported 234 million tonnes of coal which, when burned, would turn into close to 900 million tonnes

    Are you sure thats accurate?

  20. Craigy: 234 mt of pure carbon would generate 858 mt of CO2. So, in reality, the amount would almost certainly be less than 800 mt.

  21. *Burning a tonne of black coal produces 2.4 tonnes of greenhouse gases, and the mining, processing and transportation of coal contributes enormously to greenhouse gas production.
    *In the production of electricity, brown coal produces 37% more carbon dioxide than black coal.
    http://nonewcoal.greens.org.au/publications/greenhouse-gases/impact-of-coal-mining-on-climate-change

    By the time you add the emissions of mining, processing and transportation, 100-200 kg/tonne, and fugitive emissions, you would not be far off MikeM’s 900MT.

  22. SG@25
    “*Burning a tonne of black coal produces 2.4 tonnes of greenhouse gases”
    That sounds, to me, a physical impossibility.
    But a lot of things i read lately, seem physically impossible.So i’m slowly wading my way through them, one at a time.
    Thanks for the links.

  23. Craigy,

    The atomic weight of Carbon is 12

    The atomic weight of Oxygen is 16

    So when combine C with O2 you get CO2 or 12 plus 16 times 2

    Which equals atomic weight of 44.

    Or something like that.

    C at weight 12 to CO2 at weight 44.

    Of course you cannot see this physically so it seems impossible.

  24. SC@28,BilB@29
    Thanks both.
    and Bilb, i did some digging, after your link to SeaWaterGreehouse.
    Architect Charlie Paton, the Eden and Sahara Forest projects.
    Amazing stuff.
    Im trying to find some results from theTenerife pilot project in spain.Going since 1992.
    But maybe the result are commercially secret.

  25. To go back to the question posed @23 by Craigy

    Are you sure [234 million tonnes of coal {…} when burned, would turn into close to 900 million tonnes] {is} accurate?

    While BilB’s calculation on molecular mass of CO2 is accurate enough (one mol CO2 = 44g) the carbon in coal (and thus the amount of CO2 per tonne of coal combusted depends on the grade of coal being combusted (and the efficiency with which the carbon is combusted in practice).

    Coal (bituminous, sub-bituminous,lignite or anthracite) is typically between 60% and 85% carbon. The usual figures given use 3.664tCO2/tC. Plainly, how much CO2 could be had out of Australia’s 234Mt will depend very much on how much of Australia’s exports were at the upper end of carbon concentration. If average carbon content were 85%, one could calculate a theoretical CO2 footprint of 3.664 * 0.85 * 234Mt i.e 728.76Mt. Of course that doesn’t include all of the hydrocarbon burned recovering each tonne of coal and transporting it to the end user. (Diesel fuel produces about 0.522kg per litre of CO2). It also doesn’t include ancillary emissions during harvest, since typically, methane is present wherever coal seams are rich. Coal includes ammonia (NH3) which oxidises to oxides of nitrogen which have their own forcing.

    So the lifecycle CO2e could quite easily be close to the higher figure.

    Sidebar: Interestingly, the heating value of coal is highest when hydrogen content is high relative to carbon and sulphur. This is because hydrogen has more than four times the heating value of of carbon and more than 15 times the heating value of sulphur. Coal with a high oxygen content has a lower heating value because the oxygen is bonded with the carbon, making it partially oxidised.

  26. Hat Tip, Tim Lambert at Deltoid … always reliable:

    Andrew Bolt can get fooled again

    The Blot started in his typically robust style:

    If warming caused these floods, why didn’t warmists predict them?

    Two years ago Queensland’s warmist Office of Climate Change issued this report on what the state should expect from global warming, and not once did it mention floods. It did predict a slight increase in “extreme” weather events in the north, but not in the south of the state where the worst floods have occurred. Elsewhere it has warned of a slight increase in rainfall during extreme events, but overall it predicted less rain, and not these months of more.

    Now if you know The Blot, you know where this is going don’t you? To save bandwidth here, click on the link above. Tim Lambert shows, again, that if you know nothing about the world, reading The Blot and believing the opposite isn’t a pretty good strategy for avoiding error.

  27. Oops:

    Tim Lambert shows, again, that if you know nothing about the world, reading The Blot and believing the opposite isn’t a pretty good strategy for avoiding error.

  28. Blotty has a point to some extend, as not all Government agencies or Government subsidiaries do explicitly mention increased frequency of freak events such as flooding. For example, I had to dig around the CSIRO site to be able to grab a quote for my comment above on 15, which included, as they worded it, “more heavy rainfall events” in predicted risks to AGW. Most non academic information on the site makes no specific mention of freak weather events such as flooding or intensity and wider occurrence of cyclones. Perhaps the general public needs to be better informed in the specific hazards that they expose themselves by BAU, in order they can prepare themselves better for such occasion.

    For similar reasons I made that comment on 13, as that whole area around insurance and liability will become a moving feast once frequencies of these events will reach a statistical level whence they can be clearly attributed to cliamte change. Years ago a well placed commenter in the insurance world made a statement on Uncle Phillip’s LNL, that world wide insurance industry could not cope well with two Hurricane Katrina size catastrophic events. I do remember Brian, about two years ago you had an interesting report from a German Rückversicherung, any chance for update information as well as I am still interested in terms of legal liability questions once the damage bills will escalate due to AGW.

  29. No, Ootz. Bolt has no basis for his argument.

    There is a new Moore’s Law type phenomenon that has been stable for quite some years now. And that is that every reassesment of Global Warming Impacts declares all previous assessments as being too conservative, and IPCC impact statements steadily become as faint in fact as they are distant in time.

    The most reliable prediction for Global Warming Impacts is that they

    will occur when not expected,

    will be of a type unpredicted,

    will be ever more alarming in intensity.

    There, Andrew Bolt, don’t ever say that you are uninformed again, you will just look more stupid than you already do.

    1. ootz and BilB, when one reads Tim Lambert’s article as Fran suggested, one sees that Blot relied on somebody else’s cherrypicking for his post, and that the report referred to did in fact, in every chapter except the one that was cherrypicked, mention increased frequency and severity of flooding and severe storm events as a consequence of global warming.

      Since Deltoidistas have started pointing this out over at Bolta’s, the comments on that post have been closed. Funny, that.

  30. BilB, I explain the phenomenon you are describing as Moore’s Law in terms of continuum of AGW scale and margin of error to those that are still willing to listen. And you are right the errors so far have occurred mainly on the underestimation part of the scale!

    And there is my point rather than just wasting arguing with Blotbots, we should make sure contingencies such as insurance and legal avenues are pursued and checked as to their potential or not. Further, we should check how such earlier impact will tax the socioeconomic system as well as contingency abilities of Governments on all levels with the possibility of rapidly increasing impact. How long can we sustain absorbing damage such as caused by the recent floods? Why does CSIRO, to use the example I used on previous comment, not state such upfront, in stead of this bland techno pap they dish up on the public site? Also check my last comment re floods and Courier! The public is not well served with relevant and practical information re AGW generally. There is a lot of techno/ideological argy bargy sure in the ether sure, but go and ask an average Jo-ette in the street what it means to them in terms of change in living conditions and what they can do practically about adaption nevermind prevention.

  31. Oh wait, there is a sound….can you hear it…in the distance….a kind gurgling noise. It sounds a bit like our national economic future flooding away…..down the drain.

  32. Brian, before this thread dies can I join others who have thanked you for doing this series of posts. I may at times feel you are a bit selective in what you choose to cover, but it is a huge field so you obviously need to exercise some kind of selectivity, and it is your blog/post so you are entitled to apply whatever criteria you choose to making that selection. The Climate Clippings series is always thought-provoking, even for those of us who don’t necessarily agree with all of its conclusions.

    On a couple of specific points from this edition, firstly “temperature increases to 2100 could be double what the models predict”. I don’t myself give much credence any more to lessons from paleoclimate – the disgraceful cherry picking of the Yamal data to an apparently pre-determined conclusion alone is enough to cast doubts on too many of the main players – but if you do take this seriously, in my view the issue is less the scariness of the particular “double what we thought” end-point, and more to do with this being yet another piece of evidence that the models are simply inadequate in their predictive powers to base a wholesale reshaping of global society, with all its implications, on them.

    Most sceptics I know base their scepticism not on disbelief in the fundamental science involved, but on the increasing doubts about the models. And as you know (see eg Lindzen) there are quite a few (I was going to say “more”, which I believe to be the case, but the point holds even if you don’t go that far) indications that what is built into the models are over-estimations of feedback and thus [perhaps considerably]less scary, not more scary, endpoints than the IPCC reports contain.

    The other point is re the changing discourse on peak oil. It hasn’t all changed towards direr scenarios. I would be interested if you or anyone else had views on what the rapid emergence of shale gas over only the last 12 months or so as a potential very major fossil fuel source globally (doubling previously estimated natural gas resources according to the IEA) does to the equation as a potential substitute over quite a long term. See eg http://www.upi.com/Science_News/Resource-Wars/2011/01/19/IEA-lauds-unconventional-gas-reserves/UPI-83531295444312/

    It seems likely from my limited reading that the alleged environmental risks associated with exploiting this resource are frequently exaggerated, and probably greatly so (as the cynical might expect, given the potential threat to vested interests in the shape of both the conventional fossil fuels industry and the rent-seekers on the renewables subsidies gravy train). But there seem to be genuinely differing views on the economics of exploitation.

  33. Wozza’s ghost,
    Well said.
    “Brian, before this thread dies can I join others who have thanked you for doing this series of posts. I may at times feel you are a bit selective in what you choose to cover, but it is a huge field so you obviously need to exercise some kind of selectivity, and it is your blog/post so you are entitled to apply whatever criteria you choose to making that selection. The Climate Clippings series is always thought-provoking, even for those of us who don’t necessarily agree with all of its conclusions.”

    I am afraid I would have been more critical of Brian’s selectivity. I suppose your dead right, Brian can be as biased as he likes. It’s his site!!

    What you have said is exactly what I was getting at in my previous comment on this site.

  34. John Michelmore, all I can say is get your head out of your arse and look around. The world is changing faster than the science can explain it, leading to observations such as

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/25/science/earth/25cold.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha22

    I suggest that you take a Summer Class in proportional-integral-derivative calculations and the relevence to acceleration and deceleration. Then learn something about atmospheric moisture and its implications.

    There are only 3 things that you need to know about Global Warming. The oceans are heating up (you have attempted to misinterpret the Argos analysis in the past so you should take advice from Dr Tony Haymet [the guy in charge]) and as a consequence atmospheric moisture is increasing (moisture contains energy). Thirdly air pressure at the Earth’s surface is 14 PSI approx, and air pressure at 60,000 feet is less than 2 PSI.

    Then go get your Lava Lamp from your mother’s garage, turn it on and observe what happens.

    Now if you have any analytical skills at all you will figure out what is going on. If not you will keep making these inane remarks of yours.

    In PID terms you represent a response delay which magnifies performance overshoot. ie people like you make things massively worse. If you were a factor in the system that controls Rupert Murdoch’s printing presses you would be causing his production line to fail to speed up or slow down. Firstly causing print misalignment and secondly horrendously expensive paper pileups and jams. He would be totally pissed off with you.

    There is your first lesson in PID system control. Now go apply that what little you know about atmospheric science.

  35. Thanks, Katz. There was a scientist called Ruddimann who was big on this thesis. He said that human activity effectively prevented the planet from sliding towards a new ice age during the Holocene. He looked at all of these:

    Time periods also looked at included the Black Death in Europe, the fall of China’s Ming Dynasty and the conquest of the Americas.

    Which I think have doubtful effect because of the limited area they cover. He didn’t look at Genghis Khan, who has more going for him. Ruddimann’s main focus was on rice growing, where he may have something of a case, but others say human activity was only part of the story.

  36. David @ 46, just remember that our activities during the Holocene kept things pretty sweet and possibly avoided the onset of a new ice age.

  37. Indeed, Brian, but now that Katz has pointed out what sterling work Genghis Khan did to sequester carbon, the denialists will ignore his substantive point (that humans can affect climate – they want to ignore that) and bang on about how us watermelons just hate humanity, especially poor people (like any of them care).

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