Saturday, July 12, 2014

Denier weirdness: Christopher Monckton and his 100% consensus

Sou | 8:20 PM Go to the first of 102 comments. Add a comment

There was a good display of inconsistency of science deniers today when Christopher Monckton wrote an article for Anthony Watts' anti-science blog WUWT (archived here). What he was trying to show, I think, is that the clear scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming isn't clear. He's wrong, as anyone who has read the literature would know very well.

The article demonstrates something else that all "denier watchers" would know. Deniers are deluded when it comes to their understanding of what their fellow deniers think. Many of them assume that all fake sceptics think the same way as they do. They are wrong. The two characteristic of deniers en masse are:
  1. They reject mainstream science
  2. They embody a myriad of conflicting and contradictory opinions about climate and rarely agree with each other, except on point 1.

The Christopher Monckton deception

This is what he did.

Christopher showed that 64 abstracts from scientific papers from the Cook13 study "Explicitly states that humans are the primary cause of recent global warming" with quantification.

This is what he left out.

Christopher didn't mention the number of abstracts that "Explicitly states humans are causing global warming or refers to anthropogenic global warming/climate change as a known fact" without quantification or that "Implies humans are causing global warming. E.g., research assumes greenhouse gas emissions cause warming without explicitly stating humans are the cause".

Nor did Christopher mention how few abstracts either implicitly or explicitly disputed the fact that humans cause global warming  (fewer than 2% over twenty years). That would have spoiled his story completely.

If you're not familiar with the paper, I've written about it a few times, for example here and here and here. For a more in-depth discussion there is a very good article at And Then There's Physics which explores the importance and implications of the 97% consensus paper of John Cook and his colleagues.

97% agree, humans are causing global warming

If he had included all the information instead of cherry picking to suit his deception, Christopher would have come up with a total of 4014 papers that attribute a cause to current global warming as follows: 3896 papers or 97.1% explicitly or implicitly endorsed human-caused global warming, 78 or 1.9% disputed it and 40 or 1.0% indicated the cause was 'uncertain'.

Deniers don't disagree that humans are causing global warming?

Christopher followed up his glaring omission by trying to argue that the fact that people accept global warming is caused by humans doesn't mean that people accept that global warming is caused by humans, or something like that. He wrote about a straw poll he took at the recent denier festival in Las Vegas. He wrote:
During my valedictorian keynote at the conference, I appointed the lovely Diane Bast as my independent adjudicatrix. She read out six successive questions to the audience, one by one. I invited anyone who would answer “No” to that question to raise a hand. According to the adjudicatrix, not a single hand was raised in response to any of the questions.
These were the six questions.
  1. Does climate change?
  2. Has the atmospheric concentration of CO2 increased since the late 1950s?
  3. Is Man likely to have contributed to the measured increase in CO2 concentration since the late 1950s?
  4. Other things being equal, is it likely that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will cause some global warming?
  5. Is it likely that there has been some global warming since the late 1950s?
  6. Is it likely that Man’s emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases have contributed to the measured global warming since 1950?
At a conference of 600 “climate change deniers”, then, not one delegate denied that climate changes. Likewise, not one denied that we have contributed to global warming since 1950.

Wimps or not representative?

He wrote that not a single hand was raised in response to any of the questions. In other words, the deniers at the denier festival are either wimps or not representative of the deniers at WUWT. (One wonders if Christopher would have described Joe Bast as "lovely".)

It's difficult to claim that 600 people are all wimps (after all, they were courageous enough to "come out" as deniers simply by attending in person). However it's quite easy to demonstrate that many deniers at WUWT would answer "no" to at least some of the above questions.

The inconsistency of deniers

You will have noticed Christopher's inconsistency. Probably it was quite deliberate. Instead of asking people to explicitly quantify the amount of global warming caused by humans (as he did when he wrote about Cook13), he asked them to step up to the plate if they disagreed and answered "no" to his questions.  If anyone had answered "no" that would have been comparable to the 1.9% of abstracts in Cook13, that rejected mainstream science. As they were posed, the questions were not comparable to the Cook13 study.

The result was even less than that in Cook13. The Cook13 paper found 1.9% of abstracts from scientific papers over 20 years disputed mainstream science. Christopher found zero deniers disputing mainstream science. Or at least no deniers who were willing to put their hand up in public to answer "no" to any of his questions.

An interlude with John Oliver

Before moving onto the WUWT comments, how about an interlude with John Oliver.

From the WUWT comments

At the time of archiving the WUWT thread, there were 135 responses. Early in the comments, lsvalgaard made a suggestion. He says:
July 11, 2014 at 11:14 am
Those findings clash a bit with the often made claims here at WUWT that there is no warming at all, that CO2 cannot cause any warming, etc. Perhaps we should have a poll to see how many here answers NO to all six questions…

Using the approach that Christopher used with his remarks about Cook13, I only counted eight people (6%), including Steve Mosher and Leif Svalgaard, who claimed to answer "yes" to all of the above questions. davidmhoffer says (extract):
July 11, 2014 at 1:09 pm
6 times yes.
This is the same DavidMHoffer who argues the equivalent of "pigs fly", it's just that no-one has published a peer reviewed paper to prove it.

And if you mistakenly thought that Leif Svalgaard accepted that mainstream science confirms the view that humans are causing the current global warming, you may be interested to read this comment where lsvalgaard says "it is garbage":
July 11, 2014 at 7:11 pm
jim Steele says: July 11, 2014 at 6:42 pm did you likewise post about the 97% consensus as also being “a stunt that carried no significance”?
No need to, as we all know it is garbage. But why must we stoop to their level? Because we think the general public is too stupid to understand anything else?

Alcheson also agreed with all six questions and says:
July 11, 2014 at 2:00 pm
In response to lsvalgaard, I give a Yes to all 6. However, I would also add that the warming so far does not indicate anything catastrophic. In fact, so far the increase in CO2 and temperature has so far been net beneficial as the planet has become 11% greener and crop yields have increased substantially. There is at this point, ZERO data which points to catastrophe, and MODELS do NOT count as data.

MarkW says:
July 11, 2014 at 2:46 pm
I’d answer yes to all 6. 

Alan McIntire gave a qualified "yes" to all six questions and says:
July 11, 2014 at 4:09 pm
I’d answer “Yes” to all six questions. As to CO2, I like to give my “pie” analogy. Eating an extra 150 calorie piece of pie for desert every night, a person will gain weight, but their weight won’t increase indefinitely at 1 pound every 20 days- 3000 calories. A person quickly reaches a new weight balance somewhat higher than their pre pie weight. Likewise,, fossil fuel energy use has been increasing worldwide, so .naturally CO2,( weight) continues to rise, but once fossil fuel use levels out, the world will quickly reach a new, somewhat higher, CO2 balance.
As to increased heat, nobody mentioned another factor involved- energy use. We’ve been drastically increasing energy use over the last 200 + years, most of that energy is released in urban areas, and ultimately winds up as heat. Most of our temperature measurements are in urban areas. The temperatures of URBAN areas will continue to rise as long as we continue to use more energy, regardless of whether that energy is fossil fuel, hydropower, wind, or solar.
- that energy is finally going to wind up as heat regardless of the source.

Bill_W also answered "yes" to all six questions, but doesn't accept that his response aligns with science and says:
July 11, 2014 at 5:44 pm
Yes to all six. It was just as much as PR stunt as the Cook paper that he is comparing it to.
He does have a point that rather than engage in open debate, some would rather resort to name calling and arguments based on “consensus” and authority. The climate issue has been deeply politicized and many without any ability to read the science and with very limited math ability, whether in the media or on the street, can simply dismiss anything they don’t agree with by saying “97%”. And they don’t take the time to even try to ask questions or learn anything at all about climate. That is the frustrating part and it is important to put a stake through this 97% meme as it is inaccurate. And one way to do that might be through a PR stunt that gets people to realize that skeptics agree 100% on what their “enemies” say they deny. It actually is the truth, even if it is also a PR stunt. 

Werner Brozek agreed with all six questions but qualified it by arguing that global warming has stopped. He says (extract):
July 11, 2014 at 7:38 pm
...For the record, I would have said “yes” to all six questions. ...

The closest anyone else came was Allan M.R. MacRae  and JFD. Although JFD also says:
July 11, 2014 at 11:49 am
Lief, there was observable warming from 1986 to 1990, then the temperature flattened and since 2006 has been cooling. I doubt that very many, if any, in WUWT would disagree with that. The question of did we experience a spate of warming has never been the question. The question is, “Was carbon dioxide the root cause of the observed warming”. The answer to that question is no.
What was more interesting was the evidence that many WUWT readers have no idea what other WUWT readers think. Although some commenters think that few WUWT-ers deny "some" global warming they'd be wrong. Some of them don't even agree that there has been any global warming let alone that rising CO2 is the main cause. Look at some of the other comments.

The very first comment was by HenryP, in which he flatly rejects science and says:
July 11, 2014 at 11:07 am
At a conference of 600 “climate change deniers”, then, not one delegate denied that climate changes. Likewise, not one denied that we have contributed to global warming since 1950.
henry says
they would all be wrong
there is no man made global warming
whatsoever [redacted link]
but the climate IS changing

Rob says that very few WUWT-ers would answer "no" to any of the six questions. I guess he doesn't read WUWT comments very often:
July 11, 2014 at 11:48 am
lsvalgaard says: July 11, 2014 at 11:14 am “Those findings clash a bit with the often made claims here at WUWT that there is no warming at all, that CO2 cannot cause any warming, etc. Perhaps we should have a poll to see how many here answers NO to all six questions…”
Sorry Dr Svalgaard, this is beneath you. Claims about a lack of warming are aired here, but by no means often and the only group who claim CO2 cannot cause warming are the so-called “:Sky Dragons” who are the only group Anthony has banned from posting. There are many people posting here and most disagree with each other one one or more issues so this is a very broad “church’ of skepticism, but in my experience reading posts here, there are very, very few who would answer no to any of the six questions, let alone all.

J.Seifert gives a categorical "no" answer and says:
July 11, 2014 at 11:53 am
Emissions of men do NOT cause global warming, not one tiny fraction. The prove is meticulously
made with understandable calculations and graphs. 

Latitude gives an implied categorical "no" and says (extract with comment quote removed):
July 11, 2014 at 11:59 am
Leif, I have a better idea….
….why don’t you come up with a temperature history that’s even half way accurate
then we can discuss if there has even been any global warming in the first place

A C Osborn says "no" because in the past CO2 was higher. He doesn't know the sun was also fainter back then and the land masses were very different. Nor does he know that the world has also been hotter in the past than now, and says:
July 11, 2014 at 12:04 pm
4. Other things being equal, is it likely that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will cause some global warming?
You can all go along with Lord Monckton if you want, but not me.
Based on this from Wiki which no one seems to disagree with too much
” there is evidence for very high CO2 volume concentrations between 200 and 150 million years ago of over 3,000 ppm, and between 600 and 400 million years ago of over 6,000 ppm.”
If this is true and CO2 is really such a potent Greehouse Gas how could we possibly have had Ice Ages with levels that high?
As temperatures were also high at those times, how could they have become low enough for Ice Ages? 

Bruce Cobb implies a "no" and says:
July 11, 2014 at 12:30 pm
The word “likely” is a loaded term. It’s certainly possible that we’ve added some small, as-yet unmeausured and probably unmeasurable amount of warming.
It’s also possible there are ufos.

rw admires Christopher Monckton for being a sly old fox and says:
July 11, 2014 at 12:28 pm
Well done. The questions were put in a way that skeptics could answer yes – without deviating from the manner of the typical consensus survey. The goal was to make a point – and I think it was. 

Richard111 admits to being a greenhouse effect denier (adding CO2 won't cause warming) and says:
July 11, 2014 at 1:19 pm
I would have answered NO to question 4 but since I am not an accredited scientist no one will listen to me, but I’m happy to talk science about that. 

Randy is also a greenhouse effect denier and is not convinced that human emissions cause global warming (extract):
July 11, 2014 at 1:26 pm
Im just a layman, but I have poured over all the available works I could access. Im not convinced # 6 is a yes at all. Ultimately Id have to give it a very light mild yes, but Im not even convinced of that entirely. 

David G says:
July 11, 2014 at 1:37 pm
The idea that some warming is manmade is spurious and should get the burial it deserves.

There were other comments of the type expected from WUWT science deniers. jim Steele believes that all scientists are fundamentally dishonest and will claim anything to get a paper published, and says (extract):
July 11, 2014 at 11:20 am
Anyone who reads the scientific literature will agree with Legates that 99% of the papers do not say global warming is man made. To get past the “gate-keepers” authors must acknowledge the prevailing bias of anthropogenic warming but their studies results suggest aletrnative views.

J Martin is worried that Christopher has given ammunition to alarmists and says:
July 11, 2014 at 11:37 am
Without question 7 asking “is mankinds contribution and expected contributions to the co2 level likely to create catastrophic or dangerous warming”.
Then you have given ammunition to the alarmists. I can see the Guardian glitterati happily proclaiming that even Lord Monkton and the Heartland conference delegates agree that co2 is a problem (after all spin is a newspapers stock in trade) and that therefore the decsion makers need delay no further and introduce urgent measures to combat co2 emissions.

Bob Kutz is blissfully deluded and isn't aware of the rampant censorship Anthony wields against anyone who dares to promote science at WUWT and says (excerpt):
July 11, 2014 at 2:04 pm
...But no, Anthony has chosen not to enforce censorship on his site. Shame the pro-CAGW police allow no such discourse on theirs. 

Cook, John, Dana Nuccitelli, Sarah A. Green, Mark Richardson, Bärbel Winkler, Rob Painting, Robert Way, Peter Jacobs, and Andrew Skuce. "Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature." Environmental Research Letters 8, no. 2 (2013): 024024.doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024


  1. Sou. There's a word which you've used twice above without apparently considering its significance.

    It's "quantification".

    It seems logical that if you can't quantify the effects of AGW - you can't determine whether on not it could have adverse effects on humanity.

    Only 0.5% of the papers reviewed by Cook et al fell into the category
    "Explicitly states that humans are the primary cause of recent global warming" with quantification".

    The rest simply confirm what most supporters an septics of CAGW agree on - addition of CO2 to the atmosphere will cause a certain amount of warming.

    The only argument is about how much warming.

    "How much" = "quantification".

    Ergo - a "consensus" of only 0.5% could be in a position to express any opinion on the effects of AGW.

    Sounds as if Monckton got it pretty well right to me.

    1. Ah but that's where you're wrong, Foxgoose. Scientists have been able to attribute the amount of warming from different radiative forcings.

      I expect you are confused because you naively expect every single paper in climate science to be an attribution study. That is quite a ridiculous expectation. It would be like expecting every paper on genetics to be a repeat of the paper showing the double helix structure of DNA. As if there is nothing else to be learned in genetics or as if a paper that didn't go back to first principles rejected the science of DNA.

      Here is a chart showing the contribution of different radiative forcings to climate, since around 1750:


      As the WUWT comments show, you are also wrong in your claim about "most supporters an (sic) septics (sic) of CAGW agree on". Fake sceptics rarely agree about anything except their universal rejection of science.

      You are also wrong in your implied claim that the papers that Cook13 categorised as accepting the human causation of global warming only accepted a little bit. The Cook13 paper clearly shows that if a paper suggested only minimal causation by humans, it went into the "rejected" pile. There were very few of those.

      You have a history of rejecting mainstream science, Foxgoose, so your comment isn't a surprise.

    2. Sorry Sou.

      I thought you were discussing the actual results of the Cook et al 97% claim.

      If I'd realise it was just a general sermon - I wouldn't have intruded on your religious observance.

    3. I was discussing the actual results, Foxgoose. It's you who reject the findings, not me.

      Here's a challenge: list all the papers you can find that categorically prove that CO2 emissions from human activity are not causing global warming and explain why you believe them. Explain why you believe the greenhouse effect isn't real or has suddenly decided to defy physics and stop working.

      Funny also that you claim that science is religion. Weird doesn't describe it.

    4. Sou,

      What percentage of the warming since 1950 was caused by human CO2 emissions?

      What percentage of the warming from 1880 to 1940 was caused by human CO2 emissions?

      To date, what have been the negative effects of human caused CO2 emissions?

      What have been the positive effects of human CO2 emissions?

    5. John, I don't normally do research on request, but since you ask so nicely:

      What percentage of the warming since 1950 was caused by human CO2 emissions?

      Most likely at least 100% of global warming since the middle of last century can be attributed to human activity.

      What percentage of the warming from 1880 to 1940 was caused by human CO2 emissions?

      Figure 8-18 of the IPCC AR5 WG1 report shows the different forcings over time. It's described in Chapter 8, section 8.5.2 Time Evolution of Historical Forcing:

      The time evolution of global mean forcing is shown in Figure 8.18 for the industrial era. Over all time periods during the industrial era CO2 and other WMGHG have been the dominant term, except for shorter periods with strong volcanic eruptions. The time evolution shows an almost continuous increase in the magnitude of anthropogenic ERF. This is the case both for CO2 and other WMGHG as well as several individual aerosol components. The forcing from CO2 and other WMGHG has increased somewhat faster since the 1960s. ...

      To date, what have been the negative effects of human caused CO2 emissions?

      The main quantifiable negative effects to date are in the intensity and duration of heat waves and heavy precipitation. Other related negative effects include things like flash floods, more severe drought and catastrophic fires. The reduction in frosts is also a negative effect in some agricultural regions that rely on frost for horticulture, as is early budding. There have also been negative effects in agricultural regions from increased humidity spoiling agricultural production, in regions where summer is the dry season. Shifting climate zones is also a problem in some regions, which may also be happening in Queensland, for example, but it's too soon to say.

      Water shortages as climate zones shift are a big problem in many areas. Planning for extreme dry and extreme wet can make things quite difficult. Using desalinated water can help reduce depletion of groundwater.

      The rapid reduction of sea ice in the Arctic poses huge environmental risks as well as contributing to further climate change.

      Rising sea levels will be a huge problem in coming decades because so many people live in coastal regions.

      What have been the positive effects of human CO2 emissions?

      Some people who live in cold climates like the warmer weather. Others find they have to fork out for air conditioners to be comfortable.

      Many plants are responding with additional growth as a consequence of higher CO2 levels. Unfortunately that is not always to the benefit of food crops.

      The rapidity of climate change is the biggest problem. It will hasten extinctions, reduce biodiversity. A lot of people are unaware of how much we rely on balance in the natural world.

      That's just some of the impacts. What have you found through your own research of the science, John?

    6. Forgive me if it seemed as if I were asking for you to do research. These questions should be being asked by anyone interested in the science of climate change.

      As far as the first question is concerned, the science is far to immature to know. This is where the "consensus" breaks down. I think anyone that claims to have the answer is not being honest. At most, they have a hypothesis that ought to be tested further. Some, of course, better than others. Gavin's best argument is that we have looked at all of the other potential causes, and none of them fit, and the models show it must be CO2.

      In developed countries like the US, weather related deaths are so rare, they are statistically insignificant. Many times more people die from taking aspirin than do from weather related deaths. That tells me that other countries would be far better off developing rather than trying to control the climate.

      Wildfires seem to be declining since the 1930s.


      Increased waterfall seems like a good thing. It needs to be managed.

      The rest of the concerns involve huge amounts of speculation, which is fine as long as we are clear that we are speculating.

      Meanwhile, the Earth is greening. That is not speculation.

    7. "Increased waterfall seems like a good thing. It needs to be managed."

      So, just how do we go about managing the effects of such as this:

      ‘Surreal’ 40-Minute Storm Drowns Minor League Baseball Field and the many similar incidents across the globe over recent years?

      "In developed countries like the US, weather related deaths are so rare'..."

      But the world is rather larger than the US. Now I don't particularly like referring to Wiki but in this case it is apt enough:

      Extreme Weather and note this alone:

      "The European heat waves from summer 2003 are estimated to have caused 30,000 excess deaths, due to heat stress and air pollution."

      Statistically insignificant! Get back to me after your have been scorched of your farmland and the deluged washing away any topsoil the winds have left behind and then by a quirk of the jet stream buried under multiple metres of snow.

      The only speculation is how bad it is going to get, where and how soon. The dynamics are well appreciated.

      Sou has given you a perfectly nuanced reply and all you can come back with is '...the Earth is greening'. Who pays your bills, Western Fuels.

    8. John: "As far as the first question is concerned, the science is far to immature to know."

      Bullshit! That's your non-scientific opinion rather than the result of any scientific research that you've done. It's the logical fallacy of personal incredulity.

      The science is certainly advanced enough to know to at least 95% likelihood which is as good or better than you'll get with any scientific finding. Take it as fact.

      I don't know why you've brought up "weather-related deaths". I didn't mention it. However I will point out that where I live, deaths spike a lot during heat waves. Heat waves also put a lot of strain on hospitals and ambulance services. Not to forget the thousands who perished in European heat waves a few years ago, or all the people who died in the Black Saturday fires in my home state. Or the dozens who perished in the massive floods in Queensland a couple of years back. Or the thousands who perished in Typhoon Haiyan. Or ... do you need more?

      Your "increased waterfall" comment is weird. Which waterfall is increasing? Or are you trying to argue that flash floods are a good thing?

      On what do you base your assertion that evidence such as the Perth water shortage and drying climate is "speculation"? The numbers I showed you are real and direct from the organisation that manages the water.

      Why do you claim that the science that shows that heat waves and intense rain is "speculation" whereas the science that shows that some plants grow more quickly in higher CO2 is "real".

      If I had to guess it's because you'll only accept science that confirms what you want to believe and you'll reject anything that creates dissonance - that threatens your "world view".

      If you're old, John, you may get by without too much inconvenience to your personal comfort. If you live more than another decade or so, you'll see more and more impacts of global warming. And they won't all be pretty.

    9. Well Lionel, the question is how many of those heat wave deaths were caused by CO2 emissions? How many would have died if the average temperature on the planet was .6 C cooler than it was in 2003?. And we still don't know how much, if any, that warming was caused by human CO2 emissions. It seems to have been the hottest summer since the 1500s. Then consider that millions of people don't die because of CO2 emissions (because of the benefits of the energy that produces the CO2). Millions. Is that even disputed?

      As far as CO2 greening the planet, we measure vegetation with satellites. We know it is greening. It is not speculation.

    10. John, no-one is disputing that C4 plants respond to extra CO2, albeit not always in beneficial ways from a food and fibre viewpoint.

      What I (and I expect others) find weird is that you are so selective about which science you accept. You appear to reject any climate science that you don't like - such as the adverse consequences of global warming.

      The denier meme "CO2 is plant food" is not a reason to continue to pollute the air with massive amounts of waste CO2. In regard to food production, the changes to climate are likely to more than offset any gains in productivity.

      As far as past benefits of industrialisation goes, they are a given. That's no reason not to shift to clean energy, however. We thought that CFCs were fabulous too, until we found out what damage they were doing to the ozone layer.

    11. I meant C3 plants, obviously.

    12. Sou,

      CO2 is plant food, and it is not a pollutant. If I water my garden too much, is the water a "pollutant?" Water is good, and CO2 is good. The question, of course, is whether too much of a good thing is bad.

      We all know why CO2 is referred to as "carbon" and a "pollutant." It is to manipulate the uneducated masses into thinking we are doing something bad by burning fossil fuel.

      How exactly do you plan on "shifting to clean energy" in a way that the models show will have an effect on climate without killing millions of people? CO2 emissions grow every year. In order to stop the growth of CO2 emissions, one would have to stop the industrialization of China and India in their tracks. What is your plan to save those millions of people that will die as a result?

      What about the millions of people that are dying now because their parts of the world still have no electricity? That is about 20% of the world. What about them?

    13. I guess you've not heard of renewable energy, John. It comes from the sun, from wind, from tidal forces and from geothermal sources. Even nuclear energy, while having its own risks, is generally accepted as not contributing to CO2 in the atmosphere.

      Arguing that we have to condemn generations to the dangers from global warming because people will die without burning coal and oil is dumb. It's no good pretending you care about less developed countries while at the same time urging them to burn dirty coal and oil. In fact I find it quite disgusting. Particularly disgusting when the world has had decades to help these nations develop already and it's only now, when you mistakenly think your own little personal comfort zone is being threatened, that deniers start to act as if it's the fault of climate scientists that most of the world doesn't have it as good as wealthy nations.

      Did you know that millions of people who are getting electricity for the first time are bypassing dirty coal and getting power from solar? Or they are replacing filthy diesel generators with clean energy? Think Bangladesh, India and Africa. The advantages are many, and not just from a health perspective.

      Fossil fuels are on the way out. Don't fight it. Embrace progress. Humans are way better than you give them credit for.

      BTW - what "millions of people" are dying now because their parts of the world have no electricity? What have you done about it other than wail and moan that CO2 is plant food?

      Do you equally care about the millions of people whose nations will be under water in a few decades from now? (Think Bangladesh, think the Netherlands, think Egypt.) What will you do to slow that down? Will you be happy to move over and given them space to live in your country?

    14. So John, you completely ignored Sou's detailed response. And you appear to think you already know the answers. So why ask?

    15. John

      There is a brilliant book called Eating The Sun by Oliver Morton that I recommend you read before you repeat the unscientific description of carbon dioxide as plant food.


    16. "science is far to immature to know." - Geez, as others have pointed out, you just ignored the answer.

      I don't know why I didn't see it earlier. Thousands of the world's smartest scientists are wrong, but John, random internet commenter, sees the light. Only he correctly understands the laws of physics.

      Moving past sarcasm - all note how John plays ClimateBall. Once he realizes he has an indefensible position on the "immature" state of science, he doesn't acknowledge it. Instead he changes the subject to CO2 is plant food and the poor need oil for cheap energy. He knows he's wrong and just trying to deflect and move on. What a waste of time.

    17. John, that part of CO2 which is 'excess' for the use of plants is indeed a pollutant. The definition of pollutant is related to a 'harmful' effect on the environment - think ocean acidification, think chemical weathering, think ...

      And 'carbon dioxide is plant food' pretty much sums up plant chemistry and all things herbaceous doesn't it, John? But it doesn't, it's a banal, gross over-simplification. Plant growth and survival is determined by the limiting chemical factor in the photosynthesis cycle, Liebig's Law of the Minimum (ht to Carl Sprengel, 1828. That 'ht' is a bit of levity, John). Simply put, if the temperature is too low, or there's too little water, or the soil is nutrient-deficient, etc., increasing amounts of carbon dioxide become irrelevant. Think Antarctica, think Atacama Desert, think Monsanto fertilizers …

      Using the 'carbon dioxide is plant food' argument is like arguing that because 'sugar gives you energy' we should reject medical science's advice to limit our added sugar intake. On another level, it's like responding to your question "What about the millions of people that are dying now because their parts of the world still have no electricity?" by crassly and shallowly replying: 'Everybody dies one day'. Not very satisfying is it, John? Sou's response to your question is mega better.

    18. No one made any case against my statement "science is too immature to know" other than "bullshit." If anyone wants to provide evidence of the answer to the "how much" question, I would love to see it.

      If I consume too much sugar, is it a pollutant? In my statement, I acknowledged that one could have too much of a good thing, but that still doesn't make it a "pollutant."

      Currently, there is no crisis and, yes, the world's poor needs fossil fuel. It is not "on the way out." Whether or not a crisis is on the way is definitely a worthy scientific question.

    19. If anyone wants to provide evidence of the answer to the "how much" question, I would love to see it.

      I don't know what you're talking about and won't bother checking because I know that's bullshit, too, John. (Once bitten twice shy).

      You aren't the least bit interested in answers to any question. You're here to preach your tired, clichéd denier memes. All slogan, no substance. (For evidence I cite your posts to date and your response to replies.)

      Any more of that nonsense will end up in the HotWhoppery. This isn't the place for shaking your little fist and snarling at mainstream science. HotWhopper is for demolishing disinformation not promoting it.

    20. John,

      It seems that you have been sucking at sites such as CO2Science and or reading media articles, typically in Forbes or the WSJ by Pat Michaels, Matt Ridley, Bjorn Lomborg who are reliable, but only in a much as they can be relied upon to seed a few facts in a pudding of half-truths and misdirection.

      Science is understood well enough such that we can have a sure handle on how increasing GHG emissions are causing global warming with polar regions warming many times faster than the tropics. It is also understood that this warming is ramping up the hydrological cycle, warmer air holds more moisture and with the polar amplification upsetting jetstream behaviour produces extreme weather events, both drought and flooding, which have increased in magnitude and frequency over recent decades.

      Science has informed us that all this is happening and why.

      A Rough Guide to the Jet Stream: what it is, how it works and how it is responding to enhanced Arctic warming

      Thus your charge of 'science is too immature...' is inane as is your 'Currently there is no crisis'.

      Most of the deaths in 2003 would not have happened if there had been no heatwave. Given that the frequency of such extreme events has increased with the increase in GHGs then the answer is clear. Also consider Bill Ruddiman's research demonstrating that the history of human influence on atmospheric GHG levels goes back much further than the start of the Industrial Revolution, indeed to the start of the agrarian revolution, or more subtly, evolution. The cause and effect and effect link is strong, and getting stronger.

      Statements like these, which litter you posts, make me wonder what form of information bubble you are in.

      Take plants and CO2, here is some information you clearly lack:

      High CO2 Makes Crops Less Nutritious

      Climate change surprise: High carbon dioxide levels can retard plant growth, study reveals

      and you could plough your way through this lot:


      and what George and Sou wrote.

    21. CO2 is not a pollutant...Oh, hang on a minute. What about this?



      The abstract says:
      "Greenhouse gases and particle soot have been linked to enhanced sea-level, snowmelt, disease, heat stress, severe weather, and ocean acidification, but the effect of carbon dioxide (CO2) on air pollution mortality has not been examined or quantified. Here, it is shown that increased water vapor and temperatures from higher CO2 separately increase ozone more with higher ozone; thus, global warming may exacerbate ozone the most in already-polluted areas. A high-resolution global-regional model then found that CO2 may increase U.S. annual air pollution deaths by about 1000 (350–1800) and cancers by 20–30 per 1 K rise in CO2-induced temperature. About 40% of the additional deaths may be due to ozone and the rest, to particles, which increase due to CO2-enhanced stability, humidity, and biogenic particle mass. An extrapolation by population could render 21,600 (7400–39,000) excess CO2-caused annual pollution deaths worldwide, more than those from CO2-enhanced storminess."

  2. I'll vote "NO" to 4 and 6... but I'm right-wing, fake skeptic, denier, in the pay of big oil or big coal or big something... I really don't care who, as long as they send me a cheque sometime soon.

    1. nobody ever gets a cheque though...;-) why is that do you think? ;-)

      Barry Woods

    2. Oh, but fake sceptics do get paid, don't they, if they are smart and organised. Do you think that Pat Michaels, Chip Knappenberger and Tom Harris and Marc Morano live on bread and water? They are paid good money to reject climate science. That's their job. They don't have to be good at it. All they have to do is write screeds rejecting science, for various right wing papers and blogs.

      The Idso family survive on grants from denier funds.


      There are plenty of people who'll pay for science denial.


      Jo Nova even got at least $20k just through panhandling matching one $5k donation.


      Bob Carter gets a decent retainer from the Heartland Institute to waffle on about his denial of climate science.


      Fred Singer and Willie Soon and Richard Lindzen would benefit nicely from being on the denier speaker circuit, among other earnings.

    3. love this video of Willie Soon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WgTq57XQno

  3. I can't say I have worried about the consensus view among American 'right-wingers' (actually corporate shills and their numpty followers) ever since they informed us that George W Bush would make a great president.

  4. Skeptikal,

    There are skeptics who do get paid, and they get paid for producing garbage that would sink the career of any up-and-coming postdoc.

    The funders of "skepticism" have it great -- they provide "seed money" to keep a small number of dishonest and/or incompetent f-ups in business, seed money that is greatly leveraged by many unpaid gullible folks (like you) who aren't on-the-ball enough to flag the paid skeptics' schoolboy errors.

    In fact, that is the reason that Mann, Jones, etc. were seen venting about "skeptic" papers in those so-called "climate gate" emails.

    Mann/Jones/etc. were rightfully ticked that garbage papers containing errors that they would have flunked their undergrad students for were getting published and then being used as political weapons against the legitimate climate-science community.

  5. Accepting, for the sake of argument, that we "fake-sceptics" are all scientifically illiterate, big-oil funded, haters of humanity & murderers of the yet unborn.

    We're still left with the awkward fact that Cook et al's handpicked team of experts could only find 64 papers out of 12,000 which, in their opinion, attempted to quantify the effects of AGW.

    Since they're being funded with billions of dollars to investigate the biggest threat that humanity has, apparently, ever faced - I'm surprised a few more weren't interested in how big the threat actually is.

    (I'm sorry if anyone feels that typing this is going to affect the health of their great grandchildren.)

    1. Foxgoose, the fact is not at all awkward. Perhaps you are trying to argue that every scientific paper has to research exactly the same thing (radiative forcing) and there should be no papers on any other aspect of climate, atmospheric physics, oceanography, glaciology, agriculture, forestry, ecology or any other topic relating to climate or earth systems.

      One wonders just how many papers quantifying radiative forcing will it take before a denier will accept the finding that humans are causing global warming? My guess is that a million papers finding the exact same thing wouldn't do it.

      Foxgoose, you either haven't read or haven't been able to understand what I wrote. And you either haven't read or haven't understood Cook13. And you either haven't read or haven't understood the article by ATTP that I linked to above. Or you have read them all and understand them and reject them because you feel like doing so - not for any rational reason.

      You don't understand science at all, from your various comments. What's also clear is that, since you've been protesting climate science for some years now, you never will.

      If anyone else is interested in climate science and is silly enough to think that Foxgoose is correct that "more weren't interested in how big a problem the threat actually is", then I suggest they read the IPCC reports and check out some of the papers referenced in them. Or just do a search of Google Scholar for "climate change" or "global warming". Almost all papers will provide a wealth of information about the size and nature of the threat.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    3. Foxgoose
      ...handpicked team of experts could only find 64 papers out of 12,000 ...
      You give away your lack of scientific understanding with this statement. The 12000 papers were a sample. And they found 64 papers that matched the criteria. That is the statistic they are dealing with. They were not trying to find as many as they could. That was what was there.

      I guess if you had done the exercise you would have cherry picked the papers that gave you the answer you wanted. Of course you would have had a very small crop of cherries.

  6. I wonder whether this Christopher Monckton whose statements were quoted here met the other Christopher Monckton at the AGW denial conference, who also writes at WUWT and made following statement a few months ago:

    "The last U.S. winter colder than this one was in 1911/12, before the First World War.
    Thank you, America! Most of Britain has had an unusually mild and wet winter, for you have had more than your fair share of the Northern Hemisphere’s cold weather this season.
    Global warming? What global warming?"

    (Christopher Monckton, March 26, 2014, http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/03/26/coldest-u-s-winter-in-a-century/)

  7. Here is a link to a list of papers on gunshot trauma wound healing:

    None of the papers explicitly identify people as the ultimate agent of the wounds, nor do they link the energy expended by the propellant when the round was fired to the level of trauma.

    Therefore in upside-down-land, there is no consensus in the medical fraternity that GSW's are caused by people, nor is there a link between the power of the weapon and the damage it can do.

    1. Good one, Frank :)

      Is there a denier blog for people who reject the science of trauma? Maybe Foxgoose can redirect his energy.

  8. John wrote, "If I water my garden too much, is the water a "pollutant?" Water is good, and CO2 is good."

    Clearly John is not a gardener or he'd know that there's such a thing as 'over-watering'. E.g.: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/pests-and-problems/environmental/overwatering.aspx

    John, if you're going to deny science, at least research your arguments properly. Reading denial blogs will end up with you looking stupid. Why not think for yourself?

  9. Using Modtran, and the IPCC formula:
    DS = 5.3Ln(C/C0)  
    where DS is the extra radiative forcing (watts/m2) due to an increase in CO2 concentration from a reference value C0 to C.  If we take C0=280 ppm(pre-industrial revolution)   and C=390 ppm (now) then we predict an extra forcing due to man of 1.76 watts/m2. Similarly if we double CO2 concentrations by the end of the century the direct radiative forcing will be 3.67 watts/m2. How does the temperature of the Earth change in response? The answer is easy because the earth warms a little until it’s extra black body radiation balances again. Stefan Boltzmans quickly balances energy – it is the ultimate negative feedback.
    S = sigmaT^4  so differentiating we get  DS = 4sigmaT^3DT
    putting the numbers in ( T=288K) we can see that the predicted temperature increase DT is simply
    1) For 1750->today  DT = 0.33 degreesC    2) A Doubling CO2 = 0.68 degreesK    Note that these increases are rather moderate, especially compared to the 4-5K increase seen since the last Ice Age.
    This issue is the crux of the argument between “sceptics” and “realists” which spills over into name calling. So for example sceptics call realists – climate “alarmists” and realists call sceptics climate “deniers”.  The basic argument of climate sensitivity is the following.
    A small rise in global temperatures should lead to more evaporation of water vapor and to  slightly more ice melting. Does more water vapor enhance warming further through extra greenhouse effect, or do clouds increase ? A net melting of ice will lower albedo in far northern and southern latitudes although far larger melting occurs every summer. Other feedbacks include a reduction  in the lapse rate from the dry adiabatic which acts against the greenhouse effect.  Climate  feedbacks are defined as shown below. A change in forcing DS from increasing CO2 is enhanced above Stefan Boltzman loss by extra feedback terms F leading to a larger (or smaller) temperature change DT.
    The average feedback assumed by IPCC models then works out at around 2 watts/m2 per degreeC rise in temperature.  This reinforces the direct radiative forcing from increasing  CO2 yielding rises of between 2 to 5 degreesC depending on the model.  In fact these predictions were made in the original IPCC report from 1990 and can actually be compared to the data since then.
    Whether or not AGW is “dangerous” or not will depend on the magnitude and sign of F. If it is as large as IPCC reports assume  then temperature rises of 2-5 degrees C are predicted for a doubling of CO2 levels and this drives the whole climate change and carbon politics. However,  if F is zero or even negative then  a modest temperature rise of about 1 degree is expected which may even be beneficial.
    Longer term geological evidence and the faint sun paradox essentially can rule out high climate sensitivity over the long term. We know that liquid oceans have been present on Earth as early as 4 billion years ago, when the sun was 30% less bright. This means temperatures cannot have been vastly different than today. As the sun strengthened feedbacks as high as 2 watts/m2/degC would have caused run away temperatures, and boiled the oceans. It seems likely that there are stabilizing effects on climate which lead a water covered planet like Earth to self-regulate temperatures


    1. 4 billion years ago, the atmosphere was rather richer in CO2, methane, and other greenhouse gases than it is today. When photosynthesis hit the scene, oxygen replaced CO2 and burned away the rest -- which likely helped cause a few episodes of snowball Earth.

      If you can prove a climate sensitivity lower than 1C (i.e. negligible or negative F), publish it. It'll advance the state of science. Currently, multiple lines of evidence place the sensitivity closer to 3C. High values have indeed been pretty much ruled out, but "high" in this context means more than 4.5C.

      Note that equilibrium climate sensitivity of 1C per doubling is largely ruled out by the fact we've much less than doubled and have seen a transient response of 0.8C. So, good luck with your publication.

    2. However, if F is zero or even negative then a modest temperature rise of about 1 degree is expected which may even be beneficial.

      Low sensitivity to radiative perturbation is effectively ruled out by known paleoclimate variability (Rohling et al. 2012).

      It seems likely that there are stabilizing effects on climate which lead a water covered planet like Earth to self-regulate temperatures

      In other words, feedbacks to radiative perturbation net negative and result in a relatively insensitive climate system. Ruled out by known paleoclimate variability.

      There's no scientific case for low S. *All* the evidence points to moderate fast-feedback sensitivity of ~3C/2xCO2.

  10. I think it would be more like, "Water is often the limiting factor in crop plant productivity, and irrigation and regular watering can increase yields by half or more. Therefore we should water until all farmland is under a foot (or more!) of water. Can't hurt, right?"

  11. CO2 is plant food vs the general form of Liebig's Law of the Minimum. , farme kids often learn that by ~age 10 (I did).

    CA grows half the fruit and veggies for the US.
    We have more CO2.
    We also have a serious drought.
    Even 2000pm CO2 won't grow a lot of corn in the Sahara.

  12. John (not John Mashey naturally) wrote: 'Currently, there is no crisis..'.

    Clearly the impact that accelerating melt of the cryosphere is going to have escapes him, well here is one corrective, of many that could be provided:

    Dr. Jason Box: The Bill Maher Interview via Climate Crocks.

  13. Lionel, I watched your interview. Where is the crisis? Why is melting ice bad for the environment? At best, it may be inconvenient because humans built an infrastructure for one sea level that might not be suitable for a different sea level. But that is down the road and based on much speculation. And, the changes, if any, will be slow. We adapt. Adapting is certainly way better than not developing or never having developed in the first place. Remember, that infrastructure is only there because we developed originally with the great benefit of fossil fuel.

    Does anyone here live without electricity like 20% of the planet? Do you have access to emergency care? Is there a fossil fuel powered ICU at your local hospital? Do you wash your clothes with a powered machine, or do you take them down to the river? How many kids in your family made it past age 5? We just take all this for granted.

    I live in the great lakes area. 20,000 years ago, it was a glacier. But that all melted. Was that a "bad" thing? It is certainly "different." But it is bad? I personally prefer the lakes to the glacier.

    No one is "against" renewable energy, except, of course the environmentalists in the case of Nuclear. What a debacle that has turned out to be. We could be 20 years further in nuclear technology but not for them. If it is economically viable, people will chose it. But, so far, it is just not really a solution to anything. That is why Coal use is growing on a world wide basis.

    And, back to the original "how much" question. Where is the evidence that "Most likely at least 100% of global warming since the middle of last century can be attributed to human activity," as proposed by Sou? So far, none has been listed here.

    Oh, and you are going to censor my discussion? Of course you are. That is the typical response when one blasphemes the catastrophic AGW religion. Too much trouble to discuss the actual science. Much easier to just scream "bullshit" and hit the censor button.

    1. John, the real scientific question here is why people like yourself reject facts. Is it because you can't stomach them? Are you one of those people who cannot cope with reality because it frightens you too much? I'd hate to be relying on you (or cleaning up after you) in a crisis.

      I cannot believe you are so ignorant as to not be aware of the huge environmental impact that the loss of Arctic sea ice is having and will have. Nor can I imagine that you are so naive as to think that one or two metres of sea level rise in a century could have little impact. Or that much more than that in only a couple of centuries will have. If you keep up with the science you'll already have read about what's happening in Western Antarctica. (If you haven't, just type Western Antarctica into the search box at the top of this page.)

      Are you not aware of where the world's population resides? Are you as ignorant of geography and sociology as you are of climate science?

      The intriguing question is it what compels you and people like you to reject mainstream science. I don't expect you to be able to answer that question. You can't even figure out what impact the melting of sea ice in the Arctic will have, or the impact that the melting of the ice sheets will have, or the impact that rising surface temperatures will have. In fact you haven't even accepted basic physics from what I can see. Do you even accept the greenhouse effect?

      The big question of why people reject basic facts is one that cognitive scientists have been exploring. It interests me, so perhaps you would be willing to have a shot at explaining yourself here, even though it's off topic.

      I know it will be a challenge for you so I won't insist. However if you're willing to have a shot, it will be of interest to many readers here, I'm sure. Most people are interested in the workings of the human mind, and why the human mind sometimes fails.

      I enjoy your paranoia expressed in the last paragraph. I don't censor comments unless they are so extreme as to not be suitable for public viewing (or in one or two cases, dozens of off-topic abusive one-liners from people who seemed to be intoxicated at the time). Such comments are rare. Usually I just shift the sort of silliness you write to the HotWhoppery, keeping the nutty stuff all in one place.

      But I can't resist leaving your comments for all the world to marvel at.

      BTW I already provided a pointer to evidence for your "how much" question - way back when I responded to your initial questions. You must have missed it, along with my other replies. Another instance of your mind letting you down, I guess.

    2. By the way, if you still have trouble finding the link, it's in the third paragraph of the comment I pointed to. You'll find an excellent article at RealClimate.org, together with links to the relevant chapter in the IPCC report which in turn has links to scientific papers. Lots for you to read.

      And if you're still perplexed, the trick is to click on the text in this or my previous comment that's a different colour (click with the left mouse button if you're using a pc). It's known as a hyperlink and will take to to the relevant web page.

    3. Your use of the word "inconvenient" sounds like my doctor's use of the word "discomfort". I got a continuous morphine drip for that "discomfort". It will be "inconvenient" to move entire cities over the next couple centuries.

    4. @John
      "Why is melting ice bad for the environment?"

      Off the top of your head you cannot come up with any hypotheses of why melting ice might be bad for the environment? For instance substantial sea rise would affect large numbers of people around the world? Not to mention that the rising temperatures that caused it might have some adverse effects?

      Do you have so little imagination you cannot work out these things for yourself? Or is it just you think you are safe near the lakes and the rest of the world can look after itself?

    5. None of the examples posted makes our current situation a "crisis." Nor has anyone shown that melting ice is "bad" for the environment. Ice melts and the environment adapts.

      Humans have built cities near the coasts as a result of development. Over centuries, it makes more sense to continue to develop and adapt. That makes much more sense than not developing.

      The only basis of Sou's 100% estimate of human contribution is the models. It is right there in your IPCC report. The only basis for concluding that we are in a "crisis" is the pure fantasy of the alarmists. Temperatures are relatively stable. We are in living in one of the most hospitable climates that we could ever imagine. It is cooler than the optimum of either this interglacial or the previous one.

      This is why countries like China and India are not interested in restricting their CO2 emissions. They might throw you some lip service, but meanwhile they are building coal fired power plants. And who can blame them?

    6. What on earth are you talking about when you refer to "not developing", John? You have a very warped view of the world. You do know that, right?

      I get it that you reject science. That you object to the fact that the world has warmed. That you refuse to say whether or not that you accept the greenhouse effect. That you don't care about people living on the coast or the cost of moving billions of people over the coming century and don't care if it happens sooner rather than later - as long as you can continue to pollute without thinking, and as long as the world doesn't shift to clean energy. I get that you weirdly think that the most rapid change in climate, possibly ever, is somehow okay and I get that you don't really care if that adaptation means the sixth major extinction happens faster than any previous one.

      But you still haven't explained why you reject all the science. Is it cognitive dissonance? Is it because it makes you too scared to think about? Is it because, like Anthony Watts, you don't want to pay tax? Or maybe your political ideology says you're not allowed to accept science.

      I don't believe it can be because scientists use models based on science to figure out what's likely to happen in the future. Models lie at the heart of modern technology. There'd be no aeroplanes or bridges or cities or space flights if not for models. So it can't be that.

      I'm wondering if you've figured it out for yourself or if you are just as bewildered at your rejection of science as I am.

    7. Oh, by the way. Scientists have measured the different radiative forcings and calculated their effect, as you'd have seen if you'd read Chapter 10 of the IPCC report. So if you mistakenly think that "models" used to work out past radiative forcings are pie in the sky, then you'd be wrong.

      PS I don't expect you to thank me or any of the other commenters for doing the research you could have done yourself and for pointing you to some of the literature. Your aggressive tone tells me that somehow it won't be forthcoming. Your a man on a mission, trying to convince yourself that science is wrong. You've come to the wrong place if you expect any help in that regard.

    8. Where have I rejected the fact that the world has warmed?

      Anyone that cares about poor people must support the building of coal powered plants in the developing world. No other technology will improve and save the lives of poor people faster than that. However much you would spend on wind and solar to help them, spend the same amount on fossil fuel, and you will save more lives. It is just as simple as that. Spending money on wind and solar in the developing world costs lives. It can't be refuted.

      Sixth mass extinction? What species have gone extinct as a result of human emitted CO2? This is more fantasy with very little basis in any kind of objective science.

      Who is right here? Time will tell. CO2 emissions will increase every year for the next 20. No crisis will happen. Lives will be saved thanks to the use of fossil fuel.

      Fossil fuel probably won't always be the fuel of choice. The irony is that the more we use now, the quicker society will develop technologies that will be more efficient.

    9. John, are your eyes deceiving you again? I wrote that you object to the fact of global warming, not that you reject the fact.

      As for going back to condemning the developing world to filthy smog plus global warming, I still think that's disgusting. What have you done over the past ten decades to improve developing countries? Why are you suddenly acting as if you're all concerned about the world's poor now? It comes across as fake concern to justify your commitment to global warming.

      The sixth major extinction has arguably already started. Are you seriously trying to say you are not aware of the number of species that have already become extinct and that are under threat? So far the damage has been more from habitat destruction. In coming decades and centuries it will be because plants and animals won't be able to adapt to climate change. They'll be squeezed out of existence.

      What lives has solar power or wind power taken compared to the lives that coal takes every year? Not just from mining the stuff but from the associated pollution, particularly in those very countries you pretend to care about, where pollution controls are insufficient or altogether lacking.

      And you still haven't said whether you accept the greenhouse effect or not. Nor have you explained why you reject science. You just move back onto your condemning people to importing coal instead of building cleaner and cheaper renewable energy. Maybe you live in West Virginia and are looking to make a buck on the export market. Or maybe you've got shares in shipping and want to make a fast buck by shipping coal far afield.

      Or maybe you just want to have the last word - goodness knows why. Your words so far have been quite silly at best.

    10. Illinois is on the great lakes, and exports coal...

    11. John wrote.:

      "Lionel, I watched your interview. Where is the crisis?"

      So you still cannot grasp the meaning of that. Try moving beyond that video using it as a hook to search for more information - that is what true sceptics do. Gather more information, from credible sources at that.

      Discover what happens when ocean currents are altered because of changes in density at layers effected by warming water and reduced salinity. This is one of the factors in recent Antarctic sea ice growth.

      Learn about, (i.e. search on) 'The Great Ocean Conveyor', Wally Broeker's book of the same name is a good start.

      Check out what is happening (i.e. search on) the Benguala Current, see also Callum Robert's excellent book Ocean of Life: How our Seas are Changing to discover more, this being just one facet of the Sixth Great Extinction.

      Is the loss of ocean productivity off Namibia good for the locals, what about the outpourings of debilitating gases there and also elsewhere such as off the Alabama coast where similar animal behaviour has been noted.

      Find out about (i.e. search on) 'The Sixth Mass Extinction' and it isn't only Elizabeth Kolbert who has written about this - she has just done a magnificent job of brining strands together so non-specialists can get the picture.

      And all this about developing countries needing fossil fuel to develop is a smoke screen, a smoke screen to hide the resource rape of their lands apart from anything else. It is smoke beloved of the likes Ridley and Lomborg - what are they doing with the earnings from writing their puerile columns?

      Once again find out more about (i.e. search on) "renewable energy in the developing world" to find out more.

      Now trying to malign any of us for having a luxury lifestyle because of cheap fossil fuel energy is a red herring, and downright presumptuous. How about YOU?

      If you cannot see a crisis, what do you think is pushing trouble in the Middle East and Northern Africa? The slow desertification of the area. Try looking up William Ruddiman's work on the long history of human increased GHG production back to the time of the Natufian hunter-gatherers, the Yangsho Neolithic culture and the Indus civilizations. It is instructive to consider what the lands in Mesopotamia were rally like when the first city states came about.

      As can be seen, the issues of global warming with attendant climate change and associated risks to civilisation presents many factors and degrees of complexity, more than can be answered in a blog reply, after all many thoughtful words have been written elsewhere and I feel it is up to you to now go away and digest all the information that you have been directed to.

      Your narrative gives you away as somebody who has come here after reading denier-delayer blogs and opinion columns in the worst sectors of the media. You have been pulled along by the nose.

  14. I don't know what is going on with your eyes, but here is what you wrote:

    "That you object to the fact that the world has warmed."

    So, I am asking where I objected to that.

    Which species have gone extinct from human emitted CO2? Many have gone extinct, and a bunch due to human activity. Surely in this great "six mass extinction" that is already underway, you could cite a single species that went extinct due to human CO2 emissions?

    The fact is that the developing world is choosing coal for its power plants because that is how they get the most people out of poverty the quickest. I am not condemning anyone to anything. They can build whatever energy plants they want. But if they chose coal, they will save the most people the fastest. People without electricity are dying every day. By building solar and wind powered plants, you are wasting money that could have gone to help save more people.

    I accept the science of the greenhouse effect, certainly. It is likely that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will cause warming. But what is not so well understood is what else happens. In fact, with the current experiment that we are observing, CO2 is increasing, but temperature is not. Why is that? Yes, it is in the oceans and the winds and the arctic where there are no instruments, etc.

    You have some cheaper energy to offer the world? Bring it on. That is the free market.

    You and I live a standard of living never before seen by even the wealthiest of humans in history. Starvation deaths in the US are almost non-existent and usually only happen in cases of abuse or mental illness. The progress that has been brought to us by free market capitalism fueled with fossil fuel is amazing. Yet 20% of the world has not yet experienced this. They deserve to. And they will. That, again, is why they are building coal power plants. It is certainly not to help out my portfolio.

    1. Well, I've already pointed you to an article showing that fossil fuels are on the way out. Many places are already making the switch. Even in Australia, which is retarded when it comes to modern energy production, South Australia is already getting close to 20% of it's electricity from wind power. I've already pointed out that millions of people in Bangladesh have got their first electricity via solar. Solar power is also being used to bring electricity to Africa and India. That's because there are people who are actually doing something, not just weakly arguing for global warming to "help the world's poor people".

      You seem to be arguing that the world has to stop advancing and must be stuck with 19th century technology. This is the 21st century. In less than twenty years there's been an incredible revolution in information and communication. The world can change very quickly when it wants to. Why would you want to retain decades old, dirty, polluting energy technology when there is much cleaner technology available that won't harm people's health and well-being.

      In other words, why would you condemn people to filthy smog polluted air when the sooner the world adopts modern technology the cheaper it will become. Wind is already on par with fossil fuels in many parts of the world, as is solar. Your arguing that much of the world has to dig up at great expense depleting resources, ship them half way around the world only to build outmoded energy producing plants that will pollute the air with noxious fumes or pay through the nose to clean the pollutants, while still emitting the very harmful CO2.

      The fact that you don't understand the impact of global warming doesn't mean that other people don't understand it. Scientists know because they've studied what's happened in the past when CO2 increased and they understand the physics. You're the one who rejects that knowledge. Most other people don't reject it. You're out on a limb with the minority here. The dismissives.

      The free market sure has helped the poor people that you pretend to care about, hasn't it. The free market caused the hole in the ozone layer - it took global action to address that issue.

      Subsidising fossil fuel production isn't the free market at work. It's government tax breaks and regulation at work. Surely you aren't so naive that you think that coal-fired power stations operate in a free market. They don't. They are subsidised by taxpayers. If those subsidies were diverted to making existing clean technology even cheaper then the world would be much better off.

      It's people like you (I'm guessing that you vote conservative) who vote in people who are protecting fossil fuel interests that are slowing the adoption of modern technology.

      Yes, people everywhere should have access to a steady supply of cheap clean energy. Not, as you seem to want, condemned to a Sophie's choice of no energy or filthy polluted air and often intermittent energy.

      Why don't you want clean energy is another mystery.

      Why can't you understand what I wrote about the sixth major extinction? (Try typing that into the search box at the top of the page. I've written about it already.)

    2. PS Don't talk to me about eyes. You asked me "Where have I rejected the fact that the world has warmed?" not "Where have I objected to the fact that the world has warmed?"

    3. Are you really saying that wind and solar is more efficient than fossil fuel? So China and India are building coal powered electric plants because the US is subsidizing fossil fuel? China should implement the most efficient energy they can, whatever it is.

      You would like to eliminate all energy subsidies in the US? Great. Where do I sign?

      Yes, the free market has lead to the advances in the plight of the poor more than any other system. Whatever you criticize about the free market, other systems are worse.

      I don't get to decide what kind of power people want to buy. Buy whatever you want. Install solar and wind in your back yard. But that is not what you are advocating. You are advocating government control and taxation over the use of fossil fuel. If we already have the cheap, clean solution, why do you need to do anything? The developing countries will automatically go the more efficient route by necessity, right? Why are they choosing coal? Why won't China agree to a treaty to limit its CO2 emissions? You know they won't, right?

      You still haven't named one single species lost due to CO2 emissions.

    4. John: "You still haven't named one single species lost due to CO2 emissions."

      You still haven't read what I wrote about the sixth major extinction - you didn't read it in my comment and you obviously didn't do as I suggested and read about what I've written elsewhere.

      Yes, when you add in all the costs, including the cost of global warming, wind and solar beat fossil fuels by a mile.

      I'm not so much criticising the free market as saying that energy production isn't operating according to the free market. It's subsidised and it's regulated. Even you've accepted that, going by your comment about subsidies.

      Your free market is what is exploiting cheap labour in less developed countries. Paying people a pittance to produce your goods for you, with free marketers then turning around and complaining that jobs are going overseas. Then wanting people to buy their coal so they can produce more goods in sweat shops powered by dirty energy so that the free market advocates can keep their standard of living high. Muddled thinking at its best.

      There is no pure free market anywhere in the world. And pollution doesn't come free either. Either you pay to control it or pay for the consequences and the clean up. As often as not it's society as a whole that pays, while the polluter gets off scot free.

      I also see that now your copping out, saying you don't get to decide. Well, you can vote can't you? You have a say in the future you choose. Clean or dirty. Fast global warming or slower global warming. You choose dirty and fast global warming. Others choose clean and slower global warming.

      And I'm not advocating a move to centralised economies. I enjoy the benefits of capitalist economies and democracy just like you do. However, even with no more government control than there is at present, if governments stopped subsidising dirty energy and switched that same support to clean energy it would make a huge difference.

      At least you've stopped advocating that developing countries have to buy your coal. That's progress of a sort. You've acknowledged that they can do what they choose. And more and more they are choosing to add more clean, renewable energy into the mix.

      As for what is happening in China - I'm guessing you are as naive about internal politics and international diplomacy as you are with climate science. Get up to date.

      Did you know, for example, that something like 193 countries accept the IPCC reports? That includes democracies, autocracies and centralised economies - governments of all types and political persuasions. As I said, you're out on a limb, with the minority.

    5. Oh come on Sou, Jiankun He? Really? Is this what passes for "evidence" here on your site? That would be like if you came out and said that your country is going to cap CO2 emissions. Get back to me when China's CO2 emissions stop growing. That will not be in your lifetime.

      Exploiting cheap labor in less developed countries benefits everyone. It benefits those working for a pittance because it beats their other choice which is misery. It benefits us because we have cheap stuff. They do this because that is what people do to achieve the standard of living we have. They develop.

      When did I ever advocate that the developing countries have to buy anything from me? They are choosing to built coal fired plants. It has nothing to do with me. They have done the cost benefit analysis, and they know that coal power plants will bring them out of poverty. Spin it however you want, but it is their most cost effective solution, or they wouldn't be doing it.

    6. I read what you wrote on the sixth major extinction. The papers you cite from could not list a single species either. Yes, the butterfly migrated. But extinction? I am not even saying that the .7C warming that we have experienced caused no extinctions, but interesting that no one can list any.

      Of course, we have caused extinctions, and we should try to avoid this. Mostly from invasive species.

    7. You've been telling us all that we have to build coal plants in the developing world for the past two days, John. You've been acting as if we in the developed world are preventing them from choosing their own path. You've been on a perverted guilt trip about this almost from the word go. It's been truly weird reading your twists and turns.

      And OMG I can't believe what I'm reading. Now you're arguing that putting people into sweat shops working in conditions you'd never allow in your own country (or maybe you would) is somehow for their own good. My what a warped world you live in. I bet you object to unionised labour, too. To people getting organised to get human rights and some dignity.

      Did you even read the article? Did you pick up any nuances from it? No. Do you have the slightest understanding of international relations or internal politics in China or India or even your own country? Excuse me for being blunt but I have to say that it seems to me that your mind is unable to fathom anything more complex than turning on a light switch.

    8. I am not even saying that the .7C warming that we have experienced caused no extinctions, but interesting that no one can list any.

      Only someone who has no understanding of the complexities of the natural world, the multiple factors operating in the environment and the inherent difficulty of separating causations could write something as silly as that.

      Are you one of those deniers who think that if what is predicted to occur over the coming decades or centuries hasn't been definitively shown as having already happened then it won't or can't happen at any future time?

    9. I guess it depends on the agenda of those doing the predicting and assessing. Like do you really believe that China is anywhere near imposing CO2 caps, or did you just cite that article to manipulate and spin?

      Those people working in the sweatshops are not forced labor, are they? They certainly have the option of going back to foraging for berries, but I suspect this offers them a better opportunity.

    10. • EXTINCT: Golden toad (Bufo periglenes). Along with the Monteverde harlequin frog (Atelopus varius), also of Central America, the golden toad is among the very small number of species whose recent extinction has been attributed with medium confidence to climate change, according to Scholes and Pörtner. Last seen in 1989, the golden frog lived in mountaintop cloud forests that have disappeared due to drought and other climatic changes. Other confounding factors are involved, such as the deadly chytrid fungus, which has killed off many amphibians worldwide.

    11. China already has targets in place. The article was about the possibility of a total cap. That would be a huge step and a necessary one.

      I won't apologise for China - it has to reduce emissions and soon. It recognises that fact but it also is a huge country with a rapidly growing economy. In part because it's producing cheap goods for the developed world.

      However to act as if the fact that China is catching up economically and putting out huge emissions at the moment is somehow a reason for mature economies to not act is wrong. Similarly it's wrong to argue, as many deniers do, that "they" won't act until everyone else acts. Who will go first? Well, we know the answer to that one. Europe went first. Other regions are playing catch up. And Europe still hasn't got to anything like what is required.

      This is what is already in place in China:


      Look after your own backyard first before pointing the finger at others. People in glass houses and all that.

      As for you continuing to try to justify sweat shop labour - that's simply horrible. Do you support slavery too?

    12. Can we admit that the article you posted on China's "intentions" to cap CO2 is no evidence at all?

      As far as labor is concerned, I support freedom, not slavery. And, China is no model society in that regard. However, if a peasant in China wishes to improve their lot by working at a factory, I support their right to do so. Do you? Or would you deny them that opportunity because you don't think it is good enough?

      Is China creating all of these emissions because the rest of the world is forcing them to? Or are they simply responding to the opportunities on the world market to make them a very rich country?

    13. John, meet the fallacy called Tragedy of the Commons.

    14. Joe, please explain. Thanks.

    15. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

      I should do what's right for me, after all China is doing what's right for them. The hell with the planet that we all live in.

    16. Yes, Joe, that is the Tragedy of the Commons. But how is that a fallacy? Maybe you meant to say "meet the Tragedy of the Commons."

      If there is an impending crisis, then individual action is futile. There must be some kind of international agreement. One person limiting their consumption (or in the case of CO2, emission) merely makes room for another to take more. In assessing this issue, one must ask what China's goals are. Are they peaceful harmony in the world? Or are they more akin to world domination?

    17. The fallacy is "One person limiting their consumption (or in the case of CO2, emission) merely makes room for another to take more." It's additive. If we both piss in the stream, it really is worse than if just one pisses in the stream.

  15. The sudden outpouring of Libertarian concern for Third World development is heartwarming. Of course, acknowledging the realities of the collapsing ice sheets, innumerable polar migrations and increasing extreme weather events - all consistent with scientific observations and projections - woul reveal these platitudes as the lip-service that they are. Best to keep your eyes wide shut, John.

    1. Yes - hypocrites the lot of them. Where have they all been hiding for the last hundred years?

    2. Anon,

      Which extreme weather events are increasing?


    3. Asked and answered.. Stop going around in circles John.

  16. "...CO2 is increasing, but.tperature is not."


    Eyes wide shut.

  17. "in fact, with the current experiment that we are observing, CO2 is increasing, but temperature is not. Why is that? Yes, it is in the oceans and the winds and the arctic where there are no instruments, etc."

    right, the ocean, where there are no instruments, uh-huh. in other words, it's just made up, isn't it, john?

  18. This nifty graphic by the Union of Concerned Scientists touches on one of the costs of America's "standard of living". Some, certainly not John, may find it edifying.

    1. That graphic proves that CO2 is good -- without major CO2 emissions today, how will that little kid learn to swim?

  19. So Sou,

    Here is a real life example. Do you support the building of this coal fired power plant in Niger?


    In rough numbers, it seems that half of Africa's 1.2 Billion people have no access to electricity. And those that do, have nothing like what you and I think of as "electricity" that is on pretty much all the time. It seems that only in South Africa do they have anything like what we know of as electricity, and they use about half the amount of electricity per capita as do people in Australia, for example.

    It seems that building this plant would, among other things, save on wood being used for cooking, etc.

    What other choices do they have? Let's say they are hiring you as their energy consultant. What would you recommend they do? What kind of electricity infrastructure would give them the kind of power that you and I enjoy. The kind that is on all the time.

  20. Sou,

    As a part of that last post, let me ask you this. How many people die as a result of having no access to electricity? I don't honestly know the answer. I have seen that 5,000 people die each day from using wood in the kitchen alone. But, the number can't be small.

    And to those of you who question my sincerity and ask me what I am doing to help the Africans. Does it matter? If the policies that I advocate would save millions of lives, does it matter how much charitable work that I do in evaluating those policies? What if those policies save millions of lives and also make me rich? Does it matter? It wouldn't, by the way.

    1. If you care so much about Africa and so desperately want them to be burning fossil fuels, why do you want the developed world to stay off renewables? If we switch to renewables, fossil fuel prices will fall and Africa can buy them on the cheap!

    2. Seeing as you are still here flogging your dead donkey, r should I say mole there is a new report which might, just might, make you better informed, just up at Skeptical Science:

      Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes.

  21. In response to John's earlier question ("Which extreme weather events are increasing?"):

    The World Meteorological Organisation — The Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes 1970-2012

    As summarized in The Guardian (focus on the message, John, not the messenger):

    "The bottom line: natural disasters are occurring nearly five times as often as they were in the 1970s. But some disasters – such as floods and storms – pose a bigger threat than others. Flooding and storms are also taking a bigger bite out of the economy. But heat waves are an emerging killer."

  22. I'm not going to get into a drawn out discussion on this with you, John. I don't have the time or the inclination. But kudos to you for at least giving it some thought. Maybe you'll even think longer term and consider the needs of the broader population in places like Africa, and what solutions would suit best. The old-fashioned distribution set up in places like the USA and Australia don't adapt well to many African countries.

    Niger is a desperately poor country but I expect it will be the wealthier people, the mining companies and the larger centres that will benefit first and foremost. Much of the population elsewhere won't. In any case, for centres that can afford/justify the building of a distribution grid (arguably where a huge amount of the cost is incurred), projects like this and these are going to be the way of the future, not just for Africa but for elsewhere in the world. Maybe this one too, though hydro schemes can have unwanted consequences and, like coal projects, displace people. Coal is a short term fix that will be dirty and harmful - and uses a lot more land than wind.

    For the many people who live in smaller towns and around villages that won't get access to any distribution grid, the solution is mostly local solar, plus maybe some windpower. However it has to be done properly and maintained.

    I know you favour burning coal and diesel and oil for electricity. But that won't last forever. Even if it didn't cause global warming -the longer term future is in renewables.

    There are many reasons to rethink the electricity production and distribution model - not least of which are reach into less densely populated areas as well as continuity of supply, particularly as global warming gets worse. And particularly in areas that haven't yet made huge capital investment in infrastructure. Power cuts in heat waves are not nice. In fact they are downright dangerous.

    1. The grid wouldn't work in a place with desperately poor governance like Congo but plenty of countries have merely mediocre governance, which was good enough for the West. Historically, we electrified the cities with little regulation because there was profit to be made; then the towns and villages with a government push.

      That said, the best way to bring power isn't necessarily to do it how we did in the late 19th to mid 20th century. The developed world has worked out point-sourced grids, and is (despite the johns) working out how to run distributed power generation grids. The developing world can just run with that, building out their electric distribution systems using our best technologies and their best ideas for adapting them to local conditions -- and will be doing it much faster than how long it took us.

    2. Exactly. Here in Australia people got electricity first when the grid went past their residence. When I was at school I used to visit with school mates whose homes didn't have electricity - and that was in the second half of the twentieth century, more than sixty years after Melbourne first got electricity.

      Nowadays smaller settlements can generate their own power and hook up to a wider grid as it's developed. They don't need to wait. It means being smart (pun intended). Solar and wind are an ideal first choice or replacement for expensive diesel generators.

    3. Distributed generation seems like the smart choice. There are strong parallels to the way that much of the developing world leapfrogged land-line phones and went straight to mobiles.

    4. Yes, Sou, Africa has a problem besides energy. It is lack of freedom. Help them get access to freedom and cheap energy, and they will flourish.

      The question remains, why are China and India building so many coal power plants? Is it because we are forcing them? The fossil fuel lobby? It is the opposite. They know it is their best choice to get the most people out of poverty. They aren't going to agree to anything that restricts their ability to do so.

      And, Sou, why are you reluctant to get into a discussion on this topic? It is, after all, the most important topic your website could address. How to save all of those people? How to give the people of Niger the ability to write blogs such as this one? Hard to do without real energy. I bet you can blog even when the sun is not shining, and the wind is not blowing.

      The developing world should build the energy infrastructure that helps the most people the fastest at the most efficient cost. If you can show that solar is the way, then I am the biggest supporter of solar there is. But you can't. Solar is just not going to power the intensive care unit at the hospital. Where it has its place, great. Let it have its place.

    5. Solar would be fine for powering an African hospital (not the the ICU therein) so long as it is supported by utility-scale batteries. That looks like a realistic possibility now.

      Utility-scale batteries make wind and solar much more workable propositions for sustained and stable supply. And that makes them game-changers. The need for a huge build-out of coal-fired plant just disappears.

      You need to think flexibly and constructively in order to solve problems.

    6. "(not the the ICU therein)" --> "(not just the ICU therein)"

    7. BBD,

      Do you have an example of a hospital that has chosen to power itself as such? Or how about even a plan for one? What is the cost?

      Vanadium batteries are actually quite exciting, I agree. And, they could have a wide range of applications including traditional power generation as it is still desirable to store energy to facilitate ramping up the energy source to meet the fluctuations in demand during the day.

    8. John: And, Sou, why are you reluctant to get into a discussion on this topic?

      Sheesh, John. I already put quite a bit of thought and effort into my responses on the subject for what? So you can repeat what you've already said over and over? Barely any acknowledgement, not even an "oh yes, I hadn't thought of that". Or "I take your point but I disagree because xyz".

      Enough is enough. What I said was I don't have the time or the inclination for a drawn out discussion. I repeat - a drawn out discussion. And you want to draw it out further, yet you just keep repeating the same old stuff. That's not a conversation. You aren't adding a thing. Unlike other HotWhopperites.

      The reason I don't have the inclination is obvious, given the way you've treated all of us who have engaged with you.

      As for time - my time is precious. Already I've spent an awful lot of time and effort responding to your list of questions and doing the research you asked for. I've written more responses just for you on this thread than I've written on any other thread in ages. If you want to engage my services, let me know where to send the bill.

      It's typical of deniers. They demand the earth and give bugger all back.

      Just so you know - I research and write articles for free for people's entertainment, information, to rebut, to lead people to explore further, to amuse, to groan at or whatever.

      I provide the comment facility so that readers can have a conversation or add information or pass the (on topic) time of day.

      I'm not your freebie R&D department.

      Deniers are like toddlers - so demanding. I've noticed that over and over again - not just here. It was the same at HotCopper. Do this and do it now! (Usually with a foot stamp or a tantrum.)

    9. Do you have an example of a hospital that has chosen to power itself as such? Or how about even a plan for one? What is the cost?

      Not a hospital but several utilities are now testing vanadium flow batteries. Since these are known to work there is no reason why they should not provide overnight power to a hospital. Consequently, your assertion is false:

      Solar is just not going to power the intensive care unit at the hospital.

    10. There's probably more on solar power for hospitals in Africa - let's try Google.

    11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    12. BBD, there is quite a bit of difference between theoretically possible and financially viable.

      You are arguing from assertion, again, and arguments from assertion are logical fallacies. Which means: you lose.

      First, you asserted - wrongly - that solar could never power an ICU. Now you are asserting that it could never do so cost-effectively. You have no means of knowing this so it is a mere assertion.

      You are also asserting that coal mining, coal-fired plant and traditional grid infrastructure are the only way forward for the developing world. This is simply not true. Mixed generation technologies and decentralised generation are vital components of the emerging power infrastructure in developing countries. I get the strong sense that you know absolutely nothing about this but find bleating about "the poor" a useful tactic in promoting your "scepticism" on other matters.

    13. Sorry Sou, we crossed. You can take my last down too if you want.

    14. John is desperate to avoid acknowledging the soaring social costs of CO2 emissions. The countries that will continue to suffer the greatest calamities are the ones he patronizingly suggests should jump on the fossil fuel bandwagon. A terribly short-sighted solution.

      BTW, the "no warming in x years" meme makes one look like an idiot, and idiots don't get to be martyrs.

    15. Nah, I like it. Keep up the good work, BBD :D


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