August 17, 2014 | Graham

Being contrary on climate isn’t enough

Generally it is more interesting and important to point out problems with the orthodoxy on climate change than its opponents, because it is orthodoxy that gets put into policy, not heterodoxy.

But as the climate debate fractures in the face of evidence, a wider range of views becomes significant.

Climate skeptics have recently been excited by research suggesting that the world has been warming for the last 10,000 years in a way that leaves little room for the CO2 mechanism.

Was the Earth in a period of global warming or cooling before the 20th century?

Attempting to answer this question has thrown up a conundrum for scientists, with some studies showing a warming trend, while others suggesting it cooled until humans intervened.

Now a new study hopes to settle the issue by arguing that data points to the fact that Earth’s climate has been warming over the past 10,000 years – long before human activity is thought to have changed the climate.

With their current knowledge, Professor Liu and colleagues don’t believe any physical forces over the last 10,000 years could have been strong enough to overwhelm the warming.

The study does not, the authors emphasise, change the evidence of human impact on global climate beginning in the 20th century.


But contradicting the orthodoxy is not in itself sufficient reason to get excited about a study.

The graph accompanying the story shows some of the competing views.

The blue line most closely represents the orthodoxy, reproducing Mann’s Hockey Stick at the end of it. Professor Liu and colleagues come to the conclusion represented by the green and black lines.

So what is different between the various methods?

The reconstructions showing cooling during the last 10,000 years are based on “biological thermometers” – temperature reconstructions generated from analysing ice core samples and the like.

Professor Liu shuns these, because they could be wrong, in favour of a computer model.


Most of the debate in climate actually boils down to just how good models are.

Rather than breaking with orthodoxy, Liu appears to be using its tools to try to erase the temperature record that exists from actual data.

His model might not conform to the hockey stick paradigm, but then that has more or less been jettisoned as being an artefact of statistical manipulation.

But it does conform to the orthodox paradigm that this is the hottest time in recorded history – you’ll notice his reconstruction erases the Roman and Medieval climate optima.

And it follows established form in thinking that the imaginary world of models trumps the real world of data.

And just as other climate models appear to have a warming bias, what is to say that is not the cause of this model showing an increase in temperature over the last 10,000 years when data show the opposite?

Just because something appears to buck the orthodox doesn’t make it right. Sometimes there’s a little too much of that thinking on the skeptic side.

In this case that appears to lead to welcoming a new version of the orthodox paradigm in the mistake that it is somehow different, and therefore supportive of your case.

Models never trump data.

Posted by Graham at 4:39 pm | Comments (21) |
Filed under: Environment


  1. You seem here to be supporting claims of rapid and recent climate change. The time frame on that graph is very condensed. Spread your fingers to enlarge and you will see something very like a hockey stick.

    The action happens not at minus 1000 years, but at plus 2000, if I am reading it correctly. Not too sure what BP stands for, as I am used to BCE, or Before Christian Era.

    The data shows high levels of warming, coinciding with increased CO2, in the past 100 years.


    Climate Contrarians Overrepresented in Media Coverage, New Survey Finds

    There is an overwhelming consensus among expert scientists studying climate change
    that man-made pollution is the main cause of global warming. But the media may be
    skewing its coverage of the issue by persistently seeking out the views of a
    contrarian minority, according to a new study.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — August 18, 2014 @ 1:52 am

  2. Hi Ronda,

    I’m not actually supporting anything of the sort. I’m just pointing out that the proxy evidence says it has cooled over the last 10,000 years while modelled “evidence” is disputing that, but appears to have a warming bias.

    There are a number of lines on the chart, and the one you are pointing to is the blue one, which this most recent study disputes. This study is the lowest line.

    There is no overwhelming consensus that man-made emissions are the cause of global warming, only that CO2 contributes to it. Most of the people claiming expertise in this area don’t actually have it and just parrot the line that they prefer. So there have been some silly surveys taken recently to “prove” overwhelming support where it just doesn’t exist.

    Ditto for people who claim that contrary scientific evidence is getting too much coverage in this area.

    Comment by Graham — August 18, 2014 @ 8:04 am

  3. Well, Graham, on one level it doesn’t matter what is causing the rise in temperature over the past hundred or so years. What matters is our ability to adapt with so many millions living at or near sea level.

    But on another level the science of the greenhouse, ie, heat trapping gases in the lower atmosphere, is critical to dealing with it.

    On yet another level, over-population and the Malthusian prospect of outrunning our food supply and water is very urgent and perhaps somewhat neglected in the debate about climate change.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — August 18, 2014 @ 8:42 am

  4. I attended Cambridge University in the mid 1960s. During that time the guru was Paul Ehrlich who had written a book called The Population Bomb. Along with a report called The Limits to Growth produced by a think tank called the Club of Rome the one absolutely certainty all the ‘experts’ believed was that no one would be driving petrol driven cars in the year 2000.

    While I was doing an MBA at the London Business School in the early 1970s, the rise of the Japanese economy was the flavour of the month. Herman Kahn, another guru, published The Emerging Japanese Superstate in 1970. Again the ‘experts’ were all certain that by the year 2000 Japan would be the dominant world economy.

    In 1980 I changed careers moving from IT to merchant banking. In 1984 Bankers Trust Australia was awarded one of the seven original MIC licences, which was the start of the Australian VC industry. I was charged with raising the money which we successfully did and that whetted my appetite for venture capital. Having worked in the IT industry for some 15 years and having been a computer programmer, I was Mr IT in the Australian VC industry. Thinking that I should regain some industry knowledge I attended a conference on the outlook for IT for the next ten years. The main conference message was from the group that was recognised worldwide as the leading IT forcasting experts. “If you thought IBM was dominant in the 1960s and 1970s, that was nothing to how powerful IBM would be over the next ten years. It had just come out with a personal computer, redefining the industry, and with IBM’s economies of scale no one else would be able to compete.”

    In all three cases the so-called ‘experts’ could not have been more wrong.

    That is my first lesson: no one knows the future. What you can be sure is if you think it is going to happen, it won’t, while if you think it won’t it will. All you can do is try to be flexible and prepared to adapt and be prepared to doubt the ‘experts’. Man survives in both the centre of Canada where the temperature regularly falls to -50 degrees Celsius and the centre of Australia where the average temperature reaches 35 degrees Celsius.

    Hamlet said it best. For those who were not taught classical Latin, Augers were the roman priests who cut open animals and from the entrails made predictions about the future.

    “We defy augury: There ‘s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ‘t is not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all.”

    The two things you can be sure of is that man will survive as he has done for the last 250,000 years and there will be ‘experts’ saying disasters are just around the corner.

    Comment by Christopher Golis — August 18, 2014 @ 10:45 am

  5. Ronda, BP generally means “Before Present”, meaning before 1950.

    Comment by John B — August 18, 2014 @ 11:26 am

  6. Exactly Ronda! And I for the life of me simply can’t see what all the fuss is about?
    We do know some things as facts!
    Oceans are getting warmer/more acidic, some ice is melting faster than predicted!
    The monsoons/water supply that support two thirds of the worlds population, originates on the Tibetan plateau, and may be precipitated/affected/assisted by glacial ice melt?
    In the past 100 or so years, Himalayan glaciers have retreated as never before in living memory!
    This may or may not be due to climate change?
    And where is all this additional water going?
    Well all the skeptics will say, it’s not currently evident as seriously increased sea levels.
    They say stuff like the tide comes in, the tide goes out!
    So if it’s not appearing as increased sea levels, then it must be adding to increased atmospheric moisture; and as any scientist worthy of that title will tell you; this more than anything else traps more atmospheric heat, and so it goes! Blah, blah, yuddity, yuddity. (Such a surprising show of rare intelligence!)
    We know that records show warming oceans and higher acidic values; and much of this could be impacting on marine life; and or, the lungs of the world.
    Namely, the oceans which currently produce two thirds of our oxygen!
    Even as man wandered out of Africa; our atmosphere used to be around 51% oxygen, and given its effect on most pathogens, less disease and pathogens prevailed!
    Now oxygen makes up just 21% of our atmosphere, and then we wounder why we have this or that pandemic, followed by another or some mutation, that might even be worse!
    Not only are we destroying our rain forests on a hitherto unknown scale, but seem to be affecting the oceans in so many dangerous ways.
    And all so unnecessarily!
    Most of our shipping could be nuclear powered. and here I’m suggesting much safer pebble reactors, and submersible shipping; that then is able to use the oceanic rivers that flow all around the world; that would make moving cargo by ship and rail, in a roll on roll off combination, nearly as competitive as 85+ hours, A to B airfreight!
    And completely opposite to airfreight, nearly carbon free.
    We should be investigating cheaper than coal thorium connected to micro grids, that would at least halve the current power bills, and make manufacturing here, viable once again!
    But particularly if we included really smart tax reform, that simply eliminated all unproductive, or parasitical practice!
    A very wise man once said, at some point complexity always becomes fraud!
    Makes you wounder why a few, still want to cling to the current status quo, given even with all the schemes and shams/tax havens and what have you!
    A hugely simplified standalone expenditure tax would cost the average operator just 5% of the bottom line!
    Contrast that with the current averaged 7% of the bottom line, shelled out as tax compliance costs, which halfway decent tax reform, would completely negate.
    And we should be investigating things like home made biogas> ceramic fuel cells!
    Given this combination is far and away, the very best solution for dealing with huge levels of problematic waste, and in so doing earning a nice endless profit from the spin-offs!
    i.e., the would’s cheapest possible power, costing at least four times less that any current reticulated scheme!
    Free and endless domestic hot water, completely sanitized high carbon, nitrate and phosphate rich, virtually free fertilizer, and reusable water; loaded with enough liquid nutrient, to start/endlessly underpin, quite massive oil rich algae production!
    Some algae are up to 60% and also naturally produce ready to use, virtually unrefined, diesel and or jet fuel.
    They absorb 2.5 times their bodyweight in atmospheric carbon, and under optimized closed cycle conditions, double that body weight/carbon capturing/oil production capacity, every twenty four hours!
    And sea/recycled water is fine; and no, no arable landed is needed or even desirable!
    So why isn’t everyone doing it?
    That is the 64 trillion dollar question Ronda, that simply confounds all intelligent thinkers!
    Moreover, the ex-crush waste may be usable as animal fodder? Failing that, eminently suitable, to underpin a petrol replacing ethanol industry, which also requires neither arable ground, current food or fresh water!
    And the only good reason for doing any of these is because they make mucho plenty money.
    All while vastly improving endlessly sustainable economic performance, and indeed, finally cut us loose from the Middle East and the mass murders, who are selling a million dollars worth of crude oil a week, to fund their kill everything that moves, genocidal Holocaust!
    And or would make us and the so called free world, almost completely independent of President Putin, who is nearly as bad, but doesn’t hide behind some massively manipulated religion or eternal soul!
    Meaning, with the inclusion of biogas/ceramic fuel cells supplying virtually all domestic energy needs, and then some, you/me/the country only need to create a little thorium/micro grid based extra low cost energy, for industry!
    And the end of the day, these multiple proposals, can only ever quite hugely increase our economic performance and international competitiveness!
    And that alone is all we ever need concentrate on, and having done so, leave any element of climate change to deal with itself!
    Given nobody could conceivably do any more!
    If we only looked after our economic outcomes with the most cost effective solutions, we would finally be able to say.
    Climate change? What climate change?
    It’s the economy stupid!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — August 18, 2014 @ 11:32 am

  7. Sorry Graham Ronda, but some editing is required; i.e., >some algae are up to 60% oil<
    Sincere apologies, he said. taking a very dim one eyed view of things. Alan.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — August 18, 2014 @ 11:38 am

  8. Graham,

    ‘Models never trump data’, except in economics, which isn’t really a science.

    I’m sure some people are, for reasons best known to themselves, climate change ‘sceptics’, the absence of relevant qualifications doesn’t seem to bother them in the slightest.

    Scepticism is all part of the delaying game industrialists have played since the start of the iIndustrial Revolution–corporations have resisted restrictions on smoking, asbestos, pollution and a many other toxic products or externalities to production and used devious means to avoid paying compensation to their victims.

    When capital moves out of the carbon emitting industries, as it already has in more advanced countries, ‘scepticism’ will fade in the Anglosphere.

    Comment by RussellW — August 19, 2014 @ 8:55 am

  9. yes Russell, just wait until the fracking delusion collapses, taking many who have financed these stranded assets down with it.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — August 19, 2014 @ 10:08 am

  10. Yes Ronda, but as long as a few patently corrupt pollies and the fossil fuel industry heads lie in bed together, and really asinine pollies keep singing their favorite, (do nothing) song, that government has no business in business!
    Things will just roll along as if we’re not confronting an E.L.E. (extinction level event.)
    It’s way off there, somewhere over the rainbow or beyond the next election cycle, so it just doesn’t matter all that much!
    As the social democracies, with the highest happiness indexes, would say in unison, that’s just BS with a capital C!
    We will not be able to pry the claws of the fossil fuel industries off of, our principle power supplies, as long as these do bugger all, mantra muttering, truly asinine pollies persist or retain any power or influence.
    Those young people (a 40% voting block demographic) that now refuse to vote, out at of sheer (what’s the use) apathy, are an even bigger part of the problem, when they could be the ultimate solution our the planet’s savior. Now today!
    And just by virtue of their voting intentions!
    The only time we the people have any power whatsoever, to affect, hasten or bring in change!
    [But particularly change we can all believe in!]
    Is via the ballot box.
    Not making your mark is just sheer laziness, but particularly in the face of an E.L.E, that draws inexorably closer, with political inaction!!
    We just need people willing to put us, the nation and the best possible outcomes first, and we’ll get more of that with a few one term parliaments! Get out there out vote! And vote to affect change rather than for the loudest, most “PLAUSIBLE” pollie!
    I mean, Pollies usually need a few terms in office to become items of interest to the rich and powerful, or corrupt?
    And then there’re the usual dumb as door knobs party hacks.
    You know. The ones who can’t see the forest for the trees/are just there for the money or a doze.
    [RAZZMATAZZ. Snort, what? Division?]
    We need them gone as well!
    And or, wield unseen and massive power behind the scenes, aided and abetted but a massively manipulated ballot, with dark deeds done in the dead of night, that completely negates the wishes of most majorities/the expressed will of the people!
    I mean at the end of the day, decent honest pollies just wouldn’t resort to the usual polly waffle, and just crack on ringing in the changes needed to deal effectively with climate change!
    And if they just used the brains they were born with, quite massively improve the economy and economic outlook as they did so!
    I mean, quite massively improving the economy, and very effectively dealing with climate change; are just not mutually exclusive goals, but as one million Brits will tell you, endlessly entwined!
    Fix one with the lowest costing real carbon free 24/7 options, and the other will take care of itself.
    Nowhere is it written that those with a scientific background or training, can’t be equally knowledgeable about the economy and what makes her tick!
    And arguably best positioned to find the best real solution that doesn’t also cripple the economy; just the very opposite!
    But particularly, where it can be demonstrated that carbon free thorium power/micro-grids can be supplied 24/7, for less than half what we pay now, and half that again; if we can but remove the cold dead hand of dividend receiving share holders, from cash cow essential service.
    Let them form service co-ops, [if they would earn that dividend or better,] that then supply the cheapest product or service, while earning better cash flow “earned” money, than anything one can get from dividends; and far more reliably.
    I mean, the co-op, as a free market business model, largely survived the great depression intact and still earning a quid!
    And long after, many of the then giant corporations, with their huge unavoidable cost imposts, went to the wall!
    Nowhere else other than the co-op model, can I find so much as a single example, where privatization has resulted in cheaper energy or essential service charges!
    Albeit, and to reiterate, some co-ops may be able to do just that, by improving owner operator/worker incentives and incomes, while hugely eliminating operational costs.
    And nowhere can I find increased service charges for essential service, impacting positively on any non energy related form of business.
    In fact increasing energy costs put many out of business!
    People really do think with their hip pockets, but particularly the poorest!
    Like the 1 million Brits who can no longer afford to pay their power bill;, can’t heat their homes, chill or cook their food and so on.
    And a result only made worse by private players replacing the old cost only public supply.
    Council flats which used to cost around 40,000.00 pounds, now cost 6 or more times that amount!
    Ditto the rents now charged; and as bad as that is; is far and away worse in Sydney, now the most expensive city in the world.
    A single bed/sitter, now costs more than a single pension!
    The real evidence of successive governments, who just don’t give a rats for the most vulnerable, but attack them and their living conditions to balance a budget/protect their own personal bottom lines!?
    Evidenced as government policy pushes up costs!
    The real worth of a nation and or her peoples, is measured by just how well they treat their most vulnerable!
    These are the very people who built our nation and or defended her, and all our freedoms, through successive wars!
    I mean anyone would think pollies by and large, were all serious landlords with serious real estate holdings; given current outcomes? Well? And if the cap fits?
    And all this patent greed from self serving pollies, just forces climate change off the radar/on to the back burner or denied.
    The Irish have this expression; when poverty comes in the door, love flies out the window!
    And in the case of climate change, and or concern for future generations, even ours/their own Grandkids, similarly applicable.
    Imagine how much less carbon we would produce, if we just rolled out thorium powered rapid rail, and then paid for all the outlays, with later sales of resumed and rezoned land; which once again, would restore affordability to the real estate market.
    The lowest carbon emitting form of land transport, even in a fossil fueled world, is rail!
    And very doable, but for road block pollies, who want to (pork barrel) build more roads, and their inevitable gridlock!? Imagine, emergency vehicles, that may need as much as an hour, to travel five minutes down the road!
    And indeed, rapid rail roll out, (hopefully, occasionally,) would progressively remove the bulk of the population/domestic economy, from the sea shores and on to higher safer more affordable ground.
    I mean, waterfront homes won’t be worth a biscuit, if sea levels rise by around 3 metres, (gurgle gurgle, where’d you put the towel honey) and virtually overnight as a virtual tsunami, if a thin ice wall holding back trillions of tons of fresh Antarctica water, just melts beyond its capacity to continue to hold back this ocean sized body of water!
    And as long as the ice continues to melt far faster than any of the scientific predictions, sooner rather than later!
    We the people need to expose these road block pollies, for who and what they are, and simply put them last on the ballot paper, with their preferncing partners just the next rung up.
    Other than that just wait until this body of water comes and “flushes” them and their real estate holdings, to some other precinct, (more suitable site, and I know you know what I mean) as worthless rubble!
    I mean, the best lowest costing power options that all but walk out the door/cheaper than coal carbon free thorium, and even cheaper biogas consumed (not burned) in fuel cells that then emit mostly water vapor!
    Are indubitably the best possible 24/7 choices for an endlessly sustainable economy, as well as very effectively addressing/mitigating against climate change; as well as many other current and or seemingly intractable problems!
    That being so, it simply beggars belief, we aren’t cracking on and rolling out these same(sane) alternatives.
    Albeit, a few private players, at least one with a visionary Chief executive officer and a budget bigger than many a sovereign nation, are rolling out some of these carbon free alternatives, particularly biogas/ceramic fuel cells, with their virtually free energy/domestic hot water!
    You don’t have to be a capital city landlord/realtor/Aussie pollie, not to want climate change to be real; but I guess it surely has to help!?
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — August 19, 2014 @ 12:47 pm

  11. Christopher,
    “Man survives in both the centre of Canada where the temperature regularly falls to -50 degrees Celsius and the centre of Australia where the average temperature reaches 35 degrees Celsius. … The two things you can be sure of is that man will survive as he has done for the last 250,000 years “.

    Assuming you are right and that humans with their big brains manage to find ways of coping with extreme temperature fluctuations, how will the all the other living things on which we depend manage? Can you be as confident that they will be OK? And even if they’re not, even if we lose them, that we’ll still be?

    Comment by Glen Coulton — August 19, 2014 @ 10:38 pm

  12. Great question Glen!
    We all of us depend on plant life!
    Now, very few edible pants will survive desert conditions, or our landscapes regularly traversed by 300 kilometre winds and or, salt laden rain.
    Whole crops would be flattened/destroyed.
    Okay if its just once every ten years or so; we can recover, but not when it becomes as regular as bimonthly.
    And what happens when there’s ten billion of us?
    I mean, the ecology we all of us rely on for EVERYTHING, is already hugely stressed; or way beyond it’s natural recovery point!?
    And sensible people aren’t being asked to sacrifice anything, just fossil fuel applications, and more kids than we can safely support!
    [One for you Jane and one for me Tarzan! Yodelodelodel!]
    We have seriously less costly energy/fuel alternatives, which not only demonstrably assist economic growth/recovery, but mitigate against man made climate change as well!
    What or rather who prevents us from almost immediately converting over to them?
    I mean it simply cannot be capital outlays? Reportedly people with really small or moribund brains and great big pockets; are simply sitting on trillions, or have quite stupidly, invested in COASTAL real estate!
    To much concrete is bad for the brain, but particularly a great big one!
    And great big brains are beaut, but only if you actually bother to use the buggers.
    Nor do we or any other life form do well, in heat waves that incorporate dry lightening and the aforementioned wind/heat storms.
    We can’t survive without plants.[ Food, clothing, fence posts and fuel, etc/etc!]
    We depend on them for a least one third of our breathable air! And if the Co2 Content rises too much, (20%?)
    Well all oxygen breathers simply asphyxiate.
    Not only that, but if the herbivores can’t ingest sufficient plant material, they die out.
    Closely followed by the carnivores, who would run out of their food supply.
    And few of us could survive/adapt to a nuclear winter; or a Ethiopian type lunar landscape, which would be our all but guaranteed future, unless current trends are reversed!
    We are clever to be sure! And great be brains are great!
    But only if you use the buggers, or can tolerate the burning smell emanating from previously unused ones!
    And it would seem most of our self serving erstwhile leaders aren’t or simply can’t be bothered using the brains they were born with or upsetting their support base.
    But particularly, if it includes all those numskulls who say, the planet is actually cooling, and the oceans are getting progressively lower!
    That’s like saying, and against now overwhelming evidence to the contrary, everything you read in the bible, is liable to be completely true!
    It just ain’t necessarily so!
    There’s a saying,and very applicable to today’s politics; tell a big enough lie, and people will believe you.
    Because nowhere in their wildest dreams, can they believe anyone could tell such a big porky! [The planet is cooling indeed!]
    And completely unprincipled pollies tell great big pork pies, all of the time?
    Meaning, we just need to clean the dross/corruption/cronyism/ powerful lobbyist etc, out from our parliaments, and replace them with people who really do mean what they say, actually give a dam; and are finally able to put the nation; and or, the national interest first!
    As opposed to sucking up to the four trillion a year, fossil fuel industry!? And if the cap fits?
    The natural food chain is not called the food chain for nothing!
    And there are things no big brained mammal can adapt to!
    We need to eat, drink and breathe.
    Some of us may be able to survive up to forty days and nights without food; but not much longer than three days, without water; less if we have a really big brain that needs to be kept cool!
    And none of us would be safe, if the carnivores’ principle food supplies ran out.
    Yes we are adaptable, but we don’t fare too well against the occasional tsunami, record cyclones, fire storms; or being exposed to temperatures above 50C, in a waterless, hugely humid deserts!
    We could survive by migrating further south or north, all ten billion of us!?
    Then desalinating our water, living underground, or finding a pathway to the stars! The latter being the most credible option?
    Adapting to the events outlined or global warming, whatever the causes, is pure wishful thinking!
    Perhaps that is what naturally happens, when the brain just gets too big?
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — August 20, 2014 @ 11:51 am

  13. Regardless of anything that Graham and the skeptics have to say I find the arguments put forward on the websites Nature Bats Last, and thearchdruidreport to be quite persuasive re our current and future situation. Both authors have done their homework.

    Comment by Frederick — August 20, 2014 @ 2:58 pm

  14. We cannot survive with out plants.

    Absolutely true.

    Fifty years ago when I first learned about photosynthesis and animal survival I used to have nightmares. I had learned that carbon dioxide was a good gas: plants converted carbon dioxide to oxygen and animals did the reverse. My nightmare was the imbalance between oxygen and carbon dioxide. I had learnt that the earth’s atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.9% argon, and 0.03% carbon dioxide with very small percentages of other chemicals. There was also a variable amount of water vapour, on average around 1%. What if the 0.03% carbon dioxide disappeared? All plant life would die and then so would we. If you had said to me then that governments in 50 years time would be legislating against the production of CO2 I would have replied no government would be that stupid.

    Indeed CO2 has be described as plant food and some gardeners inject into greenhouses to accelerate plant growth.

    Comment by Christopher Golis — August 21, 2014 @ 4:05 pm

  15. Yes Chris, some gardeners inject Co2 into greenhouses, just as you describe!
    That is why additional Co2 affecting plants as more vigorous growth is called, the greenhouse effect! Understand?
    More vigorous plant life the world over, equates to more moisture transpiration; trees i.e., evaporate 2.5 times more water than open ponds!
    In repeatable tests one can gather samples of air.
    One cubic metre samples should be enough to conduct dozens of endlessly repeatable tests.
    Tests which are based on the very best science. i.e., endless tests which produce exactly the same result each time!
    Now for the first test, simply remove the Co2 from several samples, and do collect some before and after temperature readings.
    With all the Co2 removed there’s an average temperature drop each and every time, of 0.03C!
    Conversely, replacing that amount of Co2, increases it by the same amount.
    And as many times as you care to repeat this simple test, the results will always be the same! No ifs buts or maybes!
    And namely because Co2 traps just a very narrow band of the infrared spectrum. (radiant heat.)
    However, remove all the water vapor, from several samples, and temperatures will plummet by as much as 30C; just as they do, when the atmosphere is very dry, which can and does result in frost, even in tropical climes.
    Replacing the moisture in the samples, reverses the result; meaning, water vapor is the real greenhouse gas!
    And as more and more of it is added to the atmosphere, the trapped radiant heat will become greater and greater, as will global convection caused by warmer air rising to greater and greater heights, and mixing with subzero upper atmosphere.
    Which then are seen at surface levels, as colder than normal winters and or, very unseasonable cyclones, tornadoes, and what have you!.
    And the same global convection, carries its moisture further north or south, thus we see the Sahara and many other deserts, regularly traversed by moisture carrying clouds, become more a more dryer/larger.
    A situation able able to be reversed, by returning the ceder and other forests, that once provided the very catalyst, that made the clouds give up their moisture!
    i.e., by the simple process of adding their transpired moisture, to the cloud content, thereby ensuring rain, and watering the trees.
    Which in return, return(ed) the compliment.
    This is precisely how rain forests function, only more so!
    Yes plants do need some Co2, and we humans and other oxygen breathing life forms create enough of it, as do forest fires, chimney smoke and volcanoes.
    The facts are, that carbon free forms of energy/transport, as demonstrated, are vastly cheaper.
    And there’s enough of us to make enough biogas to run the entire planet’s domiciles.
    And we have the option of creating Hydrogen, as an endlessly sustainable fuel, by the old water molecule cracking method, seriously modernized.
    Which should result in hydrogen, costing just one or two cents a cubic metre.
    But particularly, if we rely on endlessly available sea water, and solar thermal solutions.
    Solar thermal plants can be built for around the same money as coal fired power plants, particularly where automation is used to manufacture the solar arrays, and you invest in economies of scale.
    And thermal heat can be stored for several days in molten salt! Which overcomes the lack of daylight, at critical periods during the night!
    Turning water into ultra cheap hydrogen, also allows energy to be stored and used as and when necessary.
    And lighter than air hydrogen will rise to great heights without assistance, to then be consumed on fuel cells, producing raw energy and pristine water.
    Which could even turn a turbine or two, on its way back down to its next user; which could be a large greenhouse complex in the centre of a dessert?.
    Yes we can adapt, to a world without fossil fuel, and for no better reason, than it is out economic best interest we do so, and the sooner the better.
    Once you’ve driven an electric car, you’ll never want to drive anything else; and G, with working prototypes, are on the verge of a battery, that will extend the range of a completely electric car, to a very useful 600 klms.
    And these batteries can be topped up to around 80%, in the time it takes to have a coffee and a comfort break; meaning, the tyranny of distance needn’t be a factor, when choosing transport options?
    But even if it is, we retain the option of methane powered ceramic fuel cells, operating like the worlds most economical hybrids!
    Or resort to broad scale oil rich, endlessly sustainable algae farming?
    Which given closed cycle facilities, could be in a desert, and reliant on only sea water! And then only 1-2% of that used by traditional irrigation!
    Hydrogen could then be reserved to power thing like rapid rail city trams light rail, stationary engines, (industrial high heat, reverse oxidation process, aluminium, titanium and steel smelting) and moving walkways?
    Which would make more sense that using it in smaller transport modules, given current storage problems! I mean strap a really big bladder on the roof of the car, drive into the nearest refilling station, with a fill er up cobber, and before you now it, you could be airborne?
    Alan B Goulding

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — August 22, 2014 @ 10:46 am

  16. In 1905 Nobel Laureate Arrhenius identified the greenhouse effect due to extra CO2 in the atmosphere. He looked towards a doubling of the level, i.e. from 0.03% then to 0.06% in the future. He calculated the resultant global temperature rise as 1.6 C.

    Because global temperature is subject to many influences other than CO2, the actual change over a period of the order of decades may be more, less or even the reverse of that calculation.

    Arrhenius’ work was well known in scientific circles and for 70 years the scientific and general consensus agreed with him that this rise would be a good thing overall. Bearing in mind that the Earth is in an inter-glacial period Arrhenius saw the probable temperature rise as a useful ‘insurance’ against the return of cold conditions. It is cold which harms Earth; not warmth.

    There is ample evidence that a global temperature rise far higher than Arrhenius forecast would, on balance, do much good to the Earth and to Nature as a whole. Sea level temperature around the globe rises by about 0.5 C for every 1 degree of latitude you move nearer to the Equator. Why ever should a temperature rise 1/5th that you can get permanently by moving from, say, Hobart to Brisbane cause global catastrophe?

    Arrhenius’ view and the 70 year long consensus is true today as it was then. Why has the ‘consensus’ turned on its head in the years since 1975? Firstly because of financial interest on the part of so-called “climate scientists”.

    The billions of $s that have been garnered by ‘climate science’ is mind-boggling. If any politician voted on legislation with an equivalent, undeclared financial interest he/she would be roundly condemned – if not jailed. But this financial interest is ignored as if it was of no account. How absurd!

    There is a quite separate factor, namely a compulsion by some to find a ’cause’ for storms and bad weather generally, other than the routine, age-old vagaries of Nature. In times past blame was laid on ‘the wrath of the Gods’. Sacrifices were made to appease this wrath. Today’s climate zealots put their faith in the evils of CO2 rather than in the wrath of the Gods.

    They do not make old style sacrifices but they do condemn many of their less-fortunate fellow men to, for example, an absence of electricity which could do so much for their well-being. In addition to specific hurts the zealots make the lives of very many needlessly costly and difficult thereby diminishing their well-being. Alarmism and catastrophe are their stock in trade. False forecasts are all; demonstrable facts count for nothing.

    The first of the reasons for the reversal of the original consensus is a disgrace which merits the most severe rebuke.

    The second has the problem of zealotry everywhere. Time and generation change are the only remedies.

    I’m confident that before the middle of this century the original CO2 consensus will have been restored and young people will look back on this time and wonder how so many could have been so gullible for so long.

    Comment by John Robertson — August 25, 2014 @ 4:35 pm

  17. Electricity John?
    We have a number of carbon free options, like cheaper than coal thorium, and even cheaper, very local biogas powered generation!
    Gas>ceramic fuel cell powered, cheapest ever to run, electric vehicles!
    So the arguments in favor of the status quo; are at best spurious, or at worst, downright disingenuous?
    And the only reasons for choosing these alternative options, are economic!
    And not because of climate change, be it natural variation or man-made?
    Zealotry isn’t confined to warmists, but denialists as well! But particularly, those who have to reach back to over a century, to find a scientist, who essentially agrees with their fundamentally flawed position.
    If history repeats, and we undergo a 2C rise in ambient temperatures?
    Then as shown in the paleontological record, the frozen tundra will melt, releasing many millions of tons of methane!
    And as it did last time, increase ambient temperatures by another 3C, or if you will, a total of 5C!
    One unit of methane being worth 21 units of Co2!
    The last time we had temperature increases of this order, all life on earth was very nearly wiped out!
    The very best science tells us, create exactly the same conditions, and you will get exactly the same result! No ifs, buts or maybes!
    The difference this time, is that we humans have very viable choices that allow us to avoid this event!
    And not by choosing much more expensive energy options, as impugned by you; but far cheaper tried and tested ones!
    Pray tell John, what is your problem with that?
    A large share portfolio in fossilized energy supplies perhaps?
    Alan B. goulding

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — August 25, 2014 @ 5:18 pm

  18. “There is no overwhelming consensus that man-made emissions are the cause of global warming, only that CO2 contributes to it.” – Graham, I even doubt that. there is equally a large amount of data that seem to suggest (! I’m choosing words carefully here) that actually CO2 levels rose AFTER a previous temperature change. Given that the oceans cover 75% of Earth’s surface PLUS that we have a lot of water “on” land, and knowing that gases dilute in water better at lower temperatures, then, even if we never had an “artificial” source of carbon dioxide in the past until industrialization, I believe, if one did the math (correctly) the warming would have warmed the water, and the water then would have emitted part of its diluted CO2. This is most in line with conventional physics, thermodynamics and chemistry (osmosis, diffusion, partial pressure of gases etc. are some of the catch words here). So to me it seems incredible how much “modelling” on either side goes into this. Rather one should first try to understand the CO2 content of oceans and surface or ground water in historic time periods, then the inconsistencies of Earth’s orbit around the sun, then the sun’s changes itself and THEN only can one deduce the “equilibrium” CO2 levels at each point in time and THEN further speculate whether the hen or the egg came first (i.e. CO2 or warming in what sequence).

    Comment by Darragh McCurragh — August 29, 2014 @ 2:10 am

  19. Darragh: To be sure, to be sure, you may be completely right, and the earth’s orbit around the sun is elliptical.
    And that brings with it some natural variation.
    And to be sure, again there is some evidence that some warming precedes additional Co2 emission. Probably as melting polar ice releases its Co2 content?
    If any part of global warming is man made, we can do something about it!
    If not, we will not be harmed by adopting lower costing and very much localized energy options, which may buy us the time needed to develop fusion power, theoretically the least expensive option! I mean, some of us may need to learn to live underground, and we will need endless cheap energy to make that option a viable one!
    And indeed, with that development, produce enough power the first practical warp drive, NASA claims to be creating/experimenting with.
    If global warming is not man made and therefore irreversible, we have limited time to remain here! No if buts or maybes! I mean, do we really need to wait until sea levels have risen by around three metres, just to take already long overdue action?
    And if current trends continue unabated, maybe all we have left as surface dwellers, is as little as a thousand years?
    Plenty of time!? Tell that to your Great Grand Children’s Grandkids! Or indeed, hand them your current excuses for your inaction! I mean, it not as though we don;t already have a virtual plethora,of lower costing, (just in case) non carbon energy options. And no, I don’t think we can produce many with diffusion or osmosis, or indeed, many of the scientific soung labels you have presented us with, in your effort to sound abreast of the conversation or problems!? Nice try though! A for effort!
    Not all that far ahead in time; given the continuation of current trends; many of us will have been reduced to living below the ground by that time, unless some of the current warming trend is man made, and therefore reversible.
    If we can’t reverse this trend. then we could face a 2C average increase in Ambient temperatures.
    And as history will confirm, in turn start to melt the frozen tundra, releasing trillions of tons of formerly frozen methane. And should this methane then be allowed to mix with the atmosphere do what it did 90 odd million years ago, and virtually destroy all life!
    The very best science tells us, the same set of conditions will always produce the exact same results! No ifs, buts or maybes!
    Fortunately, we appear to have discovered/perceived around a million or more earth style planets in our own galaxy.
    The only possible harm we could do changing over to vastly less expensive energy options, i.e., Thorium, endlessly sustainable biogas, hydrogen etc, will be done to four trillion plus per year, fossil fuel pocket books. No other harm will ensue! And therefore, one can expect the most too clever by half, obfuscation obstruction; and or, out and out vilification, to come from that direction!
    And let’s face it, places like Shanghai, Paris and many other large cities, could do with some clean air options, which just has to include the gas consuming, electrically driven, ceramic fuel cell powered vehicles.
    Even where NG is used or scrubbed biogas, the emission from that combination, is mostly pristine water vapor.
    And given an energy coefficient of 80%, at least twice as good as the next best option, the only valid reason, we should be transferring to it.
    And as already alluded to, on just extremely sound economic grounds alone.
    Simply put, every western style economy, rest on just two support pillars, energy and capital!
    We have reduced the cost of capital to zero, or even minus zero!
    Yet we see many economies, still stuck in the doldrums.
    Meaning, the only option that remains to get them up and running again, is cheaper energy options; and indeed endlessly available fuel, as is biogas; or hydrogen, created from endlessly available and very reliable seawater.
    Ditto broad scale algae production, particularly as this option requires no arable land, and can even be grown utilizing seawater; meaning, it could even be grown in deserts, and as a pragmatic choice, given the almost endlessly available sunlight.
    Some algae are up to 60% oil, And absorb up to 2.5 times their bodyweight in Co2 emission! Now that what I call carbon sequestering! And one that returns a handsome profit, without dipping into the energy consumer’s pocket, for costly solutions, that could still prove temporary?
    we’ve found a couple of types of algae, that naturally producing ready to use diesel or jet fuel!
    And under optimized conditions, have a growth rate that doubles daily, and their capacity to produce oil! One hundred tons today is two hundred tons tomorrow, and four hundred just the day after that!
    And given scales of economy, even with a fuel excise surcharge, available for as little as, an industry estimated 44 cent a litre!
    And wouldn’t the Qantas chief, to be sure, love to run our airline on that!?
    And to expand, another very low cost option is available as ultra cheap hydrogen, if we but return to the older water cracking, catalyst assisted method, and using solar thermal power as the preferred heat source.
    Turning sunlight into 24/7 available energy, as stored hydrogen, costing only a few cents per cubic metre to make, makes perfect sense.
    We aren’t facing peak sunshine, nor peak seawater.
    Solar thermal compares very favorably, with coal fired start up costs, given the solar arrays are mass produced, and economies of scale are included.
    The huge advantage then, is all the fuel consumed for the lifetime of the plant, is free!
    Turning the free fuel into hydrogen and or, 24/7 available endlessly sustainable power, is also extremely compelling.
    Moreover, oil will just become far too expensive and long before we run out of the stuff.
    Developing these other options ASAP, will put Putin back in his box, and seriously limit the possibility, that Middle East oil barons, will be able to continue to finance terror, but will be flat out like a lizard drinking, just purchasing the absolute necessities!
    And therefore, yet another compelling reason to decarbonize our economy, with vastly cheaper, repeat, vastly cheaper non carbon options.
    Just who commenting here has a problem with much cheaper power or energy!? Well?
    And breathable air one can see through, would be a pleasant change as well, not to mention seriously lower transport costs, and indeed, all that rely on it!
    Like the very food, stacked on shelves in supermarkets, just for starters.
    Food, transport water etc/etc.
    All extremely compelling reasons to set about introducing lower costing sustainable energy options ASAP!
    Not to mention the freedom inherent in endless energy self sufficiency!
    And indeed, a very pleasant change from the virtual economic blackmail, this economic weapon has allowed thus far!
    And demonstrably, because it is held by potentates or out and out dictators!
    Time for some changes we can all “finally” believe in!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — August 29, 2014 @ 11:24 am

  20. Hi Darragh. Yes, CO2 levels tend to increase as water temperature increases, but that has no bearing on whether CO2 is a greenhouse gas or not. The fact that temperatures turn down before CO2 levels decrease is however and indicator that perhaps CO2 is not the dominate heating agent.

    The oceans actually heat air, and not the other way around. When the air is hotter than the water that is because it has been moving over land which becomes hotter than water during the day. However, most of the earth’s surface is water, and water has much more thermal mass than the air, so it is the governing element on earth. In fact the air doesn’t absorb much radiation directly from the sun as it is in the wrong wavelength. It absorbs in the infra red spectrum, which is the reradiation coming from the earth and the oceans.

    Comment by Graham — August 29, 2014 @ 2:39 pm

  21. Gidday Graham:
    A simple scientific test for you, that anyone who has a hair dryer can do at home.
    Take a bowl of water, add a few ice cubes for greater effect/before and after temperature comparisons, and then play the surface with the warm hair dryer.
    Take a before and after temperature reading.
    The warm air will transfer heat to the water, as it does in nature, as it creates waves and ripples; as does direct sunlight.
    And water holds heat for longer as evidenced on a cold day, when the warmest place may be in the water.
    And living near the coast is almost a guarantee to avoid frost, thanks to the warmer water, and or increased moisture in the atmosphere or both!
    And you’re right, warmer water can and does transfer heat to the air.
    We can see his effect at the equator, or in reverse at either of the poles.
    This rising hot air at the equator, pushes the stratosphere much higher than the poles, with the ambient stratosphere temperature at the equator, being 70C below.
    And at the poles where the stratosphere twice as close to the surface, 40C below.
    This difference is caused by global convection, which speeds up quite markedly, with just tiny increases in ambient temperatures.
    This is the very reason, when we last experienced ambient temperature increases, of around 5C, England was a windswept salt laden virtual desert, regularly traversed by winds exceeding 300 klms PH; and where nothing could grow, or indeed anything dependent on that very growth!
    And conditions replicated the world over at comparable latitudes.
    As bad as that would have surely been, the tropics apparently fared far worse, with quite massive record breaking storms, almost a daily feature?
    We Know this because the paleontological record for the alluded to period, which reads like a book, is a Mother Hubbard cupboard, bare of virtually all bones.
    And that is also our future, if for any dumber than drink-water reason, average ambient temperatures are allowed rise by as little as just 5C!
    And even if it is natural, we can put a sunshade out in space, if only to extend the time remaining, before we’re forced underground or outward bound?
    Argue with the historical record if you will, just don’t deny it, okay?
    Cheers, Alan.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — August 30, 2014 @ 11:02 am

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