Climate science – another missing link is found

It is the primary cry of the deniers and the false sceptics – “There is no definitive link between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature.” (I leave the genuine, scientific sceptics out – those who play a constructive role in challenging the science.)

Last Friday, the new edition of Nature contained an article on just that missing link. The carbon-climate ratio, or CCR, has formally entered the climate science lexicon.

The researchers used a combination of global climate models and historical climate data to show that there is a simple linear relationship between total cumulative emissions and global temperature change.(frog’s emphasis)

Until now, it has been difficult to estimate how much climate will warm in response to a given carbon dioxide emissions scenario because of the complex interactions between human emissions, carbon sinks, atmospheric concentrations and temperature change. Professor Matthews and colleagues say that despite these uncertainties, each emission of carbon dioxide results in the same global temperature increase, regardless of when or over what period of time the emission occurs.

Professor Mathews says that the findings mean that we can now say: if you emit that tonne of carbon dioxide, it will lead to 0.0000000000015 degrees of global temperature change. The report concludes that if we want to restrict global warming to no more than two degrees, we must restrict total carbon emissions, from now until forever, to little more than half a trillion tonnes of carbon, or about as much again as we have emitted since the beginning of the industrial revolution.

Our findings allow people to make a robust estimate of their contribution to global warming based simply on total carbon dioxide emissions.

To the part time trolls on this blog who always think that what they do makes no difference, I say here is your metric. Here you can calculate what your personal contribution to global warming is. There is no more excuse for free-riding or bludging, which are the favourite policies of those who say New Zealand should do nothing.

This is from the abstract of the June 11 edition of Nature:

The global temperature response to increasing atmospheric CO2 is often quantified by metrics such as equilibrium climate sensitivity and transient climate response. These approaches, however, do not account for carbon cycle feedbacks and therefore do not fully represent the net response of the Earth system to anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Climate–carbon modelling experiments have shown that:

  1. the warming per unit CO2 emitted does not depend on the background CO2 concentration;
  2. the total allowable emissions for climate stabilization do not depend on the timing of those emissions; and
  3. the temperature response to a pulse of CO2 is approximately constant on timescales of decades to centuries.

Here we generalize these results and show that the carbon–climate response (CCR), defined as the ratio of temperature change to cumulative carbon emissions, is approximately independent of both the atmospheric CO2 concentration and its rate of change on these timescales. From observational constraints, we estimate CCR to be in the range 1.0–2.1 6C per trillion tonnes of carbon (Tt C) emitted (5th to 95th percentiles), consistent with twenty-first-century CCR values simulated by climate–carbon models.

CCR is also likely to be a useful concept for climate change mitigation and policy; by combining the uncertainties associated with climate sensitivity, carbon sinks and climate–carbon feedbacks into a single quantity, the CCR allows CO2-induced global mean temperature change to be inferred directly from cumulative carbon emissions.

This is very important news with huge implications for policy, both here and abroad. If I find time, I’ll calculate what New Zealand’s contribution is to global warming, based on our greenhouse gas inventory published last month.

117 thoughts on “Climate science – another missing link is found

  1. Turnip28 said:
    “There is a major flaw in Greengeek’s post, there are no replacement technologies for the status quo.”

    I beg to differ. We have a number of technologies which can be used to maintain the status quo. Solar photovoltaic panels are improving in efficiency and coming down in price. Solar thermal can be used to generate power even after nightfall. Geothermal can provide year round energy – particularly good if low temperature heat is required for space heating, water heating or drying. Wind, wave, and tidal can all make contributions. Technology being developed includes Ocean Thermal and Salinity Gradient (e.g. pressure retarded osmosis). Nearly everyone is working on electric vehicles. I’d also like to mention vanadium redox flow batteries, which can store utility-level electricity for smoothing out variations in supply and demand, and which can supplement pumped hydro for this purpose. (King Island in Bass Strait is one place using this to make better use of their wind generation.)

    These technologies haven’t got all the answers, but they are a good start. The problem is funding their widespread adoption against competition from coal and gas.

    Trevor.

    PS: I don’t buy this “future generations” argument. I intend being around in 2050!

  2. Whanga-bar

    I am merely pointing out what I have learned in many extended conversations… that you can’t actually get most people to believe the problem until the problem affects them. Showing them what we know may get you labeled and ignored. Overstating things only gets you labeled and ignored sooner and more certainly.

    It NEVER has the effect of galvanizing people into action.

    I think it is because tomorrow is going to be a lot like today. Perceiving the possibility of important changes to the world as we know it (and I acknowledge the collapse of fisheries as one of the more important changes we WILL experience), is a “forward thinking” faculty and I suspect that it is gene-linked and not common. More common in this party than any other, but not particularly common. I have learned that it is impossible to get most people to look seriously into the future.

    respectfully
    BJ

  3. Shunda,

    Your wrote: “Only if the quality of the data is up to scratch, and an understanding of the incredibly complex way a planetary climate system works is worked into the computer models.
    I think both are woefully inadequite at present for anything meaningfull to be gained from them, garbage in, garbage out, you could make a climate model say anything you wanted it to.”

    Whilst you may think the quality of climate observations and the understanding of the physics, chemistry and biology of the climate is inadequate to meaningfully model the climate system, you are incorrect. It is true that many of the details of the climate cannot be modeled very well, but this is not true of some of the broader aspects, such as global average temperatures.

    Returning to my previous trivial example of predicting the future average December temperature of Wellington. We can model seasonal temperatures in Wellington (or anywhere else) quite well because we understand the main underlying physical processes which govern seasonal temperatures very well (the Earth’s orbit and inclination which affect how much solar radiation reaches a given place at any given time during the year). Now this might seem trivial (and it is), but it demonstrates that at least some important aspects of the climate can be well modeled at present.

    Our knowledge and understanding of the climate is much better than what drives the seasons. We also have quite a good understanding of a whole range of other important physical processes which affect the climate, such as greenhouse gases, the general circulation of the atmosphere and so on. We can use this understanding, along with a multitude of climate observations to make predictions of the future climate, on a broad scale at least, with quite a high degree of confidence.

    So, the point I am trying to drive home is that we already can make useful predictions of the climate, such as the average global temperature (and many more detailed things than just this).

  4. Oops! that last post should have read: by binding the calcium To bicarbonate, and then excreting it as pellets of calcium carbonate.

    I think it is time to go and pour myself a little wine, locally grown of course!

  5. bjchip

    One man’s alarmist is another man’s realist.

    Rather than pacify people to stay on the titanic perhaps it is better to get them to all run to the other side of the ship and lean to starboard to avoid the ice berg?

    While one of those mass extinctions may well have been caused by anaerobic production of Hydrogen sulphide, it equally may have been caused by volcanic eruptions.

    Over fishing of our oceans is now well documented and taken as read. look at the depleted stocks in the Atlantic, just in the news today authorities on Aussies Gold Coast are alarmed at the amount and size of Great Whites cruising the beaches, and are venturing that plundering of deep sea fish stocks are forcing these beasts to change their diet…

    Recent studies have demonstrated the unique place fish have in maintaining the delicate pH balance of the Oceans.

    By binding cacium to bicarbonate and fish then excreting it as cacium bicarbonte (university of British columbia fisheries researcher Villy Christensen)

    The collapsing of our oceans fish stocks, the deforesting of our rain forests, and here in little old NZ turning one of our last remaing wetlands into a car park and high density housing areas for a 205 berth marina, does not make me an alarmist, by any stretch of the imagination.

    if I am to be villefied as such, could you at least point me the way back to Kansas?

  6. Whanga-Bar

    I’ll agree that we are in the midst of an extinction event of unknown depth, but I did want to keep this on the straight and level. Some of the earlier extinctions were quite thorough indeed. Don’t claim more unless you can show that it has (or must) happen. It makes it too easy for people to label you “alarmist” and then ignore you.

    None we know of were “biotic”, though the extinction of anaerobic life when the photosynthetic forms started pumping O2 into the air might qualify and at least one MAY be related to a resurgence of the anaerobic forms with H2S as a produced poison.

    respectfully
    BJ

  7. Owen, as I stated in my earlier post, and I will reemphasis this, the mass extinction we are CURRENTLY IN. And with no end site. Some would say our current extinction began shortly after Homo Sapiens migrated out of Africa, stage one. Everywhere, shortly after modern humans arrived, many (especially, though by no means exclusively, the larger) native species typically became extinct. Humans were like bulls in a China shop, the disappearance of the bulk of the La Brea tar pit Pleistocene fauna coincided with our arrival in the North Americas for example.

    Stage two of the sixth extinction began around ten thousand years ago with the invention of agriculture, as humans no longer had to strictly live by the rhythms and abilities of our ecosystems carrying capacity agriculture gave us the ability to go forth and multiply! in other words, over populate.

    The population explosion particularly in the post Industrial age has led to greater strains and instabilities on our ecosystem. Now more than 54 million chemical sequences have been identified, and in the 60 years since the end of World War 2 more than 85,000 synthetic chemical compounds have been commercially developed and released into the environment, many without even being tested on Humans, never mind the environment as a whole!

    These new chemicals not only effect flora and fauna with devastating results (BISPHENOL-A, PHTHALATES, 245T, I could go on) our climate is also influenced, where the creation of the Ozone hole has led to a change in behaviour of the Circumpolar Vortex itself. chemicals have been released that have refractive indexes many tens of times that of Co2 or Methane.

    What has happened in the sand plains forest of the West Coast, Happy Valley, and Whangamata demonstrates we have learnt nothing, and now we are making it easier to carry on like this with Nick Smith’s changes to the RMA.

    Like being on the bridge of the Titanic, full steam ahead, even when we see the iceberg looming and are ringing the bell hard a starboard, it is too late to turn.

    the Sixth Extinction is unusual it has been a work in progress for tens of thousands of years, and in that it would seem to be the first recorded global extinction event that has a biotic, rather than a physical, cause.

    While it may prove to be just as big, bigger, even less than the preceding extinctions, IT IS NOT YET OVER!

    Like everything else in this universe, life is influenced by the second law of thermodynamics, but does that mean we have to hurry it along?

  8. child’d go green – soon as it’s old enough to to see and starts running into walls, it’s why we got the ‘nanny’ state.
    And I might say in respect of my grandmother and a few goats, goats are basically good value – our Jacinta got in the paper – whew, then I started breeding them and all the kids went wild…..
    thanks Phil that could of course, describe a lot of people, right round here*

  9. Phil – you paint too merry a picture – I see grime and fingerless gloves, a frozen drip hanging from the tip of a pinched nose .. hang on! That’s Christine Rankin!

  10. reactionary/rightwinger..who clawed/inveigled his way into parliament..

    ..on the coat-tails of a moral panic over ‘crime’..

    ..and is proceeding to self-destruct..

    ..a cartoonish-reactionary-buffoon..

    phil(whoar.co.nz

  11. bj; indeed one can research the currency wars that have and are being waged. In many ways you could say the us bubble has burst – it might mean only that the Euro will be the Benchmark
    But grabbing land for it’s own sake hasn’t been a feature much either.
    Wars are fought where the resources are. L Fletcher Prouty talks extensively on the ‘permanent war’ wages since 1946 – in Asia.
    Did you have a time frame for a play?
    That opposing giant forces are in discord is true – but there is a kind of middle ground too – where things return to their Value as opposed to Worth.
    I would guess the US has built 552 drone-types, a few thousand of each…
    How to fight a glider?

  12. tell us foriegners who D Garrett is. 10 words should do for a Politician…but I might have caught a newsclip sans sound…brisk walking red nosed and zigzagging…..our man

  13. slink slink through the airport he slunk, David Garrett, furtively dodging and weaving, shielded by the hurrumphing Roger Douglas, puffing and blowing his irritation at the impertinant reporters for asking questions!!

    Class act.

  14. Fifty times? No Shunda… he offered a mechanism that doesn’t begin to cover the mass-balance at issue on a planet that is 4/5 ocean. I am impressed that he notices it, but that answer isn’t one that I think will work. For one thing it is contra-indicated by the isotope ratios… and I am pretty sure that I can find information on the effects of deforestation and comparative ocean and land based CO2 uptake that will demonstrate why it won’t work as an explanation on the basis of mass as well.

    Humans have burned half the carbon sequestered in the form of oil over the past 100 million years in the past 100 years. This is the term that dominates the CO2 buildup. Spencer has NEVER submitted a paper in support of his speculations on the web. He knows he doesn’t have a shred of evidence for them.

    The planet is getting politically unstable Shunda. It WILL do that, but not because of climate. It will do that because the people actually running things are greedy. They are exhibiting all the characteristics that Marx expects them to and they are bringing forth a new form of economic class warfare that I doubt even he imagined.

    This will I think, end badly. Not just because we can expect environmental effects but also on account of the sucking-up of the worlds wealth and the nature of the currency we have chosen to use at the behest of the bankers. I EXPECT wars to break out. I suggest the book “Earth” by David Brin. An excellent read.

    respectfully
    BJ

  15. Some of the ETS payments won’t do anything for the planet, although they will help some countries/states to get back into a more favourable economic state. However many of the payments will go to measures that will help the overall GHG emissions. Naturally the cheapest ones will be done first, such as burning methane rather than just letting it escape. As these are used up, the more expensive and more useful measures will start to be taken.

    However the cost of ETS payments to overseas sellers will encourage our industries to reduce their emissions, and some industries will find it beneficial to reduce their emissions below their credits so they can sell their excess CO2 allocations. Right now many companies are waiting to see where the CO2 price will end up before committing to measures that would reduce emissions, thus pretty much ensuring that it will end up higher than they would like :)

    There are many measures we could be taking. One that has been suggested but for which I haven’t seen any economic analysis is adapting one or more of the coal burning boilers at Huntley to accept charcoal, since charcoal is CO2-neutral. However new wind and geothermal generation also reduces our CO2 emissions, as does home insulation and more efficient heating systems. My impression of these measures is “too little – too late” but at least it is better than nothing.

    Trevor.

  16. “I know you are not the stereotypical righty Shunda. You do think pretty hard about this stuff. Think about this. The rate of CO2 increase now is 50 times faster than the rate of CO2 increase seen at any time in any of the paleo-climate records we have access to. That means that for at least the past million years we see no indication of anything like the CO2 spike we are getting. Even at the end of an ice-age. It is possible there was such an event earlier, either associated with some massive vulcanism or a meteor impact, but we can’t see it in the record or in the natural processes of the past 200 years.

    Wishart can’t explain that. I doubt that he even realizes that such data exists.”

    BJ, the one difference between the paleo record and now, could explain this very issue of dramatic CO2 increase.
    Simply put, in the last 150 years humans have cut down and cleared all the land that in the past grew trees and plants that soaked up the CO2.
    The rapid increase we a witnessing could be at least partly due to a distinct lack of plants compared to any other time in earths history.
    The little ice age ended before humans could have changed anything, and in the time since most of the vegetation has been cleared.
    Perhaps global warming is increased slightly by human CO2 emmisions, and other complex interactions are doing the rest.
    This CO2 issue *IS* infact adressed in Wisharts book!!
    Like I said earlier, we are stuffing the planet and we do need to do something, which probably needs to be a fundamental shift in the way we live. But it needs to be done in the right way, not through some global warming industry that will do nothing for the planet and everything to shift the world towards political instability.

  17. bj, Not engine rebuilds, drivetrain replacements – plug and play – by HSV, FPV, Mugen, Abarth, Alpina, etc, etc. Assuming the situation that will create the demand and willingness to pay won’t remove the ability to pay from those who drive the most km, mainly company cars;)

    The only way the growth paradigm can continue is to “grow” energy efficiency. Especially in buildings in the northern hemisphere.

  18. Kevyn

    You are basically talking about complete engine rebuilds for all internal combustion engines on the planet. Have you ever done that sort of work? We’re going to need a LOT of mechanics :-)

    We can’t get that smart that fast. Not at a couple of thousand dollars an engine.

    Anyhow… the situation is such that neither your improvements nor mine will give us more than a longer span before the inevitable failure of the basically broken economics of “growth is god” paradigm.

    ciao

    BJ

  19. FAmily formation rate has little to do with fertility rates.
    What you eat is much less important than how late women marry and decide to have children.
    It is women’s fertility that counts – not men’s.

  20. bj said, “Without more CHEAP energy, we have to work a lot harder to earn a crust.”

    Or we could work a lot smarter. Things like covering bitumin tenement roofs with road marking paint or gardens. Adding natural venitlation to skyscrapers. Insulating New Zealand’s houses.

    Or double the efficiency of the internal combustion engine by replacing spark or compression ignition with emf (BorgWarner) or microwave ignition (Bosch patent). Combine it with ecoboost, stop/start, alternator/starter mild hybrid, torque converterless automatics, (which are all variously available from Audi, Fiat Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes, Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagon, but notably not from that paragon of automobile virtue – General Motors) and the 100mpg(US) family sedan is only a few years away from being a marketplace reality according to BorgWarner executives.

  21. Greenfly, your proposed exhibition sounds like a great idea.

    I think the name is too divisive, though – you don’t want to put people off before they see the photos.

  22. The consumption of organic food has a powerful effect on boosting sperm count in men. I’m guessing that men who eat food that has been produced under a synthetic-spray/herbicide/pesticide system are both deficient in sperm and low in libido (why bother pulling the trigger if there’s nothing in the chamber)

  23. Family formation rates in all developed nations are no longer sufficient to maintain present populations.

    Wealth is the most potent contraceptive, closely backed up by welfare for the aging..
    The next and rather unexpected contribution is female literacy – which has generated dramatic falls in family formation rates in places like Bangladesh
    ..ITs interesting that the lowest family formation rates in Europe are in Italy, Spain and France – countries where catholicism is strong and there are strong sanctions against divorce, abortion and contraception.

    Sadly the poorest countries are seeing population growth slowed by AIDS war and famine rather than by parental choice.

    I have been following demographics for about twenty years and what we find is that when the UN publishes its projections (every five years) in retrospect their low projection turns out to be correct – rather than the medium or high one.

    There is a tendency for poor nations to overestimate their populations because it strengthens their claims for aid.

    The US has a much higher family formation rate than its wealth and female literacy would suggest and many speculate that the third important factor is “optimism about the future”. Americans tend to be optimists. The Europeans are talking themselves into a nervous breakdown. One math geek calculates that at present FFR in 400 years there will be only one Japanese left.

    Have fun.

  24. Greenfly just a sample that might fit now in this discusion

    SILENCE.

    Silence, what are you; nothing?
    Are you the gentle murmur of trees,
    Bullied by the diminishing winds?
    Are you the earthly chimes of birds,
    Busy at one with their call.

    Turn off the fucking radio, I can’t hear,
    Myself think – the clashing sound of those,
    Afraid of the silence – minds afraid,
    To control the inner thoughts of the earths pull.

    A radio noise is peace, in a city hell,
    Where noise hides earths screaming,”Fuck,
    Leave me at peace,”Let me be,
    In the country bush, the earth sighs and grows.

    Silence, what are you, nothing?
    You are the unspoken and uncontrolled,
    You are the uncertainty that makes us humble,
    You are the noise of the sixth sense; but,
    We make noise to hide truth, life is pain and joy.
    DECEMBER 1981.

  25. Shunda

    Like I said, if I am feeling particularly masochistic, I will wade into it and explain each falsehood, misunderstanding and broken piece of logic I come across as I read… and I have to get the Nature article read first. In addition to my real job.

    I will stop at 20

    The title of the book is the first untruth so I am not particularly optimistic that I will get past the preface. Books of this sort have been popular among the non-scientific community for the past decade and the science is sorted out well enough to be quite confident that there are no REAL “show-stoppers” among the available arguments.

    The fact is that any real objections would have been published. That of course, will not do. If you are an “investigative journalist” you have to find someone who is cheating.

    In the world of the journalist if you can’t find one you can make up some likely story and find some “facts” that aren’t to make it sound plausible and publish it and make a heap of money. The interesting thing is that this DOES NOT WORK for a scientist. It certainly does not work for very long at least.

    I know you are not the stereotypical righty Shunda. You do think pretty hard about this stuff. Think about this. The rate of CO2 increase now is 50 times faster than the rate of CO2 increase seen at any time in any of the paleo-climate records we have access to. That means that for at least the past million years we see no indication of anything like the CO2 spike we are getting. Even at the end of an ice-age. It is possible there was such an event earlier, either associated with some massive vulcanism or a meteor impact, but we can’t see it in the record or in the natural processes of the past 200 years.

    Wishart can’t explain that. I doubt that he even realizes that such data exists.

    respectfully
    BJ

  26. “As Shunda has claimed and shown to be true, there are no barriers where faith is involved, even “fundamental errors of science”.”

    What rubish.
    You guys have not read the book, you have no idea how silly you sound.
    BJ, none of your concerns regarding “wisharts claims” are even close to the way he has written it, for instance he does not “blame it all on the sun”
    Interestingly though, some scientists are now sugesting the sun has indeed contributed more to global warming than previously thought, I will find the link after work.
    You guys are the ones that are displaying a religious fear of a book, maybe you could organise a good old fashioned book burning ;)

  27. oldlux – that’s good. I look foward to seeing and hearing your work. There is, I believe, a great deal to be said for broadcasting your thoughts, especially when they are gracefully ‘packaged’. The way in which we go about managing our environments, field and stream, farm and town is the key to our future success (survival) and we have to ‘come to attention’ now and make it real. Some behaviours are so entrenched that they are all but invisible to most people. Blowing the bugle (or whistle) on the game is risky (there’ll be some kick-back, no doubt) but what are you gonna do? Sit there with your lips glued together?

  28. On the subject of extinctions, humans are only one species so we are precious if we think we have to survive. But more honest and understandable comparisons can be found in our recent histories. The Roman empire went silly and self destructed, with some help from others, because they had lead water pipes, and the life styles we are seeing now are an aping of their urban colonisation. Cultures have come and gone because the materials they used either disappeared or killed them.

    Culture to me is not about a set of beliefs and practises but the natural life processes that moulded that group. A new culture is needed that celebrates the natural process here – Maori? and Celtic are the closest I can see.

    I reckon it is just the end of the Roman empire and the survivors will be adapting beforehand.

  29. I think a photo exhibition is great, greenfly. I am resurrecting some poetry I wrote in the mid 80’s when I first came to grip with the whole shit mess. There is a mixture of angry, thoughtful, philisophical poems. I want to publish them with a possible small show with music. I think that what needs to be sold to people is the love of simple natural process. It sounds very Bhuddhist but I think these fellas had all this worked out thousands of years ago, China has had the science to shoot small rockets for before the west had steel. Their success has made them face population issues several times and things like Japans macrobiotics etc. are all a result of dealing with these issues.

    I firmly believe that the greater balance is best left to the natural process as the process is too huge for my little mind. I guess it is becoming aware of the balance and art and music that helps others to do this is essential.

    I often say we need to stop the emphasis on growth and material luxury and put it in to people, education and the spirit, whatever that means, but my experience tells me the mind isn’t big enough to understand the balance. Being still allows us to get in touch with the non intellectual messages that balance might be about. Light and gravity are our biggest inputs really??

  30. Whanga-Bar

    I have to go with Owen on this one. We may be experiencing an “extinction event” of no small magnitude, but prehistory contains some real whoppers, and we aren’t anywhere close to those. Not yet at least.

    The Permian event he that Owen describes is the largest we have any knowledge of, and it isn’t well understood. There are some theories, but mostly it is guesswork.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permian%E2%80%93Triassic_extinction_event

    What we are doing is bad. It can easily lead to worse, but to claim that we are experiencing the “greatest mass extinction event so far in Earth’s history.” simply goes over the top. Most people regard the Hydrogen Sulfide mechanism as a story to scare children with, but the science behind it is real enough, and something sure as hell happened on that boundary.

    Something very VERY deadly. We have the power to cause a similar event… but the claim that we already have done so cannot be accepted.

    respectfully
    BJ

  31. Great extinctions?
    Try this one:
    The Permian–Triassic (P–Tr) extinction event, informally known as the Great Dying,[1] was an extinction event that occurred 251.4 million years ago,[2][3] forming the boundary between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods. It was the Earth’s most severe extinction event, with up to 96 percent of all marine species[4] and 70 percent of terrestrial vertebrate species becoming extinct; it is the only known mass extinction of insects.[5][6] 57% of all families and 83% of all genera were killed off. Because so much biodiversity was lost, the recovery of life on earth took significantly longer than after other extinction events.[4]

    96% of all marine species? Nothing we are doing or can do will come close to that. Once global population starts falling around the middle of this century so much pressure falls off.

  32. Unless the world finally turns to “Cheap Access To Space” or a breakthrough is made making the “Mr Fusion” power system possible the current model of “economic growth is always good and more is better” will be irretrievably broken within my lifetime… and I am over 50 years old.

    I am pretty sure the future of space travel (if it has a future) speaks Chinese. They don’t have any big Aerospace firms making massive profits on expendable launch vehicles. They just want to go, and I suspect that when push comes to shove, they can find a means to produce CATS. The danger is that they may not recognize the need soon enough.

    I am also sure that no matter WHAT we techno-whiz types come up with it is not going to actually solve the problem of economic idiocy passing for wisdom in the halls of power around the world.

    Growth is NOT good anymore. That was the case when we were wandering bands of hunter-gatherers and subsistence farmers. It doesn’t work when there are 6 billion of us. That makes the economic incentives to “grow” that are built into our actual CURRENCY (I feel nauseous when I think about this) a huge and ultimately fatal error. No matter how clever I am about finding ways to hold back the tide.

    The point is that the CURRENT system is designed to be broken. Sort of like a Windows “OS”.

    respectfully
    BJ

  33. goodonya..!..greenfly..!

    ..(i’ll link to ya/write about it..)

    and..

    ..any bright/energetic young greens out there willing to start/man an aucklandgeddon site..(or aucklageddon..?..)

    ..i thought vid-links to the ‘work’ of out top ten worst industrial pollutors..

    ..cd be a good place to start..

    ..and we know this sort of action/graphic publicity ‘works..

    ..(c.f mike king/pigs..)

    ..we have to get people p*ssed off enough..

    ..to demand changes..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  34. As Shunda has claimed and shown to be true, there are no barriers where faith is involved, even “fundamental errors of science”.

  35. oldlux good observations on the soil, nitrogen fixers, urea ‘situation’ and I agree with you where you say that it points to wider ills and begs the application of commonsense.
    Tenuously connected … I’m compiling digital still-photos and video of scenes of farming practices, such as ploughing after heavy rain, standing cows belly-deep in mud on wintering pads etc. for an exhibition (on-line and on tour) called FARMERGEDDON. I’ll post the url here when it’s ready to show.

  36. # turnip28 Says: …there are no replacement technologies for the status quo. We actually need to change how we live and what we do.

    Technology has much to offer. Without it you won’t convince China to go cold and hungry for the sake of “green” principles.

    If we wait for the world we will loose.
    The green party needs to spend its energy preparing NZ.

    True, but what form of preparation? Again, green technology applied in every home is one approach, and sets a good example (except that we are already so far behind the rest of the world).

    If indeed the world is going to get hotter and the sea levels rise, we had better prepare for those eventualities, rather than pretending we can persuade the Chinese to change their lifestyles.

    I don’t understand why those who believe in climate change spend so little time preparing for the future, and so much time pretending the rest of the world is listening to their arguments.

  37. I feel all this debate is forgetting a thing called commonsense or wisdom.

    With soil organsims to do with nitrogen fixing, important to the growing of plants we have widespread farming practice that forgets this commonsense.

    The situation parallels what the human race is doing I will indulge.

    The addition of man made urea has become a big part of farming, especially dairying as it needs more input to get the intense production budgets require.

    Soil scientists started to look at two clover pests that started to infest pastures in a big way – clover root weavil is one.
    They have sent many years looking at the reasons. One corelation emerging is the use of urea.

    The clover nitrogen fixing bacteria is being effected by the extra nitrogen in the soil. A natural brake on their production is their own reaction to the amount of nitrogen in their environment, and this effect is common in other like bacteria.

    An organic expert in the UK who has been advisor to the Rioyal family wrote a long time ago that plants get attacked by insects after they have dropped off the plants peak and I believe this is 95% true. Therefore the urea was a short term boost but long term harmed the ecology of healthy pasture.

    Trials have independantly established similar links and the advice to farmers is apply urea little and often to get the results. This takes more time and starts to negate the benefits on cost.

    Urea salespeople generally ignore the factors unless pushed as it their livelihood.

    The sad thing is long term use has the nitrogen fixing bacteria so decimated that when farmers stop, production drops off as the soil takes time to rebalance. Little and often becomes the new imperitive.

    I see the same sort of parallels in what we are doing with air and water emmissions, noting that the developed world has large falls in reproduction and the population is going up in third world countries without the poisons?

    We could look at the third world populations and say we can increase ours too but the environment we live in is now changed in ways the ecosystem hasn’t yet changed to. The sad thing is our long term productivity without industrial/energy input is probably falling. Salesmen and farning leaders will deny this.

    The original reason that many dairy farmers listen to all this sales hype is they need to increase production to pay for a farm as the capital cost of getting started is out of touch with reality, they are sold the myth that our capital/borrowing structure is also endless and has no basis in real production, ably sold to an aging population who has worked hard for less

    The 60’s hippies were right but the capital investment pressure on resources made this lifestyle too hard to maintain.

  38. Shunda

    And the rebuttal to his rebuttal?

    Shunda, the man makes FUNDAMENTAL errors of science. He quotes at length without understanding even the short and simple. I would be astonished if he missed any basic error made by the right wing blogosphere over the past decade… and he has apparently paid no attention to any of the places where ANY of those errors is pointed out.

    The title alone is a lie and no small one.

    If faulty arguments are collected and repeated, that is not “investigative” anything. I would be astonished, should I have the time to punish myself by reading his book, if I found even ONE new and interesting argument or piece of evidence. I would be even more amazed to find one that hasn’t already been thoroughly debunked.

    The current CO2 rise comes from the oceans… is SIMPLY WRONG. It is all due to the Sun is SIMPLY WRONG. These notions are almost risible and I could count the actual climate scientists who might make such claims on the fingers of one hand. I can even guess the name of one he is relying on… Roy Spencer … No?

    There is a solar component and it is included in the models with all the accuracy we can get. The inner workings of the Sun are far too mysterious for my taste… but us not knowing anything is not an alternative theory of anything, and not knowing everything is not a refutation of any theory.

    AGW will probably remain a theory until the bull and bear sleep with the fishes. It will be too late then for our species to pull it out, and the people to blame will be long dead having spent their money, their planet and their children’s too in their mad greed.

    BJ

  39. And as far as brimstone goes, I think “Hot Topic” would be more an expert on that than Wishart.

    Like me, Hot Topic certainly has a nose for the acrid smell of burning sulphur Shunda, I’ll grant you that. I think you are correct too, about who is the more expert.

  40. “It’s a crude mishmash of crank propaganda, wild and intemperate accusations against the people the author defines as the enemy…

    I smell brimstone Shunda!”

    Well I’ve read the book and its mostly quoted from scientists, The truffle hunter is more than a little off.

    And as far as brimstone goes, I think “Hot Topic” would be more an expert on that than Wishart.

  41. It’s a crude mishmash of crank propaganda, wild and intemperate accusations against the people the author defines as the enemy…

    I smell brimstone Shunda!

  42. ““What they [“wild greens”] really mean is that they want ordinary families and kids to become extinct, leaving space for the Green elite to run the planet and enjoy exclusive bird-watching excursions while feasting on the bones of six year olds who’d earlier been sold to Asian brothels.”

    That little piece only reveals those ignorant of the context it was written.
    If you think thats bad you should have read the quoted comments of the people he was refering to, quite chilling really.

  43. “The climate is predictable on much longer time scales.”

    Only if the quality of the data is up to scratch, and an understanding of the incredibly complex way a planetary climate system works is worked into the computer models.
    I think both are woefully inadequite at present for anything meaningfull to be gained from them, garbage in, garbage out, you could make a climate model say anything you wanted it to.

  44. Shunda,

    You are confusing weather and climate, The weather represents atmospheric phenomena with time periods of a few minutes to several days; climate refers to much longer periods. The weather is only predictable for a week or so (maybe out to two weeks, but no more). The climate is predictable on much longer time scales. A trivial example is that I can predict Wellington’s average temperature in December (or any future December) with some degree of accuracy (this is a climate prediction), but I cannot predict if it will rain on Christmas day (this is a weather prediction).

  45. Owen

    Don’t be silly. Becoming “more acidic” is the same as becoming “less alkaline” and the beginning state is irrelevant to the relative statement, however expressed. Clearly you have not the sense to allow even the slightest reality into the fairy stories you are hearing elsewhere.

    OTOH, I mixed an argument, and you are correct. A rising temperature should cause some CO2 release. The larger external concentration causes faster absorption. The CO2 in the oceans has been increasing however, not decreasing. This has always puzzled some denialist sites which claim that the warming oceans are the SOURCE of the 20th century CO2.

    My point however, is that it is quite possible for non-linearities in the system to cancel and I am NOT speculating about the system but about the study which claims to have done the homework and has at least demonstrated the truth of that claim well enough to be published in
    “Nature”.

    As for your statement, it certainly IS possible for this complex system to exhibit a basically linear characteristic over a range of values that encompass the state we are currently in. If you are familiar with fourier analysis you could see a similar phenomena. As I noted earlier I

    A. Would like to read the entire article.
    B. Don’t believe it is true over the whole range of CO2 concentrations.

    Wishart’s book? The one which makes the mistake of attributing malice to science ? Wishart the investigative journalist so skilled in uncovering conspiracies that he see them in wet-dreams? He never did venture out of the “nya-nya I’me not listening” model of investigating the other side.

    He did however, say this:

    “What they [“wild greens”] really mean is that they want ordinary families and kids to become extinct, leaving space for the Green elite to run the planet and enjoy exclusive bird-watching excursions while feasting on the bones of six year olds who’d earlier been sold to Asian brothels.”

    The debunking over at Hot Topics is quite enough thanks.
    http://hot-topic.co.nz/somethin%E2%80%99-stupid/

    No Shunda. I am not planning to buy his book. I might buy Gareth Morgan’s but overall, neither needs to grace my shelves. I will however, see if I can get the “nature” article that we are arguing about.

    respectfully
    BJ

  46. Owen
    With regard to mass extinctions, I think you are muddling all previous extinctions compared to the one we are currently experiencing, with no end in sight. Wake up and smell the coffee.
    This mass extinction was at least alerted to back in 1998 by a survey of 400 scientists commissioned by New York’s Museum of Natural History. Figures since then have only extended those results. At the time results were released concerning at one in eight plant species was threatened with extinction. At that time, many scientists came to the conclusion that the rate of loss is greater than at any time in history. (April 21st 1998 Washington Post ) since then an avalanche of evidence has supported, and extended these findings.
    Do you have proof that we are near the end of this current extinction?
    Current indicators show that things are only going to get worse!
    Show me an animal not under pressure today and I will show one that is domesticated, or a rodent.
    If you wish to refute them, please feel free, and remember, plenty of 80 year olds are still alive and smoking cigarettes too. There is hope for you yet, but I am not taking bets.
    So on the contrary you show me the evidence refuting our current extinction.
    As for wetlands? No I have not created any pretty little ponds at the bottom of my garden, but I did go to the environment court attempting to save a wetland that has just been exterminated with the helping hand of Nick Smith, ironically, back in 1998.

  47. I haven’t made such claims, only that the indicators are so strong in that direction that we cannot afford to ignore them. But I’m also afraid of how you’re likely to interpret such a statement. You should promise you won’t start claiming its a 50/50 could go either way kind of thing, as you have elsewhere ( http://blog.greens.org.nz/2009/05/21/general-debate-may-21-2009/comment-page-2/#comment-78415 ) when nothing could be further from the truth.

    Re Wishart, I have read stuff by him before and realised that often half of what he says is not true. Knowing this, and rejecting the basic premise of his book that the majority of climate scientists are trying to hoodwink us, I can see no reason to waste my time.

  48. “Shunda, not accurate, but along with the rest of the science, the best thing we’ve got upon which to base our decisions. Way better than what the Wisharts of the world would have us believe.”

    Then stop the “science is settled” claims. No one really knows whats going on other than the globe has been warming since the little ice age. And Valis, why won’t you read Wisharts book?, It is not linked to any Christian agenda I can find, it won’t do you any harm.

  49. I am curious about the comments about the ocean and the acidity. I realise that the currents and zones of the planet would vary, but it has been reported for some time that Corals in some area – more tropical? – have been dying because of ocean change and my recall is acidity. Just to say the sea is alkiline is not the cure all as the sea is most likely changing its ph at varying speeds and levels. The most logical model I see is that if you spin a ball in water the water moves to the equator so a spinning planet will gather more water at its equator. Isn’t that where ocean levels are driving people away from the coast. With the air currents rising at the equator and falling in the temperate rain zones you would expect more acidity there.

    The factor that we have less sea CO2 than in the past forgets several other matters, the sea will have been accumulating salts over the millions of years, and we are pouring far more wastes into the sea – many new compounds the ecology has to adapt to yet. This may well be changing capacities to absorb.

    A case in point is the Gulf of Mexico where marine scientists reported huge dead areas because of the US wastes pouring into the sea. They reported molluscs swimming out of the areas and if my memory serves me mollusc shells have been found to be dissolving. The fact this is happening where it is says thank goodness the madness of our current economic paradise isn’t yet too widespread.

    If we don’t have social justice without ecological wisdom huge areas are doomed. Thank goodness we are in the southern hemisphere with the spin insulating us some from the north.

    I don’t trust huge ETS schemes as greed is the essential failure to date and air acidity at a certain level I understand makes people have an adrenalin type reaction (seratonin is involved). The victim feels the need to change something about them but unlike adrenalin cases there is no obvious target so many types of response of compulsive survival reaction would be expected, such as workaholic greed as they try to correct things – what they really need is to stop by a tree in the garden and smell the roses. The thing we aspire to in terms of a European work ethic, at its extreme is an imbalance.

    Leasing of carbon usage with clear budgeted places to put the money may work at a more local distribution, but ownership is open to huge monopolistic greed.

    Fishing quota is hailed as a success but the accumulation of quota is making a very lumpy playing field, with players with huge benefits using their money to manipulate the process.

  50. Shunda, not accurate, but along with the rest of the science, the best thing we’ve got upon which to base our decisions. Way better than what the Wisharts of the world would have us believe.

  51. bjchip,

    You are speculating about an unimaginably complex system of feedbacks to try and salvage this claim.

    But really, what are the chances that the result of such an endless series of loops, feedbacks, chaos and complexity would just happen to be…a straight line!

    Answer: Zero

  52. “Shunda, if your alternative wasn’t just to do nothing, I might be able to take you seriously.”

    I don’t believe we should do nothing, just not fabricate a false crisis to do it. There are 101 reasons to stop wrecking the planet, and throwing OUR money away and making the UN rich is not one of them.

  53. “And the IPCC models are so crude they actually assume the earth is flat.”

    Personally I think it borders on rediculous that people think they can computer model an entire planets climate with any real accuracy.
    Weather models have become pretty good, but they all have quite a range of predictions and still require forecasters to make an educated guess between them (this for a few days in advance). Weather models have very precise and accurate data entered into them with still a range of predictions emerging.
    But not so the climate models. We are supposed to believe they are all saying the same thing with higher accuracy than weather models, and the outlook aint good!.
    How on earth (no pun intended) they managed to come up with such accuracy with such dodgy and poorly understood data is a near miracle! praise Gaia!!. Let alone the complex relationships with every aspect of the earths environment that are poorly understood at best.
    Like I keep saying, EVERYBODY is religious one way or another.

  54. Shunda, if your alternative wasn’t just to do nothing, I might be able to take you seriously.

  55. The ocean is alkaline. So how can it be becoming more acidic?
    Cold water absorbs more Co2 than warm water.
    Watch what happens when you take a bottle of soda water out of the frig.

    The ocean is heavily buffered. There have been times past when atmospheric CO2 has been much higher than now. Indeed this was the case when primates everged.
    So how come life goes on?

    We do not even know what the global average ph of the ocean is. All we have are a few data points – however even these are enough to show that the ocean ph is not “flat” but varies from place to place.

    WE skeptics are often describes as flat earthers but it is the alarmists who believe in a flat earth in which their is an average stable value for all many of variables across the planet.. Over most of the East Coast of NZ the sea level is falling because tectonic plates are rising faster than sea level is rising.

    And the IPCC models are so crude they actually assume the earth is flat.

  56. “Why no concerns about them?”

    Who says there’s no concern?. I’d imagine they are drooling at the prospect of clipping the ticket of an emissions trading scheme.

  57. “the UN is made up of representatives of all the countries in the world except for Taiwan and Switzerland. to suggest that all these governments are ‘left’ is ridiculous”

    Umm we are not talking about the nations they try to boss around, I am talking about the beurocrats that develop policy and run the show, you know, like banning smacking.

  58. Well said Samiuela… the false idol of the wealth of future generations is worshiped by the right with the fervency that only a desperate man can use to pray. There is no reality to it. Not for most citizens of the planet. There is a desperate struggle as most of the middle class attempts to hold onto some of what it used to have, and the poorest attempt to survive, while the wealthy among us accumulate more.

    We are getting poorer. We’ve just borrowed some 10 Trillion dollars from future generations.. and burned the easy oil, and they are going to be wealthier? I’d laugh if it wasn’t so damned serious.

    “Then I say, the earth belongs to each of these generations during its course, fully and in its own right. The second generation receives it clear of the debts and incumbrances of the first, the third of the second, and so on. For if the first could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not to the living generation. Then, no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its own existence.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1789. ME 7:455, Papers 15:393

    We can’t morally do it with our money and we CERTAINLY cannot morally do it with our planet.

    BJ

  59. I’m not defending the UN its many faults. I just think its funny that you’d reach for such a straw in your attempts to deflect what the vast majority of scientists are telling us about climate change. The all-purpose scapegoat.

    By the way, the UN is way more democratic than the other institutions I mentioned and they have more influence in just about every country than the UN does. Why no concerns about them?

  60. Wat

    The problem with that analysis of what was said by the physicists is that the physical concentration in the band is a single facet of the multi-faceted effects considered in the climate science. What I understood was that each ton of CO2 we added had a linear effect ( within the range of CO2 concentrations we are interested in ) including all the differences of absorption by the ocean and increased uptake by surviving plants and all the other factors in the CO2 cycle.

    Consider that the ocean has been growing more acidic and saturated so that it absorbs LESS of the additional CO2 in spite of being warmer, it may easily be that each ton emitted by us actually leads to a non-linearly increased amount of CO2 in those bands.

    The people who think this is an egregious error do. I rather doubt that this includes any actual scientists.

    I will try to get hold of the actual article so that I can know better what it says, because this is clearly something that WE are arguing in some ignorance, having only an abstract to work from.

    Neat contradictions are effectively statements that scientists are daft stupid people who don’t know what they are talking about. Usually they are, as I have shown, misunderstandings of what different scientists are saying. I wouldn’t even claim that this misunderstanding is intentional.

    It isn’t like the answers are easy.

    respectfully
    BJ

  61. > The UN has no left or right, only left.

    the UN is made up of representatives of all the countries in the world except for Taiwan and Switzerland. to suggest that all these governments are ‘left’ is ridiculous.

    > The UN is not democratically elected.

    some of the governments who appoint representatives to the UN are democratically elected, some aren’t.

    > The UN is absolutely useless at resolving real world conflict.

    Indeed. It cannot resolve conflict because it has no power, and has strong divisions and differences of opinion within it.

  62. “I can only laugh when people rant about the UN as though it had such huge power, all the while ignoring the IMF, World Bank and WTO, which are the closest thing we actually have to world government – and not a benign one at that.”

    The UN have stated goals of having a hell of a lot more to do with our lives than at present.
    The UN has no left or right, only left.
    The UN is not democratically elected.
    The UN is absolutely useless at resolving real world conflict.

    I think giving the UN the job of wealth redistribition (which is what emissions trading will be) is one of the most disturbing developments since WW2.
    By the way Valis, who do you think is going to get the job of actually handling all that money?

  63. Greengeek:
    “frog… if you are really serious about changing the future there is only one way to do so:

    Every green-minded individual must develop, market, support, sell and use green technologies. Even if it costs them their capucinos and lattes.

    If those technologies are not cheap, mainstream, and readily available there is no way China will give up it’s coal fired power stations.

    And if China doesn’t give up it’s coal fired power stations it really IS true that a NZ reduction in CO2 emissions is pointless.”

    There is a major flaw in Greengeek’s post, there are no replacement technologies for the status quo. We actually need to change how we live and what we do. This is change on a massive scale, it is like convicing the Maya people to stop building massive cities which depend only on rain water or to stop cutting down the trees to help with the production and maintanence of their cities.

    Guess what people failed to convice the Mayan to change and they suffered massive civiliation collapse, whole cities were abanded along with death,starvation and war.

    Human beings do not work this way, we adapt only to current events not future events especially of this magnitude. We need to accept the changes and plan to deal with them at a local level. If we wait for the world we will loose.

    The green party needs to spend its energy preparing NZ.

  64. I can only laugh when people rant about the UN as though it had such huge power, all the while ignoring the IMF, World Bank and WTO, which are the closest thing we actually have to world government – and not a benign one at that.

    But IPCC scientists will tell you Shunda that they want to say far more of their worries about climate change than they are allowed to. The UN isn’t hyping it; with powerful members like the US, who don’t want to hear the message, they actually have to always tone it down.

  65. yea owen nimg – you ain’t dyin’ of cold like we athritics are ya?
    Nup
    your posts are oft great inerest – but general science is almost a contradiction in terms.

    Money disappears into Great Holes Shunda
    Make no mistake – it hasn’t lived up to it’s expectations.

  66. It sounds as if this debate is as polarised as ever.
    You’ve got the chaps who have far to much invested in the current “system” to ever admit anything needs to change, and then the good old scare mongers talking about a 5 degree increase by 2100 and massive sea rises.

    I have looked at both arguments and I cannot see how anyone can say the science is settled on AGW. There is even strong evidence that the planet has been cooling for the last 10 years (2008 was the coolest in a decade) and satelite temps are consistantly lower than surface observations (urban heat islands?).

    The UN has massive political gain to be made out of AGW, so there is definately a motive to *make* it true, so how can anybody say anything is settled on this issue?

    Personally I have decided I don’t actually have a problem with emissions trading schemes, Humans are stuffing the planet at an astonishing rate and it needs to stop. But the problem is who gets the money. There is no way making the UN any more powerful than they currently are will reduce world conflict, it will only increase it.
    Any emissions trading should keep polution money in this country, and spent on the NZ environment.

  67. frog… if you are really serious about changing the future there is only one way to do so:

    Every green-minded individual must develop, market, support, sell and use green technologies. Even if it costs them their capucinos and lattes.

    If those technologies are not cheap, mainstream, and readily available there is no way China will give up it’s coal fired power stations.

    And if China doesn’t give up it’s coal fired power stations it really IS true that a NZ reduction in CO2 emissions is pointless.

  68. Owen,

    I’ll skip most of the points you make, and focus in on this one:

    “All the evidence is that people in future (whether of current or future generations) are likely to be richer than we are. And we have no way to know what their future needs will be – other than to need air water and soil.”

    Now I know that a sample of one means nothing, but in my case I am probably no better off, and maybe slightly worse off than my parents generation, despite having similar but higher qualifications and training. There are some things I have (such as electronic equipment etc) my parents could never have dreamed of, but on the other hand, owning a house in the city I live in is beyond my reach. With regards future generations, I doubt my children will learn to drive a car, because the cost of running a car will be too high by then. I suspect the current generation may be as rich as they ever will be, and we might just be starting to see the downwards slide from the top of the hill.

  69. With regard to Valis’s and Owen’s observation (whether for or against) :
    “All the evidence is that people in the future (whether of current or future generations) are likely to be richer than we are.”

    I would like to point you to the Golden Ages (help! I lent my only reference some years ago, not come back) try Jeremy Rifkin, entropy. It refers either to the earliest, and most ideal age in the Greek range of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Iron Ages, or to a time in the beginnings of humanity which was perceived as an ideal state, or utopia.

    Essentially we are condemned to have access to less resources than the generation that came before us. The rate we use those resources is essentially up to us and our boundaries of greed. Hence the second law of thermodynamics, or our ability to inhibit our acceleration through our energy transference systems.

  70. There are many definitions.
    And to many of do not include the reference to current needs or they get lost in subsequent translations.

    I tend to use the one in the Brundtland Report, the founding document of sustainable development, which refers to both current generations and future generations.

  71. Kahikitea.
    I never said that. But some seem to to want to put about the idea that I did.

    Valis, you say:
    Absolutely. And you’ve put quite well why green politics HAS to consider social as well as environmental issues. Not only can one be achieved without the other, but it is immoral to try.

    In which case you might enjoy my critiques of the EIU and the Mercer ranking of the most liveable cities. Read it at:
    http://www.newgeography.com/

    Scroll down to the third essay.

  72. the politics of abandon? surely not owen now. France lost 800m ancient trees in the windstorms @ 1999. Versaille? fugedaboutit!
    whanga; I can still remember the days when ‘doctors’ were recommending ciggies as ‘the cheapest valium on the market’, etc worse*’
    Many have found that one view to be peculiarily singular yet focussed.
    I tend to leave it where it lies.
    Why I have my grandad’s memory of the Somme
    winter in the roaring forties
    Every old family that came to NZ did so by braving some of the sea’s more interesting aspects
    Waitangi Two: I have interest in this one….pro’ly be in the papers termorrow.
    I inherited Forests, centuries old, here, in NZ
    paid the rates and all – but all that lay down with the ‘Wahine’ Storm.
    There is a certain constructive will needed

  73. # Owen McShane Says:
    June 21st, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    > It seems to me to be a question worth asking? It is not unreasonable for the parent of a starving child to say “Why should I give a stuff for future generations? I want to feed my children now.”

    that is reasonable. But when it becomes “I don’t give a stuff for future generations, because I want my child to have all the latest toys now”, it becomes unreasonable.

  74. frog,

    You quote that “Climate–carbon modelling experiments have shown that…the warming per unit CO2 emitted does not depend on the background CO2 concentration,” and highlight the central claim that “there is a simple linear relationship between total cumulative emissions and global temperature change.”

    You add that “This is very important news with huge implications for policy, both here and abroad.”
    Indeed it is, for it seems that these “scientists,” in this computer model of theirs, have overturned basic physics.

    The marginal impact of CO2 is in continual and rapid decline (logarithmic, actually) due to the fact that its absorption wavelength is ever-more saturated.
    Allow me to quote from a piece at physicworld.com: “Because the strong absorption bands are saturated, adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere increases its absorptions logarithmically rather than linearly – a fact that is recognized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”
    (http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/print/17402/3)

    In other words, warming per unit CO2 emitted depends absolutely on the background CO2 concentration, and the effect is not linear but logarithmic.

    I invite you to withdraw your support for this article.

  75. There are many definitions.
    And to many of do not include the reference to current needs or they get lost in subsequent translations.
    Read my paragraph carefully, especially the last line:
    “I was not talking about climate change in particular or any other specific issue but attempting to tease out the moral dilemmas with “sustainable development” when it used to say we should save resources for future generations.”

    Whanga bar – Nick Smith and I have parted company. He promised the EDS that he takes no notice of what I say.

    Nice to be linked to Hitler. I did not attempt to close down discussion there. I tried to extend it to include some understanding of the many issues at work in the tragedy of the commons. But when someone starts equating my owning a dog to slavery I find I have better things to do.
    I don’t know who these many scientiests are but there have been far greater mass extinctions in history. That is why about 95% of species that have existed are now extinct. It’s what nature does. However, many scientists also believe in intelligent design. Does not mean I have to.
    On our last property I made four wetlands. I am now making another four.
    How many have you made?

  76. Further, if we are going to take actions to benefit these future generations when do they finally arrive? They are always receding over the horizon. It seems the only time we can say “spend up, use those quill pens and flint axes is when we realise that an asteroid is about to strike and destroy us all.

    Exactly! So let’s not hear its ok to throw caution to the wind until that asteroid is shown to be on its way.

    We do have to ask “What has Captain Kirk and his crew done for us lately?”

    Why? Time travel aside, what can they do for us?

    All the evidence is that people in future (whether of current or future generations) are likely to be richer than we are.

    WTF? One can easily argue the opposite.

    And we have no way to know what their future needs will be – other than to need air water and soil.

    What more do you need to know? Sounds like a great place to start.

    Do we not have to consider the moral questions associated with withholding benefits for current children for future and as yet unborn generations?

    It seems to me to be a question worth asking? It is not unreasonable for the parent of a starving child to say “Why should I give a stuff for future generations? I want to feed my children now.”

    Absolutely. And you’ve put quite well why green politics HAS to consider social as well as environmental issues. Not only can one not be achieved without the other, but it is immoral to try.

  77. Come on Owen, surely you know the definition of sustainable development is “to provide for OUR CURRENT NEEDS while not sacrificing the ability of future generations to provide for their needs.

    That’s why so much of sustainable development is about reducing poverty.

  78. Owen McShane is a false sceptic. His institute and website is nothing more than a mouthpiece for Nick Smiths Blue – Green smokescreen, trying to explain away that party’s RMA reforms.
    While Owen requests declarations of Interest from learned students to contribute to his “institute’s” research, especially on such topics as the field of threatened species and their habitats you must fit his world view. Re: the way Owen attempted to close down the previous blog; http://blog.greens.org.nz/2009/06/15/its-not-the-fishing-its-how-were-fishing/
    I like the idea of healthy scepticism, but false sceptics can be as dangerous as Adolph Hitler, look at the paid for science of the cigarette industry in the 60s through to 80s for example. Owen is just another version.
    It is important to note all the evidence that is pointing towards a catastrophic breakdown of our biosphere.
    Fact one. Many scientists believe we are experiencing the greatest mass extinction event so far in Earth’s history..
    Fact two. The world has witnessed a period of massive deforestation, with no continent (except Antarctica) being immune. The Amazon having lost an area the size of France within the last forty years one example.
    Fact three. The world’s oceans is losing its ability to absorb CO2, cause is yet unidentified.
    Fact four. To take New Zealand as an example, we have lost 90% of our wetlands since European arrival, Once our wetlands consisted of 20% of total land cover. Now only 2%. The latest significant wetland to be exterminated was in Whangamata to make room for a 205 berth marina, but more importantly, to create access to a new High density housing area. that ASCV use to contribute to that Estuary being listed as one of NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE.
    An Empirical view;
    You don’t need to be blinded by science to know that something very disturbing is going on. Just step back and look at the fundamental changes that have occurred, mostly since the end of WW2.Like a well versed snake oil salesman of Owens’s ilk (and bolstered with the right media resources) can pull the wool over the vast majority of the public with relative ease.
    A famous quote, and one would like Owen’s view on: What have the future generations ever done for me?
    R.I.P. Oligosoma moco, fernbirds, eels, numerous invertebrates, and unaccounted for other species of the now dead Whangamata wetland.
    Has all rational debate gone out the window again Owen?

  79. Actually that quote is sufficiently misquoted to totally discredit the reasonable argument I was making – but that was the intention I am sue.

    I was not talking about climate change in particular or any other specific issue but attempting to tease out the moral dilemmas with “sustainable development” when it used to say we should save resources for future generations.

    A child born today almost certainly has a life expectancy of 100 years. (Every year I live my life expectancy increases by a quarter of a year.) So when we talk about future generations as opposed to current generations we are favouring people over 100 years in the future over the interests of those already born – and millions of them go hungry now, and do not have access to clean water etc.

    Can we do with without some sense of unease. I have seen a planner argue that a divorced woman should be forced to sell up and take her children out of school rather than subdivide to split asset within the family home because the land was needed to feed future generations. Her children were here and now.

    Further, if we are going to take actions to benefit these future generations when do they finally arrive? They are always receding over the horizon. It seems the only time we can say “spend up, use those quill pens and flint axes is when we realise that an asteroid is about to strike and destroy us all.
    We do have to ask “What has Captain Kirk and his crew done for us lately?”

    All the evidence is that people in future (whether of current or future generations) are likely to be richer than we are. And we have no way to know what their future needs will be – other than to need air water and soil.
    Do we not have to consider the moral questions associated with withholding benefits for current children for future and as yet unborn generations?

    It seems to me to be a question worth asking? It is not unreasonable for the parent of a starving child to say “Why should I give a stuff for future generations? I want to feed my children now.”

  80. Interesting Track alright. But Newspapers are feeling the pinch (you can get far better news on the Net, generally, than can be gained by buying a Newspaper) – a great many newspapers are in deep financial schtook – and it becomes a spiralling problem for them.
    McShane might have been playing Devil’s Advocate (a game I enjoy) or maybe not – but who on earth would agree with such a statement? – no one I know I’m sure.
    Owen, you may have written it, but do you believe it? – some of your posts here run contradictory to that.
    Planning for say 100 years ahead, is a very recent trend in common ‘western’ thinking. But it is a tradition we should adopt without delay or much question I’d have thought.
    Wonder how ‘e votes then? With a riff like that….well it’s breaking new ground for Luddities, if such a thing can be done.

    Oldlux; suffering as I do from Gulf war Syndrome – I keep an eternal eye on the balance intake between acid and alkaline – an entirely necessary key – you’re right there!

  81. Great to know that about Owen, McTap. The debate is often made more difficult when we don’t even realise that the people we’re arguing with don’t even share the basic values that we do.

  82. AlexKing et al.

    Your anxiety regarding the CCR is misplaced. The range of temperatures and carbon levels that are relevant to humanity is quite narrow. As Hansen has said, limiting temperatures to a 2 degrees Celsius rise is not the road to salvation, but to Armageddon. Substantially less than 2 degrees we stand a chance. More recent reports confirm the worst, and tell us that in fact we will get over 5 degrees by 2100.

    So to be meaningful all this near-linear relationship has to hold for is over the next 2 to 5 degrees. That’s enough to tell us how bad it will get before it gets so bad it doesn’t matter any more.

    And please do a little research (or just stop pulling our leg) on the ‘lag of CO2 to temperature’ issue. I’m sure you really do know that is what happened in the past when other forcings such as orbital and solar variations started the ball rolling, and CO2 rise followed a couple of hundred years later. This time mankind has led the charge by increasing CO2 first and so, as this new study shows, with global temperature inextricably linked to the amount of carbon in the atmosphere:- More carbon, higher temperature. End of story.

    And of course the higher rate of temperature increase now expected will hasten ice cap disintegration which will ramp up the rate of sea level rise.

    Interesting mental game for you. Divide the 5 degrees temperature rise and 5 metres sea level rise we are going to get into the number of years between now and 2100 AD. Say it starts slow and draw a curve through it. This gives about 0.5 C and 0.5m rise by 2025, and 1.5 by 2050, about 3 by 2075 and 5 degrees and 5 metres rise by 2100.

    That, roughly, IS WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN. All of us, Ostridges and sages alike, will be up to our necks in hot water before too long. We should prepare accordingly, each according to our convictions.

    Nigel
    http://the100metreline.blogspot.com/

  83. I think that we need to realise that the climate scenario is one aspect of CO2 but the other is the acid impact on the water as it dissolves, especially as pressure goes up with more heat etc. I believe this and the general lack of anions as they are rubbed off in the atmosphere will stuff most humans immune systems before too long. Look at the huge rate of increase in cancers etc., asthma, and even athritic type things that are about body acid. The modern diet is acid as well. It seems to me we need to learn about the behavioural aspects of this as well.

    Looking forward at solutions, doesn’t it seem logical that we need an economic model that favours a move back to self reliance in rurak settings so people stop driving for everything. Oil will run out sometime, as will uranium and most of the other things we waste. This means the huge accumulations of rural land are part of the problem as we force urbanisation by doing so.
    As I have written in the past I believe a change in the way taxes are worked can help. The policy of taxing the pollution and the general royalty on resources (including land) means the more urban mass with the social and infrastructure issues the greater the rating pressure to use less. Income taxing could be canned after a time so all the IRD workers are put out to production of base resources.
    No extra office wallers are needed as Councils already do the biggest part of this. Some adjustment to valuation processes could value trees more as a rebate on rates and then huge profits would be avoided from the monopolisation of carbon credits. And people are empowered more as the democracy that would have the greatest power would be councils closer to home

    Just some thoughts on the future without wars, maybe they would be more localised?

  84. Unfortunately for us all there are a helluva lot of Owen Mcshanes out there. They’re either having too good a time of it – or they’re struggling to survive now.

  85. Cheers for the link to McShanes rant frog. Speaking of rants from McShane, here’s a goodie:

    “I don’t think we should care a stuff about future generations. They can take care of themselves. It’s immoral to care for someone who hasn’t been born yet.”
    – Owen McShane, NZ National Business Review

    I haven’t been able to find the issue it was in though, anyone recall? Its on the web in a ppt pres on climnate change and young people by Jonathan Boston, and I have seen it used a couple of other times.

  86. Yes Samiuela – and you too Alexking, it seems unlikely that the linearity seen would hold through the whole range of CO2 and climate states. It seems from this research and article that it holds for now, and that is enough.

    Shunda has a point. Wars DO release a lot of carbon. The thing is that if warming goes on over 2 degrees the economic impact will be as bad as or worse than if we do something to preserve the planet and there is no warming. War is equally likely either way. We’re pretty sure we’ll see 2 degrees more. Odds are about 10 to 1 in terms of the evidence to date.

    The likelihood of conflict is greater the more the temperature goes up. Upwards from 3 degrees society will be damaged sufficiently that it will be difficult to call the disorganized spasmodic conflicts, the reflexive twitchings of the corpse of human civilization, anything so organized as a “war”.

    An end to war. Yet it is not a good thing. Who would have thought it possible.

    respectfully
    BJ

  87. Alexking,

    I have similar suspicions to you. However. I haven’t read the article, so am not prepared to comment any more on what it is saying. I suggest you read the article to find out the details; I think most public libraries would subscribe to Nature.

    Shunda Burunda: Climate science is not as uncertain as you imply in your posts. If world leaders act and the predicted climate change does not happen, then there will be an economic cost, as you mention. However, I don’t think (and nor do the scientists working in the field) this is a very likely scenario. If anything, most climate scientists are very conservative (with their science). Here is one example: the predicted sea level rise by the end of the century (of about one metre, give or take a bit) does not include sea level rise caused by land based ice sheets in Antarctica or Greenland melting. The reason why is that the science behind break up of these ice sheets is too uncertain to be included in predictions. However, one thing we can say with confidence is that if the climate continues warming (for whatever reason), a day will come when these ice sheets break up and contribute a very large amount to sea level rise; we just don’t know when this will be. So knowing this, what can you say about the current predictions of sea level rise? A betting person will immediately realise that the prediction is likely biased towards the low end, because a major potential contributor to sea level rise has been left out.

    OK, I could provide more examples, but I think you can see the point I am getting at. The predictions are not extreme ones, rather they are very conservative. As it happens, observations are tracking the more extreme IPCC predictions, not the median or low extremes: have a look at http://www.anu.edu.au/climatechange/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/synthesis-report-web.pdf (you can read just the executive summary if you don’t want to read the whole report).

    Cheers,

    Miuela

  88. The CCR stuff seems suspect to me. They are saying that during recent history, there is some empirical ratio of total carbon emissions to temperature? It can’t be geological history, or how would they observe that “the temperature response to a pulse of CO2 is approximately constant on timescales of decades to centuries?”

    Does this research say anything about the delay between a change in total carbon emissions and the resulting temperature change?

    Does this research say that since there is some ratio that links emissions and temperatures linearly over recent history over a few degrees, that we can push emissions/temperatures as high as we like and the linearity will hold, and there are no tipping point or runaway climate change problems?

  89. Frog I agree with you about politicians being so obsequious to the pseudo science of economics especially Heyak economics that is rapidly destroying our planet.

    I would be interested to get the data of carbon emissions before, during and after the recession.

    I have heard that the environment tends to revive during recessions if that is the case then it is an appalling indictment on the current economic system.

    I left you a message on the end of the posting policy blog, there were a lot of posts any I sugested a prize for the best blogs

    Yours Respectfully

    Drakula

  90. “..Meanwhile, the ‘head-in-the-sand’ crowd ..”

    frog..surely the benchmark for ‘the head-in-the-sand’ crowd..

    ..is set by carnivorous greens..?

    ..it’s time to stop faffing around with lightbulbs..

    ..and get ‘real’..

    eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  91. LED’s in homes? You mean like the one plugged into my USB port to illuminate my keyboard instead of having the room lights on :)

  92. I know it’s weird Shunda! But I’m sure it won’t happen every day and you have the rest of the weekend to recover. ;-)

  93. Now that’s the logic of LEDs in cars, Kevyn! As for LEDs in homes, well, then you are on to an energy saving revolution. but CFLs are a reasonable transition technology.

  94. About 0.25%, in winter, commuting to the vineyards :)

    The really big advantage is LED’s don’t have filaments so they can withstand the pounding from heavy duty suspension on gravel roads.

  95. “Even if I don’t know the numbers I’ll still be replacing my pickup’s tail lights with LED units next weekend”

    Will it really make much difference?

  96. Frog. Have you calculated the temperature rise per litre of petrol/diesel? It might not impress bp but it might make an impression on other people who think their contribution is “immeasurable”.

    Even if I don’t know the numbers I’ll still be replacing my pickup’s tail lights with LED units next weekend.

  97. I don’t know about the ‘nick of time’ Shunda. The anthropogenic theory of global warming has been around and studied by scientists for over a century. The science will continue to evolve long after I shuffle off this mortal coil.

    As for panic, since when did world leaders panic? Oh, right. when the markets collapsed last year and they started printing money…. I guess we should be worried.

    But then again, when did the politicians ever listen to the science, instead of the pseudo scientists – the economists?

  98. Well frog, looks like you have some powerful “evidence” just in the nick of time for Copenhagen.
    But if this is wrong, and world leaders believe it and panic, the world economy will go down in a screaming heap of Sh!t and it will create more problems than it solves.
    Wars create a lot of carbon dioxide you know.

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