Windschuttle hoaxed

Keith Windschuttle has just published a hoax article full of pseudo-science in Quadrant. And it wasn’t this article by Tim Curtin which contains such gems as the claim that Arrhenius borrowed his formulation of the enhanced greenhouse effect from Malthus (he didn’t), that the water vapour from burning fossil fuels is a more important greenhouse gas that CO2 (ignoring the fact that the CO2 stays in the atmosphere 10,000 times as long) and attributing all of the increase in food production in the last thirty years to the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere (I swear that I am not making this up).

By comparison, the hoax article seems almost reasonable, though the proposal to use genetically modified mosquitoes to deliver drugs seems a bit of a give away:

A trawl through two of CSIRO’s annual reports reveals that the organisation had previously abandoned plans to commercialise two other projects which involved modifying organisms with an array of human gene sequences. … Another was modification of malaria mosquitoes so they carry genes which produce human antibodies in their gut; thus rendering their bite less dangerous.

And the very first sentence of the hoax is good:

Quadrant readers will remember America’s “science wars”, spearheaded by the masterful Sokal hoax, a “hodgepodge of unsupported arguments, outright mistakes, and impenetrable jargon” designed to challenge standards of logic, truth and intellectual enquiry in scientific debate.

Windschuttle’s response is priceless. He denies that the piece is a hoax:

Rather than a hoax, her article is simply a piece of fraudulent journalism submitted to Quadrant under false pretences.

There is lots of discussion of this matter: Margaret Simons, Larvatus Prodeo, Harry Clark, Andrew Norton and David Marr:

After a terrible two hours, Keith Windschuttle convinced himself he hadn’t been hoaxed at all. He was greatly relieved. How embarrassing such a stumble could have been for this fierce nitpicker, scourge of sloppy academics and current editor of the conservative Quadrant magazine.

Comments

  1. #1 Tim Lambert
    January 6, 2009

    Since I’ve criticised Tim Curtin in this post, he’s allowed to post to this thread. He remains banned from commenting on any other post.

  2. #2 bi -- IJI
    January 6, 2009

    > Rather than a hoax, her article is simply a piece of fraudulent journalism submitted to Quadrant under false pretences.

    And Windschuttle is still a skeptical skeptic filled with skeptical skepticism! If he got hoodwinked by a hoax piece of fraudulent journalism[1], it’s not his fault for being a gullible idiot. It’s the fault of … … … liberals.

    [1] well, it’s the same either way…

  3. #3 DavidONE
    January 6, 2009

    > Windschuttle’s response is priceless. He denies that the piece is a hoax

    The phrase ‘baking mental pretzels’ always springs to mind whenever I see the clueless rationalising away their idiocy.

  4. #4 Amanda
    January 6, 2009

    There is some irony in Windy being tripped up by inattention to footnotes, but beyond that its a pretty unimpressive prank IMHO. Quadrant deserves what it gets for its AGW pseudoscience line but there is a greater irony there that the hoaxer’s stated aim was to bravely show chinks in the empirical armor of scientists (how original …) when the only people who do and can take down Quadrant for its nonsense are … scientists.

  5. #5 John Mashey
    January 6, 2009

    Having been delighted by Sokal years ago, I was wondering from the earlier Quadrant discussions here if someone would attempt a repeat.
    Yes!

    More seriously, this kind of activity is similar to several important ones in computing.

    1) Quality assurance organization independent of developers and strong enough to hold a release if there are real problems.

    2) And even more similar, use of outside security reviews or even better, unnannounced penetration attempts by experienced teams.

    Of course, on this case, it looks like the equivalent of Quadrant publishing the root password and encryption keys for everything they have.

  6. #6 Colugo
    January 6, 2009

    What is the larger objective of the hoax? Is it to expose Windschuttle as a gullible ignoramus (done) or is to attack biotech, especially genetically modified organisms? Is this part of a bio-Luddite agenda of banning GMOs? I don’t know.

    The Sokal hoax was not just directed against Social Text, which was simply a convenient vehicle for the bogus article, but postmodernist sociology of scientific knowledge in general. Likewise, the hoax article about preference for blondes which appeared in Medical Hypotheses was not directed against the journal so much as against the field of evolutionary psychology.

  7. #7 skepticlawyer
    January 6, 2009

    Trackback. Best summary post of the lot, thanks Tim.

  8. #8 Gareth
    January 6, 2009

    Does this suggest that Bob Carter is soon to be revealed as a clever hoax?

    Please?

  9. #9 Dr Dave
    January 6, 2009

    #6 – the Diary of a hoax gives a pretty clear rationale behind this hoax “This experiment wasn’t designed with ill-intent, but to uncover hypocrisy in knowledge-claims, and also spark public debate about standards of truth when anything is claimed in the name of ‘science'”. The blog also reports that Windschuttle himself stated of the Sokal hoax that “Anyone with a familiarity with high school science should have seen the article was a spoof and the assertions so nonsensical that they were self-evidently untrue. The fact that the editors of Social Text failed to recognise it for what it was, and published it in all faith as a serious academic article, demonstrated the paucity of their understanding of the very field of which they had long been critics.”

    So, she constructed an article in pseudoscience speak that played to the agenda of Quadrant, but which contained no logical train of thought or coherent argument This makes his response all the more interesting – I cannot work out whether he has actually missed the point?

    Very amusing indeed that you could easily rewrite the above quote to say “Anyone with a familiarity with high school science should have seen the Quadrant article was a spoof and the assertions so nonsensical that they were self-evidently untrue. The fact that the editors of Quadrant failed to recognise it for what it was, and published it in all faith as a serious article, demonstrated the paucity of their understanding.”

    Very amusing!

  10. #10 ChrisC
    January 6, 2009

    Much as I enjoy seeing Quadrant embarrassed, Sokal this aint. Hell, this isn’t even in the league of Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”.

    The piece, even on a second inspection, really doesn’t come across as a hoax at all. The references are real, and while the claims made about them certainly are far fetched, I’ve read far more logically inconsistent.

    In addition, the piece doesn’t really seem to land itself in Quadrant’s corner. The embrace of “expert” advice given in the article really goes against the grain in Quadrant, which publishes pieces that reject the scientific consensus on climate change for reasons of ideology.

    So maybe Windshuttle should be more rigorous when it comes to checking references. But as an editor, he’s probably quite time poor, and (obviously) not an expert in the myriad of fields that articles appearing in Quadrant focus on. And as Andrew Norton notes, the article did not seem to have a great prominence in Quadrant, appearing on page 70.

    Colour me unimpressed.

  11. #11 Bernard J.
    January 6, 2009

    What I found interesting was Windshuttle’s comment:

    However, there is a point beyond which such sub-editing practices cannot go, especially when dealing with an author’s discussion of the detailed content of several books and their footnotes. There comes a point at which all publishers have to take their authors on trust.

    This is true as far as it goes – and this is exactly why every editor of every reputable scientific journal sends submissions to appropriately qualified and/or experienced experts in the field of the submission.

    That Quadrant does not (routinely?) do this indicates that it is not about peer-review. As such it cannot be considered to be a serious player in scientific matters (at the least), and it cannot be considered to have the capacity to comment upon controversial scientific issues.

    Of course, everyone knows this, but the very fact of the appearance of a piece in Quadrant is considered by conservatives to lend to it credibility… obviously now shown to be certainly undeserved if the published piece is beyond the purview of the editorial staff.

    It’s a little ironic that Tim Curtin’s adventures into climate science and plant biochemistry came out in the same issue.

  12. #12 Chris Nedin
    January 6, 2009

    The Australian has the story on the front page of today’s edition. It’s actually quite balanced.

  13. #13 Martin
    January 6, 2009

    Meh.

    The first paragraph is indeed amusing, but the rest is neither amusing nor outrageous.

    The main points seem to be that the mass media cannot accurately report nuanced scientific research, and that people indulge in magical thinking with concepts like “human genes”. I tend to agree, and indeed they’re the kind of position that might be published on Deltoid. At any rate they’re not embarrassingly irrational.

    I can understand the Herald and Crikey’s hunger for schadenfreude but their wishful thinking does not reflect well on them.

    > the proposal to use genetically modified mosquitoes to deliver drugs seems a bit of a give away:

    I took that to mean they would have antibodies against carrying malaria, which is plausible to a layman.

    > we live in a society in which there are 20 times as many astrologers as
    astronomers.

    I wonder if this is actually true?

  14. #14 Jimmy Nightingale
    January 6, 2009

    I think all this is going to achieve is get Quadrant some free publicity and perhaps a few additional subscribers. Quite frankly, I don’t know anyone who actually reads this publication.

  15. #15 frankis
    January 6, 2009

    There’s less gibberish in the hoax article than in Tim Curtin’s piece published alongside it. Quadrant will publish ill-informed opinion on a sciencey subject as long as the apparent ideological prejudice of the author suits its editor – did someone expect better?

  16. #16 Chris O'Neill
    January 7, 2009

    And it wasn’t this article by Tim Curtin…

    Amazing, a hoax and an article by a nutcase in the one issue. What a magazine.

  17. #17 John Mashey
    January 7, 2009

    As expanded from A9 of what to do about poor science reporting here:

    Suppose a publication lacks the expertise to assess letters/articles about science (or any other reality-based topic).

    They can:
    a) Try to get knowledgable advisors/reviewers.
    b) Stop publishing stuff they simply don’t understand.
    c) Or suffer occasional ridicule like this, which of course will haunt them, as did Sokal haunt (and change) Social Text, which at least has an editorial board these days.

    I’ve had too many interactions with the press to believe or expect that editors are perfect and all-knowledgable, but good ones know what they know, and can add serious value in providing good content. Bad ones can subtract value, as happened here.

  18. #18 Tom
    January 7, 2009

    Isn’t Windshuttle’s culpability mainly to do with the fact that he failed to discover that the author didn’t exist? My understanding is that Sharon Gould is entirely fictional and that a short phone call or even a quick google might have roused his suspicions (I did it and apart from results about the hoax found nothing).

  19. #19 DavidK
    January 7, 2009

    What else do you expect from Windschuttle?
    He is the editor of Quadrant is he not?
    He rewrites history does he not?
    He publishes Carter does he not?

  20. #20 skepticlawyer
    January 7, 2009

    Jason Soon (Catallaxy) makes a pretty strong case for the hoaxer being Katherine Wilson, who used to blog around the place as ‘weathergirl’.

  21. #21 stewart
    January 7, 2009

    Whether you see it as a hoax or a fraud seems to depend on where you stand (who does it embarrass, my friends or my foes?). The larger point, that you shouldn’t publish what you don’t understand unless you get some outside help to endure that it does more than match your prejudices, is very sound. Having footnotes is interesting, but enough familiarity with the literature to ensure that a paper says what the author claims it does, is important (and would eliminate the AGW denialist and creationist literature). Just because its obscure doesn’t mean it’s profound, as my friend Ern Malley used to say.

  22. #22 Dano
    January 7, 2009

    Having footnotes is interesting, but enough familiarity with the literature to ensure that a paper says what the author claims it does, is important (and would eliminate the AGW denialist and creationist literature)

    IME having footnotes means, to the I-wish-to-believe-because-this-comports-with-my-worldview crowd, that the talking points in the piece are equivalent to stone tablets handed down from the clouds. That is: Lomborg’s book has over 3,000 footnotes!!!!!!!!!!!! WoooOOOOWWWWW! Look at the enviros squirrrrrrrm!!!!

    Best,

    D

  23. #23 Matt H
    January 7, 2009

    Windy likes anything that supports his own world view, but as the editor he has an obligation to check the articles he publishes. Irony is usually lost on people like Windy, as someone well known for attacking others over factual matters he doesn’t mind publishing his own fiction, I mean “Non-Fiction”, like the Tasmanian aboriginal population were not wiped out by genocide, yet where are they now Windy? Had the claims been holocaust denials we could have him deported to Germany but since it is about our Aboriginal population he gets away with his evil assertions.

  24. #24 Bomba
    January 8, 2009

    In 1973 Robert Mayne writing in the Natonal Times in the wake of the Murphy raid on A.S.I.O., claimed that he had been approached by a group of people including: a senior A.S.I.O officer, a N.S.W. Liberal M.L.A. and a Country Party M.L.C. who offered to pay him $1000 per year to produce a magazine called “Anaysis” which would use A.S.I.O. information to “discredit left wingers”.The Liberal M.L.A. said that he had used similar information in Parliament and in articles that he had written. A subsequent Royal Commission into Intelligence and Security outed the Liberal M.L.A. as Peter Coleman, one time Opposition Leader and longtime(1967-1990)editor of Quadrant.
    What a scurrilous tradition your squalid little rag has Keith. No wonder its a fav of JWH.

  25. #25 Tim Curtin
    January 9, 2009

    Dear Tim Lambert: your magnanimity and one-off commitment to free speech are amazing, so I am duly grateful.

    Taking your comments in turn:

    1. “… this article by Tim Curtin which contains such gems as the claim that Arrhenius borrowed his formulation of the enhanced greenhouse effect from Malthus (he didn’t)”

    How do you know? Arrhenius was famous as a polymath and it is unlikely he knew nothing of Malthus and his most famous but false assertion that while populations always grow exponentially at about the same rate (they don’t), food supply grows only arithmetically (it didn’t and hasn’t). Google has thousands of refs. linking the two names.

    2. “The water vapour from burning fossil fuels is a more important greenhouse gas than CO2 (ignoring the fact that the CO2 stays in the atmosphere 10,000 times as long)”. Your bracket contains sublime ignorance: there is no evidence that any given CO2 molecule stays 10,000 times longer up there than any given H2O molecule. CO2 molecules are constantly in and out of the atmosphere. What is lacking from the IPCC is proper inventory analysis of these relative fluxes to show which are larger in absolute and net terms over a year, CO2 or H2O. Until that has been done your claim is simply armwaving.

    3. “…attributing all of the increase in food production in the last thirty years to the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere (I swear that I am not making this up)”. So as a computer buff, what is your rebuttal of my regression analysis of food production (FAO data) against CO2 (Mauna Loa), fertilizer utilization, global temps (GISS), and world population? Why is the Garnaut Report’s commissioned study from Crimp et al of CSIRO that shows the huge impact (30%) of enhanced CO2 to 550 ppm on wheat yields by 2030 equally wrong? What is YOUR estimate of the impact on food crop yields of the Canadell et al study’s data (2007, also in IPCC, WG1, ch.7, 2007 and their GCP 2008 as well as my own paper’s supporting online material)showing the absorption of CO2 emissions by the terrestrial biosphere as having grown by 3.7% pa from 1959 to 2007)?

  26. #26 bi -- IJI
    January 11, 2009

    Tim Curtin:

    > Arrhenius was famous as a polymath and it is unlikely he knew nothing of Malthus

    In other words:

    1. Arrhenius ‘probably’ knew about Malthus.
    2. Ergo, this proves that Arrhenius borrowed his greenhouse effect formulation from Malthus.
    3. Ergo, global warming is a myth.

    Aristotle will be proud, my friends.

  27. #27 Tim Curtin
    January 13, 2009

    Thanks bi-IJI for your as ever erudite contribution:
    “Arrhenius ‘probably’ knew about Malthus.
    Ergo, this proves that Arrhenius borrowed his greenhouse effect formulation from Malthus.” Disprove it, mate.

    You added:”Ergo, global warming is a myth”. Bad luck, old boy. Arrhenius claimed that 50% more atmospheric CO2 would raise global mean temps by over 3oC. We have just about managed 50% since his time, but even Gauleiter Belsen has not been able to report a global temp rise since 1896 of more than 0.73oC. Ever heard of Karl Popper?

  28. #28 Barton Paul Levenson
    January 15, 2009

    Tim Curtin writes:

    Thanks bi-IJI for your as ever erudite contribution: “Arrhenius ‘probably’ knew about Malthus. Ergo, this proves that Arrhenius borrowed his greenhouse effect formulation from Malthus.” Disprove it, mate.

    Curtin, do you even know what Arrhenius’s “greenhouse formulation” was? Malthus said exactly nothing about greenhouse gases. He certainly didn’t have Arrhenius’s detailed model, which included the band information available at the time and a scheme to account for water vapor feedback.

    You added:”Ergo, global warming is a myth”. Bad luck, old boy. Arrhenius claimed that 50% more atmospheric CO2 would raise global mean temps by over 3oC. We have just about managed 50% since his time, but even Gauleiter Belsen has not been able to report a global temp rise since 1896 of more than 0.73oC. Ever heard of Karl Popper?

    Ever heard of aerosols? Or the ocean?

    Yes, Arrhenisus’s estimate for climate sensitivity was probably too high — 6 K per doubling, as I recall. The actual figure is probably closer to 3 K. That’s still a disaster for human agriculture and the economy.

  29. #29 Dano
    January 15, 2009

    Aristotle will be proud, my friends.

    Well, he would be verry proud in a conservative way, as the his next logical step would be to find that CO2 is plant food, and this proves Malthus was wrong.

    Best,

    D

  30. #30 George Smiley
    January 24, 2009

    “what is your rebuttal of my regression analysis of…”

    That correlation is not causation, that it never has been, and that it never will be; and that anyone who implies that it is is ignorant, stupid, dishonest, a crank, or some combination thereof.

  31. #31 Tim Curtin
    January 24, 2009

    Thanks for all comments above.

    What is interesting and indisputable is that Arrhenius used virtually the same words as Malthus to describe his formulation of the effect of increasing atmospheric concentration of CO2 on global mean temperature. I never said that Malthus addressed that issue, only that his formulation of the relationship between population growth and global food production anticipated Arrhenius’ uncanny repetition of that formulation in regard to CO2 and temps.

    Barton P.L.: you said “Arrhenius’ estimate for climate sensitivity was probably too high — 6 K per doubling, as I recall. The actual figure is probably closer to 3 K. That’s still a disaster for human agriculture and the economy”. You overlook…

    1. Arrhenius’ Table in his 1896 Table clearly shows a smaller increase in temp for increasing [CO2] from 50% to 100% up on 1896 than from 0% to 50%. I realise the math whizz kids on this site cannot cope with that kind of math, so what can I do? Actual temp rise (GISS) since 1896 for c40% increase in CO2 is 0.73oC, Arrhenius’ model therefore indicates smaller (<0.7) increase in temp for the next 60% rise in atmos CO2.
    2. The useful (in data, if useless in math) paper by Canadell et al (PNAS 2007) and their Global Carbon Project site show that the terrestrial absorption of CO2 emissions has increased from 0.5 GtC in 1958-59 to over 3 GtC today, i.e. by a factor of 6. How does that manifest if not in increased productivity and output of global agriculture, forestry, and livestock?

    3. George Smiley: let me repeat my challenge to Tim Lambert:
    “What is YOUR estimate of the impact on food crop yields of the Canadell et al study’s data (2007, also in IPCC, WG1, ch.7, 2007 and their GCP 2008 as well as my own paper’s supporting online material)showing the absorption of CO2 emissions by the terrestrial biosphere as having grown by 3.7% pa from 1959 to 2007)?” George, you are right about correlations and causation, but how do you explain the manifest growth of world food production since 1958 vis a vis the comparable growth of atmos. CO2? You must know that agriculture, forest products, and livestock all depend on photosynthesis which is in turn dependent on the existence of atmospheric CO2. Popper said you have to have a hypothesis, in this case more [CO2] equals more photosynthesis equals more agric etc productivity. What is the evidence from Mauna Loa and FAO? My take is that these data are consistent with the hypothesis, more atmos CO2 (i.e. [CO2])correlates with more global food production. But George if you insist, your hypothesis that the latter causes the former has to be right, and pigs have wings.

    Meantime I am prepared to offer $1000 to Tim Lambert if he can prove in a peer reviewed paper published in Science or Nature that increased [CO2] has zero, zilch, nil, impact on global food production.

  32. #32 bi -- IJI
    January 25, 2009

    > What is interesting and indisputable is that Arrhenius used virtually the same words as Malthus to describe his formulation of the effect of increasing atmospheric concentration of CO2 on global mean temperature.

    Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population:

    > Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio. […]

    > allow that, by great exertion, the whole produce of the Island might be increased every twenty-five years, by a quantity of subsistence equal to what it at present produces. The most enthusiastic speculator cannot suppose a greater increase than this. In a few centuries it would make every acre of land in the Island like a garden.

    > Yet this ratio of increase is evidently arithmetical.

    > It may be fairly said, therefore, that the means of subsistence increase in an arithmetical ratio. […]

    > But we should be led into an error if we were thence to suppose that population and food ever really increase in the same ratio. The one is still a geometrical and the other an arithmetical ratio, that is, one increases by multiplication, and the other by addition. […]

    Arrhenius, On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground, Philosophical Magazine:

    > Thus if the quantity of carbonic acid increases in geometric progression, the augmentation of the temperature will increase nearly in arithmetic progression.

    Tim Curtin should’ve testified at SCO v. IBM.

  33. #33 Tim Curtin
    January 25, 2009

    Thanks Bi. So how are Malthus and Arrhenius doing?

    INDICES 1961 2007
    Cereals 100 267.09
    Populat.100 21.11
    [CO2] 100 121.00
    Temps 100 103.41

    Clearly Malthus got it spectacularly wrong, despite recent endorsement by Ross Garnaut. Arrhenius is doing a bit better. [Sources: Cereals, FAO; Pop, Maddison; CO2 at Mauna Loa, CDIAC; Temps, GISS]. Re food and [CO2], my challenge to Tim Lambert is open to all, you just have to prove there is NO relationship between growth of CO2 emissions and global food production, in a peer reviewed journal, actually preferably not Science and Nature,as they publish any old rubbish so long as it is currently PC, but I will not insist on that point.

  34. #34 Tim Curtin
    January 25, 2009

    Apologies, there’s a misprint. The world population index as of 2007 (1961=100) is 211.11. BTW, the CO2 emissions index as of 2007 stood at 245 (again 1961=100). Prima facie, there appears to be a closer match between the emissions and cereal production than between emissions and temperature, but one should never believe that, should one?

  35. #35 Bernard J.
    January 25, 2009

    My take is that these data are consistent with the hypothesis, more atmos CO2 (i.e. [CO2])correlates with more global food production.

    Tim Curtin, this is not your unique ‘take’ – most serious plant physiologists and ecologists understand that there is a relationship between atmospheric CO concentration and photosynthesis.

    However, most such scientists also understand that this relationship is not monotonically increasing, and that it is dependent upon a host of cofactors, whether such factors are limiting or are feeding back, and in the latter it is necessary to include AGW.

    Of course, you seem to perceive no credibility in the AGW paradigm, so perhaps you could explain how it is possible to ‘accept’ the science behind the photosynthetic efficacy of CO in the context of global food production whilst not similarly accepting the science of GHG warming. Alternatively, perhaps you can explain why not a one of your fellow Denialists has published a peer reviewed paper published in Science or Nature that increased [CO2] has zero, zilch, nil, impact on global climate.

  36. #36 bi -- IJI
    January 25, 2009

    Tim Curtin:

    > Thanks Bi. So how are Malthus and Arrhenius doing?

    You still haven’t remotely proven your claim that Arrhenius borrowed his formulation from Malthus.

    Or are you saying that the use of variants of the words “increase”, “in”, “geometric”, “arithmetic” is a clear indication of plagiarism?

    As I said, you should’ve testified at SCO v. IBM.

  37. #37 Tim Curtin
    January 25, 2009

    Bi: I did not claim Arrhenius “borrowed from” Malthus, but it remains highly plausible he was aware of Malthus’ formulation, it is after all his most well known statement, and Arrhenius in any case found it convenient to use it almost word for word in the wholly different context of CO2 and temps. Nothing wrong with that. The real points at issue are, was Malthus right? was Arrhenius right?

    Bernard, taking your points in turn: (1)most serious plant physiologists and ecologists understand that there is a relationship between atmospheric CO concentration and photosynthesis.YES OF COURSE, BUT DO HANSEN, GORE, STERN, GARNAUT, IPCC? THEY ALL INFER THAT REDUCING [CO2] WILL HAVE NO IMPACT ON PHOTOSYNTHESIS.

    (2) However, most such scientists also understand that this relationship is not monotonically increasing, WHERE DO THEY SO SAY GIVEN ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY? and that it is dependent upon a host of cofactors, whether such factors are limiting or are feeding back, and in the latter it is necessary to include AGW. OF COURSE, MY FORTHCOMING PAPER DEALS WITH THIS.

    (3) Of course, you seem to perceive no credibility in the AGW paradigm, [NOT TRUE, THE ISSUE IS HOW MUCH THAT JUSTIFIES DRACONIAN POLICIES PROPOSED BY OBAMA ET AL]so perhaps you could explain how it is possible to ‘accept’ the science behind the photosynthetic efficacy of CO in the context of global food production whilst not similarly accepting the science of GHG warming. AGAIN THE ISSUE IS RELATIVITIES. USING MY DATA ABOVE, THE RATIO BETWEEN % INCREASES IN CEREALS AND EMISSIONS INDICES(1961-2007) IS 1.09, THAT BETWEEN TEMPS AND EMISSIONS IS O.42, BOTH CET. PAR. OF COURSE AND THEREFORE SIMPLISTIC, BUT ARGUABLY SIGNIFICANT, GIVEN THAT FOOD IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TEMPERATURE FOR MOST OF HUMANITY.

    Alternatively, perhaps you can explain why not a one of your fellow Denialists has published a peer reviewed paper published in Science or Nature that increased [CO2] has zero, zilch, nil, impact on global climate. MANY SCEPTICS HAVE PUBLISHED PEER REVIEWED STUFF ACCEPTING THE IR EFFECT BUT QUERYING ITS EXTENT AND RELATIVE SIGNIFICANCE. THE OBSERVED dT SINCE 1900 (0.73oC) RELATIVE TO OBSERVED d[CO2] OF 40% DOES NOT CONFIRM THE ARRHENIUS FORMULATION WHEREVER HE GOT IT FROM.

  38. #38 Tim Curtin
    January 25, 2009

    Bi: I did not claim Arrhenius “borrowed from” Malthus, but it remains highly plausible he was aware of Malthus’ formulation, it is after all his most well known statement, and Arrhenius in any case found it convenient to use it almost word for word in the wholly different context of CO2 and temps. Nothing wrong with that. The real points at issue are, was Malthus right? was Arrhenius right?

    Bernard, taking your points in turn: (1)most serious plant physiologists and ecologists understand that there is a relationship between atmospheric CO concentration and photosynthesis.YES OF COURSE, BUT DO HANSEN, GORE, STERN, GARNAUT, IPCC? THEY ALL INFER THAT REDUCING [CO2] WILL HAVE NO IMPACT ON PHOTOSYNTHESIS.

    (2) However, most such scientists also understand that this relationship is not monotonically increasing, WHERE DO THEY SO SAY GIVEN ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY? and that it is dependent upon a host of cofactors, whether such factors are limiting or are feeding back, and in the latter it is necessary to include AGW. OF COURSE, MY FORTHCOMING PAPER DEALS WITH THIS.

    (3) Of course, you seem to perceive no credibility in the AGW paradigm, [NOT TRUE, THE ISSUE IS HOW MUCH THAT JUSTIFIES DRACONIAN POLICIES PROPOSED BY OBAMA ET AL]so perhaps you could explain how it is possible to ‘accept’ the science behind the photosynthetic efficacy of CO in the context of global food production whilst not similarly accepting the science of GHG warming. AGAIN THE ISSUE IS RELATIVITIES. USING MY DATA ABOVE, THE RATIO BETWEEN % INCREASES IN CEREALS AND EMISSIONS INDICES(1961-2007) IS 1.09, THAT BETWEEN TEMPS AND EMISSIONS IS O.42, BOTH CET. PAR. OF COURSE AND THEREFORE SIMPLISTIC, BUT ARGUABLY SIGNIFICANT, GIVEN THAT FOOD IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TEMPERATURE FOR MOST OF HUMANITY.

    Alternatively, perhaps you can explain why not a one of your fellow Denialists has published a peer reviewed paper published in Science or Nature that increased [CO2] has zero, zilch, nil, impact on global climate. MANY SCEPTICS HAVE PUBLISHED PEER REVIEWED STUFF ACCEPTING THE IR EFFECT BUT QUERYING ITS EXTENT AND RELATIVE SIGNIFICANCE. THE OBSERVED dT SINCE 1900 (0.73oC) RELATIVE TO OBSERVED d[CO2] OF 40% DOES NOT CONFIRM THE ARRHENIUS FORMULATION WHEREVER HE GOT IT FROM.

  39. #39 Tim Curtin
    January 25, 2009

    Bi: I did not claim Arrhenius “borrowed from” Malthus, but it remains highly plausible he was aware of Malthus’ formulation, it is after all his most well known statement, and Arrhenius in any case found it convenient to use it almost word for word in the wholly different context of CO2 and temps. Nothing wrong with that. The real points at issue are, was Malthus right? was Arrhenius right?

    Bernard, taking your points in turn: (1)most serious plant physiologists and ecologists understand that there is a relationship between atmospheric CO concentration and photosynthesis.YES OF COURSE, BUT DO HANSEN, GORE, STERN, GARNAUT, IPCC? THEY ALL INFER THAT REDUCING [CO2] WILL HAVE NO IMPACT ON PHOTOSYNTHESIS.

    (2) However, most such scientists also understand that this relationship is not monotonically increasing, WHERE DO THEY SO SAY GIVEN ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY? and that it is dependent upon a host of cofactors, whether such factors are limiting or are feeding back, and in the latter it is necessary to include AGW. OF COURSE, MY FORTHCOMING PAPER DEALS WITH THIS.

    (3) Of course, you seem to perceive no credibility in the AGW paradigm, [NOT TRUE, THE ISSUE IS HOW MUCH THAT JUSTIFIES DRACONIAN POLICIES PROPOSED BY OBAMA ET AL]so perhaps you could explain how it is possible to ‘accept’ the science behind the photosynthetic efficacy of CO in the context of global food production whilst not similarly accepting the science of GHG warming. AGAIN THE ISSUE IS RELATIVITIES. USING MY DATA ABOVE, THE RATIO BETWEEN % INCREASES IN CEREALS AND EMISSIONS INDICES(1961-2007) IS 1.09, THAT BETWEEN TEMPS AND EMISSIONS IS O.42, BOTH CET. PAR. OF COURSE AND THEREFORE SIMPLISTIC, BUT ARGUABLY SIGNIFICANT, GIVEN THAT FOOD IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TEMPERATURE FOR MOST OF HUMANITY.

    Alternatively, perhaps you can explain why not a one of your fellow Denialists has published a peer reviewed paper published in Science or Nature that increased [CO2] has zero, zilch, nil, impact on global climate. MANY SCEPTICS HAVE PUBLISHED PEER REVIEWED STUFF ACCEPTING THE IR EFFECT BUT QUERYING ITS EXTENT AND RELATIVE SIGNIFICANCE. THE OBSERVED dT SINCE 1900 (0.73oC) RELATIVE TO OBSERVED d[CO2] OF 40% DOES NOT CONFIRM THE ARRHENIUS FORMULATION WHEREVER HE GOT IT FROM.

  40. #40 Tim Curtin
    January 25, 2009

    Bi: I did not claim Arrhenius “borrowed from” Malthus, but it remains highly plausible he was aware of Malthus’ formulation, it is after all his most well known statement, and Arrhenius in any case found it convenient to use it almost word for word in the wholly different context of CO2 and temps. Nothing wrong with that. The real points at issue are, was Malthus right? was Arrhenius right?

    Bernard, taking your points in turn: (1)most serious plant physiologists and ecologists understand that there is a relationship between atmospheric CO concentration and photosynthesis.YES OF COURSE, BUT DO HANSEN, GORE, STERN, GARNAUT, IPCC? THEY ALL INFER THAT REDUCING [CO2] WILL HAVE NO IMPACT ON PHOTOSYNTHESIS.

    (2) However, most such scientists also understand that this relationship is not monotonically increasing, WHERE DO THEY SO SAY GIVEN ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY? and that it is dependent upon a host of cofactors, whether such factors are limiting or are feeding back, and in the latter it is necessary to include AGW. OF COURSE, MY FORTHCOMING PAPER DEALS WITH THIS.

    (3) Of course, you seem to perceive no credibility in the AGW paradigm, [NOT TRUE, THE ISSUE IS HOW MUCH THAT JUSTIFIES DRACONIAN POLICIES PROPOSED BY OBAMA ET AL]so perhaps you could explain how it is possible to ‘accept’ the science behind the photosynthetic efficacy of CO in the context of global food production whilst not similarly accepting the science of GHG warming. AGAIN THE ISSUE IS RELATIVITIES. USING MY DATA ABOVE, THE RATIO BETWEEN % INCREASES IN CEREALS AND EMISSIONS INDICES(1961-2007) IS 1.09, THAT BETWEEN TEMPS AND EMISSIONS IS O.42, BOTH CET. PAR. OF COURSE AND THEREFORE SIMPLISTIC, BUT ARGUABLY SIGNIFICANT, GIVEN THAT FOOD IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TEMPERATURE FOR MOST OF HUMANITY.

    Alternatively, perhaps you can explain why not a one of your fellow Denialists has published a peer reviewed paper published in Science or Nature that increased [CO2] has zero, zilch, nil, impact on global climate. MANY SCEPTICS HAVE PUBLISHED PEER REVIEWED STUFF ACCEPTING THE IR EFFECT BUT QUERYING ITS EXTENT AND RELATIVE SIGNIFICANCE. THE OBSERVED dT SINCE 1900 (0.73oC) RELATIVE TO OBSERVED d[CO2] OF 40% DOES NOT CONFIRM THE ARRHENIUS FORMULATION WHEREVER HE GOT IT FROM.

  41. #41 z
    January 25, 2009

    grant application for test of effect of carbon doxide concentration on food crop production:

    we aim to take two identical planets equidistant from the sun and raise the carbon dioxide concentration of the atmosphere of one, while stabilizing its climate to not change in response (methods to be determined later). global food crop production of both planets will be harvested and weighed.

    budget extimate:
    100 gajillion dollars per year, for ten years.

  42. #42 bi -- IJI
    January 25, 2009

    Tim Curtin:

    > I did not claim Arrhenius “borrowed from” Malthus,

    Yes, you did:

    > Malthus earned fame with his theory […]

    > Arrhenius took over this formulation in his celebrated paper of 1896 […]

    Trying to weasel out of your claim and at the same time continue to make vague insinuations of plagiarism, eh?

  43. #43 Tim Curtin
    January 26, 2009

    Bi: the variables differ, the formulation is identical. Prove that Arrhenius had never heard of Malthus or read his book. My evidence that he had is his use of the same formulation pari passu. Both were and are wrong.

  44. #44 Bernard J.
    January 26, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    Please, can you use some other form of quote/response when you post. The shouting format renders your posts almost too difficult to read. I apologise to any who may have to struggle with my repetition of your text.

    THEY ALL INFER THAT REDUCING [CO2] WILL HAVE NO IMPACT ON PHOTOSYNTHESIS

    It seems to me that there are a number of issues here.

    Firstly, exactly where do each of these people/bodies infer such?

    Secondly, if they do infer such, are ‘reductions’ with respect to only CO2 emitted by humans, or are they with respect to pre-industrial concentrations?

    Thirdly, are any such impacts weighted for the benefits of mitigating AGW, for the other limits to agricultural expansion dictated by environmental degradation and non-renewable resource depletion, and for the improvements in agricultural technologies that are yet to be realised?

    Fourthly, and conversely to the previous point, are your estimations similarly inclusive of all such weightings? Please indicate how this was done, if such is the case.

    However, most such scientists also understand that this relationship is not monotonically increasing, WHERE DO THEY SO SAY GIVEN ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY?

    Your insertion of a comment halfway through my sentence is mendacious, as it changes the context of my intent. I said:

    However, most such scientists also understand that this relationship is not monotonically increasing, and that it is dependent upon a host of cofactors, whether such factors are limiting or are feeding back, and in the latter it is necessary to include AGW. (My emphasis in this repetition only)

    The material following the first comma is integral to the initial phrase, and ironically I had actually changed my original several sentences in anticipation that you might do exactly what you did. I did not credit that you would still do so even after I’d tried to make my intent as clear as possible.

    As you well know the enhanced photosynthetic response of experimentally-isolated plants to increasing CO2 is accepted as trivial fact by plant physiologists and plant ecologists. There is nothing surprising about this. However, it is also understood that there are many limitations to photosynthetic response trajectories, and in my time as an undergrad I recall seeing PR curves that plateaued anywhere from just above ambient atmospheric CO2 concentration to around 1000ppm. Such curves are determined by enzymatic kinetics and competitions (eg photorespiration), by temperature, by moisture, by nutrient availability, by photosystem type, by genetic variation within and between species, and so on.

    So, even though in a CO2-constrained experimental situation phtotsynthesis is not monotonically increasing, my comment was intended to refer to the real world where such plateaux usually occur more to the left when compared with experimental curves.

    If you have evidence to contradict the existence of plateaux wherever they might occur on the abscissa I’d be most interested to see it.

    OF COURSE, MY FORTHCOMING PAPER DEALS WITH THIS.

    Indeed. What is the scope of this paper, and where will it be published?

    MANY SCEPTICS HAVE PUBLISHED PEER REVIEWED STUFF ACCEPTING THE IR EFFECT BUT QUERYING ITS EXTENT AND RELATIVE SIGNIFICANCE.

    Just as any mainstream scientist accepts the relationship between photosynthesis and CO2 concentration. However you where attempting to pin the matter to one of scientists who claim that CO2 concentration has “zero, zilch, nil, impact on global food production”, so I am similarly interested only in the catalogue of published work of Denialists who claim that CO2 concentration has “zero, zilch, nil, impact” on global warming.

    Examples please.

    THE OBSERVED dT SINCE 1900 (0.73oC) RELATIVE TO OBSERVED d[CO2] OF 40% DOES NOT CONFIRM THE ARRHENIUS FORMULATION WHEREVER HE GOT IT FROM.

    Given that this demonstrates a raw sensitivity of 1.8°C/[CO2]-doubling, without factoring for various feedbacks, it is still a remarkably good estimation on Arrhenius’ part. He was after all pioneering ‘greenhouse’ science, with none of the benefit of technologies available a century later.

    And given that the various best estimates for sensitivity are roughly in the range 2.0-4.5°C once feedbacks and temporal inertia are factored in, good old Arrhenius is looking remarkably competent in his work.

    We have yet to be convinced that you demonstrate a remotely similar capacity for science.

  45. #45 Bernard J.
    January 26, 2009

    For those in any doubt, when I referred to “a CO2-constrained experimental situation” in post #40 above, I was referring to experimentation where CO2 is the only factor limiting photosynthesis, and thus the only factor to modify the photosynthetic response as CO2 concentration changes.

    And for any who followed the comments about Arrhenius without knowledge of his ‘formulation’, his estimations of climate sensitivity were that halving of CO2 would decrease temperatures by 4 – 5°C and a doubling of CO2 would cause a temperature rise of 5 – 6°C.

    I’d challenge any Denialist to do as well given the same circumstances as Arrhenius, were it actually possible to do with the confounding of hindsight.

    It’s simply churlishness to denigrate the man’s work. Especially so when one considers the time it took to refine estimates of such simple constants as the speed of light, the distance of the earth to the sun, the value of pi, et cetera.

    The Nobel committee certainly thought that Arrhenius did OK…

  46. #46 Tim Curtin
    January 26, 2009

    Thanks Bernard, but I have made no such claims. However I gather (hat tip to JB) that Arrhenius was on the committee that awarded him his Nobel. The rules have changed since then. He did have valuable insights, but his estimates were 3.5oC for 50% increase in [CO2] and 5.5 for a doubling, i.e less than in proportion with the extra [CO2]. The IPCC & co however consider that 3.0oC is on from now for the doubling to 560 ppm despite the only 0.7 for 40%, so it is they not I who rubbish Arrhenius.

    Sorry about the caps, what do you suggest? I will address your other points later as I am off to celebrate the Invasion.

  47. #47 Bernard J.
    January 26, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    I grant that my choice of “pin[ning] the matter to one of scientists who claim that…” was a poor phrasing of my point. These things happen to all of us when we type at length in blog posts, and I would be surprised if you didn’t understand this at some level.

    Nevertheless, my original question to you stands, and with it my intent to demonstrate that there are probably fewer mainstream scientists denying a complete lack of relationship between atmospheric CO2 concentration and photosynthetic productivity, than there are contrarians who maintain that atmospheric CO2 increases will not warm the planet.

    To that end, I am still interested in your knowledge of people who have published material, in Nature or in Science or in similar journals, supporting this position.

  48. #48 Bernard J.
    January 26, 2009

    Sorry about the caps, what do you suggest?

    Any of a number of HTML tags: blockquote, italic, perhaps bold it you are really venting, or you could even just use plain old quotation marks.

    It’ll make for a more coherent discussion of matters from both sides, because upper case words really piss people off if they have to read too many. It’s really quite similar to what happens when people shout in ‘real life’ – everyone else stops listening.

  49. #49 Jeff Harvey
    January 26, 2009

    In his article, Tim Curtin writes, “Malthus has long since been proved wrong about food production, which has grown exponentially even faster than population, so that the recurring starvation and population wipe-outs that Malthus feared have yet to materialise”.

    Given that there are more starving people on Earth than the number of people alive in 1930, and that the health of every important indicator of ecosystem quality across the biosphere is in decline, its folly for anyone to make such a loaded remark as this. This perfectly epitimizes Paul Ehrlich’s comment, that its akin to someone jumping off of the Empire State Building, falling 75 floors, looking up an saying “Everything’s fine!”

    The two most important factors are these: 1. Technology has delayed the inevitable ecological crash; Earth is a closed system and humans (primarily the privileged few in the developed world) are living off of a one-time inheritanace of natural capital. To support the current population load, our species is degrading biodiversity (the working parts of our ecological life-support systems), deep rich agricultural soils, and groundwater levels. 2. Consequently, in some respects at a systemic level, we have not yet passed a critical threshold beyond which ecological systems are unable to support themselves and us. But many vital ecological services are in a worrying state of decline, and since complex adaptive systems function non-linearly, when that threshold is passed, then things will fail and fail quite quickly. Anyone who believes otherwise is living in denial or delusion. The trouble is that the vast majority of those espousing the ‘Malthus was wrong’ line apparently do not understand basic environmental science. If they did, they’d be much more circumspect in what they say.

  50. #50 Barton Paul Levenson
    January 26, 2009

    Tim Curtin writes:

    you just have to prove there is NO relationship between growth of CO2 emissions and global food production

    No, Tim. We don’t have to disprove your theory. You have to prove your theory. That’s how science works.

  51. #51 Tim Curtin
    January 26, 2009

    Bernard J said “my original question to you stands, and with it my intent to demonstrate that there are probably fewer mainstream scientists denying a complete lack of relationship between atmospheric CO2 concentration and photosynthetic productivity, than there are contrarians who maintain that atmospheric CO2 increases will not warm the planet”.

    Dear Bernard, how about the 2500++ scientists of the IPCC’s AR4 who call for massive reductions in [CO2], including above all Jim Hansen, who calls for reduction to a max of 350 ppm, not one of whom brings to account the effect of reduced CO2 fertilization on global food production? The IPCC grudgingly admits in a few places that rising [CO2] does have a fertilization effect, but not that reducing [CO2] must reduce that effect – see for example AR4, p186 and p.526-7 for some weasel words on this subject, desperately downplaying the fertilization effect of enhanced [CO2] in order to infer (without saying so) that reducing [CO2] would have no impact on primary productivity. These pages are transparently biased and do not provide accurate accounts of the papers they refer to. The same applies to the Stern & Garnaut reports.

    I reported my own regression of world food production 1980-2003 against [CO2], and global mean Temps in my submission to the Garnaut Review; it showed an adjusted R2 of .98 with the only significant coefficient being that on [CO2], after taking into account auto-correlation tests. Adding commercial fertilizer consumption data, the regression results derived from the data in Table 1 show very high values for the adjusted R2, at 0.99 and for F at 799.97, and a large and strongly significant coefficient (5.76) on CO2, with the t statistic at 36.06. Perhaps surprisingly, the coefficient on fertilizers is marginally negative (-0.047) but not significant (t = -0.67), while that on temperature is larger (0.365) and positive, but also not statistically significant (because t=0.767 so <2). The large negative value for the intercept (–507.9965) represents the negative food production index that would arise if there were zero values for fertilizer use, global temperature, and atmospheric CO2.

    William Cline (2007) has reported much larger [CO2] fertilization than the IPCC will admit to but like them and Hansen does not grasp that reducing [CO2] must reduce that fertilization. Hansen has yet to explain why the world economy has suffered irretrievable damage from the rise in [CO2] from 280ppm to 385ppm and his GISS temp rise since 1896 of 0.73oC, and will benefit more from any cooling arising from reducing [CO2] to 350ppm or less than from the loss of the fertilization effect.

    As for your bleat about “contrarians who maintain that atmospheric CO2 increases will not warm the planet”, who do you mean?

    Your list cannot include Bjorn Lomborg, who only today said this: “Make no mistake – global warming is real, and it is caused by manmade CO2 emissions. The problem is that even global, draconian, and hugely costly CO2 reductions will have virtually no impact on the temperature by mid-century. Instead of ineffective and costly cuts, we should focus
    much more of our good climate intentions on dramatic increases in R&D for zero-carbon energy, which would fix the climate towards mid-century at low cost….” (CCNet 13/2009 – 26 January 2009 — Audiatur et altera pars) I don’t agree with Lomborg on his R&D push, but do agree with his further statements that there are more serious problems (eg Malaria, AIDS) which have been supported by real peer-reviewed Nobel prize winners in terms of cost-benefit analysis.

    I cannot see how a rise of 3oC in say Dubai (to annual mean of 30oC) will make that place any more uncomfortable than it already is, while such an increase in Glasgow or Helsinki would bring unbounded joy. In no place in the world will there be any demonstrable hardship to compare with the lower global food production that will result either from reduction in [CO2]or from forgoing future increases in [CO2].

    Barton Paul Levenson: I have offered a sample of my evidence here to support my theory; it is for you to produce the refutation, not me, all the data are in the public domain (e.g. FAO, CDIAC) – and that is the way science works.

  52. #52 Ian Forrester
    January 26, 2009

    OK Tim Curtin, here are some interesting findings which blow your “thesis” to dummy-land (where it belongs).

    Here are some recent findings on the biochemistry of CO2 fixation (aka photosynthesis). The older studies showed that the enzymatic activity of isolated RUBISCO (the enzyme responsible for the fixing of CO2 into organic metabolites) was increased at higher temperatures and higher CO2 concentrations. They argued that this would be good for agriculture since it would allow for higher yields (forget about water and available nitrogen for now). However, there were always problems in getting reproducible levels of RUBISCO activity (preparations had to be aged and/or treated to give maximum activity).

    Later research has shown that there is another layer of regulation affecting RUBISCO activity (as is common with many enzyme system). A new enzyme, RUBISCO activase, was found to be responsible for converting “inactive” to “active” RUBISCO. And, surprise surprise, this new enzyme was found to be inhibited by higher temperatures and also inhibited by higher CO2 concentrations.

    This finding is probably responsible for the contradictory results found in experiments where varying temperatures and CO2 concentrations on plant growth have been conducted.

    http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/nov02/plant1102.htm

    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/97/24/13430

    There are also some interesting new studies on the effects of higher (night time) temperatures on rice production. It seems that rice doesn’t like higher temperatures and reduces its productivity.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/101/27/9971.full

    There are other studies which show similar results for other crops.

    Please send the $1000 to a charity of Tim L’s choice.

    Thank you.

  53. #53 Jeff Harvey
    January 26, 2009

    Tim Curtin,

    Why oh why must you rely on Lomborg to bolster your inane views? Lomborg doesn’t understand the link between then natural and material economies, so he dismisses them. You promulgate nonsense suggesting enhanced atmospheric CO 2 concentrations will ehance primary productivity, when the vast majority of environmental scientists (me included, you excluded) dismiss such a link because it ignores non-linear effects and other aspects of plant stoichiometry and effects on higher trophic levels. How many times does it have to be said: carbon is often not a limiting nutrient: nitrogen is. As one increases concentrations of atmospheric CO 2, nitrogen (as well as phosporus) is shunted out of plant tissues. The C:N ratio increases. This will affect the behavior and development of associated consumers, because for their ontogeny N is often limiting – a decrease in foliar N will often be accompanied by compensatory feeding (e.g. increased herbivory) or a reduction in fitness, with all kinds of consequences for species in interacting webs. Moreover, C is not limiting for many plants, either. I don’t expect you to understand this but please refrain from this frankly absurd and unscientific notion that increasing atmospheric levels of C creates a green utopia. IT DOES NOT.

    For once why don’t you read the primary scientific literature, and in particular papers dealing with stoichiometry. It is an area I am working on empirically in a multitrophic framework and I find it seriously annoying when people espouse this kind of simplistic clap-trap re: CO 2 and primary production. Plants do not occur in isolation: they interact with other species in food webs that vary in their spatial and temporal complexity.

  54. #54 bi -- IJI
    January 26, 2009

    > Bi: the variables differ, the formulation is identical.

    So

    > arithmetical ratio

    is “identical” to

    > arithmetic progression?

    Is that what you’re saying?

  55. #55 Barton Paul Levenson
    January 26, 2009

    Tim Curtin writes:

    I reported my own regression of world food production 1980-2003 against [CO2], and global mean Temps in my submission to the Garnaut Review; it showed an adjusted R2 of .98 with the only significant coefficient being that on [CO2], after taking into account auto-correlation tests. Adding commercial fertilizer consumption data, the regression results derived from the data in Table 1 show very high values for the adjusted R2, at 0.99 and for F at 799.97, and a large and strongly significant coefficient (5.76) on CO2, with the t statistic at 36.06. Perhaps surprisingly, the coefficient on fertilizers is marginally negative (-0.047) but not significant (t = -0.67), while that on temperature is larger (0.365) and positive, but also not statistically significant (because t=0.767 so <2). The large negative value for the intercept (–507.9965) represents the negative food production index that would arise if there were zero values for fertilizer use, global temperature, and atmospheric CO2.

    Very impressive, Tim. Do you know what “stationarity” means in statistics? Are your food and CO2 series integrated? If so, are they cointegrated? If not, have you differenced them appropriately and rerun the regression? Have you ever heard of the “spurious regression problem?”

    This should be good.

  56. #56 Tim Curtin
    January 26, 2009

    Barton: Yes to all of those. Ever heard of Dickey Fuller? Or Durbin-Watson? Mine passes the latter. But with the Mauna Loa variable there is indeed potentially a problem according to D-F. That implies the result could well be a spurious correlation. But if that is the case, it applies a fortiori to any and all apparent statistical correlations between the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and global mean temperature, for if the former is auto-correlated in my regression it is so in all, including that with temperature. This may explain why the IPCC never displays any statistical analysis of the apparent but possibly spurious and certainly weaker correlation between increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and global mean temperature. But if there is a valid statistical relationship between those variables, then by the same token my results for the apparent very much closer correlation between the first of these and world food production than for that between atmospheric CO2 and global temperature also has to be valid. I would value your comments.

    Forrester: armwaving; do your own.

    Bi: you are clutching at straws, give me your definitions of those terms as Malthus would have understood them. He said clearly he was struck by the apparent doubling of US population every 25 years, Arrhenius equally clearly estimated effects of doubling [CO2].

  57. #57 Bernard J.
    January 26, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    First up, I have commented a number of times in the past about the incorrect use of the term ‘fertilisation’ to describe CO2 assimilation during photosynthesis.

    CO2 is a substrate for photosynthesis. As indicated above by Ian Forrester it can sometimes be the rate-limiting substrate, and hence increases in its concentration on these occasions will lead to increases in photosynthetic output.

    However this does not make it a fertiliser, a formal definition of which I have provided to you in the past. To paraphrase such definitions here yet again, they are considered by mainstream plant physiologists/biochemists to refer so soil-borne nutrients, natural or synthetic, that enhance plant yield…

    …by shifting upward, or removing entirely, some of the non-CO2 limitations to photosynthesis. Of course, it should be remembered that temperature, light intensity and photoperiod, and moisture are also rate-limiting factors in photosynthesis – which raises an interesting question: are you are going to claim that each of these is also a fertiliser? Oh, and oxygen too is required for plant growth, although most people do not appreciate this – is it a fertiliser? Given your concern for putting extra CO2 into the atmosphere, how many tons of oxygen might be concerningly lost from the atmosphere as CO2 increases?

    Another way of thinking about it is that fertilisers are generally the chemicals required for plant growth exclusive of CO2, oxygen and water, the ‘essential’ substrates/products of carbohydrate synthesis/catabolism.

    The CO2 ‘fertiliser’ meme seems to have arisen from the agricultural/horticultural industries, where the use of descriptors to refer to biological processes is much more loose than in science. However this does not mean that it is OK to use the ‘loose’ versions of such definitions, because to do so conflates very different biological concepts and processes, and in the current debate it is very important to be clear about these concepts and processes.

    Your confusion about the biochemical and ecological dynamics of photosynthesis demonstrates exactly why precise definitions are important, even if such might seem to you to be a semantic nit-pick.

    Of course, for those who wish to obfuscate the profound negative consequences of increasing atmospheric CO2, similar obfuscation of definitions is a very useful FUD tool.

    Ian above, and myself previously, have indicated to you that the CO2 photosynthetic response curves for plant species do not directly imply that, in the real world, it is simply a matter of upping CO2, and consequently upping productivity. Even FACE projects fail to account for many confounders. The feedbacks, the compensatory mechanisms, and the shifted rate-limiting components of photosynthesis make the picture much more complex in the ‘real world’, which is where you seem to be emphasising its importance – id et, ‘global productivity’.

    And if you are going to speak of ‘global productivity’, you need to include in your considerations the all of the alterations to the global ecology that accompany increases atmospheric CO2, as Jeff, I and others have mentioned above, and in many previous discussions of the subject in past threads. Between the complexities of the photosynthetic processes of plants themselves, and of these processes’ biochemical and ecological sequelæ, the concept of CO2-enhanced productivity is vastly more fraught that you show any appreciation for.

    And to follow on from Barton’s curiosity about your analyses, I would like to know how you account for increases in human numbers, in changes in technology and in land use, when you derive your correlations with global ‘productivity’.

    I am especially interested in how you have determined that such correlations are not spurious.

    And I am also very curious to know how much productivity increase in natural systems, over the same time spans, you have investigated by way of comparison, and as an analytical control. How have you broken down the trophic levels of global food webs to determine where productivity increases (if it does), and where it decreases? Have you teased out where natural systems’ productivities are modified by other anthropogenic impacts to the biosphere? How have you analysed such natural system changes for implications to human agricultural systems?

    I could ask paragraphs more of similar questions, but these are more than enough for a start. Thus far you have reflected the profound difficulty economists have in dealing with externalities, and at best you demonstrate a clumsy and disturbing naïvety of the biochemistry and ecology of photosynthetic processes, and how they might be co-opted to bolt onto your economic memes.

    And that’s ‘at best’.

  58. #58 Bernard J.
    January 26, 2009

    I cannot see how a rise of 3oC in say Dubai (to annual mean of 30oC) will make that place any more uncomfortable than it already is, while such an increase in Glasgow or Helsinki would bring unbounded joy. In no place in the world will there be any demonstrable hardship to compare with the lower global food production that will result either from reduction in [CO2]or from forgoing future increases in [CO2].

    Tim Curtin, do you have any idea how sensitive evapotranspiration rates are to increases in temperature? Do you know how great the distances are for relocating suitable agricultural regions to follow changes to climate (let alone the ecological consequences of such changes)? Do you understand how much land area will be ‘lost’ by moving from the equatorial regions toward the poles in an attempt to maintain current agricultural practices?

    That you can say what you did is bizarre, simply bizarre.

    I have a 6 Ha rural property where I grow fruit and vegetables, and my partner has an acreage where we grow fruit, vegetables and maintain live stock. I garden, and have extensive collections of orchids, bromeliads and other tropical plants. I have only tank water, and one ephemeral stream and one permanent (but small) stream that are both too far down hill to use. My partner has only tank water.

    I am acutely sensitive to temperature effects on evapotranspiration. My plants and animals all the more so since they rely on what I provide for them. Ironically, we have been getting more rain with warmer weather, but it is insufficient to offset the evapotranspirative loss, and we are living with dregs in our tanks. Our gardens, orchards, and paddocks are dessicated with the coming of summer, and this year’s season has been very mild.

    Fortunately, we have the option of calling the local water carter if we run dry, as many of our neighbours do (when historically they didn’t, I should add). The ecosystems and the agricultural regions of the planet do not have such a luxury.

    IPCC, Hanson, Stern, Garnaut – they all understant this. It is probably a part of the reason why they are much more bothered about the certain-to-occur negative impacts of increased atmospheric CO2 that about the putative positive side effects.

    Seriously, if you are going to play economist with scaps of data from hugely complex systems of which you have significant understanding, you are going to make a fool of yourself.

  59. #59 Tim Curtin
    January 26, 2009

    Bernard: many thanks for all your comments, much appreciated. According to the OED, Fertilize = (2) to render productive, and this is the sense clearly used by the IPCC in the pages I referenced as well as by all the many papers I have copies of testifying to and demonstrating this effect of enhanced [CO2] using a wide range of controlled experiments, varying temperature, other nutrients, water etc etc. If one began a trial with no oxygen present, yield would not be great; adding it would “render productive”. Really you are splitting hairs. Or were CSIRO’s Crimp et al in their report for Garnaut guilty of FUD when documenting the impact of future enhanced [CO2] on wheat yields, which confirms the work an associate and I have done regressing historic wheat yields at various locations in Australia against [CO2] and rainfall since 1959.

    Re your mention of population growth, I have included it in one of my runs for global food production, and its coefficient is negative but insignificant. What I need from you and Barton and Forrester is regression showing that the acknowledged sixfold growth of terrestrial absorption of CO2 emissions since 1958 has NOT “rendered productive”. If it did not so do, what did it do? That is what my prize is for.

  60. #60 Tim Curtin
    January 27, 2009

    Apologies to Ian Forrester,as the main paper he provided, Crafts-Brandner and Salvucci (http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/97/24/13430)
    actually supports my case in spades.

    At Fig.1 we see that net photosynthesis Pn is double at temp 45oC when pCO2 is raised from 280 to 750. All 4 parts of this Fig. show the optimal level of Pn at any given temperature is achieved with higher CO2 (i.e. Ci = internal CO2). For example, at temp 40oC, Pn is 50 at 550 Ci and c65 at 1200 Ci.

    To achieve their more gloomy and PC results, these authors have to resort to Ci of 3,700 (today’s is 385); only our clones will know if they are right, in about 2,500 years time (to be precise only in 2461 will atmospheric CO2 reach 3,700 at this year’s rate of annual increase of 0.5%). Let’s catch up then.

  61. #61 bi -- IJI
    January 27, 2009

    > > So

    > > > arithmetical ratio

    > > is “identical” to

    > > > arithmetic progression?

    > Bi: you are clutching at straws, give me your definitions of those terms as Malthus would have understood them.

    In other words, you still have zero hard evidence of your initial strong claim that “Arrhenius took over this [Malthus’s] formulation”. Clutching at straws, indeed…

  62. #62 Jeff Harvey
    January 27, 2009

    Bernard, Ian, etc., we are wasting our breath here. The concept of non-linear dynamics seems to have escaped our poor Tim.

    Basically, citing a few studies conducted under controlled conditions that report incrased biomass production per unit of time in enhanced CO2 regimes tells usnothing about the effects of parameter changes on soil respiration rates, and, more importantly, on a stupendous array of interactions involving plant antagonists and mutualists. Tim’s arguments are akin to saying that a new drug was tested that shows no effects or even benefits on the liver, while ignoring effects on the heart, the lungs, the kidneys and other vital organs.

    For the millionth time, we need to go beyond simple controlled physiological experiments and determine the impacts of enhanced C02 (and temperature) regimes on systems, of which plants are but the bottom end of food chains that often extend over 4 (or more) trophic levels. Given the rate of current changes are probably unprecedented, its likely that there will be some winners and many losers in the short to medium term. Moreover, given that changes in abiotic processes (rainfall, temperature) associated with enhanced atmospheric C02 levels will be unevenly spread across the biosphere, we can expect local and systemic breakdowns to occur in the functioning of communities and ecosystems and in the delivery of a range of critical services that sustain humanity. We should also bear in mind that the deleterious effects of increased C02 and climate change are synergized with other anthropogenic changes (e.g. habitat destruction, the introduction of exotic species into non-native ecosystems, other forms of pollution) that are occurring across the planet. Humans are simplifying nature are a very rapid rate. There will be ecological consequences.

    Tim’s strategy is to say that, as long as the effects of these changes are unknown, then they don’t exist. He then dismisses them. To be fair, this is a strategy of many denialists.

  63. #63 Tim Curtin
    January 27, 2009

    Thanks Jeff, but you should address your comments to the authors of the paper cited by Ian. I merely cited their results showing I am right. Howver it is true that there is a pro forma issued by PNAS, Nature, and Science which contains the following words to be included in the final sentence whatever the paper actually shows, as in the Crafts-Brandner & Salvucci paper: xyz “should be considered in predicting [abcd] in response to global climate changes”; similar wording is also mandatory in the abstract. The body of the paper as in this case need have no bearing at all on the pro forma. Actually the C-B & S paper did exactly what you propose: “we need to go beyond simple controlled physiological experiments and determine the impacts of enhanced C02 (and temperature) regimes on systems…”. That is what they did, with some very sophisticated experiments and the results I reported.

  64. #64 Barton Paul Levenson
    January 27, 2009

    Tim Curtin writes:

    But if that is the case, it applies a fortiori to any and all apparent statistical correlations between the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and global mean temperature, for if the former is auto-correlated in my regression it is so in all, including that with temperature.

    No. CO2 might be cointegrated with one time series and not with another.

    This may explain why the IPCC never displays any statistical analysis of the apparent but possibly spurious and certainly weaker correlation between increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and global mean temperature. But if there is a valid statistical relationship between those variables, then by the same token my results for the apparent very much closer correlation between the first of these and world food production than for that between atmospheric CO2 and global temperature also has to be valid.

    Again, your “then” is a non sequitur. You can’t go by correlation again. You’ve got to check for integration, and if you find it, for cointegration. Integration is what locks up your hypothesis, cointegration–if found–is the key that lets it out again.

    I would value your comments.

    See above.

  65. #65 Barton Paul Levenson
    January 27, 2009

    Sorry, that should have read “you can’t go by correlation alone” above. The point being that correlation can be spurious, and the “spurious regression problem” arises again and again where you have both time series growing with time. Tim Curtin’s comment that his relation passes “the latter,” implying that he got a good D.W. but not a DF or ADF test, further implies that his relation is spurious. When you discover integration, you have to address it by differencing until you no longer get integration. That or you have to show cointegration between the two series. As far as I can tell, T.C. hasn’t done either.

    There’s a reason just showing good regression equations isn’t enough to get you into a science journal any more. You could do that easily in the 1950s and ’60s, but then people started noticing that the Keynesians and the Monetarists were each getting lovely regressions with high R^2 for relations that flatly contradicted one another. The Durbin-Watson and the later Durbin’s h were the start of looking at ways to address the problem, but it wasn’t until the concept of stationarity was nailed down, along with valid tests to test for it and correct for a lack of it, that scientists were able to tell good regressions from spurious ones. A lot of what we thought we knew about economic time series — like the old Phillips Curve — turned out to be just wrong.

  66. #66 Barton Paul Levenson
    January 27, 2009

    Valid ways to test for it. Bleah. Got to proofread, got to proofread, got to proofread…

  67. #67 bi -- IJI
    January 27, 2009

    I said to Curtin:

    > In other words, you still have zero hard evidence of your initial strong claim that “Arrhenius took over this [Malthus’s] formulation”. Clutching at straws, indeed…

    Hear the crickets.

  68. #68 Richard Simons
    January 27, 2009

    Bernard J mentioned the impact of higher temperatures on evapotranspiration. Another effect is on pollination. If temperatures are too high, pollination will not take place and crops will not set grain. Yield losses have already been reported in crops such as rice, corn and wheat as a result of high temperatures at pollination and this problem is likely to become more severe in the future.

  69. #69 Bernard J.
    January 27, 2009

    So I sez:

    I am especially interested in how you have determined that such correlations are not spurious. (#54)

    and so far the best Tim Curtin has responded with is:

    I reported my own regression of world food production 1980-2003 against [CO2], and global mean Temps in my submission to the Garnaut Review; it showed an adjusted R2 of .98 with the only significant coefficient being that on [CO2], after taking into account auto-correlation tests. Adding commercial fertilizer consumption data, the regression results derived from the data in Table 1 show very high values for the adjusted R2, at 0.99 and for F at 799.97, and a large and strongly significant coefficient (5.76) on CO2, with the t statistic at 36.06. Perhaps surprisingly, the coefficient on fertilizers is marginally negative (-0.047) but not significant (t = -0.67), while that on temperature is larger (0.365) and positive, but also not statistically significant (because t=0.767 so [less than] 2). The large negative value for the intercept (–507.9965) represents the negative food production index that would arise if there were zero values for fertilizer use, global temperature, and atmospheric CO2. (#48)

    Barton cuts to the bone when he points out:

    The point being that correlation can be spurious, and the “spurious regression problem” arises again and again where you have both time series growing with time. Tim Curtin’s comment that his relation passes “the latter,” implying that he got a good D.W. but not a DF or ADF test, further implies that his relation is spurious. When you discover integration, you have to address it by differencing until you no longer get integration. That or you have to show cointegration between the two series. As far as I can tell, T.C. hasn’t done either.

    There’s a reason just showing good regression equations isn’t enough to get you into a science journal any more. You could do that easily in the 1950s and ’60s, but then people started noticing that the Keynesians and the Monetarists were each getting lovely regressions with high R^2 for relations that flatly contradicted one another. The Durbin-Watson and the later Durbin’s h were the start of looking at ways to address the problem, but it wasn’t until the concept of stationarity was nailed down, along with valid tests to test for it and correct for a lack of it, that scientists were able to tell good regressions from spurious ones. A lot of what we thought we knew about economic time series — like the old Phillips Curve — turned out to be just wrong. (#62)

    So Tim Curtin, once again, how have you determined that your correlations are not spurious? The question pertains to the complementary scenarios – directly to correlations where there appears to be a relationship between one parameter with another, and conversely to situations where, through potential confoundment, it appears that there is no direct relationship between the parameters.

    It is important that you be very clear about this, because you making a claim about an entire planetary phenomenon, that global agricultural production is best increased by increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration, whilst simultaneously dismissing many other accepted productivity modes.

    Oh, and because it is such a profoundly encompassing claim to make, I presume that you have applied your calculations to novel data sets to see if the trends in your correlations are similarly reflected. I know that this skirts close to delving into the concept of ‘modelling’, but you shouldn’t have any problem with that, surely? After all, no analyst worth his salt would draw a conclusion about the dynamics of a global phenomenon on the basis of a few regressions.

    William Cline (2007) has reported much larger [CO2] fertilization…

    Ad nauseum repetition of your interpretation of fertilisation, OED notwithstanding, does not alter the fact of your obfuscation of the existence and of the scientifically understood definitions of different types of photosynthetic input and enhancement.

    If you persist in maintaining this usage, perhaps you should also consider promoting the idea that we don’t actually water our gardens and crops, but rather that we fertilise them with dihydrogen monoxide.

    … than the IPCC will admit to but like them and Hansen does not grasp that reducing [CO2] must reduce that fertilization.

    Evidence for this accusation?

    And “reducing” compared with what? If we do manage to put the brakes on further increases of atmospheric CO2, we would still have more atmospheric CO2 that at any time for the existence of human civilisation, and you have yet to demonstrate that net photosynthesis is going to increase with the combination of the current levels of atmospheric CO2 and the climate alterations that are in train but have yet to manifest due to climatic inertia.

    Oh, I see. You have somehow determined the asymptotes for all global climatic sequelæ, for all possible peaks of atmospheric CO2, and have determined that all possible negative consequences are still outweighed by the benefit of your putative photosynthetic productivity increase, which of course you know will occur in all species under all circumstances.

    You must be one clever dick, Tim. Especially when you are able to do so without showing your working…

    And just as an incidental:

    Hansen has yet to explain why the world economy has suffered irretrievable damage from the rise in [CO2] from 280ppm to 385ppm and his GISS temp rise since 1896 of 0.73oC

    Um, where has it been said that “irretrievable damage” was predicted to occur at the moment when atmospheric CO2 reached 385ppm? Was the bit about climatic inertia printed in too small a font for you to see? Your use of “has suffered” is a mischievous strawman; “will suffer” is a much more pertinent phrasing.

    and will benefit more from any cooling arising from reducing [CO2] to 350ppm or less than from the loss of the fertilization effect.

    Again, “cooling” is a mischievous term, because it would in fact only be “un-warming”, and there is a profound (if subtle) difference.

    And for heaven’s sake, why do you have this bee in your bonnet that altering the world’s climate is the only way to achieve a possible increase in agricultural productivity? Are you dismissing out of hand the work of countless agriculturalists and scientists in achieving increased productivity in production without global alteration of the atmosphere, the biosphere, and the planet’s climate?

    Tim, I have to wonder how many times you have been shown the door by frustrated scientists in various fields. Assuming of course that you have had the wherewithall to even seek their advice in the first place.

    If you are going to even attempt a serious foray into photosynthetic biochemistry and ecology you need to spend weeks, if not months or even years, speaking with experts in these fields, sitting down in tea-rooms and in offices and in laboratories and learning about the complexities and nuances of several discplines in which you currently have no experience.

    You should write essays for assessment, and you should conduct your own experimentation to grasp the intricacies of the techniques and the limitations of the data you derive. You should write reports, again for assesment, and have your first attempts at a paper reviewed by practising plant physiologists before you can claim to have a greater understanding of the field than the many experts whom you contradict with your statements.

    You should especially understand John Mashey’s comment, from a day or so ago, that significant shifts in understanding do not come from people working outside of their fields of expertise. To this observation I would add that such shifts especially do not come from folk who are ignorant of just about the entire bodies of fact/knowledge of the fields which they are attempting to comment upon, and most esoecially so when they consistently demonstrate that they are prepared to not only ignore but to refute the best understanding of the experts in various scientific disciplines, and to do so without providing any credible evidence as a counter.

    You are simply demonstrating no capacity for an even remotely structured approach to understanding this science, and until you do so your theories have no chance of withstanding scrutiny.

  70. #70 Ian Forrester
    January 27, 2009

    Tim Curtin said: “Apologies to Ian Forrester,as the main paper he provided, Crafts-Brandner and Salvucci (http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/97/24/13430) actually supports my case in spades”.

    No Tim, that is not what CB&S are saying at all. Their paper shows that net photosynthesis is lower when CO2 concentrations are increased. Which is exactly what I stated in my post. You have completely misunderstood the experiments described in the paper.

    Figure 1 shows a lot more information than that which you have extracted from it. The information you have looked at is just how the enzyme RUBISCO responds to increasing temperature. As with most other enzymes its activity increases with increasing temperature. The data which supports my conclusions (and CB&S’s) is the lower levels of active Rubisco which occurs after incubation at higher CO2 concentrations (the low-activity RUBISCO is in equilibrium with the activated RUBISCO and the equilibrium is moved to the low activity side of the equation at increased CO2 concentrations).

    This is shown by the difference between the solid and dashed lines and the lines with the data points. As the CO2 concentration was increased (A>B>C>D) the difference increased meaning that there was less net photosynthesis than there would have been if the CO2 had not been increased.

    This is also shown in Table 1.

  71. #71 Tim Curtin
    January 27, 2009

    Bi: you said ‘In other words, you still have zero hard evidence of your initial strong claim that “Arrhenius took over this [Malthus’s] formulation”’. For fun in my spare time between playing/watching tennis I have started doing some experiments taking over Arrhenius’ famous equation for analyzing electrolytic dissociation of salts. Is this wicked, plagiarism, or what? Or is nobody allowed to use (take over) either Malthus’ or Arrhenius’ formulae?

    Richard Simons: references please to your own or other papers.

    Bernard J. 1. You said: “When you discover integration, you have to address it by differencing until you no longer get integration…. or you have to show cointegration between the two series. As far as I can tell, T.C. hasn’t done either.” The 2500 at IPCC have yet to reference a paper doing that for [CO2] and global mean temperature, which is why they prefer models that always tautologically yield perfectly cointegrated regressions. I am not going to anticipate here all sections of my forthcoming peer reviewed paper (including I am told by an IPCC 2007 lead author), so you will have to restrain your intemperance.

    2. You also said I am “making a claim about an entire planetary phenomenon, that global agricultural production is best increased by increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration, whilst simultaneously dismissing many other accepted productivity modes”. That is not quite what I say, which is that there is huge evidence that rising [CO2] has been is and will continue to be (in the absence of ETS etc) beneficial for raising productivity at both global and local levels, including not only in Crimp & co at Garnaut Review, or Cline, but hundreds of other papers including the one linked to by Forrester on which more below. It is for you to show that enhanced [CO2] has zero effect (cet.par). on yields either in greenhouses, or in FACE field experiments.

    3. I had said “Hansen does not grasp that reducing [CO2] must reduce that fertilization…” You asked for “Evidence for this accusation?” Well, try his letters to Rudd and Obama, or any of his publications since say PNAS 2004, where I can discern no recognition of any such benefit from increasing [CO2] or any recognition of any loss if we go back from today’s 385ppm to his ceiling of 350ppm. Both of these are suppressio veri worthy of Bernie Madoff, with whom Hansen has a lot in common.

    4. Then you say I “have yet to demonstrate that net photosynthesis is going to increase with the combination of the current levels of atmospheric CO2 and the climate alterations that are in train but have yet to manifest due to climatic inertia”. The paper by Forrester’s authors noted again below, also Norby & Yuo, do this (Norby, R.J. and Y. Luo 2004. Evaluating ecosystem responses to rising atmospheric CO2 and global warming in a multi-factor world. New Phytologist 162: 281-293). I have also done the inventory analysis which shows how either continuing absorption of [CO2] at the present rate can easily deplete [CO2] to the 1750 level of 280 within 60 years if all emissions cease forthwith or by 2012 at latest as demanded by Hansen (in his letter to Barry and Mich Obama, 29 Dec 2008), and even sooner if we take into account the diminishing partial pressure of [CO2] under the Hansen programme, which will actually reduce Pn and crop yields worldwide. Just study Table 1 in the online version of my Quadrant article either at http://www.lavoisier.com.au, or the fuller version at Global Carbon Project, and work from the current flows to your own projections given your own preferred emission reduction targets.

    The rest of your comments set up even more strawmen that are not worth comment.

    Ian Forrester: You have yet to study your authors’ Fig.1 in depth. Whether at 210 or 10 mbar O2, Pn is higher at 45oC as CO2 increases from 280 to 550 to 750 to 1200 ppm (or mbar). It is true they keep changing the scale of the vertical axis to obscure this, I wonder why, and refuse to provide any of their data, but that is par for the course, but fortunately it is possible despite their obfuscation to verify what I have just said, which refutes what you claim when you say “As the CO2 concentration was increased (A>B>C>D) the difference increased meaning that there was less net photosynthesis than there would have been if the CO2 had not been increased.” Simply not true. Get a magnifying glass and note their changes in scale.

  72. #72 Dano
    January 28, 2009

    Simons and Forrester have good points.

    My undergrad was in Env Horticulture from an ag school, and we looked at this stuff all the time.

    Shorter good points:

    All crops have optimal temperature ranges (all plants, but the topic is crops), and generally we grow our crops near their max ranges.

    The Philippines is madly studying how to increase the max temps for rice. My tomatoes last year didn’t set for ~22 days in a heat wave where their location got over 95ºF. Many C3 crops do not perform well in heat, and a type of plant metabolism called CAM (most desert plants) overcome heat by opening their stomata at night to avoid water loss.

    This gets to my next point, is metabolism is lower in high heat as plants close their stomata to avoid wilting; the PNAS paper shows, to me, that plants “know” this as well, despite higher CO2 levels – and the more important response is to avoid wilting, not open stomata to receive more “plant food” to grow more. We see this in a number of other studies that show that graminaceous crops actually have less nutrition in their endosperm under higher CO2 regimes, presumably because these crops are not adapted to higher regimes and react as in the PNAS paper.

    This response by the jack*ss Curtin is yet another example of the comical Tim being unable to identify a hole in the ground, as this argument was shot down years ago. I’d encourage Curtin to submit his paper and share how the referees laughed at his manuscript.

    Best,

    D

  73. #73 Gaz
    January 28, 2009

    Tim Curtin (#68): “The 2500 at IPCC have yet to reference a paper doing that for [CO2] and global mean temperature, which is why they prefer models that always tautologically yield perfectly cointegrated regressions.”

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

    That’s the best joke I’ve heard since the one about the two nuns on bicycles, Tim.

  74. #74 Tim Curtin
    January 28, 2009

    To Ian Forrester, again: you said “This is shown by the difference between the solid and dashed lines and the lines with the data points. As the CO2 concentration was increased (A>B>C>D) the difference increased meaning that there was less net photosynthesis than there would have been if the CO2 had not been increased.” I still think you are misreading Fig.1 in that paper. Let’s look at graphs B and D in that Fig. In B, we have the results of the experiment at 550 mCi (or ppm CO2, and in D we have those for 1200. At 45oC, in B we have net photosynthesis (Pn) of 90 mmol per m2 and s^-1, with rubisco at 10 mbar of O2, and in D, Pn is 140. By me 140>90. In the case of 210 mbar, Pn in B at 45oC is 60, and in D it is about 120. Again 120>60.
    These graphs also show “response of Pn to leaf temperature at different internal partial pressures of CO2 (ci) and O2 concentrations” with the latter at 210 or 10 mbar O2. Again at 45oC, in B the Pn is 30 at 10 mbar O2, and in D it is 40. I guess 40>30. For 210 mbar O2, we have in B Pn of 20 and in D, 30. So in each case the higher CO2 at max temperature of 45oC yields higher Pn.
    In your comment either you seem to be comparing apples and oranges, i.e. two different sets of experiments, or your authors have mislabelled and misdescribed their graphs, because they do not show what is claimed, e.g. “Rubisco deactivated in leaves when temperature was increased and also in response to high CO2 or low O2″. Graphs B and D show HIGHER activation at any given temperature and level of O2 when there is higher CO2 as in D than in B. The solid and dotted Rubisco lines are both higher (= higher Pn) in D than in B, giving the lie to their final claim that “activase activity per se appears to limit the photosynthetic potential of leaves at elevated temperaturee even in the presence of high CO2″. BTW, you have have got the sequencing of CO2 in graphs A:D wrong, they are actually as follows: A

  75. #75 Jeff Harvey
    January 28, 2009

    Tim,

    You creating a red-herring. As I said in my last post, you are rehashing the classic denialist strategy: so long as some process or its outcome is not fully known or understood, it does not exist. I was an editor at Nature and I never ever pressured an author into adding a pro-forma addition to the paper suggesting that the results should be viewed in a larger context or ‘with caution’. I would like to know who told you that, if indeed anyone did. The authors do that themselves because they are acutely aware that one cannot often extrapolate conclusions that are broadly linear into complex, decidedly non-linear systems. All good scientists are very cautious about the conclusions they generate from their research and few would take the results of studies in closed systems and suggest that their results can easily be viewed in a braoder framework.

    Moreover, you are also selective: there are many other studies (in PNAS for example) which suggest that the phenomena you glean from the PNAS study will have other effects and consequences on ecosystems that are hard to predict but could have serious repercussions for the way they function. Moreover, one of our PhD students here defended her thesis last month in which she examined the impact of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels on microbial community dynamics in the rhizosphere. She concluded:

    “As opposed to simply increasing the activity of soil-borne microbes resident at ambient C02 conditions, elevated atmospheric C02 strongly selects for opportunistic plant-associated microbial communities, with a particular shift in the dominant arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi community as well as rhizosphere bacterial anbd fungal populations”.

    In other words, the dynmaics of these sytems changes, with winners and losers: increased atmospheric levels of C02 translate into strong, non-linear effects on important organisms in soil communities rendering these communities much more likely to break down. Rhizobacteria and mycorrhiza play a central role in the global change process, because they are key components in the response of terrestrial ecocystems to elevated atmospheric C02 levels. Ultimately, humans are playing with the carbon cycle, as well as cycles of othert key nutrients, processes which are generated over quite stupendously large scales. There will be and already are important ecological consequences, that involve changes in the structure and fucntion of ecological communities both in above- and belowground domains. Given that these interact, the outcome of such an experiment is hard to predict, but it is an illusion to argue that plant communities and especially crops will benefit and to leave it at that. I find it incredible that anyone would draw such a conclusion.

    What you are doing by cherry-picking a few studies to support your arguments is to ignore many others that have generated very different and worrying conclusions. In this context, you are effectively saying that humans should continue along our current path, conducting a single non-replicatable experiment on systems we barely understand but which generate conditions that permit us to exist and persist. As a senior scientist I actually feel embarrassed to have to respond to such one-dimensional arguments which it is my opinion have a strongly political underpinning (e.g. promoting business-as-usual in the name of profit).

    Ian, Tim, Bernard and others have countered the physiological arguments underpinning your views. My aim has been to take a step back and to view the effects on large scale systems. Its no use dismissing this with the refrain, “I should speak to the authors” – this does not cut ice with me. I am a qualified population ecologist and I can assure you that the effects you attempt to extrapolate will not necessarily create the green utopia you envisage. Complex adaptive systems just do not function in that way. In my opinion its actually up to those arguing for a continuation of the current global experiment to prove that its repercussions are benign. There’s enough empirical evidence to show that they are not going to be. Biodiversity loss, declining soil quality, declining numbers of pollinators, declining groundwater supplies, rapidly changing regional temperature and rainfall regimes all indicate that we are going in the wrong direction.

    Lastly, you should also know that the candiate of the excellent PhD I cited earlier argued in her thesis ‘stellingen’ that “Climate change is already happening and represents one of the greatest environmental, social and economic threats facing the planet”.

  76. #76 Dano
    January 28, 2009

    Note how Curtin can’t reference any denialist studies – rather, he makes sh*t up from the paper he can’t understand. This is Typical Denialist Tactic 4B.

    Best,

    D

  77. #77 Dano
    January 28, 2009

    I just read Jeff Harvey’s post.

    Shorter Dano reading of Jeff: spare me your tired hasty generalization logical fallacies.

    Jeff is, of course, too polite to be so blunt. But many of us tire of the same old tactics, recycled over and over.

    Timmy’s tactic was refuted years ago, put to bed, the building collapsed, the wood rotted and broke down into soil (where Jeff’s student’s mycorrhizæ went to work), crops were replanted and ethanol created. Jeff may have even commuted to work with this ethanol.

    Who said denialists don’t have the power to move us.

    Best,

    D

  78. #78 bi -- IJI
    January 28, 2009

    Tim Curtin:

    > For fun in my spare time between playing/watching tennis I have started doing some experiments taking over Arrhenius’ famous equation for analyzing electrolytic dissociation of salts. Is this wicked, plagiarism, or what? Or is nobody allowed to use (take over) either Malthus’ or Arrhenius’ formulae?

    In other words, (again!) you still have zero hard evidence of your initial strong claim that “Arrhenius took over this [Malthus’s] formulation”.

  79. #79 Tim Curtin
    January 28, 2009

    My previous post was sent before completion, here is the rest its final point also answers Jeff.

    BTW, you (Ian F) have have got the sequencing of CO2 in graphs A:D wrong, they are actually as follows: A<B<C<D, just like your authors got their paper’s conclusions completely arse about. I wonder if you or they have ever been to the Gezira cotton scheme south of Khartoum as I have? Believe me it is often 45oC there and its cotton has thriven for over 80 years now. Even in spring (April-May) the mean max’s are 41 and 41.5, rising to 45 and by August max can reach over 50. In the cooler winter they switch to wheat. If heat is so bad for cotton’s Rubisco as your authors claim, why does Gezira grow it only in the hottest months? (it is the largest single cotton operation the world).

    Hi Bi: and you have yet to prove Arrhenius never did know of Malthus.

  80. #80 Tim Curtin
    January 28, 2009

    Again for reasons not clear to me my last posts have been truncated. Here is the missing para in full again:

    In your comment either you seem to be comparing apples and oranges, i.e. two different sets of experiments, or your authors have mislabelled and misdescribed their graphs, because they do not show what is claimed, e.g. “Rubisco deactivated in leaves when temperature was increased and also in response to high CO2 or low O2″. Graphs B and D show HIGHER activation at any given temperature and level of O2 when there is higher CO2 as in D than in B. The solid and dotted Rubisco lines are both higher (= higher Pn) in D than in B, giving the lie to their final claim that “activase activity per se appears to limit the photosynthetic potential of leaves at elevated temperaturee even in the presence of high CO2″. BTW, you have got the sequencing of CO2 in graphs A:D wrong, they are actually as follows: CO2 of A is less than in B which is less than in C which is less than in D, you have it the other way round, just like your authors rendered their conclusions inconsistent with their Fig.1. I wonder if you or they have ever been to the Gezira cotton scheme south of Khartoum as I have? Believe me it is often 45oC there and its cotton has thriven for over 80 years now. Even in spring (April-May) the mean max is 41, and by August max can reach over 50. In the cooler winter they now switch to wheat. If heat is so bad for cotton’s Rubisco as your authors claim, why does Gezira grow it in the hottest months?

    Jeff: what do you disapprove of at Gezira?
    .

  81. #81 P. Lewis
    January 28, 2009

    _”Again for reasons not clear to me my last posts have been truncated”_

    HTML!

    I think we all knew, but weren’t going to tell you.

  82. #82 Tim Lambert
    January 28, 2009

    I fixed your comment for you, Tim C.

    To get a < you have to type &lt;

  83. #83 bi -- IJI
    January 28, 2009

    Tim Curtin:

    > Hi Bi: and you have yet to prove Arrhenius never did know of Malthus.

    Tim Curtin, I claim that I’m the Queen of England. Prove me wrong.

    * * *

    In other words, (yet again!) you still have zero hard evidence of your initial strong claim that “Arrhenius took over this [Malthus’s] formulation”.

  84. #84 Bernard J.
    January 29, 2009

    your (sic) authors have mislabelled and misdescribed their graphs, because they do not show what is claimed…

    Tim Curtin, if you stand by you claim it behoves you to immediately contact both PNAS and the authors and ask for an erratum,/i>, or indeed a retraction, of the paper.

    I, and many others here, will be watching with intense interest for your updates on the correspondence that will ensure that your correction to science is completed.

    Ball’s in your court, mate.

  85. #85 Tim Curtin
    January 29, 2009

    Bernard. I already have that in hand, but I was rather hoping that if I am wrong, by now you or Ian would have put me straight. Absence of any correction since my posting 24 hours ago implies that I am right so I will proceed as you suggest. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Bi: I see that Arrhenius was a very keen eugenicist and favoured liquidating the unfit, like so many other neo-Malthusians then and now (eg FoE, ACF, and Greenpeace). Circumstantial evidence I grant you, but probably enough to secure a conviction.

  86. #86 Jeff Harvey
    January 29, 2009

    Tim,

    I believe that Dano has more than dealt with your posts. Moreover, you have not answered a single point that I have made. Methinks this could be because you do not understand basic environmental science, and instead argue pedantically over specific aspects of plant physiology in response to higher temperatures and/or C02 regimes. But, for the millionth time, THIS TELLS US NOTHING ABOUT THE RESPONSE OF ASSOCIATED SYMBIONTS OR ANTAGONISTS. In other words, these data ignore A SUITE OF INTERACTIONS IN COMPLEX FOOD WEBS THAT ULTIMATELY DETERMINE PLANT PRODUCTIVITY AND AT LARGER SCALES ECOSYSTEM FUNCTIONS AND RESLIENCE. From your posts, I get nix back addressing the impacts of global change over larger scales. Its like refusing to look at the trees, the forest, or even a single tree, but instead just focusing on one very small piece of bark. From studying this small piece of bark you generate all kinds of frankly whimsical and irrelevant conclusions about the benefits of increased atmospheric C02 levels on crop productivity and biomass. Where do the crops grow? Are they grown in isolation? Are not all crops derived from wild types that were collected in natural systems? Is not genetic variation in plant phenotype driven by a suite of biotic and biotic selection pressures? What about phenotypic variation in domesticated plants? And how do these phenotypes perform under rapidly changing environmental conditions? What are the constraints, and how will these affect plant fitness? Is it possible to meaningfully translate the results of lab-based studies to nature, where conditions are far more complicated and variable? Is it also possible to extrapolate linear trends in systems that are decidely non-linear? Will plants respond linearly to continued increases in temperature and/or C02, or will performance plateau, and then perhaps fall back? What is the thermal and biochemical optima for plants? What about their associated consumers? So many questions and so few answers. And aqainst this setting we have a few denialists telling us to ‘stay the course’ because everything will turn out well.

    It feels like I am speaking to a brick wall – that Tim refuses to extrapolate beyond small scale ecophysiological experiments and scale up to more complex systems. The only silver lining is this: most scientists know better. We know that the kinds of conclusions Tim draws are considered ill advised at best, and that nature does not work in the very simple way that he suggests. My advice to posters here is to let it rest there.

  87. #87 sod
    January 29, 2009

    Tim Curtin doesn t understand the basics. he believes, that the oceans will continue to take up immense amounts of CO2, even when the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is reduced again.

    basically he thinks that our whole planet will collapse, as soon as we stop burning fossil fuels.

    pretty bizarre.

    read his slideshow “Climate Change Mitigation – and mass starvation by 2050?”

    http://www.timcurtin.com/

  88. #88 Jeff Harvey
    January 29, 2009

    Sod,

    He also says that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, which is utterly ridiculous; any nutrient is a pollutant if it occurs in excessively high concentrations that alters or impairs the functions of organisms or disrupts interactions with other species . Nitrogen, phosphorus etc., are all potential pollutants.

    Also, to suggest that mitigating climate change (by stabilizing or reducing atmospheric C02 levels) will result in mass starvation by 2050 is so absurd as to enter the comic book category.

    Tim, why don’t you submit some of these arguments to a scientific journal, like Global Change Biology or Ecosystems or Ecology Letters? See how far you’d get (hint, not very).

  89. #89 Dano
    January 29, 2009

    Also, to suggest that mitigating climate change will result in mass starvation by 2050 is so absurd as to enter the comic book category.

    Innnn THIS corner! Weighing innnn at a pale, pudgy 112 kilos! Hailllling from the Emerallllld Isle! The braaaaaaaaave Captain Carbon, fighting greeeeeen interests to ensure poor plants have their foooooood-uh so our chilllllldren can eat!

    In the Grrrreeen! corner! Weighing in at an emaciated! hemmmmmpen-clad-uh 51 kilos! Haiiiiiiiling from-uh a collectiv-uh! in the windy heaths! The crrrrrrraven Guh-reeeeeeeen lobby!

    Best,

    D

  90. #90 Tim Curtin
    January 29, 2009

    My last post replying to bi and Bernard seems to have disappeared again, not sure what was wrong with the sytax this time, or was it because I noted (from Wiki) that Arrhenius was instrumental in setting up the Swedish Institute for Racial Biology in 1922. “Arrhenius was a member of the institute’s board, as he had been in The Swedish Society for Racial Hygiene (Eugenics), founded in 1909. Swedish racial biology was world-leading at this time, and the results formed the scientific basis for the Compulsory sterilization program in Sweden, as well as inspiring the Nazi eugenics in Germany.” It is well known that Malthusian ideas on excessive population underlay, along with “survival of the fittest” notions, the eugenics movement of the 2os and 30s. It is also known that organisations like WWF, FoE, ACF etc all espouse the Malthusian belief that the world was and is overpopulated. Anyway, bi, it seems there is strong circumstantial evidence that Arrhenius was well aware of the Malthusian model.

    Bernard J, I appreciate your tacit recognition that I am right about the Crafts-Brander & Salvucci paper (PNAS 2000), and will take up your suggestion. I am however puzzled by your implicit faith that PNAS represents some kind of perfection, when it can easily be shown to be all too ready to publish any old rubbish on climate change and much else. For example, Hansen & Sato (PNAS 2004) stated the Airborne Fraction of CO2 emissions has been 60% on average for at least 50 years, while Canadell et al (PNAS 2007, following on from their Table 7.1 in AR4, WG1, 2007) show it was been only 43% between 1959 and 2006, but claim that it is however increasing because of “saturation” of oceanic and terrestrial sinks, despite those sinks having increased their absorption from an average of 4 GtC p.a. in 1970-1999 to 5 Gtc in 2000-2006 (their Table 1). Clearly PNAS’ peer reviewers have no concept of ensuring consistency either within or between papers. In other fields it is known as “quality control”, in PNAS, Science and Nature that term is an oxymoron.

  91. #91 Tim Curtin
    January 31, 2009

    Further to my last, amazingly this week’s PNAS confirms what I said (“I am however puzzled by your implicit faith that PNAS represents some kind of perfection, when it can easily be shown to be all too ready to publish any old rubbish on climate change and much else”). This issue (vol.106, no.6, 1704-1709) contains an article by the inimitable Sue Solomon, Co-Chair of WG1 and chief editor of their report for IPCC AR4, Climate Change 2007 The Physical Science Basis), along with Plattner, Knutti, and Friedlingstein, “Irreversible climate change due to CO2 emissions”. This paper actually made my day, as it proves conclusively that even if all CO2 emissions cease tomorrow, there will be no global mean surface temperature falls before the year 3000. No need for Kyoto 2 or ETS etc, as they will have nil impact for a thousand years. Global droughts (especially across WA and north-eastern Australia, where the present floods are merely a harbinger of endemic drought for the next 1000 years, see their Fig.3) and sea level rise are inevitable even at the existing level of emissions, and are also irreversible for the next millennium even if emissions fall now to zero. As this is a tablet from the mountain. let’s eat drink and be merry, for nothing we can do will achieve anything before 3000 because of the irreversibility “proved” by Sue – here is a direct paste from Sue’s abstract: “This paper shows that the climate change that takes place due to increases in carbon dioxide concentration is largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop”. No need for Wong to head for Copenhagen, where at most the aim will be to reduce emissions by 50% by 2050, as nothing agreed there will make a blind bit of difference for a thousand years.
    Although it goes against my grain, if adequately compensated and asked to join Penny there I will explain why the computations in the papers by Sue & friends (their equation 3) and those slumdogs Ramanathan & Feng (PNAS, again,105.38, 2008), which in part underpin Sue’s wonderful finding, are fatally flawed.

  92. #92 DavidK
    January 31, 2009

    Umm, er … Tim. Just maybe Solomon et al are saying that if humanity allows GHC concentrations to reach say 600ppm (and the consequent temperature rise), that there is not much we can do to reduce the consequences for a very, very long time.

    Ergo, we should take steps (urgently) to reduce GHG now rather than wait till it’s too late.

    Btw, how’s that paper of yours going?

  93. #93 bi -- IJI
    January 31, 2009

    Tim Curtin:

    > Bi: I see that Arrhenius was a very keen eugenicist and favoured liquidating the unfit, like so many other neo-Malthusians then and now (eg FoE, ACF, and Greenpeace).

    So you’re saying that Arrhenius, with his clairvoyant vision, was able to foresee that his work on the greenhouse effect will be used by ALGORE!!!!! to impose EUGENICS!!!!!! on the White Man, the Jew of Liberal Fascism… and this led him to “take over” (with different words) Malthus’s formulation of population and crop growth for the greenhouse warming formula.

  94. #94 Tim Curtin
    January 31, 2009

    DavidK: Sue et al said: “It is not generally appreciated [including by you David it seems]that the atmospheric temperature increases caused by rising carbon dioxide concentrations are not expected to decrease significantly even if carbon emissions were to completely cease”. So I repeat, why bother? A mere 50% reduction by 2050 will make no difference before 3000. Sue is our delphic Oracle, She has spoken, and must be obeyed, even by Wong. Her equation (3) is the riddle in the sands, and is total tosh, but you could be right if you can show show why.

    Franki Bi: Spot on. Actually his words were prcatically no different from Malthus’ and the latter did inter alia lead him on to his eugenics.

    Moving on, Hansen et al (2008, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics) repeat their inability to work out the Airborne Fraction. Given [CO2] at Mauna Loa, and CO2 emissions (as at Marland of CDIAC, even cited by Hansen), the average AF has been only 43% since 1958, not 58% as once again claimed (p.1256) by Hansen, proving he is kin to Madoff. The latter successfully conned all too many of those who should have known better, including top executives of Merrill Lynch, by claiming rates of return which exceeded the best of the rest by the same margin as Hansen’s exceeds the actual AF. Ah, but the Science is settled, plus or minus 15% for a key variable. As my Quadrant piece showed, Hansen et al like the IPCC passim refuse to model the oceanic and terrestrial absorption of CO2 emissions, and instead regard it as merely the residual between emissions and their [CO2] scenarios. In practice the absorption has a life of its own, including the [CO2] fertilization effect, and it is [CO2] which is the residual dump. Until this is grasped there will be no progress, as manifest in Sue’s paper.

  95. #95 Eli Rabett
    January 31, 2009

    Yes Tim, as Shakesbunny wrote, first we kill all the denialists.

  96. #96 sod
    January 31, 2009

    look Tim, Hansen does understand the basics. you don t.

    how much CO2 is taken up by plants and oceans is determined by the concentration in the air.

    if Hansen was off by a few percent in his 30 years predictions, that s fine. that s why the science is always improved.

    you on the other hand, understand nothing. you assume, that uptakes are independent of concentration in the atmosphere. that is plain stupid.

  97. #97 Dano
    January 31, 2009

    I think we underestimate Timmy.

    See, he just may be the next Galileo. We all know he is working – right now – on multiple manuscripts to overturn the Eugenics-Based Greenie Science.

    Either that, or he is from an alternate universe and they have different physics over there. Say, Tim, what do they use for energy in your universe? Computation? Is there on-line porn?

    Best,

    D

  98. #98 bi -- IJI
    January 31, 2009

    I said:

    > So you’re saying that Arrhenius, with his clairvoyant vision, was able to foresee that his work on the greenhouse effect will be used by ALGORE!!!!! to impose EUGENICS!!!!!! on the White Man, the Jew of Liberal Fascism… and this led him to “take over” (with different words) Malthus’s formulation of population and crop growth for the greenhouse warming formula.

    Tim Curtin replied:

    > Franki Bi: Spot on.

    Dano, this truly is groundbreaking. Forget those pesky scientific journals; this truly is material for a blockbuster movie!

    Consider the possibility that global warming was concocted by GRIGORI RASPUTIN!!!!! and became a cornerstone of the theories of ADOLF HITLER!!!!! and not forgetting THE FREEMASONS!!!!!

    It’s like what happens when you cross Hellboy with Hitler: The Rise of Evil and Lord of the Rings, or maybe it’s Bored of the Rings. I smell a blockbuster coming.

  99. #99 Dano
    January 31, 2009

    Frank,

    Hitler knew that reducing human population was the only way to save the planet from th’ globul warmin. He was the ultimate envirogreenie, which is why I have an ‘SS’ tatooed next to my tattoo of a druid (which are just above the tattoo of the first line of Marx’s Manifesto).

    Best,

    D

  100. #100 Tim Curtin
    January 31, 2009

    Sod said:”look Tim, Hansen does understand the basics.” Then why does he get them wrong both numerically and in terms of implications of his plan to starve us all into submission by reducing [CO2] to 350 ppm or less? Given CO2 emissions of 9.7 GtC mid2005-mid2006 and the increase in [CO2] at Mauna Loa of 3.8 GtC, evidently total Absorption was 5.9 GtC, or nearly 61%, and the actual average 1959 to 2007 was 57.8%, the very figure Hansen gives for the Airborne Fraction!!!!! So deep is his understanding and his humility in writing letters to Kevin and Barry telling them what to do that he can’t get the basics right.

    Sod then added: “how much CO2 is taken up by plants and oceans is determined by the concentration in the air.” Yes, quite largely but not wholly, but putting how much on one side, I am so glad that Sod now agrees with me that reducing “the concentration in the air” has an impact on plants on land and in the oceans, so reducing [CO2] is very likely to reduce total plant productivity. That has NEVER been mentioned by Hansen. The man’s wild irresponsibility in dicing this way with the livelihoods of all humanity is mind boggling. Sod, good on ya for agreeing with me for once!

    What is amazing is the total inability of PNAS and Hansen et al to understand either basic accounting or the ex ante and ex post concepts of Keynesian economics. Ex post, after the events, the accounting identity is that (C) Increase in atmos. CO2 equals (E) emissions minus (A) oceanic and terrestrial absorption. This is too much for Hansen and the whole IPCC mob to be able to grasp. That means they have no chance of understanding that ex ante, there are E and A, the latter largely if not wholly independent of the former – the success of Sod’s tomataoes this season is not wholly determined by the CO2 emissions by cars driving down his road – which JOINTLY determine C ex post. Amazing but true, 2500 Nobel prize winners are incapable of understanding this, still less Stern and Garnaut.

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