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 Curtin
    March 3, 2009

    Thanks to all for your contributions, and congrats to P and Gaz for helping to keep our species going.

    Re Jeff at #287: Jeff says “Please put up your scientific credentials for all of us to see” and then launches into economics – a field in which he has no credentials that I am aware of (unlike me): “In my opinion, underlying all of this apparent concern for the world’s starving is an altogether different agenda” – I spent nearly my whole working life in the 3rd World but never knew that concern was not the real agenda. Jeff on economics again: “That agenda is to maintain business-as-usual and to ensure the maximization of short-term corporate profit”. Is it? – and nothing to do with jobs, incomes, crop production, mining and industry?

    Jeff sez:“I see it much like I see the so-called “War on Terror”, which I also believe does not exist….” What does not exist, the fighting in Afghanistan, or the Terror? Ask the Sri Lankan cricketers, is Jeff so sure that they dreamt what happened yesterday? Jeff: “but is being used as a political and economic tool by the rich and powerful states”, ah so the shooting in Lahore was our “economic tool”, with the gunmen hired by who exactly? “I have said it before and I will say it again: the major problem in the world today is equity. That is the dilemma. We need [eugenicist Jeff Harvey] to tell is to address the political problems underlying the social injustices that plague and divide our world. This is what the starving and destitute of the world need, not more C02 in the atmosphere.” What will their yields be with [CO2] at 350 ppm or less?

    Jeff again: “Finally, how is one supposed to prove that dramatic increases in atmospheric C02 and its attendant climate change generate mass extinctions? We know that the latter is true, and that it is correlated with the former”. What dramatic increase in [CO2] – c40% since 1750? Annual growth since 1958 of 0.4% p.a.? If that is drama, you must get a kick out of watching grass grow. What attendant climate change? Just give us the temperature record of your current home town since 1850 (adjusted for UHI).

    Jeff: “ given our ignorance of the ways ecosystems and biomes function,” – what the hell have you been doing all these years if you haven’t worked this out yet? – “ combined with the fact that they sustain us…”. But they will according to Jeff manage just fine with reducing [CO2]. Jeff, you are the chief scientist not to mention chief economist of The Kingdom of the Netherlands, where is your published analysis of the impact of declining [CO2] on functioning of ecosystems and biomes?

    Jeff at #288 (and Bernard at #289): for every paper you cite showing some adverse seasonal effects on migrations, there’s probably another showing benefits or adaptation, e.g. Climate change and unequal phenological changes across four trophic levels: constraints or adaptations? Christiaan Both, et al. Journal of Animal Ecology 2009.
    Summary
    1.
    Climate change has been shown to affect the phenology of many organisms, but interestingly
    these shifts are often unequal across trophic levels, causing a mismatch between the phenology of
    organisms and their food.
    2.
    We consider two alternative hypotheses: consumers are constrained to adjust sufficiently to the
    lower trophic level, or prey species react more strongly than their predators to reduce predation. We
    discuss both hypotheses with our analyses of changes in phenology across four trophic levels: tree
    budburst, peak biomass of herbivorous caterpillars, breeding phenology of four insectivorous bird
    species and an avian predator.
    3.
    In our long-term study, we show that between 1988 and 2005, budburst advanced (not significantly)
    with 0·17 d yr –1 , while between 1985 and 2005 both caterpillars (0·75 d year –1 ) and the hatching date
    of the passerine species (range for four species: 0·36–0·50 d year –1 ) have advanced, whereas raptor
    hatching dates showed no trend.
    4.
    The caterpillar peak date was closely correlated with budburst date, as were the passerine hatching
    dates with the peak caterpillar biomass date. In all these cases, however, the slopes were significantly
    less than unity, showing that the response of the consumers is weaker than that of their food. This
    was also true for the avian predator, for which hatching dates were not correlated with the peak
    availability of fledgling passerines. As a result, the match between food demand and availability
    deteriorated over time for both the passerines and the avian predators.
    5.
    These results could equally well be explained by consumers’ insufficient responses as a consequence
    of constraints in adapting to climate change, or by them trying to escape predation from a higher
    trophic level, or both. Selection on phenology could thus be both from matches of phenology with
    higher and lower levels, and quantifying these can shed new light on why some organisms do adjust
    their phenology to climate change, while others do not.

    In other words, evolution is on-going along with survival of the fittest. What’s new?
    Bernard (#289). I still can’t see your problems over what I mean by [CO2]. At all times my intention is to use [CO2] to mean the “atmospheric concentration of CO2”; in the published text in Quadrant we used the Garnaut terminology, CO2-e. Both terms as used refer to the atmospheric concentration in ppm of CO2 or CO2-e respectively, where the latter includes non-CO2 greenhouse gases..

    Bernard again: “What do you understand the current rate of species extinction to be?” Cumulative total of 0.2% from 1600 to 1990. There were then and still are a lot of taxa, in fact we don’t even know the total. “What do you accept the causes of the current elevated rate of extinction to be, assuming that you accept that the rate is elevated?” I don’t believe it is elevated, but I predict it will be if Hansen gets his way and drives down [CO2] to 350 ppm or less. But here is a simple test for you to perform: generate a map of the globe (land and sea) showing the distribution of all known species, see if you can prove that the majority are to be found in the colder latitudes N&S of the respective tropics rather than in the tropics? I know the answer so will not offer a bet. And IF there is warming, will spreads of tropical species to extra-tropics lead to net decline of the population of all species?

    Then Bernard quoted my assertion “There is and has been NO measurable global warming since 1900” and commented “Millions of scientists, statisticians, politicians and heck, even those bastions of free-market capitalism, insurance companies, see rather a different interpretation to the data.” Well, just go to Hansen’s GISS and check the global mean surface temperature in 1900, which was 13.9 oC, and in 2007, which was 14.56 oC, an increase of 0.66 oC. Given the global distribution of Met. Stations in 1900 and 2007 (available from NOAA), that is not a statistically significant increase. If AIG, the world’s biggest insurer, is “a bastion of free market capitalism”, gawd help us, it racked up world record losses last year and now exists only by kind favour of the US Treasury. A major factor in AIG’s demise as a bastion was precisely its childlike faith in the sort of twaddle peddled by GISS’ Hansen and the PNAS which is what in part led it to lose its zillions. BTW, if Stanford’s MBAs can’t make money for the shareholders of banks or insurance companies, it is not surprising Stanford also hosts comparable twerps like Stephen Schneider.

  2. #2 Gaz
    March 4, 2009

    Come on Tim, try a bit of logic.

    You say: “Jeff at #288 (and Bernard at #289): for every paper you cite showing some adverse seasonal effects on migrations, there’s probably another showing benefits or adaptation, e.g. Climate change and unequal phenological changes across four trophic levels: constraints or adaptations?”

    Then you cut and paste the entire abstract and summarise it as “In other words, evolution is on-going along with survival of the fittest. What’s new?”

    Are you kidding?

    I mean, do you really honestly believe that paper in any way undermines the case made by Jeff and Bernard? Did you even read the abstract?

    How does this comment from the paper support your case? “We hypothesize that larger animals that take more time from
    the environment of decision making to the environment of
    selection will be most vulnerable, because they will have
    least flexibility to respond to climate change.”

    Do you think this is just “business-as-usual” evolution at work?

    Do you really think the ability of some species to adapt their behaviour in response to short-term changes in their environment means the mass extinction currently under way is nothing to be concerned about?

    Do you think that evolutionary processes that usually take millions of years are going to have a significant impact over the next few hundred years, that somehow, miraculously, thousands of new species will appear to replace all those vulnerable species that have vanished?

    Could you explain how a species might evolve if it’s extinct?

    Honestly, Tim, I have long since given up wondering whether you will contribute anything even remotely sensible to this post.

    I am surely not Robinson Crusoe in this regard.

    The only reason I respond is because I’d hate to think first-time viewers of this site might be taken in by your inane twaddle.

    Oh, and as for your “fact” that emphysema patient are administered medical gas containing 5% CO2 – it’s true, I suppose, but irrelevant. Clearly irrelevant. The fact that a gas might be breathable by sick humans says nothing about its effect on the climate or the biosphere. It’s just another one of your ridiculous red herrings.

    You might as well argue that because people with heart conditions take half an aspirin every day with a glass of water, that mixing millions of tons of aspirin into the ocean in the same concentration would have no adverse effects.

  3. #3 bernard J.
    March 4, 2009

    I don’t believe [the current extinction rate] is elevated, but I predict it will be if Hansen gets his way and drives down [CO2] to 350 ppm or less.

    Hmmm. So thousands of ecologists across the world have inventoried biodiversity incorrectly, but you, Tim Curtin, have the true understanding of species turnover.

    Come on, are you serious?!

    Exactly how have you accomplished this understanding in the face of so many experts who should know better than you?

    Do you mean to say that, for hundreds of millions of years prior to the last several centuries, the biosphere managed to not only evolve from non-living elements, and to survive, but to thrive and to create an ever greater biodiversity, and that since industrialisation that’s all gone out of the window and life on earth is now dependent upon continued CO2 emissions?

    If this is what you are saying you are a complete and utter nutter.

    If AIG, the world’s biggest insurer, is “a bastion of free market capitalism”, gawd help us, it racked up world record losses last year and now exists only by kind favour of the US Treasury. A major factor in AIG’s demise as a bastion was precisely its childlike faith in the sort of twaddle peddled by GISS’ Hansen and the PNAS which is what in part led it to lose its zillions. BTW, if Stanford’s MBAs can’t make money for the shareholders of banks or insurance companies, it is not surprising Stanford also hosts comparable twerps like Stephen Schneider.

    It seems that it was the child-like faith of economists everywhere that contributed to the current financial crisis. Perhaps this has something to do with the widespread habit of many economists to exclude ‘externalities’ from their models, and (in part) to ignore the limitations and asymptotes of the natural resources of the planet. This is hardly a glowing endorsement of your former profession and the principles upon which much of its theory is based. Many of these theories are untested in the real world except over short periods of time, and in limited-parameter contexts.

    It reminds me of the joke my own economics teacher related at the beginning of the course, where a former student visits his old professor as the don is preparing the current year’s exams. The student notes that the questions were the same as those he was given ten years earlier, and the professor says “ah, yes, but the answers now are different”.

    It a bit cute also that you comment freely about subjects beyond your training, and then emphasise Jeff’s excursion into your territory. The thing is, having studied many humanities and sciences in my five degrees at university, I can safely say that some are far more involved than others. Of all the subjects I have studies and/or worked in, immunology and ecology are the stand-out hardest to acquire a thorough understanding of. They are, both, riddled with complex relationships and feedbacks, and it is far more difficult to establish a framework of understanding in these areas than it is in other subjects. If I had to compare ecology and economics, I’d happily say that the latter is an easier discipline to learn (and to critique) than is the former.

    And then there was:

    What dramatic increase in [CO2] – c40% since 1750? Annual growth since 1958 of 0.4% p.a.? If that is drama, you must get a kick out of watching grass grow.

    Curtin, you claim to be an economist. You should understand the wonders of compound interest, even at ‘low’ rates.

    Let’s take temperature as an example. If my fingers are all intact, the way I figure it is that at an “annual growth of 0.4%”, and assuming a global mean of 15ºC in 1958, the current temperature would be 80 ºC. At the same rate of increase starting from 1750, it would be 537 ºC today.

    Strange what happens when the grass grows…

    Just give us the temperature record of your current home town since 1850 (adjusted for UHI).

    My ‘home town’ doesn’t have temperature records going back to 1850, but there are many, many records of frequent and deep (for this part of the world) snows – up to 30 or 40 centimetres. That is, until about the 60s, since when almost overnight snow became a novelty, and the deepest fall for decades has been about 5 centimetres.

    The pome and stone fruit industries here have been hit hard by the significant change in chilling regimes, and many orchards of traditionally heavy-bearing fruit-trees have been ripped up and replaced by new varieties that are better able to produce under current temperatures. If warming continues for another degree or two, along with the increasingly late frosts (resulting from ever-clearer skies) that are killing buds, many of the industries are pretty much economically stuffed, even if the do change varieties.

    The salmon farm where my brother-in-law works is desperately trialing new species to cultivate, because the Altantic salmon that are currently raised are surviving at the upper limit of their temperature envelope, and more stock deaths are occurring every year. Twenty years ago they had no problem at all.

    As an interesting aside, I have my weather station programmed to collect temperature, pressure, precipitation, wind speed/direction, et cetera every twenty minutes. I live in a rural area 1km from the coast, and 10km south of our state capital. Our maxima are consistently 1-2ºC above the city’s… our urban heat island is strangely lacking… Whatever can this mean, Tim Curtin?

    In other words, evolution is on-going along with survival of the fittest. What’s new?

    You still have no biological clue do you? Nothing new there…

    Gaz’s answer above says enough.

    But here is a simple test for you to perform: generate a map of the globe (land and sea) showing the distribution of all known species, see if you can prove that the majority are to be found in the colder latitudes N&S of the respective tropics rather than in the tropics?

    Junior high school level acknowledgement of the association of species diversity with latitude does not inform us of the response of species, whether tropical, temperature or polar, to changes in their climatic envelopes. I, and the ever-patient Jeff in particular, have spent too much of our time previously explaining why you are wrong at so many levels.

    Can you not remember any of your lessons?

  4. #4 Tim Curtin
    March 4, 2009

    Gaz, as I expected, you left out the last para. of the Abtract of Both et al where they say: “These results could equally well be explained by consumers’ insufficient responses as a consequence of constraints in adapting to climate change, or by them trying to escape predation from a higher trophic level, or both. Selection on phenology could thus be both from matches of phenology with
    higher and lower levels, and quantifying these can shed new light on why some organisms do adjust their phenology to climate change, while others do not.” Why?

    Your final comment is reductio ad absurdem, which seldom leads to enlightenment. The issue is if 0.0385% [CO2] is bad for us, why is 5% good medically? The answer is that the former is trivial, and its 40% increase since 1900 has yielded just the pitifully statistically insignificant rise in GISS’ world temperature of just 0.66 oC; as Arrhenius and even IPCC admit, that means that a further 60% increase (from base 280 ppm) in [CO2] to 560 ppm will produce an even smaller increment in GISS global temperature, less than 0.66 oC, unless Hansen fiddles the books once again. IPCC can only get its 3 oC (+/- 1.5) by invoking positive feedback from water vapour, but that is looking a very shaky assumption. Spectometrists like Michael Hammer are confirming Lindzen’s insight that this feedback is negative, which explains the poor correlation between [CO2] and temperature (after allowing for autocorrelations of both data sets).

  5. #5 Jeff Harvey
    March 4, 2009

    Tim,

    *Sigh*. You are getting desperate. To reiterate what I said yesterday, there is not a ‘war on terror’ (a war ‘of’ terror perhaps, but not the former). In my humble view the US and their proxies are in Iraq and Afghanistan for purely economic and political reasons and terrorism is just a convenient bogey man, just as communism was 20 and more years ago. If you don’t realize this (which you apparently don’t) then I think you’re even more naive than I thought before (and that is saying a lot). If one wants to stop terrorism, they should stop participating in it. As far as economics go, you do not have a monopoly on wisdom. There are far more economists that would think your views are way, way out than scientists who would agree with your views on the means of reducing hunger. I say this with utter confidence.

    As for Christian Both’s paper, you are being selective, as always. I know Christian personally and have done experiments with him and he would be the first to say that your ideas are compeletely and utterly incorrect, as well as your interpretation. Again, I suggest you peruse through the pages of the journals I mentioend last week. There are thousands – literally – of studies reporting negative effects of climate change and other anthropogenic factors on various species of invertebrates and vertebrates.

    And another point which is indisputable is that the number of species threatened with extinction is high and rising. Many factors are responsible; climate change is certainly one of them. Check the IUCN data. Strangely you never address this point. Why is that I wonder?

    To all of the other readers of this thread: as a senior scientist, I can assure you that Tim’s views are consigned straigh to the waste bin. They are not taken seriously in the scientific community, especially the frankly silly notion of increased C02 levels being needed to feed the hungry.

  6. #6 Bernard J.
    March 4, 2009

    Um, that should have been four degrees and one postgraduate diploma.

    Oops.

  7. #7 Bernard J.
    March 4, 2009

    Ouch.

    Tim ‘Radium Water’ Curtin…

    Jeff has skewered you this time. This is the problem when you presume to tell a senior scientist that he and his fellow experts are wrong, and try to quote (and misinterpret) his scientific colleagues as proof – sooner or later you were bound to twist the words of someone he knows.

    This little debacle nicely shows exactly how you take a bit of science and attempt to ‘filter’ it in order to support yourself. Or perhaps you aren’t actually consciously filtering – maybe you are just plain incompetent to critique a complex field of science in which you have no training.

    Either way, it is a hit, a palpable hit.

    I expect that we will never see any better efforts from you in response to my repeated requests for science… even if this is not a physical exeunt of you from the discussion, your reputation and credibility are certainly bleeding out on the stage.

    A palpable hit indeed.

  8. #8 Tim Curtin
    March 4, 2009

    Bernard J (at #297)

    Your first comments are all appeals to authority without any data from your pundits to support your own quaint views. Yes, I do believe the continued well being of all living things is dependent on continued growth of [CO2], if only because since 1958 57% of CO2 emissions have annually been absorbed by our biospheres, resulting in population explosions at sea and on land, while only 43% annually has remained airborne, resulting in the statistically insignificant increase in global temperature since 1900 reported by GISS.

    Your gibe at economists is well directed if you are referring to Stern & Garnaut, as they ignored the manifest benefits of the enhanced biospheric absorption of CO2 since 1958 Those benefits are indeed an externality, but positive, and far outweigh the chimerical costs of the essentially NIL NET global climate change since 1900, for which they provided not a shred of evidence while rabbiting on about CO2 emissions being a one way street negative externality. Stern built his acdemic career on the Little-Mirrlees model of cost-benefit analysis in which the prices to be used are not those in the market but “shadow prices” as determined by L, M, and S to give whatever result they wanted. Garnaut’s Report shows no advance, as I explained in Quadrant.

    Bernard, I must congratulate you on your 5 degrees, but how did you manage that when you come up with this stuff:

    “ I’d happily say that [economics] is an easier discipline to learn (and to critique) than is [ecology]” when you “critique” (ghastly word, you would never have got a single degree from me in my teaching days if you had used it) this comment of mine: “What dramatic increase in [CO2] – c40% since 1750? Annual growth since 1958 of 0.4% p.a.? If that is drama, you (Jeff & Bernard] must get a kick out of watching grass grow.”
    You responded “Curtin, you claim to be an economist. You should understand the wonders of compound interest, even at ‘low’ rates. Let’s take temperature as an example. If my fingers are all intact, the way I figure it is that at an “annual growth of 0.4%”, and assuming a global mean of 15ºC in 1958, the current temperature would be 80 ºC. At the same rate of increase starting from 1750, it would be 537 ºC today.” Yes, but I was referring to CO2, not temperature. Take 1900 temperature in degrees C, and from the total increase since then, derive the growth rate, which is 1.000434% p.a. Then extrapolate as you did, and by 2615 you will still not have achieved even 19 oC, still about 10 below the annual average in Dubai. Using Kelvins is even more fun, as the growth rate from the larger base is even smaller. I think it fair to assume your stellar academic career left out Economics 101.

  9. #9 Bernard J.
    March 4, 2009

    Radium Water Curtin.

    It is easy to see, in your last post, how you play the pea and shells game.

    My point was to show how the 0.4% rate that you disparage changes the ‘capital’ over relatively short periods of time. I chose temperature as an arbitrary example, because its global mean value in Kelvin is similar to the pre-industrial atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration.

    However, this rate changes the trajectory rather more quickly than it has changed (at least, wrt CO2) historically. The use of temperature was to try to focus your attention on the numbers, rather than the parameters – the rate of temperature change over the last century or two is not relevant to my point about the 0.4% issue.

    Oh, and in case you missed it, the calculations were in kelvin, and converted back to celcius.

    Shorter point: 0.4% per annum is ‘small’; it’s cumulative effect is much larger. If your positing of the existence of no greenhouse effect is incorrect (and you have not demonstrated how you are correct in this) then changes in [CO2] at this rate will have discernible climatic effect in the not-too-distant future.

    The average annual temperature in Dubai is irrelevant to the discussion, just as the average temperature in my toilet is.

    And I topped my class in economics. However it bored me so much that I ditched it at the first opportunity. I would rather watch grass grow.

  10. #10 sod
    March 4, 2009

    so many errors, so little time.

    i ll try to be brief:

    1. main point: those who have a big interest in the CO2 effect (companies selling the gas to greenhouses) give a small effect for it: 30% under best conditions (and a massive increase in the CO2 level).
    this tiny number is the most simple proof, that everything that Tim C wrote here is complete nonsense!

    2. your own cost-benefit “analysis” contains not a SINGLE negative point. all the scientist that you attack are miles ahead of you!

    3. the calculation that bernhard did (though containing a small calculation error 15*1.004^50=18.3) was only supposed to be an EXAMPLE on the effect of small annual increases. that you decided to take it literally, didn t spot the error and used it to come up with an obviously complete false estimate for future temperature is a typical case of the “Curtin approach”.

    4. the growth (that is the part behind the multiplication in the formula above) is completely independent from the value at the front.

    5. everything that you said about extinctions, turned out to be false. did i miss the post, in which you excused yourself for those errors and took that nonsense back?
    the major species that managed to adapt well to the human environment has a name: RAT.

    6. everything that you brought up about medicine is moronic. the highest dose, used under certain medical circumstances, shouldn t be applied under different conditions. aspirin helps people with clogging blood. why not apply it to a person that is badly bleeding?

  11. #11 Jeff Harvey
    March 4, 2009

    Sod & Bernard,

    Excellent! Keep it coming.

    Tim actually downplays an annaul rate of 0.4% increase in atmospheric C02. As Bernard said correctly, it is the cumulative effect that matters, and within a temporal framework. The trouble with much of Tim’s musings is that he assumes that 50 years or 100 years is a long time. This is programmed into the human genome: the climate change sceptics dig up this chestnut all of the time, thus “I stuck my finger to the wind and it seems colder this year than last year, hence AGW is a myth”.

    Interactions occurring at small scales are largely stochastic, but as one increases the scale (temporal or spatial) processes become more determinisitc. This is basic physics. Humans are altering the workings of largely determinisitc systems in ways that are probably unprecedented in many thousands of years. Given that humans have paved or ploughed over much of the biosphere, we’ve created impediments – physical barriers – that affect the ability of species to adjust their distributions within their own thermal requirements, and have eliminated much of the habitat they require anyway when they are able to relocate. Habitat/biome generalists will do better than specialists, because the former can occupy different habitats, and there is already evidence that the latter are suffering as a result of AGW.

    So what we are doing is creating a better world for species that thrive in disturbed habitats (as Sod says): brown rats, house mice, cattle, many early successional weeds, starlings, cowbirds, as well as polyphagous insects. But these constitute only a small fraction of biodiversity. Consequently, there will many more losers; the latest IUCN data support this completely. The decline of many plants and animals is pandemic, and, as I said before, between 10 and 40% of well studied species (for which we have fairly accurate demographic information) are threatened with extinction. Many songbird populations in North America are in freefall. Given the intractible link between atmospheric C02 levels and global temperature regimes, we can expect to see the number of species pushed over the edge increase, not decrease, in coming years. To be fair, the human created bottleneck is not solely down to climate change, but, as I have said several times on this thread, it is synergized with other anthropogenic processes. Amongst the vast majority of the scientifiic community, this is an acknowledged fact. Amongst professional population ecologists who are doing the actual research, it is virtually unanimous.

    That is why I find Tim’s musings so incomprehensible. Instead of discussing ways to create a sustainable economy and social justice while not compromising the health of natural systems, or of compromising their ability to provide life-sustaining services, the only answer he can give is “pump more C02 into the atmosphere”.

    The clincher is this. When I suggested that our understanding of nature is still rudimentary, Tim responded, “What the hell have you been doing all these years if you haven’t worked this out yet?”. This suggests that by now science ought to understand literally trillions of interactions involving many billions of individuals representing perhaps ten million extant species. I wish it was so simple, but it isn’t. We are making headway, given that ecology only grew as a science during the 1960s, but ecology is made that much more complex because it is the mnost non-linear of the sciences. What we can say is that complex adaptive systems function as a sum of their parts. The parts are represented by individuals within populations within communities within ecosystems within biomes within the biosphere as a whole. From all of these interactions conditions emerge which enable us to exist and persist. The real challenge is to determine how these varying levels of organization are connected in maintaining a benign liveable environment. Given the stupendous complexity involved, we are only beginning to make real headway, but, as I said, we do know that as we continue to simplify nature it pushes systems towards a point beyond which they will not be able to maintain themselves (and us). Knowing this, reading the posts from Tim makes me shake my head. He makes it appear as if everything was so simple. It isn’t.

  12. #12 P. Lewis
    March 4, 2009

    I’m amazed. I “go away” for a couple of days and this thread sprouts even more legs, the number of which will soon surpass the Illacme plenipes at this rate.

    PS Thanks folks (daughter: Angharad). Appreciated.

    Bernard: with a 4.5-year-old as well, sleep can still be an issue, especially at 05:30 … and sometimes earlier! Sleep is a rarer commodity than sense is in the Emperor of Antarctica (aka T “Radium Water” C).

    How some of you guys find the time to answer Timidiocy is beyond me.

  13. #13 Gaz
    March 4, 2009

    Tim (#298):

    The additional sentences you quote from the Both et al paper (not the abstract, the actual paper, Tim – you’re the one who cut and paste the entire abstract) does nothing to support your position.

    Your rhetorical “Why?” seems designed to make some point, but it is not clear what it might be.

    That’s possibly because nothing in the paper supports your complacency over the pressure climate change is putting on large numbers of species.

    In this case a vague “Why?” is probably the best you can do.

    Now, about your claim that my final comment (about asipirin) “is reductio ad absurdem (sic), which seldom leads to enlightenment” – well you would know about seldom leading to enlightenment, wouldn’t you, but my argument is not reductio ad absurdum. It was a simple analogy to illustrate the silliness of your own argument.

    Specifically, you say: “The issue is if 0.0385% [CO2] is bad for us, why is 5% good medically?”

    Whether or not 5% CO2 in gas is beneficial to emphysema patients is irrelevant to any discussion of the effect of various concentrations of CO2 on the global ecosystem, just as whether or not a given concentration of soluble aspirin is good for a patient with a heart condition is irrelevant to the desirable oceanic concentration of salycylic acid.

    If my hypothetical argument is absurd, then so is yours.

    And they both are, quite obviously.

  14. #14 Tim Curtin
    March 4, 2009

    My replies to Responses of 5 March @ 11.40 EST 5/3/09:

    Jeff: despite your sighing, you lack credentials to make meaningful statement on global economics and political science, stick to your bugs. You cannot say that NATO + Australia are in Afghanistan for economic reasons, that war has been a considerable drain on their economies, and with Iraq is a major factor in the present depression (the Vietnam war created only economic pain for the USA until well into the 1980s). However engaging a self-declared enemy bent on destruction of all non-Caliphate countries seems a worthwhile political aim, yet you persist in saying that “terrorism is just a convenient bogey man”. So 9/11 never happened, just a convenient myth? When you hold such views it is not surprising it is not possible to have an intelligent discussion with you.

    Bernard. I find your latest comments on compound interest rates even more dishonest than your first dissimulation, even though you are in good company. Garnaut ruthlessly doubled all projected growth rates for CO2-e in the face of all evidence in the IPCC that they are only around 0.5% p.a., and projected declining absorption ratess in the face of all the evidence that they are rising at much the same rate as emissions. At least he admitted that absorption exists, unlike Field at the AAAS and US Senate, and Solomon et al in PNAS (2009, Fig.1), along with Smith, Schneider et al PNAS 27 Feb 09. Is that Science? Or deceit?

    I am sorry to see you seem to endorse Jeff’s world view on terrorism etc.

    Sod: an ongoing 30% yield increase so long as CO2 injections are sustained is huge with an amazing return relative to the cost of the CO2 input. The CO2 output via respiration is much delayed, and forms part of the overall carbon cycle. My articles focus on the NET increases in yield arising from growing elevation of [CO2].

    Gaz: I agree with you about reductios! – but as yet there is no evidence that if [CO2] ever did reach 5% of the atmosphere (i.e. 50000 ppm) not before 2984 at even 0.5% pa, longer at the current 0.4% pa, that it would be harmful re temeperature recalling the logarithmic effect whereby we have already had most of what rising [CO2] would generate. That is because there is evidence that the spectrum where CO2 is absorbed is already at or close to saturation, leading long before 3000 to sideways direct emission to space.

    Yesterday I mentioned negative feedbacks from water vapour, studiously ignored by the IPCC and its models. Today courtesy Steve McIntyre I found this: Garth Paltridge, Alan Arking and Michael Pook’s report on a re-examination of NCEP reanalysis data on upper tropospheric humidity published online 26 Feb 09 by Theoretical and Applied Climatology: “Water vapor feedback in climate models is positive mainly because of their roughly constant relative humidity (i.e., increasing q) in the mid-to-upper troposphere as the planet warms. Negative trends in q as found in the NCEP data would imply that long-term water vapor feedback is negative—that it would reduce rather than amplify the response of the climate system to external forcing such as that from increasing atmospheric CO2”.

    Enjoy!

  15. #15 Gaz
    March 4, 2009

    Tim, the saturation argument has been dealt with exhaustively elsewhere. And please don’t dredge up that crackpot whose name resembles the letters on an eye-test chart. We’ll all just laugh.

    And if that paper by Paltridge et al is the best you can do, maybe it’s time to give up.

  16. #16 Tim Curtin
    March 5, 2009

    Gaz: how about your favourite crackpot, none other than Stephen Schneider? ‘We report here on the first results of a calculation in which separate estimates were made of the effects on global temperature of large increases in the amount of CO2 and dust in the atmosphere. It is found that even an increase by a factor of 8 in the amount of CO2, which is highly unlikely in the next several thousand years, will produce an increase in the surface temperature of less than 2 deg. K.’ Schneider S. & Rasool S., “Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols – Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate”, Science, vol.173, 9 July 1971, p.138-141. He also says in the same article that ‘….our calculations suggest a decrease in global temperature by as much as 3.5 °C. ‘ See http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Climate/Climate_Impacts/CliImpFrameset.html

    Hat tip to Ian George

  17. #17 Gaz
    March 5, 2009

    Tim, your point? A paper written in 1971 – “first results of a calculation” – isn’t confirmed exactly by subsequent refinement of the science? So what?

    What have you got against this Schneider bloke anyway – did he back his ute over your cat or something?

  18. #18 sod
    March 5, 2009

    Sod: an ongoing 30% yield increase so long as CO2 injections are sustained is huge with an amazing return relative to the cost of the CO2 input. The CO2 output via respiration is much delayed, and forms part of the overall carbon cycle. My articles focus on the NET increases in yield arising from growing elevation of [CO2].

    your article does focus on a point, that is completely IRRELEVANT. the increase of 30% is under optimal conditions and on those plants, that actually show a positive reaction to a CO2 increase. (that is why the results are used in advertisements). those 30% also are the very TOP result that can be reached. (CO2 is cheap for use in greenhouses. if even higher concentrations would lead to serious yield increases, they would use those.

    the concentrations used (550 ppm and more) are far from the levels that we have have “achieved” in the atmosphere today.

    so the “effect” that you are talking about today is only a fraction of those 30%. it wont starve anyone, if we slow or stop the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere or even remove it to a lower level.

    other things have a real and [significant effect](http://books.google.de/books?id=Xfl91KZfw8kC&pg=PA211&lpg=PA211&dq=rice+kg+per+hectare&source=bl&ots=PiJvmfHC72&sig=m6mJ4-mWYzsUOUgIBY_YJbdSkfM&hl=en&ei=VW-vSYWRG8-J_gbY7fCwBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result#PPA210,M1) on yield increases. of course, yields have increased massively during the 20th century. but simply NOT because of CO2

    He also says in the same article that ‘….our calculations suggest a decrease in global temperature by as much as 3.5 °C.

    most misleading quote ever. you forgot to mention, that this would have been the result IF aerosols had quadrupled…

  19. #19 Bernard J.
    March 5, 2009

    RW Curtin.

    If principle in 1958 = 288 (K, =15C), compounding at 0.4%pa, at 2009 one has 353 (K, = 80C).

    Similarly, if principle in 1750 = 288 (K, =15C), compounding at 0.4%pa, at 2009 one has 810 (K, = 537C).

    Where is the dishonesty in this?

    I note sod’s point about starting at 15C in 1958, with a value of 18.38698883 (or near enough) in 2008. I did not use this appraoch though, because celcius is a relative scale, whilst kelvin is an absolute one, and thus is more appropriate for reporting proportionate increases. I only converted back to celcius so that those not familiar with kelvin could appreciate the ‘example’ in terms of temperature effect.

    Surely you were not implying that I should apply interest to values in a relative scale?

    I am sorry to see you seem to endorse Jeff’s world view on terrorism etc

    You’re a dispicable bastard, Curtin, aren’t you? Where exactly did I say that I supported Jeff’s world view on terrorism? This is just lame strawman shit on your part.

    Having said that though, I reckon that Jeff has a much more realist ‘world view’ than do you, and I would note that you are no more qualified to comment on political matters than is Jeff.

    Considering the extraordinary fashion in which you butcher science, I have a very strong suspicion that your capacity for political comment (another area outside of your formal training) is much less than Jeff’s.

    If you do have formal political science training, then you should be embarrassed at some of the naïve commentary that you have produced.

  20. #20 Jeff Harvey
    March 5, 2009

    Tim said, “Iraq is a major factor in the present depression”.

    Yes, but the neocon dolts who pursued this policy since the day Bush came to office (well before 9/11) didn’t figure that the war would cost a fraction of what it ultimately would. They thought that it would be a cakewalk, and that the cherring Iraqis woudl be throwing petals on their soldiers. Of course the agenda is political and economic – I suggest you read over the 1950 State Department Assessment of the importance of the Middle East (1950) which it claled “A source of stupendous strategic power” and The greatest material prize in history”. Also, read the comments of influential planners and politicians like Kennan and Brezinski, who have stated that any country controlling the region has “veto power over the global economy” (Kennan) or “critical economic leverage” (Brezinski). The hydrocarbon law forced onto Iraq recently lays out much of the agenda. The key is not access to oil and natural gas, but control. If you believe that 9/11 was somehow a factor for invading Iraq, a country which had nix to do with it, then it is my view that you are in need of serious medical treatment. Clearly methinks your view of international policy in this area is at the level of a kindergarten student.

    When you write utter crap such as “However engaging a self-declared enemy bent on destruction of all non-Caliphate countries” the discussion enters into the realm of farce. Please tally up the death toll for me from state terror (the kind practiced by the US and its proxies, which, if nbot terror is actual aggression) and private groups over the past 15 years. I think that there is quite a discrepancy. In whatever form, terrorism is horrific and despicable. But you seem to ignore the fact that western policy has consigned hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, to an early grave, either through sordid economic policies or from high tech warfare and bombing. I think the US would find that forms of terrorism would decrease if they spent more money saving people than on killing them.

    Needless to say, I think your views on environmental science are even simpler than your political views, if this is possible. Embarrasing would be a better word.

  21. #21 Tim Curtin
    March 5, 2009

    Gaz: Schneider with Smith et al (PNAS 2009) and in many other papers is guilty of fraud in the same way that Bernie Madoff is, by exaggerating in his case the costs of elevated [CO2] by claiming that the rate of elevation is the same as the rate of emissions of CO2, when in fact emissions from 2000-2007 grew at somewhat over 3% pa while [CO2] grew at 0.5% pa or less. Now I realise that for “scientists” like you, what’s a difference of 2.5% pa? Madoff merely offered his credulous investors a return of only about 2.5% pa over the best of the best of his competitors, but since 2007 about 15%. No doubt you Jeff and Bernard think Madoff is kosher just like you believe everything Schneider and his myriad co-authors say at NPAS. I do find it curious that “scientists” like you lot think 100 basis points here or there are immaterial while when the Madoffs, and possibly Allen Stanford, claim that, it is wicked.

    Sod: I am afraid I am close to giving up on you. I will try once again. Suppose I have a greenhouse down the road from Jeff’s place. I buy in CO2 and raise my output by 30% from last year’s. Next year I buy more CO2 and achieve the same 30% above the year before I put in any extra CO2. Why are the Dutch so much more stoopid even than Jeff that they keep on doing this? BTW, the FACE experiments in open fields but without continuous year on year increases in CO2 achieve around 12-15% increases compared with base year. Actually more CO2 generally means less need for H2O and even up to a point N, but do check out the 2000+ papers documenting all this.

    Bernard: you wilfully applied the actual historical growth rate of [CO2] that I noted for 1958-2008 (ex CDIAC and GCP) to global mean temperature, which actually grew at only about 0.000021% pa (in Kelvins) between 1900 and 2007. If that is not dishonest, what is?

    Then you bleat: “Where exactly did I say that I supported Jeff’s world view on terrorism?” When you said at #301, immediately after Jeff said at #299: “there is not a ‘war on terror’”, “Jeff has skewered you this time”. I can well imagine from your contributions here that you are both closet Al-Q sympathisers in favour of keeping women in their place and out of school! Then you confirm my guess by saying “I reckon that Jeff has a much more realist ‘world view’ than do you”. So you do agree with him that nothing happened in Lahore on Tuesday or on 9/11 by way of terrorism other than some kind of peaceful protest against globalisation and/or Exxon?

  22. #22 Bernard J.
    March 5, 2009

    (Patiently, as one would deal with a small child…)

    Bernard: you wilfully applied the actual historical growth rate of [CO2] that I noted for 1958-2008 (ex CDIAC and GCP) to global mean temperature

    My words were:

    Let’s take temperature as an example. [my latter emphasis]

    I explicitly said “as an example” so that you (and thickies like you) would understand that I was attempting to emphasise the significance of apparently ‘small’ rates of increase(/interest). Specific temperature (or any other) rates of change are not immediately relevant to the matter unless thay are of a similar order of magnitude, and thus of effect.

    It appears that even such minor nuance is lost upon one as obtuse as you.

    Then you bleat: “Where exactly did I say that I supported Jeff’s world view on terrorism?” When you said at #301, immediately after Jeff said at #299: “there is not a ‘war on terror’”, “Jeff has skewered you this time”. I can well imagine from your contributions here that you are both closet Al-Q sympathisers in favour of keeping women in their place and out of school!

    Imagine away as well as you are able to, Curtin, for you are very far off the mark. You are speaking to one who has a very firm philosophy of seeing that his two daughters have a very 21st century perception of their ‘place’ [sic] and your slander of my being a “closet Al-Q sympathiser” is pure cesspit excrement.

    On your bike mate: you are way out of order, even for a pseudoscientific troll such as yourself.

    Still, it is apparent that you are smarting enormously from Jeff’s gutting of your rubbish; and will I note once again, for the record, that you are still providing no response at all to the accumulating requests for scientific evidence of your non-existent case.

    Substantive analysis just ain’t your thang, are it?

  23. #23 Tim Curtin
    March 5, 2009

    Jeff: you said “Please tally up the death toll for me from state terror (the kind practiced by the US and its proxies, which, if not terror is actual aggression) and private groups over the past 15 years”. I don’t need to, TL and Lancet have not been able to show that 99% of “excess deaths” in Iraq since 2003 have NOT been caused by Shiites v Sunnis or vice versa.

  24. #24 sod
    March 5, 2009

    Sod: I am afraid I am close to giving up on you. I will try once again. Suppose I have a greenhouse down the road from Jeff’s place. I buy in CO2 and raise my output by 30% from last year’s. Next year I buy more CO2 and achieve the same 30% above the year before I put in any extra CO2. Why are the Dutch so much more stoopid even than Jeff that they keep on doing this? BTW, the FACE experiments in open fields but without continuous year on year increases in CO2 achieve around 12-15% increases compared with base year. Actually more CO2 generally means less need for H2O and even up to a point N, but do check out the 2000+ papers documenting all this.

    funny, but i am aware of the FACE experiments. a 15% increase is tiny, as most of them use a 550 ppm CO2 level, quite a bit ABOVE of what we have today!

    if a CO2 level of 550 ppm gives a mediocre “plant growth increase” of 12-15%, how much would the current 380 ppm give? why do you assume that people would starve, if we brought this back to 320 ppm, or at least stopped increasing it?

    I don’t need to, TL and Lancet have not been able to show that 99% of “excess deaths” in Iraq since 2003 have NOT been caused by Shiites v Sunnis or vice versa.

    Curtin, please don t stow your lack of understanding in yet another field. the Lancet paper didn t show that, because it wasn t its purpose!

    if you remove the regime running a country,and this starts a civil war, then you inherit those killings! it is called the pottery barn rule!

  25. #25 Tim Curtin
    March 5, 2009

    Thanks, sod. You asked why do I assume “that people would starve, if we brought this back to 320 ppm, or at least stopped increasing it”?

    When [CO2] first reached 320 ppm at Mauna Loa, it was 1964, and is now 385 ppm at end 2008 . The world’s population was then 3.26 billion (UNDP). It is now over 6.5 billion. The 1964 level of emissions was 4.5 GtC, it is now over 10 GtC. Given the Mauna Loa figures for [CO2] and the data for emissions, total net absorption of emissions was 3.88 GtC in 1964, and last year was at least 6 GtC.

    Now we do know that while [CO2] was stable for millenia at around 280 ppm, so was the world’s population at around 0.438 billion in 1500 and still only 1 billion by 1820, so growing at only 0.27% pa from 1500 to 1820; from 1950 to 1973 it was growing at 1.93% pa, less since then. Now it is a fact that all living matter depends for food on plants and animals that have absorbed CO2 (however this was denied by Barry Brook, Peter Singer, and Geoff Russell in their Submission to the Garnaut Review, when they refused to measure livestock emissions of GHG net of the antecedent uptakes, which led to Garnaut proposing that Australia should only eat kangaroos in future). If you believe those authors, there is no point in continuing this discussion.

    If you are still with me, it is clear that the world’s present population is eating more than the population as of 1750 – and BTW it is known that the world population of livestock of all kinds has increased at least pari pasu with us, as also fish despite what Taliban reps Harvey and Bernard believe (see data in FAO, passim). Am I wrong to suggest that the growth of emissions has facilitated the absorption of [CO2] by the global biospheres and thereby facilitated the enormous growth of total food consumption by all species since 1750?

    If the current growth of the total populations of all species ceased, then stabilising [CO2] at the present level could be viable – but that is a breathtaking experiment in itself, given evident ongoing growth. So what has to be done at Copenhagen is not only ending growth of emissions but also ending all population growth. Malthus takes care of plant and animal deaths in a CO2 starved world, while for us it is a global one-child policy. Any volunteers?

  26. #26 Jeff Harvey
    March 6, 2009

    Bernard, Sod, It is clear that TC is dragging this out as far as he can because he has been banned from other threads by TL. We are wasting our time and energy on him. The bottom line is that his arguments will not prevail. They are demolished by science and I think that most of the scientific community would find his views eccentric at best, and plainly crazy at worst.

    As for my comments re: US foreign policy above, note how TC failed to address anything I said, but had to resort to a ‘black and white’ scenario smear in which Bernard and I are accused of being “closet Al-Q sympathisers”. What utter bollocks. This is the classic refrain of someone devoid of facts or knowledge. That’s because, unlike me, TC does not apparently spend time reading declassified government files (I have read very many of them from US and UK planners) and it appears his primary source of inforamtion are papers like Murdoch’s ‘The Australian’. It is clear that I can skewer him on this as I can skewer him on science. He makes it too easy for me.

    As far as deaths in Iraq, I think that only an imbicile would believe that the US bombing and ‘shock and awe’ resulted in low numbers of civilian deaths. In Falluja alone its likely that many hundreds at the very least were blown to simthereens by the US-led assault there. And this ignores, of course, the US-UK sanctions regime which killed perhaps 500,000 to a million more between 1991 and 2003 and which were deliberately aimed at undermining the civilian infrastructure. Denis Halliday, the senior UN official and in chanrge of dsitributing aid in Iraq resigned at what he described as ‘genocide masquerading as policy’. His successor, Hans von Sponeck, also resigned for the same reason. He wrote a book about his time in Iraq which was published in 2006 to the sound of resounding silence from the corporate MSM. Wrong message. His book conflicts the well-cultivated image of western benevolence and was therefore consigned to the dustbin of history. The song remains the same.

  27. #27 Bernard J.
    March 6, 2009

    Tim Curtin is still turning over his [magic pudding](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magic_Pudding)…

    … it is clear that the world’s present population is eating more than the population as of 1750…

    I see now why you are wont to compare yourself to Einstein. Your brilliance is surely stellar, RW Curtin.

    … and BTW it is known that the world population of livestock of all kinds has increased at least pari pasu with us…

    It has indeed – again an incisive Einsteinian insight.

    Of course, the fact that this increase has been at the expense of many species, and indeed whole ecological communities, seems to have slipped under your radar.

    … as also fish despite what Taliban reps Harvey and Bernard believe…

    Oh dear RWTim, you’ve gone off the rails here, Einstein or no.

    Um, does the term “Atlantic cod fisheries” ring any bells? Or “Patagonian toothfish”, or “orange roughy”, or “xxx-shark”, or any number of staggeringly over-exploited other marine resources?

    A very well respected oceanographer from Scripps, Prof Jeremy Jackson, published a [telling paper](http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2008/08/08/0802812105.full.pdf) in (gasp!) in PNAS last year that completely smacks down your delusion of a fantastic, bountiful fisheries Nervana.

    Nevertheless, if you know better, I am sure that you will show us the evidence – at the same time that you produce the material that supports your long list of other thus-far unsubstantiated claims.

    Oh, and your continued use of slanderous claims that Jeff and I have association with extremist groups is a sign of an unsavoury as well as a despicable character.

    Unless, of course, you have ‘evidence’ to prove this as well. Come on RW Tim, produce some substance for once in your life.

  28. #28 Tim Curtin
    March 6, 2009

    Jeff, Bernard

    I see that neither of you has contested the data in my reply to sod, which showed what is, if they are not correlated, an amazing coincidence between trends in population growth and availability of CO2. Jeff continues his line there is no terror, unless sponsored by Exxon, or war thereon, except where likewise sponsored by Exxon. Bernard did not surprise me when he invoked yet another dishonest paper published in PNAS, which can no longer be considered a scientific organization in any shape or form when without exception all it has published on climate change in the last 3 years has been serially fraudulent. This time it is Jackson “Ecological extinction and evolution in the brave new ocean”, PNAS, August 12, 2008. His Table 1 could never have passed audit by even the late unlamented Arthur Anderson of Enron fame. Certainly the European Court of Auditors which which I had some dealings in my past life would pick up the gross deceit in his Table 1, where he claims e.g. that 85% of large whales and 59% of small whales are now extinct in “estuaries and coastal seas”. Tell that to the Tasmanians, overhwelmed in recent weeks by the numbers of such supposedly extinct whales beaching themselves. That is casual empiricism, I agree, but much less so is the obervation that Jackson’s source (Lotze et al) has zero evidence on the populations of these whales in “pristine times”, so their data is nothing less than thumb suck (what is 85% of N/A, not available, data?). When we come to Jackson’s comments on the state of the GBR, we find he relies on Hoegh-Guldburg, a notorious economiser with facts, himself associated with the ghastly De’ath, Lough et al at AIMS Townsville, who went beyond economy to outright fraud in their recent paper in Science on the GBR (I have checked their archived data which in no way supports their conclusions; if you want the disgraceful details do contact me). All these dreadful people assure us that the GBR is doomed if not gawn already, at odds with experience of those who actually live up there and have no vested interest in claiming the GBR is dead.

    Jeff: why not join the CIA if you are not already a member? your comments on the non-existence of real terror as manifested in Lahore, 9/11, and 7/7 and 20/7 in London (I narrowly missed the latter attempt but was fortunately in a pub watching the cricket and had just got off one of the Underground lines targetted in those attempts) are on a par with the CIa’s belief in WMD.

  29. #29 sod
    March 6, 2009

    I see that neither of you has contested the data in my reply to sod, which showed what is, if they are not correlated, an amazing coincidence between trends in population growth and availability of CO2.

    Curtin, your lack of basic understanding is shocking.

    there is indeed a certain correlation between human population and (the “availability” of) CO2.
    (please notice that Tim is using the terms in a completely wrong way. he doesn t really know what correlation is..)

    the human population is PRODUCING the additional CO2!

    the question is one of causation, the correlation is a trivial one.

    and actually the correlation is mostly in the time, since mankind started the use of fossil fuels.

    a test of the Curtin hypothesis is simple: according to him, we would find a strong correlation between the growth of the human population and the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere BEFORE humans started burning fossil fuels. good luck!

    on the other hand he failed to explain, how the tiny effect of the increased CO2 on plant growth since 1750 (a fraction of 12 to 15%, using his own numbers) can explain the massive increase of human population. (0.5 to 7 billion)

    i will call it the “Tim Curtin” effect!

  30. #30 P. Lewis
    March 6, 2009

    I’d just momentarily un[killfile]d Mr Radium Water, the seemingly soon to be self-elected next Emperor of Antarctica, the champion selective-quote meister, aka Tim Curtin, “originator” of the Curtin reaction (and extended Curtin reaction), to see what current garbage was emanating from his fingertips. I’m not surprised to see that nothing has changed.

    There was one thing in #322 that really caught my attention, being allied to the scientific publication industry myself, namely: “Bernard did not surprise me when he invoked yet another dishonest paper published in PNAS, which can no longer be considered a scientific organization in any shape or form when without exception all it has published on climate change in the last 3 years has been serially fraudulent.”

    On the face of it this seems defamatory and/or libellous, so I’ve just this moment passed the quote (and one or two others) on to PNAS via their website contact page for their attention.

    My communication to PNAS reads as follows:

    To whom it may concern

    I occasionally correspond on the Deltoid blog. Recently, a number of comments made there by a commenter by the name of Tim Curtin (in the topic at http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/01/windschuttle_hoaxed.php) have caught my attention as possibly being defamatory and/or libellous to your organisation, its editors and reviewers. You may ultimately find them not worth bothering about (the USA law being a little different to the UK (my home) law situation), but I thought you should at least be made aware of them.

    The comment that really caught my attention is in #322, where Tim Curtin (http://www.timcurtin.com/) says:

    “Bernard did not surprise me when he invoked yet another dishonest paper published in PNAS, which can no longer be considered a scientific organization in any shape or form when without exception all it has published on climate change in the last 3 years has been serially fraudulent.”

    There are other instances, such as in comments #87:

    “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. … 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.”

    and in #166:

    “The PNAS’s idiot peer reviewers show they know nothing and care less”.

    Regards

    P. Lewis

    Needless to say, TC –> [killfile]

  31. #31 Bernard J.
    March 6, 2009

    I see that neither of you has contested the data in my reply to sod, which showed what is, if they are not correlated, an amazing coincidence between trends in population growth and availability of CO2.

    This is why you are not, and never will be, a scientist.

    Change your statement to “population growth and the emission of CO2“, and you will have a thesis that makes more sense based upon the evidence and the work of hundreds of scientists.

    Correlation does not prove causation, and even in cases where there is a relationship, one has to be careful to distinguish the dependent variable from the independent one.

    You have reversed the two.

    Bernard did not surprise me when he invoked yet another dishonest paper published in PNAS, which can no longer be considered a scientific organization in any shape or form when without exception all it has published on climate change in the last 3 years has been serially fraudulent.

    How’s the lawsuit going, Tim Curtin? And the exposé of the nefariousness some of the the peak scientific organisations of the world?

    A claim like this, if true, would warrant a series of broadsheet investigative essays, probably a book, and certainly a Pulitzer. Get collaborating Tim – your time is here!

    Or maybe you’re the liar and the fraud… and (dare I suspect it?!) a troll? We’ve danced this jig before, and you have never justified yourself in a fashion that would convince any but the most credulous of right-wing conspiracy theorists.

    Tell that to the Tasmanians, overhwelmed [sic] in recent weeks by the numbers of such supposedly extinct whales beaching themselves. That is casual empiricism, I agree,…

    Pilot whales and sperm whales are “supposedly extinct”, are they? Try again, Curtin – you’re spreading untruths: no-one has claimed these species to be extinct.

    And Tasmanians haven’t been ‘overwhelmed’. Saddened – yes. The Parks and Wildlife Services stretched (because any more than a few whales is a huge task for a small team of professionals and their volunteers) – yes. ‘Casual empricism’ (my emphasis)- not even that, because you have not gathered even a basic collection of facts with which to support your statement.

    Oh, and for what it’s worth, having most of my family and friends living on a waterway in Tasmania that used to see several orders of magnitude more whales pass each year than have done so for decades, your Tasmanian reference is clumsy and mendacious indeed. Right now I am sitting in the study of a friend whom I am visiting, watching the stars reflecting off these very waters as I type, and I think that I have rather a better idea of the whale population trends down here than do you.

    Just about the only things that have been expanding in these waters in recent years are exotic sea stars, urchins and other blow-in marine pests, much to the detriment of the kelp and seagrass communities here.

    And in large part it’s the warmer waters of the last decade or two that has so affected the marine ecosystems around the Tasmanian coast.

    Why do you think this is?

    … but much less so is the obervation that Jackson’s source (Lotze et al) has zero evidence on the populations of these whales in “pristine times”, so their data is nothing less than thumb suck

    Oh, so you are an expert in population estimations now, on top of all of your other expertises? Do spend some considerable time delving into this subject in greater detail please – this area is a major chunk of my PhD, and of Jeff’s work too, and I am sure that we would both benefit from your genius. Don’t be embarrassed TimC, put your insight regarding the ‘disgraceful details’ into the public domain where it belongs.

    Tim Curtin, in my personal opinion you are a deluded conspiracy nutter unable to see past your own heavy affliction by the Dunning-Kruger effect. Of course, I may be wrong, but if you persist in not presenting your case in a scientific manner, as you have so far failed to do after more than 300 posts, you leave me and every other reader of this limping thread no choice but to accept this conclusion.

    Do you even understand what Jeff, I and the others have been saying when we repeatedly request that you show us your science, that refutes the ever-expanding numbers of scientific disciplines that you claim are entirely fraudulent?

    You really don’t know how to construct a proper scientific critique, do you?

  32. #32 Jeff Harvey
    March 6, 2009

    P. Lewis,

    You have done the correct thing. TC files to [killfile]. I think that he is indeed ‘losing it’. I have never seen so much childish drivel in my life; no content, just infantile ranting. Like f’rinstance:

    “Jeff continues his line there is no terror, unless sponsored by Exxon, or war thereon, except where likewise sponsored by Exxon”. Incredible. No comment needed.

    Or try this gem: [Bernard] “85% of large whales and 59% of small whales are now extinct in estuaries and coastal seas”.

    [Tim's reply]: “Tell that to the Tasmanians, overhwelmed in recent weeks by the numbers of such supposedly extinct whales beaching themselves”. Again, this leaves me with tears of hilarity in my eyes. A total mashing and mangling of science. Abominable.

    Supposedly extinct? Most of the whales were pilot whales which are one species that is not globally threatened. Many other species, including just about all baleens, are. Estimates are that populations of baleen whales are now probably less than 2% of what they were two hundred years ago. The blue whale may never recover; its numbers are perhaps < 2,000; ditto for Fins, Right’s and Bowheads. Humpbacks number only about 10-15,000 – and yet Japan wants to resume whaling them. Basically, Tim, methinks you are speaking out of your-you-know-what again, but only now more than ever. Your posts are becoming an increasing embarrassment to yourself, if that is possible. Your rants against the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences are, at the very least, a hoot.

    As I have said before, the debate is over, or should be. I think that most readers of this thread will know who won easily. It ain’t hard.

  33. #33 Bernard J.
    March 6, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    Your comments about the Victorian bushfires earlier in this thread are rather off-topic, and calculated, I am sure, to distract from your foundering in basic science, and simultaneously to disparage anyone with an ecologically-minded bent. However, your ideas represent potentially dangerous memes, and I reckon that addressing them here is worth the effort.

    I strongly urge you to follow sod’s link to [Andrew Campbell's piece](http://www.triplehelix.com.au/documents/ThoughtsontheVictorianBushfires_000.pdf) from 10 February, if you have not already done so. Campbell is in a much better position to comment than you, with his decades of intimate and relevant experience in the subject. His article is a much more cogent summary of the points I made in the huge post I attempted to submit several weeks ago in response to NaGS, but which evaporated into the æther. I heartily endorse everything Campbell says, although some of my emphases would be slightly different.

    There are several points I would like to reiterate though, and a few to make that Campbell did not cover.

    The first is a bit of salient pedantry – prescription burning is not, as many who are blaming ‘greenies’ seem to be confused about, back-burning (which is undertaken in front of a wildfire in order to control it); and it is not ‘cold’ – it is simply usually less hot than a wildfire. The latter point has important biological and fire-management consequences.

    A lot of the thinking historically, that prescription burning reduced the incidence of bushfire, occurred at a time when arson was less common. Many of the fires that occurred on ‘Black Saturday’ would not have occurred at all had the criminal ignition of them not occurred, even with the extreme conditions that were present. It is a logical fallacy to blame the ignition of all of the fires on a lack of prescribed burning, and the intensity of the fires is a far more complex matter than simply blaming a lack of prescription burning.

    I grew up in the bush, in an area that was frequently torched by arsonists. I’ve watched spectacular fires in bush that was burned two or three years previously. And this occurred in much milder conditions that were present in Victoria’s February fires.

    Several years ago, for three years, I lived in a pole house at the edge of a cliff overlooking coastal bush reserve in the southern suburbs of Newcastle. In the last year before I left, the Parks and Wildlife Service posted notices advising of a prescription burn on certain dates, subject to appropriate conditions. Unfortunately, for months on end the conditions were such that either a fire could not be ignited, or the danger of escape escalated so quickly that the burn had to be rescheduled. Eventually the burn had to be cancelled for the season entirely. This was within 1km of the coast – inland areas would have been even more at risk of prescribed fires breaking control.

    At around the same time I recall that a similar fire in Karing-gai National Park did escape control, with damage to property – perhaps the Sydney readers here can inform us whether or not there was any loss of life.

    Irrespective of the latter though, these examples demonstrate the difficulty associated with safe and predictable prescription burning.

    As I am too disheartened to spend the hours retyping the minutæ of the material I tried to post previously, I will list the essential thrust of each of a number of points:

    1. Frequent firing selects for fire-adapted species, which tend to also be fire-promoting species
    2. Frequent firing selects for weedy species, which are also often fire-promoting species
    3. Frequent firing results in regrowth forest that uses (transpires) more groundwater than a mature forest, which in turn increases the risk of a drier soil/litter profile that can tip balances in extreme conditions
    4. Frequent firing opens the lower vegetation levels and the litter to more frequent periods of higher evaporation, which also increases the risk of a drier soil/litter profile
    5. Managed plantations, both native and exotic pine, were some of the fiercest burning areas in the Victorian wildfires
    6. ‘Cleared’ areas and grassed areas supported the movement of fire as much as did forest, and provided enough heat to cause total destruction of property and/or death of humans and wildlife
    7. Prescribed firing can reduce the immediate load of litter, but cause subsequent die-off of large quantities of (unburned) canopy biomass which can kick-start the accumulation of a new (and over time, a potentially more flammable) litter bed

    Prescribed burning is a single fire management tool amongst a number of others. It is not a blanket treatment, and it is certainly not a panacea. It must be employed with informed consideration, and not as a knee-jerk solution to all fire hazard.

    Yes, the indigenous populations of Australia employed firestick ‘farming’ in order to open bushland for favoured prey species, and to promote regeneration of these species’ herbaceous food plants. Yes, the Australian ‘bush’ is adapted to such firing, but this does not mean that it is positioned in the equilibrium state that these ecosystems would attain if humans, whether indigenous or otherwise, were not present.

    Without human involvement, the Australian bush would likely become less sclerophyllous over the millennia, and less frequently burned (even with natural litter accumulation), and it would shift to a different biodiversity profile. Under these conditions some currently common species that are favoured by frequent burning would become rarer, but conversely there would be many other species whose numbers would increase. However, it is less likely that there would be extinctions under the human-less scenario, than is currently occurring with the large number of impacts that our species is inflicting upon the country.

    How we actually manage fire in Australia in order to attain a balance between a robust and functioning biodiversity, a desirable natural landscape in which to live, and human safety, is a complex and nuanced matter. Broadscale ‘preventative’ burning of the bush however is not the answer.

  34. #34 Tim Curtin
    March 6, 2009

    Sod: you said at #323 – “a test of the Curtin hypothesis is simple: according to him, we would find a strong correlation between the growth of the human population and the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere BEFORE humans started burning fossil fuels”. I never ever said that, and of course there is none as effectively there was barely perceptible population growth until the 18th Century and a stable level of [CO2] at 280 ppm until 1750 as we are always told by IPCC. QED, i.e. since 1750 there has been a striking coincidence between these variables, and one that is much closer than that between temperature and [CO2].

    P. Lewis: Thanks for alerting PNAS to its misdemeanours. A good example previously noted is in Solomon et al Irreversible Climate Change due to carbon dioxide emissions, PNAS 10 Feb 09, with its failure to model CO2 absorption by the biospheres, as evident in Fig. 1 and 2, dishonesty worthy of Bernie Madoff no less. Another is NAS policy of publishing anything with Field amongst the authors even if he contributed nothing to the paper, as the actual authors know they get their paper published if he is a co-author (e.g. Zavaleta et al PNAS, June 24, 2003, August 19, 2003; in both Field’s name is last on the list, if he had contributed he would have been listed in alphabetic order after the lead author, and no mention is made of respective contributions, unlike in more genuine PNAS papers). Field is a member not only of the NAS but also since 2001 of the Editorial Board of PNAS, but declares no “conflict of interest” when he appends his name to PNAS papers. In my experience all too many scientists do not know the meaning of that term. I happen to be on the Editorial Board of a journal that informed me when I was invited to join that I would not in future be able to submit papers to it. Not so PNAS and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, “Global warming: stop worying, start panicking?” PNAS 23 Sept. 2008, he like Field is on the Editorial Board and “declares no conflict of interest”. Joke! However I am glad to report that Field won Bernard’s Skippy Prize for his Prevention of Global Warming in 2006. Just to remind that Field told the US Senate ten days ago (25 Feb) that emissions growth equals growth in [CO2] – veritably another Madoff. Frankly even the SEC belatedly is now showing some of the integrity one should expect but do not get from NAS. Finally, Smith Schneider et al in PNAS 27 Feb 2009 amongst the rest of their tosh claimed increasing frequency and intensity of hurricans and tropical cyclones. It goes without saying that they mostly cite themselves and fellow cabalists, but pretend not be aware of the work of Ryan Maue in GRL (Northern Hemisphere Tropical Cyclone Activity, 3 March 2009) out just one week later but previously already in the public domain. Ah but Ryan sets out data (see summary in Box), unlike Smith et al who have no need of facts for their pre-ordained gloom and doom. I see that Schneider is a member of the NAS, who know how to look after their own. Sadly he has yet to win Bernard’s Skippy Prize, could it be because his brain can’t even match Skippy’s? So dear P. Lewis, the lawyers of PNAS know where to find me, bring ’em on.

    Previous Basin Activity

    BASIN 2005 ACE 2006 ACE 2007 ACE 2008 ACE 1982-2008 AVERAGE
    Northern Hemisphere 655 576 383 408 557
    North Atlantic 243 83 72 142 104
    Western Pacific 301 274 212 167 280
    Eastern Pacific 97 204 55 83 156
    Southern Hemisphere* 285 182 191 164 229
    Bernard (#325): You deserve a Skippy Prize for your own rampant casual empiricism. Population growth or decline requires some form of census at t=0 and another at t=0+n. You have done neither, any more than Jeff H or Jackson of the same ineffable PNAS (2003). Is there anybody at NAS who understands this minimal requirement? Certainly none at Johns Hopkins or The Lancet, it seems to be generic.

    Jeff (#326). Have you asked the Japanese for their whale population data? If not, why not?

    Bernard (#327). Re bushfires, I did read Davidson, have you read Rick Houlihan’s Submission to the South Yarra Shire Council of July 2008? No, of course not, though it is available at Jen Marohasy’s (drum roll: not PC on CC so off limits?). You and Davidson think only in terms of backburning and the like. There is another way, removal or reduction of native bush material by methods other than burning (not mentioned by Davidson), eg mowing native grass and clearing deadwood adjoining one’s property (as I have done here on Mt Rogers) but all banned by the SYSC or allowable only with a permit costing up to $10 a throw or a fine of $100,000. Effectively the Council banned all firebreaks created by non-burning methods unless one bought a permit each time one wanted to mow the grass or remove deadwood, and waited a year to get it. One owner (Sheehan) went ahead anyway, cleared trees and was fined $100,000, and his homestead was the only survivor in his locality! Your Skippy brain seems unable to grasp that one can and should establish firebreaks without any burning. It also helps to build with brick walls, not fibreboard – all that remains of so many houses is the brick fireplace and chimney. But I can promise you that Victoria’s promised changes to its Building Code will never eventuate or will be scuppered by SYSC – and of course fire extinguishers are unmentionable in South Yarra and in Davidson because they contain CO2. I see that the Royal Commission is excluded by its ToR from considering fuel reduction in any form, and especially by non-burning creation of firebreaks, in order to protect the backside of Brumby and his merry South Yarra supporters.

  35. #35 Tim Curtin
    March 7, 2009

    A further response to Sod @323, a summary of Carbon Dioxide and Vegetation by Graham D. Farquhar (SCience 21 Nov 1997) which I only came across last November, but it makes for compelling reading. Please submit your own dissent to Science, this invitation applies also to Bernard.

    “What happens to vegetation when greenhouse gases (mainly carbon dioxide) increase in concentration and the temperature goes up? The Framework Convention on Climate Change commits the signatories to avoiding dangerous interference with the climate system, interference that might harm the world’s agriculture and natural ecosystems. But just what are the likely responses of vegetation? Much attention is paid to the effects of temperature and other climatic changes. As Street-Perrott et al. report on page 1422 of this issue, there is now evidence that, at an ecosystem level, the direct effects of an increase in carbon dioxide are themselves important (1).

    Street-Perrott and her colleagues have studied the paleoenvironmental history of high-altitude lakes and the surrounding vegetation in East Africa. They examined the lake sediments, the pollen and leaf waxes in them, and the carbon isotope composition of bulk organic matter and of specific biomarkers. They conclude that the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since the last glacial period has allowed trees to grow where the vegetation was (before 13,000 years ago) restricted to an almost treeless, grassy heathland.

    Street-Perrott et al. found that the increase in CO2 concentration was correlated with a decrease in the amount, measured as d13C, of the heavier stable isotope. This result is consistent with a shift from the photosynthetic pathway common in tropical grasses (denoted C4) to the pathway found in trees (denoted C3). However, a number of factors can influence the composition of sediments, and hence, the importance of the authors’ careful work in measuring composition of particular biomarkers to separate terrestrial, aquatic, and bacterial sources. C4 plants utilize a CO2-concentrating mechanism that is advantageous at low concentrations but is more “costly” to the plant than C3 metabolism as CO2 levels increase. The very evolution of C4 was probably in response to low CO2 concentrations, with rapid expansion about 7 million years ago (2).

    The findings offer an explanation for a paleoecological puzzle. Previous estimates of the cooling of tropical land areas at the last glacial maximum (LGM) (about 20,000 years ago) were large, so large as to be incompatible with the decrease in sea-surface temperatures (<2oC) deduced from deep-sea cores. The terrestrial estimates had been made by examining changes in the elevation of tree lines and ascribing those changes to temperature alone. Acknowledging that CO2 concentration itself affects the growth of trees enables us to see that the cooling of tropical land was not so great. During the glacial times, the trees were being starved of the substrate for photosynthesis. Along these same lines, Sage has argued (3) that agriculture became viable at several places around the world between 11,000 and 6000 years ago, only when the CO2 concentration became sufficiently large to sustain decent yields for our first farmers.

    For the individual plant, water-use efficiency is almost directly proportional to the level of CO2 for a given regime of temperature and humidity (4). So concentrations of 180 parts per million (ppm) (such as occurred during the LGM), being half the current levels, would mean that plants had to transpire twice as much water then as now to achieve the same level of photosynthesis (see figure). Put another way, doubling the CO2 concentration is almost like doubling the rainfall as far as plant water availability is concerned. Further, increased greenhouse forcing also speeds up the global hydrological cycle, and so, on average, the actual rainfall increases with increasing CO2 concentration. Many of the paleorecords indicate arid conditions during the LGM. Much of this was probably caused by drier conditions, whereas some records that rely on the amounts of pollen, for example, could rather be reflecting the physiological aridity caused by low atmospheric CO2 levels. The results help explain the findings (5) that the terrestrial biosphere in the preindustrial era (about 270 ppm) stored about 30% more carbon than it did at the LGM.

    ——————————————————————————–

    The increase of CO2 concentration and temperature from the LGM to the early interglacial led to an increase in the hydrological cycle, the greater growth of trees, which use the C3 pathway of photosynthesis, less reliance on CO2-concentrating mechanisms on land and in the water, and the consequent depletion of 13C (more negative d13C) in the total organic matter (TOC, total organic carbon) found in the lake sediments

    ——————————————————————————–

    Both photosynthesis and the enhanced greenhouse effect are more sensitive to CO2 levels when the concentrations are low. The translation of increased photosynthesis to increased growth rate is not straightforward, depending on developmental processes (6). The effects of the 180-ppm increase from the LGM to the present 360 ppm should be much greater than the effects of going from 360 to 540 ppm, the latter being twice the preindustrial level (about 270 ppm). The plants of today are much less water- and CO2-limited than they were at the LGM. Nevertheless, one suspects that the direction of change in the near future will be the same as that following the LGM, one of increased “effective rainfall,” with the agricultural and ecological consequences that follow. Given that the availability of water for agriculture is already becoming such a problem, this aspect, at least, of atmospheric change is a welcome one.”

    And we have had a similar increase in [CO2] since 1750 without mass destruction of species from this cause. Reverting to Jeff and Bernard on marine species extinctions, they seem to have forgotten once again (like Jackson and PNAS) to distinguish between species loss due to “climate change” and that due to the tragedy of the Commons (over-fishing and other direct human intervention).

    When will they share with us their regressions that do make that distinction?

    ——————————————————————————–

  36. #36 Lee
    March 7, 2009

    So TC tells us that increased CO2 caused human population growth.

    My response: derisive laughter – thanks Tim – followed by [killfile].

  37. #37 sod
    March 7, 2009

    Sod: you said at #323 – “a test of the Curtin hypothesis is simple: according to him, we would find a strong correlation between the growth of the human population and the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere BEFORE humans started burning fossil fuels”. I never ever said that, and of course there is none as effectively there was barely perceptible population growth until the 18th Century and a stable level of [CO2] at 280 ppm until 1750 as we are always told by IPCC. QED, i.e. since 1750 there has been a striking coincidence between these variables, and one that is much closer than that between temperature and [CO2].

    Curtin, you can t claim that CO2 is the CAUSE of the growth of human population after 1750, but not before. your claims simply don t make any sense.

  38. #38 Tim Curtin
    March 7, 2009

    Sod: I never did say that “CO2 is the CAUSE of the growth of human population after 1750, but not before”. What I do say is that it was (and still is) a necessary condition. Absent rising [CO2], we will quite soon have falling world population because of global famines. Enjoy!

  39. #39 sod
    March 7, 2009

    Sod: I never did say that “CO2 is the CAUSE of the growth of human population after 1750, but not before”. What I do say is that it was (and still is) a necessary condition. Absent rising [CO2], we will quite soon have falling world population because of global famines. Enjoy!

    if rising CO2 levels are a “necessity” now, why weren t they before 1750?

    and you obviously spoke of causation above. you can t simply make up stuff all the time. either CO2 is the cause of population growth, or it isn t.

  40. #40 Eli Rabett
    March 7, 2009

    With the energizer troll in action, this could go on forever. OTOH, the responses are often interesting, so how can the length of this thread be limited.

    Eli suggests the conservation of idiocy principle. For every post that Tim Curtin adds from now on, Tim Lambert erases one from the top.

  41. #41 Dano
    March 7, 2009

    Eli suggests the conservation of idiocy principle. For every post that Tim Curtin adds from now on, Tim Lambert erases one from the top.

    [killfile] considerably shortens the thread.

    Best,

    D

  42. #42 P. Lewis
    March 7, 2009

    Eli suggests the conservation of idiocy principle …

    I think Eli might mean “conversation with the idiot” principle.

    Then again, two sides of the same coin perhaps…

  43. #43 Bernard J.
    March 7, 2009

    RW Curtin said:

    Sod: you said at #323 – “a test of the Curtin hypothesis is simple: according to him, we would find a strong correlation between the growth of the human population and the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere BEFORE humans started burning fossil fuels”. I never ever said that, and of course there is none as effectively there was barely perceptible population growth until the 18th Century and a stable level of [CO2] at 280 ppm until 1750 as we are always told by IPCC. QED, i.e. since 1750 there has been a striking coincidence between these variables, and one that is much closer than that between temperature and [CO2].

    As sod hinted at, human population growth was well advanced long before 1750. I’m not even going to bother linking to an online source, because there are so many. If one takes some time to look at a detailed graph/table, it is apparent that obvious exponential growth started from a previously almost stable linear (?) growth, somewhere up to 4000-5000 BC.

    Note that any atmospheric carbon dioxide increase during this time was largely the result of human population growth, and its attendant cutting down of forests. Not even the cause/effect imbicile that you show yourself to be can deny this, unless you claim that (originally miniscule) increasing atmospheric CO2 permitted humans to cut down forest and thus release more CO2, and causing a positive feedback.

    This is an extremely unlikely scenario indeed, given that the blanket productivity sensitivity (that you claim exists) at the ambient levels of atmospheric CO2 (and the rate of change of atmospheric CO2 at these times) would not even be noticeable above other effects such as the improvement of agricultural technologies, and the very simple act of clearing and cultivating more land for agriculture.

    The simple fact is that prior to 1750 there is no way to claim that atmospheric CO2 increase ’caused’ human population growth, rather than population growth causing CO2 increase, unless one hammers Ockham’s razor and smelts it down to an ingot of iron.

    So now we have the ‘seed’ of discernible exponential human population growth, with no evidence that any increase in CO2 is at all responsible…

    (As an aside, I recall in primary school being told a story of a craftsman who creates a masterpiece of a chess board for a king, and for payment asks for one grain of rice for the first square, two for the second, and so on until the 64th and last square. The king, not being mathematically inclined, agreed. We were told that the kingdom was emptied of rice, although I had never actually determined what the final number of grains was – I now know that it’s 2^63, = 9.22 x 10^18.

    Today I took two types of rice into the uni lab and weighed, to the nearest 0.1 mg, five of the smallest of each grain I could find (assuming that grains were smaller ‘then’ than now), and determined average masses of 24.5 and 27.3 mg for the two varieties. Assuming an average overall mass of 25mg, for evenness and for argument’s sake, this would have given the craftsman 2.3 x 10^11 tons of rice for the 64 squares of the chess board!)

    So, Radium Water Tim, we have as I said the seed of exponential growth in human numbers long before the Industrial Revolution and its attendant atmospheric CO2 increase. We know that human ingenuity had uncoupled population growth from the usual Malthusian/ecological limits that had maintained a metastable prehistoric/pre-agricultural level, and numbers were galloping over the globe.

    Now, enter the 1700s. You would have us believe, on the basis of a ‘regression’, that population increase commenced with the atmospheric CO2 increase that resulted from human emissions. The thing is, whilst the Industrial Revolution certainly helped to open the Pandora’s Box of “how to release fossil carbon”, fossil carbon contribution to the atmosphere did not really start to register on the radar until about 1850 ([here](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Carbon_History_and_Flux_Rev.png), and [here](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Global_Carbon_Emission_by_Type_to_Y2004.png)).

    Furthermore, the beginning of the spectacular increase in human numbers, which goes beyond the simple exponential model described above, seems to have presaged the Industrial Revolution by at least half a century. This is neatly shown by a plot of [doubling time](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Population-doubling.jpg) for human population over the last millennium. Your cause-and-effect inference from your regression would seem to fall down here, just as it does with the pattern of fossil carbon emissions.

    I am curious: how did you incorporate improvements in sanitation, and in medical treatment, into your infamous ‘regression equation’? How did you account for the impact that industrial mechanisation had on explosive growth in land cleared and prepared for new agricultural production, and in the efficiency of transport of produce? And how did you separate the impact of the ‘Green Revolution’ from contemporaneous carbon emissions?

    You seem to have thrown the scientifically parsimonious baby out with the bathwater of ideological distaste.

    Interestingly, the story doesn’t end there. The trajectory of [carbon emissions](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Global_Carbon_Emission_by_Type_to_Y2004.png) has, to date, been steepening, and the doubling time for human population growth has simultaneously begun to reverse. Erm, how does this fit with your carbon emissions/productivity, human population growth ‘theory’?

    Perhaps it’s time for an heir of Ockham to reforge a razor from that lump of iron of which you’ve managed to make such a mess.

    On to other matter:

    You deserve a Skippy Prize for your own rampant casual empiricism. Population growth or decline requires some form of census at t=0 and another at t=0+n. You have done neither, any more than Jeff H or Jackson of the same ineffable PNAS (2003).

    Curtin, you needn’t patronise me with discussions of tx. I have tagged/microchipped thousands of animals for mark/recapture calculations, and I know very well how to execute them, whether by hand or with a nifty software package such as Mark. And believe me, there are plenty of scientifically and historically documented data that support my statement about the reduction in whale numbers. In the ‘casual empiricism’ department alone I have spent hours talking to old-timers down here whose grandfathers and great-grandfathers were whalers, and their stories all confirm the decrease in whale numbers since whaling was an industry here.

    Are you saying whale numbers along the Tasmanian coastline have not altered in the last two centuries?

    Oh, and a ‘census’ is very different from a ‘survey’ or a ‘sampling’. In the animal world, a census is a rare thing indeed.

    Learn your ecological terminology.

    You and Davidson think only in terms of backburning and the like. There is another way, removal or reduction of native bush material by methods other than burning (not mentioned by Davidson), eg mowing native grass and clearing deadwood adjoining one’s property

    Once again you presume that a discussion of certain things is a denial of others. Read carefully – I said, ” There are several points I would like to reiterate though, and a few to make that Campbell did not cover.” I did not say that I was going to cover all options for fire control – I was specifically concentrating on the complexity of burning as a control. The measures you refer to are standard fire prevention tactics, and were not immediately relevant to my main point.

    I am no stranger to them though. I’ve spent weeks myself cutting and removing the nicely flammable Gahnia from my 16 acre rural property, having learned the hard way how much it enjoys a good burn to encourage vigorous regrowth. I’ve also thinned out the scrub and dead wood from around my sheds, and in the process of undertaking this clearing I’ve seen a significant decline in the incidence of undergrowth-inhabiting birds, mammals and reptiles.

    If I were to remove all vegetation to provide a buffer that would protect my infrastructure from burning in a fire of the magnitude of those in Victoria, I would end up clearing about 4 acres of my land. Given that I bought it for its habitat value this is not an option, and if I ever build a house on it I will build it to standards that anticipate the worst. My neighbour and I have already constructed a bunker as a refuge – my house plans incorporate mudbricks and a green roof amongst many other fire-resistant features.

    For the umpteenth time, there are many methods to consider in an effective fire management plan. Prescribed burning is not prince amongst these, and the howls from its supporters of it are misplaced. Where management of fire risk was inadequate, this was probably as much from individual ignorance and/or complacency, and from bureaucratic inertia, as from anything else. ‘Greenies’ do not dictate fire policy, contrary to what you and others seem to think, and not a one of the many that I know would promote a total non-burn approach to fire management.

    It was a good opportunity to put the boot into the hippy buggers though, wasn’t it?

    There’s yet more of your blather to address, but I’ve been up for the whole night with a gripey newborn as I’ve typed this, and frankly I have had enough of nursing babies. Perhaps one of the others will take the baton for a while – there’s more shit leaking from your nappy than I’m prepared to clean up.

  44. #44 Jeff Harvey
    March 8, 2009

    Tim is a ‘hit and run’ blogger: he makes an outrageous assertion (most recently about population declines of whales), then when his assertions are demolished, he reverts back to his ‘shrinking corner: “where is the proof that this has anything to do wi’th climate change and/or C02 emissions. It is pathetic, rally.

    As I have said before, it is up to the reckless sponsers of business as usual who wish to meddle with complex adaptive systems to prove that this meddling will not have potentially serious consequences, and NOT the other way around. Given what we do know (and all we don’t) about the way in which communities and ecosystems function, and the broad view of the scientific community which clearly thinks Tim’s reasoning is profoundly illogical, then I wait for Tim to cite controlled ecological experiments in which both above-ground and below-ground trophic interactions are included to see what the effects of elevated atmospheric C02 levels will have. We do have some of those data – for instance, one of our recent PhD students who showed that soil microbial communities were simplified in increased C02 regimes. This means that functional redundancy is reduced, and this often correlates with reduced systemic resilience. Species diversity reinforces systems by facilitating more pathways for nutrients, energy, etc. through the system (see McCann’s theoretical work on this). As species diversity is reduced, we push systems closer to the edge. This is basic ecology, but not for the likes of non-ecologists like Tim who don’t understand it. I spoke with another colleage the other day who did his PhD on the effects of elevated C02 o the biology of phloem-feeding insects and on plant stoichiometry, and I told him effectively what Tim had been saying here, on this thread. Let me just say that my colleagues’response was one of shock, that anyone could attempt to extrapolate a simple linear trend on the basis of an increase in one variable (atmospheric C02). Although it bouces off of Tim like water off of a ducks back,’the fact is that systems will not respond linearly to increased atmospheric C02 levels. Because this will (and is) affecting other aspects of plant physiology, there are going to be ecological consequences that are difficult to predict but many (most) of which could be nasty ones. I am saying this until I am blue in the face here: we know that mechanisms involving multiple species are changing in response to increased C02, and that competitive asymmetries are leading to a reduction in the diversity of soil and above-ground webs. This is of grave concern because, to reiterate, more species-rich webs often are more stable and resilient than species-poor webs, or, as importantly, those webs where species diversity is rapidly reduced.

    Of course, this all goes over Tim’s head, because, to be fair, he doesn’t understand it. I have provided empirical evidence of mechanisms: there are many studies which show that insects compensatorily feed when nitrogen is shunted from plant tissues in favour of carbon. Plants ahve evolved to respond to various levels of herbivory: some annuals, for instance, are very tolerant, and apparently withold metabolic resources when the risk of early herbivory is high, whereas other plants are intolerant to herbivory and invest more in direct defences such as allelochemicals, trichomes, sticky glands, etc. Resistance and tolerance traits in plants are based on long epriods of co-evolution with antagonists and higher trophic levels. Rapid changes in various ecophysiological factors such as stoichiometry and the risk of or extent of herbivore attack are occurring well beyond the evolutionary time frame of most trophic interactions. Moreover, given that most of the staple crops that feed humanity have been artificially selected to emphasize specific traits (e.g. seed production, vegetative mass) at the expense of others (e.g. resistance), then exposing these plants to even more challenges (e.g. rapid shifts in tissue stiochimotery and herbivore loads) demolishes the simple notion that more atmospheric C02 = more plant growth = alleviation of starvation. It is utter nonsense. I can forgive Tim for what I see as blind ignorance if only because it is clear to me that he does not understand ecophysiology and its correlation with community and ecosystem level processes.

    Because of this, he sticks with a simple, discredited linear argument.

  45. #45 Tim Curtin
    March 8, 2009

    Bernard: Thanks for your 1500 word essay, some of which I agree with – but I’ve been tied up all day and it’s late, so I will not respond in depth now, except to say (as also to Jeff), that I think it is necessary to specify the NET proportion of species allegedly extinct – or on the way out – that is unequivocally due to climate change and nothing else, after taking into account the species that have done quite well after whatever CC has occurred (not much – is spring earlier or later this year in Holland?). Decline in North Sea cod stocks has nothing to do with CC. I still think it is incumbent on Bernard to explain to us what becomes of the huge increase in annual absorption of CO2 emissions since records began at Mauna Loa in 1958, from 1.84 GtC (both oceans and land) in 1958/59, to est 5.89 GtC in 2007/08 (GCP or CDIAC) and what will be the effect of reducing that when emissions are reduced to 80% of the current level of c.10 GtC to 2 GtC. Is that too difficult?

    I hope you are having a better night!

  46. #46 Bernard J.
    March 8, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    Unfortunately the colicky twins are a greater strain than the colicky Clydesdale was, and with having 4 hours sleep in two days I am wearying of bashing my head against a brick wall.

    As surely I must be doing, because you well know that I never said that cod fisheries were destroyed by climate change. However, if you seek a continuance of extinction discussion over the next day or so, I suggest that you avail yourself of the many folk commenting on this subject at a [thread at Real Climate](http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/02/linking-the-climate-ecology-attribution-chain/). It’s been very interesting, and I’ve been tempted to link to it before, but I didn’t think that you’d deign to put forward you interpretations there.

    Similarly, there is a thread there discussing the [Victorian bushfires](http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/02/bushfires-and-climate/), and another focussing on the [Solomon et al paper](http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/02/irreversible-does-not-mean-unstoppable/), where you could certainly put forward, to a significant audience, both your ideas on carbon dioxide and productivity, and on the fraud and incompetence that you believe is the mainstay of climatology, ecology, and ecophysiology. And perhaps you could explain to them why warming isn’t occuring, at the recent [glacier thread](http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/01/a-global-glacier-index-update/).

    You have much overdue homework to do, and as this thread is rambling toward 350 posts with no hint yet of a scientifically constructed thesis from you, I cannot see the point of further posting when I have better things to occupy my time, even though ’til now I have taken a perverse interest in trying to determine what the science is that you believe that you have collated. So if you truly stand by what you say, take your claims to the threads linked above and see how they stand the scrutiny of some of the real scientists there.

    And a final challenge, after the many others where you have capitulated… Organise an interview with Michael Duffy, who is very sympathetic to notions of your ideological stripe, and broadcast to Australia these very same claims about CO2 and primary productivity, about the lack of scientific integrity across a number of disciplines, and about the non-existence of AGW.

    You made your claims here without ever producing any real substance to support them – if you believe in them as you say that you do, put them out to the broader scientific and public communities. Given the profound implications for many stakeholders if you are correct, it would be nigh on criminal negligence not to.

    If you are too reluctant to do so, I can only assume that you never had any real basis for your claims at all, and that in the end you really were just a troll and nothing more, albeit a troll with a very convoluted (and deluded) story to tell.

    I’m off to try for some long overdue sleep.

  47. #47 Gaz
    March 8, 2009

    TC: “Schneider with Smith et al (PNAS 2009) and in many other papers is guilty of fraud in the same way that Bernie Madoff is, by exaggerating in his case the costs of elevated [CO2] by claiming that the rate of elevation is the same as the rate of emissions of CO2…”

    Tim, can you give me the exact place (or places) this claim is supposed to have been made, or provide a direct quote from a paper, please? When you’re accusing someone of fraud you ought to be a bit more specific.

  48. #48 Tim Curtin
    March 9, 2009

    Gaz: see below for my response.

    I still think it is incumbent on you, Bernard and indeed Nick Stern and Ross Garnaut et al to explain to us what becomes of the huge increase in annual absorption of CO2 emissions since records began at Mauna Loa in 1958, from 1.84 GtC (both oceans and land) in 1958/59, to est 5.89 GtC in 2007/08 (GCP or CDIAC) and what will be the effect of reducing that when emissions are reduced by 80% of the 2000 level of 8.16 GtC let alone by 80% of 2008 level of c.10 GtC, i.e. to 1.63 or 2 GtC respectively.

    I amaware of RC, and have followed the links you gave with sardonic amusement, as there are even more nutters there than here. Here is a gem: duBois had reasonably asked “If the Amazon is “soaking up” more CO2 than anticipated, what is soaking up less CO2 than anticipated? Jim’s Response: “Good questions, which are under very active research, and are the subject of the NACP (http://www.nacarbon.org/nacp/meeting), happening as we speak. [Laughter off] It’s not
    necessarily that another sink has been under-estimated: you have to factor emission rates into the equation.-…” Ye gods! – but there’s more “Carbon cycle changes are more commonly incoporated into separate carbon cycle models which are then coupled to GCMs, although maybe some GCMs incorporate them directly, I don’t know.”-Jim] What if anything does Jim know? The GCMs assume that biospheric absorption is whatever they need to balance their models, not what it is in real life.

    Bernard again: “I suggest that you avail yourself of the many folk commenting on this subject at a thread at Real Climate….There is a thread there discussing the Victorian bushfires [more laughter off], and another focussing on the Solomon et al paper..”. OK here we go, I have already posted the following re the last: “I am amused by the above discussion. Nobody seems to have noticed that Fig 1. and Fig 2. in Solomon et al equate growth of CO2 emissions (over 3% pa from 2000 until early 2008, already falling fast) with growth of the atmospheric concentration of CO2 at the same rate, although the actual growth of the latter has been only 0.4% p.a. over the whole period since 1958, and was slightly below that from Jan 08 to Jan 09. What has been happening since 1958 is that global biospheric absorption of CO2 emissions has grown roughly pro rata with emissions, resulting in the relatively slow growth of [CO2]. In physical terms, the absorption or uptake of emissions was 1.8 GtC in 1958-59, 5.29 GtC in 2006-07, and prelim est. 5.8-6.0 in 2007-2008. I do not know why Solomon et al chose to ignore this data (taken from the GCP which Schneider helped to set up). Any suggestions?” I posted this at Real Climate at about 1600 EST, still not up at 1700. I wonder why? Perhaps you could post for me? Thanks.

    Jeff said : “Let me just say that my colleagues’response was one of shock, that anyone could attempt to extrapolate a simple linear trend on the basis of an increase in one variable (atmospheric C02).”

    But I never did.

    Jeff again: “given that most of the staple crops that feed humanity have been artificially selected to emphasize specific traits (e.g. seed production, vegetative mass) at the expense of others (e.g. resistance), then exposing these plants to even more challenges (e.g. rapid shifts in tissue stiochimotery and herbivore loads) demolishes the simple notion that more atmospheric C02 = more plant growth = alleviation of starvation.”… Hundreds of papers have done experiments with raising [CO2] in both greenhouse and FACE situations, all find significant increases in yield (cet par.) for C3 plants, which account for 90% of all plants. My own regressions take into account not only CO2, but fertilizer consumption (by type), rainfall, temperature, location.

    Jeff: “…Rapid changes in various ecophysiological factors such as stoichiometry and the risk of or extent of herbivore attack are occurring well beyond the evolutionary time frame of most trophic interactions.” This term “stoichiometry…” is here misused, it simply means measurement, and is not an “ecophysiological factor”.

    Gaz quoted me: “Schneider with Smith et al (PNAS 2009) and in many other papers is guilty of fraud in the same way that Bernie Madoff is, by exaggerating in his case the costs of elevated [CO2] by claiming that the rate of elevation is the same as the rate of emissions of CO2…” and added “Tim, can you give me the exact place (or places) this claim is supposed to have been made, or provide a direct quote from a paper, please? When you’re accusing someone of fraud you ought to be a bit more specific.”

    Sure. From Smith Schneider et al: …. “IPCC AR4
    projected a range of 1.1 °C to 6.4 °C increase in GMT from 1990 to 2100 based on 6 IPCC Special Report on Emissions
    Scenarios (SRES) nonmitigation scenarios (6). Although uncertainty in the response of the climate system to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations contributes to this very broad spread in projections of increase in GMT, the magnitude of future emissions driven by alternative development pathways plays a comparable role. The assessed ‘‘likely range’’ (66–90%) of global temperature increase by 2100 for the lowest emissions scenario (SRES B1) is 1.1 °C to 2.9 °C, whereas the likely range
    for the highest scenario (SRES A1FI) is 2.4 °C to 6.4 °C. Since 2000, the trajectory of global emissions is above the highest SRES scenario ….” This passage totally ignores the role of accelerating global biospheric absorption of those growing CO2 emissions, and that is tantamount to a company reporting its sales as if they equated to profits, and is a FRAUD. Although noting that “the UNFCCC also
    highlights 3 broad metrics with which decision-makers are to
    assess the pace of progress toward this goal: allow ‘‘ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change,’’ ensure that ‘‘food production is not threatened,’’ and enable ‘‘economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.’’, these authors also totally fail to address the impact of the reduced emissions they seek in terms of not threatening global food production. What they have to say or corals and extreme weather events is also wholly tendentious… For similar omission of material facts in Solomon et al PNAS 2009 Fig1., see my reply to Bernard above.

  49. #49 Gaz
    March 9, 2009

    Tim Curtin: “This passage totally ignores the role of accelerating global biospheric absorption of those growing CO2 emissions..”

    I’m not sure what you’re saying here – the passage seems to me to rely on the IPCC projections. Are you saying that by using the IPCC projections you believe to be wrong that Schneider et al are guilty of fraud? Or is there something extra they are doing that you object to?

  50. #50 Tim Curtin
    March 9, 2009

    Gaz (at #343): They rely on the IPCC’s SRES projections of EMISSIONS. The SRES ignore absorptions of CO2 emissions. Nobody at IPCC has the foggiest idea that Emissions do NOT equate to INCREASES in [CO2] unless there are ZERO biospheric absorptions. Manifestly that is not the case. SO, I am NOT “saying that by using the IPCC projections you believe to be wrong that Schneider et al are guilty of fraud?” Emissions as projected by IPCC and Schneider are NOT the same as increases in [CO2]. “Or is there something extra they are doing that you object to?” YES, they OMIT all reference to ABSORPTIONS of CO2 emissions by the biosphere. I’m sorry to shout, but how many times do I have to say this? I thought my previous post was perfectly clear, my apologies that clearly I failed miserably. Anyway it is all beyond Gavin at RC, as he has yet to “moderate” (?swallow?)my post re Solomon et al (PNAS 2009) and their equally egregious and DISHONEST refusal to admit there have been, are, and will ALWAYS be absorptions.

  51. #51 Jeff Harvey
    March 9, 2009

    Tim, As always, you do not address the points I raised. First of all plant stoichimetry is affected by biotic and abiotic factors. You think you are such a clever clogs, but where do you address my points? Eric Post and others have shown that in enahnced C02 environments plant growth sometimes increases but so does herbivore damage, sometimes well exceeding increases in plant biomass. Herbivores require nitrogen in amounts that are usually suboptimal in plant tissues and more so in elevated C02 regimes. Its common knowledge that they feed more when N is limiting. No suprise there, except in Tim’s closed world. Youi expunhge it.

    I also discussed how elevated C02 regimes simplify soil microbial communities. This reduces functional redundancy. Tim’s repsonse? Blank. As expected. Where do your crappy regressions iinclude trophic complexity? Just because you don’t include it does not mean it is not important. By claiming that ‘hundreds of papers’ show that increased C02 increases plant biomass mean little if real ecological communities are excluded. Those where these effects have been included show very disturbing trends. Compensatory insect damage – often overcompensatory. Whoosh! Swing and miss! Strike one against Tim’s simple linear correlations. Microbial communities that are vital for plant productivity in the longer term are simplified, reducing their functional redundancy. Whoosh! Swing and a miss! Strike two. The effects of enhanced atmospheric C02 are likely to lead to competitive asymmetries and, as has already been shown, attendant climate change will have consequences on phenological interactions amongst tightly co-evolved species in complex food webs, resulting in local extinction and unraveling food webs. Whoosh! Strike three Tim! Yer’ out! Back to the dugout for you.

    As I have said before, I find it amusing that Tim crows on and on and on here on Deltoid but has published nix in any scientific journals and relies on right wing sources like Quadrant. If most scientists read what I see as clear crap, they would bounce it like an Indian rubber ball. Here’s your challenge, Tim: let’s see how far you get with your ‘regressions’ in a major scientific journal. How many of the worlds scientists will swoon at your feet with your earth shattering calculations. My advice: dont’ hold your breath and wait for the adulation. It ain’t forthcoming. You’ve left out too many vital parameters in your ‘forumlations’. Like many of those I have described on this thread. Trait and context dependent parameters, f’rinstance. Hey Tim: do you know what these are and how they work? Bowl me over with your wisdom.

    By the way, I admire Susan Solomon and her outstanding research, both in PNAS and in the past. She’s an internationally remowned scientist who gives very many keynote lectures at many conferences and workshops. Have you seen the number of papers she has published and her citation record? Outstanding. There is no other word for it. And it is also clear that Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is one of the most outstlanding scientific journals. It is in the top five, for sure. Don’t agree? Do a straw poll of scientists and find out for yourself. We all rate it very, very highly.

  52. #52 Bernard J.
    March 9, 2009

    After I’d decided to yesterday to take a break from Radium Water Tim’s persistent refusal to provide credible evidence for his sweeping dismissals of whole disciplines of science, I realised that perhaps I was going about it the wrong way, and that maybe I could more easily discern the workings of his mind if I could see the workings of his ‘analysis’.

    Just as I had completed my text below I see that Jeff has pipped me at the post. Nevertheless, I shall ask with the expectation that Curtin is well able to anwer them, as surely he must be able to do – after all, he cannot have made any of his claims without having a coherent strategy for his analysis.

    —-

    Tim Curtin.

    You have repeatedly spoken of your ‘regression analysis’ that you employed to ‘investigate’ the relationship between productivity and atmospheric CO2, temperature, fertiliser, rainfall, temperature, location, (and other?) parameters.

    Can you provide a detailed methodology of your analysis? I am particularly keen to know how you incorporated time as a variable into your protocol.

    Can you indicate the data sources used?

    Most especially, can you describe how you incorporated into your analysis largely non-parametric variables including: evolving cultural practices, political influences, technological innovation, anthropogenic modifications to the living and non-living elements of the biosphere, ecosystems’ functions and responses over time, human population trends over time (at greater scales than occurs with respect to fossil carbon emission), natural climatic/astronomic fluctuations and cycles, global stochastic events (such as vulcanism), and all other pertinent variables that I have omitted in the typing of this sentence?

    And speaking of variables, what exactly is included in your analysis? Just as interestingly, what variables were excluded from your analysis? What criteria did you employ in their exclusion?

    Why have you selected a regression approach to do the analysis? What alternative techniques did you consider, and why did you exclude them?

    What are the relative contributions of the tested variables to productivity? How did you test your regression model after deriving your coefficients? How did you test your models again other models in the literature?

    So many questions, so little time to ask them. I am sure that others can add to this list, and I know that we all await your elucidation of these questions with keen anticipation.

  53. #53 P. Lewis
    March 9, 2009

    T “Radium Water” C, erstwhile Emperor of Antarctica, whom the Curtin reaction (and its extended version) is named after, has dipped his toe in the waters over at RC, to which Gavin replied:

    [Response: Try reading the paper? If they had concentrations growing at 2% a year, then by 2100 they’d have 2300 ppmv. They don’t, therefore growth rates of concentrations are less, exactly as you would expect if you use the Bern CC model. Oh look! That’s what they say they did. Please note that we are singularly uninterested in your ‘amusing’ attempts to make stuff up. - gavin]

    Guffaws! I almost dropped the lass when I read it!

  54. #54 Tim Curtin
    March 9, 2009

    Bernard: “Can you provide a detailed methodology of your analysis? I am particularly keen to know how you incorporated time as a variable into your protocol. Can you indicate the data sources used?”

    Yes. My dog Tam has intervened by sitting on my lap. He knows better than me that everything you say is utter garbage, bi-bi.

  55. #55 P. Lewis
    March 9, 2009

    The slightly annoying (unavoidable) thing about [killfile] is that you sometimes get a quick glimpse of the [killed's] contribution before the [kill] kicks in.

    However, from a recent quick glimpse it seems Tam may have been doing most of the recent typing! Can’t be right, surely. But I’m not going to peek to check.

  56. #56 Jeff Harvey
    March 9, 2009

    Bernard,

    The last response from TimC just about sums up his entire argument base. Which is to say, bankrupt. When one increases the spatial/temporal scale and invokes complexity by bringing in real ecological variables, he has no response. Your queries are reasonable. What you’ve done is caught Tim out, big time. He’s made a big point about his analyses, but has failed to say exactly what he has incorporated into his models (and, just as importantly, what he has left out) and why he decided that regressions were the best method. You’ve pinned him and he can’t get out of it.

    The fact is that he’s way, way out on a limb, and he knows it. His arguments would be demolished in any rigidly peer-reviewed journals. I think the thread will fizzle out now, and I believe that the vast majority of readers know who won. As I said before, it isn’t hard.

  57. #57 Bernard J.
    March 9, 2009

    After 350 community postings to this thread, Tim “Roll Up and Gets Yer Radium Water” Curtin has nothing.

    Curtin has presented no evidence to support his many contradictions of carefully gathered and carefully analysed data in several disparate fields of science – none of which he has any familiarity of, nor bany expertise in.

    Nor has he presented any coherent description or justification of the methodology that he employed to derive the numbers he that claims blows the consensus science out of the water.

    He has presented no scientifically constructed critique to support his slanderous accusations of conspiracy, fraud and incompetence that were directed at some of the best scientific minds, organisations and journals in the world; nor has he presented any evidence that he believed in his own libellous claims sufficiently enough to seriously pursue a resolution of these claims in the public and in the scientific domains. To this end I draw attention to the squib of a post that he finally submitted at Real Climate (linked by Gaz at #347), missing as it does the most spectacular of his assertions previously posted above.

    Likewise, Tim would not prove that he sufficiently believed in his work that he was prepared to ask Jennifer Marohasy, a biologist with ideological sympathies aligned with his own, to put her name as sponsor/coauthor to any of his results.

    Compounding his list of scientific follies, Curtin was not able to demonstrate any basic level of competence or understanding of his own, in the disciplines he presumed to overturn, nor did he show any willingness to meet with, and discuss the science of, experts in these fields.

    The best he could manage after ongoing and persistent requests to demonstrate his bona fides is:

    Bernard: “Can you provide a detailed methodology of your analysis? I am particularly keen to know how you incorporated time as a variable into your protocol. Can you indicate the data sources used?”

    Yes. My dog Tam has intervened by sitting on my lap. He knows better than me that everything you say is utter garbage, bi-bi.

    Behold the Mighty Tim, Destroyer of Science, Purveyor of the Miraculous Radium Water, Discoverer of Eponymous Effects, and Emeritus Extraordinaire.

    Saved by his lapdog.

    I add my voice to Jeff’s and Gaz’ – Tim Curtin’s pseudoscientific Titanic has foundered on the iceberg of reason and sunk to the bottom. It will take more ping-pong balls that RW Tim has on him to float his wreck, and I too declare his case to be lost.

    If there is one redeeming feature about the painful length of, and repetition in, this thread, it is that if Tim Curtin ever raises his head again to pretend that he can play at science, he first needs to return to the long list of points here and to address them, in order to clear his name.

    Ah, glory to the Memory of the Interweb. Bookmark this page folks, and link away should the troll ever emerge from under his bridge again.

  58. #58 Chris O'Neill
    March 9, 2009

    T “Radium Water” C, erstwhile Emperor of Antarctica, whom the Curtin reaction (and its extended version) is named after

    Don’t forget the other great Curtin discoveries:

    Curtin’s law of conservation of atmospheric mass

    Curtin’s equivalence of exponentials and polynomials and

    Curtin’s law of eternally increasing Carbon uptake.

    These are achievements of one of the intellectual giants of our time.

  59. #59 Bernard J.
    March 10, 2009

    Oh dear, I’d put the first two of Chris’ links out of my mind. Rereading them has brought tears to my eyes – whether of mirth or of sorrowful incredulity, or of both, remains to be decided.

    The Einstein thread is forever etched in my mind, and wasn’t so easily misplaced.

    Tim, if you hae the courage to show up here again, can you explain (on top of everything else), how you can make the critical claims that you made against so much of science and of the people who work in it, when your grasp of such basic mathematics and physics is completely absent?

    You must have done a lot of self-schooling to progress, in a year and a half, from the early childhood psychological stages of acquisition of conservation and of decentration, to the capacity for postdoctoral-level critique of multiple scientific disciplines.

  60. #60 Tim Curtin
    March 10, 2009

    Jeff @ #345: what is “trophic complexity”? how does it affect the biospheric absorption of CO2, and how is it affected by changes in the atmospheric concentration of CO2? So far you have offered no statistical evidence for ANY adverse effects of increasing [CO2] – saying the rising [CO2] is “likely to lead to competitive asymmetries” is a functionally meaningless statement. But then you are an expert in using jargon from your field to spread obfuscation to the general public of whom I am one. All the same feel free to offer your ravings to any economics journal. PNAS no doubt has high standing in many fields, but not in economics, which does not inhibit it from whipping up hysteria on climate change to promote adoption of policies that have major economic implications for world welfare: all its recent papers on climate change especially those by Hansen, Schneider, Solomon et al have been exercises in policy advocacy with minimal scientific content.

    Bernard @ #346: “…Can you provide a detailed methodology of your analysis?” Wait for the paper, I’ll provide the link in due course. “ I am particularly keen to know how you incorporated time as a variable into your protocol.” What protocol? Actually we doth both annual and seasonal analysis of rainfall, for example. “Can you indicate the data sources used?” – wait for the paper, but a few are mentioned in my Garnaut paper, including Crimp et al of CSIRO and their study commissioned by Garraut. “Most especially, can you describe how you incorporated into your analysis largely non-parametric variables including: evolving cultural practices, political influences, technological innovation, anthropogenic modifications to the living and non-living elements of the biosphere, ecosystems’ functions and responses over time, human population trends over time (at greater scales than occurs with respect to fossil carbon emission), natural climatic/astronomic fluctuations and cycles, global stochastic events (such as vulcanism), and all other pertinent variables that I have omitted in the typing of this sentence?” What a load of rubbish. If you are so smart and such a veritable polymath, write your own paper incorporating that tosh. And do stop being so modest about your own no doubt stellar publication record.

  61. #61 Jeff Harvey
    March 10, 2009

    Tim, You once asked to see my algorithms. Given that communities and ecosystems are immensely complex, and that they function as a ‘sum of their parts’, I’d like to see how you have integrated this complexity into your calculations. Let’s see your maths, where you include the effects of C02 not only on plant responses, but on soil and above-ground food webs. Given that primary productivity critically depends on interactions with these biota, I will expect that you have factored these in to your calculations.

    If not, why not? I think we all the know the reason why, but I would like to hear it from you.

    As for PNAS, I reiterate, great journal! One of the very best. Glad to see the outstanding paper by Solomon et. al. made it in there. It must have been seen by at least 4 peer-reviewers. Perhaps even an economist too – not a dinosaur neoclassical one, perhaps, who believes that there is no limit to material growth and consumption, but perhaps someone like John Gowdy, Geoffrey Heal, or Herman Daly. In other words, one who is enlightened onto the reality that our economic systems are a tiny subset of the environment, and not vice-versa. One who realizes that economic activity must be reconciled with the health and vitality of the biosphere, and is aware that natural systems generate a range of conditions that permit humans to exist and to persist.

  62. #62 Tim Curtin
    March 10, 2009

    Thnaks Jeff. Actually by criticising Solomon et al I should have won some brownie points from you lot, for contesting her claim that “the climate change that takes place due to increases in carbon dioxide concentration is largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop. Following cessation of emissions, removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide decreases radiative forcing, but is largely compensated by slower loss of heat to the ocean, so that atmospheric temperatures do not drop significantly for at least 1,000 years.” In other words, there is absolutely no point in cutting emissions by even 80% (a target unlikely to be adopted at Copenhagen), as even 100% will achieve nothing. But I have another problem with Solomon et al: nowhere can I see where her paper accepts “that communities and ecosystems are immensely complex, and that they function as a ‘sum of their parts’”, or where she “has integrated this complexity into [her] calculations.” Nor do I see her maths, where [she should] include the effects of C02 not only on plant responses, but on soil and above-ground food webs. Given that primary productivity critically depends on interactions with these biota, [you] will expect that [Sue Solomon] has factored these in to [her] calculations”. In short, why do you and Bernard set such exacting standards for me while Sue almost literally gets away with murder, and certainly fails to offer any evidence at all for her “irreversibility” – my model unlike hers is grounded in observations. For example, the main modelling in Solomon et al comes from Joos et al (GBC 2001), and they explicitly assume ZERO CO2 fertilization after 2000 in the scenarios taken up by Sue. I see that Joos et al also fail to consider your “trophic complexity” etc etc. One law for them and another for me? Anyway I fully intend to ease up on Sue, as she has so perfectly articulated the case for doing nothing about emissions.

  63. #63 Jeff Harvey
    March 10, 2009

    Tim, Let’s get off the Solomon article. I just would like to know where you have factored the effects of increasing atmsopheric C02 concentrations and regional temperatures on ecological food webs and networks, including biological activities in both soil and above-ground webs, into your calculations. I want to know how you have predicted the effects on context and trait dependent parameters that mediate the structure and function of food webs. I want to know what results you have generated with respect to rapid atmospheric increases in C02 on complex trophic interactions in habitat patches that vary in size and heterogeneity. To come back to an earlier point, what about the consequences of dramatic shifts in C:N:P ratios in plant tissues? What will be the consequences of these shifts on ecological communities? Given that cultivated plants are derived from wild ancestors whose phenotypes represent selection from a myriad of factors, why do you somehow appear to suggest that changes in the physical, chemical and biological environment as a result of humanity’s great atmospheric experiment are going to alleviate hunger? *Most importantly, I want you to tell me with confidence how your calculations play out with respect to ecosystem functioning in the mid term*.

    This seems like a Herculean task, but not if we want to be able to reliably believe the kinds of linear assumptions you are making. Virtually all of the studies you have mentioned in support of your arguments have not addressed any of the points I made above, but you somehow have unbridled confidence in them. Please explain. The ball’s in your court.

  64. #64 Tim Curtin
    March 10, 2009

    Jeff: you said first, “Let’s get off the Solomon article.” Why? It manifestly does not deal with the issues you think I should address. You added: “Please explain. The ball’s in your court.” No it’s not, you raise issues, you deal with them, in a peer reviewed journal but I am not holding my breath. My position is quite simple and has yet to be refuted by you or anybody else here. That is, observations show an amazing three-fold (220%) growth of global biospheric absorption of CO2 emissions since 1958. Nobody, least of all you and Bernard, has demonstrated this has done anybody (or animal fish or plant) any harm, or that stopping that growth by emission reduction by 100% as proposed by Solomon et al and you will have NO adverse effects either on the ecology of the planet or on its economics. Solomon’s failure to address this issue is much more a crime against humanity than that of Hansen’s coal train drivers, who have merely fuelled economic growth across the globe, and whose attributable CO2 emissions have contributed to the wholly beneficial greening of the planet over the last 50 years and more.

  65. #65 Bernard J.
    March 10, 2009

    Radium Water Tim, the Hydra of Denialist Canards.

    I asked (amongst dozens of other unanswered questions):

    …can you describe how you incorporated into your analysis largely non-parametric variables including: evolving cultural practices, political influences, technological innovation, anthropogenic modifications to the living and non-living elements of the biosphere, ecosystems’ functions and responses over time, human population trends over time (at greater scales than occurs with respect to fossil carbon emission), natural climatic/astronomic fluctuations and cycles, global stochastic events (such as vulcanism), and all other pertinent variables that I have omitted in the typing of this sentence?”

    All that you could manage was:

    What a load of rubbish.

    No, it is not a load of rubbish.

    Each of these factors affects human population growth, or primary productivity, or both. How can you comment on the relationship between CO2 emissions, productivity, and how productivity affects human population growth, without including these factors into an analysis?

    You can’t.

    Then you quoted Solomon et al:

    “the climate change that takes place due to increases in carbon dioxide concentration is largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop. Following cessation of emissions, removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide decreases radiative forcing, but is largely compensated by slower loss of heat to the ocean, so that atmospheric temperatures do not drop significantly for at least 1,000 years.”

    and responded with:

    In other words, there is absolutely no point in cutting emissions by even 80% (a target unlikely to be adopted at Copenhagen), as even 100% will achieve nothing.

    RW, I will try to use little words, because it is obvious that you don’t understand big words. You certainly don’t understand even relatively simple concepts.

    The fact that there is a huge lag in the loss of temperature is a big reason for cutting emissions as quickly as possible, so that the delay in oceanic/atmospheric response is minimised.

    Further, the delay in the (downward) temperature response to cutting emissions, similarly reflects the delay in the (upward) temperature reponse to increasing emissions, and in turn indicates how much momentum is already in the system.

    Finally, even if cutting emissions results in a delay in temperature response, not cutting them at all will simply result in even greater (and much more serious) warming than would occur if cuts were made.

    Why is this so hard for you to understand?

    Aside: your raising of the issue of forcings would seem to be a tacit implied (oops, little words…) recognition of the existence of AGW. So you finally acknowledge that emissions result in forcing? Good to see Tim.

    …nowhere can I see where her paper accepts “that communities and ecosystems are immensely complex, and that they function as a ‘sum of their parts’”, or where she “has integrated this complexity into [her] calculations.”

    This is not the central point of her paper: why then should she focus on these issues?

    And if she or any other researcher were considering the inclusion of ecosystem complexity into a paper of this nature, it would be more of a monograph than a mere paper. Which leads to the point – how could you possibly have omitted left out such complexity from your ‘analysis’ finger and toe counting, if you are going to claim that such complexity is not worthy of consideration in the context of climate change trajectories outcomes?

    …why do you and Bernard set such exacting standards for me while Sue almost literally gets away with murder,…

    We expect only the same standards from you that the PNAS reviewers would have expected (and seen) in Solomon’s work.

    … and certainly fails to offer any evidence at all for her “irreversibility” – my model unlike hers is grounded in observations.

    Tim Curtin, your model is a completely and utterly unexplained mystery to the readers of this thread. You have been wholey unable to clarify any of your scientific bases, and you have vaguely waved your hands about a forthcoming ‘paper’.

    You’re just not batting in the same league as those whom you disparage. You’re not batting in any league at all, when it comes to it… you’re not even connecting with the ball.

  66. #66 Jeff Harvey
    March 10, 2009

    Tim ‘Darth Evader’ Curtin,

    No, I reiterate. Get it through your head this time if you can. It is up to you to prove that continuing the global experiment that humans are conducting will not have deleterious consequences on a vast array of terrestrial, freshwater and marine communities and ecosystems.

    You see, I think it is clear that the reason you cannot answer the queries I raised is because you don’t have a clue how to answer them. You have been pinned down and you’re stuck. All you can suggest is that a large proporation of increased atmospheric C02 is being absorbed by many biomes across of the biosphere. You fail to say why the levels still keep rising rapidly (within a geological time frame) and you appear unable to discuss what the possible ecological consequences of this ‘experiment’ are likely to be.

    Global cycles of carbon, nutrogen and phosphorus are very deterministic, meaning it takes a major forcing to push them out of equilibrium. There are certainly going to be ecological consequences of continuing with the current experiment humans are conducting on the atmosphere, as well as on both wet and dry ecosystems. You’ve continually evaded relevant points made by Bernard, Sod and me. Its no use looking at relatively short-term trends on a few parameters while ritually avoiding many others, especially those occurring at smaller scales (e.g. via mechanistic studies) where we DO have huge amounts of data. Given that systems function as a sum of their parts, (the parts meaning species and genetically distinct populations), we cannot ignore these effects as they will, in time, ripple up and influence processes occurring at much larger scales. The time frame you are envisaging may seem long to you but to nature its a small drop in the bucket.

    I raised the point of the the ‘extinction debt’ last week, and I think your response was, “prove that this is linked to C02 levels”. As usual you missed my point, which was that it can take a very long time for human-induced changes to manifest themselves over large scales. In the case of habitat loss and the elimination of top-level predators in North America, Tilman and May suggested decades or even centuries. The same is true with respect to the way we are meddling with the chemical composition of the air and water. There is nothing to suggest that there will not be nasty surprises down the road. And there is no guarantee that vegetation will continually soak it up.

    So to repeat: if food webs and communities at small scales are showing worrying trends with response to elevated C02 levels, what is this going to mean down the road for large scale systems? Think for once.

  67. #67 Bernard J.
    March 11, 2009

    Radium Water Tim.

    I shake my head in sheer incredulity at your ongoing lck of response to Jeff Harvey’s attempts to enlighten you.

    Any forward thinking undergraduate would take the many points and explanations that Jeff has provided to you, and read extensively in these areas – by doing so they would very quickly begin to acquire the basic structure of a working background in some of the more important areas of applied ecology.

    Given that you are demonstrably unable to assimilate the many points that Jeff has offered to you for your enlightenment, I am however not surprised that you have been unable to learn for yourself why my reference to koalas and to sloths is such a fly in your CO2 nirvana ointment.

    Nevertheless, I have yet another piece of homework for you – can you explain to us why the old (and certainly simplistic) notion of r and k strategy might also be a confounder to your idea of global CO2-driven productivity bliss?

  68. #68 Tim Curtin
    March 11, 2009

    Hi possums!

    First Bernard (#361) as Jeff has yet to answer my #358. What are “r and k?”. Look, both of you like TL et al ad nauseam have no clue about the carbon cycle or elementary cost-benefit analysis based on that. I admit you are in good company, as none of Stern, Garnaut and the IPCC are any better. For the nth time, we know from the carbon budget that the destinations of CO2 emissions are either (1) the so-called Airborne Fraction, that has averaged 43% p.a. since 1958, and is represented by the increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (i.e. [CO2]) as measured at Mauna Loa which has been growing at all of 0.4% p.a. since 1958 up to February 2009, or (2) the global oceanic and biospheric absorptions of CO2 emissions that have accounted for 57% of emissions since 1958. Now Stern Garnaut & co completely failed to do cost-benefit analysis of (1) against (2), since although they and IPCC claim that (1) leads to global warming and its alleged costs, none of which have been proven to have manifested from 1958 until now, they never even thought of evaluating the benefits of (2). I have repeatedly claimed that (2), increased absorption, has benefits. You guys say no. What is your evidence?

    Here are the numbers in GtC:

    Total Emissions 1958-2008 341.31

    Total Absorptions 1958-2008 191.65

    Increase in [CO2] 1958-2008 149.69

    A priori, given that cumulative Absorptions are hugely larger than the cumulative increase in [CO2], one might expect its positive benefits to esxceed the costs if any of the net difference between emissions and absorptions which shows up at Mauna Loa as the increase in [CO2]. But that is a priori. If Jeff can show that the additional Absorptions have been demonstrably harmful, be my guest, and I will cancel my upcoming paper.

    You and Jeff deny my claim that the increased Absorption has been beneficial (and Garnaut’s Crimp projecting forwards shows the benefit for Australia’s wheat yields of rising emissions of CO2) without offering a shred of factual quantitative evidence here. Show me the colour of your money not with armwaving but statistics.

    Jeff said: “And there is no guarantee that vegetation will continually soak it up.” Or that it won’t, when ALL the evidence to date is that since records began in 1958, 57% has been soaked up. He added: “So to repeat: if food webs and communities at small scales are showing worrying trends with response to elevated C02 levels, …” Show me your data for these “worrying trends”, in terms of falling population per species due ONLY to alleged rising temperature (and not to over-fishing and the like). Remember there is NO evidence of any rising global temperature since 1900 given the absence of ANY met. data from tropical Africa in 1900, as even with that lacuna GISS can only manage 0.6 oC up to 2008.

  69. #69 P. Lewis
    March 11, 2009

    In all the good answers to the dross posted in this thread, little mention seems to have been made with specific regard to the acidification effects of seawater (or declining alkalinity if one prefers) arising from continued anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

    McNeil and Matear’s 450 ppm tipping point in T “Radium Water” C’s favourite journal PNAS should concentrate minds, as should Feely et al’s Science paper and Cicerone et al’s The ocean in a high CO2 world (among many others).

    The likely effects on the food web will likely be very bad (which is code for “probably beneficial” according to T “Radium Water” C).

  70. #70 Jeff Harvey
    March 11, 2009

    Tim ‘Darth Evader’ writes, “Remember there is NO evidence of any rising global temperature since 1900″.

    Oh, so we are back to that jibberish, are we? This is b@$#%*. I should not even dignify this comment with a response. Science has already deconstructed this sceario. But I will say this: a mean global 0.60 C rise since 1980 (and not sinece 1900 – this is a clear obfuscation of science) represents a dramatic change for an effectively deterministic system. Regionally it is much, much more of course (away from the lower latitudies, exactly as predicted back in the 1960s). Perhaps not in the life span of a ‘Darth Evader’, for example, but in a real geological sense, yes. And we know who the primary culprit is. We are.

    As for food web effects, I have presented evidence. Results from microbial studies, as I have discussed. Effects on herbivorous insects. Eric Post’s work in Greenland. There’s tons more. You can’t get off your lazy butt to peruse the journals I have mentioned before. Unlike you, Tim, I am a scientist and I have research to do, and I should not have to do your work for you. Log into web of science and type in the relevant keywords. How many damned times do I also have to repeat that if mechanistic studies report effects, then these will ripple up through food chains.

  71. #71 Jeff Harvey
    March 11, 2009

    One final thing: I can’t wait for evader’s upcoming paper. I am literally shaking in my boots, knowing that it will knock science off its foundations.

    NOT.

  72. #72 Bernard J.
    March 11, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    I find it extraordinary that you can have your nose rubbed in your scientific ignorance as repeatedly as has been done on this and on other threads, and still have the gall to tell Jeff Harvey his work, and especially to insinuate that he is wrong.

    And all the time you do this without presenting any countering evidence. Just as you have similarly not provided a coherent basis for the slurs, the slanders and the libel that you have directed at some of the best scientists and scientific journals in the world.

    I am once again morbidly curious – can you compile, in report/paper form, and using supportable data reviewed by independent experts, justification for any of these pearlers from yourself:

    At post #33::

    “…preferably not Science and Nature, as they publish any old rubbish so long as it is currently PC,…”

    At post #60:

    “Howver [sic] 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.”

    At post #87:

    “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.”

    At post #141:

    “…they [Solomon et al] are as stoopid and ignorant as Field”

    At post #145:

    “…insinuated by Susie Sollie in her wholly fraudulent Fig.1,”

    At post #157:

    “Solomon['s] et al PNAS 2009 of lack of due diligence”

    “The truth is that the NAS is nothing more than a branch of the Democratic Party with no scientific credentials whatsoever in this field, or in any other,”

    “The truths are either (1) that PNAS employs NO peer reviewers, or that (2) the NAS is nothing but a front for fellow travelling Marxist environmentalists for whom the truth counts for zero.”

    “This is pure persiflage.”

    “This reveals the cretinous stupidity that will destroy the Obama government if it follows the advice of the NAS/Stanford mafia it has recruited to be its climate policy mentors.”

    At post #159:

    “The truth is that PNAS’ POLICY in this area under the leadership of Field Schellnhuber et al is to deny both (1) the existence of carbon sinks (or to claim that they are saturated)and that (2) there could be any adverse consequences from reducing ending emisisons and reducing [CO2].”

    At post #163:

    “This paper is a monstrous perversion of the truth.”

    “The sad truth is that NAS editors like Field and Schellenhuber are completely innocent of any knowledge of the concept of rates of growth.”

    “Such simple arithmetic is beyond the mental compass of your editors like Field and Schellenhuber, and I fully accept that NAS has no editors any better equipped to grasp such simple arithmetic.”

    “If correctly reported, Dr Field is guilty of severe economy with the truth.”

    “Field’s exaggeration (by over 700 percent) of the rate of increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide relative to the growth of emissions, combined with his wilful disregard of the positive side of the annual global carbon budget through his focus only on emissions, amounts to gross academic and scientific misconduct.”

    At post #166:

    “The PNAS’s idiot peer reviewers show they know nothing and care less.”

    At post #177:

    “Not a single fact or observation sullies their pristine pages.”

    “They state they were “inspired” by Friedlingstein (2006), the true legatee of Beatrice Potter and Enid Blyton as a purveyor of pure fiction.”

    “…proof positive that Silly Sue, Plattner, Knutti, and Friedlingstein are idiots emerges in this quote from P & K…”

    At post #209:

    “I would not want to keep company with some of your co-authors! [P.D. Jones, K.R. Briffa, T.J. Osborn, M.E. Mann, G.A. Schmidt, C.M. Ammann, all known dissemblers specializing in economy with the truth]”

    At post #217:

    “…we are expendable to Jeff, Stern, Garnaut, Solomon, and the rest of all those eugenicists in WWF et al.”

    At post #245:

    “I note that you ignore the systemic dishonesty I noted above of all at IPCC, especially Schneider, Field, Solomon, Joel Smith, Schellnhuber et al et al in asserting over just the last 2 weeks that CO2 emissions equal increase in [CO2].”

    At post #255:

    “That reminds me of Einstein’s riposte to the 100 jerks like Smith, Solomon, Schneider, Schellnhuber, et al ad nauseam, that Hitler lined up against him, “just one fact would have been enough”.”

    At post #267:

    “…that Smith, Schneider, Field and Solomon and their myriad et als spread deceit when they claim in PNAS and at AAAS that 100% of CO2 emissions remain airborne.”

    At post #274:

    “CO2 absorption is absent, that Fig.1 (LHS top panel) is a big lie.”

    “…the outrageous deception of the whole Solomon article.”

    At post #286:

    “In my world view, let us all enjoy the benefits of rising absorption of CO2 emissions by the biospheres without worrying about the witches of Salem propagated by the idiocies of Susan Solomon, who lacks any wisdom on any topic.”

    At post #328:

    “…unlike Smith et al who have no need of facts for their pre-ordained gloom and doom.”

    At post #344:

    “Anyway it is all beyond Gavin at RC, as he has yet to “moderate” (?swallow?)my post re Solomon et al (PNAS 2009) and their equally egregious and DISHONEST refusal to admit there have been, are, and will ALWAYS be absorptions.”

    At post #354:

    “…all its recent papers on climate change especially those by Hansen, Schneider, Solomon et al have been exercises in policy advocacy with minimal scientific content.”

    Given your disparagement of such worthies, I am sure that you would have similar things to say about Will Steffen of the Climate Change Institute at your old stomping ground, ANU. After all, he is currently in Copenhagen helping to promote the idea that the models predicting temperature increase due to GHG are apparently conservative, and that sea level rise is now considered to be heading toward 1 metre+ by 2100.

    He must be a few streets and a couple of corridors away from your former haunts – why don’t you knock on his office door next week when he returns, and set him straight?

    More on your lack of capacity for science later – for now I am entertaining myself by seeing how many of the current questions, that have been posed to you, you will continue to avoid.

    A hint though…, you may need to tighten up your logical bases, and your understanding of chemical equilibria and of carbonate chemistry, because your faff at post #362 has holes large enough to swim a humpback through. On this matter I’m tempted to wait until after you submit for publication, because the reviewers (if such are present in the processes employed by whatever forum you intend to employ) will surely get a jolly laugh from your current torturing of science.

  73. #73 Gaz
    March 11, 2009

    I wonder if Keith Windschuttle’s reading this?

  74. #74 Tim Curtin
    March 11, 2009

    1. Jeff: Have you seen “An alternative to climate change for explaining species loss in Thoreau’s woods” by McDonald et al in the latest PNAS (in an area not subject to Field and Schellnhuber). Their abstract: “Willis et al. (1) concluded that climate change significantly contributed to plant species decline in the Concord, MA, area. An alternative explanation is that herbivory by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) may have been responsible for many of the decreases in species abundance that they observed, and this is a more powerful and parsimonious explanation than increased local temperatures. …” Willis responded denying this claim; you be the judge!

    Jeff, have you also seen “Can behavior douse the fire of climate warming? by Huey et al., again in latest PNAS, Field must have been out of the office “Rising air temperatures around the globe are affecting organismal abundance, distribution, and evolution. Not surprisingly, biologists are endeavoring to assess and anticipate further impacts of warming. What is usually overlooked in these efforts is the fact that mobile organisms are not prisoners of climate warming: they can use behavioral adjustments (“behavioral thermoregulation”) either to buffer the impact of warming air temperatures or sometimes even to take advantage of them. However, an evaluation of behavior’s roles in modifying organismal responses to climate warming has never been attempted, at least on a large spatial scale. A new study in this issue of PNAS (6) develops a biophysically (heat transfer)-based approach (7–9) that does just that. Kearny et al. (6) quantify whether a diurnal ectotherm’s use of behavioral adjustments (e.g., use of shade or burrows) alters the ecological impact of climate warming, and they do so on local, continental, and global scales. For us the key take-home lesson is that behavioral flexibility is critical for organismal survival in a warming world; behavior can buffer the negative consequences of warming, or it can enhance the benefits of warming! The outcome depends on an organism’s physiology, availability of shade, and local microclimates, all of which vary with latitude. Many temperate-zone ectotherms live in environments that are considerably cooler than their optimum, and so becoming warmer is now their highest thermoregulatory priority. Warming will be beneficial to them, especially if they can use basking to take advantage of warming temperatures. In contrast, the priority for many tropical and continental-desert ectotherms is staying cool. Climate warming will place them at risk, especially if shade is scant. “

    The last especially supports some of my claims above, eg when it says “behavior can buffer the negative consequences of warming, or it can enhance the benefits of warming!” and refutes many more of yours. I await your correction of Huey et al in PNAS, please keep me posted.

  75. #75 Gaz
    March 11, 2009

    What’s the point you’re making here Tim Curtin?

    You seem to believe that global warming is nothing to worry about because some animals may respond to it by modifying their behaviour.

    Please send us a postcard from Fantasyland.

  76. #76 Tim Curtin
    March 12, 2009

    Lewis (#363). Thanks for those interesting refs. First the relatively good paper, that by Feely et al, Science, 13 June 2008. At least we have real time measurements, but no time series, so this paper only offers anecdotal evidence in regard to trends. It’s a pity the paper does not offer its data, as they would have enabled more rigorous analysis of the data underlying its Fig. 2. It speaks of “the” pH, but as Fig.2 shows, that varies with oceanic depth and latitude. The “Global” oceanic pH is a meaningless statistic, and the claim it has fallen by 0.1 since 1750 is not confirmed by Feely or the IPCC’s AR4.

    Next, McNeill and Matear in PNAS 2 December 2008 (18860-18864). I note that the paper is all of 5 pages long. Truly PNAS is the Readers Digest of Science (remember its condensation of War & Peace to just 4 pages?). Articles that make such large claims and demand huge policy shifts are hardly to be trusted on the basis of 5 pages, especially when 6 of its Refs are to themselves, and the first (Caldeira & Wickett in Nature) has just one page. Be that as it may, McNeil and Matear display, like those of its Refs that I have opened, that they do not understand the difference between increase in emissions (as in IPCC’s IS92a Scenario, their main source) and increase in the atmospheric concentration of CO2, i.e. [CO2]. Under IS92a, the [CO2] reaches 788 ppmv by 2100, thanks to a neat doubling at 0.79% p.a. of the actual rate of growth of [CO2] since 1958, whereas from today at the actual growth between 1958 and now of 0.4% p.a. yields only 555 ppmv by 2100. The complete ignorance of the carbon budget shown by McNeil and Matear is captured by their final sentence (p.18864): “we find that aragonite undersaturation is likely to begin once atmospheric CO2 reaches c. 450 ppm, and the year at which this is reached will depend entirely (sic) on future anthropogenic CO2 emission trajectories”. But d[CO2] = E – A, where E is emissions and A is Absorption by oceans and the terrestrial biosphere. Absorption is not invariant with E, and since 1958 has accounted for 57% of E. Forget the Science, just get the Math right.

    A main Ref. by McNeil is to Orr et al., Nature, 2005, whose best estimate is that [CO2] will reach 560 ppm by 2055, an implicit growth rate of 0.79% p.a. from now, again double the observed historical rate from 1958. So far as I can see, neither McNeil nor Orr offer any data on actual pH anywhere.

    So thanks to Lewis we have discovered another pair of Madoffs-with-our-money. Really, Lewis, do some basic due diligence of your own before you cite papers with bogus growth rates. These articles’ conclusions are fictional.

  77. #77 Jeff Harvey
    March 12, 2009

    Tim, Isn’t this the same PNAS you’ve beenb nagging about being so appalling bad? Pretty choosy, aren’t you, for a non-scientist.

    The Huey paper is but one. There are dozens in the pages of the journals I have told you to peruse but which you haven’t (I assume that you do not have access online so this is your excuse) which show very opposite trends. I agree with you that many species are genetically programmed to be able to adjust to changes in their abiotic environment. But there are two major concerns here: 1. That the rate of temperature change, especially in temperate latitudes, is well beyond the ‘norm’ temperally, and is beyond the ability of many, perhaps most species, in particular specialist herbivores, to adjust (they must track their food plants), and 2. Humans have simplified the biosphere and have put many huge barriers in the way of species that would otherwise be able to adjust. Huge agricultural and urban expanses are barriers that pose a major impediament in this capacity. When Thomas et al. (2004) published their seminal paper on climate-change associated extinction projections, they took this into account. There will many more losers than winners. And as we showed in our Nature paper las December (Engelkes et al., 2008), another problem is that there are lags between the ability of above- and below ground biota to respond spatially to change. This means that communities will have to rapidly reassemble themselves, and, given the time span involved, it is certain that the new communties will be ecologically simplified. Again, the prognosis is a bad one. I have said this so many times but I will say it again: climate change is but major probelm in the human assault. All of the problems are synergized.

  78. #78 Tim Curtin
    March 12, 2009

    Jeff: Congrats on your article with Tim Engelkes et al in Nature last December. Well done! I can’t see anything there about effects of rising [CO2], and I note that the concluding sentence of the Abstract includes two “mays”, indicating no evidence of any actual adverse effects from range expansion due to whatever climate change may have occurred locally (and even then probably only temporarily). Keep up the good work! BTW, I have revised my opinion about Nature, I think it is an honest journal, unlike Science and PNAS whenever they publish on CC in areas governed by the likes of Field and Schellnhuber.

  79. #79 Bernard J.
    March 12, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    In response to Huey et al:

    … Many temperate-zone ectotherms live in environments that are considerably cooler than their optimum, and so becoming warmer is now their highest thermoregulatory priority…. (etc)

    you say:

    The last especially supports some of my claims above, eg when it says “behavior can buffer the negative consequences of warming, or it can enhance the benefits of warming!” and refutes many more of yours

    Can you explain to us (with hat-tippings to the principles of thermodynamics, and to permutations of Liebig’s Law of the Minimum) why these organisms do not, in practice, already live at their ‘thermal optima’?

  80. #80 Jeff Harvey
    March 12, 2009

    I have gone through the Huey article (which is actually a commentary, as far as I can see, on the Kearney article). The paper is nicely written. However, they exclude several major parameters from their permutations: the ability of species to behaviorally to adjust in fragmented landscapes; the effects on tightly co-evolved interrelationships (the authors appear to focus on physiology but mostly igore ecological interactions with mutualists and antagonists that are key drivers in selection; they focus on thermoregulating ectotherms; they ignore the nutritional ecology of species (this links with my second point) and thus exclude the interactions between consumers and the trophic level beneath them that are vital for species survival.

    These are all critical factors in gauging how species will adapt to a rapidly chaging climate. I am actually not that concerned about behavioral thermoregulatory adjustment, except with respect to habitat availability. In this scenario its no use for a forest-inhabiting organism to move northwards if its habitat has been converted to an agricultural or urban landscape. Moreover, I am also very worried how phenological relationships will pan out.

    So the paper you’ve cited Tim allays very few of my concerns, speaking as a population ecologist. There’s still an element of “let’s cross our fingers and hope for the best in all of this” these kinds of articles. They do provide some very helpful beaseline information on one aspect of phenotypic variation, but in ignoring other aspects they tell us very little. Camille Parmesan’s outstanding 2006 review on climate change and biodiversity concluded with the following: “Observed genetic shifts modulate local effects of climate change, but there is little evidence that they will mitigate negative effects at the species level”. This is very a very relevant point with respect to the Huey commentary. Sure, many species will adapt in some ways, but perhaps not in others. And we humans have made it much more difficult for species to adapt because we have changed the face of the Earth in many other ways.

  81. #81 Tim Curtin
    March 12, 2009

    Bernard – you (#373) asked me to explain to you, in response to my quote from Huey et al: (“… Many temperate-zone ectotherms live in environments that are considerably cooler than their optimum, and so becoming warmer is now their highest thermoregulatory priority….”) “why these organisms do not, in practice, already live at their ‘thermal optima’?” I will but only after you explain both to me and to Huey et al why your “thermal optimum” is superior to mine in Canberra or Huey’s or that of those who choose to live in Singapore or Dubai instead of Aberdeen or Helsinki. Hint: think “trade-offs”.

  82. #82 Tim Curtin
    March 13, 2009

    Benrard, I’ve just seen your attack on me at Real Climate, here’s my response, “awaiting moderation” as ever: “Solomon et al did indeed slightly reduce the growth rate they used to derive peak [CO2] of 1200 ppm by 2100, from 2% p.a for “emissions over the last decade” to 1.2434% p.a. But that rate is 3 times larger than the observed rate between 1958 and 2008, and it results in an increase in [CO2] of 4.78 ppm or 10.1626 GtC in 2009 (if the base was 385 ppm in 2008). The actual increase in ppm at Mauna Loa from Dec 07 to Dec 08 was 1.7 ppm, and the actual increase in emissions in 2008 was 10.2 GtC (prelim.). In effect Solomon et al even if they did not eliminate absorption by oceans and biospheres, severely restricted them to below their actual level in 2008 of over 6 GtC and their actual growth rate of 1.5% p.a. from 1999.5 to 2008.5 (GCP). That procedure is symptomatic of a general failure of the Bern and other GCM models adequatelt to model absorption of emissions, in effect that variable is frozen at what it was many years ago. The result is the wilful exaggeration as in Solomon et al and so many other papers of the impact of short term rapid growth in emissions [relative to] the observed much slower growth of the atmospheric CO2 concentration”.

  83. #83 Jeff Harvey
    March 13, 2009

    Tim Curtin, some advice: when you accuse others of *’wilful exaggeration’* there is more than an element of hypocrisy in your words. As I, Bernard, Sod and others have amply demonstrated, your arguments ignore a huge range of complex variables, as I said above, which makes me think that, like many contrarians, you are using science in a specific way to promote what is in effect a political agenda. I think thatv you ‘wilfully ignore’ these aspects because they shed profound doubts as to the strnegth of the conclusions you wish to derive. You slate the work of Solomon, Schneider etc., and you suggest that their studies are ‘fatally flowed’ (this coming from someone who has no formal qualifications in a relevant field of research) but are more than happy to cite studies that tell only a very small part of the story (see my last response to your Huey citation). I am sure that my response, which I think most readers here will find quite convincing, reveals that ‘behaviorial adjustments’ of species to changing climate regimes represents only one component that is necessary to respond to a changing environment. But I am sure you will dispense with what I say *because it does not fit in with your world view*. Like Bjorn Lomborg, you cite those studies that do and either ignore or castigate those (which are many more in number) that do not. Check Lomborg’s chapter on biodiversity in his book. Its a cherry-picking heaven. Ignored are numerous studies in journals like Nature, PNAS and manyb others that not only undermine most of his arguments, they demolish them.

    But why take my word for it? I am only a population ecologist with 85 peer-reviewed papers thus far in my career. I was only trained in this field of science; why should we not let the lay people decide what is good science and what isn’t?

  84. #84 Tim Curtin
    March 13, 2009

    Jeff: there’s no need to brag about your publishing record, it is very good in its own right, unlike Bernard’s or sod’s or P. Jones’. But do stick to your own last. I have not been an academic economist since 1970, but I do know a bit about cost-benefit analysis, rates of return, and the parameters of financial fraud. As I noted above, the Solomon paper in your favourite rag, PNAS, is indeed worthy of Madoff, by tripling the rate of growth of [CO2] from the actual 0.4% p.a. to 1.24% p.a. and claiming equally that from 2008 the rate of growth of absorption of emissions will be far BELOW the observed rate since 1958, without a shred of evidence to that effect. If this is not Madoffian malfeasance, what would be? Sure, they are not soliciting investment moneys – but they are soliciting extra research funding from their mates Chu and Holdren, on the basis of the hysteria they are whipping up, and the latter are now well able to gratify their every desire. And the Ponzi that is the ETS of Holdren-Obama will leave Bernie M in the shade. Was their paper peer reviewed by anyone other than their mates and sometime co-authors? If FOI applied, we would know who, and I bet it was not Richard Lindzen of MIT – or Roy Spencer et al. Admit it Jeff that you know darn well most if not all of your papers were “peer-reviewed” by mates and/or colleagues and former co-authors, given the narrowness of your speciality.

  85. #85 Bernard J.
    March 13, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    I asked:

    … why these organisms do not, in practice, already live at their ‘thermal optima’?

    and you replied with:

    I will but only after you explain both to me and to Huey et al why your “thermal optimum” is superior to mine in Canberra or Huey’s or that of those who choose to live in Singapore or Dubai instead of Aberdeen or Helsinki. Hint: think “trade-offs”.

    Red herring.

    TimC, as humans, we are the only species that can significantly modify the environment to suit our own needs and desires. “[T]rade-offs” for us are for us a luxury of choice resulting from our ability to manipulate our surroundings.

    For the rest of the biosphere though, tradings-off are a consequence of adaptation to evolutionary pressure, and as such they operate in a very different fashion for species other than our own.

    So I will ask you once again, why do ‘these’ organisms not, in practice, already live at their ‘thermal optima’?

    Perhaps you might consider cracking a first year ecology text. Or try google – even the most ordinary of the undergrads that I have had to struggle with could have done better than:

    What are “r and k?”

  86. #86 Bernard J.
    March 13, 2009

    RW Curtin.

    Yikes, it never ends…

    About Solomon et al:

    … claiming equally that from 2008 the rate of growth of absorption of emissions will be far BELOW the observed rate since 1958, without a shred of evidence to that effect.

    … placing a number of other issues aside for the moment, how is your understanding of carbonate chemistry and of chemical equilibria coming along?

  87. #87 Tim Curtin
    March 13, 2009

    Bernard: you said “we are the only species that can significantly modify the environment to suit our own needs and desires” – but most species can and do shift environments when appropriate and optimal. My “understanding of carbonate chemistry and of chemical equilibria” is coming along a whole lot better than yours of the carbon budget, when you defend Solomon et al’s fraudulent version thereof. In that regard you sailed close to the wind at Real Climate. Take care.

  88. #88 sod
    March 13, 2009

    “Solomon et al did indeed slightly reduce the growth rate they used to derive peak [CO2] of 1200 ppm by 2100, from 2% p.a for “emissions over the last decade” to 1.2434% p.a. But that rate is 3 times larger than the observed rate between 1958 and 2008

    as i posted [before](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/01/windschuttle_hoaxed.php#comment-1437428), the Solomon paper has noticed that the latest increase in CO2 emissions (2000-2005) was 3%.

    they reduced that number to 2%, and the derived 1.2% for their calculations.

    your arguments are falling apart. quickly. always.

  89. #89 sod
    March 13, 2009

    claiming equally that from 2008 the rate of growth of absorption of emissions will be far BELOW the observed rate since 1958, without a shred of evidence to that effect.

    the truth, of course, is the exact opposite of what you claim:

    there is [evidence](http://news.mongabay.com/2007/1023-carbon.html) of a lower absorbation rate, for example in the oceans.

    the only person, with a serious lack of evidence supporting their claims, is you…

  90. #90 Jeff Harvey
    March 13, 2009

    Tim, methinks you underestimate ‘my speciality’. I was taught population biology by one of the best in this discipline (Mike Begon) and also Evolutionary Ecology by one of the best, (Geoff Parker). Our institute researches all kinds of ecology covering massive variation in spatial and temporal scales, and I am involved in these discussions; I frequently meet up with colleagues to discuss each other’s work. I also used to be an Editor for the journal Nature, a job I got I think because I had quite strong ‘general knowledge’in ecology.

    Its therefore a bit rich for a retired economist who probably can’t tell a mole cricket from a giraffe to critize my broad knowledge of population ecology. You are firmly out of your depth when you take suggest that humans pose minimal threats to natural systems and that climate change and rapidly increasing C02 levels will benfit, rather than harm biodiversity. You know a fraction of what I do about population biology, yet you persist. And when I catch you out, as I do repeatedly, you come back not with empirical evidence (which you don’t have) or knowledge (ditto), but you have to resort to downplaying my qualifications or by simply igmoring the points I make (see Bernard’s post earlier which demonstrates just that). Just because someone specializes in an area, incidentally a pre-requisite for scientists, does not mean that they do not have broad grounding in other related disciplines.

    Moreover, how many conferences have you attended where the relevant environmental issues are debated by scientists – for instance the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, for example? Or the importance of functional redundancy in maintaining system resilience and stability? What on Earth do you know about the connection between the biology and physiology of individual organisms, rules governing community assembly and emergent processes occurring at larger scales such as productivity and resilience and the maintenance of hydrological and biogeochemical cycles? Its my view that you know diddly squat about any of this, so you pontificate and make a lot of noise. Hollow noise.

    Basically, every time I trump one of your frankly dumb arguments, like your ‘species will adapt’ rhetoric, while lacking a basic understanding of the complexity of the field, you come back with some childish jibe.

    What I think is that you are clinging top a life on this thread because you’ve been banned from other threads on Deltoid. To be honest, I find it easier to debate a high school student than you. If you cannot come upo with much better than this then I am out of here.

  91. #91 Tim Curtin
    March 13, 2009

    Sod (#383). Thanks for the link to the Schuster and Watson “evidence”. Perhaps you can explain to me (1) why they interpret increasing pCO2 at seasurface as “declining” oceanic uptake of CO2? And (2) why if a positive obtained when subtracting sea pCO2 from atms pCO2 to get ΔpCO2 depicts “an uptake of CO2 by the ocean surface”, their actual data show more rapid increase of pCO2 at sea surface (4.4 μatm p.a.) than in the atmosphere, 1.8 μatm p.a., from mid-1990s to early 2000s, suggesting the opposite.

    Sod at #382. You still fail to distinguish between Solomon’s growth rate of CO2 emissions (2% pa in Fig 1) and the resulting implied growth rate (1.2434% p.a.) of the atmospheric concentration of CO2 if that reaches 1200 ppmv by 2100 as in Fig.1. The observed rate since 1958 for the latter is only 0.4% p.a. which happens also to be the actual rate from Feb 08 to Feb 09. Why is it increased threefold by Solomon et al. without any attempt at justification? If that is not Madoff what is?

  92. #92 Tim Curtin
    March 14, 2009

    Bernard J: good to hear you referring to me if only on another thread from which I am proscribed! You said “And they [temps on your property] are, almost without exception, 2-4°C below the city’s maxima. Heat island indeed”.
    Perhaps you got that the wrong way round? What of wind, location of your weather station vis a vis buildings etc? Certainly all similar anecdotal experience indicates towns tend to have higher mean temps than rural stations, which is why GISS/NOAA go to some lengths to use rural rather than urban stations, but then they went electronic and had to scrimp on cable length, so most stations ended up in car parks etc, hence most US “rural” stations are now urban, in part also because most Americans are too fat and lazy to walk to a measuring station in a field rather than wait for feed from an electronic station. I suspect your station fits that category.

    Meantime I await your rebuttal of my demonstration that Solomon et al in their Fig 1. applied a 2% p.a. growth rate to emissions from now to 2100, which means (1) that they imply that the increase in [CO2] this year will be 4.8 ppm instead of the actual 1.9 in 2007-08, and (2) that their claim that [CO2] grows at over 1.2% p.a. instead of the observed 0.4% from 1958 to 2008 to reach 1200 ppmv in 2100, resulting in negative terrestrial uptake (with fixed oceanic as they allege)for the next 20 years. The truth is (1) that Solomon et all and their associates are perpetrating a giant fraud worthy of Bernie Madoff et al. and (2) that you are an accessory to this fraud.

  93. #93 Jeff Harvey
    March 14, 2009

    *The truth is (1) that Solomon et all and their associates are perpetrating a giant fraud worthy of Bernie Madoff et al. and (2) that you are an accessory to this fraud*.

    This is not even worthy of a reply. To be ignored.

  94. #94 Tim Curtin
    March 14, 2009

    To sod et al: As Gavin Schmidt has yet to post my last at Real Climate (see my #376 above), I have just made another attempt, as follows: “What’s up Gavin? I see you have still not posted my last. Look, Solomon et al are in clear breach of fiduciary duty when they raise the rate of accumulation of atmospheric CO2 from the observed rate of 0.4% p.a. from 1958 to 2009 to over 1.2% p.a. in order to reach their ‘target’ of 1200 ppm by 2100 (as in their Fig.1). They and you do not realise that growth of total emissions (including LUC etc) at 2% p.a. is from a much smaller base (c 10 GtC) than is the existing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, over 818 GtC, to which they apply their 1.2% p.a.” I added that Solomon et al 2009, (plus Canadell et al 2007, Smith, Schneider et al 2009, all at PNAS), could well have been written by Bernie Madoff, as they all deploy his methods.

  95. #95 Tim Curtin
    March 14, 2009

    Jeff: if the cap fits, wear it, my post was addressed to a strangely silent Bernard. But since you raise the issue, please confirm whether or not you are aware that there is some connection between the supply of atmospheric CO2 and world food supply. For the record, the atmospheric volume of CO2 was 316 ppm in 1959, or 670 billion tonnes of carbon (GtC), while the total recorded level of CO2 emissions was 3.87 GtC in that year. In 2008 the total atmospheric volume was 385 ppmv, or 818 GtC, and CO2 emissions were at least 10.2 GtC. The total oceanic and biospheric absorption was 1.84 GtC in 1959, and 6.2 GtC in 2008. Can you please explain to me why the increase in global food supply for all living matter on this planet associated with that increase in absorption has been bad for all living matter? You can rave on about your undoubtedly fantastic credentials, but until you can give a straight answer to that question, “pak jou goed en trek verlere” (i.e. get lost, with apologies for any mispelling in my rusty Afrikaans).

  96. #96 Lee
    March 14, 2009

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

  97. #97 Bernard J.
    March 15, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    Considering that it is a weekend and that some of us actually have lives, I think that you are being a little bit cute with your “strangely silent Bernard” jibe. Still, love and war and all that…

    So, you have a problem with the way Solomon et al are presenting data? Perhaps you might have benefited from [Gavin's advice](http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/02/irreversible-does-not-mean-unstoppable/#comment-114285) to “try reading the paper”. If you have done so carefully you would have noted what P. Lewis at #148, and sod at #272, repeated for you – namely, that:

    Fig. 1 illustrates how the concentrations of carbon dioxide would be expected to fall off through the coming millennium if manmade emissions were to cease immediately following an illustrative future rate of emission increase of 2% per year [my emphasis]

    Do you understand what “illustrative” means?

    Continuing, Solomon et al say:

    This is not intended to be a realistic scenario but rather to represent a test case whose purpose is to probe physical climate system changes. A more gradual reduction of carbon dioxide emission (as is more likely), or a faster or slower adopted rate of emissions in the growth period, would lead to long-term behavior qualitatively similar to that illustrated in Fig. 1 [my emphasis]

    Do you understand what “not intended to be a realistic scenario” means?

    As sod noted, Solomon et al do seem to have a passing acquaintance with the idea of sinks and feedings-back:

    Additional carbon cycle feedbacks could reduce the efficiency of the ocean and biosphere to remove the anthropogenic CO2 and thereby increase these CO2 values.

    I must admit that for a while I couldn’t understand why you assumed that Solomon et al confabulated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration increase with carbon dioxide emissions increase. Then it occurred to me that you don’t appear to have read the supplementary material as advised in the text of the paper exactly where the first figure is discussed:

    A more gradual reduction of carbon dioxide emission (as is more likely), or a faster or slower adopted rate of emissions in the growth period, would lead to long-term behavior qualitatively similar to that illustrated in Fig. 1 (see also Fig. S1). [my emphasis]

    The very first graphic in the [supporting information](http://www.pnas.org/content/suppl/2009/01/28/0812721106.DCSupplemental/0812721106SI.pdf) shows the trajectorie of 0.5% pa growth in atmospheric CO2 (black) and of 2% pa growth in atmospheric CO2 (red), with their respective peaks (which, for 0.5% pa to1200ppm, occurs in 2237).

    See, to me when I first read all of this material, it was as plain as the nose on my face when Solomon et al were referring to an increase in CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, and when they were referring to an increase in actual CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.

    I guess if one were not being especially careful in reading a paper one might miss such nuances, and confabulate the two CO2 parameters.

    In their paper (and accompanying supplementation) Solomon et al establish the trajectories for a range of atmospheric CO2 peaks occurring at rates that are likely to occur with current usage, to possible rates of future usage should control not be instigated. This seems to be a perfectly reasonable covering of contingencies to me. Where is the problem with this?

    Further, I note that you have not disputed that the trajectories are qualitatively comparable irrespective of the rate of CO2 increase. Nor have you disputed the trajectories after the peaks, which are at loggerheads with you own claims of plummeting CO2 should human emissions be eliminated. I am very interested in what you might have to say in your tke compared with their analyses, in light of the obvious conclusion that:

    The example of a
    sudden cessation of emissions provides an upper bound to how much reversibility is possible, if, for example, unexpectedly damaging climate changes were to be observed

    The only point that I can see that you have Tim Curtin is that you do not read science well enough to pick the nuances of a paper: but then, you’ve consistently displayed this incapacity in the many other ill-advised criticisms of science that you are prone to.

  98. #98 Tim Curtin
    March 15, 2009

    Hi Bernard, how are you going with your temps being cooler than in your nearby city?

    Re the Follies of Solomon, you have put up a sterling defence. But the facts remain (1) that their Figs.’ Growth paths of Emissions leading to 1200 ppm of [CO2] by 2100 do not depict absorptions, and they are only to be inferred from the very gradual declines in [CO2] after emissions cease, and (2) that their implicit growth rate of [CO2] with respect to emissions growth at 2% pa from until 2100 is 1.23% pa, over double the observed rate from 1958 to 2009. Why?

    Then they said: “This [1200 ppm by 2100] is not intended to be a realistic scenario but rather to represent a test case whose purpose is to probe physical climate system changes.” That is a lie, their actual purpose is to generate alarm sufficient to generate more funding, as their paper nowhere discusses “physical climate system change” with respect to [CO2] growth at 3 times the observed rate.

    Well, if their paper is not intended to be “realistic”, what do they mean by their title’s “irreversible climate change”? Their paper is of course not merely unrealistic but fatuous, as even Gavin Schmidt dimly realises when he attempts to show that “irreversible” does not mean what it says, and that “unstoppable” is somehow different.

    Then you say: “Solomon et al do seem to have a passing acquaintance with the idea of sinks and feedings-back” and quote Solomon et al “Additional carbon cycle feedbacks could reduce the efficiency of the ocean and biosphere to remove the anthropogenic CO2 and thereby increase these CO2 values”. Note their “could” – why then do their Figs. assume that this is already happening, as their model produces 40 years of absorptions from now at less than the current rate. “Reduced efficiency” is something to be proved when the evidence is for remarkle increased efficiency of absorption since 1958.

    Time to walk the dog, will revert.

  99. #99 sod
    March 15, 2009

    do not depict absorptions, and they are only to be inferred from the very gradual declines in [CO2] after emissions cease, and (2) that their implicit growth rate of [CO2] with respect to emissions growth at 2% pa from until 2100 is 1.23% pa, over double the observed rate from 1958 to 2009. Why?

    you prefer to ignore it, but the latest number of CO2 emission growth given in the paper is 3%.

    THREE. do you get it?

    That is a lie, their actual purpose is to generate alarm sufficient to generate more funding, as their paper nowhere discusses “physical climate system change” with respect to [CO2] growth at 3 times the observed rate.

    As Bernhard pointed out, their purpose is: how long will it take to reduce CO2 back to former level.
    they come to a very different conclusion, than you do.

    “Reduced efficiency” is something to be proved when the evidence is for remarkle increased efficiency of absorption since 1958.

    let me be try to be polite:

    i have given you the numbers from the “additional CO2 for greenhouses companies” multiple times now.

    even a massive increase in CO2, only will be followed by a (below) 30% increase in yield. this does NOT FIT into your assumptions about unlimited uptake. not at all!

  100. #100 Tim Curtin
    March 15, 2009

    First Bernard #391 (sod later): what I still find amazing is that you keep on defending Solomon’s folly when the policy implication is that nothing can be done to reverse the climate change we have already incurred! Here am I on the other hand knocking her back for the fraud in her paper, even though I agree with the policy implications, i.e. do nothing. There’s you defending her while hating her conclusion!

    For the inherent fraud, let’s look at Newsweek’s interview with foolish Solly (2nd March 2009:

    Newsweek: “Is there any way to halt the process before it goes too far?”
    “No, says Susan Solomon, a climate scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado. In a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, she found [sic, she found nothing, there is NO original research finding in Solly’s paper] that most of the carbon we’ve already released into the atmosphere will hang around for another 1,000 years [Nonsense: it recycles every 12 years]. Even if world leaders somehow managed to persuade everybody to stop driving cars and heating their homes—bringing carbon emissions down to zero immediately—the Earth would continue to warm for centuries [so why bother?]. The effect of rising temperatures on rainfall patterns is also irreversible, says Solomon. Parts of the world that tend to be dry (Mexico, north Africa, southern Europe and the western parts of Australia and the United States) will continue to get drier, while wet areas (the South Pacific islands, the horn of Africa) will keep getting wetter [zero evidence, there is NONE for any of this, least of all in the horn of Africa, home of endemic drought, I know having been there done that].” You have to think of it as being like a dial that can only turn one way,” she says. “We’ve cranked up the dial, and we don’t get to crank it back.” [Hooray Henry, or rather Susie]“.

    Back to Bernard, who sez; “See, to me when I first read all of this material, it was as plain as the nose on my face when Solomon et al were referring to an increase in CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, and when they were referring to an increase in actual CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.” Yet their Figs. both in the paper and in the SI at no point display the changes in the sinks which account for the differences between emissions and [CO2] trajectories. The Fig S1B shows the same rates of decline of [CO2] after cessation of emissions at any level. Why, when it is known to all except Solly and her 2500 Nobel pals that there is a relationship between [CO2] and the rate of Absorption? Why are the rates of absorption expunged from all her Figleaves? Because they are whatever foolish Solly needs to validate her trajectories – the sinks have never been modelled since Wigley (1990) claimed they don’t have to be, they are whatever is implied by his and all later modelling of emissions and [CO2]. That is not science, more like Houdini.

    Bernard again: “Nor have you disputed the trajectories after the peaks, which are at loggerheads with your own claims of plummeting CO2 should human emissions be eliminated.” Ok, I do now: (1) they are opaque and specified nowhere in Solomon et al., PNAS 2009. (2) Solly assumes they are invariant with the level of [CO2] at any time, see all her Figs (or figleaves) including S1 and S2, where Solly makes it clear that “the range of CO2 decay is based upon calculations with the Bern2.5CC carbon cycle–climate model for the 2%/year rate of increase cases shown in Fig. 1 of the main text covering a broad range of cases in which CO2 concentrations increase from current concentrations to peak values of 450-1200ppmv and then emissions are halted”. Bern does not model absorptions. Biospheric absorption, what’s that? Solomon et al (PNAS 2009) do not even know what that is, but even if they ever did, they have abolished it.

    But, dear Bernard, do keep up your brave defence of Solomon et al., I intend to use it to defeat ETS everywhere.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.