Tim Curtin thread

By request here is a new thread for folks to argue with Tim Curtin. Tim, this is the only thread you are allowed to post on.

Comments

  1. #1 Tim Curtin
    March 25, 2009

    Bernard: If you say so, but I do not even have to open Stuart Pimm in PNAS to know that it is a bogus paper with make believe stats. Pimm et al., you and Jeff amply demonstrate that you are all closet creationists with your belief that all species emerged de nova in Genesis 1.1, and have progressively become extinct ever since, while evolution stopped on the same day, so no new species ever have or ever will emerge.

    I owe the following refutations of Bernard & Jeff to George Howard [george@restorationsystems.com]

    Next Tuesday, March 31, PBS’ NOVA is reporting on the Younger Dryas event, or Clovis Comet. Viewing the program, “The Last Extinction,” is not limited to the air date (or the states), however. All NOVA episodes are available for free from the NOVA website immediately after they air. Until the entire program permanently replaces it next Tuesday, a promo is available here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/clovis/program.html

    The companion site to the program is extensive and available now. As you can glean, it reveals the discovery of cosmic nanodiamonds discreetly located in the Younger Dryas boundary layer of the western margin of the Greenland ice sheet. The debate, such that it is, is well documented by Evan Hadingham for NOVA here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/clovis/debate.html

  2. #2 dhogaza
    March 25, 2009

    Pimm et al., you and Jeff amply demonstrate that you are all closet creationists with your belief that all species emerged de nova in Genesis 1.1, and have progressively become extinct ever since, while evolution stopped on the same day, so no new species ever have or ever will emerge.

    Mommy! Timmie’s lying again! Make him stop, please!

  3. #3 jonno
    March 25, 2009

    “but I do not even have to open Stuart Pimm in PNAS to know”

    It says it all

    TC is just magical.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTyTkD1Pz_E&feature=related

  4. #4 Bernard J.
    March 26, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    At #90 you were asked (for the umpteenth time) many questions, and requested to provide references and evidence to substantiate your ludicrous claims, and you have – as ever – assiduously avoided any response.

    Your only reply was a pathetic:

    Pimm et al., you and Jeff amply demonstrate that you are all closet creationists with your belief that all species emerged de nova [sic] in Genesis 1.1, and have progressively become extinct ever since, while evolution stopped on the same day, so no new species ever have or ever will emerge.

    which surely takes the cake.

    Neither Pimm et al, nor Jeff, nor myself made any reference, or any implication of one, to creationism. Our science is completely grounded in data and objective analyses, and your attempted strawman is so weak and juvenile as to merely embarass only yourself.

    And the internal inconsistency in:

    Bernard: If you say so, but I do not even have to open Stuart Pimm in PNAS to know that it is a bogus paper with make believe stats.

    is extraordinary! Not even one pass of their kindly-provided data supplement through the Curtin Super-RegressionTM Machine? You won’t read the paper, but you still know what’s contained within it?

    You’re certainly practising something, but whatever it is, it isn’t science.

    In the end you once more show yourself to have nothing. Zip, zilch, nada, nix, ∞-1.

    An ignominious end, indeed.

  5. #5 Tim Curtin
    March 26, 2009

    Bernard, I have now read the abstract of Pimm et al (and I see the al include none other than Paul Ehrlich, he who predicted in 1968 that most of us would be extinct and the rest starving by now)and find that it fulfils my expectations in all particulars, with a magic equation that cranks out ever increasing extinction rates, without a shred of evidence as ever. BTW, are you aware that bird populations are always lower in dense forest than in woodland? I did a little census myself in the magnificent old growth forest reserve at South Durras on Wednesday, saw just one sparrow, nothing else. The more open Headland was teeming. Pimms No 1 is indeed a creationist, as nothing evolves or emerges in his world.

  6. #6 sod
    March 26, 2009

    look Curtin, this is plain stupid.

    for a start, exactly ZERO new big cats (or other big predators) sprung up in Europe during the last century. actually the last thousand years.

    but i am sure that Curtin will tell us, when we will see the next new species of that kind here.

    i am holding my breath!!!!

  7. #7 jonno
    March 26, 2009

    “I did a little census myself”

    Did you peer-reviewed that by yourself TC?

  8. #8 dhogaza
    March 26, 2009

    Obviously among his other shortcomings, Timmie doesn’t bird by ear …

  9. #9 Gaz
    March 26, 2009

    “did a little census myself in the magnificent old growth forest reserve at South Durras on Wednesday”

    You are an amazingly reliable source of nonsense, Tim.

  10. #10 Tim Curtin
    March 27, 2009

    Bernard: Have just done a little test of the SI to Pimm & Ehrlich in PNAS. Recall that their magic lozenge formula relates known/supposed extinctions to a listing of some extant 10,000 species. Just using a handful of genera and their species, I quickly found 10 extra species that are widespread in PNG and often also in Australia but are not listed in their SI. For example, there are 8 species of Halcyon (kingfisher) that are extensively documented and pictured in the photographic plates in Brian J Coates’ brilliant The Birds of Papua New Guinea vol.1, but are unknown to our ornithological expert Paul Ehrlich and his mates. I project the omissions and error rate in Pimms & Ehrlich at 10% for PNG alone, and extrapolating that to Africa, which I also know, I suspect the omissions are even larger. In short there are lies, damned lies, and papers in PNAS where one of the authors (in this case Ehrlich, not Schneider) is at Stanford.

  11. #11 Gaz
    March 27, 2009

    Good work, Tim – these birds have obviously quickly evolved to replace those others that have become extinct in the past 150 years.

    Out goes the dodo, in comes the kingfisher.

    Isn’t nature wonderful.

  12. #12 Tim Curtin
    March 27, 2009

    Gaz – sarcasm well becomes you. Pimm & Ehrlich are creationists, their listings are of species around since Genesis 1.1 less known extinctions; they do NOT allow for any new species. THey seem to have a problem with kingfishers, they also left out PNG’s Ceyx azureus, websterii, and pusilla, and West Africa’s giant Kingfisher, Ceryle maxima, and Australia’s Acanthiza apicalis (inland thornbill), the very first I tested (from Pizzey and Knight’s Field Guide). Bear in mind that their magic pudding which gives the termination date for all known birds is based on the total number of species extant now. Having found 15 missing from the Pimm-Ehrlich inventory in just the last hour or so, we have another case of Popper’s black swan showing their paper to be bunk.

  13. #13 Gaz
    March 27, 2009

    Tim.. “they do NOT allow for any new species”

    eg?

  14. #14 Barton Paul Levenson
    March 27, 2009

    Estimates I’ve seen are that there might be 30 million species of organisms on the planet. If an average organism lasts 1 million years, there should be 30 extinctions and 30 new species every year, on average.

    One estimate I’ve also seen is that we are losing 27,000 species every year from tropical rain forests alone:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/03/2/l_032_04.html

    That would imply an extinction rate 900 times greater than normal. It would also imply a net loss of 27,000 – 30 = 26,970 species per year.

    We are in a mass extinction. Every expert on biodiversity thinks so.

  15. #15 Bernard J.
    March 27, 2009

    Once more unto the breach…

    I quickly found 10 extra species that are widespread in PNG and often also in Australia but are not listed in their SI. For example, there are 8 species of Halcyon (kingfisher) that are extensively documented and pictured in the photographic plates in Brian J Coates’ brilliant The Birds of Papua New Guinea vol.1, but are unknown to our ornithological expert Paul Ehrlich and his mates.

    Please list the ten extra species that you so “quickly found”. I have compared Pimm’s et al list of Halcyonidæ species with Robert G. Moyle’s molecular phylogeny of kingfishers ([Auk 123(2): 487–499](http://www.highbeam.com/library/docfree.asp?DOCID=1Y1:93480914&ctrlInfo=Round20%3AMode20a%3ADocG%3AResult&ao=)), and found only two extra species listed by Moyle weren’t acknowledged by Pimm et al – the flat-billed kingfisher, (Todirhamphus recurvirostris) and the Mangaia kingfisher (Todirhamphus ruficollaris).

    Given that there is a [recognised dispute](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halcyonidae) about the number of kingfishers (between 56 and 61), and that I found at least three species whose epithets were spelled differently in different references, I am extremely sceptical that you have eight extra, true species in your pocket that aren’t in Pimm’s list of taxonomically accepted species.

    Although I know of Coates’ love of the New Guinea forests I do not have a copy of his books at hand, so I am extremely interested to know what halcyon species he (and through him, you) identify that are not on the taxonomic collation.

    I project the omissions and error rate in Pimms & Ehrlich at 10% for PNG alone, and extrapolating that to Africa, which I also know, I suspect the omissions are even larger.

    Please explain exactly how you project a figure of “10%”, and most especially please explain how you suspect that it is probably larger. I seriously doubt that any justifiable science was involved, but you’re welcome to try to prove me wrong.

    You might like to take into consideration the graph of cumulative avian species identified versus time, supplied by Pimm et al on their second worksheet in their supplementary data. This graph is based upon worldwide data collected over centuries, and it describes the typical asymmetric sigmoid trajectory expected for saturatable species description. It’s asymptote is almost bang on 10 thousand; and given the scrutiny that such a popular taxon is subjected to, a trajectory of this type is robust to errors of species omission, of misidentification, and of the existence of cryptic species – especially once molecular techniques come into play.

    So you can dream away with your arbitrary “>10%” figure plucked from the air. Although, even if in some universe you were actually correct (still waiting for that analysis…), it would similarly affect the extinction rate by a subtraction of around 10%, which is bugger all in reducing the culpability of human impact on avian species extinction in the last half millennium.

    And whilst we’re on the subject of New Guinea bird species…

    BTW, are you aware that bird populations are always lower in dense forest than in woodland? I did a little census myself in the magnificent old growth forest reserve at South Durras on Wednesday, saw just one sparrow, nothing else. The more open Headland was teeming.

    “Always”, huh? For someone who is supposed to have spent time in New Guinea, and who attempts to use Coates’ as a reference for diversity, you should be aware of the richness of tropical avian rainforest fauna. And New Guinea has some of the densest forests on the planet.

    I’ve done fieldwork in subtropical rainforests along the eastern Australian seaboard, and I have seen a richer bird diversity and higher number count here than in some of the sclerophyll woodlands that I frequented as a lad. Interestingly, in these woodlands it is likely that excessive fuel reduction burning played an important role, because the avian diversity was greater in the 70s, before frequent burning, than it was in later decades, and it dropped immediately after each of the fires that we watched go through.

    I’m curious too as to how you performed your “[census](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/01/windschuttle_hoaxed.php#comment-1449005)” (still haven’t sorted out your terminology yet either, have you?). As dhogaza alludes, there are more subtleties to a bird survey than a lay person might understand, and I seriously wonder at your abilities in this regard.

    The more so for the fact that you claim to have seen “just one sparrow, nothing else” in an old growth forest. House sparrows are most certainly not residents, nor visitors, of dense forest; and you are either referring to a severely modified forest remnant, or it was not a sparrow that your saw. Either way, your survey protocol (gack!) is rendered completely bogus.

    I was wondering how long it would take you to criticise Pimm et al on the basis that Paul Erhlich was a co-author. It says a lot that it took you days to figure out who was even in the author list, and yet you were still able to pan the paper from the outset.

    I always wonder at the attitude of your sort who claim that because Erhlich and the Club of Rome predicted calamity by the end of the century or soon after, and because such did not manifest on the dot, they must be completely wrong. Given the information that these people had at the time, their predictions were reasonable, and the subsequent technological and political developments that have modified the trajectories have done only that – modify. The fundamental truth to the limits to growth remain, pie-in-the-sky economists and developers notwithstanding.

    Dr Graham Turner at the CSIRO has recently published a paper in Global Environmental Change ([18(3) pp397-411](http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VFV-4T7D8DY-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=9389df0a9508236f9382b05131343239)). In this paper, “A comparison of The Limits to Growth with 30 years of reality”, he notes that:

    … 30 years of historical data compare favorably with key features of a business-as-usual scenario called the “standard run” scenario, which results in collapse of the global system midway through the 21st century. The data do not compare well with other scenarios involving comprehensive use of technology or stabilizing behaviour and policies.

    Of course, I know exactly what your response will be, but I would like to see your detailed analyses that actually show where any of Turner’s errors or falsities might lie. I reckon that you’ll show us nothing.

    Moving on:

    Bernard: you linked me to Robertson & van Schaik (Oryx. Vol 35, Issue 1, pp26-38) and I have also read the parallel piece by van Schaik & Robertson in the same issue. The latter has interesting tables (2 & 3) showing that given their estimate of orang-utan populations in north Sumatra in 1998 and their projected rates of decline due to habitat destruction, “within a decade” they would be extinct, i.e. by now (2009). Are they? If not, they must have turned into the black swans that falsify absurd hypotheses!

    For the benefit of those who do not have access to the complete text to which Curtin refers, I would like to draw attention to the fact that van Schaik et al devoted 5 paragraphs to considering the “robustness of this dramatic estimate” [of rate of orang-utan decline], and the possible sources of error in their analyses. They conclude with:

    Thus, if our estimates are in error, they err in the time scale of the change, but not its direction.

    They follow this immediately with:

    The alarming decline in Leuser’s orang-utan numbers over the past 6-7 years implies that the world’s largest natural orang-utan population will be extinct in a decade or so, unless the current trend is stopped. [Emphasis mine. This and preceding quote: Oryx, 35(1), p23]

    Keep in mind that this paper was published in 2001, and that they would have based their time course on publication date rather than on the end of the study period. So the “decade or so” is not even over yet, and Curtin is claiming foul.

    Then there is figure 4 in van Schaik’s et al paper (p23), which shows two future scenarios based on 1) no logging in protected areas, and 2) the trajectory of orang-utan loss at “current illegal logging rates”. They note in their discussion that the first scenario is “optimistic”, with 4500 individuals left by 2010 (from 12000 in 1990). In their “realistic” scenario there are “perhaps 1500 orang-utans within a decade or so” (p24).

    They continue that the figure might be less than 1500, as small increases in mortality are likely to lead to extinction of [local] orang-utan populations “because of their extremely slow life histories” (p24).

    The authors also note that:

    The situation in Borneo is no better”. Rijksen and Meijaard (1999) estimate that the wave of forest fires engulfing the island in 1997/98 has caused the death of up to one third of the remaining wild orang-utans. In the wake of this serious assault came the same wave of illegal logging and conversion as in Sumatra. As elsewhere, much of this timber poaching and illegal settlement is in protected areas, ironically the only unprotected tracts of land during anarchy. (p24).

    And their last sentence states:

    Thus, unless these developments can be stopped soon, no viable orang-utan populations will be left in the world within a decade [emphasis mine]

    So Tim Curtin, having claimed that van Schaik et al said:

    “within a decade” they would be extinct

    exactly how many times did you twist, misrepresent, distort, or otherwise lie about what these authors said?

    Radium Water Tin also said:

    Their papers have no facts at all about the supposed role of oil palm plantations on this extinction

    He seems to have not read the part of the van Schaik et al paper where they say:

    Conversion to oil palm plantations

    Most of the Tripa swamp, some of the northern parts of the Trumon-Singkil [swamp], and small peripheral areas of Kluet [swamp] have been or are being converted to oil palm plantations… (Oryx, 35(1), p20)

    Of course, Curtin’s egregious mistakes continue ever on. At one point he said:

    Actually, most oil palm plantations in PNG and Malaya are on what were formerly 100-year old copra (PNG) or rubber (Malaya) plantations; the ones I knew in Nigeria and PNG had plenty of biodiversity, both because hills and rivers within them retained their original vegetation; in Sarawak they are mostly in the coastal plain, not in the mountains, which are the main habitat of the orang-utan

    Bollocks, Curtin.

    Robertson and van Schaik (2001) note that in Sumatra:

    …forest is being cleared up slopes leaving forest islands contouring tops and fringing ridges. If only strips are cleared up slopes but beyond the altitudinal limit of orang-utans, it can still lead to habitat fragmentation although the forest is still contiguous at higher altitude. (Oryx, 35(1), p28)

    This and other of the text show that “hills and rivers” in Sumatra are being denuded. But it is even worse than you imply, because figure 2 in van Schaik et al clearly show the ‘prime’ habitat for the orang-utan, and it all in the coastal swamps mentioned above (p20).

    As ever, I could just keep going on and on pulling your crap to pieces.

    Tim Curtin. You/ are the scientific incompetent in all of the to-ing and fro-ing of this and the previous thread. And if you are not a liar, you are at least a mendacious and unrepentant misrepresenter of the facts.

    If you were a hundred times better as an economist, as your are at playing being a scientist, you must have been a very bad economist indeed.

  16. #16 Bernard J.
    March 27, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    You prat.

    The nomenclature of these kingfishers has changed. They’re there – just not where your old names would lead you to expect.

    Row 5352: 1148, Megaceryle maxima (≡Ceryle maxima), (Pallas), 1769, Spic.Zool., 1fasc.6 p.14

    Row 651: 1136, Alcedo azurea (≡Ceyx azureus), Latham, 1802, Suppl.ind.orn., p.xxxii

    Row 652: 1137, Alcedo websteri (≡Ceyx webster), (Hartert), 1898, ThroughNewGuinea[Webster], App.1 p.371

    Row 653: 1138, Alcedo pusilla (≡Ceyx pusilla), (Temminck), 1836, Pl.Col., livr.100 pl.595 fig.3

    I’ll look for the thornbill another time, as it’s past 3am here, but you have shown how mightily you and science do not get along.

    I can only reiterate:

    Insulsissimus est homo

  17. #17 P. Lewis
    March 27, 2009

    ‘Rainforests at Risk’ and ‘There is an alternative: it is called “non-destructive” palm oil.’ in Save orangutans from extinction when you next shop

  18. #18 dhogaza
    March 27, 2009

    You prat. The nomenclature of these kingfishers has changed.

    Ha! I’d wondered if maybe splitters had been at work … (i.e. reclassification of a species into two or more species as more knowledge is gained) … this is even more straightforward.

    Timmie … taxonomies are snapshots of our current understanding of the tree of life, they’re fluid, not static … a Great Scientist like you should know this.

  19. #19 Tim Curtin
    March 28, 2009

    Bernard J. What a pity, when I thought I had discovered there is evolution leading to emergence of new species! My delay in responding sooner is because of other activities, including going to see the movie “Bottle Shock” with its truly horrifying depiction of destruction of biodiversity just 36 miles out of ‘Frisco as serially wicked white yanks planted grape vines instead of native forest, and proceeded to beat the French at the famous Chardonnay wine tastings near Paris of 1976 and 2006. Bernard, you should be ashamed of youself when you quaff chardonnays, and I hope you will plead forgiveness for the monoculture without which Oz chardonnays could never compete with frog or yank tipples. Ah, I forgot, on your own patch you never have one plant without on all sides totally different species immediately adjacent, unlike those brown coolies you used to patronise with their preference for monocropping oil palm just like Oz viniculture.

    But back to your favourite paper, by Pimms No1 and Paul Ehrlich. Their Abstract delares that “1.3% of the 10,000 presently known bird species have become extinct since A.D. 1500″ and they use that statistic to derive a formula that generates the remarkable conclusion that you will just love, namely that as of 2009 there are now only 2,657.7 bird species left on this planet. Coates actually reported 870 species from the general Papuasian region, which only leaves about 1800 for the rest of the world.

    The problem is that serial liars like Hansen (2004, passim) Ehrlich (1968 to Doomsday), Schneider (2009), Canadell et al. (2007), and Solomon et al (2009), Fi3eld (passim) et al et al do not understand basic inventory analysis. If as Pimms & Ehrlich state, there were just 10,000 species in 1500, and these have reduced by 0.0026% p.a. as they assert, then by 2009, there MUST now be only 2657.7 species left. But their own SI to their paper as published “peer reviewed” (sic) by the serially dishonest “National Academy of Science” (sic) (and Bernard J) shows around 9,700 extant species. Again, I assert, there are lies, damned lies and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the USA.

  20. #20 Tim Curtin
    March 28, 2009

    Barton P.L. You said “We are in a mass extinction. Every expert on biodiversity thinks so.” I am disappointed in you, as I had thought you could do inventory analysis, as I have done in response to Bernard above. Your “experts on biodiversity” are also serial liars, slobbering after research grants that only flow if their applications conform slavishly to the global warming paradigm. There has not been a single mass extinction since the Dryas.

  21. #21 P. Lewis
    March 28, 2009

    My delay in responding sooner is because of other activities

    ‘Tis a real shame that TC doesn’t have sufficient “other activities” to keep him away from here permanently. His drossy, libellous statements are increasingly tiresome.

    ‘Bout time he was permanently retired to his Scandinavian subterranean abode.

  22. #22 P. Lewis
    March 28, 2009

    Of course, that first line should have read: TC said

    My delay in responding sooner is because of other activities

    [Colic day!]

  23. #23 dhogaza
    March 28, 2009

    Timmie, please show your work when you conclude that …

    If as Pimms & Ehrlich state, there were just 10,000 species in 1500, and these have reduced by 0.0026% p.a. as they assert, then by 2009, there MUST now be only 2657.7 species left.

    Using this online compound interest calculator, and plugging in a ‘principle” of 10,000 species, an annual interest rate of -0.0026%, and 509 years I get 9868.5 species left in 2009.

    2657.7 species left equals a 0.26% annual extinction rate.

    26 extinctions per million species per year does indeed equal 0.0026%, not the 0.26% you’ve used in your calculation.

  24. #24 dhogaza
    March 28, 2009

    And using a “principle” of 600 species in north america – somewhat over 400 breeding bird species are covered by annual USF&W breeding bird surveys but these don’t include offshore pelagics or species breeding far north in the roadless tundra AFAIK- Pimm and Erlich’s paper would suggest about 8 extinctions since 1500, which roughly corresponds with the introduction of European civilization to the continent.

    This site lists nine, though it proudly proclaims that one has been rediscovered (the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, though in reality the jury is still out on the “rediscovery”). Eight, nine, roughly fits Pimm and Erlich’s claims.

  25. #25 dhogaza
    March 28, 2009

    I am disappointed in you, as I had thought you could do inventory analysis, as I have done in response to Bernard above.

    You can’t even compute compound interest correctly. My relatively low opinion of economists has just dropped even lower …

  26. #26 dhogaza
    March 28, 2009

    Indeed, since compound interest seems to be beyond Timmie’s capability to compute, this:

    (26/1,000,000) * 10,000 * 509 = 132.34

    a rate of 26 extinctions per million applied to 10,000 species for 509 years

    is a reasonable rule-of-thumb estimate that avoids the mind-bending complexity of incomprehensible compound interest calculations …

  27. #27 Lee
    March 28, 2009

    Actually, I want to thank Tim Curtin for two things here.

    First, a lot of the nitty-grity details here have been in areas of study that I am aware exist, but don’t know a lot about. Every time TC makes a claim contrary to what I understand as the consensus, and supports that claim with alleged facts, it triggers the experts here to detailed destructions of his claims, supported by real, detailed, recognizably-scientific explication of the facts and analyses underlying it. I’ve learned a hell of a lot in this thread, that I would not otherwise have learned. Good job, TC.

    Second, every time TC gets demolished on claimed facts, he simply abandons that set of supporting arguments and moves on to another, which in turn gets blithely destroyed by the inconvenient facts. And all accompanied by increasingly shrill and ever-more despicable attacks on the honesty and morality of everyone who disagrees with him. His Gish Gallop across the scientific terrain clearly identifies TC for what he is, and makes it very, very clear who is worth paying attention to in this argument. Thanks for doing us the service of so clearly discrediting yourself, TC, so that there isn’t any lingering doubt about it.

  28. #28 dhogaza
    March 28, 2009

    Timmie – I left computing 10,000 – 132.34 as an exercise for the reader.

    If you need help with it, and computing the magnitude of your error when claiming Pimm and Erlich conclude that only 2657.7 bird species should be left in the world, I’m sure someone else posting here will be more than happy to help you.

    Not me, though. I’m done helping you with your homework.

  29. #29 Lee
    March 28, 2009

    I suspect Timmie-boy here forgot that the “%” means something when appended to the end of .0026.

    .0026 ‘pour cent.’ Timmie, not per individual.

  30. #30 dhogaza
    March 28, 2009

    I suspect Timmie-boy here forgot that the “%” means something when appended to the end of .0026.

    I’m sure he believes it means “multiply by 100″ :)

    Well, my first instinct was to simply say “TImmie’s lying” again rather than point out his simple error, but then I decided to extract as much enjoyment out of pointing it out as I could …

  31. #31 Tim Curtin
    March 28, 2009

    And there was I trying to help Pimms & Ehrlich by making the extinction rate seem even worse than it is. The actual rate is of course 130 extinctions over 500 years, of just over a quarter of a species a year, or just over one every 4 years. But that did not sound scary enough to grab a headline, so they invented a new term, 26 per million species per year, never mind that we don’t have one million bird species, which to the media and public sounds much worse, gosh, we are losing 26 whatsits a year. In just the same way as the IPCC turns 0.0385 per cent of the atmosphere by volume into the much more impressive 385 per whatsits. Likewise as CH4 methane as a % or even in ppm sounds feeble, make it per billion, and per trillion for CFCs. That way you get some attention. And then claim that CH4 is “21 times” more potenht as GHG than CO2, so multiply by 21. Barry Brook remains dissatisfied so scales CH4 up by 72. Now we are in business. Then the Rudd government does even better by labelling carbon, the building block for all life along with O2 and H2O, and the feedstock for maintaining life, as a “pollutant” accompanied on every news bulletin mentioning this pollutant with pics of black smock being belched by power stations, even though CO2 is colourless. So pervasive is this propaganda, with Pimmsy & Ehrlich upping their bird extinction rate 50 times, from 26 to 1000 for this century, for a total of 1300 new extinctions by 2100, that young people here are being discouraged from even contemplating having a family – there’s an eco village in Queensland dedicated to that very end. So I propose to emulate Rudd and Wong by relabelling strychnine as a vitamin and making it a compulsory additive to all foods, which would carry Greenpeace and WFF & co to ecstasy (Jones of Jonestown was amongst the first heroes of the Movement). BTW, did you notice how the Polynesians are blamed for most bird extinctions by Pimm & Ehrich, yet another example of the mandatory racism of the climate change movement, with Ehrlich as ever in the vanguard.

  32. #32 dhogaza
    March 28, 2009

    But that did not sound scary enough to grab a headline, so they invented a new term, 26 per million species per year

    Actually, I suspect it’s because they understand that the number of species is a natural, not real, number.

    Do you understand that?

    Your ungraciousness turns your admission of error into a classic notpology

    In just the same way as the IPCC turns 0.0385 per cent of the atmosphere by volume into the much more impressive 385 per whatsits.

    use of ppm and the like is standard practice, not invented by the IPCC.

    I suppose next you’ll attack them for publishing in English rather than Klingon?

  33. #33 dhogaza
    March 28, 2009

    Then the Rudd government does even better by labelling carbon … as a “pollutant” accompanied on every news bulletin mentioning this pollutant with pics of black smock being belched by power stations, even though CO2 is colourless

    However, carbon is not colorless … do you happen to know what makes the smoke from a coal-fired power plant black?

    I can’t seem to think of it at the moment …

  34. #34 dhogaza
    March 28, 2009

    So pervasive is this propaganda, with Pimmsy & Ehrlich upping their bird extinction rate 50 times, from 26 to 1000 for this century, for a total of 1300 new extinctions by 2100

    Some of those won’t go extinct, we’ll preserve remnant populations in zoos.

    Most bird species in the united states are in serious decline, that’s not disputed. Many are on a trajectory towards extinction in the next century – many species have seen their breeding range severely reduced over the last century and are hanging on as remnant populations, only. This is also indisputable. We have data. You have ideology.

  35. #35 sod
    March 28, 2009

    funny, Curtin made a massive mistake. no excuse of curse, but complains about those who get the numbers right.

    of course he could have used this opportunity, to understand that those tiny numbers basically mean that ZERO really new species show up in any year. if we lose a single big mammal, fish or bird, it will be gone for millenias.

    but complaining and false accusation have replaced thinking for Tim Curtin a long time ago…

  36. #36 Lee
    March 28, 2009

    So Timmie-boy’s criticism of Pimm is now reduced to a pathetic “I disapprove of the units they used.”

    Gaahhhh.

  37. #37 Benny Lin
    March 28, 2009

    Oh dear! It is a surely time to draw a veil over this one. This blog is no place for errors that one would critise in a junior high school pupil.

  38. #38 Tim Curtin
    March 29, 2009

    Bernard said: “Dr Graham Turner at the CSIRO has recently published a paper in Global Environmental Change (18(3) pp397-411). In this paper, “A comparison of The Limits to Growth with 30 years of reality”, he notes that:
    … 30 years of historical data compare favorably with key features of a business-as-usual scenario called the “standard run” scenario, which results in collapse of the global system midway through the 21st century. The data do not compare well with other scenarios involving comprehensive use of technology or stabilizing behaviour and policies. Of course, I know exactly what your response will be, but I would like to see your detailed analyses that actually show where any of Turner’s errors or falsities might lie. I reckon that you’ll show us nothing.”

    Ok Bernard, here we go:

    First, Turner’s paper is so selective and misleading that I prefer to deal direct with Meadows et al in the 1974 edition of their LtG (a remarkably poorly produced little book). They have some useful stuff however, like reminding us in Table 1 that it takes 140 years for a number to double at 0.5% p.a. – so even longer for the current rate of growth of [CO2], which is 0.4%. That is too long for Garnaut and Solomon et al 2009 (PNAS), so they simply more than double the current (1958-2008) rate of growth. Sadly for LtG, they also opined that the doubling time for the world’s population “is 30 years and decreasing”, but in fact in the 38 years since their base year of 1970 the population then of 3.6 billion has yet to reach 7.2 billion.
    It gets worse. Table 2 of LtG shows population and GNP growth rates for 10 countries, and concludes that the process of economic growth is “inexorably” widening the gap between rich and poor nations of the world.

    How “inexorable”, when China and India, 2 of the 10 they selected have been growing their GNP per cap at around 7-8% p.a. for the last 10 years, and when both now have middle classes larger and as well off as the middle class in the USA?

    Another vignette from the Club (ignored by Turner). It states that in Zambia in 1970 “260 of every thousand babies born are dead before tgeir first birthday” (p.57), and in India and Pakistan 140. with the implication that this would only get worse because of increasing food shortages. Yet from UNFPA we find that Zambia’s infant mortality rate had fallen by 2007 to 92 despite the onset of AIDS, while India’s was 54 and Pakistan’s 67 by 2007. So much for the Club’s view that the “Limits to Growth” and general social improvement would have been reached before 2000. Turner avoids all such specifics.

    The world’s population was 3.6 billion in 1970, according to LtG. World cereals production was 1.19 billion tonnes, or 0.33 tonnes per capita; in 2007, production was 2.34 billion tonnes, or 0.35 t/per cap. The area under cereals harvested in 2007 increased by only 3.6% over 1970. The increase in per capita production may not seem much of an improvement but for a 3rd world family of say 5 persons, that is over a tonne a year more than in 1970. These facts totally refute the LtG claim in their Fig.10 that “the curve of land needed reflects the population growth curve”. Manifestly it did not for cereals or indeed any other food crop.

    LtG’s Table 4 is priceless, and studiously ignored in most respects by Turner. It forecasts that by 2000 the known global reserves as of 1970 would be wholly depleted in the cases of natural gas, oil, gold, copper, molybdenum, silver, tin, tungsten, and zinc. Perhaps they were, but new reserves have been found and developed, and proven oil reserves exist for 40 years of present consumption (BP, 2008). Even after allowing for a five-fold increase in reserves from the 1970 level, LtG foresees total depletion of copper by 2018, just 10 years off. Current copper prices give the lie to that forecast. Naturally the ineffable Garnaut report decided to update the failed forecasts of the Club of Rome (Table 3.3), so that now zinc which they said would already be out of production by 1990, or 2020 if reserves increased five-fold over 1970, will according to Garnaut be out of production by 2024. If so, why has Zinifex, one of Australia’s biggest zinc producers (now known as Oz Minerals) folded? It is not because of its lack of zinc resources, but because of the drastic FALL in zinc prices in 2008, despite the looming exhaustion claimed by Garnaut. Get real!

    At least Garnaut has extended oil reserves to 40 years of current consumption (to 2047) while the Club’s most optimistic forecast was total depletion by 2020. But that will prove to be as wrong as the Club’s and likewise all the other Garnaut forecasts for “exhaustion” of all non-renewables.

    Turner claimed: “the salient message from the LtG modeling was that continued growth in the global economy would lead to ‘planetary limits’ (sic) being exceeded sometime in the 21st century, most likely resulting in the collapse of the population and economic system” unless the Meadows et al. policy prescriptions were adopted, but as they acknowledged (2004), that had not happened by 2004.

    Then Turner (p.33) completely ignores absorption of CO2 emissions by oceans and biospheres when evaluating the apparent increasing growth rate of CO2 emissions (already falling rapidly even if possibly only temporarily). To conclude, if only pro tem, Turner’s assessment of the LtG is as tendentious and misleading as Garnaut’s – and as fatally flawed as the original conception of the LtG.

  39. #39 Bernard J.
    March 29, 2009

    Tim Curtin, Tim Curtin, Tim Curtin…

    Oh dear.

    Dear, oh dear.

    Were you to visit a careers advisor today s/he would most certtainly tell you to try real estate or used car sales, or perhaps creative writing. You would most certainly be warned away from science and mathematics, and from any discipline that requires even the most basic of skills in these areas.

    I rather suspect that they would strongly insist that you do not even consider an exploration of modern economics.

    I note, as others have, that you do not acknowledge your grievous mistake concerning the taxonomy of species. It is beyond belief that someone who is attempting any foray into scientific endeavour at all would not know that as biologists learn more about the morphology, geological distribution, functional biology, geographical distribution, and (in the last several decades) about the molecular genetics of living organisms, the taxonomics relationships of classified species is reviewed and refined.

    Species may be ‘split’, as dhogaza notes, especially when previously ‘cryptic’ species have been overlooked. Sometimes new evidence indicates that species should actually be merged. Other times, the naming of a species might not have followed accepted convention, and a renaming occurs. And on accasion it is discovered that a species has been named by more than one person, unbeknownst to each other – in such cases the first published naming takes precedence and texts and papers may have to be adjusted accordingly.

    It’s a bloody nuisance for biologists in some ways, as it means that texts do have to be re-written, and papers have to be crossed-checked, but it is parr for the course for a biologist.

    That you are ignorant of such basic biological mechanics as this is a profoundly indictment upon your ability to play at even an entry level in biology. That you saw fit to immediately jump up and slander experts in taxonomy (as Pimm is), without having a clue as to why you might have been wrong, is simply another in a surfeit of nails of evidence that have already hermetically sealed the coffin of your scientific incompetence.

    Your best response was a sad:

    you should be ashamed of youself when you quaff chardonnays, and I hope you will plead forgiveness for the monoculture without which Oz chardonnays could never compete with frog or yank tipples. Ah, I forgot, on your own patch you never have one plant without on all sides totally different species immediately adjacent, unlike those brown coolies you used to patronise with their preference for monocropping oil palm just like Oz viniculture.

    Once again you resort to putting words into my mouth that I have never uttered. I am all for agriculture in appropriate conditions, whether in a Western country or in a developing one. But this is not the point: Jeff and I and others have been referring to biodiversity hotspots, to ecosystems of profound biological/functional importance, and your attempt to conflate acceptable agricutlural practice with conservation is the clumsy strawman of a scoundrel and a rogue.

    Oh, and your “brown coolies you used to patronise” snipe is a continuing mark of a dirty, grubby little man. Grow up Curtin. You have no idea.

    But back to your favourite paper, by Pimms No1 and Paul Ehrlich. Their Abstract delares that “1.3% of the 10,000 presently known bird species have become extinct since A.D. 1500″ and they use that statistic to derive a formula that generates the remarkable conclusion that you will just love, namely that as of 2009 there are now only 2,657.7 bird species left on this planet. Coates actually reported 870 species from the general Papuasian region, which only leaves about 1800 for the rest of the world.

    Your fumbles with junior high-school level mathematics have already been entertainingly pointed out. However, for those who have not followed Pimm’s et al link to their background data I will point out that their database lists 9641 extant species, not counting scores of species listed under the titles:

    1. Table 3 of Butchart et al (in press) Species that would have become extinct before 1994 if not for conservation action
    2. Table 1 of Butchart et al (in press) Species that would have become extinct 1994 to 2004 if not for conservation action
    3. Various sources including Butchart et al BBOC consider these previously suggest[ed] extinct species [listed] to still survive
    4. Species that Butchart et al (in press) do not think would have gone extinct without conservation action, but we examined them as candidates
    5. Table 2 of Butchart et al (in press) Species that would NOT have become extinct 1994 to 2004 but are variously conservation dependent
    6. Taxonomically doubtful
    7. Species not so far considered, that are Critically Endangered (up to Birdlife May 2006)

    What Tim Curtin appears to be telling the world is that these experts in bird taxonomy somehow do not reconcile their calculations with their own understanding of which species are extinct, and which are currently extant.

    It’d take more than a spoonful of palm sugar to swallow that one, Radium Water Curtin.

    The problem is that serial liars like Hansen (2004, passim) Ehrlich (1968 to Doomsday), Schneider (2009), Canadell et al. (2007), and Solomon et al (2009), Fi3eld [sic] (passim) et al et al do not understand basic inventory analysis.

    Curtin, if you were any more unintentionally ironic you would rust.

    Are you not yet getting even an inkling that your grasp of science is completely absent?

    Again, I assert, there are lies, damned lies and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the USA.

    I am reminded – how are your correspondences with the Conspirators of Global ScienceTM progressing? How are your efforts to reveal the Gobal Science FraudTM to the public progressing, and how is that ‘paper’ of yours coming along? And when are you going to own up to the inconsistency (or dare I say it – lie) that you produced regarding your attempt to publish prior to acceptance by Quadrant?

    I am moved to ask the thread in general if there is a wiki page devoted to the description of psuedoscientific nutters so afflicted by the DK effect, and by their own convictions of genius across the breadth of knowledge, that they will contradict and slander whole bodies of the world’s experts, even when they are at every turn demolished by the most cursory of inspections.

    If there isn’t such a page, I would humbly submit for consideration the heading “Tim Curtin Syndrome”, perhaps with the subtitle “Tim ‘Radium Water’ Curtin Syndrome, Tim… etc, etc, etc …Syndrome”.

    Or perhaps the condition merely falls under the title ‘senile dementia’.

  40. #40 Bernard J.
    March 29, 2009

    Curtin.

    Re: #135, I have a couple of simple questions for you.

    Given the current global rates of growth, including but not limited to the extraction of fossil fuel, forestry, fisheries, water, topsoil, and biodiversity resources, how would you project the state of each of the aforementioned (and of any other relevant parameters) in 50 years?

    How much CO2 do you believe that the world’s oceans can absorb with no biological impact?

    Show your calculations.

  41. #41 Bernard J.
    March 29, 2009

    The actual rate is of course 130 extinctions over 500 years, of [sic] just over a quarter of a species a year, or just over one every 4 years. But that did not sound scary enough to grab a headline…

    Given that the expected rate is 1.25 extinctions over 500 years, or just 0.0025 of a single species per year, the slightly greater than 100 times the background extinction rate is scary enough.

    More than scary enough, in fact, and even more so considering that the rate is only going to sky-rocket in the future as many previously non-endangered species suffer from human impact.

    You must be singlehandedly keeping the scarecrow business in the black, what with the number of strawmen you call upon.

  42. #42 Tim Curtin
    March 30, 2009

    Bernard #137 said “Given the current global rates of growth, including but not limited to the extraction of [1] fossil fuel, [2] forestry, [3] fisheries, [4] water, [5] topsoil, and [6] biodiversity resources, how would you project the state of each of the aforementioned (and of any other relevant parameters) in 50 years? [7] How much CO2 do you believe that the world’s oceans can absorb with no biological impact? Show your calculations.”

    Thanks, I note you did not comment on my listing of errors in Club of Rome and Turner. Now you ask me to do an alternative forecast to that of the Club and its current spokesman Ross Garnaut, without providing any inputs yourself. The Club-Garnaut error is first to assume that currently known reserves of non-renewable resources are final, except where as an afterthought the Club mechanically boosted all reserves by 5 times and then applied the “exponential” 1972 growth of consumption to that level of reserves. Despite your sarcasm about my career prospects, I am now retired, but I was in the 70s the resource economist for a major conglomerate (gold to sugar to platinum to cattle and much else including Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte) in the City of London when it became apparent to me that for sound economic and financial reasons it is rarely worth proving up reserves for more than 30 years down the track. Something to do with discount rates and this generation of shareholders’ life expectancy I suppose. That is why oil reserves at any point in time are consistently 30-40 years worth of current consumption levels. Ehrlich, the Club, and Garnaut-Turner have never grasped this. So my expectation are [1] that in 2050 the level of proven fossil fuel reserves will be as today around 30-40 years of consumption in that year. The same applies [2] to forestry, unless Greenpeace succeed in abolishing it. PNG’s remarkably successful forestry regime assumes around 35 years for complete regeneration of a sustainably logged area. For example, the RH licence at Wawoi Guavi has been in operation for 20 years and the company has invested millions in a huge state of the art veneer and plywood mill there based on at least another 30 years (more if the licence is renewed), check the area on Google Earth and you will not able to see any visual impact of over 20 years of logging there. Replanting is not required as regrowth replaces all logged large trees within a few years. [3] Fisheries are a problem where they remain a Commons, but increasingly what you eat in a fish restaurant has been farmed, and that means it is already largely a non-depleting resource. [4] Water is an infinitely recyclable self-renewing resource – “what Banbury drinks today Oxford drinks tomorrow”, what flows into the oceans comes back as rain sooner or later. There will be no global water shortage in 2050, some places might be short, others have too much. A tunnel though the Dividing Range from water surplus to the east to deficit in the west would fix the Murray Darling quite cheaply, but Australian politicians like the Wongs of this world lack that kind of imagination. Feed them strychnine say I. [5] Top soil is a question of well known soil conservation and management practices. No rocket science needed, just keep Wong out of it. [6] Despite the best efforts of Jeff and Bernard I have yet to see convincing evidence of any loss of biodiversity at the macro level – and Danielsen et al (see above) provide evidence to support my case. [7] The oceans will continue to absorb c 2 GtC of emissions a year for ever just as they have done in the past, unless emissions are forced down to 20% or less of the 2000 level, in which case marine vegetation will contract and with it all fish stocks. See Randerson et al. Global Biology Change 2006, 12, 260-271 for calculations (my thanks to Lee for this ref.) – these authors show how there would be an imbalance in the form of too much O2 if the land carbon sink is not allowed to grow (as it has at 4% p.a. since 1958). That growth will cease if the Bali targets are implemented, and life by 2050 will be nasty brutish and short for those of us still around, thankfully I will have shuffled elsewhere.

  43. #43 dhogaza
    March 30, 2009

    Timmie, it would be much, much easier to isolate and fuck you over with your dumb-assed mistakes (as I did earlier with the species extinction stuff, in which you made a two orders of magnitude arithmetic error unworthy of a 6th grader here in the US) …

    If you’d learn the power …

    Of the fucking paragraph.

    Employing this admittedly intellectually superior concept to written communication compared to what you were taught raised in your homeschooled environment by a some outback sheep-bangers would allow us to isolate those rare moments when you aren’t simply lying.

    In other words, making your posts readable would probably enhance your reputation, something like raising you from the 9th to the 8th level of hell or the like.

    But hey, it would be an improvement, the flames would be diminished, so why not take advantage?

    Unless you’re convinced that writing legibly is a mortal sin…

  44. #44 dhogaza
    March 30, 2009

    check the area on Google Earth and you will not able to see any visual impact of over 20 years of logging there

    Of course … passerines, for instance, are too small to be picked up by any current satellite technology.

    If we went to the ground, I’m sure that Bernard J, Jeff Harvey, and myself would notice differences. You wouldn’t, because the only bird you apparently can identify in forests is the “sparrow” (which judging from an earlier post from someone else, the only species of that description in Australia is the introduced House Sparrow).

  45. #45 Tim Curtin
    March 30, 2009

    Hi fans, I need help from your superior maths. If as we are led to believe sea levels will rise by a metre or more by 2100, and that the oceans are already saturated with CO2, how much extra CO2 would they hold in that extra metre of sea volume? Quite a lot, a priori?

    Thanks in advance dhogaza. Sorry about the lack of paras., you are right. Partly ’tis because what looks OK when in Word turns out dreadful when transferred to WordPress, but then the latter is dreadful period. Why is it so lacking in functionality?

  46. #46 Bernard J.
    March 30, 2009

    Thanks, I note you did not comment on my listing of errors in Club of Rome and Turner.

    The first reason for not responding was that as soon as I read your post I emailed Graham Turner for his comments – unlike you, I try to take care with what I say, and I take some time to do some backgroumd fact-checking before I comment. If you did the same your posts would be much shorter, much more infrequent, and say basically the opposite to what you currently regurgitate.

    Unfortunately Turner has an out-of-office auto-reply up, so there might be a wait to see if he chooses to respond to your comments.

    I suggest that if you feel as strongly as you apparently do about your stated opinion of Turner’s inability to review the Limits to Growth, you email him yourself and have it out with him. His email address is simple enough to find – let us know how you go.

    The second reason was that it was after 3.00am when I read it, and I was preparing a freshly fed and changed newborn for bed.

    I have many higher priorities than addressing your endless stream of drivel. Nevertheless I will get to some of your invalid statements – if no-one else clobbers you first.

    Oh, and I reiterate dhogaza’s plea for comprehensibility – although I recall that I once asked this of you before, and even hinted at how you might learn to do so, without anything ever sinking in. That really describes your approach to any new knowledge or skill, though, doesn’t it: it’s folk such as yourself that give old dogs a bad name.

  47. #47 Gaz
    March 30, 2009

    Tim: “Hi fans, I need help from your superior maths. If as we are led to believe sea levels will rise by a metre or more by 2100, and that the oceans are already saturated with CO2, how much extra CO2 would they hold in that extra metre of sea volume? Quite a lot, a priori?”

    Why don’t you figure it out and then tell us? You’re obviously one smart cookie, having turned several banches of science on their heads in recent weeks, not to mention the sparrow census work.

    Be careful to make sure your work isn’t riddled with statistical gaffes, now!!

    And while you’re at it, explain:

    – what you mean “already saturated” in the context of ongoing acidification,
    – who it was who led you to believe the oceans were “already saturated”, and
    – whether you realise the projected sea level rise over the coming century will be primarily due to thermal expansion, ie not much actual extra water in the oceans.
    – why you thought anyone would be impressed with a Latin phrase used inappropriately? A priori… pfft.

  48. #48 Jeff Harvey
    March 30, 2009

    “Despite the best efforts of Jeff and Bernard I have yet to see convincing evidence of any loss of biodiversity at the macro level”.

    That’s because you don’t bother to look beyond the end of your nose. I have said it before and I will say it again (I thought I’d left this thread for good, too), that the IUCN has listed between 10 and 40% of well-known species (vertebrates and vascular plants) as being threatened with extinction, the vast majority as a result of human actions. In the 1970s the number of birds threatened in North America was 36, now it is well over 100. The demographics of many songbirds that were once common are of profound cocnern. The problem with tropical biomes is that there aren’t enough scientists on the ground so to speak to fully evaluate the status of most species, even vertebrates, but this in no way is evidence that all is OK. We don’t have to count all of the grains of sand on a beach to know that if the tide comes in, most are washed away. The area-extinction models have been very accurate in predicting the rate of local (= population) extinctions of habitat specialists across a range of biomes (in fact, most underestimate extinction rates because they exclude other forms of anthropogenic disturbance). We’ve lost thus far about 50% of species-rich tropical forests, and the destrcution is continuing. Most of the species in them are highly specialized and have small very small geographic distributions. Thus it follows that many extinctions have occurred without notice, simply because efficient inventories were not made of the species inhabiting and dependent on these forests. Again, Tim’s contrarian strategy is to say that without 100% unequivocal evidence the problem does not exist. In other words, as long as we don’t know if 100, 1,000, 100,000 or 1,000,000 species have disappeared, then the total might as well be zero. This tactic is used all the time by those on the far end of the political right who want to continue destroying natural systems for short term profits so I am used to it.

    I believe that you do not understand basic ecology, Tim. And by basic I mean *really* basic. Your debating tactics are so out-of-date (throw in all kinds of stats to try and ‘wow’ the reader, but exhibit little understanding of what the figures really mean) that I feel that I am wasting my time here now. Science has moved on; the scientific community knows full-well that human actions are driving an extinction spasm, and scientific journals are filled with articles showing exactly how population declines of many species are now pandemic. The only ones who deny this are laypeople with money who are pushing their own political agendas.

  49. #49 Tim Curtin
    March 30, 2009

    Gaz, you asked (1) what I mean by “already saturated” in the context of ongoing acidification, and who it was who led me to believe the oceans were “already saturated”, and (2) whether I realise “the projected sea level rise over the coming century will be primarily due to thermal expansion, ie not much actual extra water in the oceans”.

    (1) No less than Canadell et al., PNAS October 2007, enthusiastically endorsed by the Garnaut Review (passim), which swallowed this fatuous paper hook line and sinker – they even had the effrontery having been funded by the Howard Government to issue a Press release through CSIRO on c. 26th October 2007 announcing that all carbon sinks were “saturated” so that the planet was already doomed, to help ensure that Howard lost his seat (on Green prefs) and Green Kev got in. With Kev in, they backed off, and apparently (GCP 2008) the sinks are no longer saturated.

    (2) That’s very interesting, so when the ice in my whiskey glass melts, its thermal mass expands? Drat, no more ice. One metre rise in sea level times opening surface area equals a massive rise in the volume of sea water, all available for extra CO2 absorption from emissions.

  50. #50 Tim Curtin
    March 30, 2009

    the IUCN has listed between 10 and 40% of well-known species (vertebrates and vascular plants) as being threatened with extinction, the vast majority as a result of human actions.
    Jeff at #145:

    (1) “We’ve lost thus far about 50% of species-rich tropical forests, and the destruction is continuing.” Not even Pimm & Ehrlich show that.

    (2) “the scientific community knows full-well that human actions are driving an extinction spasm, and scientific journals are filled with articles showing exactly how population declines of many species are now pandemic.” Ditto; Pimms No 1 does not confirm.

    (3)”The only ones who deny this are laypeople with money who are pushing their own political agendas”. I wish I had that money, what is my political agenda? Actually it’s the same as yours, greatest good of the greatest number of all living species, but based on a more secure foundation of fact and theory, and in particular recognition that the greatest good of the greatest number critically depends on continued growth of their feedstock, namely CO2, which is itself an endangeroed species if Hansen, Obama, Rudd et al et al have their way.

    Why have you never admitted that CO2 is the basis of all food, and that ALL living matter depends for its very existence on food ALL of which derives from CO2?

    What do you know about relative partial pressures? If you and Hansen have your way, the oceans will bleed CO2, to the detriment of all living material there. After that is complete, depleted [CO2] will lead to universal famine.

  51. #51 Jeff Harvey
    March 30, 2009

    “Not even Pimm & Ehrlich show that” (# 147).

    Sure they do, if you bothered to read what they write. Read Stuart’s “The World According to Pimm” or Paul’s “One with Ninevah”. Richard Leaky’s “The Sixth Extinction” makes the same point. See also:

    http://rainforests.mongabay.com/primary_alpha.html
    http://www.uwsp.edu/geO/faculty/ritter/geog101/textbook/biogeography/deforestation_in_the_tropical_forests.html

    Some rejoinders: Madagascar has lost more than 80% of its tropical wet forests. Ditto the Phillippines. Ditto most of Borneo. The last great remaining tropical forests are in west Africa and in Brazil, and they are being lost at an alarming rate. The contrarians who know nix often argue that only about 12-15% of the Amazon has been cleared. But they ignore the fact that another 20% or so has either been felled and regrown into secondary forest (which is ecologically very different from primary forest), or else selective burning has dried much of the forest understory, altering micro-climates and making the forest highly susceptible to further fires. Most importantly, tropical forests are not adapted to fire as there is little or no co-evbolutionary selection with fire because it rarely if ewver occurs naturally. A last change has been due to selective logging (aka high grade logging) of emergent trees that have also altered the ecology of the canopy layer right to the forest floor. Thus, about 35% of the Amazon forest has been significantly affected by human activity, and forests continue to be felled over parts of this biodiverse region (see attached files).

    For readers of this thread: this shows that Tim is way out of his depth on this issue. Why does he even bother? For that matter, given that Tim knows nothing about the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, why do I?

    As for Tim’s final two paragraphs they are utter drivel and I won’t lower myself to this basal level of intellectual discourse.

  52. #52 sod
    March 30, 2009

    (2) That’s very interesting, so when the ice in my whiskey glass melts, its thermal mass expands?

    so many errors, in just a single short sentence.

    1. witness Tim Curtin deny the [temperature effect on water volume](http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080301171859AAEgDtJ)

    2. “ice melting” has ZERO relevance to the point.

    3. with “thermal mass” he is using another term that he doesn t understand at all. and again one with ZERO relevance to the subject.

    but the most important point missing is this one: the reason that many species weren t extinct so far, is a massive conservation effort!

    it is a rather disgusting tactic of the anti-green right, to take green successes in preservation as evidence of their own false ideas.

    the Tim Curtin approach: “most animals will adapt to my garden” would have been the end of many species.

  53. #53 Barton Paul Levenson
    March 30, 2009

    Tim Curtin writes:

    what is my political agenda? Actually it’s the same as yours, greatest good of the greatest number of all living species,

    1. I, for one, follow the ethics of natural rights, not utilitarianism.

    2. I care more for the good of humanity than that of other species. E.g. I believe in promoting animal welfare, but not animal rights.

  54. #54 Tim Curtin
    March 30, 2009

    Jeff: “As for Tim’s final two paragraphs they are utter drivel and I won’t lower myself to this basal level of intellectual discourse.”

    Here are the paras. referred to by Jeff:

    (1) “Why have you never admitted that CO2 is the basis of all food, and that ALL living matter depends for its very existence on food ALL of which derives from CO2?”

    (2) “What do you know about relative partial pressures? If you and Hansen have your way, the oceans will bleed CO2, to the detriment of all living material there. After that is complete, depleted [CO2] will lead to universal famine.”

    Why can’t Jeff answer them? Until he does my case is proved.

  55. #55 Jeff Harvey
    March 30, 2009

    Tim,

    You are using contrartian tactics again. Naughty naughty! You have proven nothing. Biodiversity on the planet reached its zenith about 5,000 years ago, at a time when C02 levels were well below levels that occurred in other periods in the planet’s history. High ambient C02 is not a pre-requisite for a fluorishing biosphere because organisms require other nutrients in optimal amounts in order to survive. Both nitrogen and phosphorus are also crucial.

    Given the rate at which humans are simplifying nature, even if Tim were correct (which he isn’t) we could pump gazillions of tons of C02 into the atmosphere and watch as wild nature continues to disappear. This is because humans are assaulting nature in so many ways: as I said earlier, every natural system on Earth is in quantiative or qualitative decline. EVERY ONE. So much for Tim’s ‘C02 biodiversity’ hypothesis. The only species left if we go on the way we are at present, besides ourselves, will be rats, house mice, cattle, pigs, weeds, house sparrows and locusts. But of course, if it comes to this then we are already doomed. But I am wastying my breath on Tim. This has all been said before. I am sawing sawdust.

    Most of those using discredited and frankly absurd arguments like Tim are those individuals and groups who are pushing their own political agenda irrespective of the consequences. This excludes the vast majority of the scientific community. I am talking about commercial elites and those at the far end of the political right (the latter I suspect describes you, Tim: am I correct?).

  56. #56 Bernard J.
    March 30, 2009

    Tim curtin.

    You poop here about as frequently as do my two month-old twins in their nappies, and I thought that they were copious defæcators.

    That is why oil reserves at any point in time are consistently 30-40 years worth of current consumption levels. Ehrlich, the Club, and Garnaut-Turner have never grasped this. So my expectation are [1] that in 2050 the level of proven fossil fuel reserves will be as today around 30-40 years of consumption in that year.

    The same applies [2] to forestry, unless Greenpeace succeed in abolishing it. PNG’s remarkably successful forestry regime assumes around 35 years for complete regeneration of a sustainably logged area.

    Jeff has already pinged you on this, but I am as ever perversely curious. What do you understand most countries’ forest cover to have been, say, 50 years ago? How do their present day forest covers compare? Based on your “30-40 years worth of current consumption levels” idea, what does this mean for these respective countries’ forests in another 50 years? And just to be accurate (as that last is just pixie-shit forecasting), what do the best scientific estimates predict for these countries forest covers in the future?

    Let’s see how good you really are at homework…

    Then there was:

    … check the area on Google Earth and you will not able to see any visual impact of over 20 years of logging there.

    Two problems here.

    Google Earth doesn’t provide cover comparisons from twenty years ago with cover today.

    And more importantly, Google Earth pictures do not provide anywhere near the detectability of species composition of forests – not break-down, no ground-truthing: nothing. Without such information, pictures of ‘green’ are merely information desserts.

    Which accurately describes your own efforts, really.

    Replanting is not required as regrowth replaces all logged large trees within a few years.

    Short-cycle regeneration inevitably simplifies forest ecosystem biodiversity. Especially if the clearing is broad-scale, and thus removes nearby areas of refuge that might act as species sources for any regeneration.

    If you know differently, please point us to the scientific demonstration of such, especially if it applies to wide contexts.

    Fisheries are a problem where they remain a Commons, but increasingly what you eat in a fish restaurant has been farmed, and that means it is already largely a non-depleting resource.

    Global fisheries are “a problem” because they were, and are, overfished. Whether they are a Commons or not is irrelevant if economics and politics win out over sound science.

    Oh, and farmed fish have a huge impact upon natural fisheries. The stock for fish food comes from huge fishing, and frequently of overfishing, of baitfish populations. I’ve previously told you of my brother-in-law who works for a salmon farm, and I would be most amused to see you contradict what I know of their fish feeding practices.

    Water is an infinitely recyclable self-renewing resource

    Only to a point: “infinitely” is flat-out wrong, if by using this term you are trying to imply that it is an inexhaustible resource, and your use of the word falls under the Magic Pudding bonus offer of your Radium Water spiel.

    You’re supposedly an economist; think of it this way – most countries are spending their hydrological capital, after having blown their hydrological interest decades ago. Do some checking of water use in any of a large selection of countries, and in particular look closely at the rates of river flow over time, and of water table decent.

    Tell us what you find…

    And then factor in what will happen to many countries as the climate warms over the next century.

    A tunnel though the Dividing Range from water surplus to the east to deficit in the west would fix the Murray Darling quite cheaply

    Such hair-brained notions have been long-discredited as far too expensive, and completely ignorant of the ecological functions of the water in the catchments where it falls.

    Australian politicians like the Wongs of this world lack that kind of imagination. Feed them strychnine say I.

    You plum ever deeper chasms in your ongoing efforts to be grubbier than a rotten tomato, don’t you?

    Top soil is a question of well known soil conservation and management practices. No rocket science needed

    Exactly. So why is it not happening? Why don’t Western economies do more to protect their own topsoils? And where is the assistance to help third-world countries value their own topsoil resources appropriately?

    You can’t blame Penny Wong for topsoils loss Curtin – it’s largely the economic and political imperatives of decades and centuries of past agriculture that has led to the loss of so much of a profoundly important resource.

    I have yet to see convincing evidence of any loss of biodiversity at the macro level

    Nice one Curtin.

    You are clearly admitting to the world how patently inept you are at tapping in to the scientific literature. Heck, even a grade 6 schoolkid could Google evidence better than you are able to.

    The oceans will continue to absorb c 2 GtC of emissions a year for ever just as they have done in the past

    This is news to thousands of chemists. Can you please demonstrate this using the appropriate chemical equilibria, including accountings of the mass movements of the relevant reactants and products? Alternatively, can you supply a reference to a credible paper than has done so?

    If you can’t provide the data we can only assume that you were engaging in rectal oration.

    See Randerson et al. Global Biology Change 2006, 12, 260-271 for calculations (my thanks to Lee for this ref.) – these authors show how there would be an imbalance in the form of too much O2 if the land carbon sink is not allowed to grow (as it has at 4% p.a. since 1958)

    You still haven’t learned how to comprehend the import of a scientific paper, have you?

    And do you actually understand what factors regulate the concentration of atmospheric oxygen? More homework for you.

    That growth will cease if the Bali targets are implemented, and life by 2050 will be nasty brutish and short for those of us still around, thankfully I will have shuffled elsewhere.

    I’ll be buggered. For once you have said something that I agree with.

    I just hope that you haven’t had any influence upon policy before that happens.

  57. #57 dhogaza
    March 30, 2009

    What do you know about relative partial pressures? If you and Hansen have your way, the oceans will bleed CO2, to the detriment of all living material there. After that is complete, depleted [CO2] will lead to universal famine.

    What do we know? More than you. Clearly. And that’s all this crap deserves in way of response.

  58. #58 dhogaza
    March 30, 2009

    Canadell, PNAS, 2007:

    The third process is indicated by increasing evidence (P = 0.89) for a long-term (50-year) increase in the airborne fraction (AF) of CO2 emissions, implying a decline in the efficiency of CO2 sinks on land and oceans in absorbing anthropogenic emissions

    My emphasis.

    Mommy, Timmie’s lying again!

    Tim’s greatest skill is at wasting other people’s time.

    Timmie – “reduced efficiency” does not mean “saturated”. No where does this paper make the argument you claim it makes. In he states only that there’s “increasing evidence (p = 0.89)” – do you know what the “P = 0.89″ means, as opposed to say “P = 0.95″?

    Why are you such a dishonest, lying fuck?

  59. #59 Gaz
    March 30, 2009

    “Tim’s greatest skill is at wasting other people’s time.”

    No truer words have ever been written, dhogaza.

    As for Tim: “One metre rise in sea level times opening surface area equals a massive rise in the volume of sea water..”

    The average depth of the ocean is, what, about 4 km?

    Now 1 divided by 4000 equals 0.00025, times 100 equals 0.025 so that’s… let’s see.. a one fortieth of one percent increase in the volume of the oceans.

    But wait, there’s more! Owing to the predominance of thermal expansion – as opposed to melting ice – in this increase, that’s a increase in mass of only a fraction of one fortieth of one per cent. So what are we looking at here – an increase in ocean water mass of something less than one eightieth of one per cent.

    Massive? Ha ha bloody ha.

    Of course, that’s only until the West Antarctic Ice Sheet slides into the sea, allowing forests to thrive there once again and providing for the continued southward expansion of the house sparrow.

  60. #60 dhogaza
    March 30, 2009

    Of course, that’s only until the West Antarctic Ice Sheet slides into the sea, allowing forests to thrive there once again and providing for the continued southward expansion of the house sparrow.

    You mean house sparrows haven’t already established themselves in the antarctic research stations? Next you’ll tell me they have no rats!

  61. #61 Tim Curtin
    March 30, 2009

    Jeff: I am surprised at your linguistic difficulties when you say “High ambient C02 is not a pre-requisite for a fluorishing biosphere because organisms require other nutrients in optimal amounts in order to survive. Both nitrogen and phosphorus are also crucial.” Clearly you have yet to learn the distinction between necessary (or pre-requisite) and sufficient conditions: ambient CO2 is necessary but not sufficient, and the same applies to water etc., and likewise rising ambient CO2 is a necessary condition for a rising food supply needed to facilitate population growth of all living species. It follows that decreasing ambient CO2 will first inhibit and then reverse population growth of all living species and thereby bring about much larger species extinctions than even you have ever imagined. Increases in the other pre-requisites you mention will not be enough to offset the malign effects of the reduction in ambient CO2 to be plotted at Copenhagen.

  62. #62 dhogaza
    March 30, 2009

    ambient CO2 is necessary but not sufficient

    True.

    rising ambient CO2 is a necessary condition for a rising food supply

    False.

    This is too easy.

  63. #63 dhogaza
    March 30, 2009

    Oh, I screwed that. It’s short, I’ll just post a corrected version.

    ambient CO2 is necessary but not sufficient

    True

    rising ambient CO2 is a necessary condition for a rising food supply

    False

    And it’s *still* too easy, even if it requires posting twice.

  64. #64 Tim Curtin
    March 31, 2009

    Bernard asked (#153) (1) what I “understand most countries’ forest cover to have been, say, 50 years ago? How do their present day forest covers compare?” Will 1990 do for now? – the loss from then to 2000 was 2%, with total world natural forest at 3.68 billion hectares in 2000; total plantations were only 0.19 bn ha. The natural forest was 29% of total land area in 2000 (Earth Trends 2003).

    Then he asked (2) “Based on your ‘30-40 years worth of current consumption levels’ idea, what does this mean for these respective countries’ forests in another 50 years?” ?” Logging of native forest is usually at around 1/36ths of the area p.a. ad infinitum (that is the standard in the PNG Forestry Act), so there is no a priori reason for any massive reduction. Mirabile dictu, forestry is a business with long horizons when allowed, and profitable too, so foresters either sustainably log or replant as the case may be. PNG’s Wawoi Guavi is an example of the former, and its Gogol woodchips project of the latter, in business for over 40 years now in the same area. Where forests are replaced it is mostly by oil palm, but note how small the area under plantations actually was in 2000.

    He added (3) “And just to be accurate (as that last is just pixie-shit forecasting), what do the best scientific estimates predict for these countries forest covers in the future?” I can speak from recent experience (2007) of only PNG, but I have just spotted in a forthcoming study by amongst others John McAlpine, PNG’s most renowned forestry and land use expert, this quote: “the assumption that harvested forest is permanently degraded is inconsistent with the evidence from PNG forests” that confirms all I have said here. Thus there is no reason to predict any rapid depletion on account of logging. BTW, urban and built up areas which are now home to over 50% of the world’s population accounted for only 0.2% of the world’s total land mass in 2000 – so population growth is no basis for expecting much loss of forest on that account.

    Then Bernard quoted me saying (4) “… check the area on Google Earth and you will not able to see ny visual impact of over 20 years of logging there (at Wawoi Guavi in PNG’s Western Province).” He replied with two errors (i) “Google Earth doesn’t provide cover comparisons from twenty years ago with cover today” True, but if you can’t tell from it now which areas in e.g. PNG’s Gulf and Western provinces have been logged and which not, then it is clear that sustainable logging of natural forest is possible with no discernible change in forest cover.

    Bernard again: (ii)“And more importantly, Google Earth pictures do not provide anywhere near the detectability of species composition of forests – not break-down, no ground-truthing: nothing. Without such information, pictures of ‘green’ are merely information desserts.” With or without cream? Possibly, but it depends on the resolution, and I have recently been to Wawoi Guavi amongst others, and it is not possible to tell from the ground what has been logged since 1988 and what not, unless you are actually in the current coup. Even then it is difficult, I have been in an area (near Bulolo) with huge logs just felled, and yet the forest canopy was intact. Sustainable logging allows the orginal species to regrow, indeed that is the whole purpose of removing only trees with the minimum marketable dbh (usually only a handful per hectare), so that you can return when the next trees with that dbh are ready for harvesting. And that is why Google Earth cannot pick up any difference between logged and non-logged areas. Moreover Google’s resolutions in many countries are such now that you can detect species (and even Fred Goodwin’s house and garden in Edinburgh). Of course if a licence is granted for only a couple of years then there will be clear felling, but that is not the general rule.

    Finally, Bernard: (5) on alleged reduction in biodiversity after logging “If you know differently, please point us to the scientific demonstration of such, especially if it applies to wide contexts”. Well, check out the work of Daniel Faith (he’s at the Australian Museum) for a more nuanced analysis in both PNG and elsewhere.

  65. #65 Jeff Harvey
    March 31, 2009

    As usual, Tim displays how little he knows (we are all used to that, aren’t we?).

    OK, Tim, for starters what does forest cover tell us about forest quality? Are all forests the same ecologically?

    There is your high school question for today. The answer should be obvious, but readers should not hold their breath waiting for Tim to answer logically.

    As for reduced biodiversity after logging, of course the two parameters are correlated. I was in Brazil in 2000 and spent three weeks at a ‘forest lodge’ some 70 km up the Rio Negro. The brochure described the area as ‘rainforest’ but it was anything but. It was primarily second growth forest with a few (very few) scattered emergent trees and had been logged earlier. And guess what? I saw hardly any species that would be associated with primeval forest – the true rainforest which I was told lay a further 100-150 km up the river. There were few toucans; no macaws; only a scattering of species which can survive in low-tier second growth forests. Most of the primates were gone.

    In the same forests, I saw evidence of high grade logging and the associated damage caused to parts of the forest as the trees and processed and dragged out. Yet the entire area would be officially classified as ‘intact forest’ using Google Earth or measures designated by governments eager to downplay the damage. Ecologists know better. So of course using forest cover as currently defined is an exceedingly poor measure of forest quality. The same goes for what I wrote about yesterday regarding changes in forest microclimates caused by fire. Stuart Pimm addresses all of this well in his book, ‘The World According to Pimm’ (2001).

    I don’t know why Tim thinks he can challenge me on ecology-related issues. For heaven’s sake, I studied the field as an undergraduate and have been employed as a population ecologist for the past 14 years. Again, with respect to C02, carbon is not a limiting nutrient in terms of biodiversity and adaptive radiation. A suite of nutrients are involved in optimizing the conditions necessary for speciation, as well as generally benign climatic conditions. Most importantly, humans are disrupting these cycles and are simplifying nature at an astounding rate. One of the many points Tim ignores relates to what I said yesterday: every natural ecosystem on Earth is in decline, with the possible exception of deserts, most of which are hardly species-rich. Humans are consuming a one-time inheritance of natural capital as if there is no tomorrow.

    This is not unambiguous but hard truth.

  66. #66 Tim Curtin
    March 31, 2009

    Jeff: I see you have picked up Dutch double negatives – “This is not unambiguous but hard truth” – which seems to imply it is NOT “hard truth”! Just like your confusion between pre-requisite and sufficient conditions. There you are in good company with the unspeakable dhogaza, clearly a member of Hamas, with his foul language and equal linguistic disabilities.

  67. #67 sod
    March 31, 2009

    rising ambient CO2 is a necessary condition for a rising food supply

    this wild claim can be simply falsified!
    food supply DID RISE, while CO2 was flat!

    i would love to see Curtin giving a lecture to farmers. he would tell them, that their improved productivity is entirely up to an increased CO2 level in the air. their hard work isn t worth anything!

    sweaking of it, the right place for Curtin would be in front of a plough…

    his claim is moronic: according to him, a reduction in CO2 levels will throw agricultural production back to the times, when DONKEYS were used a lot….

  68. #68 Jeff Harvey
    March 31, 2009

    “There you are in good company with the unspeakable dhogaza, clearly a member of Hamas, with his foul language and equal linguistic disabilities”.

    Yup, note that Tim cannot argue science (he ignores 99% of my points anyway) and has to rely on smears that fall well under the level of the average juvenile.

    To keep you happy, I asked some *unambiguous* questions above, Tim; have you the guts to try to answer them? Or is the fact that you haven’t the foggiest idea what you are talking about so manifest that you have to keep resorting to spineless *ad homs*?

    For Tim Lambert: my advice is to close this thread soon. Tim Curtin has been resorting to some pretty abominable attacks on posters accusing them of being amongst other things dunces, idiots, and supporters of terrorist groups (Hamas is democratically elected but we know exactkly where TC is coming from). He knows he’s been banned from other threads on Deltoid and this is his lifeline here. My advice is to nip it in the bud.

  69. #69 Tim Curtin
    March 31, 2009

    Dhogaza does not deserve an answer when he says to me “Why are you such a dishonest, lying fuck?”

    However, thick skinned as ever, I humbly aver that I was referring to the press release by Canadell Raupach & co at CSIRO which claimed that their PNAS paper (October 2007) proved saturation of the global sinks of CO2 emissions. This nonsense has since been repeated in Raupach, Canadell, and Le Quere in Biogeosciences, yet another cretinous journal incapable of carrying out basic checks. If this Journal were a garage, do refrain from sending your car there for a service, as it will assuredly refrain from checking oil, water, and gas levels. For this is the garbage it printed last year (5, 1601-1613):

    “Analysis of several CO2 data sets with removal of the EVI-correlated component confirms a previous finding of a detectable increasing trend in CO2 airborne fraction (defined using total anthropogenic emissions including fossil fuels and land use change) over the period 1959–2006, at a proportional growth rate 0.24% y−1 with probability _0.9 of a positive trend. This implies that the atmospheric CO2 growth rate increased slightly faster than total anthropogenic CO2 emissions” Only it did not.

    Those half-wits Raupach & Canadell et al at CSIRO and East Anglia also produce the data in their own Global Carbon Project which proves their utter incapacity to do even primary school maths. Check it if you can (which I doubt). The “atmospheric CO2 growth rate” was 0.4% p.a. from 1958 to 2008. Double check that at the Mauna Loa site. The growth rate of “anthropogenic emissions” averaged 2% p.a. over the same period. As I have said before (above), one has to take care when comparing growth rates of STOCKS (changes in the LEVEL of the atmospheric concentration of CO2) and changes in the growth of additions to that stock, which, totally beyond the comprehension of Canadell, Raupach, and everybody else at CSIRO and Le Quere at the University of East Anglia) is a function not only of emissions growth but also of global oceanic and Biospheric absorption of CO2 emissions. But in what passes for Science on this Blog and at IPCC’s favourite authors, Canadell, Raupach, and Le Quere) 0.4% pa. is bigger than 2% pa.

    But let’s also recall Chapter 6 in the book edited by Canadell et al, 2006 (mostly the same authors) which averred that “In this paper we demonstrate that the underlying ecology of terrestrial biospheric CO2 sinks suggests that, despite having the potential for increased C sink owing to atmospheric and climate change over the next decades, most of the biological sinks will eventually level-off and subsequently decline to zero (hereafter referred as “sink saturation”) whereby no further C will be removed from the atmosphere.”

    Somebody here (dhogaza?) said Hamas was “democratically elected”. So was Hitler.

  70. #70 Jeff Harvey
    March 31, 2009

    I think most of your views are garbage, Tim, but I have never used the kind of abuse against you that you do against me, whatever dhogaza says. I suppose he is just very frustrated by your tunnel vision, as many of us here are.

    The you write:

    “Somebody here (dhogaza?) said Hamas was “democratically elected”. So was Hitler”.

    Wrong. Hitler was never ‘elected’. This is a fallacy; details here:

    http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0403a.asp

    Moreover, whose right is it to say which democracies are ‘valid’ and which aren’t? Britain? The United States? With their appalling records of supporting some of the most vile regimes on Earth? Western elites loathe democracy anyway, hence why they invest so much time, effort and especially money in mendacious propaganda campaigns.

    I think that your political theories are as bankrupt as your scientific arguments. Your wafer thin political views also illustrate how far to the right I thnk that you are. And in my view this is what is driving your ‘C02′ theories; not science but political expediency. Tell us all Tim: where do you stand politically? The answer should be obvious.

  71. #71 Tim Curtin
    March 31, 2009

    Sod: sometime you seem to be intelligent, but not with this attempted refutation of my assertion that “rising ambient CO2 is a necessary condition for a rising food supply” when you say “this wild claim can be simply falsified! food supply DID RISE, while CO2 was flat!” When, where? ALL my posts here have supplied sources. Where are yours?

    Jeff, yet again, said: “every natural ecosystem on Earth is in decline..”. Mine seems to be doing OK, my garden has never looked better (with more butterflies, bees, lizards etc, and birds) despite declining rainfall since 2003, what about yours? You have throughout our debates been remarkably loath to produce any hard data. Post your spreadsheets, then let us discuss.

  72. #72 Bernard J.
    March 31, 2009

    Jeff: I see you have picked up Dutch double negatives – “This is not unambiguous but hard truth” – which seems to imply it is NOT “hard truth”!

    Jeff’s issue is not one of double negatives, but one of hasty omission of a comma, and perhaps two small words… “This is not unambiguous, but [it is] hard truth”

    See, works like a charm. Any intelligent person would understand Jeff’s intent – but then, it isn’t the first time you have inverted someone’s intent in an effort to distract from your own inability with basic science.

    And it’s a bit rich of you to grow all pedantic over composition. We all here fluff things if we post enough, and you are no laggard in the mistakes department.

    Not by a long shot.

    Just like your confusion between pre-requisite and sufficient conditions.

    Once again, an inversion of fact. I seriously recommend that you stop and consider that your first interpretation of any science that you might scan might not be the conclusion that a trained expert comes to. Attempt to struggle with your own ideological blinkers; imagine what a scientist without a vested interest or a political or economic ideology to push might actually be trying to communicate.

    You’ve been dropping the ball at every toss, Curtin, and you really are leaving a legacy of embarrassment for yourself on the Interweb.

    Coincidentally, I was about to recommend to Tim Lambert, just as Jeff has done, that he consider limiting the life of this thread too, either by naming a maximum number of posts, or by setting a deadline.

    I would still like to see, however, the scores of questions that have been put to you answered, and I would like to see evidence presented to support your many unsubstantiated claims and slurs. I still want to know if the threat-of-personal-harm version of your history of the Quadrant publication is truth or fiction, and I would like you to to give an accurate indication of the time, subject material and place of publication of your much-vaunted ‘paper’.

    Or do you intend to play the greasy pig ad infinitum?

  73. #73 Sy
    March 31, 2009

    i always thought the best practice online was to not feed the trolls.

    proving the same guy wrong hundreds of times over doesn’t really do much other than waste your time.

  74. #74 Jeff Harvey
    March 31, 2009

    Sy is correct: we are feeding the toll big time. But I just cannot resist.

    As for Tim asking to see data I say sure: check out just about every issue of Global Change Biology, Ecosystems, Conservation Biology, Ecology Letters, Ecology, Ecological Monographs et al. published over the past 20 years. They are full of studies supporting what I said. If that is too much for Tim to comprehend, then may I suggest he consult the joint UN/World Bank Living Planet Index. The results – shall I dare say it again – are *unambiguous*. Marine and freshwater systems are in a serious state, and terrestrial systems fare little better.

    Tim’s garden doesn’t count as a ‘major ecosystem’; because he has no historical information on what was there before it was altrered, its likely that it was much more species-rich (at least for specialists) before than it is now. A few butterflies and lizards in someone’s garden does not constitute evidence that all is OK with the world. I wish it did. The facts are again easy to find if one looks beyond their noses. But to reiterate: I am expected to haul out the several thousands of published studies that suppoort my arguments, while Tim can sit on his butt. As it turns out, if I could sit around all day and had nothing else to do I would actually oblige. But as a scientist with grants to write, experiments to conduct and students to supervise, I do not have the time. So Tim, as I said, peruse throught the aforementioned journals and tell me what you find.

  75. #75 Jeff Harvey
    March 31, 2009

    Oops – I meant troll. My bad.

  76. #76 Bud
    March 31, 2009

    To be fair to Jeff Harvey et al, a lot of good information is coming out of their posts for the casual reader, regardless of the context they are posting. Thanks!

  77. #77 dhogaza
    March 31, 2009

    “There you are in good company with the unspeakable dhogaza, clearly a member of Hamas, with his foul language and equal linguistic disabilities”.

    Given that I’m an american citizen of third-generation german descent, and raised in the methodist church, this accusation is hilarious. BTW a “dho gaza” is a kind of trap, originally devised and named by arab falconers. that are used by those of us who do field work with raptors to catch them, so we can band, measure, and at times burden them with satellite or radio transmitters.

    However, thick skinned as ever, I humbly aver that I was referring to the press release by Canadell Raupach & co at CSIRO which claimed that their PNAS paper (October 2007) proved saturation of the global sinks of CO2 emissions.

    The paper makes no such claim, you’re simply lying.

    Neither does the blurb at CSIRO.

    I submit that my description of you as a “lying fuck” is accurate.

  78. #78 dhogaza
    March 31, 2009

    Jeff: I see you have picked up Dutch double negatives – “This is not unambiguous but hard truth” – which seems to imply it is NOT “hard truth”!

    If you can’t understand simple english, it’s no surprise that you can’t understand scientific papers or the press releases announcing them.

  79. #79 dhogaza
    March 31, 2009

    Somebody here (dhogaza?) said Hamas was “democratically elected”

    I said no such thing.

  80. #80 dhogaza
    March 31, 2009

    i always thought the best practice online was to not feed the trolls.

    True, but this particular thread was *created* for the express purpose of allowing Curtin to troll, and for others to feed him.

    Besides, he has a certain following among RWingnut political types, apparently, in Australia, so unlike most trolls, there might be some value in showing the world what an idiot he is.

  81. #81 EliRabett
    March 31, 2009

    dhogaza, Curtin is more like a lying tooth extraction with no anesthetic and your five year old discovering that it is fun to scratch the blackboard with her nails.

    Eli suggests that we all post on

    Tim Curtin is like . . .

  82. #82 dhogaza
    March 31, 2009

    Tim Curtin is…

    the old man I hope I never become.

    Scary, isn’t it? I imagine he must’ve been minimally competent at some point in the past…

    (changed your lead slightly)

  83. #83 jonno
    March 31, 2009

    Tim Curtin is the most smartest man alive!!!!!!!!!

  84. #84 P. Lewis
    March 31, 2009

    Tim Curtin is like . . .

    …rubber lips on a woodpecker.

  85. #85 Gaz
    March 31, 2009

    Tim Curtin is like WMDs – even if he didn’t exist someone would no doubt feel compelled to fabricate evidence that he did.

  86. #86 dhogaza
    April 1, 2009

    Tim Curtin is like …

    “Comical Ali” (aka Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf)

  87. #87 sneezy
    April 1, 2009

    Tim Curtin is like …. d by so many!

    I am sneezy and I approve this comment.

  88. #88 xtc
    April 1, 2009

    Thanks for this thread Tim Lambert

    It is soooo hilarious!

    Tim Curtin makes many excellent scientific points

    Only a fool would believe that

    His opposition comprises the entire sentient scientific community of the planet

  89. #89 xtc
    April 1, 2009

    bah! – i carelessly posted those lines in reverse order, b*gger me.

  90. #90 Tim Curtin
    April 1, 2009

    Here are my Responses to the April Fools who commented here overnight (31 March-1 April), in the ratio of 9:1 on this thread to all Tim L’s other threads. In round numbers about 600 posts have been made here or at Windschuttle where it began; Tim L can tell us how many posts he has had at ALL other threads since 1st January 2009.On average I suspect there have been about 7 responses to each post by me. I know you all love to hate, and especially me. Why? If your case is so strong, what have you got to fear? I suspect that hidden deep within the thick skulls of most of the April Fools is a tiny canker of uncertainty, which is why I persevere despite the obliquy and even worse abuse that is hurled at me every day.

    dhogaza: why can’t you simply say, “Tim you could be mistaken”? instead of …. ?

    Dear dh, you could be the one mistaken when denying my assertion that Canadell et al claimed in their PNAS 2007 paper that the oceanic and terrestrial sinks are “saturated”.

    My mate at Monga Bay (he published a paper of mine on forestry in PNG) picked up their Press Release of 22nd October 2007 announcing their Nobel Prize-winning paper in PNAS (I kid you not, they really think they won a Science Prize) by actually using the sub-headline “Saturated Carbon Sinks” when reporting the GCP-Raupach press release. Monga Bay went on to quote (1) Chris Field (as ever serially economical with the truth) “Weakening land and ocean sinks are contributing to the accelerating growth of atmospheric CO2,” said co-author Chris Field, director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology, and (2) the study’s lead author, Dr Pep Canadell, executive director of the Global Carbon Project, who explained “Fifty years ago, for every tonne of CO2 emitted, 600kg were removed by natural sinks. In 2006 only 550kg were removed per tonne and that amount is falling.”

    Dear dhogaza, do go to the GCP website and its “Carbon trends” page, which unaccountably stops in 2007, could it be because that since 2006 more than 600 kg of every tonne of CO2 emitted has been absorbed by the “saturated” sinks? YES, more than 600 kg of 1 tonne of CO2 emissions were absorbed by the “saturated” sinks in 2007-2008, and again very likely on present indications in 2008-09.

    As often in scientific discourse, what is important is definition of terms. What do your heroes mean when they say “Decline in Uptake of carbon emissions confirmed”? Reference: 07/211, A decline in the proportion of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions absorbed by land and oceans is speeding up the growth of atmospheric CO2, according to a paper published today in the US Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science”. 23 October 2007.

    “Lead author and Executive Director of the Global Carbon Project, CSIRO’s Dr Pep Canadell, says the acceleration is due to three factors: global economic growth; the world’s economy becoming more carbon intense (that is, since 2000 more carbon is being emitted to produce each dollar of global wealth); and A DETERIORATION IN THE LAND AND OCEANS’ ABILITY TO ABSORB CARBON FROM THE ATMOSPHERE AT THE REQUIRED RATE.” dh, does that mean saturation or not? If not, what do YOU understand by saturation?

    It is of course a preposterous notion that the land “sink” is “saturated”, because that implies that nowhere can any new planting of any crop, or any new breed of any crop, result in photosynthesis.

    I have previously shown here that while the atmospheric concentration of CO2 has grown (1958-2008) at only 0.4% p.a., even though the annual increments to that stock have grown at c. 1.3% pa., because while emissions have grown at 2% p.a., total Absorptions have grown at over 2.5% p.a. (of which Terrestrial no less than 4% p.a.), so much for saturation of the land sink!.

    These growth rates are taken from the Canadell-Raupach GCP data base itself, which they are manifestly incapable of understanding.

    It gets worse for you (and Jeff and Bernard): the co-authors of Canadell, Raupach et al. included Le Quere (regrettably, employed by the University at which my daughter got her 1st in Pure Maths). Here is the Comment on his as ever shonky work in Science, 1 February 2008, 319, 5863, p.570 by Rachel M. Law, Richard J. Matear, Roger J. Francey:

    “Unlike Le Quéré et al. (Reports, 22 June 2007, p. 1735), we do not find a saturating Southern Ocean carbon sink due to recent climate change. In our ocean model, observed wind forcing causes reduced carbon uptake, but heat and freshwater flux forcing cause increased uptake. Our inversions of atmospheric carbon dioxide show that the Southern Ocean sink trend is dependent on network choice.”

    I rest my case.

    Bernard J. I await your comments on my carefully researched responses to the questions you posed on forestry matters.

    More generally, do you habitually address persons much older than you so impertinently?

  91. #91 Jeff Harvey
    April 1, 2009

    Talk about April fools Tim: take a good look in the mirror. Sheesh.

    Its you who is at odds here with just about every other poster here; and you are the one lacking any credentials in science. Moreover, as has been shown time and time again, when I or any of several others demolish your wafer-thin arguments, you ignore us and then go back to the old refrain in which express terrible concern that there just ain’t enough carbon in the atmosphere to ensure that a human famine does not ensue in a few decades. This premise is based on such shoddy science that most of here just cannot take it seriously. Moreover, when you make appallingly simple statements in which you argue that biodiversity loss is not apparently a problem because your garden in Oz has some butterflies and lizards in it, what do you expect? A serious response?

    I am the first to admit that I have not been trained in climate science and therefore I am very reluctant to comment on the intricate details in the same way that a trained expert in the field could. These are some of the same people (e.g. Susan Solomon, Michael Mann) you routinely deride, which is fine for someone sitting behind a computer console but its clear to me that when you, a layperson for all intents and purposes, try and publish your “ground breaking paper” in a rigidly peer-reviewed journal I for one know that its likely to be torn apart because you have left out some vital details that undermine your entire thesis. I know what your response to that will be: to attack the peer-reviewing process, but I personally think it will be because you are a layman, without formal training in the field. I’d be very cautious about challenging a physics professor on some area in which he or she has dedicated years of their lives on research, but for some reason you do not hold any such doubts about what *you* know, even when stacked up against people who have studied their craft for years.

    The same applies when you do stray into my field which is population biology. Congrats to your daughter for her 1st class degree in maths; I received a first class degree in Zoology at Liverpool University (UK) in 1991. But I digress; what became obvious to me when you starting debating anthropogenic effects on natural ecosystems was how little you knew, and you were forced to resort to very simple and long-discredited arguments. As I dimissed them one by one, you gradually retreated back to your C02/ferilizer shell.

    What I, Bernard, Sod and others have tried to do here – and I feel that we have been quite successful – is to show that you have greatly simplified immensely complex processes in driving your conclusions. I have argued that complex adaptive systems function on the basis of the sum of all their parts, and these parts are influenced by much, much more than the amounts of C02 in the atmosphere. Given that our understanding of the almost infinite numbers of processes that are involved in the way these systems evolve, assemble and function, it takes remarkable hubris, given all of the vast numbers of *unknowns* to draw the kinds of simple linear conclsuions that you do. Nature functions in a decidedly non-linear fashion, and I believe that some short-term trends that you cite in no way can be used to accurately predict the response of communities, ecosystems, biomes and the biosphere in the longer term. Given that humans are vastly altering the planet’s surface in a number of ways, and that we are reducing the planet’s working parts of our ecological life-support systems (meaning species and genetically distinct populations), the current experiment with the air, water and land is likely to lead at some point to the exceeeding of a critical threshold in which there is a sudden and dramatic shift in ambient conditions that was hard to predict based on presvious knowledge.

    The journals I suggested that you need to peruse in detail yesterday are chock full of articles linking global change to the reduced viability and stability of natural systems. Thus, focusing one one component (C02) in a vast sea of other complex and interrelated processes in order to make predictions about eradicating famine is, in my humble view, the sprint of folly. I’d like to know what readers here think besides you, Tim. We all know what you think and I, and I think many others reading this, believe that your views are more of a reflection of your politics than of your science. I have asked you several times to tell us all what your political views are. This is relevant as far as I am concerned.

  92. #92 Tim Curtin
    April 1, 2009

    Dear Jeff: You said – “The journals I suggested that you need to peruse in detail yesterday are chock full of articles linking global change to the reduced viability and stability of natural systems”.

    Actually I have “perused” many of the those journals, most of them are full of bullshit, because unless you include “roon” because of “climate change” you don’t get to be published, as you well know.

    You went on: “Thus, focusing on one component (C02) in a vast sea of other complex and interrelated processes in order to make predictions about eradicating famine is, in my humble view, the sprint of folly”. Well, you have never discussed the consequences of reduced CO2 emissions.

    Then you added: “I’d like to know what readers here think besides you, Tim. We all know what you think and I, and I think many others reading this, believe that your views are more of a reflection of your politics than of your science. I have asked you several times to tell us all what your political views are”.

    I am reallly shocked that you think my political views are relevant. Why? I have known some of the 20th Century’s most famous economists (e.g. both Hicks, both Robinsons, Kaldor, Balogh, Clark, Peacock, Wiseman, Leontief) none of whom considered that their political views should determine acceptance or otherwise of their economics.

    But, if you insist, my political views led to me being incarcerated in death row (along with 8 colleagues) in then Salisbury Rhodesia in 1966, for our opposition to Smith’s UDI and its proclaimed assurance of no black rule for 1000 years.

    Jeff: have you done time for your political beliefs?

  93. #93 pough
    April 1, 2009

    I know you all love to hate, and especially me. Why? If your case is so strong, what have you got to fear?

    Brilliant. I love a “you oppose me because you think I’m right” argument. It works for creationists and it works for denialists. Because, of course, everyone fears truth but nobody fears dangerous lies or stupidity. Nope. Not a one. It’s not even possible to fear those things!

  94. #94 Jeff Harvey
    April 1, 2009

    Tim,

    What have your political beliefs from 1966 got to do with it? Its just that I think that your current views are probably those of a right wing libertarian, and that your arguments on science as this is correlated with policy reflect this. But again, I digress. I’ll move on from that.

    Why I cannot sympathize with your views is that you alone seem to know which published studies are good (e.g. those few that support your arguments) and those which are bad (e.g. all of the rest). You really sink yourself when you say: “Actually I have “perused” many of the those journals, most of them are full of bullshit”.

    Says who? An economist of the old school who has no relevant qualifications in related fields of science? You see, this is why I don’t take you seriously. You write as if you are one of the few with some sort of innate wisdom to say what is right and what is wrong; what constitutes “good” science and what constitutes “bad” science. Forget the vast majority of the scientific community; we are all just quacks unless we fall in line with the TC worldview. In fact, in my view your attitude smacks of self-righteousness and arrogance.

  95. #95 Jeff Harvey
    April 1, 2009

    A further point. In his book, “Green Backlash”, author Andrew Rowell sums up the strategy of the anti-environmental and/or denial lobby when it comes to the terms ‘sound science’ and ‘junk science’. For contrarians, ‘sound science’ is any science, peer-reviewed or not, that supports their worldview. This ‘science’ can be based on a very small number of studies published in very weak journals or on corporate funded web sites or those involving right wing think tanks and can be based on poorly conducted experiments. By contrast, ‘junk science’ is science that might be based on hundreds or thousands of studies published in the most rigid journals based on comprehensive experiments but which provide results which conflict with the pre-determined worldview of powerful vested interests and commerical elites. In effect, the latter studies are despised because they might have policy implications meaning the implementation of regulations which reduce corporate profit margins.

    When Tim says that most of what he reads in the journals I mentioned yesterday are ‘bullshit’ he wears his heart on his sleeve. How can someone without relevant qualifications in the fields of conservation biology, ecosystems research, and population ecology dismiss so much empirical research so flippantly while probably having only read a very small sample and not having been trained in the fields above? Why is it that Tim can glean a few studies from the said journals and proclaim these to be the good ones while summarily dismissing the rest?

    This is a classic example of the ways in which contrarians, many without relevant qualifications in complex fields, embrace what they call ‘sound science’ and dismiss all of the rest as ‘junk science’.

  96. #96 dhogaza
    April 1, 2009

    dhogaza: why can’t you simply say, “Tim you could be mistaken”? instead of …. ?

    Because you continue to repeat the same “mistakes” over and over whenever given the opportunity, despite being corrected. That makes you a fucking liar.

    For instance, you claimed that CSIRO’s announcement said that carbon sinks are saturated, I link to it online, it says no such thing, and you respond by saying “oh yes they did” with no evidence whatsoever. It is absolutely clear that neither the paper’s authors nor CSIRO made any such claim.

    Your continued insistence that they did is nothing more than a *lie*.

    If you don’t want to be called out as a liar, there’s a simple solution, Tim. One that only you can implement, I’m afraid …

  97. #97 P. Lewis
    April 1, 2009

    It’s a while since I’ve read it, but I think I’m reminded of Jane Austen’s Emma, in which the eponymous character suffers from the fault of hubris. The result is a blindness, a self-deceptiion of her belief in her cleverness and an insistence on her being right when all around her are of a different opinion of her failings. Her saving grace is that her wrong judgments were ultimately directed to a fictional right purpose. I sense no saving grace from one correspondent’s hubristic fiction here.

  98. #98 Lee
    April 1, 2009

    “Decreased efficiency” is not equal to “saturated.”
    Even ‘saturating’ is not equal to “saturated.”

    TC, quoting the author as saying that sinks are becoming less efficient, is not evidence that they said that sinks are saturated.

    But I do agree with you on one thing, TC. I think that dhogaza is often incorrect when he calls you a liar. Lying requires that one realize that one is telling an untruth – I think that very often you do not so realize, TC, and I suspect that you are incapable of doing so. It would be preferable to call you an idiot instead of a liar, IMO. But given the ferocity of your inane stupidity, TC, it is a subtle distinction at best.

    Oh, TC, also – ideas don’t deserve deference due to the advanced age of the person who utters them. And idiocy doesn’t deserve to be allowed to pass as science, simply because of the advanced age of the idiot.

  99. #99 Gaz
    April 1, 2009

    Tim Curtin: “If your case is so strong, what have you got to fear?”

    That should be obvious, even to you.

    The people posting here, many of them with clearly a deeper and more thorough understanding of the issues than you could ever hope to have, fear that others may be taken in by the ridicuous claims you have made – and continue to make repeatedly even though they have been demolished time and again.

    By the way, you seem to have completely misinterpreted the paper by Raupach, Canadell and Le Quere (your comment at #166).

    Perhaps you should try reading the actual paper rather than just the abstract?

  100. #100 dhogaza
    April 1, 2009

    Lying requires that one realize that one is telling an untruth – I think that very often you do not so realize, TC, and I suspect that you are incapable of doing so.

    Hmmm … Timmie. Liar? Idiot? Or both?

    This is going to require some thought!

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