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
    April 2, 2009

    Gaz: I read that paper as soonas it came out and commenetd on it in some detail in my Submission to the Garnaut Review. For now let’s just take a look at the Media Release (GCP 22 October 2007) announcing Canadell et al. PNAS 2007

    1.Headline:“Carbon sink slowdown contributing to rapid growth in atmospheric CO2“

    Two problems: first, no such slowdown is evident, (see below), second there has been no “rapid” growth in [CO2], unless you think the average 0.4% p.a. from 1958 to 2008 is “rapid”.

    2. “There has been a decline in the efficiency of natural land and ocean sinks which soak up carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted to the atmosphere by human activities…”

    In fact the sinks have more than kept pace with emissions, which is why the growth of the flow of additions to the atmosphere has consistently been slower (1.38% pa.) than the growth of emissions (2% p.a.), as I have pointed out here previously, using the GCP’s own data for the period 1958.5 to 2008.5

    3. “The swift increase in atmospheric CO2 is due to faster economic growth coupled with a halt in carbon intensity reductions, in addition to natural sinks removing a smaller proportion of emissions from the air…”

    Not true, the proportion has been rising (just graph the Airborne Fraction of Emission remaining aloft since 1958, as I did for the Garnaut Review, Fig. 2 in Canadell et al is a fudge, and not confirmed by the raw data).

    (4) “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.”

    Not true, from mid 2005 to mid 2006 exactly 600 kg per tonne of emissions were removed by the biospheres, see Canadell’s own GCP.

    (5) “In addition to the growth of global population and wealth, we now know that significant contributions to the growth of atmospheric CO2 arise from the slow down [sic] of natural sinks and the halt to improvements in carbon intensity.”

    What slowdown? None is evident in the GCP data for 1958-2008. The sinks averaged annual removals of 2.45 GtC from 1958.5 to 1964.5, and 5.07 GtC from 2003.5 to 2007.5. Doubling over 40 years is hardly a slowdown!

    (6) “’There are regional differences in the efficiency of natural sinks. Half of decline in the efficiency of the ocean sink is due to the intensification and poleward movement of the westerly winds in the Southern ocean’, said contributing author Corinne Le Quere of the University of East Anglia.”

    I posted yesterday the paper in Science which takes that claim apart, so I don’t need to here.

    (7)“The proportion of carbon dioxide remaining in the atmosphere after vegetation and the oceans absorb what they can has escalated over the past 50 years, showing a decrease in the planet’s ability to absorb anthropogenic emissions.” said Dr Canadell.

    Simply untrue. The Airborne Fraction variable is highly dependent on El Nino/LaNina cycles and these were not effectively taken out, as they are still clearly evident in C et al’s Fig 2A. The AF was actually higher in 1958-59 at 52% than in 2005-2006 when it was 39%. Regressing the Sinks’ Absorption against (i) Emissions (t = 6) and (ii) ENSO (t = 2.2) confirms strong relationships that are highly significant. By contrast, there is NO statistically significant trend for the AF from 1959 to 2007.

    (8) “Dr Raupach, co-chair of the Global Carbon Project, said ‘We have found that the earth is losing its restorative capacity to absorb CO2 emissions in the face of the massive increases in emissions over the last half century. The longer we delay reducing emissions, the more restorative capacity will be lost.’”

    If that does not imply “saturation” what would?

    (9) “The majority of these authors are members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which was recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2007”. Joke!
    Reference URL
    http://www.globalcarbonproject.org

    (10) Now for the (partial) Recantation: “Forests, grasslands and oceans are absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere FASTER THAN EVER..” says CSIRO scientist and co-Chair of the Global Carbon Project, Dr Mike Raupach (CSIRO PR 11 March 09). Shame that he spoilt it by adding yet again the untruth “but they are not keeping pace with rapidly rising emissions”.

    Raupach is not very good at doing growth rates when his own GCP carbon data shows that the Absorptions’ growth rate is faster at 2.46% p.a. than the Emissions’ 2% over the period from 1958.5 to 2008.5. Note that the above growth rates use the GCP data on total emissions (10.22 GtC in 2007.5 to 2008.5, fossil fuels alone were 8.33 GtC); the log linear growth rate of just fossil fuel emissions was 2.5% p.a. from 1958.5 to 2007.5. The Absorptions (6.21 GtC in 2007-2008)are of course from all sources of CO2, including the GCP’s Other (eg cement) and Land use.

  2. #2 Tim Curtin
    April 2, 2009

    Bernard J. – we have just received the latest Canberra Bird Notes from the Canberra Ornithological Group (COG) (see http://www.canberrabirds.org.au). Despite the rampant extinctions you Jeff Pimms and Ehrlich exult in, actually they record increases (in endorsed records) in species in this area (Excluding records of the separate Garden Birds Survey, which are listed separately), from 217 in 1995-1997 to 233 in 06-07, and 232 in 07-08. I realise there are the usual problems of comparability of surveys over time, but thought you might be interested.

  3. #3 P. Lewis
    April 2, 2009

    Did you know that

    ρRWTC = M/V

    where

    M = misinformation, misunderstanding and/or misconstruction

    V = veracity

  4. #4 Jeff Harvey
    April 2, 2009

    Tim writes: “Bernard J. – we have just received the latest Canberra Bird Notes from the Canberra Ornithological Group (COG) (see http://www.canberrabirds.org.au). Despite the rampant extinctions you Jeff Pimms and Ehrlich exult in, actually they record increases (in endorsed records) in species in this area (Excluding records of the separate Garden Birds Survey, which are listed separately), from 217 in 1995-1997 to 233 in 06-07, and 232 in 07-08″.

    TC, get this straight:

    1. I do not exult in ‘rampant extinction’ rates; I state that the current loss of species and genetically distinct populations exceeds any similar loss in at least 65 million years. I believe that it is a serious issue with potentially devastating consequences for the ways that natural systems function and for the continued delivery of a range of vital ecosystem services that sustain us.

    2. With no disrespect to the Canberra bird survey, one small sample at one small locale at one time in no way undermines the fact that 1100 of the world’s 9500 species of birds are either threatened or endangered (IUCN data); that most of these species are in decline; that the list grows every year because once common species are also seriously declining.

    3. Woodpeckers (Picidae) are a group that I am especially interested in. There are approximately 275 species in the world. A recent publication assessing the biology and demographics of the world’s picids showed that at least 70% of these species are experiencing local or widespread population declines.

    4. The prognosis for other vertebrates (mammals, reptiles, amphibians) is even worse; in the case of amphibians it is much, much worse. These organisms are excellent ecological indicators because they have semi-permeable membranes and thus are highly susceptible to physical and chemical changes in the environment.

    Conclusion: Tim, why do you pesist in debating me in this area? Its clear you are clutching at straws.

  5. #5 Tim Curtin
    April 2, 2009

    Jeff: apologies for my sarcasm, German is so much better than English with its schadenfreude, which was what I meant to convey you will feel especially if your latest gloomy predictions are fulfilled. I am open to bets that they won’t be.

  6. #6 Jeff Harvey
    April 2, 2009

    Tim,

    I hope that you are correct. But crossing our fingers and hoping for the best while continuing with a ‘business-as-usual’ policy won’t cut it. As I said before, humans are simplifying nature at a rapid rate. Coastal marine ecosystems, the ‘green seas’ which are the most productive, are in a real mess because of a combination of overexploitation and pollution. Humans tend to harvest marine food webs down from the top, and this has effectively bastardized many marine food webs by tearing apart normal trophic interrelationships and altering the trophic status of many species.

    Terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems fare little better. I don’t know if your read through the Global Ecosystem Assessment (2006) in which many of the world’s leading ecologists contributed. It does not make pleasant reading. The summary argued that human activities are reducing the capacity of many ecosystems to support themselves and, more importantly, are impeding the delivery of critical ecosystem services that I have discussed many times before.

    Because we are taking more from nature than nature can sustainably put back, it does not take much common sense to reveal that this cannot go on forever. At the present, this is where things stand. Humans are consuming capital as opposed to income. This unsustainable overconsumption is the real threat to the future of everyone.

  7. #7 Tim Curtin
    April 2, 2009

    Hi Jeff: I fear the authors of the Global Ecosystem Assessment have an obvious interest in painting a gloomy picture if only in order to drum up funds. Was their Report audited and peer-reviewed including by at least some non-ecologists?

    I am also afraid that the gap between us remains as wide as ever when you say “we are taking more from nature than nature can sustainably put back…”

    Jeff, W.S. Jevons who was a real polymath (scientist as well as economists and much else) confidently predicted that we would run out of coal by the 1920s, just like Ehrlich passim and the Club of Rome 1972, 1974, and Meadows yet again 2004. All have been proved wrong about non-renewables again and again. What do you have in mind when you say “we are taking more from nature ….”? Most of what we take from nature is sustainably renewable, eg all forestry and agriculture and even fish when farmed.

    You went on “Humans are consuming capital as opposed to income”.

    Look, Jeff, you have no qualifications that I am aware of as an economic statistician. Investment has always been cyclical, with booms and busts, but just check International Financial Statistics (IMF) or the WB’s World Development Report for stats on Gross Capital Formation, and you will find it is not negative globally even now, it was 25% of world income in 1980, and 22% in 1998 – and I suspect it is still over 20%, and certainly not negative as you claim. Do you live on your capital and not your income? I take care to keep my current spending within my current income.

    If you mean “natural” capital whatever that is, it is still false, because most of the natural world around us is renewable, viz. agriculture etc. Again tell us what is the natural capital that you think you yourself are using up?

  8. #8 Jeff Harvey
    April 2, 2009

    Tim, you still do not understand. If you were to check the status of marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems, you would not be able to make the absurd statements that you do. That you actually think that the balance sheet with respect to global resources is balanced is plain bonkers. Check the staus of groundwater supplies of various aquifers in crucial parts of the world (e.g. Oglalla, China Plain). Soil and water quality. Biodiversity loss (both populations and species). The Living Planet Index alone categorically demolishes your arguments. Humans are living in deficit – there’s hardly anyone working in the field of environmental science or ecological economics who disagrees with this point.

    Youre mistake is to expunge nature from your calaculations. Its as if human welfare is independent of nature. A species is not renewable if all of its populations are destroyed. It is hard to turn a once-pristine rainforest that has been felled back into a forest again. The exapnsion of deserts is also proof positive that humans are taking too much from nature. Your calculations are solely based on the material economy, which can continue to grow even as natural capital stocks are being depleted. Its like having a glass of drinking water where a tap continually replenishes the water and it is drawn out by someone using a straw. Every hour the person is given a bigger straw that allows them to extract the water in greater volumes (this might represent a technological innovation).

    What can happen – and is happening in natural systems in an equivalent way – is that the person is drinking the water faster than the tap can replenish the supply into the glass. The drinker, if he did not check, might actually think that there was more water in the glass when he was provided with a bigger straw, but all this does is allow him to withdraw water faster; it does not enable the system to produce more water. Eventually, even as the level of water gets low in the glass, the drinker might think that things are OK because he is getting more water per unit of time as a result of the bigger straws he is getting. It is only when the glass gets to the final dregs of water that he realizes that he has overconsumed it, and then he will suddenly and dramtically have to reduce his water intake to the level of replenishment from the tap.

    This is what humans are doing to natural systems. The evidence is in volumes that you apparently cannot comprehend. A good example is marine fisheries. Until recently at least, our fishing fleets were catching more and more fish every year. This was not because there were more fish, but because we developed new technologies (sonar, massive drag nets) that replaced older technologies. Whilst this was happening, it becmae clear, but only when we neared the edge of the ‘abyss’, that our fleets were draining the seas of fish stocks. In other words, fishing species at the terminal end of the food chain eventually led to the collapse of cod, herring, tuna and other top-level predators. The status of some shark species is now critical because of over-harvesting. Eleven of the world’s 15 major fisheries have been fished at or well beyond their sustainable limit. At the same time, as I said in my last post, over-harvesting of predators has led to the collapse of some marine food chains or has inverted the trophic status of some species, For example, thanks to the elimination of predatory fish off of the coast of Spain, jellyfish now occupy the top level of the food chain there. In some cases this damage to marine food webs will cause irreversible effects.

    This concept is hardly rocket science (one does not have to be an economic statistician to understand this concept). Every time you respond to my posts it dawns on me how little you know what you are talking about. The Club of Rome did not make explicit predictions – it described possible scenarios. Paul Ehrlich’s mistake was to ignore the development of new technologies which would enable us to dig deeper and extract raw materials more effectively, but he was and is correct that humans are consuming nature faster than nature can repair the damage. As I have said before, this explains why deficit countries in the developed world are strongly advocating neoliberal economic programmes and ‘free trade’; this is because the rich countries need to reach beyond their borders to obtain the necessary resources to maintain growth and consumption. As William Rees wrote a few years ago in describing ecological footprints:

    *Ecological footprint analysis undermines a major sub-theme of the expansionist myth. Trade (including appropriated natural flows) does not actually increase global carrying capacity — it merely shuffles it around. True, the exchange of factors that would otherwise be limiting, enables each trading region/country to exceed its own local carrying capacity. However, this virtually ensures that all countries, their economies happily expanding through trade, breach common biophysical limits to growth simultaneously (ozone depletion and climate change illustrates the point). Eco-footprinting also provides useful insights into the driving forces and psychological consequences of globalization. First, many high-income countries could not maintain their consumer lifestyles if confined to the biophysical output of their domestic land and water ecosystems. The United States, most western European nations and Japan depend on trade and the unsanctioned overuse of common pool life support functions to grow and even to maintain current levels of economic activity (those eco-deficits again). In short, these countries need globalization and ever-expanding trade if they are to continue to prosper as currently defined*.

    This sums up the human predicament. One does not have to be a neoclassical economist to understand these basic points. Lastly, Tim, the Milennium Ecosystem Assessment was heavily peer-reviewed and its conclusions were derived from a wealth of empirical data. When you write…

    “I fear the authors of the Global Ecosystem Assessment have an obvious interest in painting a gloomy picture if only in order to drum up funds”.

    …you have scraped the bottom of the barrel. This is a desperate argument devoid of logic. I am reluctant to dignify it even with any kind of response, so I won’t.

  9. #9 Bernard J.
    April 2, 2009

    The comment has been made, quite validly, that responding to Curtin is to merely feed the troll, and a rather dense one at that. I myself often wince when I take up keyboard to respond, for just this reason. However, there are two reasons why I persist. The first is that it informs third parties, such as Bud, DavidK, and others, and this in itself is a worthy cause.

    The second reason is that Curtin seems to make enough noise in political arenas that some folk might actually listen to him, especially those who are ideologically inclined to be persuaded by pseudoscience, where such is more convenient for their cause than is true science. He submits to government inquiries, recently to Quadrant, and to detestable sites such as the Australian branch of the Lav group. Worryingly, some of our country’s [conservative federal senators](http://www.lavoisier.com.au/articles/climate-policy/science-and-policy/TGFC-LaunchBernardi.php) see fit to support the ideology of this far-right lobby group, and if even a fraction of Curtinesque anti-science trickles through to political stalling or policy redirection, that is too much.

    Now, a warning – this post is quote-heavy. (I wonder if Curtin’s lips will move as he reads them all…)

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

    Erm, “carefully? Perhaps you should look up that word in a dictionary.

    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).

    Let’s try a little harder than that, shall we? I have dozens of detailed references describing forest loss, but for now [just one](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deforestation) will give a better perspective:

    Despite the ongoing reduction in deforestation over the past 30 years the process deforestation remains a serious global ecological problem and a major social and economic problem in many regions. 13 million hectares of forest are lost each year, 6 million hectares of which are forest that had been largely undisturbed by man. This results in a loss of habitat for wildlife as well as reducing or removing the ecosystem services provided by these forests.

    The decline in the rate of deforestation also does not address the damage already caused by deforestation. Global deforestation increased sharply in the mid-1800s and about half of the mature tropical forests, between 7.5 million to 8 million square kilometres (2.9 million to 3 million sq mi) of the original 15 million to 16 million square kilometres (5.8 million to 6.2 million sq mi) that until, 1947 covered the planet have been cleared.

    The rate of deforestation also varies widely by region and despite a global decline in some regions, particularly in developing tropical nations, the rate of deforestation is increasing. For example, Nigeria lost 81% of its old-growth forests in just 15 years (1990- 2005). All of Africa is suffering deforestation at twice the world rate. The effects of deforestation are most pronounced in tropical rainforests. Brazil has lost 90-95% of its Mata Atlântica forest. In Central America, two-thirds of lowland tropical forests have been turned into pasture since 1950. Half of the Brazilian state of Rondonia’s 243,000 km² have been affected by deforestation in recent years and tropical countries, including Mexico, India, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka, Laos, Nigeria, Congo, Liberia, Guinea, Ghana and the Côte d’Ivoire have lost large areas of their rainforest. Because the rates vary so much across regions the global decline in deforestation rates does not necessarily indicate that the negative effects of deforestation are also declining.

    Large areas of Siberia have been harvested since the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the last two decades, Afghanistan has lost over 70% of its forests throughout the country.

    The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation would appear to support your starry-eyed view of forest health:

    While the FAO states that the annual rate of tropical closed forest loss is declining (FAO data are based largely on reporting from forestry departments of individual countries) from 8 million has in the 1980s to 7 million in the 1990s some environmentalists are stating that rainforest are being destroyed at an ever-quickening pace. The London-based Rainforest Foundation notes that “the UN figure is based on a definition of forest as being an area with as little as 10% actual tree cover, which would therefore include areas that are actually savannah-like ecosystems and badly damaged forests.”

    These divergent viewpoints are the result of the uncertainties in the extent of tropical deforestation. For tropical countries, deforestation estimates are very uncertain and could be in error by as much as +/- 50% while based on satellite imagery, the rate of deforestation in the tropics is 23% lower than the most commonly quoted rates. Conversely a new analysis of satellite images reveal that deforestation of the Amazon rainforest is twice as fast as scientists previously estimated. The extent of deforestation that has occurred in West Africa during the twentieth century is currently being hugely exaggerated.

    Nice finish huh? It must warm the cockles of your heart.

    Except that the very next paragraph pulls one back to reality:

    Despite these uncertainties there is agreement that development of rainforests remains a significant environmental problem. Up to 90% of West Africa’s coastal rainforests have disappeared since 1900. In South Asia, about 88% of the rainforests have been lost. Much of what of the world’s rainforests remains is in the Amazon basin, where the Amazon Rainforest covers approximately 4 million square kilometres. The regions with the highest tropical deforestation rate between 2000 and 2005 were Central America — which lost 1.3% of its forests each year — and tropical Asia. In Central America, 40% of all the rainforests have been lost in the last 40 years. Madagascar has lost 90% of its eastern rainforests. As of 2007, less than 1% of Haiti’s forests remain. Several countries, notably Brazil, have declared their deforestation a national emergency.

    From about the mid-1800s, around 1852, the planet has experienced an unprecedented rate of change of destruction of forests worldwide.[34] More than half of the mature tropical forests that back in some thousand years ago covered the planet have been cleared.

    A clue to the apparent lack of seriousness in forest loss is given in the paragraph:

    The utility of the FAO figures have been disputed by some environmental groups. These questions are raised primarily because the figures do not distinguish between forest types. The fear is that highly diverse habitats, such as tropical rainforest, may be experiencing an increase in deforestation which is being masked by large decreases in less biodiverse dry, open forest types. Because of this omission it is possible that many of the negative impacts of deforestation, such as habitat loss, are increasing despite a decline in deforestation. Some environmentalists have predicted that unless significant measures such as seeking out and protecting old growth forests that haven’t been disturbed, are taken on a worldwide basis to preserve them, by 2030 there will only be ten percent remaining with another ten percent in a degraded condition. 80 percent will have been lost and with them the irreversible loss of hundreds of thousands of species.

    Too many numbers are never enough though, are they, Curtin? So how about a few more paragraphs, starting once again with a few sentences that would appear to support your fantasy of forest felling:

    While the FAO states that the annual rate of tropical closed forest loss is declining [(FAO data are based largely on reporting from forestry departments of individual countries) from 8 million has in the 1980s to 7 million in the 1990s some environmentalists are stating that rainforest are being destroyed at an ever-quickening pace. The London-based Rainforest Foundation notes that "the UN figure is based on a definition of forest as being an area with as little as 10% actual tree cover, which would therefore include areas that are actually savannah-like ecosystems and badly damaged forests."

    These divergent viewpoints are the result of the uncertainties in the extent of tropical deforestation. For tropical countries, deforestation estimates are very uncertain and could be in error by as much as +/- 50% while based on satellite imagery, the rate of deforestation in the tropics is 23% lower than the most commonly quoted rates. Conversely a new analysis of satellite images reveal that deforestation of the Amazon rainforest is twice as fast as scientists previously estimated. The extent of deforestation that has occurred in West Africa during the twentieth century is currently being hugely exaggerated.

    Consider this:

    Deforestation with resulting desertification, water resource degradation and soil loss has affected approximately 94% of Madagascar's previously biologically productive lands. Since the arrival of humans 2000 years ago, Madagascar has lost more than 90% of its original forest. Most of this loss has occurred since independence from the French, and is the result of local people using slash-and-burn agricultural practises as they try to subsist. Largely due to deforestation, the country is currently unable to provide adequate food, fresh water and sanitation for its fast growing population.

    And this:

    According to the FAO, Nigeria has the world's highest deforestation rate of primary forests. It has lost more than half of its primary forest in the last five years. Causes cited are logging, subsistence agriculture, and the collection of fuel wood. Almost 90% of West Africa's rainforest has been destroyed.

    Lest you insist on playing your dirty racist-accusation card, it's not just those to whom you refer as "brown coolies" who are shitting in their own nests. My own ancestors have played their part:

    Iceland has undergone extensive deforestation since Vikings settled in the ninth century. As a result, vast areas of vegetation and land has degraded, and soil erosion and desertification has occurred. As much as half of the original vegetative cover has been destroyed, caused in part by overexploitation, logging and overgrazing under harsh natural conditions. About 95% of the forests and woodlands once covering at least 25% of the area of Iceland may have been lost. Afforestation and revegetation has restored small areas of land.

    Here's an interesting reference to a more appropriate use of Google Earth than the one to which you referred:

    Russia has the largest area of forests of any nation on Earth. There is little recent research into the rates of deforestation but in 1992 2 million hectares of forest was lost and in 1994 around 3 million hectares were lost.. The present scale of deforestation in Russia is most easily seen using Google Earth, areas nearer to China are most affected as it is the main market for the timber. Deforestation in Russia is particularly damaging as the forests have a short growing season due to extremely cold winters and therefore will take longer to recover.

    Coming closer to the region that you are wont to argue over:

    The forest loss is acute in Southeast Asia, the second of the world's great biodiversity hot spots. According to 2005 report conducted by the FAO, Vietnam has the second highest rate of deforestation of primary forests in the world second to only Nigeria. More than 90% of the old-growth rainforests of the Philippine archipelago have been cut.

    And then:

    At present rates, tropical rainforests in Indonesia would be logged out in 10 years, Papua New Guinea in 13 to 16 years. There are significantly large areas of forest in Indonesia that are being lost as native forest is cleared by large multi-national pulp companies and being replaced by plantations. In Sumatra tens of thousands of square kilometres of forest have been cleared often under the command of the central government in Jakarta who comply with multi national companies to remove the forest because of the need to pay off international debt obligations and to develop economically. In Kalimantan, between 1991 and 1999 large areas of the forest were burned because of uncontrollable fire causing atmospheric pollution across South-East Asia. Every year, forest are burned by farmers (slash-and-burn techniques are used by between 200 and 500 million people worldwide) and plantation owners. A major source of deforestation is the logging industry, driven spectacularly by China and Japan.. Agricultural development programs in Indonesia (transmigration program) moved large populations into the rainforest zone, further increasing deforestation rates.

    It's all a rather different story to the one that you tried to tell us at post #161.

    And speaking of your post...

    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.

    Curtin, I have done a lot of fieldwork in freshly 'harvested' forests, and in 'regenerating' forests of 5, 10, 20 and more years. Also in plantations of similar ages.

    And I can tell you from a biologist's perspective that 'regeneration' is nearly always a nasty euphemism. Especially once the best timber is taken out, and the old hollowed habitat trunks and crowns are bulldozed into rows and burned. In these 'regenerated' forests many tree species fail to regrow after the first 'harvest', the vast majority of the understorey species similarly disappear, and marsupial species and bird species dependent upon old-growth are completely absent.

    As to plantations – they really are biodiversity deserts.

    Where forests are replaced it is mostly by oil palm, but note how small the area under plantations actually was in 2000.

    The area "under plantation" in a single year is rather a meaningless figure, especially in an emerging industry.

    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.

    Ha! I would love to see "the evidence". I would also like to know what his definition of "permanently degraded" is, because there are many ways to hammer an ecosystem whilst playing cute with semantics.

    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 [sic] in 2000 – so population growth is no basis for expecting much loss of forest on that account.

    Oh, for pity’s sake Curtin! This is a completely specious argument. The area upon which humans locate houses and industry is not the important factor here – the area upon which humans directly or indirectly impact is the point.

    And for what it’s worth, as a biologist 0.2% of the world’s total land area is a frightening proportion. How many other single species cover that much area without actually forming the structure for complex and high-functioning ecosystems?

    Then Bernard quoted me saying (4) “… check the area on Google Earth and you will not able to see ny [sic] 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, …

    True? Then there is no error.

    … 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.

    I didn’t say that one couldn’t discern between different satellite images. Of course this is possible, and it forms the basis of whole areas of science.

    All I said was that Google Earth as I last used it did not allow one to compare one area of New Guinea forest over a period of decades.

    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, …

    “Possibly”? Try “definitely”. Google Earth as it currently operates does not permit any finesse in determining species compositions of forest ecosystems.

    Still it is interesting what satellite images can show us. As we are discussing [palm plantations in New Quinea](http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/06/02/2262808.htm)…

    … 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.

    Curtin, it depends upon much more that “resolution”. There are aerial and satellite approaches to examining forest composition, but as wonderful as they are, they are currently unable to provide more than coarse resolution of the dominant vegetation species. Understoreys, non-dominants and fauna are off the radar.

    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.

    Oh, come on Curtin, don’t be shy. Tell us exactly how you interpret this work.

    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.

    If you had actually read these journals you would not conclude that they are full of “bullshit”.

    There is something here that is capaciously loaded with masculine Bos taurus fæces, , but it’s not the journals that you so disparage. Any guess as to which purveyor of Miraculous Radium WaterTM unguents it might be?

    However, thick skinned as ever…

    “Skinned”? I think you mean “headed”.

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

    Curtin, on the Interweb age is irrelevant, as is gender, race and just about any other criterion other than the capacity to clearly and credibly elucidate one’s points. How old you are in ‘real life’ is irrelevant here, unless it is to query whether you might be afflicted with an age-related dementia.

    You want respect? You need to earn it.

    To date, you have done nothing to earn one iota of respect: you have done a staggeringly huge amount to earn the derision, scorn, disbelief and possibly even the sympathy of those reading – but respect?

    No.

  10. #10 Gaz
    April 2, 2009

    Bernard J and Jeff H: Three cheers for your admirable work here.

    Just for the record, is there anyone reading this blog who believes, or even suspects, that Tim Curtin has anything of value to say?

    Does anyone agree with any of the points he has made?

    Does anyone believe Tim Curtin has not consistently distorted and misrepresented both the scientific facts and the work done by scientists?

    If not, then let’s end this thread.

    There is much of educational value in it, but it is suffering from diminishing returns to the effort employed.

    There has to be a better way of presenting information than a tedious pseudo-Socratic debate with someone who really has nothing to bring to the table except bullshit.

  11. #11 jonno
    April 2, 2009

    “Tim Curtin has anything of value to say”

    I value comedy.

  12. #12 Bernard J.
    April 2, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    Further to your dismissal of the body of ecology journals as publishing “bullshit”, could you please list all of the journals that you have “perused”? Specifically, could you please list the contents of some of the volumes, and indicate which are, in your estimation, “bullshit”, and which are not. I presume that you have a basic facility for annotated bibliographic style.

    Please be aware, if you do not come up with a substantial justification for this slander, in the long list of your slanders of science, I will randomly select several journals for you to comment upon.

    I look forward to your ‘devastation’ of a science in which you have no training, nor any understanding.

  13. #13 Tim Curtin
    April 3, 2009

    Jeff: re my claims above concerning rising world fish production contrary to your claims of us “living on capital” etc; The FAO gives these stats:

    World Fisheries Production (million tonnes)

    1. Capture 2004: 95.001 2006: 92.00

    2. Aquaculture 2004: 45.468 2006: 51.7

    3. Total 2004: 140.475 2006: 143.6

    Gaz: I note you have no answer to my point by point rebuttals of Canadell et al. Good.

    Bernard. You might get a full response when you learn to avoid insults and impertinence. I have on file papers from all the leading journals, and all too many are seriously deficient. They are peer reveiwewd in the same way that bikies would be assured acquittals for their murders and mayhem if allowed to have juries composed exclusively of their peers, i.e. fellow bikies, as is the rule at PNAS etc etc.

    I am used to working in universities, and indeed I am just back from an ANU Seminar (Ocean Acidification sic) where it was possible to have disagreement with the speaker without resorting to your kind of personal abuse and ad homs.

    That Report you linked to on The State of Forests in PNG is subject to litigation arising from its manifold and manifest falsity; I will link to the comprehensive rebuttal by McAlpine et al as soon as it becomes publicly available.

  14. #14 Bernard J.
    April 3, 2009

    Bugger, I just noticed that I’ve duplicated two paragraphs in my post at #206. I will try to figure out what I had intended the second of the duplications to actually be, but nevertheless I think that my overall point in the post stands.

    And another ecological challenge for you Curtin. You said to Jeff “… I am open to bets that they [Jeff's 'latest gloomy predictions'] won’t be [fulfilled]“.

    So you don’t think that there will be any more extinctions over baseline? Please inform us how many bird species might be lost over the next decade or two. How many in 50 years? How many in a hundred? Birds? Mammals? Reptiles? Amphibians? Invertebrates? Plants?

    Upon what criteria do you base your conclusions?

    Which reminds me of another question that I’ve been meaning to chase up clarification for, as you have been quiet in this department (amongst many others). You seem to rely upon (multiple?) regression for your ‘predictions’. When modelling complex, multi-parameter biotic and abiotic systems, how does regression account for:

    1. nonlinear factors, and interactions
    2. emergent phenomena
    3. synergies and diffuse, intimate intra-systemic relationships
    4. positive and negative feedbacks that may or may not operate with upper and lower thresholds
    5. sporadic and periodic phenomena
    6. stochastic phenomena
    7. non-parametric inputs
    8. irrational human behaviour, and othe cultural and political influences
    9. further factors that other readers might like to contribute to this list

    I am gobsmacked that you are able to model complex global systems with regressions in Excel. Further, I am curious to know which version of Excel you use, because I know that some of the older versions have bugs in their regression functions.

  15. #15 Gaz
    April 3, 2009

    Hey Tim, here are some questions for you, relating to your claim that the IPCC doesn’t take into account the abosorption of CO2 by natural sinks in their projections of atmospheric CO2.

    Chapter 7 of the IPCC’s 4th assessment report volume, Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, is titled “Couplings Between Changes in the Climate System and Biogeochemistry”.

    a) How many times does the word “sink” appear in the body of the chapter? (Not counting the twice in the executive summary and the nine times in the FAQ section)?

    Hint: 65 pages at an average of 1.630769231 times per page.

    b) Now for a bonus point, how many times does the word “sink” appear in the titles of articles cited in references at the end of that chapter?

    Hint: 3 cubed.

    c) And for the extra super-bonus point.. True or False – Chapter 2 includes the following sentences:

    “After entering the atmosphere, CO2 exchanges
    rapidly with the short-lived components of the
    terrestrial biosphere and surface ocean, and is
    then redistributed on time scales of hundreds of
    years among all active carbon reservoirs including
    the long-lived terrestrial biosphere and, deep
    ocean. The processes governing the movement of
    carbon between the active carbon reservoirs,
    climate carbon cycle feedbacks and their importance
    in determining the levels of CO2 remaining in the
    atmosphere, are presented in Section 7.3, where
    carbon cycle budgets are discussed.”

    Hint: Check page 138.

    Answers:

    a) “Sink” appears 106 times in Chapter 7.

    b) “Sink” appears 27 times in the titles of references.

    c) True. Whoever would have known?

  16. #16 Gaz
    April 3, 2009

    Curtin: “Gaz: I note you have no answer to my point by point rebuttals of Canadell et al. Good.”

    Not yet, Tim. I have more to do than just respond to your blather. Just be patient. While you’re waiting, why don’t you use the time to, oh I don’t know, count some sparrows or something?

  17. #17 dhogaza
    April 3, 2009

    Jeff: re my claims above concerning rising world fish production contrary to your claims of us “living on capital” etc; The FAO gives these stats:

    World Fisheries Production (million tonnes)
    Capture 2004: 95.001 2006: 92.00
    Aquaculture 2004: 45.468 2006: 51.7
    Total 2004: 140.475 2006: 143.6

    I love it. Jeff talks about “living on capital”, obviously talking about fishing.

    Curtin responds by pointing out that farming has increased more than fishing has decreased, in order to prove that fishing hasn’t decreased.

    Awww, Timmie’s lying again!

  18. #18 Bernard J.
    April 3, 2009

    Curtin.

    You love to post numbers out of context, don’t you?

    In this case, you’ve presented a couple of years of ‘World Fisheries Production’ with no considering analysis. To start the ball rolling, perhaps you can explain the significance of those numbers with reference to:

    1. how fishing technologies increase the efficiency of locating and capturing fish stocks, compared with the total biomass of these stocks that are available
    2. why the composition of commercial fish species has changed over time to include previously undesirable species
    3. what the cumulative mass of ‘bycatch’ has been since the advent of industrial fishing, what the survival of bycatch is, and what proportion of remaining marine fisheries biomass the non-surviving biomass represents
    4. how much of the bait-fish biomass, that is used as feedstock for aquaculture species, is actually included in the ‘World Fisheries Production’ figures.
  19. #19 Tim Curtin
    April 3, 2009

    Dear Gaz, if you were sitting with me now you would see that my copy of AR4 WG is very heavily annotated at both p.138 and in Section 7.3. Counting words like sink in the text is not very clever when neither “sink” nor “reservoir” appears in the MAGICC model which is what is the basis for almost the whole of WG1 including most of its maps etc. Go to

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/wigley/magicc/index.html.

    I can scarcely credit it myself, and have commented on it in my Quadrant article, but the “sinks” are NOT modelled in MAGICC, they are an output – and only implicit even then as their quantity is NEVER stated – not an input, which is what they should be, as [CO2] is the reservoir determined by (emissions minus sinks). Ex post, sinks are a residual when we know [CO2] at Mauna Loa and think we know what the total emissions were. But ex post is accountancy; modelling should have parameters for the absorptions by the sinks, especially when these vary – and correlate very closely – with emissions, as I noted yesterday.

    Now it is very possible I am wrong, but I repeat I have never been able to find in MAGICC any modelling of the sinks. I shall be very grateful Gaz if you can prove me wrong.

  20. #20 Bernard J.
    April 3, 2009

    we have just received the latest Canberra Bird Notes from the Canberra Ornithological Group (COG) …they they record increases (in endorsed records) in species in this area (Excluding records of the separate Garden Birds Survey, which are listed separately), from 217 in 1995-1997 to 233 in 06-07, and 232 in 07-08. I realise there are the usual problems of comparability of surveys over time, but thought you might be interested.

    “[P]roblems of comparability of surveys over time,”? Once more you present numbers without context. Where is the consideration of:

    1. cumulative species over time (quod vide Pimm et al)
    2. increased search effort over time (especially as population increases, and as clubs such as COG burgeoned and thrived after the advent of the internet in the mid 90s)
    3. climatic influences between survey periods
    4. the fact that Canberra (and many other ‘new’ Australian cities and towns) are ‘greening’ over time as gardening becomes more popular with the last decade’s increase in ‘lifestyle’ and gardening programs on TV, and as gardens simply mature
    5. that a species list is not the same as a Simpson Index, a Shannon-Wiener Index (quod vide #69) or similar in more systematically measuring biodiversity
    6. the standardisation of search area and parameters
    7. Canberra is not a region of ‘natural’ habitat, and is thus a poor indicator of the health of bird populations in their natural habitat.
    8. other points that could easily append this list

    Science, Tim curtin, science. Do you understand yet what it is that we are trying to drive into your head?

  21. #21 Jeff Harvey
    April 3, 2009

    Tim, I’ll see if I can crack open that concretre nut inside of your head. But it clearly is not easy.

    FIRST OF ALL READ MY LAST POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    As I said, fish catch has increased as fish populations were collapsing because new technologies used by fishing fleets offset the fact that fish populations were in freefall. These technologies enabled us to scour the green seas of fish, and finally something had to give – and did. Hence why cod populations are depleted, ditto for some flatfish, sharks and herring, and now we’ve had to shift to other fish species down the food chain. Cod are so badly hit that it is virtually impossible to find a full grown specimen anymore. Many are caught now that are not even sexually mature.

    A similar calamity hit whale populations ealier. Whalers initially focused on the largest baleens – the Blue, Fin, Sei, Right, Bowhead and Humpback Whale populations were decimated due to unsustainable whaling. New technologies made it easier and easier to catch these magnificant mammals until stocks were reduced by some 98% of their historical numbers. As thse species diappeared one by one, whalers had to switch to Minke Whales, which would have been considered too small even just 50 years ago to be commercially viable. But this is what happens when humans overharvest resources – we start out with the biggest and most economically valuable, and as that is decimated we shift to less valuable species. In the United States the same happened to the logging industry: as the white pines were felled in the east, loggers swtiched to loblolly and other pines of lesser quality in the south as the great white pine forests were decimated. The switching continued in the west, as the redwood forests were initially felled, then Douglas fir. Now the U.S. is a bet importer of pulp and paper (much of it from Canada and Sweden). There is no such thing as unlimited substitutability for most resources, yet this is one of the pillars of neoclassical economics. It is a fallacy.

    This is what humans are doing to great fish stocks. As I said yesterday (and let it sink in, will you?!?!?!) better technologies can mask depleting stocks. Significant improvements in fishing technologies have enabled humans to scrape the seas of many fish species at the end of long food chains, and only now are the effects being fully understood. This is not ‘controversial’ – there is NO disagreement amongst the scientific community and government agencies as to the seriousness of the situation (OK, there are a few outliers including RW Australian economists who obsess over C02 levels). The real concern amongst marine biologists is what the medium-long term effects of disastrous reductions in the populations of predatory fish will have on the functioning of marine ecosystems. There are many articles in the scientific literature addressing this point.

    The thing is Tim, what becomes clearer from every post you make is that your think in two dimensions, at least this is my take on it. You do not understand the concept of lags or of scaling in ecological processes. You exclude the natural economy from your calculations (just as Lomborg does) and make frankly absurd comments that expunge the idea of environemtnal constraits. I suggest you go back to my last post and read my ‘water in the glass’ analogy. It is totally appropriate with respect to the current global situation of many biological resources. Then read what Bill Rees had to say about global trade and how it shuffles ecological footprints around while allowing rich countries to maintain ecological deficits.

    Also read all of Bernard’s last few posts over again in detail. He writes much better than I do and in much more detail than I can muster at the moment.

  22. #22 DavidK
    April 3, 2009

    Best lecture series I’ve ever enrolled in. Thanks Jeff, thanks Bernard.

    May I suggest you now put him out of his misery and let him go … it seems even his supporters have deserted him.

  23. #23 dhogaza
    April 3, 2009

    Counting words like sink in the text is not very clever when neither “sink” nor “reservoir” appears in the MAGICC model which is what is the basis for almost the whole of WG1 including most of its maps etc.

    CO2 forcing is dependent on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. We measure that, and the annual average increase. Models can use the observations DIRECTLY without having to model the carbon cycle, i.e. sources and sinks.

    So even if your assertion is true – and I’m not betting my life on it – it’s irrelevant.

  24. #24 Tim Curtin
    April 3, 2009

    Dhogaza at #220: Thanks, you said “CO2 forcing is dependent on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. We measure that, and the annual average increase. Models can use the observations DIRECTLY without having to model the carbon cycle, i.e. sources and sinks.”

    That is far from being the case. Models like MAGICC are used by the IPCC to PROJECT the future using past observations for paramaterization and validation, and MAGICC has not scored well on validation, as Trenberth for one admits. The failure adequately to model the total carbon cycle largely explains the failure of validation by data.

    I repeat: the MAGICC models’ projections of the atmospheric concentration, i.e. [CO2], depend on the IPCC’s SRES many alternative projections of emissions, and so fas as I can see, a purely mechanical trajectory of terrestrial Absorptions which seems to derive only from the projected trajectories of [CO2] without being parameterized. I have asked gaz to show me the terrestrial Absorptions parameters, as I cannot see them in the MAGICC Manual whose url I gave in my last.

    MAGICC is really not that different from a computer game. You can play it yourself and if you’re a dhogaza you can get a thrill by showing incineration or deep freeze of all humanity by 2020 according to tast. The various modules are very helpful for this. But they lack one for projecting terrestrial absorption except as a residual.

    The same applies to the very similar DICE model developed by Bill Nordhaus (see his A Question of Balance 2007). DICE and MAGICC produce virtually identical projections of [CO2] for the IPCC’s A1F1 emissions and radiative forcing (see Bill’s Fig.3-4). The Nordhaus DICE equations (pp.205 ff). have parameters for [CO2] and for Absorptions by the Upper and Lower Oceans, but nix for terrestrial absorption, because as ever that is a residual which has nothing to do with terrestrial climate and the planting decisions of billions of farmers around the globe. The parameters for [CO2] are mechanistic being determined by values for the upper Ocean and [CO2] in t-1 and current year emissions. Terrestrial absorptions are absent from equation A.13. So both DICE and MAGICC are indeed nothing more than Playstation 4 with as much applicaibility to the real world.

    BTW, I gather that the acronym PNAS is known even to its members as “Publish Not As Science” – apparently members’ papers are not even peer reviewed. Certainly that is apparent in Hansen PNAS passim and in Solomon et al PNAS 09, with their negative Absorptions. No wonder their projections are never validated.

  25. #25 Tim Curtin
    April 3, 2009

    Bernard: Do check links and read more carefully. When you say: “the fact that Canberra (and many other ‘new’ Australian cities and towns) are ‘greening’ over time as gardening becomes more popular with the last decade’s increase in ‘lifestyle’ and gardening programs on TV, and as gardens simply mature” ignores that I specifically stated the species count I cited EXCLUDES the separate garden birds survey. If you check the COG site and its maps (I gave the url), you will see that “Canberra” extends beyond the ACT and that the species listings come from this wider area that is mainly countryside and bush as well as from the ACT’s own very extensive nature reserves.

  26. #26 Bernard J.
    April 4, 2009

    Bernard: Do check links and read more carefully. When you say: “the fact that Canberra (and many other ‘new’ Australian cities and towns) are ‘greening’ over time as gardening becomes more popular with the last decade’s increase in ‘lifestyle’ and gardening programs on TV, and as gardens simply mature” ignores that I specifically stated the species count I cited EXCLUDES the separate garden birds survey.

    I did check, and I do read carefully.

    I was not referring to the “garden birds” survey, because non-garden birds do not understand that they are not ‘garden birds’.

    Think corridors and refuges, Curtin. My point is entirely valid when considering survey comparisons over time, especially as ‘garden birds’ is a term that has more validity in categorising how people see birds, rather than how birds use the natural and human-modified environments.

    From a scientific point of view a ‘garden birds’ survey can tell a scientist quite a lot, but the concept does not neatly separate native birds into two discrete categories.

    The only birds in Australia that are exclusively ‘garden birds’ are introduced species such as house sparrows, Indian mynahs and spotted turtle doves, and these are hardly the prime targets of interest when investigating biodiversity – unless it is to determine their impact upon native avian fauna. Such introduced species are currently not effective colonisers of non-urban habitats, but they cerainly do have a large impact on the urban/suburban distribution of natives that would otherwise have a greater capacity for living peripheral to humans.

    Many natives will quite happily take advantage of improved vegetation cover in their travels, even if they do not habitually live near human settlement. And Canberra thee days is definitely a greener city than when I first visited almost three decades ago.

    And finally, my comment about the ‘greening’ of Canberra was included for consideration only insofar as this is a factor that should be considered before making comparisons between historical and contemporary surveys. You have no point at all, you have not refuted my original criticism of your comment upon ‘improved’ biodiversity, and I note once again for the record that there are scores of other questions posed to you that are languishing for want of a decent response, or indeed any response at all.

  27. #27 Gaz
    April 4, 2009

    Curtin – at #166 you quote Raupuch, Canadell and Le Quere:

    “This implies that the atmospheric CO2 growth
    rate increased slightly faster than total
    anthropogenic CO2 emissions”

    Then you say:

    “Only it did not.”

    Then you went on to refer to the writers as half-wits, saying:

    “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.”

    The problem is that you have misinterpreted the rather terse wording of the abstract, Tim.

    If you had read the abstract carefully, and read the actual paper for that matter (frankly, I doubt your claim to have done so) you would have realised that the point they were making was not that the level of atmospheric CO2 was growing – we all know that.

    There were saying (among other things) that the growth rate was itself increasing, ie the growth rate of the growth rate, as it’s referred to elsewhere in the paper, is positive.

    So your claim “Only it did not”, using the average growth rate of atmospheric CO2 as evidence, is simply wrong.

    Then you went on to say:

    “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.”

    And yet those things are the very subjects of the Raupuch, Canadell and Le Quere paper.

    For those interested:

    http://www.biogeosciences-discuss.net/5/2867/2008/bgd-5-2867-2008.pdf

    As for your comments on the carbon cycle in climate models, it looks to me as though you’re just bullshitting off the top of your head, as usual.

    Do your own homework.

  28. #28 Tim Curtin
    April 4, 2009

    Raupach & co stated in that paper which I had previously read and discarded: “The CO2 airborne fraction (the fraction of total emissions from fossil fuels and land use change accumulating in the atmosphere) has averaged 0.43 since 1959, but has increased through that period at about 0.24% y−1 (Canadell et al., 2007).” Impossible, if it was 40% in 1958 to 1963 (5 year average) and grew at 0.24% p.a. thereafter, the AF would now (2008) be 44.6% of CO2 emissions, but the actual on Raupach’s own GCP data in 2004-2008 was 43%. Taking the actual AF in 1958-59 of 52%, the Raupach projection of the AF in 2008 would be 58.7% (actual 2007-08 was 39%).

    Thus there is no basis for the Raupach et al claim “total airborne fraction increased over 1959–2006 implies that total sinks increased slower than total emissions”. As always in this game people like Raupach cherry pick their start and end dates. Why 2006 for end date in a paper published in 2008?

    Then R et al go on “Use of the observed atmospheric CO2 budget to partition the sinks into land and ocean components shows that the ocean fraction of the total sinks decreased substantially whereas the land fraction did not”. No bias? – when in fact the land fraction did not merely “not” decline but increased so hugely that the total sinks increased at in effect the same rate as emissions?

    More generally it is abundantly clear from both Canadell et al 2007 and Raupach et al 2008 that neither sets of authors know what a second derivative is or how to calculate it.

  29. #29 dhogaza
    April 4, 2009

    Why 2006 for end date in a paper published in 2008?

    Because they wrote it and submitted it in 2007 using the most recent annual data, 2006, and it didn’t make it to print until 2008.

    Oy. Timmie stupid.

  30. #30 Gaz
    April 4, 2009

    Tim Curtin #225:

    “…when in fact the land fraction did not
    merely “not” decline but increased so hugely that
    the total sinks increased at in effect the same
    rate as emissions?”

    I think you’re getting your stocks and flows mixed up there Tim. Your understanding of this stuff seems to be as deep as a car park puddle. Please, keeep reading the paper until you actually comprehend it.

    “More generally it is abundantly clear from both
    Canadell et al 2007 and Raupach et al 2008 that
    neither sets of authors know what a second
    derivative is or how to calculate it.”

    Umm, this would be the second derivative you didn’t seem to notice until it was pointed out to you?

    You really have a nerve repeatedly claiming these people aren’t competent and then repeatedly failing to justify your accusations.

    Are you due for a depressive phase soon?

    Your mania is really starting to shit me.

  31. #31 Tim Curtin
    April 5, 2009

    Gaz: Thanks. I’d be really glad if you could give your intepretation of the “proportional growth rates” in Raupach et al 2008 Table 1 (see below). It seems to me that in the first row r(Fe) they did use just log linear growth rates, as using their GCP data there is a close match. The match is less good for their r(Ca) (if that is the flow of additions to [CO2]) rather than the actual [CO2]) for periods 1959-2006 and 1959-1999, but close enough and possibly due to me using their mid-year data rather than some monthly series. But for mid 2000-mid 2006 I get MINUS 1.2%, not their 3%.

    What exactly do you understand by their “proportional growth rates?” James Haughton thought they were 2nd derivatives, but it seems not for this Table.

    Raupach et al actually define their r(Ca) as the mass of CO2 in the atmosphere, in which case the values given in their Table 1 (last row) do not compute using the log linear growth rates that do match their data for their PGR for r(Fe).

    Table 1.

    Proportional growth rates (r(X) = X0/X, in %y−1) of factors in the Kaya identity (FE =
    P ghE ) and the extended Kaya identity (C0a = P ghEaE ), for periods 1959–2006, 1959–1999 and 2000–2006 (inclusive of end years).

    Errors denote approximate 5% to 95% confidence
    intervals. Where not shown, errors are less than 0.1% y−1. Round off errors are responsible for slight departures from Eq. (12).

    Period 1959–2006 1959–1999 2000–2006
    r(FE ) 1.8 1.9 3.0
    r(P ) 1.7 1.7 1.2
    r(g) 1.8 1.8 3.1±0.1
    r(hE ) −1.7 −1.7 −1.2±0.1
    r(aE ) 0.2±0.2 0.2±0.3 0.2±2.7
    r(Ca) 1.9±0.3 1.9±0.4 3.0±2.7

  32. #32 Gaz
    April 5, 2009

    Tim Curtin,

    “Proportional growth rate” is defined as it usually is on line 5 of page 2875 of http://www.biogeosciences-discuss.net/5/2867/2008/bgd-5-2867-2008.pdf as

    “r(X) = X’/X, with units %y^−1.”

    It can be a bit confusing in the paper because X itself may be a derivative, which would mean the proportional growth rate in that case would be a second derivative, expressed as a proportion (in percentage terms) of the first derivative.

    Eg on line 2 of page 2880: “Note that r(C’a) = C”a/C’a is the proportional growth rate of the CO2 growth rate, a measure of the second derivative of Ca.

    Note “a measure of the second derivative” but not “the second derivative”.

    You say “Raupach et al actually define their r(Ca) as the mass of CO2 in the atmosphere..” Please tell me which page and line you think they do this?

    Near the beginning of section 2 they define Ca, not r(Ca), as “the mass of atmospheric CO2″.

    Using their standard definition, r(Ca) would be the proportional rate of change of Ca, ie the first differential of Ca with respect to time, expressed as a proportion of Ca, in other words the annual percentage rate of change.

    Perhaps if you have any more questions you could ask the authors directly – I assume you’ll be getting in touch to apologize for describing them as “half-wits” with an “utter incapacity to do even primary school maths”.

  33. #33 Tim Curtin
    April 5, 2009

    Many thanks again Gaz for taking the trouble, much appreciated. However whilst you are right as to what they say they do, is that what they did in Table 1? Here is their definition of the proportional growth rate, which by the way is unknown to Wikipedia or Google except in Canadell et al or Raupach et al. I guess they deserve congrats for moving calculus on from boring old Newton and Leibniz.

    Raupach et al 2008 at equation (4):

    “Defining the proportional growth rate of a quantity X(t) as
    r (X) _ X_1 dX/dt (with units [time]_1),”
    which is as you say the 2nd derivative.

    If so, why did they not say so? But in their Table 1 we undoubtedly have log linear growth rates for r(Fe), r (P) and r (Ca’); so far as I know, in general the 1st and 2nd derivatives cannot yield the same numbers. Their Table 1 implies that r (Ca’) is of the same domain (1st) as r (Fe), and calculated the same way. But clearly it is not, although they would like us to think so, because it then implies [CO2] is growing faster than r(Fe).

    At p.2870 Raupach et al state:
    Ca = “the mass of atmospheric CO2…” and “C’a = d Ca / d t” , so r (C’a) does not look like the 2nd derivative when it appears in table 1. So when log linear growth rates, i.e. r (C’a), yield the numbers in the first 2 columns of the last row in table 1, e.g. 2.069 and 2.089, which is within their =/- error range, what that row is showing is changes in the growth of the net FLOW of CO2 into the atmosphere, contrary to the definition in their text, which defines it as changes in the STOCK i.e. [CO2]. For the log linear growth of the stock since 1959 has been only 0.5% p.a. not 1.9 to 3.0% p.a. as stated in Table 1.

    So my challenge remains: please derive their numbers in Table 1 using their definitions and data and get back to me.
    Canadell and Raupach are aware of my views but choose so far not to respond. I will try again. I am meeting one of their colleagues tomorrow

  34. #34 Gaz
    April 5, 2009

    Shorter Tim Curtin:

    “The paper by Raupach et al shows they are incompetent half-wits – by the way, can someone explain it to me?”

    I’m done here, Tim Curtin.

    If a casual reader of this thread can’t figure out from the foregoing that you are a chronically unreliable source of information they probably never will.

    This is my last comment to you:

    Tim, instead of counting sparrows, learn from them.

    The sparrow does not try to catch mice in its claws, as does the owl.

    Nor does it hunt for prey in icy seas like the penguin, or dive from high in the air into the sea to catch fish, as the gannet does.

    If it did, it would undoubtedly fail, just as you have done here.

    And yet it is successful.

    Why?

    Because it knows it limitations.

  35. #35 Tim Curtin
    April 5, 2009

    Gaz: thanks for your confirmation that I am right about raupach et al., for if you could vindicate them or falsify me I am sure you would. You have not. Good.

    To wrap this up, row 6 Table 1 in Raupach et al implies that the rates of growth of additions of CO2 to the atmosphere (r(Ca’) exceed those of TOTAL CO2 emissions from all sources (rFe) in their row 1. This is a very striking finding, worthy of a real Nobel, as they have proved in Table 1 that atmospheric CO2 can be created out of nothing, and that there is ZERO absorption of CO2 from any source by the oceans and biosphere. NO wonder Gaz has given up, because with friends like Raupach et al he has no future.

  36. #36 Nathan
    April 6, 2009

    Tim, You are an example of what happens when someone’s ego obscures their ability to think rationally.

    ” wrap this up, row 6 Table 1 in Raupach et al implies that the rates of growth of additions of CO2 to the atmosphere (r(Ca’) exceed those of TOTAL CO2 emissions from all sources (rFe) in their row 1.”
    This is completely wrong. You cannot compare the two numbers.

    Table 1 shows:
    Proportional growth rates (r(X) = X0/X, in %y−1)
    Note the use of the word “proportional” so the value in r(Fe) is the rate of increase as a percent per year. So actually you can’t compare the values for r(Fe) and r(Ca’) directly. They are proportional values.

    Do you understand mathematics at all?

    If I had 3% of $100 and you had %3 of $1000 would we have the same amount money?

  37. #37 Nathan
    April 6, 2009

    Tim
    ““Defining the proportional growth rate of a quantity X(t) as r (X) _ X1 dX/dt (with units [time]1),” which is as you say the 2nd derivative.
    If so, why did they not say so?”

    They did on page 2880:
    “Note that r(C’a) = C”a/C’a is the proportional growth rate of the CO2 growth rate, a measure of the second derivative of Ca.”

    More errors in you mathematical understanding:
    “At p.2870 Raupach et al state: Ca = “the mass of atmospheric CO2…” and “C’a = d Ca / d t” , so r (C’a) does not look like the 2nd derivative when it appears in table 1.”
    Yes, you misunderstand this, because you didn’t read it carefully:
    r(C’a) = C”a/C’a

    So, when you find the rate of change, of a rate of change you get a second derivative.

    And you challenge, isn’t.
    “So my challenge remains: please derive their numbers in Table 1 using their definitions and data and get back to me. ”

    This pretty much explains how they do it. If you don’t understand it, then you need to learn more maths:
    “r(X) = X’/X yields r(XYZ) = r(X)+r(Y )+r(Z) for any X, Y and Z.”

  38. #38 P. Lewis
    April 6, 2009

    More errors in you mathematical understanding…

    How many more nails does TC need in his coffin? We’ll surely soon have to order a larger version to accommodate them.

  39. #39 Tim Curtin
    April 6, 2009

    Nathan, gosh I was as clever and as brave as you with our anonymity. Which bogeymen are you scared of?

    Amount CO2 or c in ppm added t years after starting from rest is given by c = 2t^2. What is acceleration after 50 years?
    Velocity = v = dc/dt = d/dt(2t^2) = 4 t
    Acceleration = d/dt*v = d/dt(dc/dt) = d^2c/dt^2 = (d/dt)(4t) = 4, or 4 ppm per year per year, i.e. 4 ppm /year^2

    That is what Raupach et al actually did to derive the final row of their table 1, to lead the unsuspecting, especially in the media, that they really had proved that there is an “increasing atmospheric CO2 growth rate”, since row 6 numbers were all larger than row 1 numbers, even though row 1 are first derivatives and row 6 are seconds. To put both sets of values in the same table is misleading. They needed to do this because the absolute size of [CO2] at over 800 GtC is so much larger than annual emissions (10 GtC) that its actual growth rate at 0.5% pa. (log linear 1958-2008) sounds so much less than the 3.0% of emissions. How to lie with statistics!

  40. #40 sod
    April 6, 2009

    Tim Curtin. caught being wrong again. no excuse of course, instead i changes his story again.

    in short, Curtin is always wrong. he will never excuse.

  41. #41 dhogaza
    April 6, 2009

    How many more nails does TC need in his coffin? We’ll surely soon have to order a larger version to accommodate them.

    Fortunately, Timmie is wrong in such blindingly obvious and stupid ways that the nails are very small, indeed, so accommodating them in a standard-sized coffin is not a problem.

  42. #42 luminous beauty
    April 6, 2009

    The Great Curtin, with protean maladroitness of skill, misinterprets a graphic in Raupach, et al.;

    Ergo, Raupach, et al. are deliberately misleading.

    Who can dispute such impeccable reasoning?

  43. #43 Nathan
    April 6, 2009

    Tim, my name is Nathan, I’m not anonymous.

    “To put both sets of values in the same table is misleading.”
    Only if you’re an idiot. It was quite cleary described in the text. If you don’t have basic comprehension skills then why do you bother?

    The media will beat up any story. You can’t expect scientists to adjust their papers so the media (or you) won’t misinterpret them

  44. #44 Tim Curtin
    April 7, 2009

    It should not be necessary to add that Raupach et al should have displayed 2 Tables, one for the log linear growth rates of ALL their variables, and Table 2 for the second derivatives of ALL variables labelled as such, no need for fancy new names designed to throw dust into our eyes.

    Re Nathan: If I email you at nathan@world, will that find you? or snailmail: Nathan, Never-Neverland, Cloud 9, will that do any better?

  45. #45 P. Lewis
    April 7, 2009

    I, at least, would find it interesting if TC, erstwhile Radium Water peddlar, Emperor of Antarctica and nescient pseudoscience promulgator (amongst many other dubious achievements and accolades) turned his undoubted talents for misinformation, misunderstanding and/or misconstruction to this venerable tour de farce by two spent 20 W luminaires.

    I’m sure many comedic interludes would follow.

  46. #46 sod
    April 7, 2009

    It should not be necessary to add that Raupach et al should have displayed 2 Tables, one for the log linear growth rates of ALL their variables, and Table 2 for the second derivatives of ALL variables labelled as such, no need for fancy new names designed to throw dust into our eyes.

    Curtin, it is not that hard.

    why not simply write:

    ooops, looks like i was wrong on that table.

    you made at least 20 false claims about Raupach (gosh, have you tried to count how often you used that name?!?) on this topic alone. wouldn t some sort of an excuse be in order?

  47. #47 Bernard J.
    April 7, 2009

    Ol’ Radium Water Tim misread Raupach et al, didn’t study Solomon et al nearly well enough, and was completely ignorant of the taxonomic dynamics behind Pimm’s et al data (let alone the underlying evolutionary ecology).

    He has yet to test his original radium water claims about carbon dioxide in the scientific arena, notwithstanding claims of impending publication (details forthcoming?), although he has been given here a thoroughly clear indication of how his theory will fly.

    All-in-all, it seems that Curtin should have stuck with lawn bowls in his retirement. At the least, one expects a wobbly, curving result for one’s efforts in that game.

    As I have said many times, the Interweb has a long and a cruel memory. Curtin obviously cares more for his current ideology than for how he with be recalled when all is done and dusted.

  48. #48 Nathan
    April 7, 2009

    Tim,
    “Re Nathan: If I email you at nathan@world, will that find you? or snailmail: Nathan, Never-Neverland, Cloud 9, will that do any better?”

    Why do you want to know my address? You looking for some action? ;)

    Seriously though, why do you need to know my email etc? You can ask me anything you like right here on this blog. This blog is perfectly suited to any discussions we would ever have. I am not going to tutor you in comprehension if that’s what you want to ask me.

  49. #49 Bernard J.
    April 7, 2009

    Nathan at #245.

    Curtin is squirming because he has, for weeks and weeks now, been proven howlingly wrong just about every single time he sets his fingers to a keyboard.

    With respect to his mention of your name and email address, an ethologist would probably think “ah, displacement behaviour!”, and a psychologist would simply think “hmmmph, a pathetic attempt to distract attention from further scrutiny of an unsupportable series of pseudoscientific clangers”.

    Curtin, it’s impressive that you have the courage of your ideological convictions, but it is far more disturbing that you blindly ignore (or worse, actively twist) the science that proves your case wrong, simply to maintain the illusory tissue of your pseudoscientific fantasy.

    Such reality-bending behaviour is a signature of the sort of cultish behaviour that denialists so frequently, and incorrectly, accuse scientists of.

  50. #50 P. Lewis
    April 8, 2009

    One gem among many from Jokes about economists and economics:

    An economist is someone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about – and make[s] you feel it’s your fault.

    I particularly liked the ones about ice fishing and the Einstein encounter.

  51. #51 Gaz
    April 8, 2009

    Speaking of Einstein encounters:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5O31qRH3O6c

  52. #52 Tim Curtin
    April 8, 2009

    Thanks guys for all those plaudits. Gas, I enjoyed your youtube, great acting, otherwise rather boring.

    Just to show what a public spirited citizen I am, here is my (edited) Submission today to the Australian Senates’s Select Committee on Climate Policy, which if they can (a) understand it and (b) act on it, significantly improves the chances of the Rudd-Wong legislation for the ETS get through the Senate. BTW, I made this point in my Quadrant article, but I know it went over the heads of Garnaut and his lead authors Howes and Jotzo.

    Re: Inquiry into the exposure drafts of the legislation to implement the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme

    This Submission is not confidential

    The particular form of ETS proposed in the draft legislation is unnecessarily onerous for any target or cap. That is because the proposed requirement for non-exempt and uncompensated firms to acquire at auction Australian Emissions Units (AEU), i.e. permits, has horrendous cash flow implications arising from the necessity to acquire and acquit permits for 100% of the allowed emissions every year. This aspect seems not to have been much appreciated.

    A wholly valid analogy is that this ETS is tantamount to having to pay fines for every kilometre per hour we drive at below the allowed speed limit, and then to pay additional fines for each km/hour we exceed the limit, as we do now, except that we do not have to pay fines for driving below the speed limit. This is clearly absurd, but it is exactly what the ETS involves, by requiring firms to purchase AEU permits both for what they are allowed to emit, and also for extra permits (from other firms) for any tonne of CO2 they may wish to emit above the applicable cap. This concept is wholly unnecessary at least to any economist or businessman who has heard of the concept of Marginal Cost.

    An intelligent ETS requires only auctioning of permits for emissions ABOVE the allowed CAP. Broadly this has been the EU system until now. In other words, the cost of such permits is like a fine for exceeding the speed limit. For firms staying within the Cap, there would be no need to buy permits – and therefore no impact on their cash flows and balance sheets, as the huge outlays to acquire permits for ALL their emissions are unnecessary. Those firms wishing to emit more than their permitted ceiling or cap would have to buy at auction or in the market only as many AEUs as they needed to achieve their planned increased level of output. The price signal to encourage adoption of less CO2-intenstive inputs would be exactly the same.

    The economists in DCC and Treasury, who must know that the marginal cost approach is correct, but have failed to advise their Ministers accordingly, have of course been overruled by politicians whose eyes are dazzled – both President Obama’s and Mr Rudd’s – by the enormous revenues created by auctioning of permits for the full amount of all emissions whether allowed or not.

    In Australia the various concessions that have already been made to big “polluters”, have reduced the likely slush fund from the A$15 billion in the first year to around A$10 billion, but that will get bigger as the Cap reduces and the auction price rises more than pro rata (and the concessions fade away). The annually rising slush fund will be available to be spent on political rather than climate change issues, and the proposed Act does indeed establish that the proceeds will mainly be used to transfer income from the richer to poorer members of society, by enabling the latter to improve their standard of living despite rising prices of carbon-intensive energy.

    The Cap & Trade of the ETS proposed by the Rudd Government is the worst possible scheme, involving both reporting of emissions, monitoring, inspection, and punishment, and special deals for favoured industries and other parties. In the USA the ETS favoured by the Obama Administration with its auctioning of permits for total emissions is already coming to be known as the “Lobbyists’ Full Employment Act of 2009.” The same is already true in Australia.

  53. #53 Nathan
    April 9, 2009

    Tim,
    it is so obvious from your posts that you either don’t understand science or deliberately misinterpret it, so there is little chance that anyone here has even the slightest interest in what you say about anything.
    Your opinions are basically sourced from your ideology, which is as unchanging as it is prehistoric. Your self-delusion is so extreme that you think that your opinions are valuable enough to have a website devoted to them.

    So Tim, here you are: NO ONE CARES WHAT YOU THINK BECAUSE YOU’RE AN IDIOT.

  54. #54 Dr Dave
    April 9, 2009

    Tim, this thread has been great fun – thanks so much for the entertainment. As a matter of interest, what has happened to this paper:

    Curtin T and Smart G. 2009 in press. Contribution of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide to Increased Global Food Production Since 1980. Energy and Environment.

    I thought it was going to be published in the special issue edited by Bob Foster? This is now out but your paper is not there, and even more oddly all reference to this paper has now disappeared from your website (not even a claim to be in press any more). What’s the story with this?

    On a different issue, last year you claimed that the Domingues et al 2008 paper in Nature was “full of statistical gaffes”. A number of us challenged you to write a rebuttal. I have been scanning Nature each week but have yet to find your paper. Please can you provide an update as to where you are with this. It has been nine months after all.

  55. #55 Tim Curtin
    April 9, 2009

    Nathan. Thanks for those kind words, anonymous as ever (I don’t need your addresses, only some independent evidence that you exist, eg publications). You obviously care enough to hurl abuse at me without addressing any substantive points. Contrary to your claim, I did not open this Thread or its predecessor (Windschuttle hoaxed), but at a total of some 700 posts or so – even if mostly abusive – it has certainly kept Deltoid readers entertained. This thread at 251 since March 18th has outperformed all other threads here since it began by, at a guess, 5:1.

    Dr David Petley, Profesor of Landslides at Durham University, has, unlike Nathan, published extensively, but only on landslides.Do let us know when you venture further abroad. He is wrong about Curtin & Smart, it is still slated for publication at E&E. The earlier Curtin on Garnaut was to have appeared in E&E’s current (Foster) issue, was canned (you made your own contribution to that), then re-accepted for later publication, but only after Quadrant accepted to publish (see links at my website). I stuck with Keith.

    I am under no obligation to submit papers at your demands. Like you I am however free to express opinions on any and all papers on any topic. Dear David, what is your opinion on the prospects for humanity if Copenhagen leads to reductions in CO2 emissions to below the current level of Net Absorption of CO2 by oceans and biospheres (6 GtC p.a.) against Bali-type targets for emissions of only 2 GtC or less)?

    I am sure your landslide expertise will lead to a reply within the hour. I’ll watch this space.

  56. #56 sod
    April 9, 2009

    Tim, let us have a look at your attacks on people:

    * you attack Nathan for being anonymous. even though he PROVED you to be wrong.

    * you attack David, for having a scientific career in the wrong field, even though GEOLOGY tends to be seen as pretty close to the climate matters. you don t address the points he made either.

    * if confronted with article from people with the right expertise or an Academic degree on the right subject, you still dismiss their results. without showing any evidence, as the few points you make ALWAYS are disproved immediately!

    Tim Curtin does all this, without any relevant research experience of his own, and with the worst record of wild “scientific” claims that turned out to be wrong, that i am currently aware of.

    again: why not simply excuse yourself for all those errors? once?

  57. #57 Tim Curtin
    April 9, 2009

    Sod sez, without any publication records that he is willing to disclose, “Tim, let us have a look at your attacks on people: you attack Nathan for being anonymous. even though he PROVED you to be wrong.”

    How so? he said his name is Nathan, that’s all. Two of my G^n grandfathers were also Nathaniels, aka Nathan. They both had plenty to show for their existence on this planet, with brilliant farming at what had been the Abbott’s Manor House in Meare, near Glastonbury. What I need to see is his stellar publication list (or any other achievement worthy of notice) before I even believe he exists.

    Sod again: “you attack David, for having a scientific career in the wrong field, even though GEOLOGY tends to be seen as pretty close to the climate matters. You don’t address the points he made either”. He didn’t make any non ad hominem points, never has and NEVER will (just like sod).

    MOre sod: “if confronted with articles from people with the right expertise or an Academic degree on the right subject, you still dismiss their results, without showing any evidence, as the few points you make ALWAYS are disproved immediately!” When, where? e.g. Solomon et al (terrestrial aborsptions are negative, and already embedded climate change is irreversible for 1000 years whatever folly might be adopted by Obama, Rudd, Brown, and at Copenhagen)?

    More sod: “Tim Curtin does all this, without any relevant research experience of his own, and with the worst record of wild “scientific” claims that turned out to be wrong, that I am currently aware of”. Just go through my Quadrant paper (available at my website, http://www.timcurtin.com) and refute just one of my assertions there. So far nobody has.

  58. #58 Jeff Harvey
    April 9, 2009

    “Just go through my Quadrant paper (available at my website, http://www.timcurtin.com) and refute just one of my assertions there. So far nobody has”.

    This is because we can’t be bothered, as its likely that nobody in the scientific community bothers to read a RW rag like Quadrant.

    “Dear David, what is your opinion on the prospects for humanity if Copenhagen leads to reductions in CO2 emissions to below the current level of Net Absorption of CO2 by oceans and biospheres (6 GtC p.a.) against Bali-type targets for emissions of only 2 GtC or less)?”.

    This whole phrase is loaded. Bernard, I and others have already demolished Tim’s primary school arguments about the relationship between atmopsheric C02 and net primary production in ecosystems, and how this relates to the ‘famine’question. What Tim does, when his non-existent understanding of complex systems is laid bare, is retreat back to this canard. That is why I left this thread and why I have no intention of wasting my time in it again (without this departing shot).

    Nathan nails it when he writes, “Your [Tim's] opinions are basically sourced from your ideology, which is as unchanging as it is prehistoric”. Amen.

  59. #59 sod
    April 9, 2009

    . Just go through my Quadrant paper (available at my website, http://www.timcurtin.com) and refute just one of my assertions there. So far nobody has.

    nice. are we supposed to do your work again?

    but i took a quick note as this ["article"](http://www.timcurtin.com/paper_Contradictions_of_the_Garnaut_Report.htm), next to your “Quadrant” title.

    The Report is again at fault when it describes the task of securing global commitments to greenhouse gas emissions reduction as the Prisoners’ Dilemma, when what the Reportshould address is the “Tragedy of the Commons”. The Prisoners’ Dilemma involves two prisoners accused of a crime that they did commit. Let us name these villains as Australia (A) and China (C), guilty of the same crime, the one being the world’s biggest per capita carbon emitter, and the other the world’s largest total emitter. Their jailer in the original game offers both a plea bargain, whereby if each implicates the other, he will escape prosecution or secure a light penalty. The dilemma is that neither knows what the other has been offered or whether he will accept the plea bargain. The best course would be for A to accuse C if he could be sure C did not reciprocate, but if both remain silent they will escape prosecution altogether. Since neither A nor C is in prison, and there is no world prosecutor to offer plea bargains, it is difficult to see the relevance of this Dilemma in the context of climate change negotiations. China seems so far disinclined to adopt the required selflessness.

    while my knowledge about the climate is seriously amateurish, i definitely know a tiny little bit about game theory.

    i can assure you, everything that you wrote about game theory in that paper is either false, uninformed and showing some serious lack of knowledge and understanding.

    for a start, the “tragedy of commons” is a (mostly multi player) version of a prisoners dilemma. when dealing with two players (and you focus on China and Australia over the whole paragraph, not just the one dealing with PD), then the “tragedy of commons” situation actually is a prisoners dilemma.

    the dilemma is NOT, that “that neither knows what the other has been offered or whether he will accept the plea bargain.” this claim is absolutely false, and shows ZERO understanding of the problem.
    the dilemma in a PD is the collectively inferior result, caused by a rational choice of both persons.
    (your version of the PD lacks the crucial information about different costs for the 4 different outcomes. it isn t a PD, actually.)

    the PD is a FORMALIZED description of real (and common) situation. that there are no prosecutors or plea deals in the climate discussion doesn t make the formal game useless. it is a description.

    there is no selflessness needed to solve the PD. you might want to read Axelrod s brilliant book “Evolution of cooperation” about solutions for iterated PDs. (and the climate problem obviously is a long term thing…)

  60. #60 Tim Curtin
    April 9, 2009

    sod: where have you published your brilliant deconstruction of the PD? Until you did or do, my description “that neither knows what the other has been offered or whether he will accept the plea bargain” is absolutely correct. Once you cite Axelrod I know he’s a jerk (I already did). That is why my claim that “there are no prosecutors or plea deals in the climate discussion” makes “the formal game useless” is totally correct.

  61. #61 Jeff Harvey
    April 9, 2009

    Curtin writes, “Once you cite Axelrod I know he’s a jerk”.

    Alternative Curtin: “I am a legend in my own mind and anyone who disagrees with me is a jerk”.

  62. #62 Dr Dave
    April 9, 2009

    Tim

    You said “He didn’t make any non ad hominem points, never has and NEVER will (just like sod).”

    As a matter of interest, where are my ad hominem comments in my post? I enquired as to the status of your paper. Personally I feel quite pleased when people ask about my publications – I don’t generally consider the act of asking to be an ad hominem.

    I also enquired about your reply to the Science paper. Given that it is, according to you, full of statistical gaffes then surely asking for some clarification is not unreasonable.

    Can I just note that I do not post anonymously. It is interesting to note that you then use that to attack me, whilst criticising others for being anonymous.

    Finally, you say that “Dr David Petley, Profesor of Landslides at Durham University, has, unlike Nathan, published extensively, but only on landslides.Do let us know when you venture further abroad. He is wrong about Curtin & Smart, it is still slated for publication at E&E.”
    Can I note that 1. I have published peer reviewed articles on subjects other than landslides; 2. In what way was I wrong about Curtin and Smart? I said “As a matter of interest, what has happened to this paper:
    Curtin T and Smart G. 2009 in press. Contribution of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide to Increased Global Food Production Since 1980. Energy and Environment. I thought it was going to be published in the special issue edited by Bob Foster? This is now out but your paper is not there, and even more oddly all reference to this paper has now disappeared from your website (not even a claim to be in press any more). What’s the story with this?” What did I get wrong?

  63. #63 Tim Curtin
    April 9, 2009

    Re Dr David Petley: “Curtin T and Smart G. 2009 in press. Contribution of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide to Increased Global Food Production Since 1980. Energy and Environment”. I thought it was going to be published in the special issue edited by Bob Foster?” Why did you so think? Especially when you did your best to scare the editor with death if she did? I repeat: the article I offered to E&E is the one that did appear in Quadrant. The paper with my co-author is still pending. Watch this space!

  64. #64 Dr Dave
    April 9, 2009

    Wow Tim, this is an interesting accusation: “Why did you so think? Especially when you did your best to scare the editor with death if she did?”.

    Please tell me exactly what I did to scare the editor with death? I still have a copy of the email that I sent to her, and her replies (she sent two emails to me). Please do tell me how I scared her with death – I can find nothing in my email that was in the least bit scary or threatening. Please do explain the basis of your really rather serious accusation.

    In her first email to me she said “The paper may be published in a Special Edition with an Australian guest editor”. This was why I assumed that it was in the special edition that has just been published (which has an Australian editor). Was I wrong? Is there another special edition with an Australian editor pending?

  65. #65 sod
    April 9, 2009

    sod: where have you published your brilliant deconstruction of the PD?

    i don t need to publish anything, to point out that your description of the situation is flawed:

    The Prisoners’ Dilemma involves two prisoners accused of a crime that they did commit. Let us name these villains as Australia (A) and China (C), guilty of the same crime, the one being the world’s biggest per capita carbon emitter, and the other the world’s largest total emitter. Their jailer in the original game offers both a plea bargain, whereby if each implicates the other, he will escape prosecution or secure a light penalty. The dilemma is that neither knows what the other has been offered or whether he will accept the plea bargain. The best course would be for A to accuse C if he could be sure C did not reciprocate, but if both remain silent they will escape prosecution altogether.

    a real PD can for example be found on [wikipedia](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner%27s_dilemma).

    Two suspects are arrested by the police. The police have insufficient evidence for a conviction, and, having separated both prisoners, visit each of them to offer the same deal. If one testifies (defects from the other) for the prosecution against the other and the other remains silent (cooperates with the other), the betrayer goes free and the silent accomplice receives the full 10-year sentence. If both remain silent, both prisoners are sentenced to only six months in jail for a minor charge. If each betrays the other, each receives a five-year sentence. Each prisoner must choose to betray the other or to remain silent. Each one is assured that the other would not know about the betrayal before the end of the investigation. How should the prisoners act?

    your description is missing important information (not all 3 different outcomes are described, neither are values given for the results), is pretty unclear and gives a different ranking of results than the real PD.

    my description “that neither knows what the other has been offered or whether he will accept the plea bargain” is absolutely correct.

    this is false, of course. the whole [game theory](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_theory) is based on the options being known. actually a game consists of a set of players and a set of moves (or strategies)and the payoffs for each combination of strategies.

    how would you know the payoffs (and you need those to make a choice), if you don t even know the options open to the other player? (the payoffs depend on his choice).

    so the first part of your claim is utterly false. the second part of your claim “neither knows … whether he will accept the plea bargain” is sort of true, but true for basically all games in game theory! so it is not specific for a PD. (that was your original claim, it was supposed to be the “dilemma” in PD).
    making a choice, after knowing the choice of the other person wouldn t make a game!

    Once you cite Axelrod I know he’s a jerk

    nice personal attack.
    you were obviously not aware of his work, or you wouldn t have made such stupid claims about game theory. (at least you could have taken a real description of a PD from his works..)

    his article and book on the subject are not just brilliant, but have been enormously influential. his citations (and in a minor scientific field!) might actually beat the whole denialist literature…

    That is why my claim that “there are no prosecutors or plea deals in the climate discussion” makes “the formal game useless” is totally correct.

    no, it is totally FALSE.
    there are many versions of the PD around, most of them don t use a prosecutor or a plea deal. the “tragedy of commons” that you mentioned, is the most obvious example:
    a common good (fish, common grass land) is used by two persons. both have the options to over-use it, or to accept a limited use. best option is i over-use, the other holds back. second best both hold back, then both over-use, worst option i hold back, while he does not.

    perfect PD, no prosecutor, no plea deal. (actually the plea deal is in the classic PD example, to give easy values for the payoffs. you didn t understand that part of it either..)

  66. #66 Tim Curtin
    April 9, 2009

    Sod: My original point was that the PD does not apply to the climate change negotiation, whereas the tragedy of the Commons, which is not a PD, is applicable – Copenhagen would have more chance of success if the target was merely to hold emissions to the ongoing level of CO2 absorption by oceans and biospheres, currently over 6 GtC p.a., rather than cutting to 2GtC if the 80% target is adopted. Do you have a problem with that?

  67. #67 sod
    April 10, 2009

    yes, i have a problem with that.

    you wrote:

    Just go through my Quadrant paper (available at my website, http://www.timcurtin.com) and refute just one of my assertions there. So far nobody has.

    within 2 hours i was able to refute a major part of the article. you are not even able to write down a correct description of a prisoners dilemmma. everything that you wrote about game theory in that article is FALSE.

    this is clear, as i showed above. so please consider your article “refuted”.

    now to your reply, which (AGAIN!) refused to acknowldge any of the clear errors that i pointed out:

    Sod: My original point was that the PD does not apply to the climate change negotiation, whereas the tragedy of the Commons, which is not a PD, is applicable – Copenhagen would have more chance of success if the target was merely to hold emissions to the ongoing level of CO2 absorption by oceans and biospheres, currently over 6 GtC p.a., rather than cutting to 2GtC if the 80% target is adopted. Do you have a problem with that?

    it contains multiple errors again:

    1. climate change negotiations are a classic example of a prisoners dilemma. you think they aren t, because you didn t understand the PD.

    2. the tragedy of commons is a [PD](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner%27s_dilemma) (wiki, as you obviously can t be bothered to read some real books about the subject)!

    Although metaphorical, Hardin’s tragedy of the commons may be viewed as an example of a multi-player generalization of the PD: Each villager makes a choice for personal gain or restraint. The collective reward for unanimous (or even frequent) defection is very low payoffs (representing the destruction of the “commons”).

    3. your definition of a “tragedy of commons” seems to be completely false as well: the tragedy of the Commons, which is not a PD, is applicable – Copenhagen would have more chance of success if the target was merely to hold emissions …, rather than cutting … is adopted

    your reply seems to imply that you think the “tragedy of commons” has a different solution than a PD, like “holding” at a certain point, instead of a bigger reduction. that is simply false.

    4. you still have not understood, that uptake is determined by the growing concentration in the air. your “stable” current “uptake point” is not a stable current uptake point.

  68. #68 Tim Curtin
    April 10, 2009

    I am flattered by Dr David Petley’s keen not to say obsessive interest in in my work.

    1. I sent E&E a paper CONTRIBUTION OF ATMOSPHERIC CARBON DIOXIDE TO INCREASED GLOBAL FOOD PRODUCTION SINCE 1980 on 20th June 2008. It was sent for review and I had received two referee comments by August, both favourable. But by then I had been invited by E&E to write up my review of the Garnaut Review for the special issue edited by Bob Foster that has just come out. This had 2 reviews that were broadly favourable but with valid criticisms that I attended to as best I could; late in the day, after submitting my revised version, a third reviewer wanted the paper rejected, but insisted on me not being sent his/her comments. I then submitted my Garnaut critique to Quadrant, who accepted it, but then although E&E now said my Garnaut crit. did not fit well in the Foster issue but could be published later, I said no thanks, and it duly appeared in Quadrant. Meantime I had decided that my CO2 paper, although accepted as was, needed more work, to analyse inter alia local and regional data and that is still in progress.

    2. I am still not clear why you took it on yourself to intervene in the editorial process at E&E.

    3. Re Domingues et al in Nature 19 June 08, that paper was swiftly superseded by Willis et al in JGR Oceans, 14 June 2008. Whereas Domingues relied on model-based estimates ending in 2003, Willis et al. provided comprehensive measurements from mid-2003 to mid-2007 that in effect reversed the claims of Domingues. That is one reason why I did not proceed, another is that like you and your landslides, I think it better not to spread myself too widely, however much that may disappoint you. Sorry!

  69. #69 Nathan
    April 10, 2009

    I love your logic Tim,
    apparently it doesn’t matter that I proved you wrong, because I am anonymous and therefore don’t exist.

    HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAA

    Once again your own particular delusion triumphs!

    It doesn’t matter that Tim Curtin has yet again got it wrong because all the people proving he is wrong don’t exist! Wonderful!

    You’ll have to wait a little longer for my contribution to science, I’ll be starting my PhD in late August.

  70. #70 Dr Dave
    April 10, 2009

    Tim, please tell us all:

    1. in what way I threatened the editor of Energy and Environment with death; and
    2. how I intervened in the editorial process.

  71. #71 Tim Curtin
    April 10, 2009

    Petley: Why did you write to the editor of E&E concerning my paper?

    Sod: My version of the prisoners dilemma aimed to show the Garnaut version is inapplicable to climate negpotiations: China is nobody’s prisoner.

    I still think Copenhagen will have more chance of success if there is a moving target aiming to hold emissions to the ongoing growth of CO2 absorption by oceans and biospheres, currently over 6 GtC p.a., rather than cutting to less than 2GtC if the 80% reduction from 2000 target is adopted.

    Wiki is not gospel on all issues. I have read von Neumann & Morgenstern. Have you?

    Hardin’s tragedy of the commons is not wholly applicable to climate negotiations, as the benefits of collective action are from certain, the costs of that action are immediate and painful, and the benefits of the Commons in the form of enhanced agricultural etc productivity are substantial and will be seriously in jeopardy if Copenhagen “succeeds” in reducing emissions to well below the current CO2 absorption rate.

    Sod, you say I “have not understood, that uptake is determined by the growing concentration in the air” and that “my ‘stable’ current ‘uptake point is not a stable current uptake point.” Yes, the emissions do facilitate the uptakes, and thereby create enormous benefits for all species of animal and plant life that far outweigh the supposed but so far illusory costs. The advantages of setting targets at Copenhagen based on the trend growth in uptakes are considerable, and would be the only way of getting China to play ball.

  72. #72 Dr Dave
    April 10, 2009

    Tim,

    I emailed the editor to ask if the paper was in press – she confirmed that this is the case. If you are involved in the editorial process of a journal (which I am) you will know that this is a common request to receive as people like to know the status of the papers they are reading.

    I am not sure how you interpret this as my threatening the editor with death or even of intervening in the editorial process. I made no comment on the quality of the paper or on the editorial process. I did not referee the paper either in case you think that I was the mystery third referee – I am certainly not qualified to review this manuscript.

    Please explain how I threatened her with death and how I intervened in the editorial process. These are extraordinary accusations, which I find odd given that you don’t do ad hominem.

    Best wishes,

    Dave

  73. #73 Barton Paul Levenson
    April 10, 2009

    Tim,

    I regressed your 1961-2005 cereal series on CO2 and found a 95.2% of variance accounted for, but with an autocorellation coefficient of 0.756, which is very high. I performed Cochrane-Orcutt iteration until rho converged to -0.033, and 80.6% of variance was still accounted for, which would seem to be powerful evidence for your fertilization effect hypothesis.

    I still suspect that this is a spurious correlation, since both time series are growing with time, the classic spurious-correlation situation. But if so I haven’t proved it yet. My next step will be to use ADF tests to see if your series are integrated, and if so to what level, and if they are integrated, if a cointegration regression exists.

    -BPL

  74. #74 Jeff Harvey
    April 10, 2009

    I think that all reading this thread should know this: E & E is a miniscule journal that does not appear on the Web of Science, thus it has no impact factor. E & E has published what I believe to be a number of appalling articles by contrarians – material that would likely never have seen the day in a ‘proper’ scientific journal.

    Tim’s making his paper out to be some sort of groundbreaking statement on the issue of C02, but if it were true, he would have submitted it somewhere where it would have impact – meaning NOT E & E. Ask 1,000 scientists which of these two journals is considred to publish more groundbreaking research: E & E or PNAS, and the vote would be 1,000-0 in favourt of PNAS.

    Therefore, this is a storm in a teacup.

  75. #75 sod
    April 10, 2009

    Sod: My version of the prisoners dilemma aimed to show the Garnaut version is inapplicable to climate negpotiations: China is nobody’s prisoner.

    Curtin, there is no such thing as “your version of the prisoners dilemma”. the situation that you described in the quadrant article simply is NOT a prisoners dilemma.

    you seem to think that any story involving prisoners is a prisoners dilemma, and that any real world situation without prisoners can not be one. this is the most primitive approach to game theory that i have seen in a very long time, and it is of course completely FALSE.

    the PD is defined by the structure of its payoff matrix. all games with the same matrix are called PD, whether the story around them involves any prisoners or not.

    Hardin’s tragedy of the commons is not wholly applicable to climate negotiations, as the benefits of collective action are from certain, the costs of that action are immediate and painful

    again: this is EXACTLY the description of a tragedy of the commons situation. sorry Tim, but you are simply wrong on everything. fishing or common grassland or climate change, this is exactly the same sort of situation, and they are all prisoners dilemmas, without any prisoners…

    that the Quadrant published a paper with such obvious errors, tells a lot about their review process. who ever did the review of your paper at the Quadrant, knew absolutely nothing about game theory. so it was “peer review” in the most literal way.

  76. #76 Tim Curtin
    April 10, 2009

    Dr Petley: your account is not strictly accurate as it implies innocent intent which is far from being the case.

    sod. Check the Garnaut Review for its definition of the PD, at p.187, fn. 7. I think it matches my account exactly. I remain convinced that my proposals for the approach that should be adopted at Copenhagen is constructive and consistent with the cooperation you mention without advising how that can be attained around the ruinous for all 80% reductions demanded by the eco-fascists, just as my Note to the Standing Committee on Climate Change of the Australian Senate (see above)also offers a constructive compromise that avoids the equally ruinous game of extorting money even for the allowed level of emissions.

    All who like Wong and Rudd claim that Carbon is a Pollutant are not merely self-convicted eco-fascists but blatant liars. Without [CO2] none of us would be alive.

  77. #77 Barton Paul Levenson
    April 10, 2009

    Oops.

    I got misled by a simple confounder.

    I asked myself, if cereal production is really rising, what else might be causing that, other than CO2? The obvious answer was, “some other nutrient.” So I obtained world fertilizer consumption figures for 1961-2002 (I couldn’t get 2003-2005 to match the rest of the data). I then regressed cereal production on CO2 and fertilizer consumption.

    When I did, fertilizer consumption was significant at an extremely high level–but CO2 was no longer significant at all.

    Here’s the raw data from the regression. Statistics buffs will know enough to ignore all the meaningless extra digits of precision. Hey, it’s from a computer printout:

    Cer = -68,445,087.82 + 520,700.4248 CO2 + 1.428490559 Fer
    (-0.684049726) (1.561262167) (9.083792991)
    p < 0.497988498 0.126540934 3.6162e-11

    R2 = 0.98575263
    N = 42
    F = 1349.173687
    p < 9.95008e-37
    SEE 7,466,858.979

    The figures in parentheses are t-statistics. You will note that CO2 is not significant even at the 10% level, let alone the 5% a scientist is usually looking for. So no, the CO2 fertilizer effect doesn’t exist, or if it does exist is too small to make a difference.

    Sorry if I gave you false hope for a while there, Tim.

    -BPL

  78. #78 Barton Paul Levenson
    April 10, 2009

    Aaarrgh!!! Always use preview!

    Here’s the statistical output again, this time with line breaks:

    Cer = -68,445,087.82 + 520,700.4248 CO2 + 1.428490559 Fer
          (-0.684049726) (1.561262167) (9.083792991)
    p < 0.497988498 0.126540934 3.6162e-11

    R2 = 0.98575263
    N = 42
    F = 1349.173687
    p < 9.95008e-37
    SEE 7,466,858.979

  79. #79 Jeff Harvey
    April 10, 2009

    Tim, without fresh water none of us would be alive either – but tell this to someone who is drowning in a lake. No one here is arguing that it is necessary to eliminate all C02 from the atmosphere. We are arguing that the rapid increase in atmospheric C02 – which is worrying given that this is a largely determinisitic process – is likely to lead to rapid changes in the structure and function of ecological communities that are based on a stupendous array of interactions involving millions of species, billions of populations and trillions of individual organisms. Because we do not understand very well how these systems work and generate conditions that make the planet hospitable in no way is an excuse to keep pumping C02 into the atmosphere. Your arguments are always the same: since we do not know the consequences then we ought to ‘stay the course’ meaning do not change anything. Your calculations are flawed because it is just not possible to factor in an infinite number of processes that influence the functioning of natural systems. No mathematical model can do this. Where have you factored in soil microbial activity? Other nutrient cyclers? Pollinators? Seed dispersers? Predators? Trophic interrelationships? You don’t understand any of this, so you routinely refer to it as rubbish” or some similar description. When you veered off course and started trying to argue basic ecology, Bernard and I illustrated clearly what little you knew. the you retreated back to your C02 canard. Now wonder you’ve chosen E & E for your ‘epic’ story. The way you describe it, one would think this article is going to shake the foundations of science. I just published an article in Journal of Animal Ecology (impact factor @ 3.7) and, while I am pleased to get it in there, I am not shouting it from the rooftops. And E & E doesn’t even have an impact factor. Go figure.

    Thus, your logic is impeccably stupid. Pumping more and more C02 into the atmosphere is not going to lead to a green, lush world in which man and nature thrives. We’ve categorically demolished this argument by showing that there are too many hidden variables that you have omitted. WShy do you persist?

  80. #80 Tim Curtin
    April 10, 2009

    Gaz first, then Barton: Gaz defended Raupach et al PNAS 2008. Here are my latest comments on their fatuous paper:

    1. Equation (1) (p.2870) provides an incorrect definition of changes in [CO2] because C’a is a rate of growth in the variable, whereas the equation’s RHS gives absolute amounts . The rate of interest on $100 is NOT determined by the variables that give rise to the $100, such as income less consumption. Likewise the rate of growth of atmospheric CO2 is not determined by the absolute increases in emissions less absorptions in any year. That difference does determine the change in [CO2] in a year, but the rate of that change depends on the stock of [CO2] at the beginning of the year, and that value is absent from their equation (1):

    Raupach: “The global atmospheric CO2 budget is written as
    C’a = FE + FS = (FFoss + FLUC) + (FLandAir + FOceanAir) (1)”

    2. The “CO2 Airborne Fraction” (AF) is defined in the text (2870) as both “the fraction of emissions accumulating in the atmosphere” and also as a function of the rate of growth of the mass of atmospheric CO2 divided by the total level of emissions from both fossil fuel and land use change. This is also nonsense. The AF is normally defined, as the term itself suggests, as the fraction of total CO2 emissions that remains airborne. There is a numeric difference between emissions of say 10 billion tonnes of carbon (i.e. GtC) in a year of which say 4.3 GtC remain airborne, for an AF of 43% (the actual average from 1958 to 2008), and the rate of growth of [CO2], which has been only 0.5% p.a. since 1958 which, divided by the level of emissions, c. 10 GtC last year, yields 0.05 GtC, or just 0.05% of the Emissions.

    Raupach definition of the AF: aE = C’a/FE (2)

    Truly, Raupach et al are indeed nitwits, as previously advised here.

    Barton: I’d like to see your fertilizer data. My source (IFADAT) somehow only gave me data from 1980. Using that I found high R2s with CO2 and fert. that passed Dickey Fuller and Durbin Watson. Since then my collegaue and I have found similar high R2s and significant relationships between yields and both Fert. and (more so) CO2 ABSORPTION values, these are more relevant than [CO2] because of course atmospheric CO2 is what has NOT been taken up through photosynthesis. So can I suggest you rerun using the TERRESTRIAL Absorption values available from the Raupach at el Global Carbon Project.

    What is interesting is that we find significant consanguinity for our historic data (1958-1999) on the CO2 impact on wheat sites in Australia like Moree (NSW)and that projected forward in Crimp et al. 2008, in their special study for Garnaut Review (see the website).

    Barton, many thanks for your help, much appreciated. Work in progress!

  81. #81 Tim Curtin
    April 10, 2009

    Dear old Jeff: you just said “No one here is arguing that it is necessary to eliminate all C02 from the atmosphere”. Well, Jim Belsen of NASA-GISS plus saucy Sue Solomon at PNAS are certainly calling for negative emissions from now going forward. If photosynthesis continues at the current rate, and there are zero emissions, how long before there will indeed be no CO2 in the atmosphere? (the answer is in my Einstein spoof at my website).

    BTW, I can despite best efforts find no mention of any of your astoundingly high impact papers in Kontoleon, Pascual, and Swanson, (eds). Biodiversity Economics: Principles, Methods, and Applications, CUP, Cambridge, 2007. When you have perused same, do get back to me. It’s a good read, and much of it seems to support my position, but I cannot claim to have read all 663 pages in the last 4 days

  82. #82 Gaz
    April 10, 2009

    Curtin,

    I said I was out of this thread but I checked back in here and noticed you spelled my name incorrectly at #249.

    So, as punishment, I am going to ask you a question about your submission to the Senate enquiry.

    You say: “An intelligent ETS requires only auctioning of permits for emissions ABOVE the allowed CAP…. (blah blah blah) …For firms staying within the Cap, there would be no need to buy permits.”

    This implies each firm will have an individual emission quota, otherwise there would be no way a firm could know whether it had breached “the Cap”.

    So how do you decide the most efficient or equitable or whatever other way of allocating permits?

    Note, you have already ruled out “special deals for favoured industries and other parties” so you have to figure out another way of allocating these rights to emit (and therefore the right to collect $billions of economic rent).

    And you can’t just allocate according to previous emissions – that would be wrong on so many levels – discriminates against new entrants to the market, favours entrenched interests, discourages innovation, etc etc, right?

    And you have ruled out auctions – that’s only for emissions over and above “the Cap” – so you can forget about any idea of allocative efficiency.

    So how is the government going to choose who gets to emit, and how much? Hmm?

    I will be very interested to hear what you come up with to solve this rather thorny problem.

    Oh, and here’s a supplementary question:

    Once you figure out how to allocate sub-Cap permits, how are you going to figure out whether anyone has beached their indiviual “Cap”?

    And remember you can’t use “reporting of emissions, monitoring, inspection, and punishment” because, you’ll recall, that’s part of what you describe as “worst possible scheme”.

    Over to you.

  83. #83 Jeff Harvey
    April 10, 2009

    Tim: Belsen and Solomon wisely argue for a reductionm= in emissions in an attempt to stabilize atmospheric C02 levels as soon as possible. Given the time lag involved in forcing dterministic systems, even if humans stopped emitting C02 compeltely today the atmsopheric levels would rise for another 20-30 years.

    Biodiversity has thrived on Earth with levels of C02 much less than they are today. In fact, when humans began to cultivate crops, it is likely that bidiversity was higher than at any time in the planet’s history. High ambinet C02 levels were not a pre-requisite.

  84. #84 Bernard J.
    April 10, 2009

    Tim Curtin.

    Last things first. In post #273 you said:

    Without [CO2] none of us would be alive.

    We’ve had the conversation about scientific designation before [where I pointed out]( http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/01/windschuttle_hoaxed.php#comment-1438184) that ‘[CO2]‘ means ‘the concentration of CO2. You defended your usage with an “[I may have been careless](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/01/windschuttle_hoaxed.php#comment-1438397)”, but either you did not understand and assimilate my point, or your mind is wandering…

    Thus, you are saying in your sentence above that:

    [w]ithout (the concentration of) CO2 none of us would be alive.

    This makes no sense in the context in which you are attempting to comment, although I note that your definition as you gave it in the Quadrant ‘paper’ makes the sentence ‘work’ much more sensibly:

    [w]ithout atmospheric CO2 none of us would be alive.

    The same observation applies to each usage of ‘[CO2]‘ in post #277 above, and I note in hindsight that it applies to the 6th paragraph in [post #253]( http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/01/windschuttle_hoaxed.php#comment-1434364) of the Windshuttle thread.

    How can you possibly think to comment on CO2 science if you do not even understand the most basic of designations? How can you possibly be reading and properly comprehending any article or paper on CO2 if you do not understand what is being said?

    Perhaps this is why you are reduced to asking such illogical questions as:

    If photosynthesis continues at the current rate, and there are zero emissions, how long before there will indeed be no CO2 in the atmosphere? (the answer is in my Einstein spoof at my website).

    In reply, I would like to offer a question in return – at what point in the hundreds and hundreds of millions of years before the Industrial Revolution did the biosphere reduce atmospheric CO2 to zero?

    There is much more for me to catch up on, but as it is Easter and my family obligations are of a higher priority than pricking your already pffffft-ing balloon, I will leave it for now.

    I will note though that Barton has completely pwned you on CO2 and crop yields (I and many others here did warn you), and that Dr Dave’s raising of the E&E ‘paper’ is enlightening indeed – especially as you have avoided for weeks answering my question about the discrepancy concerning your claims about why you published in Quadrant. Are we to take it now that there never was any threatening involved in your ‘decision’ to publish in Quadrant, and that it was only temporal expediency that motivated you, as you latterly claimed?

    Do resolve this once and for all – I shudder to think that somewhere along the line you may have actually been (gasp) lying!

  85. #85 sod
    April 10, 2009

    sod. Check the Garnaut Review for its definition of the PD, at p.187, fn. 7. I think it matches my account exactly.

    this is a funny experience. let us see, what Tim Curtin considers to be an “exact match”:

    here is the PD according to the [Report](http://www.garnautreview.org.au/pdf/Garnaut_Chapter8.pdf)

    The prisoner’s dilemma is named after the situation in which two suspects would receive short sentences if neither informs on the other, and long sentences if both inform on the other. If only one suspect informs on the other, the informant will go free. The best solution
    for the suspects is the cooperative one (neither informs on the other), but each has an incentive not to cooperate (to inform). The prisoner’s dilemma can be resolved through
    communication, and an agreement to shore the benefits of cooperation.

    and here the Tim Curtin version again:

    The Prisoners’ Dilemma involves two prisoners accused of a crime that they did commit. Let us name these villains as Australia (A) and China (C), guilty of the same crime, the one being the world’s biggest per capita carbon emitter, and the other the world’s largest total emitter. Their jailer in the original game offers both a plea bargain, whereby if each implicates the other, he will escape prosecution or secure a light penalty. The dilemma is that neither knows what the other has been offered or whether he will accept the plea bargain. The best course would be for A to accuse C if he could be sure C did not reciprocate, but if both remain silent they will escape prosecution altogether.

    i highlighted the parts, in which the “perfect matches” contradict each other.

    in short, [b]the Garnaut report[/b] gives a perfect and clear description of the Prisoners Dilemma situation. their use of the PD, shows their understanding of it, and they highlight the important parts.

    the [b]“Tim Curtin version”[/b] is chaotic, incomplete and in parts simply wrong. his use of the PD situation shows a complete lack of understanding, and he believes that the most important point about it is, that the story involves prisoners.

  86. #86 Dr Dave
    April 10, 2009

    Tim,

    In the last few posts you have falsely accused me of: 1. intervening in the editorial process of E&E; 2. scaring the editor of E&E with death; and 3. not publishing on anything other than landslides.

    You then have the face to write “your account is not strictly accurate”…

  87. #87 sod
    April 10, 2009

    If photosynthesis continues at the current rate, and there are zero emissions, how long before there will indeed be no CO2 in the atmosphere? (the answer is in my Einstein spoof at my website).

    no relevant answer to anything can be found on your website.

    but to answer your question: if we reduce CO2 emission from burning fossil fuels to ZERO, CO2 level in the atmosphere will VERY SLOWLY fall back to the stable level that it was on, before we added CO2.

    the effect on nature and crops production will be INSIGNIFICANT. we wont even notice it.

  88. #88 Nathan
    April 10, 2009

    Tim Curtin,
    How many times do you have be wrong before you’ll admit it?
    You must have a HUGE ego. You are constantly demonstrated to be wrong yet you never actually admit it, nor do you attempt to correct your misunderstandings – you argue like a high school student.

    Hey Tim Lambert, I think you should close this thread, Tim Curtin is incapable of actually discussing anything scientifically.

  89. #89 Tim Curtin
    April 10, 2009

    Thanks Gaz for your comments on my proposed “Marginal Emissions Auction”.

    I said “For firms staying within the Cap, there would be no need to buy permits.” You replied:

    “This implies each firm will have an individual emission quota, otherwise there would be no way a firm could know whether it had breached “the Cap”.” Exactly, and the draft Act lays down the procedures for this.

    Gaz again: “So how do you decide the most efficient or equitable or whatever other way of allocating permits?”

    The Act’s Cap sets the limit at say 99.5% of each firm’s last year emissions. My scheme has auctions only for emission permits ABOVE the cap. That allocates permits to the highest bidders, i.e. ones with most pressing need and/or greatest ability pass on the cost to its customers.

    Gaz: “Note, you have already ruled out “special deals for favoured industries and other parties” so you have to figure out another way of allocating these rights to emit (and therefore the right to collect $billions of economic rent)”. See above, i.e. the auction for permits above the Cap.

    Gaz: “And you can’t just allocate according to previous emissions – that would be wrong on so many levels – discriminates against new entrants to the market, favours entrenched interests, discourages innovation, etc etc, right?”

    Agreed, that is why I am against the ETS and the alternative, a carbon tax. Neither is necessary. My Note to the Senate was all about making the best of a bad job for the sake of the welfare of all Australians.

    Gaz: “And you have ruled out auctions – that’s only for emissions over and above “the Cap” – so you can forget about any idea of allocative efficiency.” No, business and the rest of us work at the margin. See Samuelson.

    Gaz: “So how is the government going to choose who gets to emit, and how much?” See above, Caps as in Act, auction for above Cap emissions. Policing of Caps etc as in the Act, and I agree with you, all thoroughly pernicious and for no social or private benefit, so my proposal is 2nd best to complete abolition of the CPRS (aka ETS) and all its works including its lie that Carbon is a Pollutant.

  90. #90 Tim Curtin
    April 10, 2009

    Jeff: They answer your claim “When humans began to cultivate crops, it is likely that bidiversity was higher than at any time in the planet’s history. High ambient C02 levels were not a pre-requisite.”

    Sure, but whay you need to consider is whether it is better to have low numbers of each of n species all at a low level of food consumption, or larger numbers of (n-1) species at a higher level? Ever heard of pesticides or GM crops that are pest resistant? They reduce biodioversity for the good of mankind.

    I don’t believe you have ever grasped the concepts of welfare economics and cost-benefit analysis. Do read Kontoleon et al. (eds) Biodiversity Economics for fuller explanations than I have space for here.

  91. #91 Lee
    April 10, 2009

    TC just conceded on biodiversity, at 287. Did you all see that?

    Of course,in conceding, he just jumps to the next piece of absurdity, arguing that loss of diversity is a good thing.

    Curtin, you are still on record here accusing Dr. Dave on intervening in the editorial process at EE, and threatening the editor with death. It appears Dr. Dave did no more than email and ask if your paper was in press – which is not even glancingly inappropriate. Your only response to this is to say he had ‘bad intent.’

    The only response I can muster here is – what the fuck? That is vile, TC, and stupid. Have you been recently tested for cognitive function? It might be a good idea.

  92. #92 Tim Curtin
    April 10, 2009

    Sod: Why don’t YOU explain how the Prisoners’ Dilemma applies to the upcoming Copenhagen negotiation? Ross Garnaut failed utterly, as he confused it with the free rider problem of The Commons.

    Free riders are likely to be in the majority at Copenhagen, thank goodness, so we should be spared more Kyoto-type follies. My proposal for setting emission reduction targets that would not need to be more than 40% below current (in 2050) BAU emissions could help, but the math is beyond Wong, Rudd, Obama, Brown and their advisers including the ineffable Steven Chu and John Holdren who show no awareness that it is not the case that 100% of emissions stay in the atmosphere forever.

    Ironically, Garnaut’s Review did recognize at one point that emissions held to the absorption level would stabilise the [CO2] level, only to lose sight of this when demanding reductions to 20% or 10% of the 2000 level.

    Bernard: Consider the dynamics. [CO2] was at only 180 ppm in the Glacial, and a jolly time was had by all. Of the huge volume of emissions since 1958 (342 GtC), only 149 GtC remained airborne, so just under 200 GtC remained embedded in oceanic and terrestrial sinks, mostly in the form of extra biomass. Reducing future emissions will slow if not reverse future accretions to biomass. Please explain why you think that will be a good thing.

  93. #93 Gaz
    April 11, 2009

    Curtin,

    You say: “The Act’s Cap sets the limit at say 99.5% of each firm’s last year emissions.”

    As I thought. This is completely inane.

    “Policing of Caps etc as in the Act, and I agree with you, all thoroughly pernicious and for no social or private benefit, so my proposal is 2nd best to complete abolition of the CPRS (aka ETS) and all its works including its lie that Carbon is a Pollutant.”

    First of all, you were the one with all the problems with monitoring and policing emissions, not me. Don’t put your dopey words into my mouth.

    Second, how are you going to work out how much last year’s emissions were and whether the firms are abiding by their caps? ESP?

    And finally, your claim to Jeff that “I don’t believe you have ever grasped the concepts of welfare economics” and your claim to Paul Samuleson’s authority is laughable. By distorting the market so severely – by giving free rights to emit to existing emitters, your proposal would greatly increase the marginal cost of an existing CO2-emitting firm moving to a new, more technically efficient source of energy.

    The Treasury and DCC people who look at your proposal won’t waste more than 5 minutes on it, which is more than it deserves.

  94. #94 Tim Curtin
    April 11, 2009

    Gaz: I still await your defence of my last crit of Raupach et al 2008 (#277).

    I said “The Act’s Cap sets the limit at say 99.5% of each firm’s last year emissions.” You replied “As I thought. This is completely inane.” But that is the way it works, until it finally gets the Cap down to 95% of the 2000 level by 2020.

    I said “Policing of Caps etc as in the Act, and I agree with you, all thoroughly pernicious and for no social or private benefit, so my proposal is 2nd best to complete abolition of the CPRS (aka ETS) and all its works including its lie that Carbon is a Pollutant.”

    Gaz replied “First of all, you were the one with all the problems with monitoring and policing emissions, not me. Don’t put your dopey words into my mouth.” So you approve of the police state monitoring of emissions?

    He added: “Second, how are you going to work out how much last year’s emissions were and whether the firms are abiding by their caps?” That is in the Act, read it, then get back to me.

    Finally, I do agree with Gaz that the CPRS Act distorts the market severely – by giving free rights to emit to many of the biggest existing emitters. My proposal would indeed greatly increase the marginal cost of an existing CO2-emitting firm NOT moving to a new, more technically efficient source of energy IF it wished to expand its output.

    The logic of my case is that if you are allowed to emit within and up to the Cap, why should you pay? The purpose of the Cap is to limit emissions thereto, such that any excess has to be paid for (i.e. as with exceeding the speed limit). Why can you not see the analogy with NOT fining drivers for driving BELOW the speed limit as Wong’s Carbon Pollution Act proposes?

  95. #95 sod
    April 11, 2009

    Sod: Why don’t YOU explain how the Prisoners’ Dilemma applies to the upcoming Copenhagen negotiation? Ross Garnaut failed utterly, as he confused it with the free rider problem of The Commons.

    again and slow:

    1. the tragedy of commons (and its free rider problem) is the same as a prisoners dilemma.

    2. the prisoners dilemma applies to the negotiation in exactly the way Garnau describes it.

    3. as soon as you have understood, that the climate is a PD, you have an enormous amount of literature that will help you to ight the problem. unfortunetly you have not understood this, nor have you understood the prisoners dilemma.

    here is again the cooperative solution in your description of the PD:

    if both remain silent they will escape prosecution altogether.

    and in the description of PD in the Garnaut report (and about everywhere else):

    the situation in which two suspects would receive short sentences if neither informs on the other

    your description of the prisoners dilemma is simply wrong. will you admit your error or wont you?

    every time, when you are shown wrong (and this happens all the time), you are simply trying to move the discussion into a field that is more vague or complicated to sum up. this is your method to avoid being called out for your errors.

  96. #96 Tim Curtin
    April 11, 2009

    Sod: interesting, but wrong again, I fear. You said: “The tragedy of the Commons (and its free rider problem) is the same as a prisoners dilemma. The prisoners dilemma applies to the negotiation in exactly the way Garnaut describes it.” Not so. The essence of the PD is that both Prisoners or Protagonists (say China and USA) are ignorant of the other’s position on confessing to a crime such as promoting climate change and willingness to impose self-punishment. That is not the case now: USA is known to be in favour of even unilateral action to cut emissions, China so far (DG) is not, and USA is known to be in favour of self-flaggelation (carbon taxes or ETS), while China (DG) is not.

    Here are Dixit (Princeton) and Nalebuff (Yale) at The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics:

    “In the traditional version of the [PD] game, the police have arrested two suspects and are interrogating them in separate rooms. Each can either confess, thereby implicating the other, or keep silent. No matter what the other suspect does, each can improve his own position by confessing. If the other confesses, then one had better do the same to avoid the especially harsh sentence that awaits a recalcitrant holdout. If the other keeps silent, then one can obtain the favorable treatment accorded a state’s witness by confessing. Thus, confession is the dominant strategy for each. But when both confess, the outcome is worse for both than when both keep silent”.

    That matches my necessarily brief account in all relevant respects. Your inability to see this, by nitpicking between my “if both remain silent they will escape prosecution altogether” and your claim that “the description of PD in the Garnaut report (and about everywhere else, sic) (the situation in which two suspects would receive short sentences if neither informs on the other)”, when manifestly there is no material difference between “escaping prosecution” and “receiving short sentences”. This nitpick of yours explains why I doubt you ever passed philosophy 101 at a reputable university. You have still failed to explain how your version of the PD will help USA and China reach agreement at Copenhagen. My Quadrant article did, by showing that USA has to compensate China in full for all economic costs and losses incurred if it accepts the fatuous costs it will impose on itself by adopting the Chu-Holdren ETS.

    Chu has made it very clear that he sees the ETS as a way of imposing costs on China that USA will itself evade (like its use of the World Bank to impose zero subsidies on agric in 3rd world while spending more on them at home than in all likelihood the total value of 3rd world production).

  97. #97 Barton Paul Levenson
    April 11, 2009

    Tim,

    My source was a web site called NationMaster.com, which in turn cited something called the World Development Indicators database. Unfortunately, when I click on their link for that, I get a warning that I’m not authorized to view the page.

    NationMaster only gives you a summary (after listing every one of a bunch of countries or regions) for a particular year. I had to put the query through 42 times and write the totals into a text file. I’ll spare you that; here’s the data. The units are metric tons:

    1961 27633687
    1962 29973738
    1963 32963411
    1964 35542577
    1965 39320541
    1966 43878968
    1967 47030596
    1968 49850352
    1969 52782433
    1970 57041292
    1971 59880010
    1972 64156994
    1973 69847674
    1974 64930383
    1975 71688760
    1976 75230697
    1977 80082600
    1978 87671689
    1979 92431347
    1980 95341961
    1981 93164884
    1982 92227814
    1983 99917091
    1984 105184962
    1985 101264382
    1986 104074016
    1987 109382664
    1988 115241932
    1989 128231490
    1990 125823229
    1991 125909096
    1992 124815190
    1993 120341573
    1994 121918293
    1995 129553255
    1996 134430891
    1997 137058967
    1998 138001137
    1999 140174872
    2000 135043279
    2001 137960120
    2002 141403959

    Nitrogenous, potash, and phosphate values are combined.

    -BPL

  98. #98 Barton Paul Levenson
    April 11, 2009

    Tim Curtin writes:

    If photosynthesis continues at the current rate, and there are zero emissions, how long before there will indeed be no CO2 in the atmosphere?

    Photosynthesis is balanced by respiration. Plants inhale CO2 and exhale oxygen; animals inhale oxygen and breath out CO2. Artificial production of CO2 is not necessary, and if it were, that would mean no life had existed prior to the industrial revolution.

  99. #99 Barton Paul Levenson
    April 11, 2009

    Gaz,

    The US put a cap-and-trade plan in place to control sulfate emissions back around 1990. If you find out how they allocated the permits, it might imply a way of doing it for CO2.

  100. #100 Gaz
    April 11, 2009

    Curtin (#277):

    You claim: “Equation (1) (p.2870) provides an incorrect definition of changes in [CO2] because C’a is a rate of growth in the variable, whereas the equation’s RHS gives absolute amounts”

    Bullshit.

    Derivatives are normally expressed in the same units of the original value. For example, d(x)/dt, where x is nmeasured in kilograms, would also be measured in kilograms. C’a is not a proportional growth rate.

    You also claim the Raupach et al definition of the airborne fraction is “nonsense”.

    More bullshit.

    Their discussion of the airborne fraction is coherent, logical and clearly explained. You ought to try it some time.

    As for your alternative emmissions trading scheme (#291)…

    You say: “So you approve of the police state monitoring of emissions?”

    Bullshit. I said nothing of the sort.

    Anyone, including you, who proposes a scheme to limit emissions in any way, has to accept some monitoring and policing of emissions. In a democracy there are laws, and those laws are policed, but that doesn’t make it a police state, as you well know.

    And the question remains: how will emissions be monitored and how will caps be policed under YOUR alternative scheme? Do you have some sort of honour system in mind?

    You say: “Finally, I do agree with Gaz that the CPRS Act distorts the market severely – by giving free rights to emit to many of the biggest existing emitters.”

    More bullshit. I did not mention the CPRS. I was talking about YOUR alternative.

    While the CPRS is sub-optimal in that it hands out free emission permits to some emitters, albeit only in the early years, under your scheme ALL existing emitters are given free permits equal to nearly 100% of their recent emissions. And you have the gall to criticise the CPRS as distorting markets?

    You say: “My proposal would indeed greatly increase the marginal cost of an existing CO2-emitting firm NOT moving to a new, more technically efficient source of energy IF it wished to expand its output.

    Actually, it would reduce the marginal return to the firm for reducing its output of greenhouse gases to levels below its individually tailored cap.

    It would give the emitter no incentive to reduce emissions if it did not want to increase energy usage.

    It would give existing, inefficient emitters a clear cost advantage over potential new entrants to the market.

    It would lead consumers to favour the output of existing emitting firms over others which may be more efficient.

    It would also mean a massive windfall gain to owners of shares in existing emitting firms.

    You say: “The logic of my case is that if you are allowed to emit within and up to the Cap, why should you pay?”

    For the above reasons and.. because if you don’t pay, the business decision you are making will not embody the real cost of the emissions and will therefore be sub-optimal from a welfare economics perspective. Look up “market failure” and “externalities” in Samuelson. (Honestly, Samuelson would be rolling in his grave if he wasn’t still alive.)

    The problem is that you propose to allocate free emission permits to firms purely on the arbitrary basis of whether they had been emitters in the past. There is no economic rationale for that aside from a short term technical one – technology can only adapt so fast and you have to give people time to react to price signals. But that’s clearly not what you have in mind.

    You ask: “Why can you not see the analogy with NOT fining drivers for driving BELOW the speed limit as Wong’s Carbon Pollution Act proposes?”

    The analogy is flawed, not least because carbon emissions are harmful in aggregate, speeding is dangerous on an individual level. (So what do you say when a cop pulls you over, Tim: “It’s OK, my speeding was balanced out by all those parked cars – on average, we were only going 5 kph”?)

    Your alternative proposal is more like this. Let’s say the 100kph is a safe speed. Some people are driving at 200kph others at 150, others at 100, etc. You propose limiting the 200kph drivers to 200kph – for no other reason than that they were already driving that fast. And you insist that other drivers bid at auction for the right to drive over their latest speed, whether it be 150 or 100 or 50 – except new drivers will have to bid for the right to drive over 0 kph.

    Yeah, fantastic analogy, Tim.

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