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 11, 2009

    BPL: (1) Many thanks, but I would be most grateful if you could resend to my email, as idiot WordPress is not readable by Excel.

    (2.1) You said “Photosynthesis is balanced by respiration. Plants inhale CO2 and exhale oxygen; animals inhale oxygen and breath out CO2.” Yes, but when extra CO2 is pumped into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels etc, the result is demonstrably more photosynthesis, leading to more biomass etc. Hence population growth of most species.

    (2.2) You also said “Artificial production of CO2 is not necessary, and if it were, that would mean no life had existed prior to the industrial revolution”.

    Dear BPL, I think that is a non sequitur. “Artificial (sic) production of CO2″ arises mostly from fossil fuel burning or clearing of vegetation. Clearly there was life before we began serious burning of fossil fuels – remember John Evelyn’s diary account of his visit to London c 1685 with the Thames frozen and visibility almost nil at noon because of all the coal fires across the City. All science is agreed that until c. 1750, [CO2] was more or less constant at c. 280 ppm. The growth since then has allowed the increased food production that has allowed the increase in population of all known species that Malthus claimed was impossible.

  2. #2 Barton Paul Levenson
    April 11, 2009

    Tim,

    You can’t use the amount of CO2 absorbed by plants to prove that increased CO2 causes increased plant biomass. It would be arguing in a circle.

    Any increase in plant biomass for any reason will be directly proportionate to the amount of CO2 absorbed, because plants grow by photosynthesis:

    6 CO2 + 6 H2O => C6H12O6 + 6 O2

    But you can’t use this to say the CO2 caused the plant growth. When plant growth increases, it’s always by six moles of CO2 for every additional mole of carbohydrate. It just means that when there are more plants, they’ll breathe in more CO2.

  3. #3 sod
    April 11, 2009

    look Curtin, as i said in my very first post, everything you wrote about game theory is false.

    you were wrong about your paper being unrefuted. you were wrong about your description of the prisoners dilemma being right. you were wrong about it being similar to the one in the Garnaut report. but instead of offering an excuse, you make another FALSE claim again!
    the PD definition from the “The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics” is NOT the same as yours, of course!

    it says:

    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.

    you wrote:

    if both remain silent they will escape prosecution altogether.

    in your version, there is no reason to betray the other player, if he remains silent. you cant improve your situation by confessing! your situation is much less problematic than the real prisoners dilemma!

    this is not nitpicking words. your description of the prisoners dilemma is simply FALSE.

    this is rather typical for your approach to everything. you don t understand the most fundamental basics of a subject (actually, most of the times you simply got them completely wrong), yet you are trying to apply them to quite complicated things, and suddenly get completely different results than everyone working on that subject! this happens because you always have the basics wrong!

    you will always be wrong on game theory, because you have NOT understood the prisoners dilemma. you will always be wrong on CO2, because you haven t understood the basic laws of concentration. you will always be wrong on ecology, because you think that all animals will adapt to all food.

    That matches my necessarily brief account in all relevant respects.

    again: NO. it completely contradicts your account of a PD. please admit it finally: you were wrong! (and so was the Quadrant, that published this nonsense!)

    when manifestly there is no material difference between “escaping prosecution” and “receiving short sentences”

    there is a difference. one of them is better than the other. the real prisoners dilemma has a strict order in the preferences of the players. yours has outcomes that are the same. (actually you attributed the short sentence to another outcome, which turns the preference table upside down..)

    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.

    and again: NO. this is NOT the essence of the prisoners dilemma. the essence of the PD is the dominant strategy, that leads to a collectively suboptimal results. it is in the constant fear of your partner betraying you, to gain a small advantage. (that is the part that doesn t exist in your version)
    the uncertainty about your opponents choice is NOT specific to the PD. instead it is very common in all those simply choice games. (most of them don t make sense without).

    and it is a reality in the real world as well. the USA could at any moment stop its cooperation, for example because of an economic crisis.

    how to solve a PD is pretty perfectly outlined in the literature. (start the Axelrod book, that you decided to dismiss). tit for tat as a strategy is a good start, as is linking multiple games (trade jumps to mind)

    but again:
    it doesn t make any sense to explain to you the solution of a prisoners dilemma, as long as you haven t understood the basics of the game!

  4. #4 Barton Paul Levenson
    April 11, 2009

    Tim,

    Hope this doesn’t upset you, but I’m going to add a web page about the CO2 fertilization issue to my list of pages debunking assorted AGW deniers. These all have the title “Why [somebody or other] is WRONG.” This one will be “Why Tim Curtin is WRONG.”

    Of course, if you later turn out to be right, I’ll have to take down the page. But at this point I honestly don’t see how you could be right.

    I’ll email you the fertilizer file with a column for years separated by tabs. That should be something you can cut and paste directly into Excel, or OpenOffice Calc, for that matter.

    -BPL

  5. #5 Tim Curtin
    April 11, 2009

    Sod: “C’a is not a proportional growth rate”. But Raupach et al say it is: “Table 1 Proportional growth rates (r(X) = X0/X, in %y−1) row 6: (r(C’a)”: Who am I to believe?

    Then you said “Their discussion of the airborne fraction is coherent, logical and clearly explained. You ought to try it some time”. I did and it produces an AF of 0.005 GtC instead of 4.3 GtC for 2007-2008.

    I said: “So you approve of the police state monitoring of emissions?”

    You replied “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.”

    Oh yes it does when even having a log fire leads to your gauleiters burning down my home. Hear about the old woman in Cairns nearly burnt to death because she had her lights on during Earth Hour?

    Then you asked “how will emissions be monitored and how will caps be policed under YOUR alternative scheme?”

    My scheme is merely a sensible amendment to the stupid requirement of the CPRS Act that requires firms to finance 100% of allowed emissions, when any serious economist knows that only emissions above the allowed Cap need permits. “My” scheme replicates ALL clauses of the draft Act but for its cretinous requirement to have to buy permits even for allowed emissions.

    However I fully accept that Martin Parkinson (PS at DCC) and Ken Henry (PS at Treasury plus his main guru the ineffably pompous all-knowing David Gruen) are either (a) incapable of understanding this, having never heard of marginal cost, or (b) so terrified of losing their jobs if they serve in this context a non-vegeterian meal to Kev 2009, or (c) most likely, both. I have NEVER seen such twerps over my nearly 40 years in public service life, even in Tanzania, Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria and PNG. Even in PNG I had as my bosses Secretaries of Treasury who were prepared to say boo to geese like Paias Wingti. Martin Parkinson and Ken Henry have yet to show they do not go with the flow in order to protect their pensions – however this may be unfair on wombat-hugger Henry.

  6. #6 P. Lewis
    April 11, 2009

    TC says

    Many thanks, but I would be most grateful if you could resend to my email, as idiot WordPress is not readable by Excel

    ???

    Well, all you do is block copy BPL’s data from #294, paste it into Notepad or some other text editor, and save it as a text file. Then you Open that text file in Excel or Calc as a text or CSV file (you’ll have to choose the file type to open, typically from a drop-down list in the spreadsheet Open dialog). In either Excel or Calc you’ll be presented with options as to what the data column delimiter is, be it a tab, a space, a comma, … Choose, et voilà! Data arranged in columns/rows.

  7. #7 Barton Paul Levenson
    April 11, 2009

    Darn it! Spoke too soon. The situation is more complicated than I thought. When I add temperature anomaly into the mix, CO2 does have a statistically significant effect. Tim Curtin may be right. (Ooh, it hurt to say that.)

    The regression is:

    Cer = -189,307,451.4 + 894,203.0402 CO2 + 1.411906334 Fer – 280,932.6346 Anom
    (-1.94551023) (2.78618519) (9.996616006) (-3.226790398)
    p < 0.059138791|p < 0.008275872|p < 3.44639E-12|p < 0.002577931

    N = 42
    R2 = 0.988816862
    F = 1119.990971, p < 4.17491E-37

    Note, though, that the t-statistic on temperature, which has a negative effect on growth, is of greater magnitude than that of CO2. If the negative effect from heating overwhelms the positive effect from more CO2, then CO2 is still bad for world crop production. I’ll have to do some analysis of variance, maybe partial F-tests, and see how much each effect contributes. It’s going to take a while. Watch this space.

  8. #8 Barton Paul Levenson
    April 11, 2009

    Oh, God, that looks awful. I can’t win with this software plus my tendency to hit “Post” too soon.

    Here’s the regression again:

    Cer = -189,307,451.4 + 894,203.0402 CO2 + 1.411906334 Fer – 280,932.6346 Anom
    (-1.94551023) (2.78618519) (9.996616006) (-3.226790398)
    p < 0.059138791 p < 0.008275872 p < 3.44639E-12 p < 0.002577931

    N = 42
    R2 = 0.988816862
    F = 1119.990971, p < 4.17491E-37

  9. #9 Barton Paul Levenson
    April 11, 2009
    Cer = -189,307,451 + 894,203.040 CO2 + 1.41190633 Fer - 280,932.634 Anom
          (-1.9455102)   (2.7861851)       (9.99661600)     (-3.22679039)
           p < 0.05913879 p < 0.00827587    p < 3.4463E-12   p < 0.00257793
    
    N = 42
    R2 = 0.98881686
    F = 1119.990971, p < 4.17491E-37
    

    Here’s how I did it:
    [pre] and [/pre] around each paragraph (using angle brackets, of course).
    ampersand lt ; for the less-than sign (eliminate spaces).
    [sup] and [/sup] for the superscript, [sub] and [/sub] works for subscripts.
    I can’t do anything about it going off the edge of the area, though. Is there a way to get a different font size? I suppose I could cram the whole regression equation in as superscripts…

  10. #10 sod
    April 11, 2009

    Curtin, you confused me with Gaz in that last reply. so let me repeat his statement, that you didn t answer:

    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.

    Barton, there is not a single calculation needed, to contradict Curtin on that subject. agriculture production has expanded massively, long before humanity started adding CO2 to the atmosphere.

    i would search for a dataset, that gives a numerical assessment of technical help of all king, used by man in agriculture. you will find a perfect fit, over millennia even.

  11. #11 Barton Paul Levenson
    April 11, 2009

    Aaarrgh!!!

    You know what this software does? You preview it, and it changes the box you’re typing in so the ampersand lt ; s become actual less-than signs, so they don’t show up in the stupid final post! MY BRAIN HURTS!

    *[I edited to change the <s to &<;s and it seems OK now Tim]*

  12. #12 Tim Curtin
    April 11, 2009

    Progress on all fronts! Many thanks P Lewis and BPL, will respond in detail after my tennis this a.m. Even sod shows an advance! He may want if brave enough to contact the Agricultural Production Systems research Unit (APSRU) in Toowoomba, Q, Australia,

    Telephone 07 4688 1393 Facsimile 07 4688 1193
    Email gail.donovan@dpi.qld.gov.au

    Website http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au Call Centre 13 25 23

    and buy a copy, or if an academic apply for free copy, of their APSIM software for predicting crop yields etc. with alternative assumptions on rainfall, temperature and CO2. This software has been commercially used for many years; its authors seem to think CO2 is relevant. The model was used by Crimp et al (CSIRO) for their study for the Garnaut Review. It’s like a computer game, input your preferred level of CO2, temp, and rainfall, for any crop and area and bingo! Sod, let me know how you get on with zero CO2.

  13. #13 Gaz
    April 11, 2009

    Curtin, the spectacle of you comparing yourself favourably with people like Ross Garnaut, Ken Henry and David Gruen would be absolutely laughable were it not for the disturbing thought that someone, somewhere, might actually take you seriously.

    In case such a person might be so tempted, and is reading this, they should consider the following illustration of your expertise. (I’ll answer this for Sod, seeing as we seem to be a tag team here.)

    You say at #302: “Sod: “C’a is not a proportional growth rate”. But Raupach et al say it is: “Table 1 Proportional growth rates (r(X) = X’/X, in %y−1) row 6: (r(C’a)”: Who am I to believe?”

    (Note: I have corrected Xo/X to read X’/X as it does in the Raupach, Canadell, and C. Le Quere paper.)

    Now, Tim Curtin, pay attention.

    C’a and r(C’a) are NOT THE SAME.

    r(C’a) = (C’a)/Ca

    Look at it this way.

    If C’a is the amount of extra CO2 added to the atmosphere every year, measured in tonnes, then r(C’a) is the amount of extra CO2 added to the atmosphere every year, measured as a proportion of the amount of CO2 that was there at the start of the year. (That proportion is usually, but not always, expressed as a percentage.)

    You don’t need to choose between two statements that are not contradictory.

  14. #14 sod
    April 12, 2009

    Progress on all fronts! Many thanks P Lewis and BPL, will respond in detail after my tennis this a.m. Even sod shows an advance!

    must be the weirdest “eureka” i ve ever seen.

    “eureka, someone in queensland agrees with me (at least i, Tim Curtin, believe he does! now to tennis! even the guys who have been bashing my head with contradictions of my multiple errors will agree (at least that is what i, Tim Curtin think)”

    Curtin, i am still waiting for your excuse for being wrong at least 3 times, about the FALSE prisoners dilemma you published!

  15. #15 Tim Curtin
    April 12, 2009

    Gaz: Raupach et al state: (p2870): “C’a is the GROWTH RATE of atmospheric CO2 (with primes denoting time derivatives).” I know they meant to say that C’a is the absolute increase in atmospheric CO2, but they didn’t, they used the term “growth rate” which implies a percentage. Be that as it may, their data in Table 1 for the 2nd derivative growth r(Ca’), in 1959-2006 and 1959-1999 are both 1.9 with slight change in error ranges (from +-0.3 to +-0.4 respectively). But using their data at http://www.globalcarbonproject.org, C’a was 2.069 in 1959-2006 and 2.089 in 1959-1999. Thus their 2nd derivative growth rates do not reveal that C’a actually grew more slowly after 1999. It gets worse, because while C’a in 2000-2006 although wilfully unreported by Raupach et al was actually negative 1.2, they claim an acceleration of r(C’a) to 3.0 (+-2.7). So going slower means a faster rate of growth of the rate of growth in the world of Raupach et al.

    Moreover, their claim in their Abstract in their Biogeoscience paper 2008, “that the atmospheric CO2 growth rate increased slightly faster than total anthropogenic CO2 emissions” is very misleading, since it is a mistake to compare growth rates of variables of different initial values. For example, setting initial values of all 3 variables (emissions, absorptions, and increase in atmospheric CO2) to 100 in 1959, the indices stood at 250 for emissions in 2006, 321 for absorptions, and only 188 for the net additions to the atmosphere. The index for the concentration of CO2 at Mauna Loa at 122 in 2006 also hardly supports their claim “the atmospheric CO2 growth rate increased slightly faster than total anthropogenic CO2 emissions” – or the impression they were trying to create, successfully in your case, Gaz, that things are getting even worse than the IPCC tries to show.

  16. #16 Tim Curtin
    April 12, 2009

    Reply to Gaz/Sod #2

    Gaz it was apparently you who said that my “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.” Exactly, but that is not what I propose, it’s what is in the Act, which I agree is very silly despite having been crafted by those geniuses Gaz and sod so admire, Garnaut, Henry, Gruen, and Parkinson. It is also a charter for a police state, as very wide powers are granted for ensuring compliance.

    In general all firms subject to the ETS will have their emissions allowance reduced from its “vintage year” level by whatever is the government’s target for the next year, which at 5% from 2000 by 2020 is probably about 1% p.a. until 2020 from the current BAU level, given their respective immediate latest reported level of emissions.

    It really amazes me that I get pilloried here for a system devised by those geniuses, not me, when all I’m trying to say is that it makes no sense, and will be immensely damaging, for all firms subject to the ETS in its full majesty, to have to bid and pay EVERY YEAR for permits even for allowed emissions, when on a marginal basis only emissions above the cap would need permits. NB In 2005 Australia’s total CO2-e emissions were 522.2 million tonnes, which at the minimum of A$100 per tonne needed to secure meaningful investment in CCS etc would generate A$52 billion a year until CCS etc became operational at the needed level.

    The reason Garnaut first went for 100% auctioning for both allowed and above-Cap emissions was that he saw himself as Chairman and CEO of the Carbon Bank that he recommended, which would set the Caps, and collect the auction proceeds. In the absence of exemptions/compensation the auctions could easily have delivered to him an initial slush fund of A$15-50 billion a year, and rising as lower Caps produced higher carbon prices. Wong’s eyes glazed over, and she cancelled the Garnaut Bank, while still harbouring hopes the auction proceeds would be hers to distribute to her friends and relations. Her White Paper sets out her aspirations in this regard, but the Act and related legislation sets up an Authority which can do much what it pleases. Its Chairman could yet be Ross Garnaut, but to the chagrin of Wong all proceeds of its activities belong to the Commonwealth unless otherwise determined. We shall see! But life at the Authority would be dull unless it could process proceeds of auctions of 100% of allowed emissions, instead of just proceeds from selling permits above the Cap.

  17. #17 Gaz
    April 12, 2009

    Curtin: “..they used the term “growth rate” which implies a percentage..”

    Oh crap, Curtin. Go down to the book store and buy a high school maths text book and read it.

    Curtin: “The authors say “C’a is the GROWTH RATE of atmospheric CO2 (with primes denoting time derivatives).” ”

    You do know what a time derivative is, don’t you? Oh, silly me, of course you don’t. It’s an expression of how much something is growing per unit of time, in this case, per year. It’s not what PERCENTAGE it’s growing by per unit of time, but HOW MUCH. You know, how many kilograms, inches, or whatever.

    OK, book store too far away? Try Wikipedia:

    “Differentiation is a method to compute the rate at which a dependent output y, changes with respect to the change in the independent input x. This rate of change is called the derivative of y with respect to x.”

    Note the multiple use of the word “rate”.

    If you want to talk about percentage rates of change, then you’d use the term “proportional growth rate”, as the authors do – and they take great care to explain it.

    For example, the population of sparrows on the Antarctic Peninsula is 100 billion and it’s growing by 5 billion per year.

    Its growth rate is 5 billion sparrows per year. It’s proportional growth rate is .05 per year or 5 per cent per year.

    How bloody hard is that to understand?

  18. #18 P. Lewis
    April 12, 2009

    Brink contacted Mbeki, sending him copies of the debate, and was welcomed as an expert. This is a chilling testament to the danger of elevating cranks by engaging with them.

    Source: Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science missing chapter, via Deltoid

    Oops, sorry, is this the wrong thread?

  19. #19 Gaz
    April 12, 2009

    Curtin, further to my comment at #314:

    You say: “Be that as it may, their data in Table 1 for the 2nd derivative growth r(Ca’), in 1959-2006 and 1959-1999 are both 1.9 with slight change in error ranges (from +-0.3 to +-0.4 respectively). But using their data at http://www.globalcarbonproject.org, C’a was 2.069 in 1959-2006 and 2.089 in 1959-1999.”

    Curtin, try reading the paper. All the way through.

    Even the abstract says “Analysis of several CO2 data
    sets with removal of the EVI-correlated component..”

    And I’ll bet their method of trend estimation was quite a bit different to yours too.

    So, really, your critique of Raupach, Canadell, and Le Quere is just plain wrong on more than one crucial point.

    And your proposed revision of the CPRS remains inane.

    You have yet to give a convincing reason why it’s so important to allocate free emission permits to firms purely on the basis of their prior-year emissions. It’s completely arbitrary. Why not, say, issue free permits on the basis of the number of employees or average profit for the past three years, or the number of sparrows nesting in the eaves?

    Why should a more efficient energy producer have to pay for a permit to emit when the existing, less efficient, producer is allowed to emit at no cost?

    Why do you find the idea of markets using prices to efficiently allocate scarce resources so objectionable?

  20. #20 Gaz
    April 12, 2009

    Yes, good point, P. Lewis.

    Curtin – ignore those last two questions – they were rhetorical.

    Go back to counting sparrows.

  21. #21 Tim Curtin
    April 12, 2009

    Gaz: you have yet to explain why setting levels of emissions, absorptions, and additions to [CO2] to 100 in 1959, and finding they have grown to 250, 321, and 188 respectively by 2006 “proves” the Raupach et al claim“that the atmospheric CO2 growth rate increased slightly faster than total anthropogenic CO2 emissions”.

    As for the Rudd-Wong “CP(sic)RS”, I agree with your criticisms, even if you seem to think I am the author of the Act, when you say I “have yet to give a convincing reason why it’s so important to allocate free emission permits to firms purely on the basis of their prior-year emissions. It’s completely arbitrary.” Exactly. I agree.

    Do read the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill (it’s not an Act yet) Act, it’s at the DCC website and submit your own critique including this excellent point and your others to the Senate. Please stop claiming that I drafted the Bill; had I done so I would require permits only for emissions above the allowed level, whatever that might be, if not Wong’s than Gaz’ alternative, which he has not revealed as yet, apart from “sparrows resting in the eaves” which would be a good starter, I like it.

    How would you Gaz determine the Caps for each firm? Gaz again (rhetorically): “Why should a more efficient energy producer have to pay for a permit to emit when the existing, less efficient, producer is allowed to emit at no cost?” Agreed, do refer that to Wong.

    More Gaz rhetoric: “Why do you find the idea of markets using prices to efficiently allocate scarce resources so objectionable?” That’s absurd. I never have never will, and my Marginal Emissions scheme is based on the marginal principle which underlies effiicient markets, unlike the Bill’s.

    Gaz, it’s great to find we are in such wholehearted agreement that the CP(sick)RS Bill is an ass, makes my day, even if it ruins yours!

  22. #22 Lee
    April 12, 2009

    TC,

    Gaz has made it very clear how he would determine the caps for each individual firm – by letting them bid for the permits they need, in an emissions market. Only one regulatory decision needed – what is the total amount of emissions to be placed into that market, to be divvied among all the firms. The market decides the ‘cap’ for each individual firm.

    Your proposal, on the other hand, requires a regulatory determination of the proper amount of permitted emissions for each and every individual emitter. If you only charge a company for emissions above their cap, you need to somehow determine a cap for that company.

    TC, your proposed revision is an anti-market, regulatory nightmare. I am stunned at how incompetent (unable even to follow the conversation) you have shown yourself to be on this, supposedly the topic you *do* understand.

  23. #23 Tim Curtin
    April 12, 2009

    Lee: Thanks, but not quite right. You said “My proposal requires a regulatory determination of the proper amount of permitted emissions for each and every individual emitter. If you only charge a company for emissions above their cap, you need to somehow determine a cap for that company”.

    That is also true in effect under the Bill. Do remember that the Cap is the sum of all verified emissions by the 1000 firms covered by the Bill less the reduction of the Cap in any future year needed to secure the overall reduction of 5% of the 2000 level by 2020 (actually more if the 5% cut refers to ALL emissions including those not covered by the CPRS, so bigger cuts may well need to be imposed on these firms to offset increased emissions by the poor etc.).

    The way it works is that Wong’s Authority sets the national Cap (reducing by c. 1% p.a. from 2010-2020). Firms (after 2015) bid at auction for permits. Suppose your firm bids for its last year’s emissions of say 10 GtC plus 10% if it plans to expand output. For the first year the price is fixed, but eventually a free auction will be introduced; the price is fixed at $40 for 2010-2011.

    As both Cap and prices are fixed (latter gradually increasing to A$53 by 2014), if all seek to get permits to allow them to 110% of base year emissions in 2010-2011, then presumably an auction will be necessary, lest a black market develop. The Bill already requires recording of all emissions plus inspection thereof, so my marginal auction scheme involves nothing not in the Bill.

    My main contribution remains intact: the Bill requires permits to be bought for all allowed emissions plus those above the Cap, and this produces what stockbrokers call churning, hence Garnaut’s Carbon Bank. Lee, if you think that requiring Australia’s main emitters to pay $40 per tonne of their total emissions rising to A$53 by 2014 will not have major implications for inflation, employment, and profitability, be my guest. But I am already restructuring my portfolio to be overweight firms like Garnaut’s own Lihir that conveniently for him will not be subject to the Bill.

    For ease of reference here is a more compact summary of the Bill than it offers, from the Green Paper (the Bill has all these features plus price fixing to 2014):

    “Mechanics of a cap and trade emissions trading scheme

    Step 1: Significant emitters of greenhouse gases need to acquire a ‘carbon pollution permit’ for every tonne of greenhouse gas that they emit.

    Step 2: The quantity of emissions produced by firms will be monitored and audited.

    Step 3: At the end of each year, each liable firm would need to surrender a ‘carbon pollution permit’ for every tonne of emissions that they produced in that year.

    The number of ‘carbon pollution permits’ issued by the Government in each year will be limited to the total carbon cap for the Australian economy.

    Step 4: Firms compete to purchase the number of ‘carbon pollution permits’ that they require. Firms that value carbon permits most highly will be prepared to pay
    most for them, either at auction, or on a secondary trading market. For other firms it will be cheaper to reduce emissions than to buy ‘permits’.”

  24. #24 Lee
    April 13, 2009

    TC: “Lee: Thanks, but not quite right. You said “My proposal requires a regulatory determination of the proper amount of permitted emissions for each and every individual emitter. If you only charge a company for emissions above their cap, you need to somehow determine a cap for that company”.

    That is also true in effect under the Bill.”

    No, TC, it fucking well is not also true under the bill, neither “in effect” nor otherwise. And you know it.

    The bill sets a single regulatory cap for the entire market, and then lets the market allocate that cap across the participating companies. Your proposal sets 1000 different caps, one for each company, picks winners based primarily on past magnitude and inefficiencies, and locks those winners into place based on regulatory structures.

    It can not possible be that you actually consider your proposal to be a better market solution – you must know SOMETHING about your own field. You’re poisoning the well, TC, and it is of a piece with the (lack of) honesty you’ve shown throughout this thread.

  25. #25 sod
    April 13, 2009

    The bill sets a single regulatory cap for the entire market, and then lets the market allocate that cap across the participating companies. Your proposal sets 1000 different caps, one for each company, picks winners based primarily on past magnitude and inefficiencies, and locks those winners into place based on regulatory structures.

    Tim is again trying to obfuscate his basic error (just let everyone continue to emit as much as he did before, newcomers got the shaft) by making unrelated claims about other “problems”.

    he has decided to ignore his prisoners dilemma gaff as well.

  26. #26 Tim Curtin
    April 13, 2009

    Lee: with no doubt kindly intent said my proposal “picks winners based primarily on past magnitude and inefficiencies, and locks those winners into place based on regulatory structures”.

    Not true, prove it.

    My system avoids the catastrophic effect of firms having to purchase permits of 100% of allowed emissions plus any extra for expansion of output. For evidence on that catastrophic effect, see Business Council of Australia, Report by Rod Simms, Port Jackson Partners Ltd, 21 August 2008. One third of the 1000 most affected firms would have to close according to this Report, because of the massive impact of having to buy permits for 100% of allowed emissions.

    Ironically, Simms has worked with/for Ross Garnaut since 1980, both in PNG and latterly for RG’s in effect personally owned Sustainable Development Programme that owns 51% of Ok Tedi Mining Ltd.

    Sod said: “Tim is again trying to obfuscate his basic error (just let everyone continue to emit as much as he did before, newcomers got the shaft) by making unrelated claims about other “problems”.” Not true. My system requires firms to purchase permits only for their emissions in excess of their base line that was used to calculate the Cap.

  27. #27 Lee
    April 13, 2009

    I can’t believe this needs explaining to someone who claims to be a economist.

    TC – say I am a startup, or a small but growing company, I’m nimble, paying attention to efficiency, operating at less than 80% CO2 emissions per unit product output than the established players are. I’m more efficient, I’m cleaner, I’m growing. Just say.

    And say that last year I emitted, as a startup, 1,000,000 tons of CO2. My major behemoth competitor, an old inefficient company, emitted last year 10,000,000 tons.

    For me to grow and become a heads-up comeptitor with old behemoth company, with the same output of product, I will be emitting 8,000,000 tons – remember, I’m more efficient, so for the same product output, I’m emitting only 80% of the 10,000,000 tons my competitor must emit for the same production.

    Under your plan, my new, less polluting, more efficient, market-winning company will have to purchase permits for 7,000,000 tons of emissions – at $40/ton, that comes to $280,000,000 – while my older, less efficient competitor will have to purchase none – simply by virtue of having been there first.

    Your plan, TC, gives that behemoth competitor a $280,000,000 / year competitive advantage simply by virtue of having been a bigger emitter at plan start.

    That, TC, is regulatory lock-in and picking winners.
    And you MUST know this, TC. You’re an economist, for gods sake. Stop being so pigf*cking dishonest.

  28. #28 Tim Curtin
    April 14, 2009

    Lee. Why don’t you communicate your view to the EU, as their ETS as at present constituted issues free permits for past emission levels (with rules for new entrants *) and requires permits to be bought only for increases? *

    In your example, your start-up firm would not meet the threshold under the Bill. When it did, the initial emission level would be exempt. The behemoth would lose market share to you because of its higher energy/CO2 intensity – and if it tried to swamp you by expanding it would have to buy more marginal emission permits per unit of output than your firm because of its lower efficiency.

    Clever legal draftsmen would be able to amend the Bill along my lines – and they may well have to, if reports in today’s Australian Financial Review (“Energy sector faces $100 bn black hole” and “Lights going out across NSW”) and The Australian (“Energy industry faces crisis”) lead to a reappraisal of the Bill (its current compensation level is well short of what is needed given the cash flow effect of having to buy permits to the tune of $21 billion over 5 years despite the present concessions).

    Lee: you previously claimed that my “proposal sets 1000 different caps, one for each company, picks winners based primarily on past magnitude and inefficiencies, and locks those winners into place based on regulatory structures.”

    Perhaps then you can explain why when Division 2 of the Bill at 17 (b) already requires Liable entities to declare their emissions total every year and then to aquire and in due course acquit permits for those emissions, it would be impossible to define the so-called vintage year as the base for each firm’s Cap. Your firm’s lower marginal emissions per unit of output would still give it an advantage over its older less efficient rivals.

    Lee: with a new Senate Inquiry into all this starting here today, why’t you give them the benefit of your wisdom and colourful language?

    * EU Scheme 2005-2012: Auctioning limited to a maximum of 5% in Phase 1 and 10% in Phase 2. Most member states issued free permits on the basis of historical emissions (NB with rules for new entrants). In practice, only 0.2% of all allowances auctioned in Phase 1. In Phase 2, some states have made greater use of auctioning (UK 7%, Germany 8%). Source: Garnaut Review, ETS Issues paper, July 2008

  29. #29 sod
    April 14, 2009

    Curtin, you are seriously misrepresenting the [EU ETS](http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/trading/eu/pdf/nap-phase2.pdf).

    All sectors other than LEP will be allocated allowances equivalent to their projected BAU emissions taking into account the potential, including technological potential of sectors to reduce their emissions, a deduction for estimated new entry and a contribution to the CHP ring fence of the NER.

    and

    LEP will be allocated the remainder of the total of the overall UK cap taking into account a deduction for the amount of allowances to be auctioned and a contribution to the NER. Thus, the LEP sector will receive a reduced allocation to account for the carbon savings the UK expects the trading sector to deliver.

    giving free permits is NOT the real plan, but being phased out. companies don t get free permits up to their requirement, but LESS. New Entrant
    Reserve (NER) is a vital part of the plan. and it was just a MINOR error in your version of a plan!

  30. #30 Tim Curtin
    April 14, 2009

    sod: my account of the EU ETS as it is now derived from the Garnaut Review. See my footnote at #325, which specifically did not refer to Phase 3, and that for all we know may never happen at all. Reality may break through even in Brussells.

    Sod: I also look forward to a copy of your Note – as well as Lee’s – to the Senate Inquiry opening today explaining how the PD’s “tit for tat” (in the Axelrod version) will play out in Copenhagen.

  31. #31 sod
    April 14, 2009

    sod: my account of the EU ETS as it is now derived from the Garnaut Review. See my footnote at #325, which specifically did not refer to Phase 3, and that for all we know may never happen at all.

    the title of the document i linked above is “Approved Phase II National Allocation Plan 2008-2012″

    PHASE II. this IS happening NOW.

  32. #32 Tim Curtin
    April 14, 2009

    Sod: I don’t see what’s your problem. The DEFRA doc. matches the Garnaut summary I used, with free allocations for BAU emissions for all sectors other than large electricity producers, less a small reduction, and extra allowances available at auction for up to just 7% of the total of the free allocation. It also largely mirrors my marginal scheme which however allows the auction to deliver any amount above the BAU level, subject to willingness to pay, and therefore more closely matches Lee’s desire for more market based determination and availability of permits for new entrants.

    BTW, DEFRA acknowledges UK will find it more difficult to keep to its reduction targets after 2012 as it has to revert to coal because of declining gas and oil reserves and Green embargoes on nuclear. Same applies to Germany, I can’t imagine why Gordon Brown and Angela Merkel are not more trusting in Vlad The Impaler’s gas.

  33. #33 Bernard J.
    April 15, 2009

    P. Lewis, quoting Ben Goldacre:

    Brink contacted Mbeki, sending him copies of the debate, and was welcomed as an expert. This is a chilling testament to the danger of elevating cranks by engaging with them.

    It seems that such might have happened here when Barton, at #304, said to his chagrin:

    Darn it! Spoke too soon. The situation is more complicated than I thought. When I add temperature anomaly into the mix, CO2 does have a statistically significant effect. Tim Curtin may be right. (Ooh, it hurt to say that.)

    I admit that I was a little surprised that Barton had apparently so easily pwned Curtin, but BPL’s subsequent significant result suffers from the same omission of other cofactors that Curtin has assiduously ignored – and in Curtin’s case, cofactors that he has ignored even though he has been asked on several occasion to explain his accounting of them…

    The problem is that, despite [repeated requests](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/03/tim_curtin_thread.php#comment-1498399) for such explanation, Curtin does not account for variables such as fossil-fuel-driven mechanisation, plant ‘improvements’ (eg the introduction of shorter-stemmed varieties that put more biomass into seed), non-biological technological innovation, political influences, and evolving cultural practices, amongst other cofactors.

    The last is especially interesting, and can be illustrated in one single example (there are many). In the last 50 years, with the essentially exponential increase in human population, there has been an enormous area of land progressively cleared of original vegetation in order to make way for agriculture. Much of this clearing occurs in areas of quite good, or even of excellent, fertility and the requirement for additional fertiliser input in the initial years is low or non-existent. This will lead to a productivity signal that needs to account not only for the additional area put under production, but that accounts for the variable requirement of fertiliser under the circumstances described in the previous sentence.

    I doubt that Radium Water Tim has considered these (or any of a number of other essential cofactors) in his regressions.

    Then there is the issue that Curtin does not account for the impact of increased CO2 on all plant species – a Herculean task, but one he apparently has a handle on because he blithely extrapolates to ‘[all known species]( http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/03/tim_curtin_thread.php#comment-1556692) [of life]‘, whose biomasses have all apparently increased… c’est incroyable! The trouble is, as Curtin has been repeatedly told, not all plant species respond to CO2 in the same manner (no, not even agricultural species), and even less will respond favourably when the inertia of AGW insinuates its effects into the physiology of plant growth.

    It is even more complicated that implied by Curtin’s cavalier, and unsubstantiated, faff:

    The growth since then has allowed the increased food production that has allowed the increase in population of all known species that Malthus claimed was impossible.

    because, as has been pointed out to him many times, he has no understanding of the trophic web that exists within the biosphere. Trophic relationships are mind-bogglingly complex, but a cursory introduction can give clues to the futility of vacuous generalisations of the type that Curtin is a slave to.

    At a very basic and metaphorical level, one might imagine the ‘first’ level, the autotrophs (plants) to grow at rates determined by the various inputs, where the inputs are represented by ‘holes’ modulated by irises such as are found in camera lenses. These inputs are the temperature, moisture, various individual nutrients, et cetera touched upon before.

    However, as with any hole, movement may be ‘in’ or ‘out’, so it needs to be kept in mind that inputs are positive as well as negative, and thus that impacts on plant growth from herbivory, toxins, human harvesting and so on are integral to equilibrium biomass. The thing is, for any input there is usually a set ‘maximum’ to the size of the ‘hole’ (operationally, a plateau or a maximal threshold), and the ‘iris’ (the magnitude of the input) may be either greater or smaller than the plateau. The importance of this is that once an input’s ‘iris’ opens up sufficiently that the ‘hole’ is completely uncovered, no further increase in the magnitude of the input is able to affect biomass in an autotrophic niche unless the ‘hole’ is enlarged. And to complicate matters, changing the aperture of an iris representing the magnitude of input of one or more parameters can change the size of the ‘hole’ of other parameters.

    In the example of photosynthesis, the CO2 hole (≡ capacity to garner carbon for photosynthesis) may be partially obscured by the iris (≡ atmospheric CO2 level), or it may not be. Any first year plant physiology student understands that CO2 is not always the rate-limiting step in photosynthesis. And in cases where the alteration of non-CO2 magnitudes (eg of temperature, or of light) alters the CO2 plateau, no amount of extra CO2 is going to make a stitch of difference to photosynthesis.

    Quite apart from trophic equilibria/rate-limitations, the laws of thermodynamics also need to be considered. A great deal of energy (around 90%) is lost from one trophic level to the next, mostly as heat. In addition, the density of energy in autotrophic levels is much lower than in heterotrophic levels.

    These two facts, combined with the many non-CO2 regulatory components of trophic metabolism, mean that any increases in the biomass of certain autotrophic species are usually rapidly absorbed in the trophic web, especially where up-regulation is not associated with the most limiting of the metabolic bottlenecks.

    Another important factor in trophic balance is the phenomenon of a trophic cascade, an example of which is the maintenance of autotrophic biomass by the predation of herbivores by high-level, carnivorous species. As the numbers (and hence, biomass) of most top predators in the biosphere have been drastically reduced over the last century or so (contrary to Curtin’s completely bogus claims to the opposite), here too is a factor that will feed back to the biomass of lower trophic levels. Such trophic cascades can operate both positively and negatively, depending on whether the lost predators preyed upon plants, or upon animals that in their turn were plant-eaters.

    Trophic relationships are often referred to as being a pyramid, with autotrophs at the base, herbivores above, and various levels of carnivores at the top levels. Given the logarithmic thermodynamic loss of energy at each level, it is probably more accurate to refer to a trophic bell, or a trophic trumpet.

    All of this goes to create a web where altered input of one factor, in this case Curtin’s CO2 equivalent of radium water, is rapidly masked where that factor is not an outstandingly important regulatory parameter in trophic energy capture/transfer. Of course, my hurried explanation above is only a bare shadow of the real complexity that is trophic productivity, but nowhere in Curtin’s spruiking from the back of his wagon has he demonstrated that he has taken even this kindergarten level of trophic understanding into account, when he performs his miraculous productivity regressions.

    It also means that anyone attempting to audit Curtin’s clumsiness needs to take care that they do not fall into the trap of duplicating his exclusion of parameters relevant to photosynthetic productivity. This is one case where obtaining a negative result for a significant CO2 effect is conclusive, but a where positive one requires much more refined and detailed analyses in order to be defensible. Curtin has not shown that he has done this.

    And although it’s been answered already, Curtin’s [struggle with capturing data]( http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/03/tim_curtin_thread.php#comment-1556692):

    BPL: (1) Many thanks, but I would be most grateful if you could resend to my email, as idiot WordPress is not readable by Excel.

    is telling. In the time it would have taken him to type the above sentence, I’d copied the data into Word, replaced the spaces with tabs, and dumped it into Excel.

    What sort of ‘analyst’ is unable to manage even this grade 6 level of data manipulation?

  34. #34 sod
    April 15, 2009

    It also largely mirrors my marginal scheme which however allows the auction to deliver any amount above the BAU level, subject to willingness to pay, and therefore more closely matches Lee’s desire for more market based determination and availability of permits for new entrants.

    i d love to have your mirror!

    it is the same, just:

    1. not a permanent thing, but changing towards LESS free permits.

    2. a huge special rule for new comers. (you simply forgot those)

    3. not free permits up to their use, but to a level significantly below it.

    this is the same “same” as you used in the prisoners dilemma discussion, eh???

  35. #35 Tim Curtin
    April 16, 2009

    Bernard: First, I am getting a bit tired of your treating me as if I am your employee when you have so far failed to pay me a dime for the various refs. and other info. I have given you. How are you getting on with your copy of Biodiversity Economics (Kontoleon, Pascual, Swanson, eds. CUP 2007). Or can you not afford the $220 it will cost you before postage? Until you do offer to pay me at my usual rate these days, $1000 per day plus expenses, I see no need to rush my pending article.

    So when you say “Curtin does not account for variables such as fossil-fuel-driven mechanisation, plant ‘improvements’ (eg the introduction of shorter-stemmed varieties that put more biomass into seed), non-biological technological innovation, political influences, and evolving cultural practices, amongst other cofactors”, how do you know? Pay up, then I will reveal all. Meantime you are wrong on each point (except political influences and cultural practices, what might they be, and how do I get them into a regression?).

    Then dear Bernard, you are quite wrong when you claim the following: “In the last 50 years, with the essentially exponential increase in human population, there has been an enormous area of land progressively cleared of original vegetation in order to make way for agriculture. Much of this clearing occurs in areas of quite good, or even of excellent, fertility and the requirement for additional fertiliser input in the initial years is low or non-existent. This will lead to a productivity signal that needs to account not only for the additional area put under production, but that accounts for the variable requirement of fertiliser under the circumstances described in the previous sentence.” Just check out the FAO Prodstat site. From 1980 to now, most of the increase in world food production has been due to increased yield, NOT increased area, and a high proportion of the increased yield has been due to higher CO2 emissions (as Crimp et al, CSIRO & Garnaut Review, confirm for Australia). Pay up if you want more.

    But your spirit medium goes on that you doubt that I have “considered these (or any of a number of other essential cofactors)” in my regressions. So you are the one hacking into my computer, but missing the current files? Interesting.

    But here’s a hint: refer to your breakfast wheaties package and tell us how much carbohydrate there is per serving of 30 grams (23.6 g in the case of my Spelt Organic Flakes or per 100 grams 78.7%). The world’s population has much more than doubled since I was at school 54 years ago; one way or another the increment has increased its consumption of wheaties or rice krispies or equivalent at least pro rata, more as clearly world living standards have improved since 1955, especially in almost the whole of Asia. Where did that extra carbohydrate come from? From thin air,or CO2-enriched air?

    Finally, BPL kindly sent me his fertilizer data in Excel format, saving me the time consuming chore you describe. Its problem is that it is NPK, and that is inappropriate for crops like most cereals.

    Sod and Jeff: I confess I experience schadenfreude every time I see you tripped up by Michael Carter. Sod, your GISS maps are hilarious, showing nil temperature change across more than half the globe since 1880 or 1900 (because there were no temp. measurements in that half until after 1900) but claiming that NH increases equal global increases. Sod’s maps ref. confirms the utter nonsense he spouts at all opportunities here.

  36. #36 sod
    April 16, 2009

    Sod and Jeff: I confess I experience schadenfreude every time I see you tripped up by Michael Carter. Sod, your GISS maps are hilarious, showing nil temperature change across more than half the globe since 1880 or 1900 (because there were no temp. measurements in that half until after 1900) but claiming that NH increases equal global increases. Sod’s maps ref. confirms the utter nonsense he spouts at all opportunities here.

    Michael posted a lot of nonsense, that was taken apart pretty fast. reminds me of you, btw!

    for a start, no data does NOT mean, that there was “nil” temperature change.

    if you want more change, look at a [current picture](http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/do_nmap.py?year_last=2009&month_last=03&sat=4&sst=0&type=anoms&mean_gen=03&year1=1980&year2=2009&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=1200&pol=reg) (it destroys your NH claim also)

    if you want more ocean data, simply [add it.](http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/do_nmap.py?year_last=2009&month_last=03&sat=4&sst=1&type=anoms&mean_gen=03&year1=1980&year2=2009&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=1200&pol=reg)

    the simple truth is, that his claim was utterly false:

    Not even the most advanced Met services in the most advanced countries have data of 1/1000 of that resolution. 100 years ago they had a fraction of that.

    the simple 100km grid over Britain shows, that basically all modern met services have that kind of data.

    with the GISS tools, i was basically able to replicate the impossible task, within minutes.

    a more advanced technique would take the 10 first years of data for a grid point as base period. this would turn the whole map reddish.
    and getting slightly more gridpoints (more like 10 times more, definitely not 1000) wouldn t be difficult either. (can you spot the gridpoints on the map including ocean data?)

    again Curtin, you were wrong. like Michael. like with your claims about CO2 trading. like with the prisoners dilemma. always wrong.

  37. #37 Jeff Harvey
    April 16, 2009

    Tim,

    How has Michael Carter ‘tripped me up’? Man, you really clutch at straws. The NASA maps may not go to infinitismally small defintion, but the climate scientist at Copenhagen made it pretty clear that the planet has warmed significantly since 1980. His evidence which is backed up by NASA data is certainly miles better than anything you or Carter can come up with. I am not intimidated by somone with a Master’s degree in Geology, any more than I am intimidated by a sceptic lacking any credentials in complex fields while trying to give the impression that they have it ‘all worked out’.

    Besides, how are you, a layman with zippo expertise in any aspect of natural science compentent to argue anything in the field? Since Bernard and I crushed many of your pithy and vacuous arguments, you must be despertate to find anyone – anywhere – who you think can even the score.

    I left this thread because frankly I felt embarrassed at some of your arguments – particularly those with respect to biodiversity. I could obtain more knowledge from many elementary school students than the kind of jibberish you were spewing out. Every every time I put one of your arguments away, you’d flee back to your already discredited C02 ferilizer effect argument, while making frankly absurd notions about C02 emission controls generating mass famine. I can assure you that most of my colleagues burst into laughter when I told them what they thought of the idea. For most scientists with any knowledge of complex adaptive systems, such a gross oversimplification isn’t something to be taken seriously. Hence the laughter. You do not understand the dynamics of non-linear systems. To you, a change in variable ‘A’ means a positive net effect for variable ‘B’. Forget variables ‘C’ to ‘Z’ and beyond – you do not understand them so they do not count. This is why I am sick and tired of wasting my precious time on this thread. If you had some stature in the field of science, I would be more interested. But you have none. Nil. Your next opus is due to come out in a largely contrarian journal that does not even appear on the Science Citation Index. Why did you choose it, Tim? Why didn’t you risk testing your idea in a more rigid journal? Why must you stick to those know for publishing contarian stuff, and which are mostly overlooked by the scientific community?

    What I find so amusing is that seriously scientific bodies and reports – the IPCC, the Milennium Ecosystem Assessment etc. are ridculed by someone like you, and that any people you can find to join you in your denial (the majority of whom either do not work in the field or are not qualified to) are cheered to the rafters. Carter wasn’t at the conference in 2002 – I was. What the hell does he know about the field of climate science? How can he make frankly absurd remarks like when he said’, with not a shred of evidence, that it is likely to begin cooling in the near future?

    I have spent the past 20 years of my life in science, and the past 14 in population ecology. I am wise enough to defer to the expertise of those in other fields (like climate science) who are in broad agreement that humans are forcing climatic patterns at the global level. I am also have enough experience to understand that it takes very many years of intensive research to develop real expertise in anyb field of science. What I find both amusing and annoying is that virtual neophytes – like you, for instance – do not hold any such reservations when it comes into wading into other complex fields that you have not studied. I’ve had many exchanges with ‘experts’ before in ecology whose ‘expertise’ consisted of watching Animal Planet or reading articles in nature magazines or books. Methinks Tim some humility on your part would go a long way towards enabling readers to give your views a small hint of credibility. But thus far I have seen no evidence of it. You write here as if you have some innate expertise in a wide range of exceedingly complex fields in Earth science. You may fool the lay reader but you do not fool me.

  38. #38 Tim Curtin
    April 17, 2009

    Sod: Your latest map link has anomalies from 1980 to 2009 against the mean for 1950-1980. Just by chance 25 of those base years were in the well known cool post-war period. Why anomalies anyway, they always beg the question of why that choice of base period, and different from GISS to Hadley to NOAA. I always prefer to handle actual data, not somebody’s massaged version a la IPCC and Raupach & co. All the same your map shows about a third of the globe with NO data, and another third or so with no warming or even cooling, like most of Australia yet you claim a “global” temperature rise from 1980. If GISS & co were honest and transparent (joke!) they would publish in Excel their grids with each met station named and with the actual data for each over the whole cited time period.

    Your second map also shows that apart from top end of NH there was little or no “warming’ over most the globe from March 1980 to March 09.

    I see you also keep repeating your canrd that because there is a “simple 100km grid over Britain” that shows that ‘basically all modern Met services have that kind of data” That really is a joke! Eg DR Congo, Liberia, Somalia, Zimbabwe, PNG, to name just a few. Dream on. Not even Russia provides that anymore. And that is for now. How about 1900, when as NOAA shows there were at most half a dozen Met stations in Africa.

    I still await your no doubt stellar guidance to USA and China on how to use Tit for Tat when they play the PD game at Copenhagen.

  39. #39 sod
    April 17, 2009

    Curtin, for a start, the gridded data of the map can be found at the bottom of the map.

    you look very stupid. again.

    how it is calculated, is described in pretty much detail on the site as well.

    more information soon, need to do some shopping…

  40. #40 P. Lewis
    April 17, 2009

    Why anomalies anyway, they always beg the question of why that choice of base period, and different from GISS to Hadley to NOAA. I always prefer to handle actual data, not somebody’s massaged version a la IPCC and Raupach & co.

    ???

    TC drops himself in it once again it would seem!

    Anyone not knowing why temperature anomalies are used rather than actual temperatures has no real business looking at the (real or anomaly) data at all … IMHO anyway.

    The actual, real, physical temperatures have no real importance other than to anyone requiring to know the exact temperature, at the exact station, at the exact time the measurement was taken. They have little/no validity beyond that particular station, whereas temperature anomalies can be copmared amongst any station easily and are known to be strongly correlated out to distances of the order of 1000 km.

    As to base periods, and any differences there may be between different datasets’ base periods, they have no real effect. All the choice of base period does is change the place of the zero on the temperature axis. When the differences in the zero points are taken into account, then there are no statistical differences between the Hadley and GISS datasets (for example). A 0.1°C difference in one dataset is the same 0.1°C difference in another.

    Oh, and the reasons for the choice of different base periods? Historical and practical. After all, a satellite temperature anomaly base period starting from, say, 1961 is (not to put too fine a point on it) extremely unlikely, isn’t it?

  41. #41 sod
    April 17, 2009

    Sod: Your latest map link has anomalies from 1980 to 2009 against the mean for 1950-1980. Just by chance 25 of those base years were in the well known cool post-war period

    you can use the map tool for yourself. if you think my base period is wrong, just use a different one and for once in a lifetime, prove it!

    Why anomalies anyway, they always beg the question of why that choice of base period, and different from GISS to Hadley to NOAA. I always prefer to handle actual data, not somebody’s massaged version a la IPCC and Raupach & co.

    anomalies, because without them, you can t compare global temperature data. unless you have by chance a very good knowledge of the typical temperature in southern Germany, the absolute numbers wouldn t have any meaning to you.

    there is no “choice” of base period forced upon you. you can simply change it, if you don t like it.

    All the same your map shows about a third of the globe with NO data,

    again, try to catch up with the original claim made. nobody said, that we have perfect data for the middle of the atlantic since 1880. the claim was about a map grid turning red, when comparing temperature data to the past. that is exactly what those maps show!

    Your second map also shows that apart from top end of NH there was little or no “warming’ over most the globe from March 1980 to March 09.

    you did not understand the [graph](http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/do_nmap.py?year_last=2009&month_last=03&sat=4&sst=0&type=anoms&mean_gen=03&year1=1980&year2=2009&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=1200&pol=reg).

    even the white parts might be warming (up to 0.2°C, over 50 years!)

    the red and dark orange parts that you obviously concentrate on, are just the tip of the iceberg and show warming up to 4°C!

    they would publish in Excel their grids with each met station named and with the actual data for each over the whole cited time period.

    as i said above, all the data is available. not in EXCEL though. poor Tim! (you surely did a lot of mathematical/statistical work in science over your life, didn t you?)

    ‘basically all modern Met services have that kind of data” That really is a joke! Eg DR Congo,

    do you claim that Congo has a modern met service? are you nuts?

    I still await your no doubt stellar guidance to USA and China on how to use Tit for Tat when they play the PD game at Copenhagen.

    i ll do that, as soon as you showed me, that you have a basic understanding of the prisoners dilemma. for a start, simply admit that your PUBLISHED (!!!) description of the PD is false.
    it doesn t make sense to explain tit for tat in PD to you, when you don t understand PD.

  42. #42 Tim Curtin
    April 17, 2009

    P. Lewis and Sod: shout as much as you like, all data sets purporting to show global temeperature rise since 1880 or 1900 are invalid because of the very exigent coverage of the tropiocs everywhere and of Africa and much of the Pacific.

    The real reason your mates at Hadley & GISS like anomalies is that they make their graphs look scary, while plotting global temps with 0 = 0 oC and a rise from 13.9 to 14.6 between 1900 and 2008 looks and is innocuous, especially if the 13.9 in 1900 is corrected for the absence of the tropics. The grossly inflated (by 100) anomaly scale was invented to fool Al Gore Nicholas Stern and Ross Garnaut et al and succeeded brilliantly.

    Sod: it was your claim that if UK has a modern met then Congo etc have modern met services, because you used that claim also against Michael Carter’s correct statement about the absence of gridded records for 1900 etc. You are the one who is nuts.

    I had said “I still await your no doubt stellar guidance to USA and China on how to use Tit for Tat when they play the PD game at Copenhagen”. So you admit you can’t, despite your superior knowledge. My account of the PD is the same in all relevant respects as Wiki’s (after all I used Wiki as well as von Neumann).

  43. #43 Tim Curtin
    April 17, 2009

    Jeff: I find your posts here and elsewhere rather sad, you are clearly desperately insecure when you keep bragging about your career, a kind of inverted ad hominem. Are you sure your colleagues are not laughing at rather than with you? Certainly I cannot credit that they are unaware of the importance of food supply for all living plant and animal species.

    Here’s a thought experiment for you: my Spelt breakfast flakes have 78.7 grams of carbohydrate per 100 grams.

    Wiki:
    Carbohydrates (from ‘hydrates of carbon’) or saccharides (Greek σάκχαρον, sákcharon, meaning “sugar”) are the most abundant of the four major classes of biomolecules. They fill numerous roles in living things, such as the storage and transport of energy (eg: starch, glycogen) and structural components (eg: cellulose in plants, chitin and cartilage in animals). Additionally, carbohydrates and their derivatives play major roles in the working process of the immune system, fertilization, pathogenesis, blood clotting, and development.[1]

    And as you seem to have fogotten if you ever knew:

    “Carbohydrates are the main energy source for the human body. Chemically, carbohydrates are organic molecules in which carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen bond together in the ratio: Cx(H2O)y, where x and y are whole numbers that differ depending on the specific carbohydrate to which we are referring. Animals (including humans) break down carbohydrates during the process of metabolism to release energy.

    For example, the chemical metabolism of the sugar glucose is shown below:

    C6H12O6 + 6 O2 6 CO2 + 6 H2O + energy

    Animals obtain carbohydrates by eating foods that contain them, for example potatoes, rice, breads, and so on. These carbohydrates are manufactured by plants during the process of photosynthesis. Plants harvest energy from sunlight to run the reaction just described in reverse:

    6 CO2 + 6 H2O + energy (from sunlight) C6H12O6 + 6 O2″

    Jeff: Now where do the 6 CO2 come from? If say 7 billion people now have the equivalent of 100 grams of cereal a day, how many such serves did the 4.4 billion people have in 1980? Do you agree that if most of those people were not eating on that kind of scale, we would not have nearly 7 billion people now?

    But we do, and if the 4.4 ate 50 or 100 grams of cereal-equivalent per day (in carbohydrate terms), the 7 billion probably eat double that (allowing for rising living standards). So I ask again, where did the extra CO2 in the 78.7 g of carbohydrate per 100 g per capita for the extra c.2.6 billion people around now relative to 1980 come from?

    Everything you have to say becomes nothing when you ignore food. I shall be in Europe in August and would gladly come to Holland and tell your mates about food, a topic of which they clearly know nothing if they do laugh with you.

  44. #44 Nathan
    April 17, 2009

    Tim
    “Now where do the 6 CO2 come from?”
    ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! Are you serious? You think there is some missing CO2?? YOU ARE A WHACK POT! Man you are sooooooooooooo stupid.

    Do you understand the concept of breathing out?

    Are Human’s somehow these giant CO2 absorbing machines that once we eat something (that has consumed CO2), somehow that CO2 is now gone and doesn’t re-enter the biosphere? You are so ignorant it is hilarious. Treasure yourself Tim, because you are very entertaining.

    You know what? The shit coming out of your mouth is enough to replenish the whole biosphere you moron, Tim. By God, do you think before you comment?

  45. #45 Tim Curtin
    April 17, 2009

    Nathan: thanks for those erudite comments, but thank goodness I no longer have to supervise cretinous PhD canadidates like you.

    Actually I have for years pointed out that all IPCC projections ignore anthropogenic and other animal exhalation, which means that the level of absorption of CO2 reported by the Global Carbon Project led by Mike Raupach, one of the less brilliant pupils at Adelaide of one of my London University mates in 1961-63, is seriously underestimated.

    Nathan, when you start your post-grad studies, do try to be a little more humble, and note that of course the REAL global carbon budget, unlike that of the IPCC and Raupach et al., includes all respiration and exhalation. But when given as we are every year the level at Mauna Loa of the Airborne Fraction of ALL CO2 emissions,that means that for every understatement of emissions, a corresponding understatement of absorption, represented by increased food crop yield and output.

    I have to confess that if I had used your language to my supervisors and tutors at LSE, I would not have lasted very long. O tempora o mores!

  46. #46 Bernard J.
    April 17, 2009

    There is other stuff to which I intend to reply later, but:

    I shall be in Europe in August and would gladly come to Holland and tell your mates about food, a topic of which they clearly know nothing if they do laugh with you.

    I would dearly love for Curtin to present a seminar at Jeff’s institution. Please, please, please – might this be arranged?

    I am sure that with an abstract sumbitted well in advance, and with a paper pending in E&E that will turn ecology and plant physiology on their heads, Radium Water Tim will have the stadium packed.

    Please arrange it Jeff, and post a record of the result on Youtube.

    Please, please, please!

  47. #47 Bernard J.
    April 17, 2009

    Nathan: thanks for those erudite comments, but thank goodness I no longer have to supervise cretinous PhD canadidates like you.

    [snip]

    I have to confess that if I had used your language to my supervisors and tutors at LSE, I would not have lasted very long. O tempora o mores!

    Not one to let a little hypocrisy get in the way, eh, Curtin?

    Just to remind you (and the thread in general), here are just a few samples of your own efforts at name-calling, culled from a [larger sampling]( http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/01/windschuttle_hoaxed.php#comment-1458144) of the more general ad hominems, slanders, and libels that you are wont to liberally sprinkle through your own posts.

    At post #141:

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

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

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

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

    At post #166:

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

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

    At post #217:

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

    At post #255:

    “That reminds me of Einstein’s riposte to the 100 jerks like Smith, Solomon,

    At post #286:

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

    And just to repeat, there’s your effort at #342 above

    “… thank goodness I no longer have to supervise cretinous PhD canadidates like you.”

    Curtin, you’re hardly one to go all princessy about mud-slinging.

    O tempora o mores, indeed…

    And seriously, I suspect that there are many potential PhD candidates who are thanking goodness even more fervently than you, that they do not have to be supervised by the scientific/data analysing catastrophe that you have repeatedly shown yourself to be.

    And yes, I include even economics PhDs in this group.

  48. #48 Ian Forrester
    April 17, 2009

    Tim Curtin said: “Its problem is that it is NPK, and that is inappropriate for crops like most cereals”. WOW what a revelation, no wonder farmers are having such a hard time. They are wasting all that money, and making fertilizer companies rich, by adding millions of dollars worth of these “worthless” elements to their fields.

    I can’t wait to get out and tell all my farmer friends this previously unknown fact. I’m sure they will reward me by giving me at least 10% of the money they will save by not adding any NPK onto their crops. I will become very wealthy, thanks for the tip Tim. When will you be getting your Nobel Prize for this wonderful news, after all they (obviously falsely now) gave Borlaug the Prize for telling farmers to use more nitrogen on their crops?

    You are as ignorant of biochemistry as of everything else you tell us. Please explain to me where carbohydrates are involved in the immune system and in blood clotting? I was always led to believe that the immunoglobulins were protein in nature. Don’t tell me that biochemists have been as misinformed as farmers. And as for the blood clotting agents, I was also taught that they were protein in nature (don’t confuse the term glycoprotein and carbohydrate, they are as different as chalk and cheese).

    Good grief you are an ignorant blowhard who loves to see himself in print even though it is self published on blogs.

  49. #49 Tim Curtin
    April 18, 2009

    Jeff : trading Cvs as you do, here is a note on species extinction from David Stockwell’s lecture at Newcastle NSW 2 days ago: First his CV in brief.

    • David Stockwell: PhD Ecosystem Dynamics Australian National University
    • Stats Consultant to NPWS, LWRRDC, P&WS 5 years
    • Assistant Research Scientist University of California San Diego 10 yrs
    • ~1000 citations (Google Scholar)
    • 1 book, 30 peer-reviewed papers
    • Panelist for NASA, NSF, AAAS, Presidential Com.

    Next his comment on the claim by Thomas et al (did you contribute, or do you endorse?)
    “… we predict, on the basis of mid-range climate-warming scenarios for 2050, that 15–37% of species in our sample of regions and taxa will be ‘committed to extinction’.” – Chris Thomas et al. 2004.

    “..Global estimates of extinctions due to climate change (Thomas et al. 2004) may have greatly overestimated the probability of extinction as a result of the inherent variability in niche modeling (e.g., Thuiller et al. 2004). It is a problem when a paper reports on minor uncertainties and does not describe major uncertainties.” – Bodkin et al. (19 authors including DRBS) 2007.

    Best

    Tim

  50. #50 Tim Curtin
    April 18, 2009

    Bernard J; Thanks for that splendid collection of quotes from my posts here, much appreciated. Please combine them all as my comment on these gems from Obama’s chief scientist John Holdren:

    “The president’s new science adviser said Wednesday (8 April 09) that global warming is so dire, the Obama administration is discussing radical technologies to cool Earth’s air. John Holdren told The Associated Press in his first interview since being confirmed last month that the idea of geoengineering the climate is being discussed. One such extreme option includes shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun’s rays. Holdren said such an experimental measure would only be used as a last resort.”

    If that is not dire beyond belief what would be? It certainly vindicates every one of your quotes from my comments on Stanford and NAS. Don Quixote, thou shouldst be alive in this our hour of need. I lived in London when we had just such pollution particles in the upper atmosphere, and for much of the year it was darkness at noon.

    But if we go back a bit, Holdren is even worse;

    He and his completely loopy mentor Paul Ehrlich had this to say about Sir John Maddox (who died this week aged 83, he served twice as editor of Nature) back in 1972: “The most serious of Maddox’s many demographic errors is his invocation of a ‘demographic transition’ as the cure for population growth in Asia, Africa and Latin America. He expects that birth rates there will drop as they did in developed countries following the industrial revolution. Since most underdeveloped countries are unlikely to have an industrial revolution, this seems somewhat optimistic at best.
    –Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren, The Times, 26 June 1972”

    Here again we see the implicit racism of the Stanford and NAS groups, condemning Koreans, Chinese, Indians, Malaysians, Thais, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, South Africans et al to perpetual population growth at their rates in 1970-72. Those countries accounted for c. 4.3 billion (76%) of global population of 5.9 billion in 1998 and were all “underdeveloped” in 1972. But they all increased their life expectancies and reduced their population growth rates after 1972 despite up to halving their infant mortality rates. So obviously Holdren was right, there has been no demographic transition, none of them industrialised because they were all non-WASPS, or is he not indeed a jerk?

    Fast forward again to the Senate hearing that confirmed Holdren as Obama’s science advisor:

    Then there was the hearing in the Senate to confirm another physicist, John Holdren, to be the president’s science adviser. Dr. Holdren was asked about some of his gloomy neo-Malthusian warnings in the past, like his calculation in the 1980s that famines due to climate change could leave a billion people dead by 2020. Did he still believe that?

    “I think it is unlikely to happen,” Dr. Holdren told the senators, but he insisted that it was still “a possibility” that “we should work energetically to avoid.” By reducing the CO2 that has allowed rising global food production?

  51. #51 John M
    April 18, 2009

    I started reading this thread and links fairly carefully, thinking that I may have overlooked some sound argumentation from climate change sceptics that could cause me to rethink my current understanding. I was early on partly disabused of that notion by TC’s use of the word “proof” when he actually meant “evidence” – something a reputable scientist should never overlook, not even in a moment of forgetfulness. Then I found:

    #33 “Wow, this thread sure has attracted the usual rent-a-crowd of crackpot climate change alarmists! Here are the facts, sheeple.”

    Four ad homs in the opening paragraph, followed by praise from the thread’s main protagonist for this posting, enables me to slink away secure in the knowledge that Mr Curtin has nothing to offer me, or any one else, in my search truth.

  52. #52 Tim Curtin
    April 18, 2009

    John M (for Mashey?): Ever heard of irony? and what have you offered to the debate? (here or anywhere?)

  53. #53 Bernard J.
    April 18, 2009

    Bernard: First, I am getting a bit tired of your treating me as if I am your employee when you have so far failed to pay me a dime for the various refs. and other info. I have given you.

    If I was treating you as my employee, I would have fired you for incompetence the day I first posted on Deltoid.

    I note though that, as someone who makes claims to deserving payment, you have not reciprocated with an offer to pay for the many dozens of hours that Jeff and I have spent attempting to educate you, nor for the huge amount of “reference [material] and other info[rmation]” that we have provided in attempting to enlighten you. Given that the material that we have provided for you is spectacularly more defensible than anything which you have managed to provide, I would say that the tab is hugely not in your favour.

    One of the nice things about the memory of the Interweb, and of the common habit these days of people to Google a prospective consultant or consultancy, is that anyone checking up on Tim Curtin will likely hit Deltoid’s pages in the first pass, and most likely this and the previous thread. I imagine that their impressions will be almost universally unfavourable, and it pleases me to think that it is by your own hand you might be dissuading prospective clients.

    Oh, and I am sure that many here are tiring of your bastardisation of science.

    Until you do offer to pay me at my usual rate these days, $1000 per day plus expenses, I see no need to rush my pending article.

    “$1000 per day plus expenses”?!

    [Guffaw, choke]

    Curtin, you’re hilariously deluded if that is truly how you price your own ‘expertise’. I would not pay you one tenth of that, nor even one hundredth, given the tedious catalogue of incompetence with basic data manipulation and with entry-level science that you so consistently display here and elsewhere.

    Oh, and as you have entered into a public dialog of your own volition, with no mention of a contract, nor of a memo of understanding, I fail to see how you can be such a princess and start demanding money. If this is how you organise your economic activity, it’s a further indictment of your professional capacity; or rather, the singular lack thereof.

    Furthermore, the conventions of scientific debate require that one expeditiously provides the evidence to support any claims one makes, and ethics would certainly dictate that if the import of theories such as yours were provable, one should tell the world at large about them as quickly as possible, and without any thought of personal profit.

    Of course, your subtext is most likely something to the effect that “because I am unable to address the mounting litany of questions that Jeff, Bernard, sod and others have been directing at me, I will simply prevaricate, or better yet, take my bat and ball and go home”.

    So when you say “Curtin does not account for variables such as fossil-fuel-driven mechanisation, plant ‘improvements’ (eg the introduction of shorter-stemmed varieties that put more biomass into seed), non-biological technological innovation, political influences, and evolving cultural practices, amongst other cofactors”, how do you know? Pay up, then I will reveal all.

    Curtin, instead of hiding behind your own hastily erected paywall, is it more accurate to say that you have not done the sufficiently extensive analyses required to address the substance of my point?

    Indeed, is this the reason that you said:

    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… 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.

    Has it actually sunk into your skull that you would be hung out to dry if you published the codswallop that you have promoted on the Deltoid threads?

    Meantime you are wrong on each point [prove it] (except political influences and cultural practices, what might they be, and how do I get them into a regression?).

    Exactly. Is the penny dropping yet?

    Then dear Bernard, you are quite wrong when you claim the following: “In the last 50 years, with the essentially exponential increase in human population, there has been an enormous area of land progressively cleared of original vegetation in order to make way for agriculture. Much of this clearing occurs in areas of quite good, or even of excellent, fertility and the requirement for additional fertiliser input in the initial years is low or non-existent. This will lead to a productivity signal that needs to account not only for the additional area put under production, but that accounts for the variable requirement of fertiliser under the circumstances described in the previous sentence”.

    Demonstrate how I am wrong.

    But your spirit medium goes on that you doubt that I have “considered these (or any of a number of other essential cofactors)” in my regressions. So you are the one hacking into my computer, but missing the current files? Interesting.

    My spirit medium?! No Curtin, it is simply your analytical and scientific ineptitude that leads all of us here to doubt your capacity for thorough and necessary consideration of all of the requisite parameters and procedures for an appropriate analysis.

    And hacking into your computer? Perhaps you should consider the possibility testing for of delusional paranoia as well as for the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    The world’s population has much more than doubled since I was at school 54 years ago; one way or another the increment has increased its consumption of wheaties or rice krispies or equivalent at least pro rata, more as clearly world living standards have improved since 1955, especially in almost the whole of Asia. Where did that extra carbohydrate come from? From thin air,or CO2-enriched air?

    For the umpteenth time, the provision of plant production for human use is not limited by the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Had CO2 hypothetically not increased over the last 150 years, plants could still have provided the same concentration of elements in our food as they do now.

    You really haven’t understood how plants garner the requisite building blocks for growth and for energy storage, have you? How is it that you think plants are able to concentrate CO2 from a starting level of 280ppm, to a concentration in their tissues of about three orders of magnitude greater than this?

    Do you understand the question?

    Perhaps if I put it another way…

    The total mass of carbon dioxide [in the atmosphere]( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide#In_the_Earth.27s_atmosphere) is 3 000 gigatonnes. The total mass of carbon in the [biosphere]( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_cycle#In_the_biosphere) is 42 000 gigatonnes. The [oceanic]( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_cycle#In_the_ocean) mass of carbon is 36 000 gigatonnes.

    Doing a back-of-the-envelope calculation, I figure that one billion human bodies, weighing on average 60kg, contain 0.0108 gigtonne carbon. Seven billion humans would represent 0.0756 gigtonne carbon.

    How is it that the biochemistry of the planet moves this carbon around? What equilibria will operate if several billion extra humans are added to the planet, assuming that the non-human biomass remains constant? What equilibria will operate if several billion extra humans are added to the planet, assuming the more likely scenario where much of the biomass, represented by non-human taxa, is decreased?

    Come on Curtin, you surely have the answer to these questions.

    Put up your analysis.

    Finally, BPL kindly sent me his fertilizer data in Excel format, saving me the time consuming chore you describe.

    “Time consuming”?!

    Curtin, it literally took me about 20 seconds to go from Barton’s post, to graphing the data in Excel.

    How incompetent are you in handling exceedingly simple data?

    Seriously…

    Its problem is that it is NPK, and that is inappropriate for crops like most cereals.

    Ah, so no doubt you have also incorporated differential nutrient use, and different photosynthetic modes, as parameters in your regressions.

    Dr David Petley, Profesor of Landslides at Durham University, has, unlike Nathan, published extensively, but only on landslides.

    As Dr Dave has noted, he has published on more than just landslides, which in itself is more science than you have ever published on.

    What is your point?

    I have for years pointed out that all IPCC projections ignore anthropogenic and other animal exhalation, which means that the level of absorption of CO2 reported by the Global Carbon Project led by Mike Raupach, one of the less brilliant pupils at Adelaide of one of my London University mates in 1961-63, is seriously underestimated.

    What do you think the turnover time of animal-based carbon is? How do you think this relates to the significance of anthropogenic carbon emissions to the atmosphere?

    I will repeat – I really, really hope that Jeff Harvey considers your offer to speak to his colleagues at their institution in the Netherlands. It would be one of the most entertaining expositions on biological processes that Europe will see this year.

  54. #54 Tim Curtin
    April 19, 2009

    Dear Bernard: Virtually none of your refs have been to the point, which is what happens to world food supply if emissions are reduced to below 2 GtC p.a. while current net NEW absorptions of CO2 emissions, in the form mostly of biomass, are over 6 GtC. Does food supply increase or decrease with emissions at less than 2 GtC?

    Most of your 1,500 words are pure ad hominem. BTW, even though retired (I am 71 years old) I have a standing invitation to provide services at $1000 per day when I feel like it. What do you earn? Anyway I don’t need your financing, but when you demand services from me, pay up front.

    Finally, near the end of your diatribe, you do ask some useful questions.

    1. You claimed “the provision of plant production for human use is not limited by the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere”. So if there was no CO2 in the atmosphere, there would still be plant production? You must have been changing nappies when you wrote that.

    2. “Had CO2 hypothetically not increased over the last 150 years, plants could still have provided the same concentration of elements in our food as they do now’’. How, when they are now feeding 7 times more people than they did in 1800? Are you saying there has been no increase in food production since 1800? If there has been, where did the extra CO2 come from?

    3. “How is it that [I] think plants are able to concentrate CO2 from a starting level of 280ppm, to a concentration in their tissues of about three orders of magnitude greater than this?” There seems to be a confusion here. Each individual plant has much the same chemical concentration now as it ever did. Plants in aggregate now absorb more CO2 than they ever did, simply because there are hugely increased volumes of annual production of wheat, rice, soy, rice, corn etc etc.

    4. You said “The total mass of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 3 000 gigatonnes. The total mass of carbon in the biosphere is 42 000 gigatonnes. The oceanic mass of carbon is 36 000 gigatonnes. Doing a back-of-the-envelope calculation, I figure that one billion human bodies, weighing on average 60kg, contain 0.0108 gigatonne carbon. Seven billion humans would represent 0.0756 gigatonne carbon.” Either you were drunk or changing nappies yet again. We agree, the average human body of 60 kg contains 18% carbon. That means for 1 billion humans we had 10,800 GtC (or 10.8 TtC), and for 7 Billion (soon) we will have 75,600 GtC (TtC 75.6), an increase of nearly 65,000 GtC. Your back of the envelope got your decimal points wrong. In addition we have livestock, which have increased from say circa 2X us pro rata since 1750. Also, you are citing only the STOCK of carbon in our bodies, ignoring the energy which most of us expend in our daily lives. Anyway with your habitual arrogance, you claim that 7 billion humans embody only 0.0756 GtC, whereas the actual figure is TtC 75.6. I rest my case.

    5. Get back to me when you can explain how the total increase in human carbon content rose from 10.8 TtC to 75.6 TtC WITHOUT producing any reduction in the addition of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere.

  55. #55 P. Lewis
    April 19, 2009

    More BOE:

    1 kg = 0.001 t

    60 kg = 0.06 t

    Carbon in 1 person is 18% of 0.06 t = 0.0108 t

    Carbon in 7 billion persons = 0.0108 t × 7 × 109 = 7.56 × 107 t = 0.0756 Gt

    Mind you, I’ve just finished changing a nappy.

    More bullcarp!

  56. #56 sod
    April 19, 2009

    Either you were drunk or changing nappies yet again. We agree, the average human body of 60 kg contains 18% carbon. That means for 1 billion humans we had 10,800 GtC (or 10.8 TtC), and for 7 Billion (soon) we will have 75,600 GtC (TtC 75.6), an increase of nearly 65,000 GtC. Your back of the envelope got your decimal points wrong.

    now it is very early over here, but a gigaton seems to be one billion tons.

    if each person weights a ton, then 7 billion people would weight 7 gigatons.

    my bet is on Bernard s result…

  57. #57 P. Lewis
    April 19, 2009

    Ah!

    TtC = tonnes according to Tim Curtin.
    GtC = garbage according to Tim Curtin.

    I’ll let the reader work out the you nit FtC.

  58. #58 sod
    April 19, 2009

    ok Tim Curtin, now you have figured out that the unit (gigaton) that is utterly crucial to all your “calculations”, turns out to have 3 more digits than you thought it had.

    i am really curious: will this make a difference to all your “calculations”?

    will you even decide to bring up an excuse for this most embarrassing revelation? or for the tone in which you wrote it?

    let me repeat, what i have told you quite often now:

    you always have the basics wrong. you simply do not understand the most fundamental aspects of the stuff that you are talking about. you are disgrace, even for the denialist camp!

  59. #59 Tim Curtin
    April 19, 2009

    We are all wrong, only some more than others.

    I confess the CO2 pollutant in my Gs & ts after tennis made me lose track of decimal points, so apologies, especially to Bernard. However he Lewis and Sod overlook that the carbon in the average person’s body is a stock, and in no way measures the flows over a year. None of us would survive on a carbon intake of just 10.8 kg a year, and what we eat does not only manifest in body weight but also in expenditure in the form of mental and physical energy. So what was Bernard’s point?

  60. #60 Eli Rabett
    April 19, 2009

    “$1000 per day plus expenses”?!

    [Guffaw, choke]

    Curtin, you’re hilariously deluded if that is truly how you price your own ‘expertise’. I would not pay you one tenth of that, nor even one hundredth, given the tedious catalogue of incompetence with basic data manipulation and with entry-level science that you so consistently display here and elsewhere.

    For the folk who pay Curtin, it’s a feature, not a bug

  61. #61 Bernard J.
    April 19, 2009

    You claimed “the provision of plant production for human use is not limited by the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere”. So if there was no CO2 in the atmosphere, there would still be plant production? You must have been changing nappies when you wrote that.

    Curtin, learn to parse a sentence carefully. I said “…the concentration in the atmosphere…” I didn’t say “if”, or “what if”. Any half-competent person would understand that I was referring to real concentrations, and not to arbitrary and impossible-to-attain hypothetical concentrations.

    How many ways do you intend to show the world what a prat you are?

    The simple fact is that the current, and indeed the historical, concentrations of atmospheric CO2 are sufficient to provide the energetic/biomass productivity that has been previously required by humans, that is now required by humans, and that will be required by humans, as long as they do not compromise the global ecosystem integrity. Atmospheric CO2 concentration is not the limiting factor.

    If you spent a little time to dwell upon the numbers I provided to you, and upon the questions of equilibria between the various carbon partitions, you might eventually understand what it is that we are trying to teach you.

    I said:

    “Had CO2 hypothetically not increased over the last 150 years, plants could still have provided the same concentration of elements in our food as they do now’’.

    and you responded:

    How, when they are now feeding 7 times more people than they did in 1800?

    How?

    Consider the relatively tiny fraction of total global biomass that humanity represents (your entertaining calculations notwithstanding). Consider the fact that we are coopting biomass from other species that are, as a consequence of our activities, reduced in their relative biomass representations. Consider especially the nature of biochemical equilibria between oceanic, atmospheric and biospheric carbon partitions, because if you have half a clue about undergraduate-level chemistry you might intuit how such equilibria shift to accommodate the relatively minor dynamic changes that you allude to.

    With respect to this last, consider how a chemical buffering system works.

    And finally, consider opening your mouth somewhat more carefully before you change feet.

    Are you saying there has been no increase in food production since 1800?

    Of course not.

    Very juvenile attempt at a strawman, though. Are you aiming for Prat of the Year?

    If there has been, where did the extra CO2 come from?

    As my previous answer indicates, yes, there “has been”.

    And the nature of the “extra CO2” would be no mystery to someone who had half a grip on the numbers describing the carbon partitions, and who had a basic understanding of chemical equilibria.

    You obstinately refuse to enlighten yourself on these two fundamental points.

    “How is it that [I] think plants are able to concentrate CO2 from a starting level of 280ppm, to a concentration in their tissues of about three orders of magnitude greater than this?” There seems to be a [sic] confusion here. Each individual plant has much the same chemical concentration now as it ever did.

    There is no confusion. This is exactly my point.

    Plants in aggregate now absorb more CO2 than they ever did, simply because there are hugely increased volumes of annual production of wheat, rice, soy, rice, corn etc etc.

    Agricultural plants absorb more CO2 now than historically, but my point here (for the umpteenth + 1 time) is: how does this increase figure in the overall context of global carbon partitions, and with the dynamic shifts of global carbon equilibria?

    You steadfastly refuse to educate yourself about the nature of these two fundamentally simple points.

    Then you said:

    Your back of the envelope got your decimal points wrong.

    No, you got your decimal points wrong.

    In addition we have livestock, which have increased from say circa 2X us pro rata since 1750.

    OK, let’s “say circa 2X”.

    Explain how much carbon this represents, and how it changes the proportions of the global carbon partitions.

    If you are able to, that is.

    Also, you are citing only the STOCK of carbon in our bodies, ignoring the energy which most of us expend in our daily lives.

    The carbon that is represented by “the energy which most of us expend in our daily lives” is both labile with respect to residence times in our bodies, and insignificant in comparison to the global partitions.

    You have no point.

    Anyway with your habitual arrogance, you claim that 7 billion humans embody only 0.0756 GtC, whereas the actual figure is TtC 75.6. I rest my case.

    I have been pipped by P. Lewis and sod on this one, but Curtin, really…

    Oh dear.

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear oh dear.

    The only case you rest is mine, which is that you are consistently and spectacularly incompetent in manipulating data correctly.

    How far out were you in your finger-counting? Was it by a multiple of one million?

    You were right about one aspect though… I did have a glass of wine with dinner, and I was changing nappies and feeding two babies whilst I was nutting the numbers in my head. The shame for you is that neither activity seems to have compromised my capacity for basic number-crunching.

    (OT: yay P. Lewis! Brothers in arms!)

    Get back to me when you can explain how the total increase in human carbon content rose from 10.8 TtC to 75.6 TtC WITHOUT producing any reduction in the addition of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere

    How about you return here to us when you are able to count past your fingers and toes, and when you have learned some junior high-school chemistry?

    We are all wrong, only some more than others.

    Some much more than others, and much more frequently…

    However he Lewis and Sod overlook that the carbon in the average person’s body is a stock, and in no way measures the flows over a year.

    Read what you typed Curtin. Carefully. The answers lie in your own words. Can you discern them?

    None of us would survive on a carbon intake of just 10.8 kg a year, and what we eat does not only manifest in body weight but also in expenditure in the form of mental and physical energy. So what was Bernard’s point?

    My points (and it irks me that they still elude you after weeks of egging you to think carefully about them) are that the mass of energy-providing carbon is both labile in terms of residence-time in a particular partition, and is minor in the context of the overall size of the global partitions.

    How much longer do you intend to prolong your demonstration of incapacity to engage in consideration of genuinely scientific issues that lie beyond the pseudoscience upon which you are so fixated?

  62. #62 Tim Curtin
    April 19, 2009

    Eli: “Curtin, you’re hilariously deluded if that is truly how you price your own ‘expertise’.” Nevertheless that is what I get whenever I want to (I am on retainer for that amount).

    Bernard: at #358 I said you had claimed “the provision of plant production for human use is not limited by the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere”. I was NOT referring to arbitrary and impossible-to-attain hypothetical concentrations, but only to Hansen-type targets of not more than 350 ppm. Will global food production yield the same at 350 as now at 386?

    Bernard again: “The simple fact is that the current, and indeed the historical, concentrations of atmospheric CO2 are sufficient to provide the energetic/biomass productivity that has been previously required by humans, that is now required by humans, and that will be required by humans, as long as they do not compromise the global ecosystem integrity. Atmospheric CO2 concentration is not the limiting factor.” Why not? anyway, let’s see when emissions are reduced below the current absorption of emissions by over 6 GtC.

    Then Bernard said:
    “Had CO2 hypothetically not increased over the last 150 years, plants could still have provided the same concentration of elements in our food as they do now’’.

    I responded:
    “How, when they are now feeding 7 times more people than they did in 1800?” He replied politely as ever (insult deleted): “Consider the relatively tiny fraction of total global biomass that humanity represents”.

    Like so many once again you confuse stocks with flows: the stock of carbon embodied in us at 0.076 GtC does not represent the extra anthropogenic annual uptake or throughput of carbon arising from population growth AND consumption in the form of energy use.

    Bernard again: “ Consider the fact that we are coopting biomass from other species that are, as a consequence of our activities, reduced in their relative biomass representations.” Nonsense. There are more livestock etc now than there have ever been, as well as more standing crops and forests/treecrops etc.

    Bernard; “And the nature of the “extra CO2″ would be no mystery to someone who had half a grip on the numbers describing the carbon partitions…” Seriously, please give me your numbers on those “partitions’.

    I noted that “Plants in aggregate now absorb more CO2 than they ever did, simply because there are hugely increased volumes of annual production of wheat, rice, soy, rice, corn etc etc.”

    Bernard responded: “Agricultural plants absorb more CO2 now than historically, but my point here (for the umpteenth + 1 time) is: how does this increase figure in the overall context of global carbon partitions, and with the dynamic shifts of global carbon equilibria?” Do tell me , so far you never have.

    Bernard, finally for now at least, please explain what you mean when you say that the carbon that is represented by “the energy which most of us expend in our daily lives is both labile with respect to residence times in our bodies, and insignificant in comparison to the global partitions” (such as the annual oceanic and global oceanic and terrestrial absorptions of emissions at over 6 GtC in 2008?). If our total usage of the biospheres’ absorption is less than 6 GtC, what happens to the rest? Could it be that the world’s forests and tree crops are expanding?

  63. #63 Lee
    April 19, 2009

    Bernard:
    “My points (and it irks me that they still elude you after weeks of egging you to think carefully about them)…’

    I suspect that his claimed $1,000 / day retainer is real, and that TC is finding it highly profitable to let those points continue to elude him.

    TC cant reliably do basic math – he repeatedly makes order of magnitude errors that would embarrass a middle school student. He can’t handle dead-simple data manipulation, being stumped by the task of taking a data array in a blog and moving it to Excel. He dismisses NPK fertilization as “inappropriate” for cereal crops, ignores “green revolution” ag practices and crop breeding, and claims increased [CO2] as necessary and sufficient for the increase in ag primary productivity over the last decades – with no evidence that it is either necessary or sufficient other than a correlation.

    And all this before even getting to his embarrassing absurdities in ecology.

    If someone is paying TC $1,000 / day for work in anything at all related to this field we’re discussing (and I rather believe that he is on retainer for that much) then it is for something other than his analytic abilities.

  64. #64 Bernard J.
    April 19, 2009

    Curtin says:

    I was NOT referring to arbitrary and impossible-to-attain hypothetical concentrations…

    after having said:

    So if there was no CO2 in the atmosphere, there would still be plant production? [emphasis mine]

    What definition of “not” are you using?!

    And speaking of definitions, what dictionary are you using when you say:

    He replied politely as ever (insult deleted): “Consider the relatively tiny fraction of total global biomass that humanity represents”

    where “insult” = “your entertaining calculations notwithstanding”?

    A thin skin indeed. Of course, if you were more careful in your arithmetic, there would be no need to nurse such a sensitivity.

    Like so many once again you confuse stocks with flows: the stock of carbon embodied in us at 0.076 GtC does not represent the extra anthropogenic annual uptake or throughput of carbon arising from population growth AND consumption in the form of energy use.

    I most certainly do not confuse stocks with flows, and as I have said previously, if you parse with a basic level of care you would understand this.

    I have been hoping that you might respond to my goading and do the counting yourself, but it seems to have been a forlorn hope.

    So, let’s consider the daily carbon ‘flow’ through a human. We breathe about a kilogram of CO2 each day: rounding up a few grams this represents approximately 275g carbon. And we defæcate on average a little under half a kilogram per day; assuming that it is 20% carbon, and being generous in rounding, we can assume therefore that we poop another 100g carbon each day.

    That’s 375g carbon per person, per day. Naturally, you will (with careful use of a calculator or a spreadsheet) determine that this is (0.375 x 365 x 7 x 109 / 1000) tonnes, or 958.125 megatonnes of carbon pooped and breathed by humaity in a year.

    Heck, I’m feeling really generous – let’s ignore the children and malnourished masses and round it up to a neat one gigatonne exhaled and crapped out by a near-future number of humans, per year.

    But what say you?! That this is 13 times the collective mass of carbon in the same population of humanity? Well, yes, but not in any practical reality.

    Because, in reality, this is a carbon flow (as you have been at such pains to try to trip us with) and it is a component of a closed system that, excluding fossil fuel emissions, is essentially in equilibrium with the rest of the biosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere. To put it simply, as fast as we breathe and shit it out, we are taking it back on board in the form of further fixed carbon.

    “Uptake”? “Throughput”?

    The first is a logically fallacious red-herring, and is completely irrelevant to calculations of carbon budgets, except if one is pedantically accounting for additions to a population. In this case, the additional carbon processed is 375 megatons per one billion people, and no more, because every day they take on board as much ‘new’ carbon as they unload. And 375 megatons is piddlingly insignificant compared with the carbon mass in the biosphere.

    The second of your catchwords is more constructively referred to as “cycling”, and as I explained three paragraphs ago such movement of carbon between autotrophic and heterotrophic components of the biosphere represents an equilibrium which has no practical bearing upon the availability at large, of carbon to the biosphere.

    Nonsense. There are more livestock etc now than there have ever been, as well as more standing crops and forests/treecrops etc

    How many more whales are there now than there were two hundred years ago? Cod? Sardines? Elephants? Rhinoceros? Gorillas? Passenger pigeons? Gastric-brooding frogs? Giant redwoods? Amazon (et cetera) forest cover?

    That there are increases in the biomasses of certain taxa is trivially irrelevant when you so glaringly and incorrectly state that there has been an across-the-board increase in the biomass of all species.

    This is simply not true.

    Seriously, please give me your numbers on those “partitions’.

    Wakey, wakey. Start with the numbers in the previous post.

    Or do you need a bib and a plastic spoony doing aeroplane tricks?

    … please explain what you mean when you say that the carbon that is represented by “the energy which most of us expend in our daily lives is both labile with respect to residence times in our bodies, and insignificant in comparison to the global partitions…”

    If you cannot deconstruct what is a rather simple and straightforward statement, you should not be playing with this science in the first place.

    Oh, that’s right…

    If our total usage of the biospheres’ absorption is less than 6 GtC, what happens to the rest?

    For pity’s sake Curtin, I am not going to do a complete audit of the biospheric carbon cycle for you. At some point you need to start doing your own homework, and doing it correctly.

    I know that you will not pay me for any service that I provide to you in tightening up your flapping sail of a paper.

    Could it be that the world’s forests and tree crops are expanding?

    A proportion of them are, but largely because they have been decimated by historical forestry activity. It is no surprise that such areas, or areas such as abandoned farmland, are returning to forest.

    What you mean to ask is whether the standing biomass of an old-growth forest (or any other vegetation community) might be increasing, and here you will find that the answers are very much more obscure.

    Perhaps you could try to elucidate some of them…

    Or, being the economic supermodel that you seem to claim that you are, perhaps you will simply not get out of bed for less than $1000 per day before you turn your hand to work?

  65. #65 Bernard J.
    April 19, 2009

    In this case, the additional carbon processed is 375 megatons per one billion people

    Dangnabbit, I should learn to preview before I post.

    I meant, of course, “375 kilotons per one billion people”. I had ‘mega’ on the brain from typing the previous paragraphs.

    But it doesn’t help your cause at all, does it Curtin?

  66. #66 Nathan
    April 20, 2009

    So finally Tim Curtin, you can understand that the dismissal of your “6 x CO2″ problem is complete. Will you at least admit that it was a completely idiotic thing to say?

    My money is on a big NO.

    I don’t think I have ever read anything as deluded as a Tim Curtin post.

    Climb back into your right-wing think tank sewer Tim…

  67. #67 Jeff Harvey
    April 20, 2009

    Tim,

    Given that your arguments have been demolished so many times here (hats off to Bernard, Sod, Nathan, P. Lewis, Lee and others) there’s little need for me to waste any more of my time kicking the throbbing corpse remains of your nonsensical arguments.

    No need for me to say anything more about my scientific qualifications. I admit that they pale besides the qualifications of eminent researchers such as Paul Ehrlich, John Holdren and Susan Soloman, all of whom I greatly admire and who have made many profoundly influential contributions to science. All are greatly respected in the scientific community, and your bitter denunication of them is all the more indicitive of the bankrupt nature of your views to all and sundry.

    I was invited by Paul to speak at Stanfard University when I travelled to California in 2001 and it was a great honor to meet him. Like just about everyone in science I know, they deeply respect Paul’s research and of course are well aware of many of his seminal papers. By contrast, nobody I have spoken to has every heard of Tim Curtin. Strange world, isn’t it?

    Ans yes, they all laughed in hysterics when I suggested that I knew of someone who argued that humans ought to be putting more C02 into the atmosphere and not to institute regulatory limits on carbon emissions.

    The bottom line is that your arguments, Tim, have been annihalated here. In response to Bernard’s suggestion, if you are ever in the neck of the woods here I’d be happy to have you give a seminar at our institute in which you air your absurd ideas, but expect to be annihalated again. I was wondering as a matter of fact: how many international conferences (for example, the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America) have you given lectures at? I don’t mean contrarian shindigs populated by the usual right wingnuts, but actual conferences where global ecological and eco-physiological processes are discussed and debated? The odd university lecture doesn’t count either, because these are likely to be on invitation by some similar minded scribe. I mean actual international scientific conferences.

    If not, why not?

  68. #68 Tim Curtin
    April 20, 2009

    Nathan. Thanks. What will be your planet-saving Ph.D thesis topic? Can I suggest an evaluation of the EPA proposals to ban all production of any and all substances containing carbon, including urea, beers, wine, cokes, tonics, and to effect abolition of all appliances and commodities containing CO2, including refrigerators and deep freezers (whether using either CO2 or CFCs as refrigerants), fire extinguishers, air conditioners, etc.?

    Bernard J. Well that’s progress! Well done, you are nearly there when you say that us 7 billion use up “(0.375 x 365 x 7 x 109 / 1000) tonnes, or 958.125 megatonnes of carbon pooped and breathed by humanity in a year”. That’s about a third of the terrestrial uptake of CO2 emissions in 2007-08 (GCP). I well understand that you do nothing except breathe out and defecate from all you have ever contributed here. Some of us do a bit more than that.

    I accept that is a touch cruel, but you asked for it. Why not give us your expert advice on the import of this equation (for glucose):

    The chemical metabolism of the sugar glucose is shown below:

    C6H12O6 + 6 O2 > 6 CO2 + 6 H2O + energy

    Animals obtain carbohydrates by eating foods that contain them, for example potatoes, rice, breads, and so on. These carbohydrates are manufactured by plants during the process of photosynthesis. Plants harvest energy from sunlight to run the reaction just described in reverse:

    6CO2 + 6H2O + energy (from sun) > c6H12O6 + 6 O2

    Dear Bernard, please help me by quantifying these equations (into GtC) against the known terrestrial uptakes of CO2 emissions at over 3 GtC p.a. in 2006-2008.

  69. #69 Lee
    April 20, 2009

    TC,

    You are confusing stocks with flows.

  70. #70 Tim Curtin
    April 20, 2009

    Jeff said at #364: “And yes, they all laughed in hysterics (at Stanford in 2001) when I suggested that I knew of someone who argued that humans ought to be putting more C02 into the atmosphere and not to institute regulatory limits on carbon emissions”. Well that is really great for me, as I had never written a word on all the AGW tosh as of 2001. Can I add your cite to my CV?

    But dear Jeff, rest assured, by the time I have finished, Paul and Co will have heard of me. As it happens Julian Simon was a fan of mine back in 1970 after my Review of Social Economy papers in 1968-69, which correctly forecast, unlike Holdren and Ehrlich in 1972*, that industrialising 3rd world counries would see their population growth rates plummet much faster than would be achieved by flypasts of the USAF dumping condoms across India and SE Asia. Sadly Julian is no longer with us, but I will gladly repeat with Holdren his bet against Ehrlich re average prices of major non-renewable raw materials by say 2020 (just within our respective life expectancies). I will put US$10,000 into escrow at say Citigroup if you can get Holdren to take me on. How about you if they won’t?

    Thanks for your invitation to lecture to your group. I will need expenses from either London or Paris, and am already committed from 12th to 18th August, but available from 7th to 11th or 19th to 31st.

    * “The most serious of Maddox’s [then editor of Nature, died April 2009] many demographic errors is his invocation of a ‘demographic transition’ as the cure for population growth in Asia, Africa and Latin America. He expects that birth rates there will drop as they did in developed countries following the industrial revolution. Since most underdeveloped countries are unlikely to have an industrial revolution, this seems somewhat optimistic at best”.
    –Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren, The Times, 26 June 1972, displaying their innate racism.

  71. #71 Jeff Harvey
    April 20, 2009

    First of all when I mentioed that my colleagues laugh at some of the ideas you have posed, I meant my colleagues here in Holland NOW (and not in the US in 2001). Before I found Deltoid, I’d not surprisingly never heard of you as you aren’t a scientist and don’t publish your ideas in real scientific journals.

    And forgive me when I say that in my view you will remain a veritable unknown. If we do hear of you, it will be because most scientists do not take you or your ideas seriously. Why should we? You are a neophyte in my opinion. You have aboout 600-800 peer-reviewed papers and about 50 books before you will even get close to either Paul Ehrlich or John Holdren in terms of reputation. So you have a lot of work ahead of you.

    I also asked you a simple question Tim: now I need a simple answer. Have you ever spoken at a major international conference where these kinds of issues are discussed and debated? You didn’t say what the venues are in London or Paris. They could be tiddly winks competitions for all we know.

    Lastly, Julian Simon was a business economist with expertise in mail order marketing. I believe he knew squat about the natural environment, yet for some strange reason the old codger kept dabbling in areas beyond his competence. When he wrote that the planet had sufficient resources to feed an ever expanding population for the next 7 billion years he had most of us on the floor with laughter. He hadn’t done the maths. At a very modest 0.1% growth rate human biomass would be expanding faster than the universe within a few thousand years; within only 700 years there would be people standing on every square meter of the planet’s surface.

    Lastly, Simon’s bet with Paul and John proved nothing. One cannot measure the health of the biosphere or on the viability of our ecological life support systems on the basis of the price of metals. Price does not not necessarily reflect abundance but access. Paul and John should have known this. A much more relevant bet – which Julian Simon declined, knowing he would lose – is one based on various aspects of the quality of the environment. For example on biodiversity now and in ten year’s time – or on the extent of wetlands or deserts – or on soil quality and the availability of groundwater. Paul and Steve Schenider posed just such a bet on 15 points with Simon in 1994, and he declined on every one. He knew he’d lose, big time.

  72. #72 Bernard J.
    April 20, 2009

    Bernard J. Well that’s progress! Well done, you are nearly there when you say that us 7 billion use up (0.375 x 365 x 7 x 109 / 1000) tonnes, or 958.125 megatonnes of carbon pooped and breathed by humanity in a year. That’s about a third of the terrestrial uptake of CO2 emissions in 2007-08 (GCP).

    Except that it isn’t.

    Oopsadaisy yet again, Curtin. If you had read and comprehended my immediately subsequent post you would have found that I had typed “mega” where I had intended “kilo”; but after having typed “mega” in a previous paragraph, runaway fingers had other ideas.

    Oh, and the 958.125 kilotonnes represents the total cumulative mass of fæcal and respired carbon, which is not in any sense an actual ‘taken-up’ quantity. I even explained this to you Curtin: every day we breathe out and poop carbon which goes back into the cyclical equilibrium between autotrophs and heterotrophs. We eat anew what we have discarded the day before, through the beneficence of photosynthesis.

    There is no accumulation. If there were, and we kept it on board, each human would weigh an extra 137 kg after a year, in additional carbon alone. If we extrapolate from the carbon-is-18%-of body-mass figure, this means that we would each be 760 kg heavier after one year of metabolism.

    And if this mass of carbon in poop and in exhaled breath did ‘accumulate’ outside of the biospheric recyling, I rather think that we would have had global warming many millenia prior to now. In addition to mountains of shit, and not of the sort that you are prone to produce.

    Remember these to concepts, radium Water Tim: closed systems, and cyclic equilibria. They could save you an enormous amount of public humiliation.

    Every time that I think you couldn’t possibly sink lower, you manage to pull another Rabbit of Ignorance from your hat. How many ways do you intend to demonstrate to the world how hopelessly clueless you are?

    I well understand that you do nothing except breathe out and defecate from all you have ever contributed here.

    Oo, ad hom? Never mind, the hypocritical insults of someone who has demonstrated a personal sensitivity to the same such are of no consequence.

    But why don’t we put it to the readers of the thread? How many here think that I have only contributed poop and exhalations to the discussion? And how many think that Curtin is the one who is full of shit and hot air?

    Any who side with Curtin are welcome to deconstruct all of my science, by the way…

    Some of us do a bit more than that.

    The real pity is that you are not one of those people. Whether or not I am I will leave to the discernment of the readers who have been patiently watching the my efforts, and those of Jeff, sod, Ian Forrester, P. Lewis and others, to correct your continuous stream of pseudoscientific rubbish.

    I accept that is a touch cruel, but you asked for it.

    Right about now you must be feeling like a real twit, because it wasn’t me whose comprehension skills fell short of the mark – again.

    Dear Bernard, please help me by quantifying these equations (into GtC) against the known terrestrial uptakes of CO2 emissions at over 3 GtC p.a. in 2006-2008.

    Curtin, is a multiplication even as simple as that beyond you?

    Much more interesting would be a detailed elucidation of the flows of this carbon through the global trophic web, and especially how these flows will alter as the climate changes in the coming century and more.

    Also interesting would be some answers to the depressingly long list of questions, points of rebuttal, and statements of fact that have been directed at you over the last few months: answers that have been wanting for far too long.

    But that’s your style, isn’t it? Make bald-faced, patently absurd and easily rebuffed non-scientific claims, and then run away to a new line of ridiculousness when you are called on your previous egregious errors, misconceptions, and lies.

    And for this there are folk who would pay you $1000+ per day for the service.

    It just goes to show how many species of fool there are in the world.

  73. #73 Bernard J.
    April 20, 2009

    Mea culpa

    I was looking at the wrong number re the kilo/mega issue. Too many late nights changing poopy nappies and drinking wine, obviously…

    I stand self-corrected.

    The matter of the irrelevance of your claim also stands though, for the points of stock versus flow that I and lee drew your attention to.

    Jeff said:

    I was invited by Paul to speak at Stanfard University when I travelled to California in 2001 and it was a great honor to meet him. Like just about everyone in science I know, they deeply respect Paul’s research and of course are well aware of many of his seminal papers. [End of sentence: new sentence + new point] By contrast, nobody I have spoken to has every heard of Tim Curtin. Strange world, isn’t it?

    And yes, they all laughed in hysterics when I suggested that I knew of someone who argued that humans ought to be putting more C02 into the atmosphere and not to institute regulatory limits on carbon emissions.

    And Tim curtin edits it to:

    And yes, they all laughed in hysterics (at Stanford in 2001) when I suggested that I knew of someone who argued that humans ought to be putting more C02 into the atmosphere and not to institute regulatory limits on carbon emissions.

    Rather juvenile, and very medacious, twisting of Jeff’s words. Everyone knows what Jeff meant, and your attempt to torture his comments to score a tenuous point shows how desperate you are.

    Or how unable to parse a post.

    But dear Jeff, rest assured, by the time I have finished, Paul and Co will have heard of me.

    Oh, I certainly hope so!

    I shall be in Europe in August and would gladly come to Holland and tell your mates about food, a topic of which they clearly know nothing if they do laugh with you.

    Gladly? Then why say:

    Thanks for your invitation to lecture to your group. I will need expenses from either London or Paris.

    Never mind. I will gladly contribute, as someone who currently earns less than 10k pa, $50 to a fund to cover a return ticket from London or Paris to the Netherlands, and a night in an appropriately modest hotel. I am sure that there are enough others here who will pitch in – it shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred if the experience of my cousin, who last month made just such a detour to visit the relatives in Holland, is any indication.

    I am sure that Jeff will happily administer the fund, and for its acceptance I expect you to enter into a contract that dictates the nature of the seminar, and your responsibilities (and culpabilities should you capitulate) to those funding your excursion.

    Oh, I am so looking forward to this!

    A much more relevant bet – which Julian Simon declined, knowing he would lose – is one based on various aspects of the quality of the environment. For example on biodiversity now and in ten year’s time – or on the extent of wetlands or deserts – or on soil quality and the availability of groundwater. Paul and Steve Schenider posed just such a bet on 15 points with Simon in 1994, and he declined on every one. He knew he’d lose, big time.

    Curtin, I wonder if you would be willing to offer a bet with Jeff on bases similar to those he outlined above? Most particularly, would you accept such a bet if it included a clause that dealt with your claim that every species in the world is increasing in biomass?

  74. #74 Tim Curtin
    April 21, 2009

    Bernard J: if $50 is the best you can do thanks but no thanks. For you to be so brilliant and yet bring in less than $10,000 a year is a worry, my tax for 2007-2008 was 4 times that. Ironically, I could put you up for work at home at c$1000 a day (in your own time, so consistent with nappy changing etc, but less down time, as consultancy is like that, the hourly rate of c$150 may not deliver 7 times 24 every week, and your actual no. of assignments would depend on your performance and language). But why should I after your constant abuse, insults, and impertinence? I can be rude about Solomon et al et al because they are in the public domain, while neither of us is publishing here in the normal sense. But my clients and theirs whom I serve are not accustomed to your sort of language, so I would take a big risk putting your name forward (even if I had it). Yet forgive and forget… you know how to contact me privately.

  75. #75 anon
    April 21, 2009

    Quite right too, Tim Curtin, you ought to be the one employing capable professionals because at passing yourself off as one you’re a self-proven, unmitigated disaster area. As remarked somewhere above your employers are probably getting from you what they are paying for – they’re just not in the business of science or economics are they?

  76. #76 Tim Curtin
    April 21, 2009

    Brave Anon: “they’re just not in the business of science or economics are they?” Actually, yes, they are, as were all my employers from 1960 to now.

  77. #77 Nathan
    April 21, 2009

    Mine will be in Hydrogeology Tim, hardly world saving.

    I figure my world saving comes by ridiculing self-righteous right-wing nut jobs like you.

  78. #78 Tim Curtin
    April 21, 2009

    Nathan: how’s that for a cop-out? Why not do something world-saving? obviously, you are not up to it, as I knew from your first.

  79. #79 GWB's nemesis
    April 21, 2009

    Tim, were you by any chance an economic advisor to Lehman Brothers? That would explain so much…

  80. #80 Bernard J.
    April 21, 2009

    For you to be so brilliant and yet bring in less than $10,000 a year is a worry, my tax for 2007-2008 was 4 times that.

    A “worry”? What a peculiar value judgement!

    I have no mortgage, I have quartered my carbon footprint, I am doing postgraduate study, I am employed part-time in two ecological positions, I do one day per week of volunteer work in an education facility, I tend livestock, large vegetable gardens and fruit orchards, and I have the time to help share equally the work involved in raising twin babies.

    All this without any reduction in my quality of life – if anything, it’s better than it has ever been. All it takes is some thoughtfulness, some preparedness, and some determination. It doesn’t take me a whole lot of money.

    Spare me your condescension Curtin.

    All the more if you require as much money to fund your retirement as you allude to. You must live profligately indeed, because I could live high on the hog on your tax alone. And if taking a detour from Paris or London for an overnight jaunt to Holland is beyond your financial reach, you must be a poor economist indeed…

    Still, I reiterate that I am happy to contribute my share to covering your travel to present your seminar… or is it that you are trying to wriggle out of it now that you’ve been called on it?

    After all, you would no doubt be claiming tax deductions for the trip, and after all you were the one who presented to Jeff an offer to speak to his colleagues.

    Perhaps if you post an abstract here, and an estimate of flight and accomodation costs (after tax deductions – no double-dipping), you might be able to stir sufficient enthusiasm to muster sponsorship of your presentation.

    I could put you up for work at home at c$1000 a day

    Even if you “could”, I have no need of your patronage (interpret that as you wish), and I certainly doubt that I would be ethically comfortable with the sort of consultation you provide.

    But why should I after your constant abuse, insults, and impertinence?

    Pots and kettles, Curtin.

    But my clients and theirs whom I serve are not accustomed to your sort of language…

    I rather think that you have a naïve impression of your clients and “theirs”; especially if your language is carried over into your work, and you continue to receive more such work…

    But we dither.

    When are you going to address the many questions and points put to you, that are currently accumulating quietly on this thread and on the previous one?

  81. #81 Lee
    April 21, 2009

    Yep. I couldn’t believe it was true, but on rereading, there it is. TC is in fact reduced to arguing that he makes a lot of money, so there.

    I’m imagining a scrunched up face, a tongue sticking out, and ppptttthhhttt sounds.

  82. #82 Tim Curtin
    April 21, 2009

    Bernard J. Thank goodness.

    Jeff Harvey, I would be interested in your views on this commentary by David Stockwell (author of Niche Modelling) on Species Extinctions:

    “Predictions of massive species extinctions due to AGW came into prominence with a January 2004 paper in Nature called Extinction Risk from Climate Change by Chris Thomas et al.. They made the following predictions:

    “we predict, on the basis of mid-range climate-warming scenarios for 2050, that 15–37% of species in our sample of regions and taxa will be ‘committed to extinction’.

    Subsequently, three communications appeared in Nature in July 2004. Two raised technical problems, including one by the eminent ecologist Joan Roughgarden. Opinions raged from “Dangers of Crying Wolf over Risk of Extinctions” concerned with damage to conservationism by alarmism, through poorly written press releases by the scientists themselves, and Extinction risk [press] coverage is worth the inaccuracies stating “we believe the benefits of the wide release greatly outweighed the negative effects of errors in reporting”.

    …in Forecasting the Effects of Global Warming on Biodiversity published in 2007 BioScience, we [coauthors and Stockwell] were particularly concerned by the cavalier attitude to model validations in the Thomas paper, and the field in general:

    Of the modeling papers we have reviewed, only a few were validated. Commonly, these papers simply correlate present distribution of species with climate variables, then replot the climate for the future from a climate model and, finally, use one-to-one mapping to replot the future distribution of the species,without any validation using independent data.

    Although some are clear about some of their assumptions (mainly equilibrium assumptions), readers who are not experts in modeling can easily misinterpret the results as valid and validated. For example, Hitz and Smith (2004) discuss many possible effects of global warming on the basis of a review of modeling papers, and in this kind of analysis the unvalidated assumptions of models would most likely be ignored.

    The paper observed that few mass extinctions have been seen over recent rapid climate changes, suggesting something must be wrong with the models to get such high rates of extinctions. They speculated that species may survive in refugia, suitable habitats below the spatial scale of the models.

    Another example of unvalidated assumptions that could bias results in the direction of extinctions, was described in chapter 7 of my book Niche Modeling.

    When climate change shifts a species’ niche over a landscape (dashed to solid circle) the response of that species can be described in three ways: dispersing to the new range (migration), local extirpation (intersection), or expansion (union). Given the probability of extinction is correlated with range size, there will either be no change, an increase (intersection), or decrease (union) in extinctions depending on the dispersal type. Thomas et al. failed to consider range expansion (union), a behavior that predominates in many groups. Consequently, the methodology was inherently biased towards extinctions.

    One of the many errors in this work was a failure to evaluate the impact of such assumptions.

    The prevailing view now, according to Stephen Williams, coauthor of the Thomas paper and Director for the Center for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change, and author of such classics as “Climate change in Australian tropical rainforests: an impending environmental catastrophe”, may be here.

    Many unknowns remain in projecting extinctions, and the values provided in Thomas et al. (2004) should not be taken as precise predictions. … Despite these uncertainties, Thomas et al. (2004) believe that the consistent overall conclusions across analyses establish that anthropogenic climate warming at least ranks alongside other recognized threats to global biodiversity.

    So how precise are the figures? Williams suggests we should just trust the beliefs of Thomas et al. — an approach referred to disparagingly in the forecasting literature as a judgmental forecast rather than a scientific forecast (Green & Armstrong 2007). These simple models gloss over numerous problems in validating extinction models, including the propensity of so-called extinct species quite often to reappear. Usually they are small, hard to find and no-one is really looking for them….”
    http://landshape.org

  83. #83 Gaz
    April 21, 2009

    Tim Curtin, you have neglected to point out the two major flaws in that Nature 2004 paper.

    First, it contained no analysis of the increasing diversity of species in your garden.

    Second, and much worse in my opinion, it glossed over the important issue of sparrows.

    Frankly, I don’t see how they could have expected to have been taken seriously.

  84. #84 Bernard J.
    April 22, 2009

    Gaz.

    Curtin did not actually neglect to point out any flaws in the Nature paper, because he did in fact write no more than the first three lines of the post at #379.

    The rest of the post is lifted holus-bolus from a denialist site that seems to be mainly frequented by engineers… although it’s a little hard to tell, because the home page is a clumsy and primitive effort consisting of a link to an Amazon page for “Niche Modeling: Predictions from Statistical Distributions”, a second link to “Free polls, surveys and competitions”, and a “Niche Modelling” link that very occasionally delivers a series of denialist postings under the guise of serious statistical debunking of AGW.

    Currently the latter only offers a

    The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request

    error when I attempt to follow it.

    To top it off the home page offers an image of Harrison ford as Indiana Jones, a photo of a slice of cherry pie, and a satellite image of a northern hemisphere low pressure storm. Oh, and there are two white rectangles.

    There is no captioning of the images, and only

    “Never has the barrier for entry into the marketplace of ideas been so low…”

    This is only the beginning.

    As a title.

    Hardly a sterling effort at presenting a serious front. Perhaps it is just my Firefox playing up, but without the capacity for greater exploration of the site, I am forced to rate its credibility as non-existent.

    But it seems that for Curtin, backed into a corner as he is, desperate times call for desperate measures.

  85. #85 Nathan
    April 22, 2009

    Bernard J

    Yes, Tim rarely has ideas of his own… He’s a bit a of a dumbass.

    David Stockwell does that sort of research (as in modelling ecological communities) for a living I think, however the Niche Modelling site is a bizarre world. He subscribes to the Miskolwski (sp?) school of climate science and is supported by engineer geniuses like Jan Pompe… Eeeep.

    Stockwell may have some valid points but it’s very hard to get to the real issues as he’s so heavily influenced by his own ideology. He seems to have real trouble taking an objective line.

  86. #86 Jeff Harvey
    April 22, 2009

    Tim,

    I stand strongly behind the conclusions of the Thomas et al. (2004) paper for several reasons. First of all, as I have made clear in several posts on this and related threads, the effects of climate change are strongly synergized with other aspects of anthropogenic change across the biosphere. There is already a mass extinction event underway that is passing mostly unoticed because (1) there are not enough qualified taxonomists or ecologists to quantify the problem, and (b) because humans have already destroyed vast swathes of original habitat. Paul Colinvaux said, as far back as 1989, that “As human beings lay waste to massive tracts of vegetation an incalculable and unprecedented number of speices are rpaidly becoming extinct”.

    The problem with isolating climate change as a primary factor driving species extinctions (or, just a seriously, the loss of genetic diversity through the loss of populations) is, as I have said above, difficult to disentangle for other human assaults. Habitat loss, various forms of pollution, over harvesting, and the disruption of native communities by invasive exotic species are also all involved. One thing is for certain: the current rate of extinction is almost certainly greater than at any time in the past 65 million years. That should be a sobering thought for anyone. But the consequences for humanity are likely to be grave unless this loss can be reversed. Again, to reiterate my commnets from previous posts, ecological systems function on the basis of the ‘sum of their parts’ meaning that a huge range of biological activities generated by the constituent organisms are involved in regulating cycles of water, nurtients and helping to maintain a breathable atmosphere. Humans exist and persist because natural systems provide the conditions that permit this to be so. At the same time, humanus are simplifying natural systems in a number of different ways.

    The current change in climate occurs against a background of these other changes Thousands of years ago, before humans became the primary driving force on the planet, it is likely that many (or even most) species could have adapted to even the quite dramatic short term climatic changes that we are seeing now. This is because the integrity of most ecosystems had been maintained and thus there were green corridors which even poorly dispersing organisms could exploit to track local changes in temperature and other abiotic variables. But at present the planrt has been greatly fragmented suich that there are many human-created barriers that impede or even block the dispersal of many species. At the same time, the ability to disperse may be strongly mediated within certain genotypes within populatiuons, meaning that some populations are better adapted to mass migration than others. But as we already know, many species – perhaps the vast majority, with the exception of those that thrive in distrubed habitats – are a lot less common now due to other anthropogenic distrubances. This means that they have the reduced genetic capacity to respond to a changing climate. Genetic diversity – a major component of biodiversity that is often ignored in discussions of extinction rates – is an important pre-requisite for adaptation. The seminal Hughes et al. (1997) paper in Science (I think) argued that every day many populations within species are being lost. This weaken the ability of the species as a whole to adapt to a changing world.

    I do agree that we need to be cautious in makinbg large scale extrapolations on the basis of theoretical models. But do I think that the Thomas et al. paper exaggerates the problem of extinction. Categorically NO. I believe that climate change, in concert with many other anthrpogenic assaults, is greatly exacerbating extinction rates. And I believe that we are in the beginning stages of a biodiversity crisis, with very serious possible consequences for human civilization.

  87. #87 Jeff Harvey
    April 22, 2009

    I am afraid that David Stockwell appears to wear his contrarian heart very much on his sleeve. Check out the blogroll for the link Tim Curtin provided on #379 (on which he is one of several contributors). Its a mish-mash of contrarian sites, many of them promoting far-right libertarian agendas.

    As for Dr. Stockwell’s CV, well on the more rigid ISI Web of Science I found 14 articles he’s co-authored or authored since 1990 with just over 500 citations. In my view that’s not a whole lot for such a lengthy time span. I had 13 articles on the WOS last year *alone* (12 the year before that, 10 or 11 this year). Some researchers in related fields get over 20 papers a year in peer-reviewed journals. Ecologist Dave Tilman in Minnesota gets 1,800 plus citations every year. This in now way belittles his arguments on climate change related extinction rates, but as someone certainly no less qualified than him (at the very least) I disagree. Many much more eminent scholars than myself certainly do as well. Want a list, Tim?

    As I said, climate change does not act independently of other human-mediated global changes. Its difficult to tease the effects of one causal factor apart from others. But are extinction rates extremely high now compared with other times in the past several million years? Certainly. Is climate change involved? Probably, at least to some extent. Given that species must adjust their distributions to a changing climate, and because humans have placed so many impediments and barriers in their way (e.g. vast agricultural and urban expanses, fragmented landscapes), there is little doubt that many will not be able to adapt. And to reiterate what I said earlier, extinction must also be considered at differing levels of phylogenetic organization. Species extinction is one measure; the loss of genetically distinct populations is another. Lastly, a species loses its ecological and economic value long before it goes extinct. Relic populations may enable a species to remain ‘extant’ in the literal sense of the word, but for all intents and purposes it is part of the ‘living dead’. The key is in understanding how much we can reduce biosiversity before this affects the ability of systems to sustain themselves and, ultimately, us. I strongly believe that we are headed in the wrong direction, and I am confident that the vast majority of the scientific community stands behind me on this point. Those few names that you can muster Tim are anomalies.

  88. #88 P. Lewis
    April 22, 2009

    In a very idle moment between baby feeds I was wont for some strange reason to visit Tim Curtin’s home page. Yeh! I know! Sad!!

    There, amongst the multitude of dross, I came across his, TC’s, piece about Arrhenius, which, from tim memory (analogising!), I believe was raised at the beginning of one of the two TC threads. There (no, I’m not going to link him — it’s easily found), TC says (my emphasis):

    Arrhenius took over this formulation [a Malthusian reference] in his celebrated paper of 1896 that remains the cornerstone of the anthropogenic global warming (or climate change) movement, by asserting that while atmospheric carbon dioxide “increases in geometric progression, augmentation of the temperature will increase in nearly arithmetic progression”. Arrhenius won a real Nobel for proceeding to calculate that if carbon dioxide increased by 50 per cent from the level in 1896, global average temperature would increase by between 2.9 and 3.7 degrees,

    Now I can’t really be bothered to wade through to see whether this has been raised before here (if it has, then well done to whomsoever pointed it out — and sorry for repeating it, obviously), but this extract illustrates very well the propensity for TC’s idelogical blindness to get in the way of hard, demonstrable facts and to distort his thinking.

    Arrhenius actually received the 1903 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for originating the theory of electrolytic dissociation (ionisation). The Nobel citation reads “in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered to the advancement of chemistry by his electrolytic theory of dissociation”. Not only was there no mention of his CO2 work in the Nobel citation, there was also no mention of his CO2 work or his famous rate equation in the Nobel Presentation Speech given by Dr Törnebladh, nor in Arrhenius’s own Nobel lecture.

    Correction required TC.

  89. #89 Bernard J.
    April 22, 2009

    P. Lewis.

    Arrhenius actually received the 1903 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for originating the theory of electrolytic dissociation (ionisation). The Nobel citation reads “in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered to the advancement of chemistry by his electrolytic theory of dissociation”. Not only was there no mention of his CO2 work in the Nobel citation, there was also no mention of his CO2 work or his famous rate equation in the Nobel Presentation Speech given by Dr Törnebladh, nor in Arrhenius’s own Nobel lecture.

    I have it in my mind that it has been pointed out before, but it may just be the fact that I have seen so many clangers from Curtin that I simply made that assumption, rather than it having been previously pointed out. I know that I chortled when I read that on his site.

    It certainly bears repeating though, and it’s definitely one for archiving, because I am sure that Curtin will tidy it up at the earliest opportunity.

  90. #90 P. Lewis
    April 22, 2009

    Hi Bernard J.

    One of the downsides of occasionally having certain people on [kill]file is missing out on reading those comments that might refer to it. (I remember some tiresome toing and froing on the Malthusian aspects that ended in TC getting in my [kill]file.)

    If it has been raised previously, then TC has been extremely tardy in the act of redaction (to be kind).

    I can only think that the other reason is a desire to maintain the mendacity.

  91. #91 P. Lewis
    April 22, 2009

    Gawd! I’ve just had a thought.

    If someone has mentioned it before, then I hope it wasn’t me that did so. Lack of sleep can do funny things to the ol’ grey matter, the giving rise to senior moments being one of them.

    LOL!

  92. #92 Tim Curtin
    April 22, 2009

    Nathan & co: well done, you deserve your Ph.Ds in ad homs.

    Bernard J: I offered you access to work involving only (if you had asked) editorial work on journal submissions for which the authors are prepared to pay you about $150 an hour. I am glad you declined because evidently you are incapable of non ad hom comments, especially when you are also incapable of even accessing a website (Dave Stockwell has already achieved more in his short life than manifestly you ever will).

    Jeff. I knew in advance that you would support Thomas et al. through thick and thin because you are the former, when you say: “But do I think that the Thomas et al. paper exaggerates the problem of extinction. Categorically NO. I believe that climate change, in concert with many other anthrpogenic assaults, is greatly exacerbating extinction rates. And I believe that we are in the beginning stages of a biodiversity crisis, with very serious possible consequences for human civilization.” When you have actually read Stockwell’s peer reviewed paper, then and only then, get back to me.

    P. Lewis: already done, see my annotated paper at http://www.lavoisier.com.au, also at Quadrant Online, posted in January.

  93. #93 Jeff Harvey
    April 22, 2009

    Tim,

    Let’s get something straight. Stockwell is a relative neophyte in the field of ecology as far as I am concerned. To be honest, I’d never heard of him before you brought his name up, probably because 14 papers in the WOS over 19 years is a pretty thin resume in my books. The only reason you make a big deal out of his work is because one of his arguments resonates with your wafer thin right wing world view. If you want to learn about ecology, sit down and go through papers by Naeem, Grime, Huston, Tilman, McCann, Gaston, Blackburn, Ricklefs, Soule, and many, many others.

    It’s you who needs educating in ecology-related fields, NOT me in a field with which I have dedicated the better part of 20 years. So cut out the patronizing crap if you want to retain even a shred of dignity (other posting here lost any repect for you eons ago). I’ve read more ecology papers in the past year than you’ll ever read in your lifetime times 10. Your earlier post to Bernard was an absolute disgrace. But it appears to be on par for the course with you.

    Sure, I’ll read 1/14th of Stockwell’s WOS output in the next few days and get back to you. But everything I said in my previous posts I stand by. Is there an extinction crisis now? You bet. Is climate change involved? Almost certainly at some level. Is this controversial? No, with the exception of some people on the academic fringe.

  94. #94 P. Lewis
    April 22, 2009

    Well, it’s time you updated the error on your website, too. It’s still there as of 5 minutes ago.

  95. #95 Tim Curtin
    April 22, 2009

    Jeff: David Stockwell is a distinguished statistician and so well qualified to comment on uses and abuses of statistics in various fields including ecology. One does not have to be an ecologist to assess ecologists’ frequent misuse of statistics. Stockwell is far from being on the “academic fringe”.

    BTW, Steve McIntyre’s Climate Audit has this update on the long awaited review by NAS entitled “Ensuring the Utility and Integrity of Research Data in a Digital Age”, According to its webpage, the panel’s last hearing was in late 2007.

    The webpage also states:

    “This project is sponsored by The National Academies.
    The approximate start date for the project is 01/02/2007.
    A report will be issued at the end of the project in approximately 12 months.

    Update 2-29-08: The project duration has been extended. The report is expected to be issued by July 1st, 2008
    As of 7-1-08, the project duration has been further extended and the report will be issued in fall 2008.
    Update 1-9-09: The project duration has been extended. The report is expected to be issued by April 1, 2009.
    Update 4-10-09: The project duration has been extended. The report is expected to be issued by June 1, 2009.’”

    It will be interesting to see its assessment of the papers by Canadell, Raupach and Solomon and their et als noted here.

    P. Lewis; I referred you to the online versions which amended my reference to Arrhenius. I don’t think my error is so material as to warrant Qaudrant reissuing its January issue. My article was not about Arrhenius, had it been then my error would have been material. The facts remain that A. did win a Nobel and did use a formulation very similar to Malthus’ – and that both the M and A versions have been proved wrong. I note you do not mention that Arrhenius was on the panel that awarded him his Nobel. Correction please!

  96. #96 Gaz
    April 22, 2009

    Curtin: “It will be interesting to see its assessment of the papers by Canadell, Raupach and Solomon and their et als noted here.”

    Judging by your comments on the papers themselves, you might find any assessment of them incomprehensible rather than interesting.

    Anyway, what makes you think that committee would be in the slightest bit concerned with papers by those people? I mean, OK, you couldn’t be bothered finding out the scope of the project but for goodness sake, you could try reading its name.

  97. #97 Tim Curtin
    April 23, 2009

    Jeff at #390: Yet it’s passing strange that neither you nor your luminaries* show up as lead authors in seminal texts like that of Ehleringer, Cerling & Dearing (eds., A History of Atmospheric CO2 and its effects on Plants, Animals and Ecosystems, Springer, 2005).

    Where were you and them when this book was being compiled (its authors include ‘neophytes’ like RA Berner, DJ Beerling, JC McElwain, RF Sage, JK Ward, MG Leakey, NJ van der Merwe, CD Keeling, even Ian Enting (gasp), S Schimel, Scott McWilliams, RJ Norby, and RE McMurtrie)? Missing in action – or sloth? Actually even if invited I am not sure I would attend a gathering of you and your nonentities.

    BTW, what do you and your mates* know of the Kuznets curve which has decisively refuted the garbage spouted by Ehrlich and Holdren with their ludicrous I=PAT, i.e. environmental impact is equal to population multiplied by affluence multiplied by technology? (hat-tip to MJC). No doubt you still believe in that twaddle – and perhaps that is why you and your mates* were ignored by Ehleringer et al!

    Best

    Tim

    *Naeem, Grime, Huston, Tilman, McCann, Gaston, Blackburn, Ricklefs, Soule.

  98. #98 P. Lewis
    April 23, 2009

    Yawn! Is it that time of day again?

  99. #99 Jeff Harvey
    April 23, 2009

    Tim says, showing his usual bias, “David Stockwell is a distinguished statistician and so well qualified to comment on uses and abuses of statistics in various fields including ecology. One does not have to be an ecologist to assess ecologists’ frequent misuse of statistics. Stockwell is far from being on the “academic fringe”.

    I wonder what Stockwell would make of Bjorn Lomborg’s ‘misuse’ of statistics, or does this not count?

    Moreover, in earlier posts Tim castigates scientists such as Paul Ehrlich, Susan Solomon, John Holdren and James Hansen. These are scientists who possess resumes that I believe leave Stockwell’s in the dust. Here is a comparison from the ISI WOS:

    Paul Ehrlich: 274 publications; 9,133 citations; h-rating 50 (meaning Paul’s 50th most cited paper has 50 citations).

    Susan Solomon (only a partial list): 182 publications; 9,713 citations; h-rating 52.

    John Holdren: author of more than 300 articles in both scientific and non-scientific journals.

    So Tim, what makes Dr. Stockwell with his 14 WOS articles and just over 500 citations with an h-rating of 8 in 19 years ‘distinguished’ in comparison with Ehrlich, Solomon etc? Please explain. I think we all know the answer here, but I’d like to hear you wriggle your way out of it.

    As to the article you mentioned, I presume you were referring to the one by Botkin et al. in Bioscience in 2007. I printed it out and read it last night, and I have a lot of issues with it. In short, the article argues quite correctly that models predicting extinction rates on the basis of climate change are quite rudimenatary and may leave out important parameters that make them unreliable. Fair enough. However, given the fact that there are a dearth of empirical studies, we have to go with what we do know. Current studies show that there are phelogical asynchronies generated amongst co-evolved species and systems generated by rapid changes in the environment. Climate change is certainly affecting interactions between migratory birds such as the Pied Flycatcher and the peak supply of their caterpillar food, for example, in parts of central Europe. This is forcing females to adjust their laying dates (the birds arrive on their breeding grounds at the same time every year because they use non-temperature related cues in Africa to initiate migration to their breeding grounds in Europe). Females are arriving now in warmer conditions which are no longer optimal in terms of a dealy in reporduction due to a shift in the life cyles of their caterpillar food supply. Moreover, similar asynchronies are being generated amongst trees such as oak in terms of the dates in which they produce buds and the larvae of winter months that feed on young shoots and which depend on soft palatable leaves as food. The caterpillars in turn are important sources of food for passerines such as great tits and the flycatchers. There does appear to be enough genetic variation in the moths to adapt to the changing climate by tracking temperature shifts but for some reason they have thus far not responded fast enought in tracking climte-related shifts in their food supply.

    Of course these kinds of interactions have profound consequences for the viability of a suite of multitrophic interactions, and such temperature-mediated disruptions can cause local extinctions which may become pandemic if more widespread. The problem is that, given the complexity of natural systems, we just do not have the people or the financing to study literally millions of interactions where similar scenarios are being played out. The fact that the IUCN list of threatened or endangered species grows every year and that 10-40% of well studied species are in these categories should make it clear enough that things are in the critical stage now.

    It is interesting that the Botkin et al. study did not cite any of the recent work (published at that time and readily available) by Marcel Visser and colleagues or by Eric Post and colleagues who have studied the effects of climate related changes on the efficacy of species interactions. The ultimate extinction, as reknowned ecologist Daniel Janzen once pointed out, is the extinction of ecological interactions, because of the process of tightly co-evolved mutualisms and antagonisms that are vital to the persistence of communities. The Bioscience paper made little mention of this important aspect at all, and instead focused on all of the mitigating variables that make accurate estimates of climate change related extinctions difficult to predict. They also relied on what is refereed to as the ‘Quarternary Conundrum’ (QC) where it has been suggested that, despite widespread and rapid changes in climate during that time, actual extinction rates were apparently low. I emphasize the word ‘apparently’. This is because humans have only formally identified some 5% (or even less) of global species diversity, and we know vbirtually nothing of the demographics of most officially classified species before the early 1900s. So how on Earth can we make accurate estimations of extinction rates for broadly divergent groups of organisms as far back as the Qurternary? We must rely on groups where the fossil record is intact, but this excludes huge numbers of invertebrates and soil biota. Given out ignorance of global genetic and species diversity even now, the QC is nothing in my view but a mirage. Ecologist John Terborgh, in his outstanding 1989 book, ‘Where Have All the Birds Gone’? in which he deatiled widespreads declines in numbers of American bird species, rued the fact that we actually had little knowledge of the historical demographics of most American birds, particularly small birds such as warblers, viroes and sparrows. Climate change was only entering the human radar at that time, but we already knew that there was an impending biodiversity crisis.

    The Bioscience paper also correctly points out that climate change-related extinction rates are likely to be synergized with other anthropogenic-mediated global changes, as I pointed out yesterday. However, this should be of little solace to those anxious to maintain a ‘business-as-usual’ policy. It is like feeling some sense of relief that out house may be on fire, but that it is also being bulldozed and cut up with a chain saw at the same time, so at least the fire may not be the main problem. Ultimately, the house will be destroyed anyway. As scientists our job is to provide empirical evidence which makes it clear that humans are fouling the nest with consequences that are likely to be severe. I believe that there is concrete evidence that this is indeed the case, and that climate change is one process that must be factored in. I said this yesterday as well, and the Bioscience paper makes the same point, so I don’t know why Tim cannot accept it.

    The authors also correctly argue that genetic variation and local adaptation in species and populations may offset some of the predictions that suggest high climate change-related extinction rates. This may indeed be the case, but its pure guesswork. As I said yesterday, the planet’s ecological life support systems are being harmed in a large number of ways by human activities. It is likely that we are expecting nature to adaptively respond in ways that it never has done so before, given the wide range of human assaults. I believe that many species have the capacity to adapt to quite dramatic changes (they must have, given their recovery after the last ice age), but that it is very different now compared with historical periods. Most importantly, species must adapt to innumerable challenges, perhaps many more than they have had to before. Many will adapt, but it is likely that many will not, and it is certain that food webs and ecological communities will have to greatly rearrange themselves in response to a combination of human induced stresses. If we do not change course, I believe that the consequences of human activities on nature will be dire because a wide range of ecological services that sustain us will be reduced or eliminated altogether. Effectively we are conducting a huge one-off experiment, as I have said before, on immensely complex systems whose functioning we barely understand for us to cross our fingers, hope for the bswt and continue with this experiment which we know is driving ecological systems towards destruction. Our only salvation thus far is that nature is robust, and that, in spite of human actions, important ecological services, such as pollination, seed dispersal, nutirent cycling etc., while being degraded over much of the biosphere (and there is ample evidence of this) continue to be generated sufficiently.

    Another important point that I have made many btimes and which Tim always ignores is that a change in an environmental parameter does not lead to instantaneous extinction. By contrast, changes in the environment may take decades or even centuries to be played out as discussed by Tilman and May in their 1994 Nature article. Therefore, climate changes occurring over the past 30 years are probably only beginning to manifest themselves on most ecological communities, whereas the full effects may not be ralized for several more decades. The demographics of species-related declines occur gradually, and relax towards a new stable equilibrium or, if not, towards extinction. This is why forest loss in the coastal wet forests of Brazil (the ‘Mata Atlantica’) which have been dramatic have only resulted in few recorded extinctions. First of all, a species must not be observed for 50 years at least before it is technically classified as ‘extinct’. Second, many of the species in the Mata Atlantica are teetering on the edge of extinction, and have not been seen since the 1960s (Brooks and Balmford, Nature, 1997). Finally, climate change related effects on biomes and especially primary producers may shift from one state to another, as has been predicted for large parts of the Amazon. This is because of changes in rainfall regimes that must exceed seasonal or annual thresholds to prevent die-back and widespread desertification. If one factors in the effects of climate change on other abiotic variables, it is not hard to envisage indirect effects that are independent of temperature.

    Lastly, I have one rejoinder. the conference in which the Bioscience paper emerged was held at Bjorn Lomborg’s Environmental Assessment Institute in Copenhagen 2004,and was financed in part by the Danish Ministry. Given Lomborg’s record of downplaying environmental problems and his lack of pedigree in any of the fields he covers in his book, I would be sceptical of any conference or workshop in which he is involved.

  100. #100 Jeff Harvey
    April 23, 2009

    Tim,

    Why would we invite a non-entity like you? The only reason I would is to see your hollow arguments demolished. That would be a real pleasure. Can you provide one other good reason for an invitation? Like others here I, cringe at your constant b*s. The only people who are worth listening to in your non-expert book are those who are contrarians.

    The fact is this: you have no expertise in science and all of the readers here know that. You make it easy for us. On another blog site, I see that you were challenged by a Dr. Dave to provide a list of your peer-reviewed scientific papers in journals on the WOS. You kept avoiding the question after he raised it repeatedly. ‘Nuff said.

    Lastly, your ignorance is further illustrated by the fact that you don’t know any of the scientists I listed yesterday. They are all leading experts in the study of the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. All are senior Professors with years of pedigree. Since in my view you don’t know a damned thing about ecology, except for the limited amount of C02 related material that you do peruse, I expected nothing less from you.

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