The “CO2 is Plant Food” Crock

Peter Sinclair’s latest video is on the “CO2 is plant food” crock.

Comments

  1. #1 Tim Curtain
    September 7, 2010

    Jeff, wake up, Ros Gleadow is an ARC charlatan, just like a Paki bowler she will say whatever to cash in.

  2. #2 warren
    September 7, 2010

    Jeff Harvey:I believe that the Gleadow study on cassava is questionable at best,fraud at worst.For one thing it was funded by the far-leftwing Finkel Foundation.For another thing her claims about cassava root yields are completely refuted by Imai[1984]This study showed that dry matter yield was increased by 54% for high CO2 only,and 150% for high CO2 AND high temp.Every metric for cassava growth in elevated CO2 was greatly increased in this study.Other studies show support her findings on leaf cyanogenic glycosides

  3. #3 warren
    September 7, 2010

    Lotharsson:There have been hundreds of studies on the CO2 fertlization effect.See Kimball 1983.And your saying that I am have pre-concieved notions?How about you back up your doubts with some numbers.

  4. #4 warren
    September 7, 2010

    Jeff Harvey:The Gleadow study is interesting.I believe that it is contaminated science.Firstly it was funded by the Finkel Foundation,which is well known for advancing left-wing enviro greenie causes.[EG The magazines COSMOS and G].Secondly it’s claims about reduced yield go against hundreds of other studies confirming the CO2 fertilization effect.It basically stands alone in this regard.Third,it’s claims about tuber yield decrease are completely refuted by the findings of Imai[1984]on cassava grown at elevated CO2.Dry matter production was increased by 54% for low temp/high CO2,and by 150% for high temp/high CO2.Every metric for cassava growth was increased under high CO2 in this study.

  5. #5 Lotharsson
    September 7, 2010

    > And your saying that I am have pre-concieved notions?

    Comprehension fail. A pre-conceived goal is NOT the same as “pre-concieved notions”.

  6. #6 warren
    September 7, 2010

    Lotharsson:I have never said that scientists or others on the gravy train acrue PERSONAL wealth through their funding,which is what you are trying to insinuate.I said they get to enjoy the PERKS because of the explosion in funding for this new “industry”.

  7. #7 Lotharsson
    September 7, 2010

    > How about you back up your doubts with some numbers.

    How about **you** do some investigation into the factors that the professionals have been telling you *matter*, and which you foolishly dismiss or treat as having no impact? You could start by ceasing to ignore the papers cited to Tim Curtin on his thread when he made similar claims to yourself.

    > There have been hundreds of studies on the CO2 fertlization effect.

    Indeed. The biologists and ecologists seem well aware of it – including the very same ones that are urging strong caution with regard to increasing atmospheric CO2, because of the likely negative impact on agriculture and the ecosystem as a whole.

    And you have been told a dozen different ways that other factors are quite likely to turn out to be significant, that your fantasies that fertilisation effect will translate directly into agricultural production increases depends on those other effects not having any significant impact, and that you dismiss those other effects or assert without evidence that their impact will be negligible.

    In other words, your preconceived notion is that the data you cite extrapolates to actual agricultural production and ecosystem health in a higher-CO2 ecosystem.

    I doubt anyone can get it through to you how thoroughly unjustified and naive your claims are.

  8. #8 Lotharsson
    September 7, 2010

    > I have never said that scientists or others on the gravy train acrue PERSONAL wealth through their funding,which is what you are trying to insinuate.

    On Open Thread 53 you used language that would have implied to most readers that scientists were accruing personal wealth:

    > And scientists on the government gravy train are going to say,”look guys we really dont have a problem”???Yeah right!

    “Gravy train” generally means personal benefit, typically in the form of wealth or possessions – so it’s good to see you’re really talking about “perks” (which aren’t perks) such as travel for work.

    However, in that case your assertion that they’re toeing some imagined party line on AGW merely to get the perks completely crumbles. Who is going to earn (say) $40-100k/yr less than they could – year after year – in the hope that they rise high enough in their field to score a government-funded economy class ticket to a conference every now and then – and to which they could more than comfortably pay their own way out of the extra earnings if they went to industry? That simply fails as a motivation, especially as a motivation strong enough for them to implicitly or explicitly endorse something they do not believe to be true. Especially when they are *scientists*.

  9. #9 J Bowers
    September 7, 2010

    warren — “I said they get to enjoy the PERKS because of the explosion in funding for this new “industry”.”

    Tracking U.S. Climate Science Funding
    “U.S. government spending on climate research reached a peak of $1.9 billion in 2004, then entered a period of steady decline before picking up slightly after fiscal year 2006.”
    http://newsinitiative.org/story/2008/12/13/tracking_climate_science_funding_in

    If you want to see really big funding in the past from the taxpayer though, look no further than Lindzen. I mean a serious wad of cash over the years.

  10. #10 Lotharsson
    September 7, 2010

    > I said they get to enjoy the PERKS because of the explosion in funding for this new “industry”.

    Even that embodies an incorrect assumption.

    A heck of a lot of the funding is for studying (a) the climate system and (b) climate change and its impacts and mitigation methods, **regardless** of how much climate change is due to anthropogenic causes versus other causes. Why? Because that knowledge is just as valuable to us **either way**.

  11. #11 Lotharsson
    September 7, 2010

    > I mean a serious wad of cash over the years.

    Sheesh, it almost makes you wonder if Lindzen is toeing a party line on climate science that he doesn’t necessarily agree with – merely so that he can continue to ride the “gravy train” ;-)

  12. #12 Jeff Harvey
    September 7, 2010

    Warren has proven his complete and utter disregard for science by dismissing two peer-reviewed studies on the basis that, as Lotharsson said yesterday, do not fit in with his pre-determiend worldview. Do you know anything about allelochemistry Warren? Anything at all? Because Gleadow’s results are hardly surprising. If concentrations of carbon increase in plant tissues, then why would we not expect plants to increase their allocation of carbon to C-based chemical defense compounds? You write as if plants like being eaten, as if they evolved for the benefit of vertebrate and invertebrate herbivores and pathogens. On the contrary, plants have evolved all kinds of chemical and morphological defenses to avoid being eaten. Herbivory carries enormous fitness related costs to many plants (something I am current researching). Most plant species produce a veritable armory of chemical compounds to resist herbivores, including proteinase inhibitors, phenolics and phylogenetically conserved toxins that are N or C-based. Every plant biologist knows this, even if the ignoranti deniers don’t. All Gleadow’s research has done is to confirm the obvious. More atmospheric carbon = more carbon allocated to phytotoxins in plants with C-based allelochemistry = lower plant quality for herbivores. Hardly controversial, with the exception of people like old Warren and his acolytes.

    Thus, to call Gleadow’s research ‘contaminated science’ goes beyond the pale. Simply put, anti-environmentalist right wing libertarians like Warren, most of whom have trouble telling a mole cricket from a giraffe, seem to think that they innately possess the wisdom to disregard sound science (e.g. any old anti-environmental rubbish that downplays a range of anthropogenic threats) from junk science (e.g. any studies, no matter how rigidly peer-reviewed and irrespective of the soundness of the journal in which they appear). Of course, this is based entirely on their own personal biases, and not on science; no matter how much empirical evidence accrues showing Gleadow’s research to be merely the tip of an iceberg, we can count on denialists like Warren to come up with any old excuse to downplay their research. But the good news, Warren, is that scientists do take notice of the research you appear to hate. You can bet that Gleadow’s articles will be heavily cited in the empirical literature.

    Lotharsson also completely debunks more of Warren’s nonsense in post 389. The most important point is that scientists, INCLUDING MYSELF (capitals for Warren’s benefit) have known about the fertilization effect for decades. But we also know that the effects of C02 on ecological communities are not simply linear. We know that different species of plants will respond in an association-specific manner to C02 increases, and that there will be all kinds of other potentially nasty effects, as Gleadow has pointed out, on ecophysiolgical plant traits that are context- and trait-dependent. And these effects will ripple through communities and ecosystems.

    Note that most of the authors of the studies Warren brazenly cites as evidence for his wafer-thin arguments express immense caution as to the effects of C02 fertilization on communities and ecosystems. They do this because they are aware of how much we do not know. Some of those articles I discussed earlier in the thread, showing what the scientists themselves had written, and how they admitted that we know very little, if anything, about the effects of this ‘experiment’ on complex natural systems. As is his wont, Warren disregards this caution and goes for the straight ahead approach, typical of those who are NOT scientists.

    Warren’s tactic, if one can call it that, is to simply highlight a few studies examining step one of a process while downplaying the array of unknown effects on steps 2 through 100 of the same process. When I have repeatedly debunked his nonsense, in true contrarian style he has ignored the meat of my criticisms and continually retreats back to step one (bearing in mind the effects of C02 increases on steps 2 through 100 – representing an increase in spatio-temporal scales are unknown). Pure guesswork. And many seriously potentially negative effects.

    As for the Tim Curtain post, I assume it is a sock puppet for Tim Curtin or a joke at Warren’s expense.

  13. #13 Bernard J.
    September 7, 2010

    Further to [my reference to the Ecology issue about nitrogen in primary productivity](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/the_co2_is_plant_food_crock.php#comment-2777517), the contents page can be found [here](http://www.esajournals.org/toc/ecol/87/1).

    Warren, as a child were you beaten behind the sheds by a nasty space? You seem to have a pathological aversion to spaces these days…

    And seriously, lose the conspiracy theory. You have no clue at all about what motivates a research scientist. It certainly isn’t ‘perks’. If it were, I’d personally choose any of my friends’ jobs rather than my own – that way I’d be off to Asia or Africa once every two months, or I’d be dining out or going to sporting events or to the theatre once a month, or driving work-funded vehicles for my personal use, all as perks of their corporate jobs.

    In fact this year alone, and largely against my personal inclination, I have met one govenor, sat to dinners with two mayors on separate occasions, and hobnobbed and/or dined with a number of CEOs, state politicians, sporting stars and sundry other high-falutin’ personages because my friends have so many spare corporate perks to go around…

    And yet, as a scientist I have to put 50 cents into the jar when I make a cup of tea from material in the communal tea room.

    Yeah, perks alright…

    You have no clue at all.

  14. #14 Lotharsson
    September 7, 2010

    > …all as perks of their corporate jobs.

    That’s the most amusing thing.

    warren’s argument – that perks mean that scientists will endorse something they don’t think is supported by the evidence – applies **in spades** to scientists in the pay of industry. Not only do they have much better perks, they have much better salaries to protect to boot.

    So warren’s logic means that warren must reserve a double dose of skepticism for any position held by scientists who derive perks and/or income from industry. And yet, strangely enough, I don’t see warren campaigning against those particular positions on that basis. Hmmm………

  15. #15 warren
    September 7, 2010

    Jeff Harvey:As well,what must be remembered is that the food value part of the cassava plant is the root.Increased root yields will mean that the leaves will not be needed as much as a protein supplement.Cyanogenic glycosides are not increased as a whole,they are only increased as a RATIO to protein in the leaves.Given the demonstrated large increases in tuber yield[Imai 1984,1985]from CO2 fertilization,the doomsday forecasts of Gleadow have no scientific basis at all.The language she uses in that paper also smacks very much of AGW ideology.

  16. #16 Ian Forrester
    September 7, 2010

    Anyone else get a laugh at Warren’s pathetic attempts to list references?

    Do you just make them up Warren or are they real and you are too lazy to give a complete cite? Or do you just cut and paste them from denier sites without even reading them?

    You are so pathetic.

  17. #17 warren
    September 7, 2010

    Jeff Harvey:I did not dismissed both studies Jeff,just the one on Cassava plants,and with good reason.Now would you like to respond to the findings of the Imai[1984]study?Why do I even bother asking,I know you wont!In regards to the second Gleadow study to do with clover[TRIfolium Repens],I am working on it.

  18. #18 warren
    September 7, 2010

    To all and sundry:Some scientists are more equal than others,that is why Penny Sackett,Ian Lowe,Tim Flannery and a stack of other scientific invertabrates get to go to Bali and Cancun and Bangkok and stay at swank hotels,eat at swish restaurants etc;all on the taxpayers creditcard.It almost makes me want to change my tune.

  19. #19 warren
    September 7, 2010

    To all and sundry:Some scientists are more equal than others,that is why Penny Sackett,Ian Lowe,Tim Flannery and a stack of other scientific invertebrates get to go to Bali and Cancun and Bangkok and stay at swank hotels,eat at swish restaurants etc;all on the taxpayers creditcard.It almost makes me want to change my tune.

  20. #20 warren
    September 7, 2010

    JBowers:So how much money did Lindzen make?I might just go out on a limb here and predict that all you have is an accusation and not a verifiable number.If you prove me wrong,then I will wear the inevitable redicule.

  21. #21 Ian Forrester
    September 7, 2010

    warren asks:

    So how much money did Lindzen make?I might just go out on a limb here and predict that all you have is an accusation and not a verifiable number.

    Here is your answer:

    Lindzen, for his part, charges oil and coal interests $2,500 a day for his consulting services; his 1991 trip to testify before a Senate committee was paid for by Western Fuels, and a speech he wrote, entitled “Global Warming: the Origin and Nature of Alleged Scientific Consensus,” was underwritten by OPEC.

    Mmmm $2500 per day (in 1995 $$’s) sounds pretty “perky” to me.

    Too bad Tim doesn’t have a video feed, since warren said:

    If you prove me wrong,then I will wear the inevitable redicule (sic).

    Though I’m not sure how much more ridiculous warren can be after all his asinine comments on this blog.

    http://dieoff.org/page82.htm

  22. #22 warren
    September 7, 2010

    Well done Ian,you half got me.The Gelbspan article is wrong.Lindzen did not charge consultancy fees.They were expenses and expert witness fees.Also it was back in the early 90′s,so it is a little out of date.Still,I dont want to rob you of your bulls-eye.

  23. #23 Ian Forrester
    September 7, 2010

    warren you are a dishonest, pathetic old man. I didn’t “half got me” I got you as a 100% dishonest denier.

    How come when a scientist gets his way paid to a meeting (usually steerage) then it is a “gravy train perk” yet $2500 per day is an “expense”?

    You are so dishonest, keep up the good work you are showing just how dishonest you deniers are.

  24. #24 warren
    September 7, 2010

    Ian:It’s a gravy train because of the numbers.More than $50 Billion on climate research,and that is an old number.15,000 delegates at Copenhagen,all at public expense.And on it goes.This is absolutely no comparison with the money the sceptical side gets.

  25. #25 warren
    September 7, 2010

    Science ofcourse is very cheap.But there is one guy going around the AGW lecture circuit,and I have heard that he charges $175,000 for a 30 minute speech.That makes him 70 times more valuable[scientifically speaking]than Richard Lindzen.

  26. #26 chek
    September 7, 2010

    ["Warren" said:](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/the_co2_is_plant_food_crock.php#comment-2780998) “More than $50 Billion on climate research,and that is an old number.15,000 delegates at Copenhagen,all at public expense. And on it goes”.

    So those are your claims. Can we expect some evidence for them?

    To make it easier for you, I’ll accept your breaking that $50 Billion down to the nearest $10 million per item.

  27. #27 jakerman
    September 7, 2010

    Shorter Warren $2,500 per day (in 1995 = PV of $3,900 in 2010) of Lindzen providing ‘service’ to fossil fuel industry lobbies, [is an expense](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/the_co2_is_plant_food_crock.php#comment-2780968) but money spent of climate [research](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/the_co2_is_plant_food_crock.php#comment-2777988) (satellites, ARGO system etc) that is a gravy train.

    Warren, Fossil fuel companies are spending our wealth via liquidation of natural assets. And they are spending profits gained from selling our natural assets to fund election campaigns, lobby groups, think thanks, and Lindzens. All with the aim of slowing efforts to align economic feedbacks with environmental feedbacks.

    Oh yes and a [little reminder](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/the_co2_is_plant_food_crock.php#comment-2777089), of something Warren did not reply to.

  28. #28 Lotharsson
    September 7, 2010

    > More than $50 Billion on climate research,and that is an old number.

    Is argument-from-personal-ignorance all you’ve got, despite having been corrected earlier?

    Most of that budget is for satellites and other research, which we want to do **regardless of AGW or no-AGW** because we are highly motivated to understand the climate system. You know, because if natural variation is changing the climate we’d kind of like to know how, how much, and what to do about it?

    > 15,000 delegates at Copenhagen,all at public expense.

    As I’ve pointed out, these were expenses of *politics* and attendees were mostly politicians and civil servants. It fails to support your argument that *climate scientists* as a whole discipline generally distort their scientific positions in order to (say) go to a conference like Copenhagen.

    If you can’t see that the difference between what you wrote and reality makes your arguments fall, you should not be making them.

    > It’s a gravy train because of the numbers.

    That’s just a plain stupid assertion. If the numbers for any area of endeavour get big enough, by [your] definition “it’s a gravy train”?!

    > But there is one guy going around the AGW lecture circuit,…

    Ah, so warren in desperation falls back to talking about a non-scientist. Hard to see how the example of a *non-scientist* supports his claim that scientists privately think AGW is bunk but don’t say so publicly because they are “riding the gravy train”.

    But it was already hard to see that because the gravy train in question means earning half of what they could elsewhere.

    warren’s argument is pathetic.

  29. #29 Jeff Harvey
    September 8, 2010

    Warren:

    I will not even get into your discussion of ‘gravy trains’ because it is utterly pathetic. Other posters here have demolished it. I wonder how much you decry the ‘military industrial’ gravy train, which is gigantic by comparison and which results in the death of millions every year.

    As for the 1984 study, as I said before, I accept the results of closed studies conducted under mostly limited abiotic conditions that have reported an increase in plant biomass with increases in C02. But Gleadow’s work is important for a number of reasons. Most important of these is that she has definitiely shown that plants with C- based alleleochemistry respond to higher levels of atmsopheric C02 by allocating more allelochemicals to plants shoots, concomitant with a decrease in foliar protein levels. This means that foliar herbivores will have to ingest more plant biomass to accrue to same amount of protein as before, but at the same time they will ingest considerably more plant toxins. It does not matter what the heck humans eat – nature functions on the basis of a stupendous array of interactions involving plants, herbivores, pathogens, predators and the like. If Gleadow’s results are extrapolated across food webs and communities, then we have a very serious problem.

    Your intellectual island, never much to begin with here, is shrinking into oblivion. Your latest attempt to dismiss the results of research that you do not like is to either (1) belittle the messenger, or (2) ignore the repercussions beyond narrow parameters (root biomass) that you set. You therefore ignore the potential significance of the atmospheric experiment being conducted by humans on ecological communities and interaction network webs, and ultimately at larger scales on ecosystem functioning, mediated at smaller scales through profound changes in plant quality as a result of species-specific responses to increased C in plant tissues.

    If many plants with C-based allelochemistry invest much of the extra carbon for secondary toxic metabolities (and there is no reason to believe that many species will not), whereas species with N-based allelochemistry become potentially less toxic, then there will be all kinds of serious ecophysiological and phenological consequences. As I have said many times here, and it apparently has not sunk into your head, humans are not exempt from the laws that govern the existence and survival of other species. Tampering with complex adaptive systems will inevitably lead to changes in the way they function, with the worry that critical ecosystem services freely emerging from nature that sustain humanity will break down.

    Your last feeble riposte shows to me that your arguments have run their course here. We are back to downplaying or ignoring large scale effects of C02, and are back to your discredited “Plant species ‘x’ grows bigger with more C02 circulating in the atmosphere, and thus its a good thing!”. Gleadow’s results go well beyond the implications for cassava or clover. That is why her articles are being published in sound journals like Plant Biology and Journal of Chemical Ecology.

    One question I would like to ask you, Warren: what exactly is or was your profession?

  30. #30 MFS
    September 8, 2010

    warren,

    Awesome to read your statements that:
    303:
    >“elevated CO2 was responsible for plant extinctions”

    307:
    >
    “elvated CO2 led to the extinction of plants”

    313:
    >
    “High CO2 made plants go extinct”

    315:

    >“CO2 made plants go extinct”

    Great to see you contemplating alternative points of view!

    363:
    >
    “I did cherrypick”

    Yes you did.

    385:
    >
    “I have preconcieved notions”

    Yes you do

    402:
    >
    “you prove me wrong”.

    Yes we do.

    Since you’re happy quoting Schneider in such a fashion, “excising“, [as you say](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/09/steven_schneider_and_the_skept.php#comment-2780915), those parts that you consider the “important pieces“, I trust you won’t mind if I read your posts in the same way and quote you accordingly.

  31. #31 warren
    September 9, 2010

    A study by the CBO found that spending on climate change work between 1998 and 2009 was $99 Billion[2009 US dollars].Wales spent $5 million in just 3 years.Australia $2.3 Billion over 3 years.The gravy train lives!

  32. #32 Lotharsson
    September 9, 2010

    > The gravy train lives!

    Now that we know when you say “gravy train” you mean ["big numbers that impress me"](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/the_co2_is_plant_food_crock.php#comment-2780998) rather than as originally implied “scientists personally getting rich by refusing to disprove AGW” – and certainly [not "easy money for scientists to endorse industry positions without solid scientific backing"](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/the_co2_is_plant_food_crock.php#comment-2780968) – …then these numbers and your comment reveal more about your personal incredulity than anything.

  33. #33 MFS
    September 9, 2010

    warren,

    What is your view on fearmongering in order to procure extra defense spending? Have you compared the numbers?

  34. #34 warren
    September 9, 2010

    Jeff Harvey:I am a science teacher.

  35. #35 warren
    September 9, 2010

    MFS:Were you hatched from a moron egg?If not,then enough of the childishness.
    “fearmongering in order to procure extra defense spending?”
    It should be condemned,and the perpetrators prosecuted if possible.

  36. #36 warren
    September 9, 2010

    Lotharsson:Most research on climate change goes into studying the EFFECTS rather than the causes,and this is valid science.But it is still a gravy train because of the vast increase in the funding available.And will you please cut the crap about scientists getting personally rich.I never said it or implied it,so knock it off.

  37. #37 warren
    September 9, 2010

    Jeff Harvey:I wish you would not make statements like, “results in the deaths of millions every year.” You know that it is an absurd thing to say.You also know it is utterly wrong.Be a scientist Jeff,be factual.
    The Gleadow study does show an increase in foliar toxins,and this is a good thing.Lower herbivory means less loss of photosynthetic potential.More yield for the culivators.As for herbivores,under CO2 fertilization,almost all other plants will have their yield increased,therefore a large increase in the food stock for herbivores.Also cyanogenic glycoside producing plants are only around 10% of the total are they not?[I think that number is accurate]The % may be higher for grasses.Therefore cant herbivores generally select alternative herbage if some are higher in toxicicity?

  38. #38 Lotharsson
    September 9, 2010

    > And will you please cut the crap about scientists getting personally rich.

    I’ve acknowledged that, and continue to do so – so I fail to see how I am spreading “crap”.

    Perhaps you should cut the crap about “gravy train”, which (a) implies “personally getting rich” to most readers, and (b) is NOT commonly defined as “because there’s a lot of funding” or even “a big increase in funding” (most especially not when – as you acknowledge – it’s for good valid science).

  39. #39 Chris O'Neill
    September 9, 2010

    warren:

    I am a science teacher.

    God save us.

  40. #40 Anonymous
    September 9, 2010

    >*God save us.*

    Standards have been dropping for decades.

  41. #41 Jeff Harvey
    September 9, 2010

    Warren says he is a science teacher.

    Gee, let me just say that I am happy that he did not teach me his brand of ‘science’, and leave it at that. Given his utterly vacuous remark in response to my comment about overconsumption and foreign policy on the Open Thread, it seems to me that Warren’s judgments are seriously compromised by his right wing political views.

    As for his response above, well, as all of his others go, it does not cut any ice. But what does one expect with someone like Warren who is well out of his depth on this topic and is trying to extrapolate far too much from studies that support his pre-determined worldview? For one thing, a reduction in herbivory is not necessarily a good thing in natural systems. Period. Less herbivory will have a profoundly negative effect on multi-trophic food webs involving plant mutualists (natural enemies and pollinators), particularly as we know that plant defence traits can work their way up food chains. By altering the stucture of food webs in this way, they are prone to sudden and quite dramatic shifts and are also more prone to collapse. Furthermore, many more plants have C-based defenses that Warren suggests. Many also have N-based defences, and any loss of foliar nitrogen – even relatively small concentrations – as carbon is taken up will certainly lead to effects on herbivores that might go in the opposite direction. Plants with less foliar nitrogen will not only have less N-based allelochemicals, but less N in general, leading to increased herbivore damage as N is the most limiting nutrient for herbivore growth. Some of the studies mentioned in the last video I attached have shown that herbivores are also more attracted to crops grown under elevated C02 regimes and inflict significantly more damage on them than on controls. Research done by a PhD student here showed that there were also all kinds of unpredictable effects of elevated C02 on soil food webs and especially on mycorrhizal fungi. She said in her thesis ‘commentary’ that those who are pushing the ‘C02 is good for nature line’ literally have no clue what they are talking about. Again, they are foisting their political agendas off distorting science to do so.

    If we take the results of these limited studies that Warren thinks bode well for us all, then what we see are all manner of unknown and unpredictable consequences occurring in a very short time. Unlike Warren, who certainly is not qualified to comment in any depth on the issue of plant ecophysiology, I am, and like most of the scientific community I realize that there are serious risks involved in continuing to pump out copious amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as if it were an open sewer. Virtually every scientist Warren cites in defense of his shallow views attaches caveats to their work alluding to the vast number of unknown and potentially serious consequences of C02 ‘fertilization’ and attendant climate change. But Warren, showing his true anti-environmental, anti-scientific colors, continaually ignores the warnings and caveats and unknowns and thinks that these can be ignored completely. He thinks that we can take limited results from experiments conducted under either controlled conditions (thus excluding many important biotic and abiotic parameters) or else those conducted in small spatial scales outdoors and use them to explain the global effects. This, while I have already explained, that there are almost certainly to be deleterious effects caused by association-specific responses at the species level and corresponding non-linear effects up the food chain and into broader ecological systems.

    Anyone comparing Warren’s posts with mine should be able to realize the imposter from the scientist. Like others in my profession, I am cautious and sceptical, given both the results of empirical studies and the vast number of unknowns as a result of the current atmospheric experiment being conducted by humanity. Warren dismisses climate change completely, but contrast that with his complete and utter acceptance of the benefits of C02 fertilization. Note also how he shoots the messenger (e.g. his feeble attempt to downplay the Gleadow et al. studies) in spite of his complete lack of pedigree in the field. Few statured scientists would respond to this issue in this way.

    I would love to debate Warren in front of his students. It would be a slam dunk. Utter annihalation. I gave Bjorn Lomborg a serious going over when he came here in 2002, and Warren is a veritable pussycat by comparison.

  42. #42 warren
    September 12, 2010

    Jeff Harvey:OK Jeff,you have issued the challenge and I accept it.We will debate.Are you still in the Netherlands?If so then I will arrange to come to the Netherlands,if you can arrange some kind of suitable venue.We also need an audience of say 50 people to make a decision on the winner.Shall we also make it interesting by each betting $500 US on the result?If you agree to those conditions,then I will come to debate you.Do you want to debate climate change generally,or the CO2 topic we have been discussing?

  43. #43 John
    September 12, 2010

    I like where this is going.

  44. #44 jakerman
    September 12, 2010

    >*I like where this is going.*

    Given Warren’s dishonest approach to date, I’m betting he’ll find an excuse to backout.

    After getting his hat handed to him here Warren is just trying to save face.

  45. #45 jakerman
    September 12, 2010

    BTW, 50 people willing to stepout to hear Warren’s nonsense? [Delusions of adequacy](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/the_co2_is_plant_food_crock.php#comment-2777389) have evolved into delusions of grandeur.

  46. #46 warren
    September 12, 2010

    Jeff Harvey”anyone…..should be able to realize the imposter from the scientist.” Yes they should Jeff,and do you know how they would do it?They would look at who has cited the most studies,who has given the most numbers,and who has NOT raved on with a whole lot of psuedo-scientific philosophical greenie flim flam.Now I wonder who would emerge as the scientist?

  47. #47 John
    September 12, 2010

    Not you.

  48. #48 jakerman
    September 12, 2010

    [Here is clue](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/the_co2_is_plant_food_crock.php#comment-2777089) as to how acompetent person might distinguish warren’s claims from those of a credible person.

  49. #49 warren
    September 12, 2010

    Jeff Harvey has cited 10 studies and used numbers 3 times.Warren has cited 18 studies and used numbers 12 times.

  50. #50 warren
    September 12, 2010

    Jakerman:Do you know how to do science or dont you?If you want to find out the effect of a variable,you change that variable and only that one,otherwise it is difficult to nail down cause and effect.When CO2 is isolated it’s effect on NPP is indisputable.If you want to make conclusions about temp or oxone,then a multi-variable study is done,however the results are then a lot more open to dispute.

  51. #51 Jeff Harvey
    September 12, 2010

    No Warren, an imposter is someone who gives the impression that its a simple numbers game, or even more childishly that ‘I have cited more studies than you! Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah!”.

    You teach science? God help us all. You do not have a clue about how science works, and think that a few studies conducted under controlled conditions can explain processes in nature that are many millions of times more complex. You get away with your bilge because you are able to ignore the 99% of the important content of my posts. This is where I say that there are a vast number of unknown effects in complex adaptive systems that will be likely to occur as a result of using the atmosphere as a carbon sewer. Pretty well all of the scientists who write the studies that you cite as proof of the benefits of C02 ferilization would totally disagree with you broader conclusions. In fact, most of them have expressed concern in their work about the vast number of unpredictable consequences that cannot be predicted from their experiments.

    Science is about being cautious and sceptical. You are neither. In the face of all of the vast array of unknown effects of increasing C02 in the atmopshere scientists are are of the potentailly hidden consequences. I never denied that many plants will grow larger as C02 increases. But the effects will be highly asymmetrical, and this is of grerat concern. Because you are not a scientist and do not understand basic ecology, your only recourse is to cite a few limited ‘knowns’ whilst ignoring a far great number o ‘unknowns’. In this context you will never win a debate in front of a scientific audience.

    So as for debating me, certainly I would do this in front of an audience of 10 or 10,000. I warn you beforehand: you are well out of your depth and you will lose, big time, on the basis of your ‘evidence’. My colleagues here would find it comical in the extreme that a school teacher would debate me on this issue. But, yes, I would be happy to arrange it for sometime early in 2010. I will not wager money, just my reputation as a scientist, but I can assure you that your challenge does not in the least bit worry me. Not one iota.

  52. #52 Jeff Harvey
    September 12, 2010

    For the debate I mean in 2011. And I would want it in front of an audience of scientists. I would suggest the same format as when I defeated Lomborg here, in 2002. He was a pushover, in my opinion. Warren, you will be easier. You do not know what you are in for. Before you commit to this, think it over. I know that I cannot lose this, on the basis of my knowledge os systems ecology. You would have to seriously swot up on this area, because if you rely on the studies that you have cited here so far, you are in for a shellacking.

    I would make efforts for media coverage here, which should not be too difficult.

  53. #53 warren
    September 12, 2010

    Jeff Harvey:OK it is on.You arrange it for early 2011,and I will be there.Everyone on Deltoid blog are the witnesses.You did not specify the specific subject area.I would prefer the general area of catastrophic climate change,but if you want CO2 fertilization as the subject then fine.I would insist that we do it for money however,as this gives me some incentive to spend the money getting there in the first place.I am willing to let Tim Lambert hold my $500 US as security if he is willing to do it.I am not afraid to put my money where my mouth is.Media covereage would an advantage.And I know what I am “in” for Jeff.I have debated both David Karoly and Ove Heogh-Guldberg,and I atleast held my own.Compared to them,you have a poor train of logic and you lack evidence for your claims.

  54. #54 Wow
    September 12, 2010

    “Jeff Harvey has cited 10 studies and used numbers 3 times.Warren has cited 18 studies and used numbers 12 times.”

    Warren has counted that as using numbers four times…

    Warren has not said that his stated studies are correct or even shown that they show what he states they do. About 20 times.

    Wow has used numbers seven times.

  55. #55 warren
    September 12, 2010

    Ww:Th clnc jst clld,yr brn s rdy!

  56. #56 Wow
    September 12, 2010

    Well, what can you expect from a teenager, other than whiny angst?

    PS when warren complains at an ad hom, anyone can point him to post 437 here, devoid of content as usual.

  57. #57 JRG
    September 12, 2010

    Why would increased CO2 levels make plants “thrive”? Won’t their CO2 needs stay the same due to the fact that the roughly the same level of photosynthesis should be occurring?

    Don’t human living at high elevations with lesser amounts of O breathe more deeply in order to get the same “molar” amount of O, since they still have to carry out the same biological functions? Why would this be different for plants?

    Doesn’t the very existence of CO2 in the atmosphere indicate that plants do not currently use all of the CO2 available? Why would increased concentrations mean they would use more?

  58. #58 jakerman
    September 12, 2010

    >*Do you know how to do science or dont you?*

    Yes, and you don’t, science is the opposite of [your approach](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/the_co2_is_plant_food_crock.php#comment-2777089).

  59. #59 jakerman
    September 12, 2010

    >*if you want to find out the effect of a variable,you change that variable and only that one*

    Thanks for primary school interpretation, an overly simplistic strawman that is a perversion of the debate.

    Only fools would assess the threat of AGW by selecting a) only positive studies of the effect of CO2, and b) by excluding effects of temperature, and other factors associated with burning fossil fuels.

    BTW Warren, were you being economical when [you said](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/the_co2_is_plant_food_crock.php#comment-2758797) you only have a:

    >*”diploma in medical laboratory science.That is all.”*

    Or were you being economical when you said you were a science teacher?

  60. #60 jakerman
    September 12, 2010

    Warren is revealing on another thread that arrogance and ignorance [can fit](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/05/brent_thread.php#comment-2793137) quite well.

  61. #61 jakerman
    September 12, 2010

    Warren writes:

    >*but if you want CO2 fertilization as the subject then fine.*

    If you are “debating” a ecologist it makes sense to focus on the field where one of you has professional competence. I’d suggest Jeff take this as the subject for debate.

    >*I would insist that we do it for money however,as this gives me some incentive to spend the money getting there in the first place.I am willing to let Tim Lambert hold my $500 US as security if he is willing to do it.I am not afraid to put my money where my mouth is.*

    Bull crap Warren, we all know you are full of it. You ain’t going to leave your money with Tim. You aren’t flying to Europe, you haven’t held your own with Jeff even in this thread. Your a just another Dunning Krueger with a big mouth.

    I’d smile if you were as good as your word. But you are not. Prove me wrong fool.

  62. #62 warren
    September 12, 2010

    Jakerman:If Jeff agrees to the terms[or maybe even if he does not agree],then I will go to debate him.I will allow Tim Lambert to hold my security deposit,that is,assuming he wants to be involved.If Tim were to get involved it would be great publicity for his blog-maybe he could run an online poll in regard to the outcome.It would be a hoot,and I would win the debate easily in front of a group of scientists.Does the idea hold any interest for you Mr Lambert?

  63. #63 Lotharsson
    September 13, 2010

    > If you want to find out the effect of a variable,you change that variable and only that one,otherwise it is difficult to nail down cause and effect.

    Warren, this points to the core of many of your repeated errors (and it’s not like you haven’t had most of this pointed out over and over again).

    Unfortunately only changing one variable is *not possible* in much of science (including most of medicine), so you have to move on from this ideal but simplistic approach in order to deal with more complex scenarios.

    The main problem with your statement quoted above is that it is (in most cases) a false description of your argument. For starters you need to be more specific – the vast majority of the studies you are citing are trying to find the **direct** effect of one input variable on **a particular output variable** under a *limited range of conditions* whilst excluding *most* (if not all) indirect effects and excluding *most* (if not all) other output variables of interest.

    You make egregious errors when:

    a) You focus on the effects on an output variable that is *not directly relevant* to the needs of either humans, or many other ecosystem participants. (It’s almost as if you respond to questions about how fuel-efficient your car is by lauding its superior acceleration – and then when others point out demonstrated safety concerns with that model you point back to its acceleration.)

    This error alone renders your argument moot. And it persists despite having been schooled over and over again as to why the variables that **are** directly relevant are unlikely to be benefited in the ways that you claim.

    b) Assume linear superposition (or something a lot like it) which you appear to do quite frequently, as it is pretty much required if you’re trying to determine the effect of one single variable by keeping all the others constant. This means your assumptions exclude the possibility of (as one example) non-linear threshold effects (hit a threshold and suddenly the previously identified relationship changes dramatically). Unfortunately there’s plenty of evidence for threshold effects in the ecosystem.

    c) In a similar vein there are non-linear multi-variable interactions which are excluded when one assumes linear superposition. It’s true that you occasionally cite multi-variate studies (typically only CO2 + temperature), but even then you seem to mentally model it as the superposition of two independent effects. Worse still, whenever other multi-variable interactions are said to be likely to be significant or to need more research you pretend that they simply cannot have any significant negative effects – when there is no evidence to support this assertion.

    d) You assert or imply that no significant indirect effects can exist. Studying direct the effect of variable x on outcome A is fine as far as it goes. But if variable x also affects variables i, j and k which ALSO affect outcome A then asserting that the total effect of x on A excludes the effects of {i,j,k} on A is fallacious (especially for one who suggests they are actually interested in determining cause and effect). It only gets worse if some of {x,i,j,k} also affect some of outcomes {B,C,D} which in turn affect some of {x,i,j,k}.

    And after having this kind of error pointed out several times, one can draw certain conclusions about those who persist in making it.

    e) You extrapolate very limited studies to a much wider range of circumstances (and species) than is warranted. (Never mind that your extrapolation is reliably and dubiously optimistic.)

  64. #64 jakerman
    September 13, 2010

    >*If Jeff agrees to the terms[or maybe even if he does not agree],then I will go to debate him.*

    Yes I know you are saying this. Its that I don’t believe you in the slightest. Your comments give you away as someone completely empty.

    I.e. you claim to have debated other climate scientists, with no supporting evidence, you claim you are a science teacher but you also claim:

    >*”I dont mind telling you my qualifications.I have a diploma in medical laboratory science.That is all.”*

    Which seems inconsistent with being a science teacher.

    Are you prepared to take any step that would enhance your credibility or accountability? Any small gesture? I think you are all empty talk.

  65. #65 warren
    September 13, 2010

    Lotharsson:I have never said that there are not other variables,nor that there are possible unknown consequences.What I have said is that the data we have to hand shows overwelmingly that elevated CO2 will be beneficial to plant life.That is what the data shows.I have seen very little DATA to contradict that view.All I have seen is mainly speculation.

  66. #66 Lotharsson
    September 13, 2010

    > I have never said that there are not other variables,nor that there are possible unknown consequences.

    As I indicated you have (clearly) implied it. When people point them out to you (as I said) you proceed to dismiss their effects.

    > What I have said is that the data we have to hand shows overwelmingly that elevated CO2 will be beneficial to plant life.That is what the data shows.I have seen very little DATA to contradict that view.All I have seen is mainly speculation.

    Remarkable.

    I and others have pointed you to counter-examples which you pretend do not exist – see your quote immediately above for yet another reiteration.

    Furthermore I and others have pointed out that – even based on known data – your definition of “beneficial” is very one-eyed and limited in scope, but you pretend that it is the only definition that matters.

  67. #67 warren
    September 13, 2010

    Jakerman:My debate with david Karoly is on youtube.My debate with Ove H-G is on my computer and will soon be on youtube.My diploma in Medical Lab Science is from QUT,I have a BA in Japanese from Griffith Uni,and I did my diploma of education at UNI of queensland.Happy now?
    PS Are you willing to stake some money[$100 US]on me going to holland to debate jeff?

  68. #68 warren
    September 13, 2010

    Lotharsson:Give up some numbers to refute me-otherwise it is all just polly-waffle.

  69. #69 Lotharsson
    September 13, 2010

    > Give up some numbers to refute me-otherwise it is all just polly-waffle.

    Shorter warren: if I don’t read what you refer me to, it doesn’t exist.

  70. #70 jakerman
    September 13, 2010

    >*Jakerman:My debate with david Karoly is on youtube*

    Should be easy for you to prove then. Back your claim up.

  71. #71 warren
    September 13, 2010

    Jakerman:Well you have got me.This is going to cause me a LOT of grief to do this,but I cant back away now.Go to youtube and search The Viewpoint Brisbane.Karoly should be number 2.The debate is in 2 parts

  72. #72 jakerman
    September 13, 2010

    Warren are you Tim O’brien Wells?

    >*Go to youtube and search The Viewpoint Brisbane.Karoly should be number 2.The debate is in 2 parts*

    Found [the shocking interview by tim obrien wells](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDNfNt_kjtI&feature=related)in [two parts](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kU-WbvT3Bag&NR=1) with Karoly, but no debate.

    Are you not able to back your claim?

  73. #73 warren
    September 13, 2010

    Jakerman:I backed my claim Jake,that is it.

  74. #74 jakerman
    September 13, 2010

    Tim O’brien Wells, so what you claimed was a debate was in fact your interview with Karoly?

  75. #75 Lotharsson
    September 13, 2010

    > My debate with david Karoly is on youtube.

    I assume that I have the right YouTube ([episode2part2](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDNfNt_kjtI&feature=related)), and thus that “warren” is the presenter on this clip…

    …which doesn’t start out well by claiming that “most of the disagreement” is “centered on the science” as this does not reflect reality. However the video spends a few minutes discussing the politics of GHG reduction agreements – although in doing so the presenter at least appears to acknowledges that we do need something done. However the presenter is essentially arguing the case that per capita emissions quotas are unrealistic – to which Karoly responds that they are more likely an end goal of a longer term process than an immediate imposition. The presenter argues that without a global agreement Australia shouldn’t bother doing anything, to which Karoly explains why it’s important for Australia (we’re likely to the worst affected of the developed countries, and IIRC it shows leadership regarding what can be done).

    > My debate with david Karoly is on youtube.

    I’m not seeing a debate. It’s not structured as one – it’s styled as a journalistic interview, and even then the presenter is not demonstrating any challenge to the science and certainly not landing any blows.

    In the last couple of minutes the presenter claims “there does seem to be a growing body of scientists who don’t agree with the consensus” and brings up the infamous Manhattan Declaration and Oregon Petitions – which is an instant credibility flush. Karoly essentially responds by pointing out the credibility problems in contrast to more credible surveys – and the difference between noise on blogs and actual science.

    Overall Karoly puts his case quite clearly with care and precision – for those who have ears to hear.

    The end of the clip says there’s another part – haven’t had time to watch that yet.

  76. #76 warren
    September 13, 2010

    Yes it was an interview.I could not really describe it as a Structured debate,though we did debate the issue.I did not intend to mislead in that regard.The same goes for Ove H-G,that is,it was more of an interview than a set debate.But again we did debate the issue.I should have made that more clear.

  77. #77 adelady
    September 13, 2010

    I’m brave and I’m strong. I did both of them.

    Karoly is very good. He’s also very polite and he suffers from typical scientific restraint and qualificationese. He just wasn’t prepared to say, flat out, that Lindzen’s work was unsatisfactory, because he hadn’t personally done the work that contradicted Lindzen.

    Not a single punch landed.

  78. #78 Lotharsson
    September 13, 2010

    > My debate with david Karoly is on youtube.

    So…when you say “debate” you mean “interview”? That’s not how I would use the word “debate”.

    Anyway, quick notes on part 2 (which is “episode 2 part 3″).

    Interviewer: skeptics say there’s no robust attribution for any observed warming to anthropogenic causes.

    Karoly: hundreds of papers that show human causes are responsible for most of the warming over the last 50 and 100 years; skeptics and deniers have not published any that show any other causes.

    Interviewers: skeptics say that attribution relies on a default [i.e. that GHG by default must be the cause] because we don’t understand the system completely and can’t pin down any other cause.

    Karoly: No, no! You have misunderstood what I said. The papers have looked at a range of causes – not by default, but by analysis – that the contribution due to GHG is responsible for most of the warming compared to the contribution due to the other causes.

    Interviewer: why does the IPCC say “very likely” and “most of the warming”.

    Karoly: already quite strong statement…

    Interviewer: critics say there’s no central piece of evidence to demonstrate it.

    Karoly: there is absolutely. E.g. patterns of warming such as more warming in winter than in summer, at high vs low latitudes, at night vs day, in lower atmosphere or upper atmosphere.

    Interviewer: urban heat island effect?

    Karoly: doesn’t warm oceans – e.g. polar regions without major cities. Not due to several other causes [often raised by "skeptics"] – including solar radiation, cosmic rays, land use.

    [And best line of interview:] “They might be due to invisible Martians with heaters, that we can’t see, but it’s unlikely.”

    Interviewer: tropospheric hotspot has not been observed.

    Karoly: Not true.

    Interviewer: it was predicted but not observed directly.

    Karoly: It has been. Cites various studies plus assessments by various national science bodies.

    Interviewer: contentions about climate sensitivity. Stefan-Boltzmann constant tends to suggest warming of one degree [Celsius?] Cites Idso & Kininmonth. IPCC says 1.5-4.5 degrees based on models; skeptics say no clear evidence it could be as high as 4.5.

    Karoly: change purely due to CO2 is about 1 degree, but many other factors – e.g. changes in water vapour, clouds, ice. Best estimate of warming is 3 degrees. Range is about 2 – 4.5. Convincing observational evidence that there is negligible likelihood of only 0.5 or 1 degree.

    Interviewer: Lindzen, observed results from satellite data, warming in tropics restricted to only 0.5 degrees. If correct, not much to worry about?

    Karoly: firstly Lindzen selected an uncorrected satellite data set – the correction changes the results significantly.

    > I have debated both David Karoly and Ove Heogh-Guldberg,and I atleast held my own.

    Not on the evidence I have seen. You merely presented known-to-be-bogus denialist talking points and had each one shot down in turn.

    If that’s “holding your own”, then I’m sure you can similarly “hold your own” with Jeff Harvey – but it won’t bolster the case for the argument you are makin

  79. #79 Michael
    September 13, 2010

    Just watched the interview.

    David Karoly has the patience of a f’ing saint.

  80. #80 jakerman
    September 13, 2010

    Warren writes:

    >>*I have debated both David Karoly and Ove Heogh-Guldberg,and I atleast held my own*

    >so what you claimed was a debate was in fact your interview with Karoly?

    >*Yes it was an interview.I could not really describe it as a Structured debate*

    So you “*atleast held [your] own*” in what manner?

    >*though we did debate the issue.*

    Oh really can you link me to that then, as that is what I was asking for.

    >*I did not intend to mislead in that regard.*

    In which regard, that you did debate him, that you held your own debating him? Or that you didn’t debate him but you did debate the issue? Or all of the above?

    >*The same goes for Ove H-G,that is,it was more of an interview than a set debate.But again we did debate the issue.*

    So you didn’t debate Ove but you did debate the issue? How did you managed that?

    >*I should have made that more clear.*

    No time like the present to start to set that straight Tim.

  81. #82 Jeff Harvey
    September 13, 2010

    AHA, so what exactly are you ‘Warren’? A humble science teacher or have you finally been ‘outed’? Is this what gives you kicks?

    As for convincing a scientific audience, perchance please tell me how many scientists you persoanlly know who are pushing the line that ‘more C02 is good for plant life’ but without the caveats I have repeatedly discussed and which you have repeatedly ignored. My argument is much more diverse than that. I see the game that you are playing, and it does not make the cut. My argument is and has always been that the effects of enhanced C02 on ecological communities, systems, and biomes is impossible to predict given the unknowns and could be seriously negative in many cases. Your argument stops at ‘C02 is good for plant life’. How far are you willing to take this argument beyond the microcosm stusies that you rely on? It seems that every time I enter into the aspect of complexity, you shy away and retreat to your little cave, citing studies showing that many plants grow better under elevated C02. I have never doubted that most species will grow larger; this is elementary science. What I do dispute is (1) that these effects will be linear, and thus exert little or no effects (or even beneficial effects) on larger scale systems, and (2) that the ratios or important primary and secondary metabolites in plants will also increase in proportion. I also dispute the argument that more C02 = bigger plants = good for nature argument. We have no idea how increases in C02 – especially the rate at which this gas is increasing – will affect systemic reslience and stability, or if there will be many winners and losers owing to intra- and interspecific related effects occurring at local scales. On this argument I have 99.9% of the scientific community behind me. The main bulk of contrarians on this point are (1) retired right wing economists, (2) supposed science teachers who are in fact pundits, and (3) other assorted non-scientists who are pushing political agendas. Please find me any scientific article published in a rigid journal which claims that increasing C02 in the atmopshere will beneift plant and animal life and make ecosystems stronger and more resilient. Just one.

    Certainly your so-called ‘debate’ with Karoly did not scare me at all. And you strike me as being intellectually dishonest when you claim to want a debate with me on ‘catastrophic climate change’. Where the hell did that come from? Since when have I discussed ‘catastrophic climate change’ in this thread? My arguments have consistenly been based on the vast number of unknown effects that increased C02 will have on the functioning of complex adaptive systems. Your arguments have been based on microcosm studies usually excluding a myriad of other biotic and abiotic processes that have measured plant growth in ambient or elevated C02. At the same time, you have refused to explain how this will affect the assembly and functioning of ecosystems. A good analogy is that ecological complexity goes on a log scale from 1 (most simple at the level of individuals) to 100 (most complex at the level of the biosphere). Thus far, studies have produced mixed results for increases in C02 on community-level interactions and on plant stoichimetry, with more positive results for plant biomass. However, on the 1-100 scale of complexity, we have only gotten about to points 2 or 3 in understanding the effects of increased C02. In other words, no further than microcosms or perhaps small-scale mesocosms. On this basis, speaking as an experienced scientist, I am very cautious and concerned about the effects of increases in C02 at larger scales – between 3 and 100. Try and find an ecologist who would disagree with this. Even most of those writing the closed studies, many of whom are not ecologists, would have to admit that the jury is out on larger scale effects. In other words, it is a crap shoot. A roll of the dice on complex adaptive systems that sustain us in a myriad of ways.

    In his recent appearance on a TV debate in Australia, the late Stephen Schneider said to be wary of anyone who exerts complete confidence in any scientific process associated with climate change. By nature, scientists work on probabilities, and not absolutes. I believe that if there is a 20% chance that pumping more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere will unravel many important food webs, and precipitate collapsing ecosystems, then we should do everthing in our power to keep C02 levels below 450ppm. We do not understand enough about the factors maintaining the stability and effective functioning of ecosystems to be able to confidently assert that our tinkering with it in so many ways – C02 increases included – will not have serious effects. People like ‘Warren’ or whoever he is do not hold such reservations. They are not scientists in the classical definition of the term, but contrarians, who believe that without 100% proof of a problem or process that there is no problem and that we should therefore continue on the current path.

    I therefore will not debate ‘Warren’ here on the criteria he has set. It would have to be on the basis of unknowns and the functioning of complex systems. I know the trap that he intends to set for me and I will not take the bait. He will claim that C02 is good for plants citing his limited studies and then say that I cannot prove that it is not only bad for plants but for the systems in which they are embedded, because we have no or very little data from them. Sorry ‘Warren’, but I know the tricks of the contrarian trade. For the time being I will debate you on this thread and if you want to be taken seriously I expect you to answer ALL of the points I raise, and not those of your own choosing.

  82. #83 warren
    September 13, 2010

    Jeff Harvey:Well this has been all one great big tease.First you say you would ‘love’ to debate me,and now you are running away because you dont think you can win.What happened to that PHD bravado of yours? You said a debate with me would be a ‘slum dunk’ and ‘utter annihalation’.Now you want to debate about ‘unknowns and the functioning of complex systems’.It does not matter Jeff,even if we came up with a propostion which was to your liking,you would never agree to a debate,so lets drop the idea.There is also very little value in continuing this discussion as the only thing you come up with time and time again is “the unknowns”.Should Alexander Fleming have not done his work to discover Penecillin because of the ‘unknowns’?Should Watson and Crick not investigated DNA because of the ‘unknowns’?I have presented data;you have presented doubts.And that is why it is impossible to ‘answer all of the points’as you say.They are based on doubt,and therefore they cant be quantified.
    To your last post,you asked for 1 scientist I know personally? I know Bob Carter personally,though; not well.

  83. #84 Jeff Harvey
    September 13, 2010

    Warren, or whoever the hell you are,

    I would certainly debate you on the terms I have argued throughout this thread. But since you never reply to the substantive points I make in my posts (is this because you do not understand basic ecology or know that you are out of your depth?) and then yopu claim to want to debate me on ‘catastrophic climate change’ or else ‘C02 is good for plants’, why not on the proposition, ‘The effects of increased C02 on large scale communities and ecosystems is largely unknown and may be highly deleterious’? My aim is, and always was, to highlight the potential consequences of gaps in our knowledge as to the effects of C02 on individuals, communities and ecosystems. I do realize that in doing this, you will be well out of your intellectual depth, and thus you will stick close to your ‘most plants grow better under elevated C02 regimes’ whilst ignoring the broader implications.

    So sure, if you wanted to come here and debate complex adaptive systems with me, go ahead, look an idiot, especially when you will peel off selected results from microcosm stu’dies, I will do the same but with quite different results, then I will say, ‘let us scale up the processes and look at ecological interaction networks, food webs and ultimately ecosystems. I will go on to argue that, because the effects of increased C02 will be association (= species) specific, there will be winners and losers: the losers will not necessarily lose because of increased C02, but in competition for other resources, namely light, other nutrients, and through allelopathy. And the effects of these on herbivores and further up the food chain will also be highly unpredictable, meaning that, as I said in my last post, and which you habitually ignore, we are gambling that all will be OK. Its a crap shoot. You will then say, ‘Hey, but Jeff, all of this is heresay, unknowns and I am only talking about plant growth in a quantitative sense’ (again, because you do not understand the bigger picture and are pushing what I consider to be a political point).

    Lotharsson summed it up perfectly when he said:

    *Furthermore I and others have pointed out that – even based on known data – your definition of “beneficial” is very one-eyed and limited in scope, but you pretend that it is the only definition that matters*.

    Exactly. Your definition is but one component of a multi-dimensional process. Most plants grow bigger under elevated C02. Therefore bigger is better. Nature prospers. Man prospers. We all live happily ever after. And so on and so on. But as I said, it is not this simple. Not nearly so one-dimensional. I have said this over and over again, and you continaully return to the starting point. What is there to debate? Sure you will plug some studies. But they are not the bottom line when we expand the spatial and temporal scales. I am certainly willing to debate the potential consequences of bigger (though not necessarily more nutritious) plants, as well as on intra- and inter-specific differences in plant responses to increased C02 and the potential consequences for ecosystem functioning. Can you do this? I do not think so. Your world is one-dimensional. Any audience would see that, even it was made up of factory workers.

    Bob Carter? Please do not make me laugh. What research has he done on plant ecophysiology and community ecology?

  84. #85 warren
    September 13, 2010

    Jeff Harvey:OK,so you are now wanting to debate again?Are you sure?Dont change your mind now!So our subject is, “The effect of increased CO2 on large scale communities and ecosystems is largely unknown and could be highly deleterious”.If that is the subject then,yes I will debate you on it.If you are comfortable with that propositition then I am also.Do you also agree to the friendly wager on the outcome of the debate?

  85. #86 warren
    September 13, 2010

    Jeff Harvey:Bob Carter??You asked for 1 scientist I know personally….,I answer you,and so now you change the goal posts again and say he has not done any research.That was not what you asked for!Make your mind up man!

  86. #87 Michael
    September 13, 2010

    What on earth have we done to deserve this latest version of troll?

    Seems to be some kind of You Tube Tom Fuller.

  87. #88 Jeff Harvey
    September 13, 2010

    Warren (again, if this is who you are),

    Debate me first on the specifics of what I write on here. I wasted my time once before debating a contrarian here in Holland on the topic of ‘Is the current loss of biodiversity a concern’ in front of a large audience. Turns out that my opponent, although a scientist, didn’t know a damned thing about the topic and complied for the most part that there was ‘too much dogma’in ecology. He was also an adviser of an anti-environmental web site in the Unbited States.

    As for Bob Carter, I never said he wasn’t a scientist but that he has as far as I can tell no expertise in the field of plant physiology and ecology. I know of Carter as one of NZs biggest climate change sceptics, and that he attends right wing think tank ‘conferences’ where climate change is downplayed. But if this is the one name that you can dredge up in relevant fields, then this shows how thin the ‘other side’ is in terms of scientific expertise.

    Unfortunately, Michael’s post (469) sums up my feelings as well.

  88. #89 warren
    September 13, 2010

    Forget the whole thing Jeff.It is a waste of time even discussing it,you will never agree.Funny how you were so gung-ho before.

  89. #90 Wow
    September 13, 2010

    > Forget the whole thing Jeff.It is a waste of time even discussing it,you will never agree.

    Why is it wrong to never agree that black is, actually, white?

    Jeff is willing to talk with you f2f on the effects of CO2 increases in the earth’s atmosphere over the BAU proposals for the coming 90 years.

    But you don’t want to do that, since you’d be toast.

    Funny how you were so gung-ho before.

  90. #91 jakerman
    September 13, 2010

    Bob Carter showed his level of incompetence with his involvement in the [Mclean debacle](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/john_mclean_hides_the_declines.php).

  91. #92 jakerman
    September 13, 2010

    Jeff, Not knowing Brisbane TV my assumption is that Warren (Tim O’Brien Wells) is not on mainstream TV. There are only a handful of O’Brien’s uploads on youtube. Form the production values its a homemade piece which might at best appear on a “community station”, one of those with very low ratings, and if its like my state I couldn’t watch if if I wanted to due to it very poor reception.

    I.e. wouldn’t rate Warren as a pundit.

  92. #93 chek
    September 13, 2010

    Oh, I don’t think anyone’s over-rating Warren at this point, J.

  93. #94 j
    September 13, 2010

    ;)

  94. #95 Wow
    September 14, 2010

    I thought that warren (nee Tim) was going to travel to see Jeff?

    warren, will you converse with Jeff on the subject you’ve insisted you know better than him even though it is his area of expertise, the biological web of the environment and its reaction to an increase in CO2 in the global atmosphere?

    Changing climate would be included only in so far as it pertains to the biological response of food crops.

    Or have you gone off the idea, like another Tim did about his challenge to drink salt water laced with CO2 to “neutralise” it..?