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.

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That's great Tim!

However, much thanks must go to Jeff, Bernard et al for debunking TC's pseudo-science ... many on-lookers are learning a lot. Their patience is nothing but astounding!

Tim Curtin, thanks must go to you too ... without you we wouldn't know how 'off-the-planet' you are :-)

Chris: just show us your numbers using the actuals for increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration (100 ppm) and increase in global mean temperature (0.7 oC, at most, given zero tropical Africa records in 1900) for the period 1900-2000, using your text "Doubling the input causes the same increase in output for any original input, i.e. increasing the input from 2 units to 4 units causes the same increase in output as increasing the input from 1 unit to 2 units. Increasing the input from 4 units to 8 units causes the same increase in output again etc."

According to the great Curtin:

"Doubling the input"

from 280 ppm

means increasing by 100 ppm or thereabouts.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 18 Mar 2009 #permalink

Thank you Tim Lambert, that is very kind and helpful.

Both to get started and maintain continuity, here is Tim Lambertâs original comment on my Quadrant paper which he said âcontains such gems as the claim that Arrhenius borrowed his formulation of the enhanced greenhouse effect from Malthus (he didn't), that the water vapour from burning fossil fuels is a more important greenhouse gas that CO2 (ignoring the fact that the CO2 stays in the atmosphere 10,000 times as long) and attributing all of the increase in food production in the last thirty years to the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere (I swear that I am not making this up).â

I think it is fair to say that early on I established there is no proof that Arrhenius did not know of Malthusâ most famous claim that while population grows âgeometricallyâ, food production grows only âarithmeticallyâ when he said that atmospheric carbon dioxide âincreases in geometric progression, augmentation of the temperature will increase in nearly arithmetic progressionâ (1896). Certainly we do know that Darwin was hugely influenced by the Malthus claim, and that Arrhenius was a keen Darwinian. I donât claim proof, only strong circumstantial evidence.

As for the relative radiative forcing of water vapour versus CO2, there is no proof that any let alone all CO2 molcules remain airborne for 10,000 times as long as any given H2O molecule, as the former like the latter are in constant flux if with slower turnover between sky and surface. Forcing at any given time depends on the relative volumes of each within the atmosphere, and the IPCCâs Houghton shows how water vapour more than doubles the CO2 effect, and Bigg (The Oceans & Climate, CUP 2003) likewise attributes 55-70% of the total greenhouse effect to water vapour, and just 25% to CO2.

Then I did not as claimed âattribute all of the increase in food production in the last 30 years to the increase of CO2â, but cited the Garnaut Reportâs study by Crimp and my own work showing the âdominant roleâ of increasing atmospheric CO2. For example, Crimp et al show that at Moree (NSW) by 2030 with BAU emissions of CO2, wheat yield will have increased by 20.6%. My co-authorâs data for wheat yields at Moree from 1959 to 1999 when correlated with rain there, CO2, and both N and P fertilizer inputs, shows strongly significant results for the rain and CO2 and coefficients, and not significant for either of the fertilizer inputs; the CO2 coefficient has the largest impact. The Durbin-Watson discloses no auto-correlations. The CO2 input we used is the global Terrestrial Absorption reported by the Global Carbon Project (Raupach & co).

I will comment later on last nightâs posts by Jeff & co.

Chris (#2) I will leave it to Arrhenius (1896, p.265) to answer your nonsense:

[in Table VII] â¦â I have calculated the mean alteration of temperature that would follow if the quantity of carbonic acid (i.e. [CO2]) varied from its present mean value (K=1) to another, viz. to K = 0.67, 1.5, 2, 2.5, and 3 respectivelyâ. If K in 1896 was 270 ppm then K*1.5 = 405, which we are nearly at (386). For K*1.5, Arrhenius gave a global temperature rise of 3.15 oC to 3.7 oC depending on latitude. We have had only 0.7 oC since 1896 for K*1.43. For K*2, or for 540 ppm, Arrhenius gave a total rise of 4.95 to 6.05 oC, that is increases of only about 2 oC for the extra 50% increase in CO2 from K=1.5 to K=2 (hence his ânearly arithmeticâ increase, or logarithmic, which is what Chris has been trying to explain to us without much success). Arrhenius clearly did not deal only in doublings as Chris would have us believe.

To all: note again how Tim makes an astonishingly ridiculous argument (re: the conversion of tropical forests to oil palm plantations as a means of creating a carbon sink, irrespective of the devastation it will do to 80% or more of the world's biodiversity), has the argument destroyed, then, without any kind of riposte, moves back to his already discredited Malthus-critique/C02 fertilizer corner.

He's done this on a variety of other topics, as the readers of the previous TC thread know all-too-well.

I have already shown how we canbnot exclude an array of trophic interactions as well as abiotic processes in calculating the net effects of increased atmospheric C02 on plant productivity; because Tim either (a) does not uinderstand the meaning of trophic complexity, or (b) thinks plant growth is somehow independent of other constraints, he dismisses it. Readers can decide for themselves how his immaculate calaculations relate to the real world.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 18 Mar 2009 #permalink

"there is no proof that any let alone all CO2 molcules remain airborne for 10,000 times as long as any given H2O molecule, as the former like the latter are in constant flux if with slower turnover between sky and surface"

Does the rarity of carbon dioxide raining out of the sky as dry ice snow make you wonder whether, perhaps, carbon dioxide might stay up there longer than water?

Please help me understand your phrase "slower turnover"? Could it possibly mean something like "stays up there longer"?

If K in 1896 was 270 ppm then K1.5 = 405, which we are nearly at (386). For K1.5, Arrhenius gave a global temperature rise of 3.15 oC to 3.7 oC depending on latitude. We have had only 0.7 oC since 1896 for K1.43.

Aside from the many responses that have been previously offered to you with respect to this aspect of your science, you are making two mistakes in your claim.

Firstly, you have provided no evidence that the current anomaly is in equilibrium with respect to the contemporaneous 385ppm concentration of CO2.

Secondly, the "only 0.7 oC since 1896 for K1.43" has not always been "0.7 oC since 1896 for K1.43" (on average, the anomaly has been decidely less), and therefore, in conjunction with the inertia implicit in point 1, your comparison is spurious.

And even if it weren't, given the embryonic nature of Arrhenius' work in the 19th century, your disparagement of his calculations is churlish and ideological. I'd like to see you do better given the information that he had at hand.

Speaking of doing better, I hope that your forthcoming publication includes your own calculations of the decline of CO2 after the posited peak emissions, that you so criticised with regard to Solomon et al. As you claim that your chemistry is coming along swimmingly, it should be a fait accompli.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 19 Mar 2009 #permalink

Alan: No. All that matters is the relative proportion of CO2 and H2O in the atmosphere at any given moment of time. There is not much CO2 up there (only 385 ppm) but much more H2O, and while the latter fluxes (exchanges) more than the former, all that matters at any moment (for IR) is the absolute levels of each (unless the whole of the IPCC is garbage, which cannot be excluded!). Your âStays up longerâ betrays I fear ignorance of inventory analysis, some shoes from a shoe shop donât move, others do. If my auntâs shoes stock does not move, (it never did!), how does that affect global warming?

All that matters is the relative proportion of CO2 and H2O in the atmosphere at any given moment of time.

By "the relative proportion of CO2 and H2O" do you mean the ratio of CO2 to H2O? And what of the other trace greenhouse gases?

If my auntâs shoes stock does not move, (it never did!), how does that affect global warming?

It surely affects global warming if new shoes are added to her stock, and that by doing so the overall weight of shoes on the shelves increases.

How are the biodiversity and carbon inventory analyses for [Indonesian rainforests versus palm plantations](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/01/windschuttle_hoaxed.php#comment…) going? And from the same link, have you decided yet what your reason was for publishing in Quandrant, as opposed to the 'other journal'.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 19 Mar 2009 #permalink

Tim Curtin posts:

there is no proof that any let alone all CO2 molcules remain airborne for 10,000 times as long as any given H2O molecule, as the former like the latter are in constant flux if with slower turnover between sky and surface.

An average molecule of water vapor remains in the atmosphere nine (9) days. An average molecule of carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere five (5) years. The details of interchange between atmospheric and oceanic CO2 is such that a pulse of carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere, on average, two hundred (200) years. Consider that the cycle of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation they teach us in 5th grade science class works on a time scale of days while the carbonate-silicate cycle works on a time scale of millions of years, and it's amazing that CO2 cycles as fast as it does.

Then I did not as claimed âattribute all of the increase in food production in the last 30 years to the increase of CO2â, but cited the Garnaut Reportâs study by Crimp and my own work showing the âdominant roleâ of increasing atmospheric CO2.

Tim Curtin has the cunning ability to hide his complete ignorance about basically all scientific subjects behind a pseudo-scientific language and moved goalposts.

that is ok, as sometimes it is fun to read his nonsense, waiting for the next completely moronic claim.

but it is also a great waste of time. so here i offer you the one link proof, that this claim by Curtin (CO2 is the major driving force in food production) is FALSE.

for a moment, let us assume that Curtin is right: my own work showing the âdominant roleâ of increasing atmospheric CO2 (on food production).

we would seriously expect to find this to be the leading news among the [companies, that sell CO2 to greenhouses.](http://www.homeharvest.com/carbondioxideenrichment.htm)

but instead those advertisement announce only a MINOR improvement of food production under Ma MASSIVE increase in CO2 concentration. (and only on certain plants, of course)

Tim Curtin had it wrong. again.

sod: you have to do better than that. For C3 plants v C4 for starters.

see, Tim Curtin assumes that those selling CO2 to greenhouses use plants, that don t profit a lot, in their advertisements.

according to Curtin, Tim Curtin is the only person with a working brain.

this is from the very first links, when googling (C3 plants, CO2, climate or something similar)

Increased concentrations of CO2 may boost crop productivity. Inprinciple, higher levels of CO2 should stimulate photosynthesis in certain plants; a doubling of CO2 may increase photosynthesis rates by as much as30-100%. Laboratory experiments confirm that when plants absorb more carbon they grow bigger and more quickly. This is particularly true for C3 plants (so called because the product of their first biochemical reactions during photosynthesis has three carbon atoms). Increased carbon dioxide tends to suppress photo-respiration in these plants, making them more water-efficient. C3 plants include such major mid-latitude food staples as wheat, rice, and soybean. The response of C4 plants, on the other hand, would not be as dramatic (although at current CO2 levels these plants photosynthesize more efficiently than do C3 plants). C4 plants include such low-latitude crops as maize, sorghum, sugar-cane, and millet, plus many pasture and forage grasses.

a good example of a C3 pant?

Tomato (C3-plants) and maize (C4-plants)

the main example in the CO2 for greenhouses advertisement that i posted above?

TOMATOES Work in experimental stations has shown that crop increases of as much as 29% have been obtained by increasing the CO2 concentration. More desirable firmness and more uniform ripening are also observed.

29%? when we increase the CO2 concentration to far beyond what we hopefully will ever see in our atmosphere?

wow.

and Tim Curtin believes, that (less than) 29% was the single biggest factor in yield increase over the last century!

but to quote Tim Curtin again:

sod: you have to do better than that. For C3 plants v C4 for starters.

Yesterday Tim argued that oil palm forests were efficient carbon sinks (he appeared to suggest that developing countries in the south should be allowed to fell their great tropical forests for conversion to oil palm plantations. Here's evidence that his argument has more hot air than ever.

From Woods Hole Research Center:

"The potential for palm oil plantations in the Brazilian Amazon is vast: the Woods Hole Research Center estimates that 2.283 million square kilometers (881,000 sq miles) of forest land in the region is suitable for oil palm, an area far greater in extent than that which could be converted for soy (390,000 sq km) or sugar cane (1.988 million sq km). *Woods Hole calculates this area of forest locks up some 42.5 billion tons (gigatons) of carbon in above-ground biomass, or roughly six times 2006 global emissions. Converting this area for palm would release nearly 60 percent of this carbon (oil palm plantations in SE Asia store about 75 tons of carbon per hectare)*.

Oil palm plantations *support significantly lower levels of biodiversity than even logged rainforests. Research by Lian Pin Koh and David Wilcove found a 77 percent decline in forest bird species and an 83 percent loss of butterfly species upon the conversion of old-growth forest to oil palm plantations*. By comparison, secondary forest 30 years after logging retained roughly 80 percent of the original forest species. *Oil palm plantations also store considerably less carbon than primary forests*".

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 19 Mar 2009 #permalink

Since Tim Lambert is intent on starting a new internet tradition, the Tim Curtin Pinata Party, Eli proposes renaming Deltoid, the "Tims".

sod:
"29%? when we increase the CO2 concentration to far beyond what we hopefully will ever see in our atmosphere?

wow. "

Also, let us not forget that greenhouse crops are maintained under highly managed temperatures, optimum water and humidity, and intensive fertilizer management. Those 29% yield gains - at the upper limit, for one crop - are achieved under conditions where every other possible limiting factor is minimized to the greatest possible extent, and the ONLY limiting factor in play is [CO2].

re: #18 Lee

Correct, this is an instance of the general form of Liebig's Law of the Minimum, which:

a) is 180 years old.
b) farmkids learn by the time they're 10 (I certainly did), although not necessarily under the formal name.

c) But somehow escapes all these people who think that CO2 will drastically ramp up production in general conditions, most of whom I'd suspect have not grown food for their living.

No amount of extra CO2 will grow corn in the Sahara, no matter what the Western Fuels Society would have you think: see Naomi Oreskes' You CAN argue with the facts. In particular, the video-within-video showing the whole world greening up would be funny in other circumstances.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 19 Mar 2009 #permalink

Also, let us not forget that greenhouse crops are maintained under highly managed temperatures, optimum water and humidity, and intensive fertilizer management. Those 29% yield gains - at the upper limit, for one crop - are achieved under conditions where every other possible limiting factor is minimized to the greatest possible extent, and the ONLY limiting factor in play is [CO2].

greenhouses are a very funny thing to look at anyway. according to Tim Curtin, they don t significantly increase yield. (only by a fraction of those 30% that CO2 does)

so all those greenhouse owners who harvest twice per year (many of them without adding CO2..), don t really exist in the Tim Curtin world.

a modern farmer, using genetic engineering, and satellite guided fertilizer/pesticide distribution and soil working (ignoring all the problems caused by this) is basically still producing the same yield, as he did 100 years ago, while ploughing with an oxen. if it wasn t for the CO2 increase, that is...

Sod. Thanks for the link to that advert, from whcih "SAMPLE RESULTS FROM CO2 ENRICHMENT STUDIES

BIBB LETTUCE
By adding CO2 to the atmosphere around the plant, a 40% crop increase was achieved. Whereas previous crops averaged 22 heads per basket, lettuce grown in the increased CO2 atmosphere (550 ppm) averaged 16 heads of better quality per basket.

CARNATIONS
CO2 levels to 550 ppm produced an obvious increase in yield (over 30%), but the greatest benefits were earlier flowering (up to 2 weeks) with an increased percentage of dry matter.

ROSES
The addition of controlled carbon dioxide provided a remarkable improvement in blossom quality, number and yield. Plants consistently produced many more flowers with 24 to 30 inch stems. Average yield was increased by 39.7%.

TOMATOES
Work in experimental stations has shown that crop increases of as much as 29% have been obtained by increasing the CO2 concentration. More desirable firmness and more uniform ripening are also observed."

Next question?

mbwahahaha

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 19 Mar 2009 #permalink

It would be sad if it wasn't so funny.

Er ... it would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

Hahaha mbwahahaha

Bernard: you said I had âprovided no evidence that the current anomaly is in equilibrium with respect to the contemporaneous 385ppm concentration of CO2.â My reference is to the actual GISS temperatures for 1900 (13.95 oC) and 2008 (14.55 oC), for an increase of 0.61 oC (it was over 0.7 oC in 2007, last year was cooler). The anomalies in 1900 and 2008 were â5 and 55 respectively, again for 0.61 oC, to get the actuals divide the anomalies by 100 and add 14). I have no idea what you mean by âequilibriumâ here, the climate is never in equilbrium.

Secondly, my comparison is not spurious, and follows Arrheniusâ method precisely. Have you read his article, it is indeed brilliant, despite the clearly unfulfilled predictions, and of course he thought that even a rise in T of 6 oC for doubling [CO2] from c. 270 ppm would be beneficial. Notice his comment that âin Tertiary times there existed a vegetation and an animal life in the temperate and arctic zones that must have been conditioned by a much higher temperature than the present in the same regionsâ¦by about 8 or 9 degrees. To this *genial time the ice age succeededâ¦â (my italics).

Thirdly, re âcalculations of the decline of CO2 after the posited peak emissions, that you so criticised with regard to Solomon et al.â, you have got that wrong. I criticised Solomon et al. for their gross exaggeration of the growth of [CO2] from now to 2100, at more than three times faster than the actual growth rate from 1958 to 2008. But since you raise it, the apparent declines from peaks after cessation of all emissions in their Fig.1 make equally unwarranted assumptions about oceanic and terrestrial absorption. Just try and balance their carbon budget using their growth rates without getting the preposterous result of negative absorption for the next 20 years. But I have decided not to pursue Solly et pals because I love their conclusion that since disastrous climate change is inevitable and irreversible for the several millennia whatever we do, there is no need to embark on ruinous mitigation of emissions.

The great Curtin:

hence his ânearly arithmeticâ increase, or logarithmic, which is what Chris has been trying to explain to us

i.e. to the great Curtin

without much success

The great Curtin is indeed right again. No-one has much success in explaining anything to the great Curtin.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 19 Mar 2009 #permalink

I have no idea what you mean by âequilibriumâ here, the climate is never in equilbrium [sic].

Trite herrings red will not serve you here. "Climate" itself doesn't ever need to be "in equilibrium" for the forcing resulting from an increased concentration of atmospheric CO2 to (eventually) reach "an equilibrium".

Good effort at making yourself look a goose, though.

As to my question:

I hope that your forthcoming publication includes your own calculations of the decline of CO2 after the posited peak emissions, that you so criticised with regard to Solomon et al...

I don't "have... that wrong". I know very well for what it was that you criticised Solomon et al, and even though I placed my comma after "emissions" rather than after "CO2", I suspect that you knew the thrust of my intended meaning - the ordering of "emissions" after "CO2", and the ongoing discussion of your views on the paper, should have served to inform you no matter where the errant comma was placed.

You just seem to be scrambling for any excuse to point out 'mistakes' in others, whilst assiduously avoiding addressing the many glaring errors that you yourself have made.

I note too that you address only the low-hanging fruit, and that you skirt around most of the other significant questions put to you. So, once more...

By "the relative proportion of CO2 and H2O" do you mean the ratio of CO2 to H2O? And what of the other trace greenhouse gases? How are the biodiversity and carbon inventory analyses for Indonesian rainforests versus palm plantations going? And from the same link, have you decided yet what your reason was for publishing in Quandrant, as opposed to the 'other journal'.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 19 Mar 2009 #permalink

Sod. Thanks for the link to that advert, from whcih "SAMPLE RESULTS FROM CO2 ENRICHMENT STUDIES

i expected a stupid reply, but this is much worse than what i could think up...

30% at 550ppm (OR MORE): what does that leave for our current level of CO2 in the atmosphere? how is that the dominant factor in yield increase?

and shouldn t you have at least excused yourself for the moronic remark about C3 and C4 plants?

Bernard: first version of my Garnaut critique was rejected by one journal, then accepted by another but that in November changed the publication date from January to mid-2009, so I offered it to Keith Windschuttle and it appeared in Quadrant by end-December. I see you still evade the issue of the gross exageration in Solomon et al of the [CO2] growth rate and their implication that already the terrestrial sink is not merely saturated but a source; their Fig 1 implies that the atmospheric concentration will increase this year by 4.8 ppm (it was 1.9 last year). I'll be glad to post my graph of their carbon budget if you would be so kind as to give me the WordPress code for inserting an Excel chart.

Sod: You really are hopeless. While [CO2] has increased by only 22% since 1958, total Absorption of CO2 Emissions has increased by 237%, mostly on land not sea (See Table in GCP). The atmospheric CO2 is what is left in the sky after the Absorption of 57% of Emissions. Is that too difficult?

Bernard asked at #413 on the previous thread âJust how long do you think that carbon fixed by plantation palms stays 'fixed'?â Well they are trees, so the carbon embedded in the tree itself lasts as long the tree, which can be 50 years, but as the annual fresh fruit bunch (ffb) yield starts declining, so the trees get to be replaced by fresh plantings. The ffbs are hugely rich in carbon derivatives, and form part of the non-linear food chain that Jeff claims to understand but manifestly does not. We all eat carbon-derived food, excrete, and exhale, but also store some until death and some of us use the energy derived from both the carbohydrate and hydrocarbon components to do useful things or have fun, while others like Jeff and Bernard wring their hands all day and cry âwoe is me the end is nighâ. As a hydrocarbon, palm oil is also being touted as a non-fossil jet or motor fuel which partly explains the doubling in its price from 2000 to 2007. Palm oil is the cooking oil of choice across most of SE Asia and much of Africa. Palm kernels are also rich in carbon and are a widely used industrial chemical. US soy oil producers spent years trying to have oil palm plantations suppressed by concocting environmental scare stories in order to boost their own productâs sales. The truth is the WWF et al actually hate people especially those in the 3rd World for their temerity in aspiring to the Western standard of living and lifestyle (WWF has been trying to get rid of the Kalahari Bushmen for years), hence the hostility to oil palm. Canola grown across much of southern UK and France is OK, how's the bio diversity in East Anglia? - but oil palm in Malaysia is not.

Bernard again asked if I can âadd a precise of comparative species analyses for forest versus plantation, with justification for the decimation of biodiversity that follows plantation, and in particular can you explain why extensive plantation of palms should not be of concern for the orang utans that are being displaced?â Actually, most oil palm plantations in PNG and Malaya are on what were formerly 100-year old copra (PNG) or rubber (Malaya) plantations; the ones I knew in Nigeria and PNG had plenty of biodiversity, both because hills and rivers within them retained their original vegetation; in Sarawak they are mostly in the coastal plain, not in the mountains, which are the main habitat of the orang-utan, whose main problem is that they love oil palm ffbs too much and reduce incomes of the peasants. What needs to be (and probably is being) done is to establish wild life parks to protect them from angry villagers.

DavidK, you hit the nail on the head when you write, "It would be sad if it wasn't so funny. Er ... it would be funny if it wasn't so sad. Hahaha mbwahahaha".

Tim thinks he can bowl us all over by throwing his calculations and maths around like there is no tomorrow. We are all supposed to swoon at this level of intellectual discourse. But this shouldn't fool anyone. As I and others have said, Tim's calculations incorporate a few variables and exclude countless others that are vital if we are to accurately predict the effects of increasing atmospheric C02 levels on our global ecological life-support systems. I have repeated asked how he has factored in effects on phenology; differential context and trait dependent parameters amongst species in food webs; the soil community, in particular rhizobacteria and mycorrhizal fungi, as well as other guilds in the decomposer subsystem; above ground seed dispers, pollinators and the like; C:N:P ratios in plant tissues and its affects on multitrophic interactions; effects on nutient cycling and water purification; and to expand the spatial scale of these processes on communities up to the level of ecosystems and biomes; qualiative and quantitiave changes in pollen and effects on pollinators; many other environmental variables.

As I have also said many times, Tim either ignores my posts (knowing he does not have these data, nor can he produce them, and he is well aware that it is fatal to his thesis) or else he comes back with a riposte that suggests so long as we do not know what the effects of global change will be on these parameters, then there is no problem. This is the classic refrain of a contrarian. So long as a process is not studied or fully understood, then there is no problem. And then he sticks to his simple linear extrapolations.

In his book, *Hidden Order*, John Holland discusses the key properties that characterize complex adaptive systems across the biopshere. These properties are: heterogeneity, nonlinearity, hierarchal organization and flows. These are the key elements. The most basic of these features is heterogeneity. The questions pertaining to this that we need to ask are: how should we measure and understand the importance of ecological diversity, especially biodiversity? How is it distributed? What maintains it? And most importantly, what are the consequences of losing it? These are all vitally important questions that relate to all aspects of anthropogenic-driven global changes that are currently underway. Net primary production is no exception.

Holland also recognizes that other key aspects of complex adaptive systems are well illustrated in ecosystems. Nonlinearity refers to the fact that cause and effect relationships are usually disporportionate so that small changes in critical variables, such as the abundance of nitrogen fixing bacteria, can lead to disproportionate, and perhaps irreversible changes in system properties. Consequently, changes in environmental conditions or patterns of land use can trigger qualitative and largely irreversible changes in ecosystems, such as the transformation from dry
lands to deserts.

The bottom line is this: to manage the Earth's systems and to ensure our survival we must harness the natural forces that organize the biosphere rather than consistently resisting and tinkering with them. The biosphere is a complex adaptive system with a structure that emerges in large part from adaptive changes that are mediated at local scales rather than at the level of the entire system.

Most importantly, with respect to this thread, it is clear that we cannot reliably predict the consequences of experimenting with the chemical composition of the atmosphere on global net primary production and on the functioning of complex adaptive systems in the longer term by plugging a few physiological variables into a computer model, as Tim appears to be doing. It is clear that there are an infinite number of biotic and abiotic variables, some tightly linked, others more diffuse, that will determine the response of the biosphere and the communities and systems that make it up to various processes associated with human-induced global change (atmospheric C02 enrichment being just one). It is not enough for Tim to say that because we do not know the outcome of most of these processes that they can be excluded and are therefore unimportant. Humans are tinkering with systems that operate in a profoundly non-linear fashion and the outcome of this fiddling is unknown, but we must be prepared for many nasty environmental surprises as a consequence (and these are already occurring). The UK government's scientific adviser made this point clearly yesterday.

Tim can huff and puff and pontificate all day long but he is wasting his breath as far as I am conerned (and I think most readers of this and the previous thread agree). Like it or not, there is no reliable way in which we can predict the outcome of the current global experiment that humans are conducting, and to argue, as he does constantly, that it will help to alleviate hunger, whilst ignoring the complexities inherent in the system, is in my view totally and utterly irresponsible.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 20 Mar 2009 #permalink

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

I can go outside on a day of 30 degrees and sit around in the sun all day, but my body core temperature doesn't rise. Why? Evaporation from my lungs and sweating keep me cool. Water vapour protects us from the sun's heat. All this nonsense about infra red absorption is so much bunkum, as any cricket fan or fisherman can tell you.

I have never seen an atmospheric heat balance model that includes tidal effects. The atmosphere also rises and falls with the gravitational influence of the sun and moon, but this is completely ignored by climate "scientists". The dark side of the moon is cold because it doesn't have any water vapour. If I go outside on a night of a new moon, I definitely feel cooler, but do climate "scientists" ever consider the cooling effect of the moon in their "models"? Nooooo. How can we believe anything they say?

Annual average surface temperatures world-wide closely correlate with the number of cars in the world. In fact, global warming is caused by cars passing each other in close proximity on roads adjacent to power lines. The resulting vortex sucks electricity into the atmosphere, causing thunderstorms. Lightning then heats the atmosphere to the tune of 1 GigaJoule per strike. Global warming could be reversed quickly and easily if every country in the northern hemisphere adopted driving on the left so the Coriolis force would cancel out the vortices produced by cars.

I hope Mr. Curtin reads http://www.apa.org/journals/features/psp7761121.pdf and uses it to explain, as gently and politely as I would expect from a man of his impeccable taste and breeding, why the alarmists are clueless.

If I go outside on a night of a new moon, I definitely feel cooler, but do climate "scientists" ever consider the cooling effect of the moon in their "models"?

You forget (or perhaps you didn't know), but there's also the heat output of the Soup Dragon's raison d'être to be factored.

Alan: many thanks, at last a whiff of common sense! and thanks also for the link to Kruger & Dunning, great stuff!

Jeff: I see nothing of your check list in any of the PNAS papers by Solomon, Smith, and Schneider. I will be glad to to include any quantitative evidence you may care to offer along those lines in my next paper, with all due credit to you.

You are quite wrong in your last para. I have shown that that growth of CO2 absorption facilitated by CO2 emissions is a necessary condition for alleviating global hunger, and that cutting those emissions to zero as proposed by Solomon will have incalculable consequences on world wellbeing. Theirs is the experiment that wilfully ignores not only all the variables you quite properly mention - they are important that is why I would like you to quantify their effects on yields - but also the effect of zero emissions on world food production and crop yields. That is what is in my view totally and utterly irresponsible. In my Quadrant piece I mentioned that forgoing the increase in crop yields associated with continued emissions would using data in Cline (2007) cost us $US 5 Trillion a year (at 2008 cereal prices). The Crimp study commissioned by Garnaut implies Australia forgoing about 4 million tonnes of wheat a year by 2030 if emissions are drastically cut by then, worth about US$1 Billion p.a. at March 2009 prices.

:-)

Tim, its clear to me that you do not understand the nuances of what I am saying. I have told you that it is IMPOSSIBLE to accurately predict what effects increeased atnmospheric C02 will have on the biosphere because there are too many processes - all interrelated - to factor in. We are groping blindly in the dark if we say anbything else. However, we do know that we are challenging nature to respond adaptively to an array of human-induced stresses on a global scale that have probably not been experienced so widely for at least 65 million years. Thus the prognosis for complex adaptive systems (and for us) is not a good one.

I am sorry for writing in here because I realize you are being bombarded with information that you frankly have probably never gave a moment's thought in your life. This is not your fault - its because I can see that you have also probably never attended an environmental science course in your life either and suddenly you are confronted with someone who has actually studied the field. Instead, you want me to piffle around with a fwe studies that you have cited and to be dragged into a debate on pedantics. I won't play this game, because I know it will just go around in circles. As a scientist I have told you what we know, and, more worryingly, all that we don't know about the virtually infinite number of processes that regulate the functioning of natural systems. I have stressed that we cannot extrpolate conclusions on the basis of a few parameters while excluding all of the rest. You can take this or leave it.

Ultimately, humans are conducting a crap shoot. Tim, you may eventually be correct and I damned well hope you are, but there is no certainty because of the non-linear characteristics of systems I described earlier. Ecology is the most non-linear of all of the sciences; you can throw all of the algorithms at me and the others reading here, but nothing you say can make up for the fact that humans are conducting an experiment with all kinds of nasty possible outcomes.

For the last time, and let these words resonate: our understanding of the ways in which compelx adaptive systems function is still in its infancy. We have barely scatched the surface. This comes from a scientist and most of the scientific community would agree with me, especially those who are ecologists and environmental scientists. There is no way that you can tell me on the basis of all the unknowns that putting more C02 into the atmosphere is a recipe for alleviating hunger. Unless we get a lot further in our understanding of ecological complexity, then I see this as danger talk.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 20 Mar 2009 #permalink

Global warming could be reversed quickly and easily if every country in the northern hemisphere adopted driving on the left so the Coriolis force would cancel out the vortices produced by cars.

Ah, the Brits got there first. Always said the USA and Europeans had it wrong.

Pity the poor equatorian drivers, though. They won't know which way to turn, will they?

I've largely stopped posting on blogs - not just this blog but most blogs.

Nevertheless I just have to ask, what constructive result do any of the people posting here expect to to see?

Does anyone think they'll change Tim's mind? does tim think he'll change anyone's mind.

You're all intelligent capable people, is this really the best use you can make of your time?

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 20 Mar 2009 #permalink

Ian,

Excellent point. The only reason I have stuck is out is in case any new readers wander in here and think Tim's points are convincing. They need to be countered.

I am exceedingly busy right now and you are 100% correct - I am out of this thread.

By Jefff Harvey (not verified) on 20 Mar 2009 #permalink

Ian,

Excellent point. The only reason I have stuck is out is in case any new readers wander in here and think Tim's points are convincing. They need to be countered.

I am exceedingly busy right now and you are 100% correct - I am out of this thread.

By Jefff Harvey (not verified) on 20 Mar 2009 #permalink

Ian,

Excellent point. The only reason I have stuck is out is in case any new readers wander in here and think Tim's points are convincing. They need to be countered.

I am exceedingly busy right now and you are 100% correct - I am out of this thread.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 20 Mar 2009 #permalink

The Age March 6, 2009

Tim Curtin.

Well they are trees, so the carbon embedded in the tree itself lasts as long the tree, which can be 50 years, but as the annual fresh fruit bunch (ffb) yield starts declining, so the trees get to be replaced by fresh plantings. The ffbs are hugely rich in carbon derivatives, and form part of the non-linear food chain that Jeff claims to understand but manifestly does not. We all eat carbon-derived food, excrete, and exhale, but also store some until death and some of us use the energy derived from both the carbohydrate and hydrocarbon components to do useful things or have fun, while others like Jeff and Bernard wring their hands all day and cry âwoe is me the end is nighâ. As a hydrocarbon, palm oil is also being touted as a non-fossil jet or motor fuel which partly explains the doubling in its price from 2000 to 2007. Palm oil is the cooking oil of choice across most of SE Asia and much of Africa. Palm kernels are also rich in carbon and are a widely used industrial chemical. US soy oil producers spent years trying to have oil palm plantations suppressed by concocting environmental scare stories in order to boost their own productâs sales. The truth is the WWF et al actually hate people especially those in the 3rd World for their temerity in aspiring to the Western standard of living and lifestyle (WWF has been trying to get rid of the Kalahari Bushmen for years),... [blather, blather, blatherâ¦]

In other words, you have nothing to support your promotion of the biodiversity and the carbon sequestration benefits of plantation over rainforest, but hey, palm oil is a marvellous commodity so we should all Love It Very Much TM and ignore the inconvenient fact that you were speaking utter nonsense.

Fact:

Indonesia is third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the US.

Fact:

More than 80 per cent of Indonesia's emissions are caused by deforestation.

Fact:

Indonesia has destroyed more than 28 million hectares of forest since 1990.

Fact:

Much of the forest lost used to be the swampy, densely forested peatlands that are the world's most potent carbon sinks.

To give you an idea of the loss of biodiversity to which Jeff and I have been referring, the [WWF reports](http://www.panda.org/about_our_earth/about_forests/problems/forest_conv…) that in Malaysia "there are nearly 80 mammal species in Malaysia's primary forests, just over 30 in disturbed forests, and only 11 or 12 in oil palm plantations. A similar loss in diversity occurs for insects, birds, reptiles, and most important of all, for soil microorganisms."

Fitzherbert et al ([Trends in Ecology & Evolution. Vol 23, Issue 10, pp538-545](http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2008.06.012)), and Robertson & van Schaik ([Oryx. Vol 35, Issue 1, pp26-38](http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/120134182/abstract?CRETRY=1&…)) have a very much more concern than you about the impact of oil palm plantations on biodiversity and/or on orangs, and I am inclined to believe them over you because they are actually expert in these matters. Williams reports in Current Biology ([Volume 17, Issue 8, page R261](http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2007.03.053)) that the United Nations Environment Program says: "Today, the rapid increase in [oil palm] plantation acreage is one of the greatest threats to orang-utans and the forests on which they depend. In Malaysia and Indonesia, it is now the primary cause of permanent rainforest loss."

Consider what Danielsen et al have to say in Conservation Biology
([Vol 23, Issue 2, pp348â358](http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/121536533/abstract)):

The growing demand for biofuels is promoting the expansion of a number of agricultural commodities, including oil palm (Elaeis guineensis). Oil-palm plantations cover over 13 million ha, primarily in Southeast Asia, where they have directly or indirectly replaced tropical rainforest. We explored the impact of the spread of oil-palm plantations on greenhouse gas emission and biodiversity. We assessed changes in carbon stocks with changing land use and compared this with the amount of fossil-fuel carbon emission avoided through its replacement by biofuel carbon. We estimated it would take between 75 and 93 years for the carbon emissions saved through use of biofuel to compensate for the carbon lost through forest conversion, depending on how the forest was cleared. If the original habitat was peatland, carbon balance would take more than 600 years. Conversely, planting oil palms on degraded grassland would lead to a net removal of carbon within 10 years. These estimates have associated uncertainty, but their magnitude and relative proportions seem credible. We carried out a meta-analysis of published faunal studies that compared forest with oil palm. We found that plantations supported species-poor communities containing few forest species. Because no published data on flora were available, we present results from our sampling of plants in oil palm and forest plots in Indonesia. Although the species richness of pteridophytes was higher in plantations, they held few forest species. Trees, lianas, epiphytic orchids, and indigenous palms were wholly absent from oil-palm plantations. The majority of individual plants and animals in oil-palm plantations belonged to a small number of generalist species of low conservation concern. As countries strive to meet obligations to reduce carbon emissions under one international agreement (Kyoto Protocol), they may not only fail to meet their obligations under another (Convention on Biological Diversity) but may actually hasten global climate change. Reducing deforestation is likely to represent a more effective climate-change mitigation strategy than converting forest for biofuel production, and it may help nations meet their international commitments to reduce biodiversity loss.

When you attempt to speak on matters of biology, ecology or biodiversity, you may as well pull your trousers to your knees and squat, for all that you have (or rather, do not have) to offer.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 20 Mar 2009 #permalink

Wow. Alan in 33, TC in 35. Just wow. I'd buy Alan a beer any day. Talent like that should be encouraged. :)

Alan at 33: plainly and simply BRILLIANT! My favorite Deltoid comment so far this year. :-)

Ian and Jeff: I can't say that it's the best use of your time, but those of us who are interested in these subjects do appreciate your efforts.

Regards,
Bruce

Was good, wasn't it? :-)

Though Alan's was superb, TC's just takes the biscuit.

Though Alan's was superb, TC's just takes the biscuit.

I must admit, Alan had me for a few seconds, but not a patch on TC.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 20 Mar 2009 #permalink

I am glad Chris O'Neill recognized the portraits of himself himself along with Gator and P Jones in Kruger & Dunning "Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one's own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments" and denigrating all others (see Alan above for link). Bruce Sharp should know better after his study of Noam Chomsky re Cambodia provided ample supporting data on this syndrome.

For a sentence or two Alan had me going also, but it was a delicious dawning after that. What is even more delicious is that he pwned Radium Water Tim good and proper - unbelievable!

Oo, and sorry about the Age link at #43 - it migrated within the post, and the actual context seems to have evaporated entirely. No matter, I think that my intent was sufficiently clear.

And in reply to Ian's excellent point - it's the enlightenment of the bystanders, just as Bruce commented upon, that motivates my persistence: that, and the fact that Curtin is leaving in the permanent record of the internet, an ever growing legacy of his bottomless idiocy.

And given the remorseless capacity for the Intertubes to rub one's nose in one's own folly, this is the most delicious morsel of all...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 20 Mar 2009 #permalink

Jeff #37 you said (1) âI have told you that it is IMPOSSIBLE to accurately predict what effects increased atmospheric C02 will have on the biosphere because there are too many processes - all interrelated - to factor inâ. I thought the IPCC was supposed to have done this, albeit with minimal reference, in fact virtually none at all, to the implications for the biosphere of the extraordinary growth of terrestrial absorption of CO2 emissions since carbon budeting became possible in 1958, apart from a thin discussion in AR4, WG1, 519-520 which does however admit that âlive biomassâ has been growing at c 3% p.a. which is in line with my own estimates using FAO data.

2. You said yet again âhumans are conducting an experiment with all kinds of nasty possible outcomes, our understanding of the ways in which complex adaptive systems function is still in its infancyâ. Reducing emissions to nil as proposed by Hansen and Solomon et al. will also be a grand experiment. What will be the impact on biomass growth?

3. You again âThere is no way that you can tell me on the basis of all the unknowns that putting more C02 into the atmosphere is a recipe for alleviating hungerâ - and you have yet to prove that rising terrestrial absorption of CO2 emissions has been bad for world food production since 1958.

4. You keep banging on about ânon-linearâ â send me your equations and I will do the regressions for you.

Bernard J (are you a judge? probably an Einfeld to boot!)said at #43: I "have nothing to support [my] promotion of the biodiversity and the carbon sequestration benefits of plantation over rainforest, but hey, palm oil is a marvellous commodity so we should all Love It Very Muchâ. So it is only Indonesia and other 3rd World countries that practise monoculture while enviro-friendly Australian farmers and their confreres in Europe and North America grow their wheat and canola and soy with primeval forest left standing at 100 trees per hectare? Come to Murray-Darling, Cubby, Iowa and East Anglia to view the world's greatest bio-diversity, to the Loire Valley for trees that are never logged (ho-hum). If that is not hypocrisy, what would be?

You droned on: âFact:
Indonesia is third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the US.â NOT TRUE, as there are in fact only positive CO2 uptakes from its total rural and forest economy. You have o realise thet the UN's REDD etc are based on denying uptakes by plnatation forests and oil palm just as Kyoto & REDD are founded on the lie that when a tree is logged its total carbon is lost to the armosphere. Whatever happened to our books and furniture and decks? Gorn, according to the IPCC.
âFact:
More than 80 per cent of Indonesia's emissions are caused by deforestationâ. Another BLATANT UNTRUTH. Its trees are either replanted, Indonesia is one of the worldâs biggest exporters of processed timber, and could not maintain that position without sustainable forest management, as it has for decades.
âFact: Indonesia has destroyed more than 28 million hectares of forest since 1990â LIE, trees have either been replanted, or sustainably harvested (allowing natural regrowth) or planted to oil palm (also, shock, horror, you never knew, a tree.
âFact: Much of the forest lost used to be the swampy, densely forested peatlands that are the world's most potent carbon sinks.â Another LIE, based on serially dishonest eco-activist propaganda without a shred of evidence. The sources you cite, like WWF, are all untrustworthy, and all notably demand higher bio-diversity protection standards to be applied by brown people than they secure from their white subscribers like you in Australia et al. When I see you Judge Bernard campaigning for ploughing up ALL canola and wheat farms in Australia in order to reinstate bio-diversity here, then and then only will I believe in your bona fides.

Einfeld J here in Canberra in a judgment a few years ago had Michael Kropp sent down for perjury. You are just as guilty of perjury as Einfeld, because of your double standards on canola vis a vis oil palm â and you can add in racism as well, once you cite your WWF, now our greatest exemplar of that.

Sheeple routed, Team Curtin triumphs again (well, as ever).

Ian I just can't understand your comment about the dismal economics of blogwarring - did you even read #33 & #35 above? Sometimes this dirty business is just remade whole and pure again; if you don't put in the days of thankless slog and toil you won't be there for that sweet taste of Victory when it comes Team Curtin's way again!

Bernard at #43: I have now been able to read the paper you cited by Danielsen et al Conservation Biology, 23.2, 2009), and can confirm that its authors are all from the Einfeld School of Perjury.

First, the cited paper largely repeats an earlier paper by the same Authors (but with a different ordering of their names, a give away).

Second, a paper dealing with relative CO2 production and emission from natural forest and oil palm plantations has a moral duty to refer to the paper by Lamade and Bouillet, (OCL 12.2, CIRAD, 2005), the former especially has published widely on all aspects of oil palm. That duty is especially the case when one offers data that are inconsistent with authoritative data freely available from L&B.

I append their Table 1.

Third, your authors are exactly guilty of Madoff accounting by failing to separate stocks and flows (remember as recently as last December Madoff claimed to have funds under management of US$50 billion, that as it turned out being the total ever invested with him, of which none remained, and there was no income). Likewise your authorsâ Table1 states that natural forest stock stores carbon at a rate of 254 tonnes per hectare (t/ha) and oil palm plantation at only 91 t/ha. But as Lamade & Bouillet show, oil palm stores carbon at a rate of 73 t/ha/PA, or 4 times the ANNUAL rate for natural forest. Your authors also ignore flows for all but one variable in their Table 1.

Fourth, your authors again ignore the CO2 fixation by oil palm, when computing the GHG emissions from oil palm in their equations (p.350). This is another Madoff-type fraud, as it is NET emissions from burning biofuel derived from palm oil that are relevant.

Fifth, to gild their lily even more, your authors debit palm oil biofuel with all emissions from palm-oil production, transportation, and mill effluent â and fail to debt such emissions to mineral oil diesel, thereby reducing the credit from replacing diesel with palm oil.

In short â and I could go on - your authorsâ Table 1 is a tissue of lives and material omissions, and their whole paper is as biased as Einfeld used to be as judge.

Their Table 2 is no better. It shows some lower quantum of bio-diversity in oil palm plantations relative to forests, but almost all the listed species are present in both, and their greater abundance in the forest does not indicate any loss of biodiversity, as the same aggregate of species remains available. For example, if there are 133 species of moth in the Malaysian forests, and only 73 in the plantations, the 133 are still extant, and that is what counts for Malaysiaâs actual bio-diversity. As I noted in my last post, the absence of various species from wheat or canola fields in East Anglia does not of itself indicate any loss of bio-diversity in terms of number of those missing species still around in adjoining fields and hedgerows etc. Otherwise why have Danielsenâs co-authors from the Universities of Cambridge, East Anglia, and London, not to mention Amsterdam, Groningen, Koblenz-Landau, so far failed to launched a campaign to eradicate wheat and canola production from their own backyards? But that would not suit Neil Burgess, one of the co-authors, from WWF in Washington no less, sworn as his organization is to stamp out poverty reduction in the 3rd World. Ah, yes, but then I forgot, unlike charity, bio-diversity conservation begins and ends abroad, especially where the natives are brown-skinned, unlike Burgessâ subscribers in Iowa, NY, or wherever.

Here is the Lamade Table 1, so signally ignored by Bernardâs favourite authors:

Parameters and Units >> Tropical forest >> Oil palm plantation

Biomass production t DM haâ1 yrâ1 >> 22.9 >> 36.5

CO2 fixation t CO2 haâ1 yrâ1 >> 9.62 >> 25.7

Photosynthesis lmol mâ2 sâ1 >>13-19 >> 21-24

Absorbed radiation MJ mâ2 yrâ1 >>51.4 >> 82.9

Respiration t CO2 haâ1 yrâ1 >> 121.1 >> 96.5

O2 production t O2 haâ1 yrâ1 >> 7 >> 18.7

Tim,

You just don't get it. The only species that can survive in oil palm plantations are a few generalists - species which can exploit variable habitats, and especially disturbed habitats. Rats. cockroaches. Cattle. House Sparrows. A few noctuid moths. Get this through your head will you:

CONVERTING THE WORLD'S TROPICAL WET FORESTS TO OIL PALM PLANTATIONS WOULD CONDEMN 80% OR MORE (PROBABLY 90-95%) OF THE SPECIES FOUND IN THE WET FORESTS TO EXTINCTION. ALL CANOPY SPECIES WOULD GO. ALL UNDERSTORY SPECIES WOULD GO. ALL SPECIALIST HERBIVORES AND POLLINATORS. HUGE NUMBERS OF MUTUALIMS WOULD BE DISRUPTED. ENTIRE FOOD CHANINS WOULD BE DESTROYED. PERIOD. OVER. DONE. THIS IS NOT CONJECTURE, IT IS HARD FACT.

It would also disrupt various cycles in water and nutrients and annihalate the soil community.

The fact that I have to venture into this thread again to counter such balderdash is frankly annoying.

As for the IPCC, get this through your head 'team losing Curtin'(this for dumbasses like Sneezy who clealry can't tell fleas from musk oxen) they have to go on the knowledge base that we have about the intricate ways in which the biosphere works. You appear to think that the scientific community has worked out every subtle nuance, every interaction, the contribution made by every individual of every species or every population in every ecosystem. Only a dingbat could make such an assumption in my opinion as a scientist (and not as a layman economist). I told you yesterday but let it sink in: we have only formally classified perhaps 5% (or less) of the planet's species richness, much less for genetic diversity. Our understanding, and I mean the entire scientific community (perhaps, save for some lay people in the economics field) of the way in which natural systems function is very basic and rudimentary. Then you come back with garbage like, "I thought the IPCC had worked this out". To even get a remotely accuratge understanding of the ways in which complex adaptive systems function in th shnort term would require trillions of dollars - never to be funded. So we have to make do with what we have, and that is very limited. Period.

There is also no way that, given the mass extinction that would accompany the mass felling of tropical foresrts, that oil palms would survive, either. They need mutualists and depend on an array of itneractions as well as every other species on Earth does. It was only when a curculionid weevil from Cameroon that is a specialist pollinator of oil palms was introduced into Indonesia in 1980 that palm oil production increased. Until then (between 1918 and 1980) it had to be done by hand and was not very cost effective. This vital ecosystewm service generated immediate economic benefits. But the felling of tropical forests would lead to a massive spike in atmospheric C02 levels, and oil plams would not come close to m atching it. And oil plams are poor evapotranspirators, compared to emergent rainforest trees. The only reason the oil plams have in Malaysia and Indonesia have survived so well is because of the addition of the weevil (otherwise the forests would be the living dead for sure) and because enough tropical forest remains to counteract the negative consequences of oil palm plantations. But the region is fast approaching a threshold which characterizes complex adaptive systems. When a system is altered or simplified, the changes do not necessarily occur gradually but suddenty. Continued conversion to biologically depapuperate oil plam plantations will eventually lead to the crossing of some threshold beyond which system properties will dramatically shifdt to another state which is much worse. This is a fact, too.

So I strongly think that you and Sneezy (Dopey more like) need to take a few elementary courses in ecology. I am having to lower this level of discouse to the level of a high school student, to be honest. My advice to Sneezy or whoever the heck you are: learn to munderstand that throwing figures around ad nauseum does not make someone correct or able to understand the significance of what they write.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 21 Mar 2009 #permalink

One last thing for Tim:

When you wrote that a species is 'extant' if even if some of its habitat is convereted you ignored its ability to contribute as part of a community to the functioning of the system as a whole. Most importantly, a species loses its economic and ecological value long before it becomes extinct. Thus, when diversity if greatly reduced for example by the felling of wet forests for oil palm plantations, this means that the species and populations that lived in the original forest habitat also decline numerically. This numerical decline is accompanied by a loss in genetic diversity - and it is this genetic diversirty which is a necessary pre-requisite to adapting to a changing world.

The loss of genetic variation is therefore of profound concern to conervation biologists and population geneticists - they know that it reduces the ability of species to respond to rapid changes in the environment caused by a range of human activities. Genetic diversity enables some genotypes to respond better to some stresses, and other genotypes to respond better ot other stresses. Its a hard fact that a loss in genetic diversity is as much of a concern today as a loss of species richness. Its an area I work on with respect to direct plant defence strategies, and also how I am trying to explain the factors maintaining the genetic variation and phenotypic plasticity in various life-hsitory traits in plants and insects.

Therefore, any discussion of biodiversity loss must be framed both in terms of species and genetic variability within species. Conversion of tropical wet forests to oil palm plantation will lead to dramatic loss of species AND genetic variation in those that do survivbe this traumatic change in land use.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 21 Mar 2009 #permalink

Jeff: You just don't get it. You said:"the only species that can survive in oil palm plantations are a few generalists - species which can exploit variable habitats, and especially disturbed habitats".That is not true, see data in Danielsen et al as cited by Judge Bernard.

You then shouted at me in CAPs: "CONVERTING THE WORLD'S TROPICAL WET FORESTS TO OIL PALM PLANTATIONS WOULD CONDEMN 80% OR MORE (PROBABLY 90-95%) OF THE SPECIES FOUND IN THE WET FORESTS TO EXTINCTION. ALL CANOPY SPECIES WOULD GO. ALL UNDERSTORY SPECIES WOULD GO. ALL SPECIALIST HERBIVORES AND POLLINATORS. HUGE NUMBERS OF MUTUALIMS WOULD BE DISRUPTED. ENTIRE FOOD CHANINS WOULD BE DESTROYED. PERIOD. OVER. DONE. THIS IS NOT CONJECTURE, IT IS HARD FACT.

Balls. Neither Malaysia nor Indonesia is able or desirous of turning its total land mass into oil palm plantations. Using the data in Bernie's mates' Danielsen et al (Table 2), more than 50% of all species in oil palm plantations remain OK (extant) in non-oil palm plantation areas, of which there are many (more than 50%).

There's one thing that is as certain as death and taxes, and that is that Tim 'Radium Water' Curtin will produce more wilfully ignorant nonsense, more continuously, than anyone could imagine - excepting of course the brilliant parodies penned by the Alans amongst us.

Curtin, I am sure that your strategy is to come up with so much garbage that we simply give up trying to set the record straight. Nevertheless, I intend to venture forth yet again into the breach, should no-one else sally forth first, but not on my few weekend hours of leisure. I'm sure that you have an inkling though of the sort of homework that I'm bound to set for you following your last hold-full of bilge.

And Jeff, I think that you might have mis-read sneezy... I suspect that his intention was to wave the banner for the cause of truth and sanity. At least, that's how I read him.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 21 Mar 2009 #permalink

The great Curtin:

I am glad Chris O'Neill recognized the portraits of himself himself along with Gator and P Jones in Kruger & Dunning "Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one's own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments"

i.e. self-assessments such as:

I must admit, Alan had me for a few seconds, but not a patch on TC*.

*The great Curtin to the uninitiated.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 21 Mar 2009 #permalink

RW Curtin.

You really are clueless when it comes to biology, aren't you?

When ecologists speak about biological diversity, they have a very diverse and nuanced glossary from which they draw, and this collection of diversity concepts is essential in attempting to understand the mind-boggling complexity that is an ecosystem, or indeed that is the biosphere.

Firstly, in attempting to excuse the (apparently, to you) acceptable biodiversity of a palm plantation, you rely on the naïve approach of species richness, which is merely a list of species present, and which gives no indication of the manifold structure and function issues that underpins a coherently operating ecosystem. Jeff has touched upon genetic diversity: to this one needs to consider species diversity, and ecosystem diversity. Oh, and then there are the more subtle alpha, beta, and gamma diversity definitions, which would certainly make the eyes of one such as you roll back into the skull.

The next problem with your impotent defence of the biodiversity Disneyland of palm plantations is that most of the species recorded within these ecological deserts are likely to have been sourced from adjacent old-growth forest. The plantations represent a sink for these species, and even their sourcing from the native habitat is usually temporary, as the area of source habitat becomes too small to sustain functional feeder populations. Over the decades or centuries that it takes for extinction debts to be realised the species 'richness' of plantations will plummet, and this decrease will be directly tied to the rate at which adjacent intact habitat is lost. Long before this occurs however, the more important measures of biodiversity will indicate a catastrophic loss of diversity structure and function.

You really, really need to do some first day, first year undergrad reading. The Intertubes are a wealth of information for those with the wit to find it, and if such a basic exercise is beyond you, then you could at least have a look [here](http://cnx.org/content/m12174/latest/) and [here](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodiversity).

Your attack of Danielsen and his co-authors is slanderous, ignorant, and baseless. It is however true-to-form: whenever science says something that rocks your ideological boat, you resort to screams of conspiracy and of malfeasance â can I take it that you will be writing to Conservation Biology with a complaint and a rebuttal?

Your use of the figures of Lamade & Bouillet leave a great deal to be desired. You affect erudition with mention of carbon fixation - matters of ecosystem structure aside, how do you factor in the half-life of carbon fixed by oil palm compared with carbon fixed by intact forest? Where is your calculation of the carbon debt incurred by felling old-growth forest that is replaced by plantation? Where is your evidence to dispute the enormous carbon-storing capacity of peatland?

Your enthusiasm for felling rainforest seems to be as politically motivated as some of the reported that you parrot, and which have been scrutinised by many scientists and NGOs. A nice summary is given [here]( http://news.mongabay.com/2007/1108-palm_oil.html), and given the pertinence of some of the numbers I will include several paragraphs below, even in light of my misgivings about wholesale pastings of material:

As is the case with any plant, oil palm trees do sequester carbon sequester carbon as they grow -- carbon is a basic building block of plant tissue. Nevertheless, the process of clearing forest in order to establish a plantation releases more carbon than will be sequestered by the growing oil palms. So while a new oil palm plantation may grow faster -- and sequester carbon at a higher annual rate -- than a naturally regenerating forest, in the end the oil plantation will still store less carbon (50-90 percent less over 20 years) than the original forest cover. The carbon losses are even greater when the plantation is established on peat lands, which store vast amounts of carbon but release it as they are drained (upon exposure to air, peat rapidly oxidizes, decomposes, and releases carbon dioxide) .

"The emission from forest conversion clearly exceeds the potential carbon fixation of oil palm plantings. Forest conversion on mineral soils to promote continued oil palm mono cropping causes a net release of approximately 650 Mg carbon dioxide equivalents per hectare, while the emission from peat forest conversion is even higher due to the decomposition of drained peat and the resulting emission of carbon oxide and nitrous oxide," wrote Germer and Sauerborn in a paper published earlier this year in the journal Environment, Development and Sustainability. "The conversion of one hectare of forest on peat releases over 1,300 Mg carbon dioxide equivalents during the first 25-year cycle of oil palm growth. Depending on the peat depth, continuous decomposition augments the emission with each additional cycle at a magnitude of 800 Mg carbon dioxide equivalents per hectare."

Meine van Noordwijk, Regional Coordinator for Southeast Asia and Principal Ecologist for the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) says that industry claims of carbon superiority for a plantation fall short when one looks at the big picture.

"This is the classical debate on flows versus stocks, of plant physiology versus systems ecology -- currently the pulpwood as well as the oil palm plantation sector are fighting the battle with claims that they improve the C sequestration rates from something like 0.5 t C/ha/yr for maturing forest to values of 3-5 t C/ha/yr for fast growing plantations -- while the world should care about the release of about 250 t C/ha of existing stocks before this increase in rates can be realized," van Noordwijk told mongabay.com. "It will take 50-100 years before [carbon storage at this sequestration rate] equals 250." Meanwhile the average life on an oil palm plantation is less than 25 years.

"You can vary the numbers, but qualitatively the story remains that the release of forest carbon stock to the atmosphere takes a very long time to be offset by whatever the claims are for plantation growth rates," van Noordwijk added. "The simplest concept to avoid the need to account for all photosynthesis, respiration, decomposition, removal of plant products etc is to look at the 'time-averaged carbon stock' of the system -- this allows direct comparison at systems level, and suggests that there is a substantial difference between oil palm and pulpwood plantations on one hand, and natural forest on the other, with logged forests in between. This is the story for mineral soils."

On peat soils, the carbon balance is even less favorable for oil palm plantations due to emissions from drainage.

"The belowground carbon stocks in peat land can be thousands of t C/ha, and the rates of release may be 30-50 t C /ha/yr -- so the aboveground capture by fast growing pulpwood or oil palm is only 10% of the concurrent losses from the peat -- it is, indeed, a huge experiment in CO2 fertilization [oh, the irony!] if you grow trees on a peat that has been drained to 80 cm depth as is standard practice in Indonesia."

Wetlands International, an prominent environmental group that has released a widely-cited study on emissions from peat lands degradation and destruction, agrees.

"In a good year approximately 3 to 6 tons of palm oil is produced per hectare, causing emissions of 70 to 100 tons of carbon dioxide [19 to 27 metric tons of carbon] per year per hectare," Susanna Tol, a researcher with Wetlands, told mongabay.com. "The production of one ton of palm oil results in carbon dioxide emissions of up to 33 tons [9 tons carbon]" -- roughly ten times that of ordinary diesel.

"At least 1.5 million ha of palm oil is planted on peat in Indonesia alone and will contribute some 100 to 150 Mt CO2/annum, or about 27 - 41 Mt carbon losses directly in these plantations and only from drainage," added Marcel Silvius, a senior scientist at Wetlands. "The use of fertilisers and methane emissions of the palm oil production process add still more emissions... not to mention the initial loss of the tropical rain forest and its carbon sequestration potential." [my many emphases, in case you can't assimilate the numbers]

And Tim Curtin - your attempt to associate me with Marcus Einfeld is abhorrent, tasteless, misleading, and generally a puerile strawman. Your baseless accusations of racism directed at me, Danielsen et al and WWF are way beyond the pale, and are a sign of a grubby and a despicable person.

One of the sponsors of one of my jobs in ecological management is a subsidiary of the WWF, and I know these people to be stringently scientific and extremely ethical in their operations. I will be drawing his attention to your post at #51 with some interest. I wonder how much courage you have to stand by your slander â would you place a comment on your own website claiming the WWF to be "untrustworthy", and "our greatest exemplar of racism"?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 21 Mar 2009 #permalink

Bernard: My charges against you stand with further evidence from your choice of patently dishonest sources as compared with my Lamade and Bouillet. When I see you and your WWF mates leading campaigns to stop all wheat, cotton, rice, and canola production in Australia because of the low levels of biodiversity fields of same exhibit, then and only then will I withdraw my charge of racism.

Tim Curtin, OLHF.

Your 'charges' are a complete exercise in masturation, as I cited sources from the best of science, as well as from organisations that rely upon the best of science. If you disagree with their analyses, show the data to prove them wrong.

Your comparison of the detruction of tropical rainforest in the Third World in order to plant oil pams, with agriculture in the First World, fails on multiple levels. Firstly, most of the First World agricultural land was established before human had an operational understanding of ecology and of the importance of biodiversity. It is spurious to make the comparison, even if it is unfortunate that indigenous cultures did not have the historic benefit of industrial agriculture that Westerners had.

Secondly, the tropical Third World forest represent biodiversity hotspots that are enormously more significant in terms of both ecosystem value, and of potential economic value for humans with respect to future products that might be sustainably utilised if only the forests are not destroyed. Comparison with the biodiversity lost in the establishment of most of the Western agricultural land is again spurious.

Thirdly, the process of tropical forest destruction frequently occurs in a milieu of political corruption and nepotism, and often against the wishes of many of the locals who live there.

And I know this from first-hand experience - in my PhD fieldwork I had six teams of volunteers each summer who came to help. These volunteers were sourced by an international NGO, and hence of the approximately one dozen people each trip had, at least half ove them came from overseas to help. One of my trips had four Indonesians, including the head villager from a remote indigenous forest village who had contacted the NGO so that he might have contact with foreign ecologists, and learn how best to resist the corrupt government officials and corporations who were razing his forest home against the express wishes of the native peoples who lived there. The fellow was about as indigenous as one can be, and had learned English and as much of outside culture as he could, in an effort to help his people and his forest home. I was proud to call him friend, and infinitely more proud when he called me 'brother'.

The stories he told of the destruction were horrific, and your grubby attempt to shift blame to Western NGOs and scientists with slanders of racism is beyond words. Really, where do you get of doing this? Who is paying you - or rather, who is it that you would like to be paying you? You're trying hard to impress someone, but it isn't anyone with a balanced understanding of science or of ethics.

I'm not surprised though... After all, you [have form](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/10/update_on_the_nine_alleged_err…), when you accused sod, Dano, Jody Aberdein and un-named others of:

probably one or all of the following: (1) cowards; (2) wife beaters, (3) pedophiles, and (4) all of the above, so likely to lose their jobs if your employers knew you were using company time to post garbage on sites like this, as has evidently become your fulltime occupation.

You have never been one to let the complete absence of evidence, or of justification, to stand in the way of a slanderous spray or a non-scientific rant, have you?

And for the record, I note that once more you have dodged any addressing of the substantive scientific points in which your nose was rubbed, in favour of the despicable ad hominem garbage that is an integral part of your trademark.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 21 Mar 2009 #permalink

Bernard sez: âI cited sources from the best of science, as well as from organisations that rely upon the best of scienceâ That is a joke - the table on species in Malaysia etc in Danielsen et al Table 2 looks like a Year 3 at primary school effort, they do not even refer to the authors, definitions, and methodology as described in the first of your links (Ian Harrison et al, very helpful, many thanks). The Wiki definition supports my interpretation of b.d. being â the totality of genes, species, and ecosystems of a region", the Danielsen Table discloses no reduction in the totality of genes etc in the countries covered. As for the âorganizations that rely on the best of scienceâ, hell they do when like Monga Bay ICRAF and Wetlands they have their own agenda, as shown when they ignore - even if only to try to refute - Lamadeâs work on oil palm over many years? Your stuff about the peatlands is demonstrably false, they have not been destroyed, though there was damage from the fires in 1997-98 due to the El Nino drought, as it implies that there is a continuous process of destruction which is untrue. If the releases were as huge as your sources claim they would have been registered at Mauna Loa, and there has been no sign of that since 1998.

Bernard, most of the rest of your piece is really very sad except when it is hilariously funny, like your justification of white man agriculture being justifiable because Jeff wasnât around to tell them 3,000 years ago that all agriculture is bad and that anyway their biodiversity was never as large or as ârichâ as the brown manâs. To continue at your level, you have much less clue than the Neanderthals. As for your research assistants, they knew what you wanted to hear, and I see you still patronise them just as you did then. I spent most of my life in the 3rd World and am well aware of both traits.

Finally, you have yet to assure me that from tomorrow you will campaign for enhancing b.d here by destruction of all Australian agriculture, until you do my racism charge stands.

The great Curtin:

Arrhenius clearly did not deal only in doublings as Chris would have us believe.

Here the great Curtin points out that when I said:

"The logarithm function varies from minus to plus infinity. Doubling the input causes the same increase in output for any original input, i.e. increasing the input from 2 units to 4 units causes the same increase in output as increasing the input from 1 unit to 2 units";

I wasn't just giving an example of how the input (or argument) to a logarithm function may vary, I was actually saying that the input to a logarithm function can ONLY vary by doubling, quadrupling, etc. Normally people give examples of something (in this case how the logarithm function varies with input) to help people who may be ignorant, arrogant, or lacking in intelligence to help them understand the concept. Of course that doesn't apply in this case as the great Curtin pointed out. After all, the great Curtin is not behaving like an arrogant, ignorant moron.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 22 Mar 2009 #permalink

Chris O'Neill: what utter nonsense. But why don't you get Excel to scrub its logarithmic trend lines which apply to ANY increase in variable y relative to changes in variable x? Truly you are the embodiment of McArthur Wheeler in Kruger & Dunning (Journal of Personality and Social Pschology, 1999, 77.6).

Bernard J. I take this opportunity of confirming I have contacted the cretinous Finn Danielsen as follows:

22 March 09

Finn Danielson
fd@nordeco.dk

Dear Dr Danielsen

I have been referred to your paper et al in Conservation Biology (23.2, 348-358).

I wonder if you would be so kind as to explain why your paper fails to refer to or make use of the data in the paper by Lamade and Bouillet, (OCL 12.2, CIRAD, 2005), the former especially has published widely on all aspects of oil palm. Surely a paper dealing with relative CO2 production and emission from natural forest and oil palm plantations has a moral duty to refer to their paper, especially when yours offers data that are inconsistent with authoritative data freely available from L&B.

I append below their Table 1.

I fear that you and your co-authors are exactly guilty of Madoff-type accounting by failing to separate stocks and flows (remember as recently as last December Madoff claimed to have funds under management of US$50 billion, that as it turned out being the total ever invested with him, of which none remained, and there was no income. Thus your Table 1 states that natural forest stock stores carbon at a rate of 254 tonnes per hectare (t/ha) and oil palm plantation at only 91 t/ha. and makes no metion of flows in or out of those stocks. As Lamade & Bouillet show, oil palm stores carbon at a rate of 73 t/ha/PA, or 4 times the ANNUAL rate for natural forest. Your Table 1 also ignore flows for all but one variable.

Your paper sails perilously close to outright fraud when it ignores the CO2 fixation by oil palm in its computations âshowingâ the GHG emissions from oil palm in your equations (p.350). This is indeed another Madoff-type fraud, as it is NET emissions from burning biofuel derived from palm oil that are relevant, not gross from the factors your equations consider.

Gilding your lily even more, your paper debits (Table 1) palm oil bio-fuel with all emissions from palm-oil production, transportation, and mill effluent â and fails to debt such identical emissions to mineral oil diesel, thereby reducing the credit from replacing diesel with palm oil. Perhaps none of you and your co-authors have seen flaring from oil refineries, or petrol tankers? What a sheltered life you all lead!

Your Table 2 is no better. It shows some lower quantum of bio-diversity in oil palm plantations relative to forests, but almost all the listed species are present in both, and their greater abundance in the forest does not indicate any loss of biodiversity in any of the countries surveyed, as clearly the same aggregate of species remains extant in each. For example, if there are 133 species of moth in the Malaysian forests, and only 73 in the plantations, the 133 are still extant, and that is what counts for Malaysiaâs actual bio-diversity. Your paper falsely assumes that oil palm plantations will soon occupy very square inch of Malaysiaâs land mass!

The absence of various species from wheat or canola fields in say Fitzherbertâs East Anglia does not of itself indicate any loss of bio-diversity in terms of number of those missing species still around in adjoining fields and hedgerows etc. Otherwise why have you and your co-authors from the Universities of Cambridge, East Anglia, and London, Amsterdam, Groningen, and Koblenz-Landau, so far failed to launched a campaign to eradicate wheat and canola production from your own backyards? But that would not suit any of you, dependent on farmersâ taxes inter alia, least of all your Neil Burgess, of WWF in Washington no less, sworn as his organization is to stamp out poverty reduction in the 3rd World but protect sources of subscription income in the West. Ah, yes, but then I forgot, unlike charity, bio-diversity conservation begins and ends abroad, especially where the natives are brown-skinned, unlike Burgessâ subscribers in Iowa or wherever.

In short, I consider that your paper is inherently racist, and to prove me wrong people like Fitzherbert will have to show me they are starting a campaign to root out wheat and canola farming in East Anglia.

I shall not forward a copy of this to the Society for Conservation Biolgy if I get a satisfactory reply to my comments above.

Kind regards

Tim Curtin

Here is the Lamade Table 1, so signally ignored by you and all your co-authors (have any of you ever studied oil palm at all?):

Parameters and Units >> Tropical forest >> Oil palm plantation

Biomass production, t DM haâ1 yrâ1 >> 22.9 >> 36.5

CO2 fixation, t CO2 haâ1 yrâ1 >> 9.62 >> 25.7

Photosynthesis, lmol mâ2 sâ1 >>13-19 >> 21-24

Absorbed radiation, MJ mâ2 yrâ1 >>51.4 >> 82.9

Respiration, t CO2 haâ1 yrâ1 >> 121.1 >> 96.5

O2 production, t O2 haâ1 yrâ1 >> 7 >> 18.7

Tim Curtin, Its my opinion that you are clueless. You clearly do not read my posts, but come back with the same lame arguments. I might as well be speaking to a kindergarten student. Your tactic is used over and over: that is, you do not understand basic environmental science. But you obviously think that you do. On this subject we are debating on entirely different levels - you from gleaning a few studies and me from spending the last 20 years in the field.

Your childishness is also manifested whrn you keep referring to studies yopui dislike as perpetrating a 'Madoff type fraud'. How low do you want to drag this debate? What an imbicilic argument it is to have to say utter garbage like this.

Your strategy is also to keep demanding evidence for which we have not enough scientific information to draw firm conclusions. Its like me saying that if human beings paved over every square inch of the planet's land surface that it would obviously be catastophic for the planet's biodiversity. Your response would be, "Prove it. Until it is proven it does not exist". I have a lot of experience with contrarians like you because you are all the same. In your case, you try to wow over the audience by throwing around calaculations like there is not tomorrow, but I believe that you do this *without having even a basic understanding of what significance these calculations have in a functional sense on natural systems*. That is because I can see as someone working in the field of ecology that you do not understand basic ecology. You describe my arguments as "balls" without really knowing much at all about a field I have worked in for over 20 years.

As I said yesterday, and for those who do read my posts (which it appears Tim does not because he usually does not reply to 99% of the points I make), we are approaching thresholds. Continued conversion of wet tropical forests to oil plam plantations will lead to a gradual decline in the functioning of these systems until some threshold is reached, and then these systems will collapse, taking with them a range of vital services like nutrient cycling, maintenance of water tables, water purification etc. The vast majority of tropical species are habitat specialists because conditions are relatively benign (much less thermal constraints than in temperate regions). As research by people like Gaston and Blackburn has shown, the distributions of species in tropical biomes are much smaller than species in temperate biomes, for several reasons. First, conditions can remain optimal over realtively small areas in tropical regions because the climate is fairly stable and resources are locally abundant. Temperate species experience prolonged periods of sub-optimal conditions (e.g. winter) and often need to disperse in order to acquire sufficient resources. Second, niches are much smaller amongst species in tropical biomes, because there are so many available resources; compeition is therefore much more intense and this has driven resource specialization. In temperate regions there are many more generalists. Overall, this means that the loss of a patch of habitat in tropical regions will be accompanied by a much greater loss of biodiversity than in temperate regions of comparable size. This covers most vertebrate and invertebrate groups as well as plants. So conversion of even small patches of tropical forest to oil palms will without any shadow of a doubt be an ecological catastophe. Given that we have formally identified less than 5% of extant species, and perhaps even less, there is little doubt that the loss of 50% of tropical forest worldwide has alread triggered a massive extinction spasm. Many of the species indoubtedly disappearted without ever having been classified.

The other problem, of course, is that systems function on the basis of contributions for the whole of their biota (this is lost on Tim, but to be fair its because in my opinioon his understanding of the field is at the level of a high school student). Certainly some species, such as nitrogen fixing bacteria, play a greater role, but diversity begets stability because more diverse systems contain more species fulfilling the same ecological roles. This is what we call 'functional redundancy'. As sytems are reduced in their diversity, and dominat species are lost, formely redudant species in the same guilds might then occupy their niche, become domiona nt and fulfil the same ecological roles. In 1998 Kevin McCannpublsihed a seminal paper in Nature in which he modeled the effects of species diversity on system stability (through resistance to change and resilience after change). McCann found that greater diversity reinforced system stability by offering alternate pathways (flows) of materials, water and energy through the system. It is important to note that a species-poor system can exhibit these same properties if it has had a long evolutionary history of being species-poor, but tropical biomes clearly have long histories of high species richness. The bottom line is that rapid conversion of these species rich systems to a sinbgle species of tree from a different biogeographical realm (west Africa) will be catastophic for their recipient ecosystems once some threshold is passed. It is very difficult to predict what that threshold will be, but pretty much all of the scientific community will be concerned about the implications of expanding oil palm plantations much more. Converting species-rich systems to oil palm monocultures will (1) drive a massive increase in the local extinction rate, and if more widely planted, global extinction rate (2) undermine a range of viotal ecosystem services and (3) be prone to collapse because functional redundancy has all but been eliminated.

A similar example would be the effects of deforestation on land stability. Trres provide an important service by stablizing mountain slopes and hillsides, thus reducing the risk of landslides when there is heavy rainfall. Once trees on slopes are felled, this increases the riskj of a catastrophic slide, but it is only when some threshold is reached that the slope gives way. The massive mudslides that killed so many in Nicaragua during Hurrican Mitch in 1998 were in large part because hillsides overlooking major urban centers had been felled. Once they became waterlogged there was nothing to hold them back. We are talking about non-linear systems here. Another example concerns drinking water in New York City, which is some of the purest inb the world. This is because the water originates in the catskill mountain watershed, about 150 km north of the city. The water is pure because trees and their attendant soil biota act like a huge filter, sieving out impurities. The diverse range of tree species in the catskills also enhanced the water purification process. However, during the 1970s and 1980s developers began to move ionto the area and forests were felled for country clubs, golf courses etc. Farms also expanded, and the water purification properties of the forests were under threat. The city planners of New York were fac ed with a dilemma: build a water purification plant for several billion dollars, with 300 million dollar annual maintenance costs, or stop development in the catskills and replant the forests. Wisely they chose the latter option. But the critical point is that the water purufication serviced emerged from species rich forests; it is highly unlikely that a single forest trees species could have performed the same functions as efficiently. Moreover, even if one species could, the system would be more prone to collapse if that species contacted some lethal pathogen; there would be no 'functionally redundant' species to back them up. Recall the effects of chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease on eastern American forests in thw 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Therefore, forget Tim's remarks on this and related subjects. I think that most readers here should by now be able to see that he is out of his depth on thes issues but I have to give him credit for battling on in the face of clear defeat.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 22 Mar 2009 #permalink

Dear Jeff: Thanks for your as ever charming comments. I only wish you could have joined my wife, dog, and me for lunch in our garden today, despite all your gloom and doom we were surrounded by far more bio-diversity than you have ever seen in your life,including a new bird and a new lizard that we have never seen before over 10 years here.

You politely say "it's my opinion that you are clueless. You clearly do not read my posts, but come back with the same lame arguments. I might as well be speaking to a kindergarten student." Really? is that I am? "Your tactic is used over and over: that is, you do not understand basic environmental science." But do you understand any economics, after all those years plottintg revolution instead of completing your Ph.D? Then you say "But you obviously think that you do. On this subject we are debating on entirely different levels - you from gleaning a few studies and me from spending the last 20 years in the field". I have been a professional economist for over 48 years, so I seem to be ahead of you!

With your exquisite charm you add: "Your childishness is also manifested whrn you keep referring to studies you dislike as perpetrating a 'Madoff type fraud'." Why not, if that is what Solomon et al and Danielsen et al and De'ath do?

You then shriek: "How low do you want to drag this debate? What an imbecilic argument it is to have to say utter garbage like this." Disprove me mate, and that requires a bit more than your shouting from the rooftop: Solomon et al and Danielsen et al and De'ath et al. are all demonstrably guilty of fraud, and I am pursuing them to that effect (see above).

You say my "strategy is also to keep demanding evidence for which we have not enough scientific information to draw firm conclusions. It's like me saying that if human beings paved over every square inch of the planet's land surface that it would obviously be catastophic for the planet's biodiversity. Your response would be, "Prove it. Until it is proven it does not exist". Yes dear Jeff, because if we act on your and Hansen's advice, and reduce CO2 emissions to nil, that is equivalent to "paving over every square inch of the planet's land surface that it would obviously be catastophic for the planet's biodiversity". No CO2 emissions, no biodiversity. End of story, Jeff.

It is impossible to poke holes in TC's arguments.

This is due to their complete lack of non-holelike substance.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 22 Mar 2009 #permalink

RW Tim.

The Wiki definition supports my interpretation of b.d. being â the totality of genes, species, and ecosystems of a region"

Wikipedia is often a fine source of basic information, but your grab of an interpretation from this site does not make you an ecologist. In fact, it patently does not even seem to have informed you on the most basic understanding of the operational structure and function of biodiversity, given your continued bizarre insistence that plantations are not damaging to biodiversity.

For example, if there are 133 species of moth in the Malaysian forests, and only 73 in the plantations, the 133 are still extant, and that is what counts for Malaysiaâs actual bio-diversity. As I noted in my last post, the absence of various species from wheat or canola fields in East Anglia does not of itself indicate any loss of bio-diversity in terms of number of those missing species still around in adjoining fields and hedgerows etc.

You are completely clueless, aren't you? If you had bothered to read my links you might have learned of the Simpson Index and of the Shannon-Wiener Index amongst others, and thus have understoond why your crude reliance on a species list is only an advertisement for your scientific, and particularly your ecological, incompetence. Yes, Radium Water Tim, it is you who is incompetent, and not the dozens of trained and experienced scientists whom you repeatedly slander.

Your stuff about the peatlands is demonstrably false, they have not been destroyed, though there was damage from the fires in 1997-98 due to the El Nino drought, as it implies that there is a continuous process of destruction which is untrue.

Go ahead and demonstrate that my "stuff about the peatlands is demonstrably false". Data and references please. Remember, you mmifght have to call a few more biologist "incompetent".

As for your research assistants, they knew what you wanted to hear, and I see you still patronise them just as you did then. I spent most of my life in the 3rd World and am well aware of both traits.

Curtin, get it through your thick skull. My volunteers were very much their own people, and at no point did I ever press a value judgement upon them. You have absolutely no clue how I train and manage field workers, and your claims are pure garbage. If anyone is patronising "brown-skinned natives", it is you when you assume that they would tell me "what [I] wanted to hear".

You really are a grubby little man.

I shall not forward a copy of this to the Society for Conservation Biolgy if I get a satisfactory reply to my comments above.

Why wait? You have claimed fraud, and the Society is surely just as responsible if your claims are correct. Better still, if you are correct, why can you not prepare a rebuttal paper? If they reject you, then you could submit to Energy and Environment â they are much more sympathetic to your 'cause'.

Put yourself out there, Curtin.

Dear Jeff: Thanks for your as ever charming comments. I only wish you could have joined my wife, dog, and me for lunch in our garden today, despite all your gloom and doom we were surrounded by far more bio-diversity than you have ever seen in your life,including a new bird and a new lizard that we have never seen before over 10 years here.

Ha ha ha HA HA HA HA Heh heh heh...

You are determined to show the world how ridiculously deluded you are, aren't you? Jeff Harvey will have seen many times more species than you have probably ever seen yourself in your whole life, let alone what you have found in your garden.

Of course, as you have seen fit to make such a claim, you must surely have a species list that documents your garden's incredible richness. Let's have it.

Yes dear Jeff, because if we act on your and Hansen's advice, and reduce CO2 emissions to nil, that is equivalent to "paving over every square inch of the planet's land surface that it would obviously be catastophic for the planet's biodiversity". No CO2 emissions, no biodiversity. End of story, Jeff.

He he he ha ha ha HA HA HA HA Heh heh heh ahhh... ooh, make it stop!

Tim Curtin, I have asked fruitlessly before, but perhaps you will deign to answer now: how did life manage to arrive to 1850 with the highest biodiversity that evolution has ever produced, and with nary a significant increase in atmospheric CO2 from human emissions, compared with what we have seen emitted after 1850?

Jackass. Idiot (I refuse to insult jackasses).

Responding to #21, you asked "Next question?" and I obliged with "Do you understand the limitations of reductionism?"

You have yet to demonstrate that you understand my question, or its point.

At #30 you said:

Bernard: first version of my Garnaut critique was rejected by one journal, then accepted by another but that in November changed the publication date from January to mid-2009, so I offered it to Keith Windschuttle and it appeared in Quadrant by end-December.

So your claim:

...same reply, the editor of the journal I first submitted to, received similar threats, hence my switch to Quadrant, Keith had more bottle.

was untrue?

Curtin, your prevarications, distortions, misrepresentation, ignorance, lies, slanders and general incompetence to make even the most basic of scientific commentaries is unsurpassed. For the benefit of lurkers unacquainted with some of your previous howlers, and for the amusement of older readers who might have forgotten the details, I feel compelled to remind you of:

Meyrick and Ian

We really have descended into what passes for science and math in England and Australia. If CO2 has increased by 100 ppm since 1750, then non-CO2 must have decreased by 100 ppm since 1750. The IPCC says that 1 ppm CO2 equals 7.8 billion tonnes CO2 in the global atmosphere, therefore it also equals c.7.8 billion tonnes non-CO2 in the global atmosphere.

So for an increase of 100 ppm CO2 since 1750 we have 780 bn tonnes of CO2 increment in the global atmosphere since then and 780 billion tonnes of non-CO2 decrement since 1750. What happened to it?
The ludicrous GCM models of the IPCC simply like the philistine walk by the other side of the road. If the GCM cannot/do not account for the missing 780 billion tonnes of non-CO2 they have to be worthless as indeed they are.

Posted by: Tim Curtin | [June 20, 2006 9:51 AM](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2006/06/the_gods_are_laughing_at_tom_h…)

bi: 1. Slopes are different from ratios. 2. Climate scientists like Canadell et al are even more available for hire than those stingily paid off by BP etc. 3. In all likelihood both you and Naomi are very fat, and as that is your sole contribution to this debate let's leave it at that.

Posted by: Tim Curtin | [March 24, 2008 6:50 AM](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/03/remember_eg_becks_dodgy.php#com…)

Solar and wind power do not yield the release of free long stored H2O and CO2 bye-products. Those pesky molecules are included in Eisntein's equation but are largely absent from the formulae for solar and wind power. Strange as it may seem to bi/sod, H2O and CO2 are not pollutants but esential to life. My Garnaut Submission gave the formulae for propane and jet fuel that prove my point here. Dear sod/bi, show me the equivalent formulae for wind/solar and prove their equal yield in terms of FREE water and CO2.

I could spend the rest of my life trying to sell my comments here to the IPCC or all the journals its 2500 authors edit, but have better things to do. E&E might well, but would be derided for doing so.

BTW, I have never called you a pedophile or wife beater (at least not yet!). [erm, not true]

Posted by: Tim Curtin | [March 25, 2008 6:07 AM](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/03/remember_eg_becks_dodgy.php#com…)

It goes on and on...

Tim, I once bestowed these words upon Harold Pierce Jnr, and I may have subsequently passed the honour to you, but based on the calibre of your scientific (non)understanding I think that it is now time that you seriously don the mantle and stand on the podium:

Insulsissimus est homo.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 22 Mar 2009 #permalink

In case it's not apparent, the

I could spend the rest of my life trying to sell my comments here to the IPCC or all the journals its 2500 authors edit, but have better things to do. E&E might well, but would be derided for doing so.

BTW, I have never called you a pedophile or wife beater (at least not yet!).

was a part of Curtin's March 25, 2008 6:07AM post.

Darned backslash went walkies.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 22 Mar 2009 #permalink

The great Curtin:

Truly you are the embodiment of McArthur Wheeler in Kruger & Dunning (Journal of Personality and Social Pschology, 1999, 77.6).

I should have added, besides not behaving like an arrogant, ignorant moron, the great Curtin is not a hypocrite either.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 22 Mar 2009 #permalink

Bernard: you linked me to Robertson & van Schaik (Oryx. Vol 35, Issue 1, pp26-38) and I have also read the parallel piece by van Schaik & Robertson in the same issue. The latter has interesting tables (2 & 3) showing that given their estimate of orang-utan populations in north Sumatra in 1998 and their projected rates of decline due to habitat destruction, âwithin a decadeâ they would be extinct, i.e. by now (2009). Are they? If not, they must have turned into the black swans that falsify absurd hypotheses! Their papers have no facts at all about the supposed role of oil palm plantations on this extinction, their main focus is on logging, but they have no alternative employment to offer the 50% of Sumatrans dependent on plantations and linked smallholdings for their livelihood if they succeed in their declared aim of having these industries prevented from expanding if not closed.

Chris: in case you have not read Kruger & Dunning, they surveyed various groups of students at Cornell first with tests and then questionnaires on how they rated their performance. Your version of logarithmic growth puts you in their bottom deciles, being those who thought they had done brilliantly but were actually in the bottom deciles of the test results.

Bernard J.: what utter nonsense. Truly you are the embodiment of McArthur Wheeler in Kruger & Dunning (Journal of Personality and Social Pschology, 1999, 77.6). Unlike the great Curtin.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 22 Mar 2009 #permalink

Tim Curtin writes:

if we act on your and Hansen's advice, and reduce CO2 emissions to nil, that is equivalent to "paving over every square inch of the planet's land surface that it would obviously be catastophic for the planet's biodiversity". No CO2 emissions, no biodiversity. End of story, Jeff.

This makes no sense. Are you saying there was no biodiversity before the industrial revolution started? CO2 emissions from human technology presuppose human technology, and the ecosystem has existed in one form or another for four billion years.

"Are you saying there was no biodiversity before the industrial revolution started?"

Well, were you there Barton. Where is your evidence to back up the 'theory' that biodiversity existed before the industrial revolution.

lol

TC: "I only wish you could have joined my wife, dog, and me for lunch in our garden today"

I suppose it should come as no surprise that Tim's wife is also barking mad!

Barton: you asked if I am âsaying there was no biodiversity before the industrial revolution started?â. No, but what I am saying is that the total present populations of most if not all species including ourselves are incomparably larger now than they were in 1750. That is very largely due to the extraordinary increasing rate of GROWTH of terrestrial biomass arising from the equally extrordinary increasing rate of GROWTH of terrestrial absorption of CO2 since records began in 1958. It is strange but true that the scientific community has been led down the wrong road with its focus on (1) growth of emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels, at 2% p.a. and (2) the growth of the STOCK of CO2 in the atmosphere, at just 0.4% p.a. since 1958, from 670.7 GtC in 1958 to 818 GtC by 2008, neglecting any focus on (3) the growth of total absorption, which has been 2.5% p.a. from 1958 to 2008, as much as 0.5% p.a. faster than the growth of emissions (the oceanic annual absorptions grew at 1% pa. and the terrestrial at 4% p.a.), which explains why the growth of the annual increment in the FLOW into [CO2] was only 1.38% between 1958 and 2008 (all data used to calculate the growth rates from Raupach et al., GCP.). Most if not all of the terrestrial absorption supports increasing annual output of biomass including such prosaic items as wheat and rice.

Now James Hansen wants us to get [CO2] back from 385 ppm (818 GtC) to 350 ppm. His arrogant letters to Kevin Rudd (April 2008) and to Barry Obama (December 2008) - and in the latter he abuses our Kev for not closing down our coal mines forthwith as he had demanded last April â did not mention any aspect of the facts in my first para. My question is what happens to the existing growth of our biomass, which derives from the FLOW of emissions, not the STOCK of [CO2], if emissions are reduced from 10.22 GtC in 2007-2008 to nil, as demanded by Solomon et al., or just 20% of the 2000 level, namely 1.63 GtC, that being the ambition for 2050 of Rudd & co. Clearly that has to mean an end to not merely the growth of terrestrial absorption but also the level, which was 3.94 GtC in 2007-2008. Marine life will also be affected, as much of its absorption is via phytoplankton and - dare I say it - coral reefs. Hansen is the driver of the train of death in reality, as he shown no awareness that reducing the partial pressure of the [CO2] will rapidly lead to efflux of CO2 from the oceans, reducing biomass there just as his plan leads to similar withering of our crops. So what I am saying is that at the 1750 level of [CO2] there will be some life and some diversity, but much less than now, and most of us homo sapiens will be gone, as wheat production etc fall from the 2008 level to about that in 1750.

In response to me saying:

"The logarithm function varies from minus to plus infinity. Doubling the input causes the same increase in output for any original input, i.e. increasing the input from 2 units to 4 units causes the same increase in output as increasing the input from 1 unit to 2 units";

I wasn't just giving an example of how the input (or argument) to a logarithm function may vary, I was actually saying that the input to a logarithm function can ONLY vary by doubling, quadrupling, etc. Normally people give examples of something (in this case how the logarithm function varies with input) to help people who may be ignorant, arrogant, or lacking in intelligence to help them understand the concept,

the great Curtin said:

But why don't you get Excel to scrub its logarithmic trend lines which apply to ANY increase in variable y relative to changes in variable x?

thus letting us know that the great Curtin knew I was not being ironic in my "I wasn't just giving an example" statement above. Being able to distinguish irony from the absence thereof is another of the great Curtin's vast range of skills.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 23 Mar 2009 #permalink

Chris, you said, displaying your total ignorance "The logarithm function varies from minus to plus infinity. Doubling the input causes the same increase in output for any original input, i.e. increasing the input from 2 units to 4 units causes the same increase in output as increasing the input from 1 unit to 2 units; I wasn't just giving an example of how the input (or argument) to a logarithm function may vary, I was actually saying that the input to a logarithm function can ONLY vary by doubling, quadrupling, etc. Normally people give examples of something (in this case how the logarithm function varies with input) to help people who may be ignorant, arrogant, or lacking in intelligence to help them understand the concept.â. So what you are saying is there is NO change if y changes from x*2 unless and until x changes by x times 2? That is why you are the exemplar of the dunces in Kruger & Dunning. The truth which escapes you is that y changes for each and every change in x, but by the same arithmetic amount: you said âI was actually saying that the input to a logarithm function can ONLY vary by doubling, quadrupling, etc.â That statement explains why you are the prototype of the dunces in Kruger & Dunning.

Gosh, I hate having to come back in here to counter Tim's absurd arguments. But then he says something dumb like this:

"No, but what I am saying is that the total present populations of most if not all species including ourselves are incomparably larger now than they were in 1750".

This is absolute garbage. There is little doubt that the vast majority of extant species (e.g. those that aren't already extinct) are far worse off now than they were in 1750 because humans have greatly altered the surface of the planet since then. In case Tim hadn't noticed, humans have paved, plouhged, dammed, dredged, mined, slashed-and-burned, logged, doused in synthetic organic chemicals, altered the chemical composition of the air and water, and assaulted natural systems in a myriad of other ways (e.g. through the introduction of species into non-native ecosystems). Hughes et al. (1997) in Science estimated that the planet is losing perhaps as many as 30,000 genetically distinct populations per day out of a total of between 1 and 6 billion; there is no doubt that, especially since the middle of the 1800s, humans have greatly reduced the planet's species and genetic richness. Tim's argumenbt is a non-starter; I don't even think Lomborg would say something along these lines.

The fact that between 10 and 40% of *well-studied* species are threatened wioth extinction, and that the list grows year by year, should say enough to vanquish this frankly peurile argument that increased C02 = increased biodiversity. By 'well-studied' I mean vascular plants and various vertebrate groups. Its like saying that turning an oligotrophic lake into a hyper-eutrophic lake by saturating it with nitrates will increase the lake's species richness. We know that the opposite is true. Some 7 million square km of tropical forest (out of 14-17 million sq km) have been felled over the past 100 years. There is little doubt that this has led to a massive spike in the extinction rate, and as more forest goes, so will the species and populations living in them. This is hardly rocket science. So Tim, please do me a favor: stop embarrassing yourself with this discussion. If you must, stick to throwing calculations around on carbon sequestration rates. That makes little sense to me either, but at least its out of my field of expertise (not that it is in yours).

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 23 Mar 2009 #permalink

BPL: further to my last but one (#77), please note that in Australia purveyors of breakfast cereals state that c. 79% of a serving of 100 g. of cereal comprises carbohydrate, without saying where that comes from. According to Tim Lambert, it comes from fresh (non-CO2) air. In reality it relies on CO2 in the air at near ground level. I know it's beyond the mental capacity of fat Al Gore, as he cannot grasp - has not the foggiest idea - that wheat etc cannot access CO2 that is more than say 3 meters above ground level (Freeman Dyson 2007). Emissions are known to raise yields in the immediate vicinity of coal-fired power stations.

The great Curtin:

you said âI was actually saying that the input to a logarithm function can ONLY vary by doubling, quadrupling, etc.â

I just love the great Curtin's ability to distinguish irony.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 23 Mar 2009 #permalink

please note that in Australia purveyors of breakfast cereals state that c. 79% of a serving of 100 g. of cereal comprises carbohydrate, without saying where that comes from. According to Tim Lambert, it comes from fresh (non-CO2) air. In reality it relies on CO2 in the air at near ground level. I know it's beyond the mental capacity of fat Al Gore, as he cannot grasp - has not the foggiest idea - that wheat etc cannot access CO2 that is more than say 3 meters above ground level (Freeman Dyson 2007).

this is simply stupid. even for Tim Curtin.

facts:

1. the wind tends to mix the air occasionally. no need to add CO2.

2. plants were growing fine, before we started burning fossil fuels.

3. the CO2 effect on yield is Negligible. 30% at CO2 "saturation" point of 550+ppm

No, but what I am saying is that the total present populations of most if not all species including ourselves are incomparably larger now than they were in 1750.

If I didn't know better I'd swear that someone was impersonating Tim Curtin, in the style of, oh, say, Stephen Cobert's faux right-wing personna.

TC's posts do make me laugh ...

Is carbon within the global terrestrial biosphere becoming more oxidized? Implications for trends in atmospheric O2

J. T. RANDERSON * , C. A. MASIELLOâ , C. J. STILLâ¡, T. RAHN§, H. POORTER¶ and C. B. FIELDâ¥

Global Change Biology
Volume 12 Issue 2, Pages 260 - 271
Published Online: 20 Jan 2006
Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing

Measurements of atmospheric O2 and CO2 concentrations serve as a widely used means to partition global land and ocean carbon sinks. Interpretation of these measurements has assumed that the terrestrial biosphere contributes to changing O2 levels by either expanding or contracting in size, and thus serving as either a carbon sink or source (and conversely as either an oxygen source or sink). Here, we show how changes in atmospheric O2 can also occur if carbon within the terrestrial biosphere becomes more reduced or more oxidized, even with a constant carbon pool. At a global scale, we hypothesize that increasing levels of disturbance within many biomes has favored plant functional types with lower oxidative ratios and that this has caused carbon within the terrestrial biosphere to become increasingly more oxidized over a period of decades. Accounting for this mechanism in the global atmospheric O2 budget may require a small increase in the size of the land carbon sink. In a scenario based on the CarnegieâAmesâStanford Approach model, a cumulative decrease in the oxidative ratio of net primary production (NPP) (moles of O2 produced per mole of CO2 fixed in NPP) by 0.01 over a period of 100 years would create an O2 disequilibrium of 0.0017 and require an increased land carbon sink of 0.1 Pg C yrâ1 to balance global atmospheric O2 and CO2 budgets. At present, however, it is challenging to directly measure the oxidative ratio of terrestrial ecosystem exchange and even more difficult to detect a disequilibrium caused by a changing oxidative ratio of NPP. Information on plant and soil chemical composition complement gas exchange approaches for measuring the oxidative ratio, particularly for understanding how this quantity may respond to various global change processes over annual to decadal timescales.

"If I didn't know better I'd swear that someone was impersonating Tim Curtin, in the style of, oh, say, Stephen Cobert's faux right-wing personna."

What?!! I thought that this TC was some kind of ironic take on a right-wing persona.

Are you telling me that this guy is serious? What, no... sure it's all a big joke.

Or maybe, just maybe he could be right, that the world's animals are much happier than 250 years ago. Skip dee do da

That is front garden is filled with new and undiscovered species (maybe he lives on another planet??)

Fat Al thinks that air mixes and is just fat.

Lee.

At present, however, it is challenging to directly measure the oxidative ratio of terrestrial ecosystem exchange and even more difficult to detect a disequilibrium caused by a changing oxidative ratio of NPP.

Randerson's et al problem is that they do not know how to implement a Curtin Super-RegressionTM. They are obviously incompetent frauds and liars, or else they would know how to properly model the infinite breadth of the biotic and abiotic systems of the planet using such Regressions.

Along with the [Harold Pierce Jnr t-TestTM](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/03/new_cei_ad_al_gore_we_call_him…), scientists would have all they need to understand the biology and climatology of the planet.

If only they knew.

Perhaps they should consult a regression-savvy economist - after all, economists know how to understand and to predict complex systems better than anyone.

Oh, that's right...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 23 Mar 2009 #permalink

Tim Curtin writes:

the total present populations of most if not all species including ourselves are incomparably larger now than they were in 1750.

I've never seen any evidence of that. Citation, please?

Tim Curtin writes:

wheat etc cannot access CO2 that is more than say 3 meters above ground level (Freeman Dyson 2007).

This is completely wrong. CO2 is not stratified. The troposphere is turbulent and a CO2 molecule near ground level may be a mile in the air an hour later, or vice versa.

Radium Water Curtin says:

they have no alternative employment to offer the 50% of Sumatrans dependent on plantations and linked smallholdings for their livelihood if they succeed in their declared aim of having these industries prevented from expanding if not closed.

Why cannot the degraded grasslands to which I referred in an earlier post be used for palm plantation, in the place of the highly biodiverse and high-ecofunctioning rainforests, which also have high potential for tourism, for carbon sequestration, and for novel products if managed sustainably?

According to your regressions, how much of the original rainforest area needs to be converted to plantation before a satisfactory level of 'employment' is achieved? According to your regressions, how much of the original rainforest area can be destroyed without compromising the viability of species and ecosystem functions/services?

According to your regressions, how much of the original rainforest area can be lost forever without negatively impacting upon the native communities of Indonesia?

No, but what I am saying is that the total present populations of most if not all species including ourselves are incomparably larger now than they were in 1750.

What an extraordinary claim.

You must surely have a profoundly comprehensive literature review upon which to base this statement. Please direct us to it.

Where you do not rely upon scientific studies of others, you must as surely have conducted your own analyses (regressions?). Please supply us with the methodologies and result of any such analysis.

That is very largely due to the extraordinary increasing rate of GROWTH of terrestrial biomass arising from the equally extraordinary [sic] increasing rate of GROWTH of terrestrial absorption of CO2 since records began in 1958.

Data?

My question is what happens to the existing growth of our biomass, which derives from the FLOW of emissions, not the STOCK of [CO2], if emissions are reduced from 10.22 GtC in 2007-2008 to nil, as demanded by Solomon et al., or just 20% of the 2000 level, namely 1.63 GtC, that being the ambition for 2050 of Rudd & co.

Can you show us the details of this "existing growth of... biomass", with a breakdown based upon ecosystems, upon significant taxa, and upon human production? Can you specifically show us how your regressions isolated covariables such as temperature, rainfall, technological innovation, fossil-fuel-driven mechanisation, fertilisation and plant 'improvement' from the impact of CO2 emissions, and can you show your regressions that determine which parts of the biosphere did not benefit from emission-enhanced biomass increase?

Can you respond to the suite of questions:

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

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

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

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

that [so offended](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/01/windschuttle_hoaxed.php#comment…) you that you could only reply with "What a load of rubbish. If you are so smart and such a veritable polymath, write your own paper incorporating that tosh."

Whilst we're at it, can you address the questions [here](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/01/windschuttle_hoaxed.php#comment…), [here](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/01/windschuttle_hoaxed.php#comment…), [here](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/01/windschuttle_hoaxed.php#comment…), and [here](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/01/windschuttle_hoaxed.php#comment…) that you left unanswered?

Marine life will also be affected, as much of its absorption is via phytoplankton and - dare I say it - coral reefs.

Can you show us the details of your regressions that separate out CO2 enhancement of oceanic biomass increase, from enhanced return of any such increase to partially-oxidised forms of carbon, such as methane, or back to CO2 following respiration further along the trophic web? Can you show us also how your posited increase in marine biomass that is facilitated by CO2 emission compensates for the impacts resulting form the accompanying decrease of pH?

Hansen is the driver of the train of death in reality, as he shown no awareness that reducing the partial pressure of the [CO2] will rapidly lead to efflux of CO2 from the oceans, reducing biomass there just as his plan leads to similar withering of our crops.

For those who are aware of what it is that you're claiming, "reducing the partial pressure of the concentration of CO2" is merely a naïve tautology that reflects the scientific ignorance of the one who made the statement. For anyone who is scientifically literate, but who might not know what your point is, your mangling of jargon is indecipherable.

So what I am saying is that at the 1750 level of [CO2] there will be some life and some diversity, but much less than now, and most of us homo sapiens will be gone, as wheat production etc fall from the 2008 level to about that in 1750.

Can you show us your references and/or regressions that support this claim? Specifically, can you explain how going back to a 1750 concentration of atmospheric CO2 would leave only "some" biodiversity, compared with the biodiversity that was present in 1749?

BPL: further to my last but one (#77), please note that in Australia purveyors of breakfast cereals state that c. 79% of a serving of 100 g. of cereal comprises carbohydrate, without saying where that comes from. According to Tim Lambert, it comes from fresh (non-CO2) air.

Can you explain what the relevance of the carbohydrate content of breakfast cereal is in a discussion of photosynthetic productivity, and can you indicate exactly where Tim Lambert claimed that "it comes from fresh (non-CO2) air"?

In reality it relies on CO2 in the air at near ground level. I know it's beyond the mental capacity of fat Al Gore, as he cannot grasp - has not the foggiest idea - that wheat etc cannot access CO2 that is more than say 3 meters above ground level (Freeman Dyson 2007).

I can only sit agog at your muddled understanding of convection, of turbulence, and of diffusion, especially [as I have previously pointed you](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/03/remember_eg_becks_dodgy.php#com…) to Lemon et al (Science 174:4007 pp371-378, 1971), who published a paper entitled "The sun's work in a corn field", and where they both predicted and measured CO2 in the atmosphere from the ground to 600cm above the ground, from 11.45am to 12.15pm.

Just to remind you, at ground level in a cornfield in the noonday sun, ambient CO2 increased by about 2ppm, and the greatest decrease occurred at approximately 100-120cm above the ground. This decrease was a whole 6ppm, which is a 1.8% of the contemporary atmospheric CO2 concentration, and is hardly "all the carbon dioxide" that you were [so bothered about](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/03/remember_eg_becks_dodgy.php#com…).

Curiously, and as Barton pointed out, this minor drop in CO2 concentration, due to the aforementioned processes of convection, of turbulence, and of diffusion, allows the corn to access CO2 from far higher than 3 metres above the ground.

You're still struggling with science as much as ever, aren't you Curtin? Those almost five decades as a "professional economist" don't seem to have helped with your abilities in science in any way at all, and they certainly give you no right to compare your work career in economics with Jeff Harvey's in science.

Of course, it could be that [Tam the lapdog](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/01/windschuttle_hoaxed.php#comment…) is ghost-writing for you. Given the amount of loud barking, and the chronic self-unawareness of the lack of appropriate capacities, that are displayed by the Tim Curtin persona, one could almost be persuaded that it is a primped pug who is depositing so much fæcal nonsense on these threads.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 24 Mar 2009 #permalink

I've never seen any evidence of that. Citation, please?

The "all" case is easy to disprove, given that a bunch of species have gone extinct since 1750.

Barton:

Me. Think about it. My previous response to you gave the facts for both oceanuc and terrestrial absorption. How does all that CO2 manifest if not in biomass? what happens to that biomass if not eaten? Given a constant ratio between eaten and not otherwise utilised (eg by forestry), quantum eaten has risen pro rata with total absorption, eg by 4% p.a. since 1958 on land. Eaten by who or what? By all extant species over that period; some have gone, others have arrived (Dawrin qv).

BTW, I never said "all" but "not all".

"others have arrived (Dawrin qv)"

Really, where from outer space???!?!?!

No, they existed before being discovered by humans, they did not just arrive. Evolution does not work like that.

And since it's the year of Darwin, you could try getting the surname spelt correctly.

Timmy you said "most if not all", not "not all".

Timmy, not even Lassie can save you.

How does all that CO2 manifest if not in biomass?

In increased accumulation in the atmosphere and ocean, Timmy.

Tim Curtin.

It surprises me not that besides trying to flog your radium water ideas, you are also wont to pull rabbits from hats...

others have arrived (Dawrin [sic] qv)

The trouble is that your glib assurance that evolution is replacing species, as they become extinct, does not hold up.

As you insist on being the king of turkeys (apologies to all non-Curtin Meleagrids, and any other potentially offended Galliforms), let's consider the extinction rates of birds.

Stuart Pimm et al in another [PNAS paper](http://www.pnas.org/content/103/29/10941.full.pdf+html) have this to say:

Unqualified, the statement that â1.3% of the â10,000 presently known bird species have become extinct since A.D. 1500 yields an estimate of â26 extinctions per million species per year (or 26 E/MSY). This is higher than the benchmark rate of â1 E/MSY before human impacts, but is a serious underestimate. First, Polynesian expansion across the Pacific also exterminated many species well before European explorations. Second, three factors increase the rate: (i) The number of known extinctions before 1800 is increasing as taxonomists describe new species from skeletal remains. (ii) One should calculate extinction rates over the years since taxonomists described the species. Most bird species were described only after 1850. (iii) Some species are probably extinct; there is reluctance to declare them so prematurely. Thus corrected, recent extinction rates are â100 E/MSY. In the last decades, the rate is less than 50 E/MSY, but would be 150 E/MSY were it not for conservation efforts. Increasing numbers of extinctions are on continents, whereas previously most were on islands. We predict a 21st century rate of â1,000 E/MSY. Extinction threatens 12% of bird species; another 12% have small geographical ranges and live where human actions rapidly destroy their habitats. If present forest losses continue, extinction rates will reach 1,500 E/MSY by the centuryâs end. Invasive species, expanding human technologies, and global change will harm additional species. Birds are poor models for predicting extinction rates for other taxa. Human actions threaten higher fractions of other well known taxa than they do birds. Moreover, people take special efforts to protect birds.

Interesting, isn't it? At least 130 avian species have been lost in the last 500 years, when only 5 would be expected to become extinct if one assumes an average species life of 1 million years...

Except it's worse than that - it has [been determined](http://www.amnh.org/science/biodiversity/extinction/Intro/OngoingProces…) that a high rate of avian extinction would be one species every 400 years (=1.25 species every 500 years). Thus avian extinctions, from 1500 to date, would appear to be more than one hundred times the 'background' rate were humans not impacting. This rate is only going to increase substantially in the near future as the many accumulating endangered species tip over the edge and add to the overall loss.

And this is for an iconic taxon that attracts much public sympathy and response.

Anyway, if you can point to the >130 new species that have evolved in the last 500 years to replace the lost species, I would be most interested. Please note: cheating by reference to domesticated strains is not permited, as this has nothing to do with evolution per se.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 24 Mar 2009 #permalink

Bernard, well said! The actual extinction rate shouild be on the order of 1 species per million species per year, given the average 'shelf life'of a species in about a million years (more for insects, less for many mammals). But we know that the extinction rate is 100 or perhaps 1,000 times the natural background rate. Some authjorities like Ed Wilson, Tom Lovejoy and Peter Raven believe thast this is an *underestimate*.

There's little doubt we are into the planet's 6th major extinction episode, which is unique in that this is the first to be driven by one of the planet's evolved inhabitants (us). Amongst scientists there is virtually 100% agreement on this point. Curtin is wading deeper and deeper into an intellectual quicksand pit when he starts suggesting (as he appears to be doing here) that the current extinction rate is being offset by the rate of speciation. This is poatently not true. Given that some 50% of the world's species-rich tropical wet forests have disappeared over the past century, where does Curtin think the species that inhabited and depended on them have gone? The area extinction models of exponential decay first preoposed by McCarthur and Wilson and later refined by Terborgh, Soule and others have accurately predicted extinction rates of well-known species in both temperate and tropical realms. In fact, many are underestimates because the models are based on habitat loss alone and exclude other anthropogenic disturbances such as pollution, invasive species etc.

So Curtin is drifting well out into no-mans land on this area.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 24 Mar 2009 #permalink

. How does all that CO2 manifest if not in biomass? what happens to that biomass if not eaten? Given a constant ratio between eaten and not otherwise utilised (eg by forestry), quantum eaten has risen pro rata with total absorption, eg by 4% p.a. since 1958 on land. Eaten by who or what?

Tim, you are using a complicated term (biomass) without understanding it. and (as always) your approach is simplicistic.

you use biomass as meaning "living biomass". the best counter example is the dead wood in Australian forests, that we saw going back into atmosphere quite recently. (whole lakes being filled up with dying algae is another example)

it is simply unclear, how long such temporary storages will contain the CO2. and they often significantly change their environment. (nothing else alive in those lakes..)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Curtin.

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

Your only reply was a pathetic:

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

which surely takes the cake.

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

And the internal inconsistency in:

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

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

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

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

An ignominious end, indeed.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 26 Mar 2009 #permalink

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

look Curtin, this is plain stupid.

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

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

i am holding my breath!!!!

"I did a little census myself"

Did you peer-reviewed that by yourself TC?

Obviously among his other shortcomings, Timmie doesn't bird by ear ...

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

You are an amazingly reliable source of nonsense, Tim.

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

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

Out goes the dodo, in comes the kingfisher.

Isn't nature wonderful.

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

Tim.. "they do NOT allow for any new species"

eg?

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

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

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

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

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

Once more unto the breach...

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

Please list the ten extra species that you so "quickly found". I have compared Pimm's et al list of Halcyonidæ species with Robert G. Moyle's molecular phylogeny of kingfishers ([Auk 123(2): 487â499](http://www.highbeam.com/library/docfree.asp?DOCID=1Y1:93480914&ctrlInfo…)), and found only two extra species listed by Moyle weren't acknowledged by Pimm et al - the flat-billed kingfisher, (Todirhamphus recurvirostris) and the Mangaia kingfisher (Todirhamphus ruficollaris).

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

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

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

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

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

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

And whilst we're on the subject of New Guinea bird species...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr Graham Turner at the CSIRO has recently published a paper in Global Environmental Change ([18(3) pp397-411](http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VFV-4T7D8DY-…)). In this paper, "A comparison of The Limits to Growth with 30 years of reality", he notes that:

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

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

Moving on:

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

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

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

They follow this immediately with:

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

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

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

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

The authors also note that:

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

And their last sentence states:

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

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

âwithin a decadeâ they would be extinct

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

Radium Water Tin also said:

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

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

Conversion to oil palm plantations

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

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

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

Bollocks, Curtin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 27 Mar 2009 #permalink

Tim Curtin.

You prat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can only reiterate:

Insulsissimus est homo

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 27 Mar 2009 #permalink

You prat. The nomenclature of these kingfishers has changed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

My delay in responding sooner is because of other activities

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

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

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

My delay in responding sooner is because of other activities

[Colic day!]

Timmie, please show your work when you conclude that ...

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

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

2657.7 species left equals a 0.26% annual extinction rate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

.0026 'pour cent.' Timmie, not per individual.

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

I'm sure he believes it means "multiply by 100" :)

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

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

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

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

Do you understand that?

Your ungraciousness turns your admission of error into a classic notpology

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

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

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

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

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

I can't seem to think of it at the moment ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gaahhhh.

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

By Benny Lin (not verified) on 28 Mar 2009 #permalink

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

Ok Bernard, here we go:

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

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

Another vignette from the Club (ignored by Turner). It states that in Zambia in 1970 â260 of every thousand babies born are dead before tgeir first birthdayâ (p.57), and in India and Pakistan 140. with the implication that this would only get worse because of increasing food shortages. Yet from UNFPA we find that Zambiaâs infant mortality rate had fallen by 2007 to 92 despite the onset of AIDS, while Indiaâs was 54 and Pakistanâs 67 by 2007. So much for the Clubâs view that the âLimits to Growthâ and general social improvement would have been reached before 2000. Turner avoids all such specifics.

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Curtin, Tim Curtin, Tim Curtin...

Oh dear.

Dear, oh dear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your best response was a sad:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If there isn't such a page, I would humbly submit for consideration the heading "Tim Curtin Syndrome", perhaps with the subtitle "Tim 'Radium Water' Curtin Syndrome, Tim... etc, etc, etc ...Syndrome".

Or perhaps the condition merely falls under the title 'senile dementia'.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 29 Mar 2009 #permalink

Curtin.

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

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

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

Show your calculations.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 29 Mar 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

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

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 29 Mar 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

If you'd learn the power ...

Of the fucking paragraph.

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

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

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

Unless you're convinced that writing legibly is a mortal sin...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 29 Mar 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

And while you're at it, explain:

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

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

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

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

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 29 Mar 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 30 Mar 2009 #permalink

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

so many errors, in just a single short sentence.

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

2. "ice melting" has ZERO relevance to the point.

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

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

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

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

Tim Curtin writes:

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

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

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

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

Here are the paras. referred to by Jeff:

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

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

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

Tim,

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

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

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

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 30 Mar 2009 #permalink

Tim curtin.

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

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

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

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

Let's see how good you really are at homework...

Then there was:

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

Two problems here.

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

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

Which accurately describes your own efforts, really.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Water is an infinitely recyclable self-renewing resource

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

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

Tell us what you find...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nice one Curtin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 30 Mar 2009 #permalink

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

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

Canadell, PNAS, 2007:

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

My emphasis.

Mommy, Timmie's lying again!

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

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

Why are you such a dishonest, lying fuck?

"Tim's greatest skill is at wasting other people's time."

No truer words have ever been written, dhogaza.

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

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

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

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

Massive? Ha ha bloody ha.

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

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

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

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

ambient CO2 is necessary but not sufficient

True.

False.

This is too easy.

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

ambient CO2 is necessary but not sufficient

True

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

False

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

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

Then he asked (2) âBased on your â30-40 years worth of current consumption levelsâ idea, what does this mean for these respective countries' forests in another 50 years?â ?â Logging of native forest is usually at around 1/36ths of the area p.a. ad infinitum (that is the standard in the PNG Forestry Act), so there is no a priori reason for any massive reduction. Mirabile dictu, forestry is a business with long horizons when allowed, and profitable too, so foresters either sustainably log or replant as the case may be. PNGâs Wawoi Guavi is an example of the former, and its Gogol woodchips project of the latter, in business for over 40 years now in the same area. Where forests are replaced it is mostly by oil palm, but note how small the area under plantations actually was in 2000.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is not unambiguous but hard truth.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 30 Mar 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 31 Mar 2009 #permalink

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

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

âAnalysis of several CO2 data sets with removal of the EVI-correlated component confirms a previous finding of a detectable increasing trend in CO2 airborne fraction (defined using total anthropogenic emissions including fossil fuels and land use change) over the period 1959â2006, at a proportional growth rate 0.24% yâ1 with probability _0.9 of a positive trend. This implies that the atmospheric CO2 growth rate increased slightly faster than total anthropogenic CO2 emissionsâ Only it did not.

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

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

Somebody here (dhogaza?) said Hamas was âdemocratically electedâ. So was Hitler.

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

The you write:

"Somebody here (dhogaza?) said Hamas was âdemocratically electedâ. So was Hitler".

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

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

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

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

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 31 Mar 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

Jeff's issue is not one of double negatives, but one of hasty omission of a comma, and perhaps two small words... "This is not unambiguous, but [it is] hard truth"

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

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

Not by a long shot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 31 Mar 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 31 Mar 2009 #permalink

Oops - I meant troll. My bad.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 31 Mar 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

Neither does the blurb at CSIRO.

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

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

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

Somebody here (dhogaza?) said Hamas was âdemocratically electedâ

I said no such thing.

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

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

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

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

Eli suggests that we all post on

Tim Curtin is like . . .

Tim Curtin is...

the old man I hope I never become.

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

(changed your lead slightly)

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

Tim Curtin is like . . .

...rubber lips on a woodpecker.

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

Tim Curtin is like ...

"Comical Ali" (aka Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf)

Tim Curtin is like .... d by so many!

I am sneezy and I approve this comment.

Thanks for this thread Tim Lambert

It is soooo hilarious!

Tim Curtin makes many excellent scientific points

Only a fool would believe that

His opposition comprises the entire sentient scientific community of the planet

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

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

dhogaza: why canât you simply say, âTim you could be mistakenâ? instead of â¦. ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I rest my case.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 01 Apr 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff: have you done time for your political beliefs?

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

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

Tim,

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

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

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

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 01 Apr 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 01 Apr 2009 #permalink

dhogaza: why canât you simply say, âTim you could be mistakenâ? instead of â¦. ?

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

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

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

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

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

"Decreased efficiency" is not equal to "saturated."
Even 'saturating' is not equal to "saturated."

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

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

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

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

That should be obvious, even to you.

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

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

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

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

Hmmm ... Timmie. Liar? Idiot? Or both?

This is going to require some thought!

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

1.Headline:âCarbon sink slowdown contributing to rapid growth in atmospheric CO2â

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

2. âThere has been a decline in the efficiency of natural land and ocean sinks which soak up carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted to the atmosphere by human activitiesâ¦â

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

3. âThe swift increase in atmospheric CO2 is due to faster economic growth coupled with a halt in carbon intensity reductions, in addition to natural sinks removing a smaller proportion of emissions from the airâ¦â

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

(4) âFifty years ago, for every tonne of CO2 emitted, 600kg were removed by natural sinks. In 2006 only 550kg were removed per tonne and that amount is falling.â

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

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

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

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

I posted yesterday the paper in Science which takes that claim apart, so I donât need to here.

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

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

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

If that does not imply "saturation" what would?

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

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

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

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

Did you know that

ÏRWTC = M/V

where

M = misinformation, misunderstanding and/or misconstruction

V = veracity

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

TC, get this straight:

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

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

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

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

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

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 01 Apr 2009 #permalink

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

Tim,

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

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

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

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 02 Apr 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 02 Apr 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consider this:

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

And this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then:

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

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

And speaking of your post...

Then he asked (2) âBased on your â30-40 years worth of current consumption levelsâ idea, what does this mean for these respective countries' forests in another 50 years?â ?â Logging of native forest is usually at around 1/36ths of the area p.a. ad infinitum (that is the standard in the PNG Forestry Act), so there is no a priori reason for any massive reduction. Mirabile dictu, forestry is a business with long horizons when allowed, and profitable too, so foresters either sustainably log or replant as the case may be.

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

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

As to plantations â they really are biodiversity deserts.

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

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

I have just spotted in a forthcoming study by amongst others John McAlpine, PNGâs most renowned forestry and land use expert, this quote: âthe assumption that harvested forest is permanently degraded is inconsistent with the evidence from PNG forestsâ that confirms all I have said here. Thus there is no reason to predict any rapid depletion on account of logging.

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

BTW, urban and built up areas which are now home to over 50% of the worldâs population accounted for only 0.2% of the worldâs total land mass [sic] in 2000 â so population growth is no basis for expecting much loss of forest on that account.

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

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

Then Bernard quoted me saying (4) â... check the area on Google Earth and you will not able to see ny [sic] visual impact of over 20 years of logging there (at Wawoi Guavi in PNGâs Western Province).â He replied with two errors (i) âGoogle Earth doesn't provide cover comparisons from twenty years ago with cover todayâ True, ...

True? Then there is no error.

... but if you canât tell from it now which areas in e.g. PNGâs Gulf and Western provinces have been logged and which not, then it is clear that sustainable logging of natural forest is possible with no discernible change in forest cover.

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

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

Bernard again: (ii)âAnd more importantly, Google Earth pictures do not provide anywhere near the detectability of species composition of forests â not break-down, no ground-truthing: nothing. Without such information, pictures of 'green' are merely information desserts.â With or without cream? Possibly, ...

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

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

... but it depends on the resolution, and I have recently been to Wawoi Guavi amongst others, and it is not possible to tell from the ground what has been logged since 1988 and what not, unless you are actually in the current coup.

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

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

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

Dear Jeff: You said - "The journals I suggested that you need to peruse in detail yesterday are chock full of articles linking global change to the reduced viability and stability of natural systems".
Actually I have "perused" many of the those journals, most of them are full of bullshit, because unless you include "roon" because of "climate change" you don't get to be published, as you well know.

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

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

However, thick skinned as ever...

"Skinned"? I think you mean "headed".

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

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

You want respect? You need to earn it.

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

No.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 02 Apr 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

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

If not, then let's end this thread.

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

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

"Tim Curtin has anything of value to say"

I value comedy.

Tim Curtin.

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

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

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

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 02 Apr 2009 #permalink

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

World Fisheries Production (million tonnes)

1. Capture 2004: 95.001 2006: 92.00

2. Aquaculture 2004: 45.468 2006: 51.7

3. Total 2004: 140.475 2006: 143.6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upon what criteria do you base your conclusions?

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

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

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

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 02 Apr 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

Hint: 3 cubed.

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

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

Hint: Check page 138.

Answers:

a) "Sink" appears 106 times in Chapter 7.

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

c) True. Whoever would have known?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Awww, Timmie's lying again!

Curtin.

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

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

  1. how fishing technologies increase the efficiency of locating and capturing fish stocks, compared with the total biomass of these stocks that are available
  2. why the composition of commercial fish species has changed over time to include previously undesirable species
  3. what the cumulative mass of 'bycatch' has been since the advent of industrial fishing, what the survival of bycatch is, and what proportion of remaining marine fisheries biomass the non-surviving biomass represents
  4. how much of the bait-fish biomass, that is used as feedstock for aquaculture species, is actually included in the 'World Fisheries Production' figures.
By Bernard J. (not verified) on 02 Apr 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 02 Apr 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 02 Apr 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

Dhogaza at #220: Thanks, you said âCO2 forcing is dependent on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. We measure that, and the annual average increase. Models can use the observations DIRECTLY without having to model the carbon cycle, i.e. sources and sinks.â

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

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

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

The same applies to the very similar DICE model developed by Bill Nordhaus (see his A Question of Balance 2007). DICE and MAGICC produce virtually identical projections of [CO2] for the IPCCâs A1F1 emissions and radiative forcing (see Billâs Fig.3-4). The Nordhaus DICE equations (pp.205 ff). have parameters for [CO2] and for Absorptions by the Upper and Lower Oceans, but nix for terrestrial absorption, because as ever that is a residual which has nothing to do with terrestrial climate and the planting decisions of billions of farmers around the globe. The parameters for [CO2] are mechanistic being determined by values for the upper Ocean and [CO2] in t-1 and current year emissions. Terrestrial absorptions are absent from equation A.13. So both DICE and MAGICC are indeed nothing more than Playstation 4 with as much applicaibility to the real world.

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

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

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

I did check, and I do read carefully.

I was not referring to the "garden birds" survey, because non-garden birds do not understand that they are not 'garden birds'.

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

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

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

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

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

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 03 Apr 2009 #permalink

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

"This implies that the atmospheric CO2 growth
rate increased slightly faster than total
anthropogenic CO2 emissionsâ

Then you say:

"Only it did not."

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

"The âatmospheric CO2 growth rateâ was 0.4% p.a.
from 1958 to 2008. Double check that at the
Mauna Loa site. The growth rate of âanthropogenic
emissionsâ averaged 2% p.a. over the same period."

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

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

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

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

Then you went on to say:

"As I have said before (above), one has to take
care when comparing growth rates of STOCKS (changes
in the LEVEL of the atmospheric concentration of CO2)
and changes in the growth of additions to that stock,
which, totally beyond the comprehension of Canadell,
Raupach, and everybody else at CSIRO and Le Quere at
the University of East Anglia) is a function not only
of emissions growth but also of global oceanic and
Biospheric absorption of CO2 emissions."

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

For those interested:

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

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

Do your own homework.

Raupach & co stated in that paper which I had previously read and discarded: âThe CO2 airborne fraction (the fraction of total emissions from fossil fuels and land use change accumulating in the atmosphere) has averaged 0.43 since 1959, but has increased through that period at about 0.24% yâ1 (Canadell et al., 2007).â Impossible, if it was 40% in 1958 to 1963 (5 year average) and grew at 0.24% p.a. thereafter, the AF would now (2008) be 44.6% of CO2 emissions, but the actual on Raupachâs own GCP data in 2004-2008 was 43%. Taking the actual AF in 1958-59 of 52%, the Raupach projection of the AF in 2008 would be 58.7% (actual 2007-08 was 39%).

Thus there is no basis for the Raupach et al claim âtotal airborne fraction increased over 1959â2006 implies that total sinks increased slower than total emissionsâ. As always in this game people like Raupach cherry pick their start and end dates. Why 2006 for end date in a paper published in 2008?

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

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

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

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

Oy. Timmie stupid.

Tim Curtin #225:

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

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

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

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

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

Are you due for a depressive phase soon?

Your mania is really starting to shit me.

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

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

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

Table 1.

Proportional growth rates (r(X) = X0/X, in %yâ1) of factors in the Kaya identity (FE =
P ghE ) and the extended Kaya identity (C0a = P ghEaE ), for periods 1959â2006, 1959â1999 and 2000â2006 (inclusive of end years).

Errors denote approximate 5% to 95% confidence
intervals. Where not shown, errors are less than 0.1% yâ1. Round off errors are responsible for slight departures from Eq. (12).

Period 1959â2006 1959â1999 2000â2006
r(FE ) 1.8 1.9 3.0
r(P ) 1.7 1.7 1.2
r(g) 1.8 1.8 3.1±0.1
r(hE ) â1.7 â1.7 â1.2±0.1
r(aE ) 0.2±0.2 0.2±0.3 0.2±2.7
r(Ca) 1.9±0.3 1.9±0.4 3.0±2.7

Tim Curtin,

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

"r(X) = X'/X, with units %y^â1."

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

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

Note "a measure of the second derivative" but not "the second derivative".

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

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

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

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

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

Raupach et al 2008 at equation (4):

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

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

At p.2870 Raupach et al state:
Ca = âthe mass of atmospheric CO2â¦â and âCâa = d Ca / d tâ , so r (Câa) does not look like the 2nd derivative when it appears in table 1. So when log linear growth rates, i.e. r (Câa), yield the numbers in the first 2 columns of the last row in table 1, e.g. 2.069 and 2.089, which is within their =/- error range, what that row is showing is changes in the growth of the net FLOW of CO2 into the atmosphere, contrary to the definition in their text, which defines it as changes in the STOCK i.e. [CO2]. For the log linear growth of the stock since 1959 has been only 0.5% p.a. not 1.9 to 3.0% p.a. as stated in Table 1.

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

Shorter Tim Curtin:

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

I'm done here, Tim Curtin.

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

This is my last comment to you:

Tim, instead of counting sparrows, learn from them.

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

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

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

And yet it is successful.

Why?

Because it knows it limitations.

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

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

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

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

Table 1 shows:
Proportional growth rates (r(X) = X0/X, in %yâ1)
Note the use of the word "proportional" so the value in r(Fe) is the rate of increase as a percent per year. So actually you can't compare the values for r(Fe) and r(Ca') directly. They are proportional values.

Do you understand mathematics at all?

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

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

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

More errors in you mathematical understanding:
"At p.2870 Raupach et al state: Ca = âthe mass of atmospheric CO2â¦â and âCâa = d Ca / d tâ , so r (Câa) does not look like the 2nd derivative when it appears in table 1."
Yes, you misunderstand this, because you didn't read it carefully:
r(C'a) = C''a/C'a

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

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

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

More errors in you mathematical understanding...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ergo, Raupach, et al. are deliberately misleading.

Who can dispute such impeccable reasoning?

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 06 Apr 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'm sure many comedic interludes would follow.

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

Curtin, it is not that hard.

why not simply write:

ooops, looks like i was wrong on that table.

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

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

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

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

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

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 07 Apr 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

Nathan at #245.

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

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

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

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

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 07 Apr 2009 #permalink

One gem among many from Jokes about economists and economics:

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

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

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

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

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

This Submission is not confidential

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 09 Apr 2009 #permalink

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

nice. are we supposed to do your work again?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Curtin writes, "Once you cite Axelrod I know he's a jerk".

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

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 09 Apr 2009 #permalink

Tim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once you cite Axelrod I know he's a jerk

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

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

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

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

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

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

yes, i have a problem with that.

you wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

it contains multiple errors again:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAA

Once again your own particular delusion triumphs!

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

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

Tim, please tell us all:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim,

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

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

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

Best wishes,

Dave

Tim,

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

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

-BPL

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

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

Therefore, this is a storm in a teacup.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 10 Apr 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oops.

I got misled by a simple confounder.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-BPL

Aaarrgh!!! Always use preview!

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

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

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

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

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

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 10 Apr 2009 #permalink

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

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

Raupach: âThe global atmospheric CO2 budget is written as
Câa = FE + FS = (FFoss + FLUC) + (FLandAir + FOceanAir) (1)â

2.The âCO2 Airborne Fractionâ (AF) is defined in the text (2870) as both âthe fraction of emissions accumulating in the atmosphereâ and also as a function of the rate of growth of the mass of atmospheric CO2 divided by the total level of emissions from both fossil fuel and land use change. This is also nonsense. The AF is normally defined, as the term itself suggests, as the fraction of total CO2 emissions that remains airborne. There is a numeric difference between emissions of say 10 billion tonnes of carbon (i.e. GtC) in a year of which say 4.3 GtC remain airborne, for an AF of 43% (the actual average from 1958 to 2008), and the rate of growth of [CO2], which has been only 0.5% p.a. since 1958 which, divided by the level of emissions, c. 10 GtC last year, yields 0.05 GtC, or just 0.05% of the Emissions.

Raupach definition of the AF: aE = Câa/FE (2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Curtin,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And you have ruled out auctions - that's only for emissions over and above "the Cap" - so you can forget about any idea of allocative efficiency.

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

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

Oh, and here's a supplementary question:

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

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

Over to you.

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

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

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 10 Apr 2009 #permalink

Tim Curtin.

Last things first. In post #273 you said:

Without [CO2] none of us would be alive.

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

Thus, you are saying in your sentence above that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 10 Apr 2009 #permalink

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

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

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

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

and here the Tim Curtin version again:

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

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

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

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

Tim,

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

You then have the face to write "your account is not strictly accurate"...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks Gaz for your comments on my proposed âMarginal Emissions Auctionâ.

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

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

Gaz again: âSo how do you decide the most efficient or equitable or whatever other way of allocating permits?â

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

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

Gaz: âAnd you can't just allocate according to previous emissions - that would be wrong on so many levels - discriminates against new entrants to the market, favours entrenched interests, discourages innovation, etc etc, right?â

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

Gaz: âAnd you have ruled out auctions - that's only for emissions over and above "the Cap" - so you can forget about any idea of allocative efficiency.â No, business and the rest of us work at the margin. See Samuelson.

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

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

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

I donât believe you have ever grasped the concepts of welfare economics and cost-benefit analysis. Do read Kontoleon et al. (eds) Biodiversity Economics for fuller explanations than I have space for here.

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

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

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

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

Sod: Why donât YOU explain how the Prisonersâ Dilemma applies to the upcoming Copenhagen negotiation? Ross Garnaut failed utterly, as he confused it with the free rider problem of The Commons.

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

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

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

Curtin,

You say: "The Actâs Cap sets the limit at say 99.5% of each firmâs last year emissions."

As I thought. This is completely inane.

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

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

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

And finally, your claim to Jeff that "I donât believe you have ever grasped the concepts of welfare economics" and your claim to Paul Samuleson's authority is laughable. By distorting the market so severely - by giving free rights to emit to existing emitters, your proposal would greatly increase the marginal cost of an existing CO2-emitting firm moving to a new, more technically efficient source of energy.

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

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

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

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

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

He added: "Second, how are you going to work out how much last year's emissions were and whether the firms are abiding by their caps?" That is in the Act, read it, then get back to me.

Finally, I do agree with Gaz that the CPRS Act distorts the market severely - by giving free rights to emit to many of the biggest existing emitters. My proposal would indeed greatly increase the marginal cost of an existing CO2-emitting firm NOT moving to a new, more technically efficient source of energy IF it wished to expand its output.

The logic of my case is that if you are allowed to emit within and up to the Cap, why should you pay? The purpose of the Cap is to limit emissions thereto, such that any excess has to be paid for (i.e. as with exceeding the speed limit). Why can you not see the analogy with NOT fining drivers for driving BELOW the speed limit as Wong's Carbon Pollution Act proposes?

Sod: Why donât YOU explain how the Prisonersâ Dilemma applies to the upcoming Copenhagen negotiation? Ross Garnaut failed utterly, as he confused it with the free rider problem of The Commons.

again and slow:

1. the tragedy of commons (and its free rider problem) is the same as a prisoners dilemma.

2. the prisoners dilemma applies to the negotiation in exactly the way Garnau describes it.

3. as soon as you have understood, that the climate is a PD, you have an enormous amount of literature that will help you to ight the problem. unfortunetly you have not understood this, nor have you understood the prisoners dilemma.

here is again the cooperative solution in your description of the PD:

if both remain silent they will escape prosecution altogether.

and in the description of PD in the Garnaut report (and about everywhere else):

the situation in which two suspects would receive short sentences if neither informs on the other

your description of the prisoners dilemma is simply wrong. will you admit your error or wont you?

every time, when you are shown wrong (and this happens all the time), you are simply trying to move the discussion into a field that is more vague or complicated to sum up. this is your method to avoid being called out for your errors.

Sod: interesting, but wrong again, I fear. You said: âThe tragedy of the Commons (and its free rider problem) is the same as a prisoners dilemma. The prisoners dilemma applies to the negotiation in exactly the way Garnaut describes it.â Not so. The essence of the PD is that both Prisoners or Protagonists (say China and USA) are ignorant of the otherâs position on confessing to a crime such as promoting climate change and willingness to impose self-punishment. That is not the case now: USA is known to be in favour of even unilateral action to cut emissions, China so far (DG) is not, and USA is known to be in favour of self-flaggelation (carbon taxes or ETS), while China (DG) is not.

Here are Dixit (Princeton) and Nalebuff (Yale) at The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics:

âIn the traditional version of the [PD] game, the police have arrested two suspects and are interrogating them in separate rooms. Each can either confess, thereby implicating the other, or keep silent. No matter what the other suspect does, each can improve his own position by confessing. If the other confesses, then one had better do the same to avoid the especially harsh sentence that awaits a recalcitrant holdout. If the other keeps silent, then one can obtain the favorable treatment accorded a stateâs witness by confessing. Thus, confession is the dominant strategy for each. But when both confess, the outcome is worse for both than when both keep silentâ.

That matches my necessarily brief account in all relevant respects. Your inability to see this, by nitpicking between my âif both remain silent they will escape prosecution altogetherâ and your claim that âthe description of PD in the Garnaut report (and about everywhere else, sic) (the situation in which two suspects would receive short sentences if neither informs on the other)â, when manifestly there is no material difference between âescaping prosecutionâ and âreceiving short sentencesâ. This nitpick of yours explains why I doubt you ever passed philosophy 101 at a reputable university. You have still failed to explain how your version of the PD will help USA and China reach agreement at Copenhagen. My Quadrant article did, by showing that USA has to compensate China in full for all economic costs and losses incurred if it accepts the fatuous costs it will impose on itself by adopting the Chu-Holdren ETS.

Chu has made it very clear that he sees the ETS as a way of imposing costs on China that USA will itself evade (like its use of the World Bank to impose zero subsidies on agric in 3rd world while spending more on them at home than in all likelihood the total value of 3rd world production).

Tim,

My source was a web site called NationMaster.com, which in turn cited something called the World Development Indicators database. Unfortunately, when I click on their link for that, I get a warning that I'm not authorized to view the page.

NationMaster only gives you a summary (after listing every one of a bunch of countries or regions) for a particular year. I had to put the query through 42 times and write the totals into a text file. I'll spare you that; here's the data. The units are metric tons:

1961 27633687
1962 29973738
1963 32963411
1964 35542577
1965 39320541
1966 43878968
1967 47030596
1968 49850352
1969 52782433
1970 57041292
1971 59880010
1972 64156994
1973 69847674
1974 64930383
1975 71688760
1976 75230697
1977 80082600
1978 87671689
1979 92431347
1980 95341961
1981 93164884
1982 92227814
1983 99917091
1984 105184962
1985 101264382
1986 104074016
1987 109382664
1988 115241932
1989 128231490
1990 125823229
1991 125909096
1992 124815190
1993 120341573
1994 121918293
1995 129553255
1996 134430891
1997 137058967
1998 138001137
1999 140174872
2000 135043279
2001 137960120
2002 141403959

Nitrogenous, potash, and phosphate values are combined.

-BPL

Tim Curtin writes:

If photosynthesis continues at the current rate, and there are zero emissions, how long before there will indeed be no CO2 in the atmosphere?

Photosynthesis is balanced by respiration. Plants inhale CO2 and exhale oxygen; animals inhale oxygen and breath out CO2. Artificial production of CO2 is not necessary, and if it were, that would mean no life had existed prior to the industrial revolution.

Gaz,

The US put a cap-and-trade plan in place to control sulfate emissions back around 1990. If you find out how they allocated the permits, it might imply a way of doing it for CO2.

Curtin (#277):

You claim: "Equation (1) (p.2870) provides an incorrect definition of changes in [CO2] because Câa is a rate of growth in the variable, whereas the equationâs RHS gives absolute amounts"

Bullshit.

Derivatives are normally expressed in the same units of the original value. For example, d(x)/dt, where x is nmeasured in kilograms, would also be measured in kilograms. C'a is not a proportional growth rate.

You also claim the Raupach et al definition of the airborne fraction is "nonsense".

More bullshit.

Their discussion of the airborne fraction is coherent, logical and clearly explained. You ought to try it some time.

As for your alternative emmissions trading scheme (#291)...

You say: "So you approve of the police state monitoring of emissions?"

Bullshit. I said nothing of the sort.

Anyone, including you, who proposes a scheme to limit emissions in any way, has to accept some monitoring and policing of emissions. In a democracy there are laws, and those laws are policed, but that doesn't make it a police state, as you well know.

And the question remains: how will emissions be monitored and how will caps be policed under YOUR alternative scheme? Do you have some sort of honour system in mind?

You say: "Finally, I do agree with Gaz that the CPRS Act distorts the market severely - by giving free rights to emit to many of the biggest existing emitters."

More bullshit. I did not mention the CPRS. I was talking about YOUR alternative.

While the CPRS is sub-optimal in that it hands out free emission permits to some emitters, albeit only in the early years, under your scheme ALL existing emitters are given free permits equal to nearly 100% of their recent emissions. And you have the gall to criticise the CPRS as distorting markets?

You say: "My proposal would indeed greatly increase the marginal cost of an existing CO2-emitting firm NOT moving to a new, more technically efficient source of energy IF it wished to expand its output.

Actually, it would reduce the marginal return to the firm for reducing its output of greenhouse gases to levels below its individually tailored cap.

It would give the emitter no incentive to reduce emissions if it did not want to increase energy usage.

It would give existing, inefficient emitters a clear cost advantage over potential new entrants to the market.

It would lead consumers to favour the output of existing emitting firms over others which may be more efficient.

It would also mean a massive windfall gain to owners of shares in existing emitting firms.

You say: "The logic of my case is that if you are allowed to emit within and up to the Cap, why should you pay?"

For the above reasons and.. because if you don't pay, the business decision you are making will not embody the real cost of the emissions and will therefore be sub-optimal from a welfare economics perspective. Look up "market failure" and "externalities" in Samuelson. (Honestly, Samuelson would be rolling in his grave if he wasn't still alive.)

The problem is that you propose to allocate free emission permits to firms purely on the arbitrary basis of whether they had been emitters in the past. There is no economic rationale for that aside from a short term technical one - technology can only adapt so fast and you have to give people time to react to price signals. But that's clearly not what you have in mind.

You ask: "Why can you not see the analogy with NOT fining drivers for driving BELOW the speed limit as Wong's Carbon Pollution Act proposes?"

The analogy is flawed, not least because carbon emissions are harmful in aggregate, speeding is dangerous on an individual level. (So what do you say when a cop pulls you over, Tim: "It's OK, my speeding was balanced out by all those parked cars - on average, we were only going 5 kph"?)

Your alternative proposal is more like this. Let's say the 100kph is a safe speed. Some people are driving at 200kph others at 150, others at 100, etc. You propose limiting the 200kph drivers to 200kph - for no other reason than that they were already driving that fast. And you insist that other drivers bid at auction for the right to drive over their latest speed, whether it be 150 or 100 or 50 - except new drivers will have to bid for the right to drive over 0 kph.

Yeah, fantastic analogy, Tim.

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.

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.

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 stateâs 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 âescaping prosecutionâ and âreceiving short sentencesâ

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 otherâs 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!

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

Sod: âC'a is not a proportional growth rateâ. But Raupach et al say it is: âTable 1 Proportional growth rates (r(X) = X0/X, in %yâ1) row 6: (r(Câa)â: Who am I to believe?

Then you said âTheir discussion of the airborne fraction is coherent, logical and clearly explained. You ought to try it some timeâ. 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 âBullshit. 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.â

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 âhow will emissions be monitored and how will caps be policed under YOUR alternative scheme?â

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.

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.

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.

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

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...

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.

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]*

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 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.

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: âC'a is not a proportional growth rateâ. But Raupach et al say it is: âTable 1 Proportional growth rates (r(X) = X'/X, in %yâ1) row 6: (r(Câa)â: 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.

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!

Gaz: Raupach et al state: (p2870): âCâa is the GROWTH RATE of atmospheric CO2 (with primes denoting time derivatives).â I know they meant to say that Câa is the absolute increase in atmospheric CO2, but they didnât, they used the term âgrowth rateâ which implies a percentage. Be that as it may, their data in Table 1 for the 2nd derivative growth r(Caâ), 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 www.globalcarbonproject.org, Câa was 2.069 in 1959-2006 and 2.089 in 1959-1999. Thus their 2nd derivative growth rates do not reveal that Câa actually grew more slowly after 1999. It gets worse, because while Câa in 2000-2006 although wilfully unreported by Raupach et al was actually negative 1.2, they claim an acceleration of r(Câa) 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, âthat the atmospheric CO2 growth rate increased slightly faster than total anthropogenic CO2 emissionsâ 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 âthe atmospheric CO2 growth rate increased slightly faster than total anthropogenic CO2 emissionsâ â 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.

Reply to Gaz/Sod #2

Gaz it was apparently you who said that my âalternative 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.â Exactly, but that is not what I propose, itâs 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 governmentâs 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 Iâm 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 Australiaâs 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. Wongâs 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.

Curtin: "..they used the term âgrowth rateâ 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 âCâa is the GROWTH RATE of atmospheric CO2 (with primes denoting time derivatives).â "

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?

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?

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(Caâ), 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 www.globalcarbonproject.org, Câa 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?

Yes, good point, P. Lewis.

Curtin - ignore those last two questions - they were rhetorical.

Go back to counting sparrows.

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 âprovesâ the Raupach et al claimâthat the atmospheric CO2 growth rate increased slightly faster than total anthropogenic CO2 emissionsâ.

As for the Rudd-Wong âCP(sic)RSâ, I agree with your criticisms, even if you seem to think I am the author of the Act, when you say I âhave 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.â Exactly. I agree.

Do read the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill (itâs not an Act yet) Act, itâs 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 Wongâs than Gazâ alternative, which he has not revealed as yet, apart from âsparrows resting in the eavesâ which would be a good starter, I like it.

How would you Gaz determine the Caps for each firm? Gaz again (rhetorically): âWhy 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?â Agreed, do refer that to Wong.

More Gaz rhetoric: âWhy do you find the idea of markets using prices to efficiently allocate scarce resources so objectionable?â Thatâs absurd. I never have never will, and my Marginal Emissions scheme is based on the marginal principle which underlies effiicient markets, unlike the Billâs.

Gaz, itâs 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!

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.

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 companyâ.

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 Wongâs 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 yearâs 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 Garnautâs Carbon Bank. Lee, if you think that requiring Australiaâs 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 Garnautâs 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 âcarbon pollution permitâ 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 âcarbon pollution permitâ for every tonne of emissions that they produced in that year.

The number of âcarbon pollution permitsâ 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 âcarbon pollution permitsâ 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 âpermitsâ."

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 companyâ.

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.

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.

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 RGâs in effect personally owned Sustainable Development Programme that owns 51% of Ok Tedi Mining Ltd.

Sod said: âTim 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".â 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.

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.

Lee. Why donât 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 â 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 â and they may well have to, if reports in todayâs Australian Financial Review (âEnergy sector faces $100 bn black holeâ and âLights going out across NSWâ) and The Australian (âEnergy industry faces crisisâ) 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 âproposal 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.â

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 firmâs Cap. Your firmâs 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, whyât 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

Curtin, you are seriously misrepresenting the [EU ETS](http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/trading/eu/pdf/nap-ph…).

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!

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.

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.

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.

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 â 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-1…) 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 â 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-1…) [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 (â¡ capacity to garner carbon for photosynthesis) may be partially obscured by the iris (â¡ 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-1…):

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?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 15 Apr 2009 #permalink

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???

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 âCurtin 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 cofactorsâ, 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: âIn 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.â 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 âconsidered 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 hereâs 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 worldâs 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.

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&mon…) (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&mon…)

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.

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.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 16 Apr 2009 #permalink

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 somebodyâs 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 âglobalâ 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 âwarmingâ over most the globe from March 1980 to March 09.

I see you also keep repeating your canrd that because there is a âsimple 100km grid over Britainâ that shows that âbasically all modern Met services have that kind of dataâ 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.

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...

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 somebodyâs 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?

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 somebodyâs 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 âwarmingâ 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&mon…).

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?)

âbasically all modern Met services have that kind of dataâ 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.

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).

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 ÏάκÏαÏον, 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.

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?

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!

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!

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 17 Apr 2009 #permalink

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…) 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.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 17 Apr 2009 #permalink

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.

By Ian Forrester (not verified) on 17 Apr 2009 #permalink

Jeff : trading Cvs as you do, here is a note on species extinction from David Stockwellâs lecture at Newcastle NSW 2 days ago: First his CV in brief.

â¢David Stockwell: PhD Ecosystem Dynamics Australian National University
â¢Stats Consultant to NPWS, LWRRDC, P&WS 5 years
â¢Assistant Research Scientist University of California San Diego 10 yrs
â¢~1000 citations (Google Scholar)
â¢1 book, 30 peer-reviewed papers
â¢Panelist for NASA, NSF, AAAS, Presidential Com.

Next his comment on the claim by Thomas et al (did you contribute, or do you endorse?)
â⦠we predict, on the basis of mid-range climate-warming scenarios for 2050, that 15â37% of species in our sample of regions and taxa will be âcommitted to extinctionâ.â - 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.â - Bodkin et al. (19 authors including DRBS) 2007.

Best

Tim

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 Obamaâs chief scientist John Holdren:

âThe 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.â

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: âThe 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 1972â

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 âunderdevelopedâ 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 Obamaâs science advisor:

Then there was the hearing in the Senate to confirm another physicist, John Holdren, to be the presidentâs 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?

âI think it is unlikely to happen,â Dr. Holdren told the senators, but he insisted that it was still âa possibilityâ that âwe should work energetically to avoid.â By reducing the CO2 that has allowed rising global food production?

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.

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 âCurtin 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 cofactorsâ, 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: âIn 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 âconsidered 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 worldâs 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 â 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.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 18 Apr 2009 #permalink

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 donât 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 âthe provision of plant production for human use is not limited by the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphereâ. 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 nowââ. 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.âHow 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?â 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 âThe 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.â 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.

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 à 7 à 109 = 7.56 à 107 t = 0.0756 Gt

Mind you, I've just finished changing a nappy.

More bullcarp!

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...

Ah!

TtC = tonnes according to Tim Curtin.
GtC = garbage according to Tim Curtin.

I'll let the reader work out the you nit FtC.

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!

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 personâs 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 Bernardâs point?

"$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

You claimed âthe provision of plant production for human use is not limited by the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphereâ. 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 nowââ.

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.

âHow 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?â 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 personâs 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 Bernardâs 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?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 19 Apr 2009 #permalink

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 âthe provision of plant production for human use is not limited by the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphereâ. 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 nowââ.

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: â 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.â Nonsense. There are more livestock etc now than there have ever been, as well as more standing crops and forests/treecrops etc.

Bernard; âAnd the nature of the "extra CO2" would be no mystery to someone who had half a grip on the numbers describing the carbon partitionsâ¦â Seriously, please give me your numbers on those âpartitionsâ.

I noted that âPlants 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.â

Bernard responded: âAgricultural 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?â 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 partitionsâ (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?

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.

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 âpartitionsâ.

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...â

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?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 19 Apr 2009 #permalink

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?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 19 Apr 2009 #permalink

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...

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?

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 20 Apr 2009 #permalink

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 thatâs progress! Well done, you are nearly there when you say that us 7 billion use up â(0.375 x 365 x 7 x 109 / 1000) tonnes, or 958.125 megatonnes of carbon pooped and breathed by humanity in a yearâ. 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.

TC,

You are confusing stocks with flows.

Jeff said at #364: âAnd 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 emissionsâ. 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 wonât?

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.

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.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 20 Apr 2009 #permalink

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.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 20 Apr 2009 #permalink

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?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 20 Apr 2009 #permalink

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

Tim, were you by any chance an economic advisor to Lehman Brothers? That would explain so much...

By GWB's nemesis (not verified) on 21 Apr 2009 #permalink

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?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 21 Apr 2009 #permalink

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.

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:

âwe predict, on the basis of mid-range climate-warming scenarios for 2050, that 15â37% of species in our sample of regions and taxa will be âcommitted to extinctionâ.

Subsequently, three communications appeared in Nature in July 2004. Two raised technical problems, including one by the eminent ecologist Joan Roughgarden. Opinions raged from âDangers of Crying Wolf over Risk of Extinctionsâ 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 âwe believe the benefits of the wide release greatly outweighed the negative effects of errors in reportingâ.

...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 speciesâ 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 âClimate change in Australian tropical rainforests: an impending environmental catastropheâ, 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. â 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

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.

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.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 21 Apr 2009 #permalink

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.

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.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 21 Apr 2009 #permalink

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.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 22 Apr 2009 #permalink

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 âincreases in geometric progression, augmentation of the temperature will increase in nearly arithmetic progressionâ. 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.

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.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 22 Apr 2009 #permalink

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.

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!

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: âBut 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.â When you have actually read Stockwellâs peer reviewed paper, then and only then, get back to me.

P. Lewis: already done, see my annotated paper at www.lavoisier.com.au, also at Quadrant Online, posted in January.

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.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 22 Apr 2009 #permalink

Well, it's time you updated the error on your website, too. It's still there as of 5 minutes ago.

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!

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.

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 â 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.

Yawn! Is it that time of day again?

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.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 23 Apr 2009 #permalink

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.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 23 Apr 2009 #permalink

Hi Barry,

Many thanks for these files. Given my research involved plant-insect interactions, 4 and 5 trophic level interactions and biological invasions, I don't have enough time to peruse the literature these days. I will definitely refer to your work - this is exceptionally helpful!

If you could post a PDF file to my email address, that would be great.

Best regards,

Jeff

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 23 Apr 2009 #permalink

Dear all: that certainly takes the biscuit - within a few weeks of starting his bravenewclimate blog last August, I was banned for life (along with not a few others) by Barry Brook, the all knowing who cannot tolerate dissent, but has the gall to invade the space Tim Lambert has so kindly set up for me. Tim L, in all fairness, can you please ban Barry from commenting here until he allows me to reappear at his Blog?

Jeff: Enid Blyton and JK Rowling outscore all of those you mention.Those stats are meaningless, nothing more than appeals to authority/The Bible.

Your stat for Holdren is a joke, he has never heard of still less understood the Kuznets curve. Tragically, the same applies to Pres. Obama, else he would never have appointed Holdren. Truly, we are indeed doomed with them in charge of our destinies.

Address the arguments not the stats count. When are you going to explain why you were not invited by Ehleringer/Cerling/Dearing to contribute to their seminal book?

Finally, Lomborg has shown far greater authority in all fields than you have yet demonstrated in any.

Tim Lambert,

Please ignore Curtin's request and continue to allow Barry Brook to continue contributing to this thread and others as he is an expert in his field and his studies are outstanding. Take it from me, as a senior population ecologist, that Dr. Brook's contributions are very welcome amongst all of the readers here with the exception of one layman.

As for Lomborg, Curtin, you don't impress me or anyone who knows anything about science. I hammered the guy in our 2002 debate here in Holland and he declined two subsequent further offers to appear at venues where I was invited the same year, pulling out of one apparently only a couple of days before. He knows I'll hammer him even harder the next time around. But it was easy: Lomborg has no expertise in environmental science (a point he admits at the beginning of his book). But considering he probably can't tell a mole cricket from a hippopotamus, what does one expect? The only reason Lomborg has been successful is because he's been promoted by those who have power, privilege and lots of money and who are anxious to promote their own political agendas. He's published essentially one peer-reviewed paper in his entire career - on iterated prisoner's dilemma. He does not scare me one iota.

To be honest, I don't give a rat's bottom what you think about anything, Curtin. And why the heck should I be an author in some C02 book? What you are saying is that anyone who isn't an author in your text has no stature in science? Is that it? You know nix about ecology and biology and its a damn fine thing that you can snipe away on TLs web site here, because in a face-to-face debate with me, Brook, Holdren, Ehrlich, Schneider, or any on the list I made earlier you'd be mincemeat if it came to discussing ecological processes. And you know it.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 23 Apr 2009 #permalink

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!

Wibble, wibble.

So, TC shows no inclination to correct his interface with the public, namely his web page.

Quelle surprise! Non!

For all concerned: I have just read the quite excellent paper by James Ehlinger, Thure Cerling and M. Denise Dearing entitled, 'Atmospheric Co2 as a global chnage driver influencing plant-animal interactions' (2002) in Integrative and Comparative Biology.

Here is how the authors close the paper:

"It is anticipated that C02 levels will be double the cuirrent values by the end of the century. Until mankind's thirst for fossil fuels is quenched, it is likely that atmsopheric C02 will continue to rise b