Why Everything in Superfreakonomics About Global Warming Is Wrong

I reviewed Freakonomics when it first came out and really liked it. So I was looking forward to the sequel Superfreakonomics. Unfortunately, Levitt and Dubner decided to write about global warming and have made a dreadful hash of it. The result is so wrong that it has even Joe Romm and William Connolley in agreement.

So what went wrong? One possibility is that Freakonomics was superficially plausible but also rubbish, and it was only when they wrote about an area where I was knowledgeable that I noticed. But I don't think this is the correct explanation. I've read the journal papers on sumo cheating, Lojack and abortion and crime that they cite in Freakonomics and they are fairly represented. Superfreakonomics, on the other hand, misrepresents the scientific literature on global warming. The difference here is that the papers cited by Freakonomics were Levitt's own work and he understood them, while Levitt and Dubner do not understand the climate science literature. This by itself would not be fatal, but what has taken them off the cliff is the Freakonomics formula: "What you thought you knew about X is wrong!". If you want to apply this formula to global warming you can easily find many superficially plausible arguments on why the mainstream science is wrong. Bang those into your chapter on global warming without bothering to check their accuracy and the only work that remains is the tour to promote your book.

But enough on why they got everything wrong. Let's look at what they got wrong. My Global Warming Sceptic Bingo Card is a bit out of date but they manage to tick five boxes: global warming is a religion, ice cores show warming comes first, ice age predicted in the 70s, water vapour dominates and climate modelling isn't scientific. William Connolley stopped when he had found ten serious errors, so I'll continue where he left off and see if I can find ten more. To make it more of a challenge, I'm just going to look at the extract that appeared in the Sunday Times entitled "Why Everything You Think You Know About Global Warming Is Wrong". And remember, this is on top of the ten serious errors that Connolley found.

Unless otherwise indicated all quotes are from the Sunday Times extract.

1) "Yet [Ken Caldeira]'s research tells him that carbon dioxide is not the right villain in this fight."

Caldeira has exactly one quote on his home page:

"Carbon dioxide is the right villain," says Caldeira, "insofar as inanimate objects can be villains."

Joe Romm asked Caldeira about the misrepresentation of his views and he told Romm:

If you talk all day, and somebody picks a half dozen quotes without providing context because they want to make a provocative and controversial chapter, there is not much you can do.

2) "Caldeira's study showed that doubling the amount of carbon dioxide while holding steady all other inputs - water, nutrients and so forth -yields a 70% increase in plant growth, an obvious boon to agricultural productivity."

That would be this paper. Look at the abstract:

Climate stabilization via "Geoengineering" schemes
seek to mitigate climate change due to increased greenhouse
gases by compensating reduction in solar radiation incident
on earth's surface. In this paper, we address the impact of
these climate stabilization schemes on terrestrial biosphere
using equilibrium simulations from a coupled atmosphere-terrestrial
biosphere model. Climate stabilization would tend
to limit changes in vegetation distribution brought on by
climate change, but would not prevent CO2-induced changes
in Net Primary Productivity (NPP) or biomass; indeed, if
CO2 fertilization is significant, then a climate-stabilized
world could have higher NPP than our current world.
Nevertheless, there are many reasons why geoengineering is
not a preferred option for climate stabilization.

So if CO2 fertilization is significant you get a 70% increase in plant growth. Levitt and Dubner turned that into "you get a 70% increase in plant growth". Note also that Caldeira used a climate model of the type that L&D said could not be trusted. And did you notice the last sentence? L&D simply ignore the reasons why Caldeira said that geoengineering is not a preferred option.

3) "It is one thing for climate heavyweights such as Crutzen and Caldeira to endorse such a solution."

In the abstract above Caldeira writes:

there are many reasons why geoengineering is not a preferred option for climate stabilization.

This is not an endorsement. In a more recent paper:

A reduction in the amount of solar radiation (insolation) could rapidly mask the effects of global warming without a reduction in CO2 emissions, but the quick fix brings serious danger. An abrupt end to or failure of geoengineering could throw the climate into even greater turmoil, possibly leading to warming rates twenty times those seen today. ...

Decreasing emissions of greenhouse gases reduces the environmental
risk associated with climate change. By contrast,
continued CO2 emissions, even with the potential of geoengineering,
will likely increase environmental risk. Thus, with
respect to environmental risk, geoengineering is not an alternative to decreased emissions. Opponents of immediate climate
mitigation actions might argue for a delay in emission reductions
based on a lack of trust in climate model predictions. However,
reliance on geoengineering implies a larger trust in climate
model results than does reliance on emissions reductions. For
example, even if there were only a 50% probability that climate
model predictions are approximately correct, reducing emissions
could be a prudent avoidance of risk. However, if we had only
50% confidence in climate model predictions of the efficacy of
geoengineering schemes, then reliance on geoengineering is
likely to be imprudent.

4) Despite Caldeira being an expert on ocean acidification L&D say nothing about at all, perhaps because their cheap fix will do nothing about it. Caldeira writes:

Unless we cut greenhouse gas emissions very deeply and very soon, I think that Arctic ecosystems and coral reefs will be a thing of the past. These ecosystems may be just the tip of the melting iceberg.

We need to eliminate CO2 emissions -- about this there is no question in my mind. There is also no question but that CO2 emissions are increasing more rapidly than was anticipated in any of the IPCC emissions scenarios.

I do not see intentional climate intervention approaches as an alternative to CO2 emissions reductions, but it may be something we need to do to, for example, prevent great ice sheets from sliding into the ocean. These approaches may be able to partially save Arctic ecosystems but will do nothing to save coral reefs.

5) "changes in carbon dioxide levels don't necessarily mirror human activity"

This is misleading. The change in CO2 levels since the industrial revolution is caused solely by human activity.

6) "coal is so cheap that trying to generate electricity without it would be economic suicide"

So France committed economic suicide? Who knew?

7) "it is already... Too late ... even if humankind immediately stopped burning all fossil fuel, the existing carbon dioxide would remain in the atmosphere for several generations."

Yes, we would get more warming even if all emissions stopped. But it is possible to keep the warming under two degrees. So it's not too late to reduce emissions.

8) "The problem with solar cells is that they're black, because they are designed to absorb light from the sun. But only about 12% gets turned into electricity and the rest is reradiated as heat - which contributes to global warming."

This fundamentally misunderstands what is causing global warming. It is true that replacing coal-fired power plants with solar cells will produce similar amounts of waste heat, but global warming is not caused by the waste heat from fossil fuels but the enhanced greenhouse effect.

9) "IV estimates this plan could be up and running in about three years, with a start-up cost of $150m and annual operating costs of $100m. It could effectively reverse global warming at a total cost of $250m."

Only if you think that you only need to run it for one year. In fact you'll have to keep running it for centuries. And if you ever stop, you'll get all the prevented warming in a decade or so. What could possibly go wrong?

10) "In 2006 [Paul Crutzen] wrote an essay in the journal Climatic Change lamenting the "grossly unsuccessful" efforts to emit fewer greenhouse gases and acknowledging that an injection of sulphur in the stratosphere "is the only option available to rapidly reduce temperature rises and counteract other climatic effects".

By now you may have noticed that L&D systematically misrepresent their sources, and sure enough, if you look at Crutzen's essay you find:

By far the preferred way to resolve the policy makers' dilemma is to lower the
emissions of the greenhouse gases. ... although by far not the best
solution, the usefulness of artificially enhancing earth's albedo and thereby cooling climate by adding sunlight reflecting aerosol in the stratosphere might again be explored and debated ...

If sizeable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions will not happen and temperatures rise rapidly, then climatic engineering, such as presented here, is the only option available to rapidly reduce temperature rises and counteract other climatic effects.

Finally, I repeat: the very best would be if emissions of the greenhouse gases could be reduced so much that the stratospheric sulfur release experiment would not need to take place

Far from endorsing it as a cost effective solution, Crutzen was suggesting it be researched as a last-ditch measure if his preferred option fails.

Well, that's my ten, but UCS and Joe Romm have found even more stuff that is wrong.

The response from Dubner so far is pathetic:

While Dubner, who also writes a popular New York Times blog with Levitt, dismissed Romm's post in an email to me yesterday as "hard to take seriously," he also assumes that "there will be debate and legitimate pushback against that chapter in our book."

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Wait a minute--on the subject you're expert in, Levitt is absolutely blazingly wrong. But on subjects you're not expert in, you think he's right?

Wrong. It's the other way around.

Read it again:

> the papers cited by Freakonomics were Levitt's own work and he understood them,

"global warming is a religion, ice cores show warming comes first, ice age predicted in the 70s, water vapour dominates and climate modelling isn't scientific"

So their view of climate science doesn't appear to be based on the scientific literature, but by an unoriginal parroting of talking points from dubious elements of the blogosphere. This is very disappointing.

As a sidenote, I like Connolley's blog. Pielke Jr., self-proclaimed "honest broker" who routinely makes misplaced oddball attacks on climate science and shills for the contrarian crowd, could learn a lot from him.

Problem with "ice cores show warming comes first" is that CO2 came first in the PETM.

can trollboy globalwarming-is-religion be archived on /dev/null, please?

I was just about to say that the Bingo card should mention AAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL GOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRRE!

@6 "globalwarming=religion": Begone, foul troll.

The impression I got from the original Freakonomics (and especially the blog that spun off from it) was that L&D cared more about gut feelings and interesting-sounding just-so stories than intellectual rigor or factual accuracy, and while that did make for a moderately entertaining book, they're fundamentally unscientific people.
Then again, that's the feeling I get from most economists.

By Cairnarvon (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

I don't think you can hang that general label on most economists Cairnarvon. These guys are self-promoters who deal in counterintuition and being hip. They use lots of data but the emphasis is on being novel rather than accurate.

A little quiz:
would people care to guess who owns the publisher of this?

[I already looked.]

By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

The publisher is William Morrow, an Imprint of HarperCollins (which also published Michael Crichton's State of Fear). HarperCollins is owned by News Corp, whose Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Founder is Rupert Murdoch.

Was all of that true at the time State of Fear was going through the pipeline, as well? Would Murdoch care enough, to mess around with the book? (or to create a corporate culture in which money changed hands in exchange for messing around with the book?)

There's an interesting anecdote Crichton told, at least twice - after doing background research for State of Fear, he didn't want to go forward with writing the book; but a scientist old friend came into town and they were discussing the book and his reluctance and the friend said "oh, but you must write this book" - and he did.

The friend was male in one telling, female in the other.

He told the story in an "I almost slipped and took the easy way out, but my friend helped me see that I must do this brave contrarian thing, and write the book" kind of way. Perhaps that is how it happened.

Quite good. I believe that the problem with Superfreakonomics is that the book strayed from the area of the authors' expertise -- the study of incentives and consequences -- to something they at best vaguely understood.

On an unrelated note, an OpenID comment thing would be nice.

The (Murdoch) Sunday Times sounds like it's going to go full bore, in publicizing its favorite part of the book - "Why Everything You Think You Know About Global Warming Is Wrong" (not yet online)
...which lends some credence to the mercenary hypothesis.

p.s.s to my previous comment - 1) the non-U.S. English-language publisher seems to be Penguin, which doesn't seem to have any Murdoch DNA; and 2) the "Crichton's friend's gender" confusion might be a red herring - one was from video & I'm sure of it, but the other came from a text article of a Q&A, and it's possible the journalist mistranscribed the pronoun.

What's really curious is how wrong the first Freakonomics book was about the subject of oil depletion. They directly compared Peak Oil to the scaremongering of shark attacks, if you can believe that. But there it is:
"So why do I compare peak oil to shark attacks? It is because shark attacks mostly stay about constant, but fear of them goes up sharply when the media decides to report on them. The same thing, I bet, will now happen with peak oil. I expect tons of copycat journalism stoking the fears of consumers about oil induced catastrophe, even though nothing fundamental has changed in the oil outlook in the last decade."

One other quote from the dynamic duo in the original Freakonomics: âI donât know much about world oil reserves.â
Apparently their approach is statistics through ignorance. So much for the idea that they were subject matter experts ... ever.

Dear Tim Lambert

You are assuming that there are no positive feedback mechinisms. To be relatively clear, you are assuming that global warming will not cause increased emissions of greenhouse gases by, for example, melting arctic tundra and releasing methane.

If such methane release is an important factor, the stop gap plan which would cost 150 m plus 100 m/year so present value of costs = 5.15 billion using a very low no one every uses a rate that low rate of 2% (or in other words pocket change for the US government) could be the most cost effective way to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses.

Why are you confident that the tipping point from melting artic tundra argument is nonsense ? I wish I shared your confidence that high temperature in the near future will have only small or quickly reversible effects, but I dont't.

By Robert Waldmann (not verified) on 17 Oct 2009 #permalink

> Why are you confident that the tipping point from melting artic tundra argument is nonsense ?

Why are you convinced that it will happen in the next 2 years?

Let me see if I understand this -- CO2 fertilization will increase plant growth at the same time we decrease solar insolation? Has anyone considering this idea examined what impact lower light levels will have on plant growth? Similarly, in how many systems and for how many species is CO2 a limiting resource? My understanding was that in most places plant growth is limited by availablility of either water or some nutrients (phosphorous and nitrogen, mostly). If all we need to add to increase yield is CO2 why are we putting so much energy into artificial fertilizers?

So if CO2 fertilization is significant you get a 70% increase in plant growth. Levitt and Dubner turned that into "you get a 70% increase in plant growth".

I don't follow the criticism here. Have some words been missed out?

By John Grant (not verified) on 17 Oct 2009 #permalink

The problem is that plants aren't 100% carbon.

Water, potassium, nitrogen and lots of other things are needed.

And with corn (you know, that staple of the 'merkin diet) the corn produces less natural insecticide in its leaves, so though it grows quicker, it gets eaten far quicker by the bugs who find it just as tasty but without the poison.

Add to that there are several ways plants devised to get carbon in to their system and that several of these do not use the CO2 in the air.

as a former HarperCollins employee who spent several years there, I'll just note that as much as I loathe Rupert Murdoch and everything he stands for, he never once got involved in any way in any of the books they published. Frankly, he could care less. The money comes from Fox TV and movies. Harper is a rounding error in News Corp's financial results.

So while I have no doubt Levitt and Dubner's analysis of global warming is crap, and that the wingnuts at Fox will be thrilled to read it, it's completely implausible that Murdoch had anything to do with the publication of the book.

Frankly, he'd be thrilled if Harper published a far-left bestseller--as long as it made him tons of money. He's a bottom-line guy.

By murdoch hater (not verified) on 17 Oct 2009 #permalink

Bill Gates likewise is a bottom-line guy.

But like Murdoch, he doesn't want to piss off his compatriots. If he makes the wrong moves he can be left out of the game and that DOES affect the bottom line.

It also can be people toadying up to him, trying to make sure they do what he likes so that when the next cut comes up, they aren't picked.

This may not be what he knowingly wants to happen, but he doesn't clear up the mistake and flunkies will fluff the boss if that's what it takes to get up the ladder.

After all, they're bottom-line guys too.

I don't follow the criticism here. Have some words been missed out?

The major word there is "if." My understanding is that an increase in CO2 levels would only lead to increased plant growth if C02 is a limiting nutrient. If not, an increase of CO2 would do nothing for plant growth. It seems Levitt and Dubner misunderstand that to say that higher CO2 will always lead to more plant growth.

re: #21 murdoch hater

Thanks. My original reason for noting this went as follows:

a) In some organizations, things sometimes go wrong at lower levels that might actually get fixed at higher levels if they knew about it, or appeals to long-term credibility an reputation might actually be useful.

b) Hence, I looked up the ownership chain, and at that point, figured "well, if it makes money, accuracy is irrelevant", which you have certainly confirmed.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 17 Oct 2009 #permalink

Ronnie, I haven't read the original claim about abortion reducing crime rates, but I did read the refutation you linked to.

It was not particularly convincing to my eyes.

Among other things, it didn't take into consideration that abortion might not be equally spread among all social levels. E.g. it might be more widespread among wealthy people and college students than among the urban poor.

It's obvious that the author of that piece was pushing an anti-abortion stance (looking at the name of the author, and seeing Steve Sailer's name didn't impress me either, but I didn't notice that until after I finished my read).

Having said that, I am not particularly impressed with the idea of abortions leading to a reduction of crime. It might be true, but it's not possible to tell, since legalization of abortion would be part of a larger social movement, which might very well lead to reduced crime rates (e.g. through better social welfare systems).

With nods to Things Break, I've started collecting links to challenges to Superfreakonomics on my blag:

http://leftasanexercise.simulating-reality.com/?p=90

The list is rather substantial. If you're aware of more, please send them my way.

One observation I made whilst collecting these was that there were a couple of people defending Superfreakonomics. The strongest one I could find was from the ultraconservative American Spectator - and its defense boils down to "Clinton did it too!".

PSweet,

Good question.

Carbon is not a limiting nutrient for most plants. In fact, the C:N ratio in many plants is way too high for optimizing a range of other metabolic processes, such as synthesizing phytotoxins which are nitrogen based. This means that higher C:N ratios, even if they allow for limited increases in plant biomass, will also make plants more susceptible to herbivores due to lower levels of direct defense compounds in plant tissues. Add to that the fact that nitrogen is a limiting nutrient for most insect herbivores, thus insects will exhibit compensatory feeding to make up for the N deficit. This combination is likely to reduce plant fitness.

What irks me as someone who works on plant-insect interactions is how many people constantly peddle the myth that increasing atmospheric levels of carbon will be a boon to plants, consumers, and food webs. There is no real empirical evidence for this at all, and the fact that natural systems function in decidedly non-linear ways means that there is no way of extrapolating lab studies with single plants under controlled conditions with complex adaptive systems. Very few ecologists make such absurd correlations; this is generally the purview of laymen.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 17 Oct 2009 #permalink

Murdoch hater #21, I too am thankful for your perspective. Some more qs, if you're still reading -

1. Is there quality control in WM/HC, or is really entirely a commercial enterprise? (e.g., would HC publish a flat out GW denialist "nonfiction" book, if it looked like it'd sell well?)

2. What's the deal with an "imprint"? (SuperFreak's publisher William Morrow is an imprint of HarperCollins) (and just fyi, "William Morrow upholds its 80-year legacy of bringing the highest quality fiction and nonfiction to the broadest possible audience").
I assume being an imprint means William Morrow is to HarperCollins as Shoebox is to Hallmark? (a tiny division thereof, with a different culture)

3. One of the techniques a backstage entity bent on bending the public will can use, is to order a gazillion copies of a book with the right message, both to boost its sales ranking and to pay its author for dutifully spreading the word. From the outside, what would be the indicators of such arrangements or promises, and how could we find out if they were present for this book?
(this q isn't well phrased, sorry)

4. And more generally - I do think it'll probably turn out that there was Stage Three deliberate intent _somewhere(s)_ along the chain, for this book; what info could we get, and how, that'd let us determine if/where influence was exerted & by whom? (and yes, I could be wrong)

If Stephen&Steven did just err in good faith -
Does anyone else find this case reminiscent of Nicholas "I don't care if Freeman Dyson's inactivist views are correct as long as they're interesting" Dawidoff?
One does wonder what they might be smoking.

(though upon reading the D Squared review of Freakonomics #1 that jre linked to, I might be making too much of D&L; it's just so hard for me to envision anyone doing this in good faith. )

By Anna Haynes (not verified) on 17 Oct 2009 #permalink

#33 - Yikes!, what a moronic article.

By Dappledwater (not verified) on 17 Oct 2009 #permalink

> Having said that, I am not particularly impressed with the idea of abortions leading to a reduction of crime

I suspect the problem is that if there IS an effect, it would be a second-order, third order or even fourth-order effect and not the direct driver itself.

Unless you want to take the consideration that the power of parenthood amongst the criminal classes is far stronger than it is amongst the rank-and-file.

So being a remote side-effect, any change in crime rates would depend on abortion rates AND one, two or even more further effects to occur before the abortion result gets to work on the stats.

And any possible mechanism for this to work requires another factor to be there, hence fixing THAT factor rather than aborting fetuses would have a greater effect without having to ask the moral questions.

And whether you think abortion is murder or the right of the mother to her own body, you still have to ask the moral question when aborting or refusing to let the mother abort.

The US balloon man Richard Heene does science with friends:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXHHjoGmExw

Somewhat off topic, but one wonders what whack job ideas he has been involved with. The video goes on about a lot of crazy stuff.

murdoch "hater" may be accurately reporting what they did not observe, but the reasoning is wrong, and so is the inference.

It's precisely because book publishing is not essential to his corporate bottom line that Rupert Murdoch has been proven to directly intervene in Harper Collins business for political ends, the most notorious example being Killing a book by Chris Patten because of a request from the Chinese government.

Another clear example would be his admission that he shapes the news and opinion of anything he owns, which he has made on at least a few occasions.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 18 Oct 2009 #permalink

"One possibility is that Freakonomics was superficially plausible but also rubbish, and it was only when they wrote about an area where I was knowledgeable that I noticed."

That was the correct explanation. They may have fairly cited their sources, but they were cherrypicking, or more often, putting spin on interpretation that was simply unjustified.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 18 Oct 2009 #permalink

The US balloon man Richard Heene does science with friends...

Possibly crazier and more ignorant than Watts, but not by much.

> Another clear example would be his admission that he shapes the news and opinion of anything he owns, which he has made on at least a few occasions.

> Posted by: Marion Delgado

Didn't Faux News say (and get agreement from the Senate) that a News story doesn't have to be true?

I think we can tell a lot about him from those actions.

Jeff Harvey,

Why then do commercial growers of all kinds of foods boost the CO2 in their greenhouses, if as you say the level of CO2 will not be a "boon" to plants?

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 18 Oct 2009 #permalink

Didn't Faux News say (and get agreement from the Senate) that a News story doesn't have to be true?

Better, they won a first amendment court case.

Why then do commercial growers of all kinds of foods boost the CO2 in their greenhouses, if as you say the level of CO2 will not be a "boon" to plants?

Why do they first ensure that the greenhouse has optimum temperature and humidity, and that there is more nitrogen and other nutrients than the plants need?

Could it be to remove all external limits to plant growth, and could it be that under such unnatural conditions CO2 can become a limiting external factor?

Yes. It could be. And is.

Now ask yourself: why do farmers irrigate and apply nitrogen-rich fertilizers to fields of plants growing outdoors rather than puff CO2 at the plants?

Additionally, ask yourself "why do I keep asking stupid questions?".

Mark, Marion et al,

For people who claim to be concerned about the 'bigger picture' you don't half get hung up on the trivia!

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 18 Oct 2009 #permalink

"Why then do commercial growers of all kinds of foods boost the CO2 in their greenhouses"

Because they have already optimized soil structure and composition, nutrients (including shifting the nute schedules over the life of the plant), pH, water, humidity, temperature, often the amount and schedule of lighting, and so on.

After doing all that, optimizing CO2 makes a significant difference. Without doing most or all of that, boosting CO2 is throwing money away.

"Perhaps. But their argument that abortion reduced crime figures in the US is refuted (to my satisfaction anyway) here: http://www.amconmag.com/article/2005/may/09/00021/."

Posted by: Ronnie Horesh |

That article was written by Steve Sailer - google his name to find out why anything that he says shouldn't be believed until verified.

Dave Andrews:

For people who claim to be concerned about the 'bigger picture'

At least they get the bigger picture, unlike Dave Andrews.

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

Today's Dubner&Levitt article in Parade Magazine:

What Should You Worry About?
"Identity theft? Killer sharks? Disease? We're bad at assessing riskâwe panic about the wrong things."

Michael Crichton had an inactivist article in Parade too, when State of Fear came out:

Let's Stop Scaring Ourselves
"From world overpopulation to Y2K to killer bees, many of the dangers we're warned about never materialize. Isn't it time for some healthy skepticism?"

Amazing coincidence, that.

By Anna Haynes (not verified) on 18 Oct 2009 #permalink

Thanks Anna, that article is a lovely summary of what is wrong with Superfreakonomics.

They're right about our poor ability to judge personal risk, but they use a superfically accurate but completely wrong-headed example.

Yes, elephants kill more people than sharks (so do hippo's), but if you're an American planning to spend some time down the beach over summer, having a fear of being trampled by an elephant would be truly irrational.

Dave Andrews,

As Lee said.

How many times do I have to repeat this: a controlled greenhouse is NOT the real world. Dave Andrews, repeat again: A GREENHOUSE ENVIRONMENT IS NOT THE REAL WORLD.

Geddit? Understand now????

Natural systems are immensely complex and are characterized by flows - of nutrients, water, energy, matter, etc., and function in decidedly non-linear ways. Cause-and-effect relationships cannot be extrapolated on the basis of 'an increase in parameter "x" leads to an increase in process "y"'. This is the kind of crap argument produced by those who know nix about ecological communities, but who are more than willing to twist science to bolster a pre-determined view that is closely linked with a political agenda.

As I have said before innumerable times, the primary productivity of natural systems depends on both biotic and abiotic processes. Interactions with consumers - herbivores, their natural enemies and their natural enemies - also plays a significant role in determining plant biomass and fitness. Moreover, different plant species respond differently to ambient levels of C02, with some benefitting (at least in the short term) and others not. Certainly, some kinds of r-selected plants will become highly problematic as weeds; herbivores will compensate for N deficiency and will incur more damage. P is also a very limiting nutrient and will be shunted from plant tissues. How this will play itself out in terms of natural communities is anyone's guess. The long term consequences of the current global experiment are thus hard to predict, but its a pain in the neck having to counter grade-school level arguments from denialists all of the time.

Several people - in each case with no biological expertise whatsoever - have repeated the C02-fertilizer mantra on Deltoid over the past few months. In each case they dismissed what they did not understand, meaning anything and everything remotely suggesting that primary production is caused by many more factors that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide. When confronted with ecological complexity, they lashed out, calling me all kinds of abusive things, as one would expect from laymen whose ignorance was brazenly exposed.

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

Old Rupe has "committed" to being carbon neutral by 2010.

Only 73 days to go!

PS- News uses a meaningless bogus astroturf/greenwashing slogan "One Degree" which he mangled (during the "Boyer Lecture") into "I Degree".

Bozo.

Tim
Would be good if you updated the links to your own writings on the Bingo Card.

"From world overpopulation to Y2K to killer bees, many of the dangers we're warned about never materialize. Isn't it time for some healthy skepticism?"

Well, if we weren't worried we would not have solved the Y2K problem, and bee keepers are experiencing the difficulties in beekeeping predicted by "killer bees" even if M.C. didn't believe it when he was still alive.

Regarding overpopulation ... are poor people who aren't privileged like M.C. and the rest of us in first-world countries dying, or not?

Crapola.

Ducky, you can prove CO2's warming effect on the atmosphere with a small sealed container a heat source and an IR camera.

Since you believe that small scale lab experiments are commensurate with what happens in the real world, this is all the proof you need that AGW is right.

Go on, Ducky, don't be an arse.

> For people who claim to be concerned about the 'bigger picture' you don't half get hung up on the trivia!

> Posted by: Dave Andrews

Denialists like you, Ducky, ARE the trivia. It's all you have.

"You don't have clouds 100% right, so you're wrong!" *IS* trivia.

The advantage of owning a publisher that "doesn't affect your bottom line" is that without "affecting your bottom line" you can get some seemingly "independent" story/text/material published which you can then use in your wider media organization which DO "affect your bottom line".

What does it matter if this book breaks even if it boosts the ratings over at Fox? If it provides material for the global stable of Newsmedia hacks like Alan Wood?

Crumbs. I just scanned that Times article and read a few paragraphs and each time I just read a load of junk.

""Joe Romm asked Caldeira about the misrepresentation of his views and he told Romm:
"If you talk all day, and somebody picks a half dozen quotes without providing context because they want to make a provocative and controversial chapter, there is not much you can do."""

Well no, apparently all you can do when offered those quote to review prior to publication is approve them, then panic when it generates such controversy, back away from what you said and make vague, nonspecific claims of inaccuracy such as this.

"""Yet [Ken Caldeira]'s research tells him that carbon dioxide is not the right villain in this fight."

Caldeira has exactly one quote on his home page:
"Carbon dioxide is the right villain," says Caldeira, "insofar as inanimate objects can be villains."""

Yeah, the quote he added after the first one created such controversy. Seriously, WTF did you think the odds were on that ?

I've got a few "I'm not a racist" quotes from Rush Limbaugh in the past week if you find this a convincing "debunking".

Their response
http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/17/the-rumors-of-our-glob…

http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/global-warming-in-supe…

Key quote:

Like those who are criticizing us, we believe that rising global temperatures are a man-made phenomenon and that global warming is an important issue to solve. Where we differ from the critics is in our view of the most effective solutions to this problem. Meaningfully reducing global carbon emissions has proven to be difficult, if not impossible. This isnât likely to change, for the reasons we discuss in the book. Consequently, other approaches represent a more promising path to lowering the Earthâs temperature. The critics are implying that we dismiss any threats from global warming; but the entire point of our chapter is to discuss global-warming solutions, so obviously thatâs not the case.

Sans,

I think he added it because he was rather surprised to find the quote attributed to him, given that he had commented on it in the draft.

> but the entire point of our chapter is to discuss global-warming solutions,

but ignoring the most direct and obvious one.

"because it's hard".

sans: "I've got a few "I'm not a racist" quotes from Rush Limbaugh in the past week if you find this a convincing "debunking"."

Unless you can also provide examples where Limbaugh is explicitly quoted as saying "I am a racist", your analogy is irrelevent.

I'm not too sure why you're implying that something fishy is going on, but very few people post a correction of a misquotation before they have even been quoted, as you seem to have expected Caldeira to do.

It's kind of understandable, they're gone down the whole - here's an easy/simple indirect solution to a really hard/complex problem - road.

If there was an easy and direct way to reduce CO2 emissions they wouldn't be interested.

D&L have jumped the shark.

Bud, NOBODY, not even the serial killer thinks they are the bad guy.

So why would ANYONE say "I'm a racist" except at an AA-like meeting for recovering racists?

Well no, apparently all you can do when offered those quote to review prior to publication is approve them, then panic when it generates such controversy, back away from what you said and make vague, nonspecific claims of inaccuracy such as this.

Caldeira complained about the quote when he reviewed a draft copy of the chapter.

They ignored him.

I canât believe so many people fell in love with the first book; it seemed to me as though the whole thing was suitable for Private Eyeâs Pseuds-corner.

Whether any of itâs âconclusionsâ were true or not, it always seemed to me to be far more about what an uber-cool cat Levitt is and how that fact is the single most important thing to remember at all times.

Anytime it looked like they might come close to actually explaining how they drew their conclusions they pulled the âwe did something analytic-ey-you wouldnât understand-trust us-read some more paragraphs about how damn cool this guy is-pay no attention to the man behind the curtainâ manoeuvre.

By the end of it I was just pissed off at the rampant ego on display and contempt for their readersâ intelligence.

Mark, that was pretty much my point. In Limbaugh's case, there is a long and extensive history of frequent and fairly obvious racism, which makes any denial of his being a racist a) somewhat absurd and b) completely plausible to him, seeing as racist is a description of a character or action.

In Caldeira's case, you have a position attributed to him which there is no prior evidence of him holding. The two situations are completely different. If someone was to attribute to Limbaugh the position (say) of letting illegal immigrants die in the street rather than giving them medical treatment, and Limbaugh came out and explicitly said it was not his position, then that would be analogous.

If D+L had bothered to learn anything about AGW, they would have run screaming from the room when they heard statements like these:

âThe climate models are crude in space and theyâre crude in time,â he continues. âSo thereâs an enormous amount of natural phenomena they canât model. They canât do even giant storms like hurricanes.â

Of course hurricanes are fairly small but powerful storms compared to synoptic scale cyclones (low pressure systems) which climate models are perfectly capable of realizing.

I really couldn't get much further because the material was so bad. How did they get this past the fact checkers?

By Rattus Norvegicus (not verified) on 19 Oct 2009 #permalink

Also, how much do the power and number of hurricanes change over 30 year periods?

One person eats a different amount each day.

Yet army stores keeps an army of THOUSANDS fed adequately without throwing a million meals away.

Mark,

You don't have clouds right at all never mind 100%.

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 19 Oct 2009 #permalink

""Unless you can also provide examples where Limbaugh is explicitly quoted as saying "I am a racist", your analogy is irrelevent.""

Well yeah, but that'd just leave us with the guy who is being discussed. Proving something about Rush wasn't really critical to what I was pointing out about the non-worth of statements you make about yourself after the fan hits the shit.

""I'm not too sure why you're implying that something fishy is going on, but very few people post a correction of a misquotation before they have even been quoted, as you seem to have expected Caldeira to do.""

I don't know who you are talking about. My post refers to a guy who got to review what he was quoted about and the **entire chapter that got turned into**, twice. I guess there's a 2nd Caldeira involved here. A sister maybe?

BTW I don't find anything fishy about this at all. I think this guy panicking when he saw the reaction to his interviews and backing away with very vague and non-specific suggestions of misquotation is far more plausible than the Freakanomics authors fabricating an exchange of someone they interviewed at length and then had approve what they wrote.

"Caldeira complained about the quote when he reviewed a draft copy of the chapter. They ignored him."
Posted by: dhogaza | October 19, 2009 11:17 AM

This would be a more plausible claim coming from him than you.
His explanation is instead that perhaps he didn't read what his interviews were turned into carefully enough.

As though if you misread "not" -vs- "the" primary villain, the rest of the other words drawn from this statement would also become invisible.

If you find this plausible you would have made a great wife of a Republican congressman. I bet those after-the-cheating press conferences have all seemed completely plausible to you.

I must have not heard her say she was a prostitute. Then we fked in my car in exchange for money and I dropped her back to her pimp. Really, if anything is to blame it is background noise.

"I think he added it because he was rather surprised to find the quote attributed to him, given that he had commented on it in the draft."
Posted by: Michael | October 19, 2009 9:34 AM

Okay, can you think of why it is printed here as a somehow rebuttal to a book written last year ?

Aj,

I thought the first book was OK, but I only got around to reading it last year, and the timing was interesting. At one point in the book Levitt was discussing the 'panic' re: peak oil and how it would never happen due to the wonders of the market. My recollection is that he also said that the oil price could never go through the roof because of the said market - as I was reading it the oil price was about $US120.

Jeff Harvey,

"Moreover, different plant species respond differently to ambient levels of C02, with some benefitting (at least in the short term) and others not"

Surely this has been true over the whole of the Earth's history and in relation to the ambient levels of many things? CO2 levels have been much much higher in the past but plants are still around even if they are now different to what they were.

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 19 Oct 2009 #permalink

And that difference, DA, is that the plants we have now aren't the ones that can survive with the current crop of predators in the CO2 of the Old Days.

We can't eat those old-day plants either.

And evolution of plants doesn't happen in 100 years.

> You don't have clouds right at all never mind 100%.

> Posted by: Dave Andrews

No, Ducky?

Well if the clouds are not right at all, how come hindcasting is producing as an emergent property of the physics that IS included correct?

And, Ducks, do you have *ANY* proof that what you just spewed up there had ANYTHING to do with reality the humans live in, rather than your fantasy world?

Thanks Mark. Perfectly said.

After trying to nail down the greenhouses-are -not-nature story yesterday, I forgot that Ducky would then try to switch the discussion in another meaningless direction, by claiming that levels of C02 were higher in the past. Sure that is true, but as scientists have been saying, the normal rate of change in terms of temporal scale is a fraction of that occurring now. One hundred or so years is unprecedented. Sure species, communities and ecosystems can adapt to change, but they are constrained too - by the rate of adaptive mutations arising in populations, by phylogeny, by phenology, by other biotic and abiotic constraints. Evolution takes time. And human actions are not allowing for that. We are forcing nature to try and adapt in time scales which are unprecedented, and, moreover, we have already simplified the biosphere in a number of other ways, thus putting further impediments in the way of adaptive responses.

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

@Dave Andrews:
"Mark,

You don't have clouds right at all never mind 100%.

Posted by: Dave Andrews | October 19, 2009 5:49 PM"

Davey boy, what specifically do you think is wrong with the cloud implementation of the current models? Why do you think that? Be specific, please.

Jeff Harvey

It's all very alarming, but I'm not alarmed. CO2 will continue to rise for quite some time, perhaps 50 years or more, until global cooling gets the upper hand.

You show me your 'peer reviewed' and I'll show you mine.

Gordo is about to turn science on its head with his "you show me yours, I'll show you mine" trick.

What a tiresome dill.

In need of some attention today el gordo? Go pull your sister hair instead.

By Janet Akerman (not verified) on 19 Oct 2009 #permalink

I heard the tail end of an interview one of the authors on U.S. National Public Radio (I missed which one).

At the very end, a line was tossed out about ocean acidification perhaps requiring limits on CO2 after all (i.e. geoengineering by itself wouldn't cut it if this proved to be a problem).

I remember wondering if they had even thought of ocean acidification before their critics raised it. It seems not, if the excerpt is complete.

el gordo:

CO2 will continue to rise for quite some time, perhaps 50 years or more, until global cooling gets the upper hand.

Looks like another idiot who thinks the CO2 rise of the last 150 years was caused by global warming.

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

El Chubbo,

What is your point? That evolution and adaptive radiation will occur in 50 years or less, thus enabling nature and man to live happily ever after?

We have known for a long time that selective regimes are not hard-wired and instantaneous, but that the ability of species to adapt is constrained on a spatio-temporal scale. Within the context of largely deterministic systems, humans are inflicting changes in decades that would normally occur over many centuries (at the very least) or thousands of years. There are consequences to this single experiment, from an ecological, evolutionary (and functional) perspective. No need to show you any references; read books and texts by Stearns, J.N. Thompson, Ricklefs, Begon et al., etc. its all in there. There is nothing remotely controversial about this.

Then you come up with this "global cooling will get the upper hand in 50 years crapola" that has no empirical foundation whatsoever. Look chubbo: are you just thick or being annoying?

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

Jeff Harvey

When all else fails, bring out the ad hominem. Just check your facts and ignore the propaganda.

Water vapor is responsible for 96% of the 'greenhouse effect', while human activities are responsible for 0.1% of greenhouse gases. AGW is a no brainer.

Global cooling has begun, even Latif agrees to that. Get real, Jeff, this is important.

I like El Chubbo though, better than 'fatso'.

El gordo/fasto/chubbo/corpulento et al.,

Basically you do not know what the hell you are talking about. But then again, everyone here has known that for a long time. I suggested reading material for you, although I fear that you do not know much (if anything) about ecology or evolutionary biology. You certainly do not know anything about climate science.

Check out the facts? Are you serious? I have to admit, you have the tendency for hilarity. Of course I have checked the damned facts: the work of 95% of the climate science community, and not a few naysayers on the outside.

Given you believe AGW to be a "no-brainer", what are your exalted qualifications in science for being able to draw such a conclusion? Or or you being just a pompous ass? I tend to side with actual scientists who are doing research, and not complete and utter laymen.

You are henceforth dismissed.

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

el gordo:

Global cooling has begun, even Latif agrees to that.

If you mean Mojib Latif, no he doesn't. He thinks we are looking at a future trend of global warming, just with some expected temporary downs on the way up.

If you denialists think you are one firm ground, why do you continually and deliberately mis-represent the views of scientists??

Michael,

Thanks for putting el gordo in his place. Latif is regularly misquoted by the denialists and I do not think he is at all happy about it. This is another example of twisting the conclusions of someone eminent in the field of climate science to downplay AGW.

As I have said before, the vast majority of denialists are like creationists; hardly any of them do original research but instead they snipe away at the sidelines, attacking studies they do not like and mangling the conclusions of other studies to try and support their own narrow views. As I said earlier, a Nature paper by one of my colleagues was discussed on a contrarian web site, much to her chagrin; although her paper had nix to do with global change the results were distorted to promote the view that increasing atmospheric levels of C02 would enhance primary productivity across the biosphere. She certainly does not expound this simplistic argument. Similarly, I am sure that the authors of the New Phytologist study will be shocked to say the least that their latest study is being used by the denialosphere to downplay AGW.

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

>Just check your facts and ignore the propaganda.

Good advice, el gordo.

Tiresome dill.

Jeff your last line includes the correct policy for this time waster.

By Janet Akerman (not verified) on 19 Oct 2009 #permalink

> I suggested reading material for you,

He'll have to learn to read.

Lee #82,

Ask a question courteously, and I may respond. Note I never name-call anyone and always address them by their post name

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 20 Oct 2009 #permalink

Jeff Harvey #81,

Ok, so climate temperatures dropped between the 13thC and the 16thC by roughly the same as you are saying they have risen over tha last 150 years.

The plants etc survived the former. Are you therefore saying they can't cope with this? What harms plants more, cold or warmth?

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 20 Oct 2009 #permalink

> The plants etc survived the former. Are you therefore saying they can't cope with this?

No, you're saying that.

But we've not come to expect reason from you, Ducky.

> Ask a question courteously, and I may respond. Note I never name-call anyone and always address them by their post name

> Posted by: Dave Andrews

My goodness, just as well you're a real boy, not a puppet.

Well, maybe a sock one.

How about your continuing slandering of George Monbiot?

Or the entire Greenpeace establishment?

What a colossal whopper.

Dave Andrews,

First of all, temperatures did not drop between the 13th and 16th century as much as they have risen over the past 150 years. This is discredited contrarian nonsense.

Second, temperatures are expected to rise over the coming century at rates exceeding anything in many millions of years. Against that background is a human-dominated landscape which has greatly fragmented many existing ecosystems and at the same time has resulted in a profound loss of genetic diversity amongst many of its component species. Humans have created environments which enable many generalists to thrive - house sparrows, starlings, cockroaches, cattle, and weeds, but at the same time a large share of the genetic diversity of specialist consumers has been reduced, and the terminal end of the food chain has been particularly hard hit. Marine ecosystems have been in some cases obliterated by human actions. There are and will continue to be consequences.

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

@95 Dave Andrews: "Jeff Harvey #81,Ok, so climate temperatures dropped between the 13thC and the 16thC by roughly the same as you are saying they have risen over tha last 150 years. The plants etc survived the former. Are you therefore saying they can't cope with this? What harms plants more, cold or warmth?"

Dear Reader

If this is your first visit here, or if this is the first time you've read any of Dave Andrews' epistles, do not be alarmed. Our Mr Andrews likes to pose questions like these, possibly in the sincere belief that he is contributing to "informed debate". You, dear reader, are of course well ahead of the game here because, apparently unlike Dave, you've actually read Jeff Harvey's post at #81 wherein he states "...as scientists have been saying, the normal rate of change in terms of temporal scale is a fraction of that occurring now. One hundred or so years is unprecedented. Sure species, communities and ecosystems can adapt to change, but they are constrained too - by the rate of adaptive mutations arising in populations, ... Evolution takes time. And human actions are not allowing for that..." This post was itself a response to egregious errors made by Dave previously.

Ignore for a minute your own stance on climate change - all you need to do to establish the merit of Dave Andrews' questions is make this simple comparison. Whatever conclusion you come to, you will at least be a lot further down the path of understanding than Dave who, poor soul, either can't read or can't understand what he's reading.

By Steve Chamberlain (not verified) on 20 Oct 2009 #permalink

Ducky's (@95) persistent obtuseness means that he refuses to distinguish between the current level of warming and the future warming, nor will he consider the difference between the resource required to sustain 6,700 million population and 500 million during rapid climate upheaval.

Fortunately Ducky, people with competence have looked at these questions.

By Janet Akerman (not verified) on 20 Oct 2009 #permalink

Janet Akerman

It was a pleasure to hear Mojib Latif suggest we may be heading for cooler times over the next 20 years, even as CO2 continues to increase. By then he will be retired to the south of France and living off the gravy train which he helped create.

Latif obviously hadn't factored in the dominant effect of a cool PDO.

I think the 'Crock' is a clever piece of propaganda, but clearly you don't see it as such.

Steve,

Tanks for your post (#99). I do not know what role Dave Andrews sees for himself in Deltoid - thus far he appears to do nothing more thanmake rather vacuous jibes on a daily basis.

But then again, so does our resident know-nothing and mangler of facts, el gordo. He still hasn't said what makes him uniquely qualified to comment on climate science with such apparent authority here other than rank hubris and outright arrogance. So el gordo, are you going to share your secret and tell us how many volumes you have published on climate science, or even in any field of science? Or are you just going to rehash the usual contrarian crap that you glean off of a few websites?

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

Greenman climate denial crock of the weeks are clear, accurate, and faithfully represent his source, his subject material and the science.

I can see clearly why you need to call this propaganda el gordo.

(I notice you couldn't help misrepresenting Latif even after hearing his words. But that's your standard isn't it. Thanks for demonstrating to lurkers the type of guff that is involved in science denialism).

By Janet Akerman (not verified) on 20 Oct 2009 #permalink

> It was a pleasure to hear Mojib Latif suggest we may be heading for cooler times over the next 20 years, even as CO2 continues to increase.

Why do you denialists insist that if CO2 causes global warming, it must be ONLY CO2 causing global warming?

There's more than one factor in the climate's temperature response. CO2 changes are the biggest changes and are causing the biggest changes in climate, but they aren't the only ones.

Why do you insist it's only CO2?

Jeff Harvey -- thanks for the response.

I've got a background in bio, but mostly on the animal side. This whole CO2 as a limiting resource idea has sounded wrong from the get-go, but it's nice to have my intiuition confirmed by someone with some expertise in that area. I have to admit, I had been thinking of a reduction in functional proteins and nucleic acids as a result of N and P shortages. The thought of reductions in secondary compounds never hit me, although it seems obvious in retrospect.

It was a pleasure to hear Mojib Latif suggest we may be heading for cooler times over the next 20 years, even as CO2 continues to increase

Obviously you didn't actually listen to what Latif actually said. Poor man, the entire denialsphere libeling him ...

Janet,

Keep with it! I am not the only person asking questions on this blog.

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 21 Oct 2009 #permalink

Lee,

Ok you still haven't asked courteously, but I'm prepared to make an exception.

Have a look at Bjorn Stevens & Graham Feingolds recent paper in Nature, the abstract of which says,

" Untangling aerosol effects on clouds and precipitation in a buffered system

Bjorn Stevens1,2 & Graham Feingold3
Top of page
Abstract

It is thought that changes in the concentration of cloud-active aerosol can alter the precipitation efficiency of clouds, thereby changing cloud amount and, hence, the radiative forcing of the climate system. Despite decades of research, it has proved frustratingly difficult to establish climatically meaningful relationships among the aerosol, clouds and precipitation. As a result, the climatic effect of the aerosol remains controversial. We propose that the difficulty in untangling relationships among the aerosol, clouds and precipitation reflects the inadequacy of existing tools and methodologies and a failure to account for processes that buffer cloud and precipitation responses to aerosol perturbations."

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v461/n7264/full/nature08281.html

In the paper, amongst many uncertainties regarding the GCMs, they note that the main challenge is to,

"extract a credible prediction from models whose representation of clouds and cloud microphysical processes, are known to have serious deficiencies"

Is that what you wanted?

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 21 Oct 2009 #permalink

Mark,
"Or the entire Greenpeace establishment?"

Have you ever noticed that Greenpeace, despite its supposed forward thinking, right on environmental views is a totally undemocratic organisation that dictates from the centre what its policies will be?

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 21 Oct 2009 #permalink

Dave, your claim was:

You don't have clouds right at all...

i don t see, how that claim is supported by this paper.

Ducky,

You do understand that the deficiencies in modeling clouds ab initio means that they are parameterized in accord with empirical observations, don't you?

Scientists don't like empirical formulae much as they represent a low level of theoretical understanding, but engineers use them all the time, because they work OK for due diligence.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 21 Oct 2009 #permalink

And in 110 Ducky arses about and proves his statement in 94 a lie.

Ducky, have a look at the hundreds of papers referenced to in the IPCC report.

Read them.

Then prove them wrong.

Mark,

"have a look at the hundreds of papers referenced to in the IPCC report."

How many of them were related to cloud modelling, Mark?

I gave you an example of a very recent paper published in Nature, one of the foremost Scientific Journals in the world. If that doesn't mean much to you then so be it. But what does mean anything to you?

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 22 Oct 2009 #permalink

again Dave:

the paper simply does NOT say: "(we) don't have clouds right at all...".

but that is what you say.

luminous beauty,

You did notice that the authors said in their abstract that"Despite decades of research, it has proved frustratingly difficult to establish climatically meaningful relationships among the aerosol, clouds and precipitation"?

If this basic fundamental relationship is still not understood what value can be placed on the parameritazations used in GCMS?

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 22 Oct 2009 #permalink

sod,

One question, have you read the paper?

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 22 Oct 2009 #permalink

Ducky asks dumb question:

Will then make some shit up when sod asks "what paper?".

> "Despite decades of research, it has proved frustratingly difficult to establish climatically meaningful relationships among the aerosol, clouds and precipitation"?

And where, Ducky, does that say "and we didn't get it"?

Aaaaw.

Poor Ducky. Didn't read his paper...

> How many of them were related to cloud modelling, Mark?

All of the ones about cloud physics, Ducky.

Or you can go look at the source code for a model:

http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/modelE/

Maybe you can show where the cloud physics is wrong and fix it, Ducky-poos.

> It is thought that changes in the concentration of cloud-active aerosol can alter the precipitation efficiency of clouds, thereby changing cloud amount

Ah, so Ducky reads and quotes and misses out that bit.

Quelle suprise!

The paper doesn't say GCMs get cloud physics wrong.

Poor little ducky.

>_If this basic fundamental relationship is still not understood what value can be placed on the parameritazations[sic] used in GCMS[sic]?_

The parameterized values are based on empirical (real world) measurements, rather than theoretical bases. One doesn't need to understand the cause of a phenomenon to be able to map its effects.

The _fundamental_ relationships of clouds and aerosols are fairly well understood. It is because there is such a soup of different chemicals and particles from many different sources, varying widely in composition, size and distribution characteristics, that it is extremely difficult to model climatically _meaningful_ relationships _ab initio_.

But not impossible. Stevens & Feingold are, notwithstanding the need for improved tools and methods, getting interesting and encouraging results.

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

Luminous beauty,

Thanks for your measured response. In stark contrast to Mark's outbursts!

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 23 Oct 2009 #permalink

Mark,

Have you read the many threads at CA about GISS ModelE?

Thought not!

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 23 Oct 2009 #permalink

Have you read the many threads at CA about GISS ModelE?

I've read much of the Model E documentation, and some of the code, enough to know that CA claims of its horribleness are greatly exaggerated.

Mark,

Also, why do you feel you have to respond for sod?

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 23 Oct 2009 #permalink

Wow, dhogaza, are you also Mark?

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 23 Oct 2009 #permalink

Mark/dhogaza,

"And where, Ducky, does that say "and we didn't get it"?"

The authors are saying that decades of research have not solved the problem and it remains a problem.

Do you have difficulty with basic comprehension?

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 23 Oct 2009 #permalink

A little quiz:
would people care to guess who owns the publisher of this?

[I already looked.]

By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

I doubt it'll make any difference and I doubt anyone will bother to read it but, for the record, my response to this post, amongst the others joining in this witch-hunt, can be found here:

http://goingonabearhunt.blogspot.com/2009/10/superfreakonomics-witch-hu…

It's not about whether global warming is true or not (it is), it's about whether the blogging community have got it wrong this time.

I would also appreciate you pointing out the page and line numbers in the chapter where the following quote occurs as I have read it through several times and I can't find them.

coal is so cheap that trying to generate electricity without it would be economic suicide

This simply isn't about whether global warming exists or not and it's a pity so many people are getting side-tracked by that as the chapter contains some really interesting points that are worthy of debate.

Shorter Ellie:

Global warming doesn't exist! But that's not the main point! So you're not allowed to dispute it! Global warming doesn't exist! Global warming doesn't exist! Global warming doesn't exist! But that's not the main point! So you're not allowed to dispute it! Global warming doesn't exist!

* * *

Shorter Dave Andrews:

We don't know everything. Therefore we know nothing.

> This simply isn't about whether global warming exists or not and it's a pity so many people are getting side-tracked by that as the chapter contains some really interesting points that are worthy of debate.

What is it about, then?

Whether you should use beef or mutton in your sandwich?

As to your query, I don't care where it is because it's just basically wrong.

It sounds like an accountant for Exxon's thinking.

> The authors are saying that decades of research have not solved the problem and it remains a problem.

> Do you have difficulty with basic comprehension?

> Posted by: Dave Andrews

1) you didn't post anything saying that, hence reading comprehension isn't the problem: not being psychic was.

2) who says they are right? Where's the proof?

3) Do you have a problem with reading what YOU wrote (see #1)? This is far more serious a brain problem than reading comprehension failures, duckypoos.

> Also, why do you feel you have to respond for sod?

> Posted by: Dave Andrews

Why is it that the only rebuttal you have of my post is to say "I'm not reading because I asked someone else"?

Does your brain overheat because it's that far up your ducky?

Sorry Ellie, but I've read your piece and whilst the tone of it suggests you are reasonable on most issues it's you who have got this one wrong (at least the part that I'm familiar with), and not the rest of the blogs.

I haven't read the full pdf chapter, but I have read the Times extract a couple of times. And to be perfectly honest, they may as well have just given it to Nathan Myhrvold to write. Levitt and Dubner fawningly accept everything that their superpolymath buddy says without granting an oppositional view the merest sniff. They twice at the start of the extract bring up how 'smart' people think their buddies are, and the sense of an intellectual elite cooly analysing and solving a problem that the rest of the world are incapable of looking at rationally. Which, since it is the whole ethos of their wankonomics concept, isn't surprising.

I mean, they grant around 1500 words explaining what a wonderful idea geo-engineering is, and then choose to end the extract on the opposing view, which is granted one line at the end:

âIn a word,â Gore says, âI think itâs nuts.â

Bloody establishment heavyweights, dismissing good science out of hand! It just proves they don't have any good arguments against these supersmart guys we've got here and it's all just conservative thinking that holds geoengineering back!

At best it's a massively spun column, at worst it's lying by omission. Some people, myself included, see very little difference between the two when the issue involved is a scientific one.

If you want to pretend that Levitt and Dubner have been unfairly pilloried in the face of the "factual accuracy" of their piece, that's your perogative. But you ignore or misrepresent much of the protests against the book and instead indulge in some bizarre nitpickery and spin of your own. For example:

"They cite James Lovelock as a "high-priest" of those who treat global warming as though it is a religion. I'm not sure how that can be interpreted as representing the consensus view."

First off they have very deliberately peppered alternative (consensus) viewpoints with words such as religion or heresy (see your point B) to reinforce a view that there is an amorphous majority who see James Lovelock as a spokesperson. Secondly, and more pertinently, and very very loudly (though I, like you, hate shouting in blogs): IF YOU CONSTANTLY REPEAT HOW YOUR VIEWS ARE COUNTER TO THE MAINSTREAM, AND THEN USE ONLY AL GORE AND JAMES LOVELOCK TO REPRESENT OPPOSING VIEWS, PEOPLE WILL READ THOSE VIEWS AS REPRESENTING THE MAINSTREAM, AND IF YOU QUOTE THEM OUT OF CONTEXT THEN PEOPLE WILL REGARD THE MAINSTREAM AS CONSERVATIVE, STUPID OR NUTS.

And, regarding your point I (couldn't you have got these in some kind of order?) you claim: "What they actually say is that geoengineering is a quick and cheap way of rapidly cooling the earth to mitigate the worst of the effects WHILE WE DEAL WITH LOWERING CARBON EMISSIONS"

Right... except paying lip-service to lowering carbon emissions whilst letting Myrrvold explain why carbon dioxide is a good thing - especially for plants at 1400ppm - at the very least makes the message ambiguous. And that would be a criticism even if they gave a timescale for lowering carbon emissions. Which they don't. Presumably we deal with it at some point in the future, when we have some kind of cheap technological fix.

I could go on. Although oddly, at least half of the rest of your points admit people objecting to their chapter have a point, which considering the gravity of some of the objections does beg the question of why you spend so much energy defending them in the first place.

Ultimately, you can call it a witch hunt all you want, but the snide arrogance that haunts Levitt and Dubner's misguided jaunt into climate change and geoengineering is like a red rag to a bull - quite apart from the factual errors. They poisoned the well and are now moaning somewhat dishonestly about the controversy they clearly wanted to create.

I've reposted this at your own blog. By the way, it is noticeable that you have failed to quote directly any criticisms of the book, choosing instead to paraphrase them in your own words. This may explain the misdirection of your rebuttals.

> The authors are saying that decades of research have not solved the problem and it remains a problem.

PS I have a problem with my shoes. The shoelaces are too long and grag on the ground.

Despite tying extra long knots, the problem is not solved still exists.

However, despite my shoes having a problem, they still work like shoes should.

So, Ducky, are these problems making the cloud physics worthless? Or are they, despite your insinuations to the contrary, good enough to use to plan action on?

I bet it would be amusing to see Ducky caught crossing the street and noticing half way that a car is coming.

"If I walk forward, he could turn to the left and hit me going there. If I walk back, he could turn right and hit me still and if I stay here, he may not swerve and hit me!" and skipping forward, back and staying still while he works out how to know what the driver is thinking, unable to make a decision on what to do until he knows with 100% certainty where the van is going.

Which occurs just as the van hits him.

The authors are saying that decades of research have not solved the problem and it remains a problem.

Do you have difficulty with basic comprehension?

DaveA has discovered one of the reasons why climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 is computed to lie in the range of 2.5C-4C, rather than (say) 3.755C-3.756C.

Because there are things we don't know, in particular regarding cloud feedbacks.

DaveA misinterprets this to mean that the climate sensitivity lies in the range 0C-0C for some odd reason ...

Elie asks

>I would also appreciate you pointing out the page and line numbers in the chapter where the following quote occurs

p187 line 5

Bud,

Thanks for your comments, I have responded on my own blog it's too long for the comments and perhaps dull for those not interested, so I'll post the link again for anyone who wishes to follow it up:

http://goingonabearhunt.blogspot.com/2009/10/superfreakonomics-witch-hu…

Tim,

Thanks. I agree, they are wrong there. I agree with them that it would be unfair to expect developing nations to switch but the rest of us should be getting on with it.

This blog saddens me a little. On many levels. One is that you actually use Joe Romm as a "witness" to the "badness" of Superfreakonomics. Joe Romm has, in this debate, the intellectual DIShonesty of a combined G. W. Bush administration. That is just sad. Romm has misrepresented, lied and generally just made up stuff that he then uses to "attack" the SF authors. As Caldera says: "I panicked and commented on things that I now wish I would have been silent on" about how he was quoted by Romm.

Or quoted - that is just plain wrong. Romm wrote to Caldera: "âIâd like a quote like âThe authors of SuperFreakonomics have utterly misrepresented my work". WTF? So Romm tells Caldera what kind of quote he wants out of him? That is absurd and junk "journalism". It is also important to understand that Caldera never agreed to such a quote, something that didn't prevent Romm from actually using it. Pathetic liars like Romm are never good truth advocates.

The sad, sad, sad truth here is that every blog post that I read on this topic goes one step further in proving an important statement true, namely that the angry anti-freak people are indeed religious zealots. Making things up and spouting it as fact just adds weight to the argument that everyone who thinks global warming is a serious problem is a nut-job. Lying, distorting, making things up like Romm does just "shows" that he is as fanatic as any zealot and completely disinterested in realities.

Terje,

If you think that Romm asking Cladera for a quote on 'X' forces Caldera to say 'X' you have a very strange view of people.

The rest is just your fact-free assertions.

Terje, the only thing I relied on Joe Romm for was this quote from Caldeira

>If you talk all day, and somebody picks a half dozen quotes without providing context because they want to make a provocative and controversial chapter, there is not much you can do.

The fact that Levitt and Dubner distorted Caldeira's views I checked for myself by reading several of his papers. You can do this for yourself by following the links in my post.

You seem to be asserting (though without any evidence at all) that Romm invented the quote above. But that too, is easy to check. Go to [Caldeira's home page](http://dge.stanford.edu/labs/caldeiralab/). He has a link to an interview with his comments on Superfreakonomics. And in that interview he says:

>If you spend several hours talking to somebody and they take a half-dozen things and put it in a book, then itâs going to be in the context and framing of arguments that the authors are trying to make. And so the actual statements attributed to me are based on fact, but the contexts and the framing of those issues are very different from the context and framing that I would put those same facts in...

>So I think that the casual reader can... come up with a misimpression of what I believe and what I feel about things.

So the quote Romm gives fairly represents Caldeira's views.

You owe Joe Romm an apology.

By Tim Lambert (not verified) on 04 Nov 2009 #permalink

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By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

I agree that the original Freakonomics book studied the effect of incentives on peoples actions ... it seems that the authors had an incentive (read: money) to write about a hot topic that would propel their book sales.

*sigh*

Matt, why is it that when we have substantive claims about Superfreakonomics' accuracy and integrity, it's a "smear"...

...but when Levitt and Dubner mention criticism from a "well-known environmental advocacy group" (implication: yelling hippies) and fail to mention it's the Union of Concerned Scientists (a scientific integrity group), it's not even worth issuing a correction?

As for ocean acidification, Levitt is on record saying it isn't a big problem because we can "pour a bunch of base into it".

Meanwhile, the Royal Society (which has been an esteemed scientific body longer than the US has been a nation) has a report on ocean acidification. A section of it, beginning on page 45 of that PDF (which is a mirror from the original) completely eviscerates suggestions of the type Levitt's putting forth here.

The ironic part? A key author of that report, whose research is cited throughout the part debunking Levitt, is Ken Caldeira.

You know, the scientist Levitt interviewed for his book.

But somehow, pointing this out is a "smear" or "issuing a fatwa".

See comment#27 for a link to more of the criticisms - not all of which stem from the climate chapter. (For instance, several stem from economics - it's odd how that one chapter out of both of their books is the only one that rejects their own conclusion that incentives will change behaviour, for instance.)

Forgot to mention: In Tim's next post on the subject, he addresses your first argument, and in his most recent one, he addresses your second.

Do the respectable thing and read the posts you're attacking, o humble Blog Warrior. They're even nicely categorized on the left, under 'levitt'.

A little quiz:
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By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

A little quiz:
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By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

A little quiz:
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By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

A little quiz:
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By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

A little quiz:
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By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

A little quiz:
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By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

A little quiz:
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By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

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By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

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By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

Point 8. I'm sorry but I think you're missing the point here because they are saying that waste heat will contribute to global warming. They're not saying that waste heat from power plants is causing global warming. I agree with you that waste heat alone is not enough to cause global warming but in combination with the greenhouse effect it does contribute to global warming. Think about it, how could excess heat not contribute to global warming?

"Think about it, how could excess heat not contribute to global warming?"

Average power density from waste heat: order of 1/1000W/m^1

Average power density from sun: order of 1,000W/m^2

It's rather like asserting "the friction of all these people driving around will contribute to global warming. How could it not?!?!".

Heck, the photon pressure on the top of my head will make me shorter. How could it not?!?!

Yet we don't consider that effect even worth mentioning, do we.

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By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

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By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

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By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

Interesting. Many, many comments here, some rather personal. Not much fact, but plenty of vitriol. Clearly there are some dearly held and heartfelt beliefs being debated. One might even say debated with *religious* zeal.

I think these comments show that L&D were right on at least one point...

By Mike Mahoney (not verified) on 20 Feb 2011 #permalink

Get back under the bridge, troll.

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By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

"This is misleading. The change in CO2 levels since the industrial revolution is caused solely by human activity."

Can you show that, and if so how? Were the global levels of co2 being monitored in the 1700's, and can you produce figures that show the growth of Co2 in Western Europe from say 1760 to 1850?

"One other quote from the dynamic duo in the original Freakonomics: âI donât know much about world oil reserves.â Apparently their approach is statistics through ignorance. So much for the idea that they were subject matter experts ... ever."

They don't claim to be subject experts on oil (or any of the other things they discuss). What they do is examine the data and deal with it in a rational matter.

As for peak oil, it's a myth.

"Today, oil is the most important and most valuable commodity of international trade, and its value to our civilisation is underlined by the recurrent worry that we are running out of it. In 1914, the US Bureau of Mines estimated that supplies would last only 10 more years. In 1939, the US department of the interior predicted that oil would last only 13 more years. In 1951, it made the same projection: oil had only 13 more years. As Professor Frank Notestein of Princeton said in his later years: "We've been running out of oil ever since I was a boy.""

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2001/aug/16/highereducation.climate…

R Evans:
>Can you show that "The change in CO2 levels since the industrial revolution is caused solely by human activity."

[Yes](http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/how-do-we-know-th…), that's why it is an established fact, disputed only by lunatics.

If you can show that it is wrong, instead of trying to shift the burden of proof write it up and submit it to a relevant peer-reviewed journal, then come back here and let us know when you get your Nobel Prize.

"As for peak oil, it's a myth"

Er, no it isn't.

http://www.texascenter.org/almanac/Energy/ENERGYCH7P2.HTML

As you can see, oil production in Texas increased over the years until it reached 1.2 billion barels/year in 1974.

Then, oil production went down, and down, and down, to 600 million barrels/year in 1993.
(Since then, it has dropped to 300 million barrels/year).

1974 is what is known as the "peak", because it is the highest production that was achieved, despite increasing demand, and production has fallen away ever since.

This is the characteristic pattern in the exploitation of any finite resource, with oil being no exception.

These are simple concepts which I successfully explained to my 8-year-old this morning, indicating that barring any serious mental illness or brain trauma, *you* too should be able to understand, REvans.

By Vince whirlwind (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

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By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

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By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

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By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

@Vince whirlwind.

The peaks hold for specific oil fields. However more oil fields are constantly discovered. Texas oil peaked in 74 because the price spiked in 73. Which is exactly the point Freakonomics is trying to make.

@op. As for faults, you should probably read your article again, it is filled with them.

"8) "The problem with solar cells is that they're black, because they are designed to absorb light from the sun. But only about 12% gets turned into electricity and the rest is reradiated as heat - which contributes to global warming."

This fundamentally misunderstands what is causing global warming. It is true that replacing coal-fired power plants with solar cells will produce similar amounts of waste heat, but global warming is not caused by the waste heat from fossil fuels but the enhanced greenhouse effect."

Yes the reason for the current global warming is CO2 emmisions. However, this doesn't mean that other things cannot increase the temperature as well. Ultimately what increases the temperature is an increase in the energy on the planet.
It is a well known fact that white surfaces reflect more light, and thus energy than their black counterparts (Grade school science here). This energy increases the temperature of the earth...
Where or not the net energy contribution from a suncell is positive or negative might be debatable, but that blacker colours increase the temperature to some degree cannot.

"9) "IV estimates this plan could be up and running in about three years, with a start-up cost of $150m and annual operating costs of $100m. It could effectively reverse global warming at a total cost of $250m."

Only if you think that you only need to run it for one year. In fact you'll have to keep running it for centuries. And if you ever stop, you'll get all the prevented warming in a decade or so. What could possibly go wrong?"

CO2 emmisions also hold a cost every year, in the 1000 of billions for 2 degrees. Also Annual operating costs mean costs you pay every year.

By Jonathan M (not verified) on 22 Dec 2011 #permalink

>Yes the reason for the current global warming is CO2 emmisions. However, this doesn't mean that other things cannot increase the temperature as well. Ultimately what increases the temperature is an increase in the energy on the planet. It is a well known fact that white surfaces reflect more light, and thus energy than their black counterparts (Grade school science here). This energy increases the temperature of the earth... Where or not the net energy contribution from a suncell is positive or negative might be debatable, but that blacker colours increase the temperature to some degree cannot.

Oh, for pity's sake. Is Jonathan M completely clueless about the relative contributions of human-released energy versus energy trapped by human-released emissions?! Or how little the presence of PV cells actually changes planetary albedo? Dude, put on your Google goggles.

As for the guff about oil, get a primary grade education about arithmetic from [Albert Bartlett](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY) (or [this version](http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=YWA64f09r6s)).

Sheesh, between Jonathan M's post and the Olaus + other troll idiocy on the [latest Wegman thread](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/12/wegman_one_of_the_scientists_t…), it's clear that the Silly Season has started.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 22 Dec 2011 #permalink

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By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

A little quiz:
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By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

WHY THERE IS GLOBAL WARMING

People in the USA, are being told by the U.S. government and media that global warming is man-made. If that is true, how can the government and media explain the high temperatures the earth has experienced in past years when there were far fewer people? Let us look back in the world's history: for example, between roughly 900AD and 1350AD the temperatures were much higher than now. And, back then there were fewer people, no cars, no electric utilities, and no factories, etc. So what caused the earth's heat? Could it be a natural occurrence? The temperature graph at the bottom of this article shows the temperatures of the earth before Christ to 2040.

In the book THE DISCOVERERS published in February 1985 by Daniel J. Boorstin, beginning in chapter 28, it goes into detail about Eric the Red, the father of Lief Ericsson, and how he discovered an island covered in green grass.

In approximately 983AD, Eric the Red committed murder, and was banished from Iceland for three years. Eric the Red sailed 500 miles west from Iceland and discovered an island covered in GREEN grass, which he named Greenland. Greenland reminded Eric the Red of his native Norway because of the grass, game animals, and a sea full of fish. Even the air provided a harvest of birds. Eric the Red and his crew started laying out sites for farms and homesteads, as there was no sign of earlier human habitation.

When his banishment expired, Eric the Red returned to congested Iceland to gather Viking settlers. In 986, Eric the Red set sail with an emigrant fleet of twenty-five ships carrying men, women, and domestic animals. Unfortunately, only fourteen ships survived the stormy passage, which carried about four-hundred-fifty immigrants plus the farm animals. The immigrants settled on the southern-west tip and up the western coast of Greenland.

After the year 1200AD, the Earth’s and Greenland’s climate grew colder; ice started building up on the southern tip of Greenland. Before the end of 1300AD, the Viking settlements were just a memory. You can find the above by searching Google. One link is:

http://www.greenland.com/en/about-greenland/kultur-sjael/historie/vikin…

The following quote you can also read about why there is global warming. This is from the book EINSTEIN’S UNIVERSE, Page 63, written by Nigel Calder in 1972, and updated in 1982.

"The reckoning of planetary motions is a venerable science. Nowadays it tells us, for example, how gravity causes the ice to advance or retreat on the Earth during the ice ages. The gravity of the Moon and (to a lesser extent) of the Sun makes the Earth's axis swivel around like a tilted spinning top. Other planets of the Solar System, especially Jupiter, Mars and Venus, influence the Earth's tilt and the shape of its orbit, in a more-or-less cyclic fashion, with significant effects on the intensity of sunshine falling on different regions of the Earth during the various seasons. Every so often a fortunate attitude and orbit of the Earth combine to drench the ice sheets in sunshine as at the end of the most recent ice age, about ten thousand years ago. But now our relatively benign interglacial is coming to an end, as gravity continues to toy with our planet."

The above points out that the universe is too huge and the earth is too small for the earth’s population to have any effect on the earth’s temperature. The earth’s temperature is a function of the sun’s temperature and the effects from the many massive planets in the universe, i.e., “The gravity of the Moon and (to a lesser extent) of the Sun makes the Earth's axis swivel around like a tilted spinning top. Other planets of the Solar System, especially Jupiter, Mars and Venus, influence the Earth's tilt and the shape of its orbit, in a more-or-less cyclic fashion, with significant effects on the intensity of sunshine falling on different regions of the Earth during the various seasons.”

Read below about carbon dioxide, which we need in order to exist. You can find the article below at:

http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/ice_ages.html.
FUN FACTS about CARBON DIOXIDE.

Of the 186 billion tons of carbon from CO2 that enter earth's atmosphere each year from all sources, only 6 billion tons are from human activity. Approximately 90 billion tons come from biologic activity in earth's oceans and another 90 billion tons from such sources as volcanoes and decaying land plants.

At 380 parts per million CO2 is a minor constituent of earth's atmosphere--less than 4/100ths of 1% of all gases present. Compared to former geologic times, earth's current atmosphere is CO2- impoverished.

CO2 is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Plants absorb CO2 and emit oxygen as a waste product. Humans and animals breathe oxygen and emit CO2 as a waste product. Carbon dioxide is a nutrient, not a pollutant, and all life-- plants and animals alike-- benefit from more of it. All life on earth is carbon-based and CO2 is an essential ingredient. When plant-growers want to stimulate plant growth, they introduce more carbon dioxide.

CO2 that goes into the atmosphere does not stay there, but continuously recycled by terrestrial plant life and earth's oceans-- the great retirement home for most terrestrial carbon dioxide.

If we are in a global warming crisis today, even the most aggressive and costly proposals for limiting industrial carbon dioxide emissions and all other government proposals and taxes would have a negligible effect on global climate!

The government is lying, trying to use global warming to limit, and tax its citizens through “cap and trade” and other tax schemes for the government’s benefit. We, the people cannot allow this to happen.

If the Earth's temperature graph is not shown above, you can see this temperature graph at the link:
http://www.longrangeweather.com/global_temperatures.htm

By Harold Faulkner (not verified) on 26 Apr 2014 #permalink