## Dogma?

I watched some of the Congressional hearing yesterday on Data or dogma? It consisted of evidence from four people who I shall politely describe as contrarians (Judith Curry, John Christy, William Happer, and Mark Steyn) and one person who had more mainstream views (David Titley).

I turned on just as Mark Steyn was pontificating about the scientific method and how great scientists of the past would be appalled by what’s going on today. Steyn is quite a commanding speaker, but utterly clueless about science and the scientific method. Judith Curry spoke a bit about being tossed out of the tribe. I didn’t hear John Christy say anything. William Happer, unsurprisingly, promoted CO2 and suggested that hospitals now measure temperature the same way as satellites. This would only be true if hospitals were interested in the temperature of the air around you, at different distances from your skin. David Titley did very well, in trying circumstances, and I thought some of the Democrat senators were pretty well informed. Eli was live blogging, while Stoat points out that

when you’ve got so few scientists you’re willing to listen to that you’re obliged to invite Mark Steyn to speak, then you’re the one pushing Dogma.

Ted Cruz ended the hearing with seven facts that the witnesses had laid out, to which there had been no effective response. This could be because, with only one non-contrarian, it was pretty hard to rebut all of the gish-gallop. On the other hand, it could be because some of the “facts” are not worth responding to, or he simply didn’t understand the responses when given. I thought I might respond, here, to these supposed sevens facts.

• CO2 is good for plants.

This is at best a simplistic truism. Plants, of course, need CO2, but that doesn’t make it good under all circumstances. As I understand it, some plants will indeed thrive under higher CO2 concentrations, others probably will not. Also, as David Titley pointed out, there are many other factors, such as heat stress and changes to the water cycle, that need to be considered. At the end of the day, this isn’t necessarily about showing that something will be definitively good or bad, but trying to understand how things will change, and the consequences of those changes.

• The Earth is greening.

Well, yes, the biosphere is taking up about 25% of our emissions. This is quite a substantial fraction of the total mass of the biosphere, so it is no great surprise that there has been greening. However, if you want more context, it’s worth reading Randa Myneni’s responses to Matt Ridley’s claims in an interview with Roger Harrabin.

• There have been periods in the past when there has been more CO2 in the atmosphere than there is now, and this was before the industrial revolution.

Well, yes, there have indeed been periods in the past when atmospheric CO2 concentrations have been higher than now. However, this was before humans were even present. Also, there is no suggestion that the only way CO2 levels can increase is through human activity. It’s simply what is causing it to happen now. In fact, part of our understanding of how our climate will respond to increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations comes from studing climate change in the past. There is no inconsistency here.

• Satellite and balloon data demonstrate no significant warming whatsoever for the last 18 years.

Well, this just illustrates a lack of understanding of what is meant by “no significant warming” and ignores swathes of other data that indicate that we have continued to warm. The satellite data is also very noisy, so typically requires quite a long period of time (more than 18 years) for a trend to emerge. Also, 1998 was a particularly warm year because of a large El Nino, so the “no warming for 18 years” is a cherry-pick. You can look at all of this yourself, using the Skeptical Science trend calculator.

• Satellite data is the best evidence we have.

Well, this is a bizarre thing to say, as it almost certainly is not. Eli has a post on why we shouldn’t trust some of the satellite datasets. Even Carl Mears at RSS says

A similar, but stronger case can be made using surface temperature datasets, which I consider to be more reliable than satellite datasets (they certainly agree with each other better than the various satellite datasets do!).

In truth, we have lots of different pieces of evidence that, together, indicate that we are warming and that the dominant cause of the recent warming is us.

• Sea levels rose more in the first half of the 20th century, than in the 2nd, prior to the significant increase in CO2.

I think this comes from Judith Curry who is picking a single study that showed that the rate of sea level rise may have been higher than now, for a short period of time, earlier in the 20th century. It’s discussed in more detail here, but most studies indicate that the rate now is higher than at any other time in the 20th century, and that it is now probably more than twice the 20th century average. Also, even if there were a period when it was faster, sea level rise is a straightforward consequence of thermal expansion and the melting of land ice. If we continue to add CO2 to the atmosphere, we will maintain a planetary energy imbalance, the energy in the system will continue to rise, and sea levels will continue to rise due to both thermal expansion and melting of land ice. It’s as simple as that.

• Apocalyptic computer models are profoundly wrong.

Well, no, they are not. You can read our Medium article, which includes a discussion of why climate models are skillful. You can also watch Gavin Schmidt’s TED talk. As David Titley said during the hearing all models are wrong, but some are useful. The claim that climate models are profoundly wrong is just silly, and calling them apocalytic is stupid.

Well, I think that’s all I can face. If anyone wants to add more in the comments, feel free.

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### 142 Responses to Dogma?

1. CO2 is good for plants.

Nutrients and water is also good for plants and they can kill plants and entire ecosystems.

Apocalyptic computer models

Models from Mars ravaging the Earth killing everyone in sight. I really hope he did not formulate it that way.

2. I should probably have linked to it. His closing remarks are here.

3. Willard says:

4. BBD says:

Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

5. To get the video of Willard you need to know that “CO2 coalition” is the non-profit of William Harper and “Peabody” is an oil company.

How much did the CO2 coalition get from Peabody?

Nothing. Well, okay nothing directly from Peabody, they [CO2 coalition] took some of my fee

That answer only seems to make sense if Harper got money from Peabody, not? Or am I missing something? That would then be inconsistent with his next claim that he did not get money from Peabody.

6. dana1981 says:

Titley’s explanation about the shortcomings of the satellite temperature estimates was good.

I also like to point out that we have thermometers directly measuring those same temperatures on weather balloons (radiosondes), and these show continued rapid warming over the past 18 years. Here’s RATPAC.

I think literally the only data set that doesn’t show dramatic warming is the one Cruz focuses on exclusively (UAH/RSS). Radiosondes show the lower atmosphere warming, surface stations show the surface warming, buoys show the oceans warming, natural thermometers (ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice, sea levels, migration patterns, etc.) show warming as well, etc. And frankly it’s only a matter of time before the satellites are brought into agreement with the other data. The odds that they’re the only correct data set are slim to none.

7. pbjamm says:

Dana1981 : it is clearly the correct data set to tell him what he wants to hear though. It works perfectly if you ignore the caveats and adjustments that the counter-science crowd attack so noisily in other temperature records.

8. Dana: And frankly it’s only a matter of time before the satellites are brought into agreement with the other data.

The priorities for the funding of science are set by expected scientific progress. There are no users for the tropical tropospheric temperatures that need the data, especially because the series is shorter than the radiosonde data. The most likely resolution is that the dataset we already expected to be buggy has a bug. That would also not lead to an improved understanding of the climate system.

For the climate “debate” finding the reason for the difference would be important, but that does not set the scientific priorities. Hopefully, someone will find the time to do this in their spare time.

9. dana1981 says:

Victor – I’ve heard rumor that such a paper is in the works. If one is published, I’ll immensely enjoy returning to this subject with the latest corrections in hand. Cruz et al. have effectively staked the entire denier premise on ‘satellites show no significant warming whatsoever in 18 years’.

10. 0^0 says:

Would you expect that deniers ever accepted a study that would put their cherished satellite temperature series into better alignment with radiosondes and surface temperature trends? ;)..

11. I think literally the only data set that doesn’t show dramatic warming is the one Cruz focuses on exclusively (UAH/RSS). Radiosondes show the lower atmosphere warming, surface stations show the surface warming, buoys show the oceans warming, natural thermometers (ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice, sea levels, migration patterns, etc.) show warming as well, etc.

There are nuances and corrections to ALL observed data sets. But the RAOB and MSU analyses largely tend to agree ( especially considering that RAOB is much more sparsely sampled and mostly over land ). The issue is not warming versus no warming, but that the warming rates are lower than modeled, especially in the upper troposphere and don’t tend to increase with height as modelled.

12. It is great that you have documented a response to this incredible abuse of power by Cruz and the Republicans in Congress. I am in awe of Greenpeace’s brilliance and the rank stupidity of William Happer (or is it some other character flaw?) in being caught in the act of being a scientist for hire for fossil fuel and anti-climate action political interests.

Of course these contrarians love to talk in woolly terms and hate to be challenged. Their arguments melt away whenever they are challenged by real scientists.

On ‘greening’ it is complex as you say but, for example, one paper in Nature is estimating a 6% drop in wheat yields for each 1C rise in temperature.
“Rising temperatures reduce global wheat production”, S. Asseng, et al, Nature Climate Change 5, 143–147 (2015).

Why such a big effect? Well, averages hide much bigger extremes like heat stress, and at the end of a growing season if accompanied by water stress too, the impacts mount up.

Most of the GOP will not openly defend Darwinian evolution by natural selection (many will openly attack it); yet it is proven beyond all doubt and one of the greatest discoveries in the history of science. So to see this committee presenting itself as somehow the guardian of the integrity of science is beyond risable.

13. dana1981 says: “Victor – I’ve heard rumor that such a paper is in the works. If one is published, I’ll immensely enjoy returning to this subject with the latest corrections in hand.

Another candidate for oversight by Congressman Lamer Smith.

If I would work in America, I would start publishing pseudonymously.

14. 0^0 says:

It is entertaining how Cruz speaks from the authority and insight coming from having mathematicians/ programmers/ scientists as parents..

http://www.npr.org/2015/12/09/459026242/scientific-evidence-doesn-t-support-global-warming-sen-ted-cruz-says

15. edaviesmeuk says:

“… sea level rise is a straightforward consequence of thermal expansion and the melting of land ice.”

It’s a consequence but it’s not that straightforward. There are also the effects of ground water extraction and damming to be taken into account. AIUI, they roughly cancel each other out leaving thermal expansion and melting of land ice but they’re of similar magnitudes.

I wonder if any imbalance between them might account for early 20th century sea-level rise.

16. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

What a fascinating set of performances.

From Christy, Curry, Happer, and Steyn we get a dog’s breakfast: red herrings, picked cherries, and thickly-sliced baloney.

The retired admiral, on the other hand, appears quite well-informed and reasonable by comparison.

Of course, the ‘skeptics’ will declare victory.

Except for Curry, who will grudgingly admit defeat – and then immediately blame the IPCC-consensus-police for it.

17. Fascinating isn’t it?

‘Skeptics’ lurve satellite data; even though—as Admiral Titley explained—it needs more interpretation, adjusting and generally fiddling about with by scientists to produce temperature information, than required by any surface temperature data—which is actually gathered from, cor blimey; thermometers.

18. eddavies,
Yes, I was maybe being a bit simplistic. I don’t know whether or not those other factors could have played a role in the early 20th century rates.

19. Ray says:

Listening to the Senator’s combination of distortion, errors and arrogant smugness was difficult to listen to first thing in the morning.

20. The other thing that really irritates me is the use use of the labels like “climate alarmists”. Liberally banded around during the hearing. One of the oldest tricks in the book is to try to make your position seem reasonable by use of emotionally charges labels to apply to your opponent (or their arguments) in a debate.

It is worth recalling some wise words from Robert Thouless as true today as when first published in 1930:

Once we are on the look-out for this difference between factual and emotional meanings, we shall notice that words which carry more or less strong suggestions of emotional attitudes are very common and are ordinarily used in the discussion of such controversial questions as those of politics, morals, and religion. This is one reason why men can go on discussing such questions without getting much nearer to a rational solution of them. …

Those who show enthusiasm in support of proposals with which a speaker disagrees are extremists, while those showing similar enthusiasm on his own side are called staunch. If a politician wishes to attack some new proposal he has a battery of these and other words with emotional meanings at his disposal. He speaks of “this suggested panacea supported only by the bombast of extremists”, and the proposal is at once discredited in the minds of the majority of people, who like to think of themselves as moderate, distrustful of panaceas, and uninfluenced by windy eloquence. Also we may notice that it has been discredited without the expenditure of any real thought, for of real objective argument there is none, only the manipulation of words calling out emotion.

Robert Thouless, Straight and Crooked Thinking, Pan, 1930 (revised 1953)

21. Interesting to read this word by word analysis of an interview with Cruz carries out on 9th Dec; if you can stomach it. http://scienceblogs.com/significantfigures/index.php/2015/12/09/everything-senator-ted-cruz-said-about-climate-change-in-this-npr-interview-was-wrong

22. Brandon Gates says:

TE,

re: C3/C4 plant response to CO2 levels — pro forma request for a proper citation. While you’re digging that up, I’ll assume for sake of argument that those results come from experiments performed under environmentally controlled conditions. Out in the wild we may be able to take some cues from this recent research (open access): http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50563/full

[2] Carbon dioxide is a primary substrate of photosynthesis. Increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations (Ca) are expected to lead to a CO2 fertilization effect where photosynthesis is enhanced with the rise in CO2 [Farquhar, 1997]. While a land-based carbon sink has been observed [Ballantyne et al., 2012; Canadell et al., 2007] and satellites reveal long-term, global greening trends [Beck et al., 2011; Fensholt et al., 2012; Nemani et al., 2003], it has proven difficult to isolate the direct biochemical role of Ca in these trends from variations in other key resources (such as light, water, nutrients [Field et al., 1992]) and from socioeconomic factors such as land use change [Houghton, 2003]. This complexity can be reduced by focusing on warm, arid environments, where water plays the dominant role in primary production and where foliage cover (F, the fraction of ground area covered by green foliage), plant water use, and photosynthesis are all tightly coupled. It is in these warm, arid environments where the CO2 fertilization effect on cover should be most clearly expressed. While widespread greening has been reported in these environments [Beck et al., 2011; Fensholt et al., 2012], the year-to-year variation in precipitation (P) at individual sites makes it very difficult to extract a clear fingerprint of the CO2 fertilization cover effect.

Ok, so what about non-arid regions? http://www.pnas.org/content/111/9/3239.full.pdf

A lack of available water for agricultural production, energy projects, other forms of anthropogenic water consumption, and ecological use is already a major issue in many parts of the world and is expected to grow all of the more severe with increasing population, higher food (especially meat) demand, increasing temperatures, and changing precipitation patterns. Although population growth is generally expected to slow in the coming decades, median forecasts typically assume that the world population will grow close to another 50% above the recent milestone of 7 billion people (1). Compounding population growth are major changes to diet as rapid economic growth in much of the developing world leads to increased wealth and demand for more processed food and animal proteins in consumer diets (2, 3). At the same time that demand for food and animal feed is increasing at a historic pace, countries are also increasingly turning to agricultural commodities as a solution to high fuel prices, energy security, and growing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Population growth adds further stress by taking land out of agriculture for urban development. For example, between 1982 and 2007, about 9.3 Mha of US agricultural land were converted for development (about 1 ha every 2 min) (4). As the availability of land for agricultural uses continues to stagnate or even decline, focus has shifted to increased land-use intensification and improved management to increase yields on existing lands to meet demand challenges and moderate some fraction of the negative impact of climate change (5–7).

Stripping out the GCM-projected climactic changes and alternatively assuming zero climactic change, population growth alone still suggests considering that water, not CO2, is the limiting factor.

23. Steven Mosher says:

Just wait until Goddard tries to look at raw satellite data.

24. MarkR says:

One of Cruz’ points has a simple response.

“There have been periods in the past when there has been more CO2 in the atmosphere than there is now, and this was before the industrial revolution.” [implication: humans can’t cause increased CO2]

There have been periods in the past when lakes formed and this was before we built dams. Implication: dams can’t cause lakes to form.

Or:

Real Madrid scored goals in the past before they bought Cristiano Ronaldo. Implication: Cristiano Ronaldo can’t score goals.

25. Willard says:

> That answer only seems to make sense if [Happer] got money from Peabody, not? Or am I missing something?

Happer may be assuming that money transfer is intransitive: if A transfers money to B and B to C, intransitivity forbids us to infer that A transfers money to C.

It’s a bit like when the Zuck writes to his daughter that he’s giving away most of his money, when in fact he only transfers it to a charitable vehicle he will still oversee. Ownership changes, but not power over it.

26. Under elevated CO2 most plant species show higher rates of photosynthesis, increased growth, decreased water use and lowered tissue concentrations of nitrogen and protein.

27. John Mashey says:

I’ve spent a lot of time following money trails, and it is very hard.
In particular, the Koch-related 501(c)(3) “public charities” often have murky finances.
CO2 Coaltiion is another George Marshall Institute front, since the yare rather recognizable.

Suppose somebody would do some activity anyway, like testifying to Congress,
This would cost them $X. However, if attached to one of these think tanks (Chairng is good), perhaps it would cover expenses, but that is not a transfer of money to that person, just payment of expenses (that happens to save them paying$X). If it happens that Peabody or somebody else makes a donation to that think tank, well, that’s tax deductible and no one ever pads expense accounts.
GMI and/or Competitive Enterprise Institute paid for at least one trip by Steve McIntyre to Washington, and quite likely others, as well as for McKitrick and Essex.

Then sometimes think tanks pay for books to be written, arrange for book prizes, or buy books to give away. Then there are honoraria for speakers.

But, absolutely none of these were direct transfers of funds from any fossil-related companies to any spokesperson. The right question to ask is “did any of your money originate with fossil fuel companies (including exploration, services and utilities), their employees (possibly retired) or private foundations with any connection to fossil industries?

28. Brandon Gates says:

No dispute, TE. Still no citation for your graphic? It occurs to me that rice and foxtails are not the only extant crop/weed species.

29. John Mashey says:

Some people don’t believe in citations.
Others seem never to have heard of Liebig’s Law of the Minimum and perhaps believe Sherwood Idso in, The Greening of Planet Earth (watch for a minute as the Sahara greens).

If you can stand it, watch further to see Richard Lindzen tag-team with German coal guy and offer the first known abuse of IPCC(1990) FIg.7.1(c). Altl this truth was thoughtfully provided by famed science insitution, the Western Fuels Association.

30. Brandon Gates says:

JM,

That greening animation looks suspiciously like model output. Hmm.

Perhaps TE thinks yield per unit resource trumps absolute resource availability under all conceivable future scenarios. One supposes at some sufficiently large concentration of CO2, plants actually begin to make their own water.

31. Magma says:

At the end of the hearing Happer goes out of his way to state that the UAH and RSS satellite-derived temperature records so loved by the skeptics are based on infrared measurements. If the best Cruz could do was round up an emeritus physicist who can’t even get the basic facts (blackbody IR vs. microwave emission) correct for one of the very few areas of climate research that fall within his (former?) areas of expertise, then the skeptics are truly lost. They can’t even claim “our best scientists are in Paris”.

32. Joshua says:

TVRJH –

=>> “Except for Curry, who will grudgingly admit defeat –”

???

33. Kevin O'Neill says:

SM writes:”Just wait until Goddard tries to look at raw satellite data.”

Ok, that blew my dinner all over the keyboard.

🙂

34. Kevin O'Neill says:

Magma – prior to 1997 the SST satellite measurements were infrared only. These were even incorporated into ERSST V3. But the Lower Troposphere satellite temperatures (i.e., the ones deniers always tout) have always been microwave. The infrared SST measurements were found to introduce a cooling bias (0.01C) and ERSST dropped them in V3b. RSS now produces two SST products; one MW only and the other MW+IR.

35. David Sanger says:

The Development of C4 Rice: Current Progress and Future Challenges
Susanne von Caemmerer, , W. Paul Quick , Robert T. Burbank

Science 29 June 2012:
Vol. 336 no. 6089 pp. 1671-1672
DOI: 10.1126/science.1220177

But it is really about genetic modification for a more efficient metabolic pathway for CO2 metabolism. It has nothing to do with increased atmospheric CO2.

36. Ethan Allen says:

The sweetest political theater moment?

Markey using the analogy of the space race and our competition with the communists (USSR) in the 50’s and 60’s. Markey’s statements start at 1:35:00 (look at Cruz’s face just before that, oh no here comes trouble). So the implications are rather clear, who are the current commies in that room.

Markey goes on and on about thermometers (what a marvelous ‘technology’ or some such) while talking to Titley but you can also see Markey looking directly at (or towards) Curry and Christly several times (it’s in you face time mofos).

Markey then flips the Cruz Galileo argument on it’s proverbial head so to speak (e. g. Titley is Galileo the deniers are the Church). At ~1:37:48 you can clearly hear Curry go “What?” (plus some other rather inaudible rumblings coming from the deniers).

Markey uses the word ‘communism’ or ‘communist’ again right at ~1:38:02 again at ~ 1:38:25 again at ~1:38:34 and again at 1:39:58.

Markey at ~1:40:21 ‘But the Republicans message to the World is – Houston we do not have a problem (someone at their microphone says ‘no’) – and that is the wrong scientific message – they are once again questioning the integrity of the scientific community and the basic scientific principles behind climate change. The truth is, the only thing that requires a serious scientific investigation is why we are holding today’s hearing in the first place … But the Republicans response to this existential challenge is to insist that the brightest minds of the United States of America who once figured out how to send a man to the moon and bring him back safely can’t possibly figure out how to generate energy from anything other then burning the cane plants that have been sitting underground since the time of the dinosaurs. But we all know that failure is not an option – There is no Planet B – we must solve this problem, the science dictates that we solve this problem. It is time to stop denying the science and start deploying the climate solutions.”

Markey ends his prepared statement at ~1:43:12.

At ~1:43:17 Curry sez essentially “W-h-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-h, I am not a Communist, I am not a Dinosaur, I am not a Denier and I am no longer an active Scientist.” (OK, I made that part up, so sue me.).

Food fight ensues.

Markey refers to or infers god versus man in Curry’s believes.

Markey defers to Titley for the actual climate science (not opinion polling as Curry had just previously mentioned).

Markey ends at ~1:49:33.

That, for me at least, was the best part of that whole Cruz induced farce.

37. Matt says:

“This would only be true if hospitals were interested in the temperature of the air around you, at different distances from your skin. ”

I was totally thinking this same thing when he said that! I really don’t get how a physicist with his credentials could say such a thing. I was so glad to hear Titley address the weaknesses of the satellite measurements, but Cruz went on as if the point wasn’t made (of course).

38. Joshua says:

Speaking of dogma:

Judith:

No one questions that surface temperatures have increased overall since 1880, or that humans are adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, or that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have a warming effect on the planet.

Cruz:

“CRUZ: So let me ask you a question, Steve. Is there global warming, yes or no?

INSKEEP: According to the scientists, absolutely.

INSKEEP: Sure.

CRUZ: OK, you are incorrect, actually. The scientific evidence doesn’t support global warming. For the last 18 years, the satellite data – we have satellites that monitor the atmosphere. The satellites that actually measure the temperature showed no significant warming whatsoever.”

39. Eli Rabett says:

Magma

At the end of the hearing Happer goes out of his way to state that the UAH and RSS satellite-derived temperature records so loved by the skeptics are based on infrared measurements. If the best Cruz could do was round up an emeritus physicist who can’t even get the basic facts (blackbody IR vs. microwave emission) correct for one of the very few areas of climate research that fall within his (former?) areas of expertise, then the skeptics are truly lost. They can’t even claim “our best scientists are in Paris”.

Happer was a UV/Vis guy. Believe it or not that makes a difference.

40. I haven’t had -and won’t have- time to watch all of the footage, so built up my impression from other accounts, including Eli’s blow by blow.

What really struck me is that there were five Democrat Senators asking questions and only one Republican other than Cruz himself. As a result David Titley did most of the talking, with the other four just, well, ‘witnessing’.

Cruz fired a dud with this one; he’s not looking good.

41. Brandon Gates says:

Joshua,

So Cruz completely ignores the testimony of one of his hand-picked witnesses in Judith Curry. If that’s not pathology I don’t know what is.

42. Marco says:

Looks to me like Turbulent Eddie ignores one enormous elephant in the room:
“…lowered tissue concentrations of nitrogen and protein.”

Great! More plants, but lower nutritional content per unit weight. So, each individual animal must eat more to get the same amount of necessary nutrients.

43. David,

But it is really about genetic modification for a more efficient metabolic pathway for CO2 metabolism. It has nothing to do with increased atmospheric CO2.

So the figure doesn’t really illustrate what TE was apparently suggesting? Who’d thunk it?

44. John Mashey says:

Brandon Gates:
No, I don’t think that was any real sort of model, I think it was a cartoon 🙂

Again: Liebig’s Law of the Minimum. Whether by the formal name or not, any serious gardener knows it and since I grew up on a farm, I knew the effect by the time I was 10.
People pressure gr4eenhouses with extra CO2 … assuming adequate sun, water and nutrients.

No amount of extra CO2 will cover the Sahara with corn.

45. Mark,
Indeed, Eli makes a good point. Republicans seemed to be avoiding the hearing.

46. John Mashey says:

Happer:
I don’t think people here know much about him.

1) For a decade, he has been Chairiman of the George Marshall Institute, the focus of Merchants of doubt, funded by Exxon, Charles Koch, Richard Mellon Scaife and allies, with an Exxon lobbyist and 25-year American Petroleum Institute exec as CEO (O’Keefe).
That is far more relevant to his testimony than his NAS-grade work on atomic physics.

2) He has strong views, as per Daily Princetonian January 2009:
“Physics professor William Happer GS ’64 has some tough words for scientists who believe that carbon dioxide is causing global warming.

“This is George Orwell. This is the ‘Germans are the master race. The Jews are the scum of the earth.’ It’s that kind of propaganda,” Happer, the Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, said in an interview. “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every time you exhale, you exhale air that has 4 percent carbon dioxide. To say that that’s a pollutant just boggles my mind. What used to be science has turned into a cult.”

3) Another silly climate petition exposed dissected the attempt Happer, Singer et al tried in 2009 to turn the American Physical Society’s vanilla climate statement into mush. They made a lot of noise, wrote to Congress, etc … and got less than 0.5% of the APS membership. mostly old males.
Happer and co were *very* displeased with me for writing that.. A bit later, Happer and co wrote emails to lots of APS members in a way that rather irritated APS leadership.

4) Later, in this profile in Science, Eli Kintisch quoted Happer, who by that time had calmed down somewhat:
“Will Happer, a physicist at Princeton University who questions the consensus view on climate, thinks Mashey is a destructive force who uses “totalitarian tactics”—publishing damaging documents online, without peer review—to carry out personal vendettas. Whereas Mann lauds Mashey for “exploring the underbelly of climate denial,” Happer says Mashey’s tactics are “contrary to open inquiry.”

All this should be adequate calibration, but if more is desired, look him up at DeSmog.

47. Pierre-Normand Houle says:

Judith Curry spoke about all the problems and uncertainties that we allegedly have with the surface temperature records. Her argument basically seemed to be that since there are many adjustments (TOBS, homogenization, etc.) then the error bars should be much larger, according to her own non-quantitative expert intuition, than they are reported to be. She insists about the need to “sort it all out” before we accept any Syrian refugees… I mean before we begin to think about curbing CO2 emissions. Then at 2:02:40:

Judith Curry: “…And so especially looking, you know, in the recent period, if we’re trying to sort out what’s going on with (bleep) [I can’t make out one or two words here] …the pause, we need to look at the satellite data. This is the best data that we have and it’s global. We need to sort out the differences between the satellites and the surface observations and then there is, hum, the numerical weather prediction, reanalysis, data simulation systems, that give us a global view. And we haven’t been using that for climate purposes and I think we need to. So the work is just starting in terms of trying to sort this out. And we don’t have…

Ted Cruz: (Interrupting) Dr Curry, you said something very important there and that(sic) you said the satellite data are the best data we have. Can you explain, as a scientists, why you think that’s the case?

Judith Curry: “Well (bleep) it’s global coverage. Hem… It’s not a simple measurement. You have to do, you know, a retrieval and waving functions and its a complex… hum… problem. But, it’s reasonably well calibrated and consistent over the last… thirtyish years…

Ted Cruz: (interrupting again) And not a single Democratic Senator has had any response to the satellite data that demonstrates their entire theory of global warming… for eighteen years hasn’t been happening.

Judith Curry: [Still impersonating Donald Trump] Yeah… I mean we need to sort this out rather than ignore it. I mean, this is what I’m concerned about.

Ted Cruz then immediately turns his attention to Mark Steyn because: “…you also are quite familiar with the cooking of the books… climategate… scientists receiving a whole lot of money to conclude global warrming was occurring and then adjusting their results to reflect that…” and he asks him for his help in analyzing the fraud manifestly unearthed by the (unattributed) Steven Goddard charts.

48. ehak says:

Re no warming according to measurements from satellites:

Then why the difference between TLT and water vapor? Here is one try:

“(1) it [water vapor] is indeed definitely tied to SSTs,

(2) but is increasing much faster than expected from constant RH, suggesting a problem with the TPW retrieval assumption of a constant specific humidity profile shape in the context of a warming trend, and

(3) how free tropospheric temperature doesn’t have to warm as fast as the surface temperature…it all depends upon changes in precipitation microphysics, which are not well understood.

The bottom line is that boundary layer vapor is not a proxy for tropospheric temperature…but it is a pretty good proxy for SST.”

Who said it?

Roy Spencer.

That means TLT cannot be used to state “there has been no warming”.

http://www.drroyspencer.com/2015/12/2015-will-be-the-3rd-warmest-year-in-the-satellite-record/#comment-203356

49. dikranmarsupial says:

Joshua quotes Judith: “No one questions that surface temperatures have increased overall since 1880, or that humans are adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, or that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have a warming effect on the planet.”

She does however know that some claim that humans are not causing atmospheric CO2 levels to rise, e.g. Salby (with a conditional “wow”) and has encouraged discussion of this question several times on her blog. A rather fine distinction there.

50. Pierre-Normand Houle says:

dikranmarsupial, Yes, I had also noticed how carefully crafted that was. She is quite careful not to endorse the claim that humans aren’t responsible for the bulk of the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration while avoiding to anger or disabuse the numerous Salby fans on Climate Etc.

51. JCH says:

ehak – you produce some really interesting graphs on the satellites. Intuitively, they’re BS on the GMST, but it’s great to see it.

52. Bernard J. says:

So there’s been no warming for 18 years? Really?

What about over the last 19 (or 20, or 21…) years? and if it has warmed over the last 19 (or 20, or 21…) years, exactly when did that warming actually occur?

Could Curry, Christy, Happer or anyone else in the Denialati with remnants of scientific qualification please explain…?

53. Only the satellite data set (you know, the one preferred by ‘skeptics’) shows anything that could be considered to eyeball like a pause.

Why don’t ‘skeptics’ show their scepticism and consider why the scientists didn’t ‘adjust’ that one when they ‘adjusted’ all the others? Very odd when you consider—as Admiral Titley described in his testimony—all the work scientists have to do to extract temperatures set from satellite data.

54. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

Joshua says:
December 10, 2015 at 12:19 am

TVRJH –

=>> “Except for Curry, who will grudgingly admit defeat –”

???

Just laughing at Curry playing the same victim-card that Curry’s been playing for years.
She can’t get any funding to do blog science. People call her bad names. Boo-hoo. So sad.

Curry casually accuses other professional scientists of fabrication (sausage making), groupthink, bullying, of personal betrayal (turning on her), and yet, clearly she expects to be treated politely, seriously, and with respect.

The beautiful irony of Curry sitting there in front of Cruz, complaining about the politicization of science is just too much…

55. Joshua says:

==> “The beautiful irony of Curry sitting there in front of Cruz, complaining about the politicization of science is just too much…”

It really is remarkable evidence of her disconnect…her testimony coming shortly after she offered support for Smith’s investigation, in a post where she decried the politicization of the science along with saying that she didn’t know how to ameliorate it.

Yes, a work of art and a thing of beauty.

==> “Curry casually accuses other professional scientists of fabrication (sausage making) ..personal betrayal (turning on her)…”

…McCarthyism, being analogous to jihadis, denialism….. there’s a long list.

56. mwgrant says:

Victor Venema wrote

Nutrients and water is also good for plants and they can kill plants and entire ecosystems.

I’ve been wondering why water has not been declared a pollutant by the EPA.

It is all rather silly.

57. Marlowe Johnson says:

I actually managed to watch the whole thing. head didn’t explode but some diet coke was sprayed on the keyboard.

what a gong show.

58. what a gong show.

Well, it rhymes with gong, anyway.

59. Ethan Allen says:

60. Brandon Gates says:

David Sanger:

But it is really about genetic modification for a more efficient metabolic pathway for CO2 metabolism.

Thanks for that.

ATTP:

So the figure doesn’t really illustrate what TE was apparently suggesting?

It gets worse. The figure TE posted shows a C3 crop plant and a C4 weed; the unspoken implication being that most weeds are C4. The reality is that C4 plants comprise only about 4% of ALL known plant species.

For those like me who often get this mixed up, the figure does accurately represent the CO2 fertilization response in that biomass generally increases more for C3 plants than C4 because C4 plants internally concentrate CO2 whereas C3 plants do not. A common feature of both types — and this is the big selling point amongst the CO2 is plant food crowd — is that elevated CO2 typically makes them more water efficient.

This USDA report from circa 2003 states one potential downside about as elegantly as I’ve seen, under 11.2.1 Rising CO2 and Weed Biology / CO2 Fertilization (p4 of the .pdf http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/60100500/csr/ResearchPubs/runion/runion_07a.pdf

Overall, the greater range of responses observed for weeds with increasing atmospheric CO2 is consistent with the suggestion of Treharne (1989), that weeds have a greater genetic diversity and, hence, physiological plasticity, relative to crop species.

Or to put it another way; that there are more weed species than crop species puts the odds in favour of one or several weed species gaining the advantage over crops in a regime of elevated CO2 and rapidly changing climate conditions.

Already we are seeing the difficulty of competing with nature, especially when our own hubris gets the better of us:

http://www.nature.com/news/case-studies-a-hard-look-at-gm-crops-1.12907

Since the late 1990s, US farmers had widely adopted GM cotton engineered to tolerate the herbicide glyphosate, which is marketed as Roundup by Monsanto in St Louis, Missouri. The herbicide–crop combination worked spectacularly well — until it didn’t. In 2004, herbicide-resistant amaranth was found in one county in Georgia; by 2011, it had spread to 76. “It got to the point where some farmers were losing half their cotton fields to the weed,” says Holder.

Some scientists and anti-GM groups warned that GM crops, by encouraging liberal use of glyphosate, were spurring the evolution of herbicide resistance in many weeds. Twenty-four glyphosate-resistant weed species have been identified since Roundup-tolerant crops were introduced in 1996. But herbicide resistance is a problem for farmers regardless of whether they plant GM crops. Some 64 weed species are resistant to the herbicide atrazine, for example, and no crops have been genetically modified to withstand it (see ‘The rise of superweeds’).

Still, glyphosate-tolerant plants could be considered victims of their own success. Farmers had historically used multiple herbicides, which slowed the development of resistance. They also controlled weeds through ploughing and tilling — practices that deplete topsoil and release carbon dioxide, but do not encourage resistance. The GM crops allowed growers to rely almost entirely on glyphosate, which is less toxic than many other chemicals and kills a broad range of weeds without ploughing. Farmers planted them year after year without rotating crop types or varying chemicals to deter resistance.

This strategy was supported by claims from Monsanto that glyphosate resistance was unlikely to develop naturally in weeds when the herbicide was used properly. As late as 2004, the company was publicizing a multi-year study suggesting that rotating crops and chemicals does not help to avert resistance. When applied at Monsanto’s recommended doses, glyphosate killed weeds effectively, and “we know that dead weeds will not become resistant”, said Rick Cole, now Monsanto’s technical lead of weed management, in a trade-journal advertisement at the time. The study, published in 2007 (ref. 1), was criticized by scientists for using plots so small that the chances of resistance developing were very low, no matter what the practice.

The parallels to industry funded CO2 cheerleading are downright spooky [1]; on that point, the money quote for me is the 2nd graf of the article:

Researchers, farmers, activists and GM seed companies all stridently promote their views, but the scientific data are often inconclusive or contradictory. Complicated truths have long been obscured by the fierce rhetoric. “I find it frustrating that the debate has not moved on,” says Dominic Glover, an agricultural socioeconomist at Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands. “The two sides speak different languages and have different opinions on what evidence and issues matter,” he says.

Amen.

——————

[1] Here I wish to point out that I am not categorically against GM crops, nor to the use of herbicides for weed control.

61. Magma says:

Ethan Allen: Thanks for that, it was surprisingly well done.

It’s a fact
Al Gore is a liar
The Sierras are on fire
Like they’ve always been

62. John L says:

Curry: “Apocalyptic computer models are profoundly wrong.”

Oh, I thought she believed that the dogma of the uncertainty monster precluded that kind of categorical statements….
http://www.skepticalscience.com/Mythic-reasoning-uncertainty.html

63. Brandon Gates says:

John Mashey,

A tragic cartoon at that.

Again: Liebig’s Law of the Minimum. Whether by the formal name or not, any serious gardener knows it and since I grew up on a farm, I knew the effect by the time I was 10.

I got the principle from first year chem via the concept of the limiting reagent. Thanks for showing me that there is a formal name for it in agriculture.

(Also thanks for the background info on Happer and your dealings with him, et al. As well, your long note on the minority of APS climate skeptics is an impressive bit of research.)

People pressure greenhouses with extra CO2 … assuming adequate sun, water and nutrients. No amount of extra CO2 will cover the Sahara with corn.

The USDA report I cited in my previous post (currently in moderation) says something interesting (p. 5 of the .pdf):

Although water shortages should not limit the response to elevated CO2, no assessment on CO2 response under flooded conditions is available for weedy species.

A statement which is ripe for abuse by those who persist in arguing that increased efficiency always trumps absolute resource availability. Logistic growth only looks exponential.

64. John L says:

Sorry for my embarrassing misreading, the statement in my last comment above was not from Curry… (But you would expect here to violently protest.)

65. Eli Rabett says:

Bernard J has a good answer to CO2 is life,

The next time somebunny tells you between the 5th and 12th floor that CO2 is not a pollutant because we breath it out reply

Right. There’s a reason why we breathe it out… We also shit, and shit is also great for plants, but too much of it in too constricted an environment…

See if that gets past the filter

66. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

Eli,

What too constricted an environment?
It’s only a trace amount of fecal matter!
And the geological record shows that Earth has been in way more shit that this in the past!
This is my floor.

If you think the filters are that permeable, urine denial.

67. Looks to me like Turbulent Eddie ignores one enormous elephant in the room:
“…lowered tissue concentrations of nitrogen and protein.”

Great! More plants, but lower nutritional content per unit weight. So, each individual animal must eat more to get the same amount of necessary nutrients.

Or it means with increased CO2, plants need less nitrogen fertilizer – another benefit.

Besides, I thought god’s plan was to hang out in the garden with naked vegetarians.

68. Tee-hee.

You science deniers sure don’t like photosynthesis.

69. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

I thought god’s plan was to hang out in the garden with naked vegetarians.

No plan survives contact with the enemy.
– Helmuth von Moltke

70. BBD says:

Marco said:

Great! More plants, but lower nutritional content per unit weight. So, each individual animal must eat more to get the same amount of necessary nutrients.

This does seem to be the case. From Currano et al. (2008) Sharply increased insect herbivory during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum:

The Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, 55.8 Ma), an abrupt global warming event linked to a transient increase in pCO2, was comparable in rate and magnitude to modern anthropogenic climate change. Here we use plant fossils from the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming to document the combined effects of temperature and pCO2 on insect herbivory. We examined 5,062 fossil leaves from five sites positioned before, during, and after the PETM (59 –55.2 Ma). The amount and diversity of insect damage on angiosperm leaves, as well as the relative abundance of specialized damage, correlate with rising and falling temperature. All reach distinct maxima during the PETM, and every PETM plant species is extensively damaged and colonized by specialized herbivores. Our study suggests that increased insect herbivory is likely to be a net long-term effect of anthropogenic pCO2 increase and warming temperatures.

71. jfchilds says:

Whenever politicians are asking the questions for a political hearing it is political.

One thing that I also note is the amount of puffery. Whenever there is a statement like “apocalyptic computer models are profoundly wrong” it is fairly straightforward that rhetoric is the dominant interest. Indeed, why even disagree?

Example: not said is, “computer models are wrong.” That would lead to some actual discussion and could be shown to be right or wrong. “Apocalyptic computer models are profoundly wrong?” Okay. The signal to noise ratio is beyond hope.

72. Jim Eager says:

Eddie manages to miss the bleedin obvious (no surprise that).

Increased growth with “…lowered tissue concentrations of nitrogen and protein” means all the extra CO2 goes into forming cellulose for taller, thicker stems and longer leaves, not more protein, meaning the plants need *more* nitrogen fertilizer to take full advantage of higher CO2, not less.

Dumb as a sack of rocks.

73. Brandon Gates says:

TE,

You science deniers sure don’t like photosynthesis.

You model-haters just don’t like appropriately complex ones.

74. Hee-hee.

Eddie manages to miss the bleedin obvious (no surprise that).

Increased growth with “…lowered tissue concentrations of nitrogen and protein” means all the extra CO2 goes into forming cellulose for taller, thicker stems and longer leaves, not more protein, meaning the plants need *more* nitrogen fertilizer to take full advantage of higher CO2, not less.

Is that why greenhouse growers suck all the CO2 out to grow plants?

75. Jim Eager says:

Eddie is blissfully oblivious to the fact that greenhouse growers don’t pump only CO2 in, they also add commensurate levels of nitrogen, phosphate and potash fertilizer and provide plenty of H2O and extra illumination so the crop can take full advantage of the extra CO2. Despite John Mashey pointing to Liebig’s Law of the Minimum, I’ll wager Eddie hasn’t bothered to look it up.

Still dumb as a sack of rocks.

76. Hee-hee. Sounds like you’re still in denial.

Good luck.

77. Bernard J. says:

Turbulent Eddie.

As others have already indicated, you need to keep up with the (decades-long) literature:

Response of rice production to elevated [CO2] and its interaction with rising temperature or nitrogen supply: a meta-analysis

We used meta-analysis to synthesize 125 studies assessing the responses of rice production to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration ([CO2]), and the interaction of elevated [CO2] with rising temperature or N supply. Elevated [CO2] significantly enhanced rice yield by 20 %, despite no significant increase in grain size and harvest index at elevated [CO2]. Belowground biomass increased at elevated [CO2] to a larger extent than aboveground biomass. Among the Japonica, Indica and Hybrid rice cultivars, Hybrid cultivars generally showed the greatest growth response to elevated [CO2]. The maximum enhancement of rice yield was observed at 600–699 ppm [CO2] with less benefit in studies with lower or higher elevated [CO2] levels. Rice yield responses to elevated [CO2] were smaller in FACE compared with the other fumigation methods, largely associated with lower photosynthesis. Increases in rice yield at elevated [CO2] were constrained by limited N supply. The detrimental effect of rising temperature on spikelet fertility and harvest index were not be fully counteracted by elevated [CO2] effects. Together, the results of this meta-analysis suggest that rising [CO2] and warming accompanied by low N supply are unlikely to stimulate rice production, especially with the current trajectory of emissions scenarios.

It’s not just rice – wheat too…

Responses of wheat and rice to factorial combinations of ambient and elevated CO2 and temperature in FACE experiments

Elevated CO2 and temperature strongly affect crop production, but understanding of the crop response to combined CO2 and temperature increases under field conditions is still limited while data are scarce. We grew wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and rice (Oryza sativa L.) under two levels of CO2 (ambient and enriched up to 500 μmol mol−1) and two levels of canopy temperature (ambient and increased by 1.5–2.0 °C) in free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) systems and carried out a detailed growth and yield component analysis during two growing seasons for both crops. An increase in CO2 resulted in higher grain yield, whereas an increase in temperature reduced grain yield, in both crops. An increase in CO2 was unable to compensate for the negative impact of an increase in temperature on biomass and yield of wheat and rice. Yields of wheat and rice were decreased by 10–12% and 17–35%, respectively, under the combination of elevated CO2 and temperature. The number of filled grains per unit area was the most important yield component accounting for the effects of elevated CO2 and temperature in wheat and rice. Our data showed complex treatment effects on the interplay between preheading duration, nitrogen uptake, tillering, leaf area index, and radiation-use efficiency, and thus on yield components and yield. Nitrogen uptake before heading was crucial in minimizing yield loss due to climate change in both crops. For rice, however, a breeding strategy to increase grain number per m2 and % filled grains (or to reduce spikelet sterility) at high temperature is also required to prevent yield reduction under conditions of global change.

And various peanut cultivars seems to suffer the same adverse responses:

Interactive effects of elevated [CO2] and temperature on growth and development of a short- and long-season peanut cultivar

Temperature and CO2 are two of the main environmental factors associated with climate change. It is generally expected that elevated [CO2] will increase crop production. However, other environmental factors such as temperature along with management practices could further modify a crop’s response to CO2. The goal of this study was to determine the interactive effects of elevated [CO2] and above-optimum temperature on growth, development and yield of two peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) cultivars, e.g., Pronto and Georgia Green. One of the objectives was to determine if there was any variation in response between these two cultivars with respect to possible adaptation to climate change. Peanut plants were grown in controlled environment chambers in the University of Georgia Envirotron under conditions of non-limiting water and nutrient supply. Plants were exposed to day/night air temperatures of 33/21°C (TA), 35.5/23.5°C (TA + 2.5°C), and 38/26°C (TA + 5°C) along with CO2 treatments of 400 and 700 μmol CO2 mol − 1 air. The selected range of temperatures was based on the temperatures that are common for southwest Georgia during the summer months. The results showed that LAI of both cultivars responded positively, e.g., 28.3% for Pronto and 49.3% for Georgia Green to elevated [CO2]. Overall, elevated [CO2] alone resulted in a significant increase in total biomass at final harvest across all temperatures (P < 0.0001), but decreased final seed yield (P < 0.0005), except for Georgia Green at (TA + 5°C). The higher temperatures compared to TA reduced the relative response of total biomass to CO2 for both cultivars. It can be concluded that final seed yield response to CO2 depends on the sensitivity of individual cultivars to temperature, especially during the reproductive development stage.

I could continue ad infinitum but I am sure that you are getting the picture and reconsidering your simplistic and misguided understanding of the ecophysiology of plant response to global warming.

78. Brandon Gates says:

Your ability to self-amuse is indeed prodigious.

79. Pierre-Normand Houle says:

I just posted this on Tamino (didn’t appeared yet) but it also seems relevant here.

Regarding the and UAH RSS divergence from recent surface temperature trends, did anyone catch this exchange on Roy Spencer’s blog? Unless I am missing something, Spencer seems willing to explain the divergence away though unintentionally admitting that UAH and RSS aren’t good proxies for surface temperatures! This, however, seems to leave unresolved the UAH/RSS divergence from RATPAC.

ehak: “…Highly correlated. But the TLT does not keep up with tpw increase during the latest years. There is also a lag where water vapor increases and decreases before TLT. So the big difference to the end (October this year that is) is a bit misleading. But it should give a clear indication of where TLT is (or should..) be heading. Anyhow. This is another indication that there is something wrong with RSS TLT and UAH TMLT. But the difference was clearly smaller in UAH TLT v5.6.”

Roy Spencer: “I have posted on the RSS total precipitable water (TPW) vapor trend before, and have discussed ad nauseum how
(1) it is indeed definitely tied to SSTs,
(2) but is increasing much faster than expected from constant RH, suggesting a problem with the TPW retrieval assumption of a constant specific humidity profile shape in the context of a warming trend, and
(3) how free tropospheric temperature doesn’t have to warm as fast as the surface temperature…it all depends upon changes in precipitation microphysics, which are not well understood.
The bottom line is that boundary layer vapor is not a proxy for tropospheric temperature…but it is a pretty good proxy for SST.
So please learn something about the issue, “ehak”, and stop making it sound like boundary layer vapor (which is basically what TPW is) somehow tells us what free-tropospheric temperature should be doing.”

ehak: “Guess what Roy just concluded. That TLT/TMLT is not a good proxy for surface temperature. That also means you cannot use the TLT/TMLT to judge the reliability of surface temperature indices.”

80. Marco says:

Jim, I think Turbulent Eddie is referring to us denying the possibility that he cannot be taught any basic biology, thus attempting to educate him without any benefit.

However, this means he denies the possibility that we already know this, and that the rebuttal to his claims are more for the benefit of others, rather than an attempt from us to educate *him*.

81. Pierre-Normand Houle says:

Hey ehak! I didn’t see that you posted this exchange here! I was quite impressed by apparent admission from Spencer. My post is now mostly redundant, thought I rose another question regarding RATPAC.

82. Victor Petri says:

Hi ATTP,

I was just wondering, but guessing you did, but did you read the Climate Change special report in the Economist of 28th of November?
http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21678951-not-much-has-come-efforts-prevent-climate-change-so-far-mankind-will-have-get

And if you did, I was wondering what you would think of it.

83. Grow Room says:

I’m a bit of an accomplished grow room artist. In fact, I invented the hydroponic grow room Eddie. Back in the seventies. Here is the deal. PLANTS suck the carbon dioxide out of grow rooms. The only reason grow rooms add carbon dioxide to greenhouses and grow rooms is that if they did not, the plants would suffocate in the enclosed space. In the summer, you ventilate to remove heat, in the winter, you close up to retain heat. Either way, you need to balance your gases.

Closed spaces with astronauts have an entirely different approach to balancing the atmosphere.

84. Admiral Titley reviews the hearing, here (interview): http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/ted-cruzs-ideas-climate-change/

85. elevated CO2 stimulates photosynthetic carbon gain and net primary production
elevated CO2 improves nitrogen use efficiency
elevated CO2 decreases water use at both the leaf and canopy scale
elevated CO2 stimulates dark respiration via a transcriptional reprogramming of metabolism
elevated CO2 does not directly stimulate C-4 photosynthesis, but can indirectly stimulate carbon gain in times and places of drought
elevated CO2 increases crop yield, though ‘not as much as expected’

Leakey ADB, Ainsworth EA, Bernacchi CJ, Rogers A, Long SP, Ort DR (2009) Elevated CO2 effects on plant carbon, nitrogen, and water relations: six important lessons from FACE. Journal of Experimental Botany, 60: 2859-2876

86. BBD says:

TE

The big picture is abundantly clear and includes elevated temperatures rapidly moving outside the optimum range for many key agricultural crops. There is also the huge issue of pests (fungal, insect and weed) and of course, altered rainfall patterns.

This CO2-is-plant-food meme is old, tired, denialist crap and speaking personally, I have heard enough about it for one thread.

87. This CO2-is-plant-food meme is old, tired, denialist crap and speaking personally, I have heard enough about it for one thread.

Sure does sound as if the denial is coming from you – I’m here to help.

88. BBD says:

As usual, TE is guilty of misrepresentation by selective quotation, which will by why – as usual – he failed to link to his source:

Lesson summary

Controlled laboratory and field chambers have provided an immense database on plant responses to rising [CO2] and, more importantly, insight into potential mechanisms of response. FACE on the other hand, which allows treatment of plants under field conditions at a realistic scale, has provided an important reality check. It has both shown where hypotheses developed in controlled environments do or do not apply, as well as insights into the mechanisms that may cause the difference. Overwhelmingly, this has shown that data from laboratory and chamber experiments systematically overestimate the yields of the major food crops, yet may underestimate the biomass production of trees.

89. BBD says:

Sure does sound as if the denial is coming from you – I’m here to help.

I asked you to go back and read the many references others have provided here but instead you instantaneously reply with a taunt. That’s tr0lling, Eddie.

Inline with the palaeoclimate evidence (see upthread), see Couture et al. (2015) Insect herbivory alters impact of atmospheric change on northern temperate forests:

Stimulation of forest productivity by elevated concentrations of CO2 is expected to partially offset continued increases in anthropogenic CO2 emissions. However, multiple factors can impair the capacity of forests to act as carbon sinks; prominent among these are tropospheric O3 and nutrient limitations1,2. Herbivorous insects also influence carbon and nutrient dynamics in forest ecosystems, yet are often ignored in ecosystem models of forest productivity. Here we assess the effects of elevated levels of CO2 and O3 on insect-mediated canopy damage and organic matter deposition in aspen and birch stands at the Aspen FACE facility in northern Wisconsin, United States. Canopy damage was markedly higher in the elevated CO2 stands, as was the deposition of organic substrates and nitrogen. The opposite trends were apparent in the elevated O3 stands. Using a light-use efficiency model, we show that the negative impacts of herbivorous insects on net primary production more than doubled under elevated concentrations of CO2, but decreased under elevated concentrations of O3. We conclude that herbivorous insects may limit the capacity of forests to function as sinks for anthropogenic carbon emissions in a high CO2 world.

90. Jim Eager says:

“This CO2-is-plant-food meme is old, tired, denialist crap”

It’s also completely irrelevant to CO2 as a greenhouse gas, meaning it is basically an “oh look, a squirrel” argument.

91. anoilman says:

Turbulant Eddie.. I love that Picture! I love it!

So… how big a tarp did you want to put over the planet to control the temperature? Where were you planning to get the water to make the plants grow in such controlled conditions? Pipeline from Pluto perhaps? Did you know that not all plants like the same growing conditions? Did you know that plants moved to new regions with similar profiles to their old ones died (life is more complicated than, add water, heat and food)?

Meanwhile back in reality, all CO2 improvements in plant growth require two things, no change in temperature, and no change in rain patterns (not sure how plan to make that happen);
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-air_concentration_enrichment

So, I ask again, where were you going to get the tarp from, and the water, etc. I’m open to hearing how you plan to reproduce greenhouse conditions over the entire planet.

PS, With such behavior from you, why did you change your name from Lucifer. It was a fitting choice you know.

92. guthrie says:

I’m sure the place TE is hotlinking the images from without attribution will be grateful to him for it…

93. anoilman says:

Victor Petri: I just read that article, and I thought it was pretty insightful for a historian to write. Its really just saying we’re not doing enough, we should just get used to it, and we should be investing in new tech to hopefully magically fix the problem in the future.

This isn’t a new message, its called ecomodernism. aka, “Do nothing, rinse and repeat.”

I’m not sure Anders is into the economics of renewables, but its a concern. It is an expensive but solvable problem;
http://scienceofdoom.com/2015/07/30/renewable-energy-i/

As for living with it.. that’s a crappy expensive solution. The Copenhagen Consensus calls for a massive increase in taxes to give to the poorer nations so they can adapt. Do you really see that happening?

Then there’s war… you can’t exactly ask your neighbor to ‘be reasonable’ when they are facing starvation. War is a perfectly reasonable response by any measure.

Global Warming tears at the very heart of what it is to be a civilized nation. We’re seeing a rise on extremist politics all over (Trump with his Neo Nazi Support), and we our militaries preparing for Global Warming induced war. How long can we do that for?

Renewables look cheap to me. Real cheap.

94. Brandon Gates says:

BBD,

As usual, TE is guilty of misrepresentation by selective quotation, which will by why – as usual – he failed to link to his source:

Thanks for chasing down that reference. The paragraph just above your excerpt makes an interesting point:

Equally FACE has revealed factors operating in the open field situation that were not or cannot be identified by chamber experiments, for example, increased herbivory and performance of herbivore populations (Holton et al., 2003; Hamilton et al., 2004; Zavala et al., 2008). Most important though will be understanding why our major food crops fail to achieve the improved production under elevated [CO2] that can be achieved in protected environments and by some non-crop species. Overcoming this could deliver a 10–15% increase in crop yields by 2050, an increase that could be critical with an anticipated 3 billion increase in global population coupled with climatic change adverse to crop production.

I’m reading that as: there COULD be a net benefit for SOME crop species IF already observed detriments can be negated AND adverse climactic change is in line with present projections. It’s not like those disclaimers are hiding in the fine print of the prospectus either.

95. izen says:

@-anoilman
“So, I ask again, where were you going to get the tarp from, and the water, etc. I’m open to hearing how you plan to reproduce greenhouse conditions over the entire planet.”

They have started in Spain….

TE just illustrates how dogma becomes delusion.

96. Weogo says:

Hi Folks,

mwrant wrote:
“I’ve been wondering why water has not been declared a pollutant by the EPA.”

‘CO2 is good for plants.’

This is true, if CO2 is the limiting factor.
If water, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, a host of other minerals, a reasonable climate or many other factors are limiting, then no, more CO2 is not beneficial.

In many crop/weed interactions, extra CO2 helps the weeds more than the crop. Not helpful.

If soil is flooded for a long enough time, roots cannot respire and plants drown.
Extra CO2 in the atmosphere can be a contributing factor to more severe droughts and floods.

Sometimes CO2 is good for plants you might not have a great appreciation for, like around here, Poison Ivy.

Overall, the greater weather variability and extremes from rapidly rising CO2 levels are more damaging to crops than helpful.

Thanks and good health, Weogo

97. BBD says:

@ Brandon G

Thanks for chasing down that reference.

Least I could do – you seem to have done much of the heavy lifting so far 🙂

@ izen

Terrifying, the Spanish thing. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, although I’m sure there are other polytunnel worlds elsewhere. We (the UK) have an entire nation’s worth of supermarkets full of Spanish veg from those projects.

98. Brandon Gates says:

Pierre-Normand Houle,

This, however, seems to leave unresolved the UAH/RSS divergence from RATPAC.

More discussion on this would be welcome given that our contrarian friends are constantly touting fidelity to (unspecified) radiosonde data. I gather that not all balloon data are created equal, that RATPAC is the gold standard and that the open question to S&C is, “Why did you chose THAT particular product for calibration over the more widely accepted one?”

ehak, I saw your exchange over at Spencer’s before you brought it here. It wasn’t immediately apparent to me how you’d pinned him … nice catch.

99. Brandon Gates says:

BBD,

re: heavy lifting — it was no trouble at all, esp. since the research helped me better understand the scope of the relevant issues. 🙂

100. anoilman says:

Weogo: Perhaps mwgrant is playing on the H2O is a stronger GHG meme. Kinda avoiding the water vapor feedback cycle thingy.

CO2 is a pollutant because its going to make mess of the planet, and be very expensive to deal with.

In the mean time, conservatives (such as CATO, Heartland, and Fraser Institute) want us to raise taxes a lot to help the third world adapt. Now that the issue has come to roost, you can bet you’ll see them complain about getting what they wanted.

101. Joshua says:

Brandon G –

Good to see you again.

Missed this earlier:

==> “So Cruz completely ignores the testimony of one of his hand-picked witnesses in Judith Curry. If that’s not pathology I don’t know what is.”

I would not say ignored. I would say that he simply felt no particular need to make his rhetoric in any way consistent with any aspect of the science. Why should he?

I would like to think that with Judith’s it’s a bit different. It’s not so much that she didn’t feel a need to make her testimony consistent with the reality of the context of the climate wars, but that she lacks certain skills for controlling for her own biases.

102. vp,
I hadn’t read it, and have only had a chance to glance at it. Seems reasonable, if maybe a little negative.

103. Michael Lloyd says:

vp,

Thanks for the link to the Economist article. Unfortunately, their main report is behind a paywall. Hopefully their summary is an accurate reflection of the main report.

aTTP,

Not sure I would describe the summary article as negative. Parts seemed fairly realistic and some parts were widely optimistic, and some parts were troubling.

104. Michael,
Yes, I probably meant troubling, rather than negative. I agree, though, it was fairly realistic.

105. 0^0 says:

Bernard J. on December 10, 2015 at 2:57 pm

So there’s been no warming for 18 years? Really?

What about over the last 19 (or 20, or 21…) years? and if it has warmed over the last 19 (or 20, or 21…) years, exactly when did that warming actually occur?

Could Curry, Christy, Happer or anyone else in the Denialati with remnants of scientific qualification please explain…?

Well.. The next meme is that temperature has been essentially flat for last 30+ years.. There was only a couple of years somewhere around 1998 when temperature rose.. So it is over 30 years hiatus.. Bulletproof logic… 😉

106. semyorka says:

I always thought\assumed that scientists retained their sense of being a part of a great history. Many people got excited about science in part from the great human stories from it, Faraday teaching himself as a poor bookbinders apprentice, Darwin headed towards the easy life of the scion of a wealthy Victorian family until his journey on the Beagle. Rontgen’s chance discovery of xrays. There are also the stories of the amusing elderly, once great scientists who get it wrong like Kelvin declaring nothing heavier than air would fly, or that most of physics was done.

Christy and Curry have to be aware that they are carving a place for themselves into science’s history. In 100 years time no one is going to be using fossil fuels, no one will be getting any benefit from them, there will be no one wanting to thank them. But even if climate sensitivity is lowish 2-2.5C they will be seeing large impacts from our fossil fuel use. It is very likely sea level will be rising fast enough to cause serious hardship to many of the worlds poor and densely populated regions. And given that the most recent time CO2 was above 400ppm sea levels were significantly higher, we are likely to see rising sea levels for hundreds of years. People will be looking for villains: they have set themselves to be among those villains.

Do they really imagine that peoples of the future will be writing them into history as the heroes who allowed unconstrained burning of coal for another couple of decades? Do they think that they will be forgotten from the histories of what science was saying in the 2010s?

Three ifs, if there is a low climate sensitivity, if it has largely positive benefits passed 2C of warming and if we constrain CO2 emissions to below 500ppm (and bigger if the ice sheets stop responding at about 1 metres worth of land ice loss although thats second if), then they may be remembered as heroes against unnecessary alarmism. But that is 3 relatively unlikely outcomes and no one around to thank them for being able to use fossil fuels. They are more likely to go into the history of science alongside phrenology, eugenics, Lysenkoism and darkest of all Deutsche Physik. These are not simply defending wrong science like geological catastrophism, luminiferous aether or phlogiston: theories that were merely wrong, but ideas riddled with political and socially motivated harm.

107. snarkrates says:

semyorka,
My experience of scientists is that most of them don’t really spend a lot of time thinking about what they do in a historical context. Most scientists are motivated by curiosity–they really want to understand what they’re studying. Some are gearheads–they get fascinated by the tools they are using–be they mathematical equations or cyclotrons. And then there are the egoists–of which Judy is a preening example. This type is the most dangerous, because they are prone to support theories in proportion to the attention it gets them. Hence they often embrace fringe theories. I think Lindzen also falls into the category. They’re unable to reap enough esteem from their peers, so they opt for the adoration of idiots.

As to Roy, well, he signed the Cornwall Manifesto, which pretty much is a confession that you aren’t really a scientist. I think he’s motivated more by religious faith and hippy bashing than curiosity.
Individual scientists have their own motivations and prejudices. These are bound to influence their research. However, in the product–the models and facts ultimately embraced by the scientific community–these individual tendencies tend to cancel. That is why scientific consensus is part of the scientific method.

108. mwgrant says:

weogo and anoilman,

Of course mwgrant didn’t write a word about CO2. As for H20, mwgrant was pointing out the silliness of the ‘pollutant’ matter. HTH

109. Willard says:

> mwgrant was pointing out the silliness of the ‘pollutant’ matter

Using a slippery slope argument.

110. mwgrant says:

Willard,

It is silly. Governments already regulate physical pollutants…yawn.

While there probably is a tendency of many people to think of pollutants as being chemical pollutants where deleterious effects arise for toxicity, etc., there are also physical pollutants that are controlled and regulated. Examples include fugitive dust emissions from construction sites and sediment pollution in surface water. Thus it is not difficult to conceive of excess levels of CO2 being considered a physical pollutant. However, there is one very large consideration: characterization and quantification of the deleterious effect* triggers. And that, Willard, brings one back to predicting of the effects…around and around and around…it gets old. The nutrient arguments are secondary and muddies the picture. If I wanted to argue against CO2 as a pollutant I would look at the quality of the predictions but that is already a main topic for some.

111. semyorka, even if the social consequences of climate change will turn out to be wonderful, you do not get into the history of science by doing bad science.

112. John Mashey says:

When I first saw the title of this post, I though it might be about a fantasy-fictional (1999) movie of good versus evil … but it turned out to be modern nonfiction video.
Well, I guess there was still room for fantasy.

113. Willard says:

> Thus it is not difficult to conceive of excess levels of CO2 being considered a physical pollutant.

The facility to conceive this undermines your “wondering why water” ironism, mgw. If we interpret this remark as an argument, it is indeed a slippery slope. Yawn indeed.

114. mwgrant says:

Willard

I’ll live. Perhaps next time I’ll employ a /sarc tag.

115. John Mashey says:

Exclusive: Elevated CO2 Levels Directly Affect Human Cognition, New Harvard Study Shows is an article about an early study (so always be careful), but read the whole article, as there is more.

116. Brandon Gates says:

Joshua,

I’ve been enjoying my participation, thanks. 🙂

I would not say ignored. I would say that he simply felt no particular need to make his rhetoric in any way consistent with any aspect of the science. Why should he?

INTEGRITY™?

It’s not so much that she didn’t feel a need to make her testimony consistent with the reality of the context of the climate wars, but that she lacks certain skills for controlling for her own biases.

Might also be she realizes that if she plays the “no politics in science” card on everyone that she’ll lose even more relevance.

117. anoilman says:

mwgrant: Again, I’m not sure where you get the ‘benefits’ meme from. FACE studies show marginal increases in plant productivity for key species (many crop other crop species die off), assuming temperatures don’t increase, and water stays the same. So… good luck with that.

The reason there are no concerns around how H2O is handled is that there are no concerns around it damaging the planet or really killing people if handled properly.

CO2 on the other hand causes global warming, resulting in sea level rise, and kills plants (because of global warming). We already have trillions of dollars in damage slated.

I believe CO2 was defined as a pollutant because the US congress was unwilling to legislate a solution, so the EPA cowboyed the issue.
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB124001537515830975

Its odd, but then real life tends to have these quirks. Like Americans declaring Tomatoes to be vegetables.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nix_v._Hedden

Which brings us full circle… I doubt there would nearly enough money or lobbyists to alter legislation for H2O. CO2 on the other hand, pays for politicians by the bucket load.

118. mwgrant says:

anoilman,

From where did I get the benefit ‘meme’? I didn’t, but please do not let that stop you. You have a fertile imagination.

119. John Mashey says:
120. Joshua says:

M-dub –

Left a couple o’ comments for you over at Judith’s crib…don’t know if you saw them….they don’t show up for hours sometimes because I’m being “censored” Oh, the humanity 🙂

http://judithcurry.com/2015/12/10/reactions-on-the-senate-hearing/#comment-750156

http://judithcurry.com/2015/12/10/reactions-on-the-senate-hearing/#comment-750148

121. Joshua says:
122. anoilman…

My that WSJ article left out a rather important Supreme Court decision which *required* the EPA to consider CO2 as a pollutant:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massachusetts_v._Environmental_Protection_Agency

Never, ever trust the WSJ on something like this. Leaving out this decision in describing how the EPA got jurisdiction over CO2 as a pollutant is like leaving Hitler out of how WWII started.

123. Sorry for the Godwin violation there…

124. 🙂

125. Kevin O'Neill says:

I think that duck’s a decoy.

126. anoilman says:

Mwgrant; Here’s your post where I got that from.
https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/12/09/dogma/#comment-69141

“While there probably is a tendency of many people to think of pollutants as being chemical pollutants where deleterious effects arise for toxicity…”

Too much CO2 kills plants, and is a danger. I recommend looking up the material on that, every species is different. The main crops do marginally better;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-air_concentration_enrichment
Others, not so much.
http://face.ornl.gov/results.html

As for the rest…
“If I wanted to argue against CO2 as a pollutant I would look at the quality of the predictions but that is already a main topic for some.”

There’s nothing new here. Predictions are spot on. (I certainly haven’t heard of any concerns, and I’m looking for them.) Sea level rise is accelerating. Ocean is acidifying..

I think deniers are the biggest source of toxic pollution.

Rattus\Willard\Mashey: I wasn’t Godwin Hunting.. Just hunting for an answer to a meme. I was more concerned around the fact that legislation is been slow to develop in the US.

127. Willard says:

> The duck’s a decoy

This one is:

“I am a skeptic,” said the first scientist. “I demand convincing evidence before I make an assertion. But I believe I can identify that bird, beyond all reasonable doubt, as a duck.” The journalist nodded silently at this assertion.

“I also am a skeptic,” said the second, “but evidently of a more refined sort, for I demand a much higher standard of evidence than you do. I see no irrefutable evidence to back up your assertion that this object before us is even a bird, let alone positively identifying it as a duck.” The journalist raised his eyebrow sagely.

https://drboli.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/the-duck/

128. mwgrant says:

anoilman…

physical pollutant…missed or selective quote on you part?.

While there probably is a tendency of many people to think of pollutants as being chemical pollutants where deleterious effects arise for toxicity, etc., there are also physical pollutants that are controlled and regulated. Examples include fugitive dust emissions from construction sites and sediment pollution in surface water. Thus it is not difficult to conceive of excess levels of CO2 being considered a physical pollutant.

Now why do you think I would use the term physical pollutant? Here is a clue: it doesn’t have anything to do with plants or nutrients, but it does have to do with physical processes.

The nutrient arguments are secondary and muddies the picture. If I wanted to argue against CO2 as a pollutant I would look at the quality of the predictions but that is already a main topic for some. [note: ‘some’ does not include mwgrant]

As far as the predictions go, I’m glad you are happy with them. An assessment of their quality at this time wouldn’t impact my comment. Perhaps if you consider (again) the more complete quote immediately above.

As far as what you speculations regarding deniers*–well of course that is completely irrelevant to my comments.
———-
*Whoever or whatever you think they are.

I just read that article, and I thought it was pretty insightful for a historian to write. Its really just saying we’re not doing enough, we should just get used to it, and we should be investing in new tech to hopefully magically fix the problem in the future.

This isn’t a new message, its called ecomodernism. aka, “Do nothing, rinse and repeat.”

I just read it too, and agree it was insightful, but nothing than hasn’t been said before. I disagree that it’s ecomodernism ala Lomborg, however. It’s more like resigned realism. My take-away is that the author fully expects warming to exceed 2 degrees C, and that impacts will be more or less severe depending on (e.g.) geography, but that almost everyone will pay a cost eventually:
Joel Budd:

Barring a global catastrophe or the spectacular failure of almost every climate model yet devised, though, emissions of greenhouse gases will warm the world by more than 2[degrees]C.

Climate change will not be bad for everything and everyone. Some cold countries will find that their fields can grow more crops; others will see fish migrate into their waters. With its ocean-moderated climate, Britain stands out as exceptionally favoured. Yet bad effects will increasingly outnumber benign ones almost everywhere. Some organisms will run into trouble well before the 2[degrees]C limit is breached.

He’s not saying we should do nothing, only that nobody should expect to come out unscathed.

130. John Mashey says:

“With its ocean-moderated climate, Britain stands out as exceptionally favoured. ”
Ahh, yes, UK, surrounded by water, with its main city near sea level with a river running through it, other coastal areas, and a few storms here and there … no problem.

John Mashey:

Ahh, yes, UK, surrounded by water, with its main city near sea level with a river running through it, other coastal areas, and a few storms here and there … no problem.

Yeah, I stumbled a little on that too. It would be more honest to say Britain is “relatively less vulnerable” rather than “exceptionally favoured”.

Dang! Oh, for a preview feature…

133. Fixed it 🙂

134. per says:

“Well, this just illustrates a lack of understanding of what is meant by “no significant warming” and ignores swathes of other data that indicate that we have continued to warm. ”

Interesting physics. There’s been no warming but there’s warming. Is that a new law in tnermo dynamics>

135. per,
I’ll give a serious response, but am not convinced it’s worth it. The claim of no significant warming is typically based on the $2\sigma$ confidence interval intercepting zero. Given the intrinsic variability in the data, this is no great surprise, given that you’d need at least 15 year or so, for surface temperature datasets, and longer for satellite datasets, before you’d expect the trend to be statistically different from zero. The best one can say is that one can’t rule out that there’s been no warming, but you also can’t rule out that there has been warming (since you’d can’t reject a null of warming either), so it’s a rather weak claim. So, no it’s not a new law in termodynamics, it’s simply basic hypothesis testing.

Oh, and I keep deleting your other comment, so maybe you can stop making it.

136. semyorka says:

The UAH numbers for February are going to be interesting to watch.

Channel 6 has been showing an anomaly of 0.5-1C for much of the month.
https://ghrc.nsstc.nasa.gov/amsutemps/amsutemps.pl?r=003
Perhaps the satellite data may not be quite so in vogue with our friends in a few months? Or perhaps the final numbers do not tie up as closely to the daily ones.

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