Extremist Global Warming Paper Taken Down

The Guardian reports that a paper that report predicting that global temperatures would rise by 2.4oC or more by 2020, has now been dropped from the
Eurekalert!, a news service operated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). It was checked by Osvaldo Canziani, Nobel-prize winner and a former co-chair of the UNIPCC.

Problems with the report are

Expert Review

The report was meant to have been checked by Canziani. At a minimum that means that the reports major prediction is validated. As it was based upon the UNIPCC climate assessment report of 2007, then any figures that were substantially out of line should have been carefully justified. Instead, the author, Ms Liliana Hisas, says that instead of withdrawing the report

We are just going to go ahead with it. I don’t have a choice now. The scientist I have been working with checked everything and according to him it’s not wrong.

Therefore, the report is correct because a distinguished person put their name to it. However, they appear not have done basic checks, so the validation process has failed. Very much like the peer review

Ignoring Adaptation

The claim that the 900 million people extra people by 2020 will go hungry relies on some ignoring some basic adaptive facts.

  1. Changes in climate can be partly met by changes in crops. A slightly warmer climate in Europe can be met be changes in crop varieties.
  2. One of the countries with lower yields across crop varieties is Brazil. Having visited Brazil a number of times, I have observed vast tracts of farm land that are underutilized. I have picked oranges from trees that act as wind breaks, and where most of the fruit rots. I have sampled star fruit and large avocados from trees where the fruit is never commercially harvested. Similarly for large papaya, watermelons, bananas and cassava. Increased food prices have been, and will continue to increase outputs. It is not just in Brazil, but in the Russian Steppes, much of Africa and the plains of Canada that agricultural productivity can be increased.
  3. Low productivity is more often due to poor economic policies than natural factors. In the extreme, the greatest famines of the twentieth century are due to the collectivization of agriculture. Even the lesser famine of Ethiopia in 1984, where “only” 500,000 died was partly due to the collectivization policies of the communist government, and the need to feed the city populations where disaffection was centred.

Ignoring the Burden of Government

The claim that the 900 million people extra people by 2020 will go hungry relies not only on the rapid warming claim, but also upon no change in government policy. World food prices have doubled in the last few years due to vast areas being given over to growing fuel for cars. Repealing the subsidies and ethanol content regulations in fuel will release vast acres for food production. Back to Brazil, there are thousands of square miles given over to sugar cane production for ethanol production. Growing food instead in Brazil would probably close half the global gap. In Europe, where the less productive sugar beet is grown for ethanol (or USA where maize is used), then switch to food production could have similar dramatic impacts on food production. A lesser increase in productivity could be made from abandoning organic farming for more intensive varieties. Most studies have shown no difference in quality, or health effects with artificially-fertilized production. Also, by adapting more GM crops, which can vastly increase productivity and provide greater resistance to extreme weather.

Extreme position also requires Extreme Climate Disruption

The claim that the 900 million people extra people by 2020 will go hungry relies is based not only on the rapid warming claim, but also that this results in extreme weather and changed climate patterns. Even if we accept that the 2.4oC+ of warming is likely, the forecast changes in the weather as a result are speculative. Any mitigation policy should cost these as a risk, not as a certainty. The likely cost therefore should be weighted downwards by a risk factor.

Alarmist Policies Discriminate Against the Poor

The report is from a group trying to justify more intensive mitigation policies, whilst believing “in the need for a more equitable society, especially for those living under underprivileged circumstances.” That means that they should consider whether the policies will leave the poor in a worse position than if nothing was done at all. But the main policies of Cap-n-Trade or a Carbon Tax are highly regressive. It is those on the margin who will have to give up their cars and central heating, or hundreds of millions in developing countries who will be denied the opportunities to every obtain what is viewed as the staples of life in Europe. To work, both must impose economic pain, and that pain is greatest for the poor. Furthermore, if policies are imposed that are ineffective in controlling CO2, (such as windmills) then society as a whole will be made poorer for no benefit.

 

The Universal Ecological Fund (Fundación Ecológica Universal FEU-US) has produced an extremist report in more ways than just having a silly forecast. In failing to consider the wider adaptive ability of the human race, it is overstates both the likely consequences, whilst understating the harm to the poor of the policies it advocates. The author states

“Scientific information is usually not easy to understand. Communicating climate change is often also complicated. As a result, the understanding of climate change has led to misconceptions.”

 

A report that spreads undue alarmism is the enemy of true science, and will entrench the misconceptions.

 

 

Donna Laframboise at

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3 Comments

  1. rogerthesurf

     /  20/01/2011

    “Communicating climate change is often also complicated. As a result, the understanding of climate change has led to misconceptions.”

    Its funny that their are very little if any discussion on the cost of reducing CO2 emissions to us, the normal tax payers of the world.

    So I had a go.

    If you disagree with what I say, please comment.

    I think that we are in the grip of the biggest and most insane hoax in history, and unless the public get wise to it soon, we will all be parted from what wealth we have.

    In the absence of sufficient alternative solutions/technologies, the only way western countries can ever attain the IPCC demands of CO2 emissions reduced to 40% below 1990 levels, (thats about 60% below todays) is to machine restrictions on the use of fossil fuels. Emission Trading schemes are an example.

    As the use of fossil fuels is roughly linear with anthropogenic CO2 emissions, to attain a 60% reduction of emissions , means about the same proportion of reduction of fossil fuel usage, including petrol, diesel, heating oil, not to mention coal and other types including propane etc.

    No matter how a restriction on the use of these is implemented, even a 10% decrease will make the price of petrol go sky high. In otherwords, (and petrol is just one example) we can expect, if the IPCC has its way, a price rise on petrol of greater than 500%.
    First of all, for all normal people, this will make the family car impossible to use. Worse than that though, the transport industry will also have to deal with this as well and they will need to pass the cost on to the consumer. Simple things like food will get prohibitively expensive. Manufacturers who need fossil energy to produce will either pass the cost on to the consumer or go out of business. If you live further than walking distance from work, you will be in trouble.
    All this leads to an economic crash of terrible proportions as unemployment rises and poverty spreads.
    I believe that this will be the effect of bowing to the IPCC and the AGW lobby. AND as AGW is a hoax it will be all in vain. The world will continue to do what it has always done while normal people starve and others at the top (including energy/oil companies and emission traders) will enjoy the high prices.

    Neither this scenario nor any analysis of the cost of CO2 emission reductions is included in IPCC literature, and the Stern report which claims economic expansion is simply not obeying economic logic as it is known in todays academic world.

    The fact that the emission reduction cost issue is not discussed, leads me to believe that there is a deliberate cover up of this issue. Fairly obviously the possibility of starvation will hardly appeal to the masses.

    You may also notice that I have not even included the IPCC proposed wealth transfers from western economies to less developed nations in this comment.

    AGW is baloney anyway!

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

    Reply
    • manicbeancounter

       /  20/01/2011

      I do not think it is the biggest and most insane hoax in history. It is something deeper than that.
      To make a proper case for the current mitigation policies you need to do the following.

      First to demonstrate that CO2 and other greenhouse gases can cause a bit of warming, and how much
      AND THEN
      Show that this small temperature rise will lead to an increase in water vapour at high level to cause massive positive feedbacks (despite negative feedbacks being the norm in science)
      AND THEN
      Show that this warming will be of massive net harm to humanity and the planet (and that neither human society, nor the other creatures, nor plants will be able to adapt – despite much evidence to the contrary)
      AND THEN
      Show that mitigation policies – carbon taxes, cap n’ trade, subsidies to “clean” energy – will reduce greenhouse gases in THEORY, so long as all countries participate.
      AND THEN
      Show that when most of the emerging nations, particularly China and India, do nothing to curb emissions, that curbing emissions in theory will still work for the OECD countries.
      AND THEN
      Show that the governments pursuing the policies are capable of delivering the theoretical results. That is only taking on policies that meet the cost criteria laid down by the IPCC or Stern. Then project managing in fine detail and quickly ending failing projects.

      As well as making the case for each of Forecast, Consequences, Policy theory and policy Implementation (FCPI), it must be combined together to show that, on balance, there is an expectation that the policy outcome will be better than if nothing was done. I believe that it is only on the basis of extreme and untenable assumptions in ALL of these four areas that the current policies can be justified.

      My concern is that the “consensus” quickly grasps onto obscure bits of detail, or fine points of theory, or relies on prestige and opinion when challanged. Alternatively they question the motives of the critics.

      You are quite right – it is a cost issue. Once the Climate Scientists have done a robust forecast of climate catastrophy with the consequences if no adaptation is made, they leave the room. It is then the job of economists to devise the optimal policy, for independent others to question the assumptions. It is then for accountants to audit the policy and the project managers to make sure that objectives are met. Those who have an ideological hatred to economic growth and prosperity, or wish to redistribute resources, or have pet projects to promote need to be excluded, for they will add to the costs and reduce the benefits.

      Lastly

      Reply

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