2008 Year in review

Way back at the end of 2006, we did a review of the year’s climate science discussion. It’s that time of year again and so we’ve decided to give it another go. Feel free to suggest your own categories and winners…

Most clueless US politician talking about climate change (with the exception of Senator Inhofe who’d always win):

Sarah Palin:

Well, we’re the only Arctic state, of course, Alaska. So we feel the impacts more than any other state, up there with the changes in climates. And certainly, it is apparent. We have erosion issues. And we have melting sea ice, of course. [….] You know there are – there are man’s activities that can be contributed to the issues that we’re dealing with now, these impacts. I’m not going to solely blame all of man’s activities on changes in climate.

Most puzzling finding from 2006 that has yet to be convincingly replicated:

Methane from plants

Most reckless extrapolation of short term trends:

Michael “All global warming has been erased” Asher (Daily Tech)

This year’s most (unsurprisingly) abused study:

Keenlyside et al. initialised climate forecasts (and no, they didn’t take our bet).

Climate scientist with biggest disconnect between his peer-reviewed papers and his online discussions:

Roy Spencer

Most worn out contrarian cliche:

The “Gore Effect”. This combines the irrelevant confusion of climate with weather and the slightly manic obsession with Al Gore over the actual science. Do please grow up.

Most bizarre new contrarian claim:

Global warming is caused by undersea volcanoes (and pirates!).

The S. Fred Singer award for the most dizzying turn-around of a climate pseudo-skeptic:

Dennis Avery: “Global warming is likely to continue” (2006) , to global warming is “unstoppable” (2006), to “Say Good-Bye To Global Warming And Hello To Global Cooling!” (2008).

Pottiest peer on the contrarian comedy circuit:

Viscount Monckton of Brenchley

Least unexpected observations:

(Joint winners) 2008 near-record minima in Arctic sea ice extent, last decade of record warmth, long term increases in ocean heat content, record increases in CO2 emissions.

Most consistently wrong media outlet:

The Australian (runner-up the UK Daily Telegraph). Both comfortably beating out the perennial favorite, the Wall Street Journal – maybe things have really changed there?

Best actual good news:

The grown-ups being back in charge starting January 20 (compare with this).

Most inaccurate attempted insinuation about RealClimate:

‘The Soros-funded Realclimate.org’ Chris Horner

Most revealing insight into some US coal companies and year’s best self parody:

Frosty the Coalman (video available here)

Most disturbing trend for science journalism:

The axing of dedicated science units at CNN, the Weather Channel and elsewhere. Can Climate Central and blogging journalists take up the slack?

Happy New Year to all of our readers!

297 comments on this post.
  1. Mark:

    Ray, 137, however, that exponential rate really does require more than one child per couple. It is only really exponential when it’s more than 2 children per parent. Anything less than that and the exponent is limited by other activities such as “increasing age before death” and “having kids younger”.

  2. J.S. McIntyre:

    re 150

    Okay, look, you are really all over the place, and I’m not interested in discussion or debate with someone who continually shifts the goalposts re the conversation. The more you post, the less comprehensible you become. You’ve done nothing to actually address rebuttals to your original contention re the relationship between population growth and energy growth, instead flying off on increasingly odd tangents. Put another way, you are wasting my time, so sans anything on your part actually related to what we were discussing, and given your unwillingness to coherently address specific responses to you, I see no point in continuing what is, in essence, a fruitless exercise.

    Have a better day…

  3. J.S. McIntyre:

    Oh, one final remark re 150 – Alan, I am anything but an optimist re the outlook for us in terms of sustainability.

    If you were actually paying attention to what i have been commenting on and about, you might have caught on to that little detail. My pessimism was, after all, the underlying theme of the first post you responded to, and much of what I had to say thereafter…

  4. Ray Ladbury:

    Mark, actually no. The rate is a product of the cohort having children and the fertility rate. Even when the latter drops below 1, the former can still keep the rate from declining for awhile. True, it may not be exponentially increasing, but it will still increase for awhile.
    The other thing to consider is that when population actually starts to decrease, you have big problems to contend with there–not just aging population, but deflation… In the Middle Ages, declining population was one of the things that led to serfdom in Europe.

  5. Doug Mackie:

    I wanna play too re “Jon”.
    dilbert 10/27/06

  6. FurryCatHerder:

    In re 140:

    There are several factors to consider, regarding the link you provided:

    1). There is no room for growth in demand because supply is going to do nothing but go down from now until forever. If countries try to increase production anyway, the oil fields will be damaged and long term production will suffer. They are damned if they do, and they are damned if they do anyway.

    2). Fossil fuels are cheaper at the margins at the present time, and that’s all. There are many sources of energy which are not that much more expensive which are available for building out right now. The good news is that these technologies are getting cheaper and more plentiful while fossil fuels are getting more expensive and more scarce.

    3). I’ve personally cut my consumption from the grid by some obscene amount, and that includes after buying an electric motorcycle and charging it on a regular basis. When I buy an electric car next year, if my grid consumption goes up, I know how to make more — the value of electricity for transportation is far in excess of the cost of making it using renewable resources. The corollary is that anyone who buys a gasoline-only powered vehicle today is an idiot.

    All of this is available now.

    (reCaptcha sez: “dined recovery”. Walk around the block?)

  7. Mark:

    Ray 154. For how long? Take a look at my extra-simple example in post #135 and the one in #136.

    Unless the people were dying off ding-dong in adult and middle age, there’s no change. Kids dying is the major reason for low average ages in the developing world and if you only allowed one child, this doesn’t affect population growth figures by being completely eradicated. People of an age older than the usual first-child production age are a short term addition to the population and past a certain age, there’s no more headroom for growth.

    2 parents producing one child is going to produce a linear increase in population AT BEST and only for the very short term. Worse, where only one child is allowed, girl children are killed off or aborted so that the family name goes on (the reason why girl children mortality is so high is killing off unneeded girls). But the population replacement is based on the female population. Which is worse in most of the indian and chinese cultures that you state are growing.

    They may be increasing population but if they are then they are increasing the life of their people MASSIVELY to make a difference from the extra-low population replacement.

    For people who normally make a good point, you’re failing here. Especially Hank’s pithy (and wrong) “at what age” quip. developing worlds already have a low age for first pregnancy. The body can’t drop a sprog much earlier in the face of merely better nutrition.

  8. Alan Neale:

    Re #152 and #153. My apologies for being all over the place and less then a good arguer and dicusser with you on this occassion. I have just read your original post again and looked at mine. I thought there was a deep connection regarding population, the increase in it since the active use of fossil fuels and the onset of the industrial revolution as it has increased yields of crops via automation and the making of inorganic fertilisers, provided large scale warming of homes and our abilty to build them more quickly and more of them, large scale sanitation which has reduced infant mortality and medical science which has increased longevity (2.5 years for every decade that passes as I have read) and other factors too.


    The population of Europe and North America does seem to have grown significantly since the times I mentioned (1850 for 1.2 billion) and our useage of oil, gas and coal is reflected in the population growth. Now that China and India want to grow with us as you have stated and I agree with but there is not the fossil fuels to fuel them to western levels of prosperity still economically and politically could spell trouble for the climate.

    Sorry for the optimistic accusation. I believe that we agree in the main and it has kept me awake to. I must have posted something inherently repugnant, sorry.

    My apologies.

  9. Barton Paul Levenson:

    simon abingdon writes:

    #111 Barton, no doubt your model is an admirable piece of work. I’m surprised though that it does not include Cb clouds which often extend throughout the troposphere from sea level to the tropopause, nor the effect of cyclones or other weather patterns for example. What fresh insights do you expect your model to confer? Predictions of the worldwide incidence of thunderstorms and the electrical energies they generate, perhaps?

    I’m not sure what you’re talking about. My model is simply and solely to predict the mean global annual surface temperature of an entire planet. I wasn’t even trying to predict regional weather.

  10. Hank Roberts:

    Mark, you (in reply to the earlier mention of China’s one-child policy, which I’d missed) wrote about a couple having one child “each” (meaning one child per each couple). The same words often refer to 1:1 replacement (one child for each parent). The confusion continued from that point.

    There’s no way from the outside we can tell what China’s policy is going to end up accomplishing; it was a desperate attempt. Lots of excess soldiers or lots of undocumented women, or both, is my guess.

  11. Ray Ladbury:

    Mark, I agree that increased longevity gives rise to a short-term bump in population, but we’re still in the short term. Keep in mind that the “one-child” policy coincides with increased use of antibiotics, improved nutrition…, all of which decrease the mortality side of the equation. That China’s population increase is slowing is beyond doubt, or India would not be about to overtake them as the most populous country. That China’s population will take a long time to start decreasing is also beyond doubt, and a lot can happen policy-wise in that interim.

  12. Rod B:

    FurryCatHerder, there is no way you can say with any certainty that fossil fuel supply will never increase from today. It’s more likely than not. None-the-less I would agree that the possibility of that needs to be considered in any future energy planning.

  13. FurryCatHerder:


    It’s far more likely that supply will decline, and likely decline very rapidly due to economic issues, than that it will increase.

    There are a lot of unconventional sources — oil sands, shale, coal to liquids, etc. — that can be used for decades (and perhaps, centuries) to come, but the price is going to continue to climb, all the while renewables continue to fall in price. We’re going to reach a point, real soon now, where fossil fuels are more expensive at the margins, and when that happens demand will be destroyed very rapidly.

    That’s the equation — rising fossil fuel supply costs against falling renewable energy costs — that is going to drive supply in the near term. The past year proved that demand is much more elastic than in prior years. Unless oil prices climb dramatically, capital for further exploration and production is going to dry up.

  14. Mark:

    Ray, 161, I suppose the issue is that what you see as “a long time” I don’t see as such.

    Hank, 160. Fair enough. No worries. Ta.

  15. Mark:

    PS to 164. (I should wait to see if another thought turns up before posting, maybe), I would suggest that if your proposal of how the increase is happening in #161 is correct, the increase in population is purely from better health care. Single child has naff all to do with it. Increases (and I would posit they are slight) are *despite* that law, not because of it (as was the intimation of it in #113: “China and India population is growing even though China is limited to a single offspring (will that ruin their genetic diversity at some point”.

    Since the increase is because of better healthcare, why bring in the irrelevant (to an *increase*) single offspring?

    Conflation that adds words to at best no effect (at worst, confusion or even attribution) is bad.

  16. Jim Eager:

    Alan Neale @100 asks: “Can planes fly on something else, can cars, can houses and building be heated and we all can go to work as per usual.”

    Yes, planes are already flying on bio-oils, cars can already run on bio-oils, electricity and hydrogen, houses and buildings are already being heated–and cooled–by ground-source geothermal heat pumps and deep-water cooling loops, and millions of people already go to work on electrically powered public transit.

    Any other relevant questions?

  17. Rod B:

    Jim, just one quick mitigation of what sounds like a rose-colored assessment (I fear I might have mixed or otherwise messed up my metaphor here… Sorry.). There are major technical hurdles for bio-fuels to handle the current airplane fleet, not the least of which they work poorly at cold altitudes. I wouldn’t totally discard your assessment out, though.

  18. Ben Kalafut:

    Most irrelevant math problem invoked by a maybe mathematically competent would-be “skeptic”:

    Ross McKitrick bringing up the lack of an existence proof for solutions of the Navier-Stokes equation given very general boundary conditions in his “Letter to a policymaker“.

  19. FurryCatHerder:


    There are already bio-fuels that are flight rated as well as sources of bio-generated crude oils that can be refined into the various grades of jet and ICE fuels.

    Really — the hard problems have been solved. It’s now just a matter of economies of scale and people deciding that the added expense is worth the long term security between now and economies of scale playing out.

    Several PV manufacturers have passed the 1GW per year point and each GW of PV production is 4 or 5 GWH of installed power, minimum. For two axis tracker systems insolation goes up dramatically. It’s going to be really neat when “covered parking” becomes the norm because the “covering” is an energy producing feature of the car park. There are some other patent-pending things myself and colleagues have been working on that will work to dramatically stabilize the electric grid — which is has been a big complaint from the utilities about wind and solar.

    My “standard of living” has dramatically improved in my household since I started taking an axe to my electric bill. I now have wide screen flat panel TVes in the major rooms of my house, I put my old (2 channel) stereo back in service, along with the CD changer and a DVD player. More nice gadgets, less electric consumption. The electric motorcycle has cut my gasoline from about 3 fillups a month to about 1 a month (ignoring roadtrips).

    Tell me again what these problems are, because I’m not seeing them.

    (reCaptcha sez: “Lending tumultu-” Credit market meltdown?)

  20. James:

    Re ““Can planes fly on something else”

    Yes indeed. The electric airplane takes off: http://blog.wired.com/cars/2008/08/the-company-cla.html

    Beyond that, you might think a bit about whether airplanes are necessarily the best possible solution for all transport needs. A modern airliner may be able to fly say Los Angeles to San Francisco in an hour, but when the passengers spend an hour getting to & from the airport, two hours in security & boarding, another hour taxiing & holding for traffic, and another hour trying to find their baggage… Well, other alternatives start looking a lot more attractive. That increasing fuel costs increases the price of a ticket only makes the alternatives more attractive still.

  21. Jim Eager:

    Re 167: Furry addressed that concern, Rod, but frankly I don’t see mass air travel as vitally necessary to the preservation of civilization anyway. By choice I have not flown anywhere since 1995 and it has caused me no hardship at all, and I can live perfectly well without the exotic food items that are air freighted daily to my local super market.

  22. isotopious:

    “Most clueless US politician talking about climate change”
    “Most worn out contrarian cliche: The “Gore Effect””

    Climate science is now influencing government policy in order to influence climate. Whether you like it or not, this is no longer just a debate about science, it’s a debate about philosophy.

    Humans evolved because of past extinction events. Something else suffered. Nature is cruel.

    People argue that because recent warming is due to human activity, it will have dire, unintended consequences. But what if a similar (but natural) catastrophe threatened the existence of all multi -cellular organisms, and we had the technology to minimise its impact? We would be interfering with nature, an unintended consequence, denying species evolution.

    Past civilisations have collapsed because of climate change. Nature is no less cruel today. In spite of climate science, policies regarding climate will inherently be based on belief. After all, isn’t the future is unknown?

  23. Alan Neale:

    Re #166 and #170,

    Come off it – on biofuels, it was one engine for a little flight. Biofuels are environmental trouble and that has been well written about since countries have committed to it in its present limited energy form at the expense of food and limited CO2 emissions mitigation relative to oil.

    The electric plane written about at wired. Hmmmm, lets not take that too seriously as yet.

    I am sure that the car has a future on something else but when it comes ot road freight etc its quite doubtful until major breakthroughs are made.

    Take hydrogen, it is currently made from natural gas and coal by a steam reformation process and that presently limits it. So lets use electrolysis shall we but the energy return is limited at present and hence going oil replacement is not presently a possibility. Hence hydrogen is a decade away for one of many still severe issues with it including eliminating platinum in the fuel cell.

    It was even suggested that hydrogen makes current cars more efficient but not after you have made it.

    Back to the decades away drawing board at present for all transport.

  24. Ray Ladbury:

    Isotopious, Your post is analogous to a defendant justifying a driveby shooting by saying that violence was necessary to win World War II. The difference is that it is us who have our finger on the trigger of a mass extinction event, and we, or at least our civilization, could be one of the casualties. Thanks, but I’ll cast my vote for sustainable human civilization.

  25. Ray Ladbury:

    Alan Neale, Transport is indeed one of the most daunting unresolved issues for future sustainability. It is not, however, insoluble, and there is considerable low-hanging fruit to be had in improving energy efficiency of our current transport system. By all means, let’s keep folks working at the drawing board for the advances we’ll need in coming decades, but let’s not be blinded by that challenge to what we can do right now.

  26. Kevin McKinney:

    Ray wrote

    I’m with you, Ray. Humans have always “tampered with nature” in order to serve our own ends. The challenge–an increasingly complex one, as our collective capabilities increase–is to do so in ways that don’t become self-defeating.

  27. Alan Neale:

    Re #175, yer we can all drive 60 MPG cars for around a decade now. That explains the USA’s 22 MPG average then and Europes 32 MPG and who knows for China, India and Russia etc. So lets have a dose of reality shall we and not a trip down fantasy road. Until oil goes to $200 a barrel permanently people probably unless taxed to do so and rewarded by going economical it does not look like it is hapenning.

    I wait with baited breath but longing for humanity in its capatalist frenzy to go green is a lot of nonsense and does Ford, GM and Chrysler make good cars in the USA economy wise. no they are rubbish relative to European ones. Lazily made with huge heavy crap engines.

  28. J.S. McIntyre:


    Alan: Re #175, yer we can all drive 60 MPG cars for around a decade now. That explains the USA’s 22 MPG average then and Europes 32 MPG and who knows for China, India and Russia etc.

    Not to nitpick, but this is an example of why discussions with you go nowhere. This is an incredibly random and incomplete observation. You do nothing to actually explain how these essentially unrelated statements are connected in even a cursory fashion. Sagan references this as the rhetorical fallacy of the excluded middle, but even in this case it is unclear you even understand what it is you are saying in any meaningful fashion.

    Alan: “Until oil goes to $200 a barrel permanently people probably unless taxed to do so and rewarded by going economical it does not look like it is hapenning.”

    Yet people are driving less. The reduction in oil prices has not resulted in an increase in driving. Why? Economic downturn, for one thing. Once economies start emerging from this mess, odds are very strong oil prices will once again resume its upward march. Again, as I observed earlier, you are viewing the world from a static perspective and ignoring anything being said to you that underscores the fallacies of the positions it appears you are supporting.

  29. Nick Gotts:

    First, grateful thanks to Gavin and colleagues for all their work in 2008, here and elsewhere. It is greatly appreciated by many – don’t let the bastards denialists grind you down!

    On biofuels, I have been extremely sceptical, but recently came across this site: http://www.unh.edu/p2/biodiesel/article_alge.html – which hdoes not look obviously kooky to me. Anyone with appropriate technical know-how able and willing to comment on it?

  30. Ray Ladbury:

    Alan, I fail to see where I have engaged in fantasy at all. I have merely pointed out that there is low-hanging fruit–a statement that your diatribe on gas mileage only serves to confirm.
    If human beings are, as you seem to believe, unreasoning sheep, then indeed we deserve the extinction toward which we are headed. I don’t believe this, and I do believe that the combination of education and a rational policy that rewards responsible behavior can change behavior.
    Moreover, I would contend that reminding people that there are actions we can take now that will buy time in the future is a very realistic strategy–much moreso than yours of equating difficulty with impossibility.

  31. Alan Neale:

    Re #178, Dear JS, that is your opinion although a well educated one by all accounts the way you are addressing me. Lets forget the recession (it will be over and BAU will resume), Humanity is driving more overall because there are more vehicles year on year. This is one of the reasons why global oil consumption is growing by 2% per year and even a recession will not dent that by much. If we leave driving to the masses regardless of AGW education then until the alternatives and economically cheaper modes of personal transport appear (lets forget the motorbike shall we) oil will rule until it is too expensive for anything except necessary travel. Then where is the alternative but obviously I am spouting a fallacy here, one that cannot be an educated opinion from your perspective. Oil will not spiral upwards in price anytime before a suitable alternative is available eh? Be nice but I doubt it.

    Re #180, Physics is a bit nasty when it comes to energy, hence why we tap into millions of years of the free stuff rather than the every day stuff from the Sun and the earths core. The energy density of oil, gas and coal is very good, so good in fact that when oil was first tapped it was around 100:1 ratio but that has now dropped globally to around 14:1 and hence its getting more expensive to bring new field online and different forms of it (tar sands). Coal and gas are still not approaching peak as yet and hence it will be a while before their price potentially spirals upwards. For me this is the only way that people will learn and drive less but what about freight. Thundering trucks and workers vans are a necessity and not a luxury, if oil spirals upwards consider our economy in a crisis before a suitable replacement is developed. Even if Hydrogen or electric vehicles are available en masse it wil take 50 years before we all drive them and the infrastrcture is as large as oil presently is. Oops, too late.

    I heard that education on alcohol should make people drink less but it does not work (well not in the UK) and hence its unlikely to work in other fields maybe either. I also recently read that the price of oil coming down due to the stock markets impression of the recession is getting some people to purchase SUV’s again. No suprise there then.

    Economics rule people hearts and heads and not AGW or science.

  32. Rod B:

    FurryCatHerder, biomass fuel for planes is doable, but it is far from easy. According to New Scientist, the biomass growing area for 2007 fuel requires from (equivalent to) all of Ireland to almost all of western Europe, depending on the biomass source. I agree there is good evidence that biomass-sourced fuel can be made to work at cold high altitudes. Though I’ll let ladies go first and you can take the first transatlantic flight with it and hope the effort to keep it from gelling works. ;-)

    I was referring to the physical discovery and/or development to increase the oil supply, which I think is more likely than not. Your point that the supply might stagnate if the economics deriving from alternative fuels is such that the demand for oil will decrease and hence the producers won’t feel justified in investing oodles of money to get that new supply (whew!) has merit.

  33. Ray Ladbury:

    Alan Neale says, “Economics rule people hearts and heads and not AGW or science.”

    Alan, Actually, there is plenty of evidence that sensible policy combined with education can make a difference. Drunk driving is a lot less common now in the US than it was 30 years ago. People are less likely to just pour oil down a drain than before, and there is even anecdotal evidence that a Prius is a better “chick magnet” than a Porche. Doctors do wash their hands now before surgery–something they did not do 150 years ago.

    Again, you seem to equate difficult with impossible. This might make you feel better about your own inaction, but I don’t think it is particularly honorable. We have choices. We can try to make things better, or we can watch things get worse. History tends to favor those who tried to improve things. Even when they fail, their effort is more honorable than the inaction of a thousand cynics thinking they are wise in their complacency.

  34. Rod B:

    Jim E., (171), that is just too pat to be a viable solution. In effect it is answering the charge that mitigation will materially affect our standards of living by saying simply that we don’t need our current standard. There are folks who, of course, would vehemently disagree that they don’t need to fly anyway. Or on the other hand you could make the same superficially logical case that we don’t really need trains, busses, cars, or trucks either; there’s nothing they do that a good horse(s) and wagon can’t do.

  35. Mark:

    RodB 184 you haven’t said why mitigation would materially affect our standards of living *adversely*.

  36. James:

    Re #173: “…but when it comes ot road freight etc its quite doubtful until major breakthroughs are made.”

    I think part of the problem is that you’re looking at the problem far too narrowly. You seem to assume that the current practice of large amounts of goods being shipped on diesel-powered trucks as the only possible way to do things, when it’s instead the a consequence of past economic & political decisions such as cheap oil, the interstate highway system, railroad featherbedding, etc. This tunnel vision limits you to seeing the only possible alternative as finding some non-CO2 power source for those trucks.

    If instead you take a broader view, and think about changing the background, then the optimal transport solution changes. Raise the cost of truck transport, and rail looks like a better alternative. Electrify the railroads (many European railways are electric now, so no new technology needed), and you decouple the cost of freight from the price of oil. Then build nuclear/solar/wind plants to power those electric railroads, and you’ve eliminated a good chunk of the CO2 emissions from transport.

  37. Jim Eager:

    Re 184, Rod, Nope, air transport is not the same as trains, busses, cars and trucks at all. Heavier-than-air flight is totally dependent on energy-dense hydrocarbon fuels. It simply does not have the viable alternatives that land and sea surface transport does. To be sure, there certainly are large numbers of people who would vehemently disagree that they don’t need to fly anyway, but that does not mean that they actually need to fly. The vast number of flights are not made for compelling need, but rather out of desire and for convenience. I seriously doubt that the number of people who actually have a compelling need to fly would be a problem in terms of fossil fuel use.

    This notion that adapting to mitigation must adversely affect our standards of living is a hollow protest, given that European living standards are not materially noticeably lower than North American living standards, despite considerably lower European per-capita CO2 emissions. And even if adapting to mitigation (or to climate change itself) should adversely affect our standards of living it is not clear that would mean hardship or deprivation, given our place at the top of the consumption heap.

    Captcha remembers: Order existed

  38. Alan Neale:

    Re #183. maybe but oil demand is not falling and hence as yet the 300 million people of the USA and the 450 million of the EU 27 aint on board just yet. As for my own inaction, hmmm, hard to know what to say to that really but no one else is as yet. Give people the cost effective options (not yet though) and they might make a change. The Prius is no such think as you say. Its only there because the yanks don’t drive dielels.

  39. isotopious:

    “The difference is that it is us who have our finger on the trigger of a mass extinction event, and we, or at least our civilization, could be one of the casualties.”

    Unscientific dogmatic belief.

  40. Hank Roberts:

    isotopious opines, but why just opine when you can look this stuff up?

    Surely you’d like to check what you believe rather than just proclaiming your belief that it’s not real.

    Sure, Ray could have done that for you, but would you believe some guy on a blog? Why not check for yourself and figure out if it’s really happening?

    You know how to Google, right? You’ll find, e.g., this:


    Don’t forget to click the “related articles” link — always check whether you’ve found an outlier or a mainstream idea. NO Wisdom button, that’s up to you.

    When you see something like this, it’s a second clue:

    5,344 Articles Related To
    Fifty millennia of catastrophic extinctions after human contact
    Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Volume 20, Issue 7, July 2005, Pages 395-401

  41. Kevin McKinney:

    Isotopius, the evidence supports it–though we cannot, as some (dogmatically) demand, “prove” it.

  42. Ray Ladbury:

    Golly Ned, Isotopious, is that what passes for argument on your planet? Dismissing an argument with three whole words? And how would you have me substantiate the risk posed by climate change when you obviously haven’t taken even the most cursory glance at the science?
    That’s OK. By all means, continue to be an ignorant food tube.

  43. Jim Cross:

    #174 Ray

    The mass extinction event you speak of probably started a couple of thousand years ago and may only partly involve humans.

    At any rate, the human contribution to it probably began with our development of agriculture and only lastly is culminating with the green house gases we are pumping into the atmosphere.

    Would you like to return to hunting and gathering?

  44. Richard Ordway:

    Gavin wrote: 138 “[Response: Really? So accurate predictions of the impact of Pinatubo made before they happened using climate models doesn’t count (Hansen et al, 1992)?”

    Gavin, aren’t you selling mainstream science short?

    In 1896, Svante Arrehnius’s calculations (AMBIO used the word “model” in its February 1997 edition) projected global warming spacial, diurnal and and seasonal trends which have been remarkedly accurate.

    His equations (and direct words) projected with increased atmopsheric carbon dioxide:

    1. More surface warming in the Artic than mid-latitudes.
    2. More surface warming at night than day.
    3. More surface warming in the northern hemisphere than in the southern hemisphere.
    4. More surface warming at night than during the day.


    Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science
    Series 5, Volume 41, April 1896, pages 237-276.




  45. isotopious:


    Fifty millennia of catastrophic extinctions after human contact
    Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Volume 20, Issue 7, July 2005, Pages 395-401

    “…trace to a variety of human impacts, including rapid overharvesting, biological invasions, habitat transformation and disease.”

    And the rape of the natural world continues today…all important issues, what’s your point? A human-induced greenhouse will be the final finale? Or not, and we keep raping the world.

  46. Ray Ladbury:

    #195 Troll Alert.

    ReCAPTCHA agrees: tenth Biatch

  47. Ray Ladbury:

    Jim Cross says, “At any rate, the human contribution to it probably began with our development of agriculture and only lastly is culminating with the green house gases we are pumping into the atmosphere.

    Would you like to return to hunting and gathering?”

    I suspect that will be the only option for our progeny due to the apologists for complacency. Geez, you and Isotopious wanna go get a room, or something?

  48. isotopious:


    Ray, this is my most cursory glance at the science. Orbital cycles interact with the ocean and greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide has an important role in climate feedbacks. Its a component. It amplifies the warming. In other words, the value of CO2 is in its interaction with orbital cycles, deep ocean, and water vapour; over a 5000 year period. The power of CO2 is in its relationship with the other components. Not on its own.

  49. Garry S-J:

    isotopious: “The power of CO2 is in its relationship with the other components. Not on its own.”

    False dichotomy. Just the result you’d expect from a “most cursory glance at the science”.

    iso, why don’t you stop cluttering up this otherwise useful site until you’ve had a really good, long, hard look at the science?

  50. Kevin McKinney:

    As if the atmosphere *cares* whether humans or orbital forcings put it there? *Not* well thought out. . .