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Unforced variations: July 2017

Filed under: — group @ 1 July 2017

So, big news this week: The latest update to the RSS lower troposphere temperatures (Zeke at Carbon Brief, J. Climate paper) and, of course, more chatter about the red team/blue team concept. Comments?

397 Responses to “Unforced variations: July 2017”

  1. 51
    nigelj says:

    Petercook @37

    You asked about the so called Nicolas Scarfetta 60 year climate cycle being allegedly responsible for recent global warming. Interesting thing you raise.

    There’s no real evidence. This is pure speculation, mumbo jumbo, hocus pocus, astrology.

    Just look up Nicolas Scarfetta on wikipedia. Why didn’t you do this anyway? It’s all there, including links to his published research. He is a statistician.

    Basically Nicola Scarfetta claims recent climate change is at least half caused by celestial cycles.

    He claims to have identified a 60 year cycle in the instrumental temperature record for earth, but when I look at studies over a couple of thousand years like the mwp studies, no 60 year cycle is obvious. If such a thing exists it’s pretty weak.

    He claims this temperature cycle is caused by a 60 year cycle in the orbits of the planets. There are such cycles, but its not clear why this would have any effect on global temperatures. I mean I’m really scratching my head and Scarfetta can’t give a good reason. Phases of the moon effect tides and might even have some small effect on earthquakes, but for obvious reasons, but it’s impossible to see a causal, physical link between orbits of planets and a warming trend.

    It’s like astrology claiming the cycles of the planets and stars affect our behaviour, but they are never able to explain why they would. Because they cannot, and if they did, the effect would be incredibly weak given the forces and distances involved.

    The IPCC has looked at all this material, and they are totally unpersuaded.

    Occams razor. Look first for the most simple explanation, changes in the suns output. This doesn’t work, so the next simplest is greenhouse gases. Celestial cycles are a very dubious, complex solution.

  2. 52

    ABM 49: But this means the saturation level is even lower so higher in the atmosphere there will be no radiation to be absorbed.

    BPL: Radiosondes and satellites seem to find differently.

  3. 53
    MA Rodger says:

    And RSS TLT v4.0 has posted for June at +0.486ºC, the lowest anomaly of the year-to-date (behind April’s +0.546ºC). This is the 6th warmest June (UAH 7th) on record and the 57th warmest of all months on the full record (UAH =84th).
    The first half of 2017 again sits in 4th spot. The table below sets out Jan-June and annual averages
    ……… ….Ave Jan-June … … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 … … … +0.88ºC … … … +0.74ºC … … … 1st
    1998 … … … +0.69ºC … … … +0.58ºC … … … 2nd
    2010 … … … +0.62ºC … … … +0.56ºC … … … 3rd
    2017 … … … +0.58ºC
    2015 … … … +0.47ºC … … … +0.54ºC … … … 4th
    2005 … … … +0.43ºC … … … +0.42ºC … … … 5th
    2002 … … … +0.42ºC … … … +0.38ºC … … … 8th
    These tabulated rankings are not greatly different to UAH TLT v6.0, although in RSS 2017 is sitting much closer to the top three warmest years.

  4. 54
    Killian says:

    Dear Peanut,

    Read this.

    Next, close mouth. Do not open again. Study simplicity, regenerative systems, resource limits, rapid climate change. Still do not open mouth.

    You are so completely clueless it’s not even slightly interesting to engage. Barter. Yup, that’s it.

    Except, nope. Not it.

    Have you spent even a single second trying to understand anything beyond your limited, Dead Man Walking perspective? You respond with nothing but outright distortions and fallacies. BORING. Worse, unintelligent. Worse, propagandist.

    Until something you post shows an inkling of a legitimate attempt to understand what “sustainable,” let alone “regenerative,” means, you’re the economic and political equivalent of WUWT.

    Tell you what, I’ll give you one last shot at getting out from under that dunce cap: Demonstrate the “absurdity” of my 2015 prediction of 2016, 2017 ASI; of 2007-2010 era statements that SLR would be at least 1 meter by 2100, likely 2 meters and possibly 3; my disagreements with Archer and Schmidt on CH4, permafrost and clathrates; my statements WRT climate change coming faster than the science indicated, and significantly so.


    Watch below for a response to a saner inquisitor re food.

    Bye, peanut.

  5. 55
    Victor says:

    #47: “And if el nino spikes are getting bigger as he claims, it can only be because of extra heat in the oceans from agw climate change.”

    I never claimed the El Nino spikes were getting bigger. And there is no such “trend.” The El Nino of 2010 was smaller than that of 1998, as is clearly indicated on the graph. YOU are the one who needs some training on that score.

  6. 56

    “If it weren’t for that recent El Nino, the trend lines would be much closer, and the hiatus would still be evident — in both graphs.”

    Maybe, but you don’t actually know that. (I’m presuming that you can’t exclude the logical possibility of a more gradual line ending up just where the real one does–after, it’s logically possible that the strong Nino was in part due to a longish stretch of Nina conditions, and absent the latter, you wouldn’t have had the former.) It’s very possible–and indeed, over the long term, very probable–that the trend would be more or less the same over the long term regardless of ENSO variations.

    For example: “if it weren’t for the 1998 El Nino the current trend would be lot steeper.”

    In reality, both Ninos actually did happen. Hypotheticals probably don’t help us much here.

  7. 57
    Hank Roberts says:

    Good news: the Navy has a climatic simulation lab in Florida that can produce any sort of environmental conditions for testing.

    … a climatic chamber where testing has been conducted on all military aircraft since 1947. Any climate environment can be simulated within the lab, according to the lab’s website.

    Private companies, such as American automakers and military contractors, also use the chamber to test their products.

    Temperatures can range between -65 degrees Fahrenheit and 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and the chamber can also simulate snow, rain wind, sand and dust. …

    Bad news: it just blew up.

  8. 58
    Russell says:

    Many thanks to Alasdair MacDonald for celebrating the 4th of July by declaring:

    “I am just a climate model critic and a catastrophist, like Professor Stephen Hawking. Only, he’s got it wrong.

    We will not follow Venus’s example because we already have. The surface temperature on Venus soared until the surface melted and suphur clouds prevented temperatures rising further.
    The same thing happened on Earth at the end of the Younger Dryas when temperatures in Greenland soared by 20C, after the sea ice in the GIN Seas melted and clouds grew to limit our temperature rise. A similar event will happen when the Arctic sea ice melts, and another irrevocable change will occur.”

    America’s answer to this remarkable hypothesis is the more plausible anti-on-the beach theory, blaming global warming on the New Zealand Fruit Board.

    Big Kiwi’s dastardly plan to inflate fruit size & put antipodean pinot noir on a par with Burgundy by secretly orbiting giant Fresnel lenses has again been foiled , and the world saved from thermal runaway, by the timely intervention of Yankee fireworks aerosols.

  9. 59
    Phil Scadden says:

    Since you can extract “cycles” out of just about any data set, you need to do a validation exercise to determine whether there is evidence of physical meaning. One good approach is use half the data from analysis and then see how well the extracted model works for predicting the second half of the data. I havent seen a Scafetta paper do that (but frankly havent looked very hard after seeing some nonsense stuff). On the other hand Tamino did do this for testing surface temperature dependence on El Nino, Sun, Volcanoes – and CO2. See here for how do this properly. The great thing about cycle freaks (eg Evan, Scafetta etc) is that their models do make solid predictions for the future which are quickly proved wrong.

  10. 60
    Mal Adapted says:


    …much as you “hope the Obama Whitehouse eschewed the Black Arts,” it tried to install a permanent directorate to advance the dark art of social engineering…

    I believe you’re referring to the dark art of politics. It’s actually the oldest profession, followed by prostitution and the law.

    …here’s what his science advisor said:

    “As President Obama noted in his Executive Order 13707, behavioral science insights can support a wide range of national priorities including … accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy.

    I voted for Obama twice, because he was both smart enough to reach for an umbrella when caught in the rain and unafraid to let it be known. And, he was openly and keenly interested in accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy. As a US citizen and voter, I think that’s our highest national priority! Your mileage as a Libertarian no doubt varies. So?

    Indisputably though, any national AGW mitigation policy, along with a wide range of lesser national priorities, can better be supported by ‘science insights’. Behavioral science assuredly included, Russell; set aside your physicist’s prejudices. Economists, psychologists and sociologists don’t know everything, but they know more than nothing. As in every science.

    because what’s in the playbook Campaign Chairman and former White House Chief of Staff Podesta commissioned , and the White House staff were insructed to follow- here are links to the whole thing

    Russell my worthy frenemy, your website occasionally jerks a laugh out of me. Were I to push through the dense thicket of showy typography, however, I fear I’d fail to discover an actual point 8^(. Regardless, Podesta didn’t provide the leadership, Obama did. That’s why I voted for him.

    Would you reall like Trump’s Chief of Staff Rience Preibus to push that set of buttons ?

    No, that’s why I voted for their opponent. I was allowed to, that is; but with growing unease, I suspect that Reince’s vote counted more than mine did. If that’s ever verified to my satisfaction, my patriotic duty will be called into question.

  11. 61
    Mal Adapted says:

    By counted more than mine, I mean literally, ermm, numerically. There are lots of underhanded vote-rigging tactics deployed in every election, but I’m talking about some that are actually illegal. You did too know what I meant.

  12. 62
    Killian says:

    Re #46 nigelj said Zebra and Killian, regarding food production, you appear to be comparing corporate agribusiness with an **idealised**

    Incorrect: Existing.

    local, smaller scale family-owned [localized] agricultural production, or self-sufficiency [-reliant] sort of concept. <— Edited for accuracy.

    I certainly don’t think we are sure enough that local and small scale is somehow better than larger scale models to force it on anyone, or use the power of the state to promote it in some way.

    False. Well-established productivity. The “large-scale” ag has killed soils around the planet. How is that sustainable? The “small-scale” ag restores and builds soils. Whether you “think” it is real or not is irrelevant: It’s being done. Perhaps you would like to read the Rodale 30-year comparative study… Even if you wanted to keep doing industrial ag, you cannot. We are running out of the stuff chem ag is done with, desertification, ocean acidification and dead zones… etc.

    You have no choice.

    I think if the two models are competing the best idea will prevail

    Despite the rhetoric, that is not how Capitalism works. See Sanders vs. Clinton vs. Trump; BetaMax vs. current VCRs. Etc. Besides, they aren’t really competing: One is supplanting the other. If that fails to be completed, it won’t much have mattered which should have won.

    or they may exist side by side.

    Nope. Unsustainable is unsustainable.

    We have large farms mainly corporate owned, but also a growing small scale family run organic industry because there’s a demand.

    No, you have them because of the power of wealthy people and corporations to tilt the playing field. Natural/organic was always better.

    But trade obviously has its advantages.

    Trade has its *function.*

    If you look purely within countries, its hard to see everyone going back to vegetable gardens or tiny farms, or an existence

    Why? Just because? Why don’t you understand you have no choice? What part of the puzzle are you missing?

    Making a country self sufficient will have its own disadvantages, in that it could restrict food choice and push up prices.

    Self-reliant. Restrict? You mean return to what is naturally possible, i.e. reduce distortion and disturbance of the natural food system?

    What prices? Why need there be prices? The current socio-economic-political is unsustainable, so whether we can be self-reliant within it is irrelevant.

    It would seem there’s no real problem with the agribusiness / trade model

    Causing global warming, killing soils, killing the oceans, desertification, destroying small towns and families, causing drought, destroying and/or depleting the water supply, making farmers seed slaves to corporations, famine, hunger, being completely unsustainable…. nope, nothing to see here.

  13. 63
    PeterCook28 says:

    @MA Rodger, @Alistair B McDonald, @Barton Paul Levenson, @golack, @nigelj

    Thank you to all of you for your replies to my question at 37.

    Re: the question from @nigelj: “Just look up Nicolas Scarfetta on wikipedia. Why didn’t you do this anyway?”

    Normally I am pretty good at tracking things down with Google, however in this instance it did not occur to me to search for the author of one of the papers. I did try looking on Skeptical Science but I could not find the appropriate topic on the site. Sometimes stuff is hard to find if you don’t have prior knowledge of the area in question, and the terminology used.

    I realise it is tiresome to be continually responding to denialist talking points, and I am grateful to you all for taking the time.

  14. 64
    Marcus Devine says:

    Climate change is increasingly becoming a problem around the world with many regions facing deforestation and desertification. The effects are already being felt with a rise in average temperature, rising sea levels, and shrinking ice caps. Ecosystems are being lost at a rapid rate which will cause a chain reaction affecting the entire world.  In order to preserve Earth for generations to come every country needs to establish environmental sustainment programs to guarantee a clean future. 

  15. 65
    nigelj says:

    Killian @62

    You are quite convincing. I do recall reading various articles critical of corporate industrial farming causing soil problems etc. I can go along with some of what you say.

    But just assuming you are right on the economics and sustainability of small and local, what do you do? You cannot legislate to force people to follow your model. Well you could, but it would be rather heavy handed and unlikely given politics as such.

    Or do you try to put a price or some sort of penalty on the damage caused by large agribusiness? Or regulate them in some way? Treat it as a tragedy of the commons issue requiring some sort of response. That makes sense to me in theory at least, but would come up against powerful political forces.

    I partly agree about sanders, clinton, trump thing. I hear what you are saying, (or what I think you infer) the system is flawed, capitalism has a predatory and negative side, and you have a lot of corporate influence over politicians. However I believe Clinton would have prevailed if not for that email bomb shell in the final week. It was just awful stuff. Sanders had some good ideas but was shafted by his own party. This is a bit too political so I wont go further, but I just want to make the point the good guys almost won, and it was just an unlucky combination of circumstances.

    Yes big business is supplanting small business. But again, as above, what do we do? Governments usually take steps against monopoly practices, but that is not enough to stop the process we are thinking about.

    Being devils advocate,I don’t know if small,organic and natural is better. Look at poor Indian farmers etc. You could give them “mechanisation” but isn’t that pushing them towards being an agribusiness or using techniques coming from big business? Or looking at it another way, small profitable farms in the western world have relied on a lot of technology coming from agribusiness.

    Its also possible to have large scale, mechanised, organic and sustainable.

    Small farmers kill soils too. I think its more about management, technique, and good knowledge than scale or ownership structure. It’s also about decent and firm environmental rules, and hoping like hell government has enough courage and foresight to understand this. No hope of this with someone like Trump.

    Couple of books I have read you might find relevant: Post capitalism, by Paul Mason, (and hes not promoting communism or anything, this book is quite intriguing)

    Also how will capitalism end, by Wolfgang Streeck, and no is not enough by Naomi Klein.

  16. 66
    Mr. Know It All says:

    PC 28

    “The writer contends that natural cycles could explain a considerable chunk of global warming. Is his claim credible?”

    Here’s the earth’s temperature for the past 420,000 years based on evidence from ice cores in Antarctica:

    See any cycles in those graphs? Based on those graphs, does it appear the earth is now in a warm period, or a cool period?

    The scientists claiming AGW is real may be correct, but it is true that the earth is in a natural warm period today (if the ice core data has been interpreted correctly); so there may be some credibility in his claim as well.

    The graph is from this web page:

    7/6/2017 @ 12:39 AM pacific

  17. 67
    Brian Dodge says:

    Re climate cycles – or what may more accurately be called climate wobbles, since they have low Q and exhibit jumps in frequency. – Tracking the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation through the last 8,000 years
    “Here, we show that distinct, ∼55- to 70-year oscillations characterized the North Atlantic ocean-atmosphere variability over the past 8,000 years. We test and reject the hypothesis that this climate oscillation was directly forced by periodic changes in solar activity. We therefore conjecture that a quasi-persistent ∼55- to 70-year AMO, linked to internal ocean-atmosphere variability, existed during large parts of the Holocene. Our analyses further suggest that the coupling from the AMO to regional climate conditions was modulated by orbitally induced shifts in large-scale ocean-atmosphere circulation.”
    “Moreover, the AMO shifted into its warm phase in the 1990s (Fig. 1), which may have accentuated global warming in this period. A return from a warm to a cold AMO phase could temporarily mask the effects of anthropogenic global warming, and thus lead to possible underestimation of future warming if the variability of the AMO is not taken into account.”
    It’s not like mainstream science has missed climate wobbles, or doesn’t know how to use arcane math to understand them (who knew that decreasing the window size linearly accompanied by a gradual blurring of the spectral resolution using the Lomb-Scargle Fourier transform could be so complicated?) High Arctic Holocene temperature record from the Agassiz ice cap and Greenland ice sheet evolution
    “Our results show that air temperatures in this region are now at their warmest in the past 6,800–7,800 y, and that the recent rate of temperature change is unprecedented over the entire Holocene.”
    note that the Agassiz ice sheet record is the top dataset analysed for AMO in the Nature paper, that figure 4 shows no spikes in temperature “…warmest in the last 6800-7800 years” corresponding to the various intense AMO periods (at different frequencies) shown in figure 5.
    Also, “Spectral estimates for the last 1,000 years were obtained by decreasing the window size linearly from 2,000 years at 1,000 BP to 200 years at 100 BP in steps of 25 years.” which means that the AMO PNAS paper doesn’t show or address modern warming referred to in the High Arctic Holocene Temperature Nature paper.
    What is the likelihood that inaccurate cloud parameterization would lead to models underestimating the tropospheric hotspot and it’s negative feedback/higher ECS, while simultaneously magically compensating for that and other positive feedbacks like Clausius Clapeyron to result in lukewarming requiring “Cycles” to drive the warming to levels we are seeing?×485.png?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=e88f068b34a63cc9ef83969051e228aa

  18. 68
    zebra says:

    Nigelj #46,

    As you can see from K’s response, denial of reality exists everywhere.

    We get Killian’s type of comment in all areas, and the same two questions always exist:

    1. What’s the plan for achieving your goal?
    2. Why is your goal better than some alternative (whether the alternative is more readily achievable or not)?

    From this article:

    Mexico imported about 13.8 million tons of American corn last year, according to the Mexican government. Nearly all — about 12.7 million tons — was yellow corn, which is largely used for livestock feed, supplementing about 3.5 million tons of homegrown yellow corn.

    The remainder of corn imports were of the white variety, which is used mostly for human consumption and is a key ingredient in tortillas. Mexico is essentially self-sufficient in white corn. The country produced 22.2 million tons last year and imported about 1.1 million tons of American white corn to make up for lucrative white corn exports to South Africa and other countries, according to the Mexican government.

    And just as international supply chains in automobiles, aerospace and other industries crisscross the border, the same is true of agricultural products. Mexican calves — possibly fed American corn — are exported to the United States, where they are further fattened and then butchered for meat that may be exported for sale abroad, including to Mexico.

    So, in this one trade relationship involving one commodity, we see just how complex the current paradigm is.

    How would we change this, given current political and economic realities? And, what are the really “bad” parts, and what parts would we perhaps like to keep?

    I know K isn’t going to provide a (rational, realistic) answer, but perhaps there’s something to be gained by exploring it.

  19. 69
    mike says:

    to K at 54: yes, it’s hard reading the handwriting on the wall when everyone wants to wait for the wall expert to arrive. I appreciate what you are and have been saying. There is often a trend in online discussion to work at misunderstanding what is being said, instead of working at understanding. The misunderstandings, deliberate or otherwise, increase workload and can be exhausting.

    I remember taking flak from a couple of regulars here when I took note of the record heat. I remember one of them saying, hey, it’s just one month (that might have been February 2016) when it was actually four or five months of record heat at that time. They stopped the challenge when the heat continued and as MAR continued to do hard number crunching on the heat (thanks, MAR).

    Some things are obvious and yet, until the experts arrive and confirm the obvious, some folks can’t see the obvious.

    speaking of the obvious: CO2 is cranking along at something around 2 ppm increase over previous year. This sounds encouraging on its face, but the previous year comparison had such a large rise associated with the EN that 2 ppm is actually a pretty bad number. Our species emissions are almost certainly decreasing, but the carbon sinks are changing with CO2 level at 409 and the new normal warming global temps are thawing things around the planet and in that process, we are seeing new sources of CO2 come on line. Can you say feedback loops?

    It is clear and obvious that changes in agriculture and way that we use land to create food crops can be part of the solution instead of part of the problem, but there are a lot of entrenched interests who want to wring the last penny of profit out of destructive systems, approaches and infrastructure. That’s really a shame, which is to say, it’s shameful. It’s unfortunate that shaming does not seem to work well at changing behaviors.

    Oh, well, fight the good fight.

    how are we doing on CO2?

    Daily CO2

    July 5, 2017: 409.05 ppm
    July 5, 2016: 405.40 ppm (spiky day, noisy number)

    Last Week

    June 25 – July 1, 2017 407.71 ppm
    June 25 – July 1, 2016 405.95 ppm
    June 25 – July 1, 2005 385.16 ppm

    June 2017 408.84
    June 2016 406.81
    June 2015 402.80

    Read the handwriting on the wall if you can.

    Warm regards



  20. 70
    Russell says:

    60; Mal

    Have you actually seen the first fruits of last summer’s White House social engineering love-in ”

    Please remember that the post-Skinnerian Executive Order it represents took eight years to dream up, without the least pretense of ratification

  21. 71
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    EXCLUSIVE: Study Finds Temperature Adjustments Account For ‘Nearly All Of The Warming’ In Climate Data – IDSO

  22. 72
    Hank Roberts says:

    Promoting Effectiveness in Sustainable Design☆
    Steven J.Skerlos
    University of Michigan, Mechanical Engineering, 2250 G.G. Brown Building, 2350 Hayward Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2125, USA


    Sustainable design of engineered products and systems is fantastically challenging. Think up a technology that protects the environment and perhaps a business model cannot be developed for it. Think up a business model for the technology that resonates with the market and consumers use so much of the technology that Earth would have been better without it. In the meantime the landscape is constantly shifting due to transient regulations, technology potential, and knowledge about anthropogenic impacts on Earth. This presentation focuses on the effectiveness of sustainable design and emphasizes the need to simultaneously evaluate market success, environmental impact, and meeting societal needs under regulatory constraints. The paper provides framework approaches to concept generation and design validation that facilitate the evaluation of design sustainability. The presentation that will accompany this paper will discuss research case studies from the University of Michigan and evaluate them against these frameworks as illustrative examples.

  23. 73
  24. 74

    60 infra: Mal

    Would you reall like Trump’s Chief of Staff Rience Preibus to push that set of buttons ?

    No, that’s why I voted for their opponent. I was allowed to, that is; but with growing unease, I suspect that Reince’s vote counted more than mine did

    I will convey your wise decision to Bill Weld and ask him to pass it along to Governor Johnson. If your worst fears are realized, try moving to Chicago, where you should have little difficulty in voting twice.

  25. 75
    Thomas says:

    Tesla Powerpack to Enable Large Scale Sustainable Energy to South Australia
    The Tesla Team 6 July, 2017

    Tesla to supply world’s biggest battery for SA

  26. 76
    KenD says:

    Why is there no suggestion from Pruitt and other deniers for red-blue team analysis of the economic effects of regulating carbon emissions? They maintain that effective efforts to do so would destroy the economy, as a back-up to their argument that climate scientists are deluded traitors. The “evidence” for this contention is usually some astronomical dollar amount presented without error bars or references. Virtually all other cases of environmental regulation have been opposed on the basis that they would destroy large chunks of the economy and the contention has universally proven erroneous once the regulations have been enacted.

  27. 77
    Dan says:

    re: 71.
    You have the nerve to reference a non-peer reviewed link in The Daily Caller (of all things!) on a blog moderated by peer-reviewed climate scientists? Seriously? Stop promoting and flaunting gross anti-science ignorance.

  28. 78
    Scott Strough says:

    “But just assuming you are right on the economics and sustainability of small and local, what do you do? You cannot legislate to force people to follow your model. Well you could, but it would be rather heavy handed and unlikely given politics as such.”

    Oh really? Then you would also agree that the multiple billions spent to purposely destroy the local infrastructure that existed even 30 years ago and purposely drive farmers off their land was a rather heavy handed move to start?

    Not only are governments still as a general rule not introducing alternatives to pesticides, in most cases… especially for sure here in US… the government is still spending billions of our tax dollars to support the very opposite of local organic regenerative ag. Not only is the government spending huge tax dollars to insure organic systems cant compete head to head in a free economic market, organic is so profitable that they have been forced to make thousands of odious regulations specifically designed to prevent local indigenous organic systems from competing anyway. The government will send in swat teams to prevent it too. Joel Salatin wrote a pretty good book about that war called “Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal, war stories from the local food front”

    So the answer to why it hasn’t already taken over is twofold.

    1)The industrialized conventional systems are heavily subsidized to make their price cheap.

    2)Organic regenerative systems are regulated AGAINST because demand for real food is so high that it would out compete anyway unless extreme measures are taken to prevent it.

    Keep in mind this is all before we even get to competition in the market place. This by the way is no different than the fact fossil fuels receive 4 times the subsidies as renewable energy.

    The next question is why and how would the government do such a thing? Well there are many many reasons for that from simply certain people don’t know any better to corruption between big Ag and the congressmen they bribe with a just barely legal but certainly unethical quid pro quo lobbying system.

    To understand that you must understand the ag policy that created this production model. A man by the name of Earl Butz changed ag policy by subsidizing commodity corn and soy. He campaigned all across the country urging farmers to plant corn fencerow to fencerow. In fact he even urged the fences be removed. Eliminate the cow/hog/chicken/turkey from the farmers fields and massively overproduce corn and soy. He told all farmers to “get big or get out.”

    This had three main purposes,

    1)Butz argued that the corn subsidy had dramatically reduced the cost of food for all Americans by improving the efficiency of farming techniques. By artificially increasing demand for food, food production became more efficient and drove down the cost of food for everyone.

    2)Food became a foreign policy tool, opening up markets, collapsing the economies of enemies etc…
    3)Drive farmers and their families off their land, so that they could be available as cheap labor for industry and military service, while increasing productivity in terms of food produced per man hour labor.

    Instead of an integrated farm with a field rotation including forages and fallows for animals, the animals had to be removed in order to grow commodity crops “fencerow to fencerow”. Then they were used to suck up this excess over production of commodity grains. The most efficient way to use up the excess commodity grains was to confine them as long as possible. Keep in mind the subtle shift. The integrated farm is more efficient and profitable at raising food, the industrialized farm being more efficient at over producing commodity grains, and then using up that over production of grains for other purposes. Regenerative produces more food per acre, industrial produces more food per man hour labor. Regenerative produces far more total profits for farmers and for rural communities. Industrialized Ag makes more money on Wall Street and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange while cutting the farmers %.

    The problem of course is that industrial ag simply isn’t sustainable, so it will indeed end. Killian is absolutely correct here 100%. And unfortunately many otherwise highly intelligent and motivated promoters of regenerative ag happen to also be communists and/or anti-capitalism, which often causes their highly intelligent comments to be dismissed as “unrealistic”.

    The truth is that it most certainly is possible to practice regenerative ag within a profit motivated capitalistic economic infrastructure. You can actually take what Killian is saying and make it work to scale in the real world today without much governmental changes at all. It takes creativity, but it not only can be done, it is being done already. In fact all you would really need to do to watch it explode all over the world is simply stop trying to prevent its adoption!

    Wall Street and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange won’t just stop trying to prevent the restoration of our food infrastructure. They prefer the trusts and monopolies that are making them rich at everyone else’s expense. But at least here in the USA there actually exists anti-trust laws that if enforced at the same time the subsidies are removed and the whole house of cards would fall nearly instantly to be replaced by sustainable systems that can mitagate atmospheric CO2 levels at the rate of at least 5-20 tCO2/ha/yr.

    Do that on enough farmland worldwide and no one has to give up their tractors, cars and vacations to the Bahamas! :P And we still prevent further AGW.

    Of course to prevent saturation in the future, we still need to find ways to wean off fossil fuels, but that becomes secondary, no longer primary.

    “Ecosystem function is vastly more valuable than the production and consumption of goods and services.” -John D. Liu

  29. 79
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Why is there no suggestion from Pruitt and other deniers for red-blue team analysis of the economic effects of ….

    External costs? They don’t want to know. Remember, coal ash is a better source of fissionables than rock. Every waste dump around the world is a nuclear proliferation risk.

    Uranium produced from coal ash – Atomic Insights
    Oct 17, 2007 – Uranium produced from coal ash. Sparton Resources is interested in coal ash, specifically ash from lignite burning coal plants located in areas of the globe where the lignite contains higher than normal levels of uranium.

    (don’t invest, it’s a four-penny stock)

    Oh wait, it’s been done.

    … coal-fired power plants throughout the world are the major sources of radioactive materials released to the environment has several implications. It suggests that coal combustion is more hazardous to health than nuclear power and that it adds to the background radiation burden even more than does nuclear power. It also suggests that if radiation emissions from coal plants were regulated, their capital and operating costs would increase, making coal-fired power less economically competitive.
    Page 1 of 9
    Coal Combustion – ORNL Review Vol. 26, No. 3&4, 1993

    It’s not just coal. All the gas and oil drilling pipe comes up radioactive after a while:

  30. 80
    zebra says:

    Scott Strough #78,

    ” Regenerative produces more food per acre, industrial produces more food per man hour labor.”

    And you and Killian aren’t the ones supplying the man-hours, are you? OK if some migrant workers hiding from ICE work 16 hour days so their bodies are broken by the time they are 40, right? Because that universal health care Bernie promised will take care of them?

    The truth is that it most certainly is possible to practice regenerative ag within a profit motivated capitalistic economic infrastructure. You can actually take what Killian is saying and make it work to scale in the real world today without much governmental changes at all. It takes creativity, but it not only can be done, it is being done already. In fact all you would really need to do to watch it explode all over the world is simply stop trying to prevent its adoption!

    Great. So, what’s the plan??? As I said in #68, there’s never an answer to that question: What specifically is supposed to change in government policy in order for this biotopia to be achieved? Anyone?

    Look, I have my own pet futurist proposal for the electricity sector, so I am not opposed to creative thinking on these issues. But at least I can articulate what legislation I think is needed at the US federal level (which no doubt would also be strongly opposed by vested interests) . So let’s hear some practical specifics on your legislative proposals, instead of frantic handwaving. What’s the plan? Which one of you is headed to the Iowa caucuses with manifesto in hand?

  31. 81
  32. 82
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @68

    Yes as you say there are now complex international cross border supply chains for agriculture. Its exactly the same as whats happened with free trade / outsourcing/ manufacturing.

    And basically its too late to go backwards. You cannot unscramble an omelette.

    I tend to support free trade overall, and think the hard economic evidence supports free trade. I think its more a question of how do we make sure everyone benefits fairly? Its clear this isn’t really happening as well as it could. If the problem is not resolved logically and fairly, the system will break. These sorts of problems have allowed Donald Trump to gain power.

    The real problem is monopolies. Until this is faced down in some way we are in trouble. Either break them up without mercy, or regulate them properly. It may need a mix of both. There’s no other alternative.

    However I can see Killian’s point of view. I have felt torn between the issues for years. But yes, if you want change, you have to present a viable plan.

    It’s the same with climate science. It’s easy enough to be a critic, but what is their alternative explanation for the warming? Humanity has to make decisions regarding a potential large climate problem. In doing this it has to look at the best overall current explanation (CO2). There’s nothing else we can do. We will probably never have perfect knowledge.

  33. 83
    nigelj says:

    Scott Strough @78

    Thank’s for your interesting and detailed comments. As I have said above in another post, I feel torn on this issue, and see merit on both small and local / organic and large corporate and free trade arguments.

    This categorisation is simplistic however, as its possible for large scale to also be done responsibly.

    Its also question of how you get to where you want to be. It needs a viable plan, not just complaining.

    I gather you are talking about America. I think the way large farmers are subsidised is crazy, with no logical justification. I agree rules that actively discriminate against local and / or organic are crazy. Those things at least have to change. At the very least we need a level playing field.

    But I’m not sure what more can be done.

    Yes some on the left support organic. I find it frustrating when people write off other peoples ideas by calling them socialists or too pc. Its the old poisoning the well fallacy and it also generally twists their position as they are only mildly socialist by any sane definition. Some people think anything that is not extreme hard right is socialist. Well if you so strongly oppose government control or ownership you would have to get rid of the army and police and government in total, you fools!

  34. 84
    Brian Dodge says:

    Vendicar Decarian 6 Jul 2017 at 5:56 PM links to a very sciencey sounding Abridged Research Report – “This research report stands on the back of a great deal of highly relevant previous research…”
    A Freudian slip from those so used to standing on the backs of the downtrodden and so unfamiliar with science that they are oblivious to the canonical phrase “standing on the shoulders of giants”.
    Whatever. They start out reasonably well -“This Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) is the most commonly cited source of raw, or unadjusted, global surface temperature data over the last 100 plus years.”
    Plugging the words ghcn + raw + data + viewer into google, one can quickly discover “A Quick and Dirty Analysis of GHCN Surface Temperature Data” which says
    “The app I wrote reads in GHCN v2 temperature data files and computes simple “straight averages” of all the individual temperature station anomalies. I follow a procedure pretty similar to NASA’s:
    For each station, I calculate the average temperature for each month over the period 1951-1980. I then compute individual station temperature anomalies relative to the baseline values, NASA-style. Then I just average them together. No fancy gridding or geospatial weighting – I use a simple brain-dead averaging procedure.
    Finally, I run the output anomaly data through a moving-average filter to smooth the results. (I applied an 11-year moving-average filter to all the results shown below.) Well, this very simple procedure ended up giving me results that were pretty similar to NASA’s “Northern Latitudes” temperature index, as seen in Figure 1 below. (The NASA results were smoothed with the same 11-year moving-average filter that I applied to my own results). Given that a lion’s share of the GHCN stations are located in the temperate latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, it shouldn’t be too surprising that my “simple-average” procedure produced results similar to NASA’s “Northern Latitudes” index.In fact, my results showed considerably *more* warming than all of the global-scale temperature index results shown on the NASA/GISS web-site *except* for NASA’s “Northern Latitudes” index.
    So it turns out that all the effort that the NASA folks put into “cooking their temperature books”, if anything, *reduces* their warming estimates. If they wanted to exaggerate the global-warming threat, they could have saved themselves a lot of trouble by computing simple averages. Go figure!”
    For those who, like Trump, prefer graphics to anything “…so complicated”, there is
    If the authors of this Abridged Research Report had done a rudimentary bit of research, they could have not only saved themselves a lot of trouble, but avoided a lot of arm fatigue brought on by pages of handwaving and mathturbation.

  35. 85
    Lawrence McLean says:

    Has anyone any information regarding this story:

    [Response: Total nonsense apparently: – gavin ]

  36. 86

    KIA 66: See any cycles in those graphs? Based on those graphs, does it appear the earth is now in a warm period, or a cool period?

    BPL: Do the math (if you can, it requires some linear algebra). We hit the peak of the interglacial 6,000 years ago, and we were cooling since then until the industrial revolution started.

  37. 87

    VD 71: EXCLUSIVE: Study Finds Temperature Adjustments Account For ‘Nearly All Of The Warming’ In Climate Data – IDSO

    BPL: Crap. Sea temperatures are also rising. Are there urban heat islands on the ocean?

  38. 88
    MA Rodger says:

    Lawrence McLean @85.
    You have to admire the level of desperation which deluded denialists employ now.

    The graph in the article you link-to compares the good old hockey stick curve with what the article calls

    “Ball’s graph, using more reliable and widely available public data, shows a much warmer MWP, with temperatures hotter than today, and showing current temperatures well within natural variation.”

    This doesn’t stand up to the simplest investigation.
    If you seek a description of the “more reliable … data”, you would have to look in the UN IPCC FAR as Ball’s graph mainly reproduces our old friend FAR Fig 7.1c which presents itself as a graph of global temperature. It was never meant to be difinitive (as I have in the past set out here). Ball has decided to call it “Climatic changes in Europe” and added the more recent data, the graph appearing here last year. In creating his ‘more reliable graph’, Ball manages to mis-attributed the source of the IPCC diagram, citing SAR of 1995. (in which Section 3.6.2 deals with the temperature record for the last millennia.) And in providing a vertical scale to FAR Fig 7.1c and adding the latest data, Ball makes a complete hash of the most “reliable” part of the record, the last century and a half (the “data” being “widely available public data” and thus readily available at for instance BEST). So it seems evident that Ball finds even drawing a simple line on a graph well beyond his limited ablilities.

  39. 89

    #85 gavin: thank you for your reply, I suspected as much. I admire your patience. Among my circle of friends and relatives I am the “goto” person for climate change questions, I have found that I cannot direct them to the a site such as this, they expect an answer from me because they know and trust me. I understand the science pretty well (I think) and most questions I can answer fairly easily. The question I asked today however, I could not find any detail on, as it it seems to be a court case in progress.

  40. 90
    alan2102 says:

    Scott Strough, #78:

    Q: “You cannot legislate to force people to follow your model. Well you could, but it would be rather heavy handed and unlikely given politics as such.” A: “Oh really? Then you would also agree that the multiple billions spent to purposely destroy the local infrastructure that existed even 30 years ago and purposely drive farmers off their land was a rather heavy handed move to start?”

    That’s a good answer as it gives context that the question ignores. However, it fails to get to the meat of the question. Even if all that destruction of local infrastructure could be restored (etc., etc.), the issue still remains: how to induce great masses of people — essentially everyone — to take up the difficult, highly labor-intensive permacultural/Killian-esque lifestyle. If you’re serious about being opposed to industrial ag (are you? really?), then that means that the percentage of people involved in primary production (agri/horticultural) will have to zoom far upward to include probably the majority — like at the turn of the 19th/20th century, and before. Back then, before mechanization (the evil (?) industrial ag), about half the population was involved in agriculture.

    Inducing half or more of the total population to take up full-time permaculturistic living is more than a huge social and cultural change. It is a mega-MEGA-huge gigantic titanic social and cultural change, almost like abandoning the division of labor. It is almost inconceivable. Killian keeps talking about “simple”, as though to suggest that “simple” is EASY. But the opposite is true, in this case. It is fantastically hard. Like suggesting that a 310-pound offensive lineman train down and become a 165-pound ballet dancer. SIMPLE, right. Very simple. And practically impossible. We might as well be talking about getting half the population to take up radical veganism. It is simply not going to happen, no matter what.

    Scott: “The problem of course is that industrial ag simply isn’t sustainable, so it will indeed end.”

    1. What is “industrial agriculture”? Please provide a good detailed definition, or link to one.

    2. What is “sustainable”? Again, a detailed definition is needed. Please.

    Scott: “here in the USA there actually exists anti-trust laws that if enforced at the same time the subsidies are removed and the whole house of cards would fall nearly instantly to be replaced by sustainable systems that can mitagate atmospheric CO2 levels at the rate of at least 5-20 tCO2/ha/yr. Do that on enough farmland worldwide and no one has to give up their tractors, cars and vacations to the Bahamas!”

    What?! No one has to give up their tractors? i.e. no one has to give up industrial agriculture? (or industrial everything-else)? I thought industrial ag was unsustainable. How about everything else? (“Cars and vacations to the Bahamas” = everything else, approximately.) Is it just industrial AG that is unsustainable, but industrial-everything-else is just fine?

  41. 91
    Scott Strough says:

    @ 80 Zebra,
    I have posted the plan many times here both in whole and in part. In fact I actually used this site and a couple others as my best available peer review as I gradually developed it over the years. (since I am a citizen scientist with no PHD, but highly value other scientists’ opinions)

    Here is a link since apparently you missed it before:

    There are a few gaps still and in fact one of those small gaps in agriculture is my personal area of research. So to answer your question as to whether I am personally supplying the man hours, the answer would be yes I am, even in the scorching AGW enhanced Oklahoma heat wave we are experiencing right now. I have the callouses and dirt under the fingernails to prove it too.

  42. 92
    zebra says:

    nigelj 82,83,

    This is a very complex issue indeed when you get into the details. I’ll make a couple of points:

    In the US, “laws that discriminate against organic or local” are, as far as I know, mostly health-related. So, “small” farmers, whatever that means, argue that they are disproportionately burdened by regulation intended to prevent disease. (I take no position on the effectiveness of the regulations for now.)

    The problem with this complaint is that people don’t produce “organic” and “local” because of altruism; they do it because they can charge a premium over conventional crops. You know, to get more of that filthy “money” Killian wants to abolish.

    Also, the fact that you can charge a premium has of course brought the corporate players, salivating, to the table. Who do you think supplies Walmart with “organic” produce?

    So, obviously, the large operations are going to have an advantage because it is cheaper in terms of overhead for them to comply. But that is true for conventional crops as well.

    For me, this complaint is special pleading. You just have to include these expenses in your business model; if your “brand” is strong enough, the wealthy people eating your grass-fed beef and tiny exotic vegetables at pricey restaurants will happily pay a little more. If not… hey, declare bankruptcy, it might lead to great things in the future, if you are politically inclined.

    Enough for now; there’s a long list of issues that must be addressed with detail and specificity.

  43. 93
    Mal Adapted says:


    Please remember that the post-Skinnerian Executive Order it represents took eight years to dream up, without the least pretense of ratification

    Yes, Russell, there’s many a slippery slope to be traversed en route to the shining city on a hill. I try to vote for leaders who can keep their feet. Finding the route congested with the likes of Reince Priebus has led me to take stock, however.

  44. 94
    Mr. Know It All says:

    BPL – 86

    If the industrial revolution had not occurred, would the earth be heading into a cooling period that would be catastrophic for human life?

  45. 95
    Hank Roberts says:

    For Lawrence McLean: Google has some information for you about that source:

    People also ask
    What is Principia Scientific International?
    Principia Scientific International (PSI) is an organization based in the United Kingdom which promotes fringe views and material to claim that carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas.
    Principia Scientific International | DeSmogBlog
    Search for: What is Principia Scientific International?

  46. 96
    nigelj says:

    Vendicar Decarian @72

    “Study Finds Temperature Adjustments Account For ‘Nearly All Of The Warming’ In Climate Data – IDSO”

    I scanned through that study a couple of days ago having read a comment on another website.

    The guts of the study appears to be on Americas land surface temperatures. The raw data doesn’t show much temperature increase.Only corrections have injected a significant increase and as far as I know this is roughly true. But the theme of their study seems to suggest this is true globally as well, and in every country, and it isn’t true.

    When you look at global data for the last 100 years, land surface temperatures increased and have been adjusted slightly up. Ocean temperatures have increased and are adjusted very significantly down. Combined land and ocean adjusted slightly down! Funny how the sceptics cant seem to grasp this.

    I’m no expert, just interested observer and stand to be corrected if my understanding is wrong.

    Obviously the raw data is pretty raw, urban heat island effects bias things up, moved stations distort things, faulty thermometers etc have to be corrected. Their study did not challenge this or find any fault with any adjustments. It just seemed to be a complicated statistics exercise to try to make things look suspicious.

  47. 97
    nigelj says:

    alan2102 @90

    Ha! Yes, exactly.

    My country has small farmers, and corporate farmers. We have developed a very nasty river contamination problem from dairy farming, and all owners are to blame. So much for small being better.

    They are all industrialised to some extent.

    I would say sustainability is what is important. Regardless of ownership structure, and degree of industrialisation, you will need environmental rules to promote this.

    Is small inherently better / cleaner ? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. However I think the smartest thing we can do, and its feasible, is to have good environmental rules the same for all players.

    The only thing in the way of this are people who oppose environmental boundaries and rules, for ideological, political or vested interest reasons. That is our real problem.

  48. 98
    nigelj says:

    Mr Know it all @94

    “If the industrial revolution had not occurred, would the earth be heading into a cooling period that would be catastrophic for human life?”

    It would probably not be good. The next ice age is predicted in about 50,000 years.

    On the other hand, the 2 degrees of warming we have probably already locked in has pretty much already cancelled the next ice age, or its worst effects.

    If warming is more than two degrees, we will probably fry and sustain serious sea level rise etc.

    And although warming could cancel or slow down the next ice age, CO2 will eventually be reabsorbed due to rock weathering processes, so we wont prevent all future ice ages. They come in ominous looking roughly 100,000 year cycles.

    I think it’s best not to deliberately alter the worlds climate, unless we can control that process very well, and we don’t know how to do that stuff. One problem at a time.

  49. 99

    KIA 94: If the industrial revolution had not occurred, would the earth be heading into a cooling period that would be catastrophic for human life?

    BPL: Yes, in about 20,000 years.

  50. 100
    Hank Roberts says:

    Also for Lawrence McLean:

    For “Mr. KIA” — that’s what peak interglacial means. You know how to look this stuff up, don’t you?
    And you know the rates of change, which sites like WTF are obscuring when they compare that to the present warming rate.