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Unforced variations: Oct 2017

Filed under: — group @ 1 October 2017

This month’s open thread. Carbon budgets, Arctic sea ice minimum, methane emissions, hurricanes, volcanic impacts on climate… Please try and stick to these or similar topics.

358 Responses to “Unforced variations: Oct 2017”

  1. 251
    nigelj says:

    Thomas @231, good information, but please don’t bait Victor.

  2. 252
    Digby Scorgie says:

    I haven’t been paying much attention to the screeds and screeds of discussion on population, except to mention (to no apparent effect) that it is actually very nice to live in a region with a low population. I include a small city of some 300 thousand in that. However, it occurs to me that in a given region with a given technology, the optimum population is probably a goldilocks number — too few is not viable and too many is damaging to the environment, including the climate.

  3. 253
    Mr. Know It All says:

    45 – Al Bundy

    Observed you in the grocery store the other day:

    Seriously NOW! Stay on topic! Scientists have discovered the cause of climate change:

    Worth the attempt to listen to the audio of that interview and try not to laugh. :)

  4. 254
    nigelj says:

    This study suggests soils will absorb less carbon than expected this century. I kind of hope someone will tell me its wrong.

  5. 255
    Killian says:

    Re Population:

    1. Irrelevant unless regenerative, nee “sustainable” is understood.

    2. Irrelevant because you have no control over that here.

    3. The link to climate is indirect.

    4. Aboriginals manage population with a rather well-developed set of responses, so all your theories are B.S.

    5. The world that will be modifying birth rates will be quite different from this one, as it will be regenerative or it will not exist, making your discussion irrelevant even more so since none of you can even handle “sustainable” yet.

    While population ultimately matters a great deal, the discussion here is off-topic and not well-constrained.

    Please stop flooding the Variations with this.

  6. 256
    Killian says:

    This is a really important paper on SLR. What I cannot suss out are the specifics of meters of rise in relation to time. The clearest they get is meters in decades to centuries. That’s a bit too vague for my tastes.

    Can anyone nail down a specific estimate of Y meters of SLR in X number of decades?

  7. 257
    Killian says:

    #244 nigelj said Zebra @233

    “The smaller the population, the more valuable labor becomes, which reduces inequality and the concentration of power.”

    Sounds plausible, but have you checked this against reality? Because it doesnt appear so. The four highest countries by income inequality America, Turkey, Mexico, Chile. NZ my county also has above oecd average…

    “The population” = total population of a society or system, not of a subset of a highly distorted society in overshoot and in the process of collapse.

  8. 258
    Killian says:

    nigelj said -1+1

    Except for the fact the core of what I try to get you to understand is permaculture, which has been used for over 40 years to improve the planet and solve the very problems we must solve to survive. How many times have I told you to take a course, young’un?


    Feel free to follow links.

  9. 259
    Killian says:

    Who votes for Nature-based systems design to save the bugs vs. Capitalism… or nigelism… or any other ism?

    Anecdotal evidence points to a global decline. When was the last time you drove a rural highway and needed a full windshield wiper reservoir?

    Now, new research out of Germany has caused a panic in the scientific community, revealing that the total biomass — that is, the total amount of flying insect life in the surveyed area — has plummeted by a whopping 75 percent over just the past 27 years. The research, which was published in the journal PLOS One, was conducted by monitoring the insect biomass in 63 different protected nature areas within Germany and paints an extremely dire picture.

  10. 260
    zebra says:

    nigel 244,

    First, I want to thank you for introducing me to Ms Cleveland. I already have a soulmate, but…a former physicist and a Georgist!?!…whoa!

    Anyway, the bad news is that you just gave a reference that supports what I am saying, and yes, you have it wrong. I think you should actually read what she says all the way through, and consider my comments on this topic to others as well as yourself.

    (Perhaps you are spreading yourself a little thin here? I would not like to see you fall into the trap of giving up quality for quantity like some others.)

    There’s no manifesto. It’s pragmatic problem solving…I’m suggesting how to take advantage of existing tendencies to achieve many of the goals being proposed.

    It doesn’t require that humanity achieve sainthood first, with everyone caring about the environment and all the other species and actually being compassionate to fellow humans as well– that’s a big ask. It’s just about being scientific and rational– good (social) engineering.

  11. 261
    mike says:

    I will just say this:
    The level of back and forth has descended to a level that does not serve well here imho. Maybe if you feel a need to jump back in with an “important” comment to straighten something out, just maybe, that’s a good time to take a day off and chill a bit.

    I think we do not need to agree on everything, but it would be wonderful if everyone was respectful to all commenters who speak here in good faith and went with a civil borehole recommendation on the folks who throw something up in bad faith. And bad faith in this instance is like pornography. We know it when we see it. Recycled denialism, etc… Borehole it, or just ignore and move on for folks who are posting real questions, data, observations in an attempt to help us all understand what is happening and how it is likely to unfold.

    The plugin Kill File works on a lot of other climate websites and I use it so that I don’t have to scroll through the repetitive nonsense. I think it would be great to upgrade the website or do whatever it takes to allow kill file to operate here in the comments section. Until something changes on all that, I just pop in every once in a while to see if I can sift quickly to see if I can skim/read the good faith discussion.

    CO2? Sure, we got some:

    Daily CO2

    October 19, 2017: 403.80 ppm
    October 19, 2016: 401.21 ppm

    October 8 – 14, 2017 403.42 ppm
    October 8 – 14, 2016 401.48 ppm
    October 8 – 14, 2005 380.87 ppm

    I think we will post about 2.4 ppm annual increase for 2017 over 2018. This is a bad number because we are looking at Non EN v. EN years.

    I am shopping for heat pump to add a little cooling to my place. The Pac NW summers are predictably producing some weeks where cooling is a good idea now and I think that trend is only going one way.

    Play nice, friends


  12. 262
    nigelj says:

    Essay on climate problems and general sustainability. IMO humanity has three choices:

    1) Stone age culture. Only stone age culture is truly sustainable in pure form. Only this culture is capable of working completely 100% within natural cycles forever.

    2) Low technology peasant economy with considerable rationing of materials. Rationing materials is mostly pointless, as it only prolongs the inevitable.

    3) High technology culture sensibly done. Obviously with minimising environmental impacts and humanity can combine technology with more moderate consumption and less waste etc. Its not going to be 100% sustainable because resources are finite, but it will last a long time and the possibilities are endless. Eventually we may colonise other planets if possible.

    Its a clear choice we cant escape. Zebra says smaller population solves a lot of these issues. It does and rather neatly, but is not a stand alone solution as I think its will be a fair time before global population actually starts falling. I think we just encourage smaller families and so on.

  13. 263
    Killian says:


    1. Nothing in regenerative design requires any of these three rigid choices.

    2. “Appropriate Twchnology” alone makes such rigid delineations absurd because…

    3. there is a huge amount of embedded energy already in play.

    You know so little…

  14. 264
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @260, you claimed smaller population leads to lower inequality. I’m really just saying that when I looked at lists of countries measured by inequality, it certainly wasn’t obvious that smaller population meant less inequality. I know hundreds of things interfere, but if there was a good correlation it should have jumped out and it doesn’t. I gave you some examples at top of the list.

    I would expect there to be a relationship as you claim, and you may well be right, but assumption is the worst possible thing. It may be worth you doing some sort of statistical analysis or checking on the internet.

    To be honest I’m not much of a fan of grand manifestos either, – or grand plans.

    However having some basic objectives can be useful.

    I think its also more a case of identifying whats the problem and how do we fix it? The important questions to ask in relation to this are what does the scientific evidence say, and is the solution fair to everyone, and durable? Nothing is set in stone anyway, and most things can be changed over time and mostly have to be as new information arises.

    I did a year as a quality assurance manager for a corporate, and had to write various codes of practice and standards and checklists etc. I looked for basic principles guiding philosophies, simple rules and guiding objectives, obviously, but its hard to avoid a degree of specific prescriptive rules as well. Its a balancing act, and neither approach alone makes sense in the real world. Im thinking of Killian here as well.

  15. 265
    Killian says:

    #250 I have spoken out against the anti-Chinese propaganda for a few years now. They have had science-based govt policy for quite some time.

    U.S. conservatives have tried to twist the issue of momentum and measured action as a policy of FF expansion. Hypocrisy.

    All that said, even the Chinese, as “leaders” on climate, employ a tech-based, non-reality-based approach.

    It will be interesting to see if the reality eventually asserts itself as suicidal pyramid building or simplification.

  16. 266
    nigelj says:

    Killian @258, I read the articles on permaculture. I agree with much of that. It does have obvious benefits in terms of climate change issues.

    There’s indeed evidence smaller farms are more productive, I have read this before several times, although obviously too small could also be a problem. Its relative and there’s probably some optimal size. I’m not much of a fan of manufactured pesticides, and farming systems that think very short term, and punish the soil to death longer term.

    However industrial farming is also a rather general term. What does it really mean? Is there anything wrong with glass houses and tractors? I don’t think so. Its some aspects that are questionable.

    Holland does industrial farming quite well in the sense of greenhouses in large clusters, but low use of pesticides and water etc. But the size of farm units is more “medium size”. They have got the carbon footprint down quite a bit.

    But what to do? Farming is not really my area of interest. IMO it comes down to individual initiative, education, and supportive legislation that ensures smaller farms get a fair go. There seems no justification for subsidies that are essentially crony capitalism for big farmers, who just obviously don’t actually need financial support. It amazes me this sort of thing goes on. If anything we should be subsidising experimental farms.

    However as I have said before a good legislative environmental framework will discourage bad practices regardless of size of farms, and would indirectly encourage smaller farms, or organic farms if they are genuinely good quality.

    I wish to add I dont think organic produce tastes any different to be honest, but the farm practices are good in other regards.

    Going beyond this to a grand unified vision of farming including social and economic structures and ownership patterns is interesting but very vulnerable to coming up with a big huge plan that doesn’t really work. But I think theres enough to say that really large farms with anonoymous sorts of owners like pension funds are coming under serious question.

  17. 267
    Scott Strough says:

    264 nigelj,
    No worries mate, they are just slowly realizing the flaws of the Roth C models and similar. What you need to understand is that these guys are still trapped in their silo. They still think decaying organic material is the primary way carbon enters the soil. It isn’t. What they just discovered is that their idea of how soil is built is even more wrong that they thought before. Good data in but garbage out because their models are flawed.

    In a way their conclusions could be correct if we don’t change agriculture to methods that restore the liquid carbon pathway, which happens to be the real primary way soils are built, rather than decay. But we certain can still fix this. The paper by it’s own description has zip zero to do with the LCP.

  18. 268
    zebra says:

    Kevin M #247,

    I appreciate the compliment, but I appreciate the good, well articulated, questions much much more.

    So, okay, …”offspring can live securely”… would exist on a continuum. Can the offspring support the parent in sickness and old age? That would be a boundary point. Between a massive investment in turning your one kid into a doctor, or saving capital by supporting three through a basic education, depending on whether your society has strong social security systems, other factors will obviously influence the decision. There has to be an inflection point somewhere; my claim is that it is at or below replacement rate for the entire population. But the actual number will obviously vary with absolute numbers and technology.

    On point #1: I think what I am doing is in fact constraining speculative social possibilities, by operating ceteris paribus. Hence my objection to thinking in terms of temporal variations; I am holding technology constant. That’s why my question is always: “which would you choose?”.

    If the world population were 10 million, it would make sense for them to live in some version of New York City. Would it make sense for them to grow corn in Iowa, rather than taking advantage of locally appropriate farmland? Would it make sense to establish an infrastructure dependent on non-renewables from far away, or use all the peripheral land that is now available for renewables? I’m open to some kind of counterargument for some aspect of the civilization, but I think the underlying logic is sound.

    On point #2: Remember, we are shrinking the population to the point where it works. I suppose it’s tautological, but what’s wrong with that? (See my 224 where I repeat the original premise.) You need enough people to do the stuff robots can’t do, but not more. At present, there is an enormous surplus in available labor, at all levels. So, for #1 and #2 as well, between here and there, there is some inflection point.

    And, finally, to repeat my position for Nigel as well: I never said this was an easy answer; in my list of principles we can see all the potential obstacles. I’m simply saying that it is a necessary condition, and cannot be neglected in the strategy for mitigation, adaptation, and sustainability. It’s a complex, highly coupled system, non-linear just like climate, so we incorporate this (very significant) element into where we push and pull on the elements.

  19. 269
    Nemesis says:

    Killian, @259

    I said it over and over again in countless discussions online and in my area (Germany) for years, but all I got was laughs or I have been attacked badly:

    There is a GLOBAL insect die off going on and the consequences will be unimaginable harsh.

    And not just insects are dying off, birds and amphibians, who rely on insects for food, are dying off too. We are in the midst of the 6th mass extinction. And the causes are multifactorial, so it is almost impossible to stop it now. All the ecological (and climatical) warning signs have been ignored for sheer profit much too long.

  20. 270
    Hank Roberts says:

    Time to change the pointer for Stoat, he’s moved his blog ya know.

  21. 271
    nigelj says:

    Killian @263

    “1. Nothing in regenerative design requires any of these three rigid choices.”

    Do we get some proof / evidence of this assertion? Assertion and jargon is not science and is not proof of feasibility of a technology.

    I do however see merit in general terms Killians idea of regenerative design at least as a hypothesis or philosophy and don’t wish to be a kill joy. (pun not intended)

    Regenerative design appears to be a system that uses whatever tools are available to aim for perfect sustainability for all eternity. Killian has often emphasised very long time scales and possibility of extinction etc so I think I’m fairly representing the case.So if the tools are applied, where is the hard proof they would not take us back to the stone age?

    Surely people who make big claims and who want radical change owe us some strong evidence. I do not demand perfect evidence, but so far I’m getting no evidence at all.

    As Mal Adapted pointed out (a person clearly knowing something and university trained) the slide towards non sustainability started with cereal farming and is somewhat locked in now. IMO all we can realistically do is get as close to sustainability as we reasonably can without going back to the stone age. I think regenerative agriculture ideas could play a part in this but then I think technology can also play a big part as well if we recycle wisely and so on.

    But I fail to see any evidence that some rather rough regenerative design ideas would avoid such rigid choices and no indication has been given of other choices, other than “trust me I know what Im doing” which reminds me a lot of Donald Trumps rhetoric.

    We need to see some substance of how regenerative design would achieve perfect sustainability for all time while somehow avoiding my list of choices.

  22. 272
    nigelj says:

    Scott Strough yes Im familiar with this liquid carbon pathways thing relating to root fungi.

    I’m aware past farm practices of tilling etc have degraded ability of soils to store carbon. The policy goal should be to reverse this clearly, and it involves a range of things to do with tilling and plant cover, use of fertlisers more wisely etc etc.

    I’m aware in simple terms we have overall is a build up of carbon in the soils from various pathways and activities of fungi and organisms and decay, and this is counter balanced by soil organisms then digesting the carbon rich substances until an equilibrium is reached. Therefore I suggest one goal is shifting the equilibriium towards more carbon sequestration. Could genetic modification play a part in promoting soil organisms most favourable to the most carbon? Ditto to plants?

    (Having said that Monsanto worries me a lot in the way they go about their business).

    Killian says I know nothing. If Killian knew how much I knew about a whole range of subjects he would be utterly shocked. I just dont normally advertise it. And I have no doubt Killian knows plenty as well.

  23. 273
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @268 what are you doing writing a thesis or paper on population or something and looking for ideas? Ha ha fair enough if you are, and in my view its clearly relevant to climate and renewable energy in numerous ways.

    “Between a massive investment in turning your one kid into a doctor, or saving capital by supporting three through a basic education, depending on whether your society has strong social security systems, other factors will obviously influence the decision. There has to be an inflection point somewhere; my claim is that it is at or below replacement rate for the entire population.”

    Surely the inflection point has already been found given population is actually declining below replacement in a few european countries (Im reasonably sure tell me if I’m wrong), so they have the formula as such. Its not a stretch to say if other countries adopt similar levels of prosperity and attitudes to womens rights and contraception the same thing will follow. However religion is a huge factor to consider, but off topic, and you will understand what I mean.

    “Would it make sense to establish an infrastructure dependent on non-renewables from far away, or use all the peripheral land that is now available for renewables? ”

    You have already tried that on me and dodged my answers a little. Of course it wouldn’t make sense but there’s no particular indication that small populations would be located any closer or further from fossil fuel deposits as normal. The mines aren’t all far away from the coast in the interior are they? And resources for renewable power might mainly be in mines located inland away from the coast.

    Of course its a question of scale. REALLY small population might just be coastal, and build small scale hydro power on nearby rivers or something. Its an interesting question.

  24. 274
    nigelj says:

    On the great insect die off, I was just reading this yesterday, and its clearly pretty concerning:

  25. 275

    #250, alan–

    Thanks for bringing Chairman Xi’s remarks into the forum. I think it’s pretty clear that China is using the climate issue to further its role as world leader–which is not to say that the leadership does not take the issue seriously for its own sake; one (perhaps optimistically) tends to think that they are less deluded about physical realities than American leadership. (Certainly they are well aware that hydrological issues are real, and have real social bite–water-stressed as China is. Anyway, it’s a low bar to meet, given the current US government.)

  26. 276
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @ 268, yes I agree with your last paragraph on “not an easy answer but a necessary condition etc.” Sorry missed that and its a good comment, perhaps you should have made it clear earlier and it removes the sense you are promoting some hobby horse.

  27. 277
  28. 278
    Hank Roberts says:

    The world’s biggest gamble
    27 October 2016
    DOI: 10.1002/2016EF000392


    The scale of the decarbonisation challenge to meet the Paris Agreement is underplayed in the public arena. It will require precipitous emissions reductions within 40 years and a new carbon sink on the scale of the ocean sink. Even then, the world is extremely likely to overshoot. A catastrophic failure of policy, for example, waiting another decade for transformative policy and full commitments to fossil-free economies, will have irreversible and deleterious repercussions for humanity’s remaining time on Earth. Only a global zero carbon roadmap will put the world on a course to phase-out greenhouse gas emissions and create the essential carbon sinks for Earth-system stability, without which, world prosperity is not possible.

  29. 279
    alan2102 says:

    #271 nigelj 22 Oct 2017: “Mal Adapted pointed out…the slide towards non sustainability started with cereal farming and is somewhat locked in now.”

    Locked in now?! Jeezuz. What an outlandish suggestion. We strip-mine the soils for a century or more, never lifting a finger to replace what was removed, and then we imagine that unsustainability is “locked in now”?!

  30. 280
    Killian says:

    #271 nigelj said 1. Nothing in regenerative design requires any of these three rigid choices.”

    Do we get some proof / evidence of this assertion?

    Do you not know how to google? You can find the principles in many different places. If you can show me any one of the principles must result in the choices – assertions only, hypocrite – you assert, by all means feel free.

    Better, learn something before opening your mouth. This is basic English. What I said was there is nothing in **regenerative design** that **limits** us to these choices. That is, the choices are not inherent to working within natural systems, they are simply made up by you. In this case, the “proof” – and here you mean evidence, for such a point can *only* be an opinion, technically – is properly termed “evidence.” But this is another error you often make.

    Regenerative design appears to be a system that uses whatever tools are available to aim for perfect sustainability for all eternity.

    This stupidity can only be intentional. Can you start bore holing any response nigelj to my posts? They really are that useless. Straw Man. Again.

    Killian has often emphasised very long time scales and possibility of extinction etc so I think I’m fairly representing the case.

    No, you *know* you are being dishonest. You are 100% conflating defining “sustainable” with the design *process* of permaculture.

    So if the tools are applied, where is the hard proof they would not take us back to the stone age?

    This is an incredibly stupid question. Where is the “proof” capitalism won’t?

    Enough… stupid, stupid, stupid.

  31. 281

    K 255: none of you can even handle “sustainable” yet.

    BPL: Only Killian holds the key! To achieve enlightenment, you must meditate on his words day and night… night and day… (cue Fred and Ginger).

  32. 282
    zebra says:

    nigel 273,

    I’m not writing a thesis; I’m trying to teach about scientific thinking, engineering, design, and so on…and you are like the student with too many subjects, who only skimmed the reading assignment the morning of class…while eating breakfast.

    I think you don’t get the concept here, and I am not going to keep repeating it for you endlessly.

    We are trying to think about what happens as the population slows in growth and then begins to decline. So, we pick a hypothetical end-point, to help understand first principles, because that is a simpler (static) case rather than dynamic (varying with time.) We’re not starting a civilization from scratch, like one of those simulation games, although that might yield some similar results.

    So, try thinking it through again. You suggest that people would concentrate in West Virginia rather than New York because…? What do those with a choice do now? Do you think the Koch Brothers live next to their coal mines?

    You think that people would travel to distant places to mine ore when there is an enormous amount of already processed material to be recycled?

    There are multiple reasons why people would make the kinds of “ecologically sound” choices I suggest; I’m not going to do all the work for you, and if you want to contradict my conclusions, you have to come up with a serious alternative, logically supported.

  33. 283
    Victor says:

    re #274

    I recall a faculty meeting ca. 1999, with all windows wide open and no screens. At first I was concerned, as I expected insects to be pouring in, but none appeared at all. That struck me as very strange indeed and from then on I couldn’t help but notice how few insects were buzzing around compared to what I’d noticed in the past, where screen doors and windows were an absolute must. So this report from Germany strikes me as a bit odd, considering that this is a phenomenon that’s been evident for many years.

    Hard to see “climate change” as a factor, since most insects thrive in warm weather. Increased use of pesticides seems more likely.

  34. 284
    Thomas says:

    Nigelj, “but please don’t bait Victor.”

    Why not? Works great with rogue elephants, sharks, crocodiles and fish!

  35. 285
    Steve Fish says:

    Re: Scott Strough says, 19 Oct 2017 at 1:21 AM ~#217: “There has never been found to be a limit…”

    Scott, all you are doing is expressing your lack of knowledge. Are there any of the many soil carbon experts who say that there is no limit? On the face of it, there are indications that there is a limit. If there weren’t, there would be some layers of glomalin that would be tens of meters thick. The 7 to 42 year limit on glomalin was done with carbon dating, and there are several scientific publications that have dated components of glomalin. There is also evidence that it is turned over and renewed constantly.

    You have also said that science is behind on the glomalin issue, but there are very many peer reviewed scientific publications studying this. Wright and Upadhyaya are cited as being the first to describe Glomalin and its relation to arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (1 below) and Wright has several subsequent research articles. I presume that all the peer reviewed studies are the sources of information for Christine Jones because she apparently doesn’t do or publish scientific research. I have selected two scientific literature reviews for you to peruse (2 & 3 below). They should provide many references for you to look up and key words for Google Scholar searches.

    1. Extraction of an abundant and unusual protein from soil and comparison with hyphal protein of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (I couldn’t find an open source full text version):

    2. Contribution of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to soil carbon sequestration:

    3. Role of proteins in soil carbon and nitrogen storage: controls on persistence:

    Enjoy, Steve

  36. 286
    Steve Fish says:

    Re: Thomas says: 18 Oct 2017 at 9:10 PM, ~#210, and also 212, “Scott has done this since the first day he ever posted here Steve.”

    I have read most of what Scott has posted here and it is mostly not science. I can only think that you don’t know what a peer reviewed scientific review or research article looks like. I have posted three for Scott to look at and you should also give them a view. But hey, you are so confidant in your assertion that you make a condescending joke about me, so you must have read all of Scott’s links. Please point out his scientific review or research article links that suggest that there is no limit on glomalin production. You have made a strong, unpleasant assertion about me, and yes, as in all science and polite discourse, you should now back it up with verifiable facts. Steve

  37. 287
    Killian says:

    Since my previous was likely, and justifiably Bore Holed, let me try this again.

    #271 nigelj said -1+1


    Killian @263

    “1. Nothing in regenerative design requires any of these three rigid choices.”

    Do we get some proof / evidence of this assertion?

    Sure. Go to virtually any permaculture site and read the principles and look over the design process. Principle: USe what you’ve got. Principle: Use and value diversity. Principle: Let design emerge (design is not proscriptive.) Principle: Build in chunks (to make sure an element works so you don’t build an entire system requiring dismantling because one thing is done poorly, e.g.)


    Show me where any of that, or any other principle, supports your inane assertion. The one needing proof, being the one who made the assertion of the options, is you. Stating your silly claim is not supported by permaculture design is obvious.

    regenerative design at least as a hypothesis or philosophy

    How can design be a hypothesis, let alone a philosophy? You know nothing.

    Regenerative design appears to be a system that uses whatever tools are available to aim for perfect sustainability for all eternity.

    Flagrant, outlandish lie. er, Straw Man.

    Killian has often emphasised very long time scales and possibility of extinction etc so I think I’m fairly representing the case.

    You are not even attempting to. Get your underwear from between your cheeks and behave like an adult.

    So if the tools are applied, where is the hard proof they would not take us back to the stone age?

    Where is the evidence, let alone proof (again, terms you clearly do not understand), it would? You have no support for this, whatsoever. Your undies are scrunched, period.

    Surely people who make big claims

    What is the big claim? Why do you only lie about these issues as if I am the only one saying them? To repeat, a recent **paper** put the existential risk at 5%. Science. So stop being a child.

    and who want radical change

    Straw Man *and* outright lie. Thomas addressed these outlandish claims before. You do not learn. Permaculture design doesn’t even consider wants. My position on the type world *I* would prefer is clear and has been restated over and over because of trolls like you lying about it.

    owe us some strong evidence. I do not demand perfect evidence

    Proof *is* perfect evidence, That is what proof means. Indisputable. Fact. Settled. Unequivocal.


    But I fail to see any evidence that some rather rough regenerative design ideas

    Rough. Another word you do not seem to understand. Or is this yet another misrepresentation? Since you are in no way an expert, or even practitioner, of any of this, how do you judge?

    other than “trust me I know what Im doing”

    Outright lie.

    I seriously ask the moderator to recognize the complete disregard for the truth of this poster and to Bore Hole any post referencing me, permaculture or regenerative design.

  38. 288
    nigelj says:

    Digby Scorgie @252

    I live in New Zealand as well. I agree the small population is nice.

    Political developments suggest it may remain that way. Sanity has prevailed. However I’m not anti immigration either, and like with so many things it just seems to me to be a question of balance.

  39. 289
    nigelj says:

    Killian @280

    “Do we get some proof / evidence of this assertion? Do you not know how to google? You can find the principles in many different places.”

    So Killian you can’t or wont even give me a simple internet link to back up your claims. That says it all, thanks.

    I like the fact you at least try to take a holistic, philosophical approach, but there’s nothing really there. Apart from vague slogans.

    The answer is high tech, sensibly done. Its not a glamorous philosophy, but the right answer is usually a bit dull. At least I have given a few details, and it can be quantified and thought through.

    “Better, learn…..blah blah”

    Empty, condescending sophistry.

    “Regenerative design appears to be a system that uses whatever tools are available to aim for perfect sustainability for all eternity.””This stupidity can only be intentional. Can you start bore holing any response nigelj to my posts? They really are that useless. Straw Man. Again.”

    Can you please cut with the insults, and specifically explain in what way it isnt? Or provide a meaningful definition? I dont think you will because I don’t think you can.

    “Killian has often emphasised very long time scales and possibility of extinction etc so I think I’m fairly representing the case.No, you *know* you are being dishonest. You are 100% conflating defining “sustainable” with the design *process* of permaculture.”

    Go back and look people at his comments over the last 3 unforced variations.

    “So if the tools are applied, where is the hard proof they would not take us back to the stone age?””This is an incredibly stupid question. Where is the “proof” capitalism won’t?”

    I have never claimed capitalism wont. In current form it promotes some bad stuff, and I have already listed some of it.

    I have only ever said 1) Capitalism is private ownership and this isn’t inherently bad and 2) a modified form of capitalism, and better stronger environmental law doesn’t have to be damaging or lead back to the stone age.

    So who puts words in peoples mouths? Who only quotes part of what people post and half sentences out of context? Take a look in the mirror Killian.

  40. 290
    nigelj says:

    zebra @282

    Thanks and I respect your views on many things, but you are being very condescending, and just lack clarity. I agree with Alan its hard making sense of some of your posts.

    If people all lived in one city in America, is that what you are saying? I thought you were saying people living in scattered small coastal communities? I don’t know, its all so cryptic. I’m not a mind reader.

    If America had a small population, and people lived in one mega city (if thats what you are saying) they might recycle rather than operate mines or transport materials from afar. But that is an economic question, and they may not. Recycling can be expensive which is why it doesn’t happen that much now unless new materials are in short supply. That’s a logical criticism.

    Smaller population is a good thing, you are so right, and might as a general principle push people generally towards sustainable choices but I think the effect would be SMALL.I’m not the only person saying this sort of thing to you.

  41. 291
    nigelj says:

    Victor @283 there is some research linking climate change to insect population decline actually, for example several studies on bee populations on alpine areas up near the mountains.

    However I agree with you pesticides are large factor along with habitat loss.

  42. 292
    Mr. Know It All says:

    283 Victor

    Go backpacking in the mountains next summer. See if you find some bugs. :)

  43. 293
    nigelj says:

    alan2102 @279

    You are right regarding soils, and we should fix the problem. But the point I was making was purely philosophical, that humanity would find it hard to be 100% “perfectly” sustainable now in all respects, without a very low level of consumption indeed. But somehere near perfect is the more sensible goal imho.

  44. 294
    nigelj says:


    Just another point to add to above. You made two key contentions 1) smaller population equals significantly better choices towards sustainability, good environmental quality, and renewable energy and 2) you are teaching me “science” (groan)

    Then you would agree you should test your contention against the real world data? Is that not science? Where is it Zebra?

    Here’s something to start with: I live in NZ and we have small population, low population density and a lot of our people live in one big city, Auckland, so this is rather close to your ideal “model” isn’t it? Let me elucidate kemusabe, we have a whole range of embarrassing and quite severe environmental problems. So does our small population neighbour Australia and small population pacific island neighbours. We do have a lot of renewable energy, but only because we are lucky to have a lot of suitable rivers and geothermal resource. I know this is just a few cases but its a start, and surely you should test your contention a bit against more cases?

    I come back to what I said. Small population has many obvious benefits, but only appears to have only limited improvements in making better environmental decisions, and geographical factors only have limited effect. Another example would be Easter Island where small population and bad choices wiped them out! I think small population helps but there are a huge range of other factors at play.

  45. 295
    Scott Strough says:

    Please pay careful attention. I said glomalin was a newly discovered link in the LCP that was previously unknown. It is not the last link in that biochemical chain and it does not for the most part decay into CO2, instead it becomes humic polymers tightly bound to the mineral substrate. As that substrate erodes in geological time it becomes part of the deep carbon cycle.

    You are either not reading or not understanding the sources I gave you.

    “The most important longterm
    C sink from grasslands is their supply by erosion
    to sedimentary basins of crumb peds, which
    are unusually rich in organic matter intimately admixed
    with clay (Pawluk and Bal 1985). Tropical
    forests, in contrast, yield highly oxidized spherical
    micropeds with virtually no organic content (Retallack
    1991a). Organic C in sediment derived from
    forested lands is typically 0.1–0.3 g /m2 /yr,
    whereas nearby pasturelands yield 1–3 g /m2 /yr
    and mostly graminaceous croplands yield 100–300 g /m2 /yr”

    This gets buried in the deep ocean or river deltas. The other fate which is in the same source I have given you countless times is it just gets buried deeper.

    “Grassland and woodland soils may have
    comparable amounts of organic C in the surface 15
    cm. Beyond that depth, organic C values drop off
    dramatically in woodland soils but remain high in
    grassland soils to a meter or more. The fine structure
    and fertility of grassland soils is in large part
    due to this large C reservoir”

    Ultimately the fate of that carbon is fossilization. But in climate science we call it weathering. It undergoes chemical processes deep in the subsoil and these processes trap the carbon and mineralize it rather than releasing it back as CO2. Again, it’s the long cycle where this carbon is going. It becomes no longer part of the short cycle, (or in soil science terminology this carbon is the stable fraction rather than the labile fraction)

    So two pathways into the long cycle. That almost do not exist in a forest soil but are 10 to 1000 times greater in a grassland soil.

    I also gave you confirming evidence:

    However, you seem to believe the symbiosis of glomalin producing AMF goes dormant as the carbon content of soils increases. However, you have failed to provide any evidence at all that this should happen, and evidence from the fields is that as carbon content of soils increases, all soil life explodes, including AMF. The soil food web accelerates, it doesn’t switch off and go dormant because it gets too healthy and too fertile. The concept is difficult to conceive quite frankly. But if you have evidence for this strange phenomenon, please publish. You’ll be the first. The soils of Indiana Illinois, Iowa, etc..all were many many meters deep and no sign of slowing down until came the plow and haber process NPK type fertilizers which do indeed shut down the LCP. In fact probably why we never fully understood the forming of mollisols for a hundred years was we had already largely shut down the LCP before we even discovered its existence! It’s a whole level of complexity unknown prior to 1996.

    But I have walked that land and dug into it too. In fact I had a job as a teen digging fence posts and setting fence. Not much is done anymore since most fences are comming out rather than going in. But back in the day I dug too many tens of thousands of post holes to even think about. I can tell you with certainty and by the bloody blisters on hands the difference between an alfisol and a mollisol. That is something you can take to the bank. LONG LONG LONG before we come close saturating the soil sink worldwide with carbon, we will run out of carbon in the atmosphere. Those soils hold too much carbon and just keep getting deeper.

    You can dispute the rate if you wish. Take that up with Dr. Christine Jones and CSIRO and Dr. Richard Teague and the USDA. But don’t just make up crap out of thin air and expect it to fly just because you fail to understand soils. It is a “merchant of doubt” strategy.

    On the other hand, biomass saturation, a completely unrelated thing having to do with the short cycle labile carbon is well understood and happens even faster in grasslands than forests. We have evidence that pool, part of the biosphere pool, is shrinking even faster than previously thought, and even when restored, saturates faster than previously thought too. That is a whole different thing than the LCP though.

    Dr. Gregory J. Retallack himself wrote another published paper explaining this because many like you Steve seem to have difficulties understanding. It’s a way to break out of the silo and join with other climate scientists. People think it is an interesting paper describing the past, but you are not even close to the only one having difficulties understanding the ramifications for the present and near future. So here is that new paper:

    Global Cooling by Grassland
    Soils of the Geological Past
    and Near Future

  46. 296
    MA Rodger says:

    RSS has now posted for September with an anomaly of +0.84ºC, the warmest RSS TLTv4.0 anomaly of the year so far (as was the UAH Sept anomaly). Jan-to-Aug RSS spanned +0.71ºC +0.49ºC (ie Δ0.13ºC to Δ0.35ºC with the UAH equivalent Δ0.10ºC to Δ0.33ºC) . September 2017 is the warmest September on the RSS record ahead of September 2016 (+0.75ºC) and 1998 (+0.60ºC). It is the 5th highest monthly anomaly on the RSS all-month record (UAH was 9th) behind the peak months of the two big El Ninos Feb-Apr 2016 and Apr 1998 (UAH it is Jan-Apr 2016 & Feb+Apr-Jun 1998). So for a non-El Nino year, up through the troposphere we really do have “SCORCHYISIMMO!!!!!” In the UAH data, the region that stood out as causing this warmth was the southern oceans (extra tropics) – the RSS data maps don’t immediately yield such simple numerical certainty but the bright spits in each of the southern oceans suggest the same.

    The table is ranked by the average anomaly of the first nine months of the year. It looks almost ceratin that annually 2017 will end up in 2nd slot in RSS TLTv4.0 as it would now require the final three months averaging above +1.08ºC to gain top spot and drop below +0.45ºC to fall behind 1998 and into 3rd spot (ie averaging colder than any single 2017 month so far).

    …….. Jan-Sept Ave … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 .. +0.81ºC … … … +0.74ºC … … …1st
    1998 .. +0.66ºC … … … +0.58ºC … … …2nd
    2010 .. +0.63ºC … … … +0.56ºC … … …3rd
    2017 .. +0.62ºC
    2015 .. +0.49ºC … … … +0.54ºC … … …4th
    2005 .. +0.43ºC … … … +0.42ºC … … …5th
    2002 .. +0.41ºC … … … +0.38ºC … … …8th
    2007 .. +0.40ºC … … … +0.36ºC … … …9th
    2014 .. +0.40ºC … … … +0.41ºC … … …6th
    2013 .. +0.37ºC … … … +0.36ºC … … …10th
    2003 .. +0.36ºC … … … +0.39ºC … … …7th

  47. 297
    MA Rodger says:

    Due to an on-going glitch, the graphs on my google-sites pages are not updating. I have temporarily posted the graph of recent surface & TLT global temperature anomalies here (usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment).

  48. 298

    K 277: Canada is only nation sticking to Paris climate agreement:

    BPL: And you cite Breitbart, the neo-Nazi news site? Please.

    Many countries are well ahead of their Paris commitments, including China.

  49. 299

    Mr. KIA, 277–

    Oh, well, if BREITBART says it, it MUST be true!

    Especially on climate issues…

    No, I’m not going to click on their BS. In theory, anyone might say something true and worthy of consideration at any time. In practice, there are some sources for which the probability is sufficiently low as to merit conserving one’s resource of time.

    Particularly so when there is a veritable spate of news suggesting the contrary–to take just the most recent item of which I took notice, India recently achieved a new high of nearly 14% of electrical generation via renewable energy.

    Or this–mainly symbolic, but still:

    But then, this is pretty consequential:

    It’s notable that Chairman Xi has linked his own cult of personality to environmental progress. It means that failure to achieve the latter will undercut the former, and you can be damn sure that Xi has no intention of letting that happen.

    Certainly Christiana Figueres has a very different perspective on this alleged ‘abandonment of Paris’–something she has a pretty good vantage point to assess. In a recent article, she actually went so far as to thank President Trump for “provok[ing] an unparalleled wave of support for the treaty,” and “…shor[ing] up the world’s resolve on climate action”:

    I suspect that Breitbart is exercising their considerable powers of spin, selective reporting, distortion, and outright invention to obscure how the decision to withdraw from Paris has alreadyworked to delegitimize America as stakeholder, and indeed as leader in the global community:

    Steve Fish, #285–

    Thanks for the links. I want to do some serious reading on this topic.

  50. 300

    More news from India:

    Well on track to meet or exceed wind power targets for 2022–and no wonder, with projects being bid in at prices like this.