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Forced Responses: Jan 2018

Filed under: — group @ 1 January 2018

This is a new class of open thread for discussions of climate solutions, mitigation and adaptation. As always, please be respectful of other commentators and try to avoid using repetition to make your points. Discussions related to the physical Earth System should be on the Unforced Variations threads.

601 Responses to “Forced Responses: Jan 2018”

  1. 51
    Adrian Midgley says:

    Larry at 35:

    I expect that whatever I’m willing to do, there are less sanguine people who will do other things as well or instead.
    You might care to present your views of how the work may be kept safer from remedial engineering than it is from not doing such engineering?

    The alternative to fixing this problem doesn’t appear to be carrying on with it unfixed, it appears to be megadeaths and potentially extinction.

  2. 52
    Adrian Midgley says:

    Thomas at 42:
    wonderfully informative. Would it be too much trouble to give a pointer to where you presented the facts last year and the year before, please?

    Otherwise we are rather in Fermat’s Last Theorem territory.

    I’m not sure what your background is, but that comment of yours could be thought to be rude.

  3. 53

    wili, #15–

    I haven’t seen the study you reference, but the political examples given are, er, ‘conspicuous.’ That’s why I’ve been saying that the US is not a functioning democracy, but rather an oligarchy.

    I hope that our democratic institutions are still effective enough that John’s suggestions @ #6 can be effective. I’m certainly planning on doing all I can to ensure that the ruling elite ceases to rule.

    But it’s not just one election here or there; the state of things is the result of decades of strategic, well-funded work by the oligarchs running things now–see Jane Mayer’s “Dark Money” for the sad and dirty details. So the institutional damage done must be repaired, as well. It won’t be easy.

  4. 54
    Mal Adapted says:

    Mr. Ironically Anosognosic Typist:

    First thing you have to do to win elections based on AGW is to provide convincing evidence of AGW. It shouldn’t be that difficult. Show the math.

    Heh. Irony abounds!

    We all know why Mr. IAT is here. Mr. IAT isn’t actually interested in the radiative properties of CO2. No evidence-based argument will ever convince him of the reality of AGW. He’s made it plain he regards the freedom to socialize his private marginal climate-change costs as sacrosanct. He’s not here to discuss solutions, but to bring his fantasy culture war to his imaginary enemies.

    The bulk of Mr. IAT’s comments seem intended to bait climate realists, for the sheer childish glee of it. He’s presumably confident that too few US voters care enough about ‘the math’ to reach an effective plurality for collective intervention in the ‘free’ market, requisite to decarbonizing the US economy.

    OTOH, elections in the US today are won on slender margins. Mr. IAT may hope posting mathy-sciencey bullshit on RC will make climate realists fight him for every vote, somehow. What do y’all think?

  5. 55
    Mal Adapted says:


    Forgive me for my poorly written comment. I should have reviewed it a few more times.

    If you had, we might have something to argue about ;^).

    OTOH, one must beware of over-editing oneself 8^(!

  6. 56

    zebra, #48–

    Didn’t take it exactly as an ‘assignment’, but I’ve given it some thought, mostly in terms of pondering the notion of the ‘optimally resilient climate overlay.’ I think you’d have to structure that by first constructing sub-overlays, then merging them. For instance, this recent study projecting wet-bulb temperature exposures is top of mind, and could be one ‘sub-overlay’:

    I’ve given more time to this:

    (Relevant, perhaps, to #6 above, and responses thereto.)

  7. 57
    zebra says:

    Kevin M #53,

    I do hope we can continue our more math-and-sciency MAS discussion from before– who knows, there seem to be some new participants who might get involved.

    But on this business of “oligarchs running things”, I think you have to be careful not to play into the manipulation by the oligarchs. Remember, this last election was supposedly about “populism”, and how Hillary was “beholden to Wall Street” and all that good stuff.

    Reality is, Trump gave (a little fewer than) half the voters exactly what they wanted. Our Constitution created the un-democratic outcome, and also distorts the makeup of Congress.

    “We have met the enemy, and it is (a large proportion of) us.”

  8. 58
    MA Rodger says:

    Jan Galkowski @7 in UVJan18
    Responding to your mitigation comment.
    It would be desperate times indeed if we were faced with a negative-emissions requirement of 200-300ppm CO2. As you point out, Δ300ppm would require considerable negative-emissions: 300 x 2.13Gt(C)/Af = 1,420Gt(C). And if the target CO2 level were 300ppm as you set out, that would also imply mankind managed to achieve a 600ppm CO2 level. The 490ppm(e) value you mention would be less of a worry if the emissions supporting the additional non-CO2 ΔF were showing a downward trend. CH4 is happily quite short-lived as a GHG. N2O is significantly more persistent but in quantity it is 40% the CH4 contribution to ppm(e).
    Yet, these large values for required negative-emissions are not set out in Anderson & Peters (2016) which only show a projected total of roughly 145Gt(C) by 2100, reaching 4Gt(C) annually. And for years beyond 2100, I would suggest that by 2100, if there is a possible rabbit-in-the-hat, it will be hoppity-hopping around by 2100.
    Scoping the challenge of 4Gt(C)/yr negative-emissions, 8 million sq km of willow would do the job but such land use is surely too high. (Coffee growing uses perhaps 1% that area.) And disposal/storage methods are still to be determined.
    Yet given the importance, with better efficiencies … am I seeing a bit of a long furry ear sticking above the brim here?
    Alternatively, using raw power to draw down CO2 does seem wrongheaded if CO2 is still being burned in significant quantities. But there are those advocating it.
    As I set out in UVJan18@4, and you also @7, the need for emissions-cuts and for negative-emissions are inexorably mixed. But we appear to agree that it is surely better to achieve zero emissions promptly and avoiding sitting round the hat waiting for the bunny to leap out.
    But the attractions of negative emissions are increasingly being argued by, for instance, in a hot-off-the-press paper Obersteiner et al (2017), and the UK “launched a £8.6m national research programme “ last Spring. (I note your comment there bemoaning the lack of reference in the UK programme to certain Free Air CC technologies.)

  9. 59
    Killian says:

    The Backfire Effect may not exist. Ironic. Thus, keep spreading the news!

    Across all experiments, we found no corrections capable of triggering backfire, despite testing precisely the kinds of polarized issues where backfire should be expected. Evidence of factual backfire is far more tenuous than prior research suggests. By and large, citizens heed factual information, even when such information challenges their ideological commitments.

  10. 60
    Thomas says:

    43 nigelj, I am not talking about the end of the world. Unless I missed it? :)

    The video was factual (?) info about “population” and “growth”. The topic you and others were discussing. the other links were a bonus. I think it all makes quite good sense. Nothing there was an end of the world scenario. Quite the opposite i thought.

    Re: “The barriers are political, psychological, vested interests, campaigns of disinformation. Just so many frigging barriers.”

    Yep. And Communication and Values, imho.

  11. 61
  12. 62
  13. 63
  14. 64
    Thomas says:


    Dr. Joshua Landis
    Wednesday 4 May 2011

    Syria today has a per capita GDP of about $2,300, $2,400. Twenty years ago it was about $2,000. So the average Syrian has only improved by $300, $400. They’re poor. 32% of Syrians live below the poverty line on $2 a day or less, and that’s where we saw this uprising start, Deraa, southern, forlorn agricultural city of 300,000 people.

    But there’s been terrible droughts during the last four years. The agricultural districts have been really hammered and commodity prices have gone through the roof.

    Wheat prices, we don’t realise this in the developed world because food is such a teeny party of our expenses, but in Syria where almost half the population is spending 50% of their income just on food; wheat has doubled.

    The price of wheat has doubled in the last two years, so Syrians have found themselves really pinched and there was this sense of rising expectation because Bashar’s opened up economy, there’s been an inflow of cash, the very top 3%, 4%, 5% of Syrians have done extremely well with this opening, but it’s caused a major income gap, and it’s caused resentment, bad resentment, and so one of the main cries in this revolution is against corruption, and against this elite that surrounds the President, has done extremely well. Some of the President’s family members who are getting sweetheart deals and making off like bandits, and it’s created a great deal of resentment in Syria.

    iow it’s a microcosm of a very possible future macrocosm … if this then that. Logic:101 aka History Repeats.

  15. 65
    Thomas says:

    and during this “unprecedented” (?) weird (?) Syrian drought, progressively more and more rural very religious uneducated villagers moved into the cities trying to survive …. someone then lit a match. and others fanned it wildly from afar.

    again a little insight into the future in other nations, perhaps.

    Drought doesn’t exist in a vacuum any less than religion and tribal ways and geopolitics and the oil/gas business don’t.

    2011 was more than 6 years ago now.

  16. 66
    Scott E Strough says:

    MA Roger,
    Your paper you referenced by Oberstein et al is flawed because it considers mainly CCS and BeCCS without mentioning BCCS via the LCP at all. What purpose to mention the two Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) strategies completely incapable of obtaining the desired result, while ignoring the technology with capacity to spare; then writing a paper on it?

    This has to be purposeful in my opinion. Likely part of the denial-sphere but craftily camouflaged. Maybe just massive bias caused this unintentional flaw, but how in the world does one become that biased? It’s to the brink of brainwashing. That’s why I highly suspect it is rather purposeful.

  17. 67
    Thomas says:

    As I keep on …….. blah blah blah

    climate fear, or climate hope? Both sides are wrong, from a psychological standpoint. Emotions are complicated and can vary tremendously from person to person. Trying to crudely manipulate them doesn’t work.

    New Nature article – Reassessing emotion in climate change communication

    Debate over effective climate change communication must be grounded in rigorous affective science. Rather than treating emotions as simple levers to be pulled to promote desired outcomes, emotions should be viewed as one integral component of a cognitive feedback system guiding responses to challenging decision-making problems.
    Daniel A. Chapman, Brian Lickel and Ezra M. Markowitz

    and “Emotion is a powerful force in human
    behaviour, and this is undoubtedly true
    with responses to climate change. Researchers
    and practitioners should attend to and
    clarify the roles of emotions and emotion-
    based messages for different forms of
    short-term and long-term climate change
    engagement. Getting the affective science
    right may have significant benefits, but
    getting it wrong also has the potential for
    producing significant harm. Just as it is vital
    for climate scientists and communicators to
    base messages about climate change
    on rigorous empirical evidence from the
    physical sciences, statements on the use of
    emotion in communication strategies must
    also be firmly grounded in evidence from
    affective science.”

  18. 68
    Thomas says:

    The juiciest bit?

    “Rethinking the role of emotion
    So, how can policymakers, researchers,
    writers, advocates and others more
    productively incorporate solid affective
    science into their work? First, it is
    important to develop authentic, honest
    communications strategies that meet
    intended audiences where they are rather
    than attempting to socially engineer
    emotional appeals; the latter approach is
    not only pragmatically and theoretically
    problematic in the ways described above,
    but also suffers from being ethically
    questionable. An audience-focused
    approach views the mix of emotions
    evoked in climate change communication
    as a factor to be understood rather than
    something that simplistically defines a
    particular communications strategy or piece
    of climate change communication as ‘good’
    or ‘bad’.”

  19. 69
    Russell says:

    The Guardian’s rediscovery of Edward Tellers 1959 warning on CO2 and climate forcing leaves one wondering.
    When will Steve Koonin and Naomi Oreskes publish a joint retraction of their anti-historical spin on where the issue stood in the days of Eisenhower and the International Geophysical Year?

  20. 70
    zebra says:

    Kevin M #56,

    I was kidding of course. What I’m hoping for right now is that you have overcome your skepticism about the non-linearity of the relationship between declining population and declining Liquidation of Natural Capital.

    Did my examples clarify the reasoning?

    For any new arrivals, I am proposing something like: If you cut the US population in half, you will reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions and so on by, say, 75%. IOW, per capita consumption will go down.

    BTW, I am writing from blizzard-land at the moment; I can barely see my shed that is 50 feet away. So, pray for my power lines and don’t be surprised if I don’t get back to this anytime soon. The radar shows the main body of the storm is still coming…

  21. 71
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @70

    “If you cut the US population in half, you will reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions and so on by, say, 75%. IOW, per capita consumption will go down.”

    You are right in a general sense, and a good thing too. I think 75% is a good guess, but a lot of this stuff has to be mathematically modeled and graphed.

    One issue is that you are talking “all other things being equal”. Remember falling population will be happening at a time of increasing robotics in western countries at least, which may tend to keep per capita consumption high for some specific goods and services.

    The same sort phenomenon will play out in the developing world, where falling population and increasing economic performance (increasing efficiency, productivity) might mean per capita consumption stays about the same for a period of time, as they play catch up with the west.

    Have you considered these sorts of things?

  22. 72
    MA Rodger says:

    Scott E Strough @66,
    I would not describe the Obersteiner et al (2017) paper that I cited @58 as ‘my paper’. And while methods of burying useful quantites of CO2 don’t seem to be yet demonstrated, the same could be said for the likes of BCCS with LCP (Liquid Carbon Pathway). It is now ten years since Jones (2008) but are there any results from field trials? Slide shows like this talk of 10t(C)/yr sequestration (but almost as a by-product from new better land management rather than CCS being the primary intention) but (or maybe ‘therefore’) it is hardily a proper field trial, and I did consciously ask about ‘trials.

    So, early days. It will be good when some convincing CCS work appears. I noted in a link to the Soils-R-GGREAT research within an article I cited @58 about UK funding of CCS resrearch that the plan was that “Interim results will be published by the end of 2017,” with the full project delivering “most comprehensive global assessment of the potential of our soils to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.” I look forward to news on this.

  23. 73
    Scott E Strough says:

    MA Rodger,
    Yes there are field trials. In fact that paper Christine wrote is results from multiple 10 year field trials! You want field trials to test field trials? Maybe field trials to test field trials of field trials? Then a 100 year study of the latest field trials of field trials of field trials?

    You can play the denialism card forever if you want but on at least 50 million acres around the world, and by now probably closer to 100 million acres there are people sequestering 5-20 tonnes CO2 / ha / yr by using variations on this:

    It is scale-able to every size, every technology, every government style, every economic level, and probably most if not all crops because the management is adaptive in structure.

    And this is your confirming published study with nearly identical results that the Aussies are getting:

    There comes a point in time when studies are not needed to proceed. You can still do them to understand better, but the Flyer has made it’s test flight and there is no going back. The impossible is now possible.

  24. 74
    Mr. Know It All says:

    45 – nigelj
    “….converting to renewable energy costs about 1% of a countries income, so is achievable even in poor countries, maybe with a little help.

    The barriers are political, psychological, vested interests, campaigns of disinformation. Just so many frigging barriers.”

    Nearly half of the world population lives on less than $2.50/day.

    25% of percent of the world’s people have no electricity. Bet they have a low carbon footprint.

    Rough estimate of the cost to provide each household with a 100 watt solar panel, a 110 Ah 12V AGM battery, PWM charge controller, DC light fixture, some wire, and a switch. In that order, ballpark off top of my head – $158+195+30+50+10+10=$453. Say $500 delivered and installed.
    Number of people w/o electricity ~0.25 x 7EE9 ~ 1.75EE9. Assume 4 people per household, then number of households ~437,500,000.
    Rough cost $219 billion. That’s doable. The EU and the commonwealth nations should set that as their goal in 2018.

    Speaking of carbon footprint, Venezuelans are getting a big raise in the minimum wage. People in the USA say they want a higher minimum wage, but Venezuelans are actually getting a 40% increase! Obviously utopian socialism is better than our oligarchical system run by an orange bazillionaire. You read that right! 40% increase in socialist Venezuela! New minimum wage will be ~ $7/month! That’s expected to stoke inflation. Bet their carbon footprint will explode as well.

  25. 75

    Zebra, #57–

    But on this business of “oligarchs running things”, I think you have to be careful not to play into the manipulation by the oligarchs. Remember, this last election was supposedly about “populism”, and how Hillary was “beholden to Wall Street” and all that good stuff.

    Reality is, Trump gave (a little fewer than) half the voters exactly what they wanted. Our Constitution created the un-democratic outcome, and also distorts the makeup of Congress.

    “We have met the enemy, and it is (a large proportion of) us.”

    I have to (largely) disagree. Trump voters didn’t want their healthcare demolished, or the Federal deficit to be drastically enlarged, or Medicare restricted. Mostly, they wanted to feel better about the prospects for the country and for themselves. And by now, quite a few are realizing that they’ve been had by an enormous bait-and-switch.

    On the other hand, the program that’s been instituted is *precisely* what David Koch and his fellow oligarchs ordered. It’s not the Constitution that ‘distorts the makeup of Congress’; it’s measures that have given money the whip hand in determining the course of the political process, and a carefully-built up ideological infrastructure–think tanks, ‘sponsored’ schools of business, political science and the like, media outlets–that support those interests. I’d call it ‘corporate libertarianism.’ It’s the ‘weaponization of philanthropy’–because one of the huge ironies of all this is that the foundations which have so distorted and subverted our politics also function as tax shelters.

    See Jane Mayer’s “Dark Money” for a very thoroughly-researched treatment of the topic. It’s very unpleasant reading; I had to force myself to finish it. But it is very illuminating. What has happened to this country is not an accident. It’s the product of the careful, persistent, and strategic effort over nearly 4 decades now, supported by enormous wealth and privilege.

  26. 76
    Martin Ross says:

    RE: Solar Sunshades
    The number of heavy lift rockets that would have to be launched to deploy the “sunshade in space” would need to be so large that their exhaust emissions into the stratosphere would deplete a significant amount of ozone. This might be avoided by exclusively using hydrogen fueled rockets. Kerosene fueled rockets emit a mess of BC (soot) and uncombusted hydrocarbons. In fact, rockets are like a “weak” geoengineering experiment of themselves! Use large ones, launch them often, and you create a persistent layer of BC in the stratosphere (e.g. Ross et al., 2010) – just like the geoengineering crowd have proposed. This goes for “space based solar power” schemes as well. Rockets (except the H2 types) emit a lot of gases and particles that effectively perturb the stratosphere. Launching a lot of them for whatever reason (solar radiation management or power) will cause more problems than they solve.

  27. 77
    Steven Emmerson says:

    Scott E Strough @73,
    The possibility of reducing atmospheric CO2 levels to pre-industrial levels via Holistic Management has been addressed on RealClimate before. See

    The numbers don’t look good.

  28. 78
    MA Rodger says:

    Scott E. Strough @73,
    It would be great if “The impossible is now possible.” Yet I find your references less than convincing. Your Wikipedia reference (not the place that springs to mind as a source of cutting edge references) did provide a 2016 Powerpoint slideshow which at least did look the part as it was on the subject of Carbon Sequestration. Yet the big numbers quoted were poorly referenced (eg 3t(C)/ha/yr on Slide 6 cited your third reference Teague et al 2011, a paper which may infer such a finding but actually fails to set it out as a finding.)
    If “the impossible is now possible,” I do not see it being described in these references. Perhaps Teague or some other has set it out in more recent work. When I have a moment, I will have a trawl through Teague’s publications and report back.

  29. 79
    Killian says:

    #73 Scott Strough

    Careful about conflating Holistic Managem (HM), which has some significant flaws for those seekibg to create regenerative communities, and holistic grazing, which is not new via Savory, but he has developed an extensive process.

  30. 80
    Killian says:

    #48 and #56

    Questions: 1. The discussion is only interesting intellwctually. Pragmatically, we all know lower population should equal lower consumption. Anyone who has even cursory awareness of sustainable systems and consumption will understand this.

    Thus, file under: Well, duh!

    You,zebra, seem to be wanting to take this a step further and say the differential between the two decline curves eans reducing population is the primary way to reducing consumption.

    I have several qualms about this. 1. I don’t see where you have discussed adequately the effects of non-linear collapse on this scenario. 2. Collapse has never been globalized like it is now. 3. Demographics experts seem to disagree with you on the timing of the curve. 4. In the long run none of this matters if the goal is true sustainability because if you do sustainability and populaton peaks this century, the population emergency is averted and per capita consumption can rise on a curve fitted to the population decline.

  31. 81
    Killian says:

    Sorry, second question is what is your assumed time frame?

  32. 82
    zebra says:

    Killian #80,

    Since you managed to write that in concise paragraphs that one can actually follow, I’ll try to answer. (Although your reasoning still seems confused.)

    First, I’ve been clear that lower population is optimal for long-term sustainability, as I have defined sustainability. I have never said that it is the “primary” way to achieve mitigation and adaptation, as I have defined them, in the shorter term, but that it should be elevated in importance, because it will aid with both over the next say three centuries. Human suffering, at least, will be reduced.

    Energy transition and efficiencies are obviously primary in the short term. But, since my projection for those to seriously affect the climate system is more like 150 years than 50, the more rapidly the population curve can be bent down, the “differential” as you call it will certainly make a difference in M and A.

    Now, as to “collapse”, whatever you mean by “collapse”, which is just as vague as your “governance” concept, who cares? I am suggesting a belt-and-suspenders design solution; if your pants are soaked in gasoline and ignited, none of it matters. That includes all the suggestions you and others have made to this point.

    If you want to respond with a reasoned argument, fine. If you are going to break up my writing into individual sentences, and make some incoherent comment following each, with various bolding to make it unreadable, I will ignore it as I have all such inputs.

  33. 83
    zebra says:

    Kevin M #75,

    I’m completely on board about the Koch Bros et al and the long campaign to co-opt the system. The problem I have, and I’ve brought this up before, is that there are oligarchs and there are oligarchs.

    Is Elon Musk an oligarch? Well, if the D’s had been as adept as the R’s, and he contributed money to the effort, and they were in charge… would that be a Bad Thing, just because he would get richer selling more EV and solar panels and batteries due to their legislation?

    The distinction I’ve made in the past is that wealth that is the result of “owning” Natural Capital, and liquidating it, is not the same as wealth that is accumulated through innovation.

    As for the voters. I’ve said this before. If Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela, Iran, were true Athenian Democracies, do you think the citizens would vote to stop producing oil and gas? Norway hasn’t, and many here (including me) consider their type of Social Democracy to be a positive model.

    I’ll leave the Constitution and the less pleasant factors that affected the 2016 vote for another time.

  34. 84

    KIA, #74–

    You read that right! 40% increase in socialist Venezuela! New minimum wage will be ~ $7/month! That’s expected to stoke inflation. Bet their carbon footprint will explode as well.

    Er, no. The classic informal definition of inflation is ‘too much money chasing too few goods and services.’ Venezualan carbon footprint would follow the ‘real value of goods and services’ curve, not the ‘nominal value of the currency’ curve.

  35. 85
    Scott E Strough says:

    @77 Steve Emerson
    The real climate post by West and Briske is poorly written and mathematically flawed. Their math switches between gross carbon fixing and net carbon sequestration and shows a glaring lack of understanding the complexity of the carbon cycle. The numbers they post are completely misleading. The conclusions they draw entirely flawed.

    In fact it was just this post so long ago that inspired me to take a climate course. I realized there was a need to communicate outside my silo and agricultural science doesn’t always use the same formats as many of the other so called “hard” sciences, much less biological sciences.

  36. 86
    nigelj says:

    Mr Know it all @74

    Yes it would not cost that much to provide a simple, low cost, decentralised version solar power to people living in Africa. The has done an interesting article on energy in Africa as below:

    Minimum wage increases in Venezuela are driven by astronomical levels of inflation so not of much relevance to USA. Venezuela’s economy was almost entirely dependent on oil exports and unsustainable levels of subsidies to consumers, and when the oil market crashed so did everything else, and they haven’t really recovered. There were currency problems as well, in the way they are linked to the dollar.

    It’s bad management and excessive reliance on just one product, more than socialism as such. The country cant even afford to import basic essentials now.

  37. 87
    nigelj says:

    Kevin McKinney @57

    I agree that America is effectively ruled by an oligarchy, and the campaign has turned into a classic bait and switch. The Trump campaign also played on the inability of blue collar workers to see through what was really intended economically, by distracting them with scapegoating of elites and other groups.

    However the constitution is important in a sense. Consider money in politics that funds election campaigns, and which gives billionaire donors huge influence like the Mercers and Kochs. Attempts have been made by the Democrats to put limits on this funding like a cap, but they have been struck down by the courts as being ‘unconstitutional’ and in conflict with free speech requirements. This might sound strange, but that is how it is. This might be what Zebra is thinking of.

    Secondly the problems of gerrymandering of electoral districts, and the problem that a candidate can loose even with more of the popular vote, because all emphasis is on the electoral college. This has never seemed rational to me.

    The only real solution is proportional representation. We actually changed our system to MMP proportional representation because of gerrymandering problems, and after about 20 years the vast majority are happy with MMP according to various polls. However such a system might be resisted in America, and the constitution would inevitably be invoked in debate.

    The last election in America was finely balanced. In a proportional representation environment like STV or MMP, Clinton would have won. (Not saying she was an ideal candidate, but the point is in the modern world elections are often quite close so the voting system and money in politics is important)

  38. 88
    nigelj says:

    Killian @ Zebra

    Regarding population trends. For various projections refer below:

    Key points:

    “The world population is currently growing by approximately 83 million people each year.[1] The growth rate is slowing….. The median estimate for future growth sees the world population reaching 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100[1] assuming a continuing decrease in average fertility rate from 2.5 births per woman in 2010-2015 to 2.2 in 2045-2050 and to 2.0 in 2095-2100, according to the medium-variant projection….”

    “While most scenarios still predict continued growth into the 22nd century, there is a roughly 23% chance that the total population could stabilize or begin to fall before 2100.[4]:3 Longer-term speculative scenarios over the next two centuries can predict anything between runaway growth to radical decline (36.4 billion or 2.3 billion people in 2300), with the median projection showing a slight decrease followed by a stabilization around 9 billion people.[5]:13”

    IMO a radical decline by 2300 to just 2.3 billion people would clearly then require a drop in fertility below replacement rate of 2 children in the west, and below 3 children in poor countries. This assumes a significant number of childless couples, and 1 child families. It’s possible of course and the real question is how far society goes in that direction.

    Severe resource scarcity might force it on people anyway. (This assumes theres enough remaining wealth to keep infant mortality low which is plausible, thus meaning there’s no survival need to have large families).

    Of course the alternative is to push society towards smaller families in a phased way, rather than have it forced on people more harshly by growing environmental problems. And the sooner population declines the more resource depletion rates reduce.

    The bottom line is smaller global population is plausible, but not until after 2100 on any realistic assumption, so wont help with dangerous climate change issues and Paris accord targets of 2050. Clearly smaller population reduces environmental pressures, and is likely to be non linear in benefits to a small degree as well.

  39. 89
    nigelj says:

    Killian and Zebra, addendum on population comment:

    By “push humanity towards smaller population in a phased way” I mean encourage, not force or engineer. Such things are abhorrent to me.

  40. 90
    Thomas says:

    73, 77, 78 et al

    What about what science has already proven regarding sugar cane and carbon fixing into soils?

    There’s a lot of “what abouts” …. like clearing amazonian forests to grow soya beans to ship to the UK to feed battery chickens? Clearing Indonesian rainforests to grow Palm oil plantations to make something that is not even necessary?

    What about the fact that 95-98% of existing forests and millennia old rain forests were clear felled in Australia plus 100 years ago? Just like everyone else had done in the ‘civilized world’ before then.

    Knowledge is power. That includes historical knowledge.,-carbon-levels-and-biodiversity!.pdf

    Just a few refs to hand.

    A Complicated business … does the left hand know what the right hand is doing or already knows?

  41. 91
    Killian says:

    77 Steven Emmerson said Scott E Strough @73,
    The possibility of reducing atmospheric CO2 levels to pre-industrial levels via Holistic Management has been addressed on RealClimate before. See

    The numbers don’t look good.

    What doesn’t look good is that lousy, seemingly biased analysis. Never let a scientist anywhere near a non-technical solution; they seem to only rarely have faith in anything they cannot measure in absolute terms.

    First, while going after Savory is fair – and I have my own critiques – the fact is our grasslands and forests have been massively diminished and part of the solution is to repair them. Sure, Savory makes claims about what exists, but no analysis of a pathway should be so narrow. It is unskilled thinking and misleading. So, we are not just talking about sequestration via existing grasslands, but reestablishing grasslands.

    Further, they consider no other ag or nature-based sequestration. Changing the food system over to regenerative will sequester at least 40% of current emissions, and some estimates go higher. Bio-char? Regrowth of forests? Food forests to help stabilize the food system? Replenishment of the ocean biota via god management and reduced consumption would permanently sequester 30 gigatons.


    Those two performed a massive disservice to humanity with that sloppy, biased analysis.

  42. 92
    Killian says:

    #57 and #75

    Let’s not forget the most telling stat, out of Princeton, I believe(?), that 70% of laws over the last three decades have favored the 1% over the people, and have gone against public opinion, just as the recent tax law does.

    No, it is not an accident. Sorry, zeb, but you are wrong; that number is impossible to get to without intentionality, access and control.

  43. 93
    Thomas says:

    Zebra and nigelj, so what new things did you learn about “population” and “growth” from those Rosling refs that you did not know before?

  44. 94
    Thomas says:

    5 MA Rodger again proves the truism of Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.

  45. 95
    Thomas says:

    52 Adrian Midgley, and what did you learn that you didn’t know before about delusional neoliberal geoengineering fantasy land, and human gullibility and stupidity?


  46. 96
    Mr. Know It All says:

    57 – Zebra
    “Remember, this last election was supposedly about “populism”, and how Hillary was “beholden to Wall Street” and all that good stuff.

    Reality is, Trump gave (a little fewer than) half the voters exactly what they wanted. Our Constitution created the un-democratic outcome, and also distorts the makeup of Congress.”

    Oh really? What period was the distortion of Congress the greatest? 1954 to 1994 when Ds controlled both houses, or was it recently when Rs have controlled both houses? Come on, tell us, try getting it out:

    From Wikipedia:
    “After the 1954 Congressional elections, the Democratic Party now dominated both houses of Congress until 1994, except when Republicans held a majority of seats in the Senate, after the party dominated the 1980 US Presidential and US Senate elections, due to the fact that the Democratic US President Jimmy Carter became more and more unpopular….”

    75 – Kevin
    “And by now, quite a few are realizing that they’ve been had by an enormous bait-and-switch.”

    Wrong. Trump is doing largely what he said he’d do although he’s got plenty of opposition from many directions, but he’s making good progress, mowing down his enemies in the deep state just like he did in the election campaign. Hillary was an awful candidate, insincere, a criminal, and had no core beliefs other than “anything leftist” and “what’s in it for me”. Look at any nation that follows the beliefs of H or O and you’ll see failed socialist states – we rejected that as we should have.

    The founding fathers made the Constitution the way it is for a reason – and it’s made the US the greatest nation on earth by far.

    75 – Kevin
    “….What has happened to this country is not an accident. It’s the product of the careful, persistent, and strategic effort over nearly 4 decades now….”

    Actually it’s longer than that. At least since the 60s, schools have been indoctrinating students with leftist ideas, and more recently, dumbing them down using common core math so they cannot understand math – leftists in the USA have produced entire generations if idiots that can’t write, read, or think – and every one of them who made it to voting age voted for Hillary.

  47. 97
    Mr. Know It All says:

    Charles Barkley and Karl Malone have the solution for climate change. You CC believers need to apply their comments about their people, to YOURSELVES. If you do, the CC problem will start to diminish rapidly:

    Make it happen!

  48. 98
    Thomas says:

    Those living in the 1990s will likely recall what life was like when CO2 was only 350 ppm. It’s now averaging 406 ppm at Mauna Loa.

    The trend line suggests at least 412 ppm by 2020.

    Maybe 502 ppm at +3ppm/yr in 2050 (assuming bau with no significant changes).

    Would you prefer a 350 ppm world or a 500 ppm world?

    I can remember 1970 and 325 ppm of CO2. It was a very different ‘planet.’ imho.

    I few interesting things fwiw as a time for review. I like to check in with Hansen as he does very good summaries, imho.
    see the outliers of US, Canada, Australia, Middle East, Russia in these graphs. Those per capita emissions still do not account for the fossil fuels they export to others. Look at Africa’s per capita numbers.

    (b) Global Fossil-Fuel CO2 Annual Emissions

    From 1850 to 1913 global emissions grew by 1 Gt/C per year mainly from Coal and then Oil.
    From 2000 to 2016 Global Fossil-Fuel CO2 Annual Emissions grew 4 Gt/C from 6Gt/C per year to 10Gt/C per year.

    That’s 10 times 1913 levels. And still growing at +/- 2.2% per year (trend).

    As at 2016 (2017 the same by the look of it) global temp increases are racking the 8.5 RCP.
    Coal was the only fossil fuel decreasing in use recently.

    I wish people doing graphs side by side would always be consistent – the left axis should the same in everyone of these graphs. Only then can a fair visual analyisis of what’s being presented be reasonably drawn. As it actually distorts the viewers perceptions about what they “see” is there, imho.

    It’s really hot n humid here.

  49. 99
    Killian says:

    So much intelligent analysis in the Kevin Anderson presentation, it’s hard to know where to start. Let me point out:

    1. The degree of reductions and behavioral changes he discusses for the OECD and the global top 10%. He gets as high as 70%, and that’s not the full extent, that’s only up to the mid-century range, perhaps out to 2070… don’t want to rewind. Please remember I called for total reductions of 80-90%.

    This indicates rather close agreement between myself and Anderson.

    2. Please note what he says around the 38 min. mark on economics: Neo-classical, the garbage discussed in the thousands of words here in recent months, is a no-go. He doesn’t go into detail, but he shouldn’t need to for any of those reading people like Piketty, Keen, Daly, et al.

    These points are essentially to re-framing discussions to be productive. So long as our discussions here and globally rely on fairy tales, there is little chance of success.

    I’m fairly certain none of you will treat Prof. Anderson the way you treat me for saying virtually the same things. I’d love to see some posts here addressed directly to him telling him how wrong he is.

    But I’d rather see more reality-based discussions here.

  50. 100
    Killian says:

    More on Anderson:

    * We can learn low-carbon lifestyles from the less economically developed. Hmmm…

    * We can do this up to 70% reduction in the OECD in 30 years. Funny, I get blowback for allowing up to 100 years for 80%…

    * Efficiencies don’t solve climate change; it’s the carbon budget, not how we use it up. Mentions, indirectly, Jeavons’ Paradox.

    * BET’s are worth R&D, but a pipedream right now, and not worth risking the future on until proven.

    * Nuclear: For just 25% of needs would require 1,500 and 3,000 new stations needed by 2040. 100 or so a year. [To my knowledge no more than 4 have ever been completed in any given year. These are numbers I have long been familiar with and are just one of several reasons I don’t take nuclear seriously as a solution.]

    * Economics is not science… it’s really just astrology. Oh, my… heads will explode.

    * Locking in an infrastructure: This is a point I have not made recently but have, again, made for years. The biggest problem in the long term with building out an infrastructure is you become slave to it for a very long time. It prohibits/inhibits future changes for resilience, efficiency, sustainability. Basically, once it exists, it’s very hard to transition yet again. Thus, if a system is not already sustainable, you are locking in an unsustainable system for a generation or more, likely several, at least. Step beyond climate into resource limits and you should clearly recognize a massive problem with this approach.

    Frankly, I don’t read Anderson or watch his videos because I already know his message: It’s worse than you’re being told. Well, duh! I’d go further and say until the last two years, it’s been worse than most scientists realized. None of this is news to me, nor to anyone who has read my words since 2007. I also don’t read Hansen as soon as something new comes down the pike because I know what the news is going to be: Things are almost as bad as Killian said! It’s not a message I need to hear because I am saying it myself.

    I have to say, however, Anderson’s stark language is a joy to listen to for an INTP personality like me. Lay it out there, lay out the pathway. Boom! As you all know, or should, I have long advocated this approach.

    The weakness in Anderson’s presentation is the complete lack of resource limits considered. This is a grave error, unless it’s merely an omission from this talk, but not other messaging from him. If he doesn’t get the resource bit, it would explain some of his pathways errors.