Monday, September 24, 2012

"Scientist" claims Earth may run out of plants

Publicity-hungry scientists find a goldmine in global warming.  Just think up some extreme implication of it and the media will be all over you. It is a temptation to which many respond.  "Running out of plants" is however a more extreme extrapolation than usual.

It is so ignorant that it is difficult to know where to start when critiquing it -- so I will mention just two main points.  The biggest fallacy is in regarding the total biomass  on earth as fixed.  It is not.  It is responsive to two major factors:  Water availability and carbon availability.  Plants are almost entirely made up of water and carbon.  And guess what the global warming theory implies:  More water (through evaporation of the seas) and more carbon in the form of CO2.  Plants like warmer temperatures too.  So the clear implication of global warming is that we should have A LOT MORE plantlife in future.  So bring on that CO2!

The other main point is China.  China shows vividly how responsive to politics plants are.  China under Mao was a major food importer.  Australian wheat farmers blessed him regularly.  Under a more capitalistic system, however, China is a major food exporter -- being in fact the world's biggest exporter of fruit and vegetables.  You have probably seen Chinese offerings in the Produce  section of your local supermarket.  So if we really are running low on food plants, bring on more capitalism!  Capitalism is good for plants too!  -- JR

Humans may be very close to extracting all of the Earth's available plant resources, says a University of Montana researcher.

In fact, said Steven Running, a professor in the university's College of Forestry and Conservation, humanity may realistically have only 10 percent or so of our planet's annual plant resources in reserve, with little ability to boost yearly growth. The calculations don't suggest that humanity is on the verge of starvation, Running said, but they do indicate there are limits to our species' growth.

"Economic logic just seems to be about endless growth with no limits," Running told LiveScience. "And this is my attempt to say that on the planet we at least have some biophysical limits, and here's one."

Boundaries to growth

The concept of resource-imposed limits to growth, or "planetary boundaries" first came up in the 1970s with the book "Limits to Growth" (Club of Rome, 1972). The authors of that book modeled the planet's productivity and predicted that population and economic growth would run up against basic resource scarcity sometime around 2030. The calculations were somewhat primitive, Running said. The methodology and findings of the modeling were criticized, though researchers have recently revisited the predictions and found them to be relatively accurate. One 2011 analysis, published in book form by SpringerBriefs in Energy found that "reality seems to be closely following the curves that the [Limits to Growth] scenarios had generated."

Climate change and other environmental concerns have prompted scientists to revisit the idea of planetary boundaries, Running said. Likewise, he said, environmental policy-makers have become more interested in whether those boundaries can be defined. Researchers have suggested that important boundaries might include climate change, ocean acidification, land-use change and loss of species. [Top 10 Ways to Destroy Earth]

A new line

In an editorial in the journal Science to be published Friday (Sept. 21), Running suggests a new measure: terrestrial net primary plant production. This mouthful merely refers to the globe's land plant growth in a year. Humans depend on plant life for food, building materials, firewood and bioenergy and grazing land for livestock.

Thanks to satellite measurements, researchers can now calculate how much vegetation the Earth produces each year. Over 30 years of observation, Running said, the number has stayed remarkably stable at 53.6 petagrams (one petagram is one trillion kilograms, or about 2.2 trillion pounds).

That's a lot of greenery. But humans use about 40 percent of it annually, Running said. The number would seem to offer plenty of wiggle room for humanity, but in fact, only about 10 percent of the remaining vegetation is up for grabs, he said.

"What we've found is that the vast majority of that other 60 percent isn't available at all," he said. It's either locked up in root systems and unharvestable, conserved in national parks or wilderness areas crucial for biodiversity, or simply in far Siberia or the middle of the Amazon, where there are no roads and no way to harvest it.

"If humans are appropriating about 40 percent of annual production, if another 50 percent we can't harvest and appropriate, then that only leaves about 10 percent," Running said. "Well, that starts to sound a lot closer to a planetary boundary."


The dishonesty goes on

Note that "recorded history" means "since 1979".  A subtle word, that "recorded"!  1979 is when satellite measurements began.  And again no mention of the ice buildup at the other pole.  These people are members of a religious cult

A new video produced by independent videographer Peter Sinclair for The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media explains what expert scientists now find to be the lowest extent of Arctic sea ice in recorded history.

The shrinking of the Polar ice cap — providing protection much like a “giant parasol” — presents us “a big problem, a real problem, and it’s happening now, it’s not happening generations from now,” Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis cautions.

“There’s really nothing like what we’ve seen happen this year,” according to Francis. She calls the loss of sea ice in 2012 “just such a stunning example of how the climate system is changing right before our very eyes … something anybody can see, you don’t have to be a scientist.”

Other experts featured in the six-minute video are scientists Julienne Stroeve of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Michael MacCracken of the Climate Institute, and Admiral David Titley, retired chief oceanographer of the U.S. Navy and now with NOAA. They advise that along with being mindful of the decreasing area of Arctic ice coverage, it’s important to keep in mind also the thinning of that ice.

“I would almost argue that we might be entering a new climate state,” says Stroeve.


Relative to the past we are in only one of many high  temperature periods


Kara J. Pitman, Dan J. Smith


Most glaciers in the British Columbia Coast Mountains reached their maximum Holocene extent during the Little Ice Age. Early- and late-Little Ice Age intervals of expansion and retreat fluctuations describe a mass-balance response to changing climates. Although existing dendroclimatic records provide insights into these climatic fluctuations over the last 400yr, their short durations prohibit evaluation of early-Little Ice Age climate variability. To extend the duration of these records, submerged coarse woody debris salvaged from a high-elevation lake was cross-dated to living chronologies. The resulting chronology provides the opportunity to reconstruct a regional June–July air-temperature anomaly record extending from AD1225 to 2010. The reconstruction shows that the intervals AD1350–1420, 1475–1550, 1625–1700 and 1830–1940 characterized distinct periods of below-average June–July temperature followed by periods of above-average temperature. Our reconstruction provides the first annually resolved insights into high-elevation climates spanning the Little Ice Age in this region and indicates that Little Ice Age moraine stabilization corresponds to persistent intervals of warmer-than-average temperatures. We conclude that coarse woody debris submerged in high-elevation lakes has considerable potential for developing lengthy proxy climate records, and we recommend that researchers focus attention on this largely ignored paleoclimatic archive.

Quaternary Research, 2012

Courts Not Scientists Sneaked Greenhouse Gas Sham into Law

Even though neither U.S. presidential candidate is talking up man-made global warming behind the scenes courts are hard at work making laws based on controversial greenhouse gas science.

An undemocratic, largely unseen shift in American law is now taking place. You would never know it from the media facade but 2012 has witnessed an inexorable Big Green legal juggernaut driving across America. Judges not voters are at the wheel and by stealthy maneuvering we are being steamrollered by secret government diktat rather than electoral preference. It is happening away from the public political barometer because the mainstream media focuses voter minds on believing the race for the Whitehouse is all about the grassroots economy. With $3 billion per year in government climate funding up for grabs neither Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney nor Democrat President Barack Obama appear willing to debate the American courts’ back door imposition of new draconian climate laws. Left unchecked more democracies are headed for the abyss of unreasoned totalitarianism.

Voters don’t know it yet but our courts shifted gear to drive us all to accept – by imposition of law – the cornerstone of man-made global warming science: the greenhouse gas hypothesis. All this despite repeated concerns expressed by conscientious climatologists. For example, only last week another top climate scientist unswerved by government bribes (Dr. John Christy) gave evidence to the U.S. House Energy and Power Subcommittee declaring: “I’ve often stated that climate science is a ‘murky’ science. We do not have laboratory methods of testing our hypotheses as many other sciences do.”

Despite Christy’s candor about the uncertainties two western governments this year rendered crucial legal judgments unequivocally enshrining the GHE – the cornerstone of all mainstream climatology – as incontestable legal and scientific fact.

In this new topsy-turvy world last June the US Supreme Court ruled that “we give an extreme degree of deference to the [EPA] agency when it is evaluating scientific data within its technical expertise.” Right there judges, as with policymakers, turned a blind eye to the truth about this“theory” which has no less than 63 competing variants taught at leading universities – many in fatal contradiction with each other as revealed in the best-selling climate science book ‘Slaying the Sky Dragon.‘ The law has gone ahead and made an ass of itself over an issue even the scientific community explicitly accepts it has never resolved by experimental tests in our atmosphere. Today green-friendly courts are applying the slipshod ruling of Massachusetts el a.-v-Environment Protection Agency in which Justice Stevens declared:

“A well-documented rise in global temperatures has coincided with a significant increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Respected scientists believe the two trends are related. For when carbon dioxide [CO2] is released into the atmosphere, it acts like the ceiling of a greenhouse, trapping solar energy and retarding the escape of reflected heat. It is therefore a species—the most important species—of a ‘greenhouse gas.’“

Judges Go Where Scientists Fear to Tread

But with billions in subsidies and research grants still  very much up for grabs despite the recession the sham appearance of scientific certainty still drives this scam forward. Much of the foundation claims for GHE global warming are premised on scientific research carried out behind closed doors deliberately hidden from the public. Without shame government agencies such as NASA defy freedom of information requests to disclose the root of their clandestine work. Yet despite the subterfuge the bold claims are that America’s 2012 Budget “sustains the President’s commitment to global-change research as part of a government-wide effort to understand, predict, mitigate, and adapt to climate change and transition the United States to a clean-energy economy.”

So precisely how much are American taxpayers doling out to “save the planet”? No less than a cool $2.6 billion this year via the multi-agency U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), an increase of 20.3 percent or $446 million over the 2010 enacted level. No wonder the political elite, in these times of extreme austerity, aren’t letting voters in on the secret of this monumentally unjustified and wasteful redistribution of wealth. When we look closer we may determine that it is by the connivance of government-appointed court judges working in tandem with fellow government scientists that our money is being stolen by the deft use of two powerful legal precedents from the United States Supreme Court.

In 2007 the Supreme Court made its first big play to dodge the scientific arguments and decide that Earth’s atmosphere does indeed act “like a greenhouse.” In 2012 America’s top judges then went a step further and validated into law the term “greenhouse gas” where before it lacked any valid scientific or legal definition. In our court system CO2 (the gas of most interest to tax grabbers)  is now officially a dangerous and taxable “greenhouse gas” where before it was innocuous and widely used in greenhouses to augment plant growth.

Incredibly, the country’s top judges fail to note that the rise in temperatures and levels of carbon dioxide only “coincided” for the period 1975-1998, a blink of an eye in geologic time. Of no apparent concern to the courts, Romney or Obama is that for the past 400,000 years the universally accepted Vostok ice core data shows that rises in CO2 always FOLLOW rises in temperature. This compelling evidence proves this benign trace gas cannot possibly drive global temperatures and its atmospheric level is merely a byproduct of any planet-wide warming.


Sustainable Farming  -     the Impossible Dream

Viv Forbes

"To be truly 'sustainable', a farm must recycle everything - otherwise it is depleting its soil minerals. Therefore it cannot sell any of its produce. This means it cannot buy items from the outside world, such as machinery, to make labour less arduous, and to produce more food. It is thus an impossible dream."  -- Bob  Long

The man-made global warming crisis has gone cold, the "man-made extreme weather" scares are wearing thin, and people are waking up to the "tax war on carbon", so a new theme is needed for handing control of our lives, businesses and property to the world bureaucracy. The theme for the next green alarm is "sustainability" and a favourite target is "sustainable farming".

We need to recognise some realities. Modern cities are not sustainable without farms, and modern farms are not sustainable without modern machinery, mineral fertilisers and affordable energy.

Are Cities Sustainable?   City people should thank the lord for the machinery, fertiliser and cheap energy that produce the surplus food and all the trucks, road trains, refrigerated vans and milk tankers that bring it to their supermarkets every day. The last thing they should advocate is "sustainable farming".

Unlike most armchair experts on sustainable farming, my early life was spent on an almost-sustainable farm.   Cows were milked by hand, ploughing and planting was done with a team of draft horses. Here is how green power works (except we should have used a wooden plough):

Lucerne was cut using a horse-drawn mower and rake. Haymaking on our “almost sustainable” farm was a family affair when everyone got a job with a pitchfork – mine had a special short handle. I still have it.

Much more HERE  (See the original for links &  graphics)

Australia:  Smart meter data shared far and wide

No wonder Texans are chasing smart meter installers way with firearms

DETAILED information about electricity customers' power usage, which gives insights into when a house is occupied, is being shared with third parties including mail houses, debt collectors, data processing analysts and government agencies.

Customers with smart meters who sign up for Origin Energy's online portal must consent to their data being shared with a string of third parties. The data is stored in Australia but shared with US company Tendril, which is described by Origin as a smart energy technology provider.

Australia's privacy watchdog said the technology could threaten people's privacy. "We are starting to see people voicing concern about the level of data that these meters can collect," federal Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said.

Smart meters were a common concern among Age readers who responded to our series on privacy.

Mr Pilgrim said electricity companies had a legal responsibility to delete or "de-identify" personal information that was no longer needed. However, an Origin spokesman said the company kept former customers' data for retrospective queries and "tax and compliance purposes".

The state government aims to install smart meters - which log electricity use every half-hour - in all Victorian homes by the end of next year.

At the beginning of the year Electricity distributors Jemena and United Energy released trial web portals that connect to smart meters and more retailers are expected to follow suit.

Origin's online portal was released last month and lets people monitor their electricity costs using smart meter data collected from energy distributors. Customers can provide information about the size of their home, whether they rent or own, the number of adults and children in their family, if anyone stays in during the day and what appliances they own. The portal then calculates how much energy is used in the kitchen, laundry and for heating.

An Origin spokesman said the portal was fully compliant with Australian privacy legislation. He said the additional information requested about each household "adds to the richness of the Origin Smart experience".

Customer information can only be accessed by staff involved in billing. He said the electricity retailer only shared information with third parties when they had a "legitimate business need to do so in order to meet our service obligations to our customers".

Changes to the Privacy Act being debated in Parliament would restrict companies from sending customer data overseas unless the receiver was founded or controlled in Australia.

'More than 1000 people have signed up to United Energy's portal. UE spokeswoman Lisa Drought said the distributor only provided smart meter data to customers and energy retailers, and would not sell the information to third parties. She said the portal also had "internet bank-like security" to prevent privacy breaches.




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


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