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Delivering biochar's triple win

Richard Black | 16:05 UK time, Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Last year, there seemed to be an unwritten rule in enviro-circles: whenever two or more enviro-folks were gathered together in a place of meeting, talk must turn to biochar.

Hands holding biocharAccounts would be exchanged of articles half-read and half-digested...the pros would be arrayed against the cons...the words "local" and "sustainable" would be flagged up early and often.

A common reaction was "Good idea, but..."

The notion of biochar takes us back to ancient human civilisations in South America.

The ground remaining when rainforest is cleared isn't very fertile, despite the luxuriant herbage of the forests themselves.

So about 2,500 years ago, people developed what Portuguese settlers later termed terra preta - black earth - created by ploughing carbon into the soil in the form of charcoal.

With ever more hungry mouths on the planet, with soils degrading in many places and with climate change threatening to reduce yields in coming decades, there's renewed interest in the ancient technology, which has been championed by James Lovelock of Gaia fame among others.

The vision put forward is of a world where waste is burned, where some of the heat from that burning is used to transform waste to charcoal, and where the charcoal is ploughed into soil, increasing its capacity to support crops and locking up carbon for centuries, possibly millennia.

The waste that can be used includes spare stuff from plants, such as husks and shells and stems, and even sewage and plastics - pretty much anything based on carbon, in principle.

What's proposed would be nothing less than a revolution in the way we handle waste - turning it from waste into fuel, fertiliser and climate saviour with a single blast of the charcoal oven.

Such grand notions always require quantifying in the cold light of day; and that's what we have this week in the form of a paper in the journal Nature Communications.

A group of researchers that includes Johannes Lehmann of Cornell University, the closest thing biochar has to a spiritual father, has attempted to calculate just how much impact the technology could have on climate change if societies all over the world transformed their waste streams into biochar production facilities - "the maximum sustainable technical potential of biochar to mitigate climate change".

Their answer is a large number - 1.8 gigatonnes of carbon emissions, or about 12% of humanity's total, per year.

Banana planted with biocharThe researchers identify six ways in which biochar curbs emissions, including reducing methane production from decaying plant waste, reducing nitrous oxide release from soils, and avoiding carbon dioxide emissions by storing carbon in the soil.

But there are negatives. Using plant waste this way means you couldn't simply burn it for fuel, reducing the world's biomass potential; and there are the carbon costs of transporting it and processing it and such like.

Putting all the numbers together gives the 1.8Gt figure, with an added but unquantified benefit through a presumed impact agricultural yields, especially in poorer parts of the world where the need for food is likely to become even more acute as the years go by.

Put in these terms, you might ask why we aren't doing it already. On the surface, biochar is a win-win-win technology: a win for the climate, a win for food production, and a win for reduction of the human waste stream.

Some of the caveats will be familiar to anyone who's followed the biofuels issue down the years.

Depending on where and how you do it, it can produce more carbon than it saves. And if you simply grew stuff to produce biochar, the carbon economics would be turned on their head, just as they are if old-growth forest is stripped for biofuel plantations.

There are also concerns about who would own and control biochar production and use, if it were to become the subject of a global, high-level political push - just as there is with geo-engineering and again with biofuels.

But the biggest hurdle to the widespread implementation of biochar is the economics would have to be right in each part of the world - not the carbon economics so much as the economic economics.

A study released earlier this year found that all kinds of factors affect this issue, including whether sending the stuff to biochar facilities would be cheaper or more expensive than how waste is dealt with now.

Currently biochar isn't something that can win money from carbon offset schemes. And just as with biofuel and biomass, the amount of money that should be issued would vary widely between locations, technologies and types of waste used, just as the amount of carbon storage varies.

Biochar is already a good idea in many peoples' books. What this paper does is to help sort out just how good it is, and where it sits in relation for example to biomass burning.

But the fact that it can take away a slice of global emissions isn't enough to ensure its adoption.

After all, pretty much everyone involved in Redd (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) thinks that is a good idea, but we still don't have a global system for making it happen.

Energy efficiency is a good idea even from the simple standpoint that it will save you money. But not everyone practises it - even your humble correspondent is impeachable in that regard.

Stabilisation wedges

From a strictly carbon-saving point of view, biochar can now be added as a new wedge to the Stabilisation Wedge concept developed by Stephen Pacala and Robert Socolow.

In this notion, you break down the gap between the emissions level you want at some point in the future and the emissions level you will have at current rates of growth, and break it down into manageable fractions - wedges - that can each be addressed with specific policies.

They're all quantified, and most are technically achievable with today's technology. But it doesn't mean they will be; and the same, for all its Amazonian roots and win-win-win potential, is true of biochar.

Comments

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  • 1. At 6:52pm on 10 Aug 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    I'm all in favour of this -- as long as it doesn't assume a change in human nature. If it does, it's back to the drawing board!

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  • 2. At 7:25pm on 10 Aug 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Global schemes usually don't work because different areas have different climates and different needs. The economoics of economics is the heart of the matter and energy production is big business and anything that might impact those profits have a difficult road to adoptions as governments tend to support those who wrote checks for campaigns or generate taxes. The present investors and owners of energy production will only support a "plug-in" that they can continue to control and at the same rate of profit. When a new energy source is discovered or invented things will change but until then the rest will be journal articles and "what if" discussions. Some of the applications may be adopted in certain areas as this is the best alternative at this time but widespread adoption is unlikely. Wealth and power still control economies and science remains a side show to entertain and divert attention when discussions about the future become uncomfortable.

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  • 3. At 7:31pm on 10 Aug 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Manysummits: If you are still out there, your views on this would be interesting. If being with family and mountains: seek equanimity.

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  • 4. At 9:41pm on 10 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Richard Black.

    "But the biggest hurdle to the widespread implementation of biochar is ... the economic economics."

    yes, if there's no profit to be made 'we' are not interested. short-sighted -- unsurprising.

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  • 5. At 11:38pm on 10 Aug 2010, KOhope wrote:

    Charcoal is an important (urban) fuel in many developing countries. In a typical earth kiln burn, about 15 % is powder and fines. This could be used on the land rather than leaving it in situ. farmers could be 'educated' to use it on their land. Also, wood ash and ash from charcoal stoves is an excellent fertilizer (high in K), so again it could be used in the field. The graph you show, excludes emissions and capture of CO2 by plants, about 100 billion tonnes of C per year (the carbon cycle). About 50 billion t is potentially available for energy use of which about 1 billion t is used today. One of Socolow wedges is replacing 'renewable'biomass energy with LPG. About 500 million households cook with unpprocessed biomass and charcoal. To replace this energy with LPG would cost at least US$ 50 billion per year and add between 82 to 90 million t of carbon to the atmosphere each year. This does not seem to be a smart move to reduce global warming!

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  • 6. At 08:17am on 11 Aug 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    Richard

    please provide your source for this or remove it from the piece:

    "and with climate change threatening to reduce yields in coming decades, "

    and please tell me it wasn't based on that rice article the other day...

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  • 7. At 08:17am on 11 Aug 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    "The notion of biochar takes us back to ancient human civilisations in South America.

    The ground remaining when rainforest is cleared isn't very fertile, despite the luxuriant herbage of the forests themselves.

    So about 2,500 years ago, people developed what Portuguese settlers later termed terra preta - black earth - created by ploughing carbon into the soil in the form of charcoal."

    Interesting topic. This helps explain why so many people, with sophisticated agrarian-based cultres, could live in the pre-contact Amazon, contrary to the rare "primitives" of the wilderness myth.

    And their widespread use of charcoal from trees which they burned helps explain why that human-modified landscape was not the boundless rainforests that some imagine.

    As is clear from all Richard's caveats about transportation, net emissions, etc., as a large scale "vision" for saving the world from evil CO2 emissions it makes no sense at all compared to the alternatives. And the idea that burning "even sewage and plastics" to create charcoal to enrich the soil is simply insane. Sewage does not need to be burned for that and burning plastic releases who knows what into the atmosphere.

    It could work as fertilizer locally, where charcoal was already available or trees were regularly burned. But burning trees produces CO2, burnt trees don't absorb it and removing that charcoal from burned forests impoverishes the soil where they grew over time - producing a poorer future growth and less CO2 absorption.

    No matter how you torture this equation in any setting, it makes no CO2 sense on any scale. Looks like yet another pointless idea from the wonderful world of the AGW missionaries.

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  • 8. At 08:26am on 11 Aug 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    jr4412 #4 wrote:

    yes, if there's no profit to be made 'we' are not interested. short-sighted -- unsurprising.

    The wise words of a moral person with a conscience!

    All we need to do is change human nature so that everyone is as morally excellent as yourself, and everything will be fine.


    What you call "short-


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  • 9. At 09:06am on 11 Aug 2010, Jack Hughes wrote:

    Richard's rice story needs checking.

    Here is what Richard wrote

    "[rice] Yields have fallen by 10-20% over the last 25 years in some locations"

    Here is what the scientists wrote

    "Rising temperatures during the past 25 years have already cut the yield growth rate by 10–20 percent in several locations."

    So the yield has not fallen at all - it's the improvement that is slowing down.

    Big difference.

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  • 10. At 09:32am on 11 Aug 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 9.

    it's a common trick to use when the data doesn't portray the message you want it to.

    Also, in that paper they say the MINIMUM temperature has a larger effect and that the increase in MAXIMUM temperature is actually beneficial. So the summary is wrong on quite a few counts.

    That's before we even look at the 'paper' itself which is shot-full of assmuptions poor extrapolations and sheer guesswork. It's an embarressment.

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  • 11. At 09:35am on 11 Aug 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Jack Hughes #9 wrote:

    Big difference.

    It sure is a big difference. A negative growth rate is consistent with increasing yields, and could be the result of any number of factors -- such as changes in land usage, or leveling-off of technological advance, which seem more likely to be caused by human response to AGW than AGW itself.

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  • 12. At 09:44am on 11 Aug 2010, blunderbunny wrote:

    Finally, a good idea (Not that I've not been pushing it since I started blogging here) - Now you just need to plant bamboo plantations on waste ground everywhere and we're away. Charcoal is good for the soil, it's good for plants, if you're worried about CO2, which I'm personally not, it sequesters carbon, you can use the waste heat for micro power generation and if you burn your organic houshold rubbish as well, there'll be less stuff going to landfill and as a result less methane in the atmosphere.

    All we really have to do now is ease the planning regulations for biochar/incinerator plants.

    If I recall correctly, Singapore is actually building an island out of this sort of pyrolysed/incinerated waste. So, I guess you could create land too......

    Now if you lot could just concentrate on this sort of stuff on a permanent basis, instead of continually trying to fix the wobbly, squeaky wheel on the cart of catastrophic man made global warming, you might actually get somewhere!!!

    Progress...... it has to be better than navel gazing and name calling!!!

    Regards,

    One of the Lobby

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  • 13. At 09:51am on 11 Aug 2010, Martman wrote:

    I like this idea of utilisation of waste - there are many energy from waste schemes coming to fruition at this time and hopefully many more will come. Society's problems stem in part from inefficient utilisation of the planet's resources, if we can reverse this trend then so much the better.
    Further use of biochar to rehabilitate the exhausted and depleted agricultural lands which were previously forested areas and to reverse some of the damage done has to be a good thing.
    I wonder what would be the effect of mixing a fine-grained biochar derivative with the sands of encroaching deserts? Would this be a way to stop / slow down that encroachment and to enable better farming along the desert margins? Maybe even to reclaim some of that lost land also?

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  • 14. At 09:54am on 11 Aug 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Lets see if I have got this right

    Waste organic material can be turned into biochar and sequestered back into the land.

    However, to make biochar one needs a substantial heat source.

    From looking at a U-tube demonstration, Homemade biochar appears to be smoky, messy and labour intensive and puts more pollutants into the atmosphere.

    So....to make biochar effectively, one would need a steady and reliable heat source, a mechanism to reduce oxygen during the cooking. A method of effectively containing the waste gasses as they are formed. A method of moving each batch of biochar out of the kiln as quickly as possible to reload with the next batch. A good road and rail infrastructure to maintain a constant supply of raw materials and movement of completed biochar.

    How is cement manufactured?
    How are certain types of house brick manufactured?
    Can biochar be used in filitration units?
    How can the heat generated from making biochar be effectively used and not wasted?
    How can the released gasses be contained and utilized for some other purpose?
    How much would the landowner be charged for buying biochar?
    How many less desirable chemicals are released or locked up in biochar, only to be released slowly as a toxic time-bomb?

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  • 15. At 10:45am on 11 Aug 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    All this fuss about carbon. It is a brilliant material and a wasted resource. Google carbon foam.

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  • 16. At 10:53am on 11 Aug 2010, Jack Hughes wrote:

    Richard's rice story is looking bad.

    Just to recap, the BBC story says:

    "Global warming is cutting rice yields in many parts of Asia, according to research, with more declines to come.
    Yields have fallen by 10-20% over the last 25 years in some locations."


    The lead author of the report was Jarrod Welch - who is not a scientist but a graduate student in economics.

    Going to the International Rice Research Institute we see a lovely graph shoing rice yields increasing in all the major rice-growing areas:

    China
    Vietnam
    Phillipines
    India
    Thailand
    Cambodia

    The rate of increase is slowing down - but yields are still climbing.

    Good news.

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  • 17. At 11:36am on 11 Aug 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 18. At 11:40am on 11 Aug 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    Energy and soil enrichment from waste is excellent (although I thing that plastics are too useful to just burn), but must we still justify everything in terms of CO2 reduction, the world is moving on. The AGW industry is having a final big PR push and sadly Richard appears to have decided to lash him self to the mast and go down with the ship.

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  • 19. At 11:57am on 11 Aug 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    I read somewhere on the net that many farmers in Thailand are turning away from high yielding, bland tasting, low value rice varieties and switching to lower yielding, good tasting, high value varieties to meet demand from increasingly prosperous Asian markets.

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  • 20. At 12:05pm on 11 Aug 2010, The Optics Guy wrote:

    Canadianrockies seems to forget that growing the trees to burn removes CO2... so at the worst that would be carbon neutral.

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  • 21. At 12:05pm on 11 Aug 2010, Slamlander wrote:

    Unbelievable!!!
    Do none of you remember when burning off a field was common practice?
    Do none of you remember when incineration was common practice?
    Do none of you remember the smog and pollution from those burns?
    Do none of you remember the complaints from the farmers when burns were made illegal?
    Do none of you have a clue of the toxic fumes that burning plastics can create?

    New and revolutionary, this isn't. Dangerous, it is. This is an article for the ignorant, by the ignorant.

    Global Warming has been with us for over 10,000 years. Human civilization has nothing to do with it and we cannot do anything about it. You are all relatives of King Canute.

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  • 22. At 12:20pm on 11 Aug 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/11/more-gunsmoke-this-time-in-nepal/#more-23293

    unrelated, but worth a read.

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  • 23. At 12:22pm on 11 Aug 2010, peakbear wrote:

    @9. At 09:06am on 11 Aug 2010, Jack Hughes wrote:

    I found the rice story conclusions very strange too. A lot of research is into how to cope with low temperatures in places like China. So if we know to low a minimum temperature reduces yield and too high a minimum temperature reduces yield why can't the scientists say what the actual perfect minimum temperature is?? Surely if temperatures did significantly change, farmers would change the variety to a more suitable type. It is also easy to point to research showing yield increases with increasing CO2.

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  • 24. At 12:59pm on 11 Aug 2010, hotashes wrote:

    RE 22

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/11/more-gunsmoke-this-time-in-nepal/#more-23293

    What a dreadfully misleading article. I'd suggest it uses a strawman arguement.

    It points to something the IPCC states and then tries to show it is wrong but instead of exploring the method used it creates a poor method of its own. (It misleads its audience by suggesting there is only 1 weather station in nepal).

    It also poorly discusses adjustments to the temp record.

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  • 25. At 1:02pm on 11 Aug 2010, jazbo wrote:

    Glad you touched on the use of "black earth" in the Amazon basin Richard.

    You know the Amazon rainforest, that people are screaming must be save or else the planet will lose its "lungs". Strange how latest research points to the surprising discovery that the Amazon contains the remains of extensive agriculture, cities and roads, pointing to a previous population estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands. The key point being that far from our assumption that a few hunter-gatherers lived there, in fact a lot of the Amazon did not exist and was actually farmland and managed forests until as recently as 1400AD. Amazing how the "truth" that the masses accept is not always the reality.

    As for the other "crop" on the BBC environment site. Rice yields falling. Really? prove it.

    As for your story about the fires in Russia and a connection to global warming, sorry I mean climate change, really? Prove it.

    The BBC environment team is Advocacy central.

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  • 26. At 1:17pm on 11 Aug 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @24.

    unless i'm mistaken he was using the ghcn data to get his 'one weather station' conclusion.

    He then goes on to show how they then created the 'record' and the adjustments made to it.

    You can dismiss it out of hand if you like, but you'd be better of ACTUALLY reading the article.

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  • 27. At 1:19pm on 11 Aug 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    also at 24 if you have a complaint with the article. post ON the article's site.

    If your concern is right, it'll be corrected.

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  • 28. At 1:20pm on 11 Aug 2010, Lorax wrote:

    #24 - hotashes - 'What a dreadfully misleading article. I'd suggest it uses a strawman arguement'

    I imagine you are right - but the same can be said for nearly all of that Catsupwiththat antiscience.

    Lorax

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  • 29. At 1:26pm on 11 Aug 2010, Jack Hughes wrote:

    I'm interested to see if Richard is going to correct his rice story - or explain why his version is right.

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  • 30. At 1:42pm on 11 Aug 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 29.

    i wouldn't hold your breath. my post at # 17 highlighting further issues with that paper and therefore, his conclusions has been reffered.

    @ 28, that would be opposed to all the sterling stuff over at real climate huh? I'd suggest avoiding the ad hom route- if you can manage it.

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  • 31. At 2:03pm on 11 Aug 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    In times gone by disasters such as the Russian fires and the flooding in Pakistan would have been viewed as a punishment for our sinfulness, nowadays however, we have science to explain to us that really it is just a punishment for our sinfulness.

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  • 32. At 2:24pm on 11 Aug 2010, peakbear wrote:

    @24. At 12:59pm on 11 Aug 2010, hotashes wrote:

    I agree with LabMunkey - mistakes will be corrected if you point them out on that blog. I think a majority of the audience there would be quite hard to mislead and would quickly point out glaring errors.

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  • 33. At 3:01pm on 11 Aug 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Jack Hughes:

    From under the chart you link:

    "Developing climate change adaptation strategies and technologies."

    Sure you didn't mean to leave this out.

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  • 34. At 3:11pm on 11 Aug 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    The below the chart is a list of actions taken to increase production:

    Developing new high-yielding rice varieties with built-in resistance to pests, diseases, and other stresses such as heat and drought.

    Developing rice crop management strategies that improve nutrient-use efficiency to get the most value out of inputs and reduce wastage.

    Developing climate change adaptation strategies and technologies.

    Training the next generation of rice scientists and building the capacity of rice practitioners to ensure the sustainable development of the rice industry.

    As with almost anything if strategies are implemented that increase production the yield goes up. If more land is dedicated to production you achieve more product. High-yield or genetically altered varieties have been introduced. A couple of years a go there was a rice shortage in Asia and prices went very high and as with all products when the price is high it encourages production. Rice remains a staple of the poor and there are many poor in Asia.

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  • 35. At 3:13pm on 11 Aug 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    further to hotashed # 24 and lorax # 28 in responce to my post # 22.

    This has just been added at the top of that article i linked:

    "Note to Readers: This is an important post, as Willis demonstrates that NASA GISS has taken a cooling trend and converted it into a warming trend for the one GHCN station in Nepal which covers the Himalayas. I offer NASA GISS, either via Jim Hansen or Gavin Schmidt, rebuttal opportunity to this issue on WUWT anytime. -Anthony"

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  • 36. At 3:17pm on 11 Aug 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    link to article on rice production study:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100809161138.htm

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  • 37. At 3:20pm on 11 Aug 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 38. At 3:42pm on 11 Aug 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ my 38 and 17.

    It seems the BBC Mods do not like me expanding on the issues of the rice article. I was exceptionally careful in my #37 to not violate the house rules and yet it has still been reffered.

    Still no explanation to why both comments have been removed.

    Curious, if not suprising given the current state of the BBC.

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  • 39. At 6:03pm on 11 Aug 2010, James Evans wrote:


    Richard,

    You have a piece on the Science & Environment section of the BBC News website entitled "Rice yields falling under global warming". I'm sure you must by now have been made aware that this piece is plain wrong. You have reported that rice yields are down, when in fact they are up.

    Why is that piece still up on the website when it is factually wrong?

    James Evans

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  • 40. At 6:30pm on 11 Aug 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    James Evans #39 wrote:

    Why is that piece still up on the website when it is factually wrong?

    In Richard's defence, I would say that taking it down too quickly might be seen as "disguising one's errors", and had it been taken down so soon I for one would have been "writing a letter in green ink" about the "cover-up" at the BBC!

    In our internet age, we should all adopt a "caveat emptor" attitude towards everything we read on the web. We are all allowed to be mistaken and there is no shame in it.

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  • 41. At 7:27pm on 11 Aug 2010, Dr Brian wrote:

    21. Slamlander wrote:

    "
    Do none of you remember when burning off a field was common practice?
    Do none of you remember when incineration was common practice?
    Do none of you remember the smog and pollution from those burns?
    Do none of you remember the complaints from the farmers when burns were made illegal?"

    Hi all. I'm back from my hols and raring for a row.
    I was also going to challenge Richard's throwaway line about reduced crop yields. I thought we'd settled that nonsense a while ago by revealing the false assumptions on crop decreases in North Africa which turned out to be increases. Anyhow the rice information above sinks that particular drivel.

    So instead I'll just comment on Slamlander's crop-burning point.

    The original reason for doing this was to kill nematode worms, insects, viruses, rats and other parasites before plowing and between plantings.

    With the increased use of pesticides its use became more traditional than strictly necessary and, after a major motorway pile-up (smoke across the carriageway) and a campaign led by second-home owners upset that their rural weekend idylls were being disturbed, it was banned.

    On balance a good move at the time but, if the Greens are effective in stopping the use of pesticides, it may have to make a return.

    Also. It has always made more sense to burn rubbish locally for domestic heat and electricity than to ship it to China to make gee-gaws for them to ship back to us.


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  • 42. At 7:30pm on 11 Aug 2010, Jack Hughes wrote:

    The right action would be to correct the story and add a comment that it had been corrected.

    The correction would have to include the headline which is not supported by the study: "Rice yields falling under global warming".

    The first and second paragraphs also need correcting.

    Punctuation and spelling look OK.

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  • 43. At 8:02pm on 11 Aug 2010, James Evans wrote:

    @ #40 bowmanthebard

    "In our internet age, we should all adopt a "caveat emptor" attitude towards everything we read on the web. We are all allowed to be mistaken and there is no shame in it."

    Thanks for telling me what attitude I should take. Thanks also for telling me what I am allowed. I'll add those to my list of mantras.

    I would take your comments slightly more seriously if you could show examples of where Mr Black has mistakenly DOWN-played global warming.

    He is a professional journalist. Getting the basic facts of a story right would seem to be a fairly basic requirement of his job. He actually got the basic facts 180 degrees wrong. And STILL there is no removal of the story. It's not about whether there is any "shame in it". It's about the fact that, as we speak, people are reading that story and they are assuming that it is correct, because it's from the BBC. But it is entirely wrong. And IT IS STILL THERE!

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  • 44. At 9:28pm on 11 Aug 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    James Evans #43 wrote:

    I would take your comments slightly more seriously if you could show examples of where Mr Black has mistakenly DOWN-played global warming.

    Would you? Why?

    As far as I can tell, Richard Black has consistently overplayed global warming, and has never, ever downplayed it.

    He is a professional journalist. Getting the basic facts of a story right would seem to be a fairly basic requirement of his job.

    Really? -- What a bizarre understanding of journalism you have! Have you ever tried reading a newspaper?

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  • 45. At 9:33pm on 11 Aug 2010, Lorax wrote:

    #30 LabMunkey -'I'd suggest avoiding the ad hom route- if you can manage it.'

    Really? I know you are fond of WUWT to the extent that you suspend scepticism, but giving it the status of a human seems to be going a bit far.

    #35 There are plenty of detailed rebuttals available for many Catsup articles. Skeptical Science is a good source. The difficulty is keeping up with the flow of nonsense - such as the, er, theory by the author of the piece you are championing, that thunderstorms act as the thermostat for the earth's climate. Presumably the piece you refer to will rapidly drop in oblivion.

    Lorax

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  • 46. At 10:39pm on 11 Aug 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    20. The Optics Guy wrote:

    "Canadianrockies [#7} seems to forget that growing the trees to burn removes CO2... so at the worst that would be carbon neutral."

    If you don't include any of the CO2 emissions involved in transporting this charcoal to agricultural areas... and if you assume that removing this organic material from the forest lands will not diminish the future growth of trees there... and if you ignore the time lag involved in growing trees. Etc., etc., etc.

    In the ancient South American cultures noted, once they burned the trees - to clear the land - they didn't grow back as long as the people were there to maintain their fields.


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  • 47. At 10:44pm on 11 Aug 2010, quake wrote:

    Re 22:

    The rules behind GISTEMP are quite simple and well known so that any adjustment can, with some work, be traced back to the rules that caused it.

    It's a lot like football, the rules are fair for all teams overall, even though sometimes errors occur (the referee makes a poor decision). The idea is that those errors happen both ways over sufficient games/stations.

    The GISTEMP algorithm is not perfect and nor should we expect per-station accuracy from any algorithm given the complexity of combining all that station data. Anyone who thinks they can make an global surface station processing algorithm that is perfect is welcome to try.

    It's important to emphasis that the number of unsubstantiated criticisms of any global temperature product would be as infinite as the imagination, and therefore the burden is upon those making claims to substantiate them. Claims about an odd looking single station adjustment tell us nothing about the overall dataset. It is necessary instead to show that an error exists which causes a significant bias across the entire dataset.

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  • 48. At 04:26am on 12 Aug 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #47. quake

    Thanks for confirming why the weather data at the foundation of the great climate change hype is not remotely precise. Yet we still here of 'global temperatures' to within one-tenth of a degree and declared warming over the past century of, what was it again, 0.7 C. Funny.

    Good comparison to football and other games. And shocking news! Some football games are rigged to produce a desired result.

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  • 49. At 06:25am on 12 Aug 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    More on crying rice...

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/11/of-rice-and-men/#more-23316

    In related news, the Arctic rice crop has failed, again.

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  • 50. At 08:55am on 12 Aug 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ lorax.

    you seem to be of a selective mindset- many of the articles at wuwt are quite excellent. There are mistakes sure, but the comments sections are incredibly tough on any mistakes found, and all baring the odd exception are corrected.

    that and the publicly offered right to reply would suggest you were talking out of your preverbial again.

    And just as an aside, WUWT is only one of many places i read from, i just find that the articles are generally of a higher quality there and a lot easier to digest for the lay-man.

    @47 # quake.

    "Claims about an odd looking single station adjustment tell us nothing about the overall dataset. It is necessary instead to show that an error exists which causes a significant bias across the entire dataset."

    i'm afraid this shows your lack of scientific experience. Unfortunatley it only takes one piece of bad data to call the whole data-set into question. You've evidentally never been audited have you. As for unsubstantiated claims- there are a number of stations used in the global temperature records that fail their OWN criteria for positioning (contamination via HIE, localised equipment etc).

    You are kidding yourself if you think the data is anything near robust.

    As for the algorithms, it is evident that a lot of these adjustments are manual- try again.

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  • 51. At 10:04am on 12 Aug 2010, peakbear wrote:

    I see a lot more has been made of the rice story since I first read it here. The thing that worries me most, having actually looked at the paper now, is that it clearly doesn't pass the common sense test so shouldn't see the light of day (peer review before release maybe).

    The thing is that agriculture is a superbly and thoroughly researched field, probably because at the end of the day the results really do matter. I passed a link to an 'Agriculture' colleague and he laughed at the (lack of) experimental method and conclusions. The method has problems so basic they should be spotted at school level. This kind of thing should definitely not make it as far as the main stream media.

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  • 52. At 10:22am on 12 Aug 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 51

    Ah, but you're forgetting; the 'message' is far more important thatn the facts. 'They' know they're right, so why let a little thing like science get in the way.

    Frustrating as hell.

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  • 53. At 12:46pm on 12 Aug 2010, quake wrote:

    Re #48 CanadianRockies:

    "Thanks for confirming why the weather data at the foundation of the great climate change hype is not remotely precise. Yet we still here of 'global temperatures' to within one-tenth of a degree and declared warming over the past century of, what was it again, 0.7 C. Funny."

    I haven't confirmed anything that isn't clearly spelled out on NASAs webpages and in papers by Hansen and Phil Jones. The data is precise enough to give annual temperatures to within one-tenth of a degree. Remember also that satellites and ocean measurements independently confirm the expected precision of the surface records.

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  • 54. At 1:08pm on 12 Aug 2010, quake wrote:

    Re 50. LabMunkey wrote:

    "Unfortunatley it only takes one piece of bad data to call the whole data-set into question."

    Not true, the algorithm is not supposed to be perfect. Isolated errors are expected but are a) not expected to happen frequently enough to significantly affect the global scale metrics and b) are expected to fall in either direction of warming and cooling, therefore largely cancelling out.

    "As for the algorithms, it is evident that a lot of these adjustments are manual- try again"

    None of the adjustments made by GISTEMP are manual. The adjustments are all done automatically by the algorithm in accordance with the published rules.

    Look up the ClearClimateCode website, which has converted the GISTEMP algorithm to python and ran it against the input data. They reproduced GISTEMP results and they didn't apply any manual adjustments.

    In terms of the adjustment at the kashmandu station the three following steps need to be done to form any sort of conclusion:

    1) Track down why the algorithm makes the adjustment, ie by running the algorithm on the data.

    2) If it's an error then produce a test that can be applied across the entire dataset to detect that kind of error to find out their frequency.

    3) Test whether the frequency of this error causes a significant error in the global temperature of the dataset. Eg by correcting the errors or removing any such errors.

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  • 55. At 1:17pm on 12 Aug 2010, quake wrote:

    On a related note, NASA has up an article on the extreme weather events of July 2010 and their relevance to climate:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2010july/

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  • 56. At 1:27pm on 12 Aug 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 54 i'l check that thanks. Though i was under a different impression for some of the stations. Perhaps i'm being confused by terminology.

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  • 57. At 1:58pm on 12 Aug 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    I think the most useful application of biochar is in the Amazon, where it might help lengthen the lifespan of farmland taken from the rainforest.

    Reducing the clearance rate of Amazon rainforest by lengthening the lifespan of farmland taken from the forest should benefit both farmers and those who want the rainforest preserved. And I remind people that there are multiple utilitarian reasons for wanting to preserve the rainforest.

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  • 58. At 2:06pm on 12 Aug 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    On the subject of the rice article.

    Here is the actual PNAS original. Tragically another paywall for the full document, with available price schemes reflecting a bias towards professionals interested in more than one article. (Perhaps one day they will invent user friendly paywalls with public friendly price schemes.) But you can still read the abstract for free.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/07/26/1001222107.abstract

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  • 59. At 3:00pm on 12 Aug 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #1. bowmanthebard wrote:

    "I'm all in favour of this -- as long as it doesn't assume a change in human nature. If it does, it's back to the drawing board!"

    It all depends on what you imply by 'human nature'. My guess is that you mean rampant selfishness - but altruistic self-effacing abstinence is also human nature. If you are looking for permission for a devil take the hindmost World then sorry it never really existed and it will not exist in the future except for very short periods.

    Profligate selfish consumption is insane as a long term strategy (try telling that the an American!)

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  • 60. At 3:43pm on 12 Aug 2010, Kamboshigh wrote:

    #54 Nice try Quake but unfortunately you forgot about the excellent work of Prof Phil Jones CRU who reconstructed the entire Kathmandu temp/rain charts back to 1879. Which just goes to show that Giss is a complete load of utter nonsense.

    If you read down to 9.03am 11/08/10 from Labmunkey's link you can see it all with links.

    #55 Surely Weather is not climate?

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  • 61. At 4:03pm on 12 Aug 2010, Kamboshigh wrote:

    As to biochar (buzz words) we have been putting charcoal into the land for 100,000's of years, because it is good. This is just another load of pithful to get research grants.

    John the change in human nature will be the Islington set coming to terms with the nonsense they have been preaching.

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  • 62. At 4:24pm on 12 Aug 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/12/bbc-to-issue-correction-on-rice-yields-story/#more-23372

    @ Richard.

    Bravo for ammending the piece. However it pains me to ask- did you actually read the paper or just the summary? Your mistake was an honest one- relying on the summary, however the paper has numerous glaring errors that render it completely worthless as scientific literature.

    i would suggest, kindly in this instance, that you read the paper (if you've not already done so) and consider another re-write of the article to reflect the papers glaring shortcomings.

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  • 63. At 4:37pm on 12 Aug 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    John_from_Hendon #59 wrote:

    My guess is that you mean rampant selfishness - but altruistic self-effacing abstinence is also human nature.

    Both selfishness and altruism are part of human nature. There is no completely rampant selfishness, nor can we hold out much hope for some kinds of altruism. For example, we cannot expect a large proportion of humankind to care about someone else's children more than their own children.

    If the use of biochar entails constraints that real-life humans could not possibly be constrained by, EO Wilson's slogan "wonderful theory, wrong species" applies.

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  • 64. At 5:39pm on 12 Aug 2010, Jack Hughes wrote:

    Richard has now changed the RiceGate story.

    There's a note at the bottom:
    "Correction 12th August: this story has been amended to reflect the fact that it is the rate of growth in yields that has fallen, not the yields themselves."

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  • 65. At 6:05pm on 12 Aug 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Jack Hughes #64 wrote:

    Richard has now changed the RiceGate story.

    I think he has honestly and openly amended it. It would have been dishonest of him to change it, and it is greatly to his credit that he has not done so, but admitted error -- something we all are all guilty of, but most of us try to cover up.

    Richard Black's honesty has raised my opinion of him considerably. Well done.

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  • 66. At 7:25pm on 12 Aug 2010, Brunnen_G wrote:

    #55 quake wrote:
    On a related note, NASA has up an article on the extreme weather events of July 2010 and their relevance to climate:

    --------------------------------------------------

    Oh no you don't. If sceptics aren't allowed to use the exceptionally cold winter we had last year as evidence the climate is doing nothing unsual, then NASA certainly can't use one month in the middle of summer as proof of AGW.

    Why isn't Richard complaining about the NASA article? Where's the blog on it? He complained about his neighbour joking with him about global warming when they were standing in the snow.


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  • 67. At 03:33am on 13 Aug 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #53. quake wrote:

    "Re #48 CanadianRockies...

    I haven't confirmed anything that isn't clearly spelled out on NASAs webpages and in papers by Hansen and Phil Jones. The data is precise enough to give annual temperatures to within one-tenth of a degree. Remember also that satellites and ocean measurements independently confirm the expected precision of the surface records."

    Hmmm. Citing Hansen and Jones doesn't help your argument.

    As for NASA, comment #66 reveals what they have become now that they NEED the climate crisis to maintain their funding. Sad situation.

    Perhaps they can detect local or possibly regional changes to one-tenth of a degree, assuming that the site has not changed and that readings were impeccably standardized. But the global picture is far too complex and variable for that.

    True that satellites are now helping, which should greatly improve things (assuming that data is not conveniently adjusted and that they are measuring the right things).

    But there weren't any satellites for most of the period that we are supposedly comparing current temperatures to. So, no matter how precise current data may be, past baseline data used to create precise comparisons and trends are dubious at best, ludicrous at worst. What was the 'global temperature - to one-tenth of a degree -in 1880, or 1930, or even 1980? Nobody knows.

    And too bad they have so few ocean data stations, since that is so important. Instead we rely too heavily on a shrinking number of land surface stations, with all their problems... and then 'adjust' them.



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  • 68. At 03:41am on 13 Aug 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    65. bowmanthebard wrote:

    "Jack Hughes #64 wrote:

    Richard has now changed the RiceGate story."

    First, RiceGate. Sounds good but in the original Watergate, like Climategate, the attempted coverup did most of the damage.

    So I agree with your comment about Richard's prompt and honest action and wonder if there will even be an attempted coverup of this story.

    In any case, I see (#58) that the original paper is yet another fine piece of junk science published in the PNAS. Hot on the heels of publishing their bogus blacklist/assessment of climate scientists, that journal is becoming more of a joke by the month. Lysenko lives!


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  • 69. At 03:45am on 13 Aug 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    62. LabMunkey wrote:

    "the paper has numerous glaring errors that render it completely worthless as scientific literature."

    In the expose of the recent publication of the climate science blacklist by the PNAS, I learned that if a member of the NAS is an author or merely attaches their name as a co-author (as Schneider did for the blacklist), no peer review is necessary! Maybe that helps explain how this rice paper got into print...

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  • 70. At 08:15am on 13 Aug 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    CanadianRockies #69 wrote:

    if a member of the NAS is an author or merely attaches their name as a co-author (as Schneider did for the blacklist), no peer review is necessary!

    All peers are equal, but some peers are more equal than others.

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  • 71. At 08:58am on 13 Aug 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ canadian rockeis # 69

    Yes i agree, that 'paper' lost all credibility when it allowed the blacklist to be published, this latest debacle just underlines that point.

    It's now the scientific equivalent of 'heat' magazine- pointless and full of half truths designed to not enlighten- but 'sell copy'.

    I've said this before, but once this whole agw debacle is behind us, it won't be the politicians, the governments, the agencies that will suffer- it will be science as a whole.

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  • 72. At 09:25am on 13 Aug 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    LabMunkey #71 wrote:

    it won't be the politicians, the governments, the agencies that will suffer- it will be science as a whole.

    I'm not convinced that science "as a whole" can suffer, except in the sense that less funding will be available for dodgy projects with backasswards methodology.

    Wouldn't it good for science if the general public started to ask deeper questions about the differences between real science and pseudoscience, rather than just swallowing the blanket term 'scientist' for "someone who ought to be believed"?

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  • 73. At 09:56am on 13 Aug 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 72.

    i was not specific enough :-)

    What i meant by 'science will suffer' was that not only will funding for pseudoscientific subjects be cut, but funding and support for science across the board. The public and politicians will not care that it was one small section of the field, or that it wasn't reall science- they will tar the whole field with the same brush resulting in massive funding cuts.

    That is my main fear and my basis for 'the science will suffer' statement.

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  • 74. At 10:16am on 13 Aug 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    CanadianRockies at #69

    You wrote: "I learned that if a member of the NAS is an author or merely attaches their name as a co-author (as Schneider did for the blacklist), no peer review is necessary!"

    Perhaps you should do some fact-checking?

    For example, the PNAS guidelines state:

    "An Academy member may submit up to four of his or her own manuscripts for publication per year. The member must have made a significant contribution to the work to warrant authorship and the subject matter must be within the member's own area of expertise. Contributed articles must report the results of original research. A special obligation applies to a Contributed paper for which the member or coauthors disclose a significant financial or other competing interest in the work. We no longer consider such submissions using the contributed route. Members who disclose a significant conflict of interest must submit their manuscripts using standard direct submission. When submitting using the contributed process, members must secure the comments of at least two qualified referees. Referees should be asked to evaluate revised manuscripts to ensure that their concerns have been adequately addressed. Members' submissions must be accompanied by the names and contact information, including e-mails, of knowledgeable colleagues who reviewed the paper, along with all of the reviews received and the authors' response for each round of review, and a brief statement endorsing publication in PNAS. Reviews must be on the PNAS review form. Members must select referees who have not collaborated with the authors in the past 48 months. See Section iii for the full conflict of interest policy. Members must verify that referees are free of conflicts of interest, or must disclose any conflicts and explain their choice of referees. The Academy member must be a corresponding author on the paper. These papers are published as "Contributed by" the responsible editor."

    The full PNAS guidelines can be read at: ttp://www.pnas.org/site/misc/iforc.shtml#submission

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  • 75. At 10:20am on 13 Aug 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Brunnen_G

    "if sceptics aren't allowed to use the exceptionally cold winter we had last year"

    Exceptionally cold? Well I admit it was more than a little parky in Basingstoke, but Basingstoke isn't the whole world.

    Basingstoke last winter
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8426775.stm

    Other parts of the world last winter
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/sporteditors/2010/01/notso_wintery_olympics.html

    Wonder what the global average was doing. Do you trust your fellow sceptic Roy Spencer?
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/02/some-thoughts-on-the-warm-january-2010/

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  • 76. At 10:25am on 13 Aug 2010, Dr Brian wrote:

    I'm afraid that science needs to suffer in order to force it to clean out its Augean stables. In particular the peer review process which has become a straitjacket of orthodoxy.
    In any event, we're all going to have to go through cold turkey to recover from the spending excesses of the Labour years and I don't see why science should be sacrosanct. We could start by closing down the climate research disaster at the University of East Anglia. That would save a few bob.

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  • 77. At 10:30am on 13 Aug 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    "but Basingstoke isn't the whole world."

    isn't it jane, isn't it?

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  • 78. At 10:39am on 13 Aug 2010, jazbo wrote:

    75. At 10:20am on 13 Aug 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Brunnen_G

    "if sceptics aren't allowed to use the exceptionally cold winter we had last year"

    Exceptionally cold? Well I admit it was more than a little parky in Basingstoke, but Basingstoke isn't the whole world.


    Other parts of the world last winter
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/sporteditors/2010/01/notso_wintery_olympics.html


    Oh dear Jane in basingstoke, you cite this as evidence of a mild winter, when in fact the answer is in the BBC link you supply:

    "First host city at sea level, the biggest city to host the Games and also the warmest city to do so."

    So we have sea level, ie not the usual cooler high altitude locations, it was near a big city, so UHI, and it is in a generally warmer climate than the usual winter olympic venues. So add that to a mild winter, yes we have them as well as harsh ones, and as usual the AGW panic is actually natural variability and poor human planning.

    But as we know, the poor weather here in the UK now (17 degrees yesterday, in August) is weather, yet some heat from the Russian steppes is apparently according to the WWF climate.

    Double standards as usual.. Good job us sceptics are around though, otherwise people would believe that world rice yields had dropped 20%....

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  • 79. At 11:43am on 13 Aug 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @jasonsceptic #78

    Whoa.

    I think the article's reference to "unseasonably warm weather" will be based on the given location's norms, otherwise the phrase is meaningless. And do you really think they'd choose a site which wasn't winter sport friendly for the Winter Olympics?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/sporteditors/2010/01/notso_wintery_olympics.html

    Meanwhile you seem to have totally ignored the Spencer link, which addresses global averages rather than specific locations.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/02/some-thoughts-on-the-warm-january-2010/

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  • 80. At 12:31pm on 13 Aug 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @jasonsceptic #78

    "world rice yields"? I thought Richard Black's text referred to "in some locations".

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/08/last_year_you_could_hardly.html#P99358815

    Now who's having problems getting their quotes right?

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  • 81. At 12:38pm on 13 Aug 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard
    (@LabMunkey)

    Fallout affecting science in general also affects science in the classroom.

    Can you get More4 or 4oD where you are?

    Richard Dawkins is doing another programme on science and religion, this time on faith schools. One of the examples he finds is an entire class including their science teacher rejecting evolution en masse because all science must survive the question "what does the ancient religious book say"?.

    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/faith-school-menace

    I remind you that creationists are trying to jump on the bandwagon with climate scepticism, because if legislation can be drafted so that teachers can present all sides of a politically controversial subject like AGW, then the same legislation can allow them to present all sides of a politically controversial subject like evolution.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/science/earth/04climate.html

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  • 82. At 1:16pm on 13 Aug 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 81

    jane- are you suggesting we should stop being skeptical just in case the creationist's want to hop on board to try to force their 'cult' into schools?

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  • 83. At 2:04pm on 13 Aug 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @LabMunkey #82

    No more than I would suggest you stop being sceptical because the G and T paper was c***. Bandwagon jumpers can be a real pain in the a***, but they do less damage if you know about them.

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  • 84. At 2:31pm on 13 Aug 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @LabMunkey #82

    Plus I think this gives my side more onus for action than yours - we need to be seen to clean our act up.

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  • 85. At 2:55pm on 13 Aug 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #81 wrote:

    if legislation can be drafted so that teachers can present all sides of a politically controversial subject like AGW, then the same legislation can allow them to present all sides of a politically controversial subject like evolution.

    I trust such legislation would not just "allow" them but force them -- including teachers in faith schools -- to present all sides. Presenting all sides is a practical impossibility, but I'm in favour of presenting as many as practically possible. As a committed Darwinian, I know that nothing more effectively blows Creationism out of the water -- nor lends such obvious intuitive support to evolutionary theory -- than comparing it to bog-standard religious cobblers. Most children have excellent BS-detecting powers. It's also a very effective way of teaching science to secondary-school students -- to see first-hand the strife from which the original theories emerged.

    At the third-level, students have to go into a particular theory in too much depth to consider all sides in any depth, but students should be free to pursue degrees in theology (intelligent design, teleology of various kinds, etc.) if they wish.

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  • 86. At 6:43pm on 13 Aug 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #85

    I don't think you've thought through the political implications of that.

    1. Schools should not be made the frontline of what should be an adult debate.

    We've seen what happens when that happens with other religious issues and the result is not nice.

    2. Enforcing genuine even-handed presentation when the teachers have strong feelings in either direction will be impossible.

    Instead teachers are liable to be taken off the subject if they deviate from the bias that is most politically convenient for the school. You might get round the issue by having two teachers, but you would need to manage that consistently due to the opportunities to discuss evolution in other biology lessons. And the resulting education would still be biased as the two teachers are unlikely to be equally charismatic.

    3. Parents won't allow their children to be brainwashed.

    And the de facto definition of brainwashing in a politically emotive subject is a child being converted to side with the opponents of the parents' beliefs. (I stress converted. I'm not talking about kids rebelling against their parents.) An even handed presentation of the debate in a deeply religious creationist community that converted at least one creationist child to Darwinism would be seen as brainwashing. So would the less likely reverse situation.

    I get the strong impression from your post that you may have some romantic notion of a brave Darwinian teacher standing up against ignorance and exposing the "BS" in creationism, converting creationist children to reason.

    But such a character would not be allowed access to significant numbers of creationist children for very long. And once this dissident teacher is gone his converts are likely to be swiftly "deprogrammed" and might even be told to pray for his "misguided" soul.

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  • 87. At 7:53pm on 13 Aug 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #86.

    "3. Parents won't allow their children to be brainwashed."

    no, parents DEMAND that their children be "brainwashed" but they also want to be assured that indoctrination matches their own.

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  • 88. At 8:18pm on 13 Aug 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    jr4412 #87 wrote:

    parents DEMAND that their children be "brainwashed" but they also want to be assured that indoctrination matches their own.

    Yes, I pretty much agree with that.

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  • 89. At 9:13pm on 13 Aug 2010, quake wrote:

    In my opinion the uptake of that word "blacklist" to describe the paper is a rhetorical ploy to change the subject.

    The analysis took names from _public_ petitions of scientists. These scientists had therefore already publicly stated their skepticism or acceptance of manmade global warming. If you really believe scientists who don't accept manmade global warming become blacklisted if their positions are made public then those scientists voluntarily blacklisted themselves before the study existed.

    Here's one of the petitions which names were counted from:
    http://www.cato.org/special/climatechange/alternate_version.html

    By some unfathomable leap of logic that list doesn't constitute a blacklist, but an analysis which includes names from that list is a blacklist.

    Realclimate aptly describes this situation as: "The idea that our grouping of researchers comprises some sort of “blacklist” is the most absurd and tragic misframing of our study."

    I tend to agree

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  • 90. At 9:20pm on 13 Aug 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @jr4412
    @bowmanthebard

    You seem to be ignoring my #86 comment about brainwashing.

    "the de facto definition of brainwashing in a politically emotive subject is a child being converted to side with the opponents of the parents' beliefs. (I stress converted. I'm not talking about kids rebelling against their parents.)"

    Obviously not cynical enough for your tastes.

    As for your implied definition of brainwashing, I disagree that such parents demand their kids are brainwashed. Instead they impose much of the brainwashing themselves, and run their kids lives so that the kids are naturally exposed to their preferred brainwashing in religious, educational and other influential settings. They therefore do not need to demand brainwashing.

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  • 91. At 9:49pm on 13 Aug 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    You seem to be ignoring my #86 comment about brainwashing.

    Not quite, I'm in a Friday-night say-goodbye-to-the-mother-in-law-till-we-meet-again-in-far-Arabia situation. With the last chance of a drink for months. What you wrote is on my mind all the time, and I'll get back to you tomorrow!

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  • 92. At 9:52pm on 13 Aug 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    74. simon-swede wrote:

    "CanadianRockies at #69

    You wrote: "I learned that if a member of the NAS is an author or merely attaches their name as a co-author (as Schneider did for the blacklist), no peer review is necessary!"

    Perhaps you should do some fact-checking?"

    That official blurb SOUNDS nice but ignores the academic politics

    "When submitting using the contributed process, members must secure the comments of at least two qualified referees. Referees should be asked to evaluate revised manuscripts to ensure that their concerns have been adequately addressed."

    Now, how exactly do these supposedly objective reviewers review a politicized document that supports their party line? What makes one "qualified" for such a job? Waht "concerns" would they have?

    Did Tony Bliar peer review Bush's evidence for Iraqi WMDs, or vice versa?

    The NAS has become a politicized source of junk science in the climate field. Are you the last person to understand that?

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  • 93. At 9:56pm on 13 Aug 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @quake #89

    To me it looks like that piece of work was never meant as a blacklist, that efforts were made to protect the identity of the scientists being surveyed, and that the individuals who did the work would kick up a hell of a fuss if someone tried to abuse it as a blacklist.

    (This is partly based on me seeing very little real malice amongst the scientists and me seeing both sides revolted by blacklists. Which is unfortunately partially subjective.)

    However it would require substantial effort to make that case. Most of the reasonable elements on the sceptic side routinely refer to it as a blacklist. And, with a little work, yes someone could use it as a blacklist.

    It does not help that there was an unfortunate comment verging into blacklist territory about Freeman Dyson and Ian Plimer, and the individual who made that comment is no longer in a position to either clarify or apologise.

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  • 94. At 9:59pm on 13 Aug 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    89. quake

    Well, if you are still quoting RealClimate that does explain a lot.

    And since your comments about the compilation of this blacklist reveal that you have not actually read any of the critiques of it, that also explains a lot.

    So does the fact that you don't want to believe that it was intended as a blacklist.

    In any case, it did not work out as planned and is much more likely to backfire spectacularly.


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  • 95. At 10:18pm on 13 Aug 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    71. LabMunkey wrote:

    "@ canadian rockeis # 69

    I've said this before, but once this whole agw debacle is behind us, it won't be the politicians, the governments, the agencies that will suffer- it will be science as a whole."

    I agree entirely, and have also stated this on many occasions. The damage has already been done, and will get worse before it gets better. In the meantime, the credibility of ALL environmental sciences has been severely damaged by the hysterical exaggerations of crisis-mongers, including the legitimate science that we DO need to pay attention to.

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  • 96. At 10:27pm on 13 Aug 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    "made to protect the identity of the scientists being surveyed"

    The very idea that there are people "being surveyed" is a vile, disgusting, racist idea.

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  • 97. At 10:57pm on 13 Aug 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #96

    If both sides of the debate are making conflicting statements about the level of support for each side in the scientific community don't you think that some sort of survey of the support might be a way to resolve the conflicting statements?

    Note, I am not endorsing any particular survey methodology here.

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  • 98. At 00:24am on 14 Aug 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 99. At 00:31am on 14 Aug 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #96. bowmanthebard wrote:

    "The very idea that there are people "being surveyed" is a vile, disgusting, racist idea."

    Racist?

    Some surveys, or polls, are useful if one clearly understands their specific intent, questions, context, and underlying agenda. When one considers these factors in the case of the PNAS blacklist, then I agree that that particular survey was indeed disgusting and vile.

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