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H for 'human': The missing climate link?

Richard Black | 15:38 UK time, Friday, 21 January 2011

As many commentators have pointed out down the years, virtually all the hopes expressed by governments in terms of reducing carbon emissions ultimately hang on technology.

It stems from the famous IPAT equation:

Impact = Population x Affluence x Technology

...sometimes expressed as...

Impact = Population x GDP/capita x Impact/GDP 

The Chinese government has talked about its one-child-per-family policy as being its historical contribution to curbing emissions (somewhat disingenuously, given that climate concern wasn't the reason for adopting it) - but it's just about alone on that.

Microprocessor

In fact, virtually no government intends to restrict the P in the equation, and certainly none wants to curb the A.

Which puts the load squarely on T.

What this translates to, then, is doing everything we do now and more - but with less energy.

It means using energy more efficiently, and adopting technologies that produce far smaller amounts of CO2 for each unit of energy.

The equation is often used for the energy input side of things - but what about when we apply it to consumption?

Is it entirely reasonable here to break things down into these components, or is it more complex than that?

And if it is that simple, can T on its own produce enough change?

In the European Union, when you go to buy a refrigerator, it'll be labelled with a letter indicating how efficient it is with energy - which consumers may look at if they're interested either in saving money or saving emissions.

In 2006, the UK's Sustainable Consumption Roundtable concluded:

"Market share of A-rated models increased from 1% to 76% in five
years to 2005. The least efficient new fridge freezer on sale today consumes only half as much energy as the least efficient products on the market eight years ago.

"However, demand for second fridges has risen so that total energy
consumption only reduced by 2.2% over the same period."

In other words, the policy worked, to the extent that consumers chose more efficient products and manufacturers responded by making their ranges leaner and greener.

But we also bought more fridges - negating the technological advance with changing behaviour, presumably related partly to increasing affluence, and perhaps partly from the psychology that says "I'm saving on this, so I can spend more on that".

Fridge in flood

Couched in the terms of the IPAT equation, you could say that T reduced, but A increased commensurately - though I'm not sure that does it justice.

Now, in the Journal of Industrial Ecology, Eric Williams and Liqiu Deng from Arizona State University have gone through the short but intense history of microprocessors, looking to see whether IPAT works there, and at what effect behavioural changes might have had in our use of them - and, therefore, our use of energy as it relates to computers.

Chips have become much faster, of course, over the last 12 years - inside a typical home PC, by a factor of 10, the researchers suggest.

And the amount of electrical energy needed per calculation has shrunk markedly.

However, they conclude...

"... energy use per typical microprocessor is roughly constant over the 12-year period.

"The explanation of this result is that although technological progress dramatically reduces the energy needed per transistor, it also induces demand for more powerful chips..."

The case is remarkably similar to 'fridges. The energy cost per unit of refrigeration - shall we call that unit something conventional like a litre, or go for something more visceral such as a pie, a rasher or a tinny? - reduces, but we just refrigerate more of them.

A similar pattern cited by Deng and Williams concerns cars in the US.

Fuel efficiency increased markedly over automotive history, at least until the 1990s. But the distances people travel and more recently the size of vehicles have changed in the opposite direction. As a result:

"There was a net increase of fuel use from 391 gallons per person in 1970 to 453 gallons in 2006."

And environmentally, that's what's important.

The two academics suggest a different equation comes into use, which I guess would garner the acronym PIFI:

Product Impact = Functionality demanded of typical product × Impact/functionality

It's not, perhaps, a straightforward concept.

Who is "demanding" functionality, for example, is an intriguing question. Were there gangs on the streets demanding television, or SMS text messaging, before they happened?

I think not; yet now they're here, they're things societies wouldn't willingly give up.

Where this leaves attempts to curb emissions isn't clear.

But if T for technology is the crucial issue, it suggests we'd better understand  more about drivers of use - what we're likely to adopt, what we're likely to demand and how industries will adapt to new challenges - because how H for humans use the stuff is perhaps going to be as important as the technologies themselves.

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  • 1. At 5:06pm on 21 Jan 2011, MangoChutney wrote:

    The Chinese government has talked about its one-child-per-family policy as being its historical contribution to curbing emissions (somewhat disingenuously, given that climate concern wasn't the reason for adopting it) - but it's just about alone on that.

    Agreed, but isn't it just as disingenuous to suggest that CO2 needs curbing? CO2 afterall fails miserably to raise the temperature significantly and as a new paper suggests, Cosmic Rays are likely to be the cause of 40% of warming experienced in the 20th century

    http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/article1107174.ece

    /Mango

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  • 2. At 5:46pm on 21 Jan 2011, Vic Smith wrote:

    Richard Black: "It's not, perhaps, a straightforward concept"

    Neither is the idea of an equation where no numerical value can be provided for any of its variables.

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  • 3. At 7:07pm on 21 Jan 2011, MSP1 wrote:

    Comment No 1 by "Mango" on this thread demonstrates just how difficult it is to have a reasoned debate about climate change. Building an argument by quoting a newspaper article, which references a single paper, by a single scientist, which is completely out of step with the peer reviewed scientific consensus, is unfortunately far too common and not at all helpful.

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  • 4. At 7:11pm on 21 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    "certainly none wants to curb the A"

    Not sure about this! A lot of people -- myself included, if I'm honest -- are furious about bankers' bonuses, duck islands, etc., and are quite prepared to "take a bit of a hit" as long as those big shots take an even bigger hit, one they'll never forget!

    Then, on reflection, I realize I'm being resentful... economics and human life in general is not a non-zero-sum game... I'm quite prepared to just see bankers and duck island buyers suffer horribly, and carry on myself as I did before...

    But how many have such penetrating powers of self-perception as myself? Isn't it likely that quite a lot of people want to "curb the A" and b***** the consequences? And tart it all up to look like a pastoral-themed bucolic lyrical utopia?

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  • 5. At 7:12pm on 21 Jan 2011, UK Troll wrote:

    Is the Affluence element of the IPAT equation still valid? If anything, I'd suggest that affluence might now be a factor in starting to reduce carbon emissions.

    One reason is because affluence tends to be linked to better education, thus a greater awareness of the impact of carbon emissions and the need to reduce them.

    Also, the more affluent a society, the more it can afford to invest in newer, more expensive technologies for reducing carbon emissions, or in that pet hate of mine - carbon offsetting. It isn't the poorer members of society who are buying hybrid cars or investing in personal photovoltaic systems on their homes while the technologies are still maturing.

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  • 6. At 8:04pm on 21 Jan 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #5. UK Troll wrote:

    "I'd suggest that affluence might now be a factor in starting to reduce carbon emissions.

    One reason is because affluence tends to be linked to better education, thus a greater awareness of the impact of carbon emissions and the need to reduce them."

    That sounds great in theory but falls apart in practise. More affluent people FLY more and CONSUME more. So while it is very nice of them to buy hybrids and pay carbon offsets that means absolutely nothing.

    For example, while some fret over CO2 emissions and demand endless sacrifices from the 'little people,' here's how the rich think:

    10 Restaurants Worth a Plane Ride

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/travel/09restaurants.html?src=me&ref=travel

    Yes, let's fly to France or Uruguay for lunch! But let's drive to the airport in our Prius.

    However, there is a link between overall societal 'affluence' and CO2 emissions as societies, like in the West now, shift their economies more from making things to services. A steel worker creates more CO2 emissions than a stockbroker or a waiter.

    So, the CO2 emissions all just get moved over to China, etc., which is, of course, still on the same planet.


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  • 7. At 8:12pm on 21 Jan 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/his-royal-virus/

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  • 8. At 9:57pm on 21 Jan 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @CanadianRockies #7

    That says far more about Phil the Greek than it does about population levels. HRH has form.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1848553.stm

    On this side of the pond the pronouncements of HRH have attracted the attention of our comedians, Hugh Dennis adds his voice to a recent piece of footage featuring The Duke of Edinburgh.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o60W286cm-E

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  • 9. At 02:42am on 22 Jan 2011, BobRocket wrote:

    Whether Climate Change is real or not, whether it is caused by man or not, I don't know.

    What I do know is that some of the dirtiest industries on this planet have been funding both sides of the argument for some time now and that this has distracted the whole environmental movement away from the fight against poisoning us all to a narrow agenda where we all pay for it or nothing gets done.

    How about polluter pays.

    Who produced all that plastic that is congregating in certain parts of the ocean, why are they not cleaning it up?

    Why is a GM pig named Enviro Pig when all it does is allow big business to cram ever more of these poor creatures into industrial units without any observable side effects (yet are breeding grounds for human transferable diseases)

    You are all obsessed with minute temperature differentials that may or may not be hardware errors and in the meantime the planet is being polluted to destruction by the very people funding this muddying of all the waters.

    Cui Bono ?





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  • 10. At 03:12am on 22 Jan 2011, TJ wrote:

    Richard:

    What happened to the obligatory caption of a barren, dry, broken, parched, dried bones earth? Looks like it had a bit of watering.

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  • 11. At 07:22am on 22 Jan 2011, PAWB46 wrote:

    It is my belief that we should be doing our best to maximise our emissions of carbon dioxide and get the atmospheric concentration back to the value it had when plant life first developed.

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  • 12. At 08:30am on 22 Jan 2011, MangoChutney wrote:

    @MSPMSP1 #3

    Comment No 1 by "Mango" on this thread demonstrates just how difficult it is to have a reasoned debate about climate change. Building an argument by quoting a newspaper article, ......

    Hardly a single article, MSPPMSP1, since the cosmic ray hypothesis has been around for quite a while now and is currently being tested in real life experiments over at CERN. The link is a further indication that CR's may influence our climate.

    AGWer's, say sceptics never publish papers and yet try to ignore published papers that don't fit their view.

    Regardless of that, I still think it is a little disingenuous to claim CO2 needs curbing.

    /Mango

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  • 13. At 09:25am on 22 Jan 2011, John Lilley wrote:

    Fascinating article Richard, as usual. I agree with you that the simple link of consumption to population is being ignored. I wonder if there is no longer enough profit in condoms? This might suggest that there is a missing G factor in the equations where G = Greed. The fridge example is very interesting but I wonder just how much choice consumers really have? Some eco-product seem to defy logic. Look at the Toyota Prius; each new version is more powerful than the previous one. Why is this, how fast do you want to use up the planets resources?

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  • 14. At 11:44am on 22 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    John Lilley #13 wrote:

    I agree with you that the simple link of consumption to population is being ignored. I wonder if there is no longer enough profit in condoms?

    Elementary question: Why has the human population risen in recent centuries? (And in spite of the invention of effective contraception, apparently.)

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  • 15. At 12:03pm on 22 Jan 2011, Barry Woods wrote:

    Some good/bad news, some islands are actually sinking (man made)

    I feel a moment of pity to all those footballers that have bought one ;) ( a very brief moment)


    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/dubai/8271643/The-World-is-sinking-Dubai-islands-falling-into-the-sea.html

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  • 16. At 12:13pm on 22 Jan 2011, Adam37 wrote:

    "Building an argument by quoting a newspaper article, which references a single paper, by a single scientist, which is completely out of step with the peer reviewed scientific consensus,"

    MSPMSP1 the following are 850 peer reviewed scientific papers supporting skepticism of man made global warming alarm
    http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html

    There is no peer reviewed scientific consensus supporting AGW. That is simply faith.

    I also suggest that you go to the website http://www.co2science.org/ and look in the subject index where thousands of scientific papers are detailed supporting skepticism of AGW.

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  • 17. At 2:18pm on 22 Jan 2011, Maria Ashot wrote:

    Your equations are at the very heart of the matter, and thank you for calling attention to them.

    All kinds of mental blocks get in the way of recognising that P is something we can, indeed, influence -- especially the female half of human population. Trouble is, conventional tracks of considering P invariably run into the deeply polarising debate on abortion.

    But it needn't be that way at all. It is not necessary to destroy vible life in order to reduce population impacts.

    What I am saying is that we have not been, in spite of the availability of some fairly reliable types of contraceptives, particularly committed to promoting sensible procreation. The people the message needs to be preached to above all is girls -- young girls, girls just before and just after menarche, and also their mothers & grandmothers.

    No one knows better than a woman who has carried a life full-term and spent the decades after caring for that human exactly why it is really & truly best to think hard, very hard, before embarking on sexual intimacy with very young, very eager, generally reckless & selfish males.

    It has become a dogma of modern times that "no one listens to Mum" and "everyone does it anyway" -- just as it had been dogma for aeons that bullying is a part of school, and rape is a part of the landscape. Yet I insist, that just as bullying and rape can be sharply, sharply reduced by bothering to intervene, by bothering to investigate, to harangue, to punish miscreants, so also it is possible to get through to young boys and also young girls -- in particular to girls -- about the threat to their life that accompanies every casual tryst.

    When we used strong enough language in California to describe the harm of smoking, the smoking rate did go down dramatically over the years -- and smoking is actually far more addictive than underage, reckless, promiscuous sexual activity. At least for most young females, the compulsion to endure vaginal intercourse with a rough boy is considerably less strong than the typical male coeval's testosterone-fuelled, culturally-sanctioned urge to do the deed as often as possible with as many willing (or even unwilling) girls as possible.

    I can tell you from first-hand experience and conversations with women of my age, and younger, that doctors all over the world still act shocked if a young woman, or even a woman with children, asks to be voluntarily sterilised. The tubal ligation is much harder to obtain than breast implants, even though, performed laparoscopically now, it is genuinely not nearly as risky as an abortion or pregnancy. Nor as complicated. Nor as expensive as giving birth.

    We need to change the mindset of the people whose living it is to manage procreational health matters, who remain -- all around the world -- far more squeamish about acceding to an intelligent, informed request to have the fallopian tubes tied off than they are about requests for surgical abortions, complex fertility treatments, caesareans -- and those same breast implants, as well as breast reduction surgery, or liposuction.

    Trust me, with some 3.5 billion women on the planet, there will still be plenty who will choose to have a child, several children, or perhaps even as many as a couple of dozen. US media have been buzzing with stories about large families, and, to be fair, sometimes -- although I would say not very often -- outstanding parents successfully rear outstanding offspring in large numbers. But they are very much the exception that proves the rule.

    Voluntary sterilisation frees a young woman (or a fertile woman at any age) from the need to ever purchase any of those considerably rubbish-intensive pregnancy test kits, contraceptive kits and so forth. Most importantly, it frees her completely from the need to worry about abortions -- an enormous boon, as surely anyone would agree the overwhelming majority of abortions are completely unnecessary, wasteful surgeries. Considering they would not have been necessary at all had conception never taken place, these ultimately unpleasant, risky events fall into a category of medical services that could easily stand being reduced.

    I remember reading that one of the former Soviet Republics had decided to "help reduce birth rates and resulting poverty" by having doctors aggressively promoting sterilisation -- only they were in fact promoting Hysterectomies, which is, of course, an altogether backward idea. It is the tubal ligation that should be encouraged, and indeed, made available free of charge. Why is it in so many advanced societies a 14 year old, 18 weeks pregnant, can ask for an abortion and obtain it even without parental involvement -- no questions asked! -- yet if a 21 year old asks for a tubal ligation, she will be regarded by her physicians as some kind of lunatic, to be harrassed, scolded, targeted for flawed birth control devices that are expensive and that she does not want -- and, most importantly, denied the procedure she has selected, that will perhaps save her life?

    Keep in mind that doctors also know, just as women who have had the procedure, that it is quite often reversible. In other words, 20 years later, if she changes her mind, there is a high likelihood she can have it undone and have the pregnancies she decided she wanted.

    The UN is about to dedicate a meeting to the need to regulate "junk food" advertising. Bravo. But wouldn't you think an issue that has to do with the protection, education and empowerment of all the girls and women of the world would get the same consideration? Shouldn't it be a higher priority, knowing what we know about the climate situation, to help those girls and women who are ready to curtail their reproductivity obtain the help they need in such a way, that they do not ever, at all, have to risk considering an abortion -- which so many people find abhorrent, or at least undesirable, and for good reason?

    Can't we at least agree that doctors around the world should stop saying No to these young women when they ask for this procedure? Anyone over at the WHO actually concerned about this situation?

    And can we also have a UN conference dedicated to the issue of finding ways to turn back the tide on rape, which in some parts of the world is akin to an epidemic, and also results in millions of additional lives arriving each year without any complicity on the part of the mother?

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  • 18. At 3:16pm on 22 Jan 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Adam37 #16
    (@MSPMSP1)

    Déjà vu. Well at least they've finally taken out the Oliver K. Manuel Iron Sun stuff from that list.

    Still left in the Gerlich and Tscheuschner though. As a reminder how nonsensical Gerlich and Tscheuschner 2009 is, let's hear from some respectable scientists on the same subject.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/04/in-defense-of-the-greenhouse-effect/
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/07/yes-virginia-cooler-objects-can-make-warmer-objects-even-warmer-still/
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/23/quantifying-the-greenhouse-effect/

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  • 19. At 5:03pm on 22 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    On the subject of cooler objects making warmer objects even warmer, I think my mains water pipe didn't freeze last month because it lay beneath a cosy blanket of snow.

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  • 20. At 7:23pm on 22 Jan 2011, Peter Hood wrote:

    The PRC's sustained attempt to control population is laudable, and I despair at Cameron's disinclination to help reduce ours. Rather both he and Brown, before the last election, were offering incentives to couples wanting children. This island is the 17th most populated country in an overpopulated world, and we have too do something to reverse this, and not just the roughly 8% increase allowed by the last government, we have to go beyond that. We have to allow ourselves at most a population that we can feed. We can currently grow, at most, some 80% of traditional foodstuffs, and we are destroying the fertile nature of our soil. Not good enough. This requires urgent action, not population expansion.

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  • 21. At 8:01pm on 22 Jan 2011, John Russell wrote:

    @Maria Ashot

    Well, said Maria. It would be difficult for me, a 60 year old man with three adult sons, to be allowed to say such things, so all I can do is stand at the sidelines and applaud. We need more people willing to discuss the subject of birth control, intelligently, and propagate those ideas: then perhaps every child born will be wanted and cherished, and the world's population will stabilise, and perhaps even fall back to sustainable levels.

    With regard to the 'Impact = Population x Affluence x Technology'; no, Vic Smith, it makes perfect sense as a principle but if you want to attach a numerical values why not start with population at 7,080,203,151 -- the figure at the point I looked at the site...

    http://www.ibiblio.org/lunarbin/worldpop

    It seems to me that in the same way we need to change the way we view having children, as described by Maria, we also need to develop a new vision of affluence and technology. At the moment affluence is generally seen as conspicuous consumption. I'll always remember a clip of the wealthy woman driving a big 4X4 who when asked why, said, "because it shows I can afford to put fuel in it". Public pressure could change this. Affluence could equally be displayed by owning unique hand-crafted furniture, pottery or textiles; giving to charity; growing one's own food; or giving one's time to help others -- all it needs is a change in our universal mindset.

    As for technology, currently we tend to think progress is bigger, faster, flashier, and driven by fashion. But it doesn't have to be like that. How much better it would be if we saw technological progress as 'less power, less by-products, less built-in redundancy.

    Most of all, let's rethink 'waste'. The idea of 'waste' is a human construct; in nature there is no such thing as 'waste' -- the 'wastes' from one biological process are the inputs for the next. Let's put our minds to eliminating the concept of 'rubbish'. Every product of technology should have the next stage of its life built-in, so that it transitions from one use to the next -- so that it's reassigned, remade or reprocessed into the next useful item. This concept should be built in during the design process so that the end of a product's life is designed in, as part of its continuation existence as something else -- or its constituent parts as the ingredients for something else -- in what is called 'cradle-to-cradle design'.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cradle_to_Cradle_Design

    Most of all, let's stop trying to prop up the status quo; let's face up realistically to the problems that confront us and show that we're worthy of the title 'Homo Sapiens Sapiens'.

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  • 22. At 8:05pm on 22 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Why has the human population risen in recent centuries?

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  • 23. At 8:21pm on 22 Jan 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #20. KZwert wrote:

    "The PRC's sustained attempt to control population is laudable, and I despair at Cameron's disinclination to help reduce ours."

    Well, this draconian move by that totalitarian state has produced some uninetended consequences, like millions of surplus young men who are destined to be 'wife-less' and al the social implications that brings with it. In the 'good old days' such surpluses were used up in wars.

    The second impact, and one shared by the Western countries with plunging birth rates, is the aging of the population, and the increasing burden put on the working age cohort to pay for al the pensions and all the healthcare all these seniors require, and demand.

    Thus Cameron, like other Western leaders, wants more young workers to keep the social security/helath care ponzi scheme afloat. So, like Canada, they allow floods of immigrants in to make up for the low birth rates. (Canada gets tons of UK immigrants escaping that packed island.)

    In other words, there are too many old people, and they all want to live forever. The real cause of the population explosion is that too many people survive, for too long.

    So, how many people out there volunteering for euthanasia at age 60 to help save the planet?

    Crickets........

    Not even the Watermelons who are in love with the methods of China?Communi

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  • 24. At 9:45pm on 22 Jan 2011, brossen99 wrote:

    This is the truth about eco-fascism as preached by yourself and others at the BBC.

    http://www.infowars.com/eco-fascists-call-for-prison-cities/


    http://www.prisonplanet.com/global-warming-alarmist-calls-for-eco-gulags-to-re-educate-climate-deniers.html

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  • 25. At 10:16pm on 22 Jan 2011, Stephen Ashworth wrote:

    Richard, in your very first sentence I think you are confusing carbon with carbon dioxide. Please be clear whether you are talking about carbon (a black or crystalline solid) or about carbon dioxide (a colourless gas). Lots of people are confused about this, and as a journalist you need to be clear which is which.

    Interesting to speculate that once the world's population stabilises around 10 bn, as expected mid-century, there could well be a renewed population surge due to medical advances in postponing longevity. I dread to think what alarmist comments I'll be reading here then!

    Stephen
    Oxford, UK

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  • 26. At 10:37pm on 22 Jan 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    Ah, yes, technology. Let's all buy incredibly expensive mercury-filled light bulbs and ramp up megaprofits to big AGW backers like GE.

    "January 19, 2011 - California utility PG&E Corp. has just learned something about CFLs — they don’t work as well as touted. According to a report in today’s Wall Street Journal, PG&E’s $92 million rebate program for CFL usage during 2006-2008 saved 73% less energy than originally projected by PG&E:

    One hitch was the compact-fluorescent burnout rate. When PG&E began its 2006-2008 program, it figured the useful life of each bulb would be 9.4 years. Now, with experience, it has cut the estimate to 6.3 years, which limits the energy savings. Field tests show higher burnout rates in certain locations, such as bathrooms and in recessed lighting. Turning them on and off a lot also appears to impair longevity.

    Combined with their inherent mercurial hypocrisy, this new information should add urgency to the House effort to repeal the ban on incandescents."

    http://greenhellblog.com/2011/01/19/cfls-burn-out-in-california/

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  • 27. At 10:39pm on 22 Jan 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    This is interesting:

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/20/tough-climate-math-in-the-face-of-co2-and-energy-forecasts/

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  • 28. At 03:08am on 23 Jan 2011, HungeryWalleye wrote:

    Perhaps LabMunky would like to explain the decreased ice cover in the arctic being caused by something other than warmer temperatures?? It seems the satellite data support the conclusion it is getting warmer in the arctic. Plus you have eye witness reports of permafrost melting -- hardly consistent with the idea of temperatures remaining within their historic range, much less cooling.

    We have CanadianRockies who believes any old slur on environmentalists or climate scientists until the logical fallacy of a particular assertion is pointed out -- all of which he posts with great anger, yet he seems to have no concern for the mine tailings, cyanide ponds, the eroded clear cuts or other "enhancements" the pollute and plunder industrial complex has left the rest of us to live with and/or clean up. He is very upset by GE profiting from wind turbines but has no concerns from the profits they make from nuclear power stations. If James Hansen and Al Gore are the greatest threat the world faces then we can all sleep well tonight.

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  • 29. At 03:10am on 23 Jan 2011, HungeryWalleye wrote:

    Just a note to Mr. Black. According to NPR, Obama and the president of China did discuss climate change. Do you stand by your statement that they did not?

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  • 30. At 07:28am on 23 Jan 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #28. HungeryWalleye wrote:

    "We have CanadianRockies who believes any old slur on environmentalists or climate scientists until the logical fallacy of a particular assertion is pointed out -- all of which he posts with great anger, yet he seems to have no concern for the mine tailings, cyanide ponds, the eroded clear cuts or other "enhancements" the pollute and plunder industrial complex has left the rest of us to live with and/or clean up. He is very upset by GE profiting from wind turbines but has no concerns from the profits they make from nuclear power stations."

    Once again, apparently having nothing of substance to say, HungeryWalleye needs to invent things to criticize.

    Thus he creates a foe who "seems to have no concern for the mine tailings, cyanide ponds, the eroded clear cuts or other "enhancements" the pollute and plunder industrial complex has left the rest of us to live with and/or clean up," even though these points have never been discussed here by me. It is all in someone's simplistic imagination.

    And HW has never "pointed out" any "logical fallacy of a particular assertion" of mine so this again must come from your simplistic imagination. I say simplistic because that is the only explanation for what you wrote.

    But HW did correct me on a factual error recently, re on the role of Gore in Hansen getting his job at NASA, which is actually tangential and minor but still good that it was corrected.

    HW adds that "He [me] is very upset by GE profiting from wind turbines but has no concerns from the profits they make from nuclear power stations."

    Actually, my point (#26) was about those mercury loaded lightbulbs that don't last as long as promised, not wind turbines. And since I have quite a pile of GE shares, I am not upset when they make an honest profit, particularly when they do so by building nuclear power plants. I fully support increasing the use of nuclear power.

    Bottom line HW, while you seem to be complaining about other posters constantly these days, you never seem to bring anything of substance, let alone links to support your assertions, to these discussions.

    Why is that? Are we just supposed to believe your imagination?

    Oh. I see you are an NPR fan. That explains a lot. Here's some info on what Hu and Obama (and their minions) did discuss:

    "With the state visit of China's President Hu Jintao underway, the White House and China this week announced more than $45bn in export deals - and more than two-thirds of them involve energy efficiency, emissions reduction and cleantech solutions...

    A White House fact sheet listing the U.S.-China export agreements and plans includes:

    A pact between Duke Energy and ENN Group in China to develop technology used in building greener cities in China and the US.

    A joint venture between General Electric and the China Shenhua Energy Company Limited that is aimed at advancing cleaner coal technology solutions for industrial chemicals, fuels, and power generation.

    An agreement between GE and China Huadian Engineering Co. Ltd. to develop, market and sell decentralized energy combined heat and power generators as an alternative to coal-fired power plants. GE estimates that at least 50 DECHP gas turbine generator sets will be sold in China in the next 10 years.

    A memorandum of understanding between Alcoa and the China Power Investment Corporation to collaborate on aluminum and energy projects representing an estimated $7.5bn in investments.

    An agreement between Cummins and the Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Company to jointly develop and commercialize hybrid power systems for buses in China.

    A deal between Boeing Company and Air China to plan the first international flight using sustainable aviation biofuels. Boeing, Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney also agreed to offer technical support to Air China for the project.

    An MOU between Honeywell and the Haier Group to collaborate on development and promotion of low-emission, energy efficiency products and solutions."

    http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/1938693/green-technology-heart-usd45bn-china-export-deals

    More good news for my GE shares!

    More general info here:

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2011-01/23/content_11900739.htm

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  • 31. At 08:30am on 23 Jan 2011, MangoChutney wrote:

    @HungeryWalleye #28

    Perhaps LabMunky would like to explain the decreased ice cover in the arctic being caused by something other than warmer temperatures??

    Of course rising temperature contributes to ice melt, but doesn't explain the cause of rising temperature does it?

    OK, wind also causes ice melt:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/22/wind-sea-ice-loss-arctic

    They found that changes in wind patterns, such as summertime winds that blow clockwise around the Beaufort Sea, seemed to coincide with years where sea ice loss was highest.

    Writing in a paper to be published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the scientists suggest these winds have blown large amounts of Arctic ice south through the Fram Strait, which passes between Greenland and the Norwegian islands of Svalbard, and leads to the warmer waters of the north Atlantic. These winds have increased recently, which could help explain the apparent acceleration in ice loss.


    full paper citation (it's behind a paywall):

    Ogi, M., I. G. Rigor, M. G. McPhee, and J. M. Wallace (2008), Summer retreat of Arctic sea ice: Role of summer winds, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L24701, doi:10.1029/2008GL035672.

    Also, let's not forget the loss of snow and ice on Kilimanjaro was caused by deforestation not by rising temperatures:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5B72AQ20091208

    /Mango

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  • 32. At 08:32am on 23 Jan 2011, PAWB46 wrote:

    Get prepared for a cold future.

    http://notrickszone.com/2011/01/22/signs-of-strengthening-global-cooling/

    Whatever happened to puny man-made global warming in the face of nature?

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  • 33. At 10:19am on 23 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    If you can't think of any reason why the population was lower in the past, you may have a rather serious "gap" in your eduction!

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  • 34. At 10:40am on 23 Jan 2011, quake wrote:

    re 32. PAWB46 wrote

    "Get prepared for a cold future"

    Not on the basis of the link you provided. They are whistling in the wind. Extrapolating past patterns is no basis for forecasting the future.

    They also fail to acknowledge the proper context of the warmth of 2010. They say:

    "It is a no-brainer to have an extra warm year like 2010 during a strong El Nino. The year 1998 was also such a warm El Nino year. These are natural causes that drive up the temperatures during the El Nino years."

    But they don't mention that a) 1998 had a stronger El Nino than 2010 or b) 2010 has lower solar activity than 1998.

    If you correct for those factors you find that the world didn't stop warming in 1998, it has continued warming to this day.

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/how-fast-is-earth-warming/

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  • 35. At 10:46am on 23 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    quake #34 wrote:

    Extrapolating past patterns is no basis for forecasting the future.

    Exactly. Finally something we agree about!

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  • 36. At 6:38pm on 23 Jan 2011, Ed wrote:

    @ Stephen Ashworth, no. 25:

    Very droll. I hope you are also going to enlighten the doctors and dieticians who are telling people they are short of "iron" as if they are lacking lumps of metal in their body, rather than iron compounds. While you are at it, also tell the farmers and gardeners they are wrong about applying "nitrogen" when they don't mean they are wafting nitrogen gas over the fields and gardens, but applying nitrates. They also ignorantly talk of "phosphorus", "calcium", "potassium" etc as if they with sprinkling the pure elements.

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  • 37. At 7:48pm on 23 Jan 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    Wow. For a bankrupt country the UK sure seems to have plenty of money to waste.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/fish-threatened-by-global-warming-to-be-moved-north-2192001.html

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  • 38. At 9:43pm on 23 Jan 2011, rossglory wrote:

    no need for equations richard (especially equations with no precise values...as pointed out earlier). all that's needed is an escalating carbon tax with all proceeds going into sustainable energy research.

    problem solved.

    and for all those that don't accept the clear scientific evidence of agw......well who really cares, they'll just have to pay up anyway.

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  • 39. At 9:48pm on 23 Jan 2011, rossglory wrote:

    #35 bowmanthebard

    "quake #34 wrote:

    Extrapolating past patterns is no basis for forecasting the future.

    Exactly. Finally something we agree about!"

    that's right, the sun wont 'rise' tomorrow, the next time i hit my thumb it wont hurt, next time i go out in the rain i wont get wet, the next time i add 2 and 2 it wont be 4, the next time i look at the comments to one of richard's posts bowmanthebard wont mention inductive reasoning.

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  • 40. At 9:56pm on 23 Jan 2011, drmattprescott wrote:

    fascinating

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  • 41. At 10:16pm on 23 Jan 2011, Pkthinks wrote:

    Science under Attack, but by whom?
    BBC compares denial of HIV virus in causation of AIDS to climate sceptics tomorrow, and the clips presented suggest Sir Paul Nurse(Royal Society) wants scientists to win peoples hearts and minds using the media rather than have them understand the science. Lest others fill the gap with politics and ideology of course, AKA the Royal Society et al.
    Will watch with an open mind but an interesting spin on how science should be understood by the public (or not).
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00y4yql

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  • 42. At 10:28pm on 23 Jan 2011, ADMac wrote:

    #39 rossglory

    You forgot to include

    the next time I buy a new keyboard it will include capital letters.

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  • 43. At 10:52pm on 23 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Ed #36 wrote:

    While you are at it, also tell the farmers and gardeners they are wrong about applying "nitrogen" when they don't mean they are wafting nitrogen gas over the fields and gardens, but applying nitrates.

    There are scientifically illiterate people on this blog who have described carbon dioxide as a "pollutant", and seem to have no clue about differences between carbon monoxide (the poisonous gas) and carbon dioxide (the unbreathable but non-poisonous gas), or between ozone (i.e. pure oxygen, and poisonous) and O2; and so on.

    Given the uninformed quality of the debate, it seems reasonable to be explicit that carbon (the element) is not the same as carbon monoxide (the poison) or carbon dioxide (the non-pollutant).

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  • 44. At 00:43am on 24 Jan 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #43

    Although not relevant to the climate debate, carbon dioxide can be poisonous. The poison is in the dose.

    I remember watching a Hollywood reconstruction of the Apollo 13 incident. Apparently at high enough concentrations carbon dioxide can kill, even if there is enough oxygen present. They had to knock up a rather Blue Peter-ish looking connection between the machine that filtered the gas and the wrong shaped filter. It involved one of NASA's favourite repair tools for space missions, "duct tape".

    http://er.jsc.nasa.gov/seh/co2pp.html
    http://er.jsc.nasa.gov/seh/apollo13.html

    So in confined spaces, yes, absolutely carbon dioxide can be a pollutant.

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  • 45. At 00:55am on 24 Jan 2011, quake wrote:

    If Richard changed it to "Carbon Dioxide Emissions" it would be wrong as the term "Carbon Emissions", like "Carbon Footprint" covers more than just carbon dioxide - eg methane and halocarbons.

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  • 46. At 01:07am on 24 Jan 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Pkthinks #41

    You might need reminding of an example of a political action against a climate scientist that may have triggered that letter in Science

    http://climateaudit.org/2010/05/02/cuccinelli-v-mann/
    http://www.examiner.com/environmental-policy-in-national/global-warming-open-letter-to-virginia-attorney-general-kenneth-cuccinelli

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  • 47. At 03:30am on 24 Jan 2011, HungeryWalleye wrote:

    Any one have details on the "Academic" at George Mason who is being investigated for misconduct (misrepresenting and knowingly making false statements) in a paper that is the basis for the VA Attorney General's law suit against Mann?

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  • 48. At 05:34am on 24 Jan 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/139483-with-climate-bill-dead-obama-faces-pressure-from-greens-on-address

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  • 49. At 05:56am on 24 Jan 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    "Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:04pm EST

    OSLO (Reuters) - Some Himalayan glaciers are advancing despite an overall retreat...

    A blanket of dust and rock debris was apparently shielding some glaciers in the world's highest mountain range from a thaw, a factor omitted from past global warming reports. And varying wind patterns might explain why some were defying a melt.

    "Our study shows there is no uniform response of Himalayan glaciers to climate change and highlights the importance of debris cover," scientists at universities in Germany and the United States wrote in the study of 286 glaciers.

    The findings underscore that experts in the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were wrong to say in a 2007 report that Himalayan glaciers could vanish by 2035...

    The report said that 58 percent of glaciers examined in the westerly Karakoram range of the Himalayas were stable or advancing, perhaps because they were influenced by cool westerly winds than the monsoon from the Indian Ocean.

    Elsewhere in the Himalayas "more than 65 percent of the monsoon-influenced glaciers ... are retreating," they wrote in the journal Nature Geoscience of the satellite study from 2000 to 2008."

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE70M1RC20110123


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  • 50. At 08:32am on 24 Jan 2011, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @49

    The Reuters article goes on to say -

    "..Overall in the Himalayas, the glaciers are retreating," Dirk Scherler, the lead author at the University of Potsdam in Germany, told Reuters."


    ..clearly CanadianRockies omitted that part of the article by accident.. and will be delighted the omission has been rectified.

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  • 51. At 08:38am on 24 Jan 2011, MangoChutney wrote:

    @HungeryWalleye #47

    Any one have details on the "Academic" at George Mason who is being investigated for misconduct (misrepresenting and knowingly making false statements) in a paper that is the basis for the VA Attorney General's law suit against Mann?

    Old news, Walleye (October 2010 I think it was). Bradley alleged plagerism, despite Wegman references most of the Bradlet quotes, but it appears Bradleys work also contained unreferenced work from existing publications. See here:

    http://climateaudit.org/2010/10/12/copygate/

    A certain member of the Team has also from Hasselmann almost verbatim without quotes and without reference. This was highlighted by Climate Audit, but to compound the "error", the Team member, changed the text without acknowledgement to Climate Audit.

    Nice try, Walleye;)

    /Mango

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  • 52. At 09:39am on 24 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #44 wrote:

    Althoughnot relevant to the climate debate, carbon dioxide can be poisonous. The poison is in the dose.

    Unfortunately, I think it is relevant to the climate debate. The idea of the twentieth century was "holism" -- we accept new beliefs depending on how they mesh with (all or many of) the other beliefs we already have. The dominant metaphor now is of a "web" of belief, i.e. a large interconnected system rather than an edifice based on secure foundations (which is the older metaphor it has largely replaced).

    Given holism, I think we are much more open to apocalyptic-religious scenarios of the Earth "polluted by its own noisome exhalations" if we think of carbon dioxide as a poison like H2S rather than the mostly benign raw material of photosynthesis and product of respiration. Unavoidably, preconceptions about contagion and disease spill over into our judgments in other areas. It seems to me that this area invites some wild misjudgements.

    I had to take a modicum of chemistry as an engineering student, and at the time it was drummed into us that carbon dioxide is an "unbreathable" rather than a "poisonous" gas. Maybe things have changed since then. The lecturer had been a forensic chemist in a former life and had many interesting things to say about poisons, which seemed to be his speciality. For example, he suggested that "saints" whose bodies were amazingly well-preserved were probably victims of antimony poisoning... Hospital nurses are taught to be on the lookout for "the flash in the pan" that signals phosphorous poisoning... (and so on).

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  • 53. At 10:27am on 24 Jan 2011, Smiffie wrote:

    A bit late picking up this thread.

    The responsible countries of the world can exercise population restraint if they like but the rest of the world will not and when the their population crashes they will take us with them.

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  • 54. At 11:05am on 24 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Smiffie #53 wrote:

    The responsible countries of the world can exercise population restraint

    This is a parochial remark, worthy of a finger-wagging missionary of the nineteenth century. Put yourself the position of someone who lives where there is a high infant mortality rate and/or no social welfare. Having more children is the non-Western equivalent of taking out an insurance policy or saving for a pension -- children can look after their siblings in the event of the death of a parent, and they can look after an elderly parent in the event of survival.

    Ads on TV endlessly remind us that it is responsible, not irresponsible, to put money into insurance and pensions. In some circumstances, a high birth rate is the result of people choosing to do the responsible thing.

    No amount of contraceptive advice or free tubal ligations will lower the birth rate as long as those circumstances exist. Nor will there be any success in population control if no one can be bothered asking themselves why the population is so high in the first place.

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  • 55. At 11:07am on 24 Jan 2011, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ #28 hungryWally
    Erm, not sure where that came from- but whatever makes you happy; Mango@#31 ha covered most of it but I’d just like add that
    For the record, I know full well the ice is melting in the arctic, I also know full well it freezes again... it does so every year. I also know that despite the alarmist press releases it is recovering quite nicely- THOUGH I would not be surprised in the slightest for there to be a downward trend in ice cover, given the prevailing rise in temperatures (up until recently).
    However- this, despite what you’re trying to suggest, has nothing to do with climate change (in the cAGW context).
    You are conflating symptom with cause again old bean- I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way.

    Do you have anything of ACTUAL substance to say??

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  • 56. At 11:46am on 24 Jan 2011, Smiffie wrote:

    bowmanthebard @#54

    We have gone over this ground many times before and shall have to agree to differ. Your position appears to be that given prosperity, education, health care, pensions, law and order etc, people will naturally chose to have smaller families and invest more in their fewer children who will have better long term prospects, whilst my position is that given these desirable things we cannot assume that they will chose to have smaller families. Your position appears to be that people are basically the same the world over and my position is that people are different.

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  • 57. At 11:50am on 24 Jan 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard
    (@Smiffie)

    People don't just have children to look after them in their old age. They also have children because it is their religious duty, and sometimes a legal obligation. Unless you are Called to the Holy Vocation of Chastity, every sperm is sacred.

    http://archive.amnesty.org/report2008/eng/regions/americas/nicaragua.html

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  • 58. At 11:55am on 24 Jan 2011, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 57... well monty python think so at any rate...

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  • 59. At 12:22pm on 24 Jan 2011, quake wrote:

    Re 47. HungeryWalleye wrote:
    "Any one have details on the "Academic" at George Mason who is being investigated for misconduct (misrepresenting and knowingly making false statements) in a paper that is the basis for the VA Attorney General's law suit against Mann?"

    Google Deepclimate

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  • 60. At 12:41pm on 24 Jan 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #52

    It's like this.

    The toxicity of carbon dioxide is not directly relevant to the climate debate because it only kicks in at extremely high concentrations, many orders of magnitude above what we are currently injecting into the atmosphere as a whole.

    But to write it off entirely in a discussion about the environment is an invitation for people to ignore the risks of high concentrations of carbon dioxide in confined spaces. And there're plenty of jokers that would love another excuse to hack away at sensible safety regulations.

    http://www.inspectapedia.com/hazmat/CO2gashaz.htm

    Now the astronauts on Apollo 13 had lots of breathable oxygen. They weren't in danger of going low on oxygen. They weren't in danger of being "smothered" by carbon dioxide. But they were already having problems with low level toxic effects of carbon dioxide by the time they fixed the lithium hydroxide based filters.

    http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/history/apollo/apollo-13/apollo-13.html

    If it helps your sensibilities perhaps I can point out that most things are poisonous in high doses. I am not trying to demonise carbon dioxide. I am trying to prevent your earlier #43 being used by others to hurt sensible safety regulations for carbon dioxide in confined or poorly ventilated spaces.

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  • 61. At 12:43pm on 24 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Smiffie #56 wrote:

    Your position appears to be that people are basically the same the world over

    My position is that we are similar inasmuch as we all belong to a species that evolved in line with natural selection. Natural selection operates in such a way that we are all "programmed" to maximize the proliferation of the genes we carry in future generations. In some circumstances, that entails limiting our own reproduction. (Some such as worker bees eschew reproduction altogether.)

    In circumstances where life is cheap, like other animals humans adopt a "quantity rather than quality" approach to reproduction. Where each individual is a major "investment" that has to compete in life with other major "investments", they go for "quality rather than quantity".

    If you can think of any society whose birthrate increased following a raising of their standards of living and expectations in life, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

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  • 62. At 12:53pm on 24 Jan 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @LabMunkey #58

    Was going to link to the Python song as well, but thought that it jarred with the Amnesty link. Not that Python and Amnesty are entirely incompatible...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubVBK3cKanw
    http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=17063

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  • 63. At 2:02pm on 24 Jan 2011, Oakstreams wrote:

    Very interesting post, thank you. Brilliant point that only China is touching the Population part of the equation and that nobody will want to reduce Affluence, thereby leaving all responsibility to Technology.

    One explanation for the non-decline in consumption despite increased technological efficiency is that rates of efficiency increase just happen to match underlying rates of increase in demand. But most likely efficiency itself is a root cause of the increase in demand, by driving the prices down and making technology more accessible. This is the so-called Jevons paradox, proposed by William Stanley Jevons in 1865 to explain why the consumption of coal in England increased, rather than decreased, after the introduction of Watt's coal-fired steam engine that greatly increased the efficiency of coal use.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox

    Jevons paradox is a main reason why we can't expect technology alone to spontaneously solve environmental problems: in fact, technology is more likely to exacerbate them.

    The solution (I think) is to set global caps on total impact (consumption, carbon emissions, land available for agriculture, etc...) that we as a society are willing to accept, and then use human ingenuity to come up with the technological advances for meeting those limits.

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  • 64. At 2:05pm on 24 Jan 2011, Smiffie wrote:

    bowmanthebard @#61

    “If you can think of any society whose birthrate increased following a raising of their standards of living and expectations in life, I'd be interested in hearing about it.”

    The Philippines

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  • 65. At 2:30pm on 24 Jan 2011, Wolfiewoods wrote:

    We cannot interfere with people’s right to found a family, that is plain wrong. The article highlights the fact that improvements in technology is overtaken by increased demand for technology. Affluence has brought the most problems for the environment. Our course of action is clear, de-industrialize and reduce affluence.

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  • 66. At 2:40pm on 24 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Smiffie #64 wrote:

    The Philippines

    A rising birthrate is not the impression given by the first chart I could find:

    http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=rp&v=25

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  • 67. At 3:16pm on 24 Jan 2011, Smiffie wrote:

    The Philippines experienced economic growth in the 70’s but has been held back by population for reasons outlined by JaneBasingstoke @# 57.

    Is it that societies that have affluence, law & order etc are likely to exercise population restraint or is it that societies that exercise population restraint are also likely to have affluence, law & order etc?

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  • 68. At 3:20pm on 24 Jan 2011, John Russell wrote:


    From that noted alarmist green newspaper 'The Wall Street Journal':

    "How Carbon Dioxide Became a 'Pollutant'"

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124001537515830975.html

    Quote: "...the EPA ruled that today's higher concentrations are the "unambiguous result of human emissions." Concentrations of carbon dioxide and other gases "are well above the natural range of atmospheric concentrations compared to the last 650,000 years," the agency said."

    Seems clear enough to me.

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  • 69. At 3:55pm on 24 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Smiffie #67 wrote:

    The Philippines experienced economic growth in the 70’s but has been held back by population for reasons outlined by JaneBasingstoke @# 57.

    I don't know what "held back by population" means -- the birth rate in the Philippines has been falling rather than rising.

    The idea that people reproduce because they "regard it as their sacred duty" sounds a very far-fetched rationalization to me, given that we are an evolved animal and subject to the constraints that that entails.

    Ireland and Spain are both Catholic countries in which contraception has traditionally been frowned upon, but the birth rate in both fell with rising affluence and expectations.

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  • 70. At 4:36pm on 24 Jan 2011, Smiffie wrote:

    bowmanthebard

    We could go on like this all day, Ireland and Spain are both part of the west and may not slavishly follow Catholic dogma as much as people in the Philippines. Having said that I have a certain affection for the people of South East Asia, when I retire I may avoid the cold grey British winters by visiting that part of the world. Anyway, Richard has a new thread now.

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  • 71. At 4:47pm on 24 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Smiffie #70 wrote:

    We could go on like this all day, Ireland and Spain are both part of the west and may not slavishly follow Catholic dogma as much as people in the Philippines.

    But evidently none of the above follow Catholic dogma so slavishly as to have a rising birth rate. You are mistaken about the birth rate in the Philippines rising. In most recent years it has been falling, not rising.

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  • 72. At 4:57pm on 24 Jan 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #69

    Some people in Ireland are very keen to increase the birth rate.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12005803

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  • 73. At 5:06pm on 24 Jan 2011, Stefan wrote:

    When you think that carbon monoxide emissions due to bad heating in a closed room are enough to kill people...

    Have you ever had a look at a satelitte picture of the Earth showing how thin and seemingly volatile the atmosphere is?

    We are getting so numerous indeed! So what?
    It's like being in a small closed room with a fine buddy of yours who's keen on smoking: it remains bearable (for some time).
    Now, the place is packed with chain smokers. What happens???

    Either you leave, open the windows or tell people to stop smoking!!!

    Trouble is:

    THERE ARE NO WINDOWS
    THERE IS NO OUTSIDE...

    Unscientific question:

    Which has more inertia?
    EARTH OR HUMANKIND?

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  • 74. At 5:10pm on 24 Jan 2011, Stefan wrote:

    The more, the merrier?

    or

    The more, the wiser?

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  • 75. At 5:36pm on 24 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #72 wrote:

    Some people in Ireland are very keen to increase the birth rate.

    Thy would probably argue that they are trying to reduce the death rate, which isn't really inconsistent with the general attitude I'm talking about. That attitude is one of greater seriousness towards sex and pregnancy; it assumes that a child is a major undertaking that must not be entered into lightly; that children normally need the attentions of both parents; and so on.

    The widespread contempt expressed in the West towards people in the developing world who have too many children according to our own standards of child rearing (which is also expressed toward some in the West via "Vikki Pollard" jokes) is a typically "affluent" attitude. We tend to think it is immoral to have children just to use them for child labour, or whatever, with little hope of advancement. We expect our own children to attend university and drive cars, so we tend to have fewer of them. Since that attitude is rooted in biology, we can reasonably expect it to be a human universal.

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  • 76. At 6:29pm on 24 Jan 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #50. Lamna_nasus wrote:

    @49

    The Reuters article goes on to say -

    "..Overall in the Himalayas, the glaciers are retreating," Dirk Scherler, the lead author at the University of Potsdam in Germany, told Reuters."


    ..clearly CanadianRockies omitted that part of the article by accident.. and will be delighted the omission has been rectified.

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

    Susan - I provided the link so that everyone, including you, could read the whole article. EVERYBODY knows that, overall, glaciers have been melting, but the key point of what this article says is that things are never as simplistic as the AGW tales... which, in this case, tell us that 'all the glaciers are melting.'

    All these AGW and other green fairy tales are always more simplistic than the more complicated reality.

    And, P.S., I posted this primarily for Geoff Ward, as we had discussed this a while back.


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  • 77. At 7:09pm on 24 Jan 2011, CanadianRockies wrote:

    This is interesting:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100073116/oh-no-not-another-unbiased-bbc-documentary-about-climate-change/

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  • 78. At 7:30pm on 24 Jan 2011, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #75

    Does "reducing the death rate" also apply to married couples being advised to avoid using condoms?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12053610

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  • 79. At 7:53pm on 24 Jan 2011, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #78 wrote:

    Does "reducing the death rate" also apply to married couples being advised to avoid using condoms?

    No, and I don't mean to defend either the anti-abortion crowd or the anti-contraception crowd (although so few belong to the latter nowadays it's hardly a "crowd"). I just want to point out that the former use the rhetoric of "defending the unborn child" -- i.e. according to their own lights they're trying to prevent harm to children. However misguided and saccharine-laced though all that may be, it's part of a puritanical attitude that sees sex as bad and children as very serious lifelong burdens. They're not trying to out-reproduce rival ethnic groups, or anything like that!

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  • 80. At 8:35pm on 24 Jan 2011, Sagacity wrote:

    1. At 5:06pm on 21 Jan 2011, MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:

    ............. Cosmic Rays are likely to be the cause of 40% of warming experienced in the 20th century

    http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/article1107174.ece


    The newspaper article doesn't give any reference to peer reviewed publications supporting the claim. It also says the effect of csmic rays has been ignored which is a lie, this is an area where a lot of work has been done and there's still a big research project based at CERN (CLOUD) being done on it. "The CLOUD experiment involves an interdisciplinary team of scientists from 18 institutes in 9 countries, comprised of atmospheric physicists, solar physicists, and cosmic-ray and particle physicists." It also says that if cosmic rays are the cause of climate change then nothing can be done about it which is probably untrue.

    A better article on this area of research
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/33645

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  • 81. At 10:36pm on 24 Jan 2011, Sagacity wrote:

    31. At 08:30am on 23 Jan 2011, MangoChutneyUKOK wrote:
    let's not forget the loss of snow and ice on Kilimanjaro was caused by deforestation not by rising temperatures:


    When I saw Climate change denialists using this as evidence against MMCC some time back I had a good laugh. Loss of ice on Mount Kilimanaro is not caused by AGW, its due to a different form of man made climate change, iridity caused by deforestation. Then they persist in saying the idea that man is capable of altering the climate is ridiculous.
    And the cure for this particular problem, stop deforestation which, of course, will as a side effect also reduce Co2 in the atmosphere, nicely ironic

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  • 82. At 11:35pm on 24 Jan 2011, Sagacity wrote:

    16. At 12:13pm on 22 Jan 2011, Adam37 wrote:

    "Building an argument by quoting a newspaper article, which references a single paper, by a single scientist, which is completely out of step with the peer reviewed scientific consensus,"

    MSPMSP1 the following are 850 peer reviewed scientific papers supporting skepticism of man made global warming alarm
    http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html

    There is no peer reviewed scientific consensus supporting AGW. That is simply faith.


    One of the main claims of the climate denialist cult is that climate change is a conspiracy in which all or almost all scientists are complicit with liberal/left wing politicians and together they supress the 'true'science. If there are 850 peer reviewed papers supporting a sceptical view then that claim is clearly a lie, opposing scientific opinion is not being surpressed.
    Actually you don't need 850 papers to disprove AGW, you just need one, one good one that proves the scientific consensus is wrong, something both the sceptics and denialists have failed to come with. Of course the converse is also true, the scientific consensus has failed to come up with the one absolutely crowning paper that it needs to prove its case which is why I have a particular hatred for the phrase "the science is settled". The fact is, especially when it concearns systems like the climate, the science is never settled.

    850 papers is a drop in the ocean compared to the number of climate science papers published, I haven't looked at all 850 so I can't say whether they all support a sceptical view or not however in previous cases where such claims have been made and I have checked it's turned out that many of the papers are not sceptical at all, instead particular phrases which could be said to be sceptical have been cherry picked out of them to justify the claim but it doesn't matter, I have no problem with there being 850 skeptical papers. This whole idea of highlighting papers or scientists who 'disagree with the consensus' and claiming it as proof of a contrary view shows a basic misunderstanding of how science works, of course there are papers which produce results or have conclusions which dispute the consensus, that's how science works. if these are confirmed by further work then the consensus will change and if they are disproved it won't. Scepticism is part of and is essential to science but there is a fundamental difference between scepticism and denialism and the vast majority of what appears on the internet, regardless of which side it pupports to be on, is denialism not scepticism.
    arguing with a denialist is like playing chess but having an opponent who is playing draughts (checkers), they jump over and take all your pieces a la draughts and when you complain that they are not following the rules they effectively say Well who says we have to play chess by your rules.

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