Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html en-gb 30 Tue 04 Aug 2015 18:59:35 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html MangoChutney http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=98#comment92 With apologies, feeling mischievous:"A Peek Behind the Curtain" (Peer Review)http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=5416 Wed 14 Oct 2009 12:52:35 GMT+1 Richard Black (BBC) http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=97#comment91 PAWB46 #87 - the "scary" research was peer-reviewed - published in Science. Sorry to ruin your prediction. RB Tue 13 Oct 2009 21:40:30 GMT+1 davblo2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=96#comment90 eddhind #90: "Climate research... and indeed any research... must involve scientists, the public, policy makers, NGOs, lobby groups, unions, etc. - any stakeholders of interest."Wouldn't it be good if the financial institutions could lead the way and consult us before embarking on their madcap schemes for infinite growth (and prosperity?) instead of (as you say) just "sitting on high and preaching to the unconverted" and expecting us to bear the brunt of it all when they mess up, nullify our pensions etc?/davblo2 Mon 12 Oct 2009 14:09:19 GMT+1 eddhind http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=95#comment89 @MangoChutneyUKOKI kind of understand what you are looking for here I think. You are asking for a shift in science... a change in paradigm... I agree.This is the shift I believe is needed. I believe that currently, science is way too "top-down". Scientists are percieved as sitting on high and preeching to the unconverted that they must change... or else! Scientific research often fails to include the public in either its research or dissemination. I believe this creates a feeling of distrust and resentment in the general public, especially as these so called scientists are asking us to change our behaviour. Is it any wonder then that people come on to blogs such as these and argue against the findings of the modern scientific paradigm? Of course not.Climate research... and indeed any research... must involve scientists, the public, policy makers, NGOs, lobby groups, unions, etc. - any stakeholders of interest. Not only will it then be better accepted, but it will also be better understood. Nobody likes doom mongering, but if the doom is shared then perhaps it can be reduced and even reversed - not just tossed back in the face of those who deliver it.If we work together there is hope that this planet will let us stay. If we continue to be widely opposed to each other... maybe it will be time to say goodbye to the human race. Mon 12 Oct 2009 09:14:15 GMT+1 MangoChutney http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=94#comment88 you already know what evidence i am looking for - i've repeated it often enough in these pages - still waiting for an answer though, but your May Day team, always seem to move on to the next post instead of providing a robust answer Sat 10 Oct 2009 17:43:13 GMT+1 davblo2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=93#comment87 MangoChutneyUKOK #86: "Without evidence..."You asked (in #85) "What shift in the science do you suppose could make this fundamental change in behaviour?", referring to the possibility of CO2 acting as a driver for climate change as opposed to lagging after it.I said there was no "shift" in science. To act as a driver CO2 has to come before the corresponding climate change. By burning fossil fuels we have put CO2 in the air where it has the possibility to act as a driver.So we know this time it's not lagging climate change; because we put it there. That's it. You didn't ask for any more. The answer again was; there is no change in science.Now you want evidence; of what?/davblo2 Sat 10 Oct 2009 16:59:29 GMT+1 PAWB46 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=92#comment86 Contrary to prediction, Richard has printed the un-peer-reviewed trash "'Scary' climate message from past" and ignored the two papers that were peer-reviewed concerning Antarctic ice increase and Arctic ice recovery. Sat 10 Oct 2009 16:15:21 GMT+1 MangoChutney http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=91#comment85 @davblo2 #85Burning fossil fuels does put more CO2 into the air, but this doesn't cause global warming. Without evidence, repeatedly saying so won't make it real. Sat 10 Oct 2009 14:14:26 GMT+1 davblo2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=90#comment84 MangoChutneyUKOK #83: "What shift in the science do you suppose could make this fundamental change in behaviour?"No shift in science. Just the burning of fossil fuels./davblo2 Sat 10 Oct 2009 13:16:50 GMT+1 JunkkMale http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=89#comment83 79. At 6:21pm on 09 Oct 2009, PAWB46Having just seen Joan Ruddock and various worthies explain what the commercial was 'explaining' (not always the sign of a great ad, in my experience), I have to say my head was in my hands.If the science, and its sharing with the public is down to these guys, then we are truly stuffed. I think the only people persuaded will be green awards juries. And there are a lot now, worldwide, all going to each other's shows.Any possibly useful aspects this effort may have conferred to help influence public behaviour will be overwhelmed by a bunch of counter points on what they rather sweepingly have claimed and so clunkily avoided.£6M up in smoke. IMHO. Mind you, speaking of which, on the topic of awareness atop columns of greenhouse gasses, they could have blown $35M like some other clowns. Well, well, well, well, well, well... not getting bought for a stratospheric big up between some rarified celebs to give us a song from their latest album. Sat 10 Oct 2009 09:12:35 GMT+1 MangoChutney http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=88#comment82 @davblo2 #81You mean "Historical data shows that CO2 lags temperature. CO2 hasn't driven temperature in the past."Surely if CO2 has always lagged temperature and has never driven temperature, it is a leap of faith to conclude that it could happen? What shift in the science do you suppose could make this fundamental change in behaviour? Sat 10 Oct 2009 08:02:17 GMT+1 PAWB46 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=87#comment81 I would rather trust Piers Corbyn than the Met Office's models. See what the BBC has to say http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8299079.stm Sat 10 Oct 2009 06:23:58 GMT+1 davblo2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=86#comment80 voidifremoved #72: "PAWB46 #70..."Thanks for the support!Oh and PAWB46 #78: "Historical data shows that CO2 lags temperature. Co2 does not drive temperature."You mean "Historical data shows that CO2 lags temperature. CO2 hasn't driven temperature in the past."What does that tell you about now and the future? Does "hasn't" = "can't" in your book? Now who is making statements without evidence?/davblo2 Fri 09 Oct 2009 21:23:07 GMT+1 davblo2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=84#comment79 PAWB46 #70: "You have to prove the CO2 effect"We didn't get as far as CO2. If you look back through our discussion you'll find that you mentioned CO2 three times. I didn't mention it once, (except when I quoted you). And you call me an "alarmist" (your #70).So far I've been talking about the Greenhouse Effect (which you attempted to obfuscate in #3) and what happens when the effect is increased. I think it's worth agreeing on that first. Then you can bring up CO2. You keep asking for evidence; like your #67 "Why don't you face it. There is no discernible evidence".So far we haven't needed very much. We've only needed a few simple principles like the conservation of energy and what we already know about IR emission and absorption.In #62 I presented a very simple model of the Earth's energy balance and in #64 I answered you question about whether changes in Greenhouse Effect can be significant in the light of natural fluctuations.You haven't effectively refuted that model.You say in #70: "4.5 billion years of climate change are evidence of feedback mechanisms - whatever they may be caused by."Do you think that those feedback mechanisms were ever provoked to the extent, and over such a short time scales, as we may be provoking them now? Do you think they will be capable of negating any change we throw at them? Or could they have limitations? Isn't that worth thinking about? Wouldn't you rather understand some of them rather than just trust to chance?/davblo2 Fri 09 Oct 2009 21:12:01 GMT+1 PAWB46 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=83#comment78 Junkkmale #75:Pure propaganda from the government. No evidence.Who believes the government? Fri 09 Oct 2009 17:21:27 GMT+1 PAWB46 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=82#comment77 voidifremoved #72:You too have science the wrong way round. It is the proponents of AGW who have to demonstrate the "sensitivity of the order of 1.5 - 2.5 degrees per doubling of CO2". Computer models are not evidence. Where is the evidence? Historical data shows that CO2 lags temperature. Co2 does not drive temperature. Fri 09 Oct 2009 17:04:51 GMT+1 Jack Hughes http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=81#comment76 @voidifremoved: Hi and welcome to this blog. I don't know if you work in this field or not, but maybe you can explain how global air and ocean temperatures have flatlined this century in spite of rising CO2 levels. Doesn't this suggest that other factors are at work ?And for a bonus point tell us which climate model predicted this levelling off. Beforehand. Fri 09 Oct 2009 17:03:37 GMT+1 JunkkMale http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=80#comment75 74. At 2:43pm on 09 Oct 2009, simon-swedeHave to say that, in the circumstances, the file designation is unfortunate, if possibly appropriate. Fri 09 Oct 2009 14:54:34 GMT+1 JunkkMale http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=79#comment74 Ministers target climate change doubters in prime-time TV adverthttp://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6867046.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=1515793Well, that's it all settled then.Mind you, £6M seems to me might be better spent on putting insulation for the poor/old folks homes or such like.But being the first to state unequivocally that Man is causing global warming and endangering life on Earth might be helpful to some too, I guess.Then again, taking just this blog as a small sample... Maybe the next logical step is to put those who continue to have some 'doubts' in jail? Fri 09 Oct 2009 14:22:10 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=78#comment73 Also this one:http://www.psandman.com/articles/riskanal.htm Fri 09 Oct 2009 13:43:26 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=77#comment72 Worth a read:http://www.psandman.com/col/climate.htm Fri 09 Oct 2009 13:39:58 GMT+1 voidifremoved http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=76#comment71 PAWB46 #70> You follow the usual alarmist process. You on the other hand dismiss someone taking the time to give you a patient explanation of your misconceptions and misunderstandings in simple language and scientific terms as an "alarmist".> You have to prove the CO2 effect. 4.5billion years of climate change are evidence of feedback mechanisms - whatever they may be caused by.These two statements are vague and simplistic, and yet you manage to misrepresent both our level of understanding of the effect of CO2 in the atmosphere as well as our knowledged of the historical record stretching back over geological timescales. To the extent that I understand what you mean by "CO2 effect" and to the extent that such things can be shown to be true in scientific terms, the effect of extra CO2 in the atmosphere is logarithmic, and sensitivity has been measured, estimated, verified and studied using a variety of techniques. There's a range of values, but typically sensitivity is given of the order of 1.5 - 2.5 degrees per doubling of CO2. If you want to insist that is untrue, you're really going to have to dig up the papers in question, and then find papers that undermine their findings. Simply asserting that they are untrue is childish nay-saying.I suggest formulating a coherent point before posting next time. Fri 09 Oct 2009 13:22:54 GMT+1 davblo2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=75#comment70 AMO: Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation "It alternately obscures and exaggerates the global increase in temperatures due to human-induced global warming." Fri 09 Oct 2009 12:57:17 GMT+1 PAWB46 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=74#comment69 davblo2 #69:You follow the usual alarmist process. You have to prove the CO2 effect. 4.5billion years of climate change are evidence of feedback mechanisms - whatever they may be caused by. You won't want to go WUWT, where Arctic melting seems to be pretty well correlated with the AMO. No doubt Richard or someone else at the BBC will publicise this peer-reviewed paper (along with already mentioned peer-reviewed paper about the Antarctic record sea-ice).See http://wattsupwiththat.com/I await the BBC environmental correspondents. Fri 09 Oct 2009 12:21:18 GMT+1 davblo2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=73#comment68 PAWB46 #67: "So what you are admitting is that there is no evidence for man-made global warming since we cannot detect it."No. I'm admitting that the effect may well be swamped by other fluctuations at any one time. But as I said, "...it will stay positive and have accumulating effects over time."You say "Where is the evidence that it is an accumulating effect? CO2 levels have risen and fallen in the past and temperatures have risen and fallen in the past. There is no accumulation."Maybe my use of the word "accumulate" was rather unclear. I mean that the Greenhouse Effect is accumulative in that successive increases in it's effectiveness add to, build upon, the previous steps. They remain and are never "washed away" by the fluctuations you mention. Every increase in the "difficulty of escape of energy" adds a little to the ground temperature.From there on, feedback mechanisms have to be considered, but I think it is wrong to flout contentious claims about those before the basic underlying principles are clear and accepted.You say "They would do better spending billions..."That is not where you came in at #3. You were trying to demolish the Greenhouse Effect. Of course if you don't believe in it you can find many better things to spend money on. That's not the point.If you know of some process which negates changes in the Greenhouse Effect and maintains our current cosy temperature range then please let us know what it is. Was it clouds for example?/davblo2 Fri 09 Oct 2009 11:24:39 GMT+1 Jack Hughes http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=72#comment67 Britain's finest climatologists predicted a barbecue summer. Anybody still waiting with sausages and burgers at the ready ? Chicken drumsticks maybe ?Have the Met Office issued the useless forecast for the coming winter yet ? Sorry to kick them when they're down but they are pushing cargo cult science:Just as cargo cultists create mock airports that fail to produce airplanes, cargo cult scientists conduct flawed research that fails to produce useful results. Feynman cautioned that to avoid becoming cargo cult scientists, researchers must first of all avoid fooling themselves, be willing to question and doubt their own theories and their own results, and investigate possible flaws in a theory or an experiment. Fri 09 Oct 2009 11:15:23 GMT+1 PAWB46 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=70#comment66 davblo2 #64:You say "The effect of an increase in the Greenhouse Effect may well be hidden from "sight", swamped, by natural fluctuations; but the effect is never lost; and whereas natural fluctuations average out to zero, it will stay positive and have accumulating effects over time."So what you are admitting is that there is no evidence for man-made global warming since we cannot detect it.Where is the evidence that it is an accumulating effect? CO2 levels have risen and fallen in the past and temperatures have risen and fallen in the past. There is no accumulation.Why don't you face it. There is no discernible evidence. Governments are committing to wasted trillions and changing our way of life based on no discernible evidence.They would do better spending billions (not trillions) on eradicating disease, poverty, providing clean water etc etc; there is plenty of evidence for these needs and most people would support these worthy aims. I would. But I will fight against having my money wasted on curing a problem which is not discernible and for which there is no evidence. Fri 09 Oct 2009 10:44:29 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=69#comment65 Meanwhile the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets continue to disappear...Shrinkage of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets accelerated from the 1990s into the 2000s. This week Science reports that the latest analysis of “the most comprehensive, essentially continuous monitoring of the ice sheets shows that the losses have not eased in the past few years”. The results, currently in press at Geophysical Research Letters, are based on measurements by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission. This measures changes in the mass of the ice sheets from one month to the next, providing detailed and dynamic up-to-date information about the actual changes to the ice sheets.See: “Both of the World's Ice Sheets May Be Shrinking Faster and Faster”, Richard A. Kerr Science 9 October 2009, Vol. 326. no. 5950, p. 217. The article to which the Science piece refers is Velicogna, I. (2009), Increasing rates of ice mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets revealed by GRACE, Geophysical Research Letters, in press. Fri 09 Oct 2009 10:40:13 GMT+1 eddhind http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=68#comment64 @mangochutney #56My assertations are irrelevant to whether there is emperical proof about global warming. My argument is not just about global warming. It is about all anthropogenic impacts. As our population races out of control we build more and more houses for instance that lead to direct habitat destruction. Many species only live locally and thus when events such as this happen species become extinct. Is it ok that we do that? In my mind... no. 1000 years ago we weren't aware that we could harm the world that mothered us. Now we are... and we should thus take action wherever possible to live in harmony with the hundreds of thousnads of species, and thousands of different ecosystems that surround us. I don't think humanity has the right to empericaly prove whether we are destroying the planet that gave birth to us or not. As any scientist will tell you anyway, it is impossible to 100% prove anything either by empiric or other methods. If there is one iota of risk that an event like global warming could occur and have serious consequences for more than just the human race, then we must take every precaution to make sure that does not occur.If my argument only holds weight with empirical "proof", then there is plenty of proof for ocean acidification, also linked to CO2 rises. The impacts of ocean acidification will probably be even more severe than global warming. Acidification could kill every living organism in the seas and oceans, which obviously would also have catostrophic impacts on land.And also... I reiterate my question to you, that I see as unaddressed. How will emitting less CO2 cost you, the consumer, more. I have no proof, but I fully believe it would cost you less, perhaps after a short term increase for a couple of years. You would buy less petrol, use less electricity, purchase fewer consumer goods, shower instead of bath (look - you would save time too!). I believe these are small and easy sacrifices which have the potential to stop changes that may or may not be happening. Why take the risk when it is easy not to? Fri 09 Oct 2009 09:59:15 GMT+1 davblo2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=67#comment63 PAWB46 #63: "What is the magnitude of your "Greenhouse Effect"?"First I didn't speak of any specific level of Greenhouse effect. I said..."any restriction on the means of escape of that energy will mean that it has to be "pushed" harder by a warmer ground temperature"That is the "Greenhouse effect".We have it now; it keeps us alive.Any increase in its effectiveness results in a warmer ground temperature. PAWB46 #63: "Please provide evidence that it is not lost in the background of natural effects."The effect of an increase in the Greenhouse Effect may well be hidden from "sight", swamped, by natural fluctuations; but the effect is never lost; and whereas natural fluctuations average out to zero, it will stay positive and have accumulating effects over time.Do you know anything about signal processing?Extraction of signals from below noise level?GPS receivers, for example./davblo2 Fri 09 Oct 2009 09:58:59 GMT+1 PAWB46 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=66#comment62 Davblo2:What is the magnitude of your "Greenhouse Effect"? Please provide evidence that it is not lost in the background of natural effects. Fri 09 Oct 2009 09:09:42 GMT+1 davblo2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=65#comment61 PAWB46 #61: "Of course more energy is emitted when the ground is hotter..."Thank you for answering my question; and I'm sure people will understand without bothering Newton.Now I can re-state the general result which follows from that answer...If you answer (b) as you should, then you can see the energy flows into and out of the Earth consists of...(i) Energy in via sunlight on the day side,(ii) More than half of that energy escaping on the day side(iii) Less than half escaping on the night sideWere (ii) + (iii) = (i) [approx]One important point to note is that the "night time" does not provide a special means of escape for energy. If anything it is less effective than the "day time".But more importantly; any restriction on the means of escape of that energy will mean that it has to be "pushed" harder by a warmer ground temperature. "Greenhouse Effect"Thank you; davblo2 Fri 09 Oct 2009 08:57:01 GMT+1 PAWB46 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=64#comment60 davblo: Of course more energy is emitted when the ground is hotter, that is why I mentioned Newton's Law of Cooling. There is no point continuing this discussion. The evidence for global warming is not there, the hypothesis is clearly not supported by any evidence. Fri 09 Oct 2009 08:30:30 GMT+1 davblo2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=63#comment59 PAWB46 #57: "Your question is stupid; everyone with a bit of education..."I was an extremely simple question and I notice you failed to answer it.I'm sure that main reason you didn't answer was because it would spoil your explanation (in #30) that all the heat of the day escapes at night.If you can manage to answer I'm sure we'd all like to hear.Here it is again with a little added qualification...Leaving aside the energy arriving via sunlight;at any one instant in time;which do you think causes the largest flow, "escape", of energy into space; (a) The "nightside hemisphere" with cold ground on a cloudless night, or(b) The "dayside hemisphere" with hot ground on a cloudless day?Please answer (a) or (b) or "don't know", or "both the same".As for the rest of your comment; you are again touting psuedo-science; as if a quoting a few scientific "laws" is going to sound impressive.You say "I assume you have never done any heat transfer calculations..." and "I suspect you have never done any calculations...".There are some laws of physics which remain valid whether or not I have done "heat transfer calculations" as you call them.An important one is "Conservation of Energy". It's a very simple rule. You should think about it a little. Why blind people with science when there are simpler effective rules at play? Tell me; what do you we need to calculate to answer my simple question above?Again you say I am "averaging". I am not; and it shows you don't understand the point. Look again; where did I ever say "average"?Think. Whatever process you identify in the day/night cycle, it is going on continuously, somewhere on the globe. There is always a dawn going on, with cold ground moving into sunlight.There is always a dusk somewhere, with warm ground moving into night.Where is the averaging in that. It's a steady continuous set of processes all going on continuously at the same time.Refute that statement if you can. You asked "Do you even know that the IR emitted by earth to space occurs in two ways:...?"Yes I do. We covered that earlier. How does that affect the answer to my main question?/davblo2 Fri 09 Oct 2009 07:36:17 GMT+1 Jack Hughes http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=62#comment58 This is a moral issue. There are 2 billion people in the world with no electricity at all.During 'earth hour' when all the Saffies and Ned Flanders were watching TV with the lights off, these 2 billion people were also sitting in the dark. They sit in the dark every single evening of every single day of every week or every year of their lives.Is it moral to condemn these people to darkness ? Fri 09 Oct 2009 07:31:19 GMT+1 HumanityRules http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=61#comment57 Oh my! The worst of all this is that Nature should print such non-sense and conjecture. When generally supportive experts can describe the thesis as "sensible — though apparently arbitrary" and Nature can print this then we know we're in trouble. And I don't mean from climate change but I mean irrationality.As this article points out from Malthus' day to the present doomdayists conservatives have always been ready to set limits on humanity. Fortunately for us humanity has ignored this and striven for progress.Remember if Malthus and his ilk had his way and arrested development in the 1800's then we'd still be living (and dying) with appalling disease and conditions. Something the present Malthusians seem determined to maintain for the modern day poor. Fri 09 Oct 2009 01:47:25 GMT+1 PAWB46 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=60#comment56 davblo2 #53I did no say all the energy would be dissipated; only that received during the day. Obviously if the sun never shone and there were no internal energy supply (such as nuclear decay), then the earth would ultimately fall to a temperature close to zero Kelvin. After all the Antarctic falls to about 220K as the result of little energy input from the sun. Your question is stupid; everyone with a bit of education should know Newton's Law of Cooling. I assume you have never done any heat transfer calculations, otherwise you wouldn't give the nonsense about the 'steady state' picture of the earth at your post #40. Don't you understand that you cannot just average out day and night as if there are no non-linearities. Given that radiation varies as the 4th power of the temp (Stefan's Law), you cannot use an average - it's not that simple. And you will know of the logarithmic relationship of CO2 absorption/emission of IR (it's essentially saturated at well below 200ppm). I repeat, I suspect you have never done any calculations and given that you prefer to use electronic terminology rather than heat transfer terminology, I suspect you know not of what you talk! Do you even know that the IR emitted by earth to space occurs in two ways: directly from the surface through the atmospheric window and from the tropopause at wavelengths corresponding to the water vapour absorption/emission lines? Thu 08 Oct 2009 19:33:57 GMT+1 MangoChutney http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=59#comment55 @eddhind #54My contention is there is no empirical proof to show CO2 is a primary driver of global warming and there is ample empirical data presented by the likes of Lindzen, Christy, Spencer etc to show that climate sensitivity (the net effect of negative and positive feedbacks) is low, not high as assumed and calculated by the climate models.As CO2 is not a primary driver of global warming, there is no need to tax us for our emissions, so we do have a right to care about this Thu 08 Oct 2009 16:33:22 GMT+1 eddhind http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=58#comment54 @manysummits #47Thanks for that book recommendation. It sounds just the sort of thing I would be interested in.I agree that blogging is a great new tool that we as people are lucky to have. In the past was communication ever so fast, widespread and informative? Not all human activity is bad, far from it! It strikes me that it is one way to address the gaps in the dissemination of scientific research and public opinion of science. Here we have a seemingly well moderated forum (I assume you aren't deleting other people's views wholesale ;) frequented by researchers, very well informed members of the public who are obviously familar with the subject matter and interested members of the public just discovering the issues. Note - this latter group is no less important... infact it is most important if information is to be spread. And of course we have the journalists, who can spread the debate most of all!Long may this blog continue! Thu 08 Oct 2009 15:49:23 GMT+1 eddhind http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=56#comment53 @MangochutneyUKOK #52I fully agree that people care on a financial level whether global warming is a true theory or not, and of course they should. My assertation is though that we do not have the right to care about this. I am guilty as much as the next as voting for and wanting to pay less tax, but when I made these decisions they were at the expense of other people probably less fortunate than myself (for which I am not proud by the way - judge me how you like). The question asked with with climate change though, rather than issues such as the welfare state, is to choose less tax ahead of other species and whole ecosystems. Do I have the right to make a decision on my finances that will impact and destroy other species and ecosystems that have no democratic say in this financial choice. My belief is that no I don't. If trees, coral reefs and ants were permitted to vote... how often do you think they would vote on the same side of humanity, based on how we are treating them right now? I would guess rarely! So my belief is not who cares? I know people care. What I meant to say is I don't care who cares, because I have a moral belief that we are not above nature and thus we cannot make decisions that may harm it forever.As an aside I think by reducing CO2 we could well reduce tax. Look at the things you pay most tax on now. Consumer goods, petrol, flights... all things that that contribute to CO2. If we actually embraced renewable energy there is a good chance it could work out cheaper, especially with oil prices set to rise... If you ate local food with a low carbon footprint it would become cheaper than foreign imports. The climate choice is far from the expensive choice. There are arguments both sides of this fence I know, but I find it hard to believe that carbon taxes are pushing us to financial ruin. A minor inconvenience... for sure... but worth risking the planet for? I don't think so. I wonder how much the last fish on the planet will cost? Probably a good amount more than the congestion charge!Finally! (phew) - just some info on ocean acidification. This is good as a brief intro http://royalsociety.org/document.asp?id=3249 Also this is interesting http://tinyurl.com/y98tmya as it suggest warming could actually decrease the oceans absorption rate of CO2 as the plankton under temperature stress may not be able to absorb CO2. Even if this is not the case and CO2 absorption increases... doesn't that mean it has already warmed? In that scenario... sure ... acification may not be a problem... but warming certainly is! Under that scenario as an example ... warmer sees would alraedy have killed of coral reefs due to bleaching caused by the higher temperatures. Similar to my other points... acidification is another risk we cannot afford to take. I hope we aren't too late! Thu 08 Oct 2009 15:37:01 GMT+1 davblo2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=55#comment52 PAWB46 #30: "During the night all that energy is dissipated (notice how quickly the temperature falls when the sky is clear)..."I had to come back to this one because it is such a grievous affront to science.The explanation presented in the latter par of #30 is trying to paint a picture whereby all the heat accumulated during the day (from sunlight) is dissipated, vented into space, during the night. It will sound right to some laymen, and draws on the subjective, human, experience of "emptiness" on a cold night.(One simple point to note is that if "all that energy" were "dissipated" as claimed, then the ground temperature would drop to absolute zero, minus 273 deg C, which, we know, it doesn't)But it's wrong in more ways.To explain; I'll ask one question.Leaving aside the energy arriving via sunlight, which do you think causes the largest "escape of energy" into space; (a) The cold ground on a cloudless night, or(b) The hot ground on a cloudless day?If you answer (b) as you should, then you can see the energy flow into and out of the Earth consists of...(i) Energy in via sunlight on the day side,(ii) More than half of that energy escaping on the day side(iii) Less than half escaping on the night sideWere (ii) + (iii) = (i) [approx]Any restriction on the means of escape of that energy will mean that it has to be "pushed" harder by a warmer ground temperature. "Greenhouse Effect"If you get that far, then you can start thinking about the effect of clouds./davblo2 Thu 08 Oct 2009 15:06:18 GMT+1 MangoChutney http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=54#comment51 @simon-swede #37/38I'm sorry simon, I can't see how those posts answer my fundamental question. Could you clarify please?@grumpy-mike #43Sorry Mike, but Richards blog contains the statement "In companion articles in the same journal, for example, climate scientist Myles Allen argues that the 350ppm boundary proposed by Rockstrom for the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has "relatively little support" in the scientific literature".So it's Richard who first drags the CO2 question into the blog@eddhind #46who cares if CO2 may or may not cause global warming or acidify the oceansI do and so do many others, because without proof that CO2 causes global warming, there is no need to tax us within an inch of our lives! On ocean acidification, please correct me if i am wrong, but CO2 dissolves into water better when the water is cooler and is released as the water warms up. Doesn't that mean the oceans should become less acidic as it warms? Thu 08 Oct 2009 12:37:09 GMT+1 PAWB46 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=53#comment50 At 09:45am on 08 Oct 2009, colonelAgentEnigma:I'm absolutely certain one of the many environmental correspondents at the BBC will report this important bit of news. Some say it is good news, that the Antarctic will not soon be ice-free, just like the Artic soon will be (joke/sarcasm). I see it as bad news, as it is another sign of a cooling climate and cooling is bad, warming is good. Thu 08 Oct 2009 12:22:15 GMT+1 JRWoodman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=52#comment49 43 @ grumpy-mike wrote: "One very small area of conflict with blog #2. J.R.W.states that man is the most successful animal. I would add........ and the most destructive that this planet has ever had to tolerate!"I don't think we're in conflict, Mike. Nature defines as successful a species that spreads widely and increases its numbers. That's why I call humans 'successful'. Nature doesn't care how much destruction that species creates; it just adapts to re-establish the necessary balance. In adapting to create the necessary balance, species might inadvertently be killed off -- maybe including the successful one that started the destruction -- but, hey ho, that's life. Thu 08 Oct 2009 12:15:11 GMT+1 JunkkMale http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=51#comment48 43. At 09:47am on 08 Oct 2009, grumpy-mikeHere we go again!Amen. Almost like some would wish to either suppress opinion, dominate it, or drive it away, on the odd notion that talking only amongst themselves somehow engages others. These folk might look, but it's hard to know if they are touching if, indeed, they have not already long departed.My impression is some may read blogs but seldom contribute themselves lest their views be seen as worthy of a call to others to identify, then round them up and incarcerate them.A pity, because the views of more on boundaries and mankind's unique ethical position in the Darwinian check and balance equation would be interesting and likely of value. Thu 08 Oct 2009 11:24:40 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=50#comment47 Another Planetary BoundaryWarning over global oil 'decline' By Sarah Mukherjee Environment correspondent, BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8296096.stm---------------------and "Around 2020. That casts the issue in quite a different light. Mr Birol’s date [International Energy Agency], if correct, gives us about 11 years to prepare. If the Hirsch report is right, we have already missed the boat."- George Monbiot, December 15, 2008.http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2008/12/15/at-last-a-date/-----------------I was in the oil business for nineteen years here in western Canada - a 'Canadian Hunter', it seemed to me. This BBC article and George Monbiot's are right on the mark, in my opinion.('Candian Hunter' was a local first rate oil company, whose expert on well-logging 'taught me part of my trade,' way back when.)- Manysummits - Thu 08 Oct 2009 10:55:57 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=49#comment46 To eddhind #44 and 46:It was my pleasure. Glad you found the articles interesting.I discovered blogging some ten months ago at the suggestion of my wife 'Underacanoe', who has also blogged a few times. It feels good blogging, at least most of the time, and especially good when one receives a post such as yours! And it seems a real way to communicate - including the down and dirty.It is my impression that more than a few read these blogs and seldom contribute themselves. It is my hope that more than a few do read these posts, and that some real information will 'leak out' from this blog into mainstreet, including the stark contrast between views.I like very much your idea that: "If there is even a risk that we are destroying nature then I don't think we should be doing it." (#46)We are all doubtless guilty of hubris, of being elitist, at least at times. These blogs give one the chance to re-connect?As for not liking being told what to do as a scientist, I have a book you might find fascinating:"Censoring Science: Inside the political attack on James Hansen and the truth about global warming," by Mark Bowen (2008), himself an MIT physicist, lately 'converted' to climate science author and journalist (and also a mountaineer). Highly recommended from two points of view:1) The title gives away the first.2) An in depth and insightful look at the persona and working life of Dr. Hansen, with many personal asides, from the beginning of his carreer to publication. And some very good technical information as a bonus!- Manysummits - PS: Freeman Dyson once said:"Sanity is, in its essence, nothing more than the ability to live in harmony with nature's laws." ("Disturbing the Universe")The 'Planetary Boundaries' article means, hopefully, we are relearning these limits to growth, yet again. Thu 08 Oct 2009 10:46:54 GMT+1 eddhind http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=48#comment45 And if you will allow me 2 posts in a row: To all this time!I fear when we get into a large debate about CO2 we kind of miss the point of Richard's blog - and I admit I am guilty of this too!The overiding point is that the planet has boundaries... and we are certainly pushing those. To me the question is do we even have a right to test those boundaries? In my mind, who cares if CO2 may or may not cause global warming or acidify the oceans? Do we have the right to find this out? I don't think we do. If there is even a risk that we are destroying nature then I don't think we should be doing it. No other species on earth knowingly causes degradation of the environment. Why should we have that privlidge? It seems to me very selfish. I believe ultimately that if we exceed these boundaries, then that might be the end for us. Nature will eliminate us, but it will continue to survive. It will restore the balance on the planet. I would just rather that before it elimantes us... we didn't try and cause so much collateral damage! You never know... if we change our ways... nature may just let us live on :o) Thu 08 Oct 2009 09:29:36 GMT+1 Crowcatcher http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=47#comment44 PAWB46 post 30Well said, this repeats things I have said on this board several times in the past, funny how people will not accept simple scientific truth!When I hear scientifically ignorant politicians, journalists and "tweenie greenies" whittering on about climate change, I always bear in mind that the spot where I now sit in Shropshire, twenty thousand years' ago was buried under a kilometre thick ice sheet, and will be so again in twenty thousand (or so) years; and that when this (geological) ice age comes to an end, the climate will return to its 'normal' state of about 10C warmer than it is at present - with no polar ice caps - and life will flourish as normal.I have en elderly friend, Stan, who, in the 1950s was one of a group of staticicians working for the old CEGB (which kept telling the governments of the day that their energy policicies were wrong). We were once discussing energy use and the environment and I asked him "What do you think will happen when we run out of oil?" - "Oh, the human race will have dissolved into chaos long before that!"'nough said. Thu 08 Oct 2009 09:28:51 GMT+1 eddhind http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=46#comment43 To manysummits #16 and #28Thanks for flagging up those articles on the 350 ppm. Hadn't seem them and they certainly should cause people to think.Your post #16 also made me think again of something that frustrates me so much as a scientist. Science is seen as an elite... and often very rightly so. Much research is conducted without any attempt to communicate its results to the public. Often scientists just target policy makers, which is a very valid aim, but it keeps science primarily top-down in the nature it is conducted. Scientists must make appropriate efforts to communicate their research to everybody... They must also make efforts to include all appropriate stakeholders in their research, from the "bottom" to the "top".At the moment I fear many ignore or resent scientific advice as it seems elite. If we are honest, very few of us like being told what to do... by scientists, politicians, friends and parents! We must deliver our research better. At the same time I believe people must help scientists do this. Scientists are often poorly trained in disseminating information. I went to a media workshop at a recent conference and it was brilliant. They told us the best way to get journalists attention was to start with the headline... (usually scientists hide it away at the end of a paper)... amongst other things. We need more help like this. Not just on how to commincate to the media appropriately, but also to the public and policy makers. Otherwise we are going to waste loads of really good research.Any tips much appreciated Mr Black! Thu 08 Oct 2009 09:21:49 GMT+1 grumpy-mike http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=45#comment42 Here we go again!No sooner does Richard Black pen a new article (another excellent one in my considered opinion (IMCO)than the two gangs start slanging off with each other. I sometimes wonder if Richard were to write an article on the brothels of Hamburg (just for instance) how long it would take for one or other of the "gangs" to drag "climate change" into the discussion.Again (IMCO) it wouldn't be so bad if they quoted their own opinions based on their own knowledge and experience but all they can do is quote someone else who happens to support their own opinion. The fact that that person, whoever he/she may be (almost exclusively "he") has an important sounding title together with some impressive letters after their name only adds impetus to their point of view.How many of these good folks have actually been called as an "expert" witness, presented their argument, sat back...patted themselves on the back and said to themselves like little Jack Horner "Oh what a good boy am I" and then listened (I use the word advisedly)to the "expert" witness from the other side completely contradict their own evidence!Let me assure you it can be quite humbling! (yes, been there, done that!)If you haven't had that experience personally, go sit in the public gallery at a rather juicy murder trial and you will see the same scenario played out...one "expert" completely contradicting the other!Do you trust the second-hand car dealer who wants to sell you a car?Do you trust the politician prior to an election who makes all the promises you want to hear (so he/she can get your vote and get elected)Do you trust the advert on TV when someone fronts up for the latest "toothpaste" usually claiming some expertise in the matter and tells you....quote..."Clinical trials prove!" etc. etc.Do you never ask..."What clinical trials?"...."Who conducted them?"..."Who paid them?"... "What results were they actually paid to achieve?"All relevant questions but the vast section of society don't ask them, they just "buy" in and go out and buy the appropriate toothpaste! The power of advertising! Every one (including myself) has an axe to grind or a barrow to push.So, lads, I'm getting really bored with this perpetual argy bargy! It reminds me of a particular song we used to sing (now I'm showing my age!) down at the Prospect of Whitby about the "Ouzlem Ouzlem bird" For those not familiar with this rather rare species, it had the habit of flying around in ever decreasing circles until it flew up... (I leave the rest to your imagination!) So...as for me.. I really enjoy Richard Blacks articles and also comments of folks like "J.R.W" (blog #2 and #26 I believe) A real breath of fresh air on this site (IMCO of course)One very small area of conflict with blog #2.J.R.W.states that man is the most successful animal. I would add........ and the most destructive that this planet has ever had to tolerate!I wonder for how much longer! Thu 08 Oct 2009 08:47:25 GMT+1 Jack Frost http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=44#comment41 Antarctic Ice Melt at Lowest Levels in Satellite Erahttp://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2009/10/06/antarctic-ice-melt-at-lowest-levels-in-satellite-era/The ice melt across during the Antarctic summer (October-January) of 2008-2009 was the lowest ever recorded in the satellite history. Where are the headlines? Where are the press releases? Where is all the attention? Thu 08 Oct 2009 08:45:43 GMT+1 Jack Frost http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=43#comment40 #34. simon-swede"The link you provide spreads propaganda rather than debunking it as you claim."I think you miss the point of what the writer is confering across. That the media reported wrongly the North West Passage had been miraculously navigated for the first time in 500 years. And that is was a "Triumph for man - a disaster for mankind" When that clearly was not the case.The Times has papered London underground carriages with a fascinating new ad campaign. One poster shows a ship navigating some treacherous icy waters, with the accompanying copy reading:"Climate change has allowed the Northeast Passage to be used as a commercial shipping route for the first time."Once again the media are creating scaremonger stories without checking the facts first.More BBC media manipulation for you below, in just under 90 minutes a sole activist was able to get a main-stream BBC enviromental reporter to completely change their story so it conforms to the activists viewpoint.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=216v5AoQcFQSlightly worrying don't you think. My concerns are for a fair and open debate with all the facts and all the scientists involved. Not just the selected few from the payroll. Thu 08 Oct 2009 08:26:36 GMT+1 davblo2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=41#comment39 PAWB46 #30: "...[psuedo-science]..."I should thank you in a way. By antagonising with such jumbled pseudo-science you have forced me to think and clarify my view of the situation. For me the view has become simpler, clearer and even less questionable.Either you are deliberately wasting my time, or deliberately attempting to mislead the public, or you have yourself been misguided so much that you believe the contorted version of reality you present.You say..."in all my years work in heat transfer I have never come across that term"I borrowed the term impedance from electronics because it fits...Impede: "To interfere with or slow the progress of"But you knew that anyway.You say..."It is not credible to try and say there is an average earth"I did now mention an average Earth so why do you bring it up?I spoke of an Earth in dynamic equilibrium with respect to the climate system. If it wasn't in some form of equilibrium we wouldn't be here now. I thought you had agreed about the equilibrium; see your #17.Then you say..."OK, let's assume that during the day..."You repeat you tactic of confusing the issue by bringing up day and night. That, as I said, is a red-herring.Stop. Think. Imagine the Earth as seen from space.One side in sunlight, one side in darkness and slowly (for us) rotating.There is always a side in sunlight.There is always a side in darkness.There is always a zone passing from light to dark (having sunset)There is always a zone passing from dark to light (having sunrise)There are always two poles having very little daily variation in dark/light.It's a steady state picture. We just move around inside it.Don't you see that?The energy escaping from the globe is continuously the same as the energy coming in (sunlight). If it wasn't we'd roast or freeze.In your description you use the night as a "means of escape" for energy. Again misleading. The cooling on the night side is happening all the time. There is no sudden "coming of night". The night side is always there.Besides that, the escape of IR is no different under night than under daytime. It will still be absorbed by gasses in the atmosphere and have to take the slow (compared to light speed) convection elevator. More absorption means slower escape of energy and requires hotter ground to drive it. "Greenhouse effect"./davblo2 Thu 08 Oct 2009 08:04:45 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=40#comment38 #37 (and the link in #38)In addition to 'Carbon caps - jam in the works?' (the first blog piece in April)http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/04/the_scientists_behind_this_wee.htmlSee also 'G20, Bonn and the climate of opinion' (the last blog piece in April)http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/04/sometimes_on_reading_comments.html Thu 08 Oct 2009 08:04:28 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=39#comment37 #37http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/04/ Thu 08 Oct 2009 07:53:09 GMT+1 MangoChutney http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=38#comment36 @Richard BlackRichard,You have blogged here about issues raised by mansummits and others, could I ask you to blog about the central question that needs answering about supposed AGW:Under normal atmospheric conditions taking into account negative and positive feedbacks, is CO2 capable of raising the earths temperature by any significant degree?I think with your connections, you will be able to present a clear answer to this central question Thu 08 Oct 2009 07:21:14 GMT+1 MangoChutney http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=37#comment35 btw simon, i looked at your link from the previous post Thu 08 Oct 2009 07:12:54 GMT+1 MangoChutney http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=36#comment34 @simon-swede #34Simon,Your link seems to be about possible future scenarios.See this link for details of Russia's North east passage shipping portshttp://www.reference.com/browse/columbia/NEPassIn the early 1900s, icebreakers sailed through the passage, and in the 1930s the Northern Sea Route, a shipping lane, was established by the USSR. Since World War II the Soviet Union and now Russia has maintained a regular highway for shipping along this passage through the development of new ports and the exploitation of resources in the interior. A fleet of Russian icebreakers, aided by aerial reconnaissance and by radio weather stations, keeps the route navigable from June to October. The Northern Sea Route cuts the distance between Russian Atlantic and Pacific ports in half.The information is taken from the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia 2004I think the original piece that ColonelagentEnigma refered to was in response to headlines in the well known media claiming the NE passage had been traversed for the first time by western ships, but omitting to mention the Russians have used the route since the 1930's. I'm not sure why the BBC would do this.http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8251914.stm Thu 08 Oct 2009 07:09:31 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=35#comment33 ColonelagentEnigma at #24The link you provide spreads propaganda rather than debunking it as you claim. For a more serious look at this issue see, for example: http://web.arcticportal.org/amsa Thu 08 Oct 2009 06:47:30 GMT+1 MangoChutney http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=34#comment32 We all make mistakes and I'm pretty good at making mistakes, but you would think the UN would be a little more careful wouldn't you?The United Nations’ climate change science compendium published two weeks back contained a serious error when they published a wiki graph by a non-climatologist on page 5, whilst claiming it was from peer reviewed work.The same document contains a photograph which shows Arctic icebergs melting, when the actual image is of Antarctica (incidentally where were the headlines telling us that this year, the Antarctica had the most sea ice in the satellite era?).This is sloppy. http://talkingabouttheweather.wordpress.com/2009/10/06/un-climate-report-rife-with-errors/ Thu 08 Oct 2009 06:33:44 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=33#comment31 A nice piece again Richard. Thanks!In connection with the boundaries article and in particular biodiversity, you mentioned that “turning science into political action is still the elusive ingredient in this whole picture”.This week in Nairobi, hosted by UNEP, there is an intergovernmental decision-making meeting that aims to reach an agreement on ways to strengthen the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services. See: http://ipbes.net/en/index.asp Thu 08 Oct 2009 06:31:34 GMT+1 MangoChutney http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=32#comment30 @manysummits #27i think it's pure fantasy Thu 08 Oct 2009 06:21:09 GMT+1 PAWB46 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=31#comment29 davblo #21:You cannot ignore local effects. After all the earth is not a homogeneous body. It is not credible to try and say there is an average earth, when parts of it are always sub-zero (Antarctic) and parts are always hot (tropics), when parts are ocean and parts are land and when parts are desert and parts are jungles etc. Similarly you have to look at the effects of day and night. You cannot just average these components and use this average to see how the heat transfer works.Consider what you argue about "greenhouse gases". You say they impede (in all my years work in heat transfer I have never come across that term; we always use something like overall heat transfer coefficient) energy flow. OK, let's assume that during the day "greenhouse gases" slow down the rate of heat transfer from surface to space so that by the end of the day the surface is hotter than it otherwise would be. Like-wise the temperature gradient up the atmosphere is steeper than it otherwise would be. During the night all that energy is dissipated (notice how quickly the temperature falls when the sky is clear) so that by the time the sun rises again the temperature at the surface is back to where it would have been had there been no "greenhouse gas". The exceptions are water vapour and clouds, but that is a different mechanism as I have expained before - latent heat in the water vapour. Thu 08 Oct 2009 06:16:09 GMT+1 PAWB46 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=30#comment28 Manysummits: There is no evidence for these ludicrous statements about 350ppm and hair-triggers. Show me evidence for 350ppm. Just because an alarmist old man who has made his career making alarmist statements says 350ppm does not make it a fact. It's not beyond the ability of pyhysicists. The physics of the behaviour of carbon dioxide is clear. What is not clear (the science is not settled) is the behaviour of all those other factors which drive the climate (the sun, cosmic rays, clouds, ocean currents, volcanoes etc). We can't do much about these. The climate will do what it wants to do regardless of us. The climate is stable in the sense that feedbacks have always returned it to a stable state (it happens to be an ice age at the moment, though millions of years ago it was a hothouse - plate tectonics). A trace gas such as carbon dioxide cannot change that. Carbon dioxide does not drive the climate; rather, that geologic evidence you talk about, shows that carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere changes as a result of ocean temperature changes. Thu 08 Oct 2009 06:00:12 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=29#comment27 To eddhind #14 (support for 350 ppm)I agree. In my own mind there is very considerable support for 350 ppm. James Hansen is of course the lead author for this number, outlined in his seminal paper "Target Atmospheric CO2: Where should humanity aim?" (2008)http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/ (see Scholarly Publications)----------------Dr. Hansen makes clear in this paper and in other publications since then that the number 350 ppm is tentative, and quite possibly too low. Like the new "Planetary Boundary" article from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, it is a quantitative talking point - a place to begin. But it is not based on computer models, a point I think which escapes many people. It is based on the geologic past, more especially reconstructions of climate based on both direct measurements of CO2 in polar ice cores (and a few mountian glaciers), and on proxy evidence for both temperature and CO2 content for the more distant past. For example, the beginning of Antarctic glaciation some thirty four milion years ago, and in fact, the CO2 and temperature/climate/atmosphere of the entire Cenozoic, and even the Phanerozoic. Climate and atmosperic reconstructions have been made for the Precambrian as well - naturally the farther back in time you go, the more difficult the task of reconstruction.But one thing is clear. The climate, while relatively stable at times, is best thought of as on a 'hair-trigger', and its responses non-linear, some of us would say drastically so. There is virtually no doubt about this, and it's not from models, it's from geologic field work.----------In Dr. Myers paper, "Warming caused by cumulative carbon emissions towards the trillionth tonne Nature 458 (7242), pp. 1163-1166", another approach is used, and I think a very useful one, but complementary to Dr. Hansen's 350 ppm mark.Both can and should be used in tandem, as we contemplate 'managing our climate', a very daunting prospect.- Manysummits - Wed 07 Oct 2009 22:54:17 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=27#comment26 The Trigger and the Greenhouse(for all you CO2 die-hards out there)It's all in the squeeze. Your breathing and nerves are best if settled - then you add pressure to the trigger.At the threshold, your gentle increase in pressure results in what I like to call a "DNL" reaction - a drastically non-linear reaction.First the hammer falls, then the 'cap' ignites, then the main charge explodes, and your bullet is driven through the barrel and its spiral grooves at thousands of feet per second, to begin its ballistic trajectory in the gravitational field of our home planet. Eventually it comes to rest, at another equilibrium state. Maybe you've killed something along the way.CO2 is like that gentle squeeze on the trigger. So is a Milankovitch orbital cycle perturbation.The effects are out of all proportion to the 'forcing.'Maybe the main charge is water vapor? Maybe it's something else? Maybe it's more complicated than a rifle? Maybe that's why it takes a lifetime of devoted research to understand the play of the variables? Maybe the play of the variables is at present beyond the ability of physicists, which is why they turn to geologists for an historical account of past triggers and their effects?What do you think?- Manysummits - Wed 07 Oct 2009 22:23:56 GMT+1 JRWoodman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=26#comment25 @ 25: Jack Hughes.Incorrect. 'Climate Munchausens Syndrome' is where people have a psychological need to find web sites and repeatedly post messages such as... It's the sunClimate's changed beforeThere is no consensusIt's coolingModels are unreliableSurface temp is unreliableIce age predicted in the 70sIt hasn't warmed since 1998We're heading into an ice ageAntarctica is cooling/gaining ice ... etc.[with acknowledgements to http://www.skepticalscience.com/] Wed 07 Oct 2009 21:32:37 GMT+1 Jack Hughes http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=25#comment24 Psychiatrists are now diagnosing climate munchausens syndrome - where people have a psychological need for planetary and ecological disaster scare stories in spite of daily evidence that things are in fact OK. Wed 07 Oct 2009 20:10:01 GMT+1 Jack Frost http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=24#comment23 The Media 're-open' North Eastern PassageOne of Russia's commercial maritime trade routes for the past 70 years has been "re-opened" by a press hungry for dramatic Global Warming scare stories - but who failed to check the most basic facts.http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/14/north_eastern_passage/"I've traced this fascinating example of "eco-churnalism" - peddled by both BBC Radio and its website, the Daily Mail, The Independent, Reuters and many others - back to its origins, with a press release from a German shipping group."More propaganda bedunked Wed 07 Oct 2009 18:43:42 GMT+1 MangoChutney http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=23#comment22 jackit's in the pipeline, we know because our models tell us ;) Wed 07 Oct 2009 17:18:09 GMT+1 Jack Hughes http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=22#comment21 CO2 levels have increased steadily since 2000 - but surface air temperatures have flatlined and ocean temperatures have fallen slightly. What gives ? Where has the heat gone ? Wed 07 Oct 2009 15:44:56 GMT+1 davblo2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=21#comment20 PAWB46 #20: "The effects of radiation differences between day and night are far more important..."You are throwing up red-herrings.I've already said, there is always a day side and always a night side, there is no day-night change in earth's energy balance.There is always a day side receiving light (energy) from the sun.There is always a night side, and both day and night sides are always allowing energy to escape by both fast and laborious routes.There is no need to go into the details, clouds, water droplets, desert, forest, oceans; that is all part of the activity which results in an equilibrium with "energy flow in" = "energy flow out".Anything which changes one of those energy flows will cause a transitory change in the energy balance resulting in an increase or decrease of global temperature.Interactive feedback mechanisms no doubt exist but that's secondary to this discussion.The greenhouse effect says simply that if you impede the escaping energy (IR) you will cause a rise in temperature. It follows clearly from the energy balance necessary for equilibrium. /davblo2 Wed 07 Oct 2009 14:52:39 GMT+1 PAWB46 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=20#comment19 davblo2 #19Yes, the carbon dioxide (a minute fraction of the atmosphere, essentially saturated as far as its ability to absorb IR) affects the rate of heat transfer from surface to space, but does not trap heat. The effects of radiation differences between day and night are far more important than the change of rate of heat transfer due to carbon dioxide. It's the formation of water vapour (latent heat) that holds energy and droplets in the form of clouds that impede radiative heat transfer that together determine the temperature of the atmosphere (over and above the effect of the Perfect Gas Law). Wed 07 Oct 2009 13:38:24 GMT+1 davblo2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=19#comment18 PAWB46 #17: "That's what I said, globally we have equilibrium"No you didn'tLook again at your #13. You said... "On a long timescale the earth is in approximate equilibrium. But on shorter timescales, there is no equilibrium"But I'm glad you agree now; that we have a dynamic equilibrium.So at equilibrium the rate of arrival of energy (sunlight direct to ground) equals the rate of escape (IR trying to get out through atmosphere).Now try visualising the atmosphere as an "impedance" to the energy escaping from the ground. Some IR radiation travels out easily without absorption. But some IR is absorbed by gases and has to take the much much slower route of escape - the convection method you described. That slower route of escape has much lower energy throughput than direct radiation. Just compare the transfer rates; speed of light for direct radiation; physical movement of gas molecules for convection to the upper atmosphere.But, for equilibrium the total rate of escape of energy has to match the rate of incoming energy. How is that achieved? By having a higher temperature at ground level to "drive" the escaping radiation and convection harder.Greenhouse gases increase the impedance of the atmosphere to escaping energy by increasing the percentage of IR which has to take your "convection elavator" instead of radiating out directly.Increase the impedance of the atmosphere to escaping energy and the ground temperature has to go up (warming) to maintain the same rate of escape.Hence warming; hence greenhouse effect.I hope my efforts are not wasted./davblo2 Wed 07 Oct 2009 12:27:07 GMT+1 Jack Hughes http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=18#comment17 Hi Richard ! I'm very interested in your plans for coverage of the Copenhagen Meeting.It's very hard to be objective about this kind of thing - because as we have already discussed there are all kinds of pyschological factors which will influence a reporter.Maybe the easiest way to be objective is to have some known skeptics in your team. At least we will hear from both sides of the aisle.Sitting on this side of the aisle the whole thing is bonkers: the idea that a UN conference can legislate to stop the climate from ever changing from its current "ideal" state. Operation Canute would be a good name. Wed 07 Oct 2009 11:59:45 GMT+1 PAWB46 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=17#comment16 davblo2: That's what I said, globally we have equilibrium. We agree. Wed 07 Oct 2009 11:16:49 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=16#comment15 In 1995 the paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey and the science writer Roger Lewin teamed up to write "The Sixth Extinction (Patterns of Life and the future of Mankind)."In thinking over the biodiversity 'planetary-boundary' in the Stockholm Resilience Centre's recent paper "Planetary Boundaries," I thought to review Richard Leakey's thoughts on this subject, written fourteen years ago.From Chapter 13, 'The Sixth Extinction':"Homo sapiens is in the throes of causing a major biological crisis, a mass extinction, the sixth such event to have occurred in the past half billion years. And we, Homo sapiens, may also be among the living dead."---------------------The scientific community are a privileged elite.As such we are increasingly regarded with suspicion and distrust, partly because so many have been left out, and are increasingly being left out, as the 'gap' between rich and poor, haves and have-nots, and globalization exact their psychological toll.Rampant greed, externalizing global psychopathic corporations, governments seemingly powerless to work on behalf of the many, beholden as they are to those same corporations for the creation of jobs and income - these are some of the patterns of our times.I am finally beginning to understand Freeman Dyson's humanitarian emphasis."We the people" is a bad joke to at least half of the population of the western democracies.We, the scientific community, keep talking science and tech-speak.Our audience is limited by the inside/outside phenomena.I get the uneasy feeling that the loss of our civilization would be a not unwelcome occurrence to many.I think it may be for reasons such as those just outlined that James Lovelock and Jacques Cousteau (and Richard Leakey?) are and were so pessimistic for our collective future. It has little to do with our science, and much to do with our social failure.Maybe the way to avert environmental disaster lies not in Copenhagen, but on Simon and Garfunkel's 'subway walls'? (Sounds of Silence)- Manysummits - Wed 07 Oct 2009 10:48:26 GMT+1 davblo2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=15#comment14 PAWB46 #13: "...on shorter timescales, there is no equilibrium - days warm, nights cool- summer is warmer than winter."Not only twisted logic but positively perverted.It's always day somewhere and it's always night somewhere.There is always energy arriving and there is always energy escaping.For the Earth as a whole there is a dynamic equilibrium all the time. Wed 07 Oct 2009 10:41:08 GMT+1 eddhind http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=13#comment13 Excellent comments2 Things - Least rambly 1st!1. Support for Rockstrom - I know the article said there was little support for 350ppm but I am not so sure that is true. When looking at CO2 concentration we should not just be considering global warming, but also ocean acidification. If the oceans continue to acidify then we will have no coral reefs (and no shellfish). Coral reefs are so very important as habitats and feeding grounds for many species of marine life that make up the marine and terrestrial ecosystems. They are also massive carbon sinks. That would all be released if they dissolved. The article where you can read about this, written by some very well respected scientists is a free to all article I think. Link below!http://tinyurl.com/yc6aaw92.We seem to be getting into debates about human population again. Again I agree. We must find sensible, desirable and ethical ways of limiting population... otherwise it will all be too late... whatever we do. Wed 07 Oct 2009 10:25:52 GMT+1 PAWB46 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=12#comment12 davblo2:Lots of people erroneously state that carbon dioxide traps heat; I'm just clarifying it.Don't confuse heat and energy and don't forget work.Talking about equilibrium also adds to confusion. If you are talking globally, then reasonable enough. On a long timescale the earth is in approximate equilibrium. But on shorter timescales, there is no equilibrium - days warm, nights cool - summer is warmer than winter. There is nothing erroneous in my statements. Wed 07 Oct 2009 10:13:35 GMT+1 davblo2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=11#comment11 PAWB46 #11: "...!!!..."You have a way of twisting logic. You are talking of "trapped heat" as if something has to be 100% contained. You should be thinking of dynamic systems; of course there is always heat escaping, and there is always heat arriving; at equilibrium the two are equal and opposite. Saying we don't "trap" the energy doesn't disprove anything. Of course we don't trap it otherwise we heat up more and more.It's the equilibrium temperature that is important. I won't waste any more time trying to unravel your erroneous arguments.I can only hope that readers see the obvious flaws in your statements./davblo2 Wed 07 Oct 2009 09:58:06 GMT+1 PAWB46 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=10#comment10 davblo2 at 10:59pm on 06 Oct 2009: "Well, if you have a lot of warmer gas in the atmosphere; then you get a 'warmer' atmosphere of course." To my knowledge nobody disputes that the sun warms the atmosphere. My comment was about the ability of carbon dioxide to 'trap' heat. On a sunny summer's day, the extra energy received at the surface from the sun compared to a winter's day adds more energy to the molecules of air, which get warmer and convective currents increase; easily observable with the naked eye. there is no trapped heat."Also warmer gases will be radiating more heat downwards (as well as up) and so warming the ground more than colder gases would." Not that old bit of nonsense again. The sun warms the earth; the earth radiates to the atmosphere and warms it; the atmosphere re-radiates back to the earth and warms it a bit more; the earth re-radiates to the atmosphere and warms it a bit more; the atmoaphere re-radiates back to the earth and warms it a bit bit more; etc etc ad infinitum; and so we have a perpetual warming machine. You should patent the idea. Wed 07 Oct 2009 09:31:52 GMT+1 louispau http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=9#comment9 Climate change happens all the time as a result of human actions or events totally outside human control, some predictable some unpredictable. There are far more important reasons why we humans have to change in how we interact with our environment as pointed at in the above article . To me climate change is just a tool used to create fear to get people to change. Humans are in general ruled by fear and greed and not by reason and it is interesting to see how greed and fear are clashing at the moment. Wed 07 Oct 2009 08:30:48 GMT+1 jon112uk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=8#comment8 2000 years ago in the british isles someone could walk out of the village, sneak around in the woods and kill a wild animal. It was 'sustainable' - but only because the population was tiny.With a population of well over 60 million, could that ever be even considered now? Obviously not. If people want meat they are going to have to farm animals.If there is no action on population, then logically people will be obliged to change behaviour with regard to fish. The worlds oceans are big, but they are not infinite.People have tried to run fish farms, but predictably the 'environmentalists' are once again blocking change.Increasingly this combination of uncontrolled population growth plus 'environmentalists' blocking any form of progress/adaptation sounds like a perfect storm of mass poverty and death in a few years time. Wed 07 Oct 2009 08:00:32 GMT+1 MangoChutney http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=7#comment7 @davblo2Science isn't done by consensusHowever, there is some anthropogenic warming, caused by land change, etc and some caused by CO2 emissions. The amount of warming caused by CO2 emissions is infinitesimally small due to the logarithmic curve of the CO2 absorption bands and essentially unmeasurable. Empirical measurements of climate sensitivity show CO2 is not capable of raising temperature beyond this due to feedbacks which, overall, are negative. Wed 07 Oct 2009 07:10:48 GMT+1 davblo2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=6#comment6 MangoChutneyUKOK #6: "two words"So which is it?(a) There is no warming(b) There is warming but it's not anthropogenic(c) There is anthropogenic warming but it's not caused by CO2(d) There is anthropogenic warming by CO2 but not enough to worry aboutThere seems to be a slight lack of consensus here... Wed 07 Oct 2009 06:25:50 GMT+1 MangoChutney http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=5#comment5 davblo2 #4two words:"climate" "sensitivity" Wed 07 Oct 2009 06:07:01 GMT+1 manysummits http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=4#comment4 Many thanks to 'eddhind' and 'JRWoodman' for those posts, and to Richard Black for bringing up the subject material for both in such an interesting article!- Manysummits - Tue 06 Oct 2009 22:52:28 GMT+1 davblo2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=3#comment3 PAWB46 #3: "...all the molecules are that little bit warmer, and what do warmer gases do?"Well, if you have a lot of warmer gas in the atmosphere; then you get a 'warmer' atmosphere of course. Also warmer gases will be radiating more heat downwards (as well as up) and so warming the ground more than colder gases would.So I guess your physics proves the greenhouse effect./davblo2 Tue 06 Oct 2009 21:59:08 GMT+1 PAWB46 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=2#comment2 'In companion articles in the same journal, for example, climate scientist Myles Allen argues that the 350ppm boundary proposed by Rockstrom for the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has "relatively little support" in the scientific literature'. This is hardly surprising, as I have explained here before. People talk vaguely about carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas or carbon dioxide trapping heat. These statements are pure nonsense. The atmosphere does not behave like a greenhouse. The glass in a greenhouse prevents convection from removing energy; there is no layer in the atmosphere preventing convection. What does a carbon dioxide molecule do when it receives a quantum of energy from infra-red radiation from the surface of the earth? Why, of course it is in continuous motion (that's what a gas is) and thus in continuous collision with other molecules, the vast majority of which are nitrogen and oxygen. Energy is exchanged and the gases remain in thermodynamic equilibrium at the same temperature. The carbon dioxide molecules are no hotter than the other gases and so do not trap heat. But all the molecules are that little bit warmer, and what do warmer gases do? They expand and rise due to the lower density, i.e. they convect heat upwards and cool due to the lower pressure - remember the Ideal Gas Law (PV=RT). Their energy is ultimately radiated to space which is essentially at absolute zero temperature. The earth is kept in approximate equilibrium by this process, with the energy received from the sun (mostly short wavelength) balanced by outgoing radiation (long wavelength at the much lower temperature). Feedback mechanisms maintain this process in a stable state.To sum this up, it doesn't matter what the carbon dioxide dioxide concentration is; 200ppm, 350ppm, 1000ppm or 2000ppm (values which have occurred in the past), the carbon dioxide cannot trap heat and the laws of physics will maintain a stable situation in the atmosphere. It's water, in the form of water vapour, which, due to its latent heat is able to store a vast amount of energy in the atmosphere. This is not to say that other processes can't perturb the climate - such as changes in the driver of climate, the sun, or changes in ocean circulation, remembering that it is the oceans that stores about 99% of the total energy of the ocean/atmosphere system.So, no wonder 350ppm has little support from scientists - if they understand the physics anyway. Tue 06 Oct 2009 20:58:40 GMT+1 JRWoodman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=1#comment1 When we talk about planetary boundaries it's wrong to talk about people and animals as if they are two competing elements. We are animals, albeit the most successful animal that ever existed. If some visiting aliens were to stop by they'd say -- with frightening objectivity -- "that species has reached plague proportions". Indeed if any other species had the audacity to even approach the weight of human biomass, would we hesitate to instigate a cull? The Earth needs a balanced complement of plants and animals (inclusive of humans) to make up its biomass. Without that balance it's heading for disaster; and from a human perspective we're diminished in body and soul. The sooner we realise how much we need the other species on this planet and how our actions are close to destroying that which we call home, the sooner we'll be able put back hope where currently very little remains. Tue 06 Oct 2009 19:14:26 GMT+1 eddhind http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/10/limiting_growth_of_people_and.html?page=0#comment0 Another excellent blog Richard. I would just like to pass comment on the MSC and certification organisations in general. I think they are a major plus in the fact that finally they give the consumer the info they need to make ethical purchases. Without this info the consumer would be prevented from making ethical purchases even if they had ethical itentions.My worry though is what should the target be of these certification organistions and who should set that target? For my mind the latter part of that question is easier to answer. It must be set by those without any electorial interests (unlike the EU fishieries ministers who decide on much of the CFP!) and those without economic interests who may benefit from the designation of MSC approval. Should it be just scientists then? Probably not... it should include them but also other stakeholders: the consumers themselves, NGOs (both environmental and fishing, potentially others.The former part of that question is harder to answer. MSC accrediatation is currently set against an ecological baseline that is deemed sustainable. But this baseline is often a modern invention based on when fisheries data began. The sad fact is that very little data actually exists for fisheries and these baselines are often way too optimistic. I know some of the Scottish prawn grounds are now sustainable prawn grounds according to the MSC. But, we forget that before these prawns would have been heavily predated by fish. These fish no longer exist (probably due to over-fishing). So the question is should we be happy with a healthy prawn ground? Or sad at the loss of a forgotten cod stock? Should we try and re-populate this ground with fish? That is a hard question to answer for us... it is an even harder question to answer for those who need to answer it. They are the fishers, the scientists and the MSC. Tue 06 Oct 2009 16:08:53 GMT+1