Monday, December 31, 2012

Piers Corbyn: We are shifting towards a Little Ice Age

“By any measure, world temperature is declining,” says astrophysicist Piers Corbyn, who also discusses the facts and fictions surrounding climate change, and so-called melting of ice in the Arctic.

“The warmists, and the BBC, like talking about the Arctic to back up their delusional climate-change theory,” says Corbyn, of  

“They do this rather than talk abut the real weather that people experience, because what people have experienced in Britain and Ireland, is the opposite.”

Furthermore, they now have a policy of talking about anything other than temperature, because temperatures are not rising … the world is in fact cooling … even though CO2 has been rising.”

“By any measure, world temperature is declining.” “We are shifting towards a Little Ice Age.”

“This is because the jet stream is moving south, and has nothing to do with global warming. Their propaganda says warming is cooling. This is absurd.”

“The fact is that the jet stream moving south is a sign of global cooling.”

And when it comes to the Arctic, there is more ice in the Arctic now than there was in the minimum of 2007. This is according to official NOAA records. “The claim that Arctic ice is shrinking is actually false.”

“We are headed towards a Little Ice Age … and the current climate propaganda is pointing us in the wrong direction.”

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Higher CO2 Concentrations Will Feed A Billion More People

(Ed Caryl in NoTricksZone) So, what should we do about CO2 emissions? The answer is: nothing. The evidence that Co2 is harmful, that it is raising the earth’s temperature dramatically, has been largely fabricated, and at the least, overblown. Surprisingly, when all the facts are in, CO2 is beneficial! It is an essential trace gas, and a fertilizer. The current increase has boosted growth rates of vegetation worldwide by 13 to 15% (see here).

CO2 is used as a supplement in greenhouses. In a closed greenhouse, growth slows or stops if the plants use it up and CO2 drops below 200 ppm as the plants absorb it. CO2 supplement systems are sold to greenhouse farmers to supply supplemental CO2. Levels up to 1000 ppm or more are often used (see here). Extra CO2 also reduces a plant’s need for water by closing the leaf stomata (see here). Leaf stomata are the ports on the lower side of a leaf that lets plants breath.

One of the most important crops in the world is rice. Studies have been done on Co2 enhancing rice production. If CO2 is increased 200 ppm above the current levels, (which have already increased production by the 13 to 15% cited above) production will increase by another 13 to 15% (see here and here).

Here is an illustration of growth over a range of CO2 levels:
C3 and C4 refers to the chemical pathway used by the chlorophyll in plant leaves to produce sugar. C4 plants include many grasses and corn. It has been argued that C4 plants are immune to changes in CO2, but as you can see in the illustration above, this is clearly not true. They just don’t respond as dramatically as C3 plants. They do, however, become more drought tolerant due to the stomata response reducing water vapor loss.

Plants need 3 major inputs to grow: water, CO2, and nitrogen. From these they produce sugar for energy and proteins and cellulose for structure. Some have argued that increased CO2 produces protein-poor plants. This is true only if increased nitrogen is not supplied along with the increased CO2. A plant needs both in balance. Any greenhouse farmer knows this. But still, this increased growth with increasing CO2 assumes no improvement from fertilization, genetic engineering or plant breeding.

The experiments have been done holding all factors except CO2 constant. That increase from CO2 alone is about 100 million metric tons for each 15% increase in yield per year. That feeds about 700 million more people if one assumes 150 kg of rice per person per year. Imagine the gain if additional fertilizer was supplied along with the increase in CO2. Wheat production with double the current levels of CO2 increased by up to 38 percent (see here). Corn responds to elevated CO2 by needing less water (see here). It is clear that CO2 increases will greatly improve our ability to feed a growing world population.

If we try to limit CO2, we will dramatically limit the economic growth of the world with no effect on the climate. This is already happening in Europe. Taxing CO2 in efforts to limit production of it only makes money for the Al Gore’s of the world. It limits our use of the energy we need for economic growth and the CO2 that our crops need to flourish. Limiting CO2, even if we could, would literally mean the starvation of a billion people in the next 50 years.

What is more important? Feeding and lifting most of the world from poverty orr preventing a questionable slight temperature rise which would lengthen the growing season? The Global Warming crowd is trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wall Street Journal: Our Fading Footprint for Farming Food

(Matt Ridley) It’s a brave scientist who dares to announce the turning point of a trend, the top of a graph. A paper published this week does just that, persuasively arguing that a centurieslong trend is about to reverse: the use of land for farming. The authors write: 
“We are confident that we stand on the peak of cropland use, gazing at a wide expanse of land that will be spared for Nature.”
Jesse Ausubel and Iddo Wernick of Rockefeller University, and Paul Waggoner of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, have reached this conclusion by documenting the gradual “dematerialization” of agriculture. Globally, the production of a given quantity of crop requires 65% less land than it did in 1961, thanks to fertilizers, tractors, pesticides, better varieties and other factors. Even corrected for different kinds of crops, the acreage required is falling at 2% a year.

In the U.S., the total corn yield and the total corn acreage tracked each other in lock step between 1870 and 1940—there was no change in average yield per acre. But between 1940 and 2010, corn production almost quintupled, while the acreage devoted to growing corn fell slightly. Similar divergences appeared later in other countries. Indian wheat production increased fivefold after 1970, while wheat acreage crept up by less than 1.5 times. Chinese corn production rose sevenfold over the same period while corn acreage merely doubled.

Yet the amount of farmland in the world was still rising until recently. The reason is that increased farm productivity has been matched by rising demand for food, driven by population growth and swelling affluence. But the effects of these trends are waning.

Global population growth has slowed markedly in recent years—the rate of change halving since 1970 to about 1% a year today. Growing affluence leads people to eat more calories, and especially more meat. Since it takes two to 10 calories of maize or wheat to produce a calorie of meat, depending on the animal, carnivory demands more cropland. But as a country gets richer, total calorie intake soon levels off, even as wealth continues to rise, and the change in meat consumption decelerates. Chinese meat consumption is now rising less than half as fast as Chinese affluence; Indians have grown richer without taking to meat much at all.

What the Rockefeller team did was plug some highly conservative assumptions about the future into a model and see how much land would be required for growing crops in 2060. Compared with current trends, they assumed population growth will fall more slowly, that affluence will increase faster and that the gluttony of people will rise more rapidly. Conversely, they assumed that farm yields would rise more slowly than they have been doing. This seems highly implausible given that the gigantic continent of Africa seems to be at last embarking on a yield-boosting green revolution as far-reaching as Asia’s was.

Even with these cautious assumptions, the researchers find that over the next 50 years people are likely to release from farming a land area “1½ times the size of Egypt, 2½ times the size of France, or 10 Iowas, and possibly multiples of this amount.”

Indeed, the authors find that this retreat from the land would have already begun but for one factor so lunatic that they cannot imagine it will not be reversed soon: biofuels.

Read the full article:

The Spectator: Why 2012 was the best year ever

(The Spectator) It may not feel like it, but 2012 has been the greatest year in the history of the world. That sounds like an extravagant claim, but it is borne out by evidence. Never has there been less hunger, less disease or more prosperity. The West remains in the economic doldrums, but most developing countries are charging ahead, and people are being lifted out of poverty at the fastest rate ever recorded. The death toll inflicted by war and natural disasters is also mercifully low. We are living in a golden age.

To listen to politicians is to be given the opposite impression — of a dangerous, cruel world where things are bad and getting worse. This, in a way, is the politicians’ job: to highlight problems and to try their best to offer solutions. But the great advances of mankind come about not from statesmen, but from ordinary people. Governments across the world appear stuck in what Michael Lind, on page 30, describes as an era of ‘turboparalysis’ — all motion, no progress. But outside government, progress has been nothing short of spectacular.

Take global poverty. In 1990, the UN announced Millennium Development Goals, the first of which was to halve the number of people in extreme poverty by 2015. It emerged this year that the target was met in 2008. Yet the achievement did not merit an official announcement, presumably because it was not achieved by any government scheme but by the pace of global capitalism. Buying cheap plastic toys made in China really is helping to make poverty history. And global inequality? This, too, is lower now than any point in modern times. Globalisation means the world’s not just getting richer, but fairer too.

The doom-mongers will tell you that we cannot sustain worldwide economic growth without ruining our environment. But while the rich world’s economies grew by 6 per cent over the last seven years, fossil fuel consumption in those countries fell by 4 per cent. This remarkable (and, again, unreported) achievement has nothing to do with green taxes or wind farms. It is down to consumer demand for more efficient cars and factories.

And what about the concerns that the oil would run out? Ministers have spent years thinking of improbable new power sources. As it turns out, engineers in America have found new ways of mining fossil fuel. The amazing breakthroughs in ‘fracking’ technology mean that, in spite of the world’s escalating population — from one billion to seven billion over the last two centuries — we live in an age of energy abundance.

Advances in medicine and technology mean that people across the world are living longer. The average life expectancy in Africa reached 55 this year. Ten years ago, it was 50. The number of people dying from Aids has been in decline for the last eight years. Deaths from malaria have fallen by a fifth in half a decade.

Nature can still wreak havoc. The storms which lashed America’s East Coast in October proved that. But the speed of New York City’s recovery shows a no-less-spectacular resilience. Man cannot control the weather, but as countries grow richer, they can better guard against devastation. The average windstorm kills about 2,000 in Bangladesh but fewer than 20 in America. It’s not that America’s storms are mild; but that it has the money to cope. As developing countries become richer, we can expect the death toll from natural disasters to diminish — and the same UN extrapolations that predict such threatening sea-level rises for Bangladesh also say that, in two or three generations’ time, it will be as rich as Britain.

War has historically been humanity’s biggest killer. But in most of the world today, a generation is growing up that knows little of it. The Peace Research Institute in Oslo says there have been fewer war deaths in the last decade than any time in the last century. Whether we are living through an anomalous period of peace, or whether the risk of nuclear apocalypse has proved an effective deterrent, mankind seems no longer to be its own worst enemy. We must bear in mind that things can fall apart, and quickly. Germany was perhaps the most civilised nation in the world in the 1920s. For now, though, it is worth remembering that, in relative terms, we have peace in our time.

Christmas in Britain will not be without its challenges: costs are rising (although many children will give quiet thanks for the 70 per cent increase in the price of Brussels sprouts). The country may be midway through a lost decade economically, but our cultural and social capital has seldom been higher — it is hard to think of a time when national morale was as strong as it was during the Jubilee and the Olympics. And even in recession, we too benefit from medical advances. Death rates for both lung and breast cancers have fallen by more than a third over the last 40 years. Our cold winters still kill people, but the number dying each year halved over the past half-century. The winter death toll now stands at 24,000 — still unacceptable in a first-world country, but an improvement nonetheless. Britain’s national life expectancy, 78 a decade ago, will hit 81 next year.

Fifty years ago, the world was breathing a sigh of relief after the Cuban missile crisis. Young couples would discuss whether it was responsible to have children when the future seemed so dark. But now, as we celebrate the arrival of Light into the world, it’s worth remembering that, in spite of all our problems, the forces of peace, progress and prosperity are prevailing.

North India face cold wave. Leh -17.2 degrees Celsius. Dal Lake frozen. New Western Disturbance will plunge temperatures further by Christmas

(DNA) Cold tightened its grip in North India on Friday as minimum temperatures dipped below normal across the region. In capital Delhi, the maximum temperature was recorded at 22.8 degrees Celsius, one degrees more than the normal and the minimum temperature was 7.6 degrees C, one less than the usual.

Amritsar was the coldest place in the two states with the minimum temperature at 4.6degrees C which was one degreesree above normal. Hisar in Haryana recorded a low of 5.8 degrees C.

The minimum temperatures at most places, including Chandigarh, Ambala, Bhiwani, Karnal, Narnaul, Ludhiana and Patiala were either at normal level or above normal, a MeT office spokesman said. In Kashmir, 'Chillai Kalan' — the 40 day period of harsh winter — made an anti-climatic entry as bright, sunny and clear skies marked the first day on Friday.

Gulmarg skiing resort in north Kashmir and Pahalgam in south Kashmir and some other areas in the periphery of the Valley have witnessed snowfall last week but the weather has remained dry since then. The clear skies have, however, resulted in drastic drop in night temperatures across the Valley with Gulmarg recording a low of minus 10.8 degrees Celsius on Thursday night.

Pahalgam resort also saw the mercury dipping to a low of minus 8.2 degrees Celsius while in rest of the Valley the minimum temperature stayed around three degrees below freezing point, an official of the MET department said.

Leh town was the coldest place in the state recording a minimum of minus 17.2 degrees Celsius followed by Kargil town at minus 13.8 degrees C, a drop of over 5.0 degrees compared to this day last year at both places. The cold wave in the Valley began earlier this year than the normal period of 'Chillai Kalan' due to snowfall in higher reaches during the last week of November and early December.

Meanwhile, several areas of Himachal Pradesh groaned under sub-zero temperature as cold wave further tightened its grip in the region inspite of a dry day. While Keylong in tribal Lahaul and Spiti was coldest in the region with minimum temperature at minus 10.1 degrees; Kalpa, Manali and Bhuntar recorded a low of minus 2 degrees, minus 0.8 degrees and minus 0.2 degrees C respectively.

Solan and Sundernagar recorded minimum temperature at 0.5 degrees, three degrees below normal, while it ranged between 4 and 5 degrees at Palampur, Mandi, Nahan and Una and Shimla and Dharamsala, which recorded a low of 6.8 degrees C.

The maximum temperatures also dropped by one to two degrees to stay at 21.8 degrees at Una and Sundernagar, followed by Solan 20.8 degrees, Bhuntar 20.5 degrees, Dharamsala 18.8 degrees, Nahan 17.3 degrees, Shimla 15.8 degrees and Kalpa 09.4 degrees C.

The local MeT office has predicted dry weather during next three days but a fresh feeble Western Disturbance (WD) is likely to affect the western Himalayan region from December 24 onwards.