Sunday, July 31, 2016

Roy Spencer's TPPI Mishmash of Myths, Nonsense and Fraud

Here's another Repost from and Dana Nuccitelli, it was originally written for The Guardian and concerns the latest Dr. Roy Spencer broadside against serious climate science and the learning process.  

With much appreciation I'm taking advantage of SkS CreativeCommon's license and am reposting Dana's article because I believe Roy Spencer's crimes against science and our children's future demands to be exposed for what they are, fraud.  And that this information needs to be circulated and become common knowledge, please pass it on. 

(Monday morning - I've updated this post by adding on a list of links (and quotes) to further detailed examination of Spencer's dubious science and his even more dubious writings on the topic.)

These are the best arguments from the 3% of climate scientist 'skeptics.' Really.

Posted on 25 July 2016 by Dana Nuccitelli | | The Guardian

When I give a presentation and mention the 97% expert consensus on human-caused global warming, I’m often asked, “what’s the deal with the other 3%?”. These are the publishing climate scientists who argue that something other than humans is responsible for the majority of global warming, although their explanations are often contradictory and don’t withstand scientific scrutiny.
A few months ago, the world’s largest private sector coal company went to court, made its best scientific case against the 97% expert consensus, and lost. One of coal’s expert witnesses was University of Alabama at Huntsville climate scientist Roy Spencer - a controversial figure who once compared those with whom he disagreed to Nazis, and has expressed his love for Fox News.
Last week, Spencer wrote a white paper for the Texas Public Policy Institute (TPPI) outlining the contrarian case against climate concerns. TPPI is part of the web of denial, having received substantial funding from both the tobacco and fossil fuel industries, including $65,000 from ExxonMobil and at least $911,499 from Koch-related foundations since 1998, and over $3 million from “dark money” anonymizers Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund.
Spencer’s arguments should of course be evaluated on their own merits, regardless of who commissioned them. However, it turns out that they have little merit on which to stand. The white paper is a classic example of a Gish Gallop – producing such a large volume of nonsense arguments that refuting all of them is too time-consuming. 

A mishmash of myths

Most of Spencer’s white paper consists of repeating a variety of long-debunked myths. It’s laid out in the form of 13 basic climate questions that Spencer tries to answer. Fortunately, has a database of over 200 climate myths, and summaries of what the peer-reviewed scientific research says about each. This makes it possible to handle Spencer’s 13-point Gish Gallop by simply referring to the relevant myth rebuttals. So here we go:

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Free Speech is no license for malicious fraud and slander!

I've been wanting to Repost this article since I first read it last week.  It's something that is long overdue.  The time has arrived to reaffirm our need to deal honestly with today's many challenges.  Free Speech is not a license to commit fraud through the agents of malicious slander nor by out-screaming and misrepresenting the science serious experts are trying to explain to our leaders and citizens.  

A publicity campaign ruthlessly bent on dumbing down our collective understanding of critically important issues deserves to be called criminal and prosecuted.  Why?  Because our leaders and citizens have the right, the need, to learn what serious competent scientists have been observing and learning about our planet and this climate system that we are absolutely depend on.

With a big thank you to Dana Nuccitelli, John Mashey, John Cook and the hard working volunteers at I present:

Déjà vu: as with tobacco, the climate wars are going to court
Posted on 18 July 2016 by Dana Nuccitelli, John Mashey

Investigative journalism has uncovered a “web of denial” in which polluting industries pay “independent” groups to disseminate misinformation to the public and policymakers. The same groups and tactics were employed first by the tobacco industry, then fossil fuel companies. Big Tobacco has been to court and lost; now it’s Big Oil’s turn. Political leaders are choosing sides in this war.

Research by Inside Climate News revealed that Exxon did top notch climate science research in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which revealed the dangers its products posed via climate change. Soon thereafter, Exxon launched misinformation campaigns by funding “think tanks” and front groups to manufacture doubt about climate science and the expert consensus on human-caused global warming.

Exxon wasn’t alone. Koch Industries, Peabody Energy, and other fossil companies have similarly funneled vast sums of money to these groups. ...

Monday, July 25, 2016

From Russia with what ? (updated 8/4/16)

Привет России,
почему все интерес?

I'm a very small blog.  One man's hobby more than anything else.  Fills my need to share what I find interesting and important about our world and its biosphere, well and to confront shills who lie about climate science.  Somewhere in the past I had dreams of making some sort of impact, but a thinking person can deny the futility for only so long.  Truth be told, I've learned to appreciate I'm basically pissing in the wind.  Now days I think I'm evolving into simply being a 'witness' to what I see unfolding upon our one and only, once fantastic cornucopia, planet Earth.  Since there ain't nothing stopping this train-wreck we're in the midst of.

I bring this up because though I don't trust my "blog numbers" considering spiders and what not being counted.  I do know that once in a while the numbers go crazy.  For instance this past week suddenly Russia was taking a big interest.  I'm pretty sure it wasn't coffee shops full of kids trying to read my suddenly viral articles.  

Nah, something is searching my site, not that there's much to find.   Who knows, perhaps someone is getting ready to pull some mischief on me.  The recent headlines wouldn't have anything to do with my dark thoughts, hmmm.  How much do I care, difficult to say anymore.  
As Democrats Gather, a Russian Subplot Raises Intrigue
By David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth \ July 24, 2016

Why Experts Are Sure Russia Hacked the DNC Emails
By Josh Meyer | July 25, 2016



This is an update from Wednesday (July 27th) midday to add the following two screen shots. 
Something in Russia is giving my blog-count a heck of a bump, but what's it mean?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Capozzola's "Hurricane Drought" examined (climatechangedispatch)

The depth of Republican power politics driven deception is mind-boggling.  By happenstance I’ve been introduced to Steven Capozzola, another appalling example of the base hostility and dishonesty towards constructively learning about what the experts have to share about our changing global climate system.  
Capozzola wrote an article about a New York Times Op-ed (7/15/16) written by Professor Adam Sobel, a bona fide climate scientist.  After his op-ed's bumpy start, which played right into the contrarian’s ruthless opportunism, Sobel did an admirable job of explaining what climate scientists have learned these past decades.  At least to those who were actually reading it with an eye to understanding what was written.  

Capozzola’s article however provided a fundamentally dishonest portrayal of, not just Sobel’s op-ed, but the scientific understanding in general.  In this review I will demonstrate why and how.

To me it remains flabbergasting that fraud like this is accepted as part of adult dialogue.  Constructive, it certainly is not.  Education, it has nothing to do with.  Sick entertainment for folks who hate our planet and other people, perhaps.  In any event, it’s this sort of attack on rationality, learning and decent experts that drives me to keep dogging these artful liars and traitors (toward our children’s future wellbeing.).

In this post I have copied Capozzola’s complete article not changing a word.  I will intersperse my own comments along with paragraphs from Adam Sobel’s maliciously defamed op-ed, and of course a few links to further legitimate information for your own edification.  

Climatologist Tries to Justify 11-year Hurricane Drought in New York Times Op-Ed

Written by Steven Capozzola, Guest Post on July 15, 2016, ClimateChangeDispatch

Capozzola:  The New York Times ran an op-ed today by Adam Sobel, an “atmospheric scientist at Columbia.” The gist of Sobel’s article: Since 2005, the United States has been experiencing a hurricane “drought” (i.e., no category 3 or higher hurricane has made landfall in 11 years.) 

But don’t worry, Sobel says, there will be more hurricanes soon, and the fact that they will be coming is proof of man-made climate change.

Yes, that’s what he’s saying.

The question is whether Sobel is writing the op-ed to buck himself up, or hoping to cheerlead the rest of the alarmist crowd. 

This delusionals call an 11 year Hurricane Drought?

I’m mulling over another atrocious piece of Climate Science Contrarian Fraud, this time by one Steven Capozzola a corporate public relations guy turned self-styled smarter-than-the-experts pundit.  His article “Climatologist Tries to Justify 11-year Hurricane Drought in New York Times Op-Ed” , July 15, 2016, ClimateChangeDispatch has been another parade of crafty disinformation intent on dumbing down its readers, you can read about it in my next posting.

In any event, the following paragraphs got me to looking into this supposed hurricane drought and here's a list of Atlantic and East Pacific ocean hurricanes and tropical storms since 2005, followed by a look at  2015 Northern Hemisphere category 4 and 5 hurricanes.  This information put the lie to Capozzola's spin fest.

Capozzola writes: It’s interesting to note that Sobel couches his statements with a series of disclaimers. Of hurricanes and climate, he says the “knowledge is far from perfect.” And he cites the arguments of his opponents to make a few safe caveats—he blames “natural variability” for the current hurricane drought.

Steven is the one couching his deceptive claim that simply because our coast has, sort of, been spared major hurricane damage in the past few years that somehow means we shouldn't be listening to the actual experts.

I know these weren’t category 3 or above, but seems to me they were pretty good lessons in what global warming enhanced storms will be doing to our coast, but then some refuse to learn:

Hurricane Ike - September 2008
Although it was classified as a category 2 storm, Ike remains the third costliest hurricane in U.S. history after Katrina and 1992’s Andrew. Total damage: $25 billion, mostly in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas.

Hurricane Sandy - October 29, 2012
Summary: Hurricane Sandy was the 18th named tropical cyclone of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season (June 1 - November 30). Sandy formed in the central Caribbean on October 22nd and intensified into a hurricane as it tracked north across Jamaica, eastern Cuba and the Bahamas. Sandy moved northeast of the United States until turning west toward the mid Atlantic coast on the 28th. Sandy transitioned into a post-tropical cyclone just prior to moving onshore near Atlantic City, NJ. For a complete summary of Sandy, view the National Hurricane Center Sandy Tropical Cyclone Report

Hurricane Patricialandfall near Playa Cuixmala in Jalisco state of southwest Mexico on October 23rd, 2015 had sustained winds topping out at 215 MPH and the atmospheric pressure dropped to 872 millibars (lowest on record in the Western Hemisphere and second lowest ever recorded in the world.)
Capozzola writes: Again, it’s somewhat embarrassing that the New York Times would publish an op-ed that essentially says: ‘We haven’t seen any major hurricanes for 11 years, we don’t really know why, our climate science is uncertain, our predictive computer models are limited, but we’re certain we’ll see more frequent and intense hurricanes soon because of increased CO2 emissions.’

What’s embarrassing is that adults embrace such a cartoonish perception of our global heat and moisture distribution system, aka the climate system we depend on for everything.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Shining light on NC-20 Burton's devious distortions

In this post I'm getting back to looking at Dave 'NC-20' Burton's narrative.  We've been having a bit of a debate over at the comments section of WUNC's article by Dave Dewitt titled, "The Changing Carolina Coast: Managing the Threat of Rising Water."   Dave jumps around a lot so I'm focusing on specific quotes.  In this case I want to answer some of his responses to my previous post.  

In that write up I included many links to sources indicating observed accelerating sea level rise, but NC-20 keeps trying to drag attention back to the last century and what he fancies "insignificant" sea level rise.  He also makes much of "no coastal Sea Level acceleration," but he leaves out all the details since they would undermine his claims.  I chose to look at those details and learn.  In this post along with my commentary I'll be sharing authoritative sources so the interested can learn and decide for themselves.

Consider our Earth as a real physical entity, it's cryosphere (glaciers, sea ice) have been in a stable condition for the past few thousands of years, since the end of the last ice age.  The documented warming of the past century acted to soften up and fracture that ice mass, like a block of ice left on a warm sidewalk.  Of course melting (and water contribution) is slow during these initial phases of warming!  That's no cause for ignoring what is happening this century. 

Perhaps his biggest deception is making an issue of the stately rate of sea level rise during the last century, then pretending it's a guide to this century.  Such deliberate misperceptions needs to be confronted.  
NC-20  Burton writes:  Thank you, CC  for the links, and for verifying what I told you, even if you apparently didn't read it.

I wrote, "DavidAppell, do you now agree that that graph (of sea-level at Brest, France) shows "no apparent acceleration" since the turn of the 20th century? However, if you use the data all the way back to 1807, there is acceleration, because the rate of sea-level rise accelerated slightly in the late 19th century. Here's the spreadsheet ... Here's the chart …"
For comparison, here's a quote from the Wöppelmann et al paper that you cited:
"Both instrumental records show a roughly coincident increase in the rate of relative sea-level rise around the end of the 19th century."
As you can see, we agree.
"accelerated slightly" - slightly???

In NC-20's cartoon world-view this rather dramatic shift in sea level trend makes no impression at all.  An example of how the bias-filter alters the perception of reality, since it wouldn't do to recognize how dramatic that acceleration actually was.  

Also, please notice, it was no up-tick followed by a drop.  It's been relentlessly uphill ever since.  Thus NC-20 is left with nit-picking the "acceleration rate"  during the previous century with all his might.  All the while doing his best to ignore the observed 
acceleration in our 21st century.

26:00 min. - GRAPH - Global Trend Sea Level, (Reconstruction from EMD residuals)

Examples of the Attack on Science and Rational Constructive Learning

I've had my response to NC-20 Burton nearly ready to post for days now.  But life is busy.  In the meantime, I want to repost an informative article from .  Please notice that while on the one hand the Republican PR machine cries about attacks on their "Free Speech Right", on the other they are ruthlessly playing the legal system to interfere with and at times attack serious scientists who are only trying to do their job as accurately as possible and then to report back on their results.  Things that are their duty.  This Repost from tells a story worth knowing about.  

This is what rational constructive learning built upon fact-based science is up against.  It's frightening, but it is what it is, understand it, deal with it. 

July 7, 2016 by Guest Poster Lauren Kurtz at

Lauren Kurtz is the Executive Director of the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund(CSLDF), a non-profit that defends scientists against legal attack. CSLDF was founded to fund Dr. Mann’s defense, represented Dr. Maibach, and filed amicus briefs in support of the University of Arizona. Help protect the scientific endeavor by donating to CSLDF, where a trustee is currently matching all donations up to $50,000.

Today’s climate scientists have a lot more to worry about than peer review. Organizations with perverse financial incentives harass scientists with lawsuit after lawsuit, obstructing research and seeking to embarrass them with disclosures of private information.

On June 14th, an Arizona court ruled that thousands of emails from two prominent climate scientists must be turned over to the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E), a group that disputes the 97% expert consensus on human-caused climate change and argues against action to confront it. E&E and its attorneys are funded by Peabody CoalArch Coal, and Alpha Natural Resources, coal corporations with billions of dollars in revenue. 
Formerly named the American Tradition Institute, E&E has been described as “filing nuisance suits to disrupt important academic research.”

Saturday, July 9, 2016

NC-20 Burton Why Do You Deliberately Misrepresent the Brest Tide Gauge Data?

Dave NC-20 Burton repeatedly claims he's never been shown to be wrong, he also loves claiming that sea level rise has not accelerated over the past century and that Tide Gauges are the gold standard.  One of his favorite Tide Gauges is at Brest, France which dates way back.  With graph in hand Dave claims “As you can see, there's been no apparent acceleration in sea-level rise there in the last hundred years.”

Interestingly when one looks at that graph through a slightly different filter, 
it's not so clear cut at all.  


Here's what happens when scientists do the numbers:

0.42 ± 0.18 mm/year Brest -1800s
1.14 ± 0.18 mm/year Brest -1900s
0.39 ± 0.17 mm/year Liverpool -1800s
1.22 ± 0.25 mm/year Liverpool - 1900s

Tide gauge datum continuity at Brest since 1711: France's longest sea-level record
Guy Wöppelmann, Nicolas Pouvreau, Alain Coulomb, Bernard Simon, Philip L. Woodworth

Now that I've given the punchline, let me back track and focus on one of the important differences between Dave Burton's approach and my own "process".  

I love to learn, I want to learn from my mistakes, I thirst for more and better information to help develop my overall understanding of this Earth I love and that we depend on for everything.  On the other hand, NC-20 Burton is into repeating agenda focused PR soundbites and refusing to listen to anything anyone else is trying to explain.  Never allowing new information to percolate and be incorporated into his overall world view.  
We'll start with Burton's spiel:

By far the greatest part of the anthropogenic contribution to GHG levels has occurred since the 1940s. What matters for validating or falsifying the hypothetical causal relationship between GHG levels and sea-level rise is what happened to the rate of sea-level rise in response to the addition of all that CO2 & CH4.

The answer is, nothing at all. Increasing CO2 from under 310 ppmv to ~400 ppmv, and increasing CH4 from 1.2 ppmv to 1.8 ppmv, has caused no increase at all in the rate of sea-level rise.

Friday, July 8, 2016

NC-20 Burton responds, misses the point completely.

Or, doubling down on the wonders of Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide emissions.

For an introduction please refer to "NC-20 says 'bring on the Carbon Dioxide'! - I say, What?the previous post, since this is simply the second round of that dialogue and I'm out of time.

climatesciencewatch is the crackpot leftist site of the late Rick Piltz. It is about as far as you can get from a reliable source, and that article is complete nonsense.

For instance, if it were really true that "Plants exhibit a growth boost under increased CO2 conditions only when all other factors have been controlled for, and the real world is nothing like these greenhouse conditions," then how do you suppose the "greening" effect of elevated CO2 is enabling "natural terrestrial ecosystems" to absorb an estimated 13%-44% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions (2.5 ± 1.3 PgC/yr), every year, according to AR5, p. 6-3?

CC responds: Here NC-20 Burton conflates “greening” with agriculturally valuable crop parts.  For instance, increasing biomass is not the same as increasing fruit or grain yields.  Though undoubtedly increasing CO2 does produce more growth.  It just as undoubtedly also depends on other nutritional, temperature and water factors to ensure increased crop yields.

The big point NC-20 keeps ignoring is that increased ambient CO2 brings a lot of problems with it too, particularly higher temperatures and weather disruptions.

Then of course, the obligatory disparagement of everyone and anyone who speak in defense of serious climate science.  It’s so much easier than focusing on the words and the facts of the matter.  

"Frederick Steven "Rick" Piltz (July 29, 1943 – October 18, 2014) was a former senior associate in the U.S. Climate Change Science Program. In March 2005, he resigned over political interference in the program's climate change reports. In June 2005, the New York Times exposed the role of Philip Cooney in editing government documents on climate change to create scientific uncertainty.[1] A former lobbyist with the American Petroleum Institute, Cooney resigned and days later took a job at Exxon Mobil.[2]

Piltz went on to found Climate Science Watch, a project to hold public officials accountable for using climate science with integrity in policy making. Climate Science Watch is a program of the Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower protection agency in Washington, D.C.[3]"
Piltz spent 14 years in various positions in Washington closely following how global warming science is misused by the government and special interest groups. From 1995, he served in senior positions in the Climate Change Science Program, before resigning in March 2005. In his resignation letter, he wrote, "I believe the overarching problem is that the [Bush] Administration...does not want and has acted to impede forthright communication of the state of climate science and its implication for society."[4]

Within months, the New York Times exposed White House operative Philip Cooney for editing government climate documents to increase uncertainty about the science. Cooney resigned and joined Exxon Mobil.

Piltz also states that forces within the Bush Administration have sought to hide the results from the National Assessment on Climate Change.[5]

As for the Philip Cooney affair, there’s a great example of the base dishonesty the Republican/libertarian powers that be engage in to mislead the public.  This Cooney acted down right criminal, yet not a complain is made by the right-wing. Deliberate and malicious deception and slander has become business as usual

I imagine NC-20 will object to these sources with increasing vehemence, but valid evidence, is valid evidence.  Learning goes beyond a political litmus test, this is about serious science, not political debating games.  Not to mention we need each other to keep ourselves honest.

Editing Scientists: Science and Policy at the White House
How much do policymakers shape the science that comes out of government agencies?
By David Biello on October 22, 2009
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Bush appointees 'watered down greenhouse science'
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Bush Aide Softened Greenhouse Gas Links to Global Warming
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
EXXON secrets - Philip Cooney
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 


NC-20 responds to CC:  Pete wrote, "Sure, when they receive all their other nutrients in a controlled experiment..."
I trust that this means you now understand that the benefits of CO2 fertilization do not discriminate against "what we want to eat."
Pete continued, "If his study was such a breakthrough, why was none of this realized?"
Where did you get that idea? You know so many things that aren't so!!
With minor refinements, Dr. Riedel's innovation is now common practice. These days most commercial greenhouses use CO2 fertilization, to help the crops within those greenhouses grow better. They typically maintain the CO2 levels in the greenhouses at 3x to 4x average outdoor ambient CO2 levels. Rather than running pipes to blast furnace chimneys, they burn propane or natural gas to generate the CO2, and they use electronic control systems maintain the desired CO2 levels more precisely, but those are refinements, not differences in principle.
But don't take my word for it, ask Google:
Pete continued, " there's nothing quite as dramatic in the annals of modern science.”
Where on earth do you "learn" so much nonsense, Pete? Modern studies largely confirm Dr. Riedel's results.

He apparently only tested about a half-dozen crops, but we now have data from studies on the benefits of CO2 to many hundreds of plants, and we know know that virtually all plants benefit greatly from additional CO2.

Of course, "ambient" today is about 400 ppmv CO2, rather than the approximately 300 ppmv of Dr. Riedel's day. So our crops already get much of the benefit of elevated CO2. But, even so, hundreds of studies confirm that additional CO2 boosts crop yields very dramatically, sometimes by more than 100%.


CC responds: Here NC-20 gives me a slap down.  Okay, I was a bit too condescending towards Dr. Riedel’s 1920 study and Dave is able to point out that today pumping CO2 into greenhouse crops is a regular practice with proven yield improvements. 

That specific point taken and not contested!

But, while that sliver of information is true and uncontested - NC-20 tries to use those limited benefits to ignore: 
  1. That out under the open sky and different soils and environments, there are other complexity (nutrients, temperature, water) involved, that must be taken into account before making blanket claims.
  2. CO2’s effect on temperatures, weather patterns and ocean acidification (or de-alkalization if you insist.) are way more detrimental to agriculture and society in general than the small overall increased useful yield.
I understand I’m just a spectator, no authority am I.
I keep learning as I go along.  
I do know were to find useful information.  
For those who are interested in the benefits and liabilities of increasing atmospheric CO2, I offer the following selection.

May 11, 2011

 American Society of Agronomy's Position Statement on Climate Change

 Crop Science Society of America | Soil Science Society of America

I. Introduction

A comprehensive body of scientific evidence indicates beyond reasonable doubt that global climate change is now occurring and that its manifestations threaten the stability of societies as well as natural and managed ecosystems. Increases in ambient temperatures and changes in related processes are directly linked to rising anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere. The potential related impacts of climate change on the ability of agricultural systems, which include soil and water resources, to provide food, feed, lumber, and fuel, and maintenance of ecosystem services (e.g., water supply and habitat for crop landraces, wild relatives, and pollinators) as well as the integrity of the environment, are major concerns.

Around the world and in the United States (US), agriculture—which is comprised of  eld, vegetable, and tree crops, as well as livestock production—constitutes a major land use which in uences global ecosystems. Globally, crop production occupies approximately 1.8 Billion (B) hectares out of a total terrestrial land surface of about 13.5 B hectares. 

In addition, animal production utilizes grasslands, rangelands, and savannas, which altogether cover about a quarter of the Earth’s land. Even in 2010, agriculture remains the most basic and common human occupation on the planet and a major contributor to human well-being.

Changes in climate are already affecting the sustainability of agricultural systems and disrupting production. While climate is the average weather conditions in given locations over multiple decades, weather consists of the hourly and day-to-day variations in temperature, precipitation, and other variables. In many places around the world, increased incidence of extreme events such as heatwaves, droughts, and  oods have been documented.

Although no singular event can be attributed to climate change, collectively recent extreme weather events have had a signi cant impact on agricultural production. There have been several major weather events in Iowa, the Northern Great Plains, Europe, Australia, and Ukraine that have affected
agriculture, for example: …

 Climate Effects on Crops:
  •     Higher temperatures and heatwaves affect the growth and development of crops, in uencing potential yields. A critical variable is the numbers of days a crop is exposed to temperatures exceeding speci c thresholds during critical growth stages—e.g.  flowering, pollination, fruiting, or grain filling – reducing the quantity and quality of yield.
  •     Changes in the patterns of precipitation alters water supply for crops. Climate change is expected to destabilize pre-existing rainfall regimes in many regions, resulting in changes in duration and intensity of  flooding episodes and periods of drought. This is likely to increase the extent and intensity of erosion, water-logging, and periods of desiccation, with negative effects on yields.
  •     Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations may have positive effects on some crops, the effects being species-dependent. The photosynthesis, growth, and yield of C3 plants such as wheat and rice tend to bene t more from high CO2 than do C4 plants such as maize. Higher CO2 in the air also increases the efficiency of water use by crops.
  •     Changes in temperature, precipitation, and CO2 will interact with other environmental stresses, such as ozone, which tend to reduce crop productivity ate Effects on Soils.
 Climate Effects on Soils:
• Higher soil temperatures alter nutrient and carbon cycling by modifying the habitat of soil biota, which in turn affects the diversity and structure of species and their abundance.
• Heavier downpours in some regions will lead to increased soil erosion. In addition increased precipitation will result in water-logging of soils, thereby limiting oxygen supply to crop roots and increasing emissions of nitrous oxide and methane. Altered rainfall, whether through increased or decreased precipitation, will affect soil chemistry and biology.
• Soil water retention capacity will be affected by rising temperatures and by a decline in soil organic matter due to both climate change and land-management changes. Maintaining water retention capacity is important to reducing the impacts of intense rainfall and droughts, which are projected to become more frequent and severe.
• Prolonged spells of heat and drought between rainy periods may cause wilting, desiccation, and soil salinization, which may in combination reduce crop yields.
  • Increased temperature and decreased moisture tend to accelerate the decomposition of organic material in soils, leading to a decline in soil organic carbon stocks and an increase in CO2 emissions to the atmosphere.
It’s a fascinating report, LINK here.


Tired, disproven argument on “benefits” of CO2 resurfaces in Wall Street Journal

Carbon dioxide concentrations are approaching 400 parts per million, higher than any found in at least 800,000 years. To commemorate the occasion, a Wall Street Journal op-ed has revived an old, repeatedly debunked argument about the benefits of CO2. Authors Harrison Schmitt and William Happer take the fact that plants need CO2 to grow and argue that more is better, ignoring both common sense and overwhelming scientific evidence.
The following is a guest post by Climate Nexus (in PDF format here):

Tired, Disproven Argument on “Benefits” of CO2 Resurfaces in WSJ

Carbon dioxide concentrations are approaching 400 parts per million, higher than any found in at least 800,000 years. To commemorate the occasion, a Wall Street Journal op-ed has revived an old, repeatedly debunked argument about the benefits of CO2. The authors take the fact that plants need CO2 to grow, and argue that more is better, ignoring both common sense and overwhelming scientific evidence. Common sense says that it’s possible to have too much of a necessary thing; for example, vitamin D is necessary for our health, but too much can cause permanent heart and kidney damage. And science tells us that the negative impacts of global warming far outweigh any isolated benefits.

The Claim:
The authors argue that plants use carbon dioxide to grow, and more carbon dioxide will make them grow faster. This will be good for agricultural yields. Also, in the distant past, there was even more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and “life flourished on land” during those times. They rely on this generalized anecdote to claim that there are no negative side effects of excess carbon dioxide.

The Facts:
In reality, the negative effects of excess carbon dioxide are devastating, with more than enough impacts to wipe out any growth benefit crops might experience. The warming effects of CO2 have been verified by independent scientific studies, professional organizations, and government investigations all over the world. This warming will present serious problems for agriculture.

Here are a few reasons why we won’t see an agricultural benefit from increased CO2:
Extreme weather can devastate crop yields, and is linked to human-caused global warming despite Schmitt and Happer’s unsourced assertions to the contrary. Both droughts and storms take their toll. The recent U.S. drought caused maize yields to drop by 45 million tons, and is consistent with projections that extreme droughts will be more frequent in a warmer world.
Carbon dioxide and warmth can spur the activity of weeds and pests as well as agricultural crops. Studies have shown that beetles eat more crops in a high-carbon environment (both through modern experiments and studying prehistoric warming events). Weed-killing herbicides have also been found to lose effectiveness at high CO2 levels.
Plants need water, sunlight, nitrogen, and other nutrients to grow, in addition to carbon dioxide. Many studies have found nitrogen to be a limiting factor in plant growth, negating the temporary growth boost caused by increased CO2. Other studies show that high nighttime temperatures cause plants to use up energy reserves faster, reducing corn yields. Water availability concerns are also projected to increase in a warmer future.

Plants exhibit a growth boost under increased CO2 conditions only when all other factors have been controlled for, and the real world is nothing like these greenhouse conditions. We are effectively conducting a “real-world” experiment on our whole planet today, and have found food prices rising in response to higher temperatures and more extreme events. 

Adverse effects of global warming are so numerous that this kind of simplistic and repeatedly disproven argument has no place in our national debate. … LINK


Copyright © 2001 PNAS

Human-caused environmental change: Impacts on plant diversity and evolution

vol. 98 no. 10 > David Tilman,  5433–5440, doi: 10.1073/pnas.091093198

This paper was presented at the National Academy of Sciences colloquium, “The Future of Evolution,” held March 16–20, 2000, at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center in Irvine, CA. 
The National Academy of Sciences

… Here we explore how and whether such changes could result in the loss of local diversity and accelerated extinction (3), and thus potentially decrease ecosystem functioning (e.g., refs. 1719). The effects of environmental change on species composition, diversity, and ecosystem functioning are poorly understood. As a tool to explore this issue, we use theories that potentially can explain multispecies coexistence (2029). 

These models are based on the interplay of environmental constraints and the trade-offs organisms face in dealing with these constraints. They can predict both the persistence of a large number of species (2429) and the conditions that could lead to extinctions. Although mechanisms differ, all solutions to Hutchinson's (20) paradox of diversity have a similar structure (26, 28, 29). All mechanisms assume that two or more factors constrain fitness, and that intraspecific and interspecific trade-offs constrain each individual or species to having optimal performance at a particular value of these constraints. These processes provide a basis for interpreting the impacts of global human ecosystem domination on community composition, extinction, and speciation. …

Climate Change and Agriculture: Promoting Practical and Profitable Responses Climate Change Impacts on Northeast Agriculture: Overview
David W. Wolfe, Professor Department of Horticulture, Cornell University, Ithaca NY

Key issues that will be addressed here include:
• Will warming be good or bad for NE crops, and is there evidence of plant response to
the warming trend in our region already?
• What is the “carbon dioxide (CO2) fertilization effect”, and can it compensate for
negative climate change effects?
• What are the implications for weed, insect and disease control? (See also Fact Sheets in
this section by L. Ziska (weeds) and C. Petzoldt and A. Seaman (insects and disease)).
• What are the implications for the dairy industry? (See also Fact Sheet on livestock in
this section by L. Chase).
• How can farmers adapt, and what will it cost them?
• Who are likely winners and losers in our region?


Potential beneficiaries of climate change are:
• Growers currently producing or shifting to crops that show significant benefit from
climate change and high CO2;
• Growers with sufficient capital for risk-taking adaptation measures;
• Growers who guess correctly about climate and market trends;
• Corporate farms with multi-regional production areas.

Those most vulnerable would include:
• Growers producing crops poorly adapted to the new climate, or trying new crops with little market potential;
• Growers with few resources to adapt;
• Growers producing crops where weeds, disease, or insects gain an advantage;
• Climate change could put additional stresses on the fragile dairy industry.
There's more, LINK here.
(USDA  ~2000)

7.2  Impacts of Rising Concentrations of Greenhouse Gases 

Due to climatic and other consequences, rising greenhouse gas concentrations affect agricultural and ecological resources worldwide. Some areas incur benefits, while other areas suffer losses. The precise location and magnitude of such changes is highly uncertain. The extent to which losses are avoided and gains obtained will depend on how farmers adapt their production processes to new climatic and other conditions.

Contents Page
Agricultural Impacts of Greenhouse Gases 
Estimated Impacts of Rising Concentrations
Policies That Aid Adaptation

Climate change and world agriculture. 
London: Earthscan Publications | Parry, M. L.

There are three ways in which the Greenhouse Effect may be important for agriculture. First, increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations can have a direct effect on the growth rate of crop plants and weeds. Secondly, CO2-induced changes of climate may alter levels of temperature, rainfall and sunshine that can influence plant and animal productivity. Finally, rises in sea level may lead to loss of farmland by inundation and to increasing salinity of groundwater in coastal areas. These three types of impact will be considered in turn.

Effects on photosynthesis
Effects on water use by plants

Effects on growth-rates
Effects on growing seasons
Effects on yield
Effects on livestock
Effects on moisture availability







The combination of impacts on agriculture that could stem from the direct effects of increased atmospheric CO2, from effects of changes in climatic and, in coastal regions, from sea-level rise is likely to be extremely complex. It will certainly vary greatly from region to region and from one type of farming to another. The implications for agricultural potential are considered in the next chapter. LINK

July 15, 2015

Effect of increased concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide on the global threat of zinc deficiency: a modelling study
Dr Samuel S Myers, MD, K Ryan Wessells, PhD, Itai Kloog, PhD, Antonella Zanobetti, PhD, Prof Joel Schwartz, PhD
Published Online, The Lancet

Increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) lower the content of zinc and other nutrients in important food crops. Zinc deficiency is currently responsible for large burdens of disease globally, and the populations who are at highest risk of zinc deficiency also receive most of their dietary zinc from crops. By modelling dietary intake of bioavailable zinc for the populations of 188 countries under both an ambient CO2 and elevated CO2 scenario, we sought to estimate the effect of anthropogenic CO2 emissions on the global risk of zinc deficiency.