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.

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