PDA

View Full Version : More CO2 might be good for us in the long run



Carsten Wiethoff
10-21-2015, 08:26 PM
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/10/15/greenpeace-founder-delivers-powerful-annual-lecture-praises-carbon-dioxide-full-text/

An interesting prespective on historic CO2 levels and temperatures, the connection to plant life and resulting animal/human life and where the most carbon is actually stored (hint: it is not in the atmosphere).

I am no expert, but it seems to make sense and I would be interested in hearing constructive criticism.

Some qoutes:

The Devonian Period beginning 400 million years ago marked the culmination of the invasion of life onto the land. Plants evolved to produce lignin, which in combination with cellulose, created wood which in turn for the first time allowed plants to grow tall, in competition with each other for sunlight. As vast forests spread across the land living biomass increased by orders of magnitude, pulling down carbon as CO2 from the atmosphere to make wood. Lignin is very difficult to break down and no decomposer species possessed the enzymes to digest it. Trees died atop one another until they were 100 metres or more in depth. This was the making of the great coal beds around the world as this huge store of sequestered carbon continued to build for 90 million years. Then, fortunately for the future of life, white rot fungi evolved to produce the enzymes that can digest lignin and coincident with that the coal-making era came to an end.
There was no guarantee that fungi or any other decomposer species would develop the complex of enzymes required to digest lignin. If they had not, CO2, which had already been drawn down for the first time in Earth’s history to levels similar to todays, would have continued to decline as trees continued to grow and die. That is until CO2 approached the threshold of 150 ppm below which plants begin first to starve, then stop growing altogether, and then die. Not just woody plants but all plants. This would bring about the extinction of most, if not all, terrestrial species, as animals, insects, and other invertebrates starved for lack of food. And that would be that. The human species would never have existed. This was only the first time that there was a distinct possibility that life would come close to extinguishing itself, due to a shortage of CO2, which is essential for life on Earth.



The past 150 million years has seen a steady drawing down of CO2 from the atmosphere. There are many components to this but what matters is the net effect, a removal on average of 37,000 tons of carbon from the atmosphere every year for 150 million years. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere was reduced by about 90% during this period. This means that volcanic emissions of CO2 have been outweighed by the loss of carbon to calcium carbonate sediments on a multi-million year basis.If this trend continues CO2 will inevitably fall to levels that threaten the survival of plants, which require a minimum of 150 ppm to survive. If plants die all the animals, insects, and other invertebrates that depend on plants for their survival will also die.
How long will it be at the present level of CO2 depletion until most or all of life on Earth is threatened with extinction by lack of CO2 in the atmosphere?

Peter Lemkin
10-22-2015, 05:14 AM
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/10/15/greenpeace-founder-delivers-powerful-annual-lecture-praises-carbon-dioxide-full-text/

An interesting prespective on historic CO2 levels and temperatures, the connection to plant life and resulting animal/human life and where the most carbon is actually stored (hint: it is not in the atmosphere).

I am no expert, but it seems to make sense and I would be interested in hearing constructive criticism.

Some qoutes:

The Devonian Period beginning 400 million years ago marked the culmination of the invasion of life onto the land. Plants evolved to produce lignin, which in combination with cellulose, created wood which in turn for the first time allowed plants to grow tall, in competition with each other for sunlight. As vast forests spread across the land living biomass increased by orders of magnitude, pulling down carbon as CO2 from the atmosphere to make wood. Lignin is very difficult to break down and no decomposer species possessed the enzymes to digest it. Trees died atop one another until they were 100 metres or more in depth. This was the making of the great coal beds around the world as this huge store of sequestered carbon continued to build for 90 million years. Then, fortunately for the future of life, white rot fungi evolved to produce the enzymes that can digest lignin and coincident with that the coal-making era came to an end.
There was no guarantee that fungi or any other decomposer species would develop the complex of enzymes required to digest lignin. If they had not, CO2, which had already been drawn down for the first time in Earth’s history to levels similar to todays, would have continued to decline as trees continued to grow and die. That is until CO2 approached the threshold of 150 ppm below which plants begin first to starve, then stop growing altogether, and then die. Not just woody plants but all plants. This would bring about the extinction of most, if not all, terrestrial species, as animals, insects, and other invertebrates starved for lack of food. And that would be that. The human species would never have existed. This was only the first time that there was a distinct possibility that life would come close to extinguishing itself, due to a shortage of CO2, which is essential for life on Earth.



The past 150 million years has seen a steady drawing down of CO2 from the atmosphere. There are many components to this but what matters is the net effect, a removal on average of 37,000 tons of carbon from the atmosphere every year for 150 million years. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere was reduced by about 90% during this period. This means that volcanic emissions of CO2 have been outweighed by the loss of carbon to calcium carbonate sediments on a multi-million year basis.If this trend continues CO2 will inevitably fall to levels that threaten the survival of plants, which require a minimum of 150 ppm to survive. If plants die all the animals, insects, and other invertebrates that depend on plants for their survival will also die.
How long will it be at the present level of CO2 depletion until most or all of life on Earth is threatened with extinction by lack of CO2 in the atmosphere?

Sorry, this is not a thought experiment way out of the mess we are in with anthropogenic climate change and warming. These cycles of Carbon did happen in the past, but over huge periods of time so life could adapt. Even then, most species died off to be replaced by others who could manage under the changed climatic conditions. More Carbon in the atmosphere now will do NOTHING but HARM. A few plants will have more CO2 and grow a bit faster, but we are changing the climate system in a few decades in a manner that normally takes millions of years. The oceans are acidifying from the CO2 producing carbonic acid in the oceans and other bodies of water; there is more energy in the climate system leading to stronger everything - storms, tornadoes, rains, droughts, heat waves, desertification. Mostly, the Earth is warming, the glaciers and polar ice are melting, the seas are rising and it is getting too hot for the current lifeforms in the locations they are or were [they are migrating where they can]. We have fucked up the total system and there are no 'up' sides to it. None. Half of all large life forms in the oceans are dead. About 70% of the coral; we have cut down 50% of the tropical rain forest and one can go on and on and on. We simply must stop burning fossil fuels of all types and pumping all this Carbon into the atmosphere in such a short period of time. We have ALREADY put in enough carbon and other greenhouse gases to warm the Earth OVER 2 degrees C - that is a formula for total megadeath of most lifeforms, including humans...and more Carbon coming will likely put us at 4-6 C increase - leading to a mass extinction event on this Planet - all caused by humans and human stupidity. Everything in the Gian ecological system is in a delicate balance and WE [humans] are suddenly changing the balance - putting the system totally out of balance and into a collapse and MAJOR and DRASTICALLY FAST change. This will cause all kinds of havoc and extinction and humans will NOT be spared. Of course, the poor will suffer the most and the soonest, but all will soon be effected negatively. The low islands in the oceans will soon be gone, then the coastlines, on which a vast majority of humanity lives or relies. Environmental and climate scientists are almost unanimous on this - we are in peril and only we can stop the imminent danger by changing our economic systems, our greed, our selfishness in thinking we are some god-given rulers of the Earth and all other living things are here for our use and abuse, our use of fossil fuels, our pumping toxic chemicals into the ecosphere, our overpopulation which is not supportable, our being totally out of balance with Nature. If not, expect to see and have your children see lots of horror, extinction and death - megadeath in the next FEW decades, and already begun.

If anyone wants the REAL science [not that paid for by the fossil fuel and energy industries] you can download excellent reports here http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_and_data_reports.shtml These are done by an international group of environmental and climate scientists. The reports are detailed and authoritative and you can bank on the conclusions.

Carsten Wiethoff
10-22-2015, 08:45 AM
Thanks Peter for your asssessment of the situation and the possible consequences.
As we can clearly see, the earth has undergone severe changes in temperature, CO2 levels, destruction of habitats and creation of new habitats.
The species of earth have adapted, mass extinction events included. There has always been a risk of a complete catastrophy, total destruction of the earth,
by meteorite or by nukes or otherwise.
The last few hundred years have seen a radical exponential growth in the human population numbers and in the surface area of the earth that is actively
manipulated by humans, fishing, foresting and above all agriculture, which has grave consequences for the animal and plant populations that used
to live there. Even if from now on not a single drop of oil, coal or gas will be burnt, the presence of 7 and soon 10 or 12 billion humans and the amount of resources
needed to keep them alive will continue to push a lot of species to adapt to other niches or go extinct. This fact has little to do with global warming
and CO2.
I think we have to come to a situation in which any major change in the environment, whether caused by humans or nature,
carries a high risk that the current number of people on the planet can not be supported any more and this may well lead
to more destructive events like wars, deforestation, more overfishing and more climate change that will turn the spiral
faster and faster. From an ethical standpoint billions of people starving and the rest fighting for survival with all means
is the ultimate human catastrophy and has to be avoided at all costs.
For this reason there is some ground to resist ANY change in the environment, but we have to realize that such resistance to change
is ultimately futile. Conditions on earth have always changed and this will not stop until finally the earth will stop existing.
The best we can hope for is to moderate change to avoid catastrophic cliffs and to make us more resilient to change. And of course
we have to accept that it is in our own interest as humans to preserve as much of the environment as possible, because we are connected with
and dependent on it in more ways than we can probably understand.
So what are the roads open to us, what behaviour in the future can be classified as good and what as bad, dangerous or evil?
Slowing down the rate of using non-renewable resources is certainly good, using renewable energy, improving the quality of
the soils reducing the necessity of fertilizers and pesticides, sustainable fishery, securing clean water supply, cleaning up the oceans
and avoiding nuclear pollution, these are trends that can be classified as good in my opinion. Also, on the human side, of course, improving education,
reducing war and instability, better wealth distribution, better conflict resolution and more tolerance for cultural/religious differences
are large issues, which directly influence the destruction of our environment.
CO2 is a factor in the environment, climate change is a factor in the environment, independent of causality and human origin.
But it is by far not the only factor and there are a lot of enormous problems threatening a catastrophic change of the environment.
And to come to the conclusion that humanity itself is the problem of the earth is in my firm belief ethically not acceptable and
also overstating the importance of humans in this world. Life will survive with or without us.

Peter Lemkin
10-22-2015, 12:54 PM
Thanks Peter for your asssessment of the situation and the possible consequences.
As we can clearly see, the earth has undergone severe changes in temperature, CO2 levels, destruction of habitats and creation of new habitats.
The species of earth have adapted, mass extinction events included. There has always been a risk of a complete catastrophy, total destruction of the earth,
by meteorite or by nukes or otherwise.
The last few hundred years have seen a radical exponential growth in the human population numbers and in the surface area of the earth that is actively
manipulated by humans, fishing, foresting and above all agriculture, which has grave consequences for the animal and plant populations that used
to live there. Even if from now on not a single drop of oil, coal or gas will be burnt, the presence of 7 and soon 10 or 12 billion humans and the amount of resources
needed to keep them alive will continue to push a lot of species to adapt to other niches or go extinct. This fact has little to do with global warming
and CO2.
I think we have to come to a situation in which any major change in the environment, whether caused by humans or nature,
carries a high risk that the current number of people on the planet can not be supported any more and this may well lead
to more destructive events like wars, deforestation, more overfishing and more climate change that will turn the spiral
faster and faster. From an ethical standpoint billions of people starving and the rest fighting for survival with all means
is the ultimate human catastrophy and has to be avoided at all costs.
For this reason there is some ground to resist ANY change in the environment, but we have to realize that such resistance to change
is ultimately futile. Conditions on earth have always changed and this will not stop until finally the earth will stop existing.
The best we can hope for is to moderate change to avoid catastrophic cliffs and to make us more resilient to change. And of course
we have to accept that it is in our own interest as humans to preserve as much of the environment as possible, because we are connected with
and dependent on it in more ways than we can probably understand.
So what are the roads open to us, what behaviour in the future can be classified as good and what as bad, dangerous or evil?
Slowing down the rate of using non-renewable resources is certainly good, using renewable energy, improving the quality of
the soils reducing the necessity of fertilizers and pesticides, sustainable fishery, securing clean water supply, cleaning up the oceans
and avoiding nuclear pollution, these are trends that can be classified as good in my opinion. Also, on the human side, of course, improving education,
reducing war and instability, better wealth distribution, better conflict resolution and more tolerance for cultural/religious differences
are large issues, which directly influence the destruction of our environment.
CO2 is a factor in the environment, climate change is a factor in the environment, independent of causality and human origin.
But it is by far not the only factor and there are a lot of enormous problems threatening a catastrophic change of the environment.
And to come to the conclusion that humanity itself is the problem of the earth is in my firm belief ethically not acceptable and
also overstating the importance of humans in this world. Life will survive with or without us.

Sorry, I don't agree with your general premises [most of them].
Humans are the only thing/species to blame for this situation and what is coming.
Yes, there are all kinds of more progressive things, more peaceful things, more environmentally sound things humans can do, but as things stand now, we won't have the time to do them in any meaningful fashion [to have an effect more than a finger in the dyke that will soon flood over or burst.
I agree that humans are NOT the most important or only important species, but it would be a horrible situation for most or all of the 7, soon to be 9-12 billion of us to die horrible deaths - and we will take most all large and a majority of smaller life forms both plant and animal with us...we already have.
We need to not decrease fossil fuel burning, but end it IMMEDIATELY, if not sooner. I see NO likelihood of that happening soon. We are already at the point where we would have to invent methods to remove carbon from the atmosphere - something expensive to do...and the longer we wait the more expensive....and it will be resisted by the very forces that put the carbon in there in the first place - and others who deny we are to blame and don't want to spend half of human wealth to save the species and what is rest of the others.
It is a tipping point we have reached and soon nothing we do will stop an every increasing speed of change - all to the negative. Yes, the Planet with survive and some life on it....but not as we know it and without us and all we have done will be lost. Hubris on a planetary and species scale! Humans are the only species which can blush and the only one that has any need to. All life on the Planet are interdependent and we are more dependent on them then they are on us...and they are now sadly very dependent on us - as we are killing them off fast. Humans are a plague on the Planet like locusts and are devouring all resources just as locusts do.
There ARE solutions, but I don't think the average person is prepared for such drastic actions and I know governments are not....and corporations who profit from the Planet's rape even less so and they run the governments. It is a very sad moment in human and Earth history. Things will change very fast now. Your children will only vaguely remember the big and interesting mammals - their children won't see or hear of them except at zoos....and I wonder if the next generation will remember anything but storms, famines and wars - with most governments turning to totalitarian states. Biologists, climatologists and Environmental scientists and activists have been warning about this for decades. The Native Americans said it and predicted this hundreds of years ago. We are at the abyss and most are playing the fiddle and not looking where the edge is - it is VERY near!

Carsten Wiethoff
10-22-2015, 02:30 PM
The point is, humanity CANNOT stop burning carbohydrates NOW and still feed 7 billion people, let alone 12.
Even rich countries like Germany or the US could not feed their population because modern agriculture
in multiple ways depends on the energy from carbohydrates. Also heating is based to a large proportion on oil and gas.
Cutting down the remaining forests for burning would make the problem worse. Building more nuclear plants
will create more waste and increase the risk of catastrophic damage. Solar, wind and water still have a long way to go-
There is no fast solution, I fear, but we have to start walking in that direction, faster.

Meanwhile I think that a large part of the problem is one of education, social and political stability,
justice and security and fairness. Large parts of the world could be so much more productive, saving so many
resources and freeing human workforce to attack the energy problem, if only there were food and water security and
no daily threat of violence or being killed by drone, bomb, gun or machete. That, combined with
rights and opportunities for women and a working health system would also reduce the growth rate of the
human population in many developing countries or "failed states". This is what has to be done anyway,
because clearly unlimited growth is not possible. Unfortunately this is a very hard problem, one
inside the human psyche, and not many are willing to seriously make sacrifices for THIS problem.

Drew Phipps
10-22-2015, 04:18 PM
Whether you believe that human activity is responsible for global warming or not, you must concede that we are, in fact, the only species capable of making a global difference in CO2 levels, or in rising temperatures, or sea levels. That inescapable fact imposes on us the duty to do so, for the benefit of ourselves and our descendants, as well as the vast remainder of the teeming bulk of life on this planet over which we have dominion.

Or, we can continue to foul our own nest until we die.

Lauren Johnson
10-22-2015, 05:37 PM
The point is, humanity CANNOT stop burning carbohydrates NOW and still feed 7 billion people, let alone 12.

Tragically, this statement is false. Using techniques found in the sustainable farming technique called permaculture can in fact feed a very large population. The amazing thing is that biology of healthy soil takes carbon out of the air and stores it in the soil. Some estimate that CO2 levels could be normalized by adopting these methods alone. This is probably over stating things a bit.

However, as long as the devotion to the accumulation of capital is the end of humanity, humanity will end.

To add to Peter's posts, one more specific reason why high CO2 levels will not aid agriculture, when temperatures climb into the hundreds, many crops' production yields drop due the withering affects of the heat. Around here, gardeners were complaining about the crops because of the many 100+F degree days (38C) with humidity in the single digits. Lots of fire and smoke. The goodness of CO2 was dreamed up by right wing think tanks.

Carsten Wiethoff
10-22-2015, 06:24 PM
Whether you believe that human activity is responsible for global warming or not, you must concede that we are, in fact, the only species capable of making a global difference in CO2 levels, or in rising temperatures, or sea levels. That inescapable fact imposes on us the duty to do so, for the benefit of ourselves and our descendants, as well as the vast remainder of the teeming bulk of life on this planet over which we have dominion.

Or, we can continue to foul our own nest until we die.
I think it would be more correct to say that we are the only ones that could do so consciously. So far we have done it without conscience, undoing the effect of all the life forms that formed the carbohydrates in the first place.
I still find it interesting that by far the most carbon on earth is bound in calcium carbonates produced by mussels, snails and other animals. Maybe improving the living conditions of such animals could have an effect on CO2 in the long run, given that our goal or duty should be to keep conditions
stable. At least calcium carbonate is harmless and even very useful for many applications.

Carsten Wiethoff
10-22-2015, 06:46 PM
The point is, humanity CANNOT stop burning carbohydrates NOW and still feed 7 billion people, let alone 12.

Tragically, this statement is false. Using techniques found in the sustainable farming technique called permaculture can in fact feed a very large population. The amazing thing is that biology of healthy soil takes carbon out of the air and stores it in the soil. Some estimate that CO2 levels could be normalized by adopting these methods alone. This is probably over stating things a bit.

However, as long as the devotion to the accumulation of capital is the end of humanity, humanity will end.

To add to Peter's posts, one more specific reason why high CO2 levels will not aid agriculture, when temperatures climb into the hundreds, many crops' production yields drop due the withering affects of the heat. Around here, gardeners were complaining about the crops because of the many 100+F degree days (38C) with humidity in the single digits. Lots of fire and smoke. The goodness of CO2 was dreamed up by right wing think tanks.

I agree that permaculture and biological farming is the future, improving the soils in the process. After a certain time it may even be possible to produce enough food for everybody on this planet, but it will take time, advanced machinery which currently runs on oil and of course efficient cooling and transport, which also currently runs on oil. But sure, improving soils to store more carbon and support more life in the soil is needed urgently.

Higher temperatures will negatively affect plants in places, which are already warm and dry. In other places, which are currently too cold, the opposite might happen.

As I said in another post, I don't believe in the ability of man to prohibit changes of the climate on earth. Sooner or later it will happen, in whatever direction. Our responsibility, as I see it, is to avoid catastrophy, human and otherwise, or at least reduce the risk. This is in great parts a social issue, as well as a technical problem.

Lauren Johnson
10-22-2015, 08:04 PM
The point is, humanity CANNOT stop burning carbohydrates NOW and still feed 7 billion people, let alone 12.

Tragically, this statement is false. Using techniques found in the sustainable farming technique called permaculture can in fact feed a very large population. The amazing thing is that biology of healthy soil takes carbon out of the air and stores it in the soil. Some estimate that CO2 levels could be normalized by adopting these methods alone. This is probably over stating things a bit.

However, as long as the devotion to the accumulation of capital is the end of humanity, humanity will end.

To add to Peter's posts, one more specific reason why high CO2 levels will not aid agriculture, when temperatures climb into the hundreds, many crops' production yields drop due the withering affects of the heat. Around here, gardeners were complaining about the crops because of the many 100+F degree days (38C) with humidity in the single digits. Lots of fire and smoke. The goodness of CO2 was dreamed up by right wing think tanks.

I agree that permaculture and biological farming is the future, improving the soils in the process. After a certain time it may even be possible to produce enough food for everybody on this planet, but it will take time, advanced machinery which currently runs on oil and of course efficient cooling and transport, which also currently runs on oil. But sure, improving soils to store more carbon and support more life in the soil is needed urgently.

Higher temperatures will negatively affect plants in places, which are already warm and dry. In other places, which are currently too cold, the opposite might happen.

As I said in another post, I don't believe in the ability of man to prohibit changes of the climate on earth. Sooner or later it will happen, in whatever direction. Our responsibility, as I see it, is to avoid catastrophe, human and otherwise, or at least reduce the risk. This is in great parts a social issue, as well as a technical problem.

I agree. Probably I have darker picture. The basic capitalist model is make money breaking it, and then make money fixing it. This is the really dark part. Using life rapidly developing life extension technology leading to more and more breakthroughs, you can envisage where this would lead -- a planet for a very few wealthy, a larger group of technologists, and the remaining slaves and then humans bred for slavery. You certainly would not need 8 or 12 billion people.

The environment? It gets fixed by as yet unnamed and/or yet to be invented technologies. Lots of money to be made there.

Michael Barwell
10-23-2015, 03:16 PM
Horizon investigates the real dangers of radiation
"Horizon: Nuclear Nightmares (BBC TWO, Thursday 13 July 2006) speaks to a number of scientists who are asking whether we need to think again about the dangers of radiation as there is evidence to suggest that there is a threshold below which radiation may be harmless - or even beneficial."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2006/07_july/11/horizon.shtml

Lauren Johnson
01-14-2016, 01:47 AM
Yet another AGW denier: Daniel Estulin. It's getting harder and harder to find anyone who accepts a globalist elite perspective, i.e. NWO, are getting on the anti-AGW. It seems to come from Anthony Sutton as far as I can tell. Here is the link Estulin provided (http://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/greenfascismpromo/globalwarming_index.html) from the LeRouche website:


The capitulation of Pope Francis to the British Royal Family's Malthusian princes to Gaia, in his new 'climate change encyclical' Laudato Si' , is an extremely grave threat to mankind, and to human life. The British royal ecologists and their agents for 70 years have been insisting that the human population be reduced over some period to 1-2 billion people at most, claiming this is Earth's maximum 'carrying capacity.' Executing such a Gaia policy means death rates will rise without limit across the planet.
The claim that man-made CO2 emissions are causing catastrophic changes in the earth's climate is one of the biggest, most criminal frauds ever perpetrated in human history. The assertion itself requires manipulation of scientific data, heavy-handed blackmail and fraud to create the false claim of a scientific 'consensus', and the transfer of trillions of dollars from an already depressed world economy into a known scientific dead-end. However, it is the intended effect of peddling that lie—namely the rapid 'decarbonization' of the world's economy and stifling the economic growth of the third world—that will perhaps one day earn those peddling that lie their own Nuremberg trial.

I fully accept the science on AGW. Period. However, it entirely possible and even likely to use it for nefarious purposes.

Magda Hassan
01-14-2016, 10:02 AM
Yet another AGW denier: Daniel Estulin. It's getting harder and harder to find anyone who accepts a globalist elite perspective, i.e. NWO, are getting on the anti-AGW.

It is sad to see people siding with the Koch bothers and oil and fracking corporations.


I fully accept the science on AGW. Period. However, it entirely possible and even likely to use it for nefarious purposes.

Undoubtedly so. Just look at Emissions Trading Schemes. Does nothing for the environment but Goldman Sachs just loves it.

Magda Hassan
01-14-2016, 10:53 AM
I remember watching 'Who Killed the Electric Car' and there was some discussion about well, they have the technology to mass produce electric cars and the consumers who want to buy them and make the internal combustion engine cars obsolete so why don't they? He suggested there was still a lot of oil in the ground and the oil interests still wanted to make their money out of that. So first they go hybrid engine to maximise the profits remaining for the oil people. I'm sure the road to zero emissions is paved with such decisions.

Lauren Johnson
01-14-2016, 04:52 PM
Stunning photo essay

Lake Poopo gone (https://widerimage.reuters.com/story/lake-poopo-dries-up?utm_content=buffer3c7fb&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer)

Magda Hassan
01-15-2016, 12:22 AM
Chart Shows Why 'CO2 is Good' For Climate Science Denial Groups Funded By Exxon and Kochs By Graham Readfearn (http://www.desmogblog.com/user/7036) • Monday, January 11, 2016 - 12:51
http://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/styles/full_width_blog_image/public/blogimages/co2good%20farrel.jpg?itok=iDyTAzyl



What difference does influential corporate cash make to the arguments that climate science denial groups make in public?
This was a question that Yale University’s Dr Justin Farrell tried to answer in an exhaustive piece of research published late last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Farrell’s paper - Corporate funding and ideological polarization about climate change (http://www.pnas.org/content/113/1/92.full) – contained this remarkable chart, which I missed at the time but reckon it deserves a bit more daylight.
http://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/co2good%20farrel.jpg
So what’s it all about?
From previous academic papers and his own research, Farrell had compiled a list of 164 organisations that were part of the “climate counter-movement”.
The list includes US groups like the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (http://www.desmogblog.com/committee-constructive-tomorrow), Cato Institute (http://www.desmogblog.com/cato-institute), Heartland Institute (http://www.desmogblog.com/heartland-institute), together with a few non-US groups including the UK’s Global Warming Policy Foundation (http://www.desmogblog.com/global-warming-policy-foundation) and Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs (http://www.desmogblog.com/institute-public-affairs).
Then Farrell looked at which of these organisations had received money from either oil giant Exxon Mobil (http://www.desmogblog.com/exxonmobil-funding-climate-science-denial) or from groups linked to the Koch brothers – the billionaire owners of the oil, gas and petrochemical conglomerate Koch Industries.
“Donations from these corporate benefactors signals entry into a powerful network of influence,” wrote Farrell. Farrell found that 84 of those 164 organisations were part of that “powerful network” having taken funding from Exxon, the Kochs, or from both.
Then Farrell compiled a huge dataset of “every text about climate change produced by every organization between 1993 and 2013” – that’s 40,785 texts with more than 39 million words. Thankfully Farrell didn’t have to read all that bilge.
Instead, he used some clever and sophisticated algorithms and computer content analysis to do it for him. With this dataset and method, Farrell looked at how often these 164 organisations covered particular issues.
Did the organisations that took cash from the Kochs or Exxon behave differently to those that were not funded as part of that “powerful network of influence”?
Two arguments in particular seemed to stand out. Organisations that took that influential funding were far more likely to use that disingenuous climate science denialist talking point that CO2 is good for the planet. That's the chart above.
Another favourite contrarian talking point – that climate change was just part of a natural long term cycle rather than being driven by humans – was also more popular among the Exxon/Koch group. Here’s what that looked like.
http://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/co2%20long%20term%20farrell.jpg
Now of course, it’s possible that the corporate funding was not influencing the specific talking points that the organisations were using. Perhaps the fact that they liked to say “CO2 is good” simply made them attractive to funders like Exxon? That could be so, although Farrell tested other favourite subjects too.
For example, funding appeared to make no difference to the timing and frequency of attacks on former US vice president and climate change campaigner Al Gore. Nor did it make much of a difference to arguments about cap and trade laws.
In a separate study published in the journal Nature Climate Change (http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2875.html), Farrell looked at how the 164 different groups were networked together.
In that study – Network structure and influence of the climate change counter-movement (http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2875.html) – Farrell found that organisations were more powerful in the network if they had financial ties to Exxon and/or the Koch brothers. In this chart below, the green dots are organisations with funding from at least one of those two corporate players. The red dots don’t get Koch or Exxon money.
http://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/ncc%20farrell.jpg
Koch or Exxon cash seems to help place an organisation closer to the epicenter of the climate science denial movement.
But if you do take their money, then it seems you also have to be willing to deny the science linking carbon dioxide to dangerous climate change.



http://www.desmogblog.com/2016/01/11/chart-shows-why-co2-good-climate-science-denial-groups-funded-exxon-and-kochs

Lauren Johnson
01-15-2016, 06:39 AM
Thanks for @15. Great find.

Albert Doyle
01-22-2016, 05:26 AM
2015 hottest year recorded:


http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/21/science/earth/2015-hottest-year-global-warming.html?_r=0

Phil White
01-22-2016, 02:52 PM
1st post
Hello, DPF.
Let me begin by saying that I do not agree with the theory that CO2 is to blame, or that any warming to date is catastrophic. I do not agree with most of the information which has been posted in this thread. I have been researching the issue at hand for quite some time, and I started from a neutral position. I have never received any money from the Kochs, either. I find the term 'denier' to be disingenuous; I prefer the term skeptic. In my estimation, the IPCC has a mandate which is political rather than scientific. Many of the contributing scientists involved in draughting their reports have migrated away from the organization into the skeptic camp. I believe computer models are over-rated and that CO2 is not pollution, but plant food. (CO is pollution.) Nor do I believe that the world is over-populated. I agree with many of the tenets of globalization yet I oppose it. These are my views and I do not wish to debate them here. There is enough Hegelian argumentation on the subject as is.

“In climate research and modelling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report (2001), Section 14.2.2.2, page 774

The 'conspiracy-minded' (for lack of a better term) agree on most aspects of the political and even the financial spectrum yet remain divided on the subject of AGW. I believe this is by design. I do not believe that CO2 is responsible for any warming, however, I do see a possibility for AGW to exist. Despite the fact that man has not influenced the climate to the extent which is portrayed in the MSM, I believe this to be the future intent. Every climate conference to date has been a confluence of lawyers and policy-makers, and each has ended with some new international diktat or other about a global environmental policy which supersedes the law of sovereign nations. Many trade agreements follow the same structure. This is the foundation of fascism, not environmentalism.

Some posit that there is an organized effort to warm the planet in order to further the goals of future hegemons-to-be. This would be accomplished through techniques of weather modification and geo-engineering. Melting the ice caps would accomplish (at least) four things: lessen the population somewhat, and increase its dependance; corner the food and seed market; cash-in on the 'disaster capitalist' derivatives market; and open up an enormous area to mineral exploitation. To wit, from Bloomberg: “The World Has Discovered a $1 Trillion Ocean (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-21/the-world-has-discovered-a-1-trillion-ocean).”

The people participating in the forum at Davos have been assembling a plan to control the resources which would abound from the polar region. My opinion is that whether or not the poles will melt, and whether or not this is due to human activity, these people will do all they can to make it so, and as quickly as possible. (It is useful to remember, at this point, that classified technology is 30-40 years ahead of public information, and on an exponential curve, this makes the potential for current knowledge unimaginable. Google and NASA just verified their proof of concept for a quantum computer (http://googleresearch.blogspot.ca/2015/12/when-can-quantum-annealing-win.html), after all.)

Man-made global warming is a possibility and a danger, but not for the reasons we think. The rest remains, in my opinion, a distraction.

Albert Doyle
01-23-2016, 12:17 AM
Funny how the trends are coming in right in line with what was predicted.


Just one of those chaotic coincidences I guess...


.

Magda Hassan
01-23-2016, 12:30 AM
Stunning photo essay

Lake Poopo gone (https://widerimage.reuters.com/story/lake-poopo-dries-up?utm_content=buffer3c7fb&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer)

Extraordinary isn't it? What mining companies have gotten away with over centuries is criminal. Pump and dump usually leaving a toxic trail in their wake. And with resources getting harder to access the techniques to get them are getting more extreme too. Eg fracking. And they just pack up and go away when it is all gone or no longer worth their while.