What's climate change ruining today?



  • "Some" being defined as "this reporter".


I'm a Mac.


Another crop that will be ruined by climate change is rice. Rice crop yields start dropping at an exponential rate when the over-night temperatures during the growing season never get below about 19.5 C - a tipping point that we're just about to reach. Wheat crops follow soon after. Let the Giga-Deaths begin!


or they'll just move. Canada has a lot of land that could be used for growing crops currently grown to the south. For instance.


Maggie writes from my old town of Minneapolis, one of three cities in the USA that has a real thermometer record that carries back about 200 years, the other two being my blissfully new city of Manhattan where I got my carbon chemistry Ph.D. from Columbia, and the important Global Warming policy city of Washington, D.C. and all of these cities evidently didn't get the CO₂ memo that it was time to do something other than continue to follow the same old boring natural warming trend, seen in a single glance, here:


P.S. The last time I posted this on BB, I was perma-banned for the crime of posting "libertarian talking points," which I do not understand since I plotted these myself from official peer reviewed raw data sources, which are referenced and certainly were not scanned from some wacky think tank brochure. My design products have even featured on BB and as an original Whole Earth Catalog hound and print subscriber to the original BB zine I should be afforded some BB/EFF appreciation now for my prophetic 1994 port of the encryption program PGP to the Mac, under the Usenet moniker -=Xenon=-. More infographics that I made back around 2009 when I was more active online are found by searching for "nikfromnyc digest" which also reveals hoards of hate speech that demeans Holocaust survivors by casual use of the term "denier," a word that has no place in real scientific debate.

Google's lobbyists go big on climate change denial, raise money for Inhofe & Competitive Enterprise Insitute
Climate debate - is it about science, or values?
Insurance industry pricing climate risk as a dead certainty

Rice = booming:


...and double digit % increases in crop yields in general are being caused by CO₂ fertilization and even coal burning, as James Hansen helped define in his last paper from NASA:

"We suggest that the surge of fossil fuel use, mainly coal, since 2000 is a basic cause of the large increase of carbon uptake by the combined terrestrial and ocean carbon sinks. One mechanism by which fossil fuel emissions increase carbon uptake is by fertilizing the biosphere via provision of nutrients essential for tissue building, especially nitrogen, which plays a critical role in controlling net primary productivity and is limited in many ecosystems and field studies confirm a major role of nitrogen deposition, working in concert with CO2 fertilization, in causing a large increase in net primary productivity of temperate and boreal forests."


What you don;t have is the same kind of soil chemistry we have, which mean those crops will be even more dependent on industrial fertilizers.


I wonder what cactus fruit pie tastes like?


I have some links that may be useful here. While the claims quoted below aren't exactly what you're saying, they're part-in-parcel and worth addressing. And many people already have. Over and over.

"Any changes we've seen in climate can be accounted for with internal variability" --> Actually, natural variability explains part of the changes that have been observed, but nowhere near all of it. In fact, it can't even explain half of the climate change we've experienced.

"There's no empirical evidence for anthropogenic climate change" ---> Not true. And that includes empirical evidence that the planet is accumulating heat.

"CO2 is plant food" --> In some situations, sure, more CO2 is good for plants. But that's not always true. The interactions are actually pretty complex.

"Are surface temperature records reliable?" --> Yup. And they point to anthropogenic climate change.

Hope that helps!


I wonder how difficult it is to grow apple trees indoors. One of Boing Boing's other favorite crops is grown primarily indoors due to its prohibition, and I understand that those farmers expertly manipulate the flowering cycles of their plants by adjusting the times of exposure to light. Not that we can grow all of our food in underground hydroponic chambers when the whole thing collapses; I'm not one of those "technology will save us; keep drilling" folks, I just wonder if, in the short term, that could provide for crunchier apples.


When you seriously oversimplify things you usually get back the assumptions you put in. Drawing a single line is assuming a constant trend, but your charts show the warming you plot is based on rises since 1900; it is a very poor fit to the previous century, which shows no such trend on its own. So this is no evidence against a change, this is you neglecting to evaluate the possibility.

I notice you also deride the current upswing as comparable to the one in London after 1700. An even clearer piece of fast warming would be Berlin after 1740; but there we can all see it is a local effect, and so contrasts with the slower but global warming we see now. Picking the one rise where you only have one thermometer is a trick to ignore the difference.

You may be using good data sources, but your analysis is disingenuous.


We better be growing rice in Canada , because the oceans will have the ph level of lead acid battery.


Got a chart for the ph levels of the ocean basins of the Earth ?


Oh for fuck's sake. The greenhouse effect is a trivial result of thermodynamics/statistical physics, which as far as we know, there are no exceptions to, and which we understand extremely well and can use to make accurate predictions about an enormous range of phenomena. We can see the same effect on Venus, and we can see the other side of it in the missing bands in the spectra of stars, which we use to identify the gases outside their photospheres. In the case of Earth, we can measure the extra energy (IR radiation) being re-emitted back towards earth, in accordance with the predictions of thermodynamics, and we can see the missing bands in the Earth's blackbody spectrum from space. The extra energy has to go somewhere.

Rather than quoting bullshit, I would suggest that, in the future, you begin your denialist screeds with how you would set up and solve the relevant blackbody problem, and how you would test the conclusions you came to, both in the form of systems in nature that behave as you would expect, and simple experiments that you would perform. (Hint: they've probably been done already) If you can't do this, please have the good grace not to bother us over here at the grownups' table, where we don't ignore basic physics when we don't like the answers it gives.


Maggie: Your undergraduate degree in journalism and anthropology ill prepared you to delve into the details of climate "science."

The site all of your links are from is run by evangelical Christian comic pane artist John Cook who is not only fond of hosting images of himself and buddies as Nazis on his site, but was recently involved in not one but two brazenly fraudulent studies of skepticism, the first being a survey of skeptical blogs that was mainly posted to AGW enthusiast blogs instead of skeptical ones as claimed, and the second being a "confirmation" of the original bogus 97% consensus claim in which he studied paper abstracts using the bizarrely boutique term "global climate change" instead of the legitimate term that reverses his results which is "climate change," and which the actual scientists who wrote those papers quite loudly rejected. The original 97% claim was based on a survey that was so generic that the vast majority of skeptics are also in that "consensus" which merely considers that recent warming has been enhanced by the greenhouse effect, not that it has serious policy implications.


Do you have any idea how frustrating it is when the response to posting of hard data plots is a bunch of links to a laughing stock site and a snarky "Hope that helps!"?

What else can I say to make people like you actually look at hard data instead of propaganda sites?

"While the claims quoted below aren't exactly what you're saying...."

No, they are not what I or the majority of serious skeptics are saying at all, whatsoever. They are a crafty junk scientist's dragging of serious skeptics into straw man arguments. For instance, you parrot "...that includes empirical evidence that the planet is accumulating heat." as if skeptics claim that there's no warming at all, which is not the claim being made. The claim is that the current pause in warming and possible cycle change to cooling falsify the computer models that form the very backbone of climate alarm. This outlook comes not from skeptic blogs but from mainstream climatologists themselves, as Climategate helped reveal, and blogs merely started pointing out after digging up dozens of quotes from frantic climate modelers.

If liberals double down now and dig a deeper hole for themselves, the backlash will lead to the likes of President Palin who even condemned fruit fly research, one of the main pillars of biology. I'm sorry, I'm not as organized as six figure professional Greenpeace activists, but I am an avid BB reader who remains perplexed by the air of superiority expressed by people who have never been in a research lab after midnight, every night, for months and years and so fundamentally lack experience in empiricism.

If a plot that shows that your own city and my city too and the city where climate policy is created and the city where climate treaties are negotiated all show no upswing from their multi-century natural trend, and I include data sources that are official, and you just flippantly dismiss them, I'm afraid anti-science Replublicanism wins very big, since this time they spotted corruption and you have demonstrated that straw man based nitpicking is enough of an argument for you and that you are thus incompetent, as it seems may be the case of your whole hipster generation.

Are you even aware that the main skeptic clearing house site has banned cocky theories that there is no greenhouse effect?! We call those guys "Sky Dragons." Are you even aware that computer models add a whopping (3X) amplification of the old school greenhouse effect based on water vapor, and that it is this highly speculative hypothesis forms the basis of all climate alarm?

Diagrams of what types of books liberals and conservatives read show that neither side tends to even look into opposing arguments.


Serious skeptical voices have been banned by your own blog in the past and indeed banned by the main AGW enthusiast sites. They do allow newbie skeptics and Glenn Beck listeners in though, strategically. John Cook is notorious for this and for allowing in a few initial serious critiques and then suddenly banning followups and then subsequently editing of his original content. Are you aware that the main Hockey Stick Team web site, RealClimate.org was registered by the very same professional PR firm that was behind both the junk science silicone breast implant scare the bankrupted Dow Corning and the vaccine/autism scare that destroyed the lives of thousands of kids? It's not a conspiracy theory I offer here, just bemused finger pointing at how activist federal funding of both R&D and green energy and banking schemes drags in some rather curious company.

Serious skeptics have this to say: Yes it's warming, and lots of things are changing because of it. Yes, the greenhouse effect is retaining some extra heat. But no, history is not a hockey stick and climate does not suffer from massive amplification of the greenhouse effect and best of all, warming helps expand the biosphere along with a massive double digit percentage boost in plant growth and ocean calcification exactly due to plant and algae currently being starved of CO₂ . To spend money now on emergency measures steals money away from the basic science R&D, and in an era of growing antibiotic resistance and a permanent recession this is not only going to bankrupt young adults but kill them too. The amount already spent on Global Warming schemes would alone have paid off all of your student loans. We are not attacking science, but defending it against yet another attack on it indeed, pissed off that our old friends still in academia cannot yet risk speaking out since the heads of the agencies that fund their career would make a public example of them and ruin their lives.

The quote from Tim Leary on my global temperature infographic fits this debate quite well given that the funding ratio of Global Warming supporters to skeptics is about 1000:1 with tobacco farmer and now petrodollar mogul Al "Jazeera" Gore alone tossing $300M into climate alarm media campaigns...


Posting this costs me profitable work time, personally, but saying nothing about your continual climate alarm posts here wasn't good for my nerves.

-=NikFromNYC=-, Ph.D. (Columbia/Harvard)

Climate debate - is it about science, or values?
How the TPP will gut environmental protection

"The greenhouse effect is a trivial result of thermodynamics/statistical physics...."

I addressed your straw man argument in my long reply. At the real Big Boy Table, you know, the one where members learn science by spending holidays and weekends in real Ivy League laboratories with fume hoods and spectrographs instead of just supercomputer terminals, we actually read books from both sides of the debate, which you have now publicly demonstrated that you do not, for fuck's sake.


"When you seriously oversimplify things ...."

They are just plots, dude! Plotting them simply for a lay audience is not dishonest. If old real thermometer and tide gauge records really were hockey sticks instead of toothpicks and thus did support instead of debunk the amplified greenhouse effect hypothesis, you and I both know they would be plastered all over IPCC reports and environmentalist brochures. Do you want to see real disingenuity about the Central England temperature record? Try this, from one of the central characters involved in Hockey Stick Team science, and also see how I overlay plotted the global average to show how Central England is actually a great proxy for it and not just local variation:


And look what Team Hockey Stick is now promoting via Maggies' favorite SkepticalScience blog and sincerely compare it to what real thermometer records show happened or didn't happen during the major upswing in postwar emissions:


In that study which Michael "Hockey Stick" Mann celebrated extensively online, Marcott re-dated his original Ph.D. thesis data in order to get that final headline grabbing upswing by simple data drop off at the end and yet it passed peer review in Science magazine (!). All of this stuff is on skeptical blogs and now books you can get on Amazon such as "The Hockey Stick Illusion." They are not conspiracy theory books, motivated by politics. Hockey sticks are made by pasting thermometer data onto proxy data which suffers from a lack of century scale sensitivity, so precedent for our current warming spike is whited out.

Global Warming is the same type of government sponsored junk science that promoted the Food Pyramid that told everybody to eat processed carbs and avoid satiating fats, all based on lobbying by Ancel Keys of the UofMN as he too promoted a "single bullet theory" in which cholesterol intake controlled heart disease, just as the Carbon Footprint Counter now promotes carbon dioxide as the controller of climate, both theories proudly failing to consider how both physiology and climate are full of homeostatic feedback mechanisms, and especially how junk science hurts people and in this case steals billions away from basic science R&D so the synthetic organic chemists and biologists who might save you from cancer and hospital infections are now unemployed.

John Cook's book that I own has a picture of a Global Warming activist who denies natural climate change on its cover:

John Cook is an academic drop out, revealed by the Wayback machine:

His site partner, Dana Nuccitelli, who doubles as Maggie's equivalent at the Guardian newspaper blog, works at Tetra Tech, an engineering company that receives $300M green energy grants and who was also runner up in designing the Keystone pipeline. You don't need to organize a conspiracy when a money grubbing frenzy will do just fine, thanks to Enron's carbon trading initiatives that have now gone mainstream. But a conspiracy certainly helps:

"Badgersouth and I were just discussing the potential of setting up a coordinated "Crusher Crew" where we could pull our collective time and knowledge together in order to pounce on overly vocal deniers on various comments sections of blogs and news articles." - Rob Honeycutt (internal Skeptical Science forum, February 11, 2011)

I thought you guys liked whistleblowers, alas...

"A myth is a fixed way of looking at the world which cannot be destroyed because, looked at through the myth, all evidence supports that myth." – Edward de Bono


OMG, Nik. What a troll. I can't believe Boing Boing hasn't banned you and deleted your comments yet. You would not last five seconds on my site.


NikFromNYCeeeee is, unsurprisingly, lying about a whole host of things here.

Let's start with his complete dishonesty about John Cook's relevant background.

John Cook is currently completing his PhD at the University of Queensland, where he is the Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute. His doctoral work is, amusingly, concerned with the very behavior "Nik" is displaying here, and how it relates to communications on climate change.

Nik is also lying about the recognition mainstream climate science, and the Skeptical Science website, show for the significant role of natural variability and non-human forcings have played in the climate system over a variety of timescales. Nik is either lying or confused about the distinction between recognizing that the present warming is being driven on multidecadal timescales overwhelmingly by increases in GHGs like CO2 vs. the primary role natural variability and non-anthro forcings play and have played on interannual timescales as well as during periods of past climatic change.

Nik is also lying about the purported benefits CO2 is supposedly having on crops. Lobell et al., 2011 found that improvements in technology and the supposed benefits from CO2 were being largely balanced out and (in the case of corn and wheat, overwhelmed by): climatic stressors:

"[I]n the cropping regions and growing seasons of most countries, with the important exception of the United States, temperature trends from 1980 to 2008 exceeded one standard deviation of historic year-to-year variability. Models that link yields of the four largest commodity crops to weather indicate that global maize and wheat production declined by 3.8 and 5.5%, respectively, relative to a counterfactual without climate trends. For soybeans and rice, winners and losers largely balanced out. Climate trends were large enough in some countries to offset a significant portion of the increases in average yields that arose from technology, carbon dioxide fertilization, and other factors."

I could go on, but it's pretty clear that "Nik" is just looking to spread FUD rather than have a legitimate, evidence-supported discussion of the issue.