End of times and volcanic fertilizer

Ol Doinyo Lengai spreading volcanic fertilizer over the grasslands of Tanzania. Photograph by Cessna 206, used under Wikimedia Commons.

As I was flying over Ol Doinyo Lengai I contemplated that it is the largest fertilizer factory on the planet. It is the prime cause of the massive herds of herbivores trekking across the inner parts of Africa.

The ash from the volcano super-charges the grass with nutrients and makes it the best animal-feed on the planet. It also makes for happy local farmers getting annual bumper crops.

After that I got into thinking about something quite sad that I think about a lot, and here is where the story turns quite personal and decidedly un-volcanic.

In a sense of it I have 3 daytime jobs when I am not writing about volcanoes. One is in geothermal energy, the second is in remote sensing equipment, and finally I work in Big Food. It is from the vantage point of the first two that I write about volcanoes. But I have never written in here, or anywhere else for that matter, about my food-life.


In the beginning

Bark bead, surprisingly good for you. Photograph from Swedish-language TV-channel in Finland called YLE. Stealing from the Finns is a great old Swedish tradition.

My paternal grandmother was born when the telegraph and the railroad was the hot new thing. She lived a long life and saw all the technological advances that we as a species have made. Electrification, telephones, the moon-landing, computers, internet, the works.

She had also lived through food-shortages, failed crops, and starvation.

From her viewpoint it was only a question of time before we would starve again, and she was pleasantly surprised that it did not happen in her later years.

When I was a kid, she took a lot of time at teaching me how to survive off the land, and she was a true Master of it by virtue of having survived in the highlands of northern Sweden during times of starvation. So, at age 10 I learned how to make bark-bread.


Our greatest success

If you ask people what the greatest success of humanity is, you will get a wide range of answers. Rarely will you get the answer “big-food” (also known as the agro-industrial complex), free-trade and the relevance of infrastructure on transporting said food.

From 1946 up to 2017 average price for a bag of food became constantly cheaper, and more food was available every single year. For all points and purposes starvation was being turned into something that should not happen, and when it ever more rarely happened it was mainly caused by lack of transportation-infrastructure and poverty. And the infrastructure part is more important than the poverty part.

During those years new crops and strains had increased harvests enormously. Cheap mass transportation made certain that a large portion of humanity could get food even if crops failed locally. And free-trade agreements always centred around food first, and spiffing electronics second.

If humanity had been just a tad more caring nobody would have starved as we flipped into the new millennium.

Now, you would think that big-food executives would have been happily patting their backs for this enormous success. As we sat in boardrooms, at conventions, drinking beers during food fairs, we had a much gloomier view on things. From our vantage point of knowledge, we saw the oncoming storm.


The threats

Young cashew (Anachardium Occidentale) before the cashew-apple grows to full size. Photograph by Vinayaraj, used under Wikimedia Commons.

As I inserted myself into Big Food it was from my knowledge about 3 things. The first is that climate change will have a detrimental impact on food production. Yes, farmers are good at adapting, and over time they will do so. But this means other crops, lower yields, and in part abandoned fields.

The second threat I saw was pollution. A famous example is plastic killing off our fish, but also the troubles with bees is a highly troublesome warning bell that things are not as they should bee.

The third thing is over usage of our resources. Be that over-fishing, or over-production on arable land causing soil-losses. Currently the global loss of arable first-rate farmland is 3 percent per annum, this includes new farmland being cultivated. You do the math.

Pair this with an ever-expanding humanity, and the figures does not meet up. But, up until 2017 science and Big Food was still able to amply keep ahead of the curve, and food production increased more than the global population. In 2017 we had more fat and happy people eating more good food than ever before in the history of humanity.

Even though we knew about the coming troubles and problems, we believed that we could stay well ahead of the curve for decades to come. What we had forgotten was the sheer stupidity of humanity.


The now

In 2017 I could lazily send an email and a few days later containers of Chilean walnuts and Indian cashew would happily start to bob across the oceans to our warehouses.

In 2018 came what we in the industry believed to be the first climate change kick in the pants. On average the crops in 2018 was ten percent below what we got in 2017. Droughts, floods, and other things caused crop failures on a global scale, something never seen unless a large eruption had occurred on the planet. But no volcano was involved, only raising temperatures.

We debated if this was a decadal problem year, or a once in a century thing. But we recognized that it would be something that would happen more and more as things grow worse.

To get the happy bobbing containers I all of a sudden had to make ten phone calls, or even fly there to negotiate. Lazy days was over for fat middle aged white Big Food executives that normally has too much time on their hands. So much so that they instead can spend a lot of time writing about volcanoes instead of actually working.

In 2018 most of the free-trade agreements was still operating, and global mass-transportation was readily available, so no starvation occurred. But prices went up as demand equalled availability.

Enter human stupidity, during 2018 humanity decided that breaking off old free-trade agreements in favour of trade wars was a smart thing to do. Humanity also decided that state licensed piracy was something to bring back from the gloom of our dark past.

The free-trade agreements were put into place to make certain that food could always be traded cheaply and rapidly across the globe as and when a local shortage occurred. Even during the cold war, the US happily sold corn and wheat to the Soviet Union when their crops failed. Back then humanity remembered how horrendous mass-starvation is. Now that safety net is almost gone.

So far, the state piracy mainly involves oil, but rest assured that as things grow worse it will become common practice from any state with a navy. England and Iran have really opened up the road to hell on this one.

Anyways, the next big hit was not going to come around for at least a decade, so even though humanity is stupid we should be safe and have time to wait for more stable minded politicians reinstating free trade.

In June of 2019 the pre-harvest statistics started to come for our basic commodities, and they where even more horrendous than in 2018. What we thought was a decadal thing at worst, all of a sudden looked like the new normal. Global harvests are projected to be 3 percent lower than in 2018.

There is still amply enough food to feed every single human being in style. Do not worry about starving now, no need to go and forage or hoard food.

But prices are set to move up another ten percent. And getting those famously happy bobbing nut containers that I work with? There are non to be had. Chile has sold the entire harvest of in-shell walnuts to China after being pressured by them. India does not have enough cashew for its own market.

In 2019 I find myself working 12 hours a day on food alone, instead of the few hours per week I used to work with everything (yes, I used to be a lazy arsed bastard). Instead of trading in a wild variety of dry commodities I know mainly work with coconut-products and cashew, those are the only two commodities I can be certain of getting in the future. All of a sudden, we have gone from traders into becoming owners of massive factories across the globe and running our own farms to get the necessary control so that we can assure deliveries.

At the same time the now sad and worried containers bob across new trade-routes at ever higher freight costs, customs tariffs and soaring insurance costs.

What has happened is that global warming came faster than anyone believed, and that humanity is even more stupid than we could imagine.

A few months ago, the CEO of Bayer Foods decided that enough was enough and started to speak out about it, and now many food execs do the same. And since I have a public outlet, I decided for once to also talk openly.


The future

The Easter Island civilization was the first to totally succumb to soil errosion of arrable land. History pointing towards our future. Photographer unknown, used under Wikimedia Commons.

I used to believe that the next large starvation would be something that would hit our children and grandchildren, and not something I would see in my lifetime.

Now I am dead certain that I will have to make bark-bread before I die, and not as a fun thing to learn with my beloved grandmother. I am also quite worried that our children and grandchildren will find that starvation will be a normal thing.

Unless of course we pull our collective heads out of our arses and do what we already know that we must do. Here is a comprehensive list of things that are necessary if we wish to remain more than a remnant splinter of our species.

Reinstate and improve on free trade agreements on food. The rest is however you wrangle it, luxury trade. You might think you need your latest gaming console, but what you really need is food. Global bans and enforcements against piracy, state run or from privateers should be a given.

Comprehensive bans on pollution and clean-up campaigns against a wide range of toxic stuff and plastics. This is probably the single most important issue, and it must be a global venture.

Either we have a huge herd of starving children, or a smaller herd of well-fed children. In the long run we can’t feed an ever-expanding population. Either we voluntarily limit ourselves, or nature will limit us in a decidedly nasty way.

And last, but not least. We need to immediately curtail at all cost global warming. Either we do it now while there is time, or we wait and do it after we have had global mass-starvation. I bet there will not be a single climate denialist in existence after a massive dose of bark-bread.

I have painted a bleak picture of reality, because it is reality. The good news is that we still have time to grow up and come together on a global scale to combat our bleak future.

I have great hopes that we will rise up into the same type of giants that we were during the second world war when we combated the naked evil of Nazism. We will probably though need a great kick into our gonads before we become giants again, and nature is winding back the leg to dish out that kick as I write.


The deep future

A DC-10 succumbing to the volcanic fertilizer from Pinatubo. Photograph by R.L. Rieger, USGS. Used under Wikimedia Commons.

Regardless of what we puny humans do to irritate nature, nature will in the end either kick back, or solve things in a glorious fashion.

Sooner or later a larger eruption will happen, and that will aid in restoring depleted fields and farms once more increasing our harvests. Large enough and it will happen on an almost global scale. If we limit ourselves smaller repeated eruptions will also fill the same function.

Volcanoes are after all the best fertilizer factories in existence, and long after we have either grown brains or gone extinct, there will be large herds of herbivores eating turbo-charged grasses near volcanoes. I take great comfort in this.


179 thoughts on “End of times and volcanic fertilizer

  1. Like I say, pick your poison success or failure either lead to certain doom. Choose wisely.

  2. It is scary. Part of the problem is trade imbalance. The trade war with China means that the US has a glut of soya – which no-one else buys. A crop that is increasing year-on-year is palm oil (+4% this year), which is important more for convenience than for nutrition. Global wheat is up this year, but only because of a good year in India. Maize is way down, thanks to the weather in the US. It is quite a mixed picture and it depends what product you look at. There seem to be ‘one off’ events that affect farming happening every year. The one lucky thing this year is a very slow hurricane season in the Atlantic

    Another part of the problem is China which is reaching the limits of its farm land, not helped by the unbelievable pollution of their rivers from which the farms get their water. So China is buying up produce -and land- wherever it can. There is also good news: the total population of China is now predicted to peak as soon as 2025, several years ahead of schedule.

    It is not a crisis yet. This is a warning. We do have time, and we can make agriculture a lot more efficient but planning for future climate, rather than yesterday’s, when planting crops, and cutting down on wasteful products (rice and cotton in unsuitable places, or subsidised corn/.. (insert your pet hate) which no one wants.

    • In my opinion palm oil and fracking are the double doom for our species. Palm oil is deforesting rainforests across the planet, burning millions of acres, stopping rainfall, slowing rivers, and the ocean currents that they feed. Palm oil as green diesel, is as much in demand, even though, as a food, it just blocks our sewers with its indigestible fatbergs. And the global warming of thousands of permanent flare wells from fracking across North America, and the polluted water sources and land that will be the legacy of fracking, mean that the heat is trapped in the lower atmosphere. Clouds no longer look like the clouds we saw as children, scudding across blue skies. The greenhouse effect can be stopped – but only if we want to

      • Palm oil is a problem but still not the largest problem.
        I can’t remember the figures straight from my mind but I think soy is a larger problem. And most (90+%) goes to feed cattle.

        Largest contributor is the elephant in the room: electricity and heat generation, by coal power stations, mainly by two countries: China, and then US. And this is mainly a problem because of industry and big business needs. About 100 corporations contribute a large percentage of global CO2 emissions. Because of that, this is a problem technically easier to tackle.

        Agriculture and animal farming is the second largest contributor to CO2 emissions. About 25%. But this is far more difficult to tackle as 1 billion of the world population does farming. And nitrogen oxide/ methane are powerful greenhouses gases.

        Transportation is only 10% of the problem, but it’s rapidly changing, so I don’t worry with it so much. In 20 years, the world will have mainly electric transportation.

        Interestingly enough, 1% of carbon emission apparently comes from air conditioning. Because such gases are far worst contributors than CO2.

  3. Bark bread and did i mention the bark beetle? The bark beetle and lack of rain has killed almost all of the spruce around me. A lot can happen in a very short time. i’m old…………….. good luck, from sponge bob.

    • I wonder if your grand-children will not live in an elm-forrest instead.

  4. I agree with you in many of your conclusions Carl. We might be in for trouble regarding crops faster than thought. However, having followed world crops and prices the later years I do not quite agree as to the warming part beeing responsible for the later years crop failures. It is fairly complex.

    The temperature has not moved significantly up or down since the very good 2015 and 2016 growing seasons. Slightly down actually globally with a small spike this spring. Now it seems we are in for a ENSO in the blue going forward (La Ninja).

    This started to track attention in 2017, when the distribution of heat started to behave “differently”. Ukraine saw trouble. French and italian wine farmers the same. South America saw unfavourable conditions were cold “snaps” reduced crops. Europe saw extremely dry conditions during summer (2018), and if 2017 (wet) and 2018 (dry, 35-50% yields) happened in the 1850’s here in Norway starvation would have been a certain. So global trade definitely has evened out bad/good years. China is struggeling in quite a few areas this year. Northern US continental and Canada likewise. Due to an overall cold winter, late spring and short season.

    So why the “sudden” changes in heat distrubution globally? Without signific change in total heat? The Jet Stream. Not quite on the radar yet, but a shrinking atmosphere due to atmospheric cooling towards Solar minimum does affect the jet Stream quite substansive. In Europe we saw both heat and cold records in the month of July 2019. In Norway, in the Netherlands, in Germany aso. Similar extremes in temperature spans over a short period of time are registered in other regions lately. And a different distribution of heat potentially affects us more than an 0,X average increase of a said number in Kelvin given no change in distribution. I say we need to research the temperature span. Esp. for prior solar minimums.

    The Jet Stream drives weather patters and saw an all time speed (geographic movement) record in July 2019 of 140 mph. over continental US. The observations strenghtens the over-all theory that a prolonged period of low thermosphere (and overall atmospheric) temperatures seems to “squeeze” the Jet Stream due to the mentioned shrinking thus making the Jet Stream move faster, more unpredictable and obviously affecting crops growing.

    Why we are seeing a prolonged period with lower solar activity in this solar cycle, is not fully understood. Nor the secondary effects. What we do know is that most scientists have already missed the timing of minimum in this cycle, since the suns activity is still falling, and most lightly will for some time going forward. (April/May 2020 my take). We have already surpassed Dalton minimum in number of spotless days this far in the cycle (compared to same number of days since start of cycle).

    The Thermosphere Climate index over at spaceweather is a good indicator if you want to follow the cooling trend of the atmosphere.

    On the overall abilities to grow crops globally, the heat has no doubt increased the area we can grow and keep livestocks on. The greening has increased 40% according to NASA. The depletion of soil is mainly a problem due to (over)usage. Not more heat(!) We might be turning out to be too many on this planet to sustain. Hard use of land has always taken it’s toll. And volcanoes are indeed furtilizers.

    In this scenario, god forbid the temperature shold start to fall, or we have intense volcanic activity over years going forward (my money are on that option). 2019 is showing the signs… THEN we will starve. For sure.

    There is no debate surrounding IF we have been able to grow more in a more overall pleasent climate as of lately (historical). It simply is a fact. 3% yearly soil depletion is mainly due to (over)usage. Not a better climate. Many “whine” about the best period for mankind in a long time. And the “scare” is always ahead of us timewise. At the same time use of chemicals, toxic pollution and plummeting fertility drowns in that precise same scare.

    In the free-trade scenario we’ve been in, it is a paradox that during all things transported more, packed in evermore plastic, creates pollution we do not want. As to wether “free-trade” would survive in times of scarse supply, the answer is no. We got a slight peak last year when Ukraine quit exporting grain for a period of time. The actual stocks were lower than anyone thought. So much for transparancy.

    We are, and will always be closest to ourselves in desperate times. We just haven’t seen those in our lifetime.

    Buy locally, buy used when you can, avoid chemicals whenever you can, smile to your fellow man and watch out for those volcanoes. 😉

    And Albert; you don’t have to reply expressing your view every time. 😉

    • I am amazed how you are bending data to fit your agenda.

      2018 was the warmest year so far, and the peak heat was in june and july, same goes for 2019 that surpassed 2018. So, obviously Albert is well advised to put you to task for misrepresenting data, and furthermore, it is his house to do as he wish in.

      And let me assert that without free trade the dream of buying local will fail. Local is and never was an answer to anyone living in the northern parts of the world. Neither is it in other parts of the world.

      And in regards of these two sentences: “There is no debate surrounding IF we have been able to grow more in a more overall pleasent climate as of lately (historical). It simply is a fact. 3% yearly soil depletion is mainly due to (over)usage. Not a better climate.”
      First of all it is a word-salad trying to hid the main false barb of “overall pleasant climate of lately”. Pleasant climate had nothing to do with it, it is due to more efficient farming practices, better crop-strains, and pesticides.
      The problem with climate change is the speed it is happening at, currently it is happening to fast for farmers and ecology to adapt.

      Now for your opening word-salad. “And a different distribution of heat potentially affects us more than an 0,X average increase of a said number in Kelvin given no change in distribution.” This is blatantly false and you know it. The temperature data on a global scale for June and August is out, they both set records as the warmest Junes and Julys. Stating that the sun is green is not helping, it just make you look rather colour-blind.

      Now I will happily leave the rest of the answers to Albert, lean back, and watch him take it away while I listen to Vivaldis Concerto for 2 violins. It is fitting for so many reasons tonight.

      • I am though convinced that you will come to your senses after your first dosage of bark bread, hone that skillset. 🙂

      • Carl, interestingly enough I am also into the food business, so we share actually two passions! (the other being a love of volcanoes, especially Icelandic ones)

        2018 and 2019 set with a global warming of around +1.0C despite the fact of no El Nino (which happened in 2016-2017 and set as the two world warmest years on record)

        Impressively, even with continuous very low solar activity, the planet continues to warm at record pace. Why? Very simple: CO2, CH4 and nitric oxide gases continue to rise, due to human activity. It still amazes me to see people refusing to acknowledge this.
        But I know why, it’s discomforting to acknowledge the rapid pace of manmade caused climate change.

        Yes, solar output is a very important thing (little ice age coinciding with extended solar minima), but it’s not solar output that determines ice ages, those are triggered mainly by orbital cycles (which I believe offsets the impact of any solar output variations).

        Now CO2 is potencially a big player too.

        The world is currently at 410ppm. A planet at 600ppm or 800ppm has strong potencial for a subtropical climate extending almost all the way to the poles (at least that’s what the geological record shows us), without having ice ages (but back then, Antarctica was not located where it currently is.

        Albedo plays a large role too.
        Ice reinforces itself in a positive feedback loop, helping the planet to be kept in a ice age state. Without it, the global subtropical state (also known as hothouse) would follow.

        That’s where we are heading to. And we are doing it not in a controlled desired measured way, but on a reckless scale and manner.

        Another piece of evidence for CO2 being a huge player. Have a warm world and let algae grow uncontrollably on the ocean surfaces. They will suck so much CO2 from the atmosphere and that triggers a ice age.

        Life has tremendous ability to self-regulate the planet, explaining perhaps why the planet has always remained with liquid water and a mild temperature, despite a marked difference between a young faint sun and an evolving warmer sun.

        Tells you a lot about life modulating the atmosphere composition (via CO2 and other gases) and keeping an equilibrium.

        I keep an open mind for any other undiscussed factors. Still with all data in front of me, I see a planet warming rapidly and that’s because of human action. And that would set a significant risk for the termination of our civilization in the near or mid future.

        However I do believe that mankind will soon embrace geoengineering as a last resort solution, and using technology for that purpose.

        In the long run the age of oil will end and I think our species will learn how to control the atmosphere and the temperature of the planet at will. It raises a whole new set of questions and challenges.. but that’s the 22nd century.

        • The Current ice age was triggered 2 million years ago when the panama Isthmus formed, causing equatorial ocean circulation to directed to the poles where the energy can be radiated to space. It changed for a zonal regime to a meridional regime. Essentially the earth changed from a high sensible heat energy/ Low kinetic energy state to its reverse in a meridional state. The overall energy of the system is still minimised via internal cannibalisation of energy sources. (Required to meet equilibrium laws) The Positive feedback of increase sensible heat from CO2 causing increase humidity (increased latent heat) is not possible as it violates thermodynamics. Positive feed backs within systems require an energy source, unless you believe in perpetual motion machines. Otherwise you need 0th law where two systems are connected allowing the combined system to accelerate towards the new equilibrium. (AKA a Nuke) A system at equilibrium will resist any forcing (Le Chatelier’s principal) as a equilibrium point must be energetically minimised.

          The GISP2 ice core project in Greenland’s shows that the NH has been cooling for 4000 punctuated by spikes of warming every 1000 years or so. The current warming is identical to one of those spikes. We are still 2-3 degrees cooler than the interglacial peak. CO2 cannot have much of an effect because the Atmosphere is already close to saturation. It only takes 30ppm to absorb 50% of the energy in the spectrum. As the world warm a lower proportion of black body radiation is emitted into the CO2 spectrum, although the spectrum has a small about of bandwidth broadening driven by increased brownian molecular motion (doppler broadening).

          • Again and again and again climate change deniers regurgitate the same bs that has been debunked countless times. Repeating something over and over again does not make it true. Also stop violating thermodynamics.
            It’s tiresome to discuss these points again and again.
            Read it and weep: https://grist.org/series/skeptics/

      • I am unsure where this 3% soil loss change comes from. Its certainly not even remotely neat that figure for the UK. I was farming for 40 years and should have reduced soils to 40% of what it was when I started and the concrete roads and other fixed items are exactly where there were when I started. Furthermore in UK the amount of soil that would have entered our rivers and estuaries would have blocked them up solid decades ago.

        Its almost certainly another oft quoted figure that originally applied somewhere with astronomic erosion (say deforested himalaya) and then used for the rest of the world.

        I am absolutely confident that with a continuing supply of fertiliser (not a problem), weedkillers (definitely potentially a problem) and fungicides (definitely a problem) only climate change would significantly affect european food production for the next several centuries and probably far longer. In point of fact the weedkiller/fungicide problem is even more serious and could halve western food production within 10 years, and that would have billions starving.

        PS You can as much ‘overuse’ soil as you can overuse a forest. If Carl could say what he means by ‘overuse’ I would love to comment further.

        • I had written a long answer to this one, but the gnomes ate it when clicked post.

          Fertilizer, all fertilizer except dung is made from natural gas or mined minerals. All of them are finite resources.
          Dung is hampered by there not being enough cows, sheep, chicken, pigs… Human shit would barely be enough, but that is banned for good reasons in most parts of the world.
          I suggest dove shit (joke).

          Soil erosion and over usage of soil is a global phenomenon. In the UK it is indeed as you say a minute problem. But as the UK is about to find out, it is not an island alone. Since you are a farmer you are probably quite familiar with the percentages between domestic and imported food.

          Now, think of all the things you as a farmer do to keep the soil well in your farm. Now, here is the deal. You are in a minority. Let us take a farmer in Brazil as an example. Many of them first invite loggers to cut down the trees, then they burn the under-growth, get a couple of harvests, and move on to repeat what they are doing. This happens in many parts of the world. It depletes the soil of nutrients, it causes massive soil erosion.
          Overuse of water is another problem, rice fields often leaches out the nutrients.
          Then we have wind erosion, water erosion, climate change and weather pattern changes causing desertification.
          The list just goes on and on.

    • I think you know my position anyway. There are things we can agree on, but overall you are quite optimistic. The individual events, even recent year-on -year variations, are weather, as you mention. The increase of these events over the last 30 years are due to warming, and it is going scarily fast at the moment. It will look different from Scandinavia than it does from Somalia. The north benefits from the new warmth, but in the south things are looking a lot worse. Northern Europe is far north, compared to other inhabited places. Much of the US and even Southern Europe is in the firing line. As it was phrased, the local climate optimum will differ from the global one. Manchester has benefited from the new temperatures, but hurt by the increase in rain fall. And remember there is much more land at low latitudes than at high latitudes.

      There are indeed many aspects to the food problems. Soil exhaustion contributes. Population growth does, as does changes in our diets. Climate change adds, if only because farms are no longer in the right place for what they grow. I have seen the models for this century for comparing food requirements compared to food production, which take into account the climate models. We can still feed the world according to those models, but only just, and it will require changes in what we eat.

      The sun is not to blame. Science works by making predictions. If you think the quiet sun causes cooler weather (the jury is out on that one, it is not established fact), than the last 10 years with a weak maximum should have been cool. In fact some people did predict that. Instead we have had the warmest years on record. If the sun indeed had an effect, we would get very significant heating over the next 5 years as the next maximum builds up from the current minimum.

      The thermosphere climate index which you mention has nothing to do with our climate. It is explained at https://www.nasa.gov/feature/yes-the-sun-is-less-active-no-youre-not-likely-to-notice

      The jet stream has weakened, as you mention. It was a predicted consequence of the warming, as the jet stream gets its energy from the temperature difference between the poles and the temperature latitudes, and that difference has decreased. A weaker jet stream lets hot air come north and cold weather come south, as you mention. The average though is relentless upward.

      • CO2 fertilisation is causing global greening. Plant density increase of 17% in 30 years. Deserts are retreating as plants are more drought tolerant. Food production up globally by 30%.
        We are in a CO2 drought from a biological perspective. C3 Plants evolved at 10,000ppm and need minimum 800ppm to prevent excess water loss.

        Warming also benefits C4 plant like corn and sugarcane as they are more temp sensitive. Most of the worlds excess food production occurs in glacial retreat zones from the last ice age due to the high fertility of the soil combined with low population due to marginal winter temp.

        Considering food is by far the most critical resource and production directly benefits from both increase CO2 and increase warming in key parts of the world, why is there not more discussion about the benefits of CO2 increase.

        So far all measures of human success such as lifespan, poverty ect have improved with a warming world, despite the huge population increase.

        Small scale natural disasters like fires/hurricanes are insignificant at a global level compared to things like disease, war, or even snakebite deaths (100k per year) The actually cost of mitigation is far beyond the cost of damage. And considering most of the warming is likely due to other factors such as high solar activity, low volcanic activity and the 1000year cycle (cause unknown) that is seen in arctic ice core records, spending huge amounts of money for no gain means actual beneficial projects like reducing poverty miss out.

        What should be done about addressing climate change cannot be considered in a vacuum. There is opportunity cost involved. It is immoral to build a 4 million dollar wind turbine when 4 million could prevent Vitamin A blindness in 20million children for a year. Of course their isn’t money to be made or power to be gained in helping poor people.

        Consequently it is actually fortunate that CO2 has minimal effect on the planets temp due to negative feedback being a fundamental part of universal laws of thermodynamics. Entropy/2nd Law dictates that the effect is less that the forcing. The forcing from a doubling of CO2 is 1 deg C, thus there is no threat. Climate scientist who claim that CO2 forcing will be amplified by non existent positive feedbacks should never have been given a degree in science. Of course 80% of climates scientist have a degree in applied maths (computer modelling) and thus have no clue about employing the scientific method or the constraints of the 2nd law of thermodynamics on the climate system.

        It is not science.

        • I am just leaving this tidbit hanging.
          “Deserts are retreating as plants are more drought tolerant.”

          This was just the most obvious downright lie you stated. Desertification is an enormous problem, a few countries has made headway due to hard work and new farming practices being employed to reverse the effect. In no instance have plants all of a sudden sprouted the ability of drought tolerance in the last 30 years.

          Secondly, you are wrong on the doubling effect, you obviously know this.
          The only thing wrong so far with our climate modelling has been that it has always been more cautious compared to what reality has given us.
          One degree on every doubling of CO2? Odd that we have surpassed the temperature range of 1C already without doubling the CO2. Nature has shown you wrong, and it literally did it yesterday.

          Get a good recipe for bark bread, you will need it.

          And in regards of the vitamin A deficiency blindness, the solution to that is called Golden Rice. There are obviously other crop-strains now giving the same result, so the price has gone down for it so that it is equal to regular rice-seeds.

          Now to the bona fide stupid equation of the wind-turbine (and no, it does not give you cancer). Yes, there are wind-turbines costing 4 million US dollars (or even more). Average lifespan for a wind-turbine is 25 years, ROI is achieved between 3 to 5 years after construction. That gives a profit of investment that is a minimum of 400 percent on invested capital. What you are stating is actually just bad economic modelling. Why do you think all major European utility companies are building them by the arseload? Out of kindness, or out of making more profit on them compared to other power generation? Think again.

          While we are talking about power generation? It is profitable in this order.
          1. Nuclear power, not a single plant has ever been profitable.
          2. Coal, not profitable. There is a reason for US power utility companies switching from them.
          3. Oil, same as coal.
          4. Natural gas, profitable.
          5. Hydropower, expensive as shit to build, quite profitable in the long run.
          6. Geothermal power, also expensive, but very profitable.
          7. Wind-turbines, affordable and highly profitable.
          Weird that renewable energy sources always crop up at the top of the profit stack, while hydrocarbons are down the same economic drain as nuclear power.

          • Basic Chem 101 (which I should have to explain to a volcanophile)
            The concentration of reactants determines the rate of reaction.
            CO2 is one of the reactants of photosynthesis. The Stomata on plant leaves lets CO2 in while also letting O2 and H2O out.
            If CO2 is rate limiting (which it is below 800ppm for C3 plants) then the stomata will be of greater density and stay open for longer, and thus the plants loose more water through evaporation.
            Its the basis of stomata CO2 proxy measurements, which have an inverse relationship to CO2 concentration.
            So don’t bury your head in the sand and pretend their are no benefits to increase CO2. There is a reason greenhouse operators pay to increase CO2 to 800ppm in greenhouses.

            As for the world warming up by 1.5 deg since the LIA, the warming prior to WW2 was stated to primarily of natural origin by the IPCC. The direct contribution of CO2 is only about 0.5 deg C so far, and each doubling has half the effect of the previous as per beer Lambert’s law of extinction.
            The positive feedback mechanism is in clear violation of Le Chatelier’s principal,(the equilibrium law) a derivative of the 2nd law. Explain to be me why you refuse to even question the validity of a scientific theory when the scientific method demands that all scientist must be sceptical of all theories?
            Belief has no place in science. Scepticism is mandatory.

          • Rob, global temperature increased 0.3C from 1990 to 1940, and then it remained stable or slightly decreased. From 1980 onwards the temperature increased 1.0C until now. CO2 was 300ppm in 1990, 330pm in 1980 and it is 410ppm now.

            Somehow your numbers do not make any sense.

            We are still quite far from seeing a doubling of CO2 (from 300ppm to 600ppm) and the temperature has increased already by 1.3C since the pre-industrial age.

            As Carl said, nature already proved you wrong yesterday.

            And it’s not just me showing you this. The date is consensual.
            Most models and scientists expect doubling of CO2 to result in 3C warming. And the reality seems to be showing us just that.

            And “C3 Plants evolved at 10,000ppm”.
            As a Biologist I am truly shocked with this claim!

            Where did you get that information? I am not aware of CO2 concentrations being that much above 1000ppm and that CO2 peak was back in the PETM 55 Million years ago. Maybe aliens were manufacturing plants in CO2 pumped greenhouses that we haven’t discovered that yet.

            Sorry to disagree with you, but I see a lot of inaccurate claims in your comment.

            “Deserts are retreating as plants are more drought tolerant. Food production up globally by 30%.” The first sentence is plain hilarious.

      • Albert in regards to solar cooling there is supposed to be an 11 year lag. I myself prescribe to the Zonal/Meridional forcing regime theory of climate. Essentially our world consists of an heat engine, the tropics, and a radiator , the high latitudes. The rate of energy transfer between the equator and poles determines temp. In a zonal patten you have less heat transfer and the world becomes warmer. In meridional its the opposite. This corresponds nicely to everything from arctic oscillation to Hot house/ice house epochs driven by continental location.

        The descent into the Little ice age was characterised by increased winter storminess. Ie a meridional pattern with increase peturbation of polar jet streams. This also increases atmospheric mixing and thus increase cloud cover and spreads snowfall to lower latitudes. If there is a solar connection it would be related to solar UV changes driving stratospheric weather. As has now been discovered sudden stratospheric warming event lead to massive cold outbreaks in winter, exactly what was observed in the LIA, and what may be increasing in frequency in recent years. The question is how the oceanic cycles respond. Increased solar activity (think spring weather) is associated with La Niña while decreasing activity (autumn weather) is associate with El Niño. I think its actually the change in solar activity, rather than the absolute level that drive short term climate changes.

        From a volcanic perspective it was seen that low latitude significant eruptions drive the atmosphere in to a zonal/warm/+AO state, with high latitude doing the opposite. Yes it appears Low latitude volcanos can have a warming effect (after the particulates go away) by decreasing the gradient between poles and thus reducing the mixing of air masses.

      • Actually I am completely unconvinced my orbital explanations of the ice ages. There should be two solidly stable states: extensive glaciation or no ice at all. That’s because of the albedo effect which is 30% +. None of the other ones really work either.

        To be honest the only solution that I cannot really discount (although there is some work on it) is that the sun (and by extension all similar stars) at this point in their evolution are slow cycle variables and have brief periods of elevated output followed by long periods where they settle down. That would mean that the sun core works in pulses and it takes a long time (I believe from memory in the 10k’s of years) for core photons to reach the surface.

    • I base the temperature changes lately on these datasets;

      https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/www.moyhu.org/data/freq/ncep.html There is a clear top
      from apx. 2015 – may 2016 due to a strong El Ninjo. Never mind the months. We are down from there no matter which dataset you look at. “Nitpicking data”, yes, but that was the top I described we are down from. And crops have been worsening since then. Why in your opinion? I say less “stability”, meaning more sudden changes. Due to more sudden shifts in the Jet Stream. Making weather (not climate) more unstable.

      As to june-july 2019 different datasets say different. It is semantics though; in the longer timespan temperatures have risen. No doubt. Still (and now you will probably sigh..) we are measuring (having factual data – not modelling) a ton more places on this globe just since the year 2000 than in earlier recorded times. We have to agree we measure a wider diversity of microclimates for every year that passes. But that does not qualify comparing different places. Of course you have more records when you measure more places. But why then are relatively few records from stations with real long time records broken?

      Measuring more is of course a good thing. But not to be mixed up with modelling of prior scarse data. It is simply impossible to do it correctly. It is called modelling for a reason. Like it or not. Worldwide apx. 170 weather stations have a complete record spanning from pre 1880 wo. having been moved an inch. Or closed and moved. Or having a shorter lifespan. Mainly much shorter. And why adjust older modelling AND recorded data UP? Did the generation wo. digital access have more or less time (and integrity) to get it correct? I would trust a conservative 1800’s -1900’s meteorologist many times over when it comes to beeing bias free. (mark: opinion based on news archives research). When researching weatherstations in Norway, i found only ONE single station had a complete record from pre 1922 (Kautokeino). ALL other stations had either been moved, closed ( and reopened somewhere else), or opened later. With most stations having opened/re-opened/moved since the global meteorological placement standard procedure changed and got adopted in 2001. And what about UHI effects? We do the best we have with what data we have, but it is not perfect.

      The meteorological services are not sauber enough to distinct between a 5 year old station and a 100 year old. Because records are RECORDS! I really really miss the grey in between all the black and white. So much for the scientific method. Many of these “records” are flawed by any standards. It is just not a subject anyone likes to discuss. And that saddens me. Because the planet has heated up – no doubt – but we need to be sauber about it. And leave feelings, trends, mediafocus and PC (the hell out) of it. Let the scientific method be just that.

      You say I have an agenda. If beeing disabled from work (accident), having tested 143, and having most hours a day to do research makes me somebodys agenda, then fine. I can tell you it has not helped me incomewise. And just who should a be a “useful idiot for”? Big Oil? Producing their same gross profit as ever, only affected by the oil price? Come on. At least accept there are other scientific therories. Put forward by real life scientists. And reviewed.

      There is no black. There is no white. The truth is somewhere in between, and the more data I research, the more areas I focus on, I find this to be more and more fitting. I drive a hybrid, I am careful about what I buy, keep and repair, buy used, eat locally grown food on an Island in Greece, but if everybody did like me from tomorrow our modern world would cease to exist in a rapid pace. Because we are completely dependant on market economy. And there is no realistic short term alternative. It does not matter where you stand politically, this is the “ugly” truth. We can only strive to to better.

      …and stay d y n a m i c in approach to new research. Because very little is even “settled”. As in absolutely positively observed. More heat coinciding with more heat as basis alone is close to the “Witch-test” in the dark ages.

      Untill we understand what drives climate and weather down to such detail that we can say (not predict) where to grow crops and what date to plant (or not) for whatever year going forward. Not to mention weather. Or volcanoes. Or earthquakes. Or which hurricans are really bad, which aren’t and when they will form. “We know so much more than before.” Yes, we do. But we are far, far away for decoding and understanding it all.

      And in all our imperfection we collectively still like to think we are. “Perfect”. Untill new research show something completely else, and old dogmas are completely forgotten wo. ANY scrutiny on the scares we endured because of it. History tell us this is true. Even very recent. On way too many fields of science.

      There is nothing wrong in reading ALL published (and reviewed) climate science. And beeing “grey”, I do absolutely not dismiss the ruling theory. I just find way too much diverting science to say “it’s all CO2”. And prior observations to support the same:

      On November 7. 1953 Meteorological Institute of Norway reported on the “recent warming”. Since 1900 the average temperature in Norway was reportedly (director Hesselberg) up 1,0 deg. C. from 1900. Based on 30-years smoothed data starting with 1865-94 (not quite as what we are nitpicking over now Carl), and this posed a serious threat to Glaciers. The same trend was seen all over the world, but with amplified effects in northern areas (+2,5 C i Svalbard – NOT year by year, but as compared through 30-year periods. The research was mainly conducted by Th. Hessalberg and his assistant B.J Birkeland. The 1,0 deg. C. rise in temperatures since 1900, is what is stated for Norway today. Ignoring this however, and saying it’s mainly since 1980… No big news since we had cooling 1950’s through 1970’s. Still true? Not if it is not accounted for. Which is what we’re told today. The Greenland ice-sheet was estimated at a 100.000 km2 LESS than today…

      Behind paywall: http://www.e-pages.dk/bergenstidende/2121669247/1/?gatoken=dXNlcl9pZD0zNTA3MTAyJnVzZXJfaWRfdHlwZT1jdXN0b20%3D P. 7-8

      Of course the climate has sustained populations up north before Carl. We had pineforrests on Hardangervidda 1000’s of years ago, and large settlements in Greenland around year 1100 that later parished. These are proven facts. WE just ignore to relate to it.
      Looking far enough back the intervalls used to assert CO2-levels surpasses 100 year intervals. Meaning we have very little clue on short time historical variations. Meaning we still need better tools and data….

      Best from “grey”.

        • Thank you for the informative and fact based reply mjf. 😉

          • People that can’t simply accept the opinion of 97% of scientists on the reality of AGW aren’t worth bothering with.

          • Not very dynamic… . As in actually accepting or considering new research. And understanding that the 97% claim is bogus. Science never was about opinion. It’s about theories -> verifiable facts. Heat coinciding with rising CO2-levels (got that wrong over…) alone does not qualify.

            At one point there was actually 97 scientific articles written refuting the claim. Ending up with numbers anywhere from 34% – 85% consensus. And never mind the massive increase in published science the last 3-4 years implying a combination of reasons. Including natural. (or did they simply die somewhere along the way?) At some point (recently) “dissidents” started to get treated at just that. Scary…

            But never mind. Forget other possible causes and stay in that sacred temple growing bigger by the day now . 😉 Greta and Al got this. Together with the multibillion Climate Industry. (sic)

            Sorry for poor spelling, language and a few “hick-up’s”. Probably been among Greeks for too long. Their own language is superrich, but their english is not for the most part…. 😀

      • Your link to the paper does not seem to work. Here is a table with temperature change for northern norway which you perhaps were referrring to.

        • Albert; No. The mentioned was from a large newspaper piece in norwegian newspaper “Bergens Tidende” from 07.11.1953 written by director of Norwegian meteorological institute, Th. Hesselberg. It stated mainland temperature had risen apx. 1,0 deg. C. and Svalbard temperature apx. 2,5 deg. C. since 1900 (based on 1865-94) up untill then. Baffles me. If anyone reads scandinavian I can screenshoot it and email it.

          mjf; I did not find your two comments very nice.

          • It is probably very similar: this table came from a paper by that group so must be based on the same data. It was about 10 years old, I think.

            The North Atlantic is very sensitive to the ocean currents. The sea of the north coast of Iceland has warmed by 3 C (in my recollection) since the middle ages, because the cold current from Greenland now stops further north and the warmer current from the south has taken over. If you are close to such a boundary, the change can be very large. The artic regions have also warmed much faster than the equatorial regions.

  5. This plot (made by NOAO) illustrates the problem. It shows the number of billion-dollar ‘disaster events’ in the US, 1980-now (cumulative per year). This includes land-fall hurricanes (not sure whether Puerto Rico was included), flooding, fires, meteors, etc. The frequency has been increasing notable, and many of these events affect farmers who after all use the largest fraction of the land. Not all impact food production, but many do.

    • Some models predict that a warmer world would see less hurricanes on the Atlantic, but the fewer ones becoming more powerful.

      As temperature rises in the subtropics, drought becomes more prevalent in the tropics. Also it seems to suppress hurricane formation in the east Atlantic, as 2019 is a very good example.

      I am fascinated to understand how the world looked like during the PETM event (a thermal maxima) some 55 millions years ago. I think most weather patterns from nowadays would be unrecognised in such a world, with most precipitation at the temperate latitudes happening apparently due to local intense convection events (thunderstorms) rather than westerlies/jetstream storms as we see nowadays. I remember seeing this on a paper modelling the PETM, some years ago, but can’t remember the link to that paper now.

    • Was that noaa graph corrected for inflation?
      For instance a billion dollar disaster for a Zimbabwean would to be dropping a carton of eggs.

      • Not even going into the blatant racism here.

        Note that this is events in the US and in US dollars. Nowhere did it talk about the rest of the planet in the graph.

        • How is Zimbabwean hyperinflation racist? It was was equally problematic for people of African or Caucasian ancestry.
          The key point is that a monetary comparison without accounting for inflation is clearly meaningless.

        • For the record 1US$ was equal 2.6 billions Zimbabwe dollars. So my analogy was disturbingly accurate in a literal sense.

        • Was that NOAA graph corrected for inflation? For instance a billion currency unit disaster in Venezuela would be dropping a carton of eggs.

          Factually correct statement given the hyperinflation. Just as the Zimbabwean statement was factually correct given the hyperinflation. Legitimate question about the NOAA graph. It was NOT a racist question or statement.

          • Yes it was.
            The graph only deals with US billion dollar events.
            And, even if we took into account other countries, the graph would still use the US dollar as the base currency.
            Instead you guys juxtapose a random poor country and go on about their hyperinflation in their currency?
            In context of what the graph is about, it was blatant racism to make a smug point of some sort.

            And for the benefication of ya’ll. The price for an egg in Zimbabwe is the same as in the US if we exchange the local currency into US dollars. With the exception of locally grown specialities (those that tend to be arse expensive when exported), the prices for food tend to be the same across the globe (not counting freight). Cost of labour has a surprisingly small effect since the farmer will sell his surplus on a global market.

          • OK so we now know that the graph has been corrected for inflation. That’s very important information and there was no need to toss false accusations of racism around before answering the question.

            Another important correction that needs to be applied is the increase in infrastructure in areas prone to disaster. An equivalent EF5 tornado in 1980 and 2019 or an equivalent category 5 hurricane in 1980 or 2019 would likely have very different property damage values (the primary contributor to the “billion-dollar disasters” due to the increase in population). Increase in overall population has pretty much nothing to do with climate change, although regional population moves can be affected by it of course (see the dust bowl for a prime example). So another important question to ask: is that NOAA graph corrected for infrastructure changes from 1980 to 2019?

            I agree that the number of very expensive weather-induced events has increased since 1980. We just have to be careful to separate out the climate effects from the non-climate effects to make sure that we’re capturing the real magnitude of the problem.

          • This plot is a blunt tool to illustrate the effect. New developments (in perhaps unsuitable locations) do increase damage from severe weather so that is certainly part of the picture. House prices have increased above inflation in many places. But there are two reasons why this plot is useful. First, when you have a normal or gaussian distribution of events, with a lot of cheaper disasters and a few very expensive ones, the biggest increase is on the steep slope of the curve. You don’t see much change at the cheap end, and the very top is dominated by very rare events you may need to wait a century for, but in between the rate increases the fastest. This makes the billion dollar number useful, since it is big enough to be on the steep slope, but small enough that it is still fairly frequent. The second reason is that it is commercially very important. Insurance companies are the most sensitive to disasters, so they keep very good records and models. Insurance companies do not argue about climate change – they know and increase premiums.

            An example is the Houston flooding. This was a freak event. But it was made worse by the increased moisture in the atmosphere. Perhaps 10% of its rain was global warming related, the other 90% would have fallen 30 years ago as well, in such an event. So you can try to see how much extra damage that extra 10% caused. It is not negligible.

  6. An interesting video featuring the new chopper that will fly on Mars as part of the 2020 Mars mission

  7. The fossil fuel inputs to agriculture and transportation of food are just enormous. Just read up on the so called Green Revolution. This is what really scares me. Because there is no future for fossil fuels. Climate says no (yes, global warming is without doubt anthropogenic and CO2 is the smoking gun) and peak oil says no. I seriously don’t believe it’s possible to feed 7+ billion people without fossil fuels.

    There is no serious contender to fossil fuels for global food security, there just isn’t.

    Hungry people are desperate and violent. I fear that things are going to get really ugly.

    • I would like to partially go against you here on two accounts. I know for certain that many shipping companies are working on reducing usage of hydrocarbons, and there are alternatives. Also, the same is true for the trucking part of the transportation, that coincidentally is far worse than the shipping.
      For the trucking part massive infrastructure investments must be made into electric railroads. It is the best option for land transport.
      And to tie up the know on this, farming in our part of the world would require almost ridiculous amounts of energy and hydrocarbons compared to shipping it in.
      But, in the end one of my points is that we must in the end limit ourselves, because no known resource is large enough for our population.

    • The obvious evolution from fossil fuels is toward a hydrogen fuel cycle. Fuel cell driven vehicles and solar derived hydrogen are the obvious way to overcome all the problems associated with fossil fuels. (CO2 being one of the few positives IMO) They have nearly perfected a hydrogen carrier molecule for automobiles that has the same energy carrying potential as gasoline, and is both harmless and recyclable. (Compressed H2 is a bad idea as it is cold enough to freeze a mass of pure O2 out of the air)
      Direct H2 generation from solar is coming along a bit slower, but you could also use CO2 from coal power stations as feedstock for algal biofuel production.

    • Farms can easily be completely self supporting in energy with loads to spare. Its a while since I did the sums, which included even the energy cost of making the tractors as well as making and/or importing/refining fertilisers and making the pesticides. As an example I took my 1500ac farm and if 200ac was in oilseed rape it produced roughly 250 rapeseed containing 120T rape oil or 120,000L which was WAY enough to do all the above with some to spare.

      Farms purpose is to harvest energy from the sun which modern farming does about as efficiently as its possible to do with near perfect provision of plant foods, removal of competition and maintaining healthy crops in the face of disease.

      • PS The remaining land (1250 ac) would produce a mix of other products, if all in wheat (unlikely but top producer) in a decent years would deliver circa 5000T of wheat.

    • I don’t know why the idea of reducing the human population to a sensible level is apparently taboo. That would obviously be a massive help!

  8. To think I came here to escape the AGW debates over at weather underground, since they seemed unbiased about it here. Much less could be said about WU, at least here things are kept in perspective since the African super plume will supposedly do far worse to us even after we have ‘fixed’ the world from CO2, like some sort of wet dream TNG star trek episode where everyone sings zippadee-do-da and holds hands in the future and all nations agree to do what’s best for each other instead of themselves.

    • War, Volcanoes, Plagues, AI terminators are real and present dangers IMO. Expanding the population with non renewable resources is a recipe or disaster long term. But forcing a costly and technologically immature solution on the world with so much poverty still to be fixed (the only moral cure for population growth) is not a bright idea IMO.

      • That should say raising people from poverty is the only way to prevent excess population growth( through education of females)

        • and males,
          a male can produce more off spring in a life time then a female, especially the uneducated ones, they just go for it and don’t worry about tomorrow

          • are the males doing it on their own? just asking………………….

          • Dexter Holland PhD and the rest of the band caught flack over this song from the professionally offended, but I think it outlines the problem quite well. “If the shoe fits…”

  9. Snicker…. I like the mental imagery.

    “Hardtack reminds me of a bread described in a novel I was recently reading. Bakers made a particular kind of bread for survival, but it was completely inedible and contained rocks and sticks. You didn’t eat the bread. The idea was that if you stared at the bread long enough, you could think of dozens of other things you could eat besides that and you’d never go hungry.”


    I still remember the full scale mock-up at the Battlefield park of the typical caves carved into the loess hills of Vicksburg during the Union siege in 1863. A typical meal consisted of baked beans and hard tack.

    Many year later, I tried making a batch of hard tack using a US Army 1863 specification that read that the properly finished product should “have the consistency of a small brick.” Just out of curiosity, yes, you can drive a nail into a piece of wood with it, but it does eventually tear up the hard tack. It doesn’t make a very good hammer, but with motivation, it can be done. (into pine is much easier, in oak, not so much)

    • on theme baked goods would be rock cakes – or maybe laver bread (which isn’t really bread at all) – I think this entire post almost ends up in the volcano bar – not complaining just saying 🙂

  10. HAH! I got ya this time Carl! “because no known resource is large enough for our population”

    What about sand? 😀

    And is renewable. Fractionization in magma chambers leads to a silica rich magma, and that eventually leads to liberated silica via erosion to keep the beaches and stream rife with sand. And it can be a fully abiotic process, unless you include the Daiquiris.

    • Funny that you should mention it.
      Sand is currently one of the most smuggled and pirate-mined commodities on the planet, and we are rapidly running out of it.
      The reason is that not all sand is equal. Sand that is good for building palm-tree shaped islands is less common than dessert sand. One is useful, the other is worthless. Sand smuggling is for instance controlled by large crime syndicates in India who go in, suck it out of river beds, and if needed they kill an entire village.
      Sand is really bad commodity… Who would’ve thunk?

  11. I will have my input tonight Australian Time, I am not great on all the stuff written before me, but a realistic view on temperature, practical outlook and preparation for difficult times would be the order of the day

  12. Another important factor is water. Not a problem in northern Europe but a huge problem in India, Middle East, Western US, parts of China, Australia and much of Africa.

    1. is there enough water?
    2. is it clean and not poisoned?

    Fracking contaminates groundwater. Digging too many wells damages the water table, in some cases (southern parts of California central valley) permanently.

  13. I need to pull rank here, as there have been some unintended but serious
    violations of the laws of physics in the previous comments. And this
    come with consequences.

    -No further heating because the CO2 already fully absorbs the
    radiation?? That is akin to saying that a double brick wall does not
    make the house warmer because a single brick already absorbs all
    radiation. What do you think the CO2 does with the radiation after it
    absorbs it? Deletes it from the Universe? Read up on the laws of heat
    transport, insulation, and conservation of energy, and ask yourself
    what is the point of wearing a coat when you are already wearing a shirt.

    -De Beer’s law halving the effect for every doubling?? Check out
    Venus. You have your equation the wrong way around.

    -positive feedback mechanism a violation of the 2nd law??
    Immediately after using an exponential law?? What do you think a
    hurricane is, if not positive feedback?

    -11 year delay between the Sun and Earth??? This requires a serious
    reduction of the speed of light. Don’t let Einstein find out. In any
    case, solar activity has been declining since 1990 which is 20 years
    ago, not 11. I must have missed the cooling over the past ten years,

    -0.5C warming since WW2? The correct number is actually 0.8C, almost all since
    1980 (your number is way out of date). The prediction was for
    0.1C/decade. We are running very close to that. The models have
    gotten this right.

    Global warming is a serious issue that needs serious discussion. Not
    physics denial.

    • Just a quick thought.. If all energy we capture on earth is (or should be) a constant”, or as NASA puts it: “Earth returns an equal amount of energy back to space by reflecting some incoming light and by radiating heat (thermal infrared energy).” then is capturing any extra amount of solar energy (for electricity, for H2 production etc….) an extra contribution to heating our world.. rather than the increase in CO2 levels.. I guess we started with capturing solar energy around 1980… If any one has the maths behind this thought.. to get this idea wrong… The way forward is to use energy on the surface (tide, wind) rather than solar…..

      • An interesting question but let’s put some numbers in. To provide _all_ our energy needs by solar panels (ignoring pesky details such as energy storage) would take about half a million square kilometers of panels. This is 0.1% of the surface are of the earth, so the panel will intercept that fraction of the solar energy. Assume panels absorb all of the light, while before they were there half the light would have been reflected. That gives that a net effect of going solar is extra heating of the earth by 0.05%. At current CO2 levels, the extra warming by the greenhouse is of order 1%. So the effect would be large enough to put into the models, but is dwarfed by the CO2. In the models, it falls under the general term ‘land use’.

        A related effect plays at the poles. As sea ice melts in the arctic, it reveals the water. Ice reflects, but water absorbs. So this increases the heating. Worldwide the effect is very small, because not much of the earth surface is ice and it is all at the poles where there is very little solar energy per square meter, but locally it is significant.

        If you are interested in the numbers on energy, I can recommend McKay’s book, sustainable energy without the hot air (https://withouthotair.com). It is free to download. A little out of date in places, but excellent in giving you the facts rather than hyperbole. It can be a challenging read for everyone, as both the ‘fossil’ side and the ‘green’ side can suffer from some serious fallacies in the numbers they use.

        • I also recommend reading “without hot air”. Going 100% “renewable” is a pipe dream. Hopium. We are already using all arable land, there are no reserves. Actually, more than all arable land because we are cutting down rainforests in order to grow stuff. Totally not “sustainable”.

          Another thing to check out is EROEI. Learn how EROEI for oil has decreased by at least an order of magnitude since the original oil boom. EROEI cannot go below 1:1, that’s a thermodynamical impossibilty. In fact it can probably not go down to 5:1 and still support the growth that we have become dependent on.

          Another red herring is that everybody is just discussing the grid. The grid is probably less than 25% of the total energy usage globally. The rest is fossil fuels, like it or not. It’s a complete fantasy to go from single digit percents of 25% “renewables” to 100% of 100%. Never gonna happen.

          We are currently using, what, millions of years of stored solar energy per annum. Just how are we going to reduce that down to 1 solar year per annum? This is futurolgy and sci-fi, not science based.

          • We are currently using, what, millions of years of stored solar energy per annum. Just how are we going to reduce that down to 1 solar year per annum?

            That is not the right comparison. That is the number you want if you want to replace oil at the same rate we burn it. Using renewals is a lot more efficient than turning it into oil first. A better way of looking at it is what fraction of our energy usage is currently from renewables. In the UK, the last few days that was 50% of electricity. Of course transport adds a lot to our energy need. But even at the moment, we can get 10% of our needs that way and doubling it should not be difficult. A lot of the rest has to come from energy efficiency, and there are still major gains to be had there. I am not as pessimistic as you are. It can be done.

          • Current annual world energy consumption is less than 10^21J. Earths diameter is 12.7Mm x-sect area is (amazingly) 1.27×10^14 sq m.
            Lets allow 1kW/m^2 that’s 1.3×10^17 W so per hour is 4.6×10^20J/hr or 1.1×10^22J/day or 4×10^24J/year.

            So we are using (amazingly high) about 1/4000 of the total raw energy the earth receives form the sun.

            Just to put it in context.

          • Threading is odd. I am referring to ‘without the hot air’, which I first read almost as soon as it was collated due to my daughter’s friends in Cambridge who knew about it.

          • Meant to reply to your energy estimates above:

            Yes, we are using something like that! So we would have to cover an insanely large 1/4000 earth’s area (dubious due to habitat loss, also triple that if can’t use oceans) by 100% efficient (sci-fi) solar panels, just to stay where we are now, ie. no room for growth (dubious). To top that, those solar panels better not cause any CO2 in their production, maintenance, mining for materials etc (complete futurology).

            Another thing to consider is we better not produce any additional CO2 for Haber-Bosch, transports, heating, etc. etc.

            And this is essentially the best “renewable” option we have. 🙁

          • Another way to look at it that this is 0.1% of the Earth’s land surface. That doesn’t sound so bad. It is about equal to the fraction of land taken up by cities – doubling that does sound bad. But we could just fully cover every city with solar panels and that would get us there. Now it sounds good again. It is just a matter of how you present it. What it does tell you that going solar mean thinking big.

            A better way might actually be to replace all road surfaces with solar panels strong enough to drive on. Black asphalt is already absorbing all the sunlight – might as well use it.

          • Reply to Albert.

            White roofs would help.
            Solar panels are not that efficient, realistically lets say 25% so its, as you sat 0.1% perpendicular to the sun. If it were not for geopolitics a big chunk of the sahara would be good but also when you do the sums the amounts and costs are just mind boggling.

    • Just a friendly hint to others.
      That is so much rank being pulled, that in comparison I am barely literate (not joking).

      To transpose the world of hard core science into baseball. I am the third-drafter in a farm team that will be let go at the end of the season, and Albert is for all points and purposes Babe Ruth.

      In other words, you have a world class teacher in the room, take notes.

  14. Being from the Faroes, we are extremly dependant on the fishing industry, and not so much on agriculture, though that means we are rather dependant on imports of all kinds of other stuff. But there are definitely swings in fishing stocks and whatnot, and some just don’t come back at all. Which has most visibly been affecting seabird populations here, Puffins, Guillemot, Arctic Terns and other species have plummeted in numbers. 40-50 years ago hundreds of thousands of puffins could be caught every year and the popullations would still thrive, now their food has gone, migrated to colder waters further away where the birds can’t find them, and there are years when no chicks have survived at all in various colonies.

    It’s probably only a question of time before the more economically important stocks go to hell, considering how many people worldwide rely on fish.. fun times ahead.

    We are having general elections later this year, and it seems that finally the environment gets some attention, but it sure isn’t a done deal. As our previous prime minister said a few months ago, a new round of oil exploration bids were issued. “It is our responsibility towards humanity to get as much oil from the underground as possible” (We have thankfully not found any amount of oil worthy to be sucked up yet, we are already one of the largest polluter pr capita due to the size of our fishing fleet)

    A stroll through an arctic tern colony, and anyone with a bag can collect dozens if not hundreds of chicks that have starved to death.

    • That is a terrible sight that pile with Terns!
      I love how they fly, rowing their wings through air…

    • I blame the power hungry server farms that volcano cafe uses to stay up 24-7 that and anyone who ever used a car or a plane to travel or bought food delivered by carbon based transportation or exhaled more CO2 than they brought in or had children or were born from people that had children etc. it’s very easy to sit here and point my finger at you while absolving myself of any guilt or complacency. Guilting people into action is far better than solving the issue or providing common sense alternatives that might actually work

  15. I wonder what Antarctica will reveal? Will there be civilzations? Dinosaurs? Fresh water lakes? Stability will be the problem. South America has had droughts and colder weather in recent years.

    • Evidence of….. in the undisturbed land beneath….. not Atlantis….. because the seafarers shared old maps which showed the coastline of an ice free Antarctica, as is shown in the old map which is displayed in Hereford Cathedral, so it would seem that the ice age cycles have their inverse too

      • Mappa Mundi? Not so far as I know. No sign of Antarctica on that. Anyway, with one little area titled “Dragones” (NE quadrant) I don’t think we ought to put much emphasis on its reliability!

        Mediaeval ‘route’ maps were assembled using the routes (road and water) to various destinations. They were not ‘from the air’ views we are used to. They are a little bit like the London Underground map. Mappa Mundi is centred on Jerusalem and the Mediterranean.

        That said, since Antarctica was ice free until our ice ages, there is likely plenty of fossilised fauna under the ice. However, the ice will have scoured the land below down to the rock bed and beyond, so there will be no pristine snapshot of the place before it froze.

  16. I cannot believe some of the comments made. In the UK spring on average has come progressively earlier with each passing year. This is evidenced by nature in the form of specific plant species sprouting and blooming earlier. The Arctic ice extent achieved a “freak” minimum in 2012 (freak because it was so much less than previously recorded. This year in September that minimum will be either nearly equalled or possibly exceeded.

    The effect of CO2 concentration on global temperature was postulated as long ago as 1890 and evidence ever since has supported higher CO2 = more warming. Surely it doesn’t take a genius to appreciate that the more solar energy we retain on Earth and do not radiate back into space the warmer we become.

    I could go on about signs the Northern permafrost is melting and releasing methane (with an even bigger warming effect than CO2) but some people just will not accept the science. I agree with Carl that rough times are ahead but they will be even rougher if mitigating steps are not taken ASAP.

    • The problem is that humans cannot agree on a plan which will help other humans. The rate of destruction of trees is criminal. Fossil fuel extraction is in a race to destruction across the globe. After 9 11 the clear skies when no planes flew, suggested that planes are weaving a net of vapour which locks in the heat and humidity, as temperatures were 2 degrees lower across the US during those 3 weeks, so hydrogen fuelled high speed trains, subsidised by governments, would be a better way forward, to reduce unnecessary flights. Cleaning up after ourselves, and reusing plastics is essential to planning for the future. And as for overpopulation – prosperity, human rights, access to free and safe abortion for all women everywhere, and social inclusion policies, would mean that unwanted children would not grow into a life of suffering and exclusion from the world’s resources. Socialism? Star Trek style would be nice. Do no harm should be the only rule.

  17. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others…

  18. Humans will probaly use her great intelligence to battle the human global warming and other disasters.
    We coud stick around for a long time, unless we destroy ourselves with nuclear weapons.

    The real threat for humaity are large really large impact events
    Swift Tuttle, and in future maybe asteorid Eros, and all the comets are real threats.

    And Red Dwarf Star Gliese 710 C s passage inside the inner Ort Cloud,
    will throw alot of deadly comets towards the earth.
    Gliese 710 c will enter our solar systems outer edges in 1 million years.
    And probaly triggering severe comet showers?

    Gliese 710 c will come very close most models put it 13 000 AU from the sun.
    With a 1/10 000 chance of comming as close as 1000 AU

    Albert how much will this disturb the ort comet cloud?

  19. I have a question for the readers. Who do you find most reliable/trustworthy, in a list that includes scientists (of course), news papers, web sites/blogs, business people and politicians? If you need to know (say) how much energy we use per year, where do you look?

    • Intriguing topic, although I’m not completely convinced that recent harvest failures can be conclusively attributed to global warming. I still have a nagging feeling that there are bigger issues than climate change, at least for now. Farmers here for instance complain a lot about imported parasites that destroy crops and often do not have natural enemies.

      One sentence in the article captured my attention: “Currently the global loss of arable first-rate farmland is 3 percent per annum, this includes new farmland being cultivated”.

      What are the causes of this loss of arable land? Global warming does not play a significant role here, while bad farming practices, misuse of water resources, urbanization, building of factories and roads are probably the main culprits. There is ample scope for policy action on that front, economic forces produce a strong incentive to conversion of arable land to other uses (agricultural land is cheap relative to almost any other use) but clever planning could avoid a lot of it.

      Right now we are also wasting huge amounts of precious land to satisfy very inefficient biofuels mandates, burning food to substitute oil derivatives in cars make no sense (and also wastes fiscal resources in form of subsidies that could be better spent to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles or renewables).

      • Good questions!
        I will try to give some half as good answers.

        Failing crops are not all caused by climate changes and global warming, it would be wrong to say that. And I hope I succeeded with not stating that. It is one of several reasons.
        I did though not list all reasons, and the parasites is a good reason that I did not mention. One could though argue that the parasites have migrated north into virgin land due to the global warming.

        Loss of arable land, you got it correctly. Global warming is yet not a major player in that.

        I also agree on the biofuels, with the exception of methane-capturing. I walked past a farm today that captures methane, the city buses run on it here. Methane capturing also has the advantage of removing the methane greenhouse gas from ending up in the atmosphere.

        • Thank you for your answers Carl, we are on the same page here.

          My concern about this kind of issues however is that global warming is often used as a scapegoat to avoid action on other problems.

          The flip side of trade is that parasites can travel easily, unless there are stringent safety measures . Most damaging pests recently introduced in Europe come from similar climates in Japan and China, they would have prospered here even if our climate was the same as 50 years ago.
          I see similar attitudes towards floods and other extreme weather events, just say that global warming is to blame and you can avoid talking about bad local planning that is almost always more damaging than global warming.

    • My order of preference would be scientists, chosen websites, newspapers, business, politicians.
      But I have the privilege of a sound scientific background and a job that leave me with plenty of time to look up research by myself and the ability to distinguish good works from bad ones (a lot of rubbish gets published undeservedly).
      Most people will always rely on news outlets and other information sources, that too often have the tendency to emphasize studies that make controversial claims and/or are coherent with their worldview rather than sound research (they often wouldn’t be able to tell the difference anyway).

    • Albert, personally I would look for peer reviewed science papers on Google Scholar (hopefully with a readable PDF). For statistics I tend to use Government, UN and international organisations that are supposed to be neutral (ahem…).
      I have a distrust of most newspapers but sometimes they have leads to things I can review myself. I have e-mail alerts from ESA and other space sites, plus summary sites for space and science news.
      I have a subscription to New Scientist, but to be frank I’m going to cancel it because it is trash compared to how it used to be.
      Though not trained as a scientist, I’ve worked in sciences and health on and off over a number years before descending into management training (!).

      • PS I worked as a librarian for all my life so sourcing information is pretty much a natural action for me!

    • I wonder, if you sourced data from those who were convinced AGW is taking place and those who are convinced it is not, would you get conflicting data sets and why? Scientifically how do you remove confirmation bias? The data should be far removed from the septic and the convinced.

      • check for cherry picking. One sign of pseudoscience is selecting data that fits your wish and ignoring everything else.

    • Wiki AND other government sources preferred. UN ignored including any site that seem to have an agends either way.

    • Politicians. That is moderate democratically elected politicians of either centre right or left, in first world countries. Not the nutters like Putin and Trump.


      Because politicians get so much derision these days that on matters of fact, they get so much scrutiny that they barely dare open their mouths these days for fear of being denounced, and then satirised.

      And you be sure that if the do get something wrong, you’ll see them ridiculed for several weeks.

      Sure the others on the list get scrutinised, but not to the same level, and without the high personal cost of getting things wrong.

      • Damn if you didn’t make a point there.
        And also, quite a few politicians have an academic background, or a background in hard science.

        I am still making the case that even if Margaret Thatcher’s politics was fairly horrible, her contributions into banning pollutants on a global scale is un-paralleled. Freon is gone forever due to her as just one example.
        I think that if she had been around she would have drum-beaten the rest of the worlds leaders into passing rather far-fetching regulations on CO2 (and other things).

        • She was also the first to bring up CO2 and climate change. Also her politics were not awful, we needed to prevent unions from blocking every advancement in the UK. The fact that britain went all out after the war for coal powered power stations and coal powered railways was due to union power. I saw a program yesterday about the inter-city 125 railway train where the unions insisted on having two drivers or they wouldn’t drive it, and they won and that was reflected all over british industry. Many jobs you had no chance unless your father worked there and it was common that to get the job you had to join the union first or no job which means if you don’t behave you get kicked out of the unions and lose your job. Power without responsibility or what?

          She never, though, gets the credit for forseeing that our use of fossil fuel would increase CO2 levels and damage the planet. Sadly we didn’t go all out for a relatively cheap standard nuclear power station program at that time.

          • Ignoring her contribution to BSE. She was a chemist so immediately saw the threat of CFCs but not herbivore canabilism as not a Biologist. Worked on Mr Whippy type ice cream I believe?

      • When a question is asked of government (such as, what are you going to do about the lack of books in schools), they often respond making a statement that is factually correct (‘more money than ever is going into schools’) but also irrelevant (it is not corrected for inflation or for increasing number of students). So it can be correct while still being a smoke screen.

        • Schools decide how to allocate their funds, not government. That said some schools are better than others at doing this.

          • But schools do not decide how much money they get. That comes from the central government through the local councils. Anyway, that is a political discussion but funding levels are very poor at the moment. But the point is that is is _very_ common for a government response to sidestep the issue by providing a correct but meaningless fact.

          • Not really, it comes with strings attached and very hard to ‘allocate funds’ if you have no idea from year to year what your going to get. Happy to discuss further over in the bar…

          • It applies to everyone, nobody decides how much money they get and that includes you, me and schools. Governments of all sides do not micro-manage, they pass blocks of cash down which is what happens in pretty well every organisation who have to run within their finances. That applies to every family in the land too. Given our borrowing and debt I think we have overspent quite enough over the decades.

    • 1. Reliable, scientific consensus based sources, like IPCC et al (watch out, and whenever possible, compensate for COI, bias, agenda, political virtue signalling, green washing etc)
      2. Nothing
      3. …
      999. Everything else

    • Science of cause. Problem is that most people are not well educated enough to understand the difference between scientifically based models and statements driven by various interests such as economy, poitical power, etc…

    • I listen to the scientists Albert!

      Newspapers, web sites and blogs all print according to their owners agenda.

      Politicians? A good many are in it for their own self perpetuation – no more. Think short term, promise the earth as long as it will win them votes and they can make a quick buck on the side!

      Business People? Where do I start! We can all see what is happening in the U.S., where a ‘Businessman’ now occupies the White House. The damage he, and his corporate lackeys have already caused by rolling back many of the environmental safeguards put in place by previous administrations is beyond belief – and he isn’t finished yet!. So long as the dollars keep rolling in to the likes of the Koch brothers, global warming and everything that goes with it can go to f***! Everything that goes against their interests is ‘fake news’ and Lurkings beloved ‘homo stultus’ hang on their every word!

      And we have our share of these arseholes on this side of The Pond too.

      Whilst any of these people are still in any position where they can influence policy the human race stands no chance in my opinion. But to overthrow them you will have to persuade the masses to take their eyes away from ‘Eastenders’ and ‘Holby City’ and to concentrate their minds on saving the planet.

      Fat chance! – and the powers that be know it!

      Rant over!…..I’ll get my coat!

      PS; Should this not be in the VC Bar?

    • The reason for asking is this is to see how people select what information they trust. In general surveys, people have a high opinion of science (perhaps not quite so high of scientists), and a low opinion of politicians and businessmen. But when it comes to policy decisions, this reverses and business ranks highest followed by politicians. That always seemed strange to me, for it suggests that people trust science only when it doesn’t affect them personally.

      Any responses/thoughts are welcome in the bar..

      • Personally I trust businessmen as far as i can throw my car, and I am one. (A businessman, not a car, obviously ;)) This applies to science and policy decisions alike.
        I have high regard and trust for and in science, followed by politicians. I’ve been politically active up to the state level and being a MP or Governor or whatever higher political office is incredibly hard work with, by comparison, very little pay. The majority of people still go into politics to work for the greater good, so I trust them in general. Exceptions are proven liars and authoritarian figures such as Trump, Putin, Bolsonaro, Orban and the lot.

      • perhaps I’m a cynic – but I trust politicians most to obfuscate by telling truths which omit more than they describe, if the unadulterated fact isn’t vote winning in and of itself.

        then scientists – mostly by consensus rather than as individuals, and more if you can see the live data than if you can’t

        media ranks low – they aim for getting more newspaper sales/clicks – some use the truth to good effect as a reward to lure you back for future clicks – but they tend to have a political bias of some sort – and it can change quickly (which is less common for politicians).

        businesses I’m happy to trust will say/do the thing that should make the most profit long term

        wikipedia is good in general as they mostly cite their sources for anything potentially controversial

        volcano cafe is reliable for citing sources, and for fixing typos – as long as it is not april 1st 🙂

        • Scientists, especially in consensus, for scientific questions.

          News media: only for facts-on-the-ground — what happened, to who, where, and by whom. And only from sources with a good fact checking reputation (so, not Fox, in particular). Everything beyond the bare facts of who, what, where, when, and why can be assumed to be politicized, and from any large mainstream media source to be pro-corporate biased in particular.

          Wikipedia is useful for factual information, both to get some of the facts and to get pointers to more information. For this a citation-rich article is desired, as it should then be fact-checked and the citations provide links for further information.

          Blogs and other web sites with little or no print presence: if it’s corporate run, see “news media”. Otherwise, well, there’s the nonpolitical (hobbyist things), the political (if it’s not nonprofit and distinctly to the left of CNN it’s trash), and the far out conspiracy wackjob political. Reputation is key here: a large, well established left news site is probably trustworthy, but a random blog will be one guy’s opinions. At hobby sites look for evidence of longevity and of expertise. For bloggers look for reputation. Conspiracy kooks will be widely reputed to be such. But usually conspiracy sites stand out because they’re usually predicting some major upheaval in the future: the End Times, hyperinflation and economic collapse, World War Three, “pole shifts”, extreme supervolcanic eruptions, earthquakes, or similar (classify under “earth changes”), civilization-ending catastrophe (hello Archdruid Report!), or some similar such thing. There is usually doom, gloom, and a finger of blame being pointed. If the articles at a site look like wild-eyed rants it’s a kooksite. If they are worded more soberly but do predict the imminent end of the world it’s a kooksite. If it’s telling you it’s time to pack up all your stuff, sell most of it, invest the money in gold, mountains of nonperishable food, and solar panels, and move to Outer Mongolia to take up gardening on the rugged flanks of the Himalayas, it’s a kooksite. If there’s a sidebar consisting almost entirely of Amazon referral links by the site’s owner, and that owner is not a widely known and respected author and/or the book covers are almost universally about how to survive the coming catastrophes, it’s a kooksite.

          Businesses? Businesses are trying to sell you something. As are politicians. Fact check, fact check, fact check. Business claims about competing products: Ignore. Business claims about own products: Search yelp or etc. for third party reviews, or reputable trade press if you know of such. Politicians’ claims about the past: Politifact and Snopes. Politicians’ claims about the future: ignore, go by their track record in previous positions of authority. Everyone now says they’re either as progressive as Sanders or else somewhere to the right of Hitler. Look at their voting records: most of them will just be pro-corporate and pro-war centrists, a.k.a. the unsustainable business-as-usual that got us into this mess in the first place, and if exactly one party nominates a centrist that centrist is therefore gonna lose.

          Oh, and also look at politicians’ donor records. Assume any donation you can’t trace back to miscellaneous citizens is coming from a pro-business or pro-war interest group, so you’ve got a centrist-or-worse if they get a lot from such sources. If they are supported by nothing but small donations from diverse citizenry they might be the genuine deal, an actual man of the people who will govern for the common good. Do also check their past voting record to make sure they’re not just an at-best-unreliable demagogue though.

          One more thing with business and politicians: the more they contradict the scientists, the shittier they probably are. One cannot govern intelligently by ignoring facts and sticking one’s head in the sand. At best these ones will govern randomly, and at worst they are staunch ideologues every bit as loony as the Soviet pols who backed Lysenkoism and ultimately ran the Soviet agricultural system, and with it their economy, directly into the ground.

          That’s my approach to sifting out facts and knowledge from junk, anyway.

  20. I believe scientific opinion when it is based on peer-reviewed published reports and results from those acknowledged in that specific field. Newspapers I take with a pinch of salt and ask myself “is there a political angle here”? Business people and politicians I assume that they are lying unless proven otherwise.

    • These days I am cautious even of peer reviewed papers. Too many like a good scare to obtain funding or other kudos and the refs are often not what they seem, even if outside paywalls. This makes it all very hard. Fortunately most of the stuff is quite easy to check from other sources to be able to do a ball=park assessment of how reliable the paper might be.

  21. And currently my beer is looking better again…
    Interesting things happening in the area of Grimsvötn.

      • Something is activity going on a line between Grimsvötn and Hamarínn together with 40mm of uplift at Grimsvötn in 60 days. Good times to be had for everyone, at least it is starting to look better.

        • Whats the total uplift for Grimsvötn arera since 2011?

          • 370 millimetres south, 280 millimetres west and 470 millimetres up.
            Total accumulated movement 1120mm.

          • Yes, in a happy 3D plot, but not as a summing of accumulated movement of all of the 3 axis.
            Which one prefer is a matter of beer flavour in this case.
            For the rest, the two different results state a bit of a different stories sometimes.
            If the motion is North and Up only (per example), then total accumulated movement is 1:1 to Alberts distance between points. I use the other method since it gives a better image of how much the combined movement is.
            In other words, we are nitpicking two numbers that both are correct.

        • This time of year, Grímsvötn always does a good bit of uplift. The ice load is at its minimum so we get seasonal uplift in response. The earthquake swarm is interesting though. Grímsvötn is slowly getting closer and closer to the next show.

          • Absolutely correct, the seasonal swing is roughly 2.5cm, so, if we remove that we get a positive of 1.5cm.

          • If you compare to previous years in this graph, I think it looks like the normal swing you get when you combine seasonal swing with the average uplift.

    • Carl, How can I contact you on a possible post contribution?

  22. If you do not have an open mind for new a look at reality, new ideas, it means that you are old, or you have locked yourself in a shell of dogmas.

    • When I find myself getting locked into a polarised discussion, I usually find time to ask myself “What line of reasoning or piece of evidence would convince me that I may be wrong?”
      If I can’t answer that, then I find I am better off stepping back for a while and thinking about that.

      I also find that the more open I am to having my view changed, the more open those engaged with me will be….Usually.

    • i take umbridge with the ‘old’…. i find ‘old’ people have seen enough to realize a wider view. just saying.

      • Technically, by your definition I’m not “old”, but I do agree.

  23. Strange, all the volcano discussions are in the bar and the politics are in the main thread.

    • Can we keep rants/political despair/general discussions to the bar, please? If it’s on topic with the article then please continue to comment here.

    • This is a quote from a link which no longer opens. I know, because I have tried to share it and it is no longer available. So I have kept the article open….. “NARRATOR: For a year Gerry collected data from a network of light meters; the results were much as expected, and were used to help design the national irrigation system. But twenty years later, in the 1980s, Gerry decided to repeat his measurements to check that they were still valid. What he found, stunned him.

      DR GERALD STANHILL: Well I was amazed to find that there was a very serious reduction in sunlight, the amount of sunlight in Israel. In fact, if we compare those very early measurements in the 1950s with the current measurements, there was a staggering 22% drop in the sunlight, and that really amazed me.

      NARRATOR: A 22% drop in solar energy was simply massive. If it was true surely Israelis should be freezing. There had to be something wrong. So when Gerry published his results they were ignored. DR GERALD STANHILL: I must say the publications had almost no effect whatsoever on the scientific community.

      NARRATOR: But in fact Gerry was not the only scientist who had noticed a fall in sunlight. In Germany a young graduate climatologist called Beate Liepert found that the same thing seemed to be happening over the Bavarian Alps too. DR BEATE LIEPERT (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory): I was the same, I was as sceptical as any other climatologist. But then, um, I, I saw the same results er in Germany, so um I believed him.

      NARRATOR: Germany, Israel, what about the rest of the world? Working independently of each other, Liepert and Stanhill began searching through publications, journals and meteorological records from around the world. And they both found the same extraordinary story. Between the 1950s and the early 1990s the level of solar energy reaching the earth’s surface had dropped 9% in Antarctica, 10% in the USA, by almost 30% in Russia. And by 16% in parts of the British Isles. This was a truly global phenomenon, and Gerry gave it a suitable name – Global Dimming. But again, the response from other scientists was one of sheer disbelief.

      • Because “NARRATOR (JACK FORTUNE): This is a film that demands action. It reveals that we may have grossly underestimated the speed at which our climate is changing. At its heart is a deadly new phenomenon. One that until very recently scientists refused to believe even existed. But it may already have led to the starvation of millions. Tonight Horizon examines for the first time the power of what scientists are calling Global Dimming.

        NARRATOR: September 12th 2001, the aftermath of tragedy. While America mourned, the weather all over the country was unusually fine. Eight hundred miles west of New York, in Madison, Wisconsin a climate scientist called David Travis was on his way to work.

        DR DAVID TRAVIS (University of Wisconsin, Whitewater): Around the twelfth, later on in the day, when I was driving to work, and I noticed how bright blue and clear the sky was. And at first I didn’t think about it, then I realised the sky was unusually clear.

        NARRATOR: For 15 years Travis had been researching an apparently obscure topic, whether the vapour trails left by aircraft were having a significant effect on the climate. In the aftermath of 9/11 the entire US fleet was grounded, and Travis finally had a chance to find out.

        DR DAVID TRAVIS: It was certainly, you know, one of the tiny positives that may have come out of this, an opportunity to do research that hopefully will never happen again.

        NARRATOR: Travis suspected the grounding might make a small but detectable change to the climate. But what he observed was both immediate and dramatic.

        DR DAVID TRAVIS: We found that the change in temperature range during those three days was just over one degrees C. And you have to realise that from a layman’s perspective that doesn’t sound like much, but from a climate perspective that is huge.

        NARRATOR: One degree in just three days no one had ever seen such a big climatic change happen so fast. This was a new kind of climate change. Scientists call it Global Dimming. Two years ago most of them had never even heard of it, yet now they believe it may mean all their predictions about the future of our climate could be wrong. The trail that would lead to the discovery of Global Dimming began 40 years ago, in Israel with the work of a young English immigrant called Gerry Stanhill. A trained biologist, Gerry got a job helping to design irrigation schemes. His task was to measure how strongly the sun shone over Israel.

        DR GERALD STANHILL (Agricultural Research Organisation, Israel): It was important for this work to measure solar radiation, because that is the factor that basically determines how much water crops require.

      • Global dimming is better understood now. It was caused by increasing pollution by aerosols (factories, cars). The measurements were actually quite significantly affected by the eruptions of El Chichon and Pinatubo, which was not understood at the time. Since Pinatubo global dimming has reversed in many places (but probably not Manchester, given our skies). However, in India and China it has come back, and it may be expected that this pollution will spread more widely if nothing is done. In the US, the clean air act has helped a lot.

        • Just a couple more extracts: “NARRATOR: So Liepert and Stanhill’s work was widely dismissed. But Global Dimming was not the only phenomenon that didn’t seem to fit with Global Warming. In Australia two more biologists, Michael Roderick and Graham Farquhar were intrigued by another paradoxical result – the world-wide decline in something called the pan evaporation rate.

          PROF GRAHAM FARQUHAR (Australian National University): It’s called pan evaporation rate because it’s evaporation rate from a pan. Every day all over the world people come out in the morning and see how much water they’ve got to add to a pan to bring it back to the level it was the same time the morning before. It’s that simple.

          NARRATOR: In some places agricultural scientists have been performing this rather dull daily task for more than a hundred years. PROF GRAHAM FARQUHAR: The long-term measurements of pan evaporation are what gives it its real value.

          DR MICHAEL RODERICK (Australian National University): And the fact that they’re doing the same thing day in day out with the same instrument.

          PROF GRAHAM FARQUHAR: Yeah, they deserve a medal. Each of them.

          DR MICHAEL RODERICK: Yeah.

          NARRATOR: For decades, nobody took much notice of the pan evaporation measurements. But in the 1990s scientists spotted something very strange, the rate of evaporation was falling.

          PROF GRAHAM FARQUHAR: There is a paradox here about the fact that the pan evaporation rate’s going down, an apparent paradox, but the global temperature’s going up.

          NARRATOR: This was a puzzle. Most scientists reasoned that like a pan on the stove, turning up the global temperature should increase the rate at which water evaporated. But Roderick and Farquhar did some calculations and worked out that temperature was not the most important factor in pan evaporation.

          DR MICHAEL RODERICK: Well it turns out in fact that the key things for pan evaporation are the sunlight, the humidity and the wind. But really the sunlight is a really dominant term there.

          NARRATOR: They found that it was the energy of the photons hitting the surface, the actual sunlight, that kicks the water molecules out of the pan and into the atmosphere. And so they too reached an extraordinary conclusion.

          • And, perhaps more crucially, “DR BEATE LIEPERT: We thought we live in a global warming world, um but this is actually er not right. We lived in a global warming plus a Global Dimming world, and now we are taking out Global Dimming. So we end up with the global warming world, which will be much worse than we thought it will be, much hotter.

            NARRATOR: This is the crux of the problem. While the greenhouse effect has been warming the planet, it now seems Global Dimming has been cooling it down. So the warming caused by carbon dioxide has been hidden from us by the cooling from air pollution. But that situation is now starting to change.

            DR PETER COX (Hadley Centre, Met Office): We’re gonna be in a situation unless we act where the cooling pollutant is dropping off while the warming pollutant is going up, CO2 will be going up and particles will be dropping off and that means we’ll get an accelerated warming. We’ll get a double whammy, we’ll get, we’ll get reducing cooling and increased heating at the same time and that’s, that’s a problem for us.

            NARRATOR: And that’s not all. Climatologists like Peter Cox have begun to worry that Global Dimming has led them to underestimate the true power of global warming. They fear that the Earth could be far more vulnerable to greenhouse gases than they had previously thought.

            DR PETER COX: We’ve got two competing effects really, that we’ve got the greenhouse effect, which has tended to warm up the climate. But then we’ve got this other effect that’s much stronger than we thought, which is a cooling effect that comes from particles in the atmosphere. And they’re competing with one another. And we know the climate’s moved to a warmer state by about point six of a degree over the last hundred years. So the whole thing’s moved this way. If it turns out that the cooling is stronger than we thought then the warming also is a lot stronger than we thought, and that means the climate’s more sensitive to carbon dioxide than we originally thought, and it means our models may be under sensitive to carbon dioxide.

          • So, their conclusion is “DR PETER COX: We’ve got two competing effects really, that we’ve got the greenhouse effect, which has tended to warm up the climate. But then we’ve got this other effect that’s much stronger than we thought, which is a cooling effect that comes from particles in the atmosphere. And they’re competing with one another. And we know the climate’s moved to a warmer state by about point six of a degree over the last hundred years. So the whole thing’s moved this way. If it turns out that the cooling is stronger than we thought then the warming also is a lot stronger than we thought, and that means the climate’s more sensitive to carbon dioxide than we originally thought, and it means our models may be under sensitive to carbon dioxide.

            NARRATOR: The models that everyone has been using to forecast climate change predict a maximum warming of 5 degrees by the end of the century. But Cox and his colleagues now fear those models may be wrong. Temperatures could rise twice as fast as they previously thought with irreversible damage just twenty-five years away.

            DR PETER COX: If we don’t do anything by about twenty thirty we could have a global warming of exceeding two degrees, and at that point it’s believed the Greenland ice sheet would start to melt in a way that you wouldn’t be able to stop it once it started it, it would melt. Take a long time to melt but ultimately it would lead to a sea level rise of seven or eight metres.

            NARRATOR: Once the Greenland ice cap begins to melt, nothing will stop it. Many of the world’s major cities will be living on borrowed time. Decade by decade, the risk of catastrophic flooding would increase inexorably. But unless action is taken it won’t stop there. Because after Greenland, the world’s tropical rainforests will start to wither in the heat.

  24. Two points, re climate change: first is that for several years after Mt St Helens erupted, we had cold, wet summers in Wales. For the last 20 years we have had rain for the last 2 weeks of July, and then the sun comes out at midday on the first Friday in August, and we have one sunny week of warm weather. Then it rains again until mid September. The last 2 years the rain has occasionally been warmer, and although we are near the hinge of UK isostatic rebound, sea levels are noticeably higher on occasions, and waves along the promenade when it isn’t stormy, but just a high tide, are a new phenomenon.

    My point above about burning the Amazon rainforest, drought, and the great rivers slowing, is in relation to the slowing of the Gulf Stream. This is currently warming our British waters, and bringing Whales and exotic jellyfish nearer. Losing the glaciers of the Himalayas will also slow the great rivers on which India and China depend. The North of Russia saw temperatures of 20 degrees centigrade. And the African plume has made Europe as hot as Africa, while Japan has seen record numbers of heat related deaths and hospital admissions, in this last couple of weeks.

    And magnetic north is moving about all over the place, currently under central North America, so what significance does this have?

    I am inclined to give credence to the greenhouse effects of moisture from vapour trails from aviation, and would like to see high speed trains subsidised by governments, to see whether the clarity will return, of the sky and cloud definition, if people are less dependent on short haul flights. There is a study of evaporation which has been ongoing for 20 years, which shows globally, that less sunlight is getting through to the ground, and evaporation is less, and the electrons in the water molecules don’t get as excited by the sun’s radiation as they used to.

    But we have thrived, at the cost of all other living beings, and we are trying to work out how we can continue to thrive through the changes ahead

    • The net effect of cirrus (including aircraft contrails) is not clear, because it cools in the day and warms during the night. in the UK, the effect of warmer sea water will be more important. But I too would like to see the clear skies back. Although I also have to admit that I fly quite a lot!

      • Edmdas, please correct me if I’m wrong, but the link you provided seems to be claiming that hot humid areas, with ground moisture, will get more humid and hotter; while drying regions that don’t have much ground moisture will just bake dryer (even if there is low cloud cover) as global warming progresses. So desertification will get worse in the semiarid and arid places, and temperature and humidity will become unbearable in the other places.
        Glad to be living in western Oregon – not dry, not humid – but just waiting for the 9.0 quake and a few hundred magnitude 5 or 6 aftershocks!

    • I’m not sure that Mt St Helens could be blamed for two years of wet summers – the eruption was big, but the SO2 content was pretty low, and that’s the main cooling agent rather than dust

      • Not to mention that it’s main blast was directed sideways and not aimed at the Tropopause.

        If a volcano doesn’t loft it’s SO2 load into the stratosphere, it has little effect on the aerosol layer and remains a troposphere affecting phenomena. In the troposphere, the much higher availability of H2O causes the SO2 to form sulfate and more quickly sediment out before it ever has a chance to reach the Junge layer.

      • It is debatable if Mt St Helens was a VEI-5.
        Most of the bulk of what was lofted was cold rock dust and not juvenile hot material. If the flank had not ruptured it would at worst have been a VEI-4.

        I am not down-playing the local effects, but this has large ramifications on the effect on the climate. There was just not enough material to release a large amount of SO2 into the tropopause.

  25. there is a green star: 27.6 km SE of Kverkfjöll (source IMO) but no word from a specialist; is it holiday (assumption) in Iceland? is Grims… ready to erupt?

  26. The Green hot geothermal lake in Halemaumau continues to deepen and grow larger

    • Jesper, can you check the size of images before you put them in the comment stream? These are huge files which are slow to load. I have replaced them with local links to speed things up. But there is little point incorporating large images here as they don’t show the detail anyway. Smaller version should suffice.

      • Indeed, even Albert’s at 2241 pixels wide would require a monitor 4500 pixels wide (allowing displayed at 1/2 width) and I would suggest 1200 wide would be easily enough.

    • Everything above 800 pixel is overkill. The maximum picture width is automatically shrunk to that size (but not the memory loading size).

      No need to eat up the cell phone data for those who are on phones.

      • Carl if Iceland hotspot was far away from mid ocean ridge in the Abyssal plains

        It woud make something like Hawaii and Galapagos right?
        Depending how fast the seafloor moves
        Iceland hotspot was born 14 million years ago

  27. I agree with Carl, there is a noticeable uptick in activity of Grimsvötn. Although the past weeks (even months!) have been rather quiet in Iceland overall, there have been numerous small quakes close to Grimsvötn and Hamarinn.

    Looking at the big picture with reports of increased hydrothermal activity, general uplift in the area and increasing frequency of quakes I’d not be surprised to see an eruption in the next weeks or months.

    Hopefully a little bit more exciting times ahead.

    • Probaly will be an eruption is the comming years.
      But accumulated seismiscity energy needs to rise sharper in Grimsvötn.
      16 August 2019 http://hraun.vedur.is/ja/vatnajokulsvoktun/grf_uppsafn.html
      Here is my own update on Grimsvötns cumulative seismicity. Earthquake activity have become a bit more frequent since 2017 but its still not the even rising climb that it was after 2004 s event. The Earthquakes are caused by the magma body expanding and pressning on brittle bedrock walls.
      The volcano is refilling but it still seems to be Re – covering from the huge 2011 event. There been numerous strong swarms thats increased pressure alot and in 2018 the volcano seems to be started a slow steady climb knowing it haves the highest magma supply in Iceland. Still it can be rather tricky we may never know how the plot will behave.
      This is a good way to learn just how much Grimsvötn can recover after a large volcanic event
      And it seems its refilling pretty well after 2011 s event. Knowing the diffrence between magmatic quakes and tectonic ones can be a bit tricky.
      Grimsvötn arera is open conduited and experience little quakes overall only major rifting or as this case increased magma pressure in the upper magma chamber. GPS on ground says Grimsvötn arera have inflated almost 1 m since 2011 and thats another sign of magma Re-charge.
      The next eruption is impossible to predict for the moment as the plot needs to behave in a more straightforeward manner I think ( steady increased climb like the 2 events before ).
      It will likley take longer for it then between 2004 and 2011 knowing 2011 was a rather large event.
      But Grimsvötn seems to be recovering from last event.
      It needs a steeper climb to really go off for now.

  28. Dear all, the questions raised in the previous posts are so big, huge and difficult, and the answer is not easy, but dire.

    The terrible reality is that ruling classes are not able anthropologically to solve the whole problem of the future, because they retain as natural that they will in any case retain their privileges, and possibly they increase them. Maybe a medieval king or a Pope was worried about famine ? Their meal was as reach as ever, in any case.

    So we live in the same paradox (very *human*) of that movie star of the ‘fifties, that asked to support a ban in hunting leopards to save them from extinction, replied “…aha, I need to buy some five new leopard fur before they get extinct !”.

    All in all, I have a really minimal hope in our ruling classes, they will never have the wiseness to make the most obvious things (birth control in first, strong taxation on fossil fuels, great investments in renewable sources, with the determination we had in war times etc) unless the vast majority of us oblige them.

    By the way, not only energy is a limit for agriculture : phosphatic rocks reserves will come to an end within 2080. And then ?


    • Reserves are what a working mine has in known surveyed deposits within its remit. Mostly world reserves are always about 30 years reflecting old mines coming to an end and new ones with a 60 year supply largely untouched.

      Deposits or ores are places with mineable concentrations, almost all of which are not currently being mined so are not reserves. There is a massive gold deposit in snowdonia which is not counted in reserves because there is no mine.

      So world supplies of anything is typically much bigger than reserves. That applies to phosphorus like anything else.

      Agriculture will never run out of energy because currently it produces over 10x the energy it consumes.

      By the way WE ARE THE RULING CLASSES, and given the knowledge and ability of the average voter I suggest we are exactly where I would expect. What else?

      • Reserves are what a working mine has in known surveyed deposits within its remit. Mostly world reserves are always about 30 years reflecting old mines coming to an end and new ones with a 60 year supply largely untouched.

        There is some truth in this and some optimism. The main known deposits in the world have been declared reserves recently – it is a matter of accounting. If this was oil, there would also be a discussion on proven reserves versus ultimately recoverable resource. There probably is more than is listed as ‘reserves’ but the rest may not be easy to get out or may not be economically recoverable.

      • And all 3 statements are in fact not wrong, but are instead pure missrepresentation of reality.

        Let us start with mining.
        First off, let me state that we are not ever gonna run out of any mineable mineral on the planet, unless we strip mine it all down to the center of the core of the planet.
        That being said, what Farmeroz wrote above lacks contact with reality.

        So, let me in short and simplified format describe the process of starting a mine, from the view of a former mining company board member.
        First you need to decide if your mineralization has a high enough grade to be profitable, then you need to know if it is large enough to be able to amortize the investment and still turn a profit after running costs.
        At this point more than 90 percent of all planned mines are shelved. Some of them forever, and some until a sunny day when the price of what you want to mine is high enough to carry all of the above.
        Now we come to the legal side of things, can you even mine it for legal reasons (part of it you should have checked prior to all that drilling you did to verify your mineralization, but hohum, there are idjitz around).
        Here another 90 percent goes down the drain in a torrent of 5-legged green-bearded whomper-toads, locals protesting, water rights, no-go on road building, and so on and so forth.
        So, about 1 percent of all virgin finds will become a mine. Actually far less since you also need to get the financing in place, and that is less easy than people think.

        Next problem is that we humans have been mining for a long time, most good finds are mined out.

        My favourite pet-peeve was also mixed in, and that is gold mines. From a professional mining perspective gold is a shit metal. It is rarely profitable, at best it is a bonus metal in finds of copper or other carry-metals. It might though be profitable from a personal viewpoint, if you have the skill-set and luck and find a lode of placer-gold.
        It is also one of the few metals that we rarely need in life.
        But, gold attracts a lot of fools with gold fever. So, any find of gold that would be even remotely profitable that is known to man is already being mined, or has been mined.
        So, without even bothering with checking; If the Snowdonian gold field was even remotely possible to mine and profitable, it would be mined or already be in the form of particularly pointless gold bars.

        Over to “reserve”. Non-miners do not know what this is. First of all, there are 2 different sets of it, Farmeroz is basically talking about operating mine reserves. Those in turn are divided into two sub-sets, Probable and Proved.
        Then we have Mineral Resources, that is known sources of a mineral. Completely different thing, here we have all sorts of things in the pot. And this is what has been dropping in the last decades.
        Let me explain that in falling order (simplified for general public here, any miner laughing from me dumbing it down to much is welcome to expand on it).
        1. Measured is a resource that is so well researched that you can walk into a bank and they would at least not laugh outright at your find. It is still unlikely they will fork up dough though.
        2. Indicated means that you have good data giving you good reason to believe that you actually have the amount that you have calculated from you drill cores and other data that you might have. This can be upgraded to bankable if you do testing off the ore itself in regards of chemistry and test melts and such.
        3. Inferred means that you have partial data giving you an inkling that there might be an idea to pay more money for more drill-cores to be drilled. But, you might just have the proverbial scrap-rock.

        In this context “reserves” is pointless. An operating mine might have anything between 1 year to 30 years of reserves.
        Let us instead talk about known unused possible future mines, or in correct vernacular, the “mineral resources”.

        We either find those as abandoned mines, mines never started (see above), or mines that states might change laws to get to if we really must do it. We also have waste tailings dumps here.
        It is often more profitable to mine old residue from the mines, than start a new mine. Let us take Anyox as an example, the tailings dam there contains so much copper, silver and gold that it is today profitable to mine it. The reason is that back when the mine was operational the technology was un-developed and left a lot of good metal in the residual waste. But, today it is possible to extract it.
        Mining these scrap-heaps is today becoming more and more common, the reason is that virgin finds that are profitable has become ever rarer.

        Here is the conundrum, 90 percent of all metals come from fairly old large mines. And we rarely nowadays see mines on the same scale open up. The reason is that we know pretty much where all the finds are thanks to remote sensing satellites and other technology.
        There are a few places left on the planet, but when they have been opened we will end up with smaller mines being operated giving metal at ever increasing prices.

        Now, let us go for the factually true, but not rooted in realism agricultural part.
        Yes, if we only farm to maximize energy-yield it would be true that agriculture produces a factor of ten more energy than it uses.
        I can even state from where this true, but misleading example comes from. It is from farming to produce bio-fuel, most common from rapeseed oil.
        I think everyone agrees that after reading the article above, that we need food more than biofuel.
        In the real world where farmers produce edible things ending up on tables the curve reverses a lot. Before food has been farmed, shipped, refined and so on and ended up on your plate it will have used between two to ten times as much energy compared to you walking up to a cows ass to munch on it. And not a single thing will have produced any significant portion of energy (except for the energy you get from eating it). Instead it will have used quite significant amounts of energy.

        Public disclaimer: DO NOT BITE COWS IN THE ASS. Cows are sensitive about their asses being bitten and will probably try to kill you. Cows are sensible and are seldom into kinky stuff.

        Same goes for the “Us being the ruling class”. Yes, if you are fortunate enough you get to vote, and you might even get to speak your mind.
        Problem is just that your voice is small, and your vote goes to a guy that will make your decisions for you. Rarely do you get to cast that vote directly on a specific decission, and if you do get to cast your vote directly, some fatcat-anus will have lied so hard and fast that a majority will think that biting cows in the ass is a good idea.
        Another point, just imagine the insane amount of influence you can buy for a billion in your favourite currency?
        You can rule countries on that amount if you are ruthless enough. There is not a politician on the planet who will not pick up the phone when you call when you wield a stack of cash that big, and they will bloody well listen to you. Try to do that if you wish, without that kind of stack.
        And if the politician does not do as you wish, then you pay to have him deposed by quite legal means such as hiring ad agencies, or digital media, or something else. Simplest is to just convince his voters that what you want is a spiffing idea that will create a gazillion jobs. The next guy at the rudder will do as you tell him, trust me.

        • Dear Carl,

          Yes, we do rule through the ballot box, and most of those voting do not have a clue, so expect poor decisions from the politicians. That’s what I said. That’s what you said.

          You pretty well proved my point distinguishing between reserves and deposits. Whether the figures given include deposits in reserves I can’t say as I didn’t source the original comment. Certainly they didn’t used to and probably still do not.

          Some years ago I did look into phosphorus and quickly found there were massive deposits all over north africa and elsewhere that didn’t have a mine for hundreds of miles. I also wondered about this and that’s when I found out about reserves and deposits and its actually a huge distinction. Right now nobody is going to set up a copper mine because the world is already well supplied. A relatively recent mine (I think in the andes) with high yields is failing simply because it cannot compete against the well established mines which have paid off their development costs. This is common, you don’t start mining until existing world mines are running out (falling reserves) or world demand looks good for long enough to get a payback. As a result world supply and demand pretty well stays in balance.

          Agriculture produces at least 10x the total energy put into it. That’s what I said and you agreed with it, its a fact. Transport takes virtually no fuel, which is why it’s taxed heavily. Packaging also takes little fuel, but far far more than it should. If you chose to feed grains to pigs, poultry and worse cattle, then your efficiency drops terribly, 6:1 for feedlot cattle and 3:1 for pigs/poultry, but that choice is up to consumers but note that its still positive.

          To make agriculture negative all sorts of cheats and fiddle need to be done which are basically and actually lies. Start charging for the ‘cost of water’ that in most cases falls FOC from rain is a good one.

          You try to make agriculture net energy consumers by adding in transport and packaging but next time do the sums. Work out how much oil is used to move a 60,000T grain ship from europe to USA, try it, you will be surprised. Its a tiny percentage, which is why it’s so cheap.

          So basically, sorry Carl, you pretty well confirmed what I said.

          Agriculture, and farmers basically supply what they are asked to supply at the price they can supply it. If you want that to change, alter the cost-supply equation because farmers are not academics with pensions, they are mostly self employed, internationally mostly one-family bands, and have these families to feed, usually at a poorer standard than those buying their food and preaching about it.

          Sadly nobody will read this as there is a new topic up. Ah well.

          • well i read it. Anyone heard about the Pebble Mine going upstream from Bristol Bay, one of the top producers of salmon in the world? They plan to mine copper, gold, and molybdenium . i’m sick of it… it will eventually ruin the salmon run. People are so job hungry that they are willing to sell their childrens’ future food for a job today. No amount of people power can stop it… money rules and ruins all.. end of rant… now to the new topic… Best!motsfo

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