Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Fact and fantasy

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  • Kyle Matthews,

    Andrew Campbell (Green Party) and Ian MacKenzie (Federated Farmers) on Summer Nine to Noon with Noelle this morning, talking about the issues of this blog: MP3 file (Other Options)

    Since Nov 2006 • 6161 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Here is another example of the exaggeration:

    I agree that that blog is an exaggeration in it's criticism of the NCDC, and if you are interested in taking a skeptical approach to writings on the matter you will of course have noticed the basic mathematical error made in the reasoning of the blog's criticism. And if you are interested in taking a skeptical approach, you will have done the two minutes of research that reveal that the blog's criticism are based on false accusations about the NCDC and actually 2012 was the warmest. However, not posting these corrections (or equally, bringing to the table stuff with basic mistakes in fact) does not make it seem like you want to be genuinely well informed on the matter.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 854 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    FG thinks that most will not have noticed the errors which, it is presumed, you have drawn to the publication’s editors.
    The point is that “environmentalists ” are increasingly being accused of crying wolf e.g Manawatu River one of the world’s most polluted, at the same time as little is being done to reverse the demonstrable degradation of the environment.
    Perhaps there is no connection between these two observations ; there may be other reasons why apathy prevails.
    Suggestions here that there should be an end to the discharge of waste(treated or not) to waterways were met with denial that there is a problem. FG believes that the routine discharge of waste to waterways should end throughout NZ. If the discharged water is really so clean , then why not take it back and re-use it rather than drawing more from the reservoirs? Can ratepayers afford that?
    Perhaps FG’s aspirations are too high ; very few farmers have done as FG did 30 years ago to address the soil and water issues .

    FG thinks that it matters little whether he is adjudged sufficiently sceptical in climate matters : climate is something that he works with every day, and change is the norm. Another 30 years of satellite data should see some certainty over the GCMs emerge. Validation may be possible by that time.
    But if nothing changes in regard to soil and water conservation over the next 30 years, with a world population reaching 9-10 billion- well Hello Houston.
    Are you optimistic?

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 351 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    FG thinks that most will not have noticed the errors which, it is presumed, you have drawn to the publication’s editors.

    I am confident that the publication will not publicise the errors or issue a retraction, as they people involved never have in the past.

    Are you optimistic?

    I tend to go with world population peaking in 2070 at 9 billion, then declining fairly sharply. I think the UNDP assumption that countries with a replacement rate of below 2 are going to come back up to it are unfounded (as there is no evidence of this actually happening) so their estimate of 10 billion then stabilising is to me a bit high. All of this is more or less completely linked to the education of women (correlation with causative explanation).
    As a result I tend to view it as a matter of getting through the next 200 hundred years without doing anything to the planet that causes mass extinction. Unfortunately I'm not optimistic about ocean acidification, as that looks likely to hit a state-change level.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 854 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to David Hood,

    FG’s bemusement and dissatisfaction with the thrust of “environmentalism” is that he holds the view that one of the most practical and profitable ways of dealing with soil and water issues , viz nutrient and water holding capacity, is to increase the carbon content and depth of topsoil. There seems to be adequate science to support the view that an increased depth of a more carbonaceous topsoil will not only be more productive, resilient, and more friable(less fuel required for cultivation), but it will require less irrigation and it will lose less fertiliser elements(N) to groundwater.
    More food , less pollution and more atmospheric CO2 sequestered (if that matters).
    Hence his view that we should obsesss a little more about soil conservation, and we would achieve reductions in atmospheric CO2 as a byproduct.
    It’s hard to see why that is not the best course of action. The focus on climate appears to have been to the detriment of a goal which would have had a more beneficial outcome in total (assuming that reduced atmospheric CO2 is desirable).
    It is clear now that little or nothing will be done about climate per se, but the soil and water goals appear pressing. Will they go the same way?

    Is it time for the environmental movement in Godzone(if such a thing exists) to get real about what it can achieve, and accept that it might get more than one possibly desirable outcome by focussing on the most immediate and proximate problem?
    Think global: act local, right?

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 351 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to David Hood,

    actually 2012 was the warmest.

    Here is James Hansen’s latest summation. Who to believe?

    “The five-year mean global temperature has been flat for the last decade, which we interpret as a combination of natural variability and a slow down in the growth rate of net climate forcing. ” – James Hansen et al.


    Jim Hansen et al. have written a remarkable document titled Global Temperature Update Through 2012. Excerpts:

    “An update through 2012 of our global analysis reveals 2012 as having practically the same temperature as 2011, significantly lower than the maximum reached in 2010. These short-term global fluctuations are associated principally with natural oscillations of tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures summarized in the Nino index in the lower part of the figure. 2012 is nominally the 9th warmest year, but it is indistinguishable in rank with several other years, as shown by the error estimate for comparing nearby years. Note that the 10 warmest years in the record all occurred since 1998.

    The current stand-still of the 5-year running mean global temperature may be largely a consequence of the fact that the first half of the past 10 years had predominantly El Nino conditions, and the second half had predominantly La Nina conditions.”

    Farmer Green’s understanding does not seem , in the light of the above, to be so deviant.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 351 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Simply put, the previous (flawed) link you posted about 2012 temperatures was about Continental U.S. temperatures. This is about global temperatures. These are not the same things. The second article is not evidence of the first (in fact if the Pacific Ocean was unusually cooler in 2012 [note, this is not the continential U.S.], and 2012 was one of the warmest years in history [all via the article] it means that other places around the world must have been even hotter [oh, gosh, like the Continental U.S.], that is what global average temperature means [you combine the readings of a bunch of different places, some lower, some higher]).
    While I tend to agree with you about sustainable agriculture, the mistakes in reasoning you make in cases like this, or the flawed reasoning in in other links you have posted does make you appear as a Typhoid Mary of mal-reasoning on climate science (she didn't believe she was carrying invisible "germs" despite havering it repeatedly pointed out, so would not stop spreading the infection). As I get no pleasure from spending my leisure time repeatedly pointing out these kind of mistakes, I will now join most others in quaranteening myself from these kind of links.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 854 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to David Hood,

    This is a more eloquent statement of FG’s current position. Call it anything you like ; it is a widely held view.
    If you must label it , in order to deny it, then call it
    A Creed for the Third Millenium (apologies to colleen mccullough)

    “In a century, we probably will be able to make quantitative climate predictions with some skill. In the current decade, we cannot.
    AGW is by no means disproven by the last 15 to 18 years of arguably flat temperatures, just as it was by no means proven by the temperature rise that occurred during the ENSO event or since the end of the LIA or the Dalton minimum.
    Temperature change cannot either prove or disprove the (C)AGW hypothesis, not without a full understanding of the climate system sufficient to predict what the temperature would be in the absence of extra CO_2, which we utterly lack.

    All the more so since we have to understand it in the presence or absence of CO_2, soot, various aerosols of anthropogenic or natural origin, with a variable sun, varying phases of decadal oscillations, and an unknown ocean sucking heat down or delivering heat up in a global circulation process with timescales ranging from years to centuries, with land use changes and pollutants in the waters that have visible global effects that we do not yet understand, all in a highly nonlinear chaotic system with numerous feedbacks and spontaneous self-organizing stabilizing macroscopic phenomena with global impact, on a planet that is inexorably pursing an orbital cycle that completely changes the underlying “equilibrium” over time in ways we do not fully understand and cannot predict or compute.

    In the meantime, prudence suggests that we concentrate on the ongoing disaster of global energy poverty first as it is a certain disaster that is happening now and forces 1/3 of the world’s population to live in near prehistoric levels of poverty and misery.
    Even if CO_2 were precisely as disastrous as the worst-case CAGW scenarios suggest — which few people believe any more, including climate scientists — the impact of a 2.5-3.5 C rise in global temperature by the end of the century will be smaller than the impact of a century more of global energy poverty, even if the ocean does rise a full meter or more, even if storms do actually get discernibly worse eventually, even if there is increased desertification, none of which are currently observible.

    Somewhere in the world, as I type this, not one but hundreds of millions of people are cooking a sparse day’s meal on animal dung or a small charcoal fire. Their children are breathing in particulates and smoke and suffering from malnutrition and diseases.
    Their clothes must be hand washed, if they are washed at all.
    They have neither fresh, clean water nor anything but the great outdoors as a sewer system.
    Some two billion people will light their homes — if one can call a tin shanty or mud or grass hut a home — with an oil lamp or nothing at all tonight. The children of those two billion people will not go to school tomorrow, cannot read or do simple arithmetic, and will go to bed hungry (indeed, live always hungry, as they do not take in enough food to support their growth).
    They will grow up stunted in stature and damaged in their brains, all because they lack access to cheap electricity, running clean water and sewer facilities and clothes washing and refrigeration and schools and houses and adequate supplies of fertilizer-grown food that electricity enables.
    Many will die young, or live to become “criminals” as they do what they must to stay alive, or will become cannon fodder for anyone who promises to give them a better life if they will fight and die for them.

    They, not the threat of a supposed apocalypse that might or might not happen in a century, are the moral imperative of the twenty-first century.
    There is no need for 1/3 of the world’s population to live in squalid misery — not any more.
    We have the technology, we have the wealth, to utterly eliminate global poverty within a few decades.
    What we lack is the will and the vision to do so.

    And we will never succeed in doing so at the same time we make energy more expensive and discourage its use.
    The poverty in question is energy poverty. Fundamentally.
    With enough, cheap enough, energy, we can make the deserts bloom, create jobs in the heart of Africa or India or South America, bring medicine and electric lights and running water to the world.
    Cheap, clean energy solves all problems; it is the fundamental scarcity.”

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 351 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Islander,

    It's hard to get numbers on Phillipino/a people but there are more than a few now involved in dairy farming-

    Just heard that tonight's 4.6 shake spooked a dairy herd out Lincoln way into busting out clear through their paddock fence. Onya Bernie from the Philippines who missed out on his Saturday night R&R through having to round 'em up.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3370 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    They are esteemed as good workers...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Islander,

    Aue!

    My much-loved neighbour
    Judith Ann Maloney
    has been brought back to
    her house-
    she died v. early (not long after midnight) this day.
    I will miss her, all the rest of my life-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Islander,

    Sorry to hear of your loss, Islander.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2008 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Islander,

    12.30 am yesterday - my times are muddled by both grief & whisky-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Appreciated Chris... she was a very creative nuturing person & I'll never have another best friend like Jude...I'll just go crash in bed because I have to think about a new flag and a new poem - "How Shall I Miss Thee?" fits - but it has to be Okarito/Jude-ish/tui-rich-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    I'm curious. How is this DCD contamination incident playing out in NZ? I only know what I can see online, and I'm glad to see people in the NZ Herald getting how big a scandal this is here.

    Farmer Green, if you're still hanging around, I'd be particularly interested in your view of this issue.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2008 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Gidday Chris, I just happened to go back here to look for my "ID".
    It's very interesting because there are a number of threads in this developing situation, and the farming papers are still debating it.
    The science is being clarified, and the apologists are out in force - "we were doing it to save the planet".
    Now that N2O emissions from agriculture , and CAGW in general are effectively "dead ducks ", that excuse is going nowhere.
    Which brings us back to the fact that the problem was nitrate loss to groundwater from urine patches as a consequence of the grazing management employed during late winter/early spring i.e. concentrated mob -stocking ("controlled starvation "if you like ) on cold wet soils.
    The fact remains that very few farmers were using DCD, and their reasons for doing so may have been largely economic. Certainly , it was not necessary to use it; most didn't.
    And it ended up in the product. Again the apologists , notably Jacqueline Rowarth , pointed out that it was not poisonous.
    Red herring! It was contamination.
    Clean , green and fresh. Yeah right!
    Contaminated , arguably unsustainable, storable commodity!

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 351 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Thanks, Farmer Green. I particularly agree with your:

    Red herring! It was contamination.
    Clean , green and fresh. Yeah right!
    Contaminated , arguably unsustainable, storable commodity!

    Fonterra's response did not win it many friends over here.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2008 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    Talking of fantasy: is everyone enjoying the current fine weather?
    http://www.farmcarbon.co.nz/index.php/2010/12/days-of-soil-moisture-deficit-in-northland-1952-to-2010/

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 351 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 351 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 351 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Attachment

    I haven't been gardening for long (only about 10 years), but this is the first time I've seen this happen. The Oxalis have feathered themselves, presumably to absorb less sunlight to avoid drying out completely. You can see how dry the ground is, which is unusual in this spot, in which mint (as depicted) usually thrives.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8313 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to BenWilson,

    Ben there have only been two “dryish ” summers in the last thirteen years.
    And neither of them have been of great duration, which is the key factor. Periods of soil moisture deficit are common : the length of the period of deficit is one of the factors determining “severity” of the “drought”.
    Other factors affecting “severity” include
    1. preparedness
    2. reserves of cash and feed
    3. indebtedness
    4. product prices at the time

    FB is just saying that it has been much worse in the last 35 years, particularly between 1975-1999.

    http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Counprof/newzealand/figure13b.htm

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 351 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Caution; some of the information herein may be disturbing to closed minds!

    There's a lot about it that makes sense, though. Grassland has, after all, had large herds of animals grazing it for millions of years. You'd expect it to actually need that, that a removal of an influence like that would create ecological holes. The trampling of the ground. The addition of the manure. The spreading of seeds in the manure. The mulching caused by the trampling. I don't know what else, but just observing that if even those basic processes are removed from an ecology, there's a good chance it won't prosper in it's original form. Human controlled herds might be problems, but it's quite possible the problem is as much because humans don't move entirely on patterns that follow nature. Intensified agriculture is very hostile to nomadic life, we organize our ownership of land in little parcels.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8313 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to BenWilson,

    The comments following the presentation put it into a better perspective.
    Ignore that farmerbraun bloke :-)

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 351 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Farmer Green,

    FB is just saying that it has been much worse in the last 35 years, particularly between 1975-1999.

    I wouldn't know. This only just happened. Every day until yesterday, the bare earth could not be seen because the Oxalis were expanded, which is why I noticed this. I'm guessing they've gone into a survival mode. I'd water, but my I'm curious to actually see what happens without any interference (my garden is not vital to my survival, so this kind of experiment is fascinating to me).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8313 posts Report Reply

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