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The harsh reality of climate change

Written By: - Date published: 11:45 am, June 19th, 2010 - 79 comments
Categories: climate change - Tags: , ,

The most comprehensive collection and analysis of global temperature trends comes from NOAA (the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) who collect data worldwide through the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) Global Telecommunication System (GTS) from more than 200 countries world wide. In the context of the debate over climate change from global warming, the report for May 2010 makes sobering reading. Highlights for the global climate (skipped a regional highlight) in May include

  • It was the warmest May on record for the global surface temperature as a whole, and for the land surfaces of the globe.
  • It was the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere and for land areas of the Northern Hemisphere.
  • This was the 303rd consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th Century average. The last month with below average temperatures was February 1985.

This is a fact that the CCDs (Climate Change Deniers and skeptics) seem to neglect to observe.

Climate is an overall pattern of change over significant periods of time – it is statistical in nature. Instead they prefer to look at short regional patterns of weather like the cool winter in Northern Europe and the Northern America. They ignore the relative warmth in neighboring areas in the Arctic from where that cold spilled over from. I’ve commented on this nitpicking tendency in a previous post – A note to idiots – Weather is not Climate. The climb in world averaged temperature anomalies against the 20th century average is clearly apparent in the chart on the right. Click it for a larger image.

NOAA highlights for the early part of this year include:-

  • It was the warmest March-May on record for the global surface temperature as a whole, and for the land surfaces of the globe.
  • Each of the months of March, April and May 2010 were the warmest on record. This ties 2010 with 1998 (Feb, Jul, Aug) for the most ‘warmest months’ in any calendar year. Other years with ‘warmest months’: 2005 (Jun, Sep); 2003 (Oct); 2004 (Nov); 2006 (Dec); 2007 (Jan);
  • The year-to-date (Jan-May) temperature is the warmest first five months on record.
  • The two years which were ultimately the warmest on record (2005 and 1998), like 2010, began in the middle of an El Nino which faded to neutral conditions during the spring.

The hottest year globally to date was in 2005 (not 1998 as many myth-believers seem to prefer for ideological reasons) because it had a warmer overall year from June to December. This year is shaping up to be even warmer. Moreover, we’re still at a low point in the solar sunspot cycle and it will only get warmer from now until after that peaks in 2013. But regardless of the solar cycle, it is still getting hotter globally in the early part of this century as the sunspots have been subsiding. The Earths atmosphere and oceans are retaining more heat than they are releasing – exactly what you’d expect from pumping excess greenhouse gases into the atmosphere – click the image left. The same rapid rise is seen in CO2 and other greenhouse gases worldwide.

Comparing 20 years of Global Temperature Trends

Each of the 10 warmest average global temperatures recorded since 1880 have occurred in the last fifteen years. The warmest year-to-date on record, through May, was 1998, and 2010 is warmer so far (note: although 1998 was the warmest year through May, a late-year warm surge in 2005 made that year the warmest total year). Analysis by the National Climatic Data Center reveals that May of 2010 was the warmest global average for that month on record, and is also the warmest year-to-date from January to May.

NOAA display most of their information as temperature anomalies against the average for the 20th century, measured in a grid of 5 degrees of latitude and longitude. The reason for this is to remove the issues with the siting of measurement stations, and the sparseness of weather stations in some regions of the world.

Temperature anomaly refers to the difference from average. The global temperature is calculated using anomalies because they give a more accurate picture of temperature change. If calculating an average temperature for a region, factors like station location or elevation affect the data, but when looking at the difference from the average for that same location, those factors are less critical. For example, while the actual temperature on a hilltop will be different than in a nearby valley on a given day or month, stations in both places will show a similar trend in temperature when you calculate the change in temperature compared to average for that station.

Using anomalies also helps minimize problems when stations are added to or removed from the monitoring network. The above diagram helps show how even if one station were removed from the record or did not report data for some period of time, the average anomaly would not change significantly, whereas the overall average temperature could change significantly depending on which station dropped out of the record.

The weather stations are unevenly distributed around the globe with large holes in data collection in the polar and mid-ocean areas. Some of this is supplemented with satellite information calibrated against the actual earth surface readings. However the sparseness can be seen in the image on the right (click on it for a animation showing a typical monthly collection cycle).

Sure, it’d be nice to have more data collection points. However it is the accelerating global trend that is interesting, not the nitpicking of self-deluding fools like singularian.  They prefer to avoid looking at the real issue by nitpicking at relatively inconsequential details – which will not affect the overall picture.

Getting a more accurate picture would help with the modeling of the consequences of rapid climate change. It will not help with stopping or slowing the process – which is increasing looking like it will run out of our control in the next few decades. The underlying personal motivation for that type of pathetic nitpicking appears to be to avoid having to pay a relatively small cost now to start curtailing the dramatic escalation of greenhouse gas emissions. That will wind up with a far bigger and more costly problem in the future.

In their own, the population migrations required as shifting climate patterns this century (and probably even in the next few decades) destroy our thousands of years of farming practices will dwarf any previous human undertakings in size and resources required. Human society can barely handle the current small famines in regional areas, or severe weather events like New Orleans (in the richest country in the world).

As the amount of energy geometrically mounts in the atmosphere and oceans, the frequency of such events will rise geometrically as well. No part of the world will be unaffected. If the weather doesn’t cause them a problem, then the people spilling over borders as migrants or starving warriors will.

Pedantic muttering like another commentator (Ulf) made on the ‘climategate’ e-mails might satisfy their ability to avoid looking at the bigger issues. But they don’t do anything to change the causal reasons producing the increasing signs of impending global problems from an addiction to a carbon based economy. To me, I’m really uninterested in the detail of the operation of a British research institution. You may be useful idiots for the spinsters of the carbon industry to divert immediate attention from the issues, but frankly your concerns have nothing to do with the science and everything to do with avoidance behaviors. It is pathetic.

What I find more worrying is the detail of the recent temperature anomalies around Antarctica. Recent NOAA charts have shown a cooling anomaly at the edge of that continent. Antarctica is circled by circumpolar trough winds driving from east to west pushing the circumpolar current. This has effectively been maintaining the continent in a deep freeze. I’ve commented at the end of last year that all hell would break loose if that system started to fail. An increasing cooling anomaly compared to the historical pattern of the 20th century suggests this may be happening.

Movement of too much cold air out of Antarctica would allow for rapid changes in the rest of the worlds climate. It would also lead to the defrosting of large quantities of ice in the West Antarctica ice sheet (WAIS). Historical geological evidence indicates that when this has happened in the past it has been fairly rapid because it is a tipping trigger operating on a feedback. The more breakdown there is, then the faster the ice melts, which then speeds up the breakdown in cold containment.

I’ll leave you with that unhappy thought for pondering with over the weekend…

79 comments on “The harsh reality of climate change”

  1. Fred 1

    I guess we are doomed then

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      Pretty much but that became true when we encouraged exponential population growth and resource use.

  2. One study showed that inorder to stabilise at 350 ppm, the same concentration of Carbon in the atmosphere, per capita emissions would have to decrease to 0.37 mt by 2050.

    The Greens@Vic are organising a debate on this issue. It will be entitled “Are We F*cked?”
    Students from various environment focused groups will be debating that we are f*cked and Catherine Dela-Hunty, Celia Wade-Brown and hopefully Geoff Keey will be asserting that we are not yet F*cked.

    It should be great, Student Union building, vic uni, July the 20th.

  3. infused 3

    Looking forward to a better summer. Hopefully I can use my BBQ this year.

  4. Bill 4


    Stop spewing climate altering chemicals or gasses into the atmosphere. And for that to happen you have a couple of very simple choices to make.

    Will you stop participating in activities that directly add to the total mass of climate altering gasses and chemicals?

    Will you further disengage from activities that support other activities that add directly to the total mass of climate altering gasses and chemicals?

    Obviously, we’re not talking about ceasing to breath out CO2. We’re talking about activities that would fail a reasonably objective test of necessity and need…ie a test where parameters are not determined by various propagandas that might seek to peddle particular political/ business agendas nor by a test focussed on selfish needs and necessities, because it’s not about us.

    But rather allowing our actions and behaviours and our engagement in various activities to be guided by a simple heeding of the science and the simple fact that our world can’t accommodate any more of what we have been doing without massive ( and deleterious for us) shifts occurring in our climate and oceans and probably crucial aspects of all the known interlocking eco-systems that current conditions accommodate?

    Or are you going to throw up the “I was only the train driver! ….and anyway how was I to know they weren’t holiday camps?!” defence?…. the modern version of which might run “I was just doing my job…I had kids to feed and bills to pay! And how was I to know it wouldn’t just be sunnier summers?!”

  5. Tanya 5

    Taken for a ride. Climate change is made up by govts, to increase the tax in-take. It’s a crock the science is based on lies and propaganda. You need to read Wishart’s Air Con for an objective overview.

    • Bill 5.1

      Welcome to ChristianOutpost.com
      Our mission is to spread the news of Salvation through Jesus, to a dying world

      wow. Go Tanya, go!

      • Fred 5.1.1

        We need a sharp decrease in world population, which we can achieve in a number of ways:

        Forced sterilization.
        Nuclear War.
        Global recession causing widespread poverty and starvation
        Introduction of a global pandemic.

        Any other ideas?

        Any takers?

        • lprent

          Problem is that all of those affect me more than reducing carbon footprints, and increasing female education (the most effective route to permanent drops in population growth).

          • Fred

            The Chinese are building a new coal fired power station every week, and will continue to do so for the next 10 years.

            We buy their products

            We export coal to them

            We invite them to our country

            Their are leading the way to 900ppm CO2 by the end of the century.

            How is lowering your carbon footprint going to help?

    • lprent 5.2

      Are you serious? But given your rather strange comments around here, I guess you are..

      Wishart can’t think straight, and it is clear from reading his book that he knows absolutely nothing about earth sciences (or indeed any science). He should also be advised to have a talk to the professionals about his paranoid tendencies.

      Have a read of Ken Perrotts (Open Parachute) recent review of AirCon – “Alarmist Con”. As a retired research scientist you can just feel his fingers recoiling from such a travesty of ‘research’.

      But really you should have a read of what one of our previous semi-resident (umm) expressive eccentrics (robinsod) wrote about one of Wisharts previous works of fundamentalist religious fiction masquerading as fact. When even the semi-crazed think that someone is insane, you know that the material should only be read for pure entertainment value.

      • Fred 5.2.1

        What other solutions do you have to climate change?


        • Macro

          May I respectfully suggest you read “The Constant Economy – how to create a stable economy” by Zac Goldsmith published 2009 by Atlantic Books. I gather Fred you are of conservative leanings. Zac Goldsmith was the conservative Parliamentary candidate for Richmond Park in London. I’m not sure if he was elected or not – but I would vote for him. Together with the conservitive MP John Gummer he worked to produce the current Conservative Policy on environment. Whatever you think it’s worth a read.

    • john 5.3

      Hi Tanya your viewpoint would be ok if there were not heaps of physical evidence of climate change observable by any doubting Thomas! Where do I start? Sea levels are rising observed by scientists. The North Pole ice cap is thinning and receding year by year making the North west passage open for shipping.There was a very cold Winter in the North this year which bucked the trend. The Russians are planning for when trade from Japan to Europe will go across the north of their land. Huge Ice Shelves are breaking off in Antarctica. Glaciers round the World are retreating. Permanent snows on mountains are disappearing such as on Kilimanjaro. Tundra and peat Bogs in Alaska and Siberia are melting and giving off huge amounts of methane observed and measured by scientists and foundations are collapsing for buildings and telecom poles. hurricanes are now more frequent and extreme with increased heatwaves in Europe far beyond what they used to have.The climate of the oceans is also changing as they become more acidic killing coral and impairing the whole eco system as they soak up all the CO2 we are pumping into the atmosphere. year by year Co2 levels increase in the atmosphere which ice core science has directly correlated with increased temperatures in the past.

      However I have good news for you If you are a member of the Nact party climate change is not proven and very likely is baloney. John Key the other day said that probably,he wasn’t committing himself (Oh No!)mind you, that climate change is happening.

    • Rosy 5.4

      Maybe,Tanya, you need to read Gareth Morgan and John McCrystal’s ‘poles apart’ for a slightly less ideological overview. No-one could accuse Gareth Morgan of being a propagandist for the left.

      • Fred 5.4.1

        Is Gareth Morgan a climate scientist?

        Did he not pay someone to do the research work on his book for him?

        Does he not have several investments in green technologies?

        • Rosy

          Fred – um yes, that would be the other author John McCrystal and yes, why not? he’s a businessman/economist. I certainly don’t agree with GM’s point of view on economics, but hey, the man at least attempted to deal with climate change science not the ideology and the book does present both sides of the argument for non-scientists.

  6. Tanya 6

    Wishart is an excellent, concise, well-informed writer, but the Left will never champion him, obviously. Why are my comments strange? Because they don’t agree with your globalist, UN aligned worldview? Thank goodness for freedom of speech and thought and a centre-right govt.

    Tanya, LOL

    • lprent 6.1

      Wishart writing on AirCon is talking about one of the fields that I trained in – Earth Sciences. He looks like a idiot in both in his selection of ‘facts’ and in how he chooses to interpret those facts.

      I’ve also been campaigning and helping to run campaigns in the Mt Albert electorate for over 20 years and have come to know Helen pretty well. His previous book about Helen was full of outright lies, unfounded speculation, and a sort of puerile voyeurism that would be reprehensible in a 13 year old boy.

      Personally I find his writing is turgid, repetitive and overly given to quoting other people. Basically the guy is an arsehole of the highest order. He deliberately lies for political effects when it is clear that he knows better.

      The funny thing is that some of the writing he did a decade or so ago was actually pretty good. But since he pushed off on his own and out of the control of his editors, his writing and research has deteriorated towards the unintelligible. It is targeted to the paranoid faithful.

      That you find his writing ok says more about the type of person you are than anything else.

      • Fred 6.1.1

        But do you have any practical solutions to climate change?

        Does anyone?

        • Bill

          Yes Fred.

          Now, over to you.

          • Fred

            I have already provided my “final solution”

            Your post was mere piffle

            You engage in a blog discussion, in a technology network powered primarily by fossil fuel.

            Chances are, you have a fridge, within which are several plastic containers made from petroleum products.

            Look at the labels on your clothes. Are they made in China? Do they contain petroleum based products?

            Time to face up to facts.

            Maybe a few “climate suicides” or “hunger strikes” are needed?

        • lprent

          Yep. Start reducing the amount of fossil carbon being burnt into greenhouse gases. We have tech to change the underlying energy basis of our society at a reasonably small increase in overall costs at current efficiencies. So increase the cost of fossil fuels to account for their true costs at the well/mine head by say 5-10% per year by straight taxation. That can help pay for the cleanup. Do an excise tax

          Then let the market take its course. It will start to use the alternatives.

          • Fred

            Indeed, we can reduce the amount of fossil fuels we use. But NZ’s electricity sector only accounts for 10% of our GHG emissions.
            So if we go completely renewable for electricity, we will reduce by a max of 10%

            We would need to eliminate the entire agricultural sector (48% of GHG emissions) and then some on top, to achieve the NZ’s stated goal of 50% reduction by 2050.

            Even the govt acknowledge on their website that the projected emissions by 2020 will be equal to of higher than now, even with the ETS

            So the ETS is a complete waste of time. We will spend billions on mitigating emissions that will be outstripped by the Chinese in a matter of days.

            Really, the best option is population reduction.
            The EU has chosen the route of economic suicide, but I feel that this will be uncomfortable for many people

            Euthanasia is the best option.

            Like putting a dog to sleep.

        • Daveosaurus

          “But do you have any practical solutions to climate change?

          Does anyone?”

          Stop uncontrolled breeding.

          • Fred

            You are correct, and I am glad that so many are in agreement with me.

            Mass sterilization is the way forward

            • Daveosaurus

              Please don’t let me stop you from responding to my actual comment, rather than something which exists only in your febrile imagination.

    • Daveosaurus 6.2

      “Wishart is an excellent, concise, well-informed writer”

      If that is the case, then why, in “Air Con”, did he write of environmentalists, that: “they want ordinary families and kids to become extinct, leaving space for the Green elite to run the planet and enjoy exclusive bird-watching excursions while feasting on the bones of six year olds who’d earlier been sold to Asian brothels.” ?

      I may not be a climate scientist myself, but I know blood libel when I see it. If one side to the argument can quote science, but the other side can only indulge in blood libel, then it’s fairly obvious which side to the argument has the facts to back up its case.

  7. axeman 7

    Legal verdict: Manmade global warming science doesn’t withstand scrutiny
    By Lawrence Solomon June 6, 2010 – 10:47 pm

    A cross examination of global warming science conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Law and Economics has concluded that virtually every claim advanced by global warming proponents fails to stand up to scrutiny.

    The cross-examination, carried out by Jason Scott Johnston, Professor and Director of the Program on Law, Environment and Economy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, found that “on virtually every major issue in climate change science, the [reports of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] and other summarizing work by leading climate establishment scientists have adopted various rhetorical strategies that seem to systematically conceal or minimize what appear to be fundamental scientific uncertainties or even disagreements.”

    Professor Johnson, who expressed surprise that the case for global warming was so weak, systematically examined the claims made in IPCC publications and other similar work by leading climate establishment scientists and compared them with what is found in the peer-edited climate science literature. He found that the climate establishment does not follow the scientific method. Instead, it “seems overall to comprise an effort to marshal evidence in favor of a predetermined policy preference.”
    Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe the author of The Deniers.


    • lprent 7.1

      Interesting mostly because they used someone with no scientific background whatsoever. Sounds more like a spinster exercise and than anything with any substance.

      Got anything that isn’t simply uninformed opinion? Probably paid uninformed opinion. In other words if you can’t put up people who actually know what they’re talking about then I’ll treat your ideas as being full of shit. The guy doesn’t even have a science background for gods sake…

      • Fred 7.1.1


        Got anything that isn’t simply uninformed opinion? Probably paid uninformed opinion. In other words if you can’t put up people who actually know what they’re talking about then I’ll treat your ideas as being full of shit. The guy doesn’t even have a science background for gods sake

        Al Gore, John Key, Margaret Thatcher??

        • lprent

          Margaret Thatcher was originally a biochemist. She didn’t have a lot to do with earth sciences, but knew the limits to research and probabilities. She was approached with the available evidence and decided that something needed to be started.

          At the time in the 80’s I was skeptical about the evidence. Her view was that we needed to initiate research into the problem to find out, and have a framework for making political decisions in.

          I may dislike everything else she did in office, but she did a very good job at pushing for what became the Kyoto protocol.

          The others are just politicians with little idea of the processes and limits of science.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      A cross examination of global warming science conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Law and Economics

      I stopped reading at that point. Economists don’t know how the economy works never mind the environment.

  8. Anne 8

    “Tanya 19 June 2010 at 4:10 pm
    Wishart is an excellent, concise, well-informed writer, but the Left will never champion him, obviously.”

    Drivel! He’s as mad as a meat-axe, and anyone who believes anything he says is naive and gullible – and that’s putting it politely. Oh, and don’t claim he knows more about it than I do. He didn’t spend 24 years in the Met Service.

    • Jim Nald 8.1

      Coming out with that kind of statement, Tanya needs to be medicated asap or she has already been subjected to heavy drug dosing. Or, more charitably, she is being mischievous.

    • QoT 8.2

      I tried reading the intro to Absolute Power in a Whitcoulls one time, and had to put it down after three pages because my cackling was disturbing other shoppers.

      • Pascal's bookie 8.2.1

        The prose though Q. I’ve had a crack at some of his longer pieces. Usually failing on the first attempt. Get through more than a page and I find myself helplessly lost, and having to backtrack to try and find the turn where we got from ‘perhaps x’, to ‘x is undeniably true, and to doubt it is satan/UN/Islamafascfaggotism’.

        It’s pretty much mountaineering. You need base camps, oxygen and a sackful of factory made intellectual hooks and hangups.

  9. Ken 9

    Fred, your list is very negative and extreme.

    Personally I will go for:
    improvement in position of women
    Access to reliable fertility technology and information
    Improvement in human rights
    Improvement in education
    Improvement in living standards.

    Incidentally, not only will this help reduce population increases it will help communities to adapt to the inevitable effects if climate change.

    • Fred 9.1

      This is a great list.
      Then why do we support Islamic Extremists, who oppose every single thing in your list?

      Why does Europe embrace these people?

      Why will Islamo-fascism overcome the Western world and destroy our very culture?

      You may live in NZ. Try living in Europe where this is a reality.

  10. Carol 10

    Borrowing Anne’s quote of Tanya:

    “Tanya 19 June 2010 at 4:10 pm
    Wishart is an excellent, concise, well-informed writer, but the Left will never champion him, obviously.’

    And I tend to agree with Wishart’s critics above. I have a good look at Absolute Power. I checked back through some of his sources, and they were far from providing sound supporing evidence. Often the sources just refer to other people’s opinions, but Wishart presents them as facts because he is quoting a source. he also uses hearsay quite a bit, presenting it as sound evidence, but totally unverifiable.

    Furthermore, often his arguments were constructed by associations rather than following a well- reasoned line: eg Clark was into de Beauvoir when she was young. de beauvoir had relationships with women and was a socialist, so this shows Clark must be like that too, etc, etc.

    And as for his amateur psychoanalysis of Clark?

    I haven’t checked Wishart out on climate change, but, based on Absolute Power, he doesn’t seem to be a credible investigative journalist to me.

    I also heard that Wishart was a very good journalist/researcher once. That would have been during the time I was living overseas.

  11. Anne 11

    Wishhart was a reporter with TVNZ in the 1990s and I can recall him fronting some good stuff at the time. But around the late 90s he became a Born Again (read Fundamentalist?) Christian and that seems to be when the lunatic stuff set in.

  12. Fred 12

    Funny, this thread degenerates into an ad hom attack on Ian Wishart, ignoring the mathematical truth that we cannot alter our effect on the climate without massive population reduction.

    I have come to expect this,

    complete shut-eye denial

    • Carol 12.1

      I think there has just been a response to claims of Wishart’s reliability as a source, or commentator on climate change. We didn’t raise the issue of his relliability.

      Over-population is not such a straightforward thing. I checked around online about it recently, because someone I know was making the argument that overpopulation is the REAL issue, not climate change.

      Overpopulation is always something that relates to HOW resources are used, because over-population occurs when the community has over-used it’s available resources. But a shift in how resources are used, is just as likely to relieve the situation as deliberately working on the population issue.

      Also, I discovered that the rate over population growth has slowed in the last decade.

      But even if the population didn’t increased, or noticeably reduced, the idea of never-ending improvement in material conditions for all, and endless capitalist growth, would still mean that the environmental resources were being stretched beyond their capacity.

      But there were also a lot of complicated issues in there, which I did not have time to investigate. There’s a whole area of scientific research into the relationship between population and environment.

      • Fred 12.1.1

        In New Zealand, the carbon footprint per capita has decreased from its 1990 levels

        So, per person, we are consuming less resources than we were 20 years ago.

        • lprent

          And our population has increased by how much?

          • Fred


            The info is all on there

            • lprent

              I’m rounding numbers for effect but…

              In 1990, the population was slightly over 3.4 million in NZ. (wikipedia)
              Right now according the stats department we are slightly under 4.4 million (freds link above).

              So we have increased in NZ population by 1 million on the base of 3.4 million, which is slightly less than a 30% increase.

              So is the per capita decrease in carbon footprint in that order? No?

              You used a pretty stupid basic argument. The per capita doesn’t matter in absolute terms if the population rises.

      • lprent 12.1.2

        The population projections showed (last time I looked at them) that we should peak out just over 9 billion in 2050 based on current trends.

        Ummm wikipedia..

        Globally, the growth rate of the human population has been declining since peaking in 1962 and 1963 at 2.20% per annum. In 2009 the estimated annual growth rate was 1.1%.[3] The CIA World Factbook gives the world annual birthrate, mortality rate, and growth rate (somewhat inconsistently) as 1.986%, 0.837%, and 1.13% respectively[4] The last one hundred years have seen a rapid increase in population due to medical advances and massive increase in agricultural productivity[5] made possible by the Green Revolution.[6][7][8]

        The actual annual growth in the number of humans fell from its peak of 88.0 million in 1989, to a low of 73.9 million in 2003, after which it rose again to 75.2 million in 2006. Since then, annual growth has declined. In 2009 the human population increased by 74.6 million, and it is projected to fall steadily to about 41 million per annum in 2050, at which time the population will have increased to about 9.2 billion.[9] Each region of the globe has seen great reductions in growth rate in recent decades, though growth rates remain above 2% in some countries of the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, and also in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.[10]

        Some countries experience negative population growth, especially in Eastern Europe (mainly due to low fertility rates and emigration). In Southern Africa, growth is slowing due to the high number of HIV-related deaths. Some Western Europe countries might also encounter negative population growth.[11] Japan’s population began decreasing in 2005 [12]

        • Fred

          I was referring specifically to NZ figures, but I accept Wikipedia’s “opinion” on world figures.

          The fact is that NZ’s per capita GHG emissions have decreased since 1990. There is a graph on the stats NZ website somewhere – sorry can’t find it right now

          But you are right, 9 billion people is a worry. I don’t think “education” is the answer.

          • lprent

            See my reply above.

            At least the population projections are down. When I was a kid the projections at that time were more in the order of 14 or 15 billion in 2050.

            We’re now heading towards 7 billion. When I was born they’d just gone over 2 billion.

    • Bill 12.2

      Round up all the Blank Franks and have them deliver us piles of Dead Freds.

      You want start the ball rolling there Fred? You obviously don’t need to be topped by someone since you already know and apparently accept what your role is. Cheers. Well done.

    • lprent 12.3

      That was because some ignorant clown claimed he was a respected journo – pretty much the exact opposite of the truth.

      I suppose if you want to be respected by people who can’t think, then I suppose it could be correct.

  13. Ken 13

    Fred , I agree that extremist Islam (and Christianity) oppose these things.

    Part of the improvement in education, human rights and living standards will inolve attacking the power of extremist religion.

    • Fred 13.1

      I’m glad that we agree here.

      But we have to accept that there is a “left-liberal” bias in the MSM that is allowing Islamic extremism to flourish, particularly in Europe.

      This is a major problem in some countries such as the Netherlands and the UK\

      • Zorr 13.1.1

        Does this also apply to allowing the Roman Catholic Church to continue to flourish? Or is it just these “Islamic extremists” you are worried about when it comes to overpopulation? And not the US government who, under Bush, declared to Africa that any nation teaching anything other than abstinence-only sex ed would not receive further aid?

        Christian extremists are just as culpable as any Islamic ones when it comes to the argument on overpopulation.

        • Fred

          But Christian “extremists” don’t stone adulterers, proclaim that the Jewish state needs to be destroyed, that homosexuals should be tortured and thrown off cliffs, that women should be subjected to “honour killings”….

          Or am I mistaken. Maybe you can help me

          • Zorr

            No. They just terrorize people offering legitimate planned parenting options and abortions, “purity pledges” to fathers at “purity” balls, our (Western) treatment of homosexuals up until 30-40years ago was aptly demonstrated with Alan Turing (chemical castration followed shortly after by suicide), militias formed on fundamentalist principles against immigration in the US running around heavily armed shooting at illegals…

            The list can go on. I wasn’t actually intending this as a pissing competition over “who has the longest list of horrible shit fundies do”. Your statements just reflect a very ethnocentric view that doesn’t dare turn the eye in on itself – because the way we and our cultural partners (such as UK, Australia and US) act within our societys are considered “normal” and less horrible. In a lot of ways we have merely exchanged physical brutality with emotional blackmail.

          • mickysavage

            Good try Fred. You seem to be fully accepting of the reality of climate change, stating without analysis that the only solution is genocide and your last comment that “we have to accept that there is a “left-liberal’ bias in the MSM” really had me wondering.

            Are you taking the piss? Are you trying to frame the argument to suggest that the only solution is something that is unacceptable so that people agree to not do anything?

          • Neil

            Let’s not be hypocritical here guys.. extremism afflicts any area of human belief, and none less so than environmentalism!

  14. By 2100, the climate is expected to warm 5 oC to 6 oC or more above pre-IR values. During the Pliocene, about 2.5 to 5 million years ago, CO2 levels were comparable to today’s levels (near 400 ppm) and the climate was about 3 oC to 5 oC warmer than pre-IR. Geographically, the Earth was also very similar to today so the Pliocene offers a glimpse of what the world may look like by the year 2100.

    Federov, Brierley, & Emanuel (2010) modeled the expected TC activity in the early Pliocene world. Fig. 7.21c (Ibid) is a comparison of modern TC activity (a) and that of the Pliocene (b). This image is a sobering look at what may lie ahead in our world by 2100.

    Scott A. Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences
    Selden, NY

  15. Jenny 15

    Reading the comments on this post on how to deal with climate change, all sorts of orwellian and malthusian solutions have been raised, from mass sterialisation and euthanasia to the suppression of religious belief. One thing that is not mentioned is curtailing the unconstrained power of the free market which has delivered us to this position in the first place.

    Practical solutions are available, but are considered anathema to supporters of the profit driven free market model.

    The 600 million private automobiles in the world concentrated mainly in cities are responsible for up to 25% of global CO2 pollution.

    The following is one practical solution to the problem caused by the private motor car that has a dramatic proven effect on private car use yet is bitterly opposed by supporters of the market as being impractical and too expensive..

    Free the buses

    A ragingly successful way to cut green house gases resulting from private automobile use, has been the introduction in some cities of the world of free public transport.

    Though the right scream that these systems are “too expensive“,
    in fact, when all the hidden costs of private automobile use is taken into account, the public provision of free public transport is cheaper.

    Why this is so successful a way of cutting the use of private automobiles and unclogging the roads and motorways and cleaning the air, is that there is no compulsion.

    Fare Free New Zealand have estimated that if the $2billion currently earmarked for motorway expansion in Auckland was instead switched to free public transport. Auckland could buy 2 thousand new buses and run them for free 24/7 for 25 years.
    Considering that Auckland, a city of more than a million people is currently served by only 800 buses operated by private companies. The improvement in traffic congestion would be immediate.

    The dramatic reduction in traffic congestion would mean that the proposed motorway expansion would not be needed anyway. In the Belgium city of Hasselt, the introduction of the free city wide bus service allowed the cancelling of a proposed new ring road motorway around the city and even the existing inner ring road was able to be turned into a green zone.

    Hasselt which ranks as one of the highest cities for car ownership ranks as one of the lowest for car usage. With the introduction of free public transport, usage grew by an incredible 800% within the first few days and since increased 1200%.

    Not only did this free the buses, but it freed the cars as well, to be used only for leisure.

    Private cars for private use. Buses (and trains) for public commuting.

    Sensible, liberating, good for the environment. The only down side being the drop in profits and power for the oil companies and the private transport and roading lobbies. Umm… on second thoughts that’s a good thing.

    • Quoth the Raven 15.1

      Jenny – Look at the masses of subsidies the coal and oil industries get in countries like the US (Halliburton and BP are big recipients of such subsidies many other countries are of course guilty too) and the government contracts (21 billion to Halliburton). Would it not be good to end such subsidies? How about removing corporate limited liability protection and others such as the 75 million dollar liability cap on oil spill damages that the US has in place (thankfully now it looks like they’re removing that and retroactively increasing BPs liability) removing the risk shifting and moral hazard involved in such government bestowed privileges? How about governments like our own (this one and the last) stop their orgiastic building of motorways and leave to the private sector which having to bear all the costs itself and not having the privilege of eminent domain may find it very difficult indeed? How about the state return more property to the commons (which is privatisation) which has time and again been shown to be managed better for environmental outcomes than state owned land? How about the state repeal meddlesome regulations that hinders direct action from communities to clean up the environment themselves? Or how about rolling back excessive intellectual property protections (or just getting rid of them altogether) which encumbers the adoption of cleaner technologies? I could go on but you wouldn’t want to hear it because these are free market proposals.

      • Jenny 15.1.1

        I take your point QTR. I support all those things. Maybe Free Market is a misnomer. As you wisely point out the ‘market’ is not free at all, but has skewed the playing surface to maximise profit taking.

        So much so, that even planet destroying technologies gain government subsidies to do what they do.

        And please continue to raise these ideas.

        capcha – peace

  16. Puddleglum 16

    QTR, a small point. You have repeatedly asserted that ownership in common is private ownership, and here you say that creating a commons is the same as “privatisation”. You seem to use the term ‘private’ (property) to cover everything that is not state-owned. This is a very idiosyncratic use of the term. As the link you pointed to on the work of Elinor Ostrom states:

    “Elinor Ostrom has challenged the conventional wisdom that common property is poorly managed and should be either regulated by central authorities or privatized.”

    “or privatized”, as I read it, refers to ownership in one individual (this includes companies because of the legal fiction that these are individual persons under the law). This is why it is contrasted with “ownership in common”. It is ‘private’ in a sense but an equally strong (I’d say stronger) argument can be erected for terming “ownership in common” ‘public ownership’ (because it is owned by more than one individual).

    As I say, a small point but one that I think gets in the way (by being unnecessarily provocative).

    BTW, have you read Hayek’s work on neural models? Same ideas, different context.

    • Quoth the Raven 16.1

      You seem to use the term ‘private’ (property) to cover everything that is not state-owned.This is a very idiosyncratic use of the term.
      Yes by private I mean anything not state-owned. Many use it in exactly the same way and many don’t. We need some word to mean removing from state-ownership and privatisation seems as good as any – transference of ownership from the state to the private sector.

      It is ‘private’ in a sense but an equally strong (I’d say stronger) argument can be erected for terming “ownership in common’ ‘public ownership’
      Public ownership is already widely used ot refer to state-ownership (kind of a misnomer). But it is the transference of ownership that of taking it out of the state’s hands not the particular form of ownership that it goes to. That’s why I say privatization.

      (because it is owned by more than one individual).
      So is a corporation except for the legal fiction 🙂

      BTW I haven’t read that of Hayek’s. Haven’t read much of Hayek’s at all.

      • Puddleglum 16.1.1

        Good point about corporations (ownership by more than one individual), but ownership in common is not, of course, like shareholding.

        With shareholding each individual can trade his/her part (share) of what is held. No individual in a situation of ‘ownership in common’ can trade their ‘part’ – they don’t have one. The ‘whole’ is collectively owned. They can leave the collective, if they like, but wouldn’t take anything with them.

        You’re right, ‘public ownership’ is almost universally understood as state (or local government) owned. But, like ownership in common, none of us can trade our bit of the ‘publicly owned’ infrastructure (e.g., I can’t cash in ‘my bit’ of Kiwibank, not because I don’t own any of it but because I own it all – as everyone else does. Sounds paradoxical but it isn’t. We could, of course, ‘all’ choose to sell it, where ‘all’ here refers to whatever collective decision making process is in place.) That’s why I say an argument could be made to call ‘ownership in common’, ‘public ownership’. It’s not the state or local government that owns whatever, but it is some collective.

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