Greenhouse Emissions of Agriculture

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 6:25 AM GMT on July 27, 2013

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Greenhouse Emissions of Agriculture

In the last blog there was a comment by peregrinepickle on the emissions from agriculture. It started:

“It sounds like they may be putting the cart before the workhorse with this study. A 2010 survey of the literature found that too few studies on GHG emissions and the impact of various alternative farming practices have been done in US agricultural regions, including the Great plains Ironically, more research is being done in this vein in China. So it seems premature to appeal to US farmers re: willingness to adopt certain practices before knowing exactly where you are going with it.

Agriculture, compared to other sources, is not a huge contributor to GHGs, relative to the contributions by industry, transportation, and utilities. In the US farming is responsible for 6% of the overall emissions of the six major GHGs. However, farming does contribute about 25% of all CH4 emissions in the US, which is major, as this gas is 21-33 times more potent in warming potential than CO2.”

Back in April and May I wrote two entries on the emissions from agriculture (first entry, second entry). These two entries highlighted both the complexity of calculating the greenhouse emissions related to agriculture as well as suggested some of the controversy associated with the calculation. The controversy is especially high in the calculation associated with livestock.

The amount of direct fossil fuel emissions from use of fuels in machinery and pumps for agriculture is modest, as stated in peregrinepickle’s comment. Those numbers are based on a 2010 inventory by the Environmental Protection Agency. Here is a link to the chapter that details the agricultural inventory. The greenhouse gas emissions compiled in the chapter on agriculture are for greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide, especially methane and nitrous oxide. For the EPA inventory, the carbon dioxide associated with agriculture is accounted for in the energy inventory. Additional emissions and removal of greenhouse gasses are calculated with land use, land change and forestry. The national forests are part of the Department of Agriculture.

The accounting with soils and forests influences, greatly, the budget of emissions associated with agriculture. Based on soil management agriculture can remove and store substantial amounts of greenhouse gases. In the U.S. agriculture is a mature and extensive enterprise, and we are not aggressively converting forest to agricultural land. In fact, the amount of forest is increasing and, therefore, can be accounted as an agricultural removal of carbon dioxide. This fact of increasing forest land is not the case in much of the world. World-wide, deforestation as forest is converted to agricultural use, especially rangeland, accounts for much of the carbon footprint of agriculture. Phil Robertson in an article to appear in the Encyclopedia of Agriculture estimates the total greenhouse gas footprint of agriculture is between 26 and 36 percent (thank you Professor Robertson). This range seems soundly based in the synthesis of research, and the number I would quote based on the current state of knowledge.

As detailed in Livestock’s Long Shadow and stated in the entirety of peregrinepickle’s comment, the impact of agriculture reaches far beyond the relevance to climate change. Notably there are impacts on water quality and land quality, and, in my opinion, the impact of nitrogen (fertilizer) pollution is one of the most under appreciated sources of environmental degradation. Management of this whole portfolio of environmental impacts is one of the special challenges of the agricultural sector of human activities.

The mix of greenhouse gas emissions, the details of the practice of land use, the role of biological processes, and the potential to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and store them in soil and biomass characterize the climate impact of agriculture. Agriculture is also vulnerable to climate change. Since agriculture is a highly competitive, market-dependent undertaking, market response to weather and climate can amplify weather-related impacts. Agriculture becomes more entangled with the climate problem, when we consider the possibility of biofuels to replace some of our fossil fuels. This complexity complicates the accounting of climate impacts, but also offers some of our best opportunities to improve our management of the environment. Agriculture is no doubt an important player in our management of climate change, and notably absent in President Obama recent speech on climate change.

A primary source of agricultural information is Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. An often cited document is the 2006 documentLivestock’s Long Shadow. There has been much criticism of this report, especially in its calculation of the emissions of the transportation sector. The original authors did modify their specific statements about transportation. As noted in an earlier blog in this series, there is substantial controversy about the impact of agriculture. Therefore, I end here with a set of reference materials that I have used.

EPA National Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data

PDF of Agriculture Chapter of EPA Inventory of Emissions

Agriculture’s Role in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Chapter 8: Working Group 3: IPCC 2007

Energy Efficiency of Conventional, Organic and Alternative Cropping …

Livestock and Climate Change

and to appear

Soil Greenhouse Gas Emissions and their Mitigation, G. Philip Robertson, W.K. Kellogg Biological Station and the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, Michigan State University, Hickory Corners, MI 49060

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-53 K on JAXA. The Pacific side looks fantastic compared to 2012 this year.
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Quoting 409. Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Not only does Exxon admit that agw is real, but Rex Tillerson admits that the burning of fossil fuels contributes to the warming. He could have said that it is land use or other means of agw, but he admitted to the fossil fuel use contributions to the warming. He also says that we will adapt to the warming climate. How much faith do you put into those words?


No one disagrees that burning of Fossil Fuels contributes to warming. The central question is how much warming.
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Quoting 406. yoboi:


what is strange they also admit agw is real on their website.......


Not only does Exxon admit that agw is real, but Rex Tillerson admits that the burning of fossil fuels contributes to the warming. He could have said that it is land use or other means of agw, but he admitted to the fossil fuel use contributions to the warming. He also says that we will adapt to the warming climate. How much faith do you put into those words?
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Quoting 387. BaltimoreBrian:
RevElvis, that story about global warming and violence is getting a lot of coverage. I linked the story from Bloomsberg in my daily list.
Brian, there's long been writing about "increased conflicts" around the world due to the effects of AGW/CC, meaning riots, revolutions and wars. However, as is obvious from the reaction to the referenced articles, the word "increased violence" does a better job of getting people's attention.
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Quoting 401. Naga5000:
Heat makes people crazy.
Classic short story to illustrate your point. "August Heat". Link
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406. yoboi
Quoting 405. Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Yes, they do have a green team. I cannot tell you how sincere Exxon is with this green team, but at the level they are working on (internerships for highschool students in the Dallas area) is a good PR move and helps to assure that the status quo remains in place for as long as possible. At least this is how I see it. As nothing more than a lip service. Time, in which Exxon is trying to buy here, will tell.


what is strange they also admit agw is real on their website.......
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2344
Quoting 402. yoboi:



Link


They do have a green team.....


Yes, they do have a green team. I cannot tell you how sincere Exxon is with this green team, but at the level they are working on (internerships for highschool students in the Dallas area) is a good PR move and helps to assure that the status quo remains in place for as long as possible. At least this is how I see it. As nothing more than a lip service. Time, in which Exxon is trying to buy here, will tell.
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404. Skyepony (Mod)
Environment Pollution in USA on Friday, 02 August, 2013 at 05:21 (05:21 AM) UTC.
Description
Hundreds of gallons of oil have spilled near Lake Texoma. The leak was discovered Sunday coming from a pipe in the Cardinal Cover area near Enos. The Army Corps of Engineers estimates about 10 barrels, or 400 gallons, spilled into a wooded area and stream bed. One resident who lives near Enos is worried the spill affected her well water. "Well that makes me wonder about it, absolutely," said resident Joyce McDowell. "So I'm concerned and plan to call somebody to have our water actually checked to see if there's a problem." The clean up is expected to continue Friday.
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403. Skyepony (Mod)
Biological Hazard in France on Friday, 02 August, 2013 at 03:27 (03:27 AM) UTC.
Description
For the past month, oyster farmers have watched powerless as their shellfish have died in droves with experts at a loss to explain the causes. "In some areas, 50 to 80 per cent of saleable oysters aged between two to three years have died out," said Olivier Laban, president of the shellfish producers' federation of Arcachon-Aquitaine, western France. "We have no idea what the origin of this blight is," he told Le Figaro. Tests are under way at Ifremer, France's marine research institute, with samples taken from oysters along the West coast and the Mediterranean "All the samples show mortality rates that are higher than normal," said Tristan Renault, mollusc specialist at Ifremer. "All contain a deadly bacteria (for oysters): Vibro aesturianus. That's probably the murder weapon, but we still don't know who the murderer is. The unusual weather conditions this year are probably behind the phenomenon," he said. Some oyster farmers blame brutal temperature rises after a "rubbish" Spring and a sudden drop in salt levels in the water due to heavy rains. They say adult oysters are increasingly fragile. The profession is still recovering from a plague that has wiped out billions of baby oysters since it first struck in the Spring of 2008. The culprit was fond to be Oyster Herpes virus type 1, or OsHV-1. It triggered the worst crisis since the native European or "Portuguese" oyster was all but wiped out 30 years ago. Since the 1970s blight, almost all oyster farms in Europe have been restocked with the Pacific "creuse" oyster from Japan and British Columbia. In the wake of the 2008 virus, annual production has fallen from 120,000 tonnes to 80,000 tonnes. "Oyster farmers have tried to adapt, but this (latest attack) is a different story," said Laurent Champeau, shellfish producers' spokesman in the Poitou-Charentes region. "These losses that are coming at the end of (the oyster life) cycle are much harder to mitigate. It means three years of work down the drain and almost inexistent room for manoeuvre."
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402. yoboi
Quoting 399. Neapolitan:
Short of everyone simply having their paychecks direct-deposited into ExxonMobil's bank account, I don't know how we can "let the energy companies make some larger profits". After all, they already earn hundreds of billions of dollars a year in after-tax profit; how much more do you suppose they need before they, in their well-known benevolence and munificence, deign to invest in new and cleaner technologies?

It's naive beyond comprehension to believe that putting even more money into the hands of the Koch brothers or the board members of Peabody will result in them saying, "Well, gee and gosh darn, boys, we finally have enough money now. Let's move away from coal and oil and start looking at wind and solar. Whattaya say?"



Link


They do have a green team.....
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2344
Quoting 395. RevElvis:
390 - I haven't seen the original study, but I did find an article which has a little more information.


phys.org
Quoting 400. Daisyworld:


I posted the original article in #369, and yes, it is behind the paywall at Science magazine.


Here is an article discussing the paper as well. Link I'll try to dig up a copy through the University database. Anyways, the article brings up some issues with the study such as the increase in violence is seen more between groups of people and not individuals, and the broad definitions used. I think it's important to note that we have known for quite some time that in the summer, murder and assault rates usually increase. Heat makes people go crazy.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3486
Quoting 395. RevElvis:
390 - I haven't seen the original study, but I did find an article which has a little more information.


phys.org


I posted the original article in #369, and yes, it is behind the paywall at Science magazine.
Member Since: January 11, 2012 Posts: 6 Comments: 857
Quoting 375. spathy:
Let the energy companies make some larger profits so the tax revenue increases.
Short of everyone simply having their paychecks direct-deposited into ExxonMobil's bank account, I don't know how we can "let the energy companies make some larger profits". After all, they already earn hundreds of billions of dollars a year in after-tax profit; how much more do you suppose they need before they, in their well-known benevolence and munificence, deign to invest in new and cleaner technologies?

It's naive beyond comprehension to believe that putting even more money into the hands of the Koch brothers or the board members of Peabody will result in them saying, "Well, gee and gosh darn, boys, we finally have enough money now. Let's move away from coal and oil and start looking at wind and solar. Whattaya say?"
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13556
Several not so good energy news:

Congo's Virunga national park under threat from oil exploration – video
Aug 1. The mother of all parks in Africa supports a wide variety of biodiversity, but its commercial exploitation could devastate its flora and fauna and plunge the region into a permanent crisis

Oil under Brandenburg 'could deliver billions'
The Local, published: 1 Aug 2013
Currently best known for not very much, the north German state of Brandenburg could soon be catapulted into an economic boom - a drilling firm reckons there are 92 million tonnes of oil there and plans to start drilling in four years.

Sediment Trapped Behind Dams Makes Them 'Hot Spots' for Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Science daily, July 31, 2013 — With the "green" reputation of large hydroelectric dams already in question, scientists are reporting that millions of smaller dams on rivers around the world make an important contribution to the greenhouse gases linked to global climate change. Their study, showing that more methane than previously believed bubbles out of the water behind small dams, appears in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Geothermal plans halted after earthquake
EuroNews, 29/07 16:41 CET
Switzerland’s ambitious energy plans were recently disrupted by a 3.6 magnitude earthquake in St Gallen.
The quake was caused by a geothermal drilling project, which has temporarily been halted pending further investigation.

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A Republican Case for Climate Action

"There is no longer any credible scientific debate about the basic facts: our world continues to warm, with the last decade the hottest in modern records, and the deep ocean warming faster than the earth’s atmosphere. Sea level is rising. Arctic Sea ice is melting years faster than projected.

The costs of inaction are undeniable. The lines of scientific evidence grow only stronger and more numerous. And the window of time remaining to act is growing smaller: delay could mean that warming becomes "locked in."

A market-based approach, like a carbon tax, would be the best path to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, but that is unachievable in the current political gridlock in Washington. Dealing with this political reality, President Obama’s June climate action plan lays out achievable actions that would deliver real progress. He will use his executive powers to require reductions in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the nation’s power plants and spur increased investment in clean energy technology, which is inarguably the path we must follow to ensure a strong economy along with a livable climate.

The president also plans to use his regulatory power to limit the powerful warming chemicals known as hydrofluorocarbons and encourage the United States to join with other nations to amend the Montreal Protocol to phase out these chemicals. The landmark international treaty, which took effect in 1989, already has been hugely successful in solving the ozone problem.

Rather than argue against his proposals, our leaders in Congress should endorse them and start the overdue debate about what bigger steps are needed and how to achieve them — domestically and internationally."


Complete article here>>
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Quoting 380. Birthmark:

Everything is fodder for the committed denialist. They aren't limited by reality or morality. If climatologists completely failed to participate in politics, then the denialists would use that as proof that the climatologists didn't really believe what they were saying and publishing.

It makes no difference *what* scientists say or do. The denialists will continue to bluster.


Very true Birthmark, deniers don't need any any excuse. One of the biggest smear campaigns (the so called climategate) was done on scientists who didn’t advocate (CRU). So I’m not sure there’s guaranteed protection against the manufactured distrust by keeping quiet.
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3357
390 - I haven't seen the original study, but I did find an article which has a little more information.


phys.org
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Quoting 343. yoboi:



They have me confused about the artic......but thats not a hard thing to do.....


Hey, I just wanted to send out a thanks, Yoboi. Thanks for taking another look at the science from more of an open mindset. I'm glad you are here and engaging and asking questions. I hope we can keep the dialogue moving forward.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3486
Quoting 390. Birthmark:

I'll have to read the study. I'm very skeptical of this kind of research generally. Is there a link to the paper about anywhere, or is it behind a paywall?


It's not surprising, but it does remind me of the classic correlations of murder rates and ice cream consumption and shoe size and IQ correlations. Bonus points to those who can point out the obvious issues.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3486
Eight day mosaic of nearly all of the Arctic with the clouds (mostly) removed. It's an impressive piece of work done by user danp at the Arctic Sea Ice Forum.

Link

Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
Quoting 384. RevElvis:
Climate Change And Violence Linked, Breakthrough Study Finds

I'll have to read the study. I'm very skeptical of this kind of research generally. Is there a link to the paper about anywhere, or is it behind a paywall?
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 8630
RevElvis, that story about global warming and violence is getting a lot of coverage. I linked the story from Bloomsberg in my daily list.
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 8630
Climate Change And Violence Linked, Breakthrough Study Finds

Shifts in climate change are strongly linked to human violence around the world, according to a comprehensive new study released Thursday by the University of California, Berkeley and Princeton University.

The research, which was published in Science, examined 60 previous studies from all major regions of the globe. The results suggest that changes such as drought, flood and high temperatures strongly correlate with spikes in conflict.

Researchers noted examples including increased domestic violence in India and Australia, assaults and murders in the United States and Tanzania, ethnic violence in Europe and South Asia, land invasions in Brazil, police violence in the Netherlands and civil conflicts throughout the tropics.

The biggest culprit: higher temperatures. Out of 27 modern societies studied, all 27 showed a positive relationship between higher temperatures and violence.

"We found that a one standard deviation shift towards hotter conditions causes the likelihood of personal violence to rise four percent and intergroup conflict to rise 14 percent," UC Berkeley's Marshall Burke, the study's co-lead author, wrote in a release.

If the study's calculations are correct, a global temperature rise of just 2 degrees Celsius could increase intergroup conflicts (such as civil wars) by over 50 percent. And, as Climate Central notes, projections estimate that temperatures will make that jump by 2040.

"We often think of modern society as largely independent of the environment, due to technological advances," coauthor Edward Miguel of UC Berkeley wrote. "But our findings challenge that notion."

Researchers were quick to add that climate is only one part of the cause of violent conflicts, noting that many contributing factors are deeply complex. However, they added, determining why climate contributes at all is an urgent question for future research.

Burke wrote that they hope the results "shed new light on how the future climate will shape human societies."

more at HuffingtonPost.com
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382. yoboi
Quoting 379. spathy:
Dear Ricky Rood regulars.
I hope this post is less of a tantrum type post. I have decided that reading back is causing me to get all worked up and run off half cocked.
I am trying just reading back a little and picking a recent related post.
I hope this helps rein in some of my ranting type posts.
If you like, let me know what you think of the result.



Why are you getting all worked up????????
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2344
Quoting 379. spathy:
Dear Ricky Rood regulars.
I hope this post is less of a tantrum type post. I have decided that reading back is causing me to get all worked up and run off half cocked.
I am trying just reading back a little and picking a recent related post.
I hope this helps rein in some of my ranting type posts.
If you like, let me know what you think of the result.

If I might offer advice based on my experience: Type out your rant in explicit angry detail, graphic language, hideous insults and all.

Then delete it.

Then write a new post. Post the new one. It really does work wonders. :)
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
Quoting 376. spathy:
" advocacy by climate scientists has damaged trust in the science "

Um....
Yes it has.
If only to give the "labeled denialists" fodder.
That is pretty obvious.

Everything is fodder for the committed denialist. They aren't limited by reality or morality. If climatologists completely failed to participate in politics, then the denialists would use that as proof that the climatologists didn't really believe what they were saying and publishing.

It makes no difference *what* scientists say or do. The denialists will continue to bluster.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
Quoting 374. Snowlover123:
I can't see how Arctic Sea Ice will pass lower than 2011, let alone reach 2011 as a minimum. It's going to require a really unfavorable pattern to get a 2011 type extent even into the ballgame.

This image was made by a meteorologist on another board.

2013 on the left, 2011 on the right.



2011 finished with a 4.5 million kilometer^2 minimum on JAXA. That's higher than some estimates on this blog.

You're not looking very closely. For one thing, you might compare the Greenland sea; there's virtually no ice there this year. For another, the Central Arctic Basin (CAB)has a much lower concentration than in 2011. Most, if not all, of that peripheral ice in the Beaufort is going to melt. It's thin, fragmented, and about to have a date with Mr. Heat Wave (last I checked).

Do you have a personal stake in this year's melt, or feel it's indicative of something?
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
I'm modest, too. I've never met or heard of anyone as modest as me. lol
Clean version:::::


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I can't see how Arctic Sea Ice will pass lower than 2011, let alone reach 2011 as a minimum. It's going to require a really unfavorable pattern to get a 2011 type extent even into the ballgame.

This image was made by a meteorologist on another board.

2013 on the left, 2011 on the right.



2011 finished with a 4.5 million kilometer^2 minimum on JAXA. That's higher than some estimates on this blog.
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Quoting 370. JohnLonergan:

This op-ed by Dr. Tamsin Edwards wrote an op-ed in The Guardian yesterday, which stated:

Climate scientists must not advocate particul ar policies

I became a climate scientist because I care about the environment, but we have a moral obligation to be impartial.



Edit removed last section to fix html fubar.


Dr. William Connolly(aka Stoat) responded more sarcastically:

Oh, don’t be silly (yes, I’ve redacted a somewhat stronger comment).

...* advocacy by climate scientists has damaged trust in the science – nah, this is nonsense. Trust has been damaged by the septic / denialist political-industrial complex, driven and abetted by individuals desire not to know certain true things, and various established organisations that have an interest in people not knowing those things. And trust has been damaged in two ways: in order to deny true things, they’ve had to deny / distort / hide / distract the science; and they’ve also deliberately set out to attack individuals when they couldn’t attack the science.
* much climate scepticism is driven by a belief that environmental activism has influenced how scientists gather and interpret evidence – again, nonsense. But this time she has just confused cause and effect. Septics will happily pick up the ready-made excuse “oh, your activism affects your data” whenever they encounter data they don’t like. But the fundamental belief is “not-GW” (which is why “denialist” is indeed a good term; these people don’t have a coherent position; they just deny the coherent scientific position).
* They call me an “honest broker” – ROTFL. Can I stop now?...


Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3357
Quoting 370. JohnLonergan:


I agree with you, John. The good Dr.'s position is a bit naive.

It's a bit unfair to scientists, too. His position is akin to telling scientists that they shouldn't be fully-functioning members of their society; that they should ignore the societal implications of their work. I obviously disagree. I welcome scientists' participation in the political process. Science should always inform politics.

However, it shouldn't work the other way around. A scientist's politics should never inform or influence their work, aside from influencing what they choose to study. I'm glad that Jim Hansen and others like him is out there publicly and politically.

Of course the science itself should *always* be neutral. Any science that isn't should be rooted out and discarded or re-done as nearly objectively as possible. That's the purpose of the Scientific Method.

So far, I see very little evidence that politics plays any significant role in the science supporting AGW theory.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
Quoting 368. BaltimoreBrian:


I think it will be after 2050, but the point is still valid.

And you call yourself an alarmist?! ;)

I hope you're right. I'll be delighted if it's after 2020 before our "fan moment."
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
This op-ed by Dr. Tamsin Edwards wrote an op-ed in The Guardian yesterday, which stated:

Climate scientists must not advocate particul ar policies

I became a climate scientist because I care about the environment, but we have a moral obligation to be impartial.

Dr. Edwards further states:


I believe advocacy by climate scientists has damaged trust in the science. We risk our credibility, our reputation for objectivity, if we are not absolutely neutral. At the very least, it leaves us open to criticism. I find much climate scepticism is driven by a belief that environmental activism has influenced how scientists gather and interpret evidence. So I've found my hardline approach successful in taking the politics and therefore %u2013 pun intended %u2013 the heat out of climate science discussions. %u2026


Personally, I find Dr. Edwards arguments very naive, if a scientist is researching an area that he feels is dangerous, say cancer and tobacco use or AGW, that scientist has a moral and ethical obligation to make the consequences known. Dr. James Annanhas responded on his blog here:


Should climate scientists engage in advocacy?
So, there's this article which is provoking lots of hot air on the twittersphere. And since I haven't blogged much for a while, I might as well add a bit more. This is a bit of a ramble as I don't have the energy for a carefully edited post.

I'm far from convinced by Tamsin's argument. I don't see why climate scientists should abandon their democratic rights (one could even consider them responsibilities) just by virtue of having some slightly better understanding of some aspects of how the world works. Merely writing down the idea makes it sound absurd to me. Of course no-one is required to be an advocate, but I don't recall taking a vow of silence when I was inducted into the hallowed world of the Climate Scientist. And why should climate scientists be singled out for this treatment, anyway? Is it really in the public interest that one entire cadre of people with a particular (relevant) expertise should be excluded from the public debate? If so, surely we should exclude the economists and energy policy experts too, for exactly the same reasons. Who would be left, apart from Monckton-types and assorted hippies and eco-terrorists?
I'm not implying that we should all be advocating things where we are uncomfortable and/or unconvinced. But it's important to be clear about what "advocacy" might mean in the various spheres that we find ourselves. In the UK, perhaps that means a detailed discussion on what particular policy is going to be most effective in controlling carbon emissions. In the USA, it's more likely to be the question of whether one is permitted to accept that anthropogenic climate change actually exists. I think it's highly plausible both that Gavin knows a lot more than his audience, and that Tamsin does not know much more than hers, on their respective debates. While she claims her approach has won lots of friends, I would be interested to see the reaction if she chose to express and defend her "absolutely mainstream" climate science views on her blog, rather than the meta-science that she's focussed on so far. I suspect the sceptics would get markely less effusive in their praise (even though, in the UK, most sceptics are far removed from the caucasian wingnuts seen across the pond).

Finally, the idea that concealing our political views is the way to increase trust in climate science, seems entirely misguided to me. Biases don't go away just by not being talked about.


Edit removed last section to fix html fubar.
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3357
Quantifying the Influence of Climate on Human Conflict

Hsiang, S., M. Burke, E. Miguel, Science, August 1 2013, DOI: 10.1126/science.1235367

Abstract:
A rapidly growing body of research examines whether human conflict can be affected by climatic changes. Drawing from archaeology, criminology, economics, geography, history, political science, and psychology, we assemble and analyze the 60 most rigorous quantitative studies and document, for the first time, a remarkable convergence of results. We find strong causal evidence linking climatic events to human conflict across a range of spatial and temporal scales and across all major regions of the world. The magnitude of climate's influence is substantial: for each 1 standard deviation (1σ) change in climate toward warmer temperatures or more extreme rainfall, median estimates indicate that the frequency of interpersonal violence rises 4% and the frequency of intergroup conflict rises 14%. Because locations throughout the inhabited world are expected to warm 2 to 4σ by 2050, amplified rates of human conflict could represent a large and critical impact of anthropogenic climate change.
Member Since: January 11, 2012 Posts: 6 Comments: 857
Quoting 366. Patrap:
In a few years, those laughing will be crying, why didnt anyone warn us ?





I think it will be after 2050, but your point is still valid.
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 8630
Quoting 366. Patrap:
In a few years, those laughing will be crying, why didnt anyone warn us ?




Yep. And they'll claim that they never really doubted...or that they were misled (which is true), so it's not their fault (which is false).

It will be interesting to watch.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
In a few years, those laughing will be crying, why didnt anyone warn us ?



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128668
Quoting 363. Patrap:
Science scares the weak minded.

I don't think it's the science, Pat. I think it's the implications of the science, that unfettered capitalism can do harm that bothers them.

Then there's always the carbon tax alarmists/conspiracy theorists.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
Science scares the weak minded.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128668

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About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.