Wood as fuel maybe not so dangerous!

Of course it aint. But it has recently been used as both scapegoat and decoy. The fight back begins:


Posted in Green politics, | Leave a comment

The Butterfly Effect

Well, they talk of Brazilian butterflies changing history by merely flapping their wings, so here’s encouragement for more local, UK, butterfly wing flapping!

I cannot get to these events but wish them well. Maybe I’ll get one here in the North West soon, as well………

The flyer says:

“There are over 50 species of butterfly in the UK, along with more than 2,000 species of moth. Although they have mostly been in decline for the past 40 years, woodland owners are in a unique position to help support butterfly populations. With just a little work, it is possible to create small areas that will encourage their conservation.

We have arranged a series of free workshops for SWOG members in conjunction with Butterfly Conservation to discuss managing woodland for butterflies.

2 July Plattershill Wood, Horsham, West Sussex

23 July Longlands Wood (part of Tottington Wood)
near Small Dole, West Sussex

30 July Coombewell Wood, Lamberhurst, Kent

Each event will be from 1.30–4.30pm.

The workshops will be led by well known butterfly experts Neil Hulme and Steve Wheatley, who will explain in detail which species can be encouraged in each location and exactly what steps woodland owners can take to support them.

Take a look at our leaflet on managing woodlands for butterflies for more hints and tips.

Please email judith@swog.org.uk if you would like to attend.”

So, go if you can……..


Posted in Green politics, | Leave a comment

The problems in discussion or why we are where we are!

Laura Sutherland

Posted on bees and Monsanto – Ref 1 with 2 and 3 as background

Piers Newland 

And an alternative blog opinion – Ref 4

Chris Hemmings 

OK, I’m sat waiting for a train so I read it. Full of flaws, distraction argument and so lacks objectivity.
So we talk of Monsantos, so we check the source of the Glyphosate, so the GM neonic coated seed is collaboration between two companies. As has often been noted, two wrongs do not make a right!
No, Monsantos are not evil. It’s the operators one has to blame. The agro systems that have evolved that use GM+Neonics+glyphosate are deeply destructive in oh so many ways.
If you have to use such then so be it – that’s your job – but please don’t pretend it has no negative outcomes.
Go organic – as you say, you can still buy your seeds from a Monsanto!

Piers Newland

Have you any studies that demonstrate harm from GM produce?
Bear in mind that millions of animals are fed GM feed every day. And the source of insulin.

Chris Hemmings 

Don’t need them as I was talking of the environmentally destructive nature of the system that uses GM. However, as a geneticist by training, I am deeply aware of the folly of releasing recombinant DNA bundles into the wild, to intercross with native species etc.
As for insulin, as with any business, first create your market. Thus, here, the solution is to NOT CREATE diabetics ie dietary.

Piers Newland 

So, you’d rather harvest insulin from the pancreas of dogs or pigs?
And, yes you do need citations, otherwise you are just telling stories (anecdotes). That’s not how science works.

Chris Hemmings

 Hmm, did you read what I wrote?
No, I didn’t think that you had….
So, next time, read and understand before you attempt to negate.

Piers Newland

 I read it. Citations please or it didn’t happen. If you are scientifically trained you know that’s how it works.

Chris Hemmings

 You ever read or even hear of Silent Spring, Rachel Carson’s 1962 classic, essentially on DDT?
Modern agricultural systems are taking silence to ultimate extremes.
Go listen to the Archers..

Piers Newland 

^^^ yup, my first degree was environmental science (ecology specialism).
Citations, or it didn’t happen;that’s science.

Chris Hemmings 

Sorry, but exactly how naive are you?

Piers Newland

 So, you concede because you can’t provide citations for your claim that GM is inherently harmful?
Google Scholar is a good search engine and your local libraries should be able to access the full texts for you.

Chris Hemmings 

This is not Nature, this is a political discussion group. Showing you know about a search engine is not part of any such process, anyway.
GM is inherently unstable, very expensive, subject to out breeding and other pollution incidents and drives monopoly capitalistic monoculture, clearly environmentally damaging.

Piers Newland 

You concede, you have no science to back up your stance?
You have presented no reliable evidence.
JC is in favour for evidence science in politics, at least when I asked him in Doncaster last year (yes, know it’s an appeal to authority, but it’ll do for “politics”).

Chris Hemmings Frankly its not for me to do that. If you want such an agricultural system, prove that it is safe AND sustainable.

Piers Newland 

I did not make the initial claim, the onus is not on me. However, I’ll see what I can dig out of the library 

Refs 5, 6, 7 and 8

Piers Newland 

They are meta analyses, so cover many more studies.

Chris Hemmings 

1 Economics is not a science, nor relevant here. (Ref 5)
2 Again I didn’t discuss any human health impact. (Ref 6)
3 Nor any impact on livestock. (Ref 7)
4 So there’s just your raptor friend. (Ref 8)
Can’t write full critique – only on a phone – but he (or she) glosses over points to give apparent weight where there is none. So:
“Little or no evidence that GM agric harms wild animals”. The whole point of the system is to reduce all botany to a single species which the farm operator harvests. Huge decrease in biodiversity is built into the system. Obviously. No selectivemegametamegalomaniacal survey can mask that fundamental flaw.
Sorry, but if with ecological training if you cannot see this then I’d go back to Leeds and complain to your tutors. Can’t say fairer ‘n that.

Piers Newland 

And you discount the studies
Playing chess with pigeons
Agriculture is essentially monocultural with tweaks to enhance yields.
We cannot sustain hunter gatherer lifestyles, we have to produce efficiently. GM is a tool to that end and reduces the application of pesticides and fertilisers.
They also reduce diseases (golden rice, insulin production etc).

Chris Hemmings 

The alternative is NOT “hunter gatherer” – who the hell suggested that? Modern agricultural systems are reckless, short-termist and destructive. GM is just adding to that problem, moving further from sustainable production.
You do not answer, just ignore my observations and make vague, spurious comments like “playing chess with pigeons”.
Think I’m bored with this now. Ciao.

Piers Newland 

Given up? 

Chris Hemmings

No, just bored . But I will transfer it to my fivetrilliontrees.wordpress.com blog, as it’s a good descriptor of the nature of the problem.

References for discussion

1 – http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/13/mps-vote-against-emergency-use-of-banned-bee-harming-pesticides

2 – http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/13/mps-vote-against-emergency-use-of-banned-bee-harming-pesticides

3 – http://www.wired.com/2014/07/neonicotinoid-bird-declines/

4 – https://www.quora.com/Is-Monsanto-evil/answers/9740807?srid=y5k&share=1

5 – http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0111629

6 – http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/07388551.2013.823595

7 – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25184846

8 – http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/review-10-years-gmo-research-no-significant-dangers/

Posted in Green politics, | Leave a comment

Project to grow Cider apples in North West Wales

Cider Project


1 -To plant up to 50 hectares of cider apple orchards, to produce at up to 20 tonnes per hectare. Cropping, on M106 rootstocks, commences in year 2, peaking from around year 10 with a yield of 20 T/ha or higher. Juicing is, typically, 68% of harvest weight, thus gives the following annual production, expressed in litres of raw juice produced:

10T/ha 12T/ha 15T/ha 20T/ha
1 hectare 6820 8184 10230 13640
5 hectares 34100 40920 51150 68200
10 hectares 68200 81840 102300 136400

2 – At 50 hectares, production would build up to about 700,000 litres per annum.

3 – The aim is to establish a number of operationally independent orchards, throughout the Conwy and North Gwynedd region, possibly with some on Ynys Mon as well. All would supply a central fermentation, bottling and distribution centre, run on a “Cave cooperative” basis, so each site being paid according to the volume of juice produced.

4 – To obtain the range of flavour, sweetness and acidity required, varieties planted must be carefully chosen and their performance monitored.

Particular attention will be placed upon finding appropriate local historically used varieties, and, as such are established, great care will be taken to build up stocks.

5 – Thus, as the project develops, it is clear that a nursery to both grow on replacement stock and also to meet retail requests will need to be established.

6 – It is envisaged that a variety of land provision will be found. Purchase of land is prohibitively expensive at present and so long term land use contracts will be sought. Where land can be acquired, the project will be happy to do so.

7 – As little income will be derived from the orchards for the first three to five years and as the land use will be very environmentally beneficial, it is envisaged that, on farms, European Farm Subsidy type payments will continue to be drawn by the land owners.

Clearly there will be no income generated to pay a ground rent.

8 – The other major capital costs are, of course, the purchase and planting of the treestock. Stocking rates will vary, based on cultivar and also other crops established. It is envisaged that a minimum of 500 trees per hectare would be planted, rising to a maximum of 800 on certain locations.

Using MM106 semi dwarf rootstock (or other, as appropriate) cropping will commence in the second year, although only a few apples per tree. Such plants are readily available for the commoner cider apple types – and there are hundreds of such to select from, from several, well-established growers – but the “discovered” local varieties will have to be budded from the found trees. There are a number of such available and further searching is ongoing.

Establishing these varieties will take an extra year to enable the budding/grafting process to be carried out, onto the same MM106 rootstock, after which they will perform as all the other stock – or even better, as they have local provenance.

Planting will be carried out as part of the project and my present estimate for this is a total of £25 per tree, inclusive of tree, planting and initial protection materials. That is £12500 per hectare when 500 trees are established. [I am still obtaining quotes for elements of this estimate and so it is liable to some alteration.]

9 – Organic, wildlife and environmentally promoting means will be used to manage the orchards and each will, thus, be an attractive feature in its own right. Here, too, is added value to the land owner eg attracting holiday cottage type customers.

10 – It is proposed to co-plant other crops within the orchard areas, increasing biodiversity and avoiding the dangers of mono-culture. Soft fruit, nut trees, coppice trees and other can provide this, typically adding 20-50% to the productivity of the area and protecting the apple crops.

11 – Undergrazing by livestock has been used traditionally in cider orchards and, once well established, there may be scope to introduce this in some locations, although careful attention should be paid to avoiding livestock damage to the orchard stock.

12 – An orchard planting and maintenance company will be established to provide the comprehensive range of establishment and maintenance services for all the orchards.

13 – At an as yet unselected location, but hopefully close to Conwy town centre, the “Cave Cooperative” press, fermentation and bottling plant will be established where marketing and administration processes will also be established and run from.

14 – It is proposed that this whole establishment process be run over five years, during which there will be the creation of a wide range of new employments, many with transferable skills, and many which can run alongside other involvements on a self-employed basis. However, by the time the programme is fully implemented this will be equivalent to ten full time jobs, as well as supporting a range of ancillary businesses.

15 – The products will be locally, nationally and internationally marketable and it is aimed to always drive for excellence and so maximise their value and reputation.

16 – I do also have the name and marketing concept but will keep this under wraps for now!







Posted in Green politics, | Leave a comment

More treeconomics

So I sat and I thought and as I sat and I thought, well, I thought:

“It’s ongoing, isn’t it?”

And then, as I sat some more, I thought some more:

“And as it’s ongoing, that means its effects are growing too.”

Which struck me as disturbing, because, as we all know, there’s other impacts which look persuasively like they too are getting bigger. And bigger. Year upon year. Upon year.

“Like flooding. Due to record rainfall.”

“And the atmospheric carbon dioxide graph”

“And generally all kinds of atmospheric climatics that show the expenditure of larger dollops of energy. In impactful manner. Like droughts. And hurricanes. And whirlwinds. They even had one of those in Birmingham last year. That’s the Original Birmingham, not the one in Alabama. Which has probably always suffered from  such weatherliness.”

What I then worked out, with my trusted pencil and paper, was that, at the present rate of forest clearance, we lose, get this, the carbon dioxide fixing capacity every eight years to uptake one megatonne of our favourite gas each and every year thereafterwards. That does assume, I grant you, that no carbon is fixed by that forestland post harvest – which will NOT be true. But it will be nowhere near the capacity of mature forest.

This further underlines the tendency to exponential of the forest clearance saga and could probably lead to new “tipping points” beyond which we will find no turning back.

At the post glacial forest maximum, we had around twice the current forest, despite sea level increases having flooded out a lot of the glacial period lowland forest. (Think 120 metre SLR globally. Think Cantre’r Gwaelod – now the Irish Sea – or Doggerland – now the North Sea. And multiply them up. A significant natural loss of forest.) If we have lost around 800 MT forest mass or maybe four billion hectares that is carbon fixing capacity, CFC, of 60BT/annum/annum lost.

Does agriculture manage 25% of that? Somehow I doubt it.  Net CFC loss = 45BT/annum.

I rest my case or, as the Great Forest Gump might well say: “That’s all I have to say about that subject.”

Posted in Carbon economics, Doggerland, Flooding, Glacial era, Green politics,, Greenhouse gases and climate change, Hurricanes, Land use, Whirlwinds | Leave a comment

Bobby say “Reforestation can’t offset massive fossil fuels emissions”

On December 13, 2013,  Bobbie Edwards published the following article on Mongabay. It’s nothing new but posted up to a forestry discussion site, provoked the discourse that made up my previous posting/chapter. It echoes much of what’s been said previously  but together provides a useful call and response situation. In the next few sections, I plan to comb through, dissect and similarly treat a clutch of reports I have which can really be said to draw a line under the twenty year struggle of greens versus harvester developers. In military terms this is to underscore a regrouping for a major change in tactics. Defeat, as they say, is not an option!

OK, so here’s the provocative original article:

With the Australian, Japanese, and Canadian governments making an about-face on carbon-emissions reduction targets during the Warsaw climate summit, some experts are warning that the global need for solutions offsetting CO2 emissions is passing a “red line.” Land-based mitigation practices comprise one of the solutions on the table as a result of both the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol; however, a paper published in Nature Climate Change by an international team led by Brendan Mackey, has raised the looming question of whether or not land-based practices can actually improve CO2 levels as much as hoped.

In their paper, Mackey and colleagues question “to what extent [land-based mitigation] can be legitimately considered an ‘offset’ for fossil fuel CO2 emissions.”

According to Mackey, several of the most convincing effects of increased CO2 emissions in the atmosphere are reductions in the Greenland ice mass and Arctic sea ice cover , which have caused a capital investment and industrial exploitation boom of the new land and sea territories that have become available and the significant global increases in surface land temperatures.

The burning of fossil fuels is the largest global source of anthropogenic (human-caused) CO2 emissions. Human land-use activities such as deforestation, logging, and soil disturbance make up the second largest source.

Mackey and his team estimate that, on average, 0.16 million square kilometers of forests are cleared annually. About half of the world’s forests have already been cleared, leaving 40 million square kilometers still standing. Of this, only 36 percent are primary forests (i.e., old-growth forests), which have not been significantly disturbed to the point at which bio-diversity is altered.

But carbon isn’t released only when trees are cut down or burned, or when the soil is moved, but also from machinery such as trucks, bulldozers and chainsaws used to carry out these activities. Mackey and his colleagues report that it’s hard to know the precise amount of global carbon emissions produced from forest degradation, but estimates suggest that these activities together account for a 50 percent increase in regional emissions compared to deforestation alone.

But an erroneous assumption is that re-planting forests or creating tree pastures quickly offset carbon levels in the atmosphere. Neither of these approaches are viable solutions, according to the international team. Reforestation of areas affected by land-use would reduce atmospheric CO2 by 40–70 parts-per-million by the end of the century. However, this will be greatly overshadowed by simultaneous global deforestation activities and fossil fuel emissions that are projected to increase CO2 levels by 130–290 parts-per-million and170-600 parts-per-million by 2100, respectively.

“These estimates highlight the very modest scope for reforestation to reduce (atmospheric) CO2 compared with both the magnitude of fossil fuel CO2 emissions and emissions from deforestation and degradation,” Mackey and his colleagues write in the paper. “Moreover, complete reforestation of previously cleared land is an implausible scenario due to competing land uses — especially from food production and the need to feed a human population predicted to surpass nine billion by 2050 — along with projected demand for land to produce transport biofuel.”

When asked specifically about the relationship between the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere and the amount of carbon stored in the ground and in vegetation, Mackey clarified that the amount of organic carbon that is grown and stored in a forest ecosystem is determined primarily by rainfall and temperature. These climatic variables affect the rate of plant growth and decay. Other factors impacting the amount of carbon stored are soil characteristics and groundwater accessibility by plants.

“When you log or clear a forest, the biomass and soil carbon is oxidized and released as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere,” said Mackey. “If the forest is allowed to regrow (assuming it has not been logged or cleared such that it is destroyed) then theoretically it should be able to grow back the same amount of carbon. However, in the case of a primary forest this can take hundreds to thousands of years.”

Another proposed CO2 offset solution questioned by Mackey and his colleagues involves the assumption that sequestering carbon for 100 years would permanently remove it from the atmosphere. They believe that, somewhere along the way, a pair of zeroes were swept under the rug when calculating the lifespan of carbon.

“If carbon is to be usefully stored (on land, in the ocean or in geological repositories), it must remain stored not just for 100 years, but for more than 10,000 years…Indeed it is accepted de facto in many policy contexts that it is sufficient to maintain stores for 100 years,” reads the paper.

Solving climate change is not going to be as easy as countries planting trees, according to the paper. rapidly decreasing greenhouse gas emissions—whether from fossil fuels or land use changes—is far more important.

“No amount of reafforestation or growing of new trees will ultimately off-set continuing CO2 emissions due to environmental constraints on plant growth and the large amounts of remaining fossil fuel reserves,” Mackey says. “Unfortunately there is no option but to cut fossil fuel emissions deeply as about a third of the CO2 stays in the atmosphere for 2 to 20 millennia.”


Nature Climate Change: “Untangling the confusion around land carbon science and climate change mitigation policy” by Brendan Mackey (Griffith Uni.), I. Colin Prentice (Macquarie Uni. & Imperial College), Will Steffen (ANU), Joanna I. House (Bristol Uni.), David Lindenmayer (ANU), Heather Keith (ANU) and Sandra Berry (ANU). (doi:10.1038/nclimate1804)

Read original at http://news.mongabay.com/2013/1210-edwards-reforestation-cannot-offest-emissions.html#22j2xvIXFy7ysoEv.99



Posted in Climate politics, Development issues, Ecology, Green politics,, Greenhouse gases and climate change, Land use, New forests and woodland, REDD+ | 2 Comments

More trees, please………

This is like proceedings of a select international conference and is a follow up to the series of articles which arose in similar circumstances two years ago. It’s a global sampler of interested and interesting participants, responding to an article which I will repost verbatim after this discussion. This piece has stretched out from pre Christmas 2013 to mid January 2014, and is a good snap-shot update.

It’s raw, unedited as yet, but I may well comb through it at a later date.


Michael Furniss Owner at MJ Furniss & Associates

True enough, but I do not recall anyone saying that reforestation or avoided deforestation will do the whole job. We should do what we can. Pointing up problems with REDD+ and other forest carbon offset strategies is easy and popular, but I do not recall anyone saying it would be easy. How about solutions, rather than piling on the problems and naysaying? Foresters should be pushing for solutions IMO, not demonstrating their knowledge by hawking the shortcomings over and over, and presenting the not-yet-fully-solved problems as somehow being fatal flaws.

Erik van Lennep Ecological Counsel at Circle Square Foundation

@Michael Furniss, I agree with you. Why are we so obsessed with “silver bullet” solutions, when we only have evidence they never provide real answers? The world is a complex organism, and its systems share and reflect that complexity. Simple fixes never fix.Instead of slamming one element of a pattern for not delivering the whole picture, we need to apply our critical analysis to determining what’s missing, and to fine-tuning the overall strategy.

Nathan Nicholas field technichian at free growing forestry

the other benefits of good forestry practices, such as stabilize topsoil, bio-diversity, stability of employment must be factored in.

scott keller project developer at Reforest the Tropics, INC. and Environmental Services Consultant

Has anyone heard of the Carbon Zero Fuel Project?

It’s fossil fuel that’s carbon offset with a new sustainable farm forest planting on cattle pasture. There’s a donation per gallon that is given when fossil fuel is purchased.

With donations, Reforest The Tropics.org, a non-profit, works with participating farmers to reforest cattle pastures, sequester carbon, and reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases. These forests are designed to be profitable for farmers by producing wood to sell, providing a sustainable income and the forests are highly effective at sequestering/capturing and storing CO2 emissions for sponsors.

Andrew Tolfts  Green Deal Officer at West Sussex County Council

Quite right, can’t offset carbon emissions with reafforestation but it can buy a little time (a few decades) if a truely huge level of planting was attained. More than offset emissions due to current forest degredation and destruction. And by using sustainable grown timber as a fuel and for building materials more of the fossil fuels can stay in the ground.

Joseph Pallant Business Development Associate at Pacific Carbon Trust

There was a UN Special Report on Climate Change from 2000 that points out a full third of anthropogenic GHG emissions between 1850 and 1998 were from land use change, primarily deforestation. Current annual rates from land use change are in the 15-20% range.

One could ponder a simple takeaway that 33% of the net global anthropogenic GHG debt should be targeted by restoration, and a further 15-20% annual deficit can be addressed by REDD+.

Dirk Brinkman CEO at Brinkman & Associates Reforestation Ltd

By Bali in 2007 it was already too late for reduced emissions alone to avoid catastrophic climate change. President Susalito BamBang opened his COP 15 by saying “what the world needs is less emissions, more sinks.” It was a hair raising moment for those of us who recognized that this may never be put more succinctly.

Reforestation had been certified in 2004 as a climate action, but it was stumbling over the long investment time before getting returns and being excluded from the largest market, the ETS, by EU enviro’s who wanted Germany to shift to LNG from coal, before offsetting emissions with reforestation. In Warsaw in 2013, REDD+, with its more instant gratification from stopping emissions tomorrow, is now also a certified climate action. Soil, ecosystem and wetland restoration have also joined the climate action pantheon for land manager through various voluntary standards. We had the privilege of developing the first methodologies for each of these three, of opening the matrix of tools to afford the professional forester, ecologist or agrologist the funding to intervene in the flow of change possible on their local landscape.

Still, farmers and foresters who have worked their fingers to the bone as price takers, whip-lashed by middlemen like Georgia chicken farmers, have to stand together on the edge of this precipitous new market, to avoid being piped like lemmings by the inevitable scoundrels attracted to the rural regions. Perhaps this is the most interesting problem of all.

Chris Hemmings OC Five Trillion Trees – Universal Industrial Offset Mechanism

Very pleased to see the earlier posts, pretty much all; saying “Yes but this must be a major pert of the overall solution” Ever the referenced article says it, albeit reluctantly:

“”But an erroneous assumption is that re-planting forests or creating tree pastures quickly offset carbon levels in the atmosphere. Neither of these approaches are viable solutions, according to the international team. Reforestation of areas affected by land-use would reduce atmospheric CO2 by 40–70 parts-per-million by the end of the century. “”

If we took back into forestry land which is marginal and worse we would hit the higher end of that span, ie 60 to 70 ppm reduction by fixation into forests. This is a major target for Global Restoration working and is becoming clear as essential not optional, and not only to fight climate change as biodiversity, ecological connectivity and human sanity are equally valid drivers.

By following this route the additional fall out is to discourage anything other than active forest management, whereby there is never felling without substantial replanting, and clear felling is avoided like the plague.


Terry Halligan Director at ERS Emission Recovery Solutions Inc

So the new consensus would be that we need to ignore the solutions that are expensive, minimally effective and to far out on the time horizon. We do know what will work quickly and effectively. After the global financial crisis in 2008, GHG emissions fell back until recently. It would suggest that a permanent halt of economic expansion and the resulting downward pressure on consumption which would exacerbate the GDP decline be the only course.

Investment in alternatives, emissions recovery through improved efficiencies and new technology on avoidance are far too expensive, individually produce small impacts and will take to long for widespread implementation.

Or we could fully appreciate the impact our historical activities have had on the world, recognize all of the potential solutions, small and large, long term and short, cheap and costly and simply get down to it now.

Don Willis Global Forestry Product Manager at Jiffy Products of America

Reading the comments its clear that moving forward is a necessity, unfortunately, different Governments, businesses, individuals, et cetera are tripping over each other causing further delays, and needed finances get eaten up in administration by the delays of process. As mentioned by Dirk and a few others, implied, the land base exists to reforest, afforestation, agroforestry, reclamation, restoration or rehabilitation depending on your flavour of “regeneration”. Combined plantings of trees with Native Plants/shrubs, etc can have a larger impact per hectare towards the desired goal of carbon emissions. The land owners, the local people or communities, have the greatest power to act as one source at any one given point in time, they just need the right motivating factor. As these people watch governments disagree and not come to any consensus or positive actions, the people will so choose not to believe as well. Local communities, villages, cities, tribes and individual people can grow their own plants to plant, they are not dependent on a commercial source to get the plants needed. What they need is trusted direction and confidence, not to worry about what could wrong, as moving forward and doing something is the right action without fear. Doing nothing and continuing the discussion is just bad fungi on composting words. Not only does it taste bad but anyone can smell a lie. The simple action is getting started, as we are no where close in forest cover compared to when human civilization decided to start cutting trees for whatever reason. We know the end goal. You have to get started, learn from past practices and keep moving forward. Do not reinvent the wheel. Compared to 10 years back obtaining relevant information was slow, compared to today when information placed on the internet in one year/month exceeds what was available in decades. The information is there, but so is the fear (not to mention politics). Human compassion and the will to make change exists largely in our population. This is the power needed to move forward and to harness (and as Dirk mentioned, keep the “inevitable scoundrels” out).

David Derbowka Owner, Passive Remediation Systems Ltd

So Don..

I happen to agree with your words and thought. I am sure I could not have said it better. I do have to add: small is good. Small is so much better than nothing. Small includes more participation. Small is so very doable. Small keeps out the scoundrels. And small is; yes, a big job.

Alterra Hetzel Forest Carbon Business Development Manager at The Conservation Fund

Agreement all around. What if the worst thing that happens is we protect wildlife, biodiversity, clean the water, retain the soil, boost recreation, boost economy, etc etc? And, of course, sequester carbon. It must be part of the solution. And I, for one, would like to leave my children some forests. It must be part (not all) of the solution.

Kevin Morgan Currently the endorsed Palmer United Candidate for Braddon

Most discussions and expectancies are around a Top Down Approach where we expect Government to lead us on this issue.

We have seen Governments in, out, heading in reverse.

Reversing this with individual people and groups starting and delivering in their own ways can start the ball rolling and if PEOPLE POWER gets strong enough Governments and lobbyists who have their own agenda will have only one way to go.

David Derbowka above has spoken on the small steps, I will add that a lot of small steps soon leads to larger ones as the momentum builds.

A “Bottom Up Approach” moves from a rustling of the leaves on the ground to a cyclone or tornado ” IF PEOPLE POWER OWNS IT”.

Achieving the right balance but moving forward is far better than heading in reverse.

Carlo Castellani Environmental Services Professional

The concept that doing something is better than nothing is a moral/religious one; it is not a rational one (it could even work negatively; e.g. biofuel demand favours deforestation). If I know that what I do is not enough to solve the problem, better I stop and use my energy to look for a better solution. Reforesting while deforestation goes on unabated makes only the interest of the plantations business.

Alex French Graduate Student

When taking a class on climate change we came across this simple carbon budget applet from the University of Wisconsin where you can play with variables for emissions as well as carbon sinks and then see the estimated temperature by the end of the century: http://carboncycle.aos.wisc.edu/carbon-budget-tool/

It would be optimistic to assume that by the middle of the century fossil emissions can start to level off and then begin to drop slightly by the end of the century (following the “Kuznets curve” pattern for pollution). Even with this optimistic scenario it’s estimated to come out to a 2.5 degree Celsius increase by the end of the century from 1990 levels. It’s only when you address deforestation emissions as well as the potential for sequestration from landscapes/reforestation that the temperature in the model peaks below the IPCC estimated threshold of 2 degrees Celsius.

So I agree that reforestation can’t offset massive fossil fuel emissions but I do believe that it is the margin that can prevent the climate system from collapsing in a best case scenario.

David Derbowka Owner, Passive Remediation Systems Ltd

Is not growth, or utilization of sun power naturally more effective or efficient than a solar voltaic cell? Manufacturing footprint is eliminated for one thing. Then full recovery of the stored energy done through growth, makes sense to me. (“forest storage cell”) I think we already have the ability to utilize bio-mass cleanly via various methods. Not for a second am I bashing solar cells for energy production. But a more thoughtful, (on the big picture) method of cycles in forestry, man made perhaps, might be some partial input regarding our attempts to retrieve planet health. I believe the ignorance and/or apathy, (in this country anyway), is the cause of hollowing our economic energy production opportunity in this field.

Alterra Hetzel Forest Carbon Business Development Manager at The Conservation Fund

@carlo – I read your comment and nearly fell off my unicorn! 🙂 Rationally speaking, where and how shall we all be focused? The key to what you said was “is not enough.” Therefore, what is? What is the affordable and available silver bullet? I would argue that a rational person would focus on the area in which they can. A rational person would argue that just because they can’t fix a problem all together does not mean they should not try at all within the capacity they can. And, PS – I personally would never advocate for a bio-fuel demand that (again) puts the lives of wildlife and trees as expendable in the name of energy. Rationally speaking.

Carlo Castellani Environmental Services Professional

Alterra, good questions; I also would like to get some logical answer from the expert on climate change (I am not). Anyway I seem that my concept of a rational person is far away from yours: trying to solve a problem means doing it with a strategy, project or any kind of rational idea that, whatever simplistic or primitive is hoped to produce a solution (victory) to the problem. The kind of patchwork proposed by the experts is not expected to produce any sensible change on climate trends (their conclusions, not mine!). Throwing stones against a powerful enemy or sacrificing a lamb to soften the god’s anger is no solution but a stupid way to satisfy the social need of showing to the tribe that one does something for the common welfare. If I can’t find the way to win my enemy I’ll try to ally with it or develop a plan to make its dominion as tolerable as possible. That’s the theory.

Practically all the initiatives undertaken in the past years have produced no results; billions having been spent in bla bla and the like. Whatever you or I advocate bio-fuel demand has favored and is favoring deforestation and increase in food prices (affecting the poorest). Facts.

Andrew Tolfts Green Deal Officer at West Sussex County Council

Carlo, you say: “Whatever you or I advocate bio-fuel demand has favored and is favoring deforestation and increase in food prices (affecting the poorest). Facts.”


But even if it has led to deforestation in the past it doen’t have to in the future. And what type of biofuel are you talking about? You may be damning all for the sins of the few. Surely conversion to agriculture, timber mining and conflict are much greater drivers for deforestation.

Nathan Nicholas field technichian at free growing forestry

I think Carlo was speaking of Palm oil bio fuel which is a worse case scenario, where as something like wood pellet fuel is much closer to carbon neutral.We must not forget that trees serve climates locally as well as globally with immediate effects such as cleaning storing rainwater, slowing snow melt, locally cooling the ground beneath them. I think much of the Resistance to carbon offset forestry is from people who cant wrap their minds around the idea of long term planning and intergenarational , rather than quarterly profits.

Michael Furniss Owner at MJ Furniss & Associates

Good news on REDD+


“ U.N. agrees multi-billion dollar framework to tackle deforestation “

Carlo Castellani Environmental Services Professional

Andrew, do you want me wasting a couple of minutes on the internet to look for evidence of the existence of biofuel plantations? Or even worse that such a market is subsidized by those governments saying they want to protect the planet? Do you need evidence of what [“conversion to agriculture”] you admit to be a “much greater drivers for deforestation”? Where do you live? When I get out of my farm in central Italy I see fields once devoted to food crops now covered with solar cells; my cousin heats his place burning corn seeds. This is happening in the present, due to initiatives taken in the past, within a policy that I don’t see how it should change in the future; I would like evidence of such a kind of changes of route (you mention for the future), implemented in the field, not in air-conditioned UN meeting rooms!. I am not damning the use of biofuels; if you read what I wrote, I’m damning those that favor deforestation. I am in favor of the use of agriculture by-products, of firewood from sustainable use of natural forests, etc.

David Derbowka Owner, Passive Remediation Systems Ltd

Carlo, Where do I start? Your points are well understood. You and I both favor bio-fuels of some sort. I think considering problems as opportunity and considering some nasty mess’s as a resource, the picture can clear up a bit. The sun will keep shining and the Earth will revolve as usual, I think, is a fair assumption. Do we know what’s the most efficient form of energy production; solar voltaic cells or greenery growth? It’s interesting what new direction will happen as we learn fossil fuel as energy, is just about an unethical choice for planet health issues. Sun power is an adaptable option on much of Earth’s face. I see an increase in land mass worldwide with a garbage dump underneath. I identify many of those methane emitting stench holes as a place for a forest. In fact, “Everyone’s Park” used as a revolving bio-mass producer seems Earth friendly to me. Send me your email if you want so I can send you my video explaining what is being done and what I dream may be a part of the change needed on Earth. I do ISO accredited reporting in my jurisdiction to account carbon sequestered. This is where we might like to start a discussion…

Alen Berta project manager in natural resources division, GIS analyst at Oikon – Institute for applied ecology

that is true… reforestation alone can not offset all CO2 emission, it must be only part of solution. Example is my small country, Croatia; to offset all CO2 emissions we should have 3 million hectares of high yield forests, but we have only about 1 million hectares.

So we should reforest 2 million hectares of land (and wait them to be fully grown), and whole country is 4,5 million hectares big.

As you can imagine, it is not possible, so we must reduce CO2 emission while we are stopping deforestation and conducting reforestation.

Michael Dutschke Owner of biocarbon consult

The question is, what do we need energy for? Producing energy will always sacrifice other goods. The problem started with a linear economy, carving it’s way through known resources, ignoring all the unexplored opportunities and leaving behind barren land. Fighting back in a linear manner means slowing down economic development and breaking up into a different direction, which eventually will crash against the next boundary. It’s obvious, even the most benign activities, like tree-planting, will harm the environment, if they are sustained against all odds. Therefore, we need a new cyclical, systemic paradigm that consists of making use of many more resources than we currently know, and only to the extend they can be renewed, while considering their interactions. Nowadays, mankind has a much higher capacity in dealing with complexities than it had 25 years ago. And also, put to work the experience and creativity of all humans, not just the happy billion.

Chris Hemmings OC Five Trillion Trees – Universal Industrial Offset Mechanism

Trouble is, the “we must do this but also cut carbon use” tactic falls into the chasm of lack of clarity. How much should we do? Then the crass carbon market stepped in and now seems to work against reforestation.

I push for a century of Restoration, to convert marginal lands to living, sustained ecological buffer zones, harboring not just carbon but also species, habitats and the crucial contiguancies needed for meaningful ecological custodianship. This has to be a global endeavor and should be seen as “Climate Action Plus”.

Erik van Lennep Ecological Counsel at Circle Square Foundation

Yes!! This is the century we have to reconnect all the pieces we tore apart the past two hundred years and more. And today is the day we must evolve our thinking and our rhetoric from sustainability toward regeneration in all things. The cool thing about this, is that anytime we shift phases or states, energy is released. And economies are based upon such energy flows. So by shifting to a regenerative paradigm, new economies are born.

Much of the pain now being felt in the “crash” is related to attempts to cling on to a dying paradigm. No wonder it feels so bad! Let’s stop the necrophilia and move on.

David Okul Forestry Consultant at Karen Blixen Camp

While promoting indigenous tree and shrub planting in the Mara, Kenya, I am always asked if it is really necessary. Well, I keep my answer simple in regards to Carbon forestry ” The major GHG is carbon dioxide, plants absorb carbon dioxide while growing, and woody plants are big and have a longer lifespan (compared to other plants) so they must be reducing the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere!”.

I think tree planting should be encouraged all over the world

Posted in Carbon economics, Carbon market, Carbon sinks, Climate politics, Development issues, Green politics,, Greenhouse gases and climate change, New forests and woodland, REDD+ | Leave a comment

“Burn our planet or face financial meltdown. Not much of a choice.”


Very simply and to paraphrase for those of you who have so little time that you cannot spare ten minutes to scan the above Will Hutton assessment it runs like this:
“We lost and we’re all doomed”.


“The scheming right wing libertarian plutocrats have got their wicked way by plying to the people’s personal avarice rather than instill social responsibility”.


“Here’s my towel and I’m throwing it in”.

Too many of us  need stuff like fast cars, foreign holidays, fighting wars, second homes and tomorrow’s new gizmos. What’s more in order to create employment for people, such that they can attempt to pay for all their apparent necessities, these services are wholly required by a modern, global society. All this needs must be underpinned by the continued extraction and burning of whatever source of fossilised carbon we can find. The efficiency of such processes seems to be increased by allocating ownership and, thus control over the use, to as few individuals as possible – the market smiles upon monopoly.

Will bemoans the European Eunion’s inability to stand up to the carbon market it had itself set up and say “Hey, you, play this game properly. We all know you’ve been cheating so we now want to spend a whole lot of money on you to make the rules fair. And then you must PROMISE to play the game properly or we shall sulk very much. See!” Instead, the European Eunion has just said “Sod it” and, presumably, went off to sulk anyway.

“Psst, hey, you, wanna buy some carbon credits. Special offer today only –  we’re giving two for the price of one and, if you pay a bit extra, we’ll wait until tomorrow before we devalue them by a further 75%”. Yeah, I know, I’ve writ that before but these guys even ring me up, you know!

Clearly the mechanism ain’t working. Some of us always felt it was a pointless distraction from the reality of the modern World, in some bizzarre manner imagining that creating a new market in obscure permits would have any effect other than to hasten the decline in heavy industry in the developed world and it’s move to poorer areas where profits could be far higher when wages were so much lower. And, of course, where environmental lobbies would be easily squashed.

OK, well all that has indeed happened but now Hutton is giving the destructivist agenda extra fillip by suggesting they have won a rational debate.

“A decade long fierce fightback by the conservative right…..has struck a near fatal blow to the climate change case. CC deniers insist that the volatility in world weather patterns and the rise in temperatures evident in the rapidly melting Arctic  are most likely natural phenomena and the science is wrong.” He goes on: “Or even if it is right, the better option is to adapt to climate change rather than give in to “socialism” to prevent it.”

The prominence and widespread acceptance of this stance, he reckons, is due to the geo-political constructs of today, particularly arising in the economically dominating, Anglo-Saxon centred countries, which, he seems to feel, is un-resistable. The oddly phrased title to the piece is, as far as I can see, not the threat being posed to triumph in this contest. They are saying “Burn our planet or be stuck in permanent recession”. The way out of the present collection of economic catastrophes is seen as growth through cheap carbon. Burn, burn, burn our way out of the doldrums, produce, produce, produce, consume, consume, consume, increase your debt this time to save the global economy. (Remember the same cry to restore the American economy post the terrorist attack on New York?)

So William would then have “today’s scientists ….take on the right in order to prove that climate change is man-made” which is again wrong – for several reasons

  1. It’s not the scientist’s role.
  2. Climate change is not a simple on-off switch.
  3. Climate change is only one of the many symptoms of the malaise.

When it boils down to it we are, once again, in “The Tragedy of Expertise”. This exploding problem of modernity is such that in order to become an expert and have your opinion valued, you have to lose any sense of perspective and objective rationality. Within an arena of expertise there is such intense internal scrutiny that you are drummed out if you do not conform and so are unable to stretch understanding beyond zones of comfort.

Thus he ends by stating “what is needed is a new [way] to do capitalism..in which enlightened self interest is hard wired into its operation. This report:

Click to access Unburnable-Carbon-Full1.pdf

“contains instruments which…mesh with….stakeholder capitalism…to underpin a new consensus and a new narrative.”

Hastily, he ends: “There is no time to lose.”

So, we tweak stuff around a bit and it’ll all be OK?

Obviously not.  This is what happened when economists led us into the Carbon Market LockIn Maze in the first place – run around for a few years, totally lost, often told “We’ll be out of here soon” but knowing you’re getting absolutely nowhere all the time. It’s not a new economy we require –  it’s a new mentality which is not led by the marketplace, not led by promises of a better tomorrow but by actively creating the better place, the stable and sustainable future on a daily basis. The economies, the economics of such will emerge – they should in no way pre-form or define it.Such is the route to further disaster.

Posted in Carbon economics, Carbon market, Climate politics, Green politics, | 3 Comments

How do you price the tonne of carbon that, once burned, tips the balance and triggers catastrophic, irreversible global warming?

[I wrote this a couple of years ago for The Ecologist. They didn’t use it but, hey, I still like it. It was a valid question and emphasises the position of inevitable no return we seem to be sailing through with total disregard as “our” attention is sharply focused on the quick buck……]

For one tiny moment this can be taken as a serious question. Well, it’s written dead pan and uses all the right words. The English makes an apparently rational question. And you wrestle, you struggle, get thrown to the floor even , before you smile wanly, “Oh, it’s a joke”. Like, did the last one to leave the Chernobyl nuclear power station turn out the lights?

Can you picture the scene in the TaiPei Community District Power Station, boiler number 7b, when they come to stoke up for the mid-evening power rush. “Hey, here comes that tonne, comrades. You know, the one which is going to tip the atmospheric balance and give us catastrophic global warming. Do any of you know what we paid for it?” “No comrade, but I do know that that water wasn’t coming in through the door five minutes ago.”

Of course there’s no such point. If there were, how could we ever determine it? We may deal in generalities easily and in gross quantities. We know what goes into the equation but not what comes out.

So there are three trillion tonnes of Carbon di Oxide in our atmosphere to which we add about 0.5% (15 billion tonnes) each year. This is net, as twice this is actually released. Some is fixed to vegetation, some more is dissolved in water, maybe some becomes shellfish and more ends in the soil. It’s released as forest clearance, slash and burn, by agriculture, by fossil fuel use and even by our collective breathing – there’s a few million gone to seven billion of us in a very short time!

Carbon, once burned, sits in our atmosphere as an invisible record of our use of the energy it once stored. Ask a school kid about it and the answer will include the carbon cycle and climate change. How the breakdown in the former leads to the latter. They’ll give you the solution, too – let the cycle be restored, so’s it works again properly. But how? In detail they are unclear but many will tell you to “plant trees”.

But “No” we say. “That’s too simplistic.” What we must do is “use the market to propel people into situations where they voluntarily refrain from carbon burning through the application of the Principles of the Open Market”. To me this does seem a little questionable. The market has driven us all to the brink of disaster, where all our basic manufacturing and trading systems are in chaos and countless lives in ruins, yet this is still where we place our faith. It’s like asking a rapist for first aid or the burglar to put money on the meter before he leaves. No, it’s not going to happen.

So, maybe for inspiration, I turned to read. “The Forest Carbon Conundrum” a headline cried. “Allowing forest carbon to be traded freely alongside other carbon would send the carbon price tumbling”, it said, “by 57%”. Not 58% or even 55%, you note, and “some 82% of deforestation could be avoided”. But then it was less clear because, if you provided less “forest carbon credits”, you would “end up reducing the amount of continued deforestation by just 16% – an unacceptably small target”. This certainly spells out the nature of the problem most clearly. In a word “Sophistry”.

In real terms money is a measure of force. So the strong accumulate money; those with a position of strength or who maintain a monopoly on a vital resource have strength and so control the allocation of finance. When it comes to it, if the moneyed wish to burn carbon, then, like Nero in ancient Rome, they will ignore all the problems around them and continue in their actions. Yes and he allowed Rome to burn so the analogy is good!

There seems to be no reduction in the rate of increase of atmospheric “greenhouse gases” . Detailed reports from groups such as “Climate Action” [Climate Safety – in case of emergency… 2009] show the alarming evidence of this reality. They issue the standard pleas to reduce carbon use and detailed pictures of the newly revealed summer ocean at the North Pole. If we price carbon burning high in some parts of the World, carbon is burned elsewhere. Economics makes fools of us all.

What’s needed is to frame systems that carry us beyond the constraints of classical economics and into a wholly new mind set of sustainability and regeneration. This has to be proactive, setting real goals and defining the methodologies to get there. We’ve known this for thirty years and more and many of us are deeply frustrated, not by the lack of progress but by the appalling regression we have been witnessing.

Yes, planting trees does work. Moving to restore the lost half of the Global forest would cleanse the atmosphere beautifully – the sums add up! Small groupings such as “The Global Restoration Network”, “The Earth Restoration Service” and, of course, “The Society for Ecological Restoration International” provide expression of this, as deeply concerned, highly informed and motivated people have gathered to express modes in which we can avoid having to price carbon but simply work to build new social landscapes, where mankind and Earth can indeed interact in a sustainable manner.

There’s little point in putting a price on that tonne. If we ever got there, the price would have been too high.

Posted in Carbon market, Climate chemistry, Climate politics, Green politics,, Greenhouse gases and climate change, Land use, New forests and woodland, REDD+ | Leave a comment

Forest Gump and the Skepsies

Sometimes they just write themselves. I’m concerned about misinformation, short sightedness and unclear thinking in any debate. Certainly the climate issue is not uncommon in having background support for agents working to muddy the waters but $100,000,000 can buy a whole lot of internet blog-corrupters along with newspaper ads, school visits and booklet printing. The waters are well muddied by now and the following arose on a friend’s Facebook account. Out of the blue but I thought “Hey, ride with this”. So I did and I reckon it’s quite fun as well as informative in a range of ways.

I could be totally wrong but this is it as briefly edited:

Forest Gump and the Skepsies

Posting said:  “Google “algae lamp” or Pierre Calleja and you’ll find plenty of information”. You get a modern folly.

Joanne They are using Algae to extract CO2 at coal powered stations to the point they have barely any CO2 emission plus you have a by product which can be sold for a profit. Nature does have a way of dealing with life. Unfortunately humans thinks they know all the answers.

Chris Every 1% increase in co2 equals a 10% increase in crop production. Removing Co2 would cause a significant drop in crop yields potentially starving millions. Any increase well you get the idea.

Me  This is a nice fantasy posting and discussion David, and I love the suggestion that the last couple of hundred years have given exponential increase to botanic productivity with around 40% increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels already.

Algae are great but equivalent to coppicing and essentially carbon neutral.

Joanne Chris do you really think humans have got that equation right. I don’t think they have.

Me Which equation?

Me Fantasy:


Venice to Get Half of Its Electricity From Algae


Most talk of algae and renewable energy on TreeHugger involves liquid biofuels, [ This is a ludicrous suggestion that Venice could power itself on algal harvest]

Joanne I think I miss understood…haven’t seen that one before. I do know they were looking at burning the dried algae but only to supplement coal or other fuel powered stations. Most of the algae looking as a food source for animals etc.

Me Like this guy, Ozzie Zehner, I’m deeply Green and looking for sane routes forward. We must, however, be realistic!


Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism [ An excellent book pointing to truly green routes ahead as opposed to tinkerings such as solar power and windmills]

Joanne This is being used in Oz


Australian-first project at Tarong Power Station uses algae to absorb carbon emissions

MeWhich is much better than the UK proposal to pump the captured gas into now drained oil wells and “sealing” it there. It’s shelved now, anyway, cos it costs too much.

Joanne Bloody Brits…can’t think outside the box..

Me Beaureafatcats, I’m afraid!

Chris CO2 levels have not increased 40%. Measured in PPM sure its increased 40% but what does that mean? As a percentage of atmospheric gas it hasnt changed much.

And using this silly way of measurement, in your home co2 levels rise 1,000%

And in prehistoric time co2 levels where 2,000% times higher than today measured in PPM.

But in actuality CO2 remains around .03% and optimum vegetation growth would be around around .20%

Figures dont lie, but liars figure

Me OK, Chris, if you want to play “How do we look at these statistics?” how’s about this: “There’s now an extra trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide up there in the atmosphere”.

CO2, like water vapour and other gases up there, have more of a catalytic effect – they enable heat retention and a seemingly small increase in concentration has a large effect on heat retention.

In prehistoric times atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were indeed much higher at times. In the age of the dinosaurs they were typically 1000 ppm. There were also no polar ice caps and a lot more water in the seas!

Optimal vegetation growth is, of course, dependent on a range of variables – CO2, temperature, moisture, minerals, air pressure even. At ecological steady state a balance is found, usually restrained by one limiting factor of those given. But “optimum” is dependent on the species present – thus today’s vegetation is greatly different from Jurassic.

“Figures don’t lie – but liars figure”. Well, what can I say? Oh yes, “Go figure”.

Chris I hear a lot about what the effects of CO2 are going to be, yet every climate model put forth seems to be not only wrong but in a direct opposition to reality.

Increased temp, moisture and CO2 levels will result in a direct increase on vegetation.

Which by the way is exactly what you’re so afraid of. BUT………..

The industrial revolution started some 200 years ago, and not much has changed.

In the ‘70’s scientists were sure humans would cause an ice age. Then [in] the 90’s it was warming, and now in 2000 it’s change. It seems being wrong so many times before that they decided to set the bar low enough that no one would trip over it.

Chris http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hockey_stick_chart_ipcc_large.jpg

File:Hockey stick chart ipcc large.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

[Posting the hockey stick diagram, although he never said why – nor can I imagine how it helped his drift. Sigh.]

Joanne  A model is only as good as the information that is put into it. For the last few years we have been having trouble with our Bureau of Meteorology in their flood predictions for our large river system here. They have been getting it wrong… and very badly due to the fact they have not put enough information into their models of past floods. Also each flood had different events happening so no one flood is going to be the same the most of us long term locals can get it right by looking up the past events so why can’t they and they have the degrees. They eventually listen but often not until too late.

Joanne I did read somewhere that Scientist where going to re assess the recorded temps for the last 200 years as they considered them too low. That to me is manipulation of the the facts.

Chris http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWDc6lpcqzc

The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change?

[This reference is to Freedomain Radio which “is the largest and most popular philosophy show on the web” and this was the most pathetic “There is no such thing as man made climate change” tirade I’ve seen in a while!]

Me Please, give me more vegetation – that’s what I’m pushing for!


[I had to push my blog so this seemed an appropriate one to put up for it!]

Comb through the Five Trillion Trees site and you’ll find quite a wide perspective on climate change and its relationship to human activities

Chris There were no ice caps? Well that’s funny because ice core samples are how we are sure of the co2 levels from that long ago.

And in that time of high co2 the world went through multiple ice ages.

Chris The planet was here long ago, and will be here after us. It’s only people so bold in their ignorance that can think they can save the planet when they can’t even take care of themselves.

MeThere were no ice caps 60 million years ago. Our ice core record is not counted in millions of years but hundreds of thousands at best. See:


Me“People so bold in their ignorance”? You mean me? Or could it just be you? I least I get my facts clear.

Chris Dating methods on ice core are nothing more than a guess as deeper ice blends together.

But this being said do the deeper layers show more or less co2.

If ice ages are a more recent phenomenon shouldn’t you be more worried about everyone freezing to death the. Getting 1 degree warmer

MeNo, I’m not, because we’ve supercharged our atmosphere with greenhouse gases to last a thousand years or more and, anyway, we lived through the last few ice ages perfectly well – and without central heating in our caves or semi-automatic spears to kill our prey. Then, we could simply move south to where it was warmer and stay near the coasts – which were some 120 metres lower than today. The UK – my home – was not an island then but joined directly to Europe by vast plains, where there is now the North Sea. Similarly there was no Baring Strait and one could walk to “Russia” from “Alaska”. Fun times, eh?!

Chris Lol! The industrial revolution started 200 years ago. So if global warming is true obviously you should have a 200 year trend. But 20 years ago everyone was sure of global cooling and even today scientists steer away from saying global warming

Chris And also just as land has sunk into the sea, land has also Risen from it. Did global warming cause new land to appear in other areas ?

Joanne  Guys…I see common points in your logic but to me core sampling of ice is only good if that ice was actually there when all the things were happening. All it takes is one or two volcanic eruptions and it alter our climate significantly.


Me“Common points to our logic”, Joanne? Please – at least I have logic!

200 years from a very low start so obviously very low impact. There’s been more industry in the last thirty years than the rest of human history put together. And tropical forests have shown a similar decline over the same period – cut down by us. It’s NOW this is all happening – hence the concern.

Sure land moves anyway, relative to the rest, and this complicates measurement. So the Himalayas have been pushed up quite recently, but that’s still 50 million years ago. The ice age ended little over ten thousand years ago – hardly any time at all! It seems the UK, being at the edge of the great glacial ice sheet, had vastly more ice over Scotland than the south. When it all melted the loss of physical weight over Scotland allowed the earth to literally spring back up. In turn this has pushed the south down into the seas more, pivoted around the middle somewhere!

No “global warming” does not cause land to rise from the sea.

Yes, Joanne, a Krakatoa type volcanic eruption pushing vast amounts of ash into the atmosphere could have a strong impact but it would pass, leaving little change to the greenhouse gas concentration of the atmosphere. Whether the ash would be called climate changing I doubt as it is temporary. Carbon dioxide and other GHG stay up there and have significant, long term impact.

Joanne Chris [That’s me, not the other contributor]…you have not researched well on the period from 1783-85. It killed over 6 million people and desimated the land. And lets not forget poor old Mississippi freezing over down in the South which it had not known to have done. I am not with you actually I find your reasoning to be disjointed. I don’t think anyone will disagree that the world has been warming up since the mini ice age. And besides it was darned hot before the 13th Century so what caused the Earth to cool down for that period. We seem to be more alarmed at getting warm than we are that we could get very cold.

Volcanic activity and shifts in subsurface plates will cause land to rise or fall. Given that 80% of volcanic activity is underwater I would think there is more movement under the ocean than scientists will ever get to measure. Also what about the Jungles and Dinosaurs that roamed Australia. That was before the mini ice age. Australia has been drying out for years yet people claim it is only recent.

The fact is there are numeous models on “global warming” yet so many unanswered questions.

MeJoanne, you castigate my research as disjointed and yet supply an odd group of unconnected observations which demonstrate nothing other than this is clearly not your subject. It is mine and I know a great deal about the nature of the present imbalances and the factors that have led up them. Further I have extensively researched relevant short, medium and long term historical and archaeological data so as to give a clear and, yes, balanced assessment.

For medieval era history and analysis I refer you to Professor William F Ruddiman, University of Virginia. His book “Plows, plagues and petroleum” is a short, clear depiction of events and is drawn from much, detailed research.

Read it and if you’ve any further questions or observations I’ll be happy to help you develop an objective understanding of this complex subject.

Joanne What research…I put up a link about one of the biggest Volcanic eruptions that has happened in recent years 1783 -1785 and you quote “Krakatoa”…”Yes, Joanne, a Krakatoa type volcanic eruption pushing vast amounts of ash into the atmosphere could have a strong impact but it would pass, leaving little change to the greenhouse gas concentration of the atmosphere. Whether the ash would be called climate changing I doubt as it is temporary. Carbon dioxide and other GHG stay up there and have significant, long term impact.” Kradatoa pales into insignificance compared to this.

Chris So I’m confused are you worried about global warming or cooling?

MeExpanding the scope, Joanne, I referred to Krakatoa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krakatoa)  which seems to me to be similar in scope and effect to the Icelandic one, and it’s been repetitive, to boot, so will happen again. I agree that Laki was big and not pleasant! My points remain, though. The effects pass in a couple of years. Sulphur dioxide is rained out of the skies very quickly – the same acid rain we get from burning dirty coal, in fact – and ash filtering out the sun can be the longest lasting effect. Little carbon dioxide is released by volcanic activity, no matter how big the volcano.

But Chris I’m not actually worried about the increase in mean global temperature. It’s not got much impact on me that I can tell. It usually rains in Wales, anyway. Just don’t get much snow in the winter any more, but that’s no bad thing. Cooling back to ice age seems many thousands of years away now, post human fossil fuel combustion, so, again, little to worry about. Increased atmospheric turbulence – storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, very heavy rainfall and the like – plus regions with severe drought will be par for the course and far more immediate worry to those concerned.

And the slow, inevitable rise in sea levels, drowning cities like New York will, like as not, be quite boring to watch – not as portrayed in “The day after tomorrow” where one tidal wave did it! Who knows, there may come a tipping point. Greenland ice sheets look increasingly precarious as melt waters flow rapidly through and underneath them. The vast area of Doggerland was suddenly drowned, it seems, by the collapse of a Scandinavian ice sheet some 7000 years ago.

But our cavalier attitude towards the natural environment and the blase manner in which we attempt to extract whatever we want from it whilst putting little back, save pollution and a decimated landscape, both worry me a lot. “Green” fantasies – such as the lamps which launched this discussion – they worry me, too, because they’re simply that – fantasies – and a kind of fraud. And the longer this goes on, the greater the worry.

Chris So you’re worried about something, but you cant really define what it is. But….you’re sure it’s from CO2 and the only way to stop it is give more power to the government, which by the way is largest polluter in the world.

Yes this seems legit.

Me  I am concerned by a lot, as I clearly describe. Carbon dioxide release is one of a number of factors involved – cutting down forests leads to the release of a lot of CO2 but it also devastates the natural environment, rendering many species extinct, driving soil loss and so increasing flooding risks downstream. It’s complicated, see? But, yeah, extra CO2 in the atmosphere is altering our climate. Year on year on year and frankly there’s no point worrying. It’s gonna happen whatever.

Who said ANYTHING about increased government power. Not me, for sure. What the hell do they know or ever achieve – look at the Venice reference I posted earlier.

As the great American Forest Gump so clearly said “That’s all I’ve gotta say on this matter” So me with this chat. Ciao folks, and thanks for the space, David.


Posted in Acid rain, Biodiversity, Climate carbon history, Climate chemistry, Climate politics, Green politics,, Volcanic action and climate | Leave a comment