EPA ponders regulating CO2

By |2017-12-26T11:01:36+00:00December 26th, 2017|Climate|25 Comments

The second shoe has dropped in EPA’s wondering about how to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants. As the shoe dropping metaphor suggests, EPA can now go to sleep for awhile. Everyone else is going to be very busy commenting on this complex issue.

The first shoe dropped in October when EPA proposed repeal of the Obama Clean Power Plan. The Agency correctly cited the well known legal arguments against the CPP, especially that it illegally required States to regulate their entire electric power systems, not just their power plants.

This meant changing (that is, restricting) people’s use of electricity, a favorite green goal. Not mentioned, but certainly there as well, is that the CPP killed off coal fired power. That EPA will follow through with this repeal is pretty certain.

Now comes the hard part, which is figuring out how to realistically regulate power plant CO2 emissions. Or maybe not, which is a big part of the uncertainty. Regulation is only required because of the Obama EPA’s false finding that CO2 emissions endanger public health and welfare. Reversing this Endangerment Finding should eliminate the entire issue of regulation.

EPA well might reverse the Endangerment Finding, but in the interim it is required to move ahead on the regulatory front. So now it is doing just that, but as slowly and carefully as possible.

Specifically it has issued what is officially known as an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking or simply an ANPRM. Despite the title, this is not a proposed rule. It is just a request for ideas. Imagine that!

The question that EPA is asking is “How can we realistically regulate CO2 emissions from power plants?” and it is a very hard question.

Unlike actual pollutants, which are incidental trace materials, CO2 is a natural product of the combustion process that the power plant is specifically built to execute. This means that CO2 emissions naturally occur in huge quantities. Even worse, these huge amounts of CO2 are embedded in the far greater amounts of nitrogen gas that make up most of the ocean of air that we live at the bottom of.

Thus the correct answer to EPA’s question is simply that it can’t be done, not realistically anyway. That it shouldn’t be done, because CO2 is actually beneficial, adds weight to this conclusion.

But EPA is presently trapped in a Green never-never land, where that obvious answer is not allowed. So the Agency is looking for ideas, which is a legally sanctioned step in the official rule making process.

Nor is EPA simply stalling for time. Then can, at the end of this ANPRM process, come out with a relatively harmless rule, saying that this is all that can realistically be done.

For example, CO2 emissions can be minimized by making the power plant burn its fuel as efficiently as possible. This might even be a realistic requirement, especially for new generating facilities.

There are also some well known wacky ideas out there. Such as burning coal in hugely expensive pure oxygen, rather than air, to avoid the nitrogen problem. Or removing the carbon from the fuel and just burning the hydrogen, even though in coal the carbon is most of the fuel. Or capturing the billions of tons of CO2 in the annual emission stream and sticking it into the ground somewhere. Obama’s EPA liked this one. All of them are absurdly expensive coal killers.

What this means is that the public comments are actually very important. There may be a lot of good ideas out there. In particular, let’s hear from the engineers, not the lawyers or the green economists.

Of course the real answer is to reverse the false Endangerment Finding and stop trying to regulate CO2. Full stop.

25 Comments

  1. Mitchell December 29, 2017 at 5:34 AM

    …”Or capturing the billions of tons of CO2 in the annual emission stream and sticking it into the ground somewhere. Obama’s EPA liked this one. ”

    The reason Obama like this idea is because whenever CO2 replaces the O2 in the soil you will have dead soil. The root system of plants require O2 in the soil to survive as well as CO2 in the atmosphere to grow.

    • MichaelR December 30, 2017 at 4:58 PM

      Except that that is nothing to do with what carbon capture and storage is supposed to do.

      CCS, which is a non starter for cost reasons anyway, was a get of jail free card dreamed up by the coal industry when they realised that governments were swinging behind the scientific community’s conclusion that man made CO2 drives dangerous climate change. But they never managed to get it working in a production system despite many promised and years of trying.

      CCS systems are supposed to pump compressed CO2 back into stable geological rock formations deep underground. The best candidate sites were expected to be old oil fields where all the oil had been extracted.

      So not the soil. That would be pretty pointless as the CO2 would very quickly be released back into the atmosphere…

      • Mitchell December 30, 2017 at 6:12 PM

        The article I read several months ago suggest it to be put in the soil which would kill plant life, pretty much the same as flooding the plant area with water the O2 is pushed out by the H2O.

        Yes it would be released right back into the atmosphere as soon as the farmers tilled the soil. But the entire process means a reduction in a chemical in the atmosphere that benefits plant life and food production.

        • MichaelR December 31, 2017 at 2:57 AM

          I guess the article was talking about some whacky version of CCS that no one is actually pursuing on a large scale. That said thee are other projects where people are trying to capture CO2 from the air for agriculture, but again, they are hard because capturing CO2 itself requires quite a lot of energy.
          https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/sep/14/entrepreneurs-turn-carbon-dioxide-into-fuels-artificial-photosynthesis

          The problem with just having the whole atmosphere containing high levels of CO2 is that when you account for both th fertilising effects of the CO2 and then also the higher temperatures and more extreme weather (which severely damage crops), you come out dramatically behind whee you started. For example, if you are growing crops like, say, coffee or maize, they need exactly the right temperature range to grow. If they experience even just one day above their correct temperature range, the heat stress can reduce yield by 40-50%. If you have several such days, then you can lose the whole crop. This is happening more and more. As average temperatures rise, then the exceptionally hot days become hotter as well. That means that whole areas of agriculture are becoming unsustainable where they are. So you find coffee plantations having to move further up the mountainsides they are on in Africa. But there are also areas of Africa and the Americas where maize was being cultivated at the margins of where the temperature range was acceptable for growing maize, where it is now becoming impossible to cultivate maize because heat stress is killing off the crops on a regular basis. That will continue to happen and the geographical area of land in such areas where agriculture has been significantly reduced or stopped is growing each year.

          • Mitchell January 3, 2018 at 6:52 AM

            We have had less storms the past few years, according to the Farmer’s Report grain harvests have been up the past few years too.
            A few degrees of heat will not harm a plant, just ask any farmer. What hurts crops is poor soil and no water, just go to any jungle and try to tell people the heat is going to kill the plant life.

            • MichaelR January 3, 2018 at 7:32 AM

              Storm frequency and intensity is more complicated than just looking at one stat, and indeed predictions of climate change DO NOT say their will be more storms. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42251921

              As for less water, what do you think is happening in California right now? This is being replicated in many other places around the world.
              https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14196?WT.feed_name=subjects_earth-and-environmental-sciences

              As for crop reports, you are cherry picking data. There are hundreds of relevant crops and they are grown around the world, not just the mid west. Overall yields of corn are expected to drop by 20-40% by 2050.
              https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-01599-2

              And, yes, a few degrees of temp increase absolutely can destroy crops if that increase takes the crop outside its proper temperature range. You would not try to grow apples in Western Africa, likewise you would not try to grow oranges in Canada. Plants have to have the right temp range to grow. If you increase the temp range in a location, then growing the same crops in that location fairly quickly becomes impossible.
              https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5489704/
              https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-016-1788-9

              • Mitchell January 3, 2018 at 9:05 AM

                The more you farm and draw water out of the ground you will always have a lowering of the water table, which is most of the problems we seen in Calif. and other parts of the world. This is also helped along by rain falls, this is a well known fact.
                I do recall reading a study last year about the water supply in Calif., due to the increases of population and the use of the water table for increased farming the water has been going down faster, but many farms are re-drilling the wells they have and are tapping into larger amounts of water. The water is there as it’s in the deserts too you just have to go deeper, but as the weather changes the water table will rise.

                Nobody knows what the food production or harvests will be like in 2050 not even farmers and scientists can only guess at it nothing more. And history has shown that scientist are wrong more times than they are right.

                Jan 2015, published in Nature. “Global Wheat Yield May Drop as Temperatures Rise”, but the chart here from the USDA show US wheat production is up.

                Extensive planting and benign weather have forced analysts to repeatedly raise crop outlooks. The International Grains Council last week increased its global wheat production forecast to a record 743m tonnes, up 1 per cent from last year.
                Storage concerns are also growing in Russia, which is this year set to become the largest wheat exporter after hauling in more than 70m tonnes. In Canada, the government anticipates the second-largest wheat crop in 25 years, of 30.5m tonnes. Australia’s imminent wheat harvest is forecast at 26.5m tonnes, the most in five years.
                Australia’s wheat crop could be in for a dramatic upgrade, potentially to a record high, thanks to wet weather which has put “stellar yields” in prospect – if stoking the quality worries already live in the world market.
                Indeed, satellite imagery shows “record vegetation density… across nearly all major growing regions”, the analysis group said, adding that Australia was “on track for stellar yields” in wheat.
                However, even Lanworth could be significantly underestimating crop potential, according to the Australian arm of crop trader Nidera – which says a record harvest could be on the agenda.

                “The largest domestic wheat crop 29.6m tonnes was recorded in 2011-12 and at this point in time it is hard to see this year’s crop being under 30m tonnes,” said Peter McMeekin, origination manager at Nidera Australia.
                http://joannenova.com.au/2016/09/record-hottest-year-means-record-bumper-wheat-crop/

                Taking a plant out of it’s natural environment and expecting it to live under conditions it has never been exposed to will kill any plant, will you take a desert plant and try to grow it in water?

                You do know that temps in any given location vary as much as 20 degrees during a 24hr period and over a entire year those temps can vary ALOT more and you want to be concerned with approx. a “half degree” temp variance? Lets not mention the formulas have tolerances more than that.

                • MichaelR January 3, 2018 at 9:36 AM

                  Dude, check your facts before you copy paste on me like that please. What you have posted is factually wrong.

                  You really don’t want to bring Australia into this.

                  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-commodities-abares/australia-cuts-2017-18-wheat-forecast-to-8-year-low-idUSKCN1BM1SW

                  This following a huge drop 30% in 2017 from 2016.

                  https://www.graincentral.com/cropping/grains/usda-report-forecasts-australian-2017-wheat-crop-at-24m-tonnes/

                  The point about temperatures ranges is studied in depth in the Nature paper. Your personal “common sense” evaluations of it just don’t carry any weight against that. The study in Nature that I cited, as do many others, shows that as temperatures rise, the number of excessively hot days will rise and that will destroy yields. Plants usually have a temperature above which they are not able to handle the heat. They dedicate and die. That is what is driving yields down in many areas.

                  Re California, mean temperatures have been rising rapidly since the 1970s
                  https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/state-temps/

                  Re California, why do you think they are using up all the groundwater in the first place? It’s because they keep getting droughts and getting insufficient snow pack forming in the Sierra Nevada over the winter to supply the rivers for the summer. They still have summer wildfires burning there and it’s January! What’s more, many of the aquifers that they are now using for groundwater are not renewable. Rain no longer gets into them, so once they are used, they could have torrential rain above ground and these aquifers will remain dry permanently. These aquifers have never been touched before as there was always adequate rainfall or groundwater in renewable acquirers.
                  I looked hard for the rainfall totals in California but I could find the data graphed.

                    • MichaelR January 3, 2018 at 5:58 PM

                      A graph with a steady upward trend. What’s your point?

                    • Mitchell January 3, 2018 at 7:13 PM

                      Can you read a graph?

                    • MichaelR January 4, 2018 at 2:00 AM

                      Yes thanks, and I can read the briefing that goes with it. UAH released this dataset with a trend anomaly figure of +0.114 degrees C per decade. They revised it down from +0.14 degrees per decade.
                      But there are other satellite datasets like RSS that are going in the opposite direction. RSS increased their recent warming rate by 140% between 1998-2016 when they went from v3 to v4.
                      So RSS disagrees with UAH slightly on the recent warming trend. But both showing warming and the agree pretty well before 1998.
                      And there are other groups like NASA, NOAA and the Met Office, and there are also ground based measurements. So you are be cherry picking if you only allow the UAH dataset into the discussion.
                      If you look at RSS (which, in v3, used to be cited by climate change deniers all the time), it’s trend accords very well with NASA for example.
                      Take a look at UAH5 and 6 vs RSS 3 and 4 here
                      https://www.carbonbrief.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/UAH-vs-RSS-768×658.png

                      Then you can also see NASA vs RSS4 here
                      https://www.carbonbrief.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/NASA-Satellites-2016-1-768×658.png

                      Both taken from an article here
                      https://www.carbonbrief.org/major-correction-to-satellite-data-shows-140-faster-warming-since-1998

                      They all show warming. They vary slightly in how much warming they show but if you take them together rather than cherry picking the one that suits your conclusion, then there is a very clear trend of warming at a around 0.15 degrees C per decade. Some so slightly faster warming ([email protected] degrees/decade) and some show slightly slower warming (UAH6 0.114 degrees/decade).

                      But to cite the UAH6 graph (which is the outlier on the low end of all the datasets) and then say it doesn’t show warming is invalidated by the group that released UAH6 themselves.

                      If you then go to a graph going back 120 years rather than just 35, the trend is even more evident (The MetOffice number is HADCrut4)
                      https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/binaries/content/gallery/mohippo/images/research/monitoring/compare_datasets_new_logo_cm.png

                      but feel free to read the whole context of this dataset here
                      https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/monitoring/climate/surface-temperature

                    • Mitchell January 5, 2018 at 3:35 PM

                      I can read it just fine with no problem.

                      I have a couple questions I’m sure you can explain:

                      1-I’m sure you have heard of the little ice age that happened around 13-1400 the didn’t end till the early to mid 1800?
                      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/sep/29/little-ice-age

                      (And the oldest date on any of those graphs start when, oh yea around the same time it ended)

                      2-I’m sure you have noticed the difference between them at MOST amounts to 6/10 of a degree and this is what over a what a 25 year span?

                      3-Don’t you think that since records do show a slight increase even when you go back as far as 160 years to where a little ice age ended it is logical to see a warming trend since the ice is leaving/receding?
                      (I don’t know but maybe it means since a “cold spell” ends it might get a little warmer?)

                      4-How do you account for ok let’s go with 1 degree for your sake over 160 years when the temps vary as much as 20 degrees in a 24hr period or as much as 50 degrees over a year’s span?

                      And you are concerned with 1 degree at most in 160 years? Are you on drugs?

                    • MichaelR January 5, 2018 at 4:31 PM

                      I don’t have a lot of time but I will try to cover your questions. I recommend you start here
                      https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/global-warming/last-1000-years
                      Check out the second figure showing the temperature over the last 1000 years. Now there are caveats here as the data is not easy to collate and normalise so there are error bars (the grey areas) for the older periods to signify where there real values could be but the lines show central projections. So with that said

                      1 the little ice age was really about 1500 to 1850. Yes, that was an unusually cool period, but really not that much lower the average, and the divergence from the average was much less than what we see in the last 50 years, and temperatures keep on going up….

                      2 Sorry, I cant tell for sure what you are referring to. Go ahead and ask again with a bit more context for me please.

                      3 I think I cover this I 1 above. Yes, the climate being warmer than the little ice age is no big deal, but not this much warmer. That is now a big deal, and getting bigger each year.

                      4 So you kind of answer this yourself. In the little ice age, the average temperature fell by a very small amount, maybe 0.3 or 0.4 degrees at its worst. That was enough to dramatic transform the climate. Crop failures occurred regularly during the 17th century leading to poverty and a lot of war. Millions died of hunger etc. A small change in the global average temperature upsets delicate balances that control tings like how much sea and land ice their is, how much rain there is and where, how the world’s air currents circulate, how high the sea level is, etc. We have built a huge amount of infrastructure on the basis that the weather will be the same this year as last year as the year before that etc, but we can already see dramatic changes in the extremes of weather events like failed monsoons or historically unprecedented rain storms flooding the southern US or glaciers melting away and causing rivers to dry up etc.

                      Yes, a difference of 1 degree when you sit on your porch is not a big deal to you, but 1 degree globally represents a huge amount of extra energy in the system. It causes a significant change in climate. And that’s before you even get onto the oceans, which are getting completely screwed by temperature increase and acidification. The ocean is soaking up a huge amount of heat and CO2 and that is having devastating effects on whole ecosystems.

                      So much for being quick. I hope that covers it.

                    • Mitchell January 5, 2018 at 5:57 PM

                      Would you mean this temp scale as to the temps 1,000 years ago?
                      https://cached-assets.patriotpost.us/images/2017-04-21-7114792d.png

                      Looks like during the Roman and Holocene periods it was warmer than not only now but during the Medieval warm period which happened right before the little ice age.

                      Now here is a graph of the temps and CO2 levels since the Precambrian Period:
                      https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/co2_temperature_historical.png?w=720

                      During which time you will see very high levels of CO2 with low temps, this went on for millions of years before the present.

                      6/10 of a degree every 10 years isn’t jack, the computer models tolerances account for more than that.

                      And I see you avoided my examples of temp variations, which is what I expected. Honestly I hope it does rise a whole degree worldwide infact more than a degree. There will be more plants growing in places that doesn’t have plants now, more food to eat and the winters will be SO MUCH warmer.

                      If you live at the beach and the water rises my suggestion is to move.

                    • Mitchell January 5, 2018 at 6:47 PM

                      I’m sorry I was mistaken that first scale goes back 10,000 year now how could I have mistaken that, oh yea that’s right…A thousands year to the life of a planet is not worth even mentioning when you consider how long they exist.

                      Shall we research sea levels during those times the best science can determine? Ice ages means the sea levels rise or didn’t you know ice expands when it freezes forcing unfrozen sea water to go more inland since less room in ocean basin with the expanding ice.

                    • MichaelR January 6, 2018 at 4:39 AM

                      Dude, that’s a big “No”. sea levels plummet during a ice age. The ice builds up over land as well as over the ocean. That transfers huge amounts of water from the ocean to be sitting in a 2km deep later over northerly and southerly latitudes. Even sea ice sites partially above water reducing the sea level. The ice ages cause land bridges to form between continents and stuff. It’s epic. It’s how Alaska and Eastern Asia used to be linked unto very recently. It’s how man got to the America’s.

                      https://iceagenow.info/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Sea_Level_Last_Ice_Age.gif
                      Taken from
                      https://www.iceagenow.info/ice-age-maps-2/

                    • Mitchell January 10, 2018 at 4:16 PM

                      You do know what they say when the water level rises don’t you……MOVE. We get water levels rise and fall all the time and in many cases it floods areas.

                      “Sea level rise, which was occurring long before humans could be blamed, has not accelerated and still amounts to only 1 inch every ten years. If a major hurricane is approaching with a predicted storm surge of 10-14 feet, are you really going to worry about a sea level rise of 1 inch per decade? If Hillary would have fact-checked her example of sea level rise in Norfolk, Virginia, she would have found out that the experts already know this is mostly due to the land there sinking.”
                      –Climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer

                      Dr. Nils-Axel Morner who headed the Department of Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics at
                      Stockholm University: ‘The PNAS paper is another sad contribution to the demagogic anti-
                      science campaign for AGW. It is at odds with observational facts and ethical principles.” – “The
                      paper is full of very bad violations of observational facts.’
                      Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry of Georgia Institute of Technology: ‘Sea level will continue to rise,
                      no matter what we do about CO 2 emissions.’ – ‘The IPCC figure 3.14 suggests that there is no
                      acceleration, given the large rates of sea level rise in the first half of the 20th century. Until we
                      have an understanding of variations in decadal and multi-decadal sea level rise, we can’t make
                      a convincing argument as to acceleration.’
                      Meteorologist Tom Wysmuller: ‘For the past 130 years there has been ZERO acceleration in sea-
                      level rise as directly measured by tide gauges in tectonically inert areas (land neither moving up
                      nor down), even as CO 2 has risen almost 40% in the same period.’

                    • MichaelR January 10, 2018 at 5:57 PM

                      Does his need saying out loud? You can’t just move cities of millions of people without astronomical costs and disruption to people’s lives. And given the number of towns and cities that will be effected over the next 50-100 years you are talking about 100s of millions of people being displaced, often from some the most valuable realestate in the world. That means all the money that has gone into building those cities is lost. You are talking many trillions of dollars worth of damage, not to mention the human cost of just losing those cities to the sea. Just try to picture it for a moment before dismissing it as an acceptable outcome.

                      Second, quoting a handful of notorious climate sceptic bloggers and scientists who have not been able to get their sceptic work published anywhere but in their own blogs and in irrelevant open access online journals is evidence of nothing in terms of science. It is nothing but opinion without enough supporting evidence to get published. If you can quote peer reviewed papers then go ahead.

                      On the rate of sea level rise this has increased very rapidly since 1900 or so. Here is a reconstruction of the last 2000 years see level.
                      http://www.realclimate.org/images//Kemp_sealevel_20111.png
                      Taken from work here
                      http://www.psmsl.org/products/reconstructions/jevrejevaetal2008.php
                      Backed up by work in this paper from PNAS
                      http://www.pnas.org/content/108/27/11017.full.pdf

                      You can’t just dismiss a paper in PNAS with the opinion of single scientist. He has to publish a paper refuting the evidence – which Dr Morner never did.

                      Here is a page that gives a better picture of recent sea level rise. The graphs above obscure just how fast it is happening in the last 20 or 100 years.
                      https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/sea-level/
                      8.1cm in the last 14 years.

                      See level rise has accelerated rapidly and continues to do so. Net ice melt is the highest on record and accelerating and thermal expansion rates are the highest on record and accelerating.

                      When you ask what difference does a few feet make when a storm surge can be 10 feet, your are not thinking about it in practice. It means that smaller more common storms with much smaller storm surges are suddenly as damaging as the most devastating storms that a city might suffer once a century or once every few centuries. After 5 feet of sea level rise, it only takes a storm surge of 5 feet to do what used to require a storm surge of 10 feet.

                      So devastating flood events go from being once a century to once a decade or once every few years. It does not take long for a city to become unviable if large parts of it are uninsurable because the expected flood damage costs are so high, so the city is abandoned, first in the most vulnerable parts. That has the effect of reducing the cities size and its economy and given the obvious trend of expanding flood risk, neighboring areas lose value and the city goes into an economic tailspin.

                      This is what will happen to cities such as New York, but Miami will go much faster. it’s so close to sea level that parts of it will just become permanently flooded. The water table under the coastal areas will rise so high with sea water that buildings will start to flood with sea water from their foundations up.

                      Actually read the forecasts of scientists and geographers in the field to see what they are projecting. Try to consider the world of 2070 or 2100 according to the overwhelming scientific consensus, then ask yourself if you want to throw all caution to the wind, if you want to totally ignore those forecasts, ignore all the catastrophic damage that we will do to our countries, our people and our planet on the strength of bloggers and industry lobbyists who do not have enough evidence to get a paper published in a single reputable academic journal.

                      Ask yourself why are you qualified to gainsay the many thousands of people who actually spend their whole lives studying his stuff, people whose work is constantly scrutinised for errors by other scientists and survives the process. Especially when those people are so completely agreed on the situation and have been for years now.

                      We will not get a chance to do this over.

                      We already have had about 1 degree of temperature increase that we won’t be able to reverse for centuries. We can clearly see the effects of that already. We already have another half degree increase locked in due to existing emissions. If we get to 2+ degrees increase, the world will start to become a very unfamiliar and unfriendly place for us and our descendants. 3 degrees and you are starting to get to a world that the dinosaurs would start to recognise. And we will have done it all in just 200 years. If you look back in the geological record, global temperature changes of 2-3 degrees, even the very fast ones, usually take 10s of 1000s of years, usually longer. There is nothing natural about current warming, and it will cause us nothing but destruction.

                    • Li D January 12, 2018 at 10:05 PM

                      “Ice ages means the sea levels rise or didn’t you know ice expands when it freezes forcing unfrozen sea water to go more inland since less room in ocean basin with the expanding ice.”
                      One come across a multitude of ignorance from uneducated americans , in comments and articles here ,but this is something else.
                      Truly jawdropping.

                  • Mitchell January 3, 2018 at 4:36 PM

                    What you mentioned from Reuters is a forecast (a guess), I posted actual grain productions of the last year they tallied up the results.
                    Better get your reports from the people who actually tally up the results such as these:
                    http://aegic.org.au/australian-grain-production-a-snapshot/

                    The remark I made was from the USDA or did you happen to overlook that?

                    Crop Production
                    ISSN: 1936-3737
                    Released December 12, 2017, by the National Agricultural Statistics Service
                    (NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, United States Department of
                    Agriculture (USDA).

                    Cotton Production Up Less Than 1 Percent from November Forecast
                    Orange Production Down 4 Percent

                    All cotton production is forecast at 21.4 million 480-pound bales, up less
                    than 1 percent from November and up
                    25 percent from last year. Yield is expected to average 902 pounds per
                    harvested acre, up 2 pounds from last month and up 35 pounds from last year.
                    If realized, the cotton yield forecast for the Nation will be the highest
                    yield on record. Upland cotton production is forecast at 20.7 million
                    480-pound bales, up 25 percent from 2016. Pima cotton production, forecast at
                    727,000 bales, was carried forward from an earlier forecast.
                    http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/CropProd/CropProd-12-12-2017.txt

                    Total global grain production from 2008/2009 to 2017/2018 (in million metric tons)
                    https://www.statista.com/statistics/271943/total-world-grain-production-since-2008-2009/

                    Even this link direct to the USDA say grain production is up worldwide.
                    https://www.fas.usda.gov/data/grain-world-markets-and-trade

                    You keep listening to those rags (that only make guesses) instead of getting the info directly from the ones who KNOW what the true production levels are.

                    • MichaelR January 3, 2018 at 5:56 PM

                      Ok, what are we are arguing about here? Are you saying that global temperatures will not be increasing or that they will but it’s no big deal?

                      I have to point out that while I admit that I got into comparing output numbers, you do have to remember that these are a poor proxy for what is actually interesting- the effect of climate on output. After all, actual output is also effected by major economic factors as well, right?

                      If the interesting this is how agriculture will fare in a changing climate then the Nature paper I cited on that topic is directly relevant. But the picture will be a complex one with winners and losers.

                      In fact one of the pages you cited about Australia referenced their report on how climate change is changing rainfall and agriculture in Australia.
                      http://aegic.org.au/new-australian-climate-developing/

                      It includes this telling statement.
                      “In pastoral regions in much of Western Australia, increasing summer rain with a reduction in rainfall variability has assisted perennial C4 (tropical) plants at the expense of C3 (temperate) grasses (especially in southern areas), while in central and northern Queensland, an increase in rainfall variability has been detrimental on pasture production and stocking rates”.
                      “Australia is going to need some of the most water-efficient farming systems in the world to mitigate the effects of a drier and warmer climate in Southern Australia. Research in this area is vital because Australian crop yields have been among the most affected by climate change compared to other grain exporting nations.”

                      So, the temperatures are going up and rainfall patterns in Australia have changed dramatically. They are now cultivating more tropical crops where they used to cultivate temperature ones.

                      But what happens if you are cultivating tropical crops already, like in Africa or other hot areas? What can you switch to then?

                    • Mitchell January 3, 2018 at 7:31 PM

                      Farmers call that regional varations as well as people who study that.

                      You might not know this but during a year’s span that has cool AND hot temps you can plant cool weather crops at the end part of winter and as temps rise different crops are planted, those plants (veggies and such) are mostly 90 days crops average. We have done that every year for as long as I can remember and so have the farmers in my family as well as all the others around here.

                      Greens, turnips, collards (they are in the field as we chat), strawberrys (they are planted at the first of winter and sit in the fields all winter), etc.are planted during cold parts of the year and are harvested before it gets hot, then we rotate the crops planted to melons, mater, taters,, okra, etc. for later harvests during the summer.

                      During this time we can have as much of 50 degrees differences and you want to worry about 1 degree or so?

                      “According to an ongoing temperature analysis conducted by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the average global temperature on Earth has increased by about 0.8° Celsius (1.4° Fahrenheit) since 1880. Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.15-0.20°C per decade.”
                      https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WorldOfChange/decadaltemp.php

                      Here is something they expected everyone to over look, that is 1.4 degrees increase in the last 136 years (basically since we have been keeping records) worthless when factoring in the age of a planet. When doing the math of that increase over that period of time equates to “0.010294118 degree” increase per year on a average.
                      (THAT’S JUST OVER 1/100 OF A DEGREE, my farts vary more than that)

                      Now let’s factor in the number of degrees “ANY” location on the surface of the planet goes threw in a 24 hour period, that varies as much as 20 degrees during a 24hr period, now look at the differences in temps during the span of 1 year.

                      Planet Earth has been in better shape with the high levels of CO2 in the past.

                      NOAA/NASA Dramatically Altered US Temperatures After The Year 2000:
                      https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/noaanasa-dramatically-altered-us-temperatures-after-the-year-2000/

                      Error in NASA climate data sparks debate:
                      http://www.geotimes.org/aug07/article.html?id=WebExtra081607_2.html

                      Leaked Clinton campaign memo on ‘climate change’ shows it’s really about politics, not science:
                      http://newstarget.com/2016-10-27-leaked-clinton-campaign-memo-on-climate-change-shows-its-really-about-politics-not-science.html

                      At a news conference the first part of 02/15 in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism. Never does she mention the environment but instead economics.

                      “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.
                      Referring to a new international treaty environmentalists hope will be adopted at the Paris climate change conference later this year, she added: “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”
                      https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/climate-change-scare-tool-to-destroy-capitalism/

                      Venus Express’ swansong experiment sheds light on Venus’ polar atmosphere
                      19 April 2016

                      Some of the final results sent back by ESA’s Venus Express before it plummeted down through the planet’s atmosphere have revealed it to be rippling with atmospheric waves – and, at an average temperature of -157°C, colder than anywhere on Earth.
                      (did you notice it reported average temps)

                      Venus’ atmosphere is made of the following:
                      Carbon dioxide: 96.5 percent
                      Nitrogen: 3.5 percent
                      Carbon monoxide, argon, sulfur dioxide, and water vapor: less than 1 percent
                      http://sci.esa.int/venus-express/57735-venus-express-swansong-experiment-sheds-light-on-venus-polar-atmosphere/

                  • Mitchell January 3, 2018 at 4:46 PM

                    “The point about temperatures ranges is studied in depth in the Nature paper. Your personal “common sense” evaluations of it just don’t carry any weight against that.

                    My statement was based on actual hands on experience of not only a lifetime being exposed to plants and working with them it is also based on generations of farmers, plus let’s not forget what I stated about the temp variences and that is a historical fact, not some silly study done.

                    Take a moment to look at the differences in temps you get over a 24hr period as well as a year, you will see exactly what I referenced

          • MichaelR January 3, 2018 at 7:51 AM

            Also, I don’t know where you get your figures on grain production, but the USDA shows a huge drop for production in 2017 and a flat or falling trend since the 1970s.
            https://www.indexmundi.com/agriculture/?country=us&commodity=wheat&graph=production

            That is despite better technology and a larger population to feed.

            That decline coincides with a period of consistently increasing temperatures.
            https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/monitoring/climate/surface-temperature

            Indeed exactly this relationship has been studied and this is what a paper in PNAS says
            “The largest drivers of yield loss are freezing temperatures in the Fall and extreme heat events in the Spring. We also find that the overall effect of warming on yields is negative, even after accounting for the benefits of reduced exposure to freezing temperatures. ”
            http://www.pnas.org/content/112/22/6931.full

            So climate change is already damaging crop yields in the US and will do so more in the future.

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