The phytoplankton decline, is there anything to it?

By Andy May

We have been told that the phytoplankton population is declining rapidly around the world and, of course, the cause is climate change. Phytoplankton is the base of the ocean food chain and it accounts for about half of global primary productivity or organic matter creation (Boyce, Lewis and Worm 2010). Phytoplankton is the major consumer of carbon dioxide, the dreaded demon trace gas, and the major producer of oxygen. So, first question, is the estimated decline in phytoplankton accurate, significant or unusual? Second question, if the decline is real, are the measurements long term enough to show it is not a natural occurrence? What is the natural variability and how do we know man-made climate change is to blame? Let’s investigate this. Continue reading

Glaciers and Sea Level Rise

By Andy May

This is the seventh and last post in my series on the hazards of climate change. In this post we examine the effects of climate change on glaciers and sea level rise. The first six examined the effect of humans on the environment, the effect of the growing human population, climate change and the food supply, the cost of global warming, the effect of man and climate change on extinctions, climate (or weather) related deaths, and extreme weather and climate change. Continue reading

Global Warming and Extreme Weather

By Andy May

In this post, the sixth of seven, we will discuss the connection between climate change and extreme weather. In previous posts, we’ve discussed whether humans are harming the environment, whether our population is growing too fast, the cost of global warming, are species extinctions increasing, and climate related mortality.

In the IPCC WGII AR5 Technical Summary, page 52, they list the following risks of climate change, among others:

“Virtually certain that, in most places, there will be more hot and fewer cold temperature extremes as global mean temperatures increase, for events defined as extremes on both daily and seasonal time scales.”

Continue reading

Climate-related Deaths and Insecurity

By Andy May

In the cartoon the guy being tortured is saying “OKAY! I believe mankind causes global warming!”  The priest is saying “Very well… give the heretic back his research funds.”  The cartoon is by Cox and Forkum (2007)

In this post we will discuss the assertion that there will be more climate-related deaths due to man-made global warming. This is the fifth post in a series of seven. Continue reading

Extinctions and shutting down the Gulf Stream

By Andy May

This is part four of our series on climate change costs and hazards. The first three parts were on humans and the environment, population and the food supply, and the cost of global warming. In this part we examine the assertion that man-made climate change, the growth of the human population, and other human activities are causing an increase in species extinctions. We also examine the polar bear controversy. Continue reading

Calculating the Cost of Global Warming

By Andy May

Hopefully, the first two posts in this series, “Do humans harm the environment” and “Population Growth and the Food Supply” have convinced the reader that man-made climate change and global warming are not an existential threat to humanity or the planet. This leaves us in a discussion of the cost of global warming, which is something we can calculate. To do the calculation, we need to estimate the monetary damages caused by global warming, when they will be incurred, and the discount rate of money over that period of time. We will not attempt the calculation here, it is too complex, but we can discuss the parameters and some of the calculations done by others. Continue reading

Population Growth and the food supply

By Andy May

This is the second of seven posts on the potential costs and hazards of human-caused global warming and the impact of humans on the environment. The first post is on humans and the environment (here). The IPCC WGII AR5 Technical Summary, defines “hazards” as follows on page 39:

“The potential occurrence of a natural or human-induced physical event or trend or physical impact that may cause loss of life, injury, or other health impacts, as well as damage and loss to property, infrastructure, livelihoods, service provision, ecosystems, and environmental resources. In this report, the term hazard usually refers to climate-related physical events or trends or their physical impacts.”

The IPCC WGII AR5 report only deals with population growth tangentially, but it has a lot of information on the world’s food supply. The WGII AR5 technical summary states:

“For the major crops (wheat, rice, and maize) in tropical and temperate regions, climate change without adaptation is projected to negatively impact aggregate production for local temperature increases of 2°C or more above late-20th-century levels, although individual locations may benefit (medium confidence).”

As we will show below, there is no indication of a change in the rate of increase in crop yields in the United Nations FAO data. Continue reading