Biosphere issues ... a never ending sink of bad news

2 Nov 2012

NASA satellite data has been used in a study to assess vegetation growth and crop potential across the world - big brother is watching you (and especially those nasty farmers). The piece can be seen at and is the result of Josh Fisher looking at 19 years of data from NASA and government agency NOAA. It plots where sparse nutrients occur, mainly a lack of nitrogen or phosphorus, which reduces productivity and crop potential, as well as natural vegetation growth and well being. Needless to say carbon cycle models do not take into account the cycling of nutrients in the natural world and it is assumed the biosphere (forests and other eco-systems) will simply absorb increasing atmospheric carbon levels etc.

At ... the giant eucalyptus trees that grow in Australia are sometimes described as the tallest flowering plants on Earth. They also have a unique relationship with fire (described in the abstract) which represents a puzzle as far as ecologists are concerned - but a pretty straightforward adaptation to a changing climate system we may note. In a paper in the journal New Phytologist the eucalyptus trees of SE Australia are said to be able to reach as high as California Redwoods growing in the coastal Pacific rainforest environment. I don't suppose many of these exist nowadays as such big trees are worth a lot of money when chopped down and sawn up for human use in the construction industry etc. Environmentalists, as always, wish to preserve them, and why not. However, reproducing the fire environment in which they thrive is a problem. Therefore, in order to understand them more fully, and to preserve the few tall trees still surviving, this study was done. Nowadays they live on the driest inhabited continent but it seems they have learned to live in such an environment, as they have adapted to landscape fire - but they are really rainforest trees.

At .... growing food worldwide releases 17,000 megatonnes of co2 into the atmosphere annually we are told at the very beginning of this blurb that really is a piece of propaganda in order to get the politicians to start thinking in terms of reducing global population numbers. The brith pill has not worked, it seems, and the Malthusans are up to their necks in wanting less people. Is this so the elite can enjoy their goodies unhindered by the plebs (coining an in vogue phrase)? This seems to be the thrust of the research and the paper that appears in the journal Climate Change - a rather nasty piece of warped academic hand wringing. You can almost smell the authoritarianism inherent in the production of the solution of the imagined problem. Help! We really do need to stop eating in order to cut carbon emissions. Predictably it is the farmers that are targeted - not your hippy type smallholders who are organic and therefore saintly but the mass producers of beef and pork and eggs and cheese and all things nice. Still, it makes a change from the windmill brigade who seem set on causing mass death from lack of heat once the power outages kick in (and they are just around the corner, in spite of the recent go ahead to the Japanese to build three nuclear plants) - too late for the election when it might just all blow up and skewer the lot of them, whichever party you want to choose. This weird piece of scientific witchcraft has a peculiar turn of phrase, such as 'we are coming to terms with the fact that agriculture is a critical player in climate change' and 'smallholder farmers (need help to) adapt to the new normal ... ' Big farmers, apparently, are on a par with coal and gas producers and power stations that actually work and supply electricity for everyone. As the process of deindustrialisation continues in the west are the elite (the ones that will survive expensive power solutions) going to sit in their denuded western countries pulling faces at the rest of the world, especially the cheery Chinese with their dash for coal and gas. With nobody left at home to preach to how will they cope - a redundant priesthood shivering in the dark when the windmills freeze up in winter or are shut down when the wind speed is high and the blades threaten to spin into the ether.

Meanwhile, as climate science continues to gobble up all the government funding in order to produce the kind of 'imaginative' studies we are all fed up of reading about, other more important science departments are closing down at our universities. If you want to be an archaeologist it is about to become a very difficult exercise. If you are into research about anything apart from climate and cross eyed medical and lifestyle eating habits you might be doomed - to obscurity. Its really really clever green stuff - we've seen it in biofuels (cutting down tropical rain forests), and biomass burners (that threaten the boreal forests) and corn used as ethanol instead of feeding the world's hungry. We've seen it in terms of blighting the countryside, and the constant humming of wind turbines that will eventually fill our hospitals with people gone doolalley, and as for green automobiles, they can leave people stranded, at the mercy of predators of varying kinds, sharks as well as Jimmy come latelys. Yet the snouts in the trough of public funding are still at it - keeping pace with inflation, and raising the bar at every opportunity. It's like feeding some kind of monster. In pre-Christian days the Dagda was placated with offerings at the farm gate. The Dagda ate so much porridge he didn't just become bloated, his belly became so swollen it swung on the ground in front of him as he walked. What a lovely touch of humour by our ancestors - but it didn't thwart the Dagda. He kept demanding more ... and more and more. HIs appetite grew and grew and so it is with tax funded subsidies. They grow and grow until eventually so many people are out of work there is nobody left to chip into the tax cake and all the slices have been consumed.

On the blogosphere there has been a little bit of looking at some of the people making the most noise about climate change (see and for example, and skim down the posts). There is a preponderance of people with 'things' telling people with 'less things' they are destroying the environment. In the States there is a never ending cavalcade of millionaires with preachy ways of reaching the burger munching masses, and a stream of celebrities in all the western countries are just so eager to tell us about nasty SUVs and  repulsive roast beef dinners and the like - eat muesli with fruit, and nuts. It is nuts. Just look who is adding their names to the Greenpeace campaign to stop gas and oil exploration in the Arctic (the weather is keeping them at bay so it is pointless handing over monies no matter how much you have or who you are). It's a bit rich, if you like. Rich is actually the key word about climate change and weather weirdings. Global warming has migrated to the new definitions and the rich pickings continue - unabated. When will the bubble burst? No sign of that happening at the moment and we may assume they will start jumping ship as the realisation sinks in that it is all nonsense and the general public insist that it is brought to a stop. No good muttering under the breath - loud words are required. Meanwhile, there will be a flurry of activity and some of them will end up in idyllic circumstances on South Sea island paradises - we all know sea level is not going to swamp them. They are saving them up as a bolthole.