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IPCC WG3 plans to suck excess CO2 and kill 1 billion people

Yesterday, Alister Doyle of Reuters informed the world about some leaked documents of the Working Group 3 of the IPCC that should release its new report in April 2014:

REFILE-World may have to suck gases from air to meet climate goals-UN (Reuters)
The "mitigation" group discusses technologies for CDR, the carbon dioxide removal. These people are completely disconnected from the reality. Of course that the CO2 concentration will continue to increase for many decades if not longer (see carbon dioxide fits).

But the removal is unrealistic. You must realize that CO2 like any other compound is spread all over the atmosphere. You can't "filter" CO2 out of the air by "localized devices" because they would have to suck and blow almost all the air in the atmosphere – 4.2 billion cubic kilometers or 4.2 billion billion cubic meters etc. – or at least a significant fraction of it.

At most, one may try to enhance processes that are absorbing or consuming CO2 across significant percentages of the surface of the globe, like planting new forests or fertilizing whole oceans with iron to support the growth of algae etc.

But what I find much more important than detailed sci-fi methods to lower the CO2 concentration is the question whether it is a good idea. It is a very bad idea – in fact, it is a method of global genocide.

Imagine, just for the sake of the argument, that these people "manage" to lower the CO2 concentration from 400 ppm today back to the "pre-industrial" interglacial level of 280 ppm or so, i.e. to 70% of the present value, and they do so rather quickly, e.g. within five years or so.

Plants will react to this change. Their growth rate and the maximum yield depends on the CO2 concentration. For each plant species, the dependence is a bit different but it is substantial virtually for all plants you care about. Microscopically, the plants grow faster and larger at elevated CO2 concentrations because they may build organs that allow them to store water and be more resilient towards the shortage of water (especially the longer roots, see the video below), and so on.

The detailed mechanisms that decide about the common-sense fact – namely that plants don't grow as much if there is not enough "plant food" (CO2) around – may be interesting from a pure scientific viewpoint but they don't really decide about the implications for the mankind. The implications of a drastically lowered CO2 level would be lethal. If the CO2 concentration decreases by a factor of \(k\lt 1\), it is an OK approximation to estimate that the total yield – potential food for humans and animals – decreases by a factor of \(\sqrt{k}\lt 1\). It is closer to one than \(k\) itself but it is still substantially smaller than one if \(k\) is substantially smaller than one.

If we use \(k=0.7\) i.e. the decrease of CO2 by 30 percent, it is a tolerable estimate to say that the total yield would decrease by 15 percent; note that \(\sqrt{0.7}\approx 0.84\). Now, the humans don't really produce "too much excess food". This is particularly true in the poor countries. Such a decrease of available food will mean that 15 percent of the population can't be fed. Simple arithmetics implies that if the yields are reduced by this coefficient, about 1 billion out of 7 billion on the Earth will starve to death.

That's what the WG3 of the IPCC is trying to plan. It's Stalin on steroids; 20+ times greater casualties than those of the Soviet leader.

Now, the figure one billion may be an overestimate because people might redistribute the food more uniformly so that most of the human lives are saved, increase the efficiency, introduce some rationing whenever necessary, and so on. But even with these feedbacks taken into account, it's likely that hundreds of millions of people on the Earth would probably starve to death – within those five years or so.

Of course, it wouldn't happen in the reality. Once the first million of the people would be "sacrificed" to this ill-conceived geoengineering cult, a mass backlash would emerge and the geoengineering would stop. Probably everyone who has ever come close to the IPCC or any vocal climate alarmist would be assassinated (apologies to Dick Lindzen). But these people are dreaming about the world where they can do far-reaching things just like dictators – for example, to reduce the yields in the whole world by 15 percent – without any feedback which is why I am willing to consider this sci-fi scenario, too.

If the mankind were able to efficiently engineer the conditions on the Earth, it should of course try to increase the CO2 concentration – and invent methods that will guarantee that this increase is as long-lived as possible. If we could increase the CO2 concentrations to 1,000 ppm by 2020, it would be extremely helpful. Of course that we can't do it, either.

All these obvious implications of the unwise, significant reduction of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere are highly ironic because the climate alarmists sometimes say that the Earth's ecosystems have been adapting to the conditions we used to have which is why a too fast change of the conditions would be harmful for the ecosystems – and for the mankind, too.

The paradoxical truth is that this assertion is, at least in principle, true. However, it means the exact opposite for the carbon dioxide debate than the alarmists like to pretend. The well-known 1.4-fold increase of the CO2 in the atmosphere could have increased the global temperatures by the well-known observed 0.7 °C (even if we assume that the whole observed temperature increase was due the increase of the CO2 concentration which is rather unlikely).

However, this increase of temperatures by 0.7 °C is negligible for practical purposes. It gets lost in the weather fluctuations, a human being can't even feel the temperature this accurately (even if it occurs instantly and isn't diluted to 250 years), and one may only disentangle this "signal" from the noise if he carefully and accurately measures temperatures at least at 10,000 places of the globe at least for 50 years and does some very careful (yet controversial) statistical analysis of this whole ensemble of data. The "global warming" that could have been caused by CO2 can't really have any significant, noticeable practical consequences.

That's not surprising because this effect – the greenhouse effect – is extremely indirect. The CO2 isn't even the most important greenhouse gas; it is only responsible for less than 10 percent of the greenhouse gas that increases the Earth's surface temperatures.

On the other hand, the decrease of the CO2 concentration would have direct implications for the ecosystems because CO2 is the plant food, pretty much the only one (we don't count "plant beverages"). The implications of the reduction of CO2 by 30 percent would be seen as 15-percent decreases in the yields of agriculture in countries across the world and that would be brutal, indeed.

Some environmentalists might be reading this article and they could say: a billion of dead people, what a deal. After all, people are just scum and we wanted to reduce these expansive rats, anyway. However, I must point out that the reduction of the life wouldn't affect just humans; it would affect all plants and all animals (the latter eat the former or themselves). Humans are animals, too. They are competing against some other animals who might eat the plants and these animals would also face harder times. Because the people are more competitive when it comes to their hunt for food, it's likely that the animals would probably be affected by the shortage of plant yields much more than the humans (for analogous reasons why poorer nations and communities would suffer more badly than the richer ones).

So indeed, it's true that many things in the world are adapted to certain conditions and too fast change of the conditions may cause some harmful if not stunning consequences. However, what the climate alarmists don't understand is that the conditions upon which the relatively happy life of the Earth's life and mankind depends upon today are the conditions we actually observe today – rather than some hypothetically "optimal" conditions the Earth was enjoying in 1750.

The size and composition of ecosystems – and the mankind – is significantly different today, in 2014, than it was in 1750. So an artificially engineered change of some parameters back to the 1750 levels would be unsurprisingly harmful. In fact, we might say that the ecosystems have gotten used not only to near-400-ppm CO2 concentrations; they have partially gotten used to the regular annual increase of the CO2 concentration, too. This increase is what is responsible for some part of the increase of the population, the increase of the total GDP, and other things. Even if the CO2 "just" stopped growing, we would see some changes of the measured parameters – various "rates" – that we would consider bad news. As I discussed above, the actual significant decrease of the CO2 levels is an entirely different (much more radical) story.

I find it likely that in a few centuries (100-300 years, I have no clue about the exact number and nobody has), we will run out of fossil fuels (including the shale oil etc.) and the mankind will face the unavoidable decrease of the CO2 concentration towards the pre-industrial levels. But this decrease will be much slower than "down by 120 ppm in 5 years" which is the scenario discussed above. It will take about 50 years for the CO2 concentration to decrease by 100 ppm. And that's a slow enough evolution to allow the mankind to decrease its population and/or improve its efficiency and technologies in a "marginally human and doable" way.

At any rate, if you think about the actual consequences of the "dream recommendations" that the IPCC WG3 will give to the world in April 2014, you must agree that these people are either hardcore criminals against humanity or they are just stupid morons who can't see the tip of their nose (even though they pompously claim to plan the life in the year 2100 or 2200) and who just mindlessly do everything they can and everything they can't to achieve their "carbon targets". Whatever the right explanation is, these people are despicable and at least some of us should carefully watch these people and guarantee that they remain as inconsequential fringe groups of crackpots as they are today.

And that's the memo.

P.S.: The anti-carbon fanatics in the U.N. not only want to murder 1 billion people; by 2030, they also demand a $3 trillion ransom every year.

Off-topic, Czech history: It's been 45 years today since the self-immolation of Mr Jan Palach, a philosophy student at my Alma Mater, Charles University, and the Torch #1, who protested in 1969 against the Soviet-led occupation of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. I was just intrigued by one of the other guys who tried to do the same thing, a Latvian Jewish mathematics nerd Ilya Rips who put himself on fire in April 1969. Thanks for the solidarity! He's still alive today – and a popular mathematics professor in Jerusalem where he was allowed to emigrate sometime in 1971. He is famous for some simplicial complex related to the Čech complex (yes, we Czechs again); the Rips machine; and especially the Torah code, an attempt to use advanced maths to extract secret messages from the holy Jewish text... ;-)

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reader TheDOC said...

In the book SuperFreakonomics, I read of an even stranger idea to combat climate change: mass pumping of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere. The planned to recreate the cooling effect caused by volcanic ash. This idea had been proposed by the group Intellectual Ventures, which is headed by former Microsoft CTO and prodigy, Nathan Myrvhold. At the time I read it, the arguments seemed to be convincing. Of course, I might think differently now. Here's a link about the group:

reader Otter (ClimateOtter /Twitter) said...

'Once the first million"
No. I'm sorry, but NO. They will already have their excuses handy. They will blame it on 'tipping point' or some such nonsense that the True Believers will leap upon. Tens of millions will die before the truth begins to become apparent. By the time others manage to stop them, it will be hundreds of millions.

reader Luboš Motl said...

It doesn't matter. They may brainwash 90% with this bullshit. But once lots of people would start to die because of these policies, 10% of the population that would see through would be more than enough to eliminate all the people connected with these policies.

reader anna v said...

Lubos, as a true climate skeptic you have not taken into your dire predictions allt that would happen if CO2 goes to 1750 levels. By "thei"r reckoning, temperatures will also plummet to 1750 levels ! So the decrease in flora that they find acceptable will be also a decrease from the areas that can be cultivated also. Maybe it will be 2 billion dead what with the cold and all. Let alone that the British will have to live with a frozen Thames.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Quite on the contrary, anna. I have discussed this point and immediately closed it with the opposite conclusion than yours.

The change of temperature obtained by reducing CO2 from 400 ppm to 280 ppm is totally negligible - it's the same negligible temperature change as one gets from the change from 280 ppm to 400 ppm.

It was really my point.

The Little Ice Age and other periods could have been anomalous cold in Britain and/or elsewhere but a vast majority of these fluctuations have demonstrably nothing to do with CO2.

I don't understand why people like you have gotten brainwashed by the idea that CO2 matters for the temperature. Could you please explain who has hardwired this idea into your brain?

reader anna v said...

Sure, you are describing the real world. But these imbeciles really believe in AGW and within their world view they should, if consistent, consider both the CO2 as plant food and their model's prediction of reduction in .arable land.

Of course CO2 plays a very minor role in temperature differences. I was working within their hypothesis.

reader CentralCharge15 said...

Sounds very Interesting!

Will have to read the paper soon.

reader CentralCharge15 said...

Sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere is the stupidest and fantasy- idea I' have heard! I wonder how they will get enough energy to power these machines? By burning fossil fuels ? : )

reader Uncle Al said...

A 1 GW (Chinese) power plant burns about 540 tonnes/hr of coal 24/7, about 30 million pounds of coal/day. ARE YA GONNA PULL CO2 FROM AIR AT 400 PPM CONCENTRATION or 90 million tonnes of CO2/day from a single smokestack? Enviro-whiners - giggle

BTW, PV = energy, 101.325 J/liter-atm. You cannot capture and contain the CO2 output of a combustion power plant for less than 30% of its energy output. Because the world is not ideal, it can be 50% of output.

reader Honza said...

Lubos, how did you get to "If the CO2 concentration decreases by a factor of k<1, it is an OK approximation to estimate that the total yield – potential food for humans and animals – decreases by a factor of k√<1." ?
If concentration decreases to 150 ppm (k = 0.4), the yield will be practically 0, most plants will not grow at all any more. But your estimate would still come with over 60% of production. It is a huge discrepancy.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Of course, I agree. The approximation I mentioned is close to the average over plant species valid for concentrations much higher than 150 ppm.

reader Andre said...

Yep, that is the most depressing part, in a few hundred years no more fossil fuels. That is a good reason not to be wasteful. Consuming energy to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere is kind of a nonsense.

reader Luboš Motl said...

I see, sorry. My focus was the real world because I find the real world more important than the detailed analyses of some particular psychopath's mental diseases.

reader Werdna said...

So after all that hard work to take the actual pollution out of the air, we have to put it back in. Greeeeeeeeeeeeeeat idea.

reader Uncle Al said...

SO2 -stupid, via mass-% sulfur. H2S - merely dumb. Leave the sulfur in jet fuel. In fact, add more. The net cost of putting sulfuric acid aerosol into the stratosphere can then be a profit. (Then ground-based astronomers will whack your pee-pee.)

Profit violates every fiber of an Enviro-whiner's soul. Strength Through Sacrifice!

reader Werdna said...

I've done some interesting calculations on future CO2 concentrations based on different assumptions. The key is to get the actual amount of *mass* a ppm represents so one can compare it to emissions. The assumptions I varied were:

The scenario for future global population, where I relied (riskly!) on the UN's projections to 2100 (exponentially interpolated, they give decadal values) that were "high" "medium" and "low," and I made some assumptions about nature of future changes in per capita levels of emissions (both from landuse and fossil fuel burning). I assume that per capita land use emissions continue to decline exponentially as they have historically, and that per capita fossil fuel emissions peak in about 2050-I think I could make arguments why these are reasonable assumptions, but anyway the point is to show what follows from the assumptions.

The most important assumption, though, is what happens to future CO2 sinks: does nature continue to absorb as much of our emissions as it currently is without it ending up in the atmosphere? Do the sinks continue to grow as they have historically? Or does the trend reverse itself and nature absorb less and less with more of it ending up in the atmosphere? Since I generally like thinking in terms of historical trends, the second one seems most likely to me.

From the above, I can create, for different scenarios, estimated mass fluxes to the atmosphere every year for each of 9 scenarios, which can be integrated and converted back to ppm. This is what I end up getting:

The red scenarios are decreasing natural sinks, green constant sinks, and blue sinks that increase at trend. The most "extreme" scenarios, (low population, increasing sinks, high population, decreasing sinks) are at about 464 and 1007 ppm in 2100, respectively. The scenario I think most likely (medium population, increasing sinks) is at 572 ppm in 2100.

I found the exercise interesting for a couple of reasons:

1. Unless we fully understand what is going on with the carbon cycle, the amount of increase will be pretty uncertain.

2. By contrast, the sociological, economic predictions introduce an uncertainty only of second order. You wouldn't likely guess such, I would think. I certainly didn't.

At any rate, this suggests we should probably see a doubling relative to the preindustrial level by the end of the century. This will probably be a boon to plant life, but not as much as the plants might want.

The flip side is the climatic effect. I estimated this to, based satellite temps, satellite radiation data, and some assumptions about other greenhouse gases. Even under the most extreme scenario I only got about 3/4 of a degree of additional warming. This was because the sensitivity suggested by the relationship between daily fluctuations of LT temps and concurrent fluctuations of radiation flux was actually very small, especially when I accounted for the fact that LT varies about 1.3 times as much as the surface. My estimate was ~.5 K per doubling, which was roughly consistent with some of my other work. This is far too small to pose any problem, but certainly small enough to reap good benefits.

All in all, the situation in the future doesn't look so bad, as long as we tell the environmentalists to f*ck off.

reader John Archer said...

"...these people are despicable and at least some of us should carefully watch these people and guarantee that they remain as inconsequential fringe groups of crackpots as they are today."

Nice self-control there, Luboš — indeed tres diplomatique. Yes, no need to be too explicit. I'm sure we get your drift, and salute it. I do. :)


WHAT WAS THAT? Did somebody say something...?

reader John Archer said...

Thanks. I'll look forward to it when you get the time.

By the way, I had a side bet that you'd come back on the iso/homo distinction. It's tempting, isn't it? :)

But the side bet was with myself though so no gain, and I wasn't fishing — I wanted to put the comparison strongly and a mere homomorphism only dilutes the force of the metaphor, potentially at least. And I have a stylistic problem with that. :)

reader Doktor Bob said...

Thanks for covering this Motl! Great angle.

reader HøgeNord said...

And Judith Curry have recently discovered F. A. Hayek’s Nobel Prize Lecture in Economics, The Pretense of Knowledge (according Robert Bradley Jr., whitch marks a new front in the mainstream climate debate, still according Robert Bradley Jr.).

reader Gordon said...

"When I hear the word, "geo-engineering", I want to reach for my gun" (apologies to Hanns Johst)

Geo-engineering is one of the most dangerous concepts that I can think of, given the simplicity of toy models used, and the potential for totally unexpected consequences. The only realistic and beneficial plan I have heard was proposed by Freeman Dyson---plant trees, re-forest, plant crops. All of the others sound like great plans for human extinction.

reader Dan Park said...

Israel – a true technological and scientific miracle - would be a welcome addition to any scientific fraternity. That proud nation is an oasis of democracy and human advancement in a sweltering desert of primitive bellicose tribalists.

reader Eugene S said...

Oddly enough, two days ago I woke from a dream in which the name "Jan Palach" appeared in writing at the end (but the immolation was not in the dream). I did not consciously know of the anniversary but must have seen it while scanning the news headlines out of the corner of my eye.

A courageous act, but I am with the Dalai Lama who, when there was a spate of self-immolations by Monks in Tibet recently, implored them not to do it.

reader Alexander Ač said...

Luboš, finally at least 2 things I completely agree with you:

1.) CO2 will rise for the forseeable future

2.) Sucking of CO2 from atmosphere is nonsense...


reader Alexander Ač said...


there is no need to tell environmentalists to "f*Ck off" -- they have very little effect on most of the things in real world.


reader lucretius said...

I assume that all the money they suck out of taxpayers you don't count as belonging to the "real world"?

reader Smile said...

Sorry for the OT but don't know where else to put this question:

Some promising alternative energy is in the pipeline; this doesn't look like Rossi's stuff:

reader Alexander Ač said...

Tell me, how much mony they get? And then tell me how that compares to military expenses or bank bail-outs, or the wealth being helt by top 400 people?

Thanks, Alex

reader Luboš Motl said...

Why should fucking useless obnoxious parasites like you be compared with the military that defends our countries or banks that underlie our whole financial system? Are you kidding?

reader Luboš Motl said...

It doesn't look like Rossi because it's even worse. It's the notorious hydrinos again!

This junk has been around for a decade - why now, why again?

reader anony said...

Just thought of the worst threat someone in physics could make..."do you want to be coherent? Well do you punk?"

reader Gene Day said...

Reducing our air's CO2 concentration by 30% would not take a prohibitive amount of energy if it could be done efficiently. The enthalpy of mixing is small but entropy contribution to the free energy of mixing limits the minimum required energy to about 1.5 x 10^18 J or about 50 GW years. If there were a humanitarian crisis in store this would be expensive but affordable.
If one looks beyond the simple thermodynamics, however, and considers the engineering problems it appears that the actual energy requirement is at least three or four orders of magnitude greater and this is not affordable.

To see that this is so, consider the problem of reducing the CO2 concentration in a single cubic meter of air by 30%. At the current concentration one cubic meter of air contains 0.011 moles of CO2 and the entropy-limited separation energy is about 0.02 joules. It is impossible to imagine using less than 20-200 joules for the job because “cleansing” the atmosphere would require processing an enormous volume of gas over, say, a five-year period. Either the capital expenditure for the separation plants or the energy consumption due to frictional losses in the high velocity air would exceed any possible budget. It cannot be done.
All of the proposals for CO2 sequestration seem to ignore this problem.

reader Smile said...

They just handed in an application to patent their "invention".

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Gene, I understand your numbers but I don't actually understand what machine will do this job for 4.2 billion billion cubic meters of the atmosphere and how.

reader Alexander Ač said...

Attacked? You say 50 billion people could live peacefully on this planet. I am surprised you are afraid of some hypothetical attack on the Czech Republic, inside European Union...

Slovakia did not build scientific centres, they build highways. Not a very smart investment, either.

Well, and people are smart - they will figure out to solve problems without killing each other.


reader Luboš Motl said...

What I meant was clearly that the planet has enough resources and productivity to feed 50 billion people. By "peaceful", I meant that the high number of people itself wouldn't be a reason for conflict.

They could also live *peacefully* in the literal sense but wars sometimes *could* occur and *do* occur, too. Only an irresponsible person could leave big regions defenseless.

reader Casper said...

Since these scientific bureaucrats are being paid millions to sort out this irrelevancy can they fix the plus and minus signs while they are at it. They are completely around the wrong way.

reader Gene Day said...

That’s exactly my point, Lubos. No matter what type of air moving blowers you choose along with whatever type of CO2 adsorber/absorber you happen to select, the cost would be prohibitive along with the energy consumption. The adsorbing/absorbing material, for instance, would have to be regenerated and that, alone, would take far more thermal energy than could be supplied. Simply running the blowers would also consume far too much energy and the construction cost would vastly exceed any possible budget. I don’t need to do an engineering feasibility study but I could easily do it, my friend. Do you think I should?
My remark about plants is simply that it is surprising that they can survive at all on such a dilute food supply and they do it without blowers. They do, of course, have a rather large absorption surface area.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Complete agreement, Gene!

reader Cristi said...

Smetana's Moldau was composed earlier with several years, indeed. But Hatikvah was inspired by a Romanian song, which was in turn inspired, like Moldau, by an older Italian song. Source:

reader Scott Aaronson said...

Amazing that it took you this long to discover Ayn Rand! (My own romance with her began and also ended at age 14 -- but of course, I was in the US.)

While it gives me no lack of great pleasure to interrupt your honeymoon with her, you might want to know that Rand apparently had a very negative view of modern physics, and of pure (rather than applied) science in general. She also seems to have regarded scientists who accept money from the government as something close to the worst imaginable evil. Read Atlas Shrugged if you don't believe me.

(You could also check out my old blog post The Complement of Atlas Shrugged, where I argue with a bunch of modern-day Objectivists who think Bohmian mechanics is the only way to make QM compatible with Rand's belief in objective reality.)

reader Smoking Frog said...

I recalled reading, many years ago, something that Rand said about physics, but I couldn't remember what she said, and a quick Google search failed to turn it up.

However, one David Harriman, who claims to have a master's degree in physics, seems to be an Objectivist and has delivered a lecture called The Crisis in Physics and Its Cause. I haven't listened to the lecture, but there's something much shorter by him on YouTube in which he says that quantum mechanics is a "fairy tale" that reality does not exist. Rand probably thought the same.

I'm not an Rand follower, but I wouldn't be too hard on her on this particular matter, since Mortimer Adler, for example, thought the same about QM. There are things to be hard on her about which have nothing to do with science.

78-minute lecture

YouTube - 6 minutes

reader Luboš Motl said...

I was led not to know way too many other things, too. And I am not claiming that I am on a honeymoon with her.

It's bizarre for you to say that she had a negative view of physics etc. - after all, Galt, the main hero, was a physicist, right? In the first minute of the very talk (her last one) above, she says that doing science is the most beneficial thing for the mankind.

reader Smoking Frog said...

It's bizarre for you to say that she had a negative view of physics etc.

Not of physics in general, but of QM, I think.

reader Scott Aaronson said...

Galt was originally a physics student, but he then switched from physics to philosophy when he realized the latter was superior!

And when she says "science," I believe Rand specifically means applied science. Again, Atlas Shrugged makes this extremely clear. The main villain of the novel, Dr. Stadler (Galt's first teacher, before he switches to philosophy), is a physicist obsessed with cyclotrons and particles traveling at close to the speed of light, rather than building anything that will benefit mankind, like Galt is. And in Rand novels, no trait of any character is ever coincidental; everything is supposed to illustrate a philosophical moral.

reader lucretius said...

“And in Rand novels, no trait of any character is ever coincidental; everything is supposed to illustrate a philosophical moral.”

Which generally is not the way to write good novels. On the other hand this is much better:
“But one thing, on the other hand, could safely be said about Ulrich: he loved mathematics because of the kind of people who could not endure it.”
(Robert Musil “The man without qualities”).

reader Luboš Motl said...

OK, fine, I have already gotten used to the fact that the only right-wing/libertarian people in the world history who would fully grasp quantum mechanics etc. were Werner Heisenberg and a few co-founders plus a few of us on this blog. ;-) It's disappointing, sad, but it's just a fact one must get used to, so Rand's not belonging to this intersection of the two sets wouldn't be some shockingly surprising handicap of hers. ;-)

reader Ingenjören said...

". Now, the humans don't really produce "too much excess food". This is particularly true in the poor countries. Such a decrease of available food will mean that 15 percent of the population can't be fed. Simple arithmetics implies that if the yields are reduced by this coefficient, about 1 billion out of 7 billion on the Earth will starve to death."

Do you honestly think that the amount of CO2 ub the athmosphere is the limiting factor for plants or are you just playing stupid so you can write out an argument that you yourself isn't stupid enough to buy, but hope that your readers are?

reader Luboš Motl said...

Hi crackpot, carbon dioxide is one of the three most important limiting factors affecting photosynthesis, see e.g. BBC

reader David said...

Reduce the CO2 and plant growth by 15%, with current unnecessary but real water shortages, and the chance of war rises exponentially, potentially making the death by government projection of one billion way to low.

reader Gene Day said...

Ignoring the fact that you have blundered into a blog (TRF) in which you are vastly over your head, there is abundant evidence that increasing the CO2 concentration greatly increases food production. Here in California we frequently buy produce grown in Canada. Canadian tomatoes, for example, often are better and cheaper than those from Mexico despite the cold Canadian climate and high labor rates. The one reason for this is that Canadian farmers add CO2 to their greenhouses and this doubles or triples production. It is very simple and even a simpleton can grasp it.

reader John Archer said...

"...isn't...": Unh? No, no, no: in that context only blacks say "isn't".

Is you black then? Somehows I guess not. Well, whatever yous am, use aren't.

But your grammatical logic is good, in parts. So you get 9/10. I marked you down one point for style.

Otherwise yous is full of shit.

reader Marl Karx said...

"Several folks have pointed out to me that her thinking was close to mine."

Yo Lubos, most people wouldn't take that as a compliment ;-)

reader Luboš Motl said...

Well, most people are mediocre scum, too.

reader Marl Karx said...

"most people are mediocre scum"

There once was a man in Germany who said the same thing

reader Luboš Motl said...

There may have been a man in Germany but Adolf Hitler surely wasn't one such man.

Adolf Hitler himself was a mediocre German and all of his fame and all of his power boiled down to his will to lick the asses of other mediocre people - "most people" - and scum like you.,

Without scum like you, he would have never become the Führer. Without scum like you, he could have never killed millions. The way how you try to bully people and make them behave like "most people" - which is what you showed here - is a purely Nazi attiítude. In Nazi Germany, your discourse was known as die Gleichschaltung:

reader TomVonk said...

Your finger must have slipped Lubos.
As you of course know, Onkel Adi was not German but Austrian and some analysts suggest that this belonged to one of his many psychological problems (e.g not being German, blond, tall, strong and ultimately with ancestors that "his" Party could have disapproved of).
But otherwise you are of course 100% right that arguments using "most people" concepts were best expressed in their purest form by the Gleichschaltung.
Most notably the environmentalists struggle hard to reach this level of purity in the 21st century but are not there yet.
Obviously it would be a tragedy if people like you were gleichgeschaltet (yes the word exists also as verb).

reader Luboš Motl said...

LOL, thanks for the fix, Tom. I used the terminology of "his" era in which Austrians were just a subset of Germans and yes, I largely think of them in this way even in other eras. ;-)

reader TomVonk said...

That's amusing Lubos because I have an (almost) diametrally opposed view.
My long dead grandfather had been a Ministeriallrat in the KuK Monarchie.
When I was very young I loved listen to his stories about KuK in general and Wien in particular.
It has been already mentionned in this thread, our experience and particularly out childhood plays a much larger influence on our personnality than a time weighted average would lead to believe.
My grandfather was born in Prague like Kafka but despite his name Hold, among these 2 examples the native Czech speaker is not the one one would suspect :)
Of course he was naturally bilingual (actually multilingual, add greek, latin and french) and I started to pick up my first German words and the notions of grammar from him.
He is also certainly the reason why German is the language that I like most for many reasons (yes, better than Czech).
That's why my experience has lead me to always consider Austria more as a kind of mixture of Czech speaking Germans and German speaking Czechs and never as a kind of subset of Germany (what It had actually never been in history).
Seen from this perspective it is for me highly probable that an average Austrian from 1 century ago for example called Schicklgruber had certainly some ancestors having lived in the Czech lands (e.g Czechs)
Btw just take a phone register of Wien and observe how many names are obviously of Czech origin (the symmetry is true for Prague).
I find it strange that you come from Pilsen which is much nearer to Austria than the eastern Böhmen where I come from and yet you tend to see it as basically German.
Probably you didn't talk much about the KuK times with your grand grand father :)

reader Luboš Motl said...

A romantic childhood memories. ;-)

For me, as I was educated, the German spirit was one that was suppressing us through the monarchy since 1620 as well as during the Nazi era and the Austrians were (and still are) the more fanatically pro-Nazi Germans. ;-) Of course, I've got lots of good stereotypes about Germany and their prosperity and history and music etc.etc. since I was 8.

Still, even today, Austrians are the subsets of Germans who became skillful in living together with various Slavic and otherwise more Eastern nations. In some sense, we are saying the same thing. But due to their primary language, I don't understand the real intrinsic difference between the Austrians and Germans. Of course that I realize that they're different countries on the paper. But your claims that Austrians are likely to speak Czech sound very improbably to my ears. ;-)

reader lucretius said...

When after the failure of the “Beer Hall Putsch” in 1923 Hitler was arrested and put on trial before the Munich’s “People’s Court”, Germany’s leading expert on “racial hygiene” Max von Gruber was asked to serve as witness and assess the defendant’s mental qualities, which in those days typically involved supposedly “racial” ones. Von Gruber was actually a serious and in his days a famous scientist ( ) but he was also was the leading proponent of “racial type” as a determinant of intellectual and moral characteristics (this was known as “racial hygine”). Von Gruber examined Hitler and gave the following assessment:

“I saw Hitler from close to for the first time. Face and head bad racial type, crossbred. Low, receding forehead, ugly nose, wide cheekbones, small eyes, dark hair; facial expression not that of one in full self-control, but of one who suffers from insane excitement. Finally, an expression of complacent self-satisfaction.”

When in 1933 the chief of the German army, general von Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord, went to see president von Hindenburg to express the army’s opposition to Hitler’s becoming chancellor , Hindenburg replied that he would never appoint this “böhmischen Gefreiten” (“bohemian corporal”). Hindenburg and after him other aristocratic German anti-Nazi officers often referred to Hitler as the “Bohemian corporal”. Apparently the origin of this was Hindeburg’s deliberate confusion of Hitler's birthplace of Braunau, Austria, with Braunau in Bohemia.

Hitler himself had a relatively “favourable” view of the Czechs, whom he considered the best or the least bad of the Slavs. For example:

“The Czechs were better than the Hungarians, Rumanians and Poles. There had grown up amongst them a hard-working and conscientious small bourgeoisie, quite aware of its limitations. To-day they'll bow before us again, with the same sense of mingled rage and admiration as before: "People like us, people from Bohemia, are not predestined to rule," they used to say.”

“Of all the Slavs, the Czech is the most dangerous, because he's a worker. He has a sense of discipline, he's orderly, he's more a Mongol than a Slav. Beneath the top layer of a certain loyalty, he knows how to hide his plans. Now they'll work, for they know we're pitiless and brutal. I don't despise them, I have no resentment against them. It's destiny that wishes us to be adversaries. To put it briefly, the Czechs are a foreign body in the midst of the German community. There's no room both for them and for us. One of us must give way.”

reader Jon said...

I really like this. My idea is that the meaning of Man in life is to satisfy Man's Instincts, needs and ambitions. Cool

reader Shannon said...

Dear Werdna, you are totally wrong to say that Christianity is a descendant of Judaism. Until emperor Constantin both religions were in competition to conquer the world. Christianity did won. Still today the winner.

reader Luboš Motl said...

There's no contradiction here, Shannon, is there? Sons and daughters sometimes compete with their parents as well, don't they?

reader Shannon said...

Dear Lubos, you are making a common mistake. Judaism was "built" after Christianity. The Old Testament is not Judaism.

reader Shannon said...

Also, another common mistake you are making: mixing Judaism and Jewish people. The first one is a religion the second an entity that has nothing to do with the first 12 tribes of Israel. Therefore no ADN or common genes with the first Hebrews tribes.
See "The Invention of the Jewish People" by Shlomo Sand.

reader Luboš Motl said...

LOL, Shannon, yes and no, depending what you mean and the clever ambiguity behind your assertion seems deliberate.

The term "The Old Testament" isn't Judaism because it's a Christian phrase.

But it's a phrase for a text file whose *content* is also known as the Hebrew Bible,

more precisely as what the Judaists have called Tanakh long before Jesus Christ.

You may rename it but the beef still makes it a descendant. A daughter may change her name, e.g. by marrying someone, but she still remains a descendant of her parents, doesn't she?

reader Shannon said...

Christianity and Judaism are brothers.

reader Luboš Motl said...

I haven't used the phrase "Jewish people". For the people, I have only used the word "Jews" and this word is slightly ambiguous, defining either the ethnic or religious group.

With some interpretation, "Jews" and "believers in Judaism" are exact synonyma. Incidentally, in Czech, we use the capitalized Žid for the ethnic group's member while žid in the lowercase is, similarly to muslim etc., a believer in the religion.

reader Shannon said...

Between the 8th and 10th centuries some people converted to Judaism to escape the vice of warlike Christianity and Islam.
It is a mistake to think that Judaism was there first.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Sorry, this comment of yours has absolutely no logic. Judaism was there first. For example, it was there in the final form more than 1,000 years before the irrelevant medieval events you mentioned.

reader Shannon said...

Some castles were built in a 12th century style even though they were built in the 18th century ;-). Why do you think?

reader Luboš Motl said...

What do I think? That this comment of yours is exactly as illogical as the previous ones.

Judaism started 3,000 years ago and has enjoyed continuity ever since so it obviously couldn't be born in the 8th century, 10th century, 1975, 2500, or any other number you have mentioned. Christianity is a descendant of Judaism in the tree of religions and in combination with the previous sentences, it follows that every single proposition you have made in this exchange is wrong.

reader Shannon said...

This comment of yours is as wrong as your previous ones. Judaism is descendant of Christianity. It wasn't Judaism before Christianity.

reader Michael said...

Hi Lubos,

perhaps you will like this "The Truth About Ayn Rand" by Stefan Molyneux ,

Also I use this as a way to introduce you to Stefan, he is interesting, and I am glad to have found him. Has a call in show where all discussion is allowed, argues for anarchy and is very involved with bettering the way many parent their children. He was himself raised by a hysterical and violent mother, and now help others to process their child abuse, regain personal power, and especially re-evaluating their current relationships with their parents, ie does it make sense to nurture relations with people who are cruel to you? Making people understand that enabling and effectively supporting the behavior of "crazy" people is very destructive to bettering conditions for children.

He is critical towards feminism, just like you (and anyone who understand its ugly aspects, really), religion, the state, (one example among tons, is how the welfare state "make quality men obsolete"), other stuff also, praises the scientific method, honesty, being direct, listening to people so they get to express their true feelings, seeing children as actual people. He calls his stuff philosophy, but don't let that bother you. Maybe check him out.

reader Fergun Connell said...

I would agree with scientists as a beneficial job in society, though there are more.