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Climate Hustle

Follow-Up Case Study in Skepticism

Posted on 30 January 2011 by dana1981

Recently, in A Case Study in Climate Science Integrity, we examined the reactions to a report by Universal Ecological Fund (Fundaciíon Ecológical Universal [FEU-US]) and an article written by Dr. Richard Lindzen.  In both cases, the authors had performed calculations which neglected the thermal inertia of the oceans and impacts of aerosols and other cooling factors.  Despite making the same errors, the two papers arrived at dramatically different conclusions - the FEU-US wrongly concluded that the planet will warm 1.5°C over the next decade, and Lindzen wrongly concluded that the global climate is insensitive to atmospheric greenhouse gas changes (in a future article we will look at Lindzen's errors in depth and quantify them).

The reactions from the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) camp and the self-proclaimed "skeptics" were also diametrically opposed.  Climate scientists, journalists, and bloggers consistently wrote articles acknowledging and correcting the FEU-US mistakes.  On the other hand, the "skeptic" media re-published Lindzen's article with little commentary or analysis, allowing his errors to propagate to a wider audience, which generally also received Lindzen's piece with an uncritical eye.  The Skeptical Science article concluded that in this case study, it was the AGW camp which had behaved like the true skeptics. 

Subsequently, the article was picked up and re-published by The Guardian Environment NetworkThe Guardian allowed comments on the article for 3 days, and over that period, 310 comments were posted.  The comments were fairly evenly split between the AGW camp and the "skeptic" camp.  This provided an opportunity to observe how the self-proclaimed "skeptics" would react when confronted with the lack of true skepticism coming from their camp with regards to Lindzen's errors.  Would they acknowledge his mistakes, or would they continue to turn a blind eye to their fellow "skeptic" while criticizing the FEU-US for making the exact same errors?

If you guessed the latter, you win a gold star.  I must say I was rather disappointed, but not surprised that both camps confirmed the conclusions of the Case Study in The Guardian comments.   None in the AGW camp defended the FEU-US, and there was universal criticism for the group's unwillingness to correct the errors themselves when they were notified of them.

The self-proclaimed "skeptics", on the other hand, behaved in a much more biased manner.  They almost universally attempted to defend Lindzen's errors.  Several attempted to blame the FEU-US errors on the IPCC.  The "logic" was that the FEU-US scientific adviser (Osvaldo Canziani) was previously an IPCC co-chair, and the report heavily referenced the IPCC report.  The fact that the IPCC had nothing to do with the FEU-US errors did not dissuade these self-proclaimed "skeptics".   Although the projected temperature increase was listed as the report's first "key finding", it was not integral to the rest of the report.  The majority of the paper was effectively a summary of the IPCC and other UN report predictions about climate change impacts on agricultural production, which did not assume or depend upon the unrealistically rapid temperature rise projection in the FEU-US study.

Many "skeptic" commenters also engaged in ad hominem attacks against myself, John Cook, and Skeptical Science.  The amount of dirt they were able to dig up (mostly about other people who share my name, or outright falsehoods promoted by "skeptic" bloggers about this site and its founder) would have almost been impressive, if it wasn't so misguided.  The Guardian moderators were kept busy deleting these inappropriate comments.  An approximate breakdown of the comments (courtesy of Rob Painting):

19 comments defended Lindzen's error

0 comments defended FEU-US error

47 comments were deleted (ad hominem or otherwise off-topic) 

51 remaining comments were off-topic (on ocean heat content, blaming the IPCC, etc.) 

The remainder consisted of arguments among commenters

In the end, The Guardian comments provided a secondary case study about the behavior of both camps.  The actual skeptics, who acknowledged the mistakes where they were made, happened to be in the AGW camp.  Those who refused to look at all the evidence with an equally critical eye and were unable to set their biases aside were in the "skeptic" camp.

In this follow-up case study, we are once again reminded who the true skeptics are.

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 82:

  1. Amazing. Out of 310 responses there was not one that address's the underlying message of the FEU-US paper.
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  2. Ron #1

    Yes. That shows that the denier tactic is actually successful, shifting the "debate" to responding to crocks instead of mitigation policy or science.
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  3. Ron - that is not particularly surprising, since it was not the focus of Dana's excellent article, though you are right that its message is actually what has been lost in the controversy over a mistake in it. Funny how a single mistake can lead deniers to throw out a whole report (admittedly in this case a pretty bad mistake - as all sides agree), while a single grain of truth hidden amongst a pack of lies, half-truths and misleading implications makes any denier a courageous maverick standing against the crowd.
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  4. I think both thea FEU-US and Lindzen paper illustrate what can often happen in science, especially when dealing with unknowns and large uncertainty. The same issues occur in AGW publications in peer review too. Oh and a little information you may not know: you can ignore the thermal inertia of oceans in either calculation because a large amount of heat dissipates due to weather,thus not raising temps.
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  5. You mean most of the so-called skeptics are not really sceptics at all ? I am so surprised...not.
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  6. I think myself that in general the majority of people are too comfortable with accepting things at face value so long as it is in line with their thinking. There's not a whole lot of individuals who actually question the validity of a statement, even about subjects that they are familiar with.

    When I first saw an article on the FEU-US paper I thought it worthy of mention in another forum, but at the same time I knew there was something odd about it. I just had to sort it out.

    The first thing I did was to actually read the paper. After that I went to the AR4 to see what the scenarios predict. It didn't match. Then I went searching for contact information so I could query the author as to how they reached the conclusion that temperatures would rise by 2.4oC over the next 9 years.

    Well by the time I had it sorted out for myself, those who have a better line on contacts than me had already started to blog on the error. But because I had already read the paper I was focusing more on the FEU-US paper's other conclusions. And despite the fact that the world won't be 2.4oC warmer by 2020, that does not preclude that the rest of the conclusions may start to be witnessed in that 2020 time frame. I really don't think we need that much more of an increase in global average temperature before some of the effects discussed in the paper become visible markers.

    Of course I'm sure that the skeptics will read my comments here and I'll get branded a heretic as well. That's fine I have thick skin. But I guess what I am really trying to say to people in my post is to start using your critical thinking more often, even about issues you think you are familiar with, and do some research before you stick your foot in your mouth or shoot yourself in the foot. And as can be demonstrated in this forum and many others, get the proper perspective.

    I guarantee it will change your perception of the world around you.
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  7. That's why I'm calling most of the "sceptics" Pseudo-Sceptics, as pseudo shows their attitude (pseudo-sceptic meaning: false, not genuine, fake sceptic) to scepticism as well as some of their tactics (Etymology, combining form of Ancient Greek "pseudēs": false, lying).

    It is a pity that many "positive" sounding terms describing the attitude towards AGW are conquered by the pseudo-sceptics:
    - (true) sceptic
    - climate-realists
    - true climate
    and so on. But words paint a picture in the minds of the listeners, so let's get rid of positive names for unlogic and unscientific behaviour.
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  8. Chemist1:

    Oh and a little information you may not know: you can ignore the thermal inertia of oceans in either calculation because a large amount of heat dissipates due to weather,thus not raising temps.

    Source, please?

    Unsubstantiated claims aren't valued very highly here.
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  9. Thank you for highlighting this difference between the camps. Hopefully it will help those who are inspired (unconsciously) by their desires to believe “anything but CO2” to recognize the difference between “skepticism” and “denialism”.
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  10. Basically your standard climate thread on the Guardian.
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  11. "anything but CO2”
    ABCers
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  12. dorlomin - funny acronym. Actually I recently read Ramanathan et al. (2008) in researching Lindzen's arguments in more detail. He uses the ABC acronym for "atmospheric brown clouds". "Anything but CO2" and "pseudo skeptics" seem to be appropriate descriptions based on the Guardian comments.

    A third 'case study' examining Lindzen's argument in more detail is in the works.
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  13. Ron at #6, that's my impression too. The whole thing strikes me again as being similar to the Himalayan glaciers, Amazon rainforests, flood prone land in Holland, "controversies". That is, what becomes discussed is the "error" in the exact timing or the exact extent, rather than the actual processes involved. With or without the errors, glaciers are still melting with future disastrous consequences for farming in Asia, the Amazon forests are still under obvious threat from climate change, Holland does face flooding as seas keep rising (as do other countries). Arguing about the detail of an error diverts attention from consequences, in this FEU case the effects on food production as the globe keeps warming.

    My impression Dana, Ron, was that the FEU error wasn't the result of some manipulation of data, or cherrypicking, but was at least in part the result of disagreement/confusion about the meaning of "pre-industrial" (as well as misunderstanding the thermal inertia question). Is that correct?
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  14. Well done Dana.
    I missed that Guardian piece.
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  15. Michael M,
    That's why I'm calling most of the "sceptics" Pseudo-Sceptics...

    I think it would be better to call them sqeptics. This serves several purposes:
    • It distinguishes them from real skeptics/sceptics.

    • It's shorter and easier to manage than "pseudo-skeptic".

    • It makes them look appropriately silly.

    • It solves the nagging problem of the Brits spelling skeptic with a "c" and the Yanks spelling sceptic with a "k".
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    Response: [John Cook] Does that mean I have to change the website to www.sqepticalscience.com?
  16. Thanks Sphaerica. Sqeptic it is.
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  17. All I can address David is the fact that the FEU neglected to take into account the negative forcings and the fact that there is some lag between the time CO2 is released and the full onset of effect as a result of that release.

    There are varying thoughts on that as well. The phasing out of coal as a home heating source can be seen in the temperature record, at least that's my perception. Some say 20 years, I say it's more like 30. But then some maintain that using wood for funeral pyres in Europe up until the 7th century is reflected in the temperature record as well. It is as I say, how you perceive things will greatly influence your perspective. And to gain perspective one needs to continue to learn on a daily basis with an unbiased eye, and an open mind.
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  18. #16 Thanks Sphaerica. Sqeptic it is.

    Should there not be a 'u' after 'q'?

    English is English, there is only one spelling for sceptic.
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    Moderator Response: [Daniel Bailey] And then there's my preference, skeptic.
  19. #18, HuggyPopsBear,

    I considered adding the 'u', but then it would have to be pronounced "skweptics", and that's a little to Monty-Python-esque, even for the We-love-Lord-Monckton-can-you-believe-it? crowd.

    On the "only" spelling remark... we fought a bold and gallant revolution for the right to spell anything however we dang well please. [In fact, I think the New Hampshire state slogan is "Spell Free or Die!"]
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  20. @Sphaerica #19:

    but then it would have to be pronounced "skweptics"

    Not at all. There are many words in which 'qu' has a 'k' sound: baroque, unique, mosquito, liquor, antique, etc., etc. I think 'squeptic' is just fine (although I have just disquovered that it's hard to type).
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  21. David #13 - the FEU-US error is discussed in the original Case Study article. Basically what they did was project the CO2-equivalent concentration (CO2 plus other greenhouse gases) in 2020, then using a climate sensitivity of 3°C for a doubling of CO2, estimated that the planet would be 2.4°C above pre-industrial temps. The problem is that the climate sensitivity parameter is an equilibrium value, and the planet is not in equilibrium (in short, FEU-US ignored thermal inertia). On top of that, they didn't take into account negative forcings like aerosols.
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  22. David#13 as Dana said at #21 with an additional human twist: the FEU author did not really understand climate science based on my conversations with her about the error before the report's release. An honest mistake in my view. Why their science reviewer approved the report is a mystery - he was in hospital and unavailable for comment. For details of how all this went down
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  23. Chemist1 @4, very nice of you to repeat the same error just to illustrate the point.

    However, it should be noted solar energy that drives weather is dissipated as heat. It is not removed from the system as you suggest, which would violate the conservation of energy. (It is also irrelevant to the question of thermal lag in the oceans.)

    Perhaps you should state your claim as "heat is transferred by weather" which is true, but also immediately seen as irrelevant.
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  24. I generally use the term denier for those who are ideologically, politically or financially motivated to deny. (and that's virtually all of the so-called sceptics in my experience).

    Read Clive Hamilton's essay on why we deny
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  25. Opps Hamilton link
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  26. The article says:
    ======================
    Many "skeptic" commenters also engaged in ad hominem attacks against myself, John Cook, and Skeptical Science.

    ... An approximate breakdown of the comments (courtesy of Rob Painting):

    19 comments defended Lindzen's error

    0 comments defended FEU-US error

    47 comments were deleted (ad hominem or otherwise off-topic)

    51 remaining comments were off-topic (on ocean heat content, blaming the IPCC, etc.)
    The remainder consisted of arguments among commenters
    =======================

    It would have been real interesting to see how many of the deleted comments came from the 'skeptics'. Judging from the comment initially quoted above it sounds likely that most of them were, but the above statistics neither confirm nor deny that conclusion.
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  27. Stephen and Dana thanks for that, Stephen's link is a useful addition to the Real Climate account of the affair. I'm happy with all that - climate science should be left to climate scientists, or at least referred to them! The only, minor query I had is that the graph Real Climate shows in explanation begins in 1900. There is, if my ageing memory hasn't failed me, some additional warming before 1900 which would make the FEU "2.4 above" "pre-industrial", although still an exaggeration, slightly less of an exaggeration. Or have I misunderstood?
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  28. Stephen Leahy #24

    "I generally use the term denier for those who are ideologically, politically or financially motivated to deny. "

    I generally use the term "denier" when
    - a person makes a claim
    - that claim is effectively rebutted
    - the person making the claim ignores the rebuttal
    - that person continues to make the claim
    - that person continues to ignore the rebuttal
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  29. MattJ asks: "It would have been real interesting to see how many of the deleted comments came from the 'skeptics'. Judging from the comment initially quoted above it sounds likely that most of them were, but the above statistics neither confirm nor deny that conclusion"

    The answer is as follows. The total number of visible deletions when the thread closed was 55. (Well-intented rebuttals to moderated posts are made to 'disappear' rather than be left as what we call 'tombstones' so as not to give the impression that the rebutter had also transgressed).

    Of that 55 posts, 44 were from deniers. The remaining 11 were all from warmists, including 3 from me and 1 from Dana.

    More telling perhaps is this: 44 denialist posts removed were written by 17 people, the remaining 11 were written by 6 warmists.
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  30. So what you're saying is that the deniers (no, really, that's what they are, as per BillyJoe's post) are taking the "say it loud, say it often" approach to debate argumentation?
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  31. I like pseudo-skeptic. It is more accurate and don’t think the “q” spellings will impress folks afflicted with Dunning-Kruger or anyone else who is influenced by them.

    Of course it is hard to pass up the utility of “denier” for those that refuse to admit it when they are wrong. For those that make a true art continually twisting the story 180 degrees I reserve the title of “denialist”.
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  32. I like the comment made by Gavin over at Real Climate.

    "You can take a source to science, but you cannot make him think."
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  33. "Pseudo-Sceptic" is also better for translations - I think it should work in most languages. (At least into german "Pseudo-Skeptiker")
    Deniers is of course also a possible name - but most deniers refer to themselves as "sceptics" and can more easily be shown to be (and rightfully named) pseudo-sceptics.
    Very often calling deniers denier leads into an off-topic hassle.
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  34. RickG - My version of that sentiment was "You can lead someone to science, but you can't make them read the bibliography." The JoNova gang did not (ahem) like that line...
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  35. So sqeptic or squeptic hey!

    Thanks guys.

    Now I just can't get an image of Daffy Duck out of my head!
    But maybe that works.
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  36. First of all congrations Dana on getting your article taken up by The Gaurdian, you must be chuffed by that.

    Maybe this should go on the original "A Case Study...." thread and I'm probably going to mix up my feedback's, forcing and climate sensitivities but here goes.

    I don't quite see the relevance (or maybe importance) of you pointing out that Lindzen has ignored aerosols. The concensus position has it that strong negative feedback from aerosols has negated some of warming that would have occured in the late 20th century. Lindzen's position is that there is a low climate sensitivity (based on a reading of his published work). If Lindzen goes with the logic of his argument then low sensitivity means low increase in temperature from CO2 forcing, there is no need for strong aerosol forcing to mask CO2 warming. I'm guessing that one could assume that Lindzen also believes the IPCC has got things wrong when it comes to aerosols as well

    On a specific claim by you
    "However, neither accounted for man-made emissions of aerosols"

    Here's what Lindzen says
    "According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the greenhouse forcing from man made greenhouse gases is already about 86% of what one expects from a doubling of CO2 (with about half coming from methane, nitrous oxide, freons and ozone), and alarming predictions depend on models for which the sensitivity to a doubling for CO2 is greater than 2C which implies that we should already have seen much more warming than we have seen thus far, even if all the warming we have seen so far were due to man. This contradiction is rendered more acute by the fact that there has been no statistically significant net global warming for the last fourteen years. Modelers defend this situation, as we have already noted, by arguing that aerosols have cancelled much of the warming (viz Schwartz et al, 2010)" [my emphasis]

    He seems to acknowledge that the IPCC's position is based on aerosol's cancelling out some of the warming. I don't believe he think's that's true but he seems to acknowledge it is the position of the IPCC. Can you just explain what you mean when you say he doesn't account for it?

    I also don't get the basic point about linking the response to a bad paper by FEU and the article by Lindzen. The concensus from both sides of the debate seems to be that the FEU is junk science (apologies to the authors) you show that above, the debate continues about the relevance of Lindzen's science. But so what?

    Resumably the only link between the two articles is you believe they both fall down because of the same flaw. In fact based on what you say here and in "A Case Studt..." you seem to assume that as a given and expect reade to make that assuption as well. I don't believe that people have to take your position especially when you did so little to win it. I also think people have the right to be unimpressed by your criticism of Lindzen's work without being considered biased or illogical. I don't think you've actually done much in your posts to prove that the Lindzen and FEU works are equivalents.
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  37. Just a little more on Lindzen and aerosols.

    One of the reference's in the Lindzen article is

    Lindzen, R.S., 2007: Taking greenhouse warming seriously. Energy & Environment, 18, 937-950.



    He seems to both state the IPCC's and his position on aerosol's and their uncertainty. He also seems to acknowledge the importance of the system coming to equilibria which seems to be another aspect of Dana's criticism.

    Maybe nobody (including Dana) bothered to read the reference's, maybe they did, but either way one should look at the reference's. That's especially true if your going to publish a critique of the article. Dana you could have found out Lindzen's position on aerosols and equilibria if you had followed the references he supplied with the article. He seems to be well aware of both issues.

    (I re-read my first post. Even more apologies for describing the FEU as junk science, I haven't read. That's bad of me)
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  38. HR - Lindzen's strategy is to say there is high uncertainty associated with aerosols (true), and then proceed to entirely neglect their effects in his calculation. This is akin to saying they have zero forcing with zero uncertainty. This is wrong.

    In an upcoming article, I go through the calculations while carrying the uncertainties through. Spoiler alert - by doing so, you arrive at the opposite of Lindzen's conclusion.

    Bottom line - although he mentioned these effects in his article text, he ignored them in his calculations.
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  39. [ -edit- (complaints about moderation) -edit- ]
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    Moderator Response: [Daniel Bailey] Comments that are on-topic that add to the discussion are never moderated or deleted. Attempts to derail threads with discussion of politics or ideologies or wandering into the wilderness of off-topic land will get moderated. Adhere to the Comments Policy roadmap, be polite when disagreeing, stay on-topic for the thread you are participating on and offer up sourced links for claims and not only will all be well in mod-land but you will come to be viewed as a resource instead of a distraction. Your choice.
  40. Please define "comments that add to the discussion"? The statement seems to have a significant amount of wiggle-room. It has been my experience at skepticalscience.com that the moderator uses off-topic or political to delete anti-AGW comments but allows pro-AGW comments to remain.

    For example:
    "A Case Study in Climate Science Integrity"
    53.dhogaza at 16:29 PM on 23 January, 2011
    Ron Crouch:
    If governments would only face global warming with the same tenacity that they apply to terrorism.

    Actually, the current leadership of the Republican Party in the US does ...
    Problem being they look at climate science as being equivalent to terrorism ...

    How is the above not political? I enjoy a lively debate but it's not happening here, which is unfortunate.
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    Moderator Response: [Daniel Bailey] Moderating is a no-win scenario. The goal is to maintain a certain latitude in adherence to the comments policy. Comments that toe the line without erasing it (in your example, dhogaza was replying to Ron; both commenters were referring to global warming [an accepted fact by the NAS & virtually every scientific body in the world] and lamenting US policy of inaction on it. Contextually OK) are allowed so as to not stifle the dialogue. Pushing the envelope of discussion to include Cap & Trade, which you did, gets seriously off-topic. The mod's are human and sometimes miss things, but overall do a pretty good job here in keeping the flow of the thread dialogue from getting hijacked. I have even gone in after the fact & deleted my own comments that went too far.
  41. John's Jan 30, 2011 climate article e-mail had a link to a WUWT post about Lindzen's March 11, 2008 note on "statistically significant warming" (link). Here is what Lindzen said 3 years ago:

    There has been no warming since 1997 and no statistically significant warming since 1995. Lindzen, March, 2008



    The addition of 2008-2010 temperature data makes Lindzen's statement invalid. Will he update his statement based on more current data?

    He could benefit from Tamino's statistical expertise. (here).
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  42. "I enjoy a lively debate" - you mean like at say hot topic.Gratuitous insults and miles of hot-air about people's opinion? I like skepsci as place debate where the moderator's enforce civil discussion and where assertions need be backed by evidence from published research instead uninformed opinion. YMMV but plenty of places for "lively debate".
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  43. The original posts states "The reactions from the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) camp..."

    I find it helpful to realize there is no AGW camp. There is climate science, which has concluded that AGW is happening and is a threat to civilization. If you understand climate scientists you "believe" in AGW. It simply follows from the data and our current state-of-the-art understanding of climate.

    And there are skeptics (<10 with the credentials to credibly kibitz).

    Then there is the echo chamber. I am strongly against "sqeptic" as it smacks of the disrespectful spelling of Obama, Democrat, liberal and any other thoughtful person that is an epidemic on the internet. I find myself starting out treating someone as a skeptic, and if they don't respond to facts and logic they get put in the denier bucket. If they persist, I just go ahead and tell the truth and hang 'em with their earned title: "lier".

    Note to Daniel Bailey - moderation is a win for creating a credible place for discussion. I am sure the process is not that pretty (I think thepoodlebites has a reasonable point. If politics are verboten, they are verboten. I do get the sense that some things (including my own posts) are allowed to get political, but when a skeptic/denier responds in kind, moderation occurs). I don't have examples to point to and I could well be wrong.
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  44. thepoodlebites

    It's easy to take the stance you do on moderation, I often think what you say is spot on especially when I spent a fair time on the comment. I think it's probably natural that Daniel is going to see comments that generally chime with his own opinions as more tolerable than those from the other side of the debate. I'm sure it would be true the other way around. Comments such as #43's "is a threat to civilization" make me want to scream but probably get an approving nod from many.

    Having said that I don't think there's any real attempt on this website to curb the debate, from either side. I've seen plenty of evidence for tolerating all opinions. You just have to face the facts that given you might be expressing the 'other' opinion you're going to have to work to stay within policy. And if all else fails you can save a copy then go post it on WUWT ;)
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  45. #38 Dana

    Thanks maybe I should wait for the upcoming thread you promise but...

    In the first post you stated the following

    "In fact, the planet has warmed approximately 0.8°C over the past century, and the IPCC estimates that if we were to freeze atmospheric greenhouse gases at today's levels, the planet would continue to warm another 0.6°C before reaching equilibrium."

    Is the unrealised 0.6oC coming from the cooling effect from aerosols or the 'lag' effect as the ocean and atmosphere return to equilibria? You seem to put forward both as explanations for the unrealised warming. If it's a bit of both do you know what the contribution is from each effect?
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  46. Since the topic has come up, I think it would be an interesting post to open a thread on where moderators should draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable comments.

    I am not a do-it-by-committee person myself, but I think such a thread could stimulate interesting discussion, particularly if moderators could offer posts that they struggled with - to delete or not to delete, that is the question. Or even (especially?) offer some deleted comments for comment. In the least, such a thread would likely underscore how difficult it is to moderate. At the most, perhaps some collective wisdom would arise, or at least a sense of skepticalscience commenter tolerances.

    Just a thought.
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  47. One other thought: in a sense, it would be like applying some skeptical scutiny to the moderation that occurs.
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  48. HR - the 0.6°C isn't cooling, it's delayed surface warming, and it's due to the thermal inertia of the oceans. On top of that, there's the cooling effects of aerosols. You'll see the numbers in the upcoming article. I'm hoping to publish it this weekend - trying to stay focused on Monckton Myths right now.

    actually thoughtfull - I just needed a label for those of us who accept the scientific evidence behind AGW. "AGW camp" was the best I could come up with.
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  49. HR - 44 "threat to civilization" is a fact. Facts are wonderful because they can be proved true or false. You appear to doubt the fact. What is your evidence that we can continue to dump 26.7 billion tons per year of CO2 into the atmosphere and NOT trigger natural events that threaten civilization through famine, floods, droughts and wars over resources (food & water being particularly important ones)?

    I fear you are running pretty hard into the logical razor blade of the null hypothesis. This is a scientific experiment we DO NOT want to be part of!

    Source for CO2 tonnage:
    http://www.hydrogen.co.uk/h2_now/journal/articles/2_global_warming.htm
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  50. Every civilization has been based on food production capable of supporting specialists. However, I think it is exceedingly difficult to quantify how much damage to the food production system a civilization can take without it collapsing. Past examples are very hard to extrapolate to present day so from a science point of view, this is a hard problem. On the other hand, I accept that the risk exists (..and I wonder why HR apparently thinks it does not...), and I certainly don't to be part of an experiment to quantify that risk.
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