Feb 02 2018

Carbon Capture

Hopefully it’s not news to you that the Earth is warming due to human release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. A number of studies have assessed the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW), with results clustering around 97%. Overwhelmingly, most climate scientists have looked at the data and concluded that AGW is happening.

Climate scientists have gone beyond just establishing that AGW is happening. They are trying to quantify it and project the trend lines into the future. This type of effort is always fraught with uncertainty, with the error bars increasing with greater time into the future. However, we can take a 95% confidence interval and make reasonable extrapolations of what is likely to happen.

Recognizing this uncertainty, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that we should keep post-industrial warming to less than two degrees Celcius if we want to avoid serious effects of climate change. Given that as the goal, they can then determine how much more carbon would need to be released to cause this amount of warming. This can be used to determine how much we need to decrease future carbon emissions.

Primarily those with an ideological or financial stake in denying this solid consensus focus on the uncertainty. But that is folly. Phil Plait has a good analogy – if 97% of the world’s astronomers were in agreement that there was a 95% chance of an asteroid hitting the Earth in 2050, would you be listening to the 3% of dissenters? If NASA and other experts were mostly saying that it will take 20 years to develop the technology to deflect the asteroid, and the earlier we do it the more effective our attempts will be, do you think it would be prudent to argue for waiting a couple of decades to see what happens? Maybe the asteroid is not as big as they say. Maybe it will hit in a remote area and not do that much damage. It may cost less to fix the damage than divert the asteroid. Asteroids deliver useful metals to the Earth’s surface, so this could be a good thing. Don’t listen to the asteroid hysterics. The motivated reasoning is transparent.

Denial aside, we are now getting to the point that simple math is constraining our options. We have to reduce our carbon release quickly in order to avoid the 2 degree C warming. We can argue about how quickly, but we are actually just arguing about how long it will take for the worst outcomes to be manifest. It is not a question of if, but of when. We can hope for the best outcome, but should plan on the 95% confidence interval.

Those same scientists, however, are saying essentially that it is highly unlikely we will be able to reduce CO2 emissions quickly enough. We will certainly not do it if current trends continue – the math just does not work. Still we need to do everything we can – increase energy efficiency, shift to renewable energy, and reduce fossil fuel use.

Another option is carbon capture – remove carbon from the atmosphere to offset the new carbon being released. Here the IPCC has a dilemma. They have charted all possible pathways to avoid the 2 degrees warming, and they have concluded that essentially we cannot do it through reduction of emissions alone. In the second half of the 21st century we will need to remove a significant amount of carbon from the atmosphere, about 12 billion tons per year, or a third of the current rate of release.

However by focusing on carbon capture they worry that people will see such technologies as the ultimate solution, and therefore we don’t have to worry about reducing carbon release. So now they are also emphasizing that carbon capture will not be enough. We need to do both – reduce emissions and carbon capture.

This is where another layer of thinking comes in – techno-optimism. There are those who argue that we will technology our way out of this dilemma. Renewable energy technology will advance and replace dirty old energy technology. We will also develop high-tech carbon capture technology and take care of all that extra carbon. I am sympathetic toward this attitude, but I also agree that we cannot rely on technological advances we haven’t made yet. These are always hard to predict. Again – hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. We can’t just assume that in 30 years we will develop a technology to deflect the asteroid.

But what is the state of carbon capture? One approach is essentially to use plants, specifically trees. Trees are natural carbon capture devices. There are already efforts at reforestation, and to reduce deforestation, and they should continue. But this will not really address the problem. There isn’t enough land to simply plant trees to capture carbon, and trying to use lots of land for this approach will likely be counterproductive.

There is one company, Climeworks, that uses artificial filters to capture carbon. They have one factory that currently captures 1000 tons of carbon per year. If you remember from above, we would need about 12 million of these to reach our goal. That is why the IPCC is now saying we cannot rely on this technology alone. How much space would all that carbon capture require?

The company calculated how many shipping container-sized units would be needed to capture 1% of global emissions; the answer was 750,000.

So again, multiply that by about 30 for what we would need.

The technology works by using fans to blow air over filters which capture carbon dioxide. When the filters are full they can be heated to release the carbon in solid form. That solid carbon can be buried or used for industrial use – you can combine it with hydrogen to make plastics or fuel, for example.

It seems that some such technology will be necessary to reach our goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees C. This technology at least works, but it is primitive. It seems prudent to encourage development of this technology. One way to do that is to put a price on carbon. I agree with those who argue that this makes sense and is fair, since releasing carbon has a cost to the world, those who release the carbon should share in that cost. They could, however, offset that cost by also building carbon capture facilities, or buying carbon credits from those who do.

Make a carbon capture industry cost effective, and it is likely the technology will advance and be adopted. Then we might technology our way out of this.

While I remain hopeful, maybe even optimistic, I realize that the math currently looks bad. We cannot get complacent. Now really is the time to shift to renewable energy, to focus on energy efficiency, and to put a proper and fair price on carbon to encourage a carbon capture industry. This is a win win – we will end up with a better energy infrastructure, and a better environment.

61 responses so far

61 thoughts on “Carbon Capture”

  1. michaelegnor says:

    Here’s the rubrik:

    1) Fabricate an apocalyptic crisis– eugenics, pesticide hysteria, overpopulation hysteria, “fats in the diet are killing us” hysteria, global cooling hysteria, etc didn’t work. Let’s try global warming hysteria! 95% of scientists agree! (just like they did with eugenics, pesticide hysteria, overpopulation hysteria, fat hysteria, etc)

    2) When the public rightly begins to ignore the hype, propose a “solution” to the crisis that means big profits for people in the know.

    3) Make lots of money “scrubbing C02”.

    4) Repeat.

    Personally I think the major problem is orgon–we could kill two birds with one stone by using cloudbusters to scrub C02 and orgon from the atmosphere!


  2. banyan says:

    1) Falsely equate basically any public concern that was ever exaggerated by anyone with AGW, while ignoring the scientific community’s exposure of dangers that actually did save lives like the dangers of smoking, lead exposure, and ozone depletion.

    2) Conspiracy monger

    3) Conspiracy monger

    4) Repeat

  3. Michael – thank for once again giving us an example of:
    – Have a nice neat little narrative with an appealing message
    – Apply that narrative to any possible situation, completely ignoring the specific facts

    The problem with this approach is that the science matters, whether or not they are convenient to your neat little self-serving narrative.

  4. trumpproctor says:

    ME: “2) When the public rightly begins to ignore the hype, propose a “solution” to the crisis that means big profits for people in the know.”

    You mean like the big profits of Exxon mobile, who’s own scientists in the 1970’s warned of continued release of C02 into the atmosphere would warm the climate? They even nailed the X PPM of CO2 in the atmosphere would produce Y amount of temperature rise. All this against their own interest of selling fossil fuels!

    But, of course, just ignore that since it goes against your own personal agenda.

  5. Willy says:

    You don’t think too well, do you, Doc? Nor do you do facts. There was no global cooling hysteria. There was no eugenics hysteria. Too many fats are still considered to be a bad diet. Pesticide concerns are still valid. Overpopulation is still a concern. When did “95%” of scientists support eugenics or global cooling? Regarding global cooling, you’ve confused a Time magazine cover with consensus science. I hope you get your professional information from reputable publications, not the popular media.

    Tell us what “big profits” were there for “people in the know” for the eugenics, pesticide, overpopulation, and fat “hysterias”. (regarding pesticides and fats, or carbs, or “good” fats, or whatever, it’s industry making big profits, right?) Tell us who is making big money “scrubbing CO2”.

    Here’s how things really work, Doc:

    1) Be a person who is a member of an ideological tribe–religious or political.
    2) Know essentially zero about the details and/or science of the issues you disagree with.
    3) Whine publicly about “crooks”, by which you mean entire fields of human endeavor.
    4) Band together with like-minded, also ignorant, people and form organizations.
    5) Request donations to support those organizations.
    6) Pat yourselves on the back for saving mankind from whatever your demon is.

    In this way, we get viewpoints like ID promoted all but ONLY by people with prior religious convictions. In this way, the Republican party becomes the ONLY large institution in the world to deny AGW. Tell me Doc, how is it that essentially EVERYONE involved in climate science or evolutionary science is a “criminal” (or at the very least a dupe), yet most most fields of inquiry exhibit only normal proportions of bad actors.

    BTW, the stock market looks to be headed for a third big losing day out of the last four days. Is this Trump’s fault? If not, why not?

  6. trumpproctor says:

    “There was no global cooling hysteria.”

    This entire line of argument that climate change deniers keep throwing out is a gross misunderstanding of the facts. There were a few fringe scientists who promoted “are we going to entire a mini-ice age?” This was picked up my some media. This was seen as HORRIBLE science reporting by anyone with half a brain. They gave way to much attention to what was never more than a very fringe idea. The consensus of scientist and peer-review totally demolished this fringe hypothesis, rightly claiming the exact opposite, that we are in a period of global warming due to CO2. And then the “mini-ice age” hypothesis disappeared as quickly as it came. It was NEVER a consensus, not even close.

    Recently this winter, many look at the long cold spell we had (which is perfectly predicted by global climate change) as “Well look at how cold it is! So much for global warming”! Meanwhile totally ignoring the data that shows that while a big part of the US was experiencing below normal temperatures, the entire rest of the northern hemisphere was experiencing above normal temperatures. But then where do these deniers go as soon as the cold spell ends (often happening in less than 24 hours) and the temperatures jump by 50-60 degrees, often 20-30 degrees ABOVE normal, and often breaking record highs, in the middle of winter?

  7. DrNick says:

    “2) When the public rightly begins to ignore the hype, propose a “solution” to the crisis that means big profits for people in the know.

    3) Make lots of money “scrubbing C02”.”

    Even if I accept Egnor’s batshit crazy worldview, this argument still doesn’t make a lick of sense. Who are these people who are “in the know” and set to make big profits from “scrubbing CO2”?

    The people who are pushing the narrative are climate scientists. Climate scientists are not getting rich. Even if, again accepting the ridiculous idea that big liberalism is purposefully funneling all the grant money to scientists that push the agenda for some reason, does Egnor not know how grants work? Does he think scientists are just pocketing this money?

    As others rightly point out, ALL of the money in the climate change debate is on the side of the deniers. The way to get rich as a climate scientist is to sell out to the fossil fuel industry and push anti-AGW propaganda. The fact that 97% of climate scientists haven’t done this is a testament to their scientific integrity.

    I’m always amazed when I see an apparently intelligent person pushing a conspiracy theory this insanely self-contradictory. It reeks of almost #releasethememo levels of desperation. Tribalism is a helluva drug.

  8. Willy says:

    Dr. Egnor exposes his utter lack of understanding of the climate issue nowhere more clearly than his mentioning of a “global cooling hysteria”. The fact that he even brings it up shows an extraordinary depth of ignorance.

    As for eugenics–didn’t that have it’s start in the “history” explained in the Bible? In more modern times we see religiously sponsored witch burning, The Inquisition (which Mikey says didn’t go far enough), and centuries of persecution of Jews by the Church. Eugenics is social and political; it is not, and never has been, “science”.

  9. bend says:

    Two thoughts:
    1) Egnor’s analogy to the “overpopulation hysteria” is apt, but not in the way he suggests. Overpopulation (really mass famine) was a legitimate concern. Then we did something about it and scientists played a central role (i.e. the green revolution). Climate change is a legitimate concern and we should do something about it.
    2) I’ve always been bearish about carbon capture and have had this argument with Roger Pielke Jr. who, while controversial, is a really nice guy. He’s been a significant proponent of carbon capture. But the thing about chemical separations is that the efficiency decreases very quickly with dilution. The best place to capture CO2 is at the source (e.g. at the top of the smokestack). But removing carbon before it reaches the atmosphere is not called carbon capture, but mitigation. It may sound trite, but there’s a sometimes ignored truth in that saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But since we’re scientists we should convert to SI units: 60 grams of prevention is worth one kilogram of cure. It’s likely much more effective to sequester the CO2 before it’s released rather than after. Also, the cost of the tech to do so should not be publicly borne, but should be paid for by the producers and their consumers. Those who leave off the A/C in their small apartments and cycle to work should not be expected to pay the same rate as those who live in big, climate controlled houses and drive their Suburbans everywhere they go. Centralized, atmospheric carbon capture facilities would likely be public funded, placing unfair burden on those who contribute least. Expensive, inefficient and unjust. We can do better.

  10. bend says:

    Also, the numbers of 95% and 97% are tossed around a lot. And I believe that they are probably accurate estimates of the percentage of actively publishing climate scientists who accept AGW. Pew published a survey of all scientific disciplines in industry and academia and came up with the number 90%. I’ve questioned which number is a better proxy for the likelihood of the reality of AGW. Sure, climate scientists will be most knowledgeable of the relevant area of research, but could there be a bias there, conscious or unconscious? Afterall, public (or private) funding for people who say, “welp, everything is fine here” seems like it would be harder to obtain than for someone who says, “we’ve got a problem that needs addressing immediately.” So that may lead me to take the Pew numbers more seriously. Either way, 90 or 95% are both pretty high. If I went to nine doctors and they all said, “you’ve got diabetes” I wouldn’t stop for donuts on the way home if the tenth told me, “everything is fine.”
    In the spirit of full disclosure, I accept the reality of AGW and the need to address it. I don’t have diabetes but I do love donuts (who doesn’t?).

  11. fudiostudio says:

    I have a technical question: Carbon capture of this sort will require renewable energy, presumably quite a lot if you need to build 23 million of these devices. Is there a net advantage to building and powering these devices over just using the same energy to replace coal plants?

  12. michaelegnor says:


    “… the science matters…”

    Damn right. That’s why we’re gonna sink billions of dollars into crackpot “C02” scrubbers (try to scrub as much orgon as you can, too!).

    Not much science, a lot of economics.

    AGW hysteria is just the latest apocalypse, but better funded and with much more growth potential than its predecessors. BIG $$$$. Ask Al Gore.

    There are fortunes to be made in taxing, regulating, and “scrubbing” a normal trace constituent of the air.

    How about this, Steve: you pay for the “scrubbers”. Save the world for us.

  13. michaelegnor says:

    The funny thing is how much you resemble the GMO nuts.

    AGW scientists:

    “Danger! Danger! Give us unlimited power and unlimited money and we’ll save you from (genetic deterioration/DDT/Overpopulation/Global Cooling/Fat/Acid Rain/Heterosexual AIDS…) Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Instability!!!


  14. Willy says:

    Gawd, Michael! You are one blinded ideologue. You haven’t even the depth of understanding to grasp how devoid of facts your original post is.

  15. MosBen says:

    AGW Scientists: Years of study have shown that several pollutants result in rising temperatures which will have devastating effects on human populations, particularly poor and otherwise vulnerable populations.

    AGW deniers: You scientists are just part of a conspiracy to make money for the clean energy/anti-pollution businesses. Your decades of work are the result of a secret agenda backed by shady industry types and is not reliable.

    GM Scientists: Years of study have shown that GM food products are safe for human consumption and there is great promise for increasing things like crop yields and nutritional content.

    Anti-GMO activists: You scientists are part of a conspiracy to mislead people about the health and environmental impacts of GM crops. Your decades of work are the result of a secret agenda backed by shady industry types and is not reliable.

    Which of these seem similar, and which of them seem different?

  16. bachfiend says:

    Michael ‘Duck’ Egnor displays all the traits of the authoritarian of Alt-America discussed in chapter 2 of ‘Alt-America: the Rise of the Radical Right’ by David Neiwert:

    1. Commitment to an in-group.
    2. Fear of a dangerous world.
    3. Self-righteousness.
    4. Aggressive.
    5. Biased.
    6. Contradictory beliefs.
    7. Poor reasoning skills.
    7. Dogmatic.
    8. Screen out contradictory information.
    9. Conviction they’re in the majority.
    10. Easily manipulated.
    11. Weak self-reflection.

    Conspiracy theories are typical of the true authoritarian. Global warming denial as a conspiracy theory that asserts that there’s a conspiracy amongst almost all climate scientists is one of the most common conspiracy theories in America, including Trump and several members of his cabinet.

  17. trumpproctor says:

    I really want to know these “AGW scientist” who are getting rich off of AGW? You want to know who’s going to become rich scrubbing carbon out of the atmosphere? The Bill Gates, Warren Buffetts, Elon Musks, and the Jeff Bezos’s of the world. We could go full in 1000 mph to scrub CO2 out of the atmosphere and the .01%ers who have the billions to invest in the tech are the one’s who will benefit monetarily.

    I’ve yet to meet a “rich” scientist. I’m not saying there doesn’t exist any, and I’m sure there are many who have a good paying job (as they should), but if their are as many scientist out there getting rich off of pushing fake science as ME claims, they should be all over the place. I’ve yet to met one ever.

  18. Willy says:

    Michael: Ozone is a normal trace constituent of air. What happens when its concentration approaches 1 ppm? Salt is a normal constituent of water. What happens when people drink water that is several % salt? Boron and copper are minerals required by plants and animals. What happens when the levels of these and other “normal” chemicals get too high? manure is a normal constituent in water–try drinking water downstream from a CAFO. manure, or some other nitrogen source, is necessary for plant growth. Try eating your broccoli tonight without washing off manure residues.

    Why has CO2 concentration risen from <300 ppm to roughly 400 ppm in the last decades? Why wouldn't an increase in the concentration of a known GHG result in warming to some degree?

  19. Willy says:

    Michael, you are certainly earning your nickname of Duck today. You haven’t answered a single criticism of your errors. Instead, you just lash out with empty factoids and accusations. Why can’t you address the mistakes you’ve made and that have been pointed out to you? Why?

    I know you aren’t the least bit embarrassed; you’ve said so repeatedly. The fact is; however, you should be quite embarrassed at what is a display of your deep ignorance regarding AGW.

  20. BillyJoe7 says:


    (I’ve always read your username as trumpdoctor, until just now when I had to type it!)

    “I’ve yet to meet a “rich” scientist. I’m not saying there doesn’t exist any, and I’m sure there are many who have a good paying job (as they should), but if their are as many scientist out there getting rich off of pushing fake science as ME claims, they should be all over the place. I’ve yet to met one ever”

    In the past, tobacco industries paid some scientists handsomely to push fake science.
    At present, fossil fuel industries use pretty well the same scienitists to so the same thing.


  21. BillyJoe7 says:

    We’ve gone over these issues at least half a dozen times with ME. He’s been presented with the evidence against his view. He has ignored the rebuttals, and here he is once again spouting his science denialism, which, in my view, has risen to the definition of a lie. He has now resorted to lying about climate science. I counted ten lies in his first comment here. But I can’t be bothered to list them and correct them. Been there, done that.


    Yep, that about sums him up – he just keeps repeating the lies.

  22. Willy says:

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!! It’s chilly and raining this afternoon! The global cooling folks (all three of ’em) were right! PLUS, I just saw an image of Jesus in a darkened spot on my tortilla! Well, it’s either Jesus or Charlie Manson…

  23. PunctureKit says:


    ‘There are fortunes to be made in taxing, regulating, and “scrubbing” a normal trace constituent of the air.’

    How does this economic model work? Explain it please. How is it a better source of revenue than any other legitimate industry? If it’s based on a hoax, with many thousands of leaky blabbing independent humans involved, isn’t that just one crazy business risk? Can you really not think of a better scam than this?

  24. PunctureKit says:


    You’ve not thought it through, have you?

  25. Willy says:

    PunctureKit: Spot on. My comparison was going to be the fossil fuels jobs. The fat cats at the top, the leachlike shareholders and the hundreds of thousands of jobs. What a horrid situation! What a bastardization of capitalism. Er, whoops. Let me rethink that. LOL

    And, of course, Duck hasn’t thought anything though. He just looks over information that seems to support his views and regurgitates it, Trump-like. There is zero intellectual rigor in his views on science, ZERO.

  26. string puller says:

    Egnor is like herpes on this blog- jfc

  27. PunctureKit says:

    ME has lobbed a provocative rock into the pond and buggered off. I doubt he’s read any of the nicely crafted essays above.

  28. michaelegnor says:

    “I doubt he’s read any of the nicely crafted essays above.”

    I’ve been reading even more nicely crafted essays.


  29. PunctureKit says:

    Ah, Michaels and Knappenberger! They of the Koch founded, ExxonMobil and DonorsTrust funded Cato Institute.

    Now then I’m sure everyone here is keen to hear you speak up for their scientific impartiality.

  30. Waydude says:

    Michael, I asked Al Gore.

    He said, “What the fuck?”


  31. bachfiend says:

    Michael ‘Duck’ Egnor,

    Besides Pat Michael relying on satellite measurements of global temperatures (which have a significant bias towards recording cooler temperatures which have to be ‘adjusted’), he also claims that the actual climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 levels from pre-industrial levels ‘lies towards (and yet within) the low end of the mainstream (IPCC AR5)assessed likely range.’ He claims that the range of estimates is 1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius (I’ve seen estimates of 1.9 to 2.9 degrees Celsius).

    You can try to argue that a climate sensitivity of 1.5 degrees Celsius isn’t worth doing anything about, if you like (or if you’re capable, which I doubt).

    Pat Michael’s article is also old coming from 2015.

  32. bachfiend says:

    Even if Pat Michaels is correct, that climate sensitivity to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 levels from pre-industrial levels of 270 ppmv is actually closer to 1.5 degrees Celsius than 2.5 degrees, there’s no guarantee that with ‘a business as usual’ approach that we’ll stop at 540 ppmv. That we won’t blow past it.

    It’s possible that he could be right regarding his estimate of climate sensitivity. He could be right, and virtually every other climate scientist could be wrong.

    The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, 55 MYA, due to a natural release of CO2 of similar magnitude to that we’d achieve if we burn all known reserves of fossil fuels, but over 25,000 years instead of the current centuries, led to global warming of 7 degrees Celsius. And was associated with a minor mass extinction, mainly of benthic species.

    Admittedly the PETM occurred before the collision of India with Eurasia 30 MYA elevating the Himalayas and leading to the subsequent decline in atmospheric CO2 levels and global cooling (as a result of weathering of exposed rocks), so we probably won’t reach 7 degrees of warming in future centuries.

    And a subsequent mass extinction will more minor. Although you don’t want to live at the time of a mass extinction. Your species might survive, but you may not.

  33. PunctureKit says:

    ME’s not bothered by such technical niceties. I want to hear him defend his partiality towards minority voices whose vested interests are a matter of public record. Who pays these two guys’ salaries Michael?

  34. PunctureKit says:

    PS. When I say “…matter of public record”, I mean in contrast to those interests explained by conspiracy theory. For which no one has ever shown any evidence.

  35. michaelegnor says:

    Hey, aren’t you guys wasting your time blogging when you should be out there cobbling together your C02 scrubbers so you can save the world!

    Maybe you can make individual hats to protect people from C02.


  36. michaelegnor says:

    The one thing you moonbats won’t need to have on special order for your ‘I’m saving the world’ machine is… crazy. You AGW nuts bring your own supply of crazy. An excess, even.


  37. michaelegnor says:

    For those of too busy making your Earth-saving C02 scrubbers to click the link, I’ve included the salient loony predictions here:

    18 examples of the spectacularly wrong predictions made around 1970 when the “green holy day” (aka Earth Day) started:

    1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

    2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.

    3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

    4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

    5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

    6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”

    7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

    8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

    9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

    10. Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”

    11. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

    12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.

    13. Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945.” Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946…now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out. (Note: According to the most recent CDC report, life expectancy in the US is 78.8 years).

    14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

    15. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

    16. Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

    17. In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it.”

    18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

    Heck, why would anybody doubt AGW science? It’s got such a marvelous track record.

  38. PunctureKit says:

    Well creation “science” is a prime example of what hasn’t moved an inch since 1970. You may not have heard, but everything else has.

    And your excuses for trusting those with documented conflicts of interest because of your political bias? Trying to distract from this ain’t gonna work.

  39. michaelegnor says:


    Everyone has “conflicts of interest”. Upwards of $100 billion has been flushed down the AGW toilet by the government, and many many scientists’ careers depend on perpetuating the hoax.

    You fail to address the real issue: the “science” behind AGW hysteria is garbage. It is a history of crazy predictions that have almost invariably been wrong. Believing an AGW ‘scientist’ is tantamount to taking financial advice from Madoff Inc.

    Climate science is a criminal enterprise.

  40. PunctureKit says:

    No, everyone does NOT have conflicts of interest. You’re no more a climate scientist than I am, so who are you to make claims about the quality of the work?

    I ask again: please explain why you issue blank checks to those with documented, actual COIs.

  41. bachfiend says:

    Michael ‘Duck’ Egnor,

    You’ve loudly proclaimed your conspiracy claim that AGW is a fraud, a criminal conspiracy, insisting that climate science should not only be defunded, but also that climate scientists should be gaoled.

    Several people answered you, pointing out that if the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increases, then global temperatures.

    In response, you linked to an article by Pat Michaels, and suggested that you’d actually read and understood it.

    Pat Michaels, unlike you, isn’t denying human-induced global warming. He thinks that climate sensitivity is towards lower end of the IPCC’s range – closer to 1.5 degrees Celsius instead of 2.5 degrees Celsius – but still within its range.

    There were many comments in response to Pat Michael’s article including some from true global warming deniers who abused Pat Michaels for not agreeing with them that increasing CO2 has no effect.

    I’ve asked you whether you think 1.5 degrees Celsius warming with a doubling of atmospheric CO2 to 540 ppmv is serious or not, and why, and you, true to your nature ducked the question, continuing your usual abusive and aggressive troll behaviour of the typical Alt-American you are.

  42. bachfiend says:

    Michael ‘Duck’ Egnor,

    The second paragraph should have read ‘Several people have answered you that if the atmospheric level of greenhouse gases increases, then global temperatures must increase.’

    When will you ever answer questions and arguments, instead of engaging in your usual childish rants and insults?

  43. bachfiend says:

    As an aside, the Melbourne ‘Age’ newspaper has a puzzle section including one with 9 letters, the goal being to rearrange them making all the possible words of 4 letters or more, including the 9-letter word.

    One puzzle last week had as its solution ‘Ytterbium’ a very rare rare Earth of atomic number 70 and 7 stable isotopes. One reader wrote in musing how how often he’d be able to drop Ytterbium into conversation. Another reader this morning commented that Ytterbium is a perfectly reasonable target word for someone with a little science knowledge…

  44. BillyJoe7 says:


    Every one of those 18 predictions is from an individual scientist.
    How does that disprove the consistent predictions of the vast majority of all the world’s climate scientists over a period of three decades?

  45. mumadadd says:


    “For those of too busy making your Earth-saving C02 scrubbers to click the link, I’ve included the salient loony predictions here:”


    “Heck, why would anybody doubt AGW science? It’s got such a marvelous track record.”

    Not one of those predictions was made by AGW science.

    Did you mean to say “science”?

  46. bachfiend says:

    My comment concerning ytterbium was about science knowledge and understanding. Science understanding isn’t just a matter of knowing facts such as the existence of the element ytterbium as a letter writer to ‘the Age’ implied. It’s a matter of understanding the underlying concepts.

    Michael Egnor ‘The Duck’ lives within an echo-chamber world of similarly thinking conservatives and alt-right characters regurgitating repeatedly ‘facts’ that aren’t facts at all, trying to make the world much simpler than it actually is, reducing a very complex planet to pervasive conspiracies.

  47. michaelegnor says:

    “Not one of those predictions was made by AGW science.”

    Oops. I got my “crazy science apocalypse hoaxes” mixed up. They all blend after a while.

    Here’s a bunch of crazy AGW predictions (of course that’s redundant):




    Money quote:

    “Being a climate hysteric means never having to say you’re sorry.”

  48. michaelegnor says:

    Global warming hysterics have a version of Korsakoff’s amnesia. It’s amnesia associated with the inability to form new memories, and the propensity to confabulate about the forgotten past. Also characterized by lack of insight.

    Fits climate science to a tee.

  49. michaelegnor says:

    Oh, here’s another list. A lot shorter. It’s a list of the statements made by climate scientists denouncing bad science and crazy alarmist predictions that never come true.

    *birds chirping*

    Most climate scientists are criminals. The rest (with very few exceptions) are cowards.

  50. Pete A says:

    The element name is “ytterbium”, not “Ytterbium”.

  51. bachfiend says:

    Michael ‘Duck’ Egnor,

    You’re still living in your own echo-chamber world of conservatives and alt-right authoritarians. The world is much more complex than your tiny brain can cope with. There’s no conspiracy of climate scientists. There are no powerful conspiracies including the mythical New World Order.

    Anyway. Pat Michaels, to whose article you so approvingly linked, agrees that AGW is happening. He’s a ‘lukewarmist’, who thinks that climate sensitivity of 1.5 degrees Celsius isn’t worth doing anything about. Arguable, and I asked you to say why you think it’s arguable, but of course you ducked the question.

    The universe is much more complex that your accidental series of causes (which I agree is a useful way of thinking of history broadly defined, including the evolution of the universe and life) and essential series of causes, which is only useful in describing actions of active agents (since its teleological).

    Your confusion of the former with the latter explains your numerous misconceptions.

  52. michaelegnor says:

    Get to work on that C02 scrubber, bach. The world is ending soon. We need you.

  53. bachfiend says:

    Michael ‘Duck’ Egnor,

    Which part of ‘carbon capture won’t be enough’ don’t you understand? I agree with Steve Novella’s comments about ‘techno-optimism.’

    ‘The world is ending soon.’ No, it isn’t. The Earth has undergone enormous climate changes in the past and will undoubtedly do so in the future. Perhaps the supervolcano under Yellowstone will erupt tomorrow. Life on Earth will survive, regardless of whether there’s a sixth mass extinction or not.

    The argument is about whether we should inflict a mass extinction ourselves as a result of AGW, which may take us too.

    You lot have been predicting the Second Coming and the Apocalypse for almost the last 2,000 years. With such a record, you oughtn’t be criticising scientists for attempting to model a very complex system. You’ve failed repeatedly with a much simpler problem given that you’ve got the divinely inspired Word telling you what is going to happen and what you should be doing and thinking.

  54. BillyJoe7 says:


    (This is not really for Michael Egnor, because he has already ignored this rebuttal every time he has posted his discredited link. It’s to demonstrate to anyone who may wonder if Michael Egnor has something that, indeed, HE HAS NOTHING).

    Michael Egnor’s discredited link:




    This is a summary of a hearing of the Senate subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness entitled “Data or Dogma?”, convened on 8th December 2015, and chaired by Senator Ted Cruz, a well-known climate denying politician. In the course of the hearing, it was claimed that satellite temperature data falsify AGW.

    It was claimed that:

    – Satellite TMT data do not show any significant warming over the last 18 years.
    – Satellite TMT data are more reliable than temperature measurements at Earth’s surface.
    – The satellite TMT data is independently corroborated by weather balloon temperatures.
    – Climate models show pronounced TMT increases over the “pause” period.
    – This mismatch between modelled and observed data means the models are unreliable.

    And the conclusions were that:

    – Satellite data falsify all climate models.
    – The planet is not warming.
    – Humans do not impact climate.



    The satellite data are unreliable:
    – Satellites do not provide direct measurements of atmospheric temperature.
    – Satellites measure the microwave emissions of oxygen molecules.
    – The microwave emissions of oxygen molecules are a proxy for temperature.
    – These measurements are taken from broad atmospheric layers.
    – They include lower stratospheric layers which are known to cool with AGM.
    – The proxy data have to be converted to temperature.
    – This conversion actually rely on an atmospheric model.
    – Converting the proxy measurements to temperature has substantial uncertainties such as:
    – The measurements are made by over 10 different satellites.
    – Most of these satellites are subject to orbital decay over their lifetimes.
    – Most of these satellites are subject to orbital drift over their lifetimes.
    – The adjustments for orbital drift and orbital decay are large.
    – The adjustments involve many subjective decisions.
    – There are also adjustments for drifts in the on-board calibration of the microwave measurements.
    – There are also adjustments for the transition between older and newer satellites.
    – The adjustment of satellite data are still a work in progress and is ongoing.
    – The range of estimates produced by different groups remains large.
    – The same is true of weather balloon atmospheric temperature measurements

    Surface thermometer records also have well-studied uncertainties, but the estimated surface warming of roughly 0.9°C since 1880 has been independently confirmed by multiple research groups.

    Senator Ted Cruz offered only one possible interpretation of these differences:
    – The existence of large, fundamental errors in the physics underlying the models.

    However, there is hard scientific evidence that all four of the following factors are at play:

    1) Errors in the physics underlying the model simulations.
    2) Errors in the input into the model simulations such as:
    – Human caused inputs: CO2, CFC, and particulate pollution.
    – Volcanic activity.
    – Solar influences.
    3) Different sequences of internal climate variability in the simulations compared with observations
    4) Errors in the satellite data (see above).

    Dozens of peer-reviewed scientific studies show that factors 2 to 4 are the primary reasons for most or all of the warming rate differences between model simulations and observations.

    Scientists have to make an educated guess as to the values of various inputs into the model simulations, and these educated guesses have large error bars. For example, it is very difficult to predict:

    – when a volcano is going to erupt.
    – when a solar cycle is going to reach a maximum or a minimum.
    – when the cyclical El Nino and La Nina events are going to occur.

    But, when these factors do become known and when the actual values used as input into the models, the agreement between model simulations and observations are actually very accurate which, in turn – and contrary to the main conclusion of Ted Cruz’s enquiry – demonstrates that the physics behind these model simulations are pretty good.

    The committee cherry-picked the data using only:

    1) Satellite data.
    2) Incomplete balloon data (balloon data that showed warming was conveniently left out!).
    3) The years from 1998* to 2015 to show almost no warming in 18 years.

    *If they has chosen 1997 or 1998 the increase would have been twice as high.
    (Hint: the largest El Nino effect ever recorded peaked in 1998)

    The committee totally ignored the following data:

    1) Land based temperatures.
    2) Ocean temperatures.
    3) Sea level data.
    4) The changes in the cryosphere – land and sea ice.
    5) The hydrological cycle,
    6) Atmospheric circulation
    7) All the data stretching back to several decades.

    These ignored data all provide strong, consistent, scientific evidence of human effects on climate change.

  55. BillyJoe7 says:

    Or, if you prefer…

    A youtube video:


    Note that Carl Mears, who features heavily in the video, works on the satellite data (RSS) that Ted Cruz used to claim that AGW is not happeneing. Although he is responsible for part of the satellite data, Carl Mears agrees with the vast majority of all climate scientists that we need to look at ALL the data, and that, if we do look at ALL the data, then the conclusion is that AGW is real.

    The first and most reliable sign of a climate denier: CHERRY-PICKING THE DATA.

  56. Michael Woelk says:

    just like they did with eugenics

    I, too, remember the Eugenics Wars from 1992 to 1996 – it was a dark time for humanity, but thankfully, we managed to overthrow Khan and put an end to eugenics once and for all.

  57. PunctureKit says:

    Whether AGW is real or not, Trump will damage the US economy by cutting renewable energy programs.

    America’s competitors will clean up, haha. No one is obliged to buy the coal Trump digs so bigly.

  58. BillyJoe7 says:

    Correction: Whether AGW is real or not Even if AGW was not real…

  59. goldmund52 says:

    By the way, the referenced article does not say that the process can release carbon in solid form. That really would be newsworthy.

  60. MosBen says:

    Egnor isn’t even making arguments anymore. He’s just trolling.

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