Category Archives: crop yields

CO2 And Climate Change Science–Part 2: A Summary Of The Science


The website CO2 Coalition has a post titled “Climate Change: A summary of the Science”.  It one of the best summaries I have come across lately.  It is fairly long, so I could do my usual and summarize it, but there is virtually nothing in it that I would want to skip over.  So, I will not deprive the reader. I will put it in, in its entirety.  I hope that my posting yesterday will fill in any blanks you may have otherwise had.

cbdakota

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News 26 Feb, 2017

Climate Change: A Summary of the Science

The climate change science is settled, but not how the climate alarmists want you to think.

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Administrator cbdakota Issues EPA Mission Statement


°If cbdakota were appointed the EPA Administrator, he might begin his work issuing this statement:

I thank President Trump for my nomination and the vote approving the nomination.

Our mission will be that the EPA continues to protect the environment and at the same time does not stifle our Nation’s productivity.

secret-epa-scienceOur initial review of the EPA has found some activities, regulations and guidance documents that need to be critically assessed, cancelled or expanded.  The following are several of the items that illustrate the issues we uncovered and our plan to deal with these issues:

Endangerment Finding:

The Endangerment Finding (EF) needs to be re-evaluated, revised and updated using current science.  The EF is largely based upon the IPCC pre-2007 climate science, making it more than 10 years old.  Furthermore, the projections of temperature, sea level and other variables do not match the actual measured temperature and sea level data. These EF projections greatly overstate the size of the changes thus putting into question the amount of endangerment.

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Drain The EPA Swamp-Part 1- Social Cost of Carbon


3swamp-1The Trump administration has formed a team charged with making recommendations for changes to the EPA. This action is needed because gone are the days when the EPA followed the legislation written by Congress.  Good things were accomplished by the EPA.  But now the EPA has over stepped it authority. The EPA task is to administer the law, not make it. For example, it has developed criteria to justify their own efforts, often invites “friendly lawsuits to expand their activities, and uses “secret science” to justify their regulations:

The following are some of the areas that the team need to address, in my opinion:

  • Social Cost of Carbon
  • Secret Science
  • Peer Reviewed Studies
  • Friendly Law Suits
  • The Endangerment Finding
  • Research Grants
  • Last Minute Regulations

 

Social Cost of Carbon

The Federal Departments are charged with providing the benefit that results from their regulations. The EPA’s decided that their benefit would be a calculation that they call the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC). Their SCC calculates the economic damage per ton of CO2 emissions. They form the SCC by considering all the bad things they say are going to happen if atmospheric CO2 continues to increase.  Sea level rise, terrible weather, crop failures, mass migrations.  These outcomes are predictions made by their computer models.   One thing we know about the computer model’s predictions is that they have consistently overstated the temperature rise and the sea level rise.  These two drive the cost side of the equation.  Thus, all their regulatory schemes are supposed to prevent these costs.   But the EPA fails to include the benefits of additional atmospheric CO2. One thing we know for sure is the increased atmospheric CO2 has resulted in a profound greening of the globe.  Food crop production has increased dramatically as CO2 is the primary food for plants.  The gentle global warming that has taken place has been beneficial as well.

Another problem with the SCC is the discount rate used by the EPA is unrealistic in the view of many economists.  The Federal Government’s Office of Management and Budget(OMB) believes a in different discount rate. When using OMB discount rate, the EPA cost estimates are reduced by 80% and is some cases cause the cost to be negative. And where the calculation goes negative, the increased atmospheric CO2 results in a benefit, not a cost.

 

Using these flawed computer predictions makes this calculation unsuitable for policy making.  Further, the benefits that are actually known (not computer predicted) are not included thus making the calculation even more useless. And lastly the discount rate chosen by the EPA would not likely be used by most economist.

Social Cost of Carbon calculation currently used by the EPA should be drained from the swamp.

Unfortunately, many new regulatory rules have been enacted based upon the social cost of carbon.  One survey found that between May 2008 and August 2014, some 68 major rules were sanctioned by the SCC.   This is an issue the new team should address.

cbdakota

GMCs—Part 2—Are They “Frankenfoods”?


 

The benefits are numerous but even so, there is considerable opposition to Genetically Modified Crops (GMC).  Is this opposition science based or is based upon intuition/emotion?  My previous posting “Genetically Modified Crops–Part 1—Are They Beneficial?  enumerates the substantial economic and environmental benefits and the scientific studies that have concluded that GMCs are as safe as unmodified crops.

Corn grows near a barn . MADATORY CREDIT Ken Kashian

Corn grows near a barn . MADATORY CREDIT Ken Kashian

The Scientific American posting by Stefaan Blancke titled “Why People Oppose GMOs Even Though Science Says They Are Safe” gives us some answers .    

The author says:

Psychological essentialism, for instance, makes us think of DNA as an organism’s “essence” – an unobservable and immutable core that causes the organism’s behaviour and development and determines its identity. As such, when a gene is transferred between two distantly related species, people are likely to believe that this process will cause characteristics typical of the source organism to emerge in the recipient. For example, in an opinion survey in the United States, more than half of respondents said that a tomato modified with fish DNA would taste like fish (of course, it would not).

Essentialism clearly plays a role in public attitudes towards GMOs. People are typically more opposed to GM applications that involve the transfer of DNA between two different species (“transgenic”) than within the same species (“cisgenic”). Anti-GMO organizations, such as NGOs, exploit these intuitions by publishing images of tomatoes with fish tails or by telling the public that companies modify corn with scorpion DNA to make crispier cereals.”

The author says that intuitions about purposes and intentions also have an impact on people’s thinking about GMO.  

“In the context of opposition to GMOs, genetic modification is deemed “unnatural” and biotechnologists are accused of “playing God”. The popular term “Frankenfood” captures what is at stake: by going against the will of nature in an act of hubris, we are bound to bring enormous disaster upon ourselves.”

“GMOs probably trigger disgust because people view genetic modification as a contamination. The effect is enforced when the introduced DNA comes from a species that is generally deemed disgusting, such as rats or cockroaches. However, DNA is DNA, whatever its source. The impact of disgust explains why people feel more averse towards GM food than other GM applications, such as GM medicine. Once disgust is elicited, the argument that GMOs cause cancer or sterility, or that they will contaminate the environment, becomes very convincing and is often used. Disgust also affects moral judgments, leading people to condemn everyone who is involved with the development and commercialization of GM products. Because people have no conscious access to the emotional source of their judgments, they consequently look for arguments to rationalize them.”

 

The author concludes his thoughts on intuitions and emotions with this:

“The impact of intuitions and emotions on people’s understanding of, and attitudes towards, GMOs has important implications for science education and communication. Because the mind is prone to distorting or rejecting scientific information in favour of more intuitive beliefs, simply transmitting the facts will not necessarily persuade people of the safety, or benefits, of GMOs, especially if people have been subjected to emotive, anti-GMO propaganda”.

In researching this topic, I find that the anti-GMC folks have an issue with Glyphosate.  Glyphosate is a herbicide.  Many of us have used Monsanto’s ROUNDUP to control weeds in our lawns and gardens.  Its big application is in controlling weeds in crop farming.  Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup.  Roundup is a very popular herbicide and is used on crops of all kinds to kill weeds.  It must be applied on the foliage and is not useable as a pre-emergence herbicide.  This limited the use of glyphosate until companies developed  genetically engineered crops that were tolerant to glyphosate.  It can now be sprayed on the crop plant and the chemical acts as a pre-emergence herbicide as well.  Major food safety bodies have concluded that “glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet”.

 

cbdakota

Genetically Modified Crops–Part 1—Are They Beneficial?


Genetically modified crops (GMC also known as GMO) are plants that have their DNA modified by the addition of other sourced DNA. This is done to impart additional characteristics to the plant so as to reduce their vulnurability to attacks by certain viruses, insects, and molds, for example. This ability has made GMCs in demand world-wide .

According to Wikipedia:

Between 1996 and 2015, the total surface area of land cultivated with GM crops increased by a factor of 100, from 17,000 km2 (4.2 million acres) to 1,797,000 km2 (444 million acres).[2] 10% of the world’s arable land was planted with GM crops in 2010.[3] In the US, by 2014, 94% of the planted area of soybeans, 96% of cotton and 93% of corn were genetically modified varieties.[4] Use of GM crops expanded rapidly in developing countries, with about 18 million farmers growing 54% of worldwide GM crops by 2013.[1] A 2014 meta-analysis concluded that GM technology adoption had reduced chemical pesticide use by 37%, increased crop yields by 22%, and increased farmer profits by 68%.[5] This reduction in pesticide use has been ecologically beneficial, but benefits may be reduced by overuse.[6] Yield gains and pesticide reductions are larger for insect-resistant crops than for herbicide-tolerant crops. Yield and profit gains are higher in developing countries than in developed countries

SAFE FOR PEOPLE

Is the use of GMCs safe? From  Wikipedias we learn that:

There is a scientific consensus[7][8][9][10] that currently available food derived from GM crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food,[11][12][13][14][15] but that each GM food needs to be tested on a case-by-case basis before introduction.

DEVELOPMENT HISTORY

Lets go back for some history related to hybrid crops. Past, modifications to crops:

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Earth Is Greening And It Is Caused By Atmospheric CO2


Because the Earth is greening and the cereal crops are setting new records for production, one needs to ask why, especially since the catastrophic man-made global warming crowd have predicted that can’t happen. Drought, you know. Temperatures too high. Etc..

Yet  NASA ‘s “Carbon Dioxide Fertilization Greening Earth, Study Finds” posted on 26 April 2016 states the following:

“From a quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change on April 25.”

The greening represents an increase in leaves on plants and trees equivalent in area to two times the continental United States.”

“Results showed that carbon dioxide fertilization explains 70 percent of the greening effect, said co-author Ranga Myneni, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University.”

 

Because they don’t want to be ostracized, their press release also adds the usual about how CO2 is in fact a bad thing. Further they say it CO2 levels can get too high and all this will stop.

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NIPCC Reference: Biological Impacts


A number of you have written telling me that you liked the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change—Science. So I will add the NIPCC’s second reference book: Biological Impacts. Click here to link.

cbdakota