Eat This

The Fedco Seeds of the Apocalypse

Vault

Oh, I hate to think of German Johnson tomato seeds shivering in there!

In a week when Al Gore warned Congress that “The planet has a fever. If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. . . You take action,” it’s comforting to know that even if our federal government allows the baby to burn up, vegetable gardeners need not lose hope. 

There is alway the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which is designed to rescue the agricultural heritage of humanity from complete disaster by preserving up to 3 million distinct varieties of crop seeds.

This is not a cheery Seedsavers Exchange rediscover-those-delicious-antique-beans kind of effort on an idyllic Iowa farm.  This is an ugly bunker dug into the remote permafrost on an island 600 miles north of the Norway mainland.  In this bunker, vegetable seeds may survive for a hundred years, grains for a thousand.  And when the seeds threaten to go bad, they will be planted under controlled conditions to yield more seed. (How permanent the frost, of course, is another question.  Let’s just hope the artificial refrigeration works, too.)

Though the vault, when it is completed this year, will attempt to house the entire panorama of genetically diverse food crops, it will not lend seeds to scientists or breeders.  No, this particular pantry is not to be raided until doomsday.  It’s designed to keep the human race from starvation, should we screw up the climate so completely that all our crops fail, or should we wither them with the radioactive fallout of a nuclear war, or should we completely muddle them with our genetic engineering. 

Not exactly a cheerful mission, but it was the brainchild of an apparently charming and admirable man, plant scientist Bent Skovmand, who died last month.  His New York Times obituary pointed out …

The vault was only part of Dr. Skovmand’s crusade to save and propagate the best of the best strains of valuable food plants. His mission, he often said, was ending hunger. He searched the world to discover and preserve lost strains of wheat and other crops and helped breed them into stronger, more disease-resistant strains.

Obviously, hunger is not the great problem in America today, but it’s impossible, post-Gore, to be sanguine any more about what’s coming.

So if we are going to completely mess up the natural world for generations to come, I like to think that my offspring still have some hopes of enjoying pole beans, arugula, lemon basil, patty pan squashes, Japanese eggplants, and heirloom tomatoes–at some point, maybe, when the baby’s forehead cools.

 

Posted by on March 23, 2007 at 3:14 am, in the category Eat This.
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42 Responses to “The Fedco Seeds of the Apocalypse”

  1. Ed Bruske says:

    I guess The Vault was one of the planet’s worst kept secrets. It’s an incredible story that I was hoping to write someday, but apparently the cat is out of the bag. In fact, there are seed saving efforts in countries all over the globe, some much better than others. This vault in Norway would constitute the Mother Ship. At least we can go to bed at night knowing that somewhere, people are concerned enough about our genetic heritage to put some under the pillow (or in this case, an Armageddon-style mountain cave) for future generations. By then we’ll be back to farming with hoes and draft horses. We will be using the national highway system for hiking trails and mule trains. The loss leaders at Wal-Mart will be last year’s model arriving from China in sailing ships. It will be a much more peaceful world.

  2. Jon Beard says:

    Rest easy Michel, Al Gore’s apolcolyptic view has no more scientific validity than the predictions of an Ice Age in the seventies and Y2K in 2000 when airplanes were going to crash along with banks. A 0.7 degree Centigrade rise in temperature over 100 years while the earth is still recovering from a mini Ice Age is not going to keep me awake.

  3. Ed Bruske says:

    Thankfully, the Norwegians have more sense than Jon Beard. (And Al Gore has what to do with this??)

  4. ginger says:

    Al Gore??? The same Al Gore whose own personal heating and cooling bill tops $30,000.00/year? What makes him think that if he can’t even change his ways the rest of us can and should? He can afford his own windmill for Pete’s sake!

    The best thing out of his global warming fever pitch is that we WILL have to reduce our dependence on oil as an energy source and come up with alternatives and that is a great accomplishment!

  5. max says:

    “Hunger is not the great problem in America” for those of us worrying about what hostas to buy this year, but at least 25 million Americans wish they had that problem.

  6. Millions and millions of bits of climate and environmental data stretching over thousands of year do not make a scientifically valid hypothesis because human activities are not governed by the laws of cause and effect. Besides we all know scientists have a liberal bias.

    Human civilizations have never crumbled from environmental pressures. The Anastasi, Nazca and peoples of Easter Island disappeared because they were ignorant savages fighting constant wars.

  7. Ed Bruske says:

    The logic in some of these posts make Rube Goldberg look like he was drawing by numbers. Thank GOD these people are just gardening and not running the planet! (Checked the radio reception in that rear molar lately?)

  8. Ed Bruske says:

    The logic in some of these comments makes Rube Goldberg look like he was drawing by numbers. Thank GOD these people are just gardening and not running the planet! (Checked the radio reception in that rear molar lately?)

  9. Are you anti illogic Ed? My dentist keeps fussing at me about my rear molar.

  10. Pam says:

    I’m with Ed. Some of these posts really astonish me (and I’m relieved as well that these folks are just gardening too!!). But hey, I’m a liberal, gardening-scientist type, which, according to Christopher C, suggests that my opinion perhaps holds little or no weight. And I’m not really even talking about Al Gore or his view, but the viewpoint of thousands of scientists who have slowly evolved this consensus view. The dramatic ‘apocalyptic’ view is not the view of most scientists, but is the view presented through the popular press (although granted, some scientists fear the worst).

    “…human activities are not governed by the laws of cause and effect”…?? Since when? What law of physics does this follow?

    Geez.

  11. Ed Bruske says:

    Christopher, I consider myself a real devotee of logic. I keep looking for some in these comments and all I get is an image of Rod Serling and the theme music from “Twilight Zone.”

    I do think it’s cool that we can chat like this from opposite ends of the American realm. How much CO2 do you suppose we are spewing in the process?

  12. I am no scientist so I would guess that the CO2 generated from the electricity used to run our two computers is less than that generated by our two cars over the course of a year. My computer may generate less CO2 since Maui now has 9% of its electricity from Wind.

    “human activities are not governed by the laws of cause and effect.” That statement Pam is so erroneous that it was a stab at humor. You would be surprised maybe, at how many people I encounter who either actually think that or chose to live that way.

    I must have been channeling Steven Colbert in my original post. A joke kids all right.

  13. Pam says:

    Oh, thank God! I’ve had too serious of a week. I need to go and pour myself a drink.

  14. Ellis Hollow says:

    As a gardener and part of the reality-based community, the phenological evidence (trend for plants to bloom earlier now than a few decades ago) for global warming is especially compelling. Yes, Al Gore spends more on (and uses more )energy than most of us. He also buys carbon offsets so that the energy he uses will have less of an impact on global warming.

    That story about his energy use was produced by a right-wing astroturf group (fake grassroots group) and conveniently timed for release after An Inconvenient Truth won the Oscar for best documentary. It’s the kind of swiftboating that’s just not working like it used to.

    The other famous right-wing smear on Gore was that he claimed to have invented the Internet. He never said that. But he was among the legislators who helped take this government-developed system and make it public. That was a pretty good idea, don’t you think?

    I think there are a lot of folks scared that an Oscar-winner and Nobel Peace Prize nominee might decide to make a run.

  15. Jon Beard says:

    Looks like I stirred up a hornet’s nest with my comments on human caused global warming. If anyone is really interested in both sides of the issue please refer to Senator Inhofe’s website and click on energy related issues. There is a 68 page copy of a speech that he made before congress. It will probably take fifteen minutes to skim over.
    It does little good to name call (swiftboating, signals from molars, Rube Goldberg and the ultimate “Norwegians have more sense than Jon Beard); these are the tactics of someone who has no legitimate arguement and thinks that he who talks the loudest wins the arguement. Please read Senator Inhofe’s analysis and then get back to me and let me know if you are still so sure that Al Gore has it right. Also note that the indulgences that Al Gore pays are to his own for-profit company.

  16. Ed Bruske says:

    Suddenly, the clouds have parted. You have quoted Sen. Inhofe from planet Neptune. Say no more.

  17. ginger says:

    It is interesting to see the divisive comments posted by many blog readers. Remember, respect is a two way street!

  18. It’s hard to have respect after reading Sen Inhofe diatribe.

  19. Pam says:

    What puzzles me is that in a debate that has a scientific basis – why would anyone go to any Senator for an analysis? You could likewise say that scientists are biased…that whole liberal, god-hating argument – but why would someone go to Senator Inhofe for their information, when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is available? A report that bases its information on peer-reviewed and published scientific literature? Inhofe considers Michael Crichton to be a reputable source.

  20. Jon Beard says:

    Pam, please read the paper and you can make your own judgement. You ask why would someone go to Senator Inhofe for information; that’s a legitimate question. I think that he has compiled an extensive list of claims and references those who dispute them. These are not his ideas. Please read it and form your own opinion.

    The claims that global warming is caused by human activity have several flaws. For one, the human caused theory has no explanation for the Medeival Warm Period which was far warmer than today’s temperatures. It is also a fact that human caused warming is not the majority opinion of meteorologists and scientists. It is only the majority political opinion of people that have not taken the time to study the facts. I reread Sen Inhofe’s paper and found no mention of Michael Crichton as a source. Did you read this or are you quoting a source?

    Here are some facts that Al Gore finds inconvenient;
    • He promoted the now debunked “hockey stick” temperature chart in an attempt to prove man’s overwhelming impact on the climate
    • He attempted to minimize the significance of Medieval Warm period and the Little Ice Age
    • He insisted on a link between increased hurricane activity and global warming that most scientists believe does not exist.
    • He asserted that today’s Arctic is experiencing unprecedented warmth while ignoring that temperatures in the 1930′s were as warm or warmer
    • He claimed the Antarctic was warming and losing ice but failed to note, that is only true of a small region and the vast bulk has been cooling and gaining ice.
    • He hyped unfounded fears that Greenland’s ice is in danger of disappearing
    • He erroneously claimed that ice cap on Mt. Kilimanjaro is disappearing due to global warming, even while the region cools and researchers blame the ice loss on local land-use practices
    • He made assertions of massive future sea level rise that is way out side of any supposed scientific “consensus” and is not supported in even the most alarmist literature.
    • He incorrectly implied that a Peruvian glacier’s retreat is due to global warming, while ignoring the fact that the region has been cooling since the 1930s and other glaciers in South America are advancing
    • He blamed global warming for water loss in Africa’s Lake Chad, despite NASA scientists concluding that local population and grazing factors are the more likely culprits
    • He inaccurately claimed polar bears are drowning in significant numbers due to melting ice when in fact they are thriving
    • He completely failed to inform viewers that the 48 scientists who accused President Bush of distorting science were part of a political advocacy group set up to support Democrat Presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004

    I’m afraid that there are some people that show their ignorance of the facts by continuing to name call without offering any reasonable information. Ginger, read no further.

    Ed, when they come around with the purple Nikes don’t drink the Kool Aid. Sorry that I had to stoop to a level you might understand.

  21. Pam says:

    Jon, I teach a course on Ocean Biogeochemistry, and a large part of the course is focused on global warming, since the oceans play such a large role in buffering atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. We’ve held debates on various viewpoints, and have extensively read some (perhaps not all) of Inhofe’s reports. The point is also not that I am 100% promoting Al Gore’s view of global warming – although I am, as a person who cares about this planet, appreciative of his efforts. I’m not going to go through all of the points you list below – because, quite frankly, it’s a gorgeous day in South Carolina, and I have plants to get in the ground and leaves to rake. So to be quite honest, I don’t care too much about Inhofe’s document (which I have read) nor do I think that “An Inconvenient Truth” is the bible on global warming. I’m just saying that if I want to be informed about my planet, then I am going to trust scientists, not politicians, to lead that debate. Yes, Inhofe did reference some scientists. But the interesting thing about science is it’s evolution and motion towards a consensus view. The press has been careful (in most but not all cases) to try and present both sides equally – but to be honest, in the trenches and at the lab benches and in our field stations, there is an overwhelming consensus that global warming is real, and that man has contributed to the overall rate of warming. The amount of data streaming in from almost every field of science is overwhelming. That is not to say that debate does not exist within the scientific community because it most definitely does. For example, an article published in Science about a year ago now, regarding an increase in the number and intensity of hurricanes and tropical storms has recently (again in Science) been questioned. True scientific debate is constant, and should be encouraged. So if you choose Inhofe as your source for information on this important subject, fine. He is simply not my choice for information.

  22. Ellis Hollow says:

    Even Sports Illustrated thinks it’s time to start taking action on global warming: http://www.remarc.com/craig/?p=68

    Here’s who funds Inhofe:
    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/3/22/101649/751

    And here’s how he had to be lectured about being civil with Gore in last week’s testimony:

    http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/03/21/boxer-tells-inhofe-an-inconvenient-truth/

  23. jocelyn says:

    All this fuss about a seed storage lab being built in Norway. Well guess what—there’s a huge seed storage lab right here in the middle of the good old USA at Colorado State University. It’s been there for over 30 years, and was built as a result of, guess what? The Cold War!!! Rant on THAT, bloggers!

  24. Jon Beard says:

    Pam,

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. There is no doubt that the earth is in a period of warming. This is simply a matter of record. The fact is that the Earth has gone through many cycles and continues to do so. Looking back over thousands of years it is clear that the earth is in a cool period and is recovering from the latest period of time (late 1700s) when it was very cold. For example, take a look at the picture of Washington crossing the Deleware and read the accounts of the bitter cold at Valley Forge. When was the last time anyone has seen the Potomac River clogged with ice?

    I have not taken Senator Inhofe as a sole source for my determination or even a first, second, third or twentieth source. I have looked at any website or material I could find to see what calculations or data was used to determine that humans are the cause of global warming. None of the “experts” had any calculations or data that supported the claim. There were page after page of calculations that included assumption after assumption and still were not able to show that humans were the cause of warming. On the contrary, they freely admitted CO2 could not be proven as a cause. The mantra was “We must do something drastic because if we are correct the results will be catastrophic” I consider this Chicken Little thinking. I would challenge those who beleive in HCGW to show me any calculations or provable facts. They are simply non-existent. I could state a theory that the increased consumption of peanut butter is causing global warming and it would have just as much credibility. As a matter of fact just substitute peanut butter for CO2 and the theory is the same.

    Frankly I think that CO2 may have some small effect on temperature increase, but it cannot be shown to be a major contributor or anything to worry about by any means. The major cause of warming has and certainly will be solar activity. The records that I accessed showed a very real correlation between solar activity and cool and warm temperatures on earth. The sun is the overwhelming source of energy on Earth, all fossil fuels as well as Ethanol and biofuels derive their energy from the Sun. We would be an frozen ball if not for the Sun. Why anyone would choose an unprovable theory over plain facts is beyond me.

    I believe in clean air, recycling and placing stricter mileage standards on vehicles. I also believe that the only major source of energy that could make a dent in our dependence on foreign oil is nuclear. It is also the one of the cleanest and environmentally freindly sources. The choice of supporting people that want to kill us or nuclear energy is a no brainer to me. Spare me the speeches about renewable resources and conserving energy. These are tired old songs that have been sung for 40 years….sorry Pam, I got off on a tangent.

    To me it is a simple choice, the obvious relation of solar activity to temperature or accept the unprovable “concensus” that CO2 is responsible. A consensus by politicians is not science and a theory is just that. We should not change our lifestyle, accept taxes and controls on ourselves and industry based on a consensus or theory held by a shrinking number of people. I never thought I would see the NY Times attack Al Gore and human caused global warming.

    A US senator is certainly not my first choice for information nor should it be for anyone (have they forgotten that Al Gore was a Senator?), however after exhausting all means to find any rational basis for human caused global warming I find Inhofe’s work a good synopsis of what I have found.

    I have spent much time in So. Carolina around the Charleston area and envy the weather you have now. Enjoy. It is going to snow here tonight so I am spending an inordinate amount of time spouting off.

  25. Jon Beard says:

    Ellis,

    Sports Illustrated believes in human caused global warming! That changes everything.

    I found your link to Barabara Boxers rebuke to Sen. Enhofe on the Crooks and Liars website you linked. How appropriate.

    Your not serious, are you? I think you must be a right wing plant to make Inhofe look good.

  26. Jon Beard says:

    Mea culpa; Washington crossed the Deleware.

  27. Ellis Hollow says:

    Jon: My point re: Sports Illustrated was that even the jocks are looking for ways to help. That’s a tipping point in my book.

    re: Inhofe. You didn’t respond to his funding sources. I am reminded of the quote (I don’t know who to attribute it to): “It is difficult to persuade a man of a proposition, when his paycheck depends crucially on not believing it.”

    Me, a right wing plant? I think you’re being sarcastic, but without an emoticon, it’s hard to tell. Methinks thou dost protest too much.

  28. Jon Beard says:

    Ellis, Senator Inhofe is a Senator from Oklahoma; it would be astounding if he didn’t look out for the best interests and was not supported by his constituants. Don’t take his or my word for, I wouldn’t. Look into it.

    Let’s look at some facts;

    Since 1912 there have been five seperate warnings of coming Ice Ages in which the world would be devestated. We now have a warning that there is a calamity in store from human caused global warming. Every time that the earth experiences swings in temperature there are dire predictions of it continuing into a calamity. The only thing that would be unusual about the weather would be if it did not fluctuate. I think we are extremely fortunate to be a period of warming rather than in one of the, just as common, periods of cooling.

    To disrupt the economy, institute laws which will drive industry to countries that have little or no enforcement of environmental laws makes no sense. To listen to politicians and actors on how we should change our lifestyles while they ride in corporate jets, drive around in limos, own several mansions that use 20 times the energy of the average home and expect that the Chinese, Indians and Mexicans will fall in line with these measures is insane.

    There is simply no science behind the theory of human caused global warming. I challange you to find any scientist who claims that they have calculations or facts that prove any correlation. The proponents of HCGW have taken a history of warming in 30-50 years, associated it with CO2 levels and extrapolated it into a worldwide calamity. This is simply bad science although it may be good politics.

    If you take the time to look you will discover that the science to support HCGW does not exist. The mantra is “We can’t prove it, but the consequences of not acting are so seriuous that we must act fast” This is a Chicken Little attitude that is certainly not worth the billions there would be in direct costs and untold billions in indirect costs.

    Gore’s theories are just as rediculous as…well, you being a right-wing plant.

  29. SK Fay says:

    First-time commenter here. I’m a pretty constant reader of *Garden Rant” and its commenters. Mr. Beard’s posts roused my curiousity.

    I wonder if he’s the same as this Jon Beard, mentioned as the second panelist, below.

    “Meeting deadline of acquisition and processing a large regional 2D survey offshore Libya: Steve Pharez, Jon Beard, Mohsen Selim, Paul Lecocq and Carl Fiduk of CGG describe the acquisition and processing challenge of meeting the deadline for seismic survey projects as Libya opens up its offshore to international exploration.”

    (*First Break* is the leading publication in Europe serving the geoscience and engineering community. While the main emphasis is on the oil and gas E&P industry…, the magazine increasingly includes coverage of …environmental geoscience and mining.)

    Yep, no professional reason to downplay global warming here. If this is the same Mr. Beard, a wee disclosure might have been nice.

  30. Ellis Hollow says:

    Jon: I think that you and I are going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

    But in the true spirit of garden blogging, I’d really like to know more about your garden. Why do you garden? What are some of your favorite plants? What are some of your biggest challenges? What brings you to Garden Rant?

  31. Jon Beard says:

    Great detective work, but, sorry that is not me. Quite a coicidence though I thought I was the only one with the name. I do have a cousin John Beard (musician, no connection with any oil companies) Since you asked; I am retired now and I was in engineering for 20 years for a screw company (15 months), Raytheon (6 years) and 13 years with a company that designed and manufactured liquid/solid seperation equipment (solid and screen bowl centrifuges, basket cent., filters etc.) The last 17 years of my career I was the product manager for large industrial filters used mostly in the chemical industry, but also in food, pharmacueticals, 100s of products and installations worldwide. The only project that I can remember that was connected with the oil industry in any way was a flue gas desulpherization installation for Pacific Offshore Pipeline which is an offshore gas company. The filter dewatered and washed catalyst from gypsum (lime reacted with sulphur CASO3, calcium sulfite) in a process that scrubbed sulpher from natural gas supplied from offshore gas wells off Santa Barbara, CA. Keeps the air clean of sulfuric acid and also keeps gas stoves from emitting H2SO4 (deadly) when the gas is burned at home. This was about a $40,000 filter in a market that was worth 15-20 million dollars a year at the time (~20 years ago).

    SK, I hope that you will exercise your Googling abilities and try to find some calculations or facts that support human caused global warming. I think that the more you try, the more you will see that there is no formulation that proves or even suggests that it is possible.

    A wee bit of caution before you jump to conclusions again, that is the job of the Gloworms (HEY, I like that, catchy)

  32. Jon Beard says:

    Ellis, I learned about Garden Rant from The Renegade Gardener (link on this site) I really like his edgy humor and deep disrespect for his fans.

    Having a lot of time on my hands I have spent the last couple of years planting, building stone walls, a deck, the front porch, the trellis, the fence, the swing….. I have really become addicted to digging holes.

    This link should get you onto my Photo Show site and will give you an idea of what I am trying to do. It is a “work in progress’ but I like the results so far. Veggies and all that are too much trouble for me and I agree with the Renegade that if it takes too much trouble or is too fussy it will do me the courtesy of dying and I won’t try it again. My latest project is an area behind and below the shed that I have cleared out and will plant with shade plants on the side of the hill. It should be nice when it is done. In back there is wetlands beyond my property and when you are down in the back it is quiet and you can only see the shed (I bought that), a small part of one of my neighbor’s house, ducks, geese, turtles, frogs, snakes; it’s great. I will screen the neighbors off with something and it will be a perfect quiet grotto. There are steps (not the ones at the shed I made with 6x6s) made of logs that are the secret access to the grotto.

    This link will get you into the Photo Show and the presentation should automatically load up.

    http://photoshow.comcast.net/watch/Hy9Ry8Cs

    Hope you like it.

  33. Ellis Hollow says:

    Every garden is a work in progress, Jon. And yours is beautiful.

    I garden near a wetland, too. I like to look for plants that aren’t too much work in my wet, heavy clay soils. Looks like your yard might be up out of the water. I also like working with stone, though nothing as professional-looking as what you’ve done.

    Ever think of starting your own blog? You’ve obviously got things to say. And it would be a good way of sharing your garden’s progress.

    Stop by Ellis Hollow anytime.

  34. Jon Beard says:

    Thanks Ellis,

    My soil is full of sand, gravel and rocks. It is great for evergreens and being on the side of a hill means there are never drainage problems. Below me the marsh area was once dug out for cranberry bogs and then the bottom fell out of the cranberry market and I was left with a beautiful marsh. The stonework is tedious and a tremendous amount of chipping to make it all fit. My daughter says that I cannot call it a wall, I can only call it a step, as it is only one foot high. I call it The Great Wall, one foot high, 28 inches wide and 25 feet long. The top level alone has (10) 80 pound bags of mortar in it! My neighbor has three terraces with walls about 50 feet long and four feet high and steps down the middle. He did the stone after building them all in PT timbers twice. Those are walls!

  35. Now this is what I like… crazy versus crazy. Upwards of 30 posts with only a few reasonable positions here to spoil the fun!

    Love it!

  36. Jeff Goodell says:

    I’ve been summed here by my wife Michele, who kicked off this lively debate with her Doomsday seed post. The science of climate change has been my beat as a journalist for the last six or seven years at the NY Times Magazine and Rolling Stone, among other places. And I can tell you that arguing “there is no science behind the theory of human caused global warming” is like arguing there is no science behind the “theory” of gravity (sorry Mr. Beard). In fact, I find it troubling that presumably well-informed readers of a website like Garden Rant are even debating this right now. I mean, back in 1985, okay. But the world — and the science — has moved on. Are y’all hoping to grow mangos in Nova Scotia?

    Friends, I hate to be the bearer of hard news, but the verdict is in: global warming is real, it is happening, and it is caused by human activity. This is not my interpretation; this is the explicitly stated conclusion of virtually every climate scientist in the world. For Chrissake, even President Bush admits it now.

    The question you ought to be debating here is: now that we know the planet is heating up fast, what are we going to do about it? The best climate scientists I know believe we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent in the next 40 years; otherwise, as NASA’s JIm Hansen puts it, we will find ourselves living on “a different planet.”

    I don’t have the space here to rebut each point of misinformation in the above posts (they’re old chestnuts), but it’s important to note that Senator Inhofe has less than zero credibility on this issue — even my pals in the coal industry think he’s a clown.

    For a good primer on global warming science, I suggest Elizabeth Kolbert’s “Field Notes from a Catastrophe” or Joe Romm’s “Hell and High Water.”

    Also, check out http://www.realclimate.org. It’s a blog written by climate scientists and an excellent source of reliable information.

  37. Ellis Hollow says:

    Thanks Jeff. But obviously there is still a core of folks like Jon that aren’t convinced. Sure would be nice to have their support as we move ahead and deal with these issues.

    I blogged about how global warming will affect gardening and farming in the Northeast. It’s not pretty: http://www.remarc.com/craig/?p=34

  38. Jon Beard says:

    Jeff, I have looked at the blog you referenced and its related links for two hours and it was eye opening. I discovered that tides have risen two feet in 10 years, one half of the Cascades ice pack has melted in the last 50 years and the remains will be halved again in 10 years if we don’t cut immissions immediately by 30%, the drop in temperature between 1940 and 1980 while CO2 levels were increasing has been exhagerated and was probably caused by “sulfuric aerosols”, the Medeival warm Period that doesn’t match the greenhouse model never happened (!!!!), the fact that hurricanes decreased from 1940 to 1980 while CO2 levels increased is “cherry picking” by skeptics, there’s first an astronomic solar forcing (orbital/ regional, not TSI except for eccentricity cycle), and then diverse feedbacks including ice, CO2, vegetation, dust… and T of course……I could go on and on but frankly I’m getting a headache.

    WOW! Not a shred of real facts or calculation.

    I am not really worried about the proposals that will be put forward. The price tag of billions of dollars will provide the necessary scrutiny and sunshine to be shone on the facts. I would, however, like to know how you plan to cut your carbon footprint by 80 percent in the next 80 years. Well? You have 20 years to cut it by 20%. What will you do to cut 10% this year? Buy a hybrid…think of the energy that it takes to build and the mileage is not as good as advertised, solar panels for hot water…could help some, woodstove for heat…sorry, this is inefficient and creates more pollution including CO2, ride a bike…how old are you? It wouldn’t work in the winter where I live. How do you feel about increasing the price of gas by $5 a gallon (read Al Gore’s book), how do you feel about paying more taxes, how do you feel about paying more for goods and services because of the mandated CO2 limits, how do you feel about losing your job because all the dirty industry has shifted to Mexico, China and India because many industries are forced to close down due to to new emmissions laws, how do you feel about industry and pollution being worse in the world as these industries are moved to countries with little environmental enforcement? Will you support nuclear power plants (somehow I don’t think so).

    I have a great deal of faith in the American people and feel they will force real scientific analysis to be done before they turn the economy upside down to rush an ill-conceived law through Congress. Your answer is that the debate is over we need to take action now.

    Field Notes from a Catastrophe, Hell and High Water, those sound like real science. Jim Hansen, isn’t he the NASA climatologist that testified before congress that he was being censored by the government? Then it was learned that he had given 140 interviews that were not authorized, as is the written policy of NASA, before he finally asked for permission and was denied once. Even the bastion of liberalism, the New York Times, realizes that much of this is overblown hype; maybe you missed that story. Human causes of global warming are minimal and the proponents offer only a theory and a political consensus of a minority of the scientific community.

    The convolutions gone through to explain human caused global warming are similar to the twists and turns ancient astronomers went through to show the Sun and planets revolve around the Earth.

  39. Jon Beard says:

    Dear Ranters,
    I would like to say goodbye to all you good people. I have written a few more of my thoughts and realize that this sort of discussion probably isn’t why most people visit this site. Craig, I apologize I really thought your name was Ellis.

    Pam, Craig, Jeff and Ginger…thank you, I enjoyed the back and forth and exchange of ideas.
    SK- Easy on the conspiracies
    Ed-Well….goodbye

    After several days and multiple requests for scientific calculations or hard facts there has not been anything but references to blogs that offer only theory and claimed consensus. These blogs ignore anything that historically does not fit the answer they have preconceived. They deny the Medieval Warm Period existed. This was a period from 1100 to 1400 when the earth warmed considerably more than today. It was a time when it became common to grow wine in England and Greenland was settled. Human caused global warming devotees say this is “anecdotal” and not proven. Throw out those history books, Leif Ericson did not settle Greenland. Chaucer was also wrong in the opening to The Canterbury Tales (must have been a denier). The records, human and geologic, agree. There was a Medieval Warm Period from approximately 1400 to 1750 and The Little Ice Age approximately from 850 to 1250. During the warm period scientists estimate the global temperature to have been 3 degrees warmer. This is three times the maximum 1 degree rise in the twentieth century. These two periods in history do not fit the theory of human caused global warming and are generally now disregarded entirely or described as anecdotal by HCGW proponents and the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change). 750 years of history are regarded as non-existent or anecdotal. Written history, paintings, ice cores, sediment samples and common sense be damned.

    Proponents troubled by these periods in history (specifically Dr Michael Mann of the Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts) developed the now infamous “hockey stick” formula to explain away the Medieval Warming Period and the Little Ice Age. This was done mostly to eliminate the troublesome warming period which occurred without increases in CO2. This really throws a monkey wrench in the global warming theory as it relates to CO2. After all, how can the earth warm up far more than today without a greenhouse gas increase. This couldn’t stand. The word went out that an answer had to be found. Mann took tree ring circle data (tree rings show amounts of growth in various years by the width of their rings) and substituted them for the troublesome historic and core sample records only in the time periods which had a warm period. He took the width of rings during the warming period and substituted temperatures that he estimated for the rings in place of data from records. The IPCC and the HCGW proponents readily accepted this theory as gospel. Many scientists studied this revision of long accepted history and the theory has now been completely debunked. As gardeners you already realize that trees and all other plants can grow or not grow based on temperature, sunlight or lack thereof, rainfall or lack thereof and other factors. Scientists are well aware of this and recognize that rings are not an accurate record of temperature alone. The idea that it is correct to insert tree ring data only when it changes the answer to what one wants is astonishing. HCGW proponents still regard this as Gospel even though it has been in disrepute for over a decade. The IPCC has never retracted its support for the Hockey Stick Theory even now when virtually 100% of the scientific community accepts it as junk science.

    So what might have caused these varying temperatures? History shows that there was higher solar activity during the warm period and lower activity during the little ice age. This is confirmed by observations and carbon 14 dating which is a reliable measure of solar activity which is accepted by 100% of the scientific community. This seems to me to be more than a reasonable explanation for the variance in temperatures during these time periods. As amatter of fact all periods of higher or lower temperatures can be shown to directly correlate with solar activity. This fact seems to be far too simple for the human cause group. Perhaps it is not popular because there is no one to blame; maybe there is no political advantage to accepting something that is caused by natural forces. Having solar energy as a cause takes away the political power that seems to me to be the driving force behind proponents of human caused global warming. They can’t find any way to tax the Sun…? No more conferences in Hawaii every winter for the true believers (Where do I sign up?). No Oscars, no Peace Prize, No more royalties. There I go being cynical.

    I just like simple common sense answers; they almost always seem to work the best. Human caused global warming proponents seem to inordinately wed to improbable and intricate theories which have been disproved.

    I have spent several days explaining my thoughts as best I could and don’t think that I have really changed many minds. I only have the satisfaction of maybe having a few people take a look at a different point of view.

    Thanks,
    Jon

    PS- Rant at me and I’ll be back.

  40. bev says:

    Wow, I am a regular reader but have been traveling so I haven’t read for awhile – never saw a post that drew 39 comments before! Of course it HAD to concern politics! Let’s go back to gardening, people, please! It’s lots more fun, and much saner.
    And yes, I know my plants are blooming earlier – but my lifetime (nor yours) is not long enough to definitively discover why. Such is geological time, not human time.

  41. Lisa says:

    I don’t follow climate science closely, but I do work (or well, did until a couple months ago) in scientific research, and I tend to think that there is climate change in progress. I think that global warming is taking place, and that it would be difficult to deny it. I agree with “the scientists” to that extent.

    Whether that phenomenon is the result of human activity, and of fossil fuel consumption, I’m not so certain. I also don’t think it matters all that much whether said global warming is human-caused or not.

    What matters first to me is my wallet, and my wallet is fatter when I reduce energy consumption, overall consumption and my carbon footprint. It’s also good for my health to eat fewer processed foods, more fruits, vegetables (preferably home-or locally grown) and grains. In short, even if doing those things which could reduce my carbon footprint aren’t going to save the planet, they certainly end up improving my net worth, my health and my credit rating. So why not?

  42. Not really. If they want (CHOOSE) to be separate, why on earth not? I’m saying according to the Chinese logic, 1/ 4 of the world will always belong to Britain. India should always fall under the governance of Westminster FOREVER in the same way as Tibet should simply accept that it is Chinese despite the differences in culture, religion,language, ethnicity, history, and so forth. Oh, and furthermore: Quebec has had a number of referenda where Canada allowed them to CHOOSE to leave the country. Well,…

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