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« Two worlds collide | Main | Would Brexit allow us to escape the clutches of the green blob? »
Monday
Feb222016

Climate physician, heal thyself!

A reader sent me this breakdown of a climate scientist's carbon footprint. We should not even consider listening to them until they have dealt with their own excesses.

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Reader Comments (65)

You must remember that these people are special and that they therefore should get special dispensation.

Feb 22, 2016 at 12:01 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Judith Curry has post on the same thing.
walking-the-climate-talk

Feb 22, 2016 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Kudos to the guy for putting his carbon where his mouth is. I'm not sure if I agree with his sums though. He's down below 2 tonnes which, if he was in the UK, would include at least a tonne of infrastructure CO2 and in the US is probably greater. I really doubt he's got that low, especially since he still eats meat. Still, a great example to other scientists.

Feb 22, 2016 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I read the linked-to 'I am a climate scientist' article, and many of the comments below it. I was reminded of another article I had recently come across, reported on here: Is Your Bacon Sandwich Oppressing Women?

At which point, readers may wish to imagine a world in which feminist theorists are ascendant, patriarchy has been smashed and rendered unto dust, and womenfolk, being wise and inherently benign, shun the exploitation of animals altogether, living instead on a diet of compassion and self-righteousness. However, it turns out that on a practical level, building a meat-free, dairy-free utopia is fraught with agonising, due to the “many intersecting issues which complicate these decisions”:

Some people cannot eat a vegan or vegetarian diet as it is triggering for their eating disorder.

And worse, there’s the minefield of classism:

Being vegetarian or vegan involves a kind of privilege, and we do not want to make the moral ideal one that can only be accessed by those already privileged in society.

So much fretting, so little time.

Planet Fruitcake stuff.

Feb 22, 2016 at 12:38 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

I've never seen the point of criticising the size of someone's carbon footprint. Your footprint is proportional to your income. End of story. Even if you spend all your money at the local organic grocery, you can't stop the owner flying to the Seychelles for his holiday. Money goes round, and a proportion goes up in smoke and CO2.

Criticise the rich for being rich if you like. Lamp posts have their uses, even if the council's switched them off to cut emissions.

Feb 22, 2016 at 12:44 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

It is not just the personal hypocrisy, it is the way their actions condemn so many to an early death.

Feb 22, 2016 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

'I try to avoid burning fossil fuels, because it’s clear that doing so causes real harm to humans and to nonhumans, today and far into the future.'

Real harm to humans today. Uh huh. Dontcha know, 'It's clear."

Feb 22, 2016 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterGamecock

geoffchambers, the reason it matters is because if not them, then who? If the people who supposedly understand CAGW best of all and who think the rest of us should act on it, can't do it, then it can't be done. Give up.

"Your footprint is proportional to your income." Not true. Just because you have money, opportunity or fossil fuels, doesn't mean you have to avail yourself of them.

Perhaps if climate scientists experienced the hardships of a low fossil fuel life, they'd be less eager to pronounce CO2 guilty.

Feb 22, 2016 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

TinyCO2

I agree with Geoff. Unless your fortune is under your mattress, then yes, the more money you have the bigger your CO2 footprint. Your money in the bank is lent to other persons or companies who probably invest it in something. That something probably involves the use of energy and therefore your funds are contributing to your (perhaps unintentional) CO2 footprint. Even if said person is a fervent "green investor" it is unavoidable.

Feb 22, 2016 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterARW

From the original article: "If you fly coach from Los Angeles to Paris and back, you’ve just emitted 3 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, [...]. Flying first class doubles these numbers."

A different seat in the same aeroplane doubles emissions? Colour me bemused and sceptical.

Feb 22, 2016 at 2:15 PM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

@John Shade

...Being vegetarian or vegan involves a kind of privilege, and we do not want to make the moral ideal one that can only be accessed by those already privileged in society.

So much fretting, so little time....

"So much farting, so little time..."

There. Fixed that for you...

Feb 22, 2016 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

I'm always amused by the veggies who fail to understand that 30-50% of what they eat goes straight down the toilet having contributed nothing to their nutrition. The human system cannot digest cellulose and that's a main constituent of plants.

Feb 22, 2016 at 2:25 PM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

If you want to stop emitting CO2, particularly flying, live on the minimum wage and donate the surplus to the Sphagnum Moss Society while living on 100% local produce.

No more wine, weed or coffee Doesn't that feel better ?

Feb 22, 2016 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

So the article's author decides to tackle his carbon skidmark by tackling the third smallest contributor first- bicycle instead of car, then claims this extends his life by one year. But that, of course, results in another year of carbon emissions, no?

The pie chart clearly indicates that the carbon skidmark priorities of every climate scientist and climate campaigner should be:

1. stop flying.
2. stop eating.
3. stop heating your home and hot water.

Feb 22, 2016 at 2:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris y

A different seat in the same aeroplane doubles emissions? Colour me bemused and sceptical.

Fairly simple. If everyone flew coach, you would need fewer flights to move the same number of people.

Feb 22, 2016 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke in Central Illinois

Imagine a world without business class. It's easy if you try.

Feb 22, 2016 at 2:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke in Central Illinois

We should not even consider listening to them until they have dealt with their own excesses.
Be fair. This article is about what the scientist (at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory) used to be like, before he discovered Emitters Anonymous. There's a whole book of the stuff you can download.

Putting together David Chappell's statement that 30-50% of what they eat goes straight down the toilet and Chris Y's remark about carbon skidmarks and I'm beginning to understand vegetarianism. It's about producing a bigger load of compost than the next fellow. Well done.

Feb 22, 2016 at 2:44 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

They have to destroy the planet to save it. With apologies to Bến Tre.

Feb 22, 2016 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterson of mulder

Geoffchambers-
"It's about producing a bigger load of compost than the next fellow."

Ha! Very good.

Of course, having even one child completely rubbishes the pie chart. Its peer reviewed and all-

“Under current conditions in the United States, for example, each child adds about 9441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average female, which is 5.7 times her lifetime emissions.”

Murtaugh and Schlax, “Reproduction and the carbon legacies of individuals,” Global Environmental Change 19 (2009) 14-20.

Do not have children...it is for the children.

Feb 22, 2016 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris y

I think that it would be quite useful to have an online carbon skidmark calculator. Fill in some kind of form and find out just how guilty you are with regard to frying the planet. Of course, if temperatures do indeed take a nosedive when the current El Nino ends then the whole thing might die a death at last.

Feb 22, 2016 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

Boston based money manager Jeremy Grantham is better known as a climate activist; he funds the two Grantham Institutes, home of the dreadful Bob Ward.

When he travels to his San Francisco office he does not use a horse drawn carriage. When he visits his London office he does not go by wind powered sailboat. He also has offices in Amsterdam, Montevideo, Singapore, Sydney and Rotorua.

Hypocrite.

Feb 22, 2016 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

ARW, by that argument the religious guy could have sex with the prostitute because if she wasn't bonking him, she'd be bonking someone else. Pious chappy is saving someone else from sin. But it doesn't work that way, demand is created, one demand at a time. Everyone can use the excuse that their contribution isn't very much, but it's when those people get together that it can be observed. If nobody starts, nothing happens. There are plenty of 'green' investments and some real ones. Without everyone else paying forced subsidies, true AGW supporters could put their money where their mouth is.

I don't need other people to cut their energy waste, to think doing it myself is a good idea.

Feb 22, 2016 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

@tinyCO2

...There are plenty of 'green' investments and some real ones....

Really? I'd be surprised to find that there are any 'real' green investments. perhaps you could enlighten us...?

Feb 22, 2016 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Vegetarian nutrition unhealhy:

Our study has shown that Austrian adults who consume a vegetarian diet are less healthy (in terms of cancer, allergies, and mental health disorders), have a lower quality of life, and also require more medical treatment.
Citation: Burkert NT, Muckenhuber J, Großscha ̈dl F, Ra ́sky E ́, Freidl W (2014) Nutrition and Health – The Association between Eating Behavior and Various Health Parameters: A Matched Sample Study. PLoS ONE 9(2): e88278. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088278

Feb 22, 2016 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterBengt Abelsson

Dodgy Geezer - water.

Feb 22, 2016 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

the geoffchambers arg is very to the point.

It reminds me of the BBCs "ethical man" couple of years ago where they had this episode where his family tried to minimize their carbon footprint (insulation, LED lamps, meat from cows brought up in the cold, gosh knows what)

At the end of the affair the woman of the family concluded: "we even saved money with it, with which we hope to pay ourselves a holiday with in the Caribics ""
Duh? bwahahaha

Feb 22, 2016 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterVenusCold

Don B,

Re: Jeremy Grantham

Go easy on the man. This brilliant investment guru is still trying to figure out what hit him with his Malthusian investment call from 5 years ago.

http://www.businessinsider.com/jeremy-grantham-commodity-prices-2011-6?op=1

Want a really good laugh? Scroll down to his “Z-score” chart, where he plays a game worthy of the equally great Michael Mann, and tries to perform a statistical test on whether the prices of commodities are due to a real paradigm shift or to “random price fluctuation”.

The genius' claim in 2011? The chance of the then current price of iron ore (~$175/tonne) being above the long term average (~$40-50/tonne) being due to mere chance? One in 2.2 million.

Anyone want to take a stab at what the current price of iron ore is?

https://ycharts.com/indicators/iron_ore_spot_price_any_origin

Feb 22, 2016 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn M

VenusCold, I liked the BBCs Ethical Man because they more or less admitted Cutting CO2 was awful and near impossible. They did a lot of moaning.

Feb 22, 2016 at 5:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

As Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds says, I'll believe there is a climate crisis when the people warning me of a climate crisis start acting like there is a climate crisis". In general, this is more towards the Leonardo di Caprios of the world, and not scientists, but really, have they every heard of Skype? Net Meeting? Emails even...

Feb 22, 2016 at 5:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterCaligula Jones

"If everyone flew coach, you would need fewer flights"

And less food and champagne.

Feb 22, 2016 at 5:58 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

tiny

"down below 2 tonnes"

Looks like 20 tonnes to me...

Feb 22, 2016 at 6:02 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

If everyone flew first class, you would need fewer aeroplanes.
Boeing would go bust and the Costa Brava would be empty.

But we've saved the planet.

Feb 22, 2016 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

jamesp, that was his CO2 before he put his carbon where his mouth is.

Feb 22, 2016 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

"A different seat in the same aeroplane doubles emissions? Colour me bemused and sceptical."

A plane filled with first class seats would carry far less passengers. So the share of the plane's CO2 for the journey would be greater. Double? Who knows? How much more space per passenger is there in first class?

Feb 22, 2016 at 7:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterTed

No Cinderella he, nor were warmist Mann and warmist Jones.
Remember that 'meet you in Tahiti,' climate-gate email?

Feb 22, 2016 at 7:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterBeth Cooper

"A plane filled with first class seats would carry far less passengers".

Yep and the poor old plebeian would be priced out of the annual holiday on the Costa so we've saved the planet.

Feb 22, 2016 at 7:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

There's a good line that Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit.com uses for situations like this:

"I'll believe it's a crisis when the people who tell me it's a crisis act like it's a crisis."

Feb 22, 2016 at 8:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndrewZ

@Ted, Feb 22, 2016 at 7:07 PM

A plane filled with first class seats would carry far less passengers. So the share of the plane's CO2 for the journey would be greater

Double? Who knows? How much more space per passenger is there in first class?

The 787-8 is designed to typically seat 234 passengers in a three-class setup, 240 in two-class domestic configuration, and 296 passengers in a high-density economy arrangement

First 0 seats
Business 24 flat bed seats
Economy 240 standard seats

24 business = 32 economy > 1 business = 1.3333 economy

1 first = 2 economy seems a reasonable claim

Feb 22, 2016 at 8:41 PM | Registered CommenterPcar

The insignificant effect of CO2 on climate is quantified at http://globalclimatedrivers.blogspot.com with a near-perfect explanation of average global temperature since before 1900; R^2 = 0.97+

Feb 22, 2016 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterDan Pangburn

The real lesson is that this illustration is no more meaningful than graphics representation showing how many angels dance on pin heads.

Feb 22, 2016 at 10:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

It is clear none of you climate heathens are understanding a single thing Dr. Peter Kalmus has written.

The article opens with "I try to avoid burning fossil fuels, because it’s clear that doing so causes real harm to humans and to nonhumans, today and far into the future."

This is the moment when that humble human being declares his utter genius, when he elevates himself to a state of pure enlightenment far beyond what any one of you climate heathens will ever be able to comprehend.

In other words, there is exactly zero chance you will be able to process a single word this intellectual giant has to say for his essential assumptions are otherworldly.

Je suis Kalmus.

Feb 22, 2016 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterAila

If you fly coach from Los Angeles to Paris and back, you’ve just emitted 3 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, 10 times what an average Kenyan emits in an entire year. Flying first class doubles these numbers.

Does he (dis)count Kenyans who fly first class to UN climate conferences or back and forth from Nairobi to the UN offices in New York and Geneva etc?

Feb 22, 2016 at 10:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpectator

The size of the carbon footprint of the eco-warriors makes no difference. Britain emits in total less than 1.5% of global emissions and that proportion will continue fall as the poorer countries develop. The EU in 2010 emitted 9% of global emissions (4.4/49GtCO2e), down from 16% (5.4/33GtCO2e) in 1990 . This was due more to global emissions increases (48% in 20 years) than EU decreases (-19% in 20 years).

The climate scientists will not notice, as they will play around with their forecast models as requested in the Paris Agreement. They will kid themselves that they are blazing a trail on combating climate change, oblivious to the fact that the only followers are the rent-a-crowd. Not even the the bureaucrats in the EU are enforcing policy.

Feb 22, 2016 at 11:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

it makes much more greeny sense to immediately buy fossil fuels with every penny you earn, and burn them.

This way , you hopefully prevent any growth inducing effects result from your income, which only wouldl RAISE the toal carbon footprint.

god I should be a consultant to foe, gaiia , wwf, wtf and "dave"

Feb 22, 2016 at 11:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterVenusNotWarmerDueToCO2

I think that it would be quite useful to have an online carbon skidmark calculator. Fill in some kind of form and find out just how guilty you are with regard to frying the planet. Of course, if temperatures do indeed take a nosedive when the current El Nino ends then the whole thing might die a death at last.
Feb 22, 2016 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

'skidmark' and 'nosedive' are words that should be separated by at least one paragraph.

Feb 22, 2016 at 11:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterclipe

Data re vegetarianism.
My wife read something at age 12 that put her off eating red meat for the next 60 years. Almost a vegetarian, she eats some shellfish and good quality other sea foods. Her diet does not seem to have created any abnormalities.
Should one elect to go vegetarian? It has been a pain in the bum, ordering at restaurants, going to a home dinner proudly cooked by a hostess who did not know. Generally it is inconvenient, though it is getting more widespread here in Oz, where catering for it has improved. Its availability seems under the spotlight with a current public interest in food aversions e.g. peanuts. It raises 'what is really in the food served up to me?' type questions.
It is no cheaper than a wide-ranging diet. She is especially fond of crayfish, the way I cook it with Béchamel sauce, cray costs about $80/kg in season, in shell.
Summary - much ado about nothing.
Geoff

Feb 22, 2016 at 11:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

"...Then one evening in 2011, I gathered my utility bills and did some Internet research..."

Yep, some real scientific rigor there. Lots of detailed records.

And he published this?
Why?
Big ego?
Self mortification?
Personal confessions to the masses?

"...I looked up the amounts of carbon dioxide emitted by burning a gallon of gasoline and a therm (about 100 cubic feet) of natural gas..."

Burning a gallon of gas... That is not the same as calculating one's carbon footprint for owning and supporting a vehicle. I'd bet that the gallons of gas burned were estimated.
No oil changes, grease lubrication, total manufacturing costs for all of that steel, plastic, paint in that car.

Interesting that LPG costs are less than electrical costs in California. AC can be LPG generated, but is quite often electrical. AC demands on electricity are substantial.

Must be those heating demands for them long Southern California winters...

"...I found an estimate for emissions from producing the food for a typical American diet..."

Typical diet?

For a family of four average Americans who don't spend long periods of time flying? With more beer and less mixed cocktails?
Home made lunches in brown bags?
Peanut butter & jam sandwiches?
Pot roasts, hams, chickens that provide leftovers for multiple meals?

"...and an estimate for generating a kilowatt-hour of electricity in California..."

Typical diet?
The 'typical Californian Kw? Or the sanitized Kw hour minus all of the extra 'green' fossil fuel support costs that wind and solar farms pretends doesn't happen?

Whatever happened to all of the basic fossil fuel costs required to mine, smelt and construct all of those geegaws required in modern California society?

All said and done:
The CO2 footprint rigor of a climate scientist is so exemplary:
Uses averages based on more Americans without than with.
Ignores all fossil fueled basis for modern civilization; must be needed in Nigeria, not California.
Assumes everyone, especially all pre-post docs, must live a jet setting lifestyle...

Feb 23, 2016 at 5:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

When I was growing up we couldn't afford to be vegetarians. I still live in the real world.

Feb 23, 2016 at 8:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

The article is kindergarden unscientific crap in almost every line.
It's just an ANTI-FLYING article
It's title is "How Far Can We Get Without Flying?"
as @ATheoK says Where's the science rigour ?
#1 DramaGREENS CAN'T DO MATHS
Your CO2 footprint includes major portions he misses :
- Your STUFF (it's manufacture and transport)
- The CO2 the gov uses on your behalf
- Kids : The perpetual CO2 footprint of having offspring

#2 DramaGREENS show MAGICAL-THINKING
with "it’s clear that (burning fossil fuels) causes real harm to humans and to nonhumans, TODAY"
He shows he's delusional and lacking context/perspective understanding. Fossil fuel use may harm a few life hours/days per person lifetime, at the same time as adding months/years due to the utility of fueling ambulances etc .Every time you replace fossil fuels, you are increasing inefficiency and therefore harming lives.

#3 DramaGREENS show COMPLEXITY-DENIAL
You think "1 firstclass = 2 economy seats"
Em wrong that's black and white simple
In the real full colour world you have to take account of profit margin on the seats and where the saving in the ticket price is subsequently spent

"form contrails" 'making CO2 effect worse' - heading for conspiracy nut territory

Here's why you don't trust a Dramagreen
#4 Groupthink : see how just retweet "on message alarmism no matter how mad". that's tribalism not fact checking.

#5 Hyprocrisy : Why are Dramagreen big CO2 spenders ? yet they sneer at others

Feb 23, 2016 at 8:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterstewgreen

Em click the end link of the article linking to his in "progress book"
Opens with a pic of their 2 primary school age children (thus giving a perpetual CO2 footprint)

"Bill McKibben" + "James Hansen and Katharine Hayhoe have also agreed to endorse my book."
...em the book hasn't even been written yet ! How can they be endorsing it ?
... that is the level of this "non-science"
.... (In the Lewniverse one doesn't have to ever seen a word of a book to be able to write a full review)

He claims "I now emit about 1 tonne of CO2 per year, down from 19 tonnes per year, which is about the U.S. average."
..very questionable claim ...Not everyone flies like he did , what about his portion via his kids ?
WE already know he doesn't count his possession buying or money govt spends on his family's behalf.

Feb 23, 2016 at 8:55 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

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