State of the Climate 2009


2010-07-28 NOAA Climate Services
NOAA: Past Decade Warmest on Record According to Scientists in 48 Countries
Earth has been growing warmer for more than fifty years

State of the Climate in 2009: Report Cover.

State of the Climate in 2009: Report Cover.

The 2009 State of the Climate report released today draws on data for 10 key climate indicators that all point to the same finding: the scientific evidence that our world is warming is unmistakable. More than 300 scientists from 160 research groups in 48 countries contributed to the report, which confirms that the past decade was the warmest on record and that the Earth has been growing warmer over the last 50 years.

Based on comprehensive data from multiple sources, the report defines 10 measurable planet-wide features used to gauge global temperature changes. The relative movement of each of these indicators proves consistent with a warming world. Seven indicators are rising: air temperature over land, sea-surface temperature, air temperature over oceans, sea level, ocean heat, humidity and tropospheric temperature in the “active-weather” layer of the atmosphere closest to the Earth’s surface. Three indicators are declining: Arctic sea ice, glaciers and spring snow cover in the Northern hemisphere.“For the first time, and in a single compelling comparison, the analysis brings together multiple observational records from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the ocean,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “The records come from many institutions worldwide. They use data collected from diverse sources, including satellites, weather balloons, weather stations, ships, buoys and field surveys. These independently produced lines of evidence all point to the same conclusion: our planet is warming,”

Ten Indicators of a Warming World.

Ten Indicators of a Warming World.

The report emphasizes that human society has developed for thousands of years under one climatic state, and now a new set of climatic conditions are taking shape. These conditions are consistently warmer, and some areas are likely to see more extreme events like severe drought, torrential rain and violent storms.

“Despite the variability caused by short-term changes, the analysis conducted for this report illustrates why we are so confident the world is warming,” said Peter Stott, Ph.D., contributor to the report and head of Climate Monitoring and Attribution of the United Kingdom Met Office Hadley Centre. “When we look at air temperature and other indicators of climate, we see highs and lows in the data from year to year because of natural variability. Understanding climate change requires looking at the longer-term record. When we follow decade-to-decade trends using multiple data sets and independent analyses from around the world, we see clear and unmistakable signs of a warming world.”

While year-to-year changes in temperature often reflect natural climatic variations such as El Niño/La Niña events, changes in average temperature from decade-to-decade reveal long-term trends such as global warming. Each of the last three decades has been much warmer than the decade before. At the time, the 1980s was the hottest decade on record. In the 1990s, every year was warmer than the average of the previous decade. The 2000s were warmer still.

“The temperature increase of one degree Fahrenheit over the past 50 years may seem small, but it has already altered our planet,” said Deke Arndt, co-editor of the report and chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. “Glaciers and sea ice are melting, heavy rainfall is intensifying and heat waves are more common. And, as the new report tells us, there is now evidence that over 90 percent of warming over the past 50 years has gone into our ocean.”

More and more, Americans are witnessing the impacts of climate change in their own backyards, including sea-level rise, longer growing seasons, changes in river flows, increases in heavy downpours, earlier snowmelt and extended ice-free seasons in our waters. People are searching for relevant and timely information about these changes to inform decision-making about virtually all aspects of their lives. To help keep citizens and businesses informed about climate, NOAA created the Climate Portal at http://www.climate.gov. The portal features a short video that summarizes some of the highlights of the State of the Climate Report.

State of the Climate is published as a special supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society and is edited by D.S. Arndt, M.O. Baringer, and M.R. Johnson. The full report and an online media packet with graphics is available online: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/bams-state-of-the-climate.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us on Facebook.

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10 Responses to State of the Climate 2009

  1. rogerthesurf says:

    RMC, don’t be shy about publishing this, there are no lies in this comment are there?

    I will also publish this under your url on my other site http://www.globalwarmingsupporter.wordpress.com where my readers will be interested to read your reply.
    Of course no reply has a host of meaning as well.

    I think that we are in the grip of the biggest and most insane hoax in history, and unless the public get wise to it soon, we will all be parted from what wealth we have.

    Lets take a simple economic view of what is likely to happen.

    In the absence of sufficient alternative solutions/technologies, the only way western countries can ever attain the IPCC demands of CO2 emissions reduced to 40% below 1990 levels, (thats about 60% below todays) is to machine restrictions on the use of fossil fuels. Emission Trading schemes are an example.

    As the use of fossil fuels is roughly linear with anthropogenic CO2 emissions, to attain a 60% reduction of emissions , means about the same proportion of reduction of fossil fuel usage, including petrol, diesel, heating oil, not to mention coal and other types including propane etc.

    No matter how a restriction on the use of these is implemented, even a 10% decrease will make the price of petrol go sky high. In otherwords, (and petrol is just one example) we can expect, if the IPCC has its way, a price rise on petrol of greater than 500%.
    First of all, for all normal people, this will make the family car impossible to use. Worse than that though, the transport industry will also have to deal with this as well and they will need to pass the cost on to the consumer. Simple things like food will get prohibitively expensive. Manufacturers who need fossil energy to produce will either pass the cost on to the consumer or go out of business. If you live further than walking distance from work, you will be in trouble.
    All this leads to an economic crash of terrible proportions as unemployment rises and poverty spreads.
    I believe that this will be the effect of bowing to the IPCC and the AGW lobby. AND as AGW is a hoax it will be all in vain. The world will continue to do what it has always done while normal people starve and others at the top (including energy/oil companies and emission traders) will enjoy the high prices.

    Neither this scenario nor any analysis of the cost of CO2 emission reductions is included in IPCC literature, and the Stern report which claims economic expansion is simply not obeying economic logic as it is known in todays academic world.

    The fact that the emission reduction cost issue is not discussed, leads me to believe that there is a deliberate cover up of this issue. Fairly obviously the possibility of starvation will hardly appeal to the masses.

    AGW is baloney anyway!

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

    • rmcpiper says:

      Roger, your comments about the economics of attempting to mitigate the impact of climate change ignore several factors and make a number of unsubstantiated allegations. Please visit my “Economics” page for a number of articles which address your concerns. For example:

      Nature: Economics needs a scientific revolution
      … the current financial crisis highlights the crucial need of a change of mindset in economics and financial engineering, that should move away from dogmatic axioms and focus more on data, orders of magnitudes, and plausible, albeit non rigorous, arguments.

      Compared to physics, it seems fair to say that the quantitative success of the economic sciences is disappointing. Rockets fly to the moon, energy is extracted from minute changes of atomic mass without major havoc, global positioning satellites help millions of people to find their way home. What is the flagship achievement of economics, apart from its recurrent inability to predict and avert crises, including the current worldwide credit crunch?

      Nature 455, 1181 (30 October 2008) | doi:10.1038/4551181a; Published online 29 October 2008

      Also on the economics page is a study showing that the proposed USA energy policy would result in a net benefit of $111 billion rather than introducing damage to the economy of the kind which you seem to be suggesting. Current economic theory is a straw house built upon sand, based on arbitrary axioms and ignoring fundamental “externalities” and leading to the biggest-ever “Tragedy of the Commons”. In any case, continued exponential growth with limited resources is a recipe for disaster, as is also shown on that “Economics” page.
      You’re also ignoring the fact that by 2050 wind, water and solar power sources would be entirely sufficient for all world energy needs, at a cost about the same as for fossil fuels but without the associated GHG damage. I urge you to download and read this two-part paper by Jacobson and Delucchi originally published in Nov. 2009 in Scientific American but now in press for “Energy Policy”: Providing all Global Energy with Wind, Water, and Solar Power .

      Your assertion that AGW is baloney is unsubstantiated and ignores the overwhelming evidence from thousands of independent studies published in reputable scientific journals showing evidence garnered for almost a hundred years that human-caused climate change is real and is caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels and land-use changes. We are releasing millions of years worth of sequestered carbon in the space of about a hundred years, destroying the steady-state equilibrium with potentially disastrous result. All of this is documented on this site but I suggest that you start with the above-noted State of the Climate 2009 guide.

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  6. rogerthesurf says:

    RMCPIPER,

    Sorry about my delay in replying.

    Your answer is somewhat interesting.

    First of all my comment is about the cost of meeting the IPCC’s CO2 emission targets and wealth transfers.

    Mitigating the impact of climate change generally refers to what to do when the sea level rises and the wheat fields dry up. Not my differentiation but the IPCC’s because thats all they talk about under their heading of “mitigation” and as I said, it is a serious omission not to do an in-depth analysis of the cost to ordinary citizens of reducing CO2 emissions.

    Having said that, exactly what are the factors I have ignored and which are my unsupported allegations?

    As an example, are you denying that a 10% restriction in the amount of transport/industrial fuel will trigger a price rise?

    10% restriction, by the way is just for example, I would estimate a figure closer to the 60% reduction of CO2 emissions, as required by the IPCC.

    When this price rise happens, which is a cost to every consumer, where does the growth in the economy come from? Like I said, there will be some who profit but not the public in general.

    This is simple logic.

    “Current economic theory is a straw house built upon sand, based on arbitrary axioms and ignoring fundamental “externalities” and leading to the biggest-ever “Tragedy of the Commons”. In any case, continued exponential growth with limited resources is a recipe for disaster” is a wild statement if I ever saw one.

    I did visit your “economics” but although I have not come across this group before, I have experience with a number of political movements who advocate “no growth economics”. One I came across was also lobbying for a three day work week – for a full weeks pay of course! Obviously could not see the consquences of that.

    I am afraid that I will stick to mainstream economics, which incidently, never advocates anything, it simply analyses and points out paths with different consequenses to whoever may be interested.

    Your comments on the “quantitative successes of Economics” I am afraid ignores the fact that: 1. The current credit crunch was predicted when Clinton (for political reasons) encouraged/forced US banks to lower their lending criteria for home loans.

    2.This was criticised by economists but ignored by the politicians.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2200160/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fannie_Mae

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9c0de7db153ef933a0575ac0a96f958260

    And this brings me to your point about economists being unable to avert crisis.

    I say to you that this is because politicians hold the reins of economies, not economists, and for political reasons (read garnering votes and support) politicians ignore economic advice in all countries including mine and yours.

    Most, if not all governments in our so called democracies, resort to bribing the guilable taxpayer with their own money, (which cause fiscal deficits that are almost impossible to reverse in normal circumstances), and because of the time lag between the election and the consequences of their actions, can generally blame the mess on their political opposition.

    Recent examples of this are Greece, Ireland and apparently about to be followed by Spain and Portugal. No country is immune to this especially the USA and my country.

    Also on the economics page is a study showing that the proposed USA energy policy would result in a net benefit of $111 billion rather than introducing damage to the economy of the kind which you seem to be suggesting.

    I also warn you that any agency, political or otherwise who claims that there can be real economic gains from a scenario where skyrocketing costs to basic commodities are involved, is not following mainstream economics. In fact, in the case of the Stern report which received much well deserved criticisn, I would say there are deliberate attempts to mislead the public. http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv29n4/v29n4-5.pdf

    Your assertion that AGW is baloney is unsubstantiated and ignores the overwhelming evidence from thousands of independent studies published in reputable scientific journals showing evidence garnered for almost a hundred years that human-caused climate change is real

    It is true that in these comments I have not substantiated my statement “AGW is Baloney”, however this is well substantiated in my blog http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com where you are very welcome to leave a comment. I never spam comments with an opposing point of view, however such comments may be answered with known facts and logic and could be painful if you are wedded to your ideas.

    However lets have a look at this evidence you cite.

    The majority of these independent studies will do something like this:
    1.Find some data, for example, collate some data that shows the earths temperatures have risen.
    2. Scout around fo a reason to explain this phenomina.
    3. CO2 concentrations have risen recently therefore this must be the cause. because 1. It is fashionable to blame CO2, 2. CO2 has risen in recent years.
    4. Find a correlation between CO2 concentration rises and rising temperatures.
    5. Therefore CO2 must cause global temperature rise.
    Only trouble is that anyone who has studied freshman statistics, learns early on that correlations are not proof of anything.
    Correlations are a neccesary condition for a relationship, but considering there appears to be evidence of CO2 concentrations following planetary warming, even this correlation is on very shaky ground indeed!

    What then would constitute reasonable rigorous proof that AGW exists?
    1. We could find some empirical evidence. For example, measuring the temperature of the world is an empirical process. Measuring CO2 concentrations is also an empirical process, but what is missing is empirical evidence for the causation in the “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” hypothesis. If you can find any of that please let me know. I might come and join you.

    2. We could test the “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” hypothesis. Not very likely that we could find a proof that way seeing as how we have already failed on two other counts.
    Now this is not me speaking, check out this website very carefully and run through the expected process of scientific adaption of a hypothesis and see if you honestly think the rules have been followed. http://www.experiment-resources.com/null-hypothesis.html

    In our case, the Ho null hypothesis is that the earth warms (and cools) naturally.

    Our H1 hypothesis is “Anthropogenic CO2 Causes Global Warming”

    Then you do a significance test. Now find factors that show there is a 95-99% likelihood that what we see around us with regard to Global Warming cannot be due to other natural causes, which have regularly warmed and cooled the world since time immemorial and a number of times during historic times.

    The website explains the principles in a simple fashion.

    Without empirical proof of “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” or how anthropogenic CO2 actually CAUSES Global Warming, taking into account feedback mechanisms and many other yet to be understood mechanisms that exist in the atmosphere and its interelationships with the oceans and biosphere etc., one must at least have a valid hypothesis.

    No wonder that scientists the world over are jumping up and down! If you wonder why the science does not have consensus, this is the very reason!

    Here is a top scientists view and there are many more like him. http://nzclimatescience.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=155&Itemid=1

    Trust you and your readers find this discussion of some interest.

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

    • rmcpiper says:

      Thank you Roger for your length comment. Since it is so long, I’ll reply piecemeal to various points which you make. I do appreciate that you have avoided personal (ad hominem) attacks and that you offer substantiation for your views.

    • rmcpiper says:

      Roger, you said:

      First of all my comment is about the cost of meeting the IPCC’s CO2 emission targets and wealth transfers.

      Mitigating the impact of climate change generally refers to what to do when the sea level rises and the wheat fields dry up. Not my differentiation but the IPCC’s because thats all they talk about under their heading of “mitigation” and as I said, it is a serious omission not to do an in-depth analysis of the cost to ordinary citizens of reducing CO2 emissions.

      Having said that, exactly what are the factors I have ignored and which are my unsupported allegations?

      If you visit the IPCC website where they present the AR4 WG3 report Mitigation of Climate Change you will see this table of contents:

      • Preface and Foreword
      • Summary for Policymakers
      • Technical Summary
      1. Introduction
      2. Framing Issues
      3. Issues related to mitigation in the long-term context
      4. Energy Supply
      5. Transport and its infrastructure
      6. Residential and commercial building
      7. Industry
      8. Agriculture
      9. Forestry
      10. Waste management
      11. Mitigation from a cross-sectoral perspective
      12. Sustainable Development and mitigation
      13. Policies, instruments, and co-operative arrangements
      • Errata
      • Annex I: Glossary

      Clearly they address more than just sea level and drying wheat fields. You then go on to address the cost implications of mitigation:

      As an example, are you denying that a 10% restriction in the amount of transport/industrial fuel will trigger a price rise?

      10% restriction, by the way is just for example, I would estimate a figure closer to the 60% reduction of CO2 emissions, as required by the IPCC.

      When this price rise happens, which is a cost to every consumer, where does the growth in the economy come from? Like I said, there will be some who profit but not the public in general.

      This is simple logic.

      Fossil fuel prices will rise anyway as a result of “peak oil” and there has been and always will be price manipulation and gouging which is the result of failed regulatory or political initiatives rather than any flaw in the science or the policies which emerge obviously from the science. Jacobson and Belucchi have described how between 2030 and 2050 we could meet all of the world’s energy requirements through a migration to wind, water and solar energy sources alone, dropping all need for the burning of fossil fuels. See Sustainability – Peak Oil. There is no “Planet B” (yet) and so looking for continuing economic growth is a suicidal strategy; unless we expand to other planets and limit demands here, we will hit the brick wall of disappearing resources. I urge you to revisit my Economics page to have a close look at studies concerning the limits to growth and the tragedy of the commons.

      You assert:

      “Current economic theory is a straw house built upon sand, based on arbitrary axioms and ignoring fundamental “externalities” and leading to the biggest-ever “Tragedy of the Commons”. In any case, continued exponential growth with limited resources is a recipe for disaster” is a wild statement if I ever saw one.

      I did visit your “economics” but although I have not come across this group before, I have experience with a number of political movements who advocate “no growth economics”. One I came across was also lobbying for a three day work week – for a full weeks pay of course! Obviously could not see the consquences of that.

      I am afraid that I will stick to mainstream economics, which incidently, never advocates anything, it simply analyses and points out paths with different consequenses to whoever may be interested.

      I fail to see how you can describe that as a “wild statement”. Did you look at New Scientist Special report: How our economy is killing the Earth, Editorial: Time to banish the god of growth and The facts about overconsumption? There is clearly exponential growth in a wide range of factors, each of which has a fixed and limited quantity. If you studied any mathematics surely you understand that such growth eventually hits that fixed barrier. The consequences here on Earth would be devastating, of a scale much worse than the cost of achieving a sustainable and stable (zero-growth) economy. Of course there may be all kinds of wacko politicians and corporate executives who will warp the recommendations for policy based upon sound science but as long as economists continue to ignore the “externalities” which demand the Earth’s ecoservices, politicians will continue to pursue dangerous courses whose ultimate cost would be an order of magnitude or more in excess of the cost of early mitigation and adaptation.

      I’ll comment more in a later posting.

      Economics

      Shaping climate-resilient development – A framework for decision-making

      Climate adaptation is an urgent priority for the custodians of national and local economies, such as finance ministers and mayors. Such decision-makers ask: What is the potential climate-related loss to our economies and societies over the coming decades? How much of that loss can we avert, with what measures? What investment will be required to fund those measures – and will the benefits of that investment outweigh the costs?

      The aim of this report is to provide decision-makers with a systematic way of answering these questions. Focusing specifically on the economic aspects of adaptation, it outlines a fact-based risk management approach that national and local leaders can use to understand the impact of climate on their economies – and identify actions to minimize that impact at the lowest cost to society.


      2009-04-16 – From the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy
      ACHIEVING 2050: A CARBON PRICING POLICY FOR CANADA

      The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) today advised the federal government to move quickly to implement a unified national carbon pricing policy across Canada in order to meet the Government of Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets for 2020 and 2050.

      “The Round Table’s report concludes that a unified national carbon price through an economy-wide cap-and-trade system across all jurisdictions, emissions, and sectors is necessary to allow Canada to reach its emission reductions targets at the least economic costs,” said NRTEE Chair Bob Page.

      Achieving 2050: A Carbon Pricing Policy for Canada [pdf] sets out a comprehensive road-map for establishing a national cap-and-trade system in a phased manner, with adequate transition for industry and consumers to allow Canada to achieve its environmental goals at the least economic cost. The NRTEE conducted original economic modeling, detailed analytical research, and extensive stakeholder consultation to develop its proposed carbon pricing policy for Canada. It concluded that an economy-wide cap-and-trade system would be the most effective way to achieve the federal government’s deep long-term emission reduction targets at least economic cost. The policy is designed to initially contain costs for industry and consumers, but then transition to achieve greater carbon emission reductions through full auction of carbon emission permits in order to meet Canada’s environmental targets.

      The companion “Technical Report” (pdf) can be download by clicking here.


      NewScientist, 17 Nov. 2008: Prophesy of economic collapse ‘coming true’

      Do you remember “The Limits To Growth” commissioned by “The Club Of Rome” and published in 1972? Do you also remember how it was pooh-poohed by economists? A recent study shows just how accurate their “Standard Run” of the model developed at MIT is to the reality over the past 30 years or so. There’s an overview here from “NewScientist” and the paper, by Graham Turner, is here.

      From the NewScientist, 17 Nov. 2008:
      Things may seem bad now – with fears of a world recession looming – but they could be set to get much worse. A real-world analysis of a controversial prediction made 30 years ago concludes that economic growth cannot be sustained and we are on track for serious economic collapse this century. In 1972, the seminal book Limits to Growth by a group called the Club of Rome claimed that exponential growth would eventually lead to economic and environmental collapse. The group used computer models that assessed the interaction of rising populations, pollution, industrial production, resource consumption and food production. Most economists rubbished the book and its recommendations have been ignored by governments, although a growing band of experts today continues to argue that we need to reshape our economy to become more sustainable. Now Graham Turner at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia has compared the book’s predictions with data from the intervening years.
      Listen to his podcast Examining the limits to growth in MP3 format here.


      From the ashes of the crash: 20 first steps from new economics to rebuild a better economy

      Having predicted the current crisis in the global economic system back in 2003 with the ground-breaking book Real World Economic Outlook, nef (new economics foundation) now offers twenty proposals both to stabilise the economy and lay the foundations for a new economic order.
      Our financial system has long since failed to do the basic job required of it – to underpin the productive economy and the fundamental operating systems upon which we all depend. These have been variously neglected, taken for granted or cannibalised by finance. They include the core economy of family, neighbourhood, community, and society, and the natural economy of the biosphere, our oceans, forests, and fields.


      Tragedy of the Commons

      The tragedy of the commons is a type of social trap, often economic, that involves a conflict over finite resources between individual interests and the common good. It states that free access and unrestricted demand for a finite resource ultimately structurally dooms the resource through over-exploitation. The term derives originally from a comparison noticed by William Forster Lloyd with medieval village land holding in his 1833 book on population. It was then popularized and extended by Garrett Hardin in his 1968 Science essay “The Tragedy of the Commons.” However, the theory itself is as old as Thucydides and Aristotle.

      Such a notion is not merely an abstraction, but its consequences have manifested literally, in such common grounds as Boston Common, where overgrazing required the Common no longer be used as public grazing ground.

      An extract from “Tragedy of the Commons” at Wikipedia


      The Commons revisited: The Tragedy Continues (pdf)

      Garrett Hardin’s classic paper “Tragedy of the Commons” published in Science in 1968 struck a chord with scientists and non-scientists alike and has continued to provide a key reference point to how a number of “commons” related problems can be viewed. Hardin’s paper will be in looked at in view of both anthropogenic global warming and peak oil and some of the solutions he posed for the ‘population problem’ applied to the post peak era. Possible solutions are compared with the Kyoto Protocol for global warming and the Rimini Protocol for peak oil. A carbon indexed, universal tax on non renewable energy resources ‘Unitax’ is mooted as a longer term possibility to overcoming both global warming and the financing of post peak oil problems. Alas the process of dealing with global warming and peak oil seems to be falling into the “no technical solution” category that Hardin identified for population.

      Author Bob Lloyd, Physics department, Otago University NZ, Energy Policy 35 (2007) 5806–5818

      There’s a good discussion about this at “Head in a Cloud”, The Tragedy of the Commons: Peak Oil and Climate Change

      He has also written a fascinating paper:
      “The Growth Delusion: why we don’t want to believe in Peak Oil and Climate Change” (pdf)
      Here’s the abstract:
      Concern for the environment and a move towards “sustainable development” has assisted progress in a wide range of renewable energy technologies in recent years. The science suggests that a transition from fossil fuels to sustainable sources of energy in a time frame commensurate with the demise of the fossil fuels and prevention of runaway climate change is needed. However, while the movement towards sustainable energy technologies is underway the world does not want to give up the idea of continuing economic growth.
      The transition will be difficult to achieve as nowhere within existing economic and political frameworks are the limits to when growth will be curtailed being set. It is possible that the irrational insistence on endless growth as a non negotiable axiom, by a large proportion of the world’s population, may in fact be akin to the similarly irrational belief, by a similarly large proportion of the world’s population, that a supernatural being controls our existence and destiny. The irrationality of religion has recently been examined by Richard Dawkins (2006) in “The God Delusion”. Dawkins’ book is used as a starting point to investigate similarities between a belief in God and a belief in continuous growth.


      Scientific American: The Ethics of Climate Change: Pay Now or Pay More Later?

      Weighing our own prosperity against the chances that climate change will diminish the well-being of our grandchildren calls on economists to make hard ethical judgments.

      Scientific American, May 2008.

      Scientific American: Brother, Can You Spare Me a Planet?

      Neoclassical economic theory is predicated on unscientific assumptions that massively frustrate or effectively undermine efforts to implement scientifically viable economic policies and solutions.

      Scientific American, March 2008.


      If you are an economist, a politician or anyone else who hasn’t studied physics, then Brother, Can You Spare Me a Planet? is a must read article. Modern theory in economics is a straw house built upon sand. It assumes a zero-sum game and acts upon that premise, that for every winner there must be a loser. See also “The Economist Has No Clothes”

      I recall a professor of economics who introduced his concepts in a lecture to a bunch of us, fledgling scientists and engineers; in one particular lecture, he wrote an equation on the board, followed about a half hour later by another, using what he said were the same variables. The difference in the two equations was that the left side and the right side were switched and the coefficients had different names. When we asked whether that meant that the one was the reciprocal of the other (as was implied by the equations), we got a blank stare and a flip comment that they had nothing to do with each other. He lost us then. I’m just worried that he went on to influence other economists and politicians. If you don’t understand what I’ve just said, then please go back to high-school algebra and ask why he was still in grade-school.


      New Scientist Special report: How our economy is killing the Earth

      Editorial: Time to banish the god of growth

    • rmcpiper says:

      Have a look at:
      Enough Is Enough

      From “CASSE”, The Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy

      Perpetual economic growth is neither possible nor desirable. Growth, especially in wealthy nations, is already causing more problems than it solves.

      * Do you suspect that the idea of perpetual economic growth on a finite planet is folly?
      * Are you searching for ways to solve our profound social and environmental problems?
      * Do you want to know how we can construct an economy that (1) meets our needs without undermining the life-support systems of the planet and (2) achieves sustainable and equitable well-being for all people?

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