Post Normal Climatists Redefine Scientific Method & Increase Famine

Totalitarians of the climate alarmists are asking “what to do with the contrarians?” It appears the success of skeptics in defeating the man-made global warming crusade has galvanized a counter-offensive against “unrestricted and highly interactive” blogs. Damn that free speech!

The religionists of the climate doomsday scenario are unhappy that independent scientists demand that alarmist science  “prove its reliability and integrity over and over again” and they’re holding a seminar to whine about it: ‘ CSTPR Noontime Seminar: The Contrarian Discourse in the Blogosphere – What are blogs good for anyway?’

One of the dissenters to this deluded brand of post-normalism is climate researcher, Carl Brehmer, one of more than fifty such contrarian thinkers over at Principia Scientific International (PSI). Brehmer and his PSI colleagues are delighted at how their push back against post-normalism is going.

The Enemies of Post Normal Science: Principia Scientific International's Logo

The Enemies of Post Normal Science: Principia Scientific International’s Logo

Astrophysicist, Joseph E. Postma, who enjoys a successful research career working for the Canadian and Indian space agencies agrees with his PSI colleague, Brehmer. Like Brehmer, Postma is adamant there is unstoppable momentum among his peers to oppose the dogmatic post-normalist crusade to re-define how science is communicated and what its meaning is.

Postma says, “No doubt, they [post-normalists] would wish for a new way to perform and communicate science that doesn’t have to include such things as…the scientific method, which requires skepticism, rebuttals of postulates with facts, etc. They desire science to be not so much about science, but about dictatorial & essentially religious declaration.”

Brehmer, Postma and their PSI colleagues seems to have a point judging by one bizarre quote from the post-normal screed which declares “Finally, it is concluded that the climate change discourse has been stifled by the obsession of discussing the science basis…”

Brehmer retorts, “Imagine that, one “stifles” the climate change discourse by obsessively discussing the scientific basis of climate change.  Guilty as charged.  I have been attempting to stifle the “climate change discourse” by discussing the scientific basis of climate change.”

But what is the “climate change discourse?”  it seems one of it’s elements is the public policy of burning our food (corn) as ethanol fuel instead of pumping out the plentiful reserves of oil and gas  out of the ground. Such is the lunacy of American and European climate policy. Out of curiosity Brehmer ran some numbers related to ethanol production, which is sees our food turned into fuel. The source of these numbers is listed at the end of this article.

Brehmer found that to produce one gallon of ethanol about 22 pounds of corn (1) needs to be sacrificed.  22 lbs of corn contains about 10,560 calories (2), which is enough calories to feed one person for about four days (3). Therefore the calories sacrificed to make 90 gallons of ethanol could sustain one person for an entire year.  Since the US currently produces 10.6 billion gallons (4) of ethanol yearly, enough corn is being sacrificed each year for ethanol production in the United States to feed 117 million people.  This is occurring at the same time that the United States Department of Agriculture is reporting that over 50,000,000 people living in the United States are in “food-insecure households” (5) because their families do not have sufficient funds to purchase adequate amounts of food.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 mandates that by 2022, 36 billion gallons of biofuels will be produced in the United States.  15 billion gallons of this biofuel is expected to come from corn (6). This will require the sacrifice of enough food to feed 166,000,000 people — over half the current population of the United States.  This doesn’t even take into consideration that it takes at least 2/3 gallon of fossil fuel, by the US Department of Energy’s own figures, to produce one gallon of ethanol (7).  (Ethanol producers do not use ethanol to produce ethanol because it is too expensive.)

This is not a Democrat vs. Republican issue, since the act mentioned above was signed into law by a Republican president.  This is a sanity vs. insanity issue.  Under the ruse that carbon dioxide is a pollutant the government is planning to turn enough food into fuel by 2022 that could feed half the population of the United States!  Even if carbon dioxide were a pollutant the use of biofuels produces little or no net reduction in carbon emissions since by some estimates it takes more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than what one gets back from it when it is burned.  “Adding up the energy costs of corn production and its conversion to ethanol, 131,000 BTUs are needed to make 1 gallon of ethanol. One gallon of ethanol has an energy value of only 77,000 BTU.” (8)

One might protest these figures saying that not all ethanol is made from corn, because there is also “cellulosic ethanol,” which is made from the non-edible parts of plants. The problem is that there is “currently, no large-scale cellulosic ethanol production facilities . . . operating or under construction.” (9)  This is because “cellulosic ethanol” is much more expensive to produce than corn ethanol.  For example, it is estimated that a large-scale “cellulosic ethanol” production facility would cost in the neighborhood of $300 million dollars to build (10) vs. $67 million for a corn-based plant of similar size and a number of “cellulosic ethanol” production hurdles have yet to be overcome (11).

What does this all demonstrate?  The folly that ensues when public policy is built upon bad science.  In the late twentieth century the notion arose that carbon dioxide was a pollutant and because this notion proved to be such a potent pretext for revenue generation it overpowered 300 years of scientific evidence to the contrary (12) and has permeated the psyche of the ruling class world-wide.  They, in turn, have foisted this notion upon the general public, many of whom seem defenseless against the deception.  This phenomenon raises the following questions:

Do people really not know that carbon dioxide is food — food for plants, which becomes food for animals (including human beings)?  Do people really not know that carbon is one of the essential building blocks of organic life (Organic – “Belonging to a family of compounds characterized by chains or rings of carbon atoms.[13]) and that most life on earth is organic life?  Do people really not know that plants thrive in a carbon dioxide rich environment and along with water, nitrogen from the air and minerals from the soil, powered by sunlight, through the process of photosynthesis make food for animals to eat and oxygen for animals to breathe?  Do they not know that gardeners actually pump up to four times the current atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide into greenhouses to promote plant growth? (14).

Perhaps they don’t know that even at current emission levels from the use of fossil fuels that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will not reach a level for optimal plant growth for at least 200 years and that CO2 levels will not become toxic until well into the next ice age >10,000 years from now.  Perhaps they don’t know that sound scientific theory supported by empirical scientific evidence (as opposed to politically motivated declarations supported by biased and incomplete computer models) does not confirm the hypothesis that the general global warming trend of the past 150 years has been the result of increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20).  Perhaps they don’t know that only 4% of the carbon dioxide currently in the atmosphere is from the burning of fossil fuels (21). This means that if carbon dioxide is, indeed, a pollutant, then God, Himself, is the main polluter of the planet since He is responsible for the other 96% of the air’s carbon dioxide content.

Beyond these questions, why is it that people don’t realize that global warming is a good thing that promotes life, e.g., human civilizations have always faired better during warm periods in history than during cold periods; more people die from cold every year than from heat; many plants die or go dormant in the winter and come to life in the spring and summer; the warm equator is teaming with life while the cold poles have sparse life.

The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change produced video in time-lapse photography, which shows the profoundly positive effect that increased levels of carbon dioxide has on the growth of plants.

Since fossil fuels — oil, coal, and natural gas — produce carbon dioxide as a by-product, which promotes plant growth, they are in reality the only truly “green” source of energy that human beings use at the present time.  Wind power does not promote plant growth, but windmills do kill a lot of birds (22). Solar power does not promote plant growth.  Hydroelectric power does not promote plant growth, but it does destroy a lot of plant life when whole valleys are flooded behind the dam.  Nuclear power does not promote plant growth, but it does produce radioactive waste.  Geothermal power does not promote plant growth, nor has it been proven to be a significant source of energy.  Therefore, fossil fuels, because they produce plant food — carbon dioxide — as a byproduct, are the only truly “green” source of energy that human beings currently use.

Brehmer’s findings made the post-normal view of the world look utterly crazy. Looking his findings he asks, “Does anyone else see the profound irony in the environmental activists, who profess to be interested in the health of the biosphere (which presumably includes promoting plant growth) putting political pressure on world leaders to restrict the use of fossil fuels so as to curb the emission of plant food and lecturing everyone on how to reduce their “carbon footprint,” insisting that they must reduce the amount of plant food that they produce as they go about living their lives?”

Unless you’re one of CSTPR’s diehard post-normal eco-warrior it’s hard not to be cynical about this brand of green garbage. However, if you want to practise your right to free speech (while you still have it!) then consider attending the noontime seminar on September 11, 2012 at 1333 Grandview Avenue, which is one street north of University Avenue on the CU-Boulder campus.


(1) From research performed at Cornell University

(2) One pound of corn = 480 calories –

(3) “United Nations UN recommends 2350 calories per day.”

(4)  Yearly U.S. Ethanol Production 2009 –


(6) “The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) requires use of 36 billion gallons of renewable transportation fuels in the U.S. by 2022. Of that quantity, 16 billion gallons must be cellulosic biofuels. Ethanol from corn is capped at 15 billion gallons.” ibid.

(7) “. . . each gallon of ethanol produced from corn today delivers one third or more energy than is used to produce it.”    US Department of Energy

(8) From research performed at Cornell University

(9) US Department of Energy 2007, “Biofuels in the U.S. Transportation Sector,”

(10) O. Port, “Not Your Father’s Ethanol,” Business Week (February 21, 2005), web site

(11) O’Neal, Michael, “Scientists seek cheap, plentiful energy alternatives,” October 13, 2006,0,2156857.story


(13) Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation

(14) T.J Blom, W.A. Straver, F.J. Ingratta, Shalin Khosla – Factsheet Carbon Dioxide in Greenhouses – Order No. 94-077, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

(15) C. D. Idso and K. E. Idso, Carbon Dioxide and Global Warming, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change

(16) Clark, R., A Null Hypothesis For CO2, EPA submission, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0171 6/17/09

(17) Richard S. Lindzen and Yong-Sang Choi, On the determination of climate feedbacks from ERBE data Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Revised on July 14, 2009 for publication to Geophysical Research Letters  “The observed behavior of radiation fluxes implies negative feedback processes associated with relatively low climate sensitivity.  This is the opposite of the behavior of 11 atmospheric models forced by the same SSTs.”

(18) Evans, David Dr., The Missing Hotspot, 21 July 2008, Last major revision 22 Mar 2009, Last minor revision 18 Sept 2010,

Web address:

(19) Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner,  “Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics,” International Journal of Modern Physics B, Vol. 23, No. 3 (30 January 2009), 275-364

(20) John O’Sullivan, Hans Schreuder, Claes Johnson, and Alan Siddons Slaying the Sky Dragon – Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory, Jan 18, 2011, Stairway Press, 1500A East College Way #554 Mount Vernon, WA 98273, ISBN 978 0 9827734 0 6

(21) “Man’s contribution to atmospheric CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels is small, maximum 4% found by carbon isotope mass balance calculations.”  Segalstad, T. V. 1996: The distribution of CO2 between atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere; minimal influence from anthropogenic CO2 on the global “Greenhouse Effect”. In Emsley, J. (Ed.): The Global Warming Debate. The Report of the European Science and Environment Forum. Bourne Press Ltd., Bournemouth, Dorset, U.K. (ISBN 0952773406), pp. 41-50.

(22) “Wind turbines at Altamont Pass kill an estimated 880 to 1,300 birds of prey each year, including up to 116 golden eagles, 300 red-tailed hawks, 380 burrowing owls, and additional hundreds of other raptors including kestrels, falcons, vultures, and other owl species.” Center for Biological Diversity, Fact Sheet On Altamont Pass Bird Kills


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9 responses to “Post Normal Climatists Redefine Scientific Method & Increase Famine

  1. Martin Hodgkins

    John, So when do we take to the streets of Westminster with placards stating “CO2 is food” etc, etc? I would go.

  2. Martin, Yes, I agree it could well come to that. Where we can start is by first drawing wider attention to the craziest of legislation – the Climate Change Act ( see more here: ). We need to let politicians know this has to be repealed if the British government are serious about kick starting the economy.

  3. Pingback: Post Normal Climatists Redefine Scientific Method & Increase Famine « Skeptics Chillin'

  4. Maurice@TheMount

    John, Best piece I have read recently, well done.
    We truly live in the AGE of STUPID, ruled by the IPCC (International Panel of Climate Clowns) and BS (Bureaucratic Science)

    When all the Watermelon Warmers admit their LIE
    We will raise a monument into the SKY
    A monument of solid CARBON
    To commemorate their BOGUS BARGAIN.

    Keep up the good work, we will beat all this nonsense one day.

  5. One of the most fundamental theorems of Post Normal Science is that absolute truth cannot be known. The postulated reason is that you have to know everything or you can’t know anything. That it is self contradictory to hold that you know this postulate to be true is held to be irrelevant. This is because of the logical slight of hand that there can be statements about statements that stand apart from the laws of logic. For example: “This statement is false.” is held to be a meaningful statement because it is a statement about a statement. Blank out that it refers to itself and thus makes itself recursively absurd all the way to the vanishing point.

    The most fundamental and most powerful law of logic is that if you have reached a contradiction in your line of thought you have proof of the existence of at least one error somewhere in your line of thought. Since statements about statements are stated to stand outside of the laws of logic, they are held to be safely both contradictory and free of error. Hence any kind of absurdity can be held to stand by the simple excuse that it is only a statement about statements. There is nothing more absurd and self contradictory than this belief.

    The net effect of this logical slight of hand is to abolish the concepts of true, false, right, and wrong and to jump full force into the realm of any assertion can be treated as if it were true if enough people accept it as true. Especially if the true believers can apply enough clubs, guns, jails, and ropes to enforce their belief. This further justifies the rewriting of history because of the belief that history is nothing but a story told by the victors. Victims don’t get to contribute to that story until THEY become the victors.

    An interesting question arises, if the above is actually true, how will the victors and victims know that they are victors and victims? The only answer to that question is by the use of sufficient brute force to compel agreement to the assertion. Meaning, the victims will know they are victims as they die. and the victors will never really be sure. Hence the endlessly increasing body count.

  6. Brad H.

    Very good, John. Do you mind if I ask you a radical question? Because I wrote about this briefly in a research paper that I did about climate change and being a skeptic at heart. Anyhow, after doing a lot of research, something popped into my mind and I wrote it in my paper as an opinion, but I stated that there is no resource on this earth that has a net loss or gain since it could just hold a different form whether it be solid, gas, or liquid. Since all resources are found on this earth in some type of form is this a too far-fetched of a statement? We do not have massive amounts of interstellar trade that I can think of.

    • johnosullivan

      Hi Brad,
      Yes, you’re instincts are correct – the state of matter is in perpetual flux in geologic time but the underlying elemental structure remains constant and carbon is the key. People forget (or don’t know) from basic school science that carbon is the fourth most abundant element in the universe, and is absolutely essential to life on earth. The carbon cycle – the movement of carbon – between the atmosphere, biosphere, oceans and land masses – and every organism on Earth – is a well established scientific fact so your statement that there is no net loss or gain is true.

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