Sunday, March 7, 2010

Why Carbon Dioxide Can't Possibly Cause Catastrophic Global Warming (Part 1)

Carbon dioxide. CO2. Life-giving or evil life-destroying gas?

The very crux of anthropogenic global warming is the idea that CO2 acts as a greenhouse gas, trapping heat in the atmosphere. The more CO2 in the atmosphere, the more heat is trapped, the warmer the planet becomes and the more hell breaks out. Unfortunately for the alarmists, this is bogus science.

CO2 takes a fundamental role in the existence of life on Earth. Without CO2, there would no flora or fauna as we know it. We'd all be dead. Environmentalists would not exist, nor would there trees for them to hug. Animals, humans included, breath in oxygen and breathe out CO2. Conversely, plants breathe in CO2 and breathe out oxygen. If we remove one of these factors, CO2, oxygen, plants or animals, life as we know it ceases to exist on this planet.

Here is a dumbed down description of the Carbon Cycle:

If you read that page, you now know that the carbon cycle uses and re-uses the CO2 and carbon that is already available in the environment. The global warming theory goes that if man were to add more CO2 than is naturally occurring in the atmosphere, the additional CO2 would trap additional heat and thus cause drastic changes in the globe's temperature and thus change the worlds climate. And of course this unnatural addition of CO2 happens to come from evil capitalist humans burning evil fossil fuels to advance their individual evil plans to become rich fat cats on the backs of the working class. Whoa... how'd we get there so fast? Sorry to get political there, but it'll happen. Especially when discussing global warming.

One hundred and fifty years ago, or thereabouts, humankind entered into the Industrial Revolution whereby industries were being developed, more fossil fuels were used and cars were invented and were burning even more hydro-carbons. At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution the CO2 levels were around 280 parts per million. Today's levels have been measured at around 390 parts per million. See here.

So man added 110 parts per million of CO2 to the atmosphere. Or did we? Actually, much of that increase was from natural sources such as volcanoes. The US Dept of Energy calculated in around the year 2000, that man's contribution of CO2 to the atmosphere was in the neighborhood of 11.8 parts per million. I'm going to be generous and round that up to 12 parts per millions for the sake of this discussion.

First, understand that we are talking parts per MILLION. 12 parts per MILLION. By any ones definition, except of course, the alarmist activists, CO2 in parts per million is trace amounts.

If we were to wave a magic wand and remove those man made 12 parts per million from the atmosphere we'd still be left with 378 parts per million of CO2 in the environment. If we were to completely reverse all of our industrial and vehicular CO2 emissions of the last 150 years, we'd still be at 378 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere. No solution there. And note that the IPCC, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was/is lobbying for governments to somehow reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million. How absurd is that?

A 40 ppm reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere would be equivalent to removing more than three and a quarter times more CO2 than we put there in 150 years of frenetic industrial and automotive activity. The concept is absurd.

12 parts per million is 1.2 one hundredths of one percent of the atmosphere. That is trace amounts. Virtually negligible. I say virtually because it could conceivably make a tiny tiny difference to our climate, but it would be completely undetectable by our temperature measuring devices. When you consider that 150 years of burning millions of tonnes of fossil fuels has only increased the atmospheric CO2 by 12 ppm, you get a sense of just how massive our atmosphere and our planet really is, and how insignificant we really are as humans on this planet.

But, the alarmists will say, cyanide and other poisons can kill at levels in the parts per million range. Well, CO2 is not cyanide. Just like Dan Quayle is no Jack Kennedy and the moon is not the sun, CO2 can not possibly be compared to cyanide or any other poison. CO2 is a life giving gas that is intimately involved in our very existence on this planet.

But here is where things get really absurd. To effect a change in the globes climate, you must not just change the temperature of the atmosphere but you must change the temperature of the oceans and lakes, aka the hydrosphere, as well as the globes combined land mass. The hydrosphere and the land mass function as a massive heat sink that would require massive amounts of energy to change their temperatures by even a minute amount.

The hydrosphere is approximately 250 times the mass of the atmosphere. And the mass of the hydrosphere is but .023% of the planets entire mass.

The concept that the 1.2 one hundredth of one percent of the atmosphere that is man made CO2 could catastrophically change the temperature of the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the entire land mass of the globe and thus catastrophically alter the globes climate is frankly absurd.


  1. A 12 parts per million change indeed sounds like it might be a "negligible" amount, but perhaps the relationship between climate change and the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere might be quite complex.

    I cannot claim to know the relationship, but judging from evidence of this page:

    In summary of the page, it seems that an OVERWHELMING majority of scientific experts around the world who have expertise in fields related to climate change agree that the climate has changed, and that this change is significantly human-influenced. While individual scientist's opinions may be influenced easily, but I do believe a matter in which the majority of the scientific community has consensus over should be accepted as fact.

  2. "Live giving or evil life-destroying gas?" is a false dichotomy. It can be either or both, depending on the circumstances.

    The fact that CO2 is naturally occurring and part of the natural cycle does not mean it isn't also a greenhouse gas.

    "The US Dept of Energy calculated in around the year 2000, that man's contribution of CO2 to the atmosphere was in the neighborhood of 11.8 parts per million" -- Source, please? Your entire argument hinges on this claim.

    CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Adding more of it to the atmosphere raises the global average temperature (although it's a diminishing effect, the more you add). That the climate science community has grossly exaggerated the impact of CO2 and has erroneously included many positive feedback effects in their climate models does not change this basic fact.

  3. ***

    "The US Dept of Energy calculated in around the year 2000, that man's contribution of CO2 to the atmosphere was in the neighborhood of 11.8 parts per million" -- Source, please?


    The US Dept of Energy. Read much?

  4. Worry not first commenter. The effect of CO2 on temperature is logarithmic. The first 20 ppm will have more effect on temperature than the next 2000 ppm will ever have. Google Scholar has papers on the subject going back 30 years. The CO2 scare was a known con from the beginning.

    As for your Wiki page, it's well censored by William M. Connolley from realclimate and nothing of any value will ever be posted there.

  5. Uh...climategate...all the facts were doctored...its all a sham. Or didnt your lib news outlets tell you this..ROFL