On Global Warming
Just trying to provide a different perspective for the "man-made" Global Warming theory. (-Some "back and forth" with defenders of the "man-made" Global Warming theory - defender's statements / replies are "indented" below.)
Note: This exchange took place between 12/11/2008 and 12/13/2008 (before the "climategate" scandal of November 2009.)
I wrote: If the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is approximately “97 parts naturally occurring” and “3 parts man-made,” we could all drop dead tomorrow and the impact on total carbon dioxide would be negligible.
More importantly, the “naturally occurring” carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is currently MUCH LOWER than what it has been during most of earth’s history. Long before mankind set foot on this planet, naturally occurring carbon dioxide reached levels more than TEN TIMES higher than they are today.
To put that in perspective: If naturally occurring carbon dioxide were to again rise by only 10% (hardly a drastic fluctuation) the resulting increase would be equal to humans TRIPLING their current “carbon footprint.”
(Total current carbon dioxide in earth’s atmosphere is only about 380 parts per million (PPM.) Of that total, roughly 368 PPM is “naturally occurring” and only 12 PPM is “man-made.” An increase of just 10% in naturally occurring carbon dioxide would result in an increase of 36 PPM...three times the current "man-made" contribution.)
I’m “all for” getting off fossil fuels – I’m all for cleaning up the environment. What I’m tired of is liars seizing power and wealth for themselves under the guise of manufactured / hyped threats.
“Wunksta” wrote: its funny how some people say its not a big deal yet the ocean is increasingly becoming more acidic from the co2 that it sucks in thats left over from our production. even this slight increase is still having effects.
“GreenFyre” wrote: To put it into perspective: The amount of water in a drowning victims lungs is only a very tiny % of the total water in their body, and it is a perfectly natural substance, but it still kills them.
VikingCoder wrote: Ignoring an entire half of the natural carbon cycle is the height of prideful ignorance and gullibility.
The oceans are a net CO2 sink that are currently absorbing 7 billion tons more than they outgas each year. The terrestrial biomes are also a net sink that are currently absorbing 5 billion tons of CO2 more than they outgas each year.
So, yes - while humans are ~3% of the gross, they are 100% of the net. Just as in finance, the net amount is what matters.
You are also confusing atmospheric concentration with annual emissions. Humanity has increased the atmospheric CO2 content by over 40% since the start of the industrial revolution; half of that in the past 35 years.
I wrote: Wunksta and Greenfyre, you're both missing the point. What I'm saying is WE COULD CUT OUR EMISSIONS TO ZERO (ZERO) and it would mean absolutely nothing with even a minuscule fluctuation in naturally occurring C02 production.
Do you not see the absurdity of funding some behemoth / intrusive global entity (to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars) so that its most optimistic aims could be rendered meaningless (except for those who profit from it) with a 3% increase in naturally occurring C02?
Or, as I asked originally in the other thread, what happens if the earth increases its natural production by something more realistic?
I'm not talking about a return to 1,500 PPM (which would be an increase of 1,132 PPM) I'm talking about a SMALL 10% increase of just 36 PPM (404 PPM total)
That alone would be equal to humans TRIPLING their "carbon footprint." Do you honestly believe the world will end? More importantly, what will the supra-national "carbon police" be able to do about it?
I repeat: "I’m all for getting off fossil fuels – I’m all for cleaning up the environment. What I’m tired of is liars seizing power and wealth for themselves under the guise of manufactured / hyped threats."
Greenfyre wrote: "you keep jumping right to politics without pausing to consider that your premise is wrong"
I wrote: One, I'm not talking politics; I'm speaking to you about the amount of C02 in the earth's atmosphere. Two, simply stating that my "premise is wrong" does not make it wrong.
I will assume you want to reduce the man-made contribution of C02 (about 12 PPM) to zero. Based on our current situation, that will put the earth's C02 at 368 PPM.
Are you suggesting you can keep the PPM at 368? That is, are you suggesting there is a way to control the earth's natural production of C02 so that it cannot fluctuate even 5%?
Since this number (368 PPM) is historically very LOW for C02 and since atmospheric C02 has risen and fallen THOUSANDS of PPM in the past, I just don't understand the "premise" of the "man-made global warming" hysteria.
If you truly believe that an increase of 12 or 20 PPM is going to "destroy life on earth" you cannot escape the logical conclusion that "life on earth" has already been destroyed. -And yet our existence, coupled with the massive historical fluctuations of C02, suggests that both of these beliefs are false.
Is it possible (just possible) that our "dear leaders" have once again diverted our energy and good intentions away from REAL threats (like genetically modified food, neurotoxins in our vaccines, carcinogenic pesticides all over our food, etc) into something that serves them (expands their power and their profits) while doing NOTHING to "make us safe?"
Is it just possible that "man-made global warming" is yet another government-approved "bogey man" to keep people "peeing their pants?” -And as soon as the temperature starts to drop, they’ll come up with some other line of crap to feed us? It sure looks that way to me.
VikingCoder wrote: Please read what I wrote.above. You are incorrect, and are indeed trying to divert the discussion to vapid political conspiracies rather than discuss the accumulated scientific knowledge.
I wrote: I've read your post Viking, and it doesn't make sense to me. Are you suggesting that the earth cannot return to C02 concentrations MUCH higher than today (regardless of whether or not there is a single human being on the planet?)
And please, elaborate on what you feel are "vapid political conspiracies."
The Moniker wrote: Though you addressed greenfyre, I'd like to take a stab at a few of these.
First, it's true that the atmosphere has undergone huge changes over most of the Earth's 4 to 5 billion or so years of existence (once the planet cooled enough to have an atmosphere, that is). But—and I think that you'll agree here—we can't, in good faith, compare the atmospheric compositions and climates experienced in, say, the mesozoic era to our own as some sort of a litmus test for acceptable carbon dioxide concentrations: (we're now dealing with very different ecosystems, we are at a different state of geological activity than during the Cambrian error, etc.). A reasonable time frame to start looking at carbon dioxide levels would, I'll suggest, be in the past million or so years. We are fortunate in this time frame to be dealing with relatively abundant data and ecosystems fairly similar to our own. Our current atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is about 25% higher than even the highest concentrations of the past 650,000 years (and methane concentrations are looking worse still). So, I would argue that, over the relevant history, the carbon dioxide levels have reached an exceptional high.
Though there might be ways of controlling the Earth's atmospheric carbon dioxide with fantastic precision through geoengineering, this sort of technology is a long, long way off at present. The number isn't historically low over the relevant history. Consider that other sudden climate shifts in the past were met with a variety of major and lesser extinctions.
I doubt that greenfyre believes that even the pessimistic scenarios would entail "destroying life on Earth." But, to be reasonable, we should note that the consequences, while not including ending life on Earth, can still be very serious: increased water stress due to climate change, the loss of our present coastal regions, endemic morbidity and mortality due to diarrhoeal disease primarily associated with floods and droughts rising in Asia due to changes in the hydrological cycle, significant losses to the world's ecosystems, etc.
Given the weight of the evidence for anthropogenic climate change, it isn't just possible that it is simply a constructed bogey-man, no.
I wrote: @TheMoniker wrote: "But—and I think that you'll agree here—we can't, in good faith, compare the atmospheric compositions and climates experienced in, say, the mesozoic era to our own as some sort of a litmus test for acceptable carbon dioxide concentrations" AND "A reasonable time frame to start looking at carbon dioxide levels would, I'll suggest, be in the past million or so years."
Thank you for your reply. I’m not really talking about “acceptable C02 levels.” There are basically just a few main points I’m putting forward:
1. I’m saying that man’s 12 PPM contribution to atmospheric C02 is pathetically insignificant against the earth’s 368 PPM – I’m saying that, even if we reduced our contribution to ZERO, a minor fluctuation of 10% in naturally occurring C02 production (just 36 PPM) would not only erase any “reductions” we achieved, but would triple the amount erased. (-And if our 12 PPM contribution puts us at 380 PPM and 380 PPM is "destroying our climate," what will life be like if the earth, naturally, bumps us up over 400? What will the government do about that? )
2. Since the earth’s atmospheric C02 has fluctuated far more than 36 PPM in the past (in fact, we can see a fluctuation of over 1,000 PPM since the time of the dinosaurs) it seems unreasonable to believe that it has “stabilized” and will never move up again.
3. Since life on earth has survived C02 levels that far exceed anything we have now, and since we really cannot do anything about naturally occurring increases (like 12 PPM, 20 PPM, or even 100 or 200 PPM) the hysteria surrounding “man’s contribution” to C02 seems misguided at best (opportunistic and exploitive at worst.)
As far as your second point goes, I don’t believe going back a million years is enough. …a million years is nothing in geologic time – The Jurassic Period seems more reasonable to me. (There we find that “life” managed to exist despite being in a CO2 environment 1,000s of PPM higher than today.)
VikingCoder wrote: "elaborate on what you feel are "vapid political conspiracies."
[ Is it just possible that "man-made global warming" is yet another government-approved "bogey man" to keep people "peeing their pants?” ]
[ What I’m tired of is liars seizing power and wealth for themselves under the guise of manufactured / hyped threats. ]
"Are you suggesting that the earth cannot return to C02 concentrations MUCH higher than today?"
They could, but the current state of things is that the natural processes are currently a NET ABSORBER of CO2. I cited sources to validate this claim up above.
"I’m saying that man’s 12 PPM contribution to atmospheric C02
is pathetically insignificant against the earth’s 368 PPM"
That claim is flat out incorrect in every possible conceivable way. You are confusing humanity's contribution to the gross annual emissions with the current atmospheric content. Please re-read what I wrote and follow the links to the primary sources of that data. Man's contribution has been ~120 PPM (~40%), not 12.
The previous fluctuations, e.g. Paleozic levels 10-20x current, occurred over millions of years, not decades. There are currently NO naturally occurring CO2 increases. Please reference this claim if you think otherwise.
Life "managed to exist" because the changes took millions of years. Instances where it was geologically instantaneous coincided with major extinction events - such as the PETM event.
Comparing current ecology to Paleozoic ecology is not entirely relevant. For one thing, the major land masses are different. The ocean currents, e.g. thermohaline circulation, are a significant factor in the global climate.
I wrote: VikingCoder, I appreciate you listing the two statements you found objectionable (regarding “vapid political conspiracies.”) That said, I don’t think you have to look any further than the NeoCon’s “war on terror” to see politicians / bureaucrats “hyping threats” to justify seizing power and profit for themselves. You might not agree that those seeking to establish global government are using “Global Warming” as a means to an end, but I don’t believe my question (regarding the possibility) qualifies as “vapid.”
I have read conflicting reports regarding the atmospheric concentrations of C02 that are directly attributable to man’s activity. (The 120 PPM you’ve suggested is the highest I’ve seen, zero is the lowest I’ve seen.) I think we can both agree that “the truth” can be found somewhere in between.(Fair enough?) This still does not change the basic premise of my argument. (By the way, thank you for addressing / acknowledging that C02 levels could rise again, regardless of human activity, if the “natural processes” cease to be a “net absorber” of C02.)
Let’s say that human beings decide that anything above 350 PPM in the atmosphere is unacceptable. Further, we’ll assume that we can cut 50% of the 120 PPM that you have suggested we’re responsible for. Using that as a base, we’re looking at about a 15% reduction in atmospheric C02. What can we do to ensure the earth does not violate the C02 limit we’ve imposed? If the answer is “nothing,” then that answer holds regardless of whether we cede our sovereignty to a new “supra-national” government entity or we don’t. It holds whether we give them the ability to “tax our carbon emissions” or we don’t. It holds whether we hand over hundreds of billions of dollars per year (to be divvied out among the well-connected) or we don’t.
As I’ve made clear, I just don’t see the justification for warnings of “mass extinction” based on the current level of C02 in the atmosphere. The timeframe you’ve given for 10 x and 20 x fluctuations isn’t really relevant here. If anything over “350 PPM” is critical, then a far smaller fluctuation of 100 PPM will “wipe us out.” (It doesn’t sound reasonable to me given earth’s history of much higher concentrations.)
I can’t spend too much more time here on this topic. (I’ve got a few days to get a website put together for another project I’m working on.) Feel free to contact me through my main website if you want to continue the discussion at a slower pace.
For now, I'll just say this: One of my biggest problems with the “man-made” global warming movement is the dogmatic approach its leaders (and some of its followers) have taken. When “experts / authorities” use their power & influence to threaten, ostracize, punish, or silence dissenting voices, that (historically) has been a reliable sign that they’re after something more than “the full truth.”
I don’t trust anyone who says “Don’t look over there, don’t consider what anyone else says, our solution is the only solution, you’re either with us or you’re against us.” If a position is “true,” then transparency and open discussion (of known and emerging information) only strengthens the position, it doesn’t weaken it.
So, if there is anything we should “avoid at all costs” it’s allowing others to rush us into “solutions” that create new problems (at great expense) without solving the initial problem. (Assuming of course the “initial problem,” as it was presented, was anything more than a means to an end.)
UPDATE: Since writing the information above, many damning facts have come out against the "data" used to justify the "man-made-global-warming" hysteria. (Here is a good summary of how data was manipulated, published in 2010.)
For a long list of articles that challenge the theory of man-made global warming, check outhttp://www.climatedepot.com/