Monday, November 14, 2011

CO2 Context

I have written before that context is everything when assessing anything.

You can not evaluate anything or make any decision in a vacuum.  It is simply impossible.  You need a frame of reference.  You determine whether a girl is beautiful based on having seen thousands of girls.  You decide whether a shirt is a good deal after looking at other shirts and their prices.  A house is a bargain only after you evaluate the local market.  After all, the identical house might be a bargain in Beverly Hills but massively over-priced in Bloomfield Hills.

What context do you have to evaluate the statement that "Global warming is caused by the emission of carbon dioxide"?  I would imagine most people would have almost no frame of reference to determine if that was reasonable or not even though we hear it all the time.  Any frame of reference is merely the fact that Al Gore and a bunch of other people are always saying it.

What information would you need to know to determine if that statement makes sense?  How about a fact like how much carbon dioxide is produced naturally during a given year?  Compared to that number, how much do humans produce?   From what you hear from the Global Warming crowd you are led to believe that human produced CO2 is a massive number that is increasing yearly compared to what is being produced naturally.  What are the facts?

Dr. Tim Ball is a former Professor at the University of Winnipeg who has had a significant academic interest in climate over the years and writes often about the way the environment affects humans and the way humans affect the environment.  He provides needed context to the CO2 question in "Whether It Is Warming or Climate Change, It Cannot be the CO2."

The facts are that the amount of human produced CO2 is a mere fraction of the natural production of CO2 on earth.  Ball cites data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to provide the context.

According to the IPCC, who produce the original numbers, humans produce approximately 9 gigatons of CO2 per year. This is within the error factor for the amount of CO2 from at least two natural sources. Estimates of CO2 from natural sources are very crude as evidenced by the large error factors. Reports with headlines like, “Forests soak up more CO2 than thought” and “Old-growth forests absorb CO2 too: study” keep appearing. In 2010 humans produced 9 gigatons, but ocean output was between 90 and 100 gigatons and ground bacteria and rotting vegetation was between 50 and 60 gigatons according to Dr Dietrich Koelle. Spread the human annual production across the planet and it doesn’t even show on the world map. The pattern confirms this because it reflects natural sources.
To summarize, natural sources of CO2 on earth produce between 140-160 gigatons of CO2 per year and all human produced CO2 amounts to 9 gigatons!   Human produced CO2 is so minimal compared to the naturally produced CO2 it is less than half of the margin of error of the estimate of natural sources.

What I found more interesting in Ball's article was a satellite map of sources of CO2 emissions that had been recently published by a Japanese Research Institute.  It was put together with the intent to display how much each region needs to reduce its CO2 emissions in the future.  If that is the case, then the Northern Hemisphere doesn't have anything to worry about but the Southern Hemisphere better get their act together.  North America is a net consumer (not producer of CO2) as is Western Europe.  In effect, the most advanced industrialized countries in the world are consuming rather than producing CO2.

Red is for high C02 emissions; Green is for net absorption of CO2 (no emissions); White is low or neutral

With this context in mind, I need someone to explain to me exactly why the United States supposedly needs to limit the use of fossil fuels and the emission of carbon dioxide?  Why are we so intent on further hurting our economy when you look at these facts in context?

Credit to Powerline for making me aware of Ball's article.

No comments:

Post a Comment