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  1. #1 anthropogenic CO2 
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    i've always taken the experts' word for it that the increase in CO2 since the start of the industrial revolution was man-made

    however, not until i saw the following extract from New Scientist has my conviction become based in evidence rather than faith :

    "How can we be sure that we are responsible for the extra CO2? There are several lines of evidence. For instance, fossil fuels contain virtually no carbon-14, because this unstable isotope, formed when cosmic rays hit the atmosphere, has a half-life of around 6000 years. Nearly all the carbon-14 in a fossil fuel will have long decayed by the time we burn the fuel, so the resulting CO2 will contain almost no carbon-14 too. Studies of tree rings have shown that the proportion of carbon-14 in the air dropped by about 2 per cent between 1850 and 1954 (after 1954, nuclear tests released large amounts of carbon-14)."

    i find this evidence pretty conclusive - how's the other forum members feel about it ?


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    Its solid. I imagine one could concoct some explanation that would account for the data, but there is just too much other circumstantial material that only someone with their heads buried up their fundaments could have any real doubt.

    I look at global warming this way: if it isn't occuring we will have 'wasted' a little under 1% of global GDP to fix a problem that doesn't exist. So in forty years time your children, or grandchildren will have to make do with one holographic projector per household, rather than one in each room.
    If we are right, but we don't spend that 1% on preventitive measures then we shall be in very deep doo doo. Is it really worth taking that risk? I suggest, unless you are a self centred piece of shit, the answer would be know.


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    Forum Ph.D. Cat1981(England)'s Avatar
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    Nice find marnixR, and I also agree that we should make every effort to combat climate change. The weight of evidence in any normal circumstances would be considered pretty conclusive, however there does seem to be three groups of people that either 1) Hate the idea that their tax's may need to rise, 2) Have the obsessive idea that the government(s) will use any opportunity to have any influence/control over their lives, or 3) Simply enjoy taking an opposite view on any subject that they consider mainstream. Such people will use any piece of information (or in the case of Henrik Svensmark, twist information) simply to be able to make a proposal that they believe can explain away the recent temperature rise.

    ---------------

    This image shows the rate of rise in CO2 levels in our atmosphere over the last 50 years.....

    The blips you can see in the blue (average) line are created by certain one off events such as volcanic activity's (it should also be noted that levels of CO2 in the oceans have also been rising). For some people to try and claim that this increase is natural is stupid, it could have been a debatable issue if one of them had proposed a way for the co2 levels to rise outside of volcanic and human contributions but they have not and cannot because there isn't one.
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    you forgot category (4), sponsoring by the oil companies

    e.g. the case of ExxonMobil funding climate sceptics in the New Scientist blog of may the 18th
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    ahhh yes number 4, i always forget that one. Hang on i second im just going to light a cigarette...... don't worry a man on the tv driving a new £80,000 BMW said that smoking doesn't do you any harm...... and i have proof, ive been smoking 10 years and i don't have cancer.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Its solid. I imagine one could concoct some explanation that would account for the data, but there is just too much other circumstantial material that only someone with their heads buried up their fundaments could have any real doubt.

    I look at global warming this way: if it isn't occuring we will have 'wasted' a little under 1% of global GDP to fix a problem that doesn't exist. So in forty years time your children, or grandchildren will have to make do with one holographic projector per household, rather than one in each room.
    If we are right, but we don't spend that 1% on preventitive measures then we shall be in very deep doo doo. Is it really worth taking that risk? I suggest, unless you are a self centred piece of shit, the answer would be know.
    Not really, I mailed this the other day to a friend (substantiated if challenged):

    First is, global warming true or not. If you could see the way I see it, then any notion that increasing CO2 could lead to catastrophic global warming is falsified. The evidence from the geologic past has been misidentified (putting it very friendly). Models have proven unable to predict the warming fingerprint correctly, througout the layers of the atmosphere at the various lattitude, the physics is wrong. Negative feedback is proven to prevail. There are some serious problems about the local environment heat contamination around officially used weather stations. It's likely that more greenhouse gas causes some climate changes but expect it to be minute.

    Note that I'm not trying to introduce alternative causes for the warming of the previous decade. Also a hockeystick discussion is irrelevant. Statistics don't prove or disprove anything. It's only about if the current global warming ideas are wrong or not, before we should think of alternatives.

    Not that anything matters of course, eco-business has succesfully created a very powerful defence, centered around the ad hominem attack, brainwashing the laymen by excellent interacting with their good intentions (a.k.a. demagoguery). Refutations of global warming will basically not reach them and if it does it will simply be done away with by the autority of the alarmists (don't listen to those climate deniers, they are bad). Which brings us to the second element. Is it nevertheless critical that humanity drastically cut CO2 emissions? And does it matter then, whether or not "global warming" is true?

    I think it's an essential error to assume that this "noble cause corruption" justifies holding climate hostage. Yes, of course we need to do everything possible attempting to transient to a sustainable society and there may be many very important reasons to reduce emissions aiming for carbon free energy in the end. But in order to do that, a clear picture of the factual situation with honest future projections is essential and Global warming scare is not. Wrong perceptions will lead to wrong decisions

    For instance, bio fuels are well on it's way to destroy all rainforests and cripple the economy of the equatorial countries involved. When we would have taken time and do some objective feasibility study we might have found that out beforehand. Wind turbines have probably the least effective rendements in terms of total energy production and energy used to construct, operate and terminating after useful life apart from a great number of other problems. But then, geo-engineering, imagine the horrors of putting reflective materials in the Lagrange points between Earth and Sun to dim the latter, just when climate decides to enter a new little ice age.

    But the main problem of misusing climate for a noble cause corruption is likely to happen whenever the balloon pops, overtaken by reality. Nobody can predict what will happen but the permutations are basically negative: stock market crash due to the CO2-permits getting worthless, numerous alternative energy projects cancelled due to funding withheld, but worst of all a cronical miss-trust of science in general, which was so sure and yet so wrong. What would that do to future scientific education? Therefore, I think it's paramount to come clean now and avoid a much greater disaster later. Unfortunately, the positive feedback loop between scare demand and scaremongering is at it strongest halfway the transition from the low extreme to the high extreme and hence impossible to stop. But at least we, sceptics, can say that we have done our duty and tried our utmost, best preventing those disasters, even facing the anger of the warmers.

    The third point, finally; the ocean acidification. Could be or not. I have been witnessing extensive discussions about that. The chemical buffer function of the ocean would be adequate or not or the transient from CO2 dissolving into the ocean towards weathering at bedrocks or bio-carbonate forming would be to slow or not.

    Also, ever since this "noble cause corruption" has been authorized by Stephen Schneider, some studies and peer reviews clearly have chosen for effective scaremongering rather than honesty. Hence I would be sceptical. I do know that Marchitto et al 2007 (Science) have suggested that massive CO2 mixing between deep waters and intermediate waters have occured between 17,5 ka and 11 ka (exactly during the last glacial transient). Consequently, it's not that things like that have happened before.
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    Wait...carbon levels measured from Mauna Loa? Mauna Loa's an active volcano... :?

    Anywho, so where does the carbon come from? I'm not sure anyone would make the claim that carbon levels are rising because oil exists. That's silly. But we do burn it, and even if there's no carbon in the oil, we do burn a lot of stuff that can be the cause.

    How do we know that the rise in carbon levels aren't actually the result of other cycles throughout the planet, such as volcanic activity?

    What's the ratio of carbon produced by people vs carbon produced by nature?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    (...)

    What's the ratio of carbon produced by people vs carbon produced by nature?
    If you're asking the amount of carbon being forced into atmopshere, the answer is a ratio of 130:1 according to the USGS. That is, human activity forces (adds) 130 times more carbon into carbon cycle than natural sources such as volcanos.
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    Let me know when you all become Gods and "define" all that (effluent) as a "fart".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucifer
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    (...)

    What's the ratio of carbon produced by people vs carbon produced by nature?
    If you're asking the amount of carbon being forced into atmopshere, the answer is a ratio of 130:1 according to the USGS. That is, human activity forces (adds) 130 times more carbon into carbon cycle than natural sources such as volcanos.
    Does anyone have a link to a reference for this claim?

    It seems that decomposition of organic matter (a natural source of CO2) would easily outstrip human contributions. I believe that humans contribute more CO2 than the earth can accomodate without changing climate, but I don't believe that we produce 130 times the natural amount.

    Source?
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    The figure pertains to volcanoes, not to all natural emissions of CO2. Here is one secondary source. The primary source (Gerlach) is identified in the linked article.

    Present-day carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from subaerial and submarine volcanoes are uncertain at the present time. Gerlach (1991) estimated a total global release of 3-4 x 10E12 mol/yr from volcanoes. This is a conservative estimate. Man-made (anthropogenic) CO2 emissions overwhelm this estimate by at least 150 times.
    http://volcano.und.edu/vwdocs/Gases/man.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    The figure pertains to volcanoes, not to all natural emissions of CO2. Here is one secondary source. The primary source (Gerlach) is identified in the linked article.

    Present-day carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from subaerial and submarine volcanoes are uncertain at the present time. Gerlach (1991) estimated a total global release of 3-4 x 10E12 mol/yr from volcanoes. This is a conservative estimate. Man-made (anthropogenic) CO2 emissions overwhelm this estimate by at least 150 times.
    http://volcano.und.edu/vwdocs/Gases/man.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Wait...carbon levels measured from Mauna Loa? Mauna Loa's an active volcano... :?

    Anywho, so where does the carbon come from? I'm not sure anyone would make the claim that carbon levels are rising because oil exists. That's silly. But we do burn it, and even if there's no carbon in the oil, we do burn a lot of stuff that can be the cause.
    ...
    ...
    Isn't the reason carbon levels are measured from Mauna Loa is because it's the furthest point from civilization (factories, cars, etc) that would lend to the least biased results?
    The only carbon dioxide measured is the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere near it - not made by factories, etc. So if there is a rise near it, it is reflecting global changes.

    Yeah...we do burn a lot of stuff...we combust a lot of hydrocarbons....which produces carbon dioxide and water. Unfortunately oil is one of those hydrocarbons.

    Also thanks for those sources and information!
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    There's a city not 5 minutes drive from the slopes of Mauna Loa. There's also a busy airport nearby, and constant air traffic. It's hardly remote. Mauna Loa is on Maui, after all. It's also active.

    BTW, 3.4x10^12mol of carbon is about 45-million tons. I dug around to figure these facts for myself, and found that the actual estimates are varied, but mostly center around 150-200 million tons of carbon produced by volcanoes every year. Of course, that value fluctuates depending on volcanic season.

    Apparently, at the same time, we humans produce close to 181 billion tons of carbon each year.

    That was startling. So I decided to have a look to see just how big the swimming pool was, to see how many little kids it would take to warm it up.

    Turns out there's an estimated 5,500-TRILLION tons of atmosphere.

    So our yearly influx of carbon is pretty small compared to the Earth's atmosphere.

    I got bored of punching numbers, so I haven't taken the time to hunt down what the Earth's carbon recovery rate is, yet.

    I also haven't looked to see just how much of a percentage of the atmosphere we'd need to pollute in order to cause a change in the global weather/atmosphere.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    There's a city not 5 minutes drive from the slopes of Mauna Loa. There's also a busy airport nearby, and constant air traffic. It's hardly remote. Mauna Loa is on Maui, after all. It's also active.
    Hm. I don't know where I heard that - maybe I'm getting my islands confused - perhaps there's some climate measurement going on at midway or something? Or my source wasn't reliable at all.

    Anywho
    BTW, 3.4x10^12mol of carbon is about 45-million tons. I dug around to figure these facts for myself, and found that the actual estimates are varied, but mostly center around 150-200 million tons of carbon produced by volcanoes every year. Of course, that value fluctuates depending on volcanic season.

    Apparently, at the same time, we humans produce close to 181 billion tons of carbon each year.

    That was startling. So I decided to have a look to see just how big the swimming pool was, to see how many little kids it would take to warm it up.

    Turns out there's an estimated 5,500-TRILLION tons of atmosphere.

    So our yearly influx of carbon is pretty small compared to the Earth's atmosphere.
    I get your point. It is quite small. But gases that make up the majority of the atmosphere - oxygen and nitrogen (21 and 78% respectively) - don't have the "greenhouse effect". As diffuse as carbon dioxide is- it's the most concentrated of the greenhouse gases - there are only trace amounts of methane, etc. So it's going to be the one that traps the most heat. Plus, carbon (and hydrocarbons which probably produce the majority of it through combustion) is extraordinarily abundant so again carbon dioxide is really easy to produce. Forest fires I'm sure produce tons of it. So carbon dioxide is going to have the greatest effect.

    The human amount is quite big. I wonder what effect that has on the ppm (parts per million - units per volume of atmosphere essentially) number of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Like if we could take the human produced carbon dioxide out of the equation if that would decrease the ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. That could have a significant effect.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    BTW, 3.4x10^12mol of carbon is about 45-million tons. I dug around to figure these facts for myself, and found that the actual estimates are varied, but mostly center around 150-200 million tons of carbon produced by volcanoes every year. Of course, that value fluctuates depending on volcanic season.

    Apparently, at the same time, we humans produce close to 181 billion tons of carbon each year.
    this objection was addressed by New Scientist in The 7 biggest myths about climate change :

    Half-truth: Human carbon dioxide emissions are tiny compared with natural sources

    YES, it's true that CO2 emissions due to human activity are small compared with most natural sources. Yet ice cores show that levels in the atmosphere have remained fairly steady at between 180 and 300 parts per million for the past half-million years, only to shoot up to more than 380 ppm since the industrial age began.

    How is this possible? The answer is that natural sources are balanced by natural sinks (see above). The breakdown of organic matter, for instance, releases huge quantities of CO2, but growing plants soak up just as much. CO2 levels have risen because slightly more of the gas has been entering the atmosphere each year than can be soaked up by natural sinks.

    How can we be sure that we are responsible for the extra CO2? There are several lines of evidence. For instance, fossil fuels contain virtually no carbon-14, because this unstable isotope, formed when cosmic rays hit the atmosphere, has a half-life of around 6000 years. Nearly all the carbon-14 in a fossil fuel will have long decayed by the time we burn the fuel, so the resulting CO2 will contain almost no carbon-14 too. Studies of tree rings have shown that the proportion of carbon-14 in the air dropped by about 2 per cent between 1850 and 1954 (after 1954, nuclear tests released large amounts of carbon-14).

    Finally, claims that volcanoes emit more CO2 than human activities are simply not true. CO2 levels around the world do not rise after major eruptions. Total emissions from volcanoes on land are estimated to average just 0.3 gigatonnes of CO2 each year - about a hundredth of human emissions - and are balanced by the carbon carried under tectonic plates in subducted ocean sediments.
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    Have calculations been done to estimate the extent to which we have removed sinks? (deforestation, urbanisation.)

    Presumably active reforestation (etc) would meet with more acceptance than CO2 emission caps, if in fact this side of the equation plays a part in rising atmospheric CO2 levels.

    Have calculations been done to estimate how many trees (etc) would equate to the excess CO2 (relative to pre-industrial levels) currently in the atmosphere?
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    The J. Craig Venter Institute has applied for patents for a synthetic bacterium, Mycoplasma laboratorium that is designed to absorb CO2. This is a laudable goal, but surely vast amounts would have to be used to make any appreciable dent in anthropogenic CO2, and it’s not explained how it would be used. There are understandable objections.

    The BBC report refers to this venture as creating life, but it seems more like modifying existing life.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7041353.stm

    Regardless, it surely won’t be long before life is created in the laboratory and Venter has a project to develop a code of governance for when this does happen.

    http://www.jcvi.org/press/news/news_2007_10_17.php
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    There are a couple of other things to consider here. Firstly, approximately half of our CO2 emissions are absorbed by the worlds oceans and other natural sinks. Some oceans (Link) are showing signs that they are reaching a state were they cannot absorb much more CO2. This means that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would continue to rise and accelerate even if we didn't increase our greenhouse emissions. Secondly, as the world becomes warmer by the greenhouse gases, the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere increase (Link). Water vapour itself is a greenhouse gas, this increases the earth's overall temperature which again leads to more water vapour etc. So although the amount of CO2 emissions seem small in comparison to the size of the atmosphere, they could be the small stone's which start the avalanche. The point of no return is estimated to be in 15 years.
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