carbon dioxide

A summary of climate change principles and state of the science – a rebuttal of climate alarmism

This post collects several past articles which review the science and bring together some main points on the state of the climate debate. These points show that the politically correct, carbon dioxide driven meme is wrong. Readers can use these articles to counter climate alarmist. Read each article for more details.

Climate change in perspective

Climate change is a major issue of our times. Concern is affecting environmental, energy, and economic policy decisions. Many politicians are under the mistaken belief that legislation and regulation can significantly control our climate to forestall any deviation from “normal” and save us from a perceived crisis. This post is intended as a primer for politicians so they can cut through the hype and compare real observational data against the flawed model prognostications.

The data show that the current warming is not unusual, but part of a natural cycle; that greenhouse gases, other than water vapor, are not significant drivers of climate; that human emissions of carbon dioxide are insignificant when compared to natural emissions of greenhouse gases; and that many predictions by climate modelers and hyped by the media are simply wrong.

 

A simple question for climate alarmists – where is the evidence

“What physical evidence supports the contention that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are the principal cause of global warming since 1970?”

(Remember back in the 1970s, climate scientists and media were predicting a return to an “ice age.”)

I have posed that question to five “climate scientist” professors at the University of Arizona who claim that our carbon dioxide emissions are the principal cause of dangerous global warming. Yet, when asked the question, none could cite any supporting physical evidence.

 

Carbon dioxide is necessary for life on Earth

Rather than being a “pollutant.” Carbon dioxide is necessary for life on Earth as we know it. Earth’s climate has been changing for at least four billion years in cycles large and small. Few in the climate debate understand those changes and their causes. Many are fixated on carbon dioxide (CO2), a minor constituent of the atmosphere, but one absolutely necessary for life as we know it. Perhaps this fixation derives from ulterior political motives for controlling the global economy. For others, the true believers, perhaps this fixation derives from ignorance.

 

Carbon Dioxide and the Greenhouse Effect

The “greenhouse effect,” very simplified, is this: solar radiation penetrates the atmosphere and warms the surface of the earth. The earth’s surface radiates thermal energy (infrared radiation) back into space. Some of this radiation is absorbed and re-radiated back to the surface and into space by clouds, water vapor, methane, carbon dioxide, and other gases. Water vapor is the principle greenhouse gas; the others are minor players. It is claimed that without the greenhouse effect the planet would be an iceball, about 34∘C colder than it is.* The term “greenhouse effect” with respect to the atmosphere is an unfortunate usage because it is misleading. The interior of a real greenhouse (or your automobile parked with windows closed and left in the sun) heats up because there is a physical barrier to convective heat loss. There is no such physical barrier in the atmosphere.*There is an alternate hypothesis:

 

What keeps Earth warm – the greenhouse effect or something else?

Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell proposed in his 1871 book “Theory of Heat” that the temperature of a planet depends only on gravity, mass of the atmosphere, and heat capacity of the atmosphere. Temperature is independent of atmosphere composition. Greenhouse gases have nothing to do with it. Many publications since, have expounded on Maxwell’s theory and have shown that it applies to all planets in the Solar System.

The Grand Canyon of Arizona provides a practical demonstration of this principle.

 

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

The U.S. government’s National Climate Assessment report and the UN IPCC both claim that human carbon dioxide emissions are “intensifying” the greenhouse effect and causing global warming. The carbon dioxide driven global warming meme makes four specific predictions. Physical evidence shows that all four of these predictions are wrong.

“It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is; it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.” – Richard Feynmann

 

An examination of the relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide

In this article, we will examine the Earth’s temperature and the carbon dioxide (CO2) content of the atmosphere at several time scales to see if there is any relationship. I stipulate that the greenhouse effect does exist. I maintain, however, that the ability of CO2 emissions to cause global warming is tiny and overwhelmed by natural forces. The main effect of our “greenhouse” is to slow cooling.

 

How much global warming is dangerous?

The United Nation’s IPCC and other climate alarmists say all hell will break loose if the global temperature rises more than an additional 2º C (3.6ºF). That number, by the way, is purely arbitrary with no basis in science. It also ignores Earth’s geologic history which shows that for most of the time global temperatures have been much warmer than now. Let’s look back at a time when global temperatures are estimated to have been as much as 34ºF warmer than they are now. Hell didn’t break loose then.

 

Effects of global warming on humans

The EPA’s “endangerment finding” classified carbon dioxide as a pollutant and claimed that global warming will have adverse effects on human health. Real research says the opposite: cold is deadlier. The scientific evidence shows that warming is good for health.

 

Geology is responsible for some phenomena blamed on global warming

Melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets have been blamed on global warming, but both have a geologic origin. The “Blob” a recent warm ocean area off the Oregon coast, responsible in part for the hot weather and drought in California, has been blamed on global warming, but that too may have a geologic cause.

 

The 97 percent consensus for human caused climate change debunked again

It has been claimed that 97% of climate scientists say humans are causing most of the global warming. An examination of the numbers and how those numbers have been reached show that only 8.2% of scientists polled explicitly endorse carbon dioxide as the principal driver.

Read also a more general article: On consensus in science

Conclusion:

The basic conclusion of this review is that carbon dioxide has little effect on climate and all attempts to control carbon dioxide will be a futile and expensive exercise to no end. All the dire predictions are based on flawed computer models. Carbon dioxide is a phantom menace.

 

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” – H. L. Mencken

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Nitrogen in rocks identified as major plant fertilizer not considered by climate models

Organic nitrogen compounds such as ammonia (NH3) act as plant fertilizers. Robust plant growth consumes more atmospheric carbon dioxide during the process of photosynthesis. However, atmospheric nitrogen (N2) is relatively inert. It is converted to organic nitrogen compounds by bacteria in the top soil layers. (See nitrogen fixation) Climate models have assumed that the atmosphere is the only source of nitrogen and have therefore underestimated its fertilization effect and also underestimated the capability of plants to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. New studies show that much nitrogen comes from rocks, some already in useable organic form. Weathering of rocks releases this organic nitrogen.

“A considerable amount of the nitrogen in igneous and sedimentary rocks exists as ammonium ions held within the lattice structures of silicate minerals. In sedimentary rocks, the ammonium is held by secondary silicate minerals; in igneous rocks, the ammonium is contained largely within potassium-bearing primary minerals. Analyses indicated that most of the nitrogen in igneous rocks, and from one-tenth to two-thirds of that in sedimentary rocks (shales) occurred as fixed ammonium.” (Source)

Nitrate deposits in arid and semi-arid regions provide another source of nitrogen.

“Nitrogen bearing rocks are globally distributed and comprise a potentially large pool of nitrogen in nutrient cycling that is frequently neglected because of a lack of routine analytical methods for quantification. Nitrogen in rock originates as organically bound nitrogen associated with sediment, or in thermal waters representing a mixture of sedimentary, mantle, and meteoric sources of nitrogen.” (Source)

A new study, reported by Science Daily, concerns research conducted by University of California – Davis published April 6, 2018.

“For centuries, the prevailing science has indicated that all of the nitrogen on Earth available to plants comes from the atmosphere. But a study from the University of California, Davis, indicates that more than a quarter comes from Earth’s bedrock.”

“The discovery could greatly improve climate change projections, which rely on understanding the carbon cycle. This newly identified source of nitrogen could also feed the carbon cycle on land, allowing ecosystems to pull more emissions out of the atmosphere, the authors said.”

“Geology might have a huge control over which systems can take up carbon dioxide and which ones don’t.”

“While there were hints that plants could use rock-derived nitrogen, this discovery shatters the paradigm that the ultimate source of available nitrogen is the atmosphere. Nitrogen is both the most important limiting nutrient on Earth and a dangerous pollutant, so it is important to understand the natural controls on its supply and demand. Humanity currently depends on atmospheric nitrogen to produce enough fertilizer to maintain world food supply. A discovery of this magnitude will open up a new era of research on this essential nutrient.”

Study citation: B. Z. Houlton, S. L. Morford, R. A. Dahlgren. Convergent evidence for widespread rock nitrogen sources in Earth’s surface environment. Science, 2018; 360 (6384): 58 DOI: 10.1126/science.aan4399.

Looks like “climate science” is still not settled. For instance, a 2003 study published in the same Science journal claimed, “there will not be enough nitrogen available to sustain the high carbon uptake scenarios.” Investor’s Business Daily opines: “with more nitrogen available, plant life might be able to absorb more CO2 than climate scientists have been estimating, which means the planet won’t warm as much, despite mankind’s pumping CO2 into the atmosphere.”

 

See also:

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

An examination of the relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide

A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists

Climate Craziness, Politics, and Hypocrisy

In my opinion, the greatest danger we face from global warming is that politicians think they can stop it. Politicians decree that we must reduce carbon dioxide emissions from use of fossil fuels even though there is no physical evidence that those emissions play a significant role is controlling global temperature. (See: Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect)

The policy of reducing CO2 emissions is costing billions, even trillions, of dollars that could be put to better use. For instance, Germany will have to spend more than 1 trillion euros ($1.2 trillion) to meet even the lower end of the European Union’s 2050 target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, according to a draft of a study commissioned by the BDI German industry group. (Source).

Several counties and municipalities in California as well as New York City have filed lawsuits against energy companies. These suits are seeking to force oil and gas companies to pay reparations for severe weather and infrastructure advancements to guard against future storms and rising sea levels. Read more However, as noted by Valerie Richardson in The Washington Times, the risks posed by human-caused climate change were apparently alarming enough to prompt seven California municipalities last year to sue ExxonMobil, but not serious enough to disclose in full to their investors. “Notwithstanding their claims of imminent, allegedly near-certain harm, none of the municipalities disclosed to investors such risks in their respective bond offerings, which collectively netted over $8 billion for these local governments over the last 27 years,” said ExxonMobil in its petition in Texas District Court. Read more.

Back in the year 2000, Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, predicted that within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren’t going to know what snow is. Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.” (Source) Residents of the northeast U.S. would disagree due to the very cold weather and snowfalls this winter.

Also, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (January, 2018), climate activists set up a base camp to educate world leaders about man-made global warming. Mother Nature didn’t cooperate, however, as the “Gore Effect” kicked in and dumped about six feet of snow on their little stunt during the last six days. The weather at Davos did not deter the arrival of 1,000 private jets owned or chartered by elites who lecture the rest of us about limiting our “carbon footprint.” The hosting organization for the Davos forum has a formal sustainability policy that vows to “limit our environmental impact” and addresses such issues as climate change and deforestation.

Just plain crazy:

Researchers at The University of Manchester have carried out the first ever study looking at the carbon footprint of sandwiches, both home-made and pre-packaged. They considered the whole life cycle of sandwiches, including the production of ingredients, sandwiches and their packaging, as well as food waste discarded at home and elsewhere in the supply chain. Of the recipes considered, the most carbon-intensive variety is a ready-made ‘all-day breakfast’ sandwich which includes egg, bacon and sausage. Read more

Researchers at the University of Arizona set out to learn more about how people’s perception of the threat of global climate change affects their mental health. They found that while some people have little anxiety about the Earth’s changing climate, others are experiencing high levels of stress, and even depression, based on their perception of the threat of global climate change. Read more

Alarmist scientists have found a terrifying new ‘climate change’ threat: mutant transgender turtles. Their study, titled Environmental Warming and Feminization of One of the Largest Sea Turtle Populations in the World, warns that global warming could turn the world’s sea turtle populations female, possibly leading to their extinction. Read more.

And even this: A Canadian government website claims Santa Claus signed an international agreement to relocate his workshop to the South Pole to escape the effects of man-made global warming in the Arctic. Read more.

See also:

Climate Madness 1

Climate Madness 2

Climate Madness 3

Climate Madness 4  

Climate Madness 5

Climate Madness 6

Climate Madness 7

Climate Madness 8

Climate Madness 9

Climate Madness 10

It’s time to dump the EPA “endangerment finding” which classified carbon dioxide as a pollutant

In 2009, the EPA ruled, under the Clean Air Act, that “the current and projected concentrations of the six key well-mixed greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)—in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.” In essence, the EPA classified carbon dioxide as a pollutant even though Carbon dioxide is necessary for life on Earth.

For some perspective, note that current atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is about 400ppm (parts per million) while the air we exhale with every breathe contains 40,000ppm carbon dioxide. Is breathing causing air pollution?

This EPA ruling in effect allowed EPA to regulate everything from automobile exhaust to power plants to refrigerators. In order to overturn the finding, one would have to successfully show that the underlying scientific basis is wrong – and it is. Another tactic would be to have Congress amend the Clean Air Act, something that is very unlikely in the current contentious Congress.

The EPA’s scientific basis is derived from climate models, predictions of which diverge widely from reality. See my ADI articles:

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

Failure of climate models shows that carbon dioxide does not drive global temperature

Additional reading on the “Endangerment Finding” if you want to get into the details:

 

The EPA CO2 endangerment finding endangers the USA by Dennis Avery.

“In science, if your theory doesn’t take account of all the relevant data, you need a new theory.” Avery shows how the climate models fail to explain observations and notes that thousands of new coal-fired power plants are being built around the world – even in Europe. Avery is a former U.S. State Department senior analyst and co-author with astrophysicist Fred Singer of Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years.

 

Why Revoking the EPA GHG Endangerment Finding Is the Most Urgent Climate Action Needed

by Alan Carlin. Carlin is a scientist and economist who worked for the RAND Corp. and the EPA.

“Revoking the EF is the only way to bring the climate alarmism scam to the untimely end it so richly deserves in the US and hopefully indirectly elsewhere. Until that happens the CIC [climate industrial complex] will continue to pursue its bad science through reports such as the National Climate Assessment with the recommended disastrous policies that would seriously damage the environment, impoverish the less wealthy, and bring economic disaster for our Nation by raising the prices and decreasing the availability and reliability of fossil fuel energy which is so central to our way of life and economy.”

 

In a separate post, Carlin also said that “EPA never engaged in a robust, meaningful discussion. Rather, there was a pro forma review after a decision had already been made which met many but not all of the legal requirements.” He lists “six crucial scientific issues that EPA did not actively discuss despite my best efforts to bring a few of them to their attention in early 2009.”

 

Dr. Pat Michaels on the ‘voluminous science that the USGCRP either ignored or slanted’ for the EPA endangerment finding

Patrick J. Michaels is the director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute. Michaels is a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and was program chair for the Committee on Applied Climatology of the American Meteorological Society. He was a research professor of Environmental Sciences at University of Virginia for 30 years. Michaels recounts his testimony before the EPA. USGCRP is U.S. Global Change Research Program.

 

60 scientists call for EPA endangerment finding to be reversed

“We the undersigned are individuals who have technical skills and knowledge relevant to climate science and the GHG Endangerment Finding. We each are convinced that the 2009 GHG Endangerment Finding is fundamentally flawed and that an honest, unbiased reconsideration is in order.”

A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists

What physical evidence supports the contention that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are the principal cause of global warming since 1970?

(Remember back in the 1970s, climate scientists and media were predicting a return to an “ice age.”)

I have posed that question to five “climate scientist” professors at the University of Arizona who claim that our carbon dioxide emissions are the principal cause of dangerous global warming. Yet, when asked the question, none could cite any supporting physical evidence.

Some of the professors would claim that computer models, when corrected for natural variation, required carbon dioxide emissions to correlate with observed warming of the late 20th Century. But computer modeling is not physical evidence; it is mere speculation. And correlation does not prove causation. One could easily substitute any increasing time series of data to produce similar results. In fact, an Australian group did a tongue-in-cheek exercise of comparing the historic price rise of a first class U.S. postage stamp with temperature. Results are shown on the graph below. The rise in the price of a stamp shows a remarkable correlation with the rise of global temperature.

In seeking an answer to the initial question, I also read the many reports from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The reports provide no physical evidence, only various scenarios generated by computers. The outputs from computer models diverge widely from observational evidence because the models attribute too much warming influence to carbon dioxide emissions and too little to natural variation. (See Why Climate Models Run Hot by Rud Istvan.)

It appears that there is no physical evidence showing that carbon dioxide emissions have a significant effect on global temperature. There is, however, physical evidence showing that our carbon dioxide emissions are not having any significant effect, see my article Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect for details. That article examines four predictions made by climate alarmists of what we should see as atmospheric carbon dioxide content rises. In each case, what really happened was the opposite of what was predicted.

The benighted, eco-faddish, Tucson City council wants to reduce the City’s carbon footprint by installing 100 percent renewable energy for all city government operations so Tucson will not get as hot as Phoenix. (Source) If they do that, they really will be in the dark. In another article, Impact of Paris climate accord and why Trump was right to dump it, I present research which shows that even if all countries fulfilled their pledges to reduce carbon dioxide emissions made in the Paris Climate Accord, it would make a difference of only 0.17°C by the year 2100.

Can anyone provide an answer to the initial question?

Note: evidence of warming is not evidence of the cause of warming.

One other complication, Fake warming: A new peer-reviewed study finds that nearly all reported warming in the 20th century is a result of historic adjustments made to the original data. The study concludes: “The conclusive findings of this research are that the three GAST data sets [ Global Average Surface Temperature (GAST) data, produced by NOAA, NASA, and HADLEY] are not a valid representation of reality. In fact, the magnitude of their historical data adjustments, that removed their cyclical temperature patterns, are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data. Thus, it is impossible to conclude from the three published GAST data sets that recent years have been the warmest ever –despite current claims of record setting warming.” Read the study

Bottom line: Reducing carbon dioxide emissions will have little, if any, effect on global temperature. Such efforts are therefore a waste of money and other resources.

See also:

An examination of the relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide is necessary for life on Earth

What keeps Earth warm – the greenhouse effect or something else?

Satellite data show that CO2 has almost no effect on global warming

Geology is responsible for some phenomena blamed on global warming

The past is getting cooler – an example of fake warming

 

 

An examination of the relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide

Natural variation trumps CO2

Many climate scientists claim that our carbon dioxide emissions are the principal driver of global warming. I have asked several University of Arizona professors, who make such a claim, to provide supporting physical evidence. So far, none have been able to justify the claim with physical evidence.

In this article, we will examine the Earth’s temperature and the carbon dioxide (CO2) content of the atmosphere at several time scales to see if there is any relationship. I stipulate that the greenhouse effect does exist. I maintain, however, that the ability of CO2 emissions to cause global warming is tiny and overwhelmed by natural forces. The main effect of our “greenhouse” is to slow cooling.

There is an axiom in science which says: “correlation does not prove causation.” Correlation, however, is very suggestive of a relationship. Conversely, lack of correlation proves that there is no cause-and-effect relationship.

Phanerozoic time – the past 500 million years:

 

Estimates of global temperature and atmospheric CO2 content based on geological and isotope evidence show little correlation between the two. Earth experienced a major ice age in the Ordovician Period when atmospheric CO2 was 4,000ppm, 10 times higher than now. Temperatures during the Cretaceous Period were rising and steamy, but atmospheric CO2 was declining.

Notice also, that for most of the time, Earth’s temperature was much warmer than now and life flourished. There were some major extinction periods, all associated with ice ages.

Sources:

Berner, R.A. and Kothavala, Z, 2001, GEOCARB III: A Revised Model of Atmospheric CO2 over Phanerozoic Time, American Journal of Science, Vol. 301, February, 2001, P. 182–204

Scotese, C.R., http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html

Our current ice age – the past 420,000 years:

During the latter part of our current ice age, glacial-interglacial cycles occurred with a periodicity of about 100,000 years which correlates with the changes in Earth’s orbit around the sun as it changes from nearly circular to elliptical with an eccentricity of about 9%. Here we see an apparent correlation between temperature and CO2. The data are from ice cores collected at the Vostok station in Antarctica. The scientists working on the Vostok core noticed that temperature changes PRECEDED changes in CO2 concentration by about 800 years. Again, we see that CO2 doesn’t have much influence on temperature, but temperature has great influence on CO2concentration because temperature controls CO2 solubility in the ocean.

Sources:

Petit, J.R., et al., 1999. Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica. Nature 399: 429-436.

Mudelsee, M, 2001. The phase relations among atmospheric CO2 content, temperature and global ice volume over the past 420 ka, Quaternary Science Reviews 20:583-589.

Siegenthaler, U. Et al., 2005. Stable carbon cycle-climate relationship during the late Pleistocene. Science 310: 1313-1317.

The Holocene – the past 10,000 years:

The Holocene represents the current interglacial period. For most of the past 10,000 years, temperature was higher than now. CO2 was fairly steady below 300ppm (vs over 400ppm now). There were cycles of warm and cool periods at a periodicity of 1200 to 1500 years. This periodicity correlates with the interplay of the several solar cycles. The sun itself goes through cycles of solar intensity and magnetic flux. When the cycles are in a strong phase, the amount of cosmic rays entering the atmosphere is reduced, there are fewer clouds to block the sun, so it is warmer. When solar cycles wane, as is beginning to happen now, more cosmic rays enter the atmosphere and produce more clouds which block the sun, so it becomes cooler. The number of sunspots (hence magnetic flux) varies on an average cycle of 11 years. There are also 87-year (Gliessberg) and 210-year (DeVriess-Suess) cycles in the amplitude of the 11-year sunspot cycle which combine to form an approximately 1,500-year cycle of warming and cooling.

The 20th Century:

 

The first part of the 20th Century experienced warming in the 1920s and 1930s comparable to current temperatures. According to NASA, atmospheric CO2 rose from 295ppm in 1900 to 311ppm in 1940. Major emissions from burning fossil fuels, however, commenced after WWII in the mid 1940s. The period 1940-1970 saw a CO2 rise of 311ppm to 325ppm. That period also showed global cooling to such an extent that climate scientists were predicting a return to glacial conditions. From about 1980 to 2000, CO2 rose from 339ppm to 370ppm and we had warming during that period until the super El Nino of 1997/1998. Some of this data has been “corrected” by NOAA.

Source: NOAA Climate at a glance

The 21st Century so far 

Microwave data from satellites converted to temperature.

Between the El Nino of 1997 and that of 2016, there have been temperature fluctuations but no net warming. Atmospheric CO2 rose from 363ppm to 407ppm today. It seems that there is no correlation between global temperature and CO2.

As I said at the beginning, while the CO2-induced greenhouse effect has some hypothetical warming potential, that warming is tiny and overwhelmed by the forces of natural variation. So far, I have seen no physical evidence to contradict my contention.

Source : http://www.drroyspencer.com/2017/05/uah-global-temperature-update-for-april-2017-0-27-deg-c/

See also: Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

New Study: Cement is a carbon sink

A new study from University or California Irvine shows that cement is a net carbon dioxide sink.

Cement manufacturing is among the most carbon-intensive industrial processes, but an international team of researchers has found that over time, the widely used building material reabsorbs much of the CO2 emitted when it was made.

“It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true,” said Steven Davis, associate professor of Earth system science at the University of California, Irvine. “The cement poured around the world since 1930 has taken up a substantial portion of the CO2 released when it was initially produced.”

Cement manufacturing is considered doubly carbon-intensive because emissions come from two sources. CO2 molecules are released into the air when limestone (calcium carbonate) is converted to lime (calcium oxide), the key ingredient in cement. And to generate the heat necessary to break up limestone, factories also burn large quantities of natural gas, coal and other fossil fuels.

Davis and his fellow researchers looked at the problem from a different angle. They investigated how much of the gas is removed from the environment over time by buildings, roads and other kinds of infrastructure. Through a process called carbonation, CO2 is drawn into the pores of cement-based materials, such as concrete and mortar. This starts at the surface and moves progressively inward, pulling in more and more carbon dioxide as years pass.

Read more at WUWT

Carbon dioxide is necessary for life on Earth

Earth’s climate has been changing for at least four billion years in cycles large and small. Few in the climate debate understand those changes and their causes. Many are fixated on carbon dioxide (CO2), a minor constituent of the atmosphere, but one absolutely necessary for life as we know it. Perhaps this fixation derives from ulterior political motives for controlling the global economy. For others, the true believers, perhaps this fixation derives from ignorance.

Greenpeace co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore has written an excellent summary of the history of carbon dioxide on Earth titled, “The Positive Impact of Human CO2 Emissions On the Survival of Life on Earth.” In this 24-page paper, Moore notes that we came dangerously close to losing plant life on Earth about 18,000 years ago, when CO2 levels approached 150 ppm, below which plant life can’t sustain photosynthesis. Currently, atmospheric CO2 stands at about 400 ppm which is about one-third the level for optimum plant growth.

Phanerozoic temp CO2 moore

Here is the executive summary of Moore’s paper:

This study looks at the positive environmental effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a topic which has been well established in the scientific literature but which is far too often ignored in the current discussions about climate change policy. All life is carbon based and the primary source of this carbon is the CO2 in the global atmosphere. As recently as 18,000 years ago, at the height of the most recent major glaciation, CO2 dipped to its lowest level in recorded history at 180 ppm, low enough to stunt plant growth.

This is only 30 ppm above a level that would result in the death of plants due to CO2 starvation. It is calculated that if the decline in CO2 levels were to continue at the same rate as it has over the past 140 million years, life on Earth would begin to die as soon as two million years from now and would slowly perish almost entirely as carbon continued to be lost to the deep ocean sediments. The combustion of fossil fuels for energy to power human civilization has reversed the downward trend in CO2 and promises to bring it back to levels that are likely to foster a considerable increase in the growth rate and biomass of plants, including food crops and trees. Human emissions of CO2 have restored a balance to the global carbon cycle, thereby ensuring the long-term continuation of life on Earth.

Moore presents a concise history of CO2 beginning in the Cambrian Period 540 million years ago when CO2 was about 7,000 ppm. He follows that with a discussion of how carbon is distributed today between the atmosphere, oceans, plant life, and rocks.

In his concluding remarks, Moore briefly discusses the politics of CO2 and notes: ” Lost in all these machinations is the indisputable fact that the most important thing about CO2 is that it is essential for all life on Earth and that before humans began to burn fossil fuels, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 was heading in a very dangerous direction for a very long time.”

There is no physical evidence that our CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels will produce catastrophic climate change. Moore asks, “Given that the optimum CO2 level for plant growth is above 1,000 ppm and that CO2 has been above that level for most of the history of life, what sense does it make to call for a reduction in the level of CO2 in the absence of evidence of catastrophic climate change?”

You can read Moore’s full paper here.

Also of interest is a 40-page paper published by the Canadian Friends of Science Society entitled “A Confluence of Carbonbaggers.” – great title. Here is part of the executive summary:

Given that in most industries, margins of error are required to be small, this paper reviews the substantial failings of the IPCC in everything from the original premise that human activity producing greenhouse gases was the primary cause of recent warming, to vast statistical errors in climate models that are 500 and 600% off trend.

Few average citizens have any knowledge of these goings on – despite the fact that billions of their tax dollars are vanishing every year on causes proclaimed by this august organization and echoed around the world by enthusiastic Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (ENGOs) who find climate catastrophe predictions the easiest way to raise money to ‘save the planet’ – all the while demonizing traditional industries that have provided jobs, energy and resources that have created our modern, industrialized world.

This report is a compilation of errors, false and wildly exaggerated predictions, and the IPCC’s claim that it in fact ‘makes no recommendation of any kind on any topic’ – effectively washing its hands of responsibility for the damage its reports and meetings have done in the Western world. National economies have been ruined, investment markets distorted, industries devastated, thousands have died prematurely due to sharp rise in power prices across the UK and Europe as the poor and middle class have been pushed into ‘heat-or-eat’ poverty – and yet governments still persist in designing faulty climate and economic policies based on flawed documents from the IPCC – cited as ‘the authority on climate change.’

See also:

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

A Modest Proposal: Triple Your Carbon Footprint

Patrick Moore asks – Should We Celebrate Carbon Dioxide?

At the annual meeting of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Dr. Patrick Moore, a founder of Greenpeace, put carbon dioxide in perspective and showed why policies and efforts to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide are not only futile, but also dangerous to life on Earth. You can read the full transcript of the speech here. Dr. Moore left Greenpeace when that organization lost its strong humanitarian orientation and became radicalized with the belief that humans are the enemies of the earth.

Dr. Moore believes that the current concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, 400ppm, is dangerously low and much lower that it has been for most of Earth’s history. He says we and the planet would be better off with a concentration closer to 2,000ppm.

Here are some excerpts from his speech:

Let’s begin with our knowledge of the long-term history of the Earth’s temperature and of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere. I will focus on the past 540 million years since modern life forms evolved. It is glaringly obvious that temperature and CO2 are in an inverse correlation at least as often as they are in any semblance of correlation. Two clear examples of reverse correlation occurred 150 million years and 50 million years ago. At the end of the Jurassic temperature fell dramatically while CO2 spiked. During the Eocene Thermal Maximum, temperature was likely higher than any time in the past 550 million years while CO2 had been on a downward track for 100 million years. This evidence alone sufficient to warrant deep speculation of any claimed lock-step causal relationship between CO2 and temperature.

The Devonian Period beginning 400 million years ago marked the culmination of the invasion of life onto the land. Plants evolved to produce lignin, which in combination with cellulose, created wood which in turn for the first time allowed plants to grow tall, in competition with each other for sunlight. As vast forests spread across the land living biomass increased by orders of magnitude, pulling down carbon as CO2 from the atmosphere to make wood. Lignin is very difficult to break down and no decomposer species possessed the enzymes to digest it. Trees died atop one another until they were 100 metres or more in depth. This was the making of the great coal beds around the world as this huge store of sequestered carbon continued to build for 90 million years. Then, fortunately for the future of life, white rot fungi evolved to produce the enzymes that can digest lignin and coincident with that the coal-making era came to an end.

A well-documented record of global temperature over the past 65 million years shows that we have been in a major cooling period since the Eocene Thermal Maximum 50 million years ago. The Earth was an average 16C warmer then, with most of the increased warmth at the higher latitudes. The entire planet, including the Arctic and Antarctica were ice-free and the land there was covered in forest.

The ancestors of every species on Earth today survived through what may have been the warmest time in the history of life. It makes one wonder about dire predictions that even a 2C rise in temperature from pre-industrial times would cause mass extinctions and the destruction of civilization. Glaciers began to form in Antarctica 30 million years ago and in the northern hemisphere 3 million years ago. Today, even in this interglacial period of the Pleistocene Ice Age, we are experiencing one of the coldest climates in the Earth’s history.

Coming closer to the present we have learned from Antarctic ice cores that for the past 800,000 years there have been regular periods of major glaciation followed by interglacial periods in 100,000 year-cycles. These cycles coincide with the Milankovitch cycles that are tied to the eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit and its axial tilt. It is highly plausible that these cycles are related to solar intensity and the seasonal distribution of solar heat on the Earth’s surface. There is a strong correlation between temperature and the level of atmospheric CO2 during these successive glaciations, indicating a possible cause-effect relationship between the two. CO2 lags temperature by an average of 800 years during the most recent 400,000-year period, indicating that temperature is the cause, as the cause never comes after the effect.

Looking at the past 50,000 years of temperature and CO2 we can see that changes in CO2 follow changes in temperature. This is as one could expect, as the Milankovitch cycles are far more likely to cause a change in temperature than a change in CO2. And a change in the temperature is far more likely to cause a change in CO2 due to out-gassing of CO2 from the oceans during warmer times and an in-gassing (absorption) of CO2 during colder periods. Yet climate alarmists persist in insisting that CO2 is causing the change in temperature, despite the illogical nature of that assertion.

Coming back to the relationship between temperature and CO2 in the modern era we can see that temperature has risen at a steady slow rate in Central England since 1700 while human CO2 emissions were not relevant until 1850 and then began an exponential rise after 1950. This is not indicative of a direct causal relationship between the two. After freezing over regularly during the Little Ice Age the River Thames froze for the last time in 1814, as the Earth moved into what might be called the Modern Warm Period.

There was a 30-year period of warming from 1910-1940, then a cooling from 1940 to 1970, just as CO2 emissions began to rise exponentially, and then a 30-year warming from 1970-2000 that was very similar in duration and temperature rise to the rise from 1910-1940. One may then ask “what caused the increase in temperature from 1910-1940 if it was not human emissions? And if it was natural factors how do we know that the same natural factors were not responsible for the rise between 1970-2000.” You don’t need to go back millions of years to find the logical fallacy in the IPCC’s certainty that we are the villains in the piece.

Coming to the core of my presentation, CO2 is the currency of life and the most important building block for all life on Earth. All life is carbon-based, including our own. Surely the carbon cycle and its central role in the creation of life should be taught to our children rather than the demonization of CO2, that “carbon” is a “pollutant” that threatens the continuation of life. We know for a fact that CO2 is essential for life and that it must be at a certain level in the atmosphere for the survival of plants, which are the primary food for all the other species alive today. Should we not encourage our citizens, students, teachers, politicians, scientists, and other leaders to celebrate CO2 as the giver of life that it is?

It is a proven fact that plants, including trees and all our food crops, are capable of growing much faster at higher levels of CO2 than present in the atmosphere today. Even at the today’s concentration of 400 ppm plants are relatively starved for nutrition. The optimum level of CO2 for plant growth is about 5 times higher, 2000 ppm, yet the alarmists warn it is already too high. They must be challenged every day by every person who knows the truth in this matter. CO2 is the giver of life and we should celebrate CO2 rather than denigrate it as is the fashion today.

Let’s look at where all the carbon is in the world, and how it is moving around.

Today, at just over 400 ppm CO2 there are 850 billion tons of CO2 in the atmosphere. By comparison, when modern life-forms evolved over 500 million years ago there was nearly 15,000 billion tons of CO2 in the atmosphere, 17 times today’s level. Plants and soils combined contain more than 2,000 billion tons of carbon, more that twice as much as the entire global atmosphere. The oceans contain 38,000 billion tons of dissolved CO2, 45 times as much as in the atmosphere. Fossil fuels, which were made from plants that pulled CO2 from the atmosphere account for 5,000 – 10,000 billion tons of carbon, 6 – 12 times as much carbon as is in the atmosphere.

But the truly stunning number is the amount of carbon that has been sequestered from the atmosphere and turned into carbonaceous rocks. 100,000,000 billion tons, that’s one quadrillion tons of carbon, have been turned into stone by marine species that learned to make armour-plating for themselves by combining calcium and carbon into calcium carbonate. Limestone, chalk, and marble are all of life origin and amount to 99.9% of all the carbon ever present in the global atmosphere. The white cliffs of Dover are made of the calcium carbonate skeletons of coccolithophores, tiny marine phytoplankton.

The vast majority of the carbon dioxide that originated in the atmosphere has been sequestered and stored quite permanently in carbonaceous rocks where it cannot be used as food by plants.

Beginning 540 million years ago at the beginning of the Cambrian Period many marine species of invertebrates evolved the ability to control calcification and to build armour plating to protect their soft bodies. Shellfish such as clams and snails, corals, coccolithofores (phytoplankton) and foraminifera (zooplankton) began to combine carbon dioxide with calcium and thus to remove carbon from the life cycle as the shells sank into sediments; 100,000,000 billion tons of carbonaceous sediment. It is ironic that life itself, by devising a protective suit of armour, determined its own eventual demise by continuously removing CO2 from the atmosphere. This is carbon sequestration and storage writ large. These are the carbonaceous sediments that form the shale deposits from which we are fracking gas and oil today. And I add my support to those who say, “OK UK, get fracking”.

The past 150 million years has seen a steady drawing down of CO2 from the atmosphere. There are many components to this but what matters is the net effect, a removal on average of 37,000 tons of carbon from the atmosphere every year for 150 million years. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere was reduced by about 90% during this period. This means that volcanic emissions of CO2 have been outweighed by the loss of carbon to calcium carbonate sediments on a multi-million year basis.

If this trend continues CO2 will inevitably fall to levels that threaten the survival of plants, which require a minimum of 150 ppm to survive. If plants die all the animals, insects, and other invertebrates that depend on plants for their survival will also die.

How long will it be at the present level of CO2 depletion until most or all of life on Earth is threatened with extinction by lack of CO2 in the atmosphere?

During this Pleistocene Ice Age, CO2 tends to reach a minimum level when the successive glaciations reach their peak. During the last glaciation, which peaked 18,000 years ago, CO2 bottomed out at 180 ppm, extremely likely the lowest level CO2 has been in the history of the Earth. This is only 30 ppm above the level that plants begin to die. Paleontological research has demonstrated that even at 180 ppm there was a severe restriction of growth as plants began to starve. With the onset of the warmer interglacial period CO2 rebounded to 280 ppm. But even today, with human emissions causing CO2 to reach 400 ppm plants are still restricted in their growth rate, which would be much higher if CO2 were at 1000-2000 ppm.

Here is the shocking news. If humans had not begun to unlock some of the carbon stored as fossil fuels, all of which had been in the atmosphere as CO2 before sequestration by plants and animals, life on Earth would have soon been starved of this essential nutrient and would begin to die. Given the present trends of glaciations and interglacial periods this would likely have occurred less than 2 million years from today, a blink in nature’s eye, 0.05% of the 3.5 billion-year history of life.

There is much more in Moore’s speech; follow the link above to read the whole thing.

For more information on climate change, see the Climate in Perspective page to link to my 28-page essay on climate myths and reality.