[Vision2020] [Spam] Questions about global warming

lfalen lfalen at turbonet.com
Mon May 14 11:56:36 PDT 2007

Thanks fior your post. I have printed it off  and will read as time permits. I would like to complement you and Glen Schwaller on your posts. Both of you have presented reasoned viewpoints without  being vindictive or engaging in innuendo. I would like to see more of this on vision2020.  Skeptical Inquirer has a review of the literature on global warming in the May/June issue. They will continue the review in the July/August issue. I may tend to disagree with their conclusions. Good discussion none the less.

-----Original message-----
From: Paul Rumelhart godshatter at yahoo.com
Date: Sun, 13 May 2007 17:55:47 -0700
To: Vision2020 vision2020 at moscow.com
Subject: [Spam] [Vision2020] Questions about global warming

> I have been looking into Global Warming, and I have some questions that 
> have come up as I've been attempting to educate myself on this topic.
> First, look at this graph from the Energy Information Administration 
> which appears to be part of the Department of Energy (from 
> http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/ggccebro/chapter1.html in case your 
> email doesn't show it):
> Trends in Atmospheric Concentrations and Anthropogenic Emissions of 
> Carbon Dioxide
> I've been attempting to understand this graph for a little while now, 
> and something about it seems strange to me.  Hopefully, I have 
> misunderstood it completely.  The text for this image states: "Figure 1 
> is a line graph showing the trends in atmospheric concentrations and 
> anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide.".  Ok.  We're talking millons 
> of metric tons of carbon in the atmosphere here, with a scale that goes 
> from 0 (in 1860 or so) to about 6,600 at present.  I had at first 
> assumed that they were showing the total amounts of carbon int he 
> atmosphere on the right hand side, but the numbers are way too low for 
> that and they start at zero.  There is supposedly right now about 730 
> billions metric tons of carbon in the atmosphere, so that top 7,000 
> million tons number must mean something else.  It's somewhat close to 
> the current number for billions of tons of carbon put into the 
> atmosphere by "Fossil Fuel Combustion and Industrial Processes", which 
> appears to be an annual number.  To make these numbers come together, I 
> have to assume that the above graph is showing the amount of change in 
> millions of tons of carbon each year since 1750.
> So my question is, what happened in the 1960s?  That is the point at 
> which the lines cross.  So, if you look at 1860 you see that the entire 
> amount of carbon increase each year in the atmosphere (the orange line) 
> is about 2400 million tons.  So that's the baseline for the 
> non-anthropogenic increases.  It would basically have been going up by 
> that amount without our help every year, anyway.  Perhaps we had some 
> effect before 1860 burning wood and coal, cutting down forests and so 
> on, but presumably not the steep incline we see later - so we're not so 
> much to blame here.
> Now, if you look at 1950, you see that the total anthropogenic amount is 
> about 1500 million tons, yet the total atmospheric increase is about 
> 3600. Subtracting the two, you get a difference of 2100 million tons 
> instead of the 2400 million tons that I would have naively predicted.  
> It gets hugely worse in the 1960s, where the graphs actually cross.  At 
> that point, the total amount of atmospheric change per annum is due to 
> anthropogenic changes.  From that point forward, the amount of 
> atmospheric change would have been dropping, if not for the huge spike 
> in anthropogenic change.  We have the strange situation where the total 
> amount of atmospheric change is less than the total amount of 
> anthropogenic change, which is just flat-out weird.  What this seems to 
> say is that if you simply stopped burning all fossil fuels and stopped 
> all industrial processes, the amount of carbon in the air would drop 
> quite quickly.
> This is why I'm skeptical that we are going to have as disastrous an 
> effect as seems to be assumed by global warming proponents. 
> Take a look at the next graph on that site:
> Global Carbon Cycle (Billion Metric Tons Carbon)
> We are focusing so much on the dashed line heading from the factory to 
> the atmosphere that we seem to be ignoring the question of why 90 
> billion tons of carbon come out of the atmosphere and end up in the 
> ocean while only 88 billion tons makes its way back.  Same with 
> vegetation and soils - 120 from atmosphere to vegetation/soils, 119 goes 
> back.  Even the changing land-use figures are in our favor, by 0.2 
> billion tons.  This seems to mesh with the previous graph, i.e. if you 
> stop all industrial process altogether than the amount of carbon in the 
> atmosphere will drop by 3.2 billion tons every year.  Since the article 
> stated that certain greenhouse gases have increased by 25% since 1850, 
> then there must have been 730 / 1.25 = 584 billions of tons of carbon in 
> the air at that time.  Thus, it would take (730 - 584) / 3.2 = 45.625 
> years to get back to pre-industrial levels.  Of course, these changes 
> are probably not linear - I'm sure they all change  with great 
> complexity, which is why relying on those numbers in the other direction 
> without better understanding them seems foolish.
> I'm not saying that we shouldn't be pressuring our government and that 
> of other countries to lower that 6.3 number, but maybe we should also be 
> trying to find ways to increase the differences in those different 
> areas.  The only way that comes to mind right off hand is to take much 
> of our current vegetation and sink it to the bottom of the ocean so that 
> when it grows back it will have to take it's carbon from the 
> atmosphere.  Of course, that's not a viable solution for a whole host of 
> different reasons - but the idea is to "think outside the box" (gods I 
> hate that phrase) and look for other solutions at the same time we are 
> trying to convince those lunk-heads in charge that depending on fossil 
> fuels is a Bad Idea for many different excellent reasons.
> Just to forestall some things: I am not saying that global warming isn't 
> happening, obviously it is.  I'm not saying we aren't having an effect 
> on it, obviously we are.  That's a change in my thinking since I started 
> learning about this.  I was skeptical at first that we could have such 
> an enormous effect.  While that 6.3 number is small compared to the 
> amount of carbon going into the air from the oceans or from vegetation, 
> it's much larger proportionally than I would have guessed.  My position, 
> if you would call it that, is that this whole process is so bloody 
> complicated that we shouldn't be sounding the Trumpets of Doom and Gloom 
> all the time until we have some better numbers and a model that we can 
> use that has shown itself to be predictive.  The above is talking just 
> about the relatively simplistic carbon cycle, and doesn't even touch on 
> the other greenhouse gases, their interactions, or what the various 
> numbers given above are going to do as the earth warms even more or even 
> what their current rates of change are at this moment.
> If we do need to sound the trumpets, think about this - what if we have 
> set into motion a series of processes that will dump so much carbon from 
> the atmosphere before they stop that we will *need* to keep up our 
> anthropogenic changes or risk freezing to death?  I'm not actually 
> serious here, just trying to illustrate why "doom and gloom" doesn't 
> really help the debate.
> Paul

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