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Monday, May 14, 2007

Thoughts on CO2

Before I start, I just wanted to throw in a quick reminder to please visit the disclaimer post first, if you haven't already. Thanks. :-)

Once again, it's been a long time since I've posted on the subject. I've been finding it difficult to sit down and write a post. Aside from the fact that we're not home all that much these days, it takes a great deal of mental energy for me to write these. I take my writing very seriously, being careful to say things as clearly and succinctly as I can. It's particularly frustrating when writing on such a hot topic. For starters, I'm responding to comments made by people I know don't want to hear/read what I'm saying. They've already made up their minds and reject any point of view that disagrees with them out of hand. I'm not writing for them, though. So why am I willing to spend to much energy here, instead of on so many other things I could be doing? Why write, knowing I'm going to be belittled and insulted for my opinions? In the end, I'm writing this for the ones who aren't quite sure yet; for the ones who are questioning, and the ones who are fearful. I'm writing for those who are still thinking about it; not yet convinced by the hype and the fear mongering. I'm writing, because I hate to see lies or misinformation perpetuated, until they become accepted as truth. I write, because something inside me knows that this is the right thing to do, therefore it must be done, and if I don't, I can't be sure that anyone else will.

So today, I will tackle the CO2 issue.

We are being told that the amount of CO2 we are putting into the atmosphere is causing global warming and climate change. We are told that this is not up to debate. CO2 levels are supposedly skyrocketing, and it's all our fault, because we drive cars and use electricity, and so on. We are told that unless we go to heroic lengths to lower the levels of CO2 in the air, the world will undergo catastrophes beyond anything it's ever gone through, and it'll all be our fault. Or George W. Bush's fault. Or Stephen Harper's fault. Of the fault of "big business" and "industry."

More recently, I've noticed a lot more focus on CO2 levels in car exhaust. I find that one particularly odd. For as long as I can remember, I've been warned of the dangers of car exhaust. Not for the CO2 levels, though, but for the CO. Carbon Monoxide is deadly. When I was in my teens, a young man I knew, about a year older than myself, was killed by CO while working on his car. There are people who use car exhaust to commit both murder and suicide. There are many other noxious things about car exhaust that pollute our atmosphere, but until the last year or so, I've never once heard warnings about CO2 levels.

Another thought occurs to me when people talk of reducing CO2 levels. I was reminded of it as I was reading a sourdough cookbook, of all things. The author talked of how the wild yeasts in the air begin to ferment in flour and water to create sourdough, and that the fermentation process creates CO2, causing the sourdough starter to bubble.

Everything that ferments creates CO2. Every loaf of bread that rises. Every bottle of soy sauce or pickles. Every jar of sauerkraut. Every alcoholic drink. Even fruits and berries, over ripening on trees, can ferment into alcohol, inebriating the birds and animals that eat it.

This would be on top of other natural things, like forest fires, volcanoes, and the release of CO2 from our oceans.

And we're supposed to not only stop, but lower the levels of CO2 to prevent global warming? Just how are we supposed to do that?

Ah, but no, we're told. We just need to reduce the amount of CO2 *we* put into the air, since we are responsible for so much.

So just how much CO2 are we actually responsible for?

Someone else answered that question far better than I can...

PERMANENT gases in the atmosphere by percent are:
Nitrogen 78.1%
Oxygen 20.9%

Other permanent gases:
Argon 0.9%

The top three gases in the atmosphere amount to: 99.9% of the entire atmosphere.

Where is Co2??

Here is the rest:
Neon 0.002%
Helium 0.0005%
Krypton 0.0001%
Hydrogen 0.00005%

VARIABLE gases in the atmosphere and typical percentage values are:
Water vapor 0 to 4%
Carbon Dioxide 0.035%
Methane 0.0002%
Ozone 0.000004%

The writer went on to make this analogy.

You fill your house with 1 million ping pong balls.

You color those that represent Nitrogen blue, so you color: 781,000 of them.

You color Oxygen ping pong balls red: 209,000 of them.

You color Argon ping pong balls green: 9,000 of them.

And you color Carbon Dioxide ping pong balls black: A whole, whooping, ... 350 of them!

Now, out of the 350 of the black ones, current anthropogenic production of C02 is merely 5% of the total, with natural production, mostly from the oceans, represents 95% of Co2 production.

So, you paint 18 of the black balls with a yellow stripe. Out of the million in the room, 18 ping pong balls represent the TOTAL human contribution: that includes all our farm animals and agriculture, industry, cars, breathing, and let's assume that we've produced the same amount of Co2 for the past, oh, 10,000 years as we are today extremely exaggerated but let's continue anyway...

Now, out of those 18, Kyoto demands that all humanity reduce our output by 10% so from those 18 ping pong balls painted black and yellow, we pick two.

And color them purple.

Throw those balls into the pile of a million, stir them up, and try to find them...

Another analogy I've read but can't find right now used a case of 24 water bottles instead of ping pong balls. By the end of the analogy, the equivalent of water in the case to anthropogenic CO2 levels worked out to be the amount of water you'd get at the very tip of an eye dropper.

Yet we are lead to believe that the amount of CO2 we humans contribute to the atmosphere is enough to cause climate change? Now, if CO2 were some sort of deadly pollutant, I could almost understand even that small amount being dangerous. The only thing is, CO2 isn't a pollutant at all. It's absolutely essential to our survival. Not only that, but higher levels of CO2 leads to lusher plant life and increased crop yields. The more I learn about the effects of increased CO2, the more I see it as a benefit, not a detriment.

We're told we can somehow control how much CO2 there is out there, and in so doing, actually effect global climate! All I can think of is how incredibly arrogant that idea is. We humans may be effecting the world in a lot of ways. We can even create micro-climates, to a certain extent, but the climate of the entire world? We're simply not that powerful or influential on the earth.

There a lot of ways we can make positive contributions to the world. Affecting CO2 isn't one of them.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't commented here yet on this topic. I really feel global warming is not as it is made out to be. I too have an unpopular opinoin. Most believe strongly in global warming, I don't think what we as humans on this earth do have a great effect on global warming. I do believe we should take care of the earth, but that means so many different things to different people.


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