A new global warming threat: sleeping gas

From the American Geophysical Union and the laughing gas department comes this story. I can’t wait for Greenpeace to start storming dental offices to “save the planet”. Of course Nitrous Oxide (N2O) has been out of favir for quite some time (it is also a GHG) so now they are after the modern gas anethietics desflurane, isoflurane and sevoflurane.


Anesthetic gases raise Earth’s temperature (a little) while you sleep

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The gases used to knock out surgery patients are accumulating in the Earth’s atmosphere, where they make a small contribution to climate change, report scientists who have detected the compounds as far afield as Antarctica. Over the past decade, concentrations of the anesthetics desflurane, isoflurane and sevoflurane have been rising globally, the new study finds.

Like the well-known climate warmer carbon dioxide, anesthesia gases allow the atmosphere to store more energy from the Sun. But unlike carbon dioxide, the medical gases are extra potent in their greenhouse-gas effects.

One kilogram (2.2 pounds) of desflurane, for instance, is equivalent to 2,500 kilograms (5,512 pounds) of carbon dioxide in terms of the amount of greenhouse warming potential, explained Martin Vollmer, an atmospheric chemist at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology in Dubendorf, Switzerland, who led the new study. “On a kilogram-per-kilogram basis, it’s so much more potent” than carbon dioxide, he said.

In a new scientific paper, Vollmer and his colleagues report the 2014 atmospheric concentration of desflurane as 0.30 parts per trillion (ppt). Isoflurane, sevoflurane and halothane came in at 0.097 ppt, 0.13 ppt and 0.0092 ppt, respectively. Carbon dioxide – which hit 400 parts per million in 2014 -is a billion times more abundant than the most prevalent of these anesthetics. The team did not include the common anesthesia nitrous oxide in the study because it has many sources other than anesthetics. The team’s anesthesia-gas findings have been published online in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

The researchers obtained their numbers by collecting samples of air from remote sites in the Northern Hemisphere since 2000, as well as aboard the icebreaker research vessel Araon during an expedition in the North Pacific in 2012 and at the South Korea Antarctic station King Sejong in the South Shetland Islands. They have also been tracking the anesthetics since 2013 in two-hourly measurements at a high-altitude observatory at Jungfraujoch, Switzerland, and from ongoing air sampling from a rooftop in a suburb of Zurich, Switzerland.

To turn these air samples into their global emissions estimates, the data were combined with a two-dimensional computer model of atmospheric transport and chemistry. The results are the first so-called top-down estimates–based on actual atmospheric measurements–of how many metrics tons of each anesthetic were released into the atmosphere in 2014. That can now be compared to “bottom-up” estimates by other researchers, which estimate atmospheric concentrations based on factors such as how much of each gas is sold annually, how much typically escapes through operating room vents and how much is not metabolized by patients.

Although anesthetics are small players in overall human-generated greenhouse emissions, they are a growing matter of concern to many in the health-care industry. Anesthesia gas abundances are growing and should not be overlooked, said Yale University School of Medicine anesthesiologist Jodi Sherman, a reviewer of the GRL paper.

“Health care in and of itself in the U.S. is one of the worst polluting industries,” she explained. “It generates 8 percent of U.S. greenhouse gases according to one study. Add to this the fact that climate change has been recognized by the World Health Organization as the number one health issue of the 21st century, and it behooves us to do a better job with emissions.”

Anesthesia gases are something that the health care industry can easily do something about, Sherman added. Dropping desflurane, for instance, would make sense because it is the most potent greenhouse gas of the bunch. Not all anesthesiologists agree with that strategy, however.

“What the report fails to note is that a major factor determining the environmental effect is the manner in which the anesthetics are used,” said anesthesiologist Edmond Eger of the University of California at San Francisco. “Many anesthetists deliver sevoflurane or isoflurane in a two – three liters per minute flow but deliver desflurane in a lower flow – 0.5 to one liter per minute …. Some believe that desflurane has clinical advantages that argue for its continued use.”

“There’s nothing unique about desflurane that we can’t do with other drugs,” Sherman countered. “Desflurane we could live without, and every little bit makes a difference.”


The American Geophysical Union is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing more than 60,000 members in 139 countries. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and our other social media channels.

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April 8, 2015 6:43 pm

Could I run my car off it?

Reply to  jones
April 8, 2015 8:34 pm

No, but you can use it to increase your car’s HP: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrous_oxide_engine

Reply to  jones
April 8, 2015 9:31 pm

Nah , Nitromethane FTW

April 8, 2015 6:45 pm

Death to all chemicals!

Reply to  Mark and two Cats
April 8, 2015 8:47 pm

I worked at Eastman Kodak for years, the buildings all had “No Chemicals Allowed” signs in the personnel elevators (“chemicals” were supposed to be transported in the freight elevators with proper protective wraps etc.).
So, in theory, no Human Beings (a self propelled collection of chemicals) where allowed on their personnel elevators….. Oh the irony….
Yes, we must immediately BAN ALL CHEMICALS……
Cheers, KevinK.

Reply to  KevinK
April 8, 2015 10:04 pm

That gave me a good chuckle 🙂

Wun Hung Lo
Reply to  KevinK
April 9, 2015 12:26 am

Yes, Patrick Moore, one of the founders of Greenpeace left finally because
of a “Greenpeace decision to support a world-wide ban on chlorine”, among
other nutty ideas they had been promoting since they were infiltrated by a
bunch of left wing Marxists. These simpletons are dead set against any use
of what they call “dangerous chemicals”, which they define as “all chemicals”.
Read Patrick Moore’s story from 2008 in the Wall Street Journal.

Reply to  Mark and two Cats
April 9, 2015 2:57 am

You’re made of ”chemicals”.

Kelvin Vaughan
Reply to  johnmarshall
April 9, 2015 11:31 am

And I generate a lot of gas.

April 8, 2015 6:49 pm

Seems like the true believers will have to have surgery without anesthetic to save the planet!

Reply to  wallensworth
April 8, 2015 7:42 pm

Was this released on April 1?

Reply to  wallensworth
April 8, 2015 8:42 pm

Yes let Al Gore go first.

Reply to  wallensworth
April 8, 2015 10:04 pm

“Seems like the true believers will have to have surgery without anesthetic to save the planet!”
Aye, ablative psychosurgery!

Reply to  wallensworth
April 9, 2015 1:36 am

Didn’t they used to give people about to undergo surgery a copious amount of whisky or something similar?!! Or maybe just bash ’em over the head (might knock a bit of sense into ’em!!)

Reply to  wallensworth
April 9, 2015 8:16 am

Used to be you just hit some whiskey and bit on a bullet. but they’re working on outlawing that too.

Reply to  Dawtgtomis
April 9, 2015 6:25 pm

Anything that dissolves in fats can be an anesthetic, even nitrogen. Nitrogen narcosis is about one shot of whiskey per 30 ft IIRC. At 210 ft thats about drunk… so beyond that you need other gasses… So whiskey, pressure and N2, nitrous oxide, cyclopropane, etc. They all work. Some with a wider gap from drunk to passed out to dead than others. I’ll take thewidest band and screw thw GHG theory, thank you verry much…
(The stuff dissolves in the fat / lipid layer of nerve cells and reduces there function… Enough, you are drunk, more is anesthesia, too much is dead…)

April 8, 2015 6:50 pm

0.30 parts per trillion?! We need to find more productive things for these scientists to do…

Reply to  Legend
April 8, 2015 9:02 pm

Wait ’til they get instruments that measure in parts per quadrillion – and then parts per pentillion, etc. There is no concept of orders of magnitude under a greeny’s beanie.

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
Reply to  noaaprogrammer
April 8, 2015 11:53 pm

…and still nowhere near homeopathic!

chris moffatt
Reply to  Legend
April 8, 2015 9:04 pm

The boiling point of desflurane is 73.4degF (at 1 atm.) I wonder where they measured it’s atmospheric concentration – sure wasn’t at the top of the Jungfraujoch; unless it was the hottest day since records began o-so-long-ago..I’ve been to the top and it gets pretty cool even in August.

Reply to  chris moffatt
April 9, 2015 8:02 am

I am curious…boiling point would mean when it turns into gas correct?…is this an inhaled anaesthetic or intravenous…if the former it is already in gas form but in the latter, I would think it quickly converts to gas inside the body and random fraction is expelled from the body or otherwise metabolized somehow?

chris moffatt
Reply to  chris moffatt
April 9, 2015 9:37 am

Yes that is the temp at which desflurane becomes a gas. It is inhaled, or more properly delivered by gas mask. The anesthiology machines have built in heaters to ensure that a constant measured supply of gaseous desflurane is delivered.

Peter Miller
Reply to  Legend
April 8, 2015 10:21 pm

There are scientists and there are ‘scientists’, you should have used the latter term in referring to this article.

April 8, 2015 6:53 pm

I think it behooves the public to stop financing idiotic academic research.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  Will Nitschke
April 8, 2015 10:24 pm

Good point Will. Two or three questions came to mind. Since these samples were collected at a very few sites what is the uncertainty in extrapolating these less that 1 ppt samples: 1) What is the uncertainty in extrapolating these to the entire earth’s atmosphere?, 2) What is the uncertainty in the samples at the locations sampled, and 3) Has anyone done calculations about what amounts of these chemicals would need to be present to measure an increase in mean global temperature larger that the uncertainty in mean global temperature?
Such nonsense boggles the mind.

April 8, 2015 6:53 pm

The alarmist community want to inflict as much pain on society as possible. Legislating anesthetist free surgery will do the trick.

April 8, 2015 6:54 pm

Only an idiot would swallow this as truth.

April 8, 2015 6:55 pm

The effect is zero by their own numbers. 0.00041 degrees C warming per thousand years.

Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
April 8, 2015 6:55 pm

And then they came for the anaesthetics…

April 8, 2015 6:58 pm

The warmists will end up laughing all the way to the bank!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tsk Tsk
April 8, 2015 7:04 pm

8% of emissions for 16% of GDP and that’s considered “bad?” Jodi needs to stop self-medicating.

tom s
April 8, 2015 7:05 pm

Morons. Pencil necked geek morons.

April 8, 2015 7:10 pm

Why is it that ANYTHING to do with enjoyment and the internal combustion engine (Nito will boost engine power significantly in short busts) is linked to the cause of climate change?

Reply to  Patrick
April 9, 2015 12:34 am

I have a hypothesis that there is a collective class which I term “neo-Puritan”. Their sole remit in life is to seek out any enjoyment which may be had by small numbers of people and put a stop to it. The easiest way to achieve this is through invocations to the Great God Elfin Safty, although as his belief-base has declined of late a new Mighty Divinity has arisen. All shall tremble at his Name, and he shall be called Kalim Etachanj. You may think I’m barking, but an awful lot of this CAGW bovine-offering resembles Fundamentalist Religion (without the Fun).

Wun Hung Lo
Reply to  Patrick
April 9, 2015 12:35 am

This is because the internal combustion engine is a “Double Whammy” for those “green scientists”. The engine not only consumes vast amounts of “chemicals”, but it also produces vast amounts of “chemicals” as well. Those dreaded “chemicals”, we must ban them all, before they destroy the biosphere.
Oh wait a minute, the entire biosphere and everything it contains is made from “chemicals” !

Charlie h
April 8, 2015 7:14 pm

The health care system is already dealing with crippling and chronic shortages of once common and cheap drugs. There is currently an acute shortage of paralytics.
Let’s not complicate the issue by talking about the GHG contribution!
This is insane.

April 8, 2015 7:17 pm

If they want to study something…
How about the potential psychological and societal upheavals resulting from millions of AGW believers suddenly having their belief system disproven.
Seriously, I think some people, maybe a great many would be devasted.
Eventually they would find another cause but not without some problems.

Pat Frank
April 8, 2015 7:23 pm

Scientists as idiots.
Note well, the most abundant anesthetic, desflurane, at 0.3 ppt and 2500 times more effective than CO2, produces an effect 533 thousand times smaller than the century’s increase in atmospheric CO2. The total forcing increase of CO2 since 1900 is about 1.8 W/m^2. The effect of desflurane is then (1.8/5.33E5) W/m^2 = 3.4 microW/m^2.
There it is. They want to ban a useful anesthetic because it may produce a 3.4 microWatt forcing.
The usual equilibrium climate sensitivity is 0.8K/Wm^-2. So, we’re talking here about desflurane causing an IPCC-approved air temperature increase of …. wait for it …. 2.7microKelvin. That is, a 0.0000027 C warming.
Does anyone believe that, a) any climate model can resolve that effect, or: b) that it makes any goddamm bloody possible difference? Even if it were true (which it probably isn’t)?
These people are modern-day flagellants; wanting to cause gratuitous, unnecessary, pain, not just on themselves but on everyone else, for the sake of their own internal inadequacy redemption.
It’s come to this: good-hearted people carrying out systematic evil, with morality as delusional window-dressing.

Reply to  Pat Frank
April 8, 2015 8:02 pm

The problem I am afraid is folks (including journalists) will fixate on the 2,500 times more potent meme. Never mind that the gases are measured in parts per TRILLION making their effect essentially zero. People will go bat cr*p crazy over it. You have scientists with all these super sensitive instruments measuring who knows, in who knows what places. Put these numbers into a model, spin, dry and repeat. The problem is no one knows what the number mean, but know enough to make scary projections. Madness.

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
Reply to  Aussiebear
April 8, 2015 11:55 pm

What was the story about the drinking water reservoir in California recently? Some guy pee’d into it, so they drained it! Oh, you Americans!

Wun Hung Lo
Reply to  Aussiebear
April 9, 2015 12:40 am

sheep, rabbits, rats, water voles, and a host of other animals, as well as millions of fish regularly urinate into reservoirs all over the world. Not only that but the rotting corpses of millions of dead insects carpet the bottom of all reservoirs, that is the ones that don’t end up as fish excrement !
….. and they drained a reservoir because some Human peed in it.
Madness !

Leonard Lane
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 8, 2015 10:36 pm

Pat, thanks for the calculations. I bet if the uncertainties in these very small number of sites/samples were included in your calculations the confidence intervals would always include zero and negative concentrations. And, I would double down on the bet that negative concentrations are as useful and realistic as anything the authors stated.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Leonard Lane
April 9, 2015 3:50 pm

Thanks, Leonard. You’re right, but it’s worse than that. 🙂 Those numbers are physically meaningless. Vollmer, et al., and Jodi Sherman are literally talking absolute, utter, unadorned nonsense.
There’s a lot of that going around these day in consensus climate (pseudo)science.

April 8, 2015 7:25 pm

Don’t drink the water and don’ breath the air In other word protest songs like “Pollution” is what Climategate will turn to…..
Where have all the money gone?

Dudley Horscroft
April 8, 2015 7:31 pm

There are plenty of causes to work on . Consider the search for and the recreation of the Great Pink Sea Snail, and the search for the near extinct Pushmi-pullu, relative of the horse, zebra and okapi. This mysterious animal needs a major search to be mounted by academicians from the United States and Canada, to go to the jungles of the Congo, Niger and Zambezi, to track reports of its existence and determine if there are any left alive. This could keep them busy for years, and empty the United States treasury a bit more, keeping the academics in the style to which they would like to be accustomed.

masInt branch 4 C3I in is
April 8, 2015 7:37 pm

I, or it, perhaps they or them, or … whatever … what was the question! Oh … there was not question. Well then. After 25-years of paying money to AGU … well … I , oh no not THEM …. It’s The … DREAM POLICE …. Heaven help me … THE DREAM POLICE!
Ha ha 😉

masInt branch 4 C3I in is
Reply to  masInt branch 4 C3I in is
April 8, 2015 7:48 pm


Reply to  masInt branch 4 C3I in is
April 8, 2015 8:01 pm

Great tune!

Gary Hladik
Reply to  masInt branch 4 C3I in is
April 9, 2015 1:22 pm

Ah. Finally I learn what inspired the “Green Police” ads:

Thanks, and apologies for being so far behind. 🙂

April 8, 2015 7:51 pm

O.K. Now we really are doomed.

April 8, 2015 7:56 pm

Come on, how much of this stuff could they be using? We could save more greenhouse gas by getting the police to clear accidents faster.

April 8, 2015 7:58 pm

No, the Nitrous Oxide will be easy to protect. Rig the canisters to release the gas if they are tampered with and then surround them with vicious puns. If the eco-nuts try to steal it, they will end up laughing so hard they won’t be able to breath.

Mac the Knife
April 8, 2015 8:01 pm

A lot of nitrous oxide is used by hot rodders and ‘tuners’ alike. A proper set up can add ~ 50% increase in standard engine horsepower/torque for short durations.
It is also used as a propellant and aerosol in ‘instant whipped cream’ cans available at your local grocery. It is highly soluble in fatty acids. When it leaves the pressurized can, the dissolved N2O returns to gas form and the rapidly expanding bubbles ‘whip’ the cream. Et voila – fresh whipped cream!

Reply to  Mac the Knife
April 8, 2015 8:30 pm

My wife’s sister-in-law commented on how her son and his friends, who worked in a restaurant, would come home from work smelling like redi-whip. She is so sweet. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the boys weren’t EATING the redi-whip

Reply to  Mac the Knife
April 8, 2015 9:01 pm

All I know is that a radio ad says it is the miracle molecule of the 21st century. It cure just about everything, even though it is not intended to cure or treat any disease and none of the claims have been approved by the FDA. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfIWTjX9pmo

Reply to  Mac the Knife
April 8, 2015 10:57 pm

It is also used as a propellant and aerosol in ‘instant whipped cream’ cans available at your local grocery. It is highly soluble in fatty acids. When it leaves the pressurized can, the dissolved N2O returns to gas form and the rapidly expanding bubbles ‘whip’ the cream. Et voila – fresh whipped cream!

Thanks Mac! My sister started a couple of cafes, and they use those stainless steel canisters into which one pours cream, screws on an N2O cartridge, shakes a just a little, and presto! … beautiful whipped cream. It’s a mini marvel. I have been meaning to find out how it actually works, and you provided the key: N2O is highly soluble in fatty acids. Now my whole world finally makes sense.

Phil R
Reply to  Max Photon
April 9, 2015 12:24 pm


Mac the Knife
Reply to  Max Photon
April 9, 2015 12:49 pm

Glad to be of service, Max!
Here’s my musical ‘etude’ to whipped cream: Enjoy!
Whip It! – DEVO

Reply to  Max Photon
April 9, 2015 2:33 pm

Also Mac, you’ve helped me understand ‘the bends’ better. Nitrogen, being highly soluble in fat, accumulates in a diver as he is under pressure from the water column, and when he surfaces quickly … whipped diver.

April 8, 2015 8:06 pm

I laughed from beginning to end.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  siamiam
April 9, 2015 5:10 am

It took me to until paragraph 2 which started out with “Like the well-known climate warmer carbon dioxide…”

Mac the Knife
April 8, 2015 8:10 pm

I just pulled a 14oz can of Darigold brand whipped cream out of my ‘fridge. The ingredients list has “and nitrous oxide as whipping propellant”.
And “Yes!”, I just shot some into my mouth, right from the can! Maybe it’s the N2O that always makes me smile when I do this…… Mmmmmmm, whipped cream!

April 8, 2015 8:12 pm

Nitrous Oxide is produced by nature and by internal combustion engines. It moves up to the upper atmosphere where UV breaks it down with an estimated life of 100-150 years. This is starting to sound an awful lot like carbon dioxide.

Reply to  Dena
April 8, 2015 8:22 pm

N2O means molecular weight is 44; average weight of air is 35. then, how it can go to upper atmosphere? read my previous post on the idea of GHG and GHE.

Reply to  indrdev200
April 8, 2015 8:24 pm

Um, 44 is lighter than 35.

Reply to  indrdev200
April 8, 2015 8:27 pm

Sorry. I mixed it up when I reas.

Reply to  indrdev200
April 8, 2015 8:33 pm

Nitrogen, Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide all have different chemical weight but we have no problems with them mixing in the atmosphere. The combination of Brownian motion and the natural circulation of the air keeps things pretty mixed up.

Reply to  Dena
April 8, 2015 8:23 pm

NOx, oxides of nitrogen from automobiles have been greatly reduced over the years, mostly to reduce ground level air pollution. It takes combustion at high temperatures to combine the two elements.

Reply to  Dave
April 8, 2015 8:40 pm

Not really. Lean burn engines produce more because there is more oxygen available for the reaction. They use an additional catalyst to target the nitrogen compounds so they don’t show up in the exhaust.

April 8, 2015 8:12 pm

Green house gas idea is ridiculous, greatest fraud in the history of science. The idea is imaginary, metaphorical, false science etc. GHE due to gases is impossible. They are actually helping the earth to cool or deliver heat back to space by convection method of heat transmission, a cooling system of Nature; it goes on all the time, day and night; man has no control over the system.

Reply to  indrdev200
April 9, 2015 6:37 pm

Bingo! +10!!
The “greenhouse theory” is pure bunk. Zero effect in the troposphere where that zero causes convection, an in the stratosphere and above it radiates to space, so cools.

April 8, 2015 8:15 pm

Obviously the gas when coming in contact with “scientists ” induces insanity.

April 8, 2015 8:16 pm

What about dihydrogen monoxide vapor ?

Reply to  Neo
April 8, 2015 8:38 pm

Chemically, I think hydrogen hydroxide would be more correct.

Reply to  littlepeaks
April 8, 2015 8:51 pm

But dihydrogen monoxide sound scarier and more evil.

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
Reply to  littlepeaks
April 8, 2015 11:57 pm

…as does sodium chloride and acetic acid sprinkled onto chips (‘fries’ to US citizens).

Bohdan Burban
Reply to  littlepeaks
April 9, 2015 7:07 am

Oxygen dihydride anyone?

Wun Hung Lo
Reply to  Neo
April 9, 2015 12:51 am
Alan the Brit
Reply to  Wun Hung Lo
April 9, 2015 5:20 am

And it’s as easy as that, folks!

Robert of Ottawa
April 8, 2015 8:21 pm

Bring back natural childbirth dentistry

Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
April 8, 2015 9:38 pm

Bring back vivisection

Reply to  Mick
April 9, 2015 8:56 am


April 8, 2015 8:22 pm

No wonder I’m sleepy

April 8, 2015 8:27 pm

This is exactly how say, Madame Mao ruled China. Seeking perfection, tormenting everyone, killing millions.
Yes, this is where it is all going: all things we need to survive comfortably will be eliminated brutally no matter how horrible our lives become. The fanatics are like the Puritans or ISIS smashing stained glass windows or statues.

TImo Soren
April 8, 2015 8:36 pm

“…every little bit helps.”
What a naive simpleton statement.

Reply to  TImo Soren
April 9, 2015 8:58 am

Reminds me of, “…if it can save just one life…”

April 8, 2015 8:37 pm

I used to run a mass spectrometer in the negative-chemical ionization mode. I had a small lecture bottle of sulfur hexafluoride to check for leaks in the system. SF6 is a potent GHG. We had to reports these small amounts of gas usage up the chain (I worked for the USGS at the time).

April 8, 2015 8:48 pm

So an anesthesiologist was one of the reviewers of the paper. I guess that is ok, because it deals with anesthesia, but then she goes on to comment about global warming, how on earth is she qualified to do that?

April 8, 2015 8:54 pm

“Extra potent” – Gotta love that.
Time to defund fear-mongering academia world-wide and let it become a hobby, it’s no good for anything else. This breed of academics have led us a merry dance, but enough is enough. If universities don’t wake up to themselves and get rid of the players and manipulators, they’ll go down with them when the mobs turn against green-breeding institutions. Funding destructive people to lie and cheat and misinform in the name of science, to destroy lives, economies, education, advancement, environments and eco-systems is a massive waste of investment and a massive foolishness.
People are waking up to it. Defund now.
(Yes, I know it won’t happen, try as they might, it’s all gone too far. Those in positions of power who jumped on the global jeopardy bandwagon now know they have a tiger by the tail and they don’t dare let go. It’s getting to the stage, though, when it will be no longer possible for anyone in the thick of it to pretend they are still ignorant of the truth.)

April 8, 2015 9:27 pm

Three hundred parts per quadrillion, whoa, even at 2500x…scant radiative effect, but how about the anesthetic effect? Ok, ok, pretty slim there too. Need to find another reason why nobody can think anymore.

April 8, 2015 9:36 pm

It’s that whole “residency” thing again. Because the CO2 that I breathe out whilst I’m writing this will be breathed in by a plant within the next 100 years, it apparently doesn’t have as much punch as the anaethetic gasses which will float around for 10,000 years. Never mind the fact that the CO2 produced by me (that is consumed later by a plant) will be replaced by CO2 my descendents will breathe out (keeping the ratio of gasses to each other constant), this is the kind of crazy mathematics warming bozos use. It’s even worse with water vapour. How else could anyone justify CO2 being credited with “between 9% and 27% of the total greenhouse effect”, when water vapour has 6 times the IR absorbtion bandwidth of CO2 and is 20 times more abundant in the atmosphere? I don’t know how you do maths, but that gives me a total of 120 times more effect for water vapour. But it’s all to do with that pesky “residency” again. If only we could identify the molecules that had been hanging around the longest and remove them, then we wouldn’t have to worry about the molecules we just released.

Reply to  wickedwenchfan
April 8, 2015 9:53 pm

In case you don’t understand the “residency” idea, just think for a moment about the statement that any gas can be “2500 times more potent than CO2”. Really think about it. Imagine one of these gasses was at 400ppm in the atmosphere. Would Earth’s 3-8K of CO2 extra heat become 7500-20,000K of extra heat?
What about the IR band width. Does the fact that there are gasses that are 2500 times as potent as CO2 mean that CO2 maximum potential is to absorb less than 0.04% of the IR radiation leaving the surface?
Basic questions folks. Something the Luke warmist scientists who also post on here should be asking themselves.

Reply to  wickedwenchfan
April 8, 2015 10:00 pm

It’s a matter of internal logic. The greenhouse theory contradicts itself at every step. The only thing that is verifiable is that different gasses absorb different bandwidths of the electromagnetic spectrum with different efficiencies in different conditions. Everything after that is just plain pseudo science

Wun Hung Lo
Reply to  wickedwenchfan
April 9, 2015 12:59 am

“Because the CO2 that I breathe out whilst I’m writing this will be breathed in by a plant within the next 100 years”
Or … within the next ten minutes. Really it depends where you and the plant are.

michael hart
April 8, 2015 10:20 pm

cui bono? A manufacturer with a patent for a new anesthetic.
It’s the light bulbs story all over again.

Wun Hung Lo
Reply to  michael hart
April 9, 2015 1:07 am

We’ve seen this before for sure, when Dupont invented a new refrigerant,
and again the atmosphere was seemingly in danger, but the new chemical
saved the day (for Dupont’s balance sheet & shareholders).

April 8, 2015 10:39 pm

Because there’s no explaining what your imagination
Can make you see and feel
Seems like a dream
They got me hypnotized

April 8, 2015 11:12 pm

To all denialists and disbelievers:
You are to immediately surrender your offspring and all assets to UN IPCC.
do I really need a sarc tag for this???

John Law
April 8, 2015 11:28 pm

To late; the CO2 scare stories have already put most of us to sleep!

John Law
Reply to  John Law
April 8, 2015 11:29 pm


April 8, 2015 11:34 pm

“Add to this the fact that climate change has been recognized by the World Health Organization as the number one health issue of the 21st century…”
Pulease …
“Dena on April 8, 2015 at 8:33 pm
…Brownian motion and the natural circulation of the air keeps things pretty mixed up.”
I agree Dena. These guys are pretty mixed up but boy can they ever measure small things.

April 8, 2015 11:43 pm

“Health care in and of itself in the U.S. is one of the worst polluting industries,” she explained. “It generates 8 percent of U.S. greenhouse gases according to one study. Add to this the fact that climate change has been recognized by the World Health Organization as the number one health issue of the 21st century, and it behooves us to do a better job with emissions.”
So…. health care is causing climate change which causes health issues.
Thus, getting rid of health care must logically result in less climate change and healthier people.
I can’t even mock that.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
April 8, 2015 11:51 pm

By extension, we can’t let the 3rd world get health care…

Reply to  davidmhoffer
April 8, 2015 11:51 pm

(I lied, I can mock it after all)

April 9, 2015 12:54 am

And then they came for the Dentists and Surgeons!

Robin Hewitt
April 9, 2015 1:16 am

“One kilogram (2.2 pounds) of desflurane, for instance, is equivalent to 2,500 kilograms (5,512 pounds) of carbon dioxide in terms of the amount of greenhouse warming potential”,
Is that because CO2 is nearing saturation at 400ppm while this stuff is still on the steep bit of the logarithmic curve? If not then why are they bothering about CO2 when they could be fixing this?

April 9, 2015 1:28 am

Doubters will of course suggest that the quantities and the effect are so trivial that this issue was hardly worthy of consideration in the first place.
But what about our children’s children’s children’s children’s (etc)…children.
Are you people cruelly suggesting that we should leave them to solve the problems of the world in which they find themselves? A world potentially containing miniscule quantities of nitrous oxide.
(And don’t forget, when visualizing said children, to entertain a mental image of them as a hoard of helpless 7 year olds picking their way through mountains of consumer detritus.)
Act now on N2O. No 2 N2O. To N2O or not to N2O? That is the question, etc!!!!

Reply to  indefatigablefrog
April 9, 2015 5:56 am

Atmospheric scientists have found that the atmosphere is much better at self-cleaning than they had previously thought. Furthermore, most of the alarmists ignore that these gases have a half-life in the atmosphere. CO2 and methane have half-lives of about 5–6 years, which belies the bogus fabricated half-lives of 200, 500, and 1000 years posted by The Team, IPCC, and NASA. These large half-lives are propaganda used to suggest that ALL of the emissions from the Industrial Revolution are still in the air. If this was true, then the 1970 Clean Air Act wold have been useless. Instead, the air in the US is orders of magnitude better than it was in 1970. And the CO2 monitoring site on Mauna Loa, Hawaii would not see the large seasonal up and down swings in CO2 concentrations.

April 9, 2015 2:03 am

So, since the early 1800’s when N2O was first used as an anaesthetic we have been pumping this “greenhouse gas” into the atmosphere and has the world got warmer? No! To compound the misery of soul-less electric cars, sitting in on winter nights in the dark because the wind isn’t blowing at the right speed and solar panels don’t work, we now have to have surgery with pain relief of a bottle of whisky and a belt to bite on! What a delightful, unnecessary prospect!

April 9, 2015 4:05 am

Oxygen will soon be named a climate change pollutant.

April 9, 2015 5:48 am

If a gas can absorb radiation, it can also emit it. These gases are saturated during the day in sunlight and would be actively absorbing and emitting IR radiation, effectively making the results a wash, or no effect. A small fraction (0.012 for CO2, a number dishonestly altered by the IPCC to 0.12) of the absorbed energy would go to heat energy in the air, but heat in the air can just as easily be converted to IR, again making it a wash. It is at night, when there is no solar input that these gases would be actively converting heat energy in the air into IR radiation, which is then lost to space, which has no temperature, being a vacuum.
It is only junk science, based on an Arrhenius failed hypothesis, that supports the idea that a trace gas can warm the atmosphere. But, global warming by CO2 “scientists” does not say that these gases directly warm the air. They say that they reflect or emit IR radiation from the upper tropical troposphere back to Earth’s surface, which then warms the climate by conduction. As ALL of the gases in the tropical upper troposphere are at -17 deg C and the Earth’s surface is at 15 deg C, any IR radiation sent downward would be reflected by the surface as energy levels corresponding to the radiation from the troposphere would already by full. The net result is that the downward IR would be reflected and then lost to space, i.e., no effect.
As the warmist “science” requires that the upper tropical troposphere be warming faster than the surface and this “hotspot” has never been detected after decades of observations, the warmist “scientists” have simply ceased to talk about it, having failed. In fact, this region of the atmosphere has been found to be cooling slightly over the last 30 years. The warmists are now pretending that they have been saying that greenhouse gases warm the atmosphere directly by conversion of IR radiation to heat in the air. Typically, they cannot admit that their “science” has failed, ignore the failure and simply turn to another aspect of their junk science.

April 9, 2015 8:58 am

If you ask me it was all Jerry Garcia’s fault. My early days as facilities manager for the Dental College included tightening up the security storage of N2O canisters for portable use. They were being smuggled out by the students for parties and concerts in the 70’s and 80’s and were disappearing.
It’s a moot point though, because the ‘greenhouse’ is not the sole driver of climate (as has been quite obvious for most of the past two decades). It is evident from observation that a more powerful force or combination of forces can halt this theoretical warming from occurring and it is more logical to assume from history, that these cyclical occurrences will continue to shape regional climates while pushing aside the heating effects of GHGs. There is not a global emergency here. Let’s wait until there is real evidence of one before making medical procedures more costly because of it.

Bruce Cobb
April 9, 2015 11:43 am

With boobs like these “scientists” who needs laughing gas?

April 9, 2015 12:28 pm

A small correction. Nitrous Oxide is still used very effectively in dental practices. My wife, a dentist, uses NO2 multiple times a day as an effective adjunct tool for local anesthesia. It has the very desirable property of relaxing patients, quick acting and very quick for the effects to wear off. If you haven’t tried it I would highly recommend it at your next dental appointment.

April 9, 2015 12:57 pm

That is the word I was looking for:
” PiperPaul
April 9, 2015 at 8:56 am
You use a hollow endmill to machine a round projection on a piece of metal. That is called trepanning. I had to manufacture a such a hollow endmill a couple of weeks ago to make a replacement part for a broken toilet seat hinge. Worked great. Spent 2 full days creating an aluminum part to replace a $.25 cent plastic piece.
I wonder is a hollow endmill is used to gain access to the brain?

Reply to  Paul
April 9, 2015 4:07 pm

“You use a hollow endmill to machine a round projection on a piece of metal.”
These puppies are not exactly a hollow end mill, but they are off the shelf and you can clean up with a standard end mill. They’d make a neat hole in anyone’s skull, too.

Gary Pearse
April 9, 2015 12:57 pm

This tiniest of amounts being investigated is what happens when you have an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of research grants. The big boys have used up CO2 and methane. An inconvenient truth: solubility of nitrous oxide in water at 25C is 0.57L/L of water. There is no way it can have a significant half life in the atmosphere. It would rain out fairly quickly. And, “from a rooftop in suburban Zurich”! with his wife warming up the car. This from EPA:
“Nitrous oxide is naturally present in the atmosphere as part of the Earth’s nitrogen cycle, and has a variety of natural sources. However, human activities such as agriculture, fossil fuel combustion, wastewater management, and industrial processes are increasing the amount of N2O in the atmosphere. Nitrous oxide molecules stay in the atmosphere for an average of 120 years before being removed by a sink or destroyed through chemical reactions. ”
Doesn’t jibe with its solubility –

Jaakko Kateenkorva
April 9, 2015 1:28 pm

This is worse than WHO/IARC declaring ethanol carcinogenic, but only in alcoholic beverages.
This proves the alarmists want mankind to suffer idle and hungry in cold, dark and in pain.

Bill Illis
April 9, 2015 7:07 pm

I hate to make this point so late in this thread but this is REALLY important,
.. N2O, (the fourth biggest GHG after water vapor, CO2, and Methane) comes almost exclusively, like 99.99% , from …
… the breakdown of Nitrogen fertilizer applied to farmland. Microbes in the soil itself will eventually take the Nitrogen fertilizer and convert it to N2O and it leaks back to the atmosphere.
We are NOT going to stop applying Nitrogen fertilizer.
N20 is rising in the atmosphere at the same rate as CO2 but it is not adding to the Greenhouse Effect in a meaningful way since it is still in a limited level but it is something to take into account.
If one is talking about “Other” anesthesic gases other than N2O, I’m sure these are completely undetectable.
This is a FAKE story about Nitrogen fertilizer masquerading as anesthesia.

Mickey Reno
April 10, 2015 5:00 pm

One day, Martin Vollmer went to the doctor to have a vasectomy. He was surprise when the doctor began strapping him to the table. “This is necessary,” the doctor said, “because I’m not allowed to give you any anesthetic because of global warming.” “But won’t it hurt?” was Martin’s reply. “Naw”, said the doctor, nonchalantly, as he pulled out two large red bricks from the cabinet. “I keep my thumbs out of the way.”
[ba dump bump]

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