Two Competing Narratives on Carbon Dioxide

Is carbon dioxide our friend or our foe?

Guest essay by Iain Aitken

Here is a dossier of key facts about carbon dioxide (and its role in global warming):

· It is an incombustible, colourless, odourless, tasteless and non-toxic gas

· It is a plant nutrient and, as the ‘fuel’ of photosynthesis and the creation of oxygen, it is absolutely essential to the existence of life on Earth

· Its fertilisation effect has meant that, thanks to our anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions increasing concentrations in the atmosphere, crop yields have improved dramatically to date and will continue to improve in the future

· It is a weak greenhouse gas

· Global warming precedes, and then causes, increases in carbon dioxide emissions

· Most global warming experienced since 1950 can be attributed to natural climate variability, rather than enhanced greenhouse gas warming from anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. Furthermore the rate of global warming experienced since 1950 has many precedents and is not remotely alarming

Carbon dioxide concentrations today are amongst the lowest found in the entire history of the Earth

· Only 0.04% of our atmosphere is carbon dioxide, which makes it what scientists call a ‘trace gas’; it requires extremely sensitive equipment even to detect it

· There is a very poor correlation between carbon dioxide concentrations and atmospheric temperatures so some thing (or things) other than carbon dioxide must be the key driver (or drivers) of global warming

· Carbon dioxide exerts a diminishing warming effect as its concentrations increase and is today almost entirely exhausted as a greenhouse gas

· At low enough concentrations carbon dioxide could cause catastrophic climate change and the extinction of all life on Earth

· Those who would assert that global warming is man-made and dangerous are denying the facts that global warming has been slowing down at precisely the same time that anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions have been rising and that no unequivocal causal relationship has ever been established between those emissions and observed global warming.

The world-renowned theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson has said, ‘The possibly harmful climatic effects of carbon dioxide have been greatly exaggerated… the benefits clearly outweigh the possible damage’. Dr William Happer, Professor of Physics at Princeton University, has said, ‘No chemical compound in the atmosphere has a worse reputation than carbon dioxide, thanks to the single-minded demonization of this natural and essential atmospheric gas… The incredible list of supposed horrors that increasing carbon dioxide will bring the world is pure belief disguised as science…. We’re really in a carbon dioxide famine now… increased carbon dioxide will be good for mankind.’

So the evidence and science is unequivocal: not only are our carbon dioxide emissions innocuous, they could actually be hugely beneficial for humanity.

There now follows another dossier of key alternative facts about carbon dioxide (and its role in global warming):

· It is a highly toxic atmospheric gas that is a dangerous pollutant of our precious planet

· As a result of the warming associated with our carbon dioxide emissions crop yields will fall across the world causing widespread famines

· It is a powerful greenhouse gas, and, as such, is a major contributor to the current global warming crisis

· Increases in carbon dioxide emissions precede, and then cause, global warming

· Most global warming experienced since 1950 can be attributed to anthropogenic activity, in particular anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. The rate of global warming experienced since 1950 is alarming and unprecedented

· Carbon dioxide concentrations today are at the highest level ever recorded

· As a result of mankind’s carbon dioxide emissions, largely from burning fossil fuels, carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere have already reached a monumental 400ppm

· There is an extraordinarily close correlation between carbon dioxide concentrations and atmospheric temperatures

· Carbon dioxide exerts an increasing warming effect as its concentrations increase

· At high enough concentrations carbon dioxide could cause catastrophic climate change and the extinction of all life on Earth

· Those who would deny that global warming is man-made and dangerous are denying the fact that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are soaring and that such emissions cause enhanced greenhouse gas warming – and the equally unequivocal fact that ten of the hottest years on record have fallen in this century.

Dr Carmen Boening, Climate Scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has said, ‘Reaching the 400ppm mark should be a reminder for us that carbon dioxide levels have been shooting up at an alarming rate in the recent past due to human activity.’ The environmental journalist Michael Specter has said, ‘Humanity has nearly suffocated the globe with carbon dioxide.’

So the evidence and science is unequivocal: not only are our carbon dioxide emissions dangerous, they could actually cause the extinction of all life on Earth.

Combining the conclusions from the original facts and the alternative facts, it is clear that carbon dioxide is unequivocally innocuous and dangerous and unequivocally beneficial and catastrophic.

In a court of law I would have no trouble whatsoever in defending both sets of ‘facts’ and am absolutely confident that I would leave the court a free man in either case. By using selective quotes, being selective with the evidence, being selective with the science, being selective with the timeframes, overlaying all those with emotion, rhetoric and value judgements, and then deploying a dollop of dissimulation and a soupcon of sophistry, I have turned a scientifically objective description of carbon dioxide’s role in global warming into political propaganda – both dossiers of key facts about carbon dioxide, although ‘true’, are extremely ‘dodgy dossiers’. My point is that very different narratives can be spun about the role of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere without having to resort to lies – the people who spin these narratives are relying on the belief that the vast majority of the public, politicians and journalists will not realize that they are being spun a story – and even if they did they would probably struggle to understand the scientific differences between the competing stories and so be inclined to ‘just believe the authorities’ who spin the ‘carbon dioxide is our foe’ story.

Not only might the average member of the public find it extremely difficult to determine the ‘truth’ about carbon dioxide (and its role in global warming) when faced with the above presentations of apparently complex and contradictory alternative facts, even highly educated, highly intelligent (and even highly scientifically literate) people are likely to feel confused. We should form our views logically and rationally based on all the facts – but faced with the above sets of apparently impossible to reconcile facts about carbon dioxide this is very, very hard. Consequently many will perhaps set aside the facts and simply fall back on how they feel about carbon dioxide. And since the second story, that ‘carbon dioxide is our foe’, is perhaps the only story most will have been exposed to (especially in Europe, and quintessentially in Britain) it is far more likely to be the one felt to be true. If you associate carbon dioxide with dangerous warming of the planet then you may feel bad about it; if you associate it with the benign greening of the planet then you may feel good about it. How people feel about carbon dioxide can prove far more successful in shaping public opinion than any number of complicated facts, something very well understood by those who want to ‘sell’ the ‘man-made climate change crisis’ idea, who have established a narrative for carbon dioxide and its role in global warming by flooding the media with emotionally powerful negative images, e.g. polar bears on ice floes floating out to sea, dying coral reefs, flooded cities (preferably flooded American cities). This substitution (triumph?) of political narrative and emotion for scientific objectivity and rationality is a fundamental problem that permeates the entire climate change debate.

So is carbon dioxide our friend or our foe? As set out above, in some ways it is (or could be) the one and in some ways it is (or could be) the other. The vast majority of the public not only do not understand these scientific differences, they positively don’t want to have to understand these scientific differences. As Richard Lindzen has said, ‘Most arguments about global warming boil down to science versus authority. For much of the public authority will generally win since they do not wish to deal with the science.’ Instead they will form their view on the climate change debate almost exclusively on how they feel about it based primarily on the narrative spun in the media (a narrative that is utterly dominated by the propaganda of the climate change alarmists). As Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, ‘The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.’ This is why endlessly repeated simplistic soundbites like ‘climate change is man-made and dangerous’ and ‘the science is settled’ and ‘97% of scientists agree’ have been so powerful. Is there any real truth in these statements? It doesn’t matter – just keep repeating them. In a 140 characters or fewer Tweeting, knee-jerk reaction, internet-driven world of shortening attention spans where ‘TLDR’ (Too Long; Didn’t Read’) is a typical reaction to any complex issue few will take the very considerable time and very considerable trouble to root out, investigate and understand the scientific arguments of climate change sceptics that climate change is probably predominantly driven by natural ocean-atmosphere oscillations, natural solar variations (irradiation and cosmic ray flux), natural cloud cover variations and the (natural) Milankovitch Effect when all they have to unthinkingly believe is that ‘climate change is man-made and dangerous – and that’s a fact’.

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248 thoughts on “Two Competing Narratives on Carbon Dioxide

    • I wish you’d noted anthropogenic OCO is only ~ 3.5% of atmospheric OCO. That makes it less than 0.0012 % of atmospheric OCO. How the additive amount of OCO since the mid ‘1800s has lead to a a 1 degree C increase in global temperature has always flummoxed me.

      Having spent my career in estimation I’m further bowled over that one could expect to accurately and precisely model highly variable OCO vs highly variable temp. Huh? Of course the answer: over the long run they’re highly correlated. So wha?

  1. The best quote in a while:

    “Believing carbon dioxide is the planet’s climate control knob is pretty close to believing in magic”
    – Dr. Richard Lindzen

    • This whole matter is believing in “magic”—from there being a thermostat for the earth’s average temperature anomaly (which is interpreted as local temperature control, incorrectly, of course) to pine tree rings being equivalent in numeric weight and value to a digital thermometer: to wind turbines saving the planet: to turning off a light or two will save the planet, and so forth. It’s all magical thought—every bit of it. Humans are no better as discerning magical thought than they were in the ancient past. We want to believe in magic and we create ways to do it that sound “science-like” to justify it.

      Magical thoughts come from feelings, which is how global warming and it’s solutions are sold. And “sold” they are, like the vacuum cleaner that more people prefer or the perfect fake teeth for the perfect fake smile. Advertising is a turn-off to rational people (I can’t list how many products I don’t buy because the seller thinks I’m an idiot) but it works on the “feelers” out there. It’s what it is designed to do. Many sales pitches feature CGI and physically impossible feats—the selling of magic. Then when global warming comes along claiming to have caused a hurricane or the extinction of a species of bug, the marketing is already in place and the “buyers” are primed to believe. Thus, “science” is sold like any commodity, using any method available, lies and deception included.

      • It’s a Pardoner’s Tax. Lifted directly from old-school-styled sin and absolution through penance (because you have to give them an ‘out’) – ‘your sins will be forgiven if you just send me…’

      • Sheri!

        “Advertising is a turn-off to rational people (I can’t list how many products I don’t buy because the seller thinks I’m an idiot)….”

        I love it! I’m with you. Thanks for the morale-booster … and the big grin. ;>)

    • Not really, there is a body of evidence that ceremonial magic works, at least in changing the consciousness of the magician. There is no such evidence for alarmist predictions of the effects of CO2.

      • Ah, but the ceeremonial magic of climate science affects the minds of those who engage in it.

      • Magic by definition is supernatural, not at all subject to science. Changing the consciousness of the magician is subjective by nature, again, outside the realm of science.

        It’s interesting that you argue magic exists but alarmist predictions are fiction. It seems to lend evidence to my claim that feelings are what sells.

  2. How dangerous is CO2?
    Go into a small crowded room. Measure the CO2. If the plants and other people are still fine at 2000 ppm after a many hours long meeting, then it’s probably not that dangerous.
    Alternative test. Is it essential for life? Put a plant in a box. Once established, remove CO2 with a simple CO2 absorber. Watch plant die. Then. Put a tight fitting gas mask on with a CO2 absorber, – and … wait do not do it – you will die. Turns out CO2 is an essential nutrient for animal life. Human Physiology 101.
    CO2 is an essential nutrient for life. Geological record and plant research state that recent levels are low, and have impacted on plant growth.

    • “Go into a small crowded room. Measure the CO2. If the plants and other people are still fine at 2000 ppm after a many hours long meeting, then it’s probably not that dangerous.”

      Is it really so difficult to accept that the dangers of CO2 as a greenhouse gas are not the same as the dangers of breathing in too much? It’s like arguing that if you can survive drinking a glass of water than flooding cannot be dangerous.

      • Isn’t the volume of CO2 closer to the drinking glass of water than the flooding? You seem to be proving that CO2 is harmless rather than a danger. Was that the point?

      • Submarines don’t have any sunlight, so have no relevance to the dangers of global warming.

        Incidentally, I think the 8000ppm is the maximum allowed – not a requirement.

      • “Was that the point?”

        The point was that the dangers of breathing too much CO2 are completely unrelated to the dangers of global warming caused by increasing CO2 levels.

      • Anyone who knows me here knows I’m a hardcore skeptic and NOT an alarmist. But Bellman has a point. The alarmists aren’t saying CO2 is dangerous to breathe. Arguing about breathable concentrations is an irrelevant distraction.

      • Yes, but they insist that CO2 is a pollutant and dangerous. This argument demonstrates that CO2 itself is neither.

      • Nitrates and phosphates are essential to life and even added to crops, but nutrient run-off is also pollution. Heat is essential to life, but there is thermal pollution. It is time to put this one to bed.

        You can argue that CO2 should not be considered pollution, but the fact that it is necessary to life is not a valid argument.

      • seaice1
        May 15, 2017 at 7:58 am

        You can argue that CO2 should not be considered pollution, but the fact that it is necessary to life is not a valid argument.
        —————————

        First time that seaice1 makes sense to me……. good offering terms of parley by you seaice1…..congratulations…………in waiting for ceaice2.!

        cheers

      • It’s a benefit to all of life on earth at current concentrations and will be still be a benefit at 1500ppm if it ever gets there…centuries and centuries from now.

      • “You can argue that CO2 should not be considered pollution, but the fact that it is necessary to life is not a valid argument.”

        It’s necessary in the form being called pollution, and beneficial to plants and harmless to animals in the concentrations being called pollution, so all that nonsensical crap about other things being harmful/dangerous in various forms and concentrations is invalid argumentation, I say.

      • No danger from CO2 as a GHG has been demonstrated. Even as an hypothesis, it has been repeatedly shown false.

        Hence, it’s not a pollutant, just an essential trace gas for which the earth is hungry.

      • JohnKnight
        May 15, 2017 at 12:32 pm

        John, please don’t be so demanding , not at this point, the poor guy is offering the best at the moment, moving out of the “pollution” terminology about CO2, basically ready to agree the silly fault of EPA, please do not push it to far…:)

        And that is saeice1, by the way…….nice tempting parley terms here… :)

        cheers

      • tom s May 15, 2017 at 11:54 am

        If we burned all conceivably economically recoverable fossil fuels over the next four centuries, atmospheric concentration of CO2 would probably max out around 600 ppm. Unfortunately for plant life. IMO 1500 ppm from human activity is unlikely to impossible, even if we tried to reach it. Maybe if we burnt the White Cliffs of Dover and similar formations.

      • I hear ya, whiten, but that kinda crap about glasses of water verses floods is utterly irrelevant, given the form and concentrations under discussion, and the question of (potential) warming is itself a benefit verses harm one. It’s not logical (and is somewhat deceptive) to try to cover both realms with hypothetical harmful warming alone, I say.

      • JohnKnight
        May 15, 2017 at 12:56 pm

        Yes John….it is worse than crap, the stitching and patching in climate science or the official climatology is so soo bad and ugly that in comparison will make the Frankenstein Monster of Mary Shelley look like Mister or Miss Universe. :)

        For instance in one part of IPCC AR5 the GWP (Global Warming Potential) is clearly explained and considered as no good at all for the policy making, and advised against it for such a purpose, but never the less in another part all advice about policy in the subject of climate and climate change rotates about the GWP…

        Also all policy based in how certain we are in the predictions about GWP and the human CO2 emissions impact in the climate, but then again in another part, climate and climate change is considered and clearly assessed as impossible to predict…….

        And lots more of such things in there..’-)

        But never the less we have to be patient and fair, even to what we may consider as totally unfair opponents. And even some times trying our best to be really cheery about it all..

        cheers

      • “But never the less we have to be patient and fair, even to what we may consider as totally unfair opponents.”

        Or verses totally unfair opponents, as some might say ; )

      • Here in Mission Viejo we almost passed an ordinance outlawing DHMO (Di-Hydrogen MonOxide). Seriously. Proposed by someone who was irritated at all the idiot ordinances we pass here in Kalifornia.
        So, under that ordinance, a glass of water would have been considered dangerous.

        [It IS dangerous. If water were available, more California’s would be able to vote. For more Californian politicians. .mod]

      • If you fall asleep with one on, you might not wake up. The rate of breathing will slow down with occasional gasps of breath when the hypoxia is sensed, but once sufficiently hypoxic you will be delirious and not give a damn about breathing. The urge to breathe is primarily driven by hypercarbia.

      • In reply to Sagi “A tight fitting mask with a CO2 absorber will cause absolutely no harm”. – Please DO NOT try this. The issue is complex, but in brief summary.

        Hypocapnia can cause cerebral vasoconstriction, resultanting in cerebral hypoxia, fitting and stroke. Hypocapnia results in alkalosis, with a fall in plasma calcium. This may result in tetany and fitting. This can be life threatening.
        Hypocapnia can in younger ages suppress breathing to the point of blackout. Select older people may be resistant, but that indicates other problems.
        I remember when working as a registrar in anaesthetics and ICU, repeatedly stealing the the brand new and only CO2 monitor in the hospital at night from either unit to look after my complex ventilated patients – so that I could regulate patients and produce “Normo-carbia”. This is now a requirement in Australian standards for all ICU, anaesthetic and recovery beds – to look for hypo and hyper -carbia. Hypocarbia can be lethal.
        I laugh when I read about doctors calling CO2 a pollutant. It’s like calling carbon or oxygen a pollutant. It means that doctor has forgotten all there basic physiology.
        I repeat my point, CO2 is an essential nutrient/component of human physiology. Correct levels, like oxygen, are essential for life. As mentioned above, there is little risk from transient exposure to high levels. Low levels may kill, and it is not pleasant to watch. All medical students, anaethetists and intensivists know this.

    • Correct for the plant, but not for the human. We do not need to breath in CO2. We exhale concentrations of CO2 many fold higher than that in ambient air. You can however make yourself pass out by hyperventilating and reducing your blood levels of CO2 till blood flow to the brain drops off.

    • “””””….. · Only 0.04% of our atmosphere is carbon dioxide, which makes it what scientists call a ‘trace gas’; it requires extremely sensitive equipment even to detect it …..”””””

      I would caution the author and others against trying to oversell, what otherwise is a good piece.

      I also believe that CO2 is not one of humanity’s major problems. Nor is it for any other life on the planet.

      But to argue that it is extremely difficult to detect is just nonsense, Statements like that just feed into the hands of the green whackos who argue that skeptics are just ignorant, and shouldn’t be mentioned in the same breath as real scientists.

      Einsteinian waves are extremely difficult to detect; and they were undetectable until we learned how to go about it. I’m not a chemist, but I know that chemists know how to detect the presence of extremely small amounts of almost any molecule you want to know.

      And none of would be here at our computers or other finger toys reading WUWT if it wasn’t for the presence of trace amount of impurities in silicon crystals, that make our microprocessors and other devices work. And those trace dopants are present often at much lower dosage than 400 ppm.

      So be careful about saying ” we ” don’t know how to do this and that, just because YOU (or I) don’t know how it is done by those who DO know exactly how to do it.

      G

    • Actually no. Our breathing reflex is triggered by the buildup of CO2 in the lungs. The longer it takes for CO2 to build up, the less often we breathe. Skin or “free” divers- those who do not use breathing equipment- who are untrained often assume that by hyper-ventilating they are buildinf up a reserve of oxygen in their bodies in order to remain submerged longer, but this is wrong, and occasionaly fatal. What they are actually doing is flushing CO2 from their bodies. This then delays the onset of the urge to breathe. The danger, especially underwater, is that blood oxygen levels may deplete, causing unconciousness, before CO2 can build up enough in the lungs for the urge to breathe to kick in. If this occurs while the diver is still underwater then drowning is often the result. Using a CO2 absorbant in a closed breathing system is exactly how oxygen rebreathers work. Like any such device, though, it will not last forever. Our sensitivity to the buildup of CO2 as a waste product in our lungs is our only biological “need” for it, excluding it’s use in food production by plants.

  3. “In a court of law I would have no trouble whatsoever in defending both sets of ‘facts’…”

    That is because a court of law does not rely upon “facts”, but upon “expert” opinion about those facts.

    The scientific community is supposed to rely upon empirical evidence. This is why warmunists want to stifle debate. They know that their argument is “dodgy”, while denyers’ arguments are soid.

    SR

  4. The science has devolved to money and politics. And liberals seem to lack science and yet an unnatural need of the same to justify their political wonts.

    • That’s because ‘liberals’ are actually illiberal. They want to control every aspect of your life because they know better then you and no amount of evidence to the contrary will stop them.

  5. “· There is a very poor correlation between carbon dioxide concentrations and atmospheric temperatures so some thing (or things) other than carbon dioxide must be the key driver (or drivers) of global warming”

    Yep, try heat. The only thing that can warm, is heat. Adding a heat-absorber will cool. Dry ice is a powerful heat absorber. I can´t figure out why anyone still thinks adding heat-absorbing mass without adding energy would make anything warmer. The first law says that delta U=Q-W, where Q is heat and W is work. Where do we put “forcing” into that. “Forcing” is a made up, fake fact BS term, found nowhere else than in climate science. You have to add either work ON the system, or add more heat, to get it warmer. Let´s drop this fake science once and for all.

    • lifeisthermal,

      Yes, forcing is defined as an ambiguous concept and it’s this ambiguity that gives them the wiggle room to make claims that the laws of physics preclude.

      The only thing that can ‘force’ the system is incoming solar energy. Varying GHG concentrations doesn’t force the system, but changes how the system responds to forcing and when they say doubling Co2 results in 3.7 W/m^2 of forcing what they actually mean is that doubling Co2 is EQUIVALENT to 3.7 W/m^2 more post albedo solar energy while keeping the system (GHG concentrations) constant. If there was no incoming solar energy, the EQUIVALENT forcing from doubling Co2 would be 0 W/m^2.

      Forcing is defined as the difference between incoming and outgoing radiation at the top of the troposphere upon an instantaneous change to the system or stimulus. This makes it seem like the decrease in power passing through the transparent window upon instantaneously doubling Co2 is equivalent to an instantaneous increase in solar energy, but it’s not and the two sources of energy follow different paths. All of the incoming solar energy not reflected away affects the temperature of the surface in equilibrium with the Sun, while only about half of the instantaneous decrease in power passing through the transparent window does while the remainder is ultimately emitted into space once the system re-establishes a new steady state where the flux difference at TOT converges towards zero. The definition of forcing is also post albedo which makes the negative feedback effects from clouds and ice disappear.

      • Thanks for that explanation. It is so weird how a theory about temperature, which is well known, 100% consensus physics from the childhood of thermodynamics, have been twisted beyond recognition in climate science. There has to be some serious problems with physics education in climate science, since they say that decreasing emission from “forcing” is a sign of something heating. Emission and temperature have a totally independent relationship, that is the core of thermal physics. If there is one thing that can never happen, it is that something can heat up at the same time as emission decrease. As far as I know, thermodynamics is not part of a climate scientists education.

        That is a serious problem, because that is pretty much the only education one needs to understand temperature. I read a study by Hansen, where he straight out said that “forcing” is entirely a function of time. Which means he think energy can increase by just waiting, in a system where energy supply is constant and limited. You have to be really stupid to say that.

        What forcing really says, is that by cooling the exhaust, the engine gets hotter. Thats what you get when doing things backwards, averaging solar energy to 240W/m². They think that temperature depends on emission, but we know since 200 years that emission depends on temperature. Everything depends on temperature, not the other way around.

      • “Emission and temperature have a totally independent relationship”

        Emissions and temperature are codependent on each other based on the Stefan-Boltzmann Law where emissions go as the temperature in Kelvin raised to the 4’th power. The two metrics are just different ways to quantify the same thing, much like Joules and electron volts both quantify energy. Warmists often deny the applicability of the SB Law relative to the relationship between the surface temperature and surface emissions and is why they deny that the IPCC requires each W/m^2 of incident solar energy to result in 4.4 W/m^2 of emissions before a steady state can be achieved.

  6. “As a result of mankind’s carbon dioxide emissions, largely from burning fossil fuels, carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere have already reached a monumental 400ppm”

    This clearly is not an “alternative fact”. That the post-industrial rise in atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic is very well established, and it does neither “side” of the public discussion of climate change any good to repeatedly return to canards like this (as Fred Singer explains – his choice of words not mine).

    • The “alternative fact” is that 400 ppm is *monumental* instead of *minuscule*.

      • It is a long way above levels seen in the last 800,000 years, it clearly isn’t “miniscule”. The “monumental” was a rhetorical hyperbole, and is the sort of thing the discussion could do without, likewise “minuscule”; sticking to the science is better.

      • “Largely from mankind burning fossil fuels” is also an assertion which has been questioned….

      • It may have been questioned, but it has been answered repeatedly, there are many lines of evidence that show beyond reasonable doubt that the post-industrial rise in atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic. Ferdinand Engelbeen has a nice summary on his website. The fact that skeptics keep on questioning the science in areas where it is solid is exactly what Fred Singer warns of as all it achieves is marginalising them in the public discussion on climate change. It would be much better if we could discuss the topic where there is genuine uncertainty, rather than rehashing these canards again and again and again.

      • If 400 ppm is monumental, then the amount of Argon in the air, which is about 25 times greater than the CO2 level must be astronomical!

      • I see dikranmarsupial is not allowing his sweeping statements to be questioned or challenged, therefore he/she clearly stands upon shakey ground! The miniscule amount of atmospheric CO2 may be the greatest for 800,000 years, (or is it 750,000, 650,000, 0r 700,00 years, all have been used before), however it also means that the atmospheric level is lower than it was 800,001 yeasr ago!

      • “If 400 ppm is monumental, then the amount of Argon in the air, which is about 25 times greater than the CO2 level must be astronomical!”

        argon isn’t a greenhouse gas, so that is a bit of a red-herring. A small increase in greenhouse gasses can have a substantial effect on climate as it modulates a vast flux of energy radiated away into space (if global temperatures are stable, this flux is equal to the energy flux we receive from the sun, which gives an idea of how vast this flux is). Whether 400ppm is large or small depends on the effect it has, and in this case is is non-negligible (the greenhouse effect, including water vapour) keeps the planet about 33K warmer than it would otherwise be, and that effect does not stop at 280ppm (fortunately the effect is logarithmic in nature).

      • “I see dikranmarsupial is not allowing his sweeping statements to be questioned or challenged, therefore he/she clearly stands upon shakey ground!”

        No, you can challenge them all you like. Go to Ferdinand Engelbeens website and find a bit of science you think is wrong and I’ll happily discuss it with you, as I have done many, many times before. However that doesn’t change the fact that continually disputing science that is very well supported by the observations will make you look ridiculous. Your choice.

      • This statement by dikranmarsupial pretty much says it all:

        “However that doesn’t change the fact that continually disputing science that is very well supported by the observations will make you look ridiculous.”

        What “observations”? That CO2 is trending higher at the same time temperature is trending higher?

        Or, that the only way to make the climate models work is to use a fudge factor to amplify the too-small effects of CO2 as a greenhouse gas? Think about the absurdity of calling this “science” – and remember that, as the late Dr. Joanne Simpson said, the science consists “almost entirely” of computer models. Computer models curve-fit to the (poor quality) proxy historical data using fudge factors, because that’s the **only way the models will work**.

        Science prostituted to politics.

      • dikranmarsupial: The fact that CO2 is at 400 ppm and that PROXIES tell us it’s the highest in 800,000 (depending on whose study and proxy one counts as “facts”) has no meaning by itself. It’s like saying there are more trees now than 800,000 years ago or less trees. Only if one adds other bits and pieces to the picture do we get “unnatural” warming. More CO2 from humans? Are we aliens or are we part of the earth? If we’re part of the earth, then adding the CO2 is just part of our evolutionary process. What humans do is not different than what elephants or insects do. We are part of the system if evolution is correct. Should we start regulating ALL processes of the system, since it seems humans have now deemed themselves the overlords of the planet—again not part of the system, apparently? Taking various facts and weaving them into a story is not science—it’s marketing. The facts taken individually are not a problem. It’s the weaving that becomes the psuedoscience.

      • Sheri “Are we aliens or are we part of the earth? If we’re part of the earth, then adding the CO2 is just part of our evolutionary process.”

        this is just sophistry. Look up in a dictionary the works “artificial” and “natural”. BTW ice cores are not proxies, the bubbles in the ice are samples of the atmosphere at the time the ice formed.

        Kermit wrote “What “observations”?”

        so you didn’t bother to click on the links I gave to find out. Sadly that is typical of discussions of science on climate skeptic blogs.

      • The “alternative fact” is that 400 ppm is *monumental* instead of *minuscule*.

        It’s about 0.02 above death..

        …and was so low plants had to evolve to deal with it

      • It is a long way above levels seen in the last 800,000 years….

        Well of course it is…..plants evolved and sucked it out
        CO2 levels dropped to where it became limiting….plant growth slowed down
        …new plants evolved to deal with the low levels

      • Why limit yourself to 800K years? Is it your theory that CO2 behaved differently before then?

      • Monkeyboy Marsupial,

        Calculate just how much warmer the atmosphere will become because of an increase in CO2 and the consequent change in the “vast flux” as the atmosphere radiates to space. Guess what: you CANNOT! No one can, the calculation is beyond complex. Just how much will the average radiating altitude rise per extra ppm of CO2? NO ONE KNOWS.

        Ask Mosher for help in your attempt, he is always very helpful, as is Stokes.

      • A small increase in a greenhouse gas can have a big impact.

        But only if the gas is a strong greenhouse gas and/or there are strong positive feedbacks.

        1) CO2 is a weak green house gas.
        2) There are no strong positive feedbacks, most of the feedbacks identified so far have been negative.

      • “2) There are no strong positive feedbacks, most of the feedbacks identified so far have been negative.”

        LOL.

      • dikranmarsupial: It’s not sophistry. Words have meanings. Except in propaganda. We are either part of the system or we are not. If we are, we are natural. If we are not, where did we come from? The use of artificial is used as an adjective to differentiate what one species (human beings) does from the rest of the system. It is 100% irrelevent to science unless one is attempting to prove humans are a special species and not subject to the science of evolution.

        Ice cores are proxies. The bubbles do contain CO2 trapped, but we have no idea if the CO2 level in any way represented the actual atmospheric concentration. It’s a supposition needed to make the proxy work.

      • (fortunately the effect is logarithmic in nature)

        If this is what you believe….then you believe it acts like any other buffer
        At low levels it fluctuates an causes instability…when the level is high enough…it causes stability

        What level do you think CO2 needs to be to make the climate/weather stable?

      • dikranmarsupial
        “It is a long way above levels seen in the last 800,000 years, it clearly isn’t “miniscule”.
        This also is an erroneous alternative fact based on the misguided assumption that the CO2 found in ice cores is an accurate representation of the actual ancient atmosphere. See Segalstad and Jaworowski 1992 which concludes on pg. 39 The physical phenomena discussed above, and chemical reactions between CO2 and chemical species dissolved in the intercrystalline liquid, must change the proportion gases in the secondary air inclusions (trapped in fractures and between ice crystals), as well as in the primary inclusions (gases originally dissolved in water, trapped when the water froze to ice), pseudo secondary gas inclusions (trapped In pores between the ice crystals, and in the “air bubbles”), and in secondary gas cavities (formed after the decompression of cores), compared to the original atmospheric composition. Therefore, the concentrations of gas species (like CO􀎸 determined in the air bubbles and secondary gas cavities from Greenland and Antarctic cores, e.g. from the Vostok core (Barnola et al., 1987), cannot be regarded as representing original atmospheric concentrations of gas species in the ancient atmosphere.
        There have been recent times with CO2 levels as high as today (see Beck, Energy and Environment 2007)which describes many papers on chemical analysis of CO2 and shows concentrations over 450PPM in Germany in 1939 and over 350PPM in 1964.

    • More hyperbole: “carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere have already reached”. The implication being that CO2 levels are rising at an unprecedented and dangerous rate of speed. They are adept at couching their lies within.

      • BTW ““carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere have already reached” does not imply “CO2 levels are rising at an unprecedented and dangerous rate of speed.” [emphasis mine], as it makes no comparison with historical rates of increase.

      • Nobody knows, since proxy records don’t have sufficient resolution to answer that question.

        Now, please demonstrate how the rate of CO2 concentrations impacts the ability of an individual CO2 atom to trap heat.

      • “So when did they last rise at such a rapid rate?”

        before plants, etc evolved to suck it out

    • Per IPCC AR5 Figure 6.1 prior to year 1750 CO2 represented about 1.26% of the total biospheric carbon balance (589/46,713). After mankind’s contributions, 67 % fossil fuel and cement – 33% land use changes, atmospheric CO2 increased to about 1.77% of the total biosphere carbon balance (829/46,713). This represents a shift of 0.51% from all the collected stores, ocean outgassing, carbonates, carbohydrates, etc. not just mankind, to the atmosphere. A 0.51% rearrangement of 46,713 Gt of stores and 100s of Gt annual fluxes doesn’t impress me as measurable let alone actionable, attributable, or significant.

    • That the post industrial rise in atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic is NOT well established. It is a reasonable supposition, nothing more.

      • Actually, the comment is incorrect on two observational grounds. 1. Both land and oceans are net carbon sinks. 2. The declining proportion of d13C to d12C means the increase in atmospheric CO2 ppm is coming from photosynthetic sources– because land and ocean are sinks, the only other photosynthetic source is fossil fuels.
        That the rise is mainly anthropogenic fossil fuel consumption is extremely well established.

      • You can’t lump soils and plants together, because they have different isotopic signatures. Soils, like humans, are a one-way input of light Carbon to the atmosphere. Plants both absorb and emit enormous amounts of Carbon from and to the atmosphere, but are a small net sink on the order of 5 GtC. Plants fractionate such that is a significant residual of 13C to the atmosphere from their absorption, and they selectively emit 13C in their respiration, such that there is a modest 13C boot to the atmosphere in the return as well.

        The net of plant interaction with the atmosphere is to subtract ~5GTC and leave a 5Gt weighted residual of +12 PDB to the atmosphere.

        Five Gt@+12, is simply no match for a soil input of 60 Gt@-21. So no, if you insist on lumping soils together with plants and land biota, “Land” becomes no longer a sink, but now a very large source of Carbon to the atmosphere.

        Soils are a “photosynthetic” source. Photosynthesis is not the only process that concentrates light Carbon. Bog methane and coal gas are measured as low as -100PDB.

      • Indeed, it is profoundly disappointing that the topic keeps getting recycled again and again on climate blogs, given that the evidence has been presented very clearly so many times (particularly by Ferdinand Engelbeen).

  7. It’s all about a sense of proportion, the one thing that gets lost in all the noise, especially within research cultures.

    Many researchers, for example, are trained to detect ‘small’ effects, which in some cases are harmful, whether in biochemistry, physics, chemistry, geology, or a myriad variety of other fields. Of course in many cases, ‘small’ amounts of something are not necessarily harmful, and may even be beneficial. Examples include trace elements in food, which are beneficial in small amounts but toxic in large amounts.

    However some academics, who spend a lifetime detecting ‘small’ variations or effects, sometimes lose their sense of proportion, in a similar way that the academic imperative is always to promote one’s particular field, sometimes out of all proportion to its’ relevance. The idea is that politics and societal ‘common sense’ usually intervenes to develop a sense of proportion in such matters, however many researchers continue to live in a bubble where they can routinely ignore such ‘common sense’. When fear also gets involved, this sort of ‘promotion’ of one’s field can sometimes get completely out of hand. So you can get a trace gas which is theoretically able to destroy the planet.

    Maintaining a sense of proportion and balance in relation to the known facts isn’t always easy, and its’ one of the things that academia has never been very good at. There are incentives for academics to grossly exaggerate to enhance their career, just like there are incentives for traders to make stupid bets. Many researchers have based their entire careers on publishing exaggerated articles which appeal to the prejudices of higher circles within academia before the true facts and true proportionality of such articles comes to light (e.g Mann, Ehrlich, Flannery etc etc).

    There has to be some sort of way of balancing academic careerism with empirical based facts and verification, along with a sense of proportion to steer the path forward.

  8. Well, this saves me.
    A couple of posts back, I made a silly comment about the B-52 BUFF and B-1 Lancer aircraft operating off aircraft carriers.
    Now we know that my claim was not silly but merely an alternative fact. Science lurches backwards.

    Hat tip to Janice Moore for her intuitively brilliant move, noting that if you transpose the numbers in B-52, you get the B-25 Mitchell, and my comment then almost made sense.
    The rest of that comment thread went on about the B-25 and the famous Doolittle Raid, and was interesting and informative as a result. No alternative facts needed.

    • Well there you go.

      We merely need point out that after all fossil fuels do not omit CO2, but merely O2C, an entirely harmless plant food.

  9. How can an article go so wrong in the first line, in the section of “key facts” no less…

    CO2 is not odourless and not tasteless.

      • In other words, in concentrations low enough that you can’t smell it, CO2 is odourless? ;o)

      • And its at extremely LOW concentrations in the atmosphere.

        FAR lower than the planet NEEDS it to be.

      • You cannot be serious. Tell me, is rotten egg sulphur odourless at the same concentration as CO2 in the atmosphere?! Something is either odourless or it is not.

        Open a bottle of soda and you can smell it.

      • “Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a colorless, odorless, non-flammable gas” from multiple sources (including Scientific American). One should not use Wiki for these things.

    • CO2 is odourless but induces a stinging sensation in the nose if inhaled in high concentration, presumably due to the carbonic acid formed

      • When I worked as a brewer, we used to inhale the CO2 from the top of the fermentation vats. Yes, you get a severe singing sensation, and it actually gets you quite ‘high’. I assume that was just oxygen deprivation. No odour beyond that of yeast, though.

        (don’t try this at home, kiddies, you’ll die quite quickly unless you limit it to a very short time)

    • CO2 IS odorless and tasteless. There is nothing in its molecular makeup that prescribes it an odor or a flavor. In high enough concentrations it can react with your body’s chemistry and create new, different molecules that your taste and smell receptors respond to, thus the sensation of a smell and/or flavor. I’ve seen videos of people using a bottle of pure CO2 and shooting it into their nose or mouth and proclaiming that it has an odor and flavor, or is noxious because of the unpleasant effect. Not once do they actually stop and think or discuss why that happens. They just conflate the reaction between highly concentrated CO2 and their body with the absolutely minuscule amount in the air, and use it as yet another bullet point for the supposed harmful effects of the gas. Ridiculous.

      *insert massive face-palm image here*

    • I have worked with dry ice, (solid 100% CO2), and it does not smell, neither the vapors emanating from it.

    • He says so:

      It is a plant nutrient and, as the ‘fuel’ of photosynthesis and the creation of oxygen, it is absolutely essential to the existence of life on Earth

      And he is wrong.

      I said in this site many times that O2 comes from the photolysis of H2O, not from CO2.

      once again:

      2 H2O + 2 NADP+ + 8 photons (light) → 2 (NADPH+H+) + O2

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photodissociation

      • But that’s just part of it. Overall photosynthesis is:
        CO2 + H2O + photons → [CH2O] + O2
        carbon dioxide + water + light energy → carbohydrate + oxygen

        Now, you could be pedantic and say that only part of that creates oxygen, and that part specifically does not involve CO2, but that’s a bit too pedantic for my taste.

  10. We need more headlines that ridicule this entire narrative. Like “CO2 Causes Mindless Zombies To Crave More Brains.” That will get the Millennials attention, who I think are the ones brainwashed from school on this whole CAGW propaganda mission. Anyone under 35 has had this drilled into their head now for the last 20 years, and they actually believe it since it has been taught it as a scientific truth. So, it really isn’t their fault. It is now on TV/media day and night claiming an apocalypse is near. Hopefully, the Trump administration gets this turned around before it is too late and everyone is drunk on the global warming, climate change kool-aid.

    I know very few people over 40 who actually believe any of this privately, unless they are some type of Gov’t worker or an academic teaching at a school or collage etc. where any deviation from the narrative is not productive for your career. Or some other such occupation that doesn’t allow free thought. Friends and colleagues that are in their 50’s regularly have a good laugh at all this nonsense, although now it is not so funny when you see what local politicians want to do to ‘combat’ climate change as if they can just pay some money to change the climate like they would pay a toll to cross a bridge. It would really all be laughable if it were not for the fact that so much money is at stake now, with so many people, businesses and governments at every level having a vested interest in getting some quick project approved, cash or power such as a city or county that can collect revenue off this. It has turned into a dirty rotten shameless scam.

  11. There you go…the CARBON atom is coloured BLACK.
    And the OXYGEN atoms are BLUE.
    A carbon ‘atom’ is not BLACK, CO2 is colourless, diamonds are made of CARBON.
    See me doing the shouty capitalisation thing there?
    Well that’s just me trying to get the message across…LET’S BE careful not to do the work of the Warmist unwittingly!

    • Every molecular model kit I have ever seen, the Carbon atoms are always black. Been that way since forever.

      • Wikipedia says…Some of the most common colors used in molecular models are as follows: carbon= black [citation needed]

        given the number of elements and the number of colors, some degree of subjective choice would be required.
        Why Black?

      • Solid carbon* is black, that’s why carbon molecules are coloured black.

        *diamonds excepted.

  12. Sorry, the whole point of this post is lost when the word Fact is used

    Fact – a thing that is known or proved to be true:

    Most of the AGW narrative is not proved to be true and a lot of it is based on opinion.
    Plus the description of a fact in law is

    Fact – the truth about events as opposed to interpretation:

    So opinion and interpretation are out.

  13. …In a 140 characters or fewer Tweeting, knee-jerk reaction, internet-driven world of shortening attention spans where ‘TLDR’ (Too Long; Didn’t Read’) is a typical reaction to any complex issue few will take the very considerable time and very considerable trouble to root out…

    There is a double whammy – If you try to compress a description of a complex issue into a small space, you will invariably miss some things out and simplify others. This results in discrepancies which will be seized on by your debating opponents as proof that you are mistaken or lying.

    So you will fail if you try to explain a complex problem to the general public, and you will fail if you try to simplify it…..

  14. “We are a carbon based life form, and every carbon atom in your body was once CO2 in the atmosphere.”

    I made that statement in my 2nd Saturday of the month breakfast group, and they didn’t know that.

    • Steve you could also add that all the limestone and marble in the world was formed by living creatures metabolising CO2 from the atmosphere. The White Cliffs of Dover would be very symbolic in this context.

      • Yes, and the primordial atmosphere

        was mostly CO2 and Methane, and you know what? With all that dreaded CO2 and methane that’s umptyflumpty times more powerful, the Earth didn’t boil away.

      • Turbulent, (Mosher, this is directed to you as well).

        Not even close to being a strong GHG. Without GHG’s and clouds, the surface emissions would be 1 W/m^2 per W/m^2 of accumulated forcing. The current system generates 1.6 W/m^2 of surface emissions per W/m^2 of forcing. This means that the combined effects of all GHG’s and clouds only increases the surface emissions by 60%. But wait, the final effect is even less since without GHG’s and clouds, the albedo would be far less and the average surface temperature would be about 272K and not 255K as often claimed. But as I pointed out in another post, the definition of forcing obfuscates the negative feedback like effects from clouds, so while the claim that the surface is 33C warmer is true, the fact that’s universally ignored is that the surface is also effectively 18C colder owing to increased reflection and the net increase is only 15C.

        Based on the IPCC sensitivity factor, the 0.8C increase that’s claimed to arise from 1 W/m^2 of ‘forcing’ will increase surface emissions by an impossibly large 4.4 W/m^2. They claim that the extra 3.3 W/m^2 comes from ‘positive feedback’ arising from the 1 W/m^2 of forcing. Of course, if all W/m^2 of forcing resulted in 3.3 W/m^2 of ‘feedback’, the surface temperature would be close to the boiling point of water. This comprises a trivial, unambiguous and undeniable falsification of the high sensitivity claimed unless you can make a case that different Joules can do different amounts of work. Mosher, do you want to tackle this one?

        The reason they use the non linear sensitivity metric of surface degrees per W/m^2 of forcing, rather than using SB to convert between temperature and emissions and using the linear, dimensionless metric of W/m^2 of surface emissions per W/m^2 of forcing is because 0.8C per W/m^2 seems plausible while 4.4 W/m^2 of surface emissions per W/m^2 is obvious nonsense even as both represent the exact same thing.

      • Ayup,
        And without it ALL life parishes. We have evolved to emit CO2 and plants to take it up and emotional O2. We have a symbiotic relationship with plants, it’s how life evolved

      • Mosh is mostly a drive-by jacka…
        Oooh, forgot…trying to be nice, instead of bluntly factual.

    • So at least Mr. Mosher does not believe in all that Wikipedia prints

      “A trace gas is a gas which makes up less than 1% by volume of the Earth’s atmosphere, and it includes all gases except nitrogen (78.1%) and oxygen (20.9%). The most abundant trace gas at 0.934% is argon. Water vapor also occurs in the atmosphere with highly variable abundance.”

      • That is tr4ue of dry air.
        In the real atmosphere, on the whole, water vapor is not a trace gas.

    • Steven Mosher
      May 15, 2017 at 1:37 am

      Good Mosher, cool Mosher, juicy and clever..:)

      Mosher to cool here, where the rest of the juicy ones, still liking their wounds?

      cheers

  15. · There is an extraordinarily close correlation between carbon dioxide concentrations and atmospheric temperatures

    · Carbon dioxide exerts an increasing warming effect as its concentrations increase
    ___________________________________________

    Such defaitistic bowing to inappropriate claims keeps climate alarmism alive.

  16. How’s it got so crazy?
    Because people are scared. Irrationally so.

    Ah you say, Climate Science is a crock. Yeeeeees, but science has been on the downhill for a long time, in that it has failed to explain stuff to people for the last few generations.

    The classic example is of course Nuclear. One person somewhere sometime, on a ‘bad hair day’ possibly, decided that any exposure to any nuclear radiation, no matter how small, was dangerous and to be avoided.
    And when you’ve got a population chronically depressed, addicted to sugar and ‘bad news’ – that thing exploded and went worldwide.
    Where where The Scientists to put the brakes on that?

    Likewise DDT
    Likewise saturated fat
    Likewise dietary salt
    Likewise (some) childhood vaccinations
    Likewise etc etc etc
    Where were the Scientists *then* to explain things properly?

    And just why did ‘we’ go to the Moon?
    Its a one of those awful cause & effect things but I suggest we went to the Moon because we were scared of it. And the best way our tiny little minds (shrunken, literally, by sugar) could resolve that worry about what the Moon was or is, what’s it up to – was to go there and conquer it. To make it ours, to show it who is boss.
    And so we did. Is it possible to get any more phallic, boy symbolism than to stick a flag pole into it. Ha, take that Moon. You’re fooked, I got there first and I did it. You’re mine now.
    Childish in the extreme. And why are grown people reverting to children, blubbing & crying on TV, Parliament and all over the interweb. Because large parts of their brains are chronically switched off.

    Just like missionaries went into jungles looking for ‘lost tribes’
    And they all got syphilis. Lots of good intentions going on there wasn’t ‘t there?

    And now, people are scared of the weather and (yet) again, Science is failing to properly explain it.

    • Would you be willing to say that strontium atoms incorporated into bone tissue, cesium atoms incorporated into heart tissue or plutonium atoms in the lungs are not dangerous? Particulate radiation incorporated into cellular tissue is a whole different animal that ionizing radiation external to us.

      • There were several crackpots here just a few months ago trying the same double babble to confuse people.

        Start with:
        A) particulate nuclear matter exposure is normal across wide swaths of the Earth.
        • – 1) trying to add fear by randomly ‘naming’ possible ionized particles is sheer nonsense.
        • – 2) If you have actual evidence, give all the particulars! Instead, all you have are ‘possible’ imaginary specious claims, not actual evidence.

        B) “Particulate radiation incorporated into cellular tissue is a whole different animal” oooh! the fear! How terrible!
        • – 1) Is absolute b_ll_hit! That sentence of your is meant to cause maximum fear without actual evidence

        camesawleft or better phrased as nevergoanywhere, bogus!

      • I Came I Saw I Left: it all depends how much strontium or cesium or plutonium is incorporated into your tissue. A tiny amount will have no appreciable effect on you, because you are already radioactive – you naturally contain radioactive elements such as carbon-14 and potassium-40. Lying in bed at night with your partner results in a radiation dose because your partner is also radioactive.

        Being neurotically frightened of any amounts of radioactivity, no matter how small, is equivalent to being frightened of monsters under your bed.

      • The dose is the poison. Background radiation causes very little if any damage. The body has mechanisms to repair any damage, evolved to prevent harm. A small particle,not a few atoms, of plutonium or cesium is dangerous when it gets into the body because it emits strong radiation in one tiny spot resulting in a biologic dose hundreds to thousands of time larger than whole body absorption of back ground radiation.

        The amount of cesium or plutonium remaining in the air due to the Cold War bomb production and weapons testing has almost all decayed radioactively or been buried in ocean sediments. The pollution around the US and USSR bomb plants, and Chernobyl are still problems that have been studiously being down-played by both countries.

        Your point has nothing to do with the point of the post that the dangers of nuclear power and radiation have been way overblown by the continued propaganda that any amount of radiation is dangerous. That is a paten lie. We all live and survive background radiation.

      • Potassium contains a radioactive isotope. Same as carbon..plenty of naturally occurring radioactive materials give us no problem.

      • ATheoK: There are a lot of and birth defects due to genetic mutations in areas affected by Chernobyl.

        Roger Graves: If one strontium atom causes a DNA mutation in bone marrow causing leukemia, that is a sufficient dose. I was afraid of monsters under my bed when I was young, but I learned to get over it. I used to be afraid of the thing you speak of, but I learned to get over it. Life ends in death, but that doesn’t mean that I ignore or justify the things that can kill me. I just don’t worry about them.

        Philo: I think that nuclear power and human life are incompatible. All it takes is one mistake and an entire country can be ruined, virtually forever. Fukushima is still pumping out horrendous contamination, and they have no idea what to do about it. The situation is totally out of control.

      • I Came, for God’s sake, never eat bananas if you understand so little about radioactivity. They are so radioactive that eating two a day gives you a higher dose of radiation than is allowed to workers in nuclear power stations!

      • And that, Jerome, is why monkeys stopped evolving and we are at the top of the food chain … we climbed down out of the trees and got away from the nasty radiation diet.

      • Jer0me: I have read that the body normally excretes K-40 to maintain metabolic equilibrium, Passing through the body is entirely different than being incorporated into cells as cesium and strontium are.

      • ATheoK: Per you B) above, cesium is a muscle seeker and strontium is a bone seeker. For example, strontium can substitute for calcium in bone tissue, thereby becoming part of the cell structure itself.

    • The USA went to the Moon to beat the Russians to it.
      Once that Space Race was won the USA started closing down their space exploration.

  17. “The best projections tell us that we have less than 100 months to alter our behavior before we risk catastrophic climate change. – Charles, Prince of Wales, March, 2009”

    Well, here we are, 102 months on, are we there yet?

  18. The list of facts is incorrect:

    it is absolutely essential to the existence of life on Earth

    Not really. Complex life without doubt, but a lot of bacteria and microorganisms do not depend on CO2 fixation.

    crop yields have improved dramatically to date and will continue to improve in the future

    We do not know anything about the future. Educated guesses about the future are never a fact.

    Most global warming experienced since 1950 can be attributed to natural climate variability

    Nobody can demonstrate it, or the opposite, so attributing something to a cause without evidence is hardly a fact.

    At low enough concentrations carbon dioxide could cause catastrophic climate change and the extinction of all life on Earth

    What could or couldn’t happen is never a fact, and for all we know the earth would experience a reduction in life complexity, not the extinction of all life. We might have experienced already the first steps in the process. Today’s largest land and flying animals are significantly smaller than past largest land and flying animals.

    • Javier — you’re trolling!

      The list of “facts” you quote is simply the flip side of the list of warmist “facts” that claim the opposite in each case. Perhaps you would care to go back and pick the same holes in those? Or perhaps you think that version is the “true” one? In which case you are simply proving Iain Aitken’s argument that a good lawyer could effectively argue either way.

      And thereby demonstrating that “Climate Change” is not a science at all. It’s a belief system.

      • No trolling. If you write a list of facts. They better be facts. Otherwise the list is useless.

    • Perhaps you are implying that all higher level life and plants would be ok with 0 CO2?

      • So what you are saying, Javier, is that these facts which you are picking holes are not facts but that your facts which I am happy to pick holes in are facts.

        Which is as good a definition of a belief system as you could find. You believe A; I believe B. Both are believable; both are challengeable.

        The problem with warmistas is their blinkers. They never ever ever admit that they just might, even around the fringes, be wrong. Another definition of a belief system!

  19. Here’s another way to massage figures. We’re told that in the pre-industrial era CO2 was present at 280ppm, or two hundred and eighty molecules per million of all atmospheric gases, excluding water vapour.
    Now it’s 400ppm.
    So CO2 has risen by 43% since the pre-industrial era – a much more impressive ‘shock-horror’ soundbite for propaganda purposes, yet the ones who believe in dangerous man-made global warming missed that one.
    I wonder why? Yet life goes on!
    I’ve always wondered if there’s some interaction in the atmosphere between CO2 and water vapour which affects the way infra-red radiation behaves. I also wonder how much CO2 there is in the atmosphere in an area where there’s been rainfall, given the solubility of the gas. Any information will be welcomed – but I’m not a physicist, so verbal descriptions would be preferred.
    In the course of my work in a medical laboratory years ago, samples were often received in solid CO2 or ‘dry ice’ . I certainly couldn’t smell it as the gas sublimated on opening the insulated containers. However, my ancient chemistry textbook from 1963 states that the gas has a faint taste and smell, but there are no indications of the concentrations involved. Perhaps some people are more sensitive to the presence of CO2.

    • The only reason CO2 has a taste or smell at higher concentrations is due to its reaction with your body chemistry to create different molecules that your taste and smell receptors respond to. CO2 itself has no intrinsic taste or smell.

  20. I look outside and what do I see.
    I see trees that are green and in some cases considerably higher than last year,
    a proliferation of fruit from those capable of bearing, grass that has needed to mowing once a week for the last 8 months, monumental amounts of various weeds requiring hot water applications from pots on a woodburner, citrus of all types putting out long branches studded with flowers, rain falling every so often, the wind blowing from every direction, the moon rising between northern and southern declinations, the ocassional blessing of an aurora australis,
    so whats not to like.
    Its not warmer or colder, the tides are not higher or lower, the seasons are slightly out of whack as they tend to be occasionally.
    Is there anybody out there happy with the natural world and the way it operates?

    Or are we to be continually bombarded with a bunch of deluded dogma such as catastrophic global warming that seems hell bent on destroying everything and then blaming ourselves for it.
    What an idiotic concept.

    • There is very clear evidence of former wilderness greening worldwide from satellite imagery, but you and your tribe refuse to see this, turning your eyes away from it in embarrassment. The silence of public discourse on the fact of CO2 greening which is spectacular good news for planet earth, its biosphere and for us, is disgraceful.

      • “There is very clear evidence of former wilderness greening worldwide from satellite imagery, but you and your tribe refuse to see this, turning your eyes away from it in embarrassment.”

        I don’t deny there is an increase in vegetation as a result of increases in CO2. The question was is this the main reason for a dramatic increase in global crop yields, rather than other factors, such as warmer temperatures, improvements in agricultural practices, etc.

      • But if the increase in temperature is directly caused by the increase in CO2, then any greening from temperature is also attributable to increasing CO2

  21. “Its fertilisation effect has meant that, thanks to our anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions increasing concentrations in the atmosphere, crop yields have improved dramatically to date and will continue to improve in the future”

    Any evidence for that? It seems unlikely to me that most of the increase in crop yields can be attributed to a 30% rise in CO2, as opposed to say improved farming methods.

    • Oh, thats just too easy to answer…..
      I don’t think improved farming methods can be attributed to benefits that rain forest(s), semi arid and arid areas and well, generally EVERY other area are achieving. Those areas are NOT gaining from the assistance of any such ‘improved farming method’… it a bit tricky getting the tractors in there anyway.

      • “I don’t think improved farming methods can be attributed to benefits that rain forest(s), semi arid and arid areas and well, generally EVERY other area are achieving.”

        Large amounts of rain forest have been cut down to improve crop yields.

        “Those areas are NOT gaining from the assistance of any such ‘improved farming method’… it a bit tricky getting the tractors in there anyway.”

        There’s a lot to improving farming than bigger tractors.

    • It didn’t say “most of the increase” was due to CO2. Improved farming methods of course played an important role. Also, your 30% rise in CO2 is a red herring. What is important is that CO2 levels were very low, so a 30% increase most certainly could be expected to have a dramatic effect.

      • “It didn’t say “most of the increase” was due to CO2.”

        I inferred it from the way the statement was worded. – “thanks to our anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions … crop yields have improved dramatically to date and will continue to improve in the future”. No mention of other causes.

        “Also, your 30% rise in CO2 is a red herring. What is important is that CO2 levels were very low, so a 30% increase most certainly could be expected to have a dramatic effect.”

        It’s 30% of a very low number, so why would it have a dramatic effect? And why doesn’t that argument apply to the greenhouse effect?

      • “And why doesn’t that argument apply to the greenhouse effect?”

        Maybe because that’s not how it works? The vast majority of CO2’s hypothetical efficacy as a “greenhouse gas” has already been used up at concentrations much lower than even pre-industrial times. The effect is logarithmic. Its efficacy as a fertilizer for plants and its role in photosynthesis is an entirely different beast. The latter is also based on sound, repeatable real world science.

      • “It’s 30% of a very low number, so why would it have a dramatic effect? And why doesn’t that argument apply to the greenhouse effect?”

        Logically, no reason at all. It is clearly a stupid argument that something is at such a low concentration that it can have no effect on warming and 30% change can have no effect, then simultaneously argue that it is essential to life on Earth and a 30% change results in massive crop yield increases.

        Paul Jackson illustrates this below. Far from 400ppm being too low a level to cause warming, it is almost at too high a level for further increases to cause more warming.

      • Seaice

        “Paul Jackson illustrates this below. Far from 400ppm being too low a level to cause warming, it is almost at too high a level for further increases to cause more warming.”

        So more isn’t a problem it’s only a benefit.

    • These another point that confuses me about these sorts of arguments. How is it that a 30% increase in CO2 can be be accepted as sufficient to cause a dramatic increase in crop yields, but are assumed to be insufficient to have any effect on warming?

      • How is it that a 30% increase in CO2 can be be accepted as sufficient to cause a dramatic increase in crop yields, but are assumed to be insufficient to have any effect on warming? Bellman

        It has to with Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity, which is how much warmer the Earth should become if the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is doubled. Although what the actual value of ECS is a point of contention, lets for the sake of argument assume it is 2.0, the atmospheric CO2 is 180ppm and NYC is buried under a sheet of ice a mile thick. Add 180ppm of CO2 and the temps become moderate but coolish with the additional 2 degree increase. To get to the next 2 degree increase we have to add not 180, but 360ppm. This also assumes that there are no unanticipated forcing kicking in; such as water vapor transporting latent heat high into the atmosphere away from the surface.

      • ” How is it that a 30% increase in CO2 can be be accepted as sufficient to cause a dramatic increase in crop yields, but are assumed to be insufficient to have any effect on warming?”
        __________________________________

        Bellman – increase of crop yields effects warming?

        Please explain.

      • Paul Jackson

        “It has to with Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity, which is how much warmer the Earth should become if the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is doubled.”

        Yes. So a 30% increase in CO2 should result in a roughly proportional increase in temperature. If your 2C figure were correct a 30% increase would mean an increase of around 0.75C. This would be the irrespective of how much CO2 was around to begin with.

        My objection is to those who use a hand-wavy argument that there is just too little CO2, e.g.

        “Only 0.04% of our atmosphere is carbon dioxide, which makes it what scientists call a ‘trace gas’; it requires extremely sensitive equipment even to detect it”

        with the implication that this is in someway relevant to the question of global warming.

    • Bellman
      “Any evidence for that”
      There is very clear evidence of former wilderness greening worldwide from satellite imagery, but you and your tribe refuse to see this, turning your eyes away from it in embarrassment. The silence of public discourse on the fact of CO2 greening which is spectacular good news for planet earth, its biosphere and for us, is disgraceful.

      Does it seem surprising to you that more CO2 will benefit plants? Can you tell me the reason why greenhouse operators pump CO2 up to >1000 ppm CO2 inside greenhouses claiming that this makes plants 🌱 grow faster and better. Do you want to tell them that they are wrong?

      • See my response to the first part of your comment above.

        For the questions you asked:

        “Does it seem surprising to you that more CO2 will benefit plants? Can you tell me the reason why greenhouse operators pump CO2 up to >1000 ppm CO2 inside greenhouses claiming that this makes plants 🌱 grow faster and better. Do you want to tell them that they are wrong?”

        No.
        To increase growth.
        No.

  22. The difference is that Warmist “facts” are actually primarily lies, though they may contain grains of truth here and there. They also use highly emotional language. This idea that even highly intelligent people can not distinguish between truth and lies is itself a lie. They may have to actually use their brain a little bit though, which requires some work. And people are lazy.

  23. All plant life appears to be doing better at the moment without any input from me.
    I am grateful for this as it means I have not gone blind and the exhaust system from my 62 year old car has not affected anything much.
    Id rather just put it down to weather for a guilt free existence.

  24. Betting against the side predicting global apocalypse is always a wise move. Betting against the side that refuses to debate is always a wise move.

  25. A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. Max Planck

    Experts can always come up with enough facts to bolster their chosen opinion. In that light, facts don’t actually matter as much as we think they should.

    Here’s a link to a paper that studies what happens when an eminent scientist dies. People from outside the field pick up the slack and bring new and novel ideas. In other words, eminent scientists are actually a drag on progress.

    Folks like to think of scientists as super rational. In fact, they are anything but that.

  26. There is no scientific evidence to support these statements, which are untrue:

    · Global warming precedes, and then causes, increases in carbon dioxide emissions

    · Most global warming experienced since 1950 can be attributed to natural climate variability, rather than enhanced greenhouse gas warming from anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. Furthermore the rate of global warming experienced since 1950 has many precedents and is not remotely alarming

    · There is a very poor correlation between carbon dioxide concentrations and atmospheric temperatures so some thing (or things) other than carbon dioxide must be the key driver (or drivers) of global warming

    · Those who would assert that global warming is man-made and dangerous are denying the facts that global warming has been slowing down at precisely the same time that anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions have been rising and that no unequivocal causal relationship has ever been established between those emissions and observed global warming.

    So the evidence and science is unequivocal: not only are our carbon dioxide emissions innocuous, they could actually be hugely beneficial for humanity.

    This pair of statements is misleading:
    · Carbon dioxide concentrations today are amongst the lowest found in the entire history of the Earth
    · Carbon dioxide concentrations today are at the highest level ever recorded

    Yes, there have been higher concentrations, but not during human history/the period in which our current civilisation was established

    Nobody is asserting this in the terms presented:
    · It is a highly toxic atmospheric gas that is a dangerous pollutant of our precious planet

    It would have been nice if some scientific evidence for the first set of (erroneous) propositions had been presented.

    There is of course ample observation based evidence (not modelled!) for the second set (where the arguments are not misrepresented).

    Assertion is not evidence.

    [neither is opinion -mod]

    • Yes, there have been higher concentrations,…

      …and then plants evolved and sucked it out

    • Griff, you need to back up your assertions,otherwise you can’t be taken seriously.

  27. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
    ~
    Authority is so easily and always corrupted.

    Authoritarianism is evil.

    There is no getting around the fact carbon dioxide is one of the absolutely essential ingredients of life. Water and oxygen are both far more dangerous and destructive.

  28. From the original post:
    It is a plant nutrient and, as the ‘fuel’ of photosynthesis and the creation of oxygen,
    Actually it’s water that is the ‘fuel’ and creator of oxygen not CO2.

    It is a weak greenhouse gas
    It’s a ‘strong’ greenhouse gas.

    • “Actually it’s water that is the ‘fuel’ and creator of oxygen not CO2.”

      Photosynthesis does not occur without CO2, H2O and light.

      Given H2O and light, photosynthesis increases with increasing CO2.
      Plant growth increases with increasing CO2.
      Crop yield increases with increasing CO2.
      Importantly, the temperature of maximum photosynthesis increases with increasing CO2.

      Also, oceanic plankton photosynthesis, growth, and population increase with increasing CO2.

      • The odd argument (above somewhere) is that the part of the process that releases O2 does not directly involve CO2. I am pretty sure that part would not happen on its own, or would not be useful anyway, so the argument is a bit weak.

    • It’s a ‘strong’ greenhouse gas.

      True that. CO2 exerts a lot of radiative forcing for it’s concentrations.

      However, global warming tends to lead to a more moderate less variable climate, factors also benign for life on earth.

      • Good selection for the range of the graph since human cultures survive and thrive in seasonal and annual climates which span that full extent.

      • Latitude

        You’ve missed a trick. Why not start your y-axis at absolute zero, -273.15C? That way it becomes even ‘more’ difficult to determine temperature changes in a data series that has a standard deviation of +/- 0.36 deg C over its 137 full years. It would be even less useful than that chart you love so well.

      • Robert

        Good selection for the range of the graph since human cultures survive and thrive in seasonal and annual climates which span that full extent.

        Which might be appropriate if the data were purporting to show the range of seasonal range in climates; but it’s not. It shows global annual average land and ocean surface temperatures, which severely restricts the range since these don’t change very much on a year-to-year basis.

        Selecting an inappropriate scale on which to display data is a form of cherry-picking. For instance, here is a chart showing the range in human body temperatures on the Kelvin scale. On the left side of the chart you die of cold; on the right side you die of overheating. Putting it on an inappropriate scale makes the difference between the two extremes seem minuscule, if visible at all, when in fact it’s immense in human terms.

    • It is a very strong greenhouse gas in its fundamental bend. Here it is at 1 ppm according to modtran:

      The fundamental bend is saturated at 400 ppm. The nearby fairly strong transitions at 618 and 720.8 are very nearly saturated. What will remain when they become saturated is a bunch of very weak transitions.

    • Yes Phil, in a small sliver of the IR window.

      Please don’t mislead people, you are too smart for that.

      • sunsettommy May 15, 2017 at 1:10 pm
        Yes Phil, in a small sliver of the IR window.

        Right at the peak in the Earth’s emission spectrum.
        Run MODTRAN with 400ppm CO2 for Tropical atmosphere at surface T of 299.7K, you get:
        Upward IR Heat Flux 297.923 W/m2
        Repeat with 0ppm CO2:
        Upward IR Heat Flux 329.072 W/m2

        That’s a ~10% reduction in the upward IR heat flux due to CO2.
        This would be a ~7ªC drop in temperature, a full ice age.

      • Phil, never disputed your comment science content, it is what you don’t mention, is what is misleading since most of the IR window is outside of CO2 absorptive range.

      • sunsettommy May 15, 2017 at 8:10 pm
        Phil, never disputed your comment science content, it is what you don’t mention, is what is misleading since most of the IR window is outside of CO2 absorptive range.

        I explicitly said that CO2 reduces the IR emission to space by 10%, how is that misleading?
        I’m sure most people would realize that that leaves 90% (i.e. ‘most’) which does reach space.

    • Turbulent Eddie May 15, 2017 at 5:40 am
      “Actually it’s water that is the ‘fuel’ and creator of oxygen not CO2.”

      Photosynthesis does not occur without CO2, H2O and light.

      Correct but the production of oxygen requires water and CO2 is not involved.

      • To explain my view, that part of photosynthesis does NOT create the carbohydrates that plants need to survive. It’s not going to happen on its own, so should not be disassociated from the full process of photosynthesis. The full process of photosynthesis takes in CO2 and releases O2, therefore the assertion is correct.

        You take on part of the process that does not use CO2 and does produce O2, and then claim that the process as a whole does not use CO2. That is disingenuous imo.

      • Jer0me May 15, 2017 at 5:25 pm
        To explain my view, that part of photosynthesis does NOT create the carbohydrates that plants need to survive. It’s not going to happen on its own, so should not be disassociated from the full process of photosynthesis. The full process of photosynthesis takes in CO2 and releases O2, therefore the assertion is correct.

        Actually it does happen on its own, the first step in the process is the absorption of light by chlorophyll which breaks down water into O2, H+ and electrons. Subsequently CO2 is reacted using the energy produced by this step in the Calvin cycle (which doesn’t use light) to produce carbohydrates.

        You take on part of the process that does not use CO2 and does produce O2, and then claim that the process as a whole does not use CO2. That is disingenuous imo.

        I did not ‘claim that the process as a whole does not use CO2’, I disputed the ‘fact’ that CO2 was
        ” the ‘fuel’ of photosynthesis and the creation of oxygen”.

    • Mr. Aitken,

      “It is a weak greenhouse gas”

      It is when compared to the entire IR spectrum.

      Phil,

      “It’s a ‘strong’ greenhouse gas”

      Only in its main band, weak everywhere else in the IR spectrum..

  29. “Two Competing Narratives on Dihydrogen Oxide”

    Water’s pretty good until you drown in it.

  30. Given that irrigation involves the dispersal of vast quantities of water over otherwise dry areas of the planet, and that that a great proportion of that water (unused by plants) becomes water vapour…could we assume that Warmists would fundamentally oppose Irrigation…given that it releases large quantities of a powerful Greenhouse Gas; water vapour…into the atmosphere?
    Could we assume that more GHGS are released into the atmosphere daily through irrigation than combustion?

    • There is a considerable contribution to climate change due to unsustainable farming practices. Some of the vast amount of irrigation has depleted the ground water of an area. Conversion of wild land to agricultural has been documented to change weather patterns. Not all of these changes are bad, but they affect the best crops for an area.

      Note, I wrote “climate change” not warming. When there is significant drought caused by unsustainable agriculture (such as the United States in the 1930s or Syria in the last twenty years), then it tends to get much warmer. A reduction in evapotranspiration from plants causes a reduction in rainfall. The lack of rain causes the warming, the warming doesn’t cause lack of rain.

      The reduction in groundwater that we see in Texas and California also contributes to local droughts and they contribute to sea level increases. Since the ground is dry, rainfall tends to be absorbed more quickly rather than contribute to the local rain cycle.

      That being said — few people argue that agriculture is a net harm.

      • It should be pointed out that much of what is called “climate change” is highly localized. Climatists love to conflate localized changes to “global climate change”. In the grand scheme of things, man’s effect on climate is very very small.

  31. Partly the green blob relies on “the hard sell” and “the big lie” tools of propaganda/advertising, which usually work in the short term. The long term is a different issue, but as a cynical economist once wrote” In the long term, we are all dead”.

  32. No one ever discusses the role of cabonates. There is a lot more carbon tied up in rock than fossil fuels. If we burn all the coal, oil, and natural gas we can find, the majority of carbon is still tied up in limestones. Where I live in Illinois I’m sitting on top of a few hundred feet of it. We all need to thank the snails for cleaning the majority of the CO2 out of the atmosphere.

  33. So, here’s a question. It may be a silly question, but IF the temperature (or the ‘back-radiation due to greenhouse effect) and the CO2 proportion are linked so inexorably, and we have a graph of the relationship, can we measure the temperature/forcing/DWIR/whatever and derive the CO2 proportion, as a check against direct measurement? That’s what happens with a REAL control knob.

  34. Mr. Aitken’s analysis is well done. Though many of the supposed facts on both sides of the argument are, at least, fundamentally based upon known physics and chemistry, the bottom line from a true science standpoint continues to be that correlation does not equal causation. This is particularly true when there are so many exogenous variables involved resulting in high multicolinearity even within the supposed correlations. Making very expensive decisions to take actions based upon such information is therefore both foolish and potentially dangerous. Also, knowing that we are so close to the level of CO2 required to keep our planet from dying from the lack thereof should cause caution on our part regarding attempting to lower its level. The very hard push from the left on this subect is obviously about control, politics and money.

  35. The whole thing is pretty simple. The IPCC’s climate model and GCMs’ climate model are based on the Myhre’s equation about the radiative forcing of CO2. The there is the positive water feedback also in these models. If these two formulas are correct, then IPCC’s science is correct. I have published and studied these basic issues and the results are: there is no positive water feedback doubling the GH gas warming effects. The Myhre’s formula gives practically 100 % too high values, because it is probably calculated in the atmosphere of fixed relative water content. The end results: the climate sensitivity is not 3.0 degrees but 0.6 degrees:

    Link: http://www.seipub.org/des/paperInfo.aspx?ID=11043#Abstract

  36. Alarmists have bombarded us with doomsday scenarios for a long time. Most of us are tired of it, but some of them managed to persuade themselves that they are right. They want to declare their models, not Mother Nature, the ultimate arbiter.

  37. Because IPCC claims are based on the scientific studies, the arguments must also be based on the published papers. In the end we will see, what is right. The moment of truth is, when the global temperature starts to decline. Before that, this a is a game “a word against a word” even though there are scientific words.

    • Lol. When it cools down we will be proved right until then it’s word game.
      Welcome to WUWT.

  38. The true climate change believer uses the cause has a refuge from thinking about real threats such as War, Pandemics, and Famine. It makes life so much easier believing that the real threat is climate change as opposed to the other three. The real question is how do we allow them to keep their belief without allowing them to constrict the economy, leave millions in poverty, and wasting hundreds of billions of dollars?

  39. I’m reminded of a visit to Budweiser brewery in Houston a few summers ago. There was a caution sign in the elevator and about the facility. It said to exit the building if the alarm went off. It was set to alarm at 30,000ppm of CO2. I was not aware CO2 was dangerous at that level. And we are going to suffocate at 400ppm CO2?

    “The environmental journalist Michael Specter has said, ‘Humanity has nearly suffocated the globe with carbon dioxide”

    • Specter is a wee bit less than truthful in his desperation to convince people to buy into his alarmism. But science honesty and integrity do seem to be frequently lost as one becomes more and more alarmist.

  40. CO2 is non toxic and necessary for most life at low concentration, but contrary to what the title says is positively lethal starting at above 10% concentration. A couple of breaths will make you unconscious and you die quite quickly.
    As was found out from the holds of ships carrying citrus fruit.

    • Well since we would need to see CO2 increase about 2500 times to get to 10% concentration I will not be holding my breath in fear. 😱

  41. OSHA, no surprise errs on the side of caution. Luckily the US Navy is exempt:

    “Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless gas and should be treated as a material with poor warning properties. It is denser than air and high concentrations can persist in open pits and other areas below grade. The current OSHA standard is 5000 ppm as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) concentration.

    “Gaseous carbon dioxide is an asphyxiant. Concentrations of 10% (100,000 ppm) or more can produce unconsciousness or death. Lower concentrations may cause headache, sweating, rapid breathing, increased heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, mental depression, visual disturbances or shaking. The seriousness of the latter symptoms is dependent on the concentration of carbon dioxide and the length of time the individual is exposed. The response to carbon dioxide inhalation varies greatly even in healthy normal individuals.”

    If there be an ideal CO2 concentration, it’s between 800 and 1300 ppm, as in commercial greenhouses. Above that level, plants don’t reap further benefit from increases. So at least a doubling of current concentration would be healthy for plants and other living things.

  42. Should anyone (yes, anyone) get down as far as this on this thread/blog . . . .

    I have read Iain Aitken’s excellent original guest essay (main post) and all the helpful comments that follow with great interest. Since following WUWT every day for the last (however many) years – often just lurking – I have (i) missed Jimbo’s regular contributions and (ii) developed an almost neurotic need to comprehensively list all the different ways that mankind generates the so-called ‘pollutant’ CO2 and adds this ‘dreaded’ CO2 to ‘the sky’. Again, no one, not anyone (including the author) has listed all the ways we simply make more and more CO2. Why?

    Whether it be from processes needed to decaffinate coffee, human cremation, global beer production, CO2 from limescale removing products – or even bicarbonate of soda used to clean false teeth, my argument is this. “If CO2 is so bad, why do we use the gas to do all these things for humans?”.

    So if, we now (since late 70’s) use dry-ice CO2 pellets (instead of sand) to actually sand-blast buildings, just HOW has this process helped contributed to the ‘dangerous’ levels of 400ppm (1/2,500th of the sky)

    Got to serve our dinner up now, let me know.

    • I do my bit to sequester all the CO2 I can by partaking of that “global beer production”.

      I’ll take my payment in beer, thanks. Belgian or Czech by preference :)

  43. There is no real evidence that more CO2 in our atmosphere causes warming. Where by CO2 is an LWIR absorber it is also an LWIR radiator so it does not trap heat energy. The non greenhouse gases are acutally better at trapping heat energy because, where by they transfer heat energy between molecules they encounter, they are relatively poor LWIR radiators to space. If more CO2 actually caused warming then one would expect that the increase in CO2 over the past 30 years would have caused at least a measureable increase in the dry lapse rate in the troposphere but that has not happened. Actually if enough CO2 is added to the atmosphere it will lower the dry lapse rate in the troposphere which is a cooling effect.

    A real greenhouse does not stay warm because of the action of heat trapping greenhouse gases. A real greenhouse stays warm because the glass reduces cooling by convection. There is no radiative greenhouse effect associated with a real greenhouse. What keeps a real greenhouse warm is a convective greenhouse effect.

    So too on Earth. Gravity and the heat capacity of the atmosphere combine to form a convective greenhouse effect in the Earth’s atmsophere. As derived from first principals, the Earth’s convective greenhouse effect causes the Earth’s surface to be roughly, on average, 33 degrees C warmer than it would otherwise be without the atmosphere. 33 degrees C is the amount derived from first principals and 33 degrees C is the amount that has been observed. No additional warming caused by a radiant greenhouse effect has ever been detected. The convective greenhouse effect has been observed on all planets in the solar system with thick atmospheres. An additional radiant greehouse effect has not been observed anywhere in the solar system. The radiant greenhouse effect is science fiction as is the AGW conjecture which depends upon the existance of a radiant greenhouse effect.

    One researcher has found that the initial calculations of the climate sensivity of CO2 is too great by more than a factor of 20 because the initial calculations fail to take in consideration that doubling the amount of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere will cause a slight decrease in the dry lapse rate in the troposphere which is a cooling effect. So instead of a Planck effect climate sensivity of 1.2 degrees C, a better number is .06 degrees C.

    Then there is the issue of H2O feedback. According to the AGW conjecture, CO2 warming causes more H2O to enter the atmosphere which causes more warming because H2O is also a so called greenhouse gas with LWIR absorption bands. What the AGW conjecture neglects to include is that besides bering the primary greenhouse gas, H2O is a primary coolant in the Earth’s atmosphere moving heat energy from the Earth’s surface, which is mostly some form of H2O, to where clouds form via the heat of vaporization. According to some energy ballance models, more heat energy is moved by H2O then by both convection and LWIR absorption band radaition combined. The net cooling effects of more H2O is evidenced by the fact that the wet lapse rate is significantly less than the dry lapse rate. So instead of amplifying the warming effect by a factor of 3, a better evauation of the effect of H2O is that it decreases the warming effect of CO2 by a factor of 3 yielding a value of less than .02 degrees C for the climate sensivity of CO2 that is if one believes that a radiant greenhouse effect even exists.

    In their first report the IPCC published a wide range of possible values for the climate sensivity of CO2. In their last report the IPCC published the exact same values. So in over two decades of effort, the IPCC has found anything that would allow them to decrease the range of their guestamates one iota. They have apparently not obsreved a radiant greenhouse effect caused by CO2.

  44. Questions to ask Hayhoe, Mann, etc. should always be along the lines of, “and what measurable improvements in the climate will occur if we prevent the increase or lower the amount of CO2?

  45. Why doesn’t the evidence change warmists’ minds? Try this on:

    “I grew up in communist Cuba, where I endured about eight years of daily Marxist, Leninist and Castroist propaganda. I was drowned in brainwashing, re¬vi-s¬ion¬ist politics in compulsory, government-run school all day, and my father tried to undo the damage at night with talks and alternate readings”
    . * * *
    “I absolutely can understand the benefits for those at the top of the elite pyra-mid “selling” failed ideas to those below. I do not understand the appeal to those poor or soon-to-be-poor to support such a false set of beliefs for most of their lives.
    ” It is a form of enslavement from which some people do not want to be mentally emancipated. No facts or pragmatic arguments make them change their beliefs.”

    Rolando Menendez (comment posted in The Daily Signal)

  46. [snip]
    Now imagine two lines on a piece of graph paper. The first rises to a crest, then slopes sharply down, then levels off and rises slowly once more. The other has no undulations. It rises in a smooth, slowly increasing arc. The first, wavy line is the worldwide CO2 tonnage produced by humans burning coal, oil and natural gas. On this graph it starts in 1928, at 1.1 gigatons (i.e. 1.1 billion metric tons). It peaks in 1929 at 1.17 gigatons. The world, led by its mightiest power, the USA, plummets into the Great Depression, and by 1932 human CO2 production has fallen to 0.88 gigatons a year, a 30 per cent drop. Hard times drove a tougher bargain than all the counsels of Al Gore or the jeremiads of the IPCC (Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change). Then, in 1933 it began to climb slowly again, up to 0.9 gigatons.

    And the other line, the one ascending so evenly? That’s the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, parts per million (ppm) by volume, moving in 1928 from just under 306, hitting 306 in 1929, to 307 in 1932 and on up. Boom and bust, the line heads up steadily. These days[*] it’s at 380. There are, to be sure, seasonal variations in CO2, as measured since 1958 by the instruments on Mauna Loa, Hawaii. (Pre-1958 measurements are of air bubbles trapped in glacial ice.) Summer and winter vary steadily by about 5 ppm, reflecting photosynthesis cycles. The two lines on that graph proclaim that a whopping 30 per cent cut in man-made CO2 emissions didn’t even cause a 1 ppm drop in the atmosphere’s CO2. Thus it is impossible to assert that the increase in atmospheric CO2 stems from human burning of fossil fuels.
    [snip – emphasis added]
    * Published in 2007.

    Are the facts listed above correct? If they are, how can the conclusion be avoided?

  47. Our fossil fuels were once living vegetation that covered the planet. If we burned ALL our fossil fuels, wouldn’t the climate be like it was in the epoch of the dinosaurs, or even before then? The entire earth was a tropical paradise in those days, right?

    • No. You are forgetting the logarithmic decreasing of the effect of any GHG with increasing amounts. The plants would love it, but I would hate to have to cut my grass every day. And then there are the other factors like Milankovich, the PDO, etc., etc….

    • Think about that word ‘paradise’ and get back to me :)

      In any case, the chances of all the plant and animal matter having been turned into fossil fuels, and us finding and being able to extract it all, are so small as to be irrelevant. I’ve no idea how much became fossil fuels or how much of that we could find, and how much of that we could use, but it has to be a tiny amount. We’d be out of the solar system by the time we burned all we could use imo.

  48. People who live on river flood planes, ocean front property, near landslide areas and in hotter regions are most prone to UNPCC and Al Gore’s amygdala hijack sales strategies. Those like myself living on a central high plain, where the weather variance is historically extreme and unpredictable or those living where there are extreme tides as much as 34 feet as in the Bay of Fundy Area are not the least bit concerned.

    I sincerely hope that within my lifetime the masses will witness conclusive and indisputable evidence that Al and his Gorons, IPCC, Greenpeace, Sierra club and George Soros’s Open society foundations are all revealed for what they truly are……. and will be put on trial and hanged in the public square for all to see that there are consequences for this dangerous mass deception.

  49. Reblogged this on The GOLDEN RULE and commented:
    Worth reading, and thinking about!
    “So is carbon dioxide our friend or our foe? As set out above, in some ways it is (or could be) the one and in some ways it is (or could be) the other. The vast majority of the public not only do not understand these scientific differences, they positively don’t want to have to understand these scientific differences. As Richard Lindzen has said, ‘Most arguments about global warming boil down to science versus authority. For much of the public authority will generally win since they do not wish to deal with the science.’ Instead they will form their view on the climate change debate almost exclusively on how they feel about it based primarily on the narrative spun in the media (a narrative that is utterly dominated by the propaganda of the climate change alarmists). As Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, ‘The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.’ This is why endlessly repeated simplistic soundbites like ‘climate change is man-made and dangerous’ and ‘the science is settled’ and ‘97% of scientists agree’ have been so powerful. Is there any real truth in these statements? It doesn’t matter – just keep repeating them.”

  50. Iain wrote: “In a court of law I would have no trouble whatsoever in defending both sets of ‘facts’ and am absolutely confident that I would leave the court a free man in either case. By using selective quotes, being selective with the evidence, being selective with the science, being selective with the timeframes, overlaying all those with emotion, rhetoric and value judgements, and then deploying a dollop of dissimulation and a soupcon of sophistry, I have turned a scientifically objective description of carbon dioxide’s role in global warming into political propaganda – both dossiers of key facts about carbon dioxide, although ‘true’, are extremely ‘dodgy dossiers’. My point is that very different narratives can be spun about the role of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere without having to resort to lies – the people who spin these narratives are relying on the belief that the vast majority of the public, politicians and journalists will not realize that they are being spun a story – and even if they did they would probably struggle to understand the scientific differences between the competing stories and so be inclined to ‘just believe the authorities’ who spin the ‘carbon dioxide is our foe’ story.”

    This was – and is still supposed to be – a science blog, not a court of law or a legislature. Those forums work because both sides are guaranteed EQUAL TIME to present their case and the opportunity to cross-examine. Science attempts to discover “the truth” using different traditions: every ethical scientist is supposed to present the whole truth, with all of the caveats. Why would those interested in the science of global warming want to imitate politicians and attorneys. Our legal system is ridiculously expensive and clogged – at least partly because that makes attorneys richer . Congress is gridlocked, because neither party listens to the other or tries to find a compromise position that includes the best from both sides. And our fellow citizens spend most of there time in echo chambers on the Internet. Even our institutions of higher learning have become monopolies of the left that are failing to exposed students to a diversity of ideas and discouraging them from thinking for themselves. None of these things are good, but Iain – an attorney is enriched by this process. The founders – many of whom were amateur scientists and scholars of the Enlightment – were justifiably paranoid of populist rhetoric used to support one particular “narrative”.

    Science isn’t about competing narratives, with cherry-picked “facts” and out-of-context quotes from authorities. Nor is it about story tellers who fail to engage questions and challenges – which, of course, spoil the narrative being marketed to readers. Science is about data and its analysis: The data found on WUWT’s reference pages. The data collected by volunteers for the surface stations project, which the scientific establishment was afraid to collect. Inquiry as practiced by Willis. Does are host want the old WUWT focused on science or the new one advocating or policy. Let’s get rid of the lawyers, the policy advocates, the scary stories, the simplified dramatic statements and the absence of doubt; and act like ethical scientists discussing scientific subjects:

    CO2 is an incombustible, colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. Like almost all materials, it is toxic at high enough concentrations. OSHA has set the safe exposure level for an 8-hour day at 5000 ppm, about 5X worst-case scenarios for the atmosphere projected by the IPCC. Some studies report effects at concentrations as low as 1000 ppm. In a controversial 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that CO2 fits Congress’s definition of an air pollutant in the Clean Air Act, a finding that permits its emission to be regulated by the EPA.

    Throughout the last 500 million years, when many different kinds of species have lived on the planet (including coral and marine organisms using CaCO3), CO2 ranged between 1000 and 5000 ppm. However, during the last 40 million years, when mammals and then primates evolved, CO2 has been below 1000 ppm. According to ice cores (which cover the last 400,000 years), CO2 has ranged between 180 and 300 ppm. During this period, there has been a strong correlation between higher CO2 and higher temperature, but the EARLIEST part of the temperature rise at the end of ice ages precedes rising CO2 by about a millennium. The higher CO2 concentration during interglacial periods is believed to be caused by outgassing of the oceans, due to the lower solubility of CO2 in warmer water. So CO2 doesn’t cause the end of ice ages, but it can contribute to warming after termination is underway.

    Since plants evolved when CO2 was much higher, typical interglacial and current levels of CO2 are far below the optimum level for plant growth. The amount of CO2 during glacial periods is dangerously near the point at which some plants stop growing (150 ppm). Since incorporation of CO2 is often the slow step in photosynthesis and growth and since the enzyme that inefficiently catalyzes this process (RuBisCO) constitutes 50% of soluble leaf protein, doubling CO2 under optimum conditions can double growth. Some greenhouses increase CO2 to 1000 ppm to speed up plant growth.

    CO2 is a greenhouse gas – a gas which both emits and absorbs thermal IR. Since the temperature of the troposphere falls with increasing altitude and since emission varies with T^4, rising GHGs slow the rate of radiative cooling to space. The surface of the planet emits an average of about 390 W/m2, but only 240 W/m2 reaches space. The difference, 150 W/m2, is the simplest way to quantify the GHE. (Many people say the GHE is 33 K, the temperature difference between a simple blackbody which emits 240 W/m2 (255 K) and the average temperature of the Earth (288 K), but the Earth would not be 255 K if its atmosphere did not have any GHGs and clouds.) Water vapor is the dominant GHE in the lower troposphere, but CO2 becomes equally important at higher altitudes. According to laboratory measurements and the composition of our atmosphere, a doubling of CO2 will reduce radiative cooling to space by 3.7 W/m2. Conservation of energy demands that temperature rise in response to a slowing of radiative cooling to space. If the Earth behaved like a blackbody, that rise would be about 1 K, but changes created by warming (feedbacks) will amplify or suppress warming. There is no doubt that feedbacks exist and modify seasonal changes in radiative cooling to space. The IPCC reports a 70% confidence interval of 1.5-4.5 K for the warming expected from a doubling of CO2, but observations (EBMs) are consistent with the low end of this range, while the middle and upper range comes from AOGCMs (and depends on how models are parameterized). In 1990, the IPCC reported that the warming anticipated from rising GHGs was comparable to natural climate variability. Since then, the IPCC has relied on models – which generally under-estimate natural variability – to attribute at least 50% of warming since 1950 to rising GHGs.

    If assertions were supported by links to respectable sources, this would be a scientific presentation on CO2.
    Questions and challenges would be replied to.

    • They are the yin and the yang of respiration, animal and plant. Foundational to all earthly metabolism, well, nearly all.
      ================

      [Would that then be “Foundationalmost to all earthly metabolism? .mod]

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