Guest Post By Willis Eschenbach
Turns out that lemmings have nothing on humans when it comes to following the next guy over the cliff. When I was a kid and I wanted to do something, I’d tell my mom “But mom, the other kids are doing it!” And her reply was invariably “If your friends were jumping off a cliff, do you think you should jump off too?”
Sadly, these days more often than not the answer seems to be “Absolutely, it’s the only way to save the planet!” … here’s the latest.
Swiss voters support climate bill as scientists warn about melting glaciers
June 19, 20233:22 AM ET
By The Associated Press
Matthias Huss, a glaciologist and head of the Swiss measurement network ‘Glamos’, for ETH (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) walks up to the Rhone Glacier near Goms, Switzerland, Friday, June 16, 2023.
BERLIN — A majority of Swiss citizens on Sunday voted in favor of a bill aimed at introducing new climate measures to sharply curb the rich Alpine nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Here’s a translation.
BERLIN — A majority of Swiss citizens on Sunday voted in favor of a bill requiring them to follow the Germans who are jumping off an Alpine cliff …
(In passing, let me say how impressed I am with the composition and the subtle message of the photo of the Swiss glaciologist carrying his Cross on the way to Golgotha … but I digress …)
So let’s look at what the real effects of this Swiss climate bill might be. And rather than guessing about the future climate, let’s examine the past. For the purposes of this discussion, suppose that Switzerland had never emitted a single molecule of CO2.
What difference would that have made to the 2023 temperature?
Figure 1. Swiss CO2 emissions since 1858.
Looks pretty impressive, right? Emissions peaked in 1973, ran basically flat until about 2010, and have been dropping since then. The Swiss have been successful in reducing their emissions from the peak. What’s not to like?
To answer that question, let’s put Swiss and World CO2 emissions on the same graph. Figure 2 shows that result.
Figure 1. CO2 emissions, Switzerland and the rest of the world, since 1858. Note that this is the exact same Swiss data shown in Figure 1.
Ooogh … the grand Swiss accomplishment doesn’t seem too impressive out here in the real world.
With that as a prelude, let’s answer my question posed above, viz, if Switzerland had never emitted a single molecule of CO2, what difference would that have made to the 2023 temperature?
To do that, we need to calculate how much the atmospheric concentration of CO2 goes up for each gigatonne (109 tonnes) of CO2 emitted. For that, we need to look at the cumulative sum of CO2 emitted versus the atmospheric concentration.
Figure 3. Relationship between atmospheric CO2 and cumulative CO2 emissions.
This relationship allows us to go back to the Swiss emissions data and calculate how much they’ve added to the atmospheric CO2. Once we know that, then per the IPCC figures, a doubling of atmospheric CO2 leads to a 3°C temperature change. Using those relationships, here’s the calculated temperature change from the Swiss emissions since 1858.
Figure 4. Calculated temperature change from Swiss emissions since 1858
Hmmm … call me crazy, but I’m thinking that 0.0037°C is not making much difference to the Swiss glaciers …
As the Swiss know well, the temperature drops with increasing elevation. It’s cold up there because the air cools at a rate of 1°C per 100 meters of additional elevation.
So the total Swiss emission-caused warming since 1858 is about the difference in temperature between your foot and your calf …
I wonder how many Swiss voters would have voted to spend more than 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.357 billion US) for such a pitifully small effect if they had been given this information before the election?
Here on the northern California coast, after endless foggy days, spring has finally arrived. In June. Of course, the grass is growing overtime, so I’m headed out to sharpen the lawnmower blade and do battle with our couple of acres of overgrown fields.
Despite all our sorrows, despite the insanity and corruption of the powers that be … life is good.
My best wishes to you and yours,
PS—Re Lemmings: Yes, I know that the story about the lemmings is just a Disney myth. From the web.
For the 1958 Disney nature film White Wilderness, filmmakers eager for dramatic footage staged a lemming death plunge, pushing dozens of lemmings off a cliff while cameras were rolling. The images—shocking at the time for what they seemed to show about the cruelty of nature and shocking now for what they actually show about the cruelty of humans—convinced several generations of moviegoers that these little rodents do, in fact, possess a bizarre instinct to destroy themselves.
And My Usual: When you comment, please quote the exact words you are discussing. I grow tired of people asking me to defend their misinterpretation of what I wrote. Thanks.