A “Cool Heads” Global Warming Discussion

by Eric P. Metze

It’s a simple question: What causes global warming?

Here’s a relatively simple answer: Global warming is caused by the greenhouse effect and the increase of anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gas concentrations.

Look at Mars. It has lost most of its greenhouse gases, and now it’s oceans are gone and its surface is freezing. Now, look at Venus. It has a runaway greenhouse effect, and now it’s atmosphere is so dense that it rains diamonds and it is hot enough to melt metal. All three planets (ours included) formed in the same way at the same time, and their present atmospheres are the result of their pasts.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we’ll end up like either of those planets. For one thing, Venus is closer to the sun, so it’s bound to have higher temperatures. But Venus is so hot because of the greenhouse effect, not because it’s closer. As for Mars, it’s farther away and colder, but there is strong evidence that it had complete oceans that once covered its surface. Where did the oceans go? Do you think the atmosphere had anything to do with it? Both of these planets are strong warning signs (from the heavens, I might add) about what our planet’s atmosphere is capable of becoming.

And, something is happening. Take a peek at this: http://eric.metze.us/wordpress/?p=124

I understand taking statistics out of context can be a bad idea (because that graph only goes back a few decades rather than millions of years), but look at the years on the graph and then think about when the Industrial Revolution happened. Is it a coincidence or a correlation?

Or, lets say that we are NOT the cause of global warming. Then that frees us of the burden of having to correct it, right? Wrong. Even if we’re not the cause of it, it’s happening anyway. So, doesn’t it seem like a good idea to plan for the future? You know, get those millions (billions?) of people away from the coming tide changes, or strengthening our homes and buildings so they can survive the increasingly powerful storms, or learning how to deal with all the political unrest (like Darfur) caused by millions of migrating people who are in search of green fields, or, or, or…

The reason this whole discussion bothers me, and the reason I felt the need to talk about it, is because of the politically-motivated distractions caused by the leadership of the Democrats and the Republicans and the inexorably-corrupt media. So when someone wins an award that is supposed to raise global awareness for a cause everyone supports (i.e., a healthy environment to live in), it’s just terribly frustrating that we have to stagnate in a sea of emotion-driven, counter-productive, intentionally-divisive conversations.

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One response to “A “Cool Heads” Global Warming Discussion

  1. David Middleton

    Mars’ atmosphere is 95.5% CO2.
    Venus’ atmosphere is 96.5% CO2.
    Earth’s atmosphere is 0.038% CO2.

    Venus is hot because of its atmospheric density, proximity to the Sun and its lack of plate tectonics.

    Without the natural greenhouse effect of our atmosphere, the Earth would be about 30° C cooler than it is. But… If the Earth lacked atmospheric circulation (AKA weather) it would be about 140° C warmer than it is because of that greenhouse effect.

    Earth’s climate is cyclical. The Industrial Revolution is coincident with the warming leg of a ~1,470-yr climate cycle. Our CO2 emissions might be making the Earth a tiny bit warmer than it would otherwise be. The world is far less polluted now than it was 40 years ago. 40 years from now it will be far less polluted than it is today – Provided that we don’t allow Al Gore and the UN to swindle us out of about $40 trillion to solve a problem that probably doesn’t exist and couldn’t be solved any time in the forseeable future at any cost.

    An 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 would mean that the atmospheric CO2 levels would only rise to about 433 ppmv by 2050 instead of about 468 ppmv. Atmospheric CO2 levels are currently ~388 ppmv. In order to achieve “80 by 50”, per capita CO2 emissions would have to be cut to a level not seen since the 1860’s.

    If we assume that all of the warming since 1960 is the result of anthropogenic CO2, “80 by 50” would result in a net reduction of the globally averaged temperature of ~0.2°C. We know for a fact that CO2 did not cause all of that warming; so the reduction would be far less than 0.2°C. We also know that the range of current global temperature estimates varies by 0.35°C. So the maximum potential reduction in temperature is less than half of the margin of error in estimating a global temperature.

    If the IPCC are right and we adopt “80 by 50”, we will spend $40 trillion to alter the Earth’s climate by an immeasurably small amount. If I’m right we’ll and we adopt “80 by 50”, we will spend $40 trillion dollars and kill a couple of billion people because agricultural output will decline due to modest cooling over the next couple of decades and we will be unable to compensate for the effects of the cooling climate because we are too busy throwing away money in a fight against global warming.

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