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Oh that CO2

22 May 2024 | OP ED Watch

A viewer recently asked whether it’s really true that climate alarmists claim half of human CO2 is rejected by nature whereas the natural stuff is all absorbed. The answer is yes. Not just then-Prince Charles in his 2017 coauthored Ladybird book Climate Change. Here’s NASA’s “Scientific Visualization Studio”, which uses computer models to bypass mere facts, on this point: “Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most prevalent greenhouse gas driving global climate change. However, its increase in the atmosphere would be even more rapid without land and ocean carbon sinks, which collectively absorb about half of human emissions every year.” Half of ours, and all of nature’s, as we’ll see below. But first, here’s why it matters enormously: without it the whole scare collapses.

You see, if CO2 is the sole significant driver of warming, there has been 1.5°C of warming since 1850, and we only contribute just under 5% of the total CO2 in the carbon cycle, then we only contributed just under 5% of the total warming (or less, since our emissions were smaller before 1950) which is 0.075°C. And it doesn’t matter how hysterical you get about non-existent increases in hurricanes, droughts, big itchy poison ivy, the California budget deficit (its governor really did, before jetting off to Europe to denounce carbon emissions) or whatever else climate change supposedly caused. Since you cannot call 0.075°C of warming a crisis or tell nature to stop exhaling “carbon pollution”, you’re committed to ours being indigestible no matter how ludicrous it is from the point of view of chemistry and physics. It’s not the only unsustainable claim without which the whole scare collapses. But the whole scare does collapse without it, and it is unsustainable.

Now regarding Charles’ book it may be objected that His Majesty is not a “climate scientist”. Though it wasn’t, since he was on the side of orthodoxy in every way. And he’s no fool; he and his coauthors really did capture the conventional wisdom including in this regard:

“Human activities emit about 36 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. The majority comes from burning fossil energy and industrial processes and the remainder is due to deforestation and other land-use changes. Carbon dioxide is exchanged continually between the atmosphere, plants and animals through growth, death and decay, and also directly between the atmosphere and ocean. About half of the carbon dioxide pollution is soaked up by land and forests (land sink) or by the oceans (ocean sink). The rest, about 16 billion tonnes each year, accumulates in the atmosphere; there is no convenient hole in the sky for it to escape through. Without the natural sinks, this accumulation and the associated greenhouse warming would be greater and climate change would be even more severe.”

In case that “half” is a suspiciously round number, the United States Department of Energy would have it that:

“In the past, about 25 percent of carbon emissions from human sources have historically been captured by forests, grassland, and farms. And about 30 percent of the carbon dioxide we produce has been captured by the ocean.”

Leaving, yes, 45% lurking disastrously about stinking and boiling the place. As in “about half”.

Now what about the natural kind? Well, groups like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency say flat-out that:

“Greenhouse gases trap heat and make the planet warmer. Human activities are responsible for almost all of the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the last 150 years.”

So the natural kind is not accumulating. Only ours is. It is dogma.

If you look at NASA’s “Earth Observatory” page on the carbon cycle, which was apparently frozen in time around 2011, it shows, well whaddaya know, 90 gigatons coming out of the ocean each year naturally and 90 going in, and 60 gigatons coming out of the soil via “microbial respiration and decomposition” and another 60 via plant respiration and… wait for it… 120 being absorbed via photosynthesis. An exact balance. As you’d expect given the harmony of nature. That NASA piece showed a bunch of human red CO2 along with the lovely natural yellow stuff. Nine gigatons a year from “human emissions” of which 3 was absorbed by photosynthesis, 2 by the oceans and yup 4, that’s 4/9 so 44%, lurking disastrously in the air. It’s all us, all the time. And revealingly, even when different sources disagree on the numbers involved in the carbon cycle, they agree that all the natural stuff is absorbed and only about half of ours, causing disaster.

So here’s the deal. Humans caused all the warming since, in this case, 1950. And we did it with CO2 in the atmosphere. Meaning all the warming was caused by human CO2. Not the natural kind. It must be so. Otherwise, if all CO2 tastes the same to plants, the oceans and anyone else absorbing it, then we caused not 100% of the warming since 1950 but about 4.5%, noise not signal. Worse, nature caused 95.5% or so. And if it’s natural, it’s not bad, right? And we don’t have to give up our Western way of life, right? And it’s not leading to a runaway catastrophe, right? And you all have to get real jobs.


8 comments on “Oh that CO2”

  1. Thus proving my previous point about the science journals and their bizarre move in to Middle East politics....the climate change cause du jour is dying like a virus in sunlight and they need a new cause du jour!

  2. And what of GMO and Non-GMO varieties and species, is there a difference in what and how the CO2 from these are absorbed?

  3. I'm usually totally on board with the ideas and rebuttals that come from this publication. But, as a non-climate scientist 😉 , the idea that if we add X amount of CO2 to a balanced system then we are responsible to only half of X caused warming seems like bad science. If CO2 was in balance before and we then add more, then surely we are responsible for any out of balance co2 left over in the atmosphere.

    Not that I believe that CO2 is a major factor in any temperature increases we detect, so a moot point!

  4. To me the interesting fact is that the annual increase is only equivalent to about half that added by burning fossil fuels. Does that mean that absent the fossil fuel contribution the concentration in the atmosphere would be decreasing by an amount equal to half the magnitude of the fossil fuel contribution? If so how long before we reach the point of CO2 impoverishment where all plants die? Oh well, I guess it’s more complicated that, probably even more complicated than any fancy computer model can figure out too.

  5. Folks interested in this general topic might be inter'ested in Roy Spencers current blog (https://www.drroyspencer.com/) which includes a very detailed "2-part " assessment of the CO2 sequestration balance and implications for the eventual self-correction in the climate CO2 levels with very modest CO2 emission reductions. Or...no need for draconian "net zero" targets. New research worth assessing. But you'll not hear of it from the CBC et al.

  6. "we only contribute just under 5% of the total CO2 in the carbon cycle, then we only contributed just under 5% of the total warming"

    Only stupid people make that claim or people who want to make conservatives appear to be fools. As usual ignoring the absorption of the natural carbon cycle and conflating manmade CO2 emissions with the natural carbon cycle which is seasonal and ddoes not increase CO2 year over year.

    This website's article quality has declined faster than any conservative climate or energy website in my 26.5 years of reaing abot both subjects. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  7. I have a thought I haven't heard about at all.
    How long does CO2 stay in the atmosphere if it isn't absorbed elsewhere. I've read that it lasts longer than methane. Where does it go? Lost to space?
    But I haven't heard or read how much of the CO2 is lost daily once it has reached its lifetime limit. Surely that should be considered. Is that an input into all the climate models?
    Just asking.

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