Respone to Cockburn “Is Global Warming a Sin?”

April 29, 2007 at 8:43 am Leave a comment

Neither counterpunch or the nation has a comments section (actually the nation does and I submitted my letter)  so here we go:

“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.”

Well, no it doesn’t neccessarily mean that, it could mean (somewhat more disturbingly) that when mankind’s CO2 emissions dropped for a few years the naturally occuring system that filters CO2 didn’t get to them (deforestation?) or any of several other options. The fact that a simple time based link doesn’t work doesn’t invalidate the arguement. While industrial emissions of co2 in 1932 might have been less than in 1928 while the ppm of co2 in the atmopshere was greater you are assuming that the CO2 measured in 1932 necessarily is the CO2 emitted in 1932. How long does it take for emitted Co2 to enter the atmopshere? Also industrial Co2, the type emitted from cars and factories, has a different structure than the co2 emitted from other sources, hence identifying it as the predominant gas in the atmopshere isn’t terribly hard. Lastly, while CO2 build ups were occuring through out the 20th century don’t forget that sulpher dioxide build ups (the global cooling scare) was also occuring. Hence, we were emitting gases that both trap heat and release it. Also, while water vapor is building up in the atmopshere further speeding global warming, it is concentrated over Europe and water vapor does dissipate as rain after all. Finally:

“As Hertzberg says, water in the form of oceans, snow, ice cover, clouds and vapor ‘is overwhelming in the radiative and energy balance between the Earth and the sun…. Carbon dioxide and the greenhouse gases are, by comparison, the equivalent of a few farts in a hurricane.’ And water is exactly that component of the Earth’s heat balance that the global warming computer models fail to account for.”

yet global warming models have included water vapor for years, in fact in 2004 it was found that they were overestimating the effect of water vapor on the atmopshere:

A NASA-funded study found some climate models might be overestimating the amount of water vapor entering the atmosphere as the Earth warms. Since water vapor is the most important heat-trapping greenhouse gas in our atmosphere, some climate forecasts may be overestimating future temperature increases.

“It’s a notorious inconvenience for the Greenhousers that data also show CO2 concentrations from the Eocene period, 20 million years before Henry Ford trundled out his first Model T, 300 to 400 percent higher than current concentrations. ”
Yes, the Eocene peroid had a higher concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, but it also marked one of the largest peroids of extinction in history and also might have been caused by a meteor hitting the earth. Hence, if we’re already over 1/2 way to a climate that possibly killed off billions of life forms that’s hardly re-assuring.

“like the medieval warming period’s higher-than-today temperatures, by straightforward chicanery, misrepresenting tree ring data (themselves an unreliable guide) and claiming the warming was a local European affair.”

I was under the impression that fluctuations in the Atlantic salt pump caused this.

Entry filed under: ecology, media.

links for 2007-04-28 links for 2007-04-29

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