Could controlling the output of Man-made CO2 make a significant difference to Global Temperature? Guest post by EDMH
Update: Ed emailed this week with updates to this information. Here they are as downloads: Word document CO2 Greenhouse calcs (10 pages); Powerpoint presentation: Co2 calcs 4-11 v (51 slides). Verity Jones (29th April 2011).
In 2005 Bjorn Lomborg, (the sceptical environmentalist) now much vilified by his by his previous Green colleagues, said:
“Even if everyone (including the United States) applied the Kyoto rules and stuck to them throughout the century, the change would be almost immeasurable, postponing warming for a mere six years in 2100 while costing at least $150 billion a year.”
There are QUESTIONS to be asked:
Can the massive efforts and extreme costs now being expended and anticipated for the future be justified to partially reduce the man-made CO2 emissions by a limited number of Nations for such minimal and doubtful effects on world temperature?
Are controls on CO2 a rational way to save the world (and from what precisely)?
And, as the remedies proposed are so vast and so onerous
Where are the cost benefit analyses?
Where is the due diligence?
There is no difference between Man-made CO2 molecules in the atmosphere and the CO2 molecules that are generated within the biosphere and occur naturally. Man-made CO2 molecules are not especially potent in affecting climate and temperature. Photosynthesis is impeded and plant life is stressed at CO2 levels of less than 200 ppm. Additional atmospheric CO2 significantly improves all plant growth and enhances drought tolerance.
By far the greatest bulk of the greenhouse effect is caused by water vapour, approximately 95%. Of the remaining 5% greenhouse effect caused by other Greenhouse Gases only ¾ is attributable to CO2, both Man-made and Naturally occurring. This differential [¾ CO2 – ¼ other GHGs] accounts for the much greater greenhouse effect of the other lower concentration gases such as Nitrous Oxide and Methane and CFCs .
Man-made additions to CO2 in the atmosphere are only a part of the overall CO2 level. The most reasonable calculation seems to be that ~40% of the additional CO2 since 1850 is a Man-made contribution, (CDIAC, Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center of the U.S. Department of Energy) or about 44 parts / million, 11% of the current total ~390 ppm.
CO2 levels have been increasing naturally but they are also augmented by Man-made additions at a rate of about 1 ppm per year. 1 ppm per year is equivalent to an annual increase in warming from whole world Man-made additions of about 0.0032°C per annum.
Transposing the World Greenhouse Effect into °C
But the precise value 0.14°C is practically immaterial because:
- Achieving 100% in any national economy is impossible.
- Achieving even as little as a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions would be enough to cripple any Western economy.
- The world as a whole is Not Joining-In.
So at almost any reasonable level for the temperature increase attributed to Man-made CO2, the actual value is virtually irrelevant.
Nonetheless using 0.14°C as the temperature effect of whole world CO2 emissions since 1850, the Temperature reductions that could be achieved by the 100%, i.e. complete closure, of the Carbon economies of the individual major emitter Nations can be assessed: they are measured in thousandths °C. But these values would be less, (pro-rata), according to the actual level of CO2 reduction achieved in any particular Nation.
Countries ranked by level of consumption…
And ranked by emissions…
However, the World is Not Joining-In:
- China questions the role of Man-made CO2 in determining climate effects and is now the largest CO2 emitter, having surpassed the USA in 2006, now by ~40%. China builds a coal-fired power plant each week.
- India has set up its own climate institute to re-examine the claims and policy recommendations made by the IPCC and grew its emissions by ~9% in 2009.
- Japan has withdrawn support for the Kyoto accord.
- Russia, Brazil, South Korea, South Africa and Canada are not supportive of action on Man-made Global Warming.
Not Joining-In: current percentages of world emissions
These Nations represent about 47% of the world emissions and 46% of the world population. Their CO2 emissions are continuing to grow. Their CO2 emission growth effectively negates the effects of any measures, however drastic, that could ever be taken in Europe and the USA. Those Nations are certainly not about to curtail their national development in the name of an assertion about Catastrophic Man-made Global Warming that they do not adhere to.
With Republican control of Congress, the USA is likely:
- to re-examine the scientific inconsistencies of the Man-made Global Warming assertion
- to question the reliance of the Environmental Protection Agency on the reports of the UN IPCC
- and thus to terminate any USA response to mitigate “Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming”.
The USA failure to commit would add a further 18% to the world emissions not falling under the influence of any CO2 controls. The withdrawal of the USA would then mean that about 65% of world emissions and 53% of the world population were no longer involved in action on CO2.
So the result is the isolation of a few Western Nations, leaving the European Union, Australia, New Zealand and a few others remaining in their continuing adherence to the Man-made Global Warming assertion.
The remaining “Rest of the World”, 200+ Nations, (23% of world emissions and 40% of the world population), mainly consist of Underdeveloped or Developing countries who are not interested in emission reduction but who are expecting to be the financial beneficiaries at the expense of the Developed Nations of the Western Climate Change process.
So where are the cost benefit analyses?
So where is the due diligence?
Although policies are already are well underway and being implemented to reduce Man-made CO2 the Essential Due Diligence does not exist, and, as the analysis above shows, it is more than ever necessary to call for it. So, if sceptics are accused of asking the same questions over and over, perhaps it is time to take them seriously before we condemn the world community to an expensive and futile exercise.