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Good Green News
Can Recycling Carbon Solve Climate Change?

Efforts to mitigate climate change are almost entirely focused on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, and the preferred method for bringing those levels down has to this point involved stopping them at the source. That approach inevitably brings with it economic trade-offs, so it’s no surprise that researchers have been busy looking at ways to capture and store carbon already emitted—a solution that would allow us to have our cake and eat it, too.

But efforts to commercially scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies have been unsuccessful thus far. In an effort to make the capturing of carbon more profitable, scientists are looking at ways to reuse those emissions. The New York Times reports:

[I]ncreasingly, scientists are asking, rather than throwing away or storing CO2, how about recycling some of it? At laboratories around the world, researchers are working on ways to do just that. The X Prize Foundation has created an incentive, a $20 million prize for teams that by 2020 come up with technologies to turn CO2 captured from smokestacks of coal- or gas-fired power plants into useful products.

But perhaps the ultimate goal of researchers in this field is to turn the waste product of fuel-burning into new fuel. In theory, if this could be done on a large scale using renewable energy or even sunlight, there would be no net gain of emissions — the same carbon dioxide molecules would be emitted, captured, made into new fuels and emitted again, over and over.

Take the time to read that article in full—it’s a fascinating look at a technological solution that could be just the pipe dream humanity needs to sustainably thrive. Climate change is a real—if uncertain—threat, and greenhouse gases can easily be identified as culprits. If new research can make it possible to take those gases out of the atmosphere and make money in the process, mitigation efforts won’t feel so much like pulling teeth.

This is what good green news looks like. The future doesn’t look nearly as bleak as your average environmentalist would have you believe.

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  • vepxistqaosani

    You at TAI should realize by now that this is terrible, terrible news. If CCS becomes feasible, then global capitalism will continue unabated, with all the inevitable consequences for the Earth’s human population: more wealth, higher living standards, longer lifespans. It would be just awful!

    • CB

      “You at TAI should realize by now that this is terrible, terrible news.”

      Why?

      How in the world do you expect global capitalism to continue unabated if the temperature continues to rise unabated?

      Do free markets do really well inside an oven?

      “2015 Unambiguously the Hottest Year on Record… 2015 set the record with 99.996% confidence.”

      berkeleyearth.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/2015-Hottest-Year-BE-Press-Release-v1.0.pdf

      • vepxistqaosani

        Reading comprehension time: The article’s thesis is that CCS will solve the global warming problem so that the temperature will not continue to rise unabated.

        My (not entirely tongue-in-cheek) response is based on the reasonable assumption that anti-global-warming activists are less concerned with stopping the temperature rise than with destroying global capitalism. See, e.g., Naomi Klein’s “This Changes Everything.”

        • CB

          “anti-global-warming activists are less concerned with stopping the temperature rise than with destroying global capitalism.”

          Uh huh, and how do you expect global capitalism to flourish on a planet that’s melting down?

          Does capitalism work under 75 meters of melted ice cap?

          “Together, Greenland and Antarctica contain about 75% of the world’s fresh water, enough to raise sea level by over 75 meters, if all the ice were returned to the oceans.”

          earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/PolarIce/polar_ice2.php

          “The continent of Antarctica has been losing about 134 billion metric tons of ice per year since 2002, while the Greenland ice sheet has been losing an estimated 287 billion metric tons per year.”

          climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/land-ice

          • Corlyss

            Don’t quit your job in expectation of sky falling on your head if you’re gullible enough to believe the junk science hysterics. You’re going to need all the help you can get. You may even need a keeper.

          • CB

            “you’re gullible enough to believe the junk science hysterics.”

            Okay, so prove the junk scientists wrong:

            Point to a single moment in Earth’s history when polar ice sheets were able to withstand CO₂ as high as we’ve pushed it.

            If they’ve never done it before, why would you expect them to now?

            “A new study by researchers at NASA and the University of California, Irvine, finds a rapidly melting section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be in an irreversible state of decline, with nothing to stop the glaciers in this area from melting into the sea.”

            http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2014-148

          • Corlyss

            The point is not the relationship of CO2 to polar ice. It’s the relationship of human generated CO2 to the entirety of existing CO2. It don’t matter a jolly damn how much human caused CO2 we eliminate if it doesn’t have a material effect on the total. One geologist’s study from the late 80s or early 90s demonstrated that plate tectonics produced the over 99% of the atmospheric CO2. Alert the media when you figure out how to stop that; in the meantime, stop trying to destroy economic prosperity for the sake of an infinitesimal quantity that humans produce.

          • CB

            “The point is not the relationship of CO2 to polar ice.”

            …but it is, Corlyss.

            Why would it matter so much to you whether the CO₂ in the air came from humans or from Imaginationland™?

            If there is enough in the air right now to melt the polar ice sheets completely, how could you possibly not realise that’s a problem?

            Are you suicidal?

            “A recent acceleration in ice loss in a previously stable region of Antarctica has been detected by ESA’s ice mission.”

            http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/CryoSat/CryoSat_detects_sudden_ice_loss_in_Southern_Antarctic_Peninsula

      • CaliforniaStark

        “2015 Unambiguously the Hottest Year on Record… 2015 set the record with 99.996% confidence.”

        Even if you accept this claim, the fact remains the amount of warming over the last two decades has been far below what was projected in the original models relied on by the IPCC. It will be interesting to watch the trends over the next several years after the El Nino condition ends. Contrary to your statement, the world is not turning into an oven; there has been a long-term warming trend; how much of it is the result of human activity is open to debate at this point.

        • CaliforniaStark

          Should also note a recent NASA study found Antarctica was gaining ice.

          http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/03/world/antarctica-ice-gain/

          Keep in mind also, factual evidence trumps consensus.

          • CB

            “Should also note a recent NASA study found Antarctica was gaining ice.”

            Funny you didn’t note all the other NASA studies that found just the opposite…

            “multiple data sources have confirmed that Antarctica is losing ice at an accelerating rate”

            http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X15000564

            What does the lead author of the study you found have to say about people misrepresenting his findings?

            Do those findings mean Antarctica is not in trouble?

            “The findings do not mean that Antarctica is not in trouble, Zwally notes. “I know some of the climate deniers will jump on this, and say this means we don’t have to worry as much as some people have been making out,” he says. “It should not take away from the concern about climate warming.” “

            http://www.nature.com/news/gains-in-antarctic-ice-might-offset-losses-1.18486

        • CB

          “Even if you accept this claim”

          Do you reject it!?

          If you do, which year was the hottest on record and how do you know?

          If you don’t know which year was the hottest, how could you possibly know the people who study the subject are wrong?

          “2015 was the warmest year since modern record-keeping began in 1880, according to a new analysis by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.”

          http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-noaa-analyses-reveal-record-shattering-global-warm-temperatures-in-2015

          • Corlyss

            You do realize that under this administration, which was willing to divert a military satellite to monitor “global warming,” NASA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the AGW crackpots, don’t you? Oh, never mind. Probably not.

          • CB

            “NASA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the AGW crackpots”

            I should hope so!

            AGW is science that’s withstood over a century of testing.

            If you’ve overthrown it, where’s your Nobel prize?

            “In the 19th century, scientists realized that gases in the atmosphere cause a “greenhouse effect” which affects the planet’s temperature.”

            http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

          • Corlyss

            You’re conflating the discovery of the mechanism with the predictive capacity of models used to guide public policy decisions. I’m not. The models have not been able to predict observed events. They have, or should have, zero impact on public policy. The entire AGW hysteria is a political phenomenon, and I hope if you’re not among the controlling few that you realize you’ve been bamboozled before you end up running your computers on burning peat.

          • CB

            “The models have not been able to predict observed events.”

            …so make your own prediction: Given that there isn’t a single example in Earth’s history of polar ice sheets withstanding CO₂ so high, how likely is it they will today?

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ad8887d0b592fd0e4d5d55535894d0303ff78d4aceb125c770ea700cb0b0a8b5.jpg

    • Corlyss

      Jeanne Kirkpatrick would LOVE you!

  • Proud Skeptic

    Much as I would prefer that people stop talking about this nonsense completely, I would settle for a little more discipline in throwing the word “carbon” around when you are referring to carbon dioxide. Elemental carbon and most of its compounds are no threat to our environment.

  • Arkeygeezer

    The recycling of Carbon Dioxide is already being done on a profitable basis. It’s called FARMING! CO2 is essential to plant growth.
    The proposition that “Climate Change” is caused by man-made CO2 emissions is false.

    CO2 gas is 0.0004 % of our atmosphere. The idea that CO2 is a “greenhouse gas” comes from our observation of the planet Venus where CO2 gas is 96.5% of the atmosphere, and has no plant life.

    However, the myth feeds the religion of environmental crisis that opposes modern economic growth. Politicians have seized upon this fear to support their favorite political boondoggles.

    • CB

      “The recycling of Carbon Dioxide is already being done on a profitable basis. It’s called FARMING!”

      That’s true! …and farming is one of the best ways we have to clean up the mess we’ve made of the atmosphere.

      “crop waste could become carbon-negative energy”

      midwestenergynews.com/2015/01/27/how-crop-waste-could-become-carbon-negative-energy

      “The proposition that “Climate Change” is caused by man-made CO2 emissions is false.”

      That’s false.

      It has been known for over a century that the exhaust from burning fossil fuels warms the planet.

      Geezer, when you run your car, does the exhaust warm the planet?

      “The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century”

      climate.nasa.gov/evidence

      • Arkeygeezer

        One of those other gasses is water vapor which composes about 4% of our atmosphere, CO2 is 0.0004% and most of that is generated by nature not man. Why not look at water vapor emissions? Lets get rid of clouds!

        If you are looking for something that is man-made causing climate change; how about radio waves. Radio waves travel through the air jostling up the molecules. When you shake up molecules it generates heat. Since Marconi invented the wireless in the 1920’s, man’s generation of radio waves, microwaves, radar waves, digital waves by wireless devices has exploded exponentially!

        Alas, there is no grant money to study the effect of radio waves on the atmosphere, because there is so much political power and money is invested in CO2 emissions.

        • CB

          “One of those other gasses is water vapor”

          Yup. Water vapour is a more powerful greenhouse gas than CO₂!

          …it’s also a multiplier of the warming effect of CO₂, a fact I have already pointed out to other posters on this page.

          Geezer, when you run your car, does the exhaust warm the planet?

          I’ve already asked you this question once, BTW…

          “The primary cause of global warming is human activity, most significantly the burning of fossil fuels to drive cars, generate electricity, and operate our homes and businesses.”

          http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/global_warming_101

          • Arkeygeezer

            When I run my car, I do not know what effect it has on the planet. When you use the internet, cell phone, or other wireless devices does it warm the planet?

            Tell you what CB, if you want to save the planet, get rid of your car, cell phone, and laptop. We will all admire your sacrifice.

          • CB

            “When I run my car, I do not know what effect it has on the planet.”

            …but you do, Geezer.

            …because I’ve already pointed you to the answer.

            Why are you having difficulty reading it?

            “Carbon Dioxide Absorbs and Re-emits Infrared Radiation… This ability to absorb and re-emit infrared energy is what makes CO₂ an effective heat-trapping greenhouse gas.”

            scied.ucar.edu/carbon-dioxide-absorbs-and-re-emits-infrared-radiation

  • Frank Natoli

    CO2 as a “fuel”? Or “made into a fuel”? When a “fuel” is “burned” [typically oxidized], energy is released, usually as heat, which is then used for an appropriate purpose, boil water, expand a gas to move a piston, etc. Once “burned”, you can’t get back to the “fuel” condition without putting back the energy you spent boiling the water, etc. See basic laws of thermodynamics, which cannot be repealed or amended by Liberals.
    Stop trying to fix CO2. It’s not the problem that Liberals advertise it to be, and then create solutions that are unnecessary in the first place.

    • CB

      “Once “burned”, you can’t get back to the “fuel” condition without putting back the energy you spent boiling the water”

      That’s true!

      One of the ideas is to take the oversupply of renewable energy and use it to revert that CO₂ back to an energy-rich state, so you’d grab CO₂, pyrolise some water, smash the CO₂ together with the hydrogen and voila, you’ve got methane, a gas you could burn for power when the sun wasn’t shining and the wind wasn’t blowing, as well as a renewable source of the components needed to make plastics.

      “Using a long-established process called ‘electrolysis’, chemical engineers can tear apart water and carbon dioxide molecules (H₂O and CO₂), and then recombine the pieces into any number of new molecules – starting with methane, CH₄. The methane synthesis process requires electricity as an input, which is why it’s called ‘power-to-gas’. If the electricity comes from a renewable energy source like a wind turbine or a solar array, the resulting synthetic methane is called ‘renewable gas’, or sometimes by special names like ‘wind-gas’ or ‘solar gas’, depending on the source of the primary energy input.”

      http://www.dw.com/en/power-to-gas-may-solve-renewables-storage-challenge/a-17754416

      The laws of physics are not a liberal conspiracy, BTW. That’s pretend, like almost everything Climate Deniers claim to believe.

      • Frank Natoli

        Your suggestion of using solar or wind to reduce CO2 makes a lot more sense than directly powering the grid with solar or wind, then PRETENDING, see above, there is no night, no cloudy days and no calm days and nights. BUT, can you PROMISE that such use would be done on a purely free market basis? No taxpayer thumb on the scale to help solar or wind or hinder carbon?
        The term “Climate Denier” is demagogic, which interferes with the objective scientific process, don’t you agree?

        • CB

          “can you PROMISE that such use would be done on a purely free market basis?”

          It depends on your definition of a “free market”, of course!

          In a free market, should individuals be allowed to dump their waste into the commons without paying to clean it up?

          “A carbon tax is a fee assessed on the carbon content of fuels. In effect, it’s a tax on the carbon dioxide emitted when fossil fuels are burned to make electricity or heat or to power engines.”

          http://www.carbontax.org

          • Frank Natoli

            My definition of a free market is included in my original post, which you read, and which you refused to directly answer, a condition endemic to those who believe big government has the role of a just God in present day affairs. You consider yourself fully justified to impose the thumb on the scale to help solar and wind [because you consider them “good”] and to hinder carbon [because you consider that “bad”]. I read you loud and clear. Now perhaps you can read me: you and your anti-carbon friends can get out of my life and keep your misery to yourselves. This past winter, thanks to mild temps and low carbon prices, that thanks to hydraulic fracturing beyond your control, I could afford to heat my home in northwest NJ and not have to wear winter clothes. The previous two winters, thanks to more below zero Fahrenheit nights than all of my previous 63 winters put together, plus fuel oil prices near $4/gallon, I had to freeze in my own home. This was true entirely because of people like you who consider themselves righteous beyond all limits. Get out and stay out of my life.

          • CB

            “you and your anti-carbon friends can get out of my life”

            Lol! Gladly!

            …as soon as you get your carbon out of our air.

            If death is so very appealing to you, you are welcome to it!

            You must leave the rest of us out of it.

            Is that clear, Frank?

      • CaliforniaStark

        Agree with your comments about electrolysis and “power to gas”; which often takes place using the Sabatier process — where hydrogen and CO2 are combined to produce methane (natural gas). In my view these are the type of future technologies that will eventually replace a significant amount of current fossil fuel use. Biofuels from anaerobic digestion of trash, animal waste and crop residue also come into play in this regard, and also resolve issues of the disposal of animal and agricultural waste. Solar and wind, because they are intermittent, are of limited value over the long run.

        However, also have to say the almost messianic rhetoric of the climate change zealots disturbs me. It reminds me of the medieval claim the world was flat – which had to be accepted without doubt, or you faced the possibility of being tried by the Inquisition. We are now hearing threats of RICO actions against those who do not accept the current global warming theory, and claims the failed mathematical models behind them are absolutely true, despite conflicting factual evidence. As someone once said: ” It is imperative in science to doubt; it is absolutely necessary, for progress in science, to have uncertainty.”

        • CB

          “the almost messianic rhetoric of the climate change zealots disturbs me.”

          What you are doing is 2 things:

          1. Conspiracy ideation.
          2. Projection.

          These are 2 behavioural traits that mark Climate Denialism (and the wider neofascist phenomenon in general) as a mental illness.

          You are an absolutely classic example of the personality schism that seems to accompany it. Your first paragraph makes perfect sense. Your second is completely paranoid-delusional.

          “In January 1859, Tyndall began studying the radiative properties of various gases… Tyndall’s experiments… showed that molecules of water vapor, carbon dioxide, and ozone are the best absorbers of heat radiation”

          earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Tyndall

  • Andrew Allison

    “— the same carbon dioxide molecules would be emitted, captured, made into new fuels and emitted again, over and over.” — as in photosynthesis perhaps? I wonder how much of the Amazon deforestation could be reversed with $20 million. However much it were, it would result in more carbon sequestration than this nonsense.

    • CB

      “I wonder how much of the Amazon deforestation could be reversed with $20 million. However much it were, it would result in more carbon sequestration than this nonsense.”

      lol! I think you’re right, though if we’re talking about cost-effectiveness in attacking climate change, the money should go to educating young Women in Africa…

      There are still fascinating ideas in recycling atmospheric carbon… obviously, CCS for fossil fuels is just a pathetic attempt at greenwashing so the industry can continue to operate its suicidal business model… but if we were to collect that carbon from the air instead of a smokestack and use renewable energy to reform it into hydrocarbons or simple alcohols, that might be a way to stabilise an intermittent renewable power system and provide us with the source material for plastics.

      …and believe it or not, all of that is technically possible right now…

      Here’s an example of the devices engineers have designed to capture CO₂ from the air:

      futurism.com/videos/giant-fans-suck-co2-atmosphere-use-fuel

      • CapitalHawk

        How is educating young women in Africa (why did you capitalize “Women”?) going to stop climate change?

        • CB

          “How is educating young women in Africa… going to stop climate change?”

          It can help in a number of ways.

          Africa is the only place on Earth right now with a fertility rate that’s completely out of control. Africans do not produce large amounts of greenhouse gasses right now, but as they develop, they are likely to produce more and more… and the more people there are, the more greenhouse gasses they are likely to emit.

          Educating Women both helps reduce the fertility rate, and helps develop the societies that can leapfrog over dirty sources of fossil energy and directly to renewable sources of energy, so it has multiple benefits in relation to climate change, as well as any number of other benefits to the economy, public order, etc…

          “Unfortunately, the cheapest, most cost-effective mechanism for reducing emissions does not seem to have been considered by the international community. It is education, or more specifically girls’ education, that is far more likely to result in lower carbon emissions than a shift to renewables, improved agricultural practices, urban public transport, or any other strategy now being contemplated.”

          http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/future-development/posts/2016/02/16-climate-change-fertility-girls-education-kharas

          • CapitalHawk

            I don’t see how educating African women (you keep capitalizing women, again – why?) will advance the cause of leapfrogging over intermediate technologies. The number and quality of technological advancements that emerge from Africa are miniscule compared to North America, Europe and Asia. If you are focused on technological advancement, you would be much better off focusing your dollars in countries on those continents and not Africa.

            As to population control, I am well aware of the negative correlation between overall level of female educational achievement and fertility. But if your goal is to reduce the fertility rate, there is a much cheaper alternative than 16 years of education and it is called birth control. This is something that used to be pushed in third world countries but has fallen out of favor recently. It should be pushed again. For a few hundred dollars, an IUD can render a woman effectively infertile for more than 5 years. This is dramatically cheaper than 5 years of education (even if the education is of a poor quality). So, if you really care about global warming, and you apparently do, you should be championing IUDs for all women in Africa.

  • DiogenesDespairs

    This article blithely makes some assumptions about carbon and greenhouse gases that need questioning, not assumption. Here are some crucial, verifiable facts – with citations – about human-generted carbon dioxide and its effect on global warming peope need to know and understand. I recommend following the links in the citations; some of them are very educational. And please feel free to copy/paste this post wherever you think it will do the most good.

    The fact is, there has been global warming, but the contribution of human-generated carbon dioxide is necessarily so minuscule as to be nearly undetectable. Here’s why:

    Carbon dioxide, considered the main vector for human-caused global warming, is some 0.038% of the atmosphere[1]- a trace gas. Water vapor varies from 0% to 4%[2], and should easily average 1% or more[3] near the Earth’s surface, where the greenhouse effect would be most important, and is about three times more effective[4] a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. So water vapor is at least 25 times more prevalent and three times more effective; that makes it at least 75 times more important to the greenhouse effect than carbon dioxide[5]. The TOTAL contribution of carbon dioxide to the greenhouse effect is therefore 0.013 or less. The total human contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide since the start of the industrial revolution has been estimated at about 25%[6]. So humans’ carbon dioxide greenhouse effect is a quarter of 0.013, works out to about 0.00325. Total warming of the Earth by the greenhouse effect is widely accepted as about 33 degrees Centigrade, raising average temperature to 59 degrees Fahrenheit. So the contribution of anthropogenic carbon dioxide is less than 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit, or under 0.1 degree Centigrade. Global warming over the last century is thought by many to be 0.6 to 0.8 degrees Centigrade.

    But that’s only the beginning. We’ve had global warming for more than 10,000 years, since the end of the last Ice Age, and there is evidence temperatures were actually somewhat warmer 9,000 years ago and again 4,500 to 8,000 years ago than they are today[7]. Whatever caused that, it was not human activity. It was not all those power plants and factories and SUVs being operated by Stone Age cavemen while chipping arrowheads out of bits of flint. Whatever the cause was, it melted the glaciers that in North America once extended south to Long Island and parts of New York City[8] into virtually complete disappearance (except for a few mountain remnants). That’s one big greenhouse effect! If we are still having global warming – and I suppose we could presume we are, given this 10,000 year history – it seems highly likely that it is still the overwhelmingly primary cause of continued warming, rather than our piddling 0.00325 contribution to the greenhouse effect.

    Yet even that trend-continuation today needs to be proved. Evidence is that the Medieval Warm Period centered on the 1200s was somewhat warmer than we are now[9], and the climate was clearly colder in the Little Ice Age in the 1600s than it is now[10]. So we are within the range of normal up-and-down fluctuations without human greenhouse contributions that could be significant, or even measurable.

    The principal scientists arguing for human-caused global warming have been demonstrably disingenuous[11], and now you can see why. They have proved they should not be trusted.

    The idea that we should be spending hundreds of billions of dollars and hamstringing the economy of the entire world to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is beyond ludicrous in light of the facts above; it is insane. Furthermore, it sucks attention and resources from seeking the other sources of warming and from coping with climate change and its effects in realistic ways. The true motivation underlying the global warming movement is almost certainly ideological and political in nature, and I predict that

    Anthropogenic Global Warming, as currently presented, will go down as the greatest fraud of all time. It makes Ponzi and Madoff look like pikers by comparison.

    [1] Fundamentals of Physical Geography, 2nd Edition

    by Michael Pidwirny Concentration varies slightly with the growing season in the northern hemisphere. HYPERLINK “http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7a.html” http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7a.html

    [2] ibid.

    [3] HALOE v2.0 Upper Tropospheric Water Vapor Climatology Claudette Ojo, Hampton University; et al.. HYPERLINK “http://vsgc.odu.edu/src/Conf09/UnderGrad%20Papers/Ojo%20-%20Paper.pdf” http://vsgc.odu.edu/src/Conf09/UnderGrad%20Papers/Ojo%20-%20Paper.pdf. See p. 4.The 0 – 4% range is widely accepted among most sources. This source is listed for its good discussion of the phenomena determining that range. An examination of a globe will show that tropical oceans (near high end of range) are far more extensive than the sum of the earth’s arctic and antarctic regions and tropical-zone deserts (all near the low end). Temperate zone oceans are far more extensive than temperate-zone desert. This author’s guess of an average of 2% or more seems plausible. I have used “1% or more” in an effort to err on the side of understatement.

    [4 NIST Chemistry Webbook, Please compare the IR absorption spectra of water and carbon dioxide. ] HYPERLINK “http://webbook.nist.gov/” http://webbook.nist.gov/

    [5] Three quarters of the atmosphere and virtually all water vapor are in the troposphere. Including all the atmosphere would change the ratios to about 20 times more prevalent and 60 times more effective. However, the greenhouse effect of high-altitude carbon dioxide on lower-altitude weather and the earth’s surface seems likely to be small if not nil.

    [6] National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. HYPERLINK “http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/gases.html” http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/gases.html. The estimated 90ppm increase in carbon dioxide, 30% above the base of 280 ppm, to a recent reading of 370 ppm, equates to just under 25% of present concentration, the relevant factor in estimating present contribution to the greenhouse effect.

    [7] Oak Ridge National Laboratory http://www.esd.ornl.gov/projects/qen/nerc130k.html

    [8] New York Nature – The nature and natural history of the New York City region. Betsy McCully http://www.newyorknature.net/IceAge.html

    [9] Global Warming: A Geological Perspective John P. Bluemle HYPERLINK “https://www.dmr.nd.gov/ndgs/Newsletter/NL99W/PDF/globlwrmw99.pdf” http://www.azgs.az.gov/arizona_geology/archived_issues/Winter_1999.pdf This article, published by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency, is drawn from a paper by the author in Environmental Geosciences, 1999, Volume 6, Number 2, pp. 63-75. Note particularly the chart on p.4.

    [10] Ibid.

    [11] Wikileaks: Climatic Research Unit emails, data, models, 1996-2009 HYPERLINK “http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_emails,_data,_models,_1996-2009” http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_emails,_data,_models,_1996-2009.

    See also HYPERLINK “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1246661/New-scandal-Climate-Gate-scientists-accused-hiding-data-global-warming-sceptics.html” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1246661/New-scandal-Climate-Gate-scientists-accused-hiding-data-global-warming-sceptics.html and

    HYPERLINK “http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704075604575356611173414140.html” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704075604575356611173414140.html and, more diplomatically: HYPERLINK “http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/science/01tier.html” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/science/01tier.html. Et al.

    ADDENDUM

    What initially troubled me was the aberrant behavior of the climate research unit at East Anglia University, which had been the main data source for AGW arguments. They initially refused (!) to reveal their algorithms and data on the grounds that they were proprietary(!!). They responded to critics with ad hominem attacks and efforts to block their publication in scientific journals. Now, as I am sure you know, this is not how one does honest science, in which you PUBLISH your data and methodology and invite critical comment to ferret out error or oversights. It took the now-famous Wikileaks “Climategate” to pry loose the data and expose their machinations. Yet despite the devastating blow these revelations should have to their credibility, the AGW “cause” has taken on a life of its own.

    Fundamentally, the argument seems to rest on a logical fallacy, post hoc ergo propter hoc – after this, therefore because of this. We see a rise in temperature and a rise in (principally) carbon dioxide, and therefore conclude one must have caused the other. It does not necessarily follow at all. There can be other causes entirely behind both phenomena, and as you see above, almost certainly there are. Beyond that, I have encountered numerous assertions of fact that cannot add up given the physical properties of water vapor and carbon dioxide that go unchallenged. One-sided arguments proliferate and people arguing the other side are frequently denounced as being employed by business interests rather than rebutted on the merits.

    In sum, I have not come lightly to the conclusion that the AGW argument as it applies to carbon dioxide is largely untrue and certainly does not account for more than a very small, nearly negligible part of the phenomena we are seeing. The implications of widespread assertions of and belief in such an untruth are staggering, and potentially enormously destructive. It is unwise indeed to let oneself be stampeded in this matter, and stampede is clearly what many have been and are trying to induce.

    I can understand politicians behaving this way; a carbon tax or carbon trading regime would allow enormous revenues to fall into their hands. I can understand “Progressive” ideologues; it logically leads to enormous expansion of government power over industry, the economy, and the daily life of individuals, which they regard as a good thing. I understand the environmentalists; they want to shrink the size and impact on the environment of modern civilization. But responsible citizens need to put aside such considerations.

    • CB

      “Water vapor… is… more effective a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.”

      Yup.

      …and because the amount of water vapour in the air is entirely dependent on temperature, that makes it a multiplier of the warming effect of CO₂.

      What’s your point, Diogenes?

      What was your point the last 100 times you copied and pasted that nonsense?

      “Water vapor feedback can also amplify the warming effect of other greenhouse gases, such that the warming brought about by increased carbon dioxide allows more water vapor to enter the atmosphere.”

      http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/vapor_warming.html

      • DiogenesDespairs

        And as the text demonstrates, the contribution of human-generated CO2 must be below one-tenth of a degree – and that was giving warmism the benefit of the doubt. Depending on how much less than the numbers used is the reality for the half-life of CO2 in the atmosphere (indeterminate because the actual contribution by natural sources is unknown) and the actual percentage by volume of watr vapor (I used 1%, almost ceratainly a low figure; most guesstimates are around 2%, which would effectively double the amount of water-vapor radiative forcing and thereby reduce the contribution of human CO@ to almost nothing) – the actual figure could be a LOT lower. In any case, the human CO2 contribution being tiny, any knock-on effect from adding water vaor is going to be tiny as well.

        Oh, and remember, more water vapor necessarily means more cloud cover, which increases the planet’s albedo, reflecting sunlight back out into space, and thereby lowers the temerature at the surface. More watger vapor also increases precipitation, which returns CO2 dissolved in the precipitation to the surface in the form of carbonic acid and thus is removed from the atmosphere. My post did not take into account the cooling effect of such phenomena.

        • CB

          “the human CO2 contribution being tiny”

          Define “tiny”.

          If we haven’t set in motion the complete collapse of the polar ice sheets, just because of the CO₂ we’ve already emitted, why isn’t there a single example in Earth’s history of polar ice sheets withstanding CO₂ so high?

          “How come a big ice age happened when carbon dioxide levels were high? It’s a question climate sceptics often ask. But sometimes the right answer is the simplest: it turns out CO₂ levels were not that high after all. The Ordovician ice age happened 444 million years ago, and records have suggested that CO₂ levels were relatively high then. But when Seth Young of Indiana University in Bloomington did a detailed analysis of carbon-13 levels in rocks formed at the time, the picture that emerged was very different. Young found CO₂ concentrations were in fact relatively low when the ice age began.”

          http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18618-high-carbon-ice-age-mystery-solved

          • http://www.moonbattery.com Bodhisattva

            Of course your statement,

            If we haven’t set in motion the complete collapse of the polar ice sheets, just because of the CO₂ we’ve already emitted, why isn’t there a single example in Earth’s history of polar ice sheets withstanding CO₂ so high?

            starts from the FALSE assumption that humans are capable of overpowering the vastly (orders of magnitude) more powerful forces of nature that determine atmospheric composition.

            1) Based on Antarctic ice core data, changes in CO2 follow changes in temperatures by about 600 to 1000 years. Temperature increases THEN CO2 increases – so if there IS a cause-and-effect, you have it backwards!

            2) We see this happening as the Earth warms normally and naturally:

            http://earthsky.org/earth/scientists-discover-vast-methane-plumes-escaping-from-arctic-seafloor

            http://www.nature.com/news/mysterious-siberian-crater-attributed-to-methane-1.15649

            And we’ve already shown that, as a logarithmic function, the warming that CO2 causes occurs early and quickly it takes an order of magnitude change in CO2 to produce the same amount of warming that 1/10 of the change in CO2 caused previously.

            I do have one question for you: Why did you choose the name “Blargh”? As in cblargh?

            http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=blargh

            blargh: an exclamation indicating that one has absorbed or is emitting a quantum of unhappiness

            Just a naturally unhappy person?

            Buck up!

          • CB

            “your statement… starts from the FALSE assumption”

            Okay, so prove it. It’s easily falsifiable. All you would need to do is point to a single moment in Earth’s history when polar ice sheets were able to withstand CO₂ as high as we have today.

            Why haven’t you already done that, Bodie?

            “Welcome to the Pliocene. That was the Earth about three to five million years ago, very different to the Earth we inhabit now. But in at least one respect it was rather similar. This is the last time that carbon dioxide (CO₂) levels were as high as they are today.”

            climate.nasa.gov/climate_resources/7

            “Researchers Find 3-million-year-old Landscape Beneath Greenland Ice Sheet”

            http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/researchers-find-3-million-year-old-landscape-beneath-greenland-ice-sheet

      • DiogenesDespairs

        On review, I realize I didn’t address your most salient question: “What is your point?”

        My point is that the global warming campaign is not about climate at all. It is about money and power. Global warming is the con to sucker the rubes.

        • CB

          “My point is that the global warming campaign is not about climate at all. It is about money and power. Global warming is the con to sucker the rubes.”

          Like thermometers with googly eyes are conspiring to steal your money?

          Did you do a bunch of mescaline and binge watch the Religetables again?

          “2015 is Earth’s warmest year by widest margin on record”

          http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/summary-info/global/201512

  • Fat_Man

    “Can Recycling Carbon Solve Climate Change?”

    No. The climate changes because of natural cycles that have periods far in excess of the existence of human civilization. But, promoting junk science based useless garbage like this creates lots of opportunities for graft and cronyism.

    • ljgude

      Don’t forget trolling.

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