Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Dieoff by global warming

So allegedly if we don't stop the economy the associated emissions from carbon dioxide will heat the planet up, leading to temperatures so high that we'll all fry.

What's interesting to me is that there have been at least two global warming episodes in the past.

The biggest was during a period called the Eocene several tens of millions of years ago. What's interesting about this era is that carbon dioxide was several times what it will be in the worst case scenario in our own era(more than 500 parts per million project compared to 2000 parts per million during the Eocene). During the Eocene the summer temperature at the poles was 20C and in the tropics it was close to 40C. At the same time the global biodiversity was one of the highest it's ever been in the history of life. There were no humans around.

The more recent period called the Pliocene was very interesting because it's similar to now. Carbon dioxide was just under 400 parts per million and the configuration of the continents was almost identical to the way they are now. The temperature, however was some 5C higher at the poles and some 3C higher than today at the tropics.
Biodiversity was also much higher than today. There were only early hominids around and in limited numbers. Practically speaking there were no humans around.

What can be gleaned from those two cases?
1. Biodiversity in the pre-human epoch was usually higher during global warming periods.
2. There is large variation in temperatures at the same level of carbon dioxide
3. Even at extremely high concentrations of carbon dioxide there was no runaway greenhouse effect and life was not baked to a crisp.


So given these incontrovertible pieces of evidence we have to ask the question WHY are the ecologists so up in arms about us pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere?

To answer that question we have to note that the response is: reduce the size of the economy and reduce energy consumption in order to reduce the emissions.

I think the answer to that is they do not really care about the carbon dioxide, it's the processes that generate the carbon dioxide and the energy consumption they're worried about.

Why?

Well, if your prime concern is biodiversity and preservation of ecosystems then you want the least possible interference. Given that carbon dioxide has a net positive impact on biodiversity all things being equal it's glaringly obvious that the problem for the ecologists isn't carbon dioxide, it's the size of the economy and the amount of energy consumption.

If it were carbon dioxide alone then we switch to non carbon means of generating energy but there isn't a consensus among the green groups. Some are opposed to e.g. nuclear power and wind turbines and very few are not. Tbus it's easy to conclude it's not the emissions they really care about it's the fact that the economy drives energy consumption which drives extraction of natural resources.

In the end the answer is the economy needs natural resources and that's their real concern. That also in fact is a message that's now being pumped out into the media: reduce consumption and "we use too many resources".

What's interesting however, is you hear no such message coming from e.g. the Chinese or the Russians.

The Russians don't believe in global warming AT ALL. They think it's bullshit.
On the other hand they also think WE should reduce our emissions (read: reduce the size of our economy).

Likewise the Chinese state they are very concerned about global warming but have no intention of reducing their emissions and in fact are going to GROW their emissions. They say that if anybody has to reduce emissions it should be us, meanwhile they will be free to increase theirs.

I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions from these observations but it's enough to ask one final question in closing:

Are we so GULLIBLE here in North America and Europe that we're going to voluntarily reduce our economy and standard of living while our industrial competitors laugh at us behind our backs while they increase their standard of living at our expense with NO NET EFFECT on global emissions since they will be emitting more to make up for our reductions?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

You forgot about the medieval warming period around AD 950-1250 which allowed the Viking cultures to expand as far as modern day Canada and allowed populations to grow to a point that, when temps cooled again, resulted in massive famine and other problems. Good points though. Some scientists estimate CO2 during this period may also have been as high as 2000PPM.

On an unrelated note, isn't it funny how this winter's oil price predictions are almost identical to those of last winter? In addition, what about the doomer predictions that we would be dead within months of peakoil due to massive social unrest etc?

SG said...

Actually, the CO2 levels during the medieval warm period were much lower. This is why global warming advocates created the infamous "Hockey Stick Graph", to try and eliminate that period from history. Because it blows a big hole in their climate sensitivity theories.

Actual measured temperatures in the past 10 years have been much lower than the global warming alarmists have predicted. In fact, they admitted this in the leaked "Climategate" emails. I suspect this is because the climate is not nearly as sensitive to CO2 levels as some might think. After all, CO2 still only makes up .003 parts of the atmosphere. With the other 99.997 parts NOT CO2!

It must be depressing for doomers to see CO2 levels going up without any corresponding global warming. Just about as depressing as not seeing the declines in oil production that have been wrongly predicted so many times.

I think what they all really need is to see a good psychiatrist. Perhaps "The Oil Drum" could get a group rate?

DB said...

Sg,

Yeah as far as I knew the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere during the medieval warming period was lower as you state and I think that's the accurate picture. Regardless, whether it was lower or MUCH higher the evidence from that time period and earlier eras indicates that the temperature is all over the map and that carbon dioxide content is not predictive of global temperatures at any one level and that even at very high levels such as during the Eocene, the world doesn't turn into Venus.

Anonymous said...

There is no conspiracy by Russia and China.

DB said...

Anonymous,

Who said there was a conspiracy.
Facts:

Russia is an industrial competitor. Only recently did we regain the position of #1 natural gas producer back from Russia. Clearly they are interested in situations which will benefit them even if it is to our detriment. That's just business not conspiracy.

Likewise China: clearly China is our industrial competitor. They are kicking our butts at production of real goods. To say that's a conspiracy is a joke.
US and European jobs are disappearing because of the rise of China. That also is no conspiracy it's just the facts.

Extrapolating from those facts it's just common sense to say that our economy is already getting slammed by competition from both Russia and China and we're going to allow them to get off scott free from reducing emissions while we have to even though our economy will suffer?

Again, that's not conspiracy it's just common sense.

Greenie fools like you have only one agenda in mind and that's shutting down the economy to lessen the impact on the ecosystem.

Sorry but you get the Chinese, the Russians and the developing world on board with it and then we'll talk. Otherwise STFU.

al fin said...

Interesting. A wide range of temperatures for any given level of CO2 suggests that CO2 is not the most important factor. Is CO2 inconsequential? Perhaps, hard to say.

All the water on the planet appears to keep the temperatures from running away, regardless of CO2 levels. Clearly a strong negative feedback there.

Climatology is a newborn science, barely out of the delivery room. How can the fools (Hansen, Schmidt, Mann, Jones, Trenberth, etc) adopt such pompous poses of assumed authority when they clearly know nothing?