Archive for August, 2011

There is a mistaken notion that carbon dioxide is the cause of global warming . Although there is a clear correlation between the rate of rise of temperature and the rate of rise of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere this is because 80% of our energy comes from fossil fuels. The carbon dioxide is just an indicator of all the energy consumed. Where does all this energy go? It goes into the atmosphere. The real damage caused by the”carbon dioxide greenhouse” myth it now is assumed that any energy source that does not produce carbon dioxide is acceptable. Hogwash! Energy is heat.

As a “green house gas” carbon dioxide is insignificant compared to water vapor. For example in arid regions the temperature swings from very hot in the day to frigid at night due to loss of heat through radiation. Yet the atmosphere there has the same carbon dioxide concentration as the more humid areas. Furthermore, carbon dioxide provides cooling through photosynthesis.

For the year 2008 I have calculated the amount of heat generated and carbon dioxide produced and compared these expected values to the averages for the period 1980-2000. the expected rise was 0.17*F compared to the average of 0.040F. (24% to the atmosphere, 76% elsewhere). Likewise the expected carbon dioxide rise was 4.1 ppm compared to the average of 1.25 ppm (30% to the atmosphere, 70% elsewhere).There are many possible ways to adjust or explain the results. I took the approach that rest of the carbon dioxide was taken up through photosynthesis to produce cellulose in trees.

This then absorbs a certain amount of energy in the process with the resulting heat distribution as follows:

  •  11.6×1016 BTUs accounted for in the atmosphere
  • 25.3×1016 BTUs for photosynthesis
  • 12.0×1016 BTUs for water temperature rise or glacial melting (equivalent to melting of 94.7 cubic miles)
  • 48.9×1016 BTUs total

These are interesting calculations and while speculative, show (a) carbon dioxide can provide some cooling, maybe as much as25x1016 BTUs per year, (b) global warming is caused by energy consumed.

Acceptable energy processes should be those which remove as much energy from the environment as the energy they produce. These are solar, biomass, probably wind, and possibly ocean. It is not clear to me if hydroelectric is in this category. Fossil fuels, geothermal, nuclear, thorium -fueled MSR, fusion energy are all heat generators and should not be used. All countries strive to be self sufficient in energy.

Conversion to temperature neutral processes will take a long time and a lot of money, but we really have no choice. A tax could be placed on all energy with credits given for energy removed from the environment , even for planting trees. This will require international co-operation to a degree unseen.

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