$30,000 Challenge Submission – Not Increasing CO2 Levels


Alan Wrench June 25, 2014 at 8:26 PM
I keep reading how the “end of the world” is coming… sooner and sooner and sooner.
I just looked up a few things just to try and get some numbers for myself:

Earths atmosphere is approx. 5.15 x 10 to 18 or 5,150,000,000,000,000,000
Approx CO2 levels are 397 ppmv or 0.0397%

We produce approx. 35,000,000,000 kg of CO2 per year (fossil fuel ect.)
So if we put that into a procentage of the total that gives us:
0.00000068% being added to our environment every year.

When we consider that CO2 makes up 0.0397% of the atmosphere… that last number doesn’t look that huge anymore.

I see numbers about saving the Rainforest being able to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% but the math doesn’t add up there either. They say that the rainforests can take up to 2 billion kg out of the air… but we are emitting 35 billion kg a year. How is 2 billion 20% of 35 billion?

But all of that doesn’t even stay in the air… half of it goes into the water which is approx 1,448,259,888,391,745,625,000 kg making that a change of 0,0000000096% a year.

These are all rounded estimates and all… but I still don’t see the huge change right now. How long have we been burning fossil fuels?

I get that we need to change something… but I think we have a case of both sides making up numbers and using them for their own hidden agendas.

I mean, if it wasn’t for Global Warming… you wouldn’t be able to sell your book with a publicity stunt like this, would you?

Response:

I have already addressed much of this in a previous submission – here.

You stated the mass of the atmosphere correctly – about 5 x 10^18 kgs.

The density of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 400 ppm, and that is .04%, again you are correct.

Your number on CO2 production is way off, though. Worldwide production of CO2 is about 35 gigatons (3.5 x 10^13), not giga-kilograms, so you are off by a factor of 1000. This would be about .0007% of the atmosphere. That is a very misleading statement because what we want to see is how much change are we making to the amount of CO2. Most of the atmosphere (oxygen and nitrogen) does not act as a greenhouse gas, so it is not a factor in discussions about the greenhouse effect. We need to see how much change we are making to the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

About one-half of that emitted CO2 is absorbed by nature, so we are increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by about 17 gigatons per year.  Wikipedia gives a mass of the CO2 in the atmosphere as 3000 gigatons. 17 gigatons would be roughly .5% of the CO2 total mass. That means we are increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by about .5% every year. This math exercise is consistent with the measured data.

How much is .5% increase per year? Since the late 1950s, we have increased the level of CO2 in the atmosphere by 27%. That is something to be concerned with.

You did a misdirection there with your argument. You based the percentage of increase of CO2 as a percentage of increase in the mass of the total atmosphere (I’ll assume using the wrong numbers was an honest mistake, but still a mistake). If we look at CO2 emissions as a percentage on the increase in CO2, then we get a very different picture than the one you stated.

This did not serves as a scientific proof that man made global warming is not real.

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