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The Man-made CO2 Global Warming Fraud!

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Bob Ashworth's picture
Sr. VP

Mr. Ashworth is a chemical engineer and has presented over 50 technical papers on fuels and fuel related subjects. Relating to the subject of global warming, he has written two papers, "CFC...

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  • Aug 28, 2012


Here is an excerpt1 from a paper written by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) meteorologist; "Climate models used for estimating effects of increases in greenhouse gases show substantial increases in water vapor as the globe warms and this increased moisture would further increase the warming." However, this meteorologist along with the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) crowd got it backwards about water vapor and CO2 -- they cool the earth like all other gases in our atmosphere!

Although moisture in the atmosphere does increase with warming, this is because the higher temperature causes more water to evaporate. With every pound of water evaporated 1,000 Btu is absorbed and that causes cooling. Further, increased water in the atmosphere causes further cooling (not warming) by reflecting more of the radiant energy from the Sun that is hitting the water vapor molecules back to outer space.

Al Gore presented the climate change fraud as well in his "Inconvenient Truth", actually a "Convenient Lie" presentation of the Vostok Ice Core data, see below.

Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" Documentary -- Cause and Effect Reversed

In this documentary, Al Gore fudged the Vostok Ice core temperature and CO2 line graphs so it would show a CO2 spike coming first in time, but the real graph showed just the opposite. See the data in a shorter time frame (240,000 Years Before Present rather than 420,000 years as presented by Gore). This makes it easier to see which came first, Figure 1.

It is clearly seen that a global warming spike (blue line) always comes first. The spike warms the oceans, which slowly reduces the solubility of CO2 in water that results in the liberation of CO2 from the oceans around 800 years later (see Figure 2). Gore gave no explanation what would cause a CO2 spike to occur in the first place, but then again he is a politician with an agenda to make him wealthy. See the most recent time of warming between the 500 year medieval warming period and the start of an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. One can see that CO2 started increasing during a cooling period showing it was not controlled by the warming that started some 80 years later and it is about 800 years from the end of the medieval warming period. This is historically what happens.

Man-made Emissions of Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

CO2 emissions created by man, i.e. combustion of fuels, (called anthropogenic emissions) is miniscule compared to the emissions of CO2 from nature? Table 1 was developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) who promote the global warming lie. This is their data. It shows annual CO2 emissions to the atmosphere from both nature and man and how much of the CO2 emitted is re-absorbed by nature. Using the table in combination with a total concentration of 392 ppmv of CO2 seen in the atmosphere in December 2011, one sees that the increase in CO2 caused by all of man's activities amounted to only 11.5 ppmv.

The amount of CO2 from man is a mouse milk quantity compared to nature's emissions. If we eliminated worldwide, all man-made CO2 emissions, we would go back to the level we had in January 2005. It was slightly warmer (about 0.1 °C) in January 2005 than it was in January 2011.

The US EPA is regulating man-made CO2 which is orders of magnitude beyond stupid. The man-made CO2 being generated in the United States in 2010 that contributes to the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is 16.4% of the worldwide man-made total4 and that calculates to be (11.5*0.164) = 1.9 ppmv. The CO2 release from Medieval warming has caused CO2 in the atmosphere to rise some 2 ppmv per year from 1993 to 20115. So if you eliminated all man-made CO2 from the U.S. today, next year at this time it would be the same as this year before the CO2 emissions were stopped.

Nature absorbs 98.5% of the CO2 that is emitted by nature and man. As CO2 increases in the atmosphere, nature causes plant growth to increase via photosynthesis which is an endothermic (cooling) reaction. For every pound of biomass formed some 10,000 Btu are removed from the atmosphere. CO2 is absorbed, and oxygen is liberated. Further, a doubling of CO2 will increase the photosynthesis rate by 30 to 100%, depending on temperature and available moisture6.

More CO2 is absorbed by the plants due to the increased concentration of CO2 for conversion to carbohydrates. Nature therefore has in place a built-in mechanism to regulate the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere that will always completely dwarf man's feeble attempts to regulate it. Further, no regulation is necessary because CO2 is not a pollutant; it is part of the animal-plant life cycle and without it, life would not exist on earth!

A Common Sense Scientific Truth

Any mass between you and a radiant energy source will provide cooling. Stand near a fireplace that is burning and feel the warmth of the radiant energy; then have two people drape a blanket between you and the fireplace -- you will feel cooler! Another example, stand outside on a sun shiny day. When a cloud goes over and shades you from the direct rays of the sun, most people feel cooler, but perhaps not the IPCC scientists. Nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor, carbon dioxide and any dust that is in the atmosphere all provide cooling as well. Why is this? If there were no atmosphere, all radiant energy from the sun would hit the earth. However, with an atmosphere, a portion of the incoming sun's rays are absorbed or reflected away from earth by striking the gaseous molecules and dust particles, so less radiant energy hits the earth and the earth is cooler because it has atmosphere, see Figure 3.

Everyone knows that cloud cover at night (more insulation) prevents the earth from cooling off as fast as it does when there are no clouds. However, on a relatively clear night if a cloud goes overhead you cannot feel any warming effect of the cloud, so this insulating effect is shown to be very minimal compared to the daytime effect. No rocket science is required here, just common sense. If common sense isn't good enough for you there is also scientific proof.

Proofs -- Water Vapor Cools the Earth

Water vapor is considered by the IPCC pseudo-scientists to have the greatest greenhouse gas effect. If this so-called greenhouse gas actually cools the earth, so must all of the others that are put in that greenhouse gas category (carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, etc.).

1st Proof

Following the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the Federal Aviation Administration prohibited commercial aviation over the United States for three days following the attacks. This presented a unique opportunity to study the temperature of earth with and without jet airplane contrails.

Dr. David Travis, atmospheric scientist at the University of Wisconsin, along with two others, looked at temperatures for those three days and compared them to other days when planes were flying. They analyzed data from about 4,000 weather stations throughout the lower 48 states (U.S.) for the period 1971-2000, and compared the three-day grounding period with three days before and after the grounding period. They found that the average daily temperature range between highs and lows was 1.1°C higher during September 11-14 (see Figure 4) compared to September 8-11 and September 11-14 for other years with normal air traffic.

2nd Proof

An experiment was performed by Carl Brehmer to study the effect of rising and falling levels of humidity on soil temperature and discovered that the addition of moisture to the atmosphere exerts a significant negative feedback (cooling effect).

The experiment (Figure 5) showed the same result as the analysis of the 9-11 data; on an overall basis increased humidity reduces the temperature on earth; it doesn't warm it. The data was taken over 38 days so the first thing done was to find the 38 day mean dew point and divide the days up between those that fell above the mean -- the "humid" days -- and those that fell below the mean -- the "arid" days. Then the data was averaged as shown on the curves on the graph below. One can readily see the hotter day time temperatures for the arid days (red line).

The Climate Change Agenda is a Complete Fraud

There is a lot of supporting evidence that indicates that the Climate Change agenda is and always has been a fraud9. Why is it called a fraud? An event now referred to as "Climategate" publicly began on November 19, 2009, when a whistle-blower leaked thousands of emails and documents central to a Freedom of Information request placed with the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. This institution had played a central role in the "climate change" debate: its scientists, together with their international colleagues, quite literally put the "warming" into Global Warming: they were responsible for analyzing and collating the measurements of temperature from around the globe from the present to the distant past.

Dr. John Costello9 relays, "Climategate has shattered that myth (the myth of global warming). It gives us a peephole into the work of the scientists investigating possibly the most important issue ever to face mankind. Instead of seeing large collaborations of meticulous, careful, critical scientists, we instead see a small team of incompetent cowboys, abusing almost every aspect of the framework of science to build a fortress around their `old boys club', to prevent real scientists from seeing the shambles of their research.

Back in time, the IPCC relayed there was a greenhouse signature in the atmosphere and the temperature 8-12 km above the tropics was warmer than the ground temperature10. Actual temperature measurements refuted this. They also violated the second law of thermodynamics by saying a cooler atmosphere can warm a warmer earth. They don't have a clue, or they think people are stupid -- two bogus explanations that are easy to prove false.

Around 1990, NOAA began weeding out more than three-quarters of the climate measuring stations around the world. It can be shown that systematically and purposefully, country by country, they removed higher-latitude, higher-altitude and rural locations, all of which had a tendency to be cooler. The thermometers kept were near the tropics, the sea, and airports near bigger cities. These data were then used to determine the global average temperature and to initialize climate models. From 1960 through 1980, there were more than 6000 stations providing temperature information. The NOAA reduced these to fewer than 1500. Calculating the average temperatures this way ensured that the mean global surface temperature for each month and year would show a false-positive temperature anomaly, a bogus warming trend. Interestingly (although absent scientific credibility), the very same stations that were deleted from the world climate network were retained for computing the average-temperature base periods, further falsely increasing the bias towards earth warming.

An internal study by the U.S. EPA11 completed by Dr. Alan Carlin and John Davidson concluded the IPCC was wrong about global warming. Dr. Carlin is an Environmental Protection Agency veteran who wrote a damaging report to Lisa Jackson's EPA agenda, warning that the science behind climate change was questionable at best, and that we shouldn't pass laws that will hurt American families and hobble the nation's economy based on incomplete information.

One statement in his executive summary found that the crucial assumption in the Greenhouse Climate Models (GCM) used by the IPCC concerning a strong positive feedback from water vapor is not supported by empirical evidence and that the feedback is actually negative. This is exactly what is shown here, water vapor in the atmosphere causes a cooling effect (negative feedback), not a positive warming feedback.

EPA tried to bury Dr. Carlin's report. An email from Al McGartland, Office Director of EPA's National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE), to Dr. Alan Carlin, Senior Operations Research Analyst at NCEE, forbade him from speaking to anyone outside NCEE on endangerment issues. In a March 17 email from McGartland to Carlin, stated that he will not forward Carlin's study. "The time for such discussion of fundamental issues has passed for this round. The administrator (Lisa Jackson) and the administration have decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision. .. I can only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office." A second email from McGartland stated "I don't want you to spend any additional EPA time on climate change."

McGartland's emails demonstrate that he was rejecting Dr. Carlin's study because his conclusions ran counter to the EPA/IPCC position. Yet this study had its basis in three prior reports by Carlin (two in 2007 and one in 2008) that were accepted. Another government cover-up, just what the United States did not need.

Most of the U.S. House of Representatives agree with the fraud assessment. 12On February 19, 2011 they voted to eliminate U.S. funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. With a vote of 244-179, they said that it no longer wishes to have the IPCC prepare its comprehensive international climate science assessments. The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Missouri), said; "The IPCC scientists manipulated climate data, suppressed legitimate arguments in peer-reviewed journals, and researchers were asked to destroy emails, so that a small number of climate alarmists could continue to advance their environmental agenda".

The organization responsible for managing a global cap-and-trade system worth billions of dollars for carbon emissions projects around the world is trying to get sweeping legal immunities for its actions, even as it plans to expand its activities in the wake of the recent United Nations' Rio + 20 summit on sustainable development.13 Yes, global warming from CO2 is a complete fraud - that is why they are seeking shelter from prosecution.

Why Was It Done?

It was all about the money. For example, Al Gore's Generation Investment Management LLP was started in 2004 and in 2008 this announcement was made, "It will be closed to new investors, having risen close to its $5 billion target!" 14 It rose five billion dollars in 4 years! This shows that a lot of investment firms were in on the scam big time. They also hooked in nefarious pseudo-scientists who were awarded grants for their work in promoting this fraud. Sadly, much of the world runs on the tenet, "Show Me the Money!"


Based on real data evaluation, CO2 causing global warming is completely contrived. The lesson to the world here is, when it comes to science; never blindly accept an explanation from a politician or scientists who have turned political for their own private gain. Many scientists, including the author, see global warming from CO2 as a cruel global swindle to eliminate fossil fuels, so that a few, at the expense of the many, can reap huge profits from either carbon taxes and/or alternative non-green energy sources such as windmills, solar power, and hydroelectric power. Science is a search for truth -- nothing else; when scientific truth is trashed for personal gain, the world and its people are in very deep trouble!


  1. Ross, R. J., and Elliott, W.P., "Radiosonde-Based Northern Hemisphere Tropospheric Water Vapor Trends", Journal of Climate, Vol. 14, 1602-1612, July 7, 2000.
  2. Petit, J.R., et. al., "Climate and Atmospheric History of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok Ice Core, Antarctica", Nature 399: 429-436, June 3, 1999.
  3. Solomon, S., Plattner, G. K., Knutti, R. and Friedlingstein, P. 2009. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 106: 1704-1709
  4. CDIAC: Record High 2010 Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Fossil-Fuel Combustion and Cement Manufacture.
  5. Ashworth, R. A., "Global Warming from CO2 - All Politics, No Science!", see Figure 3.
  6. Pearch, R.W. and Bjorkman, O., "Physiological effects", in Lemon, E.R. (ed.), CO 2 and Plants: The Response of Plants to Rising Levels of Atmospheric CO2, (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1983), pp 65-1055.
  7. Travis, D., A. Carleton, and R. Lauritsen, 2002: Contrails reduce daily temperature range. Nature, 418, 601.
  8. Brehmer, Carl, "The Greenhouse Effect Explored", February 21, 2012,
  9. Costella, J.P., "Climategate Analysis",
  10. David Evans, "Carbon Emissions Don't Cause Global Warming", November 28, 2007,
  11. Carlin, A. and Davidson, J, "Proposed NCEE Comments on Draft technical Sup port Document for Endangerment Analysis for Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act", March 9, 2009.
  13. Washington Times - "Global Climate Change Group Seeks Immunity for Actions, June 12, 2012,
  14. New York Times
Bob Ashworth's picture
Thank Bob for the Post!
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Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 5, 2012
W. Gilbert - ``I do know many scientists are being paid for their research by groups that profit highly from the theory of global warming and this in itself makes that research suspect.....`` - - That`s a curious position, given that it is (as far as I can tell) the denyer community who are being paid by the fossil fuel industry for their inputs. Are you claiming that some third party is paying the scientists in addition to their salaries, or that the universities are putting conditions of position on the payment of their salaries. This claim is so strange as to require some significant substantiation by reliable reference.
Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 6, 2012
Gerry. I`m getting really weary of such %É&*+ language (or barely concealed equivalents) in these discussions as ``what's the point of the tax? It is nothing more than the fleecing of the citizens by leftist elitists.``

You guys need to get a grip on reality and figure out that things are NOT drifting to the left, but the opposite. eg. just a few days ago a battalion of police shot dead over 50 striking mine workers (incidentally hoping for a bit more than $2.00 per day). The workers were then charged with the murders by the police. Given say a couple of republican (or even democratic) presidents in the US, it`s probably not long for there next.

Don Hirschberg's picture
Don Hirschberg on Sep 6, 2012
Please forgive me but I don't understand much of the last comment. Perhaps the incident cited was the recent tragic incident that resulted in the deaths of 34 striking miners in South Africa?

Not 50 shot dead, and not by a battalion of police. I happen to be legally a veteran of WWII and an actual combat veteran of the Korean War.

In the 18 years since the end of apartheid South Africa has become the murder and rape (particularly of children) of the world. They are unable to even accurately record their crimes.

Joseph A. Olson, P.E.'s picture
Joseph A. Olson, P.E. on Sep 6, 2012
Science is an emperical based self-correcting system, UNLESS there is overt funding to drive a particular outcome. In the case of "Climatology" there is NO private sector demand, so ONLY government can fund these clowns. In a perfect example of "outcome based education" the government funded prophets delived the desired commodity market profits, REGARDLESS of flawed science.

There is no PhD program in this phoney science that requires even a BS engineering level of Thermodynamics. How could 28 gigatons of a benign, three atom gas control the temperature of 359 trillion cubic miles of mostly molten rock and 310 million cubic miles of ocean ?

As a retired engineer and lifelong science student, i researched this FRAUD objectively as did my friend Bob Ashworth. Carbon Climate Forcing is all about FORCED Carbon Commodity Marketting. Read "Fractional Reserve Banking Begat Faux Reality" and "Becoming a TOTAL Earth Science Skeptic" to understand why you have been fooled by this false paradigm.

And for more on the companion lies of renewable energy, see "Green Prince of Darkness". For more on REAL renewable energy that is abiogenic oil, read "Fossil Fuel is Nuclear Waste". Find and share Truth, it is your duty as an Earthling.

Gerry Runte's picture
Gerry Runte on Sep 6, 2012
There's now a term that describes several comments here- it's called "Eastwooding." In this case, it's where old white men use fabrications, logical fallacies and ad ignoratiam arguments to rail against an imaginary global conspiracy!

In all seriousness, I hope you all will join me in writing Energy Central requesting they explain why it is that they gave any credibility to this article.

Gerry Runte's picture
Gerry Runte on Sep 6, 2012
Speaking of logical fallacies: they have become such cliches that there is a app that keeps track of them and where they came from at

No smartphone? The "Mars icecaps are melting" notion, is discussed at (you can select an elementary or high school level explanation).

Jerry Watson's picture
Jerry Watson on Sep 6, 2012
Well Michael, I guess you are not paying income taxes. I know it is waste of typing, but I will try to explain. Me I am paying taxes. Raising the prices of fossil fuels should create an incentive to conserve and improve. The hope would be that these revenues would lower others taxes if not for me then maybe for someone else. It is using monetary incentive to change behavior. I assume your argument is higher prices do not discourage consumption, since if they did discourage consumption of fossil fuels by the world’s second largest emitter it would almost certainly reduce CO2 emissions.

Or is your argument we are not paying taxes already? FYI consumption based taxes unlike income taxes can reduced through behavior changes.

On last thing the US energy sector is cost based not efficiency based. Coal plants are not more efficient, in fact they are usually the least efficient; however, historically coal was enough cheaper to more the compensate for difference. Combined Cycle plants have had heat rates two thirds that of coal plants for 20 plus years coal was simply much cheaper.

Gerry, ad hominem really??

Jerry Watson's picture
Jerry Watson on Sep 6, 2012
Gerry, it is obvious from your snide remarks you are convinced that you have to the right to determine what should and should not be published. Isn't that somewhat bold and closed minded to believe so firmly in the infallibility of your own dogma?
Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Sep 6, 2012
Jerry, It is a simple matter of the mass of CO2 going into the atmosphere from the US versus everywhere else. What we do is mathematically irrelevant and becomes ever more so as the rest of the world uses more energy. That is why a CO2 tax is such a bad idea. It does nothing other than increase our costs.

Once again, increase efficiency in the use and generation of energy and you end up lowering costs and noticeably decreasing emissions (including CO2): the best of both worlds.

Further, the US energy sector is, in fact, very heavily driven by better efficiency because a company can make more money that way. A review of coal power plant designs shows a clear trend in designing and building ever more efficient plants. From the really inefficient stoker units (circa 1940's), to pulverized coal units (1950's), to supercritical units (1960's) to ultra supercritical units (1990s) . Basically efficiency improvements occur from ever higher pressures and temperatures. Economies of scale (bigger plants) also are a major factor - again, you can make more money that way.

Efficiency improvements (and larger sizes) also drive the industry with respect to combustion turbines that fire at ever hotter temperatures. The early units were much less efficient than coal units. Nuclear units tend to be a something of a throw back with really low efficiencies, but the fuel is cheap.

As for Runte and Gould, appears logic and reason have fled their thinking.

Gerry Runte's picture
Gerry Runte on Sep 6, 2012
Ad hominem? Nope. Dogma? Hardly.

Just asked Energy Central for an explanation, not that it not be published. In fact, here's what I sent them:

I realize full well your desire to be balanced as to which Energy Pulse submissions get published, but this one about CO2 and global warming takes the cake. People like Ashworth are certainly welcome to their opinion, but why on earth did Energy Central lend its credibility to such obvious nonsense?

To his credit, Bob gave the citations to his opinion – I’m wondering if you even reviewed them. I suggest you Google his referenced “experts” Carl Brehmer or Jon Costella or David Evans and see what you find. Or take a look at the “assassination science” blog, or the CFACT and ICECAP websites. Why not just reblog articles from Climate Depot (actually belongs to CFACT), or maybe the Heartland Institute (who still argue that smoking is good for you, along with generating other paid “studies” claiming global warming is a fraud).

Normally an article like this would appear on one of the denial sites and become part of the endless churn. This article has become part of the churn as well, except it carries the banner of Energy Central and therefore has elevated credibility.

There are plenty of very worthwhile discussions that need to be had over carbon management policy and global warming: how big is the problem; is there anything that can realistically be done about it; can we afford the solutions; what, if anything, should be done in the near term, etc. But none of those discussions are being had in the US because we are still debating what is a given elsewhere. And we in this country ought to know better. If you look at what happened in the mid-80’s over sulfur dioxide policy you find an uncannily exact set of circumstances: the same old cast of characters on both sides of the argument; heavy opposition and lobbying from utilities and coal companies who generated arguments claiming junk science behind SO2 cap emissions damage; doomsday claims of wrecking the economy and skyrocketing utility bills from cap and trade; and even the Red Scare claims that this was creeping socialism. SO2 cap and trade is still going strong and even though it was implemented during the worst of the Reagan recession, neither the economy or utility bills were harmed in the process. The only significant difference then from now is that the right had no internet or Fox news or radio personalities to exploit voter ignorance.

What’s done is done. I would appreciate an explanation as to why you published it.


Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Sep 6, 2012
Runt: I believe it known as freedom. Perhaps that is a concept foreign to you.
Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Sep 6, 2012
Further, your comparison of CO2 versus SO2 is just plain nonsensical.

SO2 is a pollutant whose affects and the environment (and humans) can be straightforwardly determined by science.

CO2 is a natural occurring gas whose distant deleterious impacts on the climate (and man) are essentially not determinable by today's' science. Rather CO2 impacts are speculated because science is unable to unravel the complexities. In such a situation, free and open inquiry are vital to assess whether or not a serious problem is in the offing.

Don Hirschberg's picture
Don Hirschberg on Sep 6, 2012
I am puzzled by the absence of anything here that deals with the problem of reducing CO2 emissions and reducing world population.

I have said often enough (maybe far too often for some readers) that I don't think we can accomplish either and that our civilization (such as it is) is doomed and that a die-off of billions cannot be avoided. Nobody wants to refute this position. Almost universal denial.

Has anyone put forward any scheme whereby the use of fossil fuels will be reduced, (Well sure, when they become too expensive to use – but that's not a scheme, it is a reaction.)

I happen to think we missed our last chance to reduce population back about 1960 or so. Many experts have told us we are already far beyond effective control of existing levels of CO2. Does anyone on this site challenge these thoughts?

I have often said over the years that it doesn't make much difference what the Danes do about energy. I said it is more important what the folks in Mexico City do than in Denmark, Sweden and Norway combined.

The great paradox is that the only program that has dealt with the world's number one problem was the Chinese one-child program. The only social program that deserves universal support has only engendered ridicule.

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 6, 2012
So the ``briliant`` Mr. Keller thinks I have lost my logic and reason. This from a person who claims his unreferenced opinions outweigh the results of worldwide research results from pretty much every reputable scientist working on the issue of AGW. The olny question still open for legitimate discussion is how bad exactly will be the effects.

Ah well. I suppose Mr. Keller won`t be the first person whose ``brilliance`` is only apparent to themselves. Just look at Mr. Ashworth LOL.

Gerry Runte's picture
Gerry Runte on Sep 7, 2012
Mr. Keller: The comparison with SO2 mitigation is quite apt. I'm afrais you've hoisted yourself on your own petard. Your arguments as to why SO2 cap and trade made sense are in fact the same ones challenged by the the anti-SO2 cap and trade crowd. The exact same ones. They said SO2 (and acid rain) are naturally occurring (Reagan told us SO2 was what made the Great Smoky Mountains "smoky"); they said science could not determine the effects of SO2 and certainly was unable to unravel the atmospheric soup that polluted the east coast of the US to single out SO2.. 26 years later, when you can occasionally see the Milky Way at night in New Jersey and fish have returned to mountain lakes in New England, those arguments against SO2 mitigation seem daft. Just like the ones against CO2 mitigation seem now.

Energy Central is free to determine its own editorial policy and I am free to question it.

Bob Webster's picture
Bob Webster on Sep 7, 2012
I have noted a singular lack of historic climate perspective among the critics of Ashworth's paper.

The degree of historic climate perspective appears to be inversely proportional to the amount of ad hominem smarm. This is typical of those who are angry because they cannot make a rational counter-argument.

I suggest critics first learn about ice eras, ice epochs, ice ages/interglacials and pay particular attention to the nature of interglacials and their temperature profiles. Then do the same for atmospheric CO2. All this is in the geologic record.

If you don't understand where you've been, you cannot possibly appreciate where you are.

There is absolutely nothing unusual from an historic climate perspective about any of the rather small climate variation of the past several hundred years. Attempts to pin such changes on human emissions of CO2 are laughable if not pathetic.

Marcel Leroux, the late French climatologist (doubly), published an outstanding text, "Global Warming, Myth or Reality" (2005, Praxis Publishing, UK), in which he concluded his examination of climate change with: "The Greenhouse Effect is not the cause of climate change." And, "The possible causes, then, of climate change are: well-established orbital parameters on the palaeoclimatic scale, with climatic consequences slowed by the inertial effect of glacial accumulations; solar activity, thought by some to be responsible for half of the 0.6°C rise in temperature, and by others to be responsible for all of it, which situation certainly calls for further analysis; volcanism and its associated aerosols (and especially sulphates), whose (short-term) effects are indubitable; and, far at the rear, the greenhouse effect, and in particular that caused by water vapour, the extent of its influence being unknown."

I recommend Leroux's book to those who want to understand how he arrived at these conclusions.

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Sep 7, 2012
Runte - 1. The impact of SO2 is readily demonstrated by science and is essentially a regional affect that can be directly dealt with at the regional level (as in at the power plant source). 2. Man-caused global warming is a theory (as in speculation) whose impacts are not particularly well understood. Further, what the US does is utterly irrelevant on a global scale.

Deploying the methods used successfully to reduce SO2 to reduce CO2 is nonsensical as there is no hope of success. Hence, it is a waste of money.

Further, deploying renewable energy to "solve" global warming is just a very poor solution. Deploying renewable energy to save money makes sense (as the cost of the technologies comes down).

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Sep 7, 2012
"Has anyone put forward any scheme whereby the use of fossil fuels will be reduced, (Well sure, when they become too expensive to use – but that's not a scheme, it is a reaction.)"

Well, actually yes:

Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 7, 2012
Bob Webster: Thanks for your support.

Gentlemen: I am a scientist that only deals in truth. I presented the data and not one of you took umbrage with it except for one guy who didn't believe the ice core data I presented that can be found on the NOAA website. Gore lied about CO2 coming first then warming following even though the ice core data by NOAA who has supported the climate change agenda refutes that. Did you know that Gore and David Blood (formerly of Goldman Sachs) formed GIM LLP (promotes alternative energy sources) in the UK in 2004 and by 2008 stopped accepting investments when the investments rose to some $5 billion. In my opinion he conned the investment community like he did many of you. I guess his time in the seminary was wasted. Thanks to others like me, the carbon tax agenda was defeated at least for the near future so you will be paying less for energy.

Regarding CO2, using 385 ppmv as the base if it would ever reach 835 ppmv the growth rate would increase by 450%. This was shown in actual greenhouse plant growth demonstration. What Cretu says about CO2 reaching a maximum when plants quit growing is illigoical. I have seen no data that shows that. Maybe another bogus IPCC model. They don't rely on real data. From the small town political approach that most of you use which is we can't prove him wrong but we sure can call him names, it is apparent that these comments follow political agendas. A scientist would review the work presented and comment on that. I guess you could say I am doing the same thing by calling Gore a con artist but I reviewed the data he presented and that is what it clearly looks like to me. I admit he was right about ozone destruction by CFCs causing warming (I analyzed that too) but CO2 causing warming is a complete farce for trying to make money off it.

Pierre Latour's picture
Pierre Latour on Sep 7, 2012
Len Gould, 8.29.12. You are not correct. My analysis of the same data shows in nearly every case CO2 level begins its upward trend AFTER the temperature trend increases.

The proper way to determine phase lag or lead between two sinusoids, CO2 and T, is to integrate the difference squared. Call this ISE at actual time = 0. Then increment the CO2 sinusoid forward in time, tf, and determine the corresponding ISE(tf). Repeat with increments backward in time, tb and determine ISE(tb).

Now view the function ISE(t) and you will see in this case it increases from tf = tb = 0 forward as the two sinusoids get more out of phase and decreases to almost zero backward to about 1000 years, when the sinusoids coincide in phase quite nicely, then ISE(t) increases again as CO2 leads T. The minimum ISE occurs at some lag time, tl, by definition. Since tl <0 it is called a lag. Otherwise it would be a lead.

The Environmental Engineering Department of University of St Thomas, Houston, did this in 2007 for 400,000 years of T and CO2 data reported by Al Gore, “Inconvenient Truth” and found tl = about 800 years. I verified it visually from a NatGeo poster. Further, they analyzed time lag of CO2 absorption-desorption of ocean circulation and found it is 700-1000 years.

So it is reasonable to conclude CO2 solubility in water vs. T causes atmospheric CO2 concentration to follow, lag, atmospheric temperature changes, which are driven by solar intensity changes. Temperature swings cause CO2 swings, CO2 does not cause temperature swings.

Analyzing natural data can only show correlation. To prove causation requires the underlying scientific mechanism. This is a basic flaw in the meteorology of GHG theory and AGW. The theory is not reasonable. Bob Ashworth’s article is reasonable.

Pierre R Latour, PhD, PE, Chemical Systems Engineer

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 7, 2012
``There is absolutely nothing unusual from an historic climate perspective about any of the rather small climate variation of the past several hundred years.`` -- Bob Webster proposes that present CO2 levels cannot possibly have any effect in future because they haven`t had much effect yet. An obviously empty argument.

It`s also understandable that all these engineering types, trained in school to always trust others and never think originally (buildings and bridges would be failing constantly if originality were encouraged among engineers) are simply unsuited by temperment and training to evaluate genuine science, where theory backed by available data must supercede dogma. Engineering training is probably the worst basis for a scientist. Ashworth`s claims to being a scientist are simply hilarious as he clearly wouldn`t recognize a scientific hypothesis with a high probability of truth if a real scientist spoke it to him.

And for all you engineers crying foul because someone gets heated about objecting to your (constantly repeated again and again and again....) errors, that just proves you have no experience of real science, where discussions at symposia can become so heated as to come to blows and wrestling matches. That`s real science, and if you can`t handle it then get the heck off the field and quit wasting everyone`s time.

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 7, 2012
Pierre Latoure, you are not correct in your proposal of `the proper way to evaluate`. You`ve misunderstood what is being evaluated, which is a feedback mechanism triggered by an external third initiator. The initiator of the warm é cool cycle in the graph is the Milankovitch cycle of earth`s orbit about the sun, a mix of several varations which culminate in a 120,000 to 130,000 year cycle with approx. 115,000 cold years then 20,000 to 25,000 year warmer interglacials. All scientists agree that the Milankovitch variations themselves couldn`t have enough effect to cause the temperature changes observed entirely, and that it is changes in GHG levels in the atmosphere which actually cause the majority. The Milankovitch variations initiate eg. a warming, which then causes increases in GHG levels, which then cause further warming, etc. etc. and the GHG increases are caused by the small initial warming. The science recognizes that the timing of warming v.s. GHG levels may not be in perfect sync, but the fact that both happen ìn the same geological time` combined with the obvious theoretical effects of GHG`s in an atmosphere of a planet depending solely on radiation to a vacuume for shedding heat, are sufficiently convincing.

The fact that we are undeniably, by our activities, taking earth`s GHG levels up to a level higher than they have been since the current glaciation cycles started should have everyone including you, seriously concerned about what may happen as a result, given the obvious corelation in Antartic and Greenland ice core temperature and CO2 and methane histories.

Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 7, 2012
Small Time Politics Len: Pierre is correct in his analysis, as one would expect because he is a smart engineer and has a PHD in Chemical Engineering.

Len, I don't know what your background is but it can't be in a scientific field; political science doesn't count. When you plot data versus time you look at the times and see what the data shows for those times. Clearly a temperature rise precedes the CO2 rise. No rocket science required here. Have you ever read a graph before???

If the CO2 increases, the earth will cool very slightly, never warm. Being worried about an ice age would be better than worrying about a warming period but CO2 in the ppmv range it is in now and for the future has such a slight cooling effect man could never measure it.

Does someone pay you for the senseless non-scientific statements you make here. You operate like the greenies. They say windmills, solar and hydroelectric are green energy sources when it is just the opposite, there is nothing green about them. The only green energy on this planet are fossil fuels and biomass. The IPCC operates the same way, all gases cool the earth; they say their made-up greenhouse gases warm the earth. For you and these two crowds right is wrong and wrong is right. I designed a fluid bed coal combustor to heat a greenhouse and Len it worked as designed - imagine that from one who knows nothing about science.

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Sep 7, 2012
Gould, You are apparently incapable of carrying on a conversation without insulting those with whom you disagree. That is a characteristic of a fanatic and a zealot incapable of rationale thought and intolerant of seeking the truth, wherever it leads.
Bob Webster's picture
Bob Webster on Sep 7, 2012
Len divines a peculiar inference from my statement (quoted below) rather than taking it at its face value:

Len: "There is absolutely nothing unusual from an historic climate perspective about any of the rather small climate variations of the past several hundred years." -- Bob Webster proposes that present CO2 levels cannot possibly have any effect in future because they haven`t had much effect yet. An obviously empty argument. ... end of Len.

To note that natural climate variability is consistent with that which has been observed over the past several hundred years does not address the causation.

The point lost on Len is that the desperate attempt to find a human causation for what for all appearances is perfectly natural climate variability is irrational.

Look at the climate variability of the past 120 years and you will see similar patterns of cyclic warming and cooling. Why look to assign a new cause for what, by any reasonable standard, has all the appearance of natural climate variability?

For those who worship at the altar of greenhouse gases, water vapor is your god, as it is the overwhelming atmospheric greenhouse gas in terms of its absorption/reradiation capacity. Annual human emissions of CO2 are a blip compared to the natural emissions and CO2 is a blip compared to water vapor.

If that isn't enough to create reasonable doubt, then pay attention to two of the key requirements of the human-emissions-of-CO2-are-warming-the-planet-theory:

1. Tropical mid troposphere warming signature from human-induced warming.

2. Polar regions will warm before lower latitude regions (lower atmospheric water vapor content emphasizes CO2 content is the rationale).

Problem is, observations (1) fail to detect any warming signature as predicted, and, (2) polar regions are NOT warming as predicted (indeed, the Antarctic continues its 5-6 decade cooling trend).

When observations do not match theory, you don't attack the observers. You junk the theory. It's all part of the Scientific Method.

Pierre Latour's picture
Pierre Latour on Sep 7, 2012
Len Gould, Your statement that my method for calculating phase lag time from sinusoids is not correct then proceeded to change the subject rather than teach me about any mathematical error of mine. I can evaluate whatever I want to evaluate; I need not evaluate what you want to evaluate. As a professional chemical process control systems engineer since 1966, I know very well what a feedback mechanism is; I built hundreds of commercial thermostats and multivariable feedback controllers. In 1997, I proved Earth’s thermostat adjusting fossil fuel combustion is un-measurable, unobservable and uncontrollable; mathematical criteria that indicate it will never work, no matter what or who says so. I studied Milankovitch cycles years ago and took them into account in my comment to you. I categorically deny the validity of your last sentence. I am concerned about air and water pollution, deforestation and overfishing. I am also concerned about choking and starving Earth’s flora by curtailing fossil fuel combustion which supplies CO2, green plant food. You remain in the confusion trap of concluding causality from correlation, even after I warned you not to fall into it. Your other blogs contain inconsistencies and broken logic. Use a spellchecker. Just trying to help. Pierre R Latour, PE Chemical Process Control Systems Engineer, Texas & California
dennis baker's picture
dennis baker on Sep 7, 2012
your assessment of water vapor is correct and proves the man made CO2 induced climate change is worst than elaborated on, as the increased water vapor does not correct for increased carbon in the air. were up the creek without a paddle, or a parasol.
Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 8, 2012
A bunch of engineers not qualified to evaluate science. There`s more in science than is written in your lookup tables, guys.
Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 8, 2012
Mr Latour. Your ``There is absolutely nothing unusual from an historic climate perspective about any of the rather small climate variation of the past several hundred years.`` proves you haven`t a clue re. GHG`s. The flora was doing very well thank you long before humanns started raising CO2 levels to levels not seen in the past million years.
Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 8, 2012
Delete prior. The statement of Mr Latour`s which I meant to copy was ``I am also concerned about choking and starving Earth’s flora by curtailing fossil fuel combustion which supplies CO2, green plant food.`, which isa a laughably foolish statement to put into this discussion.
Pierre Latour's picture
Pierre Latour on Sep 10, 2012
Len Gould, 9.8.12 I am pleased you found my serious environmental concern based on settled science entertaining. I learned about it in 10th grade biology, before 1955.

I conclude you don't care about Earth's environment and flora. I do not find that amusing.

You have my permssion to exhale all the CO2 you like. It is good for you and Earth.

After you become proficient with spellcheckers, practice Copy/Paste by Microsoft.

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 10, 2012
Pierre, it`s a foolish statement FOR A DISCUSSION OF AGW, regardless of your grade 10 biology.
Gary Uhlig's picture
Gary Uhlig on Sep 11, 2012
Gary Uhlig 9.11.12

I am neither a scientist nor an engineer, but I am highly concerned about the future of our nation's ability to sustain itself economically as we try to make changes that will improve our (and possibly the world's) quality of life. I've had the following questions on my mind since 1972, when I read an excerpt from an article in the Toronto Globe and Mail (if I remember correctly) re: hydrogen as the fuel of the future. I've lost track of the article, having moved several times since then. Here are my questions:

1) What would be the necessary increase in domestic (or global) electricity production in order to generate enough electricity to produce hydrogen from seawater, in order to use hydrogen as our only (or primary) motor fuel, either as a stand-alone system, or for use in plug-in hybrid vehicles? I remember the 1972 article suggested chemical chatylists that would make hydrogen a safe alternative to gasoline or diesel.

2) Is this increase possible using fossil-fuel-fired power plants, in conjunction with renewable sources, like wind and solar?

3) Why doesn't this article address problems of national security, as well as CO2 emmissions (less oil = less CO2 and CO, right?). T.Boone Pickens's proposal for massive windfarms in the U.S. heartland was designed to drastically reduce our $700 bln annual hemmoragh to politically untabel regions, where we are constantly at war, protecting our right to divest ourselves of that money; why shouldn't we take his ideas seriously?

4) Why can't our concerns about emissions, fuel consumption and nation defense be handled on a national level? After all that is how we built the Hoover and Grand Coulee dams, as well as the Panama Canal?

I realize that my comment deviates from the issues addressed in Bob Atworth's article, but I think that if we are trying to deal with CO2 and climate change, we must look at as many of the broader issues as possible. I also think that, if the U.S. leads, others will follow, especially as technology improves and costs decrease.

Don Hirschberg's picture
Don Hirschberg on Sep 11, 2012
Gary, I hate to see your questions go unanswered. Neither do I want to spend a lot of time on a reply that is unlikely to be seen my many Pulsers when a new issue is about to arrive in our in-boxes. I'll give you an idea of the scope of the problem.

Water is at the bottom of the energy hill. To make hydrogen from water takes much more energy than you can get back from converting it back into water – no matter how you do it. If you use significant percentage of fossil fuels to make the electricity to electrolyze the water you will make far more CO2 than if you used the fossil fuels directly. Hydrogen is considered an energy sink, not an energy source – and always will be.

Let's take a very crude look at the global electricity situation. Very crude. There are over 7 billion of us. Those in the European Union, Japan, and the English-speaking countries , say a billion of us have adequate electrity. Let's say half of the remaining 6 billion have electricity. That leaves about 3 billion with little or no electric service. If that's not bad enough we add about 0.1 billion to the population per year. And as places such as Sub Saharan Africa develop their average longevity will go up from maybe 50 years today to much longer.

Right now much of the world is maxed out on food production and fresh water supply. I see little prospect that this situation can improve.

It would not seem possible to electrolyze enough water for massive hydrogen production until far more people have electricity service. Those without electricity service are poor – and have been poor for over a hundred years or they would have built generating stations generations ago. Where would the resources and fuels come from for such a massive building program?

For decades now there have been a zillion projects to reduce CO2 emissions. What have been the results? Well, every year more CO2. Lots more. Coal makes more CO2 per KWH than other fuels and more coal was burned in 2011 than in any year in history. Many new coal burners are under construction today.

If we can't reduce population – or even stop the growth- attempts to solve our other problems are fatuous.

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 11, 2012
Don. Mostly agreed, though perhaps you should hedge your arguments with eg. ``presuming no viable fusion reactor develops from current projects``. If it does (25% possibility questionmark), by perhaps 2035 the outlook may be quite different.
Malcolm Rawlingson's picture
Malcolm Rawlingson on Sep 11, 2012
A wonderful response from Bob Webster above. Why has not a single person commented on the fact that the Earth's climate has changed dramatically and often over the eons of time when man was NOT on the planet. What was the cause of these changes. Why were they not permanent. It is obvious to any thinking person that there are factors not related to man made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that cause the climate to change.

Just a few short years ago another bunch of climate "scientists" (they are computer modelers NOT scientists for the most part) were telling the world that we were about to enter a new ice age.

So we cannot even decide whether the earth is getting warmer or cooler. So much for predictions.

And I agree with Don - ridiculous nonsense trying to reduce CO2 emissions when the world population will probably starve itself to extinction anyway.

Malcolm Rawlingson's picture
Malcolm Rawlingson on Sep 11, 2012
Len - In previous posts I recall Don provided a calculation that showed you would need to build a 1000 MW plant every single week of every single year for about 50 years just to give all those people BASIC electrical energy. The Chinese have been constructing coal plants at a rate of one every 2 weeks for several years and are nowhere even close to providing electricity to all its population. They are also as we speak building 27 new nuclear reactors. But it is still a drop in the bucket. Even if fusion was successful - just building the infrastructure and finding enough of the exotic materials needed to make them would be virtually impossible to do on that scale.

And who would provide the funds to build such facilities in countries that cannot even afford to build ANY sort of power station let alone a high tech one.

And what genius of politics is going to tell sub Saharan Africa not to build coal plants when we cannot even get ourselves off the stuff.

I don't see the political will to do even the basics to get us off the trajectory we are on. In Canada 10 to 15 years to build a nuclear plant with just one on the drawing board. And we need to build one a week. Forget it - too little and far too late.


Malcolm Rawlingson's picture
Malcolm Rawlingson on Sep 11, 2012
Gary, You raise some good points and to those folks who have not been steeped in this stuff their entire lives it may appear as though there are solutions that are being ignored or trivialized so I very much welcome your thoughts and comments.

I think Don has provided a good explanation of the problems with the so called hydrogen economy. Simply put you need to put more energy in than you get out therefore a bit of a waste of time. It is also not easy to transport bulk hydrogen by pipeline. At the pressures required it will leak out of conventional pipeline systems. Also since we cannot even build a simple oil pipeline into the US what makes you think it would be possible to lay tens of thousands of miles of hydrogen pipelines all over the US. Much easier to move methane about and it is easier to liquefy it than hydrogen plus that infrastructure is already built.

The more sensible fuel to replace oil as our transportation fuel is methane (natural gas is mostly methane). That technology already exists and requires no development. Most current vehicles run on natural gas perfectly well with some minor timing adjustments but as you can see not many vehicles on the road that run on it. You have to wonder why that is and ask yourself why T-Boone Pickens has not promoted that - although I hear that he has moved off the wind mantra and is now extolling the virtues of natural gas. I suspect he smells dollars there. If you think that guy has the needs of the American people at heart give your head a shake. He is concerned about finding ways to make more money and if he can get it from the taxpayer by subsidized wind farms or from promoting nat gas he will do it whether it makes sense or not.

As far as National Security of the United States is concerned, Canada has a 600,000 barrel a day oil pipeline ready to go to help you get off oil from Venezuela and the Middle East to provide the US with better national security and less reliance on oil from hostile countries. I can only presume Mr Obama thinks National Energy security is not such a big problem since he did not allow it. The lie of an excuse was going over the water aquifer in Nebraska - but of course failing completely to mention that thousands of miles of US pipeline already run over water aquifers and apparently those are NOT a problem. The word hypocrisy comes to my mind.

I do agree with your sentiments about the great achievements of the past but suffice it to say that today it would be impossible to build the Hoover Dam or the Panama Canal. The environmentalists would be all over that and hold it up in piles of litigation for years and years until the backers eventually pulled out. That is the modern way - at least in North America.

The Chinese are able to forge ahead with their plans for energy independence because they do not have to deal with this. They just arrest the naysayers or they disappear. But big projects like the ones you mention in your post are unlikely without a complete change in the politics of the USA. You are sadly - not the same country that built the Hoover Dam or the Golden Gates Bridge or the interstate highway system.... not by a long way. While Canada is not exactly endowed with brilliant far sighted politicians I really pity you folks in the US at having to choose between a complete idiot and a complete idiot with money. No wonder only half of you do not bother to even vote.

The closest I have seen to "vision" in the US is the vision to create a bigger and better attack ad for the nitwits to lap up from their flat panel, made in China TV sets paid for with money borrowed from China. The Chinese have gotta love that irony. No you are not the same country that built the Hoover Dam and I am very very saddened by that.

And one last comment about wind mills in the mid-west. Sure it looks good on paper but Mr Pickens realized that in order to get all the power out someone (not the great and glorious TBP) would need to build billions and billions of dollars worth of high voltage power lines to move the electricity from where the population is not (the mid-west) to where the population IS (the cities of the Eastern and Western seaboards. No-one would come up with the cash to do that and with no power lines the windmills would be pretty useless - which they are anyway when the wind doesn't blow.

As you can see from the Keystone pipeline fiasco where there is difficulty building an oil pipeline underground where no-one even sees it - try building a few 500,000 volt power lines across Americas backyard. You'd be in court for the next 50 years. TBP could not wait that long to make money so it was quietly shelved....because it is a stupid idea.


Malcolm Rawlingson's picture
Malcolm Rawlingson on Sep 11, 2012
Michael you wrote a short post above that I thought deserved more comment than it got. You said

"Has anyone put forward any scheme whereby the use of fossil fuels will be reduced, (Well sure, when they become too expensive to use – but that's not a scheme, it is a reaction.)" Well, actually yes:"

The answer depends on which fossil fuel you are talking about. For coal the bulk of the consumption is the burning of it to make electricity. The solution to that is nuclear generated electricity which can readily replace all coal burning power plants. The fuel will last for centuries even on just a once through Uranium cycle.

For oil it is more difficult. Oil is mostly used as transportation fuel and chemical feedstock not electricity generation so nuclear is not a ready solution to that. As oil becomes more difficult to extract from the earth's crust the price will go up since deep sea drilling (for example) is much more expensive than on shore drilling. The price will be higher simply because the extraction costs are higher. However I see oil being replaced as a transport fuel by natural gas which (thanks to fracking) is very plentiful and very cheap and likely to remain so for a long time. That will allow time for the necessary battery developments to occur to enable electrically driven vehicles. However battery developments may well be a long way off so it will be natural gas for a long time.

For aircraft fuels - a much more difficult problem and I do not see any ready substitute for oil in that application. But of course we generalize oil as being one product when in fact the term "oil" represents hundreds of different products of differing grades and characteristics.

Similarly the term "fossil fuels" is a great variety of hydrocarbons so generalizing about reducing all fossil fuels really implies reducing consumption of the major ones like coal and oil. Don't see that happening any time soon. Malcolm

Don Hirschberg's picture
Don Hirschberg on Sep 12, 2012
No amount of added alternate energy capacity is likely to reduce global CO2 emissions.
Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 12, 2012
The emissions WILL stop, Don. Only debate is how soon eg. will mankind act like yeast and just continue consuming at maximum pace and increasing in population until critical input supplies such as fossil fuels run out, his environment becomes toxic, and everything crashes to a halt, or will we use some rationality. Based on majority opinions the prognosis is not good.....
Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 12, 2012
Are humans smarter than yeast. (credit to a member on
Don Hirschberg's picture
Don Hirschberg on Sep 12, 2012
Contemplating a human die-off which seems inevitable behooves us to consider man's short history. In my lifetime the scale has changed considerably, but the Sinclair Oil billboards I saw as a child had the age of oil formation right – they showed dinosaurs in lush forests and numbers such as 60 million years ago if memory serves me. Our coal is much older, maybe 300 million years.

That means that ferns and primitive conifers knew how to make make hydrocarbons out of CO2 using solar energy. We don't. We are getting this solar energy back everyday in the form of electricity. We burn up many years of this stored solar energy every day. It wasn't very efficient.

When should we say man arrived? Surely not more than 1 million years ago. To a geologist 1 million years is not like yesterday it is more like earlier today. A Neanderthal circa 100,000 years ago and dressed in clothes and rehearsed might pass as a man. But people such as we likely didn't exist until about 40,000 years ago. Minutes or seconds ago to a geologist. So if we have a die-off who should find this outlandish?

Our efforts should be to reduce population before catastrophic die-off.

Ferdinand E. Banks's picture
Ferdinand E. Banks on Sep 13, 2012
Don, you know at least as well as I do that to solve things like the population problem requires intelligence of the highest order. What do we get instead of intelligence? Answer, Barack Obama and even worse, George W. Bush. But you and I were lucky, weren't we - we saw (or know about) the US at its finest, by which I mean WW2.
Jim Beyer's picture
Jim Beyer on Sep 13, 2012
Don and Gary,

Concerning making hydrogen by electrolyzing water. Don is correct in that it is a huge energy hill to climb to break the hydrogen away from the oxygen atom. What you get, however, is a fuel which is (barely) storable from electricity, which is not storable at all.

The problem with hydrogen (and the hydrogen economy) is that if you are really going to scale that energy hill in creating hydrogen, then you might as well go a bit FURTHER and make methane (CH4) with the hydrogen and some carbon dioxide (plenty of that around) via the Sabatier reaction:

4H2 + CO2 -> CH4 + 2H2O

One thing notable is that you get half your water back, so your electricity to fuel scheme ends up using half the water. Also, since NG is mainly methane, you have a fuel for which an entire infrastructure is already in place. Methane is also much easier to store and 3X denser energetically per volume compared with hydrogen.

The hydrogen economy people are not thinking the problem through well enough, IMHO.

Don Hirschberg's picture
Don Hirschberg on Sep 14, 2012
I don't know beans about the Sabatier process but just looking at the equation and comparing the fuel value of the hydrogen consumed with the fuel value of the methane produced means a sizable part of the energy goes elsewhere.

4 pound mols (8 pounds) of hydrogen in: About 490,000 BTU of fuel IN. 1 pound mol (16 pounds) of methane out: About 382,000 BTU of fuel value OUT

That's quite a drop in fuel value without getting a lick of work out of it. Perhaps on a space station getting some water back would be a big plus but down here water isn't so rare. Using the methane will make the same CO2 we started with.

Once having expended the energy to make hydrogen it is a shame not to use it efficiently in a fuel cell

I could be missing something but I don't see an application as to energy or CO2 reduction.

Jim Beyer's picture
Jim Beyer on Sep 14, 2012

you are right and you are wrong. Your numbers are right theoretically. Practically, electrolyzing water isn't hugely efficient, so the needed energy input is even worse. Sabatier reactors, are close to 100% efficient, but as you indicate, some energy is lost as heat. (Perhaps one could use that for something, I don't know.)

The issue is storage costs. How long are you going to store this fuel before you use it? And you ARE storing it, because if you could use it right away, you might as well just use the electricity itself, right? Turns out the storage costs for hydrogen are pretty bad -- if you need to storage the energy for more than about 5-6 days, you might as well go with methane. Less than that, and hydrogen makes sense. Problem is, on the shorter time frame of storage, hydrogen starts butting up against other technologies like batteries.

Don Hirschberg's picture
Don Hirschberg on Sep 14, 2012
Jim, when I mention efficiency in this context I nearly always mean useful energy out over energy in, that is, thermal efficiency. Some years ago I expended some effort seeing what we might expect from hydrogen made from water. There are many steps each with the loss of efficiency. If memory serves using a million dollar fuel cell the “e” over-all was 10 or 11 percent. A regular old cast iron diesel engine can get 30%.

A reactor efficiency of nearly 100% means the reaction actually goes like the chemical reaction is written – i.e. you do get 1 methane molecule for each CO2 molecule, etc. My calculations were not theoretical. When you burn a pound of methane you get approx 23,000 BTUs whether you want them or not.

If the competition is batteries that means rubber bands are not far off the pace.

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 15, 2012
I grant Jim;s promotion of the use of hydrogen to produce methane as a fuel rather than using it directly as a fuel, but only in a world where no fossil liquid fuels remain. Meanwhile, as long as any fossil crude oil is to be used for transport fuel, the far better use of hydrogen than producing methane is to use it to improve heavy crudes into lighter products, esp. diesel and jet fuel. The most logical use for any amount of hydrogen atoms concievably producable in any forseeable future is to attach them to existing hydrocarbon chains, eliminating any storage issues for transpoert fuels.
Jim Beyer's picture
Jim Beyer on Sep 16, 2012
Len is correct. Only point I'm trying to make (usually unsuccessfully) is that the hydrogen economy is a bad idea; methane would be better than hydrogen, but not necessarily better than other things.

OTOH, we are running out of fossil fuels, at least at some point.


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