Global Warming – Preying on Ignorance
Remember when you told your high school teacher how you were never going to use algebra? This is sort of like that, because I’m going to take you on a trip down memory lane, and talk a little bit about another one of those subjects you just knew you would never use again: the Carbon Cycle. I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t remember anything about the Carbon Cycle, if you were anything like me you managed to purge those brain cells almost as quickly as that particular section of science class was over. But unlike high school, I promise this will be really, really simple, because there is one very important thing you need to know: the pro-global warming people are absolutely counting on your ignorance about it.
If you read Global Warming Basics, you will recall the point I made about there being a fixed amount of Carbon on our planet. No new CO2 is created, and not enough of it is lost to be significant, so we have just as much of it present now as we have ever had. And that CO2 is constantly being emitted and re-absorbed by the ocean, the ground, and the biological processes of plants and animals. In a nutshell, the Carbon Cycle describes the process by which carbon in its various forms, particularly CO2 is passed back & forth between the atmosphere, and these other systems in our environment. The non-atmospheric parts of the environment that absorb and hold CO2 are sometime referred to as Carbon Sinks, which can be thought of as sort of “banks” into which carbon is “deposited” and held for a period of time.
Now here comes the tricky-part: In Global Warming Basics I pointed-out the fact that natural processes emit much vaster amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere every year than human activity, more than thirty times more in fact. One of the corner-stones of the Pro-AGW folks is the assertion that natural carbon sinks have a finite capacity to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, and therefore the part emitted by human activity is overwhelming the system. Essentially, they are saying the banks are full, they can’t accept any more “deposits” and the excess winds up staying in the atmosphere. You can still hear AGW supporters parrot this line today, even though it has been conclusively disproved. In a paper published in 2009, Dr. Wolfgang Knorr at the University of Bristol showed that terrestrial and oceanic ecosystems have continued to absorb CO2 in the same proportion as they have historically, despite an increase in total CO2 emissions. And unlike so much of the “science” cited by the “consensus” of Pro-AGW people, Dr. Knorr’s research is not based on projections, computer models or reconstructions:
“The strength of the new study, published online in Geophysical Research Letters, is that it rests solely on measurements and statistical data, including historical records extracted from Antarctic ice, and does not rely on computations with complex climate models.”
This is what’s called a smoking gun. Hard evidence refuting one of the cornerstones of AGW theory. You can read more discussion of Knorr’s paper over at Watts Up With That. Of course there is the question of why ecosystems have the ability to step-up their rate of CO2 absorption. Nobody seems to know the reason for this, but it does remind us once more that climate is an incredibly complex system, the workings of which we barely begin to understand. Making policy decisions with vast negative economic impact based what it turns-out we don’t know is beyond foolish.