Our political class contributes a lot of hot air. Let me comment on why this is important and give some details relating to whack-jobs who believe all this pseudo-science. We should begin by noting that Al Gore got a D in science at Saint Albans High School in Washington D.C., and that was the last “technical” education he ever had. Peers thought Al would get an F, but kids at St. Albans whose daddy was a U.S. Senator never got Fs, if you know what I mean. Then little Al wrote a book about global warming. But it turns out Al was a hustler.
My September 2008 column discussed this “secular science” and the stifling of truth as reported in Congressional testimony by NASA meteorologist Dr. Roy Spencer. Since then, citizens have learned that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has fraudulently changed and manipulated data to support a political case for taxing developed, industrial world economies in a thinly veiled “redistribution of wealth” scheme.
We have seen the U.S. Congress fail to pass the cap-and-trade law but hear continued political talk of the topic reappearing in this Congress. And we are watching a regulatory debacle by the EPA to declare greenhouse gases (GHG) as controlled substances, especially carbon dioxide. (Incidentally, GHG includes water vapor, CO2, methane or gas from digestive processes and natural fermentations; various nitrogen oxides; halocarbons that are mostly man-made; and various precursor gases like carbon monoxide and volatile non-methane organics.)
A new voice has weighed in on this subject. Ian Plimer is professor of earth sciences at Adelaide University in Australia and a serial author on climate. He points out that the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland spewed more CO2 in four days than all reductions in CO2 emissions made worldwide in the past five years. Plimer indicates that the brush-fire season across the western U.S. and in Australia will negate all human efforts to reduce CO2 into the atmosphere for a period of three years. Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted in 1991 and has continued belching CO2 and other GHG since then, emitting more GHG into the atmosphere than all man-made emissions in human history. Yet the world stage continues to tolerate nut-cases and political crooks who want to talk about all this as legitimate.
The global carbon cycle is composed of distributed sources and reservoirs (sinks) such as oceans and living biomass that absorb carbon. The human contribution to atmospheric CO2 (up to 3% of sources if you believe the nut-jobs*) is primarily supplied (93.8%) by fossil-fuel burning, which makes up 79.2% of the GHG man-made load. Transportation sectors account for 33%, residential 21%, commercial 18% and industrial 27% of CO2 emissions derived from fuel combustion. Electric power generation is the source of 41% of total CO2 emissions.
The carbon footprint from all sources (in teragram equivalents) is CO2 (6,089.5 with 5751.2 from fossil fuel burning), methane (539.3) and halocarbons (163.0). The major methane sources are leakage from landfills (132.0), natural gas system equipment (111.0), coal mines (52.4) and manure management (41.3).
The idea of a “social cost of carbon” is what liberal politicians want to create; a concept that causes the public to accept a tax as a remedy for this “injustice.” This tax can be directly on fuel use or can be “fuzzed up” with methods such as cap-and-trade protocols. The idea can be more appealing by claiming that carbon is a pollutant and creates “negative externality,” a negative effect on a party not directly involved in a transaction (the other fellow’s fault), and that the tax should equal the claimed, marginal damage costs. This tax is often called a Pigovian Tax, so named for the socialist economist A.C. Pigou, who defined the idea. This entire issue is as big a distortion of truth and common sense that we will see in our lives, but it is a reality that must be immediately confronted.
As industrial people first, but also as American and world citizens, it is essential that you contact your federal elected Representative and both Senators and instruct them to stop all notions that turn this chicanery into our reality. IH
*Independent analysis indicated that the oceans contain 37,400 billion tons (GT) of suspended carbon; land biomass contains 2,000-3,000 GT; the atmosphere contains 720 GT; and humans contribute 6 GT (or 0.0146%) of the total.