The relentless war on carbon is justified by the false assumption that global temperature is controlled by human production of two carbon-bearing “Greenhouse Gases”. The scary forecasts of runaway heating are based on complex and circumscribed, carbon-centric, computerised Global Circulation Models built for the UN IPCC. These models omit many significant climate factors and rely heavily on dodgy temperature records and unproven assumptions about two natural trace gases in the atmosphere.
The models fail to explain Earth’s long history of changing climate and ignore the powerful role of interacting cycles in the solar system which determine how much solar energy is absorbed and reflected by Earth’s atmosphere, clouds and surface. Several ancient societies and some modern mavericks, without help from million dollar computers, recognised that the sun, moon and major planets produce cyclic changes in Earth’s climate.
The IPCC models misread the positive and negative temperature feedbacks from water vapour (the main greenhouse gas) and their accounting for natural processes in the carbon cycle is based on very incomplete knowledge and numerous unproven assumptions.
See: Errors in the IPCC Global Circulation Models:
The dreaded “greenhouse gases” (carbon dioxide and methane) are natural gases. Man did not create them — they occur naturally in comets and planets, and have been far more plentiful in previous atmospheres on Earth. They are abundant in the oceans and the atmosphere, and are buried in deposits of gas, oil, coal, shale, methane clathrates and vast beds of limestone. Land and sea plants absorb CO2 and micro-organisms absorb methane in the deep ocean.
Earth emits natural carbon-bearing gases in huge and largely unknown and unpredictable quantities. Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and various hydrocarbons such as ethane, methane and propane bubble out of the ocean floor, seep out of swamps, bubble naturally out of rivers, are released in oil seeps, water wells and bores, and are sometimes delivered via water pipes into drinking water. They are also released whenever carbon-bearing rocks such as coal and shale are eroded naturally, catch fire or are disturbed by earthquakes, construction activities or mining. The vast offshore deposits of frozen methane are released naturally when geothermal heat or volcanic intrusions melt the ice containing the methane.
See: Widespread methane leakage from ocean floor off US coast:
Earth also entombs carbon in sediments and organic matter transported from the land by rivers and buried in swamps and deltas or swept from the land into the oceans by typhoons and tsunamis. These will eventually become limestone, shale and coal deposits, probably containing fossil evidence of a long-gone human era.
Recent measurements of the distribution of atmospheric carbon dioxide over the surface of the earth produced surprises — several of the heavy concentrations of carbon dioxide do not follow man’s heavy industry but occur over places like the Congo, Indonesia and the Amazon (possibly seasonal emanations from soil or forests).
See: Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Distribution from the OCO2 Satellite:
Earth’s crust is flexed daily by the gravity-driven Earth tide. This movement opens and shuts joints and pores in rocks and soil and allows earth gases to be squeezed towards the surface. The crust is also dragged, raised and lowered by sub-surface movements, which release more trapped gases.
Volcanic activity produces large but variable emissions of carbon dioxide, particularly if igneous rocks intrude on beds of coal, oil shale or limestone. The periodic massive outpourings of undersea basalts along the mid-ocean ridges cause large oceanic degassing.
Oceans and the biosphere are wild cards in the carbon cycle. Warming oceans, rotting vegetation, ruminants and termites all expel large and unmeasured quantities of carbon-bearing gases. Cooling oceans and growing animals and plants take up carbon compounds and, if there is more CO2 in the atmosphere, oceans and plants will take up more, thus providing a natural stabilising effect. Eucalypt forests extract carbon dioxide for growth, but also emit hydrocarbons from leaves, producing the blue haze on distant hills on hot days. Soil carbon comes and goes depending on weather, biological activity and farm management practices.
Where are the measurements of the production and consumption of atmospheric carbon compounds by the vast herds of antelopes and reindeer, cattle and sheep, or zebra and wildebeest? Who measures the effects of termites and locusts, droughts and floods, bushfires and biofuel plantations, bacteria and fungi, algae and krill, seaweeds and sardines, oceans and volcanoes, grasslands and forests, decomposing rocks, sedimentation and underground waters? What about the heat, CO2 generated and waste products buried by huge cities?
Earth’s total supply of carbon does not change, it just moves continually around the great carbon cycle residing temporarily as gases, liquids or solids in the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and lithosphere.
Currently the supplies of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are recovering gently from record lows. No one knows exactly where it is all coming from but limited measurements and extrapolations indicate that about 96% of the CO2 added annually to the atmosphere is from nature. The only part of the carbon cycle that is measured with reasonable accuracy is the remaining 4% of atmospheric CO2 produced through man’s recycling of coal, oil and gas.
See: Most of CO2 rise comes from natural sources:
We are asked to believe that we can use dubious estimates and forecasts of this minor component of the carbon cycle as the determining input for computer models to forecast future climate for decades ahead.
But to use these one-dimensional forecasts to justify disruptive energy policies is a costly delusion.
The author has qualifications in geology, physics, chemistry and maths and is a semi-retired geologist with long interest and experience in geologic history and the carbon cycle. He has spent his life in public service, exploration, financial analysis, mining and grazing and has minor interests in a small coking coal mine and breeding cattle and sheep.