To understand climate change (aka: global warming), at least as spoken by those on the Left of Center, one needs to understand their frame of reference.
According to the Left, the Industrial Revolution, beginning about 1860, is when mankind began burning hydrocarbons in some form (coal et al) and incrementally adding carbon dioxide (“CO2”) to the atmosphere from earlier wood-burning days.
They vilify CO2 as hazardous. But CO2 is necessary for life as plants convert CO2 to oxygen through photosynthesis, which for humans is necessary and comprises about 21% of the air we breathe. The left’s scientists say that by adding CO2, a so-called greenhouse gas, to the atmosphere through the burning of hydrocarbons (coal back then; oil and gas in much more measurable quantities since 1920), the buildup of CO2 is causing a rise in global temperatures.
In their view, global warming was born not of Mother Nature but of the reckless and poor choices of mankind in the quest for profit and a better lifestyle. The Left believes that carbon is evil and CO2 created by mankind is destroying Earth. In their view, the only way to save the planet is to replace the burning of hydrocarbons with mostly uneconomic renewable energy sources, wind and solar.
The reality is very different than the gospel preached by the Left. Several inconvenient truths are either overlooked or dismissed to formulate their position.
Inconvenient Truth #1. The climate has been evolving since Pangea, about 700 million years ago, when there was only one land mass. Currently, the land mass has broken into the Seven Continents of the World, covering 30% of the world with the oceans currently covering 70%. The world will continue to evolve. It is folly to think anything just began in the 1860’s.
Inconvenient Truth #2. Yes, it’s true CO2 is a greenhouse gas by definition. But there’s another greenhouse gas the Left won’t talk about that has twice the heat capacity of CO2 and is 100 times more abundant. It’s a nasty one called water vapor.
Atmospheric CO2 is currently about 400 PPM, parts per million, while water vapor is 40,000 PPM, thus 100 times more abundant. CO2 has a measured heat capacity (a physical property of all substances wherein the energy required to raise a measured quantity one degree in temperature is measured) of 1.0 over a 300-degree temperature range while water vapor has a measured heat capacity of 2.0 over the same range. Do the math and water vapor has 200 times more influence as a greenhouse gas than CO2 currently.
If greenhouse gases were the problem, focusing on CO2 is majoring in minors. Good luck trying to control water vapor.
Inconvenient Truth #3. The biggest whopper of all is that the buildup of CO2 leads to an increase in atmospheric temperature. Reality is opposite and is observed in various ice cores, a proxy record of the climate going back almost 800,000 years, well before the Industrial Revolution and mankind inhabiting the Earth. The cores reveal that the temperature on Earth rises first, followed by the CO2 levels increasing, get this, some 1,100 years later ― roughly 15 human lifetimes.
So why is that? It’s El Sol above, which continuously goes through hot-to-cool cycles, so the solar flux varies considerably over time. The Sun is the thermostat of all temperatures on Earth. The oceans, which cover 70% of Earth, are a great ‘capacitor’ and store dissolved CO2. As solar flux increases, water temperature increases, and the oceans ‘desorb’ or release dissolved CO2. When solar flux wanes, temperatures decrease, and the oceans ‘absorb’ CO2. This is observed in the ice cores, wherein temperature increase is recorded first, followed by a lag up to 1,100 years the release of dissolved CO2. The long lag time manifests an opportunity to blame mankind and create a political narrative.
Mother Nature is in complete charge. Mankind has a very tiny, if any, influence on climate, so focusing on mankind as the main culprit is misguided. Focusing on CO2 is entirely incorrect.
Observers everywhere are ‘woke’ to the reality the Left has used the original issue of so-called global warming, now collectively referred to as ‘climate change’, to skirt around numerous instances of data manipulation and data fraud. This has been uncovered over time by truth seekers exposing government scientists and academics paid by government funds or grants to push a political narrative. ‘Follow the Money’ is operative here.
The reasons for climate change are easy to understand, and they don’t require advanced studies in climatology. It requires only a simple and basic understanding of science. The data on the ice cores and the CO2/water properties are readily available on the internet.
Bill Rhea is a consultant specializing in Petroleum Engineering and Exploration Risk Analysis in Austin, Texas