Are Humans A Significant Factor In Global Warming?
Over the past 25 or 30 years, the earth has been warming. That is a fact. What is in question is how much of that is attributable to humans. More specifically the topic of global warming has been about humans causing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. We hear about carbon footprints and carbon offsets and our need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Human caused carbon dioxide is what the global warming argument is all about.
What seems to be missing from the discussion is how much are humans responsible for greenhouse gases in general and specifically carbon dioxide? How significant of a factor in global warming is human caused carbon dioxide? First let's look at greenhouse gases. There are a number of greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide being one of them. Carbon Dioxide makes up 3.6% of all greenhouse gases. Carbon Dioxide is a naturally occurring gas. Sources of carbon dioxide are decaying plants, animals, volcanoes humans and the ocean.
Now here is the important part, humans are the cause of about 1/30th of all carbon dioxide. So if you do the math, human caused carbon dioxide accounts for about 0.117% of all greenhouse gases. Now humans produce other greenhouse gases as well and all human produced greenhouse gases amount to about .28% of all greenhouse gases, but like I said, carbon dioxide is what is being targeted. Nobody talks about methane offsets or your nitrous oxide footprint. So the greenhouse gases that are not human caused carbon dioxide make up 99.883% of all greenhouse gases. And as those of us from King County know, 99.8% is a rate that “Any bank would envy”
To understand how small 0.117% actually is, let me put that number in terms most people can relate.
If you make $50,000 a year and the boss told you your raise was going to be 0.117%, you would now be making $50,058.50 a year, a raise of 2.8 cents an hour.
For someone that weighs 200 pounds, 0.117% of their weight is less than a quarter of a pound.
If you are on a 2000 calorie a day diet, 0.117% would 23 calories or the equivalent of 1 and a half Ritz crackers.
If you decided to travel from home plate @ Safeco Field down I-5 to the Tacoma Dome but stopped after .117% of the distance, you would go a total of 196 feet, half way from home plate to the center field fence.
If you invested 10,000 for 30 years at 0.117% at the end of 30 years, you would have made 357.02, about 3 cents a day. In comparison, the historical stock market return of 11 percent would have made 218,923, about $20 a day.
We humans needs to understand that we are insignificant in the big picture and have almost no effect on the earth's climate.
Statistics from Plant Fossils of West Virginia