Friday, April 06, 2007

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


Anonymous said...

The current political solutions being offered to change the climate on earth are a pathetic attempt by arrogant socialists that think man can change the climate on a Global scale.

According to Kyoto, even if everyone complied with the treaty, it would only change the earths temperature by .025 of a degree centigrade by the year 2050. The costs of obtaining this change in temperature would be in the trillions and would cause the economic collapse to the world economy.

Kyoto is an idiotic proposal. We could not change the temperature of the earth on a global basis even if we wanted to, demonstrating the sheer arrogance of some of our political elite.

...or could it all be another grand hoax to raise taxes?

I could not agree with you more andrewsDad.

Anonymous said...

As Mencken points out, practical politicians need to scare the crap out of the ignorant masses with some hobgoblin, often imaginary, so they can be led to safety by -- guess who?

Since liberals deny that there is any real threat from the fundamentalist Muslims (who are a majority, not a minority) that can't be solved by a big group hug at the United Nations, they had to come up with something.

The old, "Save the poor people" and "Save the children" B.S. was getting a bit long in to tooth and wasn't selling well, so Global Warming was the best they could come up with.

It helps a lot to be selling a product that takes a bit of scientific literacy to understand, especially if it's to an American public that isn't sure if the sun revolves around the earth or not.