It’s not even secret. But those propagandists who run advertising claiming that carbon dioxide is natural and, therefore, harmless, hope against hope that you don’t know the true history, that you’ve never heard of Cameroon, that you don’t know about volcanic emissions, and that you forgot the story of the killer CO2 cloud of 1986.
Read it here, “Cameroon: The Lake of Death.”
- “Dead town monument to disaster,” New York Times 1987
- Environmental Geology 406/506, at ISU (volcanoes and carbon dioxide, among other topics)
- BBC’s “This Day in History,” August 21, 1986
- Neat-o-rama story on the 1986 disaster
- CO2 killing trees around Horseshoe Lake in the Long Valley Caldera (California), USGS Long Valley Observatory (if that link doesn’t work, try this one)
Help make a cloud of witnesses:
A few people remember.
[…] is toxic in much greater proportions — it was a CO2 cloud that killed thousands in Cameroon 30 years ago or so, if you know […]
[…] Killer CO2 cloud (see especially comments) […]
[…] is toxic in much greater proportions — it was a CO2 cloud that killed thousands in Cameroon 30 years ago or so, if you know […]
Here’s one post where Watts turns his blog over to Neil Frank to make the argument that CO2 is not a pollutant, “but vital for plant life.” I’ll wager there are more.
As P. Z. Myers points out, you can say the same thing for manure. He uses a more colloquial term. ‘S–t is natural, and essential for plant life.’ Want a nice, warm steaming pitcher of it on your dinner table?
If being “natural” means it’s not a pollutant, nothing on Earth is a pollutant, with the possible exceptions of DDT, plutonium and Buckyballs. Surely you don’t believe that, nor would a rational person defend such a stand.
Air pollution studies in the early 1950s focused hard on ozone. Ozone (O3) is natural, it’s vital to save us from UV radiation. But at ground level, it’s deadly in trace concentrations. It triggers asthma attacks directly, it helps make other, less-threatening pollutants carcinogenic and acutely toxic. Do you also claim we should ignore O3?
@Slapper (Oct 15 12:48pm):
The Sumatran tsunami was in 2004, not in 1994. And it was well over 200,000 people dead.
But point well made about water vs CO2.
@Ed Darrell (Oct 15 1:01pm):
That is a total misrepresentation of Watts’ expressed statements and viewpoints. Saying that doubling CO2 isn’t harmful to plants is a specific and restricted statement. The cloud in Cameroon was nearly 100% CO2 (similar to the atmosphere on Venus). Anthony Watts will be the first person to tell you that 95-100% CO2 is dangerous, and you know he knows it. You are just throwing out a red herring, making an argument where no disagreement exists.
The link via Anthony’s name is entitled “Even Doubling or Tripling the Amount of Co2 Will Have Little Effect on Temps”. It says nothing about CO2 being harmless in all situations (as you post here argues). In fact, it doesn’t address that at all. You have a link that doesn’t even contribute to your own arguments.
Anthony Watts talks about “doubling or tripling” Co2. At the TRACE levels of 700 ppmv (double the present or (1,050 ppmv), CO2 is NOT dangerous to plants. THAT is something even you would have to admit, since the times when CO2 was highest were the Climate Optimums. Anthony’s point is correct, and you throw out something tangential and argue that he is wrong because YOUR misrepresentation of what he said is wrong.
Get a life, Dude!
I didn’t know Millard Fillmore was famous for red herrings! If he was, all the history books will have to be recalled and corrected.
As to Ed Darrell, YOU will go down as Mr Red Herring.
Misrepresenting what your foes say or believe, just so you can attack them (falsely) – I thought that was a Republican/neocon thing. Wow, for a guy who toes the Progressive line on AGW, you pick your heroes pretty sloppily.
Also: You should be made aware that “Camaroon” is misspelled. It is C-a-m-e-r-o-o-n. (We would have accepted C-a-m-e-r-o-u-n, since they also speak French there…)
My general impression is that the amount of knowledge about the chemical interactions leading to photosynthesis in leaves is pretty puny.
Check out this article: it seems to say that elevated CO2 can affect leaves in profound ways.
Hey, THANKS for those links!
See if your local library has a collection of American Forests magazine.
Also see this article about western forests:
Click to access Weathering_A_Perfect_Plague.pdf
Click to access AF_WashingtonDC2.pdf
Click to access 1.pdf
Thanks I will read that paper about heavy metals. It’s dated 1996 and says that balsam fir is not in decline – it now is. It’s impossible to find any species of tree that is healthy. I live in western NJ, near PA where it is still very rural, but I’ve been from Wellfleet to Virginia and it’s the same everywhere, in cities or in the country.
Lots of things impact trees for the worse – acid rain and heavy metals, drought, warmer average temperatures, lack of snow pack, insects, diseases, fungus. However I really think it has to be something going on in the atmospheric that is causing the recent steep decline. None of the other possibilities account for plants in ponds, and pots, and irrigated nursery stock. Cumulative acid rain or heavy metals wouldn’t affect decorative plants in fresh potting soil. Drought wouldn’t affect aquatic plants.
I have contacted every government agency I can think of, and every academic researcher I can locate. Virtually none of them respond substantively. One dismissive professional forester acknowledged that many of the trees under his care are dying, but claimed it’s because they are old! That is absurd. For one thing, young trees are dying just as fast. And for another, the none of the trees he referred to was more than 150 years old, tops, and they are genetically evolved to live for 300 or more years.
Ah well as Upton Sinclair wrote, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
It’s almost to the point where I think the USDA doesn’t want people to know how serious it is to stave off panic.
Thanks for answering though. It’s probably not CO2. More likely the VOC’s.
Look for general forest decline. Here’s a recent paper which blames heavy metals, with an author from Princeton:
Check the phone book — heck, it’s probably on the web now — and find the U.S. Department of Agriculture Extension Agent for your county. These guys are paid to track down problems like yours, and she or he should be able to offer some advice on how to find answers, and maybe an answer, too.
(Check here: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/nj/arealist.html )
In some of the air pollution studies I worked on, we used portable chambers to gas native plants with NOx and SO2 in concentrations known to come from locl power plants, to see what the damage would be, and how severe it is. Much of the original work on air pollution was done at the behest of people like U.S.Steel, who had to pay farmers for damage to crops. They needed good indicators of what the pollutants were, and in what concentrations.
The guy who headed the Air Pollution Lab at the University of Utah got his Ph.D. at Rutgers. Check there to see if they have some air pollution specialists, especially botanists trained in plant damage.
If I had to guess, I’d guess general decline due to acid rain. You might be able to fight it with soil amendments that reduce the acidity of the soil — watch that you don’t poison a tree while trying to save some grass under it. They often have different preferred pH levels.
Look for local pollution sources. CO2 in plant-fatal concentrations would be awfully difficult to achieve away from active volcanic features, and I’m unaware of any volcanoes in New Jersey. Particulate pollution from cement plants, and other Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) would be likely suspects, too.
Where in New Jersey are you? What’s the soil like? Do you have a good, local nursery that deals in native plants for landscaping? All of those would be good sources.
Let us know what you find.
Thanks for dropping by.
Dear Ed Darrell,
You have a terrific blog. This topic is of the greatest interest to me. I live in New Jersey and in the summer of 2008 I realized that all the trees here are in rapid, irreversible decline. Every single species is dying at a rate that qualifies as ecosystem collapse. Since I am a life-long gardener and also have 3 children that I would rather have not starve to death, I have been in a quest to understand what it is that is killing the trees. It’s been difficult, because I am not a scientist, and most people refuse to acknowledge what is quite obvious in a cursory inventory, probably because the implications of widespread, universal tree loss are intimidating, to say the least.
This past summer, annual plants exhibited the same foliar damage that is a symptom of atmospheric toxins from greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to annual plants, aquatic plants also had the pattern of damaged stomata. I have concluded that it can only be something in the atmosphere that is the primary causative agent involved, or perhaps, complex chemical interactions.
Ozone is known to damage vegetation however, as far as I can tell ozone has decreased recently due to the economic slowdown. Thus I have also considered emissions from burning ethanol (acetaldehyde, a precursor to peroxyacetyl nitrates) and more recently have been looking into nitrous oxide, from the tons of fertilizers used to grow corn for ethanol.
The very first thought I had, once I determined it had to be an airborne toxin, was that perhaps CO2 was responsible, but I was told that it couldn’t possibly be to blame.
Your article, particularly the link to the study at Horseshoe Lake, have caused me to reconsider, since concentrations of CO2, unlike ozone, are going up and up.
What do you think? Here’s my blog, if you’re interested, where I have posted photos and links to research: http://www.witsendnj.blogspot.com. I would very much like to know your thoughts.
That’s complete hooey, is what that is! There is no war between oxygen and carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, with plants or animals the by-standing with plants or animals the by-standing winners or losers. Equilibrium between O2 and CO2 is not a natural observation, not a natural phenomenon, not science, and not accurate.
Here, see this NASA chart on the composition of our atmosphere, and maybe get on over to that site to get some serious information.
CO2 is a major pollution problem, as it is indeed a greenhouse gas, and we don’t need any more of that stuff at the moment.
Both oxygen and carbon dioxide most certainly can be toxic. We don’t give pure oxygen to premature babies anymore because we discovered they suffer from a form of acute oxygen poisoning that blinds them. If oxygen rises too high, people can hyperventilate without trying and pass out.
Carbon dioxide, in addition to being toxic in extreme concentrations, combines to form acids with water. Generally this is one of the weaker acids, but in high concentrations it will cause lung damage (SO2 and NOx form more powerful acides, and consequently have more potent acute health effects).
In a closed room, CO2 concentrations rise high enough to make people queasy, and may make them vomit or pass out. If other pollutants are also present, other health effects may be more serious. If you lack enough CO2 in your blood, however, your autonomous breathing system will not trigger a breathing response, and you can pass out.
Prior to the advent of photosynthesis on this planet, there was not enough oxygen in the atmosphere to support animal life, and it took a billion years or so to get O2 levels up to the point that animals could survive. Yes, we owe our lives to plants that make O2 from CO2. That doesn’t mean CO2 cannot be toxic, and especially it has absolutely nothing to do with greenhouse gases.
The repugnant and vile propaganda that claims “CO2 is harmless, because it’s natural,” is as cynical and wrong as any propaganda ever generated by anyone. It’s on a par with the tobacco company officials denying that smoking causes cancer, when they sat on dozens or hundreds of studies that said exactly that. I’m not arguing that CO2 is a deadly poison and therefore needs to be controlled. I’m simply rebutting the brainless and immoral claims that CO2 can’t cause harm.
Go back and read my original post. You seem to have bought, hook, line and sinker, the argument that CO2 cannot be harmful. Do you know how a greenhouse works? Do you know what a greenhouse gas does? Can you deny that the Cameroon disaster happened? Then what are you being so gullible for?
There is no scientific claim that such a cloud would become self-perpetuating. Please study the science before making claims of such a bizarre and false nature.
CO2 poisoning isn’t the same as drowning (and it’s about 8 minutes in the Red Cross books — longer if the water is near freezing). That’s not my point at all. Any gas can be dispersed. That we can ventilate a swimming pool leak of pure chlorine and make it safe to enter to fix the leak does not change the nature of chlorine gas, does not change the fact that it was used as a cruel weapon in World War I, and doesn’t mean that chlorine gas is harmless “because it’s natural.”
All I’m asking is that people make a cursory attempt to understand the science, and not call the scientists “liars” because people don’t know what the scientists are talking about. You’re not wrong in what you say, mostly, but you’re defending an extreme position that I don’t think you would take if you knew the science and the facts. It’s not rocket science. It’s stuff kids learn in elementary school and junior high, and in Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. Those are not bastions of lying.
Global warming is not local warming. CO2 doesn’t act as a local greenhouse — unless, of course, you could dome in all of Cameroon. In the short term, this was a boost in CO2 releases for that part of Africa, and overall, it made a minor contribution to global warming. But the amount of CO2 in this incident is dwarfed by coal-fired power plant or automobile releases. No, there was no blip in warming because of this tiny event.
This isn’t a “textbook case,” except of rare and unusual natural phenomena that escape the understanding of people who mistake lack of information for skepticism, and there’s no rational prediction that this small release of CO2 would significantly affect global warming — deadly as it was, in direct refutation of the puerile claims that CO2 is “harmless.” This release of CO2, even in acutely deadly amounts, is too small to affect warming much.
I can say. I’ve been up the stacks of the power plants to measure the stuff, and I’ve measured it downwind. CO2 comes from any burning of fossil fuels, or wood or dung. The major increase in CO2 in our atmosphere appears to be from the industrial-scale burning of fossil fuels, especially considering the changing signatures of carbon 14 in the air (among other indications and measurements). Alas for us, much of the industrial-scale burning of fossil fuels is done in a non-point source manner — in internal combustion engines powering cars, trucks, buses, airplanes and other means of transportation.
There is no mystery why our planet’s atmospheric CO2 concentrations have risen so dramatically since humans turned to coal, oil and natural gas, in industrial scales, to power everything. There is no one, even on the “skeptics” side, who would contest the sources rationally, with research.
Wind blows stuff away — which is why industrial polluters said they didn’t need to control pollution at all. Some things stay close — heavy particulates and compounds that react quickly tend not to stray too far. Other substances blow long distances — NOx, SO2, finer particulates, and especially greenhouse gases.
CO2 from these emissions won’t cause a disaster like the one the volcanic gases in Cameroon caused. But neither are they benign. Worse than the acute deaths from CO2 poisoning, they cause greenhouse warming of the planet. It’s a slower form of death, but more fatal to more living things in the long run (recall Twain noting that “Civilization is slower than the Comanche, but more deadly in the long run”).
CO2 releases are too light to concentrate at the factory of release, and by engineering design, they come out of smokestacks designed to blow them miles away. Unless it’s captured out of the atmosphere in a chemical or biological reaction, it stays in the air, circling the globe. Unlike helium, it is not light enough to float off from the top of the atmosphere, but instead remains in the air, increasing the CO2 concentrations which, even when slight, cause significant warming in a greenhouse effect.
I see this article completely ignores the beneficial qualities of CO2 and focuses more on perpetuating the evils of it where, in extreme and NATURAL circumstances, it caused death. Using this as a foundation for your point to slam Anthony Watts’ comments is what most people would call a ‘straw-man’ argument. Everything is lethal in some concentrations.
Where Watts describes CO2 as harmless he is referring to its toxicity to humans at this current concentration, anybody with half a brain on either side of the debate could see that.
Every breath that I am exhaling right now in my 5m x 5m x 2.5m room is contributing 0.32 ppm of CO2 (0.5L/breath @ 40,000 ppm). If I sleep for 12 hours in my room with my girlfriend then I have ‘theoretically’ raised the CO2 in my room to about 5,500 ppm, which is only slightly higher than the Earth’s atmosphere was during the Carboniferous period several hundred million years ago, and I am still very much alive.
[…] The killer CO2 cloud climate change “skeptics” don’t want you to know about […]
Nature seeks equilibrium. If there is slightly higher oxygen, the wildlife will thrive. If there is slightly higher CO2, the plantlife will thrive. This is basic elementary science. Plants convert CO2 into oxygen and food–neither are toxic. Short of a Sudden disaster like the volcano which gives the plantlife no chance to buffer the effect, CO2 is not toxic. What happened in this volcanic valley is that the CO2 settled in concentration and expelled the oxygen (it’s heavier than o2).
There is a profoundly obvious bit of that article that many people are missing: “When the cloud lifted, there were few survivors to mourn the dead.”
Please note that this extreme example of CO2-overload did Not become self-perpetuating, as “scientific” predictions suggest–it “lifted.” And it dispersed into the surrounding oxygen quickly enough that some people survived. I seem to recall the brain damage threshold being around 5 minutes. So we’re forced to see even this CO2-pocalypse case as an event lasting only a matter of minutes.
Speaking of which…is there any sign of global warming as a result of that event, even in the short term? How about local warming? Anything? I suspect that your textbook case fails to bear up the theory.
Is the CO2 due to our factories? I can’t say. But I do know this: if levels get to deadly ranges because of a factory, much like arriving there because of a volcano, they will concentrate at the source–killing the factory staff first and thereby self-regulating. Even perverted nature seeks equilibrium.
Or, if in moderation. But 390 ppm is extremely high (for any extended time plus an extended area), and could cause runaway greenhouse effect, according to science that was well developed in the 19th century (and never invalidated). CO2 is not “perfectly harmless” in all regards, and it is not beneficial where it is not needed. Rocket, for one, is claiming it’s harmless in all concentrations at all times, so long as there is some oxygen.
Then they were foolish to make the claim, since they don’t know what they were talking about.
Think of it like the glass in a greenhouse (hence the name, “greenhouse” gases). The glass allows infrared and other sunlight that can be turned into heat to pass through, but does not allow the heat out. That’s why a greenhouse gets warmer than the surrounding air.
That’s why an automobile closed on a sunny day where the outside temperature is 80 degrees F, quickly heats to well over 100 degrees F (and why it’s illegal in some states to leave a kid or a dog in a locked car on a sunny day).
Here’s a very simple explanation from EPA:
I stumbled on this site whilst looking for something else.
It seams to me this article is meant to discredit, nothing more.
The advertising claiming that carbon dioxide is natural and, therefore, harmless is true if you take it in context’ as they were talking about the amount found in the atmosphere which is about 390 ppmv. They were not talking about volcanoes.
The something else I was looking for was an answer to this question:
Co2 stops heat from leaving our atmosphere.
Why doesn’t it stop it from entering.
“Nature has thrived at levels of up to 5000ppm over the last 150 million years.”
Yes, that’s entirely true. Nature also survived the last big comet impact 65 million years ago. Nature will continue to survive no matter how astonishingly toxic we make the environment. Nature is like that.
Now, allow me to point out how astonishingly laughable your statement really is. Natural selection allows species to evolve not just when the species themselves change, but when one species dies and allows another to fill the void in the ecosystem – the strongest or most adaptable species survives. Let’s just suppose that global warming – whether caused by humans or not – were to kill all the cold-water fish like salmon and cod in the ocean. I’m sure that some other species of fish would eventually take over, but what exactly do you propose we eat while we wait for that to happen? The same thing goes (and will simultaneously occur) for temperate crops like wheat, barley, oats, hops, soy, potatoes, and rye, which can only grow in the climate we currently have. While I’m sure that it will take only a few dozen crop failures to sort things out, the human population will suffer greatly in the meantime.
Which is what this is all about. If we want to keep living the way we do, we’re going to have to change the way we do things, because the way we do things is changing our environment. Nature might survive overall, but we won’t survive a big change in climate.
Oh, also of note is the fact that oil production will peak either right about now, or sometime in the next 20 years (best case scenario). We depend on oil to make chemical fertilizer. Or we can burn it all in big luxury cars, jets, and cruise ships.
The best forms of CO2 sequestering won’t leak. If we improve the soil, it acts as a great sink. If we stop deforestation, no leaks can occur.
I can’t believe this article is even sited as valid evidence of Co23 being poisonous.
Guy, Oxygen will kill you in too high a concentration. So will water if you injest to much. Spaghetti, if ate in large enough quantities can burst your stomach lining, and so on. Co2 is no different.
However, as you fail to grasp, Co2 levels have to be many many many times higher than they are now for poisoning to happen.
You, my friend, are the purveyor of junk science as I read your website, and you would do well to get your head out of the alarmist sand and realize there are far more pressing environmental concerns than rising co2 levels which occur naturally. Even Al Gore is having to admit it now.
Hopefully you wake up before condemning the developing world to ever more poverty and hardship.
Whether climate change is real or not this is important because many people do think it is happening. The CO2 increase in the atmospere won’t kill you, at least not directly. But many governments are concidering CO2 sequestration; storing of CO2 in the ground. Leakage could cause an event similar to Lake Nyos.
Just on the side
more than 900 scientific articles have been published in the last decade or so, expressing there is no denying climate change is happening. Of more than 600 newspaper articles of the same time 53% expressed doubt.
Great question. How stupid do you have to be to argue that CO2 can never be harmful? Since you disagree with the critics of EPA’s position, what’s your point?
That’s not what I learned in botany, but you could be right. Got a paper that says plants in Arizona need more CO2? Offer it away. I can’t find it, but you may know a lot more than I do about the topic. Show us the data.
Or, alternatively, they’ll read your post and see how ridiculous the pro-pollution crowd is. First they claim CO2 can never be harmful, and then when reminded that CO2 can in fact be a poison, they claim that they didn’t really mean what they said, and only a fool would argue what they had argued a few moments before. Then they make wild claims about CO2 that are completely ungrounded in reality, and claim that makes their opponents in gross error.
I’d really love to hear your explanation, with citations.
Are you serious??!! How stupid do you have to be to not understand the difference between huge volcanic emmissions of CO2 in tiny areas and changes of parts per million in the atmosphere. It is recognised scientific and historical fact that increased CO2 in the atmosphere is good for plants (average increased productivity for agricultural plants is about 30% for 700ppm CO2). Nature has thrived at levels of up to 5000ppm over the last 150 million years. I hope people read this article and realise how alarmist environmentalists have become!
MSci, BSc Geophysics
Does anyone else know what he’s talking about?
But here, Rocket’s common sense breaks down. We couldn’t live on Earth without the benefits of greenhouse gases. But just as any beneficial substance can be harmful if it is in too great a concentration (or in the wrong place), too much greenhouse gases produce too much greenhouse effect. Horticultural greenhouses generally have thermostat controlled ventilation fans that trigger when the heat gets too high.
Alas, we can’t build such a cooling fan for the entire planet. So instead, we have to limit the amounts of greenhouse gases, to limit the heating effect.
Too much heat means trouble, too.
Except, if you bother to check historic records, the concentration of CO2 has risen significantly over that 118 years. One might question whether the physicists’ calculations that 350 ppm CO2 really will trigger the excess greenhouse effect that they claim it does, and that it does provide in laboratory experiments, and that has been observed in the wild. But one must deny the rules and theories of chemistry and physics to say that the concentrations have not risen, or that the concentration makes no difference.
Glad to see you got the point, Rocket. Confused about why you’re trying to ding me for saying, while you say the same thing.
I got an idea, lets fill all of ed’s threats with nothing but typo correction posts. How about it ed? will that satisfy you?
And Ed, get over the typos and punctuation already, you are worse than an old lady with nothing better to do, or a democrat who implies intelligence by attacking grammar to life themselves above others.
J A, stop thinking. and look it up. When you are done, read the entire thread,
Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant, and is harmless in normal quantities. as has been stated in this thread numerous times which emphasizes the fact you havent read it, CO2 or ANY compound, gas, etc is harmful in excess. In Fact ANYTHING is harmful in excess (high enough concentrations) which is the point Ed is dancing around in order to make a statement which is pretty lame. Its the same statement liberal democrats are pushing which is that something naturally occurring is poisonous at any level just because its dangerous at high concentrations.
A prime example is Ed’s Cameroon article which is a story about an extremely high concentration of CO2 released by the earth and killing nearby inhabitants. DUH!
If it were argon or helium it would have done the same thing, suffocated people to death. If it were chocolate it wold have done the same thing.
TheRedeemer: No one is claiming the “anything or everything” is harmless. However, CO2 IS harmless at normal levels. and Harmful and dangerous at high enough concentrations. In fact there are serious and harmful effects in LOW enough concentrations or complete absence.
liberal democrats need to tax businesses, fine them and they need to tax people, and they are pushing CO2 as a poisonous harmful gas as a blanket statement in order to get it done.
In fact scientists all over the world have tried to get ANY model working that proves global warming is caused by human beings and so far cant get a single model to predict TODAYS climate, with KNOWN data. IF they cant even get a model working for todays climate we are just supposed to believe the democrats fear mongering predictions?
Everything the liberals are pushing is based on “Fear”. dont listen to me, listen to them and the media. everything they say we need to do is based on the fact if we dont, we are going to DIE!, or we are KILLING the earth, or if we dont do this that or the other thing, something will DIE like the economy, or people, or countries, etc…its mundane fear mongering.
THere is no question that everyone should be using common sense and doing thier small part to reduce their power consumption, littering, reducing their excesses, etc. common freakin sense, for no other reason than for the sake of being responsible and for moderation.
Ed will continue to splay words like “greenhouse gas” like its a sin or a danger or a pollutant or harmful.
THe fact of the matter is, we need certain gases in the atmosphere in order to protect us against other harmful elements of nature, plain and simple. As Ed will have you believe that there is some sort of data proving there is a level of CO2 in our atmosphere that is dangerous. To date, neither him in his omniscient wisdom or any scientist has produced any levels that are dangerous. I have posted the “current” levels and concentrations earlier in this thread. Those levels have been consistent for as long as man has been recording climate (roughly 118 years).
wow, only 118 years? that must be all we need to prove the “entire spectrum” of climate this planet has undergone in 4 billions years.
Bt..as a sidebar, healthcare reform is unconstitutional in any form. If it passes it will be the first time a law is passed that “MANDATES and REQUIRES you to purchase someones product or service under penalty of law. In this case to the tune of $1800 and or Got to jail.
End of story
It’s a very solid hypothesis. We might hope that it’s not so, but there isn’t much contrary evidence. CO2 is definitely a greenhouse gas — that’s simple physics.
The questions about whether the warming we see is caused solely by CO2 are good ones. In a nod to accuracy, we note that no one claims CO2 is the only culprit — just the biggest one at the moment, and the one which our use of fossil fuels feeds most gorgingly. For your hypothesis that CO2 is not a major culprit, however, you’d need to offer some other hypothesis that might work. There are several out there, but so far they don’t work out as well as the hypothesis that CO2 is the major bad guy. Methane certainly contributes, for example, but there’s not enough of it to be doing the warming we see. Watts and most other denialists are very fond of various solar fluxes — but again, there’s not enough connection there to make the case.
Were there a good demonstration, something that would make the hypothesis “demonstrably wrong,” why not offer it?
In the interim, if you want to look for an alternative, and if you’re serious, let me suggest you start with Pat Frank’s analysis. My physics and math chops aren’t good enough to work through all of it anymore, but so far as I can tell Dr. Frank is right that we cannot make a case “beyond a reasonable doubt” that CO2 is guilty. As I’ve argued with him, however, this isn’t a case of criminal law. “Clear and convincing evidence” might be a better standard. And as he noted, this isn’t a civil law case, either.
I look at this dispute much like the dispute between Sir Frederick Hoyle’s Steady State hypothesis and the Ralph Alpher-George Herman-George Gamow “Big Bang” hypothesis. As you know, that one was settled when Wilson and Penzias stumbled across the cosmic background radiation, the “echo” that the Gamow team predicted precisely.
In the interim, however, we still launched satellites, started the space age, and worked out the physics for beginning space exploration with humans.
Now, just as then, there are things we don’t understand about the physics of this dynamic system called our atmosphere. There may be (probably are) things we don’t understand about the chemistry, too.
Alas, we’re involved in a great, climate poker game. We have to play the hand we’re dealt, and not the hand we wish we had. We do not know what cards others are holding — and may never know.
The future of our planet is at stake. I’m not willing to bet against the odds at this point.
If you had some demonstrable way to disprove warming driven in large part by CO2, there’s a good possibility of a Nobel Prize in store, in Physics, or Chemistry, depending on your hypothesis.
If you really have the goods, what are you doing making brash comments on this blog, instead of out saving the planet?
You’ve got the reasoning correct at the post on your blog, Mr. Defect. I’ve dropped this story here just to provide the quick link for those who argue CO2 not only isn’t the agent of warming, but is “harmless” because it’s “natural.” As you note, “Water good; drowning bad.” In this case, “CO2 necessary for life; CO2 in abundance bad.” It’s not a difficult concept. Check around the web, though, and you’ll find a lot of people clanging their clappers that CO2 can never be a problem. That’s just not so, and the Cameroon incident demonstrates it in spades. As you can see from the comments, there are those who still don’t get it.
Claiming that anything natural cannot be harmless is ludicrous. However to claim that CO2 drives Global Warming/Cooling/Staying The Same (delete as appropriate for today) is abysmally and demonstrably moronic.
[…] noes! “The story climate change “skeptics” hope you won’t read“. Despite me believing that global climate change* is occurring, this must mean me! […]
Rocket appears to be claiming that CO2 is harmless (other than through displacement of oxygen) because it is natural. [And since CO2 is natural, it can’t be a pollutant.]
There are many chemicals which occur naturally and are harmful. There are some naturally occurring compounds which can be beneficial in small quantities and harmful in greater amounts (and not through displacement of oxygen). Selenium, methanol, and digitalis are examples.
And of course, as has been pointed out, many pollutants are naturally occurring.
PS Rocket (sad choice of name) should get a better class of fifth graders: “Pure oxygen is an extremely flammable” uh, I don’t think so.
[…] Killer CO2 cloud – the story climate change “skeptics” hope you won’t r… […]
Of course, argon is not a greenhouse gas, and water vapor also has reflective qualities that mitigate some of the greenhouse qualities — and water vapor can be limited by decreasing the temperature of the atmosphere, which can be accomplished in part by decreasing the amount of other greenhouse gases.
Using sense and reason tends to lead to the conclusions scientists come to, Rocket. There’s no conspiracy involved here, and no one’s trying to put one over on you — unless you count the “climate skeptics,” and then, yeah, most of them are trying to put one over on you.
Grab your chemistry book and look ’em up, argon and water vapor. Don’t take my word for it. Get some facts on your own.
[What is it you have against Americans that you don’t capitalize the word?]
Here is the chart of what our atmosphere is comprised of:
Water 0 to 4%
Carbon Dioxide 0.036%
Nitrous Oxide 0.00003%
Its amazing that the democrats havent pushed Argon and water as a poisonous pollutant to further their agenda to rip off americans.
Typo corrections CO@-CO2
Furthermore Arya, you need to read the read of the posts in this thread as we have extensively covered the Camaroon incident. The link you provided to the canadian occupational heath and safety has ALL of the information that supports what I have been saying in this thread all along. Thank You.
Now, read it real careful because as I have stated a number of times already in this thread that you havent bothered to read, “in high enough concentrations” it is harful obviously, like any other “concentration” of a gas it can displace the requried amount of oxygen you need to breathe.
CO2 is NOT poisonous and is not harmful to the environment (the environment requires it, to live) and it is not a pollutant. Period. IN fact, its is the opposite, since CO2 is to the earth what Oxygen is to human beings.
What really is stunning is that the opposite will be true in a few short years. Some idiotic, uneducated democrat will be arguing for an “air tax” because there is TOO MUCH OXYGEN!!!!! and OXYGEN IS A POLLUTANT!!!
First Gallup Poll (a reputable and broader polling organization) shows 34% of americans in favor of health care reform. and who said anything about a public option? That just shows you how ignorant americans are on the EBRI poll since medicare IS the public option. The shame of it is only senior citizens can get it, but then thats what everyone is crying about right? that they cant afford the GOVT OPTION as it is. So now the govt is going to create a NEW one even though they cant manage the EXISTING one. When the obvious answer is to fix the current public option, AND make it available to everyone, not just senior citizens. But I digress, you didnt get the hint that this is hte WRONG thread for healthcare…typical democrat
Second, If CO2 were harmful, then plants shouldnt be inhaling it, and we shouldnt be ingesting it in our beer and champagne and whine coolers and softdrinks and we shouldnt be exhaling it because while its in our bodies its harming us right?
I’ll clear this up even further. I have 10 to 1 odds most ignorant americans are confusing CO@ with carbon MONOXIDE (CO) which IS harmful.
but…I am done arguing with idiots. Its a shame so many 5th graders are smarter than this bunch.
Link broke again… And Rocket, it’s quite clear that CO2 has negative effects on health as can be seen from the article that was posted on this thread which can be found here: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,962228,00.html
Also see: http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/chem_profiles/carbon_dioxide/health_cd.html
It’s true that other gases can have negative effects as well, but is ignorant to deduce that since CO2 is naturally occurring, it’s harmless…
Finally in support of a public option: “Eighty-three percent of Americans favor and only 14 percent oppose “creating a new public health insurance plan that anyone can purchase” according to EBRI, a conservative business research organization. This flatly contradicts conservatives’ loudest attack against President Obama’s plan to provide quality, affordable health care for all.”
poor Ed stuck on ignorance. CO2 IS harmless. which is why human beings and animals exhale it as a normal process of LIFE. Plants and trees inhale CO2. AGAIN what Ed cant get thru his thick skull, is that CO2 is harmful in high enough concentrations.
What ed doesnt understand *and likely never will) is that ANY gas, CO2 or otherwise in a high enough concentration will suffocate you. Why? Because its the lack of oxygen content in the air that suffocates you.
Replace oxygen with ANY gas in a high enough concentration and you suffocate.
Is CO2 harmful? sure, in a high enough concentration. is it a Pollutant? no, is it poisonous? no
If it were either, you better take CO2 out of your beer, our of your sodas, and you better stop Exhaling.
Zyan, I’m making the point that those who claim CO2 is harmless, do not know what they are talking about. I’m not starting the discussion, I’m just bringing facts to it.
If they’re not rational nothing will get through, will it? I just find sensationalism isn’t much good for persuasion because it puts people in attack mode while giving them ample fuel for attack.
No federal law has ever been put up to a public vote. Our constitution creates a republic. You can look it up.
No Constitutional amendment has ever been put to a public vote. The Constitution itself was not ratified by a public vote. The Declaration of Independence was not put to a public vote, and had it been, it probably would have been defeated.
Santayana warned that those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it. Might I suggest you study history a bit before you fly off the handle?
Arya, first, you are going to get the health care reform bill no matter what is in it whether you like it or not. First and foremost is that you have had your right to a voice and a vote taken away from you by NOT putting this bill up to public vote, which by the way only 35% of the general population support, and 54% are against and the rest are too uneducated to understand what it means.
Second, there is plenty in the bill and you definitely arent going to like it, including a FINE for not purchasing insurance which by the way there will still be some 25 million people that wont have coverage and cant buy it and they will be fined $1800 for not having insurance. If you choose not to purchase insurance and refuse to pay the fine, guess what, you go to jail.
Third the government already has a health care plan, its called medicare and medicaid, and hte answer is, open that program up to everyone and oyu dont have to waste money by creating a new one. Oh wiat, my bad, medicare is failing and turn down more claims than the top ten private companies combined. Not to mention B.O. is going to cut medicare by 30% and with the money they save, give senior citizens a $250 check ($13 billion total) and tell them “Sorry about you losing your medicare coverage, but we have a new plan for you, and here is a one time check of $250”
$th, this is the wrong topic for this thread, this is about CO2 NOT health care, there is already another thread for that rant.
Please disregard the typos. I’m sure you understood my point. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a ton of tests and such to study for and the hour is already late here.
Link is broken (at least for me). Try: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,962228,00.html
And Rocket, you’re out of your damn mind. And yes Baucus’s sham bill just cleared and everyone on that committee should be ashamed because it had jack-shit in it. It’s not a liberal vs. conservative thing. It’s a compassion vs. let the underprivileged die and let the insurance companies continue their abuse of the American people thing. It is not unreasonable to think of life as a right rather than a privilege. When did the the uninsured choose to have these inconveniences in the way of their health and who are you to deny it to them? You can mock-justify it with the “if they worked hard enough like me, they could afford it”, but really, many can’t no matter how hard they work and some have insurance and are denied simply because they would cost the companies money. You must realize that denying coverage = profit for these guys right? That means that when 1/700 of every dollar spent in the entire health care industry ends up in United Health Group’s CEO’s pocket, then we have a major problem. The government NEEDS to step in when the private sector proves too irresponsible to carry the burden placed upon it by the less-govt. advocates.
no Ed what we are talking about is the Liberal Democrats trying to turn something like CO2 into a dangerous pollutant that HAS to be stopped. The way the Democrats want to stop it is to tax it, fine the business and people “expelling” it, to put money in THEIR pockets.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Liberal Democrats are acting like insane, drunk with power, idiots. The Insanity has to stop. Ed YOU have to stop breathing. We have to stop animals from exhaling, volcanoes from erupting, we have to suffocate the earth so we can put money in the pockets of these sick, power hungry, insane liberal democrats pockets.
But, Zyan, you’re assuming people who deny warming are rational people with normal reasoning. We’re talking about people who spent a million dollars for ads on television saying that CO2 can’t be a pollutant, because it’s natural.
If rational worked, why didn’t it?
This whole discussion is off the wall.
Yes, natural substances can sure as hell be pollutants. Arsenic in groundwater is a prime example. It occurs naturally in the aquifer, but it sickens and kills, hence pollution. When something occurs where we don’t want it or in quantities that are harmful, it’s pollution.
On the other hand this is a spectacularly bad example if you want to talk to people on a rational level. No climate scientist claims CO2 levels will reach these kind of toxic concentrations. It’s an over-the-top example worthy of a disaster movie. IMHO stuff like this activates emotional triggers in peoples’ brains and won’t get them to think critically.
To convince people that yes, CO2 can be a pollutant, I think it’s better to give them common examples of natural substances that can be harmful. Refer to cases of hypercapnia. Show them definitions from scientific sources or bland general-purpose articles like at Encarta. (You might need to point out that popular definitions aren’t always scientifically accurate.)
IOW, keep it boring. Not OMG CO2 KILLZ!!11! but stuff like this definition of pollution from Biology Online:
“The change in the environment caused by natural or artificial input of harmful contaminants into the environment, and may cause instability, disruption or harmful effects to the ecosystem.”
If you agree that “natural” substances can also be harmful, what are you kicking about, Rocket?
You are an incredible idiot Ed. CO2 (and hundreds of other naturally occurring gases such as chlorine, sulfur, helium, hydrogen) are “NATURAL” and some are harmful and fatal in strong enough concentrations. The fact they are natural “DISQUALIFIES” them from being pollutants (even though they can be harmful).
Since the Democrats are “qualifying” CO2 as a pollutant them I DEMAND you live up to that qualification AND STOP EXHALING!
That’s the oddest memo to yourself you’ve ever made, Rocket. But of course, you can read the post as many times as you need to, to understand it.
CO2 is natural, yes. That doesn’t mean it’s not a pollutant when it’s in concentrations above what it should be, or in places it shouldn’t be. CO2’s being natural doesn’t stop it from being deadly.
So, your point is that it’s okay to denude the Sierras so long as bamboo likes more CO2? Your point is that bamboo will take over the world?
Some plants like heavy metals, too. Loco weed takes in uranium and lead. That doesn’t mean lead and uranium are harmless.
Read it again dimwit
All air pollution is “natural” in that way, Rocket. Nothing humans put into the air isn’t also put there naturally (there are even natural coal fires to supply fly ash).
You miss the point, and I can’t imagine that you’re not smart enough to understand it, so it must be that you just wish to be obtuse. CO2 is natural, but that doesn’t disqualify it from being a pollutant, and certainly it can’t disqualify it from being dangerous. You yourself admit as much — and then you go on to argue that it’s “natural,” as if that makes it non-harmful.
Oh..one more thing, the article on CO2 killing trees at Horseshoe Lake near Mammoth Mountain, if you read the WHOLE article tells you “contain high CO2 concentrations” which as I stated before, anything in a high enough concentration can be dangerous or hazardous. There is even botanical and biological and scientific fact that certain varieties of bamboo would probably thrive in that area because bamboo “breathes” 4 to 5 times MORE CO2 in than most other plants in the world.
But the article is conveniently worded to leave out the obvious because they assume the reader is educated and can see the obvious.
Well Ed, I see since you have been completely embarrassed by the health care reform rant you started and I was vindicated on (btw, no one wants to be fined $1800 for not buying health insurance, but as you can see there is no democracy in the US anymore, The Liberal Dems will force this bill through congress without a public vote, whether we want it or not. Real democratic of them)and you have now started more deception and deceit with your inaccurate and twisted ideas and words.
I still find your rants hilarious if only in the fashion, since it lacks facts.
You started immediately by contradicting yourself and showing your lack of education EVEN WITH the sources you posted making you the fool.
CO2 IS natural. Those are not propagandists advertising that CO2 is natural. Those are your teachers, educators, and knowledgeable folk who you ignored in 5th grade. Not to mention I will quote from the Environmental Geology link you gave as a source “worst natural calamity” referring to the Camaroon incident. If you had bothered to read the entire articles you would have learned what you ignored in 5th grade. CO2 is natural, and comes from volcanic and other sources (human/animal exhaling) and an incredibly small amount from anthropogenic sources (look it up).
THe Camaroon survivors even described with accuracy and validates the environmental geology paper (lesson) describing the sulfur content “smell of eggs or burned gun powder”, describing the burning sensations “coughing up blood” and acting like they are on fire to validate the chlorine concentration and acidic properties.
Dude, you really need to get a life. No one ever said CO2 is harmless, as any fifth grader can tell you that high concentrations of anything can be harmful, even oxygen. Pure oxygen is an extremely flammable, rapid oxidizer, that can even explode. By the way, dont smoke around hospitals or places that use pure oxygen or liquid oxygen.
CO2 is not a pollutant. Period. Mother earth NEEDS CO2 to breathe, just like we need oxygen to breathe. Again I will simplify this for you, People and animals inhale oxygen and exhale CO2. Plants inhale CO2 and exhale Oxygen. Its a cute little cycle that is required to sustain life on this planet that you are obviously not from. Not to mention if you TRULY wanted to do something about the amount of CO2 on this planet, STOP CUTTING DOWN OUR FREAKING RAIN FORESTS YOU MORON!
The rain forests around the equator of our earth is the earths atmospheric filtration system and they clean the air for us. Believe it or not, they “breathe” the CO2 that is pumped out by volcanoes, human beings, animals and anthropogenic sources. THey also scrub the pollution out of the air (at least they contribute to helping the oceans and the rest of the vegetation on the planet doing the same thing). You probably dont know about the natural pattern of air currents encircling our planet that carry pollutants from the poles to the equator. Right, you skipped 5th grade.
Now you twisted an idea (badly I might add) that “…those propagandists who run advertising claiming that carbon dioxide is natural and, therefore, harmless…” is a concoction of your OWN mind. You even added “and therefore harmless” YOURSELF, you putz, hoping it would fly in the faces of people who didn’t know better.
ANY advertising that CO2 is natural is RIGHT. PERIOD. Go do 5th grade again. Now…something that TRULY is laughable besides you and your twisted ideas, is that Al Gore himself and the rest of the liberal Democrats trying to PUSH their pork barrel bills through congress, said that CO@ (carbon emissions) are causing global warming. (Yawn) When in FACT the very sources you used at the beggining of this post stated “factually” that the CO2, sulfur, chlorine gas, and other acidic gases spewed from volcanoes cause COOLING of the earths atmosphere by 0.5 to 0.6 degrees CELSIUS (not Fahrenheit) that can last a couple years.
Oh let me school you some more, the sunspots and solar flares cause global warming. Have you got this straight now, CO2 and other gases cause cooling, and solar flares and sunspot activity cause warming…gases cool, sun hot. Got it? Good.
I just love it when you give me a good laugh and use the facts as your source and prove that you havent even read the sources you posted that contradict your lame argument lol
Happy Ranting you Liberal Democrats (that skipped 5th grade).
Which people say CO2 is harmless? Anthony Watts, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Uncommon Descent blog, and others. For an example of this sort of idiocy, see the post from Rocket, next — he argues that CO2 is harmless because it’s “natural.” You couldn’t make up this sort of foolishness.
I’m only suggesting the facts. Ads have been running on television claiming that CO2 is either perfectly harmless at all times, or beneficial at all times — and a pollutant never.
Water can be a poison, sure. Water is dangerous, especially when it’s a wave 15 feet high headed toward you at 30 miles per hour. Each gallon of water weighs 8 pounds — the force is tremendous.
Calling CO2 “not a pollutant” is like saying it’s impossible to drown in water, or like saying tsunamis can’t be dangerous because they’re “just water.”
Surely you’re not claiming tsunamis are “not at all dangerous,” are you?
Which climate skeptics are they? I’m a climate change skeptic and I hope everybody reads about the deadly CO2 cloud in Cameroon.
But surely you are’nt suggesting that because CO2 can smother people in high enough concentrations that CO2 should be considered a deadly or poisonous substance. Water can drown thousands of people in a single flood, like Sumatra in 1994 where over 100,000 people were killed by a tsunami. Do we designate water a deadly/poisonous substance too?