Posts Tagged ‘science’

Alternative Energy Solutions Cost Too Much, But Excuses Cost Much More

September 22, 2012 7 comments

There seems to be a select group of people in the world not willing to admit that global warming is real.  They purposefully find misleading information and cite a loop of inaccurate sources of information.  This delusional denial of science is dangerous not only to the world, but to the psychological well-being of the individuals living with this denial.  Additionally, their children are going to grow up embarrassing themselves by spewing forth the delusion in peer to peer conversations.  Imagine how embarrassing it is to form an argument based upon learned knowledge from parental teachings, only to discover those teachers were false.  While it would be fascinating to only discuss global warming, it has become necessary to discuss sociological problems congruently with pollution in general.

Most of the population is willing to accept the science proving that there is a correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise.  The climate temperature change historically rises and falls with an increase and decrease in CO2 atmospheric parts per million, (ppm), respectively.  A 30 ppm increase over 1000 years was one of the fastest increases recorded within ice core samples.  Ice core samples covering the last 800,000 years were tested showing the historic temperature and CO2 trending.  The last 30 ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 has occurred in only 17 years. (1)  The particular worrying factor of that latter source of information is that it was from 2006.  To context that rate growth to a closer date we need only to look back to August of 1988 when CO2 ppm was 350.66. (2)  The rise from 350.66 ppm in 1988 to 392.41 ppm in August of 2012 equates to 41.75 ppm within 24 years. (2)  This should be considered inarguably too rapid and also terrifying.  However, there are those individuals willing to argue that this is even true.  When faced with the facts, those same individuals often “side track” the facts with misleading information.

Are those individuals psychotic?  (Not likely).  Often times they were taught sociologically through a political party affiliation.  Much of the culture of the United States becomes divided through hard line politics. That social culture then becomes easy to manipulate.  Whereby, instead of using facts of science to learn, we use subjective stances taught to us by pundits.  It makes us feel better to be around like minded individuals.  It’s easier to “hear” words which we want to believe and to deny words which scare the hell out of us.  Thereby, one person learns that the CO2 rise is caused 100% by humans and the other person learns that humans contribute only 3.6% of total CO2.  One person has science on their side, but so does the other person.  One person knows that it is imperative that we change our ways immediately to save the environment.  The other person believes that such an insignificant contribution as 3.6% cannot be worth panic.  They have both been provided facts; however, neither has the entire truth.

Human industries like Fossil Fuel burning and Cement construction convert 33.4 billion metric tons of products into CO2.  Changing land use by clearing forests and other means convert an additional 3.3 billion metric tons.  Unfortunately, approximately 50% of our converted CO2 is in excess of what the planet can naturally recycle. (2)  There are sources of information which attempt to make the argument that human produced CO2 from industrialization contribute approximately 4% onto the carbon cycle.  The argument is worthy unless you have more of the information.  The natural global cycle from land produces approximately 439 billion metric tons of CO2 and from the oceans approximately 332 billion metric tons.  If we take a conservative figure of 29 billion metric tons of CO2 produced by humans instead of the 33.4 billion metric tons listed above we get 800 billion metric tons.  That is only 3.6% of human intervention.  However, the natural earth cycle also handles itself pretty well.  The oceans safely take back approximately 338 billion metric tons of CO2 and the land converts approximately 450 billion metric tons while safely maintaining balance.  Therefore, the natural cycle can handle 788 billion metric tons of CO2 and it’s our excess which causes 100% of the imbalance. (3)  The imbalance with nature is the only real concern.  If we used discretion to globally maintain fewer than 17 billion metric tons of CO2 conversion, we would be in tune with nature.  However, we are in an emergency situation and need to reduce some damage.  It is imperative that we substantially lower emissions.  We specifically need to be responsible for less than 6 billion metric tons of human caused CO2 production.  It is not only a matter of producing less than the natural cycle, we need to be under the more important ocean CO2 natural recycling.

Learning that our 3.6% CO2 contribution to the atmosphere is what causes 100% of the excess CO2 is an important factor.  Exceeding the ocean’s CO2 sink ability is another important factor to protecting the environment.  The way in which CO2 is filtered within the oceans takes hundreds of thousands of years.   Once dissolved the carbon atoms stay there more than five-hundred years. (4)  Ocean acidification is a term which can be researched at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration which is also referred to as NOAA.  To attempt to explain ocean acidification in elementary terms we have to imagine the atmosphere continuously “rubbing” against the ocean surface.  As the CO2 levels increase in the atmosphere, more is “rubbed” into the oceans’ surfaces.  As the atmospheric CO2 levels increase, the warmer the planet becomes.  The warmer the planet becomes, the larger the oceans’ surfaces become.  As all of it compounds, more CO2 from the atmosphere is absorbed into the increasing ocean surface.  The entire process changes the chemistry of the water. (5)

This oceanic chemical change is very important to humans as well as 500,000 other species. (6)  Coral reef species estimates are nearly impossible to fathom.  Ocean acidification weakens the shells of many sea creatures as well as destroys coral and plankton.  The plankton destruction should be important to humans as it provides nearly half of the world’s oxygen level.  Sea turtles survived the mass extinction event sixty-five-million years ago.  Six of the seven species of sea turtles are now endangered. (7)  Human CO2 production could and likely will be responsible for another mass extinction event.   The latter statement will only be true if we consider half of one-million species as a “mass”.  Even with these scary numbers presented by science, some deny it as an issue.  After all, the only way in which evolution is believed to occur is with stress or need for adaptation efficiency.  Therefore, many believe that other species will evolve or be created to fill the void.  While that could ineptly be argued, there are more concerns.  The morality of destroying hundreds of thousands of species should be enough.  The fact that evolution by adaptation can be suspended due to extinction caused by rapid changes should negate argument.   The rate at which we seem to be destroying coral reefs is one every other day.  With only ten-thousand reefs remaining in existence, the current rate destroys all of them in under fifty-five years. (7)  The current elementary student aged population of humans upon this world could likely see the mass extinction caused by their parents and grandparents.  The half-million species will have no time to evolve.

Another social argument is often presented as a diversion to accepting the knowledge of CO2 level destruction.  Even though, CO2 levels do have negative impacts upon marine life as we know it today, other facts can divert our attention.  For instance: The seriousness of water vapor as a greenhouse warming gas is often ignored from quarrels.  When it is brought forth as a dispute, it is often to disprove that CO2 levels are dangerous.  Humans contribute an even smaller percentage amount of water vapor into the natural cycle.  Nuclear plants emit water vapor directly into the atmosphere.  Burning any fossil fuel emits water vapor directly into the atmosphere.  The latter two examples hardly compare to the amount of evaporation from surface water. (8)  If we look back to a previous example, we begin to understand our involvement.  It is not always accurate to compare the infinitesimal percentage which we contribute.  We must understand that it is our contribution which causes 100% of the excess to the natural cycle.  Once an excess is contributed, a “rolling snowball” affect begins.  The warmer our world becomes, the more contributing factors begin to compile.  The compilation increases the warming trend, which again supplements more contributing factors.

The arguments about global warming are mute.  If you do not believe we contribute to it, you are delusional and others around you should treat you as though you are ill.  Believing that it is real is also insignificant.  We are still polluting the world.  Pollution is not an argument.  We are polluting the air, the waters, and the lands of this world.  To make semantic arguments over one-half of a ton of pollution when we are comparing billions of metric tons, is only a diversion tactic.  Most sane people with an elementary education understand that pollution is unscrupulous as well as dangerous.

Often, better practices which could reduce our CO2 emissions and other pollutions are ignored or debated inaptly.  Arguments to the use of wind and solar power are often presented because of costs.  This makes very little sense.  Increasing use of those solutions would decrease cost of the same.  Magnetically driven solutions are not as efficient as fossil fuel combustion in regards to input vs. output.  While the latter is true, it is senseless because magnetics are environmentally friendlier.   The United States provides $21 billion in subsidies annually to an industry which has been setting record profits while contributing to the majority of world pollution.  Therefore, finding little inapt arguments to divert the absolute necessity of change is malicious and immoral.  We need to act.  We need to move forward into new technology.

That does not mean we should accept any technology.  The argument for natural gas is disturbing.  Natural gas emits 43 percent less CO2 compared to coal and 30 percent less compared to oil.  While that reads as if it is a great solution, there are other considerations.  The burning of any fossil fuel not only creates atmospheric CO2; but also combusts O2.  (Depletes atmospheric Oxygen).  Combustion ratios of O2 are greater when burning Natural Gas because of greater hydrogen contents.  For each CO2 molecule which accumulates in the air via this process we lose nearly three O2 molecules. (9)  Assuming that ratio is higher with natural gas than other fossil fuels we are trading one problem for another.  We should be willing to trade one problem for another when the newly created problem is not as much of an emergency.  That is a step in the proper direction.  However, there are other considerations with natural gas.  Mining it through drilling and “Fracking” is causing serious pollution to ground water.  Hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas has also caused earth quakes in Ohio. (10)  Therefore, natural gas use has caused earth quakes, frequently pollutes ground water, depletes oxygen faster than other fossil fuels, and continues to increase atmospheric CO2 albeit at a lower rate.  Once the understanding of natural gas use becomes common knowledge, it will be as much of a joke as the oxymoron “clean coal”.

To solve the CO2 emergency, (and it is an emergency), we need to invest in technology.  Wind, solar, and magnetic renewables are only the beginning.  It will be expensive to make the internal combustion motor obsolete.  However, not advancing our technology will cost us so much more.  The threat of an extinction level event is very genuine.

The humiliation of knowing that we leave this muddle to our children is profane.

Works Cited

1. Amos, Jonathan. BBC News. Deep ice tells long climate story. [Online] BBC News, September 4th, 2006. [Cited: September 16th, 2012.]

2. What the world needs to watch. Earth’s CO2 Home Page. [Online] CO2, September 5th, 2012. [Cited: September 16th, 2012.]

3. Cook, John. Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism. Skeptical Science. [Online] [Cited: September 16th, 2012.]

4. Harvard Magazine. The Ocen Carbon Cycle. Harvard Magazine. [Online] November 2002. [Cited: September 16th, 2012.]

5. NOAA. PMEL Carbon Program. [Online] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration . [Cited: September 21st, 2012.]

6. Missouri Botanical Garden. Tropical Oceans. Tropical Ocean Topics. [Online] [Cited: September 21st, 2012.]

7. Ocean Ark Alliance. Ocean Acidification – The other CO2 challenge. Ocean Acidification. [Online] [Cited: September 21, 2012.]

8. Hieb, Monte. Water Vapor Rule the Greenhouse System. Global Warming: A closer look at the numbers. [Online] March 2nd, 2007. [Cited: September 16th, 2012.]

9. Johnson, Mike. Atmospheric Oxygen Levels Fall As Carbon Dioxide Rises. Sci/Tech. [Online] December 14, 2007. [Cited: September 21st, 2012.]

10. Goodman, Amy. Natural gas fracking fires protests over pollution fears. The Guardian. [Online] September 20th, 2012. [Cited: September 21st, 2012.]

11. (Governmental) Evironmental Protection Agency . Climate Change . EPA United States Evironmental Protection Agency. [Online] September 14th, 2012. [Cited: September 16, 2012.]

12. Climate Central. Surging Seas. Climate Central . [Online] Climate Central . [Cited: September 16th, 2012.]

13. National Geographic. Critical issues sea level rise. National Geographic. [Online] Nation Geographic. [Cited: September 16th, 2012.]

14. University of Colorado . State of the Cryosphere. National Snow and Ice Data Center. [Online] University of Colorado . [Cited: September 16th, 2012.]

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