Reducing Human CO2 Emissions: A Non-Solution to a Non-ProblemAlan Carlin | December 1, 2016
The climate alarmists maintain that continued burning of fossil fuels will bring about catastrophic global warming/climate change and the world should not only greatly decrease CO2 emissions but recently that the world should even keep fossil fuels in the ground. They claim that the fossil fuels can be replaced by wind and solar (but not by hydro, a renewable they dislike). But this is all nonsense:
- 1. Human-caused CO2 emissions are a minor part of world emissions and have little effect on total emissions.
2. The rate of change in atmospheric CO2 concentrations is almost entirely determined by changes in surface conditions (primarily ocean temperatures since the world’s vast oceans absorb and emit CO2 based on temperature). The resulting equilibrium levels between CO2 in the air and water has an overwhelming effect on atmospheric CO2 levels compared to the minor effects of human-caused emissions, which are minor anyway, as discussed in (1). Hence decreasing human emissions will have no observable effects on atmospheric CO2 levels.
3. Changes in global atmospheric CO2 levels have no measurable effects on global air temperatures at current CO2 levels in the real world. This rules out catastrophic increases in global temperatures, the great fear pushed by climate alarmists using their faulty models.
4. Global atmospheric CO2 levels need to be increased, not decreased, to avoid plant starvation and the end of life on Earth during future ice ages, and also to promote plant growth during interglacial periods as well.
5. Substituting wind and solar energy for fossil fuels will decrease CO2 emissions very little and may actually increase them because of the necessity to maintain adequate backup when the sun goes under a cloud or night comes or the wind does not blow. And the effects on atmospheric CO2 levels will be minimal and more likely none. Full substitution would be infinitely expensive (and is essentially impossible at the current stage of battery development) and even substantial substitution is very expensive, which hurts the poor, economic competitiveness, and electric reliability. This is not just rhetoric; The State of South Australia has actually tried to do without adequate backup and has so far suffered two statewide grid collapses with huge adverse economic effects. Wind and solar basically produce very low quality electricity worth very little. Turning these outputs into high quality electricity costs more than it is worth. Small percentages of intermittant power can be accommodated on a grid with a small loss of reliability by using system reserves to handle outages, but beyond that it is not worth the cost to build and operate them despite all the words to the contrary from climate alarmists and the trillions spent.
So nothing is gained in terms of reduced global warming by substitution of wind and solar for fossil fuels, at huge expense with adverse effects on the poor and the economy the world over. It is a non-solution to a non-problem.