2016 is likely to be the first year in the past five million years that CO2 in the atmosphere will routinely and regularly exceed 400 parts per million (ppm). That record was broken in 2015, the first time in human history the level of CO2 has exceeded 400 ppm.
This record-setting performance can be credited in part to a strong El Niño condition in 2015. The El Niño worsened drought in some tropical regions. The stressed vegetation was less able to absorb CO2. This says a lot about the delicate balance of the natural carbon cycle.
Does this mean that the increase in CO2 was a natural phenomenon? Does it mean that we should ignore it, that we cannot do anything about it? No. Some of the responsibility for the drought can be laid at the feet of anthropogenic global warming. How much anthropogenic global warming contributes to modern extremes of weather, including the El Niño/La Niña cycle, is still being studied.
On the other hand we have a very good understanding of how CO2—a greenhouse gas (GHG)—contributes to global warming and subsequent climate change. We have a good understanding of the contribution of anthropogenic (human-caused) activities such as burning fossil fuels contribute to higher levels of CO2.
Both CO2 and average global temperatures are likely to be higher in 2016 than in the past century or more. We understand that “correlation does not always mean causation,” however in this case, direct causation can be drawn from CO2 and the “greehouse effect,” and from the burning of fossil fuels and the increase in CO2. All this will be discussed in future posts.
Do not forget that Trump labeled climate change a "con job," a "hoax" and "bull ---t." Do not forget that Trump said he would support “clean coal,” when there is no such thing as clean coal: coal produces between 200 and 250 pounds of CO2 per million Btu, more than any other fossil fuel*. Do not forget that the official position of the Republican Party Platform rejects both the Kyoto Protocol and the more recent Paris Agreement to control carbon emissions. And do not underestimate the harm that could be caused by a “climate change denier” and a “shill for the energy industry” as the head of the EPA.
And remember, it’s all about the children.
[References will be provided in future blog entries.]
*Petroleum coke, a byproduct of oil refining, produces about 225 pounds of CO2 per million Btu, However, the amount of “pet coke” burned is very small compared to the amount of coal burned.
“Give the schmuck [Trump] a break”
One of my correspondents recently wrote those words to me. My reply? No, I will not give Trump a break. That presupposes I see something good in him, something that will come out if only I will put aside all his venom and vitriol and allow him to re-group and normalize himself with the press.
I am not willing to allow him to alter his public persona to fit what he now thinks is correct. I am not willing to allow him to hide himself behind a façade of respectability. I am not willing to allow him to invoke the sanctity of the office of President of the United States to cloak his evil.
To reiterate what I’ve said, before: Trump has brought to this country a kakistocracy: a government by the least qualified and worst persons possible. His selection of Myron Ebell, labeled a “climate change denier” and a “shill for the energy industry” to head the EPA transition team is just the latest example.
Those of you who elected Trump, please look at your president in the light of his statements of belief. Can you imagine what would happen should he meet with German Chancellor Merkel and try to grab her p…y? Or would he dismiss Queen Elizabeth by saying that she didn’t appreciate his male attractiveness? Is this the person you want to be establishing foreign policy for this country?
Trump has denied climate change. Trump said that he would support “clean coal.” Come on, idiot Trump. There’s no such thing as clean coal. Without getting into the cost in human lives through mine accidents and black lung disease there is no such thing as “clean coal.” Coal produces, depending on the grade of coal, between 200 and 250 pounds CO2 per million Btu (a measure of energy created). That is more than any other fossil fuel. There is nothing that can be done to change that. It’s basic chemistry. It’s a fact that cannot be changed by Trump or any climate denier.
In his YouTube speech a few days ago, Trump touted “clean coal.” Either he’s willfully ignorant, or he is a liar. There is no such thing as clean coal.
No, Mr. Trump. Not only will I not grant you a break, but until you discover the “Alien and Sedition Acts,” and decide to implement them as part of your kakistocracy, I will write.
References and notes:
Petroleum coke, a byproduct of oil refining (and of processing the Alberta tar sands) produces about 225 pounds of CO2 per million Btu. It offers significant environmental hazards in its processing, storage, and use. Most is used in China, India, and South America.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xX_KaStFT8 [accessed 2016-11-23]
Registered Curmudgeon, scientist, skeptic, humanist, and writer.