At present 83% of the world’s energy sources emit CO2, so today’s modern economy depends critically on energy sources that produce this gas.
According to NASA1:
“The concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere is currently at nearly 412 parts per million (ppm) and rising. This represents a 47 percent increase since the beginning of the Industrial Age, when the concentration was near 280 ppm, and an 11 percent increase since 2000, when it was near 370 ppm.”
If we study the greenhouse effect of this gas we realise that CO2 obeys a Law of Physics called the Beer-Lambert Law2 which describes how all gases absorb electromagnetic radiation (i.e. heat). This law states that, as the concentration of a gas increases, the ability of the extra molecules to absorb heat decreases rapidly according to a logarithmic curve. In other words its effect as a greenhouse gas decreases really really rapidly. (A logarithm is the inverse of an exponential, so if we think of an exponential increase as being a really really big increase, then a logarithmic decrease is a really really big decrease.)
Intuitively this makes sense, because the first few molecules of CO2 absorb the most heat and as you add more CO2 the extra molecules have less and less effect as there is less radiation left for them to absorb.
During the period covered by the NASA statement above, the earth has warmed about 1.1ºC.
If, for the sake of argument, you assume that all of that 1.1ºC was due to CO2 (which it clearly wasn’t as there were many other contributing factors), then we can predict, using the Beer-Lambert Law that when the concentration of CO2 increases another 47% to over 600 ppm the temperature will rise such a small amount that it will be almost unmeasurable. An example of this is in the figures quoted by NASA, where the CO2 has increased 11% since 2000 yet there has been almost no measurable warming over that time.
Thus there is nothing to worry about from CO2.
This is extremely important for the following reasons:
● For civilization to continue to thrive, the world’s economy must continue to flourish and it can only do so by continuing to emit lots of CO2.
● A thriving economy will provide the resources for the world to deal with catastrophic events of nature, no matter what the reason is for their occurrence.
● More CO2 in the atmosphere will make plants grow faster and help us to feed the world. (Already the extra CO2 has resulted in plants growing 18% faster than they used to.)
Thus the world needs to stop its crusade to limit CO2 emissions and use all those resources to solve urgent, well defined, problems for which we have proven solutions, and stop wasting billions on projects like windmills and solar farms.
Dr. Martin Spencer studied Theoretical Physics at Yale University and has been interested in the physics of Climate Change since he was made aware of the controversies surrounding it by Augie Auer, the Atmospheric Scientist.