will you stop driving to prevent climate change
18 Jun 07
Hi l_xin80, I honestly don't think all the hype over Global Warming is very constructive at all. It appears to me that there are vested interests which are pushing the issue for some reason, but I think that people are being misled. I'm not saying that the Greenhouse Effect isn't partly to blame for the Global Warming that has been reported. But the facts are getting distorted, and each proposed "solution" seems to depend which company or country has most to gain or lose. The Greenhouse Effect is far more dependent on water vapor than any other gas. About 60% of the total heat storage capacity of the atmosphere is due to it's water vapor content. About 20% is due to carbon dioxide. And humans only contribute about 5% of global carbon dioxide emissions. And of that, only 60% is actually from burning fossil fuels. So the human contribution to the total carbon load on the terrestrial Carbon Cycle is quite small. The bit that is a cause of concern is the NEW carbon that is added to the cycle from fuels which are extracted from deep underground - this is extra to the carbon which is already being recycled in the air, the forests, and the oceans, and about half of this additional amount ends up in the atmosphere, which means that the very small man-made contribution does actually increase the atmospheric carbon dioxide. So it IS a worry. However, so is Methane, which in theory has almost as much effect as carbon dioxide is having on the Greenhouse Effect. And human production of methane is about one third of the total global production of this gas - much more than carbon dioxide. Getting back to carbon emissions, the PROBLEM arises where carbon is dug out of deep underground and burnt - so that it is NEW carbon added to the atmosphere. The problem goes away completely if carbon-neutral fuel sources like plant-derived ethanol are used. Brazil is leading the way in that respect, with a great many of its road vehicles already using ethanol. The carbon dioxide from burning this ethanol is just returning to the atmosphere what was taken from the atmosphere to produce the ethanol in the first place. As for electricity production, I am a great believer in solar, wind and nuclear power. Nothing wrong at all with nukes - they're being used as chess pieces in political games at the moment, but a nuclear power plant is just a glorified steam engine - without the carbon implications. And there's actually nothing at all with burning wood for fuel - so long as someone remembers to plant trees to replace the wood that was chopped down to feed the fireplace. That's one thing that a lot of the world seems to be getting badly wrong. Same as chopping down rainforests to graze cattle for hamburgers - very bad move indeed. Doubly bad, because cattle produce heaps of methane. Another thing I like to harp on about is the Sun - trust me, the scientists really haven't got a clue. No-one has any idea what the Sun is or how it works. And if it decides it wants to get warmer, there's not much that anyone can do about it. So I'm in favor of technology which allows people to ADAPT to the REALITY of climate change, rather than take the typical bureaucratic position that we can force things to stay the way they already are. History shows us that climate change is a part of planetary reality - and there weren't any cars driving around when the last Ice Age hit. So maybe humanity should become a bit more accommodating and adaptable to nature, rather than trying to bend the universe to the human will. I know who's going to lose THAT contest, every time!