My name is Kay Lowell. I own Spiritual, Health, and Wellness Center, and am the organizer of San Antonio Holistic Fair.com. I plan and produce events in the San Antonio area that emphasize a holistic lifestyle, and include health and wellness, social justice, and the environment and sustainability. The health and sustainability of the environment is an important subject to both me and my father, Dr. Philip Haddad, a retired Chemical Engineer with over 40 years of Research and Development experience in the chemical industry. One of the things that my father has questioned over the past 2 years is whether scientists have accurately determined the cause of Global Warming. There is no doubt in our minds that Global Warming is definitely a reality. The question that we have is whether Carbon Dioxide, also referred to as CO2, is the primary cause of Global Warming. The purpose of this brief video is twofold: to discredit the notion that carbon dioxide is the cause, and to demonstrate that the amount of heat released by our energy use is more than sufficient to account for the measured temperature rise that we experience.
For the remaining of the video, my father, Phil Haddad, will explain to you how he came to these conclusions. Let’s begin by stating that Carbon dioxide, or CO2, is not a hazardous compound. In fact, we breathe in a small amount of CO2, and through respiration, or natural bodily processes, we exhale CO2. The air that we breathe in is approximately 78.1% Nitrogen, 20.9% Oxygen, .04% CO2 and 0.9% Argon. With all of the different ideas floating around about climate change and global warming, it’s no wonder that people are confused about what is really happening. Even among distinguished scientists, there is disagreement whether we even have climate change. But it doesn’t take a scientist to notice that the glaciers are melting. The real question becomes what is actually causing those changes to happen. As a global community, in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol, noted a relationship between rising CO2 concentrations and atmospheric temperatures, and declared fossil fuel use to be the primary cause of global warming.
This was a correct assessment. However, since it previously had been shown that CO2 was a Greenhouse Gas that absorbs infrared heat from the sun, scientists attributed this rise in temperature to the increased Carbon dioxide (CO2), and ignored the heat emitted by burning of these fuels. While there is a relationship between the two, there is no proof that carbon dioxide is a cause of temperature rise. Temperature and CO2 have fluctuated over the past 80 million years, but in no instance has it been shown that CO2 was a cause of temperature rise. For example, in the preceding 400 thousand years, there have been 4 cycles of rising and falling temperatures and carbon dioxide due to shifts in the earth’s orbit and wobble. These factors have caused a yearly rise in temperature of 2 thousandths degrees Fahrenheit for a period of 10,000 years.
For discussion purposes, the blue line represents temperature and the red line represents CO2. As you can see from the graph, temperature and CO2 rose together for 10,000 years. During the next 10,000 years, temperature fell rapidly, but CO2 concentration lagged by decades and centuries. This shows that CO2 concentration was not responsible for the higher temperature. Had CO2 been a cause of temperature rise, then the temperature would not have fallen so rapidly, as indicated by the difference between the blue and red lines. Keep in mind that this was in a period of time when humans had no influence on climate change. Organizations like NOAA, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, have used this data to incorrectly determine climate sensitivity to CO2. In other words, they are using this data for other scientists to determine the amount of temperature rise to be expected for a given level of CO2. And the graph clearly cannot be used for that purpose.
Furthermore, temperature continued to drop over the next 80 to 100 thousand years due to cooling through photosynthesis, which lead to the formation of the glaciers. During photosynthesis, CO2 is converted to trees and other vegetation with the absorption of 5,000 BTUs, or sunlight, per pound of CO2. So, if CO2 is not the predominate cause for Global Warming, then that leaves the question, “What is?” In our present period, say the last 150 years, the burning of fossil fuels has increased both the CO2 concentration and the atmospheric temperature. Both could be important factors contributing to Global Warming. However, the heat released by the burning of the fuels alone is more than enough to account for the temperature. If CO2 were solely responsible for rising temperature, then we are already past the point of no return. This means that we could use no energy from now on out, and the temperature will continue to rise.
Let’s briefly talk about what makes up the fossil fuel category. These are coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Coal is basically carbon, and when we burn it, it releases CO2 and energy (14,000 BTUs per pound). Petroleum is made up of hydrogen and carbon and when it’s burned, it releases CO2 and energy (22,000 BTUs per pound of carbon). Natural gas is also made up of carbon and hydrogen and when it’s burned, it releases CO2 and energy (29,000 BTUs per pound of carbon). If we look at the following graph of Global Fossil Carbon Emissions, or consumption, we are able to calculate the total heat released for any given year. For example, in 2008, 50X1016 BTUs , something as the same order as 300,000 atomic bombs, was released into an atmosphere that “weighs” about 583X1013 tons, which is A LOT!!! That amount of heat can raise the atmospheric temperature by 0.17 degrees Fahrenheit, much more than enough to account for the actual measured temperature rise. There is no way that this heat can be ignored, and to do so is irresponsible.
Furthermore, the emphasis on CO2 removal leads to expensive and counterproductive attempts because CO2 actually cools the earth through photosynthesis, as we mentioned before. In the long run, whether you believe CO2 or heat is responsible for Global Warming, elimination of fossil fuels will remove both CO2 and heat. The recognition that heat, rather than CO2, is the primary cause of Global Warming is important when you begin to look at changing our energy policies and implementing other alternative energies. Clearly, nuclear would not be an acceptable alternative energy, even though CO2 is not released. Neither should the emissions of Carbon dioxide be taxed, nor should the removal of CO2 from stacks be credited. To do so is a waste of time, money, and does not address the problem. The only recourse we have is to replace fossil fuels and nuclear with acceptable renewable energies, like solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass, and others.
It’s not from a lack of money, or technology, or creativity. It comes down to leadership and the will to do what is necessary..