How Bad Can CO2 Make It?
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This subject's pages:          Bungling Climate Change          
Footnotes & Links

Environmentalism's Nuclear Disaster: Advocating Coal Instead Of Nuclear,
a terrible mistake that could have been easily avoided and remains quickly and easily mitigated.

How Bad Can CO2 Make It?


The unstoppable mess environmentalists brought us.  Back to basics

That the president of the United States could dismiss Climate Change as a "Hoax" shocked this old engineer to his core.  To get an idea of where he was coming from, I started to read about Germany's Energiewende (German for energy transition) and began to understand the world's Climate Change movement has fragmented into many sub-cultures that have drifted away from concepts based on sound engineering practices. 

While Climate Change is not a hoax, much of what the Greenies are advocating is. Wishful thinking based upon windmills and carbon capture are commonplace now.

So, back to the simple truth of evidence-based basics: 

"Currently CO2 constitutes about 0.041% (equal to 410 ppm) by volume of the atmosphere, which corresponds to approximately 3,200 gigatons of CO2, which includes approximately 870 gigatons of carbon."  (2017)   - That's 3.2 TRILLION tons of CO2, folks.  Planet Earth is still a big place.
We have to keep in mind that 250 ppm belong there, so only 160 ppm are excess CO2.  Or about 160/410 * 3.2 trillion or 1.3 trillion tons are the excess CO2 causing Climate Change.

We have added so much CO2 to the air that adding more CO2 to the air produces only a slight increase in global warming. This is what makes Climate Change so difficult.

We want to get back to where the climate has been during the last 13,000 years - the optimal climate epoch for mankind, the Holocene. What I'm saying is: we can't.

What we are in for.

The above graph shows how long Climate Change will hang around if we just stop using fossil fuels but don't remove the excess CO2 we've added to the air.

Carbon dioxide can remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years and takes about a decade to reach its maximum warming effect. In other words, even with all the changes we’ve already seen, we have yet to experience the full impact of the carbon we spewed in 2008 and every year since. Each additional ton we emit going forward only increases the dangers of climate change, multiplying the economic, environmental, and human toll.

Weather Outlook for Remainder of century: 

It could take a century of terrible blizzards to re-set Planet Earth's temperature to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature we were at before Global Warming and normal polar ice.



How much more trouble have the environmentalists brought us?

CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2) in the air is one of Planet Earth's major thermostat mechanisms.

By advocating coal instead of nuclear, environmentalists have pushed up Planet Earth's thermostat.

Globally, over the course of the year, the Earth system —land surfaces, oceans, and atmosphere— absorbs and then radiates back to space an average of about 240 watts of solar power per square meter. Anything that increases or decreases the amount of incoming or outgoing energy will change global temperatures in response.[6] 

Notice how as CO2 goes up, the heating curve increase slope approaches zero (horizontal).



We are deep into man-made global warming. Climate Change will have both winners and losers.

A 2017 government climate assessment report states: "The world has warmed (globally and annually averaged surface air temperature) by about 1.6°F (0.9°C) over the last 150 years (1865–2015).  If humans immediately stopped emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the world would still feel at least an additional 0.50 degrees Fahrenheit (0.30 degrees Celsius) of warming over this century."
- This means the (pink) slug of CO2 that's already in the air was warming Planet Earth at the rate of about 1°F per century but now, due to CO2 saturation, we are down to 0.5°F per century.

CO2 saturation:  Think about adding so much sugar to your coffee it no longer dissolves.  It can't get any sweeter. That's the saturation effect.

Notice the thermostat sketch above.  Adding fossil fuel's CO2 turns the furnace up but, because the world is a big place and we are adding just a couple of watts per square meter, it will take hundreds of years before the temperature finally reaches the new set-point.

Almost all this heat is going into warming up the oceans.  To pull the heat back out, long periods of unnaturally cold weather will be necessary.

To turn the thermostat back down to where it should be, the extra CO2 in the air and sea has to be scrubbed out, returned to the ground, and then we start over using wind, solar, nuclear, and carbon neutral combustion to make modern civilization's heat and mechanical energies.

On the other hand, since the big harm has already been done, and setting things right remote, we could just keep on using fossil fuels and adapt to the intensifying Climate Changes that strategy would bring.

Perspective: "The rising carbon dioxide footprint may be troublesome, but it is a side effect of the creation of immense benefits." - Peter Allitt, quoted by M.J. Kelly.
Energy is the master resource. Without energy nothing happens. The more energy we have, the better off we are.
The United States is a 10,000 Watt society; Mexico, 2,000 W; Haiti, 500W. - Sounds good to me.


The climate-changing limits of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4).


Is this as bad as it can possibly get?   No, it isn't just CO2, it's also methane.

Unfortunately no.   There are also massive natural deposits of frozen tundra methane and frozen deep sea methane that some think could be melted free by Global Warming and enter the air.   This would bring a second wave of "Climate Change on steroids" problems. 

A little more truth: note methane's similar heat loss curve curve below. While CO2 is becoming a saturated global warmer, we're just starting out on CH4 (methane).

The yellow chart below was presented by David Archibald about 2010. 

I did the thermostat image perhaps in 2008. It was derived from a 1992 curve someone gave me. Each blue block on Archibald's chart is 20 ppm of CO2.  The first block is huge because it is causing a lot of global warming. The more recent ones tiny because we have already saturated the air with more CO2 than is needed. 

In my chart, the thermostat plot line is becoming more and more horizontal, at horizontal there would be no additional global warming regardless how much more CO2 was added. Again, saturation.

Those two charts are two different ways of saying the same thing - that every bit of CO2 added to the atmosphere makes the rest of the CO2 a little bit less capable of adding more global warming. 

This means there is little incentive for the world to stop using fossil fuels at this stage of the game because, as Archibald puts it, "CO2 is tuckered out". Others might call the effect   "CO2 saturation".
It's going to take hundreds of years for the additional 2 watts per square meter the world is getting from global warming to heat the world (a very large mass) up to the thermostat's new set point. Just like the heating and cooling lag you experience when re-setting your room thermostat. Thermal inertia.

We've turned the thermostat up. Now we are feeling the house slowly heat up. Only by removing the excess CO2 from the air can we get back to where we started - the beginning of the coal powered steam engine age - about the year 1750.

So, we already have enough CO2 in the air to do the job of making things almost as bad as they can ever get. Adding more will have little effect on the outcome.

Planet Earth is already in for a ride regardless of how many windmills, solar cells, or nuclear reactors we build.


CO2's Diminishing Global Warming Effect - How much another 20 ppm of CO2 changes things.
We are adding about 160 million tons of Climate Changing gasses to the air every day but it won't affect the maximum temperature much.
We've gone over the cliff but it may take hundreds of years for the heat to max out.  Quitting fossil fuels "cold turkey" isn't what is needed.

To say again with different words and charts:

(From  )


Man has survived several ice ages.  Fire has served his survival needs well and is clearly part of his genetic history. 
Humans who were not attracted to fire are extinct.

(Below) The CO2 situation as it is now.

The extra CO2 in the air and sea has to be scrubbed out, returned to the ground, and then we start over using wind, solar, nuclear, and carbon neutral combustion to make our heat and mechanical energies.

We will have to endure perhaps a century of terrible blizzard winters before enough heat is pulled out of Planet Earth to stop the polar ice from melting any more.

There is no easy way to get the world headed back to pre-industrial environment temperatures.  Switching to wind, solar, or nuclear energy now that "the horse is out of the barn" are nearly pointless gestures. 

Notice the images of "Skyscrubber".  It is a patented machine ethically engineered by Carbon Engineering, Ltd., Calgary, Canada. It is well designed to suck 100,000 tons of CO2 out of the air per year. They have built a running prototype in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. Powered by carbon captured natural gas, it consumes 1/2 ton of natural gas per ton of CO2 it captures.
Notice how much larger a full-size Skyscrubber is when compared to the single fan prototype.

We will have to remove more than the 1.3 trillion tons of excess CO2 we have added to the air to get back to the "Optimum Climate for Man", about 270 ppm (parts per million).

At 100,000 tons CO2 per year per Skyscrubber, we would need 13,000,000 (13 million) Skyscrubbers to do the job in one year.

And this is only 57% of all the gasses that are causing Climate Change.  (See below.)

Scientists dream great dreams. Engineers build them.



Man-made CO2 emissions accumulating in the air since the Industrial Revolution began in 1750 are the main drivers of Climate Change.

We are well beyond the point of no return - and locked on autopilot.

There are probably several climate changes worth of excess CO2 in the air already and a half dozen more Climate Changes still in the ground as fossil fuels. 
If this is so, the tiny improvement to be had by switching from coal power plants to windmills is an exercise in futility. 

Environmentalists are being as anti-science as Trump by not working to remove the "Pink Cloud" causing Climate Change.  Can't blame them too much because more than that will have to be removed to get Planet Earth to loose the global warming it has already picked up. 

Once the "CO2 Genie" is out of the bottle, you'll pay hell trying to get it back in.

The main barrier to removing the "Pink Cloud" is the fact CO2, at 400 parts per million, in the air is a trace gas.  This means massive volumes of air need to be "scrubbed" to extract even small amounts of CO2.  Coal smoke, while still in the stack, is a much easier 120,000 ppm.
Seawater's chemicals draw CO2 from the air to produce a higher concentration.  More than 98% of the carbon of the atmosphere-ocean system is stored in the oceans as dissolved inorganic carbon.

Adding wind, solar, or nuclear energy to our daily lives cannot reduce the global warming CO2 we've already placed in the air.



Why all the fuss about the world's warming perhaps 2°C?  Like Planet Earth, your body is an environment for living cells that depend upon it for sustenance.
Here’s an analogy that Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, who helped compile some of the climate research data for the World Bank, likes to use.
"Take the human body. If your temperature rises 2°C (3.6°F), you have a significant fever. If it rises 4°C (7.2°F) or 6°C (10.8°F) your organs begin to fail and you can die.


I find it interesting there are few organizations dedicated to "picking away" at the problem of sucking the pink cloud out of the air and ending the very real threat mankind faces. 

This lends credence to Trump's assessment that the Climate Change fuss is just a hoax.

Extreme difficulty doesn't seem to be a problem to those groups picking away at travelling to Mars and establishing a colony there. 

Fighting Climate Change without nuclear energy was like boxing with one hand tied behind your back.


I'm beginning to realize most of the leading "Green Talking Heads" actually don't understand Climate Change very well and are inadvertently misleading us. Time to reexamine Climate Change's entire "Big Picture".