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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Anthropogenic Effects on Global Warming

Anthropogenic, (processes derived from human activities) effects on climate change is the topic for the next panel. William Kininmonth, a consulting climatologist with the Australian Climate Research Institute, says that anthropogenic effects on climate change are very real. But his data and evidence suggest there is nothing to worry about.

His main conclusions were that carbon affects global temperature through its increase in back radiation at the surface, but carbon dioxide is not dangerous nor are the anthropogenic effects that result in increased carbon dioxide.

Jan Veizer, professor of geology at the University of Ottawa, is talking about the relationship among climate, the water cycle, carbon dioxide and the sun. He put it best by saying (to paraphrase) that carbon dioxide is emitted from the top down and the bottom up. The top down is through solar radiance and cosmic rays that increase carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the bottom up is from human activity.

The big problem, however, is that the top down cause is greatly understated while the bottom up cause is greatly overstated. Like Kininmonth, Veizer draws the conclusion that CO2 is not a problem and policy implementations wouldn’t have any effect on the top down or botton up carbon emissions. Veizer also mentions that, methane is more potent than carbon dioxide and carbon dioxide is more potent than water vapor but because water vapor is so dominant,( it comprises 98% of the greenhouse effect) virtually any policy to reduce carbon wouldn’t matter. Yes, anthropogenic effects are real but carbon is such a small portion of the natural cycle and let’s not forget both the sun and carbon are needed for natural cycles that are good for the earth such as photosynthesis—the process by which plants turn sunlight, water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates.

Dr. Brian Valentine, general engineer in U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Rnewable Energy, is talking about the radiation caused by carbon dioxide and whether it can be resolved. The reality is that there is no direct empirical evidence that carbon dioxide has a detectable influence. Thus, EPA or Congress would be ill advised to implement a policy to regulate something we cannot successfully measure.

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