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Where Does the Carbon Dioxide Really Come From?
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Author:  JF [ September 3rd, 2013, 9:50 am ]
Post subject:  Where Does the Carbon Dioxide Really Come From?

I recently recieved an email concerning the (perhaps wasted) efforts of humans to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, relative to the extremely higher proportions of the effects of natural occurrances. Can the professionals in this field tell me if what this professor asserts is accurate? I simply don't know what to believe.

Is the following just another bogus email?

Carbon Dioxide--a good read
Author’s credentials: Ian Rutherford Plimer is an Australian geologist, professor emeritus of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne, professor of mining geology at the University of Adelaide, and the director of multiple mineral exploration and mining companies. He has published 130 scientific papers, six books and edited the Encyclopedia of Geology.

Where Does the Carbon Dioxide Really Come From?

PLIMER: "Okay, here's the bombshell. The volcanic eruption in Iceland . Since its first spewing of volcanic ash has, in just FOUR DAYS, NEGATED EVERY SINGLE EFFORT you have made in the past five years to control CO2 emissions on our planet - all of you.

Of course, you know about this evil carbon dioxide that we are trying to suppress - it’s that vital chemical compound that every plant requires to live and grow and to synthesize into oxygen for us humans and all animal life.
I's very disheartening to realize that all of the carbon emission savings you have accomplished while suffering the inconvenience and expense of driving Prius hybrids, buying fabric grocery bags, sitting up till midnight to finish your kids "The Green Revolution" science project, throwing out all of your non-green cleaning supplies, using only two squares of toilet paper, putting a brick in your toilet tank reservoir, selling your SUV and speedboat, vacationing at home instead of abroad, nearly getting hit every day on your bicycle, replacing all of your 50 cent light bulbs with $10.00 light bulbs.....well, all of those things you have done have all gone down the tubes in just four days.
The volcanic ash emitted into the Earth's atmosphere in just four days - yes, FOUR DAYS - by that volcano in Iceland has totally erased every single effort you have made to reduce the evil beast, carbon. And there are around 200 active volcanoes on the planet spewing out this crud at any one time - EVERY DAY.

I don't really want to rain on your parade too much, but I should mention that when the volcano Mt Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, it spewed out more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the entire human race had emitted in all its years on earth.

Yes, folks, Mt Pinatubo was active for over one year - think about it.
Of course, I shouldn't spoil this 'touchy-feely tree-hugging' moment and mention the effect of solar and cosmic activity and the well-recognized 800-year global heating and cooling cycle, which keeps happening despite our completely insignificant efforts to affect climate change.

And I do wish I had a silver lining to this volcanic ash cloud, but the fact of the matter is that the bush fire season across the western USA and Australia this year alone will negate your efforts to reduce carbon in our world for the next two to three years. And it happens every year.

Just remember that your government just tried to impose a whopping carbon tax on you, on the basis of the bogus 'human-caused' climate-change scenario.
Hey, isn’t it interesting how they don’t mention 'Global Warming' anymore, but just 'Climate Change' - you know why?

It’s because the planet has COOLED by 0.7 degrees in the past century and these global warming bull artists got caught with their pants down.
And, just keep in mind that you might yet have an Emissions Trading Scheme - that whopping new tax - imposed on you that will achieve absolutely nothing except make you poorer.

It won’t stop any volcanoes from erupting, that’s for sure.
But, hey, relax...... and have a nice day!"

Author:  frozentripper [ September 3rd, 2013, 10:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Where Does the Carbon Dioxide Really Come From?

Maybe he's been sniffing volcanic CO2 too often... the US Geological Survey states that humans produce far more.

Phew, what's that smell...

...all studies to date of global volcanic carbon dioxide emissions indicate that present-day subaerial and submarine volcanoes release less than a percent of the carbon dioxide released currently by human activities.

Author:  Erhard [ September 3rd, 2013, 1:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Where Does the Carbon Dioxide Really Come From?

From wikipedia on Plimer's theory, a bit more detail:
Volcanoes and CO2[edit source | editbeta]
Plimer has long argued[31] that volcanic eruptions release more carbon dioxide (CO2) than human activity; in particular that submarine volcanoes[32] emit huge amounts of CO2 and that the influence of the gases from these volcanoes on the Earth's climate is drastically underrepresented in climate models.[33] The United States Geological Survey has calculated that human emissions of CO2 are about 130 times larger than volcanic emissions, including submarine emissions.[34][35][36] The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that Plimer's claim "has no factual basis."[37] This was confirmed in a 2011 survey published in the Eos journal of the American Geophysical Union, which found that anthropogenic emissions of CO2 are 135 times larger than those from all volcanoes on Earth.[38]

Author:  ezwater [ September 3rd, 2013, 2:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Where Does the Carbon Dioxide Really Come From?

Perhaps a more interesting aspect of some volcanic emissions is the sulfur gases and particulates which block out sunlight. A Krakatoa style eruption would temporarily reverse the warming trend, in spite of the CO2 emitted. Yellowstone, based on geological records, is about due to "go off", and when it does, in addition to devastating the US, it will cause a period of volcanic winter.

There's a quiet trend in "geoengineering" which actually proposes adding substances to the atomosphere which will reflect sunlight. I'm sure that will screw something up royally.

There have been times, long past, when there was virtually no ice, when the seas were much higher, when temperatures were higher, and when CO2 was quite a bit higher. The earth did not self-destruct. Life went on, and evolved. Our problem is partly building along seacoasts, a reasonable thing to do until you learn more about the history of the earth.

I don't think we can stop periods of high sea level, but we can mitigate the rapidity of the current trend. And everything we might do to achieve that is probably worth trying on other grounds, such as energy conservation, pollution reduction, etc.

Author:  Allan Jacobs [ September 3rd, 2013, 2:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Where Does the Carbon Dioxide Really Come From?

Excerpts from Wikpedia ... atmosphere

The present level appears to be the highest in the past 800,000 years[6] and likely the highest in the past 20 million years,[7] but well below 10% of its 500-million-year peak.[8]

In 2009, the CO2 global average concentration in Earth's atmosphere was about 0.0387%,[10] or 387 parts per million (ppm).[1][11] At the scientific recording station in Mauna Loa, the concentration reached 0.04% or 400 ppm for the first time in May 2013,[12][13] although this level had already been reached in the Arctic in June 2012.[14]

While CO2 absorption and release is always happening as a result of natural processes, the recent rise in CO2 levels in the atmosphere is known to be mainly due to human activity.[24] Researchers know this both by calculating the amount released based on various national statistics, and by examining the ratio of various carbon isotopes in the atmosphere,[24] as the burning of long-buried fossil fuels releases CO2 containing carbon of different isotopic ratios to those of living plants, enabling them to distinguish between natural and human-caused contributions to CO2 concentration.

Author:  ice-breaker [ September 3rd, 2013, 2:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Where Does the Carbon Dioxide Really Come From?

Came across this article the other day which I thought was very interesting.

Author:  Allan Jacobs [ September 3rd, 2013, 4:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Where Does the Carbon Dioxide Really Come From?

Exxon-Mobile and BP were climate-change deniers about 10 years ago. They ran smear campaigns against IPCC and the scientific research that backed its conclusions
Later, Exxon-Mobil (don't know about BP) changed its tune and accepted the reality of climate-change due to carbon-dioxide emissions. I remember distinctly the Exxon commercial that ran for a short term on TV; the message was essentially that they were doing something about it.
I am not at all surprised that Forbes has come out with a smear campaign against the scientific community.
Perhaps one should look at the background of bodies entering the discussion.

Author:  va3spt [ September 3rd, 2013, 5:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Where Does the Carbon Dioxide Really Come From?

Google "Ian Rutherford Plimer"

Author:  Allan Jacobs [ September 3rd, 2013, 5:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Where Does the Carbon Dioxide Really Come From?

Here is an excerpt from the statement of the American Meteorlogical Society:

Climate Change
An Information Statement of the American Meteorological Society
(Adopted by AMS Council 20 August 2012)


Climate is always changing. However, many of the observed changes noted above are beyond what can be explained by the natural variability of the climate. It is clear from extensive scientific evidence that the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous oxide. The most important of these over the long term is CO2, whose concentration in the atmosphere is rising principally as a result of fossil-fuel combustion and deforestation. While large amounts of CO2 enter and leave the atmosphere through natural processes, these human activities are increasing the total amount in the air and the oceans. Approximately half of the CO2 put into the atmosphere through human activity in the past 250 years has been taken up by the ocean and terrestrial biosphere, with the other half remaining in the atmosphere. Since long-term measurements began in the 1950s, the atmospheric CO2 concentration has been increasing at a rate much faster than at any time in the last 800,000 years. Having been introduced into the atmosphere it will take a thousand years for the majority of the added atmospheric CO2 to be removed by natural processes, and some will remain for thousands of subsequent years.

Water vapor also is an important atmospheric greenhouse gas. Unlike other greenhouse gases, however, the concentration of water vapor depends on atmospheric temperature and is controlled by the global climate system through its hydrological cycle of evaporation-condensation-precipitation. Water vapor is highly variable in space and time with a short lifetime, because of weather variability. Observations indicate an increase in globally averaged water vapor in the atmosphere in recent decades, at a rate consistent with the response produced by climate models that simulate human-induced increases in greenhouse gases. This increase in water vapor also strengthens the greenhouse effect, amplifying the impact of human-induced increases in other greenhouse gases.

But please do not be satisfied with the above; please read the full statement at

And so Forbes joins the ignoble disinformation brigade.

Author:  ezwater [ September 3rd, 2013, 8:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Where Does the Carbon Dioxide Really Come From?

I'm too lazy to dig it up again, but as I recall, there was a big peak in sea level, temperature, and CO2 about 20% of the way into the age of mammals.

It isn't easy to infer CO2 levels 40+ million years ago. One must accept guesstimates provisionally. But my point was that the precipitous CO2 rise we're seeing now, while of great concern, does not indicate that we are headed for another Permian age or anything like it.

Author:  Allan Jacobs [ September 4th, 2013, 5:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Where Does the Carbon Dioxide Really Come From?

Here's a link to how historical CO2 levels are estimated; a variety of methods is used, depending on the time before present: ... _variation

And here's one to the Permian-Triassic extinction of 252 million years ago (The Great Dying): ... tion_event

Author:  Erhard [ September 4th, 2013, 7:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Where Does the Carbon Dioxide Really Come From?

It's absolutely amazing that these clowns can continue to befuddle the public, just to further the interest of a few powerful players. So, keep at it and put forward the consensus of the larger scientific community, Allan!

Author:  frozentripper [ September 4th, 2013, 7:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Where Does the Carbon Dioxide Really Come From?

He makes the claim that submarine volcanoes are a source of CO2, and ignores the fact that the ocean depths also form one the world's largest sinks of carbon.

As you know... CO2 dissolved in the sunlit ocean surface waters is taken up by phytoplankton, single-celled plants suspended in water, by photosynthesis. This fixes CO2 carbon from the atmosphere into marine biological material, which then dies and slowly settles out into the ocean depths.

The slow rain of particles accumulates in sediments in the ocean depths, century after century, removing carbon from the ocean's surface into the deep carbon sink. Carbon sedimenting out, from human origins and natural, takes time, hundreds of years, like described in Allan's quote up above.

The oceans cover more of the world's surface than anything else, and the extent of all that mud and carbon sediment out there in the ocean depths over millions of years, hundreds of meters deep, makes submarine mud one of the most dominant features on earth. And Carl Sagan's billions and billions voice is needed here to adequately describe the extent and significance of all that carbon-based mud... anyway, FWIW that's my feeble attempt.

PS... OTOH the upside, at least Miley Cyrus isn't trying to do this.


Author:  Allan Jacobs [ September 4th, 2013, 8:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Where Does the Carbon Dioxide Really Come From?

Somehow, I find Miley's utterances more appealing than the deceits of the ignoble climate-change-denial brigade (Seitz, Nierenberg Jastrow, Forbes, National Post, Exxon-Mobil, BP, American Enterprise Institute to name a few; the latter three have however betrayed the cause).

Many people choose to believe what they want to believe.
Others examine the scientific evidence, or rather accounts of it (the original research papers are tough reading for nonexperts, have a look at a few if you doubt this), before deciding. This is the tougher and longer road, for one must examine a fair number of sources and evaluate the credibility of each.

In a few earlier posts in other on this subject (other threads), I unfairly identified Freeman Dyson as what would now be called a climate-change-denier.
He is better identified as a climate-change-skeptic. His objection, as I understand it is that the scientific predictions are based on models, which he distrusts. I expect that the rejoinder from the scientific community participating in climate-change research might be something like:
1. What else is there? Do you have a better suggestion?
2. There are over a dozen independent models, each being updated frequently as the evidence is gathered. The predictions of those models differ quantitatively but not qualitatively.

Author:  SteveBoal [ September 4th, 2013, 3:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Where Does the Carbon Dioxide Really Come From?

The pendulum has started it's swing and I think the notion that we can stop it - or even noticeably slow it - is laughable human arrogance. What we can do focus on adaptation rather than pretending that we, the shrew, will stop the locomotive rolling down the tracks. North Carolina has legislated that the sea will rise no more than 6 inches. This is not a good approach.

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