[ RadSafe ] Global Warming

Thomas Papura trpapura at gw.dec.state.ny.us
Fri May 30 12:26:46 CDT 2014

I am with Andy on those points. And as a first time replier to any thread, with what I am about to say, I risk looking ignorant, or at best like a fool, but have to ask the following? 
As a pragmatic thinker, my biggest wonder in the Carbon Dioxide-Global Warming link is how an increase of say 300 to 400 ppm (I am approximating what I recall reading about increases) of the gas can be linked to such alleged dramatic changes in climate? 
Can such a seemingly small change (0.03 to 0.04% Carbon Dioxide) really provide the impetus for such temperature changes? What is the mechanism by which this is alleged to occur? Is there some cascade effect I don't see? Can an extra 100 or even 500 tiny molecules, floating in a sea of another 999,000+ really cause such a change? 

Thomas Papura
Environmental Radiation Specialist II
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>>> "KARAM, PHILIP" <PHILIP.KARAM at nypd.org> 5/30/2014 1:12 PM >>>
To a large extent it really doesn't matter whether or not CO2 emissions from fossil fuels are - or are not - causing the climate to change. And for that matter, global temperatures are almost immaterial to the question as to what to do about fossil fuel consumption. There are other compelling reasons to stop burning fossil fuels that are just as compelling and with less scientific controversy.

First - fossil fuels are a finite resource. At some point they will run out. When that point might be is subject to debate - but the Earth has a finite volume, there is a finite amount of fossil biomass that was available to form fossil fuels, etc. - there can be no controversy about whether or not fossil fuels will run out at some point in the future - the only controversy can be as to when they will run out.

Second - fossil fuels are hydrocarbons that are valuable as a chemical resource. They are used as feedstock for fertilizers, plastics, pharmaceuticals, and much more. It makes little sense to burn them and to destroy their utility and value as chemicals.

Third - there is no controversy over the fact that burning fossil fuels releases CO2 into the atmosphere, or over the fact that when CO2 dissolves into water it forms carbonic acid. There is some debate over how acidic the oceans need to be before it is harmful to marine life, but there is no debate over the fact that too much acidity is bad for the marine critters. 

So - three good reasons to move away from fossil fuel combustion, each of which should be relatively uncontroversial and each of which is unconnected to global climate change. What I can't fathom is why everybody hangs their hat on the most controversial rationale that has the greatest number of causal links to be proven - and that relies on controversial modeling as well. It seems the environmental/climate change lobby has chosen the most difficult argument for not using fossil fuels and, by so doing, has caused a huge split that need not have occurred.

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