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1). Carbon Dioxide, CO2, is not a pollutant. Carbon Dioxide is a naturally occurring element in our atmosphere. Carbon Dioxide is no more a pollutant than say, oxygen or nitrogen. Without CO2 there would be no life on earth. http://www.eoearth.org/article/Carbon_cycle . Carbon Dioxide is the food which keeps plants alive. Through photosynthesis plants transform CO2 into plant food. Oxygen is produced as a waste product. All living things are dependent on this ”Cycle”. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/CarbonCycle/carbon_cycle2.php
Carbon Dioxide is called a “green house gas” because it allows visable light to pass through while it absorbs infrared and near infrared rays. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide
The human body produces CO2 naturally. The Human Respiration System is the system that controls the exchange of oxygen for CO2 in the Human Body. Everytime you breath out you are exhaling CO2.
Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant. Carbon Dioxide is a natural atmospheric element. All life on earth is dependent on CO2. Without CO2 there would be no life on earth. Compared to past history, the Earth’s atmosphere is currently CO2 “impoverished”.On average, there is less CO2 in the atmosphere today than there has been since life formed on earth.
2). Even at present levels, Carbon Dioxide is a trace gas. Current CO2 levels are only a small fraction of the Earths atmosphere, CO2 represents less than 1/2 of one percent of the atmosphere today.
The CO2 content in the atmosphere is measured in terms of CO2 parts per million (ppm) by volume. At present the globally averaged concentration of CO2 is stated as 387 PPM. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide For every million parts (1,000,000,000 parts) in the atmosphere 387 of those parts are CO2. CO2 levels have increased over the past 50 years from 320 PPM to today’s 387 PPM, an increase of 67 PPM.
The CO2 level today, 387 PPM, can be compared to with a level of 8000 PPM (20X todays levels) 500 million years ago or CO2 levels of 2000 – 3000 PPM (5 to 6 times todays levels) during the Jurasic Period, when the Great Dinosaurs roamed the earth. http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange2/07_1.shtml
During the ice ages CO2 levels fell to between 200PPM and 280 PPM. During interglacial periods the CO2 Level has been measured at between 280 – 310 PPM. One does not need a calculator to see that current CO2 levels are much nearer to those recorded during the Ice Age and the interglacial periods than that time when Earth’s great green forests were first formed. CO2 is essential for plant life and growth.
In a longer historical context – Earth’s current CO2 Levels are quite low. http://ff.org/centers/csspp/library/co2weekly/2005-08-18/dioxide.htm
In fact, in Earth’s entire history there have only been two prior periods where CO2 levels were this low, . http://ff.org/centers/csspp/library/co2weekly/2005-08-18/dioxide.htm , ”Today, at 370 PPM our atmosphere is CO2-impoverished” http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous climate.html . “So far the signal of a discernible human contribution to global climate change has not emerged from this natural variability or background noise.”
“Without the warming caused by natural levels of CO2 and water vapor in our atmosphere, the average surface temperature of our planet would be well below freezing.” http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=17726
3). Human’s produce a very small percentage of the CO2 found in the Atmosphere:
Over 95% of the total CO2 emissions into our atmosphere would occur even if humans were not present on Earth. For example, the natural decay of organic material in forests and grasslands, such as dead trees and grasses, results in the release of about 220 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide every year. This carbon dioxide alone is over 8 times the amount emitted by humans. There are many other sources of CO2 in the Earth’s atmopshere.
The Earth’s Oceans contain 50 times more CO2 than the atmosphere. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide , http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=17726 .
If 5% of todays CO2 is produced by human activity (95% would occur if no humans existed on the planet) then a simple calculation will provide us with an absolute figure for Human CO2 production. 387 PPM CO2 x 5% = 19.35 PPM.
How does this compare to the Earth’s total atmosphere?
Well for every 1 Million (1,000,000) parts of atmosphere, there are Seven Hundred Eighty One Thousand (781,000) parts Nitrogen, Two Hundred Ten Thousand (210,000) parts Oxygen, Nine Thousand Parts (9,000) Argon and Three Hundred Eighty Seven Parts (387) CO2. All other gases account for the remaining 500 plus parts. http://web.rollins.edu/~jsiry/VapgasAt.htm
Total CO2 in the atmosphere represents . (CO2 is less than half of one tenth of 1 percent of the atmosphere – If the atmosphere were a $100 dollar bill - all the CO2 in the atmosphere would equal less than 4 cents). http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/atmos_gases.html .
I asked a scientific friend to help me conceptualize this amount with an everyday example. Just how big is the total contribution of manmade CO2 to the Earth’s atmosphere? The friend couldn’t remember where he first heard this comparison, so I cannot provide a site, he didn’t want to take personal credit, but here goes; “Imagine a Farmers field 100 miles long and 100 miles wide. It is filled with corn. A mouse sitting in the middle of the field farts.” Ask yourself,”Will the fart affect the crop?” As much as manmade CO2 affects our global temperatures.
4). Temperature Impacts CO2 Level - CO2 levels do not drive Temperature Change
First, CO2 levels rise and fall with the seasons or time of day. CO2 levels rise in the Autumn and Winter as green plants go dormant or die. The plants cease to “process” CO2 as part of their food chain. In the spring and summer CO2 levels fall as these same plants come back to life and consume CO2 in photosyntesis. Likewise CO2 levels fluctuate in the night and day. http://www.learner.org/courses/envsci/visual/animation.php?shortname=anm_co2_levels
Read: Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science, MIT http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/30/lindzen-on-negative-climate-feedback/
CO2 levels follow changes in temperature, not the other way around. http://icecap.us/images/uploads/CO2,Temperaturesandiceages-f.pdf .
“ There is, overall, a good match between temperature and CO2 and temperature. One important piece of information that can be determined from ice core data is whether changes in temperature follow or proceed changes in CO2.” “Changes in temperature precede changes in CO2″ http://www.brighton73.freeserve.co.uk/gw/paleo/400000yrfig.htm
First, the total increaase in Global Temperatures over the last 100 years is ………. 7/10s of one degree. That is right, total Global warming over the Century is less than 1 degree. During that same century the Sun’s measurable intensity or heat has increased.
“Actual climate history shows no such correlation (that CO2 caused an increase in temperature) and there is no compelling evidence that the recent rise in temperature was caused by CO2. http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/Climate_Change_Science.html#Correlation
Numerous papers published in major peer-reviewed scientific journals shows the Sun is the primary driver of climate change. http://www.co2science.org/articles/V6/N26/EDIT.php , http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2007/03/16/the-coming-global-cooling/ , http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/Climate_Change_Science.html#Sun_Activity , http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/ice_ages.html
5). Current Global Warming trends are neither catastrophic nor are they unusual given the Earth’s very recent past.
Global Warming Alarmists state that man made CO2 is responsible for what is becoming a catastrophic increase in Global temperatures. (You know the 1 degree increase in the last century).
Science has told us for decades (decades prior to the Global Warming Alarmist taking the stage) that earth’s last ice age (referred to as the “little ice age”) began sometime near the year 1400 and lasted until approximately 1860. This “little ice age” was responsible for disasters like the “Irish Potato Famine”. The end of the “little ice age” was not preceeded by an increase in CO2 levels. Other natural causes were responsible for the “global warming” which followed the end of the “little ice age” and continues to this date. http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/ice_ages.html , http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/Climate_Change_Science.html#Hockey
During the Middle Ages (1066 – 1485) a time that saw the Norman’s conquest of England, King Richard The Lion Hearted, The Crusades – all 7 of them, the Early Italian Renaissance - a period of time long before the ”Industrial Revolution”, mankind contributed very little to Global CO2 levels. The Middle Ages experienced a period of global warming that exceeds the global warming of today. Yes, temperatures were higher than they are now, significantly higher. http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/Climate_Change_Science.html#Hockey , http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/04/06/1049567563628.html ,
“A review of more than 240 scientific studies has shown that today’s temperatures are neither the “warmest ever” nor are the Temperatures producing extreme conditions “never seen before”. The findings of these 240 studies stand in stark contrast to the claims of the alarmists. The findings prove that the world had a medieval warm period between the ninth and 14th centuries, with world temperatures significantly higher than today’s. They also confirm claims that a little Ice Age began in about 1300, with the world cooling dramatically. Just before the turn of the century, in 1900, the world began to warm up, but as of today, has still to reach the balmy temperatures of the Middle Ages. The end of the little Ice Age is significant because it implies that the records used by climate scientists (THE ALARMISTS) date from when the Earth was relatively cold, thereby exaggerating the significance of today’s temperature rise. According to the researchers, the evidence confirms suspicions that today’s alleged “unprecedented” temperatures are simply the result of examining temperature change over too short a period. http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/04/06/1049567563628.html
The Global Warming Alarmists have choosen the “Little Ice Age” to begin their temperature measurements and comparisons. By choosing the coldest period in Earth’s history over the last 10,000 years, the Alarmists are assured of finding data that will show a warming trend. But the warming trend is not unusual when compared to all of Earth’s prior warming trends.
Philip Stott, emeritus professor of bio-geography at the University of London, said: “What has been forgotten in all the discussion about global warming is a proper sense of history.” http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/04/06/1049567563628.html , http://www.michaelkeller.com/news/news575.htm , http://www.stanford.edu/~moore/history_health.html , http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/886494/posts , http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2514
If mankind were to cease all economic production and cease buring all carbon fuels, at best, a 2% reduction in CO2 levels could be had. Additional reductions from manking would need to involve an end to “respiration” – manking would need to stop breathing. Having achieved these miniscule reductions, at fantastic cost and loss of personal freedom, nature could, in the bat of an eye, dramatically reverse any man made reduction. You see, temperature drives the CO2 level, CO2 levels do not drive temperature.
Recent studies call into question wether Global Warming is continuing - the studies refute the wild claims concerning the amount of ”warming” that occurred in the 1990’s. Even the ultra-green “Discovery Channel” has noted studies which indicate “global warming” is on “hold” and may not reappear for decades. That “Global Temperatures have flatlined since 2001″. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29469287/
The Boston Globe has asked, “Where is the Global Warming?”, before noting, “But for many people, the science of climate change is not nearly as important as the religion of climate change. When Al Gore insisted yet again at a conference last Thursday that there can be no debate about global warming, he was speaking not with the authority of a man of science, but with the closed-minded dogmatism of a religious zealot. Dogma and zealotry have their virtues, no doubt. But if we want to understand where global warming has gone, those aren’t the tools we need.” http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2009/03/08/wheres_global_warming/
Carbon Dioxide irrelevant in climate debate says MIT Scientist
The pdf file located at the link above from the Science and Public Policy Institute has absolutely, convincingly, and irrefutably proven the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming to be completely false.
Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT’s peer reviewed work states “we now know that the effect of CO2 on temperature is small, we know why it is small, and we know that it is having very little effect on the climate.” http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/monthly_report/sppi_monthly_co2_report_july.html http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/cooler_heads_lindzen-talk-pdf.pdf
For a very specific review of 35 of the erroreous claims made by Gore in his film see: http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/monckton/goreerrors.html
Notice: WATTS UP WITH THAT can now be located at Wattsupwiththat.com
For a very humorous, yet alarming, post on how the “scientific consensus” on the issue of Climate Change have been reached, see this post on the creation of “THE HARVARD ENERGY INITIATIVE” and the “inititaves” relationship to climate science (An insiders look at the Harvard Faculty Club?). http://motls.blogspot.com/2006/04/richard-lindzen-climate-of-fear.html
“On the other hand, the funding of climate science as such has grown nearly by one order of magnitude since 1988. Have you ever seen $1.7 billion, the amount that the climate science swallows annually? Or one point seven billion dollars a year worth of mostly junk science? It’s not just the overall macroscopic number we are familiar with. I also know some of the microscopic mechanisms that generate it.”
Harvard energy initiative
On Monday, we had a faculty lunch meeting at the Faculty Club and one of the topics was the so-called “Harvard energy initiative”. A short story is that a large amount of money was given to something described by these three words – and up to 10 new faculty positions are expected to be created – except that no one knows what “Harvard energy initiative” means and what people should be hired. So one of the rather well-known Earth and Planetary Scientists at Harvard decided to meet with the physics department and to ask for ideas what “Harvard energy initiative” could mean…… The well known Physicis Department Professor stated, “I know what “high energy physics” means – we study physics of high-energy particles to determine the architecture of matter at very short distances” ….. Obviously, our colleague has a different energy in mind. Energy whose main feature is that it is not conserved. Energy that does not commute with momentum because whenever energy has to commute, we lose energy. It’s more about the energy industry except that the initiative will quite obviously be anti-industry because of the very basic philosophical preconceptions of those who are trying to kickstart the project. If you think for a while, you know exactly what will most likely happen. They will probably hire a couple of not-so-intelligent people and promote them to climate scientists and energy initiative professors who will strengthen the “scientific consensus” that the “climate change is real” and the humankind is approaching a catastrophe. They won’t be developing any new energy technologies because this is what either the greedy corporations or MIT are doing. Harvard’s image is different and its energy initiative will be doing something else except that no one knows what it is. The proposed energy initiative should include the Physics Department, Earth and Planetary Sciences, the Kennedy School of Government, the Harvard Law School, and virtually any other Harvard school you can think of. Great. So what kind of science will you do by combining these people? Note that the university in this story, namely Harvard University, is not such a bad school after all. In fact, it is the most prestigious school in the world. Once you see what mechanisms determine how the new money is spent at Harvard, you may guess how good an investment are the billions of new dollars that are currently flowing to the U.S. climate science every year. Most of this amount is wasted money paid to the people who don’t want to make progress in science. Instead, they have already decided that they already know the most important insights about the world – that it is approaching a climate apocalypse – and by being paid, they do what is really important, namely to increase the political power of the “true believers” who are going to “save the world”. Yes, indeed, I am talking about $1.7 billion worth of religious bigots, and I apologize to the few exceptions for this generalization.”” I reccommend the full post: http://motls.blogspot.com/2006/04/richard-lindzen-climate-of-fear.html
Also See: Lindzen: Deconstructing global warming http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/27/lindzen-deconstructing-global-warming/ containing a PDF link to Dr Lindzen’s full report. The report sites the fact that two of the leading “proponents” of Global Warming admit that the “true science” is unsettled, however, that doesn’t matter – “we shouldn’t let that stop us from implementing “other agendas”. Read it for yourself ……. “The idea of climate change should be seen as an intellectual resource around which our collective and personal identities and projects can form and take shape. We need to ask not what we can do for climate change, but to ask what climate change can do for us….Because the idea of climate change is so plastic, it can be deployed across many of our human projects and can serve many of our psychological, ethical, and spiritual needs.We will continue to create and tell new stories about climate change and mobilize them in support of our projects. These myths transcend the scientific categories of ‘true’ and ‘false’”. The actual words from the “Founders” of Climate Change Science …….. I guess they have no shame. http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/cooler_heads_lindzen-talk-pdf.pdf
Dr. Lindzen’s actual presentation on this subject can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=22D4DD5727161348
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The following article by Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc., was published, after peer review, in March 2007. Dr. Jaworski was one of the first to point out the loss of scientific integrity in the field of global warming research.
CO2 – The Greatest Scientific Scandal Of Our Time
By: Dr. Zbigniew Jaworski, M.D., Ph. D., D.Sc.
ERI Science March 16, 2007
Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski, one of our planets first climate change specialists, is a multidisciplinary scientist, now a senior advisor at the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection in Warsaw. In the winter of 1957-58, he measured the concentration of CO2 in the atmospheric air at Spitsbergen. From 1972 to 1991, he investigated the history of the pollution of the global atmosphere, measuring the dust preserved in 17 glaciers: in the Tatra Mountains in Poland, Antarctic, Alaska, Norway, the Alps, the Himalayas, the Ruwenzori Mountains in Uganda, and the Peruvian Andes. He has published many papers on climate, most of them concerning the CO2 measurements in ice cores. Two of his papers on climate appear on the website of 21st Century Science & Technology magazine. www.21stcenturysciencetech.com. Dr Jaworski is one of the world’s preeminent scholars in the field of ice core analysis.
On Feb. 2, 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate (IPCC) again uttered its mantra of catastrophe about man-made global warming. After weeks of noisy propaganda, a 21-page “Summary for Policymakers” of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, 2007, was presented in grandiose style to a crowd of politicians and media, accompanied by a blackout of the Eiffel Tower to show that electric energy is bad. The event induced a tsunami of hysteria that ran around the world. This was probably the main aim of this clearly political paper, prepared by governmental and United Nations bureaucrats and published more than three months before the IPCC’s 1,600-page scientific report, which was not released until May 2007.
In the words of the IPCC, the delay was needed so that, “Changes . . . [could be] made to ensure consistency with the ‘Summary for Policymakers.” Not a single word in these 1,600 pages was allowed to be in conflict with what the politicians (and bureaucrats) said beforehand in the summary! (In fact several of the original findings and conclusions made by the panel of investigating scientists were changed prior to the publication of the actual report – conclusions that were not in “lockstep” with the desired political conclusions were deleted from the report).
This is a strange and unusual method of operation for a scientific report, and even stranger is the frankness of the IPCC’s words about the delay, disclosing its lack of scientific integrity and independence. It is exactly the same modus operandi demonstrated in the three former IPCC reports of 1990, 1995, and 2001. ……
The Four Basic IPCC Lies
The four basic statements in the “Summary for Policymakers” are:
1).Carbon dioxide, an important anthropogenic greenhouse gas, increased markedly as a result of human activities and its atmospheric concentration of 379 ppmv (parts per million, by volume) in 2005 by far exceeding the natural range of 180 to 300 ppmv over the last 650,000 years.
2. Since 1750, human activities warmed the climate.
3. The warmth of the last half-century is unusual, is the highest in at least the past 1,300 years, and is “very likely” caused by increases in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.
4. Predictions are made that anthropogenic warming will continue for centuries and between 2090 and 2099 the global average surface temperature will increase 1.1°C to 6.4°C.
Various scare stories of global catastrophes are prophesied to occur if man-made emissions are not curbed by drastic political decisions.The obvious beneficial effects of warming are downplayed. (Beneficial effects include larger crop yields, reducing the likelyhood of continued global famine).
Except for the pronouncements concerning CO2, all these points are garlanded with qualifications such as “likely,” “very likely,” “extremely likely” and “unequivocal.”
In fact, to the contrary, all 4 of these points are incorrect.
The first “Summary for Policymakers” statement on the man-made increase of CO2, is a cornerstone of the IPCC report, and of the global warming edifice.
This statement is a half-truth.
It is true that CO2 is “an important anthropogenic [trace] greenhouse gas,” but a much more important greenhouse factor is the water naturally in the atmosphere, which contributes some 95% to the total greenhouse effect. This basic fact is not mentioned at all in the “Summary for Policymakers.”
Also not mentioned is the fact that 97% of the total annual emission of CO2 into the atmosphere comes from natural emissions of the land and sea, human beings add a mere 3%. This man-made 3% of CO2 is responsible for a tiny fraction of the total greenhouse gas, probably close to 0.12%. (12 hundredth’s of 1%).
Propositions of changing, or rather destroying, the global energy system because of this tiny human contribution, in face of the large short-term and long-term natural fluctuations of atmospheric CO2, are utterly irresponsible.
The Truth About Ice Cores
Because carbon dioxide ice core records are regarded as a foundation of the man-made global warming hypothesis, let us dwell on them for a while.
The basic assumption behind the CO2 glaciology is a tacit view that air inclusions in ice are a closed system, which permanently preserves the original chemical and isotopic composition of gas, and thus that the inclusions are a suitable matrix for reliable reconstruction of the pre-industrial and ancient atmosphere.
This assumption is in conflict with ample evidence from numerous earlier CO2 studies, indicating the opposite (see review in Jaworowski et al. 1992b).
Proxy determinations of the atmospheric CO2 level by analysis of ice cores, reported since 1985, have been generally lower than the levels measured recently in the atmosphere. But, before 1985, the ice cores were showing values much higher than the current atmospheric concentrations. (Jaworowski et al. 1992b). These recent proxy ice core values remained low during the entire past 650,000 years (Siegenthaler et al. 2005) even during the six former interglacial periods, when the global temperature was as much as 5°C warmer than in our current interglacial!
This means that either atmospheric CO2 levels have no discernible influence on climate (which is true), or that the proxy ice core reconstructions of the chemical composition of the ancient atmosphere are false (which is also true, as shown below).
It was never experimentally demonstrated that ice core records reliably represent the original atmospheric composition. Other proxies demonstrated that many millions of years ago CO2 levels in the atmosphere reached, at various times, 377, 450, and even 3,500 ppmv (Kurschner et al. 1996, Royer et al. 2001), and that during the past 10,000 years these levels were, as a rule, higher than 300 ppmv, fluctuating up to 348 ppmv (Kurschner et al. 1996, Royer et al. 2001, Wagner et al 1999, Wagner et al. 2002).
The results of these last studies prove false the assertion of stabilized Holocene CO2 concentrations of 270 ppmv to 280 ppmv until the industrial revolution. (Global warming alarmist claim this false level of atmospheric level of CO2 – it is the base level from which they claim an alarming increase has occurred).
The results of the cited pre-1985 studies are strongly supported by direct CO2 measurements, carried out in the pre-industrial and 20th-Century atmosphere. About 2 billion years ago, the CO2 atmospheric level was 100 or perhaps even 1,000 times higher than today. According to today’s climate models, the Earth would have been too hot for life at that time (Ohmoto et al. 2004).
However, geologic evidence suggests there was not a Venus-style, “runaway warming.” Instead, life flourished then in the oceans and land, with such enormously high levels of this “gas of life,” from which our bodies and all living creatures are built (Godlewski 1873). Yet, Greens now call this gas a dangerous “pollutant.”
The Hockey Stick Curves
On the basis of assumption piled upon assumption, several versions of CO2 “hockey stick curves” were compiled by combining distorted proxy ice core data and direct atmospheric CO2 measurements.
These so-called hockey stick curves were published countless times as a proof of the anthropogenic increase of CO2 in the atmophere.
These measurements were created by illegitimately mixing proxy ice core data with direct measurements in the atmosphere.
“…. falsified CO2 “hockey stick curves” were presented in all the IPCC reports, including the “Summary for Policymakers” issued in 2007….”
These hockey sticks were credulously accepted by almost everyone, together with other information on greenhouse gases determined in the ice cores, which were plagued by improper manipulation of data an arbitrary rejection of the high readings from “old ice” and an arbritary rejection of low readings from “young ice”, simply because the data did not fit the preconceived idea of man-made global warming. (Yes, the study “excluded all data” that did not fit the preconceived and desired outcome – the data which tended to disprove the desired outcome was excluded from the report).
Dr. Jaworski’s compelling report can be read in its entirety (with supporting graphs and references) here:
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First, lets make one thing perfectly clear – the pollutant that comes out of the tailpipe of your car is not Carbon Dioxide (CO2) it is Carbon Monoxide (CO).
Without CO2 there would be no plant life on earth, without plant life there would be no animal life.
By the way – human beings are considered animal life.
A major reduction in CO2 levels will result in reduced crop yeilds and world wide famine ….. Increased CO2 levels lead to increased crop yeilds. Did you know that green houses actually “pump” CO2 into there controlled atmospheres to improve plant growth?
Read on ……
What is Photosynthesis?
Photosynthesis is the process by which plants, some bacteria, and some protistans use the energy from sunlight to produce sugar, which cellular respiration converts into ATP, the “fuel” used by all living things. The conversion of unusable sunlight energy into usable chemical energy, is associated with the actions of the green pigment chlorophyll. Most of the time, the photosynthetic process uses water and releases the oxygen that we absolutely must have to stay alive. Oh yes, we need the food as well!
We can write the overall reaction of this process as:
6H2O + 6CO2 ———-> C6H12O6+ 6O2
Most of us don’t speak chemicalese, so the above chemical equation translates as:
six molecules of water plus six molecules of carbon dioxide produce one molecule of sugar plus six molecules of oxygen.
Through the process of photsynthesis plants combine light with water and CO2 to produce their plant food (sugars) needed for growth and as a byproduct plants produce the oxygen we breath. Without CO2 this process would come to an end and life on earth would cease to exist.
Diagram of a typical plant, showing the inputs and outputs of the photosynthetic process. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates (www.sinauer.com) and WH Freeman (www.whfreeman.com), used with permission.
Leaves and Leaf Structure
Plants are the only photosynthetic organisms to have leaves (and not all plants have leaves). A leaf may be viewed as a solar collector crammed full of photosynthetic cells.
The raw materials of photosynthesis, water and carbon dioxide, enter the cells of the leaf, and the products of photosynthesis, sugar and oxygen, leave the leaf.
Cross section of a leaf, showing the anatomical features important to the study of photosynthesis: stoma, guard cell, mesophyll cells, and vein. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates (www.sinauer.com) and WH Freeman (www.whfreeman.com), used with permission.
Water enters the root and is transported up to the leaves through specialized plant cells known as xylem (pronounces zigh-lem). Land plants must guard against drying out (desiccation) and so have evolved specialized structures known as stomata to allow gas to enter and leave the leaf. Carbon dioxide cannot pass through the protective waxy layer covering the leaf (cuticle), but it can enter the leaf through an opening (the stoma; plural = stomata; Greek for hole) flanked by two guard cells. Likewise, oxygen produced during photosynthesis can only pass out of the leaf through the opened stomata. Unfortunately for the plant, while these gases are moving between the inside and outside of the leaf, a great deal water is also lost. Cottonwood trees, for example, will lose 100 gallons of water per hour during hot desert days. Carbon dioxide enters single-celled and aquatic autotrophs through no specialized structures.
Pea Leaf Stoma, Vicea sp. (SEM x3,520). This image is copyright Dennis Kunkel at www.DennisKunkel.com, used with permission.
The Nature of Light
White light is separated into the different colors (=wavelengths) of light by passing it through a prism. Wavelength is defined as the distance from peak to peak (or trough to trough). The energy of is inversely porportional to the wavelength: longer wavelengths have less energy than do shorter ones.
Wavelength and other aspects of the wave nature of light. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates (www.sinauer.com) and WH Freeman (www.whfreeman.com), used with permission.
The order of colors is determined by the wavelength of light. Visible light is one small part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The longer the wavelength of visible light, the more red the color. Likewise the shorter wavelengths are towards the violet side of the spectrum. Wavelengths longer than red are referred to as infrared, while those shorter than violet are ultraviolet.
Light behaves both as a wave and a particle. Wave properties of light include the bending of the wave path when passing from one material (medium) into another (i.e. the prism, rainbows, pencil in a glass-of-water, etc.). The particle properties are demonstrated by the photoelectric effect. Zinc exposed to ultraviolet light becomes positively charged because light energy forces electrons from the zinc. These electrons can create an electrical current. Sodium, potassium and selenium have critical wavelengths in the visible light range. The critical wavelength is the maximum wavelength of light (visible or invisible) that creates a photoelectric effect.
Chlorophyll and Accessory Pigments
A pigment is any substance that absorbs light. The color of the pigment comes from the wavelengths of light reflected (in other words, those not absorbed). Chlorophyll, the green pigment common to all photosynthetic cells, absorbs all wavelengths of visible light except green, which it reflects to be detected by our eyes. Black pigments absorb all of the wavelengths that strike them. White pigments/lighter colors reflect all or almost all of the energy striking them. Pigments have their own characteristic absorption spectra, the absorption pattern of a given pigment.
Absorption and transmission of different wavelengths of light by a hypothetical pigment. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates (www.sinauer.com) and WH Freeman (www.whfreeman.com), used with permission.
Chlorophyll is a complex molecule. Several modifications of chlorophyll occur among plants and other photosynthetic organisms. All photosynthetic organisms (plants, certain protistans, prochlorobacteria, and cyanobacteria) have chlorophyll a. Accessory pigments absorb energy that chlorophyll a does not absorb. Accessory pigments include chlorophyll b (also c, d, and e in algae and protistans), xanthophylls, and carotenoids (such as beta-carotene). Chlorophyll a absorbs its energy from the Violet-Blue and Reddish orange-Red wavelengths, and little from the intermediate (Green-Yellow-Orange) wavelengths.
Molecular model of chlorophyll. The above image is from http://www.nyu.edu:80/pages/mathmol/library/photo.
Molecular model of carotene. The above image is from http://www.nyu.edu:80/pages/mathmol/library/photo.
Carotenoids and chlorophyll b absorb some of the energy in the green wavelength. Why not so much in the orange and yellow wavelengths? Both chlorophylls also absorb in the orange-red end of the spectrum (with longer wavelengths and lower energy). The origins of photosynthetic organisms in the sea may account for this. Shorter wavelengths (with more energy) do not penetrate much below 5 meters deep in sea water. The ability to absorb some energy from the longer (hence more penetrating) wavelengths might have been an advantage to early photosynthetic algae that were not able to be in the upper (photic) zone of the sea all the time.
The molecular structure of chlorophylls. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates (www.sinauer.com) and WH Freeman (www.whfreeman.com), used with permission.
The action spectrum of photosynthesis is the relative effectiveness of different wavelengths of light at generating electrons. If a pigment absorbs light energy, one of three things will occur. Energy is dissipated as heat. The energy may be emitted immediately as a longer wavelength, a phenomenon known as fluorescence. Energy may trigger a chemical reaction, as in photosynthesis. Chlorophyll only triggers a chemical reaction when it is associated with proteins embedded in a membrane (as in a chloroplast) or the membrane infoldings found in photosynthetic prokaryotes such as cyanobacteria and prochlorobacteria.
Absorption spectrum of several plant pigments (left) and action spectrum of elodea (right), a common aquarium plant used in lab experiments about photosynthesis. Images from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates (www.sinauer.com) and WH Freeman (www.whfreeman.com), used with permission.
The structure of the chloroplast and photosynthetic membranes
The thylakoid is the structural unit of photosynthesis. Both photosynthetic prokaryotes and eukaryotes have these flattened sacs/vesicles containing photosynthetic chemicals. Only eukaryotes have chloroplasts with a surrounding membrane.
Thylakoids are stacked like pancakes in stacks known collectively as grana. The areas between grana are referred to as stroma. While the mitochondrion has two membrane systems, the chloroplast has three, forming three compartments.
Stages of Photosynthesis
Photosynthesis is a two stage process. The first process is the Light Dependent Process (Light Reactions), requires the direct energy of light to make energy carrier molecules that are used in the second process. The Light Independent Process (or Dark Reactions) occurs when the products of the Light Reaction are used to form C-C covalent bonds of carbohydrates. The Dark Reactions can usually occur in the dark, if the energy carriers from the light process are present. Recent evidence suggests that a major enzyme of the Dark Reaction is indirectly stimulated by light, thus the term Dark Reaction is somewhat of a misnomer. The Light Reactions occur in the grana and the Dark Reactions take place in the stroma of the chloroplasts.
Overview of the two steps in the photosynthesis process. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates (www.sinauer.com) and WH Freeman (www.whfreeman.com), used with permission.
In the Light Dependent Processes (Light Reactions) light strikes chlorophyll a in such a way as to excite electrons to a higher energy state. In a series of reactions the energy is converted (along an electron transport process) into ATP and NADPH. Water is split in the process, releasing oxygen as a by-product of the reaction. The ATP and NADPH are used to make C-C bonds in the Light Independent Process (Dark Reactions).
In the Light Independent Process, carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (or water for aquatic/marine organisms) is captured and modified by the addition of Hydrogen to form carbohydrates (general formula of carbohydrates is [CH2O]n). The incorporation of carbon dioxide into organic compounds is known as carbon fixation. The energy for this comes from the first phase of the photosynthetic process. Living systems cannot directly utilize light energy, but can, through a complicated series of reactions, convert it into C-C bond energy that can be released by glycolysis and other metabolic processes.
Photosystems are arrangements of chlorophyll and other pigments packed into thylakoids. Many Prokaryotes have only one photosystem, Photosystem II (so numbered because, while it was most likely the first to evolve, it was the second one discovered). Eukaryotes have Photosystem II plus Photosystem I. Photosystem I uses chlorophyll a, in the form referred to as P700. Photosystem II uses a form of chlorophyll a known as P680. Both “active” forms of chlorophyll a function in photosynthesis due to their association with proteins in the thylakoid membrane.
Action of a photosystem. This image is from the University of Minnesota page at http://genbiol.cbs.umn.edu/Multimedia/examples.html.
Photophosphorylation is the process of converting energy from a light-excited electron into the pyrophosphate bond of an ADP molecule. This occurs when the electrons from water are excited by the light in the presence of P680. The energy transfer is similar to the chemiosmotic electron transport occurring in the mitochondria. Light energy causes the removal of an electron from a molecule of P680 that is part of Photosystem II. The P680 requires an electron, which is taken from a water molecule, breaking the water into H+ ions and O-2 ions. These O-2 ions combine to form the diatomic O2 that is released. The electron is “boosted” to a higher energy state and attached to a primary electron acceptor, which begins a series of redox reactions, passing the electron through a series of electron carriers, eventually attaching it to a molecule in Photosystem I. Light acts on a molecule of P700 in Photosystem I, causing an electron to be “boosted” to a still higher potential. The electron is attached to a different primary electron acceptor (that is a different molecule from the one associated with Photosystem II). The electron is passed again through a series of redox reactions, eventually being attached to NADP+ and H+ to form NADPH, an energy carrier needed in the Light Independent Reaction. The electron from Photosystem II replaces the excited electron in the P700 molecule. There is thus a continuous flow of electrons from water to NADPH. This energy is used in Carbon Fixation. Cyclic Electron Flow occurs in some eukaryotes and primitive photosynthetic bacteria. No NADPH is produced, only ATP. This occurs when cells may require additional ATP, or when there is no NADP+ to reduce to NADPH. In Photosystem II, the pumping to H ions into the thylakoid and the conversion of ADP + P into ATP is driven by electron gradients established in the thylakoid membrane.
Noncyclic photophosphorylation (top) and cyclic photophosphorylation (bottom). These processes are better known as the light reactions. Images from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates (www.sinauer.com) and WH Freeman (www.whfreeman.com), used with permission.
The above diagrams present the “old” view of photophosphorylation. We now know where the process occurs in the chloroplast, and can link that to chemiosmotic synthesis of ATP.
Chemiosmosis as it operates in photophosphorylation within a chloroplast. Images from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates (www.sinauer.com) and WH Freeman (www.whfreeman.com), used with permission.
Halobacteria, which grow in extremely salty water, are facultative aerobes, they can grow when oxygen is absent. Purple pigments, known as retinal (a pigment also found in the human eye) act similar to chlorophyll. The complex of retinal and membrane proteins is known as bacteriorhodopsin, which generates electrons which establish a proton gradient that powers an ADP-ATP pump, generating ATP from sunlight without chlorophyll. This supports the theory that chemiosmotic processes are universal in their ability to generate ATP.
Carbon-Fixing Reactions are also known as the Dark Reactions (or Light Independent Reactions). Carbon dioxide enters single-celled and aquatic autotrophs through no specialized structures, diffusing into the cells. Land plants must guard against drying out (desiccation) and so have evolved specialized structures known as stomata to allow gas to enter and leave the leaf. The Calvin Cycle occurs in the stroma of chloroplasts (where would it occur in a prokaryote?). Carbon dioxide is captured by the chemical ribulose biphosphate (RuBP). RuBP is a 5-C chemical. Six molecules of carbon dioxide enter the Calvin Cycle, eventually producing one molecule of glucose. The reactions in this process were worked out by Melvin Calvin (shown below).
The above image is from http://www-itg.lbl.gov/ImgLib/COLLECTIONS/BERKELEY-LAB/PEOPLE/INDIVIDUALS/index/BIOCHEM_523.html,
The first steps in the Calvin ccycle. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates (www.sinauer.com) and WH Freeman (www.whfreeman.com), used with permission.
The first stable product of the Calvin Cycle is phosphoglycerate (PGA), a 3-C chemical. The energy from ATP and NADPH energy carriers generated by the photosystems is used to attach phosphates to (phosphorylate) the PGA. Eventually there are 12 molecules of glyceraldehyde phosphate (also known as phosphoglyceraldehyde or PGAL, a 3-C), two of which are removed from the cycle to make a glucose. The remaining PGAL molecules are converted by ATP energy to reform 6 RuBP molecules, and thus start the cycle again. Remember the complexity of life, each reaction in this process, as in Kreb’s Cycle, is catalyzed by a different reaction-specific enzyme.
Some plants have developed a preliminary step to the Calvin Cycle (which is also referred to as a C-3 pathway), this preamble step is known as C-4. While most C-fixation begins with RuBP, C-4 begins with a new molecule, phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP), a 3-C chemical that is converted into oxaloacetic acid (OAA, a 4-C chemical) when carbon dioxide is combined with PEP. The OAA is converted to Malic Acid and then transported from the mesophyll cell into the bundle-sheath cell, where OAA is broken down into PEP plus carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide then enters the Calvin Cycle, with PEP returning to the mesophyll cell. The resulting sugars are now adjacent to the leaf veins and can readily be transported throughout the plant.
C-4 photosynthsis involves the separation of carbon fixation and carbohydrate systhesis in space and time. Image from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates (www.sinauer.com) and WH Freeman (www.whfreeman.com), used with permission.
The capture of carbon dioxide by PEP is mediated by the enzyme PEP carboxylase, which has a stronger affinity for carbon dioxide than does RuBP carboxylase When carbon dioxide levels decline below the threshold for RuBP carboxylase, RuBP is catalyzed with oxygen instead of carbon dioxide. The product of that reaction forms glycolic acid, a chemical that can be broken down by photorespiration, producing neither NADH nor ATP, in effect dismantling the Calvin Cycle. C-4 plants, which often grow close together, have had to adjust to decreased levels of carbon dioxide by artificially raising the carbon dioxide concentration in certain cells to prevent photorespiration. C-4 plants evolved in the tropics and are adapted to higher temperatures than are the C-3 plants found at higher latitudes. Common C-4 plants include crabgrass, corn, and sugar cane. Note that OAA and Malic Acid also have functions in other processes, thus the chemicals would have been present in all plants, leading scientists to hypothesize that C-4 mechanisms evolved several times independently in response to a similar environmental condition, a type of evolution known as convergent evolution.
We can see anatomical differences between C3 and C4 leaves.
Leaf anatomy (BELOW) of a C3 (top) and C4 (bottom) plant. Images from Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, by Sinauer Associates (www.sinauer.com) and WH Freeman (www.whfreeman.com), used with permission.
The Carbon Cycle
Plants may be viewed as carbon sinks, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and oceans by fixing it into organic chemicals. Plants also produce some carbon dioxide by their respiration, but this is quickly used by photosynthesis. Plants also convert energy from light into chemical energy of C-C covalent bonds. Animals are carbon dioxide producers that derive their energy from carbohydrates and other chemicals produced by plants by the process of photosynthesis.
The balance between the plant carbon dioxide removal and animal carbon dioxide generation is equalized also by the formation of carbonates in the oceans. This removes excess carbon dioxide from the air and water (both of which are in equilibrium with regard to carbon dioxide). Fossil fuels, such as petroleum and coal, as well as more recent fuels such as peat and wood generate carbon dioxide when burned. Fossil fuels are formed ultimately by organic processes, and represent also a tremendous carbon sink. Human activity has greatly increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in air. This increase has led to global warming, an increase in temperatures around the world, the Greenhouse Effect. The increase in carbon dioxide and other pollutants in the air has also led to acid rain, where water falls through polluted air and chemically combines with carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides, and sulfur oxides, producing rainfall with pH as low as 4. This results in fish kills and changes in soil pH which can alter the natural vegetation and uses of the land. The Global Warming problem can lead to melting of the ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica, raising sea-level as much as 120 meters. Changes in sea-level and temperature would affect climate changes, altering belts of grain production and rainfall patterns.
Chosen Value of the Week 1/30/98
Wednesday June 06 2007
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From: Canadian Free Press
It’s NOT The CO2 Stupid!
There is another bizarre twist in the release of damming files from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia known as ‘climategate’. It is the biggest deception in history but the story and arguments of how the material was obtained, its credibility and significance have diverted attention from the real scientific issue.
Several scientists have known for years the science was wrong and the CRU with a few others were doing things beyond normal scientific techniques to mislead the public. We couldn’t compete with the deliberate media misinformation, personal attacks and frightening orchestration disclosed in the hacked emails. Now we have the weapon but it is an atomic bomb ignored by the mainstream media and the politicians.
The key was CO2 and why it received so much attention? It’s less than 4 percent of the greenhouse gases and a miniscule part of the total complexity that creates weather. Yet it’s the sole focus of all climate and energy policy when it doesn’t cause global warming or climate change. In fact, in every record of any duration for any period in the earth’s history temperature increase precedes CO2 increase. This is the complete opposite of the fundamental assumption made in the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory. The only place where CO2 causes temperature increase is in the doctored computer models of the CRU and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). People involved in climategate also controlled key chapters of the IPCC Reports including those on atmospheric composition; paleoclimates (reconstruction of past climate); computer models and the Summary for PolicyMakers (SPM). Manipulation of data, falsification of temperature graphs, control of publishing and peer review, selective inclusion of variables and mechanisms in computer models were all designed to make it appear CO2 was the sole driving mechanism of temperature. The 2007 IPCC Report concluded that CO2 accounted for 90% of warming in the last 30 years. It’s equivalent to saying the small left toenail controls 90% of your body.
They’ve moved the goalposts again as they did when global warming became climate change and carbon credits became cap and trade. The focus is Climategate when it should be how even excluding rigged data the science is wrong. Scientists involved in the ‘climategate’ scandal have successfully diverted attention from the real issue with their denials. The mainstream media whose silence is either deafening or defensive have enabled them. What’s The Motive?
Disclosure of the extent and degree of the scandal leads to the obvious question. “What’s the motive?” There are two streams, the political and the scientific, which appear separate but are closely conjoined. The political stream was the pursuit of Maurice Strong and all those descendants of the Club of Rome including President Obama who want one world government with total control over everybody. That goal has not changed. The 1974 report of the Club of Rome titled, Mankind at the Turning Point says, “It would seem that humans need a common motivation…either a real one or else one invented for the purpose…In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.” (my emphasis). H. L. Mencken’s comment that, “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule” is validated.
The scientific stream was the role of the Climategate scientists who were either sympathetic or blinded by the funding and career opportunities, or both. They provided the ‘science’ needed through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to achieve Strong’s political goal. I wrote about this sequence in a series of eleven articles.
Politicians With Blinkers On See Tax Potential.
Now the scientists are exposed they’re expendable except to claim the leaks don’t change the data or its relevance. That’s false because they made everything point at CO2 when the evidence clearly shows it wasn’t a factor at all. Other issues such as ice melting, sea level rising are all normal events they’ve presented as abnormal because they know the public and most of the media don’t understand. There was an orchestrated increase in such stories leading up to Copenhagen. Predictions of disaster are in the Report of Working Group II of the IPCC are based solely on the false science prepared by Working Group I controlled by the CRU gang. This provides the emotional leverage to support Strong’s objective of shutting down industry, establishing equalization of wealth and one world government. Politicians saw an opportunity to grab massive amounts of tax wearing the cloak of green. (How bad is Obama’s deficit if he doesn’t have the revenue from Cap and Trade?) Most of the mainstream media and especially people like Revkin and Krugman at the New York Times or Monbiot at the Guardian (UK) continue their role of facilitating the new denial. Obama and other world leaders including Canadian PM Stephen Harper head off to Copenhagen with no mention of Climategate. They’re using the climate gun to control everybody while they rob them blind.
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