# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: How much is the increase in CO2 every year?  (Read 71024 times)

#### Henry Pool

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« on: 17/04/2009 10:30:02 »
Henry Pool asked the Naked Scientists:

Hi you all

Subject: global warming

I read an article about climate change, and I quote: "It turns out you can't save species without saving the sky. That will mean reducing carbon emissions as fast as possible."ť (Time, April 13)

Now, we have the theory that the earth is warming up due to more CO2 getting into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels, causing a green house effect.

Reaction: C (any wood or fossil fuel)   O2 (burning) = CO2   (g)

My problem is: I cannot remember having seen any figures on this increase in CO2. I think a relevant question is: How much is the increase every year? Do you perhaps have an answer to that? How much is it and by how much every year is the CO2 in the air increasing?

On the other side of the balance we have nature itself (e.g. forests, oceans, seas)   trying to move CO2 back to oxygen.

Reaction: CO2  + UV sunlight +  fauna & flora = O2 (g)

But forests are being cut down at an alarming rate and pollution caused by overpopulation may have an effect on the seas and oceans around us, causing less oxygen to be put back in the atmosphere by this process.

Perhaps, as we speak, we are removing much more oxygen by burning fossil fuels then nature is putting back. I do not know. Do you have an answer to that? Don't you think that that would be a relevant question, to see which way the balance is moving?

The problem is (again): I cannot remember ever having seen any figures on the increase or decrease of oxygen.   The question is: How fast is the oxygen content of the air in the world decreasing, if at all?

My proposal is that we must agree to a number of standard places on earth where we measure the CO2 and O2 content, at a specified height. All these results and the average should be published every week or month, at a place where everyone can find this, together with a year to year graph, so that we know whether or not we are moving in the right direction. This would become like a barometer on the health of the sky.

I hope you will agree with me that it is time to de-mystify some of the aspects of 'global warming'ť and come up with some real figures and facts, from exact measurements.

Many thanks!

Regards,

Henry Pool

What do you think?

#### dentstudent

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #1 on: 20/04/2009 15:58:49 »
Here is the first of a few figures which may trigger others to posts here too!

This graph shows the readings and annual trend of CO2 increase since 2005 in Hawaii, and so you can see that it has increased by about 9 parts per million (ppm) over the last 4 years. The box to the right of the graph shows the annual CO2 increase in ppm from 1959 to present. No decreases in there, are there!
« Last Edit: 20/04/2009 16:01:26 by dentstudent »

#### Bored chemist

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #2 on: 20/04/2009 22:32:45 »
In principle the production of that extra 9 ppm over the last 4 years will have been accompanied by a fall in the oxygen concentration of about 9 ppm.
However that means that it fell from (about) 21% to about 20.9991% In fact, because of local variations, it wouldn't be easy (perhaps not even possible) to show that a change that small has actually happened.

#### BenV

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #3 on: 22/04/2009 13:43:32 »
Henry - you can get to the graphs by clicking on the words "This graph" in Dentstudent's post, or by going here: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

#### Henry Pool

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #4 on: 22/04/2009 14:34:41 »
yes, I found the the graphs from Pieter Tans,  very interesting. An analysis of these results over each (reported) decade suggest that the annual increase in CO2 will soon be about 2,5 ppm's per annum. However, look carefully at the rate of the increase. It does seem to be slowing down a bit. Any ideas on why?
I also find the 2,5 ppm's (= 2,5 milligrams per kilo air) much lower than expected. Difficult yet to imagine that a change this small can have such a serious influence on the climate.

#### Henry Pool

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #5 on: 22/04/2009 18:06:08 »
I have thought about it whole day, but I really, honestly, cannot believe that an increase in the CO2 content of only 70 ppm's (0,007%) since 1960 could possibly be the cause or reason for global warming. That is not it. Impossible. But I still know that global warming is real. We can see it happening in Alaska, Greenland and in the arctics. But if it is not in the air, then it must be something else. I am thinking, it is us... We want to live and work in a warm place, drive cars, fly planes, and we are the ones who make all that heat and fire on earth. It is all 6,7 billion of us. These results of the CO2 content show to me that we have to shift our way of thinking completely. We simply have to reduce the amount of heat that we produce on earth each year, not carbon emissions. Unfortunately, I don't know and I am not yet sure how we can do that without interrupting basic human rights....

#### Bored chemist

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #6 on: 22/04/2009 20:26:20 »
Since you cannot convert ppm to mg/kilo correctly it's fair to assume that you don't have a clue what you are talking about. On that basis it makes more sense for you to listen to those people who do know what they are talking about and accept that the change does make a difference.
Also you might want to think about the fact that the change (270 ppm to 340 ppm) is roughly 25% not 0.007%.

#### Henry Pool

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #7 on: 22/04/2009 21:06:33 »
I am not sure how you say that I made a mistake in my ppm to %w/w conversion. You said yourself that 9 ppm = 0,0009% w/w, so the 70 ppm increase (since 1960) must be equal to 0,007%?
So the bored chemist is saying that the CO2 content went up by approx. 25% which I am not denying. But in the composition of air this change was from 0,027% to 0,034%, an increase of only 0,007% w/w. I am saying that I think that in the atmosphere such a small change is not relevant, and cannot possibly be a cause for heat being trapped (green house effect). Have there been any tests done on that (at such low CO2 concentrations?)
Anyway, I am clear in my mind as to what the reasons are for global warming. We have to stop cooking.

#### Bored chemist

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #8 on: 22/04/2009 21:33:27 »
Just exactly where was I dumb enough to say %w/w?
Concentrations of gases are generally measured and expressed as volume fractions (% or ppm) or as mass/ volume .

Do you understand that
Air is mainly nitrogen, oxygen, argon and carbon dioxide and that only one of these absorbs infra red so, from the point of view of the greenhouse effect, the other gases might as well not be there.
In effect the blanket just got 25% thicker and you don't accept that this could cause a change.

As I said, it might be better if you knew what you were on about.

#### Henry Pool

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #9 on: 23/04/2009 07:51:14 »
You can express it any way you want. If you talk about ppm (part per million) then 1 ppm = 1mg/kg = 0,0001% w/w which is why you (correctly) stated that 9 ppm = 0,0009%. Hardly even measurable if you talk about the oxygen. So what I say is this: the air that we breath now is 99.99% the same as the air that we breathed in 1960. If you want me to believe that such a small change of less then 0,01% in the air over a period of almost 50 years is causing global warming you have to prove that to me from the relevant studies. I am sure such studies must have been done? Perhaps someone can direct me to those studies? Otherwise, if you cannot prove that to me, I am still thinking that maybe it is not the change in the composition of the air that we have to worry about. Maybe it is rather the cumulative heat that we are producing all together, by wanting to stay cool or warm and cook and move about. Does that not make some sense?

#### Bored chemist

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #10 on: 23/04/2009 07:59:22 »
Look, I spend my days at work  largely doing analysis of air and I know that, in that context ppm refers to v/v (strictly speaking mole fraction) not mg/kg.

Also, if you don't see how making the blanket 25% thicker will warem things up then you are on the wrong website.
« Last Edit: 23/04/2009 08:05:51 by Bored chemist »

#### Henry Pool

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #11 on: 23/04/2009 13:16:54 »
Yes, that must be it. It must be me. I'm sorry that I don't understand it.
Let us just consider the off chance that I am right and that it is not the 70 ppm's of CO2 that was added to the atmosphere since 1960 that is the cause of our global warming. Suppose it is mostly the increase in energy generated by man on earth's surface (Henry's theory). In that case, I have come to the conclusion that even that does not change that much to the whole global warming debate. The total energy going onto the surface of earth is made up of two main parts, namely one that comes from nature itsself and one that which is manmade. Obviously,if we can convert energy from nature and channel it to man, we win, because then the total energy sum goes down./ Energy coming from nature includes that from the sun (sunlight), moon,(gravity), and those interacting with nature, e.g. rain, wind, rivers,hot water springs, etc. If we can convert any of these energy sources already present in nature, we win. If we all become more energy efficient and start using (energy efficient) public transport, we also win. The only thing that would really change in the debate is that nuclear energy would not be green. Because it would still add to the overall energy equation.

#### Bored chemist

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #12 on: 23/04/2009 20:02:04 »
"Suppose it is mostly the increase in energy generated by man on earth's surface "
OK, lets suppose that's true for a minute.
Since the sun dumps roughly a kilowatt of power onto each square meter of the earth's surface (on the sunlit side) then mankind must be making a roughly comparable contribution in order to explain the warming.
The effective area of the earth's sunward side is about 100 million million square metres so that's about 120 million billion watts of power. Now there are roughly 6 billion of us, so for us to contribute that much power we would need to dissipate something like 20 megawatts each.

OK I said we would suppose that the suggestion was valid; if I make that supposition I come to the conclusion that each man woman and child on the earth must be wasting some reasonably significant fraction of 20 MW.

Do you understand why I'm going to stop supposing that?

I'm all in favour of green progress, but lets not base it on a silly fantasy.

#### Henry Pool

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #13 on: 24/04/2009 07:59:06 »
I don't know, I think that calculation has some holes in it, because I don't see a time factor brought in it. I would like to check it out when I get the time for it. The atmosphere and surface also reflects and shields a lot of that energy from the sun. So I think it is not quite as simple as all that.

#### Henry Pool

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #14 on: 24/04/2009 09:05:20 »
In order to do this calculation, I would start looking at the amount of energy the average person consumes.In order to that I would need to know the total amount of wood (Africa fuel!), coal, liquid fuels, kerosene and gas consumed in the world as well as the total amount of electricity generated. All these consumption figures per time period. I am sure bored chemist has these figures for me? THANKS.

#### Henry Pool

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #15 on: 25/04/2009 13:04:56 »
It seems I am not getting the answers that I was hoping for that would prove to me one way or another that the 70 odd ppm’s of Carbon dioxide that were added to the atmosphere since 1960 are to blame for global warming. Surely, there must have been tests done to prove this theory? If yes, where are the results of these studies?

Just in case no results of such studies are available, I am proposing the following experiments. I am hoping that maybe the naked scientists can interest some of the stake holders to help conduct these experiments. Feel free to propose modifications to these experiments if you think it will be an improvement.

I hope that the results of all of these experiments may prove one way or another that carbon dioxide is to blame for global warming more then anything else, or that perhaps it has no influence, or that perhaps there might be a combination of factors that is at work here. It is imperative that we know which are the important factors when we look at global warming as otherwise we could be making the wrong policy decisions!

Experiment 1
We have a glass vessel, about 100 liters, flushed and filled with 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen, representing the earth and its atmosphere at the beginning.
We have a probe on the side, in the middle, connected to a thermocouple and a temperature recorder. We have a heating element in the middle of the vessel. The vessel is closed from the outside. The outside temperature is kept constant, at all times.
A measured amount of energy is released into the vessel. The resulting increase of the temperature in the vessel is recorded until it falls back to the base line. The area below the curve is measured. The measurements are repeated until a constant result can be reported. (A)
We now double the amount of energy released into the vessel, this increase representing human activity on earth. The area below the curve is measured. The measurements are repeated until a constant result can be reported.  (B)
In the case of this experiment, the result is predictable (i.e. if you double the amount of energy released in a vessel you should find close to a doubling of the area under your graph) which proves that Henry’s theory may have some bearing on global warming.

Experiment 2
Experiment 2 is the same as experiment 1, but now the vessel is filled with air, which includes all 350 ppm or so carbon dioxide currently available in 2009 air. The results are C en D. What would be interesting for scientists to know is the difference between  A and C and between B and D – in other words: if we release similar amounts of energy into the vessel, what effects, if any, does the carbon dioxide and the other gases present in air have on temperature retention inside the vessel.

Experiment 3
To prove bored chemist’s theory, it becomes a little bit more difficult. The heating element inside is removed. I propose to use a laser beam that introduces infra red light into the vessel via a KBr pressed cell on top of the vessel.  (I hope this works). The vessel remains closed to the outside atmosphere. This energy source represents sun light. The amount of energy introduced by this laser beam must be very close to that of the amount of energy introduced in the first experiment. You have to try and compare apples with apples. The vessel is flushed and filled with 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen. The result is E and for doubling the energy, we will call it F. However, remember, A-E and F-B should be close to 0, when looking at the square area underneath the graph (fine tuning of exposure to the laser beam).

Experiment 4
Experiment 4 is the same as experiment 3, with identical amounts of energy being introduced inside the vessel as in experiment 3, but now the vessel is filled with air, which includes all 350 ppm's or so carbon dioxide currently available in 2009 air. The results are G en H. What would be interesting for scientists to know is the difference between  E and G and between F and H – in other words: if we release similar amounts of energy into the vessel, what effects, if any, does the carbon dioxide and the other gases present in air have on temperature retention in the vessel.

#### TED

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #16 on: 25/04/2009 14:12:02 »
>It seems I am not getting the answers that I was hoping for that would
>prove to me one way or another that the 70 odd ppm’s of Carbon dioxide
>that were added to the atmosphere since 1960 are to blame for global
>warming. Surely, there must have been tests done to prove this theory?
>If yes, where are the results of these studies?

When the response to asking pertinent questions is that you are belittled and told that you don't understand and should leave it to those who do then you can be pretty sure you are on the right track.  According to data from ice core samples there have been times in the past when the levels of CO2 have been many times higher than they are now.  The result of having more of the life giving CO2 is that plants and trees flourish.  The amount of CO2 produced by the entire United States in a year is minuscule when compared to the amount produced by a single active volcano.  There are a lot of volcanoes in the world.

How about this?  Maybe the CO2 didn't cause the warming at all.  Maybe the opposite is true and the warming caused more CO2 in the atmosphere.  Maybe it's due to natural cycles of the Earth and Sun.  That might explain why "global warming" is also happening on Mars and other planets.  It also might explain why the warming of the Earth and Mars has been directly proportional to the warming of the Sun.  It is also interesting to note that the Earth's temperature in 2008 was cooler than in the previous 10 years.  It looks like 2009 will be even cooler.  I notice that many of those who make a lot of money from promoting the idea of global warming have switched to using the phrase "climate change" rather than "global warming".  Coincidence?  Not likely.

TED

#### Karsten

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #17 on: 25/04/2009 14:29:54 »
When the response to asking pertinent questions is that you are belittled and told that you don't understand and should leave it to those who do then you can be pretty sure you are on the right track.

As any 3-year old child can tell you.

#### Bored chemist

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #18 on: 25/04/2009 16:21:01 »
Henry, the experiments you propose would tell you about conduction and convection losses rather than radiation losses so they don't have any bearing on the greenhouse effect.
Is TED a "sockpuppet"?
Anyway;  it may be ture that "When the response to asking pertinent questions is that you are belittled and told that you don't understand and should leave it to those who do then you can be pretty sure you are on the right track. "

I wonder what you can be pretty sure of when someone points out that, rather than a 0.007% change, you are talking about a 25% change and that, based on the power delivered, your theory ignores something like 20MW per person.
My guess is that you can be pretty sure you are just dead wrong.
« Last Edit: 25/04/2009 16:26:28 by Bored chemist »

#### Henry Pool

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #19 on: 25/04/2009 17:51:11 »
We are talking about the retention of heat by the earth, i.e. heat being retained because it cannot escape. Similarly I have noticed in winter that if you come to the city after staying outside on the same plane (height) the temperature in the city is always a few degrees higher. What has this heat now to do with radiation? It what we do, we heat our houses. Anyway, I did try and simulate  sunlight in the experiment with infra red radiation, can that not work? A good idea would be to add a fan to the vessel, for even heat distribution (that would simulate the wind). Otherwise, if you don't want to do this experiment, where are the results of your tests that I am asking about? Could it be that they have been done, and they prove nothing?

#### Bored chemist

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #20 on: 25/04/2009 18:20:00 »
The extra warmth of big cities is well doccumented.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_heat_island
However as most of the earth's surface isn't even land, never mind a city the potential for this to affect the overall temperature is small. Even in a city centre the heat from mankind's activity is less than a tenth of that from the sun. Of course, in rural areas it's practically zero and there are vastly more bits of the world without antropogenic heatig than with.

As for experimental evidence, I have got a greenhouse and it's generally warmer in there than outside so there's no question that the greenhouse effect works.
I also use infra red spectrometry at work and I know that CO2 absorbs infra red radiation.

What mechanism are you proposing that stops the greenhouse effect?

Incidentally, while this
isn't a very sophisticated experiment, it shows the effect of a CO2 atmosphere on the temperature of an object heated by radiation.
« Last Edit: 25/04/2009 18:28:18 by Bored chemist »

#### BenV

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #21 on: 25/04/2009 19:11:58 »
Is TED a "sockpuppet"?
IP's don't match.  I think he's an opportunist, rather than a sockpuppet.

#### Bored chemist

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #22 on: 25/04/2009 23:59:12 »
Is TED a "sockpuppet"?
IP's don't match.  I think he's an opportunist, rather than a sockpuppet.
Fair enough, but I think you can understand my suspicion.

BTW, Henry,
I know I have not cited particularly evidence to back up the conventional theory. To be fair, there's plenty of discussion of it elsewhere on the net.
Do you have any evidence at all to back up your ideas?

#### paul.fr

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #23 on: 26/04/2009 09:01:27 »
Henry, I don't have time to go in to much detail, but just skimming over your posts I have picked a few quotes out:

Quote
I hope you will agree with me that it is time to de-mystify some of the aspects of 'global warming' and come up with some real figures and facts, from exact measurements.

Quote
I also find the 2,5 ppm's (= 2,5 milligrams per kilo air) much lower than expected. Difficult yet to imagine that a change this small can have such a serious influence on the climate.

Quote
I have thought about it whole day, but I really, honestly, cannot believe that an increase in the CO2 content of only 70 ppm's (0,007%) since 1960 could possibly be the cause or reason for global warming.

Quote
It seems I am not getting the answers that I was hoping for that would prove to me one way or another that the 70 odd ppmâ€™s of Carbon dioxide that were added to the atmosphere since 1960 are to blame for global warming.

From those quotes I am lead to believe that you just don't understand basic Meteorology or Climatology, and that you have not researched the content of this topic. The subject is only mystifying when you do not know or understand the science, and yes, there are "real" facts and figures from exact measurements, how else could we know the changing state of the atmosphere? One place you may wish to look up is the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii:

Quote
Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) is a premier atmospheric research facility that has been continuously monitoring and collecting data related to atmospheric change since the 1950's. The undisturbed air, remote location, and minimal influences of vegetation and human activity at MLO are ideal for monitoring consituents in the atmosphere that can cause climate change. The observatory is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) - Global Monitoring Division (GMD).

http://www.mlo.noaa.gov/

Comments here also seem to be confusing Climate Change with the Greenhouse Effect, and I would again recommend that people read this:

The greenhouse effect is actually a good thing and needed for life, without it the average surface temperature would be around -18 degrees Celsius. There is no scientific argument that the greenhouse effect is real and happening.

Global warming, or more accurately global climate change happens because the usual pattern whereby the earth s surface absorbs visible radiation from the sun, which causes heating and the surface and the atmosphere then emit infrared radiation back to space. If this was left uninterrupted then the earths surface temperatures would remain fairly constant, but increased greenhouse gasses have and are changing this. As has been discussed earlier, the concentration of Co2 has increased, this is causing more heat to be trapped in earths atmosphere instead of radiating out into space.

A pdf from the WMO will give you information on the values of increase in these gases:
http://www.wmo.ch/web/arep/gaw/ghg/ghg-bulletin-en-03-06.pdf

The UK Meteorological Office also have an Educational section:
http://www.metoffice.gov.UK/climatechange/

You made this comment:

Quote
Similarly I have noticed in winter that if you come to the city after staying outside on the same plane (height) the temperature in the city is always a few degrees higher.

Which prompted BC to post about the urban heat island. This can increase the local temperature by as much as (IIRC) 5 degrees Celsius, and alter the local climate conditions. What you have noticed is this effect, but for the wrong reason. If you look at the weather maps on your local forecast they will show areas where the temperatures are the same, they are represented as (usually) black lines and they are called an isotherm...places of equal temperature. You could leave that city and go to another town, nearby, that is of a lower elevation and that could have a higher temperature. So your observation is not really valid.

I just don't have the time to go in to detail, and may aspects have been left out, such as the most important one, water vapour and the effect increased Co2 has on it. Why not try reading and learning some basic meteorology and get a feel and understanding of how things work before trying to challenge something big like climate change?

here are a few places to start:
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jetstream//
www.theweatherprediction.com

#### Henry Pool

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##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #24 on: 26/04/2009 11:00:43 »
OK, let’s sum up what we got on my original question. We found only one place in the whole earth where they dutifully kept track of the CO2 content each year.. It was noted that about 70 ppm’s of CO2 were added to the atmosphere since 1960 (in Hawaii). This was considered to be so small, that it would hardly make a dent in the oxygen content, i.e. no measurable difference in the oxygen content.. The question has now shifted from “How much CO2 is added every year” to “How much is the influence of varying amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere to global warming”.  A variety of people have told me to go and do some studying because I just don’t understand but no one so far has given me an  answer... Fine, CO2 and water etc. absorb in the infra-red region. So what? What does that prove? Maybe these gases should cause cooling, because they keep that infra red from reaching earth? Why would they not start acting as a mirror outward to keep the heat out? Where are the studies that show this as proof, using varying amounts of carbon dioxide so that anyone (especially the stupid people in government and me) can understand it?

Please note: I am not denying that global warming is happening. I can see it. There is talk of the northern passage opening up and shipping magnates are already happy, because when it does, they can ship their stuff much faster from the east to the west. In fact, 400 yrs ago Barents was hoping on finding this northern passage open, but got stuck in the ice.

But why is global warming happening? We have to find the correct reasons. Seas and oceans are no longer empty. There are filled with ships and aeroplanes that put enormous amounts of energy in the air. Half of the world population has no excess to gas and electricity from a plug in their homes, they still use wood or anthracite for cooking and heating. The whole world is putting out enormous amounts of energy up in the air. Is it not more logical to blame or partly blame human activity for global warming rather then some or other gas up in the air?  (As proven from Henry’s experiment A )

BC thinks that he can compare the CO2 green house effect with his warm house in the garden. I think this is an over simplification and may also be completely wrong. I don’t think the CO2 is like a “film” in the air. Surely it is diffused into the air, very much like sugar into water?

Anyway, to settle this matter, we have to do some testing. Or bring the studies that prove this, hopefully in such a way that anyone can understand it.

#### The Naked Scientists Forum

##### How much is the increase in CO2 every year?
« Reply #24 on: 26/04/2009 11:00:43 »