Fossil Fuels are the New Green Power
If we want a greening planet we must have more CO2 in the atmosphere. We have been doing this by burning fossil fuels to an increasing extent and the planet has responded favorably. We have benefited because now we can (almost) feed 6.6 billion people whereas 100 years ago we were feeding only 1.5 billion people when the atmospheric CO2 level was much less.
Fossil fuels are the new desirable Green Power. We need more CO2 gas from burning fossil fuels. More atmospheric CO2 means more plants and crops which will grow more quickly and thus sustain our economic growth to so reduce poverty and misery in the world. Do we want to go backwards and destroy our ability to do this? Why deliberately head for a lower standard of living and economic stagnation which the Greens and global warmists propose?
What are the environmental consequences of burning more fossil fuels? Firstly, the main environmental concern amongst the global warmists is that this human activity over the last 150 years has supposedly caused a rise in the mean atmospheric CO2 content from ca 290 ppm to the present value of ca 385 ppm. They say that this has caused dangerous global warming and if unchecked would have catastrophic consequences (Theory of Catastrophic Global Warming).
The actual global warming measured over the last 100 years is ca 0.7 degrees C and this has largely been negated by cooling over the last decade. Their idea that the increase in atmospheric CO2 caused the global warming is just nonsense. We do not have to worry about their Catastrophic Global Warming Theory, which is equivalent to the "fire and brimstone" preachings of some early Christian faiths.
Leaving aside the rise in temperature factor which we know now to be spurious, let us look at the environmental consequences of having higher global atmospheric CO2 .... how about 500 ppm or 1000 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere? At the apparent current rate of increase (ca 1.4 ppm/year) we would reach this figure in 82 years time, or in the year 2090. Would the world be a better or worse off place to live in if this happened?
This is the "do nothing" policy about rising CO2 emissions. It is exceptionally cheap. Costs exactly zero! There is no multi-billion dollar price tag. My opinion is that we will be much better off by doing nothing about CO2 emissions.
Firstly, I doubt whether we could reach a global average of 500 ppm CO2 by 2090 because the further greening of the planet would extract more CO2 from the atmosphere and any cooling of the oceans would dissolve more. We may never be able to achieve a global average of 500 ppm atmospheric CO2.
Is 500 ppm atmospheric CO2 a medical hazard to man? No, even 1000 ppm is quite OK. The plants love it and horticultralists use such hothouse atmospheres to boost plant growth rates by 50% above outdoor propagation. The medical aspects are well known from the extensive research done on acceptable atmospheres for submarines and space craft. So Space Craft Earth would present quite enjoyable living at 500 ppm CO2!
Why do we not hear much about the benefits of more atmospheric CO2? Perhaps this idea is a contrary to the belief system of the Green bureaucrats and global warmists who control the billions of dollars spent on research vainly trying to prove the existence of human induced global warming and climate change? What a sick world we live in!
How do scientists calculate the global average CO2 content of the atmosphere, reported as 385 ppm at present? The most quoted figures come from the US monitoring site on the top of Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii which has provided continuous measurements since 1958 and these show an almost a linear increase of 1.4 ppm per year. The fact that Moana Loa and adjacent Kileaua volcano are the largest continuously active volcanoes on earth and emit copious CO2 seems not to worry them.
The monitoring and collation of data on atmospheric gases is done by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in the US. The CO2 values do not show much regional variation which suggests rapid mixing of atmospheric gases globally.
However, it would be interesting to know the atmospheric CO2 levels in the middle of the Sahara desert, over crop lands, forested and jungle terrains, industrial areas, at various radii from a thermal power station, at downtown New York City, and in the bustling office rooms of the UN's IPCC. The data could be compared with South Pole measurements. Research opportunities abound!
Are we running out of fossil fuels? I don't think so. Application of present and new technologies will solve any energy problems. The Russians have shown how to do it over the last 50 years by developing and applying the “Abiotic Theory of Petroleum Genesis” to oil exploration so that now many of their oil fields are deriving production from deep within the crystalline basement rocks. This means that petroleum is not really a ‘fossil fuel” or a limited resource (1). Carbon-based fuels in reality are an infinite resource because their is no evidence to suggest that technology is finite. Compare the technology of 1800 with 1900 and that of today, 2010!
In summary, “fossil fuels” are the life blood of the planet. Utilization of fossil fuels has generated the enormous wealth we enjoy today. The environment has benefited too. A wealthy society is better able to look after the environment than a poor one such as existed 200 years ago.
(1) “Peak Oil Theory vs Russian-Ukrainian Modern Theory” by George Crispin