18 Nov 2010, 3:58pm
Climate and Weather
by admin

Environmental Issues: What’s real and what’s nonsense?

Presentation to the Lake Oswego Lions Club, Nov 17, 2010

by Gordon J. Fulks, PhD Physics

Full text [here]

The story of environmentalism is generally portrayed as one of citizens triumphing over evil corporate polluters, of public awareness, science, and affluence working together to solve pressing problems. There is no problem so huge or so abstract that we cannot solve it if we put our minds to it. And solving these problems yields all sorts of positive side-effects and no drawbacks.

While that may be the perception, it is far from the fact. Public awareness is easily swayed by media campaigns that are little more than propaganda and supported by a press that would rather take sides than present balanced reports. Science is largely bought and paid for by politicians who control the agenda and the outcome. And our affluence, or what is left of it, is viewed as an inexhaustible source of revenue for whatever fantastic ideas the political class can dream up. …

We are perpetually told that we are poisoning the planet with everything from pesticides to carbon dioxide, such that our world is rapidly becoming unlivable. This feeds our enormous egos that tell us we are far more important to this planet than we really are. …

When I lived in Chicago during the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, environmental problems abounded. Cars belched large amounts of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and lead. Steel mills in Gary, Indiana, spewed vast clouds of smoke over South Chicago that left metal flecks on everyone’s cars overnight. Oil refineries were big polluters. Coal-fired power plants spread fly-ash and sulfur dioxide across the city. The city’s trash incinerator on the South Side was a large polluter situated next to the Sherwin-Williams paint factory that exuded such a foul odor that it was difficult to drive by without gagging. Radioactive fallout from atmospheric nuclear testing was easy to detect on your car in the morning. And cancer rates were clearly a function of where you got your drinking water. The more sewage systems and factories upstream from you, the worse off you were.

Today those problems have largely been addressed in a triumph of sensible environmentalism that utilized best available mitigation technologies. But as these triumphs were occurring, a new and dangerous form of environmentalism began to take hold, involving theoretical problems, far less rigorous science, and a political component that suppressed dissenting views.

It began with Rachael Carson and her famous book ‘Silent Spring’ published in 1962 that railed against the evils of DDT and caused it to be banned in the United States and much of the rest of the world. This resulted in the recovery of predatory bird species said to be especially sensitive to DDT but badly damaged vector control programs around the world for malaria. Malaria subsequently surged back to epidemic proportions. The number of excess death attributed to this fiasco total today about forty million people. That is comparable to the number of deaths in Russia or in Germany during the Second World War. …

In the 1970’s, another theoretical environmental scare was attracting attention: ozone depletion. It was to become a dry run for action on Global Warming. Based on the calculations of three chemists who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their efforts, it appeared that we were headed for catastrophic consequences from our use of the chlorofluorocarbons… Following a now familiar pattern, the National Academy of Sciences supported the credibility of the ozone theory, leading to a ban on CFC’s in aerosol cans, a “Vienna Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer,” and in 1987 the Montreal Protocol phasing out Freon.

But what was the bottom line that is never discussed in official circles? Other researchers later discovered that those who had done the original work had made a big mistake with one chemical reaction rate such that the problem that had been touted as “critical” was really minor. The ozone hole was likely a natural phenomenon, devoid of human contributions. What about “Acid Rain” that was allegedly turning lakes in the NE United States to a dangerously acidic state? Power plants burning high sulfur coal were said to be responsible. Indeed some lakes were becoming more acidic, but only those close to and downwind from power plants could be gaining acidity from the power plants. Lakes in other areas far removed from power plants were also substantially acidic. The obvious conclusion: natural causes.

What about “Ocean Acidification,” the latest scare intended to succeed Global Warming hysteria when it becomes less of a research funding vehicle. The 2005 report from the British Royal Society paints a scary scenario and argues that massive new research funding is necessary to head off yet another disaster. But at the very end of that report, far beyond the Executive Summary intended for politicians, they point out the essential truth. Our oceans are so heavily buffered with calcium carbonate that they can NEVER become acidic. The slight variations in pH about the nominal alkaline value of 8.0 are caused by natural variations such as temperature. Colder water more readily dissolves atmospheric carbon dioxide and is therefore a little less alkaline. Corals said to at imminent risk if we do not take action have survived on earth for hundreds of millions of years, through many natural climate and carbon dioxide variations.

That brings us to the greatest environmental and scientific scam of our time: Global Warming. …

The selling of Global Warming, Obama style, depends fundamentally on a vast scientific illiteracy in the general population. It also depends on people not recognizing that a much different logic applies in politics than in science. In politics, people typically decide where they want to go and back-fill the reasoning as a series of “talking points.”

The logic of science is a rigorous process requiring honest evidence from independent sources. Scientists believe that there exists an objective reality that is completely independent of politics.

The most fundamental attribute of a scientist isn’t brilliance or superior knowledge but an “utter honesty” that goes beyond what an average citizen might consider honesty. We certainly know from Climategate that many climate scientists did not come anywhere close to “utter honesty” and in fact are closer to the concept of “political talking points.” If the talking points have been tested on the population and work, some will use them. Honesty is never part of the equation!

Many of you know that the Climategate e-mails revealed the existence of a climate cartel intent on dominating the scientific process so that challenges to the dominant dialectic involving carbon dioxide could not be effectively mounted. Conspirators maintained a tight grip on the scientific societies and their publication processes. Scientists at the very top of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had become racketeers.

More important, Climategate revealed that some scientists have been cheating in many different ways, usually mixing a little truth with a whole lot of rubbish. Because a detailed analysis is beyond what we have the time for today let me just say: Virtually
EVERYTHING Global Warming Alarmists say is wrong, and NO ‘climate crisis’ exists. …

24 Nov 2010, 11:43am
by Dr. Michael F., Ph.D.

There is an estimated 39,000 billion tons of CO2 in sea water (39 trillion tons). Humans including the Chinese Indians, Brazilians, and all the others, emit an estimated 7 billion tons into the atmosphere annually. These are very large differences in CO2 inventories.

Because of the effects of Henry’s Law as sea water warms in many parts of the world, including the currents off the coasts of Oregon and Washington millions of tons of CO2 could be expected to be released from the water as it warms (billions of tons globally). In so doing the remaining water increases in pH accordingly. In fact just the uncertainties in the amounts of natural CO2 emitted from natural CO2 sources is more that 4 times the entire human annual contribution to the atmospheric inventory of CO2. The human CO2 emissions are lost in the statistical noise of uncertainties of much larger natural sources.

Another source of natural CO2 comes from the 40,000 miles of mid-oceanic rifts which circle the earth. We know precious little about this global CO2 source and the relevant amounts emitted. Part of that huge volcanic rift system passes just off the coast of Washington and Oregon forming those famous black smokers and other undersea volcanic phenomena.

Your discussion of pH buffering is excellent and important to understanding the water chemistry of the oceans. So long as there is CaCO3 or MgCO3 in the oceans, there will always be buffering and always have a slightly basic ocean water. Local variations are expected. According to Carter and his references, the oceans have been slightly basic since the PreCambrian Period about 750,000,000 years ago, when atmospheric CO2 was up to 20 times higher than they are today.

Much of this is called solution thermodynamics, a discipline important to these discussions. I used to teach this at University levels.



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