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Re: Filling up: Numbers and Thoughts

Since we are burning roughly two trillion litres of gasoline per year, producing some 3.45 trillion kg of CO2, shouldn’t we long ago have suffocated in CO2?
The author of a letter printed on Dec. 19 worries about the level of CO2 in the atmosphere and how burning gasoline produces more CO2 which they claim is causing the earth to warm.

As they point out, burning a litre of gasoline (weight about 0.75 kg) results in 2.3 kg of CO2 being released because the gasoline combines with oxygen when it burns.

Current atmospheric CO2 levels are apparently about 415 ppm (parts per million). In 1850, around the start of the Industrial Revolution, the reading was seemingly around 275 ppm. The human population is now six times what it was in 1850 by the way, and 415 ppm is a fraction of concentrations in Earth’s distant past.

So, 275 ppm is 0.0275% or about 1/36th of one percent and 415 ppm is 0.0415% or about 1/24th of one percent. The 275 ppm number is from the pre-industrial era and therefore from natural causes. The 415 ppm is a combination of natural causes and human activity, and includes the burning of not just gasoline but all other fossil fuels all over the world.

To visualize what 415 ppm means, think of a room with an eight foot ceiling. Place a dime on the floor. Imagine a film the thickness of the dime covering the entire floor. The ratio of that film to the volume of the entire room is the same ratio as 415 ppm to the earth’s atmosphere.

Since we are burning roughly two trillion litres of gasoline per year, producing some 3.45 trillion kg of CO2, shouldn’t we long ago have suffocated in CO2?

Well, it seems that Mommy Nature is quite fond of CO2. She cleverly equipped the phytoplankton in the oceans and vegetation on land with the magical ability to convert CO2 into plant nutrients and oxygen, in the process of photosynthesis by which plants combine CO2 and water in the presence of sunlight to create sugars as plant food while returning oxygen to the atmosphere.

Photosynthesis: 6CO2 + 12H2O + sunlight = C6H12O6 (sugars) + 6O2 + 6H2O

There are tens of thousands of scientists who disagree with the theory of global warming caused by CO2, and some scientists who believe we need more CO2 as it continues to green up the planet. Is it possible that the CO2/climate change theory is just a case of mass delusion caused by endless repetition by people in positions of influence? Climate is a very complex matter.

- Bruce Bladon




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