Insincere “skeptic” shills

January 9, 2012

Interesting BBC article, on how, if it were not for our CO2 emissions, we should expect another ice age in 1500 years. It includes some discussion of how low CO2 would need to be for this to occur — one estimate is 240ppm, others are as high as 270ppm. Our current levels are 390ppm, and we passed 320ppm in 1965.

Yet the reporter manages to find (why?) people who insist that this means that our current unrestrained CO2 emissions are a good thing. These presumably are the same people who end up overdosed on medicine — because if a little is good, why not take a lot?

They also have a blinkered view of planning for the future. Once we dig/drill all the carbon and burn it, it’s out of our control. Eventually it will be reabsorbed into the oceans and other carbon sinks, and we’ll have deprived ourselves of a handy knob for warming the planet. If CO2 levels sink below the ice age threshold while we are still in a glacier-friendly part of the Milankovitch cycle, we’ll be up a frozen creek without a paddle. You can tell these guys are insincere shills, because if they really cared about preventing the next ice age, they’d be in favor of throttling emissions back to much lower (but non-zero) levels, and preserving our ability to inject CO2 into the atmosphere in the future.

3 Responses to “Insincere “skeptic” shills”

  1. Fred Says:

    There are much more powerful IR absorbing gases available if the need to help Mother Gaia stay in the interglacial. Water vapor, for example.

  2. Fred Says:

    Ah, “if the need arises to help”.

    • dr2chase Says:

      Not sure water vapor is such a good choice. Put some CO2 in the atmosphere, it stays there for 30-95 years. Water vapor has a residence time of 9 days. (Residence times from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas .)

      But you’ve got an interesting idea there — CF4 (50,000 year residence time, 5000x CO2 in short-term greenhouse effect, not an ozone depleter) might do the trick. You would not want to overdo it….

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