September 24, 2019

How Much Carbon Dioxide is Natural?

Timothy Birdnow

On Facebook Tim McNabb asked the following question:

Serious question. Are volcanic eruptions less "greenhouse gassey" than those humans make. If so, how so (greater, less, more or less abundant)...

This prompted a reply from Tim's resident liberal:

Kevin Nelstead

Being that climate change is rather complex and still not completely understood, I have no problem with people disputing the "consensus" on climate change. I think the evidence that humans have, and will continue to, effected Earth's climate is rather convincing, but I am quite willing to discuss this with those who disagree with me.

Having said that, I will say that I believe that this meme, variations of which have been floating around the internet for years, is utter nonsense.

According to the US Geological Survey, all the world's volcanoes emit somewhere between 0.13 and 0.44 gigatons of CO2 per year. Humans, on the other hand, release about 35 gigatons of CO2 per year, which is somewhere between 80 and 270 times what all volcanoes in the world produce. So to say that Mt Agung produced as much CO2 in a few minutes as humans do in a year is ludicrous. Instead, the opposite is true: humans produced more CO2 in a few hours, primarily by burning fossil fuels, than a large volcanic eruption does.

https:// volcanoes.usgs.g ov/vhp/ gas_climate.html

I left the following reply:

We don't know how much co2 is put ou by volcanism. From the article:

"Scientists estimate that volcanoes worldwide emit, on average, about 1.5 million metric tons of CO2 per day (only about 2% of the amount that human activity causes). Yet that estimate may be far too low because it’s based on measurements from only 33 of the world’s most volcanically active peaks (only three of which are ice-covered), among the 1500 or so that have erupted in the past 10,000 years. More data gathered from Iceland—as well as Antarctica, which is home to dozens of ice-smothered volcanoes—may help scientists come up with a better estimate for volcanic CO2 emissions."
I rather suspect we really don't know how much carbon is being put into the atmosphere either, despite confident predictions; most are based on measurements taken at Mauna Kea observatory. They take the older numbers and subtract them from the new. (Of course, Mauna Kea is an active volcanoe..) But even if we can accept the numbers as Gospel we don't know how much nature is producing. See

From the article:

"This major problem with the AGW principle has been rationalized away by consensus climate scientists who insist, based supposedly reliable research, that volcanic emissions are minuscule in comparison to human-induced CO2 emissions (Gerlach 1991).

Terrance Gerlach’s volcanic CO2 calculation was based on just 7 actively erupting land volcanoes and three actively erupting ocean floor hydrothermal vents (seafloor hot geysers).

Utilizing gas emission data from this very limited number of volcanic features, Gerlach estimated that the volume of natural volcanic CO2 emissions is 100 to 150 times less than the volume of man-made CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and therefore of no consequence.

To put this calculation process into perspective, the Earth is home to 1,500 land volcanoes and 900,000 seafloor volcanoes/hydrothermal vents.

By sampling just an extremely small percent of these volcanic features it is impossible to imagine that the calculation is correct.

Especially knowing that volcanic activity varies greatly from area to area, volcano to volcano, and through time. Utilizing just 0.001 percent (10/901,500) of Earth’s volcanic features to calculate volcanic CO2 emissions does not inspire confidence in the resulting value."

So the National Geological Survey is just guessing at all that. We don't know how much carbon dioxide the Earth emits. Also, how do you calculate human emissions? Do you believe we are getting accurate data from Communist China? From any country in Subsaharan Africa?

It's all guesswork. And the guesses coming out of government are worth very little, as government has a vested interest in promoting this theory because it promotes their power and control and enrichment. Also, you aren't going to get ahead in government if you dispute the "facts". Ask Joanna Simpson, the NASA employee who had to hide her skepticism of AGW theory to keep her job.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 11:55 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
Post contains 712 words, total size 6 kb.

1 This, too, is likely a guess, but a climate scientist who is "on our side" postulated that the explosion of Mt. St. Helens a few years back emitted as much CO2 as all the gas-powered automobiles that had been driven up to that time.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at September 25, 2019 09:37 PM (YD0hA)

2 I hadn't heard that, Dana, but I'm not surprised. Of course, finding that with Google would be difficult. In fact the guy I was arguing with on the post came back with "Mt. Pinataubo didn't even make a dent in the overall c02 - a point I found difficult to refute in that I couldn't get any information one way or another and HE didn't provide any links p naturally. I made the point that one big, showy volcano is negligible when compared to the hundreds of thousands of small vents on the Earth, and that it is akin to the old story about the king who lost at chess and got suckered with this from his mathematician "put on grain of wheat on the first square, two on the fourth, four on the fifth, eight on the sixth etc. until the board is full" and then he lost his kingdom because he couldn't buy enough grain. Not entirely apt, but then how do you argue with someone who will not provide their sources? Especially when you have to use these search engines that are in the tank for his position?

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at September 26, 2019 06:30 AM (QPM9n)

3 I can pretty well assure you that Pinatubo's CO2 emission was not negligible. That was one jim-dandy of an eruption -- not quite sure how it compared to Mt. St. Helens but from its effect on the world's weather for a period of time I'm guessing it was bigger, and that would make it equal to a whole heckuva lot of cars and trucks' worth of exhaust.

If you want to look it up, keep in mind that Google ain't the only search engine out there -- I've been using Duck Duck Go for some time now, and while it may not bring in the sheer volume of results overall as Google, to the best of my knowledge it has no political bias.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at September 26, 2019 01:45 PM (glpcc)

4 Yeah; Pinataubo was huge. I challenged this guy to give me the data and he of course did not.

I sometimes use Duck Duck Go but find it often gives only the top results, meaning the WaPo or NYT or other such. I don't want "digested" news, but the raw data. I just don't think DDG is a good search engine where science is concerned. It's good for a lot of other things, though.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at September 27, 2019 10:00 AM (LiPT6)

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