CO2 atmospheric levels continue to increase


Ted Cruze’s bathtub

Thing is, its gotten very confusing. First the news was that emissions of CO2 have flatlined in 2015 after years of constantly increasing: that’s good news for the planet because it shows that the shift from oil and coal to renewable energy is reducing emisions of greenhouse gases, and that the policy in China of seriously moving away from coal to renewable energy is also have an impact. That’s the good news.

Then came the bad news. Almost the same day it was being reported that the level of CO2 in the atmosphere was still going up. Not only going up, it jumped by a huge amount in 2015: an increase of 3.05 ppm. Sure, that’s doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but that’s a lot more than the way CO2 has been increasing over the last decade, and remember: we are trying to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels—not increase them.

So how come emissions of CO2 are levelling out while CO2 concentrations in the air are going through the roof?

Let’s ask Ted Cruze. He’s the Chairman of the House Sub-committee on Space, Science and Competitiveness. Someone in that position has got to know a whole lot about CO2 emissions.

Climate Zone: Mr Senator, can you please explain how CO2 emissions have flatlined over the last 2 years while CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have continued to increase? That seems to be a contradiction.

Ted Cruze. Well thank you for this question. First let me say that 800 thousand years ago CO2 concentrations were just as high as they are today. That shows that there is nothing to worry about because we have been there before. And survived. So that just goes to show how resourceful and resilient the human race is and that there is really nothing to worry about. Yes, well it’s true that it was pretty hot. Also, let me tell you that sateliite measurements clearly show that the earth is not warming up and that we have more ice at the north pole than ever before. Or maybe that’s the south pole. In any event, it’s the one with the penguins.

Climate Zone. Mr Cruze, perhaps we can explain it this way: let’s imagine a bath half full of water. Into the bath the faucet is pouring a whole lot of water. Let’s say 40 gallons a minute. And the drain is taking away 25 gallons a minute. The water coming into the bath over the last week was increasing every day; but now it has levelled off. So will the level of water in the bath also level off? The faucet is still pumping into the bath 40 gallons a minute, and only 25 gallons a minute are draining away. Mr Cruze?

Ted Cruze. Hang on. Give me a minute while I figure this out: 40 take away 25..  That’s 15 isn’t it?  Dang.

Climate Zone. If we want to keep the bath from overflowing, it helps that the water coming in has levelled off. But there still 40 gallons coming in and only 25 gallons going out. So, yep, the bath will continue to fill up.

It’s an analogy Mr Cruze. The incoming water is like CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. It’s good news that emissions of CO2 have levelled off at about 40 gigatons a year. But CO2 absorption by the oceans and land runs at only about 25 billion tons of CO2 a year. That’s the drain bit. So like the bathtub, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere continues to rise. Mr Cruze?

Ted Cruze. Yes, I do see the analogy. But math was never my strong point. Maybe if we turn off the faucet? Would that work? And build a larger drain? And I do understand that it’s a problem if the bath overflows. But let me repeat that climate change has no scientific basis. And if there is a scientific basis the science is wrong. And if there isn’t a scientific basis then the science is right. Isn’t it? And you talking about bathtubs just proves that this is not a serious issue. Al Gore never talked about bathtubs for heaven’s sakes. I don’t mean to say that Al Gore is right. Far from it. But he at least didn’t talk about bathtubs—which I think is probably a good thing.

Climate zone: Thank you Mr Cruze.

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