Google+

Warming Climate, Oil And Where We Have To Go

Detailed measurements show that the average temperature of the Earth is increasing. Glaciers and snow pack are melting, while ice melt in the Arctic increases the extent of open water during the summer months, a process which may produce significant climate change over time. Sea levels are undergoing a modest thermal expansion as surface temperatures increase. Organisms large and small are on the move to adjust to climate changes already underway.

Many claim that warming of the Earth is due primarily to burning of fossil fuels, a process which has notably increased since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Slightly more than a century ago, Svante Arrhenius suggested that atmospheric carbon dioxide was a major reason for the warming of the Earth. Indeed, he calculated that without carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the Earth would be much cooler (by about 60 degrees Fahrenheit), and not nearly as receptive to humans and other living creatures. He also noted that a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations from about 300 to 600 parts per million would be expected to increase atmospheric temperatures about 4-5 degrees centigrade. However, as the Industrial Revolution was, in a sense just getting up a full head of steam, he vastly underestimated how long it would take to double atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. He estimated it would take thousands of years–yet after just a little over a century we are a little over a third of the way there.

Of course, we’ve been adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere first by burning wood, and then for most of the Industrial revolution we burned coal and later oil, but oil did not take over from coal until 1951. But still, to this day, considerable coal continues to be burned. Aerosol pollution in the form of particulates from coal produces smog, dust and many contaminants that have a cooling effect. These may have had the most pronounced effect just as coal burning was reduced to an extent in favor of oil. From 1945 to 1968 mean global temperatures appear to have dropped by about 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit. This cooling trend has stopped and in the last 30 years more significant warming has occurred. While we still burn coal and oil, we also burn natural gas, and increasingly generate power and warmth from renewable forms of energy: wind, solar, geothermal, and nuclear. Still, carbon dioxide levels increase while global warming continues apparently unabated.

A modern understanding of thermal physics tends to deny altogether the idea of a global warming as a greenhouse effect associated with carbon dioxide or any other so-called greenhouse gas. Modern ideas about the trapping of heat and atmospheric physics were not available to Arrhenius, and in retrospect his analysis is rendered suspect even though elevated surface temperatures on the Earth for the past hundred years or so have been approximately in line with is predictions. If not a carbon dioxide greenhouse effect, what then?

With the gradual conversion of coal to oil and natural gas, and with increasing attention to renewable forms of energy, particulates are not being added to the atmosphere at the same rate even while carbon dioxide concentrations are not yet diminishing. Thus, provided there are no major continuing volcanic eruptions adding significant cooling aerosols to the atmosphere warming may continue even though we may gradually replace coal with a combination of oil, natural gas and renewable sources of energy.  Subsequently, if we should replace oil and gas with renewable forms of energy and actually begin to observe reductions in atmospheric carbon dioxide while still observing global warming, we shall have to conclude that the Earth is in a warming trend we do not understand.

Not withstanding this possibility we should continue on the path to ridding ourselves of dependence on fossil fuels. We are running low. Indeed, various estimates have us running out of easily extracted fossil fuel reserves over the next century or two. Clearly as we get closer and closer to the end of fossil fuels, we either have to extract from newly discovered sources or mine those last few remaining very difficult sources and sell them to users at perhaps 100 time current costs. No one will be pleased to pay the freight.

In addition, oil and coal products are currently used as starting materials for the synthesis of many drugs, important fine chemicals as well as for making materials for textiles, rubber & polymers, fertilizers and many chemical processes. Many of these uses can likely be replaced with alternative natural non-petroleum natural products, but it might be a better idea to save the last billion or so barrels of petroleum until replacement strategies are perfected.

Please Follow Richard on Twitter: https://twitter.com/pebblerick

 

Richard A. Hudson is a writer, reader and blogger committed to exercise, proper nutrition and health.  He’s interested in politics, economics, alternative energy, gardening and sustainability and has written brief essays on many of these topics on his bloghttp://richlynne.wordpress.com.  Despite his generally positive and optimistic views about globalization, he wonders whether we will survive current destructive forces that increasingly promote warfare among political and social classes. He is also beginning to think about the declining influence of the know-it-all baby boomer generation just as the next generation born in the 60s begins to slowly stumble into a dominant position in the U.S.

 He received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Chicago (1966) and subsequently spent 42 years in academics, gradually developing all sorts of interests well beyond his basic training.  He ended his academic career in 2008, having published about 100 scientific papers, reviews and commentaries.  In his last several years in the academy, his role as Dean of the Graduate School afforded him many opportunities to interact with students from all over the world seeking graduate degrees.

Entertainment

For movies opening September 30, 2016

  OPENING THIS WEEK Kam's Kapsules Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun by Kam Williams For movies opening September 30, 2016 BIG BUDGET FILMS   Deepwater Horizon (PG-13 for intense action sequences, disturbing images and brief profanity) Disaster flick recreating the real-life events surrounding the 2010 explosion of the offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico which claimed the lives of 11 crewmen and led to the worst … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Books

Richards Rocks!

  Sandra L. Richards The “Rice & Rocks” Interview with Kam Williams Richards Rocks! The American-born daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents, Sandra L. Richards is the author of “Rice & Rocks.” She hopes that her debut picture book will serve as an educational resource for families seeking to teach their children the value of their heritage and the importance of cultural diversity. Sandra completed both her undergraduate and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

More Than a Score

  ACRONYM TO FOLLOW by Peter Brav   Finally Our Day has come There’s a Day for everything For doughnuts, siblings, eight track tapes Grilled cheese, daughters and sons to work Encouragement, Alzheimer’s Coffee, math, chewing gum Blasphemy, yo-yos And now finally One for us Truly a Day to celebrate National Don’t Shoot An Unarmed Brother Doctor King Not Seeing Progress George Orwell Laughing It Is So About the … [Read More its Good For You...]

Real Estate

New Home Sales Jump in April

  New Home Sales Jump in April By Burt Carey Sales of new homes hit their highest rate since 2008 in April, according to the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau. April sales increased 16.6 percent over March figures, which correlates to a seasonally adjusted rate of 619,000 home sales projected for the year. The median price of those new homes was $321,000, the highest median price ever recorded. That’s up 9.7 percent … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

Richards Rocks!

  Sandra L. Richards The “Rice & Rocks” Interview with Kam Williams Richards Rocks! The American-born daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents, Sandra L. Richards is the author of “Rice & Rocks.” She hopes that her debut picture book will serve as an educational resource for families seeking to teach their children the value of their heritage and the importance of cultural diversity. Sandra completed both her undergraduate and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Apex Gear ACCU•STRIKE XS Series Bow Sights

  Apex Gear ACCU•STRIKE XS Series Bow Sights By Brad Fenson As an avid bowhunter, I’m always looking for a sight to not only help me acquire a target accurately and quickly but provide adjustability while being lightweight. It might be a lot to ask for but with a wide array of hunting situations, you have to be selective in your equipment to ensure you are always successful in the long run. The Apex Gear ACCU•STRIKE™ XS was … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

There Are Superheroes Among Us

  There Are Superheroes Among Us by Amy Lignor   This story truly proves that a superhero does not require a cape, tights, or the ability to fly. In a world where all headlines seem to be centered around who shot who, who is being put upon, who’s “getting away with it” – all the way to who is getting divorced and who may or may not be kneeling at NFL games – negative stories seem to be the only ones covered anymore by the media. … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Scholastic Announces Sales of More Than 3.3 Million Copies of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

  Scholastic Announces Sales of More Than 3.3 Million Copies of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two New York, NY (August 10, 2016) — Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two script book, the eighth Harry Potter story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne, published in the U.S. and Canada by Scholastic has sold more than 3.3 million copies in North America to date.Scholastic announced a first printing … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Vacation Time Has Turned “Spooky”

  Vacation Time Has Turned “Spooky” by Amy Lignor   Myths and legends, both spooky and surreal, are becoming the subject of many books and newspaper articles lately. And the location of many, oddly enough, happen to be in the Southwest. It used to be that a nice white sandy beach was the one place we yearned to go on vacation to get away from it all. Now, however, people are searching for places to travel where legends still exist, and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Controlling a Species: Humans Being Humane

  Controlling a Species: Humans Being Humane by Amy Lignor   Humane. There is a reason why this word and human are basically spelled the same. What needs to happen, however, is for them to mean the same. There are societies out there that talk about just that. From clubs to groups to volunteer organizations that protect all varieties of our animal friends, “humane” is one act that they wish would be considered in any and all … [Read More its Good for You...]