A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Blockbuster: Planetary temperature controls CO2 levels — not humans

There goes another “fingerprint”…

It’s not just that man-made emissions don’t control the climate, they don’t even control global CO2 levels.

Judging by the speech Murry Salby gave at the Sydney Institute, there’s a blockbuster paper coming soon.

Listen to the speech: “Global Emission of Carbon Dioxide: The Contribution from Natural Sources”

Professor Murry Salby is Chair of Climate Science at Macquarie University. He’s been a visiting professorships at Paris, Stockholm, Jerusalem, and Kyoto, and he’s spent time at the Bureau of Meterology in Australia.

Over the last two years he has been looking at C12 and C13 ratios and CO2 levels around the world, and has come to the conclusion that man-made emissions have only a small effect on global CO2 levels. It’s not just that man-made emissions don’t control the climate, they don’t even control global CO2 levels.

CO2 variations do not correlate with man-made emissions. Peaks and falls correlate with hot years (e.g. 1998) and cold years (1991-92). No graphs are available from Salby's speech or paper yet. This graph comes from Tom Quirk's related work (see below).

The higher levels of CO2 in recent [...]

Is man-made CO2 different? 1000 years? Try 4 years.

That CO2 you emitted last Tuesday: Is it coming back next month, next year, or in March 3011?

Tim Flannery makes it clear that CO2 circulates o-so-slowly, circa “a thousand years”. Remember that CO2′s “greenhouse” effect occurs at speed-of-light timescales, so if the temperature is affected, so must be the CO2 (according, at least, to the World of Flannery).

If we cut emissions today, global temperatures are not likely to drop for about a thousand years… Just let me finish and say this. If the world as a whole cut all emissions tomorrow the average temperature of the planet is not going to drop in several hundred years, perhaps as much as a thousand years because the system is overburdened with CO2 that has to be absorbed and that only happens slowly.  [Thanks to Andrew Bolt]

There are a few clues that maybe CO2 doesn’t idle the centuries away aloft, and that (I know you’ll be shocked) the Climate Commission (and IPCC) have overstated things: If emissions are absorbed by the global system in a matter of months, it rather blows the idea that we have to act decades ahead to stop the catastrophe. If CO2 levels adjust quickly, our [...]