Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
What Heat Engines Did For, and To, The Human Race
The dramatic increase in the world's population came largely as a result of having heat engines rather than horses, wind, sails, and waterwheels do much of life's labors. (Left)
5 billion people use heat engines to grow food, transport, and comfortably shelter themselves. This has resulted in increased life expectancies. (Example: Japan, 84.6 years.)
2 billion people are not able to take advantage of heat engines. Their average life span is short. (Example: Central African Republic, 48.5 years.)
It has been speculated that there is a heat engine or a fire for every two humans on earth. That would mean perhaps as many as 4 billion fires. It is understandable that this number of fires, burning more or less continuously, would add a substantial amount of fire's major combustion product, carbon dioxide gas (CO2), to the air.
Frankly, the fossil fuel powered heat engine enabled humanity to swarm.
Recall the song "John Henry"? It marked the end of muscle slavery and the beginning of wage slavery. Wage slavery issues are what is keeping Trump in office. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Henry_(folklore)
That the president of the United States could dismiss Climate Change as a "Hoax" shocked this old engineer to his core. To get an idea of where he was coming from, I started to read about Germany's Energiewende (German for energy transition) and began to understand the world's Climate Change movement has fragmented into many sub-cultures that have drifted away from concepts based on sound engineering practices. Instead, wishful thinking based upon windmills and carbon capture are commonplace now.
So, back to the simple truth of evidence-based basics:
"Currently CO2 constitutes about 0.041%
(equal to 410 ppm) by volume of the atmosphere, which corresponds to
approximately 3,200 gigatons of CO2, which includes approximately 870
gigatons of carbon."
(2017) - That's 3.2 TRILLION tons of CO2, folks.
Planet Earth is still a big place.
We have to keep in mind that 250 ppm belong there, so only 160 ppm are excess CO2. Or about 160/410 * 3.2 trillion or 1.3 trillion tons are the excess CO2 causing Climate Change.
And we also have to keep in mind the amount of global warming heat being added by adding more CO2 isn't anywhere near proportional to the amount of CO2 being added.
Man-made CO2 emissions accumulating in the air since the Industrial Revolution began in 1750 are the main drivers of Climate Change.
We are well beyond the point of no return - and locked on autopilot.
There are probably several climate changes worth of excess
CO2 in the air already and a half dozen more still in the ground as fossil fuels.
If this is so, the tiny improvement to be had by switching from coal power plants to windmills is an exercise in futility.
Environmentalists are being as
anti-science as Trump by not working to remove the "Pink Cloud" causing Climate
Change. Can't blame them too much. Once the "CO2 Genie" is out of
the bottle, you'll pay hell trying to get it back in.
The main barrier to removing the "Pink Cloud" is the fact CO2, at 400 parts per million, in the air is a trace gas. This means massive volumes of air need to be "scrubbed" to extract even small amounts of CO2. Much easier CO2 from coal is 120,000 ppm.
Seawater's chemicals draw CO2 from the air to produce a higher concentration. More than 98% of the carbon of the atmosphere-ocean system is stored in the oceans as dissolved inorganic carbon.
Adding wind, solar, or nuclear energy to our daily lives cannot reduce the global warming CO2 we've already placed in the air.
Like a blanket, adding CO2 to the air REDUCES
Planet Earth's ability to cool itself.
Once the blanket gets thick, adding more blanket adds very little additional heat.
Notice how as CO2 goes up, the heating curve
slope increase approaches zero (horizontal).
At some point, no matter how long you wait, your furnace won't be able to make your house much hotter.
WHAT IT DOES TO SEAWATER IS A DIFFERENT MATTER.
A 2017 government climate assessment report states: "The
world has warmed (globally and annually averaged surface air temperature) by
about 1.6°F (0.9°C) over the last 150 years (1865–2015). If humans
immediately stopped emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the world
would still feel at least an additional 0.50 degrees Fahrenheit (0.30 degrees
Celsius) of warming over this century."
- This means the (pink) slug of CO2 that's already in the air was warming Planet Earth at the rate of about 1°F per century but now, due to CO2 saturation, we are down to 0.5°F per century.
CO2 saturation: Think about adding so much sugar to your coffee it no longer dissolves. It can't get any sweeter.
Notice the thermostat. Adding fossil fuel's CO2 turns the furnace up but, because the world is a big place and we are adding just a couple of watts per square meter, it will take hundreds of years before the temperature finally reaches the new set-point.
To turn the thermostat back down to where it should be, the extra CO2 in the air and sea has to be scrubbed out, returned to the ground, and then we start over using wind, solar, nuclear, and carbon neutral combustion to make our heat and mechanical energies.
There is no easy way to get the world headed back to pre-industrial environment temperatures. Switching to wind, solar, or nuclear energy now that "the horse is out of the barn" are nearly pointless gestures.
We will have to endure perhaps a century of terrible blizzard winters before enough heat is pulled out of Planet Earth to stop the polar ice from melting any more.
On the other hand, since the big harm has already been done, and setting things right remote, we could just keep on using fossil fuels and adapt to the intensifying Climate Changes that strategy would bring.
"The rising carbon dioxide footprint may be troublesome, but it is a side effect
of the creation of immense benefits." - Peter Allitt, quoted by M.J. Kelly.
Energy is the master resource. Without energy nothing happens. The more energy we have, the better off we are. The United States is a 10,000 Watt society; Mexico, 2,000 W; Haiti, 500W. - Sounds good to me.
Is this as bad as it can possibly get?
Unfortunately no. There are also massive natural deposits of
tundra methane and frozen deep sea methane that some think could be melted free by
Global Warming and enter the air. This would bring a second wave of
"Climate Change on steroids" problems. Note methane's similar
heat loss curve curve below.
I did the
thermostat image perhaps 2008. It was derived from a 1992 curve someone gave
me. Each blue block on Archibald's chart is 20 ppm of CO2. The first block
is huge because it is causing a lot of global warming. The more recent ones
tiny because we have already saturated the air with more CO2 than is needed.
In my chart, the thermostat plot line is becoming more and more horizontal, at horizontal there would be no additional global warming regardless how much more CO2 was added. Again, saturation.
We've turned the thermostat up. Now we are feeling the house slowly heat up. Only by removing the excess CO2 from the air can we get back to where we started - the beginning of the coal powered steam engine age - about the year 1750.
Planet Earth is already in for a ride regardless of how many windmills, solar cells, or nuclear reactors we build.
To say again with different words and charts:
Diminishing Global Warming Effect - How much another 20 ppm of CO2 changes
We are adding about 160 million tons of Climate Changing gasses to the air every day but it won't affect the maximum temperature much.
We've gone over the cliff but it may take hundreds of years for the heat to max out. Quitting fossil fuels "cold turkey" isn't what is needed.
Why all the fuss about the
world's warming perhaps 2°C? Like Planet Earth, your body is an environment
for living cells that depend upon it for sustenance.
Here’s an analogy that Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, who helped compile some of the climate research data for the World Bank, likes to use.
"Take the human body. If your temperature rises 2°C (3.6°F), you have a significant fever. If it rises 4°C (7.2°F) or 6°C (10.8°F) your organs begin to fail and you can die.
I find it interesting there are no organizations dedicated to "picking away" at the problem of sucking the pink cloud out of the air and ending the very real threat mankind faces.
This lends credence to Trump's assessment that the Climate Change fuss is just a hoax.
Extreme difficulty doesn't seem to be a problem to those groups picking away at travelling to Mars and establishing a colony there.
Fighting Climate Change without nuclear energy is like boxing with one hand tied behind your back.
Disclaimer: This web site is energy talk by an engineer exploring Climate Change's educational concepts, not professional engineering advice.
About Contact Foreword Background