Is CO2 a pollutant?
MONDAY APRIL 23, 2012
Suppose 1 car drives 12,000 miles per year.
Further suppose that an average car uses 1 gallon every 25 miles. Therefore in 1 year, 1 car burns about 500 gallons.
Emission levels are 10kg of CO2/gallon. 1 car would use 500x10=5,000kg of CO2. NZ has about one million cars.
In NZ, 1million cars exhale 5,000 million kgs of CO2, per year.
How many cars in the world? About 500 million, or about 1 for every 10 people on the planet. Suppose every vehicle in the world also consumes an average of 1 gallon of gasoline per day, then the total production of CO2 from driving cars would be 500 million x 10kg = 5000million kg of CO2 per day. That is 5000x365= 2,000,000 m kg of CO2 per year
Cars of the globe exhale 2,000,000 million kgs of CO2 per year
1 person breathes out 1kg of CO2 per day which is 365kg per yr. As NZ has a current population of 4 million, then 4 million people produce 4 x 365 = 1,500million kg per yr of CO2. Emissions from our 1 million cars compared to our 4m people would be 5000/1500=about 3 times. In a world of 7bn people, 7bn kg of CO2 per day is 7000mx365= 2,000,000m kg of CO2 per year.
In NZ 3 people exhale the same CO2 emissions in 1 year as does 1 car.
All the world's humans exhale 2,000,000 million kgs of CO2 per year (same as the total cars).
The other big CO2 exhaler worth considering but which legislators would be reluctant to tamper with is the fizzy drink industry. American can-makers produce about 100 billion aluminum beverage cans a year, equivalent to one can per American per day. Red Bull estimate that someone opens a can of their product somewhere in the world every 2 seconds. It is estimated that the soft-drink industry in the US uses 33000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. The beer industry would push that up to at least 100,000 tons (=90million kg). Approximately 2.2 grams of carbon dioxide gas is contained in each 16oz bottle or can. Of 290 million US people, every man, woman, and child drinks 50.26 gallons of soda in a year. So, in America alone, humans load the atmosphere with about 90-100 million kg of carbon dioxide gas, every year, simply by drinking carbonated drinks and belching. As the US population is 4% of that of the world, if the rest drank as much as in the US, then we can multiply 100million by 7000m/290m, or 24x100m=2400m kg of CO2 per year. So cans of the globe would 'exhale' 2000million kg of CO2 per year.
World fizzy drinkers burp out in 6 months, as much CO2 as NZ cars in 1 year. But no one calls that CO2 pollution.
World over-population is a myth. It is nowhere near any unsustainable limit. The globe is virtually uninhabited, because of the 20% of the planet's surface that is land, only 2% of that 20% is presently developed and habitable. That is 0.4% of the surface of the globe, meaning that 99.6% of the planet is virtually empty of humans. The rest has yet to be broken in and developed. The South Island of NZ occupies about 60,000 sq miles, or 150,000,000,000 sq ms. The 7000,000,000 people on earth would all fit into the South Island with a space each of about 22 sq metres to occupy. The South Island of NZ is not the only land mass, so the earth can take more people without fear of collapsing. The surface of land on the planet is 50 million square miles. It means the world could theoretically support 50 million/60,000 or 833 times the current world human population, living at a population density of a third world country. How they would support each other is of course another issue. The seas could be farmed, or we all could, like the average Singaporean, eat less, and probably be healthier. There is no Kyoto Protocol recommending limits to soft drink consumption to prevent the planet burning up. There is no enthusiasm to develop new land for habitation. Instead there are calls to lessen the world population because of supposed CO2 pollution from cars, and moves to tax emissions.
It does not matter if cars are here or not, humans are just as polluting when they exhale, but up till now no one has noticed.
We have not yet considered all the other air breathing animals, insects, bird and sea creatures. We haven't considered the other CO2 belchers and emitters, like volcanoes, rotting vegetation and other gaseous beverages. We haven't even considered tobacco smokers, who would easily outnumber car owners. We haven't considered that there as many dogs as humans and twice as many cats, not to mention panting cattle and safari speedsters like cheetahs, which chase things. We haven't mentioned coughers, choirs, laughing crowds and joggers, who all exhale more CO2. We have only mentioned humans merely breathing the air while at rest, which by the pollution argument would say we may be the biggest threat to the planet, equal to cars. But this analysis suggests that if everybody stopped driving all their cars right now, and if we measure pollution levels as being the amount of CO2 in the air close to the ground where we walk around and drive, then 'pollution' levels, as thus defined would stay exactly the same, only now it would have nothing whatsoever to do with fossil fuels, only numbers of people, and we could no longer blame fossil fuels and legislate to limit their use with any backing of responsible science. Because if exhaling people put out emissions, then without cars and the same population, according to the CO2-the-culprit claims, it should still bring about global warming in the same time frame. If it can be that burning fossil fuels is polluting, but a bigger population not burning fossil fuels is not as polluting, then it should have happened already. Yet Man has been without cars for many thousands of years and the planet has escaped danger. From the exhaling of the attendees within there is no haze in the ceilings of conference halls. The only reason haze is visible over a city is not the CO2, which, as we learned in school is odorless and colourless, but the unburnt heavier-than-air impurities of exhausts. Yes, these impurities may be polluting, but not the CO2.
So does CO2 warm?
Imagine that you have a small bottle with 385 milliliters of Coke. You take this bottle to your car and open it when you are in the seat. Suddenly, you notice a strange correlation between the concentration and character of the bubbles in the bottle on one side, and the temperature in your car on the other side. When the temperature is warm, the coke's gas escapes more. You will have two possible interpretations. Either the leaking CO2 in the Coke determines the temperature in your car (the global warmers' argument), OR the temperature in your car determines how the bubbles behave in the bottle. Which explanation does one choose? Which is warmer first, and which affects the other? Surely the temperature is the cause and the CO2 concentrations in the contained atmosphere of the car are a consequence. Everyone who has ever tried to open a bottle of lemonade during a hot day would experience this. Hot liquids are not able to absorb gases so well. CO2 is not of itself a warming factor, or we could get warm hands just by holding a bottle of Coke. We would not need heating systems, just a few beers or Pepsis on shelves throughout our houses. Warmer oceans are not able to absorb atmospheric gases either so if the temperature goes up, less carbon dioxide and methane can be bound to the ocean waters, which is why their concentration in the atmosphere goes up: This process is known as outgassing.
If we conclude cars are polluting the planet with CO2 emissions, then humans are too with considerable help from the breweries. But humans always were breathing and drinking fermented beverages, which means humans alone, holding drinks at dinner parties, would not suddenly pose a problem for planet Earth. There is room for many many more humans, and the drinking of carbonated and fermented brews shows no sign of abating, which will soon exceed car emission levels. It follows that vehicles cannot be CO2 pollutants. So will the governments sit up, take notice and stop taxing us?
Don't hold your breath..