"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." Richard P. Feynman

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Respect the Science!

Further to the previous post Ziggy Switkowski launches his own broadside on the subject of the government insulting our intelligence with the term " Carbon pollution". Pharmacies are not labelled drug dealers even though they dispense drugs derived from heroin and other illegal substances.



WHY do we allow our political leaders and the commentariat to refer to carbon dioxide as a pollutant instead of a greenhouse gas?
Some time ago, politicians or their advisers decided a clever way to frame the climate change debate was to label carbon dioxide as a pollutant: hence the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
Of course, in 2015 our government proposes to move to an emissions trading scheme, which has a better resonance than a pollution trading scheme, were they to be consistent. I believe in the science of climate change and the role of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly CO2, from household and industrial use of fossil fuels.
But I am offended by the manipulation of the argument by deliberately coding CO2 as a pollutant, which it is not, and implying some environmental agenda where there is none.
When fossil fuels such as coal, gas and petrol are burned, there are a number of by-products.
Particulate matter that is not filtered from exhausts and escapes from smokestacks is polluting and contributes to smog and serious respiratory and other community health problems, such as widely experienced in China with its many coal-fired power stations and old technology. Paradoxically, particle emissions contribute to global cooling but are definitely pollution.
Gases such as nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide arising from the combustion of coal can cause acid rain; they also are pollution.
Water vapour, as seen billowing from the hyperboloid cooling towers much favoured by photo editors, is not pollution unless we include clouds and rain in that definition, which few do.
Carbon dioxide, which is produced in great quantities also, but is colourless and normally benign, is not a pollutant. It is a greenhouse gas which, as its concentration increases in the atmosphere, contributes to the warming of the planet. It is a greenhouse gas, not a pollutant, in the context of climate change.
CO2 is necessary to plant life and in regulating our temperature and climate. The level of CO2 prior to the industrial revolution in the 1700s was about 280 parts per million in the atmosphere and no one believes that level was excessive. Today that level is about 390ppm and CO2 has become a pollutant. At what level did this change of status occur and in which decade or generation?
The vilification of a harmless gas will make our generation a laughing stock of future generations when the AGW scam will rightly be placed alongside phlogiston and the letting of blood for curative purposes as scientific consensus  gone awry!

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