Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Reference: Redd Alert, Bangkok Post, January 6, 2010

The idea that carbon dioxide from fossil fuels accumulates in the atmosphere and causes global warming is based on the argument that fossil fuels, having been removed from the carbon cycle for millions of years by geological formations, are an extraneous shock to the current carbon account. The alleged legitimacy of anthropogenic global warming is derived from a clear distinction between nature's carbon flux and man-made carbon emission from fossil fuels. It should be noted that the latter is a very small fraction - less than 5% - of the former and its exaggerated impact on climate is rationalized only in terms of its alleged externality.

Somewhere along the way the warmists appear to have lost track of this aspect of their own theory and have begun to identify even natural and non fossil fuel elements of the carbon cycle as causes of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide. This trend is likely due to a sense of desperation in the warmist camp as people become less and less enamored of their tales of climate catastrophe and also due to the necessity, for the sake of international climate negotiations, of identifying developing countries like Indonesia as major emitters of carbon dioxide at par with the developed countries.

The inclusion of living matter - not just fossils - as emitters carbon dioxide that causes climate change leads to contradictions that have no resolution. For example, it is claimed that 2.3 million tons of carbon emissions per year from "forest destruction" in Indonesia cause climate change (Redd Alert, Bangkok Post, January 6, 2010) but 47 million tons per year of emissions from forest fires in the USA do not; and slash and burn agriculture in Indonesia is considered human activity but a forest fire caused by vandalism is not. It is a recipe for confusion.

The global warming movement has reduced all environmental concerns into a single issue and thus finds itself with the impossible task of having to express traditional environmental problems in terms of carbon and thereby to compromise environmental issues that cannot be thus expressed.

Cha-am Jamal

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