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Thursday, January 24 , 2019, 12:47 am | Fair 44º


Michael Rattray: Know the True Greenhouse Gas Effects on Global Climate

More has been written, discussed, analyzed, voted or acted on about global warming — now demoted to climate change — than most every other worldly subject in the last decade. School teachers and students, company employees around the water cooler, and campaign platform litmus tests have elevated a foregone conclusion that any climate change is bad and is caused by none other than man.

Michael Rattray
Michael Rattray

Now that this universal understanding ripples through all walks of life, the only topic worth discussion is how fast is fast enough for the fix.

But there are a couple of points that are worth a pause before the curtain closes. Let’s start with an understanding of our planet and its evolutionary history. Although earth dates back some 14 billion years, it didn’t have all five key elements for sustained life until 4 billion years ago (our sun, a perfect orbit, gravity, water and those pesky greenhouse gases in our atmosphere). The constant intersection of these vital elements is the cause for the variability of global warming or global cooling.

Looking under the hood, our sun is 330,000 times the size of earth. Its outer surface temperature is 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit and, according to NASA, climbing, with heat and light hitting the surface of our planet every eight minutes. Put this in a visual, if the sun were the size of a tennis ball, 10 feet away would be earth, equivalent to a grain of sand! It’s important to put this distinction into perspective because our sun is the single most important variable for all global warming and cooling.

Taking a deeper dive, we need to look at the next layers of our world’s evolution. Although there are many independent nature cycles in play (i.e. the heat balance, the hydrologic cycle, the carbon and nitrogen cycles, the atmosphere cycle, the rock cycle), their dynamics continually create change on our earth, with climate and weather an output of these interactions.

And because we are a multidimensional world, nothing ever is the same: solar radiation penetration, earth’s core radioactive decay, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, continental uplifts, sea floor evolutions and climate oscillation in an ever-changing world. The only thing hotter than the sun is the earth’s core decay, which is closer to 10,800 degrees. Talk about cooking on both sides!

If we look at the last 3,000 years, history tells us that earth has come through three global-warming periods and two cooling periods. Surface temperatures in the Sargasso Sea, a 2 million-square-mile region of the Atlantic Ocean, have averaged 73 degrees Fahrenheit.

There were two global-warming periods before 500 B.C., that raised the temperature 4 degrees Celsius, with a smaller one in 1100 A.D. Of the two ice ages, the last, the “Little Ice Age,” ended in the early 1800s with an average sea-surface temperature of 71 degrees Fahrenheit. For the last 200 years, the earth has been warming, and the current sea-surface temperature of the Sargasso Sea is just below the 3,000-year average ... trending back to neutral.

But what gets all the news is those nasty greenhouse gases. Our atmosphere is 99 percent nitrogen and oxygen, with greenhouse gases less than 1 percent of dry air. Without greenhouse gases, there would be no life, period! By absorbing and radiating solar energy, our earth has an average temperature of 57 degrees Fahrenheit; without these gases it would be below zero.

CO2 averages 750 billion tons in the atmosphere, of which 95 percent is part of the earth’s natural carbon cycle and 5 percent an output of burning fossil fuels. Since the start of the industrial cycle, this output has increase sixfold in just the last 50 years. Of the 30 billion tons of CO2 fossil-fuel emissions in the atmosphere, China is the leading producer, increasing about 15 percent annually. The United States produces 5 billion tons, which has been level since 2000. Let me repeat that: Flat.

Any sea-level rise, surface and sea temperature increases in the last 200 years predate the increases in CO2 emissions. This current global-warming period more closely correlates (again) with solar activity. It is estimated that the cumulative impact of CO2 emissions to this global-warming cycle might be in the 1 percent to 2 percent range.

In fact, on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website, you can review the sea-level rise in the Santa Barbara Channel. Since 1973 to present, the average sea-level increase has averaged 0.04 inches per year, which equates to 0.5 feet in 100 years. However, California continues to support the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report(s) that forecast up to a five-foot increase by the turn of this century.

Now is a moment for a time-out, a pause to digest the facts as they are, not as others want us to believe. We have been bombarded with the “97 percent settled science,” which is not true.

Let’s be clear: Without the carbon cycle, we would not have life. While humans inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, plants inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen, and our world had little oxygen before plant life.

However, many forms of government have and are taking regulatory, policy and legislative actions to restrict citizens’ lifestyles. California continues to lead the world with powerful laws, strategies and governing mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and an additional 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Every citizen needs to take stock in what’s happening to our country, push back and ask if we have really studied the true causes of this current global-warming period. Then we must hold our legislative representatives to be specific, to “show me” the facts and data that prove man-made CO2 emissions is the major reason for global warming.

Between the very first Gov. Jerry Brown and the current Gov. Jerry Brown, our state has gone from a Golden State to a comatose state. Every citizen needs to get better informed of the consequences of these government intrusions and the cost to society.

Click here for more information from The Petition Project, which has had more than 31,000 scientists signing the petition stating “there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere.”

— Michael Rattray is a retired business executive. The opinions expressed are his own.

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