November 28, 2018

"The earth was very hot four billion years ago… The atmosphere was unbreathable. Methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide…"

"Nature hadn’t learned to break down cellulose. When a tree fell, it lay on the ground and got buried by the next tree that fell. This was the Carboniferous. The earth a lush riot. And in the course of millions and millions of years of trees falling on trees, almost all the carbon got taken from the air and buried underground. And there it stayed until yesterday, geologically speaking… What happens to a log that falls today is that funguses and microbes digest it, and all the carbon goes back into the sky. There can never be another Carboniferous. Ever. Because you can’t ask Nature to unlearn how to biodegrade cellulose…. Mammals came along when the world cooled off. Frost on the pumpkin. Furry things in dens. But now we have a very clever mammal that’s taking all the carbon from underground and putting it back into the atmosphere…. Once we burn up all the coal and oil and gas… we’ll have an antique atmosphere. A hot, nasty atmosphere that no one’s seen for three hundred million years. Once we’ve let the carbon genie out of its lithic bottle...."

Says a secondary character in "The Corrections" by Jonathan Franzen. It's actually someone other people are finding boring — a windbag. He's gassing the social atmosphere. A fiction writer is free of the obligation to get anything right. He can waft theories with utter irresponsibility. It's up to you the reader to figure out when a character is blowing hot air and when he's getting to the heart of the matter. This little speech has virtually nothing to do with the various elaborate plot threads in this novel. It's just tipped in there.

79 comments:

tim maguire said...

Until you said this was from The Corrections, I thought this was from an article that ran in the Times or the Post. The mistakes didn't raise any suspicions.

Earnest Prole said...

A very clever mammal and Original Sin, you meant to say.

tim in vermont said...

Actually, trees had been sequestering carbon right up until we started releasing it back, and had they continued unabated, they would have consumed so much of it that they would have begun to starve. How stupid does a person have to be to write this shit? One clue that a writer is stupid is when they use the word “clever.” I can’t prove that, it just seems to be a pretty strong association.

Look for yourself regarding atmospheric carbon over geologic time:

http://www.biocab.org/Carbon_Dioxide_Geological_Timescale.html

The graph is logarithmic, so the flattened out spot at the end is caused by the graphing method, not nature. the little spike at the end? Thats us, saving the planet from becoming a snowball.

gilbar said...

Actually, if you read Caesar's last breath you'll see that she's full of it
The carbon couldn't degrade, cause there was NO oxygen back then .
What ever atmosphere we get won't be an ancient one, they Even Say this IN THAT PARAGRAPH
we won't go back to the Carboniferous. Ever.

The more CO2, the more plants; the more plants, the more oxygen
Pay attention people

tim in vermont said...

It's just tipped in there.

Yep, just like Obama worship for a while, before that Bush derangement, and now probably Trump derangement.

mccullough said...

The editors should have insisted Franzen cut this little speech.

Darrell said...

Jonathan Franzen should receive a bag full of postcards every day which say simply "Kill Yourself Asshole."

Perhaps he will listen.

mandrewa said...

Actually I have wondered about that. That is I have wondered if there is a biological reason so much coal was laid down in the Carboniferous. Like for instance as the author speculates, that there were no organisms that could break down cellulose at the time.

I have no idea of whether that speculation is true or not.

As for the "hot, nasty atmosphere that no one’s seen for three hundred million years," no, I don't think so. The oceans are a huge sink for carbon dioxide. There's a time lag, and I don't know the percentage, but I would guess that something like 99% of what we emit will end up in the ocean within a couple of hundred years.

This will change the ocean subtly. It will increase the percentage of CO2, carbonic acid, bicarbonate, and etcetera, with other subtle effects rippling out. I say subtly because the mass of CO2 we have released is so small compared to the mass of the oceans.

I don't think we are going to burn all the coal that exists. We already know of one power source, molten salt reactors, that is better by several metrics than coal, and I expect us to switch over to that if not something else within decades.

In the end our fossil fuel emissions will be what we've already burned plus maybe a few more decades. The significant, as opposed to discernable, impact of that will vanish into the world pretty quickly. Or so I suspect.

gspencer said...

I'm still giggling over the "Nature hadn’t learned" routine.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, waaaay off thread, but I am getting ready to place Christmas orders on Amazon for grand-nieces and young cousins, and I would like to be reminded of the rules for your getting credited with the purchase. For a concrete example, I have four items in my cart right now from items I picked out last night. IIRC, you don’t get credit if I log in through your portal and complete the purchase. Is this correct? Do I have to delete them from the cart, log back in through your portal, and select them all over again?

Gahrie said...

CO2 is fertilizer....The earth is getting greener and crop yields are up.

The really amusing thing for me is the realize that in the not to distant future we'll be reading about ways to release heat into the system to counter global cooling.

Lucid-Ideas said...

One of my favorite Youtubers, Cody'sLab, is currently making a Carboniferous terrarium.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgAbxP9SHQY

4 part series. Neat!

Henry said...

@Lucid-Ideas -- Thanks for the link! I forwarded it to my pre-teen son who is constantly asking about such things.

Ann Althouse said...

"@Althouse, waaaay off thread, but I am getting ready to place Christmas orders on Amazon for grand-nieces and young cousins, and I would like to be reminded of the rules for your getting credited with the purchase. For a concrete example, I have four items in my cart right now from items I picked out last night. IIRC, you don’t get credit if I log in through your portal and complete the purchase. Is this correct? Do I have to delete them from the cart, log back in through your portal, and select them all over again?"

You are correct. You have to begin and end the transaction in one visit. You can move from page to page, but you can't just do a beginning or an end. You have to go in through my entry point (always in the banner and the sidebar) and then put items in your cart and complete the transaction before clicking out from Amazon.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks to all the readers who take the trouble to use my Amazon portal. It is a very effective way for me to be paid for this writing, but it only works because people take the trouble to think of me in connection with the normal purchases they make. It's especially effective in the Christmas season, and I really notice and appreciate it greatly!

Fernandistein said...

I'm still giggling over the "Nature hadn’t learned" routine.

Nature had to repeat 6th grade. Said the fossil record.

Unknown said...

was it in the 1960s that "Nature" became pure

and humans are not part of nature

thus every problem is do to human "un-natural" imbalances

(Rush L used to do environmentalist wacko football picks - funny! https://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2014/01/31/the_environmentalist_wacko_pick/)

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Nature will do what it wants with us. I think George Carlin the joke-ster is probably closer to the truth than any of the climate alarmists.

Climate alarm = tax you much.

stevew said...

"It's actually someone other people are finding boring — a windbag."

I suspect the author wrote and inserted this bit to affirm the character as a windbag.

gilbar said...

Dear Professor,
I'm sorry, i didn't realize that you don't get credit for things in cart...
I will Quit doing that as of now.

Further question... What about things on our wish lists?
if we go through the Althouse portal, and then pick something from our wish list;
Would you get credit for that?

Want to make SURE you get credit, 'cause i (we!) want you to keep writing; and i'm sure your expenses (for things like gardeners) are Very high

Sorry for all this hot air, it's probably sending us back into the Carboniferous era :)

rhhardin said...

Methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen suflide

There were cows.

Ann Althouse said...

"if we go through the Althouse portal, and then pick something from our wish list; Would you get credit for that?"

If you go in through the portal, then only click to other internal pages, and you choose things to put in your cart and complete the purchase, I will get credit.

One caveat: If you stay in Amazon for more than 24 hours, the original entry point won't apply, so don't just go in once and keep the page open and go back the next day. You have to go in afresh.

SteveR said...

When I taught 8th graders Earth Science, I had to learn that I could teach a very complicated subject in an honest way way without it becoming cartoonish. Condensing 100s of million years into a short simple story may make the editor happy but it tends to leave a lot of important details out of the discussion. One of several major problems I have with Climate Science a la Bill Nye. Beyond the simple fraud involved.

Lance said...

“You will laugh, wince, groan, weep, leave the table and maybe the country, promise never to go home again, and be reminded of why you read serious fiction in the first place.” ―The New York Review of Books

Serious fiction makes you want to leave the table and the country?

SF said...

Okay, so I just spent stupid time researching the science behind the quote. The headline bit seems to have nothing to do with the rest of it, as far as I can see? (Logically speaking, I don't know if the full text connects them.)

The Carboniferous started 358.9 million years ago. The previous period averaged 2200 PPM CO2, while it averaged 800 PPM CO2, so some 64% of the CO2 was taken out of the atmosphere. 64% is a lot, but doesn't really seem like "almost all". I think the bit about nature not being able to digest cellulose until after this period is more or less true, or at least a reasonable assumption.

But it feels like the overall point here is wildly wrong? Current PPM CO2 is 405. The forecast I just looked at had 900 PPM as pessimistic prediction for 2100. Which means, yeah, worst case we'd be back into Carboniferous CO2 levels. Except:

1) In the Carboniferous, the average temperature level was the SAME as it is now.

2) AFTER the Carboniferous, the Permian period actually had higher CO2, 900 PPM. And after that, the Triassic had 1750 PPM.

3) In all those time periods, I think the atmosphere would have been relatively breathable for humans? Their oxygen ranged from 80%-162% current oxygen levels.

In summary: appears to be a few correct idea nuggets smothered in nonsense.

TreeJoe said...

Man today is equipped to handle the modest (on a global scale) negative adverse events of global warming by a few degrees.

Man today is very ill equipped to handle a few degrees of global cooling.

As someone trained in science, I enjoy the academic nature of studying global trends.

As a human being who needs to make actual decisions with concrete and reliable results, ALL of today's mainstream policy discussion is stupid. Global warming is desirable for mankind and is a positive defense against global cooling, which would be enormously detrimental. In the meantime, we need actual and immediate resources invested in better preparing communities in normal natural disasters such as fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and hell - a solar mass ejection that could wipe out mass infrastructure.

Ann Althouse said...

There's so little carbon dioxide that it's expressed as PPM instead of percentages. It's less that 0.05% now and in the Carboniferous period it was under 0.1%. I don't see how breathing the Carboniferous level of C02 could be a problem. If human beings are exhaling C02 in a crowded room, isn't the percentage of C02 raised to 0.1%?

If I did the math wrong, please correct me.

Ann Althouse said...

"I suspect the author wrote and inserted this bit to affirm the character as a windbag."

That's quite apparent in context and what I intended to refer to.

mandrewa said...

SF, according to Cody's Lab tutorial on making a Carboniferous terrarium, that Lucid-ideas mentioned above, it was cross-linked phenolic polymers, aka lignins, that account for the coal deposits. Plants synthesized cross-linked phenolic polymers, apparently for the first time, in the Carboniferous, and it took a long time, like 60 million years, for organisms to develop that could eat cross-linked phenolic polymers.

The CO2 in the atmosphere would have been in equilibrium with the CO2 in the ocean. As CO2 was sucked out of the atmosphere, by accumulating deposits of cross-linked phenolic polymers (aka coal), the atmospheric CO2 would have been replenished from the immense reservoirs in the ocean.

By the same logic, current levels of 405 ppm are very temporary. If we stop putting more CO2 into the atmosphere, atmospheric CO2 levels will rapidly drop as most of the atmospheric CO2 will dissolve into the oceans.

stevew said...

"That's quite apparent in context and what I intended to refer to."

Quite, and why I am bemused at my fellow commenter's focus on the content of the passage.

Kevin said...

Adrian Cronauer: It's gonna be hot and wet! That's nice if you're with a lady, but it ain't no good if you're in the jungle.

Kevin said...

If I did the math wrong, please correct me.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED!!!!

There, you are corrected.

Michael said...

Scenario: no more use of fossil fuels including crude oil, natural gas, and coal. you cannot use the oil that seeps from the ground. What happens?

Forget about items you do not think about anymore: smartphones,computers - no internet, no social media, automobiles - even electric cars - electricity with be difficult to obtain, transfer and store, no electrical lights, cooking must use wood or dung, suburban communities will depopulate due to no jobs. Nearly all the jobs will be in farming. Lifespans will decrease, infant deaths will increase, healthcare will primarily be done by family. Cancer will be rare since deaths will occur while working.

Families will become larger to handle the workload of planting and harvesting. Horses will be used primary for transportation and work on the farm.

Windmills will be useless because they need rare earth metals that come predominantly from China (mining must be done by people shipment by sailboats, purification by chemical methods). No batteries will be available for storage.

Forget about solar for the same reasons as windmills in the difficulty in finding refined materials for manufacture.

Books will become scarce. local newspapers will increase but issue weekly or bi-weekly. Schooling will be local up to high school, college attendance will drastically decline.

This is just a beginning of the list. Hopefully others will respond.

mandrewa said...

I should have said as excess atmospheric CO2 is dissolved into the ocean. Before we started building coal power plants, atmospheric CO2 levels were in equilibrium with oceanic CO2 levels. We are putting CO2 into the atmosphere but it takes awhile for that new CO2 to reach equilibrium with the oceans.

It's the new CO2, the added CO2, that will mostly end up dissolving into the oceans so that when atmospheric CO2 levels stabilize a few hundred years from now it will perhaps be only a few PPM higher than what we started with.

(I'm just speculating here. I don't really know that this is the case.)

Ken B said...

Pro tip from Elmore Leonard: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

EDH said...

I'm just thankful we survived the Fergalicious period of the last decade.

Ken B said...

Before I use the portal and pay you I need to be assured none of your orifices are involved in the making of this blog.

Fritz said...

Since there's about 60 times more CO2 dissolved in the ocean than is free in the atmosphere, mandrewa is right. Ultimately most of the extra CO2 being produced by man will end up in the ocean. Currently, something like 1/2 of the "extra" CO2 being released every year disappears, either into plant growth (which is great as long as forests are growing and not burning), or into the sea. The sea is an incredible reservoir, but it's a little slow, since only the the top 100 meters or so is in really active exchange with the atmosphere.

With the slow but sure deep circulation system, that CO2 is slowly mixed into the whole ocean, which takes about 500 years to turnover completely. The CO2 sucked up by the ocean perturbs the carbonate system a little, lowering the pH slightly, but at this point that perturbation is just barely at the edge of our ability to measure, about 0.005 pH units. I ain't sceered.

Chris N said...

At Peace Pavilion West, we had a ‘honeybee’ troop for efficient crop harvesting during work detail. Those girls worked hard and found friendship. It was created to honor the lost honeybees, and instill a sense of something larger than The Self.

Ice Cream Socials to meet the Community. Off Rte 9. Stop by for a visit!

BJM said...

I blame all those damned Orcs tunneling through the earth, burning coal and clear cutting the forests.

Yes, I'm indulging in my yearly winter Tolkien read...beginning with, well, Of The Beginning of Days; The Silmarillion.

Original Mike said...

Blogger Fritz said...”The CO2 sucked up by the ocean perturbs the carbonate system a little, lowering the pH slightly, but at this point that perturbation is just barely at the edge of our ability to measure, about 0.005 pH units. I ain't sceered.”

Really? I see great concern expressed about ocean acidification. It would be good to know it’s overblown.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Ann Althouse said...

If human beings are exhaling C02[sic*] in a crowded room, isn't the percentage of C02[sic] raised to 0.1%?

I doubt it ( although that is just my gut estimate). I googled some stuff related to Apollo 13, where CO2 levels were a serious concern. From that, it seems that CO2 levels of 5% ( 50,000 ppm ) would be deadly in the short term, but 1% ( 10,000 ppm ) would not. But that does not mean that 1% would not be harmful over the long term.

*In CO2, the O is the letter O, the abbreviation for oxygen.

Sebastian said...

I'm thankful to Franzen.

We're gonna need more hot air if we want to prevent the next ice age.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

A form of science practiced outside of the near-frame, where phenomenon are neither observable nor reproducible, hypotheses (e.g. models) that cannot be tested without liberal assumptions/assertions (e.g. uniformity, differentiability), an accumulation of myths and artifacts that tell a story but cannot be independently corroborated, and conclusions that are inferred (i.e. extrapolated, created), with accuracy inversely proportional to the product of time and space offsets from an established frame of reference.

mandrewa said...

stevew said, "Quite, and why I am bemused at my fellow commenter's focus on the content of the passage."

I assume Ann Althouse was making a double reference. At one level she may be talking about people that talk about boring things. Perhaps I should really be interested in this topic. But I have no comment.

But at the second level she is asking whether this is in fact true. I also find this interesting and what is in fact the truth is what I've tried to reason through above.

stevew said...

Good point. Would be a much shorter thread if she posted it only as an illustration of how the author reinforced the wind bag nature of the character.

JPS said...

Michael, 9:53:

You make good points but they basically assume worst-case scenarios and no adaptation to new stresses. For example:

"Windmills will be useless because they need rare earth metals that come predominantly from China (mining must be done by people shipment by sailboats, purification by chemical methods)."

They don't *need* them. Rare earths (a misnomer; they're not all that rare) help, but you can largely get by (albeit less well) without them. Also, we have a lot of rare earth resources; we're just not yet as good as we need to be at isolating and separating them, so we don't yet compete with China. If we got desperate we would. In the meantime we buy them [relatively] cheap.

"No batteries will be available for storage." Again, assumes no adaptation. Why wouldn't there be batteries? There might not be great batteries, but the concept is stone-simple and there will always be materials around with potential differences that we can make use of.

I accept and agree with, however, your essential point that we would take a massive hit lifestyle-wise, which a lot of people urging an end to fossil fuels are in no way prepared for.

tcrosse said...

More than a windbag, the character is a crank.

mandrewa said...

JPS said, "Also, we have a lot of rare earth resources; we're just not yet as good as we need to be at isolating and separating them, so we don't yet compete with China."

As I understand it most of the rare earth deposits in the United States also contain thorium. Thorium is mildly radioactive. The problem prospective rare earth mining faces in the United States is that once you separate the thorium from the rare earths you then have to treat the thorium as nuclear waste. This gets real expensive real fast. One might ask why can't we just put it back in the earth since it's no more radioactive than it was before human hands touched it? But that's not the way that environmental law sees it.

The Chinese advantage is mainly that they don't treat the thorium as nuclear waste.

JPS said...

mandrewa,

Excellent points. And I would likewise argue that if we got poor enough, or faced the prospect of doing so, we'd get over the fear of thorium radioactivity (you just have to not eat thorium, or breathe fine particles, and you're safe from it). And I don't for a moment underestimate the fear of radioactivity.

ALARA is the standard for radiation exposure, once you're already below the limits: As Low As Reasonably Achievable. Bit of wiggle room there, in Reasonably. Also in those limits, if the pressure were on.

Hey Skipper said...

[Michael:] This is just a beginning of the list. Hopefully others will respond.

Well, clearly the models show we have to do something, that business as usual is leading us to a tipping point.

I have read that aviation contributes about 2% of annual CO2 emissions. So an excellent place to start would be to make flying more expensive, right?

Of course, that would thoroughly immiserate Hawaii, the Caribbean, Croatia, Tahiti, Greece, Croatia, and, well every tourist-dependent economy on the planet.

But so much the worse for them, because The Models show we have to do something.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Some interesting stuff about indoor CO2 here.

roesch/voltaire said...

Perhaps because he is a close watcher of birds he might have a different sense of how climate changes is affecting the planet, in any case the insurance companies are also a close watchers and changing their rates and coverage to reflect their views on how climate change will affect the future. Of course the no-nothing Trump folks will go on to discuss weather changes while the rest of the world makes preparations.

hstad said...

"Nature hadn’t learned" routine. Similar to the Climate Charlatans belief of the "Science is Settled" mantra. This comment is so anti-science, I can't believe people actually spout such nonsense and people believe it. I've been around for many decades and remember all the foolish predictions by Phds., egged on by the other Charlatans in the Media. Like: "New Ice Age"; "Peak Oil"; "Ozone Layer Disappeared"; "Manhattan under Water", and etc., etc! Moreover, how many times have Phds., told us that coffee, eggs, salt, fat, etc., where bad for us and then several decades later told us these products are OK! In the scientific realm, it only takes 1 scientific discovery to debunk "97%" of all the scientists (another debunked issue). So forgive me at my age if I don't jump on the gravy train of government grants and induced outcomes to tax us to death. Finally, anything pushed by the "I'm from the government and I am here to help you" crowd makes me skeptical of this Climate Religion.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim in vermont said...

Yeah, insurance companies would never seek higher rates unless all of the science and math was in order.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

tim in vermont said...

Yeah, insurance companies would never seek higher rates unless all of the science and math was in order.

Insurance companies have absolutely no interest in higher rates, if they do not have customers willing to pay that rate. And, as with other capitalists, they will accept lower ( but still profitable ) rates if the corresponding increase in customers leads to greater profits.

They don't need all the science and math to be in order, but they have a profit motive in figuring out both their likely future liability, and the uncertainty in liability, as accurately as reasonably possible. Accurate numbers allow them to avoid underestimating future costs ( which leads to bankruptcy ) while allowing them to undercut competitors who overestimate future costs ( which lets them increase market share. )

Of course, having a profit motive does not guarantee that they will get their estimates right. But I trust their greed more than I trust a politician's altruism.

William Chadwick said...

"What happened, Johnny?"

"Well, first the earth cooled, and then the dinosaurs came. . . ."

tim in vermont said...

Insurance is compulsory for any homeowners with a mortgage, so no, Ignorance.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

tim in vermont said...

Insurance is compulsory for any homeowners with a mortgage, so no, Ignorance.

Insurance is compulsory. Which company you get your insurance from is up to you. So an insurance company can get your business by offering a lower rate than their competitors.

Of course it is possible for insurance companies to collude and all set their rates higher than reasonable. But if that is what they are doing, then they could do it independent of any claims of global warming.

tim in vermont said...

nsurance is compulsory. Which company you get your insurance from is up to you. So an insurance company can get your business by offering a lower rate than their competitors.

It’s highly regulated. They get the rate increases approved by a state commission, so yeah, it’s collusion.

rsbsail said...

Carbon wasn't just sequestered as natural gas, oil. or coal. It was also sequestered as limestone from aquatic animals. And believe it or not, limestone will weather to release CO2 again into the atmosphere. This fellow doesn't know what he is talking about.

n.n said...

We're overdue for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming III - an unprecedented event of redistributive and retributive change that promises a resplendent orgy of planned man, woman, and child.

SoLastMillennium said...

"The atmosphere was unbreathable. Methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide…"

Read through all the comments looking for a snarky one based on that quote. Something like "sounds like a typical family morning after chili night."

I am guessing that Althouse commenters are NOT the same as those on Instapundit's nightly open forum....

mandrewa said...

rsbsail said, "Carbon wasn't just sequestered as natural gas, oil. or coal. It was also sequestered as limestone from aquatic animals."

And limestone is still being formed today.

Quote: "Limestone is forming in the Caribbean Sea, Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf, Gulf of Mexico, around Pacific Ocean islands, and within the Indonesian archipelago."

And this raises an issue I've kind of been wondering about. That is how does this all balance out? I mean ignore the CO2 we are emitting. In the world before coal power plants CO2 was continuously being pulled out of the atmosphere and deposited in enormous beds of limestone and this has been going on for at least hundreds of millions of years. How is it that there is any CO2 left in the atmosphere?

What has been restoring the CO2? Is it just the weathering of limestone and the natural burning of coal beds?

mandrewa said...

Second question. I think it's been established that the CO2 we have emitted is just going to be a minor blip as far as the atmosphere is concerned. Almost all of what we have emitted is going to end up in the oceans in a matter of decades.

So whatever global warming effect this CO2 has it is only going to last for a hundred years or so. And whatever warming that brief blip of CO2 achieved will then vanish just as quickly.

So this is a very short duration event.

What is it that normally sets CO2 levels? Since we know from sampling bubbles in ice cores that it normally varies a bit.

Is it temperature that normally sets CO2 levels? When the planet warms up, there is more CO2. When the planet cools down, there is less that CO2.

If that is the case then part of the CO2 levels that we see must be coming from the ocean because as the ocean warms it should emit more CO2. And if the planet was warming from some reason other than increased CO2 then that would still express as higher CO2 levels. But how much higher?

Fritz said...

Ann Althouse said...

If human beings are exhaling C02[sic*] in a crowded room, isn't the percentage of C02[sic] raised to 0.1%?

I doubt it ( although that is just my gut estimate). I googled some stuff related to Apollo 13, where CO2 levels were a serious concern. From that, it seems that CO2 levels of 5% ( 50,000 ppm ) would be deadly in the short term, but 1% ( 10,000 ppm ) would not. But that does not mean that 1% would not be harmful over the long term.

*In CO2, the O is the letter O, the abbreviation for oxygen.


A friend and I once put a CO2 meter in a seminar room during a seminar at the Smithsonian. The CO2 rose to over 1000 ppm (0.1%). It's actually pretty common in crowded rooms with ordinary ventilation.

I've been told that CO2 in still air over the marshes there can go over 1000 ppm overnight. I haven't seen it myself.

roesch/voltaire said...

Perhaps the no nothing trumpets who don’t read the Lancet will suffer from the increased risk of insect diseases moving up from warmer climates heaven forbid that will be their wake up call.

tim in vermont said...

Ah yes, The Lancet. Is there ever a liberal trope they won’t polish and shine to make it look like hard science?

What is that based on? Climate models that have so far proven unable to predict anything? Climate models that apparently exaggerate warming? Or is it based on actual measurements of the movement of tropical insects northward that has nothing to do with the movement of mankind?

There is a “no nothing” here, and he is constantly telling us how smart he is, but he never seems to have anything but the most general statements that he is completely unable to support with any, well, the kinds of arguments that a person who “knows something” would make. Instead he just relays opinions transmitted to him through a media owned by mega billionaires who have theirs, and would just as soon drag the ladder. up behind them and force the rest into poverty.

What’s next, will they demand that we all thatch our roofs so that they can look out on the peasantry from the towers of their heinously expensive manses?

tim in vermont said...

CO2 was continuously being pulled out of the atmosphere and deposited in enormous beds of limestone and this has been going on for at least hundreds of millions of years. How is it that there is any CO2 left in the atmosphere?

If CO2 had been continued to be sequestered at the rate it has been done without the interference of mankind, we were not that far from the level where plants begin to starve and the planet turns into a snowball, until geology somehow, released more CO2, or perhaps the planet remains a snowball until it is eventually swallowed by the Sun.

tim in vermont said...

Sometimes I think that liberals are like young Earth creationists. Not that they think that the Earth was created 6,000 years ago, but that the think the perfect climate was, and as long as nobody interferes, it will stay perfect forever. A stable climate is not in the cards. The only times the climate has been stable on this planet is when it was far warmer than today, before the onset of the ice ages.

Maybe R/V the super genius can explain to us why my comments are wrong with his trenchant intellect and vast treasure of knowledge he could share with us moronic Trump supporters.

tim in vermont said...

am guessing that Althouse commenters are NOT the same as those on Instapundit's nightly open forum...

Fart jokes are allowed, I guess, but you don’t see them too often. I honestly don’t get Insty’s open threads. I don’t even read the comments there anymore.

Freeman Hunt said...

Whatever as long as we don't do more wind power.

I liked a recent interview with this author. Maybe I'll read the book.

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Bruce Hayden said...

"friend and I once put a CO2 meter in a seminar room during a seminar at the Smithsonian. The CO2 rose to over 1000 ppm (0.1%). It's actually pretty common in crowded rooms with ordinary ventilation."

Not the least bit surprised. I found that I worked best with a lot of air circulation. Everyone probably says that, but it was true for me. The last office I had as a software engineer was in my own room in the part of the computer facility with the raised floors and forced air to keep the equipment cool. It was also good because it was behind the locked doors, so rarely had to deal with anyone, unless I wanted to. About that time I was in law school, and only survived because I would get up and catch a bit of fresh air every half hour or so. So, I always sat off to the side in the front row, so that I could sneak in and out without disrupting the class. The stories go on, with my problems dealing with CO2 buildup in the offices I was working in - too much CO2 puts me to sleep. I think that it does it for everyone, but some of us are worse. I am in the much worse category.

When I was young, I would put the covers over my head to fall asleep. My partner has indicated that she did the same. It seems to work at least partially because of CO2 buildup. We have a kitten, rapidly approaching cathood. When we first got him, we could get him to sleep by throwing a blanket over him. Now, he just wiggles out, in very short order, if he isn't ready for sleep yet. No doubt, he will be sitting up, posing for the world to see, as only Siamese seem to be able to do, when I head back to bed in a couple of minutes, ready to play, and reminding me of how nice it was when we could get him to sleep when we wanted him too.

Bruce Hayden said...

"Whatever as long as we don't do more wind power"

I am ambivalent about a lot of birds, but it is frankly absurd that the federal govt has waived the laws protecting our national bird (and symbol) just so that a bunch of environmental wackos can virtue signal using government funding to build massive wind turbines, that mostly only provide any power when least needed.

Freeman Hunt said...

I have no idea why anyone is in favor of spoiling seas of land with giant turbines. It seems insane.