Greenhouse Gases – What You Don’t Know

2 Mar 2007 – How much do you really know about greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide?!  When supporting a particular approach or decision affecting our environment, one must back up their position with knowledge.  Test your knowledge on these three questions about greenhouse gases!

Which greenhouse gas is trapping more heat on Earth than all the others?  If you said “carbon dioxide” you would be wrong.  The correct answer is “water vapor”.  Water vapor contributes about double that from carbon dioxide!

Okay, second question:  Which greenhouse gas traps heat more effectively, methane or carbon dioxide?  If you said “methane” you would be correct.  In the atmosphere, methane traps heat over 20 times more effectively than carbon dioxide!

Well, let’s try a third, perhaps an easier one:  Which greenhouse gas has increased in Earth’s atmosphere more significantly over the past 250 years:  water vapor, carbon dioxide, or methane?  Let me give you a hint.  It’s not carbon dioxide.  Carbon dioxide only increased 31% while methane increased 149%.  As for water vapor, there is much debate as to the amount of accumulation.

Why then, are we so afraid of carbon dioxide?!  Well, here’s an inconvenient truth, a piece of the pie not yet served:  We are wasteful; and the world is running out of oil to power our motor vehicles; and what quicker way to transform our chosen energy paradigm, than to frighten us… AND (before you get entirely upset) carbon dioxide accumulation in the atmosphere IS increasing the greenhouse effect (our Earth is warming)… but remember:  accumulations of methane, water vapor, and others are also contributing significantly!!!

What can we blame for this global warming?  How about fossil fuels?  Okay.  So let’s eliminate all fossil fuels in 5 years.  That will fix the problem of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, right?  Well, no.  Renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel have carbon in them.  What?!  Yes.  Very much so!  In fact, our old buddy “natural gas” is a lower emitter of carbon dioxide than ethanol.

And hydrogen won’t be ready to take over by then.  Besides, what also happens if we ban all fossil fuel in 5 years?  How will you feed yourself or your family when lights go out or businesses and industries shut down?  What happens to the world economy when money stops changing hands?  What happens to individuals?  (For time sake, this argument leaves a lot out.)  Saving the planet, only to lose human civilization by another method – is not a good option!

Let’s join in bringing about the eventual end of human-initiated greenhouse gas emissions that have increased the global warming.  And let’s do it in a controlled, multi-faceted fashion with parallel solutions that will not create a different problem – that brings about the destruction of human society!

I have a saying that is appropriate.

“Believe half of what you see, and None of what you hear.”

Check out these facts for yourself.  Be responsible.  Make additional comments that help clarify.

Reduce, reuse, recycle, and switch to a new energy source… and be good,

– Lars

Explore posts in the same categories: carbon dioxide, clean energy, climate change, energy, environment, ethanol, fossil fuels, global warming, greenhouse gas, renewable energy

3 Comments on “Greenhouse Gases – What You Don’t Know”

  1. pete Says:

    I enjoyed reading your post, but have a few clarifications to make. First there is a big difference between CO2 from fossil fuels and CO2 from ethanol or biofuels. Fossil fuels are composed of carbon that has been buried for millions of years and is essentially out of the current carbon cycle. By burning fossil fuels we are adding CO2 to the carbon cycle that otherwise would not be there. With biofuels, carbon is contemporary. It is part of the current carbon budget and therefore is not adding carbon to the cycle, but is “recycling” it in a way. Essentially if we burned only ethanol in our cars made from corn, switchgrass or whatever, when our cars release the CO2 into the atmosphere it become reincorporated into the plant biomass the next year, with no net increase of CO2 into the atmosphere. The plants take in the CO2, convert it to sugars, we convert to ethanol, we burn it to CO2, and the plants take it over again. I hope this important distinction is clear.

    The second comment I had is about methane. The major sources of methane are not from humans. So it is much harder to control methane than CO2. Another disturbing fact is that as the atmosphere warms, and melts the permafrost in places like Siberia, then more methane is released, which exacerbates the problem even more.

  2. resourceful Says:

    Hi Pete, I appreciate your comments. I wrote part 2 for you to scrutize. I added some reclarifications. It is found here:

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