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Re: Carbon: "The Lifeblood of the Planet"

Sequestering CO2 is not that big a concern. That is, I have about as much concern for us Sequestering CO2 as I do of terrorists poisoning my food through our food processing system. For a terrorist to successfully harm many people, he would have to introduce poison into the system instead of bacteria. The reason? It is rather simple actually. The food system is already fighting a constant battle against bacteria. Guess who creates that bacteria? MOTHER NATURE. If a terrorist tries to infect the food system with a replicating agent (aka bacteria), that bacteria has to have several characteristics: 1, can survive the anti bacterial environments that the food processing industry allready utilizes, 2, thrives in the food stuff it is dropped in and 3, can survive the clean up routine of the facility. These are not small hurdles. Chlorox will an awful lot of stuff. These leaves poison. The problem with poisons, as we all learn within the bounds of these pages is that the dose makes the poison. So, if a terrorist wants to poison a food source or a water source he must somehow back an source of poison up to the source of food or water and not have someone notice. ....

CO2 sequestration is equally bogus. 3-5% of CO2 is caused by man. My might sequester some percentage of that, but it would be insigificant compared to what Mother Nature can belch out of her various volcanoes, wild fires (my sister was within a 2 miles of one of the Southern California fires), and compost piles.

What has me worried is talk of mining the atmosphere of CO2. Not that could get out of hand. That doesn't worry me quite as much as the morons suggesting that we stick mirrors at L1 (whatever the point is betweent earth and the sun) to block sunlight from hitting the earth. It's like someone failed Energy balance 101. Here... Let me draw a box around the earth! What are there energies crossing the boundary that make up the earth's atmosphere's Kinetic energy? Funny.. It seems that the SUN is the biggest energy source by several orders of magnitude.

Of course, I then ask the question "does the sun have anything thing to do with global warming?" Simplistic analysis, "Take away the sun and what happens?".

Okay, I didn't stay on topic.

Re: Carbon: "The Lifeblood of the Planet"

Thankyou Brad,

Your response on "mining the atmosphere" was spot on, you mentioned Energy input from the Sun. Carbon is our most important 'energy carrier', therefore when we remove Carbon from the biosphere we remove Potential Energy along with that oh so important Oxidant O2. Now our atmosphere can best be described, in scientific terms, as a giant Thermo-Chemical Reactor i.e. The weather machine. This 'machine' cannot function with just the input of Infra-Red Radiation from the Sun, it needs the input and output of exothermic and endothermic chemical reactions to maintain homeostatic stability.

You mentioned the % CO2 in the atmosphere, unimportant yes, but only in respect of it's greenhouse properties. Consider it's other vital roles:- In the low temperature chemical reactions of the atmosphere it acts as a moderator due to it's semi-inert nature, just as a catalyst acts as a promotor. And these functions can be fulfilled by just parts per million. --- For plants, CO2 acts as both a moderator and a promotor by reacting with clorophyl and sunlight to create photosynthesis. As around 50% of this Co2 is respired along with the toxic O2, the retained carbon is insufficient to maintain plant growth, the bulk of the carbon comes from ground water and decomposition. --- For us, atmospheric CO2 is vital, it triggers and controls our respiratory rate and moderates our Oxygen intake.

So what my original Post was trying to bring to our attention was the fact that in atmospheric chemistry,
numbers have radically different meanings. I do apologise if I come across as somewhat tedentious, but I genuinely believe that the hubris of the human race is allowing some of us to play the role of 'apprentice', as in The Sorcerors Apprentice!!!

Re: Carbon: "The Lifeblood of the Planet"

I think the main problem with carbon sequestration in the form of CO2 gas dumped into various holes in the ground like disused oilfields is there's no way of guaranteeing that the non-engineered natural containment structure will stay leaktight for the several million years or whatever is required to 'protect future generations'. If the stored CO2 gas gets out into the atmosphere, the whole thing was a waste of time. Even if you could prove that one specific disused oilfield didn't leak CO2 gas, then it doesn't mean that others won't leak because the natural containment structure will be different from one oilfield to another. If a large volume of stored CO2 gas was able to escape all at once for some reason, it could be disastrous for any inhabitants near the disused oilfield or disused coal mine. A heavier than air CO2 gas cloud might travel for miles under the action of the wind, it might take hours to disperse and could asphyxiate anyone who got in its path.

On top of that, the likely required storage lifetime would require consideration of the effect of natural hazards like earthquakes. Over timescales of tens of thousands of years all points on the Earth's surface are believed to eventually experience a strong earthquake and there would be no guarantee that these natural containment structures would stay leaktight under those conditions.

The attitude of the Green-leaning supporters of carbon capture and storage (CCS) like Friends of the Earth and the UK's Liberal Democrat party is, as might be expected, hopelessly inconsistent. Both these organisations reject nuclear power partly on the basis that they believe nuclear waste cannot be safely stored deep in the ground. In the case of nuclear waste disposal they're highly sceptical about a technology which is under the full control of engineers and has fully engineered containment structures which are designed to withstand 100,000 year return period earthquakes (which correspond to something like a 0.4g ground acceleration in Europe). But on the other hand they accept apparently without reservation that someone can dump CO2 gas 'waste' into an undesigned hole in the ground with a completely unknown ability to withstand strong earthquakes.

The only real advantage of CCS is for the oil industry. They can use it to extract difficult to recover oil through the most inventive subsidy arrangement that anyone has probably ever devised.

But I can also see some merit in the carbon capture and storage idea from a political bluffing viewpoint. Politicians have allowed themselves to be painted into a corner by spending far too much time listening to the Green lobby in signing up to the Kyoto protocol and assuming that hopeless ideas like renewable energy and energy efficiency would work. CCS might provide some sort of face-saving solution for politicians to get themselves out of these self-inflicted problems. In order to build new fossil fuel power stations, particularly coal-fired power stations, it may be possible to get these stations built on the basis that CCS could potentially be introduced as a retrofit measure when and if available at a later date.

Re: Re: Carbon: "The Lifeblood of the Planet"

Thankyou Dave,

Just got in from my 'Local' and fortuitously have an hour in hand, you are so right! However, if I may, I would like to return the 'thread' to the main thrust of my original Post.

Any decent engineer, scientist, or skilled layman must support your 'argument'. What I did not spell out is the fact that Yes, there are, and always will be, a minority of educated and qualified people who will vociferously support us. The real nature of the Problem is the fact that our world has CHANGED. (It has always been the case in human affairs that 'inertia' and 'critical mass' rules). We now live in a world of Bureaucratic Correctness, NOT Political Correctness. Politicians no longer have any real influence, why , because they were elected by a cross section of the general public, and we are not to be trusted. Neither are sovereign governments!

The intention of my Post was twofold: 1, ( with reference to the above) I try to draw to our attention the fact that our voice is Swamped by the 'Noise'. Axiomatically, therefore, we cannot win.

And 2, Axiomatically, therefore, we must bring about that paradigm shift which takes the 'wind gauge' and puts the opposition on a 'lee shore'. We can do this most effectively by taking the debate into 'blue water', and 'hoisting them on their own petard'. How, simple, tightly concentrate the discourse into the real world consequences of their actions, spell it out in hard numbers, disseminate this information on a broad base, and if necessary, clear the decks with the withering fire of 'grape shot'!

Hence my call for NUMBERS. Please think about it, this is John's Site, he is poorly at the moment and I feel that we can best support him by carrying the fight to the enemy, (all guns blazing, of course).

Good Night, Bon Nuit, Adlab Nacht, David

P.S. Dave, I too am DJ, and just a passing thought; as a kid my Dad impressed upon my memory two very pithy observations:- "Eee lad, dasn't try to preach to the converted" and " If tha wants to stay dry, dooon't try to **** in't wind".

Re: Carbon: "The Lifeblood of the Planet"

Of course, one doesn't have to be sure that the carbon "sequestered" in disused oil wells will stay there for millions of years. A much shorter time frame is appropriate such as:
(a) until the operators of said "sequestration" program have leached all the cash they can out of it and
(b) until we enter a period of cold weather (pretty imminent since the "next ice age" crowd are begining to see signs of it in the downturn in the sun's activity over the last ten years (remember, the AGW's have decided that there is no link between solar activity and climate change and thus have seized with alacrity on the failure to show a direct relationship between current temperatures and solar activity without bothering with any alternative modifying factors).
Of course, to argue that the changes in solar activity have no effect on our climate is a bit hard to swallow but essentially the AGWs believe things (it's a religion, remember), rather than consider rational arguments, and so far as I can tell, there is no way to blame man's activities for any changes in solar activity and ergo, it cannot be the sun.
Of course, it may last no ;longer than this winter which is predicted to be a bad one from the early arrival of Russian migrants (birds) at Slinbridge Wildfowl centre. This doesn't allow them much time to earn a decent crust from the taxpayer but I shan't complain. I'd like to see someone explain all this "carbon offsetting" and how just by buying insurance from one company rather than another I am doing any good at all. Be a good thing if all that died a death aswell.

Re: Re: Carbon: "The Lifeblood of the Planet"

I can't remember where I read the following. Maybe on Pournelle's site. A graduate told of his paper on carbon storage. He said that all carbon is equivalent, so all we need to do is get a lot of plant waste, be it straw, twigs, cuttings, whatever, and chuck it into the deep sea, appropriately wrapped presumably in non-bio-degradable plastic like supermarket bags. Carbon removed from carbon cycle, only bottom of deep ocean affected, and plenty of space to put it. No complex engineering required, no loss of efficiency in power plants, ample opportunity for tuning the amounts. Now there may be objections, but it seems on the face of it to be an idea worth investigating. He couldn't get the paper published. Why? It was the wrong kind of carbon. It was 'natural', not man-made.

Now, I don't espouse carbon sequestration, I don't see much harm in a bit more atmospheric CO2, I don't think there's a 'right' number for it. If it is warming, I don't mind that either, mankind seems to do better when it's warm. But I do mind alarmist claims about climate change when the proponents will not admit of a solution other than for the rest of us to go back to the pre-industrial age. Their motives are beyond suspect, they are determinedly anti-humanity.

Re: Carbon: "The Lifeblood of the Planet"

Birds have no mystical powers to predict the future configuration of isotherms. They arrive early for two reasons:
(a) It is cold where they come from.
(b) They have a following wind.

Re 'The Powers of Birds'

“Birds have no mystical powers to predict the future configuration of isotherms.
They arrive early for two reasons :
(a) It is cold where they come from.
(b) They have a following wind.”

John, this a most intriguing perception, or mis-perception, depending on your frame of reference.

Your first sentence is clearly correct, but only by reference to the term “mystical”. The power to 'predict' is a natural phenomena essential to a bird's survival. They must be able to predicate their actions in response to sensory inputs; in this case, I believe that a bird possesses acute sensitivity to low Infra-Red radiation. As “isotherms” are thermal events, they scan these events and home in on the 'heat' source. (The owls in my paddock seem to hunt successfully whether it be starlight or moonlight. --- Birds enjoy the sensations of soaring; when in a glider, exploring a 'Thermal', one is inevitably sharing it with birds. When it gets too crowded they peel out and make an arrow-straight bee-line for the next Thermal. Cross country long distance glider pilots have learned to 'follow that bird'!)

(a) Very true, but birds migrate in both directions, so how do they decide which way to go? Here again the IR sensor comes to their rescue because it is both an Absorber and an Emitter. They face towards the heat source then face towards the 'cold' source and differentiate the signals. The signal comparison process is enhanced by the fact that the 'cold' signal is derived from the sensation of net heat Emission, whereas, the heat signal(s) are both Absorption and Emission. ( Try standing close to a window in the middle of winter, your skin adjacent to the window will instantaneously register the sensation of net heat Emission, that is what we call COLD!)

(b) Also true, but only up to a certain point. In the atmosphere, if an air stream is moving, it's direction will be determined by pressure (temperature) differentials, from high to low or hot to cold. So, depending on where the bird starts from, it could have a following tailwind, whereby the pressure and temperature is falling, and at some point it must face a headwind where the pressure and temperature is rising.

So how do birds deal with this problem over thousands of miles where above all, energy conservation is the real 'name of the game'? It is my belief that migratory birds have developed a dual flight mode whereby they alter their wing form to achieve a horizontal version of soaring flight. It makes the journey longer but only requires sufficient energy to maintain the aerodynamic form. I also believe that it was from the observation of bird flight that our ancestors learnt the art of sailing. We make headway against the wind by 'tacking'.

Ready About, Lee Ho. David

Re: Carbon: "The Lifeblood of the Planet" (Some startling Numbers)

Some preliminary numbers as per my original Post.

CO2 in atmosphere set at 500ppm = 1000 Gt.

CO2 current annual flux combustion processes = 7 Gt.

CO2 current annual flux from combustion air = 2.5 Gt!

Therefore annual removal rate @ 100% Seq. = 2.5 Gt/PA

So, to reduce the atmosphere to 250ppm would only require - 500/2.5 = 200 years. However, if we apply an energy consumption growth factor of say 4 over 50 years, we then have a depletion rate of only 50 years!

To me this is a very sobering result and requires some further in depth scrutiny. The Gremlin in the figures is, of course, the hitherto missing combustion process air. For a better apreciation of how this CO2 Fuel/CO2 Air Ratio was derived, you need some more numbers:-

Average Terminal CO2 from fuel = 10%
Average Mass Air/ Fuel Ratio Cars, Petrol = 14
Diesel = 50
Trucks = 60
Gas Turbine = 100/200
Jet = 80/120
Fan Jet = 200/500
Industrial Process = 25/500

I have used an average of 75 but feel that this on the low side. However, I am in the right 'ball-park'. I should be because I have been a Combustion Engineer for some 40 years.


Re: Carbon: "The Lifeblood of the Planet"

The problem with carbon levels is the same as with conservation in general; what are we trying to conserve?

Does anyone know what the AGW's have pegged as an "optimum" CO2 level in the atmosphere?
I suspect they are content to say that the climate is changing and that man is responsible and must be punished. Changing from what Utopian set of conditions? If we knew we could set a target and work toward it.

However, if there is to be money in it, tax or otherwise, then the longer the time over which the scam can work and the more expensive it is, the better, a quick cheap fix is no good at all.
So it will have to be carbon dioxide extracted from the atmosphere, and not some convenient biomass shoved down a hole, and it had better be a nice big target because compressing (pardon the pun) 200 years worth of activity into 10,20 or even 50 (depending on how long before people realise they are actually getting colder, not hotter and yell "Time out".

Re: Carbon: "The Lifeblood of the Planet"

OK David, let’s play the game of textual analysis:
“The power to 'predict' is a natural phenomen(on) essential to a bird's survival. They must be able to predicate their actions in response to sensory inputs; in this case, I believe that a bird possesses acute sensitivity to low Infra-Red radiation.”
You may believe what you wish. I am cursed with the disease of scepticism, which means that I have a pathological inability to believe. Animals do not have to predict: they have to play the cards that are dealt to them, with the skills that evolution has provided. Those that play the wrong card die – a lot of them.

“ “isotherms” are thermal events, they scan these events and home in on the 'heat' source.”
No individual experiences isotherms. They can move and form an estimate of the thermal gradient, but that is highly localised.

“ but birds migrate in both directions, so how do they decide which way to go?”
They go in the direction that centuries of evolution have decreed, when is decided by the triggers. Those that get it wrong usually die, but the lucky few start a new trend.

“In the atmosphere, if an air stream is moving, its direction will be determined by pressure (temperature) differentials, from high to low or hot to cold. So, depending on where the bird starts from, it could have a following tailwind, whereby the pressure and temperature is falling, and at some point it must face a headwind where the pressure and temperature is rising.”
Unfortunately, because of the nature of fluid flow, the motion is largely orthogonal to the pressure gradient. Whether that result is a tail wind is somewhat arbitrary. That’s life – luck of the draw.

“So how do birds deal with this problem over thousands of miles where above all, energy conservation is the real 'name of the game'? It is my belief that migratory birds have developed a dual flight mode whereby they alter their wing form to achieve a horizontal version of soaring flight. It makes the journey longer but only requires sufficient energy to maintain the aerodynamic form. I also believe that it was from the observation of bird flight that our ancestors learnt the art of sailing. We make headway against the wind by 'tacking'.”
Again, you may believe what you wish, but all evolution requires is more successes than failures. The fundamental question is whether a bird, for all its remarkable capacities, by sampling one point in space and time, can predict the future configuration of a world-wide varying thermo-fluidic structure, when the vaunted supercomputers with vastly more data cannot.

Re: Re: Carbon: "The Lifeblood of the Planet"

My digital camera is actually sensitive to infrared (at least if you push the button on a remote control and point it at a camera, you can see the light flashing).

Has this IR sensitivity in birds been documented?


Do the birds have some other integrating mechanism along the lines of ...

"Hey guys, ice if forming on the water and has for the last 6 days.. It time to get the flock out of here!"

As to finding their direction, do they need something more exciting than the sun's relative altitude (i.e. This time of year is a pain in the eyes for me because afternoon has sun shining directly in my window, since my window faces south).

I am sure it is much more complicated that this, but why make it more complicated unless absolutely necessary.



Re: Carbon: "The Lifeblood of the Planet" Bird Power Again (With a Twist)


Your question; “has IR sensitivity in birds been documented”
It certainly has in Owls along with UV sensitivity in Humming Birds, Insects, Kestrel Hawks. Magnetic sensitivity in Pigeons and Electro-Magnetic Field sensitivity in Robins etc. etc. etc.

Your very good point; “but why make it more complicated than absolutely necessary”. Well, in my studies I have found that Nature, through Evolution, never ever misses a trick where survival of a species is concerned. Every species possesses an array of sensors with wide variations in sensitivity to suit their operational niche. And in most cases these sensors offer double and triple redundancy.

If I may digress for a moment and give an example from my own life. When I was six years old, I lost the auditory nerve in my right ear, however, because I had started to play a musical instrument when I was just four, I carried on to study and practice towards a musical career. This I achieved to symphony orchestral standards, ( and here, I am not 'playing my own trumpet', honest!). The point is, by the time I was sixteen very few people could detect that I was stone deaf in one ear. I could pinpoint sounds with precision, not just position, but the true sound level. Absolutely essential in an orchestra, otherwise balance would be impossible.

This is Nature at work, my hearing is stereophonic because, my hearing has coupled with my haptic (touch) sense to detect micro levels of phase difference. Our acoustic sense is,of course, a specialised extension of the haptic sense. (I am sure that John could give us the numerical definition of this phenomenon). Blind people develop a similar sense: echo location.

My original Post about bird migration was really to bring, through extrapolation of the IR theme, the fact that Long Wave IR radiation at all levels is the primary energy transfer/transport system in the atmosphere. IR radiation is ubiquitous and all pervading. It would be very strange if Nature had failed to exploit just this part of the electro-magnetic spectrum, would it not?

Extrapolating from the Carbon and Energy posts through Atmospherics and Climate, add in the influence of IR Radiation, and we can see the appalling ignorance which Climate Scientists ( seancetists), and their silly Computer Models express. They half-heartedly acknowledge the Sun, and thats it. Mind you, only because they can't miss it, it's big, bright, and HOT!

Hopefully back on track


Re: Re: Carbon: "The Lifeblood of the Planet" Apologia

Dear John,

Thank you for such an excellent response. My first reaction to your critique was, “whoops', what have I said to upset you”. On immediate reflection, I realised that I had inadvertently created a misunderstanding, for which I apologise.

I was alerted to the error of my ways by your first words, “let's play the game of textual analysis”. This is an activity for which I am ill equipped to indulge in as I perceive textual analysis as an important academic pursuit and I am not an academic. I am an engineer thoroughly schooled in the discipline of 'contextual analysis', be it written or verbal, especially verbal, e.g. 'in the context of what you say'. Engineering or Applied Science is fundamentally about problem solving. We have a problem solving philosophy that brings us to the conclusion that, '90% of the solution to a problem lies in its definition'. Hence the need for informed critical analysis.

The misunderstanding that I refer to stems from the fact that I am very new to participation in Public Forums. The need for brevity imposes many restraints, not the least of which is to use a vocabulary which is inclusive to the majority of members. We cannot be patronising, pedantic, or arrogant, because we are members of a Forum which specifically seeks to challenge the world of political obfuscation and all its evils. It is very easy for informed 'argument' to deteriorate into uninformed altercation which can destroy our credibility.

So, John, please accept some definitions of my words, and clarification of my contextual purpose:--- When I say “I believe” or “It is my belief that”, this is my short-hand for saying, “to the best of my perceptions and observations of the empirical facts and theoretical evidence, my conclusion is that we should proceed on this basis in order find a workable hypothesis”.

In the hard tough world of Industrial engineering decision making, time is always of the essence, 'Rome is always burning'! Given that premise, dialogue is always brief, (why do we call it a 'Brief'?). When a production line is broken down and 'standstill' is costing £1000 per minute we think on the hoof', we design on the hoof', and decisions are made on the hoof'. If we get it wrong, we get the 'chop'. You only rise in the profession by not getting it wrong. 99% of the time, getting it wrong is caused by a failure of Communication. We avoid failures in communication by adopting a vocabulary and terminology that is shorn of all redundancies, we do this to achieve concision, to avoid ambiguity, and to keep the team focussed. There is only one problem with all this, it does not translate into the public arena because we have to explain too much, and the public at large do not have our insights.

John, I must do better and trust that you will accede to allowing me to return to this theme at a later date because I have used up my self imposed quota of words.


Re: Carbon: "The Lifeblood of the Planet" Understanding Oceans

Fascinating article by Tom Scheffilin of the California Air Resources Board: "Global Warming Causes Carbon Dioxide". Go to (, use their Search---enter author's name or article title.

Sound science,sound numbers, and impressive supporting qualification.(How did Californian Bureaucracy let this one out of the bag)?

A must read, especially the 900&1800 year cycles of the Earth/Moon system!!!


Re: Carbon: "The Lifeblood of the Planet"

Er, I remember the "Jupiter Effect" which claimed planetary lineouts caused all sorts of disasters.
I just mean that I treat such claims with caution.
There are a lot of books out there (anything to sell a book) from Von Daniken to Byrd about Kyrilan photography, ley lines,the secret of the pyramids, you name it.
Nice ideas... but do they have a foundation in fact? are the effects significant? I note the phrasing is:
"causes changes in massive movements of underwater ocean water,..." Note the placing of the word "massive".

Re: Carbon: "The Lifeblood of the Planet" 300 Million Cubic Miles on the move

Tom Scheffillin and Earth/Moon Tidal Forces

JMW, Fair comment, but how else can one convey a sense of the enormous forces involved when
around 300,000,000 cubic miles of water have a periodic 'slop'. (My error, correction, not 1800/900 years but a big heave every 1800 years with minor surges every 9 years).

So, MASSIVE, it must be. Oscar Petterson,a Marine Scientist discovered it 80 years ago! And it has since been confirmed by other authorities. The entire air/water exchange CO2 modelling scenario is based on the assumption that the oceans are not 'stirred'. No way could Climatologists handle this anomaly. It could 'blow them out of the water' (sic'). Which is probably why it has been kept safely buried in a Swedish academic library all this time. ---I would be interested to see how the numbers pan out on this 9 year cycle, 1800/9 = 200, could the prescessional cycles of the earth's axis be involved I wonder?

By following the links, I found William Shepherd's site and his very interesting on-line book “England's Climate and Energy Politics”. Also, Michael Crichton's “Science Policy in the 21st Century”. All worth reading. --- The only part of Tom Scheffillin's article that I could not agree with was at the end:- “Finally, put your trust in God, the world is in his hands”. --- But not since the dawn of the Nuclear Age, now compounded with Environmentalism!