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Sources Matter - Anthropogenic vs Environmental Contributions to Global Warming

written by: Tony Smejek•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 4/29/2011

As human population grows, so does the use of fossil fuels and their emissions into the atmosphere. But it has been debated if anthropogenic sources of global warming are really making any kind of significant impact.

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    Types of Anthropogenic Influences on Global Warming

    Agriculture – the resulting emissions of methane gas during agricultural practice released by the decomposition of manure and livestock activity. Nitric Oxide emissions are also an end product result due to agricultural use of fertilizers.

    Deforestation – as the Earth’s population grows, so does the need to clear forests for land use and human occupation. Since vegetation and trees are major contributors to the intake of CO2 and transforming it into breathable oxygen, the reduced forests will allow the amount of CO2 to exist and continue to accumulate and contribute to greenhouse gas accumulation.

    Fossil Fuels – probably the most obvious and contributing to 75% of the amount of CO2 emissions due to human activities. In order to produce energy required to run engines, produce electricity, and run power plants, products like coal, natural gas, and other fossil fuels such as oil would require burning in order to utilize this valued resource.

    There are also CFC’s (Chlorofluorocarbons) that are another significant greenhouse gas that’s also invading the atmosphere as provided by refrigeration systems as well as CFC’s and halon gas as produced for the manufacturing of fire suppression equipment.

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    The Climate Contrarian View of Anthropogenic Global Warming

    A rather well-known journalist named Alexander Cockburn has different views about global warming. He contends that current scientists who do believe that carbon emissions by fossil fuels are the main influence in global warming are participating in a giant myth. He contends that current climate scientists are coming up with ways to support their research that can lead to a doomsday scenario along with computer modeling so they can get continued funding for their studies. He basically thinks that the human influence of CO2 emissions into the system is quite insignificant.

    Alexander Cockburn developed six arguments countering the research that current climatologists are using today.

    1. In the 1930’s, during the Great Depression, the usage of fossil fuels dropped by 30%, but the amount of CO2 in the air did not drop along with it, which leads Cockburn to believe it is not the burning of fossil fuels that leads to CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.
    2. According to Cockburn, it is water vapor that is the main greenhouse gas of consideration and CO2 is rather insignificant.
    3. Just after the ice age around 10,000 years ago, when the earth started to warm, the warming process occurred shortly before the rise in CO2 in the atmosphere. Therefore, it was the warming of the earth that caused the rise in CO2 concentrations, and not the other way around.
    4. Increased concentrations of CO2 into the system are contributed by the earth’s oceans and not anthropogenic whatsoever.
    5. The amount of time that CO2 resides in the atmosphere before it dissolves into the ocean is around 1 to 2 years. This supports claim #4.
    6. The computer modeling predictions or forecast models can be easily manipulated in order to get the desired results for climate scientists. By tweaking variables in the computer program, the desired results to support their research can be reached.
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    The Cleaner the Fuel, the Less the CO2

    Typically, petroleum gas produces green house gases such as sulfur, carbon monoxide, and smog producing particulate matter.

    With the usage of a pure form of biodiesel or B100, this alternative fuel will eliminate such pollution causing green house gases and reduce hydrocarbon emissions by 75%.-90%. But mainly, this biodiesel can cut the green house gas of prominence by 75%.

    Alternative fuels such as biodiesel can lead to less green house gas emissions as compared to regular petroleum gas.

    The plant used to produce biodiesel at one time absorbed carbon dioxide during it’s previous existence when growing in the fields which then balances out around the same about of carbon dioxide that is emitted during it’s fuel usage.

    There are also drivers attemping to create their own biofuel by using recycled grease oil from restaurants. Anyone can convert waste oil or grease into usable biofuel by a chemical catalyst and an alcohol. Typically methanol and lye are these said components. These components are rather dangerous, so make sure to make proper safety precautions when producing your own biodiesel.

    A Jetta wagon being fueled with Biodiesel. Note that using more than the recommended proportion of biodiesel/petrodiesel is not recommended. Photo obtained from flick.com taken by user le. Original here: http://flickr.com/photos/peem/757001990/in/photostream/ Licensed under Creative Commons. Original uploader was Analogue Kid at en.wikipedia