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Dec 12, 2008

Global Warming, CFCs, and ‘Dirty’ Solar energy.


H/T Ron Kitching.

I have just read a great article by Robert A. Ashworth, “No Evidence to Support Carbon Dioxide Causing Global Warming!”


In the early nineties, some scientists were saying that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were causing global warming. This was disturbing to the author; a chemical engineer who has worked on coal conversion processes his whole life. Before it was investigated as to whether or not this was really true, the author developed a scheme to remove CO2 from power plant flue gas by bubbling it through a pond of water to form algae, then skimming it off, drying it and feeding it back to the power plant as a fuel to be blended with the coal. This would do two things, reduce the overall CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, and conserve our coal reserves. After investigating CO2 as a cause of global warming, it appeared at that time to be false.

In the late 1990's it was brought up again and in 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) announced that CO2 was causing the earth to warm and developed computer models to predict how much the earth would warm in the future. In 2006-2007, the author evaluated this again in depth and found the premise was clearly false. IPCC scientists did not relay that, during the time from the mid 1960's to 1998, the stratosphere cooled almost three times as much as the earth warmed. From this input, the author could prove that CFC destruction of ozone, not CO2, was the cause of the abnormal warming over that period. He wrote a paper that has been peer reviewed and in mid 2009 will be published in a respected technical magazine. However, putting this aside, does any evidence exist to support the premise that increased concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere have caused the earth to warm?

I have mentioned in a previous post that there is evidence that CFCs had been pointed out as a possible cause of GW and this effect had peaked and was reducing owing to the cessation of their use. This is consistent with the current cooling of the Earth, which appears to be the case at present.

The greatest difficulty in promoting this theory is that so much political capital has been invested in the vilification of carbon dioxide that it will be almost impossible to move the current GW zealots away from their positions. Governments have committed themselves to the religion of GW to the point where they will simply refuse to back down, especially if the alternative offers no real prospect of huge taxation.

One of the favorite forms of alternative energy is solar panels but problems have now been found with these, as they rely on nitrogen trifluoride which is a greenhouse gas that is 17,000 times more potent than CO2: -

H/T Strike The Root.


Think switching to solar energy will make you green? Think again. Many of the newest solar panels are manufactured with a gas that is 17,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to global warming.

Nitrogen trifluoride, or NF3, is used for cleaning microcircuits during the manufacture of a host of modern electronics, including flat-screen TVs, iPhones, computer chips—and thin-film solar panels, the latest (and cheapest) generation of solar photovoltaics. (Time named the panels one of the best inventions of 2008.) Because industry estimates suggested that only about 2 percent of NF3 ever made it into the atmosphere, the chemical has been marketed as a cleaner alternative to other higher-emitting options. For the past decade, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has actively encouraged its use. NF3 also wasn’t deemed dangerous enough to be covered by the Kyoto Protocol, making it an attractive substitute for companies and signatory countries eager to lower their emissions footprints.

It turns out that NF3 might not be so green after all. “NF3 has a potential greenhouse impact larger than … even that of the world’s largest coal-fired power plants,” according to a June 2008 study by researchers at the University of California, Irvine. Because NF3 isn’t covered by Kyoto, few attempts have been made to measure it in the atmosphere. But last October, scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography reported that four times more NF3 is present in the atmosphere than industry estimates suggest, and its concentration is rising 11 percent a year.

Compared with the damage caused by CO2 emissions, NF3 remains a blip because far less of it is emitted. But Ray Weiss, who led the Scripps team, thinks that, unless regulations require more complete greenhouse gas measurements, more unpleasant surprises will be in store. With NF3, he says, “We’re finding considerably more in the atmosphere than was expected. This [gas] won’t be the only example of that.”
Does anybody ever bother to check what these types of compounds do, before they toss them into mass production?

9 comments:

  1. I disagree that it's a "great article" by Ashworth. For one, it's not an "article" in the scientific sense, since it hasn't been peer-reviewed and published in a scientific journal. And second, I can see why: the guy can't even add.

    Thus, on p. 7 of his report he states:

    "The IPCC (Figure 7) analysis shows 390 watts/m2 being radiated from the earth (right side of graph) to the atmosphere, excluding thermals and water evaporation from plant leaves (evapotranspiration) for simplicity, when only 168 watts/m2 is absorbed by the earth (left side of graph) in the first place. This graphic violates the first and second laws of thermodynamics, which in essence state that you cannot get more energy out of a system than you put into that system."

    What nonsense! If you'll look at the figure yourself, it shows:

    Incoming power = 168 + 324 = 492 W/m^2

    Outgoing power = 390 + 24 + 78 = 492 W/m^2.

    As I wrote: "The guy can't even add."

    He then goes on with:

    "If what the IPCC is presenting were true, for every unit of energy in, one would get back (390/168) = 2.32 units of energy. The U.S. Patent Office never awards a patent for a process that claims it gets more energy out than it puts in because thermodynamically it is quite impossible. Strangely, the IPCC promotes such nonsense to the people of the world and is not soundly rebuked for it!"

    He's the one "promoting nonsense" and the one who should be "soundly rebuked".

    Further, with respect to his suggestion that ozone depletion is the cause of global warming/ stratospheric cooling, where does the guy live? Near Alpha Centauri? The influence from ozone has been incorporated into climate-change models for decades.

    Ashworth seems to be just one more of the nut cases clogging the internet with their "Hey look: everybody's an idiot except me." I wish they'd grow up.

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  2. Nick: The only source of energy is the sun. Last time I checked the sky doesn't create radiant energy on its own. You and the IPCC need to take a few courses in thermodynamics. This is so simple but you and the IPCC have it completely wrong and don't even know that. You need to take a few courses in thermodynamics.

    The IPCC uses its "play station" science and peiople swallow it hook, line and sinker. Do you also know the greenhouse signature the IPCC says must be in the atmosphere to have a so-called "greenhouse effect" is not there at all.

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  3. Thanks for that Bob, I'm glad to have you over.

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  4. Bob: Rein in your insults, get off your high horse, and start digging to try to find the truth.

    With respect to your arrogant and ignorant comment about the need for my taking courses in thermo, not only have I taken all that were offered (to get my Ph.D.), I taught thermo for multiple years at multiple universities.

    With respect to your ignorant and arrogant comment about the Sun being the only source of energy, even that seemingly obvious comment is incorrect. Granted that moonlight and starlight are too small to be consequential for the climate, but the dissipation of energy associated with the gravitational force between the Earth and Moon is important (e.g., see chapter X5, Examining Interactions, of my online book at http://zenofzero.net/ ).

    But most important is your continued failure to see that, from Figure 7 of your "paper", you're adding apples and oranges. If the inventory is done correctly, the numbers at the top of the figure give 342 W/m^2 of incoming solar radiation, and the outgoing radiation is given to be 107 reflected solar radiation plus 235 longwave radiation, for a total of 342 W/m^2 outgoing.

    Let me put it this way: if you're going to try to do science, then there's one thing that you really should learn how to do, namely, learn how to say: "Ooops, sorry, I made a mistake." Try it, you'll feel better: honesty builds character.

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  5. Upon checking back to see if Bob would respond, I reread in his comment to me: "Last time I checked the sky doesn't create radiant energy on its own." Hasn't he ever heard about black-body radiation?! That would explain why his "analysis" is so ridiculous.

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  6. Nick: How does 66 watts/sq. meter that hits the earth womp up to 390 watts per square meater, and the sky generates 324 watts/square meter (twice as much as the sun provides to the earth in the first place). No thermodynamics courses I ever took taught that. Radiant energy heat transfer is always from the hotter to cooler body, never vice versa.

    Maybe the problem was when I went to school they didn't teach "play station" science.

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  7. Well, I posted a comment (and didn't keep a copy), but it seems to have vanished into the electronic wonderland. With this one, I'll be briefer.

    Here's your assignment: Go sit in a greenhouse until you have figured out why it's so warm inside.

    Hint #1: It actually doesn't work like the atmospheric "greenhouse effect"(which was a poorly chosen analogy), but if you get that far, then you'll be able to answer your question on your own.

    Hint #2: If it wasn't for the (poorly named) atmospheric greenhouse effect (never mind any influence from human activity), then the Earth's average surface temperature would be about 33ºC cooler than it is - as those of us know who weren't taught "play-station science" in Grade school and who paid attention to the teacher.

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  8. Solar energy is the best natural resource that we have this time even more that fuel is too expensive. In fact i want to approach costa rica investment opportunities and look all the alternative this country can have because it climate. We must to find the way to save our planet and to use solar energy could be the first step.

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  9. Thanks Kimberly, I'll talk to my Nigerian banker about it.

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