50 Years of CO2: Time for a Vision Test

January 1st, 2009 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

(Jan. 10 update: A few people seem to have missed the point of this satirical post. It is a counterpoint to Al Gore’s use of “millions of tons” when talking about CO2 emissions. I’m pointing out that relative to the total atmosphere, millions of tons of CO2 is miniscule. And even a 50% increase in a very small number [the CO2 content of the atmosphere] is still a very small number.)

Now that there have been 50 full years of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration monitoring at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, I thought January1, 2009 would be an appropriate time to take a nostalgic look back.

As you well know from Al Gore’s movie (remember? It’s the one you were required to come to English class and watch or the teacher would fail your kid), we are now pumping 70 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every day as if it’s an “open sewer”.

Well, 50 years of that kind of pollution is really taking its toll. So, without further ado, here’s what 50 years of increasing levels of CO2 looks like on the Big Island:

As you can see, there has been a rapid…what? You can’t see it?…oh, I’m sorry. It’s that flat line at the bottom of the graph…here let me change the vertical scale so it runs from 0 to 10% of the atmosphere, rather than 0 to 100%….

Now, as I was saying…you can see there has been a rapid increase…what? what NOW? You still can’t see it?? It’s that blue line at the bottom! Are you color deaf?

Obviously, you had too much to drink at the New Years party last night, and your eyes are a little blurry. Here, I’ll change the scale…AGAIN..to go from 0 to 1% of the atmosphere….

Now can you see it? Good. As I was saying, 50 years of carbon dioxide emissions by humanity has really caused the CO2 content of the atmosphere to surge upward. It might not look like much, but trust me, Mr. Gore says….

NOW what?? Carbon dioxide is what? Necessary for life on Earth?

What are you, some kind of global warming denying right-wing extremist wacko? The polar bears are drowning!!

I can see I’m just wasting my time…sheesh.

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