Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 06, 2007

Global Warming Question

It was the warmest and most dry April here since weather data is recorded. The pattern continued since with a very bright and unnaturally warm Sunday today.

I do not doubt that the planet is warming with likely catastrophic consequences for humanity and that the reason is mostly human behaviour.

What bothers me is the current emphazising of carbon dioxide (CO2) as the "bad gas" while little is said about methane (CH4).

Since the industrial revolution methane release is said to have increased much more than CO2 releases. It is also said that methane is 20 times more effective to further warming than CO2.

If those estimates are correct, why do we see more arguments about reducing CO2 than we see on reducing methane?

Follow the money? Trading some "certificates" seems a scam to me.

Posted by b on May 6, 2007 at 03:17 PM | Permalink


One reason might be so as to ignore the methane increasingly released from ex-permafrost peat bogs. The thing is, all talk of curbing emissions is a magicians' trick so we don't realize catastrophic changes are inevitable and soon, and that only the tippy-top are prepared.

Posted by: plushtown | May 6, 2007 3:25:48 PM | 1

aren't cow farts a major source of methane?

Posted by: dan of steele | May 6, 2007 3:37:51 PM | 2

This as a sidenote:

In Germany the "wind industry" i.e. building huge windmills to make a legalized guaranteed profit by producing electricity is quite a rage. No wonder such ends up in court.


The parties in the dispute are the owner of a wind farm in Deliztsch in the eastern German state of Saxony and a businessman, who wants to set up a bigger wind farm in the immediate vicinity.

The crux of the case is earnings. When two wind turbines are located too close to one another, one often falls into a slipstream. The propellers in the first wind farm decrease the wind pressure hitting the rotor blades in the second wind farm located in the slipstream. "This wind theft naturally affects profits," Leipzig lawyer Martin Maslaton says, justifying his client's complaint.

Still - why is there so much talk of CO2 credits and none of CH4 credits? Farmers? Atomic Industry?

Posted by: b | May 6, 2007 3:44:08 PM | 3

plushtown is right. once the tundra in siberia melts it is gam4e over. don't look up methyl hydrates on the ocean floor if you want to sleep night6=s. welcome to jupiter--it is arriving shortly.

Posted by: hopping madbunny | May 6, 2007 4:01:51 PM | 4

it's 1, 2, 3 what are we fighting for? don't ask me I don't give a cur.... next stop is...jupiter. well it's 6, 7, 8 open up the pearly gates....ain't no time to wonder why, whopeee! we're all gonna die.

thought that little ditty could use some updating.

Posted by: fauxreal | May 6, 2007 5:17:13 PM | 5

To carry on from thoughts on a previous thread, my son is doing science at UCD, is Global Warming a problem........ fuck no, it's the next party.

Doomed we are, but drowning is supposed to be a good way of kicking the bucket.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | May 6, 2007 5:44:57 PM | 6

Methane = the enigma gas. Yes, it is a powerful greenhouse gas. It has many sources, a couple of which are mentioned above. It is a hydrocarbon and a major constituent of natural gas that so many of us use for heating and cooking. As you will see below, termites are a major source along with landfill gas, cow manure, etc. Both of these sources (landfills and manure) are currently being captured and burned for energy, but guess what? The combustion of hydrocarbons (methane) results in carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere. Another gottcha?

Sources of methane 1990:

Another sources of methane:

Methane from Wikipedia:

Posted by: Senionor | May 6, 2007 8:31:05 PM | 7


Because the methane starts from much lower level so that the net radiative forcing effect of carbon dioxide ends up 3 times larger then that of methane. Do check out the graph on that page, it is very illustrative.

As far as Kyoto protocols and the credit and trading mechanisms in introduced goes, they are way simplistic and probably was by many intended that way. I heard a talk by one who had been present, and he saw the Kyoto protocols as a mere starting point. Thus it did not matter that much that they ignore other gases, are way to leniant in general (the Kyotto protocols aims at just a doubling of CO2 until 2100) and introduces no restraints on developing nations.

As he saw it the Kyoto protocols were meant to introduce the institutions of halting the emissions of greenhouse gases. Once they are in place the institutions will help pushing forward new and radical measures, because burecracies always want to grow. So much has been left out to make it easier to accept.

And we all know the MSM can only hold one thing in its collective memory at a time, so first we will be treated to this dumbed downversion were carbon dioxide explains everything, then someone will claim aerosols to be the solution, then methane will be discovered, then the cloud effects of aviation and so on...

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | May 6, 2007 10:00:22 PM | 8

a few of the previous posters have it right.

the majority of the forcing effect is due to CO2, with CH4 (methane) playing a smaller role. also, within a couple of decades atmospheric CH4 oxidizes into CO2 + water (or hydroxyl ions? i am in a state of diminished capacity right now). by contrast atmospheric CO2 persists for millenia. the latest models as well as the fossil record show large slugs of CO2 taking about 100,000 yrs to dissipate. so CO2 is the major villian in both amount and duration.

isotopic analysis shows that the excess CO2 in the atmosphere is of fossil origin. most methane in the atmosphere is from natural sources + some non-fossil human sources. so "putting things back to where they were before" would logically start with cutting off burning fossil fuels ASAP, beginning with coal and following smartly along to fossil hydrocarbons.

sources of methane include ruminant burps (not farts). basically everything that chews a cud is a methane source. this includes moo-cows, giraffes, bison, cute little pygmy goats, santa's reindeer and the !@#@#!$!@ who broke thru the deer fencing around my rose garden last week and munched the flower buds off of my peonies shortly before they were due to bloom. 8(

we can expect to see a lot of finger-pointing at methane and other non-CO2 greenhouse gases in the echo chamber (aka MSM) RSN. this is because, to put it baldly, the fossil fuel industries are the wealthy cruds who are guilty of crashing the biosphere and they can buy an awful lot of smoke and confusion with their public relations dollars.

for instance, there's the Vegan Moo-Cow Genocide Plot going around. "someone" would like us to believe that eating like rabbits will do something useful WRT global warming. what they are not spelling out is that the cows must die before they stop burping. milking them or keeping them in petting zoos is just as bad as pasturing them before eating them. bringing back the american bison, the european wisant (another bison) or the aurochs or similar ruminant conservation efforts could wipe out any gains from moo-cow genocide.

murder King Coal and celebrate the cud-chewers, i say! :-) esp. the tasty and/or cheese producing ones...

another source of methane is wetlands, including the artificial wetlands used to grow rice. good luck getting rid of rice in a non-genocidal fashion. and i take a very dim view of eliminating or failing to restore natural wetlands while coal plants are still burning.

and, yes, siberian peat methane releases or deep water clathrate mega-farts would kick the biosphere crash into overdrive. it would be a Really Good Idea (tm) to halt the warming before those happen.

the single most significant throttle we have our hands on is eliminating fossil fuels.

it's late here and i'm too burnt out to dig up my cites but i _highly_ recommend Real Climate ("Real Climate Science from Real Climate Scientists") for a bullshit-antidote. some of these guys are in the IPCC, they're all highly qualified and back up their stuff with peer-reviewed papers in first-class scientific journals. i ignore _everything_ WRT global warming in the MSM. it's too thoroughly contaminated by bad faith and intellectual dishonesty. life's too short for that, esp. when you have access to qualified people who *enjoy* explaining the science to laypeople.

Posted by: mr. crusty | May 7, 2007 3:01:59 AM | 9 put it baldly, the fossil fuel industries are the wealthy cruds who are guilty of crashing the biosphere and they can buy an awful lot of smoke and confusion with their public relations dollars

Ah, so, Mr Crusty.

Do you remember when it was announced that it was in fact the yeast fungi in Los Angeles' bakeries that were responsible for the smog in that metropolis. Not the millions of cars on the freeways.

Scientists are more thoroughly bought everyday.

Advertising used to be the one field in which lying to push your point was expected... eventually more than expected... accepted. With the success of advertising piggy backed on the consumer society it expanded into politics and now into science.

It's the acceptance of lying as a means to "win" in the marketplace of ideas that's dragged us down as low as we've fallen. From the lied up "uncertainty" about cancer and tobacco, to selectively published results of clinical pharamaceutical trials, to "uncertainty" about global warning, to the lied up war in Iraq...

See Big Oil Buys Berkeley for just one of the recent takeovers of formerly robust scientific institutions by those with a point view that needs advertising.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | May 7, 2007 3:50:09 AM | 10

@ mr. crusty #9, thanks for the "real climate" site, haven't looked at it in a while. If one searches for "glacier" or "earthquake", there are comments using each word, but no article emerges. If one searches for both no matches appear.

from Neocon Barack Obama thread #44:
"Standard geology says that after glaciers lighten their load on land said land quakes. Barnyard physics says that quakes under ice push more ice off the land. Only the former owners of the Penninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company seem to anticipate this.

Is anyone here willing to say that glaciers leaving land does NOT result in quakes? Or that quakes won't result in more quakes?"

One thing I didn't mention there is that existence of rumored earthquake weapons is likely, given the taking of Tesla's papers at his death in January '43 and the historical love of the OSS then CIA for wacky weapons and that of defense contractors for black ops big bucks. Basic geology plus human denial theory will provide cover for timing.

Offer in Neocon Barack Obama #46 still stands & have had 0 e-mails asking for clarification of any cartoon for purpose of easy money.

By the way, what I'm trying to do is to look at things as an historian. That is, I look at the documents available, try to deduce motives, powers, directions.

Posted by: plushtown | May 7, 2007 7:04:35 AM | 11

correction to above: "glacier" does produce articles,don't know why it didn't earlier. "Earthquakes" still doesn't, but "quakes" does.

"The "ice quakes" occur because the rough bedrock surface causes the glaciers to stick; they only accelerate when enough hydraulic pressure has built up to help float the glacier over the bumps. This is strong evidence that climate, not merely "internal ice sheet dynamics", has contributed to the recent increases in Greenland's glaciers. Indeed, a doubling of the rate of quakes has occurred over the past five years, just as the aerial extent of surface melting has increased."

In any case, no mention that lightening of ice load might allow different cause of quakes.

Have to read the Greenland articles in any case, will see if they mention possibility/implications of Greenland being 3 islands.

Posted by: plushtown | May 7, 2007 7:49:11 AM | 12

for instance, there's the Vegan Moo-Cow Genocide Plot going around. "someone" would like us to believe that eating like rabbits will do something useful WRT global warming. what they are not spelling out is that the cows must die before they stop burping. milking them or keeping them in petting zoos is just as bad as pasturing them before eating them. bringing back the american bison, the european wisant (another bison) or the aurochs or similar ruminant conservation efforts could wipe out any gains from moo-cow genocide.

Cattle has several aspects when it comes to global warming. Methane is one, others are the fossile fuel (oil) used in transports, the cut down of rainforest (releases CO2) for grazing and fodder production. Factory farming uses fodder that is (mostly) fit for human consumption - like soybeans - so there is a direct and less energy-costly alternative in eating soybeans.

Milking is actually better then just breeding for slaughter, because you get more food/unit energy (think oil) that way. Of course that is supposed that we view a lower number of cows around as a good thing. But considering that we do not view slaughter as murder I have a hard time seeing why not breeding more cows would be considered genocide. If meatconsumption would go down, I have no doubt that we would still eat most of the remaining cows.

But yes, fossile fuels is the big problem. If we eliminate it most people will not eat as much meat.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | May 7, 2007 9:38:42 AM | 13

threatening cattle with genocide may have some blow back

Posted by: jcairo | May 7, 2007 10:22:18 AM | 14

Global warming and the associated CO2 emissions have become the last PC scare, because:

a) the effects will be **slow**, and semi predictable, and the PTB will escape them, personally, of course, but also world wide - a matter of adjustment rather than facing uncontrollable catastrophe (eg. bird flu, taken far more seriously, but under the radar...)

b) some welcome the effects of warming (Siberia); some don’t care, they have other short term preoccupations (Iraq, Morocco, Stans, Nigeria, etc.)

c) many in developed countries take it seriously but feel or see no change in their own lives, despite hair raising tales about crazy weather, that ain’t serious, it is doorstep shrugging while shoveling the snow or wave! wave! pffoooo! at the extreme heat

d) it is a world wide, global phenomenon, and the solutions are a matter of negotiation, etc. etc. - no one particular is to blame, it is ‘climate’, ‘ecology’ - Kyoto etc. and can be argued about..

e) global warming is the other side of the coin of ‘peak oil’, and serves to mask an energy crunch, because there is not much individuals can do about global warming - the expression ‘climate change’ serves to soften, dilute, dampen, camouflage, the desperate murderous control for energy resources; all one has to worry about, from time to time, is Tuvalu being swamped by the ocean waves or more ‘Katrinas’ happening...surely Bangladesh getting flooded is horrific, but there is a kind of inevitability about on Earth, so unpredictable!

‘Carbon’ - emission of pollutants trading - is pathetic. As if the mechanisms that created the problems to begin with - briefly, the free market, and no checks on emissions and pollution - could be reduced by the same market mechanisms, companies buying / selling pollution rights in the ‘free market’. Of course, companies who exploit to the death, and earn massive money, can afford to pay to pollute.

Posted by: Noirette | May 7, 2007 2:23:41 PM | 15

Methane also comes from rotting vegetation, sewage processing, and most decay processes. Many large landfills generate sufficient methane to make it economical to drill gas wells in them for small electrical generation projects.

Back in the 60's, I seem to recall a pilot project by the Peace Corps to use animal maure to generate methane for cooking purposes in small villages.

On YouTube, there's a long (about an hour) clip of BP's Chief Scientist talking about energy future. It's very clear that coal is abundant throughout much of the developed nations and will be the fuel of choice as petroleun gets more dear.

Posted by: cpg | May 8, 2007 12:38:39 AM | 16

Was wondering if science could, in some deliberate and measured and moderated fashion, mimic the cooling effect of a sizeable volocanic erruption. Turns out, there is a broad, indepth, and lively debate on the subject of "albedo modification," and, more generally, in the field of "geoengineering."

Dr. Paul J. Crutzen's name comes up most often. He published a very serious paper last summer, to the consternation of some fellow scientists who actually opposed the publication of his work, "fearing that it may encourage the view that it is easier to treat the symptoms rather than the causes of climate change."

Crutzen himself has said:

"Importantly, its possibility should not be used to justify inadequate climate policies, but merely to create a possibility to combat potentially drastic climate heating. . . The very best would be if emissions of the greenhouse gases could be reduced. Currently, this looks like a pious wish."


“Given the grossly disappointing international political response to the required greenhouse gas emissions,…research on the feasibility and environmental consequences of climate engineering of the kind presented in this paper, which might need to be deployed in future, should not be tabooed,” says Crutzen. He adds that his experiment should only be used as an emergency measure: “the possibility of the albedo enhancement scheme should not be used to justify inadequate climate policies but merely to create a possibility to combat potentially drastic climate heating.”


Scientist publishes 'escape route' from global warming

Shoot Up And Cool Down: Fighting Global Warming By Injecting Sulfur Into The Atmosphere

Posted by: manonfyre | May 8, 2007 5:56:23 PM | 17

Crutzen makes sense, but the cause, infuriating population, will indeed be treated>more easily.

Posted by: plushtown | May 9, 2007 8:24:53 AM | 18

"I always say, everybody's right."

package clerk in Out Of The Past

Posted by: plushtown | May 9, 2007 8:29:49 AM | 19

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