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Global Warming Warning?

Which molecule is the straw that breaks the camel's back?

By Roy McAlister, President, American Hydrogen Association

Warning: Patrick Bedard stated in a recent article in Car and Driver Magazine that "In deciding that it really couldn't reduce water vapor, Kyoto really decided that it couldn't reduce global warning (sic). But that's an inconvenient truth that wouldn't make much of a movie."

According to most scientists who study the matter, global warming is a fact and it is correlated to the increased concentration of carbon dioxide (along with the increased concentrations of many other types of greenhouse gas molecules) in the global atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide has exponentially increased during the last century to more than 30% over the concentration that remained stable for more than 160,000 years before the fossil-fuel dependent Industrial Revolution.

Methane concentration has increased more than 100% since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Of the various types of greenhouse gases, water vapor is in greatest concentration and causes more solar energy to be trapped in Earth's atmosphere than any other gas species. This is because water vapor is constantly evaporated from the oceans and green plants that have been stimulated but not able for more than a century to keep up with increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Comparison of which molecule does more greenhouse warming by triggering more evaporation of the oceans shows that a molecule of methane is over twenty times more harmful than a molecule of carbon dioxide. Halogenated hydrocarbon molecules are even more harmful.

But facts do not prevent persons who are paid to ignore facts to think of ways to obfuscate the matter and encourage American consumers to keep on polluting and foolishly wasting the profit potential of carbon that could be made into durable goods instead of burning and rotting carbon-rich substances.

In this instance Mr. Bedard's efforts are amateurish. Look at the record of lawyers who were lobbyists from oil companies re-writing scientific reports on greenhouse gas warming. Phil Cooney, former chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, (now employed by ExxonMobil), edited Dr. James Hanson's reports on NASA's findings about causes of global warming.

In spite of his slanted statements Mr. Bedard is right about Kyoto being ineffective. Kyoto delegates were unable to do much about global warming because the USA, the world's leading polluter, refused to endorse the Kyoto requests to reduce the rate that greenhouse gas production is increasing.

Kyoto was designed to be ineffective because it did not seek carbon removal from the multitudes of organic substances that are available and the use of such sequestered carbon to profitably produce durable goods.

Mr. Bedard surely knows that a racecar does not roll over at track speeds that it previously reached without rolling over. Exceeding the rollover speed by 0.0001% causes rollovers.

Mr. Bedard, who claims to know all about motor vehicles, is seemingly so intent on obfuscation that he neglected to mention that one way to move a 3,000 pound automobile is to get out and push it … compared to pushing with only one foot (and almost no effort) on the accelerator. This is analogous to the carbon dioxide build up from petrol burned in 800 million engines being the push on the accelerator for enhancing evaporation of the oceans to do the majority of greenhouse gas warming of the global climate.

Which molecule from which vehicle's tailpipe will break the camel's back? A 3,000 pound vehicle that averages 25 mpg to travel a little over 100 miles per day and uses 30 gallons of petrol per week will dump about 30,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. More, including considerable methane, if petroleum production, refining and transportation emissions are included.

SOLUTION: Gasoline and diesel fuels are made of carbon and hydrogen. When these hydrocarbons are processed into carbon for making lighter and stronger vehicle components and hydrogen for use as fuel, vehicles will last longer, perform better, and actually clean the air. But there are other carbon-rich resources that can be processed into carbon products and hydrogen including sewage, garbage, farm wastes, and forest slash.

If you want to get something worthy from Car and Driver, write to the editor and request that Car and Driver sponsor an expedition by Mr. Bedard and Mr. Cooley to put back Greenland’s glaciers that are falling in the ocean two times faster than a decade ago. And ask for scientifically founded articles on the question of whether anthropogenic sources of greenhouse gases are causing global warming. And ask for Car and Driver to get an expert to address whether we should have an economy that is based on petroleum that must increasingly come from places that do not want us to have it.

If you want safer cars with higher performance and an economy that provides opportunities for full employment without inflation, ask the publishers of what you normally read to get this worthy debate in print. 

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