(Black Press file image)

(Black Press file image)

Will Clean Energy Conference challenge climate change policies?

Letter to the Editor from Thorpe Watson of Warfield

Next month (June 4-6), Trail will be hosting a “Clean Energy” conference with BC’s leader of the Green Party invited as a keynote speaker. Will the other speakers be reluctant to challenge the validity of government policies on climate change and hydrocarbon fuels?

For example, will anyone acknowledge coal, oil, and natural gas as green fuels? These fuels are green because they produce the molecule essential for greening the planet – carbon dioxide (“CO2”)?

Or will the conference endorse government, anti-CO2, global-warming dogma and embrace the following rant by a prominent politician?

“Who believes it’s real [climate change]? Who believes it’s science? We got a report last year that said we have 12 years to take serious climate action.”

One may think that the foregoing quote can be attributed to a 29 year-old bartender, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (“AOC”). Unfortunately, Canada has its own AOC who provided us with this nonsensical rant – The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

The Minister and AOC would have us believe that “the end is nigh” unless we reduce our “carbon emissions”. This “carbon” is actually CO2; a colourless, odourless, trace gas that sustains life as a vital part of the carbon cycle. Regretfully, CO2 does not give us the power to stabilize the planet’s ever-changing climate.

A review of the planet’s history of bioavailable CO2 will enable readers to draw their own conclusion regarding the veracity of Minister McKenna’s fearmongering. The following table shows the serious depletion of the planet’s inventory of bioavailable CO2 (atmosphere + oceans) over billions of years.

Planet’s initial inventory of CO2 = 100,000 TtC (e.g. 30%)

Inventory at start of animal life = 700 TtC (7,000 ppm)

Dinosaur era inventory = 200 TtC (2,000 ppm)

TODAY’S STORE (98% in oceans) = 40 TtC (400 ppm)

(TtC = teratonnes of contained carbon with atmospheric CO2 as a % and in parts per million – ppm)

What happened to all the CO2?

ANSWER: It was used to make sedimentary rocks such as limestone. Sedimentation is an ongoing process.

Can we restore the CO2-rich, ancient atmospheres by consuming coal, oil, and natural gas?

ANSWER: No! The total known reserves of hydrocarbon fuels is only 10 TtC, which will increase atmospheric CO2 from 400 to 500 ppm. Natural ocean out-gassing is responsible for most of the CO2 increases.

Unfortunately, the atmosphere will remain CO2 impoverished. During the reoccurring glaciation cycles, the increased absorption by colder oceans will reduce the CO2 to a level dangerously close to the level at which plant growth ceases.

Let us hope that conference attendees denounce political, climate-change dogma and recognize the vital role that hydrocarbon fuels play in a modern industrial economy. Moreover, such fuels are crucial to surviving the cool periods of the naturally-occurring climate cycles.

Thorpe Watson, PhD