Impact of GHG Regulations and Controls on Global Warming James E. Norris Senior Environmental Consultant, Hargrove Engineers + Constructors Adjunct Professor, Chemistry Dept. , University of South Alabama Air and Waste Management Association- Southern Section 2010 Annual Meeting and Technical Conference August 3-6, 2010
Law and Regulation • In 2007, the Supreme Court declared USEPA can regulate CO2 as an air pollutant. • Conventional? Hazardous? Toxic? • What sources? All? Vehicles? Power Plants? Human and animal venting? • USEPA issued 40CFR Part 98 (FR Oct. 30, 2009) with Amendments and revisions published on June 28 and July 20, 2010. • How to enforce resultant regulations? • Targets of Regulation: Sources Emitting 25,000 metric tons or more of GHG per year.
References • U.S. ENERGY INFORMATION, Dept. of Energy, “Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2005” (Nov., 2006) Updated: 2008 emissions (Dec., 2009) • “Chemistry in Context, Applying Chemistry to Society”, 6th Ed. (2009), American Chemical Society • Vostok, Antarctica Ice Core Study Report, Petit, et al (1999)
Is Science of Any Merit? The scientific method: • Observation • Hypothesis • Theory • Physical Law When one jumps over the two middle steps, you have “junk science”. When you base law on “junk science” you have “junk law”.
Atmospheric Gases Listed in Order of Greenhouse Effect • WATER VAPOR • CARBON DIOXIDE • METHANE • NITROUS OXIDE • CFCs (Note: this ordering combines relative abundance and “radiative forcing”) Water vapor is nearly 1% of atmospheric composition; CO2, 0.04% (25:1 ratio) per EIA/DOE Report
The Global Carbon Cycle • Total carbon dioxide, calculated as carbon, moving through the atmosphere per year: 750 Gt • Total carbon dioxide emissions, calculated as carbon, from human sources, moving through the atmosphere per year: 7.9 Gt • Percent anthropogenic: 1.0%
Results of the Logic? • So, of the 750 Gt of carbon dioxide (as carbon) entering the atmosphere per year, 7.9 Gt (1.0%) is anthropogenic emission. Of the manmade contribution, the U.S. contributes 1.6 Gt or 20% of the 7.9 Gt. • But at any one time, the total percent of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 0.04% • Of that 0.04% (the entire 750 Gt), 7.9 Gt is manmade. That’s 0.0004% of the atmosphere for any one period. • The U.S., then, is responsible for 0.0001% of the CO2 in the atmosphere.
Results of the Logic?(continued) • Even if we assume only half the manmade CO2 enters into a carbonate/bicarbonate sink, is it not incredible that this small residual of CO2 is “causing global warming”? • Regulation, proposed rule-making and data collection requirements (to be followed, no doubt, by emission limits) grinds on inexorably. (“cap-and-trade” “carbon tax”)
Question of the Day • Is, perhaps, the U.S. not the beast it’s made out to be? • Even if the U.S. were able to reduce its CO2 emissions by 50%, would it make any difference in global warming? • Could something else be causing global warming?
Other Potential Contributors to Climate Change • Glaciation • Ocean variability (e.g. El Nino) • Plate tectonics • Solar variation • Orbital variations (e.g. Milankovitch cycle) • Volcanism
Is There Any Hard Data that We Can Use? • Yes, while it still leaves us at the first step in the Scientific Method, the Vostok Ice cap Study data allows us to see some long range trends. • Please note that the graph covers 425,000 years of data on temperature, CO2 and dust concentrations.
…Hard Data…(continued) • With a period of about 100,000 years, temperature and CO2 increase and dust decreases. • Note that we are nearing a periodic maximum in temperature and in about 10 generations our globe will begin descending into a new Ice Age.
Some Observations • About 325,000 years ago, temperature and CO2 reached a maximum. • For those who enjoy claiming blame for everything in the environment, a sober thought: Where was the anthropogenic CO2? Where were the offending power plants and cement plants?
Summary Presentation • Yes, the climate is changing and apparently warming. • No, we don’t have even a good hypothesis. • We give ourselves too much credit in affecting the global climate • Will the proposed regulations do more harm than good?
Questions? Impact of GHG Regulations and Controls on Global Warming Jim Norris email@example.com (251) 476-0605 “…man passeth away, but the earth abideth forever” (Ecclesiastes 1:4)