More heat than light …

Just imagine a world with a carbon tax so great that energy was so expensive that all the industrialized countries reduced their carbon emissions by 60%.

We could stay home, cold in the winter and hot in the summer and rejoice in the knowledge that by 2050 we will have reduced global warming by 0.064°C, by 2100 our privation will make a difference of 0.192°C. Hey guys that’s very nearly two whole tenths of one degree!

This assumes that climate sensitivity is 3.0°C in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC).  This is probably an overestimate, recent global temperature behavior makes a value of 1.5°C more likely. In which case the reduction would be less …  0.042°C by 2050, 0.116°C by 2100.

Of course Australia’s contribution would be about 1.34% of that i.e. less than 0.0026°C by 2100 (at 3° sensitivity or 0.0016°C at 1.5°.)

You wouldn’t notice the difference in temperature but you would notice the difference in the cost of living.

The background to these calculations can be found at The Cato Institute where you can find a handy little calculator to try some other scenarios.

Atmospheric …

Important announcement … 99.96% of the atmosphere is not CO2.

It wasn’t always so. The phanerozoic is the eon of abundant life on earth, that’s about 570 million years. All current life is descended from ancestors that existed throughout that entire span of time. For the first 150 million years or so our ancestors survived in an atmosphere that contained about 4000 parts per million of CO2, imagine that … only 99.6% of their atmosphere wasn’t CO2!

The graph is from Wikipedia, the present day is on the left, which may not be the best way to show it.

Phanerozoic_Carbon_Dioxide

Carbon dioxide is essential to plants, the process of photosynthesis requires CO2 and releases oxygen. All the free oxygen in the atmosphere, essential for us to survive, is the result of photosynthesis. Oxygen is too reactive a substance to persist long in a free state. If photosynthesis stopped the atmosphere would soon be depleted of oxygen and animal life would cease.