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Are automobiles a major cause of global warming?



  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    Can you find any older anti-diesel smut to sell here? If you had studied the situation you would know that sulfur is the primary ingredient in the soot from diesel engines. So a study based on high sulfur diesel is of little value to an educated population. Get us some recent studies of modern diesel engines using ULSD and it will give your argument a bit more credence.

    The best selling car in America puts out about 1.5 tons more GHG per year than a VW TDI diesel car. That is based on high sulfur diesel. Think how much better the score with ULSD.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    If you want to talk about the relative change in temperature, you need to look at the absolute temperature, which in kelvin is celsius plus 273. However, if carbon dioxide is doubled, the expected change in temperature is about 2 to 5 degrees K.
  • well I did use "correlation", not causation...which I think is the proper conclusion to make from statistics alone.

    HOWEVER---the polar ice is definitely absolutely, no argument, no contest......MELTING.

    Interestingly this is causing a big BEEF between USA and Canada, on Canada's right to supervise the Northwest Passage (previously nearly unpassable, but soon to be a major highway for anybody....or NOT anybody, if Canada gets its way).

    Unfortunately for Canada, they haven't much in the way of equipment to enforce their claim.

    WEIRD FACTOID: one future cause of global warming? Flat screen TVS, which use 3X normal electricity, which means more coal burning, etc......

    The point of all rambling post? That the problem of global warming will have to be addressed on a VERY broad front, not just cars....
  • That was an interesting article. Soot can come from a variety of sources, however.

    "In earlier work, Bond estimated that burning firewood -- the principal fuel for cook stoves in the developing world -- produces 800,000 metric tons of soot worldwide each year. In comparison, diesel cars and trucks generate about 890,000 metric tons of soot annually. These two sources each account for about 10 percent of the soot emitted into the world's atmosphere each year, she said."

    I agree with gagrice in that ULSD will have a beneficial impact in reducing global warming gases and soot.

    "The massive forest fire in Indonesia (1997/1998) released approx. 2.57 gigatonnes of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere (source: Nature magazine, November 2002). During 1997-1998, the total amount of Carbon Dioxide released to the atmosphere was 6 gigatonnes."

    This article suggests that forest fires might be one of the biggest GW contributors. Forest fires also produce a lot of soot.

    Again, it appears from the current evidence that autos are not a major source of global warming. Still, that does not mean we cannot work on reducing their contribution to the problem. If we are heading toward a tipping point, even a small reduction might help us avoid going over the edge.
  • Your weird factoid at first had me a bit puzzled. I was under the impression that the new TVs were more energy efficient. A quick Google search turned up an article at

    * Microdisplay rear projector: 0.11 to 0.15 watt per square inch
    * LCD: 0.16 to 0.41 watt per square inch
    * CRT: 0.25 to 0.40 watt per square inch
    * Plasma: 0.30 to 0.39 watt per square inch

    The 40 inch LCD was 214 watts. The 42 inch plasma TVs scored a toasty warm 357 & 360 watts. On the other hand, a 50 inch plasma TV was 229 to 236 depending on if the power save was on. The 20 inch LCD only used 18 watts.

    So I guess in the TV world, like the auto world, bigger is generally bad for global warming.

    More on topic, I find the trend in high HP cars a bit disappointing from a GW perspective. Do people really need a 262 HP Camry? How about the new Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG which has 604 hp and 738 lb ft of torque?

    HP = Heat & CO2 = Global Warming :(
  • Interesting discussion.
    My twist will be to know the actual effect air traffic is causing.
    The air traffic has increased exponentially in the last 25 years.
    I'm ignorant of what really causes this so called " global warming". But for sure would love to understand the effect of the emissions created by airplanes and in addition to that, if the effect is worst when emitting directly up at 35,000 feet.
    Just a thought. Also, what are the emmissions of one plane (commercial medium size) compared to cars. Is it 1 to 50, 1 to 1000?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    compared to cars. Is it 1 to 50, 1 to 1000?

    I researched NoX from jets and cars. The latest cleanest Gulfstream emits 500 times as much NoX as a VW diesel car. When you consider how many 1000s of miles a Gulfstream will get flown in a year compared to a car it is a very significant. And the Gulfstream is clean compared to many military and commercial aircraft. The key is people flying in a Gulfstream have a lot more stroke than the average person driving in a car.
  • Are you factoring in the # of people on the planes, that is, "people-miles per NoX particle?

    For instance, I'm sure a city bus emits more NoX than a VW diesel, but it's carrying a lot of people per mile, so it works out to be better.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    I picked the Gulfstream as an upscale very efficient jet. I doubt they carry more than 5-7 people on most jaunts cross country. Diesel buses are a whole different situation. How many have any smog equipment? I would seriously doubt they are as clean per passenger mile as a new VW TDI. I think city buses in general are better than school buses. With school budgets always getting messed with, I can imagine that school bus upgrades are a very low priority in most districts.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    Global warming is caused by an increase in the "green house gases". Green house gases trap heat in the atmosphere. The basic heat balance of the earth is that the Sun sends short wave energy (light) to the Earth which passes through the atmosphere easily and heats the surface of the earth. This heat must then escape by radiating back through the atomosphere as long wave energy. Green house gases absorb long wave energy, so the heat at the surface passes part way through the atmosphere before it is absorbed. Then the atmosphere re-radiates the longwave energy, both upward and downward, so that some the longwave energy reheats the surface. More green house gases will trap the longwave energy closer to the surface so that less longwave energy gets out of the atmosphere.

    With say half the green house gases, the longwave energy may get half way out before absorbtion. Now, with twice the green house gases, the long wave energy may get absorbed twice before escaping. Actually, the longwave energy is absorbed continuously, and re-radiated continuously, but some longwave energy will escape without being absorbed. The effect of more green house gases is that less energy will escape from the surface to outer space directly. That means that more energy will re-radiate, which means that the surface will get more secondary heating from the re-radiated long wave energy trying to escape.

    I hope this helps.
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    They will tell Supreme Court that EPA must regulate carbon dioxide emissions.

    High Court cases will impact Mich.

  • cticti Posts: 134
    Pluggin the data Shifty provided give a correlation co-efficient of .876. Seems good to me.

    Doing a simple scatter plot also shows, visually, a good correlation. A plot of the temperature v. time looks very much like the random walk of an increasing stock market. Sometimes it is up, sometimes it is down, but the general trend is a steady increase.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    The Earth has been warming since the Ice Age, and there is nothing humans have done, or can do, to change it. I think we are over estimating our capabilities, to think we could. Yes, we are creating pollution, but a good hard rain does wonders for that. Nature controls the temperature, not us.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    Finally some real scientists that are not afraid to tell the truth.

    LONDON -- With a packet of claims that are almost certain to defy conventional wisdom, a television documentary to be aired in Britain this week condemns man-made global warming as a myth that has become "the biggest scam of modern times."
    The program titled "The Great Global Warming Scandal" and set for screening by TV Channel 4 on Thursday dismisses claims that high levels of greenhouse gases generated by human activity causes climate change. Instead, the program suggests that the sun itself is the real culprit.
    The documentary, directed by filmmaker Martin Durkin, is at odds with scientific opinion as outlined in a United Nations report in February, which blames mankind for global warming.
    In his program, Mr. Durkin rejects the concept of man-made climate change, calling it "a lie ... the biggest scam of modern times."
    The truth, he says, is that global warming "is a multibillion-dollar worldwide industry, created by fanatically anti-industrial environmentalists, supported by scientists peddling scare stories to chase funding, and propped up by compliant politicians and the media."

    Global Warming???
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    "is a multibillion-dollar worldwide industry, created by fanatically anti-industrial environmentalists,

    Does that even make sense? Why would a group that is anti-industrial have any desire to create and promote a multi-billion dollar industry? Especially one based upon misinformation. If you want to call them fanatical, environmentalists that's okay, since we all know environmentalists are fanatics. But the insertion of anti-industrial in that sentenced somewhat discredits the intelligence of the person that wrote it.

    If "green" is a multi-billion dollar industry than the current, entrenched CO2 producing industries are probably multi-trillion. If you take the purely cynical approach that governments will cater to the highest bidder this should be a slam dunk for the global warming myth crowd.

    The sun is indeed getting hotter but that has been the case from day one yet the planet has gone through cooling and warming cycles despite this.

    I'm not 100% convinced that mankind is responsible or even plays a role in global warming but the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is definitely increasing. I think the evidence between temperature and CO2 levels is pretty conclusive. The creators of this program must be saying that emitting CO2 and clearing rainforests does not impact the CO2 level in the environment. Okay, then what does cause this level to change?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    I don't disagree that we should try to do some things to cut back on CO2. I believe that the Global Warming hysteria being put forth is POLITICALLY motivated. Lots of BS and little science.

    Ball said it goes all the way back to 1992 and to Kyoto architect, Canadian Maurice Strong.

    "Maurice Strong has said that the industrial nations are the polluters and (that) it is our duty to get rid of them," said Ball.

    "The minute you start to question it (global warming), you lose the moral highground," he added.

    Addressing the hysteria of a global warming that frightens school children who are being told that the earth will burn up, Ball said "thirty years ago, global cooling was the consensus."

    Ball also challenged the authority of the oft-quoted United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) established in 1988 to evaluate the risk of climate change brought on by humans.

    The UN report by the IPCC was published in February. At the time it was promoted as being backed by more than 2,000 of the world's leading scientists.

    "There are 2,000 people on the panel, not 2,000 scientists. Most are bureaucrats and politicians," he said.

    NO Consensus
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    on a cross Canada jet flight. That is about what the average small car produces in one year. We are beating the wrong horse.

    What’s being done about emissions from air transportation?

    Not much, unfortunately. Countries with national emissions targets under the Kyoto Protocol, like Canada, are only required to account for emissions from domestic flights. Emissions from international flights are not counted. And very little has been done to actually limit these emissions. To date the only formal plan to control and reduce international aviation emissions is being developed within the European Union (EU).
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