The building block of life - carbon
By Robert T. Smith
Carbon is the sixth most abundant element. Coal is composed primarily of carbon, along with many other compounds and the basic elements of nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur. Hydrocarbons are organic compounds formed from various lengths or chains of carbon and hydrogen. Hydrocarbons are most prolifically associated with crude oil and natural gas. As we all know from our grade school science classes, coal, crude oil, and natural gas were formed when long ago carbon-based organic matter was buried within the earth, the original carbon sequestration scheme.
If scientists were to attempt to invent an abundant, concentrated, user-friendly source of energy, they could do no better than to invent coal, crude oil, and natural gas. What a happy coincidence that these raw materials are prevalent within our reach in the earth's crust. The use of coal, crude oil, and natural gas enhance our daily lives, make them easier, provide energy and products that extend our lives, or mitigate other issues that arise as a result of modern life.
There is virtually no activity that man engages in that doesn't in some manner involve the use of these carbon energy sources. Movement of people, raw materials and finished goods; energy to power, light, cool, or heat our homes, offices, grocery stores and factories; energy to propagate crops and animals, to power our technologies. This doesn't even consider the vast multitude of products and by-products directly derived from these carbon-based sources. Everything from fertilizers, to shampoo additives and industrial chemicals; and the plasticizers, waxes, pharmaceuticals, gases, and fuels and oils made possible from refining crude oil and the condensates associated with natural gas.
While there are other sources of energy currently in use, meeting the world's energy demand now and into the foreseeable future is contingent upon the beneficial use of these carbon sources. As a matter of cost and benefit, the vast majority of the increasing global energy demands will be met with carbon / hydrocarbon sources, especially in developing countries and heavily populated developed countries like China and India, regardless of how environmental groups feel about this subject. With the exception of nuclear energy, the non-carbon-based energy sources are currently boutique sources of energy, trendy and expensive. Selecting an all of the above source of energy seems the most prudent at this time. Forced selection of the boutique energy choices at this point will cause significant economic hardship, especially to the poorest among us. Direct increased cost of home energy and indirect cost of, for example, food that requires refrigeration at the store.
Carbon is the building block of life for plants and animals. When the advocates of carbon “pollution” throw about large carbon dioxide emission numbers, just remember each of us humans exhale approximately 0.3 to 0.5 tons of carbon dioxide each year, not to mention other similarly-respiring critters. Our exhaled carbon dioxide is used by plants for growth and in return these plants provide us a source of oxygen to breathe and food to eat, or feed for tasty animals first before we consume them. What mortal could conceive of developing such an ingenious, natural process.
It is likely that the big number spin of carbon dioxide emissions from our use of carbon-based sources provided by the purveyors of global warming is to frighten, not to inform. It is hard for many to conceive that a gas could be emitted in a quantity of tons per year, and that is likely why the large numbers are used, to appear overwhelming and frightening.
Scientifically known facts are that the atmosphere is comprised of approximately 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 0.04% carbon dioxide, with the remaining various trace gases. Logically considered then is that the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is a very small proportion of the gases present in the atmosphere.
Human activity accounts for less than 4% of global carbon dioxide emissions. That is 4% of the 0.04% of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. According to NASA, water vapor is unequivocally by far the most abundant contributor to the greenhouse effect. Tagging carbon dioxide as the “contaminant” of concern, while ignoring water vapor, as well as the many other natural trends of the earth’s heating and cooling is necessary to have control over carbon and coincidentally (?) all our activities.
Robert T. Smith is an environmental scientist who spends his days enjoying life and the pursuit of happiness with his family. He confesses to cling to his liberty, guns and religion, with antipathy toward the arrogant ruling elites throughout the country.