Energy Efficiency and the Greenhouse: Technical, Economic and Institutional Considerations

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 3
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1989
Some attempt to minimise the importance of the greenhouse phenomenon. They do so by observing that global temperatures are still within the range of recent variations and that it is still not possible to predict with any certainty what the precise consequences of greenhouse will be. Both observations are true though the conclusion is dangerous. Ice core samples from the Antarctic and Greenland have established the composition of the atmosphere and global temperature over almost the last 200,000 years. The profile of these twin variables shows that they have moved together; when the concentration of CO2 has been up, the temperature has been up and when the former has been down the temperature has also been down. Over almost 200,000 years the CO2 content has ranged between lows of 190 ppm and highs of 270ppm. In just 200 years of industrialisation the CO2 content of the atmosphere has increased to 350 ppm, 50% higher that the mean of the last 200,000 years and 30% higher than at the start of the industrial age. Carbon dioxide is now increasing at 0.5% p.a. Methane, about twenty times more effective than CO2 as a greenhouse gas has doubled in concentration in the last two centuries and is now increasing at about 1.1% p.a. Methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons together with a number of lesser gases will double the greenhouse effect due to in creased CO2 over the next 40-50 years.
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