Mr. Novak asked for someone to “extrapolate and tell me how these burned fossil fuels can have any big effect on our climate at all,” so I couldn’t resist and do exactly that. He told us all about how little our use of oil has affected the planet, however it seems that he may not have really researched the topic before expressing his opinion. Climate change is a complex topic with more factors than you or I are aware of, but I invite you to join me as I explain why his claims are bunk using the power of science!
Firstly, Mr. Novak claimed that the human race has only used 150 cubic kilometres of oil. I have no qualm with this, and my brief Googling corroborates this. However, that’s not very helpful if we want to compare it to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because C02 is so much lighter than oil. Crude oil is more than 400 times the density of carbon dioxide. That means 150 cubic kilometres of crude oil is the same mass as 60,000 cubic kilometres of C02.
All right, but that still seems like a drop in the bucket compared to 3.5 billion cubic kilometres of air in our atmosphere, right? Well there’s another factor we must consider. When petroleum products are burned, they produce on average a little more than three kilograms of C02 per kilogram of petroleum. This is due to the stoichiometric ratios of the reaction. So for every cubic kilometre of oil (about 870 megatonnes), you’re producing 2,610 megatonnes of C02, or about 1,300 cubic kilometres. Multiply this by the 150 cubic kilometres of oil and we have 195,000 cubic kilometres.
I’ll admit, it still seems like nothing compared to our enormous atmosphere. But I think we really need to know how much of our atmosphere is composed of C02. Our 3.5 billion cubic kilometre atmosphere is currently about 0.04 per cent C02.
If we do the math, that’s about 1,400,000 cubic kilometres of C02.
That means our rough approximation of C02 produced by burning oil is almost fourteen percent of the total amount of C02 in the entire atmosphere. I’m no statistician, but that seems like a significant increase to me! And get this, up until the 18th century our atmosphere was about 0.028 per cent C02, or about 980,000 cubic kilometres.
So in about 300 years, the amount of C02 has increased by 43 per cent and coincidentally that’s also the same period of time we’ve burned all those fossil fuels. Seems suspicious.
So the point is this: it’s all right to have an opinion on a topic, but before you go shouting it’s a hoax made up by the man to steal our hard earned money, educate yourself on the topic so some young punk doesn’t look up densities and stoichiometry on Wikipedia.