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 Carbon in the Atmosphere.

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The build up of atmospheric carbon.

    Since this website was first put up in 1999, the scientific view of global warming as a result of excess carbon in the atmosphere has clarified from uncertain to convinced. Electrosolar has comissioned an independent statistical analysis (by David Holden, MA Oxon) of accumulated carbon in the atmosphere..

   In this section we display the results showing the likely accumulation, derived both from known sources of fossil fuel use, and from the extrapolated Mauna Loa atmospheric data. From the trend in energy use and population we can derive a prediction for energy use per person in the near future.

                    ATMOSPHERIC CARBON

This graph shows how excess carbon has built up in the atmosphere as a result of burning fossil fuels. Approximately sixty percent of all carbon so far emitted is currently retained in the atmosphere, the remainder having been absorbed by other carbon sinks, mainly the oceans. The CO2 concentration is expected to double (compared to its pre industrial level) by 2050.



To avoid the climate catastrophes of global warming - namely economic and political disruption and their horrific consequences - we must think QUANTITATIVELY of achieving this energy requirement (1.5kW/person) from zero carbon sources. Of course, improved energy efficiency may bring down this target figure a bit, and even in the most optimistic scenario, there will still be some fossil fuel use. A balance will be struck, but we do need to strive to obtain ~1KW per person from non fossil sources.


The graph below shows how the power consumption per capita is expected to grow to 1.5KW per person by 2050.







Graph 1:

600GTC = 100Tons per person at year 2000 population.   This measurement is in EXCESS to the pre industrial background of about 600GTC.

Data: The total carbon emissions are obtained from CDIAC. Excess atmospheric carbon is computed from the Mauna Loa data, assuming a preindustrial baseline of 280 ppm CO2 ( 1 ppm CO2 ~ 2.18 GT C)


Graph 2:
This graph combines data from UN world population estimates and projections with energy consumption figures from CDIAC.