Skip to content

Only about 3% of CO2 in atmosphere due to burning fossil fuels | Climate Change Dispatch

July 22, 2014

According to this paper, only about 15 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere are due to burning fossil fuels.


CCD have this comment from Denica Bozhinova, one of the authors of the study.

Denica Bozhinova 2014-07-23 16:57
A reply from the authors of the scientific article on the “review” on The Hockey Schtick blog has pointed out that the results cited are grossly misinterpreted and the blog has taken down the entire review and following comments.

As the post appears to have been taking down, I cannot offer any more details.

Denica also adds

Denica Bozhinova 2014-07-24 07:22
To be fair, I only notified the author of this entry for this issue yesterday. I am hoping he will correct it or note it somehow on his version as soon as possible.

Meanwhile if the authors care to provide a potted version of how they interpret their findings, I will be more than happy to publish.

  1. A C Osborn permalink
    July 22, 2014 11:30 am

    The data against aCO2 just keeps on piling up.
    Also about Temperature data manipulation, E M Smith appears to have found some very incriminating code in the GISS temperature calculations where Cold Sea temps are ignored along with other changes to the data set.


    Also a link now posted at Real Science.

  2. July 22, 2014 1:15 pm

    Reblogged this on the WeatherAction Blog.

  3. Paul permalink
    July 22, 2014 4:12 pm

    Soooooo, Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and the rest of the useful idiots still think that 2% (UK emissions) of 3% (total world emissions) are such that We should put into place laws and policies which are supposed to make some sort of difference to the temperature of the world.
    Remind me again why I don’t vote for any party.

  4. July 22, 2014 6:39 pm

    thanks for sharing! that means only ~12% of the increase in CO2 concentrations since the industrial revolution is from man’s emissions… (250ppm then, 400ppm now; 150ppm increase. 18/150=12%). Reducing our CO2 emissions will thus have very little effect on CO2 concentrations (and global temperatures, if one thinks those two are related…)

  5. PeterMG permalink
    July 22, 2014 7:16 pm

    Hi Paul, this is all good stuff but forgive me if I say this has always been the understood number. Its usually expressed by saying mans activities contribute about 3.5% to the total CO2 budget every year. However given that it is almost impossible to calculate the CO2 budget this figure has always been a guess. I don’t suppose this new data is any different. When you look at how they measure atmospheric CO2 you can only but marvel at the extrapolation that goes on.

    Until we understand our biosphere better we may as well stick a figure in the air and say “ar today its 396.5ppm” you have just as much chance of being accurate as Monaloa who I see have it at 401.14 today

  6. July 23, 2014 5:28 am

    Bozhinova and others reported. “We find that the average gradients of fossil fuel CO2 in the lower 1200m of the atmosphere are close to 15 ppm at a 12 km×12 km horizontal resolution.”

    My comment:

    CO2 emitted from fossil fuels contains only Carbon-12 because these fuels are so old the isotopes of carbon have decayed to other elements. Carbon-14 has decayed to Nitrogen-14.

    (Carbon-13 was not mentioned in the abstract or the main text because Carbon-13 is found in marine shells and foraminifera and the samples were taken over land.)

    To get an average 15 ppm fossil fuel CO@ (ffCO2) measurements were taken in relatively densely populated northwestern Europe and below 1200 meters (4000 ft).

    Since only 15% of the mass of the atmosphere lies below 1200 m we should expect a much lower average intensity of ffCO2 after vertical diffusion. And with the prevailing westerly winds we should expect lateral diffusion towards the less populated east and a further drop in intensity of ffCO2. The average ffCO2 for the troposphere over the Eurasian land mass cannot be greater than 1%.

    Next we should take into account that the oceans account for 70% of the Earth’s surface and that fossil fuel CO2 is emitted only over sea lanes, aircraft routes and offshore rigs that flare methane..

    After diffusion the fossil-fuel CO2 content of the atmosphere is probably less than 1%.

    I recall viewing on YouTube the lecture given by the atmospheric physicist, Dr Maurice Salby, in which he discussed the natural forms of CO2, including both Carbon-14 and 13 and the man-made form without isotopes.

    In the video lecture Dr Salby stated that the evidence from the istopes of carbon present in the atmosphere indicates that the recent increase in CO2 content has resulted from out-gassing of CO2 from the oceans. He specifically mentioned Carbon-13.

    My understanding is that Dr Salby’s claim can be checked by sampling the Carbon-13 content of the atmosphere over the oceans. Some months ago, a news item reported significant out-gassing off the coast of California.

    Unfortunately, instead of securing funds to verify or falsify Dr Salby’s claim, McQuarrie University chose to fire him in a summary manner.

    • July 23, 2014 8:07 am

      I think if you looked in all the right places you would find the identifying CO2 from the burning of hydrocarbon fuels by the measuring of Carbon-14 is fraught with danger and likely to give the wrong answer. The other important point is that it is very unlikely that gas and oil based hydrocarbon fuels are fossils and we should stop using and out dated and lazy term and call these fuels by their proper name. In this way casual observers will start to think correctly.

  7. July 24, 2014 8:19 am

    CCD doesn’t seem to have noticed, and neither of you, but the original HS post ( has vanished, because they were embarrassed when they realised how stupid and wrong it is.

    Your “According to this paper, only about 15 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere are due to burning fossil fuels” is wrong, of course – that isn’t what the paper says.

    Will this post vanish? Or will it be corrected? Or will you just leave it up and hope no-one notices that its foundations are gone?

    • July 24, 2014 9:56 am

      I’m awaiting clarification on this.

      BTW I don’t “disappear” posts!

  8. richardcfromnz permalink
    July 25, 2014 4:38 am

    The US DOE Energy Information Administration 2004 report on greenhouse gas emissions for 2003, as Jonathan DuHamel points out at CCD, had only about 3% (0.029) of global atmospheric carbon dioxide attributable to human sources (Table 3 pdf linked by DuHamel and see below). The 2004 EIA report is here:

    1. U.S. Emissions of Greenhouse Gases: Background and Content

    1. U.S. Emissions of Greenhouse Gases: Background and Context Tables

    Table 3. Global Natural and Anthropogenic Sources and Absorption of Greenhouse Gases in the 1990s

    Gas: Carbon Dioxide (Million Metric Tons of Gas)
    770,000 – Natural
    23,100 – Human-Made
    793,100 – Total [Human-Made 2.9% of Total Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere]
    781,400 – Absorption
    11,700 – Annual Increase in Gas in the Atmosphere

    Bozhinova et al (2014) is here:

    ‘Simulating the integrated summertime Δ14CO2 signature from anthropogenic emissions over Western Europe’

    Click to access acp-14-7273-2014.pdf

    Turns out that The HS, although wrong by rationale, was not far wrong by value. See Fig 4, page 9:

    Figure 4. 6 months of hourly results for Lutjewad at 60m height. Comparison between observed and modeled (a) CO2 concentrations, (b) CO2ff concentrations (c) atmospheric 114CO2 and (d) the contribution of different compounds for the resulting 114CO2. The transport of air that is enriched in fossil fuel CO2 is directly connected to the variations in the 114CO2 signal at the location, but these are not captured by current observations due to their low temporal resolution.

    # # #

    CO2ff for Lutjewad at 60m from April – October 2008 (B) is predominately between 0 and 10ppm. CO2 concentration (A) is around 380 – 400ppm. 5/390 = 0.0128 (1.28%) i.e. about half of the DOE EIA 2004 report figure of 2.9% and about a third of The HS’s erroneous figure of “3.75% [15 ppm]“.

    Those jumping on The HS will not have the last laugh in this episode.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: