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Bill Nye explains why climate change is so hard to stop

Bill Nye explains why climate change is so hard to stop

(2:45) If the United States were out in front, the whole world would follow. Bill Nye explains why it is particularly difficult to mobilise people to act on climate change.

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guest123456789 guest123456789 (1054 days ago)

He just lost all credibility with two statement when he said, “The other problem with CO2 is it doesn’t go away” and “Once the CO2 gets into the atmosphere, it stays there for centuries.” He doesn’t know the very basics of science with any single method of how CO2 in the atmosphere is reduced. Incredible and I expected more from him.

Bill’s expertise is in mechanical engineering so don’t trust anything he says as gospel about AGW.

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He just lost all credibility with two statement when he said, “The other problem with CO2 is it doesn’t go away” and “Once the CO2 gets into the atmosphere, it stays there for centuries.” He doesn’t know the very basics of science with any single method of how CO2 in the atmosphere is reduced. Incredible and I expected more from him.

Bill’s expertise is in mechanical engineering so don’t trust anything he says as gospel about AGW.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (1054 days ago)

Thanks for bringing up this topic (how long CO2 remains in the atmosphere) because it only took a few minutes of googling to get the gist of it.

For the benefit of other readers, Bill Nye's statement - that CO2 stays in the atmosphere for centuries - is appropriately simplified for this video.

CO2 is inert in the atmosphere, ie. it won't chemically break down for thousands of years. Contrast that with methane which chemically breaks down in the atmosphere after about 12 years. The main ways that CO2 is removed from the atmosphere are from absorption by plants and oceans.

Plants are pretty much carbon neutral because when they die, they decompose and release back into the atmosphere most of the carbon they absorbed during their lifetime. Therefore CO2 that is absorbed by a plant will be back in the atmosphere after the plant dies.

CO2 dissolves into the oceans quite quickly, but the top ocean layers are getting saturated and the circulation from the top layers to the deep oceans is very slow, estimated 500 - 1000 years. Most CO2 absorbed by the oceans is simply replaced by CO2 released from the saturated top layers.

So for a simple overview on how long CO2 remains in the atmosphere, look at this Guardian article: LINK For a more detailed answer, I think this Skeptical Science article is good: LINK

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Original comment

Thanks for bringing up this topic (how long CO2 remains in the atmosphere) because it only took a few minutes of googling to get the gist of it.

For the benefit of other readers, Bill Nye's statement - that CO2 stays in the atmosphere for centuries - is appropriately simplified for this video.

CO2 is inert in the atmosphere, ie. it won't chemically break down for thousands of years. Contrast that with methane which chemically breaks down in the atmosphere after about 12 years. The main ways that CO2 is removed from the atmosphere are from absorption by plants and oceans.

Plants are pretty much carbon neutral because when they die, they decompose and release back into the atmosphere most of the carbon they absorbed during their lifetime. Therefore CO2 that is absorbed by a plant will be back in the atmosphere after the plant dies.

CO2 dissolves into the oceans quite quickly, but the top ocean layers are getting saturated and the circulation from the top layers to the deep oceans is very slow, estimated 500 - 1000 years. Most CO2 absorbed by the oceans is simply replaced by CO2 released from the saturated top layers.

So for a simple overview on how long CO2 remains in the atmosphere, look at this Guardian article: LINK For a more detailed answer, I think this Skeptical Science article is good: LINK

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Guest: originalmad (1053 days ago)

Walter, studies on the "bomb spikes" (c14) show that the residence time of co2 is much lower, and for goodness sake if you are going to quote tthe guardian and skeptical unscience, then people will just laugh. the born model has by far the longest residence time of all the studies its an outlier, there are quite a few others.

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Walter, studies on the "bomb spikes" (c14) show that the residence time of co2 is much lower, and for goodness sake if you are going to quote tthe guardian and skeptical unscience, then people will just laugh. the born model has by far the longest residence time of all the studies its an outlier, there are quite a few others.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (1053 days ago)

Yes you're right. The residence time of CO2 is low, on average about 5 years. That means that when a new molecule of CO2 is added to the atmosphere by burning say oil, on average that particular molecule remains in the atmosphere for 5 years before it is absorbed into the ocean, or into a plant. But when the plant is eaten, the animal releases another CO2 molecule when it breathes out. Or if the CO2 molecule is absorbed into the ocean, another is released into the atmosphere because the top layer of the ocean is saturated. Therefore CO2 builds up in the atmosphere.

Contrast that with water vapour which doesn't build up (residency time of a few hours to a few days), because when there's too much water vapour in the atmosphere, it falls as rain or snow.

It's quite interesting the more you find out about it.

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Yes you're right. The residence time of CO2 is low, on average about 5 years. That means that when a new molecule of CO2 is added to the atmosphere by burning say oil, on average that particular molecule remains in the atmosphere for 5 years before it is absorbed into the ocean, or into a plant. But when the plant is eaten, the animal releases another CO2 molecule when it breathes out. Or if the CO2 molecule is absorbed into the ocean, another is released into the atmosphere because the top layer of the ocean is saturated. Therefore CO2 builds up in the atmosphere.

Contrast that with water vapour which doesn't build up (residency time of a few hours to a few days), because when there's too much water vapour in the atmosphere, it falls as rain or snow.

It's quite interesting the more you find out about it.

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guest123456789 guest123456789 (1053 days ago)

When plants die, they do not release CO2 back into the atmosphere. The carbon goes into the ground and turns into fossil fuels in millions of years.

So you agree then that Bill Nye doesn't know what he is talking about when he says the CO2 stays into the atmosphere for centuries, right?

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When plants die, they do not release CO2 back into the atmosphere. The carbon goes into the ground and turns into fossil fuels in millions of years.

So you agree then that Bill Nye doesn't know what he is talking about when he says the CO2 stays into the atmosphere for centuries, right?

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (1053 days ago)

Plants that decompose in the atmosphere release carbon back into the atmosphere. Plants that decompose underground eventually become fossil fuels.

Bill Nye certainly knows more than you. CO2 does stay in the atmosphere for centuries, even thousands of years. If you had been paying attention to the previous posts, you'd understand why there is not a simple answer - and why Bill Nye rightfully simplifies it by saying CO2 stays in the atmosphere for centuries.

This is an interesting article on the lifespan of CO2 in the atmosphere from nature.com: LINK

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Plants that decompose in the atmosphere release carbon back into the atmosphere. Plants that decompose underground eventually become fossil fuels.

Bill Nye certainly knows more than you. CO2 does stay in the atmosphere for centuries, even thousands of years. If you had been paying attention to the previous posts, you'd understand why there is not a simple answer - and why Bill Nye rightfully simplifies it by saying CO2 stays in the atmosphere for centuries.

This is an interesting article on the lifespan of CO2 in the atmosphere from nature.com: LINK

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guest123456789 guest123456789 (1053 days ago)

“Plants that decompose in the atmosphere release carbon back into the atmosphere. Plants that decompose underground eventually become fossil fuels.” Carbon is not CO2. Plants absorb CO2, release the oxygen and store the carbon. When the plant decomposes, the vast majority of the carbon goes into the soil and very little of it is converted back to CO2 (that happens when micro-organisms eat the plant). This is why there is 1600 gigatons of organic carbon in the soil worldwide and why it is not in our atmosphere.

“Bill Nye certainly knows more than you.” Obviously not. Besides, you don’t know my credentials in this matter but we do know that Bill is a mechanical engineer and has no business faking knowledge in AGW.

“CO2 does stay in the atmosphere for centuries, even thousands of years.” If you had been paying attention to orginalmad, you would know that is false.

“This is an interesting article on the lifespan of CO2 in the atmosphere from nature.com:” Your link is defective

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“Plants that decompose in the atmosphere release carbon back into the atmosphere. Plants that decompose underground eventually become fossil fuels.” Carbon is not CO2. Plants absorb CO2, release the oxygen and store the carbon. When the plant decomposes, the vast majority of the carbon goes into the soil and very little of it is converted back to CO2 (that happens when micro-organisms eat the plant). This is why there is 1600 gigatons of organic carbon in the soil worldwide and why it is not in our atmosphere.

“Bill Nye certainly knows more than you.” Obviously not. Besides, you don’t know my credentials in this matter but we do know that Bill is a mechanical engineer and has no business faking knowledge in AGW.

“CO2 does stay in the atmosphere for centuries, even thousands of years.” If you had been paying attention to orginalmad, you would know that is false.

“This is an interesting article on the lifespan of CO2 in the atmosphere from nature.com:” Your link is defective

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (1053 days ago)

Although there is a huge amount of carbon in the ground (2,200 Gt), according to Wikipedia "Carbon is taken out of the atmosphere by plant photosynthesis; about 60 Gt annually is incorporated into various types of soil organic matter (SOM), including surface litter; about 60 Gt annually is respired or oxidized from soil." LINK

I was paying attention to your other hemisphere, and even combined, you talk out of your arse. On purpose I think.

Here's that LINK again, this time it's working.

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Although there is a huge amount of carbon in the ground (2,200 Gt), according to Wikipedia "Carbon is taken out of the atmosphere by plant photosynthesis; about 60 Gt annually is incorporated into various types of soil organic matter (SOM), including surface litter; about 60 Gt annually is respired or oxidized from soil." LINK

I was paying attention to your other hemisphere, and even combined, you talk out of your arse. On purpose I think.

Here's that LINK again, this time it's working.

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guest123456789 guest123456789 (1053 days ago)

I think you need to re-read that report. It even states that the IPCC cannot figure out how long it stays in the atmosphere and different report througout the years have different opinions on it.

So, in your opinion, how old is the CO2 that is absorbed by plants? Those plants are very selective and only absorb the CO2 that's been around for 1,000 years?

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I think you need to re-read that report. It even states that the IPCC cannot figure out how long it stays in the atmosphere and different report througout the years have different opinions on it.

So, in your opinion, how old is the CO2 that is absorbed by plants? Those plants are very selective and only absorb the CO2 that's been around for 1,000 years?

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (1052 days ago)
Latest comment:

I did read the report quite thoroughly. If you understood everything we've been talking about on this post, and in the linked articles - then you're just making stuff up, almost certainly on purpose. Either that or you're beyond stupid.

I don't have an 'opinion' on how old the CO2 absorbed by plants is. From the research I've seen, it's about 5 years. If you think that contradicts claims that CO2 stays in the atmosphere for hundreds or even thousands of years, then re-read that nature.com article until you understand it.

You can prove that you understand it by explaining why the IPCC are reluctant to giving just a single figure for how long CO2 remains in the atmosphere.

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Latest comment:

I did read the report quite thoroughly. If you understood everything we've been talking about on this post, and in the linked articles - then you're just making stuff up, almost certainly on purpose. Either that or you're beyond stupid.

I don't have an 'opinion' on how old the CO2 absorbed by plants is. From the research I've seen, it's about 5 years. If you think that contradicts claims that CO2 stays in the atmosphere for hundreds or even thousands of years, then re-read that nature.com article until you understand it.

You can prove that you understand it by explaining why the IPCC are reluctant to giving just a single figure for how long CO2 remains in the atmosphere.

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Guest: (1052 days ago)

ugh! not this asshole again... ugh, you're so stupid!!

weren't you in prison for raping your mother?

that's where stupid people like you usually end up in.

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ugh! not this asshole again... ugh, you're so stupid!!

weren't you in prison for raping your mother?

that's where stupid people like you usually end up in.

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Guest: originalmad (1052 days ago)

Ah I guess sat has just arrived home from the pub.Good night out sat ?, obviously didn't pull.

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Ah I guess sat has just arrived home from the pub.Good night out sat ?, obviously didn't pull.

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Guest: (1052 days ago)

U WOT M8? I'LL RECK U: LINK

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U WOT M8? I'LL RECK U: LINK

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