Sleeping with the enemy.

Protein

Carbon is the Great Satan of the environmental movement. They all worry about their carbon footprint, want to impose carbon taxes on it and even have schemes to capture the poor thing and imprison it down holes in the ground. Oh the humanity. For such a supposedly caring bunch, they can be so cruel at times.

If I were in their position, then I’d do what I always do to size up the opposition; I’d learn about it. If that means getting a bit close, even to the point of hopping into the sack with them for a while, well, that’s not a problem. A little bit of recreational rumpty pumpty never hurts, especially with one of those bad bad girls your Momma warned you all about. No offence intended to those nice girl next door elements out there, but sin as we all know has a certain delicious tinge of pure badness about it.

So, let’s put that other hat on and learn about their elemental enemy. The thing is, I’ve found the alarmists actually don’t do science but like all good scenario explorations, we’ll lose that little detail as part of simplifying the exercise. Let’s get down and boogie up real close to her sexy satanic majesty, Ms. Kickass Carbon. She has a certain ballsy attitude I kinda like.

If you collected up all the atoms in the universe, and believe you me there’s a lot of the little buggers floating around the joint, you’d find that unlike Mr Heinz’s meager 57, there’s actually 92 naturally occurring varieties of them. Each of those varieties of atom is what we call an element.

They’ve all got names like Hydrogen, Helium, Carbon, Vegemitium, Strontium and many others ending in various ums, ons and ens. Yes, I know, the names are pretty boring but then, they were all named or most interestingly sometimes predicted by various scientists, and while they were seriously clever chappies, imagination wouldn’t be their strong suit, never mind whimsy or a bit of romance. That’s the explanation for the absence of more imaginative names like Prudencium, Margaretion or Flutterflyum.

Obviously, the first question has to be where does carbon come from. The answer to that might come as a shock to a lot of people valiantly battling to save the planet but I’ll have to say something in advance, because I don’t want to cause too many palpitations – we don’t make it. Try as we might, we can’t create a single atom of the stuff. Not even the biggest, dirtiest, feck off, in your face, black smoke-belching, evil, dark, sonuva bitch from hell SUV in the world can create one atom of carbon. Seriously.

I’ve had the discussion with several environmentalists and was stunned to realise that they thought we evil humans actually create carbon. It’s one of those rapidly blinking jaw-dropping moments when you realise you’re dealing with an intelligent and supposedly well-educated person, who knows absolutely nothing about what they’re going on about so passionately. They’ve actually told me that carbon should be banned, usually to the accompaniment of a few heads nodding in agreement. There should be a law passed. More nodding. The government should do something about it. Even more vigorous nodding.

The answer, which they initially seize on and find comforting, is that it’s produced from a nuclear reaction. Of course, it could only be nasty nuclear which produces something so vile as carbon.

Whoah, whoah I say. I know I used the N word there but there’s no need to panic. It’s a sorta natural nuclear thingy, so that’s got to be okay, hasn’t it? They’re not used to the use of the words nuclear and natural in a single sentence, but at the same time, they’ve begun to suspect you might know some boringly hard sciency things. You’re intimidating the poor little darlings. How very unfair of you to actually go to the trouble of informing yourself.

Carbon atoms are manufactured in the burning nuclear heart of stars. The fusion process initially cooks on hydrogen, conceptually producing helium as a sort of ash. When the star starts to run low on hydrogen fuel, it starts to burn the helium, which produces its own sort of ash, atoms of our old mate carbon. Carbon in turn will be consumed to produce the heavier elements. That iterative burning and transmutation process continues until the star is burnt out or explodes in something called a nova. The effect of the explosion, is to scatter all the newly manufactured atoms of each element out into the cosmos.

The Earth, like everything else in our solar system, is made from the atoms of long ago exploded stars. Conceptually, and leaving aside the occasional cosmic blow in, we’ve got roughly the same number of carbon atoms that we started with when the Earth was formed and stabilised. Carbon atoms are everywhere around us, dug into the very fabric of us and our world. They’re in way deeper than any Alabama tick and I’ll explain to you why that is.

When atoms get it together, they clump up to form things called molecules. Most elements are very picky about which other elements they’ll bond with, but carbon is different. Carbon has the equivalent of a free love, free electron outlook on life and will bond very easily with other carbon atoms and pretty much any one of the other elements. In terms of the periodic table, carbon is by far and away a real bondage tart, the whore of Babylon, the village bicycle of the periodic table that everyone can get a ride on.

It get’s worse than that though. When several carbon atoms bond together, they act as a sort of spine to which an amazing variety of other atoms can bond to, producing all the interesting long chain molecules such as the proteins and enzymes, out of which all living things on Earth are constructed. You see – you, me, every living thing you’ve ever seen, and every living thing on the Earth is constructed from complex molecules, invariably built on a long spine of carbon atoms.

Carbon from a basic life chemistry viewpoint, is the circuit board that all those chips get plugged into, the foundation on which a house is built, the drummer who keeps that rock steady beat which the whole band builds on, that generous splash of olive oil the construction of every great spagbol needs to kick off with.

That’s why we’re termed a carbon-based life form. No carbon would mean no long chain molecules, no us, no living things at all actually.

When they blather on about carbon, what they actually mean is carbon dioxide, which is just one carbon atom doing a ménage à trois with two hunky oxygen atoms. Such a complete tart. As trace gases go and as the name suggests, there’s not a lot of it around but plant life thrives on it, which is why farmers pump vast quantities of it into greenhouses to produce bumper crops.

The alarmists believe there’s a so-called forcing mechanism initiated at a certain theoretical threshold level of carbon dioxide, which will magnify the Earth’s temperature. Nobody’s ever proved such a physical mechanism exists and indeed, nobody’s ever even demonstrated it either. Despite nearly two decades of increasing carbon dioxide levels, the global thermometer has stubbornly refused to move upwards and if anything, looks to be heading in the other direction. The demonisation of carbon is all about belief, which is religion, rather than science, which is about prove it or hit the road Jack.

When they picked on carbon as being the root of all evil, they were mounting an attack on the elemental basis of all life on Earth. If you’ve come to believe as I do that environmentalism has become anti-life, it was somehow inevitable that carbon absolutely had to become their hate object.

Good luck with banning it, by the way.

©Pointman

Related articles by Pointman:

The steady-state environment delusion.

Click for a list of other articles.

Comments
34 Responses to “Sleeping with the enemy.”
  1. obvious says:

    In the mid Eocene warm period, CO2 reached between 6,000 and 16,000 PPM.
    Science 5 November 2010: Vol. 330 no. 6005 pp. 819-821
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1193654
    Transient Middle Eocene Atmospheric CO2 and Temperature Variations Peter K. Bijl et al

    As life on earth survived CO2 in excess of 6,000 PPM in the mid-eocene,alarm seems obviously inappropriate to levels of 380 PPM.

  2. Graeme No.3 says:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/330/6005/819

    Bijl et al are claiming that the higher CO2 caused the higher temperatures. True, life survived, even flourished but “we are all doomed..worse than we thought etc.” as baggage.

    Another scientist (sorry, no reference) said that you could prove any scenario from the Eocene + Oligocene i.e. Temperature up with CO2 up or down, temperature down with CO2 up or down, and the best one temperature stable with CO2 up or down. In other words NO relationship.

    Pointy, you’ve got the physics & chemistry right, although it wasn’t quite the way the lecturers put it at University.

  3. A.D. Everard says:

    I do love the way you write. Brilliant and spot on.

    The alarmist masterminds always rely on the little guys and gals to be ignorant of the facts. Those masterminds must just HATE it when information seeps through.

  4. Jack Savage says:

    Nice one , Pointman. Ridicule…they do not like it up them. I want to see a few articles like this in the mainstream press.

  5. meltemian says:

    Thanks Pointy, now I’m always going to picture carbon as something out of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’!!
    Just one thing…..is there really an element called ‘Vegemitium’? Is it usually found in Australia??

    • Pointman says:

      Doh! A fellow can’t get away with nuffin’ around here …

      P

    • Blackswan says:

      Hey Mel,
      Vegemitium molecules blended with crumpetium makes a really great compound.

    • TonyfromOz says:

      As a small experiment here, this morning I combined some Vegimitium with butterium and toastium.

      The resultant explosion in my mouth gave off some of that yumium.

      Funny thing though, all of them contained Carbon, which sinks into my tummy, gets digested, and the Carbon is absorbed through the stomach lining into the blood, and passed around my body, which then realises that, hey, wait a minute, there’s a little too much Carbon here inside, so we’ll have to get rid of some of it.

      So, while that extra Carbon passes around my body, in the blood, it combines with some of its hunky Oxygen mates, and then, as it passes by the lungs, it bids farewell to all the nice friends it made in its travels, and it gets absorbed from the blood into the lungs and then breathed out as a Carbon Dioxide exhalation.

      At the same time time, as part of its farewell, it sends a message to the brain.

      Hey mate, send down some more of that Vegemitium.

      Tony.

    • Pointman says:

      Okay, for God’s sake, youse guys got me. However, there’s something called the transuranics, which I think may be my ace in the hole. They bump up the number of elements to 118 but there’s a however. Gawd, do I just love howevers.

      Element 117 everyone knows is there but nobody’s managed to produce it. That’s because it’s the fabled vegemitium. Chew on that burger.

      Pointman

    • Mike Macray says:

      Actually it is also found in the UK where it is called Marmitium. Likewise abhorred by the 97% and enjoyed by the few who use it as the perfect complement to an otherwise boring cucumber sandwich.

  6. meltemian says:

    As Joni Mitchell would have it…….
    “We are stardust, we are golden”
    Ah Woodstock…….those were the days.

  7. pottereaton says:

    Very entertaining, pointman. Loved it. But here’s something else we are not going to let you get away with: doesn’t describing her satanic majesty–the sexy Ms Kickass Carbon– as “ballsy” make her a transvestite? I think you mixed your personifications there.

    I know: there’s a critic in every crowd.

  8. Keitho says:

    Well said Pointman, as always. I see “carbon free sugar” is being advertised. Stupid should hurt.

  9. petra says:

    Brilliant. Sexual chemistry.

    • Ed Moran. says:

      Petra,
      it’s your comment that is brilliant. Lots of quick-witted, fast fire humour being posted here: you topped them all!

  10. Mindert Eiting says:

    Good article, Pointman. Reminds me of a short discussion I had a few years ago with someone who explained to me the terrible dangers of carbon dioxide. I asked him to remember that this stuff is plant food. He looked at me with frightened eyes and must have realized that we both learned this long ago in our first year of High School or even Elementary School. The difference between us is that he became a chemist. In case you wonder what’s behind junk science.

    Extras about carbon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Hoyle

  11. Blackswan says:

    Pointman,

    I once had a schoolteacher friend of mine (scary huh?) warn me never to eat greenhouse produce that had been subject to increased levels of carbon dioxide. The reason?

    Because the “carbon pollution” rendered the vegetables virtually worthless in terms of nutrition.

    Seriously.

    If our Lefty education systems hadn’t rendered recent generations so utterly ignorant of basic science knowledge, then the Alarmists would never have succeeded in their ridiculous Carbon Polloootion Scam. We are left to wonder at what future historians will conclude from studying these last forty years in human history.

    It’ll be right up there with examining chicken entrails to determine the future of Mankind.

    • Mike Mellor says:

      Be scared. Be very scared. That’s the person in charge of the next generation’s future.

      • Steve says:

        Maybe, but I have no issues taking ignorant teachers directly to task who madly try to back peddle saying they have to eduicate ( regurgitate ) “Kurrikulum” that is set, incidentally, by green-driven gummint….dont let them weasel out of it…..

        I had a flyer from some leftie pollie recently and sent an email to them tellingthem we knew the whole thing is a scam and they shouldnt be wasting tax payer funds on planned “climate crisis” community meetings….they tried to gently explain and get me intot he fold, but I told them that people know its a scam…needless to say that ended the conversation, but I wont let them off the hook. The final destination of this is global communism.

        And old joke amongst Lefties :

        Q “whats the difference between Socialism and Communism in Australia?
        A “About 40 years…..”

  12. Pointman says:

    Patrick Moore, a founding member of Greenpeace, resigned in the end when they decided to run a global campaign to get chlorine banned.

    “This is when Greenpeace really lost me. As a student of advanced biochemistry, I realized chlorine was one of the 92 natural elements in the periodic table and that it is essential for life. You don’t just go around banning entire elements, especially when life without them would be impossible!”

    http://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Greenpeace-Dropout-Sensible-Environmentalist/dp/0986480827

    Pointman

  13. Pointman says:

    For those of you not aware, voting has started on this year’s WebLog awards, commonly called the Bloggies. As usual, the skeptic blogs are strong contenders in the science category. Please make time to give them your vote.

    The don’t get any money, despite scurrilous rumours to the contrary, so give them a crack at glory!

    The voting link is – http://2013.bloggi.es/

    Pointman

  14. webber says:

    Cosmology, Nuclear Astrophysics, Molecular and Life Chemistry, politics, sex and all wrapped up in a witty way!

  15. Fred Furkenburger says:

    Great article as usual Pointman. Re your comment on the ignorance of people I remember seeing the results of a (not very scientific) survey done in Perth asking questions about Global Warming and Carbon. One of the questions asked was something along the lines of “would you eat corn flakes (a breakfast cereal) if you knew that it had carbon in them”? Far, far too many people answered No! It’s very hard to fight against that sort of ignorance.

  16. Brian Gray says:

    Great polemical writing. I have compiled a list of web articles that I use while campaigning…this one gets added near top. Thx.

  17. Mike Macray says:

    Brilliant! Factually accurate, humorously conveyed… keep up the good work.

  18. stan stendera says:

    I haven’t commented in a long time, but I had to come out of my shell for this post. Beyond the usual brilliant writing, no compliment is adequate. What fools these alarmists be..

  19. Gavin says:

    Thank you Pointman for the most elegant science article I’ve read in years. A scientist who can write so well is a rarity.

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