Sleeping with the enemy.
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.
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