The answer to the question Why “The Science” Settled On “Carbon” is easy. The Science settled on “carbon” because it’s easy.
See? Easy is the answer, as promised.
Now that I’ve had my (hilarious: you laughed, right?) joke, let me explain.
What controls the climate on earth is not easy. It is the sun, mostly, our distance from it, the angle the rays hit the earth’s curved surface, the shape of the orbit, the variable output from the hot beastie itself, and those kind of things.
Second down on the list, but still huge, is water. It’s everywhere, as ice, liquid, and ice. It both holds the sun’s heat (as it were), and spurns it. It swirls and sloshes over the surface, which itself is changing. The seas cherish then releases immense quantities of heat and moisture. Most water which finds freedom in the atmosphere precipitates again eventually.
Third thing is land. What’s on it, and where it is. The wind hits land, and land moves the wind about. The land causes the water to move thither and yon.
Fourth thing is life. The wee rascals of the sea pee out particles which turn into clouds. Planetary green stuff sucks up what some say is a pollutant—their main food—and they excrete the air we can breath. Everything else that slithers, swims, or strides brazenly changes the environment in its favor, changes which in turn affect the climate.
Last thing, likely the very last thing of any consequence, something way down on the list, is carbon dioxide.
CO2 is easy to model. All those other things are hard. So hard that scientists often use a hand-waving trick called “parameterization” for them. Parameterization means crude guess. It’s not quite as terrible as it sounds. They have had some success by tuning the knobs on the parameters to get better matches between the model and Reality.
Not enough success, but we’ll let that pass today. All we’ll say is that this trick makes models much more correlational than causal. Vast uncertainties about cause abound. Pretending otherwise leads to over-certainty.
But CO2 is easy. The models are all built around this easy device. CO2 inside models can be made to go up, or down, in whatever order you like. And the output from these models can then be pored over, and discussed.
I don’t believe climatologists realize how the culture created by CO2-over-focus has compromised their study of the atmosphere. But we can let that pass, too.
If you can stretch your mind back as much as ten years, you’ll recall Experts used to say “carbon dioxide” or “CO2”, as I did above. But that became too burdensome for them. So they shorted it to “carbon.”
They all now condemn “carbon”. Which is ludicrous. And it makes them sounds foolish. But that, of course, has never been a stumbling block for Experts.
Carbon, you see, is everywhere, and in everything. Of importance, anyway. Carbon dioxide is trivial and influences things only subtly, as above. Carbon, well, if you are against carbon, and seek to control it, then you can be against everything and seek to control everything.
That is the gift their monumental over-simplification has wrought. Saying “carbon” allows ignorant spoiled brats to land audiences at the UN and scold adults who have been taught to know only this one word.
Saying “carbon” also allows papers like this one: “A theory of carbon currency” by Qiao Liu and others in Fundamental Research (no, I never heard of it, either). Abstract in part:
We propose a new international monetary system based on carbon currency (the carbon standard) to tackle two pressing externalities in today’s global economic and political context: the dangerous and irreversible effects caused by unconstrained green-house gas emissions and the cost to the rest of the world as a result of the U.S. dollar being the dominated global currency and the U.S. Federal Reserve increasingly implementing monetary policies not aligned with the global common interest. We define carbon currency as standardized carbon-related securities backed up by the right of one unit of carbon emissions. It can be used as a new global reserve currency and functions as an international unit of account.
Who says things like “pressing externalities” anyway? Never mind.
You can see what happened. They’re not frightened of “climate change”, but they like the idea of China—all are from the Guanghua School of Management, Peking University, Beijing—moving away from the dollar. “Carbon” is the excuse because of its “irreversible” effects.
If it wasn’t for the ridiculous simplification, now the only way to discuss “climate change”, they wouldn’t be able to write this kind of paper with a straight face.
Buy my new book and learn to argue against the regime: Everything You Believe Is Wrong.