By Edgar L. Gärtner, Frankfurt
After the APEC meeting in Singapore there is nearly nobody left on earth who believes that world leaders will sooner or later find a compromise on massive CO2 reductions. Not everybody regrets this. There are scientists casting serious doubts on the IPCC’s assertion that humankind is facing unprecedented levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. The IPCC’s warning is based on continuous photoaccoustic CO2 measurements on Hawaiian volcano Mauna Loa since 1958. Since then the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen one year after another. Al Gore ‘s famous PowerPoint presentation uses the Mauna Loa curve to demonstrate the need for sharp reductions in human made CO2 emissions throuh emissions trading.
But what happened before 1958? It is known that there were sufficiently accurate measures of the CO2 concentration in the air with the help of chemical methods since the middle of the nineteenth century. In 2007 German biology teacher Ernst Georg Beck in his paper „180 Years accurate CO2-Gasanalysis of Air by Chemical Methods“ in: ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT (Volume 18, No. 2/2007) showed that around 1940 CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere were higher than today. But sceptics wondered if these local measurements were representative for the global trend.
In a recently published paper Ernst Georg Beck and his colleague Francis Massen from Luxemburg show that the CO2 background level can be accurately deduced from local near ground measurements with the help of a simple formula (taking wind speed into account). If Beck’s and Massen’s conclusions are confirmed, it would be difficult to assert that the preindustrial baseline of the atmospheric CO2 concentration is 280 ppm and that its rise to actually 388 ppm has caused global warming.