OMG! We’re exhausting the planet’s oxygen supply by not being Marxist and letting intellectuals run everything!
I’m really hoping that’s some kind of any-idiot-can-post section of the Guardian.
It does raising an interesting side-point. Burning carbon-based fuels does consume oxygen. Conversely, the production of oxygen consumes CO2. If CO2 levels rise then oxygen levels have to decrease. Now the change in oxygen levels will not be large. CO2 comprises only a tiny part of the total atmosphere. The current hysteria is caused by raising CO2 from 0.028% to 0.038%. Oxygen comprises 21% of the atmosphere, so the decrease in oxygen would be trivial but still measurable.
As this response to the nonsense above demonstrates, we can measure the fractional decrease in oxygen due to burning fossil fuels. However, the numbers don’t completely add up.
The surprise came when Keeling’s measurements showed that the rate of decline of O2 was only about two-thirds of that attributable to fossil-fuel combustion during this period. Only one explanation can be given for this observation: Losses of biomass through deforestation must have been outweighed by a fattening of biomass elsewhere, termed global “greening” by geochemists. Although the details as to just how and where remain obscure, the buildup of extra CO2 in our atmosphere and of extra fixed nitrogen in our soils probably allows plants to grow a bit faster than before, leading to a greater storage of carbon in tree wood and soil humus. For each atom of extra carbon stored in this way, roughly one molecule of extra oxygen accumulates in the atmosphere.[link added]
Whoops. This means that 1/3 of the CO2 that the standard global warming models assume stays permanently in the atmosphere doesn’t actually stay there. The missing 1/3 is bound up in biomass of the planet.
The very real but unacknowledged problem with global warming models is their sensitivity to even very minor changes in the levels of many different inputs. Losing 1/3 of the CO2 from the input would skew them badly.
Of course, this is just one study. Others might find different numbers. I do find interesting, however, that no one else seems interested in looking a oxygen levels even though they must change in response to burning more carbon and therefore can be used to test global warming models.
It’s almost like they don’t want to test them.