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Forum » SpaceEngine » Science and Astronomy Discussions » CO2 on Venus, Earth, and Mars (For those who've studied Astronomy and Earth/Space Sciences.)
CO2 on Venus, Earth, and Mars
EnkiDate: Saturday, 07.09.2013, 20:20 | Message # 1
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You hear all the time, impending death by global warming because we're producing to much CO2 emissions.

I took a class on Earth/Space Science a couple years back. I was told that Venus was the extreme greenhouse gases on Earth because it had a massive about of CO2 in its atmosphere. I looked a little deeper.

I found an international convention held by UN climatologists where hundreds of scientists gathered to protest, saying that CO2 does little to nothing to our overall global temperatures. Hackers even caught UN climatologists sending e-mails about what data to exclude in order to keep CO2 a greenhouse gas.

I've read books saying that CFCs are much worse than CO2 and others that say the oceans are the strongest heat retainers on the planet.

I also checked on the atmospheric composition of Venus, Earth, and Mars. I found that Venus, the raging inferno has an atmospheric pressure 90x that of Earth (and obviously it is closer to the sun). I found that on Earth has less than 1% CO2 and if I'm not mistaken there's more Argon in our atmosphere. I found that Mars has 1/90 the atmospheric pressure of Earth, even though 96% of it is CO2; mathematically that means that Mars has the same amount of CO2 in its atmosphere as Earth, but Mars is a freezing desert.

Doesn't this mean that atmospheric pressure and distance from the sun are much determinate of a planet's temperature than CO2? I've been thinking about this for a while and it's starting to drive me nuts whenever so-called experts speculating about conditions on extrasolar planets break into talking about how CO2 could warm this planet and destroy the old system of calculating the habitable zone of a star in favor of a CO2 based one.

Please tell me what you think.





"If you arrive at a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong." - Ayn Rand
"It may be that our purpose on Earth is not to find God, but to create him." - Arthur C. Clarke


Edited by Enki - Saturday, 07.09.2013, 20:23
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 07.09.2013, 21:29 | Message # 2
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Quote (Enki)
I found an international convention held by UN climatologists where hundreds of scientists gathered to protest, saying that CO2 does little to nothing to our overall global temperatures. Hackers even caught UN climatologists sending e-mails about what data to exclude in order to keep CO2 a greenhouse gas.

False. CO2 is unambiguously a greenhouse gas, it's a matter of simple physics, and no scientist qualified to speak on such matters would dispute that and be able to make a case for it.

Quote (Enki)
I've read books saying that CFCs are much worse than CO2 and others that say the oceans are the strongest heat retainers on the planet.

True.

Quote (Enki)
I found that on Earth has less than 1% CO2 and if I'm not mistaken there's more Argon in our atmosphere.

True; Earth's total atmospheric CO2 content at present is less than 0.04%.

Quote (Enki)
I found that Mars has 1/90 the atmospheric pressure of Earth, even though 96% of it is CO2; mathematically that means that Mars has the same amount of CO2 in its atmosphere as Earth, but Mars is a freezing desert.

Actually it's more like 1/170 the pressure of Earth. Even so, that still means that Mars' atmosphere contains a much HIGHER partial pressure of CO2 than Earth's.

Here's why that doesn't matter one bit:

The greenhouse effect on our planet is NOT caused primarily by carbon dioxide. It's actually caused mostly by other gasses, such as water vapor. So why all this talk about CO2? It's because CO2 is the one which is the most variable and chemically stable, and thus the one most able to affect long-term climate trends. Average levels of H2O gas don't change much, and other gases like CFCs and CH4 are broken down over relatively short timescales by ultraviolet light.

Changing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere correlate perfectly with changes in temperature, both over the span of human record keeping and over the span of the geological record. The places in the record where the correlation is imperfect are always readily explainable by other factors, such as short term climate variations (El Niño and other ocean-related effects, Solar activity, and so on). So there is no doubt that CO2 and temperature are directly linked.

Quote (Enki)
Doesn't this mean that atmospheric pressure and distance from the sun are much determinate of a planet's temperature than CO2?

No. Atmospheric pressure alone means nothing. You can have a planet with 100 atm of nitrogen, but if it doesn't have any greenhouse gasses in there it will still be extremely cold. What matters is just atmospheric composition, specifically the amounts of heat-trapping gasses that you have. You could remove all of the nitrogen and oxygen - 99% of Earth's atmosphere - and we'd still be pretty warm (though I might be missing something in there, someone like Watsisname will have to comment on that).



I suggest watching this great series of videos by potholer54, in which he explains the basic science behind all of this, how we know what we know, what different scientists' views on climate change are, common myths and misconceptions, the hacked e-mails, and so on. I highly recommend starting from the beginning and going through all of them, they're extremely informative, and like all of his videos are very well sourced.





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midtskogenDate: Saturday, 07.09.2013, 22:03 | Message # 3
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Quote (Enki)
Please tell me what you think.

I think you presented a lot of non sequiturs. One correlation doesn't need to invalidate all others, and correlation doesn't imply causation anyway.

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
Changing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere correlate perfectly with changes in temperature, both over the span of human record keeping and over the span of the geological record. The places in the record where the correlation is imperfect are always readily explainable by other factors, such as short term climate variations (El Niño and other ocean-related effects, Solar activity, and so on).

That's a slightly meaningless statement, I think. It's kind of like saying the relationship is perfect, only except when it isn't. Of course, but it doesn't help unless we perfectly understand all those other factors, such as ocean related effects, solar activity, thawing tundras, weather changes, albedo effect, whatever.





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HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 07.09.2013, 22:17 | Message # 4
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Quote (midtskogen)
That's a slightly meaningless statement, I think. It's kind of like saying the relationship is perfect, only except when it isn't.

No, because I explained what the causes of the discrepancies were. Saying that's a meaningless statement is like saying that "Your car always goes faster when you apply more pressure to the accelerator, except when driving into a strong headwind or going uphill" is a meaningless statement (which it isn't).





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WatsisnameDate: Saturday, 07.09.2013, 23:19 | Message # 5
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Quote (Enki)
Please tell me what you think.


I think both Harbinger and midtskogen's replies are pretty much spot on.

CO2 is definitely a greenhouse gas; we can see this by examining its spectral properties in the lab and applying some radiative physics for the Earth/atmosphere/sun system. Adding more CO2 to the atmosphere causes the outgoing thermal radiation from the surface of the Earth (which is how the Earth cools itself and maintains thermal equilibrium) to be absorbed more readily. Some of this radiation is re-emitted back downward, heating the surface.

I also try to point out every time this topic comes up, that a standard principle in radiative physics is that any substance that is good at absorbing a particular wavelength of radiation is also good at emitting it (except for say, black holes). So when we say CO2 absorbs infrared radiation, it is also true that it is good at emitting it. Therefore, the upper atmosphere, with a clear view to space, can emit more efficiently if there is more CO2, and so it gets colder. We see exactly this behavior with the Earth's atmosphere through global warming. We also see it on Venus. Everyone knows Venus' surface is the hottest in the solar system, but it is also true that Venus' upper atmosphere is extremely cold; colder than anywhere in Earth's atmosphere! That is the greenhouse effect in action -- the surface is hotter and the upper atmosphere is colder than it would be without greenhouse gases.

Quote
Doesn't this mean that atmospheric pressure and distance from the sun are much determinate of a planet's temperature than CO2? I've been thinking about this for a while and it's starting to drive me nuts whenever so-called experts speculating about conditions on extrasolar planets break into talking about how CO2 could warm this planet and destroy the old system of calculating the habitable zone of a star in favor of a CO2 based one.


The experts are doing just fine; I can assure you that they are in fact experts and they really do know what they are talking about.

The surface temperature of a planet can be figured out through some fairly simple physics. You'll get an expression that depends on the properties of the star that the planet orbits, the distance of the planet, and the albedo (reflectivity) of the planet. This works for any object without an atmosphere. If you include an atmosphere, then that atmosphere's parameters will have different effects, and could make the planet either hotter or colder. It will also have an altitude dependence -- different temperatures at different heights.

There are a great deal of legitimate uncertainties involved with the study of global warming / climate change on the Earth, but there is no reasonable doubt that the release of greenhouse gases are causing this current episode of warming. We have fairly good estimates of how the temperature will increase with time as a function of how much and how rapidly we release more of those gases. The reason these are just estimates is because climate is very complex, and depends very sensitively on a large number of features and processes within the Earth system.

Quote
You hear all the time, impending death by global warming because we're producing to much CO2 emissions.


We are not all going to die. But it is a very serious issue, and it is affecting ecosystems and humans alike. Consider that during a typical ice age, the average planetary temperature is about 2°C colder than today. What we're doing is bumping it up by another 2°C, and if we do not change our ways then we will easily go well beyond that. (Current estimates center around 4 or 5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century). This will affect ecosystems profoundly, as well as increase the acidity of the oceans, melt a great deal of ice and therefore raise sea levels, change weather patterns, change the availability of water, growing season, etc. These changes are already evident today.





 
expandoDate: Sunday, 08.09.2013, 03:34 | Message # 6
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The co2 in the atmosphere does not cause any significant global warming, which is a scam.

Mars has 99% co2 atmosphere and it is freezing.





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WatsisnameDate: Sunday, 08.09.2013, 03:43 | Message # 7
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Yet another fine example of a completely ridiculous conclusion by our dear friend expando, who thinks the Earth is literally expanding...

No, expando, you have to consider the density of the atmosphere, (not to mention the distance from the sun) which you completely failed to do. And given your past posting history I'm actually not entirely convinced that you're not simply trolling, which is not going to be tolerated for very long. Consider that a warning.





 
HarbingerDawnDate: Sunday, 08.09.2013, 03:50 | Message # 8
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Quote (expando)
The co2 in the atmosphere does not cause any significant global warming, which is a scam.

I really love all the source citations and peer-reviewed research that you presented to support that conclusion. I must say I'm now persuaded. rolleyes





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midtskogenDate: Sunday, 08.09.2013, 07:26 | Message # 9
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Quote (HarbingerDawn)
Saying that's a meaningless statement is like saying that "Your car always goes faster when you apply more pressure to the accelerator, except when driving into a strong headwind or going uphill" is a meaningless statement (which it isn't).

Like saying, "except ... and so on". The "and so on" part doesn't make the exception list exhaustive as required by the "perfectly" and "always" part.

Quote (expando)
The co2 in the atmosphere does not cause any significant global warming,

Depends on what you mean by significant.

Quote (expando)
which is a scam.

The scale of it would then imply a grand global conspiracy. Sorry, absolutely no.

On the political level what's we're seeing is not a scam even if CO2 has little to do with temperature (which depends on your perspective), but we're seeing a high degree of symbol politics, actions that are more about appearing to do something, or about doing at least something, but mean little in the big picture or are actually harmful in that they draw attention and resources away from the real concerns and solutions. That's perfectly normal in politics.





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HarbingerDawnDate: Sunday, 08.09.2013, 07:49 | Message # 10
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Quote (midtskogen)
The "and so on" part doesn't make the exception list exhaustive as required by the "perfectly" and "always" part.

It is not required that the stated list be exhaustive, just that an exhaustive list exist. All this linguistic microscopy aside, I know you know what I meant. Do you have any issues with what I meant as opposed to the words I used?

Quote (midtskogen)
Depends on what you mean by significant.

It's not turning the atmosphere into a plasma, so not significant cool





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WatsisnameDate: Sunday, 08.09.2013, 08:26 | Message # 11
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Quote (HarbingerDawn)
It's not turning the atmosphere into a plasma, so not significant


That would be pretty awkward. biggrin





 
midtskogenDate: Sunday, 08.09.2013, 09:16 | Message # 12
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Quote (HarbingerDawn)
All this linguistic microscopy aside, I know you know what I meant. Do you have any issues with what I meant as opposed to the words I used?

No, the exceptions are correct, and the statement is also correct because you can interchange anything in the argument and for instance say that atmospheric temperature and solar activity correlate perfectly, except when you take into account other factors like CO2, ocean interactions, and so on. That aside, I think we agree that among the signals that we can extract the correlation between those of CO2 and atmospheric temperatures is clear and among the easiest to identify, easier than what you put in the exception list.

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
It's not turning the atmosphere into a plasma, so not significant

Significant on an absolute scale is one thing, another question is significant subjectively, and what it takes for an effect to be felt harmful. And perhaps what it's fair to blame global warming for. I mean, is it really appropriate to blame global warming if you build towns on eroding sediments and it doesn't go well, like in such stories?





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Edited by midtskogen - Sunday, 08.09.2013, 09:32
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Sunday, 08.09.2013, 10:08 | Message # 13
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Quote (midtskogen)
I mean, is it really appropriate to blame global warming if you build towns on eroding sediments and it doesn't go well, like in such stories?

In that case, yes. When they built their town there, it was a safe location because the sea ice protected their land from erosion. Now the world is warming and the ice is disappearing, and with it their protection from the worst of the erosive elements. The cause of their land suddenly being so vulnerable was the decline in sea ice brought about by anthropogenic greenhouse warming. Ergo, global warming is causing the demise of their town.

There are very few places where people might settle that aren't at risk of being destroyed by some natural forces which climate changes might either exacerbate or trigger. Does this mean that people showed poor judgment when settling there and have only themselves to blame? Or does it mean that something caused the conditions to change from safe to unsafe, and that that cause is to blame?





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EnkiDate: Sunday, 08.09.2013, 15:48 | Message # 14
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Quote (HarbingerDawn)
Changing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere correlate perfectly with changes in temperature, both over the span of human record keeping and over the span of the geological record. The places in the record where the correlation is imperfect are always readily explainable by other factors, such as short term climate variations (El Niño and other ocean-related effects, Solar activity, and so on). So there is no doubt that CO2 and temperature are directly linked.

Where exactly can one find this data?

Also, I take issue with the fact that this can be said to be proof because of correlation, if my correlation is non sequitur then so is this. Perhaps something else can explain why the temperature went up and down on the times that it happened to correlate with CO2 levels. All this means is that if CO2 was responsible for any of the warming, it wasn't dominant over the over mass of factors that come together to make the atmosphere warm or cool, in fact that would make CO2 an oversimplification and would contradict the lag effect of "long-term" warming you cited elsewhere.

Quote (Watsisname)
Consider that during a typical ice age, the average planetary temperature is about 2°C colder than today. What we're doing is bumping it up by another 2°C, and if we do not change our ways then we will easily go well beyond that.

I'm not seeing how <1% CO2 could do this. But even if it does, how can humans, a young race that still (in many regions of the planet) cannot afford the technology that we blame these carbon emissions on?

Quote (Watsisname)
No, expando, you have to consider the density of the atmosphere, (not to mention the distance from the sun) which you completely failed to do.

This contradicts what Harbinger Dawn said about pressure having nothing to do with temperature in comparison to CO2 doesn't it?

Quote (expando)
The co2 in the atmosphere does not cause any significant global warming, which is a scam.

Mars has 99% co2 atmosphere and it is freezing.

You merely restated one thing I said with one of the numbers changed. It isn't a big help.

Quote (midtskogen)
The scale of it would then imply a grand global conspiracy. Sorry, absolutely no.

Not global, just in developed nations. I doubt undeveloped nations are even conscious of this issue. I do believe that control of the educational system gives a lot of power to a group of people who could thrive off of inventing an impending disaster.

Quote (midtskogen)
On the political level what's we're seeing is not a scam even if CO2 has little to do with temperature (which depends on your perspective), but we're seeing a high degree of symbol politics, actions that are more about appearing to do something, or about doing at least something, but mean little in the big picture or are actually harmful in that they draw attention and resources away from the real concerns and solutions. That's perfectly normal in politics.

Appearing to do something because it makes them look good and because they can make more laws (to add to a mass of already unenforceable ones) that they pull out on businesses that don't play the political game (picking the winners and losers). That is what I mean by thriving on an impending disaster. They gain power and nobody would say a word because nobody wants to be the guy who is "destroying the planet." Again, when so many states around the planet practice this they need only control the educational institutions and make up a couple neat looking mathematical equations to support it.

In Chemistry class I stumped my teacher when I asked her about the CFCs and the equation that showed perpetual never-ending decay. A mono-atomic oxygen appeared out of nowhere in the equation, which was required to make it perpetual. She had no explanation. And yes, I am even challenging CFCs, which are supposed to be worse than CO2.

One of my problems with the whole thing is that in school I was always given a model of a perpetual motion machine to show how human activity would destroy all life on Earth. Carbon levels have gone up and down throughout history, and they are trapped in a Carbon Cycle, why haven't they already created a perpetual motion machine and boiled the surface?

Quote (HarbingerDawn)
In that case, yes. When they built their town there, it was a safe location because the sea ice protected their land from erosion. Now the world is warming and the ice is disappearing, and with it their protection from the worst of the erosive elements. The cause of their land suddenly being so vulnerable was the decline in sea ice brought about by anthropogenic greenhouse warming. Ergo, global warming is causing the demise of their town.

I take issue, as stated above, with anthropogenic warming. I do believe climate changes and the Earth may get warmer or colder. And if I'm not mistaken we are now at the peak of an extra long solar cycle, but just because Earth did warm and the ice melted doesn't mean humans caused it, which I made a statement about above. Human settlements have been destroyed by nature throughout history. We are finding entire cities and monuments underwater to this day.





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HarbingerDawnDate: Sunday, 08.09.2013, 16:55 | Message # 15
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Quote (Enki)
Where exactly can one find this data?

It's not hard to find. Anyway you can find links to all the data you might want by watching the videos I linked, since as I said the guy sources all of his information.

Quote (Enki)
I take issue with the fact that this can be said to be proof because of correlation, if my correlation is non sequitur then so is this.

Fact: carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, it's a simple matter of physics. Fact: the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere relate to global temperature in exactly the way predicted throughout all of geological history. Therefore, the odds of the correlation being a coincidence are extremely small, and the odds of it being an indicator that CO2 is a driver of climate are high. So not a non sequitur.

Quote (Enki)
Perhaps something else can explain why the temperature went up and down on the times that it happened to correlate with CO2 levels.

On some occasions, perhaps, but every time? That's just grasping at straws to try to argue that. Anyway, that's not the only evidence there is, and it's also clear that you're not very familiar with the available data, so I suggest you go research this a bit more before commenting further on this sort of thing.

Quote (Enki)
You merely restated one thing I said with one of the numbers changed. It isn't a big help.

Forget him, he's just a troll.

Quote (Enki)
Not global, just in developed nations. I doubt undeveloped nations are even conscious of this issue.

False.

Quote (Enki)
I do believe that control of the educational system gives a lot of power to a group of people who could thrive off of inventing an impending disaster.

Then why is it that the people in power are often so resistant to the idea of acting on the issue, or even acknowledging it? That does not well support the conspiracy hypothesis.

Quote (Enki)
This contradicts what Harbinger Dawn said about pressure having nothing to do with temperature in comparison to CO2 doesn't it?

No. Did you even read this in context? Like I just explained earlier, what matters is the amount of heat trapping gasses in the atmosphere. Mars doesn't have enough. What Watsisname was saying was that 9x% of CO2 in the atmosphere on one world does not equal 9x% of CO2 in the atmosphere of another. If Earth's atmosphere were mostly CO2, we'd turn into a mini-Venus. But that's because there would be so much of it. On Mars, there's so little. Even on a world like Titan though, with a lot of air, even if that was mostly CO2 it still wouldn't make it warm because it's so far from the Sun, so not much heat reaches it. There is no one magic indicator of how warm a world is, it depends on many factors, none of which can be ignored. Which has all already been explained.

Quote (Enki)
I'm not seeing how <1% CO2 could do this.

That's because you haven't taken the time to understand even the basics of the underlying science. Watch the videos I linked.

Quote (Enki)
But even if it does, how can humans, a young race that still (in many regions of the planet) cannot afford the technology that we blame these carbon emissions on?

This makes no sense. Instead of actually trying to determine whether we're capable of this, you just assume that we're not because we're too "weak", "young", or whatever you want to say. Well, you're wrong. Factories, automobiles, power plants, etc, produce gasses like CO2 in large quantities, which we can measure. These machines are operating 24/7/365 and have been for over a century. The effect of their emissions is cumulative. The increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere correspond exactly to the increasing emissions of CO2 from human technology, which is exactly what you'd expect. If you want to claim that there's no relationship there, you're going to need to present some extraordinary evidence.

Quote (Enki)
And if I'm not mistaken we are now at the peak of an extra long solar cycle

You're mistaken. The Sun is actually relatively inactive now compared to usual, and Solar irradiance levels do not match up with observed temperatures in recent decades, so the Sun can be ruled out as a main cause of the warming.

Quote (Enki)
Human settlements have been destroyed by nature throughout history. We are finding entire cities and monuments underwater to this day.

Which has nothing to do with this whatsoever.

Quote (Enki)
I was always given a model of a perpetual motion machine to show how human activity would destroy all life on Earth.

lol what school did you go do where they said things like that? Nobody in their right mind claims that anthropogenic global warming will destroy life on Earth. That's absurd.

Quote (Enki)
In Chemistry class I stumped my teacher when I asked her about the CFCs and the equation that showed perpetual never-ending decay.

I hope you realize that high school chemistry teachers are not experts in the field of chemistry. Sometimes they probably lack more than a passing familiarity with the subject. If you have a question about a chemical reaction that seems to make no sense to you, I suggest you contact a professional chemist. They're the ones who can answer those sorts of questions.

Quote (Enki)
Carbon levels have gone up and down throughout history, and they are trapped in a Carbon Cycle, why haven't they already created a perpetual motion machine and boiled the surface?

lolwut

Not one word of that made any sense.

Quote (Enki)
Appearing to do something because it makes them look good and because they can make more laws (to add to a mass of already unenforceable ones) that they pull out on businesses that don't play the political game (picking the winners and losers). That is what I mean by thriving on an impending disaster. They gain power and nobody would say a word because nobody wants to be the guy who is "destroying the planet."

Have you payed any attention to politics and legislation, either here or in other places in the world? Virtually no one is acting this way.



Judging by the content of your last post, I'm beginning to suspect that you have a biased agenda and only wish to approach this issue from that perspective. Hopefully that's not the case, and you really do want to learn about it rather than preach about it. If so, I encourage you to follow up on the avenues of research that I pointed you down. If not, if you just want to promote conspiracies or treat this as something other than a scientific discussion, then people are going to stop responding to your posts on this matter.





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Forum » SpaceEngine » Science and Astronomy Discussions » CO2 on Venus, Earth, and Mars (For those who've studied Astronomy and Earth/Space Sciences.)
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