Eyjafjallajökull eruption negates 5 years of CO2 emission controls?

The following is making the chain email and forum posting rounds. Has anyone seen the claims attributed or verified? (My google-fu fails to find anything like this except as copies in various online forums and I found nothing here on the SDMB.)

The email says:

***Got this in my e-mail today and couldn’t help but get a chuckle out of it. I’ve Snoped it and it does not show up in their database. Most likely this is true:
**
For all of you out there in America and across the globe who have fought
so hard to tackle the hideous enemy of our planet, namely carbon emissions,
that bogus god you worship named “Climate Change” or “Global Warming”,
there is some really bad news that will be very painful for you to
process. But it is my duty to pass it on to you anyway.

Are you sitting down?

Okay, here’s the bombshell. The current volcanic eruption going on in
Iceland, in it’s first week of spewing volcanic ash, NEGATED EVERY SINGLE
EFFORT you have made in the past five years to control CO2 emissions on
our planet. Not only that, this single act of God, in it’s first week, has
added emissions to the earth estimated to be 42 times more than can be
corrected by the extreme human regulations proposed for annual
reductions.

I know, I know… (have a group hug)…it’s very disheartening to
realize that all of the carbon emission savings you have accomplished
while suffering the inconvenience and expense of driving Prius hybrids, buying
fabric grocery bags, sitting up til midnight to finish your kid’s “The
Green Revolution” science project, throwing out all of your non-green cleaning
supplies, using only two squares of toilet paper, putting a brick in your
toilet tank reservoir, selling your SUV and speedboat, going on vacation
to a city park instead of Yosemite, nearly getting hit every day on your bicycle,
replacing all of your $1 light bulbs with $10 light bulbs…well, all of those things
you have done have all gone down the tubes in just the first week.

The volcanic ash emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere in the first
week has totally erased every single effort you have made to reduce the evil
beast, carbon. And, those hundreds of thousands of American jobs you
helped move to Asia with expensive emissions demands on businesses… you know,
the ones that are creating even more emissions than when they were
creating American jobs, well that must seem really worthwhile now.

I’m so sorry. And I do wish that there was some kind of a silver
lining to this volcanic ash cloud but the fact of the matter is that the brush
fire season across the western U.S.A. will start in about two months and those
fires will negate your efforts to reduce carbon emissions in our world
for the next two years.

So, grab a Coke, give the world a hug, and have nice day!*

False, See here

I was in fact wondering whether it might have a positive effect - I mean a negative effect - I mean a good one, what we’re aiming for - because the ash would physically block incoming radiation, decreasing global warming at least for a while. What say the rest of you?

P.S. that mail wants to slap whatever smug moron wrote it. I’m certain any statistics in it are made up out of whole cloth, whatever the overall effect of Mt. Unpronounceable.

P.P.S. Looked up your link, Simplicio - I’m flabbergasted that the downed planes had such an effect; I’d considered it, but dismissed it as ridiculous! Also, the first comment to that article is priceless.

They should officially change the name to Mount Unpronounceable. It’s not named after a god or troll so unlikely to be blocked by the superstitious. If Wiki is to be believed its name means “island-mountain glacier”, so mt Unpronounceable would actually have more character.

Plus, it would be ironic, and not just in an alanis morrisette way, that Mt Unpronounceable would then be unpronounceable to many who don’t speak english well (look at the word as if it’s new to you and tell me you don’t get lost inside those lookalike fields of r’s, o’s, and n’s)

Not exactly on point, I agree that volcanoes are potential causes of ‘global cooling’ and are a small contribution to total CO2 emissions. However, the two claims in the email seem to be:

I. One week of CO2 emission was the same as 5 years of global savings.

II. One week of CO2 emissions was 42 times proposed annual reductions. (From the 2009 Copenhagen meeting, I guess)

It’s a little hard to address the email exactly, since I don’t think the writer really has any specific “proposed annual reductions” or “global savings” in mind. He’s pulling stuff out of his rear, which makes it kind of fruitless to try and pretend that he has some sort of actual Carbon control regime in mind, and that we can try and puzzle out what he’s refering to. But if you use the Coopenhagen targets for 2020 as a guide, then the email writer isn’t even close.

So according to my link, the Volcano releases like a million tons of CO22 per week. The Coopenhagen targets for the US are to cut 17% of 2005 emissions by 2020, thats like 850 million tons annually(interestingly, we’re almost a third of the way there, granted the Recession accounts for something like a third of that third). And thats just the decrease from 2005 levels, not the decrease from whatever the emissions would be in 2020 without controls. And thats just one country (granted one that releases a lot of the worlds emissions).
So an extremely low ball estimate is that proposed reductions would be several hundred times the weekly output of the volcano, rather then the volcano being 42 times the output of said reduction plans.

Moral of story: the volcano didn’t produce a sizable quantity of CO2 emissions relative to human emissions, and thus not much in comparison to even modest CO2 emission cutting schemes.

And of course, it doesn’t really matter. The volcano would’ve happened whether we try and reduce our emissions or not, so current and future reductions would still reduce atmosphereic CO2 below what it would’ve otherwise been, with or without the volcano.

Which would be something like “Availframberanlegur” according to an online translator.
Only marginally better :frowning:

I just leave it at Mt. Nyarlathotep and be done with it. People seem to know which Icelandic volcano I’m talking about.

Regardless, it still wouldn’t matter. Volcanic eruptions are part of the natural cycle. Humans burning fossil fuels aren’t.

CO2 emitted from the volcano doesn’t “negate” any emissions reductions achieved or planned. Volcano or no volcano, the emissions will be less with the emissions reductions than without them.

A comment there said that a recent study published in Nature indicates that climate may have an effect on seismology. :dubious: I am not a subscriber, so I can’t read the article myself.

There’s an old thread on ‘earthquake weather’. The idea is that there is such a thing, and the response is overwhelmingly that it’s bunk. However:

I felt I-don’t-know-how-many earthquakes when I lived in SoCal. I was asleep for Northridge (it’s the only one that made me get out of bed – it knocked down some shelves and the TV), but as I recall the weather was normal. But there were two occasions when the weather felt ‘weird’. A little warmer than it should have been, even though SoCal is usually warm. And it just felt… weird. ‘Earthquake weather’? The plate bulging a little and increasing the air pressure slightly? AFAIK, it’s never been proved. And what about all of the other earthquakes, when the weather felt normal?

As lieu wrote, ‘it’s worth considering’. But I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find zero correlation. The Nature article mentioned in the comment sounds impossible. How could climate possibly affect seismic activity? If anyone can read the article, can you give a summary?

My experience with “earthquake whether” is that people always notice it after an earthquake.

The vaunted climate “effect on seismology” usually comes down to Post-glacial rebound.

My understanding is that global warming may have actually caused the eruption in question. The idea is that the weight of the glacier on top of the volcano was keeping a lid on it. When enough of it melted due to global warming, the top popped.

And regardless of whether the figure is correct or not (and whether climate change is true or not) I still don’t understand his conclusions. It feels like there’s a couple of people tied up in the path of an oncoming train, and one of them is desperately sawing at the ropes, and the other says “there’s nothing to worry about, let’s just have some afternoon tea” and the train gets closer and closer and louder and louder. Then some sort of disaster happens which makes it EVEN HARDER for them to escape. Then the tea-drinking one says “See, told you I was right.”

There’s a difference between “we don’t need to do anything about climate change because it’s not actually a human-caused disaster” and “we don’t need to do anything about climate change because it’s too late, we’re already committed to massive widespread disruptions and deaths”. I don’t think the second, even if true, is something to crow over.

Surely the idea that “we’re not doing enough to combat climate change” is something that the pro-environment lobby has been pushing for years. Saying “well, fuck you, I refused to help, and see, you COULDN’T do it all yourself” might give you some sort of playground pyrrhic victory, but I don’t think it’s actually a good point!