Thursday, October 17, 2013

New paper debunks claims that fossil fuel use could cause a mass extinction

Climate alarmists have claimed that Earth is on its way to the 6th mass extinction as a result of use of fossil fuels. However, a paper published today in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology finds that "The total amount of carbon needed [to cause a mass extinction] exceeds the modern fossil fuel reservoir." In other words, even if the highly-exaggerated effects of CO2 on climate were correct, and even if the entire reserve of fossil fuels was burned, a mass extinction from climate change still would not occur.

Initial assessment of the carbon emission rate and climatic consequences during the end-Permian mass extinction

  • a Department of Geosciences and Earth System Science Center, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, United States
  • b School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, University Road, Bristol BS8 1SS, UK


We model the carbon isotope record of the Permian-Triassic event in a novel way.
The result is a continuous record of carbon addition and extraction.
The peak rate of carbon addition is smaller than the present fossil fuel burning rate.
The total amount of carbon needed exceeds the modern fossil fuel reservoir.
Determining the source of carbon needs better constraints on the ocean temperature.


Numerous lines of geochemical and stable isotopic evidence indicate that the end-Permian mass extinction was accompanied by abrupt climate change induced by CO2 addition. Catastrophic end-Permian Siberian volcanism may have released a large amount of CO2 into the atmosphere and pushed the Earth's system beyond a critical threshold, causing the mass extinction. However, the injection rate, total amount and source of CO2 are largely unknown. We conducted a suite of simulations using the recently published carbon isotope records and U–Pb ages from Meishan section in Zhejiang province, China. An Earth System Model of Intermediate Complexity (cGENIE; was used to extract the pattern of CO2 release needed to replicate the observed carbon isotope excursion across the Permian-Triassic boundary. This analysis leads us to suggest that the source of CO2 must have been significantly heavier than typical biogenic or thermogenic methane to explain the significant warming that occurred during and after the extinction event. Nevertheless, as with the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, end-Permian rates of CO2 addition were likely small compared with modern fossil-fuel burning, but considerably more protracted, such that the likely total CO2 emitted significantly exceeded the modern fossil-fuel reserves. Peak emission rates corresponded to the onset of the maximum extinction interval, consistent with carbon cycle disruption, including volcanogenic CO2-induced warming (and perhaps ocean acidification), as a trigger for the end-Permian mass extinction.

1 comment:

  1. I would rather think, that soon after the fossil fuels will not be there for use it will cause the mass extinction.