Another Hoax E-mail: Volcanic Eruptions and Carbon Emissions

I received an e-mail from a family member recently that contained what appeared to be some rather disturbing facts about Volcanic eruptions on our planet and the impact on global Carbon Emissions; stating that Carbon emissions from Volcanic eruptions dwarf our own emissions – which as I suspected turns out is NOT true.

Like most sensational sounding e-mails that are seemingly written by talented authors (that could put their talents to much better use and earn lots of money in the real world), this one seems designed (like most chain-letters) to be spread from person to person, motivating people through fear and ignorance.

The Hoax E-mail
Here is a copy of the e-mail text I received; and see below at the end for some scientific facts regarding Volcanic Eruptions and their effects on Climate change.

*Professor Ian Plimer could not have said it better!*

*If you've read his book you will agree, this is a good summary.*

  Are you sitting down?

*Okay, here's the bombshell.  The volcanic eruption in Iceland, since 

its first spewing of volcanic ash has, in just FOUR DAYS, NEGATED EVERY 

SINGLE EFFORT you have made in the past five years to control CO_2 

emissions on our planet, all of you.*

*Of course you know about this evil carbon dioxide that we are trying to 

suppress, that vital chemical compound that every plant requires to live 

and grow, and to synthesize into oxygen for us humans, and all animal life.*

*I know, 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 till 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, vacationing at home 

instead of abroad, nearly getting hit every day on your bicycle, 

replacing all of your 50 cents light bulbs with $10.00 light 

bulbs…well, all of those things you have done have all gone down the 

tubes in just four days.*

*The volcanic ash emitted into the Earth's atmosphere in just four days 

– yes – FOUR DAYS ONLY by that volcano in Iceland, has totally erased 

every single effort you have made to reduce the evil beast, carbon.  And 

there are around 200 active volcanoes on the planet spewing out this 

crud any one time – EVERY DAY.*

*I don't really want to rain on your parade too much, but I should 

mention that when the volcano Mt Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 

1991, it spewed out more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the 

entire human race had emitted in its entire YEARS on earth.  Yes folks, 

Mt Pinatubo was active for over one year, think about it.*

*Of course I shouldn't spoil this touchy-feely tree-hugging moment and 

mention the effect of solar and cosmic activity and the well-recognized 

800-year global heating and cooling cycle, which keep happening, despite 

our completely insignificant efforts to affect climate change.*

*And I do wish I had a silver lining to this volcanic ash cloud but the 

fact of the matter is that the bush fire season across the western USA 

and Australia this year alone will negate your efforts to reduce carbon 

in our world for the next two to three years.  And it happens every year.*

*Just remember that your (Australian) government just promised you by 

the middle of 2011 a whopping carbon tax on the basis of the bogus 

''human-caused'' climate change scenario.*

*Hey, isn't it interesting how they don't mention ''Global Warming'' any 

more, but just ''Climate Change'' – you know why?  It's because the 

planet has COOLED by 0.7 degrees in the past century and these global 

warming bull artists got caught with their pants down.*

*And just keep in mind that you might yet have an Emissions Trading 

Scheme (that whopping new tax)*

*imposed on you, that will achieve absolutely nothing except make you 

poorer.  It won't stop any volcanoes from erupting, that's for sure.*

*But hey, relax, give the world a hug and have a nice day!*

*PS: I wonder if Iceland is buying carbon offsets?*

*/PS. Does this Co 2 Tax include the B/S coming out of Canberra ? ? ?  ! 

! !/*

The first place I usually check e-mail scams is the Snopes Website, but on this occasion I wasn't able to find any reference, however I was able to quickly find thousands of references on Google to things like "Ian Plimer busted" and "Plimer exposed as a fraud" – so this gives us some immediate clues about the credibility of the quoted source of the information.

What is the truth about Volcanic Eruptions and Carbon Emissions?
Well it seems that while many Volcanoes do emit largish amounts of Carbon Dioxide, they also emit large amounts of Sulphur dioxide which instead of contributing to warming the climate can actually cool the climate.  In fact, in 1991 when the stated eruption at Mt. Pinatubo occurred this actually was thought by scientists to have cooled the Earth's surface by as much as 1.3 degrees over a three year period!

In terms of the ratio of CO2 emitted as a result of Human activity (35 gigatons in 2010) versus Volcanic eruptions (0.44 gigatons in 2010 which is the largest estimate), this hoax e-mail is blown completely out of the water; that's 1.25% CO2 from Volcanic Eruptions, contrary to the "facts" in the e-mail.

The above is just my own summary from what I have read and seen from the following two sites – so, please, don't believe me, see for yourself:

Volcanic Gases & Climate Change Overview, by US Geological Survey –

ABC Media Watch transcript from 2010 –

Take care out there, and be careful what e-mails you forward on!
Posted in Security
14 comments on “Another Hoax E-mail: Volcanic Eruptions and Carbon Emissions
  1. Dave says:

    Nice to see some serious debunking there Michael. We all like to believe our mates cred and an email can resonate in all the wrong ways unless a critical filter is firmly applied.Someone else has been told to stop it this week too: not before time, in fact for the third time…Cheers

  2. Terry Balding says:

    Who are you, that we should believe you?

  3. Dave says:

    WTF?<br><br>Cheers<br><br>Dave, not the same one btw…<br><br>Posterous &lt;

  4. Paul Burtwistle says:

    Don’t know where the estimate of 35 gigatons of CO2 produce by humans came from. The last time I checked it was around 8 Gigatons. Overestimated by a factotr of amlost 450% – do you work for the IPCC?

  5. Terry Balding, quite right. And who is Plimer that we should believe him? Go to what ever agency or textbook or encyclopedia you do trust (preferably several), look up the reality, and you will see that volcanicn emissions re less than 1% of human, NOT, as Plimer says, the other way round.

  6. ANDY-BEAR says:


  7. DaveS says:

    In your article, following the Mt Pinatubo eruption, reference global temps decreased by 1.3 deg over three years. This following the substantial additive injection of CO2 into the atmosphere. So then you must either agree that CO2 does not correlate to global warming, and/or all these conclusions drawn on CO2 being a major player in greenhouse gasses warming the Earth is in error…I think this is not science but politics. Very sad..

    • The effect of Pinatubo on CO2 was trivial. Human emissions outstrip volcanic by a factor of about 100. The Pinatubo effect, predicted and well understood, was due to dust and sulphuric acid haze.

      So who’s playing politics? The entire (well, 97% of) the climate science community? Or whoever made up DaveS’s Pinatubo fairy tale?

      • Brian says:

        Quick question for Paul, who is the “climate science community”?

      • Loosely, people who have published peer-reviewed material on the subject. Disclosure; only one of my own research papers comes into this category, so I am not sure if I would qualify.

  8. Rick says:

    ” 50 million Frenchmen can’t be wrong! ” can they? Neither can 97% of the climate science community, I suppose, whoever they are. If you went to an actual authority ( not Mr. Soros’ snopes ) you might just get a different answer. I’m just sayin’.
    I get a kick out of you lefty greenies. You can’t tell us if it’s going to rain this afternoon, but you are sure you know the world is heating ( or is it cooling?) Whatever. Our wonderful leaders can’t balance the budget, but they are certain they can save the planet and control the climate by pissing away countless trillions of our taxpayer dollars. Don’t you think the sun might have something to do with “climate change”, duh?

  9. Joe Scott says:

    This “Climate Change” thing is all a ploy to tax the air we breath. And who benefits from taxes? The USGS, USWS, and every politician on this planet. If I’m still around here in 30 years, the probability that we are still talking about this will be nil.

  10. I am always amazed at the resistance of people to actually do a little research, and the willingness to blindly accept. I read about Plimer’s claims and wondered if we, the general public, are being led up the proverbial garden path by those that believe in climate change or those who don’t. Well, it didn’t take long to see that Pilmer’s claims are shown to be erroneous at best, and intentionally misleading at worst. Are those of you who blindly believe in Pilmer’s claims, simply too lazy to look? I am sure, too, that there are those who blindly accept climate change are just as lazy. So, let’s look at the basic scientific method. One has to theorise and hypothesize an initial supposition. Then by careful measurement, experimentation and observation, one sets about to support or not support the hypothesis. When one finds an inadequacy in the hypothesis, one changes the hypothesis to orovide a better model of understanding. This tried and true method does not allow for blind belief, but provides an ever improving model that approximates what is being observed. Unlike the lazy, who blindly accept, the scientific process celebrates both success and failure, as both help to refine understanding of the phenomenon being studied. Scientists welcome a change to their thinking when it is supported by empirical data.

    Well, i’ve said my bit, so please don’t blindly accept or reject what I have said. Do some genuine research and come to your own conclusions. But, please, please, start with an open mind so that you are prepared to change your thinking if the real evidence contradicts your original premise.
    Thanks for reading,
    Jamie Stevens

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Michael McKinnon

Michael McKinnon

Tech Expert, Security Advisor

Michael is a dedicated IT professional with over 20 years of experience in the industry. He is passionate about security and new and emerging technologies - his much sought after skill being his ability to communicate complex technical concepts clearly and effectively. He has an extremely personable approach and is renowned for delivering informative and entertaining presentations.

Michael fights on the 'front line' in the war against cybercrime and is committed to educating and empowering audiences to stay safe online, whether it be at home or in the office - no matter how tech-savvy they may be!

Michael has worked for publicly listed companies as well as small and medium sized businesses, and understands the needs and technical frustrations that often arise.


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