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:

Take care out there, and be careful what email you forward on.

26 thoughts on “Another Hoax E-mail: Volcanic Eruptions and Carbon Emissions

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. ” 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. The vast majority of us don’t really know the FACTS on anything! In the past, prior to the internet, we got our so-called facts from responsible sources, i.e. Newspapers, Newsreels, Radio, and then in the 50’s from TV. No one would long survive in any of these mediums who put out false information. Today is entirely different. Anyone, anywhere in the world can say anything they want, and they don’t have to qualify it. So how do we really find out what is going on in our world today. Lots of research until you find what you believe is the real truth. Like Jamie said, you have to approach it with a clear mind and be open to FACTS, whatever those facts are. Climate change is one of the most important issues that we’re dealing with on this planet today. Without real facts and studies, no one is going to know the truth and how to handle it. One of my favorite books on the subject is called “Big World, Little Planet”. Next month, the world is meeting to discuss climate change on the biggest stage ever. Hopefully we’ll then have the real facts and what we can do about it.

    eric cosh

    • I think you mean “Big World, Small Planet”, which I see well recommended.

      It is easier than ever to find out the facts. You can go to a secondary source such as Wikipedia or SkepticalScience, or to agencies such as NOAA, NAS, or NSF, search there, and come up with lists of primary resources and authoritative reviews. Sources like these, after all, are where the media got their own information in the pre-Internet age. SkepticalScience is particularly useful because of its compendium of, and analysis of, the arguments used by those who deny the facts.

      On this specific topic, one can also readily come across an smokescreen thrown up by those who want to deny the reality. However, by drilling down to the primary literature it should take you little time to convince yourself, if you are open to being convinced by the evidence, that right now global warming is real, rapid, serious, driven by human activity, and has major policy implications.

      • Hi Paul. Yes, you’re right. It’s Big World, Small Planet. As for finding “facts”, you still have to have an open mind. In my documentary film “”, I’ve had Holocaust deniers even with all the facts, saying it didn’t happen. That’s what I meant by my reply. At 77, we did in fact pretty much “trust” everything we were told in the 40’s and 50’s, even though many of those turned out to be false. As for climate change, in the beginning, I also denied it because the climate has been changing for 6 billion years. It wasn’t until I looked at the facts that it became very clear what was happening. Anyone who doesn’t believe what is causing climate change now is living in a bubble, and we all know what political party that is.

    • What about the general acceptance of global cooling back in the seventies? Same people but just as adamant. Just as many facts!!!

      • I have no idea what “Facts” you’re talking about in the 70’s and the so-called “General Acceptance” of Global Cooling? Please so us the so-called “Facts” of your statement.

  8. I’d like to know what the actual gigatons of CO2 emitted in 2010 versus the 35 gigatons projected. Does anybody know? Also why then is reducing sulfur dioxide in vehicle emissions so important, particularly diesel if the effects counter that of increased CO2?

      • The “35” comes from this site: – which has always been published right under the story above. Specifically from the paragraph that says “Human activities, responsible for a projected 35 billion metric tons (gigatons) of CO2 emissions in 2010 (Friedlingstein et al., 2010)”. As CD has pointed out, it is a projection, but even your findings, Paul, of 33.15 aren’t that far removed.

        And anyway, the entire point of this story was to examine the volume of CO2 released specifically from volcanic eruptions as a proportion of other sources; and still the numbers indicate that it (eruptions) is tiny by comparison – quite different to what the original hoax email claimed.

  9. Can someone justify that the more co2 in atmosphere the less the rate of warming, a sort of law of diminishing returns. Plimer and bob carter both assert it.

  10. Read “The Skeptical Environmentalist” by Bjorn Lomborg. He uses publicly available governmental data to state a case for the truth. The Sulfur Dioxide argument about Volcanic emissions and cooling is also seen in anthropogenic emissions. That is, that while CO2 is portrayed as a cause, much science also points to a complex matrix of many compounds, including Sulfur, Nitrogen, Lead Ozone, Particulates, and Carbon Monoxide. We have no method of modeling an open system such as earth, and have no method for accurate predictions of where emissions actually begin and to where they move. Correlation is not cause, it is incidental to cause. Read Lomborg, it is very compelling without political intent. Cui Bono? Who benefits? if you are a “climate change” scientist, you will receive grant money. Follow the money.

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