The Controversial History of Atmospheric CO2 Measurements: A Critical Analysis"

  • Thread starter Andre
  • Start date
  • Tags
In summary, the paper by Ernst Beck provides evidence that the CO2 concentration in the air has not been steadily increasing as has been suggested by many scientists in the past. The paper also discusses the paleo data which suggests that there have been periods when the CO2 concentration was lower than present. Beck argues that the CO2 hypothesis should be re-evaluated due to the lack of evidence supporting the hypothesis.
  • #1
Ernst Beck has published a highly controversial paper about the chemical measurements of CO2 is the past two centuries with chemical measurements and the problems thereof:

Beck, E-G, 2007; 180 Years of Atmospheric CO2 Gas Analysis by Chemical Methods; Energy & Environment, Vol 18 No. 2, 2007


More than 90,000 accurate chemical analyses of CO2 in air since 1812 are summarised. The historic chemical data reveal that changes in CO2 track changes in temperature, and therefore climate in contrast to the simple, monotonically increasing CO2 trend depicted in the post-1990 literature on climate-change. Since 1812, the CO2 concentration in northern hemispheric air has fluctuated exhibiting three high level maxima around 1825, 1857 and 1942 the latter showing more than 400 ppm. Between 1857 and 1958, the Pettenkofer process was the standard analytical method for determining atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and usually achieved an accuracy better than 3%. These determinations were made by several scientists of Nobel Prize level distinction. Following Callendar (1938), modern climatologists have generally ignored the historic determinations of CO2, despite the techniques being standard textbook procedures in several different disciplines. Chemical methods were discredited as unreliable choosing only few which fit the assumption of a climate CO2 connection.

I have a copy of the PDF here.

I hinted to Ernst that he should scan in all the reference papers and make sure that it's all available for everybody to see how the data mining happened and what a completely different picture the CO2 concentration is in the last two centuries.

Ernst has now made all his data and sources available:
Last edited:
Earth sciences news on
  • #2
Paleoclimatic Support for CO2 Forcing?

Hi Andre,

The paper you provide a link to is very interesting (paper states that there have been multiple periods in the last 200 years when the atmospheric CO2 was higher than 400 ppm with no corresponding change in temperature.)

I think most people are unaware that there is very strong scientific evidence that shows that the majority of the 20th century warming was not due to the 20th century increase in CO2. CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but a relatively small amount is required to reach the saturation point where additional CO2 results in proportionally less and less warming.

It appears more and more likely that the CO2 hypothesis and its promotion will be viewed as a scandal. 20th century warming was due to the 20th century solar activity increases that are the highest in 8000 years. Ironically, the Sun appears to be abruptly moving to a Maunder minimum. If it does and the Earth abruptly cools, with of course dire consequences, then everyone will be looking for scapegoats. How could 2500 scientists have ignored the evidence?

I am watching the scandal unfold with interest.

Anyway, back to the scientific data.

There is paleo data that shows there have been periods when the planet was warm when CO2 levels were low and periods when the planet was cold when CO2 levels were high. I include examples below in a quote from Kump's paper "Reducing the Uncertainty of CO2 level and Climatic Change". Kump acknowledges his paper that the paleo data directly questions the foundation of the CO2 hypothesis and then states that CO2 levels should be reduced anyway, as it is better to be safe than sorry.

"Despite these successes in linking variations in greenhouse gas concentrations (What successes! My comment.) to climate change in the geological past, from 600 Myra ago to the present presents notable intervals for which inferred temperatures and CO2 levels are not correlated (Vetzer, Francois, Evidence for decoupling of atmospheric CO2 and global climate during the Phanerozic eon" Nature 408, 698-701 (2000). ... One of these occurred during the early to middle Miocene (about 17 Myra ago) at a time well established as a warm period (i.e. No ice sheets, my comment) with proxy data for low CO2 levels (260 ppm, same as today before industrial increases. My comment.) (Pagani & Freeman, Micocene evolution for decoupling of CO2 and global climate change during the Phanerozoic eon.)
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #3
Perhaps it's also appropriate to draw the attention to my small contribution here:

which include a sort of translating/interpretation of this paper:

it's a bit big, a zip of the individual pages as jpgs, but very comprehensive and very interesting, showing that science in those days was well aware of complexities in the CO2 cycle.

I also made this graph of the combined monthly average measurements of all the material in the middle of the former century.

There is a lot to explain here, not it the least of course the trustworthiness of the methods and data:
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #4
The carbon dioxide contribution to the increase in global temperature may be controversial and lack thorough investigation. However, the affect on acidity in the oceans are not.

Shouldn't that alone make us consider a serious attempt at alternative fuels and invest more money into, let's say, nuclear fusion? Never mind the climate, isn't this by its own a reason to limit carbon dioxide emissions?
  • #5
Moridin said:
The carbon dioxide contribution to the increase in global temperature may be controversial and lack thorough investigation. However, the affect on acidity in the oceans are not.

Shouldn't that alone make us consider a serious attempt at alternative fuels and invest more money into, let's say, nuclear fusion? Never mind the climate, isn't this by its own a reason to limit carbon dioxide emissions?

I would tend to agree. However, seeing how the bias of several global warming studies has been exposed in the eagerness to accomplish all kind of political objectives, I would certainly demand a thorough objective review of the matter. As I remember that there have also been counterdicting studies, (I'll try to dig one up later), I think science need to do it's self correcting business first.
  • #7
I'd say that making hockeysticks is messing with science rather than attempting to breach the persistency of the positive feedback loop of production of scare raising the demand of scare.
  • #8
Now you may want to take note of Georg Hoffmann's take on Beck's paper:

I'd wonder if anybody can find a serious scientifically sound refutal of Beck between all those fallacies?

Take for instance the discussion around Callendar.

During Callendar’s time the exact numbers and processes involved in regional low-altitude CO2 measurements were not yet precisely known. Nevertheless, he made a careful selection of reliable data depending on the methodology used and, in particular, depending on the wind direction since he correctly assumed that North Atlantic marine air represents much better something like a Northern Hemisphere background value. Callendar published his results first 1938 and finally (in 1958) gave a “best value” of 289ppm for the late 19th century amazingly confirmed by subsequent ice core work.

That 1958 paper is here:

See "1 rejection of inaccurate values"

" period mean values 10% or more different from general average of time and region"

Hence Callendar rejected these without even raising an eye brow how it was possible that ALL those result showed a higher than expected result.

Now it is a little far fetched to assume that all those samples were all wrong simultaneously, whereas before and after that period it appeared possible to measure values concurrent with expectations.

So the higher levels of the early forties should have become the standard instead of the preconceptual values of Callendar with the intention to proof that experiment.

If everybody measures the same oddity using different techniques at different places, isn't it even remotely possible that not all are wrong?

Notice also this allegation of Hoffmann:

Beck’s approach is very simple: He decided from the beginning that Keeling and Callendar obviously are ideological fanatics and that finally all chemical measurements in the 19th and early 20th century actually were fine. Great news of course!

It may be noted that Ernst Beck merely investigated in detail ALL the known CO2 in atmosphere studies and wondered why careful and conscious work like that of Kreutz for instance or Misra was rejected with tens of thousands samples under all possible conditions.

So if it is clear that work like that should not be ignored merely because the outcome did not satisfy the expected result, one could wonder if the expected result equaled the desired result. This becomes clear when one reads the introduction. Callender had the objective to demonstrate the extend of the "climate experiment" with burning fossil fuels and Kreutz and Misra did not fit in that picture.

So...exposing a possible bias after the clear faux pas is translated as:

He decided from the beginning that Keeling and Callendar obviously are ideological fanatics

This kind of ridiculing strawman fallacies is very typical for the alarmists, the underlying message is clear: sceptics are mankinds worst enemy. Everybody listen to us; follow the leaders; and do not dare to doubt our work.

There will be a time when the partisan behavior in realclimate will be stored in history next to the pre war propaganda of the big revolutions and the last world war.


  • fortiespike.GIF
    8.5 KB · Views: 569
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #9
>> political objectives are tainting scientific reports. >>

Indeed !

The carbon dioxide swindle is rather unique, in that the Earth is in severe trouble, and the cause is well know in some circles, and yet the blame is being placed upon proxies, anywhere but on BigOil.

This world is going into a deep freeze... a snowball Earth is a distinct possibility. WHY ?

because the ubiquitous micro-layer of petroleum oil that exists on the oceans of the world, is stopping/retarding the evaporation of water vapour into the atmosphere.

Drought, and soon total cold will be the result. The Death of Clouds.
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #10
That was a pretty weird assessment, john. Many alternative explanations remain viable. While human generated C02 emissions are clear contributors to the atmosphere, a single volcanic eruption can greatly distort the data in any given year. It is more reasonable to continue monitoring salinity of sea water and the flow of oceanic currents. The seas contribute far more to climatic changes than the relatively paltry human contributions.
  • #11
>>. That was a pretty weird assessment

not weird, just suppressed

OIL on the sea surface is destroying the hydrology cycle -----> drought
and further consequences far worse, much much worse... eventual extinction.

The overpressure of CO2 is a symptom of the above... and really totally innocuous.

Politics has usurped science and LIFE on Earth is at grave risk.

Some people wish to live their lifestyle until they die, and THEN life on Earth can go to HELL. nice people, AKA Big Oil.
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #12
Biggest problem with Becks argument is how CO2 levels are all over the place early 20th century, but as soon as we start measuring them properly it goes into a nice smooth curve with no year differing more than 3ppm from the last. The previous measuring methods were clearly far less reliable.
Last edited:
  • #13
I don't see how someone who teaches biotechnology and nutrition at a vocational high school (his degree in biology caught my attention when looking at that and led me on a query into his qualifications), which is what Merian-Schule in Freidburg is, is in any way qualified to refute the experts on climatology. I have been unable to verify if the Energy & Environment journal is peer-reviewed (there is no mention of a review process on their website or instructions to authors), so will not delete this thread, but will lock it at this point.

1. What is the "great CO2 swindle" theory?

The "great CO2 swindle" theory is a claim that the increase of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth's atmosphere is not primarily caused by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, but rather a natural occurrence that has been exaggerated by scientists and government agencies for financial gain.

2. Is there any evidence to support the "great CO2 swindle" theory?

No, there is no scientific evidence to support the "great CO2 swindle" theory. In fact, the overwhelming majority of scientific research and data shows that human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, are the primary cause of the increase in CO2 levels in the Earth's atmosphere.

3. Why do some people believe in the "great CO2 swindle" theory?

Some people may believe in the "great CO2 swindle" theory because of misinformation or misunderstanding of scientific data and research. Others may have personal or financial motivations to deny the impact of human activities on the Earth's climate.

4. How does the "great CO2 swindle" theory affect the fight against climate change?

The "great CO2 swindle" theory can hinder efforts to address and mitigate the effects of climate change, as it promotes the idea that human activities do not significantly contribute to the increase of CO2 levels in the atmosphere. This can lead to a lack of action and policies to reduce carbon emissions.

5. What is the consensus among scientists about the "great CO2 swindle" theory?

The vast majority of scientists agree that the "great CO2 swindle" theory is not supported by scientific evidence and is not a valid explanation for the increase in CO2 levels in the Earth's atmosphere. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other reputable scientific organizations have concluded that human activities are the primary cause of climate change.

Similar threads

  • Earth Sciences
  • Earth Sciences
  • Earth Sciences
  • Earth Sciences
  • Earth Sciences