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But the globe has been warming during that period (in fact since the depths of the Little Ice Age around 1680), so warmer conditions could be the reason that CO2 has been rising.
Salby does not dispute that some of the rise in CO2 levels is due to man-made emissions, but found that temperature alone explains about 80% of the variation in CO2 levels.
He’s been a visiting professorships at Paris, Stockholm, Jerusalem, and Kyoto, and he’s spent time at the Bureau of Meterology in Australia.
Over the last two years he has been looking at C12 and C13 ratios and CO2 levels around the world, and has come to the conclusion that man-made emissions have only a small effect on global CO2 levels.
A book will be released later this year: Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate. 5 we see that the yearly-average CO2 increase at Mauna Loa ends up being anywhere from 0% of the human source, to 130%.
He presented this research at the IUGG conference in Melbourne recently, causing great discussion and shocking a few people.
It’s not just that man-made emissions don’t control the climate, they don’t even control global CO2 levels. No graphs are available from Salby's speech or paper yet.
CO2 variations do not correlate with man-made emissions. This graph comes from Tom Quirk's related work (see below).
Many scientists have assumed that the net flows of carbon to and from natural sinks and sources of CO2 cancel each other out, but there is no real data to confirm this and it’s just a convenient assumption. Smith covered this point well in 2009 “It is often asserted that we can measure the human contribution of CO2 to the air by looking at the ratio of C12 to C13.
The problem is that even small fractional changes in natural emissions or sequestrations swamp the human emissions. The theory is that plants absorb more C12 than C13 (by about 2%, not a big signature), so we can look at the air and know which came from plants and which came from volcanos and which came from fossil fuels, via us.