CO2 Rocks! From Hot Rocks to Cool Rocks

CO2 Rocks! From Hot Rocks to Cool Rocks

By Bob Hoye

When reviewing the history of our atmosphere, it is fascinating that at first it was all atmosphere and no Earth. And it was mainly hydrogen. Then, due to the implacable nature of gravity, enough of it got together to form our hot Sun, while other clumps of matter accreted into the gaseous, as well as the rocky, planets of which the Earth eventually became the most accommodating for life to appear and prosper.

Over immense time, the open hospitality changed the atmosphere and the rocks. Initially, hot rocks mainly emitted nitrogen and some carbon dioxide. Moreover, hot rocks have continued outgassing CO2 ever since. And then life was initiated by very early forms of bacteria arriving, which — with RuBisCO, followed later by photosynthesis — provided not just oxygen, but converted CO2 to food. All on the way to forming cool rocks.

And beyond this, without carbon dioxide, life as we know it would not exist.

Most folk don’t mind cool rocks and really enjoy warm coral beach sands. But in the face of strident threats that rising temps and ocean levels are going to kill coral reefs, people should look up the history of coral.

Some forms of coral have been around for hundreds of millions of years surviving huge changes in temperatures and changes in sea levels. And right now, the temperature for the Great Barrier Reef’s north end is 5 degrees Celsius higher than at the south end. Corals are happy at either end — and in between.

And just since the coldest with the last ice age, such reefs have endured a 10-degree (Celsius) increase in global temps and a hundred-meter increase in sea levels.

They know how to survive.

Obviously, tropical corals just don’t care where the sea level is so long as they are there. For cold water corals that thrive on ocean floors, they don’t care where the sea level is either.

Nowadays, some 99% of our atmosphere is nitrogen and oxygen. More detailed at 78% and 21%, with the next most present being argon at 0.93%. Carbon dioxide at only 0.04% is ranked as one of the trace gasses.

Of course, the main “greenhouse gas” is water vapor which can range as high as 7% in the humid tropics to 1% in a frigid climate. And what we breathe out includes CO2 at some 5% with some 6% being water vapor. (


And water as a liquid or as gas is a huge transporter of heat from hot to cool places In the real world, carbon dioxide contributes little to transporting heat, nor as a gas does it store any heat. (

And recorded changes in climate trends have been driven mainly by changes in the Sun’s activity and changes in the Earth’s orbit; CO2 has negligible influence. (

However, a crazed media, their bureaucrats, and politicians have turned it into a molecule with a very scary political mojo – making fear an industry for ambitious governments. Instead of suffering undeserved infamy, carbon dioxide molecules should be celebrated.

Indeed, in its essential role of providing food for life, the observation is that CO2 rocks! The quip is practical because carbon dioxide came from — and still comes from — hot rocks and, in sustaining life, is eventually turned into cool rocks. Otherwise known as corals or, with chemical variation, rocks originating from carbon dioxide have been called limestone or dolomite. While enjoyed as mountain scenery at, say, Aspen or Davos, it really is magnificently sequestered carbon dioxide. With alteration due to heat and pressure, either rock can be appreciated as fine marble.

Life, of which humans are a very small portion, is an essential intermediary step in transporting CO2 from one kind of rock to another kind of rock. Hopefully forever.

Originally, life was made possible by a special critter known as cyanobacteria; and if society needs to know only one equation, it should be the one for photosynthesis:

Carbon dioxide + Water + Sunshine = Glucose + Oxygen

The Dictionary of Science by Hammond and Barnhart provides concise detail.

“Photosynthesis occupies a primary place in the economy of life. It is the process by which the energy of the Sun is captured and converted to the uses of the living cell. It is, in addition, the beginning process in the transfer of atoms from the inorganic to the organic.”

Not only does CO2 make rock, but it adds up to mountains of the stuff. Indeed, the Dolomite Mountains rise as high as 11,000 feet, which is the ultimate in bleached-out and ocean-deprived coral reefs. The foundations of such mountains go down thousands of feet below today’s sea levels. Representing an enormous sequestration of carbon dioxide that is visible, unseen are the vast cold-water corals on many ocean floors.

Hot rocks, under the sea and in fiery archipelagoes or rifts, as well as ocean waters are always outgassing CO2. The key step is to place industrial society’s emissions in perspective. Using the Vostok core of temps and CO2 concentrations, the record shows that climate warming precedes CO2 increases by some 800 years. Increasing temps force increases in CO2, not the other way around.

So, some rocks provide life-giving carbon dioxide, which lately as a means of raising taxation and imposing regulations has been getting a bad rap. Unwarranted!

And, going the other way, rocks have been remarkable in sequestering CO2. Indeed, during the Cambrian Period some 550 million years ago, atmospheric concentrations were at 7,000 ppm, or 0.70%, some 17 times higher that today’s paltry 400 ppm. (

And where did all of that atmospheric CO2 go? Quite simply, it became rocks on the ocean floors or stacked up in scenic mountains.

Geologically speaking, today’s atmospheric concentrations are rather low. Moreover, at lower than 150 ppm, all life on our formerly hospitable planet would begin to shut down.

Sea-level corals and other critters have been quietly turning a politically powerful trace gas into traceable rock. That it works within natural geological trends is recorded by the long rise in sea levels of around 100 meters since the start of the latest interglacial, some 12,000 years ago. Along with this has been the 10-degree Celsius rise in temperature.

In looking to the optimistic side, corals are still turning CO2 into cool rocks. They thrive in tropical temperatures and don’t care if the sea level is going up or down. Wherever it is, they will be there. They have been doing it for hundreds of millions of years.

Understandably, the recent rise in carbon dioxide levels has been accompanied by the remarkable “greening” of global vegetation. As measured by satellites, wherever plants grow — from the poles to the tropics or from the seas to rocky mountain highs. Thanks to CO2 in its diverse forms, life exists — and for mankind, it’s the best that it has ever been.

As a postscript, for those who have the audacity to imagine that committees can “manage” the temperature of the nearest planet — don’t waste time and money on CO2. Go to where efforts will be effective: you might want to change the solar cycle, cosmic rays, the Earth’s orbit, plate tectonics, and/or ocean currents.

CO2 Coalition Member Bob Hoye received his B.Sc. in Geology, geophysics from the University of British Columbia. Hoye has many published articles in the leading media and has addressed investment forums in many countries.

Hi Magnus,

I could not agree more. If the Am J Hum Genet manuscript had received a more robust peer review — it likely would have been rejected from publication in that high-visibility journal. ☹

Wow. There are now 807,162 genome sequences (available for data mining) worldwide — from eight geographically distinct ethnic subsets in gnomAD v.4 (!!!!) 😉


From: Magnus Ingelman-Sundberg
Sent: Monday, November 6, 2023 1:00 AM

Hi Dan,

There is nothing special or novel in this paper. Previous papers have included [e.g., Pharmacogenomics J. Dec 2022; 22: 284-293. The genetic landscape of major drug-metabolizing cytochrome P450 genes — an updated analysis of population-scale sequencing data. Yitian Zhou & Volker M Lauschke. PMID: 36068297 ( ] with essentially the same message. Here [in the attached AJHG pdf] they only show that the genetic variation is also evident in the UK biobank.

The gnomAD has recently been updated to version 4 [pasted below], which includes genetic variation data from individuals almost 5x larger than the combined v2/v3 versions. The UKBiobank data is also included in the v4 version. This new version 4 is ideally a much better resource for pharmacogenomic allele frequencies.

A screenshot of a data table Description automatically generated

Best M.

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