"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." Richard P. Feynman

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Whats Next? Anaesthetic Causing Global Warming!

Another report for the everything causes Global Warming list!  It appears that researchers have noticed that the gases used in operating theatres are actually shock horror ,greenhouse gases and should be used with care.  Next thing they will notice the bubbles in my cold ale !
Washington, DC: Inhaled anaesthetics widely used for surgery-particularly the anaesthetic desflurane - are a major contributor to global warming, according to a new study.Dr Susan M Ryan of University of California and computer scientist Claus J Nielsen of University of Oslo said that sevoflurane, isoflurane, and desflurane are recognised greenhouse gases.

Using desflurane for one hour is equivalent to 235 to 470 miles of driving.
The anaesthetics "usually are vented out of the building as medical waste gases and remain in the atmosphere for a long time," the researchers write.
Ryan and Nielsen suggest some "simple, knowledge-based decisions" that anaesthesiologists can follow to minimize their environmental impact unless there are medical reasons to use it and avoiding unnecessarily high anaesthetic flow rates, especially with desflurane.
Given the minute amounts of the gas used compared with our atmosphere volume you would wonder why bother and ask the question whether the time used could be actually spent doing something useful like finding ways to make sick people better! Maybe the days of a bottle of whisky, bullet between the teeth and six orderlies holding the amputee down are about to return!


  1. I can't wrap my mind around the sheer insanity surrounding this scam. If I didn't know better, this sounds like a SNL skit or something out of MAD magazine. It's the depths of lunacy.

  2. In the past the Earth was covered with ice, right into the 30s in Latitude. It has happened several times to varying degrees. The sun has the biggest influence on the planet's temperature. But during these 'snowball' earth phases the planet was a giant mirror which dramatically reduced the sun's ability to heat the planet.

    This was a tough situation because, left unchecked, a snowball Earth would never have evolved humans. So what changed those conditions, giving us the chance to be here today? Who was our buddy way back when? It was the volcanoes. They continued to spew out all kinds of things including CO2 for many 10s of thousands of years increasing the CO2 content of the world to 1000s of ppm. There was no place for the CO2 to go ... land was covered with ice and ice covered cold oceans absorb CO2 but at greatly reduced rates. They could not match the rate of volcanoes over time.

    So it turns out that CO2 was our real buddy back then. Its concentration eventually reached a level where the atmosphere retained enough heat to re-hydrate and start the melting process. The change in humidity is about 4% for every change of 1 degree F.

    CO2 was our buddy back then.

    I'm not too sure whether CO2 is our buddy today.