The Equations of Life

This first formula shows photosynthesis.

Creation:  6 CO2 + 6 H2O + light → C6 H12 O6 + 6 O2

The process is pushed by light energy. C6 H12 O6 above is carbohydrates. Which are the basis of almost all life on Earth. Carbo for Carbon, Hydrates for Water.

The second formula shows use of the stored energy.

Use:  C 6 H12 O6 + 6 O2 → 6 CO2 + 6 H2O (energy is released)

One ‘Use’ would be burning wood or coal for heat (energy). Another use would be our bodies using carbohydrates for energy. If our bodies have a source of energy and that source is primarily carbohydrates, the carbohydrates are used and return to their component parts as they release energy our bodies use. Notice the second equation is the first equation going in the other direction, and the energy changes. Light energy is stored in the first equation. In the second equation, a small push is required to release the energy in some cases. Lighting some tinder in the case of ready to burn wood. With animals, there is also some process needed to convert carbohydrates to energy but as we know, that usually goes pretty smoothly.

Notice also how all the Cs, Hs and Os – Elements, balance on both sides of the equations. They are not destroyed, just rearranged. One of my Profs in College used the phrase, “An elegant solution”. Is life elegant? I think it is. We did not think these formulas up, we discovered them. Where did they really come from in the beginning? That’s another subject.

These two ‘interlocking’ in my opinion equations, involving only three Elements go a long way to explaining life on earth. I have simplified them to some extent, using Glucose to represent all Carbohydrates though. Call them, The Equations of Life.

Yes, this is another post on Global Warming, a subject I recently became interested in. I have found myself to be somewhat of a CO2 defender. Against CO2 being classified as a pollutant by the EPA in 2009. If one is in favor of life, food and energy, one is in favor of CO2. I do not see how you can get around the above Equations of Life. CO2 is vital to them. Studies are starting to support the idea that CO2 at current and higher levels is beneficial, increasing plant growth. If one wants more life, wouldn’t one make sure there was enough available CO2? We might ask ourselves, what are we supposed to be doing? Growing food seems to be a good answer. CO2 grows food, and the Carbon from CO2 can be food and/or energy. By weight, we humans are 18% Carbon, 2nd only to H2O. In this statement we see again C, H, and O, the same as in the Equations of Life.

I understand the apparent tide of those worried about CO2 as a greenhouse gas, which it is. The unknown is its power to raise temperatures, and some have argued that power has been overstated in ways that result in alarming predictions. A peer reviewed paper by Lindzen and Choi in 2011 indicated a doubling of CO2 levels leads to a 1 degree Celsius temperature increase, which in not alarming rather it’s reassuring to expect such a small change. If this CO2 / Temperature relationship is Logarithmic we’d expect the the 2nd doubling of CO2, 560 ppm to 1120 ppm to deliver about an additional 0.5 degree Celsius temperature increase.

Other questions involve everything else that effects climate but it not yet understood. The simple answer is to blame all warming on CO2. Other causes and factors may involve Soot, Deforestation, the Sun, the Oceans, Clouds, an increasing world population, and a natural recovery from the Little Ice Age. To correlate CO2 with temperature and call it a day, I don’t think approaches the question with enough will to know. It is to say, we don’t understand the total picture too well, but it must be the CO2.

Does CO2, the essence of life, now represent a threat to us? It has been a necessary part of Life for billions of years. It has been portrayed as a threat by some. But I can’t help seeing Life in the above equations. And how it seems we are being told, Life is anti-Life.