Button up Your Overcoat

The idea that carbon dioxide (CO2) drives global warming or “climate change” now enjoys unquestioned authority and near universal approval. As burgeoning public policy, nationally and in some states, it is seeping into what once were private matters of choice (e.g., light bulbs, kitchen cooktops). Many scientists, primarily physicists, consider the belief pure supposition, however, and colossally off track.

John Stuart Mill observed in chapter six of his System of Logic, on ratiocination or logical thinking, that a doctrine may endure because inferences from it lead to ostensibly sound conclusions -- while belief in the doctrine’s truth may exist only by excluding evidence it is false.

Evidence is that CO2 is overall a coolant.  First, it radiates incoming solar energy and outgoing terrestrial heat away to space.  This is visible as cooling in satellite images not only of Earth but also of Mars and Venus, climate change’s orbiting poster child.

It is an “infrared radiation active” gas, absorbing and emitting radiant energy from the sun -- but not the entire spectrum.  Like any molecule, it absorbs only “spectral bands” (beams) of solar energy (sunlight) that “resonate” with its “quantum number,” a measure of the energetic space between its nucleus and electron rings as developed by Max Planck and Albert Einstein in the early 20th Century.

A resonant band of energy from a radiating source causes the molecule’s energy to jump to a higher electron ring then fall back in a tiny fraction of a second.  Total energy does not increase in its passage; the molecule is merely a conduit. 

Nor is “delay” of the energy’s passage through the molecules likely to raise temperatures. The mean free path of a quantum wave, in the 0.0001 second before it collides with a CO2 molecule on the Earth’s surface, is about 33 meters. So wide a chasm between collisions casts serious doubt on the chances of a “warming CO2 blanket.”  The effect from the energy’s fleeting passage through molecules of this trace gas can only be trivial. 

Observation in the stratosphere and an Antarctic winter, and recent experiment have shown that CO2 interacts with solar radiation overwhelmingly at 80 Celsius degrees below water’s freezing point, i.e., 193K ( ‑80°C and ‑112°F).

Usually omitted from the discussion, too, is a study in 1971 by two NASA scientists on whether burning fossil fuels for more CO2 could stave off a then perceived ice age threat.  They concluded, no.  First, warming by CO2, if any, would be offset by the more familiar product of burning fossil-fuel -- smoke and airborne soot -- aerosols.

These tiny particles cool the atmosphere by screening out solar energy (sunlight) and reflecting it back to space, and providing nucleides for water vapor to condense on to make cooling fog and clouds.  People contribute about 30% of aerosols to the air annually.

The NASA scientists advised against using fossil fuels to warm the planet in 1971 because they were “atmospheric coolants” with a potential, alarmists claimed, for triggering an ice age.  They are still coolants. 

Also, while aerosols from combustion cool in direct proportion to their increase, CO2’s warmer (but still tardy) emission bands would quickly “saturate,” damping off any temperature increase.  All later studies and the IPCC agree on this, and it means no “runaway warming.” 

Recent research shows more critically that, because CO2 concentrations follow temperature change on all time scales their rise or fall is an effect not cause of temperature change. 

In the Antarctic’s Vostok Law Dome fossil record CO2 levels follow temperature change by 800 years on average. Recent studies, including one intended to prove the reverse, reveal a current months-long lag.  Causes must always precede effects.  The only result of a rise or fall in atmospheric CO2 levels would be a tardy and neutral changed presence.

Ironically, fossil fuels are the paramount “green” energy choice.  Plants need and absorb CO2, and cannot survive without it.  Satellites show plant growth has increased from higher global CO2 levels. A greener Earth is a cooler Earth, and added moisture evaporated from more plants increases water vapor and with it global cloud cover -- two more ways the gas keeps on cooling. 

A trace gas, CO2 is about 400 parts per million of today’s atmosphere, that is 0.04%.   The IPCC estimates that humans generate about 5% of annual CO2.   In money terms, 0.04% of $1,000 is 40ȼ ($0.40) with people’s share 2ȼ ($0.02) -- of what is an innocuous and beneficial coolant.   

Today the West is paralyzed by fear of no less than runaway modernity -- of familiar “carbon-based” industrial and domestic activities threatening life on the planet and even the planet itself.  The perceived risk, if it exists at all, is unreasonably exaggerated at best and warrants little if any cause for alarm. 

While the West obsesses, China, India, and other nations are becoming powers by their intense development of coal-fired energy.  In July 2022, China had 1,118 coal power plants and India 285, compared to 225 in the U.S. Both state their intention to build many more of them.  No warming calamity has come of this, nor will it come.  But it does show how policies deliberately opposed or cool to official “warming” belief confirm that ample use of fossil-fuels can ensure a nation’s security, prosperity and good health.  This nation, any nation, deserves that much.

Image: Pixabay/Geralt

If you experience technical problems, please write to helpdesk@americanthinker.com