North Star Writer’s Group | Candace Talmadge | Jan. 16, 2009
Despite all scare-mongering to the contrary, carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere is not the cause of global warming.
To be an agent of greenhouse heating, carbon dioxide (or any) atmospheric gas would have to be capable of absorbing in significant quantities both the sun’s radiation spectrum (the ultimate source of natural heating on Earth) and of absorbing heat radiating back from the Earth (the greenhouse effect).
There is a process to measure a gas’s absorption ability called atomic absorption spectrometry. Suspicious of the entire global warming hysteria, atmospheric physicist James A. Peden put carbon dioxide through just such an analysis. Based on where and how much of the sun’s total radiation output, which consists of light and other wavelengths not visible to human eyes, Peden estimates that carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere takes in no more than 8 percent of the sun’s total radiation.
It’s the same percentage for heat radiated back from Earth. “Man-made CO2 doesn’t appear physically capable of absorbing much more than two-thousandths of the radiated heat passing upward through the atmosphere,” Peden writes. “And, if all the available heat in the atmosphere is indeed being captured by the current CO2 levels before leaving the atmosphere, then adding more CO2 to the atmosphere won’t matter a bit.”
Holy cow! Hard scientific analysis finds carbon dioxide not guilty as charged because this gas simply does not have the molecular mojo to play the role of atmospheric heater. The real culprit is water vapor, which Peden estimates is responsible for 95 percent of all greenhouse heating in the atmosphere.
In politics, citing carbon dioxide, whether from natural or human-made sources, for causing global warming is the equivalent of blaming the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Peden is hardly the only skeptical scientist. In December 2007, 100 scientists signed an open letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. That letter had some harsh words about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, saying that its conclusions about carbon dioxide’s role in climate change are “quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions.”
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