The Death Knell for the CO2 Theory
The death knell tolls for the Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Gas Theory (CO2-GHT). If the CO2-GHT ever was a plausible theory, it is rapidly turning into a giant hoax. The perceived scientific underpinnings of the theory are unravelling fast. It took a while to get the “Anti-CO2-Warmist-Theory” scientific camp on the right footing. Now, Principia Scientific Intl. (PSI) has taken the lead in dispelling the last of the CO2-GHT “consensus”-based vestiges.
The latest nail for the CO2-GHT coffin has been contributed by Dr. Charles R. Anderson with his article “The Most Essential Physics of the Earth’s Temperature and Why Carbon Dioxide is No Threat to the Earth.” This comes hard on the heels of a recent paper on “The phase relation between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature” by Dr. Ole Humlum and coworkers. Their work showed conclusively that the regular seasonal variations in the atmospheric CO2 levels are lagging the sea surface temperatures by 9.5 to 12 months — not the other way.
To begin with, as Albert Einstein clearly demonstrated 80 years ago, science does not work by “consensus.” It never has and never will. For example, with regard to any theory, most or even all people may think of it as being correct, only to be proven wrong when new insights and testing methods become available. Consensus is a societal or judicial term which has no place in science.
Just look at the pardons and exonerations which have been proclaimed in many jurisdictions as the result of new evidence and other findings of fact in recent years. Even the best judicial systems have wrongly condemned people, only to be recognized much later as innocent. That is why science does not progress by consensus, but by theory, experiment, analysis and conclusion.
The CO2 Greenhouse Gas Theory
The CO2-GHT was first proposed by the Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius (1859-1927) over 110 years ago. Initially it found some following, but was soon discarded as wrong, actually by another Swedish scientist, Knut Johan Ångström (1857-1910).
First, Ångström devised some new instruments to measure infrared (IR) irradiance. Second, he applied those instruments to undertake some actual measurements. Third, his data showed that the IR-absorption bands of CO2 in the atmosphere were already pretty much saturated. Fourth, that meant that even if the CO2-GHT were right, any additional CO2 in the atmosphere could not have any significant effect on the temperature.
This view was confirmed by Charles E.P. Brooks (1888-1957) in the Compendium of Meteorology (1951, American Meteorological Society) who stated that the idea that CO2 could alter the climate “was never widely accepted and was abandoned when it was found that all the long-wave radiation [that would be] absorbed by CO2 is [already] absorbed by water vapor.”
Ångström’s conclusion about the CO2-GHT remained unchallenged for nearly a century. Then, in the late 1970s, Arrhenius’ theory was “re-discovered” and proclaimed to be the latest thing since sliced bread. Even some of those scientists who had loudly warned of a new ice age approaching fast at the beginning of the 1970s suddenly turned 180 degrees and proclaimed the exact opposite, namely a runaway global warming scenario.
The new cry of catastrophic warming fell on willing politicians’ ears, especially in Europe. Since then it has become the working hypothesis of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group sponsored by the United Nations. In Germany and elsewhere the new thought took hold with a vengeance and a new slogan was coined: “Energiewende”, translated here as “energy-turn-about,” or EGW for short.
Originally, the political (very) Left in Germany was just trying to steer the country away from nuclear power generation. They really had no alternative energy-generating systems in mind but then came along the novel theory of CO2-caused global warming. What a blessing for their cause. The EGW movement rapidly became their new latter-day mantra. With all the IPCC “blessings” of a pending climate catastrophe, what could possibly go wrong?
Indeed, Germany has embarked on an energy experiment of cataclysmic proportions since then, all in the name of saving the planet from increasing atmospheric CO2 levels and the supposed warming resulting therefrom. The country has installed thousands of wind turbines, millions of solar (photovoltaic) panels on roofs, has shut down half or more of their nuclear power plants and is enjoying the fruits of that labor — rapidly rising electricity costs, grid instability, and an urgent need to cover power shortfalls with rejuvenated coal-fired power plants or (nuclear power generated) electricity imports from countries to the east and west.
Together with the other European stalwart of “alternative” energy, Denmark, Germany has the highest electricity rates in the European Union; obviously a rank not to be envied. However, the costs are just starting to really ramp up. As of Jan. 1, 2013, Germany’s consumer electricity prices are approximately 50% higher than in other EU countries! On top of that, Germany is well on track for even faster electricity price increases in the coming years.
Late October 2012, I happened to listen to a presentation by Franz Alt, author of the book “Die Sonne schickt uns keine Rechnung” (translation from German: The sun does not send us a bill). Obviously, Alt is a proponent of solar power generation. In fact, by common per review guidelines, he has a conflict of interest in that regard. His talk was peppered with false claims, totally unachievable projections as to future energy needs and the like. For example, Alt thinks that the World Wildlife Fund’s recent (2013) claim that the European Union is on track for 100% renewable energy by 2050 is correct. Just to give you an example, see Fig. 1 below:
Fig. 1. Energy consumption in Germany, 1990-2050, as projected by Franz Alt in 2009. [Note the lack of scale for the ordinate].
Alt’s graph projects both a reduction in total electric energy consumption by the year 2050 to less than half of the value in 1990 and nearly all energy to come from wind, solar and biomass sources in 2050. There is only one way to describe this kind of nonsense: Hilariously out of touch with reality.
So, let’s come back to reality.
CO2 and Reality
As already discovered by Ångström a century ago, the effect on the temperature of more CO2 in the atmosphere is next to nil. The entire IR-radiation emanating from the semi “black-body” (a scientific term) earth that can be absorbed by CO2 is already absorbed by the CO2 in the air. Therefore, adding more CO2 does not change that at all. For a simple comparison, adding more water to a full glass of water does not make it hold any more.
Dr. Anderson’s recent contribution to the field of CO2 science is that of describing Ångström’s results with straightforward physical/mathematical descriptors and equations.
The reality also is that all the models used by the IPCC and their followers make untenable assumptions, contain internal inconsistencies and totally disregard the physical basis necessary.For example, Anderson observes that all of the surface radiation CO2 can absorb is already absorbed within 100 – 200 meters from the surface. The energy so gained by the CO2 molecules is very rapidly passed on to the non-IR radiating nitrogen and oxygen molecules (together making up approximately 99% of the air) via molecular collisions.
CO2 molecules absorb some of the solar radiation before it can reach the surface, thereby contributing to cooling the surface. Anderson showed that any back radiation effect to warm the surface is very small, especially for CO2. Furthermore, CO2 molecules present in the tropopause, roughly between 10 and 20 km above ground, actually radiate most of their internal bond oscillation energy into outer space. They thus provide a small net cooling effect for the atmosphere.
If I can add my own two cents to that: Look at planet Mars. Its atmosphere contains 950,000 parts per million (ppm) CO2 versus 400 ppm on Earth. Yet, on the side of Mars facing the sun, the temperature is about 30 °C like on Earth, but on the opposite (night) side it is well below MINUS-100 °C (approximately MINUS-200 °F). The thick layer of CO2 on Mars does not at all provide a “warm blanket” on its night side – au contraire – all that CO2 in the Martian atmosphere produces a cooling effect through outward radiation of IR energy its molecules.
In reality the tropospheric CO2 provides a net cooling effect, not a greenhouse “blanket. CO2-GHT: R.I.P. !