Climate skeptics have valid reasons to question man-made warming

Many people are actively worried about global warming. And it frustrates them that skeptics and “deniers” refuse to acknowledge the “science” of such an urgent, man-made problem.

But there may be valid reasons to dispute the theory that man is responsible for climate change. And to demonstrate why the issue isn’t so clearcut here’s a basic climate question to ponder:

As the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere increases, does its ability to absorb heat increase, decrease, or remain the same?

Most people will assume the answer is “increase.” After all, CO2 is a “greenhouse” gas. Adding more of it to the atmosphere should mean more heat being “trapped.”

The correct answer, however, is decrease.

How do we know this? Because the U.N.’s very own, Al Gore-friendly Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has acknowledged in its reports that CO2 loses the ability to absorb heat as its concentration increases.

The IPCC explains that CO2 follows a “logarithmic dependence,” which means that it takes ever-doubling amounts of CO2 to keep adding the same amount of heat absorption in the atmosphere.

In fact, CO2 absorbs only a certain narrow spectrum of infrared radiation, and the IPCC recognizes that the middle of this band is already “saturated.”

People who fret about man-made warming may find it hard to believe that CO2 actually loses “heat-trapping” ability. But they should know that even the very climate-concerned IPCC admits to such limitations.

They still argue that we need to fear man-made warming, however. And their reason is simply that they believe any additional heat absorbed by CO2 will be greatly amplified by water vapor feedback.

This begs the question … are they right? The answer is “No.”

Water vapor is the primary greenhouse gas of the atmosphere — and responsible for most of the warming that keeps the Earth habitable.

In order to make their case, the IPCC theorizes that any additional warming from CO2 will lead to more water vapor in the atmosphere.

And this water vapor will trap more heat, raising temperatures further. It is this “feedback loop” that is used to justify their predictions of catastrophic, future warming.

It’s an interesting concept, but it contains an inherent problem. Water vapor added to the atmosphere inevitably transitions to clouds.

And cumulus clouds not only reflect solar radiation back into space but also produce rain. And rainfall not only cools surface temperatures but also scrubs CO2 out of the atmosphere.

This is why water vapor feedback remains heavily debated in the scientific community, and even the IPCC admits that “an uncertainty range arises from our limited knowledge of clouds and their interactions with radiation.”

One thing we can all agree on, though, is that the Earth has warmed over the past 150 years, and by roughly 0.85 degrees Celsius. But the cause of this warming may well be the significant increase in solar activity during that time.

In 2016, Norwegian scientists Harald Yndestad and Jan-Erik Solheim reported that solar output during the 20th century reached the highest levels in 4,000 years.

And also in 2016, at least 132 peer-reviewed scientific papers suggested a solar influence on climate.

The IPCC rejects claims of solar variability, though. They argue that changes in solar “irradiance” (brightness) are relatively small.

But recent research from scientists like Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark demonstrates that variations in the sun’s output also affect the solar magnetic field and solar wind — which directly influence ionization in the troposphere and cloud formation.

As the IPCC observed in its first assessment report in 1990, the global climate in recent millennia “has fluctuated over a range of up to 2 degrees Celsius on time scales of centuries or more.”

It’s very possible that the heightened solar activity of the past century has driven recent global warming. As such, there are valid reasons to question the theory of man-made climate change and to urge greater study of the issue.


David Rothbard is president and Craig Rucker is executive director of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, a Washington, D.C.-based public-policy organization founded in 1985.

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Comments (22)

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

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    The IPCC needs to be total’y Defunded by 100% no more tax dollars to these crooks and to the Useless Nations as well

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    Squidly

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    CO2 is HIGH in emissivity … it may be a good absorber in a narrow IR spectrum, but it is equally a good emitter and almost instantly re-emits that which it absorbs. This is precisely why CO2 is not used as an insulator for double glazed windows. It is also precisely why CO2 is the most widely used industrial coolant in the world. CO2 acts as a very mild coolant in our atmosphere. And by the way, no gas in our universe can “trap heat”.

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    • Avatar

      David Lewis

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      How do you replace the “G” with a picture?

      Reply

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    Squidly

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    And by the way, if CO2 could magically “trap heat” and can absorb energy, then it would also rise faster than other gases in our atmosphere, and would be more prevalent (greater concentration) at higher altitudes, but in fact the opposite is true.

    Reply

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    Jack Miller

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    I spent a fair amount of time last night researching various articles related to this and looking at a lot of graphs. I’m fairly new to this and trying to wrap my head around the whole CO2 debate. Could someone explain the enhanced greenhouse effect in the IPCC report, as this area to me seems to be the main issue that the “warmists” are carrying on about.

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    bocanut

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    That’ll leave a mark

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    Jack Miller

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    The section I’m referring to is this : The enhanced greenhouse effect
    The increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere enhances the absorption and emission of infrared radiation. The atmosphere�s opacity increases so that the altitude from which the Earth�s radiation is effectively emitted into space becomes higher. Because the temperature is lower at higher altitudes, less energy is emitted, causing a positive radiative forcing. This effect is called the enhanced greenhouse effect, which is discussed in detail in Chapter 6.

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      Sonnyhill

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      Heat transfer has several factors. Temperature differential is but one. Surface area of the atmosphere increases as a square of the altitude. Increased surface area should offset the lower temperature differential.

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        Sonnyhill

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        Correction. Surface area of the atmosphere increases with the square of the RADIUS MEASURED FROM EARTH’S CORE, not altitude measured from Earth’s surface.
        Heat transfer due to temperature differential is a linear function. So is surface area. However, the increase in surface area with altitude is exponential.

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    Amber

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    Human source emissions account for less than 1/2 percent of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere and although all human activity has some effect on the planet natural variables , sun ,clouds. wind, volcanos , currents , etc dwarf the relatively miniscule added contribution of CO2 from fossil fuel use and other sources . Climate models once relied on to paint the global warming horror picture have been proven to grossly exaggerate warming . Higher Co2 levels have the added benefit of greening the planet and are not a pollutant .
    Much a do about virtually nothing other than the con-men who have fleeced tax payers with their BS climate doom industry to the tune of $$Trillions and tens of thousands of premature deaths annually from fuel poverty due to idiotic climate control policies imposed by government .

    Reply

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      Sonnyhill

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      Rabid environmentalists believe that humanity should strive for zero impact on nature.
      Do they eat grass, lest their sh!t might stink? No, but they’ll fight for their right to smoke some.

      Reply

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        G

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        Which illustrates how scientifically illiterate and morally confused the climate left is. The notion that humans should have zero impact is beyond stupid.

        That said, I’ll now criticize conservatives: While leftists have promoted wacky environmental extremism, the right SHOULD have claimed the mantle of common sense environmental STEWARDSHIP. Man does not live apart from his environment. He has the right and the obligation to wisely use resources for true progress and good. No true conservative supports mistreatment of the environment, and the left media should never have gotten away with promoting the idea that the only alternative to environmental extremism is neglect or abuse. Conservatives and Libertarians should OWN the concept of stewardship. Opportunity missed!

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          Sonnyhill

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          Right you are
          Our bright little star!
          The key to stewardship is ownership.
          Best example is a farmer. He loves the land he owns but mines the land he rents. Landlords protect themselves with stewardship clauses. Sad but necessary.

          Reply

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    Gerry

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    Somebody should know.
    “The current AGW (man-made) theory pends on a term ‘Radiative Forcing’ defined by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)” Since when is the UN the governing body on world climate?
    Radiative Forcing has nothing to do with temperatures on the earth’s surface. Radiative Forcing occurs some 8 to 10 miles above the earth’s surface where CO2 concentrations are significantly lower than those reported by the Mauna Loa monitoring station located about 2 miles above the earth’s surface.
    BTW.. Mauna Loa is an active volcano. An active volcano will degas CO2 up through the surrounding soil into the atmosphere and Active volcano’s are significant natural sources of atmospheric CO2. What do you think? Is volcanic degassing skewing CO2 levels reported by the Mauna Loa Observatory?

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    Gerry

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    “In 1992, it was thought that volcanic degassing released something like 100 million tons of CO2 each year. Around the turn of the millennium, this figure was getting closer to 200. The most recent estimate, released this February, comes from a team led by Mike Burton, of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology – and it’s just shy of 600 million tons. It caps a staggering trend: A six-fold increase in just two decades.” But volcanic degassing is likely responsible for far more of the CO2 released to the atmosphere annually. More studies need to be done….

    https://www.livescience.com/40451-volcanic-co2-levels-are-staggering.html

    Reply

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    David Lewis

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    I have dealt with lot of data in my engineering career. A very common if not dominate pattern is the “S” curve. As the independent parameter increases, the dependant one will increase slowly at first. Then it enters a logarithmic increase. Next is a linear area of the curve. This is followed by a logarithmic decrease in the rate of increasing. If a full S curve exists at the end there is no increase of the dependant parameter with increases in the independent one. What the IPCC has acknowledged is that there is an area of the CO2 green house curve where increasing concentration don’t have corresponding increases in warming.

    All of this doesn’t really matter except to show that there are multiple holes in the alarmist theory. As Amber pointed out, man emits very little CO2 compared to natural sources. Also, solar activity is almost certainly the primary driver of earth’s temperature in our current time.

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      Sonnyhill

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      We’re currently in a logarithmic decrease when it comes to global warming believers.

      Reply

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    Spurwing Plover

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    And when it gets hot in June they will say Its Global Warming and we say Its Summertime Stupid

    Reply

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