Other than concerns about the economy, fears of "global warming," now known as "climate change," drive many national, state, and local policies. Carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the gases we exhale and a source of food for plants, is now legally a pollutant.
Does this theory have any scientific credibility or are we making major decisions based on emotions and political agendas?
Where did "global warming" come from? In 1896, an obscure Swedish scientist claimed that the combustion of fossil fuels would result in enhanced global warming by the infrared absorption of solar energy by water vapor and CO2, called the "natural greenhouse effect."
This theory was not taken seriously until 1979, when Margaret Thatcher, Great Britain's first female prime minister, was looking for a way to force Britain away from domestic coal and fossil fuels, and transition the country to nuclear power. Her U.N. ambassador suggested use of man-driven global warming theory and that, since most people are largely scientifically illiterate, they could be easily manipulated using science. So she adopted global warming and, using her knowledge of chemistry, promoted the villainization of fossil fuels nationally and internationally. The environmentalists in Europe picked up on it and the rest is history.
The foundation of the "global warming" argument is the "natural greenhouse effect." That is, solar energy enters and passes through the earth's atmosphere and reflects back into the troposphere and space. Some of that energy is absorbed by gases in the lower troposphere, warming it. By relative contribution to the greenhouse effect, "greenhouse gases" are water vapor 95 percent, CO2 3.6 percent and all others 1.4 percent. The total of all man-generated greenhouse gases, excluding water vapor, is 0.2 percent, a miniscule contribution to the greenhouse effect.
At 3.6 percent, CO2 must be powerful stuff to endanger the planet. But, at 95 percent, maybe we should designate water vapor as a pollutant instead. In any case, global warming proponents ignore water vapor and claim that the temperature of the troposphere increases directly and immediately with an increase in CO2. Does it?
At a website called www.friendsofscience.org, a chart is used to plot NASA balloon and satellite troposphere data. It shows CO2 steadily increasing and troposphere temperatures peaking in 2002 and decreasing to this day. Why? The sun is going into a period of relative inactivity. However, CO2 is still increasing!
Antarctic ice core dating explains the correlation between CO2 and temperature. Ice core samples record atmospheric history for the past 420,000-years and the data indicates that carbon dioxide lags temperature by about 800 years. In other words, an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is caused by temperature, not the other way around.
Where does the CO2 come from? Mostly from the oceans. What happens to a soft drink when it heats-up? The "fizz" (the CO2) comes out of the liquid and into the atmosphere. The same thing happens to dissolved CO2 in the oceans but over a much longer period. Other natural sources of CO2 are volcanoes and plants.
Are we warmer than previous periods in the earth's history? We are probably slightly cooler than the warmest periods. Greenland was "green" when the Vikings settled there in A.D. 985. By A.D. 1350, declining temperatures caused them to leave and Greenland is a misnomer today. Similarly, the climate of present day Great Britain does not allow wine production, but names of streets and the history recorded on tapestries anecdotally suggests that wine production existed centuries ago. The Medieval Warm Period (A.D. 700 to 1300) is believed to have been warmer than today's climate.
In conclusion, man-driven global warming is still being promoted to support a political agenda of impractical environmental policies by manipulating the public's emotions. In addition, plausible supporting scientific evidence for man-driven climate change is being overtaken by data debunking the theory.
Find out more by attending the Lodi Tea Party general meeting Monday, July 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the United Congregational Church.