Media misses the point of Pruitt's skepticism about the cause of global warming

Robert Tracincki:
So when people say they know carbon dioxide is driving global warming because of “data,” they reveal that they don’t know what they’re talking about. The same thing is true if they say they know it because of “basic science.”
... The question is not whether carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. The question is whether it is the “primary control knob for the climate.” The question is whether it is the greenhouse gas, the one factor that dominates all other factors.

There is good reason for skepticism. For one thing, just on the “basic science,” Pruitt is absolutely correct. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, but it is not the most powerful greenhouse gas, by a long shot. Water vapor is far more effective at trapping heat and releasing it back to the atmosphere, primarily because it absorbs a lot more radiation in the infrared spectrum, which is released as heat.

That’s why all of the climate theories that project runaway global warming use water vapor to juice up the relatively small impact of carbon dioxide itself. They posit a “feedback loop” in which carbon dioxide increases temperatures, which increases the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, which increases temperatures even more. These models need a more powerful greenhouse gas to magnify the effect of carbon dioxide.

But does it really work that way? By how much does water vapor magnify the impact of carbon dioxide? And is that effect dampened by other factors? Consider cloud formation: more water in the atmosphere means more clouds, which reflect sunlight back into space and have a cooling effect that counteracts the warming effect. But by how much?

The answer is that nobody really knows. There are varying estimates for “climate sensitivity,” that is, how sensitive global temperatures are to increases in carbon dioxide. They range from a relatively trivial impact—less than one degree Celsius warming from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide—to more than five degrees.
The important part is that these are all estimates. Some are developed based on mathematical models, some from looking at historical records, some from other observations of the atmosphere. But there’s quite a range of disagreement among them, and none has been definitively established. So there really is “tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact.”
If it were the primary cause their models would not be so far off and would make sense in a historical context too, which they do not.  What that demonstrates is that one of their assumptions is invalid and I suspect it is because they overrate the effect of CO2.

Meanwhile the green energy push has been a big bust in Europe where prices have skyrocketed for basic electricity.  If they require everyone to drive electric cars that situation will only get worse.


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