I found this article while trying to find a chart of the absorption spectrum of CO₂. (I did find one, by the way.) The article is so full of holes that I suspect it to be a strawman – even the comments on the article largely devolve into a shapeless mass of name-calling and appeals to / rejections of authority.
However, I've actually seen people using arguments similar to these (thankfully not here (much)) – and actually believing what they're saying. I want to have prepared a diplomatic response that allows us to set aside the worthless arguments and proceed with the ones that actually have merit, without getting embroiled in a big semantics argument, and this seems as good an opportunity to do so.
I shall be writing this refutation part by part, and probably won't finish it; please point out any errors in reasoning so I can correct them. It is a rubbish refutation that commits the sins it claims to be highlighting.
There is no valid mechanism for carbon dioxide (CO2) creating global warming:
1. Climatologists missed the dilution factor. There are 2,500 air molecules around each CO2 molecule, which means each CO2 molecule must be 2,500°C to heat the air 1°C—an impossibility.
I see where this is coming from. Assuming that 2499 parts of the air are 0°C, and the remaining 1 part is 2500°C, you might think that the average temperature of the air would be (24990°C + 12500°C) / 2500 = (0°C + 2500°C) / 2500 = 1°C. And so, in order for the air temperature to rise 1°C because of one part in 2500, that part would have to be 2500°C warmer than the other 2499 parts (not =2500°C, as the claim makes).
But this claim about the climate change model is flawed for a few reasons:
- It assumes that CO₂ and the-rest-of-air has the same specific heat capacity. In simple terms, it assumes that the energy required to raise each substance by 1°C / released when the temperature decreases by 1°C is the same; this isn't true. As an example: those of you who've held a lump of iron over a blowtorch know that it gets well over 100°C before an equivalent mass of water's even close to boiling when held over the same blowtorch. Same amount of energy, but a different temperature change. You can't just take the average of temperatures.
- More importantly, it's completely misrepresenting the climate change model. Let's, for a moment, assume that the climate change model works by suddenly setting the temperature of all CO₂ to 2500°C. The air will increase in temperature and the CO₂ will decrease in temperature until it's all around 1°C within a few days max. And then what? The CO₂ will be air-temperature again, and no more warming will occur. We all know that's not what climate change says. So does the CO₂ perpetually remain at 2500°C? In which case, it'll only take a few months for the air to be above internal body temperature and all warm-blooded creatures to be dead… which isn't the data that climatologists say that climate change predicts – even the most outlandish claims don't say "by 2030, the trees will burn at night".
This is a strawman argument. Climate change doesn't say this.
2. The official science of climatology claims the earth is giving off as much radiation as white hot metals, meaning 79% radiation with the remaining 21% of the energy given off as conduction and evaporation.
"The official science of climatology" claims that the Earth would be giving off as much radiation as red-hot metals if there was no atmosphere just so that night temperatures were as observed. This is what would be required if there was no greenhouse effect (or similar), according to a basic physical model of the Earth. This is a completely implausible strawman that, if anything, argues for the "greenhouse effect" model (though it's a weak argument; it's possible that some other atmospheric phenomenon (like maybe the heat capacity of the air) is trapping heat).
3. The planet is cooled by radiation which goes around ‘greenhouse gases’, not through them.
I'm not sure what this means, so I'll be generous in assuming that it's saying that not all radiation from the surface of the Earth interacts with greenhouse gases. And that's correct, technically. But a larger cause of re-radiation from the Earth's surface is radiation that's "gone through" one or more molecules of greenhouse gas, and happened to be directed outwards. It's like flipping 10 coins; if you got at least 5 heads, you'd expect that you also got 5 tails, but it's more likely that you got something other than exactly 5 heads and 5 tails. (Run Python code
collections.Counter("".join(sorted(s)) for s in itertools.product("HT", repeat=10) if s.count("H")>=5) for further information.)
So, this is also not an argument in refutation of the greenhouse effect model. In fact, the greenhouse effect model is pretty sound; whether that's causing climate change is the bigger question (disclaimer: not that I think there's much of a question).
More to come later. If you think I messed up, please let me know so I can correct it!