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Why Carbon Dioxide Can’t Cause Global Warming

Day in and day out, we are inundated with reports that we, people, are causing global warming because of our emissions of carbon dioxide. Although true raw data shows that the globe is cooling and not warming, for a moment let’s assume that it really is heating up. Did you know that the cause cannot be carbon dioxide?

Greenhouse gases

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gases work by trapping certain wavelengths of light from escaping into space. Specifically, it traps infrared wavelengths; those we feel as heat. It is a good thing that they do, too, otherwise, the earth would be frozen solid.

The problem is that CO2 isn’t the strongest greenhouse gas and it definitely isn’t the greatest in terms of the volume of the atmosphere. Water vapor is much more powerful in regard to trapping heat. It is far greater in volume than carbon dioxide, too. In fact, 95% of the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is water vapor. Carbon dioxide makes up 2.3% of all atmospheric greenhouse gases. This isn’t 2.3% of the atmosphere, only that amount of the greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere.

Low amounts of CO2

The fact is that approximately four-hundredths of one percent of the atmosphere is carbon dioxide. This is an exceptionally tiny amount. To get a better grasp on how small that quantity is, if you had a container that held about 2,575 gallons of air, one teaspoonful of that air would be CO2.

We’ve been told that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has grown by eight-thousandths of a percent in the past century, with most of that increase occurring after 1945. This amount of that increase, regardless of actual cause, is so close to zero that it isn’t even worth mentioning, especially considering that CO2 is minor in regard to greenhouse gases. We are talking about an increase of less than a tenth of that teaspoonful in the 2,575 gallon container.

What about computer models?

As a computer engineer, I know a bit about computer modeling. I can tell you that to the person creating the computer model, the actual data isn’t important. What is done with the data, the computer program and its variables, is all that is important.

As already explained, CO2 isn’t a major player. So, computer models that show runaway global warming due to CO2 make an assumption that increased CO2 means increased water vapor. An increase of eight-thousandth of 1% simply means nothing by itself. Since 98% of greenhouse gases is water vapor, this could explain a temperature increase. That is, it would, except for one thing.

Water vapor absorbs carbon dioxide. If an increase in CO2 caused more water vapor and warmer temperatures, there would then be a corresponding decrease in CO2. This is physics and it is the equilibrium of a wonderfully designed self-regulating system. Carbon dioxide levels can’t exceed the saturation point, regardless of whether the solvent is the air of the atmosphere or ocean water.

It is worth remembering that there is a finite amount of both carbon and oxygen in the earth and atmosphere. We can combine them to get CO2, but neither the carbon nor the oxygen is created by man.

Hotter oceans?

The truth is that even in strong warm currents in the ocean, most of the heat is concentrated in the upper few feet of ocean water. This is the “heat rises, cold falls” part of science that is taught in elementary school. Temperature readings at the bottom of the ocean show temperatures that are incredibly cold. Some currents are actually below 0 C but are kept fluid because of the tremendous pressure of the ocean water above.

Water is also has a much greater heat capacity than air does. To explain this, try drawing a tub full of cold water. Turn up the heat in the room as high as it will go. Do you honestly believe that the water will ever actually get hot? There simply isn’t a great enough volume of hot air to raise the temperature of the water much or quickly.

The science behind this

According to a leading industrial chemist, Dr. Mark Imisides, the heat capacity ratio between water and air is about 3,300 to 1. That is to say that in order to raise the temperature of a quart of water by 1 C, you’ll either need 3,300 quarts of air that are 2 C, or you will need a quart of air that is 3,300 C. This is pure chemistry and physics and these laws were worked out centuries ago.

Working it out

The oceans contain roughly 1,500,000,000,000,000,000,000 quarts of water. To increase the temperature of the ocean by just 1 C, there would either need to be a volume of air containing 4,950,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 quarts of air that was a degree hotter than the ocean, or tremendously hot air adjacent to the water. This would amount to roughly 4,000 C per ton of ocean water. (Again, this is chemistry and physics.)

Thus, for greenhouse gases to heat the oceans by just 1 C, they would need to produce air temperatures, planetwide, of 4,000 C. There is a good chance that if the air temperature increases by that much, nobody will care much about the reason it did.

Antarctic ice

One of the claims made is that Antarctic ice is melting. Antarctica contains about 90% of the ice on the planet, so if it was melting, this would be a concern. However, it isn’t. It is simple to understand why.

The average temperature in Antarctica is -57 C or -70.6 F. In order to melt, the air would need to be above freezing; let’s say 1 C or 32 F. That would be an increase in air temperature of 58 C or 103.6 F.

Core samples strongly show that the ice isn’t melting and air temperature readings certainly show that it isn’t melting. At its deepest, the Antarctic ice sheet is well over a mile thick. Yet, the core samples that have been taken show that the ice there is tremendously stable. In fact, there are no gaps in the cores that would show melting and the cores go back about 15 million years.

Precipitation amounts in Antarctica are small, qualifying Antarctica as the world’s largest desert, but the ice is actually growing slowly.

The only place the ice is melting in Antarctica is shown by the arrow in the precipitation image above. This is float ice that is over ocean water rather than land. Since the water is obviously above freezing, which it would need to be to remain fluid, it is warmer than the ice, leading to melting. However, this is also a very small area of Antarctica that we’re talking about. Elsewhere, the ice is growing, slowly.

Thus, scientifically, carbon dioxide cannot cause any appreciable global warming, in and of itself. It can’t cause the warming even counting its supposed effect on water vapor, which is used in computer models. There isn’t much danger of the ice in Antarctica melting, either, and measurement plainly show that it isn’t. The simple truth is that for about 90% of the last 10,000 years, air temperatures have been hotter than they are today, looking at pure data, including ice core samples. That is saying a lot, considering the several hundred years of the little ice age, which some scientists say hasn’t yet ended.

When true science is brought to bear, the emotions present in the pseudoscience of climatology can’t hold up. It doesn’t even take the manipulated data to show this. It just takes science and common sense.

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What do you think?

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Written by Rex Trulove

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46 Comments

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  1. An amazing article. I have learned so many new things. thanks for sharing it with us. I will just say one more thing – I think that we are the main cause for all the changes that are happening to our planet. We are reckless and we don’t nurture our planet the way we should. We must change in order to change everything else.

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    • The biggest problem with that viewpoint and many people do share it, is that it elevates us to the position of God. Man is indeed reckless, arrogant, self-serving, selfish, and uncaring in many cases (and as a whole), but I’m not sure that it would be fair to say that we have the power of God. One thing that is very interesting and enlightening, though, is to consider which changes were taking place before man was in the picture.

      Climate changes, polar reversals, droughts, floods, horrendous floods, the solar system moving up and down through the arm of the galaxy, earthquakes, times of no ice caps, times when most of the earth was covered by ice, times of much higher ocean levels, times of much lower ones…all these things were happening long before man was created. When we start putting it into perspective, it can change the way we think about things. It can be quite humbling. :))

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      • I am not saying we have the power of God, but we are acting like there is no tomorrow. Yes, there were changes before there was man on this planet, but those were natural processes which had to happen in order to have the planet it is today.
        Nowadays, there are also natural processes and changes, but we are polluting our planet, there is no argue with that. If we continue to poison the Earth, eventually we will kill ourselves.

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        • It is very true that mankind does pollute. This is especially true of poorer countries that don’t have the means to deal with their pollution. I’m heartened by the fact that most advanced countries strive so hard to do common sense things like recycling. Some of that can be quite innovative, too, like making road surfaces out of crushed glass and recycled tires. Much more can be done. Many people apparently don’t care, but a growing number of people do. There are simple things that most of us can do to help with that, too.

          Carbon dioxide may not be the evil thing it has been made out to be, but there are many substances that man produces that *are* toxic and harmful. That is one of the things that really bothers me about the focus on carbon dioxide. It takes attention away from those other troublesome byproducts and many of them really are poisons.

  2. Hmm, I think Indexer has made some very valid points here that you seem to have shrugged off without actually addressing. Also, the fact that you are so adamantly averse to even looking at the skeptical science link he gave you certainly gives the impression that you are not open to challenging your ideas and theories – a dangerous mindset to have when making such bold claims

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    • Actually, I *did* look at it before I even wrote this. I simply saw errors in their opinions so I rejected the information on the basis that it was based on opinion (thinly veiled). Specifically what point did I not address?

      I also should make a point here. No, I don’t believe in the current anthropogenic global warming model. I am not in favor of theories that attempt to connect the dots that have nothing to do with the original contention. By the same token, I was in disagreement with the ‘global cooling’ models that were apparently so popular in the 1970s. I contend two points: 1. What we don’t know far exceeds what we do know. 2. It is simple arrogance of man (in general) that even allows him to think that he is so powerful and important that he can change the checks and balances that have governed the physical world for thousands of millions of years before man was even created.

      • Well I think an important question that hasn’t been answered is what is the benefit of giving false information to the effect that we are destroying the planet with global warming.

        I can see the advantage of saying there is no global warming (continued using and buying of fossil fuels, factory farmed meat etc) but I can’t see the benefit of falsely declaring the dangers of man-made global warming

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        • There are actually a number of answers to that and it is worthy of another article or several. I can give a condensed version, though. I could easily expand on all of this.

          1. It covers pride and embarrassment. NOAA and NASA went out on a limb, pridefully. They will do everything they can to keep from looking more foolish than they already do.

          2. It gives more power to the government while encouraging the government to get bigger. That means more governmental control. It also means an increase in taxes. We’ve actually seen exactly that during the three presidential administrations prior to the current one. It isn’t an accident that the government and politics have embraced the global warming theory during those three administrations. Many politicians have grown personally wealthy because of governmental policies regarding the global warming theories.

          3. It fosters an idea that the world *must* rely on the US. This is because most of the data comes from US agencies and the fact that they can alter data without being called to task by the scientific community abroad simply gives them the idea that they are right, whether they actually are or not.

          4. It produces far more money for lobbyist groups, such as those totally opposed to most types of common energy production. If regulations can be put into place that causes a switch over from, for instance, coal power to wind power, an enormous amount of money is poured into the new companies that wasn’t available before. We’ve already seen this happening, not even counting some of the failed wind power companies.

          The ethanol industry is basically part of an attempt to be less dependent on oil and it has cost a tremendous amount of money, paid for by the private citizens. For example, since corn is being bought by the government for ethanol production, the price of feed for livestock has tripled or quadrupled, in some cases. As a result, chicken, beef, and pork prices have increased (and led to a kill-off of livestock a few years ago, but again, for the full import and explanation of that, it would take another article.)

          The ethanol hasn’t done much to reduce emissions, which it was designed for, it has certainly not caused a drop in fuel prices, and it hasn’t lessened dependency on oil. (It is also needless since there is an alternative to ethanol that is being currently wasted. I DO have an article prepared for that one, but haven’t submitted it yet.)

          There are more advantages to claiming that there is a non-existent anthropogenic global warming, too, but this is four of the more obvious ones.

          Incidentally, I do personally believe that mankind, planetwide, should put more effort into eliminating pollution of all sorts. I just would like to see it happening for real and truthful reasons. It shouldn’t take any data at all for people to know that filling the oceans with nearly indestructible plastics or filling our air with toxins like hydrogen sulfide is unwise. The responsibility of that falls to the people in all countries and to the businesses in all countries, not to governments. The pollution comes from the people and businesses. (Granted, politicians, in general, produce a lot of hot air, which could help increase global warming , but the issue is one of individual responsibility.) Sadly, when the government becomes involved, it invariably results in more power for the government and fewer individual freedoms for the people.

  3. One important thing you are ignoring is that different greenhouse gases trap solar energy at different wavelengths. CO2 is particularly important in this regard because most of the energy being trapped in the atmosphere corresponds exactly to the wavelength of energy captured by CO2. It may indeed only represent a small percentage of the atmosphere, but even a minor increase in its volume makes a vast difference to the ability of the atmosphere to trap heat.

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    • I’m actually not ignoring it. CO2 has minimal impact on increasing global impact, primarily because there is so little of it and also because it isn’t nearly as plentiful or powerful as water vapor. One thing I didn’t bring up, though, that alarmist do often ignore is that every time there has been a peak in global temperatures…every time, not just sometimes…there is a slight, measurable increase in CO2. Every time global temperatures drop, there is a slight, measurable decrease in CO2. This has happened every time since atmospheric CO2 has been measured. The important thing to note from this is that the CO2 level peaked *after* the increase in temperatures, not before. NASA was caught back in 2011 admitting it and quickly went quiet about it.

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        • John, it is far more telling to look at the actual, real data, then to listen to true scientists, rather than to have an organization trying to tell us what we should think, even when the data doesn’t support it.

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          • Incidentally, I’m aware of the pseudo-science of skeptical science, just as I’m aware of the efforts of GreenPeace, who advocate love and conservation, proving it by causing destruction and damage.

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          • Rex, I couldnt agree more, which is why I recommend the Skeptical Science site. They present real data, interpretations of it by people who really know what they are talking about, and references to proper sources in peer-reviewed journals, etc. They also have a fascinating section on why so many apparent experts are nothing of the sort – people who represent the interests of big oil, etc. If they ever make a mistake or over-state something they are more than happy to retract it – surely a good sign of honesty.

            Whenever you read a comment on this subject, the first question to ask should “why are they saying this?” Do they have an ulterior motive? Are they like your friend Mark Imisides who is running for office in Western Australia and wants the votes of people who see themselves as being disadvantaged by green policies?

            There is a huge amount of misinformation flying around, and very little of it is coming from the “green” side of the debate. Why would it? What benefit could there possibly be in warning of dangers ahead if they did not exist? Or maybe you think that all climate scientists have got shares in companies that build wind turbines and solar panels!

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          • If you want to call their information “real”, then you’ve already been duped and it is truly unfortunate. What they present has so many holes it is like swiss cheese.

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  4. Great article. The sun has a much more important role in the Earth’s temperature than CO2. I wrote an article on Virily about the Medieval Climate Optimum. (https://virily.com/science-nature/medieval-climatic-optimum-900-1200-ad/) It was a period between 900 and 1200 AD (approximately) where it was substantially warmer than today. If I remember my history classes correctly, we didn’t have a lot of cars throwing CO2 into the air back then. 🙂

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    • You are exactly right, Gary. In fact, the “huge” increase in CO2, even using NASA’s ‘adjusted’ data, occurred after 1945. There was global cooling from 1945 to 1978, while CO2 was increasing. Also, the little ice age occurred without a decrease in CO2. The ice core and rock core records for the past 10,000 years also very clearly indicate that during most of that time, the earth was much warmer than it is today…without evil people spewing out all that evil CO2. LOL

      Your dates also sound about right. Toward the end of that hot period, the Norse established a thriving colony on Greenland, which was later wiped out when temperatures dropped during the little ice age. At that time, though, there was minimal ice cover in Greenland.

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        • That is quite true. We do know that the earth has been substantially warmer for most of the time it has been around. In fact, for over 95% of the time, there has been an earth, it hasn’t had any ice caps at all. Few alarmists even deny this. It is easier to ignore that fact.

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  5. I’m confused now about the Antarctic ice not melting. How do you explain that documentary about the polar bears? Per the TV program, the polar bears are being severely adversely impacted because of the melting ice. So if the ice isn’t melting what is affecting the bears? Is it a bogus report?

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    • You hit the nail right on the head. First of all, there are no polar bears, or any other kind of bear, in the Antarctic. They live in the Artic and are doing quite well. (http://www.climatedepot.com/2017/02/17/polar-bear-numbers-still-on-the-rise-despite-global-warming/)

      Al Gore is not a reliable source. Did you know that he took one class in science during college and, according to the professor, he got a D in it? He does make a ton of money and lives high on the hog writing his nonsense.

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      • Exactly correct on both points, Gary. On the second point, if Albert Gore was right (and he’s already been disproven), that would make him an enormous hypocrite because he has the ‘carbon footprint’ of at least 10 regular people. That includes multiple high-energy homes, a fleet of cars, and takes into consideration that he takes more flights in a year than most people will take in a lifetime. He is clearly totally unconcerned about CO2 emissions.

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      • According to on the ground measurements and satellite data, it is not melting. Also, It can’t, if the temperatures don’t rise above freezing. People learn that principle in elementary school and it is very basic science. The average temperature of Antarctica has varied less than 5 degrees since records have been kept, and that average temperature is 57 degrees below zero. If you know of a way to melt ice at a temperature that low, you could be a multimillionaire, as that would require a fundamental change in the laws of physics.

    • To begin with, there is NO north polar ice cap and there never has been. That one is easy to explain…there is no land there. Every year, huge amounts of float ice forms above the arctic circle, but that is not an ice cap. In the second place, regarding the bears, there is a huge case of misreporting. In the past 30 years, the polar bear population has grown by a large amount. Off hand, I don’t have the figures, but there it is something like a 300% increase in the population.

      Polar bears don’t absolutely require extreme cold. (A moose does require cold, but polar bears don’t. This is why quite a few polar bears are kept in zoos in places that seldom get all that cold, and those bears are healthy.) This information is readily available, including to the people making the documentaries. Some of those people have an agenda and others have issues usually revolving around making money, which they frankly won’t get if they present the actual facts, which go against the big money.

      • There is a dangerous argument afoot that says that because overall numbers of a species might be increasing, that justifies doing nothing about severe declines of populations under particular threat. The fact is that where sea ice is disappearing, so are the polar bears. Where the ice is still plentiful, polar bears are increasing in number, and the increase may well outweigh the decrease. However, there is no guarantee that this will always be the case, especially if the sea ice continues to shrink. It has been estimated that overall numbers of polar bears will decline by 30% by 2050.

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        • IF your figures are true, then the ‘decrease’ of polar bears of from about 2,400 in 1940 to 250,000 in 1990 means…what? An increase in the ice in that half century?
          More food? Laws that came into effect that made it illegal to hunt them? What? (Figures according to National Geographic.) Again, polar bears do not require frigid temperatures in order to survive and particularly seem to thrive when temperatures are milder and not as harsh.

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          • Rex, Are you sure that you’ve got your commas in the right places? The current estimate by the Polar Bear Specialist Group of the IUCN is a global population of 25,000. They appreciate that some populations are increasing, while some are stable and others are decreasing.

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          • You are correct, the population has grown 10-fold since the supposed and disproved global warming period began. It hasn’t grown by 100-fold yet. To be honest, I have a feeling that both the decline to 2,400 in 1940 and great increase since then both had more to do with bans on hunting them than for any other cause.

        • The number of species in the world is irrelevant. Species are nothing more than what anthropologists call folk classification. Every culture categorizes the world around it according to the factors it deems more important.

          For example, we consider bats mammals instead of birds because they are covered in hair and the mothers produce milk to feed their offspring. Those are the criteria that taxonomists have decided are the most relevant. But what if another culture decided that it was more important that bats had wings and flew. They might lump them in with the birds and they would not be wrong for doing so. They just have a different idea of what’s important.

          The number of species can go up or down and not be relevant because the concept of a species is just an artificial construct that western science has developed. In addition, a lot of the new species are new in that they are new to us. We didn’t know about them before but they were still there. Also, taxonomists are changing from having the criteria being based on observable characteristics to being based on DNA.

          • There are very clear criteria that distinguish what is and is not a species – the main one being that individuals can breed and produce offspring that can breed. That is why horses and donkeys are not the same species but labrador and German shepherd dogs are. DNA is a very useful tool, though.

            The loss of any species is to be regretted, not least because of upsets to the balance of nature.

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          • Yes, the criteria are clear. That’s not the point. The criteria are imposed on the natural world. A group of scientists decided that bats are mammals because they have fur and feed their young milk the mothers produce but other cultures don’t have to care about our criteria any more than we have to care about theirs. And yes, every culture thinks that their criteria are superior and that cultures which use different criteria are wrong.

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    • I forgot to mention a fact that is brushed under the rug, Cmoneyspinner. In 1940, before the supposed tremendous increase in global climate (and ignoring the fact that the point of the polar bears isn’t global in scope), there were 2,500 to 2,600 polar bears. The last numbers I saw, there are now 25,000. IF the ice is melting in the Arctic (as Gary said, there are no bears in the Antarctic, though there are lots of penguins…there are no penguins in the Arctic, for that matter) and IF melting ice was detrimental to polar bears, it is unlikely there would have been a ten-fold increase in the population of the bears.

      It is important to note that polar bears don’t need cold, frigid temperatures, in the first place. In the second place, not mentioned in documentaries like this one, at least not often, bans on hunting polar bears didn’t go into place until after 1940. That probably had more of an impact than the climate has in the tremendous increase in numbers.

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      • Well, then I’ll have to say the documentary was misleading or maybe I’m just stupid and got the wrong idea. Because I sure got the impression the polar bears were dying because the ice was melting. Thanks for the additional info. Appreciate you responding back.

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        • It wouldn’t be the first time one of these documentaries was misleading. That is how they get funding for the documentary. Also, if they can stir emotions, they are much more likely to get people to side with a particular given agenda. They did the same thing with they were against the building the Alaskan pipeline. They tried to claim that it would prevent caribou migration and would cause them to die. What they didn’t mention is that a great deal of the pipeline is elevated so caribou and other animals can freely move under it. Then there were the pictures of pumping stations, with large numbers of caribou laying or grazing nearby. The pumping stations are heated, to prevent the oil from freezing. The heat caused a renewed growth of tundra grass. That gave the caribou more to eat near the pumping station and warmth against the bitter cold. The documentaries didn’t cover any of that since it was contrary to their agenda.

    • You are quite welcome. This is simple, straight-forward science that people aren’t likely to find out about since the topic and news agencies have become political in nature, rather than reporting the news. Granted, science isn’t the strong suit of most people and most probably find it to be boring, but it isn’t at all mysterious.

      • Rex, Unfortunately, climate science is far from simple and straightforward. There are all sorts of influences at work, some of which are bound to contradict each other and it is very easy to jump on board one “soundbite” and claim that it settles the issue once and for all. I prefer to listen to the people who really know what they are talking about, and that does necessarily include “experts” with a political agenda or who are in the pockets of oil or coal companies. That is why the evidence of Mark Imisides is bound to be suspect – I’m not sure about the oil/coal connection but his political activities need to be watched quite carefully.

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        • That is where this data came from; actual scientists…physicists, chemists, astronomers and other true scientists. Talking about saturation limits, heat capacities, and the other science explained above *IS* cut and dried. There is no ambiguity what-so-ever. It could be changed, but only with extremes that haven’t occurred on earth before or those created by God.

          Example; the fact that water vapor makes up over 90% of all the greenhouse gas in our atmosphere hasn’t changed in millions of years, according to core samples. According to geology and physics, it can’t change, either, UNLESS an enormous asteroid slammed into the earth and caused the expulsion of most of the atmosphere. If that happened, nobody would be alive to measure the amount of water vapor left in the atmosphere.

          • Isn’t it strange that the majority of global warming deniers are Americans? (not exclusively, it is true, but the majority). The rest of the world does not take this line to anything like the same extent. Isn’t it also strange that many of the most prominent deniers – who make the most noise – have been shown to have very dubious scientific credentials and/or are funded by corporations that have a vested interest in denial?

            I prefer to listen to people who have no axes to grind other than seeking the truth, and who are prepared to look at the whole picture and not just specific aspects taken in isolation. That is why the views of dedicated, professional climate scientists are preferable to those of “mere” physicists, chemists, etc.

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          • John, it could be pointed out that it is rather strange that 70% to 80% of the weather data used by the UN and Europe come from NASA and NOAA. However, most of the people who have disproven global warming theories are far from dubious in their credentials. These are leading scientists in the fields of physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, and so forth. Most hold PhD’s. It is true that NASA, NOAA, and NSA have tried to discredit many of them, however, that only occurred after they disagreed with the findings of the organizations.

            Indeed, it is extremely interesting that NASA, NOAA, and NSA became so political, beginning a decade or two ago. It is interesting, but not surprising. Those organizations get nearly all of their funding from the US government. They discovered a couple decades ago that they could get more funding by doing whatever they could to support the politics, including manipulating data.

            If you want to find the biggest supporters for the global warming theories, especially in the US, many of whom have no science degrees at all, simply follow the paper trail. It is highly enlightening. Those that truly aim to find the truth are those who are primarily not funded by the government.

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          • John, you do realize that although I vigorously disagree with you on anthropogenic global warming, I do love you and respect you, right? That can be lost in the written word, which is lacking in 90% of communication. I don’t want you to ever feel as if I’m being condescending or attacking you for your opinion. You have every right to have any opinion you choose and I fully support you in that. I might not agree with that opinion, but I will verbally fight for your right to make it.

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