I am not a climate scientist and never claimed to be. But the so-called greenhouse effect is not about climate. It’s about atmospheric physics. I have come to the conclusions I write about, not because others have told me the facts as they see them, but because, as a trained spectroscopist (Harvard Ph.D. NMR Spectroscopy), I and my colleagues have examined the facts ourselves and find the numbers don’t make sense.
No one doubts the globe is in a warming mode. What is misleading is reporting that from the mid-1800s to the present, the globe has warmed 0.8 degrees C (I guess to coincide with the Industrial Revolution), but then failing to mention that from the mid-1600s to the mid-1800s, the globe also warmed by at least the same amount.
There is no science that supports the theory that the increase in the carbon-dioxide level from 280 ppmv to 380 ppmv between 1850 and 1950 caused that exact temperature increase. I would challenge Lars McGee, author of the adjacent commentary, to produce the equation. Moreover, how do we know global temperature never rose this fast before? Thermometers have been around for about 400 years. Even the data points from ice-core research are separated by at least 80 years.
The point of my Aug. 24 column, “All gases, not only CO2, absorb energy,” was to note that on planet Earth, greenhouse gases (actually, infrared-active gases is a better description) make up only 0.5 percent of the atmosphere. It is unproven and illogical to assume these gases are solely responsible for warming the planet, and dismissing the fact that oxygen and nitrogen, which make up 99.5 percent of the atmosphere, have no effect. In the column, I cited a number of examples, which we all have experienced, supporting this idea.
If you wish to believe the climate is changing because you are being told it is, be my guest. However, if this leads to an attempt to lower CO2 levels to their Medieval level of 300 ppmv or less, be prepared for a massive shortage of food, since atmospheric CO2 is the source of all food on the planet.
We have been told we need to double our food supply by the end of the 21st century. Will this be possible at a CO2 level of 300 ppmv?
What disturbs me most about Mr. McGee’s commentary is that I detect implications that being a skeptic is bad for science. Since I began writing these columns about seven years ago, I have learned the difference between science and religion. Both advance through history from skeptic to skeptic.
Without skepticism, neither would exist. The difference is that in science, the skeptics are honored for their insights, while in religion, the skeptics are labeled heretics, and either jailed or killed to shut them up.
Believe me, from the tone of Mr. McGee’s commentary, climate change is a religion.
James Barrante of Cheshire is a retired college professor of physical chemistry.