The following is a letter published in the West Sussex Gazette on 25 June 2008. I think you’ll agree that it makes a very impressive case.
Christopher Woodward’s letter concerning global warming (June 4) hits the nail on the head.
As a chemical engineer with some knowledge of thermodynamics – which is what global warming by the greenhouse effect is all about – I have spent several months calculating just how effective carbon dioxide is in comparison with cloud and water vapour, the two dominant greenhouse agents.
With an intrinsic (ie, molecule-for-molecule) potency around three and two and a half times greater than carbon dioxide respectively, and a combined average concentration in the troposphere (which forms the bulk of the greenhouse blanket) more than ten times greater, atmospheric moisture accounts for more than 95% of the Earth’s total greenhouse effect.
The most profligate use conceivable of the world’s fossil fuels could hardly push up carbon dioxide levels to more than about 600 parts per million by volume (ppmv) compared with the present 380 ppmv.
I calculate that, with no change in the Sun’s radiative power, this would increase the Earth’s global mean surface temperature by no more than about 1/4 degree C, far less than the 2-3C (by the end of this century, no less) proclaimed by the global warming scare mongers who seem to have grabbed the world’s news media – and even some technical journalists who should know better – by the throat.
This is trifling compared with the natural cyclic variation of about 13C every 100,000 years or so between Ice Ages and interglacial warm periods.
To explain the major part of this phenomenon, I maintain that the Sun is a variable star with an energy range of about 20 per cent between maximum and minimum. The Earth’s orbital characteristics (axial tilt and eccentricity changes) do have some effects, but these are small compared with the Sun’s internal thermonuclear variations.
No-one else seems to have grasped the importance of the published evidence (from ice core samples in Greenland and the Antarctic) which shows this to be so.
I have developed a simple theory to explain this but that is more suited to discussion in a scientific journal!
As a corollary of my study, I calculate that even if we were able to ‘bust a gut’ internationally and reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations to somewhere near the 250ppmv level of the 18th century (some hope!), we still couldn’t reduce the Earth’s global mean temperature by more than 1/4C.
What an achievement! And at what a cost! Fatuous, as Mr Woodward says! I should add that no-one with whom I have so far corresponded has been able to refute my arguments.
Roderick Taylor, CEng, MIChemE