Archive for April 1, 2017
Scientists understood the climate 150 years ago better than the EPA head today
Posted on 31 March 2017 by John Abraham
Recently he (Scott Pruitt) claimed on CNBC that carbon dioxide is not a primary contributor to global warming:
I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do, and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact. So, no, I would not agree that’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see. But we don’t know that yet. We need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis.
“There are two undeniable ironies in this statement. First, taken at face value it would suggest that we actually need to do more analysis – but the current administration is proposing draconian cuts in our climate science research budget. They are doing just the opposite of what he recommends.
The second irony is that scientists have known about the importance of carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas for well over 100 years. There is no debate among any reputable scientists that carbon dioxide is the most important human emitted greenhouse gas. Furthermore, humans have increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 43%. These are facts.”
“The final stop on our way-back trip brings us to 1896 and Swedish researcher Svante Arrhenius. He became the first person (that I know of) to make predictions about how much the Earth temperature would change as we add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The title of his work, “On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground” says it all.
Using measurements of the energy incoming from the moon, Arrhenius showed that changes to trace gases in the atmosphere can dramatically affect the temperature of the planet. He also discussed how gases are able to absorb specific wavelengths of light. Using experimental data from other preceding studies, he predicted global temperatures would rise approximately 5–6C in response to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide.”