A tip-off from G, whose habit of trawling the dark and smelly places of the web hauled up Common sense on global warming from the deeps where it had been deservedly sunk. The follow-up A dilettante debates the scientists is amusing too, as the self-described “autodidact, polymath, and armchair philosopher” sets to work demolishing himself (the “twin paradox” section is wonderful).
Most of the post is an appeal to the “dumb america” fallacy (I ought to hat-tip someone for this, but can’t remember where I got it from – please remind me someone): the idea that while all those scientists may have degrees and big computers and spent years studying the subject, they simply don’t have any common sense and so you, Mr or Mrs Joe, can work out what is going wrong by applying a “smell test”.
And how does the post itself fare on a “smell test”? It leads off, instead of with facts, by presenting us with the opinions of someone unknown. And why should we trust them? Aha, because they were “once an enthusiastic environmentalist” but have now seen the light (not one on Tim Lamberts global warming bingo, but perhaps should be…)
Next, the near-obligatory Allegedly, the meteorologists were nearly unanimous in their predictions of global cooling. Well, no, this just isn’t true: see my page and/or follow the links (via “new visitors”) to the wikipedia or RealClimate pages.
After a few more irrelevencies aimed at slanting the discussion in the Readers mind, Hutchinson continues with a truely astonishing disply of ignorance: Although neither nitrogen or oxygen has an influence on the greenhouse effect, for some reason CO2 is assumed by environmentalists to influence the greenhouse effect so as to cause global warming. We are all waiting for an explanation of how CO2 differs from nitrogen and oxygen in its influence on the greenhouse effect. Um, well, I know the answer? Do you? Pause for a moment and try to work it out.
The answer is given right up front at wiki:Greenhouse Gas so its rather odd that H has failed to find it: its because O2 and N2 are diatomic, so don’t absorb in the infra red. Getting this wrong is so stupid it doesn’t even make it onto TLs list either… (and lest any of my readers not have known the answer, and think I’m getting at them… no: there’s nothing wrong with not knowing the answer; there is everything wrong with not knowing, but presuming to prate about it in public). Googles #3 hit for greenhouse effect (here) also explains this, but as far as I can see #’s 1 & 2 don’t so maybe H stopped his “research” a bit early.
Next, some twaddle, ended by …contrary to the warnings of the global warming Cassandras. So we can add ignorance of classical myths to his sins: he is apparently unaware that Cassandra was correct but ignored.
The global warming theorists are worried about a runaway greenhouse…. No, not a mainstream prediction at all. Has H read *any* of the research? Probably not.
An inane section on the GHE, apparently blaming it all on clouds (and making the common mistake of thinking that the atmospheric GHE and the thing that keeps real greenhouses warm are the same – they aren’t: greenhouses work primarily by confining the layer of warmed air).
But enough nonsense. If you actually want some links that explain stuff, then:
are a good start.
[Small update: ER points out in the comments Homonuclear diatomic. Heteronuclear diatomics such as CO or HCl absorb IR fiercely. I think he’s right; I’d better update the wiki page (why didn’t ER, eh eh?) -W]