Message for all Americans

Message for all Americans

Two facts are of vital importance for all Americans to understand as we enter 2021.

  1. Scientists have established that the five most abundant greenhouse gasses will not significantly increase temperatures if they double from current levels.
  2. Even if greenhouse gasses were threats, it’s impossible to eliminate fossil fuels using any currently available technology.

Here is the evidence:

  1. For effect on temperatures by five GHG:

This important paper on climate change is titled, Dependence of Earth’s Thermal Radiation on Five Most Abundant Greenhouse Gases.

Here is the curve establishing that a doubling of CO2 will have only a slight effect on temperature rise. There is no threat when temperatures don’t rise dramatically with a doubling of CO2.

Dr. Happer’s chart showing effect on temperature with a doubling of atmospheric CO2. Circle highlights CO2 400 ppm (in black) and 800 ppm (in red).

This explanation of the curve for CO2 is equally applicable to the curve for CH4.

“The sawtooth curve shows the actual heat loss through the Earth’s atmosphere for each frequency, where the percentages of CO2 are 0 ppm, (in green), 400 ppm (in black) and 800 ppm (in red). The sawtooth curve is known as the Schwarzschild curve. (The heat loss for all other compounds are for conditions as they exist today.)”

Of particular importance are the circled, red and black, CO2 curves.

These two curves, highlighted by the circle, are virtually the same, indicating that heat loss is nearly unchanged after doubling CO2 from 400 to 800 ppm.

The paper by Happer and Wijngaarden establishing these conclusions is available at https://bit.ly/3mpTNwh

This saturation effect is thoroughly explained by both The Science & Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) and Dr. Wojick

Here is a link to Dr. Wojick’s explanation of the Happer – Wijngaarden paper:

Link: https://bit.ly/36dNCpy 

Here is SEPP comment re saturation:

“The earth is cooled by outgoing infrared radiation, which has a longer wavelength than visible light. Greenhouse gases interfere with infrared radiation by absorbing and re-emitting photons at particularly wavelengths. Expressed simply, as the concentration of a specific greenhouse gas, CO2, increases, its effectiveness diminishes. In other words, as the amount of CO2 increases, its ability to further increase temperatures decreases. 

Here are links to two SEPP articles which include additional commentary on the Happer – Wijngaarden paper:

October 31, 2020: https://bit.ly/2KLoD4w

November 7, 2020: https://bit.ly/37iPE7b 

What does this mean for fossil fuels and global warming or Climate Change?

Dr. Wojick’s conclusion best describes the importance of the Happer – Wijngaarden paper.

In plain language, this means that from now on our emissions from burning fossil fuels could have little or no further impact on global warming. There would be no climate emergency.  No threat at all. We could emit as much CO2 as we like; with no effect.

For completeness, here is the curve for Methane, CH4:

Graph for CH4 from W. Happer’s press briefing, Madrid, Spain, December 2019

As the title of the Happer – Wijngaarden paper infers, there is no existential climate threat from greenhouse gasses.

2. For why it’s impossible to eliminate fossil fuels:

Germany has demonstrated how difficult it is to eliminate fossil fuels. It has spent billions of dollars trying to do so, yet, since 1990 Germany has only reduced its CO2 emissions by 31%. One-third of those reductions were unrelated to Germany’s Energiewende program to cut CO2 emissions, and were due to the reunification of Germany with the closing of East Germany’s inefficient industries.

Germany has essentially admitted it cannot eliminate fossil fuels when it established a new program to create a hydrogen economy, i.e., 50% hydrogen for Europe a Manifesto.

But producing hydrogen by electrolysis, splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen, requires a huge amount of electricity. And this electricity must be green, i.e, generated by renewables. The 50% hydrogen for Europe Manifesto, admits it’s impossible for Europe to generate enough electricity from renewables to produce the needed hydrogen, saying the hydrogen must come from outside of Europe.

There are other problems with using hydrogen. It requires new pipelines because existing pipelines will experience cracks from embrittlement when the pipeline contains more than 20% hydrogen. Transporting hydrogen, other than by pipeline, requires liquefaction which consumes more than 30% of its energy content, and is expensive.

Germany’s experience signals it’s impossible to eliminate fossil fuels, but other highly problematic programs have also been put forward as essential if fossil fuels are to be eliminated.

For example, here a few other virtually impossible programs that must be achieved worldwide if fossil fuels are to be eliminated:

All electricity must be generated by renewables, such as wind and solar. (Wind and solar are intermittent and require huge amounts of storage. It’s doubtful enough storage can be built to permit relying solely on wind and solar. The required amount of storage is also astronomically expensive and, when using batteries, will vastly increase the need for batteries. The amount of electricity required for all the necessary applications, e.g., hydrogen, BEVs, and the various grids around the world, defies imagination.)

Reengineering all housing stock to provide insulation that prevents most heat loss. (Technically doubtful and astronomically costly.)

All transportation, including airplanes, must either use electricity or hydrogen. (Generating enough green electricity to (1) eliminate using coal and natural gas, (2) produce huge quantities of green hydrogen, and (3) also sufficient electricity to charge the batteries of over one-billion BEVs, is virtually impossible. For example, If the 250 million light vehicle in the US were BEVs, it would require using approximately 5 times the electricity generated by the US in 2019.)

All heating and air-conditioning must come from heat pumps or the use of hydrogen. (Not feasible in many areas and very costly.)

Construction of buildings must use renewable materials such as engineered wood. (Using concrete is dependent on unproven carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) because producing cement automatically releases CO2. Producing cement, glass, steel, and other construction materials also requires the use of hydrogen rather than natural gas. Many construction materials, such as PVC pipe, require electricity for their production, adding to the amount of electricity that must be generated by renewables.)

Note that all these objectives must be achieved worldwide by 2050: Only thirty years from now. 

China and India, for example, produce 35% of the world’s CO2 emissions, and must switch to hydrogen for industrial, heavy transportation and other required uses. They must also exclusively use battery-powered light vehicles. The reality is, neither China or India has demonstrated they are willing to close all their coal-fired power plants … and, in fact, are continuing to build them.

Mining all the materials required to achieve the necessary amounts of wind, and solar generation, and the batteries for millions of BEVs over the next thirty years, is also an insurmountable task.

None of this takes into consideration the plight of a billion people who don’t have access to electricity and who will be denied access with efforts to cut CO2 emissions.

Singly, or in combination, the list of “must have” programs, wind energy etc., defies any semblance of achievability.

It’s important to remember that over 85% of all energy currently comes from fossil fuels. Replacing them with renewables or hydrogen, or whatever other idea is put forward, such as solar from space, is impossible.

Climate activists will continue to put forth futuristic ideas, but these must be seen as merely efforts to confuse and obscure the fact that it’s impossible to eliminate fossil fuels.

Conclusion

Two facts are clear:

  1. Scientists have established that greenhouse gasses will not dramatically increase temperatures if they double from current levels.
  2. Even if greenhouse gasses were to be a threat, it’s impossible to eliminate fossil fuels using any currently available technologies.

. . .

 

10 Replies to “Message for all Americans”

  1. Correct.

    A drastic reduction in human well being will result if fossil fuels are replaced with hydrogen.

    Hydrogen is a very dangerous fuel. The H2 molecule is very small and prone to leakage. Any leak is hazardous because the explosive limits of hydrogen in air are 4% to 74% by volume.

    • Thanks for your comment. You are exactly correct. The H2 molecule is small and can leak through various kinds of materials used in pipes and elsewhere. Trying to replace fossil fuels with hydrogen is a fools errand.

  2. Graphs, such as the IR absorption graphs you show, are not good ways to judge changes in the CO2 15 micron band IR absorption. Much better is doing the actual calculation of change in IR absorption with increasing CO2 by using the HITRAN IR absorption data base and calculation models such as MODTRAN. Doing so, one finds that a similar reduction in outgoing IR is produced with each doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration.
    But doubling CO2 is a distorted way of viewing atmospheric CO2 increases. Adding 10ppm new CO2 to an atmospheric containing 40ppm CO2 gives a 25% increase, but adding the same 10 ppm of new CO2 to an atmosphere of 400 ppm gives only a 2.5% increase. This effect accounts for the commonly mentioned log distribution of IR absorption with increasing CO2.

    The Happer – Wijngaarden paper does not deny the basic physics of IR absorption described above, only examine the absorption process in detail.
    The large uncertainty in how much global warming doubling atmospheric CO2 will generate is not contained in the physics of 15 micron band IR absorption, but in various “feedbacks” from any initial temperature rise that also influence global temperature, some upward and some downward. Too many miss that distinction.

    • Donb.
      This will attempt to summarize Dr. Happer’s observations concerning your comments on my article, Message for All Americans. I’ll be quoting him extensively so I will not include quotation marks.

      To begin with, this is not an IR absorption graph but the computed flux at the top of the atmosphere. More than half the flux comes from emission of greenhouse gasses at various altitudes. The zenith intensity at the top of the atmosphere, calculated with the same codes, is calculated in Fig 15 of the Happer and Wijngaarden (WH) paper.  The calculations can hardly be distinguished from satellite observations.

      IR absorption alone is not the issue. Greenhouse gasses both absorb and emit thermal radiation. Emission is just as important as absorption. The figures in the WH paper were calculated by solving the Scwarzschild equation, displayed as eq.(23), which includes both absorption and emission.

      You mention the HITRAN data base, but the WH paper clearly stated that their calculations are based on 1/3 million lines from the HITRAN data base.

      With respect to the doubling of CO2 emissions. There is nothing unusual or distorted about referencing a doubling of CO2 emissions. Both Arrhenius and the IPCC have used a doubling of CO2 as the standard method for measuring warming potential.

      You stated, “This effect accounts for the commonly mentioned log distribution of IR absorption with increasing CO2 .”
      I’ll quote Dr, Happer directly so as not to confuse the issue or make a mistake. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT FORCING INCREMENTS ARE PROPORTIONAL TO CHANGES IN THE LOGARITHM OF THE CO2 CONCENTRATION. AN EXAMPLE IS GIVEN IN TABLE 2 OF WH PAPER.  THE FORCING INCREMENT IN THE CRITIC’S FIRST EXAMPLE WOLD BE LOG2(50/40) = 0.322, IN SOME APPROPRIATE UNIT., THE FORCING INCREMENT IN THE SECOND EXAMPLE WOULD BE LOG2(410/400)=0.036 IN THE SAME UNITS. AS SHOW IN TABLE 2, OTHER GREENHOUSE GASES, H2O, O3, CH4, N20, DO NOT FIT THE LOGARITHMIC LAW AS WELL AS CO2.]

      You also stated, “The Happer – Wijngaarden paper does not deny the basic physics of IR absorption…”
      But as mentioned earlier, both IR absorption and emissions are important, not absorption alone. Since the dependence of atmospheric temperature on altitude is just as important, the WH paper carefully explained its assumptions with respect to temperature and altitude dependencies.

      With respect to feedbacks: The WH paper deals with them extensively. Section 7 is entirely devoted to water vapor feedbacks. Reading that section could answer your concerns on that subject.

      While I had a link in my article to the WH paper, here is another link https://arxiv.org/pdf/2006.03098.pdf

      I hope this feedback to your comments is helpful.

      It was gracious of Dr. Happer to address your comments, and I want to thank him for doing so. Obviously, I can’t lean on him too often for his help.

      • Donn,
        I have No disagreement with Dr. Happer’s explanation that you posted on Jan-12. It is a very nice broad-brush description.

        As I said before, there is little dissention among climate scientists as to the effect of increasing CO2 ALONE. The controversary arises from what feedbacks arise when global temperature is increased (from CO2 or anything else), AND how much temperature change is from natural effects such as insolation flux absorbed, changes in Earth albedo (atmosphere, aerosols, surfaces, etc.), and possibly from variations in deep ocean mixing changing heat exchange between ocean and atmosphere. Atmospheric water (vapor and clouds) emphasized by Happer is a BIG factor, but not the only factor considered.

        Feedback from CO2 warming (i.e. additional warming produced by the initial warming) is often expressed as a CO2 climate sensitivity. Many climate scientists (including the IPCC) define a broad possible range for CO2 sensitivity from possibly near zero (meaning no net feedback warming above warming produced directly from CO2) to very large sensitivity values that suggest significant amplification of any CO2 warming. Too often zealous scientists, some politicians, and the press focus only on the highest value of this range of CO2 sensitivities and preach major warming.
        In my opinion, that is where most uncertainty is located and where detailed attention and criticism ought to be given.

        Happer emphasizes the difference between IR absorption and emission. It is of course the decrease in total IR emission to space, when it occurs from high, cold altitudes and not the surface, that produces a decrease in total outgoing IR energy and thereby causes greenhouse warming. The quantum absorption details are typically determined from absorption measurements and from modeled calculations, I have no disagreement here.

        I apology for accusing you of deleting my earlier post. It was there for a time and then disappeared and I assumed.
        D.

        • No problem.
          Dr. Happer deals with feedbacks in Section 7 of the Happer – Wijngaarden paper. I doubt if he would be saying that the effect of greenhouse gasses were minimal if he believed that feedbacks would exacerbate warming.
          Thanks for your comments.

  3. Donn,
    Your removal of my comment demonstrates that you are only interested in posting ideas that agree with your own, symptomatic of a closed mind. I don’t reside in that world.
    Remove my name from your distribution.

    • I never removed your comments.
      Frankly, I didn’t see them until this morning, when I approved them. (I assume they are what you are referring to.)
      I intend to send your comments to Will Happer to get a response from him, if I can.
      For your information, I have never removed any comment, even those that are obscene.

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