Greenhouse Horse Pucky
THURSDAY OCTOBER 01, 2009
In case we have forgotten our schooldays, heat never goes down, it only ever goes up. Moreover, the actual trapping of heat cannot raise an object's temperature in the first place. It only slows down heat loss. For instance, a polar bear is a living thermos bottle. Its internal body temperature is much the same as ours. The reason polar bears can happily exist in zoos like the in south of France, San Diego and until a few years ago, the Auckland Zoo, is because they are unaffected by outside temperatures. Its surrounding fat and fur are such good insulation - and this is remarkable - a polar bear is virtually invisible to a thermal camera.
Just like coffee in a thermos, you can't tell how hot the inside of a polar bear is by looking at it from the outside. But neither does coffee in a thermos get hotter because its heat is trapped. It just retains its temperature for a longer time. Otherwise, both the polar bear and the thermos would pretty quickly self-ignite. In short, the earth absorbs enough energy from the sun to reach a certain temperature. Since it radiates the same amount, its temperature obviously isn't raised by carbon dioxide absorbing some infrared - for CO2 simply releases that energy at the same pace, as satellites attest. But even if CO2 did trap thermal energy, as insulation does (creating an emission discrepancy that would be quite observable to satellites), the earth's temperature could go no higher than what it began with. To repeat, coffee doesn't get hotter in a thermos.
Even on special websites for children, the message is that the greenhouse effect is "caused by gases in our atmosphere (especially water vapour, carbon dioxide and methane). They trap energy from the sun's light and reflect it back to Earth, so we just keep on getting warmer." Given that heat does not go down, then all we are talking about is reflection, then it is a preposterous lie to scare them into thinking some reflection is dangerous. You might as well believe that your image in a mirror can burn your face. It is palpably absurd, and yet it is the theory that the IPCC, NIWA, Greenpeace and our polticians continue to try to foist on the public so they can prise more taxes from a gullible public, already made poorer by overtaxed fuel charges and inflated energy prices that deliver big dividends to shareholders. So much for caring governments.
Neither is the world anything like a greenhouse, because heat from near its surface can freely escape into space anytime. There are no walls to trap it within. So when will commonsense and what the late Augie Auer used to call basic ‘kitchen science’ prevail?