Mitt Romney and Global Warming

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It’s no secret that Mitt Romney is accused of being a flip-flopper. I honestly can’t understand why anyone would make the accusation on the issue of Global Warming.

Politico does a reasonable job at fairly portraying Romney’s position on Global Warming. I’m going to try and connect the statements and history into one whole.

This is a short summary of what I understand Romney’s statements to be.

  1. Mitt Romney is not a scientist, and so cannot make statements of scientific fact about Global Warming.
  2. Mitt Romney believes the earth is getting warmer.
  3. Mitt Romney believes that humans contribute to that, although he does not know how much or how little.
  4. Mitt Romney believes that changing human behavior can have an effect on the climate, although how much or how little is not known to him.
  5. Finally, Mitt Romney does not believe that justifies harming the economy in the name of Global Warming.

The conclusions I draw from that are:

  1. Mitt Romney will rely on experts, hopefully from both sides, to find the best solution to everyone’s problems.
  2. Mitt Romney will not ignore the economic impact of his decisions regarding Global Warming, and will, in fact, err, heavily, in the favor of the economy.

Now, let’s examine the statements and the facts.

First, when Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he had Massachusetts participate in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Emissions Initiative (RGGEI). Note, carefully, that Romney dropped Massachusetts out of the initiative when it was realized that there would be a massive economy cost and that there would be no opt-out. In fact, Mitt Romney ripped into his representative for the initiative because he failed to represent what was happening and failed to represent Romney’s views.

What do we learn? First, Romney is willing to work with coalitions some people would outright reject. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I say it is a good thing, because it means Romney will have a profound influence in those circles. This is one of the reasons why I strongly support Romney: He is an effective leader! Second,we learn that Romney values the economy more than the possible negative effects of Global Warming, and he values, especially strongly, the role of individual choice.

Now, on to his statements.

In No Apology:

“I believe that climate change is occurring — the reduction in the size of global ice caps is hard to ignore,” he wrote. “I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor. I am uncertain how much of the warming, however, is attributable to man and how much is attributable to factors out of our control.”

No one accused him of flip-flopping when he wrote that.

In June 2011:

“I don’t speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that,” he said. “I can’t prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer.

“No. 2, I believe that humans contribute to that,” Romney continued. “I don’t know how much our contribution is to that, because I know there’s been periods of greater heat and warmth than in the past, but I believe we contribute to that. And so I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and global warming that you’re seeing.”

Is there a flip-flop here? No. This is exactly the same position he had when he signed Massachusetts on to RGGEI, and the same position he had when he took Massachusetts out of RGGEI.

Those people who claim Romney flip-flopped when he issued the June statement have no grounds for their claim.

In August 2011:

“Do I think the world’s getting hotter? Yeah, I don’t know that, but I think that it is,” Romney said in New Hampshire, according to Reuters. “I don’t know if it’s mostly caused by humans.”

No one accused him of flip-flopping between June and August.

Thursday 10/27/2011:

“My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,” the GOP presidential front-runner said Thursday during a fundraiser in Pittsburgh. “And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.”

Again, no flip-flop, although some, like Climate Depot, claim there is.

If anything, Romney’s position on Global Warming is entirely reasonable. Romney is not a trained scientist. He doesn’t know physics like I do, or weather or anything like that. And he can’t be expected to.

He is deferring his knowledge to others. He doesn’t adopt the Gore ideas wholesale, and in fact, he takes a rather middle-of-the-road view of the issue, where he doesn’t have to reject the claims of either side wholesale. I honestly can’t expect more from any layperson, although I would still try to convince them that the Greenhouse Effect is a lie and that we can’t measure whether temperatures are rising or falling at all.

He is putting the economy, and freedom, ahead of science that is certainly not settled. This is the most important attribute I want in my leaders. Heck, even if you believed Al Gore, as long as you believe individual choice and freedom is still more important than the environment, I would support you.

Finally, he knows that he does not know. If he had to, he could investigate and come to a more complete answer. He tells you, with his statements, that he doesn’t know. He is not shy about that. This is humility, a very important attribute in any leader.

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13 Responses to “Mitt Romney and Global Warming”

  1. tensor Says:

    He doesn’t know physics like I do, or weather or anything like that.

    Will you please stop claiming that your denial of global warming has any basis in science? You have already demonstrated that you know nothing about radiative heat transfer, little to nothing about convective heat transfer, and absolutely nothing of any value whatsoever about thermodynamics. The first two are absolutely vital to understanding how energy flows in the earth’s atmosphere, and the last provides a good framework for the others.

    Blame your religion or your god, blame your hard-right ideology, blame your slavish devotion to capitalism; just don’t blame science for your ignorance. And stop pretending to knowledge you clearly do not have; if you really are an engineer, then such pretense is flatly unethical behavior.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      What inspired your tirade is beyond me. Mitt Romney is no scientist, except in the science of making money with corporations on a large scale. There is nothing in his speech that suggest he has anything more than a moderate understanding of the physical sciences. I doubt he will ever take the time to achieve such proficiency.

      Now, I will address your concerns, yet again. You, having been unable to argue with even the most basics of the physics of thermodynamics, unable to read and comprehend the paper that I have cited several times that eliminated all doubts about the Greenhouse Effect being a fraud, have made some serious charges against me, someone who can read the paper and understand it, as well as laugh at your pitiful attempt to understand thermodynamics.

      One, radiative heat transfer and convective heat transfer is pointless to investigate. The only property that matters is heat transfer—that is, the sum total of all heat transfer methods, even methods we have not yet discussed, and even heat transfer methods we cannot imagine at this day. The question is simply this: how quickly does heat flow from a warmer body to a cooler body? That is the only question you can ask, and that is the only question you can answer. When talking about the Greenhouse Effect, the answer is supposed to be, “If you add CO2, then the transfer from earth to space slows down.” In other words, “CO2 makes the atmosphere into a better heat insulator.”

      We can measure the insulative effects of any type of matter rather easily, especially in the temperature ranges we are dealing with. And the measurements say, quite simply, that adding CO2 to the atmosphere INCREASES the rate of heat transfer, meaning, if anything, that the world should COOL VERY SLIGHTLY if we very slightly increase the CO2 in the atmosphere. (How we can measure the global temperature, no one has dared say. The closest thing I have seen is the author of the above paper trying to define the temperature at every point on the surface of the earth, a process that MUST be done before you can evaluate what is really going on to any certain degree. As you might guess, the error from doing such estimates is enormous, rendering any conclusion so meaningless it’s a pointless exercise.)

      Every discussion of the Greenhouse Effect COMPLETELY IGNORES THIS. Instead, they begin a discussion of HOW MUCH heat transfer occurs through radiation. In order to analyze this, they examine the absorptive and reflective properties of various gasses at various wavelengths. What they fail to realize is that by simply MEASURING the insulative properties of the gas, they don’t even need to think about the spectroscopic properties of the material; THE MEASUREMENT WILL TAKE THIS INTO ACCOUNT. It will also take into account things that those who teach the Greenhouse Effect conveniently ignore, important things that affect the insulative properties of the material as much or much more greatly than any radiative heat transfer would account for.

      It’s like you’re trying to argue that the bowling ball in my hand doesn’t weight 8 pounds because it has finger holes cut into it. When I place it on a scale, and show that the scale reads 8 pounds, you remain unconvinced! You continue to tell me what the light pressure on the surface of the bowling ball is, and how cutting holes into the surface completely changed that property. Yes, there might be a change, but it’s irrelevant. We can simply weigh the bowling ball and see how much it weighs.

      Capitalism, to me, is the doctrine that people have free will, and should be allowed to express that.I am just as slavishly devoted to capitalism as I am to the doctrine of free will, just as you maintain that people’s free will should be curtailed because they cannot be trusted to act in their best interests.

      I do not blame my religion for anything, nor do I blame my God. These two things are worthy of all praise and honor and glory, not blame. Any blame for anything evil lies directly on the people who chose to do evil.

      I don’t have a hard right-wing ideology, at least not as you understand it. I love freedom, I reject all forms of excessive government, whether it is Nazism or Socialism or in between. Trying to bind me with the Nazis is dishonest.

      I am really an engineer, I do genuinely understand these things (probably better than anyone else in my physics class, although I do not know where I placed on the grading curve for that class). Are you even qualified to make that determination anyway? Tell me, what grade did you get in second-year thermodynamics in your physics education?

      I need no pretense. You can evaluate my statements one by one, and find fault with them or verify them on their own. Whether I said it, or someone else said it, doesn’t affect their truthfulness.

      Your anger is the natural anger at unenlightened mind feels when it has been shown to be wrong. Rather than accept the fact that Global Warming is a massive fraud, you would rather blame me for the uneasiness you feel in your mind. Trust me, it’s much better to be emotionless about these things. Cling only to the truth, and be willing to give up everything you have to live by the truth. Isn’t that what an Atheist is supposed to do?

  2. tensor Says:

    One, radiative heat transfer and convective heat transfer is pointless to investigate. The only property that matters is heat transfer—that is, the sum total of all heat transfer methods, even methods we have not yet discussed, and even heat transfer methods we cannot imagine at this day.

    As no solid material connects the earth to space, we know that conductive heat transfer contributes nothing to the total heat transfer of the earth to or from space. Since events which transfer mass to or from the earth to space are rare (solar flares or massive volcanic eruptions being examples) the net contribution of convective heat transfer is so small we can effectively ignore it. That leaves radiative heat transfer, the main — almost exclusive — way in which energy enters or leaves our biosphere. Therefore, investigation of radiative heat transfer is paramount to understanding our earth’s climate, and of other planets’ climates as well (more on that later).

    Demo kid asked you a very astute question about radiative heat transfer, one which you completely failed to answer correctly. He asked you if heat from the sun, and from the sun alone, could be concentrated to produce a volume hotter than the sun itself. You said it could not, thus revealing what demo kid intended by his question: you understand neither heat, nor radiative heat transfer. Therefore, you cannot possibly understand climate science.

    When talking about the Greenhouse Effect, the answer is supposed to be, “If you add CO2, then the transfer from earth to space slows down.” In other words, “CO2 makes the atmosphere into a better heat insulator.”

    Yes, that is exactly how the theory works. John Tyndall, the scientist who discovered the presence of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, also recognized that this presence made the earth warmer than an atmosphere without carbon dioxide:

    He later speculated on how fluctuations in water vapor and carbon dioxide could be related to climate change. Tyndall related his radiation studies to minimum nighttime temperatures and the formation of dew, correctly noting that dew and frost are caused by a loss of heat through radiative processes. He even considered London as a “heat island,” meaning he thought that the city was warmer than its surrounding areas.

    Now, what do we produce when we burn a fossil fuel? At the very least, we produce heat, water vapor, and carbon dioxide. It takes no great leap of scientific vision to see how such combustion would raise the temperature of our earth.

    And the measurements say, quite simply, that adding CO2 to the atmosphere INCREASES the rate of heat transfer, meaning, if anything, that the world should COOL VERY SLIGHTLY if we very slightly increase the CO2 in the atmosphere.

    This flatly contradicts what the very discoverer of these gasses deduced, knowledge we’ve now verified for a century and a half, ad you offer nothing but undocumented assertion to support your denial of our scientific knowledge.

    There is a planet orbiting the sun, a planet almost the same size as the earth, and which receives only slightly more solar radiation than does the earth. This, of course, is the planet Venus, which also just so happens to have more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than does the earth. What is the surface temperature of the planet Venus?

    How we can measure the global temperature, no one has dared say.

    The same way we measure any other large, aggregate effect: we take a representative sample. Just as we need not survey every voter in a district to know how a district will likely vote, we need not measure the temperature of “every point on the surface of the earth” to measure the overall temperature of the earth. (And if you really did read scientific papers on climate, and did not recognize any description of this, then you did not understand anything you read.)

    It will also take into account things that those who teach the Greenhouse Effect conveniently ignore, important things that affect the insulative properties of the material as much or much more greatly than any radiative heat transfer would account for.

    That you give absolutely no examples of these “important things”, preferring instead to make an analogy to measurement of a bowling ball (!), indicates just how imaginary these “important things” really are.

    (probably better than anyone else in my physics class, although I do not know where I placed on the grading curve for that class).

    Your ability to “know” things even you admit you can have no way of knowing is not really in doubt here.

    Are you even qualified to make that determination anyway? Tell me, what grade did you get in second-year thermodynamics in your physics education?

    After all this time, I can’t say exactly what my grade in this or that engineering class was. I received my undergraduate degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited engineering program, one which required me to pass both basic and applied thermodynamics. My job description involves, in part, testing gas turbine powerplants, so I would say I know a bit about thermodynamics and heat transfer, yes.

    What inspired your tirade is beyond me.

    Then I’ll simply repeat it: “[S]top pretending to knowledge you clearly do not have; if you really are an engineer, then such pretense is flatly unethical behavior.” (Believe it or not, athiest liberals can feel ethical outrage.)

    Again, simply admit that your political ideology or your religion or whatever drives you to your denial, and I’ll happily leave you alone. So long as you continue to insult the great profession of engineering by your claims, I’ll continue to defend it.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      As no solid material connects the earth to space, we know that conductive heat transfer contributes nothing to the total heat transfer of the earth to or from space. …the net contribution of convective heat transfer is so small we can effectively ignore it. That leaves radiative heat transfer, the main — almost exclusive — way in which energy enters or leaves our biosphere.

      Trying to understand the heat transfer between bodies by analyzing each individual method of heat transfer is really, really difficult. Have you ever considered that heat is transferred to space via mass transfer, that is, molecules of gas boiling into deep space, leaving the earth forever?

      But really, it’s a simple matter to determine the heat transfer between here and space: measure it.

      He asked you if heat from the sun, and from the sun alone, could be concentrated to produce a volume hotter than the sun itself. You said it could not, thus revealing what demo kid intended by his question: you understand neither heat, nor radiative heat transfer. Therefore, you cannot possibly understand climate science.

      I am most intrigued by the obvious violation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. I am sure the physics world would be intrigued as well.

      Or, did demokid propose an experiment whereby work was done, thereby validating my statement?

      John Tyndall

      I spent quite some time scouring the internet for references to Tyndall’s work. The best I could do is find a vague reference to his almost 500 page book. What I did discover is that the only way he could measure the radiative absorption, transmission, and emission of a gas was to completely isolate it as best as possible from the effects of conduction and convection.

      Since there is no paper showing how the Greenhouse Effect works, but there is a paper, peer-reviewed, that clearly demonstrates that the Greenhouse Effect, should it exist, would be an obvious violation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, and completely unobserved by any experiment, then I remain, as ever, unconvinced.

      Please, point me to the part of Tyndall’s work that has been peer-reviewed and has withstood 150 years of scientific scrutiny.

      … Venus …

      The so-called Greenhouse Effect observed on Venus and other planets with an atmosphere is simply explained by gravity. Venus has a much denser atmosphere than earth, and at the ground level, that means a dramatic increase in pressure. If you do the math, you can account for the temperature difference solely on that measure alone. There is no need to invent the imaginary Greenhouse Effect to explain why Venus is hot and Mars is cold.

      Again, simply admit that your political ideology or your religion or whatever drives you to your denial

      What drives my denial is my religious and ethical and political urge to state the truth: The Greenhouse Effect doesn’t exist, Global Warming is not an issue, and there are a large group of so-called scientists fueling the Global Warming movement out of ignorance or greed, to the detriment of our society.

      When you can demonstrate, using clear scientific principles, that I am incorrect, I will happily jump on the Global Warming bandwagon. The fact remains that you cannot, because Global Warming is not based on science, but speculation and hypotheses.

      If you are so educated that you understand thermodynamics, tell me, please, where can I find the paper on the Greenhouse Effect? What is wrong with this paper cited here: http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2009/11/greenhouse-gas-theory-violates-2nd-law.html

  3. tensor Says:

    Trying to understand the heat transfer between bodies by analyzing each individual method of heat transfer is really, really difficult.

    Maybe so, maybe not, but that’s the only way to do it.

    Have you ever considered that heat is transferred to space via mass transfer, that is, molecules of gas boiling into deep space, leaving the earth forever?

    Have you ever considered that claims require evidence?

    But, assuming for the sake of argument that this particular claim of your actually turns out to have some connection to reality, we notice that we can still breathe. Therefore, either your claimed method of convective heat transfer works really, really slowly, or the earth’s atmosphere has some reliable method of replenishment, or both. In the first and last cases we can probably ignore this effect, and in the case of replenishment, the replacing molecules will bring their own heat into the atmosphere, reducing, eliminating, or reversing the next heat transfer caused by the loss of molecules.

    But really, it’s a simple matter to determine the heat transfer between here and space: measure it.

    Such a measurement would face the same problems you earlier attributed to measuring the temperature of the surface of the earth, so why is one measurement impossible, and the other “simple”?

    I am most intrigued by the obvious violation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

    Whatever else it may be, The Second Law of Thermodynamics is *not* a “Get Out of Evidence Free” trump-card against any scientific fact you may find to be an inconvenient truth. I am most intrigued by your failure to understand this.

    I am sure the physics world would be intrigued as well.

    Assuming they continued to pay you any mind at all, after you have repeatedly slandered scientists as fraudsters and liars. Or made statements such as:

    Heat is not a real energy expressed in microscopic terms. Heat is an imaginary energy that sums up all of the interactions between two systems.

    And, for the absolute proof that you understand nothing about thermodynamics:

    This energy that becomes entropy is irrecoverable.

    The First Law of Thermodynamics is a corollary of the Law of Conservation of Energy: Energy cannot be created nor destroyed; it can only change form. Energy cannot become entropy because entropy is not energy. A single particle, in isolation from the rest of the universe, has some energy associated with it; so long as it does not interact meaningfully with the rest of the universe, the concept of entropy does not apply.

    Venus has a much denser atmosphere than earth, and at the ground level, that means a dramatic increase in pressure. If you do the math, you can account for the temperature difference solely on that measure alone. There is no need to invent the imaginary Greenhouse Effect to explain why Venus is hot and Mars is cold.

    Although you did not, in fact, do any math, nor did you answer the question about the surface temperature of of the planet Venus, you did admit (albeit without the honesty of doing so directly) that an atmosphere with more carbon dioxide will result in a higher surface temperature than an atmosphere with a lower amount of carbon dioxide. Now, have humans been doing anything over the last 250 years or so to increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere? If so, and if we continue doing it, what will happen to the surface temperature of the earth, according to your assertion?

    I spent quite some time scouring the internet for references to Tyndall’s work. The best I could do is find a vague reference to his almost 500 page book.

    A Google search for “John Tyndall” returned “[a]bout 494,000 results (0.17 seconds)”, so perhaps you need a better brand of internet scouring powder?

    (Of the may books attributed to John Tyndall on Amazon.com is his biography of his friend and fellow-scientist, Michael Faraday. I find it most amusing a self-described expert on electrodynamics missed that book.)

    Since there is no paper showing how the Greenhouse Effect works,

    It was one of the may works John Tyndall published, but that you completely failed to find with your scouring.

    Please, point me to the part of Tyndall’s work that has been peer-reviewed and has withstood 150 years of scientific scrutiny.

    Tyndall’s work on that topic was accepted by the Royal Institute, then staffed by (among others) Michael Faraday, so it was “peer-reviewed” by the standards of that day.

    Meanwhile, we have gas chromatography and spectroscopy, neither of which would work if Tyndall’s conclusions had been fundamentally flawed.

    When you can demonstrate, using clear scientific principles, that I am incorrect, I will happily jump on the Global Warming bandwagon. The fact remains that you cannot, because Global Warming is not based on science, but speculation and hypotheses.

    Actually, it’s your job to show you are correct, and so far you have failed to do so. Since Tyndall’s work on diffraction scattering of sunlight in the upper atmosphere, Newton’s works, and those of Galileo, have not been “peer-reviewed” in the modern definition of that term, can we assume you won’t be jumping on the Blue Sky, Gravity, or Heliocentric bandwagons anytime soon?

    Finally, please tell us in which scientific journals the paper you linked was “peer-reviewed”.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Please, provide a reference to Tyndall’s paper.

      Second, energy is created or destroyed all the time, at least as you’re describing it. For instance, when you throw a ball in the air, its kinetic energy gradually decreases to 0. Of course, you’re going to claim the energy is changed into potential energy, which it is. So what about the energy in a car accident? The lost kinetic energy shows up in plastic deformations, or the forces needed to shape the cars with their newly deformed shape.

      Entropy is like that, in a way. The property of Entropy has units of energy/temperature. The effect of entropy is that it must increase over time, meaning, energy gradually converts into entropy, which cannot be converted back into useful work. That’s why when you spin your cup of water with a spoon, it gradually slows down. Good luck trying to get that cup of water to spin your spoon back!

      I find it surprising that the only references to global warming are childish textbook descriptions, or footnotes to papers.

      The one paper I find that is scientifically vigorous and peer-reviewed demonstrates clearly the the Greenhouse Effect cannot exist, because it would be like having a cup of water spin your spoon.

      The many, many discussions of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and the Greenhouse Effect I have read all demonstrate that those who insist the Greenhouse Effect do not violate the 2nd Law do not understand the 2nd Law. They do not understand the larger concepts of energy and heat and temperature, Trust me, the thermodynamics course is the course where potential budding physicists are washed out to astrophysics because it is hard to get right. Even physicists of great reputation make mistakes often. The easiest way to get published is to examine a proposed theory that is gaining respect and examine it closely in terms of thermodynamics, and then uncovering a violation of the 2nd Law. This can be years or even decades before someone can do it, because the 2nd Law is not intuitive and is not easy.

      The way Greenhouse Effect advocates go about their business, talking about radiation or whatnot, is the exact wrong way to go about it. It’s like an accountant trying to determine what the balance of your bank account is given only a few receipts in your wallet, none of which contain the balance. The correct and only way to measure these things is to pull out a thermometer and start taking temperatures and measuring pressures and volumes and masses. Unfortunately, you can’t take the temperature of the earth, since the earth is not at equilibrium with its environment. The science of dynamic thermodynamics is even less well understood than the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. The only attempts at doing a proper examination of these processes are done in the paper I mentioned above and the rebuttal to the rebuttal. As has been shown multiple times, the math is not solvable, not by any approach, and simulations cannot even begin to approach a solution to the problems posed by weather and climate.

      I can’t expect Romney to know or even understand this. Heck, you are even getting it wrong, and you are trained as an engineer, and have a lot more familiarity with the 2nd Law than most people.

  4. tensor Says:

    Please, provide a reference to Tyndall’s paper.

    Physics Daily’s web site notes:

    For the substantial publication of these researches reference must be made to the Transactions of the Royal Society; but an account of many of them was incorporated in his best-known books, namely, the famous Heat as a Mode of Motion (1863; and later editions to 1880), the first popular exposition of the mechanical theory of heat, which in 1862 had not reached the textbooks; The Forms of Water, &c. (1872); Lectures on Light (1873); Floating Matter in the Air (1881); On Sound (1867; revised 1875, 1883, 1803). The original memoirs themselves on radiant heat and on magnetism were collected and issued as two large volumes under the following titles: Diamagnetism and Magne-crystallic Action (1870); Contributions to Molecular Physics in the Domain of Radiant Heat (1872).

    So, I suggest you begin with the “Transactions of the Royal Society”, or “Heat as a Mode of Motion”.

    Second, energy is created or destroyed all the time, at least as you’re describing it.

    I explicitly quoted the Law of Conservation of Energy, which states flatly that energy can never be created nor destroyed.

    The effect of entropy is that it must increase over time…

    The entropy of a closed system will tend to a maximum over time; this is one of the standard formulations of The Second Law of Thermodynamics. If the system is not closed — that is, if it has energy inputs and outputs, like the earth’s atmosphere — then the entropy within the system need not increase over time.

    … energy gradually converts into entropy,

    Energy can never convert into anything other than another form of energy. And, as you just noted, entropy has units of energy/temperature, which means it is not energy. Therefore, energy cannot “convert” into entropy. If you want anyone to believe your pronouncements on The Second Law of Thermodynamics, you might want to avoid making statements which flatly contradict The First Law of Thermodynamics.

    That’s why when you spin your cup of water with a spoon, it gradually slows down.

    The organized mechanical energy of the water, imparted by the spoon, becomes disorganized energy of the water, from the viscous effect of the water, and maybe friction of the water with the side(s) of the cup. If you measure the temperature of the water very carefully, you will note a rise in temperature. The low-entropy bulk kinetic energy of the water has become the higher-entropy heat energy of the water. Entropy has increased; energy has not changed.

    I find it surprising that the only references to global warming are childish textbook descriptions, or footnotes to papers.

    Since you could not find much information on John Tyndall, a scientist, lecturer, mountaineer, and biographer of Michael Faraday, your failure to find other information on the subject in which you claim expertise should not qualify as “surprising.”

    The one paper I find that is scientifically vigorous and peer-reviewed…

    So I ask again: in which journals was it “peer-reviewed”?

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      We’re getting closer to something specific enough that we can actually have a reasonable discussion.

      The International Journal of Modern Physics published the paper. They have strict requirements for peer review, much stricter than the shadow-puppet game of peer review that the climate science folks used throughout the 90’s.

      The closed system we are considering is not a system including the earth; it includes at least the earth and the sun. Most people who seriously discuss the Greenhouse Effect in sufficient detail to do a rigorous analysis of it leave out space (T of 2K).

      Now that we’re getting closer, perhaps you can tell me which Greenhouse Effect you believe in. See, in that paper, he goes through all of them, at least all of them in print that could be considered scientific.

      You are welcome to falsify any of the statements made in that paper.

      There was a poor excuse of a rebuttal made by Smith of the APS. He was politely taken to the back of the barnyard and roundly excoriated for his mathematical inconsistencies and contradictions by Kramm, Dlugi, and Zelger in a comment to his rebuttal.

      As it stands, there is no standard explanation of the Greenhouse Effect that satisfies any physical principles. You are attempts have been rather pathetic, but I’ve entertained them nonetheless.

      If you wish, I can continue to tutor you in thermodynamics.

      I find it fascinating that entropy has been consistently ignored both by you and most climate scientists. This is a phenomena that was introduced to satisfy observations that apparently contradicted the law of conservation of energy, if you recall the history. See, when energy was added to substances, some of the energy would become no longer available for mechanical work through any means. The energy balance pulled into this property tended to increase over time, and so then 2nd Law of Thermodynamics was born.

      If CO2 has the magical properties Greenhouse Effect advocates propose, then it would be almost trivial to build a perpetual machine. All you have to do is put the CO2 between the cold side and the hot side, allowing us to extract work in the meantime. Why no such machine has not been constructed yet, assuming the Greenhouse Effect is real, is proof positive that there is no Greenhouse Effect. Those who understand the consequences of the 2nd Law, including the vast majority of the physicists familiar with thermodynamics, would be able to immediately seize on the moment, even if you don’t understand how it could be done.

      The measured properties of CO2 show that it behaves much like every other gas. If you want to see what doubling the concentration of CO2 does to the atmosphere, turn to the original paper and look at Table 7. The physics is laid out in precise detail, and the authors explain it rather well to anyone who has a mathematical understanding of physics.

      There really is no argument beyond that. We’ve measured CO2, found it not to be a magical substance, and documented its thermodynamic properties in excruciating detail. The Greenhouse Effect doesn’t exist according to actual measurements in controlled circumstances by people who truly understand the nature of thermodynamics, better than you or I ever will. There is no arguing this point, unless you can show the measurements were flawed in some way.

      Another definitive resolution of the Greenhouse Effect was demonstrated by Wood in a simple experiment he performed in 1909. Ever since then, repeated examinations of the simple experiment have confirmed what Wood saw, again contradicting every claim of the Greenhouse Effect.

      The Global Warming movement has no scientific legs to stand on. They have yet to produce any accurate measurements of the earth’s temperature going back more than a few years. They have never based any of their science on the first principles of physics, and have never met the scientific rigor that is required when dealing with fluid dynamics and thermodynamics. In fact, as the original paper shows, they never will be able to do so, barring some breakthrough in mathematics that allows us to solve differential equations far more complicated than anything we can hope to solve. Climate science doesn’t exist. It is climate speculation at best, climate fraud at worst. They have even been exposed as scientists of the worst sort, manipulating data, holding data back when it contradicts their intended political message, colluding with other non-scientists to generate the results they want, and using every political trick in the book to appear as legitimate when they are, in fact, anything but.

      If my language seems odd, it is because I spent the better part of last week reading several papers, the original sources, and working out the math in between. I can’t find anything wrong with the original paper, although I have found several mistakes in the rebuttal, mistakes that makes me wonder who allowed it to be published in the first place.

  5. tensor Says:

    Most people who seriously discuss the Greenhouse Effect in sufficient detail to do a rigorous analysis of it leave out space (T of 2K).

    Tyndall noted that the earth cools at night. Since you missed it, he was claiming (correctly) that the earth radiates heat away into space. Atmospheric carbon dioxide and water vapor insulate the earth somewhat, by capturing radiated heat.

    (As for “most people”, please show us your survey of the literature.)

    You are welcome to falsify any of the statements made in that paper.

    Sure. Let’s start at the top. Here’s the very first sentence:

    The atmospheric greenhouse effect, an idea that many authors trace back to the traditional works of Fourier (1824), Tyndall (1861), and Arrhenius (1896), and which is still supported in global climatology, essentially describes a fictitious mechanism, in which a planetary atmosphere acts as a heat pump driven by an environment that is radiatively interacting with but radiatively equilibrated to the atmospheric system.

    Absolutely false. There is nothing in greenhouse theory which requires the earth’s atmosphere to act as a “heat pump”. Tyndall simply noted the radiative insulation provided by water vapor and carbon dioxide. These authors have gone into the kitchen, pointed at the passive insulation in the casing of the oven, and declared that it’s the powered apparatus which makes the refrigerator work. Totally wrong.

    You also believe that Table 7 says something about the radiative properties of atmospheric gasses. You are wrong:

    The calculation of the isochoric thermal diffusivity av = λ/(ϱ cv ) of the air…

    That’s a reference (albeit obscure and confusing, perhaps intentionally) to the conductivity of the atmospheric gasses in the table. Conductivity is not a major contributor to the greenhouse effect, as the table correctly shows. We need to look at the radiative properties of the gasses, not their conductive properties. Your failure to distinguish between the different modes of heat transfer has really hurt you here.

    I find it fascinating that entropy has been consistently ignored both by you and most climate scientists.

    I didn’t ignore it. I explained a while ago why it is not relevant:

    But note carefully: the Second Law applies only to a closed system. If the system is constantly receiving (or losing) energy to the outside universe, then the Second Law merely requires the entire universe to undergo an increase in entropy. The local system can see a constant decrease in entropy, so long as the universe records an increase in entropy.

    If CO2 has the magical properties Greenhouse Effect advocates propose, then it would be almost trivial to build a perpetual machine.

    You’re the only one claiming that insulation is magical.

    All you have to do is put the CO2 between the cold side and the hot side, allowing us to extract work in the meantime.

    Putting an insulator into the works of a heat engine decreases the engine’s efficiency. You may as well argue that you will increase the efficiency of a high-ampere circuit by putting a large resistor in series within it.

    Those who understand the consequences of the 2nd Law, including the vast majority of the physicists familiar with thermodynamics, would be able to immediately seize on the moment, even if you don’t understand how it could be done.

    Water vapor has the same insulative properties as carbon dioxide, and we’ve used water in heat engines for a long time, without creating a perpetuum mobile.

    This is a phenomena that was introduced to satisfy observations that apparently contradicted the law of conservation of energy, if you recall the history. See, when energy was added to substances, some of the energy would become no longer available for mechanical work through any means. The energy balance pulled into this property tended to increase over time, and so then 2nd Law of Thermodynamics was born.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. When water was heated into steam, some of the heat energy could be removed as work, e.g. the turning of a shaft, or movement of a piston. Absent entropy, it would be possible to turn all of the heat into work. The Second Law explains why this cannot happen. This has nothing to do with the First Law, which covers conservation of energy. You really don’t know anything about thermodynamics, do you?

    As it stands, there is no standard explanation of the Greenhouse Effect that satisfies any physical principles.

    Just because you cannot understand Tyndall’s work on these physical principles — heck, you can’t even FIND Tyndall’s work on your own! — does not mean they do not exist.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      OK, then how come, when we measure the insulative effects of CO2, the thermal conductivity, that it shows no significant difference from any other gas? I mean, if CO2 were reflecting heat back to the earth, then we’d see it do it in experiments, right? We could measure how important this effect was for CO2, and we could quantify with extreme precision what doubling the CO2 in our atmosphere would do. Of course, he shows, very carefully, that if you want a significant change in the thermodynamic properties of the atmosphere, that the conductive properties of CO2 would have to be very much different from other gasses, and he shows that this is obviously not the case, so the statements about the Greenhouse Effect are absurd if you simply rely on measurements of reality.

      You’re really grasping at straws here. You disagree with the thesis of the paper but have done little to disprove it except assert it’s not true. That’s not how science is done. Either you have to disprove that the thesis is incorrect with an experiment to show it, or you have to show how he misapplied the principles of logic to arrive at his thesis given the assumptions he made, or you have to show how his assumptions are incorrect.

      As it is, he does a brilliant job attacking all the assumptions and logical conclusions of every reliable statement he could find on the Greenhouse Effect. (Reliable meaning it could be considered a scientific statement because it was published.)

      Go on, read the paper and show me where he went wrong.

  6. tensor Says:

    …when we measure the insulative effects of CO2, the thermal conductivity, that it shows no significant difference from any other gas? I mean, if CO2 were reflecting heat back to the earth…

    Do you understand that conduction differs from radiation, and that these two methods of heat transfer have little in common? Yes, dry and still air is a very poor conductor of heat; we use it for insulation against heat conduction all of the time. That’s not relevant here, because we’re talking about radiation. (Also, note that we are talking about absorption and radiation of heat, not simple reflection. Those are different properties.)

    Go on, read the paper and show me where he went wrong.

    Again, not a difficult thing to read the paper and see the basic error. (Convincing you of the error, now that’s probably impossible, if past experience is any guide.)

    Figure 32 in the paper shows heat transferring from the stratosphere to the earth, with no net energy input to drive the heat from the cooler stratosphere to the warmer earth. The authors use this as an example of an impossibility, a perpetuum mobile, which it is. But that is the result of their error: they do not show the (much larger) flow of heat from the warmer earth to the cooler stratosphere! They are claiming that heat, for some reason, is not naturally flowing from hot to cold! Faced with the Inconvenient (and obvious!) Truth of the warmer earth heating the cooler atmosphere, they simply throw it down the Memory Hole, and hope that no one notices. While this may fool persons with little understanding of thermodynamics (or basic physics), those of us who know thermodynamics know the Laws thereof always apply to an entire system, not just to arbitrarily chosen parts. They might as well just claim that all continents must eventually become deserts, because rivers keep flowing to the sea; since water cannot flow uphill without pumping, the interior of the continent has no way of replenishing the water, right? Oh, sure, some corrupt ‘climate scientists’ may claim that the sun provides the energy to lift the water from the sea to the interior of the continent, but that just shows how foolish those so-called scientists are: they don’t know the difference between heat, which the sun does provide, and energy, which it does not!

    You disagree with the thesis of the paper but have done little to disprove it except assert it’s not true.

    Tyndall never claimed the atmosphere was transferring heat to the earth without heat input from the earth; he claimed that certain atmospheric gasses absorb and radiate some of the heat they obtain from the earth, and he correctly noted this keeps the earth warmer at night than it would without carbon dioxide and water vapor in the atmosphere. Tyndall described an insulator, not a heat pump. (That an insulator differs in method and complexity from a heat pump is not a matter which should require explanation — especially not to a self-proclaimed expert on thermodynamics, someone who believes himself qualified to lecture other persons on the topic.)

    Either you have to disprove that the thesis is incorrect…

    No, the persons making the claim have to prove it is correct. The rest of us do not need to “disprove” anything. All we critics need do is to cast sufficient doubt upon their claim. (By the way, what is the basis for your claim that this paper was “peer-reviewed”? Where on the site does it claim this paper — or any paper published there — was “peer-reviewed”?)

    Now that the central claim of the only paper you have cited — that the Greenhouse Effect requires a heat pump — has been shown to be false, can you please dispense with your claim that your beliefs about climate change have any basis in science?

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      I’m going to ignore your first paragraph, because I can’t understand what you are trying to say. Of course conduction is not radiation, and radiation is only one of many methods of heat transfer. Again and again, I have showed that I do not discount radiation, that radiation is a heat transfer method, and we can measure the amount of heat transfer between two bodies and accurately account for radiation as part of that. When you do such measurements, you see that CO2 does not show significant difference from any other gas.

      Your notes about figure 32: You never ever draw heat diagrams with heat flowing in opposite directions. You can only talk about the net heat flow, which this diagram properly illustrates. Your idea that there are two simultaneous and competing heat flows shows a gross misunderstanding of heat. The idea that heat can be reflected is patently absurd because of this. That’s what they are demonstrating there. The rest of your argument is very difficult to understand. Perhaps you should try explaining it in simpler terms?

      Without a reference to review Tyndall’s work, I can’t conclude whether your representation is correct. I don’t understand what relevance that has to the argument.

      Gerlich and Tscheuschner have done a brilliant job not only proving that the Greenhouse Effect cannot exist, but documenting that it does not exist in scientific literature. They then thoroughly and roundly debunk all references to the Greenhouse Effect in literature that is not even considered scientific, such as textbooks and reports. If anything, it is now in the Greenhouse Effect supporter’s camp to show me, the reader, where the Greenhouse Effect is documented, and where it is demonstrated to be an effect.

      I can’t tell what your final argument means. Again, more precise language, more specific facts, and a simpler explanation of your reasoning is required.

  7. tensor Says:

    Of course conduction is not radiation, and radiation is only one of many methods of heat transfer.

    Then why are you referring to thermal conductivity of atmospheric gasses as having relevance to radiative properties of atmospheric gasses?

    …radiation is a heat transfer method, and we can measure the amount of heat transfer between two bodies and accurately account for radiation as part of that. When you do such measurements, you see that CO2 does not show significant difference from any other gas.

    Table 7 has nothing to do with radiative heat transfer. It lists the conductive properties of the atmospheric gasses. Tydall found that carbon dioxide and water vapor have different radiative properties than do oxygen and nitrogen. Again, do you understand that radiative heat transfer differs from conductive heat transfer?

    Your notes about figure 32: You never ever draw heat diagrams with heat flowing in opposite directions. You can only talk about the net heat flow, which this diagram properly illustrates.

    Wrong. Are you seriously suggesting that heat does not naturally flow from the warmer earth to the colder atmosphere? The net heat flow is from the warmer earth to the colder atmosphere. Via radiation, heat can flow in both directions, but the net heat transfer will be from warmer to colder.

    The idea that heat can be reflected is patently absurd because of this.

    Then how can a building reduce heat load by reflecting heat from the sun?

    I can’t tell what your final argument means. Again, more precise language, more specific facts, and a simpler explanation of your reasoning is required.

    Do you understand the difference between an insulator and a heat pump? Because if you do not, you cannot understand the point the authors of this paper are trying to make.

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