The talk began with a quick look at basic greenhouse physics, something we almost never see. I have been on this beat for 30 years and still learned stuff. For example that the greenhouse effect depends entirely on the way Earth’s temperatures vary with altitude. First it gets colder as you go up, then warmer. Then colder again, then warmer. Happer says that if the atmospheric temperature were the same at all altitudes, adding or removing greenhouse gases would have no effect on radiation to space (cooling) at all!
Flagstaff at 2 km averages about 20 °F colder than Phoenix at 0 km (lapse rate)
Clearly the greenhouse effect is far more complex than just “trapping heat” as the alarmists like to put it. It also turns out that vibrating or rotating greenhouse molecules must produce vibrating or rotating “electric dipole moments,” separated positive and negative charge centers. I did not know that either. Professors Happer and William van Wijngaarden have conducted breakthrough research on the degree of radiation saturation in the major greenhouse gasses, including water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.
On the agricultural side, Professor Happer estimates there are something like 1.5 billion cattle, 1.1 billion sheep and 0.9 billion goats in the world. That is a lot of witches! If you add in the many species of wild animals there may be nearly as many ruminants as humans. These are not numbers we want to make smaller due to climate-change hysteria. Ruminants are fundamental to human wellbeing.
As he points out, there is also the crucial fact that increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) increases plant productivity. Thus sensible agricultural policy should want more CO2, not less. We are actually in a carbon dioxide “famine” with levels over geological history typically running over 1,000 ppm. The recent increase to 400 ppm is a blessing, not a problem. More CO2 is better.
Compared to the levels of CO2 that prevailed since the Cambrian, we have been in a CO2 famine
in recent geological times.
Professor Happer’s agricultural policy message is clear. Increasing methane and nitrous oxide is harmless, while increasing carbon dioxide is actually beneficial. Draconian policies aimed at reducing emissions of these gases are a witch hunt driven by climate change hysteria.
You can view his entire talk here: