The Obama Administration, through the EPA, is prepared to use the Clean Air Act to enforce mind-numbingly strict regulations upon all elements of our economy which depend upon the burning of carbon-based fuels (story link). While EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is quick to point out that regulations are not imminent, she did make it clear that they are ready to move if Congress fails to curb emissions.
Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), who heads the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee that will craft the legislation over the next few weeks is quoted as saying
It now changes the playing field with respect to legislation. It’s now no longer doing a bill or doing nothing. It is now a choice between regulation and legislation.
The regulatory barrage will be unleashed against six gases and compounds which are claimed to be responsible for “Global Climate Change”: Carbon Dioxide (CO2); Methane (CH4); Nitrous Oxide (N2O); Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC’s); Perfluorocarbons (PFC’s); and Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6).
I’d like to take you through each of these, and try to determine why the EPA is hell-bent on removing these emissions.
CO2 is a normal byproduct of any combustion and respiratory function, as well as a normal product of countless chemical reactions. It is a necessary gas for photosynthesis and therefore is required for plant life. It accounts for a very small percentage of our atmosphere, just a bit over 0.038%. Water vapor, by comparison, makes up around 1%.
To be considered as a contributing factor to Global Warming, it must retain heat, or infrared (IR) radiation. While all matter absorbs some heat, CO2 is particularly bad at it. Three very narrowly defined frequencies, in the upper IR band are all that is absorbed. The upper IR band is a lower energy section of what is called the overall radiation power curve. The higher the frequency, the lower the amount of “energy” is present. The frequencies absorbed by CO2, in their voyage from the Sun, are absorbed completely within the first few dozen meters of our atmosphere. They never have reached the ground. They never will reach the ground. Additional quantities of CO2 does not change this fact. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere becomes completely irrelevant to the discussion of atmospheric, or ground level temperatures. (more…)