March 9, 2009
William Happer is hardly a climate change “denier.” A physics professor at Princeton, he is a former director of energy research for the U. S. Department of Energy, where he supervised work on climate change between 1990 and 1993. He is also one of the world’s leading experts on “the interactions of visible and infrared radiation with gases,” and on carbon dioxide and the greenhouse effect. Two weeks ago, he told the U. S. Congress, “I believe the increase of CO2 (in the atmosphere) is not a cause for alarm.”
[efoods]Claims that an increase of atmospheric CO2 will lead to catastrophic warming “are wildly exaggerated,” according to Prof. Happer. While a doubling (we have seen about a 35% rise since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution) might lead to a 0.6C rise in global temperature, he told Congress, “additional increments of CO2 will cause relatively less direct warming because we already have so much CO2 … that it has blocked most of the infrared radiation that it can.”
Prof. Happer added that while CO2 concentrations have risen steadily for more than 100 years, warming began before that — 200 years ago — and even during the time when temperatures and carbon concentrations have risen together, the link has hardly been consistent. For instance, while CO2 was rising rapidly from 1950 to 1970, temperatures were going through an especially cold period.
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