The fact is we are now overdue for a warming cycle. However, most of the observed increase in average temperature seen in the last century came about in the first 50 years. That is, it came before the increase in human caused CO2 emissions.
Even if there were global warming and "greenhouse gases" were contributing to it, the focus on CO2 is misplaced. There are four main "greenhouse gases": water (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and ozone (O3). These gases absorb heat radiated during the day from the sun-warmed earth.
This heat excites the molecules of the gases. At a certain rate for each gas, this heat is released and radiated in all directions, including back down to earth. CO2 is not the most important of these gases. Water has somewhere between five and seven times as much heating effect as CO2.
In fact, if the Kyoto Treaty were to be adhered to, by the year 2050, according to the alarmists' own models, the net effect would be to slow the increase in average temperature by less than seven-one-hundredths of a degree Celsius, a number too small to measure.
If water is five times more important than CO2 in warming, shouldn't the conference in Bali have concentrated on reducing water emissions? This is assuming, of course, that one believes that human action actually can make a difference. There is certainly not a consensus on that, despite what the mainstream media says.
The reality is, there is nothing which humans can do to reduce water, the main greenhouse gas . If we risk destroying our economies to meet Kyoto expectations, the best we can do to limit a minor greenhouse gas, CO2, and that would have an undetectable result. In fact, as the sun warms in the current cycle, the warming seas would release more CO2 than we could take away by our feeble efforts. Further, it does not appear that any of the models on which Kyoto is based take into account an increase in water vapor that would accompany an increase in solar activity.
There is an element of the population which seeks to keep itself perpetually alarmed and frightened.
This is a problem, because the remedy proposed for the menace of the moment almost always has unanticipated consequences that might be worse than the supposed menace itself.
Does the term "prohibition" help make this point? Adherence to Kyoto, or any successor to the Kyoto Treaty, would have no measurable consequence for the problem it is supposed to address, but would leave the human race in hunger, squalor and, inevitably as economies melt down, ignorance. That is too high a price to pay to make the perpetually alarmed feel righteous.
James H. Warner is a retired attorney. He served as a domestic policy advisor to President Ronald Reagan from 1985 until 1989.