This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Moore Equals Less in Global Warming Denial

On TV, Moore has painted himself as a conspiracy theorist and termed the scientific consensus a "religious cult." The conspiracy is necessary to his argument because he lacks the extensive research needed to prove his scientific claims. In fact, claims like his have been considered and discarded over and over again in the hundred years that scientists have been studying this topic. When your outlet isn't a peer-reviewed scientific journal but "Hannity" on Fox News, conspiracy theories work better than facts.

Moore's youthful activism has put him in harm's way more than once as he worked to try to convince governments to change their policies on nuclear testing and whale hunting. I have a deep respect for that. But these days, he is bringing that same passion in defense of some backward-looking claims.

How CO2 Warms the Earth

In his testimony, Moore makes the claim, that "no actual proof, as it is understood in science, exists" for the role of carbon dioxide in global warming. But even without the computer models, there is proof. It may not satisfy him and other denialists, but it does exist and it satisfies the majority of climate scientists.

Must Read: Five Things to Know About the Fed's Obsession With Inflation

The mechanism by which CO2 serves as a greenhouse gas is fairly simple. Energy from the sun hits the Earth's atmosphere at various wavelengths. Some of that energy bounces off into space, while some passes through the atmosphere and is either absorbed or reflected by the Earth's surface.

As the Earth's surface warms, it radiates heat back to the atmosphere. Some of that radiated heat is lost to the upper atmosphere and to space, while some of it is absorbed by gas in the lower atmosphere and radiated again, back down to the planet.

This effect is important for temperature stability and for life on the planet to exist. Planetary objects like the Moon, which has no atmosphere, or Mars, which has a very thin atmosphere, can fluctuate hundreds of degrees in temperature as the surface passes from light to shadow. Our atmosphere protects us from those extremes, modulating the heat and keeping us within a more livable range of temperatures.

Carbon dioxide is the most important of the atmosphere's so-called greenhouse gases, absorbing more of the Earth's radiated heat and hanging around longer, taking as long as thousands of years to work its way out of the atmosphere.

Its molecular structure makes carbon dioxide more effective as a greenhouse gas. The bonds between its atoms happen to vibrate in resonance with the infrared frequencies given off by the radiation of heat from the Earth's surface. That sympathetic vibration absorbs the energy and radiates it out again, some of it going back down to the surface, like an echo.

As carbon dioxide levels build, the echo gets louder. The lower atmosphere becomes a heavier and heavier blanket and warming of the surface increases.

Scientists can tell the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is largely man-made by looking in part at the ratio between certain carbon isotopes, or variants of the molecule. That isotope profile points to a growing presence of CO2 from fossil fuels.

Ignoring Science to Prove Science

Comparing the Earth's temperatures and CO2 levels throughout history, using ice core samples, for example, shows the direct correlation between CO2 and surface temperature. Over the last 50 years, CO2 levels have increased dramatically and temperatures have similarly increased.

Moore said that correlation is faulty because of "pauses" in global warming, most notably in the period from 2000 to 2010. In order to make that statement he has to ignore the recent science that has found ocean temperatures increasing as they absorb heat and transfer it to lower levels. The models predicted that scientists would find heat trapped in the oceans -- canceling out the data that indicated a pause in rising temperatures at the surface -- and they did. That gives the science more credibility, not less. His theory correlating changes in surface temperature with solar activity is as old as the topic itself; they have been considered and discounted.

2 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $92.72 -0.56%
FB $119.49 1.43%
GOOG $711.12 1.38%
TSLA $214.93 1.61%
YHOO $37.23 0.79%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,740.63 +79.92 0.45%
S&P 500 2,057.14 +6.51 0.32%
NASDAQ 4,736.1550 +19.0610 0.40%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs