Albert Einstein said no to CO2 radiative warming of the atmosphere

The hypothesis of global warming from man made CO2 depends on a much-repeated narrative about CO2 trapping infrared (IR) photons leaving the earth. Although a beguilingly simple idea, a host of assumptions underlie it. One of these is that the radiative photonic absorption – emission interactions of the trace gas CO2 dominate heat movement in the atmosphere. And it turns out, this argument, a pillar of the global warming theory, is false – it was refuted in advance by none other than Albert Einstein in 1917.

In this 1917 paper:

http://inspirehep.net/record/858448/files/eng.pdf

Einstein says this about radiative heating of a gas:

“During absorption and emission of radiation there is also present a transfer of momentum to the molecules. This means that just the interaction of radiation and molecules leads to a velocity distribution of the latter. This must surely be the same as the velocity distribution which molecules acquire as the result of their mutual interaction by collisions, that is, it must coincide with the Maxwell distribution. We must require that the mean kinetic energy which a molecule per degree of freedom acquires in a Plank radiation field of temperature T be

kT / 2

this must be valid regardless of the nature of the molecules and independent of frequencies which the molecules absorb and emit.”

Einstein understood like no other before or since the unity of mass, light and time. The equation e=mc^2 encapsulates this.

Mass, it turns out, is a condensed form of energy not really profoundly different from photons; mass is simply anything with inertia resisting acceleration: anything that slows you down. This PBS Space-Time video illuminates this unity, beginning with a nice demonstration of how a hypothetical box of photons which should have no mass, oppose acceleration and exert inertia exactly like mass.

https://youtu.be/gSKzgpt4HBU

A nice insight from this presentation is that the “speed” c is not merely the speed of light – it is the speed of causality, the fastest speed that any cause-effect agency can transmit influence. It is fundamental to space-time and the universe’s architecture.

This fundamental truth connects with Einstein’s assertion that the transfer of heat energy between photons and baryonic particles in a gas, is essentially no different from the Boltzmann transfer of heat energy from gas particle to gas particle.

The CO2 atmosphere warming story is a story that only recognises radiative transfer of heat. It considers most of the atmosphere – all the N2 and O2 for instance – as thermally inert. This is not credible not only because of convection, which moves at least as much heat as radiation. It is because of Einstein’s insight that radiation transfer of heat to gas is a Boltzmann process just like heat transfer from one gas molecule to another. And the much-hyped issue of IR absorption frequency bands is of negligible importance – as Einstein put it, “Regardless if the nature of the molecules and independent of the frequencies at which molecules absorb and emit.”

CO2 back radiation atmospheric warming is an error that was refuted in advance by Einstein. As in other fields such as gravitation, space time and relativity, Einstein has not yet been proved wrong. He won’t be proved wrong here either.

11 thoughts on “Albert Einstein said no to CO2 radiative warming of the atmosphere

    1. Einstein’s point was that absorption-emission phenomena account for a negligible fraction of heat transfer from radiation to a gas, most of it being Maxwell-Boltzmann type similar to mass to mass heat transfer. The whole CO2 IR absorption-emission story is of marginal importance in atmospheric heat movement.

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      1. “Einstein’s point was that absorption-emission phenomena account for a negligible fraction of heat transfer from radiation to a gas, most of it being Maxwell-Boltzmann type similar to mass to mass heat transfer. ”

        Where exactly did Einstein write this in his 1917 paper? Please quote from it….

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      2. I just did. Read what he said – it’s all there.
        To repeat the last sentence of the quote:

        “ this must be valid regardless of the nature of the molecules and independent of frequencies which the molecules absorb and emit.”

        “Regardless of the nature of the molecules”. How can it be any clearer than that?

        THERE IS NOTHING WHATSOEVER DIFFERENT ABOUT CO2 RELATIVE TO ANY OTHER GAS IN HOW IT GETS HEATED BY RADIATION.

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      3. What’s “valid,” and the same for all molecules, is the way molecules acquire kinetic energy — by collisions — and how that energy is partitioned among them per degree of freedom.

        Einstein certainly knew that not all molecules absorb the same frequencies, as does every first-year chemistry and physics student.

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    2. “this must be valid regardless of the nature of the molecules and independent of frequencies which the molecules absorb and emit”, quoting Einstein.

      And if your answer is “he’s wrong and I’m right”, then … get help.

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      1. Your quote is from Einstein’s discussion of kinetic energy per degree of freedom in a radiation field. It doesn’t compare the relative energies, kinetic to radiation. Does it?

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      2. It shows that CO2 will be heated in a radiation field no more and no less than any other gas. That its IR absorption-emission behaviour is irrelevant.

        “ this must be valid regardless of the nature of the molecules and independent of frequencies which the molecules absorb and emit.”

        Einstein’s words, not mine.

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      3. You’re confusing absorption and kinetic energy.

        Einstein is talking strictly about kinetic energy there — “which molecules acquire as the result of their mutual interaction by collisions” — not energy that’s absorbed.

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      4. It’s one form of heat. Radiation is another. IR is emitted by the Earth. CO2 is extremely good at absorbing IR. N2 and O2 absorb very very little of it. These are fundamental facts.

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