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Letter: “Could it be that had the EPA included the dominant contributor [water vapor], the absurdity of this would become too obvious…?”

From the Wall Street Journal:

The letter writers of April 30 miss a critical point in their critique of the Environmental Protection Agency (and Supreme Court) in the absurdity of rulings defining CO2 (and also methane, nitrous oxide and miscellaneous gases) as a “pollutant” since it “contributes” to global warming (”The EPA Follows the Supreme Court in CO2 Ruling“).

By far, the largest greenhouse gas influence comes from water vapor, at about 95%. Calculations often ignore water vapor so as to inflate contributions from CO2 by making them bigger percentages of only a small piece of the pie. Only about 3.2% of atmospheric CO2 is man-made, divided among transportation, energy production, etc. So total elimination of these portions would leave 96.8% of CO2 remaining.

The bottom line is that after adjusting for relative influence on greenhouse warming, water vapor is responsible for 95%, and CO2 for 3.5% of the greenhouse heat retention. When natural CO2 is subtracted, then the man-generated CO2 contributes just 0.117%. That is 0.117% of the total greenhouse effect, probably too small to detect any change elimination of this might impart.

The recent EPA announcement said it did not include water vapor because “it was not like the other gases” being regulated. “Not like”? Could it be that had the EPA included the dominant contributor, the absurdity of this would become too obvious if they had to begin the regulation of showers, clothes drying, hot tubs and lawn watering?

James W. Benefiel
Dunedin, Fla.