CR 10:69-82 (1998)  -  doi:10.3354/cr010069

CO2-induced global warming: a skeptic's view of potential climate change

Sherwood B. Idso*

U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory, 4331 E. Broadway, Phoenix, Arizona 85040, USA

Over the course of the past 2 decades, I have analyzed a number of natural phenomena that reveal how Earth's near-surface air temperature responds to surface radiative perturbations. These studies all suggest that a 300 to 600 ppm doubling of the atmosphere's CO2 concentration could raise the planet's mean surface air temperature by only about 0.4°C. Even this modicum of warming may never be realized, however, for it could be negated by a number of planetary cooling forces that are intensified by warmer temperatures and by the strengthening of biological processes that are enhanced by the same rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration that drives the warming. Several of these cooling forces have individually been estimated to be of equivalent magnitude, but of opposite sign, to the typically predicted greenhouse effect of a doubling of the air's CO2 content, which suggests to me that little net temperature change will ultimately result from the ongoing buildup of CO2 in Earth's atmosphere. Consequently, I am skeptical of the predictions of significant CO2-induced global warming that are being made by state-of-the-art climate models and believe that much more work on a wide variety of research fronts will be required to properly resolve the issue.


Carbon dioxide · CO2 · Climate change · Global warming · Greenhouse effect


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