Will Reducing Carbon Dioxide Solve Global Warming?

Recently, scientists projected that even very drastic reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will do very little to slow atmospheric CO2 buildup, and therefore global warming. Nevertheless, the authors of a recent paper in Environmental Research Letters recommended that these drastic reductions should take place now, and that even more CO2 emission restrictions should be mandated in the future.1

The researchers cited the results of the International Panel on Climate Change 2007 report that claimed man-made chemicals are to blame for global warming: “The dominant factor in the radiative forcing of climate in the industrial era is the increasing concentration of various greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”2 Positive “radiative forcing” refers to an increase in global temperature and is typically measured in watts of energy per square meter of land. The same report stated—and our popular culture has repeated it as fact—that the specific greenhouse gas CO2 is a major cause of global warming.3

Many climatologists, including Dr. Larry Vardiman, disagree about the role of CO2 in this respect. They have found that the observed increase in CO2 (whether produced by human activity or not) is not causing global warming, but is perhaps caused by it!4 Dr. Vardiman was featured in a video presentation in which he referenced a graph showing that the fluctuations in atmospheric CO2 follow after corresponding fluctuations in atmospheric temperature.5

In addition, “the detailed temperature record since 1850 shows a temperature decline between 1940 and 1970 [a time when massive amounts of industrial CO2 were entering the atmosphere], which flies in the face of the explanation that a continuous exponential increase in carbon dioxide causes global warming.”4 Dr. Vardiman has also demonstrated the remarkably close overlaps of temperature to sunspots, indicating that solar cycles are more likely the cause of global warming.6

If CO2 is not responsible and global warming is due to processes that are outside mankind’s control, then the tremendous efforts that governments and individuals worldwide are making to fight it will amount to chasing after the wind.


  1. House, J. I. et al. 2008. What do recent advances in quantifying climate and carbon cycle uncertainties mean for climate policy? Environmental Research Letters. 3 (4): 044002.
  2. Solomon, S. et al. 2007: Technical Summary. In Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. [Solomon, S. et al (eds.)]. Cambridge, UK and New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 23.
  3. Ibid, 24
  4. Vardiman, L. 2008. Does Carbon Dioxide Drive Global Warming? Acts & Facts, 37 (10): 10.
  5. Global Warming: A Scientific & Biblical Exposé of Climate Change. DVD. J. Pena, J. Beaupied, and B. Wilt, directors. Answers in Genesis and Coral Ridge Ministries, 2008.
  6. Vardiman, L. 2008. A New Theory of Climate Change. Acts & Facts. 37 (11): 10.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.

Article posted on November 7, 2008.