Have you ever wondered why CO2 is not the climate control knob? We already know that carbon dioxide makes up only 0.04% of the atmosphere. In addition, we know that CO2 is a very, very weak greenhouse gas. We also know that out of all of the greenhouse gases, CO2 is the second most abundant next to water vapor.
However, what most of us don’t know is the reason for WHY carbon dioxide can NOT cause global warming.
So, I asked a chemistry teacher who follows me on Twitter, “…are you able to tell me why CO2 can not chemically cause global warming?”
The answer he gave me was quite interesting, and based off of my previous chemistry knowledge, it sounded quite accurate.
“…the CO2 molecule is very rigid due to its double bond structure and very low polarity due to symmetry. CO2 is a lousy greenhouse gas. Nitrogen and Oxygen are NOT greenhouse gases due to their double and triple bond structures, and even lower polarity. CO2, unlike O2 and N2, does have some greenhouse characteristics [which makes it a greenhouse gas], but as a greenhouse gas, it is very weak. It just happens to be the second most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. The only reason CO2 is on the radar is due to it abundance in the atmosphere. If CO2 was a major contributor [to global warming], we would see the results quite vividly. The fact that we don’t proves it is not.”
Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://seawapa.org/co2/index.html