Why Methane Is An Irrelevant Greenhouse Gas

Methane emissions. [Photo via NASA]

At the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, known as COP26, President Biden presented sweeping regulations targeting the oil and gas industry in an effort to cut back on the emission of methane. Biden claimed that methane “amounts to half of the global warming we’re experiencing today.”

Biden’s regulations ignore the fact that most atmospheric methane comes from rice cultivation, termites, and cattle. Rice growing produces methane gas by feeding microbes that live under the rice paddies. Termites and cattle produce methane during their digestive process. Biden also seems ignorant on how the “greenhouse effect” works, and that methane at current concentrations has no effect on global temperature.

About the hypothetical greenhouse effect:

Solar radiation, mostly short-wave radiation, passes through the atmosphere and warms the surface. In turn, the heated surface re-radiates energy as long-wave infrared radiation back to the atmosphere and eventually, back to space.

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere intercept some of the long-wave infrared radiation and transfer some of the energy to excite (warm) other molecules in the atmosphere, some of the radiation goes back to the surface, and some of the radiation is radiated into space.

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The major greenhouse gas is water vapor which absorbs almost all wavelengths of infrared radiation. Carbon dioxide absorbs four specific wavelengths of infrared radiation, three of which are also absorbed by water vapor. Other minor greenhouse gases are oxygen and ozone, methane, and nitrous oxide. Methane can absorb two wavelengths which are first absorbed by water vapor.

Once a particular wavelength becomes saturated, i.e., almost completely absorbed, additional quantities of greenhouse gases have no effect.

By the way, the greenhouse effect deals with heat transfer by radiation and conduction, but ignores heat transfer by convection. Convection produces many holes in the alleged greenhouse “blanket.”

According to an article by Dr. Tom Sheahen, titled “Methane: The Irrelevant Greenhouse Gas,” methane is only 0.00017% (1.7 parts per million) of the atmosphere. Moreover, both of its absorption bands occur at wavelengths where water vapor is already absorbing almost all of the radiation. Hence, any radiation that methane could have absorbed has already been absorbed by water vapor. The ratio of the percentages of water to methane is such that the effects of methane are completely masked by water vapor.

Methane is just another global warming boogeyman.

See also: Arctic Methane Scare – Cancelled

A Review of the state of Climate Science

The Broken Greenhouse – Why Co2 Is a Minor Player in Global Climate

A Summary of Earth’s Climate History-a Geologist’s View

Problems with wind and solar generation of electricity – a review

The “Social Cost of Carbon” Scam Revisited

ATMOSPHERIC CO2: a boon for the biosphere

Carbon dioxide is necessary for life on Earth

Impact of the Paris Climate Accord and why Trump was right to drop it

New study shows that carbon dioxide is responsible for only seven percent of the greenhouse effect

Six Issues the Promoters of the Green New Deal Have Overlooked


Note to readers:

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