Global warming is a perfect example of why politics and science do not mix. One is a search for truth, and one is a search for control.
Recently, Obama and the liberals in the US government announced a war on coal under the guise of reducing (non-existent) global warming. This is scientifically unsound for anyone with the tiniest bit of scientific thinking.
Coal is almost pure carbon and when burned produces only carbon dioxide. If coal is abandoned as a fuel source, then oil, natural gas, and nuclear will pick up the difference. I seriously doubt any new nuclear plants will be built because of the disaster in Japan. That leaves oil and natural gas, both of which are hydrocarbons.
Hydrocarbons are carbon compounds with hydrogen. Methane, the simplest hydrocarbon, has 1 carbon atom and 4 hydrogen atoms in each of its molecules. When burned, each molecule of methane creates 1 molecule of carbon dioxide plus 2 molecules of water vapor (H2O). All hydrocarbons (gases and oils) give off carbon dioxide and water vapor when burned.
In his book, Radiation and Climate, by Vardavas & Taylor, published by Oxford University Press (2007); the authors state:
Generally speaking, water vapor is the single most important atmospheric absorber in the IR band..
No other atmospheric constituent is better known to the general public as a “greenhouse gas” than CO2. In actuality, water vapor has a larger overall impact on the radiative energy budget of the atmosphere..
Given that water vapor is a much stronger atmospheric greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, it makes no sense to increase the usage of hydrocarbon fuels over coal. So it would seem that any war on coal has a different agenda than fixing (non existant) global warming and in fact could only make it worse. No, a war on coal is a war on the economy and prosperity of the USA.
Obama claimed that cutting coal use would save lives. Quite the contrary, it will cost lives. Without coal, the cost of electricity will rise, along with the cost of heating oil and natural gas because of the increased demand. A lot of people just barely survive as it is, and any increase in the cost of home heating will either force people out of their homes, or prevent them from eating and heating both. No one can survive winter in the northern part of the country without heat!
Phasing out coal fired electric plants will also cause electric shortages, and ultimately send more of our money to Saudi Arabia, Libya, and the other OPEC countries. Perhaps that is the real goal.