Trzupek: Bad Environmental Reporting: Exhibit A

“Excuse the Britishism here, but it’s appropriate: Steve Jones’ column in the Daily Telegraph yesterday is Exhibit A in showing how bloody thick journalists are when they write about environmental issues.”

Rich Trzupek continues on the Somewhat Reasonable blog:

You can waste two minutes of your life by reading the whole thing, but in summary Jones’ muddled theory is this: because nitrous oxide is so much stronger a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide we ought to be doing something to reduce nitrous oxide emissions, but – idiots that we are – we’re not. And Jones presents this theory with the smug satisfaction of a person who has long ago convinced himself that he is of vastly superior intelligence compared to the mundane rest of the human race.”>Steve Jones’ column in the Daily Telegraph yesterday is Exhibit A in showing how bloody thick journalists are when they write about environmental issues. You can waste two minutes of your life by reading the whole thing, but in summary Jones’ muddled theory is this: because nitrous oxide is so much stronger a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide we ought to be doing something to reduce nitrous oxide emissions, but – idiots that we are – we’re not. And Jones presents this theory with the smug satisfaction of a person who has long ago convinced himself that he is of vastly superior intelligence compared to the mundane rest of the human race…

The fact is that nitrous oxide (not to be confused with nitric oxide, or nitrogen dioxide, which together are called “NOx” – a pollutant much more prevalent than nitrous oxide, but not a greenhouse gas in any way) is a powerful greenhouse gas, 310 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a matter of fact. However, there’s only about 0.3 ppm of nitrous oxide in the atmosphere so its overall effect is tiny compared to carbon dioxide and methane, and basically insignificant when we consider the big dog in the atmosphere from a global warming perspective: water vapor. Nothing to see here Steve – move along…

Read Trzupek’s entire commentary.

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