Pure Water as Air Pollutant?????????
The Attorneys General of 18 states have banded together to ask a federal court to issue a judgment finding pure water to be an air pollutant. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-04-02-states-epa_N.htm “The plaintiffs in the latest court action include Massachusetts' Coakley and attorneys general from Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia, plus representatives of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the cities of New York and Baltimore, and several environmental organizations.”
For a group of allegedly knowledgeable wordsmiths, it seems they are unaware of the definition of “greenhouse gas” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas . Wikipedia has it right, “The term greenhouse gas is applied to, in order of relative abundance: water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and CFCs.” So it follows that a lawsuit seeking to force the federal EPA to regulate greenhouse gases, specifically carbon dioxide, as being an air pollutant under the Clean Air Act is in reality a quest to use the courts to legislate, as fact, that water vapor and other greenhouse gases are air pollutants. Except those plaintiffs are too ignorant to know that’s what they’re asking, they think they are trying to force the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide only.
So let us try to illuminate their ignorance. That Wikipedia article has an informative series of charts http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Atmospheric_Transmission.png . The top chart, “Spectral Intensity”, portrays the distribution of electromagnetic energy radiated by a body at various temperatures. The 5525K red line (9485 deg F) is a representation of the Sun’s spectrum which peaks about 0.5 micrometers (microns). Light of that wavelength is green (G), the middleman in the solar spectrum familiar to every kid as the rainbow. We can remember the colors of the rainbow by the memory aid ROY G BIV (Red-Orange-Yellow-Green-Blue-Indigo-Violet) though the colors would appear on the chart backwards from left to right (VIB G YOR). The bars in red on the chart depict the sunlight that reaches the Earth’s surface after passing through the atmosphere from Sun to Earth. The difference between the 5525 K curve and the red bars represents the sunlight that is either absorbed or scattered by the atmosphere. The second chart, “Per Cent”, show the absorption and scattering as a per cent of the total radiation. You will see an inverse correlation between the height of the red bars in the top chart and the percent absorbed in the second chart for the various wavelengths.
Now we can turn our attention to the other side of the Earth’s heat balance equation, the loss of radiant energy into deep space by radiation of infrared energy. This is represented by the violet 310K line (98 deg F), 260K (8 deg F) blue line and 210K black line (-82 deg F). The average surface temperature of the standard atmosphere is taken as 59 degrees F, so the violet line is the most representative of Earth’s surface of the three lines shown. However, having the three lines reinforces the concept that as a body gets hotter or colder, its radiant spectrum changes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brightness_temperature with the peak wavelength getting longer as the temperature decreases. The peak radiation progresses from ultraviolet through the reversed rainbow (Violet-Indigo-Blue-Green-Yellow-Orange-Red) to infrared as the temperature of the source decreases.
Looking at charts 1 and 2, we see how the outgoing infrared energy of the Earth’s radiant spectrum (e.g. the Earth’s infrared rainbow) is affected by the atmosphere. The blue bars represent the energy which escapes to space, while the dark gray bars on chart 2 show where greenhouse gases absorb or scatter the infrared energy, thereby reducing the amount of energy successfully lost by the Earth. Since the Earth maintains a stable temperature over time (the Global Warming Alarmists suggest the planet has heated an average of only one degree over a century), we can equate the incoming sunlight and the outgoing infrared energy into the global heat balance.
Now let us turn our attention to the third chart, “Major Components”, which separates the atmosphere into its constituent parts of the major greenhouse gasses. It is readily apparent that water constitutes the majority of the total dark gray bars. Being a “greenhouse gas” means that the gas absorbs little of the sunlight but a significant fraction of the infrared. An examination of the three charts shows that water actually absorbs more infrared near the peak of the violet 310K line than carbon dioxide does. For the black 210K line, the peak is in a range where the carbon dioxide absorption is much higher. Hence, carbon dioxide has a stronger relative effect on the polar regions where the temperature gets closer to -82 degrees F, than at the Equator. As an aside, you’ll see that “Rayleigh Scattering” affects the blue end of the solar spectrum, hence the sky is blue because the blue light has been scattered by the atmosphere.
So our conclusion is that the most important greenhouse gas is water and therefore if those dimwit attorneys general had their way it would be classified as an air pollutant because it is a greenhouse gas. This is just another example of how our judicial system is being misused to pervert the Rule of Law. Laws mean nothing if the words used to construct them do not have a fixed, commonly agreed definition. If anyone can make up his/her own definition for the words in the statute, the law becomes infinitely elastic and meaningless. That is why every American school child should revere the name Noah Webster http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah_Webster for creating a common American dictionary from whence we can create a common American system of laws.
But it is unsurprising that the same liberal attorneys general that want to regulate greenhouse gasses, have little respect for the definition of those words. They wish to legislate from their executive branch positions. They are the same kinds of attorneys who can imagine a “gay marriage” when the definition of that word restricts marriage to a union of a man and a woman. It is long past time that the People re-assert the strict definition of our American language. And this issue is a beautiful example of the perversion of the Rule of Law by out of control liberal state attorneys general.
So let us repeat, those liberal state attorneys general who have filed this idiotic lawsuit want to make pure water an air pollutant. We the People should tell them NO!!!!!!!!!!