If you’ve been reading the news carefully, you may have noticed some stories about something that used to be called “global warming”, and is now, I think, referred to as “climate change”. The idea, if I understand it correctly, is that the Earth is getting warmer — which of course it has done often in the past, this being a relatively cool spell, in geological time-spans. From what I can gather it appears also that some people think this is due to human activity, and — I know this seems even more of a stretch, but stay with me here — that we can actually control the climate ourselves, if we are willing to stop using fossil fuels and subjugate everything we do to the supervisory control of a global panel of experts. This is also imagined to be not only “worth it”, but is somehow seen to be morally necessary as well.
The idea, simply put, is that carbon dioxide, as a “greenhouse gas”, traps heat, and we emit too much of the stuff. But, as the eminent physicist Freeman Dyson pointed out some years ago, water vapor is a far more potent greenhouse gas, and so the effect of CO2 should be evident primarily in the coldest parts of the Earth, where there is little water vapor in the air.
If, by the way, you are the sort who likes to think, shall we say, “independently” about these things, and would like a good source of data for your inquiries, you might have a look here.