I was reading this excellent book ‘Taxing Air’ for the second time and for the second time I was stopped dead in my tracks by some words on p.69. It says that the common ground among scientists includes that ‘Carbon Dioxide is a Greenhouse gas and warms the lower atmosphere.’ Whoa! Whoa! Bob Carter, Spooner et al, and the composite authors of this book.
Surely this is a printing error, or something written in haste. What is generally agreed is that Carbon Dioxide that is 0.04% of the atmosphere reacts to the infrared radiation from the earth, and this radiation warms the molecules of carbon dioxide. So the gas is warmed by the radiation. Even the Warmists do not really claim any more, because obviously a gas cannot heat itself – the atmosphere, the temperature of which is always varying, cannot heat itself.
So yes, the Carbon Dioxide molecules are warmed by the infrared radiation, all 0.04% of the atmosphere. But being a gas these molecules are also subject to convection, that is to say that as they warm these molecules rise up and cool, as does the whole of the lower atmosphere.