There’s a guy named Douglas Cotton that has written papers claiming that greenhouse gasses don’t do what they are claimed to do. Here’s the gist of his argument.
If it were possible for the atmosphere to come to equilibrium, the kinetic energy plus gravitational potential energy would be equal at all altitudes. Since the potential energy is higher at high altitudes, the kinetic energy and therefore temperature would have to be lower at high altitudes. And the temperature would be higher at low altitudes. This establishes a temperature gradient at equilibrium independent of greenhouse gasses.
In practice, the atmosphere is always trying to come to equilibrium. So anywhere that heat is added, either by direct sunlight from above or by reflected from below, it spreads toward the regions of lower energy, toward equilibrium.
Of course, he’s going against a whole lot of people and saying a lot of science is wrong.
But his explanation makes good sense to me. What do you think? Has anyone heard of this guy? Is there an error in the explanation?