Global warming is like a roach motel

El Global Warming Roach Motel

You must know about recent controversies about what to call the ‘greenhouse effect‘, whether it even exists, about what a greenhouse gas is, and the various learned opinions flying around.

Well, move over ladies and gentlemen, there is a new explanation.

Physicist Michio Kaku has offered a simple, elegant answer to the very vexing, central question in all of climate science: “what is the so-called greenhouse effect?”.

Michio Kaku expounded his explanation on the CBS Early News recently (1min 25 sec into the video):

So global warming is caused when sunlight hits the Earth, and turns into infrared, red radiation, heat radiation shown here, and it’s sort of like a roach motel, light checks in but the heat does not necessarily escape.

Here we were cracking our skulls open, what with all the talk about ‘skin temperatures‘, and ‘earth fevers‘, when a simple analogy clears everything up in one sweep. All that mushrooming of decrepit roach motels and roach motel parking lots in the second half of the previous century must be warming up the earth!


Kaku explaining the roach motel effect

So it is settled then. Carbon-dioxide causes global warming by the roach motel effect, because CO2 it is a roach motel gas.

Pfsseh! Enough with all the greenhouse- and gardening-related nonsense, let us start talking about things everyone can understand.

(H/t Ryan Maue)



  1. AC1

    I have this weird problem with AGW…

    CO2 is an insulator.
    The sun is the heating part.
    The CO2 is between us and the sun…

    Yet it’s going to get WARMER??? How’s that work? If anything CO2 absorbing solar energy in the atmosphere before it hits the ground should make it COLDER during the day.

  2. Shub Niggurath

    The sun heats the earth by the energy reaching the earth, in the ‘visible spectrum’.

    To the extent energy is transmitted in the infrared portion of radiation, the ‘long-wave radiation’, it is blocked by the greenhouse gases to a degree, but not completely blocked. In fact, infrared is one of the ‘types’ of radiation that actually reaches the surface.

    The heat that we feel when we step out under the sun is not really only from the infrared from the sun. The proportion of visible light and infrared heating the surface in actually about 50:50.