Abstract: In this paper we discuss the meaning of feedback parameter, greenhouse effect and transient climate response usually related to the globally averaged energy balance model of Schneider and Mass. After scrutinizing this model and the corresponding planetary radiation balance we state that (a) this globally averaged energy balance model is flawed by unsuitable physical considerations, (b) the planetary radiation balance for the Earth in the absence of an atmosphere is fraught by the inappropriate assumption of a uniform surface temperature, the so-called radiative equilibrium temperature of about 255 K, and (c) the effect of the radiative anthropogenic forcing, considered as a perturbation to the natural system, is much smaller than the uncertainty involved in the solution of the model of Schneider and Mass. This uncertainty is mainly related to the empirical constants suggested by various authors and used for predicting the emission of infrared radiation by the Earth’s skin. Furthermore, after inserting the absorption of solar radiation by atmospheric constituents and the exchange of sensible and latent heat between the Earth and the atmosphere into the model of Schneider and Mass the surface temperatures become appreciably lesser than the radiative equilibrium temperature. Moreover, both the model of Schneider and Mass and the Dines-type two-layer energy balance model for the Earthatmosphere system, containing the planetary radiation balance for the Earth in the absence of an atmosphere as an asymptotic solution, do not provide evidence for the existence of the so-called atmospheric greenhouse effect if realistic empirical data are used
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