A Christmas message for alarmists
By Ed Caryl
I am constantly struck by the extremes that the alarmists will reach attempting to convince the rest of us that we should abandon our comfortable life-styles and live in fuel poverty, burning our corn in our cars, eschewing all use of fuels that have accumulated in the ground over the eons, reaching into the winds to catch a few watts from the occasional breezes at the cost of beating to death random vistas, bats and birds, and paving our deserts and rooftops with silicon to capture a few hours of sun on the off chance it shines.
These efforts are awfully inefficient, and incredibly costly for the achieved results. Especially when the achieved result is exactly nothing. Of course, the money spent, and made by your friends, is always someone else’s, so that doesn’t count.
All this is done in supposed fear that adding a few parts per million to the carbon dioxide already in the air will somehow, in some yet to be explained way, turn our planet into another Venus. Never mind the fact that at several points in our planets history, including in the beginning, carbon dioxide was many times more prevalent than it is today, and no disaster happened, as we know because we are here. We know that carbon dioxide was a major part of the early atmosphere because of the mountains of carbonate rocks all around us, and the deep layers of carbonate rocks beneath us in vast areas of the world. Life uses CO2. Life uses it up.
Why the continuous negativity? Rejoice! Abundance surrounds us! More CO2 in the atmosphere fertilizes our crops, as those crops labor to use it up. On a warm, windless afternoon in a cornfield, photosynthesis slows because all the available CO2 gets consumed. If there is more of it in the beginning, this doesn’t happen. In a closed greenhouse, CO2 must be added to the air or growth slows as it is used up. If extra CO2 is added, growth is faster than in an open field, a lot faster. Defining CO2 as a pollutant is the worst kind of lie.
Does CO2 make it warmer? The first 200 parts per million does, but so does water vapor, and this is a water world, not a CO2 world. We really don’t have much CO2 in the atmosphere. By geological-historical standards, the atmosphere right now is in fact close to record lows. During ice ages, the amount of CO2 drops to the point that grasses outcompete trees in the tropics, and rain forests dwindle to remnant islands in vast savannas. This happens when the concentration drops below 250 parts per million as the cooling oceans take it up. Life likes more CO2. Life returns in abundance as the oceans warm and release the CO2 they took up when it was cold. If there is more CO2, plants can close the vents that let it in (stomata) and can conserve moisture, letting less water out. Life isn’t poisoned by CO2 until the concentration reaches the point where oxygen can’t be traded for it. This doesn’t happen until the CO2 concentration is 25 times what it is now. No, CO2 is not a pollutant.
Will more CO2 make it warmer? When it is from fuel used to heat our houses and cook our food, yes, but inside our houses. Outside? No one knows how much. Really! No one truly knows. Yet billions, verily, trillions of dollars and euros, will be wasted on the fear that extra CO2 will make it hotter outside in some catastrophic way. As I sit here writing this, with a fire in the fireplace, looking at the snow in the back yard, watching a squirrel feasting on sunflower seeds, I don’t think the squirrel knows either, and doesn’t care. In the Pleistocene and Holocene, man worried about staying warm. He should continue that practice in the Anthropocene.
Stay warm. Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year. And stop worrying about an insignificant trace gas in our atmosphere!
Ed Caryl is a regular contributor at NoTricksZone.