/ Letters / Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide IS beneficial

Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide IS beneficial

April 17, 2020

To the Editor:

An article in the NY Times accused Trump Interior officials of promulgating misleading language about climate change: “An official at the Interior Department embarked on a campaign that has inserted misleading language about climate change — including debunked claims that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is beneficial ...”(Tabuchi, NY Times, March 2, 2020).

As usual, The NY Times used political correctness in their report, rather than the truth. It is certain scientifically that atmospheric carbon dioxide is a plant food, and an essential one at that, by the wonderful process of photosynthesis. In addition, Dr. Idso presented data that atmospheric CO2 is responsible for less water use by plants, amazing since the concentration of this molecule in the atmosphere is only about 400 ppm (Craig Idso video, ICCC13, July 31, 2019). This is very important in drought prone areas such as California. CO2 is not a pollutant as was stated by the Obama administration’s EPA. It is an important molecule responsible for life on our planet.

The article in The NY Times also promotes the debunked claim of ‘consensus’ to debate the severity of climate warming: “ ... rising carbon dioxide — the main force driving global warming — is beneficial because it ‘may increase plant water use efficiency’ and ’lengthen the agricultural growing season.’ Both assertions misrepresent the scientific consensus that, overall, climate change will result in severe disruptions to global agriculture and significant reductions in crop yields.” 

Science does not operate by consensus — taking a poll. It operates by careful collection and learned evaluation of data that has been verified and accepted by other scientists. During this tedious process, the data must have been accepted in peer-reviewed reputable scientific journals. Regarding 100% consensus, Einstein stated, “Why 100? If I were wrong, one would have been enough.” Here’s what famous physician-scientist Michael Crichton wrote about consensus science: “Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable ... . In science, consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”   

Not surprisingly considering the source, the NY Times’ article weighed in on climate models and global warming: “Gokanky pushed misleading interpretations of climate science, saying it ‘may be overestimating the rate of global warming, for whatever reason;’ climate modeling has largely predicted global warming accurately. The final language states inaccurately that some studies have found the earth to be warming, while others have not”.

The text of the Global Warming Petition Project that has about 30,000 signatures of scientists reads: “We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.” 

All of the climate computer models over estimate the extent of warming — every one of them. They even overestimate the extent of warming in real time they formerly predicted.

The GOP (of which I am a member) doesn’t get it (Crenshaw, Natl. Review Online, March 3, 2020). The effort to control a temperature of only about 1 degree C since the Little Ice Age seems to be led by Congressman Dan Crenshaw and House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy. They have accepted the Climate Alarmists’ false narrative that a singular molecule, CO2, is largely, if not exclusively, responsible for the complex system of climate change. In addition, they have accepted the notion that CO2 should be captured — carbon capture — to prevent its release into the atmosphere. In fact, are we being led to believe that a 1 degree C increase in warming over the last hundred years or so represents catastrophic global warming? Doesn’t that just represent normal variation?

Here’s what Richard Lindzen, likely the foremost authority on climate change on the planet, wrote: (Climate Science May 1, 2017)” ... . In this complex multifactor system, what is the likelihood of the climate (which, itself, consists in many variables and not just globally averaged temperature anomaly) is controlled by ... a single variable (CO2). Believing this is pretty close to believing in magic. Instead, you are told that it is believing in ‘science.’ Such a claim should be a tip-off that something is amiss. After all, science is a mode of inquiry rather than a belief structure.”

Other than this common sense rationale by Dr. Lindzen, there is powerful evidence that CO2 is not the major stimulus for climate change. Water vapor and clouds are far more important.

Throughout the long history of the planet, there has not been a correlation between atmospheric levels of CO2 and the earth’s surface temperature with one notable exception — vis-a-vis the glacial-innerglacial periods (Malinkovitch cycles) over the past 400,000 years (C. Idso video. Is CO2 endangering the earth, May 6, 2019). However, further  research revealed that CO2 changes trailed temperature changes sometimes by hundreds of years. If CO2 drove temperature changes, it should have preceded temperature. The reason for this finding is now clear. There is a large exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere and oceans; oceans emit more CO2 during warmer temperatures and absorb more in colder temperatures. So, temperature controls CO2 levels and not vice versa.

According to Climate Alarmists’ narrative, somewhat of a paradox has occurred beginning in 1998 and continuing to the present. Pre-industrial levels of atmospheric CO2 increased from about 180 ppm to the current level of slightly more than 400 ppm. Of course — according to the Alarmists — this increase in atmospheric CO2 levels drove the increase in warming. But warming, termed “hiatus” or “pause,” stopped in 1998 and hasn’t resumed since. This is not paradoxical but strong evidence that CO2 does not play a major role in controlling temperature. Although CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it is a small concentration in the atmosphere (0.04%) which makes it easily saturated by infrared radiation. 

Carbon capture — actually CO2 capture — is accomplished by the conversion of CO2 to calcium carbonate (CaCO3), which is particulate limestone or chalk, depriving photosynthesis of a valuable atmospheric substrate. Huge quantities of CO2 are already stored away as CaCO3 and unavailable for photosynthesis. E.g. the White Cliffs of Dover are mostly limestone. Since CO2 is not the villain depicted by the Climate Alarmists, and is instead a valuable plant food, carbon capture is a bad idea that should be abandoned. 

I just heard Joe Biden proclaim on national TV that he believes in science, I presume this includes the pseudoscience of consensus. I know that he is an advocate of  junk science promoted by Climate Alarmists. He and his ilk know how to pronounce science and may even know how to spell it, but people like him and writers at the NY Times haven’t the faintest idea of what science is about.


Vern Moore

Worcester


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