Here is what we actually know about CO2:
1. Current CO2 levels in the atmosphere are about 400 parts per million today. They have risen about 30 or 40 ppm over the past sixteen years, during which time there has been no planetary warming.
2. In geological terms, CO2 levels are much lower today than in the past. Some 65 million years ago, CO2 levels were at 3,000 parts per million. Believe it or not, life flourished.
3. During warming and cooling trends on geologic scales, CO2 levels have been a lagging indicator, showing increases after planetary warming. There is no evidence of CO2 levels ever having driven planetary warming. The belief that CO2 increases will drive planetary warming are found only in modern warmie computer models.
4. CO2 is necessary for plant growth. More CO2 means better agricultural yields. And indeed, some scientists have tied our ability to feed an ever expanding population to the industrial revolution and increasing atmospheric CO2.
Nevertheless, the warmies have been sliming CO2 as a dangerous pollutant. Today, in the WSJ, two scientists, former Apollo 17 astronaut, former Sen. and now professor of engineering at the Univ. of Wisconsin, Harrison Schmitt, and Princeton Univ. physics professor William Harper, respond:
Of all of the world's chemical compounds, none has a worse reputation than carbon dioxide. Thanks to the single-minded demonization of this natural and essential atmospheric gas by advocates of government control of energy production, the conventional wisdom about carbon dioxide is that it is a dangerous pollutant. That's simply not the case. Contrary to what some would have us believe, increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will benefit the increasing population on the planet by increasing agricultural productivity.
The cessation of observed global warming for the past decade or so has shown how exaggerated NASA's and most other computer predictions of human-caused warming have been—and how little correlation warming has with concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. As many scientists have pointed out, variations in global temperature correlate much better with solar activity and with complicated cycles of the oceans and atmosphere. There isn't the slightest evidence that more carbon dioxide has caused more extreme weather.
The current levels of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere, approaching 400 parts per million, are low by the standards of geological and plant evolutionary history. Levels were 3,000 ppm, or more, until the Paleogene period (beginning about 65 million years ago). For most plants, and for the animals and humans that use them, more carbon dioxide, far from being a "pollutant" in need of reduction, would be a benefit. This is already widely recognized by operators of commercial greenhouses, who artificially increase the carbon dioxide levels to 1,000 ppm or more to improve the growth and quality of their plants.
Using energy from sunlight—together with the catalytic action of an ancient enzyme called rubisco, the most abundant protein on earth—plants convert carbon dioxide from the air into carbohydrates and other useful molecules. Rubisco catalyzes the attachment of a carbon-dioxide molecule to another five-carbon molecule to make two three-carbon molecules, which are subsequently converted into carbohydrates. (Since the useful product from the carbon dioxide capture consists of three-carbon molecules, plants that use this simple process are called C3 plants.) C3 plants, such as wheat, rice, soybeans, cotton and many forage crops, evolved when there was much more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than today. So these agricultural staples are actually undernourished in carbon dioxide relative to their original design. , , ,
We know that carbon dioxide has been a much larger fraction of the earth's atmosphere than it is today, and the geological record shows that life flourished on land and in the oceans during those times. The incredible list of supposed horrors that increasing carbon dioxide will bring the world is pure belief disguised as science.
Do read the whole article.