Carbon dioxide is continually referred to as a “poison” or a “toxin” which must inevitably be irreversibly damaging the Earth. The case is actually the opposite of this.
Now, there are toxins — actual poisons that are products or (usually) byproducts of human activities on the Earth. (We’ll ignore natural toxins.) But civilized societies are steadily reducing the toxic portion of human output; the changes in air and water quality over the past century in America speak to this. They are having to exaggerate the effects of remaining toxins to keep the scare up.
But CO2 is different. We produce a lot of it, and it is increasing in the atmosphere in part because of human output.
Eliminate that Toxin?
However, a mistake being made — intentionally, by many people — is treating carbon dioxide as “toxic.” It is not; it is crucial for sustaining plant life, and thus all life on the planet.
Consider: Can you think of any other toxin that, if reduced by two-thirds, would wipe out essentially all life forms on Earth? The only exceptions would be certain bacteria and other odd bits of life that can live without being, or eating, photosynthetic life forms.
Plants evolved for land life at many thousands of PPM of CO2. We now are living with barely 400PPM. And at about 140-180 PPM, depending upon the species, plants die. It almost gets down to those levels during the glaciation cycles.
Plants have been draining the atmosphere of CO2 for the half-billion years or so of their existence on land, and going back further for the photosynthetic cyanobacteria and algae and macroalgea (seaweeds and kelps and such) of the oceans. There are erosive and chemical processes involved as well, all of which have led to the gradual suffocation of plant life.
What Do We Do?
Man is actually putting a little of that depleted CO2 back into the atmosphere, to the great relief of plants as evidenced by their huge natural increases in growth over the past century. Sea life benefits as well.
New agricultural techniques help crops as well, but even the trees reflect this astounding growth spurt. There is a reason we crank CO2 up to 1,000-2,000 PPM in greenhouses. Plants simply grow better in such “classic” atmospheres.
As for CO2’s temperature impacts: The effect on temperatures was significant for the first 100PPM. It made a big difference on ancient Earth’s air temperature, but the warming effect is less for each additional 100 and so on. From 400 to 600 or 800PPM is a mild temperature push likely to be outweighed by other atmosphere/ocean cycles, just as the current temperatures reflect El Niño cycles but little of CO2 impact.
Promulgators of catastrophe are having to adjust historic temperatures in order to make today’s temps seem unusual, a process I have observed for decades. The great global cooling from the 1940s to the 1970s has been erased, because it did not fit the narrative. Several times a year, we have “better data” about the temperatures in the very warm 1930s and 1940s, so down they go making current temps seem warmer. And to seem to more closely match the models, although this mismatch is still blatant.
The temperature models, like the other climate models in use now, were built to support the narrative. Though the current climate models’ output is demonstrably wrong, let’s suppose the worst-case scenario obtains, and the average temperature rises not by 2C, but 4C or 6C or 8C. These numbers, touted as “we’re all gonna die” and “life on Earth will be impossible” would still not put us back to the warmer Eocene times, which were a period of tens of millions of years of abundant life and verdant growth on Planet Earth.
And that ancient warmth was sustained not by CO2 (as colder periods have had much greater CO2) but by changes in the shapes of continents and resulting sea currents and heat distribution. These arrangements gradually change the “set point” that the Earth tends to maintain using a hydrological cycle consisting of cloud and water vapor feedbacks. The warmer it is, the cloudier it gets, reflecting more sunlight back into space and controlling the air temperatures within narrow limits.
These feedbacks are ignored or miscoded in climate models for a reason: More neutral runs, that might closer mimic Earth’s hydrological temperature feedbacks, are discarded in favor of gloom and doom supporting the immediate need for government intervention, and more grant funds.
In my day job, this works against my interests: I write research grants. But as a private person, I cannot countenance the way in which this science is being grossly distorted for political ends. It corrupts both the scientists and the governments involved, and distracts crucial attention away from real threats.
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle