Food for plants: another way of looking at carbon dioxide

To the Editor:

When Premier Notley and Environment Minister Shannon Phillips claim climate science is settled, in effect, they’re justifying just about any government action, expense, or tax policy that they say will slay the climate dragon. As we all know, the dragon is carbon dioxide (CO2).
The premier refers to CO2 as pollution. Ivar Giaver, a Norwegian Nobel Prize-winning physicist says: “One thing you should not do is confuse pollution with CO2—CO2 is not pollution.”
William Happer, an atomic physicist at Princeton and member of JASON (a group of elite scientists who advise the U.S. government on matters of science and technology), says: “We need to be vigilant to keep our land, air, and waters free of real pollution…but CO2 is not one of these pollutants.”
Freeman Dyson, the brilliant Princeton scientist who, like Happer, is a member of the elite scientific group JASON, acknowledges the mechanism by which many believe human action can influence climate, yet says the computer models can’t possibly capture what’s going on.
Dyson speaks to the beneficial impact of CO2. In an interview with journalist Paul Mulshine, Dyson said: “It’s certainly true that CO2 is good for vegetation. About 15 per cent of agricultural yields are due to CO2 we put in the atmosphere. From that point of view, it’s a real plus to burn coal and oil.”
Patrick Moore is the cofounder of Greenpeace; he served nine years as president of Greenpeace Canada and seven as a director of Greenpeace International. He says that CO2 is not a pollutant, but a colourless, odorless, tasteless gas and the most important food for life on earth. If the earth’s CO2 levels aren’t above 150 parts per million (ppm) he says that plants would die.
Moore states that throughout the earth’s history, CO2 levels have been drawn down (by plants) from around 3,000 ppm to roughly 280 ppm—the level reached prior to the Industrial Revolution. If the decline had continued, CO2 would have become too low to support life. Fortunately, the Industrial Revolution sparked the use of fossil fuels, which boosted CO2 from the lowest levels in earth’s history to just over 400 ppm today.
Moore says: “At 400 parts per million, all our food crops, forests, and natural ecosystems are still on a starvation diet for carbon dioxide. The optimum level of CO2 for plant growth… is about 1,500 parts per million, nearly four times higher than today, [which is why] greenhouse growers inject CO2” into their nurseries.
Ecologist Moore also says the earth has been warming since long before the heavy use of fossil fuels. He further says the idea that it would be catastrophic if CO2 were to increase, and average global temperature were to rise. is preposterous. “There has been no significant warming for 18 years while we have emitted 25 per cent of all the CO2 ever emitted,” he said.
Tom Harris of the Ottawa-based International Climate Science Coalition says climate science is definitely not settled, and further indicates that the reason politicians like Rachel Notley throw around the term “carbon pollution,” is that it conjures up false images of dark and dangerous soot emissions even though CO2 has absolutely nothing to do with either soot or pollution. He says that demonizing CO2 is how climate alarmists discourage critical thinking, alarm the public, and justify their political agendas.

Kevin Avram
Director of Grassroots Alberta

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