Planet Gore

Defending the ‘Gas of Life’

Willie Soon, Robert Carter, and David Lagates answer Bjørn Lomborg’s recent op-ed on the feasibility of engineering our way out of global warming. The opener:

This is a response to “Why Can’t We Innovate Our Way To A Carbon-Free Energy Future?”, a “Perspective” by Bjorn Lomborg that ran in this space a week ago.

Bjorn Lomborg, author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist” and “Cool It,” is right about the need to focus on critical health and economic priorities. But he is wrong about human carbon dioxide emissions causing what is now being called “global climate disruption.”

By demonizing the gas of life, in league with Al Gore and Bill Gates, Lomborg commits several serious scientific errors. As independent scientists, with broad training in mathematics, physics, chemistry, geology and geography, we know CO2 is not a pollutant, and the notion of “carbon-free” or “zero-carbon” energy is inherently harmful and anti-scientific.

If nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, helium or any other nontoxic gas is pumped into a chamber containing air and a growing plant, the response is barely measurable. By contrast, if more CO2 is added, the plant and its root system benefit enormously, displaying enhanced growth and more efficient use of available water and nutrients.

Far from having detrimental effects, carbon dioxide has decidedly beneficial impacts on plants, aquatic and terrestrial alike, and a new study connects enhanced plant productivity to greater bird species diversity in China. How, therefore, can anyone conclude that human carbon dioxide is a pollutant that must be eradicated?

These facts erect a formidable barrier for “zero-carbon” advocates. By insisting that no human CO2 should be emitted, they are promoting continued suboptimal growth of food plant species in the face of impending global food shortages – and poorer functioning and less diversity in the global ecosystem.

Zero-carbon activists respond to these facts by asserting that human CO2 emissions cause “dangerous global warming.” They are wrong about this, too.

If rising atmospheric CO2 levels drive global temperatures upward, as they insist, why is Earth not suffering from the dangerous “fever” that Al Gore predicted? Instead, after mild warming at the end of the twentieth century, global temperatures have leveled off for the past decade, amid steadily rising carbon dioxide levels.

Lomborg’s claim that we need to “cure” so-called “unchecked climate change” is thus fallacious and contradicted by reality. Reducing human CO2 emissions will likely have no measurable cooling effect on planetary temperatures.

The rest here.

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