OK, I have to admit. After years and years of being told by everyone and their uncle that greenhouse gases were bad for us, bad for the environment, and bad for Earth, my reaction to CO2 was a spontaneous knee-jerk reaction that would have made my dad proud. I was such a bright green girl that I was almost florescent, so luminous was my piety. I even felt guilty of drinking sodas because, you know, it’s full of that boogie-man gas, CO2, which is the same gas that bad, bad industries such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola pump into their products and sell to unsuspecting consumers like me.
And to think, I used to love carbonated drinks. Root Beer was always my favorite, but once I heard how bad CO2 was, I tried to wean myself off that CO2-laced beverage.
Imagine my surprise when I read about CO2 from some prominent scientists:
“CO2 is not a pollutant. In simple terms, CO2 is plant food. The green world we see around us would disappear if not for atmospheric CO2. These plants largely evolved at a time when the atmospheric CO2 concentration was many times what it is today. Indeed, numerous studies indicate the present biosphere is being invigorated by the human-induced rise of CO2. In and of itself, therefore, the increasing concentration of CO2 does not pose a toxic risk to the planet.” – John R. Christy, Ph.D. Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alabama
“Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but a naturally occurring, beneficial trace gas in the atmosphere. For the past few million years, the Earth has existed in a state of relative carbon dioxide starvation compared with earlier periods. There is no empirical evidence that levels double or even triple those of today will be harmful, climatically or otherwise. As a vital element in plant photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is the basis of the planetary food chain – literally the staff of life. Its increase in the atmosphere leads mainly to the greening of the planet. To label carbon dioxide a “pollutant” is an abuse of language, logic and science.” – Robert M. Carter, Ph.D. Professor of Environmental and Earth Sciences, James Cook University
“Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. On the contrary, it makes crops and forests grow faster. Economic analysis has demonstrated that more CO2 and a warmer climate will raise GNP and therefore average income. It’s axiomatic that bureaucracies always want to expand their scope of operations. This is especially true of EPA, which is primarily a regulatory agency. As air and water pollution disappear as prime issues, as acid rain and stratospheric-ozone depletion fade from public view, climate change seems like the best growth area for regulators. It has the additional glamour of being international and therefore appeals to those who favor world governance over national sovereignty. Therefore, labeling carbon dioxide, the product of fossil-fuel burning, as a pollutant has a high priority for EPA as a first step in that direction.” – S. Fred Singer, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
“To state in public that carbon dioxide is a pollutant is a public advertisement of a lack of basic school child science. Pollution kills, carbon dioxide leads to the thriving of life on Earth and increased biodiversity. Carbon dioxide is actually plant food.” – Ian R. Plimer, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne
“Carbon and CO2 (carbon dioxide) are fundamental for all life on Earth. CO2 is a colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas. CO2 is product of our breathing, and is used in numerous common applications like fire extinguishers, baking soda, carbonated drinks, life jackets, cooling agent, etc. Plants’ photosynthesis consume CO2 from the air when the plants make their carbohydrates, which bring the CO2 back to the air again when the plants rot or are being burned.” – Tom V. Segalstad, Ph.D. Professor of Environmental Geology, University of Oslo
“To suddenly label CO2 as a “pollutant” is a disservice to a gas that has played an enormous role in the development and sustainability of all life on this wonderful Earth. Mother Earth has clearly ruled that CO2 is not a pollutant.” – Robert C. Balling Jr., Ph.D. Professor of Climatology, Arizona State University
“C02 is not a pollutant as Gore infers. It is, in fact essential to life on the planet. Without it there are no plants, therefore no oxygen and no life. At 385 ppm current levels the plants are undernourished. The geologic evidence shows an average level of 1000 ppm over 600 million years. Research shows plants function most efficiently at 1000-2000 ppm. Commercial greenhouses use the information and are pumping C02 to these levels and achieve four times the yield with educed water use. At 200 ppm, the plants suffer seriously and at 150 ppm, they begin to die. So if Gore achieves his goal of reducing C02 he will destroy the planet.” – Tim F. Ball, Ph.D. Climatology
“Many chemicals are absolutely necessary for humans to live, for instance oxygen. Just as necessary, human metabolism produces by-products that are exhaled, like carbon dioxide and water vapor. So, the production of carbon dioxide is necessary, on the most basic level, for humans to survive. The carbon dioxide that is emitted as part of a wide variety of natural processes is, in turn, necessary for vegetation to live. It turns out that most vegetation is somewhat ‘starved’ for carbon dioxide, as experiments have shown that a wide variety of plants grow faster, and are more drought tolerant, in the presence of doubled carbon dioxide concentrations. Fertilization of the global atmosphere with the extra CO2 that mankind’s activities have emitted in the last century is believed to have helped increase agricultural productivity. In short, carbon dioxide is a natural part of our environment, necessary for life, both as ‘food’ and as a by-product.” – Roy Spencer, Ph.D. Meteorology, Former Senior Scientist for Climate Studies, NASA
“I am at a loss to understand why anyone would regard carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Carbon dioxide, a natural gas produced by human respiration, is a plant nutrient that is beneficial both for people and for the natural environment. It promotes plant growth and reforestation. Faster-growing trees mean lower housing costs for consumers and more habitat for wild species. Higher agricultural yields from carbon dioxide fertilization will result in lower food prices and will facilitate conservation by limiting the need to convert wild areas to arable land.” – David Deming, Ph.D. Professor of Geology and Geophysics, University of Oklahoma
“Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is a colorless, odorless trace gas that actually sustains life on this planet. Consider the simple dynamics of human energy acquisition, which occurs daily across the globe. We eat plants directly, or we consume animals that have fed upon plants, to obtain the energy we need. But where do plants get their energy? Plants produce their own energy during a process called photosynthesis, which uses sunlight to combine water and carbon dioxide into sugars for supporting overall growth and development. Hence, CO2 is the primary raw material that plants depend upon for their existence. Because plants reside beneath animals (including humans) on the food chain, their healthy existence ultimately determines our own. Carbon dioxide can hardly be labeled a pollutant, for it is the basic substrate that allows life to persist on Earth.” – Keith E. Idso, Ph.D. Botany
“To classify carbon dioxide as a pollutant is thus nothing short of scientific chicanery, for reasons that have nothing to do with science, but based purely on the pseudo-science so eagerly practiced by academia across the world in order to keep their funding sources open to the governmental decrees, which are in turn based on totally false IPCC dogma (yes, dogma – not science).” – Hans Schreuder, Analytical Chemist
“Atmospheric CO2 is required for life by both plants and animals. It is the sole source of carbon in all of the protein, carbohydrate, fat, and other organic molecules of which living things are constructed. Plants extract carbon from atmospheric CO2 and are thereby fertilized. Animals obtain their carbon from plants. Without atmospheric CO2, none of the life we see on Earth would exist. Water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide are the three most important substances that make life possible. They are surely not environmental pollutants.” – Arthur B. Robinson, Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry
In light of this ‘new discovery’ of the benefits of CO2 by all these prominent scientists, I feel such overwhelming relief and joy that I just ran out and bought two cases of root beer.
Excuse me while I boogie-on-down with my boogie-man gas.