That is the title of a short but extremely important column by Professors Harrison Schmitt and William Happer that appeared in the 9may13 WSJ. Readers know that I am a longtime skeptic of the ongoing climate change hysteria (especially the AGW part), and for technical reasons believe that results from data diddling and climate modeling have been at best questionable to incompetent science, or at worst blatently formulated to achieve political ends.
Schmitt and Happer present a science side of the CO2 phantasmagoria that IMHO has not received anywhere near the consideration it should have in the ongoing debate on the global insanity and local trans-hysteria (witness California’s AB32) that is going on. The piece starts –
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.
The whole article, from which the graphic was filched, can be read here. Such information will make little impact on the lay reader whose beliefs about AGW are already well calcified. But they should be an eye-opener for the serious intelligent reader still seeking direction on whether or not to support the steady “carbon footprint” diet that we are fed daily.
To keep up on the overall developments in the climate change forum please visit Russ Steele’s ‘The Next Grand Minimum’ and Anthony Watts’ ‘Watts Up With That’.
[14apr13 update] Reasonable people who made a case before t0 that Observable #1 may have been the cause of Observable #2, would reexamine their premises, let alone their conclusions, at some point after t0. The rest will be unfazed by the observed data.