April 27, 2020 JV

Are we Green?

I remember when environmentalists were called “greenies” or “tree-huggers.”  They were once most concerned about nature, especially plants and trees and such.  Blend the love of nature with the ubiquitous protest era peace symbol and what do you get?

Patrick Moore claims to be a co-founder of Greenpeace.  Greenpeace disagrees.  Professor Willie Soon describes Patrick Moore as: “the two words that frighten Greenpeace the most.”  Let’s find out why.

He is a vocal critic of the propaganda techniques used by the global warming movement.  In a 2019 interview with Breitbart, Moore states:

“[Carbon dioxide] is actually the main fertilizer and building block for life…

The climate change narrative is not just fake news; it’s fake science… That is a fact, and I will put my reputation — 45 years as a scientist studying these subjects — on the line.

I don’t get paid by the government to make up stories so politicians can scare the electorate into voting for them on the climate issue.”

Dr Patrick Moore broke with Greenpeace, the organization he co-founded, when Greenpeace’s mission morphed from promoting environmentalism to promoting Socialism.

When President Trump tweeted out Moore’s “fake news” statement, that was too much for Big Green.  Google and Greenpeace are now hard at work revising Greenpeace’s history to erase Dr. Patrick Moore from his role in co-founding the environmental group.

Wikipedia reports (and so it must be true) that “Moore has also denied the consensus of the scientific community on climate change, having stated that increased carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere is beneficial, that there is no proof that anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are responsible for global warming, and that even if true, increased temperature would be beneficial to life on Earth.”

CO2 is beneficial?  Shock!  Horror!  Could this be true?  Nations are planning to spend $Trillions to become Carbon-Neutral by 2050!

If you have been reading my series on Climate Change, you will have seen an array of evidence demonstrating that CO2 has nothing or little to do with global warming.  The group Philosophical Investigations has used the UN IPCC’s own data (including its biases and errors) to compare CO2 levels and temperature levels from 1750.  Based the UN IPCC’s own definitions, Philosophical Investigations showed that the central tenet of anthropogenic global warming is statistically “Unlikely” to be true.  But I digress.

Everyone with a primary school education knows that plants use carbon dioxide as a key element of photosynthesis; it makes plants grow.  At the microscopic level, plants must open their pores (stomata) to take in CO2 from the air; they can’t absorb it through their roots.

While opening their stomata, they lose 100 time more water than the CO2 they breathe in.  When CO2 concentrations are low, they suffer from dehydration, as it’s more difficult to isolate the critical gas.  The corollary is that plants become more drought resistant during periods when CO2 levels are higher.

As much as the biological explanation is appealing, the effect of CO2 on plants must be measured empirically as an outcome, to be defensible.  Well, it just so happens that this type of research has been undertaken by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change.  Craig Idso is the founder, former president, and currently chairman of this group.  He was lead author in the report: “The Positive Externalities of Carbon Dioxide: Estimating the Monetary Benefits of Rising Atmospheric CO2Concentrations on Global Food Production.”  The following sections are excerpts from this document.

“Advancements in technology and scientific expertise since the birth of the Industrial Revolution have led to vast improvements in agricultural yield and production values.  More efficient machinery and improved plant cultivars, for example, paved the way toward higher crop yields and increased global food production.

And with the ever-increasing population of the planet, the increase in food production was a welcome societal benefit.  But what remained largely unknown to society at that time, was the birth of an ancillary aid to agriculture that would confer great benefits upon future inhabitants of the globe throughout the decades and centuries to come.  And the source of that aid: atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).

Ironically, however, the modern rise of the air’s CO2 content is currently viewed by many as a source of concern, not a benefit.  Driven  primarily  by  gaseous  emissions produced from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil, the air’s CO2 content has risen steadily from a mean concentration of about 280 parts per million (ppm) at the onset of the Industrial Revolution in 1800 to a value of approximately 393 ppm today [2013]; and if current fuel consumption trends continue, the planet’s atmospheric CO2 concentration could reach upwards of 700 ppm by the end of this century.

At a fundamental level, carbon dioxide is the basis of nearly all life on Earth.  It is the primary raw material or “food” utilized by the vast majority of plants to produce the organic matter out of which they construct their tissues, which subsequently become the ultimate source of food for nearly all animals and humans.  Consequently, the more CO2 there is in the air, the better plants grow, as has  been demonstrated in literally thousands of laboratory and field experiments (Idso and Singer, 2009).  And the better plants grow, the more food there is available to sustain the entire biosphere.

Numerous studies conducted on hundreds of different plant species testify to the very real and measurable growth-enhancing, water-saving, and stress-alleviating advantages that elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations bestow upon Earth’s plants (Idso and Singer, 2009; Idso and Idso, 2011).

Impact of a 300 ppm increase in CO2 levels on crop yields

In commenting on these and many other CO2-related benefits, Wittwer (1982) wrote that “the ‘green revolution’ has coincided with the period of recorded rapid increase in concentration of  atmospheric carbon dioxide, and it seems likely that some credit for the improved [crop] yields  should be laid at the door of the CO2 build up.”  Similarly, Allen et al. (1987) concluded that yields of soybeans may have been rising since at least 1800 “due to global carbon dioxide increases,” while more recently, Cunniff et al.  (2008) hypothesized that the rise in atmospheric CO2 following deglaciation of the most recent planetary ice age, was the trigger that launched the global agricultural enterprise.”

Idso went on to calculate the monetary benefit of the impact of rising CO2 levels on crop yields.  He used the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), annual global crop yield and production data were obtained, as well as the monetary value associated with that production (FAO, 2013) as the basis of these calculations.  He selected the 45 crops that represented 95 % of the world’s food production over the 50-year period from 1961-2011.  From 1961 to 2011, the aggregate of monetary benefits across the entire 50-year time period amounts to $3.2 trillion.

Around 1970 (year of the first Earth Day), many alarming predictions were made by AGW proponents in relation to the rise in CO2 and its effect on food production.  Some of these are listed below:

  • Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
  • “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”
  • “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By… [1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”
  • Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”
  • “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.
  • Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”
  • In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it.”

Against this backdrop of wild alarmist predictions is this one prediction made by Craig Idso in 1982:

“CO2 effects on both the managed and unmanaged biosphere will be overwhelmingly positive,” if not “mind-boggling.”

In a monograph based on a lecture he gave nine years later (Idso, 1995), he said that

“we appear to be experiencing the initial stages of what could truly be called a rebirth of the biosphere, the beginnings of a biological rejuvenation that is without precedent in all of human history.”

So, who was correct, the Climate Change Alarmists or Dr. Idso?  Let’s let the pro-AGW NASA organisation share their results (2016):

“From a quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years [1982 – 2015] largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change on April 25.

An international team of 32 authors from 24 institutions in eight countries led the effort, which involved using satellite data from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer instruments to help determine the leaf area index, or amount of leaf cover, over the planet’s vegetated regions. The greening represents an increase in leaves on plants and trees equivalent in area to two times the continental United States.”

The last of my five comparison positions on Climate Change is:

So, based on the preponderance of evidence, which of these two positions do you believe is more plausibly true?

Before you answer, how about we let “The Fifth Element” characters Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis) ask Ruby Rhod (Chris Tucker) enlighten us.

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