Opinion

The Obama administration’s unscientific war on carbon

The environmental community, fearing the planet will be harmed from climate change, has pressured the Obama Administration to issue new standards for greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants.

Propaganda from radical environmental groups have altered the perception of many policymakers and American voters. The constant drumbeat from these groups has been seized on by the media and is designed to generate incessant media coverage, donations, and grassroots activism despite scientific conclusions that differ from their ideology.

All true environmentalists should be interested in actual data-driven analyses of the long term well being of the Earth. That human activities have had negative impacts on a pristine Earth is certainly true. However, we must look at all sides of the current debate and examine the facts. What is most revealing is that new data has caused the scientific community to conclude that the addition of CO2 to the atmosphere plus some warming of the planet has caused a “greening of the Earth.”

According to the June 2013 edition of the Journal of Science in its “Editor’s Choice” of stories, “Satellite observations have shown that many regions of the terrestrial biosphere are getting greener, their above ground vegetative mass is increasing … the most obvious cause would seem to be the rising concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.”

A January 2013 story in the Wall Street Journal, “How Fossil Fuels Have Greened the Planet,” reports that “the latest and most detailed satellite data, which is yet to be published but was summarized in an online lecture last July by Ranga Myneni of Boston University, confirms that the greening of the Earth has now been going on for 30 years. Between 1982 and 2011, 20.5 percent of the world’s vegetated area got greener, while just 3 percent grew browner, the rest showed no change.

Myneni explains, “What explains this trend? Man-made nitrogen fertilizer causes crops to grow faster, but it is having little effect on forests. There are essentially two possibilities: climate and carbon dioxide itself. Warmer, wetter weather should cause more vegetation to grow. But even without warming, an increase in carbon dioxide should itself accelerate growth rates of plants.”

For years, the world has digested the demonization around man-made carbon dioxide (CO2), but the fact remains that it is a gas essential for nearly all life on Earth. The food of all plants is CO2, as learned in the third grade. Since thousands of real experiments have documented the positive response of more CO2 on plants, food crops and trees, think logically about the facts.

Despite putting concrete, asphalt and buildings on everything in sight and clear-cutting rain forests, the NASA satellite sensor has documented that the Earth has been “greening” for over three decades. While both warming and C02 increased the first 15 years, only CO2 has increased for the last 16 years. Yet Earth is continuing to “green.” Habitats and ecosystems are becoming more robust. Experiments prove that with increased CO2, plants require less water to grow as large. Plant life is encroaching into the deserts. Experiments also prove that adding 300 parts per million of CO2 to the current level in our atmosphere will increase the growth of the eight most consumed food crops on Earth by 39 percent! As food production per acre increases, less remaining pristine land and its habitats will have to yield to the plough to feed an expanding population.

But isn’t more CO2 going to cause a catastrophic warming of the Earth?

For an unbiased summary of the global climate issue, a team of former NASA scientists calling themselves, “The Right Climate Stuff” has publicly announced the results of a comprehensive review. They determined that current models are unvalidated and clearly deficient for climate forecasting, Earth’s sensitivity to CO2 is much less than commonly claimed, empirical evidence does not support a catastrophic warming scenario, calling CO2 a “pollutant” is scientifically embarrassing and we should not be spending huge sums to reduce CO2 in light of the above.

This is great news for the planet. Habitats and ecosystems will thrive, cheap and reliable energy can be used to feed mankind so millions will not die of starvation, the economy will rebound, and jobs and industries will not have to move overseas.

True environmentalists should look up these facts and see if objective logic will not lead them to the conclusion that they have been mislead by the many interests that are demonizing CO2 for corporate profit, fundraising by scaring the money out of your pocket, gaining grants and tenure in academia, or feeding the media public catastrophic “forecasts” coming from deficient, unvalidated climate models. Join the efforts to truly green the earth.

Leighton Steward is a geologist, environmentalist, and a non-paid chairman of PlantsNeedCo2.com, a 501 (C)(3) non-profit corporation.