Saturday, 27 October 2018

Is Carbon Dioxide really a “Pollutant” ? (HINT: NO!)

by Astrophysicist Dr Gordon Fulks
 Reconstructed Total Solar Irradiance (after Wang 2005) with
Abdussamatov's prediction out to the mid 21
st century. 
The short answer is “NO!” But the longer answer is 
“Nonsense! Carbon dioxide is essential for life on this planet, important in many industrial applications, and not producing the warming that has been predicted.”
Of course, you will never see that explained in the constant climate propaganda, featuring photos of giant smokestacks spewing smoke or automobiles apparently belching smoke on a cold morning. 

They know that few people will realize that the “smoke” is really just water vapor. Water vapor is the other benign byproduct of our civilization and a much stronger “greenhouse gas.”

To be sure, smokestacks and automobile tailpipes do exhaust carbon dioxide too, but it is a colorless odorless gas that is invisible. If you want to see it, you will need to go to a grocery store and buy a chunk of solid CO2, commonly called 'Dry Ice.' But be careful, it is very cold and will disappear as it warms up, without ever going through a liquid phase.

Carbon dioxide is also important as an industrial compound. It makes a great welding and fire extinguisher gas, because it is substantially inert. It is used for enhanced oil recovery in oil fields. It works well as a propellant in many pressurized canister applications. It is also an important refrigerant that is widely used in the food industry and is being considered as the next refrigerant for automobile air conditioning systems.

But people are most familiar with the importance of CO2 in baking, where yeast is used to consume sugar in bread dough, forming CO2 to make the dough rise. Chemical leavening agents like baking powder or baking soda release CO2 when heated or exposed to acids, also making dough rise.

And of course, fermentation is important to making wine and beer. Yes, the fizz in champagne, beer, and soft drinks is dissolved CO2 coming out of solution as the pressurized beverage is opened or as it warms up. To call the fizz “pollution” is ludicrous.

Still more ludicrous is the demonization of a gas that is vital to the survival of life. We are all carbon creatures that derive all of our carbon from atmospheric carbon dioxide. We get that carbon directly from plants or from animals that have consumed plants. Plants photosynthesize carbon from atmospheric carbon dioxide and sunlight. One consequence is that we are slightly radioactive, because atmospheric carbon is slightly radioactive, due to the transmutation of nitrogen by high energy cosmic rays. Carbon from fossil fuels is not radioactive, because the radioactive C-14 has long since decayed away.

We not only use CO2-derived carbon to grow our bodies but also to burn for energy. Then much like our automobiles, we exhale CO2 and water vapor. And the concentration of CO2 is staggeringly higher than what we inhale. Ambient air contains about 400 parts per million CO2, while the air we exhale contains 40,000 ppm (80,000 ppm if we hold our breath). Breathing alone constitutes about six percent of the human carbon footprint. Every other creature on this planet does the same thing, from the single-celled to the largest whale. This is the crucial “Carbon Cycle.”

But what of the dangers of CO2? If you were to sleep on the ground near a lake in the Cameroons, you might perish overnight as the lake overturns and suddenly releases a large quantity of carbon dioxide that then hugs the ground, because it is heavier than air. If it fails to mix with the surrounding air, it can asphyxiate any creature close to the ground, including those animals who might try to scavenge those who have already died. Every gas other than oxygen is an asphyxiate.

Carbon dioxide is classified as non-toxic, despite great attempts by the climate crowd to make it seem diabolical. When submerged, US Navy submarines have to maintain an artificial atmosphere to support the crew for as long as a year at a time. That means they have to manufacture oxygen and scrub CO2 out of the atmosphere. But they regulate the CO2 to be less than 5,000 ppm. There is no reason to keep it as low as it is in the atmosphere.

And the amount of CO2 in the ambient atmosphere is still so low that we are near the minimum not the maximum that plants and animals tolerate. Plants prefer 1,000 to 1,500 ppm of CO2 and will not grow and eventually die below about 200 ppm. That makes the present level of 400 ppm near the low end.

Higher levels of CO2 are so desirable for plant growth that farmers growing such crops as tomatoes in greenhouses artificially increase the ambient CO2 by about three times to get a better crop sooner. And the increase in atmospheric CO2 has contributed to a greening of the planet, as observed by satellites from space. That in turn has substantially contributed to the “Green Revolution” that has allowed us to feed the nearly eight billion people who call this planet home.

What about the promised Global Warming from carbon dioxide? It has simply not materialized. Over the satellite era from 1979 where we have the best global temperature data, there has been only a slight warming trend that may be no more than a rebound from the cold of the 1970s. That was an era when alarmists were singing a completely different song, ICE AGE! It had a far more credible ring to it, because we know that we are near the end of this interglacial period we call the Holocene Climate Optimum.

But it too ignored natural variations caused largely by ocean cycles. These will prevent a rapid fall into the next Ice Age, because our oceans will keep us warm for centuries, even as advancing Milankovitch (orbital) cycles make the next Ice Age inevitable.

We should not rely on carbon dioxide to keep us warm. Look at how dramatically the temperature plummets this winter in isolated locations that are cut off from tropical ocean heat. Under clear skies with a very low dew point (relative humidity), the CO2 in the atmosphere is little help.

Am I the only one in the scientific community defending carbon dioxide? Hardly! The CO2 Coalition, of whom I am an unpaid Director, attempts to educate the public and blunt the effects of climate propaganda. We do so by teaching people the best science, as opposed to the best politics. It works with those who are open to the truth. That means too few in Oregon.

Don't take my word for it. See what one of my colleagues in Russia said:
“The Sun defines the climate. Experts of the United Nations in regular reports publish data said to show that the Earth is approaching a catastrophic global warming, caused by increasing emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. However, observations of the Sun show that as for the increase in temperature, carbon dioxide is "not guilty" and as for what lies ahead in the upcoming decades, it is not catastrophic warming, but a global and very prolonged temperature drop.”
Habibullo Abdussamatov, Dr. Sc.

Habibullo Abdussamatov, Dr. Sc.
Head of Space Research Laboratory of the Pulkovo Observatory

And he is not even talking about a fall into the next Ice Age, only a waning of solar activity that is already evident.

Gordon J. Fulks lives in Corbett and can be reached at He holds a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago's Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research and has no conflicts of interest on this subject.