I’m no global warming apologist. I do think it’s happening. I think the new USDA map supports that it’s happening. I also think that humans probably have something to do with it since we cut trees and burn fossil fuels which release carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into our atmosphere. That said, I’m not convinced that the carbon dioxide produced by people is as big a player in global warming as we’re being led to believe, or that the world is about to become a living hell because of it. Still, I don’t know if I’m on board with this article published in the Wall Street Journal last week. Sixteen scientists with diverse backgrounds basically encouraging us to ignore carbon dioxide emissions for awhile.
Look, even if global warming is a red herring, carbon dioxide isn’t the wonderful universal fertilizer claimed by this article. Increased carbon dioxide does encourage the growth of some plants, others don’t benefit as much, meaning that some weeds will become more competitive with crops as carbon dioxide levels increase. These crops include such things as rice and corn. Furthermore, increased carbon dioxide means that more nutrients will need to be pulled from the soil by plants which are trying to grow faster — kinda like how you need more gas (nutrients) for a faster car (faster growing plant). So that’ll mean more fertilizer used for crops, which will be used at about 30% efficiency (about 70% of what we apply to crops never gets to them) and the rest will go into the air or into the water as pollutants.
To me, the carbon dioxide issue isn’t, and never was, about global warming — because we can’t prove how much it does to climate change. The issue is crops and ocean acidification (which I haven’t gone into here) because we have very good data in these areas as they relate to the negative effects of increased carbon dioxide levels. We need to rethink our fossil fuel use.