If It’s In The Wall Street Joural Opinions Section Then We Need to Rethink Everything.

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.

6 thoughts on “If It’s In The Wall Street Joural Opinions Section Then We Need to Rethink Everything.”

  1. Actually there is some pretty solid data on how much doubling of CO2 increases the global mean temperature. I believe it’s 3C if I remember correctly, which is significant. Other issues that are likely more serious than the warming itself are food production (mainly growth disruption of food crops) and coastal flooding due to sea level rising. Having said that, I don’t think the sky is falling either, but to say let’s not worry about it sounds like corporate propaganda or wishful thinking at best.

  2. Notice also that only 1 of the 16 scientists is a climatologist. It seems that it’s always the laymen who have the strongest opinions on climate change. And regarding the lack of warming in the past decade, the atmosphere is a very small part of the planet’s heat capacity. The vast majority of the heat goes in the oceans and ice melting, and when taken into account, the warming never stopped. A great resource that I found on this top
    ic is skepticalscience.com. Every denier argument you could think of is debunked with science & data.

  3. I think it was Descarte who decided to believe in God because there was less risk. If he believed in God, and was wrong, he’d never know the difference. If he didn’t believe in God and was wrong, he’d burn in hell. Ergo, it was safer to believe in God than to not believe in God.
    If we believe in climate change, adjust our behavior for it, and are wrong, the world will go on unchanged. If we don’t believe in climate change, and don’t adjust our behavior, and are wrong, we will burn in a hell of our own creation. Ergo, it’s safer to believe in climate change.

  4. I remember reading an article a couple of years ago that put forward an interesting hypothesis in regards to plant responses to increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. The research was addressing the question as to whether or not the increased levels of plant growth observed under high CO2 conditions was all beer and skittles. They found that increased plant growth equated with a reduction in plant-produced RuBisCO, the enzyme involved in fixing CO2 during photosynthesis (i.e. more CO2 = less RuBisCo needed to fix the same amount of CO2). An unexpected finding was that the energy saving plants showed in having to manufacture less of this enzyme resulted in the plants producing more volatile oils and compounds associated with plant defences – stuff like phenols, oxalic acid and lignin (I think…). The implications of the findings were higher levels of plant growth but less palatability and nutrition to ruminant animals and humans. The trials, I think, were done on cassava, which is a staple food plant in third world countries owing to its ability to grow and crop well on marginal land. I could have some of the biology slightly wrong, it’s been a while since I read the article.
    I can’t remember who did the research, but I found the results very interesting.

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