The level of carbon dioxide, a trace essential gas in the atmosphere that humans exhale from our mouths, has come very close to reaching the “symbolic” 400 parts per million (ppm) threshold in the atmosphere. Former Vice President Al Gore declared the 400 ppm level “A sad milestone. A call to action.” New York times reporter Justin Gillis compared trace amounts of CO2 to “a tiny bit of arsenic or cobra venom.” The New Yorker Magazine declared “Everything we use that emits carbon dioxide needs to be replaced with something that doesn’t.” And a UK Guardian editorial declared “Swift political action can avert a carbon dioxide crisis.”
But despite the man-made global warming fear movement’s clarion call of alarm, many scientists are dismissing the 400ppm level of carbon dioxide as a non-event. Scientists point out that there are literally hundreds of factors that govern Earth’s climate and temperature – not just CO2. Renowned climatologists have declared that a doubling or even tripling of CO2 would not have major impacts on the Earth’s climate or temperature.
Scientists also note that geologically speaking, the Earth is currently in a “CO2 famine” and that the geologic record reveals that ice ages have occurred when CO2 was at 2000ppm to as high as 8000ppm. In addition, peer-reviewed studies have documented that there have been temperatures similar to the present day on Earth when carbon dioxide was up to twenty times higher than today’s levels. And, a peer-reviewed study this year found that the present day carbon dioxide level of 400ppm was exceeded — without any human influence — 12,750 years ago when CO2 may have reached up to 425 ppm.
Princeton U. Physicist Dr. William Happer and NASA Moonwalker & Geologist Dr. Harrison H. Schmitt wrote on May 8, 2013 in the Wall Street Journal: “Thanks to the single-minded demonization of this natural and essential atmospheric gas by advocates of government control of energy production, the conventional wisdom about carbon dioxide is that it is a dangerous pollutant. That’s simply not the case.”
“The cessation of observed global warming for the past decade or so has shown how exaggerated NASA’s and most other computer predictions of human-caused warming have been—and how little correlation warming has with concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. As many scientists have pointed out, variations in global temperature correlate much better with solar activity and with complicated cycles of the oceans and atmosphere. There isn’t the slightest evidence that more carbon dioxide has caused more extreme weather,” Happer and Schmidt wrote.
Princeton’s Dr. Happer, who has authored 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, explained in Senate testimony in 2009 that the Earth is currently in a ‘CO2 ‘famine.’ Happer explained to Congress: ”Warming and increased CO2 will be good for mankind…’CO2 is not a pollutant and it is not a poison and we should not corrupt the English language by depriving ‘pollutant’ and ‘poison’ of their original meaning,” Happer added.
“Many people don’t realize that over geological time, we’re really in a CO2 famine now. Almost never has CO2 levels been as low as it has been in the Holocene (geologic epoch) – 280 (parts per million – ppm) – that’s unheard of. Most of the time [CO2 levels] have been at least 1000 (ppm) and it’s been quite higher than that,” Happer told the Senate Committee. “Earth was just fine in those times,” Happer added. “The oceans were fine, plants grew, animals grew fine. So it’s baffling to me that we’re so frightened of getting nowhere close to where we started,” Happer explained.
The claim by global warming activists and scientists that CO2 is the global temperature “control knob” has been challenged in the peer-reviewed literature and the Earth’s geologic history.
‘You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide’
Renowned atmospheric scientist Dr. Reid Bryson, (who died in 2008), explained in 2007: “You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide.” Geoffrey G. Duffy, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering of the University of Auckland, NZ, agreed with Bryson. “Even doubling or tripling the amount of carbon dioxide will virtually have little impact, as water vapor and water condensed on particles as clouds dominate the worldwide scene and always will,” Duffy wrote.
Climate change is governed by hundreds of factors, or variables, not just CO2.
UK Professor Emeritus of Biogeography Philip Stott of the University of London explains the crux of the entire global warming debate and rebuts the notion that CO2 is the main climate driver.
“As I have said, over and over again, the fundamental point has always been this: climate change is governed by hundreds of factors, or variables, and the very idea that we can manage climate change predictably by understanding and manipulating at the margins one politically-selected factor (CO2), is as misguided as it gets,” Stott wrote in 2008. It is not simply, the sun or CO2 when looking at global temperatures, it is the Sun, volcanoes, tilt of the Earth’s axis, water vapor, methane, clouds, ocean cycles, plate tectonics, albedo, atmospheric dust, Atmospheric Circulation, cosmic rays, particulates like Carbon Soot, forests and land use, etc. Climate change is governed by hundreds of factors, or variables, not just CO2.
Even the climate activists at RealClimate.org let this point slip out in a September 20, 2008 article. “The actual temperature rise is an emergent property resulting from interactions among hundreds of factors,”RealClimate.org conceded.
Former Harvard University Physicist Dr. Lubos Motl dismissed any significance to 400ppm of CO2 in an essay on May 12, 2013 titled “Why we should work hard to raise the CO2 concentration”: “CO2 is primarily plant food while its other implications for Nature are negligible in comparison. Humanitarian orgs should work hard to help mankind to increase the CO2 concentration,” Motl wrote. “’CO2 is the key compound that plants need to grow – and, indirectly, that every organism needs to get the food at the end,” he added.
Other analyses have shown CO2 loses any ‘warming’ impact as the levels increase. See: The effectiveness of CO2 as a greenhouse gas becomes ever more marginal with greater concentration – ’The effectiveness of CO2 as a greenhouse gas diminishes logarithmically with increasing concentration and from the current level of ~390 ppmv, (parts per million by volume). Accordingly only ~5% of the effectiveness of CO2 as a greenhouse gas remains beyond the current level’
In February 2013, global warming activists were stunned by the retreat of one of their former UN scientists. Top Swedish Climate Scientist Dr. Lennart Bengtsson, formerly of the UN IPCC, declared CO2”s “heating effect is logarithmic: the higher the concentration is, the smaller the effect of a further increase.” Bengtsson noted that global warming would not even be noticeable without modern instruments. “The warming we have had last a 100 years is so small that if we didn’t have climatologists to measure it we wouldn’t have noticed it at all’ — Award-Winning Dr. Lennart Bengtsson, formerly of UN IPCC: ‘We Are Creating Great Anxiety Without It Being Justified…there are no indications that the warming is so severe that we need to panic…The warming we have had the last a 100 years is so small that if we didn’t have had meteorologists and climatologists to measure it we wouldn’t have noticed it at all.”
In addition, New Zealand Climate Scientist Chris de Freitas revealed on May 1, 2009 that “warming and CO2 are not well correlated.” de Freitas added, “the effect of CO2 on global temperature is already close to its maximum. Adding more has an ever decreasing effect.”
Australian Geologist Dr. Ian Plimer wrote on August 8, 2009: “At present, the Earth’s atmosphere is starved of CO2.” Plimer, who authored the skeptical book Heaven and Earth, added, “On all time scales, there is no correlation between temps and CO2. If there is no correlation, then there can be no causation.”
Professor Dr. Doug L. Hoffman, mathematician, computer programmer and engineer, wrote on August 24, 2009: “There have been ice ages when the levels of Co2 in Earth’s atmosphere have been many times higher than today’s.” Hoffman, who worked on environmental models and conducted research in molecular dynamics, co-authored the 2009 book, The Resilient Earth.
Other studies have shown carbon dioxide does not control the Earth’s temperature, but it is actually the reverse. See: New Paper: Danish Physicist Dr. Henrik Svensmark’s Cosmic Jackpot: ‘Svensmark stands the currently popular CO2 story on its head…Climate and life control CO2, not the other way around’ — ‘Some geoscientists want to blame the drastic alternations of hot and icy conditions during the past 500 million years on increases and decreases in carbon dioxide, which they explain in intricate ways. For Svensmark, the changes driven by the stars govern the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Climate and life control CO2, not the other way around…’The UK Royal Astronomical Society in London publishes Svensmark’s latest paper’
Many skeptical scientists point out that temperature leads CO2 in the ice core data. See: ‘The ice core data clearly reveal temperature increases generally precede increasing CO2 by several hundred to a few thousand years’
‘Temperature drives CO2’
Ivy League geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack, former chair of Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania, spoke out in 2007 against fears of rising CO2 impacts promoted by Gore and others. Giegengack noted “for most of Earth’s history, the globe has been warmer than it has been for the last 200 years. It has rarely been cooler.” (LINK) “[Gore] claims that temperature increases solely because more CO2 in the atmosphere traps the sun’s heat. That’s just wrong … It’s a natural interplay. As temperature rises, CO2 rises, and vice versa,” Giegengack explained. “It’s hard for us to say that CO2 drives temperature. It’s easier to say temperature drives CO2,” he added. (LINK) “The driving mechanism is exactly the opposite of what Al Gore claims, both in his film and in that book. It’s the temperature that, through those 650,000 years, controlled the CO2; not the CO2 that controlled the temperature,” he added. (LINK)
Meteorologist Tom Wysmuller: ‘The Recent Temperature and CO2 Disconnect’ — Even going back ten centuries, there have been total disconnects between temperature and the CO2 impact, or lack thereof. From 1000AD to 1800, over a period of relatively stable CO2 values that bounced around the 280ppm level, temperatures plummeted in the Little Ice Age (LIA) and then rebounded over a century later. CO2 values neither led nor followed the temperature declines and recoveries…CO2 seems to have had little impact in EITHER direction on the observed temperatures over that 10k year period…If CO2 is to be considered a major driver of temperatures, it is doing a counterintuitive dance around the numbers.’
“The Kyoto theorists have put the cart before the horse. It is global warming that triggers higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, not the other way round…A large number of critical documents submitted at the 1995 U.N. conference in Madrid vanished without a trace. As a result, the discussion was one-sided and heavily biased, and the U.N. declared global warming to be a scientific fact,” Andrei Kapitsa, a Russian geographer and Antarctic ice core researcher.
“CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another….Every scientist knows this, but it doesn’t pay to say so…Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps Europeans in the driver’s seat and developing nations walking barefoot.” – Dr. Takeda Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan.
“Based on the laws of physics, the effect on temperature of man’s contribution to atmospheric CO2 levels is minuscule and indiscernible from the natural variability caused in large part by changes in solar energy output.” – Atmospheric Scientist Robert L. Scotto, who has more than 30 years air quality consulting experience, served as a manager for an EPA Superfund contract and is co-founder of Minnich and Scotto, Inc., a full-service air quality consulting firm. He also is a past member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Scotto, a meteorologist who has authored or co-authored numerous technical publications and reports.
“The energy mankind generates is so small compared to that overall energy budget that it simply cannot affect the climate…The planet’s climate is doing its own thing, but we cannot pinpoint significant trends in changes to it because it dates back millions of years while the study of it began only recently. We are children of the Sun; we simply lack data to draw the proper conclusions.” — Russian Scientist Dr. Anatoly Levitin, the head of geomagnetic variations laboratory at the Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radiowave Propagation of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Marc Morano is publisher of Climate Depot & Former Staff of U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee.