Is carbon dioxide — two pounds of which each of us exhales daily — a pollutant? And are weather catastrophes increasing as a result of higher concentrations of the gas?
Physics — along with a few other branches of science — says no.
Nonetheless, in a landmark 2007 Supreme Court ruling, the EPA concluded that it has the authority to regulate ‘greenhouse gases’, setting off a cascade of regulatory actions that target fossil fuels as emitters of a dangerous gas and promoting “green” energy as the solution.
This ruling has become known as the “Endangerment Finding” and it determined that carbon dioxide was a “pollutant” that was dangerously warming the atmosphere and oceans, leading to climate catastrophe.
Now, the current Supreme Court is set to review the 15-year-old finding Feb. 28. Never mind that, according to Clean Air Act co-author John Dingell, Congress never intended for EPA to regulate ‘greenhouse gases’.
Setting aside legalistic arguments as to whether Congress or the EPA has the authority to make such decisions, the science is clear: Increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will not lead to the catastrophic consequences that the global warming enthusiasts predict.
In fact, a recent Louisiana judge dictated that the EPA needs to use realistic metrics when evaluating the costs or benefits of more CO2. Using a higher, real-world discount rate mandated by Congress reveals that the “social cost of carbon” from increasing carbon dioxide emissions is a net benefit to society.
That is correct. More CO2 benefits society and the peoples of the Earth.
The Earth’s atmosphere has warmed about one degree Celsius since 1850, and CO2 has increased approximately 130 parts-per-million since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to about 415 ppm today This combination of modest warming and a rise in atmospheric CO2 has provided a huge benefit to the Earth’s ecosystems and to humanity.
Contrary to predictions of ever-increasing catastrophes and harm to humanity, quite the opposite is occurring. By virtually every metric the planet’s ecosystems are improving and we are enjoying those benefits.
Deserts are shrinking, the bulk of the planet is enjoying re-forestation not de-forestation, vegetation is exploding across all ecological niches, natural disasters have been in a twenty-year decline, hurricanes are not increasing, the strongest tornadoes are in decline, and our air and water are cleaner today than in modern history.
The majority of North American heat records were set 90 to 100 years ago.
Where Is The Crisis? There Is None.
That more carbon dioxide is fueling plant growth is accepted as fact by all parties in the climate debate (and yes, Virginia, there IS a debate). Modest warming is providing longer growing seasons in temperate climes, assisting in the cultivation and harvesting of more food.
Image: Craig Idso / Christopher Monckton