CO2 Fundamentals

The debate about global warming and climate change has shifted from genuine scientific exploration to a campaign demonizing CO2. The use of energy, the primary source of human CO2 emissions, have played an essential role in the economic progress and improved standard of living that has been experienced in many nations since the Industrial Revolution.

The mission of the Coalition is to demonstrate with science-based facts that:

CO2

CO2 is a nutrient that is essential to life. CO2 at current levels and higher enables plants, trees, and crops to grow faster and more efficiently. It is essential for life.

Energy

Just as we require oxygen for life, our economy requires energy, often described as the oxygen or lifeblood of the economy. Energy must be abundant, reliable, and reasonably priced for an economy to achieve robust and sustained growth.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a natural and beneficial constituent of the atmosphere.  By volume percentage, 99% of dry air is nitrogen (78%) and oxygen (21%). Most of the rest is argon (0.93%), with carbon dioxide amounting to only 0.04%, but slowly increasing. Even smaller amounts of other gases, neon, helium, methane etc., make up the remainder.

Atmospheric CO2 is essential to life on earth, since plants use sunlight to combine CO2 molecules from the air with H2O molecules to make carbohydrates (for example, sugar) and other organic compounds. In the process, oxygen molecules (O2) are released to the atmosphere. At CO2 levels less than 150 ppm (parts per million), most plants stop growing. Over most of the history of multicellular life on earth, CO2 levels have been three or four times higher than present levels. Current CO2 levels of 400 ppm are still much less than optimum for most plant growth.

Air also contains water vapor (H2O), from as much as 7% in the humid tropics to less than 1% on a cold winter day. Human exhaled breath typically contains 4% to 5% CO2 and about 6% H2O.Water vapor,

Water vapor, clouds and carbon dioxide hinder the escape of thermal radiation to space and allow the earth’s surface to be warm enough for life.  Without this “greenhouse warming,” most of the oceans would be frozen.  Increasing levels of the greenhouse gas CO2 from fuel combustion will slightly increase the surface temperature of the earth.  Observations indicate that every doubling of the CO2 concentration will increase the earth’s surface temperature by 1 to 2 C, and perhaps less.  The warming is so small that the resulting longer growing seasons and increased plant productivity from additional CO2 will of great benefit to life on earth.

Higher carbon dioxide levels will be beneficial for the Developing World.  See our White Papers:

Carbon Dioxide Benefits the World: See for Yourself

A Primer on Carbon Dioxide and Climate

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