The CO2 Coalition

The CO2 Coalition is an independent, non-profit organization that engages in informed, dispassionate discussion of how our planet will be affected by COreleased from the combustion of fossil fuel and other sources. Available scientific facts have persuaded Coalition members that additional CO2 will be a net benefit. Consider the ancient motto of Britain’s prestigious Royal Society—nullius in verba, “don’t take anyone’s word for it,” or more simply, “see for yourself.”

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Around the year 1861, John Tyndall, a prominent Irish physicist, discovered that water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and many other molecular gases that are transparent to visible light can absorb invisible heat radiation—such as that given off by a warm tea kettle, the human body, or the Earth itself. Tyndall recognized that water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, with CO2 a less important contributor.

Tyndall’s discovery came as the combustion of coal in the Industrial Revolution was beginning to release substantial amounts of CO2. These emissions have coincided with a steady increase of atmospheric CO2, from around 285 ppm (parts-per-million) in the 1860s to around 400 ppm today.

Mainstream warming forecasts have been wrong. Over the past two decades, the global warming predicted by climate models has mostly failed to materialize. The real “equilibrium climate sensitivity”—the amount of global warming to be expected for a doubling of atmospheric CO2—is likely to be about three times smaller than what the models have assumed. Observational data suggest that doubling atmospheric CO2 levels will increase the surface temperature by about 1° C, not the much larger values that were originally assumed in mainstream models. Using these much smaller, observationally based climate sensitivities, the projected warming from continued use of fossil fuels will be moderate and benign for the foreseeable future.

On being told that his obituary had been published, Mark Twain quipped, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” Alarming predictions of “climate change” are similar. Scientists and engineers in the CO2 Coalition want you to know that the negative effects of more CO2 – like Mark Twain’s death – have been greatly exaggerated. Readily available data from both governmental and non-governmental sources confirms that extreme weather events in recent years have not happened more often or with greater intensity. Reports of damaging ocean acidification, accelerating sea-level rise or unprecedented decreases of polar and glacial ice are also mostly myths designed to terrify people into accepting harmful policies that allegedly “save the planet.”

See for yourself.

More carbon dioxide levels will help everyone, including future generations of our families. CO2 is the essential food for land-based plants. The Earth’s biosphere has experienced a relative CO2 famine for millions of years, and the recent increase in CO2 levels has had a measurable, positive effect on plant life. Future CO2 increases will boost farm productivity, improve drought resistance, bolster food security and help create a greener, lusher planet.


CO2 plays a very small role in climate; water vapor and clouds are much bigger factors.

The amount of CO2 in the current atmosphere is tiny, about 0.04% by volume. This 0.04% level is about 30% larger than the preindustrial concentration, about 0.03%, in the year 1800. But even today’s 0.04% CO2 is perilously close to the starvation level for plants, around 0.015%. Earlier in the earth’s history, there was five times as much CO2 as now – 0.20%, and even more.

Most plants evolved at these much higher CO2 levels and they will do better if current low levels return to normal.

All other factors being equal, more atmospheric CO2 will increase greenhouse warming of the Earth’s surface. Atmospheric processes are complicated, so the amount of warming is still somewhat uncertain. The most reliable real-world observations of the atmosphere and oceans, together with geological history, point to only modest warming. That’s about 1° C (1.8° F), for doubling the CO2 concentration.


Both. Polar ice is close to stable. Antarctic sea ice is growing, while Arctic ice shrank by 10 percent since the first measurements of polar ice from satellites in 1979.

Mountain glaciers have been retreating recently but they grew during the Little Ice Age only 300 years ago.  The Tlingit people who have lived in Glacier Bay for 5,000 years report that they have been forced to leave the Bay to their settlement in Icy Strait five times over recent centuries.

Take a look at the oldest maps of the Alaskan shorelines prepared by European explorers—you’ll see that the glaciers extended many miles further than they do now. When later explorers arrived, the glaciers had retreated. But those maps were drawn more than a hundred years ago—long before CO2 levels in the atmosphere began to increase noticeably, due in part to the combustion of fossil fuels.


Green plants grow faster with more CO2. Robust agricultural research shows that more CO2 will help feed a hungry planet. We can all agree that more food security helps us at home and abroad. Land plants given more CO2 also become more drought-resistant because higher CO2 levels allow them to use water more efficiently. More abundant and stronger plants from increased CO2 are already seen around the world. Satellite images show significant greening of the planet in recent decades, especially near deserts where drought resistance is critical.  This remarkable global greening is the result of an increase of CO2 over the last two hundred years. Still higher CO2 levels will bring still more benefits to plant growth.

Plants use energy from sunlight to incorporate CO2 molecules and water molecules (H2O) into carbohydrates, while releasing “waste” oxygen molecules to the air. Biological machinery in plants, animals and microorganisms reworks some of the carbohydrates into proteins, lipids, vitamins and other essential chemicals of life. Every living creature, from the blooming rose to the newborn baby is made of carbon that plants captured from CO2 molecules in the air. More vigorous plant growth makes for more successful and robust agriculture.


If you live in the same area as your ancestors, you are experiencing about the same weather that they did. Careful observations show no significant increase in extreme weather, like tornadoes, hurricanes, floods or droughts. Sea levels are rising at about the same rate as in centuries past.

The increase in vivid news coverage of extreme weather makes some people think bad weather is more common now than for our ancestors. Remember the old newsroom motto: “if it bleeds, it leads.”

But all objective measures show that there has been no significant change in the weather. We still need to be concerned about extreme weather. But more CO2 has not caused more extreme weather and there is no reason why it should.


Adding CO2 in the atmosphere is not a new experiment with an unpredictable outcome. The Earth has carried out this experiment many times over many millions of years. Life (including our primate ancestors) flourished on land and in the oceans at much larger CO2 levels than we see today or are likely to see in the future.

The small increase in CO2 from about 0.03% to 0.04% over the past century has likely produced some small warming, probably about 0.4°C. Further increases of CO2 will cause further warming, but much more slowly.  For example, if increasing CO2 levels from 0.04% to 0.08% causes a warming of 1°C, it would be necessary to increase the CO2 levels from 0.08% to 0.16% to increase temperature by another 1°C. Twice as much CO2 increases is needed as for the second 1°C warming than for the first.

Warming, sea-level rise and other impacts will be small, while the benefits will be widespread: larger food crops, flourishing forests, and lush plant growth generally – the greening most people prefer.


Sea levels have been rising and falling slowly for thousands of years because the Earth has warmed and cooled in cycles. Since the climate has been warming slightly for the past 300 years, the sea levels have also been rising slightly. The average rate of the rise since about the year 1800 is roughly eight inches per century. This is no cause for panic. In recent decades, expensive homes and infrastructure have been built on flood-prone lowlands and coastlines. As a result, even minimal flooding can result in costly cleanups.

Some areas experience more flooding due to land subsidence after draining wetlands. That has lowered ground moisture, leading to settling. A recent global survey showed that our land area is increasing despite the slow rise in sea level. That’s because river deltas are growing as erosion carries soil towards the sea. And low-lying islands are not disappearing. Sand buildup has increased the land areas of many.

Warming, sea-level rise and other impacts will be small, while the benefits will be widespread: larger food crops, flourishing forests, and lush plant growth generally – the greening most people prefer.


Adding more CO2 to the atmosphere causes trees to grow faster because CO2 is a vital food for all plants and crops. The well-documented global greening proves that plants are thriving. CO2 also makes plants more resistant to drought. This greening of the Earth is a welcome benefit.

North America has more forest area today than in 1900. This is due to five main factors. First, modern agriculture is much more productive than it was then, so much less forest must be cleared to grow our food. Second, the demand for wood for housing and other uses results in private landowners planting forests to meet the demand. Third, much less wood is used for heating and cooking because other fuels are used today. Fourth, before 1900, about one-third of farmland was used to grow feed for draft animals, but today animal power has been almost entirely replaced by machinery. And fifth, much marginal farmland has been abandoned and allowed to revert to forest.


Except for some coastal areas where pollution is a problem, the world’s oceans are healthy environments for sea life.  The biggest threat to sea life is over-fishing.

Some people are concerned about “ocean acidification” as CO2 levels rise. This is misleading because there is no possible scenario that would result in the oceans becoming “acidic.” Reliable evidence shows that increased CO2 will increase the productivity of marine life just as it is improving the growth of plants on land.


You may have heard that a consensus of “97% of scientists” agrees that the world faces a climate catastrophe because of increasing CO2. The best available evidence shows that this is a faulty claim.  Many scientists disagree with this so-called “consensus,” and many of those who do agree with it lack expertise in climate science.


Scientific theories have never been established by consensus. Science is validated by comparing observations or experiments with theories. If the facts agree with the theory, confidence in the theory grows. If the facts contradict the theory, the theory is abandoned or modified and retested. Again and again, key predictions of alarming climate models have disagreed with observations and have greatly exaggerated supposedly harmful effects from more CO2.


At one time, the great majority of scientists believed the sun revolved around the earth. There was serious opposition among geologists to the now-obvious fact that continents slowly drift across the Earth’s surface. Just a few years ago nutritionists warned us against eggs and butter, but more careful research shows that they do more good than harm.


Your grandchildren will be fine. Over the past two decades, computer-based climate models have predicted much more global warming than has been observed. The real “equilibrium climate sensitivity,” which is the amount of global warming to be expected for a doubling of atmospheric CO2, is likely to be about 1°C, some three times smaller than most models assumed. Using these much smaller climate sensitivities, which are drawn from careful and long-running observations of the natural world, the projected warming will be moderate and beneficial for the foreseeable future.


Some argue that we should make heavy economic sacrifices to limit atmospheric CO2 as “insurance” against potential catastrophe. The purpose of insurance is to take sensible precautions against real risks. Climate policies fail on both counts. Meaningful reductions in carbon dioxide emissions would be painful for the middle class and disastrous for the poor in a futile effort to protect us against a risk that isn’t real. Such policies furthermore threaten to deprive mankind of the benefits of carbon dioxide, an essential component of life and well-being.

The world is full of serious problems that require our attention, including air and water quality, education, feeding a growing world population, health care, economic development and global security. Intelligent public policies prioritize risks and develop thoughtful and cost-effective mitigation steps. Diverting scarce resources from real human needs to an imaginary climate apocalypse is both irrational and immoral.


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