Let’s all Join the Green Party!
How much CO2 is optimal? Most greenhouses operate at about double the atmospheric concentration, (at around 800 ppm), but maximal plant growth has been shown to occur between 1500-2000 ppm. Not surprisingly, 2000 ppm is more in line with long term planetary averages, likely the level plants evolved in. How much is too much for us animals? Many enclosed spaces like classrooms, offices and vehicles regularly build up to 4000 ppm, due to the fact that our exhaled breath is 40,000 ppm. Concentrations above 5000 are not recommended. Since our food is worth 5 trillion dollars per year, we can estimate that the greening effect has been worth about at least a trillion dollars per annum. Of course food is far more important than its monetary value, and during times of famine it becomes priceless. What about effects on our oceans? Haven’t we all heard about the new worry of ocean acidification? A leading expert, Dr Patrick Moore, concludes: “Laboratory experiments in which pH was kept within a range that may feasibly occur during this century show a slight positive effect on five critical factors: calcification, metabolism, growth, fertility and survival”. So, the oceans are safe. In fact, ocean calcifiers are probably what almost got us into a very low “carbon crisis” of less than 150 ppm we were heading for before industrialization. The geologic record hints at other eras where runaway carbon sequestration by oceanic organisms have resulted in dangerously low atmospheric CO2 that have resulted in mass extinctions. Could there be any downsides to increased atmospheric CO2? So far, there has not been any credible connection between rising CO2 and destructive weather, heat waves, forest fires, flooding or species extinctions. We shouldn’t become complacent though, and I think most people support the idea of continued balanced and rational study of all factors that might affect our atmosphere. I hope this new Green Party lasts a long time. To keep the levels of CO2 up high enough to feed our plants, and in turn feed ourselves, we need to burn enough fossil fuels to counter the natural forces like ocean calcifiers or voracious rain forests that are trying to take the carbon out of our atmosphere and plunge us toward a new “climate catastrophe”. The present trend of about 2% annual growth in oil, gas and coal energy use should keep us safe for the foreseeable future, until we get smart enough to find better ways to control our planet’s atmosphere. If we ever approach a new “tipping point” where carbon levels again start to fall, we can respond by building more coal plants and cement factories (clean ones of course with very good pollution scrubbers) to outweigh nature’s opposing forces. What about those obsolete political Green Parties? As an environmentalist, I long for the days when courageous environmental heroes stood up to whalers or nuclear bomb testers, and practical activists took on industrial polluters to clean up rivers and lakes. Current greens are single mindedly fighting carbon dioxide, the gas of life, not understanding that they are only useful idiots to a well-financed and carefully planned foreign attack on domestic energy infrastructure. If you follow the money, there is no profit in protecting whales in the St Lawrence seaway, or shutting off raw sewage from West Coast cities into the Pacific. Instead there is generous financing from shadowy foreign sources, and top level political cover for anyone trying to frustrate an energy project, to the benefit of international competitors. If you work in the vital petroleum energy sector, you may take pride in the fact that a necessary by-product of your output has serendipitously benefitted every living organism and kept the growing human population nourished. Party On! This article appeared on the BOE Report website at https://boereport.com/2019/12/23/column-lets-all-join-the-green-party/]]>