Earth’s atmosphere needs more carbon dioxide

by Leighton Steward

Reprinted from Montana Petroleum Report


“But CO2 is a major cause of climate change.” “Yes” say the climate modelers.
“No” say thousands of scientists – and “No” indicates the empirical evidence.

Exercise your objective, unbiased logic, forget that all things humans do is bad for the planet (even though most are), and let’s examine these subjects.

Carbon dioxide, as we learned in elementary school, is what plants “eat” to make them live and grow. Observe Figure 1 to see what would happen if CO2 levels rise 70 percent above present levels. Planet Earth may reach that level of CO2, an additional 300 parts per million (ppm), by early next century.

What good news for food production and a general “greening” of the Earth; that plants require less water to grow as large, and sometimes larger, in a CO2-enriched atmosphere is also good news regarding fresh water needs and
food production in the more arid environments on Earth.

Observe Figure 2 to see the additional benefits of more atmospheric CO2 to the
plant and animal kingdoms. Ecosystems and habitats will become much more robust, which will be a great benefit for all plants, creatures, and humanity in general.

How do we know this will be true? The agricultural community, agricultural universities,
and commercial greenhouse operators have proven the response of the plant kingdom to more CO2 in thousands of real field and laboratory studies.

But might this spectacular growth not cause a depletion of nitrogen in the soil and retard future growth, as some modelers predict, and prevent further improvement in growth? Again, real studies that have been run for years do not bear this claim out. So rejoice! The future for a greener Earth looks great.

But what about this “scientific consensus” that says additional human-made CO2 will cause a catastrophic runaway warming of the Earth?

The assertion that more CO2 will cause such a catastrophe is born in the minds of the climate modeling community. Empirical evidence that comes from studying Earth’s past climates indicates no such warming should be expected. In the last 500 million years, there has never been a runaway warming, even when atmospheric levels were three-, five-, or 15-times higher than they are today.

There have been times when Earth experienced runaway cooling – but not warming. Humans are adding CO2 to the atmosphere as we turn the fossil fuels, which nature sequestered in the forms of oil, natural gas and coal, back into the atmosphere from where it originally came.

Look at Figure 3 to see how CO2-starved Earth and its plants are today. Unfortunately, this benefit of additional CO2 to Earth’s atmosphere cannot go on but another century or two because these fuels will become depleted, and the residual airborne CO2 will be again sequestered into limestone rocks, the buried remains of plants and the shells of life living in the oceans. Hopefully, technology will figure out how to return some of this sequestered CO2 back into Earth’s atmosphere to sustain the plant life, in fact all life, on our planet.

Back to the empirical observations and the physical science that indicates CO2 is NOT a significant driver or cause of climate change. It is important to identify what causes, or does NOT cause, the significant changes in Earth’s past climates.

The fact that the major cause of climate change in the last several hundred thousand
years was not CO2 has been settled by detailed analyses of ice cores taken near the poles, some of which date back over 600,000 years. These analyses, beginning in 1999 and performed by scientists from around the world, indicate that the climate (temperature) changed, either warmer or colder, several hundred years BEFORE the CO2 levels changed.

A cause does not follow an effect (see Figure 4). This discovery alone changed a lot of scientists’ minds about CO2’s influence, or lack thereof. Many others, already conspicuously committed through public statements, writings, or even decades of teaching, tried to “ignore” this paradigm changer and have clung to possible positive feedbacks that could still give CO2 a significant role in climate change.

Feedbacks that effect the climate are both real and important, and they can be either positive or negative. The important question regarding CO2’s limited physical capacity to trap additional heat because of the logarithmic decline in CO2’s ability to trap additional
heat, is whether the small residual effect in additional warming will cause a positive or negative feedback.

Figure 5 illustrates the logarithmic limitation in CO2’s ability to trap additional heat, and a look at Figure 4 again shows the lack of a positive feedback effect once CO2 levels did rise. While the humanmade models coming from the IPCC and from academia project strong positive feedback, empirical evidence from Earth’s climate history does not support this position. The model predictions of runaway warming are simply not evident in the paleoclimate records.

The model projections play an important role in creating the general perception that a ‘human-made climate catastrophe is at hand’. Since this fear is driving legislative proposals that could lead to the government commitment of spending of trillions of dollars, which could result in severe economic impacts, let’s briefly examine some facts about modeling:

  • Global climate models (GCMs) are creations of the modeler;
  • Assuming values within the possible range of a specific input is up to the modeler;
  • What factors are, or are not, included in the GCMs are up to the modeler or to the provider of funding (i.e. the IPCC or even today’s federal agencies);
  • Well-known climate modelers have recently admitted that the current climate models have not included some pertinent climate-changing factors, some of which they have only recently recognized!

Nearly all modelers have used a sensitivity of Earth to a doubling of CO2 that is multiples higher than calculated by most climate scientists.

East Anglia University’s former director of the Climate Research Unit (CRU), the besieged Phil Jones, now admits their and the IPCC’s sensitivity assumptions were probably too high. In light of the above-admitted shortcomings in current GCMs, why do the modelers and their funding sources, which include the federal government, keep foisting their catastrophic forecasts on the legislators?

Isn’t it human nature for a modeler to want to please the funding source, be it conscious or subconscious, in order to perpetuate the funding and not terminate the modeler’s reason for existence?

Back to empirical evidence that flies in the face of the current GCM projections.

Did Earth’s temperature rise perceptibly from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s?

Based on current data from the NOAA, NASA and the CRU, I would agree. It is commonly claimed by the “warmists” and the media that this warming was unprecedented and was caused by the rapid rise in atmospheric CO2. That it was unprecedented is clearly a lie; consider some climate history that illustrates many warming and cooling trends over the course of Earth’s long history, and the state of CO2 change:

  • 1995 to 2010: No warming despite a steep rise in CO2.
  • 1976 to 1995: Significant warming and a steep rise in CO2.
  • 1940s to 1970s: A cooling trend and an increasing CO2 level.
  • 1910 to 1940s: A significant warming and very little rise in CO2.
  • 1880 to 1910: A cooling trend and low rise in CO2.
  • 1860 to 1880: A significant warming and very little rise in CO2.
  • 1860 was the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and humankind’s input of a significant amount of CO2.
  • 1710 to 1730: A huge warming in Europe and per the IPCC, no change in CO2.
  • 1710 to 2010: A 300-year warming trend and no change in CO2 (IPCC) during the first 150 years.
  • 1600 to 1700: The depth of the Little Ice Age (LIA) and, per the IPCC, no change in CO2.
  • ±1,000 A.D.: the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) to the LIA – a 500+ year cooling trend and per the IPCC, no change in CO2.
  • ±300 A.D.: Includes the Dark Ages to the MWP, a 600-plus year warming trend and no change in CO2. (IPCC).
  • ±300 B.C.: The Roman Climate Optimum (RCO) to around 300 A.D., a 600-year cooling trend and no change in CO2 (IPCC).

Superimposed on these overall warming and cooling trends were the “thirty year” warming and cooling trends we have witnessed in the last 150 years. They correlate impressively with changes in major current shifts in the Pacific Ocean. The longer overall trends correlate well with the activity levels within the sun. The trends do not correlate well at all with changes, or lack thereof, in the atmospheric CO2 content.

Let’s speculate that the older, flat CO2 levels were wrong for some reason and actually varied. If they did, the ice core analyses still show that for the major climate shifts, the CO2 changes follow and do not cause the climate changes.

Changes in activity levels in the sun do show overall correlation with Earth’s temperatures. Changes in major ocean currents do correlate with shorter-term climate changes, and possibly even longer climate-change cycles.

Earth has never experienced “runaway warming”. If we force ourselves to use the currently uneconomic alternative energy sources, reduce oil consumption and make energy even cheaper for the rest of the world, and add the burden of Cap and Tax, this will be economic suicide. Do you want to bet your future on something that has never happened?

Not me!

1 thought on “Earth’s atmosphere needs more carbon dioxide”

  1. What's to say. Many scientists studies show that the recent warming is not unprecedented as exposed in glacier and sea level studies. Yet the evidence is largely ignored by the AGW advocates. They hyperbole the effects that humans have on climate.

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