Thursday, November 20, 2008

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is Not Pollution

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant and the global warming debate has nothing to do with pollution. The average person has been misled and is confused about what the current global warming debate is about - greenhouse gases. None of which has anything to do with air pollution.

People are confusing smog, carbon monoxide (CO) and the pollutants in car exhaust with the life supporting, essential trace gas in our atmosphere - carbon dioxide (CO2). Real air pollution is already regulated under the 1970's Clean Air Act and regulating carbon dioxide (CO2) will do absolutely nothing to make the air you breath "cleaner".

They are also misled to believe that CO2 is polluting the oceans through acidification but there is nothing unnatural or unprecedented about current measurements of ocean water pH and a future rise in pCO2 will likely yield growth benefits to corals and other sea life.

Thus, regulating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions through either 'carbon taxes', 'cap and trade' or the EPA will cause all energy prices (e.g. electricity, gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil) to skyrocket.

"CO2 for different people has different attractions. After all, what is it? - it’s not a pollutant, it’s a product of every living creature’s breathing, it’s the product of all plant respiration, it is essential for plant life and photosynthesis, it’s a product of all industrial burning, it’s a product of driving – I mean, if you ever wanted a leverage point to control everything from exhalation to driving, this would be a dream. So it has a kind of fundamental attractiveness to bureaucratic mentality."
- Richard S. Lindzen, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Science, MIT

"CO2 is not a pollutant. In simple terms, CO2 is plant food. The green world we see around us would disappear if not for atmospheric CO2. These plants largely evolved at a time when the atmospheric CO2 concentration was many times what it is today. Indeed, numerous studies indicate the present biosphere is being invigorated by the human-induced rise of CO2. In and of itself, therefore, the increasing concentration of CO2 does not pose a toxic risk to the planet."
- John R. Christy, Ph.D. Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alabama

"Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but a naturally occurring, beneficial trace gas in the atmosphere. For the past few million years, the Earth has existed in a state of relative carbon dioxide starvation compared with earlier periods. There is no empirical evidence that levels double or even triple those of today will be harmful, climatically or otherwise. As a vital element in plant photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is the basis of the planetary food chain - literally the staff of life. Its increase in the atmosphere leads mainly to the greening of the planet. To label carbon dioxide a "pollutant" is an abuse of language, logic and science."
- Robert M. Carter, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Environmental and Earth Sciences, James Cook University

"Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. On the contrary, it makes crops and forests grow faster. Economic analysis has demonstrated that more CO2 and a warmer climate will raise GNP and therefore average income. It's axiomatic that bureaucracies always want to expand their scope of operations. This is especially true of EPA, which is primarily a regulatory agency. As air and water pollution disappear as prime issues, as acid rain and stratospheric-ozone depletion fade from public view, climate change seems like the best growth area for regulators. It has the additional glamour of being international and therefore appeals to those who favor world governance over national sovereignty. Therefore, labeling carbon dioxide, the product of fossil-fuel burning, as a pollutant has a high priority for EPA as a first step in that direction."
- S. Fred Singer, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia

"To state in public that carbon dioxide is a pollutant is a public advertisement of a lack of basic school child science. Pollution kills, carbon dioxide leads to the thriving of life on Earth and increased biodiversity. Carbon dioxide is actually plant food."
- Ian R. Plimer, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne

"Carbon and CO2 (carbon dioxide) are fundamental for all life on Earth. CO2 is a colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas. CO2 is product of our breathing, and is used in numerous common applications like fire extinguishers, baking soda, carbonated drinks, life jackets, cooling agent, etc. Plants' photosynthesis consume CO2 from the air when the plants make their carbohydrates, which bring the CO2 back to the air again when the plants rot or are being burned."
- Tom V. Segalstad, Ph.D. Professor of Environmental Geology, University of Oslo

"To suddenly label CO2 as a "pollutant" is a disservice to a gas that has played an enormous role in the development and sustainability of all life on this wonderful Earth. Mother Earth has clearly ruled that CO2 is not a pollutant."
- Robert C. Balling Jr., Ph.D. Professor of Climatology, Arizona State University

"C02 is not a pollutant as Gore infers. It is, in fact essential to life on the planet. Without it there are no plants, therefore no oxygen and no life. At 385 ppm current levels the plants are undernourished. The geologic evidence shows an average level of 1000 ppm over 600 million years. Research shows plants function most efficiently at 1000-2000 ppm. Commercial greenhouses use the information and are pumping C02 to these levels and achieve four times the yield with educed water use. At 200 ppm, the plants suffer seriously and at 150 ppm, they begin to die. So if Gore achieves his goal of reducing C02 he will destroy the planet."
- Tim F. Ball, Ph.D. Climatology

"Many chemicals are absolutely necessary for humans to live, for instance oxygen. Just as necessary, human metabolism produces by-products that are exhaled, like carbon dioxide and water vapor. So, the production of carbon dioxide is necessary, on the most basic level, for humans to survive. The carbon dioxide that is emitted as part of a wide variety of natural processes is, in turn, necessary for vegetation to live. It turns out that most vegetation is somewhat 'starved' for carbon dioxide, as experiments have shown that a wide variety of plants grow faster, and are more drought tolerant, in the presence of doubled carbon dioxide concentrations. Fertilization of the global atmosphere with the extra CO2 that mankind's activities have emitted in the last century is believed to have helped increase agricultural productivity. In short, carbon dioxide is a natural part of our environment, necessary for life, both as 'food' and as a by-product."
- Roy Spencer, Ph.D. Meteorology, Former Senior Scientist for Climate Studies, NASA

"I am at a loss to understand why anyone would regard carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Carbon dioxide, a natural gas produced by human respiration, is a plant nutrient that is beneficial both for people and for the natural environment. It promotes plant growth and reforestation. Faster-growing trees mean lower housing costs for consumers and more habitat for wild species. Higher agricultural yields from carbon dioxide fertilization will result in lower food prices and will facilitate conservation by limiting the need to convert wild areas to arable land."
- David Deming, Ph.D. Professor of Geology and Geophysics, University of Oklahoma

"Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is a colorless, odorless trace gas that actually sustains life on this planet. Consider the simple dynamics of human energy acquisition, which occurs daily across the globe. We eat plants directly, or we consume animals that have fed upon plants, to obtain the energy we need. But where do plants get their energy? Plants produce their own energy during a process called photosynthesis, which uses sunlight to combine water and carbon dioxide into sugars for supporting overall growth and development. Hence, CO2 is the primary raw material that plants depend upon for their existence. Because plants reside beneath animals (including humans) on the food chain, their healthy existence ultimately determines our own. Carbon dioxide can hardly be labeled a pollutant, for it is the basic substrate that allows life to persist on Earth."
- Keith E. Idso, Ph.D. Botany

"To classify carbon dioxide as a pollutant is thus nothing short of scientific chicanery, for reasons that have nothing to do with science, but based purely on the pseudo-science so eagerly practiced by academia across the world in order to keep their funding sources open to the governmental decrees, which are in turn based on totally false IPCC dogma (yes, dogma - not science)."
- Hans Schreuder, Analytical Chemist

"Atmospheric CO2 is required for life by both plants and animals. It is the sole source of carbon in all of the protein, carbohydrate, fat, and other organic molecules of which living things are constructed. Plants extract carbon from atmospheric CO2 and are thereby fertilized. Animals obtain their carbon from plants. Without atmospheric CO2, none of the life we see on Earth would exist. Water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide are the three most important substances that make life possible. They are surely not environmental pollutants."
- Arthur B. Robinson, Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry


"Carbon Dioxide (CO2) - A colourless, odourless gas produced by burning carbon and organic compounds and by respiration, and absorbed by plants in photosynthesis." - Compact Oxford English Dictionary

"Carbon Dioxide (CO2) - A heavy colorless odorless atmospheric gas. Source: respiration, combustion. Use: during photosynthesis, in refrigeration, carbonated drinks, fire extinguishers." - Encarta Dictionary

"Carbon Dioxide (CO2) - A heavy colorless gas that does not support combustion, dissolves in water to form carbonic acid, is formed especially in animal respiration and in the decay or combustion of animal and vegetable matter, is absorbed from the air by plants in photosynthesis, and is used in the carbonation of beverages." - Merriam-Webster Dictionary

"Carbon Dioxide (CO2) - A colorless, odorless, incombustible gas, CO2, formed during respiration, combustion, and organic decomposition and used in food refrigeration, carbonated beverages, inert atmospheres, fire extinguishers, and aerosols." - The American Heritage Dictionary

"Carbon Dioxide (CO2) - A colorless, odorless, incombustible gas that is produced naturally in breathing, combustion, and decomposition, and commercially for use in dry ice, fire extinguishers, and carbonated beverages." - Wordsmyth Dictionary

Carbon Dioxide:

- Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a natural part of Earth's Atmosphere (NASA)
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere are only at 0.04% (400ppm) (Source)
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is not toxic until 5% (50,000ppm) concentration (Source)
- Any detrimental effects of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) including chronic exposure to 3% (30,000ppm) are reversible (Source)
- OSHA, NIOSH, and ACGIH occupational exposure standards are 0.5% (5,000 ppm) Carbon Dioxide (CO2) (Source)
- Submarine Crews live and work in a Carbon Dioxide (CO2) rich environment of 3,500 to 4,100 ppm on average (Source)

Kyoto Protocol:

The Kyoto Protocol is a treaty to regulate 'Greenhouse Gases' only:
- Carbon dioxide (CO2)
- Methane (CH4)
- Nitrous oxide (N2O) (Laughing Gas, Nitrous, NOS)
- Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
- Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
- Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)

Car Exhaust:

Car Exhaust consists of:
- Carbon dioxide (CO2)
- Nitrogen (N2)
- Water vapor (H2O)
Some Pollutants:
- Carbon monoxide (CO) *
- Hydrocarbons or Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) *
- Nitric oxide (NO) *
- Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) *

* Your car's Catalytic Converter removes about 95% of these pollutants by converting them to harmless Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Nitrogen (N2), Oxygen (O2) and Water (H20)


Smog consists of:
- Ozone (O3) * (formed from the photochemical reaction of Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) + Hydrocarbons)
- Particulate matter (PM-10) *
- Sulfur dioxide (SO2) *

* Air Pollution is already regulated in the: 1970 Clean Air Act (Amended: 1977, 1990)

Air Quality in America:

- The United States has sharply reduced air pollution levels, despite large increases in nominally "polluting" activities (Source)
- Air pollution affects far fewer people, far less often, and with far less severity than is commonly believed. (Source)
- Areas in the United States with the highest pollution levels have improved the most (Source)
- Air quality in the United States will continue to improve (Source)
- Regulators and environmental activists exaggerate air pollution levels and obscure positive trends in the United States (Source)

Air Quality in America (PDF) (AEI)

Ocean Acidification:

- There is nothing unnatural or unprecedented about current measurements of ocean water pH. Model-derived estimates of a CO2-induced 0.1 pH unit decline since the start of the Industrial Revolution cannot be validated in the historical record. (Source)
- Coral calcification is a biologically-driven process that will likely overcome physical-chemical limitations, which in the absence of life would not be possible. (Source)
- Observational data overwhelmingly demonstrate that rates of coral calcification have increased over the past century and beyond as temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations have risen. (Source)
- Potential future declines in oceanic pH will likely not prove to be a major detriment to corals and other sea life. For many such organisms, the future rise in pCO2 will yield growth benefits. (Source)

Effects of Ocean Acidification on Marine Ecosystems (PDF) (Craig D. Idso, M.S. Agronomy, Ph.D. Geography)

Peer Reviewed Papers:

Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (PDF)
(Climate Research, Volume 13, Number 2, pp. 149–164, October 1999)
- Willie H. Soon, Sallie L. Baliunas, Arthur B. Robinson, Zachary W. Robinson

Scientific Shortcomings in the EPA's Endangerment Finding from Greenhouse Gases (PDF)
(The Cato Journal, Volume 29 Number 3, pp. 497-521, 2009)
- Patrick J. Michaels, Paul C. Knappenberger


Climate Realist said...

I disagree with you on the iPod and Apple products (writing this from my trusty Powerbook) but agree with you on CO2- good article!

Bryan Douebleu said...


John Barksdale said...

Excellent article, thanks for posting!

corrector said...

Some links are broken. :(

Andrew said...

They have been fixed, thanks.

Scottar said...

Great page for references, thanks.

Unknown said...

Excellent article. Well done. Simple and to the point. Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant. Carbon Monoxide can kill you, that why places like Home Depot sell CO detectors for your home. Nobody sells Carbon Dioxide (CO2) detectors, but I can imagine how many people go into a Home Depot asking for a "Carbon Dioxide Detector"

Unknown said...

Thanks to all at PT. Obviously we appreciate true efforts to fight actual pollution and abuse, but we need to spread the truth about the life giving trace gas, Carbon Dioxide, not being pollution. Humanity cannot hinder our gains in health, happiness and living standards chasing a false warming Dogma.

Unknown said...

The great Richard Feinman explains that trees (and all plant life) come from THE AIR AND ATMOSPHERIC CO2.

Bob 1911a1 said...

Love this material, do not understand these global warming alarmists.