Climate change deniers have settled upon one rebuttal to the established science of human-caused climate change that has them feeling particularly brash, and almost giddy with nihilistic joy: carbon is good for us.
By Grennan Milliken | MOTHERBOARD
At a recent conservative-run climate change conference I attended in Washington, DC, Craig Idso, founder of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Climate Change, a nonprofit research group dedicated to undermining climate science, faced the crowd and said: „Atmospheric CO2 is not a pollutant, It is the elixir of life.“
Carbon dioxide is simply plant food, he argued, and its buildup in the atmosphere over the last century has greatly increased global crop production „courtesy of the ever increasing human combustion of fossil fuels.“
The conference was put on by The Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank that’s one of the largest purveyors of climate skepticism in the US. In 2012, leaked documents showed Idso was receiving almost $12,000 a month from them.
Idso claimed, based on his own self published study, that burning fossil fuels has increased crop yield by $9.8 trillion dollars over the years. Emboldened by his own talking points, he went onto say that we could burn all the fossil fuels on Earth and see only environmental benefits.
Unfortunately for climate change deniers, this is not only misguided but profoundly ignorant of the complexity of Earth’s ecosystems and the array of domino effects that occur when balances are tipped.
The biggest problem with this assertion is that it assumes that because plants need carbon, no amount of it could be bad. It also assumes that all plant species need the same amount of carbon, or that they will react in the same way to rising temperatures. One just has to look at the diversity of the over 400,000 described species of plants says otherwise.