Sunday, March 22, 2020

Schlomach: How I learned to stop worrying and love CO2

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love CO2
By Byron Schlomach

I remember speculating with my school classmates whether Sheppard Air Force Base was targeted by the Soviet Union and what would happen if nuclear war broke out since we lived about 30 miles from the base. I would not wish the feeling that one might be incinerated or suffer radiation poisoning on anyone, certainly not little kids. This is why global warming fear-mongering makes me angry in its needless frightening of children. I am especially angry because the truth about climate and carbon dioxide (CO2) is actually good.

At the current 400 parts per million, CO2 makes up only 0.04 percent of our atmosphere. Plants suffocate when CO2 falls below 0.015 percent of our atmosphere (150 parts per million), and if plants suffocate, we all know that all terrestrial animal life, including humans, goes extinct.

During the last glaciation, CO2 fell to only 180 parts per million (0.018 percent) as it was absorbed by cold ocean water. That means the earth came within 3/1000s of one percent of the atmosphere from the extinction of all plant and animal life on earth’s surface. By 1800, just before the industrial revolution, CO2 had recovered (outgassing from the ocean, like heating a cold Dr. Pepper, causing it to go flat) by a mere 1/100s of one percent to 280 parts per million (0.028 percent) of the atmosphere.

Had glaciation returned with CO2 at its pre-industrial level, terrestrial plant and animal life might not have survived, because life has stored billions of tons of CO2 as limestone (sea shells), shale, petroleum, and coal. Mankind is the only species releasing long-trapped, life-giving CO2 back into the atmosphere, burning fossil fuels for energy and limestone for cement. Thus, we are saving life on this planet, not destroying it.

There is ample evidence that earth’s plant life has benefitted from more CO2 in the atmosphere. But we do not even know that we can take all the credit, because the earth has been naturally warming since the Little Ice Age and as long as the earth is warming, the ocean out-gasses CO2. So while humans can take some credit for greening the earth, most of the credit belongs to the earth itself, and the natural causes of earth’s warming and out-gassing of the oceans since the last glaciation.

One must therefore wonder what motivates some to push so very hard for policies that would force us to stop saving terrestrial life and compromise our own lives in the process. Some get rich from government funding of wind and solar power. Others, it seems, just want wealth redistribution on a global scale. Regardless, they are either very dedicated to their ideology, or just plain liars.

Byron Schlomach is 1889 Institute Director and has read extensively on the climate for over 20 years. He can be reached at:


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