Do you want to save the planet? Fire up the SUV this holiday weekend and go for a pleasure ride; burn some more coal in your barbecue grill; crank up the house’s AC; and, generally, aspire to a Paul Bunyan-size carbon footprint. Because according to astrobiologist Jack O’Malley-James speaking at the National Astronomy meeting at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, life on Earth will suffer a carbon-dioxide-related extinction. But contrary to popular-culture belief, the problem will be too little of the naturally occurring gas.
It probably won’t ruin any of your plans, as this fate awaits us nearly billion years down the geological road, but the process by which life may end is rather simple. The Daily Mail reports:
[A]s the Sun ages and grows hotter, greater evaporation and chemical reactions with rainwater will take away more and more carbon dioxide.
In less than a billion years, its levels will be too low for photosynthesising plants to survive, say scientists. When that happens, life as we know it on Earth will cease to exist.
With the loss of plants, herbivorous animals will also die out, as well as the carnivores that prey on them.
At this point microbes will rule the Earth, though their days in the sun — pun intended — will likewise end. As the sun grows even hotter, the oceans will evaporate, making the planet inhospitable to all but the sturdiest micro-organisms. “Any remaining life will be restricted to pockets of liquid water, perhaps at cooler, higher altitudes or in caves underground,” says O’Malley-James.
While it’s probably hard to forecast weather for 1,000,002,013 A.D., many experts have pointed out that CO2 needs to hire a PR team, misunderstood and maligned as it is by global-warming proponents. For instance, Mike Adams of Natural News asks, “If CO2 is so bad for the planet, why do greenhouses pay to produce it?” He then offers the answer:
CO2 is a plant NUTRIENT.
Nope, it's not a pollutant that threatens human civilization as has been ridiculously claimed by global warming doomsday pushers. CO2 actually increases plant yields, accelerates "re-greening" and improves reforestation of the planet. [Emphasis in original.]
In fact, Adams doesn’t mince words, stating:
The more you really examine the scientific truth about carbon dioxide rather than the politically-charged "hate speech" against Mother Nature being spewed by people like Al Gore, the more you realize CO2 is a crucial nutrient for the Earth's environment and ecosystem. In fact, the vast majority of all the CO2 released into the atmosphere is produced by Mother Nature via animals in the ocean.
Note here that carbon dioxide is to plants what oxygen is to man. People have reduced stamina and more trouble breathing at higher altitudes because there’s less oxygen in the air; likewise, decreased CO2 inhibits plant photosynthesis, which is why botanists pump the gas into their greenhouses. This is also one reason the age of the dinosaurs was marked by lush foliage blanketing the Earth: Carbon dioxide levels were 5 to 10 times those of today.
But while CO2’s affect on flora is well established, its influence on temperature is a different matter. In fact, some scientists believe increased carbon dioxide may actually cool the atmosphere. Writes Principia Scientific International:
A recent NASA report throws the space agency into conflict with its climatologists after new NASA measurements prove that carbon dioxide acts as a coolant in Earth's atmosphere.
NASA's Langley Research Center has collated data proving that “greenhouse gases” actually block up to 95 percent of harmful solar rays from reaching our planet, thus reducing the heating impact of the sun. The data was collected by Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry, (or SABER). SABER monitors infrared emissions from Earth’s upper atmosphere, in particular from carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitric oxide (NO), two substances thought to be playing a key role in the energy balance of air above our planet’s surface.
Whatever the effect of CO2 on climate, many experts also point out that the computer forecasting models predicting a steadily warming planet are belied by actual temperature records. Wrote the Daily Mail last year:
The world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago, according to new data released last week.
The figures, which have triggered debate among climate scientists, reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012, there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures.
This means that the "plateau" or "pause" in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996. Before that, temperatures had been stable or declining for about 40 years.
So if the critics of Anthropogenic Global Warming theory are correct, the only man-made aspect of the matter is the data itself. Nonetheless, while it’s entirely possible the climate won’t be heating up anytime soon, the rhetoric surrounding it most surely will.