Home > AGW, climate change, CO2, science > Inquiring minds?! Wherein the author jumps through hoops for a "skeptic" on the wonders of CO2 (that man has no influence on)

Inquiring minds?! Wherein the author jumps through hoops for a "skeptic" on the wonders of CO2 (that man has no influence on)

An LvMI blogger sent me the following inquiry, which I post here – along with my response – as a public service. 

I note first that I am no climate expert, but someone who doesn`t mind a little scientific or other inquiry.

Question:  “I would like to see your response to this:

http://www.rationalmind.net/2008/06/09/co2-rise-making-the-earth-greener-more-diverse/” [headline: “CO2 rise making the earth greener, more diverse”]

This link brings me to a wepage that quotes ANOTHER webpage, that finally links to a summary of a science article.  The first link consists of the following:


“According to NASA satellite data:

Over a period of almost two decades, the Earth as a
whole became more bountiful by a whopping 6.2%. About 25% of the
Earth’s vegetated landmass — almost 110 million square kilometres —
enjoyed significant increases and only 7% showed significant declines.
When the satellite data zooms in, it finds that each square metre of
land, on average, now produces almost 500 grams of greenery per year.

[A] 2004 study, and other more recent ones, point to the warming of
the planet and the presence of CO2, a gas indispensable to plant life.
CO2 is nature’s fertilizer, bathing the biota with its life-giving
nutrients. Plants take the carbon from CO2 to bulk themselves up —
carbon is the building block of life — and release the oxygen, which
along with the plants, then sustain animal life. As summarized in a
report last month, released along with a petition signed by 32,000 U.
S. scientists who vouched for the benefits of CO2: “Higher CO2 enables
plants to grow faster and larger and to live in drier climates. Plants
provide food for animals, which are thereby also enhanced. The extent
and diversity of plant and animal life have both increased
substantially during the past half-century.”

“Despite the evidence that cutting CO2 would cause environmental destruction and a net loss of bio-diversity,

Amazingly, although the risks of action are arguably at
least as real as the risks of inaction, Canada and other countries are
rushing into Earth-altering carbon schemes with nary a doubt.


My response?:

let me make a few notes about your question (which I may take up in a blog post):
– so man’s emissions of CO2 really DO make a noticeable difference!
– what if I liked my land (plants and animals) the way it was before?  Are those who trumpet the expansion of growth right to assume that notions of global utility (and special interests of emitters) prevail over issues of property and individual rights?
– posts like this are easily shown to be unthinking and one-sided.  This may be deliberate in some cases, but also reflects a subconscious desire not to change one’s mind, as can clearly be seen in the unquestioning, eager snapping up of this on the comment thread (to the linked post). So who’s got religion?
– By “easily shown”, note that your link doesn’t go to the science, but to one guy’s analysis of some (as well as to an editorial by someone at Canada’s Financial Post who proudly announces his denialist credentials).  Did you actually bother to look at the science yourself?  To his credit, the guy at Watt’s Up? at least provides a link:  http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/300/5625/1560.  Click on the link, and it takes you to an article summary that has links to other works that refer to the “CO2 is great” work.  These also show a more complicated picture that futher show how mankind’s mindless mucking is having real effects and presents legitimate cause for concern.
One of these, “Drier summers cancel out the CO2 uptake enhancement induced by warmer springs”, states the following:

the CO2 minimum concentration in late summer (an indicator of net growing-season uptake) showed no positive trend since 1994, indicating that lower net CO2 uptake during summer cancelled out the enhanced uptake during spring. Using a recent satellite normalized difference vegetation index data set and climate data, we show that this lower summer uptake is probably the result of hotter and drier summers in both mid and high latitudes, demonstrating that a warming climate does not necessarily lead to higher CO2 growing-season uptake, …
The seasonal amplitude of atmospheric CO2 (an indicator of biospheric activity) was observed to have increased over the same
period and was linked to the increase in northern hemisphere photosynthetic activity (1). The trend in extratropical terrestrial
photosynthetic activity has been mainly attributed to an observed warming trend
(1). Additional contributions to the trend
include increased precipitation (6), improvement in agricultural practices, and forest regrowth (7). The contributions of CO2
fertilization and nitrogen fertilization to the photosynthetic activity trend were probably small
(7, 8), and changes in radiation [cloud cover] were probably only important in the tropics (5).

(emphasis added)

Clicking on the various article summaries takes you to other relevant and interesting summaries (and the full papers, many of which are free).  Since you are actively concerned about this, I imagine that you have already been clicking through these, in order to learn (and consider) as directly as possible, rather than relying solely on the echo chamber of those who insist that man can’t possibly affect GHG levels/ he can, but it can’t possibly have any effect/ it does have an effect, but it’s great!

Note to readers:  I`m  always happy to help those who profess to love reason to exercise theirs. 

Any more questions out there?

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