Sunday, 22 August 2010

Climate crock time

Plants need CO2 to grow. Therefore, more CO2 must be good? Not necessarily. Very poor logic.
If you're a denialist, with limited morals or knowledge or thinking skills, spreading the idea that CO2 is "plant food", to discourage vital attempts to limit the overloading of our atmosphere with it, is one of those sound bite arguments that sound so plausible to the unwary. Like many generalisations, sooner or later it runs afoul of the real world. Here below is Pete Sinclair's "Climate Crock of the week". It features one of the most prominent of the denialists, "Lord" Viscount Monckton of Brenchley. A very articulate and highly dangerous propagandist - allegedly (litigious, too). The material and "arguments" in his presentations have been repeatedly torn apart, yet he still keeps on presenting them to new cannon fodder. What should we make of someone like that?

The "CO2 is plant food" denialist argument basically ignores that one can have too much of a good thing. Rather as 2500 calories a day intake of food is good, but 10,000 a day will soon lead to big health problems. Come to think of it, Monckton’s brand of urbane poison seems to resonate very well with a lot of Americans who are no strangers to Supersize portions whether of food, oil, rapacious, “too big to fail”, international finance or whatever.

Extra CO2 can, in certain circumstances, increase crop yields but it depends on the other things that plants need to grow such as water, fertilising nutrients, temperature etc being optimised at the same time. If we get increased drought and floods alternately drying and saturating land then crop yields are likely to fall, not rise, due to increased atmospheric CO2. Yet denialists keep promoting this piece of misdirection regardless of the truth.


No comments: