Governments are completely ignoring the benefits of increased amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, experts on a conservative panel said Friday.
“[CO2] is the food which sustains essentially all plants and animals on the face of the Earth,” Dr. Craig Idso, chairman of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, said during a panel session at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
“As carbon dioxide is released into the air, it has the potential to cause warming,” Idso said. “However, the biology side of this is something we don’t hear a lot about.”
Idso said higher CO2 levels increases plant productivity. A doubling of CO2 concentrations by end of the century could boost the productivity of plants by about one third, raising crop yields by 20 to 30 percent, according to Idso. Higher CO2 levels increase the length of growing season.
On the other hand, environmentalists should weigh the costs of increasing CO2 with the benefits of using fossil fuels.
“Only prosperous countries have been able to absorb the cost of environmental protection,” Kathleen White, the former chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, said during the panel discussion.
“All [the Environmental Protection Agency] EPA’s climate polices to date are futile, they’re incapable of reaching the goals that they mandate,” she said, “using the UN metrics, implementing the Clean Power Plan would have reduced the rate of warming by .02 percent.”
“The more CO2 they take in, the better plants grow,” Idso said. “That’s a fact demonstrated in literally thousands of studies…There’s probably no category of plant that won’t benefit from rising CO2 levels in the future.”
A study by researchers from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of California, Irvine found plants use water more efficiently when exposed to higher concentrations of CO2, meaning any droughts caused by global warming would be much less severe than previous estimates.
Idso previously calculated that the monetary benefits of CO2 boosting agricultural yields will create $9.8 trillion of value by 2050.
“We all agree that rising CO2 content in the atmosphere will cause warming, we just differ in the damage,” Idso said. “The models are over-predicting the warming. You have model projections of climate catastrophe, but when you look at the observed data you’ll find there’s nothing unusual, unnatural, or unprecedented about Earth’s current climate.”
Research suggests more CO2 increases plant growth, which would limit the impact of global warming. High CO2 levels cause plant life to thrive, particularly in arid regions, where carbon emissions are literally causing deserts to bloom.
Another panelist pointed out that environmentalists should weight the alleged costs of increasing CO2 with the benefits that come from using fossil fuel.
“Only prosperous countries have been able to absorb the cost of environmental protection,” Kathleen White, the former chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality from 2001 to 2007, said at the panel. “All [the Environmental Protection Agency] EPA’s climate polices to date are futile, they’re incapable of reaching the goals that they mandate…using the UN metrics, implementing the Clean Power Plan would have reduced the rate of warming by .02 percent.”
White also noted that there are serious ethical implications of implementing policies to fight global warming which lower living standards to make extremely small reductions in CO2 levels. Such reductions would prevent an incredibly small amount of global warming.
“Could you imagine living in a reality where 30 to 40 percent of people died very young,” White said. “Real income per capita has risen ten-fold…increases in energy use from fossil fuels correlate with increased human welfare. Fossil fuels were a necessary condition to boost human welfare through the industrial revolution.”
When asked by The Daily Called News Foundation why the EPA continues futile global warming policies and only encourages some forms of electricity production that don’t produce CO2 the panel said that this was due to the agency’s quirks.
“The EPA is a zealot,” White responded. “They’re on an ideological mission. It is so entrenched that you’ll never get a change on that.”
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