Monday, September 28, 2009

Telling the big lie about CO2

Some outfit with a broken website called CO2 is green is running the following tissue of lies on American TV.

This links to a second outfit called plantsneedco2, that hosts this video:

The naration goes like this:
Over a quarter century ago when the atmosphere CO2 concentration was about 340 ppm, my father, Dr Sherwood Idso, stated in a small self-published book entitled "Carbon Dioxide friend or foe" that if the air CO2 content continued to rise, it would enhance plant growth and water use efficiency to the point that semi-arid lands not then suitable for cultivation could be brought into profitable production, further stating that the deserts themselves could blossom as the rose.
Ah, the great Idso family. They've been in these denialist circles a long time.

We experienced this exact same horseshit from Myron Ebell's Competitive Enterprise Institute back in 2006, with this nifty little video:

As the Climate reported in the same year, this kindergarden level understanding of biology is absolutely false. As reported experimentally, with added science, in Nature in 1993:
Evidence of a feedback mechanism limiting plant response to elevated carbon

IN short-term experiments under productive laboratory conditions, native herbaceous plants differ widely in their potential to achieve higher yields at elevated concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The most responsive species appear to be large fast-growing perennials of recently disturbed fertile soils. These types of plants are currently increasing in abundance but it is not known whether this is an effect of rising carbon dioxide or is due to other factors. Doubts concerning the potential of natural vegetation for sustained response to rising carbon dioxide have arisen from experiments on infertile soils, where the stimulus to growth was curtailed by mineral nutrient limitations. Here we present evidence that mineral nutrient constraints on the fertilizer effect of elevated carbon dioxide can also occur on fertile soil and in the earliest stages of secondary succession. Our data indicate that there may be a feedback mechanism in which elevated carbon dioxide causes an increase in substrate release into the rhizosphere by non-mycorrhizal plants, leading to mineral nutrient sequestration by the expanded microflora and a consequent nutritional limitation on plant growth.
There's a lot of other science demonstrating the fact that the eco-system has adapted its optimum performance to the historical level of CO2, and that elevated levels of this (combined with the elevated temperatures and greater droughts) is seriously disruptive.

In other words, there will be times of famine in the future. Things are not going to get better this way.

But this is America. It's perfectly okay to lie about things of this magnitude at a time when this future suffering could be avoidable. That's simply economics.

We are so screwed.


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