A Modest Proposal: Triple Your Carbon Footprintby Jonathan DuHamel on Jul. 12, 2010, under Climate change
Triple your carbon footprint. Does that sound crazy? Read on. By some estimates, our increasing use of fossil fuels will raise atmospheric carbon dioxide to about 1,000ppm (versus about 390ppm currently) by the end of this century. Climate alarmists and governments have decreed that this is undesirable and even dangerous because it might lead to uncontrolled global warming, so they say. They propose various schemes to reduce our carbon footprint. I contend that more carbon dioxide will not significantly affect climate change, and that government policy to curb emissions is exactly the opposite of what we should do. Why? Because we need to increase food production for our increasing population, and to preserve habitat for wildlife. Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide will help do both.
Human population is about 6 billion and is projected to rise to 11 billion by the end of the century. How are we going to feed all those people? There are several methods to increase food production. One is to increase the area of cultivated land, but that would displace wildlife, and we would have to divert more water to raise the crops. Currently, agriculture uses about 75% of all freshwater resources. Other methods of increasing production include increasing crop yield per unit land area, increasing crop yield per unit of fertilizer applied, and increasing crop yield per unit of water used. But, for many crops we are reaching the genetic limit of yield per acre. Use of ever increasing amounts of fertilizer has other undesirable consequences.
The answer to all these problems is to let atmospheric carbon dioxide rise, because carbon dioxide is plant food. There are many studies which show that doubling of the air’s carbon dioxide concentration increases the productivity of earth’s herbaceous plants by 30- to 50% , and of woody plants by 50- to 80% or more. These studies also show that more carbon dioxide increases plants’ efficiency in use of nutrients and water.
But what about global warming? The fact is, there is no physical evidence which shows that carbon dioxide has a significant effect on global temperature, only computer modeling speculations. For background, see my articles: Your Carbon Footprint Doesn’t Matter, A Basic Error in Climate Models, and Natural Climate Cycles. If you are concerned about the potential for human diseases in a warming world, see these articles.
In fact, the “normal” temperature for the planet is about 18 F higher than now. By “normal,” I mean the temperature which has existed for most of the time. And, for most of the time, atmospheric carbon dioxide has been more than 1,000ppm; see the reconstruction based on geologic evidence below.
Both temperature and carbon dioxide concentration are lower than “normal” now because the planet is in an ice age. (See the distinction between Ice ages and glacial epochs here .)
Concerns about runaway global warming and “tipping points” are unfounded. If run-away warming were possible, it would have already happened, especially since carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have been more than ten times the current level for most of Earth’s history.
Run-away warming cannot happen on this planet because Earth is a water world. Warming increases evaporation. Water vapor, and its latent heat, is carried aloft by convection. Heat is lost to space when the water vapor condenses. The condensation also produces clouds which reflect incoming solar radiation. That is Earth’s negative feedback mechanism to prevent run-away warming, and it has been regulating Earth’s temperature for about 4.5 billion years.
To preserve nature and feed humanity, we must let carbon dioxide levels rise. Help it rise back to “normal” concentrations faster by tripling your carbon footprint, or at least discouraging the futile government schemes to reduce emissions.
If you are one who believes that carbon dioxide actually does have a significant effect on global temperature (please cite some evidence), then you should join the program anyway to help forestall onset of the next glacial epoch which would really impact food production.