When we fail to view CO2 emissions in terms of costs and benefits, we do both science and our economies a disservice.
Think about how the efforts to frame CO2 emissions as carbon pollution.
Former federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna routinely called emissions carbon pollution.
She is not alone.
The CBC and other news outlets have followed suit. They always talk about carbon pollution.
In fact, the term “carbon pollution” has clearly taken over in any discussion of human caused global warming.
I suspect this preference for carbon pollution is calculated. Carbon evokes images of black soot and seems inherently dirty.
CO2, on the other hand, is an invisible, odorless gas that is essential to all life on earth.
Without CO2, there is no photosynthesis and without the latter, there is no food and oxygen.
Even when it is pointed out that CO2 is essential to life, the proponents of emission reductions counter that too much of even a good thing can be bad for us.
What that argument acknowledges, ironically enough, is that CO2 emissions need to be viewed in terms of costs and benefits.
AGW proponents are quick to point to the costs of “excess” CO2 emissions, but they are reluctant to talk about the benefits.
All that extra CO2 being emitted around the world is actually have a positive benefit.
In a recently peer reviewed paper that appeared in journal Global Change Biology, the authors of Higher than expected CO2 fertilization inferred from leaf to global observations show that CO2 emissions have not only contributed to the greening of the world, but that the mass of all that additional growth is much larger than anyone thought.
The paper’s abstract:
“Several lines of evidence point to an increase in the activity of the terrestrial biosphere over recent decades, impacting the global net land carbon sink (NLS) and its control on the growth of atmospheric carbon dioxide (ca). Global terrestrial gross primary production (GPP)—the rate of carbon fixation by photosynthesis—is estimated to have risen by (31 ± 5)% since 1900, but the relative contributions of different putative drivers to this increase are not well known. Here we identify the rising atmospheric CO2 concentration as the dominant driver. We reconcile leaf‐level and global atmospheric constraints on trends in modeled biospheric activity to reveal a global CO2 fertilization effect on photosynthesis of 30% since 1900, or 47% for a doubling of ca above the pre‐industrial level. Our historic value is nearly twice as high as current estimates (17 ± 4)% that do not use the full range of available constraints. Consequently, under a future low‐emission scenario, we project a land carbon sink (174 PgC, 2006–2099) that is 57 PgC larger than if a lower CO2 fertilization effect comparable with current estimates is assumed. These findings suggest a larger beneficial role of the land carbon sink in modulating future excess anthropogenic CO2 consistent with the target of the Paris Agreement to stay below 2°C warming, and underscore the importance of preserving terrestrial carbon sinks.”
What’s particularly interesting is that the study confirms satellite observations that the planet is greening in the semiarid tropics, tropical forests and even in temperate latitudes.
In other words, excess CO2 emissions have had POSITIVE effect on the earth’s biosphere. There is more leafy green growth, more food for people and animals.
What’s of even greater importance is the paper shows earth is capable of absorbing far more CO2 than had been modeled.
That, in turn, has implications for the projections for global warming. It now indicates that global warming will not exceed the much discussed 2 C target.
Good news, indeed, everyone.
Of course, none of this matters to the scientifically illiterate press and the proponents of a carbon tax. These findings go against the narrative and will be ignored. The narrative is about securing power, not scientifically assessing costs and benefits.
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