Carbon dioxide — the current devil in the global warming debate — where does it really fit in?  The doomsayers call it a greenhouse gas and warn that the amounts of CO2 added by human activity will cause global chaos.  Let’s take a look at this gas.

First: CO2 occurs naturally in our atmosphere.  Here are the average percentages of the most abundant gases the make up the atmosphere:

  • Nitrogen — 78.08%
  • Oxygen — 20.95%
  • Water vapor — 0-4%
  • Argon — 0.93%
  • Carbon dioxide — 0.036%
  • Neon — 0.0018%
  • Helium — 0.0005%

And so on.  A discussion of the atmosphere and a more complete list can be found here (the list is at the bottom of the page).  Does it seem rational that our activities could really add that much to the entire global atmosphere, and could it really make that much difference to a gas in such low overall concentration?  Sure I know that everything about this earth is very delicately balanced (too much for random chance, but I’ll save that for another discussion), but it’s still arrogant to think that we could have that much effect on such a large system that we know so little about.

Next: cause and effect.  Those on the global warming bandwagon would have us believe that increasing carbon dioxide increases the global temperature.  From Arctic ice cores, we can see a definite correlation, but which comes first?  You have to look closely, but this graph shows that the peaks of CO2 actually tend to follow the peaks in temperature, instead of the other way around.Temp/CO2 trend That makes sense — an increase in global average temperature leads to warmer oceans, which retain less CO2 and thus increase the atmospheric concentration.

But are more CO2 and warmer average temperatures necessarily such a bad thing?  Plants breathe CO2 and emit oxygen, so we humans, and all other oxygen-breathing animals, share a reciprocal relationship with plants.  More CO2 would create a better environment for lush plant growth and so more oxygen for us.

Warmer average temperatures would also be beneficial for humans.  The ice caps might undergo some melting, which could lead to higher sea levels and flood some low-lying areas, but almost certainly not to the degree global warming alarmists would have us believe.  This world is an incredible machine, balancing itself and transporting heat from one place to another in ways we still don’t fully understand.  It also has relief valves to avoid too much instability.  This world will survive; it’s set up that way.  An increase in the global average will cause a more survivable environment for humans, longer growing seasons, etc.

The world as we know it will probably change, assuming that global warming is even a reality, but the science there is far from conclusive.  But, then, it always has changed and we’ve adapted.  No need to try futilely to keep things the way they are…who’s to say whatever is to come won’t be better?