Carbon dioxide is a wonderful gas. It occurs in the atmosphere at an average concentration of 404 parts per million by volume (ppm). Plants need carbon dioxide to grow. This is the principle source from which plants derive the carbon compounds that they require. Green plants use chlorophyll to catalyze a reaction between carbon dioxide and water vapor that produces sugars and also some free oxygen. Greater concentrations of carbon dioxide will cause faster growth in plants. For example, large greenhouses in Britain used to pump in extra carbon dioxide to help tomato plants grow. The optimum concentration of carbon dioxide for plant growth is 2,000 ppm – 5 times greater than normal concentrations. Yet, climate change advocates claim that even the 400 ppm that we have is too high. So the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has declared that carbon dioxide is a pollutant.
The IPCC has determined that human-generated carbon dioxide – generated by industrial processes – is causing the Earth to get warmer. That there is a continuous increase in global temperature is by no means certain. Nevertheless, 20th century data does indeed suggest a correlation between carbon dioxide concentration and average global temperature. Could this be a case of cause and effect?
Increase in concentration of carbon dioxide actually follows temperature rises rather than the reverse. If there is any cause and effect, it would appear that it is the temperature rises which causes the increase in carbon dioxide – possibly by warmer oceans dissolving less CO2.
Perhaps it is time to celebrate rather than denigrate this strange and wonderful gas.