The Politics of Distortion

As a candidate, President Obama made famous the phrase, “words have meaning”.  And, propagandists know that if you repeat a false statement long enough, it will eventually be seen as truth.  So it is with the oft repeated use of the term “carbon pollution” to describe carbon dioxide—CO2– which in fact is a nutrient.  It is truly unfortunate that the main stream media has let advocates get away with such factual distortions.  For the record, CO2 is not a pollutant.

The primary reason that the climate establishment has been able to get away with this distortion is the flawed Supreme Court decision in 2007.  The Court held that the wording of one section of the Clean Air Act was broad enough to allow EPA to classify CO2 as a pollutant.  It reached this conclusion even though Congress explicitly did not grant such authority to EPA when it amended the Clean Air Act in 1990.

CO2 is a nutrient that is necessary for life.  Satellite photos have shown an increasing greening as CO2 levels have increased.  And, even at today’s level, it is lower than it has been in our geologic history.  One of the clear benefits of CO2 is increased plant growth and efficiency in the uptake of water.  Indeed, some greenhouses purchase CO2 machines to promote their plant growth.

The concern that has been expressed about CO2 is that it is a greenhouse gas and that increasing atmospheric concentrations will lead to harmful warming.  Almost all scientists agree that a doubling of CO2 would lead to about a 1 degree warming without changes in climate feedback.  Looking back in history that is about what has taken place over the past 100 plus years.  More important, the warming effect of increases is not linear. The failure to acknowledge this fact has led to much mischief.  It is an established scientific fact that the warming effect of increasing CO2 is logarithmic. That means that warming diminishes as concentrations increase.  That fact and others explain why climate models do so poorly in predicting temperatures increases.

In the 1980s, climate advocates talked about global warming but once the warming paused, they shifted to climate change so that any weather event could be blamed on the burning of fossil energy.  But, climate has always changed and always will because that is the nature of a chaotic system.  Whether it is hurricanes, tornados, droughts, or similar weather events, data show no correlation with CO2 increases.

Human activities, especially land use, have had an affect on climate but the evidence that it is a dramatic affect is the creation of those who are hostile to fossil energy and the benefits it has bestowed on us.

Carbon pollution is real and over the past 40 years, it has been controlled by regulation that has led to steady environmental improvement, albeit at an unnecessarily high cost.  Equating CO2 with carbon pollution is a tactic of environmental zealots who have a political agenda that will make us poorer and condemn about 1.6 billion people to the ravages of devastating poverty.


This article appeared on the FuelFix weblog at

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