“Things you know that ain't so - Carbon Dioxide is a pollutant ”.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency and many environmental groups and governments around the world carbon dioxide is a pollutant that needs to be regulated because it may endanger public health or welfare.
But is it? To most people, “pollutant" is something that we would be better off without. Carbon dioxide is a trace gas that is essential to life on earth. If the level falls below about 180 ppm plant growth will suffer and, at lower levels, will cease.
So what happens if the level increases? At the time of the dinosaurs carbon dioxide levels were at least five times higher than they are now. Herds of dinosaurs devoured grasses, trees and other plant life that, under the influence of the high levels of carbon dioxide, was growing at a hugely greater rate than it does now.
The high levels of carbon dioxide didn't cause the world to reach a “tipping point" and burn to a crisp. Instead, the high levels produced a world of plenty that could sustain the voracious appetites of huge numbers of enormous creatures.
So we can conclude that insufficient carbon dioxide would end life on earth and, at five times the present concentration, the ecosystem thrived. How can it be a pollutant?
Confirmation of the agriculturally beneficial effects of high levels of carbon dioxide comes from commercial greenhouses that burn large quantities of natural gas to boost the carbon dioxide levels from the current 400 ppm to 900 ppm. As a result, productivity is increased by about 40% without any increase in the amount of water needed. There is also ample evidence that the increase in carbon dioxide levels has reduced desertification and benefited agriculture worldwide.
The EPA’s claim that carbon dioxide is a pollutant is based on its belief that it could cause dangerous global warming. We now know that this is not true because the world has not warmed as predicted over the last 18 years. According to the climate model predictions that the EPA relied on, the world should be 0.5° hotter than it is now.
Trillions of dollars have been squandered over the last 20 years subsidising wind and solar power, shutting down modern and clean coal-fired stations whose main emissions were water vapour and carbon dioxide, subsidising electric cars and promoting massively fraudulent carbon trading. This has made no detectable difference to the steady increase in carbon dioxide levels.
Their solution is to squander even more money on the same expensive and futile attempts to limit the emissions of an entirely beneficial gas that has made a major contribution to reducing poverty around the world. The campaign against coal-fired power generation has increased the price of electricity and, in many countries, limited the access of poor people to an adequate and affordable supply of electricity.
To make the whole thing even more crazy, the same people that oppose coal-fired power generation also oppose nuclear power generation which is carbon dioxide free and is the safest form of power generation in the world. It is the only technology that can make a big reduction in carbon dioxide emissions at little or no additional cost. Are these people in the pay of the renewable energy industry?
Right now, the New Zealand government is contemplating ways of extending our idiotic Emissions Trading Scheme even though it will make no difference to our carbon dioxide emissions and increase the cost of electricity and transport. It will increase the cost of electricity from the Huntly coal-fired station and, because of the way our electricity market works, all the renewable energy generators will receive windfall profits. So if they respond to market signals (as they should), they will be rewarded for shutting down hydro power generation so that Huntly continues to burn coal and keeps the price high. You can't get crazier than that!
Note: My wife and I are majority owners of a hydropower station that benefits from the ETS.