CO2 Could Green the Planet

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CO2 could green the planet, according to Prof Bob Carter in an interview on the ABC Counterpoint programme, 5 July 2010. Bob Carter, a palaeoclimatologist and Adjunct Professorial Research Fellow, at Australia’s James Cook University has recently published a book entitled Climate: the counter consensus in which he warns us we need to be better prepared for real climate risks such as cyclones, bushfires and other natural disasters.

He was asked how he saw the future if we continue to put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. He replied: “Well one thing that’s going to happen, especially if we go into a global cooling, is that the extra carbon dioxide will do what the extra carbon dioxide in the 20th century has done and that is help plants grow and help green the planet. People seem to be very focussed on the dangers of global warming, but the dangers of global cooling for the world’s food supply are much greater and very real. If the present solar situation – that’s a very quiet sun – continues, as some solar physicists say it will, then we could be looking at a degree or half a degree of cooling in the next 20 to 30 years. That will have dramatic effects on the productivity of the great grain growing belts in the northern hemisphere. A little bit of extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, not only causes a little bit, as yet unmeasureable, warming to combat that cooling, but it also provides fertilisation to make plants grow more efficiently, which is a great boost.”

He was also asked if not going along with the man-made global warming theory “has it been a lonely road.” He replied: “No, because the majority of scientists I mix with are independent. They do not work for the IPCC and, contrary to received public wisdom, the great majority of independent scientists think that the global warming thing is overblown. Not to say there isn’t a genuine climate risk. There is, and most sensible scientists are worried we should prepare for that risk better, but the risk is dominantly natural climate change. So it is not lonely at all. There’s thousands of scientists around the world who understand the situation and are beavering away doing good research, but they’re not getting much money from the tree marked ‘global warming’”.

The interviewer then asked: “So for years we’ve heard there is a scientific consensus that the science is settled. Do you disagree with that?” Carter replied: “It is completely untrue. There is not a shred of evidence for there being consensus. There are just some very loud voices, some very expert marketing and propaganda campaigns, spearheaded basically by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its supporters. They have an extreme view and they have successfully managed to impose that view on most western political sets.”

Counterpoint

Editorial Comment: As a palaeoclimatologist Carter knows we have more to fear from a cold, low carbon dioxide world that a warm, high carbon dioxide world. Fossil and sediment records indicate the world has been warmer and had higher carbon dioxide in the past, and this was associated with abundant lush vegetation, and therefore plentiful food. A cool, low carbon dioxide world would be bad for plant growth and therefore, would cause food shortages. Warm periods, such as the Roman Empire and the Medieval Warm Period, have been times of wealth and plenty. Cold periods have been times of famine and hardship. Over the past two centuries the world has been warming up after a period known as the Little Ice Age which started in the 1300s and continued into the 1800s. If we could ask the people who lived through that time, if they would like to go back to that, we suspect the answer would be “no”. Carter’s comments about consensus remind us that scientific truth is not decided by how many people believe something, or how loud and powerful those believers are. If something is true, it remains true even if no one believes it. We are reminded of the Apostle Paul’s comment on the truth of the gospel and man’s unbelief, “Let God be true and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4) (Ref. environment, atmosphere, climate)

Evidence News 25 Aug 2010

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