The media reports carbon dioxide as a bad gas. It is dirty, almost toxic, all because of a rather nasty side effect of warming the planet. Forgetting the fact that no empirical evidence supports the contention that this warming is significant, its beneficial properties far exceed this apparent negative side. Bob Brown spoke of the “extremists” at the anti-carbon tax rallies around the country and specifically pointed out those holding signs saying “I love CO2“. Does Bob Brown not love CO2? Without this life-giving gas, there would be no tree for him to hug. Does Brown deny its role in the planet’s ecosystem?
While alarmists may rant on about the enhanced greenhouse effect, this doesn’t alter the part carbon dioxide plays in the natural greenhouse effect. Without it, the sun’s radiation would bounce off the earth into space. The planet would be extremely cold and life would not exist. Carbon dioxide’s contribution to this phenomenon alone is enough for us to be grateful for it.
Carbon dioxide is not just a waste product that we exhale, but a reactant in the process of photosynthesis. This allows green plants to use the sun’s light to produce oxygen for us to breath and sugars from which we obtain our energy. This is part of the carbon cycle. Not only do plants use it to form oxygen, it allows them to grow. In fact, they thrive in high carbon dioxide environments. As such, the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over the last century or so has been attributed to a 15% increase in crop yields. That is food for us. Our food is also made of carbon. A criterion for an organic compound is that it contains carbon. This includes carbohydrates, lipids (fats and oils), protein and DNA, all of which are critical to living and all of which are part of the carbon cycle of which carbon dioixde is an essential part.
A pollutant is defined as ‘a substance or condition that contaminates air, water or soil’. To say that carbon dioxide contaminates the air is just wrong given its importance to life and as such those who label it a pollutant couldn’t be further from the truth.
We often praise water as being the key to life as we know it, but carbon dioxide is just as crucial. It is part of the magnificent recipe that makes life possible, the amazing phenomenon that makes planet earth different to other planets be have observed. How about the greenies quit the smear campaign and acknowledge the wonderous benefits of carbon dioixde.