April 9 2019

Flashback: Life on Earth Was Nearly Doomed by Too Little CO2

During the last Ice Age too little CO2 in the air almost eradicated mankind. That’s when much-colder water in oceans…

During the last Ice Age too little CO2 in the air almost eradicated mankind. That’s when much-colder water in oceans (that were 400 feet shallower than today) sucked most of the carbon dioxide from the air; half of North America, Europe and Asia were buried under mile-high glaciers that obliterated everything in their paths; and bitterly cold temperatures further retarded plant growth.

In fact, Earth’s atmosphere had only about 180 parts per million CO2, compared to today’s 400 ppm: 0.018% then versus 0.040% today.

The Ice Age’s combined horrors – intense cold, permanent drought and CO2 starvation – killed most of the plants on Earth. Only a few trees survived, in the mildest climates. Much of the planet’s grass turned to tundra, which is much less nourishing to the herbivores prehistoric humans depended on for food and fur. Recent Cambridge University studies conclude that only about 100,000 humans were left alive worldwide when the current interglacial warming mercifully began.

When that Ice Age ended, moreover, CO2 changes didn’t lead the warming. The atmospheric CO2 only began to recover about 800 years after the warming started.

Carbon dioxide truly is “the gas of life.” The plants that feed us and wildlife can’t live without inhaling CO2, and then they exhale the oxygen that lets humans and animals keep breathing.

Our crop plants evolved about 400 million years ago, when CO2 in the atmosphere was about 5000 parts per million! Our evergreen trees and shrubs evolved about 360 million years ago, with CO2 levels at about 4,000 ppm. When our deciduous trees evolved about 160 million years ago, the CO2 level was about 2,200 ppm – still five times the current level.

There’s little danger to humans of too much CO2 in the air they breathe. Even the Environmental Protection Agency says 1000 ppm is the safe limit for lifetime human exposure. Space shuttle CO2 alarms are set at 5,000 ppm, and the alarm in nuclear submarines is set at 8,000 ppm!

If there’s little danger of humans having too much CO2 in their air, and a real danger to civilization from having too little, what’s the ideal level of atmospheric CO2? The answer? There’s a broad safe range – with far more risk of too little than too much. At low levels, with few or no plants, there’d be no people or animals, let alone civilization.

Human numbers, moreover, expanded strongly during the Holocene Optimum, with temperatures 4 degrees C higher than today! Even now, residents of the tropics keep demonstrating that humans can tolerate much higher temperatures than most of us experience.

The crops continue to produce record yields in our “unprecedented” warming – and the extra CO2 in our air is credited with as much as 15% of that yield gain!

Moreover, 1 degree C of warming was obviously not enough to frighten the public.

So, the computerized models cited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made another assumption: that a hotter world would hold more moisture in its atmosphere. Since water vapor is the most effective greenhouse gas, the climate modelers claimed Earth might heat by 5 or even 10 degrees C. One scientist (who supposedly advises Pope Francis) recently claimed 12 degrees C (21 degrees F) of overheating!

The awkward truth, however, is that NASA has monitored moisture in the atmosphere since 1980 – and water vapor has not increased despite the higher levels of CO2 in the air. Is that why the IPCC models have predicted more than twice as much warming as we’ve actually seen?

The year 1936 recorded the hottest thermometer readings of any year in the last 5,000. However, these days NOAA reports only its “adjusted” temperatures, which always seem to go only higher. In fact, the first surge of human-emitted carbon dioxide after World War II should have produced the biggest surge of warming – if CO2 is the control factor. Instead temperatures went down from 1940 to 1975.

Why did the computer models fail to predict (or even factor in) either the Pacific Oscillation’s current 20-year non-warming or the coming solar sunspot minimum?

The latest data from the CERN particle physics lab has produced a model based on cycling – and it foresees no runaway warming. Instead, it sees an impending cold solar minimum.

Is the long, wrong-headed war against carbon dioxide finally fading? Science certainly says it should. But perhaps there is still too much money, prestige and power in climate alarmism for that to happen. (Emphasis added. Read More)