Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Mark asks: You know how the environmentalists are always crying about CO2? I have some questions about this. One, since when did it become a pollutant? Isn’t CO2 necessary for plant life? Isn’t CO2 to plants what oxygen is to humans? Isn’t CO2 the breath of life for plants? Moreover, thanks to the process of photosynthesis, plants take CO2 and turn it into O2 for us; don’t plants breathe in CO2 like we breathe in O2? How is that a bad thing? Wouldn’t more CO2 promote more plant growth? Wouldn’t more CO2, courtesy of photosynthesis, mean more O2 for us and the atmosphere? Again, how is more CO2 a pollutant? How is more CO2 a bad thing?
Secondly, isn’t it true that humans and animals emit CO2 as a result of respiration? If there are more humans, doesn’t that mean more sources of CO2? If there are more sources of CO2, doesn’t that mean more CO2 in the aggregate? So, how do the environmentalists (who carp about excess CO2) propose to reduce CO2 emissions if there are more CO2 sources? Do they ever answer that question?
My reply: Technically, it became an “emission” – in the regulatory sense. This happened very quietly, about five years ago. This enabled the government and its amen corner in the environmental “community” (as the left styles it) to conflate gas mileage fatwas – which have little popular support because people can buy “fuel efficient” cars if they want to; most just don’t want to – with “emissions” and so portray government demands for ever-higher-mileage cars, regardless of cost, with “saving the Earth.” Very effective propaganda.
It also solved another “problem” – from the standpoint of the same interests:
IC engines have been refined to such a degree that they are almost emissions-free; many qualify as Partial Zero Emissions vehicles by the EPA’s own standards. In simple terms, IC exhaust emissions are no longer a meaningful public health concern. Therefore, a new concern had to be invented.
C02 as an “emission.”
And the best part is there’s no catalytically converting/direct-injecting/10-speed transmissioning C02 … the only way to “clean” this “emission” is to stop internally combusting, or combust a lot less.
This sets the stage of the final assault on the IC-powered car in favor of the electric car (even though it, too, “emits” C02, but that’s another rant).
And you’re right – of course – that C02 is a gas vital to life on this Earth. But the amount “emitted” by human machinery is literally a cough in the Superdome; no science supports the catastrophic “climate change” hysteria being peddled by the interested parties. A very slight (appx. 1 degree) change in average temperatures has been observed but it has not been proved that this is due to unnatural causes (i.e., us) or is merely one of countless natural cyclical variations in C02 concentrations and temperatures.
The “debate” – one side of it – has been riddled with misinformation and (arguably) outright lies designed to frighten people into accepting economic/energy austerity to be imposed on them by the elites – who will suffer neither thing.
Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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