May 31, 2006
Poisoning the Well
Most of us learned in grade school that animals breath in air primarily for the oxygen, which they uptake and use, exhaling carbon dioxide (CO2); while plants need that CO2, uptaking it and "exhaling" (releasing) O2, oxygen.
We have also been inundated by an endless parade of globaloney prophets who tell us that we're producing more and more CO2 by industrial use of carbon-based fuels -- oil, wood, natural gas. They argue that as carbon dioxide builds up in the atmosphere, it creates a so-called "greenhouse effect" which raises the mean global temperature (MGT) of the earth ("mean" as in average, not as in cranky).
For many years, a large number of atmospheric scientists have argued that there are positive aspects to this "greenhouse effect" as well as negative ones: true, global temperature is rising slightly -- though it's by no means clear how much is due to anthropogenic (human-caused) factors and how much is simply a natural cycle... since we don't know all the natural cycles; in the past, there have been wild swings of MGT stretching back millions of years.
The good aspects of the "greenhouse effect," just as the name implies, include much faster, healthier, more robust, and larger plant growth. Simply raising the CO2 level in an enclosed, air-tight, laboratory greenhouse leads to dramatically greater yields of virtually any crop you plant.
Well, the globalonistas have finally caught up to this idea; they have finally embraced it... but the only example they can think to focus on -- is new research suggesting that even poison ivy grows much better in a high-CO2 environment!
Another reason to worry about global warming: more and itchier poison ivy. The noxious vine grows faster and bigger as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise, researchers report Monday.
And a CO2-driven vine also produces more of its rash-causing chemical, urushiol, conclude experiments conducted in a forest at Duke University where scientists increased carbon-dioxide levels to those expected in 2050....
Compared to poison ivy grown in usual atmospheric conditions, those exposed to the extra-high carbon dioxide grew about three times larger - and produced more allergenic form of urushiol, scientists from Duke and Harvard University reported.
Begging the question, if poison ivy grows so much better in a high-CO2 environment... why not wheat, corn, and rice? Why not apples and strawberries, cucumbers and kumquats?
In fact, voluminous research shows that every, single crop grows much better in a high-CO2 atmosphere: not just faster and bigger, but more resistent to pests (so you need use less pesticide). In addition, food crops respond better to higher carbon-dioxide than do most weeds.
At the same time, humans and other animals are still able to extract plenty of oxygen; we use only a small fraction of the O2 that we inhale with each breath; even with a lower partial-pressure (the percent of the air that is oxygen), we would still have plenty for breathing; it's unlikely that even asthmatics would notice any difference. Air pollution is a much more dangerous phenomenon that affects breathing far more than a slight increase in the partial pressure of CO2 in the air.
The total rise in MGT that even the primary globalonistas, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), predicts is about 1.4 °C to 5.8 °C over the next hundred years. But bear in mind, their own models routinely overpredict the warming that actually occurred in the twentieth century; so it's likely they're doing the same for the 21st, and that the warming will be closer to the left end of that range than the right.
1.4 °C is 2.5 °F... so we're talking a rise in mean global temperature of somewhere around 2.5 °F -- which even the IPCC agrees will mostly occur during winter nights in the coldest regions of the planet. Even the IPCC admits that the temperate regions (where people actually live) will see much a lower rise in temperature, according to their own general circulation models (GCMs).
In exchange for that, we can feed the starving everywhere, because crops will grow better in every "corner" of the globe, from Africa to Southeast Asia to Europe to the Americas. Not only will the civilized parts of the world grow more food to help out -- the areas of the globe that are most prone to mass starvation will themselves produce more crops. (And no, the oceans will not rise dozens of feet; that's a movie. The total sea-level rise would be closer to a couple-three inches per decade, even at the maximal temperature rise predicted by the notoriously overpredicting GCMs.)
Alas, we will have to put up with more poison ivy, too. Perhaps sometime in the next century, we can invent better Calamine lotion.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 31, 2006, at the time of 3:22 PM
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Tracked on June 14, 2006 5:22 PM
The following hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman
"Compared to poison ivy grown in usual atmospheric conditions,"
There is NO such thing as "usual atmospheric conditions" unless one means the atmospheric conditions that existed BEFORE the CO2 was artificially removed from the atmosphere and trapped in fossil fuels?
In any event the CO2 increase plant life increase etc sounds like part of a negative feedback process to me.
The problem with environwackos is that they want to FREEZE nature in one stayed determined by their own preferences.
The above hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman at May 31, 2006 5:07 PM
The following hissed in response by: cdquarles
Also forgotten is that dihydrogen monoxide is the primary greenhouse gas in our atmosphere. The typical percentage of the atmosphere that is dihydrogen monoxide in my area this time of year is 70 +/- 10 torr (that's about 10% for you folks in Rio Linda :)).
The above hissed in response by: cdquarles at June 1, 2006 12:20 AM
The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh
Perhaps, but I don't think even the IPCC wants us to remove all the water vapor from the air.
Their position is reasonable -- just overheated, pardon the pun. The Earth almost certainly is warming slightly; but even more assuredly, there are natural cycles we haven't found yet that contribute an unknown portion of that heating (and cooling; see my upcoming post).
Too, the IPCC is over-enamored of GCMs that in fact do not do a very good job of modeling reality.
I said some time ago that we should put a twenty-year moratorium on doing anything about global warming, and spend that time instead pouring a lot of money and human resources into the general sciences of atmospheric physics and chemistry, meteorology, climatology, and related fields.
Even if the Kyoto Katastrophe turns out to be a lot of hot air, it cannot possibly hurt to learn a lot more about climate and weather... since those are the biggest natural-disaster killers around (floods, droughts, frost, storms, and such, generally a lot more dangerous than earthquakes, fires, and volcanos).
At worst, if we decide we must do something, we'll have only 80 years, rather than 100 years, before the temperature rises that 2.5 °F the IPCC predicts (or even 12.5 °F, for the highest end).
If we can't fix it in 80 years, I doubt we could fix it in 100. Besides, the rise for the subsequent twenty years wouldn't be that much; we'd still get our 100.
Too, if we do decide we must act -- then those 20 years of good, basic research in climatology will allow us to act more intelligently, and without being so destructive of the world's economy.
There is no downside to a 20-year moratorium.
The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh at June 1, 2006 1:52 AM
The following hissed in response by: BigLeeH
Perhaps sometime in the next century, we can invent better Calamine lotion.
Why wait? Here ya go.
My wife turns into the Toxic Avenger whenever she comes within the same zip code as poison ivy. She loves this stuff.
The above hissed in response by: BigLeeH at June 1, 2006 7:49 AM
The following hissed in response by: Big D
I heard about the poison ivy thing. It is **** science designed to scare the usefull idiots.
Monkeyboy - Dixie chicks? Besides being off topic, who cares? They are talented morons. Cheap, mindless, anti-bush rhetoric gets you and your ilk to buy their album in droves. You are being manipulated to sell records. Knucklehead.
[Hey, Big D, watch the language, please; this is a family blog! -- the Mgt.]
The following hissed in response by: SkyWatch
Thanks BigLee, I work outside in forested area alot and catch poison ivy several times a year..I'll try it tho campho phenik (SP?) works in a few days.
Now I'm scared. Is the ivy going to turn into something like that "attack of the killer tomatoes" movie.
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