Let’s talk about CO2


They’re at it again.  Al Gore Tweets “Continued carbon pollution threatens humanity’s future”.  Leave aside the technical quibble that he seems not to know the difference between carbon and carbon dioxide.  The huge error in his Tweet is, of course, that CO2 is not a pollutant at all.

Let’s stand back and think about it.  CO2 is a trace gas in the atmosphere, currently at a level of 400 parts per million.  That’s tiny.  It’s 0.04% of the atmosphere.  CO2 is a natural, harmless, invisible, odourless, non-toxic gas.  It is not only harmless — it’s essential to life on the planet.  Imagine a world without any CO2 at all.  All plants would die, and consequently all animals would die too.

Of course CO2 is also a “greenhouse gas”.  Indeed in our hypothetical CO2-free world, we would be so cold that we should have glaciation over the whole planet, even at the equator – the “Snowball Earth” scenario.  But the warming effect of CO2 is not linear (forgive me, I used to study mathematics).  That is, the increase in the warming effect of additional CO2 depends on how much you have already.  The more you have, the less effect any given addition will make.  If we were at 20 ppm, a doubling to 40 ppm would have a significant effect (approximately +1oC).  But when we’re at 400 ppm, an extra 20 ppm makes very little difference.  In fact the warming effect is governed by a negative logarithmic equation.  A doubling of CO2 will always have the same effect.  To get the same 1oC warming now you’d need not an extra 20ppm, but an extra 400 ppm — a doubling from today’s level.

You can readily see that this gives a curve that flattens as the CO2 rises – a law of diminishing returns.  And we’re already so far up the curve that further increases will be very small.

I should qualify my 1oC per doubling figure.  The IPCC uses a figure of around 3oC, which better fits their alarmist theory.  They recognise the basic 1oC figure, but argue that there are positive feedbacks (primarily water vapour) which increase the effect..  But they are unable to demonstrate those positive feedbacks.  Meantime other scientists point to negative feedbacks (for example, cloud cover and albedo), and some believe that the negatives may outweigh the positives, leaving the sensitivity of climate to CO2 even less than 1oC per doubling.

Al Gore in his infamous film “An Inconvenient Truth” demonstrated a close correlation between atmospheric CO2 levels and temperatures.  Such a correlation is strong evidence for causation.  But it does not of itself tell you which of two phenomena is causing the other.  It doesn’t tell you the direction of causation.

Al Gore simply assumes that CO2 causes temperature rises, and proposes a plausible mechanism for such causation – the greenhouse effect.  But what if it were vice versa – the temperature causing the elevated CO2 levels?  Here again we have a plausible mechanism.  There is around fifty times as much CO2 dissolved in the oceans as exists in the atmosphere.  Cool water retains dissolved gases better than warm water.  Warming can cause dissolved gases to leave the ocean for the atmosphere.

So which causes which?  It is a fundamental principle of science that effects cannot precede causes.  So which comes first, the chicken or the egg?  If we examine the data on which Al Gore relies for his correlation, we find that the peaks of temperature precede the peaks of CO2 levels by around 800 to a thousand years.  Therefore temperature causes elevated CO2, not vice versa.   And the temperature changes are driven primarily by solar and other astronomical factors.  Warmists blame the steadily increasing level of atmospheric CO2 in recent decades on human activity.  But it could just as well be caused by the natural cyclical warming of the planet as we leave behind the Little Ice Age and move into a new 21st Century Optimum.

While the correlation is fairly close over the last 600,000 years, it does not stand the test of deep time.  Go back many millions of years in Earth history, and it breaks down completely.  There have been times when atmospheric CO2 levels have been as much as ten or even fifteen times higher than today, and those periods were not associated with elevated temperatures, still less “runaway global warming” or “tipping points”.  The very long-term trend in CO2 is down, and biologists tell us that if we got down to around 200 ppm – only half of today’s level – we could see a dangerous drop in plant growth.

I was astonished to learn a few years back that horticulturalists who raise tomatoes in greenhouses routinely bring in tanks of compressed CO2 and release it in the greenhouse to raise CO2 levels from an ambient 400 ppm to three times that level – 1200 ppm.  Why? Because their tomatoes grow much faster and bigger.  CO2 is airborne plant food.  Current slightly elevated levels of CO2 are increasing plant growth, biomass formation and crop yields.  They are literally greening the planet.  Matt Ridley in his excellent rebuttal of IPCC alarmism cites a figure of a 14% increase in greenery over the last 30 years, based on satellite observations.

If we look at climate negotiations over recent years, and at the rate at which the world is building coal-fired power stations, it is clear that any thought of reducing levels of atmospheric CO2 is simply fanciful.  We cannot achieve it no matter how many billions we waste on wind farms.  But the good news is first, that CO2 is not causing significant warming, and pace Al Gore is not a threat to humanity.  And rising CO2 levels will have considerable benefits that Lord Stern and the IPCC have not considered.


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60 Responses to Let’s talk about CO2

  1. Thanks, Roger. Your hard work and cogent analysis continue to be an inspiration to me.

  2. Anne Palmer says:

    Hmmmm! Getting short of our money again?

  3. omanuel says:

    CO2 is gaseous plant food!

    To turn the spotlight on sixty-eight years (2014 – 1946 = 68 yrs) of deceit disguised as “settled science,” nine (9) pages of precise experimental data [1] were published three months ago to show, beyond all reasonable doubt:

    1. Neutrons repel neutrons
    2. Stars make and discard hydrogen
    3. The Sun itself
    _ a.) Made our elements
    _ b.) Birthed the Solar System 5 Ga ago
    _ c.) Sustained life’s origin and evolution on Earth after 3.5 Ga ago
    _ d.) Still controls every atom, life and world in the solar system today.

    1. “A Journey to the core of the Sun,” – Chapter 2: Acceptance of Reality https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10640850/Chapter_2.pdf

    Advocates of CO2-induced climate change are invited to address, in public, nine pages of precise experimental data that falsify the foundation of AGW, the

    4. Standard Solar Model
    5. Standard Nuclear Model

    The next chapter – Chapter 3: “The Forbidden Force of Einstein, Planck and Aston “ – will show why the integrity of constitutional governments and science collapsed together after WWII, just as George Orwell predicted in the book he started writing in 1946.

    “Nineteen Eighty-Four”

    • eddie coke says:

      Professor Manuel, do you plan on formally publishing your book once it is complete? I’m staggered by some of the research you outline, having always believed the hydrogen fusion (rather than neutron repulsion) model of the sun.

      I’d be interested in having a read and perhaps you could point me to where to start. I’ve read the two chapters you have linked to here, and watched the clips on your Youtube channel.

      My background is a PhD in organic chemistry rather than nuclear chemistry or astrophysics, but I’ve read a lot of Feynman’s stuff (unfortunately, a little beyond me mathematically!). It would be good to get a kind of “basic” scientific overview, and maybe that’s exactly what your book is – which is why I wonder whether you’ll publish it once finished.

      • omanuel says:

        Hi eddie cooke,

        The book is being published, on-line as written. It will represent completion of the research project Professor P. K. Kuroda assigned me in May 1960.

        I believe it is the forbidden information that Kuroda wanted me to discover for myself and share with the public. He never told me what I would find when I agreed to the research project in May 1960: “Origin of the Solar System and Its Elements”

        But I am convinced Kuroda already knew the answer in 1960. The book will probably consist of only three chapters:

        1. The beginning of the journey in 1960
        2. Exposé of reliable experimental data hidden or ignored
        3. Returning society and science to the sanity of Einstein, Planck and Aston

    • omanuel says:

      Politically motivated climate science is humorous !

      Politically motivated nuclear physics is dangerous !

      The dangerous reality for us today is lack of preparation to safely harness and use nuclear energy for the survival of society if the Sun enters another cyclic quiet period (Maunder Minimum):

      1. Aston’s nuclear packing fraction correctly shows nuclear stability [1]

      2. Von Weizsacker’s nuclear binding energy does NOT tell stability [1]

      3. Nuclear physics textbooks replaced Aston with von Weivzsacker after 1945 to hide the powerful source of energy that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki – NEUTRON REPULSION [1].

      Politically motivated climate science is humorous, but politically motivated nuclear physics is dangerous !

      1. “A Journey to the core of the Sun,” – Chapter 2: Acceptance of Reality (link posted above)

    • Brin Jenkins says:

      I wish I understood the science here, unfortunately my HND is insufficient but I thank you, and I trust others who are capable will speak out.

  4. eddie coke says:

    Of course, the difference between carbon and carbon dioxide is huge, particularly since the oxygen component (ie “dioxide”) is sequestered from the air we breathe – and there are many projects working on so-called “carbon capture and storage.” Naturally, I prefer to call this “Project Asphyxiate Mankind,” because most of them capture CO2, not carbon. We should all pray that these projects fail dismally – last time I looked, there was a single Italian research group working on re-releasing the oxygen from the CO2; this will be an expensive option since CO2 is a low enthalpy product (ie you’d have to add lots of energy to break the carbon-oxygen bonds).

    And in any case, Nature already came up with a decent carbon capture and storage machine – trees. We need plenty of CO2 to keep *them* alive.

  5. Brin Jenkins says:

    Brilliant work, and the non linear explanation makes perfect sense, much like a capacitor can never be fully charged or discharged. Thank you for this point that I had never seen expressed previously.

  6. Thomas Fox says:

    At what percentage are these many pollution gases ( not co2 ) building up in the World,s atmosphere over time if any ? Is it that the concentration from transport and generation will disperse ?

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      I haven’t studied this closely. There are worries about methane, but I seem to recall reading that methane levels have stabilised in recent years. Meantime, as long as the wind blows over the ocean (and picks up water vapour) we shall be unable to control greenhouse gases.

    • Brin Jenkins says:

      Thomas and Brian. This is illuminating about trusting what climate scientists tell us.

      Oxford JournalsEconomics & Social SciencesAmerican J. of Agricultural EconomicsAdvance Access10.1093/ajae/aau001
      Information Manipulation and Climate Agreements
      Fuhai Hong⇑ and Xiaojian Zhao
      +Author Affiliations

      Fuhai Hong is an assistant professor in the Division of Economics, Nanyang Technological University. Xiaojian Zhao is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
      Correspondence may be sent to: fhhong@ntu.edu.sg.
      The authors thank Larry Karp, Madhu Khanna, Jinhua Zhao, two anonymous referees, and participants in the Conference on Global Environmental Challenges: the Role of China for their helpful comments.


      It appears that news media and some pro-environmental organizations have the tendency to accentuate or even exaggerate the damage caused by climate change. This article provides a rationale for this tendency by using a modified International Environmental Agreement (IEA) model with asymmetric information. We find that the information manipulation has an instrumental value, as it ex post induces more countries to participate in an IEA, which will eventually enhance global welfare. From the ex anteperspective, however, the impact that manipulating information has on the level of participation in an IEA and on welfare is ambiguous.

  7. Brin Jenkins says:

    I understand all gases are soluble.

    Perhaps rain disperses these particulates and washes them out of the atmosphere. Certainly where I once lived in Gibraltar (busy airport and shipping) our boat that we lived on collected pollution from aircraft and marine engines on its paintwork. This was sooner or later washed into the sea. The Torrey Canyon tanker wrecked off Cornwall shows no sign now of the massive spill back in the 60’s (200.000 ton ship). Nature, and its little bacterial workers perform wonders.

    • Thomas Fox says:

      To Mr Catalanbrian I believe that the highly educated climate scientist has no more of a solution to global cooling or warming than I as a common farmer who worked in it??

      • catalanbrian says:

        Thomas Fox, I too am a common farmer, but on the question of climate change, I am prepared to rely on scientists who understand such matters and have based their opinions on research, rather than on others, who base their opinions on nothing, other than chit chat and conspiracy theories. This is in much the same way that I would rely on a doctor to fix my broken body rather than some quack who tries to convince me, despite the experts stating the contrary, that this snake oil potion will cure everything. I agree with you that the scientists may not have the solution, but I am prepared to go along with the science in the absence of any compelling argument the other way.

        In any event my real concerns are about the way that we are despoiling this planet by our rapacious use of limited resources with no regard for future generations.

      • Roger Helmer MEP says:

        Catalanbrian: You’re still duped by the myth that all or most scientists support to IPCC paradigm. It’s crumbling as we watch. Its predictions are failing. Tens of thousands of scientists disagree, and it’s only inertia (and grant funding) keeping most scientific organisations on board.

  8. DougS says:

    Another excellent piece Roger – keep doing what you’re doing.

  9. Let’s talk about this too Roger?….

    The UKIP MEP, family land, a windfarm application, a party denial and EU money


    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      William tells me he does not own the land, has not made or supported the application, and does not stand to benefit financially. He owns an adjacent piece of land which was included in error in the paperwork.

  10. Pete Hodge says:

    Roger, I fully endorse the parties line on onshore wind farms. But as I understand it we are opposed to solar power as well. What is the problem with that?

    I am currently in Devon and near me there air one completed field, and second, larger one being installed close by. We also pass one near the M5, which we pass on our way home north.

    Wish you well in May.

    Sincerely Peter Hodge

    • ahey2013 says:

      What is the problem with solar power? Are you serious? The problem with it is that it’s hopelessly uneconomic and unreliable and therefore requires huge subsidies which get added to everyone else’s electricity bills.

      • catalanbrian says:

        Not necessarily so. Perhaps yes, because of wrongheaded policies whereby large subsidies are given to encourage the likes of Mr Helmer to cover his roof with solar panels, but no, not in general. I live off grid with solar panels providing in excess of 95% of my energy needs. My entire system (panels, batteries, inverter and generator – used only for running a washing machine) cost about the same as the projected costs of 7 years of electricity to run my house at the prices current at the time of installation. Since then electricity prices have increased substantially, so there is an effective reduction in the “pay back” period. It is not unreliable. My system has never failed to deliver and my house is bright and alight when my local village is in darkness due to a storm knocking out the grid power. OK I live in Catalunya so there is more sun, and the UK numbers would be a bit different, but it is not unreliable nor uneconomic. My system, I hasten to add was not funded with any subsidies, just plain old cash from my own pocket. Don’t be misled by the untruths peddled by the anti renewables brigade.

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      The economic arguments are the same as for wind. Intermittency, back-up costs, exported inefficiency. With one proviso. There is a possibility that with development, solar may be cheap enough to be viable despite these problems in ten years’ time. Wind will not.

    • Brin Jenkins says:

      I have researched and installed my own domestic solar water borehole pumping system.

      From an EU site for surveying and choosing panel sizes, I learned that the output Jan/Feb/Mar was only 12% of the expected output in May/July/Aug. On that basis I doubled my panel power from 80w to 160w, and over this winter I have been developing my control system. On occasions poor light has stopped pumping all day, and I realised that a back up system was needed. A mains power supply unit was installed switching automatically in very poor light. This now works well, but it is no longer a stand alone off grid system. I only pump in daylight hours to reduce the mains power demand, water storage was increased to 360 gals.

      On a country large scale similar problems exist with backing up the National load. The following link to Grid Watch explains how quick startup back systems are up kept idling at great expense to balance the national load. This is never factored into the greenie scenario of our carbon free future, it is far from carbon free. and a very uneconomic, expensive compromise.


  11. Richard111 says:

    Sorry to note the lack of discussion on CO2. A hard look at the science of IR radiation will show that CO2 gas in the atmosphere CANNOT do what is claimed.
    As for solar panels… see this: http://www.mhpa.co.uk/liddeston-ridge-solar-array/
    and see how much sun we are getting: http://www.milfordweather.org.uk/solar.php
    Well over 20,000 solar panels have been mounted which were mostly operational last week.
    Can’t find any report on the energy generated and don’t expect to find any. This is purely a money making scam for the port.
    Some basics; solar panels generate useable energy for just 6 hours a day and the efficiency is just 20% of the rated value. They claim a life of 25 years but there are many reports of the panels breaking down after four years. These panel have been up for less than a year so I have much careful watching to do. A large number are directly visible from my house and many more visible during a short walk. Roll on summer. I want to get some nice pictures of these panels to show my grandchildren.

  12. Around fifty years ago the commercial glasshouse unit I worked on used CO2 to boost crops. No one complained then. The plants loved it! Our tomatoes, cucumbers and other crops thrived. When I am told it is a polutant I ask what the proof is and all I get is a load of uneducated garbage off loaded from delusioned sheeple. An earlier poster mentioned a wrecked oil tanker and how Nature had rid the seas of it’s contents. How many went down in WW2? Nature is a selfrighting organism of which we have little understanding. We think we have. In truth we haven’t and never will.

    Thank you for a very readable blog.

    • Brin Jenkins says:

      Talking to a St Ives pal last week, he tells me of a Lands End cove were a patch of this congealed crude oil has become soil like in appearance and texture. Grass is now growing on it as it reverts to nature.

      The recycling brigade are wrecking our economy, and no thought of cost benefit analysis has been allowed. The Rag and Bone many of my youth put out of business by the EU. Now spotty faced youngsters urge me to pay massive environmental charges to satisfy their illogical recycling dreams.

  13. Sean O'Hare says:

    Roger, Is there any truth in this story from AutonomousMind about William Dartmouth?


    • Unfortunately there is. Hopefully Roger is not ignoring it either.

      • I understand that the land concerned is owned not by the Earl of Dartmouth, but by a relative, and that the Earl has no financial interest in the land and does not stand to benefit from the wind farm application if it succeeds.

      • That wasn’t really an answer was it Roger?!

      • Sean O'Hare says:

        Roger, Please treat this seriously. I am a member of UKIP and an activist in the South West. However, I can’t stand hypocrisy and will seriously consider continuing unless this is sorted. At the moment it is looking very much like WD saw an opportunity to make a lot of money, realised it ran contrary to party policy, so has attempted to pass on the prospective profits to a family member by giving the land away. If he were genuine he would have rejected any proposal for a wind farm out of hand.

  14. DICK R says:

    CO2 = harmless plant food ,enough said

  15. omanuel says:


    Steven Goddard has clearly identified the problem: Deceitful Government Science



    Now we need to work together for a peaceful return of sanity to science and society and an end to sixty-eight years (2014 – 1946 = 68 yrs) of deceit by restoring integrity to
    _ 1. Constitutional governments
    _ 2. Government-funded science

  16. How many have noticed how the ‘dioxide’ part has been quietly dropped in favour of just carbon?
    Check out Edinburgh University Carbon Management coarses. Questions should be asked about them too.

  17. catalanbrian says:

    Owned by a relative, eh? So why is William Dartmouth’s name on the planning application.then? Perhaps there two William Dartmouths!

    • And why isn’t that an interest for declaration even if it’s true? And what was the situation before the land transfer. The Valley wind co-operative was set up in 2009 when Lord Dartmouth did own the land, and the land transfer made in 2011. Why was the transfer made and why is it so complex?

      I consider, with the situation that exists at the moment, that even collecting subsidies from solar panels would require a public explanation from someone in the political position of objecting strongly to those subsidies.

  18. If I had an email address for you Fen I could send Dartington’s latest press release re this through.

  19. Brin Jenkins says:

    Ask the people directly involved? The Yorkshire Post carries a denial and explanation, and it is an involved situation.

    Why would you want to raise this matter with Roger, instead of Dartmouth the man named?

    Is it that any tenuous link might be used to attack an uninvolved MEP?

    You have not responded to my mail on the Japanese truth twisters, do you condone untruths promoting the carbon theory?

    • Sean O'Hare says:

      Brin, we have raised the matter with Roger (as well as Dartmouth) because Roger is UKIP’s energy spokesman. Simples!

      • Brin Jenkins says:

        True Sean he is, but this is not an energy matter, rather one for party discipline if any transgression took place. This is yet to be established.

        I hate windmills and solar farms as an uneconomic waste of public taxes in pursuit of a bigoted political goal.

  20. cerberus says:

    Talk about CO2? Well the first thing to say is that it’s nothing less than a miracle. CO2 is incredibly rare, a mere trace gas, not more than one molecule in every two thousand five hundred molecules in the atmosphere. Yet despite that the plant kingdom is totally dependant on it, plants simply cannot live without it it’s fundamental to their biochemistry. That means that the whole biosphere crucially depends on its existence. We are in CO2 famine now and plants evolved when it was in a much higher concentration. Consequently in today’s atmosphere plants struggle and fail to fulfil their potential.

    To penalise the production of clean CO2 is nothing less than madness, CO2 is a good and we need more of it. I await the time that a genuine cost/benefit analysis is carried out for CO2. The benefits in terms of increased crop production alone since the nineteen-fifties must run into many trillions, the costs – negligible or more likely wholly non existent.

    As for CO2 having any real world effect on the climate, the only empirical connection between the two ever seen is the other way around, climate driving CO2.

  21. Brin Jenkins says:

    Please inform us where his facts are “tosh”.

    Might be better to moderate your writings as well, politeness costs nothing Brian.

  22. I cannot understand how a farmer can say what Cerebus posts is tosh.
    How long do they think their crops will survive without CO2?
    Have they never researched the Carbon Cycle?
    We did it in elementary school.

    • catalanbrian says:

      Clearly crops, being plant life, need CO2 to flourish, but the idea that the earth is in CO2 famine and that there is little or no evidence that climate drives CO2, rather than the other way round does seem to be looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Hence my comment.

  23. cerberus says:

    CO2 levels are unusually low compared with those that have obtained in past geologic ages since the Pre-Cambrian. In general most of the time CO2 has been more than 1,000 ppm, i.e. almost three times more than at present although it has been far higher than that. Only in the Carboniferous did CO2 fall to the sort of levels we experience today only to rise again later.

    Land plant evolution really got under way in the Silurian when CO2 levels were around eight times higher than today, around 3,000 ppm. So the basic biochemistry of plant life harks back to times when CO2 was far more abundant, which is why we are in effect in CO2 famine today. I don’t believe there is any dispute that at higher CO2 levels crop yields are greatly increased because of this – across different plant families a doubling of CO2 leads on average to a 40% increase in crop yields. Equally important, plants use water more efficiently at higher CO2 and are better equipped to thrive at desert margins, potentially reducing desertification. So the upshot is: plants struggle and fail to reach their potential in today’s atmosphere, something horticulturists remedy by raising CO2 concentration in their greenhouses.

    It is worth pointing out that CO2 is not toxic at any atmospheric level that is even remotely conceivable. Nuclear submarines are regularly operated with CO2 at up to 8,000 ppm, twenty times atmospheric, even up to 1% concentration on occasion. Even if fossil fuel use continues increasing atmospheric levels of CO2 are unlikely even to double in hundreds of years.

    The graph below shows CO2 over geologic time. No correlation between CO2 and temperature is evident.

  24. You are all going on about a hypothesis yet none of you are looking at the true history of where all this started. May I suggest before everyone gets tied up they look at the following.

    • catalanbrian says:

      But of course no-one on this blog will watch this because their heroine surely cannot be seen to be proposing that climate change is real!

      • Brin Jenkins says:

        Brian, there are some brilliant youtube videos on cracking water to add to your car engine air inlet and magnetic motors that run tapping cosmic forces too! Oh yes, but?

        Just check the physics. No one has bucked the laws of science, and only theories get shot down.

        Don’t you think many of us have already been through the magic phase.

        Who is our “Heroine”? Wonder Woman, Amazing Grace? We need one because with the solar industry and other interested parties will drive our culture back into the Dark Ages over the next few years. Don’t be their useful idiot.

  25. Brin Jenkins, I’m begining to wonder if there’s something in our water after reading the last post and a short piece of that video. Gobledegook fear language has certainly found it’s mark. That all too uncommon common sense tells some of use what the Truth really is. Apologies to the blog owner but I feel this should have a second chance as some may overlook it thinking it is the video above. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtevF4B4RtQ

  26. Suggest those still believing should look at what James Lovelock quoted on Climate Depot
    www. climatedepot.com/2014/04/03

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