Skip to comments.Life on Earth was nearly doomed by too little CO2
Posted on 07/02/2017 9:38:41 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
During the last ice age, too little atmospheric carbon dioxide almost eradicated mankind
Guest Essay by Dennis T. Avery
Aside from protests by Al Gore, Leonardo Di Caprio and friends, the public didnt seem to raise its CO2 anguish much above the Russians-election frenzy when Trump exited the Paris Climate Accords.
Statistician Bjorn Lomborg had already pointed out that the Paris CO2 emission promises would cost $100 trillion dollars that no one has, and make only a 0.05 degree difference in Earths 2100 AD temperature. Others say perhaps a 0.2 degree C (0.3 degrees F) difference, and even that would hold only in the highly unlikely event that all parties actually kept their voluntary pledges.
What few realize, however, is that during the last Ice Age too little CO2 in the air almost eradicated mankind. Thats 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, Earths atmosphere had only about 180 parts per million CO2, compared to todays 400 ppm: 0.018% then versus 0.040% today.
The Ice Ages 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 planets 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.
The few surviving prey animals had to keep migrating to get enough food. That forced our ancestors to migrate with them, in temperatures that routinely fell to 40 degrees below zero (both Fahrenheit and Celsius). The Neanderthals had been living in relatively warm caves protected from predators by fires at the cave mouths. They had hunted their prey by sneaking through the trees which no longer existed. They apparently couldnt adapt, and starved. Cambridge found no evidence of genocidal warfare.
The most successful human survivors who provided most of the DNA for modern Europeans were nomads from the Black Sea region. The Gravettians had never had trees, so they invented mammoth-skin tents, held up by salvaged mammoth ribs. They also developed spear-throwers, to kill the huge beasts from a safe distance.
Equally important, Gravettians domesticated and bred wolves, to protect their tents from marauders, locate game animals on the broad tundra, and harry the prey into defensive clusters for easier killing. The scarcity of food in that Glacial Maximum intensified the dogs appreciation for the bones and bone marrow at the human camps.
When that Ice Age ended, moreover, CO2 changes didnt 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 cant 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.
Theres 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 theres little danger of humans having too much CO2 in their air, and a real danger to civilization from having too little, whats the ideal level of atmospheric CO2? The answer? Theres a broad safe range with far more risk of too little than too much. At low levels, with few or no plants, thered 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. (As we utilize the new malaria vaccine, the tropics will prosper even more.) And far more people die from too cold than from too warm.
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!
Its not whether more CO2 in the air raises Earths temperatures. We know it does, by some small but still hotly debated amount. Both sides agree that a redoubling of CO2 in the air by itself would raise earths temperature by only about 1 degree C.
Thats hardly noticeable or measurable in the midst of all the local temperature variations, with the myriad of natural forces that govern planetary climate, with all the discrepancies among the various measuring systems, and amid all the errors, biases and missing or revised data that have crept in.
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 weve 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 Oscillations 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.
Dennis T. Avery is an agricultural and environmental economist and a senior fellow for the Center for Global Food Issues in Virginia. He was formerly a senior analyst for the U.S. Department of State and is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years.
“Since water vapor is the most effective greenhouse gas, the climate modelers claimed Earth might heat by 5 or even 10 degrees C.”
Referring to water as a pollutant would not sell to even the thickest headed of us (Marxists excluded). Perhaps that’s why they’re making “carbon” the boogieman. Sounds like demon coal.
Nice graphs and info in the comments section https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/06/30/life-on-earth-was-nearly-doomed-by-too-little-co2/
especially in the first one linking to this https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/07/a-brief-history-of-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide-record-breaking/
Thanks for the note.
Happily, water vapor will also furnish much if not all of the shielding needed to keep an atmosphere warming from CO2 effects from running away. Clouds.
The thing that clouds have more trouble holding back is actual escalation in the radiation of the sun. Nobody yet has devised a way of looking below the surface of that dense, fiery ball, to my knowledge, and there could not be, unless there were a way to “x ray” it with something like neutrinos. So if solar cycles are waiting to spring on us again, we would not know until they happened, though past cyclical behavior could be a clue.
High CO2 is more an effect than a cause in these cycles. If the solar radiation increases, the ocean will give up the less soluble CO2, like a warm Coke going flat. If it decreases, what was pointed out in the referenced article could happen, with the ocean soaking up CO2.
Now it’s facing doom from liberals and the purveyors of MSBS.
MIT Professor Richard Lindzen summarizes the Global Warming Rhubarb in five minutes:
They actually do have mechanisms for predicting the magnetic strength as measured by sunspots for the next one or two cycles. NASA itself has preducted the next cycle soon to start will be very weak. They use the speed of currents in the suns plasma. The currents travel along the surface and then down deeper. Similar to how ocean currents on Earth behave. What they got wrong was the cycle just ending. We have now had three cycles in a row with decreasing activity. And the next is supposed to be even weaker. This winter will probably rival the worse any of us have experienced. Temperatures will drop to levels seldom encountered. Snow will also be significant. Atlas is shrugging the hairless apes off again. Last time we dropped to 100,000 worldwide apparently.
If so, we shall soon have global cooling
Something like a lot of sunspots result in high solar winds resulting in more capture of cosmic ray particles resulting in less seeding for clouds resulting in thinner and fewer clouds. Therefore more solar radiation is let in and the earth gets warmer.
We should expect cloudier weather, then, as sunspot activity fades. Which in turn would result in colder weather. And, much snowfall. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas....
It's not much of leap to believe that if "we" can get people to believe the planet is melting surely we can get them believe the Russian elected Trump.
Good video. Thanks for posting it.
President Trump made an important step in stopping the "global warming" nonsense when he refused to have the US participate in the Paris accord any longer. I think that once the US stops this nonsense and stops throwing money at it, the rest of the world will follow. I'm pretty sure the "global warming" craze started with the US in the first place.
A drop from 5,000 ppm to 400 ppm of CO2 is huge. At some point, the concentration is too low for plants to be able to pull CO2 from the air--at which time, life on earth comes to a halt. When more CO2 enters the air, plants extract it and grow more, and everything that depends on plants has more food... in other words, more CO2 equals more living things.
Actually, it is the building block of all life, since every carbon molecule in our bodies originated as CO2, processed into usable form by plants. (But I think you know that.)
Recently, at a career fair at a local elementary school, I showed kids a CO2 molecule and told them that it is carbon dioxide, which plants eat. I didn't say a thing about the global warming nonsense.
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