Nowadays, in an age of rising population and scarcities of food and water in some regions, it’s a wonder that humanitarians aren’t clamoring for more atmospheric carbon dioxide.
No, it’s not The Onion. It’s the Wall Street Journal editorial page, which nowadays is much the same thing.
Once again, the country’s leading financial newspaper is recycling long-debunked myths from disinformers with PhDs posing as climate scientists — in this case, Harrison H. Schmitt and William Happer, “In Defense of Carbon Dioxide: The demonized chemical compound is a boon to plant life and has little correlation with global temperature.”
But what nefarious forces have been demonizing CO2? Let’s see:
- IMF chief: “Unless we take action on climate change, future generations will be roasted, toasted, fried and grilled.”
- World Bank Report: “A 4 degrees C [7 degrees F] world can, and must, be avoided” to avert “devastating” impacts
- Wall Street Journal: “More Droughts, Floods, Extreme Weather Expected With Warming Climate”
Darn you, major international financial institutions and the paper’s own reporters!
Sure, the Journal’s editorial page has long been part of the effort to advance the pollutocrat do-nothing agenda.
But this piece is a new low. “It’s shameful even by the dismal standards of that page,” as Columbia Journalism Review puts it in their piece, “The WSJ editorial page hits rock bottom.”
The entire piece is devoted to one of the most risible logical fallacies pushed by the deniers — that because CO2 stimulates plant growth, lots more CO2 must be great for plants. It’s like arguing that because humans need water to live, floods must be a great thing.
This myth has been widely debunked by Skeptical Science and a Climate Denial Crock of the Week video. In their extended debunking of the piece, Media Matters compares the argument to Idiocracy’s fictional Brawndo.
You may remember Schmitt and Happer as two of the 16 authors of a 2012 WSJ op-ed who were labeled “dentists practicing cardiology” by three dozen top climate scientists. As Media Matters explains:
- Neither Have Written Peer-Reviewed Climate Research.
- Journal Does Not Disclose Happer Is Chairman Of Industry-Funded Institute.
- Happer Compared Mainstream Climate Science To Holocaust “Propaganda.”
- Schmitt Was A Director At The Industry-Funded Heartland Institute.
- Schmitt: The “Obvious Path Of The United States” Under “Current Congress And President” Is “National Socialism.”
Only the WSJ could hold these two up as climate experts.
The notion that CO2 has little correlation with temperature is pure anti-science (see “How carbon dioxide controls earth’s temperature” and “The Biggest Control Knob: Carbon Dioxide in Earth’s Climate History”).
Schmitt and Happer say our current CO2 levels are “low by the standards of geological and plant evolutionary history,” they pine for the days when “Levels were 3,000 ppm, or more,” and note that commercial greenhouse operators boost CO2 levels to “1,000 ppm or more to improve the growth and quality of their plants.”
The recent scientific literature is beyond crystal clear that 1,000 ppm — which is where we will end up this century if we listen to disinformers like these two — would result in multiple, simultaneous catastrophes for humanity, including widespread Dust-Bowlification.
Fatih Birol, the chief economist for the International Energy Agency, explained that we’re headed for 11 degrees F warming, and “everybody, even school children, know this will have catastrophic implications for all of us.”
Yes, even school children know more than Schmitt, Happer, and the editors of the Wall Street Journal.
Get Grist in your inbox