Wednesday, February 05, 2014

"State of the Union climate rhetoric undermines rational decision making" - "State of the Union climate rhetoric undermines rational decision making": "Obama’s error is not harmless. It is part of the way language has been distorted to bolster concerns about human-caused climate change. Calling CO2 carbon, or worse, carbon pollution, encourages people to think of it as something dirty and so important to restrict. Obama reinforces this misunderstanding by referring to power plants that have low CO2 emissions as clean. This mistake is so entrenched that even those who oppose fashionable beliefs about climate change make it often.

Calling CO2 by its proper name would help people remember that, regardless of its role in climate change (a point of intense debate among scientists), CO2 is really an invisible gas essential to plant photosynthesis, and so to all life. Recent studies demonstrate that worldwide crop yield has soared as CO2 levels have risen. So although CO2 is an ‘infrared absorbing gas’ blamed by governments for most of the past century’s modest warming, it is no more a pollutant than is the major ‘greenhouse gas’ in the atmosphere, water vapour."

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