February 25th, 2024

Carbon dioxide is valuable to this planet


By Lethbridge Herald on January 23, 2024.

Editor:

Thank you to Al Beeber for an excellent article about electric vehicles (EVs). Thank you to the Lethbridge Herald for putting it on the front page on Jan. 6.  

So much more could be said about the problems that governments are having as they try to force people into expensive vehicles that they don’t want, vehicles that are unsuitable for travel on the Canadian prairies particularly in winter. 

As I write this, the ambient temperature is -32C and people in rural Alberta would be foolish to attempt a trip in an EV in these conditions. It is just too dangerous.

Yesterday, I read a related story. That story was about Hertz (the car rental company) selling off 20,000 EVs in their fleet for two reasons. 

The first reason is that customers don’t want to rent them and the second is that insurance and maintenance costs are higher than similar vehicles powered by ICEs (internal combustion engines). 

Hertz expects that the early sell-off of these vehicles will cost the company $245 million US. 

Buyer push back against EVs is only part of the story about the problems of moving to electric vehicles. 

The second problem is trying to fix a problem that does not exist. That problem is trying to rid our atmosphere of carbon dioxide. 

Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant – it is an essential compound which is necessary for food production and maintenance of our forests and green spaces.  

Anyone who wants to confirm the amount of CO2 required to produce an acre of wheat should go to Dr. Google and ask that question.

 The answer is 10,000 pounds or five tons per acre. 

The province of Alberta produces about 12 million acres of wheat a year, so we require about 60 million tons of CO2 each year just for our wheat crop.

 A crop of canola uses about the same amount of CO2 per acre and Alberta produces approximately the same acreage of canola each year, therefore another 60 million tons of CO2 for canola production. 

Sugar beets, potatoes, and corn all require more CO2 per acre. The concerning thing about all of this is that even most farmers are unaware of the role that CO2 plays in food production. 

Where are the biochemists who know these things but say nothing? 

I fear that our universities are playing a great game of “wack-a-mole” and the biochemists would sooner collect research money than “speak truth to power”.

In Canada, we build most of our houses with wood. It is an excellent building material.

 The house I live in is wood framed, over 40 years old and could reasonably be expected to keep somebody sheltered from the elements for several decades to come.

It is estimated that our boreal forests consume another 5 tons of CO2 per acre per year. 

The forests in B.C. provide much of the lumber for our homes and those forests need more than five tons of CO2 per acre per year.  Much of our Alberta boreal forests do not produce trees of sufficient size and quality for dimension lumber but our forests are still a wonderful asset to the province. 

Alberta’s boreal forests cover approximately 125 million acres. These boreal forests require at least 625 million tons of CO2 annually. 

Wheat, canola, other agricultural crops and boreal forests would do better with higher levels of CO2 – not lower levels. 

Greenhouses try to keep their CO2 levels above 800 parts per million while our atmosphere is only at 420 ppm. Remember, as plants consume CO2 they release oxygen which is essential for all animal life (including human).

There is no substitute for CO2 – if we were to significantly reduce the amount of atmospheric CO2 there is no other compound to step up to the plate and fill the gap left by the diminution of CO2. This is not a great risk as so little of the atmospheric CO2 is produced by man (less than five per cent) or is it worth spending billions trying to reduce it.

If you remember little of what I have said I hope you will remember two things:

• Carbon dioxide is  not a pollutant — it is a chemical compound which is essential for life on this planet.

• It takes five tons of CO2 per year to grow one acre of wheat, or canola, or boreal forest.

Floyd Joss C.E.T., DVM, MSc

Lethbridge County

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SophieR

CO2 is a greenhouse gas. It traps energy in our atmosphere. The carbon cycle is an important part of life on earth.

Too much CO2 traps energy that is heating the land and oceans above natural levels. This heating changes weather patterns, and causes more extreme events, including drought. Heating affects life-cycles of plants, insects and animals leading to biodiversity loss. Heating leads to wider ranging disease vectors.

This additional heating may likely destabilize food systems and motivate great migrations of people from regions made unlivable due to extreme temperatures and famine.

Humans are adding over 35 billion tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere every year. And more each year above natural levels.

ReallyReally

A nicely boiled-down explanation of the FACTS regarding compounding CO2 problems for our planet Sophie.

buckwheat

ANy idea how much of that 35 billion tons leaves the atmosphere or does it just hang around and make your life miserable?

biff

indeed, as we add to the levels we make it worse by destroying too much of the natural systems that are needed for balance.

Duane Pendergast

Come on Sophie! Grow more food. Grow more trees. Build more wooden houses. Make productive use of that extra CO2 and help out humanity.

ReallyReally

Extreme weather events negatively affecting agriculture, dying forests, dying pollinators, a notable lack of workers for our various industries… are real issues currently being experienced Duane; and they are growing problems. The connection of these problems to the chemical pollution that is created by human activities is well-documented, historically verifiable, and even acknowledged by the fossil fuel industries in their own studies. Throw in the economic and political policies that have ignored the facts for many decades… the problems are blooming each and every day. A simplistic solution as you have suggested is fraught with ignorance (wilful?) of the complexity of this topic.

biff

a fine synopsis of a very large and tangled issue

Fedup Conservative

So explain why oil executives have been stating for years that Global Warming is a major issue and burning fossil fuels is the major factor every time they try to do something about it these ignorant Reformers and the fools who support them attack them. They are convinced that had Stephen Harper implemented a Carbon Tax and not told the world that Canada didn’t give a damn about Global Warming when the world does care Obama would have approved their Keystone XL pipeline project. We are sick and tired of fools like you who aren’t smart enough to understand it the oilmen in our lives certainly do and they feel the same way way we do. Wake and do some research or talk to some oil executives . As this article states “
Canadian oil majors support the Carbon Tax “
Lougheed told the Klein and Stelmach governments to slow down the growth of the Oilsands, collect proper royalties and corporate taxes, get control of our pollution and these fools refused to listen.
Dr. David Swann stood with Lougheed and pointed out that our pollution problem was a major cause of health problems in this province and Ralph Klein being the idiot he was had Swann fired.
Public outcry forced Klein to apologize and offer Swann his job back but he declined and eventually became leader of the Liberal Party. A group of us conservative seniors had a meeting with him and he told us that he never wanted to be a politician but someone had to try to stop Klein from deliberately destroying our healthcare system. We were told thanks to Klein Albertans lost 14,783 healthcare workers and it’s no secret that many Albertans are still without a family doctor and no one knows it better than the people in Lethbridge. It wasn’t a problem when I lived in Lethbridge under Lougheed.

John P Nightingale

A climate skeptics response to the problem of CO2 / Global Warming. As usual, there are facts that are accurate. (For example CO2 IS an essential atmospheric component, nature balances such cyclical activity and EVs are compromised in cold weather). But then “facts” become inserted into the discussion to defend the skeptics argument which are plainly and simply, false.
Ignoring that CO2 levels have increased in tandem (more or less) since industrial activity began mid 18th century and a corresponding temperature rise across the globe , we are told that human activity has a minimal part to play. That is “less than 5%”. Incorrect or as one article states “utterly bonkers”.
That the atmospheric concentration is indeed small and is kept that way via the co called “carbon cycle” (ocean and land “sinks”, photosynthesis, forest burning etc etc) is correct, but to suggest that WE, are only responsible for a mere 5% of atmospheric concentration , ignores the massive concentration of CO2 atmospheric increases in the last couple of hundred years. Taken together , the real figure is at least 30% when accounting for the current and historical CO2 levels going back hundred and thousands of years. (300ppm (historical high 350,000 years ago), to todays level of around 410-420 ppm). Reducing this “toxic” level back to the carbon cyclical neutrality, simply restores the balance and certainly does not require a substitute “compound” to somehow mitigate the reduction as suggested by the writer.
The essential benefits of CO2 are not in doubt, but neither are the consequences of human caused atmospheric CO2 pollution .

buckwheat

So what is the level.

old school

Level depends on how much more tax green government hypocrites “need” to punish productive ,progressive citizens with.

biff

good question: do we know the answer with certainty, or does it come with a large degree of guesswork.

John P Nightingale

Deep breath.
Perhaps going back 800,000 years to the present would answer your question. As already mentioned, the highest level reached was 300 ppm – about half way along the time frame up to the 18th century (Industrial Revolution).
So, a good place to start would be that maximum before industrialization.
A better question is “how to achieve that?” Denying CO2’s involvement is not a good starting point.

ReallyReally

Like Sophie’s above, your input here John is a fit compendiary explanation of the reality of the CO2 issue. The goal of proactive efforts to reduce further compounding of greenhouse gases is NOT to eliminate CO2 as a required constituent of natural processes, but a desperately needed action to resume a balanced CO2 cycle on our planet for all species as we know and ultimately need them for an ongoing healthy ecosystem for mankind. Yes, the climate has been hotter, less stable yet in the history of our planet, but those changes have never occurred in mere decades as they are happening now… and yet those changes caused mass extinctions even over thousands, or millions of years. We are experiencing a sixth period of mass extinction now… right now… if we are truly analytically intelligent creatures then we should be capable of recognizing this reality.

biff

excellent thoughts – i am feeling, with regard to wondering if we are “truly analytically intelligent creatures”, that we are less and about to be degraded further via our lust for becoming artificially intelligent.

old school

Surprising Al Beeber felt this factual letter worthy of print.

SophieR

Is it?

buckwheat

You make total common sense Mr. Joss. However, you do not have the correct letters behind your name (sarc) to please the global warming cult. My wish for 2024, Let’s return to sanity. I have asked on forums all over the world proclaiming armageddon if we don’t reduce the ppm of C02, what is the perfect number we should reduce to: 400, 390, 350 (the number the screamers were touting years back) 320, 300, 295, 292, So far no one has provided the number. Just the usually generalities of those heavily invested, Gore, Gates, Buffet etc. Even our own Nightingale can’t provide a specific #. Shouldn’t we have a goal???

biff

you present a good point: what/whom are we looking to serve in all this?



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