By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on March 19, 2020.
Jay Lehr and Tom Harris
The Earth Hour website tells us to “Switch off your lights for an hour on Saturday, March 28 at 8:30 p.m. your local time.” If this were just about saving energy to show our support of the 860 million people across the world who lack access to electricity, it would make sense. But it is not. While Earth Hour has expanded to encompass other environmental concerns as well, “stopping climate change” is still front and centre as a primary rationale for the event.
In promoting last year’s event, for example, the Earth Hour Australia webpage started: “Global warming, caused by carbon pollution from burning fossil fuelsÉ”
This is simply propaganda. Besides the fact that any global warming caused by fossil-fuel combustion is likely very small, they are really taking about the benign gas carbon dioxide (CO2), not carbon (which is a solid).
The person arguably most responsible for this deception is former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore. From the day Gore released his 2006 documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” the general population was told that “carbon emissions” were going to destroy our planet. Gore, more or less, coined the term “carbon footprint,” always hiding the enormity of his own footprint.
Gore and his cohorts were never actually talking about carbon, of course. They were talking about CO2, but they understood that most people recognize that they exhale CO2 and plants absorb it in order to live. Not a dark thought. So, in an unfortunately all too successful attempt to scare the populace, they seized on using the term carbon as a synonym for CO2, knowing it would conjure up visions of soot, lamp black and coal dust, none of which are warm and fuzzy. Aside from the fact that CO2 contains a single atom of carbon, it bears no resemblance to elemental carbon. It has about as much in common with carbon as lightning does with a lightning bug.
Climate change campaigners do not seem to understand that commercial greenhouse operators routinely run their internal atmospheres at up to 1,500 parts per million (ppm) CO2 concentration for a good reason. Plants inside grow far more efficiently than at the 413 ppm in the outside atmosphere. Yet there is no hint of any consequent temperature rise.
Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, a report from the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, cites over 1,000 peer-reviewed studies that document rising productivity of forests and grasslands as CO2 levels have increased, not just in recent decades, but in past centuries.
And increasing CO2 levels pose no direct hazard to human health. CO2 concentrations in submarines can reach levels above 10,000 ppm, 25 times current atmospheric levels, with no harmful effects on the crew.
We are actually near the lowest level of CO2 in Earth’s history. About 450-million years ago, CO2 was over 1,000 per cent of today’s level while Earth was in one of the coldest periods in the record. This is just one of many findings that indicate that the climate models’ assumption that temperature is driven by CO2 is wrong.
Activists say that there will be important pollution reduction co-benefits to CO2 emission control. Yet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency state on their website, “Between 1980 and 2017,É total emissions of the six principal air pollutants dropped by 67 per centÉ between 1980 and 2016, CO2 emissions increased by 12 per cent.”
Using climate regulations to reduce pollution would obviously be an expensive mistake.
The public has unwittingly accepted the “carbon” sleight of hand without realizing they were being manipulated toward negative thoughts about plant food. It is possibly the best example of subliminal brain washing ever.
For many, the real goal of these deceptions is summed up well by journalist H.L. Mencken, the sage of Baltimore, who once said, “the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed and hence clamorous to be led to safety by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” Global warming has been among their very best hobgoblins.
Misuse of the word carbon is not a laughing matter, however. This unsubstantiated fear is depriving the less fortunate among us of sorely needed inexpensive energy by eliminating life giving fossil fuels and the miracle molecule of life, CO2.
In the days leading up to this year’s Earth Hour, take note of how often you read the word carbon when CO2 is in fact the real subject. Capture the picture in your mind when you read it. Go back and reread it as CO2 and capture your thought again. This is not like the difference between describing a flower as pretty or beautiful. It is an intentional distortion aimed at provoking fear. We must call them on it every time.
Dr. Jay Lehr is Senior Policy Adviser with of the Ottawa-based International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC). Tom Harris is Executive Director of ICSC.