An edited version of this editorial by Dennis Hedke appeared in the Wichita Eagle today. This is the original version.
EPA declares greenhouse gases a threat, (Renee Shoof, McClatchy Newspapers, 4/18/09). This pronouncement follows a U.S. Supreme Court conclusion that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a pollutant, with a directive to the EPA to study whether this gas posed a threat to our health and welfare, or whether the science was too uncertain to make a judgment.
Let me be unequivocal. CO2 is not now, has never been, and will never be a “pollutant.” It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, harmless gas that is one of the essential components to the life of all plants and animals on this planet. Current concentrations of the gas in earth’s atmosphere average about 380 parts per million (ppm), or about 0.04 %. Current estimates of the human-induced fraction are about 5% of the 0.04%, or about 0.002%.
Let’s talk economics. The US government has defined a strategy (McCain-Lieberman) which on best-case seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of CO2 by 31,400 tons/year by 2050. The calculated temperature reduction due to this “improvement”: 0.04 degrees Celsius, or 0.08 degrees Fahrenheit. The calculated cost: $1.3 trillion. Another one of those trillion dollar “deals” for America.
Earth’s temperature has been rising steadily since around 1750, the end of the Little Ice Age. This temperature increase is independent of CO2 concentration. In fact, what the data shows is that CO2 concentration increases well after the temperature increases on a global scale. Water vapor makes up 90% of the greenhouse gas mix, and is the dominant factor in any greenhouse effects.
If CO2 were a pollutant, then why would our US submarines allow an environmental concentration of this very same gas in the neighborhood of 8,000 ppm? It is unconscionable that our government is demanding that we try to regulate the concentration of this gas in the atmosphere, knowing full well that concentrations more than 20 times that amount produce absolutely no ill effects on American sailors.
34,000 American scientists, including myself, have signed a Petition demanding that the United States disassociate from the Kyoto Protocol, and instead follow the actual data and evidence which clearly shows that CO2 presents not even the slightest potential for damage or risk to our environment. It is high time the fraud, deceit and misinformation being disseminated and thrust upon the American public be brought to a screeching halt.
If any government representative wishes to debate any aspect of this matter, I would welcome that opportunity, anytime, anywhere.