For a while, I was planning to simply ignore these videos, produced by the ‘Competitive Enterprise Institute,’ but they have now been sent to me enough times to indicate that this hopelessly disingenuous message is getting out. Let’s go through them, one by one:
Nobody in their right mind denies that carbon dioxide is “essential to life” or that “we breathe it out.” What any competent scientist will tell you is that releasing masses of it affects the way in which the atmosphere deals with the radiant energy from the sun. Higher concentrations of gasses of certain kinds (CO2, methane, etc) in the atmosphere cause the planet to absorb and retain more solar energy. That raises the mean global temperature and reduces the ratio of frozen to liquid water on earth. CO2 isn’t a pollutant, in the toxic sense, but it does affect how the earth is affected by the sun.
Regarding the issue of whether fuels that emit CO2 have “freed us from a world of backbreaking labour,” they probably have. That said, that doesn’t mean they are the only way we can avoid such suffering, nor does it mean that such alleviation comes without a cost.
Producing two scientific papers that show that specific ice sheets are growing or increasing in density doesn’t mean that the world overall isn’t experiencing global warming. While there is plenty of dispute about how bad global warming would be and how much it would cost to stop, to deny that it is happening on the basis of such a flimsy argument is worse than irresponsible.
It’s almost astonishing that anyone would be driven to respond to such absolute malarky. Likewise, I can’t believe that anyone who participated in the creation of these videos did so with genuine intent. They are absurd at the level of the “Amendment Song” from The Simpsons or many Monty Python sketches. If such things actually have the power to shape public opinion, we are in even worse shape than I thought.
Do you think these people are on crack? Whether you do or don’t, send an email to Myron Ebell, their Director of Energy and Global Warming Policy. It seems that messages to him need to go through this email address.