CO2 on Trial vs WSJ’s Ironic Op-Ed; Various Rebuttals on CSW

I recently published a piece on Medium called “CO2 on Trial” wherein I argued

Of course, fossil fuel interests are financially interested in derailing any such an outcome. Inevitably, some of them have tried to prevent it. Sadly, they have so far succeeded.

To achieve this, they encourage us to approach the issue of anthropogenic global warming as a courtroom battle. In this view, CO2 stands as an accused individual endowed with rights, innocent until proven guilty.

CARBON DIOXIDE IS NOT A DEFENDANT ACCUSED OF A CRIME

We should not care whether CO2 can be “proven guilty”. We ought to care, rather, whether there is some substantial likelihood that accumulating CO2 will disrupt the future, some chance large enough that the present should take account of it. We have long since passed that threshhold, but our discourse does not reflect it.

The carbon problem should not be handled as a prosecution. It is a risk management issue. This should take it out of the domain of courtroom drama and into the tedium of actuarial calculations.

Basically proving my point, (not as an explicit response to it, I hope) Harrison H. Schmitt and William Happer published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal called “In Defense of Carbon Dioxide”.

Of all of the world’s chemical compounds, none has a worse reputation than carbon dioxide. Thanks to the single-minded demonization of this natural and essential atmospheric gas by advocates of government control of energy production, the conventional wisdom about carbon dioxide is that it is a dangerous pollutant. That’s simply not the case. Contrary to what some would have us believe, increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will benefit the increasing population on the planet by increasing agricultural productivity.

Emphasis added. The claim that “none has a worse reputation” is ludicrous, of course. But the thrust of the argument is clear – we are to see CO2 as maligned and in a spirit of fairness and justice rise to its defense! 

Climate Science Watch reprints a rebuttal from the Climate Nexus group, as well as linking to:

Let me repeat my previous point, though. There is no presumption of innocence of an industrial byproduct. CO2 has no rights. Although by now the problems with CO2 are obvious, the issue is not one of innocence or guilt, but of rational risk management.

 

Comments:

  1. Just when you thought the climate 'debate' could not get any goofier, it does.

    Well, one goofy turn deserves another, right?

    "The CO2 Defender"
    -- Horatio Algeranon's parody of The Platters ("The Great Pretender")

    Oh-oh, yes I'm the CO2 defender
    Defending that warming is swell
    My need is such I defend CO2 much
    Baloney, I'm dying to sell

    Oh-oh, yes I'm the CO2 defender
    Adrift in a world of my own
    I've played the game but I have no shame
    They've paid me to deceive all along

    Too real is this feeling of make-believe
    Too real when I feel my denial can conceal

    Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-yes, I'm the CO2 defender
    Just lyin' all day like a rug
    I seem to be what I am, you see
    I'm claiming that carbn's not a bug
    Defending the CO2 slu-ug

    Too real is this feeling of make-believe
    Too real when I feel my denial can conceal

    Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-yes, I'm the CO2 defender
    Just lyin' all day like a rug
    I seem to be what I am, you see
    I'm claiming that carbn's not a bug
    Defending the CO2 slu-ug

  2. Pingback: The Australian newspaper loses any last shreds of scientific credibility | Science or not?

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