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Tribute to Carbon Dioxide on World Environment Day

A statement/letter by Mr Viv Forbes, Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition

If environmentalists were really concerned for the environment, they would spend time on World Environment Day worshipping carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, not demonising it.

All life in the bio-sphere depends on the carbon cycle.

The cycle starts when plants using solar energy and photosynthesis extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere converting it into plant sugars and proteins. In that process, plants provide food for all herbivores (and vegetarians) and also for the carnivores that live on them. Plants extract carbon from the carbon dioxide and return oxygen to the atmosphere for the use of animal life. To complete the carbon cycle, the waste products and decaying bodies of all living things return the carbon to the atmosphere. Atmospheric CO2 is the key element in the cycle of life and worthy of worship on World Environment Day.

Life on earth evolved in times when CO2 levels were about 400% higher than at present. The current level of 386 ppm is not far above the 200 ppm level at which plants stop growing because of carbon dioxide starvation. Nurserymen know this and use gas burners to increase the CO2 level in their greenhouses and plant nurseries to 1,000 ppm or more. If the atmosphere reached this level there would be massive improvement in plant growth, with benefits for the whole environment. There is no danger to humans at this level - the CO2 levels in submarines may reach 8,000 ppm without problems for humans, and our exhaled breath has about 40,000 ppm of CO2.

Warmth, increased evaporation from the oceans, increased precipitation and increased CO2 would be the magic combination for a greener planet. Burning fossil fuel adds CO2 and water to the atmosphere, and helps to return the world to the verdant conditions prevailing when our great coal deposits were formed.

However most environmentalists, in their hatred of humanity and technology, are trying to take us back to the days of the horse and sulky. They extol the simple life where a few lucky people lived in a Garden of Eden with no nasty cars, trains, planes, engines or electricity.

Our pioneering ancestors lived such a life, and one grandmother summarised the feeling of many of them on “The Good Old Days” when she said:

“Thank God the good old days are over.”

Viv Forbes is a geologist, financial analyst, soil scientist and grazier with extensive experience in carbon energy, carbon food and the carbon cycle of the atmosphere, soils, pastures and grazing animals with extensive experience in carbon energy, carbon food and the carbon cycle of the atmosphere, soils, pastures and grazing animals.

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