On the naming and shaming of carbon dioxide

A pet peeve of mine, the rise of “carbon” pollution, has been wonderfully addressed in a post by Tom Peer on WUWT

Poor old carbon dioxide. One minute it was a harmless gas providing as vital a link in the cycle of life as water or oxygen and then the next thing it knows it’s a pollutant.

To add insult to injury it’s not even carbon dioxide any more, just plain old carbon. Stripped of two out of three of its constituent atoms. No longer oxidised, instead demonised as humanity’s greatest threat, it’s a bad time to be CO2. It’s enough just to say “carbon pollution” and instead of meaning soot or smoke or anything that involves real carbon pollution you’re actually referring to imaginary damage wreaked by a harmless gas.

What was it that poor old CO2 did wrong. How come it’s public enemy number one and Nitrous Oxide gets to go to all the cool parties?


The carbon shaming reached a nadir this morning with the Telegraph’s latest foray into the climate debate


A headline that would make sense if we were talking about actual carbon, but we aren’t, we’re talking about CO2, and the headline demonstrates the bizarre and pervasive lack of understanding about the difference between the two.

Let’s not forget the European diesel fleet is the end result of a policy designed to save the planet by reducing CO2 and nothing of course to do with providing a competitive advantage for German manufacturers over foreign competitors who might have had slightly more compunction about faking the results of emissions tests.

Since the VW scandal the very same priesthood class that’s been sermonizing about the evils of CO2 for the last two decades has taken a remarkably haughty position over the choking diesel fumes that have seen air quality in our cities drop to a level not seen since the days of coal fires and pea soup fogs.

The London Times’ resident atmospheric physics expert Prof. Hugo Rifkind told us with his usual supercilious panache that:

Even a sceptic has to believe in air pollution

I don’t usually let any of this denier name calling get to me, but that one stuck in the craw. Something I suppose about the murderous idiocy of the diesel fraud choking me personally unlike denying the developing world the benefits of fossil fuels which keeps the unnecessary deaths safely remote.

Exactly how do they reconcile their moralizing zeal for CO2 reduction with a mocking condemnation of those who opposed a policy aimed at reducing CO2. Of course, I forgot, all fossil fuels are just so old hat. We’re all going electric now.

The solution to the pollution problem created by the warmists and the rent-seeking motor manufacturers isn’t, as you’d think, listening to the people that said diesel was nonsense and using cheap and efficient petrol cars. Oh no, that would be far too simple. And would be sort of tacitly admitting our planet saving zealotry has already killed more people than global warming ever will.

No, the solution apparently lies in going back to the same people that caused the problem in the first place and seeing what regulations and subsidy they now need to fix a problem caused by regulation and subsidy.[…]

And here in New Zealand we have our own Green high priest putting forth commandments in his proposed Zero Carbon Act.

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Dr Seuss may have been describing WH when he wrote, “He was shortish. And oldish. And brownish. And mossy. And he spoke with a voice that was sharpish and bossy.”  WH, however, is tallish and only just fits in his MG.