Patrick Moore on CO2 and saving the planet

Patrick Moore, Canadian activist, founding member and former president of Greenpeace has publicly criticised the environmental movement for abandoning science and logic in favour of emotion and sensationalism.

During a visit to Paris in December 2017, he was interviewed by an independent journalist, Grégoire Canlorbe, for the French “Association des climato-réalistes”.

Although what Patrick said is good it falls well into the tl;dr category so I have broken it up into a series of seven posts with, broadly, one topic per post and minimal additional comment as Patrick has covered the issues quite eloquently on his own.

For ever since humans have been around, there’s always someone who is predicting doom, “the end is coming” and this to me is only an internal reflection on their own short life, they’re afraid of dying and so they project that on the all world, they’re afraid of the world dying. This is not going to happen, the world will be here for a very long time and it will remain green and beautiful for a very long time as well. Except, it wouldn’t remain so green and beautiful if the carbon dioxide ran out, in other words, was all used up.

It wasn’t until two years ago that I finally put all the pieces together in my own analysis of the climate issue, of CO2, of life on earth and going back to the fact that carbon dioxide is the primary food for all of life, along with water. Water and carbon dioxide are put together in photosynthesis into sugars, which are the basis for the energy for all life on earth, including our own. So you have to start with this basis factor.

But when you look at our knowledge of the history of the level or concentration of carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere for the last 500 million years, we don’t have really good numbers before that but we have pretty good numbers from proxies, from marine sediments for the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, going back half a billion years. What you see from now is a gradual, not perfectly even, but a gradual decline in carbon dioxide from at least 5 000 parts for million, in other words 0.5 % or half a percent, back in those days 500 million years ago, to the lowest level ever in history during the last glaciation, 20 000 years ago, CO2 bottomed up at 180 parts per million, which is only 30 parts per million above the death of most plants.

Plants not only need carbon dioxide to survive, they need a certain level of it, in the same way that we need oxygen to survive. But 5% oxygen in the atmosphere would not be sufficient for us to survive. We need it at the level it’s at, which is around 20% in order to survive. Plants are the same, and CO2 has been getting closer and closer to the level where plants would die as we’ve come in to this Pleistocene Ice Age with glaciation after glaciation after glaciation, 22 of them at least over the 2.5 million year period of the Pleistocene Ice Age. But it is obvious that if we have not intervened by putting some of the CO2 back into the atmosphere, that was taken out of it by plants to make fossil fuels, by green organisms to make fossil fuels, and by the shells of marine organisms to make calcium carbonate… Calcium carbonate is far more abundant in the earth crust than the fossil fuels, thousands of times more abundant, all of the carbon in calcium carbonate, came for carbon dioxide dissolved in the sea. That carbon is now locked away in stones, which are called carbonaceous rocks, which include limestone, marble and chalk, the white cliffs of Dover for example in England are made of chalk from ancient marine plankton.

Marble, chalk and limestone, probably the most abundant form of calcium carbonate, but also dolomite which the mountains of Switzerland known as the Dolomites, are made from. All of these carbonaceous rocks are of life origin. They were produced from the shells down to the tiny coccolithophores, which are a plant plankton in the sea, the basis for the food chain in the sea, in fact. All away up to the big shells of the coral reefs which are made of calcium carbonate. Those end up being in sediments, and there are 100 million billion tons of carbonaceous rocks in the earth crust on the sea bottom and on the land which has risen up from the sea, that were originally carbon dioxide dissolved in the water. That is why CO2 has constantly declined through the millennium, to where it has, just before we began burning fossil fuels, a blink in nature’s time, it had come to a level that threatened the existence of life itself.

There’s a number of ironies in the story. Because, when marine organisms learned to build armor plating for themselves out of calcium carbonate, the shell of a clam, the shell of a crab and a shrimp, the coral reef itself to protect the tiny soft organisms that are inside them from predators, these shells were to protect themselves, to protect life, but in fact the unexpected consequence of protecting themselves has robbed the atmosphere and the sea of carbon dioxide to such an extent, that if this had continued without the intervention of human beings using fossil fuels and limestone to make cement, which is 5% of human CO2 emissions, if we had not done those things, CO2 would continue to decline until life began to die and eventually did die, because of lack of carbon dioxide as the basic food for all carbon-based life, so this is my hypothesis. May people find it far-fetched, but they will eventually see that it’s true, because it is true. We are the only species that could possibly have drilled into the earth to take the oil, the coal and the gas and burn it for energy. That’s replacing a balance to the carbon cycle on a global level.

We have inadvertently saved the earth from the death of life. We are life’s salvation, not its destroyer, in the final analysis. And I know that this will be seen as incredulous but if you make a study of it, if you read my papers, if you look at my presentation to the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which is on YouTube, you will see that my argument is correct. No one has actually challenged it in fact. All they do is attack the individual because they can’t attack the fact that CO2 has been declining to a point where it would threaten the survival of life on earth. It might [be] a million or 2 millions years from now that this happens but that is nothing compared to the 3.5 billion year history of life on earth. Two million years is a blink in nature’s eye. This is what was about to happen if everything had stayed the same. But humans came along, started using fossil fuels for energy and making cement with limestone putting CO2 back into the atmosphere, that’s restoring a balance to the global carbon cycle. That is my argument, and I’m sticking with it because I know I am correct.

h/t WUWT

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In solidarity with the those in the world’s most despised demographic, WH has decided to ‘come out’ as an old, white, male. WH enjoys exercising the white male privilege, that Whaleoil provides for him, to write the occasional post challenging climate change consensus; looking at random tech issues that tweak his interest, as a bit of a tech nerd; or generally poking the borax at anyone in public life who goes on record revealing their stupidity. WH never excelled on the sports field because his coaches never allowed him to play in his preferred position on the right-wing.  WH also enjoys his MG.