With his recent address to students at Georgetown University, Washington DC, President Obama has commanded: “Push Back on Misinformation. Speak up for the facts.”
What a wise command!
In the following, let me provide some examples of misinformation:
In this very address, President Obama used the term “carbon pollution” 30 times or so.
There really is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” Carbon is a vital constituent of all living organisms on earth. If the term “carbon pollution” is meant to be a short form for the term “carbon dioxide pollution,” then it ought to be spelled out, at least once in the address. However, assuming that that’s what he actually meant, let’s look at carbon dioxide.
There really is no such thing as “carbon dioxide pollution.” Except for some bacteria that use other carbon sources, all life on earth is derived from and requires continued presence of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the earth’s atmosphere. If the concentration of CO2 in the air, currently around 0.04%, were to fall by one half, say to 0.02%, most life on earth would come to a screeching halt. The partial pressure of CO2 at 0.02% in the atmosphere would be insufficient to sustain photosynthesis in most plants. Without growing plants, the bottom of the food-chain would disappear.
The President also said “Now, scientists had known since the 1800s that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide trap heat…” Interestingly, that “knowledge” (it really was a hypothesis at the time) had also been rejected as false, a hundred years back now, only to be resurrected in the 1970s by interest groups who saw it as a convenient means to exert control over energy sources.
The President also advised that “We’ll need farmers to grow new fuels.” That may be good news for farmers who grow corn or other crops which then become converted to ethanol or similar fuel additives. Unfortunately, the whole idea of “growing fuel” is, at best, energy neutral. Various studies have shown that the whole process is energy deficient. Even the idea’s most ardent promoter a few years ago, Al Gore, has made a U-turn and now says it’s a bad idea. So, which side are you to believe?
The President also noted that “The 12 warmest years in recorded history have all come in the last 15 years.” With all due respect, Mr. President, numerous agencies around the world, including your own NASA, the UN’s IPCC, and other groups in Britain, Russia, the EU and elsewhere have concluded that global temperatures have not increased over that time. Furthermore, current predictions are mostly for lower temperatures over the coming decades.
The President also mentioned that “Last year, … ice in the Arctic shrank to its smallest size on record.” Once again, with all due respect, Mr. President, the fact is that at the time of this writing, the Arctic sea ice cover is quite normal, somewhere between the ten-year averages observed for the 1980s and 1990s. Of course, with the regular seasonal variations, ranging from 5 to 15 million square kilometers, especially the minimum coverage is significantly more variable than the ice cover at most other times. By the way, even US submarines repeatedly observed stretches of open water near the North Pole – over five decades ago.
The President’s message to “Push back on Misinformation” and to “Speak up for the Facts” should be a welcome command for all. Let’s all join together to spread the truth.
Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser is author of CONVENIENT MYTHS, the green revolution – perceptions, politics, and facts
Dr. Kaiser can be reached at:
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