Carbon dioxide, or CO2, which is characterized as a damaging pollutant by mainstream media and progressive politicians, is hugely beneficial to Earth and life on the planet, an expert has said.
Gregory Wrightstone is executive director of the CO2 Coalition, a nonprofit organization with a mission to educate about the role of CO2 in the environment, including making the earth green and helping crops to thrive.
Plants process CO2, water, and sunlight into nutrients and oxygen. The abundance of CO2 helps plants to retain more water so they need less watering, Wrightstone said in a recent interview for EpochTV’s “Crossroads” program.
This leads to higher soil moisture, thus helping to reduce fires around the world, he said. There were many more fires during the 1920s and 1930s than there are today, he added.
According to NASA Earth Observatory’s report, the area burned each year globally between 2003 and 2019 decreased by roughly 25 percent.
A scientific paper published by Science in 2017 asserted that “agricultural expansion and intensification were primary drivers of declining fire activity.”
Another paper published in Nature stated that tree cover had increased globally by about 7 percent during the period from 1982 to 2016.
Benefits of Warm Climate
The combination of modest warming and increased CO2 brings many benefits to human civilization, Wrightstone said. “The warming allows longer growing seasons.”
Looking back at several thousand years of human history, there were three warming periods, Wrightstone said, and each of those warming periods were warmer than today, but the level of carbon dioxide was much lower.
“Each one of these warming periods was hugely beneficial for mankind. Life was good, food was bountiful, great civilizations and empires arose,” he said.
The first great warming period, called the Minoan warm period, occurred during the Bronze Age, Wrightstone said.
The first great civilizations that rose up during that period were the Minoans, the Hittites, the Babylonians, and the Assyrians, and then the earth started getting cold, Wrightstone explained.
“All of those civilizations crashed and cratered at about the same time related to this cold. It was called the late Bronze Age collapse,” he said.
“We see that repeated time and time again,” Wrightstone said. “Warm period—beneficial. Cold period—crop failure, famine, pestilence, and mass depopulation.”
The Minoan Civilization was established in the Mediterranean and Near East around 3000 B.C. and lasted until its sudden collapse around 1100 B.C.
During the second warming period, the Roman warm period, the Romans were growing citrus in the north of England near Hadrian’s Wall, Wrightstone said, and in the time of the medieval warm period, the most recent one, people were growing barley in Greenland, which cannot be grown there now.
“We should fear the cold and welcome the warm. That’s what history tells us.”
Earth’s Ideal Temperature
Wrightstone mentioned Michael Mann, a professor of earth and environmental science at Penn State University, who said the ideal temperature for the earth would be the temperature before humans started adding CO2 to the atmosphere.
That would bring the world back to the period before the Industrial Revolution during the Little Ice Age, which was horrific, Wrightstone said.
The Little Ice Age was a limited but substantial cooling period commencing in the 13th or 14th century to the 19th century that affected the Northern Hemisphere.
During that period, “half the population of Iceland perished, a third of the population of the world perished. It was a very very bad, dark time for the earth as we see through the other previous cold periods,” Wrightstone explained.
Before the Industrial Revolution, the CO2 level in the air was probably about 280 to 300 parts per million (ppm), but right now, it’s at about 420 ppm, Wrightstone said, so it increased by 140 ppm.
“That flies in the face of this idea that carbon dioxide is driving temperature increases,” Wrightstone said. During the cold periods in history, carbon dioxide level was “relatively flat,” he pointed out.
Wrightstone also argued that natural gas is a clean energy because the byproducts of its burning are mainly water vapor and carbon dioxide, “both very beneficial molecules,” he said.
The United Nations, however, is pushing for the reduction of global emission of CO2 to be as close to zero as possible, with the goal of net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. The stated purpose is to limit the global temperature from increasing more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels in order to prevent global warming.
Therefore, natural gas, fossil fuels, and coal are being characterized as a primary cause of climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions, Wrightstone said. As a result, the capital markets are retreating from oil, gas, and coal projects.
However, Wrightstone pointed out that clean coal-burning plants can be built “where the only thing [that] comes out the smokestack is carbon dioxide and water vapor—neither of which is a pollutant.”
There is energy poverty in the developing world where people don’t have access to electricity and must use dried dung and wood to cook and heat their homes, Wrightstone said. “We can give them low-cost, reliable, abundant energy from clean-burning coal.”
The U.N. reported that 789 million people are living without electricity, and 3 billion people rely on wood, coal, charcoal, or animal waste for cooking and heating.
Real Environmental Issues
Wrightstone advocates that money allocated to eliminate CO2 emissions would be better spent to deal with really serious environmental issues, such as invasive species and sea levels rising.
“The invasive species, like cheatgrass, are one of the main causes of the fires in Oregon and California,” Wrightstone said. “A lot of those fires are actually grass fires that destroyed communities.”
Cheatgrass is an annual grass that has “the potential to completely alter the ecosystems it occupies,” according to the National Park Service.
“Cheatgrass tends to burn more frequently than most native plants and also re-sprouts more quickly after fire,” the National Park Service said. “After a number of fire cycles cheatgrass dominates the ecosystem.”
Another environmental issue that requires attention is sea level rise, Wrightstone said.
“But it’s been rising long before we started adding CO2 and it’s rising at about the same rate as it did 150 years ago,” he said. “It’s not accelerated.”