Report: CO2 Is Not a Pollutant, Provides ‘Beneficial Impacts’ to Planet

Penny Starr | April 9, 2014 | 3:24pm EDT
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In this photo taken Monday, June 3, 2013, a family plays underneath the indigenous msasa trees at the Royal Harare Golf Club.  (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

( – Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but a naturally occurring chemical compound that benefits plants and thus, the planet and its inhabitants, according to a lengthy  report released Wednesday by the free-market Heartland Institute.

“Carbon dioxide is an aerial fertilizer that provides many beneficial impacts,” said Craig Idso, one of the lead authors of the report, when asked him to name the most salient finding of the 37 scientists from 12 countries who contributed to it.

“You can look at thousands of studies – real world data studies that have actually been conducted that demonstrate beyond any doubt that higher levels of CO2 are going to increase the productivity of plants,” Idso said.

“They’re real,” Idso said of the benefits of CO2. “They’re not imagined. They’re not projected. They’re real, and they’re occurring now.”

On December 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final regulation listing CO2 as one of the greenhouses gases that is considered a pollutant that “endangers public health.” The regulation is part of what the EPA says is required under the Clean Air Act.

The EPA relies heavily in its environmental assessments on the climate change reports produced by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which issued its fifth report in September 2013.

Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute, said the IPCC report has been “largely discredited” by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change’s (NIPCC) “Climate Change Reconsidered II” series of reports, including a 1,000-page report on the physical science of climate change that was released in 2013.

Fred Singer, report co-author and an atmospheric and space physicist and climate change expert, said at the press conference that the models used by IPCC do not reflect the real-world data about the planet and its warming and cooling trends.

Idso provided dramatic examples of how CO2 impacts plants, showing images of small and underdeveloped plants that were exposed to a small amount of the compound compared with thriving plants with generous leaves and blossoms and expansive root systems.

“One of the overall important findings of our report is that atmospheric CO2 is not a pollutant,” Idso said. “It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that offers many biosphereric benefits.

“Probably chiefly known among all of these benefits is that elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 tend to increase the biomass and productivity of nearly all plants and ecosystems on earth,” Idso said.

Some of the other findings in the biological impacts report summary include:

• The ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content is causing a great greening of the Earth.

• Rising levels of CO2 are increasing agricultural productivity around the world, therefore increasing food security.

• Terrestrial ecosystems have thrived around the world where temperatures have warmed, including amphibians, birds, butterflies, other insects, reptiles and mammals.

• A modest warming of the planet will result in a net reduction of human mortality from temperature-related events.

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