Scientist: Humans Are Helping the Planet’s Ecology – Carbon Dioxide Is ‘Very Good’ for Plants, Animals

By Penny Starr | May 4, 2015 | 2:38 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - Freeman Dyson, an award-winning British scientist and retired professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study, said that the science on climate change isn’t “at all clear,” and in fact, humans are actually helping the planet.

“I would like to emphasize is that human actions have very large effects on the ecology, which have nothing to do with climate,” Dyson, 91, told National Public Radio on Saturday. “Carbon dioxide is what we're producing in big quantities and putting into the atmosphere.

“It happens to be a very good fertilizer for all kinds of vegetation, good for wildlife, good for agricultural production,” Dyson said. “So it has many benefits.”

Scott Simon, host of NPR’s "Weekend Edition Saturday," interviewed Dyson on the occasion of the release of his latest collection of essays entitled “Dreams of Earth and Sky.”

“In recent years, you've stirred up a controversy with some of what you said about global warming,” Simon said, “and I'm not going to make any attempt to characterize your views. I noticed that your own book jacket calls them politically incorrect. So let me just get you to tell us why you think some of the most dire predictions we've heard don't hold up.”

“Well, what I would like to emphasize is that human actions have very large effects on the ecology which have nothing to do with climate. Carbon dioxide is what we're producing in big quantities and putting into the atmosphere,” Dyson said. “It happens to be a very good fertilizer for all kinds of vegetation, good for wildlife, good for agricultural production.

“So it has many benefits,” Dyson said, “and this is something you have together with the climate effects, which are much less certain. So it's a question of drawing a balance. I'm just saying I don't understand it, and neither does anybody else.

“I'm skeptical, because I don't think the science is at all clear, and unfortunately, a lot of the experts really believe they understand it and maybe have the wrong answer,” Dyson said.

Simon then asked Dyson if he was concerned about videos that show polar bears who have to “swim for their lives” because of melting ice.

“Of course it concerns me, but of course, we don't know much about the causes of those things,” Dyson said. “I mean, the worst disasters were the Ice Ages, and nobody really understands for sure the causes of Ice Ages.

“So I'm not saying that the climate disasters aren't real. I'm merely saying we don't know how to prevent them,” Dyson said.

When asked what he thinks should be addressed to help the planet’s future, Dyson said climate change is not something that is the most urgent problem facing the planet and life on it.

“I would say one of the first things we should try to do is to get rid of poverty - human poverty,” Dyson said. “When people are poor, they can't take care of nature around them.

“They just have to survive as best they can, so that some of the poorest people are actually the most destructive,” Dyson said. “So I would say if we can deal with poverty, that's something very positive which we should be doing.

“Also, preservation of habitat of wildlife,” Dyson said. “All sorts of problems we have to deal with, which climate is one, and I would say climate is not the most urgent.”

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