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The US edition of the Wall Street Journal recently published this article.

Harrison H. Schmitt and William Happer: In Defense of Carbon Dioxide

The demonized chemical compound is a boon to plant life and has little correlation with global temperature.
Vanessa Warheit took them to task in a letter which I quote in full below the fold, with her permission, and with minor copyediting and formatting, and two minor corrections to do with geologic ages. She also sent this letter to several environmental groups.

The Canada page at WSJ highlights, in contrast, a number of articles on the reality of Global Warming, which has extremely important consequences for business.

From: Vanessa Warheit
Date: Mon, May 13, 2013 at 5:51 PM
Subject: Letter to the Editor—WSJ should be ashamed of itself

Dear Wall Street Journal,

I am writing you in shock and dismay at your article of May 8, In Defense of Carbon Dioxide. Mssrs. Schmitt and Happer are sorely misguided, and way out of sync with the rest of the scientific community, in trying to downplay the effects of CO2 pollution on our atmosphere. I would respectfully point out to them both that:

  • Observations of the earth's temperatures and weather patterns have shown consistent WARMING, globally. Claims to the contrary are pure fantasy.
  • The earth's atmosphere is slightly more complex than a commercial greenhouse—for one thing, the increased levels of CO2 in our atmosphere cause increased moisture, which wreaks havoc on rain levels and weather patterns.
  • Every major scientific society in the world has confirmed that, in fact, there IS a correlation between CO2 and climate disruption.
  • Our human civilization was built on a set of environmental constraints that are about to be radically altered by all this extra CO2. So while dinosaurs and pleistoceneJurassic or Cretaceous-era plants might have found a hot earth comfy, and while they might have been unfazed by the radically different coastlines and geography from those we all know today, human beings and the millions of other life forms (C3 and C4 systems notwithstanding) with whom we share our current-day planet may find it hard to adapt to such a radically different climate, with such a radically different geography, in such a short amount of time. [Note: There is a well-established temperature limit, highly conserved throughout evolution, for photosynthesis. Higher temperatures at the beginning of the Jurassic drove many plants to extinction and caused major changes in the survivors to cool their leaves. Fossil Plants and Global Warming at the Triassic-Jurassic Boundary (free subscription required to access full paper]
  • The RATE of change we are experiencing due to CO2 pollution is the most significant problem we are facing. It took the earth millions thousands of years to get that hot the last time—but this time it is happening within decades. Plants and animals, even those as clever and adaptable as humans, are unlikely to survive such a massive and cataclysmic change happening in such a short amount of time.
  • While plants may do nicely with increased CO2, the oceans can't keep up and are rapidly becoming acidified, with terrible effects on marine life.
  • Analogies to crop yields during the dust bowl are disingenuous and totally irrelevant—crops planted during the 1930s were utterly different, genetically, from the crops we plant today. The amount of CO2 they are or aren't absorbing is the least of their differences.

To publish such a load of nonsense, at a time when CO2 levels have reached cataclysmic levels, is nothing short of criminal. These two gentlemen are either delusional or in the pocket of big oil, or both. Mr. Schmitt in particular, as a former astronaut, should be particularly ashamed of himself. As one of the few people given the privilege of seeing our fragile spaceship Earth from space, he should be doing everything in his power to protect life on our planet—not sabotage the work of so many who are trying so hard to save it.


Vanessa Warheit
Palo Alto, California

In stark contrast, here is a recent What WSJ Canada Is Reading Tuesday, from the Canada Real Time page at the WSJ. [with links from source]

EnergyAustralia agrees to sell its majority stake in a wind farm to Canada’s Northleaf Capital Partners and Australia’s Palisade Investment Partners.

Canadian National Railway Co. [CNR.T +0.39%] is testing a pair of 3,000-horsepower locomotives retrofitted with engines that run mostly on liquefied natural gas.

The company that owns the busy Ambassador Bridge between Canada and the United States is being warned by Windsor’s mayor to back off plans to build a twin span.

Pragmatic conservatives are absent from the climate change debate, economist Christopher Ragan writes in The Globe and Mail.

And, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is back on solid ground, and we’re looking back at his travel photos.

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