Lamar Smith is a well-known climate denialist. Unfortunately, not only is he the elected U.S. Representative for Texas’s 21st congressional district, but he is also the Head of the House Science Committee. That is a position that he has abused by holding hearings that grant a platform to climate change deniers, and has also utilised this position to conduct “witch hunts” against climate scientists. What is actually happening is rather transparently clear. He has been personally funded by the oil and gas industry to the tune of $600,000, and so he promotes their interests.
Least you are concerned that he might perhaps have a valid view and is simply being misrepresented, only a couple of months ago he disparaged the most prestigious science journal on the planet and instead cited Breitbart as a credible source.
Smith’s Bizarre Heritage Editorial
His latest gem is to write an editorial within the online news site for the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundations …
Don’t Believe the Hysteria Over Carbon Dioxide
Let’s review a couple of his claims.
Claim: A higher concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere would aid photosynthesis
A higher concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere would aid photosynthesis, which in turn contributes to increased plant growth. This correlates to a greater volume of food production and better quality food. Studies indicate that crops would utilize water more efficiently, requiring less water. And colder areas along the farm belt will experience longer growing seasons.
Does he link to any of these studies so that the reader can validate this claim in context?
Does he in fact explain that crop yields are not just about CO2, but that many other factors also play a rather important role as well?
It is simplistic ignorance. Unlike him, I will cite specific studies. Crop Yield has been studied, no seriously, it really has, and the conclusion does not support the stance Mr Smith is taking that increasing CO2 will be jolly good for crops. Instead the key message from such studies (see this link) is this …
Climate disruptions to agricultural production have increased in the past 40 years and are projected to increase over the next 25 years. By mid-century and beyond, these impacts will be increasingly negative on most crops and livestock.
The reason he does not point you to the studies he refers to is because he has cherry picked a few things that support his stance and discarded the actual overall conclusion. That is not simply a “misunderstanding”, but instead is deliberate unadulterated deception.
Claim: The world’s vegetated areas are becoming 25-50 percent greener
The world’s vegetated areas are becoming 25-50 percent greener, according to satellite images. Seventy percent of this greening is due to a rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Greater vegetation assists in controlling water runoff, provides more habitats for many animal species, and even aids in climate stabilization, as more vegetation absorbs more carbon dioxide. When plant diversity increases, these vegetated areas can better eliminate carbon from the atmosphere.
It is true that we are indeed seeing this greening. Once again this is very simplistic short-term thinking that does not tell you the whole story. CO2, as a greenhouse gas. Increasing it leads to warming, and that in the longer term will lead to a dryer climate in regions where such vegetation flourishes. When the earth previously reached the levels of CO2 that we have already emitted, it was a lot hotter. The response of the climate system to these increased levels is slow and so we have already committed ourselves to ever increasing global temperatures.
Claim: we are seeing beneficial changes to the earth’s geography
Also, as the Earth warms, we are seeing beneficial changes to the earth’s geography. For instance, Arctic sea ice is decreasing. This development will create new commercial shipping lanes that provide faster, more convenient, and less costly routes between ports in Asia, Europe, and eastern North America. This will increase international trade and strengthen the world economy.
White ice reflects solar radiation back out into space. Darker open sea will instead absorb that and so the entire climate system will be taking in even more energy. That will inevitably lead to even more warming.
It is true that it would indeed “create new commercial shipping lanes that provide faster, more convenient, and less costly routes”, but if all the shipping ports are under water due to the inevitable increase in sea level, that is is not exactly going to be very “convenient“.
There is enough frozen ice in Greenland to raise sea level by roughly 7 meters. Add Antarctica into the mix and you then have enough to raise sea level by another 60 meters.
I do confess that I’m truly struggling to grasp how any of this would be “convenient” or “beneficial“.
What do others think about his Editorial?
“It is an extremely unbalanced assessment and has many things wrong,” – Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research
“Representative Smith’s comments extend beyond nonsense into what can only be called lies,” – Howard Frumkin, an environmental and occupational health sciences professor at the University of Washington.
Hey folks, never fear! @LamarSmithTX21 is here to tell you that global warming is just AWESOME. #Denier https://t.co/Yt8RuJAiC2 pic.twitter.com/vHpQ3GJ5xE
— Phil Plait (@BadAstronomer) July 31, 2017
Trending on TDC: #LamarSmith of Texas thinks #globalwarming is good thing: https://t.co/bnCXkslcuI @VICE
— Daily Climate (@TheDailyClimate) July 26, 2017
#LamarSmith : "Plants love our extra #CO2"!
Plants: No we don't#climatechange pic.twitter.com/QVpixnucMP
— Lapsed Catholic (@atheyst) July 26, 2017
1 thought on “Lamar Smith Claims: “Don’t Believe Hysteria Over Carbon Dioxide” #denier”
why should he have to research things
for the author that are widely known
and researched ? Google for ten min
is all it takes.
“””Ziska et al. (2001) grew tomato plants at a nocturnal atmospheric CO2 concentration of 500 ppm, obtaining total plant biomass values that were 10% greater than those exhibited by control plants growing in air containing 370 ppm CO2. This result was likely the consequence of the elevated CO2 reducing the rate of nocturnal respiration in the plants, which would have allowed them to utilize the retained carbon to produce more biomass.
Writing as background for their study, Wang et al. (2013) state “it has been reported that tomato plants grown under elevated CO2 have greater total root length, root surface area, root diameter, root volume and number of lateral roots than those under ambient CO2, leading to a greater root system,” citing Wang et al. (2009). And they indicate that “as a result, elevated CO2 significantly increased the uptake of N, P, K, Ca, Mg and micronutrients (Cu, Fe, Mn and Zn),” which in turn was found to have promoted “plant growth and development (Prioret al., 1998).”
In a study designed to further explore this phenomenon, Wanget al. (2013) assessed the lateral root production of 19-day-old tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) seedlings grown in basal nutrient solution for an additional four days under hydroponic conditions in the laboratory at atmospheric CO2concentrations of either 350 or 800 ppm. Consistent with the findings of Wang et al. (2009), the seven scientists found that the number of lateral roots increased by 75% under elevated CO2 compared to ambient CO2 and that the length of the roots increased as well. And with more and longer lateral roots in a future CO2-enriched atmosphere, tomato plants (and likely other plants as well) should be better equipped to take up both major and micro nutrients from the soils in which they grow, making them both bigger and better and more apt to produce larger and more nutritious fruit … and more of it.
This CO2-induced benefit, as well as a host of other positive effects of atmospheric CO2 enrichment, are also manifest under unfavorable growing conditions. Jwa and Walling (2001), for example, grew tomato plants hydroponically for eight weeks in controlled environment chambers receiving atmospheric CO2 concentrations of 350 and 700 ppm. At week five of the study, half of all plants growing in each CO2concentration were infected with the fungal pathogenPhytophthora parasitica, which attacks plant roots and induces water stress that ultimately decreases plant growth and yield. In consequence of pathogenic infection, total plant biomass was reduced by nearly 30% at both atmospheric CO2concentrations. However, elevated CO2 increased the total biomass of healthy and infected plants by approximately the same degree (+30%). In other words, infected tomato plants grown at 700 ppm CO2 had biomass values that were similar to those of healthy tomato plants grown at 350 ppm CO2. Thus, atmospheric CO2 enrichment completely counterbalanced the negative effects of pathogenic infection on overall plant productivity. “””