Warmist Rant: Bad Astronomer says carbon dioxide is a poison; ‘Tie a plastic bag over your head and let me know’

Bad Astronomer Phil Plait attacked the recent pro-carbon dioxide Wall Street Journal op-ed by Will Happer and Harrison Schmidt in a SETI Institute podcast (around 6:50 into the audio) stating:

Of all the bang-your-head-against-the-desk articles, that was the weirdest, the most egregiously wrong, that carbon dioxide is just plant food and if there’s more carbon dioxide we’ll get more plants.

Well, you know, this idea that carbon dioxide is not a poison, is just a natural product, has been going around in denier circles and it’s ridiculous.

If you don’t think that carbon dioxide is a poison, you know, tie a plastic bag over your head for an hour or two and let me know, because yes, in certain circumstances, it’s very dangerous.

Of course, if you were to tie a plastic bag around your head, you would die from the lack of oxygen, not CO2 poisoning.

Perhaps Plait should revise the “Bad” part of his Internet handle downward?


  1. Got news for him! If he where to breathe pure 100 percent Oxygen at two or more atmospheres of pressure he will find that it is poision too. It is the dose not the substance.

  2. You are right. You would die from a lack of Oxygen if you put a plastic bag over your head. But Carbon Dioxide, in high enough concentration, is a poison…the poison is in the dosage. Unlke Nitrogen, which can only kill you if it displaces all of the Oxygen that you need, Carbon Dioxide can be an actual poison to animals…Bbt not near as poisonous as carbon monoxide. Of course no such poisonous level of Carbon Dioxide can be created in the atmosphere by human activity.

  3. To much water in a short period of time can kill you . . is it poison . . if so we are all over 60% poison and then we eat Carbon plants and animals? go figure a supporter of C02 AGW does not know about the carbon cycle of life.

  4. If you stick your head in a bucket of water it’s the same result.
    Using Plait’s logic, a tax on hydrogen will stop climate and save the world.
    Extending this logic further, as Plait advocates a carbon (sic) tax, and he is a carbon based life form, he must have his head shoved up his a*$e!
    Peak stupidity. Are we there yet?

  5. The plastic bag over the head will cause asphyxia by two mechanisms: by depletion of oxygen and by excess of CO2. The depletion of oxygen will be far more important, though.
    It’s true that CO2 is toxic to humans and that’s why we excrete it in our breath. So do all aerobic creatures. The level that’s actually dangerous is orders of magnitude higher than we can produce in the atmosphere.
    On the plus side, if we did that, the greenery would be happy for a while. On the minus side, the loss of all animal life would interfere with plant cycles. Since it’s outside of human capacity, I’ll worry about other things, like how somebody this foolish gets any credibility.

  6. This Plait jerk has me so angry with his nearly 10-minute monologue which is nothing else than one arrogantly formulated lie after another. I am disgusted by the U.S. academics that they don’t do anything whatsoever to protect an achieved professor such as Will Happer against the aggressive attacks by crackpots such as Plait.

  7. I lament the propensity of schools to no longer teach basic science. It is a disservice to our young children. A generations of complete idiots is being spawned.

  8. I would be more than happy to try his experiment if he would demonstrate it first. I wouldn’t want to be accused of doing it incorrectly.

  9. It’s sad, I used to read Phil’s site dedicatedly, and I cheered when he was appointed the head of the JREF. I initially even accepted his resignation from JREF over CO2 as just disagreeing with the evidence (that’s what scientists do, after all).

    However, he’s gone off the deep end with this. Why is a good scientist going nuts with this kind of tripe? He knows the toxicity limits of CO2 is in several thousand ppm. He discussed this in-depth in his discussion of Apollo 13. If it’s noble cause corruption, then the ends don’t justify the means Phil.

  10. I believe that he’s an astronomer by trade. He still has the best rebuttal of the moon hoax nonsense on the web, worthwhile reading.

  11. Ever hear of nitrogen narcosis? How about the bends? Under the right circumstances nitrogen is just as much of a poison as CO2 or O2.


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