PBS NewsHour: CO2 Very Bad… except when plants use it to grow better

In the PBS NewsHour’s brief news wrap feature on May 10, its viewers received “grim” news of a worldwide rise of CO2 levels, and were treated to similar news again on Monday (6th paragraph). As I reported last year right here at JS, that’s all we’ve ever heard from them about global warming. But did a particular admission in their climate change report last night undermine their entire narrative?

See “Could Agriculture Bloom in the Desert? Qatar Works to Invent an Innovative Oasis” and its gem of a quote about how an ‘innovative’ greenhouse complex in the desert functions (bold emphasis added):

The design is meant to mimic a natural ecosystem, where the waste product from one component provides the food or fuel for another. … Seawater runs through cardboard panels, cooling the air in this greenhouse, where cucumbers grow in coconut fiber. And CO2 is pumped in from the factory next door, making the plants grow dramatically faster.

Hmmmm. Worldwide Medieval Warm Period, anyone?


  1. Back in the day, I was a grad student in a Mariculture research group. We were experimenting with industrial raising of bivalves. In order to increase the yield of algae in the food aquariums, we added CO2 and the results were remarkable. That was some 35 years ago. It seems we continually rediscover the wheel in science. Nobody had the time to do a little literature research, or maybe they don’t want to know the truth

  2. What do you get when you burn hydrocarbons (methane, propane, gasoline, heating oil, jet fuel…CnH2n+2 )? You get CO2 and H2O, two vital gasses for life on earth. The volume of this very potent GHG…H2O…is enormous and is not just measured in parts per million. However, since it mixes with naturally occuring water vapor, it is often ignored. On the other hand, if H2O is released in a cold and dry environment, like Siberia, Alaska, Canada and China and the US in winter and in the lower stratosphere at commercial jet flight levels, and thus not experiencing condensation or sublimation for a considerable time, then this H2O acts as a strong global warming agent. The question Is therefore, is the much higher amplitude of global wrming at high latitudes due to that effect? Extensive areas of crop irrigation and evaporation from man made reservoirs, also contribute to this man made warming. To get an idea of the amount of added water vapor coming out of our urban centers, just take a look at visual satellite pictures of large plumes of condensed water vapor streaming out of the Tokyo/Yokohama area, Nagoya, Osaka/Kobe in Japan and Boston, NYC, Pkiladelphia, Baltimore, DC, Norfolk in the US in winter with northwest flow. The cloud plumes, when condensation occurs, have of course a cooling effect due to the higher albedo. Likewise, the visible aircraft condensation trails during the limited periods and locations of rising motion of the air mass will have a very limited cooling effect at that point but otherwise be strongly warming. Just some point to ponder when dealing with combustion of hydrocarbons and our carbon and water foot prints. And what about the very strong radiative GHG properties of the hydrocarbons themselves. The large expansion of drilling for gas/oil in the US in recent years and the resulting low prices of the methane and LNG must have resulted in the release large amounts of unflared gas in addition to the CO2 and H2O released during flaring.


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