Evidence of harm from excess CO2

A blogger writes: “CO2 is not a pollutant.”

Our response:

The U.S. Supreme Court disagrees. It ruled in Mass v EPA 2007 as follows:

“ The harms associated with climate change are serious and well recognized. The Government’s own objective assessment of the relevant science and a strong consensus among qualified experts indicate that global warming threatens, inter alia, a precipitate rise in sea levels, severe and irreversible changes to natural ecosystems, a significant reduction in winter snowpack with direct and important economic consequences, and increases in the spread of disease and the ferocity of weather events. …greenhouse gases fit well within the Act’s capacious definition of “air pollutant….”

What makes scientists think that carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the greenhouse gases, can be harmful?

It’s all about quantity. The amount of CO2 in air has increased over the past 100 years until it is now higher than at any time in the last 15 million years, at which time the Earth had almost no ice at the poles and the sea level was 100 feet higher than today.

The way scientists discovered this is with chemical analyses of cores of ancient ice and fossilized sea shells. They found that over millions of years, when temperatures were high, so were CO2 levels. The connection between  burning coal, oil, and natural gas and higher CO2 levels was demonstrated in a lab 130 years ago. Higher temperatures obviously keep ice from forming.

Image

Photo by Dan Dixon/U of Maine with U.S. Ice Drilling Program

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