Kudos to Drs. Schmitt and Happer for their illuminating exposition on the role of atmospheric carbon dioxide in the plant world, thereby setting us straight on this much maligned molecule. It effectively counters attempts to brand CO2 as a "pollutant," the propaganda photos showing chimneys belching smoke (never mind that CO2 is odorless and colorless) and the bizarre government-created carbon markets that benefit a few rent seekers and speculators while costing much in economic growth and jobs.
Moreover, the beneficial effects of CO2 cited by the authors are much more than theory. Continuing satellite observations show that increasing atmospheric CO2 has been literally greening the planet. Measurements over the past 30 years record a major increase in vegetation across the world's land area, including equatorial regions such as the Amazon rain forest. A quantity called the "Normalized Difference Vegetation Index" is used to monitor plant growth, vegetation cover and biomass production. It shows a considerable net "greening" of the Earth, due largely to increased atmospheric CO2.
The climate-change field has been dominated by poor science feeding a reinforcing political process for much too long. The world has stopped warming for close to two decades now, forcing alarmists to scurry around for explanations and excuses. There are no trends in extreme weather events, despite the astrology that now feeds the attempts to make everything that happens fit the dogma.
We should bear these realities in mind when politicians, rent-seeking corporations and grant-seeking academics try to tell us otherwise.
Roger W. Cohen, Ph.D.
Washington Crossing, Pa.
Messrs. Schmitt and Happer might have observed that if we could build a contraption that would remove all CO2 from our atmosphere, then clearly all plant life would disappear, followed by the loss of all animal life, including mankind, from the Earth.
That is an odd result after removing any pollutant from the medium that is polluted.
Santa Ana, Calif.