The fossil fuel folks have things pretty well covered at CPAC – not to mention the Trump administration. Yesterday we reported on a panel organized by the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, which says the idea of global warming connected to human activity is a huge scam by Marxists who are faking scientific data in order to justify the destruction of western economies. Another group at CPAC takes a different approach, arguing that regardless of whether the increase in carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere is coming from natural sources or human activities, it’s a good thing for humans and for the planet.
The CO2 Coalition, which was established in 2015, appears to be an updated version of the old Greening Earth Society, which published lavishly photographed materials making essentially the same argument: That more carbon dioxide is good for plants and therefore good for the environment. “More carbon dioxide will help everyone, including future generations of our families,” says the Coalition brochure being distributed at CPAC.
Last year the Coalition produced a set of online videos featuring happy sunflowers, bears, and honeybees thanking carbon dioxide for making things grow. It also released a white paper saying that “the net effects of increasing CO2 will be very good for the world, and especially for its human population.”
A 2015 study conducted by researchers from 24 institutions found that carbon dioxide emissions have in fact “driven a huge growth in trees and other plants,” but the study’s lead author told the BBC that the extra tree growth “would not compensate for global warming, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, ocean acidification, the loss of Arctic sea ice, and the prediction of more severe tropical storms.”
The Economist noted last year that this increased plant growth may slow climate change in the short-term but will not reverse it, and that the effect it not likely to last.
In 2015, Media Matters noted that Breitbart had frequently cited Princeton Emeritus Professor William Happer, who helped organize the CO2 Coalition. Happer was among the academics criticized in a 2015 Greenpeace investigation of what the group called “academics-for-hire.”