Plant life does better with elevated CO2

Letter from Richard Sanders responds to letters to the editor from Herb Nakada regarding the environment.

Editor:

To inject a little reality into Herb Nakada’s ramblings:

If there is an oil spill we rightly expect it to be cleaned up. The bitumen sands is an oil spill that has been polluting the Athabasca watershed and the arctic ocean for millenia. Somehow, because this oil spill is being cleaned up at no cost to the taxpayer and I suppose because someone is actually making a profit doing the bitumen cleanup, it’s all wrong.

We are still living in the iron age; that means we are dependent on iron and steel. Plastic is replacing iron and steel in many applications but that is largely made from (dirty) oil. Pure iron is a soft metal, too soft to be useful. However, when alloyed with carbon we have cast iron that can be converted into steel.

The carbon source is metallurgical coal (anthracite). Only coal and charcoal burn hot enough to smelt iron and are rich enough in carbon to make cast iron. Steel is the most recycled material at 60 per cent recycling.

When the green economy can provide energy on demand that has a high energy density, is relatively light weight and easily transportable, when the green economy provides basic materials like iron and plastic, then we can all be green.

It is well known that plant life does much better with elevated CO2 and temperature, so much so that commercial green houses elevate the CO2 to around 1,000 parts per million. That is a whopping one per cent. With the increasing world population to feed elevated CO2 and temperatures have to be a good thing. Just look at the vast areas of Canada and Russia that are basically a frozen wasteland. If these areas become habitable and arable many problems would be solved. Unfortunately there has been now warming and perhaps a slight cooling over the last 15 years.

The real scary reality is that in the cycles of ice ages that started when the North and South American continents collided are (over) due to repeat.

The last time I looked the Americas were still joined.

Richard Sanders

Williams Lake

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