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Carbon Dioxide is our friend

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By John Pawlak

YouTube can be a hoot. You can watch someone launch themselves with a giant slingshot towards a small pond, overshoot the pond and land on a boulder. The search for videos like this usually require the keywords “human,” “slingshot” and “splat.”
Or you can watch someone spray themselves with lighter fluid and set their body on fire, which is simply called “The Fire Challenge.” Imitating the Human Torch from the “Fantastic Four” is what I would call “The Atrophied Brain Challenge.”
Lots of fun videos to watch and lots of laughs.
Some years ago, I watched what might be the funniest video of all — “Carbon dioxide is our friend.” It’s an “educational documentary” produced by The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a nonprofit, non-think tank funded by tea bag sources like the Koch brothers and several “unbiased” companies such as the Ford Motor Company, Philip Morris Company, Texaco Inc. and the Scaife Foundation (an extremely liberal organization).
Acting as a mouth-piece skeptic of anthropogenic climate change for the terminally stupid, CEI promotes itself as a purveyor of “sound science”. But the only sound made by them having anything to do with science is the echos of silence. Pretty much the sound inside their heads.
Still, I do enjoy comedy and CEI’s strategy for debating against the effects of greenhouse gases is no less than an Academy Award winning performance in the Marx Brothers category. With deep-thinkers like Rand Paul as the guest speaker at last year’s CEI “give us money and we’ll help trash the world” fund dinner, they’ve developed an extremely interesting theory.
It goes something like this — People need oxygen to live. Plants produce oxygen. Plants need carbon dioxide. Burning fossil fuels produce carbon dioxide.
Therefore, it behooves us to produce as much carbon dioxide as possible!
Yes, carbon dioxide is our friend! We need more of it, lots more! Better living through chemistry!
This logic is simple (no great surprise considering the simpletons who make these arguments), but successful at convincing people that increasing, not decreasing, fossil fuel consumption is actually good for the human race.
I do love stupid people. They make us normal people look like geniuses!
Ah, but the climate of corporate opinion has a strong front approaching that threatens to soak the tea bags of dissent with new arguments that support the scientific claims of global warming. And these high pressure area comes from some of the most surprising regions — that of “Big Oil” itself.
If you trek over to the website of Exxon Mobil, you will find an entire section called “Stabilization: A Global Challenge,” on which Exxon itself presents scientific studies on the adverse effects of greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels.
Don’t get Exxon wrong. They’re still in the business to make money. But they now recognize the growing danger of rampant CO2 emissions and the need to address this intelligently.
Address climate change intelligently? Well, clearly they’re not trying to talk sense to Ron Tea Paul or Rick Bag Perry supporters.
The other oil companies have likewise come around to the new game of survival. Shell Global’s web site affirms that we need energy and states openly that fossil fuels are and will continue to be the primary source of that energy. They then go on to underscore the need to “reduce CO2 emissions to avoid serious climate change.” The Shell Oil site goes on to say that “to manage CO2 emissions, governments and industry must work together.”
The game they’re playing is simple enough. It’s called “Survival.”
Perhaps it’s even simple enough for the simple-minded naysayers who refuse to believe that humans could have any effect on their environment.
Even British Petroleum has thrown its dice into the game, stating that their studies predict a rise in greenhouse emissions by almost a third in just 20 more years.
But there’s no need for concern or panic. Fortunately, as CEI and intellectuals like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich have assured us, carbon dioxide is our friend.
So you might as well buddy up to it. It’s going to get a lot more friendly in the future!

John Pawlak is a resident of Los Alamos and a teacher at Los Alamos High School.