You have certainly heard some oil company shills trying to pooh pooh the danger of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly CO₂. They will tell you it is completely harmless because you breathe it out in every breath. I will try to answer that several ways:
~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:69)
- When you were little, your Mom probably told you not to put a plastic bag over your head. If you do, you quickly consume the oxygen O₂ in the bag and replacing it with CO₂. You suffocate and die. That suffocating feeling is caused by elevated levels of CO₂ in your blood.
- Besides CO₂, your body also exudes urine and feces. If you go to the local sewage treatment plant, you can see how all the poo from all the people in even a small city adds up to a substantial problem. Similarly, all the tiny CO₂ emissions from all over the world add up to the biggest threat to the human race.
- A drop of water will not hurt you, but a Katrina sized flood can be a serious inconvenience. It is not a matter of CO₂ or water being inherently poisonous, but of having way too much CO₂ in the atmosphere acting like a global blanket similar to the CO₂ blanket surrounding Venus that keeps it hot enough to melt lead.
- Conveniently for us, forests soak up CO₂, strip off the carbon from the CO₂ to use in making wood and release the oxygen back into the air. This works great so long as we don’t cut down most of the world’s forests and we don’t pump out so much CO₂ that we overwhelm the forests. Unfortunately, we have done both of those things. We have to replant the forests and stop pumping out so much CO₂. This means giving up coal-fired and oil-fired electric plants, inefficient gas-powered cars, natural gas and oil heating. People naturally don’t want to do that, but they don’t yet get it that the alternative is their grandkids die. The fossil fuel lobby naturally wants business as usual, even if it means we all die. They are corporations. They can’t think ahead any more than 3 months. Oddly, the cost of solving the problem is negligible. We are idiots not to do it. We are sticking with buggy whip technology while Germany, Japan and even China, believe it or not, forge ahead with clean energy.