The Climate Fringe

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorMay 9, 2013 4:58 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Sometimes you have to sit back and marvel when the Wall Street Journal and the loony internet fringe are indistinguishable. Last month, Mike Adams, whose special brand of crazy can be found at Natural News, wrote an article that was sufficiently whacked for it to be reproduced by Alex Jones' It starts off:

If you talk to the global warming crowd, carbon dioxide — CO2 — is the enemy of mankind. Any and all creation of CO2 is bad for the planet, we’re told, and its production must be strictly limited in order to save the world. But what if that wasn’t true? What if CO2 were actually a planet-saving nutrient that could multiply food production rates and feed the world more nutritious, healthy plants?

I think you can see where that piece is going. Now let's head over to a new op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, by Harrison Schmidt, a former astronaut and William Happer, a Princeton physicist. It starts off:

Of all of the world's chemical compounds, none has a worse reputation than carbon dioxide. Thanks to the single-minded demonization of this natural and essential atmospheric gas by advocates of government control of energy production, the conventional wisdom about carbon dioxide is that it is a dangerous pollutant. That's simply not the case. Contrary to what some would have us believe, increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will benefit the increasing population on the planet by increasing agricultural productivity.

I think you can see where that argument is heading. And you can probably see the similarity in the two pieces-- one of them by a fringe loon on the internet and the other by semi-establishment types given prominent space in one of the most influential newspapers in the world. Incidentally, some of you might recall a television commercial several years back, called, CO2 is green.

The ad campaign was spearheaded by an oil industry executive and coal operator--its objective to fight pending climate legislation in 2009. Its message then was the same that finds currency today on conspiracy websites and the pages of the Wall Street Journal: More CO2 = a healthier planet, so don't be concerned about global warming. Does anyone actually believe this stuff, other than fringe conspiracists like Adams and fringe dead-enders penning WSJ op-eds?

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2023 Kalmbach Media Co.