My Journey to Loving Carbon Dioxide
A biographical essay by Cole Ryan, 2464 word count, approx 10 minutes to read.
I remember when my first twinge of energy anxiety occurred. It was in 1969 when I was sitting in the family’s utility truck (the Ute as they are called in New Zealand) at the local gas station, and my father was talking with someone about the first moon landing which was going to happen the next day. It was an exciting time, but their conversation soon turned to the fuel that was being pumped into the vehicles around us. I recall that my father’s friend said the world would run out fuel of soon because there wasn’t enough of it left in the ground. At age 11, I had never thought about this before, but it made sense to me that this magic liquid that powered our families’ vehicles and crayfishing boats couldn’t last forever. The anxiety that I felt when I heard that statement stayed with me for many years and I felt particularly sorry for the owners of petrol/gas stations who would soon be out of business.
Then, in the 1970’s, I was told in a social studies class at school about the imminent population explosion, and it seemed that soon there would not be enough room, food, and fuel on the planet for all of us! After that, there were serious and ominous news reports from important-sounding people who were predicting a fast approaching new ice age because of pollution and volcanic ash.
Then came the Arab oil embargo, and New Zealand designated certain days when cars could not be driven. I wasn’t allowed to drive my car on Tuesdays, speed limits were reduced to save gasoline, and rising prices made life hard for me and everyone around me.
All of these ominous events caused my anxiety disorder to worsen because, in addition to being young and impressionable and trying work out how talk to girls, I was dealing with thoughts about being squeezed by the population explosion, a coming ice age, and a dwindling supply of fuel to deal with it all.
Despite of all of this, the 1980’s arrived, and I had matured enough to start doing some of my own research, I soon found that these looming disasters were exaggerated and sensationalized, and, despite being mildly angry that I had been so naïve as to be worried about them, my anxiety actually decreased for a while. The 80’s saw the birth of the modern environmental movements, I joined Green Peace because that organization was doing a great job of stopping people from dumping nuclear waste in the ocean, stopping tests of atomic bombs, as well as saving baby seal cubs. I was an engineer in the Air Force at the time, and I wasn’t paid very well, but Green Peace had my fervent support, and I donated money when I could.
When the scare about global warming being caused by carbon dioxide (CO2) started creeping into the picture, I was naturally suspicious, because of the sleep I had lost over the preceding doomsday scenarios. I felt that I needed to do some research and understand the global warming issue better before I accepted the hypotheses that were being presented. Also, it just didn’t seem right to me that we humans could affect something as huge and dynamic as planet earth and its temperature, but it was in the news and on TV every day.
My suspicions were heightened when I discovered that CO2 made up only 0.035% of our atmosphere; I had been barraged with so much CO2-induced global warming hysteria that I had figured CO2 must comprise at least 5% or even 10% of the atmosphere, but it actually was only 0.035% (350 parts per million). In addition to that, our use of fossil fuels to heat our homes, power jet planes, run our cars, and provide electricity for all of our devices has contributed only 3% of the 0.035%! Thus, the rationale for the coming climate apocalypse was simply that our tiny contribution (0.00105% of atmospheric CO2) was going raise the earth’s temperature enough to cause a climate catastrophe.
I felt a little vindicated in my first thoughts that man’s affect was minuscule, but I tried to I kept an open mind because I knew that sometimes small things can make a big difference. For example, fish have adapted and can survive in very deep water that contains only nine parts per million (PPM) of oxygen, and only 35 PPM of carbon monoxide can kill people. But it still didn’t feel right to me that a tiny bit of extra CO2 was going to mess up spaceship earth, which has been hurtling through space around the sun, with the part facing the sun being heated and the part that isn’t being cooled, while being subjected to clouds, rain, wind, ice ages, volcanos and droughts for billions of years.
Then, almost unbelievably, I discovered that the CO2 we are contributing to the earth’s atmosphere was taken from the atmosphere in the first place, millions of years ago, to create the fossil fuels we are using today and that, when we burn those fuels, we are simply putting a small amount of that CO2 back where it came from. In addition CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been 10 times greater than they are today. I also remembered a little about CO2 from my high school science lessons where I was taught about its place in the photosynthesis process. All green plants use CO2 to survive and grow, and, without enough CO2 photosynthesis could not occur, and all of us would starve. I remembered that CO2 is a clear, invisible, odorless gas that creates the fizz in beer, soda, and champagne and that it is a natural and essential part of our world.
For all of the reasons I have stated, the coming CO2-caused climate catastrophe was a big pill to swallow, too big! My conclusion was that a little more CO2 returned to the atmosphere was good for the planet, the opposite of the catastrophe the alarmists are promoting.
The 1990’s arrived, and I had assumed that science, smart people, and general common sense would sort all of these issues out. I felt secure in my knowledge, and I believed that, eventually, scientists and other thinking people would come to the same conclusions I had, so I ignored the media hype. I was now working hard as an engineer on deep sea fishing boats and I was more concerned about keeping the refrigeration and hydraulics working on my piece of floating steel off the coasts of New Zealand and Australia than the next doomsday scare. But it was not to be, the whole thing grew and grew, and those who took opposing positions were ignored and vilified.
A vicious cycle had taken hold while I was away at sea.
It goes like this and it will be hard to stop.
The scientists discovered they would be rewarded with taxpayer funds, their work would be published, and they would be lauded for predicting the coming catastrophe.
The members of the media discovered that they sold more of their publications if their front pages predicted the hottest day on record, ,the melting of ice sheets and the flooding of coastal cities and polar bears becoming extinct. In addition, they would be well paid due to the increased readership.
The politicians all wanted to be seen as saving the planet from the coming threats rather than dealing with messy, real-word problems, such as poverty, healthcare, education, and fiscal responsibility.
The United Nations found it could use global warming to try and impose its desired goal of world governance, since, if they can control your energy, they can control you.
The millennium happened, and I celebrated the year 2000 at my seafood restaurant in Nelson, New Zealand. I had moved from catching the seafood to presenting it to customers directly, a much more social and civilized way of making a living than being away for long periods at sea. The restaurant was directly on the waterfront, and I could see the trawlers departing on their trips. I always enjoyed realizing I would not be going with them, but I always marveled at the combination of our amazing planet’s gift of energy and the human ingenuity and technology that made them possible.
Al Gore had lost the USA presidential election to George Bush in 2000, but he was busy making a name for himself using Michael E. Mann’s discredited hockey stick graph to make his case that we were poisoning the atmosphere with CO2. In 2006, he produced “An Inconvenient Truth,” and I watched it in the cinema. I didn’t want to, but I had to be informed. There were people in the audience who were gasping with alarm as he spun his story on how we had to stop emitting CO2 to save the planet. There were obvious lies in his presentation, one of which I remember was that climate refugees had already been accepted by New Zealand, but he did a good job on a lot of people and climate activism reached even new highs.
It was starting to get serious. The environmentalism that I had once embraced had now morphed into a quasi religion that was creeping more and more into governments and schools and was becoming something that had begun to affect me directly. Now, I was being taxed to subsidize solar and wind farms and electric cars, and the alarmists’ movement had changed its brand to the more flexible “climate change” because it was becoming increasingly difficult to prove “global warming.” They doubled down on dissent, saying “the science is settled,” and they used the statement that “97% of scientists agree,” both of which were outright lies and damaging to anyone who questioned their dogma. It was offensive to have to listen to these lies being repeated over and over again. I asked a well-qualified environmental friend how the now current 0.04% level of CO2 in the atmosphere affected climate, and he said that he couldn’t explain it, but 97% of scientists agreed that it did, so he just parroted the dishonest party line and walked away satisfied with his answer.
I sold my restaurant after nine years of managing a staff of 30 on a 7-day per week schedule, and I was worn out from it. After that, I traveled for a couple of years and didn’t pay much attention to either politics or the climate. Then, I came back to New Zealand and built a house and started some projects. It turned out to be a difficult time for me; a bad marriage and some bad business at the same time meant that rebuilding myself had to be my highest priority and there was no headspace for battling the climate alarmists.
A six-month lease on a beach restaurant came available, and I took it on. I didn’t make or lose any money, but I met my future new wife for the first time and enjoyed the break on the beach. I went with my future wife back to her home in San Francisco, California, we only were only going to stay for a few years until we paid off her student loans but now, 10 years later, we are still here in San Francisco, and I am a dual citizen of the USA and New Zealand. Life is good, and now I again have some time to try to do something about the misguided eco-doomers.
As evidenced by recent events, things can change quickly. President Trump’s pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement was an act of huge political courage that only he could have done. This action was an unexpected shot in the arm for all skeptics, deniers, and realists, and we have a powerful ally in the White House. Conversely, the government of New Zealand has changed, and the disease of green religion has infiltrated to the highest levels of its leadership. Green ideology is on steroids, and there are subsidies for landscape desecrating bird killing solar and wind farms, oil and gas exploration is prohibited, a whole new Climate Department is being created by the government. In addition, there will soon be new taxes on gasoline, purchases of worthless carbon dioxide credits from foreign countries, the methane produced when cows belch will be regulated and taxed. Soon the cost of everything will increase and we will no longer be able to choose what type of energy we want and can afford or what sort of car we want to drive.
The current government in New Zealand claims it is saving the planet for the children with its green ideology, but what it is actually doing is saddling the children of the future with a huge debt. This debt will result from the efforts to reduce the quantities of a natural, essential, and beneficial gas in the atmosphere when there is no evidence that it is having a negative effect on climate, while there is extensive evidence that it increases food crops and makes grass grow in deserts. They are preventing New Zealand from being able to use its natural resources to help pay for the prosperous future that everyone desires. In fact, they are committing economic vandalism for no good reason, it is a greek tragedy unfolding before us.
Given the current situation as described above, what should one do? I’m not a natural activist and while I don’t have the resources to protest and debate all the time, I still wanted to try to make a difference. Looking around the Internet, the “I Love CO2” brand stood out, and I started talking with Justin who owned the domain names and had built up the site with considerable skill and enthusiasm over a nine-year period. The site has 12,000 followers on Facebook, my 100 personal friends on Facebook had become tired of my sermons on the witchcraft of global warming, so I approached Justin to see if I could become involved with the site. In September 2017, I flew to Vancouver and met with Justin, and we agreed to a deal on Ilovecarbondioxide.com and iloveco2.com. We have plans to increase interest in the site with more original content, promotions, and interviews. Please visit the site on FB and give us a like, if you like :-).
The overall point is that there are valid reasons to question both the assumptions and policies advocated by climate change activists. It would be helpful if those who take a stand against presumed man-made warming/climate change were given the opportunity to expand on their reasoning rather than be confronted with criticism and scorn. It is a complicated issue that has the potential to seriously damage the prosperity and the freedoms that most of us take for granted.
Relax, your footprint is green.