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8. Grobal Walming
(Or, if you’re one of the few people in the world who’s not Chinese, Global Warming.)
Not strictly to do with motoring I know, but motorists are the easiest ones to blame for the so-called “greenhouse gases” spewing forth into the atmosphere. So now to dispel a few myths in 500 words - not easy but here goes:
1. We’re at the tail-end of an ice age. Oops - the professors in their ivory towers forgot to tell you that! But it’s official - the Earth is normally much warmer than this. The last ice age was, in geological terms, a very recent event - 10,000 years is the blink of an eye in the timescale since, say, the dinosaurs last drew breath on their unpolluted and car-free planet.
Lesson 1 - it’s going to get warmer anyway, whatever we do.
2. Will CO2 cause the planet to warm up any quicker than it was going to warm up anyway? This is the question to which all the professors will give you an affirmative answer, but they haven’t any rational idea, and cannot have, for all the evidence is contradictory. At the moment, the sea is a “sink” for CO2. This means, the more CO2 we put in the air, the more dissolves in the oceans, so the concentration in the air remains about the same. You’d have to wait quite a few years yet for the sea to be saturated with CO2 and be able to measure the effect this has on global warming.
Lesson 2 - scientists and academics have a vested interest in getting research grants so they can live out their cushy cushioned lives. Don’t believe a word they say.
3. The world needs more CO2. Plants eat carbon dioxide. It is their food. When you grow a tomato plant, and all the little tomatoes get bigger and bigger and turn into juicy red fruits, their weight and bulk come from two sources - water (nearly all of a tomato is water) and CO2 (when you grill your tomato and leave it too long under the heat, it turns black because it’s full of carbon from the CO2 it ate when it was a baby). The truth is that before man came along and started burning the “fossil-fuels” and putting some CO2 back in the atmosphere, plants were starving. There was hardly any CO2 left for the poor things to eat - carbon dioxide forms a fraction of a percentage point of the total of gases in the air. All the carbon that plants had eaten for the last 5 billion years (or however long you care to guesstimate life has been around) was removed from the air and locked up in the coal and oil and gas beneath the Earth’s surface and so was of no use for the latest generation of growing vegetation. Man has come to the rescue and is restoring the valuable CO2 back where it belongs, in the atmosphere, where the plants can eat it.
Lesson 3 - it’s better to have healthy plants and a hot planet, than a cold planet with no greenery for us and the other animals to eat.
So stick that central heating on full and drive the hundred yards to the supermarket - you’ll be helping all those poor starving tomatoes.