Climate science is another theme on which Ken Wheeler weighs in from time to time. Find out why his baseless climate denial is something about which we no longer have time to argue.
Climate change is the term scientists use to describe long-term shifts in weather patterns and atmospheric temperatures. Historically, most of these shifts were natural, usually because of changes in the sun’s natural cycles.
That started to change in the early 19th century. With the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, humanity started burning coal.
Before long, we discovered Earth’s vast petroleum reserves and also found ways to use them to fuel our vehicles. Natural gas soon followed as an economical way to generate electricity and heat our buildings.
We Call These Energy Sources Fossil Fuels
We’ve started calling these energy sources fossil fuels. This is partly because they’re the remains of ancient life forms, and partly because humanity needs to move away from them for ecological and economic reasons.
When we burn fossil fuels, we emit gases that trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere, especially carbon dioxide and methane. This raises the average surface temperature across the globe.
This is already causing severe droughts, water shortages, wildfires, rising sea levels, catastrophic floods, melting polar ice caps, disastrous storms and mass extinction. If it continues unabated, the climate crisis will cause massive human health risks, forced displacements, widespread famines and even more severe pandemics.
Scientists Agree Climate Crisis is Caused by Humans
Practically all reputable climate scientists agree with these conclusions. For decades the expert consensus has been that climate change is a crisis caused by human activity.
Ken Wheeler denies all these established scientific facts. In their place he offers his own demonstrably false notions about rising C02 levels and climate change.
The Angry Photographer assures his audience that “Mother Nature loves C02.” Hearkening back to his Grade 6 science lessons, he reminds us that plants absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis.
Plants Need Temperature, Moisture More than C02
As any gardener or farmer will tell you, C02 is the least of their worries in getting plants to grow. Light, temperature and moisture are vastly more important to keeping plants healthy than how much carbon dioxide there is in the air.
Rising C02 levels push temperatures above optimal levels in which plants can thrive. Plants adapted to temperate zones can’t survive rapidly rising heat levels in their habitats, which is exactly what carbon emissions cause.
Droughts and fires wipe out massive ranges of plant life. Floods cause widespread erosion, which uproots and devastates plant life in a wide range of ecosystems.
Droughts and Fires Wipe Out Plant Life
The idea that higher C02 levels are good for plants comes from studies conducted in artificial greenhouses. When scientists look at natural environments using free-air C02 enrichment studies, the benefits of rising C02 evaporate.
Another problem with the Theoria Apophasis host’s notion that nature loves C02 is that there’s more than one kind of carbon. Different kinds of plants respond differently to different carbon isotopes.
Some plants may benefit from industrial C02 emissions, but others definitely won’t. Nobody, least of all Kentucky Ken, knows how uncontrolled fossil fuel emissions affect plant life in various habitats worldwide. We do know that excessive heat and droughts devastate plant life on a global scale.
Excessive Heat and Droughts Devastate Plant Life
Ken Wheeler also raises the point that Earth’s C02 levels were “astronomically higher” during the Jurassic period than they are today. He’s basing this claim on obsolete data.
Today’s C02 levels are just over 400 ppm. It’s hard to estimate C02 levels 200 million years ago, but scientists’ best educated guess is that they were about 600 ppm.
That’s not “astronomically higher.” Beyond that, the Angry Photographer shoots himself in the foot with this argument when he goes on to say that temperatures were also higher during the Jurassic.
Correlation Between C02 Levels and Global Warming
These two Jurassic conditions demonstrate the tight correlation between C02 levels and global warming. In fact, science tells us that climate and C02 levels have always varied together as if in lockstep. They’re both lower during ice ages and they’re both higher during warm periods.
The YouTuber behind Theoria Apophasis also tells us that “the entire planet was lush and super, super green” in prehistoric periods of high atmospheric C02. He doesn’t realize that this was because greenhouse gases in those periods were in balance with carbon levels in the ocean and absorption through the weathering of rocks.
This balance came from extremely gradual adjustment periods that took place over millions of years. On the other hand, when greenhouse gas emissions have risen suddenly, they’ve always caused mass extinctions.
Last Decade Was the Hottest on Record
We’ve increased our artificial C02 emissions at an unprecedented rate. As a result, the last decade was the hottest on record. These rapid changes correlate with rising temperatures, rising sea levels and ocean acidification, just as they always have when C02 levels have spiked in the remote past.
As in so many other areas on which Ken Wheeler expresses contrarian views, he has no formal training, credentials or experience related to climate science, and it shows. The consensus among climate scientists that climate change is real, caused by humans and a crisis is now effectively unanimous.
It’s hard to be certain why Ken Wheeler feels the need to deny this universal scientific consensus. He constantly complains about the price of everything, especially gasoline, so a possible carbon tax may have something to do with it.
Resentment Towards Anyone with a Formal Education
The Angry Photographer also displays a hostile resentment towards anyone with a formal education, especially scientists with PhDs. He’s also intensely antagonistic toward peer reviewed science journals, so it may stem from his aversion to science and scientists.
Kentucky Ken’s profound gullibility may also be a factor. Mitch McConnell represents his state in the US Senate. Kentucky is one of only four US states where most residents don’t believe human activity causes climate change. He may simply be a product of his environment.
We No Longer Have Time for this Nonsense
Whatever his reasons, humanity is well beyond the point where climate denial is credible or worth debating. We no longer have time for this nonsense.
So, it’s important that we disregard Ken Wheeler’s climate denial. Mother Nature’s health and future, not to mention our own, depend on it.
Nature Loves What Society Shuns
Plants Cannot Live on C02 Alone
Do High Levels of C02 in the Past Contradict the Warming Effect of C02?
Kentucky’s Climate is Changing. Will Its Politics?
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