Cato Institute Celebrates Atmospheric Rise in Carbon as Boon to Plants, Sunscreen Industry

WASHINGTON — The Cato Institute this week published a paper by Paul “Chip” Knappenberger and Patrick Michaels stating that recent rise in atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) to over 400 parts per million was cause for celebration because plant life was thriving, as was the sunscreen industry.

“It’s a total Win-Win,” explained Michaels, a largely oil-funded global warming skeptic who argues that global warming models are fatally flawed and, in any event, warrant  no action because new technologies will soon replace those that emit greenhouse gases. “Plants get all the sweet, sweet CO2 they desire- which is good for the environment, and the American sunscreen industry sees record profits and is forced to expand, hiring dozens of new employees- which is good for the economy.”

The article, entitled CO2: 400ppm and Growing, claims that rather than a sign of runaway pollution which threatens the very survival of mankind, 400ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere should remind us of our continuing success at expanding the global supply of energy to meet a growing demand.” The article also says that the rising concentration of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere is causing “an enhancement of the rate of photosynthesis in plants and a general tendency to result in more efficient growth and an overall healthier condition of vegetation (including crops).”

Scientists have criticized the report, saying that Michaels and Knappenberger are both long-time global warming skeptics with ties to the fossil fuel industry, but Knappenberger brushed aside such worry. “Sure I have friends in the fossil fuel industry. So what? I also have friends in mosquito net industry, but nobody ever seems to mention that,” he said. “Is the world getting warmer? Yes, it is. Has it ever been this warm? No it has not. Does burning fossil fuel contribute enormously to higher concentrations of carbon in the atmosphere? Absolutely. Is this a bad thing? We say no, and the sunscreen industry agrees with us.

“What, you think you’re smarter than the sunscreen industry?” he added.

“It comes down to the fact that I, personally, have become richer and richer as the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere has risen,” says Michaels. “Therefore it stands to reason that higher levels of CO2 will equate to higher levels of profit for me. I can only assume that everyone else is experiencing the same cause and effect on this as I am, including the world’s plants, who are getting richer and richer concentrations of the carbon dioxide they so crave.”