Rep. Joe Barton defended his anti-global warming position on C-SPAN today by arguing CO2, carbon dioxide should not be regulated because it is not a pollutant. He said that since CO2 is in Coca-Cola it is safe for people and should not be regulated.
Here is the video from Think Progress:
“I would also point out that CO2, carbon dioxide, is not a pollutant in any normal definition of the term. … I am creating it as I talk to you. It’s in your Coca-Cola, you’re Dr. Pepper, your Perrier water. It is necessary for human life. It is odorless, colorless, tasteless, does not cause cancer, does not cause asthma. There is nobody who has ever been admitted to the hospital for CO2 poisoning, so it is not a pollutant. ”
Barton also went on to discuss the theory of climate change, – “If you think greenhouse gases are bad, life couldn’t exist without greenhouse gases. … So, there is a, there is a climate theory — and it’s a theory, it’s not a fact, it’s never been proven — that increasing concentrations of CO2 in the upper atmosphere somehow interact to trap more heat than the atmosphere would otherwise.”
Of course Barton’s argument ignores that nobody is disputing that CO2 isn’t a pollutant. It is not the CO2 itself that causes the problem. The climate change occurs based on high concentrations of carbon dioxide, which is something, that the deniers like Barton conveniently ignore. The high concentrations of CO2 do lead to more pollution, which leads to more people developing conditions like asthma.
The Republicans who deny that climate change is occurring must think that we are all stupid. Barton earned the nickname “Smokey Joe” in 2003 from the Dallas Morning News because he has long been in the back pocket of the nation’s biggest polluters, and the argument that he is using here is one that might fool a toddler, but most people are smarter than this. In essence, Barton is trying to change the debate to make it about CO2 instead of CO2 levels.