“The object of the Author in the following pages has been to collect the most remarkable instances of those moral epidemics which have been excited, sometimes by one cause and sometimes by another, and to show how easily the masses have been led astray, and how imitative and gregarious men are, even in their infatuations and crimes,” wrote Charles. Mackay in the preface to the first edition of his Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. I want to discuss a contemporary moral epidemic: the notion that increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide, will have disastrous consequences for mankind and for the planet. This contemporary
“climate crusade” has much in common with the medieval crusades Mackay describes, with true believers, opportunists, cynics, money-hungry governments, manipulators of various types, and even children’s crusades.
I am a strong supporter of a clean environment. We need to be vigilant to keep our land, air and waters free of real pollution, particulates, heavy metals, pathogens, but carbon dioxide (CO2) is not one of these pollutants. Carbon is the stuff of life. Our bodies are made of carbon. Every day a normal human exhales around 1 kg of CO2 — the simplest
chemically stable molecule of carbon in the earth’s atmosphere. Before the industrial period, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was about 270 parts per million (ppm). At the present time, the concentration is about 390 ppm, 0.039% of all atmospheric molecules and less than 1% of that in our breath. About fifty million years ago, a brief moment in the long history of life on earth, geological evidence indicates, CO2 levels
were several thousand ppm, much higher than now. And life flourished abundantly.
For a full report in PDF by Professor William Happer, click here.