Archive for Thursday, November 29, 2007

Plants’ CO2 would help crops, lawmaker says

November 29, 2007


— A state legislator Wednesday criticized rejection of two coal-fired power plants in western Kansas, saying carbon dioxide emissions were good for crops.

"One of the really good things about CO2 is that plants perform better under stress (drought, etc.) with increased levels of CO2," Rep. Larry Powell, R-Garden City, said in a letter disseminated to the media.

Powell said a recent study shows that over the next 50 years, "atmospheric CO2 enrichment will boost world agricultural output by about 50 percent."

Last month, Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Roderick Bremby denied permits for two 700-megawatt coal-burning plants near Holcomb, citing concern over climate change and the health effects of C02 emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions are considered a contributing factor to global warming.

Powell said he will work during the legislative session that starts in January to overturn Bremby's decision.

But Jerry Glover, a soil scientist with the Salina-based Land Institute, said Powell is mistaken by thinking increased C02 in the atmosphere will help agriculture.

"At this point, no one knows all the details of the impact of global warming on agriculture, but it's stacking up increasingly that it is not going to be entirely positive," Glover said.

Glover said crops need more than C02 to survive. Global warming will increase temperatures in some regions, which means crops will need more water.

And climate change will disrupt distribution of water in unpredictable ways, which will decrease yields, he said.

Glover said he wasn't familiar with the study that Powell cited, but said skeptics of global warming increasingly have evolved into global warming optimists.

Powell cited a report by Craig and Keith Idso of the Arizona-based Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Climate Change. The center's Web site has articles that criticize findings about the negatives of global warming.


Toto_the_great 10 years, 6 months ago

I think the crops will do just fine without the increased CO2 levels. They can help the global warming issue by using some of the excessive CO2 that is already in the atmosphere. If the lawmaker really wanted to make a crazy statement, he could have said that the sewage from the coal plants would be use as fertilizers for western Kansas fields.

Frank Smith 10 years, 6 months ago

Here's a little primer on the "uncertainty" about global warming. The denialists are professional spin merchants, in the employ mainly of the energy industry. Because the Bush administration is owned, lock stock and barrel by these guys (and he and Cheney come from that industry) they push very hard to avoid doing anything useful about environmental degradation if it conceivably puts the most miniscule dent in profits. They have been carefully and exhaustively coached even in what words to use to convince the public that dangerous is safe, up is down, etc. If one has the time to read the strategy used, there's no better place to start than the "Luntz Memo."

Here's a short article as well, that will give readers some grounding in sorting through the hogwash: "The Triumph of Fringe Science," from

If these "scientists" were wearing leather miniskirts, lace halters, clear plastic platform shoes and were standing on a corner in groups, everyone would quickly get the message about what they were up to. Instead they wear white coats, pocket protectors and well-practiced frowns in the time-dishonored tradition of the Tobacco Institute, that gathering of harlots who successfully slowed down government initiatives to curb smoking and instead labored to conceal the incidence of cancer, emphysema, heart disease, addiction, costs and really foul breath associated with the use of their sponsors' products. Indeed, our old friends at Phillip Morris provide some of the funding for the present day denialists, though its the Exxon-Mobils and Western Fuels of the game as well as Kansas's own Charles and David Koch, who are the major players.

I'm sorry to see that a spokesperson for the Land Institute can't be clearer about this.

I don't know the man, but if Rep. Larry Powell believes this nonsense he is either dead stupid or supremely lazy. If he is neither, he is simply lying, like our friend to the south, Oklahoma's U.S. Senator James Inhofe, the recipient of millions in campaign contributions from the people who don't want us to find out that they are killing us and killing our planet while rolling in billions in profits.

The good news is that Bush's last remaining international ally in this scam, Australian prime minister John Howard and his "Liberal" party, was ignominiously given the sack last week by Down Under Voters. (His successor has also already announced Aussie combats troops are also bailing from Iraq.) We are standing alone and defiant in resisting joining the Kyoto treaty and those who would protect the enironment. In 419 more days, Bush too will be looking for work.

Amen, Hallelujah!!!

labmonkey 10 years, 6 months ago


Instead of reading salon, try reading history, some primary scientific literature, or a plant physiology book. Global warming is occuring, but there is a very good possibility that it is a natural cycle and not man made (that is where your history and primary literature comes in). Try reading studies done on Lake Vostock ice cores about the relationship between the rise in temperature and the rise of CO2...hell just google it. As for increased CO2 benefitting plants, read some plant physiology. From simple biology, we know that plants take in CO2 and release O2. Unfortunately for plants, the enzyme that "grabs" the CO2 also "grabs" O2 with about the same affininty. Given there is enough water, sunlight, and other factors to grow, then the only thing limiting plant growth is the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Granted, Western Kansas might not be a good place for a coal plant because they already have problems with water and you need a huge lake for a coal plant. But with clean coal technology, there is no reason not to put a coal plant in an area where there is plenty of water.

lounger 10 years, 6 months ago

Ummmm...this "lawmaker" is quite the Idiot

Retta H-b 10 years, 6 months ago

Lol! That's hysterical.. ... Up is down, black is white......... the ultimate spin-sters. These guys are following the same old formula. "Call it was it isn't".

Remember, "No child left behind", "Clear skies initiative," and the ultimate, "Mission Accomplished". It' hard to take anything they say seriously.

Well said Kropotkin. Thank you.

Frank Smith 10 years, 6 months ago


I've actually talked with the people doing the Greenland ice cores. I've spent many years living on the Arctic Ocean through all seasons and got a very good picture of the effects of global warming up close. I don't have time to read a substantial amount of the primary literature and my background is social science, but as a generalist I have more physical science, I'd bet, than 99% of the people in the U.S.

I toured the Biosphere in Globe, AZ, with a group of Australian scientists a few years ago. I asked numerous questions of the tour guide regarding problems that I felt their physical structure and its floral and faunal inhabitants would encounter. In each case the guide acknowledged that indeed every thing I mentioned turned out to be a major, though unanticipated problem.

I've attended lectures by many of the leading scientists in the world many arenas. Most recently I attended the Mayors' Conference on Global Warming in Anchorage.

You should be ashamed of your contention, totally absent of a global context, that CO2 emissions would be on balance "good" for plants. Most plants won't grow in deserts (where I've also lived for years) and of course the world is becoming increasingly desertified. Over a period of years I've witnessed boreal forests rapidly dying off because of spruce beetle infestation, a direct effect of warming. Tropical rainforests are being clearcut at a staggering rate. Floral and faunal species are disappearing at an astonishing pace. Worldwide population growth in response to our fundamentalist-based notions about family planning is booming and resource consumption proceeds at an equally astonishing growth rate. Our world is careening along to disaster and those who have been in charge in the U.S. for the past seven years are unwilling to officially recognize that or make efforts to mitigate our rush to eventual doom.

The federal government squandered hundreds of millions of dollars on a "clean coal" fired, high technology power plant in Healy, Alaska, that was a predictable useless mess and which I'd opposed for years before it was funded and constructed. What do you think would be the effects of the mercury emissions carried northeast from a Holcomb plant?

You sit blithely by and propagate the claim that CO2 is going to be good for us without considering even the macroatmospheric effects, ignoring the complexity of the situation.

I am reminded of James Watt, Reagan's Secretary of the Interior, who didn't see the need for conservation because after all, the Second Coming was just around the corner.

"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem," my dear simian.

salad 10 years, 6 months ago

"One of the really good things about CO2 is that plants perform better under stress (drought, etc.) with increased levels of CO2," Rep. Larry Powell, R-Garden City, said in a letter disseminated to the media. Powell said a recent study shows that over the next 50 years, "atmospheric CO2 enrichment will boost world agricultural output by about 50 percent."

I call BS on that. So much spin, this guy probably creates his own coriolis force.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 6 months ago

I thought it was "climate change" now instead of "global warming".

oneflewover 10 years, 6 months ago

I don't think people are understanding the carbon cycle here. Crops really don't reduce Co2 levels in the long run. When they decompose, or are eaten, the Co2 they took in while growing is released by the decomposer. That is why it is called a cycle. Trees are the same way, however their life cycle is longer thus they store the Co2 for a longer period of time.

huntershaven 10 years, 6 months ago

It is true that Earth has has warming and cooling cycles, some greater and some lesser, over its history. Our planet is in a constant state of flux due to fluctuating terrestrial and extraterrestrial conditions. Does this mean that humans have no effect on the planet? No. Does it mean humans are causing global warming? Perhaps yes or perhaps no. Unfortunately the only way we will know some of this for certain is simply to live and see what the future brings us.

However, there are certain scientific certainties that we do know for a fact. Every environment has a specific carrying capacity above which a species faces dieoff conditions due to needed inputs dropping off and undesired outputs increasing. It is also a fact that each environment has a certain range in which it can sustain itself without destruction.

I think most people in general are a bit short-sighted in what they think they can do without consequences.

Magpie 10 years, 6 months ago

Whoa is me? Whoa, man.

It's a good idea to look at who has the most money to make by denying global warming. Who denies it most vehemently? People invested in industries that pollute the environment, or course! This "CO2 is good for crops" argument is just another flimsy appeal to greed. While it's true that chemical additives can temporarily increase production and profits for growers, the longterm environmental costs will be very high for everyone else.

CheyenneWay 10 years, 6 months ago

Yeah plants like CO2. It's a power source which helps in photosynthetic processes. The one thing NOBODY has mentioned is the other greenhouse gases like ozone (O3). Plants hate that stuff. The atmosphere is predicted to be full of O3 by 2050 by wizards and sorcerers.

Guess what, its like going to an all you can eat buffet. You got that great healthy salad over there but if your like me that never gets ingested. Only the greasy, empty carb and ohhh so unhealthy food gets in this tummy! 'Cept for plants cause their mouths are called stomata and they just open up whenever they want to and intake it all.

We cant stop whats going to happen nor predict what will. Just let them evil wizards and sorcerers continue with their grant writing so those that lust for profit dont have to put on a lab coat.

dirkleisure 10 years, 6 months ago

Somebody tell Rep. Powell that nitrogen is good for him, but if he comes up too fast he's still gonna get the bends. That's why it is so dangerous to go off the deep end.

Frank Smith 10 years, 6 months ago

I'd believe that Powell might unfortunately just be stupid instead of bought if he hadn't gotten contributions from those who would most benefit from perpetrating this sort of fraud on the public...the energy corporations and the corporations which build these plants. Powell ran a very low budget campaign and guess who threw checks into the collection plate?

Contributor - Industry - Recipient Amount - Date


Half of all his campaign dough came from Topeka, no reportable $300 or higher came from Garden City, which he supposedly represents.

And then there's the pollution industry...note that the Koch boys were first on board, always a bad sign.

KOCH INDUSTRIES Oil & Gas POWELL, LARRY R $200 12/23/2005 KOCH INDUSTRIES Oil & Gas POWELL, LARRY R $500 11/06/2006 EXXONMOBIL Oil & Gas POWELL, LARRY R $300 11/07/2006 ANADARKO PETROLEUM Oil & Gas POWELL, LARRY R $250 11/06/2006 OCCIDENTAL OIL & GAS CORP Oil & Gas POWELL, LARRY R $200 08/01/2006

To quote Molly Ivins, "He dances with them what brought him."

JohnBrown 10 years, 6 months ago

"Powell cited a report by Craig and Keith Idso of the Arizona-based Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Climate Change." From googling: "Powell cited a report by Craig and Keith Idso of the Arizona-based Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Climate Change."

Isn't Google great?!

(Part 1) 1: Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Climate Change: Personnel * Craig Idso, Chairman * Sherwood B. Idso, President, (the father of Keith and Craig) * Keith E. Idso, Vice President * Julene M. Idso, Operations Manager.

  1. Sherwood B. Idso received the Petr Beckmann Award for "courage and achievement in the defense of scientific truth and freedom". It was given "for his work demonstrating the fertilizing effect of increased carbon dioxide on the biosphere".

  2. Petr Beckmann Award for courage and achievement in defense of scientific truth and freedom' is awarded by the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness (DDP) which is closely linked to OISM.


JohnBrown 10 years, 6 months ago


  1. Case Study: The Oregon Petition

The Oregon Petition, sponsored by the OISM, was circulated in April 1998 in a bulk mailing to tens of thousands of U.S. scientists. ... the mailing included what appeared to be a reprint of a scientific paper. Authored by OISM's Arthur B. Robinson, Sallie L. Baliunas, Willie Soon, and Zachary W. Robinson, the paper was titled "Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide" and was printed in the same typeface and format as the official Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Also included was a reprint of a December 1997, Wall Street Journal editorial, "Science Has Spoken: Global Warming Is a Myth, by Arthur and Zachary Robinson. A cover note signed "Frederick Seitz/Past President, National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A./President Emeritus, Rockefeller University", may have given some persons the impression that Robinson's paper was an official publication of the academy's peer-reviewed journal. The blatant editorializing in the pseudopaper, however, was uncharacteristic of scientific papers. ... Robinson's paper claimed to show that pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is actually a good thing. "As atmospheric CO2 increases," it stated, "plant growth rates increase. Also, leaves lose less water as CO2 increases, so that plants are able to grow under drier conditions. Animal life, which depends upon plant life for food, increases proportionally." As a result, Robinson concluded, industrial activities can be counted on to encourage greater species biodiversity and a greener planet:

As coal, oil, and natural gas are used to feed and lift from poverty vast numbers of people across the globe, more CO2 will be released into the atmosphere. This will help to maintain and improve the health, longevity, prosperity, and productivity of all people. 
 The NAS issued an unusually blunt formal response to the petition drive. "The NAS Council would like to make it clear that this petition has nothing to do with the National Academy of Sciences and that the manuscript was not published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or in any other peer-reviewed journal," it stated in a news release.
  1. Notwithstanding the shortcomings in Robinson's theory, the oil and coal industries have sponsored several organizations to promote the idea that increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is "good for earth"...

snowWI 10 years, 6 months ago

"One of the really good things about CO2 is that plants perform better under stress (drought, etc.) with increased levels of CO2," Rep. Larry Powell, R-Garden City, said in a letter disseminated to the media.

Powell said a recent study shows that over the next 50 years, "atmospheric CO2 enrichment will boost world agricultural output by about 50 percent."

What Powell fails to realize is that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and it is increasing at an exponential rate. Man-made CO2 sources ALWAYS include coal power plants. Higher global temperatures lead to HIGHER evaporation rates. Western Kansas already has water issues due to the declining aquifer in some areas.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 6 months ago

Perhaps an email or two explaining to rancher Larry Powell that is there is money to be made from green wind power for ranchers and farmers alike much like oil wells produced.

preebo 10 years, 6 months ago

...wait for it. ...wait for it.

Let's see what else he'll pull out of his hat. Wait-a-minute... That's not his hat.

dotteboy 10 years, 6 months ago

"That's nucking futs!" Dickie Roberts...or...Rep. Larry Powell, R-Garden City What a douche

pace 10 years, 6 months ago

No the sky isn't falling, it is being used as a free dump site. What an optimistic politician, poison lemonade for everyone.

bisky1 10 years, 6 months ago

Kropotkin: this guy powell is willing to sell the planet out for less than 3 grand? that is no where near what your average "believer" makes telling us we should feel guilty about driving to work, so who is buying who?

camper 10 years, 6 months ago

I think we should err on the side of caution and do our best to reduce CO2 emissions. There is enough scientific evidence to do so.

gr 10 years, 6 months ago

"I think we should err on the side of caution"

Yes. Hopping on one foot is the best policy.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, and you can coat them with bulls**t too, but that doesn't mean I'd want to wander the fields and smell the roses.

snowWI 10 years, 6 months ago

its_getting_warmer, Once again you are comparing apples and oranges. The Lawrence coal plant is one of the oldest in state and has been in operation for over 50 years. I do agree that we NEED to clean up the older power plants as much as possible in order to reduce emissions. CO2 should be regulated on a national level and not a state by state basis.

snowWI 10 years, 6 months ago

"I say shut Jefferies and Lawrence plants down. And curb demand growth where the pollution is the most in Lawrence. If replacement power is needed, get it from Holcomb."

I would prefer a nuclear power plant built over a coal plant any day of the week. At least with a nuclear plant you do not have to worry about C02, S02, N02, and mercury emissions. Of course the nuclear waste is always going to be a problem. I say that we need to either upgrade the oldest coal plants with state of the art pollution control devices. This should be done throughout the country as well. If newer plants come on-line then the oldest and most polluting plants should close.

kpm 10 years, 6 months ago

Wouldn't the increase in acid rain sort of counteract the supposed benefit from C02?

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