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Co2 emissions. Kurowska: if there is zero emission, “we will simply starve nature”. It’s not like that

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Solidarna Polska MP Maria Kurowska argues that if we want to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to zero, then “we want to starve the planet”. We explain why – by criticizing the zero-emission postulate – the MP ignores scientific knowledge.

“We are refuting another lie that stupefies people, which is behind the ban on internal combustion cars and pushing electric cars!” she announced on March 6 on Twitter Solidarity Poland MP Maria Kurowska. “The EU wants to reduce CO2 emissions to 0. And yet carbon dioxide is necessary for the life of humans and plants! For the life of the entire planet! We want to starve the Earth” – we read in the post. It was accompanied by a recording of a fragment of the press conference of Solidarna Polska politicians from March 3 regarding the opposition to the “ban on the sale of internal combustion cars”. During the conference, he spoke Deputy Minister of Climate Jacek Dekora, who, listening to the statements of his party colleague, remained silent. The post on Kurowska’s profile was viewed over 500,000 times. times and aroused many comments.

Kurowska’s post had over half a million viewsTwitter

“We usually say, the European Union and environmentalists, that we want to reduce CO2 emissions to zero. But why do we want so much to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to zero?” MP Kurowska asked at the conference. “Is carbon dioxide harmful? No, ladies and gentlemen. Carbon dioxide has always been in the air. And it will be” – she noted. She further emphasized that CO2 is essential for human life and plant life. She talked about the production of oxygen and organic substances by plants, which happens thanks to carbon dioxide. She noted that the lack or excess of CO2 in the human body is unfavorable. “There is a certain range that should exist so that a person can use carbon dioxide” – emphasized Kurowska. “So what, we want to starve the planet? Because that’s what it comes down to,” she asked rhetorically.

If there is zero emission, there will be no carbon dioxide. There will be no carbon dioxide in the air, we will not just starve nature, because what will it develop from, if it is the basic component of its building material?

MP Kurowska in the Sejm: “And what is our problem?”

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On March 9, when asked about this statement in the Sejm, MP Kurowska argued that “these are scientific data”. She referred to a “brochure” that had been sent to her by post. However, she did not remember from whom she received these materials. “I just typed it out and gave it to her,” she explained. Radomir Wit from TVN24 about the surprise of the science world was denied by the MP. “Has anyone from the scientific world made a statement? Please send me the statements that refute what I said to dust” – she said. Radomir Wit noted that the statement was read as support for carbon dioxide emissions on the basis of “the more, the better”. MP Kurowska pointed out that she was talking about a “certain range” of the amount of CO2 in the human body. When asked about CO2 emissions from cars, she told journalists: “You do not distinguish between smog and carbon dioxide” – “Please get ready, see how it is and we will continue to talk” – she argued.

She further accused journalists of creating a “narrative that carbon dioxide is the greatest evil, that we excrete it so much”. “Mrs. MP, you sound as if nothing is happening. As if we don’t have a problem as people” – Radomir Wit was surprised. “And what’s the problem?” Kurowska replied with a question.

Mrs. Kurowska is right when she says that carbon dioxide is a gas necessary for human and plant life. Plants use it in the process of photosynthesis, while producing oxygen. However, Kurowska goes further in her argument: she suggests that meeting the zero-emission postulate, ie limiting artificial carbon dioxide emissions to zero, will harm nature and, consequently, human beings; that nature will be starved. Such statements are not confirmed in the scientific literature. In the pre-industrial era, nature developed without significant anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Scientists emphasize that it is the current record concentrations of CO2 that are a threat to life on earth – all because of climate warming caused by emissions. MP Kurowska seems to ignore this key perspective.

Greenhouse gas emissions and climate

Global carbon dioxide emissions related to energy generation increased in 2022 by 0.9 percent. to 36.8 billion tons and set a new record, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). If the goals of limiting global temperature rise and preventing climate change are to be met, major reductions in CO2 emissions, mainly from the burning of fossil fuels, will be necessary in the coming years, the report says.

Anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, are correlated with climate warming, which threatens human life. In subsequent reports of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it was emphasized that slowing down the increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s surface requires reducing human-related carbon emissions to zero. MP Kurowska, criticizing the zero-emission postulates, ignores or downplays the problem of climate warming.

The scale of human responsibility

The first significant amounts of carbon dioxide produced by humans appeared in the atmosphere at the beginning of the industrial era. They shot up around 1950 and have been growing ever since. The correlation of increasing human production of CO2 with increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is undeniable. According to estimates, about half of the amount of CO2 emitted in the atmosphere remains. The rest is absorbed by the oceans and vegetation, which – before man began to produce carbon dioxide on such a scale – naturally kept its amount at a relatively stable level. Studies of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere indicate that from the year 1000 to the beginning of the industrial era, the balance in nature was about zero: the oceans and plants emitted about as much as they absorbed.

As a result of the burning of fossil fuels from 1850 to 1950, this concentration increased to 315 ppm (parts per million), and from then until today, this amount has increased to 400 ppm and continues to increase – at a rate of about 2 ppm per year. Current concentrations are the highest in at least hundreds of thousands, if not several million years.

“According to the European Environment Agency, about 1/4 of the total CO2 emissions in the EU in 2019 came from the transport sector, of which 71.7% from road transport” – informs the European Parliament on website. Transport is the only sector where greenhouse gas emissions have increased over the last three decades.

CO2 emissions in the EU by categoryEuropean parliament

“If there is zero emission, there will be no carbon dioxide”? It’s fake news

Carbon dioxide is necessary for the production of oxygen and for the development of plants. Moreover, it is also true that an increase in carbon dioxide concentration can be beneficial for plants in the short term. In 2016, scientists observed an increase in the amount of green areas on Earth, which they linked to anthropogenic CO2 emissions. At the same time, they pointed out that artificial emissions bring more harm than good, i.e. global warming, melting glaciers, rising sea level and increasingly dangerous weather in various places around the world (heavy downpours, strong cyclones and tornadoes). In 2013, the website wrote extensively on this topic Climate science.

Yes, an increase in CO2 concentration can be beneficial for plants – but only locally and in the short term. In the long term, the area of ​​arid and desert areas will increase. The areas available for vegetation, already weakened by pests, water and nutrient deficiencies, will shrink.

In the pre-industrial era, the balance of carbon dioxide in nature oscillated around zero, and this did not prevent human development. “It’s scary to think how people and families in general lived before cars existed” – ironically prof. Bogdan Chojnicki, a climatologist from the Poznań University of Life Sciences in “Fakty” TVN. “It seems that earlier we simply [życia] it was not, and thanks to cars and emissions from chimneys, life on earth is de facto possible” – he added.

“We are not in danger of dying because there will be too little carbon dioxide, but we are in danger of dying because there will be too much carbon dioxide and climate change will be such that we will simply not be able to adapt to it” – he assessed. also in “Faktch” TVN prof. Zbigniew Karaczun from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences and an expert of the Climate Coalition. A return to the natural balance of CO2 turnover in the atmosphere – in the light of scientific knowledge about the threats to human life resulting from anthropogenic emissions – would therefore be beneficial for human life.

Author:Krzysztof Jablonowski

Main photo source: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

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