Desperate times, call for desperate arguments.
In a last ditch bid to build two new coal plants in Kansas, Larry Powell (R- Garden City) is making the argument that the new coal plants would be in fact good for local crops.
It's worth mentioning that Garden City, Kansas is also home to a new organization called “Kansans for Affordable Energy.”
The KAE recently ran outrageous print ads claiming that Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Vladamir Putin are smiling because the Kansas state government rejected the new coal plants and would now have to rely on Iran, Russia and Venezuela for natural gas imports.
The KAE failed to mention that Kansas does not currently import any natural gas from these countries and in fact receives well over three-quarters of its gas from Canada.
The KAE also failed to mention that coal giant Peabody Coal and the local coal-fired electrical company that lost the bid to build the two new coal plants picked up most of the tab for the advertisements.
Rep. Powell said a recent study shows that over the next 50 years, “atmospheric CO2 enrichment will boost world agricultural output by about 50 percent.”
To prove his point, Powell points to a report written by longtime climate cranks Craig and Keith Idso of the Arizona-based Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Climate Change.
The Idso's are not well known for their science, as much as they're known for their willingness to issue “reports” for coal industry associations like the Western Fuel Association. The Fuels Association paid the Idsos $250,000 to produce a video, “The Greening of Planet Earth,” which argued global warming could be good by extending the growing season.
The Idso's Center has also received grants from oil-giant ExxonMobil in the past.
I don't know exactly which report on the benefits of CO2 on plants Rep. Powell is referring to, there are numerous on the Idso's site.
However, one would think that when elected representatives are looking for scientific research they would look to peer-reviewed scientific journals, the experts in the field, instead of relying on reports they find on websites.
As for the claim that C02 is good for us 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.