Uploaded on Apr 23, 2009
http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/200... On the House floor on Earth Day, April 22, 2009, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) argues that manmade global warming doesn't make any sense because "carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of nature." Attempting to repeat the goofy denier talking point that CO2 makes up only a fraction of the atmospheric content and thus isn't of concern, Bachmann errs wildly. She claims that carbon dioxide makes up "three percent of the atmosphere," when in fact it only comprises 0.03% -- off by a factor of a hundred.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) responds: "Its interesting to listen to her say that something that was naturally occurring simply couldnt be harmful, ignoring the fact that we have the highest concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for 2/3 of a million years."
BACHMANN: But people talk about cap and tax and they arent sure exactly what were talking about. Lets get back to step one. What is the problem? Why do we have to have this tax in the first place?
Its about carbon dioxide.
Well, what is carbon dioxide? Lets just go to a fundamental question.
Carbon dioxide, Mister Speaker, is a natural byproduct of nature. Carbon dioxide is natural. It occurs in Earth. It is a part of the regular lifecycle of Earth. In fact, life on planet Earth cant even exist without carbon dioxide. So necessary is it to human life, to animal life, to plant life, to the oceans, to the vegetation thats on the Earth, to the, to the fowl that — that flies in the air, we need to have carbon dioxide as part of the fundamental lifecycle of Earth.
As a matter of fact, carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful!
But there isnt even one study that can be produced that shows carbon dioxide is a harmful gas. There isnt one such study because carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas, it is a harmless gas. Carbon dioxide is natural. It is not harmful. It is part of Earths life cycle.
And yet were being told that we have to reduce this natural substance and reduce the American standard of living to create an arbitrary reduction in something that is naturally occuring in the earth. Well were told the crux of this problem is human activity. Its humans that are creating more carbon dioxide!
Is that true, or is that false?
Well, carbon dioxide is a natural part of Earths atmosphere. The carbon dioxide is perhaps three percent of the total atmosphere thats in the Earth. So if you take a pie chart, and you have all of Earths atmosphere, carbon dioxide is perhaps three percent of that total.
What part of human activity creates carbon dioxide? If carbon dioxide is a negligible gas and its only three percent of Earths atmosphere, what part is human activity?
Human activity contributes perhaps three percent of the three percent. In other words, human activity is maybe 3 percent contributing to the 3 percent of carbon dioxide thats in Earths atmosphere. Its so negligible — its a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent — that it can hardly be — be quantified.
BLUMENAUER: My good friend, the gentlelady from Minnesota, doesnt think there are any problems with the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Its interesting to listen to her say that something that was naturally occurring simply couldnt be harmful, ignoring the fact that we have the highest concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for 2/3 of a million years.
The consensus of the scientific community — not people making things up on the floor of the House — is that this has been profoundly influenced by human activity, starting with the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, where we started consuming huge quantities of coal, burning fossil fuels, accelerating that over time. The consensus of the scientific community is that this is in fact a serious problem.