Emily Gertz is stuck on stupid

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on May 24, 2009

Emily Gertz is the "journalist" referenced below who suggested that Representatives Michelle Bachmann and John Shimkus commit suicide because they reject her belief that CO2 is a dangerous gas. A similar "experiment" to the one Gertz suggested would be to put a plant in a clear plastic bag and watch it "suffocate due to an oversaturation of oxygen" when it's really a lack of CO2.

Warning! Oxygen kills (plants)! Gertz would declare to the world!

I return to Gertz because in the hours that followed my initial post (and James Taranto's too), a number of commenters on her blog corrected her faulty science. They may have also called her stupid. None of the commenters suggested that Gertz off herself.

Gertz's response, like those of all AGW-supporters, is to claim consensus and disappear all opposing voices. She deleted all of the critical comments and doubled down on stupid, linking to this fact sheet on CO2 toxicity.

The fact sheet is appropriately scary.

Volunteers exposed to 3.3% or 5.4% CO2 for 15 minutes experienced increased depth of breathing. At 7.5%, a feeling of an inability to breathe (dyspnea), increased pulse rate, headache, dizziness, sweating, restlessness, disorientation, and visual distortion developed. Twenty-minute exposures to 6.5 or 7.5% decreased mental performance. Irritability and discomfort were reported with exposure to 6.5% for approximately 70 minutes. Exposure to 6% for several minutes, or 30% for 20-30 seconds, has affected the heart, as evidenced by altered electrocardiograms.

Workers briefly exposed to very high concentrations showed damage to the retina, sensitivity to light (photophobia), abnormal eye movements, constriction of visual fields, and enlargement of blind spots. Exposure to up to 3.0% for over 15 hours, for six days, resulted in decreased night vision and colour sensitivity.

Exposure to 10% for 1.5 minutes has caused eye flickering, excitation and increased muscle activity and twitching. Concentrations greater than 10% have caused difficulty in breathing, impaired hearing, nausea, vomiting, a strangling sensation, sweating, stupor within several minutes and loss of consciousness within 15 minutes. Exposure to 30% has quickly resulted in unconsciousness and convulsions. Several deaths have been attributed to exposure to concentrations greater than 20%. Effects of CO2 can become more pronounced upon physical exertion, such as heavy work.

Wow! Gertz is right -- if you ignore the first two sentences.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is naturally present in the atmosphere at levels of approximately 0.035%. Short-term exposure to CO2 at levels below 2% (20,000 parts per million or ppm) has not been reported to cause harmful effects.

In other words, C02 has zero deleterious effects up to 57 times what is present in the atmosphere.

Are we going to reach 57 times the current atmospheric concentration ever? Even the notoriously alarmist Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change models show a worst-case scenario of .07% atmospheric concentration of CO2 by 2100. These models are all geared to have everything as a positive feedback, so there's a distinct possibility that we would never get anywhere close to .07% ever -- just maybe those trees and plants will take the additional CO2 and use it to grow and make more of that toxic (to trees) oxygen.

Emily Gertz isn't a journalist. She's a left-wing activist.


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May 2009



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