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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

"Expert" David Legates tells US Senate Committee that CO2 is animal food

Sou | 2:04 AM Go to the first of 14 comments. Add a comment

This'll tickle your funny bone. Anthony Watts has been privileged with an advance copy of testimony to a US Senate Committee (archived here, with the pdf file of the testimony copied here). It probably makes him feel so important to have a copy before it's presented. (Surely that's frowned upon.) Some members of the US Senate Committee for Environment and Public Works obviously wanted to have a little fun at the expense of the US taxpayers, so they called up a chap by the name of David Legates to testify.

David has impressive credentials. He says:

I am a Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware and I served as the Delaware State Climatologist from 2005 to 2011. I also am an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Agricultural Economics & Statistics and the Physical Ocean Science and Engineering Program. I received a B.A. in Mathematics and Geography, a M.S. in Geography, and a Ph.D. in Climatology, all from the University of Delaware

I checked because I found it almost impossible to credit that a university would employ a ratbag like David Legates. It does - but he doesn't have any profile there :(

CO2 is animal food!

I started reading his testimony but had to stop on page two when I got to this bit:
Considering that CO2 is food for plants and animals...
Yep, you read that right. Here it is in black and white and grey - see page two:

David Legates isn't just running the normal denier spiel that "CO2 is plant food". Now it's animal food, too. Do you reckon he feeds his livestock CO2? Would he feed it to them frozen, you know, slabs of dry ice which would look just like salt licks? Surely not. Do their tongues stick to the CO2 when they try to lick it?

David Legates might call himself a climatologist, but he's a science denying climatologist. He has graced this blog before - here and here. Oh, and he's a member of the Cornwall Alliance cult.

Pity David's animals. Pity the poor Delawarians :(


  1. CO2 would be rather fattening. I have read that you can live on just light...

  2. Do you think Legates has seen this

    1. Good one.
      Wish that were brought up every time some fool says
      "Heck CO2 ain't no pollutant"

      Even better than the movie, here's the story, makes for a good read:
      "As Apollo 13 sped toward Earth, mission control was beginning to worry about a new problem. While the lunar module had enough spare oxygen to accommodate Swigert as well as the intended lunar module crew of Lovell and Haise, carbon dioxide was beginning to build up. …
      "As reported in Lost Moon, Lovell's book about the Apollo 13 mission (cowritten by Jeffery Kluger; republished as Apollo 13), Ed Smylie, one of the engineers who developed and tested life support systems for NASA, had recognized that carbon dioxide was going to be a problem as soon as he heard the lunar module was being pressed into service after the explosion. …"

  3. Replies
    1. Come on John, don't be so coy ;- )

      "David Legates

      Legates is a Joint Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Delaware. [2] In 2005, Legates was designated as Delaware's State Climatologist. [3]

      Legates was later asked to step down as State Climatologist by the Dean of the University. Although no one at the university was willing to explain the reason for replacing Legates as the State Climatologist, Greenpeace speculates that the reason may have been Legates's close ties with Willie Soon.

      Legates and Soon have authored numerous papers together, including a controversial 2007 “polar bear study” that was partially funded by Koch Industries.

      He is a regular contributor to publications of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), and is connected to numerous conservative think tanks that oppose climate change regulation or are skeptical of man-made global warming.

  4. "...the response of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide... Considering that CO2 is food for plants and animals, this is seen as a positive and any potential negative effects are minimal."

    This is quite funny until you look at the wider context of saying that any "potential effects are minimal". Ignoring that the statement is meaningless without qualification, it is truly embarrassing this is the level of discussion at Senate level.It reminds me when the UK parliamentary committee had Lindzen and Laframboise(?) to give evidence - excruciatingly toe-curling to listen to.

  5. Oh my Sou. I wish you had not posted that submission by David Legates. I made the mistake of skim reading it. What a whiny whinger!

  6. Its a little known fact that when Lake Nyos spewed out a cloud of CO2, 1,700 people and 3,500 livestock died from overeating.

  7. Legates is recently "famous" for a letter to PNAS along with Eschenbach and Soon, questioning a paper on albedo decrease due to diminishing arctic ice.

    The response is illuminating, suggesting they failed to read the entire paper and failed to understand the parts they did read.

    A couple of gems:

    "In other words, the procedure that Legates et al. say would be “better” is actually the one we used.";

    'Based on their comment, it seems possible that Legates et al. (2) have misinterpreted our use of the term “planetary albedo” to mean “global-mean albedo.”'

    For those with access to PNAS, see doi: 10.1073/pnas.1405487111

    1. That was funny! Thanks for giving me a good laugh. Or rather, I should thank Legates et al (and Eisenman) to provide me with some comic relief, and you for pointing us to the rebuttal

    2. that response is simply beautiful :-)

      it's very short, so PNAS's "first page" sample covers the whole thing:

  8. WUWT is mushroom food.

  9. Increasing CO2 threatens human nutrition
    Nature 510, 139–142 (05 June 2014) doi:10.1038/nature13179

    "Dietary deficiencies of zinc and iron are a substantial global public health problem. An estimated two billion people suffer these deficiencies1, causing a loss of 63 million life-years annually2, 3. Most of these people depend on C3 grains and legumes as their primary dietary source of zinc and iron. Here we report that C3 grains and legumes have lower concentrations of zinc and iron when grown under field conditions at the elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration predicted for the middle of this century. C3 crops other than legumes also have lower concentrations of protein, whereas C4 crops seem to be less affected. Differences between cultivars of a single crop suggest that breeding for decreased sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 concentration could partly address these new challenges to global health."


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