Tuesday, June 08,
Thank you for checking with the David Suzuki Foundation on carbon dioxide “domes” reported in Dr. Suzuki’s column of May 30. (“Suzuki column lacks proper reference”, 04/06/02, A6) His column incorrectly indicated that locally high levels of carbon dioxide in cities contribute substantially to the heat island effect there. His staff told you that the information was taken from an April 30th Globe and Mail article. I found that Alanna Mitchell wrote the article.
Alanna’s article includes the phrase “The extra heat trapped underneath the CO2 causes plants to grow more…”. She implies this is due to local greenhouse heating, although that is not actually said absolutely. Dr Suzuki’s staff interpreted her article and concluded quite strongly that locally high carbon dioxide concentrations “intensify the “urban heat-island effect”.
An article from the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change indicates that high concentrations of carbon dioxide expected within and near cities have been confirmed by measurement (i.e. - Idso et al, 1998). Climate scientists (Balling et al, 2002) calculated the related amount of greenhouse warming. They concluded that “high urban near-surface air temperatures are not the result of a local CO2-enhanced greenhouse effect”
In summary, scientists measured high atmospheric CO2 concentration in cities and asked if it contributed significantly to the heat island effect. Their answer was no. After the information passed through the Globe and Mail and the David Suzuki Foundation the answer was yes.
Why do I care about this drastic distortion of one minor climate change issue? Why should Herald readers care? Many climate change issues have been similarly distorted by erroneous or exaggerated retelling. Our Prime Minister was stampeded into ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in late 2002. We may still be expected to pay for that mistake.
cc. by email
Globe and Mail
David Suzuki Foundation