Are High Levels of CO2 Making People Dumber?

Climate change seems to be a common theme these days; news sources spout some shocking discovery, perhaps declaring the end of the world is near- and it’s all the fault of humanity! Yes, humanity, to some, is the single-most greatest threat to the existence of our planet and every living thing. Therefore the government must come to the rescue. They’re the knight in shining armor; politicians gear up with their fellow alarmists to slay the evil dragon, enacting such legislation as to limit or prevent our use of the natural resources provided by this planet, saving us from certain disaster and extinction. Yay.

But all this is predicated on the truth of the matter. Is anthropomorphic (human- caused) climate change really occurring at all? And, if so, is there anything that can be done to stop or reduce it?

I’ve come across a number of articles on climate change worth writing about, so where should I begin? How about the latest claims that high CO2 levels are making people… dumber?

I know, there are plenty of jokes that could be made of this, especially pertaining to Al Gore, the Prince of Climate Change himself. But people becoming dumb, dumber and dumberer is no joking matter.

Seriously, a study by the Harvard School of Public Health claims that scores on cognition tests were “significantly better” in buildings with “green” conditions as compared to conventional buildings in the workplace. News sources immediately began touting carbon dioxide as having a negative impact on human cognition and decision-making. Even Al Gore tweeted the following:

Gore Tweet

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for good, clean air and healthy ventilation systems in our workplace. The issue I have is with how a study like this gets twisted to support anthropomorphic climate change and justify government regulation. If there’s any truth to the study, then it would be in the best interest of businesses to improve the work environment themselves.

The Daily Caller did a nice job countering the study’s rhetoric, pointing to studies done by the U.S. Navy indicating that exposure to concentrations of CO2 as high as 4,100 ppm (parts per million) on nuclear powered submarines- well above occupational health limits- is safe. Other studies exposing crewmen on submarines to as much as 15,000 ppm and 30,000 ppm for 42 days “showed no psychomotor testing effects”. And still other studies have shown exposure up to 40,000 ppm doesn’t “impair neurobehavioral performance,” according to the National Research Council.

No doubt the sensational claims about high levels of CO2 making us dumber is meant to encourage us to demand the government do something to stop it. Obviously we don’t want to become dumber, right? Therefore it would seem that our only hope is for government regulation. But I disagree. Perhaps government could provide certain incentives to those businesses willing to improve ventilation in the work environment, but what I’m opposed to is limiting the amount of gas we put in our car, the type of food we’re allowed to eat, or preventing us from using the best and most affordable energy sources available.

Even if CO2 does make people dumber, that doesn’t mean government regulation will prevent climate change, or that humans are in any way responsible for climate change. The climate is so incredibly complex that computer models can’t predict the future, and it certainly can’t tell us exactly what the human contribution is.

Whether or not higher levels of CO2 make people dumber is open to debate. But even if it were true, that doesn’t tell us what role humanity plays, if any, or if government regulation is necessary and would have a positive effect. Perhaps the effects would be detrimental, especially in Third World countries. I find it more rational not to fear these alarmist claims and would rather have less government interference. Big government is a larger and more immediate threat than climate change; Big government has a real effect that can be measured- just take a look at your next pay stub to see the results of government’s hand in your life. However, when you walk outside and observe the climate, you cannot quantitatively conclude that the climate would be any different if humans didn’t exist.

I’m simply thankful that God created an amazing planet for us to live on, and if there is any truth to the study, I’m glad that the earth is well-regulated and finely tuned for our existence so that we don’t need to live in fear.

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2 thoughts on “Are High Levels of CO2 Making People Dumber?

  1. Humans are responsible for climate change but not in the way most people believe. The greatest incident of climate change in history was the worldwide flood and it was a judgment for sin.

    In Elijah’s time Israel suffered a drought because of sin and the drought ended when the people rejected Baal and turned back to God. Perhaps the current drought in California has a similar cause and can be ended the same way.

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