Natural News' Mike Adams Adds Global Warming Denialism to HIV/AIDS denial, Anti-vax, Altie-med, Anti-GMO, Birther Crankery

I still think that list is pretty incomplete, the RationalWiki has more, but it's interesting to see a potential internal ideological conflict as Adams sides with big business and the fossil fuel industry to suggest CO2 is the best gas ever. While he doesn't appear to directly deny CO2 is a greenhouse gas, he's managed to merge his anti-government conspiratorial tendencies with his overriding naturalistic fantasy to decide the government (and Al Gore) are conspiring to destroy our power infrastructure with carbon taxes, and deny the world the benefit of 1000ppm CO2 in the atmosphere. His solution? Pump coal power exhaust into greenhouses growing food. I'm not kidding:

This brings up an obvious answer for what to do with all the CO2 produced by power plants, office buildings and even fitness centers where people exhale vast quantities of CO2. The answer is to build adjacent greenhouses and pump the CO2 into the greenhouses.

Every coal-fired power plant, in other words, should have a vast array of greenhouses surrounding it. Most of what you see emitted from power plant smokestacks is water vapor and CO2, both essential nutrients for rapid growth of food crops. By diverting carbon dioxide and water into greenhouses, the problem of emissions is instantly solved because the plants update the CO2 and use it for photosynthesis, thus "sequestering" the CO2 while rapidly growing food crops. It also happens to produce oxygen as a "waste product" which can be released into the atmosphere, (slightly) upping the oxygen level of the air we breathe.

He seems to have forgotten about all the mercury, lead, cadmium, volatile organics, sulfur etc., emitted by burning coal. I wonder how these different crank theories somehow manage to occupy the same brain, as his mercury paranoia appears temporarily overwhelmed by his anti-government conspiracism. I mean, he's defending burning coal. It boggles the mind. I'm not exactly the biggest food purity buff, but even I find the idea of growing food in coal-fire exhaust somewhat, well, insane? Mad? Totally bonkers? What's the right word for it? Maybe we need to create a new word for this level of craziness? Maybe we should name it after Adams, and call it Adamsian. You could say "Adamsian nuttery" to really refer to a truly bizarre level of crankery. Unless it's an April Fools day prank, but then it was published on the 31st...nope, I think he's just that nuts.

More like this

Thanks, we've tried to make the RationalWiki article a fully-referenced catalogue of Adams' status as a singularity of gibbering crankdom :-)

By David Gerard (not verified) on 01 Apr 2013 #permalink

He is an naive idiot and an crank – but I vaguely remember that increased CO2 concentration lead to increased plant growth. And while his suggestion to use the CO2 from coal plants to feed greenhouses is highly impractical, if not impossible, on the other hand I am amazed how much is done in the are of carbon sequestration, and how much know-how and resources are poured into this technology. He doesn't seem to know what he is talking about, but do you actually know what might or might not be possible in the next decades? I feel in your frenzy to polarize the debate with a crank, you pour out the baby with the bathtub.

And while I assume that he *might* deny CO2 induced global warming – otherwise he probably wouldn't suggest pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere – he doesn't explicitly deny global warming in his article. He *might* as well harbor the impression that increased plant growth will take care of the additional CO2. You play a bit fast&loose in your frenzy to label people as global warming deniers.

In one point I have to agree (somehow) with him: I think the classification of CO2 as an "pollutant" is wrong. Maybe it is my understanding of the English language (which is a foreign language to me), but things like mercury, plutonium or trichloroethylene are pollutants. CO2 is a "greenhouse" gas, and somehow important for plants (something about metabolic pathways). Even we humans need it to regulate the pH of our blood, or so I heard. And with regards to ocean acidification: I'll hold back my opinion until I'll see what's hype and what's not. Amazing as it sounds, I take it there are even today still things to learn with regards to the chemistry of water and CO2:…

Sorry to rain a bit on your parade, I know how much you like polarization. But then again I'm certain you'll not get tired to repolarize the debate as best as you can, and finding novel ways to do so, facts be damned. But with someone like Mike Adams you surely found a low hanging fruit that should be easy to bash.

By Tony Mach (not verified) on 02 Apr 2013 #permalink

@Tony Mach

Statistically, Mike Adams must occasionally state something that is partially correct -- everyone makes mistakes.

By Pete Doublet (not verified) on 02 Apr 2013 #permalink

There are lots of problems with Mike's CO2 as plant food scheme, one of which is that for most plants, CO2 is not the limiting factor in their growth. You need to provide nitrogen and minerals (unfortunately, not the same ones you find in coal ash) as well.

I'm not sure that "crazy" is the right word for people like Mike. He's in it for the money (the pharma shill gambit is usually projection), and he may have discovered that certain people are willing to give him money to advocate fossil fuel consumption.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 02 Apr 2013 #permalink

So no one else is bothered by the idea of spreading heavy metals onto our food supply? Or are we assuming some mystical "clean coal" technology that will get rid of all the bad stuff you get when you burn dirty fuels?

Anyway, the "pollutant" thing I think is a straw man. No one is saying that CO2 is somehow an unnatural pollutant. No, the issue is that it is a greenhouse gas and that at excess levels is changing our climate. Methane too comes from natural sources, as a driver of climate change it can be seen as a "pollutant". There are all sorts of pollutants that are natural, from sewage (waste is plant food too!), to materials that are usually pretty benign but damaging when they are concentrated or contaminate other areas. We have noise pollution, light pollution. Pollution doesn't mean something is unnatural, much of the pollution we create is from natural activities, just that in excess it becomes a problem - sewage being the most pertinent example.

I don't know who Adams was specifically referring to with that bit as he doesn't link anything (Al Gore is my guess), but it's certainly a silly argument, and that's besides the point. Adams, benefiting from his own awesome science knowledge, has pegged the ideal CO2 concentration in the atmosphere at 1000PPM. And also we should put it on plants. And gov'mint!

It's funny. Point and laugh. It's ok. As far as this being global warming denialism? Let's see, we have conspiracy ("The EPA, under the excuse of "saving the planet," is destroying America's power infrastructure and leading our nation into a third-world scenario where power availability is dicey and unsustained."), cherry-picking (benefits of CO2 vs all possible negative consequence, Ontario minister quote), fake experts (Mike Adams himself), no obvious moving goalposts yet, but we also have the awesome logical fallacy that CO2 is good for plants, therefor 300% more CO2 in the atmosphere will be great for plants, the straw man "pollutant" smear that somehow environmentalists want to eliminate all CO2 in the atmosphere ("I'll bet you've never heard Al Gore talk about CO2 as "nutrition." He declares it a pollutant and wants to tax you for producing it. But CO2 is actually a key nutritive gas for food crops. Without carbon dioxide, we would all have starved to death by now.")

No, I think this qualifies as a denialist argument. We've got 4 of 5 criteria in a single essay.

@David: Wow, that's quite the collection you guys put up on RW. I must say, it's an impressive catalog of NaturalNews craziness. You ever thought of doing that for

@Tony: There's a bunch of global warming denial sites out there that make the same arguments as Adams. Like this one. Or this one. I get that's kind of guilt by association, but anyone in the same territory as clowns like these is, I think, immediately suspect. He may not deny global warming explicitly in his article, but he is still arguing major BS. And remember, he did jump on the Climategate bandwagon as proof that scientists are hiding the truth from the public (though I think he cared more about how it proved Big Pharma was worse, or something). So it's not like he has credibility, exactly.

As for classifying pollutants, I agree it's a tricky business, probably because people generally think pollutants are somehow not natural, or really dangerous, like the ones you named. That said, not all pollutants are the kind that kill you immediately. Complicating things further is that something can be a pollutant in one situation but not in another. Ozone, for instance, is a pollutant in cities (it helps make smog and causes respiratory problems) but it's a damn good thing to have in abundance up in the stratosphere. CO2 is the same way. Without it, we'd have no liquid water, and plants wouldn't be alive. Nobody's saying it's not good to have in the atmosphere, but that doesn't make burning fossil fuels a good thing.

What all pollutants have in common is they can have some negative effects at certain concentrations. Most people forget this about toxicology, simply having a chemical around isn't necessarily bad, it's all about the concentration. That doesn't mean all those chemicals always have bad effects in all contexts--some of them even have beneficial effects in some situations. But all the evidence of climatology and atmospheric chemistry and physics indicates that high CO2 concentrations in the air will have some very nasty side effects, to the point that any good ones will probably be negated. More CO2 probably will be a boon for some plants, but worldwide climate change, on the whole, is not.

Why don't we consult an encyclopedia?

the pollutant wiki says:

A pollutant is a substance or energy introduced into the environment that has undesired effects, or adversely affects the usefulness of a resource. A pollutant may cause long- or short-term damage by changing the growth rate of plant or animal species, or by interfering with human amenities, comfort, health, or property values.

The pollution wiki says:

Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change.[1] Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light. Pollutants, the components of pollution, can be either foreign substances/energies or naturally occurring contaminants. Pollution is often classed as point source or nonpoint source pollution.

I suspect that Tony and Adams' definition of pollutant is incomplete. The substance need not be unnatural, or universally harmful. It only needs to be in excess, or in the wrong place, and as a result cause harmful effects.

@Mark: What seriously bothers me isn't "the idea of spreading heavy metals onto our food supply", it's the fact that some decision makers and many voters are so scientifically bankrupt that they think Adams et al. are something other than mildly entertaining clowns.

I see little evidence for decision makers using excellent resources (such as RationalWiki and ScienceBlogs) and critical thinking skills. This bothers me immensely.

Most unfortunately, many of us who try our best to promote science and critical thinking often end up playing a whack-a-mole game. However, with time and enough players it does make a worthwhile difference.

By Pete Doublet (not verified) on 02 Apr 2013 #permalink

I don't honestly expect such an article as this to change anyone's minds. Anyone aligned with this guy is probably hopeless. I really just pointed this out for a laugh. It's just so nutty.

You ever thought of doing that for

Presumptuous of me to respond on David Gerard's behalf, but is the lowest-hanging of all fruitcakes:

And as to Mike Adams, what can one say? Anybody who can read any paragraph of Adams' and take it seriously is in grave peril of his or her ... well, what do we have, anyway, instead of an immortal soul, a mortal cerebrum?

Oh for sure, is low-hanging fruit if there ever was some, but it's not like NaturalNews is much above it on the tree of insanity. I don't know, maybe it wouldn't be as entertaining, but there's just so much first-degree lunacy on, it seems like you could easily make the kind of catalog there as on the RW NaturalNews page.

Regardless, there's some excellent stuff on the RationalWiki page. And thanks for the laugh, Mark.

It is absolutely hilarious how upset liberals and eco kooks get around Mike Adams and Alex Jones. It brings warm joy to my heart knowing that Adams, Jones, and numerous others are wreaking hell on the modern left wing globalist agenda.

By Truth serum addict (not verified) on 02 Apr 2013 #permalink

It's funny, because on this thread I get accused of being a liberal and eco-kook. Yet on my anti-GMO thread I get accused of being a right-wing big business shill out to destroy the earth.

I wish you cranks could make up your minds.

Come to think of it, considering what day this post was published, there may have been a missed opportunity.
Tell you what: I'll work on my left-wing globalist agenda and meet you back here next year. Delete this comment after reading, and for god's sake not a word to truth serum guy.

no need to work on it. It is already finished. Ever read the Agenda 21 papers? Looks like you have tyranny pretty much covered. That mixed with Camp Fema, taxes on everything in existance including breathing and blinking, coupled with a president who can and has already assasinated Americans with drones, police, dark agents,etc, you pretty much have the agenda down.

Now all we have to do is wait for the globalists to crash the world economy on purpose and let the feds and military imprison or shoot those of us who resist getting microchipped in the name of the new beast that is almost about to pop his little head up.

By Truth Serum Addict (not verified) on 03 Apr 2013 #permalink

OK; who leaked the memo? Fortunately, truth boy has not heard about neurogenetic engineering and the Null, or we'd have to re-schedule the invasion.

Holy crap, "Truth Serum Addict" has to be a poe. Either that, or that serum he's addicted to is having a paradoxical effect.

By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 04 Apr 2013 #permalink

not a poe. Just a concerned individual citizen. Concerned that his country is about to ditch the founding father's idea of America for the Karl Marx idea of it. That's all.

By Truth Serum Addict (not verified) on 04 Apr 2013 #permalink