If you wonder why the ignorance of the American people actually matters, here’s a good example. Tom DeWeese of the wingnut American Policy Center went on Crosstalk and claimed that global warming is a hoax because trees give off carbon dioxide. Seriously.
DeWeese: The bottom line is, CO2 is not a poison to human beings, CO2 is not affecting the atmosphere, there is absolutely no evidence, I can say this with absolute confidence, there is no evidence of man-made global warming causing problems. We are actually going through a cooling period right now, which is going to increase over the next few years, it’s cyclical, it happens. I used to have a weatherman in my hometown who started the weather by saying ‘whether it’s cold or whether it’s hot, we’ll always have weather, whether or not’ and that’s exactly what this is. Every time we have a dry season or we have strong hurricanes or we have a really hot summer or a mild winter, these idiots start this drumbeat again, ‘global warming, see here’s what it is.’ They tried to say that this year is the warmest on record, it’s not. They will just keep coming up with his stuff, it’s just craziness…
Trees give off carbon dioxide; all the plants around us give it off. The fact is some scientists have done some studies saying we’ve got a carbon dioxide shortage right now. That then causes plants to die, that causes environmental damage.
The reality is exactly the opposite, of course; plants absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. That’s why deforestation matters, because it’s another human activity that increases the carbon dioxide load in the atmosphere.