A note to readers: this is an old post on the archive website for Promethean PAC. It was written when we were known as LaRouche PAC, before changing our name to Promethean PAC in April 2024. You can find the latest daily news and updates on www.PrometheanAction.com. Additionally, Promethean PAC has a new website at www.PrometheanPAC.com.

by Noel Cowling and Brian Lantz   

Noel Cowling, a retired Texas farmer and nuclear chemist, realized that we should present the role of CO -- carbon dioxide -- in the production of starches and photosynthesis. That is, in the production of food - the plants we eat, and the plants our livestock eat to produce the protein our bodies need. Brian Lantz, also in Texas, is a well-known contributor to LaRouchePAC on economic policy issues and physical economy.

The two of us have been discussing U.S. agriculture, agricultural practices, and the "environmentalist " assault on family farmers and their use of agricultural chemicals. Most Americans probably don't realize that the climate change nonsense is not just a nuisance, like having EV's shoved down your throat; it threatens the very food you eat.

There is a massive Big Lie that CO is destroying our environment when, in fact, it is CO that makes our planet green, while comprising just .04% (!) of our atmosphere. We have another example of this kind of hoax with another set of chemicals, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and we want to talk about that too.

Why CO is so important to life certainly needs to be better understood, but the essentials are quite straight-forward: photosynthesis itself depends on carbon dioxide.

CO Now at Heart of Debate Over the Future of American Farming

There is lively political ferment among farmers, here and in Europe, including currents of thought promoting “regenerative agriculture,” and this is a very human. These are human responses intent on ending a dehumanizing process that has grown over decades.

Today, agricultural cartels in fertilizer, seed, pesticide, meatpacking, and grain control the inputs into, and sale of, what the American farmers and ranchers produce. The American family farmer/rancher struggles simply to survive and does so largely based on income "off the farm." At the same time, the farmer and citizens generally are under a green fascist assault, both here and in Europe, attacked now for causing "climate change."  The bare intention is to reduce food production, drive up food prices, and reduce the world population.

Who Says?

The Food and Agricultural Organization is calling for people in the U.S. and other advanced sector countries to be "nudged," and cut their consumption of meat and dairy - to reduce CO emissions. Again, CO is necessary for life on earth - it is plant food! Animal protein, in turn, is part of the healthy diet vital to human life!

At the COP28 summit the U.N.'s FAO claims "higher income countries can benefit from reduced consumption of animal-source foods."  Further that, "meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories consumed but use 83% of global farmland and are responsible for 60% of agriculture's greenhouse gas emissions."  Meat and dairy production, they and various foundation-bankrolled academics intone, are also leading causes of, “deforestation, biodiversity loss pandemic risk and water pollution."  Their studies promote "novel meat and dairy alternatives," like "farming insects, reduced meat consumption in favor of whole plant protein sources like beans, vegan products like tofu, or taxing meat."

It is claimed that, over the vast landscape of the U.S., agriculture is responsible for 10-12% of CO emissions - gasp! Our own U.S. Department of Agriculture, under 'Biden,' is aligning itself with the UN-FAO agenda. All of this is promoted based on the lie that CO and other "greenhouse gases" are drastically altering climate.

At the World Economic Forum, and elsewhere, "regenerative agriculture" is now promoted to impose the financial oligarchy's Malthusian agenda, and a buzzword promoted by the largest agri-food corporations that are part of the existing food oligopoly. For them regenerative agriculture, "sequesters atmospheric carbon dioxide, reversing industrial agriculture's contributions to climate change."  CO is plant food, and we will come back to that. It is true that part of the CO captured by plants does stay in the ground, which is good. However, in the crazed world of “climate mitigation” and financialized ESG markets, what if "carbon capture" could be increased across agricultural lands, and then “carbon credits” marketed and sold on a colossal scale? Then farmers and farming would be profitable -- producing carbon credits and less food.

In the Netherlands, the green fascist-controlled Dutch government attempted to cut "nitrogen emissions" by a radical cut in livestock - they estimated 11,200 farms would have to close and some 17,600 farmers would have to significantly reduce their livestock.  Consider that the air in our Earth's atmosphere is made up of approximately 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen! We depend upon the nitrogen in our air, and it feeds our soil and plants -- just as "biotic respiration" of animals and human beings helps produce the CO which feeds plant life.

(In response to this insanity, Dutch farmers rose up, organizing tractor cades to their Capitol and organized broad public support. An off-shoot, the Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB), now holds a large number of seats in the Dutch senate.)

On the other side of the coin, farmers supporting the use of regenerative agriculture practices of soil enrichment say, “stop treating the soil like dirt!”  It is also an implicit plea for the same, as regards the treatment of farmers & ranchers, and their families and communities. It is a rational response to the mono-crop practices of big corporate farming and the food cartel's imposed "buy cheap-sell dear" destructive practices.

However, as a farmer friend recently explained, “when you go to pick-pocket school you first learn the importance of creating diversions.”  It is the oldest trick.

A Look at the Chemistry of Life

Life on Earth absolutely depends on photosynthesis. Plants, algae, and some types of bacteria capture energy -- the Sun's radiation that reaches earth in packets of light called photons. Photosynthesis in turn produces chemical energy stored as glucose.

During photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide (CO) and water (H₂O) from the air and soil, along with nutrients. Plants combine the Sun's captured energy that came from sunlight to change that carbon dioxide and water into glucose and release oxygen back into the atmosphere. At the chemical level, within the plant cell, the water is oxidized, meaning it loses electrons, while the carbon dioxide is reduced, meaning it gains electrons.

6CO + 6H₂O → C₆H₁₂O₆ + 6O₂

That “C₆-H₁₂-O₆" is the produced sugar molecule along with six oxygen molecules.

That sugar molecule, broken down as glucose, is then used by plants (and your body) for its own energy and to make other substances like cellulose and starch.

The Earth's Carbon Cycle

Carbon is one of the most important elements on Earth. It is the principal building block for the organic compounds that make up life, including carbon dioxide. Carbon's ability to bond (covalent bonds) with other atoms of carbon creates the enormous diversity in carbon molecules that can be formed around carbon, hence the very diversity and complexity of life.

The natural carbon cycle is a whole system of processes that transfers carbon in various forms through the Earth’s different parts. The carbon cycles throughout the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere are most important for life. The carbon that is in the atmosphere in the form of CO and CH₄ (methane) doesn’t stay in the atmosphere for long — it moves from there to other places. For example, there is an estimated CO "uptake" by the cold surface water of the oceans - maybe 90 gigatons a year - and the cyclical release of a roughly equivalent of CO into the atmosphere from warm surface water.

There is both the sinking of dead marine biota - formerly living forms of life - into the sediment of oceans, and there is the respiration from marine and land biota releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. There is then the photosynthesis of marine biota, which alone absorbs some 32 gigatons of CO.

In comparison, human output of CO is a tiny portion of the 750 gigatons moving through the Earth's carbon cycle each year. Further, increases in CO in our atmosphere is conducive to photosynthesis ("the carbon fertilization effect") and is greening our planet. As well, contrary to the hysterics, the "warming effect" of each molecule of CO₂ decreases significantly (logarithmically) as its concentration increases.

Again, this photosynthesis produces our oxygen. It is estimated that roughly half of the oxygen production on Earth comes from the ocean. The majority of that production is from oceanic plankton — drifting plants, algae, and some bacteria that can photosynthesize. In addition though, land biota still release oxygen to the tune of 110 gigatons a year. 

As an enormous global cycle, the carbon cycle challenges us to draw together information from biology, chemistry, oceanography, and geology in order to understand how it works and what causes it to change. This includes these major reservoirs for carbon and the processes that move carbon from reservoir to reservoir.

In the face of science and reason, the calculated fear-generating arguments of Malthusians shrivel up. The assertion is that the CO released from the burning of fossil fuels is accumulating as an insulating blanket around the Earth, trapping more of the Sun's heat in our atmosphere. This is based on evidence "in the small." Stepping back at look at longer term cycles, in terms of geological time, our current geologic period (Quaternary) has the lowest average CO concentration in more than 600 million years.              

The "Holes in the Ozone" Scare

Let’s turn briefly to Freon and hydrochlorofluorocarbons, another scare story.

Freon has many important uses, stemming in part from its inertness (it does not react with other substances). So, it is used for separating oil from water in industrial systems, including refrigerant systems. Raw milk, from the time of milking to farm storage, through transporting, processing and again storage, must be refrigerated. The same is true with fruits and vegetables.

As a chemist and farmer, Noel Cowling has been particularly interested in how Freon, an inert liquid once widely used as a refrigerant and as a solvent for separating oil from water, could, like other hydrochlorofluorocarbons, end up high in the Earth's atmosphere where they allegedly destroy Ozone and make holes in Earth's atmosphere which in turn expose us to excessive ultraviolet energy from the Sun.  Noel here offers proof that this scare story is also absurd.

Freon (CF₂Cl₂) is considered a hydrochlorofluorocarbon in which each molecule consists of 1 carbon atom, 2 fluorine atoms, and 2 chlorine atoms. Now, each carbon atom has an atomic weight of 14, each Fluoride atom has an atomic weight of 19, and each chlorine atom has an atomic weight of 35. As a result, 1 Freon molecule has a total atomic weight or mass of 122 – the sum of 1 C, 2 F's, and 2 Cl's.

Ozone exists as a pale blue gas making up about 0.00006% of the Earth's atmosphere. Ozone (O₃) is an unstable allotrope of oxygen (O₂) and is found in the upper portions of the Earth's atmosphere beginning about 20 miles up. It has difficulty existing because it can be easily destroyed by Nitrogen, which itself makes up 78% of the Earth's atmosphere. Ozone is created from oxygen, which makes up about 21% of the Earth's atmosphere, by energy from the Sun. Ozone does protect us from a small portion of the Sun's Ultraviolet light.

Carbon dioxide (CO) also exists in the Earth's atmosphere. It is composed of 1 carbon atom having an atomic weight of 14 and 2 oxygen atoms each having an atomic weight of 16. That gives each carbon dioxide molecule a total atomic weight or mass of 46. The atmosphere is composed of about 21% oxygen (O) and about .04% carbon dioxide (CO). Because of its mass, carbon dioxide sinks to the lower portions of the atmosphere and only exists in the lower 2 miles of the atmosphere. That upper level of carbon dioxide's existence is called the “Treeline” because plants cannot exist where there is little or no carbon dioxide, which is necessary for photosynthesis.

Noel Cowling asks:  How can molecules of hydrochlorofluorocarbons, including Freon (which have 3 times the atomic weight mass of CO or more) be 20 miles high in the Earth's atmosphere and do the alleged damage they supposedly do when the much lighter molecules of carbon dioxide are not found above 2 miles high? In what amounts to hand-waving, the explanation is that wind currents must somehow carry Freon up there. But most hydrochlorofluorocarbons are much more massive than Freon.

We ask you, was this another hoax perpetrated upon us to control people through fear?


The most independent thinkers are farmers, commented Lyndon LaRouche. Farmers, ranchers, and their communities rightly think in terms of “feeding the world.” Our nation was itself founded by “Latin farmers,” so-called because they and their brethren were, at that time, the most educated population in the world. That tradition continues.

President Trump has made clear he loves American farmers & ranchers, and he loves his hamburgers! President Trump, the MAGA movement and broader patriotic movement around it, are a bright hope for American agriculture - if we get the policies right. The future is now up to us.

As part of making our ‘Third American Revolution,’ it is vital that we recognize that the current green/brown cartelized agricultural system is a deliberately created, Malthusian disaster. We are intent on addressing many of the intertwined, systemic agricultural problems at length, and offered solutions based on the American System of political economy, including the critical important of an agricultural parity pricing. We invite your collaboration in this critically important 2024 election year.


Addendum on Photosynthesis

Let’s look at the process of photosynthesis a bit further.

The plant is made up of cells, somewhat like our own bodies are made up of cells. Inside living cells are then small organized or specialized structures which have been named "organelles." In plant cells you have organelles called chloroplasts, and they specialize in storing the energy of sunlight. What is quite amazing is that they convert the sun's energy (photons of light) into chemical energy, which is then used to build carbohydrate molecules, using CO2 and Water (H2O) to do it, to feed life.

However, to do it, they use only specific parts of the visible light region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Sunlight as we see it, or the visible spectrum of light, ranges from violet, having the shortest wavelength at around 380 nanometers, to red having the longest wavelength, at around 700 nanometers.


Now inside the membrane of the chloroplast -- named thylakoid membranes -- is that light-absorbing pigment called chlorophyll. During photosynthesis, chlorophyll absorbs energy from blue- and red-light waves, and reflects green-light waves -- making the plant look green to our eyes.

In absorbing the sun's blue and red light, chlorophyll loses electrons, which become mobile forms of chemical energy. It is this energy that uses the carbon dioxide captured from the air to make carbohydrates. The entire process is called photosynthesis, and it all depends on the little green chlorophyll molecules in each chloroplast.

Within the plant cell, the water is oxidized, meaning it loses electrons, while the carbon dioxide is reduced, meaning it gains electrons. This transforms the water into oxygen and the carbon dioxide into glucose, and returns oxygen back into the air, while storing the energy within the plant's glucose molecules:

6CO + 6H₂O → C₆H₁₂O₆ + 6O₂

That is, it takes six water molecules and 6 carbon molecules to produced one glucose molecule and 6 O₂ molecules. Indeed, the oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide in our Earth's atmosphere are the very products of life, of living, biological processes!

For further reading, here is a link to an intriguing 2015 study by Benjamin Deniston. He explores galactic cycles, geological time, and the evolutionary anti-entropic development of complex life on Earth.