Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) attempted a brief science lesson after a young person asked what the congressman is doing about climate change during a GOP press conference opposing the Democrats’ Green New Deal on Wednesday.
Gosar responded that carbon dioxide is not a problem because plants use it to make oxygen during photosynthesis, and he implied that American children today are unaware of this because they aren’t being taught science.
Axios quoted the Republican as saying:
"Unfortunately you haven't been taught about photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is where plants take carbon dioxide to produce oxygen. That's a problem in today's world. We haven't taught kids exactly what's going on in America and in science."
But despite some Republican attempts to undermine education, American children do learn science in school. And while the congressman is correct that carbon dioxide is necessary for photosynthesis, he is wrong on the particulars.
Asked for clarification on the issue, Axios science editor Andrew Freedman said photosynthesis isn’t the issue; rather it is that plants can’t handle the amount of carbon dioxide they’re being given.
“We're putting more carbon dioxide into the air each year than plants, trees and oceans can suck out,” Freedman explained. “That is what's causing rising global temperatures. CO2 levels are the highest they've been in at least 800,000 years, and the driving reason is human activity.”
Gosar could use a science lesson of his own.