Rep. Shimkus: Capping CO2 emissions will take away too much ‘plant food from the atmosphere.’

Progress Illinois notes that earlier this week at a House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) tried to argue that the United States doesn’t need a cap-and-trade system to limit CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. (In the past, he has called cap and trade “a shell game to hide the cost from the ultimate person who is going to pay.”) Here is Shimkus’s newest theory:

SHIMKUS: It’s plant food. … So if we decrease the use of carbon dioxide, are we not taking away plant food from the atmosphere? … So all our good intentions could be for naught. In fact, we could be doing just the opposite of what the people who want to save the world are saying.

Watch it:

Of course, as the National Wildlife Fund points out, the excessive burning of fossil fuels has not been good for Earth’s plant life at all. Matt Yglesias adds, “The point about our CO2 emissions is that the rate at which fossil fuel use puts new carbon into the atmosphere greatly exceeds the rate at which plants remove it. The aim is not to eliminate the CO2 from the atmosphere but to stabilize the amount of CO2, which means curtailing emissions to a level much closer to the rate at which plants consume it.”