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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Consensus Who Cried Wolf

Once upon a time there wasn't any oxygen. It was all CO2 and other oxides. So what about this "runaway greenhouse effect?" Why aren't we in the same boat as Venus? Simple. Somehow plants evolved which could convert that prehistorically massive volume of CO2 into Oxygen. [At this point somebody invariably spouts off with the factoid that plants don't directly convert CO2 into oxygen. That it's more complicated, involving H2O, and sunlight, creating carbohydrates, etc.] If you wade into the morass of chemical transmutations that occur, what you eventually discover is that plants take the carbon out of CO2 as a part of of their food creation and respiration. Like I said, plants convert CO2 into oxygen.

Global Warming, Climate Change, Armageddon, these are just a few end of the world scenarios that could conceivably come to pass in the near or distant future. A consensus of environmental scientists—i.e. most environmental scientists—claim they believe that rising CO2 levels threaten life on earth with catastrophic possibilities, from massive flooding to increasingly violent weather patterns to extinction level events around the globe. It could be true. Nevertheless, in spite of increasingly strident claims to the contrary, the science is not in fact settled, at all. The clarion call from the ecological hoi palloi may simply be nothing more than the bored little shepherd tricking the gullible villagers with yet another wolf cry.
Donald Trump will be about the only head of state who does not believe in climate science or the responsibility of his government to act,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, which signed up more members in the week after Trump won the election than during the rest of 2016 combined. “This makes the Bush-Cheney administration look like it came from an environmental training camp.”

But Trump may be picking a tougher fight than he knows. The last time the White House made the kind of retreat Trump envisions – when President Bush walked away from the Kyoto protocol in 2001 – the policy landscape of climate change was drastically different.

Much of the action on climate change in this country no longer plays out in federal agencies but at local commissions enforcing laws in 29 states that push public utilities to go green. Their mandates are to encourage investment in cleaner plants and technology development.

Major U.S. trading partners that signed on to the nearly 200-nation accord reached in Paris last year are already signaling that they will retaliate if the United States backs out, possibly by slapping environmental trade tariffs onto some American products.


To put it simply, because plants grow more swiftly in the presence of more CO2, the total surface area of photosynthetic effect increases at a nearly geometric rate as more CO2 becomes available, thereby rapidly metabolizing the excess CO2. Life on Earth is not in fragile balance. We don't walk a tightrope. It's more like a Golden Gate Bridge. Sunlight—heat—is used as an energy source to create food and Oxygen. We know for a fact that long before there was enough Oxygen on Earth for animals to exist, plants of various kinds were busy doing exactly that. As life on Earth began, consider how much CO2 was floating around. Then plants started doing their thing. The amount of CO2 before life began was vastly more than 0.04%, the level that scientists are busy shitting themselves over today.
Global greening is the name given to a gradual, but large, increase in green vegetation on the planet over the past three decades. The climate change lobby is keen to ensure that if you hear about it at all, you hear that it is a minor thing, dwarfed by the dangers of global warming. Actually, it could be the other way round: greening is a bigger effect than warming.

It is a story in which I have been both vilified and vindicated. Four years ago, I came across an online video of a lecture given by Ranga Myneni of Boston University in which he presented an ingenious analysis of data from satellites. This proved that much of the vegetated area of the planet was getting greener, and only a little bit was getting browner. In fact, overall in 30 years, the green vegetation on planet Earth had increased by a rather extraordinary 14 per cent. He said this was occurring in all vegetation types — from tropical rainforests to arctic tundra.

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