Chas' Compilation

A compilation of information and links regarding assorted subjects: politics, religion, science, computers, health, movies, music... essentially whatever I'm reading about, working on or experiencing in life.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Is Carbon Dioxide actually our Friend?

In praise of CO2
With less heat and less carbon dioxide, the planet could become less hospitable and less green
[...] Until the 1980s, ecologists had no way to systematically track growth in plant matter in every corner of the Earth -- the best they could do was analyze small plots of one-tenth of a hectare or less. The notion of continuously tracking global production to discover the true state of the globe's biota was not even considered.

Then, in the 1980s, ecologists realized that satellites could track production, and enlisted NASA to collect the data. For the first time, ecologists did not need to rely on rough estimates or anecdotal evidence of the health of the ecology: They could objectively measure the land's output and soon did -- on a daily basis and down to the last kilometre.

More from FP Oil Watch

The results surprised Steven Running of the University of Montana and Ramakrishna Nemani of NASA, scientists involved in analyzing the NASA data. They found that over a period of almost two decades, the Earth as a whole became more bountiful by a whopping 6.2%. About 25% of the Earth's vegetated landmass -- almost 110 million square kilometres -- enjoyed significant increases and only 7% showed significant declines. When the satellite data zooms in, it finds that each square metre of land, on average, now produces almost 500 grams of greenery per year.

Why the increase? Their 2004 study, and other more recent ones, point to the warming of the planet and the presence of CO2, a gas indispensable to plant life. CO2 is nature's fertilizer, bathing the biota with its life-giving nutrients. Plants take the carbon from CO2 to bulk themselves up -- carbon is the building block of life -- and release the oxygen, which along with the plants, then sustain animal life. As summarized in a report last month, released along with a petition signed by 32,000 U. S. scientists who vouched for the benefits of CO2: "Higher CO2 enables plants to grow faster and larger and to live in drier climates. Plants provide food for animals, which are thereby also enhanced. The extent and diversity of plant and animal life have both increased substantially during the past half-century."

Lush as the planet may now be, it is as nothing compared to earlier times, when levels of CO2 and Earth temperatures were far higher. [...]

The article goes on about the extensive benefits, including more abundant food. But if we are to believe radical leftists who claim that CO2 is a bad thing, what would it REALLY mean if we were seriously try to stop it? This next article tells us about the many sacred cows of the environmental movement that would be skewered by serious attempts to limit CO2:

Inconvenient Truths: Get Ready to Rethink What It Means to Be Green
[...]Winning the war on global warming requires slaughtering some of environmentalism's sacred cows. We can afford to ignore neither the carbon-free electricity supplied by nuclear energy nor the transformational potential of genetic engineering. We need to take advantage of the energy efficiencies offered by urban density. We must accept that the world's fastest-growing economies won't forgo a higher standard of living in the name of climate science — and that, on the way up, countries like India and China might actually help devise the solutions the planet so desperately needs. [...]

The article goes on to give 10 Green Heresies that environmentalists need to embrace if they are serious about stopping greenhouse gases. You may find them shocking, even if you aren't "green"!
     

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