If there’s anything that climate crisis theology clerics hate more than fossil fuels, it’s got to be any glad tidings about CO2. Like, for example, results of a global satellite study published last month in the journal Nature.
It reported that thanks to that “pollutant,” the planet is producing lots more veggies even the most strident non-carnivorous ideologically-superior planetary salvationists should truly celebrate.
How much more?
Well according to the 32 researchers from nine countries, it amounted to “a persistent and widespread increase” of greening over 25 to 50 percent of the “global vegetated area” over the past 35 years. Less than 4 percent of the globe showed a reduction. Of the 85 percent of Earth’s ice-free lands, the areas covered in green average about 32 percent of that amount.
The additional leaves laid out in a carpet would cover the continental U.S. twice over.
If you have been holding your breath wondering why this is occurring, go ahead relax . . . take some blameless credit.
Based upon simulated ecosystem models, the researchers credited 70 percent of this green bounty to CO2 fertilization benefits. They attributed another 9 percent to nitrogen fertilizers and 4 percent to shifts in land management, neither of which explain observed added forest growth.
A 2013 study of temperate and boreal forests in the Northern Hemisphere (also published in the journal Nature), reported a substantial increase in water-use efficiency over the past two decades which was much larger than predicted by biosphere models.
This was attributed to increased ecosystem-level photosynthesis, net carbon uptake and decreasing evapotranspiration (water loss).
And here’s the part some authors of the most recent report obviously had to struggle with. They attributed the third greatest beneficial influence — 8 percent — to “climate change”. This admission must have been particularly painful for co-author Philippe Ciais from the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences in France who has also served as an author for reliably alarmist UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.
True to form, Ciais said: “The fallacy of the contrarian argument is two-fold. First, the many negative aspects of climate change are not acknowledged.
"Second, studies have shown that plants acclimatize to rising CO2 concentration and the fertilization effect diminishes over time.”
Well actually, no. He’s wrong on both accounts.
Regarding the first “fallacy,” as Judith Curry, former chair of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology has pointed out, “It is inappropriate to dismiss the arguments of the so-called contrarians, since their disagreement with the consensus reflects conflicts of values and preference for the empirical [i.e., what has been observed] versus the hypothetical [i.e. what is projected from climate models].”
As for claims that CO2 fertilization benefits are temporary, leading CO2 plant growth authority Craig Idso who chairs the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change finds no empirical evidence exists to support a model-based claim that future carbon uptake by plants will diminish due to rising temperatures.
In fact, just the opposite has been observed in the real world.
Over the past 50 years, global carbon uptake has doubled. CO2 boosts water use efficiency.
Increased CO2 fertilization enables plant leaves to extract more carbon from the air — lose less water — or both — during photosynthesis, a process that converts sunlight and soil nutrients into sugars which fuel life.
Many plants also tolerate heat better when CO2 levels are higher, a condition evidenced by satellite imagery of deserts and savannas where greenery expansion is more apparent than in wet locations.
Lead author Zaichun Zhu from Peking University told BBC News, “The greening reported in this study has the ability to fundamentally change the cycling of water and carbon in the climate system.”
In many regions of the world a warmer planet will lead to more precipitation and longer growing seasons. This results in far fewer deaths from starvation and winter hypothermia.
And yes, although just not happening very recently, climate change is very real.
Despite “record high” atmospheric CO2 levels, other than 1998 and 2015 ocean El Nino temperature spikes, satellites have recorded no statistically-significant global warming over nearly the past two decades.
Nevertheless, this “pause” is occurring within a nearly two-century-long natural warming trend which began before the Industrial Revolution introduced fossil-fueled smokestacks and SUVs.
Those same fossil fuels displaced use of firewood, preserving more forests to exchange CO2 for oxygen we and Bambi depend upon while also returning plant fertilizer to grow more food in the bargain.
Jesse Ausubel, director of the Program for the Human Environment at Rockefeller University puts the real story into perspective: “Global greening is the most important ecological trend on Earth today. The biosphere on land is getting bigger, year by year, by two billion tons or even more.”
That sort of “pollution” deserves a grateful world of gratitude.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of “Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom”(2015) and “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax” (2012). Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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