Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

06/10/2008 (10:28 am)

Plant Food

Lawrence Solomon from the Financial Post in Canada informs us that plant growth around the globe is booming, and may be higher now than it’s been in decades, even centuries. The reason? The earth is warming, and carbon dioxide is plant food.

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.

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.

If you’re not already familiar with Solomon’s work at the National Post, allow me to recommend his Denier’s Series, a landmark achievement in the public’s understanding of climate science. Solomon began as an environmentalist and a believer in Anthropogenic Global Warming, but an honest one. In response to a dinner bet, Solomon began a series of articles about those few well-known scientists who disagree with the mainstream position on global warming. What he discovered changed his mind; 2 years and 40 articles later, Solomon no longer believes the majority of scientists support the mainstream view. He’s found, instead, that top scientists who are skeptical of claims that humans are causing global climate change may be in the majority. Solomon has taken his work on the Deniers Series and published it as a book, called The Deniers.

At any rate, whatever else human CO2 is doing, roughly half of what we put out into the atmosphere gets eaten by plants, which love it. Hat tip for the article goes to Anthony Watts at Watts Up With That, whose summation of the matter goes like this:

Eco Worriers: “CO2 is a pollutant!”
Gaia: “Tell that to the biosphere.”
Biosphere: “Yumm, burp!”

By the way, Solomon also tells a chilling tale of what happened when he tried to correct Wikipedia’s article about Naomi Oreskes’ now-discredited survey of climate science articles claiming that none disputed the majority view. Read it; you’ll never trust Wikipedia again. At least on the subject of climate science, Wiki is captive to AGW fascists, and will not be even remotely accurate.

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