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Comment Dated Apr 18, 2008


THE WARMER, THE MERRIER

The world warmed a little during the last century as part of the natural climate cycles that have always been happening and always will. The principal agent by far in maintaining an atmosphere that keeps the Earth from freezing at this distance from the Sun is water vapor, making carbon dioxide a minor player, and the proportion of it due to human activities miniscule. CO2 did increase over the latter half of the twentieth century, but the assertion that it was a result of burning hydrocarbon fuels has no solid foundation. Warming for any reason will release carbon from vast natural reservoirs. Reconstructions of past conditions show CO2 levels up to 20 times higher than at present, before there were any humans at all.

But even if the recent trends were shown to be largely of our own doing, there's more reason for celebration than the panic and hysteria that we're currently witnessing. Warm worlds are cheerier, healthier, more secure, and better able to support a richer and more abundant biosphere than cold ones. On land and in the oceans, life thrives in the green equatorial and temperate zones, not the icy higher latitudes. A warmer world would transform the vast wastes of Siberia and northern Canada into forests, gardens, granaries, and habitats, opening up huge areas to accommodate the growing population that some view as a blight, and bring water back to such regions as the Sahara and Middle East, that were once verdant. So, if human activity is capable of making a measurable difference, one would think that a good policy to adopt would be to help things along by using the abundance of energy that the world offers, to increase wealth and living standards generally, and enjoy the environmental benefits.

Instead, we hear eminences that see fit to inform and direct the world's peoples calling for legislatiion to classify carbon dioxide as a pollutant. The irony of such nonsense is that carbon dioxide is plant food, and hence the basic nutrient that supports all life on Earth. A largely unreported consequence of the increase that took place over the last half century has been a huge--30-40%--increase in agricultural yield, general greening of much of the planet, and much more efficient use of water by plants. Because of deficiency in micronutrients, large areas of the oceans are biological deserts that could be "fertilized" at low cost to increase phytoplankton and hence fish populations enormously. Instead of manically and pointlessly seeking to decrease emissions at staggering cost, we could be turning the byproducts of human industrial and agricultural enterprise into living things and abundant food. This really is wonderful news for those who believe we have the choice of continuing to build better tomorrows.

It takes real talent in doom-mongering and willful blindness to turn such promise and potential into a disaster scenario. The Western world has surely never been run by such a pack of fools as those inflicted on it at the present time.