Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Matt Ridley on the greening planet

Many of us had serious doubts about the talk claiming that lots of cows will green the deserts. On the other hand, I have almost no doubts about the main points in this 19-minute talk:

Via Bernhard Jordan

The increased CO2 levels, higher efficiency of agriculture in general, and fertilizers in particular allowed the planet to become greener than before.

Matt Ridley offers lots of geographic examples. He also mentions that only nine species that weren't confined to islands (plus Australia) have gone extinct due to humans in the last 500 years. The deceleration of extinctions reflects the main reason why the species were going extinct in the first place: people were just killing them. Quite often, they were doing so for a reason. Environmentalists are not the only reason why we're not doing these things so often today. The existence of artificial replacements is arguably more important.

Other particular examples of the greening of the Earth and of the expanding life come from Sahel, Amazon forest, the U.K., the U.S. East Coast, Svalbard, and others including the island that hosts both Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Haiti is the brown, ugly, and lifeless part of the island because it's been crippled by the "renewable" scumbags.

The technological and industrial development isn't the culprit here: it's part of the solution. Do you agree?


  1. This was an excellent talk; he makes very convincing arguments for a lot of ideas that many find uncomfortable. Not only on CO2, but on a lot of important issues, e.g. ridiculous biofuel subsidization. Thanks for the link.

    One minor correction: at 10:30, he says the total number of human-caused extinctions is nine, not five.

  2. Well, arguably what made the planet greener, and humankind surviving in the today's high numbers, is the Haber-Bosch process. Sources of the carbon are not a major problem but fixation of nitrogen really is.

    Funny thing - if you ask your environmentalist activists friends what Haber-Bosch process is, they have no idea. (I am still waiting to meet one.) So much for having an informed discussion on what makes planet green.

  3. 15 years ago I was on Grand Turk (island 90 miles from Haiti). A small raggedy sailboat was at town pier, had a crooked scraggly mast. A local guy said it had come from Haiti to sell charcoal on Grand Turk. He said the boat was handmade and said the mast was crooked because there were no tall straight trees left on Haiti. Great talk by Matt Ridley - thanks for posting.