Matt Ridley, author of The Red Queen, Genome, The Rational Optimist and other books, dropped by Reason’s studio in Los Angeles last month to talk about a curious global trend that is just starting to receive attention. Over the past three decades, our planet has gotten greener!
Even stranger, the greening of the planet in recent decades appears to be happening because of, not despite, our reliance on fossil fuels. While environmentalists often talk about how bad stuff like CO2 causes bad things to happen like global warming, it turns out that the plants aren’t complaining.
Some of the more rabid (and less informed) members of the Humans-Are-All-Evil environmental groups chose to ignore the increase in plant growth and the rebound of animal species across the globe. It doesn't fit in with their narrative. (Remember the controversial “polar bears falling from the sky and dying because we use fossil fuels” commercial?) Because we no longer need to harvest native plants and animals to meet the needs of the human populace, those species are recovering. Reforestation is occurring, meaning forests are growing back in places that had been cleared hundreds of years ago for farming. (Here in New England it used to be that 70% of the land was cleared, used for farming. Now forests cover 70% of the land. Here in New Hampshire forests now cover 85% of the land, a reversal from the the peak farm land a little over 100 years ago.) And we musn't forget that because of the higher CO2 in the atmosphere, plants are growing faster while needing less water to do so, a win-win for both natural and agricultural plant growth.
It's enough to make a warmist's head explode.