Climate alarmists have long suggested that human industry, farming, and the consumption of affordable energy would amount to environmental ruin and possibly extinction. It turns out that humanity’s much-lamented carbon dioxide emissions are actually doing a great job feeding plants and greening the world.
Global greening, in turn, is apparently diminishing the impact of so-called global warming as well as weather extremes.
A peer-reviewed study
recently published in the journal Global Ecology and Conservation underscored that “global greening is an indisputable fact” and has accelerated over the past 20 years across over 55% of the globe.
The global leaf area index — the measure of the amount of leaf area relative to ground area — based on satellite observations has shown the world to be greening since the early 1980s. Researchers from Australia and China endeavored to confirm with remote sensing data whether this trend has continued in recent years, especially in the face of recent suggestions that the world is alternatively browning.
The researchers found that “the global greening was still present in 2001-2020, with 55.15% of areas greening at an accelerated rate, mainly concentrated in India and the European plains, compared with 7.28% of browning.”
Multiple linear regression analyses indicated that the “dominant driver” for this trend was carbon dioxide.
The paper stated, “Vegetation models suggest that CO2 fertilization is the main driver of greening on the global scale, with other factors being notable at the regional scale. Modelling indicates that greening could mitigate global warming by increasing the carbon sink on land and altering biogeophysical processes, mainly evaporative cooling.”
Shilong Piao of Peking University, lead author on the 2019 paper,
said, “This greening and associated cooling is beneficial.”
“It is ironic that the very same carbon emissions responsible for harmful changes to climate are also fertilizing plant growth,” said co-author Jarle Bjerke of the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, “which in turn is somewhat moderating global warming.”
Another recent study
published in the sustainability journal One Earth found that greening “has mitigated day time and nighttime hot temperature extremes.”
Despite the upsides of global greening, climate alarmists tend to cast it in a negative light.
Upon reviewing the recent study indicating more than half the world is getting greener, Vox
concluded greening is “not inherently good. Sometimes it’s very bad.”
Carl Zimmer of the New York Times
claimed in a 2018 article that a greener world is “nothing to celebrate.”
Zimmer quoted an environmental scientist from the University of California, Santa Cruz, who suggested carbon dioxide “only accounts for a small fraction of the increase.”
Contrary to the suggestion by Zimmer’s expert, a 2016 study
published in Nature Climate Change made clear that satellite data from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer instruments showed carbon dioxide fertilization accounts for 70% of the greening effect.
While cynical about the good of greening and ostensibly willing to downplay the impact of carbon fertilization, Zimmer noted that plants remove an estimated 25% of the carbon humans emit; plants are apparently taking out more carbon dioxide every year; and with greening, the world will have more plants to help out.
Nevertheless, Zimmer characterized the carbon emission-driven phenomenon thusly: “It’s a bit like hearing that your chemotherapy is slowing the growth of your tumor by 25 percent.”
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