July 6, 2019 | David F. Coppedge

Make the Climate Alarmists Happy: Plant a Tree

Maybe everyone can calm down the climate alarmists without draconian political measures. But who really knows?

Scientists at ETH Zurich are saying that if people could plant a trillion trees, they would save the climate for at least 50 years. Their press release, “How trees could save the climate,” presents a startling alternative to the usual finger-wagging proposals for eliminating all fossil fuels, cap-and-trade, wealth redistribution and other draconian measures.

Around 0.9 billion hectares of land worldwide would be suitable for reforestation, which could ultimately capture two thirds of human-made carbon emissions. The Crowther Lab of ETH Zurich has published a study in the journal Science that shows this would be the most effective method to combat climate change.

Notice that they believe in anthropogenic global warming. But they think tree planting would not be just “one” effective method to combat it, but “the” most effective method. Trees, they argue, are the best natural agents for storing excess carbon. That’s because CO2 is food to a tree.

It would take an area about the size of the United States to grow that many trees, but Russia combined with a few other countries has ample open space to achieve the calculated benefit, they figure. Live Science comments,

Such newly planted trees could cut carbon (a part of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere by nearly 25%, bringing it down to levels not seen for nearly 100 years, the scientists said.

Since everybody loves trees, and trees can be planted from seeds and shoots inexpensively with “citizen science,” this seems like a win-win situation. It might also bide time for cleaner energy technologies that reduce carbon emissions to mature while the trees grow.  Their paper, “The Global Tree Restoration Potential,” was published July 5th in Science. If they are right, people-friendly climate solutions grow on trees.

Photos by David Coppedge

What Do Scientists Know About Climate?

But what do scientists really know about climate change? Quite often, new discoveries come to light that call into question long-held beliefs, or bring up new factors not included in climate models. An example comes this week from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam. Scientists there overturn a belief that weathering of rock causes global cooling.

From time to time, there have been long periods of cooling in Earth’s history. Temperatures had already fallen for more than ten million years before the last ice age began about 2.5 million years ago. At that time the northern hemisphere was covered with massive ice masses and glaciers. A geoscientific paradigm, widespread for over twenty years, explains this cooling with the formation of the large mountain ranges such as the Andes, the Himalayas and the Alps. As a result, more rock weathering has taken place, the paradigm suggests. This in turn removed more carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, so that the ‘greenhouse effect’ decreased and the atmosphere cooled. This and other processes eventually led to the ‘ice Age’.

The old paradigm cannot be sustained, they claim. With help from Stanford researchers, they point to a different factor as a cause for the cooling:

According to the paper, weathering was constant over the period under consideration. Instead, increased ‘reactivity’ of the land surface has led to a decrease in CO2 in the atmosphere, thus cooling the Earth. The researchers published the results in the journal Nature.

If as much carbon dioxide had been removed from the atmosphere as previously believed, there wouldn’t be any left! Whatever one thinks of their proposal that surfaces can become more reactive without mountain-building, they conclude that “our new hypothesis must trigger geological rethinking regarding the cooling before the last ice age.”

Potentially Fake Activism

‘Save the climate! Ride a scooter,’ exclaim promoters of the new electric scooters popping up in major cities. The scooters are claimed to be more eco-friendly by getting people out of their cars. A new article posted by Phys.org, however, asks, “Electric scooters: not so eco-friendly after all?” For one thing, most people using them say they would not have used a car anyway. For another, the lithium-ion batteries have ecological problems of their own. Third, scooters don’t just pop into existence out of thin air. The mining and manufacture of parts for millions of scooters cannot be totally free of emissions. Manufacturers claim they recycle every part, and can recycle 70% of spent batteries. But even recycling activities cannot take place without energy. The article says there are no long-term studies yet to say whether the scooters really make much difference to the climate.

Plastic pollution, we all know, has devastating effects in the oceans, where marine life, including whales, dolphins, and sea turtles, are found suffering and dying from the stuff. The solution: Recycle! Right? Seems so obvious, but Live Science wrote, “The plastic we ‘recycle’ is actually horrible for the environment.” Out of sight, out of mind; we ship a lot of it overseas to places like Bangladesh, Ethiopia, or Malaysia, but those countries end up discarding much of it back into the environment as trash.

Meanwhile, uninformed politicians with juvenile views of epistemology, oblivious to these factors, will continue to push for the draconian measures and claim that “science” proves it. Give them a sapling with this article and tell them not to be such a sap.

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