Environmentalists refuse to see that the Earth is greening

Published February 1, 2000

At Greening Earth Society (GES), we follow Yogi Berra’s dicta “You can observe a lot just by watching.” What we see makes us optimistic about our collective future.

As documented in the twin videos The Greening of Planet Earth and The Greening of Planet Earth Continues, and scores of studies compiled by GES scientific advisors and others, increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) content has led to an explosion of productivity in the biosphere.

This manifests itself through unexpected and large growth in the forests of the world (particularly in the Northern Hemisphere, where Germany’s Black Forest is a good example); increased ground cover, leading to more abundant wildlife and diversity of species; and, most important, a huge increase in food productivity all around the world.

Dr. Sylvan H. Wittwer, director emeritus of the Michigan State University Agricultural Experiment Station at East Lansing, estimates we enjoy a 10 percent universally free food premium as the result of increased atmospheric CO2 content.

On the other hand, the professional environmental community, the Clinton-Gore administration, and the United Nations subscribe to Richard Pryor’s comic query, “Who are you going to believe: me or your own lying eyes?”

Professional environmentalists are engaged in an effort to convince us all that the vision of apocalyptic global warming Vice President Gore outlines in his book, Earth in the Balance, is correct and, therefore, we should welcome the efforts of the world’s governments to tax, cap, and limit the industrial evolution of the human community.

What they seek is to convince us to adopt Vice President Gore’s negative vision–a vision based on sophisticated and expensive (but nonetheless flawed and flux-adjusted) general circulation computer models, and on a United Nations ground-based temperature record that purports to show warming without telling us what is built into that record.

When observations fail to support this negative vision, the professional environmentalists manufacture them. Last December, media reports of a study sought to convince casual readers that arctic sea ice has melted as a result of human-induced global warming. Missing from the study was any discussion of actual warming in the Arctic–for good reason. All available Arctic temperature records show no warming during the 40+ years covered by the study. Instead, computer models modeling computer models were used to create the claimed warming.

Fortunately, readings from microwave sounding units aloft on NASA satellites–which are in synch with atmospheric temperatures measured by radiosondes suspended from weather balloons and with measurements of marine nighttime temperature–show us how the vision of apocalypse is flawed. Even while the biosphere’s productivity enjoys explosive growth, there is little detectable warming shown by these instruments. At GES we say, “Apocalypse, not.”

There can be no doubt that enormous resources are available to those who push the vision of the apocalypse. As a result, the agenda behind that vision is advancing. What is that agenda?

We are getting closer to the day when all energy production and consumption, here in the United States and abroad, will be regulated by government using as a vehicle this flawed vision of future global climate.

But it hasn’t happened yet, for as Yogi Berra is also reported to have said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” An informed citizenry, acting in their enlightened self-interest, can stop this rush to regulation only if they let their voices be heard.

To learn about an optimistic vision of our planet’s future, I invite you to visit the Greening Earth Society’s two companion Web sites. The URLs are www.greeningearthsociety.org and www.fossilfuels.org. See if you don’t agree with us that Yogi Berra had it right: We can observe a lot just by watching. Watch this space in the months to come.

Fredrick Palmer, is president of Greening Earth Society, and general manager and chief executive officer of Western Fuels Association, Inc., a not-for-profit fuel supply cooperative comprised of consumer-owned electric utilities.