February 10, 2004

He Blinded Me With Pseudo-Science

Here's a "scientific" report that disproves a classic pop culture reference. Why? Because it's Scottish and it's crap:

The growth rate of trees in the Amazon Basin's pristine rainforests has nearly doubled in recent decades, which may have helped slow global warming

Post hoc ergo propter hoc. The rainforests are getting bigger! We have to put a stop to that. No, wait... Of course, they offer another argument:

Yadvinder Malhi of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, a contributing scientist and one of the publication's editors, said the change in these pristine areas - making up more than half of the Amazon rainforests - may have acted as a brake on global warming. The increased biomass helps clean carbon dioxide from the air and slow its buildup in the atmosphere.

Fascinating how it goes from "may" to certainty in one sentence. Please note that the greenhouse effect is not the issue. That is well documented and understood. The question is still whether or not an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide does other things that offset the greenhouse effect, such as increased cloud cover, or increased biomass, or other as yet fully unknown and unappreciated effects. It's all incredibly complicated and not at all clear. My weatherman cannot reliably predict snowfall 2 days out and yet I am to believe that these same models can predict temperature increases 20 or 100 years out? Puhleeze.

If the proponents of global warming would consider something other than the US as the sole culprit and transnational progressivism as the solution, maybe I'd listen more closely, but for now I'm remaining fairly deaf to all illiberal utopian statist solutions. But it's a moot point anyway because we'll have cut down all the rainforests in the next couple of years according to the fund raising literature I've received. We're doomed! Doomed!! DOOMED!!!

Posted by Charles Austin at February 10, 2004 10:57 PM

I thought I saw a report saying trees caused global warming, not that I give a rip either way.

Posted by: David at 12:44 AM

We beat this one to death in AP Bio, in high school. The extreme vast majority of carbon dioxide removal from the air is done by algae in the oceans. You could level all the rain forests in the world and not change much in the way of global warming.

(But they're pretty cool, so we shouldn't.)

Posted by: Tanya at 09:38 AM

The earth has a lot of buffers to keep its systems in check. Increased plant growth to counter an increase in CO2 levels is just one (and conversely, lower CO2 levels cause a decrease in plant growth).

Posted by: Lawrence at 09:46 AM

You are putting your head in the sand. You are behaving like an ignoramus. Don't teach your kids that.

Posted by: weborch at 10:22 AM