Way back when, when I was still wet enough behind the ears to be a fully-fledged catastrophic climate change believer (yes, readers – my secret shame is laid bare!), the fossil fuel lobby released an ad praising carbon dioxide. “They call it pollution. We call it life,” went the tag line, over shots of lush greenery.
Naturally, climate doom believing me was outraged. How dare they! Indeed.
Except…they were right.
A new paper finds higher than expected CO2 fertilization inferred from leaf to global observations. The paper predicts that the Earth is going to gain nearly three times as much green matter as was predicted by the IPCC AR5.
In a rare triumph of science slipping through the cracks of ideology, Australia’s normally more-pc-than-thou CSIRO have done something climate types rarely bother to do: compare a computer model to observations. Even more astonishingly, for once the model is in good agreement with observation. – so far.
But, if the model is reliable, what it says about the future course of climate change is astonishingly good news.
The innocuously titled paper, “Higher than expected CO2 fertilization inferred from leaf to global observations”, by Vanessa Haverd (of Australia’s CSIRO) and eight coauthors uses a biophysical model and observed climate to back-calculate global primary productivity (GPP; the net change in standing vegetation per year), and to forward-calculate it using climate model forecasts.
What they found should be no surprise to commercial tomato growers: pump more CO2 into the air and plants will gorge on it.
The paper predicted that the earth is going to gain nearly three times as much green matter as was forecast in the last (2013) IPCC report. It is noteworthy that Haverd’s model very faithfully reproduced the satellite-sensed changes in leaf area index shown by Zhu et al. (2016), which found the greatest greenings to be in the world’s semiarid tropics, tropical forests, and a smaller (but significant) increase in temperate latitudes[…]
It’s very reassuring when two radically different methods—satellite sensing (Zhu) and a biophysical model (Haverd) come up with pretty much the same answer: we are greening up the earth fast, especially in critical tropical ecosystems.
Under a plausible emissions pathway, this will pull so much carbon dioxide out of the air that we could meet the Paris Accord of keeping surface warming below 2C.
This assuredly will enrage Greta even more than having to slum it in a second-class carriage. Extinction Rebellion’s nutters will wail and tear their hair. We don’t have to tear down industrial civilisation to save the planet? Heresy!
But, the facts are the facts. We know the earth is getting greener. Now we have good reason to believe that not only will it keep getting greener, but Mother Nature and her plant army are going to eat the evil Sky Dragon for us.
A little math: 2.4C (the UN’s expected RCP 2.6 warming to 2100) minus 0.5C (the reduction in warming from 17 years of zero emissions) = 1.9C of warming. Thanks to the wonders of photosynthesis on God’s getting-greener earth, we meet the Paris Accord.
You’d think the media would be cock-a-hoop at this astonishing good news.
Instead, at least according to google, there hasn’t been one story about this astounding paper.
The media are as immune to good news as any doom cult.
Meanwhile, I think I’ll go for a good, long drive and feed the plants.
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