American Elephants

Matt Ridley: Fossil Fuels are Greening the Planet by The Elephant's Child

Make time for this important video. It’s only nineteen minutes long but what an informative, positive, exciting explanation of how the earth is becoming greener, and environmental conditions around the world are improving, as long as we don’t keep doing stupid things like putting the corn crop into our gas tanks. Matt Ridley speaking to our friends at the Reason Foundation.

In the meantime, President Obama reportedly will tell federal agencies they can’t approve any major projects until their impact on global warming has been weighed.

According to Bloomberg media, “President Barack Obama is preparing to tell all federal agencies for the first time that they should consider the impact on global warming before approving major projects, from pipelines to highways.”

Bloomberg says Obama plans to “expand the scope of a Nixon-era law,” the National Environmental Policy Act, “that was first intended to force agencies to assess the effect of projects on air, water and soil pollution.”

If Congress won’t pass the laws he wants — in this case placing limits on “greenhouse gas emissions,”  he will just make law on his own. He doesn’t need any congressional approval. Never mind that separation of powers thing.

Poor guy, he can’t help himself. Every time he brags a little about how many jobs he’s creating (and he hasn’t gotten to positive number yet) he does some other dumb thing to restrain the private sector and make growth and more jobs even less likely.


3 Comments so far
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There is no denying that plants use CO2. There is no denying that the warming of the planet is changing the climate, some places are drier and some are wetter. And there is no denying that capitalism, a tool of society, has solved many problems in this world and will continue to do so.

And there is no denying that fossil fuels, sequestered carbon, has helped feed the growing population.

Given the facts he points out, will plants adapt quick enough? Is there a point where the amount of CO2 becomes toxic? Is there a tipping point in the future? Those are still questions that have to be answered.

Of course Mr. Ridley says there is to much confirmation bias in the climate debate and yet I wonder how he, having very strong libertarian leanings, deals with his confirmation bias.

And, because this seems to have been the argument put forth by climate deniers for so long, is there scientific consensus on these observations that Mr. Ridley puts forth?

If God created this planet then he why did he go to all this work in creating such a balanced system? Maybe the real test he is giving us is how we manage his planet. I would guess, that, because we humans created God we are perfectly capable of defining what he wants from us and we can rationalize our way into the future.

And of course, in the words of Rick Santorum, “it is not about the science and facts but what you value that really matters.” In other words your values should drive your politics regardless of what the science and facts tell you.


Comment by Mark Baird

You are correct that plants use CO2. The warming of the planet is not changing the climate. There has been no warming for 16 years, although CO2 in the atmosphere continues to increase. The climate is always changing. It has been warmer in the past, and cooler as well. CO2 is what you breathe out. It is not toxic. There is no such thing as “scientific consensus.” Consensus is not science. I think we’ve been through all this before, Mark, but here’s how it works: There are no “climate deniers” that I know of, only climate skeptics, which is how science is supposed to work. You can figure out how you think things work, but being skeptical, you are always open to proof that they don’t work that way at all.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

[…] always wrong about carbon dioxide. It’s what we breathe out, and it makes plants grow. It is greening the earth as Matt Ridley explained at some length in this video. There has been way more CO2 in the […]


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