An anonymous benefactor has presented the Phytophactor with a gift, the Skeptic’s Handbook on global warming by Joanne Nova. Uh, thanks. Make no doubts about it, the Phactor is a card-carrying skeptic from way back, but Joanne No-go isn’t a skeptic, she’s a denier. And her charming little booklet is just full of misinformation (you can get your own copy online, but I’ll not promote it by providing the link). The Smog Blog as debunked the main claims in this booklet as easy as 1, 2, 3.
The Phactor is no expert on climate, but he knows enough to say that we have reason for concern because the carbon dioxide data, the temperature data, and the tree growth/mortality data coincide very closely in one of the few well done long term studies. Yes, correlation is not causation, but it strongly suggests a connection. The worrisome part is that trees are massive storehouses of carbon. If rising temperatures lead to more tree mortality, that carbon is returned to the atmosphere as the trees decay. Why would increasing temperature cause tree mortality? Well, the rate of photosynthesis increases with temperature only to a point and then the rate declines quickly. However, the rate of respiration continues to increase with temperature. So beyond a critical temperature, trees respire faster than they capture carbon dioxide in photosynthesis, literally metabolizing themselves to death. If increased carbon dioxide leads to an increase in temperature, then the whole system is off to the races. The resulting climatic impact on agricultural regions would be disastrous especially for those of our species who have been living close to the edge of starvation. So the choice is to act now, while we can, to make what changes we can, or to wait until there is more certainty, and maybe as a result of waiting, have no chance for or choice of actions. For whatever their reasons deniers are willing to gamble with everyone’s future because they advocate doing nothing. This is neither wise nor pragmatic. It's OK to be skeptical, but don't be foolish.
11 hours ago in Variety of Life