John Tierney makes a point that I have often thought about. Why is it that environmentalists oppose global warming (OK, for the sake of argument let's assume that man has some significant impact)? There would clearly be more animal life. There would be more plants that would be able to grown and that would provide food for more animals. As the density of animal life increases, won't there also be more new species on net than there would otherwise be? I have also wondered whether there would actually be more usable land area. True, there would be some flooding, but think of all the areas in Siberia and Canada that would be opened up for people to use. Of course, in the past, others have also pointed to the benefits for mankind, better health, etc.. The cost-benefit studies that I have seen appear to do a pretty poor job on taking these different factors into account.But as fondly as I recall the Great White North, I also remember how empty it was, particularly the vast Canadian tundra we flew over on the way to the scenic glaciers on Ellesmere Island. It’s called the Barrens: 500,000 square miles of flat treeless wasteland. It’s terra incognita to practically everyone except for for mineral prospectors, like the diamond prospectors described by Kevin Krajick in his 2001 book, “Barren Lands.” As he writes, “The Barrens have never really been lived upon, only traveled through; the wolverine, an eater of the dead, is almost its only year-round resident.”
Lots more life could survive in the Arctic if, as the I.P.C.C. projects, it warms up and gets more rain. There could be trees much farther north, a richer variety of flora and fauna. There might be fewer polar bears, but the bears have survived warm periods in the past, like the era some 9000 years ago when trees grew in northern Siberia. . . . .
Labels: Environment, GlobalWarming