Matt Ridley on How Fossil Fuels are Greening the Planet

Matt Ridley, author of The Red Queen, Genome, The Rational Optimist and other books, dropped by Reason's studio in Los Angeles last month to talk about a curious global trend that is just starting to receive attention. Over the past three decades, our planet has got greener!

About 20 years ago Charles Keeling noticed that the amplitude of change of the CO2 was increasing. In other words, in the Northern Summer the CO2 level fell and in the winter it went up again and this change was growing. More CO2 was coming into the atmosphere every Winter but more was going out of it every Summer.

He could understand why if more CO2 was coming into the atmosphere because of industry and so on, why was more going out every Summer?

The answer Keeling came up with was – there was probably more green vegetation on the planet.


Satellites show that for the last 30 years the planet’s vegetation has been increasing.

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