School drop-out, global irritant, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg has found yet another cause to badger us with: saving the world’s trees.
”World losing area of forest the size of the UK each year.”
We should of course be planting as many trees as possible. But equally important – and hardly ever mentioned – is to leave the existing ones standing and to leave the natural habitats intact. https://t.co/0EGDMZY7vf
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) October 4, 2019
We cannot allow her to get away with this.
I don’t mean the stuff about saving trees: obviously saving trees is a good thing.
Rather, I mean this ludicrous idea that she and her fellow green loons have that only they know how to care for the planet, and that the rest of us — conservatives, especially, who believe in economic growth and free markets — know only how to destroy it.
It’s time, I think, that we conservatives reminded the world that we are the original and best conservationists — and that there’s absolutely nothing urban, yogurt-weaving, tofu-munching eco-loons can teach us about caring for nature.
Trees are a very good example of this. Almost everything the greenie propagandists tell us about trees is a lie.
One obvious recent example of this is the Amazon fire scare. It dominated the headlines all summer, with politicians such as France’s president Emmanuel Macron and celebrities from Madonna and Jennifer Lopez to Leo DiCaprio piling in to warn us of this man-made catastrophe.
But as I wrote in a piece titled ‘Amazon Fires – A Big, Fat Nothingburger of a #FakeNews Scare Story this wasn’t actually true.
The pictures were old, the claims exaggerated or misleading.
As Matt Ridley noted in the Spectator:
More significantly, the rate of deforestation in the Amazon basin is down by 70 per cent since 2004.
Around the world, wild fires are generally declining, according to Nasa. Deforestation, too, is happening less and less. The United Nations’ ‘state of the world’s forests’report concluded last year that ‘the net loss of forest area continues to slow, from 0.18 per cent [a year] in the 1990s to 0.08 per cent over the last five-year period’. A study in Nature last year by scientists from the University of Maryland concluded that even this is too pessimistic: ‘We show that — contrary to the prevailing view that forest area has declined globally — tree cover has increased by 2.24 million km2 (+7.1 per cent relative to the 1982 level).’
This net increase is driven by rapid reforestation in cool, rich countries outweighing slower net deforestation in warm, poor countries. But more and more nations are now reaching the sort of income levels at which they stop deforesting and start reforesting. Bangladesh, for example, has been increasing its forest cover for several years. Costa Rica has doubled its tree cover in 40 years. Brazil is poised to join the reforesters soon.
So, in the real world — as opposed to the fantasy one greenies inhabit — the very worst case scenario is that deforestation has dramatically slowed and the best one is that forest cover has actually increased.
One reason for this is global greening caused by increasing CO2 levels. Another is that prosperity is enabling poorer countries to find the spare money they need to engage in environmental projects.
Both the above examples are, of course, anathema to greenies who see CO2 — or “carbon” as they prefer to call it, because it sounds all black and scary — as an unmitigated evil and “prosperity” as the enemy because it involves economic growth.
Greenies really don’t have a track record worth boasting about on trees. Back in 2018, they sought to blame the disastrous wildfires in California and elsewhere on President Trump’s denial of climate change.
But the real reason those wildfires burned and spread with such uncontrollable intensity was because of maladministration arising from greenie ideology.
In my original article, I quoted the Daily Caller, which had interviewed an experienced forester called Bob Zybach. He blamed misguided, eco-friendly policies dating from the Clinton era.
While some want to blame global warming for the uptick in catastrophic wildfires, Zybach said a change in forest management policies is the main reason Americans are seeing a return to more intense fires, particularly in the Pacific Northwest and California where millions of acres of protected forests stand.
“We knew exactly what would happen if we just walked away,” Zybach, an experienced forester with a PhD in environmental science, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Zybach spent two decades as a reforestation contractor before heading to graduate school in the 1990s. Then the Clinton administration in 1994 introduced its plan to protect old growth trees and spotted owls by strictly limiting logging.
Less logging also meant government foresters weren’t doing as much active management of forests — thinnings, prescribed burns and other activities to reduce wildfire risk.
Let’s be clear: Greta Thunberg, the Democrats, and the rest of the green movement have zero credibility on the issue of trees and forest management or global greening generally.
Conservatives, on the other hand, can — and should — clean up on this issue and make it their own.
In a world where almost everyone seems to be obsessed with environmental fake news, here is a worthwhile and genuine green cause that conservatives can embrace and be seen to embrace.
It needs to be done sensibly. For example, as Matt Ridley notes in a separate article for the Telegraph, the world doesn’t simply need more trees. It needs the right kind of tree in the right place.
In the United Kingdom, for example, we don’t want any more of the grim sitka spruce or lodgepole pine trees planted as part of some hare-brained scheme by the Forestry Commission.
The woodlands we want are not closed-canopy forests of trees all the same age, but patchy woods with glades where oaks can spread their branches, while scrubby birch, hawthorn and rowan jostle with bracken and heather for sunlight, views can be glimpsed from hill tops and butterflies dance in the sunny clearings.
Also, it’s not a question of planting new trees but preserving some of the old ones we already have.
For example, it is quite ludicrous that American hardwood forests are being chopped down to be chipped and turned into “biofuel” and shipped across the Atlantic so that the Drax power station in Britain can meet its carbon emissions reductions targets.
There’s also the major problem of tree diseases like the Xylella fastidiosa ravaging citrus trees in the U.S. and olive groves in southern Italy. Imagine if some of the millions of dollars currently being squandered on politically-driven research into climate change could instead be directed towards the much more pressing and real problem of tree disease.
As I’ve argued before here is an easy way for President Trump to stop his enemies outflanking him on green issues. By becoming saviour of the world’s trees he can:
- Claim to be leading the way on CO2 reduction. (It doesn’t matter if you believe CO2 is a problem or not. Greenies do. And trees sequestrate ‘carbon’.
- Get all the other world leaders on board, so they’ve something positive to talk about at all those summits
- Give greenie protestors something useful to do: plant trees
- Annoy the hell out of the Democrats and all those other groups that want to paint Trump as a heartless, uncaring, planet destroying capitalist.
- Actually, genuinely help save the planet.
Others are thinking the same thing as me:
BRILLIANT @Nigel_Farage – A MASSIVE GLOBAL REFORESTATION PLAN! @Nigel_Farage Plant Trees! #treesarelife @realDonaldTrump @MarlboroughOf @DonaldJTrumpJr @charliekirk11 @ErikaFrantzve @kirstiealley @andywigmore @Joy_Villa @parscale @ParisBarns @KatrinaPierson @GrrrGraphics RT pic.twitter.com/dbjgmLmIqa
— JOHN MAPPIN (@JohnMappin) October 7, 2019
— Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealley) October 3, 2019
Just imagine how glorious it could be if our PRESIDENT @realDonaldTrump put you in charge of a global effort to re-forest! We could call it Trump Trees! charge a dollar each, donor get a certificate, you get to reforest the world and Trump becomes an environmental/climate hero!
— NYgrandma (@grandma4all) October 3, 2019
Go for it, Mr President. It’s a win, win, win situation. And I think you may have mentioned on occasion: you quite like winning, don’t you?