A Contrary View: Matt Ridley on Climate

Matt Ridley is an economist, and a great believer in the value of increasing prosperity for all. That does not sound so terrible. But he can get under the skin of environmentalists. Ridley argues that environmentalists underestimate the positive environmental effects of economic growth — including the increased use of fossil fuels as opposed to burning wood.

Here is the video.

Notice that while Matt makes the case that the earth is greening and wildlife is thriving, he does not make the case that climate change is not happening. Nor does he make the case that warming will have no harmful effects. He is just saying that (1) the fact that we use less land for farming because of nitrogen fertilizer is a good thing for the planet given our large population, and (2) more CO2 in the air makes vegetation grow a bit faster, which is also good. He does not say that the faster growth of vegetation could eventually bring CO2 levels back down.

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