- The Washington Times - Friday, December 28, 2001

Scientists at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union are uncertain about how much carbon dioxide given off naturally is reabsorbed into the North American ecosystem.
In other words, the global warming problem may be a lot like the Chicken Little problem, and the sky isn't falling after all. Forests, farms and wetlands take up much of the carbon dioxide each year and may take in more than nature gives off. Scientists are unsure how much is given off naturally and how much is the result of human endeavors.
The environmental extremists were quick to jump on the global warming problem even though there has never been agreement among the scientific community that it was as serious as we are led to believe. This latest development leaves President Bush looking good in that he refuses to go along with the Kyoto Protocol. The United States and Canada have large areas of forests and other lands, which reclaim much of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere.
Small countries with little in the way of forests may turn out to be the main offenders in contributing to global warming. For instance, 140 billion tons of carbon cycle through the atmosphere each year. The U.S. and Canada emit about 1.7 billion tons during the same period. If we are then capturing a good deal of our emissions back into the ecosystem, the rest of the world will have a hard time pointing a finger at us as a main contributor to global warming.
Much of this was known to the previous administration, but there was very little press coverage, and no indication from our tree-hugging vice president that scientists were unsure of how much responsibility for global warming could be attributed to North America. There is strong evidence that global warming is cyclical and occurred long before there were any sport utility vehicles on the planet. There is no doubt carbon dioxide causes global warming.
NASA has determined that plant growth in the United States and Canada may absorb one-fourth to one-third more carbon than it emits. This is the kind of information that gives the eco-nuts cramps. It may be totally unnecessary for me to give up my SUV for an unsafe small car.
Scientists have also determined that wetter and warmer weather, possibly due to global warming, has extended the growing season by about a week. This additional week allows even more time for removal of carbon dioxide. It looks like nature may be taking care of the problem with no help from us.
Countries who do not have enough forests and wetlands but burn tons of fossil fuel should be looked at closely. The Kyoto Protocol may just be a trick to use North America as a sink for carbon dioxide recovery. Does the Sierra Club realize saving all those trees allows us to burn more fuel? Maybe the tree-huggers aren't so bad after all. Until this is all solved, I plan to stick with my SUV.

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