back to article Global warming is actually good for rainforests, say boffins

OK, so let's take it that global warming is coming: that temperatures are set to rise by easily 3°C by the end of the century. Disaster, right? The tropical rainforests - lungs of the planet - will die, CO2 levels will thus rise even faster, a runaway process will set in and planet Earth will be transformed into a baking …

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  1. Cameron Colley

    This is clearly bollocks!

    We all know that the rainforests will die, all the glaciers will melt and puppies will drown!

    1. Marky W
      Stop

      Fingers in ears, la, la, la, la

      Just how long do you think it would take to establish rainforests in other latitudes, as existing ones wilt and die? I'd estimate this is on the order of many hundreds of years, if not longer.

      Sure, the status quo a millenium from now might be hunky dory, but for the next few human generations....the outlook is not so good.

      'Course this assumes temps will rise in line with climate change lobby predictions, and (for the record) I think the hyperbole and exaggeration seen in most press releases means this is rather unlikely.

      (ahem. yes the fence has left some nasty splinters in my bum.)

      1. LoD
        FAIL

        RTFA

        @Marky W "There is no evidence for enhanced aridity in the northern Neotropics." would seem to imply imply no significant "wilting and dying", don't you think?

    2. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Happy

      Ghostbusters!

      Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes...

      Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!

      Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    So just to clarify...

    ... global warming means more chocolate?

    Excellent.

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Pint

      Woo Hoo! Chocolate!

      Looks that way =]

      Another nail in the IPCC coffin.

      If more plants and trees appear and spread when temperature increases because of carbon, then more plants and trees will soak up more carbon and again limit the temperature.

      Green taxes make no difference and don't help the planet as it can clearly look after itself in this way.

      1. AdamWill

        again

        ...with the 'planet' error.

        I find it amusing that the climate change denial lobby and the crazy 'green' lobby speak as one when they talk about 'the planet'. No matter where you stand on the issue, let's make it clear: 'the planet' doesn't give a shit either way about global warming. 'The planet' is not the one with the problem. The one with the problem is *us*. Of course global warming isn't going to kill the planet. Of course 'the planet' will 'look after itself', whatever that means exactly; it's a pretty vapid question, because again, it depends on where you're standing. 'The planet' will continue to exist until it smashes into the sun or is destroyed by a giant asteroid or the Vogons or whatever else is going to happen zillions of years in the future. From the point of view of biological life, yeah, the planet will 'look after itself' in the sense that life adapts to changing conditions; raise the temperature by five degrees and over *the long run* life will continue, in some way. The temperate zones will move around a bit, grow, shrink, whatever. Different species will manage differently, some will thrive, some will die, some new ones will show up, etc.

        The little problem is exactly what this 'adjustment' means for people, given that we're present all over the place and we are, as individual units, pretty goddamn vulnerable to the effects of environmental change. Yeah, as a whole, people would probably get by even through some pretty extreme environmental changes. But getting by in the long run can also be looked at as 'quite a lot of us dying and the lucky ones having to make rather drastic changes to their entire civilization, sharpish'.

        So yeah, a biologist twenty million years in the future will probably say 'eh, big whoop, yeah, in the environmental adjustment period of the 21st century, blahblah' but if you're actually in the unfortunate position of *living through* said environmental adjustment period, things may look a bit hairier.

      2. PreMortemDude
        Heart

        OMG - The Beer!!

        That icon of yours reminded me that there will be more hops, and barley, and wheat, Oh My!!!

    2. The Other Steve

      And not only that

      It will also be warmer! Really, it's just the gift that keeps on giving!

    3. Daniel Evans

      Or even...

      There's a slight possibility that, as happened last time, some other delicious form of plant will evolve, maybe even surpassing chocolate...

      So, when do we re-open the coal mines?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It gets even better than that.

        If the sea rises just a couple of metres. my house will suddenly have a sea view.

        I can sit in my garden, picking passion fruit and eating it with super chocolate while watching the sun go down over my private jetty.

  3. Alpha Tony

    Well that's good news.

    I'm sure that the 3 trees that will be left in the 'McDonalds Rainforest Memorial Museum' by the end of the century will be nice and green.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    I wonder how well that will go down with the treehuggers

    So now GW is actually going to be good for the rainforests ? Well that sounds logical, given that it is a well-known fact that the dinosaurs lived in a much warmer period than today. And what did the vegetarian dinosaurs eat ? Tons of plants. Every day. Which obviously meant that there had to be tons and tons of the stuff lying around to support all that munching.

    So yeah, rainforests will logically do fine.

    But how will the eco-preachers spin this one ? Oh, I know, they'll say the report is not from a reliable source, or the data is wrong, or any other of a dozen ad-hominem attacks.

    Still, the ripples continue to grow around the GW conflict without any end in sight.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      Problem being...

      ...with what you say is that for rain-forests to flourish, there have to be rain-forests LEFT to flourish.

    2. oolon
      Grenade

      Poor Logic

      "So yeah, rainforests will logically do fine."

      Good for the rainforests on a geological scale and assuming there are not lots of pesky humans chopping them down yes. Did that 5C warming and 1000ppm CO2 happen quickly or over thousands of years... Hmmm lets think?

      How about good for our rainforests in the positions they are in now? Such a large global temperature change will surely massively effect the precipitation in rainforest regions? (Plus many other factors that might equalise to happy rainforests in a few millennia) I am no expert but a little common sense applied seems to change this from a global warming is good for the environment to err wait a moment lets think about it without the global warming blinkers on (Either kind)

      And yes the ripples of the Global Warming conflict continue to propagate in the medium of a million commentards lack of logic.

    3. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      RE: Pascal

      Exactly what i was just thinking, and clearly they've already marked you down a bit.

      Even with new evidence every week, people who don't believe we cause global warming are silenced by idiots who can spin anything the way they want with absolutely no evidence that people indeed cause global warming.

      Despite so much evidence saying global warming is natural and not cause by people (the dinosaurs didn't have cars btw), the people who speak out are silenced by slurs and insults, including the ignoramus the other day who said they were tied to cigarette companies.

      So bring on the red arrows anyone who believes the dinosaurs had cars and planes to cause the last ice age and the periods of global warming through history!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Do I really have to go through this crap again?

        "Even with new evidence every week, people who don't believe we cause global warming are silenced by idiots who can spin anything the way they want with absolutely no evidence that people indeed cause global warming."

        I love this idea. Those who claim ACC is true are stupid, yet also amazingly gifted at spinning an apparent nothingness into a veritable end of days. So gifted, that the towering group intellect of the skeptics are foiled at every turn.

        It doesn't quite add up, does it.

        Perhaps the truth of the matter is that, although you see new evidence every week supporting your thesis (as brought to you by the man who will suffer no debate, and what does that tell you children?), substantially more evidence to the contrary is also brought to light every week. Of course, you choose not to see that evidence, but that's your problem. Don't make it mine, eh?

        "Despite so much evidence saying global warming is natural"

        Blah, blah, cite me a meta-analysis showing that the naysayers have more evidence than the yea-sayers. Without recourse to the flaccid "climate people are so stupid and intelligent that they've sewn up all the journals".

        "(the dinosaurs didn't have cars btw)"

        Well that's a fair point fairly made. You have clearly considered all the differences between the two scenarios before painstakingly working your way towards a very solid conclusion. It is, after all, obvious that a body could not undergo changes in temperature for different reasons. There could only be one cause. And since the dinosaurs didn't have cars, well cars can clearly have no effect on temperature!

        Of course things broke before there were cars, so I guess driving into something at 90mph is now considered to be perfectly safe too. Thank you, Brave Skeptical Thinkers, for saving us from the lying Newtonian idiot-scum.

        "the people who speak out are silenced by slurs and insults, including the ignoramus the other day who said they were tied to cigarette companies."

        I'd make a point about your lanaguage here, but I'd be Godwined. Suffice it to say that your trick of repeatedly casting the enemy as stupid and evil has historical precedent.

        1. The Other Steve
          WTF?

          Oh just say Nazi and get on with it.

          "Suffice it to say that your trick of repeatedly casting the enemy as stupid and evil has historical precedent."

          Yes, it does, I've seen Monbiot's columns. Oh, and LOVING the irony - not to say hypocrisy and circular logic - of you using up all that text to call someone ignorant because they don't agree with you and then ending it all by suggesting they're a nazi, as though that were some kind of crushing QED.

          Priceless. This issue really does bring out the worst in all of us.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Go

            Have a clue.

            1. I attacked his argument, not his intelligence. But since his entire argument is pretty much, "you're too stupid to understand", I attacked it with the heavy dose of sarcasm it deserved. I did nevertheless attack his argument. I did not call him stupid for disagreeing with me. I think you have the two of us confused. Or perhaps you just don't take the time to read properly.

            2. Hypocrisy is pretending to have a set of qualities that you don't. Where do I claim to be something that I'm not?

            3. Right. So having complained at someone for having an argument that consists of "you're stupid", I'm not allowed to remind him that he shares that technique with a lot of unsavoury characters, but you are?

            4. As a man who regularly wades in with "The IPCC are all liars", I have to wonder why you think you can get away with an attack like this at all.

            So thanks for playing, Steve. In falsely accusing me of hypocrisy, stupidity and circular reasoning you have exhibited alll these qualities yourself.

            1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
              Thumb Down

              RE: John Dee

              "So thanks for playing, Steve. In falsely accusing me of hypocrisy, stupidity and circular reasoning you have exhibited alll these qualities yourself."

              I've argued with him many a time for attacking random things in posts, whether debatable or just petty.

              And the first point in your argument is the opposite of what i did, i was saying people aren't stupid but just need to do their own research into this before listening to everyone else.

              I was basically saying Sheep! Sheep! Sheep! rather than Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

              I'll state fairly John Dee that i don't believe people cause global warming because the IPCC can't prove it and still call for us to tax things without being able to predict the effects.

              There will after all with 99% certainty be another of these stories in the next month calling the IPCC into dispute over fudging numbers.

              And i would bet on that

              1. strum Silver badge
                FAIL

                Belief vs Science

                >i don't believe people cause global warming because the IPCC can't prove it

                Can you prove E=MC2? Can you prove Darwinian evolution? No, you can't (science doesn't work that way). I presume that means you reject the Einstein conspiracy & the biology conspiracy too?

                Science works by proposing hypotheses, and by testing them. At any given moment, nothing in science is proven - we merely work with the best available hypothesis. That is its strength.

                The best available hypothesis on climate is that it is changing, and this is largely due to anthropogenic effects. Thos who dismiss this hypothesis, merely because it is unproven, display their ignorance of science.

                1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
                  FAIL

                  RE: Strum

                  "Thos who dismiss this hypothesis, merely because it is unproven, display their ignorance of science."

                  No, it's you being arrogant and insulting.

                  Get off your high horse and prove people cause global warming

                  Do you also believe people can live off paint thinner or eating tarmac because i'm sure that's unproven aswell?

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Science

                    "Science works by proposing hypotheses, and by testing them. At any given moment, nothing in science is proven - we merely work with the best available hypothesis. That is its strength."

                    Strum's description of science is an accurate one. Anyone who talks of truth in science betrays the fact that they left it post A-level to follow an easier vocation.

                    "Do you also believe people can live off paint thinner or eating tarmac because i'm sure that's unproven aswell?"

                    The models predict that anyone attempting such a thing is likely to die. Happy now?

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Science

                "And the first point in your argument is the opposite of what i did, i was saying people aren't stupid but just need to do their own research into this before listening to everyone else."

                I used to be a practising scientist. I had books. If I wanted to know the answer to things, I would look in those books. Day in, day out. I did not run my own experiments to test the validity of Newton's Laws, I did not deduce everything from first principles.

                That. That is science. Actually doing science. Not having wet dreams about science because you have a few A-levels and an MSCE. Actual fucking science. Standing on the shoulders of giants. It's no wonder the IT wheel is reinvented fifty times over. It's not truth. It's not trying to be truth. It's trying to get shit done. And we have got shit done. We gave you computers. We put you on the moon. We invented the frickin laser.

                What so many of you here are trying to contend is that all those scientists with PhD's and MSc's and years and years of hard fucking work trying to understand these very complex issues are somehow just deluded fools beholden to the BBC (WTF? Where did that twattery come from?) whilst you, a bunch of tech support staff, junior devs and sysadmins exhibiting group think on an intrernet forum, are somehow clued in to The Grand Truth Of All Things.

                No one with an ounce of life experience, humility, or wisdom could think like that. By your own stupid mouths you are damned.

                I know, I know, a few scientists disagree. But again, if you had actually done any science beyond A-Level, even just a year of shitology at The Croydon Institute of Excellence, you'ld know that ALL scientific theories have dissenters. I myself disagreed vehemently with the mainstream on EPRB and CHSH. I never once tried to call them stupid. I don't try to piss it all over the internet.

  5. Sam Liddicott

    the data

    It's hard to make a GW decision based on data because there's always some more data a long in a month or so to make you change you mind.

    It's easier to make a decision based on the behaviour of the preachers.

    Naturally, those I dis- agree with are ignorants repeating the doctrines of the dishonest.

    Of course, they think the same about me; so what was my real reason for my decision, I wonder...

    1. PatientOne

      Facts, figures and things people forget

      Twenty years ago, a friend of mine completed her Environmental Science degree. She was somewhat disappointed, however: She wanted to do a thesis on weather cycles, but these were, apparently, too complex to map and intersections were too unpredictable. Instead she studied deer shitting in woods. Turns out they do. And in fields and anywhere else they happen to be.

      But she did note something, even back then. Actually, she noted several things:

      1) We are currently in an Ice age. We have been for a very long time and are due to emerge from it any day now. Seriously, we're actually overdue. Bit worrying there's no sign, isn't it? I mean, icecaps have to melt completely for us to be out of the ice age. (Just for reference, we're interglacial - the glaciers retreat, exposing the land. If they advance again, we're in trouble: They'll want their land back. And the lawn mower...).

      2) When we hit the 'flip' from ice age to temperate, we could well see Sabre toothed cats reappear. She likes cats. So do I. It would be fun watching people's reaction to the appearance of Sabre toothed cats again.

      More recently, with all this C02 business and 'Global warming' panic, she noted:

      3) They (the environmental scientists, that is) have been expecting this. It's in the course books, after all, so it's been published for 20+ years, along with predictions as to what we might see (refer to 2, above). Gee, I wonder what the Sabre toothed cats will look like this time. Are house cats teeth growing? Or are the ABC's our new feline overlords...

      4) Someone's having a laugh: Panic over C02? It's nothing: Methane is a more dangerous 'greenhouse' gas...

      5) Greenhouse gasses. How are they going to work, exactly? Oh, they hold heat in? But won't they reflect heat, too? After all, the normal temperature of the planet is 6 C. Anything above that is from the sun. Look, clouds at night keep the land beneath them warmer, but during the day they provide shade that keeps it cool. Won't greenhouse gasses do the same but on a global scale? Won't it all balance out in the end?

      6) Where are those Sabre toothed cats!

      And me? I sit there and listen and I wonder... all this data: Is it correct? What factors have they taken in to consideration. They are scientists, aren't they: They haven't changed anything or missed anything out. But it always bothered me that they don't mention this thing about the ice age: That permanent icecaps are actually bad for the planet, and at some point they really need to melt. That we need to move into a temperate age. Well, the planet does, anyhow: Man really isn't that important as far as the planet is concerned. Little more than an infestation, an irritation, a pest to be exterminated it when the time comes. And then I wonder about these claims about how much impact man has on all this... you know, I'm not convinced we're not seeing a natural change to the planet's temperature, and that the worst thing man could be doing is just making it happen a little faster...

      But hey, someone has to preach about the end of the world. Someone has to make money by scamming people through scare tactics. Someone has to be declared a heratic for pointing out the claims don't quite add up. And the bulk of us sit on, bemused, as people argue the world is flat/round/rhomboid/doomed.

      Anyway, I'm off to go look at those cats. They seem to be smiling. Big smiles with big teeth...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Look, we did in this junior school, okay?

        "Greenhouse gasses. How are they going to work, exactly? Oh, they hold heat in? But won't they reflect heat, too? "

        Let me put it in thick for you. The incident energy is light. The radiated enrergy is heat.

        Everything else you wrote was shit too, but that really took the biscuit.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
          Stop

          I too...

          ... was taught stuff in junior school that turned out to be completely wrong, John Dee. The difference is, I know when to step back from it and move on.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            So ...

            ... which part of the of CO2 as a greenhouse gas is wrong?

            The difference between us, is I grew up enough to not waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah because someone disagrees with me.

      2. DaWolf

        "Twenty years ago, a friend of mine....

        ....completed her Environmental Science degree....."

        She might know what she's talking about - but the words you are putting into her mouth are nonsense, and if "she" really exists she clearly doesn't understand her subject well.

  6. Big Al
    Boffin

    Totally irrelevant

    It doesn't matter how good (or bad) global warming is for tropical rainforests if they've all been chopped down before the change in climate anyway.

  7. brale
    FAIL

    Change for SIX BILLION

    Right, climate change might be good for some rainforests?

    At the same time when you discuss change in the climate, you need to factor in the SIX BILLION people that need to adapt.

    If there were a thousand people on this earth, you can move them around when climate changes. But with SIX BILLION+, you do not get the option.

  8. Shakje

    I didn't think anyone was saying high temperatures would kill things

    but that the rate of change of those temperatures would lead to conditions that would make it difficult for such things to survive. A pertinent question might be "how long did it take for the temperature to reach that level?" Go look at an estimated graph of the temperature variation for that period and look at just how long it took to get to that level.

  9. Sir Sham Cad

    Not the issue

    Climate Change is not even close to the biggest threat to the rainforests nor can the rapid loss of rainforest habitat and subsequent loss of species be significantly attributed to climate change.

    It can be significantly attributed to chainsaws and JCBs for both legal and illegal logging and clearing.

    I'm a believer in climate change and that mankind's activities are contributing, at least in part. I also believe that our scientific models need a lot more work if we're to understand the mechanisms of CC and make reasonably accurate assessments of impact.

    I also believe that CO2 emissions and contributions to climate change are the least of the ways in which we are fucking up the planet and causing extinctions. Let's have some more noise made about those, please.

  10. James 5

    Should have asked...

    ... the geologists way back before all these short-termist, GW panickers got the media attention....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What does it matter?

      Whether you believe it is happening or not? Whether I believe it is happening or not? The word belief keeps coming up time and again as it were a religion.

      What matters is whether it IS happening, not who believes it. If enough people believe in it, it won't start to happen if it wasn't before. I'm not having a go, I just find it curious.

      I wonder what the people who argued in the middle ages about whether the earth was round and whether it went round the sun would make of our discussions on climate change if they could be here today. There are similarities - the irrational belief (on both sides) of those who ought to know, the legions of people who can't know but who swing their allegiance between one side or the other based on who they like the most or will give them the lowest tax bill or biggest incentive, the vested interests (on both sides)

      Mine's the one with the imprint of the fence on the backside.

    2. LINCARD1000
      Thumb Up

      Hear hear, Sir

      Exactly... the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle of the extremes of opinion. However there are more pressing thing that worrying about CO2. Rainforests, preserving more biodiversity and actual pollution are a little more important I would have thought.

    3. Bryce 2

      Ermmm

      The whole reason why human beings are the dominant life force on the planet is BECAUSE of their ability to adapt....

      Human beings have always found a way, I don't think they'll stop any time soon...

      1. strum Silver badge

        WIde-eyed optimist

        >Human beings have always found a way,

        Some humans have found a way. Some haven't.

        Out of ~7Bn, how many do you reckon? Will this number include you & those you care about?

    4. Robert Brockway
      Linux

      Make that 6.8 billion

      The population hasn't been 6 billion for a decade. We're likely to top out at about 9-10 billion. This is itself a huge problem which gets little air time.

    5. Charles Manning

      We'll have to chop the stuff down

      CO2 is plant food. Plants grow faster when it is warmer. It strikes me that if we don't keep chopping the forests down we'll soon end up with the world overrun with trees.

      What takes the biscuit is that so many Europeans - particularly Poms - complain about how the tropics is being deforested yet they killed off all their trees hundreds of years ago. If the UK wants to really reverse deforestation then they should start in their own back yard and restore the forests to what they were. Rip up the cities, farms etc and replant with trees. Oh, then reintroduce wolves and bears.

      Of course the UK won't do that. They want to keep what they've got and have the third world make all the sacrifices.

  11. Rogerborg

    This challenges my preconceptions

    I shall therefore shriek "Denialist! DENIALIST!" at it until it goes away.

    Thus is ManBearPig defeated once again. Excelsior!

  12. Anton Ivanov
    Flame

    Both sides are right here

    Rainforests in general should flourish all right. That is from the realm of the bleeding obvious. Co2, heat, water, what else can a tropical plant dream of.

    However nobody said that they will be the where the rainforests are now and nobody said that the humanity will allow them to grow where they would have naturally grown in the absence of Homo Sapiens and its industrialised civilisation.

    So if there will be a real disaster from global warming it will not be because of it per-se, but because of Humans fighting desperately for the Earth to stay the same instead of looking for a way to adapt to the new environment. It is the law of nature that species which refuse to adapt to a change in their environment go extinct. Some food for thought here...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    well

    there's fast warming and slow warming; a fast transition to a higher temperature may well cause enormous disruption to human and ecological systems before this bright green rainforest future a few millennia hence, when the ecosystems have adapted.

  14. oldredlion
    Happy

    I knew it!

    Isn't this just evidence that GW is actually the plants fighting back against the evils of vegetarianism?

    1. Robert Brockway
      Joke

      Oh they're fighting all right

      The best hypothesis I've heard is this:

      Trees like CO2 levels higher than grass does. The trees and grass have been in a war for millions of years, each side trying to alter the environment to their preferred cO2 level. The trees have recently deployed their ultimate weapon (humans) to drive up the CO2 levels and defeat the evil grass once and for all.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wow

      "It is the law of nature that species which refuse to adapt to a change in their environment go extinct."

      Interesting choice of words.

      When you say refuse to adapt, are you talking about the plants that refuse to get up and move when the valley they are living in gets too hot? Or are you talking about the penguins and walruses (I'll leave the polar bears alone today) refusing to move into the nearest commercial freezer when the poles become temperate?

      Changes in environment occur over a long time period (well, long for you and I, actually quite short in terms of geological timescale), certainly long enough for animals to breed, mutate and the mutants survive to breed and further mutate, adapting the species to survive in the new environment (this, of course, occurring over many generations).

      The problem with GW is that this change now appears to be occurring very rapidly and maybe too rapidly for many species to have the multiple generations needed to potentially survive the change. This has nothing to do with people trying desperately to stop the earth from changing. It has everything to do with recognising that change is occurring, identifying where human industrial activity is speeding up the process and trying to prevent those activities from speeding up the process too much.

  15. Tim Parker

    Adapting to the environment...

    Ummm - this is news ?.. The proliferation of new flora variants and adaptation of existing ones to higher levels of temperature and CO2 is a given, has been for.... umm pretty much as long as I can remember - and I wasn't aware that it was being disputed now by anyone - regardless of their stance on anthropogenic climate change.

    It also only a small part of the debate about possible global changes - some beneficial to some areas, some not.

    Interesting, for sure, but what was the point that i've missed ?

  16. Martijn Bakker
    Alien

    All that CO2 is good for plants

    That would be the Paleocene era wich started with the extinction off the dinosaurs. All that CO2 may be good for our plants, but that doesn't mean it's healthy for larger vertebrates. Not a threat to "life on earth" then.. but probably not good news for us humans either.

  17. Kit Temple
    Stop

    Surprise?

    Well - seems pretty obvious to me. I didn't realise that really was a key concern of anyone. I thought it was more about the massive flooding, hurricanes etc. that will cause untold death and destruction.

    There are other aspects that become a little 'out of control' as temperatures rise. One is the massive permanently frozen methane fields in Russia - and methane as we know has a much worse effect on global warming than CO2. Also, wasn't there some issue with plant life in the Ocean suffering? Not sure the rainforests were ever seen as a key issue.

  18. andy gibson
    Happy

    @ Pascal

    The treehuggers will probably take this fact "60 million years ago temperatures were up to 5°C higher than now " and claim that dinosaurs ignored global warning and look what happened to them....

  19. Adrian Challinor
    Coat

    self managing feedback

    CO2 goes up

    Therefore temperature goes up

    So more trees grow

    And trees take CO2 from the atmosphere

    FEEDBACK! The panet is selfsustaing.

    Provided, of course, we all stop using wood for paper and stop decimating the rain forest. Did I mean decimate or anhilate? oh, this is the wrong story for that debate, sorry I'll my coat. Its the paper one with Feedback for Fun and Profit in the pocket.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Cause and effect

      I'm waiting for a peer-reviewed paper that proves CO2 attracts planet-killer asteroids. Or pirates. Or something.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        mosquitos?

        Q

  20. The Other Steve
    Boffin

    EVERYBODY STOP DOING SCIENCE!!!

    Dammit, boffins, if the plebs get wind that the sky might not falling they'll never let us opress them and we'll have to go back to being a bunch of bolshie nobodys !

  21. Jolyon

    Thie title brought to you by the letter T and the word adiós

    Is greenhouse damage to the rainforests something people have been all that concerned about?

    Or is this a bit like telling gullible mums how much milk they'd have to drink to get as much iron as there is in some lab-created substitute?

    I can't believe that many people would be surprised that tropical plants would be happy in a greenhouse.

    On the other hand chopping them down and growing cows in their place has been flagged as something we might want to avoid.

  22. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Old news backwards

    Increased temperature alone was not expected to kill rain forests. It would increase the activity of fungi and parasites so that trees would spend more energy on there immune systems, and less converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. The effect of increasing CO2 is not obvious, and years ago it was sensible to decrease emissions as a precaution because the potential costs could be enormous.

    Somehow, words like 'precaution', 'potential' and 'could' have mysteriously been replaced by 'necessary', 'certain' and 'will', without clearly published data to back them up. I am all for reducing our dependence on oil and gas independent of whether global warming is real or not. Unfortunately the current fashion is to build an impractical amount of over priced wind turbines - which will not be an effective way to substantially decrease dependence on oil and gas or reduce CO2.

  23. Chewy

    One small problem

    is that we've been cutting down those rain-forests so what we've got left is a wheezing smoker's lung not working on the original capacity

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A title

      Because 'precaution', 'potential' and 'could' dont loosen government purse strings, or attract private investment as effectively as 'necessary', 'certain' and 'will'.

      Wind turbines and other 'green' technologies are not great, but you have to start somewhere and anything to shutdown fossil and wood fueled stations is a good start.

  24. CD001

    Ummm...

    Is this not just common sense?

    Trees "inhale" CO2 and "exhale" O2 throughout the day ... and they thrive in warmer climates. If you want certain plants to grow well in our chillier northern climes you put them in a greenhouse...

    "Global warming" and higher CO2 levels would create a very plant-friendly environment I'd have thought. If the Discovery Channel hasn't lied to me then there was a LOT of CO2 in the atmosphere when plants first colonised the land and with little to eat them they spread like wild-fir (sorry) eventually absorbing enough CO2 and emitting enough Oxygen to chill the planet somewhat and raise O2 levels to a point much higher than they are today - leading to bloody big insects (dragonflies with 2m wingspan and the like).

    In fact, on a geological timescale, global warming is something of a non-issue. The planet has been much warmer in the past and it will (probably) be much warmer in the future. It's only us fragile meatbags that might suffer.

  25. Ku...

    A sample of 1 is not statistically reliable

    Remember science is based on the evidence of a body of research. One paper does not mean universal truth. However, there is a definite trend in published research which says that the cataclysmic predictions of earlier researchers were overstating the case.

    This is one more block in that body of evidence.

    Interesting.

    But not a final answer all on its own.

    So while I welcome reporting on the continual research into climate change I hope we aren't falling into the tabloid trap of thinking that one published report changes everything.

    1. copsewood
      Grenade

      Sure is common sense

      Increasing humidity, C02 and warmth for plant growth is common sense, so long as you don't mind having to evacuate coastal cities and plains where most people live. Next time you buy a house make sure it's at least 100 meters above sea level and nowhere near to a big river. And keep a few AK47s, machine guns and grenades at hand to fight off the climate change refugees who will want what you've got when most of the cities flood.

  26. John Murgatroyd

    Everyone

    needs to calm down.

    No need for exaggeration, no need for hyperbole and definitely no need for hysteria.

    Yes, there will still be chocolate.

    But you need to get perspective here.

    It will not be MILK chocolate.

    For that you need milk.

    And cows.

    And grass.

    So the rain forests need to be limited so we can have fields for the cows, to get milk.

    Never mind global warming, never mind CO2, never mind the rain forests.

    As long as we have chocolate (and beer and music) things will work out.

  27. Mad Mike
    Thumb Up

    Nature is all powerful

    As a species we have an inbuilt need to feel all powerful and imporant. The idea that something might be more powerful or stronger than us is not allowed. Therefore, when global warming came along (or call it by its more common name these days, climate change), it had to be our fault as we're all powerful. It couldn't possibly also be the planet simply changing, much like it has done countless times in the past. We've had ice ages and periods of significant warming over history, even quite recent history. The middle ages were relatively warm compared to today. But, no, it had to be us as we're all powerful. So, using the same logic, if it was to be fixed (does it actually need fixing?), we had to do it. Hence, the entire climate change religion. The idea that nature might actually be able to keep it in balance is silly as obviously we're more powerful than nature.....aren't we. So, if CO2 levels rise, rain forest etc. gets bigger and keeps it in check!!

    Now inconvenient.

  28. Some Beggar
    FAIL

    Welcome to the Lewis Page Straw Clutching Society newsletter.

    I do hope nobody mentions the involvement of the following groups with this paper:

    Colombian Petroleum Institute

    Petróleos de Venezuela S.A.

    Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos, Bogota

    1. Yamal Dodgy Data
      Troll

      3.. 2.. 1... Here comes the Eco-Trolls

      @Some(Eco)Buggar:

      Have you been summoned by the eco-loons jungle telegraph to flame the El Reg Journos ?

      (although looking at your posting history you may just well be a general purpose troll)

      It's a pity your all so predictable with your logical fallacies

      Is a bog standard Type 1. Ad hominem the best you eco-loons can ever do ?

      There's a top twenty logical fallacies list available to choose from

      http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logicalfallacies.aspx

      You should hope no one ever mentions the involvement of the following groups funding the Carbon Cult scare:

      -Goldman Sachs (profit from a carbon credit derivatives trade)

      -Catlin Group (profit from eco insurance via climate-terror stories)

      -WWF (yep profit from carbon offsets buying third world forests and evicting the natives)

      1. 42
        WTF?

        Dodgy data

        Is mainly the preserve of the loopy denialists like yourself sir.

        The above poster at least provides the links to prove his claim, unlike your baseless accusations.

        Is that you Lewis, (Or Orlowski perhaps) I mean we know you wil print anything that might vaguley contradict AGW, and never mention the vast bulk of the evidence that indicates AGW is happening.

        Amusing that ELReg imitates Fox news in its approach to AGW eh?

      2. Some Beggar

        Dull poster is dull.

        If your strongest response is to label somebody a troll then you've already failed.

        (and you might want to look up the difference between "your" and "you're")

  29. Sapient Fridge
    Flame

    A fine example of AGW denier spin

    Spin is best when it's mostly truth and simply misses out a few inconvenient facts. The article is a great example of this.

    Yes, the planet has been hotter in the past. Yes, it has had more CO2. Yes, the jungles were lush, and yes, life will adapt. Everything in the article is true, the only thing missing is the amount of time it will take life to adapt to the new warmer conditions. It's millions of years.

    The problem is that evolution happens very s..l..o..w..l..y and the planet is warming far faster than nature can adapt. This is why the extinction rate is thousands of times higher than the background rate. The planet has *never* warmed up as fast as it is doing now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Furthermore

      There weren't that many dinosaur cities near the coast.

    2. Baskitcaise
      Boffin

      evolution happens very s..l..o..w..l..y...

      It sped itself up a bit when that fookin big rock hits us though, and look, we are still here.

      1. Sapient Fridge

        evolution happens very s..l..o..w..l..y

        And how many years ago was the "fookin big rock" and how long did it take for life on the planet to recover? I'll give you a clue, both answers are in the millions of years range.

    3. Yamal Dodgy Data
      Troll

      3.. 2.. 1... Here comes the Eco-Trolls (Part 2)

      @sapient fridge:

      At least your a bit more entertaining

      You've used the Type 16 "Special pleading, or ad-hoc reasoning" logical fallacy.

      Which is "the arbitrary introduction of new elements into an argument in order to fix them so that they appear valid".

      But you lose your points by doing an Ad hominem on Lewis Page,

      I guess eco-loons just can't resist the type 1 logical fallacy.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    Great for rainforests...

    That is, if we haven't cut them all down by then. I believe something like an area the size of Wales is felled per day, so at that rate I doubt the boost in growth caused by all the extra CO2 will be enough to counteract our industrial-scale deforestation.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who cares?

    Unless all the CO2 reduces the stamina of the lumberjack or prevents his chainsaw from working then it's all pointless research ;)

  32. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Daily Mail style reporting

    The Register has set a new low for Daily Mail style reporting when it comes to the environment. I find it difficult to see how you can claim rain forests flourished 60 million years ago, when modern tree species only *began* to evolve and appear at that time. How can something that doesn't yet exist be flourishing?

    I suspect The Register has skim read a conclusion, not properly understood it, and reported it as suits.

    There's a big clue in the quoted text:

    "The boffins write:

    We observed a rapid and distinct increase in plant diversity and origination rates, with a set of new taxa, mostly angiosperms"

    Go look up what an angiosperm is.

  33. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    Stop

    The real problem for the trees is...

    Not the increasing C02 levels, but the shortsighted idiots that persist in cutting them down en masse.

    I'm sure that I could find a link between the two if I tried really hard.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    After the U.S./Canadian war...

    Global warming means that all that useless ice up there in North U.S. (formerly known as "Canada") will melt so the U.S. can use it to grow crops and build cities and find oil an' stuff - you know, to compensate for whatever lower-U.S. land might be lost because of climate changes an' ocean rising. Canadians complain, no prob, a minor technicality. The player with the best weapons, wins.

    ;)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As a Canadian, I fully expect the above...

      message to be quite accurate.

  35. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Misleading headline

    Warmer temperatures might be good for rainforests, but the important bit is how long did it take for those temperatures to become established, and did rainfall patterns match those expected from the current warming?

    One thing we do know from pollen cores is that the Amazon has repeatedly dried out in the past and been replaced by savannah-like landscapes dominated by grasses. The climate models suggest the Amazon is going to become more dominated by a wet and dry season which would encourage the die-off of trees.

  36. BristolBachelor Gold badge
    Badgers

    Rainforrests not doing so well

    This is just a theory but in actual fact, the rain forrests are being cut down at a high rate to plant crops for "eco-diesel".

    Oh the irony that higher temperatures would be ok for the rain forrests, but some spanner throwing monkey means that they'll all be cut-down to "stop global warming". And then further irony that the Earth has been warming for many thousands of years before man burnt his first piece of wood or coal, and in fact is the reason that the galciers no longer meet at the equator!

  37. Stumpy Pepys
    Unhappy

    Sigh

    I like The Register, but the tiresome global warming denial reminds me of the MMR-autism rubbish that used to be at the back of Private Eye.

    You can make a case for everything being fine and dandy 60 million years ago, but you seem to ignore the fact that sea levels were hundreds of meters higher during that period.

    1. The Other Steve

      So ?

      "You can make a case for everything being fine and dandy 60 million years ago, but you seem to ignore the fact that sea levels were hundreds of meters higher during that period."

      Boats. That is all.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just one tanker-sized problem with El Reg's post...

    As per the El Reg modus operandi when it comes to climatology, take a paper that seemingly backs their skewed, denialist view and blow it out of proportion. Perhaps they could do us all the courtesy of reading the paper again and reporting WHAT IT ACTUALLY SAYS IN FULL. Global warming alone is not at all good for the rainforests as plants do not grow on increased temperatures or CO2 alone. Plants also need water. The current modelling and actual evidence for the threat to the rainforests of today from AGW is that there isn't a concomitant rise in the amount of WATER in the areas, to go along with the CO2 and heat. In fact, it is the opposite. There is less humidity, less rainfall and less water available to the fauna. Consequently, increasing temperatures are not good for the rainforest this time around and cannot be good.

    Relevant bit of text from the article for the idiots writing for El Reg:

    "Greenhouse experiments have shown that high levels of CO2 together with high levels of soil moisture improve the performance of plants under high temperatures (25), and it is possible that higher Paleogene CO2 levels (26) contributed to their success. ***Higher precipitation amounts could have been as important as high CO2. Precipitation reconstruction from a nearby Late Paleocene site, Cerrejon, indicate high precipitation regimes: about 3.2 m of rain per year.***"

    That is diametrically opposed to what is happening today.

    1. copsewood
      Boffin

      Please quote your sources

      "That is diametrically opposed to what is happening today."

      Not so sure either of us have a very good _global_ understanding of precipitation trends. Over the last 20 years or so, following previous decades of desertification, the Sahel has been getting greener:

      http://www.eoearth.org/article/Greening_of_the_Sahel

      The problem is dominant memories of those old enough to have seen the very many news reports prior to this greening of the advancing desertification there. But the subsequent greening of the Sahel hasn't been reported in the same way at all, just one or 2 academic papers such as the one above based upon satellite imagery, and a few field observations I've seen which substantiate the above paper, which have received virtually zero media coverage.

    2. The Other Steve
      Badgers

      Thermogeddon

      "There is less humidity, less rainfall and less water available to the fauna."

      And yet, that is not at all what yet another bit of research being widely screamed about by the chicken-littlers shows, suggesting that in fact the concomitant rise in humidity (hint: water evaporates more in the hot) will surely be what kills us all as parts of the planet become uninhabitable - because humans don't shift heat efficiently in high humidity* and eventually they die from heat stress.

      And yet people keep talking about this shit as though all the data, models, theories and predictions broadly agree.

      Funny that.

      *Personally, most places south of Rome already fall into this category for me, so this scenario is unlikely to affect my habits, YMMV.

      1. Tim Parker

        Straw man

        ..i'm sure you're familiar the concept.

  39. chrisjw37
    Megaphone

    Open University covered this in 1996

    This was in my degree, Open University covered this in 1996.

    ie all the clever buggers already knew this;

    plus So2 benefits to the ozone layer and even

    Polar ice cap melting is a myth, at least for the next 1000,000 years.

    You wanna know sumut? Just ask.

  40. Stuart Halliday

    It's Ok USA will come to the rescue

    As South America cuts back the Rainforest, the USA will have to come to the trees rescue as 30% of water supplied to the USA is supplied via rain via the Rainforest.

    And America can't let Las Vegas or its huge crop fields dry up now can it?

    Did this scientist not read any of the GAIA books by James Lovelock??

  41. Steven Knox Silver badge
    FAIL

    Cart, Horse

    "OK, so let's take it that global warming is coming: that temperatures are set to rise by easily 3°C by the end of the century. Disaster, right? The tropical rainforests - lungs of the planet - will die, CO2 levels will thus rise even faster, a runaway process will set in and planet Earth will be transformed into a baking lifeless hell."

    Ummm, no. You've got cause and effect all screwed up. The loss of rainforests is one of the causes, not effects, of GW (reduction of vegetation reduces carbon absorbed, etc.) The cause of rainforest loss is not GW, but massive active deforestation efforts.

    Sure, thriving rainforests could help mitigate GW, but 1) they take time to grow, and 2) we as a species appear to have this irrational aversion to land that is not flat and, ideally, paved.

    If any of this is news to you, I'd suggest you head to the adolescent section of your local library to further your research, as that is the level of information you appear to be missing.

  42. Bucky 2
    Pint

    Oh, pshaw

    We must take as axiomatic the twin principles:

    1) Change is bad

    2) The more complicated/poorly understood a process is, the more dangerous it is

    Climate change is bad because it's change. Also, it's complicated, and therefore dangerous.

    We don't need scientists telling us anything about this. We already know. And if they contradict these principles, then they are up to no good.

    (This is why we call them "boffin'-ses"--they all want our Precious)

  43. Richard 126

    None

    We are busy talking about tropical rainforest and how it will cope and if it will continue to pump out oxygen but miss the point that approximately 70% of the worlds oxygen comes from plankton and cynobacteria in the ocean. Why no discussion of the effect or lack of it that global warming is having on ocean plants?

  44. Triggerfish

    The worst thing about all this global warming lark.

    Is the fact that it completly overides the other consideration we should be having.

    Forest getting more CO2 and temp thrive yeah so what thought that was reasonably obvious in fact have a chat with people who grow planted fish tanks they have been adding CO2 to their tanks for years to boost rates.

    The problem is though everyone is so busy arguing about wether the climate change is happening or wether it is caused by us, that its overiding the fact that it would be nice to ave some environment left to worry about its said effects on.

    There does seem to be proof that the earth has gone through global warming and cooling periods before and that organisms have survived, but I would also guess that a lot of the same organisms died luckily at the time they probably had large enough populations to act as buffer zones to take the losses, the biggest problem we face is that we are constantly encroanching upon thise buffer zones.

    Course a lot of this is getting ignored as we argue over wether having more cows/ 4WD is a cause of climate change or not, personally for me thats the biggest problem with climate change.

    Stop just looking at the climate debate, try to think of what else is happening

  45. Philip Lewis
    FAIL

    F*** AGW

    I predict with a very high degree of certainty that there will be another iceage. Iceages are bad for mammels without fur. Adapt or perish.

    The AGW is a storm in a teacup created by the religious zealots of our time. "Move along, nothing to see here..."

    The sad part is the the AGW thing is taking "our eye" off of the "ball" so to speak. I think we need another "mini ice-age" to refocus our attention, before the "big one" arrives.

  46. Flybert
    Happy

    Warm Earth is good

    1. We are at a natural peak of interglacial warmth ( means between major ice age coldest period )

    and have been for about 8000 years .. this cycle is about 120,000 years and has been repeating for about 2,000,000 years .. during this 8000 years , there have been several relatively minor fluctuations .. the one that we can document as warmer than now, was the medieval warming period ...

    2. We can not accurately measure CO2 levels from ice cores, because the best resolution is 300 years, and it takes 4000-6000 years to form solid ice cores, and to some degree or another, the atmosphere during those 4000-6000 years mixes with the snow / ice .. in other words, there could have been a spike of CO2 higher than today for 50 years, and you would not see it in the ice core, provided the CO2 level was lower, on average, over 300-6000 years

    3. Plants .. including trees, are carbon neutral .. virtually all the CO2 plants bind up, is released back into the atmosphere over time .. either because the plant burns, or is eaten by animals, bugs, fungus, bacteria ..etc in the decay process

    4. The CO2 is higher because the ocean water is warmer and cannot absorb as much CO2 .. but please note the warming is first, causing the rise in CO2, not visa versa .. please look up "Carbon Cycle of Earth"

    5. It cracks me up that the "consensus" says CO2 increase is 9%-23% of global warming, and that water vapor is 50%-70% of the warming effect .. first it's funny because the range is so wide .. meaning it's very inaccurate 9 and therefore poor science ), and secondly funny because relative humidity has gone up in the same linear fashion as CO2 since 1951, yet no one is calling for water vapor reduction, or claiming said water vapor is excess man made water vapor

    6. this is important .. the UN did a study covering 1990-2000 to see the effect of increased CO2 on biosphere .. and they comcluded that over those 10 years there was 7% MORE Biomass ..

    .. it may very well be that we have not had massive famine any where in the world for decades, because of the CO2 increase .. because it is plant food ..and warmer land equals more crop land overall .. the CO2 and warming over the last 150 years, has been almost all a positive thing .. you can come to no other conclusion ..

    more water vapor = more rain and snow .. more snow is what will cool things down and lead us into the next ice age ( we are due for it as well in the natural cycle ) .. yet the oceans take 100s of years to cool down, so the tropics will keep evaporating water vapor into the air even as snowpack and glaciers rebuild, covering what is now valuable crop land and making growing seasons shorter elsewhere ..

    cold is the greater enemy of man .. 3 days of below freezing nights kills most food crops, heat, by itself does not .. remember .. colder air holds less moisture, cooler oceans evaporate less water vapor ( and absorb more CO2 ) .. so you have less rain over the remaining open land for crops and rivers, and the plant life grow less robustly with the lower CO2 levels .. which, BTW, helps it tolerate less water ..

    Nature in balance :-o

  47. gardener21
    Thumb Down

    Klaus Winter

    The article quotes Klaus Winter as saying, "It is remarkable that there is so much concern about the effects of greenhouse conditions on tropical forests". However, the full original quote went on a bit further:

    "It is remarkable that there is so much concern about the effects of greenhouse conditions on tropical forests. However, these horror scenarios probably have some validity if increased temperatures lead to more frequent or more severe drought as some of the current predictions for similar scenarios suggest."

  48. David 141

    Bleeding obvious

    So there were plenty of plants that thrived on a planet 5 degrees hotter and wetter. No real surprise there. But most of the tropical plants that thrived in the Cretaceous are extinct, so we'd have to wait a few million years for the new jungles to evolve. Maybe some of the existing species would like a change, but you know what they say about hothouse flowers

    Have you ever been to a jungle? Very pretty, but I wouldn't want to live in one. Call me a slave of my evolutionary background, but I like cooler, dryer, more open climates thank you.

  49. Washington Irving
    Badgers

    i generally like lewis page

    but strongly suspect his AGW posts are done entirely for the lulz, though they might just be for the cash.

    either way, the CO2 he emits seems to be just the kind of forcing required to create hot and stormy environments.

  50. Toastan Buttar
    WTF?

    Defrost

    I had to defrost the car this morning. How does that fit in with these so-called "Global Warming" theories?

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Defrost

      Shit! You're right! This is a game-changer!

  51. Mips
    Coat

    Time to remember

    Time to remember that 60m years ago the day was somewhat shorter than it is now and there was less time for the high temperatures to bake off vegetation creating deserts. Now, high temperature do not necessarily mean high vegetation growth and development rates. It might well be too hot for too long. On the other hand we might see adaptation. Leathery leaves could be the in thing and ficus robusta plants might take over the world.

    Mine is the rubber coat and grass skirt.

  52. solaries

    the day afther tomorrow

    There is one problem with sinereo want we might get is instead a ice age when the ice caps melt the sality of the oceans might drop and instead bring on a ice age I am not taking about the movie which quick death but a slower verison that might be worst and lead to vostrecks of prople and the fall of the existing states around the world. The world is in a mess already the rapid warming will make the problems worst than are now with the inter group rivialies we have now.

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