Stuff I Wrote Elsewhere: A Look at CO2 is Green

A look at the science and financing behind the “CO2 is Green” ads running in New Mexico (ad/sub req):

It is hard to square Leighton Steward’s cheery message with the vast swaths of dead trees across the mountains of northern New Mexico.

“Fall of ’02 is when they started to die,” biologist Craig Allen told me a few years ago as we walked through a forest of piñon corpses in the Jemez Mountains.

The years 2002 and 2003 were very warm and very dry in the mountains of northern New Mexico. It’s been this dry here before, but this time around far more trees died. Why?

When Allen and a group of colleagues crunched the numbers, they noticed that, like much of the globe, New Mexico has been warmer in the 21st century than it has been since we’ve been measuring.

It was bark beetles that finished off the trees, but it was the heat of the drought of 2002-03 that made the difference between a garden-variety drought and the massive forest die-off, the scientists concluded.

Scientists say the reason for the warming is rising levels of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide from the tailpipes of our cars and factory stacks. That heat, Allen and his colleagues concluded, explains the widespread tree death.

So why does Steward, a charming 74-year-old Texan, say carbon dioxide emissions are a good thing?


  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention jfleck at inkstain » Stuff I Wrote Elsewhere: A Look at CO2 is Green --

  2. Thank you, John. I’ve been increasingly irritated by this campaign and frustrated that it is diverting attention away from developing meaningful solutions to a very real problem.

  3. I’ve seen TV ads from this group on local stations here in MT. I suspected as much about the source, but I find it interesting that here in MT we have a devastating state wide outbreak of Mountain Pine Beetle which has destroyed vast swaths of the forests here in Montana. Hmm… are they targeting places where people might tend to understand that AGW is actually happening and affecting the world around them?

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