Socialist Environmentalism

The global environmentalist movement was hijacked by the communists, or whatever label is apt for ideological totalitarians, after the collapse of the USSR in 1992, and metamorphosed into the Green Environmental Party. A core belief of the Greens is that capitalism is responsible for all environmental damage.

Armstrong Economics has just published this brief account of the Chinese problem with desertification.

According to statistics released by the State Forestry Administration, China has 2.6 million square km of desert that accounts for 27 percent of the country’s total land area. The desert areas are scattered among 12 provincial-level regions in north China. There is a serious problem on the horizon for China. Following the creation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, the Communist State attempted to alter nature. China’s forests were cut down and used for fuel, lumber, and paper production for the billions of little red books that became rather notorious. This process increased during the 1960s and had the tendency to eliminate both forests and grasslands. This led to a sharp rise in the rate of desertification.

Realizing its mistake, the government saw the desert areas expanding and embarked on an effort to reverse the damage by trying to the create a reforestation effort in 1978. They actually planted 66 billion trees. This became known as the “Green Wall of China,” which was to be completed by 2050.

However, while the intentions were good, the bottom-line result has been devastating. The government introduced fast-growing pine and poplar trees that were not native to the region. These trees needed more water and sucked the region dry. The water table in the soil dropped nearly 10 fold and most of the trees died. Only about 15% of the trees planted since 1949 have survived. Their attempt to reverse the trend had the exact opposite impact. Instead of creating a forest, it expanded the desert. China now has the second largest desert in the world – the Taklimakan desert.

This presents a political risk for the future as China is squeezed by the expanding desert. They will need new technology to grow food as we pointed out.

Mick Harper has published an alternative explanation, “The Distribution Of Deserts”, for the global formation of deserts that for most part is supported by the evidence except for one area at the north east of Africa, which is anomalous.

Harper also omitted the role of humanity in the process of desertification and one is left wondering how much of the process is thus non-human and whether the anomalous desert was human created, and is there evidence for this.

The Chinese problem is tied to its rapidly expanding population, as is the case with the rest of the Earth’s population and if we accept that biological species tend to engineer population explosions to compensate for future catastrophic population reductions, one wonders whether humanity is facing another looming catastrophe as a consequence.

Given the number of biological extinctions in the geological record, of which there are many, one wonders whether extinctions are thus part of the natural order and that the next one will come no matter what we do.

In any case the expansion of the Chinese Taklimakan Desert means China will be looking for new food sources and we in Australia had better start thinking about it because Australia is somewhat under populated.

To be continued…….

About Louis Hissink

Retired diamond exploration geologist. I spent my professional life looking for mineral deposits, found some, and also located a number of kimberlites in NSW and Western Australia. Exploration geology is the closest one can get to practicing the scientific method, mineral exploration always being concerned with finding anomalous geophysical or geochemical data, framing a model and explanation for the anomaly and then testing it with drilling or excavation. All scientific theories are ultimately false since they invariably involved explaining something with incomplete extant knowledge. Since no one is omniscient or knows everything, so too scientific theories which are solely limited to existing knowledge. Because the future always yields new data, scientific theories must change to be compatible with the new data. Thus a true scientist is never in love with any particular theory, always knowing that when the facts change, so too must he/she change their minds.
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