The earth might be getting greener

This is from NASA:

greening.png… the greening of the planet over the last two decades represents an increase in leaf area on plants and trees equivalent to the area covered by all the Amazon rainforests. There are now more than two million square miles of extra green leaf area per year, compared to the early 2000s – a 5% increase.

“China and India account for one-third of the greening, but contain only 9% of the planet’s land area covered in vegetation – a surprising finding, considering the general notion of land degradation in populous countries from overexploitation,” said Chi Chen of the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University, in Massachusetts, and lead author of the study.

China’s outsized contribution to the global greening trend comes in large part (42%) from programs to conserve and expand forests. These were developed in an effort to reduce the effects of soil erosion, air pollution and climate change. Another 32% there – and 82% of the greening seen in India – comes from intensive cultivation of food crops.

H/T Max Roser

linking climate change to poor women in the developing world

They do not drive SUVs. Some have never even seen a light bulb. But according to research one of the most effective ways of preventing climate change is to ensure that poor women in the developing world do not have a lot of children.

Because of their advertised positive impact, I used to be a proponent of population control family planning programs in the developing world. And then I saw the data and changed my mind. Reducing the number of people being born in the developing world will not reduce the effects of climate change. What needs to happen is a change in consumption habits in the West and among the upper classes in the developing world. The poor too need to stop cutting down trees for charcoal. But we should not push them into having less children and make it a climate change issue. They are not responsible. Those responsible should change their consumption habits and perhaps invest in providing alternatives to charcoal for the poor.