Matt Ridley on How Fossil Fuels are Greening the Planet


Matt Ridley, author of The Red Queen, Genome, The Rational Optimist and other books, dropped by Reason's studio in Los Angeles last month to talk about a curious global trend that is just starting to receive attention. Over the past three decades, our planet has gotten greener!

Even stranger, the greening of the planet in recent decades appears to be happening because of, not despite, our reliance on fossil fuels. While environmentalists often talk about how bad stuff like CO2 causes bad things to happen like global warming, it turns out that the plants aren't complaining.

Approximately 18 minutes.

Produced by Paul Feine and Alex Manning.

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  1. Finally a few intelligent enough to observe the obvious.

  2. I didn’t realize that hurricanes and blizzards and other extreme weather events were colored green. Crawl back into Big Oil’s pocket, Mr. Ridley.

    1. Oh, that’s right…we’re supposed to forget that Big Government spends 10x more than Big Oil on warmist propaganda. Shove your big fist up your arse, idiot.

    2. The fist is a climate clown? Really? Tell me my sarc detector is broken.

    3. First sign of a eco-zealot? Calling people names or accusing them of being part of “Big Oil”. There’s a reason you don’t provide your name. Mr. Gore, go away, lol.

  3. It’s about time someone besides me realized the good of this warming. More green = more food = less hungry children.

    So, it’s obvious. If you want to stop global warming, you hate the children.

  4. Holy mother of God, my wife just told me that the pope is Argentinian. A communist pope! We’re doomed again, right after we were just saved!

    1. Falkland Islands beware

      1. The UK has kept Catholics from the mainland off of their islands for close to 600 years. I don’t think the Falklands have anything to worry about.

        1. Er, make that 500 years.

    2. And a Jesuit, the first Jesuit pope ever.

      Pope Francis.

      Hopefully he’ll lighten up.

      1. I keep seeing people say this about the new pope, “Lighten up,” what is the context for this? I’m worried something is just flying over my head, but I’m guessing its because I’m not Catholic.

        1. Rent Stripes for tonight’s entertainment.

          1. My dad has been harping on me for years to watch this. I’m sure he’d be happy to know that a passing comment by a complete stranger in the Reason comments section was what finally got me to watch it.


  6. He must have said “If you think about it” a couple dozen times.

    Doesn’t he realize that liberals and global warmers don’t think?

  7. Science proves global warming is real and man caused.
    Science proves fracking is safe, as well as GMO foods but that’s just industry talking.

    1. ‘Science’ didn’t prove anything. A bunch of guys working on government grants hacked together a bunch of GCM computer models that cannot even predict the past, let alone the future. These models have been totally discredited as hacked code by no less than the lead programmer of the biggest GCM model (read the Warmgate emails). Furthermore, the Earth has not warmed for the last 16 years in spite of increased CO2. Which might make a reasonable person wonder about the positive feedback effects programmed into the GCM models, and the generally suspect explanation of why such a tiny constituent of the atmosphere (CO2 = only 400 ppm) is ascribed such a dramatic effect.

      And now even the IPCC has admitted that perhaps the sun is having more of an effect than they thought. Perhaps?

      You know not of what you speak. You are simply another uncritical, irrational adherent of a secular religion. Go get your own f*cking pope on your own f*cking dime.

      1. Angry and partially correct. Why would anyone think that any government program is correct about anything. They are all bankrupt. Out of ideas. Out of ways to hide.

        So now the game is the “fake crisis” alarm to justify their existence. If anyone is telling you what to do, ignore them and educate yourself.

        Live local. Buy local. Govern local.

        1. Live as you want. But what you want. Govern yourself.

  8. I’d rather get my electricity from nuclear power but the Feds have almost regulated nukes out of the conversation. Nuclear exceptionalism has to end or we will be reliant on fossil fuels for our energy for the foreseeable future.

  9. Matt Ridley on How Fossil Fuels are Greening the Planet

    I call B.S. on that! Everybody knows that burning coal kills trees and using gasoline to power our cars has an effect on tides and stuff!

  10. I thought the science was settled on this..
    Why this is a revelation to anyone is alarming.

  11. I’m not watching a 20 minute video, but please tell me this is not an argument that more green = good because, after all, it’s the “green” movement, derpity do.

    1. No, it’s more along the lines of increased atmospheric CO2 production and economic advances = more vegetation = reforestation = good. “Green” = deforestation = biodiversity limited = less crop yield + higher food prices = retarded. or something like that.

    2. Ok, I wont tell you that.

      I will tell you this instead. Go eat your own shit.

      1. well, at least its organic

        1. Nope, he eats pesticides.

  12. Would Reason please put an intern on the job of making transcripts for these videos? I can read much faster than I can watch. Thank you.

    1. youre just trying to bankrupt Reason. you think they can afford another intern?!! go click 100 Reason 24/7 links as penance! after all, it only exists to generate clickthrough revenues…

  13. What happens when the fossil fuels are gone?

    1. then we will have accomplished our role as the only agent on the planet capable of restoring long sequestered carbon to the carbon cycle, and gaia will have no need for us anymore.

    2. What happens when the fossil fuels are gone?

      Set up catapults on Titan to send us more.

    3. Including marine hydrate deposits, we humans have several thousand years of fossil fuel energy left to use. That should be plenty of time to set up a system where space-based solar is beamed down.

  14. I remember reading recently that US forest vegetation tonnage had been on the increase. Do we get Kyoto brownie points for that as well?

  15. what Larry explained I didnt even know that a stay at home mom able to make $9939 in 1 month on the computer. did you read this site

  16. I didn’t realize that hurricanes and blizzards and other extreme weather events were colored greenpart of nature.

    There fixed it.

  17. Kent asks: “What happens when the fossil fuels are gone?”

    I reply: “We will put you and Tony (Tony and you?) on a treadmill.

  18. Greening is bad overall, as is increased production from 1/3rd the farmland, because this means the vile and violent human race unworthy of spreading out into space and kept earth bound by the aliens could possibly continue to overpopulate the earth thereby destroying humanity and certain to cause the next mass extinction, of humanity this time, as Al Gore warned us all, the 6th great extinction from greedy Americans hogging planetary resources.
    We’re all going to die, and that’s why global greening from global warming pollution is no good, even though we’ll all die faster which is of course, good for the earth.

  19. Caveat: “It’s certainly possible, at least until this point, to have an improving environment and an improving living standards and an improving number of people.”

  20. Stating the obvious – why else would greenhouse gases be called greenhouse gases?

  21. Yes I saw this I don’t know how many years ago, its really sad there has to be some special foreigner to deliver a lecture on it.

    I believe it was 4th grade when photosynthesis and oxygen, breathing, co2 and plant life was gone over.

    The tyranny of ogvernment induced scientific silence is all around us, be certain of that friends.

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  23. my best friend’s mom makes $60/hour on the internet. She has been out of a job for 9 months but last month her check was $20409 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this web site

  24. I just realized this was written in 2002. I wonder what the gun crime rate is now. Any government that tells you that you have no right to self defense is not looking after your best interest. Self defense is the most basic right anyone has. No government or police can protect you. I can’t believe you all allow this to continue. I keep a gun at home for self defense and have a license to carry it concealed any where I go. And I do. If I am attacked then at least I have a chance to stay alive. By the time the police arrive they can either arrange for my body to be picked up or take a statement from me. I choose the later. Britons let a right be taken from them and now it will be much harder to get it back. But you should try.
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