The New York Times headline read thus three decades back.
THE GREAT PROMISE OF THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT
Published: November 2, 1983
The letter described the other side of the coin.
Ecologists look at this as air pollution that disrupts the equilibrium of nature. It is not realized that the carbon cycle is not a complete cycle but a disequilibrium, which since the Carboniferous Period has removed more and more carbon from circulation. By burning fossil fuels, man does not disrupt the carbon cycle but restores it to its original intensity.
As a result of the loss of atmospheric carbon dioxide during the centuries, there has occurred a correlated loss of circulating water immobilized in the polar ice caps. This produced increasingly frequent and widespread droughts and a progressive enlargement of the deserts. Thus, by restoring the carbon dioxide trapped in fossil fuels to the atmosphere, man increases not only the average temperature but also the average water supply for agricultural land.
At present, about one-third of the earth's surface receives less than 10 inches of precipitation annually, and another third gets only 10 to 20 inches, quantities that make the economical use of fertilizers impossible. The greenhouse effect may solve the world's hunger problem and have far- reaching geopolitical consequences. In the Americas, areas that are now suitable only for pasture, such as the pampas of Argentina and the subarctic regions of Canada, may become fertile wheatlands. The same applies to the tundras of Siberia, which would alleviate Russia's food shortage. Iran may recapture its role as a world power. In Europe, Spain may regain its political importance, and the arid lands of the Balkans and of southern Italy may recover their fertility. North Africa and Asia Minor, which once had flourishing civilizations, may build new cities and industries. In general, the centers of power located at present in middle latitudes may shift toward the poles to avoid the enervating effects of a tropical climate. Northern New England and northern Canada may undergo a tremendous realty boom and become urbanized, while the Sun Belt may grow sugar cane instead of cotton. Futurologists have their tasks cut out to predict all the foreseeable changes.
EDGAR TASCHDJIAN South Ozone Park, N.Y., Oct. 20, 1983
The writer is professor emeritus of biology at St. Francis College in Brooklyn.
|Garden center greenhouses at the foot of Bear Canyon, near Bozeman, Montana. Greenhouses or similar apparatus are a needed component for summer gardening in short season growing climates, such as are found in Montana..|