Rehabilitating Freeman Dyson

At of all places Huffington Post, long a bastion of climate activism, they have a story about how healthier soil can sequester CO2 and help fight climate change.

Healthier soils also, amazingly enough, help protect against both drought and flood. The operative strategy, outlined in a paper referred to in the HuffPo piece, is to use cover crops.

Physicist Freeman Dyson, who worked in climate science for 15 years, has been advocating better use of soils to capture CO2 for years now. This is one of the reasons he has been vilified and ridiculed by the activist community. Dyson doesn’t offer it as a complete solution but as part of a strategy that focuses on the biosphere instead of government limits on emissions. Another big part of his strategy is planting a lot of trees. Too simple for politicians and if adopted it would mean we didn’t need extravagant conferences like the one recently concluded in Paris.

And indeed, later in the HuffPo article the obligatory announcement appears, this time delivered by Ronald Amundson: ““The ‘soil solution’ diverts attention from the root cause of our problem: a carbon-based economy,” added Amundson. “What we should be focusing on — as COP21 did — is significantly, drastically and quickly reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and moving toward renewable forms of energy. Only then can we solve the climate problem.”

Gee, Mr. Amundson, I thought that the root cause of our problem was concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere–when did modern life turn into the problem? Maybe you’re actually concerned about something else?

In a sane world we would wait for the activists to admit Dyson was right all along and apologize for their intransigence and basic stupidity. I don’t know if Mr. Dyson will live that long. I don’t know if my newly born great-niece will live that long.

As Mr. Dyson is 92, celebrated and respected, I think I can offer this suggestion. Steal his idea and pretend you never said anything bad about it. Ignore all the trash talk you all have put forward about Dyson and just get on with pushing for healthier soil.

I don’t think he’d mind very much at all. He has more important things to think about.

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2 responses to “Rehabilitating Freeman Dyson

  1. This planet would be better off if we used ancient customs and followed very old and wise individuals’ advice.

    By the way, Amazon USA delivered your book yesterday. I’m envious because I can’t write as good as you.

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