It is not re-forestation as the Forbes' author wants readers to think: Both China and India went through phases of large scale deforestation in the 1970s and 80s, clearing old growth forests for urban development, farming and agriculture. However, it is clear that when presented with a problem, humans are incredibly adept at finding a solution.
This means we actually observe net deforestation, globally, but also in China  and India  if you look at tree coverage indicators from Global Forest Watch. Global Forest Watch also uses satellite images, from a very similar timeline, so it should be comparable and raise serious doubts on the positive message of the Forbes article. To preserve biodiversity and combat climate change, we need more forests, not just more "green" land.
 Nature article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-019-0220-7
 China Forest Watch map: http://bit.ly/2HGOXtI
 India Forest Watch map: http://bit.ly/2qT4e0g
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Saudi Arabia: 16.85
United States: 15.53
This NASA article points something out that is missing from the Forbes article based on the same research: 82% of increased greening in India and 32% in China is due to intense agricultural activity — harvesting multiple crops per year. This does not increase biomass as much as by reforestation. Forests support rich ecosystems and do not use up groundwater unlike intensive farming.
How does this "greening" help? Is it more due to agriculture or forests? If it's due to agriculture, what are the unintended consequences?
While this article is positive in its tone (which I appreciate) I can't help but feel that it's shallow. It's green so yayy! But what comes next? Increased greenery due to agriculture can probably never have the same positive effects as a forest, at least for the surrounding ecology and biome.
The footage had interviews with a group that tries to keep it watered.
EDIT: It might have been the initiative in Africa (Sahara). I tried finding the video and am met with similar initiatives on both continents.
The thing that isn't mentioned in the article and is in the paper is that the majority >80% of the greening is due to cropland instead of the forests.
United States: 19.9
Because, yes, the US absolutely needs to lower its carbon output immediately and drastically.
Note that there are lots of other democratic countries doing far better than the US and China.
And the cropland, if its desiccated and over fertilized?
"We show a persistent and widespread increase of growing season integrated LAI (greening) over 25% to 50% of the global vegetated area, whereas less than 4% of the globe shows decreasing LAI (browning)."
"CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend, followed by nitrogen deposition (9%), climate change (8%) and land cover change (LCC) (4%). CO2 fertilization effects explain most of the greening trends in the tropics, whereas climate change resulted in greening of the high latitudes and the Tibetan Plateau. LCC contributed most to the regional greening observed in southeast China and the eastern United States."
By way of example, this happened a few weeks ago and is very difficult to find coverage of in english speaking media: https://nationalpost.com/news/world/china-makes-arrests-shut...
I don't think the key difference is authoritarian vs. democratic, but "prudent" vs. "proudly ignorant". America has some deep, deep-rooted cultural problems that are really at the heart of our environmental failings. Nearly half of our country still thinks global warming is a conspiracy. Some here in the south modify their trucks to produce more pollution as some kind of twisted badge of honor. You see them belch smog across the freeway like it's 1920. It's really a very specifically American complex.
That said, ixtli has a very salient point on the subject of how implementing these things is a whole lot easier when you start shutting down factories and arresting scofflaws. But you probably don't necessarily need government as authoritarian as China's to do those things.
I'd say more similar to the west than china, in terms of stuff pertinent to the thread.
More generally still, I don't think the high-level system is a driving force. I think it's mostly pretty straightforward.. environmental issues have become a thing people care about more in china and India, governments and publics.
The United States is a country that started out in that situation and never totally grew out of it. It's culturally stunted, stuck romanticizing an earlier stage of development instead of growing up. It's a fifty-year-old that refuses to stop acting like he's twenty-one.
Of course, the UK right now is a counter-example to this way of looking at things.
While I’m not arguing for the US to not be a democracy, it’s important to accept that democracies are not perfect, have many flaws and require constant vigilance to ensure the knobs of State power don’t end up in the hands of incompetent idiots (as they are in the current administration).
The main, perhaps only, advantage of democracy is that it is resilient. A dictatorship can easily decide to plant a ton of trees and shut down dirty factories. It can just as easily decide to dump toxic waste into the rivers and shoot anyone who complains. A benevolent dictatorship is much better than democracy, this is pretty widely accepted. It’s better until the dictator dies or is overthrown, then you don’t know what you’ll get.
To quote Scott Alexander, “If you remember nothing else about the superiority of democracies to other forms of government, remember the fact that in three years, we will have a change of leadership and almost no one is stocking up on canned goods to prepare for the inevitable civil war.”
The CPC is different in that at its core it still seems to a) believe in science and b) wants to uplift China. The bargain is that CPC will take China down a path of prosperity while suspending democratic freedoms. It’s entirely possible they don’t hold their end of the bargain, but it would likely lead to social instability on a massive scale.
Why would they want to do that? To stay in power, presumably - the same as any other political organization. If they are ever faced with a situation where the best way to stay in power is to destroy China, they will take it; an option that US politicians might sometimes wish they could take, but are unable to because of limits on their power.
i.e., y’all need to vote.
Federal elections are incredibly important, but on a day-to-day basis, city and state elections will affect you just as much, if not more.
Here in Seattle, for instance, seven of our nine city council members are up for reelection, and the outcome will determine how $6 billion gets spent every year. It will help determine whether Seattle can keep pace with its huge influx of tech workers. It will determine whether housing affordability gets addressed.
And not that many people are really aware of these elections. Even fewer are aware of the primary that will determine who's on our November ballot.
So, if you've made a plan to be a voter in your forthcoming municipal elections, then bravo—I'm incredibly happy to hear it. And now get to work making sure that your friends and family members have up-to-date voter registration information on file, and that they have plans to be voters, too.
Vote Save America makes it easy to check if your registration is up to date: https://votesaveamerica.com
Vigilance includes actively following politics (not just the sensational BS headlines in TV news and newspapers, but the real deal), marching and demonstrating when needed, participating in your preferred party and making sure the right people get its nomination, and so on.
Don't just "write your congressman" about issues, for they could not care less. Write online, influence others, organize, and make them care (whatever your politics, this is just so the politics are closer to what people want, not so that the politics are "the right politics", which doesn't exist).
What about the most recent mid-term, off-year elections?
People don't vote. Well, old people vote. But that's about it.
Why isn't this a good thing? Shouldn't people who ignore ecological laws be punished? And anyway, how do you propose to fix climate change without massive, centralized planning, including punishment of those who subvert such a fix for personal gain?
Also, in your link, the plants are closed, not seized.
But near human slavery in factories with working commiting suicide, that does not violate any goals.
So it says greener today than 20 years ago. How Green were they in say 1960 and 1970 and 1980, etc. I take it since the article says 20 years, then 30 years ago the space was a lot greener before then?
Yes the US needs to pick up on green space, but remeber when you look at the map the south west (Cali to Texas, is not exactly good for trees.
I don’t see any reason to turn to central planning, unless one just uses that term to refer to any regulations involving the economy.
There will still be externalities, but they would be properly priced in and accountable.
Tax tax tax. Price in the cost of externalities and let the market sort it out. Market forces allow society-wide coordination without heavy-handed central planing.
Obviously you'll still need to prosecute tax cheats.
And it's not just an India/China thing too. The US also paves over new and moderate growth forests so they will never develop into old growth ones.
Check the article again:
- Canada has been responsible for 40% as much 'man made greening' as China.
- Canada is 3% the population of China.
- Canada has provided 1500% 'more greening per capita' than China.
- Canada is obviously a decent modern democracy.
In 'per capita' or 'per square km' terms, or even in 'per GDP' terms, there doesn't seem to be a much of a story here.
So I don't think this is at all about 'authoritative power', in fact, arguably just the opposite.
FYI I think the 'real' story is in the opposite direction - a large country like Brazil which is currently having problems with deforestation.
Long-term project planning and execution is very difficult when administrations, and their inherent focuses, change so quickly compared to the length of time necessary to achieve massive projects.
If we want to "fix" climate change by terraforming our planet, it'll take multiple lifetimes. Same with substantial space engineering projects.
It flies in the face of my liberal demeanor, but I think the only form of government with the ability to stick to plans for hundreds of years would be a Monarchy, strict dictatorship, or something similar. In theory, we could get lucky and they would be benevolent.
We could also just embrace the plausible AI "singularity" and ask the machines to take care of us and tell us what to do. It just takes faith that an AI would be more reliable over hundreds of years than a succession of different people. It also takes faith that it wouldn't decide to just throw in the towel and remove the people to save the planet.
The cynic in me believes that the point of environmental alarmism is to convince the public that giving up their democratic way of life and their rights is the only way to save the earth and humanity from certain destruction. Those who believe that dramatic action is necessary to stop certain extinction will stop at nothing to take power in order to enact their plan. After all, the very survival of the species depends upon them, doesn't it?
In fact it seems quite normal that polluters would be punished. When the authorities charged with environmental enforcement are accountable to the populace, polluters are punished for that reason. When they are not accountable, polluters are punished for other reasons, which reasons are probably more closely aligned with the interests of those authorities than with those of the populace. It's great that China no longer imports trash, and it's great that they've closed down some polluters, but they're pretty late to this party. Far freer nations managed to accomplish this a long time ago. Maybe China should copy them instead?
This is effectively "infrastructure spending," which is the thing China has done best, and very few people in the US and Europe actually oppose. The complaints against infrastructure spending don't tend to be that they represent government overreach, but rather that they tend to overspend and do a terrible job (see California bullet train).
EDIT: downvoters, please argue for the opposite if you disagree.
It doesn't really solve the problem, you just get to point at someone else who's now holding the ball instead of you when it all goes up in flames.
If China/India adopt and perfect green tech and export it to Africa, fucking awesome.
America is sadly too busy with infighting on stupid issues (Abortion, Gun restrictions , Voting rights... all important, stupid in that there still isn’t general consensus that these are all good ideas that should be adopted widely ASAP) while the rest of the world moves on.
The point of my post is their not pushing green tech to Africa, they're pushing all the dirty industries they no longer want/need to tolerate on-shore.
I agree that seems likely, but the cost effectiveness of solar tech, mass transit etc. make me hopeful that Africa will take a different path to economic development.
1) china might not actually be quite like its depicted in the west
2) what we call authoritarian is often just counter to our ideology that people should be able to deploy capital however they see fit with little consequence.
Anyway your point that it just takes correctly allocated capital to solve this problem is 100% salient.
(And before anyone jumps on #2, yes, the CPC does not allow some types of political dissent that we are allowed in public in the west and that should be criticized. But we need to criticize it for the right reasons, as opposed to blindly asserting that nothing horrible has ever happened due to what I would call free speech fundamentalism.)
That sounds pretty authoritarian to me. The difference is simply that it’s cleverly hidden from plain view.
Its ok to point out that the Chinese Government is authoritarian and does many things that Civilized people find reprehensible.
Its ok to point out that the US Government is democratic, but with many authoritarian tendencies, which have targeted minorities, Women etc. for a very long time which Civilized people find reprehensible.
Its not OK to use one incident of authoritarianism as a cudgel against another country like your own country hasn't done similar things. That is a recipe for jingoism, nationalism and other -isms.
Sure, but no one is criticizing china for its conservation efforts. Their political assassinations and decimation of civil liberties however...
I'm all for changing the unsustainable and ecologially detrimental status quo among western liberal democracies-- but ecofascism or eco-state-capitalism are not a viable alternatives. Literally any government can plant trees and shut down factories-- let's not use this to defend unrelated horrors.
If you want people to take your arguments seriously you should back it up with facts.