In our current geographic configuration, the Antarctic has become our principal heat sink and principal control reservoir. It is a very large cold tank. Most of the incoming solar energy is actually absorbed by the oceans and then redistributed very slowly through the various currents.
The atmosphere is principally influenced and conditioned by these ocean temperatures long before any sojourn over land. It absorbs its share of solar energy, particularly over land and then re-emits that energy as heat which can also be absorbed by the moisture in the atmosphere. The point is is that the ocean is the heat sink for the atmosphere also. This is all very obvious but seems to get forgotten in the heat of this debate.
If the atmosphere ever truly got a little too hot, the surplus energy will get dumped back into space as certainly happens over the deserts. After all where does all that warm desert air go at night?
Curiously, building great forests in the desert will actually collect more solar energy on Earth than at present while actually moderating and humidifying that desert air.
All this leaves the CO2 problem as a pollution management problem which can not be ignored but not as a very convincing driver of climatic change. Left to itself, its impact will be a more robust growth of plant material.
Those ocean current fluctuations are too large and too compelling to ignore. They are real heat engines comparable only to the impact of a hurricane which strips surface heat from an ocean and moves it a few hundreds of miles onto the adjacent continent.
I read a very encouraging bit of news today. It appears that the Chinese have successfully implemented a forest management system throughout China that seems to be partially self financing and self sustaining. They are actually going to show us how to do it. The press coverage makes it out to be a great success, but in light of the general tenor of all the previous news that I have ever seen from China about the historic despoliation of the forests I am happy to take this one at face value. After all this was always one fix that simple government policy could easily implement, and they had the manpower to do it.
Core to the program is the removal of marginal lands from cultivation and the building of forest barriers on the edge of the deserts, particularly west of Beijing. That is actually the most difficult part of all. Any sensitive observer saw that the lands needed this form of enlightened policy and it is wonderful to see it happen. This will make it easier to establish the same sort of practice elsewhere.
This will be the true Chinese revolution.