Global Warming Is Benefiting, Not Harming Africa’s Sahel Region

Global Warming Is Benefiting, Not Harming Africa’s Sahel Region
December 14, 2011

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)

Global warming activists are sounding four-alarm fire bells over a new study claiming global warming is causing drought and killing trees in the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa. Much like previous global warming claims that have fallen by the wayside, the claim that global warming is devastating the Sahel is unlikely to stand the dual tests of time and scientific scrutiny.

According to the new study, a rise in temperatures and a decline in precipitation during the 20th century reduced tree densities in the Sahel by approximately 18 percent from 1954 through 2002. Lead author Patrick Gonzalez says in a press release accompanying the study, “Rainfall in the Sahel has dropped 20-30 percent in the 20th century…”

Scientific evidence and observational reports from the Sahel, however, have documented a greening of the Sahel and a retreat of the southern Sahara Desert in recent decades. In my weekly Forbes.com column, available here, I present summaries and links to these data and studies and document Patrick Gonzalez’s environmental activist connections and lack of objectivity.

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)