Should you worry about CO2 in our atmosphere?
Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is the basis for nearly all life on our planet. Plants need at least 150ppm of atmospheric CO2 to grow. The plants are the source of food for all animals. There would be no T-Bones steaks were it not for plants.
That would seem to answer the question unless you are one of the radicals that believe to save the Earth, all humans must die.
But there is more. Many scientists believe that global famine has been avoided by the increase in atmospheric CO2 from a pre-industrial level of about 270ppm to the current level of about 390ppm. Before examining why scientist think CO2 increases can help avoid famine, let’s look at this VIDEO:
The levels of CO2 used in that video are outside normal considerations. But much more modest increases in atmospheric CO2 are beneficial,too. (So you can make the connection with the video and perhaps your own experience, cowpeas, are an important food legume crop in semi-arid tropics covering Asia, southern Europe and Central and South America. In the Southern US cowpeas are called black eyed peas.)
The CO2 Science’s Plant Growth Data Base has an impressive compilation of peer-reviewed scientific studies that report the growth responses of plants to atmospheric CO2 enrichment. Click here to see all the plants studied.
The following table lists a selected group of plants and the dry weight response to a 300ppm CO2 increase over ambient.
|PLANT||No. OF STUDIES||DRY WEIGHT INCREASE %(Arithmetic mean)|
Effect of Atmospheric CO2 Increased 300ppm Over Ambient
The tables also provide response data on Photosynthesis (Net CO2 exchange rate).
The greater the amount of CO2 not only increases the quantity, its effect on the quality of the plant is not significantly altered. Some studies have suggested that the protein levels are reduced, but other studies have indicated that the protein levels are increased. Other factors, such as ozone (O3), soil nitrogen and sulfur dioxide (SO2) effect the outcome both positively and negatively. Click here for more discussion of the quality of the plants tested.
It is hard to argue with all this data and just the common sense notion that warmer weather, more CO2 and more rainfall will provide bigger crop yields. And that the increase in crop yields will be beneficial in view of the forecast increase in the world’s population. We all know that it surely will continue to warm as it part of a natural cycle. We need to worry when the cycle reverses and the temperatures begin to drop. Surely some one is yelling at his computer display right now shouting about the droughts that are going to occur when man-made global warming really kicks in. Ok, but for every warmer that says the world will become a desert, there is another taking about the vast rainfall that is and will continue to occur. It is some kind of an unhealthy theory that every weather or climate event, snow, heat, drought, wind, no wind, rising temperatures, dropping temperatures, sea level rise, sea level drop, you name it, are all caused by CO2.
More on CO2 and famine in the next blog. Growth enhancement using forecast changes in atmospheric CO2 will be examined.