American Elephants

CO2 is Greening the Earth, Benefiting the Biosphere, and Lifting the Poor Out of Poverty. by The Elephant's Child

greeningCraig D. Idso is the founder and former President of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, and currently serves as Chairman of the Center’s board of directors. He has written:

At a fundamental level, carbon dioxide is the basis of nearly all life on Earth, as it is the primary raw material or “food” that is utilized by plants to produce the organic matter out of which they construct their tissues…

Typically, a doubling of the air’s CO2 content above present-day concentrations raises the productivity of most herbaceous plants by about one-third; this positive response occurs in plants that utilize all three of the major biochemical pathways of photosynthesis.

There is no doubt elevated concentrations of atmospheric CO2 lead to enhanced plant photosynthesis and growth. This well-known fact has been confirmed over and over again in literally thousands of laboratory and field studies conducted by scientists over the past several decades. In recent years, however, the growth-enhancing benefits of atmospheric CO2 have been increasingly studied and observed in the real world of nature using Earth-orbiting satellites. Such instruments have the capability to remotely sense plant growth and vigor at altitudes miles above the Earth’s surface; and they have generated a spatial and temporal record of vegetative change that now spans more than three decades. And what has that record revealed?

The take-home message of the satellite data is two-fold. First, at the global level, all recent studies show there has been a significant greening of the planet over the past few decades despite the occurrence of a number of real (and imagined) assaults on Earth’s vegetation, including wildfires, disease, pest outbreaks, deforestation, and climatic changes in temperature and precipitation. Greening has more than compensated for any of the negative effects these phenomena may have had on the global biosphere during that time. Second, there is compelling evidence that the atmosphere’s rising CO2 content—which is considered by many to be the chief threat  to the future of the biosphere via climate change—is most likely the primary cause of the observed greening trends.

Do read the whole thing, including the references. This is why Obama’s “Clean Power Plan” will accomplish nothing beyond putting a lot of coal miners and power plant workers out of work. CO2 is NOT a pollutant, but essential to life on earth. If all the billions of dollars of new wind farms and solar arrays were actually to accomplish anything, it might make a difference of 0.03ºC by 2100. Just another failure to add to the legacy.

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