Greenhouse study

The interesting parts are below:

Well, I heard that carbon dioxide is bad – it’s pollution, isn’t it?

There seem to be a few things that your informant forgot to tell you – like carbon dioxide being an essential trace gas that underpins the bulk of the global food web. Estimates vary, but somewhere around 15% seems to be the common number cited for the increase in global food crop yields due to aerial fertilization with increased carbon dioxide since 1950. This increase has both helped avoid a Malthusian disaster and preserved or returned enormous tracts of marginal land as wildlife habitat that would otherwise have had to be put under the plow in an attempt to feed the growing global population. Commercial growers deliberately generate CO2 and increase its levels in agricultural greenhouses to between 700ppmv and 1,000ppmv to increase productivity and improve the water efficiency of food crops far beyond those in the somewhat carbon-starved open atmosphere. CO2 feeds the forests, grows more usable lumber in timber lots meaning there is less pressure to cut old growth or push into “natural” wildlife habitat, makes plants more water efficient helping to beat back the encroaching deserts in Africa and Asia and generally increases bio-productivity. If it’s “pollution,” then it’s pollution the natural world exploits extremely well and to great profit. Doesn’t sound too bad to us. 

# Despite attempts to label atmospheric carbon dioxide a “pollutant” it is, in fact, an essential trace gas, the increasing abundance of which is a bonus for the bulk of the biosphere.

This kind of mirrors the reaction I had a few weeks ago about Poison Ivy getting worse due to added CO2. :p