Carbon Dioxide

Greener Earth Thanks to Extra Carbon Dioxide from Fossil Fuels, Says New Study

But benefits won't last forever as climate change gets worse

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GreenerEarth
Boston University: Myneni

Earth is getting much greener because humanity is adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by burning coal, oil, and natural gas. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased from 280 parts per million (ppm) in 1800 to nearly 400 ppm today. Plants breathe in carbon dioxide and use it to make the sugars, starches, carbohydrates, and proteins that are used to their construct roots, stems, and leaves. Carbon dioxide is essentially a kind of fertilizer.

A new study in Nature Climate Change, "Greening of earth and its drivers," analyzes satellite data from 1982 to 2009 and finds that between 25 and 50 percent of the earth's terrestrial surface is becoming greener whereas only 4 percent is browner. They attribute 70 percent of the observed greening trend to the carbon dioxide fertilization effect, 9 percent to extra nitrogen added by human activities like farming, 8 percent to a warmer wetter climate, and 4 percent to land cover changes, e.g., abandonment of farms and reforestation.

CO2 Plants
Velvetleaf: New Phytologist

An intriguing 2010 study in the journal New Phytologist looked at how low levels of carbon dioxide affect plant growth. Toward the end of the last ice age, atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide were around 180 to 200 ppm. The researchers estimate in such a carbon dioxide impoverished atmosphere that plant growth was about 50 percent lower than at present. Increasing levels of carbon dioxide not only raised global average temperatures but perhaps made a switch to agriculture worthwhile for our ancestors by raising plant productivity. 

Despite the good news that extra carbon dioxide is greening the planet, the researchers believe that future increases will have less and less effect on plants; chiefly because growth will be limited by the lack of other nutrients. The BBC also reports, "The lead author, Prof Ranga Myneni from Boston University, told BBC News the extra tree growth would not compensate for global warming, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, ocean acidification, the loss of Arctic sea ice, and the prediction of more severe tropical storms."

No silver lining is evidently without its dark cloud.

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58 responses to “Greener Earth Thanks to Extra Carbon Dioxide from Fossil Fuels, Says New Study

  1. So when will we see the bowling-ball-sized hail over Tokyo? Can’t wait to see that!

  2. Turns out global warming was a feature, not a bug.

    1. How dare you use such an outdated term, which was changed because it’s basic premise was a big fat lie.

  3. Ron,
    Great news for us all! Pot plants will now grow better. Now get to work on increasing ass-sex.

    1. Now get to work on increasing ass-sex.

      I thought that’s what open borders was for.

  4. The lead author, Prof Ranga Myneni from Boston University, told BBC News the extra tree growth would not compensate for global warming, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, ocean acidification, the loss of Arctic sea ice, and the prediction of more severe tropical storms.”

    It’s fucking pathetic how thoroughly cowed people are by the cult that they have to repeat the CAGW profession of faith whenever they publish something that appears to falsify a tenet of the religion in any way.

    Warmer clients are more fecund and verdant. Global warming is a good thing if you are a plant (and most animals).

    Sea levels are rising at a remarkably steady rate since records began a few centuries ago.

    Melting glaciers could increase sea level rise rates to ones several times what humanity currently is facing and are adapting to without breaking a sweat.

    The ocean is a buffered system that is (a) alkaline, and (b) the amount of atmospheric CO2 needed to push up oceanic carbonic acid concentration to the point where it seriously affects ocean life would need CO2 concentrations well above the impossible to reach 8.5 RCP scenario.

    Arctic sea ice is a hazard to navigation and of no benefit to anyone

    And last but not least; global warming would lead to less severe storms due to the decreased temperature difference between the currently temperate latitudes and the equatorial ones.

    1. I bet you club baby seals for fun. Let me know next time you go, I want some new shoes.

      1. I hope you only plan to use the fur as lining because baby seal skin makes inferior boots.

      2. Personally, I find baby seal can’t be beat for codpieces. So, yeah, keep us posted.

        1. Now that’s what I call an abstract euphemism.

    2. extra tree growth would not compensate for global warming, . . .

      Of course, we aren’t talking about just extra tree growth, but extra plant growth of all kinds, and its knock-on effects for animal life as well.

      I mean, if we’re talking about second and third order “bad” effects, shouldn’t we also talk about second and third order “good” effects? I mean, if we’re being honest . . . oooh, I get it.

    3. I want all of my stuff shipped via Murmansk. Fuck China.

      1. You’ll be busy for a while…

    4. Totally Intelligent Counterpoint: Waterworld was a very bad movie, are you saying you want to live in a world starring Kevin Costner?

      1. It was a very bad movie;

        Fortunately, sea levels would take millions of years to inundate the continents we have now, even if vulcanism stopped.

        1. What’s Spock got to do with this?

          1. /singing
            Got to do… got to do wit it….

            What’s Spooooooooock but a half-a-fuckin’-Vulcan…

        2. Continents will never be inundated. Even all ice melting would only lead to another 80m of sea level rise. That will take thousands of years. We have already experienced maybe 160m over the last 20000 years.

      2. I thought we did live in a world starring Kevin Costner?

    5. The profession of faith is merely there for “please don’t cut off our funding for reporting inconvenient facts.”

  5. sugars, starches, carbohydrates

    All Three!

    1. Let’s not forget saccharides and macronutrients. Five and counting.

      1. chemical potential energy stores, six?

  6. I also seem to recall that back in the early aughts, the warmists were declaring that the ‘greening’ effect of CO2 fertilization wouldn’t matter, because it would shorten the lifecycle of crops due to faster maturation or some such argument. So sorry, there’s still no upside.

    1. it would shorten the lifecycle of crops due to faster maturation or some such argument

      Plant life cycles are driven by day length, not CO2 concentration. Another pitifully weak lie, unless they are saying that CO2 will actually increase the rotation of the erf.

      1. Don’t read too much into the wording of my argument. This is hazy memories of Nature articles or other discussions about the so-called positive effects of co2 fertilization. Point was, there was no upside. I believe they weaved in descriptions of plant walls becoming too thick or too thin… who knows.

      2. Yep. All of the world record vegetables are grown in….. Alaska.

  7. I wonder if its possible to measure the entire biome and correlate it to CO2 levels, historically.

    I’d bet that the higher the CO2, the bigger the biome.

    Why do warmistas hate life itself?

    1. Some hate energy affluence. They view it as a form of gluttony.

      Some are driven by a superstitious animism and fear that if nature is not propitiated through rituals we will be killed (if I eat no meat, the world will be saved).

      Some are cynical conmen who wish to make a buck by scaring people into giving them money.

      Some are full of wrath at a world that doesn’t value them appropriately or people who don’t live as they do.

      And some are full of pride and believe the world should submit to a new aristocracy formed from their ranks.

  8. No silver lining is evidently without its dark cloud

    Silver linings don’t translate into votes, mister!

  9. But benefits won’t last forever…
    Given how completely wrong the APG alarmists have been with their near-term predictions, much less the long-term ones, I’ll take that bet.

  10. RCD: If by “biome” you mean net primary production, that’s basically what the New Phytologist article to which I linked says.

    1. I think I meant to include animals as well. Not clear to me that they do.

      What I’m really interested in is more longitudinal. We know(?) that CO2 concentrations have been much higher and lower at different points in the past. How does that correlate to the total amount (measured by weight?) of life on earth.

      I’d expect more CO2 = more plants = more animals, so more CO2 equals more life on earth.

      Biome isn’t exactly the word, but it was the closest that came to mined.

      1. “Biomass”?

  11. Fossil fuel emission — It’s got what plants crave!

      1. it’s spelled electricity, tard.

  12. Plants breathe in carbon dioxide and use it to make the sugars, starches, carbohydrates, and proteins that are used to their construct roots, stems, and leaves.

    But the plants also produce a deadly waste gas that causes a lot of problems for human beings. In addition to corroding metal and making fires more deadly, free isotopes of the element in the human body may cause cancer.

  13. The worst thing about this: The Inuit will shift from Ice-based to Wood-based architecture. The loss of cultural authenticity will be tragic.

    1. There will be 300 different words for rain.

  14. *facepalm*

    Humankind contributes a very small amount of total CO2 in the atmosphere. How much of this greening we can take credit for is questionable at best. The ice age is ending. Chances are pretty good that is responsible.

    “Increasing levels of carbon dioxide not only raised global average temperatures…” Or the other way about…

    “…global warming, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, ocean acidification, the loss of Arctic sea ice, and the prediction of more severe tropical storms.” Weren’t all of these things supposed to kill over a billion people by 2012?

    “The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Quick, give me money and I will make it stop!”

    *Dumbshit reaches in pocket then flings bills at Chicken Little

    1. There isn’t enough facepalm in the world.

      The world of PhDs, satellite imagery, and advanced modeling stumble across an unprecedented phenomenon that is the plain-English extrapolation of all the facts learned in Statistics 101, HS Geology, 3rd grade biology, and 1st grade civics.

      I mean, it’s a goddamned *greenhouse* gas.

      #IFLS

  15. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased from 280 parts per million (ppm) in 1800 to nearly 400 ppm today.

    We haven’t even managed a single doubling?

    We need to try harder, earn that … what was it, .6 degrees C per doubling?

  16. “The lead author, Prof Ranga Myneni from Boston University, told BBC News the extra tree growth would not compensate for global warming, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, ocean acidification, the loss of Arctic sea ice, and the prediction of more severe tropical storms.”

    But wasn’t that what the “carbon tax” was for? To give poor countries money to plant trees?

    Unless of course, that was never the real plan at all…

  17. Does this mean the EPA will leave me alone about my car now?

    I will not leave it alone, it means a lot to me okay!

  18. Global warming gets worse?

    Worse is subjective. Perhaps, the better phrase is “as global warming increases?”

  19. “The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased from 280 parts per million (ppm) in 1800 to nearly 400 ppm today.”

    And down from ~5000 PPM 450 million years ago!

    Oh, wait, is that why we’re only allowed to look backwards 800 thousand years?

    1. Also, as a subpoint, how does that explain glaciation during record-high CO2 levels? Is this a fancy way of admitting that the Sun itself drives how hot or cold the planet is? What a concept.

      1. I’ve always been astonished that the mildly variable star which we hang out with, pretty much the only appreciably source of energy for literally light years, is completely written off by so-called climatologists as a potential source of climate variability.

  20. “The lead author, Prof Ranga Myneni from Boston University, told BBC News the extra tree growth would not compensate for global warming, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, ocean acidification, the loss of Arctic sea ice, and the prediction of more severe tropical storms.”

    Since none of those fantasy scenarios worries me in the least, I’ll take More Apples for 400, Alex.

  21. Here’s the procedure: observe something good, speculate about something bad.

  22. Sick and tired of climate alarmism.

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